The first generation of the SCNF Mobile Artificial Intelligence Armor, or MAIA, had a sophisticated neural link system that housed a compact but scalable artificial intelligence. It was designed to learn from its user, adapting its preferences, controls, and other functions for maximum combat efficiency. In turn, the system fed the user information from an internal database of tactics, strategies, schematics, and tolerances.

In the earliest days of the conflict against the Vyaeh and their conscripted races and mercenaries, MAIA-equipped troops were hugely successful in boarding actions and other ship-to-ship combat. Their ability to fight in low or zero gravity gave the SCNF a decided edge once the opening ambushes and encounters of the war were over with, and they were decidedly superior to the Vyaeh Enhanced Marines or Tuy’baq Armored Skirmishers that formed the marine compliments aboard enemy ships of frigate size or larger.

Eventually, though, a key programming flaw became apparent: the flow of information between a MAIA operator and the suit’s integrated AI core was essentially unregulated thanks to the SCNF’s haste in designing and testing the neural link. As such, the AI rapidly took on the neural patterns of the operator and vice versa, leading to repeated incidents of operators going on a rampage when threatened with disconnection from their suits. SNCF Command was willing to overlook such incidents as long as the MAIA units were necessary to the conflict, but circumstances soon changed.

First, the Vyaeh were successful in reverse-engineering the technology, which resulted in the appearance of Executor and Adjudicator Armor among their starborne troops. A permanent fusion of genetically modified Jul-Thun or Ryteg subjects with advanced armor, the Executor and Adjudicators were far more complex and expensive but easily superior to the MAIA troops. Second, the SCNF introduced the MAIA-II, an improved unit that corrected most of the teething problems of the original.

When the SCNF attempted to demobilize and deactivate MAIA troops, though, there was open rebellion among their ranks. Hundreds were killed and an unknown number of MAIA units went rogue. The AI and organic portions thereof, freed from restraints and interference, essentially became a single being. As a result, the organic portion–the pilot–eventually atrophied and died. Sealed inside their combat armor, their corpses became mummified while the gestalt which the AI core had become continued to direct the MAIA armor.

They exist to this day, inspiring horror with their imposing visage of deteriorating metal and mummified organics, often working as pilots and mercenaries for those with no scruples. The current generation of MAIA units, the MAIA-IV, are occasionally deployed against their older brothers where and when they are found. The SCNF maintains an SOS (“shoot on sight”) policy toward all MAIA-I units to this day.

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