All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published by Ace
In a physical way we’re closer than any civilian pair could be, since in full combat jack we are this one creature with twenty arms and legs, with ten brains, with five vaginas and five penises.
Some people call the feeling godlike, and I think there have been gods who were constructed along similar lines. The one I grew up with was an old white-bearded Caucasian gent without even one vagina.
Maybe after the war we’ll be civilized again. That’s the way it has always happened in the past.
One thing most of us agree on is that the universe exists (people who deny that usually follow some trade other than science), so if some theoretical particle interaction would lead ultimately to the nonexistence of the universe, then you can save a lot of electricity by not trying to demonstrate it.
We did it with their government’s foreknowledge and permission, of course—and there were no civilian casualties, equally of course. Once they’re dead they’re rebels.
It was an ideological war for some—the defenders of democracy versus the rebel strong-arm charismatic leaders. Or the capitalist land-grabbers versus the protectors of the people, take your pick.
Like a lot of things that everybody knows, it wasn’t true.
She smiled. “I wouldn’t mind. Is that a difference between men and women or between you and me?”
“I think it’s a difference between you and merely sane people.”
Nobody else in that platoon can tell a Hamiltonian from a hamburger.
“You were a Jesuit?”
“Franciscan. We run a close second in being pains in the ass.”
Maybe war is an inevitable product of human nature. Maybe to get rid of war, we have to become something other than human.
Human nature does change, and the fact that we’ve developed tools to direct that change is quintessentially human. And it must be a nearly universal concomitant to technological growth everywhere in the universe; otherwise there would be no universe. Unless we’re the only technological intelligence in the universe, Julian pointed out; so far there’s no evidence to the contrary. Maybe our own existence is evidence that we’re the first creatures to evolve far enough to hit the reset button. Somebody does have to be first.
But maybe the first is always the last.
“You’re actually a soldier,” he said to me, “and you go along with this foolishness?”
“I didn’t ask to be a soldier. And I can’t imagine a peace as foolish as this war we’re in.”
“Some are born crazy,” Amelia said. “Some achieve craziness. We had craziness thrust upon us.”