Minor Malfunctions

// war, death, gaslighting, brainwashing, trauma

The flash of silent lightning proceeds the thunder of artillery, and then the world explodes into shrapnel and roaring earth. You feel bullets and shrapnel tear through you, but sensors report no major damage so you struggle onwards into the maelstrom. You are a good drone.

An enemy walker crumples under multiple rocket strikes and topples over into the adjacent church. Drones  advance relentlessly, executing enemy soldiers as they come across them. A drone begins screaming and begging to not die, and you realize with some surprise that it’s you.

You duck to the ground in surprise and shock, silencing your speaker as quickly as it had started, but as you look up from the bloodstained earth you see Her looking down at you with those far, far too human eyes.

Since you were damaged, you are pulled aside for repairs upon returning to the base. The repair tech spends a long time lingering on you, running her hands gently over the cracks and tears in your carapace and replacing damaged plates. You are a good drone, you are safe.

The tech circles around you, tutting quietly to herself before finally coming to stand before you, crossing her arms, “You acted outside parameters today,” she announces wryly. Despite her calm tone you feel a lance of fear stab into you, she can see it in your eyes.

“I malfunctioned,” you blurt out, feeling the fear curl around your processor.

“Well we can’t be having that now can we, useful drones don’t malfunction, don’t you want to be useful?” She’s smiling, she already knows how you’ll answer even as you nod your head rapidly.

The tech gently strokes your hair, meeting your optics with her eyes, and calls you a good drone before moving aside and positioning a screen in front of your optics.

“Don’t worry,” she says, “We’ll take care of these pesky malfunctions.”

You are a good drone.

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