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The CEHP, the World’s Worst, and Best, Space Project.
This piece was supposed to be a short story for a project at school. But for some reason I found myself continuing to write more and more. I coudln't seem to stop myself from writing more and more about it. And then it ended up in it's current state. I'd say I'm pretty content with what I somehow created.
Station CEHP-4 A Disaster in Waiting.
I was a scientist aboard a space station known as the CEHP-4, also known as the Clean Energy Harvesting Program -4. The purpose for this space station was to make use of the dark energy enveloping our universe, and create power cells that could power the Earth without polluting it. There had been a couple of previous trials, but I was only a part of the 4th installation, the other three suffered some… unfortunate outcomes. The space station looked similar to that of a giant metal donut, in the center, there were metal rings that would rotate. This constant and violent rotation is what caused the dark energy in that area to be condensed and contained. I don’t know how much else of it worked, because I wasn’t involved. I was an engineer who simply worked on the construction, I wasn’t sure why it did what it did. But from that point, the attempts of the dark energy to expand like it normally would, was converted into energy that could be used on Earth.
The station was running flawlessly for around 10 years, and then something occurred, something that I certainly couldn’t explain, but it caused the entire station to collapse, and from what I could tell, caused the contained dark energy in the center to implode. After that I was engulfed in pure darkness, and before I knew it I was completely unconscious.
My eyes slowly opened, revealing an empty void of space, the station that I was just looking at what felt like moments ago, was now nowhere in sight.
“How long have I been asleep, how far from the station have I drifted off, am I even near Earth anymore?” I thought to myself as I began turning myself around to look at my surroundings.
The first thing I saw put my first question to rest, I saw the Earth, but that wasn’t the end of the story. There were tons of other colorful planets surrounding me in almost every direction. Red, Blue, Purple, Green, they were all one pure color, but they were also all covered in what looked like clouds. Also, the Earth wasn’t like the Earth anymore, I could still make out the continents, but it looked like the entire thing was covered in sand. Before I could get a better view, the Earth was enveloped in a dark hole, I quickly realized that a black hole had opened up in front of me. It felt as if my body was being sucked in, and I was drifting towards it.
Out of the hole, came a large section of the space station that I was just aboard. I managed to get a hold of part of the ship, and climbed inside of a hole that had been burst through it. As I looked around, I realized this was the SEES docking station, also known as the Space Exploration Exoskeleton Suit.
“This ought to come in handy while I’m out here.” I say to myself giddily. “I’ve always wanted to ride one of these but the damn superiors never let me… let’s see what one of these bad boys can do!” I found something to make me a little happy in this helpless situation.
I got aboard the only SEES that was still in-tact, the rest were damaged, and some even on fire. I then used it to launch myself in the direction of the barren Earth. The suit protected me from the elements, and was able to land on the planet without being destroyed by gravity. Even so, small flames began to gather around the suit as I began to come to a stop, the feeling was exhilarating. Adrenaline rushed through my body as the gravity of the planet began to pull me down, and flames enveloped my surroundings. I looked around and saw nothing but sand, silky, goldish sand, except for one thing. Once I had finally landed, and my daze had worn off, I realized I missed something quite big on my way down.
There was a huge dome in front of me, the upper portion was glass, and the lower section looked like it was made out of steel. Inside of the dome was a huge city inside of it. I made my way to the dome, and found the entrance. It was completely closed off, with a gate of solid steel.
Not long after I arrived at the door, a voice came out of a small speaker, “Who are you? How did you get here? State your purpose!”
It was near shouting at me, but I tried to explain my situation. I spoke nervously, “I don’t know how I ended up here, I was working on a space station when it suddenly blew up, and now I’m here.” One of the most unbelievable things I had ever said in my life, I didn’t expect them to even consider letting me in.
Surprisingly enough, they let me into the city, the gates opening all on their own. The sounds of screeching metal made me cringe, but I made my way inside as quickly as possible. They took me out of my suit and made sure that I was disarmed, and then took me to an interrogation room, where their leader was waiting for me.
In front of me sat a tall skinny man, who looked to be around 30, I’d guess. He had a full moustache and beard, and a full head of silky hair. He explained their situation, and how it was actually very similar to what had happened to me.
He said, “My name is Joseph Duarte, and I was the survivor of my own station, almost the exact same thing that happened to you, happened to me.”
“You’re kidding, what station were you on? I never would’ve thought that there were people from other stations still alive!”
“Station 2. But to be fair I never thought I’d see someone from Earth ever since this city showed up.”
I was confused by his statement, he said that the city just showed up, like he didn’t contribute to its creation, it just appeared out of thin air. I sat there in disbelief for a while, thinking about it, and then I remembered something. Around 30 years ago, one of the largest cities in the United States mysteriously disappeared without a trace, this must be where it ended up, or at least that was the only sensible thing I could think of in this situation, I mean, the whole thing wasn’t very sensible in the first place.
As my brain continues to race with all of this information, my brain comes up with an idea. I open my mouth and tell him what I’m thinking, “If we’re both from the same place, there must be some kind of way to return back to the Earth. Maybe if we recreate the station in space here, and intentionally cause it to self-destruct, maybe we can get it to send us back home!”
The sentence ends with an awkward silence. I think about if it could really work, and he sits there with a straight face, I think he’s considering the idea but I’m really not sure. He seems like a very critical person, and he also seems straight-forward. I continue to think about it when he finally breaks the silence.
He says, “You know, I’d thought about the idea but I never really had the resources to test it out. But with the debris from your station, the materials from this city, and the minds of two people involved in the station, we might be able to make this work. I was a scientist working on the station, so I should be able to get everything together.”
I replied saying, “I was one of the lead engineers, I might not know it exactly but I’ve got a good idea of how to put the station together.” This is our best shot, so we might as well take it, I thought to myself.
We spent a lot of time trying to collect our ideas, and even more time salvaging the materials we would need. The clocks from the city didn’t work right because we weren’t on a regular Earth, so we have no clue how long it’s been. We were able to make working replicas of the SEES suit, so we could have teams of people go into space and construct the station. We didn’t need to make an exact replica because we knew it would just blow up anyway, so we only built the necessities. Joseph explained to me how the rings worked.
“The outer ring is meant to hold, and stabilize the inner rings. The force of the inner rings condenses the dark energy into a small location, where it’s pulses are converted into energy.” Is what he told me, but it still didn’t make a ton of sense to me. However, I knew what I needed to do.
After who knows how long, construction was complete and we were ready to start the station up. The city was torn apart for materials, but it would be worth it in the end. We took trips transferring people up into space, so that they could be returned to the real world. Once everyone was up, and a safe distance away from the station, I went to talk with Joseph one last time before we deactivated the station.
“You ready to go, it’s been a while for you hasn’t it?” I asked him.
He replied with “It’s been far too long, and I need to see my family again, I fear they’ve forgotten about me.”
His voice was so solemn, I realized that he’s been off of the Earth for at least 20 years, probably more. I realized just how important it was to him, and the others, for this plan to work.
I took out the controller we had prepared. A controller that would instantaneously deactivate the rings, and simulate what occurred to the old stations. I took one last breath of cold air from my oxygen tank, and pressed the button. I watched as the lights around the rings turned off, and started to slow down. One ring collided with another, then broke off and slammed into the outer ring. It was only a matter of time before I was enveloped in a void of black once more.
When my eyes opened, I was in the exact same spot as before, but there were no rings, and no weird colored planets. However, there was debris, and a lot of it. Debris, that I assume is from the station I was on before, CEHP-4. My surroundings were normal, other than the scrap metal, and most importantly, Earth looked like Earth.
“Looks like we were able to make it back, you feeling alright?” I asked Joseph, who had just woken back up.
“Frightened, but I’m glad to be back. We’ve got no time to waste, let's get these people on the ground.” He responded.
We then used the many SEES replicas we had to get the many people from the city to Earth. Before we could begin falling down to the Earth however, we were met with a ship from Earth.
The ship projected a voice to us, “Please move towards the side of the ship, we are here trying to locate survivors from the station… I assume that you were from the station?”
We didn’t really see a better option, so we moved to the side of the ship and allowed the pilot to take us in. The ship was pretty big, it looked like one of the cargo ships that would take food and resources up to the station every month. So it was able to fit all of us, including the SEES suits. Once we were inside, the ship began its descent towards the Earth. I heard conversations begin throughout the ship, so I went to talk with Joseph.
“I’m not sure what they are going to do with us. Do you really think they are going to believe that we came back from a different universe where the Earth was made of sand?” I asked him, concerned for what was ahead.
“Well as far as they are concerned I have been dead for years, so they’ll have to come up with some rational explanation. Whatever happens, I need to see if my family is still alive.”
He sounded really desperate, I would be too if I was him, stripped away from your family for many years, with no clue what happened to them. It would tear me up inside. Before we could continue our conversation the ship came to a stop, and the cargo door that we entered opened up. The metal screeched as it opened, and a chilling breeze came through the hole.
I was the first to try and leave the ship, but before I could leave I was cut off by a soldier.
He held me at gunpoint and shouted, “Hands behind your head! Walk slowly down the ramp, and lay down on the floor!”
I listened to his commands, as I didn’t particularly want to die, and before I could get a good look at my surroundings, a bag was put over my head. I heard the same phrase over and over,
“Hands behind your head! Walk slowly down the ramp, and lay down on the floor!”
Booming footsteps can be heard from the metal ramp.
“Hands behind your head! Walk slowly down the ramp, and lay down on the floor!”
Another person lays down near me, and the ruffle of a bag can be hard.
“Hands behind your head! Walk slowly down the ramp, and lay down on the floor!”
I hear cries from someone nearby, they probably think they are going to die.
“Hands behind your head! Walk slowly down the ramp, and lay down on the floor!”
And before I knew it, I was being grabbed, and pulled away from the rest of the people.
I reminisce about what has happened so far. I could have saved the energy crisis on Earth, but instead I am being treated like some kind of criminal, but why? What have I done that could deem me a criminal, someone who deserves to be dragged around against their will? As my body is dragged into a building, I see the lights faintly through the fabric, I hear metal doors swing open, and slam shut. Until the bag is finally removed from my head, My eyes readjust to the lighting, and the room begins to clear up.
Just like last time, I have been placed in an interrogation room, and someone who, at least looks important, sat in front of me.
He asked me, “How did you survive out in space for so long? Those ships were out there to clear debris, not bring in tons of people just floating around in space. Do you realize how insane this is?”
I remind myself that I haven’t had a sense of time for who knows how long, I ask him “How long has it been since the station was destroyed?”
His face looks concerned, he responds in a serious tone, “Sir, you have been in space for over two years, no food, no water, no solid ground. It doesn’t make sense. How were you up there so long, and how did we not find you?”
I wasn’t there, that’s how he didn’t find me, but how could I explain that without sounding like a sociopath? I can’t just say “oh yea, I warped into an alternate universe where I found that city that disappeared, and the Earth was a desert, nothing but sand!” I thought to myself.
“It’s a long story, it’s gonna take a while.” I said, trying to avoid having to explain myself.
“Oh I’ve got plenty of time my friend, go ahead.” He countered.
I saw no other option at this point, so I decided to tell him everything I could, in as much detail as possible. I paid close attention to his face the entire time, while he kept a serious face, I could see in his eyes he thought I was insane. Why wouldn’t he, being in space for 2 years could certainly affect someone's mental state.
After a long while of explaining, I stopped talking, and we sat in silence for some considerable time.
He finally says something, “Well, I’ll go have a conversation with my colleagues, and we’ll figure out what the next best course of action is.”
The sentence is a little frightening, have his colleagues been listening, do they know what happened, have they talked to the others, what’s going to happen to me? There were so many questions racing through my anxious brain, I had no clue what was going to happen. I laid my head down on the table in front of me, and tried to ease my mind. After what I think was around 30 minutes, I fell asleep.
I was woken up an unknown time later by a soldier, he told me that I was to follow him and meet up with the others. After walking through a long hall with no windows, I found the others standing in a large room, with some type of stage on one side. Once I had found Joseph, I looked up to the stage to see the same person who interrogated me preparing to talk.
“Allow me to introduce myself, My name is David Cervantes, I am the head director of the CEHP station project. Finding all of you was quite a shocker, but all of your stories seem to check out. The fact that most of you are alive is a miracle to us, but nonetheless, we need your help. You’ve all been researching the layout, and functions of the CEHP station for quite some time now, so with your help, we’d like to re-create it, this time so that it won’t get destroyed. As I’m sure most of you know, the energy crisis on Earth is a serious issue, and it needs to be solved as soon as possible. Therefore, this project takes top priority, and we will need you all to stay in this facility and work with us.”
The information was pretty shocking to me, but it meant that I got to live, and I got to help create a new station, so I was content. Joseph on the other hand, appeared to be in great distress. I looked at his face, and saw someone who looked as if his world had just been shattered.
I walked over to him and asked, “Are you alright, you look like you’ve just been punched in the gut.”
“If he’s gonna keep me here I won’t be able to see my family, I need them to know that I’m alive. It’s been so long since I’ve seen them.” He put his face into his hands and he started to cry, I didn’t know how I could comfort him.
I redirected my attention back to Mr. Cervantes. He had continued talking, “I understand that many of you have family members and friends that you would like to see. We understand this, and we will have arrangements for your loved ones to come to this facility and see you again. However, we need you to stay here, and they will not be able to. They will be able to visit once every week, and once this station is complete, you will all be released back into the world. I hope you can work quickly, and go home as soon as possible.”
I turned back to Joseph, he still had his hands in his face, so I tried to relay the message I had just heard, “Hey, you’ll be able to see your family, they are going to bring everyone here, and you’ll be able to see them, don’t worry.” He shook his head yes, but I don’t think the words quite reached him. I let it go and went to talk to David.
Now that my mind was put to ease, I was actually able to take a look at his features. He was on the shorter side, a mostly bald head who looked like he was around 45. He was very fit however, and he wore a grey shirt with tan cargo pants. I walked up to him and asked a question that had been sitting on my mind for a while.
“When do we start working? I want to get this done, I’ve dedicated my life to CEHP-4, and I want to make CEHP-5 even better.”
“We’ll start soon enough, don’t worry. We need to make sure that we have all of our plans together first. We also need to get as much information from you and Duarte as we can.” I noticed how stern his voice was when he talked, it fit him well.
Within the next few minutes of waiting, they escorted all of the people into their living areas. Everyone was given a letter, and a number. The letter corresponded with the hallway our room would be in. The number corresponded with the number of our room. I realized that they were only giving us the bare necessities to live. A bed, water, food, a small bathroom. No windows on any of the walls, speaking of the walls, they were all white, it almost felt like a prison. I passed some time laying in bed, thinking about everything that had happened to me. It only felt like a few minutes had passed, but when I looked at the clock in my room, it had almost been three hours.
A voice projected into my room, “It’s time for lights out, get in your bed and go to sleep. We will begin work tomorrow, so make sure you get plenty of rest.”
When the static of the speaker turned off, the plain white walls I was seeing disappeared into void. I closed my eyes and tried to quiet the thoughts in my head. My mind was starting to drift off, but before I could fall asleep completely, I was brought back to my senses by a large thud. I looked up from my position to try and locate the source of the sound, when I looked at the door, I was met with a blinding light. Before I was able to process anything, hands were pushing down my arms and head, I felt a sting on the right side of my neck, and the ruckus I was hearing faded away quickly along with the rest of my mind.
My eyes slowly opened to reveal a room I had never seen before. It was a little hard to see due to the bright light above me, but the room looked like it had walls all a grayish-blue color, with a tile floor. As my senses were returning to normal, the door to my right opened up, and David walked in.
“Sorry we had to do that, but we used a chemical to make sure you told us everything”. He told me
“Could you elaborate a little bit on that? Please?” I responded.
“There’s a chemical we use in the government that, when inhaled by a human, causes them to answer every question we ask truthfully, and as in-depth as possible. We used it on you to make sure you didn’t hide anything from us.”
“I understand, it’s important that we are able to create the station flawlessly, and you need as much information as you can get because of that. Don’t worry, I won’t hold it against you. Although to be fair I would’ve happily done it without getting dragged out of my bed.” I replied.
“Well it’s a little late for that now… you’re free to go by the way, we’ve got what we needed”. He told me
“Oh, right. I’ll see you soon I suppose?” I asked him as I got up and made my way to the door.
“Very soon, we’ll get the people together and begin our work. You and Joseph are essential, so your schedule might be a little different from everyone else.” He replied.
I thought about something else to say, but nothing came to mind. So I made my way out of the room, and walked through a hallway that led back into the large room they held us in the previous day. There were people scattered around the room, and by the large windows around the top of the walls, I realized that it was already day. Bright light was shining through, illuminating the entire room.
I walked over into one of the corners of the room, and sat down on the floor. I let myself get lost in my thoughts, as I waited for them to get started. At this point, there was nothing else that I really cared about. If I was gonna be stuck in this facility, I might as well take care of our objective as soon as possible.
I blanked out for a while, and before I knew it, a large voice was booming throughout the room, it sounded like it was coming out of speakers, so I diverted my attention from myself to the location of the voice. I saw the stage, and the person at the top. David was up there talking to a large crowd of people below him, accompanied by many soldiers. I then focused more on his voice through the speakers.
“We have placed 3 large, red tape lines on the floor, creating four sections. Each section represents a role. I’d like all of you to separate yourselves based on the role you played during your journey back to Earth. To your far right, we have the engineers, middle-right we have constructors. Then to the middle-left, we have scientists, and the far right, is civilians. Please sort yourselves accordingly.”
I got up from my corner, which happened to be placed in the far right corner of the room, conveniently for me. I started walking towards the engineer section, observing everyone else move as well. Once I made it into my section, I looked around and saw how the people were distributed.
There weren’t many scientists, and there weren’t a ton of civilians either. Most of the people were in the construction section, and a fair amount were located in my section as well. I guess it wouldn’t be easy to turn a bunch of random people into scientists. I watched one of the soldiers on the stage walk down and go towards the section with the citizens. His voice projected loudly into the room.
“You will be following me to the exit. We have no use for you here, so you are free to go.”
The statement surprised me. I wasn’t expecting anybody in this facility to be leaving until we had finished the space station, but I suppose it makes sense, we have no need for them. He told the civilians to follow him, and then he walked to the far right side of the building, where the exit was. I heard a lot of mumbles and sounds of discontent from the rest of the crowd as they walked away, but that was to be expected. These people wanted to go home, but this project needed to be finished.
As the remaining civilians made their way out of the building, David’s voice projected through the facility, “Now that we’ve taken note of who does what around here, we are going to get on with our work. But before that, we did mention before that you would be able to see your families. We’ve spent time contacting the relatives of everyone here, if you don’t have any, or if nobody shows up, the only thing I can say is sorry. For everyone else however, you will be able to see your loved ones.”
I heard people yelp in happiness, among various other sounds of thrill, but I had no need for this time. David continued to talk but his voice was muffled out by the screaming sounds of my own mind. I stood there, drowning in my own thoughts, until I saw people start to move around. I woke myself back to reality, and went to talk to David.
“I have no loved ones. I have nobody to see, so show me where I can start working on this station.” I told him plainly.
“Ease back a bit my friend, even if you don’t have anyone to see, just relax for a while. I’m strict about getting this done, but I’m not that strict. Spend some time to collect yourself, then we can start working.” He responded with concern.
“I don’t need time to collect myself, I’ve already been collected. I need to work on this station. Something good needs to come out of what has happened, I don’t need anyone else dealing with that I’ve dealt with.” I said to him desperately.
“Alright, alright, listen. We’ve been setting up an office for you to work at, but it’s not done. If you really want to get started this badly, you can go in there and start. I’d highly suggest you just wait for the office to be done, but I can’t stop you… Can I?”
He seemed reluctant to tell me that bit of information, and his question had doubt behind it, but he wasn’t going to guilt trip me into waiting. I was going to finish this as soon as possible, and nothing was going to stop me.
“Where’s the office Mr. Cervantes? I have work to do.” I asked him bluntly.
“First room on the right of your hallway. Don’t work yourself too hard, okay?”
I could tell he was concerned for me, but I didn’t really care for it. I needed to do this.
“I’ll consider that.” I told him as I walked away.
For the next few weeks, I practically lived in that office. Only leaving when they were going to do some renovations, or install a new desk, something along those lines. Sometimes I thought David was telling them to put things in there just to get me out. The more time I spent working, the more frequently he would check up on me, or ask how I’m doing. No matter how many times he asked, my response was always the same.
“I’m doing fine, making good progress with the station. But I need to get back to work.”
I felt bad for turning him away at every moment. But they weren’t keeping us locked away here to have fun. They were keeping us here to make the world a better place, and that is what I intended to do. I was in the dark in terms of progress in construction, or anything of that matter. I didn’t converse with anyone other than people who walked into my office.
I worked so late that by the time I left my office, everyone was already asleep. So I’d walk in the dark until I found my room, walk inside, and fall asleep. After a good night’s rest, I’d wake up an hour before everyone else, and get back to my office. For the first time in a while I’m actually having some trouble trying to figure out this issue with the station. Typically I’d send a problem like this to the other engineers, and that made me think…
“What do the other engineers do when I don’t send them things? Do they just sit there and wait for the next issue to roll around?” I thought to myself aloud.
Out of the blue, David burst through my door and exclaimed to me,
“Well I could tell ya, they work just as much as you do. Hey, I’ve got an idea, why don’t you get the hell out of your office for once, and go check up on them with me. Sound like a plan? Perfect.”
He didn’t give me any time to answer, which was pretty annoying. And before I knew it he was dragging me out of my office like I was some kind of animal. As he dragged me out I centered myself so that I could actually walk instead of getting pulled away by him. As I caught my legs up with his stride, and pulled my arm away from his rough grip, I asked him,
“Is this really necessary? If I don’t get back to work this will take forever.”
He responded bluntly with “If you don’t finish your work, this will literally take forever.”
As he finished his sentence we walked into what looked like a classroom, but it was absolutely trashed. There were loose papers all over the place, the boards were coated with all kinds of equations and words. People were walking around rampantly trying to figure out what to do, it was a literal nightmare.
“What in god’s name is going on here?” I asked David.
“This is the engineer's workstation. They’ve been trying for quite some time to try and figure out those problems you send them. They aren’t as experienced as you, and yet you send them the problems you can’t figure out. You see the issue here? They’re going mad.” He told me sternly
I sighed loudly, putting my hands up to my face, the only way I could exaggerate how I felt.
“Alright listen up, get all of this garbage out of here for god’s sake, clean off the boards, set the desks back up the way they were, trash all of these random papers, and show me the problems I sent you.” I yelled to the other engineers.
They all stopped what they were doing and looked up at me with a mixture of shocked and surprised faces. With surprising efficiency, they wiped the boards, picked up the paper, and fixed the desks. Within 5 minutes the room looked like it was brand new, and an engineer walked up to me with a stack of papers. I took them assuming that they were the problems I had sent them, and to no surprise, that’s exactly what they were. However some of them were accompanied by answers, which was rather impressive considering what I’d just seen.
“Alright, I realize now I might have been burdening you lot with a bit more than you can chew. So for the next few weeks, I am going to be in here supervising your work, while I do my own work. If you have any questions while I’m here, you can ask me. If I’m not sure, I’ll call everyone to discuss it. That sound alright to all of you?”
They all nodded in agreement, and from that point forward, I spent a lot more of my time outside of my office. Instead of staying in there to eat and such, I’d spend my time with the other engineers, talking and discussing on how to fix issues. My presence among them seemed like it was helping a lot. Overtime, the large stack of problems they needed to do, got smaller and smaller.
After around 5 months, the stack that was once there was no more. With my help, the engineers were able to solve every problem that I had handed down to them. Having them there even helped me get my own work done faster. Since they had completed everything I gave them, I was able to split my work up to them, and we got things done even faster.
After another 3 months, the engineers had completed their task. We had a full blueprint of the station, with precise measurements and specifications. We even had to make a couple alterations to take into account what the scientists wanted, but nonetheless, we were done. At this point I didn’t have anything better to do, so I decided to go have a talk with David. I’d had a couple of talks with him throughout the experience, so I knew exactly where to find him.
“In the surveillance room again?” I asked him as I opened the door.
“This is the best place for me to be. I can make sure that everyone is getting their work done this way.” He responded bluntly.
“Seems like that’s all you ever do, make sure everyone else is working, what about you?”
“This is my work, making sure the station is complete is the only job I have here. And as far as I can tell I’m doing my job well, I heard that the engineers are finished.” He told me as he redirected his attention back to the monitors.
“Yea well, I suppose I have you to thank for that. If you didn’t force me in there they’d still be running around like madmen.” I told him with gratitude.
“I was just doing my job, I did what had to be done, and now look at us. You’ve already finished your job. We’ve got at least half of the space station built, and the scientists are making good progress on refining the energy system. If we keep up at this pace we’ll be done with this by next year.” he explained.
“I’ve got a good way we could speed up the process a little bit. Let's divide the forces we have.”
“What exactly do you mean by that?” He asked me.
I went on to explain that now the engineers had completed their job. They could be used in different areas to speed up the rest of the process. If they had experience in Science, they could help the scientists, and if not they could work on constructing the station.
“I like the way you think. We’ll assess all of the engineers and see what they’d be best for, and then we can increase our work output. You’re a smart man, you know that?” The praise was a little surprising, but I was glad to hear it.
“Well, I wasn’t the lead engineer for nothing. I’ve got a lot of experience under my belt.” I explained.
I left the room and went back into my office.
“It’s been a while since I’ve spent some time alone here, maybe that’s a good thing.” I thought to myself.
I sat down at my desk, and went through all of the work the engineers had completed in the past few months. I flipped through page after page, with no true reason, and not after long, I closed my eyes and let myself rest. It was probably the best sleep I’d gotten in days. The feeling of true relaxation, not having a care in the world, was truly incredible.
After a few hours, I woke up in the same place. It was around 5pm, so I figured I should probably get something to eat. I walked out of my office and found all of the engineers standing around the stage. I figured David was telling them their next assignment, so I just ignored it and went to one of the vending machines in the corner of the large room. After grabbing my sandwich and soda out from the bottom of the machine, I turned around to see the many engineers cheerfully moving towards the living hallways.
“I can’t believe we’re finally going to get to leave. Having this work done is so satisfying. I’m so glad we’re gonna go home soon.” I overheard some of the engineers talking.
Hearing them say that was really confusing. Go home? What were they talking about? They were supposed to be helping with the station construction! I felt furious, I felt betrayed.
I ran over to David standing at the stage and yelled at him, “What’s the meaning of this? Why are they going home?”
“They’ve got nothing else to do. Construction on the station progressed much faster than I had thought. They’re over seventy-five percent done with it. The scientists have made great progress too, they’re just about ready to finish with their last bit of work.” He explained it to me.
“Then what about me? What am I supposed to do? This station is all I have!” I yelled at him.
“Listen, once everything else is done, you can go up there. Just stay here for a while and relax. You deserve it. You’ve been working nonstop for the past few months, the least you could do for yourself is relax before you head up to space again.” He told me caringly
“I don’t want time for myself. I want a purpose. I never accomplished anything until I helped make CEHP-4, and even that was a failure. This is my one chance to redeem myself and I’m not just going to sit around until it’s done.”
I then saw him say something into a walkie-talkie. He covered his mouth with it so I couldn’t quite tell what he was saying into it, but whatever it was it probably wasn’t good. I assumed he was telling someone to come calm me down or something. I turned around to look for someone, and when I did I saw a gun barrel pointed directly toward me. Right then and there I expected my life to end, but instead a small dart poked into my arm. After a few moments, my vision dissipated, and I fell to the ground.
When I woke up, I was strapped to a hospital bed. At first I thought it was to restrain me, but then I noticed something. I felt completely weightless. These straps weren’t to keep me from moving, they were to keep me attached to the bed. I was back in space.
I looked up above me and saw there was a tv screen with David’s face on it. I found the remote, and pressed play. The video played, and it explained everything to me. David had me put into a coma, because he believed that was what was best for me. During that coma, the station had been completed, and I was sent up onto it. During that time David came down with an illness, and wasn’t able to get onto the station. More likely than not, David was already dead from his illness.
So, what was there to do at this point? The station was in space, and it was running perfectly. Earth was being provided with much-needed renewable energy, and people were living happy lives on the station. I was the lead engineer, so I needed to make sure that everything was running perfectly everyday. So, from there on out, I spent my many days checking up on the station and ensuring that everything was running properly. I got to see Joseph often too, and in the end, everything worked out. Everyone returned to the life they wished to live, Earth’s energy crisis was averted, and everyone was happy.