The secondary plan for man's survival became the primary plan.
|Marcella’s eyes fluttered against the light pressing against her eyelids. Memories swirled, of sunshine, of trees, of smiling people. The buzz of machinery around her mixed with more somber images of enclosed rooms, needles, and dark boxes. She jolted, snapping against restraints.
“She’s coming around.”
More disjointed images. White dresses, maternity dresses, drab uniforms, lab coats, black dresses. People surrounding her in a tunnel of vision; laughing, crying, working, relaxing, celebrating, mourning, laying roses and lavender on her chest.
“We’re reading neural spikes. Adjust the servos.”
Marcella moaned, pulling against the restraints as she watched the red fire of the swollen sun burning across the landscape.
The end has come.
Rushing around the lab with her white lab coat fluttering behind her as she checked readings and news reports on the monitor banks. Comparative analyses. Furiously tapping calculations into her computer. Shouting as images of solar flares seeped through the thinning ionosphere.
“No! We aren’t ready!”
Mercury and Venus burning in the sky; harbingers of their fate. Tidal waves crashing into skyscrapers. Volcanos quaking the ground; explosions of ash spreading through the sky and raining on Earth.
The world grew fuzzy and swirled around her. Her legs collapsed. Blank eyes staring at a cold metal floor.
“Her neurological functions are still firing randomly.”
“Is this host unstable?”
“Negative. The neurological connections sparked too fast. Her server is processing memories from the surviving biological components.”
“Launch the sedative program.”
Marcella slumped against the bed as the images faded to soft organ music. The smell of roses and lavender filled her nose again.
They aren’t real.
The real roses and lavender were as dead as the ground they grew from. Dead flowers, dead people, dead Earth. It was a simulation; a computer program designing her senses.
A flat line whining. Voices shouting. Floating over two bodies: her own, and a robotic replication lying beside it.
Red flares. White light. Darkness and then light rising again.
“Get her into a cryogenic chamber now, before there’s further neurological damage from the radiation!”
Damage? What had they done?
Silence. The flat line blipped, settling in a rhythm of beeps.
“She’s stabilizing. Remove the restraints.”
Marcella’s eyes snapped opened, taking in the face of a nondescript woman standing over her. “Marcella, how do you feel?”
“Not human,” a soft motorized sound tingled in her ears as she raised her arms to study her heavy, lineless hands. “I died.”
The woman helped her to a sitting position. “Everything died. We couldn’t stop it. The sun went nova.”
Marcella drew a deep breath into her new body, sending a tingling sensation through the systems that whirled the new life of her remaining biological systems. “The apocalypse came.”
“We’ll launch the next stage as soon as the remaining brains are loaded into their new bodies.”
Marcella looked around the room at the other beds, filled with mechanical bodies. Her bodies, the bodies she designed while she lived. The backup plan had become the primary plan.
“Are the ships prepared?”
“They’re ready. Your calculations were correct. This settlement and the mother ship at Titan sustained no damage in the solar expansion. The interstellar drones are preparing it for deep space launch. We’ll launch the carrier ships when the downloads complete.”
“Then launch phase two,” Marcella’s heavy feet thudded against the floor, her eyes taking in the swollen sun outside of the window. “Let’s find a new home.”