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The Biggest Game Of All
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
The beeps ring through the air, loud and clear. My head is going to explode. I’m completely sure of it. Pain is running through my body. The beeps are continuous, and they’re the only thing I can hear.
Beep Beep. Beep Beep. Beep Beep.
My heart is beating faster, and I hear a group of footsteps, as they enter the room that I am in. They gather around the metal table, on which I am lying. The metal is cool to the touch, like leather car seats in the middle of winter. Their whispers start, hushed and fast, and I know that these people are talking about me.
“She’s making a remarkable recovery, considering the amount of reconstructive surgery we had to complete to make her... eligible,” says a man who is obviously too confident in his work.
Everyone murmurs their agreement.
“Her vitals are almost perfect. She should be ready for transportation in a 2 hours tops.”
“I heard she was selected out of 100,000 people.”
“Does she realize her... predicament....?”
“No. The last thing she should remember is walking home from school. She’s completely oblivious to the situation,” claims the same man, as he walks around to the other side of the table I’m laying on. He steps up to the beeping machine that’s to my left and adjusts some dials.
Walking home from school.
That rings a bell in my head, as the memory begins to flood my mind.
I was walking home from school, and I was upset because I failed my history test. Knowing that my parents were waiting for me, I was shuffling slowly along the sidewalk. Looking at the clouds, and the gorgeous fall leaves, I was completely distracted. I was in no hurry at all, taking my sweet time before entering the land of crazy parents who think they understand. And that was when someone grabbed my backpack, yanking as hard as they could. Before I could scream, I felt a hand lock onto my mouth, and as I fell to the ground, everything went black.
This memory brings me back to the table, to the people who are surrounding me, and for the first time fear spreads through my body.
It picked up my accelerated heart rate, matching it flawlessly. I feel the footsteps as everyone gathers around me. I open my eyes, looking at all of their faces, and I knew from their white coats and gloves that I was indeed in a hospital. Or something like that.
“She’s conscious,” a woman states rather bluntly.
“Out!” the man snaps at the others, dismissing them for the time being.
They slowly shuffle towards the door, obviously reluctant to leave, especially when something was actually happening. His back stays turned to me, until the door shuts, and everybody has left.
“Hello, my name is Dr. Freeman. I will be your main caretaker, until you lea... eh.. for the time being,” he stutters.
“Where am I?” I ask.
“You’re in a private medical facility in Colorado. You are probably super confused, but we will answer all of your questions in time,” he says hesitantly.
“No. You will answer my questions right now. Where’s my family? Why was I taken?” I say, spitting the words through my teeth, determined to be told the truth.
“You weren’t taken,” the man interjects. “You we’re chosen.”
“Chosen, huh. Care to elaborate?”
Dr. Freeman sighs heavily, and pulls up a chair. “About fifty years ago, the government created a company that was entirely purposed towards finding a planet that could sustain life. A new planet, if ever discovered, would be a new home, in the event of a worldwide disaster,” he states.
“So if everybody was going to die, we would move to this new planet?”
“Essentially, certain people would be chosen to move to this new planet, to sustain the human population."
"But not just ordinary people. People would be chosen according to their family history, and their strength to fight certain diseases. These people would be a perfect input to a complex equation; living.”
“So, where do I fit into this?” I ask cautiously.
“About ten months ago, we found a planet about 20 light years away from Earth that can sustain a human population. We also found out that a meteor the size of Mercury, was headed towards Earth. An impact of that size will kill everything on the planet; plants, animals. Basically, life as you know it will end.”
“When is this going to happen?” I ask wildly, my voice getting louder.
Dr. Freeman hesitates before answering. “It’s expected to enter Earth's atmosphere in less than 5 days. But,” he continued. “you and the other people chosen will be long gone from Earth by then.”
“What about my friends and family?!” I yelped. “What’s going to happen to them?”
“What about them?” he said. “You’re so far beyond them; and I understand that this must be a lot for you to take in, but you have been chosen. You cannot leave. You belong to us.”
I flash back to my little brother’s face, eyes large with innocence. My room, filled with posters, awards, and pictures of myself and my friends. “My friends.” I can practically hear April’s loud laugh, and Sarah’s witty comebacks. It nearly brings me to tears thinking that I’ll never see them again. Something snaps in my head, and suddenly, I wished that I could leave Dr. Freeman and his plan to save humanity behind.
“I don’t want to be part of your crazy plan!” I blurted. “I want to go home.”
“You don’t have a choice. They’re boarding the shuttle right now. And in two hours it’ll be taking off with you on it,” he jeered.
Two nurses then walk into the room, one of them holding a long syringe.
Dr. Freeman nods at them, and they walk over to my bed, roll up my hospital gown sleeve, and swab an alcohol pad on the inside of my elbow.
“They’re going to inject you with a sedative, which will knock you out for the majority of the trip. It will take 3 months until we approach the new planet, and you will not be aware of anything while you’re in "Hibernation." I will see you soon.” Dr. Freeman waved, and then quickly backed out of the room.
“You’re going to feel a small pinch, and then you’ll fall asleep,” the nurse said.
I felt her tie a tourniquet around my arm, while I heard the snap of rubber gloves. The distant smell of alcohol was making me nauseous. Fear was creeping into my mind; how did everything come to this, in such a short period of time? It has been such a confusing day, and I just wanted to be home, asleep in my bed. But as I felt a pinch in my arm, and my eyes flutter shut, my thoughts become all fuzzy, as they slowly fade to black.
Once again I regain consciousness, but I can tell that I was out for a much longer extended period of time. Soft white light shone through my closed eyes, and once again, I hear beeps. But not the loud, blaring ones of the heart monitor. No, this was much different; they were softer and there were different tones. They immediately reminded me of those ridiculous, far fetch Si-Fi programs my dad used to make me watch on Saturday afternoons. Remembering all of the crazy spaceships and such, it brought me back to the situation.
Maybe he was right; what if I’m on a space ship hurtling towards the “New Planet” right now? I thought.
I open my eyes and look up at the low gel filled ceiling of my room, if you could say that. It was more like a coffin, and I needed to get out of there now. But before I could open my mouth, the top swung open instantly, and a face peered down at me.
She had brown hair, and she couldn't be much older than me.
“Thank goodness you’re awake!” she cried. “I thought I was all alone! I woke up a day ago, and no one came to get me. I screamed and yelled as loud as I could, but nobody came. After pushing and pulling at that stupid lid for almost 3 hours, I finally managed to open it.” Her words spewed out of her mouth so fast, they sounded like jibberish. “I’ve walked through all of the hallways and rooms... and they’re empty,” she said urgently.
“What do you mean they’re empty?” I said softly. “It’s such a huge ship, and besides, there are supposed to be hundreds of people here with us.”
“I thought the same thing, and then I walked into the commons.” Her voice trailed. “...I kept looking... but the rooms... they were filled with people... but they were dead. The air smelled awful, and they were all swollen and red. I think it was some kind of virus,” she managed to say.
“Dead!!” I yelped. “They can’t be dead. All of those people... they were chosen.”
“.....These people would be a perfect input to a complex equation; living.....”
Dr. Freeman’s words run through my head, as I jumped off the ledge and started to pace.
“These people... they were chosen specifically due to their ability to fight diseases. They couldn’t have all died like that. Something must have happened,” I mutter.
“But, if some kind of virus killed them, how come we’re not... dead?” she asked, unsure.
“I don’t know, but I’m almost sure that all of those doctors are still alive.”
“They’re not. I looked in the hospital and they were all dead, too,” she said.
“Wait!” I exclaimed. “If everyone is dead.... who’s flying this thing?”
We exchanged a look, and I saw her eyes filled with worry, and I was sure that she saw exactly that in mine.
“Take me to the control room.”
We run through the empty hallways, and the smell is awful. We didn’t bother to peer into the rooms we passed, because we both knew what we’d find.
“What’s your name?” I ask.
We run in silence until we approach a door labeled Control Room. Melanie pushes the door open, and the putrid smell fills our noses again.
“The-they’re all dead,” I whisper.
“What are we going to do?!” Melanie sobbed, sinking to the floor.
I looked at her, and as I began to pity her, I realized that she was me, on that stupid hospital bed, thinking that I just wanted to go home. My eyes shift across the room, and I see a desk with the sign Communication written above it.
“Look,” I pointed. “Let’s go over there and see if there’s a radio signal!”
I dragged Melanie up to her feet, and we moved towards the desks. After jumping and leaping over people, we finally reached it. I pressed the talk button and waited for something to happen.
Nothing happened. Not. A. Thing.
It was obvious that the thing was dead, and I dropped the headset in frustration. I sank to the floor, sobbing, wishing that I was home. This was all obviously a game. Everything is. You play until you win, or in this case until you are safe. If you lose, you’re dead. Melanie fell to the ground, and curled up with her head to her knees. She knew it too; this was a game. They were obviously testing us, and I can almost see Dr. Freeman sitting in a room back on earth, giggling like an idiot.
But all of us were split into two situations. He was home, safe and sound, eating his McDonalds, watching us. We were here, now. And we are terrified. Melanie fell asleep, and I let her rest. She’d been up for 2 days straight, waiting for me to join the party. I watch as the fear erases from her face, and for once, she is actually at peace.
I looked out the large picture window, at what must be the front of the aircraft. The stars were twinkling, and everything is black. I stood up and approach the window, hoping for a better look. In the distance, there’s a large green planet, that was dotted with blue. It looked like Earth, but it had 5 large moons, orbiting around it. The first word that pops into my head is beautiful. It was so serene, and perfect. And then the beeping started.
I look down at the computer screen and the large block letters blare at me. LANDING IN 6 HOURS. PREPARE LANDING GEAR, AND COMPLETE NORMAL PROCEDURE.
Aha. So they all were still on the mission, even before their deaths. But there were almost 50 of them. Now there are only 2 left.
“What are we going to do!?” I moan as a fall to the ground. I was scared; for Melanie, and for me. The tears come back, and I curl up into a ball, and just lie there like a pointless object. I was so upset that I must have fallen asleep, because the next thing I knew Melanie was shaking my shoulder, telling me to wake up. I glance at the screen, and now it says LANDING IN 1 HOUR. PREPARE LANDING GEAR IMMEDIATELY!
I stood up, and walked over to the window again. We were entering the new planet’s atmosphere, and you could see tiny dots of trees, and lakes of water. I walked back over to Melanie, and saw the fear return to her face. And it was then that I realized that there was one thing we needed to do.