Empyreon, The ultimate utopia, the paradise of paradises. Nearly anything you could imagine in your wildest dreams could be found in this place. No one had to lift a finger in labor if they so chose, seeing as more than half of the labor force was made up of robotic workers. The civilization itself functioned off of a remarkable, renewable energy, using the most advanced technology available to them. Empyreon was everything and then some.
However, not everyone was satisfied with what they were handed with in this life. Some people craved for something more, something Empyreon couldn't provide, raw adventure. Sure, virtual reality could tickle those senses, but the thrill quickly faded. Their planet was dull to the few who longed for pure excitement rather than the easy life.
Such was the life of Facil, a young, easygoing hedgehog who recently celebrated his eighteenth birthday. He was on his way towards bigger and better things, or so his parents thought. Their city was holding a recruitment seminar for civilians to test out experimental cryofreeze technology. The catch was that they would be frozen for an indefinite amount of time. It was extremely fishy to most, but for a jaded risk taker like Facil, it was the opportunity of a lifetime.
Today was the last day they would be open for new applications and Facil wouldn't be able to sleep on it another day. The choice ate at him, as much as he wanted to jump head first into this, there would be so much he would be leaving behind. Looking at himself long and hard in the mirror, the hedgehog silently fought with his reflection on what he would do.
It didn't last long as a knock on the door snapped him away from his thoughts. He was meeting his friend Myra to scope out the convention. However, he didn't tell her he was wanting to sign himself up, she would be in a world of shock if he had ended up going through with it. "Coming!" Facil shouted as he sloppily rushed a brush through his bed hair, soon running to the door, not even bothering to sort his bathroom clutter away.
Peeling and peeking out the door slowly, the hedgehog was relieved that his suspicions were confirmed. A lone, tall red wolf stood on the other side, wearing skin tight racing leathers and holding a helmet against her hips. She didn't look too pleased to be here, but it was something that would get Facil out of the house. "Am I too early?" She took notice of his ruffled fur and thorns, wondering if she had just woken the hedgehog from a nap.
"No-no, you're fine," Facil stepped through of the doorway as Myra handed him her helmet to use. The hedgehog worked it onto his head, the wolf's scent pouring into his nostrils. Her helmet always smelled so weird to him, but he would rather be safe than sorry on the road... Especially with Myra at the wheel. The wolf joked that nothing of value would be lost if Facil took a nasty spill unprotected, poking at the hedgehog's slow wit and bored demeanor.
"Well let's not waste anymore time then!" Myra hopped back onto her hoverbike, engaging the engine as she waited for Facil to climb aboard as well. He always struggled at this part, fighting his own height to get himself onto the back of Myra's bike. But it was only half the battle, the other half was hanging on for dear life.
Seating himself, Facil wrapped his arms tightly around Myra's waist before she took off in a bolt. It was a strange feeling that always built up in the hedgehog, a sense of excitement along with a mixture of fear. The red wolf was a speed demon who loved joyriding more than herself, even Facil liked the ride more than himself at times. Other times Myra would be outrunning the cops, just for the fun of it! Luckily their parents never knew of their shenanigans.
At least today would be a less hectic ride. There would be no tricks to pull today nor any speed limits to break, just a nice cruise to the park. Myra was honestly a tad curious of the event herself, wondering what the whole commotion was about. The park wasn't a far distance away, a few minutes of trudging through traffic had them arriving at their destination.
Myra parked her bike right on the sidewalk, risking getting a ticket, but it didn't really matter as her parents were loaded enough as it was. She kicked the bike-stand down and waited for Facil to hop off before getting off herself. Tearing off the wolf's helmet, cold air flooded the hedgehog's nostrils, filling his lungs in a refreshing wiff. "Is it just me, or is it colder than usual here?" Facil asked Myra, returning the helmet he borrowed.
Myra drew in a stronger breath of the air, trying to pick up the scent the hedgehog supposingly found. "... Probably just you," she concluded, placing her helmet through the bike handle before both of them entered the park. The whole place was packed full of people, some just as interested as Facil, and others who weren't so enthralled with the event, like Myra. If that wasn't enough, there was even a group protesting the event just outside, calling the whole thing unethical.
With Facil all over the place, Myra had to be the responsible one of the two, keeping a close eye on the hedgehog. Sometimes she wondered how they were still friends as they were so different in comparison. The origin of their friendship was always a fond memory to look back on. It all began back in elementary school. Myra's height had deterred others from being her friend, and Facil's even slower wit and geeky glasses had gotten him made fun of on numerous occasions.
They eventually found each other at recess when Myra had saved Facil from a would be beating from bullies in his class. The fearful hedgehog never left the wolf's side after that, they were destined to be together, whether Myra wanted it that way or not. But she too craved companionship, and Facil filled the void plenty as they ended up spending most of their days together.
She had no idea that the hedgehog was debating throwing that all away for some chance at waking up to a more thrilling life. "Are we almost done here? You know how much I hate crowds, Facil," Myra complained, wanting to be anywhere but here. It reminded her too much of school, which she was still trying hard to forget.
"Kinda... I just wanna do one more thing," Facil replied, a strong hint of nervousness trailed in his voice. The wolf picked up on it instantly, suspecting the hedgehog to be plotting something. She instantly cut him off as he was about to travel to the next booth.
"Oh-no, you're not actually buying into this bullshit, are you?" She glared at the hedgehog, who nervously let his eyes bounce from place to place, looking for an easy answer to give. Unfortunately there wasn't any to be found for this kind of question. Facil wanted in on this deal and it hurt to think of the repercussions it would have if he went through with it.
"...K-kinda," Facil repeated again, not confident enough to give the intimidating wolf a fully sided answer. Myra erupted in a low growl, still keeping a slight hold on her frustration and anger. She was the better half of their relationship, able to think more logically and reasonably... Despite being a little daredevil herself. Facil attempted to dodge around her, only to get halted by a grasp on his shoulder, forcefully turning him around.
"Do you have any idea what you're doing?!" She leaned down to the hedgehog's level, getting into his face. "There might not be any way of going back from this! Or did you bother to read the fine print?" She asked rhetorically, shaking him to get the message into his thick skull. It was no use, the hedgehog was set in his ways.
"...That's the whole point Myra!" Facil grew a backbone, standing up to his best friend's hostility. "This life gotten too old too fast, I need something new... Maybe the future can give me just that," the hedgehog backed off slowly, only to have Myra follow.
"Do you have any idea of who you'd be leaving behind? Your parents aren't going to be able to bail you out of this!" She warned him, informing him of the dire consequences if he were to go through with it. "And who are you going to go to when everyone you know and love is gone, huh?" Myra pressed harder with the questions, pushing Facil closer to his breaking point.
"I'll... I'll figure that out when I get there!" The hedgehog stuttered for a bit, hesitant on what he would actually do in the future. It was beginning to seem a little bit sketchy now that Myra got under his quills, but he was sure someone would set him up with a new life, someone at the booth said so, so it had to be true... Right?
"And what if you wind up dead? Hm?" Myra kept at it, hoping to verbally strike some sense into her friend. But Facil still wouldn't have any of it, the cold embrace of a cryochamber was beginning to seem more appealing with each lecturing syllable the wolf spat out.
"Well that'd be a lot better than having to put up with your negative attitude right now!" Facil fired back without thinking, instantly remembering the times Myra and him fought. It always waged between them with words, never actions. Neither had the gall to raise a fist to the other... Though Myra might have been plotting to make an exception if it meant knocking the hedgehog back down to earth.
"Yeah? Well see if I care then! Go and rot in that frozen cage!" Myra nearly roared at her volume, gaining some onlookers as she stomped off, leaving Facil by himself. If Facil were to back out now, he would need his own ride home by this point... But that was unlikely with the bad taste Myra left in his mouth. He wanted to be as far away from her as he could possibly be, and what a better place than the future! Maybe if he was lucky he could find her grave and dance all over it afterwards.
Once the wolf was out of sight, Facil went to the nearest sign-up booth and waited his turn in line. The time spent alone waiting had cooled his heated thoughts, making him question if it was still right to go through with this. He didn't even give his parents prior warning either. But he was eighteen, he knew he didn't have to answer to them anymore.
Eventually it was time to register. The operator at the counter looked as if he worked here for years and was completely tired of his job. He handed out the forms to the hedgehog, telling him to fill out his name on each of the dotted lines. Facil followed the orders, his mind still nagging him, questioning him if this was really just a big mistake. He did his best to push them out to make room for the positives.
Turning in his sheet, he was waved onto one of the back tents that held multiple cryochambers inside. His thoughts still trying to talk him out of it as he walked on. The line of machines were incredibly intimidating to the hedgehog... Almost enough to listen to his better judgement, but he couldn't back down now, not when there was new adventures to be had. Fear would have to wait.
Another worker, a sleek, female fox, had gestured Facil over to an open chamber, the cold air pouring out of it as it was primed and ready to go. He felt like he shouldn't be here, but at the same time he wanted this more than ever. His legs carried him against his wishes, unable to fight against himself. He stopped at the edge of the cryochamber, the cold fog pouring onto his legs. There was still time to back out, he was nearly convinced to back out until the voice of the worker had tugged him away from his screaming thoughts.
"You'll need to remove your clothes," she informed him, gesturing with a slight upward nod. "Don't worry, I won't look," the worker turned the other way, giving the hedgehog a brief period of privacy. The action of undressing was even more uncomfortable than mentioning it, but he was stuck performing it anyways as his train of thought had lost its grip once again. Facil wiggled free from his clothes and kicked them aside. He gazed into the cryochamber for a few moments before testing the waters with a hesitant toe. Everything inside was extremely cold to the touch, but not too unbearable to handle.
He waddled his way inside, shivering as more of his body made contact with the chilly surface. He kept himself sitting up, awaiting further instructions. "I-I-I'm r-ready," Facil shivered, hugging himself violently for warmth. The worker turned around, making eye contact with the hedgehog, who blushed as their eyes met. Even if half of the cryochamber was covering him, he was still naked on the inside with the cold doing no justice for his nethers.
"Great!" She gathered up Facil's mess and placed it in a small storage compartment in the cryochamber. "Your clothes will be right in here when you re-emerge," she locked it up, soon laying Facil down against the freezing bedding, The chilly embrace had him frozen still as he could only watch as the worker closed him inside, locking it tightly. That was it, no goodbye, no anything... Not even a reassuring 'have a safe trip to the future!'
The cold air wasn't the only thing flooding the space as regret soon poured in. "L-L-Let m-me out!" Facil chattered through his teeth. "I d-d-don't belong h-h-here!" He raised his fists towards the glass, both his arms and the glass covering began to freeze over as his movement was harshly impeded. "M-Myra... I'm s-sorry," was the last thing he could manage to rasp out before the cold had him stiff as a board.