*20 Years later*
Archibald, in an instant, could feel his body shivering but was unable to see or hear. A burst of thoughts filled his head similar to a crowded auditorium. He could hear his own thoughts but nothing more. Suddenly, his vision began to function as his eyes opened slowly; his other senses followed. After a few minutes passed, he felt a surge of energy throughout his body. It was the coffin regenerating his body to allow movement in order to cover the time-frame he would normally need to recuperate. The timer on the outside of the coffin struck zero, causing the coffin to open.
As it opened, his first thought was considering how quickly the twenty years had gone by; his second was wondering why his senses were so jumbled and then immediately clear. His thoughts slowly all drifted toward the hope that once the lid was fully open he would have his wife waiting with embraced arms.
The lid fully opened to reveal a darkened sky. Dr. Zeal was quickly confused when contemplating his last moments before entering the coffin, since they involved being encompassed in a small room underground. He carefully picked himself up only to see more darkened sky and what appeared to be clay walls all around him. Upon closer inspection after stepping out, he found that he was in a crater.
Scaling the walls proved to be difficult, but Archibald prevailed. What he saw however astounded him as well as brought sadness upon his heart. The city once viewable from the superstructure, no longer existed in its original form. Bits and pieces of the buildings scattered the landscape accompanied by large skeletons randomly placed throughout his view. It was obvious that the skeletons belong to the giants that once lived so peacefully. Even more importantly to the Doctor: Anna was nowhere to be seen, nor was Alice or the large building containing his home planets history. It was now a wasteland.
Archibald looked frantically around covering all 360 degrees of his surroundings.
“Rita!” the Doctor yelled.
Desperate for any contact from his only friend, he screamed further...
“Rita! Where are you!?”…but to no avail. All he had seen before entering the deep sleep was now non-existent. The sky above him accented his mood with its moody grey tone and near still and silent air. Dr. Zeal did the only thing he could think of, and began walking toward where the peaceful city once stood. As Dr. Zeal strolled forward aimlessly, he began to ponder.
“It is truly the nature of the living, for all forms of life in this observable universe, to destroy peace and cause havoc on the honest pursuits of others; and yet, nature continues to survive. What a peculiar science.”
Archibald walked for hours but found no food, no water, and only shelter under the slabs of the ghostly walls that had entombed the previous inhabitants of the city. He began to feel a coldness come over the planet and found shelter underneath a pile of rubble and a decayed clay wall. After a while he remained still, while lying on the ground and trying to keep warm beneath a large clothe he had found that had previously been a window curtain of some sort.
Staring upward, he could only see rock, but what was drawn onto the hard surface was baffling. It depicted a picture of an octopus with a ghostly head atop it. Under the drawing was an inscription; even stranger, it was in some sort of hybrid language that appeared similar to English from back on Earth.
“Conquered aput warriors de Kaseer.”
It appeared to the doctor to be mostly English with Latin thrown in, but as he was not that well versed in Latin, he could not tell if that had been the proper use of the ancient (to him) language. Despite his lack of knowledge in that area, he closely translated it to:
“Conquered by warriors of Kaseer.”
Archibald was shocked and intrigued.
“Had this planet befell victim to the tyrannies and the ignorance of the Xaphnu race as well? Have they really continued to survive this long after their predecessors? Though if this was them, what purpose did they have in destroying a planet that was never their own?”
The Doctor had so many questions and only the portion of a wall as evidence. Suddenly he remembered briefly noticing the same picture while walking, though he did not recall any writing below it. He jumped from his stagnant position and ran out from under his temporary shelter in the hopes he could backtrack and find the Octoghost depiction he had seen just hours before.
Upon exiting the cave, his body involuntarily shook from the frighteningly cold breeze. His decision to move forward was only supported by half of his brain, whereas the other half begged him to return to his shelter. Despite the civil war in his head, he continued forward. Each step felt like gravity was gradually overtaking him. At this time, large bursts of light could be seen exploding in the distant sky; obviously thousands of miles away from the planet. His senses remained positive in order to overcome his current adversities; he kept his mind on his goal and off of the multitude of possible plights that lay in front of him.
Archibald followed his reversed path and after forty seemingly long minutes, he dropped to his knees believing that this could be the place he would die. He couldn’t possibly walk any further. As fate would have it, just to his left lie the Octoghost he had been searching for.
“What good is this find if I pass away? Humanity as I know it will fade into extinction alongside my rotting flesh.” Dr. Zeal said to himself aloud. He began to curl up next to the slab of rock that bore the symbol he so desperately wanted to find.
“Why was this so important to me?” he wondered.
His hand slowly unclenched and made its way up the rough surface of the rock towards the unverified depiction. His hand fully covered the symbol and then a glow appeared tracing the it’s outline. His body felt strange. It was as if he could feel the light coursing through his veins. He could taste a metallic-like substance. His muscles then shook sporadically as his skin began to dissolve. Archibald wanted to scream in pain but he could not voluntarily at this point. Whatever he had stumbled upon had full control of him besides his thoughts. He screamed internally until his entire body dissipated into the Octoghost symbol. No trace of the doctor was left behind and the glow burned out.
Archibald reanimated quickly about 3 feet above the ground and fell onto his back. His landing was a tiled floor, surrounded with tiled walls and a tiled ceiling. A quick look around the room revealed that he was in some sort of lab or hospital room. His attempt to stand directly after ended in him slipping and once more falling onto his back. Some sort of gel had been left or applied to the floors. His hearing became more acute as he heard the sound of a *slish* *slosh* coming vaguely from all directions…