I am searching for a book (probably early 2000s) which contains a specific scene. I do not remember everything and the details might be somewhat different, however, this is the gist:

The story plays at least a couple of hundred years in the future, in a technologically advanced society (spaceships, force fields).

A group of people try to [steal something/break something/???] in a heavily secured [facility/spaceship shipyard]. To achieve this, they first steal an "ancient" (by their standards) [tank/mech/piece of technology] (from a museum?). This [tank/mech/piece of technology] has a specific trait, namely, it can dig well - so they use it to dig under the [force field/shield] that surrounds the facility, but only reaches X meters below the surface. Of course something goes wrong with their plan, but I don't remember what, and how they worked around it (if they did).

IIRC, this should be somewhere on the axis between soft and hard sci-fi, so its not some kind of Star Wars wonderland.

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    I do not really get the duplicate votes. Yes, in hindsight the answer is the same; the question however is completely different. – Wang Tang Feb 18 '19 at 22:21
  • I concur, these are completely different questions that happen to relate to the same novel. – user22478 Feb 19 '19 at 0:02
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    @WangTang, Your question being closed as duplicate does not indicate a problem with the question or your posting of it. For story ID questions, the operating policy is that "same answer = same question." This helps other people searching for the story to find it and to confirm that it is the same even if their memories of key details are different from yours. Welcome to the stack! – Otis Feb 19 '19 at 0:40
  • @Otis, thanks for the heads up, was not aware of that. – Wang Tang Feb 19 '19 at 12:03

This could be the first part of The Commonwealth Saga by Peter F Hamilton.

The first novel (Pandora's Star) was released in 2004, and is set in AD2329.

The Commonwealth is a future society with multi planetary society that has been created due to the invention of Wormhole technology.

The plot is immense, but focus around the mysterious encapsulation of a star system many light years from the Commonwealth itself. To investigate this strange event, an exploration ship is sent, where FTL travel is provided by the ship having it's own wormhole generator.

That ship is called "Second Chance", and the scene remembered is where a group who are trying to stop the ship going to the remote system (the Guardians of Selfhood) because of what they believe is there.

The Guardians, launch an attack on the facility where the Second Chance is nearing completion, using robots/mechs called "Alamo Avengers", while are obsolete by current standards in the Commonwealth but have the ability to dig under the force field protecting the ship's ground based control systems.

The lead Alamo Avenger lurched forward, legs thudding heavily as they moved with a speed unnerving for something so massive. Plumes of soot and dirt shot up from each impact, flowing in strange swirls around its own force field. Small sections of armor along the front edge of its head flipped up, allowing long black prongs to slide out. The medium-caliber weapons barrels retracted back into their bays. At thirty meters from the base of the dome, it stopped and lowered its thick wedge head. The prongs flared with a cobalt nimbus that spun and flickered. It thrust them down into the ground. Huge geysers of soil were flung up into the air. The Alamo Avenger braced its legs, shoving its head deeper into the hole that the prongs were gouging out. Sand and shards of fractured rock were shooting twenty meters into the air above it. Slowly, it began to ease its huge armored body down into the excavation.

  • I can't believe I forgot that, but yes, that is exactly it. Thanks as well for looking up the exact position in the book! – Wang Tang Feb 18 '19 at 16:22

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