A big hug to all that reviewed it wasn't my best story so thanks for sticking with me through it.

thanks eljay for the brainstorming session... and the secret chocolate inspiration :D

now tag you're all it get writing!! FEED THE NEED!

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It was like being inside a seashell. That sound you hear when you hold it against your ear. It's like water but not quite. It had a hollow, echoy sound. This was Harper's world.

He couldn't move, he couldn't see, he couldn't hear except for that seashell echo.

There was a flicker. Maybe he could see, maybe it was just dark. He slowly started to test his body. He hurt.everywhere. As he started to move his lungs seized. He thought for a brief moment that he may never breath again. Eventually his lungs relaxed and he coughed and coughed. Smoke. It was dark and smoky. Where was he?

Slowly his memories came back. He was in engineering. There was an explosion. Beka.. Slowly, he started to get to his feet. It seemed to take forever but he finally made it. He had to get out and get to the cockpit. It might be too late for that. He blew up the AP manifold. He was surprised he hadn't created a hull breach.

He hadn't thought to look for a leak in the manifold cover. It was all right yesterday. "Crap! The universe really does hate me."

He ran his hand through his hair. He let out a slightly insane laugh when some it came off in his hand. It didn't matter. not anymore. He staggered out of engineering. He had no clue where Bobby was, the Maru was on fire, and Beka was probably dead. Hopelessness enveloped him like a blanket.

He coughed as he made his way down the hall towards the command area. His mind was numb and for every step he took forward he took two sideways. He surprised himself when he actually made it to the cockpit. He couldn't remember why he had come.

Suddenly Bobby was in front of him. Why hadn't he heard him? Bobby was saying something he looked like he was yelling. Harper screamed back. He yelled and yelled but no noise came from his mouth.

Bobby grabbed him and was shaking him. It didn't matter.he was just so damn tired. Suddenly Bobby was gone again. He just needed to stop for a minute. He let his knees fold as he sat on the steps between the pilot's chair and the rest of the command centre. He rested his head on the safety rail. He just wanted to close his eyes just for a moment.

There was a hand on his shoulder. He was being dragged back towards the smoke. He moved slightly. Bobby had been dragging him and must have felt him move. He was dropped. Bobby was talking again but he still couldn't hear what he was saying. Bobby must of realized it to because suddenly he thrust a fire extinguisher and a wrench in to Harper's hand. Bobby pointed towards the fire. His lips were moving again.

Harper dropped both the things in his hands. Screw bobby .they were all dead anyway.

Bobby grabbed him and dragged them further down the hall. Beka lay at the entrance to engineering. She was awake! She wasn't moving but she was AWAKE!"

Harper throat contracted and he was sure he made a noise even if he hadn't heard it. He took a step forward. He needed to see if she was okay.

Bobby's arm shot forward barring his way. He had his gauss drawn and was pointing it at Beka. Bobby then glared at Harper.

He got the message loud and clear. put the fire out and fix the manifold or Beka was toast.

Harper had had enough. He was so tired. He just wanted to curl up on his bunk. He was tired of the pain and tired of the fear. How dare this bastard just come in and destroy their lives. What gave him the right!

Harper gave a low guttural growl the resonated in his chest and he dove forward. He got between the gun and Beka. Using the fire extinguisher as a club he swung it at Bobby's head. Bobby didn't react fast enough. His knees crumpled and he was out cold.

Harper watched him fall passively. "I've wanted to do that for a long time."

He reached forward pulling the gauss gun from Bobby's nerveless fingers. He tossed the fire extinguisher in to engineering and shot it with the gauss gun. Fire retardant sprayed wildly around the room.

He glanced at Beka. "Are you okay?"

She managed a small nod. "Hurry," she rasped.

Harper turned and ran as best as he could towards the cockpit. It seemed forever before he reached the command deck.

Damn, this ship was a lot bigger then he thought.

Finally, he stood in front of the same panel Beka used to kill the Maru. He swayed slightly.

They had just wanted a vacation. a break from running cargo but Bobby had forced them in to this game. Harper knew that Beka would never kill the Maru. It was just a scam to fool her beloved ex boyfriend.

They had did it once before. A bounty hunter had been after Beka. They had been running some illegal cargo then. For weeks they had dodged that guy. The Maru was getting blown to hell. Beka decided the only way that freaking bounty hunter would ever leave the Maru and her crew alone was if Beka was dead.

So Beka faked her own death.

Harper hadn't liked it then and he liked it even less now. To fake her death she had to practically kill herself. She took that drug and it masked her life signs, slowed her heart.paralyzed her so she couldn't flinch or react. She said that if she pretended to be dead then they would be safe. What Beka didn't understand was that she was a part of them so completely. When she wasn't there with her guidance, her wisdom. the crew of the Maru were cogs without a machine.

Without Beka things always went to hell.

That wasn't to say when Beka was around everything was problem free.hardly. But, those problems just always seemed to work them selves out. She gave them the strength to get through what ever they needed to. In all senses of the word she was his captain.

So when she took the drug this time Harper had been terrified. Last time she got really sick after she woke up.she almost died. He needed her to get through this. Plus, the drug was acting funny this time.it was taking much longer to wear off.

He shook himself back to the present. He was just so damn lighted headed. He had to do this now.he couldn't worry about what would happen later.

For a guy with a dataport Bobby sure was stupid. Beka had just released the spare parts from one of the cargo bays in to space and then turned off the main power. Harper flipped a couple of switches and the Maru powered up. Now only one last thing to do.

Harper hobbled over to the slipstream chair. He sat down and activated a distress beacon to Rev. By the time it cleared the Maru Harper was already unconscious.

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The light was bright and warm. Almost like the sun at the beach. There was noise. But this time it didn't quite sound like the inside of a shell.

Harper's eyes opened slowly. They felt dry but pasted together.

Images swam in to focus. Beka and Rev were there. Suddenly he felt frightened. Where was Bobby? He felt his mouth move but no sound seemed to come out. Why couldn't he hear!?

A furry hand was on his chest then. Keeping him from leaping from the bed. Beka quickly typed something on a flexi and held it for him to see.

"You were to close to the exsplosion. It's temporary, your hearing will come back."

Harper's mouth moved again. Was she okay? Did bobby hurt her? He never even thought to lock him up! His heart started to race. No, no, no!

There was something cold on his neck. Rev must have given him something.everything grew foggy and he slept again.

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He was awake even before he was aware of it. He felt a soft hand on his forehead. Someone was brushing the hair of his forehead back. The hand moved away briefly and was replaced by a cool cloth. It felt really good.

"Be..ka?" He croaked.

She smiled at him. "How's my big Hero? Can you hear okay now?"

He nodded. "Better everything still sounds a bit funny. How come I'm sick and your not?"

"Because you're always sick and got the crap kicked out of you. I was sick but I got better. It's been two weeks since Bobby was here."

He groaned. "That long? He didn't hurt you did he.I mean anymore?"

He must have woken up before either of us. He took one of the escape pods and left. He left me a note. "He said he still loved me and that he never meant to hurt me. He had only wanted some of his friends.the Mugani. He was said he was sorry it all got out of hand."

Harper swore. "And you buy that crap!"

"No,.well not really. I know I would do anything to help my friends.maybe he was just desperate."

"Gawd, Beka!"

"What!? Harper ."

"Just forget it Beka."

"Listen, okay. He's gone. I don't want you to get upset. You're still getting better. He's never coming back so it doesn't matter."

"You've said that before."

She took the cloth from his head and wrung it out. She placed it back on his head a little less gently then before. There was a scowl on her face.

"Beka.I'm sorry. I just .you.I don't want to see you hurt again. I've almost lost you more times then I can count and I don't want to go through that again. It's to hard." He tried to turn away he didn't want to look at her any more.

She pulled him back. "Harper, I can't promise I won't risk my life again.especially if it means saving you or the Maru. I will however never take that crap again. You're right I shouldn't have done it. Besides, being dead sucks."

Harper snickered.

"Anyway," she continued, "you're the real hero. I saw you slug Bobby then put that fire out. Harper, you were amazing! Just like a guy from a Holo- novel!"

"Really?"

"Harper, it was truly inspiring."

"Well.I always had a good right hook. Bobby is big but you know he's no match for this!" Harper taped his own chest. "I probably could have taken him even with both hands tied behind my back! Besides.." Harper continued to rattle on.

"I'm never going to here the end of this am I?" Interrupted Beka.

"Nope." Harper grinned. "You better get used to it."

The end.