Part II – The Flood
“There will be a great loss of learning before the moon's full cycle is completed. Fire and floods will be fomented by ignorant rulers; much time will go by before it is rectified.”
“How high are we?” She asked him.
Kado had a puzzled expression. “What do you mean, how high are we? We're on the ground!”
The vehicle was being buffeted by strong winds that were building in intensity. It was not difficult to imagine the weather outside.
“How high above sea level. Joel said there would be one almighty flood, if...”
Kado cut her off. “Can you get that kid of yours to stop moving around and keep still.”
“He's nervous, aren't you darling?” She gave Charlie a motherly hug. “Don't worry, we’re going to be just fine,” she reassured.
“I've no idea.”
“Yes. I've no idea how high we are above sea level.”
It was a weird conversation in the darkness, it was like they were out of sync, a time delay between question and answer that made it hard to follow.
The sound of the rain hitting the shell of the car was unmistakable, it had started!
“That was the weirdest experience,” Grif was talking.
“You're awake,” Steve stated the obvious, which was kind of cute.
“Duh... yes dummy!” Grif smiled his amusement.
“It was, weird I mean.”
“Like my whole life passed in front of me. Just what they say can happen, you know, before you die.” He turned his head, staring over at Steve. “Hey, I’m not dead am I?”
“Oh shut the fuck up, what are you going on about.”
“Well, if I did see my whole life... I might be. How would I know?”
“I think I preferred you before.”
“Before you woke up. It was... peaceful.”
“Yeah, yeah, you love me really. Where did Henry get too?”
“No idea. It was like this when I came round. Deserted. He must have gone.”
“Dumbo, you’re doing it again.”
“What? What am I doing?”
“Stating the obvious. If he’s not here, of course he’s gone!”
“I feel really tired. Drained.”
“Me too. Must be the after effects.”
“I guess it’s alright to sleep a bit.”
“Sure, why not. And when you wake up, the end of the world will be over.”
“You know that’s not very funny.”
They both drifted back to sleep, side by side on their trolleys in the deserted medical bay of an empty building that would have echoed were there anyone there to make a sound.
Eve was staring at the clock, 00:24:47.
“I hope each of you has decided, because if we are going it's now.”
Howard and Emret were already in the pod and strapped in their seats.
“You better get in here or you all get left behind,” he shouted through the open door.
“Please board and take a seat. The door will be closing in... four minutes,” the voice announced.
“Well?” Eve looked at the others.
“I guess we go,” Andre said.
Evan nodded, Mark got up and moved towards the pod door.
They were now all seated and strapped in as the voice announced, “Two minutes, please board now.”
Andre couldn't help wondering why no one else was here. What a waste, six empty places.
“Door closing!” The voice confirmed, as they heard the door come down slowly, forming an air tight seal.
“Proceeding to launch phase.”
The pod moved through something like a tunnel, turning to pivot upwards, but their seats stayed upright in the same position, leaving them now facing the side wall.
The sound of the engines as they came alive was audible, like a plane taxiing out onto the runway. They all expected to feel the force of the take off. The clock on the tiny screen of the armrest showed 00:20:10.
“Prepare for launch.”
Eve could sense the power of the thing, a power about to be released.
The surge was incredible, like you were literally sitting inside a rocket, which they were. It shot upwards out of the silo and through the thundering sky. From outside you would see it, but from inside you just felt it.
The rocket surged upwards, gaining speed as it was buffeted by the weather.
00:19:02. The buffering eased away. The angle changed, their seats pivoted with the arc. The pressure was still forcing them back into their seats.
“Boosters in five, four, three ...”
The pod seemed to tremble as the booster rockets engaged. It felt like some almighty push from behind.
00:18:14. “Accelerating to orbital velocity... entering orbit in seven minutes.”
The evacuation pod shook with the force, the whole thing vibrated. It was scary and exciting all at the same time. The next seven minutes passed very quickly.
00:11:30. “Entering orbit. Speed 17,500 mph. Trajectory adjustment in five, four, three...”
You could feel the movement as the rocket changed course slightly. They were now weightless, there was no longer the sensation of thrust, it was like floating.
“Docking will be in six hours. Trajectory is good.”
Well that was pretty fantastic, Eve thought.
Everybody was in the control room, the boys standing behind the professor and Joseph.
“We will have to shelter in the basement until this is over,” Professor Madison told them.
The countdown clock showed 00:20:00.
“There!” Jack pointed at the screen.
The radar showed the launch.
“I’m switching on the cameras. Don’t know if you'll see anything in this storm.”
The images from all three outside cameras were indeed showing not much other than gloomy darkness broken by lightning.
“I see it,” Jack was excited.
“I should call you eagle eyes,” Joel joked.
They all watched the tiny white flame streaking upwards through the storm.
“Oh fucking shit!” Mark exclaimed. “Did it get hit?”
A streak of lightning had forked through the sky splitting in two around the rocket.
“No it's okay,” Joseph assured them. “See, it's still climbing.”
They watched until it disappeared in the blackness. The professor turned off the cameras and started to shut everything down.
“Okay, you all get down to the basement. Joseph will take you. I'll be there in five minutes.”
Everybody left, leaving Professor Madison to finish the shutdown.
“Mom! Mom!” Charlie shouted.
She gripped him tight.
The vehicle was lifted up and it was moving.
Out of control, it was rolling around. They were picking up speed. Descending, Weaving.
Suddenly there was a loud scrapping sound, a crack, they were jolted to a stop.
“What’s happening?” She was calm as she asked Kado. She did not want to make Charlie any more scared than he was already.
“My guess... flood water.”
“Can this thing handle that?”
“Lets hope so.”
Something like a wave hit them. The car was spinning, knocked free, picking up speed. Obviously hitting stuff, they felt the impacts.
It shuddered, really vibrated, the noise outside was like they were being battered by a torrent, but they were not moving.It was passing around and over them, the vehicle was vibrating with the pressure. She thought it might just split apart at any moment.