Charles woke up from a thousand year sleep to a finger poking him in the eye. His eyes opened wider to reveal a bright white room with two doctors standing over him. At first glance, the situation looked fairly routine. The doctors’ lab coats were white, with their stethoscopes adorned like necklaces. A machine could be heard beeping behind him while shower-curtain partitions swayed softly to the sanitary, circulated air. But as his eyes focused for the first time in a thousand years, he could tell that something was different. For starters, the doctors looked the slightest bit abnormal. Their skin complexion seemed artificial and caked in makeup, while their eyes seemed distant, as if their minds were somewhere else. It didn’t ease Charles’ tension that the doctors looked almost identical in height, weight and facial structure. After a moment, they both grinned widely.
“Hello and good morning” said the first doctor.
Charles squinted and tried to sit up.
“Be careful. Your right arm is hooked up to that IV bag.” said the other Doctor.
The first doctor put a hand to his chest. “My name is Dr. Smith”. He pointed to the other doctor, who repeated the gesture.
“My name is Dr. Muhammed.”
“What am I doing here in the hospital? Did they find a cure for my disease?”
Dr. Smith nodded. “As you may remember, you were frozen until medical science could find a way to cure your disease: exploding chest syndrome.”
“Which we did! Just yesterday!” added Dr. Muhammed.
So aside from that psychologically crippling scar, you’ll be back to new in time for the trial.”
“Trial? Like a medical test trial?”
“Oh no, your criminal trial” said Dr. Smith
“Criminal? I’ve been awake for 2 minutes. What could I have done?”
Dr. Smith nodded distantly, with his wide grin unflinching. “We’ve unfrozen a number of people from your time, but so far every person has either been a crazed super-villain that’s hell-bent on world domination, or the carrier of any number of grimy and drippy diseases that your millennium has become known for.”
“Indeed”, said Dr. Muhammed. “We’ve already stopped Dr. Doom, Captain Apocalypse AND Tom Cruise in their quests to freeze themselves in an attempt to destroy the future, er I mean present.”
“Foolish 46 chromosomed humans.” said Dr. Smith. “We saw your moves coming from 1,000 years away” He holds up an old newspaper with the banner headline reading “Tom Cruise freezes self in order to seize power in year 3,000”
Dr. Muhammed nodded “So naturally because all the unfrozen subjects from your time have been maniac criminals, and since you are in fact from your time, you Charles, are clearly guilty.”
“But I’m not a supercriminal. And I only vaguely remember agreeing to be frozen indefinitely”
“According to our records, your family signed you up after realizing it was actually cheaper to drop you off at the local cryogenic lab than pay the property taxes on a grave.”
“Tough times” Dr. Muhammed said solemnly, his grin remaining in place.
Charles rubbed his forehead and remained silent for a moment. “So you woke me up just so you could tell me that everyone I know is dead, and that I’m under arrest for being alive?”
“Well, that and we needed your cryogenic tube. We’re freezing a bunch of our supervillians and carriers of our most fatal diseases in order to enslave the future.”
Dr. Muhammed laughed and rubbed his hands together “They won’t see it coming.”
“Then what’s going to happen to me?” Charles asked.
“You’re likely to wind up in jail. There are reports coming out that Captain Apocalypse murdered everyone on his cellblock, so there’s probably a bed available.”
Dr. Muhammed clapped his hands together “Hey, a free bed. Now there’s some good news.”
Dr. Smith injected something into Charles’ arm and he quickly fell asleep. The two doctors watched as robot nurses wheeled him from the room.
“Do you think we should have told him that the pennies remaining in his bank account when he was frozen have now made him the world’s richest man?” asked Dr. Smith
“Nah” shrugged Dr. Muhammed, as he shook his watch and put his stethoscope to its back. “It didn’t seem important.”