From Two Worlds

Image of Penelopa

Penelopa

102 readings

10

What could be above the surface and why would someone even want to go up there? Humanity had learned to survive for hundreds of years within the dome communities that graced ocean floors across Earth. Integration with artificial intelligence, as well as the ability to breathe and see clearly underwater, advanced human kind so it could co-exist with life in the ocean as never before. Dome dwellers no longer had the desire to venture out to other planets anymore, so there was never a need to rise above the surface. Yet Maya’s longitudinal genetic data profile told her it is where her parents came from.

Maya was one of the 199 who possessed the DNA to breathe above the surface. They were called rozpor, an ancient word that means contradiction. Nobody knew where the first rozpor came from exactly--people just believed they were from above the Ice Sector formerly known as Slovakia, hundreds of years ago before the domes. It seemed so unnatural to imagine breathing in air after all the chaos above the surface drove human kind to retreat to a much better place, surrounded by life that kept on living.
And then it happened. “Agent Maya mission893...ICE SECTOR,” said her superior officer. Surely, she couldn’t have heard correctly. They expected her to go there? Was this a test? “On my way!” she replied. She quickly gathered her things so her pod would be fully charged and ready to leave on time.

Most agents where happy working where the temperatures were warmer. Secretly, Maya was always curious about the ice sector and wondered if they would ever have a mission there. It was the least inhabited space in the ocean, and a cold, desolate place with limited surveillance and agents. A small group of orcas gathered around as she loaded up. She was able to hear their thoughts and they were able to hear hers. They told her not to be afraid and to trust them. The told her that contrary to what she believed, they knew larger orcas lived in the area human kind today referred to as the Ice Sector. They told her she would be protected if needed. The matriarch orca slowly approached Maya and gently nudged her as if to say, “See you when you get back.”
As the pod entrance lit up, details of her mission were being downloaded into her suit which was made to fit her specific genetic code. She scanned in as her pod zoomed through the ocean tunnels. She was there within minutes. She saw very few sea animals as she approached the Ice Sector pod platform. A small whale and her calf curiously came over to investigate. Maya held out her palm. The mother came over and slowly brushed up against it, making eye contact as she shared a message from above the surface. Above the surface? She reminded her it would be much warmer and to remember to just breathe. Maya said “Thank you,” and the two whales slowly swam way into the cold deep. She scanned in to record the date of her mission – 17 November 3019. Today was her birthday. For humans that lived thousands of years ago, Maya would not look a day over 30, but if we were counting, she had just turned 113 years old. As a human born after 2819, she could live for as long as she wanted, and her suit would ensure her survival.

Maya braced herself as she stepped into the transportation funnel which would take her to the surface in just three seconds. It was just big enough for one person to travel from point A to point B, and that was by design. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. As the funnel lid popped open, she was surprised to see she had not reached the surface yet. Above the exit hole was a much warmer ocean layer booming with life and sea animals she had never seen before. Huge blue fish were singing in harmony. Maya felt the warmth from above the surface, and her suit was adjusting automatically, as the temperature was significantly different from the Ice Sector. A swarm of tiny silver fish glimmered past her. And then, as if from nowhere, a group of gigantic orcas approached. Maya felt her heart skip a beat because she couldn’t understand their thoughts clearly, and was taken aback by their size. They seemed to be speaking an older dialect, but they could tell she was a friend. They seemed to be checking in on her, and wanted to share something with her. These orcas, like rozpor, could breathe air from the surface through their lungs. Their matriarch came over to demonstrate and her pod followed her. Maya watched them all go to the surface, breathe, and quickly expel any air that was in their lungs. She heard a sound almost like a “blow.”These large orcas continued to breathe in 20-second intervals about three times, and then they joined her underwater. It was now her turn. They huddled around her and the smallest one nudged her upward as if to say, “It is your turn now.”

This is what her mission was--to go to the surface, collect data, and share it with the community leaders. Even with the suit, only the 199 could breathe above the surface and collect the data needed. Maya braced herself as she swam upward and used the suit to propel her above the surface, toward what looked like a mix of ice and rocks. As she opened her eyes, her suit took a while to adjust. She found herself squinting and instinctively holding her hand over her forehead, covering her eyes from the gleaming sun which seemed to be drying her face. She didn’t mind the feeling and it didn’t burn. She found that she could breathe without the help of her suit, and it already gone into power saving mode. Standing up wasn’t as hard as it had sounded, but it took her a while to use her legs like this to pull herself up above the ice and rocks. She looked around and scanned in what she was seeing. A sea of greenery, land coral, and ice. The air smelled clean, which surprised her. Animals thought to be extinct were still alive, and birds flew in the skies above. Scans for the entire Ice Sector zone above the surface detected no human life. She pondered for minute what it would be like to leave the domes and make a life above the surface close to the larger orcas. She smiled at the possibility and new adventure it might bring, and realised that she didn’t have to choose. It was OK to be from two worlds.

CONTEST

Image of Spring 2019

Theme

Image of Short Story
10

Few words for the author?

Take a look at our advice on commenting here!

To post comments, please
Image of Sophia Lagrimar
Sophia Lagrimar · ago
great story!!
·
Image of Penelopa
Penelopa · ago
Thank you so much!
·
Image of Danie Botha
Danie Botha · ago
Penelopa,
an interesting take on a world below the surface!

·
Image of Penelopa
Penelopa · ago
Thank you Danie
·
Image of Erik
Erik · ago
Very intriguing read with many interesting possibilities!
·
Image of Dorothy Soares
Dorothy Soares · ago
Very compelling, well written Penelope, awesome work. All the best.
·
Image of Penelopa
Penelopa · ago
Thank you so much @Dorothy Soares!
·