RATING: PG 13
DISCLAIMER: No money was received or exchanged.
We do not own Andromeda or any of its Characters.
This is purely for fun.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This was done as a response to a challenge from Jips … darn her.
And, thank you to the wonderful Eljay for the Beta reading as always.
"When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That's relativity."
Albert Einstein On relativity
The recording was crackling, with a lot of background noise, but the voice was unmistakable. Beka leaned forward on to one of Andromeda's communication consoles, hoping it would help her to hear the message the voice was trying to convey.
"Beka," the voice spoke before static interrupted the transmission. "Maru... probably... crash," it continued. "Sorry, I did all I could, but I don't think even this super-genius can stop..." more static disrupted the recorded. "Tell everyone I'm sorry... love them... I won't survive this, I can't believe this is it... hurts, all over."
"Harper," Beka spoke softly, as the transmission abruptly ended, and she fought her emotion, a cold chill running down her back. The message had been time delayed. He had been on a supply run, and was expected to be gone a week. He was four days over due when she got the message so there was no telling when he sent it or if there was still a chance to find him.
Beka spun around, suddenly alert and surprised as she stared at the disheveled form of Harper standing before her.
"Harper?" she spoke with obvious confusion.
"I can explain," He held his arms out stiffly as if he was attempting to fend off her angered attack or find his balance, it became even more unclear as he wavered unsteadily. Finally, his knees gave out all together.
"Harper?" She exclaimed again rushing forward catching him before he hit the deck plating. "What the hell happened and where is the Maru?"
Harper fought to keep his eyes from rolling back in his head as he gasped raggedly. "L-l-long story.
Beka called for Trance to send a medical team before quickly turning her attention back to her engineer. "And, you will tell me everything as soon as we have Trance look at you okay? Just stay awake!"
Harper's head lolled back and forth in a vain attempt to focus. "Not my fault," He mumbled barley audible. "Space-slugs."
72 hours / 3 days earlier
Harper dodged through the tendrils of space debris left by some previous garbage hauler. He flipped and spun the Maru through the mess like dolphin through a ferry's wake. "Whoooo hooooo!" He yelled at the top of his lungs. It's had been so long since Beka set him free by himself. He hadn't been out since that incident on Veloz 6. Really if you are a diplomatic Ambassador shouldn't you wear a sign or something, stating who you are and your gender? It made sense to him. But, Dylan, and Beka didn't agree. He had only been on the Andromeda for little over a year and he had quickly learned why he was the engineer and not a spokesperson for the New Commonwealth. It's not like Earth had any debutantes or formal banquets with dignitaries. The idea of it made him snork out loud, as images of Magog in ball gowns filled his head. So it wasn't his fault really, was it? As a result he hadn't felt too bad when he had taken an unscheduled detour to visit the race tubes on small moon near Toreena.
His 'mission' had been to sort through garbage on a dump asteroid, looking for the obsolete parts the Maru needed for its influx manifold. After a day on the Toreenan moon, stuffing his face full of Banda Pretzels…erm and some other substances he had felt better prepared to face the arduous task of sorting through Garbage. And, actually it hadn't been too bad at all. He found the parts for the manifold and some other cool stuff that Rommie might be able to use. He would have to tell her a small white lie though. Rommie was way to prissy when it came to used parts. If she found out he got the stuff from a Dump 'roid she would never let him use it. So after he polished it up and if she didn't pull her lie detector trick he would tell her he got them on sale somewhere. She would never know the difference. Fullerene mesh didn't grow on trees after all.
Out of nowhere one of the Maru's proximity alarms started to sound. He craned his neck but couldn't see anything through the forward view. He quickly flipped a few switches and a small bulky craft appeared on screen off the Maru's Starboard side. Harper swore under his breath and prepared for the worst. He knew things were going too well.
The light indicating an incoming message flashed and Harper hit the Communications indicator. A large Nietzschean, weren't they all, with dark curly hair flashed on screen and sneered back at him. "I am Agio, out of Deity by Saga and how dare you fly that hunk of junk through my air space!"
"I'm Seamus Zelazny Harper out of Earth by way of kicking your ass! And this is the Eureka Maru! She ain't much but she's better then anything you got, Uber!"
Agio laughed, "Very brave when you're out of arm's reach, aren't you? Do you care to put you credit where your mouth is, boy?" He sneered in to the communicator.
Harper leaned closer the view screen; this was getting interesting. "What do you have in mind?"
"First one to slippoint gets the other one's ship."
Harper was confident but not an idiot. There was no telling what the Nietzchean had up his sleeve. "No way, how about a 1,000 credits and a case of sparky? You have the money don't you—or are you Ubers scrapping the bottom of the proverbial barrel again?"
Agio growled at him, "Don't push me child! I have aft missiles. When you are flying in my shadow I'll vaporize you and your tin can!"
"Bring it on Mutt Face!" Harper ended the transmission and he started to hit switches, toggles and buttons frantically. The Maru shook and shivered as if it shared Harper's own anxiety. "Don't worry Maru, we'll let this guy ride our wake but nothing more, okay? Then we'll collect out money and get you home to your Momma."
Harper shifted in his chair and pushed the piloting controls all the way forward. Concentrating on the space in front of him he waited for signal. Agio launched the flare indicating the start of the race. Harper grabbed the Maru's thruster and throttle controls pulling them back sharply. The Maru trembled for a second before roaring to life. Harper let out a holler as they leapt forward into the lead. He immediately juked left and cut in front of Agio's ship, almost close enough to wash the Nietzschean's prow with flame.