“The Passenger”

The X-Rail sped along the tracks almost silently through the darkness, the only sound being the rush of air that swept up in its path. As he suddenly awakened from his sleep, he quietly looked around, feeling disoriented as to how he got there, and realized that he was alone. The rail car had another eighty seats, and a couple of cubed shaped private spaces to hold another twenty or so. Why was he alone on what appeared to be an abandoned railway car he thought, and why were there none behind or ahead of him, he decided to go have a look up front past a closed door, assuming there might be an engineer or conductor that could explain everything to him. Upon opening the door to what looked to be a control room, there was no one, only a digital dashboard on a panel that was in the center of the area, and four small windows curving around the nose of the rail car. Looking outside didn’t offer much of a view across the barren blackened landscape, except silhouettes of what was left of the bare and scraggly trees, illuminated by the largest sphere he’d ever seen. It was a magnificent site, filling the entire valley like a painting, with it’s reddish to orange glow highlighting the sloping hills of the countryside along the dark horizon. The giant sphere also provided the only light, as there were no street lights visible, or movements such as car headlights or landmarks that would suggest any living form. Thinking to himself that this obviously was back country or desert area that he had been traveling through, surely there must be a stop off in one of the upcoming towns. He returned to his seat, deciding to wait it out until then.

He awoke again after a period of time only to realize that nothing had changed around him, looking down at his watch he noticed the time had stopped, and looking out a small window near to him that the view hadn’t changed either, except that the illuminating reddish to orange sphere appeared to be much closer, and much larger than before. He pondered as to whether or not he was dreaming, but how could one have a dream about their presence in a dream, and question their presence in it at the same time (?) It was bizarre . . .

Being a model for future ground transportation, the X-Rail had been among the latest in automated engineering and high speed travel. It had an elongated cylinder shape a with rounded front that housed the control room, while the other end was equipped with high-tech boosters, traveling at hyper-speeds eight inches off the ground as it followed a buried underground circuit. With a capacity of one hundred, travelers could go from what used to be New York to the ruins of Los Angeles, in less than thirty minutes, virtually undetectable, and in complete silence.

There wasn’t much to see since the fallout, mostly a barren charred landscape left in the darkness, illuminated only by the reddish to orange glow from the large sphere that was Mars, and getting closer. Viral mutations from the recent biohazard substance that filled Earths atmosphere absorbed into the surface after the population had been overcome, causing Earths core to erupt, spilling out an intense hot vapor that devastated the landscape, leaving the charred blackened aftermath. As a result of that, Earths core temperature had been disrupted, causing it to move out of orbit aimlessly into space away from the Sun. The newly forming colonies on Mars then developed a way to bring the Earth closer by way of drawing what was left of Earths gravitational strength to their base command. It was estimated that less than one percent of the human population had survived, and it was only those that were selected from those remaining, that were being sent to Mars for the new world colonization. Those chosen ones were very few, and had been separated from the mutants, who were left behind to either fend for themselves or wither away.

He had been assigned his name for the new world awaiting his arrival on Mars, his identity would be introduced to the Mars colonies as Leg, he had been stamped with the H-88 tattoo at the rear of his neck, just above the spine, making him official, and that he was suitable for the regeneration and cloning. Leg was riding alone because the last round-up of suitable humans had revealed only one, which was him, and the reason he had survived while so many others perished, was because his genome structure had been designed years earlier, and the micro-chips that were inside the vaccine then tracked and maintained his genetic composition.

As the X-Rail reached its departure point, the sonic-boosters engaged, soaring quickly above Earths atmosphere, with destination Mars. The new world colonies would add another member to their perfect society structured of harvested genomes, Leg would be a part of the cloning that would regenerate a new population.

End ~

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