Disclaimer: Andromeda belongs to Tribune Entertainment and Fireworks Productions; as do the characters of Trance Gemini and Beka Valentine, and others; they are not mine. Picks up shortly after where "Puzzle Pieces" left off.

A look at the possible identity of the little girl whose voice was heard and referenced to in the 2nd season episode "Ourborous".

She dreamt of running and running and never stopping, often the dreams vary in terms of the landscapes that form the backdrop of her subconscious imagery. Sometimes she dreamt that no matter how hard and how fast she ran she can barely feel the ground beneath her booted feet. The breath in her lungs burned with both the tension and the energy that she used to get away from whatever it is that pursued her. And that is the strangest thing about these nightly sojourns, because she has never yet seen the face of her pursuer.

Sometimes, when she paused to rest, chest heaving, hair in a tangled, matted lying damp across the skin of her forehead, she has paused to rest by a still reflecting pool, and she has seen a reflection of herself, but it not the image that she sees in the mirrors of her quarters.

The last time Beka Valentine had seen this particular image was during a surreal firefight aboard her beloved cargo ship, the Eureka Maru, they had been up against hostile enemy boarders that resembled a cross between putty and insects. This face is stern and resigned, the light and the devil-may-care attitude buried underneath a metal exterior, it's the face of one who has fought long and hard against impossible odds. One blue eye is covered by a metal patch, an electronic patch that linked to a network of wiring and circuitry, she's a cyborg.

Beka often woke up aboard the Andromeda Ascendant, in her quarters, in a cold sweat, the sheets of her bed in tangled bunch, her knuckles white from clenching the bed linens so tightly. She had never been much of a believer in the existence of the supernatural, new-age mumbo jumbo, like her brother, Rafael Valentine, or omens of any kind, or self-fulfilling prophecies. She tells herself that this nonsense has to stop before it might drive her to do something drastic and live to regret it. Just because she had a face-to-face encounter with a possible future self that became a cyborg does not mean that it will happen in this time line. Hell, the crew having enough to deal with what with our bubbly, positive purple Trance, going all cryptic than usual to her older Golden Trance."

Interlude The little girl is all of ten years old, thin but wiry, and the man in her life who means everything under the sun to her, her father, tells her that she has that rare look about her, that means he knows that she will do much in this world. As she runs across the decking of the landing platform, oblivious to the yells and complaints of her older brother, the blonde girl whoops with unrestrained joy at the rare chance to be on the surface of a world that she has never been to before. It's a rare holiday, and one that she intends to use to the utmost. "Raf, bet you can't catch me!" she yelled as loud as she possible can, turning heads and catching eye-tracks from the curious passersby and dock workers going about their own business.

She darted down the corrugated steel steps spiraling down from where the ship is docked to the busy port town below, her feet carrying her well ahead of her brother, who is tall, gangly and has the face of hanged dog, as she often teased him about. "Beka, damn it, wait up! I don't want to lose you in the crowd"

"Don't worry about a thing, Rafe," she shouted back to him over her shoulder, "There's no way that you'll lose me, I can find me way around just about anywhere, remember. I'm Omni-directional, like a compass always pointing its way to magnetic north!"

"Well," Rafe replied, huffing and puffing as he finally caught up with his younger sister, "That's one trick I don't have, so I would appreciate it if you didn't wander off like that, deal?"

She titled her disheveled blond hair head back and up to regard the serious look in her big brother's blue eyes and pale face, considered the request and decided that they did indeed have a deal. "She nodded. "Okay, we have a deal."

Present Day

There have been times of late that even Trance Gemini does not know herself all that well and so she avoids looking in her mirrors. It is those times that she told herself that by allowing her younger purple self to switch with the older golden self had been the right decision.

The only decision that she could have made under the circumstances, even if the majority of the crew are having a great time making the adjustment, especially Harper. Trance rolls around that thought around in her mind the way someone would roll their tongue around a tooth that had been recently pulled, to savor the sensation of it, both pain and relief, and came to the conclusion that it made for an odd sort of comfort, she would not exactly call it ambivalent, but it comes close.

Working in her arboretum is getting harder, and not just because the plants are beginning to wither and look a bit on the droopy side.

Beka Valentine never believed in ghosts, of any kind, even the ones that seemed that member of her own family have an unfortunate tendency to create out of their own mistakes and missteps; those were especially difficult in dismissing. The latter kind, the spectral and supernatural, and the ones that went bump in the night, well, those she could deal with, in her sleep, after all those were just figments of her imagination, right?

Beka has made her share of mistakes in the past, and no doubt she will make more, she has extended her trust and been burned on more than one occasion, and she has the scars to prove it. First her father, then her brother, and then most of the men in her life, so her crew on both the Eureka Maru and now aboard the Andromeda Ascendant are people she has come to trust and love like family.
So when Trance Gemini, someone that she has known for as long as she can recall, is someone one that she regards like a sister, and a good friend, began to act strange, well considering that it's Trance, stranger than usual would be about right, it worries her.

Beka's tired, exhausted really, she's logged more hours at the helm than she should, but she had had to get the convoy from point A to point B, intact while navigating through the slip stream. Dylan had been counting on her, the convoy had been counting on her, and most importantly she had been counting on that elusive Valentine luck and her own skill to see them all through safely, even if she had been running high on both natural adrenaline and the surge and heightened alertness of an overdoes of the drug, Flash at the time.

So when she came down from the high and started to feel the withdrawal effects, it should really come as no surprise that she began seeing hallucinations. Trance should not be in her quarters, mainly because she does not want anyone to see her like this, in the dark, disheveled and exhausted. Trance just stood there, just inside of the doorway, not really looking disapproving or anything, not like Harper or even Rev Bem, who had both tried to help in their own way, but still Beka knows that whatever Trance has in mind, she can't deal with it just at the moment, maybe she should tell Trance to go away, come back another time?

"Beka," began Trance, with a hesitant catch in her voice as she stepped forward across the carpeted floor towards her. It was only then that Beka realized the hazy Shallotte that was her fuzzy vision was not entirely her imagination, Trance had company, a little girl.

"I wanted you to meet someone you haven't in a long time. She can't stay very long, but it's important."

"Can't it wait until morning," complained Beka," or at least until I feel better. I'd lay odds that whatever essential information you have to impart is both long and complicated."

"I'm sorry, my friend," replied Trance, "but it has to be right now. You see, I'm taking a great risk just to bring her here, so please, humor me. Just like in the old days, do you remember those?"

Beka sat up straighter, her back against one wall of her quarters. The pounding in her hind beginning to subside to a dull throb as a small quavering smile curved her lips as she recalled the 'good old days' aboard the Maru, and Trance's uncanny ability to predict just the right set of circumstances that would enable them to score the biggest haul, come out on top, and dodge the harries of jobs and rides and still come out on top, to borrow a time-honored cliché, come out smelling like roses.

"Okay, okay, you win Trance." Beka smiled again, this example a little more convincing. "You know, I could never say no to you. What's up?"

"Beka, I'd like you to met, you as a little girl."

"Trance," Beka replied, "Maybe I didn't hear you right, did you say, you wanted me to meet, myself as a child. That's impossible, even for you. And I'm no mood to put up with you playing some sort of silly game."

"I know, and I wouldn't do that to you, but the message she has to tell you is important"

"That's what you said when you came in."

"Hello, Beka," the little girl said, "I had hoped to meet my future self in a little bit better surroundings, but I guess this will have to do."

"Hello, there." Beka bent forward, scrunched down until she was at eye level with the little blonde girl and looked at her face, the intent blue eyes, tousled hair, and narrow cheekbones and curvy lips, and pale face. This could be her younger self, as a child, could be being the operative word. With Trance just about anything was theoretically possible. "You know, you're beginning to sound a lot like Trance, you know that?"

The little girl giggled, "Yeah, comes from hanging out with her in the past, she's funny that way." She giggled and then looked from side to side and all around, as if she was about to impart a secret and worried that someone unfriendly might overhear it. "In the future, when it really matters, promise me something."

"Sure, anything, what do you want?"

"Don't make the same mistake I did," replied the little girl.

"Don't take the easy way out, don't give up."

"Hey, if you are really a younger version of myself, from one of Trance's wacked out perfect possible futures, have you ever known me or us, this is really going bring back the headache, anyways, have you ever known me to give up, ever?"

"Not in your past or present, but in the future, you will, argh," the little girl took her hands away from where they had been clasped in Beka's and tangled them into her blond hair. "Time travel makes my head hurt, too! " Not that long ago, you had an encounter with a future version, a version where you became a cyborg."

"Please, don't remind me?" Beka griped.

"If we don't who will?" Anyhow, that's what we came to warn you about, and the message I was sent to deliver. You got it all okay, right?"

Beka nodded and grinned at her younger alternate self. "Got it."

"Good, it's time to go, Bye Beka, it was nice meeting me, or you, oh, you know what I mean." The little girl stood up, walked over to where Trance stood by the door and then they both disappeared.

"Okay, that was different," Beka whispered.

Conclusion

Trance wondered if perhaps if she had seen a different set of potential outcomes than the future timeline where Beka Valentine never became a cyborg could have been avoided, or she never had had to make the decision to switch places with the gold version of herself, and she could have avoided the smiles and the looks in the eyes of her crew in the present timeline. Of all of them, it was notably Captain Dylan Hunt who seemed the most able to take the radical changes in her appearance and a little bit in her personality in stride.

Creating one perfect possible future would always be complicated side, but then Trance knows about complicated, it almost like second nature to her, so she smiles and continues to work on her plants.