Disclaimer: I don't own any of the people you recognize, they were inspired by the brilliant and sadly missed mind of Gene Roddenberry. Majel Barret-Roddenberry, Tribune and SciFi Channel now own them, among others. I'm not making any money off this and have very little to speak of, so don't sue, it would be a huge waste of court costs.
Author's Note: Alura is my own creation. She is the daughter of an Avatar (Trance, the Avatar of the Sun, not an avatar like Rommie is sometimes called, to limit confusion, Rommie will be referred to as an android and avatar will only be used to describe Trance and Alura) and a Nietzschean. Drago is not mine, I just named him and gave him a personality and a destiny.
This story takes place after Tyr has fallen into the Abyss' pit and Dylan and the Andromeda's crew are now outlaws (pesky Collectors!).
"What is that?" Captain Dylan Hunt asked.
A large, patched-together looking ship was directly in their line of vision. The Andromeda Ascendant was currently hiding in an uninhabited system to take a much-needed break and get in some repairs.
The holographic female image of the Andromeda Ascendant's AI frowned, looking perplexed, and replied, "Scanning."
Dylan hadn't known it was possible, but the holograph paled.
"What's wrong, Andromeda?" asked the man standing at the security station.
He was the mirror image of the ship's Second In Command from 300 years ago, a man who had betrayed the Commonwealth and his Captain. But Telemachus was not Gaheris.
Telemachus Rhade had already proven many times over that he was trustworthy and that his loyalty was to Dylan's ideal of what the Commonwealth should be. Unfortunately, the uniting of most of the Nietzschean Prides and the manipulations of the Collectors had begun a civil war within the New Commonwealth. Those now in power did not hold with the ideals of Dylan Hunt, his ship, and his crew.
"The alien vessel is unshielded, but most of its mass is an EM pulse bomb big enough to knock out the power on an entire planet. And it's already charged. Even if we jumped into slipstream right now, I don't know if we'd be able to outrun the resulting wave. There is one Magog life sign on board."
"Harper," Dylan barked.
An image of the ship's chief engineer appeared on one of the screens.
There were tools and parts strewn out around Harper, who was sitting under the control panel down in the slipstream core. Today he had scheduled repairs to the damage to the slipstream drive they had sustained during the most recent skirmish with the Collectors. It didn't appear that he had finished them yet.
"When will we have slipstream drive back, Mr. Harper?"
"Hold your horses, boss, it'll be at least another hour. What's your hurry? I may be a genius..."
Recognizing that Harper was on one of his rants, Dylan made a slicing motion in front of his neck. Andromeda turned Harper's screen off.
"If they do fire at us, this ship will just be a shell; I will no longer exist. My systems cannot protect against a blast that big. The people onboard will be dead in a few hours from lack of oxygen. Even the escape pods won't help, if you were in them when the pulse hit, you'd quickly run out of oxygen, and they won't launch after my power goes down."
"What if a few of us got on the Maru?" Beka asked from her spot at the weapons control.
And whom would she save? Telemachus thought in disgust, Beside herself, of course.
"The Eureka Maru isn't any faster or less dependent on electricity than the Andromeda Ascendant." Rommie the android replied from her spot near Dylan.
The holographic version of Andromeda tilted her head.
"What is it?"
The android Rommie was the one who answered Dylan's question. "I'm detecting a slipstream event. I think."
"You think? What does that mean exactly?"
Trance suddenly ran on to the bridge. "It means Rommie has never seen a slipstream that crossed realities before. Something is happening, Dylan, something big. Something that's never happened before."
"Yeah," Beka said dryly, "we've come up against a wall we can't scale or go under. We've actually been beaten."
"No, Beka. Someone is coming."
Dylan glanced at Trance. Her eyes held a far off look, and there was a slight frown on her face. A few seconds later she blinked and her face cleared, and Dylan knew she was back with them.
"Whoever they are, they are from a reality I cannot traverse."
The crew was used to Trance saying things like that since their encounter with the Abyss. They were used to not understanding what she was talking about. All of them but Dylan. She had revealed herself to him, and he now trusted her beyond question.
"I thought you traversed all realities?"
"Only the ones I exist in. Whoever it is must be from a reality where my younger self still exists. They don't mean us any harm. In fact, they're here to try to save us."
Telemachus was the first to make any sound. "An ally. I was beginning to think we'd never run into any of those."
Beka made a noise in agreement.
Just then the screen was filled with a burst of light followed by a slipstream event. But instead of the pale blue the phenomenon usually was, this one was green-tinged. Out of it flew a ship that, at least in design, looked like a cross between a Nietzschean fighter and one of Andromeda's slipfighters. But she was bigger than either, bigger, in fact, than the Maru. It was a beautiful ship and very fast, flying straight to an area of space about half way between the Andromeda and the EM ship.
"Andromeda," Dylan asked, "any readings that would tell us anything?"
"One life sign on board. Female, but I cannot tell what species. The ship is what it appears to be - an amalgamation of Nietzschean and Commonwealth technology. Also, I do not detect an AI. We are receiving a transmission from the new ship." The holograph frowned deeper. "Text only."
"What does it say?" Dylan asked, an edge of impatience in his voice.
"I quote, 'Captain Hunt. Stay back until the other ship has fired. As soon as the field dissipates, I would appreciate being picked up. And be prepared for an attack from a swarm.' That is all it says."
"We should do as she asks, Dylan. We cannot help her yet. All we can do is wait."
They didn't have long to wait. All five of them watched tensely as the EM ship sent out a visible wave of energy. But the ship now between them and their attacker emitted an energy field of it's own, and the two energies collided, creating a brief, brilliant flash of light. When it cleared, neither of the other ships moved. Andromeda scanned them.
"Both ships have no energy readings at all. Amazingly, I am still getting that life sign from the friendly ship."
"Any signs of Magog? Never mind."
A normal slipstream portal had opened while Dylan was talking. Dozens of Magog swarm ships flew out, immediately targeting the Andromeda.
"Pick them off." Dylan ordered.
"With pleasure," Beka responded. "Loading all missile tubes and preparing for immediate reload. Firing."
Almost every missile found a target and the remaining Magog scattered.
"Dylan!" Trance raised her voice. She hardly ever did that. She hardly ever needed to. "The other ship."
Andromeda changed the view screen back to the friendly ship. Three Magog ships were rapidly closing in on it.
"Sorry, Dylan, I was kinda more worried about us. Firing."
The three ships going after their new ally were blown up.
"Captain, permission to fly over to the other ship and maneuver it into one of the docking bays." Telemachus stood at attention after his request.
"Granted. Put it in hangar one, I don't think it'll fit in any of the others."
Telemachus moved to the pilot's station and flew the Andromeda into grappling range of the other ship. His fingers flying over the controls, the Nietzschean caught hold of the ship and eased it into Andromeda's biggest hangar.
"Nice work, Rhade. You, Rommie, and Trance, with me. Let's go greet our savior. Beka, pick off any more stragglers and warn us immediately if another swarm shows up."
Trance, Rommie, and Telemachus followed their Captain to the hangar where the new arrival was waiting. When they reached the enormous room and approached the silent ship, the holograph Andromeda appeared near Dylan.
"I don't think the occupant can get out of the ship. There is a door near the nose, and I have recorded occasional sounds coming from inside."
The group moved to the door Andromeda had indicated. There was indeed a muffled thump from the inside. Quickly examining the area around the door, Dylan found a hidden panel with a lever inside. Hoping Trance was right and they had, indeed, done the right thing, he pulled the lever. There was a slight hiss as the door slowly swung open and air was sucked into the other ship from the Andromeda's artificial atmosphere.
A figure moved in the unlit interior of the now open ship, stepping toward them. The first thing Dylan noticed was the diving apparatus, similar to one used on Earth, covering the face of their new guest. The system required no electrical energy and explained why she had been able to wait for them to fight off the Magog before rescuing her. The second thing he noticed was her arm as it reached up to remove the apparatus from her face.
There were two things Dylan immediately found fascinating about that arm. The first was that it was blue. Not suffering-from-hypothermia-blue-tinged, but actual, honest to gosh blue. Well, not just blue, shades of blue, the tender inner side fading to silver, much like Trance's skin faded from deep red to palest gold. The second thing, and somehow more surprising, was the spines. Dylan had been around Nietzscheans enough to know that this woman's spines were long for a female, but not as long as a male's. And they were a dark blue with a black line running from root to tip on each. How could a Nietzschean possibly have that kind of coloring?
The woman removed the apparatus from her head and looked at Dylan, who was first in her line of vision. She was very beautiful, with dark blue eyes and features somewhat similar to Trance's, her facial coloring pattern also very similar except for the actual colors. Full, light pink lips smiled at him before the stranger turned her head and looked at Trance.