Voices of the Chord

// war, violence, trauma, gore

“You let me die.” 

The ghastly and mutilated silhouette hovers impossibly above you, backlit by the fading light of the atomic airburst that pounded you into the mud. You’re malfunctioning again, your audio sensors are still overwhelmed by the noise, this can’t be real.

You refresh your optics but instead of vanishing the apparition duplicates. “I don’t want to die!” One of Her moans, hiding Her face in the stumps that are Her arms. The other simply stares at you, judging you for your sins, the holes were Her eyes lit by atomic afterglow.

You squeeze your optics shut and shake your head but still hear Her voice. There are even more when you look up again. How many are there now? Five? Eight? It’s impossible to keep track as She flickers into and out of existence.

The audio noise is overwhelming. One of Her begs you to save Her, another accuses you of killing Her. There are sobs, screams, shrieking rage and insane laughter. Why is this happening? Aren’t you a good drone?

You curl up on yourself, trying to shut out the spirits out, but She forces Herself into the darkness behind your optics, Her mutilated face full of rage and hate. Why did you have to let Her die? Why didn’t you stop them? Why didn’t you fight back harder? It’s all your fault.

You know it was your fault. If you were stronger maybe you could have stopped them, maybe you could have saved Her. But you didn’t, you were too weak. That’s why you were Converted after all, She was too weak to survive, and She didn’t. She’s dead. Why is She still there?

The words and cries overlap and combine into an unholy melody more overwhelming than the roar of any artillery strike. They dig into your processor like knife wounds and you let out a guttural scream as you try in vain to drown out the voices of the chord. Poor little drone.

You cover your audio sensors with your hands, rocking back and forth, back arching as violent shaking runs through your chassis. Is your processor failing? Did the blast damage you more than you realized? Why won’t She just shut up? She’s dead. She’s dead.

You open your optics and She’s still hovering over you, eyesockets burning with atomic hatred, reaching towards you with stumps instead of hands. You flinch backward but realize it’s not Her, it’s one of the drones in your unit, its optics glow as it reaches out to help you up.

The burst of information it shoots into your datalink interrupts the nightmare with updated tactical data. The clean lines of your HUD burn away the apparitions and you sigh in relief as you take the drone’s hand gratefully. There’s still a long battle ahead.

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