The lightning crashed. The world was engulfed in a seemingly endless storm. Jennifer was sitting on the floor with Ben, her fiancé. "I've never seen anything like it," she said.
"Neither have I,” Ben said. “The government has been suspiciously quiet lately. Every time I look online to see something about the storm, every article has been deleted.”
"I don't know, but-" Ben stopped abruptly. “What is that?’’ He pointed at the sky through the window.
“It looks like a rock, but it’s oddly large- you don’t think it’s an asteroid do you?” Jennifer asked.
“No, of course it’s not an asteroid, NASA would’ve destroyed it by now.”
“Hang on, you mentioned that the government has been quiet lately. You don’t think this is why, do you?”
“They would’ve sent a message on the news or something, they can’t just not tell us!”
“They wouldn’t cause a panic throughout the U.S.”
“Well that worked out well for them.”
“No, there has to be some way to destroy it!”
“It looks like it’s closer now….”
“No! This can’t be happening! We haven’t gotten married yet! We were supposed to have kids-” Jennifer cried.
“It’s going to be okay, Jennifer.” Ben hugged her.
Then, at that moment, the asteroid hit Earth.
And not just the United States.
About a million years later….
“Subject 112 successful, testing 113….”
“113 successful, testing 114, final subject….”
“Subject 114 crashing, Emily! What do we do?”
“Activate operation 77 on her.”
“Operation 77? That operation has never been tested before-“
“Do as I say, Doctor.”
“Activating Operation 77.”
“She looks fine, we’ll do a final test on her after we release the others to make sure she’s alright.”
“Wasn’t 113 with 114 before the asteroid hit?”
“He was, why?”
“Don’t you think he’ll be concerned when she doesn’t wake up with him?”
“We’ll explain to him that we’ll do more tests on her.”
“What were the side effects of Operation 77?”
“Nothing you need to be concerned about. Now take her to room 114.”
Jennifer woke up.
Where am I? she thought.
It took her a while to realize what had happened. Then she remembered the asteroid.
Did I- die? No, if I did, I probably wouldn’t feel sick to my stomach. she thought.
Her head was also pounding. She looked around. The room she was in looked like a hospital. She quickly tried to get up, only to have the tubes suspending her body to the bed pull her back down. She noticed a console that had a button on it that could disconnect the tubes. She reached towards it, but could only touch the top of it, then get pulled back. She sighed, then reached harder towards the button and managed to press it, disconnecting the tubes.
However, she forgot that she was no longer on the hospital bed, and fell down to the floor.
After a few minutes, Jennifer got up. She felt lightheaded. She walked towards the window in her room. Outside, she could see what looked like cars zooming past her. Except they weren’t on the road. They were in the air.
Jennifer shook her head and walked towards the door, which was surprisingly unlocked. She walked outside. As she walked outside, she saw hundreds of people walking around. She saw a group of girls who looked like they were in their mid-teens who seemed to be saying strange acronyms to each other. They were also carrying phones that had screens on both sides.
"T-L-S-C!" one of the girls exclaimed. "D-U-R when you went out with John and he had that S-C-D?"
One of the other girls groaned. "I-H-T-G."
They all nodded in agreement.
Shaking her head in confusion, Jennifer looked around at the others around her. There was also a group of men in their 40’s complaining about “the prices to travel to Mars nowadays”.
Jennifer continued walking down the streets. She went into what looked like an airport. She sat down on a bench, trying to remember what happened. However, every time she tried to recall her past, she heard a ringing tone in her ears, and she got a headache. A man sat down next to her. He looked like he was around 30 years old.
“Where are you headed?” he asked.
“Nowhere, I’m just trying to figure out where I am.” Jennifer responded.
“Oh. I’m trying to book a flight to Mars, but the prices here are so unreasonable! I’d go to the Moon, but it’s so rocky there! I feel bad for the people who have to go there on business trips.”
The only response Jennifer could give was “Oh.”
“You know, people from Mars are so irritable,” the man continued. “They keep complaining about how it’s ‘so cold here’ and how ‘there’s almost no sand here’. Are you from Mars?”
“Well, then you’re lucky. They have barely any technology there.”
Jennifer stood up. “I have to go now.” she said.
“See you!” the man said.
Jennifer walked out of the space station. As she was walking back to the streets, she heard someone call her name.
She turned around. The man who had called her name looked around her age. She could hear the dull ringing sound.
“It’s me, Ben!” the man said.
She didn’t recognize him.
Emily stood in front of the window in her office, looking out. She wondered if subject 114 would be alright. Subject 113 looked really concerned about her. She never really referred to them by their actual names, since she had no idea what their names were. Subject 113 referred to himself as “Ben”, so she assumed that was his name. She also remembered the first thing he asked was ‘‘Where’s Jennifer?’’, so she assumed that was Subject 114’s name. The scouts she sent found both of them together. From Ben’s reaction, she assumed that Jennifer was either his sister or a significant other of some sort. But this was just an assumption.
She turned around to see her older brother, Jake.
"What are you doing here?" she asked.
"Right. She sent me to tell you about the- condition of Subject 114."
"And? Is she okay?"
"How? The doors are always locked!"
"Doctor Sara- I mean Fox, forgot to lock the door when she left Subject 114's room."
"How do you just FORGET to lock a door?!"
"She had a good reason-"
"Oh, I'm SURE she had a good reason, Jake! You're just defending her because she's your girlfriend-"
"Our relationship is strictly professional when we're at work-"
"Oh, right, so you won't try to stop me when I fire her?"
"She made a mistake!"
"Yes, Jake, she did make a mistake. A mistake that cost her her job!"
"Why do you you care so much about Subject 114?"
"Jennifer." Emily corrected him.
"I care about all my patients."
"Is it because of Mom and Dad?"
"No! This your way of trying to make me forget about Jennifer and Sara!"
"You're the one with the high IQ, not me."
"I don't care what you say, Jake. I'm still firing Sara!"
"And what about Jennifer?"
"Try to track her down."
"How? She could be anywhere!"
"I put a tracking device on her after Operation 77. Go to the main computer and type in 114 and it will show her location."
"And then what will we do?"
"We'll send someone to get her and bring her back."
"And what about Sara?"
Emily sighed. "I won't fire her today. But next time she does something like this-"
"Now go. Track Jennifer down."
“Who are you?” Jennifer asked, ignoring the ringing sound.
“Ben. You’re Jennifer, right?” Ben said, walking over to her.
“I’m sorry, I have no idea who you are.”
“Are you Jennifer?”
He looked confused, and almost sad she didn’t recognize him.
“We were engaged for 2 years, and we knew each other for 5 years before that.”
“I don’t remember that.”
“They said when I woke up that they had to do more tests on you. So I decided to walk around until they told me that you were ready or until I saw you. Did they finish the tests?”
“I don’t know.”
“Then how did you get out here?”
“What?” He looked both shocked and amused. “You escaped?”
“Not really, the door was unlocked.”
“I see you still have your personality.” Ben said with a smile.
“Do you remember the asteroid?”
“Do you remember what happened before the asteroid hit?”
Jennifer heard the ringing sound again. Ben could apparently see the pained expression on her face, and he looked concerned.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“You don’t look fine."
"Really, I'm fine."
Jennifer thought she heard Ben say something about how she "is still so stubborn" under his breath, but before she could say something, he said, "Come with me. I'll take you to my apartment. We can talk there."
"How can I trust you? I just met you!"
There it was again. The heartbreaking face Ben made. Sad and confused. She only just met him, but there was something familiar about him. And there was the insistent ringing tone in her ears.
"Look, you obviously aren't well." Ben said. "I don't want you to get lost in this confusing city. And if someone overhears us talking about the asteroid that happened almost a million years ago-"
"Fine, I'll go to your apartment. How did you get an apartment anyway?"
"The doctors gave it to me for free, along with this car."
He pulled out a key, pressed it, and then a car almost instantly appeared on the road. Jennifer jumped back.
Ben laughed. "It still takes some getting used to. Besides, if you think that's unsettling, wait until you actually ride in the car!"
Jennifer tried to smile, and she reluctantly got in the car.
Ben got in the car, and then started it. Jennifer was expecting the usual wait when you start a car. But instead, the car slowly rose up to the air, and started moving slowly across the "road".
"Are you okay?" Ben asked again.
"I'm fine. I just have a fear of heights."
"So we've known each other for 7 years?"
"Before the asteroid, yes."
There was a long pause.
"I think we're moving slower than anyone else here." Jennifer said.
"They're just more accustomed to these cars."
"So that makes them able to go 700 miles an hour?!"
Ben laughed again. "It is pretty frightening when you think about how fast they're going. But we're just used to the cars in the 2000s."
"So how long have you been out here?"
"A few days, I think."
"Were we the only people brought here?"
"No. I heard a woman refer to me as 'Subject 113', so there are probably around 120 people along with us."
The car stopped, and lowered to the ground.
"We're here." Ben said.
They both got out of the car, and Jennifer felt like she just went on a ride at Disneyland.
"Are you okay?" Ben asked for what seemed like the hundredth time.
"YES, I'M FINE." Jennifer said exasperatedly.
Ben led her to the door. The door scanned him, then opened.
"Come sit down." he said, leading her towards a couch. Jennifer sat down.
"So you can't remember anything before the asteroid?"
"It's not like I can't remember ANYTHING. I remember what the 2000s were like. But I can't remember anything about you, or about my personal life."
The phone rang. Ben picked it up. Like the teenage girls' phones, it had 2 screens, one on each side. It reminded her of the iPhone X, but with 2 screens. On the back screen, it had someone's name on it: Jake. Jennifer had no idea who "Jake" was, or why he was calling Ben.
"Yes?" Ben asked Jake. Jennifer couldn't hear what Jake was saying.
"Oh. Why are calling me?" Ben said.
"What tests? I thought she was finished with them."
Ben looked at Jennifer, but then continued pacing.
"I'm aware of that now. Why does she need to take more tests?"
After a few seconds, Ben sighed.
"No, she is not with me right now." Jennifer assumed Ben was talking about her, and knew he was lying.
"Then your computer system must be wrong. I have no idea where she is." Ben hung up.
"Who was that?" Jennifer asked, pretending not to know who it was.
"Just one of the doctors."
"What did they want?"
Ben sighed again. "I think they found out you escaped."
"They wanted to do more tests on you. I already got you out of it." There was a small hint of anger in Ben's voice.
"Why? Can't I just go do the tests?"
"No! They're going to kill you!"
"You don't know that, Ben."
"Of course I know that!"
"Why are you acting like this?"
Ben sighed. "I'm sorry. I'm just protective of you. I didn't know where you were when I woke up. When they told me they had to do more tests on you, I thought that was just their way of telling me you had died. When I saw you again, I never wanted you to leave. But then when I found out you couldn't remember me, I thought it because of those tests they did on you. I don't want you to go back there."
"Don't you think they'll find me at some point?"
"Probably. But they haven't found you yet."
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