Project #0176

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*This story is a collaboration between myself and Tony2metal, a narrator on YouTube.  A link to his channel can be found below.*



      "Welcome, 0176 to the program!"

      I suddenly gasped for air as I woke up in a thick-glassed chamber. Dazed, I kept looking around at my surroundings confused as to where I was and strangely...who I was.  It was dark.  I was panicked and started beating ferociously on the glass to be set free.  Then suddenly a monitor came down on the glass so swiftly it made me jump.

      "Jesus!", I exclaimed.

      Then the monitor turned on with a blue-ish tint that illuminated so bright that I squinted my eyes and turned my head. It ran some calculations and made some loud beeps before the blue-ish tint was replaced by a more dimmed green color on the screen.

      "Are you ready for your participation in 'The Program' #0176?" said the computer.

     "Program? #0176? What is this?!" I said, panting.
  
     "The Program is a highly classified set of courses that tests both your knowledge and actions pertaining to certain situations for the purpose
of study per the administrators who review the final results."

      I started to breathe heavily. "Wha-What the ff.."

     "Calm yourself, test subject 0176. If instructions are followed, your immediate release will be granted by the administrators at the end of your course." The computer explained."

     "May I speak with one of these 'administrators'?" I asked.

     "Certainly.."

     A dial tone then began. It rang and rang and rang. I was starting to lose my mind anticipating an answer. After three minutes it finally stopped and I heard a click on the other line. It was silent for several moments. As soon as I was about to say hello the computer screen turned red and it started making this high-pitched scrambling sound that made me cover my ears. The sound went on for about a minute and then the computer shut down. I was alone in the darkness again. The computer then rebooted itself and illuminated a very dim white light followed by emotional sounds on the chamber. Then the computer started to do a counting sequence.

     "1.., 2.., 3.., 4.., 5.., 6....."

      The computer then shot up in the air and the locking mechanisms on the chamber released, flinging the door open and me out onto the floor. I laid confused on the cold hard ground shrouded in darkness, trying to collect my thoughts and process what's going on. Then suddenly the ceiling light flickers on. I jump to my feet slowly, examining my surroundings. It was a scalpel.  A light turned on down at the end of what appeared to be a long hallway.  I proceeded down the hallway to the door and braced my hand around the knob.  I took a deep breath before proceeding beyond.  But as soon as I opened the door, I was greeted by a scene that took my breath away.

      The computer awaited me, hanging above the center of the room.  

     "As part of program 0176, your duty is to fulfill the tasks set before you to prove that you are sufficient enough to survive in the event of nuclear fallout.  This room marks your first test.  In front of you is a young pig on one side of the table, and on the other is a bag of sunflower seeds.  You must choose which one you shall consume and then continue forward into the next room."

     I approached the table and looked at both options that were laid out.  The pig remained laid out across the table, bound by a few ropes to the table.  It squealed at me, hoping to find some release and escape.  The sunflower seeds laid next to the pig.  I could see a nutrition label on the back.  I was pretty hungry and saw that it wouldn't be enough to fill me.  I eyed the pig, feeling the rumbling in my stomach, but I just couldn't stomach killing that innocent animal.  I picked up the bag and used the scalpel to cut the ropes that bound the pig to the table.  The pig hopped off of the table and ran towards the exit to the other room.  The door opened on its own and revealed a path of darkness.  I was relieved to see that the door opened and began to move towards it but steeled my nerves as I saw the pig trip on the doorstep into the darkness and fell forward.  A second later, I heard a large piece of machinery move in the darkness and strike the pig, forcing the pig to let out a blood-curdling shriek of pain.  I didn't have to venture forward to know that the pig was dead.  

     "Oh?  It looks like you chose incorrectly.  Those seeds you picked up will not provide enough nutrition.  You will need to receive a controlled shock to ensure fewer mistakes next time."

     Before any words in objection could escape my mouth, a large wired contraption latched on to my back.  A large metal prong sprung out from the contraption and sent an excruciating electric shock throughout my center spine.  I screamed in pain, hoping that it would all end soon.  The shock lasted for a few seconds, but the pain lingered.  The prong moved away from me and out of view above me into the darkness of the far away roof.  

     "Great.  Take the seeds and continue down the hallway to the next room." 

     The computer floated up out of view again and illuminated a light at the end of the hallway to the next room.  My entire body stung with pain, every one of my nerves feeling sensitive to everything around me as I continued forward.  The next room began similarly to before.  Two options were laid out in front of me.  On the left side of the table was flint and steel, on the other side, was a lighter.  The computer dipped down from the roof above to announce the next test.  

     "Here is your second test.  You must light a fire with one of these two options.  Choose wisely."

     I walked forward and grabbed the lighter, placing it in my hand and preparing to set the seeds aflame.  I spun the lighter wheel a few times until I saw a light, and burned myself on the first time I achieved a flame.  I nearly dropped the lighter but caught it in mid-fall.  My second flame held much longer than the first one, so I took the flame and touched it to the bag of sunflower seeds.  I placed the flaming bag of seeds down on the table.  I awaited the computer's response but received one I didn't expect.  Out of nowhere, the long electric prong contraption lunged down, latched on, and delivered a painful electric shock to my spine again.  

     "I'm sorry, but your choice was incorrect.  The flint and steel would sustain you longer in a survival situation than the simple lighter.  Please proceed to the next room."

     My body was in deep pain now.  It hurt to walk forward, but I knew I had to, or that thing would shock me again.  I placed the lighter into the pocket on my shirt and slowly walked down the hallway to the next room and tried to prepare myself for the next room.  But as soon as my hand had a grip on the doorknob, I feared what lied ahead of me.  Sounds of power tools, saws, and other loud machinery could be heard beyond the door.  I hesitated for awhile, long enough for the computer to come back into view next to me.  

     "Why have you hesitated to go into the next room?  Is it out of fear?  Here, let me administer an encouraging electric shock?"

     I barely spoke up just in time to stop the computer from bringing out the electric prong again.  "No!  I just needed to catch my breath.  I'm ready."

     I moved forward into the next room and awaited the computer to issue my challenge.  The room was separated by two separate platforms and a series of other platforms that led past a series of mechanical traps.  Below the platforms, between the gaps, was a pool of electrified water.  I gulped in fear of the mechanical saws, some of them stained with blood.  The water below appeared dark and the lights in the room barely made the platforms and the saws visible.  

      "Your test in this room is to make it to the other side of the room past the traps.  There will be no electric shock for the failure of this test, as the failure will be costly in itself.  Please continue forward to the next room."

     I reached for the doorknob behind me, hoping that I could move back to the last room, but it remained locked behind me.  My mind began to grow blank.  There was little time to think.  There was nothing to think about.  I had to act if I wanted to survive, and there was only one way out.  I quickly stepped across the platform, waiting patiently for each one as the saws moved in and out from their slots in the walls.  I leaped from platform to platform across the long room, desperately trying not to glance down at the water below.  I had passed four platforms and had only one more to go, but the last two saws in front of me no longer went at the same time like the other saws.  They began to alternate in the pace at which they moved from their slots on the wall.  I began to panic.  My limbs braced themselves and my body turned to the side.  I took my chances and lunged forward, but not quick enough to avoid the blades.  One of the blades behind me quickly gave a sharp slice into my right shoulder, putting my body in immense pain as I was jerked down by the saw and flung onto the final platform at the end of the room.  The computer moved down to greet me again.  

     "Well, one of the traps did catch you, but you survived the encounter, so you will be allowed a pass on this test.  Please proceed towards the final room."  

     Blood was slowly pouring out of my shoulder, the muscle had been badly cut, but the bone had barely been grazed.  The computer dropped down a roll of gauze for me to use. 

     "Here.  Use this to wrap your wound so that you do not die and can complete the final test."

     I proceeded forward without comment to the final room and opened the door.  In the center of the room was a table with two last items on it.  A key, and a gallon of gasoline.  

     "Here is your final test.  The test is simple.  You must answer this question with confidence.  If you answer correctly, you will be released from Program 0176 and can venture out into your new apocalyptic world.  If you answer no, you will have to continue more tests until you are able to continue forward.  At the end of this room, monitors and a control switch to shut off the program will be available to you once you answer correctly.  you can take the gasoline and key with you to power the vehicle that remains outside the facility for your use.  Do you feel that you can survive the outside world?"

     I didn't hesitate to answer the computer.  "Yes.  Of course, I can."

     The computer paused to process my response, then gave its reply.

     "Well, unfortunately, that was the wrong answer.  You have proven yourself incapable of expending your resources wisely and will likely endanger yourself just moments after exiting the facility.  You will have to receive a lethal shock and will need to be put under until you are revived and put through the same tests again.  We apologize, but Program 0176 exists for your protection."  

     I rushed straight to the table and grabbed both the gallon of gasoline and key.  The electric prong was close behind me.  I spun around and held up the gallon of gasoline and winced as the prong punctured the container and sent me flying back towards the monitors.  I took out the lighter and tossed the lit flame at the mechanical prong.  The flame ignited the gasoline on the contraption and sent the connected cables ablaze.  The prong began to malfunction and stuttered as it moved towards me.  The computer spoke to me with a tone that indicated its circuits were malfunctioning.  
"You-r-r-re no-ot rea-a-ady!"

     The prong lunged at me once more, and I barely duck out of its way as it pierced the glass cover that remained over the power switch to the facility.  Before the prong could move again, I pulled the lever and watched as the entire room turned dark.  Save for the fire burning the connecting cables, the room went dark as the computer began to shut down.  I slowly made my way with the punctured gallon of gas and the key to the last door in the facility. I took in a deep breath, just in case I needed to hold my breath as I made my way to the car, but was shocked as I opened the door and was met with a bright piercing light and green trees surrounding the facility.  I dropped the gallon and key in shock.   


     I ran outside and moved away far enough so that I could take a look at the facility walls.  The walls were covered in vines and other green growth.  The car was inside of a nearby garage that opened up once I pulled on the cord that kept the door shut.  I went back and grabbed the gallon and key.  I poured the remaining gasoline into the vehicle and turned the key in the ignition.  The vehicle roared to life and showed that nearly everything was in working order.  I opened up the glove compartment and found a notepad inside.  As I checked the car manual for any important instructions, I quickly noticed how the maker was for a vehicle that was made nearly thirty years in the future.  I had been asleep for so long that even vehicles that were made in the future have now long been abandoned.  Something drastic above the surface world happened while I was gone.  I decided that the first thing I'd do is pick up this notepad and recap what had just occurred within the last few hours of me having woken up.  I am not sure if any human life remains, but the main thing I'm certain of is that things have changed and that program 0176 is no longer a safe or necessary program for humans.  If you are reading this note, you will likely be reading it from safety, or are reading it as you plan your venture and investigation into project 0176.  I warn you not to return to this facility and not to try and restart program 0176, less you wish to face the horrors I experienced for yourself.  




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