Aphelion Issue 277, Volume 26
October 2022
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by C.E. Gee

The Treolians were insectoids, resembled outrageously outsized locusts but with humanoid heads--obvious hybrids.

Traveling in an interstellar ship, the Treolian swarm had invaded the Solarian System, advancing inward after seizing outposts and research stations.

The Treolian swarm easily overwhelmed Solarian peacekeeping forces, which were not much more than heavily armed police.

Not all of the outer planets and research stations were on the same side of the Solar System as the Treolian Incursion. However, there were enough to make the incursion a disaster of epic proportions.

The Treolian ship headed for Jupiter. Europa, a moon of Jupiter, had the largest moon-based research station in the Solarian System.

* * *

RU-1832 was a battlebot.

The Old Man serviced and maintained RU-1832's squad, which consisted of seven battlebots.

"My boy," the Old Man said to RU-1832, "I do believe you're about to meet your destiny. Should anything unfortunate happen to you on your mission, I will install copies of your memory and programming in a newer bot."

The Old Man patted RU-1832 on the shoulder, said, "Time to go back to your squad. Your destiny is about to be met."

* * *

The bulk freighter had once hauled ore from the Solarian system's asteroid belt to refineries on Earth's moon.

Initially possessing only an identifying number, after the onset of the Treolian incursion the ship had been modified to be the Solarian system's first bot carrier, was christened as the Shangri-La.

Because the battlebot carrier had once transported massive loads of ore, its linear particle accelerator was powerful, took water molecules that had been stripped of their electrons, and then used powerful electromagnets to push the positive ions out of a thruster nozzle.

The ions traveled at very near the speed of light when ejected, thus, due to the laws of relativity, acquired much mass, provided substantial thrust.

The Shangri-La was completely robotic. With no humans aboard, acceleration and deceleration much higher than one-gee was possible. The Shangri-La reached Europa in just a few weeks.

Europa had been evacuated long before the Treolian swarm arrived.

The Shangri-La reached Europa shortly before the Treolians.

Shuttles delivered the Shangri-La's battlebots to the depopulated research stations. Shangri-La then fled sunward.

* * *

Ru-1832's company, 140 bots, was assigned to Europa's largest research station.

RU-1832's squad was ordered to occupy a tall outcropping of ice outside of the station's perimeter.

Because of Europa's relatively light gravity, all squads in the company were able to carry neutron bombs.

Upon reaching the assigned ice outcropping, RU-1832's squad dug a bunker beneath the outcropping.

The squad placed the neutron bomb within the bunker, took cover in the bunker, powered down except for the receiver sections of their transceivers.

* * *

The Treolian swarm arrived. Shuttles from their ship descended to Europa's surface.

The Research station was surrounded by a mass of Treolians.

On command, RU-1832's squad powered up, as did all the other battlebots in the company.

Each squad quickly hauled their neutron bombs to the summit of their respective ice outcroppings, simultaneously triggered their bombs.

The Treolian ship, presumably containing only its flight crew, left the Solar system.

* * *

RU-1832 came to life. The battlebot lifted one arm, inspected its hand, and flexed its fingers.

"How do you feel?" asked the Old Man.

RU-1832 replied, "Good as new."


2016 C.E. Gee

Bio: C.E. Gee (aka Chuck) misspent his youth at backwater locales within Oregon and Alaska. Retired from the Telecom and Electronics industries, a disabled veteran, Chuck now writes SF stories, maintains a blog at kinzuakid.blogspot.com.

E-mail: C.E. Gee

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