Angie was right where she told them she would be, right when they said they would be there to pick her up. She stood in the middle of the trashed intersection and looked around at the chaos that surrounded her, the stores were gutted, houses were burning people were being beaten or killed. A girl was dragged away on the pavement by two men, leaving a small child behind screaming “Mommy”
The faces of these people were ones of anger and hate or they were blank, emotionless and resigned to their fates. The latter were milling about, lost and aimless, the former were tearing, destroying and running wild. First and Maple Street, this is where they said to be.
“Here I am!”she screamed at the sky “Right where I'm supposed to be!”
Nobody paid the screaming woman any mind, it wasn't like this was any different in a world gone crazy. Angie wore a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops and wondered when the male crazies would run out of prettier and more enticing females. The females were scarier, she saw one cooking a cat on a spit over a fire, at least she hoped it was a cat.
She was almost ready to give up. Angie could see some of “them” starting to notice her, starting to move in her direction. There was no direction she could run, she would always be surrounded by monsters like these. “I'm here! You promised!” she screamed at the sky, now frightened that there were worse things than death.
Then she was surrounded by a shadow, she looked up. Blocking out the sun she could barely make out what it was but there was only thing she could think of. It was a hovering fan-jet, she hadn't even noticed the noise over everything around her. The crazies were enraged and started moving toward her faster. She sat on the pavement and ducked and covered like the old tornado drills in school.
That is when she heard the loudest, most hellish noise she could remember. She peeked to see the pavement being torn apart and fragments of it flying everywhere, then the crazies who hadn't run were being hit by some gun from the aircraft, pop, pop, pop right across the chest, nearly cutting them in half.
Then a hand pulled her up, she screamed but then saw he was wearing a uniform.
“Angela Carmichael, I'm here to get you to your flight!” he said, he put a rope or harness around her and then they were being pulled up into the sky. She was helped into the aircraft by someone else who helped her fasten into a seat inside the open-side craft. The sides folded shut after the man was back on board, then she could feel the aircraft accelerate .
She was going to make it.
“Daddy” the little girl in the pink dress said to the gray-suited man, he kneeled down and picked her up. “Yes, my little angel, what is it?”
“Are we all going to go together daddy?” she asked
“Yes, honey. Our whole family is going”
They were inside the upscale home inside of the walled compound that employed its own paramilitary police force. The people that lived here were invariably on the list to get aboard the ship, mainly because they designed it and helped make it reality.
The project had taken close to two-decades from start to finish and would never have happened without some major technical achievements and technological revolutions. Ships with gravity nullification had been used to build the massive orbiting vessel, this took a hundred trips a day for the past eleven years. A large percentage of the manufacturing capabilities of the whole planet had been harnessed for this purpose.
The Salutem Novis was several miles long and very wide and deep of draft. There were several large biological habitats on the top of it where plants and trees and some animals would be alive for the trip, a few humans not in cryogenic suspension would be their caretakers. They would also be the “crew” because the computer required a person to serve. There would always have to be someone not frozen.
“Rodger” a woman asked, she was dressed smartly in a conservative suit with a skirt down past her ankle “Try not to spoil her too much, she has to go to sleep in her own chamber when we get there”
Rodger Dawson was one of the chief engineering officers of the project while his wife was one of the medical scientists who had made sure to design the cryogenic systems to last for thousands of years. It did not seem possible to most but the inner-workings would be kept in a vacuum and very cold to prevent decay of the systems inside.
They and their daughter Annalisa left their house. Outside it sat on a cul-de-sac and at the center there was a shuttle parked for them. They would get a direct trip to the ship, not having to gather at an airport (renamed space ports for the purpose). All of their neighbors were also coming outside and were also going to ride up, they greeted each other like old friends.
“No sense in waiting” Jonathon Sanders said, he was Project C-Team Coordinator and the oldest man in the neighborhood. He climbed aboard and put out his hand to help his frail-looking wife on board, no one was going to say anything, although some looked uncomfortable.
As others entered and found their seats, Mr Sanders encouraged them “The Salutem Novis is the ark that will save human kind from the end of the world. The best of the best, those needed to rebuild society on the other side, some chosen by random lottery too. This is how the quarter-million people were chosen that will carry on the human race. We owe it to those not with us to carry out this covenant.”
Then they approached and entered the hangars on the massive vessel. A small robot attached the ceiling greeted them as they exited the decontamination chambers. They were all now wearing simple cloth one-piece smocks and following behind the little robot that happily chirped to them “Good day, it is a good day to depart. Let me show you to your assigned area.
They entered the stark white room, everything was clean enough to impress them. They circular room had just enough chambers sitting there for them, all of them were open and waiting. Once you are lying in the chamber it will form fit to your body, for your comfort. Once the cover is closed an anesthetic will be introduced to help you sleep before the cryogenic process begins. It will be painless and you will wake up when we reach your new home.”
“It's scary” Annalisa said looking at the chamber. They showed her others getting inside and falling to sleep immediately, it was a calm affair. “See nothing to worry about” her mother said.
Her father got down on a knee to speak with his daughter. “It's okay, me and mommy are right here, we won't let anything bad happen to you. You will go straight to sleep and we will be here when you wake up and give us big hugs!” he said giving her a big hug until she giggled.
He picked her up “It's just like going to bed. Everything will be fine, I promise. Daddy won't lie to you”
“Never” his daughter said with a giggle as he placed her into the chamber and the surface underneath her shifted to conform to her little body. “Goodnight daddy, goodnight mommy” she said as the transparent lid closed over her. She waved and her father waved back and then a white mist was sprayed inside and she was asleep within moments.
Her parents hugged each other and promised to see each other on the other side before getting inside of the tubes on either side of their daughter. They were the last ones to go to sleep and the room was quiet. Then the tubes withdrew into the walls and were shifted through special corridors into another tremendously large chamber where they were stacked with all of the other occupied cryogenic chambers.
New, empty chambers were inserted into the room.
The Salutem Novis Central Computer noted that nearly all of the units had been utilized, the ship was in perfect condition and the predetermined time for departure was closing quickly.
New Arrivals is my first little book, a quick read of teen and YA friendly adventures with 12-year old main characters. It's light and fluffy science fiction.