Every war had three waves. First were the scouts and analyzers, second was the destruction, fire and chaos and the third was the engineering battalion, those sent to repair what was brought to dust. I was to welcome the personnel to this new world, a planet distant from what we knew on Earth.
A pair of civilian contractors were on the back seat, watching from their windows at the edge of the road, completely taken by the forlorn children, kids that were forgotten or freed from the enemy forces. The passengers held their gadgets up, filming young grey alien faces smeared with dirt, empty eyes roaming in a distance where smoke rose from the building, huge trucks carried the rubble and bulldozers cleaning up the mess.
– What’s with the kids? – a man on the left asked, our driver smiled.
– We run a daycare. It is a different society. They operate like tribes and they have a caste system in place. Most of these children were left home, abandoned. We took them in. Now we try to get them into our system, get them into democracy, teach them of our ways. It’s very hard to get to their little heads. They just run around, scavenge for food. We bring them our rations, but they won’t touch it. The only guy they respect and love is a private from the second company. He made a mask from a helmet and a piece of cloth. He brings in the happy. Helps them forget their problems for a moment. Those teenagers are rough as hell. You can find the females in whorehouses in the alleys. Males use some their type of drugs to remove pain, but they are not violent. Fear the full grown males. They are a motherfuckers. – I spoke somewhat absent in thoughts, my mind at too many places to really know what was I saying, but that didn’t bothered the civilians in the back that rocked in their seat and frowned at the disastrous picture of a country broken apart.
– But why did they leave the children? – other guy sounded horrified with what he saw, a crowd of aliens in ragged clothes, sitting on the side of a street.
– They know war is hell and that we are coming with our machines. They thought it is safer to leave them with us, set them away from the fight. If they brought them into the mountains, there was a possibility kids would die when fight breaks out. This way, we fight, they watch… It’s sad, but effective. None of the children died, only soldiers. – I continued in the same manor, relaxed and accustomed to the scenes of poverty, rubble and despair.
No other questions came at me for the whole drive to base where we made camp and outposted the civilian facilities near the second airport. I saw them in rearview mirror. They were shaken by the images and taken with the magnitude of the task to rebuild a complete city. I sensed a couple more problems with this lot, so I decided to keep my eyes on a forlorn civilians, unaccustomed to misery that war brings.
And some FORLORN stories.