I have been trying to track down story I read in a middle school or high school class about a decade ago. It involves a soldier that was sent to "the end of time" in a gigantic battle for the universe. All of the soldiers in the battle get cybernetic enhancements to aid in their fighting ability. That was just the main character's back story. The main part had to do with the soldier coming home or to a comfortable time and trying to live in peace, but he spots a group of soldiers also from the war that start causing trouble in his town and so he fights them to protect the locals. I appreciate any help. I don't know why but occasionally i think of that story and have tried to track it down a few times, obviously to no avail.

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    I was going to suggest The Forever War, but, no. – Mr Lister Jul 23 '19 at 7:39
  • I appreciate it. I'm pretty sure it was part of a collection of short stories, but it has been some time since i read it. – leroythelion king Jul 23 '19 at 8:13
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    You might check out the "There Will Be War" series of anthologies (ed. Pournelle). – DavidW Jul 23 '19 at 11:38
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    @OrganicMarble I think it's too dark for Laumer. The soldier initially doesn't want to fight the others (they are a party, but seem to have some kind of group mind) because of the cost, but eventually the people he loves are threatened by them and he has to act. Normal people can't fight them, because they are smeared in time or probability or the like, and normal weapons don't affect them. But the soldier can pin them to a specific locus so he can kill them. (cont'd) – DavidW Jul 23 '19 at 15:09
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    (cont'd) But at the end of the story, with the others destroyed, we find out the cost of his intervention. The protagonist now has to go back and fight the war all over again, because he's changed the past in a material way by interacting with another combatant. And this time he might not win or survive... – DavidW Jul 23 '19 at 15:10

Sounds like "A Dry, Quiet War" by Tony Daniel, 1996 (full text here) as previously asked here a few other times. The protagonist is Col. Henry Bone, a veteran of the "Big War at the End of Time." The bad guys are "glims":

"Soldiers who don't go home after the war. The fighting gets into them and they don't want to give it up, or can't. Sometimes they have ... modifications that won't let them give it up. They wander the timeways—and since they don't belong to the time they show up in, they're hard to kill. In the early times, where people don't know about the war, or have only heard rumors of it, they had lots of names. Vampires. Hagamonsters. Zombies."

Here's a reference to DavidW's comments about the cost to the protagonist for intervening:

"You're some bigwig, ain't you, skyfaller? Somebody that matters to the outcome," Marek said. "This is your actual and you don't want to fuck yourself up-time so you won't fight." He smiled crookedly. A diagonal of teeth, straight and narrow, showed whitely.

(I only know the story through this site; I re-found it by searching the story-identification archives for "veteran")

  • Wow thanks everyone! It was " A dry, quiet war". – leroythelion king Jul 24 '19 at 6:55
  • To be honest I'm not sure, I would like to say it was probably one of the "best science fiction" collections. But none of them are very familiar to me. Though it has been quite a while since I originally read it. – leroythelion king Jul 25 '19 at 12:18

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