Author : Clint Wilson, Staff Writer
Henry became suddenly aware. Aware that he was sitting upright in a comfortable chair, wearing comfortable clothes made from warm white fabric that he did not recognize. All around him was whiteness, save for a wide bay window across the room that looked out into pure blackness. He looked to his left and saw a man standing there, also dressed in white. The man’s head was shaved, his face stony yet friendly. He smiled warmly.
Henry suddenly remembered that he could talk and found his own voice welcome but only distantly familiar, as if though he hadn’t heard it in a very long time. “Where am I?”
“You’re in the future Henry.”
“The future?” He blinked, considering it. “For real?”
For the moment he asked nothing else, finding it bothersome that his mind was having so much trouble processing such a seemingly small bit of information. Then he managed, “How far? I mean, what year is this?”
“We now use a different calendar than you are used to, but translated it’s the year 4970.”
Again, nothing but a simple number, a date. Why was it so hard to fathom what it meant?
“How did I get here?”
The bald man squatted down beside his chair, still smiling. He put a reassuring hand on Henry’s forearm. “What’s the last thing you remember?”
The last thing he remembered? He tried desperately to think. Then with a sudden wave, “A heart attack! I had a heart attack. They were working on me in the ambulance. Then… then, well then I guess…” He paused unsure. “I guess they must have… saved me?” A sudden quivering in his voice revealed his own doubt.
The bald man patted him on the shoulder. “I’m sorry Henry. They didn’t save you.” He raised a grey eyebrow and shook his head, never losing that friendly, reassuring look. “I’m afraid you died that day.”
Henry Hamilton shuddered in the comfortable chair. He looked back to the bay window and out into the blackness. Suddenly a small light zipped by, followed by two others. “What was that? Out there? Is that… space?”
“Yes, those ships are transporting people to other stations. There is a lot of traffic here in Jupiter orbit.”
Suddenly the bewildered man remembered that he had legs. He sprang from the chair and sprinted across to the window. There he pressed his face against the clear glass and gasped aloud as he gazed upon the twisting lighted tendrils of the space station that stretched off for kilometers in many directions. And all the while below, the mighty pink and red behemoth planet glowed so massive and close he was afraid that if he reached out he would touch it.
He spun back to the white room and the patient, smiling man. “Why? Why now? I never asked to be frozen. Did I?”
“Relax Henry. You haven’t been in stasis or cryo-sleep.”
“Then what? What?” He was beginning to feel like a caged animal in the room.
The bald man suddenly shone a small light into his eyes and Henry instantly calmed down. Then the friendly stranger walked him back to his chair and helped him to sit.
“Now just relax and listen while I tell you all about mankind’s wonderful mission to regenerate everybody through the genome reestablishment plan.”
“Who’s everybody,” Henry asked dreamily. That flash of light had done something to him. He felt wonderful.
“Why, everybody who has ever lived and died of course. We’ve finally done it Henry. We’ve finally found immortality and nobody is going to get left behind!”
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