Narcolepsy Nights #3916: “The Last 5 Minutes”, Part 1

satellite

I’ll do this the best I can … Remember … I live it and so it’s hard to put it into a story format … If names and things seem rough – they are – I didn’t edit this one. Normally … I wouldn’t put this much up and separate it into multiple parts – but – hey, with such little time to format it and whatnot … hopefully somebody enjoys it 🙂 Maybe some day I’ll put the rest in (including the illustrations that go with this … if anyone ever reads it or is interested … hahaha)…

On 2027, the SPART-AN satellite (Satellite Post Apocalyptic Recording Terminal), programmed to record the last 500 years of Earth, following a nuclear apocalypse came online …

satellitemonitor

_  _  _  _ August 17, 2027

_ _ _ _ Status: Online.

_ _ _ _ Data Feed: 39,415 of 189,382 nuclear warheads fired … _ _ _ _ _

_ _ _ _ Activating recording module . . .

_ _ _ _ Up-linking with all known video systems …

Then … there is silence. From space, the Earth looks white, covered by a nuclear cloud that’s going to take a very long time to go away. No sounds are heard. There are no screams. The last recording on the satellite reads:

_ _ _ _ Surface Population: …

_ _ _ _ 0.

Everything goes dark.

Suddenly, text shows up on the monitor again.

_ _ _ _ Date: January 13, 2085

_ _ _ _ Time: 08:00:00 am pst . . .

_ _ _ _ Motion Detected.

_ _ _ _ Sensors activating in quadrant 00 3E 42 99

_ _ _ _ Sensors activating in quadrant 13 24 II G6

_ _ _ _ Sensors activating in quadrant 04 10 A1 25

_ _ _ _ Video signal received: Quadrant 04 10 A1 25. Camera 1 signal activated.

Several more quadrants come on-line. There is static on the screen.

Suddenly, a camera feed comes up. An underground bunker door is opening, pushing away the dirt and growth on top.

People emerge, squinting against the brightness of the sun, looking tired, dirty, and pale..

Everything … goes dark.

_ _ _ _ Date: April 11, 2136

_ _ _ _ Time: 11:22:13 am pst . . .

_ _ _ _ Location: Old Los Angeles

_ _ _ _ Population: 34,312

_ _ _ _ Video signal received: Municipal System Activated. Camera 26 signal activated.

There is static for a moment before audio and video begins to play. It’s a classroom with broken walls, debris on the floor, some broken desks, and a lot of children listening to one man as he writes on the chalkboard.

“Okay, who can tell me what happened on September 19, 2100?” The teacher asked. Hands shot up around the room. The kids, some teens, some younger, but all listening eagerly, were clearly enjoying their history lesson. “Yes, Mary.” The teacher said, acknowledging the blonde-haired girl in the back.

“The old people finally did something cool and started rebuilding this broken, old town!” She said. Everyone giggled. Even the smiling teacher, Mr. Brown, looked down and then replied, “Okay … close. The ‘old’ people as you put it, who ‘had’ been working on rebuilding this broken old town, dedicated the first sky-rise with clean living quarters above surface, clean water, good soil for growing food, and declared September 19th to be a holiday in celebration of the first steps in restoring humanity.”

“Weren’t we already sort of, restored? Y’know, living above ground again?” Asked an 11-year old girl in the front row.

“Well, yes and no. You see, people had been living underground for so long that a lot of the knowledge and information of the world before us was lost. Living conditions remained poor. After all, it’s been over a hundred years since the last, great war. Books and information were all but lost. Electricity was lost and there were no more computers.”

“Wait! We have lots of computers!” A 12 year old boy toward the middle protested.

“Yeah, now we do, ’cause people fixed ’em all little dude!” Max, Mary’s twin brother, spoke up with his surfer coast accent he’d developed watching old video footage as a child, giving everyone another opportunity to smile and laugh. “Max is absolutely right.” Mr. Brown replied.

“Uh… I am?” Max asked, confused by the praise. “Yes, in fact, we’ve advanced even farther than our ancestors. You see, in the quest to find new energy and make sure we never repeated the past, those ‘old’ people Mary spoke about,” (this made Mary blush), “came together with the last of humanity, gathering everyone left from around the world and bringing them all here. This was the greatest gathering of human minds the world had ever seen! In fact, it was so great, that we changed everything; power, lights, transportation -”

“And HOVERBOARDS!” Max interrupted excitedly, holding his up. Everyone turned and laughed. Mr. Brown smiled and said, “Yes, and even hoverboards! In fact, this is the first of what I hope will be many new opportunities for school and learning. So, you see why Founders day, on September 19, is such an important day?” The kids looked awestruck as Mr. Brown flipped the pages of his electronic pad, showing off pictures of new technology. Suddenly, there was a weak, half-working bell ringing signifying the end of the day’s lesson. The children cheered and jumped up out of their chairs, heading out of the broken wall as Mr. Brown gave them homework instructions.

“Mary, Max, come here for a second, would you?” Mr. Brown asked. The two, 16-year old, blonde-haired twins liked their teacher and were the oldest in their class. Most of the other teens in the city were still resistant to the idea of an ‘education’ system where they had to sit all day and learn. This made Mary and Max very unique, and very special, in Mr. Brown’s eyes. “So, have you two picked a team name, yet?”

The twins looked at each other, frustrated, and shook their heads. “There’s only 5 more months until Founder’s Day and the board competition.”

“I know … I know! So much pressure!” Max said, pulling his beanie down over his eyes and ears. Mary spoke up, “We’re really trying, but everything we’ve come up with so far sounds kinda’, lame.”

“‘Kinda Lame‘, huh? That’s a great team name!” Mr. Brown replied, smiling.

“What!? Are you kidding?” Max shouted. Mr. Brown just laughed at the kids. They were always a little naive and he enjoyed giving them a hard time if it helped them relax. “Of course, Max. You guys are anything but lame! You’re the best in the city!”

“Yeah, but we’re never gonna get to prove it. All the other teams have cool team names, logos, and even …”

“Better boards.” Max said, said, finishing his sister’s sentence (something the twins were good at doing). “Listen,” Mr. Brown said, “You guys are gonna be great. Remember, it’s not about the board … it’s about the rider. C’mon, you guys are the brightest kids in the city, you’re the most talented riders, and everyone knows it! I believe in you, really.” The twins lit up with joy. They really appreciated Mr. Brown’s insight. He was the coolest person they knew. Everyone in Old Los Angeles was always either too busy trying to fix up the city, invested in making new technology, or was part of some clique that still hadn’t adapted well to being on the surface with other people.

Max and Mary ran out of the room as Mr. Brown waved, gathering up his belongings and trying to kick a couple of the fallen stones from the ceiling out of the way. He sighed, “I wish they’d fix this place up…”

Static on the screen …

_ _ _ _ Time: 2:15:56 pm pst . . .

_ _ _ _ Location: Old Los Angeles

_ _ _ _ Population: 34,312

_ _ _ _ Signal received … bunker station active … cameras 22 .. 23 …  … 26 … 29 … … 37 … 38 Active

The screen was blurry. A camera lenses adjusted in and out. It was a long, dark, hallway. Parts of the wall were caved in at different locations. Suddenly, two hoverboards zipped by with the hoots and hollars of two young kids, Mary and Max. They were zipping through the hallways, dodging obstacles and racing one another. The monitor flipped through different cameras, trying to keep track.

_ _ _ _Camera 23: Motion Tracking 0.

_ _ _ _Camera 24: Inactive.

_ _ _ _Camera 25: Inactive.

…. Camera 38: Signal Active.

Mary and Max finally reached the end of the hall, breathing heavily. They were pretty far from the camera and were difficult to see in the low light. “HAHAHA! I won! I won! In your face!” Mary exclaimed.

“Yeah, whatever, my board was acting up!” Max said, blushing a little.

“Ha! Sure it was. You just hate losing to a girl!”

“Hey! You’re not a girl! You’re my sister!”

“Hey! Ow, that hurts – ”

“Hold up a sec, check that out.” Max said, interrupting. Mary turned, “What … what is it?”

“I don’t know, wanna check it out?”

“You know we’re not supposed to be in this area, it’s off limits. We shouldn’t push our luck.”

“What, no sense of adventure?”

“No – just enough sense not to be stupid!”

“Whatever. I’m checking it out.” Max pushed past his sister and pulled on a door handle until it finally broke off the hinges. “Whoa!”

“What is it?”

“Stairs!”

“So?”

“Maybe this leads to another hallway! That means … the race isn’t over, yet!”

a-hall-in-the-former-nsa-listening-post

As Mary and Max turned on their flashlights and descended, the camera lens focused closer on the floor number: 29.

_ _ _ _ Time: 5:22:09 pm pst . . .

_ _ _ _ Location: Old Los Angeles

_ _ _ _ Population: 34,312

_ _ _ _ Signal received … bunker station active … cameras 41 .. 42 … … 45 … 46 … 48 … 59 … 60 Active …

_ _ _ _ Secondary Signal Received … Vault System Compromised …

Mary and Max were once again racing past the cameras. It was darker than before and the cameras were having difficulty tracking their movements, focusing in on the dim light from their flashlights. Suddenly, Max, who had gained the lead and was gloating about it, stopped. Mary almost ran into him and in her attempts to avoid him, swung her board up on the wall, losing control. Max quickly grabbed her and pulled her around, safely. It was clear that these two really were highly skilled hoverboard riders.

“Wha … Max?” Mary exclaimed, out of breath. “Why – why’d you stop?” But, Max didn’t answer … and he didn’t need to. Mary looked up to see what her brother was focused on. It was the biggest door they had ever seen. It stood ten feet tall and was at least 3 feet thick, made of pure steel. On the outside was only a pin pad for entering numbers. The door was half way open. Max smiled wryly, pointed his flashlight at the opening, and started for it. “Max! What are you doing?” Mary called to him, this time whispering, afraid of the ominous feeling she got from the darkness behind the door. “C’mon.” Max replied.

“MAX! Hey! Wait! Don’t leave me out here!” She exclaimed, running after him.

_ _ _ _ Switching Camera Signal … Camera 45 Activated. . . .

Mary rushed in after him. Both of the kids were amazed. The room was small, but from one side to the other was a giant wall full of old time computer monitors, switches, and lights that no longer worked. There was a desk in front of it with only a single, dusty plastic cover in the middle (although the dust hid from their sight … and the camera … what was underneath). The kids marveled at the wall. “So, cool!” Max said.

“I wonder what it is?” Mary asked.

“No idea … wait … dude! Check it out!” Max exclaimed, pointing his flashlight up. There was a key in a key hole that, for some reason, was in the middle of all the computer monitors and equipment. There was a long chain dangling from the key. Mary pointed her flashlight up and saw a similar key hole, but no key, “Hey, check it out … another one! But, I wonder where the key is?”

4

“No idea!” Max said, trying to pull the first key out of the key hole.”

“Max! Stop that! You don’t know what you’re doing!”

“Sure I do, watch this!” Max said, frustrated, his tongue sticking out of his mouth as he pulled on the key, one foot up on the desk for balance. “Idiot.” Mary said, pushing him aside, “Here, let me do it.” She reached up, turned the key, and it slipped out. “Ohh … yeah … hey … awesome, thanks!” Max said, snatching the key from her and putting it around his neck.

“Hey! That was mine!”

“No way – I found it first!”

“You always get everything first!” The two kids were wrestling over the key when Mary’s flashlight tipped over on shined on the opposite wall. Both teens froze. There, on the wall, was a strange symbol the likes of which they had never seen before. The camera switched views to identify the new area of interest.

_ _ _ _ Switching Camera Signal … Camera 46 Activated. . . .

On the wall was a yellow and black symbol with strange lettering underneath. “What in the world is that?” Max asked. Mary just shook her head. They walked up to it and started tracing it with their fingers. “This is it, Mary! THIS IS IT!” Max shouted, jumping up and down.

“This is what?”

“Our symbol! Don’t you see? This is totally fate kicking in!” Mary smiled. For the first time ever, her brother made sense. She cocked her head and wiped some of the dust away, seeing more of the strange letters. “Whoa … dude, check out the weird writing!” Max said.. The camera zoomed in on the logo.

_ _ _ _ Switching Camera Signal … Camera 48 Activated. . . .

radioactivegood

“It’s not weird, Max, it’s old.”

“Oh yeah, um … like … I knew that.”

“Whatever.” Mary said, smiling and focusing on the letters. “Mr. Brown taught us this, remember?” Max just stared at her blankly. Mary sighed, “Never mind. Y’know, it wouldn’t hurt to listen in class every once in a while.”

“Okay, then genius. What’s it say?”

“I’m trying, give me a minute.” Mary replied. The text on top was too broken up and hard to read, so she started with the word on the bottom. It says … r … r … ra … ra – duh … ee ..  oh .. no, wait.”

“C’mon, I wanna’ know what it says!”

“Alright, hold on. R … Radeeooac … tuh! Radeeooactuh, uh, um .. ivv. Radeeooactuhivv.”

“Wow, and I thought you were supposed to be a genius. But, I guess not -”

“Radioactive! I got it! It’s radioactive!” Mary said, excited at her accomplishment.

“Radio … um, active?” Max repeated, disgusted and confused. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It’s the name of our new team, dummy! Team Radioactive!”

“Hmm… I don’t know … sounds kinda … weird.”

“Yeah, well, it goes with the logo and I LIKE IT!” Mary said, poking him in the chest. “Okay, okay! I got it. Team Radioactive it is! Look out Old Los Angeles, ’cause we got a team name and a wicked, cool logo now!” The twins cheered and rushed out of the vault, heading back upstairs. The camera focused on them until the light disappeared.

To Part 2 ->

 

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4 thoughts on “Narcolepsy Nights #3916: “The Last 5 Minutes”, Part 1

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