M4A1 lowered her rifle and emotionally hugged her comrade. AR15 irritably shoved M4A1 back: “Don’t do this, M4A1. We’re still in Sangvis Ferri’s territory. What’s the situation on your end?”
“SOP and I are safe. We are currently serving under a commander. Rest assured. Strategic Area S09’s Sangvis Ferri forces have suffered heavy losses and have retreated from the area. This place will soon be secure. Let’s go. Let’s check if there are any issues with your body.”
AR15 was rather cold, but that didn’t dampen M4A1’s mood. M4A1 then asked, “Where’s M16? Have you seen M16?!”
“There’s no need to search for M16. M4A1, M16A1 has been confirmed a traitor. We encountered HK416 during our search, but she assaulted HK126, and then fled. I was undergoing a check at 16Lab at the time, so the order wasn’t sent, but I can inform you now.”
UMP45, who was supposed to be on guard duty, suddenly went up to M4A1. She aimed her gun at AR15. She looked at M4A1 and frigidly said, “That is why we find that AR15, who vanished together with M16, suspicious. Since she has come back on her own accord, M4A1, you back down. Leave AR15 to us. Our Team 404 will take her back and examine her.”
M4A1 reactively pulled AR15 behind her and shouted at UMP45: “Wh-What…? Wh-… M16 betrayed us…? I-I don’t believe it!!”
M4A1 couldn’t aim her gun at UMP45. There was a rule that forbade T-Dolls from pointing their weapons at their allies. For some reason, however, UMP45 could. In fact, all of Team 404 could.
“Sorry, our Team 404 can do as we please,” stated UMP9, with a short snicker. Though she was smiling, her gun was loaded with real bullets.
HK416 coldly snorted. She positioned her finger on the grenade launcher’s trigger and said, “45, don’t waste your time. We can examine scrap metal, too, can’t we?”
“Does the commander know you’re doing this?! His order was to bring AR15 back! Where do you plan to take her?!”
“This isn’t the commander’s order. This is Miss Helian’s mission. Don’t blame us. AR15, the most rational decision is to come back with us and undertake a check. We won’t hurt you. Just undertake the inspection, and you’ll be fine. Don’t blame the commander. He doesn’t know we have to take you back. The inspection will benefit you, us and all of Griffon, so I’m confident the commander can understand. It’s pointless for you to contact him and plead.”
UMP45 aimed her gun at M4A1 and closed in. M4A1 pressed her communication device, but AR15 shoved the former’s hand away. AR15 coldly looked at UMP45 and tossed her gun onto the ground: “All right. I’ll go and take the exam with you.”
“Should’ve done so from the beginning!” exclaimed G11. She then held her gun across her chest and said, “Let’s hurry back now. Are we going back to Strategic Area S09 or Miss Helian?”
“To Miss Helian. M4A1, you’re the leader of AR Squad, so come with us to be inspected, as well,” said UMP45, cuffing AR15 with a pair of electromagnetic cuffs. Smiling, she warned, “Don’t blame me. This is for safety’s sake. I assume you’re away, but I’ll repeat it in case. If you put up a resistance, the cuffs will immediately destroy your circuits and hardware. Mm, M4A1 can be without cuffs. I hope you won’t disappoint me.”
AR15 silently gazed at her handcuffs. She then looked to M4A1 and remarked, “Seems I’ve caused quite the problem, huh?”
M4A1 bit down on her lip. She was upset. She didn’t want to welcome her friend home in handcuffs. But nonetheless, she couldn’t defy Miss Helian’s orders. Team 404 operated according to Griffon’s upper echelon’s orders; she couldn’t defy them. She strapped her gun to her back and said to UMP45, “Can I bid goodbye to the commander?”
“There’s no need to; you’ll be meeting him again soon. The celebration party is about to begin. Strategic Area S09’s plan to recapture Strategic Area S09 is considered done. If nothing goes wrong, you’ll get to meet up at the celebration party,” stated UMP45, gun aimed at M4A1’s shoulder. She smiled: “All right, turn and around and start walking. We’re heading to the extraction point. Tell your AR15 to remain calm; else, boom.”
Present time at the command centre…
I nodded: “I see. Understood, I will work in accordance with Griffon’s directions.”
Miss Helian’s voice was professional as usual. I learnt that Team 404 was taking M4A1 and AR15 back to headquarters for an inspection. Although they didn’t notify me beforehand, I was cognizant of the fact that the local chief wouldn’t be informed of a secret group’s missions. Hence, I wasn’t offended. I just thought it was rather absurd for T-Dolls to commit betrayal.
I analysed the information in my mind: “T-Dolls are created to obey humans, aren’t they? Yes, they possess intelligence, but they wouldn’t install knowledge that teaches T-Dolls to commit acts of betrayal, would they? I don’t think M16A1 betrayed us. Strictly speaking, she just had her programming modified, right? How did Sangvis Ferri betray humanity? I don’t get it. I don’t understand what the T-Dolls’ deal is.”
“I am glad it is so easy to communicate with you unlike other commanders who throw tantrums,” said Helian, letting out a breath of relief.
I smiled: “My previous job was the same nature as Team 404’s, after all. I understand you and them.”
“Glad to hear that. Also, after you have settled things at Strategic Area S09, you can come back to Griffon headquarters. We have recaptured Strategic Area S09. The brass is very pleased with us. They have invited you to attend a celebration party. You can bring your wife… Miss Springfield, of course. You can also bring a T-Doll. With that being said, the T-Doll can only work as a bodyguard; they will not be permitted entry into the venue. Mm, next on the agenda is Miss G36’s transfer. It has been approved. She belongs to Strategic Area S09 now. Her data has been sent to you. Please confirm it, and sort out her position.”
“I am ending the call, then.”
I placed the headphones down, got to my feet and stretched my back out. I looked at the floating map of Strategic Area S09 while feeling a mixture of emotions. Almost all of Sangvis Ferri’s forces had been driven out of Strategic Area S09. We took over supply and sentry stations one by one. We had T-Dolls guarding the structures and implemented lots of defence measures. It was surreal if you compared the time I spent at Strategic Area S09 to my achievements.
Given that Sangvis Ferri was home to traitorous combat robots, I didn’t think they were cooking any schemes or setting traps. They lacked the might to defeat Griffon; therefore, they retreated. That fitted the intelligence framework of robots.
“They aren’t planning to catch me in a pincer on both sides, are they? There are human residences on both sides. They won’t be able to cut me off so easily,” I wondered. “Does that mean we can have a short respite?”