* * *
Once the Seaview had been swept for intruders and none were found,
Nelson felt fairly certain that all of the aliens were gone or smoldering
piles of ash to be swept away. Barris
himself had not put in an appearance, which was confusing.
Nelson would have thought that the alien leader would have put some
sort of effort into stopping what had happened, the destruction of his
people in particular. The
entire operation had been too easy and Nelson had the feeling that the
worst was yet to come. The
one thing that was even part way encouraging was that Hunt had said that
there were only one hundred of the aliens at the start of things and
twenty three had been destroyed in the retaking of the Seaview.
Including the one that Nelson had initially disintegrated, Barris’
forces were nearly a quarter down and he didn’t seem to have the
possibility of gaining reinforcements.
Nelson was relieved that there had been no deaths on the Seaview
and only a few relatively minor injuries reported.
Things could have been far, far worse.
According to Doctor Jamieson, Edwards and O’Brien were
going to be fine, that their injuries were being treated and that the men
could return to restricted duty. Much
as Nelson would have liked to have Jamieson examine Harper, the boy was
sleeping and Nelson didn’t want to disturb him. When Harper woke, Nelson would have the doctor examine him
thoroughly and see what Jamieson thought of the care the engineer had
received so far. Nelson found
himself distrusting nanobots and the cavalier attitude that Hunt and
Anasazi had displayed concerning Harper’s injuries.
Nelson would have had Harper brought over to the Seaview and kept
him there if he didn’t want the boy’s neural net removed.
Watching as Harper’s eyes roll up into his head and as he
seemingly passed out when he’d stuck that metal wand into the disk in
his neck had been extremely unsettling.
Nelson never wanted him to do that again.
He doubted that Harper would argue the wisdom of disposing of the
neural net. After all, he
really would have no need of it when they all returned home.
He thought about getting rid of the nanobots too, but after
considering Harper’s recent close call from something that shouldn’t
have even made him ill, Nelson decided the tiny machines could stay.
Looking in on Harper on one of the Andromeda’s monitors
made Nelson smile warmly. With
Doctor Babin cuddled up next to him, Harper looked content and would
probably sleep quietly as he had at the Institute infirmary when she had
been near. They made such a
sweet couple and the Admiral knew they would be happy once they were
settled in their life together in Santa Barbara.
Nelson would see to it personally that they had a lovely wedding
and a long, relaxing honeymoon. Much
as Doctor Lorn had thought that she had been teasing him with the thought
of bouncing babies on his knees, Nelson found himself looking forward to
The one thing he had missed most about not marrying was not
having children, a son specifically. Over the last few weeks, spending time with Harper, a bond
had formed and Nelson looked forward to years of that closeness, of having
a kindred spirit there at the Institute to invent things with, someone he
could teach and learn from, someone he could lavish affection on without
it feeling odd or forced. Lee
was a close friend, but he was his own man and Nelson always considered
him to be like a younger brother. Thinking
that made him reflect on Edith and how she would feel about Harper.
Edith had always wanted a nephew or niece to spoil.
Harper could do with a little spoiling and Nelson could picture
Edith’s delight at his easy, enthusiastic displays of affection.
Edith was going to adore him.
Nelson was sure of it. He
would discuss things with Edith, of course, but he planned to see a lawyer
and make Harper a legal, permanent part of his family.
Harper was going to be so happy being a Nelson, being a husband and
father. The Admiral felt
content just thinking about how good it would all be.
As he turned from the monitor, he found himself looking at
Hunt. Nelson had every
intention of keeping his word, of not coercing Harper at all and letting
him decided where he wanted to spend the rest of his life.
He was also absolutely certain of what that decision would be and
that Hunt would probably not be happy about it.
Nelson could almost feel sorry for him.
Almost. Hunt should
have seen how desperately Harper had wanted and needed an older man to
guide him, to be the strong force in his life that he’d lost when his
father had been murdered when he was far too young.
Hunt could have easily stepped into that role, but he had missed
his chance and Nelson did not feel at all guilty about the fact that he
would never get a second one.
At the moment, Hunt was staring at Barris’ ship on the
Andromeda’s main view screen. This
brought Barris back to the forefront of Nelson’s thoughts.
What was Barris up to right at this moment?
His strange, derelict ship hadn’t moved since the Seaview had
been extracted from it, according to the Andromeda.
She had the vessel in her sights and was only waiting for Hunt’s
word to blast it to pieces and seemed eager to do so.
Nelson didn’t know what the man was waiting for.
“So, that’s the ship that caused all this trouble,”
Lee commented from just behind him. He
and Miss Simmons had accompanied them from the Seaview when they had left.
To say that the Andromeda has impressed them would have been a huge
understatement. Miss Simmons had looked around in awe and murmured something
about owing Harper an apology. Lee
had been silent, but had kept casting distrustful looks at Hunt’s back.
Nelson didn’t fully blame him.
A lot had happened and Lee didn’t have the benefit of Harper’s
numerous, colorful stories about Hunt to give him any idea as to what to
expect from the man.
“Yes, that’s Barris’ ship,” Hunt said, frowning at
“Well, why aren’t we blowing the thing up?” Lee
Hunt shook his head, seeming distracted.
“I don’t think it matters if we do,” he replied.
Nelson saw a dark look of anger forming on Lee’s face and
he decided he’d better intercede. “Because Barris is already dead, you mean,” he surmised
“That and because Barris didn’t respond to us attacking
it before,” Hunt replied, still looking at the hulk on the screen.
“I think Tyr is right. The
ship is a cutout, a model of what Barris would actually like to have.
I don’t know if he knows for certain what it’s supposed to be
like and that’s why his ship is the way it is.”
“What does any of that matter?” Lee asked.
“Blast the thing apart. Force
his hand. Make him come here. Let’s
deal with this Barris person before he can hurt anyone else.”
“And how would you deal with me, Captain Crane?” came
Barris’ voice from behind them. Nelson
turned drawing his force lance as he did and four bolts slammed into the
wall where Barris had been, leaving a charred, sunk in area.
“You’ll only damage your ship doing that,” Barris scolded,
now in front of the view screen.
“Don’t!” Nelson and Hunt said simultaneously as Lee
and Miss Simmons brought their weapons over in that direction.
They didn’t look happy about it, but neither of them fired.
“Why are you here, Barris?
No one is going to do anything that you want.
Why don’t you just go away?” Hunt asked, sounded totally fed
“Because I can’t,” Barris replied, shrugging, seeming
unconcerned about the weapons pointing in his direction.
“We are all bound together until the end unless you accept me and
my crew as part of your retinue. It’s
the only way things can change. You
should also kill the slave or give it to me.
I’ll find him a new master, one well out of our way.”
“I see,” Nelson said, nodding to this new information.
“So Seamus hasn’t done whatever you hate him for as yet.”
Barris frowned and that only served to make Nelson certain that was
true. “What does he do,
Barris? How would Captain
Hunt or I accepting you change things?”
Barris looked away and Nelson scowled.
“Tell me!” he barked and the alien actually jumped.
“It’s to blame!” Barris shouted back at him.
“It’s a pathetic, worthless thing that you should despise for
its weakness, but you love it instead, treat it as kin!”
He turned to Hunt now, ranting, “It talks ceaselessly and causes
troubles uncountable with its impetuousness, yet you hold it without
blame.” He looked between
the two of them at this point. “Both
of you should want to be rid of it, but you coddle it instead.
It isn’t even a good pet. It’s
small and sickly. It’s
often willful and abrasive. Why
won’t you just kill it!”
“It? Is he
calling Harper a thing, a pet?” Miss Simmons asked, sounding affronted
“No one is going to murder the boy for you, no matter what
you say about him, Barris,” Nelson told him, keeping his eyes on the
alien and his hand on his force lance.
“Not that you ever actually say anything useful about anything.
You talk in circles and say nothing and I’ve wasted enough time
listening to it.” Nelson
strode fearlessly up to Barris and looked in squarely in his dead, black
eyes. “You will not touch
my son again. You will not
trouble my crew further. Go
away. Don’t come back. I’m finished with you and so is everyone else here.”
There was a buzz somewhere else in the room and the
Andromeda announced, “The Maru is back.”
Barris held Nelson’s eyes, but shook his head slightly.
“This is how it started.”
Then he vanished again in another puff of foul smelling smoke.
“What was that all about?” Lee asked, sounding
Nelson turned back to face the others, not knowing what to
say. “We’ve just run out
of time,” Hunt summed matters up grimly.
Nelson felt his face go hard.
He could only pray that whatever was about to happen wouldn’t be
half as dire as what he was imagining.
Beka barely got the Eureka Maru docked before she was flying
out of her pilot’s seat and off the vessel.
Harper was home! He was safe! She
was going to hug him until he begged her to let him breathe.
She couldn’t wait to do it.
Let Trance and Rommie handle their guests.
Beka just wanted to see Harper and know that this nightmare was
over with finally. She ran from the hanger to his quarters, where he was resting
according to Rommie. Beka
didn’t wait for the entry buzzer to announce her.
She simply rushed in and then found herself frozen in her tracks
and struck dumb by what she saw.
A girl. A girl
asleep. A girl asleep in
Harper’s bed. A girl asleep
in Harper’s bed in Harper’s arms.
Beka stared. She
couldn’t make what she was seeing make any sort of sense.
How could there be a girl in Harper’s bed?
Harper talked about girls, he dreamed about girls, he lusted after
girls. Harper didn’t get girls.
He certainly didn’t get girls to come home with him.
In the five years that Beka had known him, Harper had never gotten
one girl to come back to the Maru with him, not one.
Yet, there was one in Harper’s bed now of all times.
Beka scowled. She’d
been worried sick and Harper had been off getting laid?
She’d kill him herself!
Realizing that someone else was there, Beka turned and saw
Tyr looking at her, an amused expression on his face.
“What? Did he sell
tickets?” Beka asked heatedly.
“A pleasure to see you again as well.
The boy is sleeping. You
should...” Tyr started, his voice much softer than usual.
“Yeah, yeah,” she interrupted throwing a dismissive wave
his way as she moved next to the bed, fuming.
“Get up, Harper!” she demanded, wanting an explanation and
wanting it now.
Harper moaned softly and shifted lethargically, cuddling up
to his new bed buddy. Beka scowled, wondering if Harper had been drinking again.
Usually he was not so slow to rise.
Growing up on Earth had left him a very skiddish, light sleeper.
He typically woke the instant anyone came into the same room as
him, never letting them get as close as she was without coming to full
wakefulness. He didn’t
smell of alcohol, but he’d been drinking, she decided, but why Tyr was
here and attempting to cover for him was beyond her.
Why had Dylan let Harper bring some bar babe back with him?
He probably felt bad about Harper getting beat up so much lately
and was cutting him some slack. Beka
wasn’t going to extend such courtesies.
“Beka, really. He’s...” Tyr tried again.
She wasn’t going to waste time letting him finish.
Why was he even here?
“Now Harper! Get up!” Beka shouted, kicking the bed for good measure.
Harper opened his eyes a little and murmured, “Oh, hey
Beka. How’s it going?”
“How’s it going? Damn it, Harper! You
had us all worried sick!” Beka shouted at him.
That seemed to wake him up a little more and he started to sit up,
which dumped his cuddle buddy unceremoniously off his shoulder.
She uttered a sleepy protest and he turned to her, saying something
Beka couldn’t understand. Beka rolled her eyes. Harper
and his dabbling in languages he had no hope of learning.
He’d probably told the girl that everything was all fish and to
go back to laundry. Tyr
chimed in, seemingly speaking the same language Harper had attempted,
probably correcting any confusion. “Come
with me, lover boy,” Beka said, grabbing Harper by the ear and yanking
him out of bed.
Ow! Come on!” Harper
protested, but he came with her, not that she gave him much of a choice.
Beka was a little surprised that he had some pajama pants on, not
that it would have mattered to her all that much if his ass had been as
bare as his chest. That was
surprising in of itself. Harper
didn’t like people seeing his scars, so he almost always had a layers of
shirts on. Beka shook her
head, thinking maybe the girl was in Harper’s bed out of pity for the
beating Barris’ goon had given him and he was milking it by displaying
evidence of old injuries. She
pulled him into the corridor then let him go as the door to his quarters
shut behind them. “Geez, Beka! Can’t
a guy sleep?” he complained, shifting his right arm, which rested in a
“Aw, did your little bed buddy tucker you out?
Look at you. You’re
all beat to hell and that doesn’t stop you from snuggling up to the
first remotely female thing within easy reach.
Come on. We’ll go to
the medical deck and have Trance look you over,” Beka said impatiently.
Harper rolled his eyes, then looked back at her, appearing
peeved. “I’ve been to
medical, thanks, hence the cast. And
cool it with the less than flattering comments about Dom.
She hasn’t done anything to you.
I’m sorry you went and made a huge wasted effort on my behalf,
but don’t take it out on her.”
“Dom, huh? Short
for Dominatrix or something? You’re
sick, Harper,” Beka sneered at him.
“Short for Dominique,” he replied, the peeved expression
gaining a little fire. “And
I meant it. You want to be
ticked at me for getting beat up and kidnapped... and, gee, thanks for the
concern and sympathy, Beka. But
hey, you might as well take a few shots at me.
Par for the course lately. Don’t
know why I expected anything different.
So, you want to be angry at me for getting the snot kicked out of
me repeatedly for minding my own business, fine, but you leave Dom out of
Beka was about to lay into him about picking up women at
inappropriate times when the person in question came out of Harper’s
quarters, looking confused and not fully awake.
The door to the room remained opened and Beka could see Tyr looming
nearby on the other side. The girl, and she looked like a teenager, said something to
Harper in some language that Beka couldn’t understand.
That Harper seemed to was unexpected, but the girl’s words made
the angry expression ease mostly from his face and he lifted a hand to her
arm and he squeezed it gently, replying as the girl cast a wary look at
Beka. Beka glared at her,
daring the little thing to start something.
“Where did you get her anyway, Harper?
We going to have some angry father looking for you or what?” Beka
“Dom’s almost twenty four, her dad likes me, and she’s
from Earth. Actually, she was
born near Boston, same as me, just... before me,” Harper told her, still
Beka’s brow knit none the less.
Dylan had gone on about how he thought Barris had moved Harper in
time as well as through space. The
girl was from the past, which was the only way she could be younger than
Harper and born before him. This
had the potential of being bad. Really
How much before?” she asked suspiciously.
Harper pursed his lips for a moment and put a possessive arm
around the girl before saying, “Three thousand years.”
“Three thousand years?!!!” Beka shouted back at him in
shock as she looked at the girl again. She was staring back, looking confused and possibly a little
frightened. Beka felt a spark
of pity. It wasn’t as if
the tiny primitive thing could understand anything that was being said or
what was going on around her. No
wonder she was clinging to Harper. Being
from that hell hole that he’d grown up in, she probably thought he was a
primitive too, since Earth didn’t have space travel back then. If her people were all as little as she was, she likely
considered Harper to be big and strong and a good choice for a mate.
And knowing Harper, he hadn’t tried to dissuade her of that
notion. “Are you nuts?
She’s a primitive! Does
she understand that you’ve kidnapped her from her time and that...”
Beka berated him.
“I didn’t do any such thing!” Harper shouted back.
Again, the girl spoke, running a hand down Harper’s arm, looking
up at him with concern. Harper
spoke to her again, hugging her to him, then turned his eyes back to Beka,
frowning, the protective, possessive arm remained around his primitive.
“Look, you’re upsetting her, so can you cool it with all the
yelling and accusations? I
didn’t drag Dom anywhere. She’s
a Marine Biologist, a Doctor of
Marine Biology, a respected scientist, not some cave woman.
She knows where and when she is and she was cool with everything
until you started freaking her out.”
“So you shook the smartest monkey out of the tree,” Beka
“Beka...” Harper snarled angrily.
“She doesn’t speak Common, that’s for sure,” Beka
cut him off. “What monkey
language is she chattering at you anyway?
Do you actually understand her or are you faking it as usual?
We need to go talk to Dylan and see about getting her back home.
I can’t believe you did this.
I hope the sex was good while it lasted.
Come on.” She nodded
for him to follow her curtly and started to turn towards Command, but
Harper didn’t budge. In
fact, he looked back at the girl leaning against him and was saying
something to her in soothing tones. Beka
let out another exasperated groan. “Harper,
it’s not like she actually understands you.”
Harper glared at her. “Of
course she can,” he shot back. “And
it’s Earth Common.”
Beka’s brow knit. “What’s common on Earth?
Dragging women off to strange places.”
language we’re speaking,” Harper told her. “It’s Earth Common.”
Beka’s eyes narrowed.
“There’s no such thing.”
Harper frowned and glanced over at Tyr, who looked
distinctly put out, but said, “Earth Common, also known as English.
In the little girl’s day, it was spoken through most of North
America, Australia, and England. Because
of commerce, it was used many other places as well.
After the bombardment of Earth at the Fall of the Commonwealth,
English was the most widely spoken language of the survivors, so it became
dubbed Earth Common at the time. Most
of the slave class of Earth speak it today.”
Beka winced at the word ‘slave,’ never having thought of
Harper that way. He had been
a dirty, skinny, sickly, battered, uncivilized kid, sure, but he hadn’t
acted like he’d ever call anyone ‘Master.’ Harper didn’t talk about his life before joining the crew
of the Maru much. What little
he said was depressing and Beka typically changed the subject fast, not
wanting to deal with Harper’s past and the baggage associated with it.
It wasn’t like that was a problem.
Usually Harper shrugged off questions about his childhood.
We still need to talk about this with Dylan,” Beka said
“He already knows about Dom and he wants her to stay, not
go. And I didn’t take her
aboard in the first place. Tyr
did,” Harper replied defensively.
“I did,” Tyr agreed, looking unrepentant about it.
“Goody for you,” Beka sniped at him, then looked back to
Harper and the girl clinging to him, still frowning.
Beka didn’t know what was going on, but women didn’t get cozy
with Harper like that unless they or someone they were associated with
wanted something from him. Beka
wanted him away from her so that she could get him to recognize that fact.
He wouldn’t do that while the girl was hanging all over him.
It didn’t escape Beka’s notice that the two of them were
clothed despite sharing a bed. Harper
was probably all excited about promises that had been made, about sex he
wasn’t going to get yet again. And
it wasn’t like Tyr went around procuring women for Harper.
Was he plotting something that he needed Harper’s help for?
Dylan was allowing this? That
didn’t sound like Dylan at all. “I
need you to look at something on the Maru,” Beka told Harper, thinking
that would at least get him away from the girl for long enough for them to
Before Harper could respond, one of Rommie’s holograms
appeared by them. “Harper
is on Medical Leave and should be in bed,” she declared.
She gave Harper a pointed look, nodding him towards his quarters as
she crossed her arms over her chest.
“I was in bed! I was even sleeping!” Harper complained, starting to comply
with the ship’s wishes.
“And he’ll be there again if I can talk to him
privately. Give us a
minute,” Beka insisted, waving everyone else away.
Rommie scowled at her, but said, “All right.
You have one minute,” then she blinked out again.
Harper didn’t look happy about it, but he said something
to his little bed buddy and got her to go into his quarters with Tyr.
“Okay, Beka, what?” he said once the door was fully shut.
“You’re not actually buying any of this are you?” Beka
asked, but didn’t give him a chance to respond.
She knew that Rommie would be counting the seconds so she wasn’t
going to waste any time. “Tyr
grabs some primitive girl and throws her at you, telling you she’s smart
and warm for your form and you’re not asking him questions?
He wants something from you. You
do know that, right?”
Harper gave her a look of confusion.
“What are you talking about, Beka?
I’ve known Dom for weeks...”
“Which is impossible, since you’ve only been missing a
few days,” Beka told him. Didn’t
he know that? How bad had his
head injury been?
“Uh, yeah, here, but I’ve been in the past, where about
a month went by,” Harper corrected her. “I spent that whole time with Dom and we fell in love and
we’re getting married. Tyr
doesn’t have a thing to do with it.
He just brought her aboard the Andromeda when that Barris guy took
the submarine she works on, the Seaview, and brought it here.
We have the Seaview in Hanger Bay Seven, so if you don’t believe
“Harper, are you even listening to yourself?
You spent a month somewhere even though only a few days have gone
by? You’re in love with
“Stop calling her that!” Harper said angrily.
Beka didn’t acknowledge his words.
Harper thought every woman that even looked at him was a perfect
goddess. She could only
imagine what he was thinking about one that had actually deigned to get
snugly with him. “Barris,
the evil alien that had one of his lackeys beat the tar out you, throws
you into the arms of this person and you think that she’s just great?
What’s wrong with you? Did
he scramble your brains when he whacked you in the head?
And is she this ‘master’ Barris has been talking about or is
just another one of the slaves?”
Harper let out a frustrated groan and ran his hand through
his hair as he looked down. “There
are no slaves in America when I got sent to.
I worked at the Nelson Institute for Admiral Nelson, but he
didn’t think he owned me or Dom or anybody else.
Ask him. He’s with
Dylan someplace. He’s a
cool guy and he thinks I’m brilliant and he treated me great, so can you
“Oh, sure he thinks your brilliant.
He’s a primitive too. And
I’ll bet he was just thrilled to have you working hard, making all sorts
of things for him, things from the future that he would never have had
without you. He threw the
girl at you to keep you pacified. Harper, you’re smarter than this. Some guy says he’s a Nelson and you think he’s that
Nelson and you sign your soul away to him for a little praise and a piece
of tail. You’ve let yourself be fooled before, especially when a
woman is in the mix, but this takes the cake.
When did you get this stupid?
What’s wrong with you? Can’t
you be two minutes out of my sight without landing yourself in trouble?”
Beka demanded, not sure what or who she was angry with, just knowing that
she was angry.
Harper looked back up at her, a hurt expression all over his
face. “That’s what you
think about me? That I’m
some stupid kid that needs his hand held?”
Beka suddenly regretted her words.
Plainly, she was the one that wasn’t thinking at the moment.
Why hadn’t she just kicked him while she was at it?
“The minute is up,” Andromeda announced, her hologram
appearing by them before Beka could respond.
“Not now!” Beka shouted at the hologram.
“Sure, now. I’m done,” Harper snapped, hurt and anger dripping from
the words. He didn’t turn
to his quarters, though, but pushed past Beka and marched off into the
“Seamus...” Beka started to call after him.
Go after him, she told herself, but she couldn’t seem to move.
“Leave me alone, Valentine!” he shouted back, not
pausing his furious march.
“Harper, you’re supposed to be in bed,” the hologram
told him firmly. He waved a
dismissive hand back at her, still not stopping. “Harper! You’re
under orders! Harper!”
The hologram disappeared and reappeared in front of Harper, but he
strode straight through it, Rommie letting out an indignant squeak when he
did. He turned off, out of
Beka’s sight, and she closed her eyes and clenched her fists.
She couldn’t believe she’d just done that.
“Go after him!” her brain shrieked at her.
She didn’t move, though, couldn’t make herself move.
This was how it worked between the two of them, her pride told her. She gave Harper grief, but she never apologized.
She was the boss. She was always right, even when she was wrong.
Harper would cool down and forget about the whole thing and later
they would be laughing together, but not about this.
No, what had just happened would never be mentioned again.
Then Harper’s cabin door opened and Tyr came out
demanding, “What did you do?”
“We had a fight,” Beka said with a shrug that was far
less concerned than she felt. “We
fight all the time. He’ll
get over it.”
Tyr rolled his eyes and growled, “If he lives that
long.” He turned into the
room and said something to the girl, who was out of sight at the moment
while panic started pushing all of Beka’s other confused emotions out of
“Why wouldn’t he...” she started.
“Barris wants him dead now, not just gone.
I was guarding him so that didn’t come to pass,” Tyr snarled at
her then shouted, “Andromeda! Where
“Judging by his present course, he’s heading to Obs.
Admiral Nelson is there at the moment.
I’ll inform him,” Andromeda replied, not bothering to
“Wait!” Beka said, not liking the sound of that at all.
These people were the ones confusing Harper, plainly promising him
things they weren’t going to give him.
The last thing she needed was for this Admiral Nelson person
talking to Harper while he was half awake and upset.
“Where’s Dylan? Dylan
“Dylan is talking to the Lechak Bon that you brought here,
trying to see if they can tell us anything helpful about Barris.
And he’s too far away. The
Admiral will be with Harper in a few seconds,” the Andromeda told her.
“Have him bring Harper back here,” Tyr instructed her as
the little girl appeared again. Beka glowered at her. This
was all her fault, she told herself as the primitive tugged at Tyr’s arm
and chattered at him.
“Who is this Admiral Nelson?
Who is this, for that
matter? Tell Harper’s
little playmate...” Beka started heatedly.
“Admiral Harriman Nelson,” Tyr interrupted her sternly,
his dark eyes suddenly boring into her, “the founder of the Nelson
Science Consortium, one of the most revered Earth scientists of all time,
and, as it happens, Harper’s most recent employer and mentor.
This,” he nodded to the little girl worriedly ringing the hem of
her shirt next to him, “is Doctor Dominique Babin, later to become
Doctor Dominique Charles, first Earth ambassador to the Commonwealth,
Harper’s beloved and betrothed, Admiral Nelson’s second in matters of
science aboard his vessel, the Seaview, which is currently in Hanger Bay
Seven. They are part of
Harper’s new family, which he gathered around himself when he thought
himself abandoned to the past.”
This news was startling, but Beka found herself letting out
a derisive snort, saying, “As if we’d give up on finding him!
It’s only been a few days...”
“For him, it wasn’t,” Tyr corrected her.
“It was several weeks. Harper
is a very immediate person. You
know this about him. He is
used to losing those he cares about and having to start anew.
That is what he did. Admiral
Nelson plainly looks on the boy with fatherly affection.
Doctor Babin loves him. He
will not willingly part company with them.
Dylan was hoping to convince Harper and his betrothed to stay with
us, at least for a while, when the Seaview and her crew return to their
proper time. Considering how
he much better he was treated there, I should think that is not a very
Tyr’s words spun in Beka’s head.
Harper would leave? He
would actually go away into the past and never return?
He couldn’t do that! Didn’t
he know that they were only being good to him as long as he was useful to
them? “He’s staying,”
Beka declared, giving the girl another glare.
Beka didn’t care who the little piece of tail was going to be. Harper
was not going anywhere with her. She’d
cast him aside as soon as the trap being laid for him snapped shut and
he’d be alone, lost and stuck in the past, a slave just like Barris had
said. Beka wasn’t going to
let that happen. “I’ll go
talk sense to him.”
Tyr frowned at her. “I
think perhaps you’ve said enough to Harper for the time being.”
He spoke briefly to the girl again, then looked up and said,
“Andromeda? Am I needed
A hologram appeared and said, “No.
Harper is with the Admiral.”
She said something to the girl, then looked to Beka, her expression
cross. Beka said nothing as
Tyr ushered the girl back into Harper’s quarters, the two of them
talking the girl’s monkey language, and the door shut again.
Beka was about to say something to Andromeda, but the hologram beat
her to it. “Harper was hurt
badly yesterday and his personal resources have been severely taxed.
Dylan has ordered that Harper be allowed to rest quietly for the
next few days. I have asked
the Admiral to bring him back to his quarters once he’s calmed Harper
down. Dylan and I don’t
want Harper to leave when we find a way to get the Seaview and her crew
home. He won’t stay without
Doctor Babin, so don’t upset either of them again.”
With that, she winked out.
Beka did a slow burn for a few seconds, then something
occurred to her and she smiled. She
had something that Harper needed at the moment, something that would make
him forget being yelled at. It
might even endear her to Harper’s little love interest, though Beka
didn’t actually care what his monkey girl thought.
She turned from his quarters and headed at a quick walk back to the
Maru. She’d straighten all
this out and things would go back to normal.
If she had to put up with Harper acting all lovey dovey with some
primitive to get that, it was fine. It
wasn’t like it would last and Beka wouldn’t even tell Harper she’d
told him so when it all fell apart and he came running to her for sympathy
like he always did. Beka
nodded to herself, thinking that things couldn’t get back to normal soon
|Belonging, Chapter One|
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|Other Fan Fiction Contents Page|