Everything felt sore when Danny opened his eyes. He could feel the crisp chilled unmistakable sterile smelling air of the medical room around him. The room was lightly bathed in the feint light of the setting sun outside. From the corner of his eye he caught multiple birds chasing each other and the sounds of vehicles rushing by, most likely on their commute home. Daniel glanced at the monitors and paused. How odd. He must have been placed in that newly built hospital outside Palm Springs with their fancy new tech.
Daniel rubbed his eyes, removing the last bit of sleep clinging on. He looked himself over for injuries. There were a few feint unfamiliar jagged cuts on his arms as well as one that ran from his earlobe down to his jaw. With a brief glance under his shirt he made out a round scar below his left clavicle near his armpit as well as another closer to the center of his chest.
There wasn't too much time for Daniel to ponder what had happened as short doctor with curly red hair stepped into the room. There was a satisfactory smile on his face as he clapped his hands together in what seemed like victory.
"Ah, the 'young hero' finally awakens. I am Dr. I.Q. HI." the man said.
Danny detected slight sarcasm with 'young hero' that left him more confused that before. What had happened for him to wind up here? Had he crashed his car doing something stupid? Oh how he hoped that wasn't the case. Maybe he did do at least something heroic to wind up here but maybe that act of heroics wasn't up to the doctor's standards of heroics.
Trailing behind the doctor was another man. His confident stature was matched by the toned muscles beneath his light blue jumpsuit. The white streaks in his ebony hair indicated experience. But most of all, the chiseled face of the man indicated that this was someone not to mess with.
"What's going on-what happened?" Danny asked.
His throat felt dry and rough. He placed his hand on his throat, feeling raised skin from a few small cuts on his throat.
"We were hoping that you could tell us." The tall man said. His voice sounded somewhat pretentious voice that sounded eerily like John O'Hurley.
"I'm sorry to disappoint." Danny choked out. "So, how long have I been out? And I get why you're here doc, but what about that guy?" Danny gestured to the John O'Hurley impressionist.
"I am with Captain Star Johnson with the Galactic Protectorate. And I'm here for a preliminary interview." The man said.
Danny could feel the steely gaze of this man. This "Captain Johnson" was watching his every move as if trying to find some excuse for him to fail. It was like he had some sort of superiority complex that Danny was somehow threatening just by- wait did he say Galactic Protectorate?
Surely he had to have misheard the man. Maybe this was some kind of joke. Yeah, it had to be.
There was a slightly saddened look on the doctor's face. "Mr. Dodgers, you've been awoken from a state of suspended animation. You've been asleep for three hundred and forty two years."
Suspended animation? How was that even possible? Why did it happen? No, he had to be dreaming? This had to be some sort of comatose dream.
"T-that's not possible." Danny said, although it was more of a reassurance to him than to the two men in front of him.
"Mr. Dodgers, I am sorry to tell you, but it is true."
The captain pinched his nose and let out a huff. "Look, if you don't believe him, look outside. You'll see for yourself."
Danny felt a slight chill run through him and he looked back out at the window. With the sun dipping behind a skyscraper, Danny felt a lump in his throat and a heavy stone in his stomach all the while his blood ran ice cold. Outside were towering buildings beyond recognition. Floating spires jutted out floating in unnatural ways. The birds Danny thought that he had seen were in fact flying cars. Had he not have been sitting in a hospital bed, Danny felt as though he would have collapsed. Danny ran his hands through his hair. His stomach churned and his vision blurred for a second as his breathing hitched.
With one quick motion, Danny leaped out of bed, pushing passed his unsuspecting visitors. His heart was pounding in his chest. The cold tile of the hospital chilled his bare feet as he took off trying to find the exit from this crazy place. This had to be some kind of prank, something not real, it couldn't be real. Danny could hear the two men taking off after him from down the hallway. He glanced back behind him, the short doctor was having a hard time trying to keep pace while the taller man was slowly but surely closing the distance between them.
"Code Gray 90th floor west wing!" A robotic feminine voice called out from the speaker system ahead.
Rotating gray lights flashed in the hallway as the voice repeated the call. Nurses backed out of the way as he took passed them. The stiff material of his hospital pants were beginning to chafe his legs as he ran trying to find the door out of the area. It was like an endless maze of long hallways with identical had to be a way out of here. Who would design a hospital like this? Just as he was about to give up hope, Danny's eyes lit up upon seeing a set of double doors. Danny ran full force, hoping that they would open. His body collided the the steel doors, still holding fast, and catching a glimpse of the patients through the small glass windows. He gave it another shove with his shoulder, but it wouldn't budge.
The doctor and the man in the jumpsuit were gaining on him. Danny glanced around, trying to find another way out or for a way to defend himself. But alas he was in an empty hallway with all the doors around him shut tight. It was then that Danny saw a sign for the stairs, but it was near to where the men were at. If he got there quick enough, he might be able to make it. It was worth the shot.
Running on pure adrenaline, Danny took off full force towards the stairs. He just hoped that these doors would open. The men were less than ten feet away from him as his hands pushed against the doors to the stairs. It swung open, allowing Danny to dip inside with five feet in between him and the captain. The door had barely had time to latch before it had been slammed open, echoing through out the stairwell.
Danny had just rushed down two and a half floors when from the center of the stairwell came a loud humming sound. Flying at breakneck speed up the center was a robot. Before Danny could even react, the wind was knocked out of him, causing him to see stars. A puff of purple gas was sprayed into his face giving of the calming scent of lavender just as he took a staggered breath. His eyes and limbs began to feel heavy. Danny could feel his consciousness slip along with his body into the robot's arms.
When Danny awoke he found his arms restrained to the rails in his bed. There was enough slack for some basic movement, but not enough to let him escape from his bed again. But there he was again, alone in his room.
Alone. He was alone; and not just alone in his hospital room. He was all alone in the world. Everyone he had ever known or cared about, gone. In the blink of an eye, to Danny they had lived an died and had been dead for centuries. Everything he knew about the world was wrong now and apparently the universe as well.
Why was he placed into suspended animation? Didn't they know that this might happen to him? If it was to save his life, why not let him die? Did his family even know about this? Were they able to get some sense of closure, or was he just a missing person in his time? Did they want this for him, a chance to live, but with the possibility of never seeing them ever again? Would he have even wanted this if he had been given the choice?
Danny wasn't sure how much time had passed since he had awoken, but it felt like a good while before the man in the blue jumpsuit, that Captain Star Johnson or whatever reentered his room.
"I'm sorry about earlier." Danny said. "It's just a lot finding out everything you ever knew about your life was suddenly ripped from you in what feels like the blink of an eye."
There was a look of remorse on the Captain's face as he pulled up a chair near Danny's bed. "Well, I didn't make that transition very easy now did I?"
Danny's head slightly nodded. "But how do you break that kind of news to someone without them breaking? I don't think that there was any easy way to break the news. So, I think that you mentioned an interview earlier."
Captain Star Johnson cracked a slight smile. "Yes. We want you to become a captain for the Protectorate."
Danny was taken by surprise. Why him of all people? Not to mention being promoted so highly. No, there was no way captain meant as much now, in this century, as it did in his time.
"Yes, I know what you're thinking, but we think you could be a great asset." Captain Johnson said as though he could read his mind.
"An asset, how? Like I said, everything I know about how anything works... it..."
Star Johnson put a hand up to silence him. "You coming from the past can provide us with a unique perspective."
Danny laughed. "It sounds like standard sci-fi reasoning."
Captain Johnson nodded. "Yes, I guess it does, hearkening back to those old sci-fi shows doesn't it. Now, the tests won't be easy and it will take you time to adjust, but we at the Protectorate do believe that it would be a great investment, not only in your future but ours as well. So, what do you say?"
Captain Johnson held out his hand.
Everything he knew or had was gone. Whatever options he once had for his future were thrown out the window beyond his reach. What else could he do?
Without hesitation Danny shook Captain Star Johnson's hand.
"I'm in. Now, can we get these things off of me?" Danny asked gesturing to the hand restraints.