Stories and Articles To Relax To.../Science Fiction/



Comrades

George and his special forces team are secretly trekking the desert mountains of some middle eastern country. There are twelve of them. All of them are heavily armed. They are not riding any vehicles although they are accompanied by an electromechanical machine.

This electromechanical machine is a four legged robot that was carrying their food supplies and ammunitions. It looked like a headless horse but a bit larger. This “mechanical horse” was now a standard issue to all squads who are deployed in the field.

He looked at the mechanical horse once again with disdain. It was in the middle of their line formation. At times, it seems to slip at the uneven ground they were trekking. It would however correct its balance and proceed as if nothing happened.

They finally approached a well covered area that was easy to defend in case they were attacked. He ordered his men to stop and rest. One of his men ordered the mechanical horse to stop.

After it stopped, the men took food from it and ate. One of the soldiers noticed that George was not taking food from the mechanical horse. George just said: “Just hand me one of the food packs. I don’t like to come near those things.”

One of the soldiers brought him food from the mechanical horse and asked him why he hated the mechanical horse so much. While he ate his military ration he told his story:

“When I was a young kid I worked in a lumber mill. During those times robots were still not this advanced. The lumber mill has a lumberjack robot who cut trees. I already hated it ever since I saw it. It was taking the jobs meant for humans like us.”

“Then one day this robot malfunctioned. Instead of cutting trees like it was supposed to, it went in all directions and started chopping at anything it can reach. Some of the workers were so hurt by this robot’s chopping spree that they become invalids.”

“Luckily I was not hurt. But the company stopped using them and employed humans again. I myself have never bought a robot for myself ever since. I never even purchase robot toys for my children.”

The soldier then replied: “That was an accident. It happens from time to time. Robots can be very useful like the robot horse we have right now. Blame the manufacturers of the robot, not the robot itself.”

George and the soldier argued some more until George was contacted by their commander: “Abort the mission. Another mission suffered heavy casualties and we are terminating all operations for now.”

They went back to base and he heard the sad news. They have been plagued by enemy sharpshooters who have been causing a lot of casualties on their side. Even with their superior technology, the sharpshooters seemed well ahead of them.

George and his men spent several weeks holed up in their base. Meanwhile, the other squads were experiencing high numbers of casualties due again to the sharpshooters who seemed to blend with the surroundings.

“When will my men be back in the field? They are getting restless doing nothing all day.” He argued this when he talked to their commander. His commander however would just simply state that they should wait for orders.

According to him, they are being readied for a special mission. They are to be part of a secret mission that could mean the end of the war in this part of the country.

He wonders what sort of mission his commander is talking about but decides to wait. He could only look as the other squads incur casualties as they sought to capture the sharpshooters who were making the secret forces’ fearsome reputation a joke.

Then one day his question was answered. That day at least half a dozen helicopters landed in their base. Out came men in suits who are either government agents or sharply dressed businesspeople.

The other people which came out of the helicopters were definitely techies. They wore and carried many electronic gadgets in their bodies. It was easy to see that these people do not blend in with a military base.

The next things that came out of the helicopters were soldiers. These soldiers were strange though. They were much bigger than average men and based on the sizes of the guns and machines they carry, they must be superstrong.

There was something odd about them when you looked close enough. They were all bald and had numbers tattooed on their forehead. He begins to wonder: “Are these men actually robots?”

Then a few hours George and his squad were huddled in the large hangar of the base. Their commander explained who were the new arrivals: “These men who just arrived are representatives of Guardian Industries.”

“They are here to test the new robot soldiers they have just developed together with the government technology department. Sergeant George Orwell and his squad have been assigned to interact with the robots soldiers on and off the battlefield.”

George resented what his commander just said. He already hated the mechanical horse assigned to his squad and now he would have to live with robot soldiers. He grimly remembered his childhood days when a robot lumberjack malfunctioned and caused harm to many people he knew.

“An order is an order soldier! You must obey the command of your superiors.” This was the answer of his commander when George expressed his dissatisfaction of having to interact with robots.

His commander then said to him while looking outside of the window: “It looks like your men are already warming up to them. Why don’t you give them a try? They might just save the lives of your men.”

George looked and to his amazement he saw his squad and the robot soldiers successfully interacting with each other. He was dumbfounded as he saw with his own eyes how human-like these robots can be.

The robots can make jokes that make his squad laugh. They have the ability to simulate eating and drinking which added to the social camaraderie between his squad and them. They also seemed to have different personalities.

Some were jolly, others were serious and of course there was the grunt robot. George himself can help but mistake them for humans. The only thing that reminded him that they were robots is the number tattoos in their forehead.

This must be the function of the number tattoos on their forehead, to remind everyone that although they are very human they are in reality robots.

Robot or not, they cried when they see human soldiers returning from the battlefield dead. They were also good health personnel. They doubled as doctors and nurses to the injured. This warmed his heart to them.

Their first mission together with the robots was a very straightforward one. They were to determine if there are enemies hiding out in a labyrinth of caves in a mountain. The onboard cameras and sensors inside the robots would ensure that the actions of the robots are well monitored in the base.

His squad plus the robots made their way towards the entry of the caves. George could already see that his squad were sitting ducks if they entered the caves. He was having double thoughts of even entering the caves.

Then as if to answer their question if there are enemies hidden in the caves, they were fired at by people inside the caves. The people from inside the caves are masters of their environment. They were able to hit a few of his men who were caught off guard and have nowhere to hide.

As if on instinct, the robots used their bodies to cover his soldiers who have no hiding places. The robots suffered heavy fire but their armor plus their interior metal bodies made the bullets of the enemies useless.

George can’t help but be relieved that the robot soldiers were there to cover for his men. For once, he was glad that there were machines besides him who instead of hurting people, actually saved people.

The robot soldiers herded his men until they were safely covered from the bullets of the enemies. They then turned to face the enemies who were hiding inside the caves. The sight was both horrific and spectacular.

It was horrific because against the robots who were impervious to bullets, the enemies were like sheep being led to slaughter. They were simply no match to the robots who were more accurate at shooting and do not need light to see in the dark because of their electronic eyes.

One by one their enemies fell from being shot by both his squad and by the robots. Then the enemies stopped firing. George asked a robot: “Are they all dead?” The robot smiled and replied: “No. They are not all dead. They have just runaway. What is your order?”

George thought for a while then he gave his order: “See to it that the entire cave is free of enemies. I want them neutralized but not killed.” The robot replied: “Your order is logical and will be executed.”

Then a few of the robots proceeded to check if there were still any enemies in the caves. After a while they came back and reported: “The enemies have abandoned the caves. All that is left are the dead enemies we shot fifty-three minutes ago. What is your order?”

He just ordered the robots to stand by while his squad analyzed the dead enemies. The enemies were no simple enemies, but the very sharpshooters who were causing terrible casualties on their side.

How did they know? It was because of the dead enemy’s guns. They were intended for long distance firing and their bullets were identical to the bullets found in the dead and wounded who returned to their base after a mission.

George reported this to his commander. The commander just replied: “No need for you to report. We saw everything. Besides, the robot also reported the same conclusion. It is imperative that you capture all these sharpshooters. Use any means necessary.”

George understood the command. They were to continue until they found the sharpshooters. He ordered the robots to continue tracking the sharpshooters. He was surprised at how good they were in tracking as well. They seemed to have the same skills as predator animals in hunting prey.

The robots reported to George: “Only three enemies are left. Two of them are wounded based on the tracks they left. What is your order?” To which he replied: “Continue hunting them down until you find them. It is imperative that we capture them.”

The robots tracked the sharpshooters while George and his squad followed. The trail ultimately led them to the outskirts of a small village where the robots are commanded to stop. The robots reported: “I am ninety-five percent sure that the enemies are inside the village. What is your order?”

George ordered the robots to secure the village and herd together the villagers. The robots did as ordered and herded the villagers to the center of the village. George can’t feel but be amazed at how the robots spoke the language of the villagers.

The squad together with George entered the village safely and determined that all the people in the village are indeed all herded together and are being monitored by the robots. George commanded one of the robot to be his interpreter.

He asked the villagers: “I know that there are rebels in this village. Two of them are wounded and we have their tracks as proof that they are here. Surrender them now and you will not have any trouble from us.”

There was silence from the villagers. Either they were scared of his squad and the robots or of the sharpshooters themselves. He and his squad became tense. They do not know what to do next.

Then the robots suddenly shot a villager. George and his squad were surprised, but one of the robots spoke to them: “The human had a gun. He was about to shoot that is why we shot him. What is your order?”

They inspected the dead villager. He indeed had a gun and was also wounded, further solidifying that the sharpshooters are being coddled by the villagers. George spoke to the villagers: “It is a criminal offense to coddle rebels. Your village may be punished if you continue to.”

Then they proceeded to check each of the villagers one by one. Ultimately, the caught another wounded man with a gun but failed to capture the third sharpshooter who have seemingly blended well with the villagers.

He asked a robot: “Do the tracks continue elsewhere?” The robot replied: “Negative. The tracks end here. One of the villagers or all of the villagers are enemies. What is your order?” He pondered for a while what the robot has said.

He decided to consult his commander. His commander told him: “We have analyzed the situation from here. You and your squad are to leave the village and leave the robots with the villagers.” He asked: “Why?”

His commander coldly told him: “Your instructions are to leave the village and go as far away as possible from it. We would take over and command the robots. You are to leave immediately.”

Then he asked a robot what their instructions were. The robot with tears in its eyes replied: “Negative. We are not to follow your orders anymore. You are to leave the village and return to the base. Please follow our orders.”

George felt a chill in his spine as he saw the sad and crying face the robot was showing to him. It was as if the robot wanted to disobey the order given to him but cannot do anything about it. The robot then said: “Sorry, but you must go.” Then it pointed a gun at him.

Knowing they were no match for the robots, they left the village. They were a few distance from the village when they heard the shots of gunfire and of people screaming in panic and pain. He and his squad wanted to come back but know they would be dead themselves.

Then his mind cleared up as tears flowed from his eyes. The robots were not evil. It was the humans who controlled them who were evil.