Ａｓｃｅｎｓｉｏｎ -- Ｒｃｈｅｔｙｐｅ
Ａｓｃｅｎｓｉｏｎ -- Ｒｃｈｅｔｙｐｅ
The soft sound roused Asher from her slumber and sensation began to flood into her consciousness. Her head throbbed with a dull ache, her mouth was dry, and all her muscles were sore as if she'd been working out. When she opened her eyes to figure out the source of the sound, she discovered that she was in a most unusual place. A wall of curved glass covered her, and beyond it was a bare room with bright white walls and industrial fluorescent lighting. With a bit of investigation she came to the conclusion that the clicking sound was the releasing of a latch, and Asher was able to push aside the glass, letting it swing gently open on its hinges. Standing up she found that she had been in some kind of bed, which was tilted just far back enough for her to lie down in. "What is—"
Before she could finish her thought, a soft *bing* sound interrupted her, and a computerized voice began to speak.
Welcome to the EDOM Human Undertaking of General Experiments Experiment, <Asher>!
Her name was spoken with a slightly different inflection, indicating that the rest of the message had been recorded before her name was awkwardly inserted into it. It was probably a generic message.
We are glad to have you here in our state-of-the-art facility to undertake general experiments and experiment-like exercises. My name is CASTOR and I will be your automated assistant for your stay here at the EDOM test facility.
Rubbing her aching head, Asher began to look around the room. It was a small chamber; enough so that the bed wouldn't have fit if it were flat on the ground. Painted on the walls in a light gray, almost faded enough to be difficult to see on the white surface, was the text [ＳＴＡＳＩＳ ＣＨＡＭＢＥＲ 013]. "Stasis...?" Asher muttered, while the computer voice continued to speak.
You have just awoken from a short-term bio-stasis, so you may feel disoriented, confused, and a little sore. Less common side-effects are retrograde amnesia, migraine, nausea, death, nosebleeds, and tinnitus (ringing of the ears). Please inform your test facilitator if you experience any of these adverse effects so they can prepare your last meal and perform any last rites.
The only thing in the chamber besides the bed was a small wardrobe in the corner. Suddenly realizing she was naked, Asher walked over and opened the wardrobe. It was empty except for one complete outfit, and a familiar outfit it was. It was her own clothes; the boots, the gloves the long wool coat—all black of course. She put the clothes on and checked all the pockets while she did. All her possessions had been stripped, although one of the pockets was full of small round tokens that she didn't recognize. That's right, personal possessions weren't allowed...wait, allowed where? What am I remembering?
You have been in stasis for—
The voice suddenly cut off, a loud static noise startling Asher. Through the static, a different, more robotic voice spoke.
ERROR RETRIEVING DATA FROM BIOSTASIS CHAMBER CLOCK. MAINTENANCE ORDER HAS BEEN ISSUED.
Then the original voice continued, as if nothing had happened.
—days. You were selected for the HUGE Experiment in <five, August, two-thousand seventeen>, putting you in test group <12>. Your personal belongings are in storage and will be returned to you at the end of the experiment. Your clothes are in the locker in your chamber, please get dressed and when you are ready enter the common room to meet your fellow test group members.
When the voice said this, there was another click, and a thin vertical crack appeared in the wall. Asher walked up to it and realized it was a door, practically invisible while closed. She put her fingers into the crack and the door slid open about halfway before getting stuck. She sighed in frustration.
Thank you for your participation and cooperation! I will be talking to you again soon, <Asher>.
It took Asher a couple of minutes to force her large body through the small opening of the jammed doorway but she eventually managed. The room beyond was fairly large and well-furnished, although it seemed a bit out of date. "Is that a coin-operated soda machine?" she muttered to herself. Indeed, there were a set of vending machines along one wall; one had soda, one had snacks, one dispensed coffee, and the last one had small amenities like toothpaste and deodorant. In the middle of the room there was some kind of seating area with chairs and tables; some of the tables had magazines or large coffee table books, and altogether it looked a lot like a large waiting room at a hospital or something. Indeed, written on the wall in faint gray text were the words [ＷＡＩＴＩＮＧ ＲＯＯＭ Ａ].
I was sent here on some kind of mission...right? EDOM...Human Undertaking...? It all sounds familiar.
There were a few doors leading out of the room; one was a set of double doors with small glass windows. On the wall next to these doors there was some kind of electronic display screen. Opposite of those were a set of doors indicated as restrooms. As she looked around she noticed small thin cracks appear in the other two walls. Three of them, sliding doors like the one she had just come out of. "Hello?" Asher asked curiously.