“Skorpion! Skorpion, we’ve come to rescue you! Skorpion!”
“Sten… has help arrived…?”
I paid no heed to the rescue taking place inside. I went outside and contacted Helian: “Miss Helian, mission complete. Repeat: mission complete. We have rescued the captive. Requesting permission to return to base.”
“Permission granted. By the way, I have a full team here, so I’ll entrust Skorpion to Strategic Area S09. Unfortunately, you need to stay in the base once you return to the command centre. Let the T-Dolls carry out the missions. You should be aware of your circumstance now after this mission, right?”
I nodded and smiled bitterly: “I do. I’ve had my pride utterly crushed. I could work as a team to take down robots in the past, but I can’t do it anymore for some reason… Sorry, I’m saying too much. I will immediately return to leading the mission. Requesting mission intelligence.”
“Denied. It’s unsafe to be sending information over the radio in Sangvis Ferri’s territory. I will send all of the information to your command centre. The faster you carry out the job, the better. I even sent you a T-Doll for the mission, over and out.”
Helian sounded as cold and work-orientated as per usual. I turned around to look at the T-Dolls. Springfield and WA2000 were vigilant. Sten helped Skorpion up. I suppose everything was done. I called the chopper for extraction.
When we arrived back at the base, Kalina was there waiting. She was glad to see us back safe and sound. I could see the small monsters hiding underneath her coat jiggling dangerously underneath her coat she didn’t zip up… I looked away…
“What the heck was that? Th-The law of attraction or something?” I wondered to myself.
Springfield knocked on my neck and with a smile, stated, “Commander, we need to move onto the next mission.”
I shivered. I thought, “Did Springfield catch me…? No, no, no, it’s not time to be thinking about that.”
I shook the thoughts out of my head to restore normal functioning. I spun around and headed to the command centre. All of a sudden, I realised I overlooked something. I turned around and smiled: “You all did fantastic. Thank you for your hard work. Make sure to rest and prepare as soon as you can. We have another mission to head out to. I will share the details later.”
“Humph!” coldly snorted WA2000.
Springfield giggled then hugged me again. The smell of smoke and lilies enveloped me. I think I started to yearn for the fragrance. When Springfield released me, I wanted another hug, but I knew it wasn’t possible…
Kalina took charge of repairing the T-Dolls, while I went to hear the mission briefing. I put on the headphones and turned on the monitor.
“The last battle is beginning, Commander. The target of this battle is the following T-Doll. Please memorise the information of Sangvis Ferri’s leader. The T-Doll’s code is SP65, Scarecrow. According to the rescued T-Doll’s intelligence, she knows Sangvis Ferri’s aim. This operation’s aim is to apprehend Scarecrow and retrieve her memory chip. This operation is on a different level to previous miscellaneous missions. This time, you will be facing a high-level T-Doll. I’m sure you’ve come up with a plan after all this, however. The operation begins now. Good luck, Commander.”
The operation was a decapitation strike. It was definitely closer to my field of expertise. I examined the drawing and imprinted the strange mask and twin pigtails to mind.
I pondered, “Wait, I don’t need to remember the target. I don’t need to go on the mission myself. My mission is to organise the team going on the mission. I now have a proper team. Wait. Why hasn’t the T-Doll assigned here reported in to me yet?”
“Geez, they praised the commander to the high heavens when he’s not that good at all. He was completely hopeless against a few robots and was almost killed as soon as he stormed in. Did he really defeat the agent?” irritably grumbled WA2000, whilst letting Kalina clean her and reload her ammunition.
“That’s not true, WA2000. You didn’t see our commander defeat the robots, but I went and saw it,” said Springfield, as she checked her bayonet. She began to sharpen her bayonet on the grindstone. “He used an AK-74 without a scope. The target was over two-hundred and fifty metres away. The three shots he fired landed very close together. He doesn’t have an aim-assist system as we do. He used his own experience to aim. WA2000, you may have never tried it, but without an aim-assist system, a target two hundred and fifty metres away appears tiny. That’s why I know that he has real skill.”
“Really?” asked WA2000, in a soft voice. She stood up: “Miss Kalina, where is our new ally?”
“Miss Ingram is still being modified. I doubt she can join this battle. I suppose it will be on you four again. Skorpion is basically ready.”
“Fine by me.”
“All right. WA2000, can you hear me? Mm, I’m your commander. Mm… this next mission is a decapitation strike. The target is a T-Doll called Scarecrow. I’ve transferred the information to you. The designated route is the one indicated. Follow the route and capture the helipad. Then, send me a signal. I will contact Griffon for reinforcements. I know you’ve just completed a mission; however, this is very urgent, so I’ll have to bother you all again. Do you best out there, and report anything that comes up. I’ll help you come up with something.”
“Leave it to us,” earnestly replied WA2000, surprisingly.
I nodded, and then resumed surveying the battlefield map. I had no place on the battlefield anymore.
I tried to calibrate my emotions and thoughts: “Is the shrapnel in my head making me paranoid? Is it making me miss my days as a soldier? Is it the reason I have a desire to prove I’m not inferior to the T-Dolls? I don’t want to tell myself that my comrades and I were abandoned goods. I want to be part of the elites who could instantly complete missions after all the effort we put in.
We shed blood, sweat and tears. Are we completely worthless just because we have metal T-Dolls? Have we been forgotten? Are all of our accomplishments we’re proud of meaningless now? Were my comrades’ sacrifices just evidence that machines are superior to humans? They were my closest comrades, not machines.
Stop, stop, stop, I can’t keep thinking that way. The girls are now my comrades; they’re my soldiers. I can’t be jealous or complain. Calm down. Use your brain… Stop being a cynic.”