JohnnyGoodyear get your gun.

It's been 5 long years since the last war, but here we are again. The faces have changed, but the fighting... the fighting never goes away. New faces lead by grizzled veterans, chasing the dream. God, it all seems so naive now, down here in the mud. I hear another newbie screaming for his momma down in the No-man's land of Catbox Alley while I search my pockets for my last smoke. IWhoSawTheFace holds the lighter patiently while my hands shake in the cold nodey trench.

"Do you remember what we're fighting for any more?" I ask him as a nodeshell bursts high above us, raining hot letters.

"Not really man, I'm just in it for the chicas."

I shake my head and adjust the helmet straps between puffs. The raygun is still hot in my hands, and the cheap blue plastic is starting to crack. We let the Offendulon loose days ago and you can still hear it, late at night, howling insults at the moon. It's better that way. Like the old days.

They issued us rose-colored glasses back at boot camp, just after the draft. Poll after poll got passed around, trumpeting doom and the end times. Waves of immigrants poured in from foreign shores, shipped in by Google smugglers while we worried about a brain drain to the Commonwealth of Livejournal and the Wikipedia Republic. Writing Quality Inflation ran wild, and people were trying to buy basic votes with wheelbarrows of low-denomination nodes. The golden age of brotherhood between the wars was short lived. Politicians ramped up the rhetoric, electing fiery leaders with strong opinions, flooding the airwaves with utopian visions and screeds against the problem elements in society: The new, the old, the powerful, the powerless. When the Borg deterrent lost its teeth, pent up aggression ran like spring sap.

Democracies rot from the bottom up they say, and when John Q. Noder got wrapped up in the debate over why his vote should or shouldn't be for or against a node, I knew it was only a matter of time. Editors changed to generals, the node-market crashed, and the Gods on high stood back from the fray, just like the old days.

I was reading a daylog when Old Man Halspal came on, decked out in his Sunday best, brandishing the note high for the cameras, promising "Peace in Our Time". I put my Pope Hat in the attic and fished out the old grey crate full of firmlink grenades and short range insulting softlink shells. I'd made my bed, now I would have to kill for it.

It was raining when I met Jet-Poop down at the train station while heading for the front. He stood at the edge of the platform, getting soaked in the spray. When I asked him why he wasn't staying dry, he replied:

"You have to get used to being wet."

Then he smiled a Cheshire Cat smile and hefted his Knapsack lovingly. It was still dirty from the last war. "Do you know who is right?" I asked.

"Does it matter?"

"Probably not."

Jet-Poop whistled the theme from The A-team and wandered off down the platform.

Also, Roninspoon was totally there too. Wearing boots and everything. Seriously. I have pictures.