Author : Liz Lafferty

“Abbot Cryogenics. Pod 47. Earthdate: 2870513. Final log entry. Dr. Amanda Davidson, Director, Abbot Cryogenics. All pods have successfully entered cryo-preservation.” I punched the final sequence starting the five minute countdown to my first wake cycle, hopefully to occur in 3870 minus 10. “All pod directors have confirmed successful shutdown. I have further confirmed that all directors entered stasis at zero mark twenty.”

Every cryo control panel operated independently with a domino failsafe. If one pod failed due to a malfunction, the other forty-six were ensured a successful reentry on the designated date, provided there were no further natural disasters to threaten the extinction of mankind.

Pod 47 at Svalbard also contained the world’s largest seed vault. I had the mild reassurance that if our pod failed, eventually someone would arrive to retrieve the seeds and repopulate the planet. The other pods had lesser collections, including the cryo-preserved insects and animals necessary to rebuild and restock.

Just as it seemed we had turned the corner for restored healthy marine and animal life, this had to happen.

The rim of fire in the Pacific had been unstable for the last two hundred years. Fortunately, somewhere along the way, someone had made the decision to expand the Earth Preservation Project. The history books are full of the contentious debates that went on at the time. Those folks are long gone now.

The ones that remained neither appreciative nor ungrateful of the foresight. It just was.

The four minute mark sounded. I walked to my cryo-storage unit. I wanted to run one last time before I entered stasis. I shook my head to refocus my energies. Childish thoughts like that had no place for the seriousness of the day.

We had successfully restored cryo-preserved bodies as old as four hundred years. We had never tried this long before, but it was necessary. Scientists estimated it would take that long for the atmosphere and the weather to stabilize after the massive round of volcanoes that had polluted the atmosphere, plunged the earth into near darkness and caused the temperatures to plummet.

In a short two weeks, the planet had become uninhabitable. Most people entering stasis were in shock, not even having the will to decide if they wanted to attempt the centuries long journey.

Those that lived near the pods were the ones who had a chance at life in the future. Everyone and everything else on Earth was dead.

I stretched out one last time and rolled my neck trying to relieve the tension. I was going to have one hell of a headache when I woke. Tubes went into my arms. The breathing hose lowered perfectly as the reinforced glass lowered and sealed. Cool preservation fluid ran through my veins. I allowed my eyes to close with the pretense of sleep.

One last look nearly caused my heart to fail. A man stared back at me on the other side of the glass.

He banged on the glass with both fists. “My unit didn’t shut down properly. What do I do?”

“Nothing,” I mouthed through the glass enclosure as the computer counted down, “Three, two, one.”

I saw the swirl of the cold fog and the terrified face of the only known man on Earth, not in cryo-preservation mode, stare in horror as I slipped into my one-thousand year sleep.

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