Chapter II

9 1 2

Subject 01, Jacob Donovan McGregor

Then the letters dissolved, the door unlocked and lifted up, disappearing inside a compartment on the ceiling. It was at least two feet thick.
They went inside the cold air of a long hallway, with Viktoria walking a few steps ahead of everybody.

-Can't believe it's really been a century...- She had little German inflection in her voice; she was touching the metal walls of that corridors, which lights turned on as they walked past them, sending out a blueish glow from the floor's lower corners.
-Yeah, it's been just a night for us, actually.- Daisuke was smiling with fascination. His Japanese accent was strong.
-Honestly, I thought we were never supposed to wake up. It's amazing it worked. Even without side effects. At least I think I can remember everything now, and motor function is intact.-
-Exactly, Leòn, exactly. Impressive.-
-What's your name again? Forgive me, I'm terrible with names.- Asked the doctor.
-Raymond Blake-
Cesar Miguel nodded, smiling, then saw everybody stopping all of a sudden and did the same.
-How do we open this, Jake?- Asked Veronica, curious, while studying the massive metal door in front of them. It was round, akin to a bank's caveau, and there as a metal bar on it with several little touchscreen on it.
-I don't...-
-Maximum security system for the safekeeping of valuable goods, mounted backwards in order to allow only internal opening through the handscanners.- Raymond spoke before Jake could complete his sentence, and Gabriel came up beside him.
-We have to lay our hands on the readers, simultaneously. And they must be at body temperature. The reader has a sensor that allows it to detect the heartbeat: if it's too fast, it won't open. Some kind of fear recognition system, and that's to avoid authorized people from being mutilated, put under pressure, or forced in any way to open the door.
-And what if the heart's beating fast because of adrenaline, or some other thing? Why do you know so well this door's system?-
-There's an emergency safety system, Charlotte. There was a door identical to this one in the laboratory I used to work in a century ago, we kept the unstable samples there.
She was playing with her own hair and was staring at the door. -Got it-
-Let's do it then.- Daisuke was the first to lay down his hand. Then the three women did it, and eventually the others joined them.
When all their hands were in position, the readers turned on and started doing their job, and it took twenty long, almost painful seconds before they hear something click.

The readers switched off and the nine of them stepped back.
The inner workings and the security bars started to pull back, and from inside they could hear lots of sounds before everything stood still suddenly.

Now there was silence, and they all didn't move for a few seconds, already expecting that thing not to open after a hundred years, but a hiss broke their silence: steam came out of that door, and now it was slowly opening up in front of them, while several alarms went off at once and the hallway behind their back became red.

There was a glaze of cold sweat on their foreheads while they went out, cautious, caught off-guard by all that noise and movement.
-And what if they won't welcome us? What if they lost any hope, or whatever was left of humanity as we understood it?- Daisuke's voice was quivering.
-For what we know, there could even be no one out there.- Said Veronica. Daisuke and Charlotte looked at the others, trying to get answers from them.
-I can only tell you that we will never find out by sitting here. Let's go.- Jake scratched his beard and started walking, and the others followed. The air outside was filled with the uproar of the alarms and the sound of at least half a hundred people running.
They were now in a vast and rectangular white, sterile room.

The caveau they had been in for a hundred years was placed right in front a glass wall, and behind that wall there was a big crowd. They looked at the people and then at each other.

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