Book cover of “I Am Tank“ by T. Rossi

I Am Tank

  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age: 18+
  • Status: Ongoing
  • Language: English
  • Author: T. Rossi
When the AI uses the Savage Glory game to decide the destiny of human beings on Earth, 1000 people are chosen to combat. These people will vie for the winner's reign while also determining the destiny of the remaining humans on Earth who are hibernated. Knowing the human future is in grave danger, Red, who unintentionally agrees to participate i... 

Chapter 1

"Eat. Now."

There was no pressure in the voice, just flat and emotionless. Still, it was like a command that could not be denied.

"Red, come on," the voice pleaded, still in the same tone.

Red stared unappetizingly at the porridge poured into the bowl in front of her. Who knew what was on the menu for dinner tonight, which was supposed to have an artificial taste like the real thing. But in Red's eyes, porridge was porridge. It was all she had eaten in her entire life of nineteen years.

"I'm bored, Ingo." Red's answer looked pitiful.

"You have the next nineteen minutes to finish your dinner." Ingo spoke up again.

Red, aka Aegea Harts, snorted quietly. It wasn't her hair color that earned her that nickname, for her hair was chin-length, straight, and raven black. She lived with a red eyeball that was a robot eye. 

The eyeball was also the reason why Aegea's character changed her name to Red. Red was not born perfect, because at birth one eye –the left one—was not functioning. So at the age of ten, when Ingo was taken away by Jeremiah-Red and Aegea's father-Red finally got a new eye. 

"You won't be able to convince Ingo," muttered the figure sitting opposite Red. 

Red's eyes watched Aelea, who ate while humming softly. Aelea's hand held a knowledge tablet, a technological tool to find out various things that humans needed to know after the Great War. Aelea was not a typical girl who liked knowledge, and it seemed strange to Red that her sister had been so happy to fill her head with knowledge these past few days without any compulsion.

"You're acting strange," Red commented.

"Like what?" Aelea just gave a small grin.

"Feeling happy?" 

Aelea, who was two years younger, immediately covered her chest. "You can't do that, Red. Remember what Dad said? It's not polite."

The advantage of Red's left eye was that it provided certain specific information. Red could look at a person's body like an X-ray eye if she wanted to. However, her late father had always warned Red never to do that unless it was urgent. And reading Aelea's uncharacteristic heartbeat rhythm was a crime in itself.

"I didn't do anything." Red relaxed her shoulders.

Meanwhile, the figure sitting across from Red just snorted and rolled her eyes.

"What did we eat last night?" Aelea asked Ingo in order to change the subject. Not forgetting to shake her chest-length wavy brown hair. It actually annoyed Red. "Macaroni and cheese? It's the same today, Ingo," the girl continued.

"It tastes different. It's beef Wellington," Ingo replied.

Ingo's tone was convincing that what they were eating had indeed existed in its original form. Even Red and Aelea never knew the original forms of the various foods Ingo spoke of. For every porridge on the table, for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

"Have you ever tasted it, Ing?" Red spoke up this time.

Ingo dipped her index finger into the pot she was holding without hesitation. Then she tasted the porridge in her mouth. She was silent for a while, then looked alternately at the two girls sitting in front of the table.

"Shall I describe what's in it?" Ingo asked.

"No," they answered in unison.

Ingo quickly went into the kitchen. She immediately washed the pots in her hands, cleaning the kitchen of all the dirt that never escaped her robotic eyes. Red and Aelea were used to this kind of routine, for the past ten years. Ingo was the third version of an AI released after the war some fifty years ago. Ingo, who lived in the Harts' house, worked as Red and Aelea's maid.

"Put away your knowledge tablet, Aelea. You're having dinner." Ingo said from the direction of the kitchen.

"Okay." Aelea put the tablet on the edge of the table.

Red was sure that her sister's change of attitude had to be for something. She chuckled softly and tried to hold back a smile. Meanwhile, Aelea looked directly at her sister.

"You scanned my body. And I know, even though you pretended not to," Aelea accused.

"What? Why are you accusing me?"

"Red, you have an advantage with your robotic eyes. But that doesn't mean you can use them for evil purposes."

"Oh, my gosh." Red stared at Aelea in disbelief.

"How annoying."

"Are you seeing someone?" Red teased.

"None of your business."

"Okay."

"You should get a job instead of worrying about other people's lives, Red."

"Hey, that's rude!" exclaimed Red.

"Aegea, Aegea Harts. I don't want to hear any arguments between you," Ingo interrupted.

Boom!

There was a soft thud outside. Small drops of dust fell from the ceiling onto Red's bowl of porridge. Even the floor shook. Red and Aelea both froze and locked eyes. Red's eyes went straight to the wall, but there was no strange movement out there. Ingo was also alert, her head looking left and right, sweeping the room. Just like Red, her sight could penetrate the walls.

Another booming sound could be heard. Boom, boom, boom. They were followed by others, as if they were reinforcing each other. 

Aelea rose to her feet, her face beginning to pale. "What is it, Ingo?" her voice cracked.

"I don't know, I'm not programmed to detect such strange things." Ingo looked at Aelea and Red in turn. "Go to your room. I'll see what's out there."

But the two seemed to ignore the concerns of Ingo, who was programmed to protect humans if anything seemed suspicious. Instead, Aelea and Red followed Ingo from behind, hiding behind the AI's back as he walked toward the front door of their house. They didn't have a house with windows. First, because of the sandstorm, and second, too much exposure to the sun could cause burns on the surface of the skin.

The atmosphere became very quiet. Nothing could be heard.

"Maybe an earthquake?" whispered Red.

"My sensors don't show any movement down there," Ingo replied, pointing to the ground, "it's coming from the surface, but I don't know what."

"Another war? After fifty years of peace?" Aelea became frightened.

"That's impossible," Red denied.

They waited a while, but nothing more was heard. Red was still afraid, something escaped his robotic eyes like a hidden threat. Ingo tapped Red lightly on the shoulder.

"So, finish your dinner," Ingo concluded.

"Finish your porridge that's already mixed with dust," Aelea taunted Red.

Before Red could answer, her left eye suddenly felt hot and tight. The pain made Red squat down and hold one eye. Ingo, who was about to help Red, suddenly turned to the door. 

"What's that out there..."

Ingo's voice was cut off by a sudden attack. The metal front door of the house was ripped open from the outside. The sound was screeching and deafening. Iron claws dug into the gaping hole where the door had been seconds before. Aelea screamed in terror, unable to run. Her body was caught in the grip of one of the claws, then dragged out and out of Ingo's sight in an instant.

"Ingooo...!" Aelea's scream as she was dragged away sounded heartbreaking.

Another claw grabbed Ingo's body as she struggled. 

"Red, run...!!!" Ingo shouted as she tried to fight the claws.

Red, who was in a semi-conscious state, saw a claw about to catch her. Ingo was able to free herself from the claws that had caught her, and she immediately turned around and protected Red. One of Ingo's palms was open.

"Ghníomhact," Ingo hissed.

The claws lunged and attacked. Ingo threw whatever objects were nearby. Chairs were thrown, but they weren't much of a defense. Ingo jumped onto the bookshelf, then with a single stomp of his foot, smashed the bookshelf against the claws. Still, Ingo's attacks were easily countered.

One of the claws quickly flew up and was about to catch Red. At that moment, Ingo immediately shoved Red's body, causing the girl to fall and hit the side of the dining table.

Without mercy, Ingo's body was immediately caught by both claws. Ingo's body writhed and tried to rebel. Ingo pounded his fists. The sound of metal against metal was deafening. But her efforts were in vain as the two claws tightened their grip on Ingo's body. 

Ingo's body was cut in half before Red's eyes. Bluish translucent bodily fluid splashed all over the girl's body.

"Nooooo...!!! Ingooo... !!!"

"R-run." That was Ingo's last word before the system shut down completely.

Red crawled backwards, crying, while claws scanned the room behind him. Then one of them found Red hiding under the dining table. Red closed her eyes, she had given up. She didn't care if it was time for her to die. She had lost everything she loved in her nineteen years of life.

Behind Red came another deafening tearing sound. Cold air mixed with dust pierced Red's back. An iron grip grabbed Red's waist, sending her body flying through the air. The girl opened her eyes to see a large robot hugging Red's small body.

The claws slid out to attack the giant robot, and with a blow from the giant robot's punch, the claws bounced back. The big robot's palm opened, releasing an accumulation of blue energy. A plasma ball was fired at the claws, which immediately caught fire and melted.

"What are you?" muttered Red, her emotions shaken.

"Eitílt." The half-robot's female voice echoed from the large robot.

Then they flew away at high speed. Red saw her ruined house getting smaller and smaller. There were flames everywhere. It was all over the house. Red was in shock, then she lost consciousness.

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