The Human Fossil
Dr. Simmons couldn’t believe what he was hearing, he was happy about this new development, a great turn of events as Philippine President Noynoy Aquino or PNoy confirms it in his speech about Global Warming, the approval of research grants to address Greenhouse effects.
He didn’t mind the other countless Scientists, Politicians and personalities present during the congregation. He was jumping up and down and laughing his head off, and it wasn’t like the kind of laughter you hear coming from one evil genius who just made neither a recent discovery nor a sinister plot.
But all the laughter and actions were all happening inside the mind of one timid scientist who just sat silently, very composed, not even showing any visage of cheerfulness while continuing to listen attentively to PNoy’s talk.
Behind thick glasses lenses lies eyes that project a naïve assumption that such grant’s approval instilled hope for climate change, so easy for those who are quick to judge character to see that this scientist is a mere pushover.
But unbeknownst, underneath it all lays a cunning persona displaying a dark mantle as cover who knew that such speech is just mumbo jumbo.
Industrial smog pollution in the last decade has taken its toll, hastening depletion of the Earth’s oxygen and the current atmosphere is barely breathable.
With the dispersing of tons of CFC’s and other pollutants in the air, the Ozone layer hole’s size before is but a pin hole.
As more and more of the lone planetary systems sun’s radiation penetrates, it slowly burns the remaining sparse forest and vegetation each day, leaving Earth with a seemingly irreversible change in the weather and climate.
Dr. Simmons knew there’s no more hope left to change the environment and humankind one way or another is drastically heading towards a certain doom, he knows the last hope lays in his secret “Project A!”
He secretly discovered this stunning breakthrough through years of research and hard work done inside his underground lab. Project A was a marvel of its kind, it not only 3D prints inanimate objects but with a touch of laser and nanotechnology, and the right ingredients, it is capable of printing organic carbon based life forms and materials, that includes animals, plants, and even microorganisms.
Trying to raise awareness and additional funding Dr. Simmons undertakes a number of public campaigns around the world in a bid to bring about climate change and save the environment. With his influence and power he was able to raise billions in funding from generous Philanthropist donations all over the globe.
However, he secretly diverts the funds for his secret project and surreptitiously builds these ultra-safe facilities strategically placed around the globe.
Project A was operated by the most advance of computer systems that money can buy. Solar panels and other types of fuel cells are available to make it run for a very long time. Environmental detectors gather and stores data in its computer hard drive built inside an all weather proof outer shell.
Robotic programs execute commands to mass produce organic entities as per readings based on the current ecosystems viability and capability to sustain life.
Its underlying directives ensure that it can acquire accurate bio readings and if conditions are not right, it will stay dormant for billions of years on end until an atmosphere suitable for sustaining life exists.
Dr. Simmons knew he wouldn’t last that long. But he was no run of the mill Scientist. He was a genius of all geniuses. So he invented a near indestructible cylinder, equipped with detectors, sensors, filters, and cryostasis for him to sleep and stay in suspended animation for a very, very long time.
Many years passed, humankind only managed to consume all of the Earth’s remaining resources, its fossil fuels, natural gas reserves, and finally exhausted almost all of the remaining oxygen in the atmosphere.
All that remains was like a death cloud.
Most of the weak, the sick, the young, and the elderly living in crowded major metropolis perished first. Mankind’s decimation slowly sweeps across the continents, suffocating and killing millions in its wake.
Those who were able bodied made for the mountains, retreating in caves and sheltering deep inside remaining oasis like jungles whose trees were still capable of providing little oxygen for comfort.
Most of the people in the east, oriental folks, who know the primitive ways, who learned to live off the land, survived.
Earth through time gradually slipped into darkness, its rich colors of blue, green, white, and brown as seen from space by and by lost its luster, like a giant plastic ball stuck in the roof, left out in the scorching sun and slowly losing its color, gently fading as every day passes.
A beacon like flashing light goes off, texts appear in monitors with great speed, as analysis of atmospheric data gathered is interpreted and inputted in the computer system. Project A fires up as data deduced indicate tolerable surroundings and starts manufacturing organisms of all sorts and humans printed as well.
As the first line of “prints” emerged and went out to explore and conquer vast barren land, initial interaction with survivors looks promising, as humankind seemed ready to repopulate the world.
Contacts with other humanoids and animal mutations proved deadly as most have developed a taste for anything that they can catch and devour for their own nourishment.
Generations come and go, thousands of years come to pass and most parts of Earth’s atmosphere still remained toxic. Places where giant metropolis once existed has now become deserts, with looming skyscrapers seen by survivor’s miles away as they stick close to their caves and burrows during the not so illuminated day as toxic clouds cover the suns rays.
Survivors seldom venture far away from their encampments as mutations kept prowling and hunting them if they wander off and end up in their territory or occasionally snatching a number of them in brazen attacks.
Humankind at this point was like back in the Stone Age and just as they were starting to rebuild, disaster strikes and almost wipes all of the remaining survivors as a giant asteroid hits Earth and manages to kick up dust that covered the Earth again in total darkness.
Project A goes dormant again.
Billions of years elapsed.
Blurry vision seems to be getting clear as adjustment to light falling on age old eyes commences. As eyes scan the new surroundings, it seemed like a healing room but with futuristic and advance looking medical equipments.
As the view from a small round fortified window indicate, this seemed to be a vehicle traveling in the depths of space.
“Hello Dr. Simmons!” a voice came from behind as the scientist awakened from slumber was endlessly staring thru the glass window.
Dr. Simmons turned his head and was speechless, not because of what he sees in the room that called him by his name and slowly approached him as he was sitting on the bed facing the window.
But he was dumbfounded to see another human being inside the room, inside a giant transport, a massive spaceship, capable of cursing through the galaxies on eon-drive propulsion on a course set for an Exoplanet chosen for terraforming, SWEEPS-04 b.
Dr. Simmons’s cylinder was short for a time capsule. In the middle of their journey in space, he was revived by Humans printed by the same 3D machines he built billions of years ago in Earth, after billions of years since the Asteroid struck.
An advance race of humans, “prints,” that have innate mind-bending, telekinetic abilities, and armed with the knowledge to devise, invent, and turn materials from scrap into something else as dictated by Project Alpha’s directive and command.
Dr. Simmons’s felt like he was a time traveler, like an immortal, the greatest thing that happened that defies the laws of Science, which he considers “Neolithic” being in the early 2000’s.
Yet the Human print, a doctor, assigned to him in his thoughts, considered it an honor to be the first to interact, to be in the presence of a multi-billion-year-old living human fossil. The brains to the 3D machines that the prints now put on display along with other artifacts back at their museum in Mars.
*This Short story was written by kuskusbalongus based on an outline by Ashwin.