Pretty Things
by Jessie

Summary: Trance starts acting weird and everything goes wrong from there. Includes all of the crew, but with a focus on Harper and Trance.

Disclaimer: Andromeda is not mine. No harm is meant by this story.

Archive: I'd love it if any one wants to archive this- just email me and tell me where it is.

Authors Note: First off- I just want to apologize for this story. I didn't mean to write an Andromeda fic. Really. I'm not even a big fan of the show- I just have some friends who force me to watch it with them. I know they're gonna gloat when they find out I've written this, but, well . . . Harper's just too cute not to write him into a story G. And Trance has way too many possibilities for a cool storyline- I couldn't just pass up the chance to explain her origins.

So here it is. The story that I was really not supposed to write. Hope you all enjoy. And feedback is something I live for- so if you'd all be good little readers and tell me what you think I would be eternally grateful. :)

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"Trance?" Dylan looked at the purple girl with surprise and worry running through his mind. Harper mimicked his expression, but with an increased amount of shock.

"What are you doing?" The acting engineer questioned disbelieving. Trance frowned, than smirked.

Even she realized how extremely out of character she was behaving. But there was a purpose to this madness, and she had to remember that. She had to keep in mind her goal, so that she could pull off the act without any suspicious arising in the rest of the crew.

"I'm . . ." She hesitated, then silently scolded herself for it. She couldn't slip up like that and expect to continue the ruse. She needed to be believable.

She cleared her throat and started again, an edge to her voice that made every one in the room cringe a little. She had never had an edge to her voice before.

"I'm leaving. And you can't stop me, so don't try." No one quite knew what to think or do. Even Tyr just stared at her, incredulous.

Finally Harper took a step forward and scratched the back of his head while he spoke, somewhat nervously. "Look, Trance, I know this isn't exactly home sweet home, but what are you doing? Dylan makes some remark about your flightiness and all of the sudden you wanta am-scray?"

"There's more to it than that." She pursed her lips, realizing that her voice had lost the edge for a moment. She had to keep going with this. She loved all of the crew, but she had to do this.

The girl's thoughts roamed over the previous day and all the events of the morning. It was almost hard to believe that only a day had passed since her world had begun to turn itself upside down. Only a day since she had received the message from her brother amongst all the mail for the crew.

She never thought they'd be able to find her, but that message . . . now she had to leave. And she knew she couldn't tell the others the real reason. She had to keep up the act. She had to be mean so that none of them would have a reason to follow her.

It was a carefully planned act too- one she had been tossing around in her mind since the moment she stepped onto the Maru, and had continuously revised since making the Andromeda her home. Now she just needed to gather her courage up in order to implement it.

Luckily- or unluckily she supposed, depending on your point of view- certain things had set themselves in motion on their own, making her performance all the easier.

The comment from Dylan about her flightiness had been the perfect opening for her to show the others a side of nastiness that she had reserved for just this occasion.

And throughout the day, as she came to terms with the fact that she would have to leave this beautiful ship and the crew that she loved, she had not been hesitant to also take advantage of any other random remark or happening.

Beka's humbling remarks, Tyr's idle thoughts of worthiness, Harper's egotistic jokes, and Rev's incessant preaching- all these had proved the perfect opportunities to fake anger and tension, building up to the climax that she was now in.

She had to admit, though, she didn't much care for this climax, and she wished to get the episode over with as fast as possible.

"What do you mean?" Dylan spoke in his best 'in-charge' tone of voice, which she had always thought was very cute. But not right now. Right now she did her best to become angry at it.

"I mean there's more to it than that." Her voice was so sharp that even Tyr blinked as another wave of shock passed through him and the others.

"Trance . . ." Beka started, but didn't know where to begin. She was never very good at the emotions stuff, and she had a feeling that this situation called for just that. She glanced at the others for support.

Rev just stood there, silent. He felt the urge to recite an old Wayist philosophy that might apply to her situation, but after her earlier outburst at his preachings he wasn't sure if that was such a good idea. He was lost. He had no idea what to do. Trance had always been a friend, a peaceful creature that had always shared with him motives of joy and good-tidings. He wasn't even sure he could believe that the girl before him was the same Trance.

Harper glanced around nervously. He had to do something. "Is this about . . ." He seemed almost embarrassed to mention it, but he knew he had to do or say something to try and help. He couldn't just let this happen- whatever 'this' was.

Was Trance really leaving? It didn't seem possible. Though neither did the tone of voice she was taking with all of them. Everything had a vaguely surreal quality to it. He started again. "Is this about what I said the other day?"

The look on Harper's face was so pleading that Trance nearly lost all of her nerve. She wanted nothing more than to assure him that none of this was his- or anyone else's- fault, and give him a hug. Take all of them up in her arms and tell them that she didn't mean any of it.

But, instead, she sneered at his hesitant question, an action so unlike her usual self, that no one was sure how to respond.

Harper looked hurt, and she hated that. But he continued with a barely visible determination. "'Cause I was just joking about the whole tail thing. You know that right? I didn't really mean . . ." Dylan cleared his throat, interrupting and bringing all eyes to the Captain.

"Trance . . ." He seemed to have the same problem as Beka, but was saved from going any further.

"I'm leaving now." The sound of her own voice frightened her, and she suspected it frightened some of the others too. Particularly Rev and Harper, who had always been closest to her and now didn't know what to think.

"Trance," Dylan sounded full of authority. "You're a vital part of this crew. And whatever it is that you feel is forcing you to leave, you can tell us. You can tell me. And we will work it out. As a crew." Normally Trance would have found his speech inspiring, but this time she simply focused a well-rehearsed look on him- one that would have sent most running, and made Harper twitch.

Dylan sighed and gestured vaguely. "I won't force you to stay- every one here is free to go if they choose. I can't stop you."

"I can." Tyr interrupted in a threatening tone of voice, taking a step towards them. Dylan gave him a look.

"We can't stop you." He reiterated. "But I have to ask you to reconsider. We can talk about this."

Her heart melted a little as she listened to Dylan speak. If only she could take him up on his offer. Looking over each one of the crew- Tyr's stubbornness, Beka's confusion, Harper's frustration and partly hidden dejection- her well-laid plan looked more and more like a nightmare from which she wanted to wake. But she had to do this.

"No Dylan." She said, the edge lost, but a hardness taking its place that was almost more unnerving. She paused for a long moment, taking in a breath and letting her eyes roam over the other's faces once again. "I'm leaving now."

She stood there for a moment longer as every one stayed, frozen in place. Dylan nodded his head a bit, as if giving her his permission to leave the room, and she resisted the urge to nod her head back. Instead she frowned, and sneered a little, before turning and exiting.

Harper let out a held breath. Dylan shook his head sadly and looked to Beka, whose face contorted into an expression of bewilderment. She shrugged, still trying to understand what had just happened. Tyr growled a little, returning to the controls at his station and trying to convince himself that he didn't care.

Rev sighed grimly. "She has chosen her own path. We can only hope that its undertaking will lead her to more fruitful lessons."

Harper glanced around at everyone, a disbelieving look on his face. "You're just gonna let her go like that?"

"I can't force her to stay." There was an officialness to Dylan's voice.

"Of course you can." Harper retorted. "Order her to stay. She'll listen to you. Beka and Tyr don't listen to you and you still get them to stick around every time one of them wants to run off in the Maru."

Captain Hunt looked at his engineer. "I'm not gonna make her do something she doesn't want to do."

"Still- you coulda said something more." Beka joined in, finally finding her voice, and abandoning her earlier confusion for a controlled anger. "And how's she gonna get off this space station we're at? It's not like she keeps a spare ship in her pocket."

"She has the right to make these decisions for herself." Dylan defended himself, not liking the idea of being ganged up on by his own crew.

"No she doesn't." Beka retorted. "Trance is like a little kid- she doesn't know what she's doing."

"I think you're wrong about that." Dylan's voice communicated that the conversation was over, and Beka turned to her station angrily as Harper gave Dylan a steely look. Rev slowly walked out of the room, followed closely by Seamus, who blazed past him in a huff.


TBC

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You know I have to ask, so- how do you all like it so far? Dying to read more? Or just dying from exposure to bad fanfic? g Please tell me what you think.