DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Cheree Cargill and is copyright (c) 2006 by Cheree Cargill. This story is Rated PG.
WHO MOURNS FOR ADONAIS?: GIANTS IN THE EARTH
Stardate: 3469.4, Personal Log, First Officer Spock recording.
We are continuing our mapping of the Beta Geminorum system and should be finished in approximately two days, then will move on to our next assignment in this region. The Captain is drafting his report to Starfleet Command on the strange encounter we had on Pollux 4 with the being calling himself Apollo. We conducted the debriefing of the landing party at 1500 this afternoon. Present were the Captain, Dr. McCoy, Mr. Scott, Mr. Chekov, Lt. Palamas, and myself. It was an interesting meeting...
* * *
"So, you believe that the alien you encountered actually was the Greek god Apollo?" I questioned from my station at the computer console.
Kirk shrugged eloquently and spread his hands. "Makes sense, I suppose. It wouldn't be the first time we've come across seemingly omnipotent beings with godlike powers. The Organians and the Metrons come immediately to mind."
"Trelane," spoke up McCoy, who as usual was lounging back in his chair with half-closed eyes, but taking in every nuance of word or expression.
"Aye!" agreed Scott. "Though who would think of that scalawag as a god, I don't--"
"All right," Kirk interrupted mildly before the engineer could erupt onto a tangent. "The point in, I think it is highly plausible that a group of non-corporeal beings took up residency on Earth in the eastern Mediterranean region and took Human form to interact with the locals, who revered them as gods."
"Why 'non-corporeal', Jim?" asked McCoy. "You saw Apollo. He was Human."
"Human appearing, you mean, Bones," Kirk corrected him. "Remember your ancient legends. The gods would sometimes take the form of an animal or object ... like a bull."
"Or a shower of gold," put in Palamas. "Zeus appeared to Danäe in a shower of gold and seduced her that way."
"Aye, or a swan," interjected Mr. Scott. "Like Leto and the Swan, that old story."
"Leda," Palamas said softly to him. "It was Leda and the Swan. It's a common mistake," she added with a mollifying look at Scott who appeared ready to argue. "Leto was the mother of Apollo and Artemis. Zeus transformed into a swan to ravish Leda, who gave birth to Castor and Pollux."
"I do not understand vhy Zeus vould do that. I do not tink I vould enjoy being ravished by an overgrown bird," Chekov commented. "That is not ... natural."
"Wasn't Catherine the Great supposedly crushed to death when she tried to make love to a horse?" McCoy retorted, but with a sly smirk that brought a ripple of soft laughter around the table.
"That is a lie!" Chekov shot out of his chair. "The Empress vas a great lady--"
"Gentlemen -- back on topic," Kirk broke in, used to these sorts of interruptions.
Chekov reseated himself, grumbling in Russian. McCoy chuckled again and said, "My apologies, Pav. I was just yankin' your chain."
"My chain? I do not understand."
"He'll explain it later," the Captain said a bit more forcefully, shooting a slightly exasperated look at the doctor. "Mr. Spock, strike those last remarks from the record."
My fingers were already moving over the keyboard. "Yes, sir."
Palamas looked uncomfortable but returned to what she had been saying. "There are actually many indications that Earth was visited a number of times in the ancient past by alien species -- petroglyphs around the globe, oral legends passed down through generations, Biblical references..."
"Giants in the earth," commented McCoy, once more serious.
"Sir?" spoke up Chekov. "The only giant I remember is Goliath."
"Genesis 6:4," the doctor replied and quoted, "'There were giants in the earth, in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them; the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown'."
"Impressive, Bones," the Captain said. "I thought you were a confirmed sceptic of Bible stories."
"I am," responded McCoy. "But my granddaddy was also a Full Gospel Baptist preacher and I've sat through more sermons than I care to remember. I got my backside warmed if I dared go to sleep in the middle of one of Pappy's sermons."
"Yes," replied Kirk and squirmed slightly in his chair as if a sympathetic memory had occurred to him.
Scott rescued the conversation by turning to Lt. Palamas and asking, "What's that ya were sayin' aboot legends an' paintin's and all?"
"Well, there are rock and cave paintings on nearly every continent depicting strangely drawn creatures that don't look human or appear to be wearing spacesuits or helmets."
"I have long ago understood those to have been explained as tribal gods or ancestor spirits," I commented.
"Yes, they have, Mr. Spock," answered the anthropologist, turning her blue eyes on me. "But that's just what we're talking about, isn't it? Extraterrestrials taken by the locals as gods?"
"Indeed," I replied.
"What sort of legends?" asked Kirk.
Palamas considered for a moment then said, "Well, one that's always intrigued me comes down from ancient India, from Sanskrit texts, incredibly old themselves. They set down legends that had been handed down orally for who knows how many generations.
"The story tells of a group of beings who descended from the sky in machines the text calls vimanas. The beings settled in a village and established a colony where the native people treated them as gods. After a year or so, a dispute arose among two leaders of the visitors and one leader took a group of his people and moved to another village several miles away. However, the trouble between the two groups continued and finally, one day, the leader of the original colony went into his vimana which rose into the air and flew to the other village. While still far off, the vimana unleashed a lance of fire which shot into the rebel village like an arrow."
I noticed that she had the undivided attention of the Captain and all the others around the briefing table. Palamas continued:
"When the lance of fire struck the village, it was as if the sun had exploded in its midst. The village and everything and everyone in it were incinerated beyond recognition. A deadly cloud arose and dropped black dust all around. Anyone who went near sickened and died. Streams that ran through the village became poisoned and anyone who drank the waters died as well. It became a cursed place and was avoided at all costs. Eventually, it fell into legend and its location was lost."
"My God!" breathed Scotty. "That sounds like an old-style missile and nuclear blast! Right down to the radiation poisoning!"
"There's more," Palamas said. "The legend says that the leader who had destroyed his fellow colonists grew so despondent and grief-stricken at what he had done, that one day he gathered all his people into the vimanas and all of them returned to the sky, never to be seen again."
There was a moment of silence, then I commented, "Fascinating."
"Of course, it's only a legend," Palamas responded in a slightly apologetic voice.
"Yes, well..." Kirk shifted in his chair and looked thoughtful. "There's no denying that many myths are based in fact."
"There vas once a great explosion in Siberia, I remember," Chekov began. "At Tunguska. Many people think it vas a spacecraft--"
"I believe that has almost definitely been determined to be a comet striking the Earth, Ensign," I interrupted. Ensign Chekov has the making of a fine officer, but unfortunately has an active imagination that I find I must deal with frequently in his training.
"A comet, sair? I suppose, but..."
"A comet," I responded in a clear tone of command.
I determined to have a talk with my apprentice later in private. I turned back to the discussion at hand.
Kirk took up the lead again. "All right, people, I'll expect your individual reports on my desk by 0800 tomorrow. This has been interesting and I thank you for your opinions and comments. You may all return to your duties. Mr. Spock, if you would remain for a few minutes."
"Yes, sir." I closed the log and shut down the computer console as the others rose and left the briefing room.
When we were alone, Kirk turned to me. "So... Opinions, Mr. Spock?"
"I agree with your assessment, Captain. Undoubtedly Apollo was telling the truth about his sojourn on Earth. It is quite logical."
"Even if he compared you to Pan?" The Captain was smiling.
"Completely irrelevant," I answered smoothly.
"And what about Lt. Palamas' little story there?"
"Again, logical, Captain. There are Vulcan myths about a group we call the Progenitors who came to Vulcan long before recorded history and left colonies that eventually became the Vulkhansu people. I believe that you would find such myths quite common throughout the Federation."
"Hmm, yes. I've heard the same stories. Sometimes the settlers are called the Preservers or the Founders. It seems to be a common theme on a lot of worlds."
"Well, I think that pretty well wraps it up," Kirk answered and rose from his chair. I did the same. "Supper and a game of chess tonight, Spock?"
"Thank you, Jim. I would welcome that."
"I shall meet you in the officer's mess at that time."
"Good." And the Captain left to return to the bridge.
I took a moment longer to gather my briefing notes and turned my thoughts to our discussion. What would it be like to land on a world and be worshiped by a primitive people, I wondered. Illogical, I decided immediately. That was exactly why the Prime Directive was in effect. There were too many potential "gods" out there, looking for subjects to rule. I thought immediately of many of the people we had encountered on this voyage -- Harry Mudd sprang instantly to mind. It was our job in Starfleet to make sure that such people did not succeed in finding adherents.
I decided that I would not make a very acceptable god. I was as close as I wanted to be in my role as First Officer of this vessel. I reached for the intercom button to recall Mr. Chekov to the briefing room for our own private meeting. Time to put the fear of God into him.