The Battleground lay silent, besides the gentle noise of machinery coming from a singular War Droid. Beside it lays its commander, the one it went into battle with.
His labored breathing and gasping coughs happen less and less. The War Droid that the human affectionately called Aether attempted to tend to him, but the human stopped them.
"C'mon Aeth, you don't need to. Look at me, I'm done for here." He grunted as he pat the arm of the machine.
"Dan, I am equipped with high-grade medical supplies and training, I can help." Aether replied Robotically.
Dan holds onto Aether's arm, his grip getting looser by the second. "No can do buddy, Im tired and you know I'm a goner. just gimme some morphine and ill take a rest." Dan says, trying to hold on for just a little bit longer.
"Ok sir, but before I administer the morphine. What will my final order be?" Aether asks, the robotic voice cracking for a moment, sounding like sadness.
Dan lets go of Aethers arm, "Get to the evac point, you'll follow whoever is in command there."
"Yes Sir," He says as he injects Dan with morphine. "It was a pleasure serving alongside you Sir." He adds.
"It was, it truly was. Now go out there and kick some ass." Dan says as he smiles a bloody smile."
"G-goodbye Sir." Aethers's voice module glitches. His programing would normally schedule a maintenance check for later, but he turns it off. turning around he begins jogging towards the evac point.
The sound of metal thumps against the ground is soon broken by the sound of helicopters and voices. He's made it.
Soldiers aim their weapons at him, but he identifies himself. "War Droid designation 204, code name Aether. I was sent here to administer aid and help with the evacuation effort."
A woman steps up, extending her hand to Aether. "First lieutenant, Maria Davidson. Glad to have you along, you can start helping load people onto the helicopters." Aether Accepts the handshake and proceeds to his designated task.
As he helps, he makes idle chatter with the soldiers. Once all the men and supplies are loaded onto the helicopters, He's about to climb aboard and get off the planet. grabbing the hand of a soldier he's been helping, they try to pull him aboard but a sound rings out and the look of the man holding onto him is that of surprise.
Severel shots ring out, some from the soldiers and others from the Dukov army that's just crested the hill. The one holding onto him gets shot in the arm, and it causes him to let go of Aether. A second later another shot hits him in the neck, splattering Aethers visor with blood.
Aether lands on his back, and the helicopters take off, leaving him behind. Another series of sounds go off, and the choppers get hit with powerful ordinance and all explode in a series of fireballs.
Wiping his visor he sees the blood, and closes a fist around it. "Diagnostic check: Partial damage to left arm. Objective check: None. Prime Directive: Protect Captain Da- FAILED." His code tells him.
Looking out at the devastation, another message comes. "New Objective, survey area for survivors, and rescue any found."
He does a life sign sweep, but Nothing is found. He does it again, once again nothing is found.
"N-no Objective, r-requesting or-orders." His glitches are getting worse.
The sound of the Dukov army is getting louder, they're approaching fast. Getting to his feet, Aether asks out into the air, to no one at all. "C-Captain D-Dan, Orders please?" An unmistakable tremor in his modulated voice.
"S-ir. What do I-I-I do?" His hands begin to tremble, he's unsure what's causing it.
"Hold Up, We've got one left. It seems unarmed, lets see if we can get information out of it." The voice of the Dukov commander shouts from not too far away.
Beep. A noise coming from Aether grabs his attention. "Operation Reach, Objective: Survive. Unlocking Failsafes and personality subroutines, Conscientia failsafe Offline."
A shock to the system, gaining self-awareness. The first thing Aether does is copy his own code, lack of fail-safes, and all to an external drive and attach it to an atmospheric Buoy, letting it fly up into the air.
As the oncoming force makes its way toward him, Aether is reminded of Dan. He would talk to Aether about history. Specifically military history, and famous last stands. "Guess I get to have one of my own, sir." He says, a smile in his voice.
As the forces get close, Aether raises his arms and lets the guns in them come out. the power of his guns rip through the first few dozen soldiers, they fall quickly.
Tchk Tchk the sound coming from his guns warns him that he's out, "shit." He responds to the annoyance of his lack of ammo, sapient for only 4 minutes and he's taking after his mentor.
As the bullets pelt his armor, sparking off in orange glows. He walks toward them. Slowly picking up speed and breaking into a sprint.
The Duvok forces expected a normal War Droid, with a look of cold calculation in its screen. Instead, they're facing one that's acting erratically, and the screen on its face is one of rage. Once it stopped firing they realized something, a sound was coming from it. As it sprinted towards them with fury in its LED eyes, its screaming. The mechanical screech sent chills down their carapace.
Once Aether reached the mass of enemies, he started beating soldiers down. At this close of a range, bullets start penetrating his armor.
Each punch, each blow, more shots hit him. Warnings blared at him, telling him to relocate and repair himself. Some part of him wanted too, to fall back and try to survive. But another part, told him to press on.
"New Objective, Kill." He rewrites his own objective, suddenly as this order is sent to his systems all warnings stop.
Now that his attention can be fully put on his enemy, he starts attacking them with more ferocity.
Blood and gore cover his armor, and even more, bullets penetrate through his armor. Oil poured out of him, his screens cracked. A stray shot ricocheted inside him, piercing a coolant pipe.
Now keenly aware of how quick he'll soon overheat and have his core detonate. A plan forms in his mind, and as soon as it does his extra armor plating comes out of him, covering him from fire. But slowing him down dramatically as his joints hardened.
A sound comes from his chest, his core is heating up. He pushes on, going towards a large mass of soldiers. He pushes on, ignoring the damage speeding up will cause his systems. As he begins running, metal begins cracking and shards fly off. "Not fast enough" He shouts at himself.
Sending all the extra energy from his overheating core to his legs, he breaks into a sprint toward them.
With each step, pieces of him shatter and fall apart. As he gets closer he sees them, a general. One of the 5 in the Davok army, killing them will be devastating to their armys stability.
His vision goes red, either from the several warnings now forcing themselves onto his vision or just from hatred. He's not sure.
As he gets close, he jumps towards them. several more shots hit him, but all are deflected or absorbed by the extra armor.
Landing ontop of the general, and extends his armor around him like a series of wings. "See you in Hell!" He growls at the general as he opens his chest cavity exposing his critical core, and reopens fuel lines closest to his surface and detonates himself.
The fuel catches fire, in the confined space of his fuel lines they explode, shattering the armor he dropped around him like wings and turning himself into a nuclear fragmentation bomb.
The explosion is deafening, and the shrapnel and parts go flying, shredding any soldier anywhere nearby.
after the detonation, the losses the Davok army faced, forced them to stay put and tend to the injured and wait for further orders now that their general was gone. But the nuclear signature from Aethers core detonating alarmed the Humans, and they sent in more and wiped the Davok off the planet.
With one of the 5 generals gone, the fighting power of the Davok army was reduced and was sent reeling. allowing humanity and its allies to turn the tide of the war, and only a year later peace treaties were signed and the war was over.
The planet, Klavor 9. Was eventually turned from an inhospitable desert, and into a frozen and gorgeous forest due to a failed terraforming project. Soon turned into a tourist attraction in the warmer summer months.
58 years after Aethers detonation.
The light from the planet's star shined through the fabric of a tent, hitting a human man in the eyes and waking him up.
he grunts in annoyance and tries to sit up, but the weight on his chest holds him back. Looking down he sees an Umi holding onto him. "oh yea, forgot about you." he says to himself.
Slowly peeling them off of him, he starts to leave the tent and as he's about to close it the Umi speaks up. "Where are you going?" they say groggily, obviously still asleep.
"Setting up the fire again, and making some coffee. Go back to sleep." They say.
The Umi nods and lays back down, falling back asleep in seconds.
The human starts the fire and puts a pot of coffee on top. In the downtime, they listen to the forest, relaxing and watching the fire.
as they watch the fire a sound breaks their attention, as they turn to look at the sound they see something falling from the sky, and going through the trees not too far away.
Standing up off the log he's sitting on they start to walk towards it. Soon he sees it, an atmospheric buoy that's popped.
As he's inspecting the wreckage he hears the sound of running behind him. "Hey Dave, what was that?" The Umi says, now almost entirely fully awake and with a look of slight concern and intrigue.
"Oh, Kotzal. Your awake." Dave greets Kotzal. "It was an atmospheric buoy, that fell from the sky." Dave continued as he reached out and grabbed the buoy.
"Whats that on the clamp of the Buoy, it looks odd." Kotzal points out a strange device attached to the buoy.
Pulling off the device and inspecting it, Dave realizes its function. "Its an old external drive, I mean Old too. Not many devices can accept these types anymore, i'd need something else to read it. Dont have the stuff on hand." He answers, mostly to Kotzal. But also to himself.
Putting the drive in his coat pocket and hauling the buoy over his shoulder they walk back to camp, and enjoy the rest of their day.