Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Cold and Hot by Steve Ormosi

Challenge week 6 was about coming up with some flash fic about cryogenic freezing. I went about this one in a very top-down way.  This is kind of a full on overview of all of the events that the perfection of cryogenic freezing led to.  You know, in my crazy head.  I hope you like.


In the wake of the perfection of cryogenic freezing, science came under a barrage of criticism that divided the nation and eventually, the world.  A large swath of the population believed that freezing was morally abhorrent.  It was mocking death, the ultimate equalizer.  They called themselves the Naturals.  

Those that opposed them were known as the Lifers (a shortening of the Long Lifers).  The Lifers were constantly protecting their equipment from Natural attack and even though they had smaller numbers, they tended to have, procure, or even create more advanced and effective technology.

One day a Natural managed to break into a cryo facility and shut down the power to the whole building.  Twelve frozen Lifers died from inadequate life support, including a revered scientist and former leader of the Lifer movement. The gauntlet was considered thrown.

At first there were small skirmishes, mostly centered around scientific facilities, but eventually the Lifers decided to go on the offensive.  On Sunday, April 5th of that first year, there were 12 simultaneous explosions throughout the United States, all churches.  200 people were killed and almost 1000 injured as the blasts were timed to go off during Mass.  The government tried to impose military peacekeeping laws, but since both sides of the blossoming hostilities were spread throughout the country, it was of almost no use at all.

Natural leadership prepared to respond to the church bombings.  They arranged for suicide bombings in several key locations.  The first strike hit a rally that was campaigning for further education on the virtues of cryogenic freezing and stem cell organ replacement.  The rally ended in a shower of body parts that left 12 dead and 25 more in the hospital.  A second bombing happened that same day at an abortion clinic, three young women, two of whom were carrying unborn children, were killed along with a doctor.  A week later, a 23 year old public relations professional was caught trying to gain entrance to the largest cryo lab in the US with five pounds of C-4 strapped to her chest.  When she was discovered at the gate outside, she tried to detonate her payload, however, she was shot and killed by one of the guards before she was able to.

The leader of the Lifers, a man named Salvatore Desario, refused to back down, saying in a speech the day after the failed cryo lab bombing, “The Church’s power comes at the cost of knowledge for its citizens.  Let others believe that ignorance is bliss.  Soon they will know that ignorance bears its own price.  Soon they will understand the cost of civilization.”  This thinly veiled threat would manifest itself in short order.

A string of seemingly isolated beatings happened outside of a series of churches in the Midwest in July.  Eventually a pattern emerged that, when viewed on a map, seemed to create a picture of the radiation symbol.  At first, authorities believed this to be a threat of the use of nuclear weapons.  It would later turn out that the Lifers were simply using it as the symbol of their cause.

That realization would not sink in until after a government raid of a warehouse, in which they believed the Lifers to be storing nuclear material.  Everyone in the warehouse, most of whom were not involved in either side of the hostilities, was killed.  This information has not been public until very recently due to a high level classification surrounding the raid.  Even now, almost 70 years later, the government still has not released all the details of that day.

The Lifers railed against the dangerous Church theocracy.  The Naturals (who were quick to point out that they weren’t all Christians) spoke of the dangers of tampering with the laws of death.  Publically, the Vatican decried the events and all but declared a new Holy War against the unbelievers.  Droves of atheists across Europe attended rallies of various levels of violence.  Those of a more Natural bent found ways to insert themselves into several of the rallies and released anthrax into statistically significant portion of the Lifer population.  The resulting terror led many to stay home from work for weeks, nearly crippling the Euro.

These events later led to an all out war between the two sides.  Governments were completely inefficient at stifling the battles and often times even chose sides, leading to a larger, and more sustainable, conflict.  Then, in the third year, a new Natural leader named Jeremiah First finally signed a peace treaty with the Lifers.  This led to a stand down between warring countries as well.  In the religious community, the man was hailed as the second coming of Jesus Christ.  The peace that he was able to broker has stood the test of time and there have been no further hostilities to this day.

First was a great man, the world has never seen his equal.  That was never more proven than when he decided that the best way to end the petty hatreds that were still perpetuated at the end of the war was to sacrifice himself.  He left specific instructions on how to carry on and instill hope in our neighbors and the world around us, but was silent on matters pertaining to his own demise.  The next day with the whole world watching, he held a press conference with Salvatore Desario and a man few knew before then, but is a household name now, Peter Hale. Before anyone knew what was happening, Hale, a scientist and lifelong friend of First’s, had begun the freezing process.  We now know that Hale left specific instructions to have First unfrozen 68 years later, that being the longest frozen period that the technology of the time would safely allow. 

The day has finally arrived, and we are almost finished with preparations to unfreeze our Savior.  Jeremiah is coming back to us.  Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves for the Third Coming.

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