The Crisis of Stasis Unit 122

Submitted into Contest #62 in response to: Write about a character preparing to go into stasis for decades (or centuries).... view prompt


Fiction Science Fiction

The year is 2085 and a derelict building sits alone in a dead wasteland, a place that long ago was known as Bradford, England. That was then and this is now and no human has set foot in this place for several years. It should have been a special day for a man who had lived long ago, a man called Thomas Sanderson, but where is he now? Within the building the floor on the ground level has caved in and beneath the debris and rubble there is a machine that was forgotten about long ago. This was not how it was supposed to be. 

Let’s turn the clock back to 2035 and that derelict building was the British headquarters for Brancaccio Cryogenics. On May 31st, operations manager, Amy Finnegan was filling in all the paperwork for her latest customer, Thomas Sanderson. He had just been frozen and was going to be in their care for fifty years. He had paid the fifty-year fee of Thirty Five Thousand pounds which he hadn’t been too keen on initially but when Amy had reminded him that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity he couldn’t argue with the price. She also reminded him that he would be in the history books as he was the first person in Britain to enter the cryogenics program. Brancaccio Cryogenics was an American corporation and had several customers in stasis at their home branch in San Francisco but there had been little interest in the UK. Brits were a skeptical bunch of people. What made Thomas Sanderson different? He was a lonely and miserable man with no friends or family to speak of and on top of all that he was dying of a rare incurable disease. Could the future hold a cure for his condition? The FAQ on The website stated that while there were no guarantees on what the future may hold it was a possibility that many of the diseases that we suffer from in one time may be curable in the future but it is at the customers own risk. Thomas had thought long and hard about it and decided that it couldn’t possibly get any worse so what was there to lose? 

Thomas had concerns of course, and he addressed these concerns at his consultation, the first time he had met Amy Finnegan. She had told him about the thawing process which was complicated and his body could react in many ways so, he would need to stay in their care for several weeks. He would be weak, and they would need to monitor him, keep him fed and on medications to ensure a smooth rehabilitation process. 

“What if there is a power cut whilst I’m in stasis?” Thomas had asked.

“A reasonable enquiry,” Amy had said with a smile “although your sleep unit is electrical and connected to the mains it also has a built in battery which will keep its charge for at least fifteen years.”

“Fifteen years?” Thomas was astounded.

“It’s an excessive power source that won’t be needed I’m sure.”

“Better safe than sorry I guess.”

“Precisely, Mr Sanderson.”

“What if someone tries to sabotage the unit?”

“An unlikely scenario but you will be under Twenty Four hour surveillance.”

“What if there is a fire?” 

Amy talked Thomas through the entire fire procedure which involved showing him a map of the building, showing him where all the sprinkler systems were located, where all the fire extinguishers were and the evacuation plans.

“I know what you’re going to say Mr Sanderson and you are right.”

“The evacuation plan...”

“...does not apply to you, correct. Your unit cannot be moved from the premises. It’s too heavy, and the thawing process cannot be rushed.”

“Then how...”

“Safety is priority of course. The unit lab has air tight doors which can be deployed in the event of an emergency.”

There had been many more questions and it became clear that every scenario really had been thought of but how safe could you really feel when you were putting your life into a strangers hands and paying them a vast amount of money? Thomas had gone away and thought about all the positives and negatives of the procedure but the fact remained that he had no life in the present and only the advancements that may or may not exist in the future could save him, and so he decided to go through with it. 

The day came when Thomas was to be frozen, and he was greeted by Amy again but this time she was joined by three employees, two men and a woman, who would be doing all the legwork while she just smiled and nodded and made sure everything went smoothly. Amy introduced Thomas to the three employees, and he discovered that they were called Ian Dobbs, Jeremy Willis, and Dawn Browning. Thomas turned down the offer of being offered a hand and placed himself in the unit which was to become his new home. It’s official name was Brancaccio Cryogenics Stasis Unit 122 but Amy always called it the sleep unit. On the outside it looked like a silver bath tub with a lid on it, the lid was silver too with a two purple stripes in the centre. Inside it was much more comfortable than he had expected, it was actually quite luxurious. It was lined with a material that he thought might be velvet, but he hadn’t enquired, he was also strapped in around the arms and legs although he couldn’t help but wonder why, it wasn’t as if he was going to be moving anywhere. 

“When the process begins you’re going to feel very cold at first,” Ian told Thomas.

“You’ll only feel it briefly and then you’ll go into stasis,” Dawn added.

“Basically, you’ll be asleep,” Jeremy chipped in.

“Amy did mention it in the consultation,” Thomas said. He seemed calm. 

“I did indeed” Amy said. “Safe journey Thomas”.

“See you on the other side”, replied Thomas.

“Unlikely, I’ll be retired or dead but my successor will greet you perhaps”.

Thomas smiled. It was a combination of nerves and happiness. He wanted to say something else but was there anything else to say? He nodded, Amy exited the room and the procedure began. Moments later Thomas had begun his long sleep.

The years passed and cryogenics didn’t take off in the UK the way that had been hoped by CEO, Maria Brancaccio and so the Bradford branch was closed for business but a contract had been signed and so the building had to be manned and guarded at all times. Cryogenics was still thriving in the states and so it wasn’t a financial issue. The building was forgotten about though by locals and as far as anybody knew the building was empty. 

In the time of Thomas Sanderson a meteor shower being a threat to England would have not been anticipated at all and so when Amy Finnegan had said that every scenario had been planned for she wasn’t exactly correct. One scenario hadn’t been accounted for and that was exactly what happened. Thomas had been in stasis for Forty Two years when the unthinkable happened in early October 2077. Not only was the security guard at a forgotten old building wiped out when the meteors hit but not a soul was left alive in Bradford. Not just Bradford though, Leeds, Nottingham and the list goes on. It was a country wide massacre, the likes of which the UK has never seen and probably never will again and all those in the vicinity perished except one man, Thomas Sanderson. But he is in stasis. 

The day has now passed when Thomas was due to be awoken from his icy slumber but there is nobody around to wake him. Whether there are survivors remains to be seen but it has been eight years since the incident and not a soul has passed that way. Maybe Thomas will get lucky and someone will find him some day but the clock is ticking. His battery still has seven years left. Maybe someone will come but if they don’t he will thaw out and without the proper care system in place he will perish. This wasn’t the future he had in mind but there was always a risk, and he had known that. You just can never tell what the future may bring. 

October 09, 2020 20:50

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