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This is how it was, back when and where the Bitkin were created. The Empire runs on puzzles and riddles, so creating automated servants that could solve puzzles for them was a goal for a long time. It started small - just simple rules like reading and writing a single symbol or subtracting one number from another - and then they made Bitkin who could play chess, simulate the motion of stars and planets, and other things that were too tedious for normal pen and paper calculation. Bitkin were made to be good at following directions, and they still are. They are, in fact, software - but they're software with individual personalities. The Empire doesn't have the technology to create actual microchips or computers at all.

...so just what are they, then?

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