Kickoff written by WillMorgan

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Fifty years in cryo. This can't be earth.

'They said it. I remember it clearly. You'll be dead, practically, and the first thing you'll feel is the heat. It'll melt the ice in your veins. You'll wake up hot, burning, scared. You'll see fire through the glass as the pod comes in at more then forty five thousand miles an hour. Brace your knees, or they'll snap, they said. Ha, they obviously never had to move joints that had been frozen for half a century.

I braced anyway. It hurt like all hell hitting the thermosphere. Like a brick wall at a million miles an hour. Damn techs, think they know everything. Probably all dead by now anyway. Not that I'd ever see them again. Or anyone for that matter. XLT006-P. Catchy name for a planet. This was a one way ride. Potential home for the continued human race - an earth like planet. Me and a hundred other 'intergalactic explorers'. Ha, what a joke. Prime candidate they said. Sorry your family died in that car crash. But hey wait, here's a job offer. A chance to see the stars and be the first
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human to set foot on what could be the new earth. The next earth. A place like earth, but better.

Hmph. Clock in the pod says 51 years, 4 months, 22 days. Seems about right.

Retro thrusters kicked in. That's a good sign. Gut wrenching jerk? Must be the parachutes. Hmm, they said there'd be nausea, disorientation. Haven't felt that yet. Guts must still be frozen. No - wait, there's the bile. Great, now everything stinks. Fifty year fermented vomit. A fine vintage.

Least the ice is melting off the screen. What can we see. Green. Always a good sign. Is that an ocean?

The pod touched down with a crunch in the gravelly ground and the hiss of decompression filled the cabin. The wash of air was blissful, like the first real breath in a lifetime. He laughed. Well, technically it was. His ears were ringing. Singing. Or were they? What's that. No, can't be. No way. Birds? Birdsong? Seriously?

The straps unclipped and I fell forward. Jesus that's cold! Metal. Who's idea was it to put a metal
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floor in here. Idiots.

I was up in seconds. Unsteady, but up. Couldn't wait to get to the door.

Handle's cold too, mechanism frozen. Doesn't matter. No way I'm staying in there one second more. I drop my shoulder and force it open with a creak. Steam everywhere, or decompressed gas - who cares. My feet hit dirt, grass. I can't believe it. I'm confused, amazed, emotional. My eyes fill with tears. They said to us that it was only a guess - a calculated estimation or something, about the atmospheric composition of the air. I checked my wrist readout. Seventy eight percent nitrogen. Twenty one oxygen. Perfect. The mist clears and I look up. I feel my heart practically stop. There, between what can only be pine trees, I can see a city. And not just any city. A city I could never forget or mistake the shape of. It's Seattle. I know it can't be, but it is. There's not a doubt in my mine. That's my home town, the place I grew up, met Sharon, had Tom and Eliza. It's our home - or it was. I don't
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understand though, it looks so...'

'Different?' He asked.

I shake my head.

'Na, looks the same. I remember thinking fifty years should have changed some things. A lot of things. But yet, here it is, the same as it ever was. Well, not exactly the same. '

'How do you mean?'

I shrug. 'Don't know, really. Hard to say. It's just not quite how I remember. And I've got a pretty good memory. Like you, for example - the way you sit, the way you speak. It's close, but it's not... right.'

'Me? I'm not sure I follow.'

I crack a smile. 'You don't remember me, do you?'

He stiffens in the chair.

'We've been through about a hundred hours of this together. After I lost them. I know you, doc. We know eachother. Or at least, I know the doctor that you're supposed to be. And if you really were him, then you'd know me too, wouldn't you?'

The doctor shifts on his seat, flicking back through his notes. 'I'm not sure you know where you are...'

I smile back. 'Hmph, me neither.'
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