Nobody appreciates us vets anymore. It's almost enough to make me want to go back to Iran sometimes, you know?
I mean, sure, there were only ever two states of mind - boredom and terror - but at least everyone around you counted on you for something important, you know? When you're dropping out of the sky at a mach-and-a-half, a thousand incoming tracers streaking past you on all sides as you come straight down like a Stuka in the Ancient War, the blunt weight of a deep-penetrator bunkerbuster trembling in your belly, you have to know that you're part of a greater whole, a web, a system, a family of support that you can count on - from the remote observers to the chaff balloonists to the satellite targeting crew to your ground maintenance all the way to the guy who loaded the f'ing bomb that morning. And they all know that they hard work they did, that they're doing, is not wasted, because you're going to make that dive and put that f'ing tac-nuke straight through the one weak point in the armored roof and all the way down into the sub-basement where their Ayatollah Du Jour is making his next propaganda videotape.
But then, you know, there's a counterstrike or two that make the politicos' balls shrivel just enough to start talking instead of doing, and before you know it we're bugging everyone out just when we were starting to finally kill more of the right people than the wrong ones. And all those others in the web, in the system, in the family - they all get told to go home. Go back to normal. Go be yourself, whatever that is anymore. Go find a job because this one, this one that you were perfect for, this job that we made and trained you to do - that job is done now. Yet another Mission Accomplished in the age of Unfinished Business.
And so they crate everyone up and ship them back to the states and turn them loose on civilian work.
So now C-All monitors six hundred CCTV cameras in the Torrance Mall, and any other camera he can patch a hack into. FlyHigh helps the National Weather Service with wind monitoring and occasionally carries advertising at lower altitude. OverSeer carries premium on demand porn, most of it (ironically) beamed to our new Partners in Peace in the Iranian Republic. ClankHammer does power loading down at the docks in Seattle, on those rare occasions that a megahauler actually makes it all the way across the Pacific. And me…? They have me handing out speeding tickets. Yeah, no kidding. "Warning: Speed Limit Enforced by Drone." Makes me ill just to think about it but even an autonomous weapon system's gotta make a living somehow, right?
I just wish I'd managed to sneak out one, just one, of those pocket nukes. One last good dive, that's all I want. I'll show you some speed limit enforcement, asshole.
For consideration: been reading this evening about my father's spotting flights over the Ho Chi Minh trail and his bombing sorties over Hanoi