“Hardest thing about being a soldier, if you ask me? Not being one any more. I joined the British Armed Forces when I was 16. Trained up till I was 18, then deployed for the tail-end of World War 3, and all of the Annexation Wars.
You have to understand, my parents? They didn’t want me to join up. Said I was forbidden. I left home and joined anyway. All of my old life left behind. One of the reasons why it’s hard being anything but a solider. That’s all Ameer Anwar’s ever been.
I was trained in signals, communications and electronic warfare. That’s why the 1st Adders wanted me for the Annexation Wars. We all had our roles, our skills that we brought into the team. They trained us together and they trained us until we bled and sweat and cried on each other, and that gave us a strong bond.
With advanced exo-suits from UNAF’s finest R&D departments we were what those DARPA boys from the States had dreamed of for years. We’d drop high, open our parachutes low and execute our mission in a matter of minutes. That’s what we did in Kigali, and everything went as well as expected.
Well, apart from my arm. I hate going into the story in detail, and it’s been written up plenty, so here are the basics: I took a bomb blast at close range. Lost my arm and various other bits.
By then, the UNAF were well into their Rapid Rehabilitation Program. Those who were injured were cyberized, given new parts to replace damaged flesh, patched up and had the command routines for their metal bits fed into their brain. Then they sent us off to fight again.
Some say they did the job that the King’s Horses and Men couldn’t do with Humpty Dumpty, but hell if some of us weren’t broken, or walking ghosts. I got off lightly. Others? You treat a man like a tool and one day he’ll break. And they did break. And when you have men and women bristling with military-grade gear and something off in the head? You get tragedies happening.
Post-Conflict Psychosis with a side of Rapid Rehabilitation Stress Syndrome. It’s no surprise really. You drill people till they’re automatons, you send them into scenes of horror, you put the sick and the injured on a production line to get them ‘ready for the worthy fight’ and you know what happens?
They get put back in the civilian world and all that programming is still there, and it will find away to go off. And now I’m out. Done my time, fought my fights. My parts would cost too much to replace and now they’ve scaled down the army, I’m old tech.
They’ve promised me some research position on the Moon. Using my signals skills at the Daedalus Radiotelescope, latest bastion in the exploration of space. At least until some wise-ass puts one on Mars. Then I guess I’ll be old tech again. Maybe you can come by and interview me again. See if I’ve snapped and punched some teen coffee jockey in the face because the sound of my espresso being made hearkens back to the good ol’ days of witnessing atrocities.
Are we done here now? I have a shuttle to catch.”
– Ameer Anwar, speaking to UNBC’s ”Five Years On” Project, 2093. At the request of the UNAF Press & Public Relations Department, it was not included for broadcast.