Origins, Prologue



Origins prologue

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.

Prologue

August 6, 2047:

“All systems are go. Pushing it up to full throttle.”

Roger that, Starfighter 1. Full throttle.

Apollo Racer gently eased forward the levers in his left hand. He felt his blood rush as the thrust vibrated through his very being. God, I love this, he thought to himself as he watched the planet’s atmosphere fade away around him. He checked his instruments, sure that they would tell him what he wanted to know. They did. “Houston Control, this is Starfighter 1. I’m at full throttle and everything is A-OK.” He looked around at the panoramic vista. “The view is fantastic up here,” he exclaimed.

So they tell us,” Houston Control replied, sounding rather droll. The pilot laughed, knowing full well that every astronaut who ever went into orbit had said something along those lines. He knew because he was on the last shuttle flight, and a rookie specialist had said the same thing. “Begin extraorbital tests. Oh, and Racer, one more thing. Don’t scare the Martians, and leave the lunar boys alone. They’re still trying to put the final touches on the base there.

Apollo laughed again. “That’s two things, but I’ll try to keep my mean streak under control. Switching propulsion modes now. I’ll keep you informed.”

Roger. Houston out.” Apollo switched controls over and cracked his knuckles. He always did that when trying to break in some new system or other. He felt that it relieved tension.

Switching controls was no laughing matter. The airfoils of the experimental new space plane wouldn’t work in space, where there was no air pressure to provide lift. So he would have to rely on reaction control thrusters for maneuvering. The RCS wasn’t that new; they were used on the shuttle. But they’ve never been used on a craft designed to be a fighter. Simulations proved they’d work without tearing the small craft apart, but the practical tests always told the tale. The systems Apollo really wanted to test were the pulse cannons, mounted on the airfoils, and the drive system. According to specs, the drive should be able to push him to about one-half the speed of light. It’d certainly make putting bases on Mars a lot easier.

Currently, he was traveling at one-quarter c, and would reach the moon in about one minute. Despite what he told Houston, he felt a mischievous grin crawl across his face. He laughed one of his horror movie laughs and sped towards the site where construction teams where building the lunar outpost.

Harvey was watching three men place a docking ring on their main dome. Today, if all went well, they would be able to connect all of the domes so they could provide them with a livable environment. It took fifteen years to get where they were at now, and in about six more months, they’d be able to start shipping people up here to work. Harvey had to smile at the accomplishment. He was here when they laid the first foundation, and he would be here to see them put up the new United Earth flag. In a way, the two were connected. The station would symbolize the fact that Earth was finally able to set aside their individual problems of race, color, creed, religion… and concentrate on working together as one proud world.

His fog was dissipated by the sight of a ship coming in too low and too fast. His helmet radio instantly picked up and transmitted his voice to everyone. “Look out! Get down!”

Workers scrambled everywhere as the craft buzzed by them in a blur. When Harvey got up, his face was red, and looked as if it might inflate even more and pop out the faceplate. He switched channels. “Apollo! What in God’s name are you trying to do, kill us all?”

By the time Harvey had picked himself up, Apollo had already swept past the moon, and was gracefully swinging around. Now he was hovering about 100 feet off the ground, facing the disgruntled foreman. “Sorry, Harv, couldn’t resist,” he replied. “Besides, you know that I have to test this craft’s maneuverability. That means making high-speed, low-level passes.

“Well, couldn’t you just as easily use something that can’t be scared, like rock formations.”

Nah. Rocks wouldn’t give if I crashed into them.” He waited a moment, knowing Harvey’s reaction, then added, “I’m just kidding. You know I would never do anything that wasn’t completely within my control. Besides, I like you guys too much to kill you.

Harvey snorted. “Oh, that makes me feel so much better.”

Apollo snickered. He was about to continue his banter when the radio cut him off. “Racer, I thought you promised that you’d leave them alone.

“I never said that, Control, I merely said I’d try. And I did, too… for a good five seconds.”

Very funny, Flyboy. Listen, we’d like you to test the sensor package on your craft.

“Sensors work fine to me, Control,” Apollo answered. What a stupid request, he thought.

Frustration came over the transmission. “No, no, no. Come on, Apollo. You’re supposed to be one of the brightest individuals we have. Stop trying to be cute by acting like a moron.” A sigh registered over the air. “We want you to test the compositional scanners that we installed in Starfighter 1. You know, the ones that tell us what something is made of?

“Oh! Those sensors! Why didn’t you say so in the first place. Okay. Got it.” Then, as if Apollo had taken a mask off, a more serious tone permeated his voice. “All kidding aside, was there anything in particular that you’d like me to study?”

There was silence on the other end for a moment as the operator wondered if the pilot had a split personality. “Ah, Findley’s Comet is just approaching Venus. It’s fairly new and unstudied in this system. Try to track it down and take some readings.” advised Control.

Apollo nodded, though they couldn’t see him. “Roger that, Control. Punching it now.” He looked toward the lunar surface. “So long, Harvey. Good luck in finishing here.”

“All right, buddy. Be seein’ ya.” But before he could get the last words out, Starfighter 1 took off in a flash, buzzing Harvey again in the process. Though the environmental controls on Harvey’s suit kept him warm, he shivered. Damn hotshot, he thought. If he’s not careful, he’s gonna get himself killed, and then what will his old man think. As the spaceplane became just a twinkle in the sky, he shivered again. I’ve been up here too long. That’s it. Soon as I’m done here, I’m takin’ a vacation. He chuckled at his own stupidity and brought his attention back to his work. “Hey, hey! Watch it! You’re putting that expansion coil on backwards! Flip it over and try it again!”

Five hours later, Apollo caught up with the comet. “All right, Control, I’m within range. Taking sensor readings now.” He knew his transmission would take a few minutes to reach Earth, but he felt as if there was no time to wait. He started scanning the comet, and started speaking to himself, a habit he could never seem to break. “That’s funny. The computer can’t recognize some of the materials in the cloud. Maybe if I move closer, I’ll get a better reading.”

As he accelerated to get a better look, Control tried to call him, though a burst of static made it hard to hear them. “Control to… Starfigh… picking you up… much too close… comet… gravitational fluctuations…. Keep a safe distance.

“Yeah, yeah. Worrywarts,” Apollo mumbled. He would have listened to them, but he got another impish idea. He thought, What harm could it do? It’d be like a mosquito stinging a hippo, and charged up his pulse cannons. He maneuvered into a good position and touched off a few shots. The energy bolts struck and sizzled in the comet. Apollo laughed at the success.

Suddenly his instruments started behaving erratically. “What the hell?” He looked up at the comet and realized it seemed to be glowing brighter. Was it slowing down, too? He seemed to be getting closer. “Ummm… Control, something… something seems to be going on. I was using the comet for a little target practice, to test my defenses. Somehow…” he studied the readouts again, “somehow the energy from my particle beams activated some element in the comet. It’s giving off some kind of magnetic field.” Then it hit him. “Oh shit… I’m being drawn towards it!”

Bursts of static came over the radio. He couldn’t make out replies enough to know what they were saying. Right now, though, his priority was to try and stop himself from colliding. He adjusted his power settings, giving more juice to his engines, then threw them in reverse. While his forward momentum didn’t stop, it did slow somewhat. The icy face grew larger and larger through his canopy. Apollo braced his legs as though stomping on brake pedals.

A strangled cry escaped him as his ship crunched into the comet’s face. The cockpit compressed and the canopy shattered. If he hadn’t had his suit and helmet on…. Apollo sat there, his heart hammering, as only his instruments provided him with light. He moved his hands over them, amazed that he wasn’t injured, yet relieved that his atmosphere wasn’t compromised. His eyes flicked from instrument to instrument… the ones affected by the electromagnetic charge the comet now gave off were still out of whack, but the others worked okay. The pilot tried his radio again. “Uhhhh… Control, I seem to have a little problem. Starfighter 1 has impacted with the comet surface. I’m uninjured, but with the magnetic charge, I don’t think I can get free.” Silence answered him. “Houston Control, do you read me?” More silence. “Houston Control, please respond.”

Finding nothing more to discover in his cockpit, Apollo turned his attention outward. The comet must have been softened upon being so far inside the solar system… instead of his ship smashing up on the surface, he seemed to have partially embedded himself in the comet. The ice protruding into his cockpit was emitting some type of gas… at first he thought it might have been the extreme cold of the ice fogging inside his atmosphere. But the tendrils of gas dropped, as though the element was heavier than air. His legs were starting to feel numb, which surprised him, as his suit should have insulated him from the environment of open space.

Apollo’s breath was starting to fog in his helmet. “What’s going on here,” he said to himself, since the radio no longer transmitted. “Why is it getting so cold? It’s not supposed to get so cold!” By now his instruments were shining eerily through the fog, causing a soft diffusion of light through his space. He huddled in a pathetic attempt to conserve body heat. But within minutes, ice coated every surface inside the craft. He reached out and touched the icy surface of the comet. Strangely, he didn’t feel the cold from there, but then, that could have been due to the numbness in his fingers. Apollo’s breaths grew shallower and shallower… he couldn’t see anything, the faceplate in his helmet long glazed over in ice. He felt numb all over now, and all he was thinking about was how nice it would be to just take a nap. His eyelids grew heavier and heavier, until finally they closed and he went to sleep.

The comet continued on its journey, unaware of its new passenger or the impact it made on the surface.


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