Title: Prides & Prejudices
Author: AKA Jipster
Archive: Only Command Deck
Disclaimer: I don't own what no longer exists sob - This is not a clever play on the book of similar name, it bears no relevance to that book in any form, just a cheap shot at a humourous title...
Rating: PG-13
Setting/Season: Mid Season 4
Spoilers: Mid Season 4 & earlier possibly
Warnings: Violence, torture, angst a plenty, sexual themes
Comments/Feedback: Please, love to know what you think

Summary: A slave suspected of spying, a human refusing to help and a lady on a mission.
Harper and Beka's friendship is put to the test when a mission she is trying to complete is hindered by his refusal to co-operate.
Harper's refusal to help however, is soon tested when Beka's mission decides to only trust in the Harper and then theres the small matter of the Nietzschean pride from which the slave was taken...

A/N: Alternative universe, with some nods towards cannon.

Part 1

The marketplace was bustling with people, all going about their business. Market traders yelled out their bargains with a few people stopping to take in their wares, other people carried goods that far exceeded their size but with minimum effort. There was so much colour and activity in the confined space that it was easy to miss so many of the people who walked past.

"Tell me again who we are looking for," Beka Valentine requested towards her companion for the mission, Telemachus Rhade.

"Her name is simply Dani," Rhade stated as he continued to scan the busy square.

"And she's this Nietzschean's slave?" Beka questioned.

"Did you fall asleep during the captain's briefing?" Rhade asked with mild amusement.

Beka glared at him. "No, I just do not fully understand what we are doing on this dump of a planet, looking for someone who no doubt belongs to a very big Nietzschean who will most probably object to our attention being on his slave," Beka complained and then sighed. "I can see why Dylan dumped this mission on me, that, and maybe because he's preoccupied with the world ship's arrival," she added awkwardly.

"You do know that you're beginning to sound like Harper, right?" Rhade simply shrugged in response. "Our attentions are on the slave because we believe she is more than that," Rhade spoke and saw Beka's eyebrows rise. "You really were not paying attention were you?"

"I had a late night and maybe nothing about this mission particular caught my interest," Beka protested mildly. "Especially the part about being in charge of it."

"Well from the Commonwealths surveillance information, it appears that this slave is either a spy or a messenger, both of which could be of use to the Commonwealth if we could intercept her," Rhade informed Beka.

"Ah right, which is why once we make a sighting we're to wait until she leaves her Niets side before engaging," Beka remembered and saw Rhade appear surprised. "See, I did pay attention," she smiled.

"Correct, I'm glad you have caught up," Rhade half mocked. "If suspicions are correct about this slave, then we might be picking up a very valuable asset to the Drago-Kasov pride."

"Suddenly it all sounds too easy," Beka feared. "Why this mission, couldn't Dylan just have waited for a nice sitting on a beach type mission for me? Even taking on the Magog seems more appealing right now, do we really want to risk engaging with the Dragans with everything else we have going on?"

"The Dragans have no reason to believe that we have identified this arm of their operation, and besides, that's exactly what they are probably thinking so this is a perfect time to remind them that we have not allowed the world ship to become our only concern," Rhade said with confidence. "I do not foresee the problems you so obviously do, sir," Rhade added in mocking tones.

"Except that we have no reason to believe that they are not aware that we know," Beka countered with a brief smile.

"True," Rhade conceded. "But I do not like to give the Dragans that much credit."

"Is that her?" Beka suddenly gestured towards a slight woman who walked alongside a burly looking Nietzschean, showing off his bone blades to determine his arrogance and superiority.

"That's her," Rhade confirmed. "And that's the alpha male of this sectors pride, Yussuf, so her next assignment must be pretty big for Yussuf himself to visit this place with her, we should now wait for them to make their move."

"Dani, by my side." Yussuf ordered and the slight woman stepped into line beside her master. As she stood waiting for instruction, people pushed past her, knocking her from side to side until Yussuf took her to one side and out of the flow of people. "You stay here, understand?"

Dani nodded her head.

"Someone who knows your name will make themselves known to you shortly, you will then obey them and follow them, they will then take you to the meeting point," Yussuf explained with precise care. "In five days time you will arrive at the meeting point, and you will then meet with Kharaz and you will tell him what you know."

Dani nodded her head once again. Yussuf leaned forward and kissed Dani lightly on her forehead. "My dear Dani, you serve my pride well, return to me when you are able."

"Yes master," Dani confirmed.

Yussuf moved his hand to Dani's neck, and in the blink of an eye administered an injector to her exposed skin. Dani's eyes floated momentarily before she regained her composure, looking at her master she simply stared at him with respect, before Yussuf moved away and disappeared into the crowds.

Dani remained standing where she had been left, she glanced with wonder at the sights around her, taking in their detail. With her long unkempt hair freely resting around her shoulders, the slave looked every bit like she often slept rough and owned nothing to call her own. Her expressionless face offered very little to the passers by, and her appearance masked her presence as she managed to remain unnoticed by the people walking by.

"Dani?"

Dani's eyes snapped to her right and settled on a large Neitzschean male who now stood before her.

"My master," Dani stated calmly, remembering her master's words.

"Follow me," Rhade indicated with urgency and with Beka's help they walked either side of the slave and tried to obscure her from any casual glances they may attract.

Beka scanned the area for any unwanted attentions but found none. "You know, suddenly I like this mission," she smirked as they easily led the slave towards the Maru. "We just need to get the info we need, and my missions a success."

Rhade briefly shook his head towards his commander, amused by her sudden zest for the mission, but in part glad that she was finally taking it seriously, as they boarded the Maru without incident with the slave obediently in tow.

A few moments later back in the market place, another Nietzschean reached the spot where Dani had just been stood, and his confusion was clear to see, as he frantically looked around.

TBC