The Ultron, also known from Precursor text fragments as the Appendages of Dawn, is probably the most powerful and mysterious Precursor artifact in existence. The effect and power of the artifact are most evident in the Utwig, who purchased the artifact from the Druuge. A few years prior to the commencement of the second Doctrinal Conflict, the Ultron was broken during an Utwig ritual. The broken Ultron was entrusted to the neighboring race, the Supox, who give it to The Captain. The repaired Ultron is instrumental in earning the allegiance of the Utwig and obtaining the Bomb which they possess, a weapon capable of destroying the Sa-Matra itself after being improved with Chmmr technology.
The Utwig claim that they are destined to be the operators of the Ultron ever since they appeared as a sentient species, believing that they are effectuating an "essential service for the Universe" by shaping its destiny (by "directing the many channels of causation", which may be the same thing named by the Arilou Lalee'lay "event strains") to accomplish a higher purpose.
According to Utwig philosophy, possession of the Ultron grants them the ability to understand and act upon the Universe's teleology, causing them not only to have a near-telepathic insight into others' psychology, but also to take actions that appear irrational even to themselves, and which always turn out to be central turning points in the racial evolution of each species they interact with, pushing sentient life toward its mysterious final destiny. The names "the Universal" (as the entity which grants purpose to everything) and "the Ultimate" are mentioned by the Utwig in relation to the Ultron and likely refer to the device, but may refer to the vast cache of knowledge and understanding accessible through the Ultron.
The Utwig assert that the device generates "metawave gyrations" that interact with organic brains (and with which only the Utwig are compatible, as testing at the Earth Starbase has revealed), with which it communes with its users.
The Utwig may also believe that by wielding the Ultron they are able to resurrect dead individuals. Should The Captain make up for his rudeness in inquiring about the Ultron by stating his own regret after a dog, Splib, was killed by a rock chipper, the Utwig say that if they could wield the Ultron to resurrect Splib, they would. Furthermore, upon selling the Ultron to the Utwig, the Druuge tell its new owners that the device will allow them to see into the past and future, "slowly imbue each of them with unique secret powers of great significance", and fulfill their potential for greatness. Of course, the Druuge had no real belief in the artifact's powers and most likely fabricated many of these claims.
Origin and history
Interestingly, the Utwig's mythological conception of the Ultron bears an uncanny resemblance to descriptions of a real Precursor artifact. The clearest reference known by the Alliance to such a device before contact with the Utwig was a Precursor text fragment recovered from the Rigel system, which was partially translated as referring to the Appendages of Dawn, a device said to be a "mental amplifier" which focuses the mental energies of the holder "for the purpose of discrete change". What this means is unclear, though events involving the Ultron's recent history may indicate the Ultron has some sort of mysterious, selective power to suddenly and radically change a species' psychological development and racial personality.
The Appendages of Dawn are a device containing many eclectic components embedded in an armlike device composed of golden metal, constantly emitting distinct patterns of light and sound from each of its components. The origins of the Appendages are unknown, but they fall within a certain class of Precursor artifacts, along with the "Empties", "Singing Hoops" and "Big Dud" found in Precursor burrows within the Procyon system, all of which generate characteristic energy patterns in certain tests that confirm their origin, and all of whose internal functions and intended purposes are highly mysterious.
Druuge and Utwig possession
The last possessors of the Appendages of Dawn/Ultron before the Utwig were the Druuge traders who, having learned of the Utwig's obsession with fate, as well of the Utwig's acquisition of an incredibly powerful Precursor bomb, hurried to the Utwig homeworld to trade what they thought was a useless toy for an immensely powerful weapon, pretending that they themselves subscribed to Ultron worship and had been compelled by the Ultron's power. Though the Utwig's allies, the Supox, were deeply suspicious of this offer, the Utwig immediately accepted the Druuge's story. The Druuge made a strategic error, however, in allowing the Utwig High Proctor to handle the Ultron before buying it. Upon making contact with it, the High Proctor suddenly collapsed into a seizure, then just as suddenly recovered, exhibiting a state of unnatural mental focus and concentration. She pronounced that the Ultron's powers had given her supernatural knowledge of the proper trade good to offer the Druuge, and before the Druuge could request the bomb they had intended to purchase, she offered them a storehouse of assorted, apparently nonfunctional Precursor relics, which the Utwig believe that will change the Druuge forever "in twenty-four years, two months and three days" after telling this to The Captain.
The Druuge were trapped — unable to argue against the Ultron's powers of revelation without undermining both their original story and the reason for the Utwig's purchase of the Ultron in the first place, they were forced to accept the Utwig's judgment and take the relics as payment.
The Utwig felt deeply focused and fulfilled by the Ultron's presence. Unfortunately, at a ceremonial Chinz-Rahl celebration, the Utwig High Proctor was meant to ceremonially pass the Ultron to the Chief Groo. The circumstances of the event have since been obsessively studied over and over again by the Utwig, but the best guess is that the Chief Groo merely found the Ultron unexpectedly heavy and slippery, allowing it to drop from his hand to the ground, although some believe that the incident was the result of a conspiracy. The impact damaged a few of the Ultron's components, causing its activity to cease. The euphoria bestowed by the Ultron was immediately replaced by a powerful depression akin to addictive withdrawal, throwing the Utwig into an endless cycle of self-recrimination and despair and bringing their civilization to a halt. Finding it unbearable to look at the damaged Ultron, they entrusted it to their Supox friends for safekeeping. The Supox attempted several times to help their friends by repairing it, but found that the broken components were of mysterious Precursor make and could not be replaced by ordinary parts.
Repair and current state
Luckily, the faraway Pkunk were able to use their psychic perception to see the link between the broken Ultron and three scattered Precursor artifacts that could be used as replacement components, one of which, the one they named the Clear Spindle, they already possessed. They informed their friend, The Captain, of their knowledge of this connection, and he attempted to collect these components, eventually succeeding to repair the Ultron by replacing its Clear Spindle, Aqua Helix and Rosy Sphere; the Utwig, with the Ultron returned, found themselves filled with renewed purpose and understanding and became an integral part of the New Alliance of Free Stars.
The Ultron's effect on the Utwig was quite impressive; the Utwig, who had previously taken no notice of the events surrounding them in their apathy, were suddenly able to correctly identify the nature of the Ur-Quan Doctrinal War and the Alliance's role in opposing it almost immediately after reacquiring the Ultron, and almost immediately after that formulated an effective battle plan for interfering with the conflict, delaying the Kohr-Ah from their inevitable victory over the Kzer-Za.
The Utwig and Supox seemed poised to leave their isolation and take a prominent place in the politics of our region of space after the war; however, if the Utwig's part in the out-takes was to be taken as canon, in a post-war celebratory dance ("The Exultant Caper of Revelation") the High Proctor may have again damaged the Ultron, with potentially grave consequences for the Utwig and their allies, necessitating yet another desperate search for Precursor components.
Sources of information
Relevance to the plot
The Utwig and the Supox will agree to enter the New Alliance of Free Stars and to donate the Utwig Bomb after the repaired Ultron has been shown to the Proctors at Beta Aquarii I. They will also proceed on an offensive against the Kohr-Ah, delaying their victory against the Kzer-Za in the Doctrinal Conflict for one year.
Game objectives - required items
|Sa-Matra||Deep Child Egg Case Fragments - Syreen Shuttle - Sun Device - HyperWave Broadcaster|
|Clear Spindle - Aqua Helix - Rosy Sphere - Ultron - Utwig Bomb|
|Taalo Shield - Talking Pet (device)|
|Yehat Rebellion||VUX Beast - Shofixti Maidens|
|QuasiSpace||Ur-Quan Warp Pod - QuasiSpace Portal Spawner|