Mixed Drinks

by Diane Brady

The surviving six, four men and two women, had waited roughly 12 years in the school's underground bunker, and now their perseverance would soon be tested as they readied the spacecraft for departure; the estimated year was 2084, and they were growing anxious to leave the once green planet. A mathematician, two medical researchers, a graduate electrical engineer, a poet laureate and a prominent U.S. historian worked silently with final preparations. The war was sudden, for peace had dominated the world for almost 60 years, but when anger erupted between members of the World Council over who would succeed The Grand Master, someone reacted carelessly, and before it could be stopped, nuclear explosions, strategically preset, detonated on every continent. Details of the upcoming launch were embedded into the group's collective consciousness so when the moment arrived they acted in concert, flawlessly, without emotion and remained focused until they rose well above the toxic atmosphere and were safely headed towards deep space and other worlds. "All systems OK," said the engineer as he flipped switches and then removed his helmet; "It's about time we celebrate, don't you think?" After all the years of planning, all the years of fantasizing how and when they would escape, the arguments they endured over the design and what to name their vehicle, the poet laureate stood to offer her blessings with an eloquence none had remembered hearing on earth; when she finished she handed each colleague a plastic bottle of water, opened a foil packet and poured the blood-based red powder into their containers; "Drink," she said, raising her bottle; and so the surviving six - four men and two women who had gone to work at the university one beautiful April morning and found themselves inside a nightmare before noon - swirled and mixed the bloody cocktail and then together savored the elixir they hoped would bring eternal life.

6S - C3

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