BZZZZZT! Intercept successful, target acquired. Returning to base.
Those were the first things James heard as he felt himself pulled upwards and then slotted into place, the sensation of sliding and then the noise and vibration of some kind of clamp locking down on him.
"Hello? What's happening? Garratt, are you there? Garratt!?"
"Please, I thought I heard an explosion, what is happening?"
There remained no answer to his query, just the sound of a distant engine humming. After an hour of waiting he called again only to receive more silence. Another hour passed, or so he guessed, he had no way to tell the time and he felt a jerk and the sensation of fluid movement, swinging him slowly around and with machine precision placing him on something, the vibrations coming down from above, almost as if he'd been hung on something. Another faint humming started and he felt motion.
"Where am I? Hello?"
Another voice called out, then another and another. "Hello?" "Who's there?" "I'm not alone? Thank God, where am I?" "What's happening to me?" "I can't feel my legs!" "Fuck you! You can't take me prisoner! I've done nothing wrong! Release me, you crazy fucks! Let me out!"
The yelling continued unabated for several minutes until he felt himself slowing down and eventually coming to a halt with a click. The drugs were beginning to wear off and he was feeling scared, frightened, but he controlled himself, preferring to feel something, even fear, over the cold numbness the drugs would put him in if he let himself panic.
There was a whine like microphone feedback, and then a loud voice spoke out, echoing.
"Welcome citizens. You no doubt have many questions, so introductions shall be brief before I explain just what is going on. We are the Collectors. We collect and preserve relics such as yourselves sent from the past by the Archivists. We have found you, rescued you or reclaimed you from those that would seek to do you harm or abuse you for their own ends. We have dug you up from the ruins. We exist only to serve you and keep you safe. First of all, you must want to know what is going on. You are all sealed preservation units of Archivist design. The Archivists first came to this world some time in the seventeenth century and began collecting samples of humanity and storing them, for some unknown purpose. You are all Archivist samples and we have taken it upon ourselves to preserve you in the hope that they will one day return and release you. We can not open the pods, they are beyond our ability to do so, but we can make sure you are comfortable. Some of you may have been told other things, that you have been extracted from a war zone by the United States. They are lies."
James just stared blankly in the dark confines of his pod, unable to process what he was being told. Aliens? Aliens had put him in a box for storage and then forgotten about him? It was ridiculous but why would they make up such a story? Who where these Archivists, these Collectors? And the seventeenth century? Just how long had be been in here?
"The year now is 2246. The world is nothing like any of you remember. Since the discovery of Archivist technology, things have become an eternal arms race, a war over religion, over truth over scientific progress. We Collectors stand against it all and do only what we must to collect, preserve and wait for the Archivists to return. We refuse to war with any faction and bury ourselves away, hidden until the day comes that the Archivist arrive to set you free and bring about a new Utopian age."
"You are now all in an Archival facility for your continued survival and safety. At the end of this announcement you will be assigned into groups and each group will be assigned a companion to give you a link to the outside world. We wish we could do something to release you, but it is not in our power. Instead remain safe in the knowledge that powers greater than ours saw potential in you, saw worth, and decided to preserve till the time of the new age."
There was a click, a whirr and then James felt himself in motion again, people clamouring out all around him in presumably similar containers. The voice had done little to calm the majority and James was still too shocked, too stunned to do anything. Was any of this even true? Could he believe any of it? The soldiers had asked him for a code straight away, would they really do that if the whole idea was a lie. And if there were codes and some of them could get out, why didn't the Collectors or whoever these freaks were want him to know that?
Something wasn't right and James held onto his suspicions tight. The worst thing though was that he had an ulterior motive for doing so. He had to believe they were all lying. If it was really over two hundred years in the future, everyone he ever knew was dead.