Featured Review on this writing by Sue Harris

1500 Years

Reads: 94  | Likes: 3  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 6

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: BoMoWriCha Prompts
Written for a challenge at the BoMoWriCha Prompt House. https://www.booksie.com/house-bomowricha-prompts-1670

Submitted: December 12, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: December 12, 2018

A A A

A A A


1500 Years.

We were all competing for it; the honor to be the first to make contact.

Let me try to explain a bit more. Space crews, that’s what we were. Twenty-five different teams all wanting to be chosen to undertake a mission of how many lifetimes? A lot, that’s for sure. If we ever made it back, Earth would be very different from when we had left.

A faint signal had been detected a few years ago by one of the satellites sent out to explore the depths of space. It had been drifting for years and years, so long, in fact, that it had been forgotten. The message was totally unexpected but it indicated that somewhere out there, a long, long way away, there was other intelligent life.

The crew that was chosen would make the trip, an attempt to make first contact. 1500 years was how long it was anticipated to take! An impossible undertaking if it had not been for the advances in Cryogenics.

When we were picked, we were told all about it. After exiting the Earth’s atmosphere we would enter our own cryogenic tubes. It would be uncomfortably cold for just a few minutes and then we would fall in to a deep sleep. We would be aware of nothing, we would not age, our health would be maintained at an optimum level. And as soon as contact was imminent, we would be woken, our tubes would open and we would be ready to make history for mankind.

None of our team had any family that we would miss, or who would miss us. Should we return to Earth we would be well-rewarded, and while we were in space our every need would be catered to. What was there to worry about? Nothing, or so it seemed.

And it all started so smoothly. The take-off was perfect, the cryo-tubes opened exactly as scheduled. We all said we’d see each other in 1500 years and climbed inside our allotted one. They had all been made to measure and were remarkably comfortable.

It seemed we had a few minutes to get ourselves into our positions before the hissing started and it began to get slightly cooler. By degrees the temperature plummeted inside my tube. Soon it became painful; I felt like liquid ice was now flowing through my veins. The agony would only be short-lived, for soon I would sleep.

But I didn’t. I shut my eyes, tried to relax but it was impossible when my brain was screaming in pain. Even without the cryo-tube, hypothermia should have brought relief. It couldn’t though, could it. I was being kept alive.

How long was it before panic took me? I have no idea, for agony does something to time-perception. There was no day, no night; nothing existed besides total pain. I felt like I was being buried alive, but without the option of running out of air.

Frantically I looked for a way to open the tube, to release the top half so that I could get free and abort the mission before it became too late. The sides, the top, even the base on which I was pinned flat, were all smooth. There was no manual over-ride button, no way for me to get free. That’s when I started to scream, to pummel the top with my fists. Not even a dent did I make.

I could only scream for so long and eventually I fell into a fitful slumber. Maybe my panic had been for nothing; it had just taken longer to fall into cryo-stasis than I had imagined it would. Waking again, I knew that it had been nothing more than exhaustion and my agony was going to resume.

Was the same thing happening to the others? Were we all trapped in our own agonizing body-shaped cells? Not only were the cryo-tubes impossible to open from inside but they were sound-proof too. No way to tell if I was alone....

Continual agony with no relief, no distraction, no end in sight, that’s all I had to look forward to. I would not even be released by a natural death, for I would be kept alive. 1500 years!

That acceptance seemed to do something to my mind. It escaped somehow, climbed out from the tube and there I was, standing inside the ship while physically I still remained trapped. At first I could do no more than stand beside my body, but gradually my mind became mobile.

I found myself staring down into the next cryo-tube. Delta Two, Paul Smyth was apparently asleep, just as I should have been. Why had it worked for him and not for me? The thought sent me back to my body, back to the agony of frozen veins, until eventually I calmed and was free to roam again.

As I became acclimatized to mental roaming I became able to move around further. The remaining three tubes were working as they should. I was all alone!

I could look out at my cosmic surroundings, that was about all.Was this always the plan? For what was I now? I did not know. Maybe I never would for 1500 years was eternity. Better perhaps, to let my mind float free of the ship and travel at will through the stars.

 

(889 words).

 


© Copyright 2019 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Comments

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

More Science Fiction Short Stories