This is dedicated to lots and lots of people, but I'm going to name Qwerty, cos she really reminded me to get re-started on this a couple of days ago with a very subtle hint


...or If Harper Hadn't Drunken Himself Unconscious That Night
Really, you pick the title you like best

Rating: For now, PG-13...if it ups, I'll warn you before the chapter

Summary: Finding Harper happily inebriated one night, Beka remembers a time he was in a similar state and ruined for the Maru's crew a very lucrative job opportunity. On her way to Command, she wonders what might've happened... and the story goes from there.

Pairing: When I begin to read a fanfic, I know I like to know this, so I'll tell yous-this is a good old-fashioned Tyr/Beka

Spoilers: Except for the first chapter, barely long enough to deserve the name, this is completely AU, so there aren't any spoilers, discounting revelations of past events we might've learned in recent eps. I don't even think there are any of those. Still, I'll set it before S2 finale, cos in the little present Beka there is, she doesn't think about anything dramatic that's happened since then, but it could very well be anytime.


Enjoy, read, and REVIEW!!! (or creepy smilies will get you when you sleep!)

I humbly beg your patience as I write this !

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oh, and there are a few nods and ref's throughout, cos I'm too uncreative to think of some things on my own Gold stars to those who spot them!


Premier!


"Why do you do this to yourself, Harper?" The short blond shielded his eyes as he squinted at the woman speaking.


"Aww, this is nothin'," he mumbled. "Just stop shouting, all right?"


Beka exchanged a look with the ship's avatar. He'd requested for her to lower her voice twice already, and if she spoke any quieter, he wouldn't be able to hear her. "Thanks, Rommie. Uh, dump him in a corner somewhere; he'll be fine in a few hours."


With one last disdainful twist of her mouth, the android nodded and unceremoniously did just that. "I'm glad someone knows what to do with him. I'll see you in Command." Technically, the A.I. was seeing her that very moment, but Beka simply shot a brief smile at the exotic persona.


"Hey, boss, isn't she seein' us right now?" Beka looked over her shoulder at the puddle of Harper pooled near her bed. He struggled to pull himself into something resembling a sitting position. It struck her as eerie how he echoed her thoughts at times.


"You know, you're lucky we're not on Tanchico Drift, or instead of Rommie, that might've been some cheap hooker who thoroughly investigated your pockets before deciding you weren't worth anything and only brought you back at all because you were scaring away the customers." The sad thing in all this was the situation Beka described was not in the least hypothetical.


"Come on, why do you always hafta bring that up?" He moaned pathetically, but Beka suspected the cause to be the level of illumination in her room much more than her words and did not pity him whatsoever.


"I bring it up because not only could have been killed, but we had the chance to make an unbelievably huge score. Not the big score," she admitted, "but I could've fixed the Maru once and for all and finally paid off…most of my dad's debts." The Commonwealth gig wasn't helping much in that arena; most of the guys she owed weren't now or ever would be law-abiding citizens of any government.


"It's like a freakin' casino here, Beka, think you could turn it down a little? Besides, if we had made the score, you wouldn't have had to look up ol' Gerentex so you could pay off…well…everybody."


Beka glared. "Are you telling me it's your fault I had to track down that rat-faced headcase?!"


Harper giggled. "I think that rhymed. But look at it this way; it's my fault you met Dylan and the gorgeous-beyond-words Andromeda Ascendant." After an unsteady wave of his hand, gesturing at the walls of that very ship around them, he dozed off in the same state Rommie had found him in Machine Shop Six.


Beka threw her hands up. The engineer would claim credit for the Big Bang, given a sliver of a chance. She had a shift in Command soon, but as she left her quarters to make the short journey through Andromeda's corridors, so unlike the Maru's considerably less pristine, she allowed her mind a few minutes to wander. What if Harper hadn't indulged in one of his drinking binges famous enough to have earned a line in Alehouses to Watering Holes: Barhopping the Best of the Batch? She'd had to leave that very night, after he'd racked up a tab of a record amount for a single person in a single night with, of course, no way to begin paying it.


The fact that he still had a warrant for public lewdness from that misadventure didn't help either. He insisted the woman had practically begged him to perform an impromptu full monty, but pressing charges wasn't the usual mode of expressing such gratitude.


She remembered that night as her feet automatically followed the route to Command she now knew by heart, chuckling and rolling her eyes as she recalled Harper's pleas for permission to visit the Taphouse of Tanchico. Usually, her crewmembers could do whatever they liked on these drift stops, but after the happenings at Malkier, Beka had become a bit more leery of the goings of her crewmates.