The Unilever Series: Dominique Gonzales Foerster - TH.2058


The Companion Signal

By Thomas White

The Companion Signal

1 – escape

Frost crept up the curved glass shielding like the very fingers of death, wrapping around everything I ever knew.Within, the specimen lay intact.My gloves scraped tiny flakes away, only to see her face fade quickly beneath the thick fog which had been filling the room.”Cryogenic transfer complete”, I read as the letters flashed across a black screen.

It was too loud to hear the computer anyways.Crashing all around me were the last remnants of a lost world.I performed a system check on a capsule laid empty next to the one that contained my deceased wife.She had been dead for 3 years, but until now, had been contained in another cryogenic capsule unfit for what I had in store.

The ground shook violently sending bookshelves, and lights, crashing to the floor.The capsules were anchored firmly, but my own two feet fell from beneath me, and sent me colliding with the hull of my own capsule.Cursing under my breath and fighting against losing consciousness, I struggled into my frozen coffin taking one last look at the other.As the glass door began to close I could hear the sounds of destruction fading, then replaced by the sound of the rocket igniting.Within minutes I fell under the anesthetic mist that put me into an enhanced state of hibernation.

2 – in the meantime…

Centuries pass, centuries of irrelevance in the vast depths of space.The history of a species is condemned to silence.A civilization doomed by its own brief history, its inaction against learning from mistakes.Only a few thousand years of ignorance was needed to decimate eons of natural progression.Not to mention wars, plagues, a global nuclear holocaust.The end took everything away.Only to be survived by a mere pair of biologically suspended beings.

On through time and space the capsules drift, electromagnetically bonded.The bond invisible, but strong like the love the occupants had once shared for each other.Centuries of passing through empty space.No wonders of the universe wasted on our inanimate corpses.

The auto-pilot and navigational system stay running.Always avoiding large areas of gravitational flux and dodging all forms of debris, the auto-pilot and navigational system never fail.

^ unknown anomaly sensored

/ no data available

/ no action perscribed

^ course maintained

^ entering unknown anomaly

^ electromagnetic disturbances detected

: warning : electromagnetic systems compromised

/ shutting down secondary electromagnetic systems

^ anomaly cleared

: warning : capsules disengaged

/ homing beacons activated

The centuries pass…

3 – he wakes

The sensation alone knocks me back into subconscious.My mind reels back against memories flooding in from all directions at once.An entire lifetime jumbled up and fed to me by the thoughtful.There is one image that keeps appearing, a face that keeps fading away under the fog.I try to focus and I feel so cold.

With recognition comes enlightenment.My mind is dragged kicking and screaming through space and time.I am left in gaping amazement at not only my surroundings, but the ramifications of my accomplishments.Not to mention the mere fact that I am still alive.But there was more than just the escape.Something else.Something close that was lost so long ago.With the flight of inspiration I exit the capsule, not only to find myself on an alien planet, but also alone.

I am through mourning though.She was taken from me long ago.There was nothing I could do for her again.My curiosity, and my passion for science and exploration, pulled my thoughts from the past.To the returning memories of not only a woman lost, but also a world.A hazy orange and blue landscape stretches itself before me.I struggle against the difference in light, and open a compartment to reveal light-sensitive contact lenses to protect my unaccustomed eyes.

4 – a flashing red light

I camp for what I believe is the night on the planet.Tasting my rations carefully, and savouring my senses once again, I spend the time wondering what could have happened to her capsule.What was the flaw?I recall some of my most trusted engineer’s words, ‘…the auto-pilot and navigational system never fail…’.I remember the homing beacon.The flashing red light tells me I am still transmitting.But is there anything left to receive?My breath stops.Movements cease.To my astonishment I am not only transmitting, but also receiving. The companion signal!I rejoice at the thought of her capsule not only intact enough to transmit a signal, but on the same planet.

I have to remind myself to breathe, but I can’t pull myself together.Huddled against the computer controls of my capsule, I pass out into a deep slumber, subdued by the final effects of anesthetic in my system.My dreams are troubled, but I sleep on.I almost believe that I will be on yet another world when I wake.

I am wakened by a flashing red light pressed up against my face.Thoughts of her flood my mind.Thoughts of being with her again are replaced with deep sorrow to know I still cannot do anything for her.The condition that claimed my wife’s health so long ago still lingers in her body.But now I have a second chance to be near her again.Now I can finish my life in comfort and peace, not on a doomed apocalyptic planet.

5- the search

Trekking across the alien terrain proves to be a relatively easy task.The landscape being composed of large open spaces, with scattered patches of small shrub-like vegetation, offered no obstruction to my progress.No other traces of life were to be found other than a small growth of purple moss growing in various rock patches.It was like the planet had been stripped clean, almost barren.

I check my guidance monitor.The homing beacon is currently my only concern.A strange feeling enters me as if I know the path already.The guidance monitor reads that I have not far to go, but I did not need it to tell me that.Curiously enough, as I proceed, the land becomes more ravaged.It seems to have been trampled on as well as stripped of all vegetation.Troubled, I come to a stop.

My heartbeat speeds up as I find the monitor registering the beacon to be located just over a hill north of my position.Awkwardly, I clamor up the hill, my legs trembling.With each step I think more and more of what I will have to do with her capsule.I think of burying her, she deserves that since I am quite certain that I cannot do anything for her anymore.As my mind winds on I realize the top of the hill is near.Just as my feet fumble with the last few steps my mind is slow to register the view on the other side.

6 – to his horror!

Before my very eyes, an enormous crowd of beings form, flocking in a circle around a large rock formation.I cannot comprehend what I am witnessing.The aliens with their backs turned to me do not seem to notice me.Despite all other impulses to flee, I approach the mass with strangely little caution.Glancing down, I notice the monitor indicating the location of the homing beacon within the rock formation.

From what I can see behind the crowd, the aliens are built with a humanoid form.Two legs, two arms, although slimmer, and a shortened torso section.Their necks, stretched to at least twice the length of mine, hold up oval shaped heads covered at the very top with short brown hair.I recall how my wife had beautiful long brown hair.Unlike anything I had previously seen on this planet, even the soil was pale in comparison.

I find myself just metres away from the outside of the crowd.I feel oddly calm about being so close to things never encountered before by man.As if broken by a spell, the aliens turn to face me.Their necks crane around, yet their bodies remain still.A cold wave of fear surges through my body.My jaw dropped, I try to form words to make the entire scene seem real.The thousands of alien faces turned to me are not alien at all.It is my wife’s face I am looking at.On and on, in the mass of humanoids, the face of my dead wife stares blankly back at me.However, as quickly as the cold wave of fear came, it dissipates, leaving me in a trance.The air feels thick and electric as if a storm were to break out. Everything goes dark.

7 – reunited

Yet again haunting memories flood my mind.Too many for one day.The consciousness that I have regained is not that of a physical being, but a sentient form of energy created by the aliens.I have been rendered.My DNA cloned into the anatomy of the hybrid aliens.I was brought here by them.Long have they waited for my capsule to break orbit.Centuries before had the capsule of my wife reached the surface, sent crashing down due to the disruption of the anomaly.Centuries before had the beings rendered her genetic makeup, yet needed the complete genome to reproduce.The companion signal.Now we must leave this planet that has too been dying, not a fate as dramatic as that of my previous home, but one that leads the essence of my self and my beloved once more to the stars.

And so, after thus transcending from the physical realm to one of pure energy, the love of the man and woman go on through eternity…ever changing…ever moving towards perfection…always escaping towards the hope of peace they so long to find together.

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