mithriltabby: Ancient Roman icosahedral die (Game)
[personal profile] mithriltabby


The standard vendbot is a large droid, essentially an ambulatory vending machine. They carry any supplies for which there is a market: snacks, beverages, datapads, energy cells, medpacs, stimulants, blaster power packs, grenades... The more valuable the contents, the tougher the vendbot; they are usually designed to be able to destroy their contents rather than give them up, but not to assault their attacker. Most vendbots are only one software update away from turning into slot machines.

A chefbot is a similarly large droid, though more specialized. The bottom half of the droid is mostly storage space, much of it refrigerated; the top half is mostly an autokitchen. The head on top houses a self-aware droid brain programmed with recipes from a dozen species’ cuisine. Chefbots usually trundle up to a place where people congregate— mass transit stations, arena entrances, public plazas— at times of high traffic, and start cooking. The smell of fresh-cooked food wafts into the area and immediately begins to trigger the appetites of passersby; the “bait” food is available immediately, and the droid can cook dishes to order. (At mass transit stations, they use a wireless link to keep track of the trains and time their cooking to match.) They have very little in the way of offensive capability, though some have been known to spray hot frying oil on people who threaten the bot or a regular customer.

A variant on the chefbot is the cafbot, specialized for brewing caf, the galaxy’s favorite coffeine delivery system; they are still fairly large, but have a bulbous appearance, often with a transparisteel window showing the brewing equipment. They are apt to be found at any hour when people can be tempted by the smell of freshly brewed caf. The signature stunt of Galacticaf™ bots is to pour in bantha cream in the pattern of a spiral galaxy, just before serving.

Most bots have some form of corporate affiliation, serving as a guarantee that the bots are monitored to prevent tampering, and that tamperers will be hunted down and made into grisly examples. Even so, they can be subverted by assassins to deliver poison to their target.


Ambulatory trash cans with long, flexible arms. They are programmed with somewhat playful personalities, emitting quiet mmm and yum sounds as they toss refuse down their gullets, and producing an enthusiastic OM NOM NOM! when someone throws trash into their mouth. They contain a built-in trash compactor to allow them to spend more time foraging before offloading at a collection facility or in a passing garbage truck; many models have interior arms and cameras to examine refuse for valuables that can be kicked aside into a separate storage compartment to be later auctioned off. There is enough room for a humanoid to have a very cramped ride inside, but make sure you disable the trash compactor before attempting that particular bit of subterfuge.

All these bots relay telemetry back to their operators, and can be valuable in information-gathering. Bounty hunters pay well for information collected by these itinerant vending droids; this kind of surveillance is one of the reasons that long, hooded robes that completely conceal the wearer are always in fashion across the galaxy. The bots are usually not designed to be useful in combat— people feel uneasy about giving droids capabilities that leave them one hack away from being lethally dangerous, which is why protocol droids are so helpless— though some combat-worthy lookalikes are produced for espionage purposes.

Date: 2008-04-16 05:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

The vendbot reminds me strongly of the Soft Drink robot in Macross, which while excellent at providing tasty beverages was not very good at recognizing what "go for help" meant.

Another robot to consider might be the tourbots from Grimjack: these were very cheap hovering robots that had a VR telemetry system in them. They were designed to let tourists tour the more dangerous parts of the city.

Date: 2008-04-16 03:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm weirdly charmed by all of this. Eee!

Date: 2008-04-16 06:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Trash cans that are happy to eat the trash would make for streets you could serve state dinners upon.
(deleted comment)

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