The hills of Abbadon. A barren wasteland between two once-warring countries, but not always so. Once this land had been worth fighting for, green and rich with a constant supply of fresh water. And, claimed by two nations, the land was fought for. The land was scarred by battles, only temporarily by the weapons, but more deeply by the people of plundered and burned settlements that must take more and more from the land to survive and rebuild. Minefields appeared in the once lush valleys and tribes of nationless raiders appeared in the highlands. Still, the land had value, it could be reclaimed, it could be restored with a few years of intelligent stewardship, so the fighting continued.
Weapons and tactics evolved, but there was a problem. The most advanced modern weapons were becoming more valuable then the land itself, requiring teams of highly trained operators and technicians, and the risk of losing such weapons was too great a cost to bear for either side. One side chose to devolve its weaponry and tactics, forming volunteer forces with cheap and dated but still reliable and effective weaponry. The other side chose to innovate. They created a weapon with a high development and initial cost, but with minimal maintenance and support requirements. They created the Abbadon territory scout, reclaim, and hold drone.
For maximum efficiency, the Abbadon was designed for stealth combat, mainly operating as a sniper. Solar powered, these drones were cleverly designed with enough energy capacity for brief scouting and raiding missions, and need only take up a sniper position and deploy camouflaged solar collectors to recharge. The Abbadon could be remotely controlled via highly secured communications link back to their command center, but to control costs, remote control was used infrequently, and the drones just got daily or weekly mission updates from command.
The Abbadon were terrifyingly effective. Enemy held territories were infiltrated and enemy settlements and fortifications were besieged by the tireless snipers. Civilians and military were pinned down in whatever cover they could find, usually cut off from food and water, and if not, the Abbadon would conduct raids to eliminate or cut off those supplies. Unless commanded otherwise, the Abbadon did not accept surrender, but could decide to drive people out of a given territory rather than kill them all in order to conserve time and resources.
Being solar powered machines, the Abbadon only need sunlight and a supply of ammunition in order to maintain full effectiveness. Ammunition wasn’t much of a problem as groups of Abbadon were usually deployed with a large supply cache, and the machines were capable of using captured enemy weapons and ammunition.
The other side quickly learned the deadly effectiveness of the Abbadon, but there was little that they could do to counter the deadly machines. It was only by accident that they were able to capture and disable one of the killing machines. The Abbadon hardware was very secure, and they could not crack it, but they observed the machine’s attempts at communication. The transmissions were highly secure, but they revealed the location of the source. It was just a remote communications relay, but the other side kept tracing the signal, searching for its origin.
They directed all of their spies in enemy territory to seek information on these machines, on how they were controlled. Their search led them to the Abbadon control center, hidden in plain sight as a boring business in a large city near the border. They launched a devastating attack on this city and the control center, first using chemical weapons against civilians and launching a decoy assault on the government buildings, they used the confusion as a cover to bomb the control center to oblivion. Their operation was a vicious success. All of the personnel and hardware needed to deploy and control the Abbadon had been wiped out. It had been a necessarily high security program, and as it was still infantile, redundancies had not been built, so the means to communicate with the Abbadon were lost.
The Abbadon were not stopped, however. They just stopped receiving mission updates and commands. As such, they continued their operations. They took the territory that they were last directed to take and they held it, killing or driving out any trespassers. People fought with them, trying to reclaim their lost homes, but the Abbadon learned. The machines figured out what the people were after and they started to destroy it to discourage further attacks. The machines destroyed everything, eventually leaving no structures intact. Then they destroyed the trees and brush to eliminate cover. Finally, they poisoned the water. No one really knows how they learned to do this, but it is believed that it was done to discourage trepass onto their territory. So now, where once we had beautiful green hills. We have the hills of Abbadon. Where death awaits.