Living Creatures Linked to the Machine

Given that humans now have the opportunity to walk the Darkstream, there are far fewer manufactured organic/living Machine operatives, and far more mechanical Drones. However, humanoid Machine entities have been encountered.

These seem more biased towards promoting Machine interests, rather than destroying non-Machine life. Even the lower-level ones can pass as human, and Controller-level entities retain a measure of freewill and independent action. Apart from the Controllers and Technomages, the Hybrids appear to be able to walk the Darkstream. “Bleeder” clones, however, do not.

Living Creatures Linked to the Machine


Controllers come in four levels.

  • Local Controllers: these deal with on-the-ground operations and keep whatever stage those operations have reached running smoothly. They report to the Secondary Controllers.
  • Secondary Controllers: these are fewer in number (usually twice the number of Senior Controllers present on a world) but have higher access privileges and are able to adjust operations and the programming of the drones. They report to the Senior Controllers.
  • Senior Controllers: there is usually only of these Senior Controller present on any world, although this is not a hard and fast rule. Senior Controllers organise all aspects of operations on the ground. On the Outside, the role of Senior Controller can be given to a member of the Council of Controllers, if the operations are particularly sensitive.
  • Machine Councillor: these are the members of the two Councils of Controllers – one on the Inside and one on the Outside. On the Inside, they are based out of the Data Centre and are run by the Master of the Darkstream; while on the Ouside, Councillors report to, and work in tandem with, the External Controller.

All human Controllers are initiates of the Darkstream, and many are also Technomages.

While Controller level Drones do exist, they have the disadvantage of being unable to vary their own programming, or that of the troops under their command. Therefore, the human Controllers often work in tandem with their Drone equivalents.

There is no reason to believe that non-human sentient creatures could not become Controllers, but as yet none have been encountered.


Those few Talented individuals who walk the Darkstream have the opportunity to become Technomages, who can use magic to interface with the Darkstream at a higher level than a mere initiate, and without the technological implants.

  • Level 1 Technomages are of equivalent skill to Masters of Magic
  • Level 2 Technomages have the equivalent of Doctorates. Their magic can be backed by the Darkstream, if desired, giving it added solidity.

Clones (aka Bleeders)

These originate as genetic duplicates of particularly interesting or choice individuals from either New Oceania or from worlds conquered by the Machine, both Inside and Outside. As they’re grown, the genetics are honed to make them more resilient than their straight human progenitors, or bring out certain traits, and they are conditioned to serve the Machine and the Controllers to which they are assigned. Moreover, they are linked to the Datastream as they develop: while this doesn’t give them an initiation to the Power, it does give them a permanent link to the Machine. They have the ability to learn individual skills or abilities.

These have all the weaknesses of a standard organic body – for example, they bleed and they need to breathe, eat, sleep and excrete – but they are able to pass in human society and are often used as agents or scouts. By their nature, there are multiple instances of the same model.


Shifters are a sub-set of the more normal Bleeder clones, and are created from those with the shifting gene who have been captured on worlds the Machine is resource stripping. If the shifting is dormant in the genetic donor, the cloning process can activate it to ICM level. Once the clones are grown, they need to be instructed in how to use their shifting abilities to move beyond that. Were the Machine to have access to Pilot Technology, Shifter Clones would probably be able to initiate as Pilots, but this is currently untested. By their nature, there are multiple instances of the same model.


These are individuals who are assumed to be clones of various people, but appear to have individuality and sentience, and the ability to work independently. They retain some or all of the skills and memories of the individuals they have been copied from, but are clearly not those people. For they most part, they have initiated to the Datastream and can access the Machine at Local Controller level. It is not known if multiple copies of these can be built: as yet, only single instances have been encountered.

With respect to all three of the above categories, theoretically, there is no reason to believe that other non-human sentient creatures could not be cloned in this way.