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Danger Level: Low danger as individuals, high danger (to robots) in swarms.
Likes: Biting, Leeching energy
Dislikes: Being smashed, hit, or swatted at
Attack Method: Singular sappers will flee from opponents, however dense swarms of sappers will attempt to bite the opponent all at once.
Sappers are small, teardrop shaped robots that resemble flying insects. Sappers are fairly simple in design, built with three visual sensors, two wings and two retractable limbs, and a single needle on their underside that functions like a proboscis. This needle is used specifically to pierce the hulls of ships or the shells of AIs, so it may leech a bit of their power supply to refill their own.
The visual sensors and wings of a sapper at full charge will glow a bright, lime green, with very little variations but some have been discovered emitting a bright blue instead. As their power supplies drop however, their colors will change, yellow indicating half charge and red indicating very low charge. The size of a sapper, normally about 4 inches long, only changes when a sapper has attached it's self to larger ships where it may go unnoticed for long periods of time.
The sapper will use nearby scrap metals, or even pull pieces from the ship it's self to build upon it's own shell to accommodate the amount of energy it steals from the ship, and will become multiple times it's original size.
Sappers are systematic, operating solely on a preprogrammed set of 'instincts' that send the sapper to collect energy from nearly any kind of power source. It's main targets are that of large AIs and even larger ships, those that may not realize that they have been leeched of their power before the sapper can make it's escape. In addition to stealing increments of energy from their targets, they often leave behind what is thought to be a virus, where as AIs often report to feel a sort of phantom 'itching' sensation where the sapper had punctured their shell, regardless of whether the AI can feel physical sensations or not.
As such, these tiny robots are reviled by nearly all AIs, regarding them as an annoyance, and are quick to destroy them with a hard swat or with a rolled up newspaper. They prove to be a far greater threat when traveling in swarms, as hundreds of individuals could gang up on a single ship and effectively drain it of all fuel and power, rendering the crew inside stranded.
After gathering it's fill of energy, a sapper will often return back to it's point of origin, where may be anywhere as sappers are self replicating. A sapper will begin building a new sapper at the final stretch of it's life time, collecting not only energy but melting down metals and other necessary items to craft an entirely new sapper. Sappers may self replicate several times before they inevitably expire. Sappers may also self terminate when captured, scrambling it's inner circuitry and essentially causing it's self to crash and permanently shut down.
• The self termination of sappers proved to be the most difficult hurtle when attempting to discover the origin of the little robot bugs. By the time their programmer was successfully hacked into, it had been far too late to find the original creator. Tracking them down had led them to the grave of the late Angie De-yun, an elderly vaeri that, according to the description left upon their grave, "never paid an electric bill in their life". The most notable items recovered when cleaning out their former home was an intricate charging station, and several casings for what's presumed to be older models of sappers. And while they had a few computers found within their home, none of the original plans or codes for the sappers has ever been found.
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