Created for me by Tempestryder @ FA.
Ecosphere Maintenance Robot
Secondary: Hunter and Landscape Designer
Generic Template - common to all Asgard Habitats.
The design is modified as needed, thus all measures given here are for the default model.
Torso 6 m tall, 2 m wide, 6 m long
5 metric tons
Fuelcell for normal operation
Beta decay nuclear battery for memory core and beacon
On smooth surfaces, the Mantis lowers itself down onto the roadwheels that form its legs upper tighs, allowing it high speeds.
On rough terrain the legs are used to walk.
Each leg-tip can spread like a camels hoof to increase its surface to reduce ground pressure.
In swampy terrain a Mantis will walk with spread feet as well as on its roadwheels to reduce ground pressure even more.
There are two utility arms that can equip a wide range of tools. These tools are stored under the rear caraprace, in the storage compartment, which opens for this.
The rear storage compartment, 3m x 2m x 2m, is attached to the Mantis forward body with a mechanism not unlike tractor tool mounts. Per default it contains a mulcher to compact wood and leafes. When the Mantis is tasked to serve in a hunter / predator role to reduce a population of animals, it stores caught or culled animals in the storage compartment for transport to its unloading point.
To fill its cargo compartment, the upper torso rotates around.
Most Mantis units are controlled by an advanced general purpose AI or even a low grade AC.
If equipped with an AI, they are typically intended to do general maintenance, like trimming bushes, mowing the lawn or removing sick trees.
If equipped with a low grade AC, they are typically intended to work in a more complex environment, or to handle more moral questions. This is usually the case when a Mantis is designed to cull populations, like rabbits or rats, or has to work in a highly integrated biosphere like a jungle, where every tree is home to dozens of species, even when sick and in need of being removed to prevent the sickness of spreading.
Mantis Gardeners can command Trilobites, of which they carry one plus a complement of Octopi in their storage compartment when tasked with a long-term job.
Mantis are highly intelligent and eloquent, just their worldview and communication concepts are often off. They understand sapient communication fully, but they also understand communication of the animals they observe during their work.
Mantis units working as a team, like when clearing a river or driving animals from one area to another, communicate visually via light signals on their wings or use animal noises.
Their voices are comparatively harmonious, but they are made up of sound snippets of nature sounds, as their operation ceases as soon as a place has enough biological sophonts around to maintain the ecosphere themselves: Mantis units were not intended to work alongside biological sophonts.
Having a Mantis lift its storage compartment and flashing its white rear lamps to indicate danger to, say, a human, is for them like when humans use a word in a foreign language. Deer have a better chance understading that gesture right away.
Also, AC controlled Mantis units are extremely curious. They might wander around, watch the stars, but most of them study the animals of the ecosphere. Seeing a Mantis stalk a single ant for hours is a guarantee for the Mantis to be an AC unit.
They have a distinct concept of "self", but it's a mix between noncorporeal software and a hivemind-component, as AC Mantis are either running a matured, generic purpose self-learnign AI or a template copy of a Habitat AC and as both see themselves as part of the Habitat.
Also, copying it's runtime to a different vehicle, robot or location to keep on a discussion with a person is okay for a Mantis, but might be confusing for those experiencing it the first time.
It may well happen that they were stopped by a scythe lashing out of the bushes as to prevent them to step on a rare flower an ant is crawling around on, and then being questioned about their little rooftop spice garden, walking alongside a 5t insectoid robot into town.
That the chitchat then proceeds through the elevators speakers, their home stereo and finally, on the roof, again through the towering robot, might take some getting used to.