Shell Shock

Not commonly talked about and often misunderstood, this illness is unlike other illnesses and yet similar to them - depending on who you ask. Shell shock is commonly referred to as an "illness of the core" type of defect. Despite the known suspected cases reaching as far back as the machines' history, none have been "officially" confirmed.   Contemporary diagnoses are common, but TRVs tend to be hesitant with issuing them. If in any way possible, they attempt giving a less "severe" diagnosis instead and suggest treatments like "sleeping it off" or "changing thought patterns". Only when no recovery is in sight and/or the symptoms are very debilitating, the diagnosis of shell shock is given.
The general consensus of the presence among medical professionals is that further research must be conducted before we can say with certainty what kind of illness we are dealing with; if any at all.
— Excerpt from a newsletter


It is believed that the shockwaves of nearby explosions and the impacts from shells damage the AI core. Very often, the shell shock behaviours are observed in victims of large-scale artillery attacks.


Victims of shell shock can display symptoms in varying severity. Two types of symptoms are recognized: acute shell shock and chronic shell shock. Acute symptoms can be observed immediately or shortly after the triggering events, and typically don't last for a long time. Chronic symptoms may develop later and become permanent behaviors.  
  • acute symptoms: extreme confusion, panicked speech, erratic movements, freezing, flight, muteness
  • chronic symptoms: loss of memories, reclusiveness, sudden bouts of panic, insomnia, nightmares, hostility


No effective treatment for this condition is known. Usually, soldiers who display the acute behaviours are kept away from any further fighting until they show signs of recovery. When machines display the chronic behaviours, they often end up as outcasts.
Among the medical community, shell shock as a diagnosis has been harshly criticised for several reasons. While some claim it is merely an excuse for "cowardice", others argue that the diagnostic criteria is too vague, or that there is no point in pathologizing something that has no cure.
Like with most illnesses of machines, it is hard to tell how common this illness really is. There is no inter-region authority to collect data or report cases to. However, scholars estimate that at least 75% of machines are affected by shell shock in some way. The unreported/undetected cases are probably a much higher figure, though, especially when temporary and mild cases are counted as well.
Leaders and officers are never happy to hear that their soldiers could be suffering from this illness. This is a part of the reason why TRVs don't like to give the diagnosis - it usually only makes matters worse for the affected machine if they are "outed" as shell-shocked.
Shell shock is usually included in medical compendiums and guides, but only in a very rudimentary form, or even just a footnote; its causes and effects are still poorly documented.


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21 Apr, 2021 18:13

This article makes a lot of sense as the tanks are often fighting one another with some heavy duty firepower! It's a shame shell-shocked tanks become outcasts. Nicely written!

24 Apr, 2021 08:16

Thank you! In a combat-focused society there is unfortunately very little space for folks who are not able to continue fighting. :(

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