Authors note: there seems to be a little confusion as to what Pride Gaheris & Telemachus Rhade belong to, so I'm going to go with what I was told over at Ex Isle.
"The world is a fine place, and worth fighting for."
Tyr stood at his duty station on the bridge of the Balance of Judgment, brooding. The crew knew well enough to leave him be when he was in this sort of mood: only the ship's AI was able to deal with their Captain at times like this.
His gaze fell on the flexi in his hand: Freya, his second wife, had given birth to a daughter and he had not been there. Instead he was playing nursemaid to a man obsessed with a past that was best left forgotten. If not for the fact that Telemachus Rhade was an admiral, with a lot of power in both the High Guard and the Commonwealth government, Tyr would have found a way to pass off the assignment to someone else.
But even his connections couldn't hide the fact that Rhade was considered tainted by other Nietzscheans because of his stance on Nietzschean/human relationships. Growing up on the liberal and cosmopolitan world of Tarazed, Rhade had been taught to consider humans his equals.
Majorum Pride was notorious for its lax views on genetic purity: as long as a male took at least one full-blooded Nietzschean female as a wife, he was free to pursue anyone else he wanted. This lead to a large number of Nietzschean/human hybrids, something that most Nietzscheans found sickening.
"Captain." Gabriel, the ship's Avatar, interrupted Tyr's train of thought, "We're receiving a hail from the Admiral: he's on the Andromeda Ascendant."
"Are we close enough for real time communications?"
"Yes, but the Andromeda suffered heavy damage during the battle here: her communications system is barely functioning, data only."
"Very well: inform the Admiral that we will be right over." Tyr headed for the door, "And make sure his package is on the shuttle."
"Yes sir." Gabriel followed close behind his captain.
"So what is Captain Anasazi like?" Dylan asked as he waited for the shuttle to dock.
"Tyr Anasazi is a complicated man." Telemachus stood deep in thought for a minuet, "After the Nietzschean uprising was put down, many of the leading Prides where broken, shattered. They left the Commonwealth to lick their wounds, and over the years rebuilt their strength. The Nietzschean Alliance is the third most powerful political, economic and military entity in the known worlds. In a bid to rebuild as fast as they could, the larger prides assimilated the smaller ones. There are very few small, independent prides left: most have been swallowed up by the Alliance, or are members of the Commonwealth."
"Why doesn't the Alliance rejoin the Commonwealth?"
"It took a lot for the Commonwealth to put down the uprising: almost a fifth of the High Guard fleet was either destroyed or defected to the Alliance. Some races that had been members for a short period of time decided that maybe the Commonwealth wasn't such a good idea, and also left."
"With worlds lot to renewed Magog attacks, Nietzschean raids and general apathy, there are maybe 750,000 words and habitats left in the Commonwealth…"
"That's only three quarters of what it was before the uprising! How could so much have been lost?"
"That's not the worst of it: because of the uprising, and aggression by the Alliance, there are those in the Commonwealth who think of my people as third class citizens. There have only been ten Nietzschean High Guard Admirals in the last 300-years. Very few Nietzschean's have any position of power in the Commonwealth."
"How could the Commonwealth let this happen?"
"There is a secret society who call themselves The Knights Templar: they are mainly human High Guard officers and politicians, who blame the decline of the Commonwealth on Nietzschean's. They are officially outlawed, but everyone knows that they exist, and have considerable power. My own promotion was reportable a compromise on their part: they have to let some Nietzschean's do well, for the sake of appearances."
"I find the idea sickening." Dylan shook his head as the airlock cycled open.
Tyr and Gabriel automatically saluted Telemachus, but it was clear from their expressions that they where more than a little shocked to see Dylan standing there, along with Andromeda's holographic Avatar.
Andromeda herself ran a complete series of scans over the two newcomers, instantly realising that Gabriel was an Avatar. She found herself looking at him closer than she normally would. There was something about him that captured her attention unlike anyone besides Dylan…
If A.I.'s were capable of blushing, she would have.
"Captain Anasazi, Gabriel, meet Captain Dylan Hunt and Andromeda." Telemachus made the introductions, "Captain Hunt, Andromeda, Captain Tyr Anasazi of the High Guard destroyer Balance of Judgment, and Gabriel, the ship's Avatar."
"Captain." Tyr nodded formally.
"Captain Hunt." Gabriel saluted, then nodded with a smile as he looked at the other A.I. "Andromeda."
"Captain, Gabriel." Andromeda blushed slightly at the way the other ships Avatar was looking at her, but quickly regained her normal appearance.
"A pleasure to meet you, Captain Anasazi." Dylan returned the nod, "Gabriel." He caught Andromeda's reaction out of the corner of his eye, but decided to ignore it: the regulations were rather vague about relationships between A.I.'s.
"Right." Telemachus noticed the tension in the room, and decided to defuse it, "Mr Anasazi, did you bring the package I requested?"
"It's here." Tyr turned round and pulled an anti-gravity sled into sight, "It took the quartermaster a while to find it, but he says it is intact."
"What is it?" Dylan asked, intrigued by the cloth covers sled.
"Andromeda was due to be issued her Avatar shortly before the start of the uprising." Gabriel explained, pulling the dustsheet away to revealing a transport pod containing a mirror image of Andromeda's humanoid persona, "Luckily, the High Guard never throw anything away."
"It's me…" Andromeda walked over to the motionless form and looked down at it, "How soon will we be able to get it online?"
"I'll see if Mr Harper is willing to look into it." Telemachus smiled, "He seems to be slightly taken with you…"
"Really?" There was a faint smile on Gabriel's lips, "I can't think why?"
Andromeda blushed again, earning a scowl from Tyr who considered the whole idea of relationships between A.I.'s as idiotic.
"Yes, well, I think it would be best if we concentrated on getting Andromeda's other systems online before we move onto anything more superficial…" Dylan started, but instantly regretted his choice of words when he saw the look on Andromeda's face, "What I mean is…"
The hologram blinked out, and the screen showing the main A.I. returned to the normal status display.
"That could have gone better." Telemachus winced, "Gabriel, perhaps you could talk to her, A.I. to A.I."
"That would probably be best." The Avatar nodded, "If you'll excuse me, I'll be in the nearest unoccupied workshop." He walked off, pushing the transport tube in front of him.
"Did I just insult me ship?" Dylan asked.
"So it would seem." Tyr nodded, "They can be a little unnecessarily sensitive…"
"YOU BASTARD!" Beka came down the corridor like a hurricane looking for Florida, her eyes locked on Telemachus, "What the hell are you playing at?"
"Anything specific, Commander Valentine?" The Admiral asked.
Beka just glared
"Excuse me, but what in the hell is going on?" Dylan asked, confused as Tyr evidently was by the blank expression on his face.
"The Admiral has shanghaied my entire crew!" Beka flung a flexi at Dylan, and he barely had time to catch it, "He's re-activated my commission in the High Guard!"
"Indeed I have." Telemachus nodded a little smugly, "Andromeda will be re-entering the High Guard fleet, so Captain Hunt is going to need a first officer who can guide him around the universe as it now stands: he a capable officer, but 300-years behind the times."
"Thank you." Dylan blinked, "I think…"
"Why you…" Beka raised a hand to slap Telemachus, but Tyr stopped her.
"That would be unwise." He warned, "Striking a superior officer is punishable by two years in the brig and loss of rank."
"Fine!" Beka was steaming; "We'll talk about this later, SIR!" she span on her heels and marched off.
"Not that I want to question her qualifications or ability's, but is she the best choice?" Dylan asked as he watched the enraged woman disappear around the next corner, "She doesn't seem too happy with the idea…"
"Beka will get over it." Telemachus grinned, "She was happy in the High Guard, a little too happy for her own liking: she's always been a free spirit, but she likes having a sense of purpose in her life. She's lost that since she resigned her commission."
"And you think forcing her to act as my first officer is the best way to cure that?"
"Believe me Captain Hunt, I know Beka as well as any man: she'll come round…"
Before anyone says anything, yeah, I know I've been away from Andromeda fan-fiction for a very long time. All I can say in response is I finished watching season 3 on DVD, and can't see myself buying season 4. The show had a lot of promise at the start, but from what I've seen and heard, it's just gone down hill.
It's sad when the network, in the name of ratings or creative control, kills a great show.
I'm probably going to take some time over the summer (and being unemployed at the moment, I certainly have a lot of that) to sit down and watch seasons one and two, try and recapture some of the good old days.