* * *
“You can’t just say ‘please stop’ to someone like Barris
and actually expect him to listen,” Lee said to the alien named Nowan
for what had to be the fifth time. The
aliens gave each other the same confused look and he sighed.
They were getting nowhere exceedingly fast.
“Captain Crane is right,” the dark haired girl named
Rommie said. She spoke in
English and somehow the alien understood even though he hadn’t ten
minutes ago. Apparently, he
had a gift for learning languages. “We’ve
explained what Barris has been doing.
We need to know why so that we can get him to stop, but he won’t
tell us anything. And why
would he want Harper gone or dead? Is
there anything in your oral history that might explain it?”
Nowan shook his head. “No.
It is as I’ve told you. That
is all we know.”
“Then you need to convince him to tell us,” Lee said,
trying to be encouraging to these mild mannered beings.
“You can do it. You understand him better than we could hope to.”
As far as he was concerned, he already knew Barris way too well.
Nowan didn’t look very encouraged, unfortunately.
“According to our histories, Barris is notorious for not sharing
our ideals. I fear he will
not listen to me any more than he listened to those that tried to steer
him from this dark course eons ago.”
“But you’re gift is talking to people,” Ro said.
“You’ll find the right words.
It’s what you do.”
Nowan sighed. “I hope not to disappoint you.”
“Then let’s try this again,” Lee said, ready to
rehearse what Nowan planned to say when a blond woman burst into the room.
She gave the scene before her a frown, then marched up to Nowan and
said something rather harsh sounding to him in a language Lee didn’t
recognize. A hologram of
Rommie appeared, looking cross, and said something to the blond woman.
The golden skinned alien girl put in her two cents as the other
aliens started to rise. “What
now?” Lee asked in frustration.
“The boy that Barris took is here, but he is injured,”
Nowan said as his compatriots gathered around him and the women continued
to argue. “Wemrik will heal
“Harper,” Lee sighed, rubbing his forehead.
He’d known that Harper had been hurt from what the Admiral had
been saying and he didn’t begrudge the kid any help these frustrating
creatures could give him, but did it have to be right this second?
“Okay, fine. Send
Wemrik with... whoever this is,” he waved a hand at the angry blond
woman, “and we’ll get back to work.”
“Captain Valentine and Wemrik cannot understand each
other, nor would builder Harper understand anything Wemrik said to him.
We want no further misunderstandings,” Nowan explained.
Lee scrubbed a hand down his face, wondering why nothing was
ever simple. “Fine.
Let’s go get this over with,” he said, rising himself.
Maybe the Admiral was wherever Harper was.
Dom certainly was. Lee
was going to get everyone gathered up in one place then suggest that they
move this circus to the Seaview. At
least he could contain things there, not have people wandering all over
the place. Maybe he’d
actually feel a little more in control of all this insanity there, he
thought as the women of the Andromeda led the parade off, still arguing.
* * *
Nelson was following Hunt along the corridor when the
Andromeda’s voice suddenly rang out, “Dylan, it seems that everyone is
en route to Harper’s quarters.”
Hunt stopped short and his shoulders sagged.
“Why? Why would everyone be going to Harper’s quarters?” he
asked, sounding as though he really didn’t want to know the answer to
“Beka wants one of the Children of the Maker to heal
Harper and Captain Crane decided that they all should go,” the ship
replied. That confused
Nelson. Why would they all
need to go? They should be
staying put, not traipsing around the ship.
Of course the part about the alien being able to heal Harper was
intriguing, but Nelson knew that such things usually carried a price.
He didn’t care to think what the cost of this might be and Harper
was recovering just fine on his own.
“I don’t want the Children of the Maker or Lechak Bon or
whatever they’re calling themselves anywhere near Harper,” Hunt said,
apparently feeling Nelson’s misgivings himself. “Tell everyone to stay where they are and I’ll meet them
there to talk things over.” There
was no response and Dylan’s brow knit.
“Andromeda?” he said uncertainly.
Still there was no answer. “Oh,
things just keep getting better and better,” Hunt grumbled, as he turned
and started back in the direction they’d come from at a good pace.
Nelson followed, suddenly worried.
They’d barely gone a dozen steps when what looked to be the
remains of Barris’ crew appeared before them.
“Oh, great,” Hunt muttered, drawing his force lance.
“Somehow, I think Barris doesn’t want us going this
way,” Nelson said, following suit.
“I’ve had just about enough of worrying what Barris
wants. How about you?” Hunt
“Oh, more than enough,” Nelson said with a nod.
Almost as one, they opened fire on the undead aliens before them.
They worked well together. Nelson
had discovered this when they had pushed to the Control Room on the
Seaview. This time, though,
the odds against them were overwhelming and after the first few of Barris’
crew fell to ash before them, the rest rushed forward.
Nelson and Hunt tried to stay back to back and take out as many of
the enemy as possible, but sheer numbers dragged them both down. Nelson kept firing, keeping the beam of his weapon away from
where he was almost certain Hunt was, but finally it was ripped from his
grasp as strong hand pinned his arm to the ground, others soon grabbing
him all over, immobilizing him. He
roared in defiance, trying to pull away or push the creatures from him,
but they were just too strong. He
could hear Hunt’s weapon for a while longer than his own, but all too
soon, it fell silent as well.
Nelson was sure that they were doomed to whatever fate
Barris had planned for them, but suddenly one of the ship’s holograms
appeared. At least Nelson had
thought it was a hologram until she raised a force lance of her own and
destroyed some of the aliens while shouting, “Dylan, are you all
“Yes, for now,” Hunt grunted, then with a show of
superhuman strength, he flung one of the aliens trying to pin his legs off
of him. Nelson struggled,
still to no avail, then remembered, that Hunt had said he was stronger
than a normal human because of where he had been born.
If this was the man’s idea of a little, Nelson hesitated to thing
what a lot might entail.
It was then that ten of the aliens swarmed toward the woman
that had come to their rescue. Nelson
was horrified. She wasn’t
much bigger than Doctor Babin. She’d
be crushed! However, she met
the leader of the pack with a fist to the face and sent him flying back
into those following. She
flew into action, knocking her attackers back with a display of martial
arts and blasting some more into ash.
Nelson was stunned. She
couldn’t be human. She was
far too strong! Dylan somehow
fought his way free of the aliens holding him and he moved to help Nelson
get free as well. Everything
moved so quickly that Nelson didn’t fully know how he got his force
lance back, but he did and before long, he was standing breathless in the
corridor, surrounded by smoldering piles of ash, Hunt and the woman there
with him, everyone rumpled but basically unharmed.
“Admiral Nelson, are you injured?” the woman asked, her
voice exactly the same as the hologram’s and the ship’s.
That was when Nelson realized who, or rather what, she was.
She was the ship’s avatar, the android that Harper had built.
Nelson almost couldn’t believe it.
She looked so human!
“Yes, yes. I’m
fine,” Nelson blustered, tucking in a trailing end of his undershirt.
He stopped in mid motion, remembering where his shirt was.
“Seamus, Dominica...” he started, growing instantly worried.
The android got a faraway look for a second, then said,
“But for how long. Come
on!” Hunt said, then took off at a run.
Nelson chased after him, the android keeping pace.
Nelson suddenly wished he had never left Harper’s quarters with
Hunt. Certainly Anasazi was watching over Nelson’s young people
and hadn’t let anything happen so far, but Barris had made that ominous
statement earlier. Nelson
cursed under his breath, hoping that matters hadn’t changed.
If Harper and Dominica were all right when they got back, Nelson
vowed he wouldn’t leave them again until Barris was dealt with as
permanently as his minions and they were all home again.
* * *
|Belonging, Chapter One|
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|Other Fan Fiction Contents Page|