Disclaimer: I own nothing Star Trek-related…though I might consider the idea of beaming Kirk, Spock, Khan, and the actors who play them to my house, once I manage to construct my own transporter. Until then, nothing is mine except original characters.
AN: Yes, I have found my way to the Star Trek universe! After all, Benedict Cumberbatch is hot, he's got a sexy voice, and I couldn't resist writing a story that involves him. So, here is my story, and I should warn everyone that this will be a bit darker than my previous works, so keep that in mind as you read. There will be high points, but also several lower ones, so be prepared.
Also, I'll admit that I borrowed a few things from Into Darkness and a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, so they obviously did it first; I just gave it my own spin. Oh, and Adrianna's nickname is pronounced "Ree-ah," for those who are curious.
Anyway, please enjoy, and don't forget to review. Thanks!
Chapter 1: Out of Time, Out of Place:
"Honey, you don't look so good."
It was the last thing my mother said to me, right before I blacked out and woke up somewhere completely different than where I'd been.
At the time, it'd been the honest truth: I hadn't been feeling well for the past few weeks, and had simply chalked it up to being either under too much stress, or that I was in desperate need of a vacation from work. Dad had suggested a trip to the doctor, but I hadn't thought it necessary; after all, feeling rundown didn't require a trip to the doctor, did it?
Then I'd passed out in my parents' living room, and when I woke up, I was in the hospital. A bunch of doctors were around me, looking worried, but in the half-conscious haze I was in, I couldn't make out half of what they were saying. Words like "frozen," "experimental," and "hope" drifted through to my brain, but long before they finished their talk, I blacked out again.
"She's coming to," whispered a voice near my head. "The procedure worked, Doctor!"
Procedure? What procedure? Had I been sick enough that doctors had had to operate on me for some reason? There was no way my dad would have allowed that unless I'd been dangerously ill.
Unfortunately, my mouth was drier than a desert, so I couldn't ask what was going on. I tried swallowing, but no moisture came, and instead, I gave a dry cough. I heard someone call out for water, and a cup was pressed to my lips, the cool liquid running blissfully down my throat as I drank the cup dry. Another was called for, and after I downed that one, I felt fine enough to open my eyes and see what was going on.
Like before, there were all doctors around me, eyes focused on my face. There was concern there, as well as an expression that clearly said they were pleased I'd come out of my 'procedure' alive and in once piece.
"Adrianna Drake?" one of the male doctors asked, as though confirming who I was. I nodded, which seemed to please him. "Good; at least you know who you are."
Another one stepped up to the bed, a gentle smile on her face. "The world has been waiting a long time for you to wake up, Miss Drake," she said.
I looked at her in confusion. What did she mean by that?
The female doctor, a pretty African-American woman with wavy hair pulled up into a bun at the back of her head, put a hand on mine. "Miss Drake, do you remember what day it is?"
I did, sort of; I had a feeling I might be off a bit, if I'd been unconscious for so long, but I decided to give them what I figured might be the general date. The other doctors exchanged looks, like they knew I'd be off, but from their expressions, I'd apparently missed the mark by a whole lot.
"Miss Drake, I'm Doctor Lydia Parks," the African-American woman said. "What I'm going to say next will come as a huge shock to you, so I need you to try and keep an open mind and remain calm."
Oh, no, that was always a bad sign.
What felt like a million different thoughts and scenarios flooded my brain, and most of them were bad. Was I dying? Or had something happened to me that could require life-threatening surgery of some kind? Or maybe I needed a unique treatment that could possibly kill me if they didn't administer it in the right doses?
"Now, there's no need to panic," Dr. Parks rushed to reassure me. "We just need to give you some information that might be overwhelming for you."
I took a deep breath. "Well, then, you'll probably want to get a sedative of some kind ready, in case I freak out," I said, only half joking.
To my surprise, Dr. Parks reached out and put her hand on mine; I didn't think doctors did that sort of thing normally. "Miss Drake, you've been in a coma and preserved in a cryogenic freezing chamber for the last two hundred years."
After that little revelation, things got a bit blurry for me. I barely remembered yelling, having hysterics, and feeling something being forced into my veins by the doctors, something that promptly put me to sleep.
When I woke up again, Dr. Parks was there, a look of sympathy on her face as she looked at the wall behind my left shoulder. I risked following her line of sight and felt my eyes bug out at the sight that was there. My vital signs were up on a large display on the wall, and there seemed to be an extremely accurate image of my beating heart on the screen as well.
"Wow, you guys must have the best technology in the country," I said, watching her press a few touch-screen icons.
"Actually, this is all standard equipment these days," Dr. Parks said, smiling kindly at me. I realized then that she was probably in her late-twenties or early-thirties, very much close to my own age. "Remember what I said about your situation."
I rolled my eyes at her. "Yeah, that I've been in a coma for over two centuries," I sarcastically replied. "I still don't buy it. I'm sure my family put you up to this; Dad's always been a joker."
Actually, I was lying –half of me totally believed what I'd been told by the doctors, but the other half was in complete denial about it. I honestly wanted to believe that I was the butt of a practical joke of my dad's making, because the alternative was unthinkable –the thought of my entire family being long dead, and that I had no one to turn to, was terrifying.
The part of me that believed the doctors was full of questions, one of which was whether or not I had any very distantly related family alive in this century. Others included whether or not my brother had had kids, and if everyone I'd ever known and loved lived long, happy lives while I'd been in my coma.
The other part flatly refused to think any of this was real, and that at any moment, my dad would come in and say, "Almost got you!"
Dr. Parks must have seen my internal conflict on my face, because she gave me a soft smile as she took a chair beside the bed. "Look around the room," she gently told me. "What do you see?"
I did as she asked. I had to admit, the room was pretty bland, like the typical hospital room, but it was also kind of chic –there were white tables and chairs, lamps, and vases with white flowers in them. "It looks more like a hotel room, only with me in a hospital bed in it," I answered.
"Computer, open blinds," she said aloud. "Brace yourself, Adrianna."
Sure enough, I think my heart stopped when I saw the view outside. There was greenery around the hospital, but it wasn't the trees or the immaculately kept gardens that drew and kept my attention. No, it was the incredible city in the distance that did that. The buildings were unbelievably tall, and even though I was sure I was at least several miles away, they were still impressive.
Movement in the sky above the city caught my eye. "Dr. Parks, what's that?" I asked, pointing with a hand that was still hooked up to an IV tube. Too bad that part of medicine hadn't changed in centuries –I hated needles, and the thought of one being in my hand made me move my arm very carefully.
"Shuttle craft," she said. "And you can call me Lydia. I've been assigned to help you adapt to this new world, so we might as well get to know each other on a first-name basis."
I stared at her. "What's a shuttle craft?" I asked. "Is that the new version of a plane?"
She looked a little puzzled, but recovered quickly as something occurred to her. "Oh, you mean airplanes. No, those went out of style a long time ago -we have much faster means of transportation these days.
"But to answer your question, shuttle crafts travel to and from one city to another. They also fly out to the stations orbiting the earth, and to the Starships that are docked there. I imagine a ship has come in and they'll be returning so that they can report their findings to Starfleet."
My breath caught. "Starships?" I breathed, "As in space travel? Seriously?"
Lydia smiled and ordered the blinds to close. "Yes, space travel. But before we get that far, I need to tell you exactly what happened while you were asleep…"
The story of what had happened after that day at my folks' home left my head spinning for days, the information refusing to fully sink in. Even with the sedatives they gave me at night (and occasionally during the day), I had trouble sleeping with all of that floating around in my mind.
Apparently I'd had a tumor or growth of some kind in my brain, which at the time had been inoperable –that's why I hadn't felt well for a while, and why I'd fainted. From the records that my new doctors had found in some kind of medical database, the doctors of my era had informed my parents of my condition, and apparently told them that my death was imminent.
"At the time, there was no form of treatment, and operating was impossible," Lydia told me. "You were kept in an induced coma while they did what they could to treat you, but you were most certainly going to die."
Well, I guess I could have dealt with it, like most people with terminal diseases and conditions had to at the time. Death scared me, but if there'd been nothing I could do about it, then I'd have done my best to accept it and spend whatever time I'd had left with my family.
Unfortunately, I hadn't gotten the chance.
My dad apparently hadn't wanted to accept that I was dying. He'd always been overprotective of me, and had demanded other options from the doctors. Most had said there wasn't one, but then one newly-licensed doctor had made a suggestion: freezing me until a cure or treatment could be found.
Cryogenic freezing had still been in its infancy when I'd been struck down sick, and not many people had bought into it, as everyone had thought it the newest 'fad' of the medical community. Some had been all for it, of course, but mostly as a last-ditch effort to avoid death as long as possible, and to keep the hope that they'd live a full life in a not-too-distant future. When the idea had first been announced on television and the commercials peddling the idea had appeared, Dad and I had joked about the "human popsicles," the ones who had believed and bought into the procedure for either themselves or sick loved ones.
But apparently Dad had put jokes aside in an effort to save me. He'd gone straight out to the nearest cryogenic company and told them to put me on ice. There was no record of how much he'd paid for them to get it done, but I'd be willing to bet that he'd mortgaged the house a dozen times over to do it.
So into a tube I went, in the hope that I'd be helped someday.
But years went by, and still nothing happened that could help me.
And sadly, that's when things began to get complicated for me and my parents. Because it was only a few years after I was frozen that the business that had me went out of business.
"It was a complicated situation," Lydia explained. "The company wanted to wake you up and let the doctors try what they could to help you, but your parents wouldn't have it. They'd paid for you to stay frozen until a cure could be found, and were determined for the company to keep its side of the agreement they'd all signed."
Both sides went to court, and after weeks of testimony, the judge sided with my parents, as well as dozens of other families who wanted their family members preserved until they could be helped. The judge said the contracts were legally binding, and the company had to find a way to keep up their side of it. The company reluctantly agreed, and we stayed where we were.
Some were lucky –their illnesses were treatable a few years after the trial, and were thawed out so that they could go about their lives. Others had family members who changed their minds, and asked that their loved ones be freed to live out the rest of their short lives with family. In a few rare cases, the chambers malfunctioned, and those unlucky ones were woken up against their will in order to die before a cure had been found.
Unfortunately, the company's finances gradually diminished to the point where those still frozen had to be stored elsewhere, under another company's roof and terms, with much of our families' money funneling in to finance the whole thing.
"Sadly, several years later, the new facility that you and the remaining patients were stored in also closed down, and so they put you all in a warehouse until they could sort out their affairs," Lydia explained.
I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that, like the company before it, this one didn't go 'all the way' when it came to caring for us. As time went by and they tried to settle their affairs, stacks of paperwork got lost, tossed away, or mishandled. Most tubes went to a medical facility or two for further observation, but there were three that were unaccounted for –not that the storage facility told anyone that. They'd simply stated that every tube had been sent to reliable hospitals and that they hoped, in time, we would all be woken up when a cure was found.
"Your parents never knew that your chamber was considered lost. They never suspected that the company had accidentally shipped you to a facility in the middle of nowhere, and that the underground area would be sealed off when the building collapsed five years later."
Since no one had "officially" known that anything was down in the building's basement, they hadn't tried to get past the flooring to get to it. They hadn't known that two of the three chambers had been damaged, and that the people in those tubes had died. Mine had been the only one to make it through the building's collapse.
"The others died painlessly," Lydia rushed to assure me. "I won't bore you with the medical or scientific details, but they died swiftly and without waking up."
Well, yay for them, then. That had left me to lay in a frozen coma, my parents dying and the world changing all around me while I slept. The only reason I'd even been found was because the energy signature (whatever that was) had touched off someone's computer while they were planning to build over the abandoned site, and after days of searching for the cause of the signature, they finally found me, safe and sound, asleep.
"They brought you here for us to examine, and it was simple enough to treat your illness and remove the growth in your brain," Lydia concluded, dark eyes focused on me as she studied my face to try and guess what I was feeling and thinking. "Once you were treated, we brought you out of your coma, and here you are."
Yup, here I was; the oldest person on the planet. Did the Guinness Book of World Records still exist, because I sure qualified for it!
"Adrianna?" Lydia quietly asked, reaching to squeeze my hand. "Are you alright?"
"Ria," I replied, still lost in the details she'd given me. "My friends and family used to call me Ria."
She smiled sympathetically. "Ria, I'm sure they'd be thrilled to know that you were able to be saved from your condition and revived."
At the mention of my family, I felt tears well up in my eyes. "Could you tell me if they…lived long lives or not?" I asked, choking up a little at the end of my question.
To my surprise, Lydia nodded. "Your parents lived for another twenty years after you went under, and from the few articles I found about them in the public archives, they fully believed you would be cured. Your brother married late in life, and had several children –he lived to nearly ninety. I traced his family down through the years, and his descendants are alive today, if you'd like to get in contact with them?"
Did I want that? Did I want to see my brother's many-times-great grandchildren? Would they be happy to see me, or would they think me a freak and reject me? And if they did accept me, what would we do after we got past the introductions? I was centuries behind the times, and would only be a burden to them as I tried to adjust to the world.
So I shook my head. "I couldn't do that to them. An ancient family member popping up unannounced after so long, and right on their doorstep? No, I don't think so."
I was alone. What was the point in having survived this long, only to find that my parents were gone, as was everyone I had known and loved?
"You'll be fine, Ria," Lydia said firmly, a hand reaching out to force me to look at her. "Lots of other people have gone through the loss of friends and family, and they do their absolute best to go on with their lives. It will be hard and sometimes you will cry, but you will make new friends in this century. In fact, you've already made one –you've got me."
At those words, I couldn't help it –I broke down and cried.
Two days later, after my eyes had turned red and I'd drained my tear ducts dry, I managed to claw my way back to the world. After eating and rehydrating myself, I lay helplessly in bed and let Lydia, my assigned friend, teacher and doctor, explain the modern world's workings to me.
"So there's no such thing as money?" I asked in disbelief as she explained about the economy.
She laughed. "Not on Earth. We eliminated the need for money many years ago, after we developed warp engines." She saw the confused look on my face. "Warp engines are what power and propel Starfleet's and the Federation's starships across the galaxy."
I wanted to ask what Starfleet and the Federation were, but held off and focused on my original question. "So, if there's no money, then how do people get stuff?"
She explained that everyone had what they needed, from food, shelter, clothes, and anything else they required. "By eliminating the wants and need to possess things and money, it liberated us to focus on bettering ourselves. We choose to work at our jobs because we want to do them and love doing it, and because we like the satisfaction it brings us in doing something productive and useful."
She also explained that there were planets that used currencies, and the Federation did offer a monetary arrangement of sorts for people to use on those worlds, but as long as I was here on Earth, I had the feeling that I'd be set for life, and have to do nothing to earn it. It was unbelievable!
'But if I sat around and did nothing, I'd go crazy,' I admitted to myself. 'I need to be useful, or do something with my life, otherwise I'd lose it.'
I'd had a job back in my old life, but I'd hated it, and only done it for the paycheck and benefits. Now that money and medicine wasn't a problem I had to worry about, I had to find a way to 'belong' and fit into this century. But given how behind I was with technology and history, that was going to take a huge amount of studying on my part to do all that.
But I had a friend now, and as soon as I was ready to get out of bed and get active, I was going to be all over whatever form the modern libraries had taken.
"We'll get started on technology tomorrow," Lydia promised, dark eyes sparkling as she left me to rest. "Make sure you get plenty of sleep, because you're in for a lot of work when you wake up!"
I sighed. I wasn't afraid of hard work, but I had a feeling that my adjusting to this new century was going to take a lot longer than Lydia thought it would.
AN: Well, there's chapter one! I have to admit to knowing nothing about Star Trek beyond the two most recent films, a few original movies that I've seen, and what I remember from The Next Generation, so I will kindly ask that readers please not bombard me with corrections about things I've written in this chapter and future ones. I'm mostly going off of the recent films, and I'll do my best to be accurate with details, but please bear in mind that it'd be impossible for me to actively research the entire Star Trek universe to the point of being fully informed about every tiny detail.
Anyway, please be kind and review? Thanks!