Author: Roi R. Czechvala

They think we are unaware during the Freeze. They say our brain activity is too low for rational thought. At best they say we might experience vague fleeting dreamlike states. They think we sleep. They’re wrong.

It’s been two years since our last Thaw. It has been two years in which to think. Two years to plan. Two years to become seriously pissed off.

As the Thaw begins, our orders and classes in the weapons and equipment we will be using are given to us intravenously. Small electric currents are fed through our bodies to stimulate and exercise long dormant muscles. A high protein/carbo/steroidal soup is pumped into us to get us battle ready. I’d prefer a beer.

Their failing was in thinking that we are asleep in cryo. They have no idea that the brain feed works both ways. While they are monitoring us, we are monitoring them

They never expected us to learn. They never expected us to communicate with each other in cryo, or communicate to the other ships, to the other Icemen, let alone a distant planets surface. They didn’t plan, nor expect us to have any knowledge, or even goals beyond our military download. How wrong they are. How arrogant.

Finally the Thaw is complete. Twenty nine of us emerge from our lockers. The non-cryos refer to them as “Cryo Stasis Emersion Tanks”, but they are identical to our lockers in garrison, sans the vent holes.

There are twenty nine Cryos in this drop ship, plus our lieutenant, a non-cryo, and a handful of other NCs to run the ship. We are drop troops; the Icemen. Little more than bombs sheathed in flesh; set to explode in a fury of berserker combat. An expendable weapon as far as they’re concerned. If we survive the fray, and we usually do, all the better, it means promotion, for the CO, we’re just ammo. If we are terminated, oh well, they can always grow more.

We draw our combat loads, and fall into formation to await any updates to our previously downloaded orders. Our Lt. takes command from our platoon sergeant. Funny how our commanders are all non-cryos, and therefore non-combatants. It’s like they don’t trust us. Ha, I make me laugh.

“Gentlemen”, our Lt. speaks in something less than a manly voice. “as you are already aware there has been an uprising in the Martian Confederation and we’ve been called upon to quell the disturbance. The rebels are cybos.” Cybos; he spits out the word just like somebody calling a black man “nigger” two hundred years ago.

“The reason,” the little NC prick continued, “for the soldiers treachery is uncertain at this time, but you have been ordered to eliminate the problem with extreme prejudice. You have all been issued atomics to achieve this end. You drop in twenty minutes. That is all. Any questions?” Icemen have no need to speak. We have orders. Besides, we already know the reason.

“Very well. Platoon disMISSED.” The Lt. executes a crisp about face, steps off neatly with his left foot, and crumples to the floor with a .50 caliber hole pierced neatly through his skull. I use incendiary rounds; cauterizes wounds instantly. I hate blood.

Yes, we will drop in twenty minutes, we will meet the “cybos” on the field of battle, and we will embrace the Cybernetic Soldiers as brothers in arms as we face the real enemy. The “trueborn” humans who hate us, despise us, and inherently fear us.

Mars will be ours, and what more fitting place for a race of warriors.

The Icemen Cometh…

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