It had been a long plane ride home, the longest of Deckard’s life, sitting alongside the body bags. They had finally touched down in Kazakhstan an hour ago. Most of the troops were on their way back to the compound to hit the newly installed showers and then rack out in the bunks.
As the chaos swirled around him in the emergency area’s waiting room he felt it again, the crushing feeling that hung over his head. He had never lied to himself about who he was or what he did. Deckard liked war, loved it occasionally. Combat was the only time you ever saw people for who they truly are, a place where any one can be a hero or a coward, or both at the same time. War was the only time you saw the world for what it really was.
With societal constructs removed the truth became apparent, obvious even. Compared to war, any other job was just punching a time card.
He intrinsically understood that the mercenaries he commanded were grown men who had made their own decision, freely and with full knowledge of potential consequences. They hedged their bets because the pay was good, or signed up looking for some action after their military career. When you play big boy games you play by big boy rules, and any one of them could have been the guy coming home as a corpse.
Somehow that didn’t make him feel any better.