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ADA - The Anthropomorphic Defensive Automata Mk 1

David Fri, 02/15/2013 - 20:21
Character Status: 
Android - SideKick Character
Class / Occupation: 
NA / Servent
RPG Term Tag: 

Gender: Female appearance
Manufacturer: Wayne Smythe (see Dossier)
Compilation for the Honorable Sub-Minister of MI–7 CB by Agent MST, under seal


With the sudden and unauthorized construction and activation of Master Smythe’s Anthropomorphic Defensive Automata (hereforafter indicated by its—her(?)—abbreviated name “Ada”), I was tasked by the Sub-Minister to determine the creation, capabilities, and suitability of this artificial person to service to Her Majesty and Great Britain. To this end, I have visited Smythe’s quarters upon the Icarus II and obtained documents from him and others in his company to determine all we can about this Ada.

The idea for the construct apparently came to Master Smythe after one of his first missions with the Ministry wherein his team came into contact with advanced magical constructions known as “Clockworks” (see File). As mentioned, Master Smythe had already demonstrated aptitude for construct manufacturing; it is speculated that after seeing these more advanced models at work, Smythe desired to beging constructing his own. This is corroborated by a note made soon after they had captured the destructed remains of one of the Clockworks:

It thinks, it moves, it speaks. Cannot quite see how it maintains motive force. Heart is key. Study further.

There are multiple diagrams of said “Heart”: This device is at the center of the Clockworks and gives them their animation and ability to enhance their combat prowess for a time. From these multiple diagrams and notes, Master Smythe obsessed about the Heart’s manufacture and functionality, but its workings seemed to elude him. From my consultation with our Occult Department, the Heart abilities seem to be tied to arcane rituals that Smythe seems incapable of comprehending. This frustration is what likely tabled Smythe’s project, though he revisited it constantly in his notes over the next months.

Though Smythe could not divine the Heart’s construction, he continued on other aspects of the process such as chassis design. It his hear that the boy’s baser nature is on display due his obsession with the fairer sex; his source material is quite extensive for a youth of his age. It appears that the chassis plans were finished quite early on in this process but Smythe made no effort to construct them without the Heart issue solved. His advances in miniaturization however would be folded back into his Spider Construct, which explains its advancement in size and power over these months.

This stalemate was still in place during Smythe’s travels to Wales. However, it was during that time, apparently after reading some notes of the Welsh magician responsible for the attacks, that Smythe determined another issued—that of sentience:

Oy, those shambling horse constructs wrapped in dead flesh. Terrible medium; disagree with Chrihon that anything lasting can be done with it. Will need something stronger. But also means for smarts. She must know things. Must learn things. Otherwise, she’s just a shell, a tool. Not life.

His notes and diagrams diverge from studying the Heart to matters of intelligence. Shipping manifests indicate several deliveries of old texts on philosophy and psychology. But it was after the Southerland brought aboard a Volta Laboratories phonograph (at great expense) that the boy seemed to make a breakthrough:

Edison and Bell are genius. Sound from wax. Record on cylinder! This is the key! Make a dense recording of thought, use the wax to make it take up and well as play out. Memory!

It appears Smythe then worked on a set of miniature cylinders, nested inside each other, that would both encode information for retrieval but allow new information to be added. It appears that Smythe then worked on a device solely for the purpose of transcribing books into this coded form onto the cylinder. The device apparently no longer functions, but should it be replicated, I believe HM Ministry would be greatly served.

The cylinders were encoded with a wide array of information, especially from contemporary periodical sources made for the distaff, apparently as a means to educate the construct on proper womanly affairs. Combat training was also included, primarily via archaic fencing manuals. It is clear that this construct was both bodyguard and companion. Though the nature of that companionship seemed only to be clarified after Smythe’s meeting of Mdm. Throdrichsdottir:

A sister, a sister certainly! I cannot displease Kamila, and a rival is not what I intend. I will have a sister now.

It is also during this trip that Smythe finally seemed to crack the secret of the Heart, or work around it:

The old man’s ornithopter should not fly; its engines are quite peculiar. I think from them I have solved my motive force problem. I need a vital fluid that provides pressure and energy both. A solution so simple I am surprised I didn’t see it sooner: Alcohol!

It is then that manufacture of the construct began in earnest. The chassis, though already designed, seemed to undergo a transformation into a more “sisterly” figure than its previous voluptuous shape; it appears this had functional advantages as well due to reduced construction cost and less dispersion of the fluid pressure system. Secretly, Smythe finished construction and launched his Anthropomorphic Defensive Automata upon the world.


“Ada” appears to be a petite girl in her late teens or early twenties dressed in relatively fine clothes appropriate to perhaps upper middle class station. These clothes are, in some sense, illusory, as they are part of her chassis and not really removable without difficulty. There are also other anomalies that give Ada a distinct and slightly off-putting appearance: They eyes are slightly to large and never blink (nor react differently to light intensity), she does not respirate, and her voice has a an indistinct accent with a somewhat hollow tone (generated by a version of Bell & von Helmholz’s auditory device modified for electro-chemical stimulant), her skin tone gives the appearance of fine claw or porcelain at times (due to a process Smythe documents but I cannot divine), and her lack of more common human movements such as fidgeting. There is something uncanny about a thing some human-like but not human that seems to raise the hackles. Smythe-Constructs, like Ada, have the Outsider flaw. Her “armor” is actually embedded into her frame.

The key to the construct appear to be its usage of alcohol as motive force. Regulated by a complicated device that bears some similarity to the Heart device described above, any form of alcoholic beverage can be used in combination with other substances (“humors” in Symthe’s notes; how quaintly outdated) to provide the change in pressure needed to ambulation. In addition, it appears that an excess of alcohol can be used to buffer resistance to damage. Of course, without a supply of alcohol, the construct loses pressure and thus motive force though it can be repaired after any cease in activity that leaves most of its chassis intact. Smythe-Constructs are fueled by alcohol; if they cannot consume sufficient amounts within a 24 hour period, they gain a Fatigue; this repeats until they are Incapacitated. Afterwards, they may be repaired (which is also the only way to heal wounds as they are constructs). By consuming excess alcohol, their endurance increases for an hour by one die; this is equivalent to the Liquid Courage Edge, though, being immune to poison, Ada cannot get drunk.

Smythe’s learning mechanism appears to work; Ada is a first class swordswoman(?). She has basic knowledge of contemporary society, though it seems a bit skewed by her background material, making her say quite inappropriate things at time (even worse than those Yanks). It also appears that her protection program is formidable, going so far as to make her more defensive of Master Smythe than is generally acceptable in society though this seems to pain the boy. This does, beneficially to our needs, make her extremely protective of Smythe (a valuable, if troublesome, asset) and, as an extension of his protection, his team. She will like do everything she can to protect them, though her lack of caution might counterbalance this.Smythe-Constructions, as bodyguards, all start with some basic defensive training; in Ada’s case, this was a starting 1d6 in Fighting. Their Group Imprinting effectively gives them the Loyalty hinderance in terms of their imprinted one and their team. Ada’s unusual personality is also reflected by her Quirk, Stubborn, and Overconfidence (none of which are inherit to this construct type, just to Ada).