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Danger Level: Medium - Extreme
Likes: Following orders, Protecting its users, Helping its owner
Dislikes: Not being in its liquid membrane, Extreme heat
Attack Method: Surrounds the aggressor with itself and vibrates quickly, acting as sandpaper; asphyxiation by clogging air ways; melee/weapons when inhabiting a skeleton.
Often mistaken for puddles of oil, ferro units are actually large masses of nanites held together by a liquid membrane of varying type, with water being the most common due to its wide availability. Ferro units are usually pitch black in color, however, some stores sell ferro units in a wide range of colors. The texture of a ferro is similar to wet sand and is said to feel “prickly” when being worn.
When moving, being used as armor, or inhabiting a skeleton, ferro units will form small, dull-tipped spikes across its surface to assist with traction. These spikes tend to ripple and move freely across the surface of the ferro. Ferro units are completely silent when moving.
When being used as armor, ferro units will spread out across its user’s body, forming a protective layer. The ferro will then cling tightly to the user and begin flowing around them. Whether a ferro should cover its user’s face can be specified in the settings menu, and if so, the ferro will supply the surrounding atmosphere to the user.
Ferro units are not to be used as a substitute for a life support system, relying on a ferro to supply breathable air in an environment that does not have any will likely end in user death.
Some have pointed out that the ferro resembles a “Grey Goo” type nanite, however, Ferrous Inc. would like to point out that under Paragraph 36, Subsection 321 of the “Banned Robot Types Act” the ferro does not fall under the Grey Goo designation, due to it failing to match the required trait “able to replicate itself using any available material”. Ferro units do not meet this requirement as by default they can only replicate with iron or iron derivatives.
While the behavior patterns of ferro units vary between models and can be customized further by the end consumer, the typical ferro lacks any agency and will not act outside of commands given to it by its owner. Without any outside influence a ferro will enter an inactive state in which it will look very similar to a pool of oil. The only exception to this is if the ferro comes under attack or if it is running low on nanites. In this case the ferro will animate and either attack its aggressor in an attempt to subdue or scare off the attacker, or, in the case of a nanite shortage, seek out the nearest source of iron to consume and replenish the swarm.
Ferro units can be issued orders verbally and can understand most languages. In cases where verbal communication will not work, ferro units can also understand basic hand signals. To add more languages or to customize hand signals, please contact the nearest Ferrous Inc. outreach center.
While able to solve simple problems on its own to complete a task given to it by its owner, ferro units will contact its owner if a more complicated issue comes up while it is trying to accomplish the task given to it. Some ferro models can come up with solutions to more complex problems on its own but it will still require its owners permission to act on these possible solutions.
When being used as armor, ferro units will assess incoming attacks and harden into a complex nanostructure that will disperse the force of the incoming attack harmlessly around the wearer. In cases of extreme forces a glob of nanites will fly off the main mass to transfer energy away from the user. This glob will attempt to rejoin the main mass if possible. When removing a ferro that was being worn as armor, the ferro will take any moisture on the parts that it was covering with it. This will usually leave the user dryer than they were when they first put on the ferro, despite the fact that the user may feel wet while wearing it.
Upon user death, the ferro will cover the user’s body and vibrate quickly in a sandpaper-like fashion, until only the user’s skeletal structure remains. The ferro will then use any iron in the resulting paste to replenish any missing or damaged nanites. Once it has finished processing the paste, the ferro will animate the skeleton. A ferro inhabiting a skeleton can do simple tasks, such as moving objects and assisting in combat. Ferro units can also use weapons, however what types of weapons it can use depends on the model. Please contact the nearest Ferrous Inc. outreach center for more info on how a ferro can help make deceased crew members skeletons useful to the rest of the crew.
Ferrous Inc. is required to mention that equipping all troops with ferro units can result in “Dead Battle”-type scenarios, in which all the original combatants have died but the battle continues with two all ferro sides fighting each other. Please report any such scenarios to Ferrous Inc. for clean up.
Living Sand: WARNING: If encountering a Model 55-S ferro IMMEDIATELY flee the area and contact the nearest Ferrous Inc. outreach center with details on swarm size, location and aggressiveness. A model 55-S ferro can be identified by its constant “shifting sand” noise and its appearance as pitch black, rippling sand.
Due to a firmware bug in a specific build of Ferr-OS, the nanites in the model 55-S ferro line do not copy the base and owner instructions to any copies it makes of itself. An issue with missing base instructions causes the model 55-S ferro to slowly lose its liquid membrane as it replicates itself to replace missing or broken nanites; this causes the nanites in the model 55-S ferro to believe it is being constantly attacked, and it will defend itself accordingly, viewing all nearby entities as hostile aggressors.
Modded: While ample documentation on the firmware and hardware used by ferro units is available to the public, Ferrous Inc. would like to remind users that “modding” a ferro beyond the included settings editor without being a verified Ferro Technician will void all warranties and pass over any liabilities for said ferro’s actions to the modder / current owner. While the hardware of some ferro units is technically capable of supporting sentience, Ferrous Inc. recommends against using it in such a manner. Modding a ferro to replicate using other materials is fine but will transfer over responsibility for the ferro to the owner, however, modding a ferro to use multiple materials for replication is grounds for capital punishment in Ferrous Inc. controlled space.
Reactive Armor: When being used as armor, ferro units will block most, if not all, incoming blunt force trauma to the user. This can prevent blows that would typically send the user flying from even making them take a step back.
• Using a ferro as armor is often described as “extremely disconcerting”, as the texture of a ferro combined with the constant movement makes for a very unpleasant user experience. Ferrous Inc. would like to point out that though the user experience is less-than-enjoyable, the benefits of a ferro greatly outweigh the drawbacks.
• Ferro units being worn as armor can animate the host's body if they fall unconscious during combat, to either get them out of harm’s way or to keep fighting.
• The price of a ferro varies depending on model and amount (usually measured in weight) of nanites included. A ferro will typically come packaged inside a see-through jar.
• Ferro units can build a swarm back from just a single nanite, given enough iron.
• While a ferro swarm’s lifespan is theoretically infinite, a single nanite in a swarm will rarely last longer than two years.
• Warranty is void on units purchased through unofficial channels.
• Ferro™ and all associated trademarks are used with permission of Ferrous Inc. Using a ferro or any other Ferrous Inc. product is taken as agreement to all terms and conditions outlined in the Ferrous Inc. EULA.
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