Disclaimer: Well, I'm still poor so what do you think?

Note: Hopefully this story will be more up to par now that I know my audience. (Probably sucks worse than the last one....is that even possible?) I'm not going to call them chapters because, let's face it, they aren't really. I'm going to instead refer to them has 'scenes'. My last English teacher told me she thought my writings would be better written has manuscripts of sorts (that don't involve several gay and tit and beer jokes..hey wait, I didn't agree to that). I don't know if I believe that, but I'll try anything once..that didn't sound right...oh well.

If those of you that like me and/or my humour pieces could wish me luck it would be much appreciated. My friend Amy and I are now officially going to be writing a LORD OF THE RINGS PARODY entitled THE WHORE OF THE RINGS. Writing has already begun (WILT/SHARPE ENTERPRISES, that's my and Amy's company name), a production crew has been assigned (POUR IT ON PRODUCTIONS, me and a few kids that are computer geniuses), and casting will begin in August of next year (that's 2004). Any of you who live in or around LAKELAND, FLORIDA and wish to be involved please email me at ChangeofHearts7@aol.com for any information. Please note that the date has already been pushed back once because of production complications and all dates are subject to change by the directors/writers/producers or any offices there of. If involved you will be asked to sign a waver negating the involvement of Wilt/Sharpe Enterprises and Pour It On Productions and all of their staff and workers in any incidents that may or may not have caused injury or emotional abuse to you in any way, translation, - you get hurt or you get your feelings hurt, you can deal with it yourself, don't come crying to us about it. Please also note that we ARE in fact dumb high school kids and that the finished product will most likely look like shit..but it should still be fun..didn't you guys ever see M. Night Sha-sha- --mama's (whatever) first movie thing?....well it sucked worse than I'm sure this will so....wait where was I going with this?.....never mind.

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OBLIGATIONS

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"A man said to the universe:

'Sir, I exist!'

'However,' replied the universe,

'The fact has not created in me

A sense of obligation.'"

-Stephen Crane

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Act One: Scene One: Melodrama

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"Alright, come on, Maru, you can do it."

Beka Valentine kept her eyes glued to the viewscreen. The Eureka Maru was creaking and groaning under the pressure from the slipstream strings holding it.

"Uh, Boss?" Harper's shaky voice came from the com beside her.

"Almost Harper."

"Boss, we gotta drop out. The AP tanks can't take the heat." He was about to make a remark about how they weren't even in the kitchen when the ship suddenly lurched back into normal space.

"Warning, warning. AP tanks are over loading. Please proceed with emergency venting."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah."

He quickly ran to the other end of the engine room and turned a red knob. Smoke filled the room but the alarms shut off. He waved his hand in front of his face and coughed.

"Boss, if we don't get these lines repaired soon-"

"-I know Harper! I'm working on it. Just do what you can."

The com snapped off loudly.

"Yes, Sir." He said bitterly. "Didn't have to hang up on me." He turned around to face another console. "Lalalala I tried so hard and she tore my feelings like I had none-"

"-Harper, we're stopping at Kailana Drift tomorrow morning I should be able to get you a couple lead lines to replace some of those."

"You got it, Boss Bug."

Beka smiled. She didn't really like being so short with Harper...when it wasn't something he was directly responsible for anyway. He leaned back in the pilot's chair and drew one leg up on it and hugged her knee.

Harper snuck up behind her slowly and quietly. He'd had years of practice sneaking up on Nietzscheans.

"Harper, I know you're there."

"But I-"

"-your tools clank loud enough for a deaf Margty to hear."

Harper paused for a beat. "Margtians don't have ears, Bek."

She turned around. "Kinda the point...Zelazney."

"Hey! What are you middle-naming me for?"

Beka laughed. "Ice cream."

"Huh?"

"You asked why, it was a rouse to get you to get me ice cream."

"How was that a rouse?"

"It just was..trust me."

Harper just looked at her.

"Well?"

"What?"

"Go get me ice cream."

He licked his lips kind of nervously and shifted a little. Beka knew what that meant. She tried to keep any form of pity from her eyes. He'd only been on board for a little over eight months and this had already happened several times.

"Come on." She grabbed his arm and pulled him back to the kitchen.

He stood just in the doorway and watched her. She got a carton out of the freezer and some spoons from the cupboard and sat at the table. She looked up at him and gestured towards the chair across from her. He went and sat down slowly. She handed him a spoon and opened to carton. She took a big scoop and ate it. He watched her do this before trying for himself. He took a smaller scoop and licked at it. His eyes went wide and he ate the rest on his spoon hurriedly before going for more. Beka chuckled at him.

"Harper, I eat this stuff just about every day and you never once wondered what it was?"

"Sure, I wondered, just didn't figure it was my business if you wasn't going to share is all."

"Harper, I told you when Bobby left that you could have anything on board."

"With a whole list of exceptions too, so I figured that was just you being nice but not really meaning it, you know?"

She looked at him. "I do, Harper. I understand." She reached over and whapped him across the head.

"Hey!"

She took a big scoop. "This," she pointed to it and stated simply, "is food. Food is for eating. You can eat anything you want unless I specifically tell you otherwise. I told you that I don't want some starving little sewer rat living on my ship and I meant it."

"Okay, okay...geez."

Beka just smiled and they both went back to eating their ice cream in peace..relatively.

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End Notes: Well that did suck....oh yeah and please review..blah.

"If you can read this you are probably not dead yet. -The Management."

-from Johnny the Homicidal Maniac #7, a sign on one of Johnny's walls after he tortures one of his 'followers'.