“Destroy the enemy, and avoid human casualties,” Carmen said. Her tanks and rovers went into the city, blasting the big, bulky dogs with pinpoint accuracy even amid the smoke and wreckage. Soon enough, the streets of Tweed Heads were filled with rovers, shooting at the dogs and warning any surviving humans to flee.
The Alliance, however, had no need of such care and accuracy. They machine-gunned the timid rovers and bombed the tanks, not caring who or what was in the way. Carmen wanted to fire at will, but there were just too many people; she bit her thumb as her mighty forces, the terror of the outback, fell before the Alliance’s devious, indiscriminate attacks.
A call came. It was the Baron again.
“Why are you holding back, little human? Your country’s own laws allow you to disregard human casualties in the event of foreign invasion. After all, more people dying means more for you if you beat me,” he said. Carmen just glared back, balling her fist. She had no answer, just a sense of anger that the Alliance would go after flesh-and-blood people with such unconcern. She hung up on him.
“Regroup near Brisbane. We can’t let them attack there too,” Carmen said. What was left of her forces fled the burning city, the Alliance only too glad to see them go. As the dots representing her robots drifted away from Tweed Heads, she decided to make a call.
The face of a scraggly young man with a goatee appeared on screen, reclining in a padded chair.
“Blaine, come to my place. We need to discuss something,” Carmen said. Blaine’s holdings were only one-twentieth as large as Carmen’s, but Carmen liked having a loyal ally.
“Oh, the thing in Tweed Heads. We can just discuss it here, you know,” replied Blaine.
“The Alliance might intercept it.”
“Good point. I’m on my way.”
Usually when Blaine came to visit, Carmen ended up flat on her back in various places around the house, much to her enjoyment. This time, though, they opted for something different. Blaine sat on the sofa while Carmen sat next to him, her body leaning against his.
“I scoped out the area before coming here. They’ve brought reinforcements,” Blaine said.
“And those dogs – a considerable improvement compared to what they had a year ago,” replied Carmen, who grabbed onto Blaine’s arm.
“If they beat you, my lands get swallowed like candy. I’m telling you, I’ll have to steamroll all of Queensland just to keep them from advancing. Everyone else will just get crushed!” Blaine said.
“How will you handle casualties?”
“I won’t. I’ll let the chips fall where they may.”
A painful tingle ran through Carmen. The brutal images of the scene in Tweed Heads – machine guns mowing down people like so much wheat, metal dogs tearing at anyone they caught, pieces of people littering the blood-soaked streets – all of it scrambled her mind and made her tense up.
“But those are human beings. It just feels cruel to fire so loosely inside a city,” Carmen said, her voice low and sad.
“So what? You’re a human, I’m a human, we’re all humans. The law says we don’t have to worry about casualties when there’s an invasion. Some countries allow you to kill people for a week out of each year – are they wrong too? Stop worrying about little stuff,” Blaine said. He tried to give Carmen a peck on the forehead, but Carmen pulled away.
“If you won’t join me, I will gladly take them on myself. I will not just let the Alliance kill people, no matter what you think about it,” she said.
“You don’t even have the forces for that, and they took a lot of your raw materials, so it’s not like you can swamp them with a million billion fresh machines,” Blaine said.
“No. Instead, I will have a stalwart ally, one who will be very sad to see me go,” Carmen said. She got up, leaned forward and placed her face inches from Blaine’s, hands on her hips.
“Your head won’t be completely in it. You’ll mess up.”
“That’s what AI is for.” Carmen backed off, then headed to her rig to check on her forces. Blaine relented and decided to join her.
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I'm Rawle Nyanzi, a professional author who seeks only to entertain. My blog is a convenient place where you can find all my writings and some of my opinions on various topics relating to politics, pop culture, and even gender.
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