The room is large and bright. I cannot see much for the light that is bouncing off the walls and illuminating the room. There is a faint buzzing that I can hear, but I do not know where it is coming from. I take a step forward and collapse as my body is unstable, my legs unable to hold my body up. There’s a rail beside me that I manage to grab and use that to steady myself. I look down at myself and I notice what I am wearing. A black suit. It looks like a space suit. A jumpsuit. But black. Shiny. I’m also wearing black boots that don’t seem to have laces and are more square shaped than round. I don’t really know. I am confused but I do not know what to do. Is there someone who can explain this? Explain why I am wearing this?
Where am I? What am I doing here? The buzzing noise continues and I think it’s a little louder than before. I take a look around the room to try and find the source of the noise. Its then that I realise I’m not alone. There are others around me – others that are wearing the same as me – everyone of me is identical. There are about fifty of us it seems, all placed around the room. Each of us stood by these large metal boxes with glass doors. I turn to look at the box behind me, it looks like a pod. That’s the best word to describe it. A pod. I notice that there is a screen next to the glass door, the screen is lit up. Maybe this screen will tell me what’s going on. I hold onto the rail and take a small step backwards towards the pod. I turn around and take slow small steps towards the pod. My feet faltering and my legs wobbling with each step.
That’s what this action is caused. I reach the pod. I stare at the screen, there are strange markings on it. Words. They are words. I blink a couple of times and read what is on there.
Name: ANTONIA ‘TONY’ ANDREWS
Date of Birth: 06/06/1990
Date of Freezing: 16/02/2017
Date of Release: 27/05/2067
Height: 6 ft. 11
Weight: 190 lbs
So, my name is Tony? How could I not remember that? It takes me a few minutes for the information on the screen to process. There must be something wrong. I can’t understand this. The information cannot be correct. 2067? I need someone to explain all this. Need someone to explain what is going on? It cannot not the year 2067 – that just cannot be possible. It cannot be fifty years in the future, it just can’t be. I need answers, I need to know what is going on. I need to find someone who is in charge, someone who can give me the answers that I need.
The buzzing noise gets louder, it feels like it is inside my head. I bang the front of my head with my hand, in hopes that the noise will disappear but it doesn’t. it continues to get louder. My body feels stronger, sturdier. I grasp the handrail and start to walk away from the pod, into the room. There is something at the end of the room that I can see but I don’t know what it is.
As I get closer to the object, I can see that it is a door. I hear shuffling behind me and I look up to see that the others are following me. Their steps are slow and awkward like mine. We reached the door but that’s all it was. A door in the wall. There was no button or switch or handle – no way to open it. I stood there, hoping that it would open but it did not. I turned to the others beside me and shrugged. They looked at each other, confused, lost, hopeless. We are stuck in a room, no way to communicate, no idea of who we are, no explanation as to what is going on.
Suddenly, the room darkens. A large image appears in the air, like a hologram. There is what appears to be an older gentleman sitting at a desk. I think he’s older. He has grey hair but there are no wrinkles. He appears to be wearing a red suit and I can see a handkerchief in his top pocket.
‘Welcome to Silustrious Industries – the number one leading company in Cryogenics. Welcome to the year 2067. The New World. The New Age.’
Cryogenics? New World? I wonder what the hell this guy is going on about? This is not the year 2067, I admit it is strange but we cannot possibly be in the future. It’s still 2017. It must be. I cannot fathom what this guy is saying. My thoughts are whirring but the guy starts speaking again before I can contemplate answers.
‘I can imagine you are all wondering what is going on.’ Multiple heads nod in unison, including my own.
‘You are here because you agreed to The Forever Project. A project created in 2016 which would see people being preserved and brought into a New World, a New Age. An age of technology, an age of no disease, no conflict. A project that would bring the past into the future.’
Confused grumbles sound around the room, I find myself grumbling – unable to form the words needed. Why would I have agreed to this? Why would I bring myself into the future? An age of no disease? How can that be possible? I shake my head, the buzzing noise getting more frantic with each shake. Stop this please. This has to be some game, some trick, some test to see what our reactions would be.
‘You are experiencing a buzzing noise in your ears currently, yes?’ Again, another round of nods. ‘Those are the computer chips that were implanted into your brains before you were – defrosted – so to speak.’
Chips? Computer chips? Implanted? The buzzing noise continues and I notice the others are looking confused as to what is going on. What the hell is going on? I need to get out of here, I need to find my family. Even my annoying brother. I would give anything to see them right now. I expect to find my brother laughing, telling me that it’s the best prank he has played. That he has played the prank to win all pranks. The other option was just not fathomable. If this really was the future then my family. No. I shake that thought away. They would not be dead. They could not be. This isn’t the future. They will be outside that door. I feel around the door, finding a way to open it. It had to open.
‘Antonio Andrews,’ the voice in the air boomed, causing me to turn my head. ‘I know what you are thinking. I know what all of you are thinking. What is going on? What is happening? This cannot not be the future. Is it some experiment? A game? I can assure you that this is not a game. This is The Forever Project, this really is the year 2067. The chips in your head control and regulate your breathing and your heartbeat. They control your thoughts, they are you. Without these chips, you cannot survive.’
This guy needed to shut the fuck up. ‘You are the first batch of test subjects. The first agreed participants in The Forever Project’. If he says The Forever Project one more time…
‘I know this is a lot of information for you to take in. There is going to be an adjustment period, a time to learn this new world, to learn how to survive. To control your chips. This is the world of technology, everything is run by Cybernetics. Every aspect of your life will be controlled and run by these chips.’
A life dictated by computers? It has always been said that this would happen, that technology is advancing too quick that in the future, it would be highly possible everything would be determined by computers. But this could not be happening yet. It is only 2017, this cannot be happening already.
The voice started again, I wished he would just stop. ‘A welcome pack will be downloaded by your chip. A guide to this New World, a guide on how to control the chip, information on how to have a happy life in 2067. There will also be information about your family for those who wish to access it. There is also a guide to what has happened since you entered the project. You will be staying in the facility for three days, to come to terms with everything. To learn to adjust to this new life. Welcome to the year 2067 folks. I hope you have a happy life’.
And with that the image disappeared and the lights came back on. People scattered around confused, looking for another person who could help them. This was too much to take in. my eyes flickered and a message saying the welcome file had been downloaded.
What the hell? I didn’t ask for that. I don’t know how I even did that? A question asked if I wanted to open the file? How could I answer? Did I even want to open the file? No. I thought, I did not want to see this welcome file. Another message appeared saying that the file was not opened and had been stored for future use. I wanted this to stop, I wanted to wake up.
You are already awake Antonio
The message appeared in front of my eyes. I fell to the floor, my hands scratching at the sides of my head. What the fuck was this? Why was this happening to me? I do not want. I need to wake up.
You are already awake Antonio
The message appeared again and I opened my mouth and a scream escaped. A loud, high pitched scream. I don’t know where it came from but it would not stop. I screamed as I ripped at my face, at my eyes, wanting the message to disappear.
Suddenly, I feel two hands gripping my arms tightly and I am moving. I am being dragged by those two arms. I look up and see that the figures have long hair. And whiskers.
Like fucking cats.
These freaks continue to drag me away down a long white corridor.
What the fuck is this place?
Where are they taking me?
‘Where are you taking me?’ My voice is weak and quiet but audible.
The figures, freaks, look at each other and nod in agreement.
They aren’t talking.
I’m dragged through a door and thrown onto a bed. Straps are put around my wrists and ankles and I am strapped to the bed. I wriggle but cannot move. I’m a captive. I look up at my captors and there is no expression on their faces.
‘Is this him?’ A voice comes into the room. I see something gliding towards me. Something metal. There is no face. It is a metallic freak. I struggle against the restraints more, the straps rubbing and starting to hurt.
One of those cat freaks nods to the metal freak and this – robot I guess – moves towards me and looks at me.
I hear a noise but I cannot see what’s happening.
‘Relax, Mr. Andrews. The more you struggle the longer this will take.’
My voice had gone quiet again and I couldn’t ask what was going longer. What were they going to do to me?
There is a needle above. A giant fucking needle, with a very sharp pointed end. I continue to struggle against the restraints as the needle enters my arm.
‘Antonio Andrews, Subject #37, distressed. Computer chip to be deactivated and reprogrammed.’
I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t see, I could feel my eyes beginning to close. No please don’t I thought to myself but it was no good. The drug took effect and I slipped into unconsciousness.
It was time to leave the facility. I had been signed off and given a list of tasks to complete to start my integration into this New World. I blink a couple of times and bring up the dressing room. I change into some casual jeans and a shirt and boots. But there is one thing that I do want to change. My ears. I find the correct option and make them pointed.
Lifting my finger my bend it quickly and take a picture of my appearance. Another blink of my eye uploads the picture to my account. Antonio Andrews.
This is 2067.
The New World.
The age of technology.
My new life.
The Forever Project. A group of test subjects from 2017 are cryogenically frozen and defrosted in 2067. They are introduced to the New World, The Cybernetic World. The Age of Technology. Computers control every aspect of a life. Antonio 'Tony' Andrews is unfrozen and struggles to understand this 'new life'. A short 2100 word story in first person of waking up 50 years in the future and having to adjust.