At first, HOPE (Humanity’s One Plan for Escape) habitat appears to be a well-oiled machine, preparing 5,000 carefully chosen inhabitants for a new Earth. However, a medical assistant named Ilium reveals that certain members of the habitat have been falling ill from a mysterious virus they were inoculated against. Soon, HOPE habitat’s tranquil illusion is shattered as Avalon plays a perplexing message left by her father. If Avalon is to survive this dangerous new environment, she will have to find the strength to navigate a habitat enveloped in secrets.
BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, the one-minute warning timer sounded, as Avalon ran the small ration of shampoo and conditioner through her hair. She just managed to rinse it out before the water shut off.
She stood standing in the shower thinking about the cold new environment and her father. Tears fell down her face as she sobbed gut-wrenchingly. She wasn’t used to making new friends. At her old school she had known everyone in the class since kindergarten. It still didn’t mean they liked her. In fact, they often disliked her because of her intelligence. She had begged her father to let her be home-schooled, but he insisted on a public school education saying it would make her a more well-rounded person in the end. Not that any of that mattered anymore.
Eventually, Avalon stepped out of the shower, and Avalon wrapped a towel around her body and a second one around her long damp brunette hair. Upon returning to her room, she placed on a clean pair of scrubs which were located in a drawer tucked into the wall next to her bed. Avalon looked on the wall, and then in some drawers for a blow-dryer. Nothing.
Figures. Energy conservation and all that jazz.
It could have served as another thing to make her snap, like dry grass in the forest on a hot day. But she bit her tongue until it drew blood. She didn’t want to cry anymore today. She was going to have to get used to this place, and that meant trying to keep her emotions in check.
She slipped under the covers of her bed and rested for a minute. Of course, all she could think about was how she was stuck, one hundred years in the future, buried in a mountain, with no friends or family. To comfort herself, she began to hum an old Coldplay song she and her father used to sing on long car trips.
That was another thing that didn’t sit well with her peers. She rarely listened to Pop radio on the satellite radio. She always tuned into the classics. Kinda hard to make friends when you don’t know what the latest songs are, and instead of vegging out on TV you constantly have a book in your hand. A real honest to goodness ancient book, not the ereaders we received in pre-K.
As she hummed the second chorus, her necklace unlocked around the center, and a blue light shone.
What the heck?
About two feet from her face, a holographic message from her father played.
Hello, my sweet Avalon. I embedded this message into this necklace for you as a form of insurance. This message will auto-erase after being played once, so please listen closely.
Her father took a deep breath before continuing. As I labored over the habitat’s extensive designs and complex computer systems, I noticed some changes were being made behind my back. My access to certain areas of the blueprints was slowly taken away. I don’t know what is happening in the habitat now, but my priority has always been and always will be your safety.
Her father closed his eyes briefly before reopening them. His tone turned more serious. I think something suspicious is going on. Rumors abound about what this habitat is really meant for, and if they are right, you must be careful who you trust. Your life may depend on it.
About the Author:
Nicole Stark is the debut author of the After Impact series. Her obsession with literature began at the age of four and she completed her first fanfiction at the age of seven. Nicole graduated with a degree in English and can often be spotted reading, baking, or binge-watching The Walking Dead on Netflix.
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