CryoJen Book 1
Welcome To 2028
The nations capital. In a brilliant white lab two men are talking over a desk. Every surface is highly polished, all glass and metal objects gleam with pride. Computers whir.
“I’ll have no further part of it Oscar!” Argued the man sitting at the desk. His voice was solemn and carried a slight British accent.
“The MOD are coming tomorrow if you like it or not Clint. They already have fifty viable candidates.” The second man’s voice was more authoritative, close to arrogance. It was a one sided argument.
“This isn’t why we started this!” His British accent became more prominent as his voice rose.
“Spare me the ethical speeches. We both know you won’t resign. It’s an empty threat. Don’t forget about Jennifer.” It was a calculated attack.
“I’ll stand with you in the meeting tomorrow, but after that transfer me anywhere. We are done!” Less solemn now his voice was tinged with resignation.
“As you wish. How is Jennifer anyway?” Authority gave way to politeness.
“In therapy again. Longer this time.”
For Brian and Sal looks could be deceiving. They were highly trained scientists in the field of cryogenics. Although to look at their work space you wouldn’t think so, but everything was explainable. Boxes of frozen fruit and vegetables were stacked around the real science equipment. The truth was the family cryogenics business had been struggling for some time. The family business of ‘Frozenics’ could not compete with the behemoth that was Strant Industries so they had made the move into frozen food deliveries to make ends meet.
“So we got enough money to keep afloat for two maybe three months?” Asked Sal as he made sandwiches.
“Not good. What have we got fifteen bodies back there…?” Replied Brian leaning back in his chair.
“People not bodies. We can’t cope! Can we? What do we do defrost them before science has found a cure for whatever illness they have?” There was uneasiness in his voice.
“Yeah I guess. I mean think about it. Are the relatives these people have now going to care?”
“But we have obligations. We don’t just defrost and toss ’em out on the streets.” Sal passed Brian a plate with his sandwich on.
“Your over thinking it. Once our obligations are fulfilled we are done with these people. This is not a day care centre or an outreach programme. Once they are defrosted they have no reason ever to return. Their problems are not our problems.” Shot back Brian whilst snatching his sandwich from Sal.
“You want some pickles with that?”
“What are you pickle crazy? Come on we got a defrost due.”
A nondescript Washington town house. Clint enters the front door and checks for mail. There are some cards addressed to Jennifer. He goes to the back bedroom and throws the cards on a pile. Also in the room are countless stuffed teddies and dying bouquets of flowers. Jennifer isn’t home but the truth is she isn’t dying. She isn’t even sick. But she could very well one day be in danger from Oscar Strant. All of Washington could. Clint doesn’t know how far Strant’s ego will take him. He makes his way to the kitchen and grabs a glass of whisky. As usual at this hour he makes his phone call to Jennifer.
“Hi darling…. I miss you too…. I’m being transferred tomorrow… its complicated. How’s Tokyo?… Your sensei knows best…. you know why we are doing this… persevere with the present… okay okay…. I’ll have a cheeseburger waiting for you… take care Jenny I love you.” The phone call is always followed by a long sigh and a even longer gulp of whisky. A knock at the door refocuses him. He gets up with a spring, its always good to see a friendly face especially in these times.
“Hey Clint.” Booms Max. He is of Italian decent. The accent places him from Staten Island. He is accompanied on the doorstep by his two children.
“Always good to see you Maxi.” Replied Clint. He stepped aside and welcomed the three of them in.
“Brian take your brother to watch Uncle Clint’s TV we grown ups have business to discuss.”
“Yes Farther. Come on Sal.”
“When you think about it pickling was an early form of cryogenics.” Declared Sal.
“Right.” Brian hated these walks to the freeze chamber. Sal always became philosophical. Well in his own way at least.
The sides of the hallway were packed out with more stacks of frozen boxes of fruits, vegetables and various pastas. As they walked Brian was flicking through some notes on a clipboard. He flicked a page, done a double take and stroked his stubbly beard.
“Oh no no… not today.”
Sal didn’t have to say a word, a worried look played upon his face. Brian took the top sheet of paper from the clipboard and turned it so Sal could read the name at the top. ‘Jennifer Diana Bradfield.’
“Uncle Clint’s Jennifer? Today?” Was Sal’s response. Part question part statement of surprise.
“The very same. Today is certainly going to be different.” Brian flicked through more paper on the clipboard.
“This goes against everything you just lectured me about. No names, no responsibility you said. We know this girl we are responsible.”
“That’s not all. Her file says she’s not even ill.”
“Oh so we are a daycare centre now!” Exhaled Sal. Confusion and change we not good for him.
“Calm down. Prep the capsule. We got this, its like any other defrost. Besides Jennifer is like family. She will be glad to see us.”
Brian and Sal now had Jennifer in the final moments of her defrost. Even though they had done it countless times and been taught by the best in their father and Clint Bradfield Sal always got nervous in these moments. He had no reason to be, it was all rather routine. Made even more routine by the fact this subject had not been diagnosed with any illness. They were in effect defrosting a healthy body. That just raised the question of why she was here at all? Suddenly she moved and spoke.
“Fight the future.” All it did was add to the mystery.
“Hello Jennifer. How you feeling?” Sal and Brian both said this in eerie unison.
“Who the hell are you two?” Was Jennifer’s terse response.
“I’m Brian. This is my brother Sal. Were Max’s kids you remember right?” Brian was trying to take control of the situation now.
“Why am I dressed like this? You don’t look like children.”
“You’ve just come out of a cryogenic freeze. Of course were not children. It’s 2028.” Explained Sal.
“Oh break it to her gently why don’t you!”
“2028! Cryogenics! Brian and Sal? Max! You mean Max who used to work with my father? Why was I frozen?” It was all starting to be too much for Jennifer.
“We were kinda hoping you could tell us that.”
“Yeah Jennifer. You see normally we thaw people out and call the hospital and they take it from there. You, your not sick. Our job is done.” Interjected Brian.
“Fine could you at least lend me some clothes, then I’ll go.” Was Jennifer’s response. She didn’t think Brian was being too harsh. See just needed some space.
“I don’t think you should go out there. 2028 is a very different place. Perhaps you should read up on The Network first.” Interjected Sal as he past her some sweats to put on.
“Dude she’s from 1987. She has no idea what the internet is let alone The Network.” Brian was shooting Sal daggers now. It was as though her presence and Sal’s less than serious attitude were consipiring against him.
“Just point me in the right direction.” For someone who had just been defrosted forty odd years after being frozen she was handeling it pretty well. Admittedly the sweats had made her more relaxed. But when Brian pointed without a word to the long passage behind him, before glaring at Sal so he didn’t interject she felt alone. This didn’t stop her from sucking it all up and walking down that passage with her chin up.
Before Jennifer was frozen she had never been here, but immediately she knew she was in New York. The city that never sleeps. She had heard all the cliches. In 87′ she had spent time in Tokyo but this was something else. It felt alive. According to Sal Jennifer had missed a technological revolution when The Network superseded the internet. With her father being a scientist he had always educated her in the possible advancements in most aspects of technology. The city was a wash with lights and sounds as she took it all in she wondered what her father would have made of all this and then she felt alone. Yes long ago she had been prepared for any scenario her father could dream up. For example she knew the long passage she had just exited was a secret bunker going from Ellis Island to lower Manhattan. She knew the Brooklyn Bridge was twenty minutes away, but she could get there quicker if she ran. She knew the old man across the street had a wooden leg and she could tell the prostitute on the next corner was an undercover cop. But what was the point of knowing all this? She was alone and missed her father so much. Thinking of him made her think he probably had a catchphrase about everything having a purpose. She couldn’t recall one but put it down to her brain still being cold. The more Jennifer walked around the more at unease she felt. Not because she was a woman out of time. There was something about the city that never sleeps that didn’t seem right. Even for a teenager from 1987. Yes it was still heavily populated but everyone and everything seemed so regimented. She walked on keeping her eyes peeled. She started picking up bad signs. Surveillance cameras everywhere she looked. Okay surveillance cameras were around in ’87 but not in this volume and not all carrying the ‘Strant’ logo. She had walked quiet a way now. Every five blocks there was a police unit. Maybe they were soldiers? Either way they too carried the ‘Strant’ logo. She had found what she was looking for when a voice from behind broke her concentration.
“Are you Okay Miss?” Asked the stern voice.
“Peachy.” Was Jennifer’s slightly sarcastic answer.
“I’m going to need to see your identification.”
“What for? Walking? Answering you back?”
“Please keep calm.”
“Fuck you!” She turned and bolted. Before she set off she already knew her final destination.
She was zig zagging in and out of alleyways and side streets. As she ran all of this suddenly felt natural to her. Her breathing was steady, her pace even. The cop/soldier was keeping up. She made a decision. She waited at the next alleyway. She listened for his approaching steps. 3…2…1. She delivered a brutal and accurate roundhouse kick to the side of his skull. He dropped. But as the sound of the sirens informed her he had all ready called for back up. Luckily the cars couldn’t make it down the alleyways and her destination was moments away. As she exited the next side street she saw the Brooklyn Bridge. She heard sirens coming from the east and could see the blue lights of a second car on the other side of the bridge. This was it. She sucked in some air and ran and ran and ran. Straight down the center of the bridge. No way they would be expecting her to play chicken with a cop car. Still she ran. Her pace increasing, she could feel the burn in her legs. She only had one shot. The other car too had entered the bridge. The lights behind getting brighter. Now! With out breaking stride she cut to her right and threw herself over the rail. Plunging down into the cold water.
“If Dad was alive he would kill us.” Proclaimed Sal after they had watched the evenings events unfold on the newscaster.
“She’s going to come back.” Was Brian’s matter of fact response.
Between the two of them they must’ve paced the area of the lab fifty times. It was getting late and deep down their hope was fading, but their humour remained.
“You only got angry because you used to crush on her!” Provoked Sal.
“That’s neither here nor there. Everybody had a crush on her when we were kids.”
“She’s has traversed time and stayed eighteen and you big brother are fast approaching your fifties. It would be so wrong!” Further provocation came from Sal.
But Brian wasn’t biting. He knew the events of the evening had taken a serious turn for the worse. He walked over to the newscaster in vain hope it would switch back on with a news update. Nothing had broadcast since Jennifer had leapt from the ……Bridge. Sal once again was busying himself making a sandwich. It’s what he done in times of crises. In fact he just done it a lot regardless. Pickles on the side of course. He was about to ask Brian if he wanted anything when there was a buzz on the surveillance system. It indicated someone was as the front door. Brian and Sal met in the hallway on the way to the door. They stopped and gave each other a look. They didn’t know what to expect. A Strant Interrogation Squad? Worst case scenario Strant had ordered them killed. Before answering the door Sal grabbed a baseball bat. Though little good he thought he could do with it, so he tossed it to Brian and took his place behind the door. Sal lifted the latch. The door wasn’t kicked in. A good sign. Brian pushed it the rest of the way open with the bat. There she stood. Jennifer soaked to the bone. Her long hair was matted to her head. A shiver ran down her body in frequent intervals.
“Can I have some of that frozen spaghetti now?” She asked, a very faint smile on her cold blue face.
Sal opened his arms and took her in for a warming hug. Brian stepped into the street, patting the bat in the palm of his hand, looked up and down the street and after deciding the coast was clear her joined the other two in the kitchen.
“You know this isn’t as bad as you made out.” Jennifer was telling Sal.
“Well you tell that to real Italians. Pops would get spit on when he went back there.” He explained.
“You should be dead.” Brian said whilst leaning the bat against the wall.
“You might have warned me about the goose steppers walking Americas streets!” She proclaimed.
“You should be dead.” Brian repeated.
“Were sorry. You seemed so certain to leave.” Said Sal.
“When my face hit the cold water everything became clear to me.” Explained Jennifer.
“You gonna enlighten us time traveller.” Said Brain his voice seeming harsh.
“Go easy Brian. Let her talk.”
“Our fathers planned all this. They both used to work for Oscar Strant right? Now from what I learned tonight Strant runs New York maybe more! We were put together… I’m here to take him down” The shivering stopped. She seemed at ease now.
“Okay. Okay. I heard that right Sal. Us three are supposed to take down the most powerful man in American history? Why are you smiling?” Brian and now Jennifer looked to Sal.
“This is so fucking cool! You a teenager from 1987 is here in the future to stop a supposed tyrannical mad man! Its like a terrible but very watchable movie franchise. You are CryoJen!”
Brian was now resigned to the events of the evening and was at a loss for words. SO he said one more time.
“You should be dead.”
“I’m CryoJen” Proclaimed Jennifer.
The End… For now.
About Ian Wells
Ian currently runs the THEBLOGOFCOMICSHOTTOPICS blog. Check him out on Twitter @IanWells87.
About Language of Bromance
Together Richard and Shawn formed the podcast The Language of Bromance and from there it has been nothing but fun. The duo laugh about things they go through, stories in the news and even getting serious discussing net neutrality along with other issues. Every so often their friendship turns to a bitter rivalry with their nerdiest creation the draft episodes. An original take on a best of or a top 10 list. The draft episodes are done like an NFL Draft 7 rounds where Richard and Shawn flip-flop picks on various topics.
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