Helian wasn’t joking. The mission was to go and rescue a T-Doll Sangvis Ferri captured.
I took in a deep breath and grabbed onto my rappelling rope. Springfield, who was behind me, was tense. I lingered for a second when I looked into her eyes. Awkwardly, I said, “Don’t worry about me. I’ve rappelled a hundred times if not a thousand… Just do as you usually would. I know what I should do.”
“Ah, you must protect yourself, then, Commander.”
“I will,” I replied with a nod.
I jumped out of the helicopter and slid down with the wind blowing on me. As soon as I touched the ground, I immediately grabbed my AK-74 rifle at my waist. Yes, it was the only rifle with ammunition for human usage that Kalina could find after searching the entire base for ages…
I crouched down and entered a heightened state of alert. When I recalled that Springfield and WA2000 wore dresses, I had an urge to look up, but they probably would’ve broke my nose.
The helicopter left. Springfield patted me on the shoulder. I got up and pointed to the temporary location of the Sangvis Ferri unit: “Operation, start. Prioritise the hostage’s safety. Eliminate the sentries at the outer perimeter first. The sooner you do that, the better. Sten and I will be the vanguard. Springfield, take the centre. WA2000, you stay in the rear as support.”
“Roger,” responded the girls.
We advanced on our target in a proper formation. Two people supported the vanguards while maintaining the perfect distance for suppressive fire and to support us with long-range sniping. We didn’t run into any Sangvis Ferri teams on the way, which I thought could’ve been due to us picking a relatively hidden route.
It was strange. I thought the helicopter would attract attention, resulting in Sangvis Ferri swarming us. I remembered that they blew up the helicopter escorting M4A1. However, nothing searched us when we arrived. We soon reached our destination.
WA2000 found a feasible spot for sniping, which was a small dune. She could see the entire cement camp. I checked the place out with my binoculars. There were four robots out on patrols. Honestly speaking, their guns on either side were quite intimidating. Some robots even had mini grenade launchers…
Robots were convenient as they came. They didn’t need to worry about counterweight or weapon effectiveness. Give them a pea shooter, and it’d become a lethal, overpowered weapon. They left humans in the dust. They didn’t know fear, wouldn’t feel fatigue or be frustrated. They just patrolled and patrolled.
I wondered to myself if my anti-armour bullets would actually be able to pierce their shells. I, on the other hand, was a bullet away from being incapacitated. My bullet-proof armour was just there as a placebo effect to calm my nerves. They could puncture holes through my armour and me with their guns.
I thought to myself, “Why am I on this battlefield again? Why did I want to try fighting as soon as I heard I could personally take to the field? Is it purely because I don’t want to be resigned to my fate? Do I just want to prove that I can do what T-Dolls can? Why am I angry? I’ve retired from field operations and even had my papers removed. I have no reason to be jealous or angry about this.”
“Attention, attention. Remember the mission objectives. Clear out the robots outside. Then, Sten and I will rescue the captive T-Doll. Operation, start!!”
To prove myself, I immediately stood up and fired three long-range shots at a robot. All of them landed in very close proximity on the robot’s shell. My initial concern with the bullets not piercing them was for naught, as it pierced them and generated some nice black smoke.
I didn’t have time to be overjoyed, because the other robot didn’t panic. Before I could react, it fired a grenade at me.
“Oh, shit!” I shouted.
I dropped to the ground and crawled to safety. I had yet to catch my breath, when a forty millimetre grenade zoomed over and blew the rock I was behind before to dust. If I didn’t run for dear life before, I’d be in fragments.
Sten took out a hand grenade from her vest and hurled it back at them. WA2000 and Springfield both accurately shot the robot down.
Sten rolled over along the ground. She grabbed my collar, slapped me twice and shouted, “Commander! Commander! Are you hurt?! Are you hurt?”
I felt fine; however, her two slaps probably left me deaf.
“Yeah, my pride is hurt…”
I never expected the robots to react so swiftly. Usually, when the sentry in front is shot down, the one in the rear reactively froze up for a brief second. That would be the second I needed to immediately redirect my gun and shoot down the next target. The robot, on the other hand, didn’t hesitate for a split second. Before I could reposition myself, it already analysed the trajectory I shot from and chose the best angle to launch a grenade at me.
I struggled to my feet. My ears were ringing thanks to the explosion. I grabbed my head and pushed Sten. I shouted, “Sten, Sten, you go fight. You go and assist. I need a second. I need a second.”
Sten was actually very close to me, yet the forty millimetre grenade didn’t affect her whatsoever. At most, it stained her dress with some mud…
Springfield and WA2000 kept their shots orderly and accurate, gunning down robot after robot. They didn’t flinch even when bullets zipped past them and hit dirt just centimetres away from them. I even saw an automatic rifle bullet hit Springfield on the arm. Fortunately for her, it created a few sparks and bounced off. If it was me, I’d probably be downed by then.
“Commander, the enemies outside have been eliminated.”
“Surprise attack! Surprise attack!!”
Having recovered some mental functioning, I got to my feet. I picked up my rifle and rushed over. Springfield took over my original spot. WA2000 changed shooting locations. Sten and I advanced on either side of the cement building to reach the steel door. We planted an explosive on the door. Sten took out an electromagnetic flash grenade and nodded. I set off the explosion. Sten then immediately threw her flash grenade in. The resulting flash didn’t affect me. Therefore, I stormed in.
The normal script would’ve been the people inside being in disarray, and I’d be able to swiftly discern the hostage’s location and gun the enemy down while the effects of the electromagnetic flash grenade still lingered. Alas, the flash grenade didn’t do a thing. My intuition saved my behind. I chose to plop myself down prone on the ground after sticking half of my body out. A sequence of bullets landed behind me.
Sten wasn’t afraid. She walked into the rain of bullets. Their bullets bounced off her body, but there were only sparks. She ignored the bullets and fired back. All I smelt was burnt electricity.
“Commander, I told you not to be reckless. It should be my job. The only way to counter a flash grenade is by shutting down their fire control system; however, it’ll still implode on its own.”
Sten pulled me up. I quickly covered my face to avoid being slapped again. I forced a smile: “There goes my pride. All of it…”