I don't own them.

After Forced Perspective.

New Territory

Coming to the next intersection of corridors, Dylan nearly fell flat on his butt from surprise: from the opposite corridor, Beka Valentine was approaching him at a light jogging pace.

"Mind if I join you?"

"Jogging?" he asked, trying to buy time to mask his astonishment. Since when was Beka jogging? Hasn't it been her telling him the first – and only – time he'd asked her if she'd care to keep him company on his lonely runs through the ship "I believe that the Divine gave each one of us a finite number of heartbeats and I'm damned if I'm going to use up mine running up and down a corridor"? Dylan was pretty sure his memory was accurate: it had been her. He wouldn't have ended up alone or with Tyr accompanying him most of the time otherwise. "You want to jog with me?"

She rolled her eyes, annoyed, slightly shaking her head and sending a spray of sweat-drops flying in his direction.

"Yes, you see, I thought maybe we could do some heavy breathing together, and I couldn't figure out a less obvious come-on line..."

Okaaay, he thought, jogging and testy... What the hell had happened while he'd been away with Trance? For a while he contented himself with running silently along with her, but then it got a bit boring, so he decided to give it another try to get to the bottom of this.

"I thought you were more into lifting weights and sparring with Tyr and that sort of thing..."

Beka didn't answer.

"Gotten tired of fighting and getting hurt?" he tried again.

She still didn't answer. Dylan sighed.

"You know," he began a third attempt, "according to Tyr, the pain when lifting weights and sparring is good for you... makes you feel... your worth..."

"I'm worth more than just muscle-aches the size of labour pains," the blonde finally growled.

"Yes, but..."

"Look, if it's so good for one, why don't you do it?"

"I do. Occasionally... Only, when I spar, I do it with Rommie."


He shrugged, not slowing down his pace. Beka smiled thinly, throwing him a sideways glance.

"Afraid Tyr could get carried away by his... enthusiasm eventually and slice you up?"

Dylan laughed up.

"Probably..." he admitted freely.

"And workouts? Don't you ever do them?"

"Weights and push-ups and that sort of thing?"


"Sure I do it, but... I do it in my quarters. I'm not keen on having an audience with that."

"Unlike Tyr..."

"Unlike Tyr," Dylan confirmed.

Beka had to snort with laughter.

"What?" he wanted to know.

"So you noticed, too, hmm?"

"I'm... not sure what you mean..."

"Tyr... He is so... active with his push-ups... I always feel tempted to tell him to take it easier since..."


"Since there's no-one under him anyway..."

She grinned broadly and continued her run alone, leaving a dumbfounded Dylan behind, who just stood there, staring at her mouth agape.

"Hey!" he at long last called out to her, as he saw Beka disappearing around the next corner. "Hey, wait up!" He sat himself in motion, faster than before, to catch up with her. By the time he had finally reached her, he was slightly panting, she was still grinning – and from one of the side-corridors Tyr emerged to join them, obviously intent on keeping them company for the remaining laps they still had ahead.

"Hello, Beka! Captain!" he greeted them in his usual, oddly snippy-polite way. Beka's grin disappeared. And then, at the next turn, she took the other direction than the two of them. Dylan turned his head and called out at her. She turned around completely, moving backwards and continuing to run in the wrong direction, away from them.

"Dylan, how about dinner tonight? At ten in my quarters?"

"Yes, fine!" he agreed, puzzled but complying. Tyr threw him a strange, irritated and a bit put-out look.

"You're having dinner together? I didn't know..."

"It's the first I heard about it, too..." Andromeda's captain had to admit.

"Oh, well then... Beware..."

Dylan didn't respond, confining himself to merely throwing the Nietzschean an inquiring look. The Kodiak shrugged, annoyed.

"We... had dinner together... While you were on Sigma Tau 5. It... it was... awkward..."

"Awkward." The human's comment sounded not questioning and unusually dry. Even for him.

"Well, yes... It was only meant as a friendly gesture... I thought... I thought that way we'd both get a chance of... finding things out about one another."

"Obviously what Beka found out about you..."

"She's an infuriating woman!" Tyr interrupted him, exploding. "What she found out about me didn't correspond with what she thought she'd find out. That goes as well with what I found out about her. But..."

They had meanwhile reached Hydroponics, where Dylan had started out, and stopped. The smaller man stretched himself, then bowed down to pick up his towel.

"But?" he asked calmly.

"But I didn't mind. Finding things out about Beka was like... It was like... well, you know, like James Cook setting out for the Northwest Passage and finding Hawaii instead. Something completely different than what I had expected, but great nonetheless."

"Ah," Dylan said from under the towel with which he was vigorously rubbing his hair. It sounded... understanding and amused.

"What?" Tyr wanted to know. That sounded far less amused. He had to wait for a while before Dylan finally emerged from under his towel.

"No offense, Tyr, but you need to brush up on your details on human naval history – especially when looking for analogies with Beka. The only thing James Cook discovered upon stumbling over Hawaii was that he was lost in hostile, uncharted territory. And if I recall correctly: I believe the discovery got him killed."