There are a lot of things they don’t tell you about cold sleep. Firstly that while you are in it you do indeed dream and that the dreams you have are quite vivid. There is this never ending cycle of dreaming about whatever you dream about and then it repeats to the point where you start to feel nothing. You fall off a building and because you have fallen off the building seven hundred times you don’t even feel fear anymore. You walk naked in crowded rooms and think nothing of it because you have done it a hundred times.
Being naked is the other thing they do not tell you about. The extreme cold of cryogenic sleep makes everything pretty brittle. No clothing will survive it and your hair is even under the frosty possibility of being so brittle it just breaks off when you come out of cold sleep. Once I was told that, I headed down to the local salon and had them pretty much shave my body clean of hair and cut the hair on my head really short. It mortified my father who loved my long, to the middle of my back, silver locks but I figured it would safe the hassle latter of losing it anyway. Then again he was against me being a lab rat for the Anagathics Research Project in the first place.
The Anagathics Research Project was about longevity. The whole point was to extend lifespan by subjecting the body to a series of injections of various kinds that modified the body to resist the effects of aging more aggressively. It promised the ability to live pretty much free of disease of all types and increased recovery from injury. For women the appeal was also that you would probably never need a wrinkle cream, cosmetic surgery or a diet pill again as the metabolism of the body is changed at the genetic level so that you body is completely efficient with its resources. For guys the pitch was more about drinking beer with no beer gut and having sex all day long but it was vanity or ego being appealed in the end. The ARP didn’t really care as long as they got the lab rats.
I suppose I shouldn’t really be questioning the morality of the ARP as my own reason for entering the project and being one of said lab rats was to get out of a relationship. I came to the decision to subject myself to this mad scientist experiment while lying naked on my back on a blanket after a round of sex with my then boyfriend Jarvis. He had done his usual five minutes of work and left me less than satisfied. It didn’t help that he was definitely a bit of a narcissist and had the habit of talking about himself in the third person and telling me that he felt my only real assets as a woman were ‘my nice round ass and my perfect sized tits’. The man had such a way with words. In that moment, while staring up at the stars while he was pulling on his jumpsuit and I was thinking about how I felt soiled from his presence, I decided I wanted to get away from Jarvis forever.
We had been dating for many years but then again choice of dates was limited. Regulus III is a good sized colony world it however is only in its third generation of colonists so the general school we all attended had a class size of about twenty for each class. There were only eight guys in mine and only Jarvis was in my social status. I mean I am the daughter of the Planet Manager which meant nice long days reading and watching halo-vids most of the day when I wasn’t studying in school. Daddy spoiled me but I don’t think it went to my head. It just meant that my classmates were always a little jealous and Jarvis was the only guy who’s parent were of the same social rank – his mother was the commander of the police and military force.
My class was made of good people but when it came to schooling they all seemed to specialize in their knowledge. Jarvis worked on being a top notch pilot so he could pursue his dream of being a starship captain. One of my girlfriends spent all her days studying biology. Me? I guess I became a jack of all trades. I could pilot OK. I could also do basic maintenance on a Stardrive, Power plants and computer hardware. I could drive a ground car pretty well and I took a survival course where I did better than anyone in my class in first aid. My father showed me how to shoot slug thrower and laser pistols with decent accuracy. I like learning new things whenever I could. When I graduated general school I had good grades and a lot of varied knowledge but the main thing for me was I had reached the age of my majority and could make my own decisions.
My first majority decision was to enter the ARP as a lab rat. This meant a full year in cold sleep as they did all the injections and processed the genetic modifications. I knew Jarvis was too much of an egotist to wait for me. Once he heard what I was going to do he made a lot of promises to wait for me or come back in a year to pick me up but I knew it was all BS. As soon as I was on ice, he would board the starship that went to the academy on Pergus II and he would be soon engaged in his short term lovemaking with some cadet in a matter of months. Good riddance. For me I simply embraced the prospect I would no longer be his presence and I might live to be three hundred years old or older if the experiment went well.
Dad was skeptical and tried for days to convince me to reconsider but I held firm. I love my dad but sooner or later you have to do what you want to do. Dad would simply have to let his only little girl go. He seemed sad and I felt bad about that but I also knew the advantage of a extremely long life was too good to pass up.
The morning came for me to report in to the Anagathics Research Project and my father kissed me goodbye and hugged me so tightly I though he might never let go but he did and I made the short trip into the city and the research labs. Jarvis was still planet side but he didn’t even come by to wish me well. Most likely he was already banging some other girl. Most of the rest of my friends were busy getting ready to leave for the academy so I walked in by myself. The receptionist greeted me warmly and ushered me into the prep room.
In the prep room I pretty much just discarded my clothes as the doctors, nurses and scientists poked, prodded, injected and otherwise groped my body in awkward and uncomfortable manners to prepare me for cold sleep. By the time I was done I had a tube in every orifice my body possessed (for a girl this is a little embarrassing) except my mouth and rows of injector modules on my legs, arms and neck. They then coated my body with a jell that protects the skin from frostbite and led me to what would be my bed for the next year.
It looked like a life pod on a starship except it had far more tubes and power cords going to it. It was on the end of a row of about ten similar pods which seemed to be unoccupied. The hatch was open and inside was a comfortable looking couch like bed. I knew once I got inside the hatch would close and the space around me would be filled with a fluid that would be slowly reduced in temperature until I was encased in an ice cube. Then all the process would begin. They had tried this process without the cold sleep but the person went mad from the pain. Cold sleep eliminated that problem for the most part. At least so far no one remembered the pain of the process.
I stepped in the pod and laid down. One of the nurses said some reassuring words about one of them would be there to see my in a year when I woke up. I knew that the chance of my dying was about fifteen percent so all I did was smile back. They hooked all the tubes up to their corresponding ones inside the pod and then put breather mask on my face over my mouth and then taped my azure eyes shut. I nodded when they asked if I was ready and then I heard the hatch close. I felt the cryogenic fluid enter the pod and wrap itself around me until I felt like I was floating in it. Then it got cold and my long repeating dreams began.