/Signal Detected - Type Aurek-Trill-Krenth/
/Power systems now online./
/Objective: Eliminate all Republic forces./
/Now accessing secondary processing unit.../
Vision. That was the first thing I felt return as power course through me before my optic and audio sensors regained control. With a single line of code, I soon saw that once again, I had been dropped in another battlefield. Quickly engaging my servos, I stood to my full height of nearly 2 meters before observing the battlefield.
/Terrain: Rocky mountainside./
/Opposition: Incoming Republic armada./
/Threat level: High./
'And my blaster rifle has a fragging aiming defect,' I noted as I looked down at the blaster, the bend in the mass-produced blaster evident to any droid familiar with the weapon. Despite what the commanders have said, I and many other battle droids are hardly idiots. True, as a B1 battle droid, our processing systems and programming takes up most of our primary memory usage, our secondary processing units located in our heads still held our info no matter how many times we’re rebuilt and recycled. As such, while we may not have good ‘muscle memory’ as the organics would put it, our experiences and battle memory can help to balance it out. Some of the more noticeable command and assault battle droids even used to be B1s who were activated as early as the Battle of Naboo before their programming was changed to fit their position.
'Good to see you online, DSH-13,' I heard a droid chime through a signal, and my servo noted a B1 to the right of me that had a scuff mark running across the bridge of his head.
'You too, FRE-27!,' I chimed in response as I rushed to the battlefield, faintly hearing a Command Droid order us to engage in combat before we rounded the side of the mountain.
As we began to charge forwards, my range of vision was quickly filled with white and grey at the platoon in front of us. Upon the unit beginning to turn the corner, I immediately fell back, letting the newly-built droids take the opening volley before retaliating. Despite the blaster's build being flawed, the sheer number of clones ensured that at least a few clones were hit by the blaster bolts.
'What a bunch of newbuilts,' FRE quipped as the droids around us began to fire at the clones with only their targeting programs to guide them, forcing the clones to go into hiding. While free-shooting had taken out a few more units, the clones had quickly hidden away behind rocky outcrops, making blaster fire as useful as punching one of us. After a few minutes of the newbuilts pointlessly wasting blaster bolts on the protrusions, even they realized that the effort was pointless and they ceased firing, standing there with confusion as to what to do.
"Don't just stand there!" I heard the commanding officer (A Neimoidian according to the database) shout from within his personal AAT unit, "Find them!"
Oh sure, you stay safe in your personal tank that could destroy whatever cover they have. The highly vulnerable infantry is sure to take care of them for you, I snarked across the B1 droid communications broadcast, and a few snickers were given in response. However, I was left with little choice in the matter as I felt my servos stiffen before my vocal processor intoned, "Roger-Roger."
These words. I despise them more than any other. Whenever they are uttered, that means that all other protocols not necessary are ignored, leaving us as intelligent as a mouse droid and as with as little a survival protocol. However, whereas a mouse droid would have their small size and protective casing to protect them, a battle droid’s lanky build and wiry frame meant that we were little more than target practice to those with decent aim, cloaking tech and a blaster. Whether this was an accident of the programmers or a flaw in our logical partitions, I do not know. However, it was something that drew ire and malicious thought upon even being mentioned.
"Look, sir. Jedi!" A droid further ahead from the unit verbally exclaimed before its vocal processor let out a scream. At this statement, I felt as if all of my processing units failed to function. Jedi. A word that was synonymous to doom for us droids. Not only were they able to render our weaponry useless, but their precognitive and repulsion abilities made it near-impossible for even droidekas to take them out. However, the general's orders left the group with little choice as we turned as one towards the oncoming harbinger of deactivation.
“Blast them!” I exclaimed out of survival, and the rest of the unit turned to fire upon the Jedi. However, our efforts were futile as the Jedi quickly charged at the rest of us, his vivid green lightsaber cutting through the droids' bodies like a splicer through an unprotected signal.
As my body continued to fire at the Jedi, a flicker of movement arced to the left of me and my optics immediately focused in on them, identifying them as thermal detonators that were rapidly approaching. However, I could only track them with minimal efficiency as my primary processor continued to fire at no avail upon the Jedi in front of me, leaving me helpless to stop the explosives as they landed among the group. As the detonators began to signal their detonation, the Jedi jumped behind an outcrop and some of the other droids were only able to turn to only another in confusion before they went off.
A bright flash was all I saw of the detonation before my optic perception became a continual blur of colors, the decreasing amount of blue being the only sign of my descent. Eventually, I was brought to a sudden halt as my chassis crashed against a surface, the sudden shock sending both processors into standby...
/Command Chip damaged. Return for repairs immediately./
This message was the first thing I was aware of as my processors came back online. Checking my components, I quickly became aware that I had lost connection to portions of the processor in my chassis and had an benign opening in my left leg casing, yet was otherwise unharmed. With my body relatively intact, I activated my optic sensors and found myself stranded at the base of the mountainside, flashes of light signalling that the battle still commenced. Auditory input soon confirmed this, but the level of sound soon inferred that the battle had moved away. No telling who's winning, though, I thought as I extracted myself from where I had landed and began to look for my blaster, ready to return to the battlefield and resume fighting-
This sudden thought made my servos halt and I began to think this over. Why should I return to the battlefield? Is it logical to rush back into the fray without thought, not caring for what the situation may be? Is it logical to go back to a place I'll only be scrapped and rebuilt for war over and over until I end up as a pile of rust, having not experienced a life outside of perpetual combat?
/Command Chip damaged. Return for repairs immediately./
As this message ran through my processor once more, my secondary processor understood what was going on. With this Command Chip damaged, that meant that whatever drive I once had for combat was now gone. Did this mean that my kind only fought because this chip controlled our bodies, leaving us enthralled to the word of those labelled of superiors? Were our efforts and calculations only cogs and lines of codes to our commanders, with nary a second thought about what we do?!
"By the Creator," I verbally exclaimed at the world, my processors whirring with indignity, "Is all we do for naught?!"
Yet as I looked back at the battlefield, my processors slowing to a low hum, I realized that was true for both Republic and Confederacy. Every battle they fought, there may be victors, but neither side rarely came out unscathed. Both sides lost men and machine alike, yet the factories just churned out more like the blasters we use. Be it the clones they have raised or the droids our 'superiors' have programmed, the war will not end on just one battle.
Truly, in war there are no winners or losers. Only casualties and survivors.
As the sounds of battle faded away and I continued to compute what I should do, I realized that there was no return for me. Unlike the clones that I have fought against over and over, I could not simply walk into base and no longer be considered MIA. The second they took they down to the repair bay and discovered my damaged processor, they would undoubtedly subject me to a full memory wipe, leaving me as green as a newbuilt and not aware of what little freedom I had experienced.
At the same time, I could not just walk into the Republic base and surrender myself to them either, becoming one of their own. The very image of an unarmed battle droid would set them on high alert, and I would be taken to a splicer and hacked for any information until I was left as efficient as a protocol droid without vocal processors at best. So what choice was I left with?
"Battle-Droid DSH-13," A voice proclaimed, and I turned to find an OOM-series battle-droid standing behind me, a duo of B1 battle-droids standing at either side of him, "You are to return to the battlefield immediately."
I stared at the Comm Droid with trepidation, my processor running through scenarios at a rapid pace. This was my test, my final choice: Whatever I did now would seal my fate. Yet at the same time, neither choice would result in my survival. If I went with them, I would be destroyed and my memory wiped, left a shell of my former self. But if I fled, I would obviously be hunted down by my brethren and shot down before being turned to slag, destroying me utterly. Were these my fates? To be sacrificed or turned to slag? Were these truly my only choices?
/Command Chip damaged. Return for repairs immediately./
There was always another choice.
"What was that?" The Comm Droid said, hefting up his blaster which signaled the others to do the same.
"I will not go back to a place where there is only suffering and my fate will result in being offlined permanently at best." I told the Comm Droid, my leg servos slightly bending in anticipation as my processor began to rapidly calculate how to take them out as soon as possible, "I will not let myself go back to that place even if it means that I will die from a loss of energy. Even if my battery will last only a few days, I will gladly live my last few days in freedom rather than to live a thousands days in torment. I will not walk the path of slaughter any more."
"Very well then." The Comm Droid said before leveling the blaster, "Then there is no alternative." As the blasters began to fire, I crouched down before sprinting at them with a swiftness that was previously unattainable for me. This was quickly rectified as my processors re-calibrated to this new-found agility as I twisted and swiveled through the blaster fire, swiftly cutting down the meters between us within seconds. Reaching out, I grabbed the top of the Comm Droid's blaster and the servo of the firing arm before giving a sharp upwards twist.
Though this was not known of outside of the Creators and other battle droids, I easily knew that the servo joints of the B1 series and all offshoots were structurally weak. So with a sharp twist, I disarmed the Comm Droid and quickly unloaded a volley of blaster bolts into his neck, severing the two processors' connection to prevent them from getting back up.
"What the?" The battle droid to the left of me exclaimed as he began to calculate these new circumstances (Something that I myself would have done if I were in his chassis), but I turned to face him and quickly sent him offline with a blaster bolt to the head. However, this action drew my attention away from the other battle droid and I soon paid for it as a burst of energy tore through my shoulder servo, melting several wires in the process. I was quick to respond, though, as I whipped around and smacked the blaster away before shooting the droid through the neck, his body slumping down limply without a processor to help it move.
With the threat now eliminated, I aimlessly looked upon that which I have caused, my stolen blaster falling out of my malfunctioning limb as my body began to shudder, the open wires sending my limb into convulsions at the loss of energy. Any chance of there being acceptance upon return was gone now. There was no mercy for those who turn on the Confederacy. Anything that happened now would be those that I make myself.
Covering the open hole in my chassis with my hand, I turned away from the battle and began to walk aimlessly into the forest before me. Whether the direction I was heading would lead to a quick deactivation or not, I did not know. However, the only goal I had at the moment was that I would forge my own path for what little time I had left, and I embraced this uncertainty as a whole.