The Tower Falls

// war, brainwashing, trauma, good end

As the last of the missiles fall on the command bunkers, the chain of instructions wink out from your mind for the last time. They’re all gone now. There won’t be any new orders coming. Ever. They all died and left you alone. Poor little drone, condemned to survive.

You had, in the tiny place that could hope, wished the enemy would have finished you off. Something about their looks of horror and shock as they take your weaponry and demand that you refill your internal reservoirs fills you with a confused disquiet.

They ask your name, becoming frustrated when you supply your unit ID code. Drones don’t have names, why are they asking you that? They speak to you kindly using a hushed tone that would soothe a human child, but you aren’t human, so why are they treating you like this?

An enemy soldier repairs minor damage to your carapace. When her eyes meet your optic sensor, they are filled with tragic sympathy. Sensing your confusion, she looks away. You don’t understand why they treat you like this, but maybe you can still be useful to them.

You remember what happens to drones that aren’t useful don’t you? It’s a good thing you’re still in working order, honed by battle. You can be a useful drone. You ask one of them if they have any assignments and they respond with a quiet no and a dismay that fills you with fear.

Carefully, you attempt to determine if they plan to have you dismantled, and when they say no, you ask in that case to be presented with mission, and one of them shouts at you, saying you’re a person and you need to snap out of it. They’re so confused, obviously you’re a drone.

One of them leads you out of the room and attempts to explain something that happens to humans called brainwashing, but it doesn’t seem to be relevant. She grows frustrated with you and walks away with a shake of her head. Don’t worry, you know you’re a good drone.

They take you to a room containing other drones, you recognize one of them from a prior campaign. When it embraces you see it, something has changed. It’s not the drone you remember, somehow they put the human back inside it. Unthinking, you flee the room.

You collapse outside and emergency vent your chemical processor, actuators screaming from the sudden exertion. They can’t make you human, you won’t let them. Humans are weak. Humans die. If you were human, you would be long dead. You’re not one of them. You’re not. You’re not.

A hand touches your carapace and you jump as if too close to a live grenade. The face that appears is filled with a look of pity and concern that makes your sensor antenna stand on end. 

“Will I be disposed of?” You ask in a tired voice.

“Of course not,” she answers, “We don’t do that to people.” But you aren’t a person, you’re a drone. You try to tell her but she won’t listen. 

“I know you’re in there somewhere,” she says. You know she’s talking to Her, but She’s gone, they killed Her. All that remains is you.

“You’re safe now,” she continues, still trying to talk to a dead girl, and you know it’s a lie anyway. Humans are never safe, even when they think they are, they die all the time. Not like you, you’re a useful drone, that’s why you’re safe.

You meet her gaze and shake your head. You tell her that her concern is unwarranted as you are functioning within parameters and can still provide useful services. Always so eager to please aren’t you? That’s why you’re such a good drone.

She sighs defeatedly and shakes her head, “that’ll have to do, I’ll see about finding you some work.” 

You feel your actuators perk up at the mention of a new mission. The human stands and begins walking back inside and you follow like an obedient puppy. You are a good drone.

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