Sprites are pre-programmed clones created (often by a starship's computer) to supplement or complement their superiors (usually, a starship crew). A sprite is a computer-created assistant, usually a full-size neko, that performs tasks on the computer's behalf. Sprites start out with basic skills and personality like all other nekos, and can develop into free-thinking beings over time. Should a ship be destroyed for some reason, a sprite, in theory, could survive. However, said sprite would feel out of place because her birth ship was the only thing that she ever knew.
As of YE 31, the designation and rating of 'sprite' was dropped due to a revision in Unified Yamatian Law. Previously, sprites were often created at the beginnings of battles to supplement technical and combat staff and then reassimilated into the ship's hemosynthetic material afterwards. Presently, all sprites created upon Star Army Vessels must be retained, since all artificially created, sentient soldiers hold rank within the Star Army of Yamatai under the new laws and regulations.
The default rank for soldiers thusly brought into the world is Yontô Hei.
The Star Army doesn't really use old-school sprites anymore - the old way was the ship AI would make temporary workers to do tasks like maintain the ship but they were basically expendable and not intended to have their own lives. But often times they were kept around so long they become their own people. So the Star Army stopped making temporary nekos and now just makes permanent ones. —Wes