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The Phoenix Decision

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  • The Phoenix Decision

    A hand reached out to grasp a thin railing on the metallic wall as the ground shook with a vengeance. A loud explosive sound could be heard as several wall and overhanging light panels crashed down to the shattered floor. After the quake subsided, the hand let go of the railing, and the view moved forward.

    A medium height man, clad in heavy metallic armor, with a large silvery rifle slung over his broad shoulder, motioned for the unseen person to move further. Then the armored man spoke through a speaker imbedded in his all-purpose helmet.

    "Sir, you have to get moving. The elevator is several meters down the hallway. I will detonate the hallway behind you as a protection precaution. Go on! I will be fine."

    The being looked at the soldier's face through the transparent Febrite helmet guard.

    "Thank you. Live well."

    The floor shook even more violently, as several heavy girders fell down into the corridor in front of the person. The soldier took off his helmet to shout out, as the vibrations in the corridor began to drown out the head-phone in the helmet.

    "Hurry, we don't have much time!"

    The person nodded once, and then took a hurried jog towards the elevator, sidestepping the collapsed two ton girders. Another quake hit, and several additional wall and ceiling panels cascaded downwards, exposing several live wires and jagged edges of where the girders broke off the superstructure.

    The being crawled under a girder propped aganist the bare wall, and an aftershock hit just as he reached the other side of the girder. The girder scrapped the wall as it jerked downwards to finally rest on the torn floor.

    A orange glow flared to life as the entity passed a surprisingly intact section of hallway. The view swiveled towards the opposite direction as a bright white burst of light, coupled with a deafening thunderclap stunned the being. An entire section of hallway collapsed behind the orange glow, effectively sealing the passage.

    The view reverted to its original vector as legs and feet pumped upon the ruined metallic floor. Heavily armored doors creaked open as the person dived into the elevator. The platform began to shudder slightly, as it began its motion downwards. The tremors appeared to subside as the shaft's inertial dampeners took full effect. The platform began to accelerate at a brisk pace, bringing its occupant deeper towards its destination.

    After some indeterminate period of time, the lift began to slow down, and then as the inertial dampeners turned off, the tremors returned, but at a much lower intensity. As the elevator's set of armored slide-doors opened, another armored soldier ran up.

    "Sir, it is about ready."

    As the person nodded towards the soldier, he got his first view of the new corridor. It provided a striking contrast to the previous corridor, both having the same design and layout. The wall panels, light strips, and the floor appeared relatively clean and intact.

    At the corridor's end in what seemed like a dead-end, the man approached a panel inset in the wall. The panel emitted a broad laser, scanning the man's facial features. Upon completion of the scan, text appeared on the panel.

    "Identity confirmed. Access granted."

    The doors grinded apart to expose a large room, with several people in blue garb running back and forth among several holographic panels. A large pulsating white circle sat in the exact center of the room.

    One blue suited woman took note of the arrival, and then beckoned him over to her console.

    "Sir, I have to scan you to properly determine your health."

    The woman pressed a key on her console, and abruptly, two forks mounted on a crane suddenly emerged from the ceiling directly above the man. The forks rotated to a horizontal position, as a slight humming could be heard. The man is bathed in a greenish glow as the forks activated upon reaching his head, and moved slowly downards, towards his feet. The forks returned to its original position, then rotated to a vertical position. They began to scan the man in a horizontal motion, beginning at the man's front end, and working their way towards his backside. Upon completion of the pass, the forks and crane returned to the ceiling as quickly as it came.

    The woman spoke up.

    "Scan complete. Your health is optimal. The permament vaccine you recieved several years ago should keep you alive and well."

    A console began to beep with a shrill tone. The lone blue garbed man working the console tensed up. His face took on a grim tone. He turned to face the entire room, and took a head-set.

    "Attention. Anti-Matter missiles are incoming. We must do this now, or its never."

    Upon the announcement, the room became a frenzy of activity. The woman looked at the man she just scanned sadly.

    "Alexius Molotov, we don't have much time. Unfortunately, your wife hasn't reported in."

    Alexius closed his eyes for a moment of sorrow.

    Two soldiers escorting another blue clad man approached Alexius. The scientist handed Alexius a large metallic case and a blaster rifle encoded to Alexius' DNA.

    "Alexius, you will have everything you will need in this case for your endeavour."

    The woman looked at Alexius again.

    "It is time, Alexius. It's now or never."

    "Thank you, Caela. Live well."

    Can it truly be done?

    Alexius took the case and the blaster rifle and made his way towards the pulsating white circle. Once he entered the circle, two rings rose out of the floor and began rotating around Alexius. One ring rotated around Alexius along a horizontal axis, while the other ring revolved around a vertical axis.

    Caela shouted towards Alexius, with a hint of fear and resignation mixed in.

    "The Anti-Matter missiles should be hitting us any time now. Farewell, Alexius and I pray you shall succeed where no man has succeeded before."

    Alexius stared at Caela as the entire room erupted in an intense white glow, then nothingness.

    Alexius felt himself being squeezed tighter and tighter as the white nothingness seemed to defy the impossible by continuing to exist. Just as Alexius thought he would literally implode, the pressure abruptly vanished, as the white nothingness was replaced by a swirling red energy tunnel. Alexius thought he could make out something vague at the end of the tunnel. However, just before he could make it out, the tunnel dissipated into whiteness once again as a painful sensation overtook Alexius. He felt like being pulled in a million directions. Consciousness left Alexius as the pain overloaded his brain.

    Sensation and consciousness returned to Alexius an indeterminate period of time later.

    Something felt very different.

    He could feel gravity. He could feel his face in contact with the ground. However, the ground was soft and yielding. He could taste a fiberous substance in his mouth. He slowly opened his eyes.

    All Alexius could see was green, with smatterings of brown, yellow, and orange. He tried to get up, but his entire body was sore. After some effort, albeit with shut eyes and grinding teeth, he managed to move himself into a sitting position.

    Alexius opened his eyes once again, and beheld a sight that he'd never thought he'd see again.

    A lush forest, with green, orange, and yellow leaves. A large mountain in the backdrop, and several wild animals strutting around.

    Alexius smiled, as the long forgotten emotion of hope warmed his heart.

    Geniuses are ordinary people bestowed with the gift to see beyond common everyday perceptions.