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Cyb

A typical cyb fitted with an array of blades and stim injectors.

Cybs are nightmarish cyborg killing machines used as expendable shock troops by the Imperium of Sidhae. Bristling with tubes and wires jammed into their flesh, armed with whirring saw blades, mecha-tentacles and whatever else their creators have deemed fit to crudely graft on or in place of their limbs and pumped full of combat stimulants, these hideous monstrosities charge into battle screaming in berserk rage, cutting down anyone unlucky or foolish enough to be in the way indiscriminately and soaking up enemy fire before their eventual expiration. So violent and unstable are these creatures that only the bravest Sidhae are willing to handle them, as cybs are just as likely to turn on their handlers as they are on the enemy.

Cybs are created from human or Sidh bodies, usually failed converts or convicted criminals. In the case of converts, the subjects have failed to endure the gruelling conversion process and gone insane, often becoming violently unstable. Such cases are utilized by processing them into cybs. Same fate awaits violent and dangerous convicts whom the labour camp commandants have sold for the purpose as being too much trouble to keep around, their innate proclivities and talent for violence and intimidation however being too much of a useful quality to let go to waste by simply executing the troublemaker.

Cybs are not an officially-sanctioned or approved part of military equipment, nor does the state operate any cyb factories. Consequently, they are not standardized to any degree and are built by private entrepreneurs commissioned for the task by the local military commander in need of them. While not formally approved for military use, these berserk killing machines are simply too effective at their task to pass up on their use, so many Sidh generals will readily hire any augmeticists specializing in their creation to provide them with a steady supply of cybs.

Cyb2

A heavily-armored cyb.

For the above reasons, there is no standard model of cybs, each of them being an individual work of craftsmanship built by a master flesh sculptor. Since cybs are intended to be expendable, there is little reason to standardize them to any set standard, them instead making good field test platforms for various new experimental augmentations. Individuals with the necessary skills and lack of moral scruples to build cybs are rare and far between, each regarding himself as a master artisan and an artist in equal measure, their creations being just as much a reflection of their twisted sense of aesthetics as they are useful tools. Cybs consequently tend to have an extremely diverse array of augs, implants and weapons, limited only by what the twisted dark imagination of their creators could come up with. This has the advantage of making cybs difficult to counter effectively on the battlefield, the only universally-effective method of stopping them being overwhelming firepower.

Cybs vary considerably in size, ranging from ordinary man-sized creatures to lumbering monstrosities of flesh and metal that rival light mechwalkers in size. Cybs tend to be armed exclusively with melee weaponry. While theoretically capable of understanding and performing the operation of firearms, shooting the enemy at range simply isn't how they work, cybs being meant for brutal up-close and personal combat, not to mention that giving these already frighteningly-efficient killing machines the means to kill at range isn't a good idea by any standard.

When an augmeticist is commissioned to build a force of cybs, he will begin by upgrading their physiology. While the most obvious features of cybs are the various wires and tubes sticking out of their flesh and melee weapons grafted onto their limbs, the changes they are subject to internally are much more profound. Their biochemistry is altered extensively to let cybs survive dosages of combat stims that would instantly kill even a hardened stim junkie Sidh. Cybs are also enhanced to rapidly develop a much greater muscle mass and bone density along with various strength and speed-enhancing implants, and are often grafted with redundant artificial organs to increase their survivability and harden them against injury. At the same time, their mental faculties are reduced to bare minimum necessary to understand and carry out basic commands, brain implants putting them in a permanent state of hyper-aggression.

Because of this, it is imperative that cyb handlers use clear and precise orders at all times - although implanted inhibitors make cybs incapable of disobeying a direct order, their lack of higher mental faculties means they are incapable of understanding context or making their own guesses and interpretations like normal individuals would, interpreting every order literally and carrying it out swiftly and to the letter. The majority of friendly casualties caused by cybs are a result of the machines being given overly vague orders.

Despite all safety measures, cybs can, and occasionally do, still go haywire and turn on their handlers. For this purpose, cybs come with a kill-switch, usually in the form of an explosive charge implanted in the base of one's skull. While not in use, they are kept in cryo-pods, heavily sedated and comatose until the next time their services are required.

Because cybs are expensive individually-crafted masterworks, and because having any number of them around is innately dangerous, they are rarely deployed in large numbers. An entire legion will typically have no more than a few hundred of them at most. Furthermore, many Sidhae rightly regard cybs as abominations and are most reluctant to fight anywhere near them.

While intended as expendable shock troopers, cybs also have their uses as test platforms for new augmentations, especially of the illegal variety. Unscrupulous doctors operating outside the established boundaries of the Sidh medical community will often keep one or a few in their workshops to try out new exotic and outlandish augmentations before installing them on their customers. Their other obvious use is as a formidable security measure against potential intruders. One such cyb is featured in Access Violation, formerly a psychotic killer deemed too dangerous even by his fellow criminals and sold as a test subject to Dr. Heinrich Krauss, Bayit Gadol's resident rogue doctor and augmeticist.

Cybs elsewhere

Mechanocratic Russia/Mechanocracy of Mankind

Combat machines almost identical to Sidh-built cybs were constructed by the Mecharussians as part of Project Echidna. In the early stages of the project when the mind-transfer chips were being tested, the subjects – most frequently Gulag inmates and prisoners-of-war taken for experimentation – would be driven irreversibly insane by the process. This problem was partially solved when Drakolich, one of the programme's key consultants, suggested taking the failed subjects, fusing them to military-grade augmentations and chemical injectors, and deploying them for use as vicious, berserk terror weapons. At least 150 were at one point tasked with patrolling the research facility at Mezhgorye where they were built, every one of them bearing augmentations rivalling those of the Chthonians themselves.

The Prokazniki (later the Infinity Collective) makes heavy usage of cybs for the exact same purposes as the Imperium does, as expendable shock troopers. The Death Knight psyker Morfey and Fyodor Volkova, Ippolyta's own gene-child, were known to keep squadrons of cybs under their control, ready to sick onto whatever hapless enemy had the total misfortune of facing either of these sadistic battlemages.

It is rumoured that Grand Curatrix Elena Trotskaya personally oversaw the construction of a group of cyb-like creatures, recruited from fanatic Chernodrakon volunteers, using Khazard'Vaari tech acquired from her many expeditions to lost cryptworlds. These bloodthirsty, quasi-Lovecraftian monsters reportedly patrol the inner sanctum of Jotunheim Citadel, snatching anyone who strays into the sanctum uninvited and ripping them to pieces.

Qh'naazi Dynasty

The cyborg slave-warriors identified as 'cyb-grunts' during the Flight of the Polunochnaya are even more ramshackle than their Sidh or Mekh counterparts. Often, their creators were found to have literally jammed a psionic command chip into the base of their skull and strapped the remains of destroyed drone soldiers onto their limbs. That the grunts more often than not carried their original weapons that they once fired at the Qh'naazi troops they served in undeath (their use of ranged weapons being a notable distinction between Qh'naazi cybs and humanoid-built ones) further compounds the theory that they were quickly built with the expectation of their rapid and unpleasant demise.

They were often placed under the command of a Warlock and sent to battle, frequently to probe enemy fortifications before the ordinary troops commenced their assault. They were also used in a similar capacity to Imperial cybs as terror weapons; to this end, several particularly malefic commanders draped their cyb-grunts with the flayed skins of recently-killed enemies to inspire horror in whatever opponent bore witness to them. Among such commanders was the Ma'nem'zohr Azantekh, who became particularly notorious for her cognisant application of psychological warfare to demoralise her foes.

More sophisticated and standardised cyb-grunts were constructed to fight for the Unbidden Army in 2172, filling the frontline combat role left vacant by the absence of sophisticated drone soldiers.

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