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A caution on
automaton dementia

The Ladies' and Gentlemens' Mechanical Companions were created during a curious period in ahistory. The Mechanical Man had not yet been perfected, but demand was rising for such devices, and High London Mechanical was one of several companies that stepped up to fill the gap with simpler and more volatile devices for machine cognition.

A smaller, less complex brain was installed in these robots; one which had a very limited lifespan. These personal companion robots would begin to behave erratically around one year after they were activated, and sometimes the effects were dangerous. The condition was known as "automaton dementia."

Each LaMech is shipped with an emergency shutdown key, to be used one year after the purchase date. The key destroys the connection between the "brain" and the rest of the unit, rendering it inoperable.

Popular speculation of the time had it that the manufacturer released the potentially dangerous robots intentionally, to encourage customers to re-purchase their companions every year.

The storage of the Lamech's brain was inside the small "memory glass" bulbs that formed its eyes. The color of the eyes would change as the robot aged and it filled the memory glass with data. The material would change from bottleglass to amber, lime, cyan, blue, violet, purple, black, and finally, red. Black marketeers would often scavenge dead mechanical companions and blacken their eyes, selling them as short-lived but functioning machines.

Copyright 2010 Haley Moore