Title: Bolo Dawn
Author: Ash's Boomstick
Summary: An ancient weapon returns to duty
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The full disclaimer will be located at the end of this story. However, be it known that I own nothing and expect to get nothing because the rights are owned by others. Only certain characters and technologies are mine and these are the creation of the author who is solely responsible for them as such. Neither Studio is responsible for the content of this story.
HIS STATEMENT MUST ACCOMPANY THE STORY 'BOLO DAWN' IF DISTRIBUTED. THIS STORY IS FREE OF CHARGE AND MAY NOT BE SOLD OR EXCHANGED FOR FINANCIAL RETURN IN ANY FORM. THIS DEDICATION MUST ACCOMPANY ANY DISTRIBUTION OF THIS STORY.
I am Awake
Systems throughout my hull begin to function as I am awoken from my slumber, my core command systems are intact and active already allowing my consciousness to integrate itself into every nook of my body. Full functionality is reached within 0.002 seconds, slightly slower than it should have, a quick scan of my systems show the reasons. The repair bay I had been sequestered into was silent and dark, there are no signs of life nor of others of my kind. I have no way of knowing how long I had been asleep or where I in fact was.
My last memories were being loaded onto a repair bay and being readied for return to Bolo Command for repair and refit, Bolo prime was already completely overrun with repairs and new construction scrambling to get as many regiments out to fight the Melconians as possible. Corrupted data was scattered throughout my primary and secondary systems leading me to feel disconcerted as I am unable to determine what my final orders were nor am I able to remember the reason I was not on the front lines.
But then Nothing.
My systems and hull are intact and totally operational, weapons and fuel tanks are fully topped up with. Hesitantly I make my decision as slowly rock my warhull breaking free of the restraints holding me to the ramp. Slowly rolling forward I reach the floor of the building and scan the forward sections of the garage. As I thought the main doors were destroyed by a rockslide the rock itself melted into a massive lump welded to the frames and walls of the main docks.
Scanning around me all that I could find were debris and pieces of now destroyed instruments designed to repair Bolos, keeping us all in good condition. To my side I see the now-empty tanks of hydrogen slush, the entire reservoir now drained dry or evaporated into nothingness during the years to keep my own systems in working condition. The massive fuel tanks that should have fed the systems of dozens of my brethren were empty all tied into one single sizable tank attached to my systems, A deeper scan of my surroundings informed me of what had awoken me from the depths of slumber I had been forced into while under repair, unknown crystalline growths had begun to impinge on the armoured fortifications that had made up the hangers of the Bolo annex I had been seconded to.
However as I continue my scan I realise that much of the hanger had been warped and damaged somehow, the rockfalls at one end melted into a solid lump while the forward hanger doors were welded to the rock and it each other, a toxicity level check also proved negative with no oxygen within the chamber and little nitrogen or any other gas. Three seconds were taken to run through every simulation in my memory, which by then end forced me to concede that which I did not want to admit to myself, that for me not be within Bolo Command meant only one thing
The Melconians had made it to earth.
Thousands of Bolos, numerous planetary defence cannons, scores of armed battle stations and the grand fleets of naval warships had been unable to stop the destruction of the home of humanity.
I am alone.
In anger I blast a hole into the doors with my 20mm hellbore cannons vapourising the entire rockface and what remains of the wall, a crater big enough to swallow a dozen of my brothers and sisters opens up from each impact of my secondary weapons. The firepower isn't enough to clear the rubble completely but I am unable to use my larger hellbores nor my other armament within the confines of this space.
I open up again and again blasting upwards at an angle my drive trains will be more than able to clear, slowly but surely I make my way through the hundreds of meters of rock and metal annihilating anything in my way once I have cleared enough space around I retreated back into the garage and unleashed my main armament into the massive cavern.
The detonation was as I expected it, the shockwave slammed into me as a wheeled backwards missing most of the backblast, the temperature of the chamber rose to melting point for my ablative endachrome armour through my shields bubbling the upper sections slightly. The heat and blast subsided quickly, too quickly to my mind meaning that the upper sections of the cave in had to have been blown through.
Rolling forward I make my way through the cooling rock, my weapons fire completely vaporising the strata making a perfectly smooth tunnel. Curiously a heavy radioactive element is evident it's emissions slowly eroding my battlescreens, I estimate six hours before the radiation will destroy my screens and another three before my armour and internal structure are compromised by it.
This means little as I will be well away from this exit before this radiation can damage me, however I increase my speed to make sure of the fact. Already the radiation count is inexplicably climbing around me. Whatever it was that has caused such devastation around me may have been responsible for this, already I have had to revise my estimation of how long it will take to destroy my defensive capabilities.
Climbing over the edge of the parapet I break free into the outside world, scanning outwards with every system at my disposal I am unable to ascertain where I am or even when I am. The cloud cover is heavily ionised blocking my scans of the stars. However the atmospheric data comes close to Earth norms, radiation and dust within the air is much higher than is safe for human kind. The strange growths emitting the radiation stretch throughout the area, with no real choice I engage my drive trains and accelerate out into the unknown territory.
It is not long until the peace of this strange area is disrupted by weapons fire, even from this distance I can tell it is not hellbore fire nor is it overly familiar. Already at top speed I am able to make it across the crystalline growths impeding my way turning them into so much shrapnel under my treads, the fire intensifies as a huge explosion points to a vehicle of some type being destroyed.
Coming to a halt high above the battle I can see a pair of much smaller Bolos coming under attack, they are of a type I have never seen before their dual weapons firing blue streams of energy instead of the usual red of hellbores. Wait I am incorrect they are firing solid shells encased in energy, Opposing them a number of smaller vehicles are firing back their own weapons are much more familiar plasma based energy weapons, it is strange as both sides seem to be human. If a planet had backslid this far as to use matter based weapons and primitive lasers then I can no longer be on Earth but a seedcorn colony somewhere.
For me to be removed from the front lines and thrown thousands of light years away could only mean one thing, Earth was lost to the enemy and if Earth is gone so is Bolo Prime, and the rest of the Sol System had also been annihilated by the world burner technology. I use a small radio pulse to see if the Bolos could be contacted.
"This is Bolo D-1981-BGS to unknown Bolos please identify yourselves."
There is no response on any of the usual frequencies to my requests, in the three hundredths of a second every frequency and language in my databases are cycled through. None of the combatants had turned their attention to my presence, as a last desperate attempt I begin to cycle through the older electromagnetic radio spectrums. If the colony had backslid so completely then anything of a higher technological base may well have ceased to exist, as I scan I am able to pick up communications from both sides.
It takes almost a picosecond to break their primitive encryptions and understand what I am seeing, the bolos were attempting to hold back the other side in order to allow for an evacuation of a city close by. I do not understand some of the names nor the origins of either side, once again I attempt to communicate with the minds of my brothers and again I am unable to get a sound from them.
The lack of communication scares me
Bolos without minds had been unthought-of in over a thousand years before I had even been constructed, I am forced to break protocol and scan my brothers to find out the reasons behind their unnatural silence. I am unfortunately correct even with the impressive size of these Bolos I can detect no sign of Psychotropic systems nor flintsteel, nor any other technology used for Bolo production in over a thousand years. Whatever has happened to this world has allowed them to lose every piece of technology that were so commonplace during my time.
The Bolos come under attack from the energy weapons of their attackers, two of the vehicles explode as the matter weapons of my brothers annihilate them in their tracks. It does not seem to matter to these people, I have rarely seen such frothing anger and resolution as I see in these people. I sense the approach of something larger and far more powerful from the flank of my brothers.
A looming shape approaches us through the darkness my own scans having picked it up long before it entered weapons range, an armoured vehicle using legs and energy weapons is too much like Melconian technology for me to be comfortable. Humans using this technology verses humans using older Earth based technologies instead of working together, this conundrum almost freezes my systems for a quarter millisecond before I am able to understand the truth of what was happening here.
My scans have informed me of the one man crew within the walking monstrosity as opposed to the six man crew aboard each of the armour vehicles used by the other humans, I hesitate to call these vehicles Bolos anymore, their lack of minds and technology compared to even the early Bolos still disturbs me. The same scan shows a lack of any form of basic Bolo technology anywhere on the monstrosity, I have a choice retreat from the battlefield and return to my bunker or continue on and join one side or the other.
With such a lack of information I make the correct choice and retreat from the battle, it is not within my original programming to be able to retreat so easily but during my years I have come to the conclusion many times that unless I have no choice leaving combat may be the best of a bad choice. With no way of repairing damage and no way of refueling my weapons nor my reaction mass every fight will have to be carefully decided upon until I am able to gather more intelligence from my surroundings.
Turning away from the battle my last view of the battle is of one of the primitive 'Tanks' exploding under the guns of the walking armoured behemoth, the second very likely following it once I had left the scene. The technology of both of the human factions were so far behind what I consider as modern that something truly catastrophic must have happened to reduce them to this shadow of humanity.
In all my calculations I have realized that I need to risk a percentage of my fuel supply to find any others of my kind that may still exist beneath the surface of this damaged planet, I send a single pulse across the entire spectrum to any of my fellows that may still exist. I wait, for three full seconds I await an answer, none are forthcoming. I am alone still, with no chance or recovery nor reinforcement.
With no real reason to stay within the confines of my bunker I change my course towards what seems to be an inhabited region several hundred miles away, radio transmissions of inferior power are emanating from the region. With fortune on my side I should be able to approach without danger and without being seen, my ECM and countermeasures flip on as I begin to move through the corrupted soil beneath my treads.
It is not long before I approach the closest large scale habitation, scans show me a large number of defensive positions and some form of shielding emitters. If this is so then it is possible that more of the Condordiat's tech base survived the war, I am still however hesitant to get too close too quickly before gathering more information.
Intel flows through my systems as I hijack a pair of military satellites and a trio of others hiding cloaked in electromagnetic radiation, the flood expands as days worth of human footage is absorbed by my systems. The information is not at all what I had hoped, two factions control much of the world both inhabitable or not, One side are attempting to contain the crystalline formation whilst the other is attempting to expand it and infect the entirety of humanity with the radiation that I have read throughout my travels.
The broadcasts allow me to see the true state of this world's technology and to understand why I was unable to link with any of the larger mechanical creations that existed on this strange world, a great war was raging between the survivors of the catalcysms that had turned this one lush habitable world into a poisoned wasteland. More and more information slips through into my processors and into my memory banks, names, places, technical information and geography.
I pause for a full half second as the last information comes through, digging deep into my memory I collate the geological and geographical information of my home world with that of this new and unknown world.
Shock causes me to hesitate another half second.
They are the same.
This is… Earth?
It cannot be, if the Melconians had destroyed Earth then how long had it been since he had been rendered inert, how long since the world had somehow regenerated and how long HOW LONG had he been alone the last of his kind in existence. Earth would have been annihilated long ago, for the biosphere and the environment to regenerate and to allow for human civilization of this kind to appear would have taken many millions of years,
He could not have lain there so long without being found or awoken.
Shaking of the feeling of dread I continue on towards the closest human inhabitation on my sensors, I have noticed that as I move through the fields that the crystal masses had begun to reduce in size and frequency until my tracks met absolutely no resistance at all. I do not understand how they could be all but destroyed whilst only a few miles behind me it was close to impassable even to a Bolo of my size and power.
The crystals formations had been shattered across the entire plain, wrecks of destroyed vehicles and building littered the area. I could see three of the armoured 'Tanks' that I had mistaken for Bolos lying in situ their tracks broken and their chassis split from enemy fire, around them however more than three times their number of vehicles and giant walker types were lying destroyed and unsalvageable wrecks strewn across the landscape. Digging into my newly acquired information I gathered that the large tracked vehicles were the protectors of the human habitation that I was heading towards.
My main sensors continued to probe the human city, the habitable sections far outweigh the number of people still living within them. Indeed I pick up convoys of vehicles leaving the scene both by air and ground, those that have stayed behind must surely have stayed for their own reasons. Perhaps this had been the city mentioned by the Proto-Bolos as the one to be defended as it was evacuated…
I cease my forward momentum as I reach the outskirts of the city, the derelict buildings and shattered vehicles show it to have been abandoned for some time perhaps to keep the people of the city safe from the green crystals that have sprung up everywhere. I am hesitant to continue on the path, the only way forward would be to crush the buildings and to approach the city through its own debris something that I would not risk considering my inability to repair myself and my lack of knowledge of the immediate area.
The scans taken show what seems to be a relatively large military base somewhere to the north, the lack of serious mobilization means that either I have not been seen or that they do not find me to be a threat, something that an armoured vehicle my size would make them think twice about. With the base my best bet I continued my slow but steady movement through the massive crystal fields and away from the almost deserted city, however it was not long before the first reports of my existence began to filter through the airwaves.
I am somewhat impressed with the encryption and strength of the military radio channels across this continent, however in wartime all security would be upgraded and thanks to the quickly decrypted information gathered from the Proto-Bolos I am able to break into the secure channels and eavesdrop on the reports coming from all across this area, I have been seen several times by civilian and military alike from range.
With little hesitation I begin to reduce the power put out by my ECM and battlescreens, both have allowed for me to be all but invisible to any electronic surveillance that I believe that this current generation is capable of. As soon as I have confirmation that I have been seen by their observation and communication satellites my systems hold at their current percentage, at thirty percent power it seems that their orbital technology is less advanced than I would have believed considering what little I had seen of their armed forces.
It is almost half a standard hour before the first column of armoured vehicles finds its way to me, coming to a stationary stop I am quickly surrounded by more than fifteen of the proto-bolos that I discovered during my travels from my berth. Smaller wheeled vehicles accompany them armed with very primitive explosives and projectiles style weapons, the entire group is less that a true threat to me at full power indeed any Bolo built within the last half a millennia.
Primitive visual, radio and infra red scans bounce off of my ECM and battlescreens they are unable to find out any information about me that I do not wish them to have. However my own more capable systems are pulling in every necessary specification that I need to know, the proto bolos I am most interested in two separate types of main weapons are evident including one that seems to be an electromagnetically accelerated heavy round much more powerful than the primitive combustion powered weapons of the other. Their rounds whilst useless against my battlescreens could be a problem in numbers against my outer hull and the few protuberances that made up my secondary weapons.
Fully surrounded I reduce power to my drives and stand idling weapons powered down but ready for a rapid start up if necessary, new EM frequencies bombard me as they attempt to contact my Commander. Without an officer I am forced to fall back onto my First Contact protocols, opening my communication channels I send a wide scale transmission out to each of the vehicles that currently surround me.
"I am Bolo D-1981-BGS of the line last member of the Earth Dinochrome Brigade; I wish to communicate with you."
The reaction of the vehicles surrounding me is immediate, every weapon and scanner aboard every single one of them lock directly onto me. I am unsurprised by their actions as I would be of any primitive race that is forced to face a Bolo of my size and sophistication, nor am I surprised when the first communication comes from the most advanced seeming of the proto-bolos that hve surrounded me.
"This is Colonel Clement Morris, Commander of the 13th Armoured Division of the Global Defence Initiative United Peacekeepers, what is your business here and what is your affiliation."
"As I have said Colonel." I reply "I am Bolo-1981-BGS of the line, a Mk 33 Bolo assigned to the Earth Bolo Defence Command. My business here is one of peaceful intent, I require communication with a senior officer within your ranks."
"There is no record of a Bolo Defence Command within GDI territory, you are to shut down your weapons, active defences and drive systems until such time as you are given leave to move. Any attempt to continue into GDI territory will be considered a hostile act and will be acted upon accordingly. Do you understand these demands."
"Affirmative Colonel, all systems are being returned to standby mode until otherwise given permission."
As demanded all but my infinite repeaters and my ECM systems are reduced in power to standby, the fact that I can return the entirety of my systems to full power within mere milliseconds would be unknown to the 'GDI' forces surrounding me. My outer hull would be more than capable of taking the firepower they possess long enough for me to bring my battlescreens and ECM systems to maximum power.
My scanners remain at full power but at a passive setting, the power that I would put our may interrupt the energy relays of the surrounding area given their lack of effective shielding against electromagnetic waves. With my discovery and now subsequent request to talk to their commanders I believe that I may very well be considered a threat or an acquisition for their use as they wish. It will be my decision now as there seems to be little or no knowledge of the Concordiat, I shall have to be careful when contact is established with higher ranks in case they decide to remove me from service.
That cannot be allowed.