Chapter 1: The Gateway

Earth, the blue-green ball that we live on bound by the natural laws of Planetary Bodies and the Heavenly Expanse of space.

Shackled by the Heavens and Earth we lesser beings, human beings, strive to achieve our everlasting goals. Our biological and genetic imperatives. Survive, Mate, Evolve!

Like all other base lifeforms, to achieve our goals we strive for power over others, to claim as many mates as possible, to destroy everything that impedes our survival and to expand our territory and influence as far as possible.

To ensure the continuation of our strongest bloodlines, we would kill all competitors to claim breeding partners of equal or better bloodline.

Upon reaching sentience, we rapidly evolved our wisdom and intelligence, our greatest tools to aid in our survival and ensure our everlasting glory as the strongest predators.

However, in just a short few tens of thousands of years, our most powerful aid in our evolution became the fetters of our species. We developed systems by which the strong gain no advantage and the baser instincts of our species began to restrict our growth.

The greedy developed methods to control wealth and take from the needy. The prideful developed religion and government to control the masses and elevate themselves above others.

The gluttonous developed agriculture and mining to extort wealth from the world to feed their growth. The fearful developed their armies and weapons to protect their own interests and power.

Typically, the many systems and authorities would feed our evolution to ensure the strongest carry-on. Unfortunately, the many authorities and arrangements eventually checked and balanced each other.

The evolution of our species as a whole slowly became stagnant as the world entered a time of ‘peace’, where many had no need to genuinely struggle and endeavour to survive or mate.

Time soon came that our populations surged thanks to advances in medical science fed by our fear of death. Our natural resources began to flag under the pressure of our ever expanding selfish desires and our systems and political powers that had always restrained and limited one another began to no longer fight for power, land and wealth in the shadows of the world. They instead chose to wage their wars openly.

For the first time in countless millennia, our entire species was forced back onto the path of evolution. They were compelled to fight for their own survival and to ensure their own genes were carried on, as the world around them was engulfed in flames and death.

Our story begins moments before the first nuclear weapons were launched, hidden away deep underneath the Pacific Ocean in a top-secret research laboratory, centred directly on the equator and the national timeline.

Tucked away within this laboratory is an international group of scientists from every major country in the world. They’d been recruited here by a powerful, unnamed organisation to research and develop an infinite energy source.

This project came about from the discovery of an almost undetectable space-time anomaly that appeared in December 2012, coinciding with the predicted doomsday foretold by the end of the Mayan calendar.

After many years of research and development, a viable method using a complicated system of quantum-entangled electrons was developed and enacted.

One batch of particles remained on Earth, and their quantum pair was fired through the anomalous space-time vortex. Today was the day they shot their first large batch of over a million separately bonded electron particles through at once.

In the boringly plain mess hall on the second level of the sea-lab sat a group of young men and women attired in similarly boring dull grey jumpsuits. The only flare on their jumpsuits were various patches on their shoulders.

Some patches depicted a monkey holding a wrench and some a man sleeping on a lightning bolt, a few even had ordinary stationery.

This group of people was the night shift maintenance crew in charge of the operation and repair of the sea-lab during the scheduled evening hours. Though technically at the bottom of the dark and ever calm ocean, night and day were relative only to when the lights in your sleeping quarters were on and the time on your watch.

“I’m tellin ya man! There’s some batshit crazy stuff happening in that Aquarius Lab. The research assistant was telling me when they first set up this sea-lab there were all sorts of messed up sea critters getting about. Dude reckoned the whole sea floor here was covered in some weird radiation energy and the fish were visibly mutated and shit.” Alan a.k.a. Fatty, a young chubby Japanese man with short black hair and the monkey patch, was busy talking and stuffing his face simultaneously.

The young lady across from him being sprayed with crumbs and spittle from Alan’s excited eat-talking frowned slightly, pushed away her tray of already unappetizing protein gruel, now sprayed upon by Alan, and shuffled down the table to avoid the direct line of fire.

“Fatty! Can you not?!” rebuked the lass. Her frown distorting her handsome features as she slapped the table to draw Alan’s attention to his poor table manners.

“Humph! Always so bossy! I’m trying to spread the word here Jess. There’s something they got locked up in the Aquarius Lab and whatever it is, it’s dangerous. I shoulda left the lab on the last boat back to the mainland.”

Clearly, Alan had no intention of listening to Jess as he continued on preaching. James, a young Caucasian man of mid-twenties, sitting next to Jess lifted his head and glanced at Fatty.

He had long dark brown hair tied into a ponytail reaching halfway down his back and stood at 178 centimetres. He had the stature and bone structure of a bear with broad shoulders and a narrow waist. He was at the mediocre stage of slightly protruding belly, but he was still well-muscled.

While not thin, he could never be called fat but also couldn’t be called fit. He spoke with a lethargic Australian accent and sounded as if he was perpetually tired and was even too lazy to talk. On his shoulder was the patch of a man sleeping on a lightning bolt.

“Fatty don’t speak so loud. If management found out you’ve been talking about the contents of a restricted lab again, they’d fire your fat ass so fast the whiplash would probably kill you. You know how they are about their secrets.” Poor James however now drew the direct fire, Fatty’s spittle and half chewed food sprayed from his mouth as he retorted again.

“I’m serious James. Don’t you guys get spooked out whenever you’re working near that lab? It’s like my sixth sense is telling me that lab will be the death of...”

BOOM!!!

Before he could even finish the entire sea-base shook violently and the lights flickered as people were thrown from their chairs and food and cutlery was launched through the air becoming lethal projectiles. Just as everyone was starting to gather themselves up from the floor... BOOM!

Another shudder ran through the sea base as the lights went out and darkness enveloped everything. People were heard screaming, and the sound of things unknown smashing against walls and dragging across the floor resounded like a war zone in the mess hall.

James tucked himself into a ball and covered his head as he was launched again through the air colliding with a wall and letting out a grunt of pain. This was followed by a stabbing pain in his arm.

Soon another boom resounded and the base shuddered again. This repeated itself an unknown number of times as people were mercilessly smashed against walls, each other and even smashed into by loose objects flying around like bullets.

After an unknown amount of time and the shuddering and quaking of the base stopped. The dark base was then filled with an eerie silence, accompanied only by the occasional groaning sound of metal trying to give way to the enormous pressure of the sea. Everything was enveloped in the darkness of the ocean depths.

There was no screaming, nor even the sound of breathing until finally, the dull red glow of emergency backup lights filled the halls of the base with the buzzing of their electronics firing up.

More time passed until finally another sound was heard as James slowly crawled out from beneath a fallen table pushing debris off himself. With a deep breath at finally being freed from under the rubble, he pulled himself to his feet.

As he slowly limped forward, he began to review the damage to the mess hall that was left in the wake of this disaster.

‘Dead!’ This was James’ first thought as he observed his surroundings covered with the lifeless bodies of numerous other patrons of the mess hall. He dazedly stepped forwards again looking lost and confused until he grimaced and reached for his head.

“Looks like I might have a concussion.” He drawled lazily looking at his bloodied hand. Finally, he grimaced again as he reached for his arm. With a grunt, he pulled his hand away revealing a spoon covered in blood.

“Fuck! Stabbed to death by spoon!” he grunted as he tried to stop the blood from flowing out like a gusset. He clambered forward looking for the emergency kit.

He reached the hall and stepped over an obviously dead body. It wasn’t obvious because of blood or gore, but because its lifeless, dead eyes were staring up at the ceiling, which is a strangely unnatural thing considering it was laying on its stomach.

Just outside the mess hall was an emergency kit containing all sorts of useful things for emergencies. ‘Pretty useless if there’s a breach though.’ thought James as he stumbled over to it.

This thought was naturally referring to the fact the sea-base was deep enough in the ocean that should the protective pressure barrier on the hull of each section be breached the pressure alone would instantly crush him into a mushy paste.

He pulled a small round tube from the emergency kit and then gave a pained grunt as he ripped the sleeve from his jumpsuit revealing a well-muscled, slightly tan arm. Along with said arm was a wound the size of a finger slowly pouring out whatever was left of his already reduced blood.

He popped the cap on the small cylinder in his right hand and then stabbed what looked like a series of needles onto the wound on his upper left arm. A wave of dizzy nausea swept over him, and he nearly passed out. Swaying slightly and leaning his weight on the wall, he pulled the medical device away revealing a rapidly closing wound.

He sat against the wall to get his bearings and started trying to think.

‘Right, okay, good ... Not going to die right away.’ James thought to himself. He then grunted as he shifted his weight and started trying to move his left arm a little. ‘Not going to die right now, just trapped at the bottom of the ocean with no power, for fuck’s sake! Okay first up, let’s check for other survivors and make my way to the switch room. I might be able to get power back on.’

James pushed himself up from the wall then grabbed the med pack out of the emergency kit along with some rope and a handful of ‘ultra-glow’ glow sticks. Then limping back into the mess while stuffing some unknown pills from the med-kit into his mouth he surveyed the area.

He soon began checking pulses of anyone that wasn’t mangled, mutilated or stopped bleeding entirely.

As he was moving about the mess hall, he heard a groan and turned to see some chairs and debris piled against a wall. After pulling a few away, he discovered Jessy pushed into the corner of the wall with blood leaking from the side of her mouth.

After a quick check, he found that she was breathing laboriously and based on the size of the bruising he saw she appeared to have a broken rib.

“Ahh shit, Jess this doesn’t look great, okay. Fuck what did they teach us in first-aid?” He tried to roll her on her side to empty her mouth of blood so she could breathe and after taking a look through his med-kit, he pulled out a spray can.

After hurriedly reading the instructions he held it to her nose waiting for an inhale, then sprayed and waited for an exhale. This process repeated for a few times until her breathing started to improve a bit.

James let out a long breath releasing his built up tension. ‘Crap looks like that broken rib punctured her lung. I don’t know how good this ‘e-z breath’ stuff is, but it said on the bottle ‘repairs damaged lung tissue’ so hears to hoping.’

It wasn’t too long before Jessy finally moved again making a sound. She had very much the same look as James did when he first climbed up from the floor.

Dazed, confused, shocked and also in pain, as she reached for her rib after pushing herself up to a sitting position to lean on the wall. She then just sat there looking pale as a ghost as she stared at the devastation around her.

Now you might think James to be far too calm in this scenario showing no great emotions at all towards the dead people surrounding him, but, deep in his heart was like the tempestuous raging waves created by the gods of the seas. While his actions and demeanour on the outside almost seemed lazy and lethargic his mind was racing and his heart was rampaging, as adrenaline was flooding his system.

This was the greatest catastrophe he’d ever experienced in his life, and undoubtedly the first time he’d ever stared death in the face. He knew full well he could have been one of these poor saps, spread across the wall like mashed potatoes flung from a spoon or displaying strange poses on the ground like some ultra-flexible double-jointed circus freak.

His thoughts were at the tipping point of going into shock just like Jessy had, and the only thing preventing that was a steadfast, unbreakable will to live. He knew if he gave up these few moments in shock he may lose a chance to escape the sea-base entirely.

The last thing he wanted was to still be trapped here the moment the hull gave in, which based on the groaning metal sounds that had continued since he’d awoken, could be anytime soon.

In his mind, he was trying to figure out if the sea-base was doomed to implode under the sea or if it could survive. He knew that the only way off was the underwater elevator but it may not even be operational now and worse still he needed power for it run which clearly he didn’t have.

Incidentally, the power also maintained a number of systems that could keep the sea-base operational, provided of course they were still functioning.

Little did James know, he would be better off staying in the sea-base and getting it operational as up on the surface was a fierce nuclear holocaust. At least in the sea-base, he won’t be instantly turned to ash in the raging radiation storms.

While this deluge of thoughts was still racing around in his head and he was staring at Jessy who was staring at the corpses, the lights flickered. Soon after the natural humming sounds of the base started to resound as pressure pumps, air-conditioners, lighting, generators and all the other necessities roared back to life. James blanked for a second and then a big grin split his face.

“Hahaha, Jess we’re gonna live ha-ha.” James shook Jessy’s shoulders trying to rouse her from her shock. However, Jessy remained in a disconnected state. As if her mind itself had shut down completely.

“Jess! Jessy!” James tried again to wake her with no success. She’d clearly snapped under the pressure of the situation. This lead James to grow increasingly worried.

Bzzzt! Ah hello. Doof doof doof. Fuck how do I turn this fucking thing on! Squeal.“ The P.A. system of the base buzzed, said some words and then squealed similar to when a microphone approaches a speaker.

“Ahem Attention to any survives this is ahhm. Hmm. Is that supposed to be blinking red? Boop. WEERRRAAA WEERRRAAA“ following the sound a button being pressed a siren sprang to life on the other end of the sound system followed by some panicked muttering, frequent and violent swearing and then finally the sound of crashing, bashing and metal being ... ripped? At least that’s what it sounded like.

At last, the noise of the siren slowly died, as if it had been put in water and drowned as it trailed off. The speaker again returned to the microphone, cleared his throat bashfully, and continued.

“Ahem! Attention survives. I’ll make this brief and to the point no time to spend on nonsense. Although I’m sure most of you should be well aware by now, seeing as the only way you didn’t notice the sea-base lurching around on the sea floor is if you were already dead. The sea-base has received perilous damage and will soon beee...” at the moment the voice trailed off and distracted muttering and cursing could be heard again until finally, the voice exclaimed through the loudspeaker.

“Any survivors are to meet me at the Aquarius laboratory on level 3 within 15 minutes. Dr Skay Out!” This short sentence was followed by what sounded like the microphone being dropped onto the ground and shuffling footsteps and occasional muttering and swearing slowly fading away into the distance.

James stared at the only remaining speaker in the mess hall that happened to barely be hanging by the wires with a strange and complicated expression. Not only because of the utterly bizarre Dr Skay, of whom he’d never met or heard of, but because of what he’d heard in some of the mutterings.

Things such as ‘bomb’, ‘holocaust’ and ‘all dead’ as well as some more obscure things like ‘gone missing?’ and the most often repeated ‘can’t be good, can’t be good’ that he heard after that brief pause.

James naturally could piece some of these together. Enough at least to understand there’d most likely been some kind of nuclear bomb that stirred up the ocean enough to effect this deep-sea base.

As far as he knew, that was the only possible way the sea-base could have been so savagely shaken earlier. Or some kind of ridiculous level of tectonic activity.

Of course, this wasn’t the only possibility he thought of. His mind raced around things like sea monster or explosion in one of the labs and a plethora of other completely out there theories. After collecting himself for a moment, he looked at Jessy’s blank empty expression and then picked her up in a princess carry along with the med-kit on his shoulder and started heading to the third level of the sea-base were the Aquarius lab was located.

Along the way, he encountered numerous beaten and battered bodies littering hallways and open rooms but no other survivors. At the airlock to the 3rd level, he stopped in at the locker rooms and grabbed his tool bag.

With a second thought, he grabbed another backpack from his locker as well. This one containing all sorts of strange knick-knacks and equipment that he usually never needed like his soldering and electronics kit.

After getting everything else he thought he’d need, he carried the lifeless Jessy and continued on towards the Aquarius lab.

Inside the Aquarius laboratory, was a large open room with a small control room overlooking it. Inside the control room was a short, balding gentleman in a lab coat covered with blood and a number of other rather suspicious and questionable looking fluids and stains at least one of which looked like it moved.

On his aged and weathered face sat a pair of glasses that could more aptly be described as binoculars based on the thickness of the lenses. On his head sat another ordinary looking pair of glasses, with the exception of the fifteen different lenses separated inside the primary lens, like oddly placed pot marks.

He was frantically rushing around the control room mashing buttons in a sequence that to the untrained eye looked random and chaotic as a multitude of flashing red lights, wailing sirens and blaring warning signs cycled through on and off intermittently.

He’d occasionally look to be reading some graphs or text in a book or on a screen, then immediately begin cursing, throwing things and mashing buttons again. All of this was done while throwing worried looks out the main window of the control room into the central interior of the laboratory.

What he was looking at no one knows, to regular eyes the lab looked to be completely empty and without the slightest ripple of motion or sound.

It wasn’t too long later, the echoes of banging were heard on the other side of the laboratory door. The poor Dr Skay nearly had a heart attack as he jumped like a cat after it’s tail was stepped on.

He then through a reproachful glare at the door as if it had done some great and unpardonable injustice to himself. Squinting his beady old eyes slightly he started mashing buttons while distractedly cursing and muttering as the door slowly opened to reveal James carrying Jessy.

Walking into the control room, he looked around, while he was curious in his heart, his expression took on a blank poker face.

This was James’ standard operating procedure upon meeting an unexpected event or involved in something important. He would show few emotions if any, not because he had none but because he found them to distract him from important things that he would miss if he allowed himself to get too emotional.

As such he often appears bored and apathetic even in this situation where he was entirely confused, absolutely curious and slightly wary of this laboratory. Only once he felt more comfortable with a situation would his rascally nature come forth.

James walked into the control room observing the madly rushing around Dr Skay as he busied himself with ... something. Although he wouldn’t admit to it, James felt this mad looking old man had no idea what he was doing as sirens blazed, stopped, started again, and then lights flashed everywhere like a very poorly coordinated rave party.

He couldn’t help but mutter this thought under his breath. Surprisingly the old man’s hearing was like that of a bat as he spun around and fixed his keen beady eyes on James and Jessy.

“Humph! Humph! Good. You’re not far wrong kid, I’ve got no idea what I’m doing. You see that!” The old man harrumphed grumpily. Then deciding to take out some of his pent-up frustrations on James, he started pointing out at the empty laboratory.

“Yes, I see an empty lab.” Replied James unperturbed by the old man’s sarcastic way of questioning.

“Humph!! Of course you see nothing! That’s because it’s gone! And now there’s something else there, and it’s completely outside of all my knowledge and understanding. What was once a space-time anomaly that could be explained and reasoned with science is now a space-time anomaly that totally bends all the rules of the universe. That’s why to you, there’s nothing. Humph, such ignorance!”

The old man was apparently enraged by the total lack of his abilities to explain what was going on now. In all his years as a researcher, he’d never had something he couldn’t at least theorise an explanation for.

“Regardless of the situation of your missing invisible thing. What happened to the base?” James said disinterestedly. Right now he was incredibly curious about a space-time anomaly but kerbed his interest on that subject to focus more on the subject that was relative to his survival.

“Humph! Ignorance! Foolish! Kids these days understand nothing. Listen closely boy. War is what happened! Massive nuclear holocaust creating massive ripples of massive power blasting through the massive ocean. Massive amounts of dead people, massive amounts of damage to the planet. But most importantly massive changes to my research and the space-time anomaly. Do you understand? Today was the day we enacted the plan to create free energy for the entire world.

“Batches of entangled electrons were shipped around the world to every major city. Each batch containing a little from all the others and interconnected to ensure even power flow and energy distribution across the globe.

“More importantly, every single one of those electrons had an entangled pair, right here in this base. And then wouldn’t you know it the moment we launched the quantum electrons into the anomaly, some fuck-wit launched a nuclear weapon at some other fuck-wit and created an unprecedented feedback loop through the entire system of electrons which then fed back into the anomaly.

“To make it worse, every idiot with a nuclear weapon decided mutually assured destruction was the only choice, and so they all started throwing fusion and fission bombs at each other like pre-schoolers in a sandbox. Now the system’s been filled with so much energy this happened.” The ragingly mad Doctor indicated the empty lab again.

James was a little startled, not just because of the Holocaust, but also because it seemed like the mad doctor was more worried about his research of his imaginary missing space-time anomaly than the end of all life on earth.

Dr Skay’s crazy and shrewd little eyes squinted as if he was reading James’ thoughts. He then grumpily continued to explain as he started madly harrumphing, pushing buttons and sprinting about the lab again.

“Humph idiot! Stupid! Did they not teach you anything in school? Where do you think all that wild energy out there that’s colliding with our electrons is going exactly? It’s going here! Or more precisely it’s going there!” he gestured again at the empty lab.

“When that massive influx of energy collided with the anomaly something beyond our tiny ability to comprehend happened and the anomaly changed, going from our visible spectrum to a whole new spectrum. One I’m barely even able to see. Worse still it mostly continues on beyond that to a level beyond our knowledge or ability to measure.

“If you don’t understand that, then I’ll say it more simply. The anomaly had safe levels of known radiation before, but now ... it’s become incalculable levels of unknown radiation beyond our ability to comprehend and to make that situation more fucked up, the anomaly is growing as all that radiation up there is feeding it.

“Now at this point, I don’t even know if we’ll survive its expansion, let alone have the opportunity to worry about getting off this base!” Skay stopped and looked wide eyed at the empty space in the lab and started muttering madly, cursing bitterly and mashing buttons as if possessed.

Then without warning all the loud sirens, flashing lights and blinking warning signs stopped. Everything seemed to freeze, and Dr Skay’s eyes bulged out almost touching the lens of his glasses as he stared fixedly at the lab.

“Can’t be good, can’t be good.” he muttered. Before James had the chance to question more, a bright light enveloped everything, and he could see nothing but white.

After the light had dimmed the lab remained empty. Curiously, the control room was now also empty, even missing computers and equipment. The only thing remaining of the entire base was the dead bodies and the structure itself.

Following this unusual event, the hull started to breach and in but a moment the entire base imploded as it was completely crushed by the unimaginable pressure of the sea like a tin can beneath the tire of a truck.

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