Diaries of the Drone War II

// war, violence, death

The chattering staccato of machine gun fire rips through the early morning quiet, sending birds fleeing into the empty blue. Reams of orders flood your optics as the frontline surges with activity. You put out your smoke, a smile creeping onto your lips. It’s time to get to work.

Your squad pounds down the narrow street. Flagstones and roofing tiles explode as mortar shells land around you. Sights up, optics forward, enemy sighted. Bullets slice towards you and you roll sideways, sights coming up as you exit, and pull the trigger. Good little drone.

An RPG round slams into the occupied building and its facade crumples towards you, burying the enemy soldiers along with it. You’re moving before the dust has settled, rifles raised as you rush to take the enemy position. The battle is just beginning.

A sniper takes out the drone beside you and your automatic aim assist grabs hold of your limbs and has the sniper targeted before the drone he shot has even hit the ground. Squeeze trigger. More orders are coming in, and your squad moves out once more.

You round a narrow corner and then quickly duck back behind cover as a tank crouching at the end of the lane opens up with its machine guns. As the commanders note the location of the enemy unit, new orders cascade through your optics, sending you off a different direction.

UAVs scream overhead, firing volleys of rockets down into the city streets, taking out concentrations of enemy units and launching flares as antiair missiles rise to meet them. Your orders update again, advance, advance, advance. Good little drones.

The feint worked perfectly. Six hours and five kilometers forward of the old defensive line, the enemy suddenly reverse their retreat and your advance rebounds. The farmland around you offers little in the way of protection as enemy missiles soar upwards from behind the line.

Missiles are landing all around, walkers explode and topple into burning husks, remains of drones fly every which way. UAVs are swatted out of the sky as they rush to defend the beleaguered ground forces, the entire line is in disarray.

Artillery joins in with the missile barrage, a barn explodes into wood splinters as 155mm shell lands inside it. Towering pillars of churned earth and shrapnel rise like geysers wherever shells land. You can’t even see the enemy anymore. You cover your head and try not to scream.

Destruction swirls around you like a hurricane. Dust and ash block the sky and the unearthly roar of bombardment leaves you deafened with your optics unable to focus. The scope of the barrage is fantastic, supernatural, how are you even still alive? Tough little drone.

The orders to retreat are practically an afterthought and hardly any drones are left operational enough to follow them. Enemy walkers advance and you make a fighting withdrawal, losing more drones in the process.

Reinforcements finally link up with you at the old front line and trade off, crashing into the enemy advance with another round of terrible fury. Walkers explode, drones die, and the front restabilizes.

The survivors of your squad return to the house you were stationed at in the morning. Everything is as you left it, despite the chaos of battle. You pick up your half smoked cigarette and light it. Just another day in paradise.

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