Origins, Chapter 3

 

 

 

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 Three

Apollo hurried through the Academy’s campus, carrying a padd (although he called it an electronic clipboard, since that was what it resembled) while moving at his breakneck pace. He passed instructors and students alike; they were always slightly amazed – as well as slightly amused. In the two years since this cadet joined the Academy, they’ve always seen him reading between classes; he never once looked up, but somehow he managed to navigate his way to his next class without ever bumping into anybody. His instructors knew of his high psi rating… it was uncommon but not unheard of for humans to positively test for it. The fact, however, that they tested higher than a Vulcan’s was extremely rare. As such, it was no surprise that Starfleet Command wanted to keep them under wraps. With all the tests doctor’s ran they couldn’t tell just how much of his talent had been realized and how much had yet to surface.

His record so far was exemplary, and he was always either on time or early for his classes. However, there were certain things that alienated him from his peers. For one thing, he looked older than his classmates; even though he looked much younger than his actual age, his appearance still drew looks and rumors from people. The other item that distanced him from his group was the effort he took in studying. He had so much catch-up learning to do, despite all he had learned on Vulcan, that he was always reading. As a result, he didn’t make many friends; if there was one person he felt particularly close to, enough to call friend, it was his roommate, Skip Douglas. Skip was a wiry guy, but his build belied his strength. He had short, scruffy brown hair, a long freckled face and brown eyes; his uniform always hung from his frame as though it was a size or two too large for him. If Apollo had a problem or a question about anything, he would confide in Skip, and Skip would return the favor by talking with Apollo about anything. There was the circle of friends that Skip associated with, but Apollo really felt somewhat uncomfortable with them. If Apollo looked back at how he acted several years ago, he would have thought his attitude bizarre. But he had changed a lot on Vulcan. Some might even say that he grew up, as far as his behavior was concerned.

There naturally were people who were envious of him. Back in the 21st century, he would have been constantly harassed for “ruining the curve”; fortunately, at the Academy, one was judged by their own talents rather than how they compared to other people’s talents, at least objectively. There was talk that he was being watched from “up above”, meaning Starfleet’s brass. They always took notice of cadets who performed beyond the norm.

Apollo was reading notes about Earth’s Third World War. It started not very long after I “left”, he thought with some shock, only a couple of years later, and I would’ve been history. I wonder if Harvey was caught up in that. Without warning, he stopped on a dime in the middle of a walkway without looking up. An arm shot straight up to the side and stopped another cadet. Just as he was about to take another step, a supply cart was pushed right across their path. As soon as it passed, Apollo was on the move, leaving the bewildered classmate behind.

Suddenly, he felt this itching sensation on the back of his head. He tried to scratch it when he realized that the feeling came from inside his head. Again, Apollo stopped dead in his tracks, startling the people around him. He had experienced this sensation before, but he couldn’t tell what it was, only that the feeling became more pronounced with each time he felt it. He had recently been reading up on mental abilities, trying to pinpoint what it could be. He found one paper describing a precognitive ability in one of the test subjects. The material came to mind at that moment because it listed symtoms very similar to what he was now feeling. Apollo sat down at a nearby bench and concentrated on the sensation, blocking all other stimuli out. A vague image formed in his mind, but he couldn’t quite make it out. He thought he saw a woman, and that she was excited, perhaps panicked. There was some form of conflict, an eerie feeling of wind hitting his face.

The image stopped suddenly, breaking his concentration. Had he been as he was a couple of years ago, he would have frustrated himself to no end. However, now he simply used Vulcan techniques to file the experience away in his memory. He would go over it again, but right now, he had a class to get to. If he hurried, he could still arrive on time.

~ * ~

Later that day, Apollo finished his last class and headed for the dorms. On his way, he noticed a crowd around the corner of another dormitory. He jogged over to see what was so interesting. As he managed to edge near the front, he caught sight of Skip, so he maneuvered in that direction. “Hey,” he said, jabbing his friend in the shoulder, “what happened here?”

Skip looked at who poked him. “Oh, hi, Apollo. You missed it. One of the cadets fell off the dorm roof. It doesn’t look good.”

Suddenly, Apollo felt an extreme sense of dread; he was suddenly compelled to see this person, so he moved to the front where he could see what was happening. When he reached the scene, he saw medics bent over a prone form on the ground, working on her. One of them stood up. “We can’t do anymore here. We’ve got to get her into the infirmary.” The other medic stood up to get the anti-gravity stretcher waiting nearby. It was then that Apollo got a good look at the cadet, and he froze in shock.

It was the woman he saw in his mind. Suddenly the vision he had became clear… she was obviously panicked because she was falling. The wind he felt was the air hitting her as she fell. He snapped out of his shock enough to speak. “What happened here?”

The question wasn’t aimed at anyone in general, but one of the medics heard him and assumed he was talking to him. Due to his appearance, the medic thought he was an instructor… one of the benefits of Apollo’s situation. “Her friend said they were doing a science experiment on the roof. Gust of wind came and knocked her off. Poor girl. I hope we can save her.” That was all he could say, because they were ready to take her away.

The crowd started thinning out. Skip came over to Apollo. “Let’s go, buddy. Show’s over.”

He put his hand on Apollo’s arm to guide him away. Apollo wouldn’t budge at first; he was staring at the blood-stained spot where the cadet had been picked up. “Come on,” he said, putting a little more effort into it. “It’s over.” Apollo reluctantly started moving with Skip toward the dormitory.

Once in their room, Skip spoke up. “Hey, Apollo, lighten up. I mean, sure, that scene was horrible, but I didn’t think you’d be this affected by it. Haven’t you seen anything like that before?”

Apollo sat on his bed but stared at the floor. “That’s not the point,” he said absently.

“What do you mean, that’s not the point?” he shrugged. “Look, we’ve got the best doctors available here. I’m sure they…”

“I saw it.”

“Of course you saw it, you were standing right next to me.” Skip then leered at his friend. “Wait a minute… Is this you talking weird to me again?”

Apollo looked up; Skip saw a haunted expression on his friend’s face. “I saw it. I could have stopped it.”

Skip shook his head. “You couldn’t have seen it. You showed up just a couple minutes after I did, and I just got out of class myself. How could you have stopped it?”

Apollo didn’t say anything else. He just stared at the wall, trying to figure out for himself just what he meant by what he said.

~ * ~

Later that night, Apollo showed up at the infirmary. When asked why he was there, he said he had wanted to see the cadet they brought in just this afternoon. The medic on duty went to his terminal. “Let’s see,” he mused poring over the names on his list. “Ah, here we are. Samantha Taylor. Boy, she was a lucky woman, I tell you. It was touch and go for a while, but the docs pulled her through. But I can guarantee she won’t be up and around for a while. Do you know her?”

“In a way,” Apollo said absently.

“Well, I don’t suppose it would hurt for you to see her. She’s sleeping, so she won’t be able to talk. I suppose I can let you stay for a few minutes.” He showed Apollo what room she was in, then shook his head slowly as he watched the cadet walk down the small corridor. He had heard about Apollo just like everyone else has, so he had no idea why this guy was so interested in her.

Apollo reached her room. She was lying peacefully in the bed, the top of her head wrapped in bandages; she didn’t give any indication that she had seen Apollo, so he figured the medic was right, that she was sleeping. He walked up to her bedside; not knowing what else to do, he gently took her hand. “I’m sorry,” he said quietly. “I don’t know if you can hear me or not, but I wish that I had recognized what I had seen earlier today for what it was. I would have been able to help you. I hope you can forgive me.” He gave her hand a slight squeeze. Though she was still asleep, her hand responded and squeezed back. Apollo didn’t know whether or not to take it as a sign of forgiveness, but he could think of nothing else to say. He laid her hand back on the bed and departed as silently as he arrived.

~ * ~

Apollo and Skip were having lunch at a restaurant outside of the Academy, talking of future options. Skip put on his best parental expression. “So, my son,” he quipped. “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Apollo rolled his eyes at his friend and laughed. “‘Son’?” he scoffed, “Listen to you. I’ll have you know that I do have a few years over you, you know.”

“You don’t have to tell me about it. You think it’s easy for me to try to overlook the fact that my fellow roomie and classmate is old enough to be my many-times-great grandfather? The thing that cracks me up is that you don’t act your age.”

“Hah. If I did that, I’d be dead. I don’t think all you want is a roommate who does nothing but lie around and stink up the place.”

Skip chuckled. “I thought you already did that.” He got a roll in his face for that remark. Their laughter died down. “But seriously, what were you thinking of doing when you graduated?”

“Honestly?” Apollo said. Upon hearing the question, he immediately composed himself and thought about it. “You know, I was thinking of transferring to Starfleet Medical, become a doctor.”

Skip shook his head; it was his turn to roll his eyes. “I know where this is heading. Apollo, that was over two months ago. You told me yourself that you found out she was going to be fine. There’s nothing you could’ve done for her. Let it rest.” They sat in silence for a few minutes. “Besides,” Skip continued, “I don’t see you as a doctor.”

Apollo sat back and crossed his arms. “Oh, you don’t, do you. Well, tell me, Oh Great Bird of the Galaxy, what, pray tell, do you see me doing?”

Skip smiled. “Janitor on a cargo freighter.” He ducked as another roll went whizzing past his head.

“No, seriously.” Skip leaned forward and gazed intently at Apollo. “You look like the type of person who…” he trailed off, fully concentrating, as if he was trying to see through his friend. “Well you’re not the type who likes to take orders. I mean, you’ll follow orders; you seem to have a fierce loyalty. But… if you had the choice of whether to lead or to follow, you’d lead. You’ve just got that ‘take charge’ type of personality.”

Apollo smirked. “Wouldn’t everyone take that choice?”

Skip shook his head. “No, not really. Lots of people might claim that they were natural-born leaders, but at the first sign of trouble, they’d be running with their tails between their legs. Now me, for example… I don’t think I’d be too comfortable with command. Quite frankly, it scares me, being responsible for other people.” He paused for a moment, his expression turning serious. “But I can tell you this, Apollo… if you were the man I had to serve under, I think I’d be proud to do so.”

Apollo smiled, touched by Skip’s sentiment. Then he blurted out, “Pilot.”

“What?” Skip said.

“I said, ‘pilot’. I think I’d like to be a pilot,” he replied, looking at the sky. A shuttle chose that moment to fly overhead, enhancing Apollo’s decision.

“You’re dreaming,” Skip said. He reached for the rolls to toss one at his friend, but Apollo reached out, without looking down, and moved it out of Skip’s reach.

“No, I’m serious. I’ve been watching Nova Squadron when they take off for their practice runs. I think I could pull it off.”

Skip saw the serious look in Apollo’s eyes. “Look, no one just simply ‘pulls off’ what Nova Squadron can do in those things. You’d have to be a pretty good pilot to do what they do.”

Apollo held up a finger. “Ah, but you see, I do have the experience. Or haven’t you seen the craft that the Vulcans pulled me out of when they found me?” He knew very well that Skip did. Shortly after Apollo returned to Earth, he found out a Vulcan ship had arrived and donated his Starfighter 1 to the Federation Museum in New Chicago. Not soon after that, he had dragged Skip there to look at it. Recalling how the boy had crawled all over it, he had a good idea what field Skip was going into.

“You’re right. If you flew that antique, you can do anything.” Skip looked at Apollo’s expression, and realized that he was dead serious. “Okay, okay. I have contacts who could check on it, but don’t hold your breath.”

Apollo smiled. “Thanks a lot. I mean it.”

Suddenly Skip wasn’t looking at Apollo anymore, but past him. “Whoa, bud. Speaking of holding your breath.”

Apollo turned around to see what Skip was staring at. He saw Samantha Taylor walking along the buildings across from where they were sitting with a couple of her friends. They were clearly happy she was on her feet again and they were talking animatedly with each other. Then she spotted the two of them and, excusing herself from her friends, headed in their direction.

Skip tried to put his eyes back in his head. “Whoa. She’s coming this way. Say,” he said in realization, “isn’t that…”

Apollo nodded wordlessly, nervously, watching as she approached them. She was about medium height with a slight frame. Her delicate face was framed by short, sandy blond hair, and emphasized by blue eyes. Sam was quick with a smile and it was clear it left an impression on those who saw her.

Apollo looked at Skip, who saw the message in his friend’s face. “Just when you think you know a guy…” Skip kidded. “Okay, I’ll see you back on campus.” He stood up just as she reached their table.

“Hi. Mind if I join you?” she asked cheerfully.

Skip offered her his chair. “I’m sure my friend here won’t mind. Me, I’ve got to get going. Got a lot of studying to do. No offense, but I hope you don’t mind.”

“Oh, no, not at all,” she replied. “Nice seeing you.” She gave him a short wave.

Skip waved back, but when she turned back around, he looked at Apollo, winked, and gave him a thumbs-up sign. Apollo waved him off without making it look like he was waving him off. Then he turned to face her.

“Hi,” she said, “I’m Samantha.”

“I know,” he replied. She looked at him with a mix of puzzlement and recognition. “I mean, I heard that it was you who… who…” he stopped, realizing that he just put his foot in his mouth. “How are you doing?”

She suddenly understood what he was referring to. “The infirmary gave me a clean bill of health three days ago. I was trying to catch up on my studies, but they’re proving a bit more daunting than I expected.” She looked down, feeling a bit apprehensive. “I, uh, understand that you’re something of the brainy type around here.”

He was startled when he realized what she was asking. But rather than jump to conclusions, he figured that he’d let her finish. “Uh, yes, there’s been rumors to that effect.”

“Well, you see, my roommate is intelligent enough and all, but she has studies of her own to worry about.”

“I have my own studies as well.”

“But you don’t worry about them much, do you.”

“No.”

They both realized that such rapid-fire exchanges weren’t going to get either of them anywhere, so they fell silent for a moment. She then continued, “Would you be willing to take on a little extra work? Could you tutor me?”

Apollo knew it was what she wanted to ask, but he was still affected by the question. “Well, I don’t…”

“It would only be until I can get caught up, and believe me, I’m a fast learner. I’d even pay you… I mean, I don’t have many liberty passes, but if it means you could help me get back on track…” she blurted out, interrupting him. Sam gave him a pleading look.

He took it in stride and continued as though she didn’t speak out, “…see any problem with that. And you needn’t worry about payment, I assure you. I am at your service.”

She beamed. “Thanks. It really means a lot to me. I mean, one doesn’t get to be a top-notch science officer by falling behind.”

They both smiled at each other, then Apollo stood up. “Well, if we’re to catch you up, I suppose we’d better get started.” He gestured, and she got up and walked alongside him toward the campus. “Besides, you could probably help me catch up as well.”

She nodded. “Sure. What do you need help with?”

“History. Specifically, events ranging from the mid-21st century to the present time,” he replied. “I kind of skipped that subject, if you know what I mean.”

She smiled and nodded again, and they walked in silence. When they reached the campus grounds, she turned to him again. “Are you really part Vulcan?”

He looked at her, purposely arching an eyebrow and causing her to giggle. “Now where have you heard that one?” He smiled when she shrugged at the rumor. “No, I only studied on Vulcan before coming here. You understand, their records on Earth history is somewhat… limited compared to Starfleet records.”

“Oh, of course. I understand completely.” More silence. Apollo could tell that she wanted to tell him something else, but as before, he would simply wait until she felt that it was right to bring it up. Unlike before, however, he had no idea what she wanted to say.

~ * ~

They had been at it for hours. Four weeks ago… two weeks into their study sessions… Samantha had started to realize just what she was asking when she wanted Apollo to tutor her. She should have realized that having studied at the Vulcan Science Academy, the foremost subject that he would have no problem with is science. During those three days between the time the infirmary let her go and the time she confronted Apollo, she did a little research on how she could best catch up with her studies. A tutor was her best shot, and she’d heard that Apollo was the best choice in that area.

She managed to chat a little with Apollo’s instructors; seeing someone finally taking an interest in their isolated pupil, they were more than happy to cooperate. They told her that he had an impeccable record at the Academy, and when he was on Vulcan, he had graduated with high honors. She knew it was very rare, though she never actually heard of an instance where a Vulcan had given a non-Vulcan such a compliment as they gave Apollo; a Vulcan telling a human that they had a good grasp of science was like Zefram Cochrane telling a farm boy that he had a good grasp of warp drive principles. She knew by approaching Apollo that she couldn’t have asked for a better student to tutor her. Granted, he was a bit of a taskmaster at times, but she was willing to endure if it meant not being held back a year. Besides, something told her that he was familiar somehow, but she couldn’t place it.

He had come to her dorm room shortly after their last classes let out. Sam had to admit that despite his academic attitude, he didn’t suffer in the looks department, which made studying with him easier. And he wasn’t kidding when he told her his knowledge with Earth’s recent history was a bit sparse. She tried tutoring him like he did her, but his mind soaked up information like a sponge. It wasn’t long before he could have taught her about those years.

It slowly grew dark outside her window. She was so wrapped up in her musing that she didn’t realize Apollo was asking her a question until she saw him looking intently at her.

“Excuse me, could you repeat that?”

He raised an eyebrow. “What is the warp drive intermix ratio between matter and anti-matter?”

She was about to spit out an answer when she stopped herself. “Wait a minute, that’s a trick question. There can only be one ratio, one to one.”

“Correct.” Apollo thought a moment, then put down his padd. “Are you all right? You seemed to have stepped out for a moment.”

“Oh, I’m fine.” She almost had success with stifling a yawn, then she smiled with embarrassment. “Okay, I guess I am a little tired. Nothing against you, trust me. It’s just that I haven’t slept well lately. I’ve been trying to piece together this puzzle I have in my mind.”

“Oh? Any way I can help?”

“I don’t think so. Just something I feel I should be able to remember, but I can’t.”

He studied her for a moment. “I’ve been pushing too hard. I’m sorry. I should have seen that you were getting tired and stopped a while ago.” He got up to leave.

Recognition snapped into her senses. “Wait, wait a minute. What did you just say?”

He looked at her, puzzled. “I said I was sorry.” He picked up his padd. “It’s getting late. If you’d like, I can tutor you tomorrow after my classes. I hope you’ll forgive me if we stop here.” He turned to go.

“It’s you.” she said quietly, then more firmly, “You were the one.” Apollo stopped halfway toward the door and turned around. She had a look on her face as if a door had been opened. “In the infirmary, a medic told me that a cadet came to see me. I remember hearing someone talk to me… when I was lying there in that room. I asked the medic who it was, but he wouldn’t say. It was you who visited me, wasn’t it?”

Apollo didn’t speak for a couple of moments. Samantha was clearly waiting for an answer, though. He sighed. “Yes. Yes, I showed up at the infirmary. I simply felt that I had to see you.”

Samantha would normally be touched, but she was confused. “Why? From what I gathered, you weren’t that outgoing. Why did you visit me? And why when I was in that condition?”

“I should go,” he said, and made for the door. Samantha surprised him by grabbing his arm and using it to pull herself forward until she was blocking his way.

“Why did you visit me?” She wasn’t going to back down. “I deserve an answer!”

Apollo studied the situation. Samantha looked like she bordered between confusion and anger. He decided that he had no choice. “I went to see you… because I saw you fall. And I didn’t do anything to prevent it.”

If Samantha wasn’t confused before, she sure was now. “What do you mean, you saw me fall? There was no one around to…”

Apollo cut her off. “I saw you fall… before you fell. I just… didn’t realize it at the time.” She could clearly tell that it was costing him a great deal to reveal this. She wanted to say something, but decided against it. Seeing this decision in her eyes, Apollo elaborated. “It seems that I have this precognitive ability. I Saw you falling, in my mind…” she noted the emphasis he used on ‘saw’, “but at the time, I had no idea what the image was or what it meant. I was going to study it later, but I never got the chance. Apparently, the reasons for my visions showed themselves to me. I’m just sorry that I didn’t realize it sooner. I’m sorry.”

Samantha was too stunned to talk, too stunned to move. As such, she was unable to stop Apollo from moving around her and out the door.

 

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