Entering into this ‘Bubble’ room was unlike anything he had ever imagined. All around him was a 360 degree view of the world outside. It was black, decaying and falling apart. He looked around for any survivors and saw a woman cowering under the remains of what must have been a building at some point. She was holding something close to her chest, it looked a lot like a baby and it was eerily still. He turned away immediately. He didn’t need to see that.
Inside the Bubble was a large assortment of futuristic looking machines. Three men were sitting at a set of computers over at the far end of the bubble. They were talking quietly to each other and busy doing something with the machines, though what, he couldn’t see. The rest of the machines in the room lay empty and discarded. He wandered over to the largest machine which sat in the middle of the room, a large circular glass plate with a hole in the middle, for people to sit in presumably, stared innocently at him. It looked like something out of Minority Report. He went to touch it but then thought better of it and backed away.
Adam turned round to see a woman in her twenties who looked vaguely familiar sitting, propped up against the glass wall.
“They’ve saved you now but if you break it then they may just chuck you out with the others.”
Her voice was slightly slurred and she held a bottle of wine in her hand.
“You must be Christiana.” He said.
“Ding ding ding,” Christiana said. “And you win the prize.”
Adam smiled. This woman was clearly getting to the point of wasted.
“Come, sit.” Christiana said, patting the empty space beside her.
Adam did as he was told.
“We have already met.” Christiana said. “Last night. Although you were completely off your face by the time I got to you. But I do remember that drunk me and drunk you had a pretty good time.”
Adam searched the recesses of his brain and, in amongst the fog, remembered vaguely sitting next to her and talking to her.
“I can only apologise for whatever I did.” He said.
“There was some flirting,” Christiana said. “And some light petting at times but I didn’t mind because, well… you’re Adam Gammon.”
“So people keep telling me.” Adam said. “Not that that means anything anymore.”
“Ah,” Christiana said. “This is true. But you never know! Perhaps there’s a secret film studio around here, they seem to have everything else.”
“Yup.” Christiana said. “I was given the grand tour this morning. You’ll be pleased to know that this place comes complete with pretend outside gardens and fields, you know for crops and smoking breaks, and an actual zoo!”
Adam looked at her, shocked. “Shut up, they do not have a zoo.”
“I kid you not, Adam Gammon.” Christiana said. “The people who built this place went proper biblical on this Armageddon. Two by two by two… okay so they may have cheated a little and got more than two on a few animals we need for sustenance and such… did you know there is a whole underground lair completely devoted to cows?”
“How the hell have they managed that?” Adam asked.
“It’s huge!” Christiana said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if this place goes underground most of London.” She looked down at her half-drunk bottle of wine. “Want some?” She asked.
“I’m good thanks,” Adam said. “Still recovering from last night and… well… this.”
“You’ll change your mind.” Christiana said, taking a swig from her bottle. “You’d have to be sick and twisted to watch this without drinking.”
Adam looked around again. The cowering woman was still there, crying into her bundle. Christiana followed his gaze.
“She’s been sitting there for about two hours now.” She said. “I’m pretty sure the baby’s been dead for longer.”
“Shit.” Adam said under his breath.
“Tell me about it. I don’t know where she came from. Believe it or not, all of this is a hell of a lot better than what it was last night. I’m surprised anyone survived.”
“And the air’s toxic?” Adam asked.
“Yup. Some meteor went and skimmed across our atmosphere, shooting down a bunch of toxic air that is now killing every single person.”
“She doesn’t seem that affected.” Adam commented. “I mean, shouldn’t she be gasping for air and stuff?”
“Apparently it works a lot slower than that. Pretty soon she’ll start seizing and then screaming and then will just die.”
“How do you know?”
“You see that man lying on the floor next to her?”
“Happened to him half an hour ago.”
“Shit.” Adam repeated.
“Yeah.” Christiana said, raising her bottle into the air. “Lucky us.”
She took another swig and threw her head back against the glass, closing her eyes. A lone tear fell down the side of her cheek. She shook her head suddenly and opened her eyes once more, keeping them fixed on outside.
“Sorry,” she said. “I know I seem like a crazy person for sitting in here, it’s just I can’t bring myself to sit in there when all of this is going on.”
“I don’t think you’re crazy for doing this.” Adam said, and he knew he meant it. “I’m actually surprised there aren’t more people in here.”
“They’ve come in and out in drips and drabs all day, but none of them manage to stay for longer than a few minutes. It’s all too traumatic to look at.”
“What’s all this stuff?” Adam asked, gesturing to the equipment in the room.
“It looks like it’s straight out of Star Trek don’t it?” Christiana said. “People are calling this room the Bubble but I like to call it the Enterprise.”
“What does it do?”
“Idiot’s guide is, that big glass thing in the middle controls these weird pod machines that come out of the ground. You see that big lump of metal out there?”
Adam followed Christiana’s pointed finger to see what looked like a massive metal rock.
“People get into the pods and then get telepathically linked to the metal which turns into these huge statues that walk around and do stuff. That glass plate controls the whole thing. You know who designed and made this?”
“That kid that looks like she’s barely out of her teens, Daniela.”
“Daniela made this?”
“I know right? Shocked the crap out of me as well.” She smacked Adam’s arm as she remembered something else. “And if that isn’t enough to get your head around, look over there. Those giant tiger looking animals?”
Adam looked and saw the dead body of a massive cat.
“That’s a tiger?” He said. “It looks way too big to be that.”
“Ha!” Christiana barked. “You couldn’t be farther from the truth. That ‘tiger’ was an average household cat 48 hours ago.”
What the hell? “How?”
“Something about the toxic air affecting the animals differently than us. It’s been seeping into our atmosphere in small pockets apparently for months. They were too small and too diluted by the time they reached the ground to do any permanent damage on us but the animals? They’ve been affecting them for ages. That’s why all those pets were being sent back because they were maiming their owners.”
“So, how long have people known about this?” Adam asked.
Christiana pursed her lips shut, tears brimming in her eyes. She took one more swig of her wine, finishing it off and turned her gaze to his.
“4 years.” She said. “Congratulations Adam, you have officially been classified as more important than everyone else on this planet. Well, in this country anyway.”
“Other countries have these places as well?”
Christiana shrugged. “Connor says that Kelly doesn’t know, it was decided early on, that each country would do their own thing. The only thing they agreed on was that, no matter what was decided, people wouldn’t be told prior to it happening.”
“But, why?” Adam asked. “I don’t understand why they didn’t just make a bunch of these places and save as many people as possible.”
Christiana turned her attention to her hands, fiddling with a button on her shirt.
“Apparently it was thought that there was no way that everyone could be saved so they had a choice to either save as many people as possible and shove them all underground for an undetermined amount of time, or to save a limited amount of people and put all the funding into making sure that it is the safest and most comfortable place for them to live in. Our country chose the latter.”
“How long are we expected to stay in here?” Adam asked, his heart now in his mouth. He hadn’t even thought of this before now.
“No one knows for sure,” Christiana said, her gaze still downcast. “But they do know that it will be at least 400 years before the air outside is habitable again.”
Adam felt his head go light, this couldn’t be right. 400 years? But that meant…
“Christiana, are we all going to die here without ever being outside again?”
Christiana looked straight into his eyes then, her mouth a thin line. She held his gaze for a few moments before she spoke.
“Do you want that drink now?”
Adam didn’t move, he just looked into Christiana’s eyes.
“Yes, please.” He said.