By: Thought

Disclaimer: Nope. But this iced cap is mine… mmm

A/N: This screws with continuity a bit, but shouldn't offend anyone too too much. And yes, it's meant to have no plot. Also not continuing it. And thanks to Prin69 for looking this over for me!

Summary: Beka and Commonwealth gatherings never really went together well.


It was one of those nights when I would willingly do about anything to please someone else. When I was feeling generous and self-sacrificing and like a good person. Such nights as those don't exactly happen with any frequency. We were all at another party that had something to do with interplanetary cooperation, bla bla bla, Commonwealth, bla bla bla, happy happy Beka no kill annoying diplomats thingy. Rommie had made me wear a skirt. Short, black, leather And I was still wearing my boots, along with some contrasting blue and black makeup that I let the avatar plaster all over my face. The first question out of Tyr's mouth when I entered his quarters was how much I cost for the night. I demonstrated just how well hidden a gun can get, and he shut up. I love threatening people who could kill me with out a second thought.

I pushed my way through the crowds of over or under dressed officials. Tried not to curse too loudly when I was elbowed in the ribs.

"Having fun?"

I didn't bother turning around. "I'm sure whatever gloriously stupid stunt you just pulled, are in the middle of pulling or are planning to pull will pail in comparison to anything I could possibly do or have done tonight."

Harper laughed. We escaped the crowd and exited onto the dancefloor.

"Is this even music?" he asked, tilting his head to the side.

"No. But for the sake of my sanity, just say it is and don't cause a diplomatic incident."

He grinned. "Me?"


I looked down at his outstretched hand. "What?"

"Well, it is a dancefloor."

"I'm not dancing with you."

"Why not?" he pouted.

I stared down at him. "You're short. I'm taller than you."

"So? Lots of guys are shorter than women."

"Still not dancing with you."

"You're discriminating against me because of my height?"


A waiter passed us, and Harper reached out to grab a tall glass of something off the tray. He rummaged in his pocket, pulling out a couple coins.

"Sorry, I don't have anything for a tip," he told the man.

I grinned. "Awwe, are you a little short?"

He whacked me on the arm. ""Ha, ha, ha, Beka. You're a riot."

I grinned cheerfully. "I'm glad to know you think so!"

"Just shut up and dance with me?"

I shook my head. "In your dreams."

"Oh believe me, my dreams of you are a little more fun than just dancing," he leered playfully.

I ignored him. I watched in fascination as Tyr and Rommie moved out onto the dancefloor. The tall Niet dwarfed the avatar, but they were both excellent dancers. Rommie was wearing a sleeveless dark blue dress with a neckline that plunged very deeply and her hair was up, falling down her back like a waterfall. Tyr wore a pair of black leather pants and a cream shirt with silver decorative pieces on his bracers, which I could only guess at the origin of. He was looking down at her and saying something I didn't have a hope in hell of hearing. In short, they were hot. I grabbed Harper.

"Come on. You wanna dance, let's dance." I dragged him with me as I tried to continue watching Tyr and Rommie without being seen myself.

"Whoa, whoa! Bek, what're you doing?"

"Enjoying the view."

"Of what? I can't see anything!" Neither of us could dance, and we probably looked like we were both pretty smashed with our uncoordinated stumbles.

"Too bad. You're missing very pretty shiny things," I told him.

"What?" He tried to twist himself around to look at where I was nodding.

"Oh!" he let out a breath, seeing them finally. I grinned.

"Don't drool on my shirt, please."

We watched the two dance, their movement a counterpoint to our own clumsy attempts as they glided around the floor.

"See? The height difference doesn't affect them," Harper pointed out. I pinched his wrist.

"I think we should go over there and steal them," I told him.

"You don't want to watch?"

"They'll get sick of dancing. Then where will we be?"

"At a table. In booths. In a dark corner. Just the four of us…two nice booths…"

I laughed. "You have a perverted little brain."

"We letting them dance?"

"Of course."

He poked me in the ribs. "See, you should always take my advice."

"Trust in the Harper, the Harper is good," I quoted at him. He grinned maniacally.


There was the sound of shattering glass, and I turned my head to follow the noise. A tall, well-built Nietzschean was standing by the bar, the fragments of a delicately spun goblet glittering sharply up at him from the bar. I tried to place him.

"Shay," I muttered, "Who's the Uber by the bar. The one with the smashed glass…yeah. Look familiar?"

He nodded. "Beka, Beka, Beka. Not keeping up with the political playing field, are you? Ok, ok, so you know that Fleet Admiral from Tarazed? Telemachus Rhade?"


"That's his brother, Defense Minister Apollo Rhade."

"He's pretty."

"He's a bastard."

I shrugged. "And that'd be different from any of the other people I've dated how?"


We walked off the dancefloor. I snatched Harper's drink and gulped it down. "Fortification," I explained in response to his uplifted eyebrows.

Dylan appeared out of nowhere. "Beka! Harper! Having a good time, I hope?"

"Wonderful," I replied dryly.

"Don't mind her," Harper said. "She's busy plotting what she's going to do to that poor unsuspecting high-profile Nietzschean politician over there."

"Beka…" Dylan looked mildly panicked.

I gave Harper the finger. "If you'll excuse me, my future ex-husband awaits."

I leaned up against the bar, watching the Nietzschean take a long, slow sip from his drink. "Minister," I said as softly as one could over the not-music. "I'm Rebecca Valentine, first officer of the Andromeda Ascendant."

He inclined his head. "A plesure, Miss Valentine. Or at least, I hope it is Miss? I take it from the lack of helix that you are not claimed as of yet?"

I smiled. "I'm not Nietzschean." I held up my bare forearms in demonstration.

He ran a well-manicured finger down the skin of my inner arm. "Now that I find hard to believe. You conduct yourself with the grace and strength of a well-bread Nietzschean female."

It was a very obvious trick, however one that I was quite comfortable to play along with. I laughed prettily, and rested my hand on his for a moment. "I follow your career," I told him. "I think what you do is just amazing."

He nodded cautiously. "Indeed. And it must be quite a feat to work under Captain Hunt all these years."

I knew when I was being played. Usually, I was the one doing the playing. But…he was hot, ok?

"I manage," I told him, sliding a bar stool right beside his own and perching on it's edge.

"It's a lovely party, is it not?" he said, his eyes glued to my chest.

"Yeah," I agreed easily. "Wonderful."

"Really, everything is very well put together, well organized. I trust you got the chance to sample that lovely buffet over there? Delicious food. And for those of you who imbibe in the occasional alcoholic beverage, I do believe there's a fine selection of high quality drinks. Please, allow me to buy you one." He lifted a hand and a waitress appeared as if by magic. Nietzschean intimidation, probably. Hell if I ever got service anywhere that fast.

"Sir?" she smiled.

He looked at me. "What can I interest you in, Miss Valentine?"

I pondered for a moment. "Calsergian Lethe," I told her.

"I don't believe I've ever heard of that particular one," he murmured, stroking the back of my hand.

"It's, um, whine…and ice and lemon and mitia fruit," I told him, shivering at the play of his fingers on my skin.

"Fascinating," he nodded. "I always got the impression that wine is something to be savored on it's own?"

I laughed weakly as his caresses made their way up my arm. "I'm just a spacer. I have no idea what a good wine would taste like. Besides, most pure wines are waaaaay beyond my cash rang."

He frowned. "Well, we will have to fix that, won't we?"

My drink arrived. It was all…cute. In one of those ridiculous glasses with the ten inch stems that are just an accident waiting to happen, with a sprig of some sort of herb on the side of the glass. He lifted the herb out, and I watched as the ice crystals that clung to it glittered like the earlier shattered glass under the blue lighting. He leaned closer, his eyes sparkling, and slowly drew the cool greenery across my slightly parted lips. I shivered, and I knew it couldn't have gone unnoticed by his Nietzschean senses. Setting aside the sprig, he lifted the glass from my suddenly limp hand and brought it to my lips.

"Rebecca! There you are. I have been looking for you, we must talk." I froze. Cursed internally. I felt the tight grip of my own personal Nietzschean on my shoulder, and then I was being pulled off the stool and into the crowd, leaving Apollo Rhade sitting holding a girly drink out to an empty bar stool.

"What the hell, Tyr?" I snapped, shrugging free of his hold.

"I don't even want to know what you were doing with that man," he snarled. "You are aware that he would have only slept with you in order to gain an inside connection onboard the Andromeda?"

"I wouldn't have told him anything!" I snapped.

"How many drinks have you had tonight?" he asked.

"Not enough to deal with you," I retorted. I saw Rommie and Harper over in a group of varying diplomats. Without another word to Tyr, I pushed my way through the crowd, cursing the idiots that got in my way.

I reached them and pounced on Rommie from behind. "Kill me," I breathed in her ear. She shrugged me off, frowning at me.

"Hi, Beka!" Harper sang. Rommie continued to stare at me.

"What?" I asked her.

"You…have wine right…" she indicated with her hand into thin air. I blinked. Aggravated, she lifted a finger and wiped my upper lip with the tip. It came away reddish pink.

"Ah, Captain Beka Valentine, isn't it?" sneered a voice from behind me. I turned away from Rommie to face the others in the group.

…Of course. Just to make my life that little bit better. I tried to force a smile for Fleet Admiral Telemachus Rhade, Arch Duchess Elzbett Bolivar and All Systems University Director Hone.

"So, Rebecca, may I call you Rebecca?" Rhade continued. "Do tell me what you think of the situation and rumors of a Nietzschean alliance with the Maggog."

I blinked. "Uh. I suppose they're completely unfounded."

"A perfectly accurate assumption, Captain," Rommie observed from beside me. "But please, Admiral, enlighten us on your opinions."

"Personally I haven't a doubt of the validity of those rumors, Miss Ascendant. And I am taking measures to insure that such an alliance will never happen. Honestly, any Nietzschean willing to ally him or herself with such a barbaric race does not deserve the name Nietzschean."

Elzbett spoke up. "I'd be careful what I say, Fleet Admiral. It's not unheard of that some lesser Nietzscheans will share a bed with a Kludge, and I would hate to know what could be potential pillow talk on the political plain."

I clenched my teeth. Tried not to scream or cry or kill Elzbett.

"I assure you, Ma'am, Captain Valentine would never share any secrets under the influence of sexual activity," Rommie said easily. I was going to kill them all. I turned, and no matter how childish an approach it seemed, made a run for the nearest exit. The exits were blocked off by tightly knit groups of people, so I settled for a wall, which was fairly deserted. I made it to a corner before I lost all restraint and punched someone's lights out. I leaned my head against the smooth wall, trying to force air in and out of my lungs. Someone came up behind me.


I didn't turn around. "Hi, Rev."

"You don't look well."

I didn't want to turn around, but the patterns on the wall were starting to make me nauseous.

"I'm going to kill Tyr," I announced. "Then Rommie, then both Rhade brothers, then Elzbett Bolivar, and finally myself. Yeah. That's a good plan. I think that's a good plan. Don't you think that's a good plan?"


I shook my head. "I like my delusions. Leave me alone."

Rommie appeared beside me and pressed a hot cup of black coffee into my hand. "You're not smiling," she said.

"Run very far and very fast," I told her.

"I know, I was stupid and mean. I know you're not sleeping with Tyr."

"I do tend to attempt to stay away from Kludge whores," Tyr commented from behind me. I jumped. Rommie grinned way too enthusiastically and latched on to his arm. I through back the coffee in one long swallow. "Oh…fuck…" I muttered as the boiling liquid scorched its way down my throat. It did have the slight advantage of reattaching me to the real world. Except that I was still here and Rommie and Tyr were still not dead and Rommie was still draped all over my Tyr. "I wanna go home," I informed them all.

"We are needed to stay for at least another two hours," Rev told me.

"I hate you. Stop giving me bad news."

He smiled. It would have been scary if I were anyone else. He was amused. Playful. In a really good mood. Not above using his features to intimidate. And having way too much fun laughing at me. "You don't hate me," he said.

I stuck out my tongue. I looked over at Rommie and Tyr. She had one hand resting in the crook of his arm, the other using his shoulder for leverage as she leaned up to murmur in his ear.

"Can we—" I made helpless and extraordinarily meaningful hand gestures at the two of them.

"Of course." Rev and I moved away through the crowds. People got out of the way a lot faster when one had a Maggog beside you.

"If I talk to one more Nietzschean tonight I'm going to end up charged with murder," I told Rev.

"No, you won't."

"Wanna bet?" I glared up at the ceiling.

"You're brother would be charged with murder. Or Dylan. I highly doubt you'd let yourself get caught."

"I love you," I told him. A hand descended on my shoulder with such suddenness that the empty plastic cup that had formerly held coffee fell to the floor and was crushed underfoot.

"Beka! Rev! Staying out of trouble, I hope?"

"Speak of the devil," I muttered to Rev. Then, louder, "Well, I think I've only pissed off four Ubers tonight, so I'd say I'm doing pretty good!"

He looked a little panicked. "I'm going to assume that was a very bad joke."

I smiled sweetly. "Of course… Kinda."

He stared at me, and then looked at Rev. "What'd she do?"

"I wouldn't know," he said blandly. Dylan rubbed his temples, and then frowned.

"Please tell me Harper isn't over there dancing on the bar?" I snorted out a surprised laugh at the non sequitur, and turned to follow Dylan's gaze. "…Oh. That's…. lovely. Just perfect. I'm gonna kill him right after I get the blackmail pictures," I decided.

"I told him not to do anything stupid!" Dylan snapped irritably.

I blinked. "Dylan. Think about that sentence for a minute. Since when has Harper managed to get through one of these things without doing something stupid? You really think that just because you told him not to, he's going to break his record?"

Dylan sighed overdramatically. "Why do I put up with you people?"

I grinned. "'Cause you love us so much!"

"And our wonderful personalities," Rev added.

I giggled. "Yep! We're just so damned cheerful and uplifting! We're a happy family…"

Rev gave me a look. I burst out laughing, leaning against him for support. Finally, I got myself under control. "Rev and I will go drag Harper off the bar. You," I pointed at Dylan, "Go get me more alcohol."

"Coffee," Rev cut in.

"Drink," I pouted.

"I thought you didn't drink, Beka?" Dylan asked, looking lost.

"Exactly," Rev nodded.

"I'm going to shoot you," I told the Maggog.

"Uh, coffee, then?" Dylan asked uncertainly.

"Yes," I muttered petulantly.

"Right then. And tell Harper he's in a lot of trouble," Dylan added.

"He's going to forget my coffee," I pouted.

"Harper," Rev reminded me.

"…Fuck. Right. I swear I can do this without laughing," I told him.

He didn't say anything.

"Stop doubting my captaining abilities." I stood up as straight as I could and puffed out my chest. "I will inform Mr. Harper that his current activities are not within Commonwealth guidelines and that he should stop immediately for fear of retribution by the justice system on my ship which is 'anything I don't like shall be punished'." Rev stared at me.

"You do that disturbingly well," he told me.

"Well, what else is one supposed to do when Dylan goes off on one of his Commonwealth speeches, listen? My ears wound bleed if I actually paid attention."

Harper was down off the bar by the time we got there. I winced when I realized exactly why he was no longer astounding the world with his drunken wobblings.

"Ah, Miss Valentine," said Apollo Rhade. "You do keep the most disgraceful company, don't you? First that traitor Tyr Anasazi, and now Dylan Hunt's pet Maggog."

I stared at him. Then, I stared at Harper where he was hanging a few inches off the floor with the Nietzschean's hands around his throat. "Let my engineer go," I told him coldly.

"This pathetic excuse for a life form is your engineer? Well, it's no wonder that the Andromeda is continuously in need of maintenance."

I felt Rev tensing up beside me. I clenched my teeth. "With all due respect, Minister, he's got a lot more brains than you will ever hope of having, and probably a much more important job as well. Now, let him down before I pull out the gun that I have inconspicuously tucked into a part of my outfit that I will leave you guessing at and blow your brains all over that nice suit of yours."

From the way Rev was looking at me, that just might have been the wrong thing to say. He dropped Harper, which was a bonus, however now he was staring at me like his next meal. I glared right back, not ready to put up with any crap from anyone.

He took a step forward in a manner which I guessed was supposed to look menacing. He was about an inch taller than me. I wasn't at all menaced. I rocked back on my heals and spread my arms wide. "You wanna try something?" I challenged.

"Beka," Rev murmured warningly.

"Yes, listen to the creature," the Nietzschean sneered. "Run along to your master and leave the important things to people who can handle them."

I stared at him. "Please tell me you're not that stupid," I said. "And Captain Hunt is anything but my master. Hell, half the time I don't even pay attention to him!"

He laughed patronizingly. "I was not in any way referring to Captain Hunt. You don't think I noticed when you were dragged off from right under my nose by Tyr Anasazi?"

My mind didn't quite process that for a moment, and he took that time to turn away. Very, very bad move. It clicked that yes, he was really that stupid, and then it clicked exactly what he had said. My brain shut down. I was going to kill him. I launched myself at his back, my nails digging into his shoulders with as much force as I could muster. I kicked at his shin with my boot, but he stepped aside easily. Cursing, I continued to pummel him. I saw Harper pulling something out of one of his many pockets, and frowned before having to duck a fist that was coming straight for my head. People were trying to pull us apart, but I wasn't about to let him get away with saying anything that implied that I was just onboard the Andromeda to serve…well, anyone. But especially not Tyr. There was a humming noise, and suddenly Harper's drunken form popped up beside me again. He was brandishing a nanowelder. I stared at him. He made a wild swing at Apollo, but missed, striking a barstool instead and sending it flying a few feet, smoking. With a furious growl, the Nietzschean sent me staggering back with a sharp jab to my stomach. He made a hard downward swing at Harper's neck, where he was cowering against the bar. At the last second, my little engineer slumped over, finally passing out, and the Uber's boneblades slammed into the stone surface of the bar, instead. There was the sickening sound of bone snapping, and when he drew back his arm, there were only uneven stumps where his blades had been.

Maybe it was the alcohol, the caffeine, the stress or the adrenaline, but I found the sight of the arrogant, perfectly pressed politician staring dazedly down at his bare arm to be downright hysterical. I sagged against Rev, shaking with silent laughter.

"Oh gods, Dylan's gonna be pissed," I got out.

"You should not find amusement in the pain of another person, Beka," Rev reminded me. I looked at him.

"You're laughing."

"Do I look like I'm laughing?"

"No, but that's because you're desperately trying not to."


"Yes. You so are laughing!"

"Do you truly think that I could find humor in this situation?" he asked.


He allowed a grin to break out on his face. "It was entirely his own fault," he noted. "There's no way you could get blamed for this."

I grinned. "Nope!"

"Dylan's coming," Rev informed me.

"Oh, shit," I muttered.

"Beka! Rev! What the hell is going on!" Dylan demanded, storming over in a full-blown righteous rage.

I closed my eyes. "I'm going to run away really fast that way," I whispered to Rev, nodding over to Rommie and Tyr where they were talking to people that I didn't know.

"I'll go the other way," he replied.

"See you later," I muttered, and we both darted off into the crowd, leaving Dylan to stand, looking very confused, over an unconscious Harper and a pissed off Nietzschean. I appeared by Tyr's side, grinning at them both.

"I just made that Nietzschean you were mad at me for spending time with earlier have a very bad night," I told Tyr.

"How very delightful for you," he observed dryly.

"Well, I think so," I muttered. Rommie glanced at me, and then returned her gaze to the other people in our little group.

"Captain Valentine, I'd like you to meet the Minister Of Finance for Tarazed, Mr. Lester Key, and his assistant, Miss Hera Lenin. This is Captain Beka Valentine, first officer of the Andromeda Ascendant."

"It's a plesure to meet you, Captain," the tall, sandy haired Human held out a hand, shaking my own firmly. His assistant, whom, I noted, was ridiculously taller than him, extended her hand.

"Captain." I shook her hand, wondering just how much the gems adorning her bracers cost. Her boneblades were very scarily long, and that brought my mind rollercoasting back to Apollo Rhade over by the bar. I tried desperately to keep a straight face.

"Minister. Miss Lenin. A plesure."

"I've followed your career with some interest," Lenin informed me. Immediately, I was on the defensive.


"Yes. It's a fascinating story. From abused daughter to rebellious teenager to smuggler and suddenly you're first officer of the ship, which single-handedly restored the Systems' Commonwealth. It's quite impressive, not to mention very exciting."

"Uh huh…"

"In fact, I believe that there is a member of the All systems' University who is at this moment working on a biography of you."

I blinked. "Um, why?"

Rommie stepped in smoothly. "That's wonderful! Very flattering, too. Don't you think that's flattering, Captain Valentine?"

I was going to kill her. That was all there was to it. Tyr pinched my arm painfully, and I jumped. "Uh, yes. Very flattering," I got out. Key spoke up, his gaze flicking between his assistant and me.

"You'll have to excuse Miss Lenin, she tends to get a little carried away with her slight cases of hero worship."

I stared at the very intimidating Nietzschean woman and highly doubted she was suffering from anything even coming close to hero worship. She smiled at me, her boneblades rising minutely from their place. I cringed.

"Perhaps we could talk a greater length at a later occasion?" she asked softly. I pressed myself as close against Tyr as I could get without diving right off the edge into vastly inappropriate territory. "I'd like that," I told her, trying to keep my voice calm and professionally polite.

"Miss Ascendant and Mr. Anasazi were just telling us about your string of accomplishments during your time aboard the Andromeda," Key explained, smiling warmly at me. I forced an interested smile.

"Only the good, I hope?" I asked; it was the expected response.

"Of course," he grinned. "I must say, some of the things they've been saying are truly remarkable."

I glanced at my crewmates. "Spreading untruths again?" I murmured, loudly enough for everyone to hear. The polite laughter that I had expected came almost immediately from all present.

"You must have some fascinating stories," Lenin observed.

"I suppose," I shrugged.

"I find it hard to believe that a Human of your breeding and upbringing could do so much," she continued. I restrained myself from reminding her that she was working for a Human. No doubt, the well-groomed Finance Minister was of acceptable bloodlines. Or she was a typical Tarazed Nietzschean who had been polluted by the rest of the universe.

Rommie had moved to my other side. I could definitely live being stuck between those two for the rest of the night, I mused. "Well, I suppose I'm just chalk full of surprises," I replied, focusing solely on Tyr and Rommie where they stood, anchoring me to the world of 'must not kill evil Neitzscheans whom live to piss me off'.

"Indeed," she smiled again. "Would you like to accompany me to the bar? I believe they have a most excellent selection."

I swore internally as my lips made valiant attempts to form a rather maniacal grin. "I'm—I think there's been an altercation of some sort over there. It might be safer to wait for a few minutes so that the mess can be cleaned up." I was quite proud of myself for not breaking down in hysterics.

"How dreadful," the Minister said blandly, not showing a bit of concern. I wondered how long he'd had to spend around Nietzscheans to become so much like them.

"I believe Captain Hunt is trying to get my attention," Rommie said, politely apologetic as she made to move away. I reached out, grabbing a tight hold of her wrist.

"I'm sure it's nothing," I smiled between tightly clenched teeth. "I think our captain is having a bit of a stressful night."

I knew for a fact that Dylan was still over by the bar trying to get Harper out of there, and therefore couldn't have been calling Rommie unless he had gone back in time and there was a duplicate Dylan running around whilst the real, well, current Dylan helped over at the bar and I did not want to be left alone with these people.

"I would hate to lose your fascinating companionship so soon, anyway," Lenin murmured to the avatar. I closed my eyes. Did Rommie have a sign on her forehead that read 'looking for creepy Nietzscheans to have intercourse with'? Because after her little displays with Tyr, and now this, I wasn't so sure.

"Thank you, though I'm sure Captain Valentine has some much more interesting tales to tell," she gestured at me. It was her form of revenge for my not so thinly veiled yet greatly successful attempt at keeping her there.

"No, not really," I cut in quickly. "Captain Hunt gets to go on all of the interesting missions."

"You let your captain wander off without your protection?" Lenin asked sweetly. "I am not a military woman, however I would assume that to be against some protocol or other. He is, after all, a very important and highly valued man."

I had walked right into that one. I could admit that. Tyr saved me. "It all depends on your interpretation of the word interesting," he gave Lenin the look that I could clearly read as 'back off or your life will become incredibly painful'. Tyr can jam entire speeches into a look.

"Captain Valentine, I hope I'm not interrupting anything," a voice came from behind me. I had never been so glad to see our new version of Trance in my life.

"Not at all, Trance. What's up?" I moved out from between my guardian devils and pulled Trance with me into a generally secluded corner.

"It looked like you were becoming a little awkward over there," she shrugged. "And I just came from a conversation with Dylan."

"Isn't he just a wonderful human being right now?" I asked sardonically.

"No, not really," she shook her head and I saw a hint of the old Trance peaking through.

"Sarcasm, Trance," I told her lightly. "I take it you heard about Harper?"

She nodded. "He shouldn't drink that much."

I mimicked her nod. "Nope. But really, how does one stop him?"

"Just because he's had a hard childhood, it doesn't give him the right to drink it all away," she jumped over about five lines of dialogue. Could probably read minds, or something.

"Again, I know, but there's nothing we can do."

Trance looked up at me, and then away. She was clamming up. "I guess you're not exactly the best person to be discussing the evils of harmful substances with," she said coldly, and walked away toward the exit, which magically cleared of people for her, and then closed right back up. I stood there, back against the wall, trying to catch up with the conversation.

"Is this day over?" I heard a man ask another somewhere near me. I felt the exact same as that man. The night had spiraled out of control so fast that my mind was still throwing up over in some corner of my head from the loops and drops. Nothing like this was supposed to happen at these diplomatic events. If it were a normal night, I'd stay back somewhere behind Dylan, usually with Tyr or Harper, and make sarcastic comments about everyone all night, be generally ignored, and go home at the end of the night no better or worse for the experience. Tonight was different.

"Aren't we the social butterfly tonight?" a voice brought me out of my reverie.

I looked up and almost choked on air. "Sid?"

"Hello, Rebecca!" I stared blankly at my estranged uncle for a long moment, trying of form words.

"What the hell are you doing here?" I demanded angrily.

"Oh, just hobnobbing with the political higher ups, you know," he shrugged innocently.

"Why?" I demanded suspiciously.

"That, my dear niece, is a secret."

I winced. This night had just gotten a lot weirder. "The last time I saw you, you tried to kill me," I told him bluntly.

"No, Rebecca, I believe I tried to not kill myself," he replied. I blinked.


"Are you feeling alright?" he asked. I shook my head, and turned to look around for someone else I knew. My head was feeling a little foggy. I saw Rev making his way towards me, and pushed passed Sid to meet up with him half way.

"I just ran into my uncle," I told him, staying close to be heard clearly over the new song that had just started playing.


"Yeah. Weird, isn't it?"

"And here I thought he would have wanted to stay clear of you for a while," Rev commented.

"Yeah, me too. Being that he tried to kill me, and all," I nodded.


"I really need some air," I told him.

"It would be rather hard to get out," he observed, gesturing toward the blocked exits.

"Isn't that against fire safety protocols or something?" I asked irritably.

"You would think so, wouldn't you?" Trance asked from right behind me. I spun, but she wasn't there.

"You just hear that?" I demanded of Rev. He inclined his head, looking as confused as I must have looked.

"Beka! Rev!" Dylan was baring down on us like some sort of human tidal wave. "I was wondering where you two got off to. We need to talk."

"No, we don't," I muttered petulantly.


I glared at Dylan. "Yes, Captain, what about him?"

"He just caused a diplomatic incident."

"Oh no," I was completely monotone. Completely and utterly so, and it through Dylan out of his perfectly laid track of Commonwealth morals. Was I really that predictable?

"Look, Dylan, I'll deal with Harper in the morning," I told him after he had been utterly silent for about a minute.

"Beka, I think you should—" he began.

"I don't," I told him, not even letting him finish what ever it had been he was going to say. I waved at him and, assuming that Rev would either follow me or try to talk Dylan down from his throne of All Mighty Dylan Huntness. I didn't stop walking until I spotted Tyr breaking away from the little chitchat with the Finance Minister and his assistant, Rommie following close behind him. We converged, the four of us, somewhere near a drink table, and I handed Tyr a glass of water.

"I didn't poison it," I told him. He nodded in thanks.

"That wasn't very nice," Rommie told me. I smiled cheerily at her, putting an arm around her shoulders.

"You can handle those type of people much better than I can."

"That woman. That Nietzschean. She—" Rommie gestured helplessly.

"I know," I nodded. "I actually kind of am sorry about leaving you with her. But you had Tyr. And we're in a public place."

Rommie looked a little sickened. "Right…"

"Stop it," Tyr told me quietly.

"Kay." I glanced over towards the bar, but there seemed to be no one there that I knew.

"You were right," Rev told me. I grinned slightly.

"Yeah. I know. Dylan did forget my coffee."