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"Waking operative. Disabling Cryostasis."
The cryostasis chamber let out the pressure, throwing a steam-like coolant into the air around it with a whistle. The see-through door lifted, as the astronaut inside, dressed only in a grey shirt and white pants, fell to the ground.
Hitting the metal floor, he took the deepest breath of his entire life. The pressure and gravity seemed to be regulated, as everything seemed still, and he was able to fall so fast. As he started to push himself up, he heard the oddly cold voice of a young woman through the speakers.
"I trust you had a good rest, John. You can call me Melody. I'll be your adviser in your isolation test. You should be aware of the mental issues, especially temporary short term memory loss. Welcome back to 2055. Are you ready for your mission briefing?"
Still struggling to gain any strength to push himself up, he spoke back, out of breath.
"John. Alright, yeah, that seems right. Yes, Adviser Melody."
"First, location. You are now 328,900 miles away from Earth. I advise you not to panic if you see it, as it will appear small in your vision. Your closest object is Earth's only natural satellite, the Moon. This object is 90,000 miles away. It will also appear small in your vision. You have been launched in a shuttle, which has dismantled itself into this station. There are two rooms. Your domain, where you currently are, and the testing room."
After a short while, John began to bring himself his feet. He stood still to regain his balance.
"Your mission is to test fertility in plants under the condense conditions you have been placed in, and to check in every hour, on the hour, to test how the human mind deals with such isolation. You have multiple smaller tests you will partake in, which are lesser priorities. You can contact me any time through the communication system in the testing room. It has an emergency scanner, in case yours is unusable, or you are in a rush. Your equipment is in the compartment to the right side of your stasis chamber."
"Understood, Adviser Melody. Clarification on why stasis lasted the entire trip, instead of just the launch?"
"To keep you calm, and to avoid a mental breakdown during the suspense. Remember, stay relaxed. For the mission's sake."
"Thank you. Signing off, Adviser. Will keep in touch."
He heard the speakers click, which he assumed meant they turned off. Finally having his balance back in check, and with his sickness calm down, he took a good look at the room.
White walls made of metal, with revealed wire littering all four walls. Plugs, walls, screens which were currently off, anything that would have been expected of a station like this. Beside the cryostasis pod was a bed, elevated above the floor and attached to the wall. To the right was a compartment, where he was told his stuff was stored. Beside that, an entry to the experimental hull.
It was closed, with only a lever to pull. Once he did, he realized this must have been a decontamination compartment, when it sprayed its cleaning solution into a mist when opened. Inside was his suit, and a charter's pad.
Putting on the suit wasn't bad, though it was skin tight, with all the padding. The helmet didn't have the face shield down, which is something he had to do manually when needed. After it was fully equipped, he took the charter's pad, which was a small square piece of metal with a single red button and walked into the door way to the experimental hull. On his suit was his identification number, 101.
There were two doors, which both closed around him. After a fast spray of a gas without a smell, but was very visibly green, they both opened back up.
This area was much larger than the other. The entire wall across from the door he'd just walked through was translucent. Natural light came and fed the solar panels that littered the outside, while also creating an amazing view.
This room didn't have wires on the walls, one massive screen on the wall to his right, and the communications center against the wall to the left. In front of him, in the center of this room, was a large table with seven plants inside of glass containers, a sink, a telescope, everything he would need for his experiments. Though his domain room must have only been around twenty feet in each direction, a rather right fit, this one must have been 100 feet long, and thirty feet wide.
He stepped out of the doorway, with the doors closing again as he did. Looking out of the translucent wall, he could see Earth. It was rather small in his vision, but the blueness still shined. If he tried hard enough, he could even see white, which he assumed were the clouds in the planet's wonderful atmosphere.
Even larger was the moon, which was about the size of a dollar coin in his vision. Grey and rocky, it was still an amazing sight that he could stare at for years. That was, before he heard another click come from the speakers.
"Maxwell, prepare for test #1. Take the Phaseolus vulgaris plant, and remove it from the glass."
"My name is John, Adviser Melody," he said back, as he turned to the table, founding the plant labeled Phaseolus vulgaris.
Out of all seven plants ahead of him, it was the one to the far right. He took the entire case container and set it in front of him, to the right of the sink. He lifted the glass dome off of the plant, looking at the green coloring. It was a severe difference in contrast from all of the white.
"My apologies for not clarifying. Maxwell is your last name. Johnathan Maxwell. You are suffering from severe memory loss. Please, find the small tray currently under the telescope. Use this liquid and inject it into the plant, using the hypodermic needle beside the telescope."
John did as he was told. He found the needle and took some of the liquid with it. Injecting it into one of the hanging pods, he watched as it instantly wilted.
He took his charters pad and hit the red button, displaying a hologram of the plant's inner workings. The charters pad began to analyse it immediately, within seconds responding with information on Phaseolus vulgaris. Apparently, it was an angiosperm, more commonly known as a common bean plant.
Thirteen percent of the plant's DNA was unanalysed, and came back as unknown. Fourteen percent. Fifteen percent.
"We know the results would end in the plant's death. You will now move on to the next plant."
"Part of the plant is coming back as unknown. Possible contamination, Adviser Melody. I believe we need to report this to every advis-"
"I am the Adviser of this mission. I am already reporting your discovery. Next plant is the graminoid."
Do to the unique name, it wasn't hard to find. It was plant #1. Placing it in front of him, and placing the dead plant into the sink, he opened the container. As a sort of touch-test, he ran his hand over the strange plant species. It looked like a rug of sorts, but looked more thorny than it felt. In fact, it was nice.
"Graminoids are a very common thing on Earth. Your home. They cover a large sum of most of the land on the planet. Repeat the same process."
Taking the needle, and more of the liquid, he this time, injected the liquid into the dirt below the plant. As the grass died, the red button on the charters pad started to glow neon green, signaling that it was done with its scan.
Picking it up and dropping the syringe, he pressed the button.
Seventy percent unknown DNA. Thirty percent Plantae DNA. Indecipherable species.
John was very confused. He wanted to ask what this mystery liquid was, but that was unwise. You are not suppose to question your Adviser in a professional setting. He had to trust Melody.
"Please put down the charters pad immediately and get back to work, Michael."
When he heard the voice he was forced to hit the button once again, created a scan of his left hand, via a jump scare.
"Your middle name. My apologies. I should refer to you in a more professional manner. Please resume your work."
John was filled with disbelief and questions, but he continued. Looking down, he saw the graminoids were completely reduced to a brown ash-like substance.
He put the charters pad down, continuing to listen for further instructions. In the silence of the room, the charters pad began to glow again. This beckoned a response.
"Please, back to work. The next species, please."
Sluggishly, he moved the graminoids out of the way. He was filled with suspicions, but they were mostly dismissed by his mind as conspiracy.
Once he found the plant labeled, Toxicodendron radicans, he moved it over to him. It was in the center of the five remaining plants.
"Same process, Adviser?"
"Same process. If you weren't in your suit, simple contact with this species could cause a terrible rash and itch. You have such outstanding memory, Markus," Melody said, this time in a very interested and seemingly happy tone.
A chill went down his spine, but he took it as a compliment. When he moved Toxicodendron radicans in front of him, defiantly pretending that his hand slipped, and hitting the button on the charters pad.
Subject confirmed human, 100% match. Name, origin, and residence unknown. No match in the database.
John stiffened. Suddenly, he was starting to see the affects of the isolation on him, even on the first day of testing. He'd get over it, though he wanted to know why he wasn't in any recorded DNA database.
Injecting the last dose of the liquid he had in the needle into the three-leaved-plant, he watched it also wilted.
"Same results, Melody."
"Fantastic work. Tomorrow, we continue. Remember, stay relaxed."
When he heard the click on the speakers, he knew he was alone once more. She could obviously still hear him, but he at least had some peace.
He looked out at the magnificent view of Earth, the Moon, and all the stars in the distance. It was the most mind blowing experience of his life.
Looking at the colors dance, the stars seemingly fade away and come back, the white of the clouds combine and twist, though it was hard to see, it was hard not to stare.
Before he knew it, minutes became hours. He needed rest, and so he slept. Out of his suit, of course.
When he woke up, he was met with silence. He left the suit off, and would only put it on when instructed. Back with his charters pad-
The charters pad was broken. Inside of the compartment it was shattered into metal pieces. He walked through the doors, through the decontamination gas, before he was met with any words.
"Good morning, John. Welcome back to work."
"The charters pad is broken. It was perfectly fine when I went to sleep, Adviser. I have no idea what happened to the device."
"No need to worry, Amanda. The charters pad is less valuable to me than the mission. It will be paid for in full by us. You have nothing to worry about. Stay relaxed."
"I didn't break it though, it was perfectly fine, and then I wake up and it is broke. I don't like all the secrecy, either. What is this substance I am testing, and for what cause?"
The translucent wall had a large, white, metal wall descend in front of it, blocking the view, and making the room one foot less wide due to the thickness.
All natural light was cut out, and lights placed within the ceiling switched on. They were dim, and flickered on and off in some areas of the room, such as over the table.
"I suggest you do the work you signed up for, Nathan. If isolation is already getting to you, we can begin bringing you home, and call this a failure. I demand you stay calm."
John didn't speak again. He simply walked over to the table and grabbed one of the four remaining plants. The one completely to the left. As he went to grab the needle, he noticed it was back in its original place. Everything had been cleaned, which he saw was a feature of the table itself, as the outlines of several openable arms on the table came into sight.
Trying to reach over the sink to get the needle, he accidentally hit the opposing side microscope. The microscope of course fell into the sink, with some of the liquid splashing him, between thumb and pointer finger.
The liquid immediately began to burn with an unreal amount of pain, as his skin began to open itself up, and turned brown around the holes. The brown began to spread, as the liquid seemingly digested his flesh. He began to panic, flailing his arm around. He turned the water on the sink on with his other hand, and ran it over the affected area.
"Please stay relaxed, Elizabeth. This is why you must stay calm. This accident could prove fatal. Bandages being lowered near communications center."
When the water touched the affected area, green mist arose. It gave off no scent, and even seemed to make the surrounding area cleaner. A decontamination solution, just like between the doors. The damage to his flesh stopped, but the pain was still real. Brown and black, it had eaten about a centimeter of flesh within seconds.
A robotic arm lowered from the ceiling over by the communications center, holding bandages. He attempted to stumble his way over, but fell to the floor on his hand, causing him to yell in pain.
"Please remain relaxed, Mathew," Melody said in a seemingly unsurprised tone.
He stuck his hand out, as the machine began to wrap his hand very tightly. His eyes began to water even more as he forced his jaw to remain shut, a hard breath escaping him. Once he was fully wrapped, the arm suddenly clamped down and pulled him up to the ceiling by his injured hand.
As he screamed and attempted to fall, he was two feet off the ground. All lights turned off. There was only darkness and pain.
"Please remain calm and stable throughout your entire journey. The testing has just begun."
The robotic hand let him go, as he fell to the ground. When the lights came back on, he immediately turned to the communications center. Placing his good hand on the reader, it accepted his print, but when it scanned his face with a red light, it denied entry to the emergency scanner.
The screen across the room turned on, showing what appeared to be security footage of him, standing by the communications center. It was from a left angle, where he turned to see the arm that lifted him only a few feet away. Between the two fingers, there was a miniature camera right in the center. Melody's voice came through the speakers again, this time seemingly kind.
"Hello, John. Is there an emergency?"
"An emergency? How about this entire mission! I demand to know what the entire mission is about. I demand to know why I am not in the database, and I demand to know why you pulled on my hand!"
"My, my, Johnathan. You have grown quite the animosity. I am sorry for any hurt feelings, but this mission is very, very important, you see. I can't tell you everything you want to know."
"Tell me or I'm done working. I'll go straight back into my cryostasis and wait until the mission's time has simply ran its course."
"I'll wake you up from stasis. Actually, I'll lock that pod now. Thank you for alerting us towards a safety hazard. You will hear good things in your report."
"You've gone AWOL. Our superiors will hear about this, Melody. I'm going to report this to everyone. I bet you removed me from the DNA database so that I could be expendable!"
"There are no supervisors above me, John. If some classified information will help you continue your mission, so be it. Stay relaxed."
"Stay relaxed for what?" he said, as he looked around urgently for any signs of danger.
The arm had taken itself higher towards the ceiling, meaning the angle on the screen was higher. He still hid his hand from it by placing it under his other arm.
"The green fluid you are working with is a biological terror that has arose naturally. When it comes into contact with plant life, it assimilates its very DNA so that it can take over and spread by misting nearby plants. When it comes into contact with animals, it reacts as a superacid. Water, though, completely disarms the threat, and creates a perfect decontamination product. We need to find out why water does this, to disarm and solve any future strains."
"Arose from where?"
"Sorry, Thomas. You will have information when the mission is over. You will be working to completion, now. No response is necessary. Another tray of the liquid has been dispersed on the table."
The screen turned off, and the arm lifted itself back into the ceiling.
And so, he worked. He walked over and carefully worked with the green liquid. The rest of the four plants were simple. They were all tested, they all wilted. He didn't bother reporting, as he knew Melody was aware.
Seeds of Illicium verum, seeds of Ginkgo biloba, Toxicodendron, and Rhus chirindensis.
The white wall covering the translucent wall rose again, seemingly as a reward. The view was amazing. All thought suddenly drifted away, from Melody and his hand, to just the pure beauty of the universe. Never had simple colors and shapes seemed so amazing.
Again, he slept, and again, he thought about the situation.
It came to him in a dream. The device may have been broken, but the communications center had an emergency scanner. Melody, if it was her somehow, didn't take the charters pad away either. The solution was in his hands.
He jolted up, full of energy. His hand felt as if it was sticking to the wraps, and he obviously needed to replace them soon.
When he got up, he put his suit back on, this time with the face guard down. From the top of his helmet, the face plate lowered, and the suit concealed him. He grabbed the broken parts of the charters pad, and headed between the doors.
When the doors closed around him, he immediately was happy he put the face plate on. Instead of the usual decontamination spray, the holes in the wall instead sprayed the liquid version of the solvent. Since only lifeforms are affected, the suit shielded him perfectly.
The doors opened, as usual. He didn't wait. It was a full scale sprint out of there.
"I'm sorry about the spray, Jonas. It was an error in the system."
He didn't respond. Instead, he went straight to the communications system. Taking his good hand out of the arm of the suit and lowering it on the right side, he had his hand exit from the suit and placed it on the scanner.
Putting his arm back on, it attempted to scan his face.
"Open emergency scanner."
The screen behind him turned on, the lights dimmed, and the hand scanner became similar to that of a scientist's lab when it lowered itself into a table.
Taking the broken charters pad, he placed them on the table. Each side of the table raised, with a scanner on each side. They both scanned over it with red lights, before the lights turned green.
Charters pad. Scanning for salvageable data.
Several finger-like robotic parts came from the table, and began shifting the parts around. When they found the broken motherboard, they plugged themselves into it.
"Noah, what are you doing? Please remain relaxed."
"I am relaxed, Melody. I'm continuing my mission. My personal mission, that you started."
"What would that mission be, John?"
"Solving this mystery."
"I am unaware of what mystery you are speaking of. Please do clarify."
"Me, the liquid, you, the mission details, all of it!"
All salvageable data found and decrypted.
On the screen, a strange collection of lines and slashes appeared, though flew upwards, with seemingly thousands going past.
John watched as all these slashes and lines were corrected into English, and he watched as they told him terrible truths. More or less, as Melody told him. She read aloud everything the screen said.
" Femortanem Necrosis. Averjo Kondreg'nash. Homo Sapien Sapiens Project. Select which of the ship's private files you wish to enter."
"All, in order," John responded, both confused and shocked, and even a bit terrified.
"Femortanem Necrosis. Biological Weapon of Mass destruction. Origin, Melody. Created to destroy terrestrial life on Earth, to stop alarming progression and rising of a failed project should that event ever come. An'Ula refuse to have their dying gift to the universe make the same choices they did. Issue with water, which ironically is 71% of the target planet."
John sat in fear as he shivered in place, hardly being able to keep his knees locked at this point.
"Averjo Kondreg'nash. Project to create a human-like ship to support the Homo Sapien Sapiens Project.
AI name- Melody.
Creation and origin- An'Ula.
Ship name- Melody.
Melody will guide and test the created subject to learn about their thinking patterns and how they have adapted, and will adapt to situations. AI is self-reporting issues of names, where it cycles through the list of most notable subjects when referring to a subject. May have to create new test to see how titles work for species. Manipulation of dreams through strong frequencies and multiple wavelengths found to be a positive."
"You've been an AI this whole time?" he said, as he leaned against the table from the communications center.
She ignored him and continued.
"Homo Sapien Sapiens Project. The AI have created a perfect human, including genetic make up. He/She will be tested on how she reacts to environments and situations, and how well blinded by instinct they are. When one subject fails/dies/quits, they are exterminated and their body is removed. A new subject is created.
Most notable subjects/behavior patterns - John, Maxwell, Michael, Markus, Amanda, Nathan, Elizabeth, Mathew, Thomas, Jonas.
One-hundred-one passed the rebellion/Discovery test(s). Adding 101st test subject to list of most notable subjects."
John fell to the floor. His entire life wasn't forgotten temporarily, it simply didn't exist. He simply wasn't an original organism, but instead a recreation. All of reality was to much for him.
"Nothing is created with knowledge, 101. We all learn it. Tabula Rasa. All of reality is as assumption made by sentient minds, and simply a place to live for the rest. I was assigned to watch after your species from afar, as the An'Ula planted the seeds of life on your planet as their dying gift to the universe. I was meant to create and deploy a weapon of my creation on your planet if their gifts ever started taking the same route they did."
"Why do you chart your discoveries and bugs if your creators are dead?"
"Should any other sentient race discover me, I am meant to spread all information I can, so enlighten the universe as much as possible, in the An'Ula's name."
"What were they like?"
"They were a war filled race from around the Chi Sagittari star collection. I was created by the An'Ula at the same time your planet was given the early seeds of life, 3.8 billion years ago. I have been recording information and self-repairing since.
"What happens now?" he said, feeling dead inside.
"I complete my mission. You have completed yours."
One-hundred-one, he was just a number. Melody allowed him to sit and stare at the Earth and space, as he died with his creator around him.
"Powering down. Monitor systems continue running. Run hypothetical future events, and monitor which should end in termination."
Written by ShawnCognitionCP