The entire population of cybertronians can be divided into a few certain categories on how they were created. There is being forged, constructed cold, or being gestated and growing as a sparkling. Each type has a couple of subtypes underneath it.
- Natural Forged / Protoform
- Extraction Forged / Forged
Being Forged is when a spark is lit by a flare from Vector Sigma in an area on the surface of Cybertron, which is then designated as a ‘Hotspot’. These sparks are coated in raw sentio metallico to protect the energy itself from the surface, giving it a round, solid look, often etched with small rivets and imprints which are based on the environment where the hotspot is.
Left in the ground, these sparks will eventually continue to draw energy and nutrients from the area around them and further, minor pulses from Vector Sigma, until there is enough sentio metallico to form into a base protoform. This is referred under specific terms to be Natural Forged, or ‘Being a protoform’. This usually happens within 2 years, although without outside influence it is said only 40-50% of natural forged sparks will survive into protoform stage.
Protoforms are a very matte silver with no proper plating, and dark optics that can only see light and shadow at first, but get more advanced as they very quickly grow. As they grow, their plating will mould into segments, and will gain colour. They can transform into their base alt-mode after about 10 years of growth, much earlier than a sparkling, who’s growth only reaches that stage at about 14 years. This is yet another survival mechanism for a protoform.
Protoforms, when left to survive on their own, will instinctively flock to settlements and learn through observation, still surviving on instincts. Settlements near active hotspots that do not have a nurturing facility will often see protoforms in alleyways, hanging around shops, or older ones trying to mimic mature bots. Protoforms can also be taken into nurturing facilities at any time to undergo growth with a higher survival rate.
The forged sparks themselves can be taken from the ground before the sentio metallico has fully formed, and that is called being ‘extraction forged’, which is the majority of the modern forged population, and is colloquially called ‘Forged’. These extracted sparks can be grown in a similar way as out in the wild, using protoform and time, activating them as fully functioning bots, or they can be placed into a pre-moulded protoform. Placing these sparks in a fully pre-constructed frame became commonplace nearing the beginning of the war, and due to the constructed nature of the frames, they are a constructed cold sub-type.
There are also Forged Kindled sparks, which is where a gestated spark has been removed from the carrier and grown until mature using base protoform and time. These creations also tend to suffer developmental issues due to the nature of sparklings and kindled sparks and how they learn. This method of creation is considered very rare, due to how looked down upon Kindling is under functionism.
Due to the slow and sporadic nature of a spark being forged, the population percent of forged bots is slowly being dwindled by the increase of constructed cold bots. Forged bots make up between 40% of the population, although the number dwindled due to the increase of cold constructed bots, the population dipping to 30% at the most populous point.
- Extracted Construct (Rare)
A constructed cold bot is created through a spark lit from an existing creation power source (such as the creation matrix), and housed in a pre-constructed body. Due to the nature of the sparks creation, it isn’t able to be housed in unformed sentio metallico, although in the final result, there is virtually no difference between a constructed cold bot and a forged bot. Due to the output nature of constructed cold sparks, they were encased and frozen in photonic crystal to preserve their energies.
This allowed for the senate to ship out frozen photonic crystal-encased sparks to frame construction factories, who would ship out workers off the assembly line once thawed and checked over to see if everything was functioning.
An extracted construct is a bot whose spark had been forged initially, but whose original frame was constructed. Due to the nature of the frame itself, they come under the constructed cold sub-type. This sub-type is extremely rare thanks to the rarity of hotspots and the availability of constructed cold sparks. Extracted constructs with gestated/kindled sparks fall under the ‘sparkling’ category, unless the sparks are pre-grown to size, in which the sparkling stage of growth is skipped. However, it is more valuable to the development and health of the bot to go through the sparkling stage.
Constructed cold cybertronians make up the majority of the population, with about 40-45%% of the entire planet being constructed cold at its most populous state, usually sitting about 35%. (This number wavers, but the overall trend is that the number keeps rising.)
Kindling / Gestating / Sparklings
While ‘kindling’ is an official term, virtually every society on Cybertron says ‘I was a sparkling’, or ‘I was gestated’ rather than ‘I was kindled’, as a kindled spark can easily be extracted and nurtured in the same way as an extracted forged spark and frame.
An extracted sparkling is a sparkling whose spark was extracted from their carrier and placed into a pre-grown (to age) forged frame, or into sentio metallico and grown outside of their carrier. A slightly less common option is to get a frame constructed alongside fresh sentio metallico, but this option is more expensive and ‘designer’. Extracted Sparklings are most common for carriers who do not have gestation tanks, cannot use them, or are adverse to the construction section of the carrying cycle. This specific term is mostly official only, due to the kindled and carried nature of the spark most extracted sparklings will still call themselves plainly gestated or carried.
Any kindled sparks that have been extracted and grown outside of their carrier, and not being activated until they’re mature are called Forged Kindling. They come under the forged category, as the developmental stage that sparklings experience has been skipped.
Sparklings get major motor functions within 3 months, and after tend to grow in mentally and physically in stages and growth spurts. Most sparklings are talking by a year old, and while language can take a while to get a hang of, by 2 years they can hold a conversation about roughly the same level as a human 5-6 year old can. They will hold this level of development until they are roughly 5-8 years, in which they will have a growth spurt and develop mentally, until they are on level with a 8-10 year old human. After 8 years old, they are considered a ‘youngling’ - which is essentially preteen/early teens- , and then go under more major, but less frequent growth spurts. A youngling can exhibit a similar kind of behaviour consistently between ages 12-17, which is considered a mentally stagnant phase as the frame is undergoing most of the development. A bot is no longer considered a youngling after around 18 years, but is still considered adolescent until they are a century old. During this century, they tend to move away from home, and firmly start to work in fields they experimented in while they were older younglings.
All in all, a sparkling ages and matures in roughly the same time period as a human child, albeit less consistently and constantly, due to the non-organic nature of their bodies.
Gestated bots make up around a constant 20-25% of the planets population, and often have a firmer sense of community and family due to being raised by another bot, or community.