Diaries of the Drone War V

// war, violence, implied brainwashing, death

Artillery shells fall like drops of rain around you and the churned earth reaches muddy fingers skyward in metal-laced blossoms of fire and kinetic energy. Orders are coming in even as you dive for cover, mission parameters updating repeatedly as your operators react to the enemy advance. Advance. Retreat. Hold position. Update. Update. Update. If you could have wishes you’d wish they would make up their minds. 

Your auditory sensors are blown out by the pressure, ringing and echoing as if underwater, the exploding shells sound distant and muffled, you dive and roll instinctively away as another volley rakes across the battlefield. Smoke and dust turn the skies a dim sickly orange, more orders are coming in, these ones finally seem to stick. Assume defensive posture, prepare to repel advance and await reinforcements. Easy enough. 

You roll upright, pivoting towards the enemy lines in time to see a drone ten meters ahead of you be torn apart. For just a moment, Her afterimage hangs in the burning void where your comrade had stood. Bits of drone splatter against you, you shake your head, clearing the hallucination from your optics. She’s dead, it’s not real, they killed Her to make you, she’s not real.

Which of your battalion was killed? No time to check the HUD, you’re already moving again. racing with the rest of your squad towards the lee of the hill which the enemy will soon crest. The artillery is falling silent as you slide into a debris and body filled streambed and take cover against the hard shale of the bank. A row of rifles and heavy weaponry begins positioning all along the length of the ravine, your optics peer up towards the peak of the ridge. And then they come. 

The enemy advance rolls over the hilltop, tanks and transports and lumbering walkers. You’re ordered to hold positions and standby, do not open fire. Your commander is occasionally smart, let them think you’re dead, let them get close, close enough for their heavy weapons to be useless. Maybe this one will actually prove competent, wait for it. Wait for it. The end of the column tilts over the ridge and enters the kill box. Warning: high energy particle emission detected. Huh, he’s actually a little clever.

Open fire. A light arrives from behind you along with the order, and a high powered particle beam rips into the hillside, causing vehicles to burst like metallic popcorn and turning the lip of the ridge into molten glass. The beam winks off even as your first volley of anti-tank missiles leaps upwards towards the head of the formation. Trapped and exposed on the side of the hill, the armored vehicles are sitting ducks. New orders coming in, advance and kill them all. 

You leap upwards from the streambed and slip in among the pinned tanks. They have machine guns and autocannons, but at this range, a drone like you is basically untouchable, your servos whine as you calmly dance through the battlefield, killing tank crews as you go. Hatches are methodically pried open and the occupants are slaughtered. There won’t be any survivors today, not after what they did to your comrades along the northern front. Word gets around after all, even among drones. Besides, these are your orders, and you are a good drone.

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