A THOUSAND YEARS ASLEEP... They fled the wars that threatened to destroy the earth, taking refuge at the bottom
of the ocean in the hope that the wright of the seas would keep them safe. After two decades of genetic experimentation, seventy were chosen for cryo-stasis, to only return at a time when the surface was safe once more. But when these survivors awaken, nothing is as it seems. They float on the ocean, adrift from all they knew, suffering the effects of prolonged immersion in their cryo-pods. As they struggle to recover their faculties and physical strength, they must discover a new refuge, a place to restart humanity before the now-hostile planet destroys the last remnants of the human race. And from the depths below, a lone watcher follows the solitary ship, himself a shadow of what remains of the grand experiment begun a millennium before.
The pod turned and twisted in turbulent currents that were somehow unable to swallow the metal hull. Instead, a slight electric hum emanated through the water, a constant reminder of the intrusive, unwelcome presence. Of the relic that somehow still managed to exist and fulfill its purpose.
Elsewhere, down winding pipes and intricate, interlaced copper circuits, an electric pulse swelled. It shot through the quiescent ship until it lit a row of cold, frozen, nearly disregarded capsules. Inside, seventy survivors slept on in blank oblivion, as they had done for the last millennium. It hadn’t been planned. They’d long since passed any dream of living on, of escaping their unintended prison. For them, life in every way was over… childhood under darkening skies and growing nanite swarms… and after, in the deeps, the void that had never known the kiss of the sun… there was nothing left. It was done.
But that electric pulse, that near-dead programming, had not forgotten its single mission. The clock ticked on, marking callous, impassive time, until it reached its long-since automated goal. With a single signal, a dormant, near forgotten program sprang into action, electrical waves as powerful in their own way as the ocean around them, for they ran into frozen cells and coaxed them back into animation. These cells worked slowly, caught in the sleep that had claimed them long before. Yet despite the intervening centuries, awaken they did.
And in the central chamber of the quietly buzzing ship, a single beep began. Beep-beep. Beep-beep. It echoed the thrumming of a heart remembering how to flex and send blood rushing throughout the body.
Soon enough, there were heartbeats of a dozen, then another dozen, on and on until at last, the program fulfilled its encoded mission and awakened its cargo.
Then it fell dormant once more as other systems took over, designed to slowly bring back the mind, and with it, all the memories and thoughts that made up each individual passenger.
This would take far longer and offer little comfort in recompense. Only the knowledge that each one of them had, despite the terrible odds and intervening centuries, survived. Life still flowed inside them.
As for what happened next, well, it all came down to a matter of choice.