Sunday, June 26, 2016

“Security. Sanctity. Sagacity.”

“Security. Sanctity. Sagacity.”

“These are the tenets we live at Ascension. They represent all we seek to return to the global community, which our predecessors have attempted in various times and places. What you will find in this facility is our latest efforts to mitigate those factors that hinder the spread of knowledge and goodwill around the world.”

A voice among the small crowd interjected into the woman’s perfectly articulated speech, “What factors would those be?”

Her hazel eyes flashed intensely as she smiled and responded, “Drought, famine, transportation, communication, and cultural projects.”

The voice piped up again, “By cultural projects, do you mean human factors?”

She nodded. “Of course. Those are the hardest issues we face and where the majority of our focus lies.”

The guide pressed a few ghostly keys on the transparent data pad hovering over one of her hands. 

This activated the doors on their elevator, ushering them from the long descent into a vibrant and sterile hallway of white panels and clear glass. She sidestepped and allowed the guests to take in the view as they walked along the corridor.

“Welcome to Ascension.”

Large groves of flowering trees clothed a mound that led to a gigantic canopy. Gleams of light flickered among the branches of the lesser trees and along the bough of the Great Tree. Each member gawked as they shared a collective thought.

How could a Tree be THAT tall?! Much less undersea?!

The representative seemed to read their minds, “What you see is our greatest project, codenamed Yggdrasil. It holds the seeds to curing the contagion at the heart of the world’s problems.”

A long pause gripped the crowd as they tried to take the tree-tower in. They slowly noted the flickers among the forest to be a mixture of birds and electronic nodes.

The persistent questioner rubbed his bald head and asked, “And what would you call that contagion?”


The man muttered into his beard, “On that we can agree…”

The guide pivoted on her stilettos and motioned for the audience to follow.

“As you can see, we have made an oasis in one of the most unforgiving environments. Who else can claim they have made a garden at the farthest point from land? We carved the root bed's foundation into the geothermal bedrock. With a few modifications, the natural volcanic soil allowed for rich biodiversity.

“The solution to the light issue came from the contributions of the natural dwellers in the abyssal region of the sea, as well as some insects. We infused their phosphorescent qualities into the plant tissue. We are proud to say that 80% of the illumination in our garden is natural light.”

A red-haired woman in the group piped up, “So those are not electric lights?”

“No,” the representative answered patiently, “Those nodes are bulbs growing from the trees. In a few months, the blooming season will peak and those will become luminous flowers. It is truly breathtaking.”

“Oooh lovely!” The attendee gasped. “I do hope we will be invited back to see it!”

“You may stay as long as you like” the guide answered.

The group came to a hub where passages branched off in cardinal directions. Another elevator stood centrally, which the guests guessed dropped occupants down to the forest below. The guide took them instead to the southern wing where labs occupied the adjacent rooms.

She announced with her pristine diction, “Here we work hard to eradicate the most persistent blights.”

The crowd peered through the azure glass at consoles attached to boxes that appeared to be metal coffins. Smoky glass allowed someone to look at each container’s inhabitant if he or she stood closely. The woman leading the tour pressed her palm to a pad next to one of the doors. It slid open and she gestured for the group to enter.

Once everyone entered, she gestured to the entire room as the door closed. “Please, look around and I will answer any questions you may have.”

The group scattered and looked at screens which glistened with incomprehensible information on genetic or biological details. Some of the guests marveled at the exotic plants under various hued lamps. The bald man took these in with a glance and stepped purposefully toward the large metal containers. All of them seemed empty except for one, which had vitals updating in real time on a holographic display on the glass.

Stroking his greying beard, he asked over his shoulder, “Who is in here?”

“That is a very special project, close to our Director’s heart,” She replied.

He noted the passion in her voice. “What would that be?”

“Very few things threaten our mission as the virus contained in there.”

“What sort of virus?” He queried.

“An ancient one. Thankfully, we may now be close to coming up with a cure. It has cost millions of lives, devastated civilizations, and destroyed prior efforts to bring peace to the world. We plan to turn this carrier into a vector to purge the world of its existence.”

“Hmmm, does this virus have a name?”

A manicured hand reached past the inquisitive guest and turned on the lamp inside the canister. A nearly man-sized porcupine reclined in the tube, pulsing roots attached along its throat and inner arms. Its skin looked sunken and quills drooped as if the life within barely burned.

“Some have called it Ichneumon. We call it--”

“Quill!” The guest rasped.

“Not the name we call this pestilence, Mr. Tenet, but thank you for confirming one thing.” The bald man’s irises shot wide at her icy tone.

His eyes met hers in the reflective glass. Her hazel eyes glowed with menace and violet luster as she finished.

“You are the Fallen we have been hunting a long, long time.”

Art Source: "Scifi Lab" (c)/by jimmyjimjim
Story and Characters: (c)/by Corey Blankenship, Tenet (c) by Brannon Hollingsworth

#MMWW, #Makes, #Me, #Wanna, #Write, #CoreyBlankenship, #notwhatyoudexpect, #twist, #surpriseending, #Tenet, #scifi, #secretlab, #undersea, #quill, #ichneumon, #yggdrasil


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