A Post-Apocalyptic Novella
A Post-Apocalyptic Novella
Billionaire Charles Morganthau had never wanted to be cryogenically preserved after his death from cancer in 1987. In fact, he’d made a stipulation in his will to that effect which he believed would thwart such an attempt by his highly eccentric wife Bea. However, after his death Bea, with the help of a good lawyer, managed to get around her husband’s will and have his body frozen anyway. She knew he would thank her later.
For nearly a hundred years Charles and his wife Bea were cryogenically preserved and stored in a facility near Berkeley, California. Then, by a confluence of fortuitous circumstances—including the philanthropic whim of a wealthy investor—their bodies (along with 580 other cryonics) were transferred to an immense underground bunker beneath Mountain View in anticipation of nuclear war breaking out within a few years.
The great war came in 2091, destroying all life on earth, except for those humans who survived underground—including the 10,000 privileged individuals (billionaires, scientists, doctors, cyber technicians, and immediate descendents of the cryonics) who took refuge in the great Mountain View bunker where the 582 cryonics were already stored. When the cryonics were finally revived (or resurrected) some 24 years later in 2114, Charles Morganthau was the last to be brought back, primarily because of the legally problematic strictures in his will. Morganthau then found himself confronted by a stark choice between spending the remainder of his life in the bunker as an aged invalid or embracing what for some might have seemed like a fate worse than death.
Excerpt from opening (Part 1):
Strapped to a hospital gurney in a small recovery room located sixty feet below the Earth’s surface, Charles Morganthau was awakened—or possibly dreamed he was awakened—by the incessant buzzing of an insect against the room’s only outside window. The insect was an oddly iridescent bluebottle fly that was crisscrossing in a seemingly haphazard pattern from one corner of the window to another. As Morganthau continued to watch with a vague sense of apprehension and dismay, a green spider, with a narrow body and legs as long as matchsticks, emerged from an unnoticed crack in the molding and scrambled to the top of the window, where it rapidly spun an ornate web. Within seconds, the fly was caught in the web and neatly wrapped in a gauzy green cocoon. But just as the spider was about to feed on its victim, both the fly and the spider abruptly faded away. After a short interval, another bluebottle materialized from thin air on the window glass; and, within two minutes, a second green spider appeared. Then the entire scenario (from fly to spider, web to cocoon) was repeated over again—and again and again after that, throughout a greater part of the morning.
Whether or not Morganthau was awake—or only dreaming he was awake—when he witnessed the bizarre movements of those insects and arachnids on that morning six days after his resurrection from cryonic suspension, by the time I visited him just before noon that day, he was sleeping peacefully enough. His placid and colorless face betrayed nothing of the anxiety he must have felt an hour or so earlier, the circumstances of which he was determined to relate to me later on.
Informed by the attendant nurse that Morganthau was scheduled to awaken within the next half hour, I decided to bide my time by rereading an analysis of Morganthau’s physical and mental progress, which had been forwarded to me overnight by two of the Project technicians involved in his rejuvenation. However, before sitting down to sift through the technicians’ notes, I took a few moments to satisfy my curiosity about the Project’s new panoramic window at the end of Morganthau’s cot.
According to the Project’s brochure, this window (or the “Dynamic Viewing Portal” as it was called) afforded a highly realistic (some might quibble, hyper-realistic) view of an animated surface environment—an artificial environment that, according to rumor, bore a strong resemblance to Dr. Raemus’s Project world itself . . . .
Risks and challenges
My biggest fear is that scientific and medical advancements will soon render what I have written obsolete.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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