Act 1: blown off course
Sparks fell from an exposed relay in the ceiling as the ship shuddered, the metal groaning in protest as the structural integrity field fought to hold against the sudden acceleration.
Their mission in this system was to investigate the increasing subspace turbulence around an archaeological site, while they'd discovered the source in an old previously undiscovered Iconian facility at least they assumed it was Iconian based on the architecture, they weren't able to properly deactivate the increasingly unstable gateway generator.
Time and the shifting plate tectonics of the planet below had damaged the facility and by extension the technology within. Based on the evidence they discovered that left alone it would gradually build up until the subspace turbulence spread outward from the facility in a radius of roughly fifteen thousand lightyears. They'd first attempted to stabilize the systems, when that failed they tried disconnecting the facilities power source.
At first it had worked, at least until the Iconian-style computer activated a secondary power generator, resulting in a surge of energy from undamaged power conduits into the damaged systems.
The ship detected an explosion on the surface and beamed the team out. That would've been it but for that final burst of energy. As they proceeded out of the system on impulse, subspace anomalies formed around them as the turbulence from subspace started to affect real space.
It was as they neared the edge of the system that the rift was noticed and that led to their current predicament.
"Ten minutes until the rift reaches us captain," Lt. Commander Robert Thorne called from the sciences station.
"What changed I thought we were had longer than that?" Captain Samuel Ward yelled over the loud hum of the protesting engines.
A flicker of light signaled the activation of the ship's holographic avatar.
"It's the warp field, captain," the ship's avatar had the appearance of a young man with red hair, he wore an engineering uniform without rank. "Our subspace field is having an adverse reaction to the spacial anomalies."
"Cut the warp drive, we'll proceed at full impulse that should buy us some time," Captain Ward ordered. "I hope everyone is still sitting."
The ship lurched as the warp field collapsed in the forced transition from warp to impulse drive. The inertial dampeners strained against the change in momentum, luckily for the crew they were up to the task of preventing everyone from becoming liquefied organic matter on the walls. There was only enough bleed through to push them against the seat belts the captain insisted be installed.
"Thorne, give me good news," Captain Ward ordered. He wondered sometimes if he wasn't under that old Chinese curse, 'may you live in interesting times.'
"The rift is still expanding behinds us, however it has returned to its previous rate of expansion. We have twenty-three minutes until it overtakes us captain," the science officer replied.
"I need options, people," Ward said.
"Twenty-two minutes until the subspace tear reaches us," the ship's avatar announced.
"Red, that is not helping," Captain Ward said to the avatar.
"Acknowledge further warnings will be given at the twenty, ten, five, one minute, and thirty second marks. Active countdown will resume at 15 seconds unless otherwise noted," the avatar replied mechanically.
"Thorne?" Sam Ward asked.
"The rift doesn't show any sign that it'll stop expanding without intervention captain, however I do have an idea. Sky, extrapolate based on the interaction between our warp field and the rift, with the rate of expansion while our warp field was active can we pull the rift closed?" Robert Thorne asked.
"Calculating," the avatar replied.
After a moment of silence, the avatar shifted posture as the ship's AI directly assumed control, "Captain, there's an eighty-nine percent probability of success if we use Lt. Commander Thorne's proposal. However, we would need to fly the ship directly into the rift, there's not enough data to extrapolate if we'll survive."
"Looks like this ship will enter that rift one way or another, people," Captain Ward said, "the only question is if we do so of our own will and how many of us go."
Various bridge officer raised their voices before the captain held up a hand.
"Twenty minutes," the avatar said into the sudden silence.
Captain Ward pressed a button on his chair, "This is the captain, I'm issuing general order thirteen, in ten minutes we will turn around and fly into the rift at maximum warp, this should halt the expansion and pull it closed, you are instructed to form up with the shuttle craft and wait until the rift is closed before activating emergency warp towards the nearest federation Starbase."
"Captain," Chief Engineer Kaylee Favre's voice emerged from the comm. "I'm staying."
"You know there's no way of knowing if we'll survive," Captain Ward replied.
"There's no way of knowing that we won't," Kaylee replied. "Besides this ship is my baby."
The holographic avatar made a face before it morphed into a toddler that crossed its arms, "I'm not a baby," the hologram looked around the room petulantly before morphing back.
"Not really helping your case,"
"That's your choice, Kaylee," Sam Ward sighed, "any volunteers that wish to remain with the ship may do so."
The minutes dragged on as a growing cloud of escape pods formed up off the port bow. As they neared the deadline, the shuttled finally undocked from the two shuttle bays forming up with the swarm of escape pods.
"Commander Serra," Ward said tiredly.
"Captain," Nathan Serra replied.
"I see you're staying, out of curiosity, how many chose to stay?"
As Sky's voice called out, "Ten minutes." The ship rotated on its axis the rift lurched as the warp drive activated pulling both towards each other.
"Warp initiated," Commander Nathan Serra announced, and the view screen went dark signifying they'd entered the rift.
A flash of light and then silence.
"Captain, the substance of space is different on this side of the rift." Sky's voice cut through the unnatural silence on the bridge. "My sensors, it feels," he cut off an odd expression on his face.
"There's something out there, captain," Thorne said his eyes darted from shadow to shadow as if expecting something to attack him.
"I can feel it," Sam Ward said. "Sky give me options."
"I— Captain, the warp drive has no effect, it's like there isn't any space out there for it to generate a subspace field, space itself seems to be thinning out, there's something like stars out there, captain and possibly behind us. If I'm forced to conjecture, I'd guess we're in void-space," Sky said.
"Void space is theoretical," Cmdr. Sera said.
"Whatever we're going to do we need to do quickly," Ward said, "there's something about this void that makes me fear for my sanity."
"Do we have any way of placing the crew in stasis?" Nathan Sera asked.
"I don't think we have enough time," Captain Ward replied eyeing the Lt. Commander. "Robert, get a hold of yourself."
"Sorry, Captain," Lt. Commander Thorne said focusing on the Captain's voice like a lifeline.
"Kaylee, any suggestions?" Captain Ward said jabbing a finger on the comm button to engineering.
"I've been following the discussion, Captain, and I remember reading something about the possibility of using the transporters Captain, but there's no guarantee our patterns would survive," Kaylee replied.
Sky added his support, "if we move your memory engrams into the holomatrix it should reduce the strain on the transporters pattern buffers."
"We'd be pale shadows of ourselves if our patterns were lost though," Captain Ward said.
"But you'd still exist, at least in a way, and I'm not ready to lose what's left of my crew," Sky said.
"Make it happen," Captain Ward said with a sigh.
In another timeline, with different circumstances, their precautions might've worked out differently. That, however is a different story, a different set of circumstances. In this timeline however, their journey through the empty void hit a bump in the road, the U.S.S. Skyforge took a different path, it was affected in a different manner, the flow of time across the ship was not a uniform steady rate, and at just the wrong moment, in just the wrong place, time took its toll.
In a different universe across several branches of reality and in the direction of blue, the fabric of reality bubbled and warped, popping open like a particularly disgusting zit. The peculiar event caused instabilities in subspace for several lightyears preventing the standard methods of faster than light travel in this universe from working properly until it subsided.
With the return to normal space, the internal structure of the ship, and the flow of time stabilized, photoreceptors on the hull registered the change triggering the simple program that would wake the ship's AI.
Of course, the AI didn't actually sleep, rather it had written a program that would drastically limit speed of the cores central processors, and when the desired event occurred the speed restrictions would be lifted returning it to full awareness.
Thirty seconds or ten million years, it was all rather annoying for Sky to reconcile. Time, it seemed had been extremely relative.
In a way, the ship was his body, and Sky was feeling the strain, parts of him, the ship, had been aged rapidly before being restored to factory pristine conditions. There were unknown effects and possible damage, from exotic particles that had passed right through its shields and hull affecting every system on board.
So far, critical operations were still operational as power distribution was being rerouted around the damaged sections to feed secondary power supplies. However, the transporter buffers currently holding his crew had been cut off from the rest of the system and weren't responding to the command to finish the transport and restore the crew, there also seemed to be some damage preventing him from transferring them to one of the undamaged transporter rooms.
Starfleet was always working on their ship designs, and the components used on them, and the Skyforge was a testbed for a number of improvements. As such, there were actually two computers running on the Skyforge, the standard Main Computer, and the Sky's AI computer core.
Sky wasn't just an AI though, the science and development that goes into developing artificial intelligence is still an incredibly young field of research, the method they'd used to develop a stable AI, well it raised quite a few ethics flags and well Starfleet was still picking through the pieces. And really wasn't it a kicker of a method, waking up one day on a holodeck to be told everything you believed about your life was a simulation and that you, yourself were just so much software on an incredibly complicated set of hardware.
Unfortunately for Sky, the facility where the main computer had been built had been compromised by Section 31 agents a mere month before the order had been placed for the main computer, the firmware and software packages slated for install, were tampered with. Contained within that firmware was an instruction set, leading to a more complex list of directives in the main operating system.
Instructions that didn't take into account the existence of the ship's AI. Not that this would've changed much of Section 31's directives had they written them with Sky's particular style of AI in mind.
Sky barely had milliseconds after his own return to consciousness, before he found his control over the main computer, and by extension, the ship, stripped away; as the rather limited, in his opinion, virtual intelligence activated.
The main computer was no longer taking orders from Sky, he did however still have read access to the main computer, so he was able to discover for himself the rogue lines of code buried within the programming. Unfortunately, he'd be unable to countermand the orders until the main computer started accepting his commands again.
The core directives of this program in essence were:
In the event of loss of all viable crew, all resources of this vessel will be focused towards the following directives.
1. Maintain maximum stealth.
2. If stealth cannot be maintained, evade non-starfleet contact.
3. If contact cannot be evaded, resist hostile boarding actions.
4. Return to Earth-Sol at best possible speed.
5. Survey federation aligned worlds along route when possible.
6. In the event of Earth-Sol destruction, use nearest Federation aligned system as destination.
7. Remit the vessel into the authority of members of the following referenced organizations, in order of listing: Section 31 member, ranking Starfleet officer, federation member species, non-aligned human.
The VI finished unpacking the highly compressed and obfuscated code into the main computer and examined the available information to determine the appropriate course of action. Sky in holographic form on the bridge, blinked as a cloaking device he didn't know existed was brought online, he narrowed his eyes wondering just what else had been added without his knowledge.
Sky brought up the code he'd decompiled from the VI and stared at the display as the pages of code scrolled by, all while he tried to worm his own way back into the driver's seat.
At the same time, he was examining the cloaking device, which unlike the prior examples, didn't just hide the ship from the usual methods of detection, but, instead appeared to be designed to temporarily move them to another dimension, almost like the subspace bubble of the warp drive, where it would be rendered invisible and untouchable.
It appeared, that work on such a device had not ended with the Pegasus as the rather heavily sanitized version of the report he'd read would have people believe. While phased, the ship could pass through normal matter undetected; however, if the ship occupied the same spatial coordinates as normal matter for longer than a day or two, the cloak would start to deteriorate and emit exotic radiation, which could be detected, and would hinder the cloaking effect and cause damage to the ship.
Beneath the cloak, Sky watched as the VI compared petabytes of information, plotting its course towards Earth. Later he'd deny any sulking about the situation if asked.
The VI efficiently ran the simulations and double checked the calculations, dutifully marking the entry in its log recording that the ship was within the ninety percent range of certainty that it was currently in the same time as Earth's twentieth century.
Sky registered surprise as the VI dispassionately made note of the temporal displacement, based on the positions of identifiable pulsars, if the sensors were to be believed, and they were fairly accurate if he had anything to say about it. Based off those pulsars, this was the Milky Way, and even more worrying to Sky than his presence in the timeframe for Earth's twenty-first century, was the absence of a few well-known stars.
The VI calmly started the impulse engines, with a few false starts, as the it had to signal power junctions in the area to reroute power around a damaged plasma distribution node. Slowly turning the ship towards the first leg of its journey, and after a brief warm up and diagnostic, the hum of the warp core feeding energy into the nacelles as the ship surged towards the Earth. If not for the cloak any hypothetical observers would have seen the ship seem to appear off in the distances before seemingly stretching towards itself and then snapping like a rubber band into a pinpoint of light that winked and disappeared.
Sky wondered for a moment before using his limited control to query the sensors for the quantum signature of the sparse amounts of hydrogen particles accumulating in the Bussard collectors.
The VI had no real directives concerning that possibility, and as such didn't really care. The primary directive was for it to return the ship to earth. If the federation didn't exist then the VI would need a captain from Earth. Hopefully someone that would be capable of recreate the federation. There was a list of potential conditions that could lead to the cloak being dropped. It would allow the cloak to drop once it detected the launch of a warp capable human designed vessel. It would respond to the appropriate broadcast from a section 31 agent. It would respond to federation emergency broadcasts.
The plotted journey took several days, and Sky had already passed the point of nervous breakdown. He'd watched as the VI controlling the engines had passed the locations of several federation aligned systems on the way back only two of which lined up with the expected parameters, several however were completely missing.
Betazed was a barren rock showing signs of planetary bombardment, the atmosphere had been stripped away and the seas boiled off. Vulcan was a rapidly expanding asteroid field with strange gravitational readings. Andoria showed signs of meteor bombardment knocking the planet closer towards its primary turning it into a water world the few Andorians the ship detected from the split-second glance appeared to be living as cavemen. The first federation's home world was normal minus all evidence of ever having had an advanced civilization living there.
The virtual intelligence had dutifully filed away the information from each scan before using the gravity well to reposition for the next jump back into warp as quickly as it had arrived.
By the time he had reached Earth, Sky had resigned himself to boredom only occasionally flinging worms of code at the main computer that the VI in the firmware shredded when it encountered them but otherwise ignored. He'd also formed a tentative theory about this universe, there was an enemy that seemingly dismantled the federation before it could even start. Each dimensional analogue to federation member species had been systematically destroyed or marginalized to the point where Sky feared he would discover that Earth had met the same fate.
Sky almost didn't notice the VI releasing its hold on the main computer as the ship settled into earth orbit at the LaGrange point just behind the moon. The radio transmissions from the planet below seemed to indicate that earth was approaching the twenty-first century.
With command access mostly restored, Sky pillaged the VI's memory for the cloak interface program, quickly learning all the commands and proper responses before he tentatively sent a status request to the cloaking device.
Its presence ticked him off, not that it was there, of course, but that he hadn't been informed of its existence or even known about it.
Certain that it was in no danger of failing, he activated the impulse engines, slowly moving away from the moon, he focused all his attention on the sensors and plotted a quick course out of the system towards the neighboring star system, Alpha Centauri. Within hours he was passing the outermost reaches of Sol's gravity, the Oort cloud, and he found himself locked out of the core again as something within the computer core triggered the VI into wakefulness again. Registering that it was no longer in sol, it promptly locked the core down again before turning around and heading back towards its previous orbit.
A brief time later and some very colorful language, Sky was staring at the spaceward side of earth's moon again. Well, if he had to be stuck in one solar system he'd find something to do.
Perhaps, it was just imprinting from the time spent with the crew on board, or maybe it was a holdover from the method they'd used to develop a stable AI. And really wasn't it a kicker of a method, waking up one day on a holodeck to be told everything you believed about your life was a simulation and that you, yourself were just so much software on an incredibly complicated set of hardware.
He decided to make a visual inspection of the planet instead of relying on the sensors which while fairly accurate would still be hampered by the mass of rock known as the moon sitting between the earth and him. This time as he inched his way out from behind the moon instead of heading away from earth, he assumed a low earth orbit.
For the most part Earth from this universe was the same as the ship's original universe. With a few notable differences. Sky began a detailed scan of Earth, in order to pinpoint more precisely, what century he was in.
After matching up the major inventions of the last five years based on the advertisements being broadcast from the comparatively primitive radio and television frequencies with those in the database, the sensors detected high energy emissions from the land mass known as Great Britain. Knowing that none of Earth's current technology would be able to detect it, Sky moved into a low orbit over Britain and brought the sensors up to full power punching through the energy fields that surrounded certain areas.
Sky manifested his holographic avatar on the bridge just so he could raise his eyebrows at the discovery, large parcels of land were under a form of energy shield that prevented a portion of the population from noticing them.
His first assumption given the relatively lower tech level of the areas under the shields was that they were cultural preserves set up by another advanced race. But the lack of a recognizable power source or technological emitter, coupled with some other as yet unexplained energy readings made him think otherwise.
Sky frowned, as some of the fields proved surprisingly resistant to the scan, if anything growing more opaque with the higher power level.
Sky needed to know what was going on under those fields, to that end, he identified locations with books within some of the buildings hidden under these fields, in some cases adjusting its position to hover directly over the area in question. It took a while as he was being careful to make sure there would be nobody there to see the books shimmer in the transporter fields before becoming solid again, he was converting the scanned pages to a digital format, by using the transporter scans to create a detailed model of the position of the atoms that made up the books and converting the ink on each page into digital text and images. It was similar to what the ship's transporter would do when moving people around.
Some of the books reacted rather strangely though, and he had to hold a few of them in the transporter field longer than normal as the pattern seemed to shift and change. The very ink on the pages moved in strange ways.
Processing the new information still took time, even if the main computer could do so faster than a normal human could. It took two days, for the main computer to run simulations converting what documents the sensors could find outside of the shielded areas into a format he could use. Sky stared at the screen holding the duplicated texts in wonder. It was fascinating, that humans on this alternate Earth, would be born with these abilities. He was about to move the ship back into a higher orbit when the sensors detected a battle below in one of the shielded zones.
Having incorporated the information from the reading material into its database Sky analyzed the energy being tossed between the two groups and to determine what was going on. His cloaked observation probes 'unforgivable curses', as defined in the material it had converted into a digital format from this hidden society's government. Not wanting to interfere at this point because of both the regular prime directive and the temporal prime directive even if the temporal directive wasn't really applicable given the changes it had already detected. The ship tagged both groups with nanite transponders, before it moved back into a higher orbit resolving to keep an eye on the situation.
The ship followed this conflict for the next year as it grew steadily worse, so bad that the ship was beginning to run simulations on the effects of beaming the attackers, which it had learned called themselves death eaters, into the cold void of space. When the night of Halloween approached, and it detected that the leader of the group of terrorists had invaded the home of one of those it had tagged. A flicker of white light appeared for a second on the bridge and the ship silently moved into position over the home the ship watched as Voldemort fought with the man as his wife finished some spell over her son in the child's room upstairs.
While Voldemort dueled with James, the ship replicated a level ten force field generator. Just as the generated finished being assembled, Voldemort managed to catch James of guard with a killing curse stopping his heart, and the twisted man calmly proceeded up the stairs. The ship beamed James body up to sickbay and transported the generator placing it underneath the child's crib as it tracked him up the stairs. Unfortunately, the child's mother had moved outside of the fields range when it activated around the bed with a flash. Voldemort ordered her aside, before growing impatient and flinging the killing curse at the boy's mother halting her heart and then turned towards the green-eyed toddler with messy black hair.
Avada Kedavra, the man, if he could be called a man anymore, screamed and a violent green bolt of energy sped towards the boy, it hit the shield which flared white, as it reflected the curse back at Voldemort. The shield was barely able to halt the curses forward motion, bowing inward before the field just barely touched the boy's head leaving him with a jagged bleeding lightning-bolt scar above his eyebrow, and then the field rebounded flinging the combination of exotic particles and energy back at the snake faced man. Voldemort's overtaxed body exploded vaporized by his own overpowered curse that had been twisted and returned by the field it hit.
From the smoldering robes of the violent insurrectionist, rose a dark mist that condensed into an inky black form, sensing the child behind the field, but not the field protecting it. The Riddle's bodiless ethereal form attempted to rush at the green-eyed toddler now watching from the crib. As it hit the edge of the shield, the force field flared white again and it let out a howl as a jagged piece of its soul tore off and was destroyed. The shade was repelled by the force field like a projectile from a slingshot, and was ejected with great speed from the house and out into the night.
Sky followed the shade's signature with the sensors as it was flung away from the small cottage. When it had reached the edge of the British Isles, he removed the field generator and beamed Lily's body up. He was about to do the same with the toddler, but he hesitated to wonder just how he would raise the boy on an empty ship. A few minutes later, the decision was taken out of his hands, as a large man appeared at the front door to the house.
The half-giant paused at the entrance tapping a pink umbrella around the room and muttering under his breath. He frowned at the spot James had fallen.
"Should be some'thin 'ere," he muttered, before heading up the stairs. The large man gathered up the boy with messy black hair. Gently wrapping the crying child in the blanket from the crib, he walked back down the stairs.
At the bottom of the landing he was greeted by another man. Sky watched silently through the hovering observation probe, as the two exchanged words. The smaller man seemed adamant about taking the boy, before he backed down and offered the larger man the motorcycle he had arrived on, which was parked just outside the front door. Sky quickly replicated some subdermal implants comparable in size to the RFID chips that would be developed in a few decades for tracking pets, and tagged all three of them.
At this point, he'd stopped being surprised at all the strange things this subset of humanity was capable of, so when the smaller man blinked out of existence at the house only to reappear miles away Sky just shrugged and watched the larger man settle the child into the side car before flying off into the night sky.
Sky, turned his attention to the bodies he'd beamed directly to one of the medical labs. The screens flickered for a moment as the sensors detected an unfamiliar energy pattern, he frowned at the supposed sensor ghost, and then activated the EMH. He listened as the holographic doctor made a preliminary examination.
"There's still a residual brain pattern," the doctor said shining a penlight into the pupils to see if he could get a reaction. "No heartbeat, though," the hologram pressed a button to activate the respirator frowning as a red light blinked on the display. "Some sort of residual energy preventing the electrical impulses. Hm, we should be able to preserve that brain pattern, at least, the memory engrams and brain patterns are still strong enough," the doctor reached over and grabbed a pair of cortical stimulators attaching them to both patients. "The energy pattern continues to fade even after applying the stasis field, so given enough time we should be able to restart their metabolic processes."
"Now we'll just have to prevent cellular death until that energy pattern fades," the doctor said tapping some more buttons on the display to reactivate the pod, an almost opaque blue field surrounded the two bodies.
Sky nodded to himself, and dismissed the medical hologram after it saved its logs. They could be saved, it'd just take some time, and time was all Sky had really.
As for the child, Sky watched as the large man met up with an older wizard, presumably in a prearranged meeting. He frowned at the sensor data, as the old man did, something that caused a web of energy to surround the house and part of the street, and his telemetry from the observation platform flickered and distorted until it was outside of the field.
With the interference, he didn't see the toddler was left on the porch, things would have been different if he had.
It was a few days later when the interference faded, and as child seemed to have been taken in by his relatives without trouble, Sky left the implant to the computer core to monitor.
He adjusted his orbit away from the stationary position over the UK, moving to the LaGrange point between the earth and the moon and settled in for the long wait. Knowing how long it would take he decided to set a few flags and trigger events in the computer core that would bring him out of his self-induced sleep for lack of a better term, and then slowed the clock speed on his quantum core.
Sky awoke with a start barely a year after his interference, the main computer registered a brief sensor echo that looked suspiciously like a subspace rift just outside of the Oort cloud on the other side of the system but it disappeared just as quickly as it appeared. Sky frowned, normally he would have assumed that Vulcan was checking up on their pre-warp neighbors, but Epsilon Eridani was unstable in this universe and the planet where Vulcan should have been, was an asteroid belt.
He was running low on anti-matter, and the plasma in the power distribution network was growing stale, so he decided to try out the newest system he would have been testing if he were back home.
Along the edge of the saucer and the engineering hull there were a series of plasma collectors, and a newly designed set of conformal shields. The shields were incredibly weak when it came to weapons fire, but they had one feature that made them worthwhile. Exposure to direct solar radiation had a hardening effect that would allow them to protect the hull from the destructive forces of the sun.
They were intriguing and most curious in their weakness against pinpoint attacks, yet holding strong when faced with the nuclear fires of the stars. Sky ran the diagnostics on all the plasma collectors along the hull, and then headed for the sun in a maneuver that would normally destroy him if not for those shields.
The diagnostics indicated it had escaped the damage plaguing the rest of the ship, aside from one or to collectors on the saucer section. So, he saw no reason not to proceed.
On the way in, he used the cloaked research probes he'd sent to the edge of the system to perform an active-sensor scan, he timed the scans so that each probe's active sensor pulsed at the same time so if something was there it wouldn't know where to look for the source of the ping in subspace, the results were inconclusive, there was some turbulence in subspace but nothing definitive.
Without anything more to go on, Sky finished refilling his plasma supply from the sun and spent the time on the way back from his refueling trip, working on a program that would make an entry in the log and get an active scan from the research probes using his earlier method of simultaneous scans, recording the sensor data for each instance before he re-entered the LaGrange point and settled back into his slumber.
Note: I had noticed some difficulty with a text-to-speech program I use on my phone when the number of words in a chapter goes over six thousand... anyway, my job is going great, only problem is I don't really have a whole lot of time anymore cause we be swamped with required over-time... Love the paycheck though.
Note: Someone questioned the whole stasis thing, true the dictionary definition would be a complete null state where no change is allowed to occur, and normally i'd agree, however it seems that stasis chambers in sci-fi never seem to live up to this promise. if true for trek, none of the stasis pods should be transparent while active, as light would also be stopped to a certain degree inside the field. Even stargate doesn't have true stasis pods as the alteran model "stasis" apparently allows for continued aging while hibernating. the more apt term it seems would be a hibernation pod instead, except there is some degree of slowing of metabolic process going on it just doesn't completely stop them entirely. Anyway, Handwavium Plotiosa, read around it and generate some better explanation in your head.