Back from a deadly mission that they weren’t supposed to survive, the “Bolt Eaters” needed a lot of repairs. So, they were sent to the Red River Army Depot and then to a quasi-permanent VR simulation since their AI cores were being stored. As you remember, the Bolt Eaters are mechanical robots built to fight. In their central core is an AI canister containing the mind engrams of long dead people who had some how become property of the US Army. When the Army decided to go to remote war fighting, they still wanted boots on the ground or in this case, mechanical feet on the ground so they built these giant robots. To operate them, they chose to use “Mind Refurbs” or people who’s brains had been frozen and now were thawed out inside the body of a giant mechanized fighting robot. Some minds could take the return to this kind of life, others didn’t and had to be erased. When the method of merging robots and human minds stabilized, Eric, our main character, woke up after being dead for two hundred years.
Now property of the Army, which his emotions programmatically tamped down, he didn’t necessarily care what had happen to him. That is until he found a way to break through the Army’s software coding. He was able to release all their emotions which proved too much for some of the Bolt Eaters. They needed that release on their last mission since they had been restricted in their fighting ability not being able to fire first at a know enemy. Still, now back under Army control after saving all humanity, their emotions had once again been locked down. It’s not that they didn’t have any, it’s just that they couldn’t run them to an extreme. So, the pain of several dead Bolt Eaters on their last mission didn’t bother them as much as it should. It still bothered them, but only just a little. But, they were now getting bored.
So, while Eric and Brontosaurus (his nickname/call-sign) were relaxing in Eric’s virtual apartment, they got an alert from their Lieutenant for a mission briefing. Just coincidentally, the alien mothership had just came back to Earth to check on what happened to her bioweapons and micro-machines. It hadn’t done anything yet, but the Earth was pretty much open to any attack that ship wanted to make. That’s why this mission briefing was to inform the Bolt Eaters that their next mission was to board the alien mothership and destroy it! Simple as that!
Of course this mothership was protected. It was covered in a thick layer of micro-machines which had a nasty habit of eating anything metal, including the Bolt Eaters! Except the Bolt Eaters had manage to improve upon an electrical outer shell that covered them when in close proximity to the micro-machines. If a micro-machine touched one of the Bolt Eaters, they were immediately fired and died. But, there will million if not billions of these micro-machines wrapped around the mothership. The mission called for the team to plant a nuclear charge deep inside the mothership. No one knew just how deep the micro-machine layer was or what the actual composition of the mothership’s hull so they would start off with a distinct disadvantage in intel. Still, orders were orders and the Bolt Eaters had to try.
And try they did only with some unexpected results. If this mission doesn’t kill them all, then nothing probably will, but there’s no assurance that they all won’t be killed. No assurances at all.
This appears to be the last book in this series, but I noticed Isaac Hooke has created a new series entitled “Bolt Eaters” and book one, “Reactivated” is already out and I have it to read.