Oceania: Year 2232
By: Robin Gagnon
I woke up groggily, as a steady beeping sounded in my ear. I was a bit cold, but hospitals were always cold, assuming that’s where I was. I drifted back off and, after what felt like only a few moments later, I slightly opened my eyes to see that I was in a bright white room with a nurse talking to a doctor, whom was currently shining a light in my eyes.
“His vitals appear to be normal,” the nurse was saying. “And his eyes are dilating properly.”
“What about his brother?” the doctor asked. “How is he? I’m sure he’ll be asking when he comes to.”
“His injuries were either reversed or repaired,” the nurse replied. “His brain scans are showing that everything is back to normal.”
“Excellent,” the doctor nodded, heading out of the spacious room, as the door slid open for him. “The general will be asking for them soon. Make sure he is awake and ready.”
The nurse nodded and the door slid closed behind the doctor with a swish. Something didn’t seem quite right though, but I couldn’t quite place what was wrong. I looked down beside me, only to realize that the tubes that were connected to me went into the floor, the heart monitor was floating in the air and, judging by the way the bed seemed to be bobbing up and down slightly, I was too.
“Where am I?” I moaned, my throat straining from the effort. “Why is this place so weird and where is my brother?”
I tried to remember my brother, or anything that happened in my life before this, but my mind drew a blank.
“Your questions will be answered after you answer some of my questions first,” the nurse explained, walking up to the base of my bed and tapping the air to bring up a hologram that looked like a patient chart. Do you remember your name?”
I tried to think as hard as I could and, eventually, I remembered my name.
“Good. Do you remember your last name?”
“Uh, no. Not really.”
“How about your age?”
“Twenty, I think.”
“That’s correct. What about your brother’s name? His age?”
“Uh, Daniel and he’s two years younger than me, which would make him…eighteen.”
“Do you know why you’re here?”
The nurse typed a bunch of information into the hologram and then swiped it away. Coming around to the left side of my floating bed, she checked the monitor and then swiped at something, which caused all the tubes to disengage from my body.
“There will be a helper bot assigned to you in just a moment and it will show you where you will be living and will answer all of your questions,” the nurse explained, heading for the door. “There are clothes at the bottom of your bed for you to get changed into.”
Not knowing what else I could do, I changed from the nightgown I was wearing into what appeared to be a navy blue uniform with gold embroidery. The shoes that were left to me looked like expensive running shoes of some sort and were comfortable when I put them on.
Not long after I had finished changing, a miniature box, which looked like a TV the size of a camera, came floating into the room. It floated in front of my face for a while and I tapped it.
Suddenly, the screen flashed on and two thick lines, which appeared to be acting as its ‘eyes’, blinked several times before it scanned me.
“Hello, Eric Delaney,” it said in a voice that sounded like a young woman’s. “I’m here to guide you to your home.”
I followed it and it led me out of the room and down a hallway that had a series of doors on either side. I looked at each one as I past, wondering if one of them had my brother inside.
“Where is my brother?” I asked the robot. “And where am I?
“Your brother is already at your residence,” the robot answered. “And you are in the hospital that specializes in the unfreezing of cryogenic patients.”
“Cryogenic, as in, people who were frozen to be thawed and brought back in the future?” I asked with slight confusion. “Is this the future?”
“That is correct,” the little robot answered, as I noticed that I hadn’t seen a window yet, making me wonder if I was underground. “This is the year 2232 and you’ve just woken up.”
“Hold on,” I interrupted, stopping dead in my tracks. “I’ve been asleep for two hundred and twenty-two years?”
“That is correct,” the robot confirmed, turning to face me. “Is there a problem with this information?”
“But why?” I demanded, becoming angry from fear. “Why was I frozen in the first place?”
“My database indicates that you were frozen after your family had been in a car crash,” the little robot informed me, it’s voice echoing up and down the halls. “I do not know your intentions for doing so. I can preform a memory scan if you’d like to determine this answer.”
I was quiet for a moment, as it all came back to me. The car crash, my brother’s injuries, the coma that he wasn’t going to wake up from, and my parents…
“Never mind,” I answered sadly. “I remember.”
“Perhaps seeing your brother will cheer you up,” the robot suggested. “I’m sure he is eagerly waiting your arrival.”
“Hold on,” I replied with a look of curiosity. “How did they fix my brother? He had permanent brain damage and so many other things wrong with him.”
“Our technology has advanced far beyond since you were alive,” the robot replied. “They were able to reverse the damage and heal his other wounds.”
The robot continued on down the hallway and turned a corner to a dead end. On the floor at the end of the hallway was a pad of some sort and the robot plugged itself into it before returning back to me.
“The coordinates have been established,” it’s feminine voice informed me. “Please step on the pad and we can transport to your home.”
“So, this is a teleporter?” I asked, too afraid to step on it right away. “Wow, I wish they would of had these when I was alive. I would have gone to California a lot.”
“California know longer exists,” the robot commented. “Most of the land has been taken over by water after rising sea-levels. Your current home is under the ocean in a pod.”
“What!” I exclaimed in panic. “There is no way I am going anywhere with you. I prefer to be on land, thank you.”
“Your statement confuses me,” the female voice replied, with a blink of its ‘eyes’. “My previous assumption was that you wanted to see your brother and we are already under water.”
My eyes widened in surprise and I looked around at the white walls in panic. I supposed the technology of the future made it possible to live underwater with no worries, but that didn’t stop me from being a little afraid.
“Have you changed your mind about seeing your brother?” the robot asked. “I can change the coordinates to somewhere on land if it will make you feel more comfortable.”
“No,” I denied immediately. “I still want to see my brother.”
It took me a moment, but eventually I stood on the transporter pad and I was teleported in a flash of blinding light.
When I opened my eyes, I was standing on another transporter pad in a room where I figured that a door should be. There was a fancy kitchen with an island to the left and a living room area in front of me with a giant screen that appeared to go with the projector that was attached to the ceiling. To the left, was a hallway that led to a series of rooms. There were a few windows, but when I walked over to look out one of them, expecting to see a vast ocean, I was surprised to see the streets of downtown New York city.
“I thought we were underwater,” I asked the helper bot. “But it looks like the we’re in an apartment in New York city.”
“The windows can project different things to make you feel like you’re living in another place,” the bot explained. “Based on your comments from earlier, I can change it to a condo in California.”
The New York city scene dissolved and changed to resemble the streets of a city in California with palm trees lining the streets.
“Is this to your liking?”
I looked over at the floating robot and nodded before asking, “So what are you exactly? Are you like a smartphone?”
“Based on my definition of a ‘smartphone’,” the female voice replied. “I am not. I can do much more that what a smartphone was capable of. I can connect you to other people and display holograms of their face, as well as bring you to the best restaurants depending on your allergies and health needs. May I suggest a restaurant with protein? I can also do deliveries, if you would rather stay in.”
“So, you are kind of like a smartphone,” I murmured, deep in thought. “Does everyone have a helper bot?”
“They do,” the helper bot answered. “I am your key to the world.”
“Eric?” a male voice broke in. “Is that you?”
I turned to see my younger brother standing in the hallway that led to the other rooms. His eyes were wide and showed fear from being in a strange, new place. A helper bot floated near him.
My eyes began to water when I saw him. Clearly, I wasn’t ready to face my brother, even after two hundred and twenty-two years. The last time I had seen him, he had been lying in a hospital bed in a coma with his whole body bandaged up.
“Daniel,” I breathed, a single tear falling down my cheek. “You’re alright.”
My brother looked confused by my words, but ran to hug me anyways. I ruffled his similarly dark brown hair and when we parted, he had tears running down his face. He had always been the more emotional one.
“I’m so glad to see you,” he mumbled, wiping the tears from his face. “I’ve been waiting here for a while. Where is mom and dad?”
I couldn’t meet his brown-eyed gaze. He had no idea what had happened to our parents.
“You don’t know?” Daniel asked, thinking my silence meant something different. “Hey, helper bot. Where’s our parents?”
Panicking, I yelled out, “Don’t answer that.”
My brother turned to me with confusion on his face and asked, “Why did you do that?”
I bit my lip and looked at the ground. How could I tell my baby brother that his parents were dead?
“Eric,” Daniel started, beginning to sound hysterical. “Where’s mom and dad? They had to have been frozen too, right? I mean, I can’t remember why we were…”
“Calm down,” I told him, holding up my hands. “I can explain…”
“Don’t tell me to calm down,” he interrupted with anger in his eyes. “We are hundreds of years in the future and everything is different. The world’s underwater, there’s a robot following me and now you won’t tell me where our parents are!”
He pushed me backwards, which only angered me, as I pushed him back.
“They’re gone, Daniel,” I yelled at him rather bluntly. “They died in a car crash two hundred and twenty-two years ago. They were hit head on by a drunk driver and were killed at the scene of the crash. You were in the backseat. When I got the news and went to the hospital, they told me you had many broken bones and brain damage. You were in a coma and they said you probably weren’t going to wake up. I could never bring myself to pull the plug on you, so I had us both cryogenically frozen and hoped that they could heal you in the future.”
My brother was silent and pale, as a look of shock formed on his face. He flopped down on the couch and didn’t start crying until I sat down beside him. I gave him a hug, unsure what else to say. He sobbed for a while, but eventually, we sat there in silence.
“So, apparently we’re in some sort of military,” Daniel finally spoke up. “To fight off some alien monsters from another planet to protect the earth.”
“Do you think we’ll be trained to fly space ships like in Star Trek,” I asked, trying to make light of the situation. “That would be cool.”
Daniel laughed and replied, “Ya.”
“Actually,” my brother’s helper bot spoke up. “You will be trained to use Mecha Fighters. Also, this planet is no longer called ‘Earth’. After finding many other inhabitable planets, eighty percent of this planets population left to live elsewhere. This planet is now called Oceania.”
Before we could ask any more questions, my helper bot began to beep and announced, “Sergeant Rhodes is requesting your presence at the training headquarters.”
I looked at my brother and he shrugged. I supposed there was nothing we could do but go. We didn’t know what this new world was like and we didn’t want to piss off the wrong people.
Once the helper bots had inputted the coordinates, we transported outside of a building that was surrounded by an ocean. The island we were on was skinny and couldn’t of been any more than thirty kilometers long. to the south of us was a platform with dozens of ginormous battle-ready robots that I had only ever seen in movies.
“Welcome, boys,” a man, whom was the very description of a stereotypical sergeant, bellowed with his hands behind his back. “I’m glad you could join us.”
The sky was clear and I immediately noticed how hot it was. Dozens of other young men and woman were gathered in front of the sergeant and all of them turned to look at my brother and I.
“Hey,” one of the kids whispered to his friend. “Looks like a couple of Cryos.”
It seemed as though that was the word, or the nickname, that people used to refer to the people who had been cryogenically frozen, and judging by the stares of the people around us, they didn’t think very highly of us.
“I’m only going to explain this once,” Sergeant Rhodes yelled out, his voice echoing through the air. “You are going to be my team and I am going to train you to fight with those Mecha Fighters.”
He pointed to the robots that stood taller than any of the buildings I had ever seen. Weapons were attached to their arms and shoulders.
“In a moment,” Sergeant Rhodes continued. “We are going to go into that building and you will be assigned a room. Once in this room, you will be required to wear a Mo-cap suit that will dictate the movements of your Mecha Fighter. We will also teach you various fighting styles and heighten your instincts, in order to effectively use the Mecha Fighter in combat to fight the Fawlner. Any questions?”
No one raised their hands, so i slowly raised mine in confusion.
“To put it more simply, in case you’re new to this world,” Sergeant Rhodes went on, noticing my raised hand. “You’re going to be taught how to fight and then put in a room, where you’ll wear a fancy suit so that you can control a robot to fight space monsters.”
My face turned red in embarrassment, as snickers could be heard from the others. I was beginning to not like this place much.
“Sorry, boys, you have a lot to learn,” the sergeant teased. “Welcome to Oceania, year 2232.”