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Death Is Nothing, When Considered

By Eric J. Kuhns All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Scifi

"Genesis"

In the early years of the 2100's, Earth's technology had reached a critical point of discovery. An Artificial Intelligence unit had been created that shook the scientific community. This particular A.I. unit was created to monitor a robotics unit labeled "The Cryonics Coffin”, which would travel through space in order to search for intelligent life outside of our own.

Cryonics, which by definition is placing a person in low temperatures in order to preserve them until future resuscitation is administered, had become possible in the year 2089 by a man named, Archibald Zeal. He found that after a human is cryogenically frozen, the thoughts and attributes of the brain could live on through their cryogenic status, but that the remainder of the body could not be revived. Coincidentally, by 2089, almost every human body part could be replicated. This posed a problem for the world leaders at this time, because since all human internal and external parts could be replaced, many people lived longer lives, creating a near-immortal situation. On top of it all, Archibald began creating cyborgs consisting of mostly robotic parts with the exception of the transferred brain activity from cryonic patients. However, with the exception of the artificial human replacement parts, resuscitation from cryonics in itself was kept top secret, as was most of Archibald's work by the U.G. ("Unified Government" A.K.A. One World Government).

Realizing something had to be done; a meeting was held by the world leaders in the year 2092, alongside the best and the brightest scientists of that time. Upon entry, each person had to sign a form of secrecy. Among the attendees, was the great Archibald Zeal. Some proposed the population would grow so large that eventually, our natural resources would be completely diminished. Others spoke of outlandish solutions such as a "population cleansing" which was quickly refused. Archibald, however, had his own ideas.

Archibald Zeal submitted an idea that would forever change humanity. He began to explain his Cryonics research and how he could artificially create a "human model" and transfer a person's thoughts and attributes into the model after cryogenically freezing the original person for any amount of time. He advised that a coffin-like module be created as a ship. Placed inside the coffin, would be a man and a human model. The ship would be monitored at all times and would be projected into space, powered by a miniature nuclear fusion reactor Archibald had ingeniously created. The small, but able-bodied reactor could in theory, fuel the ship and its many components for billions of years; (Earth’s sun works on a similar chemical reaction.) The vessel was also equipped with inertial dampers to reduce the motion inside the ship.

The ship was equipped with R.D.S. (radiation deflection shields) to prevent both bodies on board from radiation sickness. To travel faster than any other ship had ever traveled before, a large mechanism called the Relative Curve Drive was placed on the bottom center of the ship as a result of experimental particle physics and engineering to work cohesively with the nuclear fusion reactor. The R.C.D. made it possible to fold space time to a degree. It was comparative in thought to a rock skipping on water, as the ship would coast and skip on bumps of time. It was designed to not jump randomly however, but to foresee large items in space and other dangers superseding in its path.

The ship would be monitored by an artificial intelligence unit called "The Atom". The A.I. software installed on the ship, and in the Atom which would remain here on Earth, could work in cooperation, or independently. This was so if the ships signal was lost, it could perform its mission solo and had various extra materials, if such an event should occur.

Since the ship would be traveling at superluminal velocities, physicists found that on the tiny, vibrating strings that make up our universe, some vibrated and some were stuck in place. On these fixed strings, waves of communication could travel effortlessly, though the farther out the ship traveled, the longer the transmission took to reach Earth. It is important to note that most of these ideas were just theories, until the Atom and coffin were built and it was put into practice, much like the ideas proposed to Kennedy and then from him, in the twentieth century, when the first great space race took place.

Dr. Zeal explained that the mission would be to find a planet that was inhabitable. The ship itself could then, relay the data back to Earth and the human race could begin to strategically plan how to travel to the planet. Seeing as how, to travel as far as needed, it would take the ship several centuries or more, the plan for Earth's evacuation had been intended for the future preservation of the human race, not of their present time inhabitants. When the ship's destination was found, the man's thoughts and psychological attributes were to be relocated into the human model. Three to five hours were expected before the man would gain full control of his new body. Most of this time, the original body and model would be unconscious. After that, everything should be in perfect sync, and with modifications, he would be resistant to all sicknesses and diseases.

On September 2, 2092, the bill was passed to fund the mission. It took 17 years to finish building the advanced ship, the Atom, and the programs to run it. The entire project was an unprecedented amount of money, collected from most of the major governments around the world. On October 5, 2109, the ship was launched out of a secret UASA (Unified Aeronautics and Space Administration) base and was closely watched, but rarely talked of outside of the facility for some time. The man inside the ship who had been frozen was none other than Archibald Zeal.

Hundreds of years passed, until one day the mission took an unexpected turn. In the year 2636, the ship disappeared off the Atom's radar. As the scientists and engineers raced frantically to find what had happened, the Atom turned itself off. The men and women working on it quickly tried to revive the machine, but to no avail. The Cryonics Coffin had now become self-reliant and the mission's completion depended upon the Coffin's A.I. and Dr. Archibald Zeal himself...

An unknown amount of time later...

"What in the hell?" Archibald thought as he looked up through a thick plate of glass installed above him.

The sky, as seen from Archibald’s perspective, looked similar to the northern poles’ Aurora Borealis; the colors danced harmoniously together spawning a sight like no other. As he leaned forward from his resting position, he saw a desert environment below the picturesque celestial display. His confusion consumed him.

"Where am I?" He pondered.

"Rita, Where am I?" He repeated, only this time, aloud and slurred.

A projection appeared within the glass that surrounded Dr. Zeal, of a computer generated woman named Rita that he had created based off of a former love of his. This produced an emotional attachment of a small sort.

"According to Earth's projected timeline: Good Afternoon, Dr. Archibald Zeal. To elucidate upon your query, you inhabit an unknown and unexplored area of the universe. I have attempted to contact the Atom several times, but due to the distance we have traveled, it has become impossible to make any further communication through strings alone."

The doctor's speech became clearer, "How far have we traveled?"

"Unknown, Dr. Zeal. Upon entry of this planet, 37% of my internal memory was corrupted and is irretrievable at this moment. 3 hours and 46 minutes have transpired since I began the transfer from your original body’s intellectual memory and personal attributes, to its artificial counterpart. Oddly, your original body is no longer with us here on your self-sustained vessel. It may have taken increments of your intelligence and memory with it, but it should not be enough to affect you negatively.

You have approximately 4 minutes before you are fully restored into your new anatomical structure. As a reminder, you are immune to all airborne pathogens. During our expedition, I took it upon 'myself' to replace the lungs in your model with a synthetic self-sustaining respiratory system. The system still allows for you to inhale and exhale in order for your senses to remain active, but oxygen itself is no longer needed. It appears that this planet has an atmosphere, but for future precautions, it was necessary. Additionally, I added a small fraction of weight to your body to adjust to the gravity of this planet, though it is almost identical to Earth's gravity."

"I appreciate it, Rita." Zeal said sincerely, but was slightly despondent over the current situation.

It was apparent that the 4 minutes required for the transfer had passed, as the glass around him opened. A strange aroma entered the pod where the doctor sat. It reminded him of his childhood, but he could not remember why. Slowly, he stood up and took his first step onto the mysterious planet's surface. He could not help but feel nostalgic as he compared this moment to a time before his own when man first stepped on his home planet’s moon.

"Rita, shift to exploration mode" Dr. Zeal said while his feet shuffled slightly to the side, creating a small cloud of sand. “…and change your communication delivery slightly.” Archibald’s eyes blurred for a second to his dismay, but quickly returned to normal.

Rita transferred her memory into a moveable pod with thrusters positioned downward to maintain airborne stability. The ship, in its entirety, produced microscopic mirrors to encompass it within, visibly becoming incognito. This was due to its reflective properties of the surrounding scene, in an almost completely invisible state, while retaining a defensive stance in the event that it was discovered.

Dr. Zeal intuitively viewed the landscape around him. Mountains preceded him, but he could not disclose to himself their distance without his estimate being purely a guesstimate. His head tilted upward toward the foreign atmosphere. Unlike most places on Earth, the universe could be seen as clear as a religious fallacy to an atheist. Archibald used a small telescope he on him to gaze out into the unpolluted skies. A sun had depicted itself basking in its own glory. Three planets could be seen in the distance; two of which, boasting planetary rings. The sky was lit with items that would have amazed even the most pessimistic of thinkers back on our own sublunary world.

“We must be in the Goldilock's zone of this solar system.” Dr. Zeal said aloud to himself.

Rita advanced toward the Doctor. “I observe movement just over the mountains ahead of us. However, the objects are not emitting a measurable sound signature.”

“I'm reading the same. Let’s make first contact, but we will approach cautiously, Rita.” Dr. Zeal expressed protectively over his only companion.

Continuing onward, Rita recapitulated upon its own findings, searching for a variance in the data collected from the progressing figures ahead. No variance could be found. Archibald steadily pushed forward, traveling faster than his robot companion. His steps deviated from a normal walking pattern due to an overbearing amount of excitement that consumed his every thought. Something about the way this planet affected his thought patterns struck a chord with all five of his senses fabricating moving images he did not previously possess as a memory. For some odd reason, his mind would not let him participate, but only oversee the remembrance of an odd, broken horror story with missing parts…

Day 7

"Haven't you any parents, my dear?" an elderly man humorously said to a young girl sitting directly in front of him.

Although his face was as kind as an older man's expressions could be, his eyes were as deep as a well and as hollow as a tree infested with termites and rot. The girl's face was ripe with sadness. Tears almost drowned every crevice in her nine year old face.

"Please..." the girl slurred in her speech as she pleaded while evidently drained of the majority of her energy.

The old man slowly raised his right arm, and pendulously moved his index finger side to side uprightly. His demeanor was so unquestionably horrible, that even the girl caught on to his intentions. He arose from the chair that had been adjacent to hers. Without a word leaving the dispassionate man, he proceeded out of the room.

The young child shook wildly in an attempt to break free of the chair she had been restrained to, but to no avail. After tiring herself out, she stopped and sat motionless. Sounds, just outside the door, entered the room through the break in between the door and the floor. She could hear screams. They bounced off the walls, as if to taunt her. A shadow coupled the noises at the bottom of the door's threshold. She could hear him slowly coming closer and closer.

"I have a special surprise for you, my dear" the older gentleman uttered from the opposite side of the door. Every image imaginable raced through her young mind.

*Silence*

The man entered the room abruptly, swinging the door open until it slammed into the wall behind it. In one hand, he grasped tightly to a box of nails. Loosely, in his other hand, a hammer swung back and forth. Setting the hammer down, he began laughing softly to himself.

"You know, my last girl looked a little something like you. I'm just a sucker for brunettes, and my oh my, haven't the past 9 years been great to your hair." He proceeded to stroke her hair, gliding his fingers softly through her hair, as he said, "I'm gonna kiss you now, but if you even START to struggle, I'm going to hammer a nail somewhere into your body. Each time I have to restrain you that will be another nail. I sure hope you cooperate, ‘cause I'm not looking forward to cleaning that up if such an action should have to take place."

The man slowly leaned in and began kissing the young girls neck as her lips quivered in fright. It became too strong for her to handle. She screamed in his ear and jumped frantically up and down. One of the man's hands was positioned on the floor in order to balance his weight while forcefully seducing the little girl. One of the chair legs lifted off of the ground and crushed his index finger. He screamed adjacent to the young girls and fell back into a nearby book shelf.

"Not smart, bitch!" The man exclaimed.

In all of the commotion, the nails had fallen to the floor. Some had even fallen into the cracks of the old wooden floor, disappearing into the darkness below. He shuffled his hands on the floor with such a high amount of adrenaline, that he was unaware of the splinters that filled his palm.

"At last!" he thought, "a nail!"

His hands, bloody and torn, pushed off of the ground in order to help him stand upright. Quickly, he dashed to a nearby tool bench and picked up a black portable CD player. On the way back towards the girl, the old man pressed the play button. He forced the noise canceling headphones over her ears. He then advanced toward the roll of duct tape and wrapped it around the girls head to secure the headphones in place.

The disc played a classical score, unheard of by the young girl. The volume had been turned to the highest possible decibel it could reach. The small girl watched as a nail was placed sternly against her left shoulder, making it so that any movement or struggle she displayed would have severe consequences. As he picked up his hammer off of the floor, a little bit of light shining through the doorway reflected off of the hammers steel.

He held the nail in place for a second more, before banging the hammer into the nail causing it to penetrate her delicate skin. Time begun to speed up as more and more nails were accompanying the inside of her body. Even though the nails varied in size, the girl could not tell after the fifteenth or sixteenth nail entered her skin. As time sped up, so did the music. She screamed and screamed and screamed, yet, she could not hear her own high pitched voice. All that accompanied her pain was the sound of the man's music. Slowly, her eyes closed and she drifted away into the music...

Day 1

"Marvell, come here at once! My new score is finished!" An elderly man said to an approaching robot. Marvell was a four foot robotics unit that mimicked the looks of a locust. It was trained to follow the old man's every demand. As the robot neared him, he hit a play button firmly on a dusty music player.

"Oh, my dear Marvell, how wonderful is it!?"

The wrinkled old man screamed and smiled. Almost instantly, the man displayed anger on his face and leaned toward Marvell as he talked and spit at the same time.

"You know Marvell, music is life. It entertains us in every way possible. Some people don't understand that as well as you and I do. Music is my gift…I must make these ignorant fools see it. It's not enough to just listen to it. It must consume you in every aspect of your being."

A screen appeared within the luminescent body design of the robot as it wrote upon itself in computer generated indentations, "How will you achieve this?"

The man smiled at the simulated question and answered fervently, "through the cessation of one’s self, of course. Only then, will they experience its greatness."

"Death, sir?" Marvell commented.

"Precisely, it is an unequivocal action I must take to ensure my music transcends death itself."

The old man clinched his fist as he banged his hand against the robot's head causing the robot to turn off. He then walked into a room boasting a strong green tint. Vines protruded out of the ceiling as they attached themselves to the elderly man much like IV's at a hospital. His eyes shut quickly and forced the man to enter a euphoric state of mind.

Day 3

Morning had come abruptly to a young girl named Abbey. Her eyes patiently opened to reveal the sun’s rays dominating the darkness of her room. After her eyes had blinked a few times, an aroma of chocolate pancakes filled her with energy. She jumped excitedly out of bed, through her bedroom door, down the stairs, through the den, and into the kitchen where she was met by her two loving parents.

"Good morning honey! Don't forget you have soccer practice after school." Her mother lovingly said.

"I know, mom. You tell me every Tuesday!" Abbey laughed.

"You’re gonna be late for the bus if you don't scoot your butt!" Her dad interjected.

Abbey said her goodbyes, gave her hugs, and ran out of the door. Abbey's mom began crying as she fell into her husband’s arms. Meanwhile, the young girl had entered the dated, school bus. She sat with a boy named Thomas, whom she was infatuated with, and had been for some time. Although she liked him, they never spoke a word to each other, so to keep her busy on the bus, she would stare out of the window and imagine her own scene.

Her mind wondered on for only a few minutes before she noticed something move in her bag. Cautiously, she opened it, but saw no movement. Abbey, confused, dug through her bag until she came upon a small vine. The girl did not remember putting it in there, but dismissed it and continued on with her imagination.

Day 5

The night was winding down as Marvell was turned off. The old man advanced toward the green room. The vines once again consumed his body and mind's state, creating a reality unlike any other. The air was tented grey like a mist. Instruments of all kinds were floating through the air.

"Charles?" a deep voice said.

"Lord, we'll be capturing the girl tomorrow." The man flinchingly said.

"That's very good Charles. I knew I could count on you."

"Not to question you in anyway, but why do we do it, Lord?

"You know, I sometimes relate to the human's feelings. Only that I want what I am not given. Nature has always taken care of the deceased humans, and yet we are not able to harvest their souls. Why give us a gift and not give us all of it? When I found that music and children we're the last pure items left on Earth, I realized I had something there. When mixed by a force as evil as I, their purity creates chaos at death giving me the first chance at taking their souls as well as their bodies. Here in the Grey Matter dimension, we can always use slaves. Having said that, you’re an amazing composer Charles, but if you question me again, you will find yourself as a slave to this dimension."

The man fell to his knees and repented.

"Yes, my Lord, I apologize."

"Rest now, tomorrow is an important day." The voice firmly stated.

Day 7

The old man walked faster than normal in anticipation. He hurried into the next room over where he picked up a box of nails and a hammer. He then looked up and broke the dull air.

"I assume you’re both no longer persuaded. Do not fret though; I'll take good care of your daughter. She could live her entire life as a mindless slave to your worldly media, or she could die in music, the last pure substance left on this disgusting planet. You two, however, do not possess the innocence of a child. You are already vile and dirty, and therefore, will die that way."

He set the hammer and nails down for a moment. His old hands now grasped tightly to a Cape Cod weeder. Upon approach to Abbey's parents, they held hands while being restricted by vines around their stomachs. The vines pulsated, clinching tighter and tighter to their bodies. The vine suddenly let go of the father, but as he began to escape, the trailing plant wrapped around his neck and induced a constriction. The plant retracted until his legs could no longer touch the ground. As he hung high in the air, he watched as the elderly man thrust the gardening tool repeatedly into his wife's face and chest. Blood spilled onto the father's shoes and legs until her face was unrecognizable. Tears surged out of the choking man's face, and in an attempt to fight the plant, he pulled himself up and sunk his teeth into the plant that held him up. The vine shook violently, tearing each tooth from its base. The vine indicated it had had enough as it squeezed so forcefully that his head became disassociated from his body.

The old man chuckled as he seized the box of nails and hammer once more, and slated for the room the young girl was in.

"I have a special surprise for you, my dear" the older gentleman uttered from the opposite side of the door.

Every image imaginable raced through her young mind. The man entered the room abruptly, swinging the door open until it slammed into the wall behind it. In one hand, he grasped tightly to a box of nails. Loosely, in his other hand, a hammer swung back and forth. Setting the hammer down, he began laughing softly to himself.

"You know, my last girl looked a little something like you. I'm just a sucker for brunettes, and my, oh my, haven't the past 9 years been great to your hair." He proceeded to stroke her hair, gliding his fingers softly through her hair, as he said, "I'm gonna kiss you now, but if you even start to struggle, I'm going to hammer a nail somewhere into your body. Each time I have to restrain you that will be another nail. I sure hope you cooperate, because I'm not looking forward to cleaning that up if such an action should have to take place."

The man slowly leaned in and began kissing the young girls neck as her lips quivered in fright. It became too strong for her to handle. She screamed in his ear and jumped frantically up and down. One of the man's hands was positioned on the floor in order to balance his weight while forcefully seducing the little girl. One of the chair legs lifted off of the ground and crushed his index finger. He screamed as well, and fell back into a nearby book shelf.

"Not smart little girl!" The man exclaimed.

In all of the commotion, the nails had fallen to the floor. Some had even fallen into the cracks of the old wooden floor, disappearing into the darkness below. He shuffled his hands on the floor with such a high amount of adrenaline, that he was unaware of the splinters that filled his palm.

"At last!" he thought, "a nail!"

His hands, bloody and torn, pushed off of the ground in order to help him stand upright. Quickly, he dashed to a nearby tool bench and picked up a black portable CD player. On the way back towards the girl, the old man pressed the play button. He forced the noise canceling headphones over her ears. He then proceeded to grab a roll of duct tape and wrap it around the girls head to secure the headphones in place.

The disc played a classical score, unheard of by the young girl. The volume had been turned to the highest possible degree. The small girl watched as a nail was placed sternly against her left shoulder, making it so that any movement or struggle she continued with would have severe consequences. As he picked up his hammer off of the floor, a little bit of light shining through the doorway reflected off of the hammers steel.

He held the nail in place for a second more, before banging the hammer into the nail causing it to penetrate her delicate skin. Time begun to speed up as more and more nails were accompanying the inside of her body. Even though the nails varied in size, the girl could not tell after the fifteenth or sixteenth nail entered her skin. As time sped up, so did the music. She screamed and screamed and screamed, yet, she could not hear her own high pitched voice. All that accompanied her pain was the sound of the man's music. Slowly, her eyes closed and she drifted away into the music...

The song remained uninterrupted as she passed from this life into the Grey Matter dimension.

No justice had been reached, for justice did not exist in this memory for some reason…

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