Empyreon, The ultimate utopia, the pinnacle of paradises. Nearly anything you could imagine in your wildest dreams could be found in its world. 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 autonomous robotic workers and remote supervision. 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 easy life. Some people craved for something far more, something Empyreon couldn't provide... Raw adventure. Sure, virtual reality could scratch that itch for the moment, 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 an experimental seminar, a rare chance for civilians to sign up and test out cryogenic 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 to potentially find something new.
Even though the cryogenic group came by last year to pedal their product, today would be their last day this year that they would be open for new applications. Facil knew he wouldn't be able to sleep on it another day. The chance of a lifetime ate at him, as much as he wanted to jump head first into this new technology, there would be so much he would be leaving behind. The midday light reflected off the mirror of his bathroom, coming in between him and his own reflection. Facil stared at himself long and hard, trying either between convincing himself and talking himself down. There was so much influencing his decision that lied further beneath the surface.
The hedgehog internal struggle didn't last long as a knock on the door snapped him away from his mental dialogue with the glass doppelganger. He was meeting his friend Myra to scope out the convention. However, he left out the details that he might just be looking to sign himself up. She would be in a world of shock if he had ended up going through with it last minute. "Coming!" Facil shouted as he sloppily ran a brush through his blue dyed bed hair, soon rushing to the door, not even bothering to sort his bathroom clutter away.
Peeling the door open slowly and peeking out, the hedgehog was relieved that his suspicions were confirmed of his visitor. A lone, tall red wolf stood on the other side, wearing skin tight racing leathers and holding a full face biker helmet against her hips. She didn't look all that pleased to be here, but it was something that would get Facil out of the house. "Am I too early?" The wolf raised an eyebrow as she took notice of his ruffled fur, head thorns, and day old clothes, wondering if she had just woken the hedgehog from his late sleep.
"Oh-no, you're fine," Facil stepped through of the doorway, closing the door 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 strange yet alluring to him, but he would rather be safe than sorry on the road... Especially with a speed demon like Myra at the wheel. The wolf often joked that nothing of value would be lost if Facil took a nasty spill unprotected, poking at the hedgehog's disconnected and daydreaming nature. Facil managed to wiggle it all the way on during their transition back to Myra's hover bike
"Well, let's not waste anymore time then!" Myra hopped back onto her bike, pulling out a pair of aviator shades before engaging the engine as she waited for Facil to climb aboard as well. The stunted hedgehog 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 when they were in motion.
Seating himself, Facil wrapped his arms tightly around Myra's waist before she put on her glasses and took off in a bolt. Traveling on the Myra express always gave him a sick, adrenergic feeling. It was a sense of excitement along with a mixture of fear. The red wolf thirsted for speed, loving the moments of motion more than herself, even Facil could appreciate the ride at times. Sometimes they would take highways to dodge about the traffic. 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 off today nor any speed limits meters to break, just a nice cruise to the city 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 midday traffic had them arriving at their destination.
Myra parked her bike on the sidewalk, risking getting a ticket, but it didn't really matter as her family were made of money. A fine, and even a towing fee, was just a drop in the bucket for her. She kicked the bike-stand down and waited for Facil to hop off before getting off herself. Tearing off the wolf's helmet, fresh cool air flooded the hedgehog's nostrils, filling his lungs in a refreshing whiff. "Is it just me, or is it colder than usual here?" Facil asked as he returned the helmet to its rightful owner.
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 traversing people, many of them just as interested as Facil, and others who weren't too enthusiastic about it but were dragged to the event anyways, like Myra. If that wasn't enough, there was even a group protesting the event just outside, calling the whole thing unethical. Facil had a small chuckle at the demanding picketer.
With Facil scouring the entire site for more information, Myra had become the responsible one of the two, keeping a close eye on the curious hedgehog. Sometimes she wondered how they were still friends as their lifestyles were so different in comparison. The origin of their friendship was always a fond memory to look back on. Their history all began back in elementary school. Myra's head start at height had deterred others from being her friend, and Facil's dorky presentation had the opposite effect, granted it was the wrong kind of attention.
One day they had found each other at recess when Myra had intervened and saved Facil from a would be beating from bullies at school. The fearful hedgehog never left the wolf's side after that. He was stuck to her, bound together for the rest of their time spent in formal education, whether Myra wanted it that way or not. But it was obvious she too craved companionship, and Facil filled the void plenty as they ended up staying constantly in touch even when they both dropped out.
She had no idea that the hedgehog was debating throwing that all away for some chance at waking up to a more thrilling and fulfilling life. "Are we almost done here? You know how much I hate crowds, Facil," Myra complained, wanting to be anywhere else but here. It reminded her too much of the crowded chaos at school, which she was still trying hard to scrub from her brain.
"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 suspicious. 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 down the hedgehog, who nervously let his eyes bounce from place to place, looking for an easy answer to give her. 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. He did a good job at blocking it all out until he was confronted with it.
"...K-kinda," Facil repeated again, not confident enough to give the intimidating wolf an assertive 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 physically dodge the question, meandering around her only to get halted by a grasp on his shoulder, forcefully turning him around to face the issue once more.
"Do you have any idea what you're doing?!" She leaned down to the hedgehog's level, getting into his face. "There won't be any way of going back from this! Or didn't you bother to read the fine print?" She asked rhetorically, shaking him by both shoulders to get the message into his thick skull. Though It was no use, the hedgehog was long set in his ways.
"...That's the whole point Myra!" Facil finally grew a backbone, standing up to his best friend's hostility. "I'm tired of only being able to dream of new worlds, I want to live them! ...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, fairly hesitant about what he would actually do in the future. His ideal vision was beginning to seem a little bit sketchy now that Myra got under his quills to change the picture, but he was sure someone would set him up with a new life. Someone at a booth said so, so it had to be true... Right?
"And what if you wind up dead and don't wake up from this? Hmm?" 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 cryo-chamber was beginning to seem more appealing with each heated syllable the wolf spat out.
"Well that'd be a hell of a lot better than having to put up with your stupid bullcrap 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 willing 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 of yours, it's waiting!" Myra nearly roared at her volume, gaining some sudden 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 the wolf 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 itself! 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 awaited his turn in line. The time spent isolated had cooled his heated thoughts, making him question if this was still the right thing to do. Regret started to butt in as he realized there would be no time to let his parents know. But he was eighteen, he knew he didn't have to answer to them anymore. It was time for some real independence, right?
Eventually, his time to register had came. The attendant border collie at the counter appeared as if he worked this position for years and was completely tired of his job. He handed out the forms to the hedgehog, telling him to fill out the credentials and sign his name on each of the dotted lines. Facil followed the orders as his mind still nagged him with Myra's words, questioning him if this was really just a big mistake. The hedgehog did his best to push them out to make room for the positives thoughts and hopes.
Turning in his sheet, he was waved onto one of the back tents that held multiple cryo-chambers away from prying eyes. His stubborn thoughts were 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 make him listen to his better judgement. But he couldn't back down now, not when there was new adventures to be had. He would have to quell his fears for the moment.
Another worker, a sleek and dark 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. The hedgehog suddenly felt out of place as the realization hit him, though at the same time he wanted this more than ever. His legs had carried him against his doubting thoughts, His better judgement was losing steadily. He stopped at the edge of the cryo-chamber, 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 away from the hedgehog, giving him a brief period of privacy. The act of undressing was even more uncomfortable than mentioning it, but he was stuck performing it anyways as his train of cautious thought had lost its grip once again. Facil wiggled free from his clothes and kicked them aside. He peered into the cryo-chamber 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 the cold fog was covering him, he was still naked underneath with the negative temperature doing no justice for his nethers.
"Great!" She gathered up Facil's clothes pile and placed it in a small storage compartment in the cryo-chamber. "Your clothes will be right in here when you re-emerge," she locked the container 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 compartment as regret soon poured in along with it. "L-L-Let m-me out!" Facil chattered through his teeth as his breath crystallized before his eyes. "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.