Pods are the lowest and simplest of the technota. They vary widely in appearance because they use entirely scavenged and improvised materials in their construction. Sometimes more advanced technota will disguise themselves as technota as well.

They seek energy mainly by finding batteries or stealing energy to recharge the batteries they already have. Some may have electrodes or plugs with which to steal power, while others are incapable of that much and simply wait near power sources for a chance to steal a battery.

Like a biological rodent or spider, most pods never manage to reproduce. While pods are a thing you can see, that is not what evolution is acting on — the shape may vary, it is the programming that can become more efficient. The code that produces pods is subject to natural selection. It is a specialized kind of codus (basically a technological virus), which means its programming can insert itself into other technota.

Of course, lots of technota would like to insert their programming into other robot’s code. Pods are different because their code only takes effect after the destruction of the host robot. Thus, the host software does not fight against the pod-code as hard as it otherwise would.

In fact, in the early days after the fall of the Old Surface Civilization, “pods” were a more aggressive form of codus. Robots infected with such a codus immediately dismantled themselves to form pods. This is what spurred the development of technota immune systems, while pods evolved to wait for the host-robot’s destruction. This was a major survival advantage at first because other pods were more aggressive, and hosts evolved complex immune systems to combat them. There was less survival pressure to fight against the postmortem coduses. Since then, the evolutionary arms race between technota and pods has continued to simmer, especially among the largest of technota, like the collectors, who operate many robot designs. Since these technota may be able to use the components of their destroyed robots, they have a stronger incentive to fight against pod-coduses. Nevertheless, most robots will form at least one pod after its destruction.