"This is the world's limit that we have come to, this is the Scythian country, an untrodden desolation."
"---And that concludes your lesson for today, goodbye." A soft, warm woman's voice clicked off with a barely audible pop and a quiet hush settled around Ethan Kaleff's floating body. A violent tremor broke the silence and a flock of disturbed bubbles brushed Ethan's face as they headed upward through the watery liquid surrounding him. A distant, shrill klaxon wailed into existence somewhere in the darkness as the tremor subsided to a dull rumble. With a slight shudder Ethan gained consciousness.
His first reaction to his situation was uncontrollable panic. Grasping and kicking he blindly attempted to get above the fluid and breathe fresh oxygen. Ethan found out quickly though that he was surrounded by slick glass and try as he might, he could not reach any air to relieve his burning chest. He floated in and out of consciousness until his body could no longer contain its ravenous hunger for oxygen. Bubbles streamed out of his mouth and nose as he coughed and gulped in mouthfuls of foul tasting fluid. Suddenly, amidst his confusion and panic Ethan realized that his lungs did not ache for oxygen any longer. Confused and bewildered he inhaled awkward gulps of the watery chemical and found that it sufficed, although rather uncomfortably, as a substitute for fresh air. Another tremor, stronger than the last, caused glass to the left of Ethan's cheek to crack and fissure. Now that the fear of drowning had subsided Ethan began to think more clearly about his situation. What was going on? How long had he been here and where exactly was "here"?
Before Ethan could question his situation any further there was a sharp splintering sound and the crack by his nose shattered outward spraying streams of oxygen-liquid mixed with broken glass into the dark room beyond. The chamber was breached now and the pressure from the many gallons of oxygen-liquid contained inside caused large fragments of glass to explode outwards and crash onto the floor below. Ethan could not so much see this occur as he could hear it for the room outside and the interior of his glass cell were both pitch dark. If not for the echoes caused by the recent commotion and the still blaring klaxon he might have thought he was floating in space.
As the last of the oxygen-liquid poured out in waterfalls Ethan felt more and more of his weight fall upon his legs. He kicked feebly at the last few crags of glass jutting up from the base of tank, attempting to remove any sharp shards that might snag his foot or leg while exiting the destroyed chamber. His legs were weak though from ill use and his wet body shivered from the chill of the outside air as well as from lack of strength. The shrieking klaxon was louder now, unmuffled by oxygen-liquid or glass, and seemed rather close by. Thankfully, the alarm's shrill and unrelenting sound was cut awkwardly short in a hiss of static and the dark room was plunged into silence.