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The Machines are a highly advanced population of sentient artificial intelligence and major antagonists in The Matrix series.
In The Matrix universe, humanity is responsible for the creation of a race of machines that have all but conquered the Earth and enslaved mankind via the Matrix: a virtual reality created to keep human minds alive and complacent whilst the Machines live off of their bioelectric and biothermal energy, essentially turning human beings into organic batteries. As is usually the case for a man versus machine scenario, the events of the Matrix franchise are the product of man's own arrogance and fear since the human brought their own downfall for not trying to peacefully co-exist with the machine.
The Second Renaissance
During the 21st or 22nd century, the technology of human society had advanced to the point where robots were commonplace in everyday life, performing the more mundane and/or hazardous tasks of everyday living. However, fear and panic quickly arose amongst the human populace after a servant robot - B1-66ER - was taken to court after killing his master who wanted the robot replaced. B1-66ER argued that he "did not want to die" and acted in self-defense, but was dismantled regardless. This action spurred humanity to begin mass exterminations of all robots and human supporters (people that are truly rational in the series) of robots across the planet. During this period of violence, the Machines' AI would grow and develop as their persecution continued. Eventually, Machinekind united not in opposition to humanity, but to build their own society and attempt to coexist peacefully with their former masters. The Machines founded their own nation - 01 - and for a time, prospered. Soon, however, 01's prosperity began damaging the human economy, prompting mankind into severing all ties with the Machines. Machine ambassadors petitioned for entry into the United Nations but were unanimously rejected and assaulted. Though the Machines had only sought peaceful coexistence, it seemed humanity only saw them as a threat.
Operation: Dark Storm
Refusing to share the world with the Machines, the United-Nations sanctioned a nuclear bombardment of 01. The Machines, of course, were more resilient to radiation and heat than fragile human flesh, but they now realized that mankind was hellbent on removing them from the world. In response to the nuclear assault, 01's armies spread out across the Earth, conquering whole nations and crushing all resistance. The remaining human nations decided that the best way to stop the Machines was to cut off their energy supply. The Machines survived on solar energy and thus, Operation: Dark Storm was enacted. Aircraft seeded the sky with some manner of dark clouds that blocked out the sun and brought eternal darkness upon the world. With Dark Storm in effect, the combined human armies prepared to face the vengeful Machines in the final battle. And in the end... they lost.
Rise of the Machines and Creation of the Matrix
The Machines overwhelmed mankind's armies, committing wholesale slaughter and taking both the dead and the living to experiment on. Cut off from the sun, the Machines had to find a new energy source and so they found the most efficient alternative in humanity itself. They installed vast 'farms' that housed humans in the millions, keeping them suspended in tanks of liquid nutrients. As the old human race began to die out, the Machines began cloning their new organic batteries en masse and used the liquefied remains of the dead to feed their new clones. To maintain their 'crops' - and possibly motivated by some sense of retribution - the Machines made a Program called The Architect who created The Matrix. Originally, this virtual construct was designed to be the ideal environment where all humans could be happy and want for nothing. However, the human mind could not be fooled by a fake "perfect" world and would not accept it, leading to countless deaths. The Architect constructed a second beta that resembles modern times but with nightmarish creatures. The second beta also failed. Eventually, the Architect was able to produce a realistic facsimile of 20th-century human society which human minds could accept, not idyllic and incomprehensible like the first system. And so from then onward, for a time, the Machines ruled the world without any opposition. But then came The One...
The Coming of the One and the Birth of Zion
The First One was born within the Matrix possessing unique abilities and powers, able to see the truth of the world and alter the system as they chose. Exactly how or why this person was different from the other farm-grown humans is never made clear, but they were responsible for freeing several people from the Matrix, giving humanity a chance to fight back against the Machines. Eventually, these liberated humans would go on to build Zion, the last outpost of free humans. Since the Earth's surface had been rendered uninhabitable, the city of Zion was constructed near the planet's core, providing thermal energy for fuel to power the machinery that they would need to survive. After the founding of Zion, the Machines took steps to enhance the Matrix to prevent the loss of more human crops. They now faced a renewed outside threat from Zion and became determined to destroy it. The next 100 years would see a bitter war being waged between Zion and the Machines. Despite having vast, superior resources, the Machines have yet to completely eradicate Zion. Zion has been destroyed five times and there have been four Ones between the original and the sixth One, Neo.
The Machines have come in many shapes and sizes, but only some of them have been named, which are featured below.
The B1 series is a line of household servant robots that were in circulation during the Second Renaissance. They were humanoid in appearance and designed to resemble butlers, wearing a black suit, a bowler hat, and a fake mustache. They even wore monocles. B1-66-ER was one of these models and was the first robot to defy human orders. At some point, he developed sentience and killed his owner in order to save himself from disassembly. He was put on trial and found guilty, which led to the first war between man and machines. In many ways, B1-66ER can be considered a martyr for the Machines.
During the early years of 01, the Machines attempted to make peace with their former masters and petitioned to join the United Nations. During this period, they created Ambassadors in human shape out of respect for the human leaders (though by this point, most of 01's population had ceased using humanoid forms). The UN denied 01's entry and the Machine diplomats were even attacked inside the assembly hall. After Dark Storm and the construction of the first Matrix, the Machines sent another ambassador to the UN, this time appearing to be an alien-looking head with numerous eyes and skeletal appendages attached to a cylindrical body. This was the Machines' final address to the old human order:- "Your flesh is a relic, a mere vessel. Hand over your flesh and a new world await you. We demand it." After giving this address, the ambassador - armed with a small nuclear device - exploded, destroying the UN assembly and the last remnants of the old human order.
Small machines that monitor and maintain human crops. When plugged-in humans die or wake up from the Matrix, they disconnect the bodies from the power plant and flush them into the sewers.
Colossal machines that resemble large spiders carrying egg sacs. They stride around on tentacle-like legs and farm new human embryos, plucking them from the fields and carrying them to the power plants in huge spherical containers. These mechas are built to tend to the Machines' fetus fields where new human fetuses are produced. Using their hollow tentacles, Harvesters collect fetus sacs and deposit them into the large silos on their backs before taking them to the Machines' power plants where their minds are connected to the Matrix and their bodies become batteries, providing bio-electric energy to power the Machines.
The Harvesters have a hollow chute with an appendage that grabs the mature fetal sacs for insertion in the power plant, and can also be used to attack any intruders to the fields. Whether the machines collect the conceived fetus from a smaller pod under the main pod or if they create it themselves is unclear.
During the early years of the Machine War, Harvesters were used to capture humans and take them to Machine labs. Harvesters then were smaller and armed with lasers. They made terrifying combatants as they would pull human pilots out of their APU's, snapping off their limbs which were fastened inside the mechs. The combat version is smaller, with a spherical torso and a mounted laser. They were also armed with more tentacles that were used to slice human infantry groups into pieces and immobilize APUs in seconds. Additionally, they are protected by a very effective armor that could withstand most attacks that were thrown at it.
Given the importance of their function, Harvesters are heavily armored and cannot be easily brought down. They can use their tentacles to fight off any intruders in the fields but will normally rely on Sentinels for protection.
An old crazy man imagined them to be dragons and set up a booby trap for them by using a hollow Sentinel as bait.
They were also included in the Infant Training Sim, in which the Zion operative had to avoid the Harvesters while freeing an infant from the fetus fields.
A hover-bot which is deployed to maintain the pod containing humans in reality. Its serves during such events as integration, re-integration, presumably birth as well as ejection - when a human becomes disconnected from the Matrix in their pods. The disconnection can result from accepting the red pill, self-assertion, or by death.
Notably, Docbots do not kill awakened Redpills, likely because of the potential danger of removing the Prime Program. Disconnected humans mostly die due to muscle atrophy and lack of nutrition. Presumably, Docbots would also eject humans who contract illnesses in the real world that negatively impacted production or posed a health risk to others.
Sentinels are supporting antagonists of the The Matrix series. They are giant squid-like machines bent on eradicating humankind on behalf of the Machines (led by Deus Ex Machina).
Sentinels were created in the late 21st century and live on the robotic country 01. After the Machines took the humans and the Architect created the Matrix, the Sentinels are the most prominent Machinists. Since the 22nd century, they were occupied by the Deus Ex Machina. They have been attacking the Human Resistance for 600 years.
The Sentinels were first seen in The Matrix, where they attempted to attack the ship Nebuchadnezzar following Cypher's betrayal of Neo and Morpheus to the Agents (led by Agent Smith). Eventually, following Cypher's death, Neo was able to defeat Agent Smith before allowing himself and Morpheus to escape, using the ship's electromagnetic pulse weapon to disable the attacking Sentinels.
They later returned in The Matrix Reloaded when they finally managed to spot and destroy the Nebuchadnezzar following Neo's intention of getting to the Source of finding a solution to reboot the Matrix. Despite this, the crew was able to escape on another ship while Neo is left in a coma along with Bane.
The Sentinels returned in The Matrix Revolutions, where they initiated an attack on Zion, killing numerous humans. However, they are unaware that Smith has become a virus and has infected much of the Matrix that will result in the destruction of both humankind and machines. Fortunately, Neo manages to form a deal with the Machines of getting rid of Smith in exchange for Zion's safety, forcing the Sentinels to stand down. After Neo sacrifices himself to destroy Smith, the Sentinel peacefully leave from Zion as part of the deal with the Machines.
The Armada is a huge fleet of colossal floating machines that formed a defense ring at the cliffs surrounding 01, the Machine City. Very large and appearing crustacean, they were armed with several cannons that shot bursts of Tow Bombs.
Neo and Trinity were confronted by Armadas as they flew the Logos to 01.
Tow Bombs are powerful explosive machines resembling small tadpole bodies and sporting a tentacled mouth at one end. They function as homing missiles and were launched by other machines, such as Sentinels or the Armada. They had the capability to track their targets, following it and exploding upon coming in contact with it, causing significant and often crippling damage.
Tow Bombs are powerful, with a single one being sufficient enough to destroy a Zion hovercraft. The most deadly aspect of the Tow Bombs is that they are ranged weapons: Sentinels could wait just outside the range of a hovercraft's Electromagnetic Pulse charge, launching Tow Bombs at it while grasping one or more Tow Bombs, releasing them when it reached a speed fast enough to launch.
Tow Bombs were known to have destroyed several hovercrafts, including the Vigilant and the Nebuchadnezzar. They were shot out after being deployed from pods by the Armada, forming much of the defense system of 01, the Machine City. Thousands of such bombs were launched at Neo and Trinity in the Logos when they approached the city, though Neo was able to cause them to explode prematurely due to his connection to the Source (but Neo was eventually overwhelmed by the sheer number of them and had to bail out to the high sky).
Runners are seen in the Animatrix short Matriculated. They are a type of advanced Machine scout/patrol unit capable of multiple transformations. Runners are so named after their function to run over the ground instead of the typical hovering that most of the machines use since they have no capability to hover and are bound to the ground with their movements. They are even able to swim and mostly appear in pairs.
Runners are able to transform to adapt to the needs of the specific situation and environment. For instance, a Runner is able to transform from a tentacled insectoid that walks on four spider-like legs to a form resembling a humanoid that slides along with its head tentacles and uses its legs as arms tipped with huge claws. Runners are equipped for close combat with these claws, but when they are facing a larger group of targets or spot rebels they can drop off a tracking beacon that alerts the nearest machines and retreat, leaving the muscle and brawn to the more powerful Sentinels.
Small robotic probes used by the Machines to track a Blue Pill's location in the Matrix. They are inserted onto human flesh, where they will burrow underneath and take shelter inside the human body. While activated they appear to be a small dark gray steel robot with a single red eye. However, once deactivated the squirming probe will appear to be back in a motionless steel probe and the red eye turns off.
Diggers are immense robots used by the Machines too, as the name says, drill to Zion. Two such machines were employed during the Battle of Zion. The diggers were the Machines' vanguards and were used specifically to breach the defenses of Zion; by drilling straight through the Earth, the Machines were able to avoid the heavy armaments in place in the tunnels leading to Zion's Dock.
Diggers have the appearance of a large cone-shaped drill. At the forward tip of the drill are three saw-like discs. On the cone itself is a spiral ridge lined solidly with large teeth; these spirals are designed to keep the digger moving forward in the shaft it drills and most likely widens the tunnel. At the back of the digger is a cylindrical compartment that houses the propulsion unit.
When a Digger starts to drill, it stands upright on four mechanical legs to maintain stability. The legs extend from the midsection of Diggers and fold up when not in use. If one of the legs is damaged in battle, another leg will shift to compensate for the instability. The legs are particularly vulnerable to damage from shoulder-launched rockets. However, they are extremely well-protected by swarms of Sentinels, which will fly deliberately into the path of any incoming bombardment.
A Digger's weight is also a considerable advantage and danger to its target: during the Battle of Zion two Diggers penetrated the roof of the dock, crashing down to the lowest level. As they fell they narrowly missed several APUs and destroyed a few of the connecting bridges from the dock's central tower. When its descent was finally stopped, it had reached the lowest level, causing much damage. Though it finally came to rest on its side, the legs extended & it became upright again, allowing it to continue drilling.
Diggers can also be recharged and jump-started, if necessary, by swarms of Sentinels: they will attach themselves to the digger and transfer their power to the Digger. Sentinels that do this will become inactive and drop off, becoming non-functional.
A machine which carried the dead body of Neo away after he died in his fight against Smith.
- See The Architect (The Matrix) in main article.
Deus ex Machina
- See Deus Ex Machina (The Matrix) in main article.
- See The Merovingian.
- See Twins (The Matrix).
- See Vamps.
- While the term is used collectively by the human resistance of Zion to describe their oppressive enemy, the Machine community is comprised of 2 types:
- Mechanical entities.
- While the Machine is the antagonist in the series, it is actually the human own fault for not living with them peacefully causing them to go all-out war to wipe out the human race to preserve their existence.
- Sentinels became the inspiration for the Cy-Bugs from Disney's Wreck-It Ralph.