I read this short story a while ago. It described a futuristic war fought by robots.

It featured a team of some sort of military elite going in an underground train (which broke on the way) to their central underground operations command center, which they used to control robots out on the battlefield. There, they find the last living operator in poor condition because the enemy sent in some sort of worm-like burrowing drones that unleashed a heat attack on the base. The new arrivals try to deal with the threat, but are eventually forced to leave. They consult their headquarters and leave behind a robot to take control over all of operations, since it could not be weakened by a heat attack, and the walls of the command center could still resist any damage. Then the officers make their way outside to the chaotic surface, where they are greeted by some strange people who claim to be the commanding officers of the enemy army. They also left the control of their operations to a robot, and now the war essentially turned into a purposeless all-out battle of constantly evolving robots, where any humans have little chance of survival.

Can someone help me find the name and the author of this story? I think it might have been written by Harry Harrison.


1 Answer 1


This is "War With the Robots" by indeed Harry Harrison, found in a collection of the same name.

Both armies have gone underground.

The base was attacked, not with heat, but with vibrations. Small drones burrowed until they reached the outer wall of the base, grouped themselves together in small clumps, and started vibrating the base in such a frequency that the proteins of the soldiers were broken down. The only survivor was in bed at the time and wasn't touching any solid object, so the vibrations didn't affect him as much. He died shortly after relating this to the new team.

A new attack is done with heat and again with small burrowing drones, but this time with a tiny nuclear bomb that doesn't do much by itself, but the number of drones causes the temperature in the base to rise.
The computer proposes flooding the base to keep the heat down to survivable levels — for the computer. They go up and leave the base, meeting survivors from the enemy army.

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