He woke with a gasp, his body freezing and limbs heavy.
He sat up, pulling himself forward with a groan.
"Hey, hey, take it easy." Hands, warm on his shoulders, prevented him from going any further. He looked up at two cryo technicians standing over him.
"I've been taking it easy for six hundred years," He rasped out, one hand already massaging at his right knee, anticipating stiffness. "Where's my cane?"
"Lawson, Matthew. Security and Recon specialist. Pathfinder Mission Team."
"Pathfinder team, eh?" The other cryo tech smiled at him, "you're the ones who're going to find us a new home."
"Can I request somewhere warm?" The first tech drawled.
Matthew smiled a bit at their banter, but as far as he knew, there was no choice in where humanity's new home was going to end up being. That had been decided back in the Milky Way.
The second tech playfully swatted the other's arm, "How about we get him a cup of coffee before badgering him, hm?" They turned back to him, "Your cane is in medical, Lawson, would you like some help getting there?"
He frowned a bit, preferring to walk on his own (even with the assistance of the cane), but years of dealing with his old injury helped tamper down his pride when asking for help. "I would, thank you. And can that coffee be tea instead? I can't stand coffee."
As the techs hoisted him up off the hard cot, they laughed, "We'll see what we can do, Lawson."
"Matthew!" A familiar voice rang out as soon as the cryo techs eased him down onto a cot in the medical part of cryo bay. He looked up to see the beaming face of his old childhood friend.
"Lucien Blake, well I never," Matthew grinned as Lucien clasped his hand warmly between his own.
"It's Doctor now, Matthew, but it's so good to see you."
"Likewise. How've you been?"
The light in his old friend's eyes dimmed a bit, but the grin stayed on his face and Matthew wondered what had happened in the years they spent apart. Instead of pushing, Matthew just squeezed Lucien's hands with a smile. The smile was returned and Lucien patted his hand fondly.
"Excellent, yes, very excellent now that you're awake," Lucien dropped Matthew's hand to put one on his shoulder. "We'll run some tests, see how you're feeling after the six hundred year nap."
"I was promised a cuppa."
Lucien laughed lightly, "I'll get that for you, still take your tea the same?"
"Like I'd ever change that."
"No, you wouldn't." Lucien smiled, "I'll get it for you or send someone over with it, along with your cane. In the meantime, Doctor Harvey will run your physical and mental checks. Doctor Harvey?"
Lucien clapped him one more time on the shoulder before he swept off through medical, his white coat (a nostalgic ancient Terran item that had been his father's) billowing behind him.
"Matthew Lawson?" A human woman, dark red hair cut precisely at her jaw, walked up to him, her eyes on the datapad in her hands. She too wore a white coat like Lucien, evidently fond of the phased out garment as much as him.
"That's me," he straightened.
"Doctor Alice Harvey. Let's get you checked out," She put the datapad down on the cot next to him and peered at him before lifting up her activated omni tool. "Look here, please."
He looked at the brightly glowing orange light as it scanned his body and then up at the face of the woman in front of him as she tapped the holographic interface on her forearm. The orange of her omni tool highlighted the sharpness of her features, her jawline and cheekbones standing out the most.
"Looks good," Alice deactivated the interface and leaned forward. Her thin fingers probed the lymph nodes under his jaw and along his throat, slightly cooler than his skin (now finally warmed up from cryo).
Her position brought her face close to Matthew's, her blue-gray eyes focused on the task before her. He swallowed a bit thickly, shifting awkwardly at someone invading his personal space. Dr. Harvey didn't seem to notice, a few strands of her hair fell in front of her face as she nodded to herself, evidently happy with the results of her examination.
"We just have to check your SAM implant, but everything physical looks good."
Matthew cleared his throat, "Glad to know I'm in one piece after being turned into a popsicle for centuries."
The corner of her mouth twitched upward slightly, appreciating his dry humor. He watched as Alice walked around to a console, typing away and talking to the hologram of SAM. As she worked on testing the connection between him and the artificial intelligence, Lucien popped back over with a steaming cup of black tea, just the way he liked it, and his familiar cane. Matthew nodded his thanks and Lucien smiled before going across from him to care for the young man with blond hair still blinking from the cryostasis.
"Everything checks out, Mr. Lawson," Alice walked back over to stand in front of him, picking up the datapad to his side. "We're about to revive your sister, though, and sometimes a fami-"
The lights in cryo flickered shortly before the room shook and shuddered.
"That," Matthew slid to his feet, hand already wrapping around the handle of his cane, "did not sound good."
The room shuddered again and then lurched. All of them were thrown from their feet. Matthew landed hard on his side, briefly knocking the wind out of him. Alice coughed next to him, shaking her head slightly as she pushed herself up on her elbows. Matthew looked up at a scraping sound as a bulky cryo pod slid towards the two of them. He pulled himself closer to Alice, throwing an arm over her, bracing for the impact of the pod.
His stomach flipped as the gravity within cryo suddenly switched off and the two of them floated up off the floor, the cryo pod sailing over their heads to bump against the bulkheads behind them.
"What's going on?" Alice asked in the circle of his arms, her hair floating up around her head in a dark halo. Her hands gripped his biceps tightly, afraid to go too far from him while they drifted up.
"I don't know, are you alright?"
She nodded, her eyes still a little wild. He noticed a red spot on her forehead, slowly darkening, but she didn't seem worse for wear.
A familiar voice echoed through the cryo bay over the loudspeaker, "I'm almost inside! Hold on!"
Matthew twisted in midair, Alice still loosely floating in his arms, to see the one and only Jean Beazley pull herself into the bay. Her familiar chestnut curls were half pinned back from her face, the rest floating around her head as she goes over to the control panel on the inside of the door.
"This is Beazley, I'm in the cryo bay! Brace for impact." Jean efficiently punched a code into the control panel and everyone (and everything) fell to the ground.
Matthew groaned as his back hit the floor and Alice landed on top of him.
"Oh!" She gasped and pushed herself up off him. "Oh, I am so sorry."
"Matthew?" Jean's concerned voice made him sigh. "Lucien?"
He pushed himself up, startling Alice. She stood and offered her hand, pulling him up off the floor. Matthew leaned up against the cot since his cane had disappeared, and looked up in time to see Jean pulling Lucien up off the floor. His old friends looked surprised to see each other, but fond smiles crossed both their faces. Jean looked over at him, keen eyes looking him over from across the room.
Lucien's eyes never left Jean's face.
He continued to watch her as she walked over to Matthew. Jean paused halfway and picked up Matthew's cane, handing it over to him as she arrived by his side.
"Thank you, Jean."
"Are you alright?"
"A bit sore, and still tired," he sighed. "What happened?"
Jean shrugged, one of her hands resting on Matthew's shoulder, "Sensors are scrambled, so we don't really know what's going on. But it's good to see you, Matthew, it's been ages."
Matthew huffed a dry laugh, "You too."
"This is the Pathfinder." Doug Ashby's voice crackled through the loudspeaker, echoing across the level. "Mission teams, continue preparations. Jean, Lawson, report to the bridge."
"You heard him, Matthew, I'll meet you by the door?"
He nodded, watching her walk away, smiling at Lucien approaching Jean almost immediately.
"You know Lucien?" Alice asked, her omni tool out and ready, giving him another quick scan, making sure he didn't suffer any injury in the brief loss of gravity.
Matthew made a noise of agreement, "Childhood friends before his father sent him off for schooling. Jean too. She stayed longer before going off to the Asari for training."
He smiled, "Funny how life pulls us all together."
"It is. You seem no worse for wear, Mr. Lawson."
"It's Matthew, Doctor." He turned his smile to her, widening it to a grin at the faint blush on her cheeks.