Origins, Chapter 10

 

 

 

Author: Apollo Racer
Title: Origins
Email: fltadmracer@hotmail.com
Characters: New Crew/Star Trek: TOS/Star Trek TOS: Animated Series.
Rating: PG-13
Summary: In a bizarre twist of fate, a young man from the 21st century is trapped
in a frozen coffin as he drifts along the tides of time to be awakened 200 years
later.

Chapter Ten

Champagne glasses clinked together at the table occupied by Apollo, Sam, Skip, and Karen. The day was indeed a day for celebration. Skip stood up. “A toast…” He extended his glass, and the others stood and joined suit. “Here’s to the Class of 2266…”

“’67.” Apollo corrected, using his Vulcan tone of voice and displaying absolutely no emotion. The women chuckled.

“’67,” Skip reiterated, directing a mock glare toward his friend, “and all I have to say is this: watch out Starfleet! There are four brand new officers entering the fold, eager for adventure and full of life.”

“Actually, 273 cadets will graduate this year, not just the four of us,” Apollo said, also in a matter-of fact tone. He wound up getting Skip’s drink dumped on him. They all started laughing.

Sam raised her glass. “And here’s to Skip, who, among the four of us, managed to make it through the Academy without having to spend any amount of quality time in the infirmary.” This caused another round of laughter.

The party lasted well into the night. The foursome laughed and cheered and regaled old stories, the most interesting of which was Apollo’s recital of some of his experiences in the 21st century. The way he had told it, it seemed as though he had just done those things yesterday. Finally, the time came when they closed the place down. Walking out, or rather, leaving at a slight stagger, they all gave each other a group hug. Skip was obviously trying to say something. “Well, for God’s sake, man, spit it out!” Apollo prompted, a little slurred in his speech.

“Me an’ Karen are goin’ to…” Skip blurted. “Goin’ toooo…”

Karen elbowed him and chuckled. “You can say it in front of them. They’re friends.” She put her hand to the side of her face and said in a stage whisper, “We’re goin’ to get it on.”

“Oh, yeah… announce it to the world, why don’cha…” Karen cupped her hands around her mouth and took a deep breath to follow her boyfriend’s suggestion. Skip grabbed her arm as she chortled. “Anyway, I jus’ wan’ed t’ warn you so you wouldn’t come in an’ disturb us.” Skip tried to wink, but his eye stayed closed. Karen giggled.

Apollo didn’t mention to Skip that as of a week ago, Skip’s room and Karen’s were the same, since Skip and Sam switched places; they had been practically living that way since mid-year anyway. The arrangement was infinitely more agreeable than the previous one, if for no other reason than to get rid of an extra bed to provide more space. “Thaaaaat’s alright… I’m not ready to night it a call, yet. Are you, Sam?”

Sam’s eyelids fluttered; whether she was flirting with Apollo or just plain inebriated, he couldn’t tell. “Heeee… you’rrrre drunk, mister.”

“I am certainly most not! I’m just… just… a slight bit tipsy.” He held his thumb and forefinger about half an inch apart… the fact that he had them just as close to his face set the others off again.

“Well, I’m feeling tired.” She saw his disappointed look and realized he was taking her seriously, so she subtly pinched him. Karen noticed, and giggled again. “And you are too, dear.”

It took a couple of seconds for the message to reach his brain. “Oh! Yeah! I’m sacked… what’s say we get in the bush?” Sam blushed but it didn’t stop her from laughing hysterically. Skip and Karen leaned on each other and waved to their friends as they left.

Sam then grabbed him by the arm and pulled him close to her. “Apollo, you need to help me back because I think I drank just a little too much and I can’t see straight,” she said in a half-whisper.

“If I’m gonna help you, who’s gonna help me?” She punched him in the arm. “Anyhooo… we earned the right to be a little drunk. C’mon… I’ll take you home.” He moved to take her arm.

Sam had other plans. She spun behind him and jumped onto his back. “Thank you,” she whispered into his ear, breathing a little heavier than necessary for her answer.

It had the desired effect. He carried her all the way back to the dorm. He let her down inside of his room, whereupon she pounced on him, knocking him onto the bed. Before he could do anything, her lips were locked on his. This continued until she reluctantly pulled away from him. Sam stood facing him wearing a smile. Then that was the only thing she was wearing. Whew, he thought, I didn’t realize these uniforms were so easy to remove. Sam had a sly smile on her face, as she showed him with his uniform how she performed her little trick. Apollo wasn’t thinking too much after that.

~ * ~

He tugged on the collar the gold tunic of his dress uniform. The metallic gold braid encircling the collar and running down the middle of his front seemed stiff and unyielding. “Damn things must be made out of steel wool. I’ve never worn anything more uncomfortable.”

Skip shook his head. He was leaning against a wall, also wearing his dress uniform, but his tunic was red. He and Sam had switched rooms that morning for the express purpose of changing into their dress attire. “What a complainer. You don’t have to wear it much. They just want you to make sure that the experience is a memorable one.”

Apollo chuckled. “I’ll remember, all right… I’ll have a rash around my neck for a week.”

“Lighten up. Today’s the big day. We don’t want to set a bad example.”

Apollo was about to shoot off a retort when there was a knock at the door. It opened; Sam and Karen walked in, both in blue; Karen wore the dress, but Sam preferred the tunic and pants. “Hi. Thought you gentlemen would like an escort to the graduation,” Sam said cheerfully.

Karen chimed in. “She wanted to just walk in, but I told her it would be polite if she knocked. Besides, we didn’t want to catch you indecent.”

“Now, Karen, when are they anything else.” The two girls chuckled at the men’s expense. Skip just smiled, but Sam could swear she could see Apollo turning a light shade of pink.

“Well, now that the two of you are here, shall we go?” Apollo headed out of the room.

Sam and Karen looked at Skip. He simply shrugged. “He’s nervous. What can I say, I’m a bit giddy myself.” He ushered them out in front of him and shut the door behind him.

~ * ~

The ceremony went off without a hitch. Nova Squadron made a brilliant display for everyone. When they finished, the pilots joined their fellow cadets to participate in the main event. Names were called, and cadets went to the front to receive their commission as Starfleet officers. When the last name was called, a thunderous applause swept through the grounds. The Commandant of the Academy took the stage. As he approached the podium, the crowd hushed.

“To the Class of 2267, I bid you congratulations. You have truly earned your right to wear the uniform of Starfleet. I hope that you all have long and prosperous careers. I can remember the day when I sat in your place, listening to my commandant give a speech to us. It was an exciting experience…”

Apollo’s mind drifted off. He thought about where this step was going to take him. Once again, he was going to be an officer in an elite organization of peacekeeping individuals. He couldn’t have wanted more from his life. When he was a boy, he would sit out in the open field by his house, gaze at the stars, and wonder what type of life was waiting for him to discover it. Now he can actually find out.

He was interrupted from his daydreaming; Sam was elbowing him sharply in the ribs. “Apollo, snap out of it,” she hissed at him.

“What… is he done, yet?” He was a little disoriented.

“Yes, but when the commandant went to his seat, Komack took the stage.”

Instantly interested, Apollo focused his attention in front of him. He had seen the commencement ceremonies of the cadets who graduated before him while he was there; Komack had never appeared for them. “Cadets,” Komack began, “it is common for you to join this Academy, expecting to leave your mark on the history books. While you have all done very well, there is one cadet among you who has far excelled in his duties to this Academy. This cadet’s unwavering confidence and determination have not gone unnoticed in these halls. While I would enjoy introducing this cadet, I am obliged to delegate this task to a visiting officer who is truly appropriate for the deed. This officer is a shining example to Starfleet, and we are proud to have him represent us when he performs his duties throughout the Federation. The officer of whom I am speaking is none other than Captain James T. Kirk.”

A man stood up from among the instructors and approached the podium. Through the applause, Apollo could hear dozens of gasps escape the lips of his fellow cadets; indeed, he wasn’t immune to the effect this man had on everyone there. The class gave Kirk a standing ovation.

Kirk waved to the crowd and allowed them to settle back into their seats. “Greetings,” he began. “In the history of the Academy, I have been known for setting a lot of precedents, some of which are not appropriate to mention while in public.” Laughter broke out in the crowd. “During my senior year at the Academy, I took a test that all Command candidate cadets have to take if they ever want to sit in the captain’s chair of a starship. My score was… unique; its outcome was the standard for every candidate to try and meet. It has come to my attention that someone has finally topped me in that regard, and I would feel privileged to meet this talented cadet. Would Apollo Racer please join me up here?”

More gasps moved through the crowd. Apollo looked at Sam, who merely gave him a look that said, “Go on.” He could feel all eyes searching for him, resting on his position when he stood up to approach the stage. Those eyes followed him all the way, and it took every Vulcan discipline he knew to keep from jumping out of his skin. Once he reached the podium, he did the only thing he could think of when approaching a superior officer; he snapped to attention. “Cadet Racer reporting as ordered, sir.”

“At ease, Cadet,” Kirk said. “So, I understand that you were able to pass this test without any, ah, outside help.”

“That is correct, sir,” Apollo replied.

Kirk’s curiosity was evident on his face. “I was wondering. I took the test three times before I found the solution. How long did it take you?”

Apollo felt a slight tint in his face. “Well, sir, it… was my first time.”

Kirk looked mildly surprised. He looked over to where the faculty was sitting. Komack slowly nodded once in confirmation. “Your first time…” The cadet was almost sure he saw jealousy for the briefest of moments in Kirk’s expression. “So… do you think you could give me a little tip?” The crowd chuckled nervously; they knew he was asking in jest.

Apollo shrugged. “I guess you just go with your gut feeling, sir.”

More laughter. As if Kirk commanded any other way. “I’ve been told there was another reason for you to be up here right now. From your records, it appears that this isn’t your first experience in an organization such as Starfleet.”

Apollo visibly relaxed, able to talk about an unrelated subject. “Yes, sir. I was a captain in the United Earth Forces of the mid-21st century.”

“Yes, well, Starfleet can’t give you your actual rank back; not yet, at least. It can certainly give you a good push in the right direction, though. Cadet Apollo Racer, by the authority given to me by Starfleet Command, you are hereby given the rank of full Lieutenant, with all of the rights, privileges, and responsibilities that goes with it.” He smiled. “Let me be the first to congratulate you on a job well done.” Kirk offered his hand. As Apollo shook it, he heard Skip in the crowd, cheering. The cheer had no sooner left his lips than the entire class joined in with a thunderous roar of approval.

Apollo’s mind was threatening to overload with so much positive stimulation… he had once been told that he’d been popular with the other cadets, and he had no cause to deny or ignore it. But never had he seen it manifested in such a way as he saw here today. With a smile he could barely control through his excitement, he said, “Thank you, sir. Thank you very much.” As he faced the horde of cheering cadets, he found himself fortunate that they didn’t insist that he say something on his behalf; he was too excited to think of anything to say, anyway.

~ * ~

At the reception, Apollo’s friends had gathered around him to congratulate him. “Well, well, Lieutenant Racer,” Skip said with mock envy, “how does it feel to be such a big shot on campus?”

“It feels…” Apollo paused to think about it, “rather nice, actually.” Skip punched him on the arm. “Careful, now. Don’t go assaulting a superior officer. I might have to drag your ass to the brig.” The sarcasm couldn’t possibly be missed in his voice.

Sam gave him a huge hug and a kiss. “I am so proud of you. You really did deserve that jump in rank. You were such a big help to me.”

“Are you sure that’s an objective opinion?” Apollo teased, his eyebrow arching very Vulcanly.

“Well, maybe a trifle subjective.” she responded, holding her thumb and forefinger about a centimeter apart and giving him a wink.

“Actually, he was a big help not just to you but to the other cadets as well.” The voice came from outside their little group. When they turned, Captain Quinn and Captain Kirk were striding toward them. Apollo could feel his face start to flush again. When the two captains reached the group, Quinn continued. “I spoke with your other instructors, and some of the other cadets. I’ve heard how you gave your time and effort helping the other cadets with their studies. A very commendable trait. I’ll have to admit, Apollo, I was wrong about you at first. But someone told me that if I were to go and try to tear through a person’s shields, I should first look to see if those shields were up to begin with.” Apollo could tell that she was slightly uncomfortable with this confession, but knowing she was giving it upped his respect for her astronomically. “I took another look at you. You never had them up. I guess I was so busy trying to look around the image, that I never realized I was looking at the actual product.” Realizing she had nothing more to say, she smiled, winked and offered her hand. “Congratulations, Lieutenant Racer. I hope to see you again someday.”

“Thank you, sir,” he said, shaking her hand. “I would be honored.” When they noticed that she had left, but Captain Kirk remained, Sam nudged Skip away with her, convincing him that they could both stand to refill their glasses.

Kirk and Apollo strolled in the opposite direction. “That was very profound. You really told her that?” At Apollo’s nod, he shook his head. “That sounds like something my first officer, Spock, would say.”

Apollo simply shrugged. “I needed her to understand my position at the time without resenting me for bringing it to her attention, sir. The truth was the logical choice.”

Kirk gestured with his hand. “Enough with the ‘sir’. We’re at a party.” He paused. “You sound like you spent some time on Vulcan yourself.”

“Four years.” Apollo thought for a moment. “If I may add, I believe we had a mutual acquaintance.”

“Oh, really.” Kirk could hardly believe what he was hearing.

“Yes. Your first officer’s father was my instructor on Vulcan.”

Kirk’s eyes grew wide. “You studied under Sarek? Small galaxy.” Something beeped. “Excuse me.” He turned away from Apollo and brought out a communicator. Due to the noise in the room, Apollo couldn’t clearly hear what was being said. Then Kirk closed his communicator and turned back to him. “I have to go. Good luck with your career, Lieutenant.” He shook Apollo’s hand again.

“Will do, sir. Thank you.” Apollo watched Kirk stride toward the exit. He felt an immense swelling of pride engulf him.

“Uh, oh. He’s going to blow. We’d better cool him down.” He turned to see who said that when he was suddenly drenched in water. When the cascade ended, he cleared his eyesight to find Skip and the girls, holding a huge, dripping barrel that was at one time filled with water. They were splitting their sides laughing.

Apollo stood there, sputtering. “Very funny, people,” he said.

He started to laugh with them. They all enjoyed the joke until Skip and Sam felt themselves get picked up. Apollo tucked them each under one arm. “Hey! What are you doing?!” yelled Sam.

“Yeah, bud! It was just a joke!” Skip exclaimed. “C’mon, let us down!”

Apollo simply smiled. Everyone noticed the commotion and followed Apollo. He led the group outside and toward the huge fountain in the center of the grounds, Sam and Skip kicking and screaming every step of the way. As soon as he reached his destination, he unceremoniously launched both of them in. The crowd started laughing. Karen was so caught up in the situation that she didn’t notice until too late that she was right next to Apollo. He picked her up, held her over his head, and she followed her friends’ route into the fountain. His audience cheered; he stood up on the lip of the fountain and gave them a theatrical bow. The three in the pool all nodded in unison, then they each grabbed Apollo and pulled him in with them. He came up spluttering, and the prank turned into a knock-down, drag-out, water fight, getting the graduates surrounding the fountain as much as they got each other.

~ * ~

The next morning, Apollo woke to the sound of soft breathing in his ear. He slowly turned his head to find Sam resting soundly. Apollo simply let her sleep, using her breathing to allow him to slip more easily into a meditative state. If he was right about what was in store for them today, he would need to be as ready for it as he could be about anything, and Sam would need his support, too. Privately, he had been dreading this day, enjoying the time they had together as much as he possibly could. In fact, if it could be said that humans could bond as readily as Vulcans could, then that was what happened between these two people. Skip even asked him jokingly about when the wedding would be. On the surface, Apollo would laugh, but inside he was torn… he knew this day was coming, accepted it, but wished with all his heart that it didn’t come.

His thoughts were interrupted by a soft peck under his chin. He looked to see her gazing up at him.

“Good morning,” he whispered.

“Hi,” she answered. She stretched; Apollo watched her body move under the coverlet and fought down a wave of hormones. It wouldn’t make today any easier. “You looked deep in thought. Anything you’d like to share?”

He gazed into her eyes, wondering what he should say. He sighed. “Well, for one thing, I was thinking of what was in store for us today.”

She searched his face, trying to figure out what he said. Her eyes brightened when she figured it out. “We get our first assignments today!” In her excitement, she practically jumped out of bed in order to get ready, and Apollo fought off yet another desire. “I can’t wait to find out where they’re sending us.”

“Sam, there’s something I need to talk about.” The intensity of his statement caused her to stop in her tracks. Now that he got her attention, he decided to go for broke. “I know you’re excited, and it would be great if we got a starship together… but there’s a little truth in the matter.” He paused, then let her have it. “As nice as it would be, the chance that we’ll be posted together is rather slim. In fact, it will be more than likely that… that we’ll be assigned to different ships.”

When the implication of what he said reached her, she looked as though he had just slapped her in the face. “You don’t mean that, do you? I’m sure they could work something out.”

“Starfleet will send us where they need us the most. Our needs won’t necessarily be significant to them.” He felt horrible telling her this. “I knew all along what I was getting into when I joined Starfleet. That’s why I enjoyed the last couple of months as I did. I… just thought you had that in mind, too.”

Sam was definitely hurt. “So, is that it? You figured that this was all fun and now that we’re moving on it’s ‘Well, I had fun, but see ya, honey?’ What a lousy way to act.” She finished dressing, a bit more forcefully than necessary.

“No… no, that’s not what I meant. We can still keep in touch, or who knows, maybe we will be posted together. I couldn’t ask for more.” Apollo stepped toward her, but she moved away.

“It’s okay. You’re right. I was an idiot to think this could last, anyway.” She put her hand to her head, as if physically trying to push back tears. “I hope you get what you want.”

“Sam, wait!” He tried to stop her, but she already rushed out the door, and he still was in no condition to be seen in public. Within a few minutes, though, he rectified the situation and plunged out the door. When he left the building, she was nowhere in sight. Apollo decided he might as well get it over with, and headed to the administrative building to get his assignment.

There was a small outdoor waiting area next to the Admin building, where some cadets had taken to wait their turns to get their assignments. Skip was there waiting for him. “Morning, Apollo.” He jerked a thumb behind him, toward the building’s entrance. “I just saw Sam fly by me. I take it you told her what to expect.”

Apollo merely nodded. He had already confided his fears with Skip a few days ago. They agreed that letting the girls know up front was the best way to handle it. “How about you?”

Skip shrugged. “Karen’s got a good head on her shoulders; now that I think about it, she’s got some pretty good shoulders, too, as well as anything underneath that.” Apollo nudged him, moving him a meter or two. Skip chuckled, but quickly grew serious. “Yeah, she doesn’t like it, but she accepts it. I take it Sam saw things differently.”

“She was going on the premise that we’d be assigned somewhere together.”

They shook their heads. “Poor girl,” Skip said. “I hope she gets over it.”

At that moment, Sam stepped outside. She looked almost worse than when she ran from Apollo’s room. She didn’t say a word. She simply walked over to Apollo and put her arms around him. Her body shook with sobs. “I’m sorry….” Her whimper was muffled by her boyfriend’s chest. Just then, Karen appeared at the doorway. The look on her face told the men that she had sat Sam down and talked with her.

Apollo just held her. He looked and saw a padd in her hand; he took it. “It seems she took the liberty of getting our assignments for us.” He scanned the padd, then handed it to Skip.

Skip pored over the information. “The USS Merrimac. I hear she’s a nice ship. But why Security?”

“You have to start somewhere, I guess.” Apollo looked down at Sam, who was just now starting to come to her senses. “Are you going to be okay, Sam?”

Sam pulled away a little and nodded. Her face was red from tears. “Y-yeah. I’ll be all right.” She felt a little awkward. “I’m… I’m… sorry about what I said back there. I didn’t mean any of it. It… it’s just that I actually thought we would be together in this.”

Apollo’s smile was comforting. “We’ll still be together. Just because we’ll be on separate ships doesn’t mean we’ll be apart. I’ll always be thinking of you.”

Sam tried to return his smile. “I’ll miss you, too.” She shrugged. “And who knows. If the Merrimac and the Lexington are in the same sector, maybe…”

“Count on it,” Apollo said, concluding her thought. She smiled at his confidence. “Now then, Skip, when do you have to report to the Alexander?”

“It says I don’t have to go until tomorrow.”

Karen looked at the padd, smiling. “Did you see it, love? I’m on the Alexander, too! We’re on the same ship! Isn’t it wonderful?” She looked at them, then stopped. Apollo and Skip were cringing, while Sam looked a little forlorn. “Oh…. Oh, Sam, I’m sorry. Here I am, acting like this when you… oh, I’m so sorry.” She moved over to give Sam a hug.

“It’s okay, really, Karen,” Sam replied. “I really am happy for you two.” She returned to Apollo’s side. “Besides, I have a good feeling that we’ll see each other again.”

“Hey, I thought I was the one who was supposed to see the future,” Apollo whined, feigning a hurt look.

“Maybe it’s rubbing off on me,” she responded, smiling up at him.

“Humph,” came a sound from Skip’s direction.

“What’s wrong?” Apollo asked.

“Well, the Alexander doesn’t sound like a very exciting ship. Isn’t it one of those small classes of ships? Hermes, I think?”

Karen squeezed him. “Oh, don’t worry. I’m sure we can make it exciting.”

“Let me see that again.” Apollo took the padd from his friend. “Let’s see. NCC-511… NCC-511…” He rolled the ship’s registry number through his mind, until he straightened with recognition. He then lightly swatted his friend across the head. “You idiot. Alexander isn’t Hermes class, it’s Saladin!” He waited until he was sure that the meaning sank into Skip’s brain. “That’s right, my friend… you two are going to be on a destroyer. If it’s anything life will be, it certainly won’t be boring. Congratulations.” He continued looking at the sheet. “Sam, you’re going to a Constitution-class ship; that’s a heavy cruiser. The fleet doesn’t have too many of them. And mine…” he paused as he searched his head some more. “Mine’s also a heavy cruiser. One of the newer ones.”

Sam looked bewildered. “I thought they were all the same.”

“No, no,” he said, easily slipping into teacher mode. Skip recognized this and rolled his eyes. “When the first Constitution ships came out, today’s technology was still being discovered. They frequently had to report to starbases for upgrades. Ships like the Merrimac, however, already had these upgrades incorporated into their designs. It’s a lot easier to build a ship pre-improved from the keel up than it is to keep going in for refits. In fact, I understand that even now, they’re finalizing designs on the next major refit on these ships.”

Apollo stopped his lecture and looked at his friends. Sam appeared to be intensely studying the padd in Apollo’s hands. Karen was looking around at the scenery, and Skip was leaning against the wall; whether he was actually sleeping or only pretending to do so remained to be seen.

Sam looked up from the padd. “I’m sorry, were you telling us something important?”

Sam got swatted, while the other two managed to duck. “Come on… let’s throw us a going away party.” They threw their arms around each others’ shoulders and walked four abreast down the walkway.

 

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