His words rang false in my ears. They sounded forced and artificial like LT himself. This was a Private Military Contractor transport bus; the only thing the passengers on it shared was a lack of alternatives. I had served in a real army before, where fraternity and bonds of loyalty turned many into one. But none of that existed here. This pathetic group was bound by need or a failure to make it in the meek but honest world of civilians. Instead, these misfits traded their lives for money, their dignity to serve as henchmen for some corporation bent on reclaiming some of The Badlands that were once part of a great nation. No, we weren't defending our homes or families, we were serving as tools for rich men who saw limitless opportunity in everyone-else's catastrophe. No, not comrades. Just others.
I looked at their faces and wondered what had pulled or pushed them onto this bus. Just ahead of me was a mountain of a man whose fresh faced profile belied a youthful excitement that surely clashed clashed with my unenthusiastic scowl. Maybe an adventurous spirit tricked him onto this bus. Maybe it was the drudgery of life on The Frontier that made him susceptible to the tall-tales of adventure in The Badlands that the old burnouts peddled in the taverns. Maybe that wasn't all. Maybe his size indicated an obstinacy in his blood, like his genes carried out their plan build this massive frame despite the meager rations on The Frontier. Perhaps, it was the desire to test what must have seemed like limitless potential. I couldn't know for sure, not now.
Some half audible whispering from the rear of the bus drew my attention there. Another tall, passenger was whispering in a woman's ear. He had a slighter build than the Adventurer in front of me, and he appeared to be at least ten years older. From the look on the woman's face, the whispering was something illicit that incited her. The scene put me off. I have always hated any manifestation of joy that excluded me. I tried to communicate my disapproval with a fixed scowl, but at that moment they were aware of nothing but each other. I suspected this was their reason for being on the bus. They were likely embroiled in some tawdry affair, and their reckless lust probably earned him a blood vendetta with the woman's betrayed former lover. Some enraged husband, probably, with power in the community, discovered their trist and had it out for this Lothario, and so on the bus he climbed with his little lover in toe. My scowl turned to a smirk as the thought of his certain death in the Badlands came to me.