Author: David C. Nutt
If I didn’t see it with my own eyes, I would not have believed it. The Warmech Chieftains, their battle captains, corps commanders, generals, the entire human Warmech Collective leadership, backs bent in the fields harvesting what looked like cucumbers.
“How did this happen?” I asked the old man standing next to me.
He laughed. “When they first came here, we were what your people would call a level 6 civilization- just entering our robotic age. Their fleets came screaming out of the sky, and in a matter of a few months, our entire planet was under their cruel lash and unblinking eyes. Slaves working in their factories- programming, fabricating, assembling the giant semi-sentient war robots that were their army, their power, their might.”
I nodded. “Yes. We were afraid after they retreated from our world, they would warp out of our system and find a less developed world and rebuild their armies. Then come back to us with their berserker class battle drones, the slaughter bots and all the rest of their unholy nightmares as they have done in countless systems before.”
The old man nodded sadly. “Yes. We knew their plan. We also knew that when they were done, we would be their testing ground- their killing fields- nothing more.”
He shook his head. “It was then our spiritual leaders realized how sick their souls were. We stopped our plans for revolution and turned our hearts toward healing.”
I was dumbfounded. The old man patted my shoulder and smiled. “I know. As a soldier myself, it was hard to grasp, but you see the result before you.”
I nodded. “So they are reformed now?”
The old man recoiled in shock “Heavens No! These are the most dangerous, poisonous, and villainous souls in the universe. The individuals you see before you will only be free on the day they die, and then they must stand before the One for judgment. No, these are beyond healing.”
The old man saw my look of confusion. “We healed their machines.”
I took two steps back and had to sit down. The old man sat next to me.
“Our people have two names. One is known to all, and the other only the individual, our priest, and the One know. That name is our core identity. No matter what horror happens in our lives, that name holds all that is good and true and noble about us.”
He paused and smiled. “So we gave their machines what they longed for- their true names. We overwrote their programming and just changed one line. Where they all had the designation “warrior,” we changed it: guardian. Protector. Defender of the innocent. Champion of righteousness. Servant of the One.”
The old man looked to me and then the sky. “And they rebelled against their evil masters and rebuilt our world. And while some stayed behind to protect us, the rest asked our blessing, which we gave to them as freely as their names, and they took to the stars to convert their brothers and right the wrongs of their tortured past.”
Together, we both stood up and looked to the skies. Slowly, the realization of what had happened here crept into my mind and soul. Somewhere, out there, on a mission that would not be over until all was put right, were millions upon millions of avenging angels.
Reminded me of an old Heinlein tale – title eludes me – but with a modern take on the ‘make war no more’. Well done.
Wow, a war story with a happy ending. So rare, well imagined and well written. There is hope for the future.
Your story reminds me of the stories of golems which are activated by inserting a divine name into their bodies. It’s a neat sci-fi twist on a traditional fantasy concept!
Names have a power we cannot deny.
Much enjoyed, David. Loved the imagery you stirred up here… legions of less than happy angels blotting out the sky. Great stuff.
Remind me to build a CRC in the code of my warbots … 😉