There are no eternal facts, as there are not absolute truths. –Friedrich Nietzsche

Facts and Truths

Harper glanced over at the woman helping Rommie and him. There was something different about her, but he just couldn't place his finger on it. She had her dark red hair in a bun that was certainly not helping. The loose ends framed her deeply tanned face and brought attention to her gray eyes. She was wearing a red tight fitting long sleeve shirt with black cargo pants. What he couldn't figure out was even though she was sweating she didn't roll up her sleeves.

Avis gave the engineer a smile and went back to work. She pulled her finger back when she felt a shock.

Rommie frowned when the ships lights flickered as if there was an electrical interference.

"Kate tends to do that at times," said Avis.

"I do no such thing, Avis Marie," the AI retorted.

"Why don't you go play a game of solitaire," replied Avis.

"Are you sure it's wise to talk like that to your AI?" asked Harper.

"Ah, Kate's going to be fine. Bela programmed her to be like that."

"She did not."

"Bela programmed the basics and Kate took it from there. Is that better your Highness?"

"Much better," replied Kate.

Avis returned to work without a thought of the conversation. Harper on the other hand had never met such a smart-ass AI before.

"There's got to be more to this ship than they're letting on," he thought as he returned to his work.

"Bela, how did you escape from that Drago-Kazov?" asked Tyr as they walked through the hydroponics.

"He slipped several times on my knife," she said with a smile playing on her face.

"What did you do afterward?"

"I went from place to place until I came across Avis and Hecate's Wheel. What about you?"

"I became a mercenary and now I work aboard the Andromeda."

"I heard what you did to the Orca Pride, and I must say you did the right thing."

Tyr looked at his twin sister questioningly.

"They stood by and did nothing. Sooner or later they would've gotten what's coming to them," she said with a shrug of her shoulders.

"Even at loss of a wife and status?" asked Tyr.

Belachina paused for a moment before saying "Sometimes things like that have to given up in order for you to survive."

Tyr shook his head.


"You would make an excellent politician, Belachina."

Bela looked her brother in the eye and said "What do you want, Tyr?"

"Spoken like a true Anazasi," Tyr replied before giving Bela a hug. Bela let out a little laugh and gave Tyr a kiss on the cheek.

"I would like to show you something," he said.

"Lead away," replied Bela.

Trance peeked from her hiding spot and a wide grin appeared on her face.

"You know it's not nice to spy on people," said a voice from the doorway.

"Oh Rev, I wasn't spying. I was just watching," replied Trance with a flick of her tail. She walked past Rev with a smile on her face and gave him a pat on the shoulder.

"Tyr, these are beautiful. Mother would be proud of you," said Bela as she examined the paintings. Both siblings feel silent for a short time as they both remembered their mother.

"You know she would've been very proud of what you're doing, Tyr."

"You were always one to boost the ego," said Tyr.

"I try," replied Bela with a laugh.

Bela touched some books and one fell off landing on the floor.

"Oh, you have Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead," Bela said with glee. She picked the book up and began to skim through it.

She stopped and began to read "No man can live for another. He cannot share his spirit just as he cannot share his body. But the second-hander has used altruism as a weapon of exploitation and reversed the base of mankind's moral principles. Men have been taught every precept that destroys the creator. Men have been taught dependence as a virtue."

"Part of Howard Roark's testimony," said Tyr with a smile.

"That was always your one of your favorite parts of the book," replied Bela.

Before Tyr could respond there was a beeping sound. Bela pulled a small, metallic object out of her pocket and looked at it.

"Tyr, we need to get to the hanger, now," said Bela urgently as she put the metallic object into her pocket.

Bela raced into the hanger bay in time to see Avis convulsing on the floor. She ran over to her friend.

"Oh god, not again," she said as she knelt down. She quickly rolled Avis onto her back and pulled the shirt up to reveal a mass of wires underneath. She started to mess with the wires until Avis had stopped convulsing. She pulled the shirt down and turned Avis onto her back.

"Damn, now I've got to do some reloading," muttered Bela as she tapped Avis's forehead. It opened up to reveal several round disks with one of them broken in half.

"Ah, Avis. Why didn't you tell me?" muttered Bela as she pulled the pieces out. She put them on the floor and pulled out several disks from her pocket. She looked at the disk on the ground and those in her hand. She selected one and placed it in the empty slot. The compartment closed automatically.

She closed the compartment and touched something behind Avis's left ear. Avis's eyes snapped open and she looked around.

"I crashed again, didn't I?" she asked as she got up.

Bela nodded her head and Avis grimaced.

"You're an android," said a stunned Harper.

"I'll have you know I am over 300 years and still going strong, young man," said Avis as she faced Harper.