Characters: Dr. Kim Matsumoto, Dr. Mira Trassano
The first twitch was so slight, Mira caught it only subconsciously, looking up from the reports she’d been frowning over. Her gaze darted over the breadth of her domain, but it was only when she went back to her reports that the movement’s location registered. Helle’s man just moved.
Mira was up in a moment, and over to the bed in Isolab One.
The human looked considerably better than when Helle first carted him in, waxen-faced and drenched with the thawing of his cryochamber. Pale hair had dried like a new chick’s into fluffy disorder and his face had taken on a more healthier shade of pink.
Some methods were best, no matter how old. As Mira checked the monitors, she patted his face with a little water. In the back of her mind, she could hear her Father tell her to, “Avoid the drugs whenever you can, Daughter.”
With a start the Human woke as if from a bad dream, and his blue eyes locked first on Mira’s lab coat, and then up to her face and most especially her bald pate. “Culture shock” had no greater definition than that moment.
Mira smiled brightly. “Welcome back! You’ve been asleep for quite sometime now. How do you feel?”
“Good Lord, where am I?” His voice had a distinctly foreign accent unlike Mira had encountered in the other Rangers, human or otherwise. She pushed the curiosity aside, though, when she saw his distress noted in a spike of adrenaline on the monitors. She quickly administered a mild tranquilizer. That heart rate wasn’t good for one straight out of cryo.
“You’re on the Phoenix, we just found you on our last mission and brought back on board with us.” Mira spoke smoothly and calmly, trying to keep him reassured.
He wasn’t accepting it. He couldn’t seem to comprehend the banks of equipment any more than his Centauri doctor. “Who are you? Where’s the doctor? Where’ve I been taken?”
One of Mira’s eyebrows rose. “I am the Senior Doctor here. I told you, you’re on board the Phoenix. My name is Trassano. You are quite safe.” She patted his shoulder gently. “What is your name?”
“You’re the doctor?” he repeated disbelievingly. “I’m Jacob Daley, of the Lifeguard. And what do you mean by ‘aboard’. There’s no ship in Her Majesty’s navy by that name.”
“We’re not in ‘Her Majesty’s navy’?” The expression of confusion was contagious. “Now, Jacob, how do you feel?”
“Terrible.” With the word, his expression changed, haunted as he recalled the ghost traces of a dream. He had no idea how long.
Mira leaned forward, concerned. “Terrible, how?”
Jacob shook his head, trying to get up. “Get me Davis. I’ve got to report. Something’s wrong,” he mumbled.
“Alright, what planet are you from and I will start to get in contact with your superiors,” Mira said, trying to coax him back with words. She really didn’t want to give more tranquillizers after coming out of cryogenic suspension.
Jacob stopped, but not for the reasons she hopped. “What do you mean, what planet?”
Mira blinked. “Well, the planet you are working for…” When Jacob’s expression only got worse, she added, “Well, do you work for Earth?”
“Earth? I serve the bloody British Empire!” Jacob had plainly taken in the idea that volume might get across what the words themselves failed to do.
Mira’s first though was, They don’t sound very pleasant, but she forded on. “And what planet are they on? On Mars, Europa?” She began throwing out random planets.
“There’s no other place than Earth. Are you daft?”
“No, I’m Centauri. Now then, you should rest for a moment or two. I’ll ask someone about getting in touch with the ‘Bloody British Empire’.”
He tried to get up regardless, and Mira forced him back down again. Despite being quiet a few centimeters taller than the doctor, he was in no condition to struggle effectively.
“Now, I really do insist, that you rest,” Mira said when she had him down again. She frowned fiercely for good measure. When he tried again, Mira wrestled him back down with an aggravated sound and the straps were jostled into place.
“I really DO insist!”
At that point, Jacob’s language degenerated, accent thickening around words and phrasing Mira couldn’t understand in the least. With a snort and a shake of her head, she simply turned away and walked back into her office, calling out an order that unless he went into cardiac arrest, to leave him alone.
Just who am I supposed to call? Mira thought, sitting at her desk. I could call communications officer, but she might be busy, since we are in hyperspace. I shall try Matsumoto, she is science officer and human. She should know who this “bloody Empire” is.
She tapped her link. “Matsumoto?”
There was a long pause that couldn’t quite be blamed entirely on a slow computer connection. “Matsumoto here.”
“This is Dr. Trassano. I hope I haven’t woken you too early after the Wake, have I?”
“No, I wasn’t asleep.”
“Oh, good. I was wondering if you could answer a question for me?”
“Certainly. What’s the question?” Kim prompted.
“Where and who are the … ‘Bloody British Empire’? Do you know? Should I ask Communications?”
There was another pause, but this time followed by a chuckle. “British Empire, of Earth?”
“Yes, he did say Earth. Finally!” Mira continued to ignore the strange man’s even stranger dialog in the other room. She was tempted to turn a little opera on, but for the fact she was in the middle of a call. And for once, the nurses likely wouldn’t have complained, considering what it would be drowning out.
“Who’s ‘he’?” Kim asked curiously.
“This man in my MedLab… he’s very upset with me for some reason.”
“One of ours?”
Mira laughed. “No, NO! He is someone who was found on the Planet last mission. He was in a cryo-tube. Dr. Brannon found him, weren’t you there, also?”
“Oh… the one we got. He’s awake then. Stable? Never mind me, of course he is or he wouldn’t be talking.”
Mira chuckled. “Yes, only just now.”
“So, he said he was from Britain?”
“I suppose, I can barely understand him, he has the strangest accent.” A new idea popped into Mira’s head and she add, “Perhaps you should come and speak to him!”
“Well… I suppose I’ve done what I can here. Just give me a couple minutes to get down to Medlab.”
“Of course! I cannot thank you enough!”
“See you in a couple minutes,” Kim said, and the line closed.
Mira ventured out and into Isolab One when she heard the stream of words had finally stopped.
“I see you are calm once more!” Mira said, smiling brightly with renewed determination. That tranquilizer must have finally got to him, she thought. “Now, are you going to be nice and compliant so that I can unstrap you? Or shall I have to feed you by hand, for you must be hungry.”
“You’re not real, are you?” Jacob asked, eyes closing wearily.
Mira refused to lose her pleasant smile. “Of course, I’m real. Come, I shall unstrap you and you can eat and then you’ll feel much better.”
“Doctor?” It was not Jacob speaking, but rather the familiar voice of Kim Matsumoto. Mira glanced back to see the tall Ranger waiting outside the Isolab’s doors.
Mira reassuringly patted Jacob’s hand before leaving. “I’m just going to go for a few moments. You stay right here, and a nurse will bring you some food.”
“He’s been that difficult?” Kim asked as Mira emerged into Medlab’s common area.
“Dr. Matsumoto, thank you for helping me. Yes, he has.” Mira sighed and shook her head. “Come, into the office and we shall chatter.”
Inside the office, Mira plopped unceremoniously into her chair. “His name is Jacob Daley. He said he was from the Bloody British Empire. Are you sure they are the same as the British Empire?”
“‘Bloody’ is a mild curse. Like “damn”,” Kim explained with amusement. “I take it he was getting to his worst by that point?”
“Ahh…yes. He has been most rude and confusing. He seemed to think that the Phoenix should be part of some navy called Her Majesty. Then! Then, he implied that I shouldn’t be a doctor.”
Kim frowned over the re-telling. “Did he say when he was from? He sounds positively… antiquated.”
“When? When? Why wo….” Realization dawned in Mira’s face. “…oh, the Vorlons. No, I did not ask him when.” She put her face into her hands.
Kim nodded. “He was in a cryo-tube after all, there’s no telling.”
Mira’s voice came muffled through her hands. “No, no telling when.” She sighed gustily before straightening and standing up. “We simply have to ask him, then.”
“This should be interesting.” Kim said wryly. “I can’t imagine why they’d want someone from years ago.” Or centuries?
Mira frowned. “I generally can’t understand why the Vorlons did anything.”
With a dry chuckle, Kim followed her out toward Isolab One again.
By the complaints he’d been making, one nurse had reported to them, it was a wonder Jacob Daley had finished the thin protein broth before it was cold. It was fortunate Mira wasn’t one to be daunted by another barrage of poor English. Her smile was as bright as ever.
“Oh, good, you’ve finished eating. I do apologize for the smallness of the meal. But, the digestive tract is a tricky thing after being in a cryo-tube,” she said and then gestured to Kim. “I’ve brought someone to speak with you.”
Jacob didn’t waste his time on pleasantries. “If this is some ship, where’s the captain?” His eyes narrowed on Kim’s uniform. “Are you Germans? The Chinese?”
“No, I said before, I’m Centauri,” Mira patiently explained, “And Dr. Matsumoto is Human.”
“Jacob, what was the last date you remember?” Kim asked.
“I haven’t been in coma have I? I don’t remember hitting my head. It’s 1884.”
Kim couldn’t quickly enough mask a look of shock at the answer. She drew Mira back out into the main room.
“Oh, dear,” Mira sighed, sitting down on a handy stool. Humans date this year as 2162. That’s… 278 years. She looked at Kim. “What do we say to him?”
“Would he even believe us if we told the truth? How do we tell him he was taken by powerful beings from another world, frozen and then all this has happened since? I don’t think they even believed in UFOs at that time in history. I’m sure some people still believed the world was flat!” Kim exclaimed.
“He would have to believe us. His world no longer exists! Not to mention, we are ON a space vessel.”
“If that doesn’t send him into a catatonic state of refusal.” Kim sighed. “I really don’t understand it. What use was there for him? He’s not even a telepath, like the Shadows were collecting for the war. Did he say who he was? Someone important, maybe?”
Mira popped her head back into the room. “Jacob, what is your occupation?”
“I said I’m a Lifeguard, in Her Majesty’s service.” Jacob was sullen now, over a core of confused fear. Kim could sense it without dropping her barriers.
“He’s a lifeguard,” Mira passed on to Kim when the door closed again. “I thought those were round tubes made of floating material.”
Kim looks confused a moment. “Oh you’re thinking of Lifesavers.” Then she stared at Mira as the word sunk in. “Did he really say he was a lifeguard?” Absurdly, the image of a swimming pool complete with beach balls and sunblock came back to mind, and she couldn’t shake it. What could the Vorlons possibly want with a lifeguard?
Mira nodded and frowned deep in thought. “He said Her Majesty again. Does that mean he works for his Empress? Lifeguard, lifesaver….” she muttered, “Aren’t Lifeguards also a brand of Human candy?”
“They were ruled by a Monarchy… What?” Kim began to laugh, her imaginings growing even stranger. It took a bit to get the control back. “Can I use your computer for a moment? I want to check the database.”
“Certainly.” Mira motioned Kim over to her office as she continued to mutter, “An Empire ruled by a Monarchy? That’s absurd! No wonder they named a child’s candy after it.”
It was a few minutes of weeding down the search, but finally Kim found something of sense in the historical database. “Oh, here we go. The Lifeguard. An elite force that protected the Monarch, it would appear. ‘two senior regiments of the mounted bodyguard comprising of 878 men, all six feet high.’ That’s rather–”
The sounds of alarms and Captain Hale’s voice breaking in over the open channel killed Kim’s speculation.
“This is a Red Alert. Everyone to your stations!” Hale ordered.
“Oh, hell. This will have to wait,” Kim said, and turned on her heel. Before Kim made it five feet, Mira already had the nurses rushing to her commands.
Kim looked back. “Doctor, I’ll be back…. when this is over.” It was only in her mind she added, I hope.
“Thank you! Of course! You have been a great deal of help!” Mira called after.
Kim waved once and was gone out the doors.
Copyright (c) 1998 Mona Hinds and Alida Saxon. All rights reserved.