Men of the Machine are a group in the television series Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.
Originally, they were a group of hippie squatters living in the abandoned Webb Mansion, led by Jake Rainey. In the late 1960s, a machine appeared in the laboratory in the basement. The squatters believed it to be a cosmic gift that came to them across the universe and formed a cult around it (later naming themselves the "Men of the Machine"). Rainey became leader of the cult, referred to as the Supreme Soul.
At some point the cult figured out how to use the machine to swap souls and bodies, now calling the machine the Soul Exchanger. At first they used it to swap into animal bodies as a spiritual experience, but soon realized they could use it for material gains too. They began to swap into wealthy people to aquire funds, often retirees that wouldn't be missed after the cult discarded them. Then they became more bold, swapping into powerful and famous people long-term to acquire their identities and resources, infiltrating society and prolonging their own lives.
War for the machines
In the 1980s they set their eyes on Edgar Spring's Unlimited Energy Device, but Edgar refused, which started a period of open struggle, with Edgar defending himself against the cult's attempts to get his machine.. The cult named themselves the Men of the Machine.
Sometime between the 1980s and the mid-1990s, the cult moved out of the Webb Mansion.
Approximately around the year 2001 the cult chose an unused building at the Seattle Zoo as new headquarters. To gain access to the site Rainey ordered their member Pollux, who had previously inhabited rock star Lux Dujour, into the body of Gordon Rimmer, who worked at the Zoo. The cult moved the Soul Exchanger to the Animal Transfer Unit, making it their new temple.
Coup and catastrophes
At the same time, Gordon Rimmer had been collecting personal followers inside the cult, especially drones. Contrary to Rainey's commands Rimmer hatched a plan to blackmail Patrick Spring for his Unlimited Energy Device by kidnapping his daughter Lydia Spring.
The morning of the day of the arranged exhange (03.08.), Rimmer used the Soul Exchanger at the ATU to swap the souls of Lydia and his dog Rapunzel as security. Immediately afterwards Rainey found and confronted Rimmer in the altar room. The schism in the cult was now out in the open, but the standoff ended undecided, with Rimmer and his group retreating with the machine and Rapunzel-in-Lydia, while Rainey had kept Lydia-in-Rapunzel.
Moments after Rimmer left, a timetraveled Patrick Spring wearing a steampunk armor arrived at the ATU and proceeded to shoot and kill all attendant cult members, including Rainey. (The number of corpses at the ATU was later estimated as 35 by a finder, though that number may be off for various reasons.)
Rimmer's planned hostage exchange at the Perryman Grand Hotel penthouse went awry when interrupted by the second Patrick and two other men, resulting in his Kitten-Shark killing the old Patrick and two drones. Returning to the ATU, Rimmer found the aftermath of the massacre.
With its leader and a large number of members massacred by an unknown assailant, and Rimmer's faction in rebellion and vying for leadership, the cult was leaderless, unsettled and confused.
Victory and defeat
On the 10.08.2016, the cult managed to seize the Unlimited Energy Device from Dirk and Farah, and bring them and Tood to the ATU. Farah freed herself and shot dead Fred, the distraction enabling Dirk and Todd to get away momentarily, who barricaded themselves in the altar room before Ed and Zed burst in and downed them. At them same time, Estevez attacked the ATU, beating up Rimmer and shooting up the place, forcing the cultists to flee and destroying the UED and altar.
Rimmer, with Ed and Zed, went to Police Chief Edmund Doyle at the police station, requesting help to seize back the Soul Exchanger taken by Dirk's team. Doyle gave them a SWAT team, with which they attacked the Spring Mansion that same night. In the assault, Rimmer was killed by Farah, Ed, and Zed were killed by Bart Curlish, and the SWAT team were beaten by the Rowdy 3.
The Men of the Machine cult is built on and around the Soul Exchanger. The machine is used to swap souls between bodies, allowing members immortality as well as to acquire wealth and power through the involved identity theft.
The cult considers the soul, or "energy", of a person their central being and essence. Bodies are negligible and exchangeable, mere "shells" housing the soul. Dying is referred to as being "released" from your body out into the universe.
The place housing the machine and its socket they call their temple (possibly also the reliquary). The socket they call the altar. The socket's plug shape design they hold as a symbol of significance, worn on an amulet by their leader and painted on their temple. Overall, the machine, their temple, and members' bodies are painted with a variety of symbols that apparently hold spiritual significance to the cult.
The original members of the cult are termed original souls, and their leader is the Supreme Soul. Low-level henchmen are called drones.
Members of rank are given "better" bodies: of healthy, wealthy, powerful and influential people. Those members usually go on to live the lives of the aquired identities.
The lower and lowest members of the cult are the so-called drones, who act as obedient henchmen for the cult. They inhabit large men, bald, and tattooed with symbols. They appear to have varying amounts of lessened mental capacities, brought on by their souls spending long times in animal bodies.
The named drones of Rimmer's faction all have short names ending in -ed; they state these are not their "real names".
- Jake Rainey (the Supreme Soul)
- Pollux (inhabited Lux Dujour, Gordon Rimmer)
- Edmund Doyle
- Young Coroner
- Fred (inhabited Agent Weedle)
Behind the scenes
- In the show bible, the original hippie cult before taking on the "Men of the Machine" name was called the "Autexious Sisterbrotherboys".