The sun shined through even the darkest of corners, and it was magnficient. She was outside, hanging laundry on this wondrous day. Perfect weather, perfect wind and humidity, the stains on her sheets were gone. She partied a little too much a couple of nights ago, becoming quite inebriated. At a certain point that night as she slept, she was simply too drunk to get up and go to the bathroom.
Her name was Cassandra. Most people, when they first meet her, wonder how she got so far ahead in life, working as a researcher for the government. Their thoughts led to something rather perverted. She was quite a sight indeed, but it wasn’t her looks that got her that far. She was intelligent, far more than the average person to boot. Her intelligence quotient results she received a couple of years back read an astonishing 163, and thanks to the MacArthur foundation, she was awarded over six hundred thousand dollars in research funds.
Ironically, she turned the grant down, claiming it was a form of mentalism, and wanted to earn the money herself. So after graduating with a masters in Biochemistry, she applied to work under Professor Richton in his Cryogenics experiment. She didn’t deny that her looks helped her get the job, as much as she would’ve preferred it her smarts, but she knew she was doing something groundbreaking for the world and that was enough.
Soon the stasis chambers would be complete, and it would be time to look for test subjects to experiment with the capabilities of cryogenics in conjunction with the protein that prevented the crystallization is cells and liquefaction of the muscles and major organs.
“Alright team, listen up. We’re nearing the end of this project, and you’ve all done wonderful work for us,” Lieutenant Colonel Harrison stated.
“That’s right, and while it may be a little premature, I felt it prudent we celebrate our achievements,” Professor Richton exclaimed, holding up a fancy dark green bottle with a cork on top. "My father gave this to me, and I’ve been saving it for a special occasion. Perfecting human cryogenics, I think that’s pretty damn special, don’t you?"He said, popping the top off the bottle. It fizzed above the neck, splattering around a bit but he caught most of it in a few glasses he had on a table. “Well done everyone, very impressive work from all of you.” He raised his glass in honor for his team, they all raised their glasses back.
As the small office party ensued, Cassandra approached Professor Richton for a small private moment. They stood over the balcony, watching the sun set that evening. She slid her hand over to his, coupling them together, and it seemed a different sort of chemistry was in the air as well. James may have hired her for her looks at the time, but in the two years they’ve been working together, he felt a much more deep seated affection for her over time; and she to him as well.
“I overheard you and Mark talking about who’s gonna go into the chambers, the president said it had to be volunteers right?” She asked.
“Hmph, snooping around again I see?” he chuckled. “Well, yes. It’s going to be hard to find any though. I’m positive the formula’s will work and the subjects won’t die, but it’s still literally taking away time from someone. It’s a hard thing to actually want to do.”
“I’m going to do it,” she exclaimed. “I’ll be your first volunteer.”
“But…but you can’t. Why on earth would you do that?”
She paused, smiling to him. “Because I can. It’s not like the test is going to go on indefinitely right? Just a month or so.”
“Are you sure this is what you want,” he said, with a very obvious worry look washed over his face. “What about your family, and friends?”
“They won’t notice. I get lost in my work so often I forget to call them or visit every now and then. I won’t be home for Hanukkah or Christmas, but I’ll have plenty more holidays I can celebrate with them. This is more important. When we confirm this works, just imagine what we could do for people.”
They remained silent for some time later that evening. She loved him and all the work he was doing for humanity. That night, just a week or so before the chambers were finalized, they made love for the first time. It was a romantic evening in every sense of the word. Candles were lit, the room smelled of roses and other flowers, soft jazz music played in the background. He gave her a gift that night, the kind placed in the tiny velvet boxes, it was a necklace with a celtic symbol woven around a small emerald. “Just like those pretty eyes of yours,” he said, as he wrapped it around her neck, admiring the jewel on her.
They were glad it was the weekend and they had a day off the next day, they were still exhausted. Unfortunately, the day off didn’t seem to last as long as they hoped it would, as soon they were done with their date and heading to their respective homes.
She called her mother the next day though, knowing she’s been needing to do so for a while.
“Hey ma, how’s it been?” She asked.
“Cassy? Oh it’s been ages since I heard from ya, you know you should call a little more often, maybe send me and your poor old father a card or somethin’ once in a while.”
“Sorry about that, I’ve been busy. Real busy,” she half lied. “Dad’s watching Jeopardy right now isn’t he?” She asked, hearing the familiar sound in the background.
“Yeah, you know he loves that show even if he never gets a single answer right,” she joked.
Cassandra chuckled, “Tell him the next answer is ‘Who is George Washington Carver.’”
The conversation paused as Mrs. Kavanagh told her husband the next answer on Jeopardy. Then she heard some laughing in the background, right before her mother got back on the phone. “You were right, and better yet, his guess was wrong.”
“Sounds about right, always fun to mess with dad every now and then,” she giggled. In a moment of seriousness though, she started to tell her mom about the project she’s been working on and how it’s been going.
“Listen, I want to volunteer for the testing,” She said. She had to pull the phone away from her ear as her mother shouted hysterically.
“You what?! Where did you get the idea that this would be alright young lady?! I have half a mind to come up their and get you away from that…that experiment myself!”
“Mom…don’t worry, it’s only gonna be for a month. And nothing bad is gonna happen, I promise,” she said attempting to console her mother.
“Oh, and what about Hanukkah? Christmas, hell what about your birthday? You want to be frozen up for that too?!”
“I know, I know. I’ll miss a lot, but this is run by the military. They have deadlines and procedures, they’re not just gonna change the testing date because of my birthday.”
“Fine…fine, do whatever you want, not like you care about what we think…” her mother muttered.
“Oh come on mom, it’s not like that I swear. Please…please don’t be mad?” She half asked half pleaded.
The phone clicked, her mother hung up on her. As disheartened as Cassandra was, she knew it was her mother’s way of dealing with things. Eventually, she’d see her way to her daughter’s side. She glanced up at the clock, “Shit! I have to be at work in five minutes!” She almost shouted, bolting out the door and to the lab.
She rushed into the office, throwing her lab-coat on and trying to get to her station to begin working as fast as possible. Unfortunately, the Lieutenant Colonel stopped her, “Glad you could finally join us Ms. Kavanagh.”
“Sorry, I made a phone call to my mother and it went on a little longer than I thought,” she explained. It was an honest, but in her profession, lame excuse.
The Lt. Col. scoffed at this, but ultimately let it slide considering her impressive track record. “Alright, Ladies and Gentlemen. The machines are done and only need to be configured. I have orders to test them as soon as they are ready, so lets finish them today people.”
Mark was a bit of a hardass at times, but otherwise a genuine kind of guy, and considering he’s supporting the project and using his military pull to ensure it goes off without a hitch, Cassandra knew she and the rest of the team, including the inventor Richton himself, owed him quite a lot. They didn’t complain or groan or anything, and the work was indeed finished that day. The machines were finely calibrated, the protein formula was ready and being connected to the machine, it was all perfect.