Disclaimer: The characters of Andromeda are owned Tribune Entertainment. No money is being made.

** Note To Readers ** This story stands on its own and does not belong to my alternate universe Andromeda series.

**Comments and reviews are welcome! **


Rage Against the Dying of the Light

By Dawn Nyberg

Harper leaned against a shelf in the Machine shop. He gritted his teeth against the pain, but did not cry out. The variant he had been taking to keep the Magog larvae dormant was beginning to build up a resistance. He had kept this fact quiet for almost a month. He couldn't bring himself to tell anyone - Trance and everyone had such hope there would be a way to rid him of the larvae before they took his life. He knew the truth - he was out of time. The pain passed and he straightened. "Harper?"

The young engineer knew the voice of Andromeda overhead, "Yeah, babe."

"I need you to recalibrate my sensor array in the slipstream drive."

"Sure thing." Harper ran a sleeve over his face and forehead wiping away the only visible evidence that something was wrong. The task was simple and he finished with ease. He walked into Command."

"Hello, Harper," Dylan was cheerful.

"Hey." Harper glanced over at Tyr who seemed to be busy with a task at the Weapons station. "You need me for anything?"

"Your always needed, Harper," Dylan smiled. Harper chuckled. "But, you're free."

"Cool. Just call me if you need me. I'm not sure where I'll be."

"Okay."

Tyr had taken notice of Harper. He heard his accelerated heartbeat, and he could smell the adrenalin on him, but what was fueling it. He finished his task. "I'm finished with the weapon calibrations."

"Fine, Tyr." The Nietzschean excused himself and went in search of the boy.

"Andromeda?"
"Yes?"

"Locate Harper."

"Machine Shop six."

Tyr's brow furrowed. Shop six was on the other side of the ship and Harper rarely used it. He walked with purpose to the shop. He walked in. He heard Harper before he saw him. He found him sitting on a metal storage box bent over and moaning - his arms wrapped tightly around his abdomen. "Harper!"

The young engineer raised his head - his eyes were tear filled, but they hadn't spilled over. "Hey, Big Guy. How are you doin'?" The last sentence was barely finished as he panted it out.

"Will you shut up, Little man. What is wrong?"

"Just indigestion."

"What do you take me for ... some back water idiot? What is wrong?"

"Nothing."

"I could smell it on you when you were in Command. Are you in pain? Is it the larvae?"

"You know those Nietzschean senses of yours aren't fair play." Tyr smiled slightly.

"That is the point, boy."

"Yeah, okay ... ha-ha."

"Answer my questions, is it the larvae?" There was a long pause from Harper as the pain passed.

"Yes." The answer came out quietly, but the Nietzschean had heard it loud and clear.

"Then we'll go to Medical."

"Won't matter."

"I won't tolerate that thinking, boy."

"Trust me, Tyr. It won't matter. You're just not hearing me."

"I hear you just fine. You're giving up."

"Giving up! Look who's talking here ... last time I checked you're the one that got the get out of jail free card. You're not infested. I am!" Harper stood up in frustration more than anger.

"That is true, but giving in will not help matters, child."

"I'm not a child, Tyr. And I'm not giving up. The variant isn't working. I've already upped the dosage, but I can't up it anymore or I'll end up in a coma like the last time. Look, I'm not quitting on me ... me is quitting on me." Harper's eyes spilled over in silent tears and he sat down.

Tyr stood there and tried to relax his clenched stomach. There had to be something that could be done. He would not accept time had run out. "Let's go to Medical."

"Why?"

"Humor me, Little man."

"Fine."

Two Hours Later in Medical

The crew gathered and looked at Harper as he sat looking at them. Trance looked grim. Her happy and carefree personality subdued. "Well, Trance?" Dylan urged as everyone else looked on.

"His tolerance to the variant has reached its limits. I'm afraid the larvae will become fully active in the next day or two. Harper ... I'm so ..." Her voice died off as she choked back tears - Beka comforted her. Rev stepped forward, but no words left his mouth. Tyr held back and said nothing - the magnitude of Trance's words had not sunk in yet.

"Hey, Trance," Harper would be strong for them - his friends. "Don't cry, babe. I'm good. Really! I always hoped for the best, but had prepared for the worst. I'd like to talk to Rev ... alone if that's okay." Everyone left Medical - they all knew what Harper was doing - he wanted to know about what to expect - he was preparing to die. Rev exited the Medical deck ahead of Harper - his eyes filled with tears, but Harper held his head high and walked out into the corridor. Beka and Trance grabbed him and held him.

Tyr had walked out of Medical and gone straight to the OBS deck. His body was fueled by rage and agony. The door opened and he turned to see Harper standing there. "Thought I'd find you here," the young man offered a smile to the Nietzschean. Tyr said nothing and turned away from the boy and looked out into space. "I don't blame you Tyr." Harper watched the man, but he did not turn to face him. "We were infested together ... I'm glad Trance was able to help you. I don't want to die, but I'm going to. Do you remember the day of the attack? I asked you to promise me something ... you kind of nodded, but you never said anything. I think you knew then what I was asking. I wanted you to kill me if I was infested." Harper paused a moment. "I'm releasing you from that, Tyr." The Nietzschean turned and looked at the boy now and his heart swelled with something akin to pride.

"Harper, if you ..."

"No, man. Look, I'm going to meet this thing head on. I'm not gonna lie. I'm afraid ... really afraid, but I'm not going to die in fear. I won't!" Harper's stoic face crumbled in front of the Nietzschean and he crumbled to his knees. He brought his hands up to his face and wept in them. Tyr walked over to Harper and knelt next to him. He leaned in toward Harper. He cupped the back of the boy's head and pulled him close.

"You won't be alone, Little man. I promise you this." Tyr's throat was tight, but he would not crack.

Five Days Later in Medical

Harper was weak and death seemed to be waiting in the shadows. The pain was bad, but the medicine Trance gave him helped curb the agony enough to bear it. Tyr sat with him. It was his turn. The crew had all sat with him in shifts.

"Tyr?" Harper's voice was weak - barely audible.

"Yes, Little Man?" Tyr's voice was gentle.

"Cold ..."

The Nietzschean pulled up another blanket onto the young man. "Better?" Harper nodded ever so slightly. Harper hissed in pain. "Do you need more pain killer?"

"No. I need to talk."

"Save your strength."

"For what? I'm not going to get a second chance to say this." Tyr remained silent. "I never met a Nietzschean I liked ... until you." He paused and took a breath to go on. "I couldn't stand you at first, but you kinda grow on a person. You've been a good friend despite your best efforts not to be." Tyr's eyes softened.

"You are an annoying, Little man, but you've grown on me as well."

"Tyr ... I'm tired."

The Nietzschean felt his heart skip. 'Not yet,' he thought to himself.

Harper grimaced in pain and choked out, "I'm sorry."
"For what? You've done nothing wrong, child."

"Not fighting hard enough."

"You fought, Harper. Listen to me ... you never gave up. Never!" Tyr could hear the young man's heartbeat - it was slow - becoming too slow and his breathing was becoming shallow. "It's okay to sleep now." He stood up. Harper's eyes widened.

"Don't leave me alone," his voice was small, but it was also pleading. Tyr walked to the side of the bed.

"I promised you that you would not be alone. I'm not going anywhere." Tyr felt this emptiness begin to grow in him - he didn't understand the feeling and then suddenly he did - it was grief. Grief in its consuming heaviness - seemed to rob him of his own breath. Harper arched in pain and cried out. "I'm here." Tyr could do nothing for him, but console him. He reached out and put his hand on Harper's head. The young man opened his eyes briefly - a barely perceivable smile crossed his face and Tyr smiled at him.

Harper's eyes began to close, "Tyr ..." came out as a quiet exhale. In the end there was no tremor - only peace. Tyr heard the Magog inside him the high pitch noise they make and he watched them move inside Harper. They wanted out.

"No!" He screamed as a fury erupted in him - born from grief. Tyr bolted upright in his bed. His body covered in a sheen of cold sweat. 'God, please let it be a nightmare. Please.' he thought to himself. His heart beat wildly against his chest wall. He took a breath and spoke into the darkness of his quarters, "Andromeda."

"Yes?"

"Where is Harper?"

"Sleeping in his quarters. Is something wrong?"

"No. Nothing at all." Tyr laid back down and closed his eyes briefly. It was all just a nightmare. Harper was alive and there was still time. "You will not die, Little man." Tyr vowed to the darkness of the room and himself.

The End.