Friday, September 15, 2006

Chapter 5.4 "The Ripley Scroll"

Note: IPO is a novel blogged in-progress.

Chamberlin went off to make some dinner arrangements, leaving Martin alone in the Founder's Room. He visited each kiosk, learning the stories of these frozen people, each one seemingly more rich and eccentric than the last.

It occurred to Martin that they all shared a common dream of something much more than just wanting to cheat death. No, this bunch seemed hell-bent on escorting the human race to some kind of god-like stage of evolution. Without a doubt, they were all mad.

But as Martin began to explore the final kiosk, that of Ripley himself, he began to see threads of something more than just a common madness. Ripley had not only recruited this bunch, he had converted them into eager time travelers.

"We embark not to face a cold, dark eternity," an aged Ripley chimed to a ballroom of Society members. "But rather to a bright new awakening of mankind. Where as before, only our words and impressions could be preserved for future generations, the Society will be the vessel that carries our minds forward through untold generations."

"I salute you," he said raising a glass with his frail hand. "You are the ambassadors to the future."

As the camera pulled back, the crowd was on their feet in fervent applause. The video ended and the kiosk screen shut off abruptly. What Martin saw in it's place was the reflection of a man standing right behind him.

Startled, Martin whirled around. It was the imposing figure of Mr. Ito.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Chapter 5.3 "The Ripley Scroll"

The freezer room at Ripley Cryogenics was nothing like Martin had imagined. In fact, with it's pipes, gauges, and conduit, the place felt more like the engine room of a nuclear submarine than a mausoleum.

Chamberlin was going on and on about the redundant systems that kept the residents in their Kelvin slumber. Martin was not much for engineering talk, but he did find himself summarily impressed when Chamberlin boasted that the refrigeration system was built to stay online throughout power interruptions of up to thirty days.

"When your customers trust you with eternity, the idea of 'always on' takes on a whole new meaning," Chamberlin remarked. "We have an operating budget locked into a trust fund that goes on to the year 2410."

What Martin did gather was that every freeze chamber was set up with an independent set of mechanisms designed to keep its resident near absolute zero until such a time that medical technology was up to the task of curing the ailment that killed them. In theory, the technology to re-animate frozen flesh would also be commonplace by then.

The tour concluded in a small shrine-like area that Chamberlin called the Founder's Room. It's nine kiosk stations formed a semi-circle around a picture-window of the entire underground complex.

Martin tapped one of the touch-screens and was instantly immersed in a multimedia biography of Charlie Anakin, a notoriously drunken benefactor who had gone down on Korean flight 007, which had been shot down by the Russians in 1983. True to Mr. Anakin's wishes, Ripley Cryogenics had preserved the only identifiable part of Anakin's remains--his bulbous, red nose.

"This must have cost millions," Martin remarked.

"Indeed it did, Mr. Dial," Chamberin answered. "And it would seem that your venture will render all this intricacy unnecessary."

"And these founders, they put up the money?"

"That, and a whole lot more, Mr. Dial. And if you can bring them back, our founders have entrusted us with more money than you could possibly need."