Outer Limits: Memory Prime
In a small solar system with a yellow sun and only a few planets, lies a very beautiful planet. But unknown to the new inhabitants of this planet, this system has a deadly secret. But if they knew that then they aren't showing it. On the surface a beautiful day is dawning. Kids are playing and squealing with delight. Their parents are watching with smiles on their faces. Other adults are walking through parks and sitting on benches. A group of young adults comes up to two adults sitting on a bench.
"We're going to go underground and do some surveys of the cave system down below.".
"Do you have the proper equipment and supplies?" One of he adults looks up.
"Of course we do. What do you think we are? Amateurs?"
"Okay. But don't be too long."
The group leaves and the two adults look at each other.
Meanwhile in space the sun explodes with light and a giant arm of fire reaches out towards the planets in the system. Including the inhabited one. On the surface the peace and tranquility is broken with the sight of a wall of fire coming at the people. They barely able to get a scream out before they are all enveloped by the fire.
SURVIVAL AT ALL COSTS IS OUR MOST BASIC INSTINCT. SURVIVAL COMES IN MANY FORMS. NOT ALL ARE PLEASANT.
Class is in session and the current class is history. On a vid screen a representation of the annihilation of the surface dwelling ancestors is being shown.
"That was what some called the great fire. The scientists of our colony call it a flare up of our sun. Does anybody know how long ago this happened?"
A student raises his hand excitedly.
"Yes Mr. Conely."
"About 149 years ago."
"Yes that is correct. Does anyone remember what happened 75 years ago?"
The same student raises his hand.
"Does anyone other than Mr. Conely know for once? Doesn't anyone else pay attention?" The teacher looks impatient.
When no one else says anything other than murmurs the teacher reluctantly points to Conely.
"Another flare up happened."
"Yes. Our only saving grace was that in the time between flares, our scientists discovered that the flare up happens every 75 years. That gave us enough time to build an underground series of tunnels to survive for 20 years until the surface was again livable. That and the science of terra-forming to make the soil non-toxic to grow stuff. Without all those advances we would not be alive today."
Two students start whispering with each other.
"Is this a snooze or what?"
"Yeah really. Who cares about the past? We have no worry about that nasty old fire now."
A loud knocking sound brings the two students to attention.
"Is there anything you'd like to share with the rest of the class?"
"Not really sir. It's just why is it so important to study the past when we are safe from the great fires?"
"Because it's a part of history when we nearly were completely wiped out. It's important to know that we aren't invincible. Even though we may feel that way."
"Yeah but now we just go down into those tunnels and wait it out. We have everything we need down there."
"Nothing is perfect. Do you hear me? NOTHING! What if something failed down there?"
"Then we'd die."
The teacher crosses his hands and smiles.
The buzzer sounds signaling the end of class.
"Now remember. In one week the beginnings of the evacuation to the underground living area are to begin." .
Nearby two older gentlemen are sitting and rocking.
"It's almost that time again isn't it?"
A bunch of kids go running by.
"Slow down you youngsters. Got to take life slow."
Two of them stop to look.
"What do you know old geezer?"
"I know a lot. In particular about what is going to happen next week."
"Oh yeah mean that flare up or whatever the hell it is."
The first old man gets serious and leans forward.
"'The hell that is' is a very important event to this colony. It's a time to be glad that our ancestors were able to find a way to survive."
"Big deal. Why should we worry about it? We go underground for 20 years and that's it."
The old man starts to say something but lies back instead. The two kids take off again.
"They don't know anything. They don't know what the history books really say about what really happened 75 years ago."
"They wouldn't care anyway."
The two old men close their eyes and rest. Meanwhile at the main govern party base the leaders are preparing for the evacuation themselves.
"So you have double and triple checked the equipment down there to make sure it's working okay. We are going to have to live down there in a week. Can't take any chances."
"Yes I am sure.".
The first senator turns towards a soldier.
"Is everything ready for the evacuation of the citizens and any equipment we need to keep?"
"Yes sir! We have gathered all needed technology at the evac site."
"Good. Now we wait."
Outside the building a mother and her daughter are sitting enjoying the sunshine.
"Mommy, can I go play in the park?"
"Okay but don't be long."
A man walks up to the woman after her daughter runs to the nearby park.
Cheryl looks up at him with disgust.
"What do you want Kurt?"
"Hey can't a guy just say hello?"
"Yeah but you always have an ulterior motive for saying that."
"Where's your little girl?"
Cheryl stands up and gets an even madder look on her face.
"You stay away from her. I won't let you influence her any more."
"Hey hey. It was just an innocent question." Kurt waves his hands in front of himself.
"Nothing is innocent when it comes to you."
"You're still punishing me for that mistake i made?"
Cheryl ignores him. Cheryl looks towards the park and doesn't see her daughter anymore. She gets up and runs towards the park.
She finds her daughter off to the side playing in the grass. Cheryl is relieved until suddenly a flash of a vision of her daughter being burned. First the wall of fire then she is being burned on a stake envelops her. She shakes her head and runs over to her daughter.
"Tabitha. How many times do I have to tell you to stay in sight?"
"I'm sorry. I saw a beautiful new flower I had never seen before."
"It's okay. Mommy was just worried that's all."
Tabitha looks up at Kurt. "Hey Kurt."
"Hey little tabby.".
Cheryl quickly grabs up Tabitha and starts walking away from Kurt.
"This is the last time I am going to tell you this. Stay away from her."
One week later the evacuation is under progress. Suddenly an earthquake throws up a panic in the crowd and a mob rushes towards the hatch. Cheryl and Tabitha get separated.
"Tabitha? Where are you?"
Meanwhile Tabitha is pushed outside the group and knocked down. She loses sight of her mom.
"Tabitha? Where are you?"
But she is forced into the hole and can't get back out through the mob. Before she can try to get back out the rest of the people get through and the hatch is closed and locked.
"No! My little girl is still out there." Cheryl cries.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. I have to go out there and get her."
"Sorry mam but the hatch is locked and won't open up for 20 years."
The earthquake continues slightly and a couple of rocks fall onto the power generator, nicking it slightly. The crowd holds their breath hoping that their whole ceiling won't come down on them. But it goes away shortly. Cheryl dreams while knocked out. She sees her daughter bending down to pick a pretty flower. When she stands up she screams when she sees a wall of fire approaching her rapidly.
Cheryl wakes up with a start and finds herself in the main meeting room underground.
"Okay people. Officer Miller here will now read you your living assignments."
The Miller reads the list. Cheryl and Tabitha are among the first listed. After hearing her daughter's name Cheryl blanks out the rest of the list.
"Okay. A lot of you weren't alive the last time we did this. For those who were then still listen for new rules and to refresh your memory."
Cheryl half listens through the worries. But she has a hard time concentrating on it while thinking about her daughter. Her attention perks up with the last rule.
"The last but not least rule is a jailing offense. The hatch is locked securely but there are certain people here that could open it given a chance. If we catch you tampering with the hatch then you will be jailed."
That night Cheryl can't sleep. She hears a knocking coming from the adjacent room.
"Psst. Hey Cheryl."
"Who? Who is it?"
"It's me Kurt. Listen to me. The flare isn't going to happen until tomorrow morning. What would you say if I could help you get that hatch open and find your daughter before it's too late?"
"I'd say that would be good. But considering where the offer is coming from, no thanks."
An officer walks by on his rounds and Cheryl shuts up.
"Besides we'd be caught and I don't plan to spend time in a cell underground. It's claustrophobic down here as it is."
"I have a way to sneak past the guards and go unnoticed."
"And what little miracle would that be?"
"I have something that I brought with me to this colony. It's a personal cloaking device. It can cover two people close to each other for a period of time. All we need to do is knock out the guard while cloaked and we won't need it anymore."
Kurt takes out a small device smaller than his hand.
"I knew you had some forbidden items when you came here but I never imagined."
Another guard comes by.
"Do you know the penalty for being found with one of those?"
"So I get jailed. Who cares? As long as I can help you make up for my mistake."
Cheryl crosses her arms.
"It will take a lot more than that to make up for it."
Kurt leaves his room and opens Cheryl's room. They both sneak outside and duck down a corner as the officer goes down the hall again. When he passes they walk down the hall towards the main entrance.
"If we get caught breaking curfew then we'd get in enough trouble."
Kurt puts his finger up to his lips to shush Cheryl. He points to an area around the corner where the guard station is. He motions for Cheryl to get next to him. He then activates the device and they both disappear. The only sign that they still exist is a slight discoloration of the space they are in. They approach the guard area and are satisfied to see that he is fast asleep. Kurt quickly takes a stun gun and stuns the guard heavily. Shortly there after the two reappear again.
"Got it. There's the hatch over there."
"Do you have any idea how to open this?"
"Yeah. I saw a code that was entered when they locked it originally."
Kurt enters the code but instead of the hatch opening, an alarm goes off.
"Damn. It's a trap."
It doesn't take very long for several armed guards to show up and point their weapons at Cheryl and Kurt. They are both escorted to the main governing office. The lead senator looks at them both.
"Did you really think it would be that easy to open the hatch? That would be a threat especially after the flare up if anybody could open it."
The lead senator looks at Cheryl.
"I expected something like this Kurt but not you."
"My daughter is out there. She may be okay since the flare up hasn't happened yet."
"I'm sorry to hear that but there's nothing we can do. We can't open the hatch up until it's safe. Even if we wanted to. Even if we could it's too close to the flare to risk it."
Cheryl looks down.
"Now you Kurt. You are to be confined to a cell for one month. You Cheryl are to be let free but under close supervision. I understand your reasoning but we can't allow you to jeopardize the colony."
Cheryl looks down sadly. A bunch of guards take Kurt away.
"I'm sorry Cheryl. We tried."
Cheryl is let out and she returns to her quarters to cry.
One day later and hours after the flare-up all is well. But in the power room something is definitely not okay. The generator that was nicked by a big rock is shaking and making strange noises. Suddenly it explodes. All over the compound lights flicker then die. People start screaming and panicking. The officers try to calm people down but to no good. Finally the senator leader makes an announcement over the speakers.
"My people. Please do not be alarmed. One of the generators blew up. The other's should kick in soon."
But after 5 minutes the power does not come back on. The technicians are in the power room looking at the remaining generators looking for a clue as to why they aren't working. The senator leader walks in.
"Have you found the problem yet?"
"It appears that the cables connecting the remaining ones to the main power supply have been disconnected.".
"From the earthquake?"
"Maybe. But something is strange here. The edge of the power line seems to be frayed. Like someone pulled it out and cut the edge so it would not work again."
"So we have a saboteur." The senator says grimly.
The senator returns to the main hall and calms down the people again.
"Not to alarm you but it appears that the lack of backup power is the work of sabotage."
The crowds start to murmur among themselves looking around at the others.
"We don't have any suspects as of yet. The technician is now working on getting the cable fixed so the backup generators will work."
"So when's the power going to come back?"
The crowd roars in agreement. The senator waves the crowd to calm them down.
"The technicians are working on it now. The lead technicians assure me that it will be back up in an hour."
The crowd murmurs more and the teacher steps forward.
"I told you that nothing is perfect. We sit down here expecting technology to save us from the bogeyman. What if another generator blows up? Will we be able to still have enough power to survive?"
The crowd all get worked up about what he said. The senators waving cut them off.
"We have all the precautions we need. There is no need to worry."
"That's what your ancestor said 75 years ago."
That shuts everybody up. An old man steps forward.
"What do you know about 75 years ago?"
"I just know you aren't telling the everybody everything."
"The only thing that happened 75 years ago was the last flare up."
"Of course. That's common knowledge. But what isn't common knowledge except for the very few that are still alive from that time is what happened."
The senator motions to someone and two guards grab the old man.
"Don't pay any attention to him. He's delusional and probably senile. We have been keeping an eye on him for awhile now."
Someone steps forward.
"What happened 75 years ago?"
Another person steps forward.
"What happened 75 years ago?"
Soon almost everybody is asking it over and over.
The senator coughs after such an outburst.
"I swear. It's nothing but an old senile man's ramblings. There is nothing to worry about."
"It hasn't even been a year and we already lost one generator. Are we to believe that we can survive 20 years with this technology?"
The crowd gets even more worked up and starts to yell.
"Look. I don't know how to reassure you enough. You just have to trust me."
"I don't think that's going to be good enough."
The rest of the crowd yell in agreement and start advancing on the senator.
"Please, please. Can we have order?"
The crowd's attention is changed with a strange sound coming from the entrance.
The hatch starts to pull back.
"But that's impossible."
Security guards raise their weapons and point them at the entrance.
"Mommy? Are you there?"
The crowd screams in terror.
"It's a demon." One woman screams.
Tabitha steps towards the crowd confused.
"Now look. There must be a perfectly good explanation for this."
"Yeah and it is that she is a demon. For only a demon could survive the great fire."
Cheryl runs into the room hearing her daughter's voice.
"Oh Tabitha you're alright."
"You're the mother of this demon?" A man asks Cheryl.
"She's not a demon."
"I'm sorry mommy. When I couldn't get in I went to get that pretty flower then got lost. I finally figured out how to open the hatch."
"You survived out there during the flare up? Impossible."
"She came down from the fiery world above. She must be a demon."
"DEMON!" The crowd chants.
"Listen to me. I still say there must be another explanation."
"Why are you so convinced that she isn't a demon? Are you a demon too?"
"That's preposterous." The senator sputters.
"Then why won't you think that maybe I'm right?"
"There is another explanation. My daughter is not a demon."
"What are you saying? A human can survive the flare up?"
"Well maybe there wasn't a flare-up."
The crowd laughs.
"Yeah right. It happened two times before and now it simply decided not to happen?"
A technician comes out of the booth.
"The sensors show the surface is hot and radioactive. The flare-up happened alright. There's no way a human could have survived up there."
"You heard the man. Get her!"
The senator motions to the security guards and they start making order to the mob.
"Oh so this is it huh? Silence the truth?"
The crowd gets forced out of the main area and the ones that resist with force get put in cells.
"You won't get away with this."
Cheryl and Tabitha return to their room. Happy to be together again but confused as to why she survived the outside. Meanwhile a man is looking at them from afar. He walks to the cell area and talks to the antagonistic man.
"They're in their room. What do you want me to do?"
"Nothing for now. But when the time comes I will want to personally destroy that demon."
The man smiles.
"I'd do it myself but I'd just get in more trouble and wouldn't do my followers any good."
The man in the cell looks at his watch.
"It's about to go off now and soon this colony will know what true survival means."
The man walks away. The man in the cell looks out with an evil grin on his face. A day later the man gets let out and he begins to plot. He tells the intercom to send a message to have Cheryl and Tabitha meet him in the rec. area. When he arrives he prepares a sacrificial pyre then puts a cloth over it. He then calls his other cronies and waits for Cheryl to come. When she arrives they grab Tabitha.
"What are you doing?"
"Ridding this place of evil."
They place Tabitha onto the pike and tie her to it. Then they set fire to the wood at the bottom.
Tabitha screams as the fire touches her legs and hungrily goes up her body.
Cheryl tries to yell for security but they knock her out. When she wakes up she is tied to a chair in another room with a bunch of guys. She notices that a lot of them are the ones that were thrown in cells.
"May the court commence? The case is the colony vs. Cheryl Brown. The charge, harboring a demon."
"This is crazy and unlawful. You aren't authorized to do this."
"The authorities are weak. Including our so-called leader."
"Our leader however is strong and will pull this colony together."
"I move to declare her guilty."
They all say aye.
"I punish her to death by lead poisoning."
He approaches her with a gun and readies to pull the trigger. But a huge explosion throws off his aim. The power goes out again and everybody screams.
Suddenly a huge amount of security officers come in.
"Drop it all of you."
"No you drop it or I shoot her."
"Now calm down. There is no need to kill her. The one you wanted dead is dead. You don't need two murders on your sentence."
"It doesn't matter what I do. We are all going to die when the rest of the generators go out eventually."
"Another generator has obviously exploded. That only leaves 3 left. That isn't enough is it?"
"You don't know that. 75 years ago we survived the 20-year underground period just fine."
"Or so the records say. How do I know they weren't changed?"
"Yeah like that old man seemed to suggest. How do we know?"
"What about the people's testimony that was alive then?"
"They could have been scared to change their stories."
"You don't know what you are talking about. You are allowing your fear get the best of you. And all from some stupid story by a senile old man."
A younger man steps forward.
"I know that old man. He's not senile."
"If he isn't that he knew what he was talking about."
The lead security officer fingers his weapon nervously.
"Aw hit a nervous button on you eh."
"You don't know what you are talking about."
The officer draws his gun but his nervousness allows the others to jump him and the other officers.
"It's time to find out the truth."
Cheryl is still sitting aside scared.
"Come with us if you want to know the truth. I get the feeling that we are all being lied to about more stuff than we know."
Cheryl shakes her head.
"Leave her. We need to get out of here and find that old man." Another man says nervously.
The first guy takes a gun and loads it.
"And free our leader."
They tie up the soldiers and run into the cellblock of the security area. They find the cell with the old man and open it up.
"We want to know what happened 75 years ago."
"I knew someone would see through the fog."
The old man stands up and follows them to a secret room and they lock the door. Meanwhile the locked up man is fingering another device.
"One more should do it."
He pushes a button and a countdown starts. In the generator room a technician makes a discovery.
"Sir I found evidence of a bomb."
The senator looks and frowns.
"You are saying someone in this colony deliberately destroyed this one?"
The technician nods his head.
"Then we have a madman among us. Can we survive with only 3 generators?"
The technician thinks.
"We will need to cut back but yes, barely. We can't lost another one though so we need to stop this."
The senator notices a faint glare off of the faceplate of the 4th generator. He bends down and notices a readout on the third.
"Damn another bomb has been set and it's going off in 10 minutes."
Meanwhile in Kurt's cell he is moping.
"Good thing these fields are powered by multiple generators. Or you might have escaped that time." A guard gripes on the way past.
Kurt smirks at the guard and then goes back to moping. He snaps out of it when he hears commotion outside. A bunch of armed men show up and snaps the guard's neck. They go nearby and seem to free a prisoner.
The men stop in front of Kurt's cell.
"What do you think you are doing?"
"We know the truth now. This place is a deathtrap. We are going to try to escape and find another unexplored area of this place to hide in."
The man holds up a backpack of stuff.
"We have stuff to survive on."
"You're crazy. They will find you and even if they don't, that's not going to help you survive for 20 years."
"We can sneak back in and steal stuff."
"Take me. I can help you. I have a cloaking device you can use to help steal."
The men look at each other.
"Okay fine. But if you double cross us then you will die immediately."
The men turn the cell off and Kurt rushes outside.
"I just hope that the colony will be okay with the generators exploding."
The leader smiles.
"That's my doing. Well I didn't destroy the first one. Just made sure that the power wouldn't come back on right away. Just to scare the people of this place."
"You are responsible for the second one exploding?"
"And soon the third."
In he generator room time is running out. The countdown is down to 1 minute.
"Are you close to disarming it?"
"Not close enough I'm afraid."
"You have to. This colony is finished if you don't."
The technician looks up at the senator.
"Oh thanks I really work well under pressure."
Back at the cellblock Kurt is staring in horror.
"You're mad. We will die with the others eventually."
"No we won't. Something similar happened 75 years ago. They were down to 2 generators."
The leader shakes his head.
"Pieces of crap. They weren't sabotaged that time. Just a work of shoddy making. Anyway it looked hopeless. The colony dissolved into every man for himself. Only about 50 percent of the population came back out. Luckily it happened 3 months before it was safe to come up."
"That's your idea of survival?"
Kurt nearly throws up in revulsion.
"Its time people find out the truth and find out what real survival is."
Kurt gasps as the indicator on he remote says 15 seconds. He lunges for it and knocks it out of Kurt's hands. The remote hits the ground and shatters.
"No! You son of a bitch!"
The leader lunges at Kurt but it's broken up as security shows up and subdues them all. Soon after a meeting occurs between the senator and the other high-ranking officers.
"We found out that he was the saboteur. The main antagonist of the riot."
"He was accusing us of having unsafe technology keeping us alive."
"He wanted to make trouble. I think he had some kind of mental illness or something."
Back at Cheryl's she is looking at the picture of her daughter and crying. After this incident the colony is never quite the same the remaining 19 years of underground exile.
19 years later the evacuation of the underground happens and finishes. When they arrive at the surface they are all shocked to see that nothing's changed. A murmur spreads through the crowd.
"We will look into this and find out why the area around us wasn't destroyed by the flare up."
Later at the main office the senators are all talking about things. Cheryl is coming out of the main office and stops by the door to listen.
"Please tell us the results of your investigation."
"I have troubling news. It appears that there was not a flare up."
A murmur rises among the other senators.
"Do you have any idea why?"
"Not yet. I need to do some more studying to figure that out."
Cheryl is outraged by this and runs in the room.
"Murders. You I bet you knew this and you still let them hate my daughter. You indirectly killed her."
"You can't be in here. We did not know."
"Are you going to tell everybody?"
"Not till we know more."
"I don't believe you. I think you are never going to tell people cause it's a lie that you didn't know ahead of time. Why else did you imprison that old man. Was he too close to the truth?"
"Get her out of here."
"I am going to make sure everybody knows your dirty little secret."
"On second thought. Jail her. For resisting arrest.".
"You can't keep the truth forever."
"She's right you know."
A day later Cheryl is let out and notices another meeting and is more discreet this time.
"So you've found out what happened?"
"Yes and I am afraid that it's very bad news. It appears that our sun is going super nova."
The senators all sit in stunned silence.
"Are you sure?"
Cheryl runs out of the building and starts to yell to everybody about what she heard. The senators saw her eavesdropping on her and sent security after her.
"It's over. Our sun is going super nova."
Back at the main office the security officer reports that she has been dealt with.
"We must tell the public now. Enough people heard her. Too many to contain."
"Is it at all possible to make a colony ship to evacuate the planet in time?"
"Then it's over."
"Maybe there's one chance."
They talk among themselves for awhile. 5 days later a bunch of colonists are around a launch pad watching a strange device being put on a rocket. They all murmur about what it could be but nobody have a clue. After it is installed the main senator steps up to the platform and starts to talk.
"Yes as you have heard our sun is going nova and there's no way to evacuate in time. But there is one hope in our survival. I should say survival of our memories. I believe that no matter what happens to us, if our memories survive for someone else to witness, we will never be completely gone. I'd like to introduce to you memory prime."
The crowd points and talks among themselves.
"We have put our memories from the best of the colony on this. Not just journals and vid's but actual memories. We will send this probe into space in hope that someday somebody will find it and relive our existence so we won't be forgotten."
"But can it escape from this galaxy before the nova wave gets it?"
"Yes cause the nova won't happen for several months now. We have equipped this with the best drive technology that was left over from when our ancestors arrived here."
The rocket launches after a countdown.
"Go mighty rocket. Make sure we will never be forgotten."
Suddenly the world goes white and when it fades it changes to on board a space ship. A strange man has a headset on him and he takes it off.
"What was on that disk?"
"Not sure. It appeared to be visions from a doomed colony."
"You mean like videos and writings?"
"No actual visions. It's hard to explain. It felt like I was actually there. I felt what they felt."
"Weird. Let me try it."
The guy hands the headset over to the crewmate. The crewmate puts it on his head and turns it on. After a few moments he takes if back off.
"I am not getting anything."
The guy goes over and takes out the disk and puts it into the computer. Some stuff comes onto the screen and deepens the frown of the crewmate.
"But that's impossible. I saw something."
"I don't know. Maybe it was supposed to be viewed only once."
"Scan for what is at these coordinates."
"Where did you get these?"
"Dunno. Just came in my head. Maybe I got them from the visions."
The crewmate shrugs and does the scanning.
"There's nothing there but a black hole. But there seems to be indications that there was once a system there but along time ago."
"MEMORIES." Echoes in his head over and over.
The world switches back to the colony after the rocket launch.
"That's it. Now we wait."
6 months later the nova wave is approaching the planet. Everybody is preparing. Families are huddling together crying.
MEMORIES ARE WHAT MAKE A CIVILIZATION TRULY IMMORTAL. MEMORIES CAN SURVIVE ANYTHING. EVEN TOTAL ANNIHILATION.