Growing up near old Altus Air Force Base in a fortress town wasn't a place most people would want to raise a child in. We were surrounded by disease, starvation, and death. If those didn't get folks, then the constant raids by crazies would. While on the surface that sounds like quite the hellhole you needed to really live there to see the good side in folks. Everyone looked out for one another as if our lives depended on it - and most time they did. We shared food, water, and hope. While the whole world was consumed in savagery we survived and became a beacon for many good folks left after the big boom and the blight.
My father was one of the main law enforcement in the town so he wasn't around as much as he could have been so I had to help raise my kid brother, Dodge. What my father lacked in time he more than made up for in teaching us lessons in what separates right from wrong, a man's only as good as his word, and that surviving isn't enough - you need to be able to look at yourself in the mirror to truly live.
It kind of makes sense that both me and my brother grew up very similar in a lot of ways: we both return property to those who rightfully own it. When 'civilization' returned to Oklahoma we left home for Oklahoma City and signed on with [company here] to do recovery work. I was good with mechanical things and my brother was good with medical things so we became quite a team and did pretty well for ourselves in the company.
That's where I met my wife, Madeline, she was a company girl and quite the recovery artist herself. Things were really going well for a couple years until mankind's favorite poisons of greed and hatred resurfaced and the second civil war hit. [Company name], seeing a profit to be made during a war, began renting us employees out to both sides as mercenaries which is when Dodge, Madeline, and I left to form our own company.
I guess many would call us idealistic or naive, but we wanted our company to only earn enough money to keep us well fed and our equipment operational, the rest went back into the community as we tried to keep alive that caring spirit we got from home. Despite all the naysayers the business is still running strong today, though its been harder since my wife's death two years ago.
Three years ago my wife and I gave birth to a lovely girl, Annabelle. I guess I was too worried about keeping food on the table and wasn't as attentive as I should have been. Madeline got postpartum depression from the birth and secretly began taking drugs to cope. I pray not even my worst enemy knows coming home from work to see their wife dead next to the crib of their child of an overdose you knew nothing about. This isn't something I like to talk about.
So, my younger brother is Anna's surrogate caretaker when I have to go out on some business. I don't like leaving her with Dodge, its not that I don't trust him, I just never wanted Anna to grow up without her father around much of the time. A parent's one and only wish is that their children grow up in a world better than the one they were born into. I don't know if I can deliver that, but I spend every moment I'm on this Earth trying to make that happen.