Origins, Chapter 4

 

 

 

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 Four

During his third year at the Academy, things started to turn around. Apollo found himself too busy to worry much about anything. Thanks to his Vulcan studies, Apollo was allowed to lighten his work schedule; there were classes he simply didn’t need to take, as he was overqualified for them. Starfleet felt that they shouldn’t waste his time by making him take classes either equal to or inferior than the ones he took on Vulcan. That left him open to follow up on Skip’s Nova Squadron contacts. If anything, he’d like to be able to fly again. It also gave the scientists at the Academy more time to study Apollo’s abilities, which gave Apollo no end of frustration.

Skip’s contacts proved as good as he had claimed. A member of Nova Squadron met with Apollo and discussed his options. A short interview and a test flight later, he was welcomed as a member of Starfleet Academy’s elite pilot corps. He found that getting back in the cockpit of a single-person craft was just the touch of his past that he needed to feel good again. He had considered himself a hotshot pilot long before the 23rd century; now he had a chance to prove it, and prove it he did. These small shuttles were far surperior to any plane he used to fly… this factor alone enhanced his performance. During their first practice session, he easily managed to stay with the group, even improvising on techniques for better performance. Nova Squadron had themselves a new pilot.

The other thing occupying his time was tutoring. There were several cadet instructors on campus, but Apollo felt that he could best help cadets with a more informal study session. So rather than teach classes that the Academy wanted taught, Apollo helped cadets in areas where they most needed it. More frequently than other cadets, Apollo tutored Samantha. However, their relationship never warmed to anything other than friends, and that in a loose term. It could be described more as a student-teacher relationship, although their sense of familiarity with each other made it something more, though not much more.

This wasn’t to say that they never tried going further. However, when they even found the nerve to look at each other, they’d make eye contact, but quickly look away, the courage drained from them. Apollo found that looking in another direction didn’t mean that his heart followed him. It was only when he had first arrived on Vulcan that he felt this confused about anything. Logically, one answer was to ask someone for help or advice. But Apollo was too proud and stubborn… he at least kept that much of his old attitude. Besides which, he mused, I only know two people on Earth well enough to talk to. Skip at best wouldn’t understand… at worst, he’d give me some lame brained advice that I’d be a fool to follow. Sarek is the other person, except he’s a Vulcan, and as Vulcans go, while he knows more about human emotions than most of his kind, excluding his son, he’s still pretty much in the dark about how this feeling affects other people; so I can’t talk to him. No, it looks like I’m going to have to figure this one out by myself. Apollo didn’t feel very confident about that last thought. Even back on Earth in his time, he paid more attention to his work and his equipment than fashioning some relationship. Now he felt out of place. Maybe that’s what’s holding me back. The fact that technically, I’m old enough to be one of her ancestors. He immediately shook that thought out of his head. It shouldn’t make a difference how old he is chronologically; physically, he still had the body of a man in his late twenties. Yes, Apollo was confused, indeed.

Once he had returned to his dorm room, and found that Skip was graciously absent, he decided to concentrate on the meditation disciplines he learned on Vulcan. He sat at his desk and gradually relaxed until his mind was free of emotional thought. He figured that since he couldn’t answer his dilemma right away, he may as well spend the time more usefully, like doing his studies. He always fell back on those when he needed to table his personal problems. Maybe once I get some more book-learning in me, I’ll be focused enough to try to tackle this problem again. With grim satisfaction, he selected his next subject for study on the viewer.

~ * ~

The reason Skip wasn’t in their room was because he had plans of his own. That lunkhead roomie of mine doesn’t know a good thing when he sees her. He was so sure that when he saw their eyes meet at the restaurant, they were going to hit it off right away. But something happened one night when he went to tutor her. When he returned from that session, he looked like he’d been punched in the stomach by his best friend, which couldn’t happen because he never touched Apollo; his eyes looked as if a light went out inside them. I didn’t even realize that in the space of one night a guy could even get knocked so far down the ladder, he thought. But one thing was for sure. There were a few times when Apollo helped him out, and Skip wasn’t about to let him down.

He knew Apollo wasn’t ever going to try and chase her down. Were it any other guy, the trip that Skip was now making would have been to see if she were available, and offer himself as an alternative to a lonely night. But this was Apollo, and even if he was the stiffest human on the campus, he deserved better; thus was the reason for this crusade. If Skip could accomplish anything tonight, he was going to try to get those two to sit down and talk things over.

He reached Samantha’s room, but her roommate, who introduced herself as Karen, said she wasn’t in (although Skip was more than welcome to keep her company). He politely refused, stating that he had an urgent message for Samantha; but after he delivered it, he’d see what he could do to take Karen up on her offer. Karen smiled, suggested that he check the library, and Skip was off.

There weren’t that many people in the library at that time of night, which made it easy to search. After fifteen minutes, though, he saw no sign of her. He was about to give up when he walked by a private study room; the door was ajar (they still used old-fashioned doors in the Academy), which usually meant it was unoccupied, but he heard someone working in there. Curious, he went in.

He saw Samantha staring intently at a reader screen, its glow the only light in the small room. Skip sneaked in closer to see what she was reading. Apollo’s statistics scrolled across the screen. “What are you doing?” he said in a hoarse half-whisper.

She nearly jumped out of her skin; as it was, she cleared her seat by at least three inches as she gave off a clipped shriek. “WHAT did you do that for!? You scared me half to death!”

“Small wonder. It’s not every cadet that has access to other cadet’s files,” he said accusingly.

“I happen to have friends in the Admin Department. They owed me a favor or two,” she countered. “What are you doing here?”

“Looking for you. I have a roommate who happens to be worrying himself into old age.” She glared at him. “Look,” he said, reading her look, “you can think what you want, but you’re not the only person who has other people owing favors to you. There were several times I was one step away from being drop kicked out of the Academy; Apollo was there to save my butt. I consider him my friend, and I’d like to think he considers me one. I can tell which night he tutors you, because when he comes in afterwards, he looks like his dog died. Frankly, I got tired of it, so I came searching for answers.”

Samantha looked at the intense look on Skip’s face. She didn’t necessarily hide her reservations of Apollo these last few weeks. She made up her mind, closed the file, and shut off the reader. “Come on,” she said, getting up and grabbing Skip’s arm as she headed for the door, “let’s find somewhere more appropriate to talk.”

Skip really didn’t think the Academy’s cafeteria wasn’t any more appropriate than a file room inside the library, but at least they were at an empty table; there were a couple of these in each corner, removed from the main sections, so that people such as Skip and Sam could talk somewhat privately. The place smelled of cleaning solutions, which told Skip that the sanitation crew had already been through. And at such a late hour, the only other people there were night owls anyway, getting a midnight snack while catching up on their studies.

Samantha gave Skip as much as she knew about what she and Apollo had discussed, as well as what she had found out on her own. “You’re saying that Apollo knew in advance that you were going to get injured, and he told you that since he didn’t really know the purpose of what he saw at the time, he couldn’t prevent what happened to you,” Skip said, trying to summarize what he’d been told.

“That’s right,” she replied. “That’s why I was at the library tonight. It took me this long to finagle a way to see his records.” She paused, trying to figure out how to say what she wanted to say next, and just blurted it out. “Did you know that he has an incredibly high psi factor? I’ve heard of high factors in Vulcans, but not in humans; not that high.”

“What, you’re saying he’s a Vulcan in disguise?” Skip asked sarcastically.

“No, simply that it confirmed what he told me. Maybe he really did see me fall in his head before it actually happened.”

“Okay, so he has a little precognitive ability. He obviously doesn’t control it, nor is he probably fully aware that it exists.” Skip sat back and folded his arms together. “So what has this got to do with putting him down?”

Samantha sighed, frustrated. “I did not put him down. That night, he left on his own.”

“I’ll bet you didn’t try very hard to stop him.”

“Why do you care? You never even knew me before that stupid accident, and neither did he. Why can’t you both just leave me alone?” Even as she finished saying it, she knew it was only her confusion talking.

They both realized that their voices were carrying. They sat in silence until the few people that were in the room resumed their attention on whatever it was that they were doing. Skip made an effort to lower his voice and answered her. “To tell you the truth, I don’t know. You said Apollo visited you while you were in the infirmary. Maybe while he was there, something sparked in him. Maybe he did feel responsible, maybe it was something else. But I can tell you one thing.” He paused, smirking. “You are rather attractive. And quite frankly, if I see my bud set eyes on someone, I couldn’t be happier for him. He’s worked his butt off for over two years, and who knows how long he had to endure Vulcan.”

“Four years,” Samantha interrupted.

Four years, Skip thought, no wonder he’s such a bookworm! “Okay. So he’s had six years of studies without what seems to be a single break. Let’s also not forget that he’s probably still feeling out of place; I mean, the guy’s from two hundred years in our past.” He paused there, as they both were reminded of how old Apollo actually was. “Hell, I know I’ve done my share these past couple of years to drag him off for some relaxation. It works some, but not much. Along comes this coincidence… yes, it’s too bad he found you like he did, but he did find you. And from what I saw at that restaurant, you saw something interesting in him, and I’m not talking about his smarts.”

She sat there for a minute, thinking of her answer. “Well, it is true that I needed help to catch up on my studies… he is the best candidate for a tutor. I mean, you haven’t seen him take many classes lately, have you?” When he shook his head, she continued. “And you’re right. He’s no troll. But…” She shivered. For some reason, she felt cold. “Looking at his file, remembering what he’s told me as well as what others have told me, both truth and rumor… he kind of scares me. I mean, if he can see into the future, what else can he do?”

Skip took a mental step back. “Whoa, wait a second, I didn’t say he could see the future.”

“True, but what if he can? What if he can read thoughts?”

Skip started to get angry again. “So what if he can? We’re talking about a guy who isn’t even here to defend himself. There have been people who have had high psis before; no one persecuted them. In fact, I’ve heard that people with high psis have to learn not to read people’s minds or they’ll go crazy.”

“Suppose he never learned? He is human, isn’t he?”

This last bit pushed Skip over the edge. This time, he didn’t care if his voice carried. “Don’t you think Vulcan would have taken care of that?” He shook his head aggressively. “Why do you have to ask around for answers; why do you have to sneak into his file? Maybe if you asked him these questions you have, he just might be more than willing to answer them. Did you ever stop to think of that?”

More silence. Samantha looked down at the table, realizing just how wrong her actions were. “You’re right. I’ve only been protecting my feelings… I never realized I might be hurting someone else’s.” She looked at Skip and gave him a small smile. “You know, you’re an awfully good friend to stick up for a guy you don’t know that well.”

Skip waved her off. “I know him pretty well. It’s just that he has his secrets. Doesn’t everybody?”

“I guess we do. So what do you think I should do?”

He stood up. “I think you should head over to our room and talk to him right now.” He looked at a chronometer on the wall. “But knowing him, he’s probably either sleeping or meditating right now, so the best bet would be…” he stopped in mid-sentence. “No. I just decided that I’m not going to tell you what I really think you should do. You have to figure that one out by yourself.” He yawned and rose. Her eyes grew wide at his answer. “As for me, I’m going to our room to get some sleep.” He started to head out the door before he stopped and looked at her again. “Oh, one more thing. Tell your roommate Karen that I’ll contact her tomorrow.” He grinned. “She asked me to do her a favor, but it’ll have to wait for now.” He left her to think real hard about her next actions.

~ * ~

The next day, Apollo was just finishing his last class of the day. He left the building to find Samantha sitting on a bench just outside the door. “Hi,” she said.

If Apollo was startled by her being there, he showed no sign. “Hello. I didn’t realize we had a session today.”

“We don’t,” she replied. “But I felt that we needed to talk.”

“Well, I have practice with Nova Squadron in about three hours…”

“Perfect. That’s plenty of time. Come on.” She took his hand before he could walk away and led him to the Academy’s park.

Once there, they found a secluded area and sat down on the grass, where Samantha went right in with what she was practicing to say all day. “Listen, there’s something I want to tell you, and I don’t want to be interrupted. Will you let me speak?”

Apollo looked confused. He was rushed to this park, plopped down, and now he was asked to listen to her. He figured that she would explain this action while she talked, so he agreed. She then proceeded to tell him about how she tried to find out more about him, from asking instructors and other cadets about their experiences with him to the little clandestine operation she was involved in when Skip caught her. Apollo never heard any of this from Skip, so he assumed that Skip knew about this conversation.

Samantha watched Apollo’s expressions while she told him about everything she did. When she reached the part where she looked at his file, she winced as he glared at her. “I expected you to react that way. It wasn’t very honest of me to do that.”

Apollo simply shook his head. “No, it was not,” he agreed. She didn’t see just how much he was using his techniques to hide what he thought of that crusade. “But please, continue.”

“I merely wanted to find out more about you; I honestly didn’t intend to hurt you. In fact, as I told Skip, I never knew you before that accident. And I didn’t know why you had such an interest in me.” She took a breath and continued. “I wanted to learn about you, but I didn’t know how to go about it.”

“You could have asked me.”

“I know. Skip even said as much. Well, you’re not exactly the easiest person in the world to approach. You carry yourself so coldly, so closed off from everyone else. It made me feel as if I was imposing on you if I asked you about yourself.”

This caught Apollo off-guard. He never thought that he looked that way to other people. “I… never realized that I seemed so aloof to everyone. Please forgive me, I never wanted to alienate anyone. It’s just that all my life, my concerns were to do a good job with my work. I never thought that it would consume me.”

“Well, I wouldn’t say that you were consumed, but you did seem to go out of your way to stay busy. After all, you had over two hundred years of Earth history that you had never known about. Obviously, you’ve caught up.”

He nodded. “Yes, that’s why I have the free time to be in Nova Squadron, as well as tutor other cadets. You don’t realize how much time at the Academy is spent with science until it’s not in your curriculum.” He sat silent for a moment. Then, taking her hand, he said what he was thinking of. “Samantha, I do forgive you, and I hope that through all this we can be friends.”

She saw this as her chance. “Actually…” Samantha blushed and hesitated just for a moment. Then she cupped his face with her hand and kissed him. “I hoped we could be more.” At first, Apollo was startled. He had always envisioned this moment, but never thought it would actually take place. Realizing that it was, he responded, warming to her embrace and returning the gesture in kind. He felt a warmth in his heart that he had never known, and he hoped that the moment wouldn’t end.

Unfortunately, his chronometer had other plans. Interrupted by its chirping, he quickly got up. “I’m sorry, Samantha, I’ve got to go to practice. Could we, uh, continue this afterward?”

“Sure, and call me Sam. All my friends do. Where should we meet?”

“Let’s see. How about at the restaurant where we first met?”

“How about I meet you after practice and we walk there? Then we can get to know each other a little better.”

“Fair enough,” he said, flashing her a thumbs-up. He was about to leave when he felt that the gesture wasn’t good enough. He rushed up to her and kissed her again. When he headed for the hanger, there was a smile on his face. Suddenly, life seemed a lot better.

 

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