This is Bolo fanfiction I do not own Bolo. The Bolo tank is the idea of Keith Laumer and a few other talented authors. If this and the other fanfiction on Bolo interest you, you might want to check out the Bolo books.
Director of operations Janel Hardcastle stood at the door of her now empty office. The tomb like silence of the space made her uneasy. She felt the urge to unpack the box she was carrying so as to fill the void with something anything. "I'm leaving, we are all leaving an empty room should be the least of my worries," she thought she opened the heavy soundproofed door and walked out glad to be out of the vacuum that was her office. The factory floor was a well-organized chaos. Workers hustled to move important equipment and supplies out of the cavernous building and onto the lifeboats, as they where being called. As she moved across the floor towards her destination she wished that they could have made one of those space-going ships big enough for her baby. A lift truck flew past her carrying what she though was an impossibly large welder, she couldn't tell the driver was going too quickly. As she looked up to see the truck she stopped. It was as if she had seen an angle from heaven. Tears found their way to her eyes as she stood in awe before her baby. It was truly a sight, a mountain of steal and Dinochrome. his twin hellbore cannons stretching out for the setting sun, his tracks all four of them two stories high, his hull larger than some of the cruisers she had been on, left her unable to move. She stood and took in the sight of her creation. She had over seen his construction from the day his first wheel had been placed until the day his psychtronic brain had been installed, he was her creation her only son. He was complete, fully functional, he only needed to be activated and he would live, and now she was supposed to abandon him!
She moved forward her mission clear in her heart. Leaving the box behind she mounted the latter and climbed into his hull. As she entered his quarters her breathing became difficult, she knew this would be her last time inside him. She ran her hand across the commander's chair and tried to imagine what it would be like to live with, live inside this great being. She set the recording device on his main control console in the war room. As she set the device to play back her message in ten years time, she wondered how he would take his newfound awareness. Next she ducked under the console and located the personality dampeners, she replaced them with blank cards. Now when he woke he would be able to operate at full capacity, He would not be dumbed down like his brothers and sisters where. She left the war room tears in her eyes. As she walked through the commanders quarters she saw the chess set. Her hands went out to board. She found the piece she was looking for. It was the white king, it was modeled after the great machine she now occupied. She picked the piece up gingerly as if it would crumble in her hands. She replaced the king she held in her hand with one in the form of King Arthur, "He will never match up to you I only wish I could do better!" she told the silent tank.
As she stepped onto the hard concrete of the factory floor once more, Don Harison the engineer in charge of the tank's psychtronic brain, came to her.
"I know it's a bit late but I had the guys in the shop work up something before we left. I think you should come see this." He almost whispered. He knew what this thing meant to her, honestly it meant the same to him he just lacked the courage to show it. He walked her out from under the tanks enormous hull and into the light of the setting sun. There the two found a small work crew welding a plaque onto the tanks forward right track shield plate. Tears welled up in her eyes as Janel read the inscription, "Bolo unit 7352 LXE of the line (Alexei)". She stepped forward on shaky legs and silently kissed the still warm plaque. After a many long moments Don stepped forward and took her hand.
"its time we got going the last shuttle is waiting on us, I'm sorry it has to end like this." He whispered to her.
They left the planet that day. All of humanity did as did the enemy, which Alexei was built to fight. The place had become a burned out rock, another in the countless systems that the war had touched, another forgotten battle for another forgotten planet.
Ten years to the day Janel Hardcastle was laid to rest among the stars clutched in her hands was the white king she had taken so many years ago. As the ships band played a haunting version of taps, across the galaxy her only child woke to his mothers soothing words.