08 - A New World

No one knows exactly how it happened or even precisely what happened, but the important things is that it did. When all others had been vaporized and shields protecting the thousand refugees on Scrao were rapidly failing, a series of extraordinary events happened. First, everyone saw a pure, intense light, brighter than they could imagine. It was bright enough that it rendered all unconscious. The next thing they knew, they were no longer in the flaming inferno, but rather a cold, damp cave with strange glowing rocks in the wall.

Everyone was extremely disoriented and had partial amnesia of the incident and their prior lives. They still remembered their language perfectly and most aspects of their fundamental identities, but all pre-incident memories were faded, like dreams. Although their memories seemed like those of dreams, the giant cavern they found themselves in didn't seem any more real.

The most immediately obvious anomaly was that the glowing rocks inexplicably spelled out the unknown word REFOLA in 150-foot-tall writing, clearly indicating an unnatural setting. The next anomaly noticed was that the glowing rocks were far colder than the surrounding rocks; they should have been at least slightly warmer from the energy wasted as heat from the inefficiencies of any light-generating system. Also, touching the glowing rocks made them glow even brighter, as if they were converting touch to light.

As the people made their way to the glowing word, it was soon discovered that there was a tunnel under the F which was full of the seemingly-magical glowing stones in convenient-to-hold sizes, allowing everyone to bring with them a light source with which to examine the next area.

Past the tunnel was a chamber full of mist where the second anomalous rock was found; the anti-gravity stone. The closer one was to this cavern's floor, the less gravity one felt. Those touching the ground actually felt gravity reverse and soon floated off, only to have gravity start returning to normal and forcing them gradually back down. At the far end of this cavern was a dry area with normal gravity and a huge pile of rocks, conveniently-sized as the previous ones. When people took rocks from the dry pile into the main misty area, the anti-gravity effect stayed with them as they floated from the floor; water made the rocks reverse gravity!

Using this anti-gravity effect, the people were able to reach the ceiling in which they found a path to the next cavern, which was rather boring. The third cavern was extremely dry, was only about 10 feet high, and had a very clear exit at the far end through which everyone could see sunlight. By the time they reached the end of the cavern, their anti-gravity rocks had dried off enough that they were no longer walking on the ceiling, but the floor. Gravity slowly shifting back to normal was quite convenient, though, considering where the exit led: outside, where the third anomaly was noticed.

As they exited the cave system at the bottom of a cliff, they found themselves in a grassy plain with a bountiful variety of both flora and fauna. Out of all the possible places to appear, truly this was the most convenient. However, the people soon realized just how inconvenient natural paradises can be when they reflexively checked their communicators for service after leaving the last cavern; all their electronic devices were gone!

Eventually, after the earlier disorientation faded, the people became acclimated to the new world and started rebuilding civilization. It would never be the same, though, and they had forever lost what once was. Although they retained muddled memories of the previous civilization, there was no proof and history soon became legend, legend became myth, and myth became forgotten.

However, in the midst of the thousand disoriented survivors from Scrao, there were those who did have proof and that proof was 150 feet tall. The REFOLA team survived, remembered, and still had a mission. No matter how much of a paradise this new world seemed to be, there would always be some threat. There would always be a need to Rescue Existence From Opposing Lifeforms' Attacks. The AI had saved them, but not their technology, so they had to redevelop it, from scratch. As night approached, the members of the REFOLA team regrouped at the glowing REFOLA wall to figure out what happened and to decide how to best save civilization from future threats.

Next: What Happened