Freeze, 1

What we now call the Seattle Freeze, they first described as Snowmageddon.

The Next Ice Age, or simply Ice, began as a year-long snow-storm that buried Seattle under six feet of ice. It all started with Seattle, and we were here to end it here as well.

The team comprised the six of us, a dozen satellites in orbit, and the high-altitude smart-base we called home, The Helix.

My name is Horatio Wyland Sils and I have been a soldier in this army for the past forty years, ever since the day of my birth. I was born in Rio, when the Ice had already covered most of Europe and North America.

When I was born, we hadn’t heard from China in a while.

It was the worst decade for our species. The planet kept on spinning, though, and slowly we crawled up from the brink of extension and restarted our world. The Ice had snuck up on us, and we were finally responding to it.

We crept through the dark streets.

What we called streets were long frozen canyons that split the city, the frozen landscape glittering slightly in the pale moonlight. I was in the lead and followed the plan we’d rehearsed these past six months.

Left, two blocks down to Pike, cross over to Third, avoid the bombed-out building.

We moved through the dark and dead city, the machine guns in our hands pointing at some point between down and forward, always at the ready to swing up and perforate an enemy. But the enemy did not come.

We were following the plan our team had devised with the help of a few dozen explorers who’d braved Seattle over the past decade. Some had gone mad, some lost limbs to the cold, others had encountered the Occupation. This last group had thousand-yard stares and downed alcohol all day long. We’d set them up with a bottle of Imitation Jack and they’d tell us everything about the Occupants.

There was no love-loss. The Jack club was a somber affair and they welcomed each new member with a quiet acceptance. They knew exactly what everyone around them had felt. They knew that everyday life was a choice that each of them made every morning and evening.

Sometimes the old, familiar face would disappear from the world overnight and there would be a long and loud night down at the bar. The Jack club would toast another fallen comrade. No one would speak their name. We’d write down another date in a spreadsheet.

I waited by the corner of one beat-down skyscraper for the searchlight to sweep back and forth before us. After it passed, we would have twenty seconds to make it across the intersection and into the broken windows of the building across the road from us.

We waited and watched the road, a blue glow that built up in intensity and culminated in a nova of energy, then promptly disappeared.

I lead us over the uneven but slippery surface. We’re just two blocks away from our destination.

There is a hint of light to the east. I give the order and we make camp. It’s been a long day, so we stay here and plan to meet the Occupants the next night.

No one will be able to get a good day’s sleep, but that’s OK. They’re noobs. I’ll be out like a light within minutes.

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