"Tyr, Rev, Trance, I need you in Command--now!" A richly-attired blond man grinned down at the captain of the Andromeda Ascendant, his handsome features frozen in a smug and insincere expression of regret. "Andromeda!"

A beautiful, olive-skinned brunette appeared on an adjacent screen. "Captain?" Machine though she was, Andromeda was far from emotionless, and the tense lines on her pixilated face bespoke anger and concern.

It was a hard voice that answered, a veneer of controlled calm making a boiling torrent of bitter fury. As much as he would like to punch through a bulkhead or throw something, this was a moment for cool calculation. "I want you to search the area for any record of the Maru's passage, Beka, or Harper. We'll trace their route as far as we can by conventional means, and then…"

"And then what?"

Before he could respond, footsteps echoed through nearby corridors, and three figures converged in the Command. A violet girl with a prehensile tail was the first to speak. "Have you heard from them? Andromeda's auto-chef is acting funny, and none of us know what to do. If Harper were here, I know he could fix it, and he was supposed to be back days ago." Trance's airy soprano rose, and worry began to show around her eyes.

A fearsome-looking monk gently rested a deadly claw on her velvet-clad shoulder. "You sounded urgent, Captain. I do not wish to unduly rush you, but the sooner you tell us of the trouble, the sooner we may begin seeking a solution."

The third arrival said nothing for the moment, dark eyes noting the image on the view screen coldly. If any of the party seemed to lack emotion, it was the former mercenary. He merely hid his well. The slender man onscreen was no friend of the Andromeda, and in light of the extended absence of his crewmates, could signify no glad tidings. A powerful instinct told Tyr that a battle was fast approaching.

Instead of directly answering his crew's concerns, the former High Guard officer ordered Andromeda to replay message she'd just received.

The blond man smiled warmly. "I can imagine your delight upon seeing me again, Captain, and I'm exceedingly sorry that I cannot greet you in person."

A gravelly voice identified the self-assure speaker they watched. "Charlemagne Bolivar. It seems he was not satisfied with your refusal to allow him to ally with us."

"But as you see, Captain, I have a pair of honored guests I must attend. Friends of yours, I believe. But enough of my personal affairs." The smile vanished and was replaced by a thoughtful frown. "The most unfortunate rumor has reached me today. My aide-de-camp informs me that your First Officer and Chief--let's be frank, your only--Engineer have disappeared on a routine supply mission. I send you this message to convey my heartfelt sympathy and hope that you will soon recover your crewmates." That grin returned, betrayed by mocking blue eyes. "Best of luck, Captain Rhade."

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+

Author's Note: All right, I couldn't say all of this at the beginning, because that end was supposed to be a surprise. Shock! Gasp!

Rating: PG-13, in case someone gets mad or lusty later on

Spoilers: Seeing as how this is AU, there aren't many--maybe a ref or two to events in S1. I should also say that this happens before the S1 finale. I know, I know--we don't meet Charlemagne until S2, but after all, things happen a little differently in alternate universes. It's even before "The Honey Offering", cos Charley hasn't married Elsbett yet, as you'll discover later.

Pairing: I really don't want to reveal this, but it's Beka/somebody. I want to say that I like both possible pairings in this one (all three, if you count a rather improbable one). Mua-ha-ha-ha-ha.

Summary: Charlemagne Bolivar, Beka and Harper, and Captain Rhade tries to get them back. Beware for people anguishing over Beka, as well as Rhade sayings things suspiciously similar to what we heard in "The Unconquerable Man". What can I say, I lurves me angsty Rhade.

Gold stars for my ref's which come from lack of imagination.

Words supposed to be in italics are between /'s.

And most importantly…

Dedicated to Mary Rose. I had the idea for this fic waaaaay back 'round "The Unconquerable Man", but without her similarly themed fic, I would never had written this. Also, I have the utmost respect for any Beka/Dylan who will put up with my relentless Tyr/Beka. Finally, she's just a great writer! Seriously, her Andromeda/Forever Knight crossover fics are hilarious. Check it out after you've read and reviewed this. And check out lots of other fics… but after mine!!