Axiom - February 2000
Coldsoldier - L J P Kilford
(page 13/18)

Coldsoldier

Sometimes I cannot remember a time when I was not what I am now. I watch for enemies of the Republic, and I do not sleep.

Once I was a shore fisherman, underpaid and starving through the winters, but I could touch, and feel, and love. I cursed the owners, in their fine houses, but sometimes I was happy.

But everything changed one stormy night; a rope caught my leg, and I was flung into a broiling sea. I remember salty water pouring down my throat, and then I remember nothing.

The doctors said I was underwater for twenty minutes. But they pulled my body from the sea, and I was reborn - in a way.

I died penniless, and my family could not afford to pay for the cost of my rebirth. So I became a coldsoldier for the duration, as they say. My term of duty is fifteen years. I have served two, and it seems like forever.

My eyes are cameras, far out in the badlands. I have flamecannons and machineguns wired to the nerves in my fingers. I guard night and day.

One day I will be born again into the flesh, feel sun on my back and taste the wind from the sea.

One day I will finally be allowed to sleep.

L J P Kilford