Interrogation Tactics
by Jessie

Summary: Harper and Dylan bond, and I have a little fun with one of my questions about Harper's past. Told from Dylan's POV. And there's some Trance in there too, as well as at least some sort of mention of the rest of the crew.

Archive: Feel free. Just ask first.

Disclaimer: Andromeda's not mine. (Don't look so surprised, jeez) Please don't- you know- sue or anything.

Author's Note: This is the part where I'm supposed to say that the creation of this story was entirely Harper's fault. And that I'm not at all addicted to Andromeda. I can quit any time I want. Really. I can. But it's not true. (Except for the part about Harper. It really is all his fault that I watch this show.) So I'm just gonna use this space to ask that you all be the good little fanfic readers you've proven to be in the past, and give me some of that wonderfully inspired feedback that you know I live for.

And- hey! I've finally written a fanfic that has some one other than that cutie engineer as the main character! Are ya proud? Okay- so the story does focus on him quite a bit. But it's from Dylan's POV. Ya gotta give me credit for that, right?

Anyway- I hope you guys all enjoy this one. I had fun writing it. And remember- I live for feedback.


I haven't worried about anything for a little while now.

That worries me.

It's been two days since I've had any real emergencies or reasons to worry over the crew, the ship, or the commonwealth that seems almost within my grasp.

And I don't mind confessing, this 'not worrying' isn't sitting well with me.

I'm not used to it. I find myself coming up with problems where there are none- just so that I can busy my thoughts with ways to fix them. I've started worrying over the little things, the things that would have never gotten to me before: that small kink in the slipstream drive, the Andromeda's side long glances in my direction when she thinks I'm not looking, and the slightly more angry than usual look on Tyr's face.

Maybe over three hundred years of life has finally started taking its toll.

Maybe peace and quiet breed paranoia.

I'm tempted to seek out Rev for some friendly advice, but I don't think I want to deal with his 'non-answers' right now. I want solid answers, not more questions to ponder while waiting for the next big catastrophe to happen. Since I know one is coming.

One is always coming.

So Rev is off my list of those to interrogate. And, for the same reasons, so is Trance.

As much as I would like to corner her with a line of questioning that would probably send her into a nervous fit, I'm fairly certain I won't get very far that way. Not until she's ready.

I need a problem to fix though. I need a distraction so that my mind won't suddenly turn on me in that way it's taken to doing each night, and force on me thoughts of the past. Of Sarah. Of old friends and even older enemies.

I need an emergency.

This morning I went so far as to convince myself that Beka was seriously considering leaving with the Eureka Maru. I don't remember where the idea came from, but I let it grow inside of me until there was nothing left for me to do other than confront her with it.

She didn't take it very well.

So Beka's off my little mental list as well, since she already had her turn with me and my paranoia earlier. Even I, in this nervous state, am not suicidal enough to make her go through my incessant and worried questioning twice in the same day.

I would think she really would leave if I tried to start up another "innocent" conversation with her.

So who's left? Because I'm not quite ready to give up this search for something to worry about- even if I do realize that it might bring my sanity into question.

Like I said before, with everything that's happened to me, and to this ship and its crew, having nothing to worry about . . . well . . . it worries me.

I suppose the obvious choice would be Rommie. So I head in the direction of where I know her human avatar is currently located, because talking to her hologram, though familiar, is not what I need right now.

If there is any one on this crew that could offer sound advice, it would have to be Rommie. She's an artificial intelligence, I don't think she posses the ability to give advice that *isn't* sound.

And anyway, I've been becoming more and more suspicious of her lately. She's been giving me these looks, like she's hiding something. Maybe it's just that same paranoia that has me seeking her out in the first place, or maybe it's something else. Either way, I have something to worry about now.

Or not. Perhaps I should rethink my battle plan for a minute. Is confronting Rommie with allegations like these going to help the situation any?

Sometimes I despise logic.

I think the real question here isn't whether indulging myself in my suspicions about Rommie is going to help, but whether or not I'm going to feel like I'm actually accomplishing something. Truth be told, that's all I really want right now. I want to feel like I'm solving something- like I'm helping some one.

And would I really be doing either of those things by accusing my own ship of . . . I'm not sure of what- but of something? Knowing myself as I do, I'm certain I'll be able to come up with some possible explanation for her strange behavior.

But I won't. I have enough sense not to risk our relationship for the sake of paranoia.

And that's one more person I can cross off my list.

I'm down to two people, and neither is presenting me with a valid excuse to confront them. Although, Tyr has been acting strangely around Beka for the past week or so. Perhaps I could . . .

No. I'm not that desperate for a catastrophe. Tyr is just going to have to live with being off my list as well.

Which leaves only one. And, of course, I would pick the one who's probably the easiest to talk to, but the hardest to actually *talk* to.

My mind works in mysterious and masochistic ways. At least- that's what Sarah used to say.

So, Seamus Harper it is. There must be something I can think of to help him with, or out of, or . . . I'll think of something. For now I'll just be grateful that I have no more use for this damn imaginary list.

The room that Harper has proclaimed his work area is one that I really hadn't ever visited on a regular basis during the days when I had a full crew. But ever since the Andromeda's- and my own- resurrection, the journey there has become increasingly familiar. And so has the room itself, which- although I'm sure our acting engineer would deny it- is something of haven for Harper.

I watch him tamper with something vaguely electrical as I ponder this- how each of the crew seems to have found their own place on the ship.

Whether it be the hydroponics bay, the bridge, or the hangar that the Eureka Maru is currently docked in, every one seems to have found their own area and a sort of solitude that is at once a definition of who each of them are, and a sanctuary for them no matter the situation.

The young man doesn't really notice my presence, which isn't much of a surprise considering how absorbed he is in what he's doing. But I still find it comforting. I like the idea of being a sort of omnipotent presence- of possessing the same sort of knowledge of the crew and their different idiosyncrasies that Rommie does.

I like to check in on them from time to time- one of the few habits that remains from my life three hundred years ago. They help me to feel more in control of my environment, which is something of a plus as a Captain.

I can't stay like this forever, though. So I make my presence known by walking into the room rather loudly, a hesitant smile on my face. Harper turns his head and smiles back, though he's obviously somewhat distracted by whatever he's doing.

"Hey Dylan." He throws the greeting out casually, turning his eyes back to the tool in his hands. His informality baffles me.

I don't like being baffled. But this crew- and this young man in front of me- they've been doing just that ever since I met them.

I never know what to make of any of my crew.

And Harper- he's unlike most people I've met in my long lifetime: so sure of himself, cocky and arrogant. Egotistical. But . . . there's more to it than that. There has to be. It's the same with, say . . . Trance. There's an innocence and a bubbly exterior that she posses that can't possibly be her true self. There's something underneath all that playfulness and child-like personae that I'm determined to figure out.

The same goes for Seamus Harper.

Both he and Trance have managed to confuse the hell out of me in a way that few have been able to. But so have Beka, Tyr, and Rev. Even Rommie has lately.

I haven't figured out, yet, what her or Trance's reasonings for this are. And I haven't figured out Harper's exact logic either, but at least I have a couple of hints when it comes to the human.

Still . . . he baffles me.

Somehow I can't quite comprehend how such a difficult and painful childhood could produce the young man before me. How everything that Beka's told me about his life could possibly leave room for humor. For laughter.

For casual greetings.

I nod my head in a belated response to his words. I clear my throat and offer a monotone "Mr. Harper," to make up for it, as I watch him set down the tool and move to a computer console.

"Why do you do that?" His eyes glance from me to the computer screen, and back again.

"Do what?" He moves back to his previous station, working, and I take a few steps forward.

"It's just 'Harper'." He elaborates, again glancing back and forth between me and what he's doing. I find the action disconcerting and want to demand that he stand up straight and address me in the fashion of an officer of the Commonwealth, but bite my tongue.

He moves, again, to an entirely different computer. "No 'mister''s, 'sir''s or 'your majesty's needed." He grins slyly, and I have to smile back- if only out of habit.

"Is there a reason you don't go by your first name?" I try for the informality that he seems so familiar with, but it sounds strained.

Sarah always did say my small talk was in need of some refining.

He pauses in his work and looks at me for a longer period of time than what he's been able to manage since I first stepped into the room, then looks back down.

"I suppose I could make one up."

"A name?"

"A reason."

"Is there a real one?" The conversation seems oddly fast-paced, though it could just be the way he's projecting himself.

It could also just be me. So I take a calming breath and let the scene slow down a bit.

Suddenly Harper doesn't seem as rushed and his eyes are not as frantic, though a nervousness still exists about him that I can only attribute to the topic of conversation.

"I guess I just never liked 'Seamus'." His tone is a forced casual that only serves to heighten my curiosity.

"'Seamus' is a good name." I say off-handedly. He's still working as we speak, but it's obvious his attention is now more focused on me than on his project.

"I suppose it's all right." He's avoiding the question.

"You never expressed any out-right dislike for it in the past. Is there a reason you prefer 'Harper'?"

"Look- 'Harper' just . . . fits. And it's easier to spell too. I don't go by 'Zelazny' either, but you're not getting on my case about that."

I nod, trying to appear as though I'm on his side.

Which I am. He just doesn't see that yet.

"It's just curious is all. Every one else aboard is addressed by their first names. Even me. But not you."

He seems to grow slightly more nervous, but also more accepting of his fate and the fact that I'll get to the bottom of this some how or another.

"Listen- it's not like there's a whole lotta story behind it. I just like the name 'Harper'."

"It's descendant from ancient Earth, isn't it? Ancient Irish, or maybe Scottish? Is that right? It's been a while since I've brushed up on my Earth history."

He looks at me for a moment before hesitantly replying, "yeah."

I can almost see the thoughts race through his mind as he contemplates how one minute he was innocently working on . . . whatever it is he's working on, and the next, he's being given the third degree by the Captain.

"Do you get it from your father's side, or your mother's?" The casualness of my tone is astonishing, especially to me. Sarah would be proud. If not disbelieving.

But something inside of me knows I shouldn't be casual about things like this. I shouldn't jump into a subject like this without a thought to the consequences.

However, I choose to ignore my better judgement, in favor of a more careless approach.

I wait for him to answer me, as my mind tries to recall what the custom was three hundred years ago as far as naming went. I believe it was fashion to give the father's last name to the girls of the family, and the mother's last name to the boys- a tradition that had stemmed from, I believe, the Helgians, who had integrated it into human culture upon the birth of the Commonwealth.

Though there were several people who simply gave one last name to all of their children, opting for the Old Earth tradition. And who knows what's happened in the past few hundred years.

"Um . . ." Harper struggles for words, completely caught off guard. "I, uh . . ." he swallows. "Was there something you wanted? Cause I'm a little busy . . ."

"How 'bout an answer?" He's stopped all other work, and has taken to just staring at me like some animal that's been captured and can't think of a way to escape. "It's not a difficult question Harper."

If I were him I would be distrusting that tone in my voice as well, but I can't seem to stop myself from digging deeper. I finally feel like I'm dealing with something concrete now. I'm fixing something. I have something to worry about again.

"My mom's side." He almost mumbles distractedly, and tries to continue working at the computer. So the tradition hasn't changed in over three hundred years. That's almost comforting in a way. "She was part Irish."

I can't help but latch onto the 'was' in that sentence.

I figure that now is a very good time to change the subject. And I do. Rather abruptly. "When was the last time we had a talk, Mr. Harper?"

He gives me a quizzical look, as if to say 'you're insane and the only reason I'm humoring you is because you have a weapon'. But he also looks relieved.

"I told you- no 'mister''s, 'sir''s, or . . ."

"Right. Just 'Harper'." He's grinning, but his eyes still have that look of fear. Of being trapped.

"What do you wanna talk about?" He's slipped into an easy-going mode, which I figure is by way of telling me that as long as I stay away from certain topics he'll promise to be pleasant company.

But I can't just stay away. Not with this boredom and paranoia building up in the back of my mind. So I'll just have to ease him into the subject matter- get him to trust me.

Some part of me really doesn't like the fact that I still have to convince my own crew to trust me whenever I want to have a conversation. But I decide not to pursue that train of thought.

"Oh, I don't know." I try to sound casual. It is, again, unsuccessful. "I'm just checking up on the crew morale- making sure no one's planning on jumping ship." He smirks, and moves towards me so that just a workbench and a pile of electronics separates us.

He idly fiddles with the gadgets in front of him. "Well- no problems on this side of the boat. I can't speak for the rest of the crew though."

"And if you had to guess?" He gives me another look, but obliges with an answer.

"Well . . ." He seems to think about it for a moment. "I doubt Rev's gonna wanna leave anytime soon. There's not a lotta places that would accept him." I nod my head in understanding. "And same goes for Tyr- though I'm sure 'Mr. Will to Power' could find a place with plenty of beautiful Nietzschean women and wars if he wanted to."

"Does he want to?"

"Eh, doubtful. The big guy's got plans for all of us- he wouldn't be here if he didn't. You just gotta figure out what those plans are."

I'm liking this conversation more and more. If it doesn't give me any answers, at least I'll have plenty to worry about.

"Beka's not going anywhere. Not until she figures she can make a better profit from it and still make sure all of 'her' crew is safe and sound. So unless something happens to one of us, Beka's probably in it for the long haul." He holds up a small device of some kind, looking it over with interest.

"What about Trance?" At this he seems to become even more interested in the device in his hands.

"Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to Trance. She seems happy here though. Of course, she seems happy every where, so . . ." I chuckle good-naturedly.

"Yes- I've noticed that about her." I smile warmly. Harper pauses in his work, then pretends to start up again, this time while giving me a sideways look that I'm not entirely comfortable with.

"Oh yeah? What else have you been noticing about her?" I shift a little and wonder how our roles as interrogator and culprit suddenly switched.

But I've been playing this game longer than he has.

"The usual. What have you been noticing?" I hold back my grin at the surprised look on his face. Perhaps I should have used a tone of voice that wasn't as suggestive as the one that I chose.

Too late.

"Uh- nothing." He tries again to resume his work, but continuously glances at me with trepidation.

"Really? You seem closer to her than any one else on the ship." Sarah used to say that I became pure evil when I was in interrogator mode.

"Oh?" He tries to sound casual. It's working about as well as when *I* try to sound casual. Perhaps even worse. I almost pity the young man. Almost. "I don't know why."

"You're friends aren't you?" He squirms. I bite back a laugh.



"I mean, in the strictest sense of the word. It's not like we're best . . . I mean . . . Hey- she's Trance. What do I know, right?"

"Is there something you're not telling me Mr. Harper?" He has his usual expression of being cornered and running out of options. He doesn't even notice the 'mister.'

"Is there?" He tries to play innocent.

I'm going to make him wish he hadn't.

"I suppose that depends on your definition of friendship."

"Oh?" His body language and voice begin to ease up, as he starts to believe that I'm headed in a new direction. I think he's preparing for me to give him a lecture on teamwork and what it means to be part of a crew.

"If, by friendship, you mean a general closeness between two or more people who happen to share a few interests, than yes- there would be something you're not telling me." I take a couple of steps around the worktable in an action that firmly states that I own the place. "If, by friendship, however, you mean something slightly more intriguing- flirtatious even- than I suppose you were right on the money with your statement as to the validity of your relationship with Trance."

The engineer takes a few moments to decipher my words. It's a delayed reaction, but once it happens it's well worth the wait.

His eyes open wide and he stares at me as though wondering if he got it right- if I really mean what he thinks I mean. When he finally decides that I do, his eyes seem to get even bigger, and he tightens his grip on whatever gadget he's been messing around with for the past few minutes now.

"Are you trying to imply something?" He gives me an incredulous look.

"Am I?" It's my turn to play the innocence card, though I get the feeling it's as poorly acted as his was.

"You're suggesting that I . . . that Trance . . . you know." He gestures futilely with his hands.

I smirk a little.

"Aren't you?" He looks shocked.

"N . . . no." The word almost comes out as a question, though I'm sure he doesn't mean for them to be.

"You don't know?" I should probably let up on him a little, but I can't seem to help myself.

"Know what?" He's terrified. Embarrassed. I want to grin.

"I've seen you with her. I've seen you look at her."

"I- I don't know what you're talking about." He really doesn't, does he? He really has no clue how close he and Trance are. How comfortable they've become with each other. How filled with wonder and kinship their glances at each other are. How much longer those glances have become.

I find myself at a loss as to how to proceed.

"Harper . . ." I pause and think over my next words carefully, then change my mind halfway through, shaking my head a little. "Never mind."

He turns his attention, gratefully, back to the device in his hands, probably trying not to think about what's just been said, but obviously failing.

"She calls you 'Harper' too, doesn't she?"

He looks up. "Huh?"

"Trance. She just calls you 'Harper'. And so does Beka. Tyr. Rev." He doesn't seem to follow, still caught up, back in the last conversation topic. Or, perhaps, it was more of an 'interrogation' topic.

"Why? Why does every one call you Harper and not Seamus?" Realization dawns, and he looks upset by it.

"We're not back to this again, are we?" His voice radiates discomfort and frustration, though he has the sense to take that frustration out on the device in his hands rather than on me.

"Yes. We are 'back to this.'"

"Listen- there isn't a story here. I don't know why you're buggin' me about it. I just . . ."

"Harper, there is a story here. There is a story because there's a reason. A reason other than that 'Seamus' just doesn't have that certain ring to it."

"There's really not." He replies defensively. Desperately.

"Why?" I keep at him anyway.

"I told you already."

"No, I don't think you did. Why 'Harper'?"

"It's just my name."

"But, why not 'Seamus'?" He's about to break- I can tell.

"Because." He looks down.

"Because . . ?" I press the question one final time. This is going to be it. I can feel the dramatic pause hanging in the air, as if this was some sort of overdone Greek play. As if both of us were preparing for the subtle climax of the scene.

"Because my sister gave it to me." He looks up suddenly and his emotions nearly explode from wherever he was hiding them. He lets the device fall down to the ground with a loud clatter, breaking into at least two or three different pieces.

The sound and the action are both awkward and cramped, yet they seem more natural than everything that he's said and done so far. As if it all it's ever been is just him trying to let out those renegade emotions, but not knowing how. Letting them come however they come- as a sudden facial expression. A slight change in the tone and volume of his voice. A falling of the device that he had been holding onto with both hands.

Half way through his near-outburst, however, he begins to get a handle on himself, realizing what's happened just a little too late to stop it from happening. But in time to keep it from ever happening again.

I knew there was something here. I just didn't know what.

I give him a look that he's either taken to mean "explain now before I confine you to quarters," or "tell me what's going on so I can help." Either way, he sighs a little and tries to shrug, but doesn't, before explaining softly.

"Cause my sister gave it to me." He amends quietly. "'Harper' from my mom. 'Zelazny' from my dad. And 'Seamus' from my sister."

"So you have a sister?" I try not to sound overly interested, but curious none the less.

'Diplomatic,' I would say.

"Yeah- I had a sister." And there's that past tense again.

I wonder if my good intentions are enough to salvage the conversation at this point.

"How did she die?" I take a risk, but decide, in that split second, that it's worth it.

He stares at me in a long silence, then looks down at his work, not moving.

"Same way as every one else." The tone of his voice is bitter, yet sad. I can't decide whether or not I like seeing my new engineer so vulnerable.

"Magog." I almost whisper, because it's just occurred to me what Earth must be like now. I had heard the stories from Beka- a few from Harper- but I could never quite imagine an Earth so changed. So . . . hellish.

"Give the man a kewpie doll." Harper's attempt at sudden humor is almost sad, as he desperately tries to ignore the topic of conversation.

My chief engineer kneels down to pick up the device, but doesn't come back up.

I crouch down as well, so that I can see him through the legs of the workbench. His gaze is to the ground, but he knows I'm there.

"What was she like?" I was almost about to ask him what 'it' was like, but perhaps the story of her death is a tale best saved for another time.

He keeps his eyes down for a moment longer, then looks up at me. "Like Trance." He grins a little. "All smiles and wanting to help any one and every one. She wasn't at all like me. Or any one else. That's what I lov- liked about her. She could have been as worthless as the rest of us. But she wasn't."

I want to disagree with him. Tell him that he's not worthless, and never was. But even if I did, he wouldn't believe me. He's already made up his mind about this particular topic- I can tell. "What was her name?"

"Laura." He looks down again. "Laura Harper." He seems to savor the words, as though he hasn't said them in years, and knows that it'll be twice as long before he's allowed to say them again.

I clear my throat quietly, trying to think of what to do next. Where does the role of Captain end, and the role of friend begin? This question has always been a difficult one for me. Just look at Rhade.

"How old was she, when . . ." I want to kick myself for asking this question, but he doesn't seem to notice its inappropriateness. He simply continues staring down at the floor, and answers me as though he's given up ever keeping any secrets. As if he'd tell me his entire life story, right here and now, if I asked.

"Fourteen. I was ten." He shrugs a little- as if trying to make the memories disappear with this slight gesture- then goes on. "It was the first real attack I can remember. Magog . . . everywhere. Like nothing I'd ever seen. My mom . . ." He swallows, but tries to hide it. "My mom told me and Laura to run. So we did. And we couldn't stop. Not for anything. Not for . . . I tried to make her keep running. But she fell and . . ."

He fidgets a little, one hand reaching for a piece of the, now broken, gadget.

"Anyway," he seems rather ready to change the subject. "She gave me the name 'Seamus.' When I was born- she was four- and that hellhole where we were living had just been through a pretty rough Nietzschean raid. A lot of people were killed, and even more were injured. Including our mom. No one thought that I'd make it, so, when I did, my sister told my mother that my name should be Seamus. Because it meant 'protected.' I don't know how she knew that, but . . ."

". . . she knew." I offer. He finally looks up at me and grins a little.

"Remind you of any one we know?" There's a mischievous glint in his eyes, and I chuckle briefly at the way he can still manage this after such serious discussion. Such difficult subject matter.

I think back to my own childhood on Tarn Vedra. To memories of my mother and father. My cousins, whom I had grown up with. How happy I had been. And I cannot begin to fathom how Harper has managed this feat of simply existing. This miracle of living, when there seemed no reason to.

"They probably would have been good friends." I say, believing the words despite my lack of real knowledge on the subject. And he knows who I'm talking about without hesitation. We both do.

"Yeah." He agrees, looking thoughtful about it. "Yeah, they would've."

We both stand at the same time, casually straightening out our clothes, though his seemed to have begun their lives wrinkled and stained.

I smile warmly at him and he smiles back a little.

"Feel better?" He asks.

"I'm sorry?" His question catches me off guard.

"Now that you've got that whole interrogator thing out of your system?" I chuckle a little, slightly embarrassed. Perhaps he deserves to have a go at me after what I just put him through.

"Yeah." I finally answer, realizing, suddenly, that I'm being truthful. I do feel better. I don't know how, but I do.

"Good." He smirks a little and begins piecing the device in his hands back together. I nod my head at my engineer and turn to leave, then stop, thinking better of it.

"There is one thing." I turn back around so that I can face him and see the curious look he's giving me. I frown a little in an effort to keep a straight face. "Trance. You never told me what, exactly, you've been noticing about her."

His eyes open wide in a mixture of shock, embarrassment, and betrayal. He was thinking we were square. He was assuming that I had had my fill of interrogating for the day.

"I . . . I . . ." He searches for the right words, stumbling over them as he does.

I grin.


He looks at me strangely, then breaks into a grin of his own.


"What?" It's my turn to give him that famous curious look.

"In answer to your question. About whether or not she'd wanna jump ship. No- she wouldn't." We both smile a little, basking in the warm glow of the other's understanding.

"Thanks." I reply, and nod my head. He just shrugs it off, but there's a spark in his eyes that I can't help noticing. A glint of gratitude that he doesn't know how to share.

"Dylan?" Surprised, I turn my head around sharply to face the entrance and the source of the sudden noise.

And there's Trance. Standing in the doorway as though she knew to be right here, right now, at this exact moment. As though she knew exactly what we were talking about before she arrived, and just how to fix things.

As though aware of exactly how difficult the conversation between Harper and I was, and just what Harper would then need to get over it.

A friend.

I marvel at this other member of my crew.

Then decide to ask questions later. I've had my fill of interrogations for the moment.

"Yes, Trance?" She takes a few steps forward.

"Beka needs to see you on the command deck." I must look confused, because she quickly adds that, "communications aren't working right now. Rommie says that they'll be up as soon as Harper fixes them."

I turn to face Harper, watching Trance do the same, and raise an eyebrow at him, as if to say "we've been talking all this time, when you were supposed to be repairing the ship?"

The engineer raises his hands in a mock-defensive position, a piece of machinery in each. "Hey, I'm working on it. I've only got two hands, ya know?" I wave him off.

"Thanks Trance. I'll head there now." I move to the exit, but stop when I reach it, my thoughts filled with an emotion I can't quite grasp. I pause there, by the doorway, and glance back at my two youngest crewmen.

Harper's returned to a computer console, hopefully to fix the communications, and Trance has taken up position near him, curiously trying to see what he's working on. He playfully shoos her away. But she just smiles, and tries again to look over his shoulder and decipher the work he's doing.

I grin, wondering how long it's been since I really stopped and watched all of my crew.

All of the accusations that have been flying through my head haven't gotten me anywhere. When was the last time I sat back and watched the way that each of them behaved? The way that they each related to each other. The friendships that have developed.

It occurs to me that I've been abusing that all-seeing, Rommie-like power of observing the others, by *not* observing them. It occurs to me that I barely know my crew.

I'll have to change that.

I smile again at the sight before me- unable to stop myself, unable to immediately look away from that gentle friendship right in front of me- then exit and begin walking down the corridor, towards command, wondering what Beka needs me for.

Maybe- if I'm lucky- there'll be a rogue attack ship to fight off. Or an unknown enemy to evade. Or a Nietzschean vessel to negotiate with.

Maybe- if I'm lucky- tomorrow will be just as 'worry-free' as today.

The End.