Siege droid 10 fired another shell from the massive cannon on his back and the blowback pressed hard against his shock absorbers and dug his titanic armored legs deeper into the ground. The heat from the day’s worth of fighting radiated across his body and strained the circuits and gears within.
The digital orders from his masters came in clear and concise across his mind, ceasefire. Siege droid 10 was thankful for the break. He had stood in his firing position since before the sun rose, taking withering return fire from the enemy. Pockmarks and dents covered his limbs and a particularly painful hole in his chest from an unlucky rocket strike.
Cheers from the humans told him the battle was over before the orders did. The haggard warriors and soldiers that lined the trenches before the enemy fortress embraced each other and fired their rifles into the air.
“They’re calling it quits! The war’s over boys!” someone shouted over the radio. Siege droid 10 watched quietly as the officers, once sticklers for protocol and order, succumbed to the revery and euphoria of the moment.
“Finally cracked ‘em.” an older voice said over the radio, relief present in his voice. The military police pressed forward, still stern-faced and sour, to take charge of any survivors and prisoners before the celebration began in earnest. Even in the midst of war, the law would be observed.
Siege droid 10 stole a glance along the battle line and paused on the scars of the siege. Craters and felled trees covered the landscape and punctuated by the charred hulks of destroyed tanks and his fellow droids. Their corpses had lost their sharp uniform colors and now all that remained were the blackened sheets of steel that hung off their emaciated frames. The pain from his rocket wound seemed to grow sharper when he looked at the remains of the only other siege droid that the army had brought down to the planet.
Siege droid 15 was an older model but a proud one. She’d seen several tours of duty across the galaxy and wore her past victories with pride. The names of fortresses and cities she’d cracked were painted in bold and bombastic colors along her arms. When they’d approached the fortress and dug their heels into the earth to start their bombardment, Siege droid 10 could ignore the pain of his labor and pushed himself to fight harder, to be more efficient in his actions, as long as he was alongside her.
Now, she stood dead in place. Her 12 years of service ended with a single round that punched right through her head. The humans might have nursed her back to health had that been all she’d suffered but a firebomb had burned away many of her circuits and ravaged her frame. Now she’d linger on the battlefield for a while until the humans finally took her down. They’d dissect her and see if any of her metal or gears could be be salvaged. When they’d reclaimed what they could, Siege droid 15 would be laid in a scrap heap, with only the remains of both enemy and allied vehicle her company.
“Tell the engineers to take a look at 10 before they start celebrating. Command wants it ready for departure ASAP.” An officer commanded. Siege droid 10 stood still, unable to express his groan or exhaustion.
It was an order Siege droid 10 knew well. It was a thankless journey to the landing pad to be tended with the rough hands and tools of army mechanics. Circuits would be replaced and plates replaced, always with expedient efficiency. His internals would be quickly examined to make sure he could still carry on and then the hole in his chest would be patched. Once he was cleared for departure, he’d be packed onto a freighter and carried across space to a new battlefield and before long, he’d be dug into the ground, his cannon blasting away.
One of the observers who’d spent the battle atop of Siege droid 10’s head in a tiny sandbag bunker climbed out. He removed his ear covers and patted off some of the soot that had collected on him. He smiled at the brief moment of calm and patted the hulk he was sitting on.
“Glad that’s over.”