Origins, Chapter 23

 

 

 

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 Twenty-Three

Light penetrated the darkness. It started with a dim blue glow. Then other colors gradually introduced themselves, producing a blurred image. Borders became more pronounced, shapes could be recognized, and finally Apollo\’s vision focused, allowing him to see Sam leaning over him in Sickbay. She was smiling, tears dripping down her face, and she gripped his hand gently. \”How are you feeling?\” she asked quietly.

He tried to speak, failed, then coughed to clear his throat. \”Like someone hit me with a photon torpedo,\” he croaked. He tried to look around, but the slightest head movement caused pain to explode colorfully in his sight. \”I am assuming I\’m not dead. If so, where am I?\”

McCoy moved into view. \”Well, if I had a day of shore leave for every time you should have been dead, by all rights, I could retire right now. As for where you are, you\’re on the Enterprise, in Sickbay. That was quite a stunt you pulled.\”

\”Yes, it was. I\’m curious as to how you managed it.\” Kirk\’s voice came from somewhere in the room, but since Apollo didn\’t want another fireworks display in his head, he didn\’t check on the Admiral\’s exact location.

McCoy looked up and to his side in an expression of annoyance. \”Why don\’t you just ask him if he\’s seen a bright light at the end of a dark tunnel? For cryin\’ out loud, Jim, could you can the questioning for now? The man has just seen the inside of a matter-antimatter explosion. He\’s not going to be in the best of health, I don\’t care what he can do. Now if you can\’t lend support, then get out of my Sickbay!\”

Kirk said nothing, but Apollo heard the Sickbay doors open and close. \”Sorry about that, Captain,\” McCoy said, \”he can be a bit impatient sometimes. I think once in a while his admiralty goes to his head, and he thinks he can get answers whenever he wants them.\” He paused, musing that over. \”Now that I think of it, he was always like that. Personally, I thought it was a mistake for him to accept promotion. But hey, I\’m just an old country doctor. What do I know?\”

The corners of Apollo\’s mouth turned up. \”Enough to bring me back from the other side. Thank you, Doctor.\” His voice was improving, but it still had a raspy edge to it.

His comment brought a smile to McCoy. \”Well, I had help, but I\’m glad I can do something right,\” he said with sarcasm. He looked at Sam and put a hand on her shoulder. \”He still needs to rest, so if you could limit yourself to just a few minutes.\”

She nodded. \”I will. Thanks.\” McCoy left Apollo\’s field of vision, and Sam smiled at him again. \”I hope you didn\’t do that to try and get out of marrying me.\” She started to cry. \”Don\’t ever pull a stunt like that again, you bastard.\”

He moaned. \”Listen to this,\” he croaked hoarsely, \”I\’m a bloody mess, and you\’re bitching me out.\”

Laughter warred with tears and eventually won out, coming from her as almost a cough. She remained silent for a moment, gently holding his hand. \”Nice work out there. Kinda selfish to think you could sacrifice yourself like that, but I\’m glad that part of your plan didn\’t work out.\”

\”So am I. But truthfully, I didn\’t expect to leave the picture back there.\” Her smile left her in confusion. \”I\’ll elaborate later. Let\’s just say that I knew what I was doing. Now, like McCoy said, I need some rest. Talk to you later, love?\”

\”Count on it.\” She gently kissed him on the forehead and left Apollo to sleep.

~ * ~

Three days later, with the Valiant completing her field repairs, Apollo was given a clean bill of health by a begrudged Dr. McCoy. He wasn\’t too trustful of Apollo\’s advanced recuperative powers, but he couldn\’t deny they worked. However, he took satisfaction in restricting Apollo\’s activities, stating that powers or no, the captain still needed to completely heal. Apollo was about to head to the transporter room to return to the Valiant when Kirk approached.

\”Well, I see you\’re doing better,\” he said.

It was a sad attempt to cover his true reason for catching Apollo, and the captain saw right through it. \”Yes, I am. Thank you, sir.\” Getting the politeness aside, he cut to the chase. \”I take it you want those answers now.\”

He pointed at the captain. \”You have an all too uncanny way of wrapping things up. Part of me wishes there were more out there like you.\”

He knew all too well what the admiral wasn\’t saying. \”But another part of you is scared at what I can do. And how it seems that each time we meet, I can do more.\”

Kirk couldn\’t trust himself to speak… Apollo had hit the nail too squarely on the head. He gestured with his head and they began walking down the corridor. \”I respected Bones\’ orders not to question you while you were laid up. Now that you\’re on your feet again, I deserve a report. How was it you were able to survive the disintegration of three starships in a matter/antimatter explosion?\” Kirk seemed a little nervous.

Apollo sensed that Kirk wasn\’t all that anxious to find out. \”I almost didn\’t, sir.\” He studied the admiral for a moment. \”You really are having a hard time with this, aren\’t you, Admiral.\”

\”You\’re damned right, I\’m having a hard time with it.\” He thought about it a moment. \”I\’ll admit I\’m curious. I wouldn\’t have bothered you… hell, I wouldn\’t even bring it up. But the brass is breathing down my neck to know what happened…\”

\”Forgive my interruption, sir, but I thought you were part of \’the brass.\’\”

\”I still have someone to answer to back at Starfleet Command. They want to know, and when they want to find something out, they expect answers yesterday.\”

Apollo studied Kirk for a moment in silence. \”It\’ll be in my report.\”

Kirk stopped him again. \”Dammit, Apollo, I need to know.\”

\”As my superior officer, or as a friend?\” The question hit lower than Apollo had expected it to. He could swear he saw Kirk almost wince at that remark.

Sam came from the other end of the corridor. \”Captain, are you ready to…?\” She immediately saw the tension between the two men. \”What\’s going on?\”

Kirk looked at them both. \”Your captain was about to explain to me about how he managed to live through that catastrophe. Weren\’t you, Captain.\”

\”He has told you yet?\” She crossed her arms. \”Good, because I wanted to know that, too, and this saves him from having to repeat it.\”

The captain looked from one person to the other, feeling penned in. Finally he sighed. \”It was all quite simple. The reason why I survived is because I wasn\’t in the explosion.\”

Kirk twitched. \”Excuse me? Would you care to elaborate on that?\” he asked. Sam\’s mouth was too busy hanging open to say anything.

Apollo paced in the small area of the hall they gave him, trying to figure out how to explain it. Then he took his fiancee by her shoulders. \”Do you remember when I told you about the time I ran to rescue Skip and Karen?\” Then he turned to Kirk. \”And when I learned about my eye beams and how I can fly?\”

Sam\’s eyebrow went up. \”You have eye beams?\”

Apollo gulped. \”Ummmm… something I\’ll have to explain… and probably demonstrate… later.\” They were still waiting for an explanation. The captain suddenly felt dizzy… he backed against the wall and slowly slid down until he was sitting on the floor. Sam was by his side when he was halfway down, not helping him but just making sure he was okay. He saw her concerned look and just nodded that he was okay. Kirk remained standing… waiting. \”I\’ve dealt with this before since I left the barrier. Just before I exhibit some ability, I get this… this… gut feeling. Some instinct telling me what I need to do at an appropriate time. When I first flew, I didn\’t think, I simply acted, but that feeling was still there. When I vaporized the rock…\”

Sam\’s eyes widened a bit. \”With… these eyebeams?\”

\”Yeah. It\’s almost like someone whispering in my ear as to what I can do.\”

The admiral smirked. \”So now you\’re hearing voices.\” Apollo gave him a tired look. \”I\’m kidding.\” He finally joined the couple on the floor, sitting on the other side of Apollo from Sam. \”Go on.\”

The captain nodded. \”Well, just before I gave the Horizon\’s computer the order to self-destruct, I received one of those instincts.\” He paused in thought for a moment. \”Actually… I suppose you could more accurately call it a revelation than an instinct. But regardless, I suddenly knew what I could do to get out of that mess intact, more or less. So… as the blast hit, I… teleported out of the scene.\”

\”What?!\” the two of them cried out in unison.

Apollo shrugged. \”I teleported. In essence, I winked out of existence during the explosion, then came back. Unfortunately, I didn\’t take into account the Hornet getting caught in the explosion. It was that ship that nearly did me in.\”

Kirk felt a piece to the puzzle click into place. \”That energy reading. When you were shot with that spiderweb gun, the doctor\’s report stated that a type of shield developed around you.\”

Apollo nodded as he saw Kirk\’s understanding. \”It was that same shield that came into place when I rematerialized. I think it\’s a type of autonomic response.\”

\”The shield must not have been strong enough if you were hurt,\” Sam guessed.

\”No, it wasn\’t. It\’s strong enough to protect me from open space, but in a starship explosion? I\’ll admit I was surprised myself when I found that I wasn\’t instantly fried. I think that was why I was in such a weakened state. The shield must have drawn from my own energy reserves to sustain itself. If I hadn\’t teleported in the first place, I really would have bought the farm. If the Enterprise hadn\’t arrived when it did to beam me out of there…\”

Kirk nodded. \”You\’ll probably wish you did go up with the Horizon.\” Sam glared at him, superior officer or no. \”I just mean that Starfleet will still demand to know. We got away with it before, Apollo, through a fluke. This time, I\’m afraid there\’s no way out of it.\”

Apollo sighed and hung his head. \”Doesn\’t leave me much room… on the one hand, they\’ll see me as having gone insane. On the other, they\’ll believe me, but they\’ll either give me over to Medical for testing or lock me up for their own safety. I just don\’t see how I can get out of this one.\”

\”You\’re being to hard on yourself, Apollo,\” Sam said. \”Starfleet may be more accepting of you than you think.\”

\”That\’s right,\” Kirk said. \”There are any number of races in the Federation that can do what you do… well… except for the eye thing.\”

\”But no human can do everything I can do. And I don\’t know of any race that can teleport. Or survive in space with their own personal forcefield. Or…\”

Sam placed two fingers over his lips. \”Apollo. Getting depressed isn\’t going to help you right now. I\’m sure we can think of something.\”

He tried to see in her eyes if she was just saying that to make him feel better, but they told him nothing of the sort. Instead they reflected all the love and support she had for him, and the determination to help him get through this. He found himself gaining strength from her gaze. She saw this and smiled at him. \”You\’re right.\” He pushed himself of the floor and, with her help, got to his feet. Kirk stood with them. \”You\’re right, Sam. Instead of trying to hide this, I should just report what happened and trust Starfleet to do what they feel is necessary.\”

Kirk grinned. \”Now that\’s the man I saw graduate from the Academy.\” He straightened his jacket. \”I need to see to the status of this ship. And you have a ship of your own to get working again.\” He started down the corridor, only getting a few steps away before he stopped and turned around. \”And Apollo…\” The captain and commander faced him again. \”Good work out there. I\’m sorry we couldn\’t save the Firestone, but good work anyway.\”

\”Thank you, sir.\” They resumed their pace to the transporter room.

~ * ~

Stepping from the platform, Apollo saw a stunned Thelem waiting for them. \”For a man who just witnessed a starship explosion from the inside out, you look remarkably healthy.\”

\”Thank you, Commander. What\’s our status.\”

\”We just barely got our warp drive back on line, sir. If we push it, we can keep up with the Enterprise as we make our way for the nearest starbase.\”

\”And that would be?\”

\”Starbase 26, sir.\”

Apollo nodded in approval. \”I\’m sure neither of us will be racing any time soon. Best speed to Starbase 26, then.\”

They returned to the bridge, and Apollo cringed. He had forgotten how it had looked, or maybe that\’s why the bridge has subdued lighting when they go to Red Alert… so they wouldn\’t be distracted by any damage suffered during combat.

In normal lighting, though, there was no mistaking it. The bridge was a mess. \”Ewwww… did we do this?\” Apollo said, making a face.

\”No, sir,\” Thelem replied. \”The Firestone did this.\”

The captain sighed. \”Just one more mess to clean up after them.\”

Sam leaned toward Apollo and said in a low tone. \”Just remember what you did to Stevens. That should be enough to overlook this.\”

Apollo looked grim. \”No, Sam. What I did to Stevens, I did because I had to. There simply wasn\’t any way we could take Stevens into custody, and I wasn\’t about to have any more lives lost. Despite my grudge, I did not enjoy what I had to do.\”

He scanned the Bridge, taking in all the damage. The weapons console was blown out, making control of them from the Bridge useless. The communications board was opened and bypassed left and right, giving testimony as to how far M\’Ress went to keep the systems active. Looking between the two stations, Apollo realized that she was cannibalizing parts from the nonfunctioning stations to make her own system work. He gave a silent nod of approval.

The room still smelled of burned insulation and charred flesh. This was another thing that escaped Apollo in battle. Any smell tends to be ignored and filed away for later. In fact, the smell of the Bridge brought Apollo back to the day he took his command test. The Bridge of the \”Endeavor\” smelled the same way. Come to think of it, it nearly looked the same way as well. \”Another no-win situation avoided,\” he muttered under his breath.

His attention was brought back to the present. \”Starfleet Command calling Apollo Racer, please come in.\”

The voice was coming not from the comm system, but from Sam. \”Huh? Did you say something?\”

She nodded. \”You were a million light-years away. What\’s on your mind?\”

He shrugged. \”Oh, just thinking of memories.\” He clapped his hands, more to completely shake the cobwebs from his brain than to draw attention. \”Okay, people. We have a lot of work to do before we get to Starbase 26. Let\’s hop to it.\”

Sam grabbed his arm and started for the turbolift. \”We don\’t have to do anything,\” she said. \”You have to go rest, or have you already forgotten what Dr. McCoy said.\”

They reached the turbolift and the doors opened. Apollo looked at her, annoyed. \”Commander, I do believe you are out of line. Dr. McCoy isn\’t assigned to my ship.\”

\”That statement is true.\” Apollo saw Sorel standing in the lift. \”However, I am assigned to this ship, and since Dr. McCoy contacted me and told me what to expect, I considered it logical that the first place you would go after beaming aboard would be the Bridge. Therefore, I am here to see if you need assistance to reach your quarters.\”

Sam spoke slyly to Sorel. \”You know, doctor, if he resists, we could always bring him to Sickbay. I\’m sure that even in his enhanced condition, he would still be susceptible to a Vulcan nerve pinch.\”

Apollo looked back and forth from Sam to Sorel. \”You know,\” he said, mimicking Sam, \”I could have both of you busted for mutiny.\”

\”That would certainly be the case, if the Chief Medical Officer could not override the captain\’s orders. If you resist, I shall be forced to make a judgment on your mental competence.\”

Apollo\’s eyes narrowed to slits. \”You wouldn\’t dare,\” he said venomously.

Sorel stood impassive, showing no sign of backing down.

Now the captain showed mock surprise. \”You would.\” After still being answered with silence, Apollo sighed heavily. \”Mr. Thelem,\” he called over his shoulder, \”you\’re still in command until after I\’ve…\” He glanced between Sam and Sorel, the former wearing a triumphant grin. Apollo decided she was enjoying this entirely too much. \”Until after I\’ve rested,\” he finished through clenched teeth, not taking his eyes off his science officer. Flanked by her and the doctor, he had no choice but to enter the lift with them.

 

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