It was Sunday morning.
We started our slow climb up the chrome stairwell.
As always, we made sure our masks, breathing tubes, and suit-phones were working properly.
Everything checked out.
We carefully began opening the above ground porthole not even bothering to turn on the outdoor viewer first. No one had had to initiate that protocol in over a hundred years.
As the steel opening above our heads began to lift, we saw the characteristic wisps of gray fog enter the transition room. The Temp Indicator read -40c. It promised to be a relatively warm Spring day for Outside.
I was the oldest and so was allowed to climb onto the surface first.
My parents my brother and my little sister followed behind me.
We moved very slowly through the icy fog which was always so thick that even our newest halogen lamps seemed unable to make even a few centimeters viewing difference.
Thankfully, there was little wind that day and thus it was unlikely that any of us might have been hit with any sort of flying debris.
We trudged through the thick tufts of rusty colored mud and viscous pools of oil and hydro-tar until we finally reached our family destination.
The Church rose up before our eyes; cold, broken, majestically alone. It had survived wars, revolutions, and the final Eco Disaster. It probably was the last place on Earth that a ritual called “Mass” was said.
We surveyed its giant walls and frozen upturned furniture. It was alien but it was ours. A vast memento of a time that was seemingly more open, richer, and certainly more bursting with possibilities than our own. We were the last surviving remnant of this enormous failed pageant. Of a wondrous world blasted by ego and the tortuous doubts that went with it.
Yet for generations my family had done just this very same journey of respect. An ironic pilgrimage towards those who had knowingly or, what seemed more likely, semi-consciously damned us to a cramped barely breathable present.
Now, we circled to the back of the church to our ultimate goal.
My father began by pulling out the ancient and battered aluminum table from his knapsack. As required by tradition, he respectfully arranged it in front of the large obsidian screen half buried behind a broken slab of chiseled marble. He then carefully began placing the plastic objects that traditionally were laid on top of it.
Each of the objects had a label referring to its ancient meaning: “Pear” “Ham” “Cross” “Egg” “Bunny” “Lamb”.
After everything was set in its place my father touched the red button located at the head of the screen.
And just as in the years gone by, two very old, very smiley people appeared on the screen. And although they were expecting those who themselves had long since perished; at that moment across the centuries our ancestors seemed to uncannily reach out to us, too, through one tenderly looping message delivered by weak, raspy voices: “John! Mary! We Will Always Love You: Happy Easter!!”.