Probably the most powerful and mysterious Precursor artifact in existence. The name "Ultron" comes from Utwig mythology, a Human translation for an Utwig morpheme signifying "beyond." Trapped by various factors in their cultural evolution into an oppressive and hidebound Mask Culture, the Utwig for some unknown reason developed a deep, abiding societal fixation on some future messianic event, the recovery of a device that would restore to them all the potential hidden and restrained by their Mask Culture, providing the deep philosophical meaning and purpose that the Mask Culture's seemingly arbitrary rules lacked, redeeming the senselessness of the bloody Morality Riots and fulfilling the Utwig's destiny to be shapers of the whole galaxy's history.
According to Utwig philosophy, possession of the Ultron grants the user a deep, intuitive understanding of the universe's teleology, compelling them not only to have a near-telepathic insight into others' psychology, but also to take actions that appear irrational even to themselves but that 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. Other, apocryphal stories of the Ultron speak of its influence slowly causing the Utwig to manifest true supernatural powers, including the power to see the spirit world, to directly view the past and future, and to resurrect the dead.
Interestingly, the Utwig's mythological conception of the Ultron bore an uncanny resemblance to descriptions of a real Precursor artifact. The clearest known reference known by the Alliance to such a device before first contact with the Utwig was a text fragment recovered from Precursor datastores in the Rigel system, tentatively translated as a reference to the Appendages of Dawn, a device said to be a "mental amplifier", used for "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.
Origin and history
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; it is these components that, according to the Utwig's beliefs, generate "metawave gyrations" that interact with organic brains, slowly allowing them to perceive the supernatural forces that underly physical reality. 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", all of which generate characteristic energy patterns in certain tests that confirm their Precursor origin, and all of whose internal functions and intended purposes are highly mysterious. Interestingly, while the Utwig believe the Ultron is a universal tool that can unlock mystic perception for all races, the Appendages of Dawn have had no observable effect at all on all known races that have been in contact with it until the Utwig obtained it, suggesting that perhaps whatever abilities the Utwig possess are innate and unlocked by some effect of the Ultron on Utwig psychology.
Druuge and Utwig possession
The last possessors of the Appendages of Dawn/Ultron before the Utwig were Druuge traders who, having learned of the Utwig's obsession, 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 Precursor toy for an immensely powerful weapon, pretending that they themselves subscribed to Ultron-worship and had been irrationally 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.
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 have since made a prediction to the day of when the Druuge's possession of these artifacts will somehow change their basic nature as a race and redeem them to a lost state of nobility.
Feeling deeply focused and fulfilled by the Ultron's presence, the Utwig proceeded to make important decision after decision, claiming that they and their allies' prospects were entering an unprecedented era of prosperity (to the skepticism of the Supox). 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. 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 Human Captain of their knowledge of this connection, and, humoring them, he attempted to collect these components for them, eventually discovering the Utwig and realizing the Ultron's importance. He was able 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. There are other signs, such as the unique technological capabilities of the Utwig's Jugger ships, that the Utwig civilization has progressed at a much faster rate than those around it. However, some continue to maintain that the Utwig's cultural development had merely made them extremely receptive to certain myths and stories, exacerbated by the Druuge's shameless advertising by their Ultron, and the Ultron is merely a psychological crutch that allows the Utwig to utilize their own amazing intellectual abilities. Also arguing against the Utwig's view of the Ultron is their assertion that the Ultron could have had such powerful manipulative effects on all the other races involved in its history, the Druuge, Supox and Humans, for example, without their even being aware of it. Of course, the Pkunk's relationship to the Ultron would seem to tip the scale in the other direction; in any case, the Utwig believe that it is only to be expected that many under the Ultron's influence would be required by their own destinies to be unaware of it.
The Utwig and Supox seemed poised to leave their isolation and take a prominent place in the politics of the Home Quadrant after the war; however, rumors indicate that in a post-war celebratory dance 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.