“My worst enemy becomes best friend when beasts attack us. Men put aside our differences to defeat monster evil.”
– Ivan Krasnov, Monster Hunter Siege
Monster Hunters series, by Larry Correia
The cast of Larry Correia’s Monster Hunters is wide, varied, and colorful, but, I must confess, I did not foresee the introduction of a Russian mobster type of hunter. Ivan Krasnov and his company have a very bad, and very well-earned, reputation among the monster hunting companies of Europe, including his own nation. They don’t exactly play by the same rules as everyone else in regards to fairness, cooperation, and respect. There are even intimations that competition for contracts in Russia tend towards lethality. To stand atop a game like that, Krasnov is absolutely one of the more unsavory people the main characters ever work with. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg regarding his many flaws.
However, even Krasnov has some honor to him. Indeed, while he may go about it in unusual and unsettling ways which make even his allies justifiably cautious, he demonstrates a surprising comprehension of things such as loyalty and comradeship. He once was a most capable warrior in his own right, until he let himself go the way of gluttony, and he understands the bonds which are forged between men in battle. He also claims that he felt called to leave his military career behind and hunt monsters when he learned that his ancestors did so, and he even uses a blade his forefathers used in such. So, while he may be severely lacking in integrity and selflessness, he is not entirely without honor and purpose.
This quote here is a guiding principle in his life, or so he says. He bonds with the main character, Owen Pitt, over a monster hunt, cutting through the back-and-forth of politics and dancing around the truth, piercing even his own deception. There is one great truth in his life: he hates monsters. As he sees it, he may play the game and gain any advantage over his competition by any means, but when it comes to the fight against monsters, the fight for humanity? We’re all in that together.
His worst enemy becomes his best friend in the face of genuine monsters that need killing. Whatever differences are among them, whatever disputes lie between them, and whatever grudges lie behind them, those are all rendered into perfect irrelevance compared to the single truth: the monster intends to kill them all. It only makes sense, does it not? When it is time to fight the monster, it is not the time to fight each other. Men unite against their common enemy, because they must.
That holds true in life as well, for less literal monsters. People are almost always fighting over almost anything you can name, but there are times we simply have to stop and face something much more dire. There are terrifying epidemics and natural disasters, for instance, where people simply have to stop their petty conflicts at least long enough to survive together, or help those who are suffering. Men who are long rivals and enemies can swiftly support each other when death comes knocking on the door. Smaller disputes are placed on hold in the face of larger threats like invaders or terrorists. Enemies become brothers and sisters with the simple expedient of something bigger, something monstrous, coming and hurting all of them.
What we really need to learn is that there is always something bigger that we need to deal with. There is always a “monster evil.”
We are very flawed at this, but we need to practice setting our differences aside and forgiving each other.
We aren’t worst enemies and then best friends, we are brothers and sisters who are sometimes disguised as enemies.