40 – 20 – 10

Sudden Shifts

You’re at the beach with some friends and/or family, enjoying the sun, nibbling on some watermelon. All of a sudden, within seconds, the weather shifts and hail starts descending from the sky. Write a post about what happens next.

A (looong) response to the Daily Posts Daily Prompt
“-NO! I refuse. I don’t care about the specifics. I cannot work for you anymore.”

“My reason? Why do you need to know my reason? Did we abandon freedom of person so soon after getting it back?”

“No, don’t do that!”

“Yes, fine.”

“You better not!”

“I’ll explain, but don’t expect this to change anything.”

“It was the final days of summer and everyone I was close to had decided to make a beach run, inevitably I was dragged along to ‘have fun in the nice hot sun’. Pshht I am perfectly fine having fun in the coolness of my own little home. They all knew what could happen, with the lack of ozone and the ‘green’ generation not being able to restore the balance to the ecosystem the weather could change in the blink of an eye.

Thankfully for us, we lived in a relatively isolated basin with mountains surrounding us on all sides, if there was anything to come at us then we would, at least, be warned of it. I stayed up the whole night before looking at the potential weather transitions. It was all the same, no winds with sweltering heat and bright sun shining through the clouds. All the warnings reiterated for those who have not yet been altered to avoid direct sunlight at all costs. Altering was the process whereby one’s skin is toughened and genetically enhanced to be able to withstand the extreme heat of the sun. The errors of the green generation and all those that came before them had showed us almost every obvious path that we would take, would result in failure. The food crises had shown us that we needed to develop a form of photosynthesis. The deforestation showed us that we had to work in conjunction with nature. It was not something given to us for the advancement of humanity. We had been given to nature in order to enhance <em>her </em>prosperity.

I grabbed my rucksack, told the house’s AI when I expected to be back and went to lodge my votes in at the daily polls. And took a tube down to the beach. It was days like this that I hated the most. Days when the outside world said everything was going to be perfectly fine. It was always on days like this that something terrifying was bound to happen. The universe was just as fond of irony, build up and climaxes as writers and filmmakers were.

I met up with my friends and we programmed a biosphere for the unaltered ones who snuck outside despite all the warnings not too. Even more chance of something awful happening now. I sat with those in the dome, faking a smile whenever someone looked my way. They knew I hated the beach. It reminded many of us of the life that used to dominate the earth. This is where all life came from after all. We humans wrecked the earth as it was the most profitable option. We ate every animal there was and cracked open the magnetosphere which killed off almost all plants. Those that remained were held by an elite few and used to produce food for those who had not yet been altered for photosynthesis.

The others inside the dome decided to lower the opacity of the glass structure that surrounded us so that they could see the outside world. We could hear the cheers and splashing of the others. I gazed around the oceanside and found it odd that we wee the only ones here. I was glad that it gave me the opportunity to investigate the mechatronics here and how they resisted the constant battering from the elements. While the other played frivolously in the sand I tapped into the beaches mainframe and asked its AI to run a check on the polls. Someone called out to me and I told them that I’d be with them shortly when I returned to the AIs messaging screen it had an error message. “SATTELITES DOWN – unable to retrieve information.”

That was odd. I had heard of major repairs being undertaken due the recent spike in Coronal Mass Ejections but I was sure that they were set for next week. It was actually Yoshida who alerted us to the danger. The skies had been painted in a magnificent pantheon of colours, this was the beauty of the aurora. We didn’t often see them here on the equator, except in times of X-class solar flares. My friends were fools but they were not ignorant of the danger. We all set up the biodomes we had to carry with us and huddled inside to avoid the radiation. The domes were able to withstand all the way beyond even the strongest X-class flares but were weak to physical damage. Ramping up the opacity we sealed ourselves inside and lowered the temperature from the 40C it was outside to a relatively cool 20.

It took about ten minutes before the environment started to react. F-class flares wrecked havoc with all living materials, not as potent as X-class but all the more lethal. Their wavelength replicated the vibration of DNA and would rip apart the double helix structure. We heard the plop of thick and heavy raindrops littering the shore. Then it was something more, there were a distinct thud and the shattering of glass. What was that? Did the rain break someone’s dome? It was so hot out there that there was no chance of hail breaking the domes. The only other possibility was that is was someone and not something that broke that glass. I checked the external readings. No wind, X-class 6.9 flare. 10 degrees. Hail.

Another smashing of glass. This times, screams followed. That was definitely a biodome shattering. I regretted not inviting anyone inside my dome. Odds of survival were slim in an X-class flare of this magnitude and I knew I had a safety net to fall into to. I prayed that the others heeded my stubborn warnings and I started layering a gold-titanium alloy around the inside of my dome. When I hit the third layer I heard another crash, followed by even more screams. I hastened my work. It wouldn’t be long before the hail gets to me. Layer five was when the first piece hit. The gap between this stone and the last one was a lot shorter than the first and second crashes. I carried on, now genuinely concerned. By layer 8 I could no longer hear any sound from the outside world, nor could I get to the external monitoring device. Another two thuds, this time almost instantaneous. I set up the second biosphere I carried with me inside of the metal case I had set. Even if the hail broke the exterior shell it would bounce off the now hardened metal and the mini biodome would protect me from whatever ionization managed to penetrate the 3 and a half inch metal barrier.

Setting my body clock to 5 hours of rest I waited out the storm. The last thing I did before entering a lulled brain state was to rig up a minibot with a solar panel and a needle, if worst came to worst and my dome did break, he would detect the increase in photons and shove the needle into my knee, returning me to consciousness.

That was the worst I had ever felt. That day had been the most defining moment in my life. After I woke up I was glad to see that everybody had heeded my warnings. They all used the theory I came up with. Using the double dome with layers on metal between them to provide the structural support that they lacked. I investigated the exterior damage of the other domes and tracked how the gold-titanium alloy sheets had fared. Seeing as there was no significant damage I assumed that I was the first one up. I was so pre-occupied in my comparative structural analysis that I didn’t even think to check on my friends. It was only when the sun started to rise the next day that I got worried. I opened their domes from the outside. . .

All of them were the same . . . every one of them . . . had perished. My friends were nothing but mutated versions of their former selves. At the time, I could not understand it and drove myself into a fury. Frantically searching for any sign of life I tore apart the biodomes one by one. Nothing. They had followed my theory just like I did. They had managed to layer on even more of the metal sheets than I and yet they had died and I had lived. To this day, I still regret my actions. Had I known then what I know now I could be standing proudly by your side. That is my reason for refusing. I’ve already fixed the domes. You don’t need me anymore. Don’t you understand that?”

“But master Protus, I think you fail to understand us.
We have your son.”

Sudden Shifts


3 thoughts on “40 – 20 – 10

  1. Awesome! And it’s set up for a sequel too. I read a great message in here as well, “We humans wrecked the earth as it was the most profitable option.” I’ll take that as the truth within a great sci-fi short. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

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