"You have been there, haven't you?" a woman's ominous voice said.
"A world where the inhabitants go against each other for territory. There'd be peace and war once more, a never-ending cycle. They'd continue until the journey to the stars."
A rocket launched into the high atmosphere and eventually into space.
"However," she continued. "All things must end."
Appeared from the void of space was an enormous ship; the rocket got crushed by the mothership as it collided into it. The ship shot a projectile into the atmosphere of the planet that left behind a trail of fire.
It created a massive collision near the city, and in its wake was an atomic explosion of radiation and superheated clouds of hot gas and ash that engulfed the entire city as it got wiped out in an instant.
The ship ignited a few more projectiles, craving to end all of life.
Decades later, hot ash still tumbled on the remains of the first city which had met its demise. A black cloud that only rained ash engulfed the entire planet-a planet once rich with life now a dead husk of its former self.
"You didn't see it before the attack?" the woman's voice said.
"You woke up to that destruction; it was the first thing you have known."
A lone dog with its bones jutted out prowled on the ground, sniffing, searching endlessly for food, deep underground, past the roots of trees long dead. A small closed-in room shrouded with embers along the walls and floor stood underneath the earth. In there was a glass tank full of water with an unconscious woman inside, wearing an oxygen mask.
The cider-covered screen lit up.
"It's the first thing you saw. . ." the woman said once more.
The unconscious girl in the tank stirred and, after a few beats, slowly opened her eyes.
"So tell me, do you really miss it there?"
"Regeneration complete. . ." announced a female computer's voice.
The girl inside the tank started to panic while the water within began to drain. She took off the oxygen mask and tried hitting on the glass, demanding to be freed. The tank opened, making her fall to the floor; she gasped and coughed out water as she struggled to push herself up, her white hair getting stained by the dirt on the floor.
"What-" Her eyes fixed at her grimy palm-"is this?"
She got the strength to stand sluggishly, noticing a tile on the wall in front of her. Unlike the rest, it had a resemblance of a mirror. She stumbled towards it and wiped off the dirt, and her own reflection stood before her; she rubbed her one cheek, leaving a patch of residue.
"Who am I?" she asked, wide-eyed. A sound at the corner of the room startled her. She whirled and stepped back into a small space. Two small glowing eyes moved towards her, and in the light, it revealed to be a human-like robot, hovering on a sphere with its torso resembling a female appearance; it seemed to be holding a folded white fabric.
"Hello, Alecia," the robot greeted, its robotic voice piercing Alecia's ears.
"Alecia?" she mimicked as she gave a downcast look before gazing up again at the robot. "Is that my. . . name?"
"My data files are never wrong," it said. "I am Evie. Doctor Yards has already programmed your name in my internal memory."
"What is this place?" Alecia asked as she gazed up at the ceiling.
"This is the vita room," Evie replied. "You've been in that tank for some time now."
"Why?" Alecia took a step forward.
"Doctor Yards brought you here in a critical condition." Evie reached out the fabric to her. "Here are some wears I brought."
"How bad was I?" Alecia asked, taking the fabric from the robot.
"Let me search my database." Evie stood still for awhile. "You had broken ribs, a broken forearm, and a cracked skull resulting in amnesia."
Alecia placed her hand on her own forehead and sighed, her eyes closed. She stared at her palm and rubbed it off with the other.
Moments later, Alecia adjusted the sleeves of the white shirt she now wore, along with the white long pants.
"Is this okay for me?" She looked over her shoulders.
"It is what all the patients wear after they have recovered in the vita tank," Evie said, trailing off toward the hallway.
"Wait!" Alecia followed from behind. "Where is Doctor Yards?"
"Doctor Yards has been deceased for a few decades."
Alecia let out a deep breath, focused at the steps leading up.
"Doctor Yards knew a lot. After he created me, he died."
Alecia listened as they traveled up the stairs, with Evie rolling up on the smooth space next to her.
"I was programmed to aid the injured," Evie continued. "However, Doctor Yards was most interested in Alecia."
"Alecia, as in me?"
"May I ask why?" Alecia's face scrunched up a little. "Was I that bad?"
Alecia fiddled through the ends of her sleeves.
"Here is something," Evie said. "According to the data files, it has been forty years since you were put in the vita tank, and you have not aged at all since then."
"That's rather nice to hear." Alecia picked the strands of her hair and looked at it.
"Why is my hair white?"
"Your hair has changed color due to intense radiation. You're as young as twenty-four years of age."
"Really?" Alecia said with a thoughtful gaze.
They walked near a titanium door which had a valve.
"Okay, Alecia," Evie started. "Here's the exit. I hope you've enjoyed your visit and I hope our service was a great help to your health needs. If there are any problems, please ask Doctor Yard's assistant, Doctor Godwin."
"Godwin?" she asked. "Is this assistant gone too?"
"Negative," Evie said.
"Alive?" Alecia said with a cheerful look on her face.
"So I can ask for this assistant's help?"
"Last I calculated, you are in perfect health. There's no need for any treatment."
"Thank you for your help, Evie." She looked at the door. "So this leads to the outside?"
"Here I go." Alecia grabbed the valve, turned it, and opened the door which let a gust of wind and dust seeped in.
She covered her eyes, stepping out only to see the lifeless quiet world before her, with the ash clouds blotting it out, the sun only as a yellow disc. Buildings were destroyed with towers in angles, smoke still belching out with embers constantly being blown off the crumbling edifices by the wind.
"What happened?" she whispered to herself.
Her eyes scanned the city with a fearful look. "What did this?"
She was now among the destruction left by a chaotic event. Not an inch was untouched by the dark clouds, nothing more than an ash-covered planet.
Only Alecia and the unknown survivors remained.
Merci pour la lecture!
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