“Chummy,” the war machine–turned loyal dog–has quickly become one of my favorite characters. Here’s another story about him. *footnote is at the bottom of the page.
Chummy and the Mercenaries
“Get off my land,” said 15-year old Daphne Ojibwa. She held her chin high and her shotgun higher, aimed straight at the leader.
When she first saw the shuttle landing, she expected cattle rustlers. A strange thing in the year 2163, but New Hope’s Terran cattle thrived in the colony while the livestock struggled elsewhere. Cattle rustling wasn’t new, but heavily armed mercenaries were. The three lead men she faced soon grew to twelve, and they encircled her. She was in trouble and she knew it. She only hoped the emergency signal crew was listening on her open mic.
“That shotgun won’t do diddly against combat armor, little girl,” said the grizzled and goateed leader.
“I notice your face isn’t covered,” she replied, holding the shotgun expertly and perfectly steady. Daphne may have inherited her mother’s beauty-queen looks, but she also claimed her father’s willfulness and self-reliance. Like her father, the ranch was everything to her, and she intended to guard it with her life.
The man to the leader’s left watched a sensor in his hand. His head snapped up. “Top! She broadcasting.”
Almost as one, 12 combat rifles lifted up and aimed directly at Daphne.
Standing on a hillock, one kilometer away, Chummy was listening to Daphne’s open mic. The Cerberus-class war machine looked, and often acted, like a large dog, albeit five feet tall at the shoulder. A self-programming artificial intelligence, Chummy had begun experiencing powerful emotions despite the claims of technical manuals. One year ago, he had bonded emotionally with Aleta Watts — who named him– and claimed the remainder of New Hope colony as his protectorate.
He intended to protect Daphne, whom he knew to be an expert dog-petter*, as he had other colonists before. He had to defuse the situation fast. Firing on the mercs would probably end with them killing Daphne. But Chummy had a few tricks. His jaws gaped wide and loosed a powerful, focused sound like the blast of 100 fog horns, directly at the group. The sonic attack would knock unconscious anyone without hearing protection and stun those with it. It would knock out Daphne too, but it would also give Chummy time to get to her side.
The sound ripped across the fields, shredding grasses as it passed. As expected, the three leading mercs, Daphne, and three other un-helmeted mercs were knocked unconscious. Six protected mercs felt like they had been hit by an NFL Linebacker, and collapsed in daze. Three vomited convulsively.
Chummy wasted no time pressing his advantage. He charged down the hillock to the mercs, his long legs and hinged spine launching him to 160km/hr in a mere three strides. During each stride, with forelimbs aimed at the recovering mercs, his forelimb-mounted cannon unleashed 7mm hypersonic rounds. Each round boosted to Mach 17 in an instant and punched through their combat armor like an ice pick through eggs. The fluid shock wave reduced flesh and bone to the consistency of spaghetti sauce, and it erupted from the gaps in their armor.
Aboard the mercenary shuttle, the crew could still hear Chummy’s sonic attack through the armored hull. Only one thing made a sound like that, and they reacted in a panic. The pilot jammed the throttles full forward and the formerly idling engines launched the shuttle into the sky. The weapons officer brought up the targeting radar, but the exotic materials of Chummy’s fur absorbed radar waves, foiling any attempting to achieve a lock. The officer began firing his ion cannon manually, hoping for a reprieve from certain death while the cannon kicked up fountains of earth around Chummy.
With the conscious mercenaries dead, Chummy shifted his attention to the attacking shuttle. He could survive the ion blasts if they hit him, his fur and internal armor easily deflecting them. The shuttle wasn’t a great worry, but Chummy didn’t intend for anyone to get away.
His main gun, a 15mm electromagnetic cannon, unfolded from his back, achieved lock, and fired. More powerful than his leg cannon, the main gun launched projectiles at Mach 22. After launch, scramjet engines aboard the shells ignited and boosted the rounds to Mach 29. The energy released on penetration was powerful enough to ignite the fusion warhead inside and release a 0.7 kiloton nuclear explosion inside the target.
The shuttle never had a hope. It was very low when it disintegrated, sending multi-ton fragments in all directions at high velocity. As Chummy dodged the chunks, his leg caught on a stray strand of barbed wire. His powerful leg snapped it easily, but the snag was enough to make him stumble as an 8-ton fragment screamed towards him.
Automatic systems aboard Chummy detected an untenable situation and took action. Two Robin’s egg-sized projectiles launched from Chummy’s sides and boosted into the atmosphere on scramjet engines.
Eight tons of dying shuttle slammed into Chummy at Mach 3, and exploded.
*** To be continued ***