9

Here goes... The story takes place on a ship with drone fighters, but there are no pilots. A psychologist has some historical personality simulations that are connected to the fighters when the ship is attacked. The fighters completely eradicate the attackers and the readers find out that the simulations are of Manfred von Richthofen and Robert E. Lee, among others.

  • 2
    This is one of Fred Saberhagen's Berseker stories, I think. Not sure which one, but I'm sure someone will be along shortly who can pinpoint it. – Otis Sep 9 '17 at 23:18
  • @Otis - You are correct, Sir. – Valorum Sep 9 '17 at 23:27
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As Otis noted correctly in a comment, this is a Fred Saberhagen short story and part of the 'Berkserker' series.

In "Wings Out of Shadow" a captured historian uses 'personality modules' (based on various World War I fighter aces, including Baron von Richthofen) to control the spacecraft he is being forced to use against his own forces.

"I claim four more victories," the persona said as soon as Malori opened the hatch. "Today I was given fine support by my wingmen, who made great sacrifices for the Fatherland. Although the enemy outnumbered us by two to one, I think that not a single one of them escaped. But I must protest bitterly that my aircraft still has not been painted red."

"I will see to it at once, meinherr," murmured Malori, as he began to disconnect the persona from the fighting ship. He felt a little foolish for trying to reassure a piece of hardware. Still, he handled the persona gently as he carried it to where the little formation of empty cases were waiting on the operations deck, their labels showing plainly:

ALBERT BALL;
WILLIAM AVERY BISHOP;
RENE PAUL FONCK;
GEORGES MARIE GUYNEMER;
FRANK LUKE;
EDWARD MANNOCK;
CHARLES NUNGESSER;
MANFRED VON RICHTHOFEN;
WERNER VOSS.

They were English, American, German, French. They were Jew, violinist, invalid, Prussian, rebel, hater, bon vivant, Christian. Among the nine of them they were many other things besides. Maybe there was only the one word—man—which could include them all.

  • No doubt it's the right story, but it should be noted that Robert E. Lee is not mentioned. – user14111 Sep 10 '17 at 0:49
  • Thank you so much! I had played with the idea, after reading this and some tank-based military sci-fi, of great infantry and cavalry luminaries being attached in the same way. Lee is NOT mentioned, just an idea this story sparked... – bobbygoodson Sep 10 '17 at 5:55

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