|The characters of Tracy Fairgate,
Melissa Peterson, Donald Reed, Sam Wright and the folks in Columbia Presbyterian Medical
Center are creations of Karen Evans. |
Tracy Chapman's "The Promise" is mentioned, it's from her CD "New Beginnings".
This story takes place after "Dear Earth".
My own note: I'm not suggesting this could happen, I'm only trying to imagine..what if. So, relax and have fun with it. Special thanks, as always, to Gabrielle Bessey for all her help.
New York Post - August 1996
Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center 2060
The operating room was filled to capacity, with machines, drugs, tubes and people, fifty or more doctors, nurses, technicians, anesthesiologists, and a priest. All personnel were gowned in colors of green, bue and pink, masked, gloved and goggled.
Dr. John Mtume, a chocolate colored man with a full head of white hair looked over at the group.
"One of the earliest cryogenic experiments. Let's see how good they did."
"I read her husband got the death penalty for killing them. If this works, can someone sue?" a nurse whispered to another.
"Whatever, she'll be a very rich woman," another nurse said.
Dr. Mtume frowned at the comment. "That isn't a issue here," he said sternly. "Let's get them open!"
Everyone stood back as two men in white space suits cracked open the two seven foot long tanks that stood upright in a corner. Immediately, dry ice flowed from each of them, but soon, it slowly stopped and the men were able to get the mummified inhabitants out of the tanks and onto the operating tables.
"Careful," Dr. Thomas Hess said, "I don't want to come this far to crack someone's head off."
The wrappings were carfully cut away, everyone strained to get a good look. Did it work or would there be two skeletons in there?
Dr. John Mtume smiled. "Those have got to be the best looking centurians I've ever seen. Let's thaw them out and clean them up."
They were carefully thawed, so as not to raise the body temperature too quickly. When it was rasied enough, the doctors went to work repairing the gunshot wounds that were fatal in 1996, but were treatable in 2060. Then they used electricity to literally shock the bodies back to life, all the while, the priest said the entire rosary.
It took eleven hours until their two hearts were able to beat on their own. Cheers and back slaps rang through the operating room, as two technicians wheeled the newly thawed beings into the recovery room.
Dr. John Mtume himself sat in the recovery room, until he saw eyes flutter, and then slowly open. She tried to speak, but her voice was hoarse and raspy, then she coughed.
He put his hand on hers and smiled. "Don't try to talk."
She opened her eyes and blinked, staring into dark eyes.
"Good evening Congresswoman Fairgate. I'm Dr. John Mtume, and I'd like to welcome you and Ms. Peterson to the 21st century."
John wasn't sure, but he thought he saw a smile run across her lips.
Tracy Fairgate leaned on one elbow and stared at Melissa Peterson, who was lying on her back. She cleared her throat.
"It worked." She didn't like how raspy her voice sounded, but guessed it made sense since she hadn't spoken in 64 years.
Melissa nodded and ran her hand through her reddish blonde hair.
"I knew it would. You were the one who called it voodo."
Tracy nodded. "Yeah, well, I grew up with that superstious shit."
Melissa rubbed her eyes. "Never thought it would be so long though...can't believe...everyone we knew is dead."
Melissa half smiled. "So much for the death penalty." Then her face darkened again.
"Hey, Mel. Lighten up, look, it's a new beginning for us. I can't wait to see what's going on. Probably same old shit, welfare, gun control, crime, drugs..."
"New beginning? Fairgate...you're not thinking..."
"And why not? I never got to finish my term."
"Tracy, you...we've been out of touch for almost 70 years."
"So were most of the politicians we used to know, never stopped them from getting elected. Mel...I've made up my mind, I'm comming back..."
"Just don't get married again, okay?" Melissa looked at the scars where her breasts used to be. Both women needed breast reconstruction.
"I'm going to be too busy turning this country inside out." Tracy grinned like a little girl, certainly not like a one hundred year old woman.
USS Saratoga 2064
Cooper Hawkes shook his head as he struggled into his dress uniform. "I think it's shrunk."
Nathan West smiled and shook his head. "No Coop, you're still a growing boy."
Paul Wang grimmaced at the starchiness of the uniform. "Hey, why do we have to put on these monkey suits anyway?"
"Visiting dignataries, don't you pay attention?" Shane Vansen said, easing into her dress uniform with no trouble.
"She's more than a dignatary," Vanessa Damphousse added, "she's a legend."
Nathan nodded. "God she's more than that."
"What do you mean, more than that?" Cooper frowned.
"Tracy Fairgate, excuse me, Congresswoman Tracy Fairgate was born in 1960, got elected to congress in New York City when she was only thirty four, got shot and supposedly killed by her ex-husband when she was 36, gets cyrogenicly preserved, is thawed in 2060 and regains her congressional seat two years later," Shane shook her head in awe more than anything else.
"I once read that she was in some kind of gang?" Paul said.
"In the Bronx," Nathan added. "Until some teacher realized she was smart and got her sent off to a fancy boarding school."
Shane smiled. "That's where she met Melissa Peterson, and there's been no stopping them sense. I guess it was a good thing she got shot along with Fairgate."
"Can you imagine that, waking up and being in another century?" Vanessa said.
"Hey, how come you guys know so much about her?" Cooper said.
"Read the briefings Coop, it's easy," Shane patted him softly on the back.
"Right, the briefings..."
"Hey, maybe we can ask her what it's like to be thawed," Paul grinned.
Vanessa laughed. "We'll let you ask that."
Commodore Glen Ross looked at Lt. Colonel T.C. McQueen and shook his head.
"I hate politicians," he grumbled, "politicians and Aerotech personnel, can't decide which is worse."
"Both sir," McQueen responded.
"Well, we've got to put on a good show for her, after all she'll be taking it back to the Speaker of the House."
"She will sir," McQueen said, eyes foreward.
"Wonder if her hands are cold," Ross murmured.
McQueen had to stifle his laughter because the hatch opened and they stepped out. He nodded to the 58th, standing at attention, in full dress uniforms, with the other squadrons.
The first thing McQueen noticed was a pair of red shoes. He looked up and saw a pair of legs that went on forever and stopped at a short, black buttoned down dress. McQueen looked further and saw a woman with light coffee colored skin and wavy, neck length dark hair, she had on dark glasses, which he thought was strange.
The woman with her was lighter in coloring, reddish blonde hair piled up to her head, she wore a blue suit, knee length, blue shoes and no sunglasses.
Ross approached the women and saluted the darker one. "Congresswoman Fairgate."
Tracy Fairgate took off her sunglasses and fixed her dark eyes around the Saratoga. She stood five feet eight inches without heels. She extended her hand to the Commodore.
"Please, don't salute me," her voice was crisp, deep.
They shook hands. Ross shook Melissa Peterson's hand as well, then introduced both women to McQueen.
Melissa shook his hand first, then Tracy, who looked him over.
"You're an InVitro, right?" Tracy said.
McQueen nodded, and braced himself for the insult, for humiliation.
Tracy shook her head. "Someone's going to have to explain that one to me. Listening to people talk, you'd think InVitros had two heads or something. You know I never thought I'd see the day when mankind made their own slaves. I still can't figure out how they got that one passed the 13th Ammendment."
McQueen was stunned by her statement. But Tracy Fairgate and Melissa Peterson were never taught to be prejudice against InVitros. To them the word "tank" meant a vehicle.
"I can't understand that myself," Melissa added.
Tracy smiled at Ross. "I'd like to see this ship of yours, Commodore, it reminds me of a boat, a boat in space."
Ross was taken aback by Tracy's devistating smile. "It would be my pleasure Congresswoman. I'll have you...shown to your quarters."
"Good, we're both tired," Melissa said.
Tracy shrugged. "I'm not, but if you are Mel, that's fine with me." She looked over at the Marines and Navy personnel all standing at attention. Tracy folded her arms across her chest and shook her head.
"I hope this all isn't for me. I'm just a politican you know, the lowest of the low."
Ross could only smile and wave a junior naval officer to show the ladies to their quarters.
"I hope the accomidations are comfortable," Ross said.
"Well, we have seen worse," Melissa grinned. Her smile was equally devistating.
They walked off with the junior officer, as Tracy smiled at the troops assembled. Both McQueen and Ross thought they heard her say something about glad to see women finally in combat.
Ross shook his head. "She's not what I expected."
"I don't think anyone could expect that, Sir."
Much later that evening, the 58th sat in a very crowded Tun Tavern, dressed more comfortably than they were that afternoon. The talk was of the congresswoman and what she might tell the Speaker of the House, Sam Wright. Would she say they were doing a good job, and try to get the military budget increased, or would she say they were all wasting their time and should try some kind of negotiations with the Chigs.
The 58th sat together at a round table. Shane shook her head.
"I wasn't all that impressed with her," she said. "I mean, who in their right mind wears red shoes on a battleship?"
"What do you think she should've worn?" Paul asked.
"I don't know, not red shoes and a short black dress. It was..was..." Shane searched for the word, until she found it. "inappropriate."
"I agree with Shane," Vanessa said.
Paul turned to Cooper and Nathan, "Must be a girl thing," he said.
"No it isn't Wang. It's...it's a common sense thing. She probably doesn't even take the war seriously."
"Well, she was in a gang," Nathan said.
"Doesn't mean she knows a hill of beans about war," Vanessa said.
McQueen entered the tavern, and as was his custom, took a seat at the end of the bar, away from the crowds and noise.
"I think she tried to say something cute about InVitros," Shane frowned.
Cooper shrugged. "Well...she don't know nothin' about InVitros...I mean, they didn't have them when she was alive..." The rest of the 58th began to laugh. Cooper realized his mistake and blushed. "You guys know what I mean..."
"She looked pretty alive to me Coop."
"Did you catch what she said about women in combat, like she was surprised or something?" Vanessa's voice grew more adgitated with each word.
The doors swung open and Tracy Fairgate and Melissa Peterson entered. Both women were casually dressed, in body hugging jeans and oversized sweaters, Tracy's was dark blue, Melissa's dark green. Tracy's hair was parted on the side and fell over her left eye, Melissa's hair was loose, hanging passed her shoulders. All talking stopped in the tavern for just a few seconds as everyone's eyes took in the sight.
The two women sat at the bar, either unwilling or uncaring about the scene they'd caused.
"I bet they've had more than enough to drink already," Shane said, "politicians are all a bunch of drunks."
"Give it a rest, Shane," Nathan said.
She shook her head. "All I'm saying is that why should she pass judgement on us, here, fighting, giving our lives. One word from her and this war could be over, with us begging the Chigs for forgiveness."
"You mean she could end the war, like that?" Cooper snapped his fingers.
"She's very close to the Speaker of the House," Nathan explained, "I think she knew his grandmother, or something. Her word isn't law, but it carries a lot of weight."
Tracy and Melissa ordered beers and looked around.
"This place is a dive," Melissa said.
"Mel, your upper classness is showing..." Tracy smiled.
"Sorry. But I would have been happier sharing that bottle of Scotch with you in the room."
"And miss this? No way. It's what our tax dollars are paying for, right?" Tracy nudged Melissa and allowed herself to look down to the end of the bar, where she saw McQueen. He must have seen her staring at him, in the mirror, he looked in her direction and nodded.
"What are we doing here, Fairgate? I mean, how did you get this assingment?"
"Just lucky I guess," Tracy still stared at McQueen.
"What are you looking at?"
Tracy smiled at Melissa. "When I tried to reccomend McQueen for the Silver Star, after that business with that Chiggie what's his name...I got so much goddamn flack."
"Bigotry. It's followed us here too. It sucks but you can't change it."
"I mean, how could anyone be prejudiced against a man like that. I mean he's so...so..like perfect, sleek, like a cat. I don't think I've ever seen a man like that, 20th century included."
"Fairgate..." Melissa said. "Tracy..."
"Youv'e got that look in your eye that says, I'm hungry and I need to eat."
Tracy took a handfull of pretzels and shoved them in her mouth. "Maybe I do.."
"Fairgate...you know what you promised me..."
"Are you sleeping with that guy from Aerotech...you know, the one who took over Sewell's position? Damian something?"
"Daniel Hefner. We're friends."
"Sure know how to pick your friends Mel, that one's a real snake."
"Well at least I know he won't shoot me."
Tracy felt the dig, but didn't let it get to her. "Maybe." She allowed herself to look at McQueen again. He was guarded, distant and though he seemed cold, almost angry, Tracy had a feeling he wasn't really that way at all. She knew a lot about being guarded and distant. Her father left she and her mother when Tracy was a little girl, and her mother had a series of boyfriends, some of whom molested her. That was the real reason Tracy joined the gang, and it worked too. None of those men ever touched her again.
Tracy wanted to approach McQueen, say something to him, try to engage him in conversation, but it wasn't the right time, she knew he didn't trust her. She was a civillian and a politician.
"I wouldn't turn my back on him though," Tracy said.
"I wouldn't turn my back on anyone in this room," Melissa said.
Tracy shot her a saucy grin. "I would."
Speaker of the House, Sam Wright, wanted Tracy Fairgate to tell him just how the military was really handling the stress of the war. He knew Tracy would give him a fair assessment, since she was neither pro nor anti military and her 1990's sensabilities would make her see the situation from all sides. Tracy agreed to the assingment, because a chance to do a favor for the Speaker was a good career move, so what if Melissa didn't think so. Melissa was the showman, the one knew who knew how to make Tracy look like a sophisticated, educated woman, and not an ex-gangbanger. Tracy though was much more comfortable with the tough girl image, even though she knew that a combination of both was what won her the election in the 21st century.
Tracy found Commodore Ross' tour of the Saratoga interesting, though not real stimulating. The most interesting thing she found on the ship was the gymnasium, always a safe place for Tracy to get her frustrations out, without causing injury to others.
Early one morning, Tracy was in the gym. She was dressed in a grey pair of baggy sweatpants and a white crop tank top, along with her favorite pair of dirty black sneakers, "ass kicking sneakers" she called them. She had a pair of boxing gloves on and was punching and kicking the tar out of a heavy bag; left jabs first, then right, then three combinations, and then a flying round kick with the left foot, then the right, heels slamming into the bag with determined force. When she was thirteen, those very kicks had knocked out more than a few sets of teeth from unsuspecting opponents, who thought it would be easy to kick a girl's butt.
Tracy was doing her umteenth combination, when she realized the bag wasn't swinging right after the last flying round kick. She stopped and put her hands on her hips. She wasn't tired...she wasn't getting old...well, she WAS old but...still...
"Good kick," a deep, male voice said.
Tracy peered around the bag and saw Colonel McQueen there, holding the bag. He wore black sweat pants and a white tee shirt. The tee shirt was soaked in sweat, and Tracy could see his muscles through it. She figured he'd been running.
He sent the bag flying in her direction, the force would have knocked another person to the ground, but Tracy simply caught it.
"Thanks," she said. She continued her combinations, feeling his eyes probe her.
"Take a picture it lasts longer," she said, giving the bag a hard kick.
McQueen caught the bag again. Tracy put her hands on her hips. She knew she wasn't a pretty sight, her shabby ponytail was comming undone, she was covered in sweat, the scars on her breasts were clearly visible, as was the tattoo of a praying mantis on her right arm.
"Never saw a politician fight like that." He threw her the bag again. She caught it again.
"That's 'cause you never saw me."
She started to do another combination, but stopped and looked at McQueen. She wasn't sure, but she thought she saw a slight smile cross his face. As soon as she looked back though, the mask was again in place.
"I don't like working out in front of an audence. You box?"
"Yeah. You want me to box you?"
"You scared?" Tracy said.
"I don't want to go to jail for the rest of my life for beating up on a congresswoman."
"I ain't a congresswoman in here Colonel Tyrus Cassius McQueen. That's an interesting name. Muhammad Ali was the greatest fighter in the world. He used to be Cassius Clay."
McQueen nodded. "I know that, Tracy Alanis Martha Fairgate."
Tracy shook her head. "I see you've read my file too."
McQueen folded his arms across his chest. "I know enough." His eyes moved to the tatoo on her arm.
"Praying Mantis. That used to be my nickname when I was a kid."
"In the gang."
"In the gang," Tracy said without shame. "You know what a praying mantis does to her mate, don't you?" Tracy looked away from McQueen and didn't wait for an answer. "She kills him while they're having sex, because that's the only way he can impregnate her."
"Then after she eats him."
Now Tracy looked at him. "Ain't insects wonderful. Anyway, put on the gloves. Let's go a few rounds. You may have me beat up here," she gestured to her arms, "but we're equal down here," the pointed to her legs. "Fair fight, no hits in sensitive areas," she gestured to the breasts, face and groin, "but we can use arms and legs."
McQueen looked half reluctant, and half interested, it was the interested half that won out, as he put the gloves on.
They began sparring and McQueen was surprised that she was able to keep up with him, though he was certain she knew he was going easy on her. Tracy decided that this man needed to be taught a lesson. She did a flying round kick with her left leg and hit McQueen full force in the chest, knocking the wind out of him.
McQueen then came at her, punching her shoulders and sides, Tracy was quick and ducked most of the punches, though one caught her on the left side; she fell to the floor, but did a backwards sommersault and was up again. Her own punches were weak, but she made up for it with her kicks, which McQueen was certain would cause more than one black and blue mark. They moved along the entire length of the gym, finally McQueen backed Tracy up against the padded wall, trapping her with his arms. They were both panting, sweat dripping off them, onto the floor.
"Had enough?" McQueen asked.
Tracy grinned, then quickly slipped underneath his arms. "One more round!" she shouted.
McQueen grunted, but came out fighting. As they sparred, Tracy's' ponytail came completely undone, McQueen thought she might want to stop for a rest, since her hair was now falling into her left eye. It didn't stop Tracy as she ducked and swayed, punched and jabbed. As they neared the wall, Tracy kicked McQueen in the chest, it was his turn to go backwards into the wall. Tracy then trapped him with her arms. She was panting so hard, she couldn't speak, and she saw he was in the same condition. Now, their sweat was causing a small lake on the floor beneath them. Tracy pushed her hair back and stared into McQueen's eyes. Their scents filled the room as they breathed in each other. Tracy felt her reconstructed nipples hardening and knew McQueen could see it through her tank top.
McQueen felt his body responding to Tracy's' scent, sweet and musky. He couldn't remember the last time a sweaty woman was so close to him, and he certainly couldn't remember boxing with one.
"Oh, shit," Tracy finally said. "You wore me out man...I'm getting old."
"Yeah me, remember, I'm older than you, a lot older."
McQueen remembered that fact, gave her a half smile and shook his head. "Yeah, I guess you are."
Tracy moved off him and leaned against the wall, then sank to the floor. "That was good Colonel, you can really kick ass."
"When you're an InVitro you learn fast."
Tracy nodded. "Guess that's being a minority, huh? I can relate to that. My dad was black and my mom was Puerto Rican, well, that's what she said, she couldn't speak Spanish though."
McQueen took off the gloves, he wasn't looking at Tracy.
"I heard you're into military history," she said.
He looked at her and nodded.
"I got this book you might be interested in. W.T. Sherman's memoirs, signed by the general himself, and no, I'm not that old that I knew him. I got it at an auction in '94 and I'm glad no one ripped it off. I've got it here."
McQueen's face lit up with interest. "I'd like to see it."
"Good, I'll bring it over." She held her hand out for McQueen to help her up. Just as he did, they heard the sound of high heels, then a sudden stop.
"My God, Fairgate, what the hell happened to you?"
Tracy stared at Melissa then nearly laughed. "Colonel McQueen," she put her hand on his shoulder. "and I were kicking the shit out of each other."
Melissa looked at McQueen disapprovingly. McQueen looked down, knowing that glare all too well, Melissa might not have been prejudiced, but she still thought him beneath her.
"Mel, lighten up, shit." McQueen started to walk away. "Hey, Colonel!" Tracy shouted, "I'd like a rematch."
McQueen didn't say anything, just headed to the showers. Tracy sucked her teeth. "You looked at him like he was a piece of dirt."
"What were you two doing?"
Tracy held up the boxing gloves and giggled like a child. "I've never had so much fun in all my....well, in a long time."
"McQueen should have known better, he's a Marine, he could have hurt you."
"I'm a gangbanger Mel, I could've broken his goddamn neck, like I could break yours...but I don't."
"Take a shower Fairgate, you look like shit, you smell like shit too."
Tracy walked passed her old friend. "Thanks for sharing that, Mel."
Karen Evans © 7/26/96
Next : Part Two