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Things that can go wrong ALWAYS go wrong.
“Ten?!” Henry exclaimed in disbelief.
How can they do this? They made a deal just yesterday and now they are raising the price by two million!
“Yes, Mr. Hopper.” the lady sitting opposite him replied with an obvious accent, “As you know since cryogenic freezing was outlawed, the price had been rising. And there aren’t many seats on the boat! Have you seen the film 2012?”
“No, but...we made a deal! I would not go beyond eight.” He said in anger.
“You know Noah’s Ark? Do you know what happened to the people who refused to get on? Alright, alright. My point is that there won't be another offer like this if you refuse again. You’ve met Mr. Dolan, right? He had brain cancer just like you, and he made a good choice. And Mechanzie, she…. Sorry, I just couldn’t stop talking.”
The lady adjusted her glasses casually without looking at Henry, who seemed irritated especially after she addressed his worsening conditions.
“Anyways, you have to make a decision right now. If you do sign we can change your entry date to a month ahead of time, and then you would be protected by law. You know we are actually not making more money; most of these go to the government. But if you choose to leave, you are staying in this sh*thole.” She said and stood up.
Henry was not pleased with her swears, but so many other thoughts overwhelmed him. Is it truly worth it? He remembered reading the news yesterday, and there are so many potential risks to doing this. Besides, ten million! He could save this money for the future and do whatever he wants! But would he have time to spare his wealth if he refuses?
She returned to her seat and said: “Excuse me, Mr. Hopper. I have another appointment in a few minutes. You could talk to my assistant if you have any questions, but I really have to go.”
“Wait! I’ll sign.” Henry finally said and signed the contract. Surprisingly though, at the moment he decided, a huge amount of pressure seemed to be released.
“Very well, Mr. Hopper.” Her smile came back as she retrieved the papers, “All the documentation would be ready today. Tomorrow, you would be leaving.”
The following day, Henry returned early in the morning. He went through a thorough physical examination, and appeared eligible to go. Then he received a set of uniform with his code 815. Finally, a tall and young doctor came and led him onto a bed.
The room was dark and would otherwise be silent if the doctors weren’t talking.
“Hello Mr. Hopper. I am your doctor. You can call me Evan.” He pointed to his name tag and said, “And you chose to travel to a hundred years later?”
“Yes.” Henry replied.
“Alright, let's begin.” Evan said and took out a piece of paper, “Do you understand that this operation has certain risks?”
“Do you understand that you will lose the entirety of your consciousness when your body is frozen?”
“Do you understand that nothing is determinable in the future before it actually happens?”
“Are you sure to continue?”
“Alright, please sign your given name here.” Evan spoke and handed Henry the paper and a pen, “The time is now 2030, November 2nd, and your destination is at 2130. Before we begin, I want to say that cryobiology is a tested and reliable technology. There had been zero accidents for people who are in good conditions.”
Henry returned the confirmation paper with his signature. “Thank you”, Evan replied and continued, “You will be sedated before the operation, hence there is no pain at all. Your organs will be frozen and preserved at one thirty-five degrees below zero. While you are traveling, you will be protected under national law. Are there any questions?”
“Please do not hesitate. Everything you say stays here.
Henry leaned his head slightly on the wall to be able to see the tall doctor. “Had you thought of time traveling yourself?” He asked.
“Yes, but...this is a very expensive operation.” Evan waited a little and said, “And I don’t feel like relying on the future for a solution, and I am hopeful that problems could be solved through everyone’s contribution. If that does not come before my life ends, people after me would go for it. Oh, by no means am I judging you.”
“I know.” Henry replied, although he hated how Evan implied that he is escaping from the reality and leaving everyone behind. But is he really? He paid all that money to the society, and is that no contributing?
“Are we ready?” Evan already started preparing for the anesthetic.
Henry breathed deeply and responded: “I sure am.”
“Relax, I am giving you the shot right now.” Henry felt a sudden pain in the neck.
“Good luck traveller. Welcome to the future.”
Everything seemed brighter when Henry reopened his eyes. His consciousness returned starting from the pain in his brain. And then he heard a gentle alarm, similar to the alarm he would hear.
“Where am I?” Henry started to ask.
“Welcome to the future, Mr. Hopper.” A female voice whispered into his ears, “Today is 2130, November 2nd. You had been awakened automatically, due to an unexpected catastrophe in the human society. Now please follow the instructions to open your cabin manually and gain access to the outer world.”
“What is going on?” He questioned loudly, as if someone could hear him. He looked around his cabin, and pressed the button that said EMERGENCY. When the door popped open, a wave of heat stroke him. He sat up and looked around: the surrounding is so dark, but from the light of the cabin, he could see a crowd of other cabins lying around like a graveyard.
“You have used the emergency system.” A male voice suddenly appeared.
“Holy…” Henry was startled, but when he turned to identify the sound source, he realized it came from his cabin.
“There are water and food supplies under your cabin.” The voice reminded him.
But when he looked down to find supplies, the box was left open and not a single water drop was left.
“Sh*t!” he spat out the swear word in extreme anger. Someone must have taken his!
Like an insane beast, he started looking around the cabin of his neighbors, and found one supply box unopened.
“Others did it.” He thought, and opened it. Inside of the ice box, there were a bottle of iced water, a pack of crackers and a cup of yogurt. He quickly hydrated and finished the rest within minutes. After a moment of rest next to the freezing box, Henry saw a vague light source on the stairs that were just a few meters ahead of him.
“The gate!” Henry said with surprise. If he could get out of here, he would be saved, and everything would be good! With quick steps, he went and pulled open the rusty door.
“Ugh!” The blazing light stabbed into his eyes, causing him to scream in pain. The air was also burning; every breath of air seemed like breathing in fire. He focused his eyes and attempted to see again. In front of him, is a black road, and both sides are white deserts.
“Road! There has to be someone!” With this faith in mind, he ran on the road, which surprisingly isn’t burning hot. Although he thought he is moving fast, nothing around seemed to change: all he could see was just the endless road and desserts. He looked back, and could still see where he started from.
“Maybe the world gave up on us!” The thought came into his mind and started spreading, “They all ran away, maybe to space. They didn’t bring me. They…”
He sat down on the dark road with heavy breaths. The hideous headache from the brain cancer returned to him. The hot air scratched through his throat and took away the only bit of water in his body. He closed his eyes, and forever he slept.
“He didn’t even get to a mile.” A giant robot said slowly, “Four more miles he would be able to get here.”
The other robot in the shadow responded: “I’m not surprised. The last one went about the same distance and returned to his cabin!”
“The nature of human is to escape. Time can’t change it.” The first robot lowered his head and said, “That’s why took charge.”