Title: The Prideless

Pairings: Tyr/Lex. Slight Dylan/Rommie, Harper/Trance, but it's not the main focus. No Beka/Charlemagne, even though in reality, James Marsters made my list of Top Ten Most Perfect Guys. Keith Hamilton Cobb is number two. There is no way you can say he is not the most perfect guy you have ever seen, aside from Orlando Bloom without the blond wig.

Disclaimer: Why would you sue me? Really? I'm a fourteen year old Freshman who has resorted to writing fan fiction since I have no chance in hell with Keith, and you have to remind me YET AGAIN that he doesn't belong to me. Neither do the rest of the Andromeda cast, though I do own the Destruction of Illusions book and ten episodes on DVD. Does that count for anything?
Oddly, when an armored Jaguar vessel intercepted my ship, the first thing I thought was, It's about time. I had been smuggling their goods out from under their noses for five months now, and they had been pretty much clueless about the whole thing. I even smuggled two of Charlemagne's personal concubines out of system, just to prove to my Than partner, Temptations of Sky, that I could.

But now was not the time for inner gloating. I unstrapped myself from the pilot's chair and hit the shipwide emergency signal, the high pitched beeping making me wince, as I knew it would the boarding party. The Jaguar don't kill right out, not when they can torture you first. Quickly, my fingers flying over the console, I erased my ship's memory, eradicating all information about Sky and my other contacts. Then I shut off the AG field generators.

I kept a tight grip on the bar near my head as my feet lifted off the deck, at least until I got one boot hooked around another bar near the floor. The Pariah's Secret, as I had christened my livelihood, hadn't originally been equipped with an AG field. Or weapons, or a slipstream drive. No, my ship had begun life as a planet-to-moon cargo vessel, freighting inorganic supplies from Calypso Prime to it's moon observatory. Then I stole it, and added everything nessicary for a functional intersystem cargo vessel, just for the sheer pleasure of building a ship from scratch. But the Pariah still had the handbars for easy movement during freefall.

I felt the shudder of contact as the Jaguar vessel latched onto my hull, scowling as I heard the docking clamps squeak. I needed to get those fixed, but oh well. I pulled my gauss gun out of it's thigh holster and flicked it to a medium setting. With luck, I would incapacitate the boarders, not kill them. The Pariah needed a new AP valve, and the ransom money would more than pay for it.

There was hiss as the airlock opened, and I heard cursing as they realized there was no gravity. I allowed myself a momentary grin before shooting around the corner at the airlock, needing less than a second to line my target up. One down.

The remaining three or four shot back, but by then I was safely behind the wall again, unable to control the grin as the sound of their return fire shot adrenaline into my system, my boneblades bristling instinctivley. I waited.

The firing stopped, and instantly I was out again, firing off two shots at once, taking down two more Jaguars. But the precious time I took lining that second shot up was just a little too much, and I took a stunbolt in the shoulder. The last thing I remember is mentally berating myself for getting cocky, then my vision swam black.

I woke up some time later, head and shoulder aching, and was distressed to find myself tied to a chair with energy-sucking plasma coils.

"Awake, are we?" an all-too-familiar drawled. I brought my head up to meet the blue eyes of Charlemagne Bolivar himself. Dammit. Could this get any worse?

It could. The Arch-duke of Jaguar Pride stepped closer and lifted my chin in his hand, brushing away a lock of my brown hair almost lovingly. My skin crawled at the contact and it took all my will-power not to flinch away and get sapped by the plasma coils. I let my pent-up energy flame into my eyes, which by all rights should have lit the pompus blond fop's head on fire, if looks could kill. Oh, if they could.

"So, my favorite purple-eyed female has been double-crossing us, have we?" He sounded faintly amused and I twitched in indignation. "What shall I do with you, my little rogue?" He bent down and set his lips to mine, and I barely supressed the instinct to kick him in a very tender place. I settled, instead, for savagely biting his lower lip.

He jerked away, one hand over his mouth. I spat his blood out on the floor next to his expensive leather shoes. "Kill me," I told him. Please. Anything but staying in this room with this parody of a Nietzschean male, so pale and thin and weak. Pride Jaguar's men had long ceased to possess anything resembling physical strength, supposedly focusing on the mental abilities. Though, if their Arch-duke was any indication, their mental stature left something to be desired. Bolivar had to have know that he couldn't just kiss me like that without suffering some sort of bodily harm, no matter how tightly he tied me up.

Two other Jaguars, apparently Bolivar's honor guard, chuckled at their leader's foiled attempt. In an attempt to regain respect and composure, he snarled his next two sentences. "You have two choices, Polaris. You can agree to mate with me and father my children, or," his voice softened dangerously, "You can spend the rest of your life in one of our re-education centers."

I didn't even consider it. While my instincts told me to have children, prolong my genetic heritage, I knew that any children fathered by Charlemagne Bolivar wouldn't be worth acknowledging. They might even be blond and blue-eyed.

So I was escorted to a re-eductation center as two medics fixed Bolivar's lip, which, turns out, I had bitten clean through. There was no chance of escape, since I had six armored guards around me, some of which were probably non-organics doctored up to look like Jaguars, all carrying guns the size of my arm that probably didn't have a stun setting.

Let me take a moment to explain the term "re-education center" for those of you who've been living under a rock your whole lives. The idea is, lock 'em up and forget about them. Well, the Jaguars take that idea to the extreme. The facility more resembles a dog pound than a prison. They literally lock the prisoners up in tiny little cells and leave them there to rot away. They only feed them because starvation kills them too fast. You get the picture.

My cell was probably four feet square, set on top of another cell, which was empty. They stuffed me in and locked the door, then stamped out before to had a chance to orient myself.

"Welcome," a dry voice said from across the aisle. I pulled myself into a cross-legged position and looked over. A withered old man gazed back, little more than skin loosely draped on bone. He offered me an ironic smile.

I returned it. "I feel welcome."

"What'd you do?"

I snorted. "Arch-duke Bolivar doesn't take rejection very well."

He cackled. "Atta girl. Glad to see at least one female knows bad genetic material when she sees it. The name's Simon." He offered me a salute instead of a handshake.

I grinned. "I'm Lex."

"Good to see a pretty face every now and then," he said with the toothless grin of an old man. "Bolivar so rarely locks up the females."

"Yeah, well. I bloodied him in front of his men. He had to."

Simon cackled again and I sighed inwardly, not especially looking forward to spending the rest of my life listening to that dry, weezing laugh.

Okay, guys. Tell me what you think. The Andromeda peeps will show up in the next chapter, never fear. Now review! I want lots of feedback. I know it sounds cliche when I say it's what keeps me writing, but it really is! If you don't review, I sink into a depression and don't post the next chapter because I'm too busy being depressed...

Note: I have nothing against blond/blue-eyed people. I am a blond/blue-eyed person! Lex just has her opinions about things. Don't let her offend you.