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1 Stasis

 Ivan Storme violently swept everything off his desk in a fit of rage. His laptop crashed to the ground and ceased to function while pens and other office utensils continued to scatter about the office. He even picked up a signed baseball in a glass case and threw it at the wall, resulting in shattered glass scattering about and a single baseball to ricochet elsewhere.

"Damn it! How did this happen!?" Ivan pulled his inch-long hair hard enough that several small droplets of blood protruded from his scalp.

He was of course referring to the endless parade of reporters and police outside his company's building. There were so many he could see them from the window of his 70th floor presidential office.

Early this morning, reports on Ivan Storme and Storme Industries illegal activities had been revealed. This wasn't just some stock manipulation or bribes, but Ivan's entire history of illegal activities. In the eyes of the public, he was an incredibly successful businessman who made billions in medical breakthroughs, oil extrusion and property. What they didn't know, but was revealed earlier today, was all the human and drug trafficking, enslaving of people, illegal medical facilities, war funding and illegal weapons and explosives export to foreign countries, and also the secret assassinations of several competitors during overseas business trips. The list went on, but those were the main points this particular headline focused on.

"These people worshipped me when I gave them drugs to cure diabetes and prevent Alzheimer's. As soon as they hear how such breakthroughs were made, they curse me! Ungrateful scum! So what if I enslaved a few third world people to labour away at my overseas projects, they were starving before I found them and would have probably died if it wasn't for the food and medical treatment I gave them! They eat steak for dinner half their lives, but as soon as they start thinking how a cow died for that steak to get there, it is suddenly inhumane and they even throw protests about it! Selfish, naïve, ungrateful trash!"

Ivan shouted and cursed at the world through the window, but no one heard these words other than himself. The seventy-story building in the metropolis had been tactfully evacuated by workers and other companies renting several floors not long after the news broke, so the only person left in the building was Ivan.

He slowly collected his and calmed his rage. Ivan knew he wasn't a particularly good person, and some of his actions were irrefutably inhumane to some individuals. He self-justified himself over the cause it had been for and couldn't refute that the number of lives saved, and the improved health of every citizen in his nation, far outweighed those who had been sacrificed. Even the slaves in his overseas projects were living far better lives than they had been, even though they had no choice but to work.

With his whole country turned against him, Ivan felt a loathing toward them. He had given them so much, yet this was how they repaid him. He also ridiculed himself for being so stupid. It was obvious all that he had done would come out one day, but he had not expected it this early, or this thorough. All that he built up would be torn apart by the state government and major stockholders of Storme Industries after he was imprisoned for life, taking all his achievements while casting him aside and leaving him to rot.

Ivan had long since foreseen a time when some of his secrets would be exposed, especially with the constantly growing technology and information networks. As such, he still has some escape routes prepared.

Ivan pulled the drawer out of his desk and turned it upside down to empty it of its contents. He then ran his fingers around the edge of the base before he found an indent near the back of the draw which he used his fingernail to pry open. The rear half of the drawer's base lifted up with a bit of effort and revealed a slightly tattered leather-bound book.

Next, he pulled an antique painting off the wall and tossed it aside like trash to reveal a cliché hidden safe. Quickly opening the safe, he took the two large briefcases from inside. Each briefcase held an emergency fund of $10,000,000. Ivan didn't need to try access his accounts to know they had already been frozen.

Ivan combed his hair with his fingers before he made his way to an elevator down the hallway from his office. This wasn't a public elevator but a private one for his own personal use. He pressed on the basement button but instead of releasing it after pressing, continued to depress the button until the backlight behind the button changed to red and a black panel turned on a retina scanner.

The button changed green after scanning Ivan's eyes and the elevator began descending. This was one of his secret escape routes he had long since prepared using a large number of funds to ensure secrecy.

Several floors below the basement, Ivan stepped out of the elevator and into a garage holding several cars registered under fake aliases. Choosing a Mercedes Coupe, Ivan put the briefcases and notebook on the passenger seat before starting the car and driving away through a predetermined underground route.

The Mercedes emerged in a public underground parking lot three blocks away, well outside the encirclement of police and reporters.

Ivan found every station on the radio was still discussing himself and the actions that he did being revealed. They discussed how the state government had seized all his illegal medical drugs and the research entailed, claiming they had to remove the inhumane practices behind the drugs.

Hearing this made Ivan even more angry. As a high profile individual who had close ties in several government departments, he knew how they operated. This was basically them seizing his medicines for themselves while taking advantage of his incarceration. It is also possible that they had a hand in exposing his unsavoury deeds as well to pursue their benefit.

Ivan pulled over once he had left the metropolis and opened up the leather-bound notebook. Inside was a list of all his secret contacts along with numbers and addresses.

"Hmm, I can't call them... They won't do... How about this one?"

Ivan found several numbers of people who specialize in making fake identities and even some overseas groups, but all of them informed him that they wouldn't be able to help him given his current situation.

"I guess this is my only hope," Ivan sighed exhaustively before calling a final number he had selected.

"Hello?" A gentle female voice answered from the other side of the line.

"It's Ivan Storme."

"I hear you're in a lot of trouble."

"Everyone's heard."

"What can I do for you?"

"I need to disappear, long enough that everyone forgets about me and all the charges are buried."

"It sounds like you're talking about a cryogenic stasis?"

"Exactly that, it's the only option I have left."

"You know we aren't a charity, to do this for you, and even hide you afterwards, costs a lot. You should know the technology to revive you from stasis doesn't exist yet, right. It could be a couple hundred years before a reliable product the revive you is completed," The woman's voice on the other side of the phone was stern.

"Yes, I'm counting on it. Don't give me that, how much have I funded your little research laboratory over the past few years? I have twenty million on me at the moment, half will go to you, while the other half will be frozen with me."

"Fine, I will set up the equipment for stasis, how long until you get here?"

"I will be there by nightfall," Ivan said finally before directly shutting off the phone in his hand. He then removed the battery and threw it out the window before driving off away from the city.

At the same time as Ivan was escaping, several SWAT teams burst into his office in full operation gear prepared for open hostility. They stared at the trashed office and empty open safe dumbfounded before hastily reporting that the criminal had fled the premises, his current whereabouts unknown.

Reporter jumped on the case and played out Ivan Storme to be a criminal on the run as authorities closed the net chasing him down, sparking praise from the public toward the police.

*****

"This is the device."

The 30-year-old woman with deep red hair showed a futuristic looking capsule as big as two coffins to Ivan. She wore a spotless white lab coat and constantly had to push up her glasses that slipped down her narrow nose. She was slightly shorter than Ivan and despite not applying any cosmetics, she had a youthful beauty that was truly alluring.

"How exactly does it work?" Even Ivan couldn't help but be nervous before climbing into a machine that could potentially be a death trap.

"It's a little more complicated that it sounds, but the general idea is first every single cell of your body will be flash frozen in order to avoid tearing and internal bleeding during the process. Once you are in a state of stasis, all the oxygen in the tank will be replaced by a special gas which when stimulated, will turn into a thermoplasm compound which will fill the entire chamber and seal your current state to avoid defrosting or other complications. Essentially, its like being sealed in amber, except this compound is 100% thermal insulating and will maintain your current state indefinitely until the compound breaks down."

"How long does it last?"

The female scientist thought for a moment before replying, "We don't know, several thousand years based on our estimation, but it could last longer, especially if it doesn't have any direct contact with sunlight, radiation, or any abnormally hot climates."

"That will do. Thank you, Alice."

Ivan followed Alice's instructions before wearing a skin tight gray suit and accepting an IV drip into the arm which was slowly injecting an unknown compound. The only thing he felt after the fluid was injected was a strong sense of weakness and he could barely move his limbs.

Alice looked sentimental as she took out the IV drip and helped him into the stasis pod.

"Ivan, I need you to take a long, deep breath. Expand your lungs as much as possible," Alice's sweet voice transmitted from a speaker inside the pod to Ivan. "...You know, back then at the holiday resort. I enjoyed that night and waited for you to call me back afterwards..."

Hearing Alice's words laced with melancholy, Ivan couldn't help but sigh in his heart before gently saying back, "What do you think my identity was? You should have called me."

No further words were returned by Alice, because at that moment, she had pressed the execution button and Ivan was sent into a frozen oblivion. Soon a large amount of light-orange gas filled the chamber and pushed all the oxygen out. A final reaction later and this gas turned into an amber like substance, permanently sealing Ivan like a prehistoric insect in amber.

"I different time, in a different life, I'm sure it would have been different. When you wake up, I wonder what the world will be like? To be honest, I'm slightly jealous you get to see it and I don't," Alice helplessly said before sealing up the lab and leaving the facility.