The Travelers, Chapter 4: Annihilation

“It was perfect,” that’s what Cassandra’s last thought was going into the chamber.

“I don’t care what happens,” was Raynor’s last thought.

After several physical examinations, testings, and preparation, the two volunteers for this project were dipping themselves into the stasis chambers, finding a comfortable position while an IV Drip of the chemical protein was being injected into them.

“Now, since this protein will be frozen along with your body, it should theoretically last for months, potentially years. This is why we’re testing it for one month, you will hopefully wake up on January 1st, 2013, just in time for a new years celebration,” Richtor explained to the both of them.

“I’m positive it’ll work honey, I’ll see you in a month,” she said planting a kiss on his cheek and finally laying down. Despite her sentiments, she was a nervous wreck inside, and didn’t know what lied ahead of her.

Raynor said nothing, not knowing or caring what to expect. The doctors and scientists working on the chambers didn’t understand why but Raynor had asked to have a couple of possessions with him inside the chamber. The Lieutenant Colonel, having read his background, knew exactly why and allowed it.

As they laid their, frightened and excited, the doors began to close and they both began getting extremely tired as the anesthesia took effect.

“It was perfect,” She thought.

“I don’t care what happens,” He thought.

They drifted to sleep, but with no dreaming or active subconscious. They exhibited comatose levels of brain activity, but were, for the most part holding steady. That’s when things went downhill. For the first three weeks, everything seemed to be going great. Their bodies were held in tact, they still showed a barely registrable vital sign and were otherwise still fine.

Approximately 23 days after the start of the experiment, just two short days away from Christmas, a cataclysmic event claimed the life of every human being on earth. It wasn’t anything from outer space, nor was it something from earth itself, it was from man. A glitch appeared in a missile silo computer, holding several nuclear warheads. This launched over six hundred and sixty warheads at completely random directions. Four hundred landed somewhere on the planet, killing every living thing in the surrounding area, and destroying the land and water itself.

Earth was no longer sphere shaped, it no longer possessed a core, it no longer possessed an atmosphere. The other hundred or two missiles drifted outwards to space, many hitting the moon, causing it to explode and destroying more of the planet surface as well.

Several dozen underground bunkers survived and kept their shape for the most part, and miraculously the two stasis chambers in Springfield Massachusetts survived as well. While no power was being generated to the pods, the vacuum of space having such a low temperature, kept Cassandra and Raynor quite in tact.

In less than two hours after the launch, the human race became mostly extinct. Every other living creature on that planet did in fact become extinct, eight billion people and potentially trillions of animals lost their lives in just two short hours. From newlyweds who just started their lives together in a nice house, to the cop on active duty who was retiring in two days, every dream cut short due to an American computer glitch that not even Chad the Hindu tech support guy could fix. It was in this lifeless husk of various minerals and rocks that the two remaining human beings would drift for an exceedingly long period of time.

“Time of destruction?” A voice asked.

“Unknown,” a computerized voice answered.

“Cause of destruction?” The voice asked again.

“Residual radiation suggests nuclear fallout.”

“Remaining life signatures?”

“Three. One plant, two animal. Correction, two. Two animal, plant life has now ceased.”

“Transport two remaining lifesigns aboard.”

“Understood.”

The bodies of Cassandra and Raynor were somehow instantly transported onto a massive ship, approximately half the size of Earth itself. Their bodies were still frozen, well below sustainable human temperatures. They seemed to float in mid air, as a small rectangular device emanated a heat on each side of their bodies, thawing them quite effectively.

Cassandra awoke first, choking, gasping and terrified as she adjusted her eyes to her new surroundings. Her head began dashing in multiple directions, rapidly looking around the room. She shouted, multiple times, “Where am I? Where AM I?!” she yelled, twisting around, trying to figure out how she was floating and how to get down.

“Please try and relax, I promise no harm will come to you Thaman one.”

She searched around the room for where the voice came from, “Where are you? Where am I?”

“Please try and relax, I promise no harm will come to you Thaman one.”

“Wha…what’s a ‘thaman.’ Who’s speaking to me.” She tried to relax, even though it was very difficult considering her situation, but she gathered enough coherent thought to put together that the voice was a computerized one. Monotone and emotionless for the most part, though far more advanced than the technology available on Earth.

“Please try and relax, I promise no harm will….” the voice broke out, a slight amount of static and buzzing then quiet. After what seemed like a lifetime, a new voice popped up.

“I apologize for the computer. Her systems were damaged when passing the asteroid belt in your solar system,” a voice said, as a door opened and a creature walked through. It was a short creature, less than three feet tall. It’s grey bare body was skinny in comparison to it’s bulbous head. Atop it’s head, what looked like braids were actually three bones as part of the skull, going from the middle, left and right making a hemisphere to the opposite side of his head.

“I am Keldin, supreme commander of the Etherian Terraformation Project. That title may not make sense to you, but I felt I should introduce myself formally. May I ask your name?”

She was paralyzed with fear at this point, and began babbling hysterically. She couldn’t will herself to answer coherently over the trauma she was experienced.

“Keep it down will ya, we’re probably just on an alien ship or something,” her colleague, Raynor shouted from across the room, in a similar position as Cassandra. “Sorry, woke up as that thing started talking.”

“Interesting, I find it perplexing that you are bearing with your circumstances remarkably well while she is mentally unable to,” the creature said. “I am Keldin, supreme commander of the Etherian Terra…”

“Yeah yeah, I got that already. My name is Raynor Hughes. And if you’re wondering why I’m okay with this, I was hoping for something like this anyways. Plus I’ve watched a lot of science fiction shows, it was easy to adjust once I woke up.”

“Oh? Hoping for something like this? What happened to you that lead you to these circumstances?”

“Umm…I’d rather not get into that at the moment, lets just say I was kind of sick of my previous ‘circumstances’ as you put it.” Raynor noticed his photos were not only with him, but the bow was still wrapped around his wrist quite nicely despite the rest of his body being naked.

“Forgive me, they seemed to be important to you the way you were clutching them in that crude stasis chamber you were in, I transported them along with you. Do you have any idea how unprecedented it is for you to survive something like this? Your cells should have crystallized.”

“Hmm, must be something to do with that weird dark green liquid they injected into my body. You’ll have to ask her about that though, except it looks as if she’s passed out at this point,” Raynor said, looking over to Cassandra. “She’s one of the scientists that built that stasis thingy.”

“I see, I might suggest you relax for a while as well, I’ll be here in this area for quite a while and should be able to communicate with you at any time…”

“Yeah umm, speaking of which, how do you know our language? Not only are you speaking it, but it’s not broken or anything.”

“Actually, I am not currently speaking at all,” Keldin exclaimed. “Telepathic communication is a basic trick we learn as younglings on my home planet, and due to thoughts being transmitted as electric signals, it is not reliant upon language barriers.”

Raynor didn’t quite understand everything, but figured it out as he noticed that Keldin’s mouth, if what he was looking at was a mouth, wasn’t moving.

“Huh, that’s cool,” Raynor exclaimed. “So…why are we on your ship anyway? Not that I want to back or anything but won’t the scientists down there lose their heads when they open our chambers and discover we aren’t there?”

“I must apologize, but no they won’t. Whatever planet you lived on no longer exists, it hasn’t for some time,” Keldin explained.

“Wait what?! You mean my sister’s gone? Everyone is?! What the hell happened.”

“From what we can tell, a nuclear fallout happened some time ago. You were the only remaining life forms on what remained, and whatever it was that kept you alive, I am astonished it worked. That is why I transported you to my ship.”

“Holy shit…heh, so the Mayan’s were right…” he chuckled.

“I don’t understand,” Keldin stated, confused.

“There was this weird thing on earth, something about a Mayan calendar ending in the year 2012 or something and people thought that meant the end of the world, not just the end of a primitive calendar that ran on poorly made gears and levers anyway.”

“Ah, I see, I cannot answer that theory then. It is possible, it is also possible that it is a coincidence. Nuclear technology is very dangerous in and of itself, it is possible your people decided, for some inexplicable reason, to destroy themselves. Arrogance is a common trait among many life forms I’ve encountered,” he theorizes. “Though why they chose to obliterate themselves back then, I cannot fathom.”

“Umm…sorry but…back then? How long have we been frozen?”

“I am unaware of when you were placed in the chambers but from the time of the destruction of this planet to now, my best estimation is approximately 12,349 years ago, in your time.”

Raynor was left speechless at that number.

“I will give you time to digest this information, I will return shortly.”

Raynor was already lost in his thoughts, having no clue how to react. On one hand, he was prepared to die as it was, but something like this is still something extraordinary. He chuckled for a moment, realizing what he truly wanted was a new life, and so he got one.

Re: The Travelers, Chapter 4: Annihilation

Wow, that is, quite captivating, keep it coming.

Re: The Travelers, Chapter 4: Annihilation

I’m enjoying this being all science fictiony while still being plausible. I also noticed how you are fleshing out Raynor quite nicely can’t wait for a more in depth view into Cassandra keep the story coming i’d hate for this to end abruptly.

Re: The Travelers, Chapter 4: Annihilation

agree as much as possible for me

Re: The Travelers, Chapter 4: Annihilation

Reminds me of a story I read several years ago with broadly the same premise - a billionaire with a fatal disease chooses to go into hibernation until they find a cure. He wakes up several hundred years later to find out (eventually) that though a cure had been found, he was the only human left on earth due to nuclear war and the medical team administering to him are all robots. It was a short story published in an anthology so I can’t remember the title or author.

Anyway, this seems interesting. I look forward with some interest to the next update.