Origins, Chapter 17

 

 

 

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 Seventeen

The USS Jocasta was approaching Starbase 47 when the communications officer received an urgent transmission. \”Captain,\” he said, \”there seems to be a problem on the base. A starship is leaving without authorization.\”

The captain sat up straight in his chair. So much for a quiet docking. \”Go to red alert. Contact the departing ship and have them stand down.\” The comm officer moved to comply.

The spacedock doors opened and each of the Bridge crew\’s faces registered shock. \”What in God\’s name is that?\” the helmsman whispered. A giant behemoth of a starship was exiting and bearing down on their Belknap-class vessel.

\”Shields are fully charged, Captain,\” the man at Weapons Control reported. \”Phasers charged and ready.\”

\”Stay in their path,\” the captain ordered. \”If they\’re in such a hurry to leave, they\’ll have to get past us.\”

The science officer looked up from her viewer. \”They\’re locking weapons, sir. Firing…\” Her statement was unnecessary… they could clearly see energy discharge coming from several points on the ship\’s hull.

\”All hands, brace for impact!\” the captain cried out as the shots slammed into them.

~ * ~

They found Apollo lying in the corridor, a dark blue pool of blood slowly spreading from underneath him. He was rushed to the medical bay, where they were surprised to find him still alive. Brackett worked feverishly to stabilize the wound. \”I can\’t do much more here. He was shot with one of those damned spiderweb bullets. I afraid it\’s only a matter of time.\” He lowered his head in frustration, then checked his status screen again. \”His physiology is only superficially human. I don\’t even know how his blood can be blue. He has an extraordinary healing factor which has helped with the wound itself, but…\” He stepped back, sorrow on his face that he couldn\’t help his patient.

The captain\’s eyes were very dim, the tendrils blocking a large portion of the blue light coming from his eyes. As he twitched and convulsed in pain, they placed a forcefield around him. Finally the fibers got so thick that the light in Apollo\’s eyes finally died, and he stopped convulsing. The heartbeat monitor suddenly fell quiet and all vital signs flatlined.

Brackett sighed and turned to Commodore Black. \”I\’m sorry… that\’s it. I\’m recording the time of death at…\”

\”NnngggyyyYYYAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!\”

The two men whipped around at the blood-curdling roar. Apollo\’s back was sharply arched. He strained with all his might at the restraints. Suddenly, twin cobalt beams shot from his eyes, stopping at the forcefield. Every muscle showed the man in pure agony. Apollo himself felt as if he\’d been thrown into the sun. Every cell was on fire. The fibers which had covered his eyes were blown out in the initial blast. They tried to reform, but the constant outpouring of energy kept burning them away. The monitors which had fallen silent now virtually screamed at the feedback they registered. One panel even sparked and died.

Brackett turned to the wall and manipulated the controls. The forcefield flared as it was increased to its maximum intensity and fought to keep Apollo\’s energy beams contained. At intermittent moments, his beams would break through, causing ugly black scars on the ceiling. Just as he stopped firing, the field collapsed. Brackett immediately moved to restrain Apollo by himself. Suddenly, Apollo himself flared a bright blue, and Brackett was flung across the room. He got up, rubbing his back. \”My God! The man\’s got his own forcefield around him!\”

\”What?\” Black looked at Apollo, unconvinced. He intended to walk up to Apollo, stopping just short of where Brackett was forced back. But the blue field around Apollo flared, and Black wound up where Brackett fell. He repeated Brackett\’s moves, getting up and rubbing his back. \”How in the hell is he able to do that?\”

\”I don\’t know.\” Brackett dazedly went over to the wall monitor. \”This is even more interesting. There\’s no longer any evidence of a bullet. Its material was used up when the tendrils kept trying to reach his brain. The fibers are still trying to grow… but this man\’s fighting it every step of the way! It\’s absolutely amazing… the amount of energy pouring out of him is phenomenal!\”

Unable to approach his patient, the doctor simply stood back and waited. During the next thirty minutes, Apollo\’s eyes sporadically flashed to clear the fibers that continued trying to cover them. Finally it seemed that the battle was over… the blue field dimmed to nothingness, and he settled back onto the bed.

Black stepped forward. \”Is he…\”

\”One moment.\” Brackett looked at the monitor, then approached the still form. No force field threatened to shove him backward. Once upon the body, he gave it a cursory examination. Breathing a sigh of relief, he declared, \”No. He\’s still alive. Just resting. After what he just went through, I wouldn\’t be surprised.\”

Black put a hand on his head. \”With what he just went through, I\’m amazed that he\’s still alive. I thought anyone who was shot by a spiderweb gun was as good as dead.\”

Brackett returned once again to the wall and began a more thorough exam. His eyes widened. \”Apparently… our good captain here is a little better than that.\” He turned to face Black. \”There is absolutely no trace of the bullet in his system. Even the fibers are gone, vaporized from existence.\” He continued his exam. \”Even the wound that the bullet made is all but healed.\”

Black snorted. \”Well, whatever you did, it was a good job.\”

\”That\’s just it. I didn\’t do anything. He did this without my aid.\”

\”You\’re saying Racer just up and healed himself? Just like that?\”

Brackett just nodded. \”By all rights, he should be confined to this bed for three weeks, if not placed in the morgue. But according to these readings, I wouldn\’t be surprised if he were up and around within the next couple of hours. Remarkable.\”

Black then turned his attention to the other still form in the infirmary, the one covered by a silver sheet. \”It\’s a shame we couldn\’t say the same for the admiral.\”

The doctor sighed. \”Yes, it is. My staff said he was dead upon his arrival. There was nothing we could do.\”

Black looked at Apollo. \”Maybe he could.\”

\”What, you think just because he kept himself from death that he can bring others back from it? Do you realize what you\’re saying? He\’d pretty much have to be God to do that.\”

\”We\’ll see,\” was all Black could say in response.

~ * ~

When Apollo came to, it was with the most ear-splitting headache he had ever had. Cradling his head in one hand, he slowly sat up, bracing himself on the bed with the other one. He groaned. \”Ohhhh… could someone please find somewhere else to park the shuttlecraft?\”

Something pressed against his neck, and he heard a hypospray go off. \”There… that should help the pain some.\”

The pain almost immediately faded to a very dull throb. He looked up at who just talked to him, and saw a middle-aged man smiling, almost chuckling, at him. \”What\’s so funny?\” he asked groggily.

The man shook his head. \”Nothing much… just thinking that you\’re able to destroy a foreign object in your body that would have caused certain death in any normal person, without any medical aid, yet you can\’t seem to get rid of a simple headache.\”

\”Hey, you try getting rid of something that wants to wrap your brain in a bear hug, and see how you fare.\”

The doctor shrugged. \”Not so well, I would gather.\”

Apollo nodded absently. Then he remembered someone else. \”Admiral Sheffield…\”

Brackett looked at the floor. \”I\’m sorry… he was dead before we got to him. From what I found, he was a lot luckier than you. He died before the tendrils ever had a chance to work.\” He thought about what Black had said. \”I don\’t suppose you could…\” He purposely let his sentence hang.

Apollo looked at him, piercing him with those twin blue suns. He thought for a moment, searching within himself. \”No… no, for all that I apparently can do, raising the dead is not within my power. Unfortunately.\”

Brackett laid a hand on Apollo\’s shoulder. \”I understand. Death is still an inevitable certainty.\” He sighed. \”Perhaps you should get some rest.\”

In answer, Apollo got to his feet. The headache had disappeared completely. \”No, I\’ve rested enough. I\’ve a killer to catch.\” He left the infirmary, heading for the commodore\’s office.

Black was there, going over investigation plans with the security chief when Apollo strode in. Baker\’s eyes went wide, as if seeing a ghost. Black simply gave a slight smile. Brackett\’s estimate was right on the money. \”Welcome back from the dead, Captain.\”

Apollo cocked his head. \”That statement is illogical… I was never dead.\” Before Black could complain about his blasted Vulcan training, he turned to the chief. \”What happened to Stevens?\”

The chief never missed a beat. \”He took off in the Firestone. We couldn\’t stop him. He disabled a ship, the USS Jocasta, on the way out. From the reports we\’re getting, casualties were light, but the Jocasta isn\’t going anywhere for a while.\”

\”What about other ships?\”

Black snorted. \”The Jocasta was the strongest ship here. The others weren\’t going to risk the same fate or worse.\”

Apollo nodded in acknowledgment. \”Commodore, this man cannot be allowed to get away with that much destructive power. I request permission to go after him.\”

Black looked at Apollo for a moment, then smiled. \”That\’d be kind of hard, wouldn\’t it? Since it was your ship he took?\” He shook his head. \”I\’m sorry, Captain, but I don\’t have anything for you at the moment. However…\” he added before Apollo could protest, \”I anticipated your determination and sent word to Starfleet. A ship should be here within the week.\”

\”Sir, a week is too long! Stevens could be…\”

\”A week is the best we can do! That bastard didn\’t leave anything spaceworthy enough to chase after him. He planned this good. Now we need to wait for that ship to arrive. Until that time, no matter how hard it seems, I suggest you relax. Hell, after your ordeal, I order it. Now, get out of my office. I don\’t want to see you here again until I call for you. Is that clear?\”

He could see Apollo\’s rational side warring with his emotions. However, he was pleased with the captain\’s response. \”Yes, sir,\” was all he said, whirling around in a perfect military turn and leaving the office.

Apollo was fuming. He didn\’t like not having anything to do. Then his mind played back the chief\’s report and remembered that he said a ship had been disabled. Black\’s comment suggested it was here at the starbase. Perhaps there was something there that could keep him busy. Filled with a sense of purpose, he used a terminal to locate the ship\’s position and strode off in that direction.

Sure enough, when he approached the ship\’s berth, he noticed that the loading bay was converted into a triage area. Gratefully, he saw very few people in the black area, covered by sheets. Good, he thought, not too many dead. It was always sad to see death this way, but he was relieved that he could count the number of dead on one hand.

The red area, for real serious injuries, was also uncrowded. He asked a medic, who told him that the majority of them had already been moved to the medical bay. The ones that were there were being stabilized for transport. They suggested that the captain move to the yellow area. Apollo took the man\’s suggestion.

He moved through the least severe section of the triage area… though he had little medical training, he helped those who needed it by offering them comfort. Just the fact that a captain other than their own was among them seemed to lift their spirits. He sought out the ship\’s own captain, who gave Apollo a brief report on what had happened. He was disgusted that the battle cruiser so easily swatted his ship aside and continued on its way. \”I feel so damned impotent. Why the hell would Starfleet build something like that anyway?\”

Apollo could offer no answers. He stared at the few blanket-draped corpses and felt outraged himself. If he had only stopped Stevens, or taken the time to realize that there was no way the man could have reached a command rank after what he had pulled in the past, then none of this would have happened. The other captain saw the guilt on Apollo\’s face, but was just as helpless as his copatriot. Apollo thanked the captain for the information and moved on.

While he spent his time there, he found officers from the Oberth. They were just on their way out when they received the call for aid. He met his CMO, who assured him that things were well in hand. With a pat on the back, Apollo kept moving.

He was on the edge of the triage area, overlooking the whole process, when something compelled him to look in the corner next to one of the huge observation viewports. A woman was leaning against a viewport, her left arm in a sling, gazing out into space. Something looked familiar about her, but he couldn\’t get his mind to work in the face of the incident before him. She straightened, as though she knew she was being watched, and was about to look in his direction when a hand rested on his shoulder.

\”I thought I told you to take it easy,\” Commodore Black said. He didn\’t look too happy that his order to relax wasn\’t followed, but that was soon replace by sympathy. \”Never mind… I thought you might be here. C\’mon, your ship has just arrived.\”

Apollo was puzzled. \”My ship? I thought it was going to take longer than this.\”

The commodore shrugged. \”I was wrong. Let\’s go.\” They headed away from the triage area; the idea of a ship waiting for Apollo chasing all other thoughts from his mind.

~ * ~

\”Captain Bellingham at your service.\” The bright-mannered man with an English accent shook Apollo\’s hand.

Black filled Apollo in. \”Captain, Captain Bellingham is in command of the Valiant, one of our new Enterprise-class vessels.\”

Apollo looked askance at Black. \”Enterprise-class? I don\’t understand.\”

Bellingham spoke up. \”It seemed only fitting that any new Constitution-class ship would be classified as an Enterprise-class ship. Therefore, your ship is of that class.\”

\”Mine?\”

Bellingham chuckled. \”He seems quick on the uptake, doesn\’t he, Commodore,\” he said with a wink.

\”You\’ll have to excuse Racer, Captain. He\’s been through… quite a bit, in the past couple of days.\”

\”Ah, quite. Well, captain Racer, it is with great privilege to say that I\’ll be handing the ship over to you. Granted, I\’ll hate to leave the bird… she pulled my bum out of the blaze on more than one occasion. But I\’m relieved that she\’ll be given over to capable hands.\”

Black smiled. \”The formal ceremony won\’t take place for three days. The ship needs to be… how would you say it… \’topped off.\’ She doesn\’t really need a resupply, but we\’d like to perform the change-of-command ceremony with a fully prepared ship, especially considering what your first mission will most likely entail.\” He looked a little chagrined. \”It\’s not the Firestone…\”

\”Right now, any ship will be just fine. Anything to make sure Stevens isn\’t allowed to run rampant through the galaxy. I would have even taken the Oberth back if possible.\”

\”I don\’t doubt it,\” Bellingham said. \”Well, until the ceremony, then. Gentlemen.\” The captain excused himself and walked away.

Apollo looked a little smug. \”The Valiant, eh?\”

Black mirrored Apollo\’s expression. \”She\’s a fine ship.\”

\”Then why is Bellingham giving her up?\”

Black continued smiling as they turned to head down the corridor. \”Captain Bellingham is on the last leg of his tour. In a few years, he\’s going to retire. He\’s the one who will take over the Oberth. The man wanted a relatively quiet place to end his service, without spending the rest of it behind a desk. Everyone\’s satisfied.\” He noticed Apollo\’s bewildered expression. \”Don\’t worry… you will like the Valiant. I\’ve seen her record. She\’ll make you proud.\”

Apollo corrected him. \”It won\’t be the ship that\’ll make me proud, it\’ll be her crew. The crew makes all the difference. And I intend to have the best.\”

\”I\’m sure you will, Captain… I\’m sure you will.\”

 

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