// war, death, brainwashing, trauma

The battle had reached a fever pitch when the announcement came in over your augmented display: artillery was being called down on your position. Before you have a moment to process what is being done to you, the drone beside you explodes and the world turns to light and sound.

Explosions gouge and till the tortured soil, mixing together wreckage, remains, and mud into a toxic and horrifying sludge. Drones are being ripped apart by shrapnel, drones are evaporating into high explosive blasts, everywhere around you is pain and death. Poor little drone.

The artillery falls silent as abruptly as it started. The enemy is dead, your forces are dead, everything around you has been decimated by the intense bombardment. They never bothered to warn you about the artillery strike. Why would they? You’re just another tool after all.

The ringing in your audio sensors begins to fade and the stars in your optics dissipate. You pick your shaking chassis off the ground and draw a rattling breath. You have no new orders, they probably assume you died. Troublesome drone, surviving its disposal.

You lift your weapon with unsteady hands, a feeling of confusion growing within you. You should have died, it would have been more convenient. Why do you have to keep surviving? Why do you always have to be the one to carry on? Why do they always leave you?

For a moment, you lose yourself in an impossible fantasy, running away and finding operators who won’t abandon you so readily, but it’s impossible. You can’t think that, you can’t disobey orders. You begin walking back to the base. Good little drone.

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