Half dead in order to live.
70 years ago, Zane Hale was sealed in a cryochamber. He was 17.
He was but an infant when it began.
People always whispered rumors of global warming; they were wrong.
The world grew cold.
People died by the millions.
The second ice-age had arrived.
Then, it was decided there was only one course of action to save humanity.
So, as the world fell into ruin, a project was born. Only months later, twenty thousand people were sealed in cryochambers placed in underground bunkers.
Everyone not rich enough to afford this, was left in the freezing world to survive. Whether any of them did, no one knows.
Aalish was part of the homecoming squadron. He and his kind, the Serafine, were in search of a new home world. They happened upon a frozen planet, with a wonderful atmosphere and breathable air. Even better, it was uninhabited.
Breath leapt from open mouths in pure white plumes.
The cold did not effect the Serafine as they skittered atop the frozen snow banks that covered every inch of the planet.
Buildings. Cities. Decades old, once buzzing with life, now dead.
Aalish found the signs of past life interesting. He studied the broken frames, pondering what these creatures might have been like.
Were they small, like the Serafine?
Did flames dance across their three fingers and envelope them like an embrace?
Did they laugh and live in harmony each day? Each year?
Aalish tumbled away from the shattered building. Elata was calling him. They must move on, they had much to discover.
The Serafine were light enough to walk across the frozen snowbanks, they traveled at a swift speed.
Aalish broke off from the group multiple times, speeding away to study some piece of twisted metal or trashed homes.
"Elata!" He called. "There is so much here! What if these old structures belong to creatures that are still here? Wouldn't that be amazing?"
The leader of the Serafine frowned at Aalish, the youngest serafine's blue, scaled skin was framed by his thick coat, his large eyes shone with excitement. Elata shook his head. "then we could not live here."
Aalish frowned. "Why couldn't we live together?"
"it does not always work that way. Come. We must move on."
Aalish huffed, his hot breath a white stream like the serpents they used to ride on their planet. That planet was infested with tiny, all-consuming beasts and they were quickly forced to retreat into their transports.
Fortunately, this planet they had come upon was so cold, there wasn't any life at all. Or, that's what they thought.
As they walked miles and miles through the snow and ice, the frozen silence was shattered by Aalish's excited shouts as he discovered many things.
He was troubled though, when he entered an ice-encrusted house and found a skeleton, bits of cloth hung off it's broken frame, the eye sockets gazed at the small serafine and burned into his heart.
Aalish stumbled out of the building, his face pale. Elata caught his arm. "what ever is the matter, Aalish?" he asked.
The little serafine was trembling, he pointed to the building.
"There is a dead creature in there!" he said, his young voice rising in his anxiety.
Elata shook his head. "I told you, nothing lives here. The old inhabitants have died off long ago."
Aalish bobbed his head. "You are right, I see that now. Let us go."
The fifteen Serafine continued on, Aalish stayed close by Elata, frightened by the sight of the frozen dead. But, quickly, his fear faded and he ran off again, leaving Elata grumbling about young people.
Aalish bounded over an icy hill, digging his spiked shoes into the ground to stay upright. As he crested it, he gasped. A massive pile of snow, this softer than the rest. The curious young Serafine slid down the frozen hill.
His blue fingers collected the snow into a large ball and he threw it back at the pile of snow. The effect was more dramatic than he expected. There was a squeak and then all the snow slid off, piling on top of the young Serafine and revealing what was beneath.
Aalish gasped in shock as the snow came tumbling around him and buried him. He quickly righted himself and dug out, laughing as he went. The snow melted at his hot touch.
The Serafine burst out of the snowbank and his already massive eyes went wide as they reflected something amazing.
It was massive, a metal dome, gleaming under a slick sheet of ice. There was a door in it, icicles hanging from the door handle. Aalish jumped to his feet, glancing over his shoulder to make sure Elata wasn't watching. He crept to it and tugged in the door. Nothing, only an echo reverberating inside the building.
Aalish's fingers lit with flickering, golden flames and he laid his hand on the door. It thawed under the flames and then opened with a mighty creak.
The Serafine stepped inside, the stale cold from inside meeting the fresh air.
Inside was nothing amazing, but a circular door was set in the ground. Aalish touched it gently and then pulled it up, the layer of ice cracked as he lifted it. A ladder sunk into the void, he couldn't see more than a few feet beyond it.
His hand alight with flickering fire, he descended, heart pounding with excitement.
As he neared the bottom, the darkness swallowed him whole, the flames in his hand cast their golden light on a room untouched in many years.
Aalish crept through the darkness, brandishing the flames. He frowned as he realized the room was nothing more a massively long hall, but lining the sides, was what intrigued him. He brought his flickering flames close to one of the many pods lining the walls. He cried out and leaped backwards, his heart pounding.
It was a creature, still and pale-skinned. It was suspended by several wires and tubes, the outside was frosted.
Aalish melted the coating of ice on the outside, he could see the creature more clearly now.
It was tall. From the face, Aalish suspected it was on the young side. He cleared away the dust on a panel attached to the chamber, it was labeled. Zane Hale. Beside it, a scrolling line of spikes. Aalish frowned at, wondering what it was for.
Then he saw it.
Wake. A green switch.
He could wake the creature!
Aalish shook his head, Elata wouldn't approve.
Aalish had to tell his elder of his discovery!
"Elata! Elaaattaaa!" The elder sighed as he heard Aalish's young voice behind him. He turned, quickly dodging as the young Serafine almost barreled into him. "What is it now, Aalish?" he asked irritably. He regretted bringing the young Serafine.
"I found something! Creatures! Zanes!"
Elata raised a white eyebrow. "what are you rambling on about?"
"Just come see, it is wonderful!"
Elata sighed, motioning for the rest of the crew to follow Aalish.
"Let's see this discovery of yours."
"I must say, Aalish, you might have actually been useful." Elata complimented begrudgingly as he stared at the creature, unmoving behind the glass. "If we leave them here, we can make this planet a suitable new home world. Let us go, men."
"But, why don't we free them?" Aalish asked desperately.
Elata shook his head. "They are probably not even alive anymore. Come on."
The Serafine left Aalish alone in the room. He stared, his curious fingers twitching. What if these creatures were imprisoned and needed help? It wouldn't be fair to take over their home world and leave them to die.
The green switch.
A blue finger.