A New Tomorrow

Prologue

The End of Time

Indrene glanced at the mirror positioned next to her bunk, noting that her eyes were light blue again.  She sighed--they would likely get darker as the day wore on and she became more nervous.  Her latest mission--likely her last--was somewhat troubling, but acceptable. Even if she had had a choice in the matter she would have taken the mission, if only to help the rest of the team.  The mission was simple: the entire eight-man team would be placed in cryogenic suspension, and then awakened again at some time in the future when it was deemed necessary. Indrene had found the the whole ordeal odd until she learned why.  Common knowledge outside the facility was that an alien civilization was headed toward Earth, and some people were taking no chances.  The aliens' intentions were unknown, but it was already causing a panic; doomsayers were already out predicting the end of mankind, just as they were nearly one hundred years ago with the coming of the millennium, and less than thirty when an asteroid was detected that nearly impacted the planet.  They would always be there, and there would always be those who believed them.  Still, she understood that it was better to be safe than sorry, even if she seldom followed those rules herself.

So here she was, 22 years old and about to be put to sleep for an undetermined amount of time.  Some of the other members of the team were less accepting of their current situation than she. She knew the scholar in particular would rather be awake to catalog the event than sleeping through it.  He didn't want to miss a second, let alone who-knew-how-many years.  Herself, she had no obligations in this current world, and nothing to lose by leaving it.  Her parents were unknown, her mother dying in childbirth and her father running off long before that.  The people who raised her had given her up when she was a child.  She had hated them for that for many years, but eventually she had come to realize that it was for her benefit.  She had been born with very brittle bones and, being that there was no true cure for it, had been constantly in danger as an infant.

Her gaze turned to the picture of her foster parents taped up next to the mirror. When she was eight years old they had received a letter from a large company regarding her condition. Her foster parents had sought after many doctors to find a cure for her, but they lacked the financial capital to contribute to the cause.  The letter detailed a new procedure using nanotechnology that would essentially build her bones to be thicker, like they were supposed to be.  Of course it was experimental, and there was substantial risk.  The price, though, was her.  She would be a subject for this experiment, and, depending on the outcome, other such experiments.  Her parents, desperate to give her some semblance of a normal life, and likely eager to be rid of the trouble, had agreed, and she was flown from her home in Kenya to Los Angeles, California, her present location.

She shook her head and stood up from her bunk. Distant past, all of it.  She was still alive, three partially successful experiments later. The attempt to reconstruct her bones had failed, but in the process she had gained an extremely rapid healing ability which made her condition tolerable. Any micro-fractures in her bones healed almost instantly.  Their second procedure, an attempt to enhance vision in her eyes, had also failed.  Her vision remained the same; however, the color of her eyes changed, and partially reflected her mood.  Green, a seldom seen color as of late, reflected calm. Blue showed either anger or fear.  She had learned to control it somewhat, by controlling her emotions, but it still often reflected a light blue color.  The last procedure had mostly succeeded, but not in the ways either she or the other scientists had expected.  Her tail was evidence of that.  She snaked the tip around in front of her and held it in her hand, feeling the coarse, almost scale-like skin.  She never should have attempted fusing animal DNA into herself, but she couldn't erase the past now. She could likely reverse the process, given enough time, but she chose to accept her shortcomings. The tail reminded her to think things through more carefully.

Releasing her tail, she thought about what she should take with her on the mission.  She was told that she couldn't count on her personal possessions being here when she woke up. Her picture, then, and her badge.  She had a small medical kit she kept with her, too.  It was habit more than anything, but she liked to be prepared. She found it ironic that she had decided to become a medic after all of her problems, but she supposed it was because she had been exposed to it so often that it intrigued her.  She wanted to help other people, too.  That was her true duty on this mission--to keep the other members of the team alive.  It wasn't the  first time she'd been delegated to that task, and she didn't mind it, though she preferred to do more research.  She hoped research would be more necessary in the future.  As it was now, she could only do most of hers in her spare time, which was limited as of late.