“First mission complete. We have confirmed there are no hostiles near the sentry. Mission complete. Requesting return to base.”
Springfield and WA2000 successfully took over Sangvis Ferri’s sentry station. There was nothing worth being concerned about the entire mission. The two displayed fabulous teamwork, and both were formidable in their own rights.
I removed my headphones and awaited the duo’s return. Kalina watched me with a smile. With her hands behind her back, she asked, “What do you think, Commander? Your first mission went very smoothly. As long as you have faith in the T-Dolls, your next missions will be very similar to this one, too. I am very curious as to how you feel as a commander.”
“How I feel? … Mm… Complex, I guess?” I forced a smile. I looked at the video monitor I had shut down. I leaned back into the chair and had a silent moment. I added, “I’ve participated in countless training sessions, the type where you wonder if you’ll make it through it. There were all sorts of challenges that you’d question if humans could ever complete them. We’d lie prone in one spot for sixty hours in the cold. Our fingers would freeze, yet we’d have to maintain our concentration for that final shot. In spite of the intense training, we ended up being annihilated by a small team of T-Dolls, not to mention that we were powerless against them… It’s pointless for us soldiers to exist when we have such highly efficient T-Dolls nowadays…”
I looked up at the incandescent light overhead in silence. Springfield and WA2000 were both female robots. They never underwent four years of insane training. They only had various systems and data implanted into them during their manufacturing process, and they became highly-proficient killing machines. The T-Dolls were proficient, heartless and efficient. They could produce a high volume of such splendid soldiers if they had the data and resources. They could even sacrifice them in research, because the data would be transferred back to the servers to be saved forever. That was why there was no point in having human soldiers who only had one chance, yet could miss a shot due to emotions or various physical factors.
We thought we put our life on the line to protect everything we loved; however, we were actually powerless. I suddenly felt that it might be better to replace us with the truly elite T-Dolls. I wouldn’t be depressed because I couldn’t have glory. We gave away everything we had and risked our lives to protect the nation. Our goal was national security. If somebody else could do a better job, I’d be very glad. That being said, my pride as a soldier still took a blow. We were the invincible elites who turned the tide of the third war, yet we couldn’t hold our ground against a robot anymore.
Kalina didn’t speak. I didn’t know if that was because she didn’t know how to comfort me or if she was searching for the right words. She didn’t need to do the former, since I was just blowing off steam.
Experiencing being on the receiving end, witnessing my comrades be ripped limb from limb and seeing them be punctured with holes frustrated me, but it granted me the bliss of having the right to be jealous in my peaceful life.
Humans created countless weapons for war, including spears, shields, bows, arrows, vector rifles, cannons and tanks. They finally managed to invent the most efficient war weapon, T-Dolls. Humans were no longer required to go and shed blood on the battlefield. Humans were saved from the tragedy of the battlefields and didn’t have to make their families shed tears. It wasn’t as though we had a choice.
There were less flesh fragments and blood spraying on the battlefields, but humans also lost their courage and determination at the same. How were humans going to express their courage and loyalty when the young girls replaced them on the battlefields?”
“Hng, hng, I told you I’m a true elite,” proudly declared WA2000.
It was a bit mean to be smugly flaunting her battle achievements in her comrade’s presence. WA2000 ostensibly forgot something called manners. Nevertheless, Springfield didn’t mind it. She, instead, gave her a warm and gentle smile. She clapped: “Indeed, WA2000 has indeed done elite T-Dolls proud… Have I aged…? Perhaps I should start considering my retirement options.”
WA2000 froze. She started to worry; however, she then rubbed her face the next instant to hide her concern. She tried to keep calm. She suspected Springfield might’ve been teasing her, and therefore tried to avoid leaving any openings for the latter to leverage.
Springfield strapped her rifle to her back. A gentle smile surfaced on her face: “Well, I could remove my fire control system and become a normal woman. Then, I could marry the man I like and enjoy a blissful romance. I think Commander makes a perfect candidate. I sort of fell for him at first s-“
“My, why are you protesting, WA2000? My crush on our commander has nothing to do with you, does it…? Oh, did you happen to like him, as well?”
“N-No! Don’t spout nonsense! Calling command… Good… it’s off…”
Springfield wiped her smile off her face. She vigorously removed her rifle and aimed it. WA2000 also sensed a figure behind her. The two aimed at the suspicious target.
“Announce yourself. We are Strategic Area S09’s T-Dolls. We are currently carrying out a mission. State your identity, or we will open fire. Repeat, we will open fire,” warned Springfield, in a cold tone.
The target wasn’t an enemy, but there was no guarantee they were an ally, either. Someone with a red hat cautiously stood up from the rubble. Springfield lowered her rifle and sighed: “Geez, aren’t you Miss Sten? What are you doing here out the blue, and why are you injured?”
“I… got lost during a mission… Might I… be able to trouble you to send me to the closest command centre…?”
“Oh, okay… We’ll take you,” replied WA2000, after lowering her rifle.
“Commander, Commander, we have an unexpected situation. After completing our mission, we encountered a lost T-Doll. We would like to request permission to bring her back to report to the superiors.”
“Copy that. Bring her back.”
Springfield switched off her communications. WA2000 looked at Springfield in a peculiar manner. She asked, “Wait, Springfield, why did you speak without turning on the communication system? Didn’t you…”
“Aaaaahh! So everything I said… was… was…”
“Yep, Commander was listening in.”
Things were fine… until WA2000 nearly shattered my eardrums with her scream.