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Submission for "New Worlds" Challenge

By Ruben De EscapadoPublished 2 years ago 18 min read
A production by an AI developed by Midjourney when prompted with developing a painting of "The End of The World".

Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say. Nonetheless, when Trenton woke up the screams rung in his head. There were vocal cords in neighboring pods finding themselves. There were the echoes of distant screams from those trapped on the bridge. Not able to afford the trip. Women holding on to their children. Men holding out their wives. Trenton saw all of it occurring from his window and hibernation pod. The sign to put on your mask had illuminated but he hesitated. Holding the mask ready to deploy sleeping gas for the cryo-sleep he looked out on his burning home. Once green earth is now engulfed in red. The sky reflected the burning trees and homes that filled the air with a red smoke.

Take off had begun. Everything rumbled one last time. He looked out beyond the space station fences. There were flat lands where a forest had once stood. Now only the charcoal skewers seared into the sand. Corpses overcooked; some with beeping red beacons to track for Flamingo flu. A viral disease created when a Florida man had unprotected sex with the zoo’s flamingo. A disease that should have been easy to respond to given the technological advancements of the time and the global outreach it provided. Cooperation isn’t common practice in hegemonic politics. The government no longer serves the greater good but serves their current affiliation to power. Trenton forgot the nonsense of the recent years passed. The embarrassing moments that seemed to follow him everywhere he went had not followed him on that day. As he looked out amongst the field of souls, fallen life, and red beacons of government failure he saw a lone figure. Wearing a red hood and carrying a long shaft. The figure was staring at the rocket and at the start of it’s rumble they stopped, dropped their shoulders, and turned back around. Without a moment of hesitation began walking away from the take off.

Trenton didn’t break sight with this hooded figure, until his rocket had launched and was engulfed in fiery clouds. Under the pressure of the G force, he struggled to put on his mask. His other seven passengers were beginning to dose. Each ship had three men and four women. This included his younger sister, Sophia. He felt his heart wavering when he looked at her in a tiny space suit. Her head rocking on the chair too large for her.

His eyes getting heavier as the rocket crushed through the clouds. Breaking surface with the closest thing to a blue sky that Trenton had seen in days. Four other cylinder rockets burst through the clouds and into the horizon. They were heading towards more grey with sparks of bright marmalade but for now the five rockets that made it were in a pocket of light. Trenton knew that his brother and father were on one of them. He felt tears coming over him as the sleeping gas began to kick in. The fear of what might happen to him and his family. Of what was happening to the world. Never ceased to outpace his desire to mourn. To feel pity for the world. Trenton was a curious boy who spent his weekends hiking with his brother. Pushing his sister on the swings. His father, Dr. Collins, the head of Operation: Haven would always find time, at least once a week, to sit outside with his son and explain Shakespeare. Not the stories, but their significance. To explain tragedy. Why humans craves it and why it will be their demise. He’d explain Zeno’s paradigm to Searle’s room. Not just what they were but their impact on how we think. Trenton’s favorite would be when his father would show him how the Portugese had once navigated with the stars. So, as he watched the last of humanity pierce through the sky—the one they had spent countless nights navigating in their mind's eye—the boy began to weep. He knew he’d cry himself tired. He could risk fainting with the combined G force and in a wrestle with invisible hands he was able to get the mask on.

Engulfed once more by the clouds beyond the surface of space, the sleeping gas was just about done prepping him for cryo sleep. Trenton was resisting, he wanted so badly to fall asleep to the sight of the rockets. Not the last dark clouds of a dying planet. He held on until they broke through once more. Where Trenton expected to see the second of four other rockets, he saw flames erupting from the clouds. The other rockets had made it, but the last of humanity had just lost seven more. Trenton felt an internal convulsion that could not be acted out under the weight of the eminent cryo sleep. Who those seven were, Trenton would know for sure in six thousand three hundred earth years. When he woke up at Base Camp: Oasis on Proxima d to hear the screams of his neighboring passengers and final survivors. Exalted by thousands of years spent in a sleep so close to death it’s a miracle they wake with control over the fingers and toes, screaming is the natural thing to do. To feel the reawakening of consciousness after so much time--it's only logical that there exist a moment of madness. Think of a child coming into the light for the first time. Imagine that child having memories of a dying planet that are so distant that their memory is foggy, but their pain is evident. Trenton looked around the room and saw his little sister still resting in her cryo sleep. It was his belief that they were still in danger, but they had been temporarily saved. Temporarily saved by his father.

Dr. Collins had dedicated his life to predicting the collapse of human civilization. He was a brilliant undergraduate student with many prospects for a doctoral program. Professors frequently invited him out for drinks, and they would converse about Hegel over beers. Wittgenstein over coffee. A young Dr. Collins was an eager scholar dedicated to finding hope in all the hopeless conclusions his research forced him to draw. His theories were endlessly circular, forcing him to acknowledge what has been so obviously avoided. There was no more hope left. He had mathematically exhausted all possible scenarios. Judgment day was upon us.

He completed his bachelor’s degree then a two-year accelerated program at Oxford University. Earning him three master’s degrees in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. He was offered to do his Ph.D. at Oxford, but felt the head of the department was becoming frustrated with his presence. He decided to complete his Ph.D. at Michigan University. Getting two more doctorates, one in Physics and another in Politics. The former head of Oxford University was able to put him into contact with donors and he began researching the theories he had come up with in undergrad. Applying ideas into experiments. Concepts into case studies. Dr. Collins was now weathered and saw things more calmly. He understood that human civilization was flawed from conception. That it was not thought through rather a phenomenon that occurred for convenience of farmers and merchants. Through greed and other misunderstood desires, humanity had forced civilization to overextend and exhaust it’s most current resources, forcing innovation, until that is exhausted as well, forcing innovation once more. Thus we have the violent cycle of evolution toward our brave new world. We had exhausted it’s concept so many times that the concept has now exhausted us. He made an upfront peace with that because someone had to as to see what comes next. Understanding that life was the highest commodity, once you looked beyond all vails, people were compelled to hold on to themselves. So, he contacted the rich. They funded him for favor’s to be paid back when the time comes. Some wanted a spot on the ship, those were the big donors. Others just wanted, alternatives. Richard McFord offered his children’s bodies after a car accident had taken them from him. Dr. Collins's research at this time had provided him with additional honorary Ph.D.’s in Neuroscience and Genetics. He was able to make neuro scans of his children’s skulls that had uploaded a fabricated neuro network compromised of elaborate coding. Essentially uploading a coded clone of consciousness existing in an alternative reality. In which their favorite memories were generated and given the stimulus of sensory experiences. They would remain in this memory loop until arrival on Base Camp: Oasis. Where they would be provided synthetic bodies. Dr. Collins’ dream project. To save humanity, then evolve the species so that they will never be outpaced by cultural evolution again.

Trenton always admired his father and the way he overflowed with wonder. Yet in his solemn states. Where he would sit by himself on the porch, his hands on his head over a lamp-lit desk, or car rides with no music. When Trenton’s mother died giving birth, Dr. Collins had taken Oliver and Trenton to the space station with him. They were launching two teams for a total of fourteen people to establish Base Camp: Oasis and Base Camp: Haven. It was six years ago. Trenton was eight. Oliver was six. The two teams were supposed to arrive before the next mission to build physical infrastructure and establish a perimeter. The fourteen on that mission understood it was a one-way trip and have not been heard from since Captain Ishmael went into cryosleep. His final words echoed from the loudspeakers of all major cities for the last two weeks. "Long Live the Human Race!".

The launch was a success, and the trajectory was on course. Dr. Collins shook hands with his peers and patted his boys on the back to let them know it was time to go meet their sister. While cutting through the Utah desert toward the hospital in Colorado, he received a call that his wife had died during childbirth. He hung up and told his boys he needed a moment. He stepped outside of the car and into the valley of the gods. He walked to the ledge and rocked back and forth. He began screaming. A scream that could make one's throat bleed. It was the only thing to be heard for miles. Birds fled from their shaded branches. Whenever Trenton tried to recall this memory, his ears would begin to ring. It was in these moments Trenton felt closest to his father, but his father couldn’t be further away.

Sophia had never really spoke. She could speak, she just chose not to. This put an indescribable weight on Dr.Collins. He hoped between his sons and the time he spent at home, the poor girl could have somewhat of a normal life. Yet the thought of a young girl needing a mother and his daughter not having one on a foreign planet never quite fit wherever he would try to temporarily store it. His boys knew. There was a chance they didn’t, but he had to trust the time he spent with them was enough.

Trenton felt all these memories coming back to him in waves. Making the floor and the walls feel like they were closing in on him. He climbed out of the pod with unfamiliar legs. The cryo sleep was designed to preserve but six thousand and three hundred years is a long time. The muscles had atrophied a great deal. And the prolonged exposure to kinetic energy had extended their ligaments and joints. Trenton went into the slumber a short broad-shouldered boy with a back good for labor. When he woke up he was about eight inches taller and seventy pounds lighter. He unclipped his sister with long fingers and removed her mask. He stood in front of her as she began to wake up. She too had been stretched out. Forty pounds lighter and about five inches taller.

As she took in her brother, she began to exhaust air out of her nose. Like she was shoving more and more air from her lungs. Trenton watched the behavior and the panic in her eyes. It took him a moment. He even touched his long fingers to his chapped lips. Stared outward with sunken eyes.

“Sophia. It’s me. Brother—Trenton. It’s just been a long time. We look a bit different, but our hearts—what’s on the inside is the same.”

Sophia’s rhythm had slowed, and she saw her reflection in the window behind her skeleton brother. The familiarity in the reflection’s eyes frightened her, but after a sharp gasp and squeezing of skinny arms. She stopped and began to sob. Trenton felt indifferent to this fact. He acknowledged the melancholy of watching his skeletal sister dwindling away in her sadness, but he did not recognize her. At least recognition through memory. He looked at himself in the reflection and felt the explosion of the second rocket. Whoever had been caught in it had turned to ash and was floating with the rest of the diluting rubble of expansive nothingness. The time that had passed was incomprehensible, but Trenton felt closer to the image of smoke and flames behind his eyes than to his sobbing sister. A sobbing sister who was the echo of her soft cheeks and gentle eyes. Trenton sat in the foreignness of himself and looked beyond his reflection. There was a vast expanse illuminated by countless stars. A purple planet with rings made of sapphire and many moons. He expected a planet that resembled an unharvested earth, but the ground beneath the window was grey stone. It looked as rigid and cold as the atmosphere. Trenton was so still in his staring that he could deduce that they were orbiting this purple planet. He had set his sights on some sort of cyclone forming next to a crater. It was directly in front of him. Then slightly to the right. Then undeniably right of center. They were orbiting this purple planet, and everything that Trenton had anticipated was progressively being thrown out the window.

An air brake released and postponed Sophia’s sobbing. Only temporarily as her curiosity demanded the source of the whist of air that interrupted the awakening moment of madness and confusion. The door to the pod rose upward and then became jammed. There was the undeniable sound of frustrated men working, and then finally, the light from the outside came in. The silhouette of the ones who opened the door walked away with their tools, and one remained in the center of the door. You could only see the outline of his identity as the light came around him. He removed his glasses that were cracked and too small for his head, cleaned them on his shirt, and as he placed them back on as he walked down into the pod. The light from the windows gently illuminating his face.

“Hello. Welcome. We have worked hard to get you. It is important that you treat everything you are doing as if it were the first time you were doing it. You remember being familiar with your bodies, but that was quite some time ago. One could make the argument that those were even different bodies. It may be best to believe that lie as you learn to use them again.”

The man must have been in his early fifties. He wore a white space suit that made Sophia think of when she had watched her older brothers get surfing lessons. There was a sigil in the right breast. It was a globe with five lined streaks wrapping around it. Four narrow rockets podiumed outwards toward infinity. In between the first and the third rocket, one of the streaks stopped and was met by a dove.

“We have arrived at base camp Prometheus. This is a third base camp about eight years from Proxima D. We have a shuttle that will take us back where you will have the option to return to cryo-sleep or remain awake for parts or all of the journey. My name is Oliver, I am head of navigation and foreign affairs at Base Camp Haven. We will be arriving there then proceeding to Oasis where you have been given living quarters.”

Trenton and Sophia’s ears perked at the sound of their brother’s name. They looked at the man who looked back at them with a discomforting familiarity.

“It’s been so long. There is so much I need to tell you, but first, I’ll start with I have missed you both a great deal.”

Everyone in the pod, looked at them like Neanderthals discovering fire. The man in his sleek suit was in his early to mid-50s. Healthy looking. Signs of a strong youth breaking through his age. From the perception of everyone on board, the man was tall and skinny, but for they were heading, it was a commonly known human characteristic. Especially at this stage of evolution. Nonetheless, you could tell the man was active. The cuts on his bicep’s muscles protruding out of the suit. Silver hair resembling the streaks of his sigil orbiting his ears. His hair was slightly receding, but you could tell it could be worse. He approached Sophia and Oliver, who, like the other passengers, had just discovered fire.

“I know you must have a lot of questions, but before you ask them, I’d like to briefly explain your circumstances. Please remain calm as we are actively working on bringing you all back safely.”. He paused for a suspiciously theatrical moment. “When I arrived at Base Camp: Oasis, the infrastructure had been laid out for us to adapt quickly. Everything was essentially prepped and solely required time and manpower. My father put it together faster than I did. He saw that only three of the five ships had arrived. He said some words about the success of our survival but one of our pods were missing. It was then that the absent presence of my siblings rose eminently to the surface. The chills of over six thousand years of travel rushed over me. Claustrophobia is what I am told, but I feel as though—ah, it isn’t relevant…We found through later research that it seems to be caused by extended cryo sleep. A mind filled with dreams vaguely remembered. We have a team on standby to adhere to sensations of claustrophobia, vertigo, or nausea. They are all very common and we implore you not to be shy.". It was as his brother said this Trenton has a visceral memory appear before him. His eyes had opened and he looked out on astral plane of stars and space rocks. Perched over the window like a bat in a cave was the figure with the red hood. A shadow over the face. On the outside of the rocket. Then the shutters closed slowly on the memory. Or the imagination. It was unclear, really. He began listening to his younger older brother.

"My personal experience with it left me shell shocked for a few weeks, but then one night I heard my father reviewing the tapes from Ascension Day. They saw that Crew Virgo had exploded and was closest to your ship, Crew Delta. You were sent slightly off course. Less than one degree in fact, but at the beginning of a journey such as ours…Our father was able to calculate your course down to the extra forty years it would take to break from Proxima A’s orbit. His estimation was in the Vostok region. Either this moon, Neptune L1, or the thirty two hundred klicks away, Neptune L18. We sent our teams out with prefabricated gear and finished assembly last year for interception. Trenton. Sophia. I know this is a lot to take in, but I am your brother, and I have come to take you home. Father is excited to see you. Our community is ready to meet you all.”

Oliver showed them onto the transportation pod. They hadn't wasted the resources developing the place, considering it was best to build two potential landing stations. To intercept the ship at possible destinations, Neptune L1 and L18. He recommends that they stay awake for as long as they can, but when the symptoms become too unbearable, they will put the Delta Crew members into a cryo sleep at their request.

When Delta Crew stepped onto the transfer shuttle they were surprised to see the pilot, co-pilot, two nurses, and captain were all the same person. Their were five Oliver's on board. The Captain, the one who had just given the speech explained.

"See our father was close on earth, but once he understood the challenge ahead of him. He completed project Prometheus and succesfully cloned himself. He had the clone create three more. These are the Holy Five. They are the communicators of our ships on that fateful day. The Original being the communicator with the ones lost in the explosion. The second communicating with Crew Delta. Telepathically, of course. See, you must remember, he didn't want to recreate human life; he wanted to evolve it. The Holy Five had other tasks than communicating the story of our journeys, but they were tasked with organizing civilization and harmony. Gauranteeing survival. Locating the lost crew. The Original delegated responsibility. The Second, worked as his right hand. The Fourth was tasked with begining Project Prometheus. The Third and The Fifth were head of cloning. The Third focused his attention on creating synthesized bodies for the consciousness neurologically uploaded into our hardrives. The Fifth created us." At this moment all five Oliver's at once said, "hello". The other five were light years away but intuitively said Hello, as well.

"We are known in Base Camps Oasis and Haven as, The Ten Sons of the Holy Five. The Fifth ran an academy in which he had the synthesized minds of some of our greatest professors and scholars. Some of our best warriors and medical professionals. Layering the minds over our own, giving us the experience of their knowledge but not access to the information directly. Making us highly intuitive. We were nearly perfect beings The Original found only one minor defect. A part of our brain had been compromised by cloning the trauma of the voyage. We had to have our Medula Oblongata removed.". The Captain displayed a vertical scar on the back of his neck. The other four Olivers then showed theirs. What they failed to inform the castaway crew on was the current status of their modern and barbaric civilization. They also failed to mention how they were all clones of the original Oliver, who had died on the operating table.

"After the operation, we were perfect to take the lead on some of the responsibilities delegated by The Original. One of those responsibilities is working with The Fourth on Project Prometheus. Hence, our presence here on Neptune 1. The other five just received our confirmation and are leaving Neptune 18 as we speak. We will all be reunited at Base Camp Oasis in eight years. We will report to The Second, then Journey another two years to Base Camp Haven, where we will speak to The Original."

The other passengers asked where they can get something to eat and drink. The two nurse Olivers began to assist them. Sophia clung to Trenton, who was equally in a confused fear.

"Do you guys see yourself as the same or different?"

The pilot responded, "It depends, really."

One of the nurses shouted, "Yah, some days we are one in the same."

The co-pilot looked back, "Other days, we couldnt be more different."

The captain smiled, "Enough guys. We all missed you. We all have the same memories of earth and arrival. In that sense, we are all the same. Our live's after multiplication have branched outwards. Though we are rooted in the same foundation, we have come more and more into our own. We are the same but slightly unique."

The pilot teased, "The captain was always inclined toward literature and romance. We definetly all missed you, but he is the sentimental one."

Sophia tugged on Trenton's suit. She waved him down to her with puppy eyes. All the Olivers tried to hear what she whispered into Trenton's ear. Trenton nodded and then approached The Captain alone.


"You can call me Oliver, brother."

"Oliver, Sophia is still really young."

"I know, but she needs to move around for a while. A couple of months at least. Then we can put her back into Cryo-sleep."

"Okay. Okay. She is really scared. I am-- I am too. We just wanna go home."

"I will get you guys home. If it's the last thing I do. In the meantime I can give you guys a mild sedative for the anxiety and claustrophobia."

At the sound of the repeated word, all of Crew Delta began to grown at the pain of closing in walls. The nurses rushed to administer sedatives. The Captain and Co-Pilot helped strap everyone in, while The Pilot prepared for take off. A large man was strapped into the seat next to Trenton and Sophia. He had a large white beard down to his belly. He saw Trenton staring at the pot belly that clearly was once there now resembling more of a narrowed power gut.

"Richard McFord. A pleasure to officially meet you, boy. I know your father well. He owes me a few favors and I intend on seeing that he pays them back."

He winked at the boy and smiled at him, revealing a silver tooth beyond the mess of white facial hair.

The Pilot threw the engines on, and they launched twice in their most immediate memory. They were back on course and were heading toward Base Camp: Oasis. Sophia told Trenton she was scared. He touched her cheek with his long fingers and told her he was too. But they could trust Oliver. It didn't matter how long it had been; they would never hurt them. He was sure of it. He was so sure.

Sci Fi

About the Creator

Ruben De Escapado

Most know me as a poet sitting on a park bench in Central Park. Writing poetry for strangers. Before that I lived a life and learned a few things. Now I listen to what the world had to teach others. Believe in yourself and be honest. Okay.

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    Ruben De EscapadoWritten by Ruben De Escapado

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