Narrator:One by one the mercenaries heads are dropped into the 'magic' cryokit. Modified by the company's first doctor (deceased), it is chock-full of six centuries worth of institutionally suppressed medical technology.
Bunni:Sergeant, The captain's body needs to be regenerated. The 'kit was asking for 110 kilos of organic matter a moment ago, but it's quiet now. What did you do?
Schlock:I raided the Tyola's stores for a flat of bone-in round steak, and some unflavored oatmeal. It doesn't seem to care what I use, as long as there are enough minerals.
Bunni:Do I dare ask what you used when I was being regenerated?
Schlock:Sugar, spice, and everything nice?
Narrator:Whew... The censors were afraid he was going to say something like 'breast meat.'
Bunni:Why raid food stores? Why not use our original bodies for mass?
Schlock:You don't want to hear it. It's a long story.
Schlock:Well, after I ripped everybody's heads off and froze them, I ate your bodies so i'd be big enough to take on the beetle-monsters.
Bunni:Where does this story start being 'Long?'
Schlock:Did I say 'long'? I meant 'disturbing.'
Bunni:You're quite a piece of work, sergeant. Not many folks could be quite so practical about survival as you seem to have been.
Schlock:I just did what I had to. The hard part was incorporating all that mass quickly enough to head into combat.
Schlock:I'm torn trying to decide whether your metabolism is more intriguing than your psychology.
Schlock:It's standard behavior for my species. 'Necessity is the mother of digestion.'
Bunni:How do you feel about 'You are what you eat?'
Footnote:Epilogue: Down on the surface of Europa, a pair of seedy-looking characters finally gave up their wait. Their partner was supposed to have debarked from the Princess Tyola several days earlier with a smuggled cargo of diamond beetle eggs. They figured he'd double-crossed them, and was going to keep the precious carapace-and-claw harvest to himself.It never occurred to them that they were much, much better off steering clear of diamond-beetle carapaces and claws, although they would have been amused to learn that their partner's attempt at suppositorial smuggling turned around and (ahem) bit him in the butt.The cruise line's post-action cleanup crew quickly discovered what they had on their hands, and made off like bandits. 31st-century prices on diamonds are not especially fantastic, but a properly mounted diamond-beetle fragment with, say, a nice clock fastened to it pulls down a pretty good price. At least among the kinds of people who buy that sort of crap.