Origins, Chapter 24




Author: Apollo Racer
Title: Origins
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

Chapter Twenty-Four

After three days, the Enterprise had reached Starbase 26; the Valiant arrived two days later. Thelem was going to tell M\’Ress to contact the captain, but her board was torn apart… she still hadn\’t been able to get Communications up yet. He decided to tell Apollo himself, and entered the turbolift. \”Computer,\” he stated, \”what is the location of Captain Racer?\”

\”Destination please,\” the computer politely responded.

\”I said, where is Captain Racer?\”

\”The shuttle bay is located on Deck 16,\” said the computer.

Thelem took a deep breath. \”I know where the shuttle bay is. Tell me where Captain Racer is.\” Being an Andorian, Thelem ran a little short in the supply of patience.

The computer paused. \”Destination, please,\” it cheerfully queried.

\”How in the five hells can I tell you my destination if you don\’t tell me where CAPTAIN RACER is!!!!?\” Thelem stood there, clearly angry, taking one heaving breath after another. Bad enough the other lift was out of commission and was shut down… they\’d be forced to resort to Jeffries tubes if this one malfunctioned, too.

The computer whirred, chirruped and blipped for a full minute, though it seemed to Thelem to take hours. \”Captain Racer is in Engineering.\”

Thelem took one last breath, slowly letting it out through his teeth, calming himself forcefully. \”Thank you. Engineering then, please.\” The turbolift promptly sped down. He leaned against the wall and remained in that position until he felt the lift stop. When the doors opened, he was surprised to find himself on the right level. He strode out of the lift at a brisk pace. When he reached Engineering, the doors opened, but only a few inches. This cut through the last of his patience. Bracing himself, he gripped both doors and forced them open with a feral growl.

McCormick was standing on the other side, staring at him. \”Do ye have a problem, Commander?\”

Thelem\’s face flushed a deep blue. \”Could you please direct me to the captain?\” he said with a forced politeness.

\”Sure I ken, laddie. He\’s right over there. Why didn\’t ye just use the comm system?\”

Thelem growled at the chief engineer and stormed over to where he had been directed. A pair of legs were sticking out from a Jefferies tube near the intermix chamber, and a uniform jacket was hanging on the chair. He checked the rank on the shoulder to insure that he was bothering the right person. \”Captain?\” he asked tentatively.

Sounds from inside the accessway had stopped, and Apollo slid out. \”Oh. Hello, Commander. What can I do for you?\”

Thelem stood there as he realized that with the ordeal he had in getting here, he had forgotten what he had come down here for. Searching his memory, he remembered. \”Captain, I came down here to inform you that we\’re arriving at Starbase 26.\”

Apollo looked a little bewildered. \”Why didn\’t you just use the comm system?\”

Thelem fought back another shade of blue attempting to color his face. He failed. \”The… ah… comm system is down, Captain. M\’Ress is in the middle of working on it.\”

\”Oh, I see.\” Apollo jumped up and brushed himself off, though there was nothing there to brush off. \”In that case, let\’s go.\” He saw McCormick at the other end of the room. \”Hey, Mac, do you have everything under control?\”

The Scotsman turned and gave Apollo a cheerful smile. \”Aye, sir. There isn\’t anything I canna handle from here. Thank ye for your help.\”

\”My pleasure, Mac. We\’ve reached Starbase 26, so you\’ll be getting some more help. If you\’d like, I\’ll leave word with them that they don\’t do anything without your approval.\”

\”I\’d appreciate that, sir,\” Mac jovially said. Apollo grabbed his jacket and started putting it on as he left Engineering with Thelem.

\”Uh, Captain, I suggest we take an alternate route to the bridge.\”

\”Why? Something wrong with the lift?\” Before Thelem could answer, they stepped into the lift and Apollo commanded, \”Bridge.\” The lift took off, much to Thelem\’s amazement. His disbelief was furthered when the lift deposited them onto the bridge, as ordered. Apollo turned to his first officer and shrugged. \”Seems fine to me,\” he said, walking out onto the Bridge.

Thelem stayed in the lift for one second more, then left before the doors could close on him. He headed over to his station, breathing through his teeth. As he looked around the Bridge to see if anyone noticed his condition, he saw Sam staring at him with a look that clearly said, \”Problem, sir?\” They both said nothing, however, leaving Apollo some silence.

\”M\’Ress, what is the status of our comm system?\” the captain inquired.

She jerked back with a hiss as a shower of sparks cascaded over her board. Defeated, she slumped in her chair. \”I\’m sorry, sir. I\’m afraid that communications are beyond my skills to repair.\”

Apollo could tell that she felt completely frustrated; her tail was whipping back and forth excitedly. He gave her a warm smile and laid a hand on her shoulder. \”It\’s okay, M\’Ress. You did your best. Actually, with the pounding we took, I\’m surprised that anything works around here. Good job, Commander. Whatever you couldn\’t do I\’m sure the boys on the starbase can take care of.\” That seemed to calm her spirits a bit and she nodded at him in acknowledgement.

Apollo, meanwhile, turned his attention to the screen. \”I guess the only way they\’re going to find out we\’re here is if we dock or either the Enterprise or the Bozeman managed to get a message to them.\”

\”If the ships couldn\’t send anything, I doubt they would be prepared for us,\” Thelem said. Apollo nodded once in agreement.

The vessels were on final approach when they noticed Work Bees and cargo shuttles scrambling to meet them. Shuttle tugs came up to the ships to tow them into position. Apollo looked at his first officer. \”Well, it looks as though someone got a message through. That must be the base\’s entire maintenance complement out there. I wouldn\’t be surprised if they called other bases and ships for help. We really are a motley crew coming in. Mr. Arex,\” he paused, \”as soon as one of those tugs lock onto us, shut down engines. They\’re designed to reel us in, so we\’ll let them do their job.\”

\”Aye, aye, sir.\” Arex barely got his answer out when they felt a slight shudder. \”A tug has just locked on now. Shutting down engines.\”

\”Good. Prepare to shut down all non-essential power. We don\’t need to be here when we dock. Let\’s go tell everyone to prepare to disembark.\” Apollo headed for the turbolift. Thelem, Sam, and M\’Ress followed him in.

As they ran into crewmen while heading down to the transporter room, they had them relay the news of their arrival to everyone they saw. From there, they beamed into a reception area at the starbase. A commodore was waiting for them. Once they completely materialized, he came forward. \”Captain, welcome back. Commodore Brinkley. We heard what happened. Frankly, I didn\’t expect you to be as worse for wear as you are. Of course, with you and Kirk out there, I should have known that everyone would come back.\”

Suddenly, Apollo\’s face transformed. Sam couldn\’t believe that a man could go from relief to rage in a split second, but Apollo managed. Before the commodore could react, the starship captain was in his face. \”On the contrary, everyone did not come back. Just because we\’re out there doesn\’t mean that everything will be all right. A lot of good people died out there, people that I had to watch die. Now, I don\’t know the path you took to land this job at this base, but I will never get used to what I saw out there. Right now, I\’m thankful that anyone even came back to tell the tale. So now if you\’ll excuse me, I have to write reports of the incident and letters to next-of-kin.\” He stormed away from Brinkley. After taking three steps, he stopped, turned around, and snapped, \”Sir.\” He continued out of the room.

When Brinkley turned to the people that arrived with Apollo, he was completely stunned, both with the concept of the captain\’s speech as well as his blatant insubordination. If he expected to get any sympathy with Apollo\’s crew, he found none. Instead, they provided complete support for their captain, and with looks of sympathy, they silently followed their captain out of the room.

~ * ~

She found her fiancé in a general office, reserved for visiting officers like himself, doing exactly what he said he had to do… entering his report on a computer terminal on the desk. She didn\’t disturb him, and he gave no sign that he knew she was there.

He stopped tapping commands in and sat there, presumably proofreading his report. Giving a grim nod of satisfaction, he entered the commands that would send it to Starfleet Command, while at the same time copying it for his personal records. With that done, he rested his head on the desk. Sam came over and sat next to him, silently rubbing his back.

\”I have to apologize to the commodore,\” Apollo said in a tired manner. \”He had no idea what we went through out there, and I was out of line. Frankly, I\’m surprised he hasn\’t busted my chops yet.\”

\”I saw Admiral Kirk going to talk to him before I came here. I don\’t think you need to worry about the commodore.\” He nodded with his head still nestled in his arm and focused on the attention Sam was giving his back. He could feel tensions melting away.

When he felt he indulged himself enough, he reached under the desk and pulled up a briefcase, something she didn\’t recall him bringing here. He opened it up and pulled out a few sheets of old-fashioned paper and a pen. Replacing the briefcase under the desk, he began writing.

She couldn\’t keep her curiosity quiet with this. \”What are you doing now?\”

He continued writing until he hit a snag in his thoughts, then looked up. \”When someone under my command has died, and I can\’t tell them in person, I send them a letter.\”

\”Couldn\’t you just send them a message through normal channels? I mean, this is so time-consuming, and it\’s more energy expensive to send it this way.\”

Apollo put down his pen and sat back, arms crossed. \”That\’s too impersonal to me; there\’s no feeling in it. And which do you think is more time-consuming, writing about a person\’s death, or the actual act of that death itself? That person has ceased to exist. Nothing is more consuming than that. I think it\’s worth it for their loved ones to know that I actually cared about that person. I only wish I could do more, but that\’s impractical… I\’ve simply lost too many people in my career.\”

Sam started to understand his position. \”So… you\’re going to write to the families of each person that died.\”

\”No, just the ones under my command. As cold as it sounds, it\’s up to the other ship commanders to deal with their own. But, yes, for everyone assigned to the Valiant who died, I will send a letter to their families, in this fashion. I\’d invite you to stay, but as you said, it is a tedious process. I may be here a while.\”

Sam thought about what he said, fully comprehending his feelings in the matter. \”I\’m not going anywhere,\” she said, making her decision. He smiled with gratitude, and as he continued writing, she leaned her head against his shoulder, watching him as he put his personal condolences down on paper.

~ * ~

\”When we signed up to serve Starfleet, it was with the knowledge that at one point in our career, we may be required to sacrifice all that we hold dear for the sake of the Federation. Our fellow friends and officers made the ultimate sacrifice during this incident with the Firestone, and they will not be forgotten for their bravery in the line of duty.

\”However, it is important that we continue to live so that their sacrifices weren\’t made in vain. It is in light of this that I am honored to perform this ceremony today. It is a function that a starship captain is rarely called upon to perform. Rarer still is this particular ceremony, which is why I have been called upon.\” Commodore Brinkley looked out at the assemblage gathered in front of him, relieved to have the troubles of the past week behind them.

\”Normally, the role of a starship captain doesn\’t allow for much in the way of a serious relationship. It may be said by some that a captain is married to his ship. He is responsible for the lives and well-being of hundreds of people, so one might say that it would be entirely selfish for him to devote his attention to one single person. And yet, we must remember that a starship captain is a person just like the rest of his crew. He, too, has desires that must be met, feelings and thoughts that must be shared.

\”We have two people here who have overcome many obstacles to get to this point in their lives. They\’ve been separated by great distances, challenged by ordeals… individually and together… and managed to rise above it all. Through it all, their love has flourished… proving that a captain can have room in his heart, and his life, for more than his ship. It is for this reason that we have the honor and privilege to celebrate the joining of Apollo Racer, and his bride, Samantha Taylor.\”

They had to use the main work bay for the ceremony. It was feasible because all the maintenance crews were working around the clock to repair the ships docked there; it was also feasible for the fact that so many people showed up. As a matter of convenience, the crews of the damaged ships and off-duty starbase personnel were among the attendants. The crew of the Valiant and the senior officers of the Enterprise were in front. It was easy to tell where Kirk\’s group was… McCoy was there, apparently the only one tugging at the collar of his dress uniform.

\”Bones, stop fidgeting,\” Kirk mumbled from the corner of his mouth.

\”Can\’t help it, Jim. For some reason they always make these things too damn uncomfortable.\”

\”Perhaps the irritation is merely psychological,\” Spock said from McCoy\’s other side. The doctor growled under his breath in response.

\”Can ye not go anywhere without arguin\’ with each other?\” Scotty asked from behind them.

\”You know the doctor, Meester Scott. He is not happy unless he has someting to argue about,\” Chekov replied.

\”People, do you mind? We\’re at a wedding,\” Kirk said, shutting them all up.

They all became immediately silent. Spock raised his eyebrow, as if to say \”I didn\’t do anything wrong.\”

Kirk shook his head. \”I can\’t take you anywhere anymore.\”

Uhura never heard them; she was busy admiring Sam\’s dress. \”She looks so beautiful.\” The dress was a traditional wedding dress, floor length, with puffed shoulders, a lace front, and long sleeves ending in half-gloves. It had no back, but with the veil in place, no one could see that.

Apollo and Sam had discussed what she would wear. He already agreed on his dress uniform, even though he was surprised that what he normally wore could be even more elaborate. He suggested that Sam wear her dress uniform, too. But she had already made her mind up, saying she\’d like to wear a traditional dress. After dragging Karen into the argument, Apollo, outnumbered, caved in.

The entire exchange between the Enterprise officers went unnoticed by the rest of the spectators. They were too enraptured by the scene taking place before them. The ceremony finally concluded, and with the stars in the background, held off by an environmental force field, Apollo and Sam kissed. On cue, two-man fighters assigned to the base sped by the open bay releasing photon torpedoes that exploded into fireworks. The bay was filled with cheers and laughter.

Apollo and Sam turned and faced the crowd, smiling broadly. As they started to walk down the \”aisle\”, Apollo spotted Chekov making his way to the rear of the bay. Commander Sulu was there beside a strange contraption that looked suspiciously like a cannon.

Chekov reached his friend. \”Hurry, Hikaru. Ve vill only get one shot at this.\”

\”Hang on,\” Sulu replied. He had an impish grin on his face. When the couple reached the halfway point on their walk, he touched a control on the gun. \”Fire one.\”

The gun reported, sending a mini-torpedo into the air above the crowd. The crowd gasped collectively as the projectile rose up to the high ceiling and exploded. Apollo looked up as tiny white debris pelted them all from above. \”Ack!\” was all he could get out. Sulu, in the meantime, shot three more torpedoes into the air to explode in succession.

\”What the hell!?\” Sam screamed.

Apollo held out a hand and caught some of the white rain. After giving it a cursory examination, he started laughing hard. \”Rice! He actually shot us with rice! The scoundrel.\”

Sulu walked up to Apollo. \”Congratulations, Captain. Normally, we don\’t throw rice at weddings anymore, but I figured that with you, we could make an exception.\”

Apollo held his arms up, smiling broadly, and gestured to the rice that was still falling. \”You call this throwing rice? Good Lord!\” The grain fell in such quantities that it already rose over the tops of their feet.

Sulu chuckled nervously, placing his hand behind his head. \”I guess we did go a bit overboard. We didn\’t realize how much it would take… better to overdo it than underdo it.\”

He reached out and shook Sulu\’s hand, clapping him on the shoulder at the same time. \”Well done, man.\” He turned to his new bride. \”C\’mon… let\’s get out of here before we\’re buried alive.\”



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