"When you hear the rumbling...It's usually a sign you wanna start running."
-Unknown , On the Machinists
|Headquarters:||Country Club, The Bronx, New York|
|Members:||2, plus numerous robots|
|Notable members:||Mark Eldridge|
|Founded by:||Luke Williams, Aaron Webberman, Mark Eldridge|
|Goals:||Take over the New York City ruins|
|Enemies:||Federal Republic of Libeteria, Bob's Wreckers, National Pleasure League, Empire State Army, Hip-Hop Nation, New York Stockyard|
The Machinists are a group that seek to establish a nation of their own using an army of homemade robots. Located in The Bronx, the Machinists already once attempted to conquer the area with their army, to disastrous effect.
The Machinists were formed in 2245, when three men with wildly different backgrounds- Mark Eldridge, Luke Williams and Aaron Webberman- met in an abandoned warehouse in the ruins of the former Country Club neighborhood of The Bronx, New York. Eldridge was a semi-autistic mechanical engineer from the Commonwealth. Williams was a disgraced politician from the Federal Republic of Libeteria. Webberman was the son of a prominent merchant in Shtetl Tzaddikim who was politicked out of an important position in the community due to his chem addiction. While all three had radically different backgrounds, all three had a common goal in 2245: to unleash an army of robots across the New York City wastes.
Aaron Webberman and Luke Williams had known each other for some years prior to the group being formed. After the Federal Republic of Libeteria forcibly took over Mirelurk Bay in 2226, Williams was appointed its first colonial representative in the Libeterian government. Though he claimed to have cleaned up the trading post on the eastern side of Shaolin, he instead allowed all kinds of illicit activities to continue, receiving kickbacks in exchange for looking the other way. Webberman, in his capacity as a merchant, regularly had dealings with Williams. Investigators in the Libeterian government discovered what he was doing in 2243, causing Williams to resign from his post in disgrace and flee the nation. Having made numerous enemies, he took up residence in Flushtown, a lawless city where he would be somewhat insulated from the Libeterian justice system and the retribution of the chem suppliers and slavers as long as he could afford to pay for protection.
In 2245, Aaron Webberman came to Flushtown with the intent to hire Bob’s Wreckers to help him have his revenge on those that wronged him in his hometown. While there, he ran into Williams, and the former politician was able to convince the merchant to amend his plans. Across the East River, in the ruins of a marina up in the Bronx past the Wreckers’ home base, lived a crazy hermit that was known for his expertise involving machinery and robots.
Mark Eldridge arrived in the New York City ruins some years earlier. Originally a resident of the Commonwealth, he fled south when his obsessive experiments with machinery and robots attracted the attention of the Institute. Though the courser that they dispatched did not kill him, Eldridge got the message and left his home, taking residence in an abandoned marina in the Bronx. Safe for the time being, it was not long before Eldridge returned to his previous ways, tinkering with machines and robots. He quickly gained a reputation in his new home, and was paid by local groups to refurbish and maintain their electronics and machinery.
Luke Williams initially convinced Aaron Webberman that Mark Eldridge would be able to construct explosives that would able to help him get his revenge- the former politician was looking to do the same thing to his enemies back in Libeteria. The two were not prepared for what they found when they arrived at Eldridge’s home. The obsessive engineer possessed a homemade assembly line for the construction of robots, inert but in working condition. Realizing the possibilities that could be if Eldridge could back up his claims and construct an army of robots, Williams altered his plans. Instead of engaging in a campaign of terrorism, he would bide his time and gather a robot army, eventually invading and taking over the New York City wastes.
Over the next few years, the three men met periodically. Aaron Webberman funded the scheme, using his considerable wealth as a merchant. Williams used his political skills to forge alliances with other groups across the area. Eldridge happily went along with everything, applying himself to create all kinds of robots. The robots were periodically deployed across the ruins of New York City to test their functionality, leading wastelanders to label the anonymous creators of the mechs ‘The Machinists’.
In 2263, Luke Williams decided that the timing was right for their revenge. The Federal Republic of Libeteria had just ended a conflict with Bob’s Wreckers, resulting in the weakening of the both groups. Aaron Webberman had reservations, concerned that the group did not yet have enough robots to forcibly take over the ruins of The Bronx, Manhattan, and Brooklyn, but the former Libeterian politician was able to convince him to look past his uncertainties. With the two men on the same page, the Machinists unleashed their robot army. It was split into two forces- one concentration would march through the Bronx, while the other would float down the East River and march on the ruins of Manhattan.
The Machinists’ land army first came into contact with Bob’s Wreckers and various pockets of National Pleasure League remnants. For the most part, the robots were able to dispatch the NPL remnants they encountered with relative ease. The Wreckers, on the other hand, were a much different story. Unlike the men and women still united under the banner of the National Pleasure League, the Wreckers were a well-trained, well-equipped fighting force. The Machinists miscalculated when they attempted to route the Wreckers by directly attacking their headquarters, the ruined husk of the Annabelle. The Wreckers successfully defended the ruins of the cargo ship, dealing a devastating blow to the machine army- nearly half of the robot army was destroyed there.
The robots that continued fanning out through the Bronx eventually came into conflict with the Empire State Army, Hip-Hop Nation and the monks of The Cathedral. The latter two groups fought for their lives, and improbably defeated the robot armies on their doorsteps. The monks of The Cathedral, in particular, fought with ferocity and intensity that surprised Luke Williams. Though the Machinists might have been able to break either group, they ordered their robots to retreat, to prevent a total loss.
The plan to float robots down the East River to engage the Federal Republic in Lower Manhattan was, for the most part, an unmitigated disaster. Informants from the Principality of Queensland informed the Federal Republic of the imminent attack, allowing them to go on the offensive. Using their air and sea forces, the Liberterians attacked the robot army before it could arrive. Most of the machines that were able to successfully arrive in Lower Manhattan were greeted by the well-prepared armies of the Federal Republic and the New York Stockyard, and were promptly destroyed. A handful did get past their defenses, and into New York Harbor, where they scored one victory. The LSS Voice of Libeteria, source of Radio Libeteria, just happened to be in dock and was sunk by the stray crabbers, knocking the radio station off-line for a few weeks.
All in all, the Machinist invasion of the New York City ruins was a disaster. Asides for making enemies with virtually every faction active in the area, it accomplished nothing. In a raid conducted by the Federal Republic shortly after the East River flotilla was destroyed, Luke Williams was killed, Mark Eldridge was arrested, and the Machinists’ base of operations destroyed. Only Aaron Webberman was able to escape capture, using his relative anonymity as the group’s financial backer to flee back to Shtetl Tzaddikim. The Machinist mechs that survived began operating independently, without guidance from the humans that created them. Most simply carried on with their original programming, becoming dangerous pests across the ruins of the Bronx.
This would not be the end of the group, however. Sentenced to life in prison by the Libeterian government, Aaron Webberman was able to bribe enough people to break Mark Eldridge out of prison in 2269. The two returned to the ruins of their base of operations in the Bronx to salvage what they could. Eldridge was able to quickly put together some machinery that would bring the surviving bots back under Machinist control. Slowly, the two are rebuilding their robot army. Webberman has no delusions of grandeur spurred on by Luke Williams, and is content to rule his own robot army in the Bronx, as opposed to taking over New York. For now.
The Machinists currently count exactly two actual members: Mark Eldridge and Aaron Webberman. The group had a third member, Luke Williams, but he was killed in 2263, when they attempted to take over New York City. The rest of the organization is filled out by their robotic creations. At one time, the group had hundreds of robots. Since reforming, the Machinists are slowly growing larger, with bots produced on a daily basis at their headquarters in the Bronx.
Little Bastards are the most basic of bots that the Machinists utilize. They are little more than proximity mines with basic AIs programmed into them, though some more advanced models act as surveillance drones. To maximize the element of surprise, Little Bastards are often either made to look like, or actually are made of, the trash and rubble that is found all over the ruins of the city.
Handymen form the backbone of the Machinists forces. These little bots are roughly humanoid, standing about two feet tall with a pair of arms and legs. They are relatively cheap to produce, with a metal frame and circuitry being their only necessary components. Handymen are programmed as basic laborers, performing duties all around the Machinists’ Riker’s Island fortress. When in combat, they are programmed to be fearless and charge into battle despite the high likelihood of their own destruction.
Stalkers are the Machinists’ most useful and plentiful mech. Shaped like spiders, they creep and scurry around the ruins of New York, spying on their targets and relaying information to other bots. Stalkers are not designed for combat, and are programmed to flee at the first signs of trouble, using their basic weaponry to surprise attackers and allow them to scurry away. If escape is not feasible, the robots have a self-destruct mechanism to prevent them from falling into the hands of enemies. Of the various Machinist robots, Stalkers have one of the most advanced AIs.
Buzzers get their name from the buzzing noise that signals their approach, caused by the whirring of their rotors and propellers. The small flying bots perform various functions for their masters, acting as couriers, messengers, and reconnaissance and spy drones. Some advanced models have been designed to be better fliers and have basic weapons to harass and counter the Federal Republic of Libeteria’s Flying Corps.
Jellies are aquatic robots named after their resemblance of crabs. The small bots float through the water scanning for natural resources at the seabed. Once discovered, they sink down and begin drilling, sucking up whatever resources they identified. Some models are equipped with mines, and act as torpedoes, naval mines or depth charges.
Juggernauts are the heavy troops of the Machinist army. They stand roughly ten feet tall and are designed to pack a punch and withstand punishment dealt to them. Among the weapons that Juggernauts are armed with include railroad rifles, junk jets, rock-it launchers, rocket launchers, and grenade launchers. Because of the cost in materials and development time, the group has relatively few Juggernauts on hand at any given time, and utilizes them only when necessary.
The Pleasure-Matic-500 is a series of low AI bot designed specifically for pleasure. Shaped much like a box, the user opens the machine and lies down inside. From there, he or she programs the computer AI to perform acts, depending on his or her sexual persuasions. The Machinists produced very few Pleasure-Matic-500s, creating them to as tribute and gifts to certain persons around the New York City ruins.
The Agricola 7200 is a large Pre-War farming robot that the Machinists managed to start back up shortly after first patronizing Mark Eldridge. The primary purpose of the machine is plow, till, fertilize, seed and water fields. Libeterian forces took the machine when they raided the Machinists’ headquarters, and is currently located in Shaolin, where it is fulfilling its intended purpose.
Activities & Interests
The primary goal of the Machinists was to take over the New York City wastes using their robotic forces. The group tried once already, unleashing a large robotic army in 2263 but were unsuccessful. In the years since, Eldridge and Webberman have returned to the drawing board to regroup and rethink their strategy.
For Mark Eldridge, a Machinist takeover of the region would have meant the triumph of technology- his technology. At a young age, he began displaying a fascination and obsession with mechanics that was due to a likely autism spectrum disorder. Having dedicated his entire life to engineering and robots, any substantial takeover would have validated all of the hard work he has put in over the years. Since the debacle that was their 2263 invasion, he is happy to be out of prison and allowed to tinker and build robots once again.
For Aaron Webberman, a Machinist takeover of the region would have complete a revenge years in the making. After being politicked out of being appointed his father’s heir, Webberman swore revenge against his father, his brother, and the rest of Shtetl Tzaddikim. Since the debacle that was their 2263 invasion, he has put his revenge on hold, and is more interested in first establishing an actual territory, controlled by bots, to call his own.
Before their 2263 invasion, the Machinists were a relatively unknown group. Periodically, they unleashed groups of their bots into the wastes to gauge their efficiency, but kept to themselves and paid tribute to local gangs in exchange for protection. When they unleashed their army in 2263, they made enemies of virtually every politically active group in the ruins of the Bronx and Manhattan. At the time, Luke Williams and Aaron Webberman were interested in revenge, and wanted nothing more than to destroy their enemies.
Since reforming in secret, the Machinists have yet to make any waves, as they are not yet strong enough to withstand attacks from groups they previously angered. Their utter defeat in 2263 softened Webberman’s aspirations, and with his lessened ambitions might come the possibility for diplomatic relations with groups that were previously enemies in the future.