Origins, Chapter 12




Chapter Twelve

Not long after his encounter with Kirk, Apollo found himself assigned to another ship. It was too much for him to suspect coincidence, so he vowed to send a thank you note to the captain once he was settled in.

Ironically, his new ship was the USS Monitor, undoubtedly the Merrimac‘s sister ship. He was assigned as Security Chief, one of the fews positive things to happen from the results of the scandal. As soon as the captain got over the skepticism of having him aboard, however, she took note of his piloting skills in the Academy and decided to see how he could do behind the helm. Apollo was impressed by the fact that as large of a ship as she was, the Monitor handled like dream. It was almost like being in one-man craft, though naturally this ship had a lot more power to her. Satisfied with his performance, the captain told him that he could double as a relief helmsman.

Apollo was glad that he could still be trusted, but he wasn’t sure if he should press his luck, so he kept a tight reign on any emotion. He never let anyone know that the incident aboard the Merrimac affected him more than he let on. He kept mainly to himself, never socializing with the crew. Quite basically, he never made any friends there. Apollo hoped for a long and unfulfilling journey.

Fate had a funny way of proving him wrong. On more than one occasion, the Monitor found itself going to places where the crew got themselves into scrapes. Apollo never saw it as showing off or trying to prove himself. He was simply doing his job, as well as he could do it. Any friends or rivals he picked up along the way was merely happenstance.

Once, during a diplomatic mission to Altraeus IX, Apollo led the security team assigned to the envoy. The mission ended early when the site was engulfed by a natural disaster and they needed to escort the envoy to safer ground. He stayed close to Captain Howell for her protection. His other people kept an eye on three civilian members of the group. Apollo could hear Howell muttering, “Where in the hell were their brains when they picked the base of an active volcano for negotiations?”

One of the ambassadors spoke up. “It was a symbol of the potency of the treaty we wished to establish, Captain. It stood for how volatile the situation was and how the need for peace had to be stressed to keep these people from destroying each other.”

“Well, this volcano’s certainly protesting its being used as a symbol, Ambassador. Now if we don’t get out of here, it’s going to destroy us all.”

“Why didn’t we just beam up from there?” another ambassador asked.

“There are elements in the ash cloud preventing a transporter lock,” Apollo explained. “We need to get upwind so we can be out from under it when the Monitor finds us again.”

They continued on when Howell looked up a slope along their path. Her eyes grew wide. “Oh, good lord…”

Apollo looked and saw a landslide heading for them. Looking around, he spotted a small natural lean-to made of debris that had already fallen. “Quickly!” he ordered his men. “Get these people under there! The deadfall should protect us!”

They struggled toward their haven, the captain and the security chief bringing up the rear. He saw the first of the slide about to reach them and gave Howell an extra shove. The added force served to propel her under the shelter just in time. Apollo almost made it himself when a large log caught him, clipping him behind the knee and bringing him down. “Racer!” Howell yelled.

The lieutenant commander wasn’t out of it yet. He reached over and, with seemingly inhuman strength, brought a log up and stood it on the ground above him. Any more debris that fell toward him was deflected away, though rocks and hot ash still managed to get through.

After a few minutes, the worst was over. Once they saw it was clear, the other security guards rushed over to help their chief out. “Commander!” one yelled. “Are you okay?”

“I’m all right, but I’m pinned down. Get me out of here.” Apollo strained to move but couldn’t. Even Howell moved to help him.

“That was pretty smart thinking, using that log, Commander,” she said, struggling to help lift some of the debris. “I’ll be damned if I knew how you were able to lift the thing, especially just by using upper body strength.”

When they finally cleared the area, the two guards were stunned. “What the hell…?” Apollo’s leg was twisted around at an impossible angle, but he didn’t look as if he was in pain at all. Something jutted through a tear in his pant leg that looked like metal.

“Racer, what in…” Howell gasped, and backed away a step. One of his sleeves was also torn, revealing the arm beneath it. Some of the skin had torn away, showing the mechanisms that were hidden underneath.

He looked at his damaged arm. “It’s just a flesh wound.” Then he saw his leg. “Ummm… this…” he reached down and fingered the exposed piece of metal, “will take a little explaining.”

~ * ~

The captain had him in her office after he was repaired. “Your record did mention that you were injured in the Academy, but I didn’t realize you had undergone such… radical reconstruction.”

Apollo shrugged. “It was necessary, to allow me to perform normally in Starfleet. I figured the less people knew about it, the more comfortable they’d be around me.”

She shook her head. “I don’t know… you seem to get yourself into the most unlikely of situations. I’ll run interference when I can, but I’m afraid some of these repercussions you’ll just have to deal with yourself.” She sighed. “I don’t see any reason to limit your duties… you’re obviously as fit as anyone else. Dismissed.”

Shortly after that, Starfleet had reviewed the incident and decided to reward Apollo’s performance. Howell had called upon Apollo again, but this time it was to promote him to full Commander. The news was met with mixed feelings. Some of the people who had tried hard to get close to him were genuinely glad for his accomplishment. Some people leered at him skeptically, as though he didn’t deserve the distinction. Others were just plain afraid of him. They didn’t understand the alternative to his situation, so they tended to avoid him.

Then one day, he entered the officer’s lounge for something to eat. As he walked up to the food synthesizer, he overheard a conversation about him at a nearby table.

“Makes you wonder how much of him is real and how much is a machine.”

“That’s probably why he’s always acted so cold. His heart’s made of metal.”

“If you ask me, it scares the daylights out of me.”

He never asked for this. Most likely, they didn’t even know he was standing there. But he kept quiet as long as he could, gripping the edge of the counter. The synthesizer was beeping that his food was ready, but he was too busy trying to keep his temper under control to acknowledge it.

It did, however, attract the attention of group at the table. “Excuse me, sir,” called a lieutenant sitting at the table. “Your food is ready.”

Apollo slowly turned around to face them; he got some small pleasure at seeing the looks on their faces when they realized that the subject of their discussion was standing right there, listening to every word they said. Even that pleasure faded, though, when he found that the lieutenant who spoke to him, the one who did most of the talking the whole time, was one of his lieutenants in Security, a man who once claimed to him that who or what he was didn’t bother the lieutenant at all. Whatever feelings of rapport he had with this crew vanished immediately.

His food forgotten, he approached their table, their looks of terror becoming more pronounced with each step he took. He smiled and leaned right in until his face was an inch away from the lieutenant’s face. “You’ll have to excuse me,” he said quietly, “I couldn’t help but oevrhear what you were saying. These damn auditory sensors must be overcalibrated.” Then, almost too fast for their eyes to see, he brought his fist down on the table, driving a hole through the top. “Oops… I’m so sorry. The servos in that arm must be awfully twitchy. Never know when these malfunctions might hit me,” he grinned coldly, “and… do something nasty.”

He could almost smell the fear in the pair seated before him. In fact, he could smell it in one of them. Apollo frowned and glared at the man. “Change your pants, Lieutenant. What a disgrace.” He stood and headed back to the synthesizer so it could recycle his food, untouched. Then, his appetite spoiled, he left the lounge.

~ * ~

The next day, Apollo was called to the captain’s office. When he entered, he didn’t need to stand at attention; of all the people he knew on the ship, he had come to know Captain Howell as a friend. “Sit down,” she said. By her tone of voice, it was more than a request, but less than an order. “There’s a hole in one of the tables down in my lounge, Commander. Would you care to explain how it got there?”

Apollo sat silent in his chair, not looking down, but not exactly looking at the captain, either. He had the sensation of being a kid who was caught tracking mud into the house. “My apologies, Captain. I overheard a derogatory conversation about me and… I lost my temper. I guess I’ve been under a bit of stress these past few days.”

“With you, that could be a little dangerous,” she said, half in jest. She decided to come right out and say it. “Commander, I know what happened in the lounge.” His head snapped to lock her eyes with his. “Oh, yes, very little slips by me on this ship. It can’t afford to.” She paced a little, then stopped in her original spot. “Apollo, why don’t you tell me of these things? When my officers go through some personal doubts, I’d like to know if it will impede with their performance.”

Apollo had recovered from the last shock. This time his control was in place. “I was never in danger of having my personal problems interfere with my work.”

“If you’re putting cup holders in my tables, Commander, I’d say you’re very much in danger of having them interfere.” She sighed. “I can understand your need for control, but if you’re still having problems, I’ve always been here to help. You can’t just shut everyone out… it’s not healthy. There are people here who would love to get to know you, to help you through some of the bumps in the road you’re traveling. Hell, our engineer wants to write a paper about your enhancements.”

The corners of Apollo’s mouth turned slightly upward. “Hate to disappoint him, but that’s already been done. I don’t think my doctor was going to let anyone beat him out of his achievement.”

“But you yourself said you modified them. I saw an example of that in the lounge.” She smiled a little, enough to allow him to relax some. “I only wish I had known this before it was too late.”

Apollo was puzzled, but he received an urgent sense of something disturbing. He stood up. “Too late? Too late for what?”

She sighed and headed to her desk, where she handed him a padd. As he glanced through it, she explained. “The Excalibur is to rendezvous with us. Her captain, Jeff Thomas, lost his first officer in a recent border dispute with the Romulans. He asked me for one, knowing that I owed him a favor.” She paused, letting Apollo completely register what she was saying, and what the padd read. “As soon as he gets here, you’re to transfer over to him as his first officer.” She leaned back against the front of her desk. “Please understand, this isn’t anything against you, and it has nothing to do with your past incidents. Hell, you’re a good officer… it would have happened regardless. It was simply a case that he was searching for an replacement for his first, and you were the best choice for him. He made that decision, not me. If it were up to me, you’d be my first officer, when the one I have leaves in a few months. Jeff got to me first.”

Strangely enough, a calm settled on Apollo. “I understand, Captain. When is he expected to arrive?”

“He’ll be here tomorrow.” He saw a remorseful look on her face. She truly didn’t want to lose him. “I meant what I said… you’re a good officer, Apollo. As much as you think people will be relieved, there are just as many, if not more, who will regret seeing you go.”

He nodded, knowing she was telling the truth. “I’ll be ready for him, sir.”

~ * ~

He stood in the transporter room, once again wearing a gold tunic as he did when arriving on the Merrimac, except this time it bore one extra stripe. His captain and Captain Thomas entered. Is that a look of affection passing between them, he wondered. Thomas saw him standing there and smiled. “Commander Racer, it’s a pleasure meeting you. I hope we get along as well as Keri here tells me you two did.”

“I hope so, too, sir,” Apollo replied. “It’ll… certainly be interesting.”

“Well, your reputation precedes you. I have a few of my crew who can’t wait to meet you.” He turned to Captain Howell. “Well, if you don’t mind, we’ll be leaving now.”

“It was certainly a pleasure meeting you again, Captain.” Apollo couldn’t mistake the slight undertone in her voice. When Howell said it was a pleasure, she meant it in more ways than one. “I just hope we can do it more often.”

“The feeling is mutual.” He turned to Apollo. “But right now, I have to get my new first officer acquainted with his crew. Let’s go, Commander.” They walked up the steps and stood next to each other. He then gestured to the transporter operator. “Energize.”

If Apollo hadn’t known any better, he would have claimed they never went anywhere. The only differences he saw were that his former captain was suddenly missing and a different person had replaced the one behind the console. “Welcome back, sir,” the technician said.

“Thank you, Lieutenant. I’d like you to meet our new first officer. Commander Racer, this is Lieutenant Schaffer. She’s our transporter chief.”

Apollo held out his hand. Surprisingly, the gloom he felt aboard the Monitor was somehow left behind, and he found a smile easily come to his face. The pleasant grin on the lieutenant’s face could have had something to do with it. “Pleased to meet you,” he said, for once actually meaning it.

They left the room and walked down the corridor. “Some of our crew is over at the Monitor. I guess the closest description I could give you of what they’re doing is ‘comparing notes’. It’s always good to talk to another crew, trade a few stories, some technical bits.” He glanced at Apollo. “I understand you’re not too bad of a helmsman.”

“I can get by in a pinch,” he said, modesty obviously showing through.

Thomas chuckled. “I’ll just bet you can.”

~ * ~

The tour went real well. The crew all seemed friendly toward him, but at this early point in time, Apollo couldn’t tell if it was genuine or just an attempt to make him feel comfortable. At any rate it was a welcome change. When it was over, Captain Thomas suggested that Apollo get a bite to eat and some rest; then he would be shown his duties the next day. Apollo headed into the lounge. Upon entering, he couldn’t help but notice that like transporter rooms, lounges looked pretty much the same as well. He looked at the nearest table, but shook his head. No, silly, there wouldn’t be a hole there. You’re getting your ships mixed up. He shook his head again, just to make sure the cobwebs were fully kicked loose. He went over to the replicator, picked out a simple bowl of soup, and headed toward a table. The officers he passed on the way smiled and either nodded their greetings or waved to him. He simply nodded back, as his hands were full, and sat down to eat his soup.

He took no more than a few bites when a voice penetrated the calm. “Oh, man! I can’t believe they’ll let anyone eat in this place! What’s this ship coming to?”

Apollo thought that somewhere in his mind, that voice sounded familiar. He turned around… his eyes widened at the sight before him and he smiled. “Skip!”

Sure enough, his Academy buddy was standing there in a red tunic of support personnel, lieutenant commander braids clearly glimmering on his sleeves. Apollo jumped up and clasped his friend by the arms. “My God, you don’t know how good it is to see you. I didn’t know you were aboard.”

“What, you think you’re the only one who can go ship-hopping? Hold on a second… Let me get something, and I’ll join you.” Apollo returned to his seat, and shortly after, Skip sat down opposite him with a huge hoagie on a plate. “You wouldn’t believe how long it took me to program the damned machines to make this just right; but boy, it’s worth it. So, you old dog, what brings you around my stomping grounds?”

Apollo was intrigued that Skip didn’t know. “Oh, I’m doing my captain a favor. I’m going to be Captain Thomas’ first officer.”

Skip looked incredulous. He looked at Apollo, then out a viewport, then back to him. “What the… you mean… get outta town!” His face split in a grin. “We’re actually going to serve on the same ship? Unbelievable.”

“Yeah, well, I found it hard to believe that I got these so quickly.” He lifted his arm, indicating his commander’s stripes. “I thought that it would take a lot longer.”

“If the stories I’ve heard are true, then you deserve to wear them.”

“Yeah, yeah… I’ve heard that before. So, how is Karen? Is she here, too, or did you two get separated in reassignment?”

Skip dropped his smile. Apollo started to worry. “Yeah, she got reassigned. She’s back on Earth, doing Admin work.” Apollo looked disappointed, but Skip’s frown became a wide smile. “At least until the baby is born.”

Apollo was astonished. “My God! Congratulations! I never knew you had it in you.” He laughed, he was so overjoyed.

When they settled down, Skip asked, “And how’s Sam? Have you heard from her?”

This time it was Apollo’s turn to frown, and Skip felt that it was no joke. “I… I haven’t heard from her since she was on the Lexington. I hope she’s doing okay. I tried to keep in touch with her, but…” He couldn’t finish the sentence.

Skip waved him off. “Ah, man, I’m sorry. Don’t worry about it. Last I heard, the Lexington‘s fine. No word from Sam, but I’m sure she’s doing great. Karen speaks to her more than I do. Next time I get in touch with her, I’ll ask if she’s heard anything.”

Apollo shrugged. “I’m just concerned, Skip. One day, I just stopped getting replies. I kept sending messages, but they were unanswered.” He sighed.

“Hey, don’t get down on yourself. If it were any two people I thought were made for each other, it was you and Sam. If she’s not responding, there has to be a good reason.”

“Yeah, well… she’s got her life, I’ve got mine.” Skip didn’t like the way that sounded. Before he could say anythign about it, though, Apollo decided to change the subject. “So what do you do on this tub, anyway?”

Skip pointed at him, glaring mockingly. “Hey, now. Don’t you call my ship a tub. It’s not nice.”

“Your ship?” Then it hit him. “Ahhhhhh, I see…. Chief engineer, are you?” Skip smiled in confirmation. “Well, I’ll be damned.”

“For calling my scow a tub, you should be.” They had another laugh. The conversation continued long after the lounge had cleared. Finally, Skip stood up. “Well, I have to get some rest. I start my shift bright and early tomorrow… that is, if you can tell what ‘bright and early’ is on a starship. Did you get your quarters, yet?”

“Yeah, I found that out shortly after I arrived. Now that you mention it, I ought to call it a night as well. The captain’s going to show me the ropes tomorrow.” Apollo stood up as well.

They looked at each other for a moment. Skip spoke first. “It’s going to be real good working with you, pal. I mean that. I told you, I always hoped that I’d get to serve with you. I think you’ll make a damn fine first officer. At least until you sit in your own captain’s chair.”

Apollo let that sink in. “Thanks, Skip. That means a lot to me, more than you know.” They shook hands. “See you tomorrow.”

As his friend turned to walk out, Skip noticed something about what Apollo just said. There’s something you’re not telling me, buddy, Skip thought, concerned. I know I can’t make you say anything, but I sure hope you tell me, or anybody, before what you’re holding inside hurts you. After that pensive thought, Skip’s smile returned, along with the good feeling he had about Apollo being on this ship.

~ * ~

Skip didn’t have to wait long for that talk.

He was in Engineering one day, just about to go off shift when the first officer entered. Skip finished the conversation he was having with his relief, then he walked over to his friend. “Hey, did you kill the captain and take over yet?”

“Bite your tongue,” Apollo said with a smile. “I couldn’t do it if I was ordered to.”

“I know what you mean. So, what brings you down here?”

Apollo got a little uncomfortable. “Well, I figured that I needed someone to talk to, someone I’ve known for a while.”

Skip smirked. “Hell, I guess that narrows your list down somewhat. My shift just ended, too. Let me finish up and I’ll join you.”

The shuttle bay was a perfect place to go. It was quiet and deserted when it wasn’t in use. A shuttle was always kept in the bay, ready for launch whenever it was needed. It was on the engine pod of this shuttle that the two men were seated. As Skip listened intently, Apollo caught him up with everything he’d been through, including some things that had been left out of the rumor mill.

Skip could only shake his head in response. “Sheesh… you’d think these people had never encountered anything as strange as you.” His joke went flat when Apollo glared at him. “Sorry. But seriously, how can you be in Starfleet and not see something out of the ordinary on a regular basis?” He ignored the irony of that statement. “I mean, look at you… in a glance, you look normal. So what if you’re older, stronger and faster than average? And… and that thing you’d do with your mind. Seeing the future and all… I mean, that’s a little creepy, but I can live with it.”

Apollo nodded and fidgeted a little. “There…” he paused, making a decision. “There is one benefit from my isolation. The main thing I can do is sense imminent danger around me. Gives me a better reaction time, cuz I know what to expect. If I concentrate… or rather, meditate… I can get it to work for people I care about, too.”

Skip looked thoughtful. “So how does that explain the first time it showed its head?”

“I was untrained. It was like a muscle I hadn’t used before. I could See any danger that was about to happen to anyone in my immediate area. Now that I’ve honed it, I can See any potential threat to me. If I open my mind a little more, I can expand the range. I’d rather keep it pretty tight, though. Less headaches that way.”

“You said it was the main thing,” Skip said, pickign up the cue. “You can do other stuff?”

“Well…” Apollo fidgeted some more. “Yeah. If I completely let down my guard, or mental shields, I can See the thoughts of people… I can’t actually read their minds, but I can pick up what they’re thinking on the surface. It’s like…” He thought of a suitable analogy. “It’s like seeing a book on a table from across the room. I can see that page has words, but I can’t read the words from across the room. But, if the text is large enough, I can. Surface thoughts are pretty much words in large text. I can’t help but see them if I’m unguarded.”

“Ahhhhhh… got it.”

“Of course, this leaves me completely open to attack from one way or another. For instance, in that condition, Vulcans would be able to meld with me without approaching me, even though we know that they’re really touch-telepaths.” Apollo’s look grew impish. “And… I can do this…”

:I can project my thoughts to someone in the same room as me.: Skip heard Apollo’s voice, it echoed inside his head, but his lips didn’t move. He fell off the engine pod in shock when he realized what just happened. “You… you… your voice!” Skip sputtered as he got up off the floor and sat back down, but he was so shaken by what he experienced that he had to feel for the pylon before he sat, or he’d end up on the floor again. “I… I just heard you in my head, I mean I heard you, but you didn’t speak! I mean… my God. What the hell did you just do!?”

“Didn’t you hear what I thought to you? I can project my thoughts to someone I want to hear them, as long as they are in the same room as I am.”

“As long as they’re in the same room. So does this mean that if you’re outside it doesn’t work?”

Skip ducked to avoid getting knocked off the engine again. “Silly,” Apollo said. “You know what I mean.” He abruptly grew serious. “I’m kind of scared by this. I really don’t know everything I’m capable of. And what I do know…” He shivered. “It’s a big responsibility… to make sure I use it for the right reasons, if I use it at all.”

Skip smiled warmly. “You know something?” He clapped Apollo’s shoulder. “I don’t really think you have anything to worry about. The fact that you’re asking yourself that question means that you’re willing to consider the consequences of your actions. Nothing more responsible than that.” He stood up. “Now come on. Let’s get out of here. I’m hungry.” He looked around the shuttle bay. “Can you believe that the only things between us and open space are those two big doors? Sometimes it just gives me the creeps.”

Apollo smiled. “So… I guess you’re really worried about that open space between those two ears of yours.”

“Why, you…” Skip grabbed his friend in a headlock. “Try and think your way out of this, buddy boy…”

~ * ~

Captain’s Log, Stardate 4813.4:

The Excalibur has been investigating a sector of space near the energy barrier at the edge of the galaxy. There have been reports that ships have been disappearing in this sector… I intend to find out the truth behind these reports. I just hope we don’t become a statistic ourselves.

Thomas thumbed off his log recorder. Apollo stood behind and to the right of his chair. “What do you make of it?” Thomas asked of his first officer.

Apollo studied the screen for a while. “Well, sir, it’s certainly mysterious enough. I can understand ships wanting to explore it and getting lost.”

Thomas swiveled to face his science officer. “Crane, are you getting any readings?”

Crane looked up from his viewer. His looks certainly matched his name. He was a wisp of a man, but Apollo had seen him in action, and if anyone personified the term will o’ the wisp, it was this man. He had a passion that was unquenchable. “I keep getting readings, as if there’s something out there, but then it disappears on me. I really can’t get much from here.”

Thomas nodded slowly. He looked to Apollo, who met his gaze. All at once he made a decision. “Helm, change course,” he said with finality. “We’re going in.”

~ * ~

It was the fifth day. On the third, they had lost contact with normal space; now they were just as lost as the ships they were still searching for.

Apollo couldn’t help but notice that the crew started becoming edgy. Tempers were short… what would have been simple disagreement turned into knock down, drag out fights. He had to break up more than one. Even Skip got more frustrated than usual. When it became a week, Apollo avoided Skip all together… he had become too testy. He also found that he had to close down his senses more. They alerted him more and more to danger, to the point where it seemed like he had a constant buzzing in his ears. Even he wasn’t immune. More than once, he caught himself snapping unnecessarily at a crewmember, or he would punch a bulkhead for some trivial reason. The amount of times he lost his temper could be counted by the number of holes left in the wall in various places on the ship.

On the second week, their helmsman went berserk. “I can’t stand this!” He suddenly yelled. “We’ve been here a week. Why don’t we leave?” He whirled around to face the captain. “Why don’t you get us out of here?” He started to advance on Thomas.

Thomas was about to punch the intercom to call Security, but Apollo was a step ahead of him, literally, moving between Thomas and the helmsman. The man lunged, and Apollo’s hand snaked out, grasping the juncture of the neck and shoulder. Sarek had taught him how to do a nerve pinch while he was on Vulcan, despite his warning to the human that he’d never possess the strength needed to accomplish the move. That changed since the Academy. The man dropped like a sack of grain.

Thomas made a call anyway… to Sickbay instead of Security. “Doctor, I have a man up here who just went mad.”

“I’ll send someone up to take care of him,” came the reply, which, like most of them, sounded ragged and grouchy.

Apollo turned to Thomas. “That’s the fifth case I’ve seen in two days. Sir, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say this barrier is driving people insane.”

Thomas nodded. “I’d have to agree with you. Seems you have a chance to prove your skills to me… please take the helm, Mr. Racer.”

Apollo instantly took the chair recently unoccupied. He looked for a reference point, no matter how insignificant, but he couldn’t find any. If ordered to turn about 180 degrees, he’d be able to do it, using the instruments as guidance, but the sensors wouldn’t display him any different information otherwise. “I’m sorry, sir. I’m afraid I can’t do much more than what’s already been done.”

Thomas sighed. “That’s all right, Commander, just so long as I have someone sitting there. Steady as she goes.”

~ * ~

At the end of his shift, Apollo was walking down the corridor. It was hard for him to focus; in addition to the way this space was affecting him, his senses were buzzing uncontrollably now. It was hard to tell whether or not he was in danger. In fact, Apollo had been starting to get a little paranoid in the past day or so; he was looking around corners before turning them. Every little sound made him suspicious, and it got to the point where he could hardly sleep.

It was just outside of his quarters where he was attacked. Three men jumped him from different directions. “It’s his fault! He’s the one who brought us here! He wants to kill the captain and take over the ship!” Apollo tried to resist, but they had gotten to him too quickly. Before he knew it, he was on the ground, being pummeled senseless.

One of them had torn a piece of railing from somewhere and was using it to bash him. When one of the commander’s arms was damaged, the man pointed in shock. “He’s… he’s not even human!” They redoubled their efforts, and Apollo tumbled into blackness.

He was found by a medical crew two hours later, broken, bleeding and unconscious. The doctor already had too much on his mind… his sickbay was full, both with actual patients and with people he treated who had nothing wrong with them. At least, not until he finished with them. The physician put Apollo in a stasis chamber, muttering that he’d get back to him when he had the chance.

He never got that chance.



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