Part 45

The Maru edged out carefully from Rico's ship, backing out with precision partly under Andromeda's guidance with the additional skill of Beka, as she navigated from within. It had taken Kane and Dani a while to figure out how to power the hanger bay controls to free the Maru from its hold, and now they were releasing Beka's pride and joy to return to its own hanger deck on the Andromeda.

"Clear of the psycho ship," Harper called out from behind Beka, who was sat in the pilot's chair.

Beka could only smile, she could see the Maru was clear but has asked Harper to help her so she could get him away from med deck for an hour or so. After his exchange with Dani a couple of days earlier, she had seen that he had desperately needed the distraction.

"Coming around," Beka announced as she guided her ship outside the hull of the Andromeda to another hanger bay.

"Beka," Harper spoke up, and waited for Beka to acknowledge him before continuing. "Did you ask Dani and Kane to make themselves scarce, or was it just a wild coincidence?"

"Huh?" Beka asked with distraction, as she lined the ship up for the approach.

"When we had to board psycho ship to get onto the Maru, I didn't see either Kane or Dani, and I haven't done since the other day," Harper pointed out.

"Do you want to?" Beka asked casually, still focused on the controls.

"No," Harper was quick to answer. "Just thought I would, you know," he shrugged. "I killed Kane's sister and said some crappy stuff to Dani, just thought one of them might have found me by now to have their say."

"Harper, no one is after you anymore, not Dani, not Kane," Beka sighed. "The bounty is no more, so just try and relax."

"So you did warn them off," Harper stated knowingly, as he continued scanning the console. "Beka, I'm not fragile, I'm fine, and I keep telling you I'm fine."

"And I keep telling you, as does Trance, that you are not," Beka returned calmly. "Not yet," she finished as she turned to face him, the Maru now under Andromeda's guidance as it descended onto one of the docking bays. "You have to be careful, you may feel fine physically but that head of yours needs to be monitored, we can't take any chances and unnecessary conflict is definitely off the list, at least for a few more weeks."

"Its fine," Harper insisted, without looking up.

"And are you fine?" Beka asked firmly. "Ever since your words with Dani you've been snappy and irritable."

"Just tired," Harper frowned, and then looked up at Beka. "Ok, I feel tired that I admit to, ok?"

"I'm not arguing with you, Seamus," Beka calmly returned.

Harper shut down the console and moved away to join Beka by the pilot's chair. "I know, sorry I'm so grouchy," Harper offered with a sigh. "Dani is just one of many things that is bothering me, there's so much change going on around here, I don't like it, it feels like we're all breaking up, going our separate ways and I have nowhere to go."

"I know, I feel it too," Beka agreed sadly. "Dylan is spending more time on Tarn Vedra, I doubt that Rhade will come back now he has his family with him, with Rommie gone, and lets not even start with Trance, I have no idea what's up with her but she's been really distant lately, staying in her room and only coming out to dish out your meds," she sighed. "The commonwealth is all but dead again, just a memory."

"Hey, we could finally lay claim to the Andromeda," Harper brightened.

"Don't think Rommie would take too kindly to a hostile takeover," Beka grinned.

"Hey, who says it has to be hostile, I can be all about the love too," Harper returned, flashing a cheeky smile, and sounding more like his old self. "Reminds me, I really should try and put Rommie back together, now I have my sight back it should be easier."

"Just remember that taking it easy discipline you're currently under," Beka mocked.

"Guy has to have a hobby, and that was one hell of a hobby the first time," Harper protested, then lost his grin. "Least now the way things are I don't have to worry about my third strike," he frowned. "Dylan's probably forgotten now anyway, too distracted by finding his home, I bet he wants to leave this life far behind him and I don't blame him," Harper quickly spoke. "This life can really suck sometimes."

"Harper, Dylan was never serious about the whole strike business, he was just playing games with you," Beka spoke with care.

"I messed up, and he was right to be angry with me," Harper protested, and for a moment he seemed to be miles away in thought. "He couldn't trust me, hell, I didn't even trust myself, I don't ever want to be blind again, Beka, never," he added distantly, almost with fear.

"Are you sure you're ok?" Beka asked, in a moment of seriousness, seeing Harper was being fairly open about his feelings.

"I'm fine, just tired," Harper insisted, instantly snapping out of his thoughts and putting up a united front for Beka's benefit.

"Well if it makes you feel any better I don't think that Dylan has quit the Andromeda, or us, he just never expected to find his home again after all this time, he thought it had gone," Beka explained.

"It's my home that's gone now," Harper attempted a smile, but it became more of a frown. "I caught the footage on a sub-space transmission, it just blew up, like it had had enough," he idly spoke. "Not a bad trick to be able to do," he added, and then smirked when he saw Beka's concerned expression to his words, and he started shaking his head. "No, Beka, you don't have to put a damn suicide watch on me now, I'm just kidding, sheesh," he complained, as he leant on the back of the pilot's chair.

"Well hopefully we'll be able to forget all that's happened, and move on, forget Dani, that ship, Yussuf," Beka idly spoke.

"I'll never forget the feeling of being blind," Harper rested his head on his hands, as he continued to use the back of the pilot's chair to lean against. "Last few months have been a nightmare."

"Maybe all of this, what's happened is a sign for us to move on, use this opportunity to get rid of all the crap that's dogged us lately," Beka noted with some optimism. "You deserve some fun, and that should be our priority."

"I had fun being in control of that ship, is that wrong?" Harper then admitted, with a secret smile. "Being inside that mainframe was amazing, and once Rommie took away some of the pressure, I was able to realised what I had."

"You were aware of being in control of that ship?" Beka checked, and saw Harper shrug.

"Yeah, for the most part," Harper agreed. "I guess my offer to help Dani wasn't totally out of the goodness of my heart," he then added, and Beka immediately glared at him. "I was going to jack in, I really wanted to, but in the end I didn't, I couldn't," he stressed.

"Why not?" Beka needed to know what had stopped him.

"Scared," Harper frowned, hiding his expression as he buried his face in his hands. "Yussuf is one mixed up son of a," he stopped himself. "And Rico more so, who knows what or where they laid the traps to capture people like me, I didn't want to be a slave again."

"People like you?" Beka didn't understand.

"Yussuf's whole empire, and everything around him, was built on manipulation," Harper explained. "Plus a healthy dose of paranoia and distrust," he added.

"You know that he had some hold on you?" Beka was intrigued by Harper's assumption.

"I have to believe it, or what's happened to me will just blow my mind," Harper stated with seriousness. "I can't accept that all that time I was thinking clearly, Beka, I just can't, it's easier to believe that somehow, Yussuf was behind it all, pulling the strings," Harper stressed, needing Beka to believe him, as he glanced over to her.

"He was controlling you, and Dani, mind control of some sort," Beka simply answered, unable to completely believe what she was saying, but believing it enough knowing that Harper needed her to understand.

"Figures," Harper frowned, but showed no surprise to her words.

"So, you wanted to feel the power again?"

Harper looked uneasy. "Not really, at least I don't think so," Harper admitted awkwardly. "Just knowing I could have that control, that was what attracted me back," he sighed heavily. "I never had all that much control in the first place, by the time Rommie had removed enough systems to relieve the pressure from me, she'd only left me some crappy service systems to oversee, could hardly take over the universe being only in control of bathroom control and heated floor tiles in the officer's quarters," Harper smirked at the memory.

"I never realised you were so aware of what was going on," Beka seemed genuinely taken aback.

"You made it to engineering didn't you?" Harper then spoke. "I said that there was one thing that could stop me working for Rico, and so I needed you by my side," Harper offered a little abashed. "Thanks, by the way, you helped a lot."

"I should have known," Beka smiled, as she undid the restraints of the pilot's chair and stood up.

"Anyway, shouldn't you be explaining a whole heap of stuff to me?" Harper then asked.

"You still want to know all that stuff?" Beka checked with wide eyes.

"Maybe it can wait till I'm really bored on med deck," Harper offered with a knowing smile. "Right now, I'm just glad whatever happened, happened, because that means I'm right here on the Maru, with you, and that means it's ok."

"Sticking together?" Beka simply asked in response.

"Always," Harper agreed wholeheartedly, showing some relief to Beka's question. "Only got each other now, right?"

"Nothing's changed," Beka reached out and embraced Harper.

"Good, I hate change," Harper held tight to Beka, taking what he could from the hug, needing the reassurance.

"I hope you don't hate all change."

Beka and Harper quickly released each other on hearing a familiar voice, yet an old voice at the same time. They had long been docked on the Andromeda, yet time had passed as they had spoken. Now the two friend's just looked at each other, unsure but at the same time convinced they had both heard right.

"Trance?" Harper ventured, moving a little forward, needing to see her.

"Where are you?" Beka asked, following Harper and staying close.

"Here," Trance announced making them both jump nearly out of their skin.

"I forgot she used to do that," Harper quickly recovered, and then it hit him as he stared back at the purple features of an old friend. "Is that really you?"

The purple Trance simply nodded her head, and then saw the confusion. "I had to change before to fulfil my destiny, that's done now," she began to explain. "No one would have taken a purple girl seriously if she suddenly claimed to be a part of a long lost planet's sun," she offered as if her reasoning was obvious.

"You have a tail again," Harper noticed, brimming on the edge of excitement at seeing his purple pixie again, but managing to hold back. "You did this for me?" he then checked.

"For you," Trance confirmed. "I just didn't have the advantage of a tesseract problem to speed up the process this time."

"So that's what you've been doing," Harper grinned.

"We just need to find Rev and we have the old crew back together," Beka noted, trying to relive the stunned atmosphere that still hung around the three friends.

"This is freaking unbelievable," Harper finally couldn't help himself as he eagerly embraced Trance, and his hold suggested he wasn't planning on letting go anytime soon, as Trance wrapped her arms around him.

"Things are going to change," Beka simply said, more to herself as she stepped back.

Trance pulled back and looked at Beka. "Change for the better, for all of us, no more struggle or pain," Trance smiled, and for a moment her smile convinced both Harper and Beka that she was speaking the truth, but only for a moment.

The end.