Tales From The Wild Ten: Kate and Varangian

Tales From The Wild Ten is a series composed by writer Patrick Kindlon. Read on to explore the second story from the War Robots: Frontiers universe focused on the origin story of one of the Robot Pilots who make their way to a clutch of new planets named the Wild Ten in pursuit of a new destiny. 

For generations, Kate Walker and her family did not know conflict—but it wasn’t always that way. Kate’s ancestor, Amalia Adams, was a Robot Pilot during the Walking Wars on Earth. Like so many others who fought in the dog days of the conflict, she was left behind when the warring factions brokered an armistice. With no war to fight and nowhere to turn, Amalia gave up her life as a Pilot and swore never to sit in a cockpit again. Having teamed up with other alienated Pilots, she moved to a zero-value site in the outlands of Mars. Free to make their own lives, the former mercenaries worked together to build the commune of Eirene, the only place Kate has ever known.

Eirene flourished, and Amalia kept her word. She raised her children to honor the freedom and pacifism that defined her new way of life, just as Kate’s mother taught her. In the centuries of cold war that followed, Eirene became a haven from the prying eyes of the Corpos, and they meant to keep it that way; but as Kate grew into a teenager, she became curious. She openly wondered about her past and her family’s connection to the Walking Wars, but considering such things meant reopening old wounds.

In Eirene, no one talked about the past. Many did not know, while others did not want to know. Information was carefully controlled on Mars, but Kate was clever. Piecing together what little she could, Kate began to form a picture of Amalia—and she was a hero. Under the call sign "Sparrow," Amalia was known for her courage and dedication to others, but it was her weapon of choice that made her a legend. While most Pilots chased the newest machines, Sparrow never gave up on her first-generation Vityaz. She believed these newer Robots didn’t win battles, squads did. Amalia believed putting your squad first is what made Pilots who they are. Working together, her team won countless battles. Soon, Sparrow became a symbol for squads everywhere.

Energized by this revelation, Kate’s passion quickly turned into an obsession. She scoured the Qnet and soaked up all the information she could about Vityaz. Studying schematics and code, she experimented with miniatures. As her confidence grew, so did her Robot builds. Using any spare parts and components she could get her hands on, Kate began to build a Vityaz of her very own, but for the people of Eirene, this was a step too far.

The community leaders were concerned. Kate was openly violating the very principles Eirene was founded on. Worse yet, Kate’s parents were put in the difficult position of choosing between their community and their daughter. As the debate came to a boiling point, news from the outer rim broke—a new World Gate has been established near a planetary system they called the Wild Ten. Corporations eager to control this new frontier announced they were offering contracts to Pilots willing to secure their interests, something they had not done for over two hundred years.

Kate was excited, but the community leaders were cautious. They pleaded with everyone to ignore this call. They reminded their citizens how the Corpos abandoned Pilots in the past and would do it again, but Kate believed this time would be different. On the Wild Ten, Pilots were going to fight on their terms. After much soul-searching, Kate chose to leave. The community leaders were disappointed, but they respected her decision.

Kate said goodbye to her parents and the unfinished Vityaz. After a few months, she landed on the other side of the galaxy. Having arrived at Tortuga Station, she was finally in her new home, but it didn’t feel that way. As Kate entered the complex, she felt overwhelmed and alone. She didn’t fit in; she didn’t have a squad, and she missed everyone in Eirene. Questioning her choices, she made her way to the hangar.

As she walked into the cavernous room, Kate was surprised to see her Vityaz, fully built and better than she could have imagined. This Robot was a gift from the people of Eirene. While they disagreed with Kate's actions, they remembered where they came from; putting your squad first is what makes Pilots who they are. The whole of Eirene stood with Kate; they would always be part of her squad. As she looked at the fully restored Vityaz, Kate knew this version was better than the original. This was Kate’s machine, and it was called Varangian. Filled with purpose, Kate fully realized who she is. 

She is a War Robot Pilot, and her call sign is Sparrow.

Stay tuned as the saga continues in War Robots: Frontiers, discover more Tales From The Wild Ten, and catch up on the first story; Old Wars Never End!

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