After eighteen years, four months and sixteen days, he was going. Back to civvies. Back to a world he hardly remembered. Another lifetime… so it seemed to him, all those years ago — a gangling youth with a shock of floppy black hair, an attitude problem, and a sheaf of pathetic school reports, plus too many scrapes with the law that had nearly landed him in Borstal. The Paras had sorted that out, hair, attitude, even the required discipline of book-study, the lot. They had shaped and hammered and trained him into the mold of a professional fighting man, a member of one of the finest and fittest elite corps in the world… At thirty-six he was still remarkably fit. Still possessed the skills necessary to strip down and assemble blindfolded the SA80 family of weapons, stalk an enemy through brush and bog, hurl himself into space through through the door of a Hercules C-130 at eight-hundred feet. That was [his] story in a nutshell, serving Queen and country. Question was, what the fuck was he going to do now?
— Linda La Plante. Civvies
…Quand un soldat revient de la guerre, il a
Quand un soldat revient de la guerre, il a…
Dans sa musette un pen de linge sale
Un pen de linge sale, et pui voila.
…When a soldier returns from the war, he’s got
When a soldier returns from the war, he’s got…
In his musette some dirty clothes
Some dirty clothes, and that is all.
— Pierre Leulliette. Saint Michele et le Dragon