Gorbachev decided to begin human resettlements to the nearest suitable terraforming planet. Since the space travel and exploration of other worlds wasn't possible for the foreseeable future, the only option was a risky and highly complex relocation method. It involved creating a black hole by obtaining the antimatter from a hadron collider and sending people away to another galaxy in search for habitable planets, through space and time. 


 

Veiled by utmost secrecy before the war, the research for such space exploration and travel was long underway. The Soviet scientists believed to have some academic success in the matter. The time to put it into practice has finally come. 

 

In a special underground lab, several men were up to the task under the leadership of the talented professor Crane and his son. Gorbachev himself handpicked the designated team. The scientists seemed to near success, but at the last minute, something went wrong… 

In the 60s of the 20th century, the planet Earth was hit by the worst imaginable disaster in human history. Blinded by unexplained hatred and thirst for authority, leaders of the Soviet Union and the United States pressed the red buttons almost simultaneously, plunging our planet into eternal winter and making the Earth unsuitable for human life and all living things. 

Needless to say, extensive preparations were made for this event and, by the time the earth began to blossom with fire-colored mushrooms, all people who could've been of use to both States were tacked away in bomb shelter networks that formed entire cities beneath the land, along with some plant specimens, fungi and representatives of the animal world.

 

For 40 years people lived underground. After the nuclear war, the surface of our planet was unfit for life as we know it. Our world was covered in poisonous fumes with radiation levels that could have killed anyone who dared to come to the surface without a hazmat suit. There were no plants or animals on earth. Rivers were dry, and the grass turned to dust. Only the dead high-rise skeletons grinned with their broken windows. 

For the first few years, grey ashes steadily descended to the ground. Then they were replaced by snow. Climate changed, and it became extremely cold. Going out on the street without the right gear was not an option. The planet was dead, completely, and irrevocably. 

There was a dead, dense, almost tangible silence in the lab. It was past midnight. All employees have long departed. Only an older man was sitting at his table. Alone. In his hands was a folder - "Case Number 13." 

Nervously flipping the pages, the scientist heavily sighed. Just a few months ago, he and his son were full of hope to get the hell out of this filthy planet and find a new one they can call home. But now, it's all over...

They must have got their calculations wrong somehow. Instead, some kind of creature, that only resembles his son in appearance, was on the floor in a bulletproof cell. That thing came from the other side. And worse, it was damn right dangerous. But the old professor was stalling. He was unwilling to admit that their experiment failed, the lab needs to close, and that his flesh and blood is, in fact, dead. 

It was a look of a broken man. Professor dug through his books, new texts, and old, but all in vain. The only thing he was capable of at this point is to keep this creature in the anabiotic state with daily doses of sleeping pills. 

Finally, the professor gathered his strength, put down his notes, and got out of the chair. He threw a farewell look at the glass and came out of the room. After all, he couldn't just sit there forever. The front door slammed, and the scientist made his way through the shadowy underground corridors. 

 Once the lab immersed in darkness, someone else's shadow detached from the wall. The cell where the professor's son was laying filled with light, and a young woman walked in. The human-looking creature opened its eyes in an attempt to trace the source of the steps. It didn't move. The sleeping pills didn't fully take, but the powerless human body robbed the creature of its life, strength, and intelligence. 

The lab assistant approached the suited man and kneeled beside. The creature that now lived in the professor's son's body could not breathe air, so the suit had to stay on. What's more, it wasn't possible to move it anywhere else. Entering the room where the creature was laying, was extremely dangerous. The thing was incredibly strong. On the first day, it nearly blew the lab into pieces. That's why he was locked up in there. A few unsuccessful attempts at reviving the man almost ended the lives of several lab employees. So the thing just lay there…forgotten. And yet, the young lady hoped that something inside the creature still remembered her. If not, how else would you explain what happened the day the man returned from the black hole? 

The girl looked into the eyes of the man behind the sweaty visor. He was breathing steadily, his gaze was out of focus, and he didn't seem to notice her. The lab assistant gently touched the man's hand. 

To think that just a while back, they've been drinking coffee and laughing together at some stupid jokes. Аnd now...

The professor and his son were obsessed with the idea of transporting people to Mars through a black hole. It consumed them entirely. No one could stand between them and their dream to penetrate the mysteries of antimatter and get people moving through time and space. Several lab staff voiced concerns that using the collider is straight-up unsafe. Not only it can decimate the entire planet and create a black hole of uncontrollably increasing size, but also no one really knows what's out there, whether the new world is suitable for life or how exactly the human transport happens. The professor in charge and his son wouldn't have it. In part, because they were obsessed with the idea and partly because of Gorbachev's ongoing praise that spun around their heads. As it turned out later, they should have been more mindful. 

By that time, however, several tests with sending robots and small animals to the other side went pretty well. The creatures came back unharmed, and robots, through remote surveillance, showed perfect pictures of habitable lands: clean air, water, forests, and developed flora and fauna resembling our planet to a tee. 

But as luck would have it, on the day when professor Crane's son has volunteered to be the first transported human, things went terribly wrong. One of the employees, in charge of the control panel, was a novice and seemingly mixed up the levers. He accidentally pressed the button that stops the matters from reacting, causing Crane's son to get sandwiched between time and space. At least that's what the professor planned to write in his report. In fact, it was much simpler than that. Antimatter is a volatile thing, far from being controllable. Crane's son was gone for only a few seconds before the frenzied professor kicked the stunned rookie out and turned on the emergency recovery lever. But, those few seconds were enough. When the black hole reopened, a strange orange light came out of it, followed by the body of the astronaut that looked like someone spat it out. 

At first glance, he seemed dead. But, when professor Crane pressed on the stop-response, the black hole closed, and the man, contrary to expectations, landed on his feet. He was acting weird. He wasn't moving, just stood completely still. 

- Well, what are you waiting for? – shouted Crane at the baffled employees 

- Help him!

Once a lab assistant approached the man in a spacesuit, it was clear this wasn't the professor's son. Or it was, but not him. His eyes beamed with the same orange light they saw in the Black Hole, and his body rose above the ground, twisting in spasms. 

And then the hell broke loose. A dreadful rumble filled the room. People fell on the ground, and red sparks flew out of the creature's eyes, still glowing with the same orange light. The sparks hammered through the air, thundering and threatening to blow the lab to shreds. The noise was getting louder, and it looked like everyone is going to die by the hand of this species from outer space. In other words, total chaos until the lab assistant ran up to the man, syringe in hand, filled with a translucent liquid.

- Alexander! Sasha! Look at me, Sasha! 

The creature took his time but turned around. It looked confused for a few seconds, and the body of the helpless man touched the ground. That moment was all it took for the young lady to throw herself forward and stick the needle in the power cord of the suit.

 

The creature sprang into the air once again, froze in spasm, and plumped to the floor. The sleeping concoction worked. At least partially. The man's eyes remained open, but all meaningful expression was gone. The man was tied up. But when they tried to take off his suit, he started to choke. Apparently, the Earth's atmosphere wasn't a match for the foreigner. It would've been wise to send the alien for research while under the influence of drugs. Still, professor Crane was worried that his lab would close as a result of his failure and decided to keep the alien enclosed in the bulletproof walls of the lab, as far away from public laboratory halls as possible. Once a day, the professor would visit the cell to personally administer sedatives and vitamins to the thing in a spacesuit that once was his son. 

 

The young assistant offered to help out. She felt the creature recognized her, but the professor said it was too dangerous and strictly forbidden her or anyone else to enter the room, let alone approach the beast. 

 

It seems like today the old man forgot to shoot the creature with the sleeping mixture before he left, and the young lady figured it out a little too late. The man moved. But the girl, fascinated with his face, didn't notice. And, for the second time, tried to connect:

 

- Sasha, can you hear me? It's Maria. If you're still there, please give me a sign.

 

That's when the man unexpectedly smiled. Struck by a sudden realization, Maria recoiled but missed the chance. The belts that tied his body burst in flames producing incredible heat and melting to the ground. The man's body went up in the air, and then he spoke in his regular and familiar voice. But it wasn't him anymore. 

 

- You can't catch me twice, creature. 

 

That's when the door to the cell swung open, and the professor stormed in.

 

- Stupid girl, I told you... 

 

He didn't have a chance to finish his sentence. One of the alien's tentacles sank deep down in his throat, and the old man fell, choking on his blood. The girl screamed. The creature then landed on the ground and took off its suit. The man inhaled deeply.

 

- It looks like the adaptation was successful.

 

He smiled at his thoughts and came up close to the lab assistant hiding in the corner. 

 

- Do you want to live? 

 

He asked the girl, insinuatingly. She nodded, looking at him, scared to death. 

 

-Then clean this up, and turn the generator back on and don't turn it off! Throw the body into the black hole. If anyone asks, say the old man went crazy and wanted to test his own hypotheses putting all of us in danger. 

 

-Give me the names and whereabouts of everyone who has ever entered this room. They're the ones who need to go first. 

 

And she did. Sasha or whatever it was smiled...

 

- We've been watching you for a long time. Your journey to our planet would only delay the inevitable. Your race is unworthy of existence. Your kind only spoils every place that accepts it. 

 

Then he took the keys from the table and walked out the door. For him, there was still a lot of clean up to do. The poor planet had to be cleansed of all these reckless creatures that once were entrusted with this world. 

Thanks to everyone who took part in the creation of this project:

Cosmonaut Alexander the son of the professor - Kostya Baranov https://www.instagram.com/__baranov__19/?hl=ru

Professor's assistant - Dinara Singatulina https://www.instagram.com/lllepren/?hl=ru

Photographer's assistant - Aydar Salamatov

Screenwriter - Nana Reiter https://www.instagram.com/drwg_llai/?hl=ru

Professor - Pavel Nikolaevich

Photographer, director - Dmitry Rogozhkin