Ok you luck people, here it is: the final part of the 'Face the Music, Intolerance, Unexpected News' story-arc. Sorry it's taken so long to start, but I have been writing other stuff you know.

Chrysalis, part 1

Dylan banged on the door again, "Look, I don't want them here anymore then you do, but orders are orders, you know that." Silence was his only answer. He tried again, "Look, you can't stay in there for the next three days: you have duty shifts." "I've taken a short leave of absence: You signed the flexi yourself." Came back a voice from the other side of the hatch.

Beka stood leaned against the bulkhead a few meters away, "Dylan, I think you should try and understand where she's coming from: last time we had a run-in with the New Salem government, they torched the two of us, threatened to blow-up the ship and tried to kill her. I think she's well within her rights to be a little apprehensive about this visit of theirs." Dylan nodded, "I understand that, but Stark has been over thrown, and the new government is more tolerable towards AI's."

Andromeda's holographic form appeared next to Dylan, "She's not the only one who's unhappy with this: both myself and Andrew have grave misgiving as to this whole endeavour." Dylan felt surrounded, "Grate: my wife has barricaded herself in her quarters with our son, my first officer thinks she's entitled to do so, my ship's AI and it's new Avatar say the same thing. And I thought I was captain!"

The hatched opened, "Look Dylan, I understand that this whole thing was pressed upon you by the admiralty and all, but I am not leaving this room until they are off the ship. End of discussion. And if Tyr asks, I've only borrowed his Gauss-rifle: he can have it back later." Dylan smiled at his wife, "Look, Rommie, you can't stay in there for the next few days. For one thing, where will I sleep?" Rommie looked at him, a serious expression on her face, "Guest quarters." Andromeda looked up, "Dylan, the ambassadors ship has just docked." Dylan went to say something to Rommie, but the door slammed shut in his face. He gave up, "Ok, but I'm not going to enjoy this one bit without her there."

The honour guard formed up just inside the main airlock, and Dylan had to admit that the new crew where shaping out just fine. Well, all but one: at the end of the line stood Andrew, the ship's new Avatar, his forcelance out and extended. Dylan walked up to him, "I don't think you're be needing that today." Andrew looked at him, "History says otherwise: these people have proven that they have no respect for AI's, and have murdered hundreds of us." Dylan shock his head, "Things have changed: if they still did that, they'd never have been considered for membership in the commonwealth. Trust me, you won't need the forcelance." The Avatar looked like he was about to say something, but instead just collapsed his weapon and pout it back in its holster. Dylan nodded, "Good. Ok, let's meet the ambassador."

TBC