Alarms started to sound through out the area, people were running inside the underground bunker as fast as they could. Chester stayed outside to make sure everyone got in. Everyone else was in a panicked frenzy as the nukes flew through the air, while Chester had his hands behind his back. Allison, his colleague, came to him with a hood drawn over her head and looking down through the sands that bellowed. "Chester! We need to get out of dodge now! This is not a drill!" She cried out to him on her approach. "I know it's not." Chester answered as he looked up at the sky and saw many lines of smoke. It was like watching every airplane in the world fly off at once, every missile left a trail of white smoke. "Don't you think there is an odd beauty to it all? Mankind will soon end, and there is not much of anything we could do." Chester said while looking up at the sky. Sand started blowing past his glasses and he looked down to Allison. "Mankind will not end, not while we are around to save it." She told him with determination. Chester smiled, "Of course, I wouldn't have it any other way." "Let's go Chester, Tyler is waiting inside. We have to start the preparations." Allison reminded him. Chester put his hood on. "Then lead the way." He told her as they started towards their underground bunker.
The alarms continued to ring as they made their way down the dozens of staircases that led to their command center. When they finally made it, Tyler greeted them. "Chester! God damn, get stuck in traffic or something?" He asked Chester with a smile. "No, I was making sure that the others got in, we need to save as many as possible." He told Tyler before seating himself. "How many got in?" Allison asked Chester, knowing he had counted. "We have over one hundred thousand down here." Chester answered. Tyler cursed, "That's not that much." Allison looked at Chester, "Exact number?" "One hundred fourteen thousand five hundred fifty six." Chester answered with a sigh. "God damn, you kept count?" Tyler asked. "I had nothing better to do other than to look at the missiles fly through the air. By my calculations the first will be falling soon." Chester says while rolling his chair to a computer.
Chester widened his eyes as Tyler began the locking process. "Tyler! There are still people out there! We can't close the doors yet!" Chester exclaimed as he began to process numbers and times in his head. "We have to, the bombs will be dropping soon and we need to be padlocked way before that or else radiation will leak in and we will die!" Tyler responded as the doors were nearly closed. People started to try and squeeze inside before the door closed, but it was too crowded beyond the door. A man and child were going to be crushed if they kept trying to get through. Allison jumped up, "No! We have to save them or else it's for nothing!" She cried out, but Chester brought a hand up. "He's right...calculations lead up to bad situations. If we reopen those doors we have a low chance of surviving through this. We already saved plenty, we need to move forward." Chester said while looking down at his controls. "What?! That isn't right! We need to save them!" Allison screamed out. The child made it through before the doors closed, but the man was crushed. "It's already too late." Tyler told her as he began to activate the Omega Purifiers, the best purifiers ever made up to this point. "I'm sorry Allison, but we have to keep moving or else we all die." Chester told her as he continued the lock down procedure.
Allison sat into her spot at the control panel with anger. "I can't believe this! We have to just let those people out there die!?" She said with anger and sadness as she started running their practiced routines. "I recommend you don't look at the cameras then, ma'am. They don't seem to be leaving." A computer generated voice told her. "Thanks Sigma, just cut the video feeds on my screens, I don't need to see that crap." She told him. Sigma obeyed and closed the feeds as she asked. "Anything else madam?" He asked her while appearing on her screen. He chose to appear as a well dressed gentlemen, but you couldn't see his face. "Keep me posted." Was all she told him. "As you wish." He responded as he exited her screen and appeared on both Chester's and Tyler's screens.
"Need any help gentlemen?" Sigma asked as both their hands flew across multiple keyboards at speeds that not many could comprehend. "Can you start routing power to our back up drives, and harvest as much as you still can from the solar panels we have?" Chester asked Sigma as he did his own work. "As you wish sir, I will be routing power while doing my other routines." Sigma told Chester. "Anything you need Tyler?" He asked as he added what Chester asked to his sub routines. "We need to make sure we have enough purified water running down here, can you triple check that our purifiers are working at their peak potential?" Tyler asked as he frantically went through his routines. "Already done sir, but I will continue to monitor any problems that come up and fix them immediately." Sigma answered while moving to other business.
All of them finished around the same time, and the final siren booted up. "Wow, just in time." Chester said with a nervous laugh. "Yeah, just in time." Tyler smiled gravely at Chester. Allison got up from her seat and sighed. "We need to get to the bottom levels with everyone else. Sigma, start directing everyone." Allison says to the others as she walks towards the stairs. Chester catches up quickly and scratches the nape of his neck. "So...having fun during the one and only Apocalypse?" Chester said with a smile. His grin was a pearly white and as wide as any Allison has ever seen. She couldn't help but smile a bit at it. "Sort of stressful, but for the most part it is fun." She says back to him. Chester laughs to himself and starts to move faster. "I'll race you down the stairs." He told her with a smile. "Are you serious? Can you be any more like a little kid?" Allison said with a broadening smile. "If I am going to die in the next few minutes, I would rather have it racing down the stairs." Chester tells her as he begins to move down the steps quickly. Allison picks up the pace. "Oh no you don't!" She cries out as Tyler tries to catch up to the two.
Allison nears Chester when they start to reach the end, until Tyler jumps past them both, tripping on the way. Tyler crashes to the ground and lays there with a smile. "Screw you guys, I win." He tells Chester and Allison with a wide smile. They all laugh as the other civilians look at them awkwardly. Chester helps Tyler up as Allison approaches. "You boys are a special kind of stupid." "Why thank you madam, I would like to think myself stupid after all this." Chester replies as Tyler wipes himself off. "I'll start to open the vault, you two go ahead and stay here I guess." Tyler says to the two as he moves past the mass of civilians. "Try not to make out for too long!" He adds before getting engulfed by the crowd of people. Allison looks away, but Chester was able to see the blush. "I should probably look for my little Emily, I am sure she is dreadfully bored without me." Chester tells Allison before heading into the crowd. "Okay, I guess I'll just...wait here then." Allison answered as the doors started to slowly open.
Chester plowed through the crowd as fast as he could while calling out for his daughter. "Emily!" He continued to yell out as he navigated the mass. Eventually a little girl with light brown hair and brilliant blue eyes found her way to Chester. "Here daddy! What took you so long!" She pouted before Chester picked her up with a hug. "Daddy had important business, I'm sorry." He told her as he put her down again. "Guess what I brought though!" He told Emily with a broad smile. "What! What!" She cried out enthusiastically. Chester reached into his bag and brought out a leather bound book with gold engraved letters. "Alice in Wonderland!" She cried out with joy. Chester smiled wider, "That's right! I snagged it from the museum near our house, they didn't want it anymore." Chester told her. "Why not?" Emily asked. "Because they didn't need it anymore..." Chester said gravely. Emily smiled wildly though as she took the book. "Thank you Daddy!" "No problem sweetheart, anything for you."
The door to the Vault was entirely open now, and people started to flood in as the alarms continued to sound loudly. "What's happening Daddy?" Emily asked Chester with worried blue eyes. "Everyone is going to take a nap, Emily." Emily raised an eyebrow, "Why?" Chester looked sadly at his daughter, she looked too much like her mother. "Because everyone outside is very tired, and they don't know what else to do." Emily looked down at her new book and hugged it with one hand as the other found Chester's. "Oh, okay. But we aren't going to sleep are we? I'm not very tired." Emily says while they were almost in the Vault. "No, we are here to make sure that we don't have to sleep." Chester says to Emily with a smile.
Allison caught up with Tyler, who was standing beside the Vault door as a warning from Sigma sounded to everyone. "Attention, all citizens of the Vault Program, bombs will soon be landing near our position in approximately three minutes. All citizens must be inside the Vault before that happens, or the situation of their health will be critical. Keep your children calm and nearby. All pets will be put in a different environment during the lock down, to check for infection or contamination that can hurt the public." Allison looked grimly at Tyler, "Do you think we'll make it?" Allison asks. Tyler laughed nervously and shrugged. "I think the President has less of a chance of making it through this." He tells her, obviously stressed by their entire situation. The end of the crowd was nearing the Vault. Tyler sighed deeply, "I hope we can rebuild all of this with such few people." Tyler says, knowing that was on her mind too. "Yeah..." Allison says in agreement.
"Hey, do you think this will all be worth it?" Allison says in question. "What?" Tyler says with surprise, he knew Allison wasn't the one to ask such grim questions such as that. "I mean...this is bound to happen again, with time; isn't it?" Allison says with sad eyes, she was too smart for her own good. "I don't know..." Tyler says to her, knowing that wasn't the right answer. He should have lied and said no, but he couldn't bring himself to do it. Nor could he bring himself to give the truthful answer. He didn't say what was on his mind though, instead he told her "All I know for sure, is that we will make it through this." Allison's eyes brightened at that and she smiled, god he loved her smile. "Yeah, and we will make sure that we do beat the Apocalypse down, together." Tyler nodded and smiled back.
Chester appeared by the Vault door when everyone was in, and Sigma appeared on a nearby dashboard. "It is time." Sigma told them as Chester neared them. Tyler nodded and started the next program to close the door. "The plan is to stay in the Vault for a week, right?" Allison asks Sigma. Before Sigma could answer Chester spoke. Only Chester had the reaction time faster than a smart AI. "That is what we approximate, but it will be until the radiation is clear of the area here. We want to make sure it is safe for anyone and everyone." Chester answers with a gleam in his eyes as he propped his glasses up higher on his face. Allison smiled, "Thank you Chester, even though I asked Sigma." Chester blinked behind his glasses. "Oh..." was all he was able to manage before Allison laughed. Tyler finished with the program to close the door. "Let's get inside, we'll discuss our plans once we are all safe." Tyler tells them as the slip inside the closing Vault door.
Once everyone was gathered in the Vault, they waited. They waited to either die or live. This was their Judgement time, where either a divine being or fate itself would decide if they were meant to live or not. Chester, Tyler, and Allison got together with everyone. The three saviors stood at a podium in front of the Vault door, the dim lighting shone on all the people to survive till now. They purposely made the Vault look like a church, to remind people of the hope they should still have. That not all was lost. When the bunker shook, they spoke. "People of Earth, we gather you today as a last testament of Human Civilization." Allison tells everyone first in her sympathetic voice. Tyler's gruff and serious voice was next. "We have fallen as a race." Then Chester spoke next with truth in his voice. "But we will all survive this day." They continued this, taking turns with each sentence. The bombs shook the bunker harder and harder as they continued their speech.
"Earth as we know it will shatter and split among man. The echos of civilization will fade with time. But nobody will ever break the spirit that is there inside us. We will know the finalizing gifts of life. Pain. Sympathy. Joy. This will lead us to an age of risen man. An age of past destruction and life. Till we are more than just a scar of former humanity. But instead the pained angels. That rose in the night of our darkest hours." They all spoke, continuing their speech for the hours that the bunker shook with the destruction of mankind. Their combined voices spoke the empathy, anger, and truth of humanity in all it's glory. The end came with only the dreadful silence of ashes blowing through the wind.
Weeks past after leaving the dreadful and quiet Vault, then months, and soon to be a single year. Mankind has ended it's time above the ground, and now live trapped in a tomb of it's own making.
Allison, Tyler, and Chester were all at their command center well Sigma ran all the necessary programs to keep the air purified and fresh. "We need a plan, we can't just wait here for our own death." Tyler tells the two of them. Chester nodded his head in agreement. "Precisely, we need a damned good plan. Maybe a device to clear out the radiation up top? Just in a force field area so we can live above ground again." Chester suggests, but Allison shook her head. "As great as that sounds, that is impossible. The radiation of the surrounding area would flow in during the purification process. Even if we set up the field before hand, we don't have the technology to have the force field stay up with the mass of radiation around it. The field would deteriorate before we even purify the area inside of it." Allison told him. Chester cursed, knowing it was truth. Sigma appeared on their table as a new projection, he was no longer a well dressed man. Instead he appeared as a wanderer of sorts, with a hood over his head that hid his face and worn clothes that wrapped his body. "I have a suggestion." Sigma says to the three of them. "Fire away Sig." Tyler says. "How about a test? As Allison and you, Tyler, have said before entering the Vault, how do we know this won't happen again? The simple answer is, we don't. We need to test all of humanity before we continue with civilization recovery."
"All of humanity is currently a little under one hundred fifteen thousand, I don't think it is right to test such a little amount." Tyler tells Sigma with a shrug. "One hundred fourteen thousand five hundred fifty six to be exact." Chester and Sigma site at the same time. Tyler face palmed and Allison shook her head. "Oh god, that was creepy." Allison spoke with a slight chuckle. Tyler made a face of disgust, "No kidding." Chester smiled, "Don't be jealous because I'm the biggest nerd here. You guys are great in your own accounts." He says to his two friends while waving his hand in their direction in a sort of shooing motion. "Only you could keep up with the smartest AI in human history." Allison says to him, returning his smile. "To be fair, he did create a good portion of my coding. I think it'd be weirder if he didn't keep up with me." Sigma points out. "Thank you Sigma, I appreciate the back up." Chester says while leaning back and crossing his hands behind his head.
"All joking aside, I think Sigma does have a good point. We have no idea if this will happen again, and it'd be smarter to test everyone here." Chester tells them while in his comfortable position. "We can't just give everyone a piece of paper with questions on it without telling them what it is for though." Tyler tells him with bitter questioning in his voice. "I agree with Tyler, we can't exactly do that without getting questioned by people. What would we tell them?" Allison tells Chester before Sigma seemed to clear his throat. "I think you guys are thinking too linear for this equation. The way of giving the test will not be on a paper, but rather robotics. It'd be easier to manage and less suspicious to the populace." Sigma tells the three while having his hands clasped behind his back and hunching forward. Tyler's brow perked up, "What do you propose Sigma?" "Nothing too complicated sir, just to use our available resources for this situation. We could put them in a sort of simulation that will determine their answers to the question. They will be given obstacles much like what they'd face in conventional life to show their answers to the questions at hand." Sigma tells the three of them. Chester puts his hands to his forehead in an odd manner before spreading his arms apart, "That's brilliant!!!" He yelled before laughing.
Tyler scowled at the idea, and Allison made a worried look that Chester smiled wickedly at. "Think of it? They won't know they are being monitored, and even if they do they won't know the purpose! It's absolute genius, and completely doable with the resources we have." Chester tells them both as he smiles ecstatically at them. "I don't know, it seems a bit wrong to do it that way." Tyler says, not convinced. Allison thought more into it, and her face brightened with delight as a new idea smacked her mind. "No Tyler, it is genius! Not only can we manage our tests, but think of how much happier the civilian populace would be in a type of virtual reality like that. We could sweep up their worry of ever being forced underground after a deadly nuclear war! We could make their life actually something again." Allison says with sheer excitement. Sigma ran variables and straightened his posture. "Actually, Miss Friar is right, this would be better for their mental health as well." Chester smiled with sheer joy, "Then it's settled, right?! We will do it! We will create a virtual haven for humanity." Everyone turned to Tyler for approval. He made a half smile at them, "Yeah, sounds like a good plan to me."
-Ten thousand years later, after the S.Y.S.T.E.M.'s establishment, 655 BC (Cycle 3)-
A man was sprawled on his back, nearing the confines of death in the realm he called home. But was he home? He didn't know... Snow began to build around him, he was laying in snow? He didn't remember anything...how did he get here? What happened to him? The man moaned as he tried to move, not even his eyelids could be forced open. He felt a snowflake hit his bare cheek, it's cold icy body instantly liquefied to water. A boy, no older than his mid twenties, walked up to the fallen man. "Hey!" He yelled at the man while he crouched down to his sprawled body. The man moaned, not even able to get his lips open. "Heeeeeeey!" The boy continued as he jabbed the man's face. The man moaned again, this time with a tinge of anger. "You dead?" The man was suddenly able to open his eyes, and he saw the young man's face.
He had white skin, polished and perfect like a pearl. His hair was, oddly enough, white as well. The contrast of his skin to his hair was a little bit noticeable, because the white of his hair was much lighter than his skin. He had icy blue eyes and was wearing a dark blue robe. "Okay, I guess not..." The man inhaled violently and then coughed. The boy waited for a response as the man looked at him seriously. "Ow." He groaned at the boy. The boy laughed as the man began to feel motor control across his body. He was able to move now. The man sat up while coughing violently. He put a hand to his mouth involuntarily as he heaved up something. A red liquid soiled his hand. What was this red liquid? It felt warm on his hand.
"So...you okay?" the boy asks him. The man looks at his company, the boy noticed his eyes looked hollow and broken. His stare was filled with no emotion, nothing that could even point him out as human. The boy cringed a bit inside, but kept his sparkling bright smile on the exterior. The man continued to stare at him until he felt something hit him hard, not on his body but inside him...inside his head?! The boy doubled over in pain as some...some thing roamed his mind with no remorse until images flashed in front of his eyes. It was an image of getting bashed on his back, hard. He felt the pain on his back and laid on his side in pain. His eyes were open but not seeing his surroundings as another image flashed before him that was the feeling of getting his ribs crushed. The boy gasped for air and then the visions were gone. He returned back to the cold snow around them with wide eyes and the man standing over him now. He spoke, in a deep and ravaged voice, but not with his mouth...but in the boy's mind. "Hello, Jack...my name is..." He told him while images flashed in front of Jack's eyes fast. He saw a pile of bones, a corpse, rotting bodies, and worst of all one of babies still in their mother's hands with a cross in theirs before getting shot down. Jack vomited violently. Once he was finished he looked back up at the man.
Jack looked at him with fear now, taking the man before him completely. He was old, about fifty or so years on him. He had few wrinkles for his age, and his hair was long as if he has not taken care of himself in many years. No...that wasn't true though, he felt it just at looking at him. He used to be something great, something worth legend...but he's fallen from grace and become something worse. His facial hair was uneven too, and his attire seemed to be from something not of this world. It was not like the robes he wore now, but something with a split in it and round objects with thread holding them on. "What..what are you?" He asked the man while fighting off the feeling to run. The things he could do with just his mind alone were astounding. "What am I..." He murmured inside Jack's mind, as if considering what that meant. The images of death flashed again until Jack yelled "Stop!! Just tell me!" The man just looked at him again as the visions stopped. "I am..." He started in his head until he opened his mouth and spoke in a hoarse voice. "Death." He finished with the same blank and emotionless expression.
Jack felt tears water in his eyes as he clawed backwards in the snow. Every fiber of Jack's being was telling him to run as fast as he could, run away from this man who claimed to be the image of Death itself. The Man didn't try to stop him, he just watched with a hollow gaze. Jack took this chance to run, run far away from what he's seen and what will haunt him forever. The Man stared at the youth's back before he finally displayed his first tinge of emotion, he smiled, knowing it would not be the last time he saw the boy Jack.