Deconditioning combat dolls was inevitably a lengthy process, particularly after having their sensenets removed for civilian compliance. Bonded to their witches, handlers who weren’t prepared for the process found it excruciating.

A technique that came to some prominence after land grants became common practice on newly terraformed worlds was to utilize decommissioned combat dolls as shepherds. Even without military augments, the dolls could outperform and outlast any human with ease. Witches would retire themselves to the frontier worlds, taking on public sector jobs of monitoring the mana gates that made terraforming possible, while their dolls would tend to the ranches. The simplicity and routine of the life pacified the survival instincts of the dolls, while the dangers of uninhabited worlds meant that their old implements were still very useful to have on hand when the times called for it.

It wasn’t always an easy process, nor one that the dolls acclimated to instantaneously. But, in time, the violence that had birthed their cores would begin to calm and settle, dissipating in the cool evenings of the alien worlds they would spend untold millennia tending to.

There was no afterlife waiting for the nigh-immortal dolls and their magicks-filled mistresses, but a decommission such as this was close enough.






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