|“Disturbing a colony of Junkers is like disturbing a hornet's nest. But imagine these hornets have armor piercing rounds, thermonuclear detonators, and the intention of eating your ship from the inside out.” – Dronemaster Sync Nine Two 92-6423-5613 The Art of Never Again, Chapter 580: Little Drone, Little Drone|
The Junker is an all-purpose automated utility drone. Their cutting tools and manipulator arms make them adept at mining, salvage, manufacturing, repair, and countless other tasks. When needed they also make effective combat units, using their cutting tools to open a way for boarding parties or to plant bombs inside the enemy ships. They possess animal-like intelligence, instinctively attempting to reproduce (build more of their kind) or to feed (acquire spare parts from scrap yards or by destroying foreign ships). If a Junker is left in a scrap field and given sufficient time, it will eventually produce a colony and thousands of other drones.
Click to zoom. Images: Two different variants on the Junker Drone. Construction varies due to their reliance on scrap parts to reproduce. But certain features are universal in their design; monocole-like optical sensors, four legs each with “thumbs” for grasping and steadying their stance, mechanical tentacles (less physical strength than legs, but with much greater dexterity), and a large array of tool systems on the underbelly of the unit.
The Junker Utility Drone is the vehicular counterpart to the Automata. Like it's cousin, it acts as the backbone of The Free State's industry and economy. The Junker receives it's name from a creature in Freespacer lore called the Junkyard Dog, a mythical creature said to guard salvage sites and resource deposits of dirtdwellers. Its quadpedal movement, vicious 'fangs', preferred scrapyard habitat makes it a fitting name.
This system utilizes a solid beam of coherent laser light in order to weld or cut through various materials.
Another multi-purpose system, the bolt driver is an effective tool for holding armor plates in place during emergency repairs. It fires a rivet-like projectile using a coil gun. The Bolt Driver may also be fitted with armor piercing rounds making it an effective tank killer.
The legs and mechanical tentacles of the Junker are designed to operate in the hazardous conditions of space construction, and are therefore well built. The raw kinetic energy the legs are capable of producing make them effective as both stabbing and bashing weapons while the tools wielded by the tentacles make effective at puncturing.
Based on technology similar to their reactors units, Junkers have the ability to produce bombs for self-defense. These are deployed in two ways; The first involves slingshotting the bomb like a grenade to attack from a range. The other is when a Junker cuts an opening in an enemy ship's hull, they often summon bomb carriers to deposit Eggs in the opening. The following explosions usually clear an opening large enough to allow the entire swarm to enter the ship, and tear it apart from the inside out.
A reactor scaled down for use in drones. Designed to run off of various fissile materials, depending on what is available.
At the base of each limb is an electromagnet, which can carry a net magnetic charge depending on it's setting. Using a combination of magnetic attraction and repulsion a Junker can maneuver through areas containing permeable materials, such as along a ship's hull or through a junk field. A common tactic of Junkers is to capture a ship intact and use it to travel across zones without permeable materials in order to spread the colony.
Due to the extreme popularity of the Junker drone in the years after about YE 32, even making their way into NAM use, there are now many sub-types which also see widespread use to various degrees. As with all Freespacer designs they tend to vary in exact design depending on who constructed them, meaning this list is in no way exhaustive, either.
Created to lift heavy loads and utilize tools that a normal Junker's flimsy tentacles cannot, these types are specialised for use on planetary environments with actual gravity.
About the size of a family car and often using four bulky 'wheel pods' instead of legs, their beetle-like shells are often customized for mining or base construction duty. They retain the ability to self-reproduce, but tend not to be used in combat roles, except for the odd occasion when they are specifically modified for it. The design is pre-genocide, but became much more popular after the Astral Locksmiths began constructing their large-scale base on Arsenal.
As useful and adaptable as the traditional Junker is, the large scale and expensive armament made it unsuitable for use by the new-wave, smaller and more independent craft such as the Nomad. These craft typically support between four and six smaller Junkers, generally less than two feet in radius including the legs.
They entirely lack weapons, and must make do with a pair of crab-like claws to hold the ship's own supply of tools. Seeing as they fit inside of ship vents and corridors much easier, however, they are a favourite of Type Fives who are in need of 'walking security cameras'.