By Chris Silva
Somewhere between cryogenic sleep and consciousness Az felt his synapses beginning to thunder. Slowly, awareness returned. The thaw continued and Az was able to begin his mental calisthenics. He carefully went over the cryo-checklist one step at a time. The stinging in his toes, ignore the pain. His fingertips burning; must move each one very slowly to increase blood flow. Leg muscles should be flexed and released every few seconds. His checklist progressing he felt the remaining images of his last dream fade into obscurity, reality coming forward.
He and his crew were on a long journey through the dark nebula Epsilon11. They had entered the cryogenic containers just after inputting Jin, the Neuro-comp, with the proper coordinates. The ship must be nearing its destination, for Jin had disengaged the Cryogenic systems. Az felt the warm infusion starting to flow into his limbs from the Kelvin unit. Not much longer and he and his team would reach the 36.8 degrees Celsius needed to be released from the containers.
Az was now able to remember the mission and his reason for volunteering. He’d lost Sentra and little Cali in a horrible accident. Forlorn and floundering for over a year he desperately needed a change. On a blurry morning coming off a hit of weeg, he saw the mission posted on the dig-board at the entrance to Command. Az volunteered to go immediately. Sure the ninety eight years in cryo would give his soul time to heal. He convinced the old man that he would have the chance to be productive again, to do something worthwhile. Warming slowly Az thought he felt a liquid tear flow down his cold blue cheek. His hands and feet were twitching uncontrollably and he knew he was nearing temp. He would now start his physical calisthenics. Moving one finger and then the next wriggling his toes step by painful step ensuring a clean transition from cryo-sleep.
In the next cryogenic container a Kelvin unit kicked in and its opalescent skin showed signs of humidity. In this container another Az felt himself getting close to temp, a soft liquid tear running down his cold blue cheek.
One of them hits the control panel speeding up the heating process, for they were both very hungry. Two freeze dried meals would be enough for a weeks worth of nourishment and they would take both just over temp to ensure the right Adrenalin flow. A touch of Adrenalin always made the meal softer and more desirable. In their own language they discuss their proper civility and the fact that each meal is programmed with true Earth memories, and how each morsel feels connected to the preparation of the meal, like they too have a purpose.
One diner turns to the other flashing a huge jagged grin,