Reminiscent of Johnny Got His Gun, an unwilling soldier is pushed beyond the reasonable limits of endurance into a state where free will and communication are taken from them, and they struggle to retain what personal power they can. It’s dark and cautionary, exploring the lengths to which a person can be exploited in the name of protecting their “people”.
What struck me most was the juxtaposition of a neuroatypical protagonist and the depersonalisation of the soldier. It is a reality for some neuroatypical people that neurotypical people assume they don’t “feel” things; that idea is taken to escalating extremes here. At one point early on the protagonist refers to themself as “a smoothly functioning component in the machine”, a prescient statement in horrific ways. Read as a metaphorical exploration of what it feels like to be depersonalised, it becomes even more powerful to me than as an anti-war statement.