Say what you will about Applied Cryogenics West, and I certainly will be giving them a poor review if I have the opportunity, at least that place looked like the kind of place where you expect mad science to happen. There were all manner of tubes and wires and blinking lights and computers by the boatload at Applied Cryogenics West. If you didn’t know that cryogenics was impossible (yes I still maintain that despite being living proof to the contrary) you’d see all the fancy looking equipment there and think “sure, you could freeze someone here and bring them back to life”.
The underground bunker of Joint Canadian–U.S. Military Group, what’s left of it anyway, doesn’t inspire any such confidence. It’s just a bunch of big rooms full of giant metal coffins. Equipment Technical Sergeant Major Lucien Basilières says that’s because the facility itself was intended for storage only, the process that put them into bio-stasis was performed elsewhere and they were carted in like logs.
He didn’t know the specifics of what had been done to them, but he knew that it was akin to a medically induced coma and the eggheads in charge of the project created a lot of desiccated corpses before they got it right. Lucien says that he was revived twice before, once after a few minutes in stasis and once after three months being under. He couldn’t explain why their skin had been turned bluer than the bluest Smurf that ever Smurfed. That never happened in any of the tests.
The initial recruiting for the project had been conducted under the guise of developing a way to keep people alive for deep space exploration and colonization, and that may have been a secondary goal as well, but the primary purpose was based on the idea of creating literal sleeper cells that could wait out nuclear winter and radiation and all that in the event of a nuclear exchange to then emerge from the ground like locusts to swarm across the land. He said that it had something to do with broken-backed war theory, but I don’t know what that means.
This all happened in nineteen eighty-two by the way. Did I not mention that yet? In two thousand and one when Martialla and I were put on ice, these people were already turned into living (sort of) corpses and stashed underground and had been there for nineteen years.
I accept that the government keeps things secret from us, that’s just good sense. Putting the plans for manufacturing nerve gas in the public library isn’t a good idea for a number of reasons, I don’t care what people say about freedom of information. That having been said, seriously, what the fuck?
Nanorobotics and cryogenics existed in Two Thousand One. And now I find out that some kind of chemical cocktail was mixed up that could put people in suspended animation when Olivia Newton-John had a number one hit? What’s next? The moon landing actually happened in the thirties? A robotic Abraham Lincoln advises the president in a secret room in the White House? Cars that run on water?
I never paid attention to conspiracy theories for one simple reason – no one can keep a secret. But human beings were chemically rendered inert and put into the ground for storage when an Officer and A Gentleman was in movie theaters so what the hell am I supposed to think now? But what really pisses me off is how nonchalant Martialla is about these stunning revelations. When I was expressing to her my dismay, her response was –
“Maybe we went through a wormhole. Maybe this isn’t even reality.”
“Be serious or shut up Martialla!”
She saluted me sharply “Shutting up sir. Actually, shut up rescinded, here’s the deal Ela, you can’t understand it? Neither can I. It doesn’t matter that we understand it. What matters is they’re here, we’re here. However they did it, they did it. It’s fun to assume the world works in a way that makes sense, but I when a fact slaps you on the fanny you just need to accept it. You’ll drive yourself crazy otherwise.”
I shook my head in disbelief “You would be the world’s worst scientist Mar.”
“Good thing I’m not a scientist then aye?” I glared at her “Shutting up unrescinded.”
So setting aside the how for a moment, what the hell happened? How did these people end up here? I think I would remember a nuclear war happening. Did they just forget them? Was it a scam? Did they tell them it was another test and instead they were going to leave them there? I could see the US government doing that, but Canada? They’re too nice for that kind of shit right?
Lucien has no answers. All he knows is that he reported to the hospital where they were conducting tests as usual and then he “woke up” to Martialla and I bickering while we tried to read the fine print in the Human Revival Initiation Sequence Manual after we dumped a bag of slime on him and injected him with some other junk. He’s taken it surprisingly well, but then waking up to my smiling face is a lot better than what we got. Plus he was at least partially familiarized with the possibility of this happening to him.
Another thing he’s surprisingly sanguine about is the fact that almost everyone else in the facility is dead. There were twenty chambers each with forty-four people in them. As far as we can tell half of the rooms were completed crushed by the earthquake or whatever happened. Out of the other half most of the dormancy chambers – the steel coffins – had been punctured. Lucien didn’t have the details behind it, but he knew that meant they couldn’t be revived. We tried anyway because there was plenty of revivification slime but whoever told Lucien that was right.
Out of the eighteen chambers that were intact only seven of the people inside of them were successfully revived. Why didn’t it work with the other eleven of them? Who flipping knows? Lucien says he was told that theoretically it should be possible to keep someone in stasis indefinitely and bring them back but they had only ever tested it up to nine months. It’s a hell of a jump to one hundred and fifteen years. Science ain’t an exact science you know. It’s a good thing that they don’t have to fight the Ruskis because I don’t think the eight of them would be enough. Apologies to Dick Van Patten.