Benjamin Franklin said there never was a good war, or a bad peace.
I wish I’d known that before I turned my back on one and ran like an idiot into the other. War is hell and I should have died in it. But I didn’t.
Laid there in that bed and waited for it to end and wondered why the hell I’d ever left Indiana. The farm. Dad and my sisters…
And then I made my deal with the devil. Potions and healers and surgeons…
Got to prove that war was hell all over again, didn’t I? “Part of the saving of the American way of life, Lieutenant Larabee.”
Funny. Seemed to be a whole lot of people dying to me.
After that first war, working for Erskine, I wasn’t always a good guy. Weren’t many who understood that men like me—men built and changed and different? We aren’t ever going to be normal.
One simple farmgirl, though… Ella understood. Loved me anyway. Can’t quite reckon why…
And then Erskine and Peggy and the complex, they were all just… gone. Came back from a campaign to find it all burned to the ground. Nothing left for me there. But the government? Well, as usual, they had a plan.
There’s always another war. Man’ll kill man until God wipes us all out. Back then, I was angry enough at the people who killed my friends to wage my own war. Killed a lot of people all by myself. I figure God’ll have me answering for it, too. Sometime.
We won that one. Not that it made any difference. My friends were still dead. I was still angry...
But I looked out on a field full of dead man, and I realized something.
I couldn’t do this anymore. I couldn’t be me anymore.
So I left, I found a life—found a new love…. New family.
Should’ve known that wouldn’t last. Seems like nothing good ever does.
But there’s ways to make yourself feel better.
Ain’t all of them safe.
Ain’t all of them right.
But for a long time, they helped chase the pain away.
Helped me forget the wooden crosses and the burnt out hell.
And then there was you. All of you.
Like being back in the war, in the facility, in a team that understood what the hell the world was like and why it needed people like us. The different. The ones nobody knows about or wants to know about.
Reckon I could be happy again. If I tried.
Hell, I reckon it might almost be worth the effort.