In the prime of his youth he decided it. The tantalizing prospect of life without the fear of death… His heart raced thinking of it. “One day,” he thought to himself, “One day they will have it all figured out. And I’ll put myself away until they do!” Of course, by “putting himself away” he meant doing the one thing technology had discovered by this point: Cryo-freezing. This was the process of freezing a human, perfectly preserving them, so that one day in the far future they could be thawed out and resume living in that future world. He presumed, based on that break-through and all the other scientific achievements up to that point, that it would only be a matter of time before they “broke the code,” per se, and created a way for humans to live forever. That was his ultimate pursuit. He loved living, though he thought his life at the moment wasn’t much to consider, and he desired to see all the things the rest of the world had to offer! The towering snow covered peaks of the Hindu Kush, the sprawling sands of the Sahara, the wonderful castles of Europe… He would see them all, and so much more! His current small, bleak world would be broken open with the light of an infinite number of days to see everything out there in all of it’s splendor and glory! “I might even take a trip to space,” he found himself saying out loud. He laughed giddily at the thought…
Driven by that milky giddiness, he toiled away. Where his job as a News Technician had been seemingly meaningless to him before, it now had purpose. The bleakness of his world wasn’t so bleak anymore. He had a wonderful future life planned, and so, setting aside money and present pleasures, he diligently pursued his goal. He ate only what was necessary, having no room for desserts or delicacies. He found, in time, that cheap food paste was no longer repulsive, and though it didn’t satisfy his hunger, it did the job well enough. He wasted no unnecessary energy, had no unnecessary relationships, and made no unnecessary purchases. Shrewdly he clawed his way forward, and though his friends and family eventually grew distant from him, he never lost his initial excitement. After 3 years, 7 months, and 13 days he had finally saved enough money to buy his Cryo-Chamber. On that day, he took a long shower, shaved, gave himself a buzz cut, put on his nicest shirt and pair of pants, and made the journey to CRiTECH Industries where his new life would officially begin…
Buzzing with nervous and excited energy he stood outside the doors of CRiTECH Industries. Instantaneously he felt the urge to burst forward through the doors, and also the urge to run back to his apartment, and continue his life in the present. But he had worked so hard to get to this point that the urge to burst through the doors easily won out. And so he did. As he stepped into the large, bright, clean looking foyer he was amazed at how many people he found there! He approached the main counter and said to the receptionist with a slight quiver in his voice, “I’m here to buy a… uh.. Cryo…chamber…” “Rent,” said the receptionist, looking very bored. “Um… yes, what?” He asked, with clear confusion written on his face. “You’re here to rent a Cryo-Chamber. We don’t sell them. Here, fill out this form, return it and you will be called up to be fitted for your Chamber. You can pay directly once you’re up there.” With that she handed him a clipboard with a small stack of papers on it. He took it, walked to a free seat, sat down and filled it out. Once finished, he briskly walked it over to the receptionist, excited to be one step closer. He took a moment as he walked back to his seat to look around at the people there with him. He noticed how hollow their eyes looked and how malnourished they seemed. He wondered if he looked like that… A stirring thought crept into the back of his mind, “What are you leaving behind?” Just then, he heard his name called. He started up, and made his way to the man who called his name. The man was tall, thin, had a sharp nose and sparkling eyes. “I am Dr. Shi,” he said, “Please follow me.”
Dr. Shi led him down a series of hallways until they reached a small room full of strange looking equipment in it. Dr. Shi instructed him to sit down, then proceeded to run multiple tests while explaining the details of what would happen with the Cryo-freezing process. Dr. Shi could have been speaking Japanese, however, as none of what he was saying was actually heard. In the corner of the small room sat a pod. The Chamber. His chamber. Finally, after an eternity, Dr. Shi said, “Alright, and how will you be paying for your trip?” This was it. The payment was the last step. He leaned in and Dr. Shi scanned his left shoulder. “You’re all set. This is the Chamber you will be travelling in. Please step in, and I will give you your sedative.” He stepped inside the Chamber. His heart and mind was racing so much so that the prick of the sedative needle was hardly felt. Dr. Shi stood over him and began to lower the lid of the Chamber, “Safe travels, Mr. Vir…” and with that, darkness overtook him.
It seemed as only a moment, as it often does in a deep dreamless sleep. The moment of the Chamber lid closing until it’s opening could have merely been bridged by a second or two. It would have been the same experience to him. The hissing noise of released air could still be heard as he regained consciousness. He wondered for a moment if he hadn’t been duped by it all… As the chamber lid opened, a friendly face greeted him. Something was slightly off about it, though… The eyes were slightly more rounded and larger than normal and her hair was so blonde that it was nearly translucent. “Welcome to the future, Mr. Vir,” she said, as she gently helped him to rise out of the Chamber. He opened his mouth to ask what year it was, but found he couldn’t speak! She noticed his slight panic and said calmly, “Do not worry. It is merely a side affect of the freezing. It will wear off shortly.” She then directed him to a changing room where a fresh set of clothes were waiting for him. After getting cleaned up and changed, he stepped out and she guided him through the halls back to the foyer he felt he had only been in mere moments ago. He noticed right away how empty it was. He looked to the reception desk where he thought he noticed the slightest shimmer to the receptionist. “Enjoy your life in the future, Mr. Vir.” The woman then turned and disappeared down the hall. He turned again to the front door. The sun shone through, as he eagerly and nervously made his way towards it. Pushing it open, he stepped out into the brisk, clean air. The buildings, the streets, the cars, if you could call them that, were all so bright! He had to squint from it all! He made his way to a newsstand and picked up a newspaper. The paper felt like a very thin plastic, and he noticed that the images on it shimmered a bit. He looked at the date. February 25, 2391. 362 years he had slept! His heart skipped a beat. He noticed the headline on the newspaper: “SCIENTISTS DISCOVER SECRET TO ETERNAL LIFE.” His heart skipped a few more beats. He had done it! Then he saw the name of the reporter who covered that story, Peter Fillmore IV. He had worked with a Peter Fillmore back in his other life… Strange to think of how successful Pete had been back then, and how his legacy of success and influence had continued with his family, if this was indeed his descendants. He considered that maybe his job as a News Technician wasn’t as meaningless as he had originally thought… As he stood pondering all this there came a distant sound. It was a sound like the roar of a distant waterfall, that seemed to be growing closer. As the noise grew he noticed people beginning to run, some pointing to the sky with faces filled with terror. Mr. Vir himself looked up, opening his mouth with the intent to shout in terror, he found no sound. He dropped the newspaper. As the paper fluttered to the ground, it shimmered, and a new headline appeared: “LARGEST ASTEROID IN SOLAR SYSTEM, VESTA, ON TRAJECTORY TO COLLIDE WITH EARTH.”
“Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.”