Origins, Chapter 5

 

 

 

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 Five

“C’mon, Apollo. Tighten up the formation,” Nova Leader said.

“All right, already. Closing in.” Apollo slapped the side of his head to clear the cobwebs. He was thinking of Samantha – Sam – all through the afternoon. He shook himself free of his daydream long enough to realize he was on a collision course with an asteroid. Instantly alert, he pulled out of his unintentional suicide run. Each action threatened to drive him through another asteroid, but he avoided each one with a grace more defined with each move.

“Stop horsing around, Apollo. We know you don’t have much to do today, but we’d like to get back to the Academy before graduation.” Andrew, Nova Leader, shook his head at the craft making the wild loops through the asteroid field between Mars and Jupiter; but he was shaking it more out of awe than frustration. Man, he said he could fly, but I never knew he was this good.

Apollo left the asteroid field, where the squadron proceeded to finish their maneuvers. As they were returning to Earth, Apollo felt he had to explain himself. “Sorry, guys. I didn’t mean to get lost in space up there. It’s just that I had a lot on my mind.”

Understood,” came the reply. “Skip had told us you were having girl problems.

Apollo flushed at the affront to his privacy, but the moment quickly passed. “Actually, not so much a problem anymore. And frankly,” he finished with a mischievous gleam in his eye, “I couldn’t feel better.” Upon approaching the west coast, Apollo put on a burst of speed and lined up to pass under the Golden Gate Bridge.

“Apollo, I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Andrew said. He then saw a flash on his screen. “Apollo, look out!”

Apollo looked in time to see a tour shuttle cutting across his path. He jerked up in time to avoid the shuttle, but he grazed the underside of the bridge, sending him out of control. He fought to recover his flight path, while at the same time he headed for the hanger. He felt that he could pull off his stunt yet, regaining control just as he would reach the hanger, he could slide gracefully into his spot. It would probably impress the hell out of his comrades.

Apollo’s luck ran out that day. The drive system on his craft gave out in an explosion. He dipped sharply just inside the Academy grounds and plowed into the earth. Only at the last second was he able to realize his problem; he allowed a calming effect to overtake him, realizing that this could be it. He hit the button that would activate the emergency transporter in his craft, but it was too late. At the last second, he heard a sickening crunch, and blackness overcame him.

~ * ~

The explosion rocked the Academy grounds. Skip was in class when he heard the blast. He looked outside and saw a plume of dark smoke. “Holy shit! What was that!?” he exclaimed. His class rushed outside toward the area he thought was the source. Reaching the spot, and seeing the Nova Squadron crafts – minus one – heading for the hanger, he knew what had happened. A deep furrow a hundred feet long and twenty feet wide was plowed into the ground before him, with a smoking, disfigured mass of metal at the end of it embedded deeply into the earth. It wasn’t long before a crowd gathered, but Skip was headed for the hanger. He intercepted Andrew. “What happened?” he yelled.

Andrew ran right by him, heading for the infirmary. “It was Apollo,” he screamed back. “Gotta hurry! We registered his emergency transporter kick on just as he crashed!” They rushed into the building and headed for the transporter room, followed by the rest of the squadron.

When they reached the transporter, however, nothing was there. “I don’t get it.” Skip said. “He should be here, right?”

A medic shouldered his way into the room. “One side!” he shouted, reaching the console. “Cripes!” he said, looking at the readings. “How he got the thing to work, I couldn’t even begin to guess!” The medic started to work the controls. A humming filled the room and a pad on the platform glowed to life.

“What’s he talking about?” Skip said.

Andrew shook his head. “Well, if we registered his transport correctly, it happened at the exact same time as the crash. Seems that its last duty before it turned to slag was to get him here. Anyone using an emergency transporter will be caught in suspension until a medic can beam him in. That way they can be sure someone will actually be present when that person arrives.”

“Here he comes,” he said. Other medics came in with an anti-grav stretcher. A figure coalesced on the pad, barely recognizable due to his condition. No one could speak, but the medics were galvanized into action. They managed to stabilize Apollo so they could place him on the stretcher and activate a unit on the side to place him in stasis. They rushed down the hall, leaving the crowd behind.

Skip led the group out into the main waiting room. There was already a small group there; Samantha was one of them. “What happened?” she asked, worried. She looked at Nova Squadron and realized that one of them was missing. She ran up to Skip. “It was Apollo, wasn’t it? What happened to him?” She started to head in the direction of the medics.

Skip caught her by the arm. “Sam, you don’t want to go back there.”

His grim statement only got her more worked up. She struggled to free herself, screaming, but Skip held fast, while Andrew ran up and grabbed her other arm. Finally she just collapsed in Skip’s arms, sobbing. Skip couldn’t help but shed tears himself. He wanted to tell her that he’d be all right. But he saw Apollo on the transporter platform, saw what had happened to him, and he honestly couldn’t say anything.

~ * ~

Darkness surrounded him. He fought to find some light. When he did find it, it was hazy, blurred, colored insanely. He couldn’t even decide if he was actually seeing anything at all. He tried to speak, but could only gurgle (Gurgle?, he thought) a bit.

One of the doctors working on him heard the sounds. “My God, he’s coming to! Put him back under!”

He struggled to think. Who was that? Why would they be afraid of me waking up? Why do they want me unconscious? It was then, just before he heard the hiss of a hypospray, that his nervous system was overwhelmed by a cascade of pain… together with the sedative, Apollo succumbed to unconsciousness with relief.

~ * ~

Apollo tried several times to regain consciousness, and each time the results were the same. He’d wake up feeling nothing but pain. If anyone were watching the monitor to his room, or if they were in his room, they would make a sound or a gesture and put Apollo under again. After the first day of this behavior, they finally decided to put him in stasis. That way he would remain unconscious without his will trying to force him awake.

Skip and Samantha visited the infirmary to check on Apollo’s condition. They were met by Doctor Bennings, who Samantha recognized as having treated her. He told them that Apollo had been severely injured in the crash. “He sustained internal injuries, both his arms and his legs had been crushed in the accident and his face was badly burned. Now, we’ve stabilized his injuries, but we couldn’t do much for his arms and legs; I’m afraid we had to amputate what was left of them. His face was the least of our worries, but by no means are we saying that it wasn’t serious. His eyes are swollen shut, but scans show that they’re all right.” Bennings was extremely severe when he had given them the news.

“But he will live, right?” Skip said. Had he been joking, Samantha would have clobbered him for asking such a stupid question. But his concern for his friend showed clearly on his face.

“Oh, yes, he’ll live, if you want to call being confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his days living,” replied the doctor.

Samantha looked frantic. “Surely there’s another way! I don’t think Apollo came this far in the Academy just to be crippled!”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t…” Bennings paused. “Wait a minute. There just may be something we can do.” He started to walk away, as if to carry out the idea while it was still fresh in his mind.

Skip stopped him. “You can’t just leave us hanging, doc! What did you have in mind?”

The doctor turned back to them. “Well, we do have another option. It hasn’t exactly been approved yet. We can replace Apollo’s limbs with robotic prostheses.”

Skip gave Bennings a weird look. “Robot pro-whatz-its?”

“Prostheses. Artificial replacements designed to replace normal limbs. They even look like the person’s normal limbs. I know that doesn’t sound like much… humans have been using prosthetics for centuries. But if these work, then maybe your friend will have a chance.”

Samantha was excited, but she read the doubt in the doctor’s voice. “Why do you sound unsure of this?”

Bennings looked at her sheepishly. “Well… you see, the stage of compatibility with a patient is still experimental; the late phase, though. We expect to be completely proficient in this in about a year.”

Skip exploded. “No way, doc! No way you’re going to use my bud for a guinea pig!”

“Well, you certainly don’t have to worry about making that decision for him, now do you? I intend to give Apollo the choice and let him decide for himself.”

“You can’t be serious.” Samantha said. “You honestly expect Apollo to be well enough to make that kind of decision?”

Bennings shrugged. “He has no other option. He obviously has no family to consult. And we’ve stabilized him. Once that was done, recovery simply became academic, with or without the prosthetics. What I would wonder is what Apollo thinks he’ll be able to do when he fully recovers. Do you think he’ll be able to stay in the Academy in the condition he’s in now?”

“It’s not unheard of for someone in that shape to be in Starfleet. Why, look at Fleet Captain Christopher Pike. I mean, he…”

The doctor cut her off. “Captain Pike was a special case. He had a lot of clout because of his accomplishments. Starfleet wouldn’t just cut loose a former starship captain, especially one from the Enterprise. Apollo is just a cadet. They’d let him go in a heartbeat. Now, with new limbs, he could at least perform as an aide to the brass or other such type of administrative position.”

Skip’s expression was clear as to how he felt about that. “Yeah, that’s all he needs… to be cooped up behind a desk. I didn’t learn a lot about Apollo, but what I do know is that he doesn’t belong in a desk job,” Samantha said, on the verge of tears.

Skip put a hand on her shoulder. “I have to agree with the doctor. Apollo may be crippled, but at least he won’t need to be cooped up in some wheelchair. He’ll still be able to lead a fairly normal life.” He looked at Bennings. “But could we at least talk to him?”

“I don’t see why not. It’ll take a few days to figure out how we’ll go about this. You should be able to see him before then. But for today, at least, he should be undisturbed.” Bennings walked away.

“C’mon, Sam, let’s go.” Skip led her out of the infirmary.

On their way back to the dorms, Samantha turned to Skip. “You know, something is going on that I just don’t understand. I really don’t know Apollo that well. So why do I get so emotional about him?”

Skip simply shrugged. “Hey, it happens. I don’t know why or how, and I don’t bother trying to figure it out. Something sparked between you and Apollo, and you two spent just enough time to fan that spark into a flame, at least that’s what I think. I only hope that those doctors make the right decisions.”

~ * ~

This time when Apollo woke up, he wasn’t put back under. He couldn’t see; everything was still pitch black. Is it night time? he asked himself. He tried to raise a hand to his forehead. The thought was there, but the action wasn’t carried out. Why have they restrained me? He tried to flex his fingers; even that little act was prevented. He thought he could still feel his hands. He tried moving his feet. That, like his hands, proved ineffective. Funny, he mused, I can feel them, but it’s almost as if they’re… not there. Why can’t I move anything? Why can’t I see anything? There should at least be light from a window, unless my room has no windows. He struggled; again it seemed that he wasn’t restrained, but he just couldn’t move anything.

Then he heard the door open. “Who’s there?” he asked. He meant the question to sound firm and commanding. It came out weak and cracked.

“Ah. I see you’re awake. My name is Dr. Bennings, and you, cadet, are a very lucky man.”

Apollo sat there thinking for a moment. “I can remember flying… a collision… the ground was coming up fast… I slammed my fist down on the emergency transport button. Am I all right?”

Bennings nodded, then realized that Apollo couldn’t see him. “If you can remember that, then I can be relieved. You haven’t suffered any memory loss or brain damage.”

“I’m not so sure, doctor. I’ve had these weird dreams. I kept waking up, trying to say something, but it was like trying to talk underwater. Hurt like hell, too. Then I’d conk out again.”

Bennings noticed that nothing slipped by Apollo. He decided to be straight forward. “Those weren’t dreams. You were in a serious accident. Like I said, you were lucky; it was amazing that you survived such a crash.” The doctor paused, taking a deep breath. “You no doubt wonder why you can’t move.” He noticed Apollo’s feeble attempt at a nod. “You aren’t being restrained, at least not by us. Apollo… your arms and legs were crushed in the accident. I’m afraid we couldn’t save them.”

The room was very silent as Apollo let the information sink in. “I… see. Or rather, I can’t see. Did I lose my eyesight, too?”

“No, no. Your face was badly burned, but your eyes were intact. Those bandages will come off in a couple of days. We’ve also taken care of any other injuries you incurred.”

“Except my arms and legs.”

“Yes, well, as I said, there was little we could do for them.” He watched Apollo nervously. “Is there… anything you need at this time?”

More silence. “Yes. You could leave me alone now,” Apollo said, calmly and evenly.

Bennings moved toward the door. “If you need anything else, just speak up. A medic will show up for you.”

“Thank you, doctor.”

Bennings went outside, but stopped and looked in the window next to the doors. He expected screams, crying, anything to reveal what Apollo was feeling right now. But the figure on the bed simply laid there, looking as if he’d just simply fallen asleep. Frankly, he didn’t know which reaction was worse.

 

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