- I killed your closest friend to save you. Godhood necessitates great... discernment.- Gant
Est Machina is a work by the troper Morgulion. It chronicles, from first person POV, the travails of the nanomechanical construct GANT 01, who joins, through sheer chance, a venerable mercenary company consisting of two people: (Isako Itou and Ben Holz). Later joined or opposed by Jacob Renstein, Alexander Karr, Maria Dage, and Nicholas Gerem, he finds that the once-decaying world is slightly different from what he considered.
Gant isn't remotely human, and he capitalizes on it: for him, society is a curious thing to explore, humans are trinkets to meet for a while and continue on his journey. He spends his days walking wastelands, fighting and killing the residents: anyone who wages war, engages his services, looks powerful enough to excite his jaded mind. On a Visit to an oerrun research facility, meets Itou and Holz, two mercenaries looking for salvage in a ruined city. Soon, the three get dragged into a conspiracy involving two of the world's mightiest nations and the fate of a small and insignificant state that lies between them. And much more threateningly, he starts to fall in love, undoing years of effort to remain detached.
If you want to read it, PM Morgulion and he'll mail you a copy. Critique is always welcome.
Examples of tropes:
- Action Girl: Itou is the fastest of the trio and is capable of sparring with Gant when he fights in his normal style.
- Anti-Hero: Gant lampshades the trope when fighting Gerem, pointing out that he wants to kill him just because it's fun. Their positions are later reversed.
- Anti-Villain: Alexander Karr and Maria Dage; the former is simply working, while Dage has seeral excellent reasons to pursue Gant. Gerem begins in this with entirely justified in his revenge against Gant, but goes off the slippery slope in his pursuit.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Formerly Gant, who was an officer, and Le Grane.
- Badass Longcoat: Holz has a bulletproof one, in which he keeps explosives.
- The Blank: Gant needs no face. It's more frightening that way.
- Blood Knight: Gant, a tightly controlled Noble Demon who doesn't pass up a good brawl. It's all fun to him, although he recognizes the devastation it causes.
- Brain Uploading: For Gant, Gerem, and Dage, used to create war machines.
- Combat Aestheticist: Gant realizes just how much he enjoys Itou's company when the two spar for the first time.
- Combat Pragmatist: Renstein uses metal-lined fighting gloves and car bombs; Holz hides grenades in his coat; Gant has a whole variety of tricks, from changing the mass of his weapon to making spikes erupt from the earth.
- Deadpan Snarker: Itou, with Gant to a lesser degree.
- Glass Cannon: Dage and Itou, who can fight with the best of them, but are far easier to harm.
- Heartbroken Badass: Gant, Itou, and Holz all have their moments.
- Last-Name Basis: Gant, to and from everyone.
- Lean and Mean : Gant, the thinnest and most antiheroic individual.
- Lightning Bruiser: All enhanced individuals, but Itou and Dage stand out, moving faster than even their compatriots can follow due to the perfect ratio of weight to power.
- Living Weapon: Gerem.
- Mighty Glacier: The school of design that focuses on this is responsible for Gerem, while Gant was formerly this but is now a Lightning Bruiser.
- Morph Weapon: The nanomachine arrays most commanders wear.
- Nanomachines: Ubiquitous in military and medical applications, and are expensive for civilians. Gant, Gerem, and Dage are made from them, whereas the others use them in weapons.
- Razor Floss: Gant calls it a coward's weapon, but it's a fairly common one, particularly among killers, and he also knows how to use it.
- Retired Monster: Gant and Holz, emphasis on 'retired'.
- Ridiculously Human Robot: Dage looks and acts just like a human until she sheds the facade, changing her form to a far mroe monstrous one when she fights.
- Shoot the Dog: Grane and Karr believe that it is the chosen duty of some people to wage war, and that one sacrifice prevents far more others.
- SkeleBot 9000: Gant and Dage's war forms.
- Spock Speak: Gant uses no contractions and has very measured speech; the first time he swears is a serious sign of trouble.
- Shapeshifter Weapon: Gant and Gerem. Dage prefers to stay in a fixed state for the greater speed.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Averted. After the trio finishes its work for Karr, he hires them to do continued work.