Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
J_Harris would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Founder Effect

By J_Harris All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Scifi

Awakening

The chamber lights—a single line of high-wattage bulbs that ran down the center of the long, narrow room—blinked on one by one in quick procession. The light was reflected off the frost-covered stasis pods, creating a nearly blinding glare. The automated resuscitation program ran through its cycles and, one by one, the pods opened. Compressed gas hissed out through the widening cracks, sending dust devils dancing through the chilly air. As the pods opened, their occupants—four men and a woman, all wearing charcoal-gray coverall uniforms—began to stir.

Eve was the first to open her eyes. She was an attractive woman—tall and thin with long blonde hair and deep blue eyes. She blinked in the agonizing light and stretched in her oblong pod. Her awakening was accompanied by familiar odors. She was assaulted by the pungent aroma of stale urine. Robert must have urinated in his pod again. He always did. Eve could also smell men—the indescribable yet undeniable aroma of masculinity—and it made her feel sick. She could smell Ryan’s familiar musty stink.

All around her, the other slumberers were beginning to awaken. She could hear muffled grumbles—a pitiful melody of half-sounds that fell well short of intelligent speech—coming from the pod on her left as Robert started to wake up. On her right, Ryan sat up and rubbed his neck. He was a tall man—quite handsome, with well-carved features and a head full of shaggy blonde hair. From the far side of the room, Eve heard the other two men begin talking—their voices full of barely-masked disdain for their current surroundings—amongst themselves.

“It reeks in here. Why do I always have to wake up to the same sick stink?” was the first thing out of Messer’s mouth. He was a large, muscular man. His dark brown hair was cut so short that he almost looked bald.

“Quit complaining,” was Hanes’ reply. “You know as well as the rest of us that the Professor always wets the bed.”

Hanes was the largest man among them, outweighing Messer by at least forty pounds, all of it in muscle. His features were square and hard, as though they had been cut from stone. His hair was short, sandy blonde, and cut into a flattop that accented the squareness of his features.

The ship’s heating system did not totally shut down while its crew was in hypersleep—the coldness of space would have frozen the layer of dust and condensation that had settled on the pods into an iron-hard sheet of ice, trapping their occupants inside. Instead, the computers kept the inside of the ship around 200 degrees Kelvin, far below the freezing point of water but well above absolute zero. The room temperature cycles were performed near the beginning of the reanimation program; but the room was still cold. The crew shivered in their pods. Ryan rubbed the goose-flesh on his arms as he looked into Eve’s bed.

“Good morning, Sunshine,” he said, trying his hardest to be charming. He had no idea how much she hated him. Ever since she had slept with him, he had been intolerably smug. She wanted to kill him—to slit his smug throat.

Coming out of hypersleep was like waking up after a night of binge drinking—the crew felt queasy, disoriented, and hung over. None of them wanted to get out of bed. Eve absentmindedly ran her fingers over the small of her back, where her collar device had been implanted, where the metal plate protruded from her spine. It was cold, like the chilly air in the corridor.

“So why did the computer wake us up this time?” came Messer’s voice from the other side of the room. “You don’t actually think the scanners found something do you?”

“Get up, get to the cockpit, and find out,” Hanes responded.

“Yes sir.” Messer slowly got to his feet. “Damn this floor is cold!” he exclaimed as his bare feet touched the metal surface of the floor. Hanes ignored him.

“Quit ignoring me, Princess. I know you’re awake.” Ryan was quickly growing irritated that the only woman on board was ignoring his tasteless come-ons. “I might as well go talk to the Professor over there. He might be better company.”

“He just might be,” she replied without looking at him.

More muffled mumbles came from the pod on Eve’s left. She sat up and looked into Robert’s bed. He was a short, slender man—with a messy head full of tangled black hair and a beak-like nose that looked two sizes too large for his face. He was curled up in the fetal position, rocking back and forth on his side, and apparently having a conversation with himself in his own undecipherable version of language. He wore a white lab coat over his char-gray uniform. It was stained from years of wear—dark circles of yellowish sweat stains radiated from the armpits, splashes of food and drool speckled the front, and the tails were stained bright yellow from rolling around in his own urine.

"Okay everybody, bed time is over. Debriefing in the hangar in ten minutes,” Hanes said with pronounced authority.

Ryan grumbled and made his way out of his frosty egg-shaped pod. Eve lifted herself out of her own pod. Her bare feet slapped against the cold metal floor as she dropped from her egg-bed. Robert didn’t respond in any way whatsoever—he was having much too good a conversation with himself to be bothered by the outside world.

“Get him cleaned up and get his gear on him,” Hanes commanded Eve. This time, the authority in his voice was tainted by barely-disguised disgust. Eve remembered the pleasure—the sheer sadistic delight—in his eyes when he had demonstrated to them, before they had shipped out, exactly what the collars were and exactly how they worked. He would undoubtedly enjoy zapping one of us, she thought, seeing us twist in pain as he held his thumb on the button. She did as she was told.

In less than ten minutes, she had Robert on his feet and in the hangar, where she hoped to find out why she had been brought out of stasis.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

Schaelz: I was intrigued from the second I started reading, and it kept my interest the whole way through. Chelsea has a way with words that will enchant you until the very end. She is very poetic with the way she mixes genres and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The main character is also very relat...

John Smith: This is what Sci Fi is all about. Reads like early Heinlein. In the style of Space Cadets. No esoteric problems..but good ol blaster and space action with a host of relatable characters

Jasmine Chow: As I read this story, I was reminded some what of Terry Pratchett, especially some descriptions of politics and economics. The sci-fic setting is quite intriguing. Writing style is quite lovely and grew on me slowly. I was also slightly reminded of Mark Twain, especially his book A Connecticut Ya...

ArgyrisMetaxas: Thrilling story which builds layer ontop of layer. A few mis spellings every few chapters. What I found special was that it took a modern day problem and took it to its logical conclusion and plays this realism with gritting precision. I'm always on edge ready to shout from adrenaline. This is gr...

Christopher Chew: Been a while since reading was this fun. The plot was easy to follow and built at a gradual but good pace. The dynamics between each character were interesting and kept things fresh and exciting, very much so that you would forgive it for not going deeper into the back stories of each character. ...

Stevie Smith: Wow What a story i like the way this writer has took the time and went into every detail to explain what was actually happening in this story and i also found that the writer made sure that all of the characters had been described very well and it could be really intense as the story went on and ...

kim: This is great! Maybe it could just be a little more specific. One of the keys to great writing is describing things in detail. I think you're off to a great start. I wish you much luck.

Diana123: This is a very intense and intriguing story. I love how it is mysterious and secretive and I have really enjoyed it. The moment when Kris meets Max and the way Elsa actually “introduces” him, by making Kris look at the picture on her iPad first is a scene that has stayed etched into my mind (amon...

Books17: This is my first book review.I found the story to be very intriguing.The beginning of the story starts and you are immediately thrown into wanting to know what will happen next, The action, or intrigue is established early, so there isn't the feeling of the story dragging on, or thinking about wh...

More Recommendations

bhodges11: I like the concept of the story, but there were things that I felt could use more detail. I like the back stories created, but was left wanting more from parts of the story. I like the cadence of the author's writing style - it was a very easy, enjoyable read. I felt like it ended on, not a cliff...

Melissa Davis: Interesting book and an enjoyable read. Had something different to it, that made me glad I picked it up.

Hawkebat: Playing both Kotor I & II and Swtor I found the story line interesting and it held me until chapter 35 Very good story and plot flow until then, very few technical errors. I felt that the main character was a bit under and over powered, as it fought for balance. The last few chapters felt too f...

Karl12: This is a very unusual sci-fi mystery. I enjoyed the suspense which was present throughout the story. I loved how I never knew what to expect from the characters. This made the story thrilling and made me suspicious of everything and everyone. You have a great style of writing – one which captiva...

spooky jedi: Love your story!I really hope more people read this story!Its amazing!! The plot is very unique and different, which is very good to have in a world full of stories. You have very complex and intellectual plot line, with your many loveable character and that hint of 'will they, won't they' is ju...

Dina Husseini: It was a great hook. I do not like reading scifi because they end up being like all the rest but this one kept me wanting more.