Disclaimer: I do not own Andromeda, or the characters. They are property of Tribune.

Frost From Fire

By: Verbannen

"Ow, damn it." Harper cursed, as he removed his hand from the inside of the panel.

"Harper, are you finished, yet?" The impatience in Tyr's voice was noticeable. He wanted to get back to the Andromeda, but that wasn't possible until Harper fixed the slipstream drive.

"It's just a knick, nothing to worry about," his voice was etched with sarcasm.

"As long as it won't hinder your ability to fix the slip stream drive, I'm not."

"Thanks for the sympathy," Harper said silently, as he instinctively drew his finger to his mouth, sucking on the small drop of blood.

"Sympathy won't repair the ship." Tyr said, reminding Harper of his Nietzschean hearing. "Now, do you think you can quit whining and get back to the task at hand?

"Get back to task at hand," Harper mocked, turning his head back to the panel. "If he could only learn to appreciate my genius."

Tyr smirked, but kept himself from distracting the boy anymore.


"You found the problem."

"No...I fixed the problem." Harper smiled proudly.

"Then what are we waiting for?" Tyr quickly took possession of the pilot seat. The trip to the planet with Harper had been enough for one day. He had wanted to go alone, but Captain Hunt had insisted that Harper knew the field modulator they needed. As much as Tyr hated to admit it, he would still be stranded here if it weren't for Harper and his mechanical abilities.

Harper threw up his hands and took the seat next to Tyr. "What, no thank you?"

Aboard the Andromeda...

Harper handed the modulator to Dylan. "It took a bit of haggling, but I didn't have to sell your first born."

"I appreciate that," Dylan grinned, as he handed the black box back to Harper. "I need you to install it right away." He offered a gentle nudge toward Machine shop three.

"I get it, no rest for the witty."

Dylan couldn't help but laugh, "not today."

Machine shop three...

"Andromeda, turn down the temperature." Harper wiped the sweat from his brow.

Andromeda appeared behind him, "are you feeling all right?"

"Jeez...I'm fine."

"You just look a little... hot." She scanned all of Harper's systems, but they all appeared normal.

"Thanks, babe, so do you." Harper stood up and put down his wrench, eyeing the hologram up and down.

"That's not what I meant."

"Yeah, I know, but I'm not sick. I feel fine." Harper's grin disappeared. "I just need a break. I haven't had any sleep since I left Andromeda yesterday." Harper kicked at the modulator's box on the floor. "And this stupid thing won't work right."

"How much longer do you think you'll be?"

"I don't know, wanna keep me company?" Harper raised an eyebrow.

"Harper..." Rommie shot him a look of exasperation. "Let me know if you need anything."

"Anything?" Harper asked.

Rommie crossed her arms in frustration, "I can tell you're feeling better already."

With Rommie gone, Harper went back to work. He reached for the wrench, but pulled back quickly when his finger hit the handle. "Man, that doesn't look good." He stared at the finger that he had cut earlier. It was red, and sore to the touch, and it was beginning to ache. He decided he would have Trance look at it later, after he finished installing the modulator.

The task was long and growing more frustrating with each passing moment. "Damn it," Harper cursed and pulled his hand back once again in pain. His finger had become more than sore, it was beginning to pus, and he could barely bend it anymore. He decided that the modulator could wait and stood up to go to medical, but the ground seemed to turn around in circles, and Harper wound up back on the floor. He would have called out to Andromeda, but his breathing was becoming shallow, making it difficult for him to speak, and the room faded into blackness.

Command Deck...

Tyr was just finishing rerouting the weapons array when Rommie appeared on the screen. "Harper's lost consciousness in Machine Shop three."

Tyr didn't hesitate, and headed for the shop. "What seems to be the problem?" He asked, as he made his way quickly down the corridor.

Andromeda's voice came from overhead, "his breathing is shallow, and his blood pressure and heart rate have slowed down considerably, but I can't detect the reason."

"Tell Trance to be ready in medical."

"Already done."

Machine Shop Three...

"Harper," Tyr nudged the boy gently, but all he got was a slight moan. "What trouble have you gotten yourself into this time?" The Nietzschean picked up the smaller man and tossed him easily over his shoulder, as he did so his arm brushed over the boy's cheek, and he felt the heat that was emanating from him. He could hear the slowness of his heart rate, and he noticed an odor that his Nietzschean smell couldn't place.

Harper started to wake up just before he arrived in Medical. "Tyr?" Harper tried to pull himself out of the Nietzschean's grasp, but it only made him more dizzy, so he let himself be carried without any complaint.

Tyr laid Harper down and stepped back for Trance to examine him.

"Trance," Harper's voice was little more than a whisper, and he could barely manage the slight smile on his face.

"Shh, Harper." Trance scanned him, and she detected the same symptoms that Rommie had told her. "Can you tell me what happened?" She began to examine Harper more closely and stopped when she got to his hand. The redness had spread from his finger, and now his entire hand was swollen, and there was a slender line with a greenish hue going up his arm. "What happened here?"

"I cut my finger." Harper began to lift up his hand to look at the cut, and when he saw how bad it had gotten he began to become hysterical. "Oh, fuck!" Harper's shallow breathing became panicked, and he tried to sit up, but Tyr was there beside him and placed his arms on his shoulders, preventing him from doing so.

"Lie still." Tyr told the boy with his usual calm, but forceful voice.

Harper's sudden burst of energy had drained him, and he had no choice but to do as Tyr had told him. Slowly, he began drifting into a restless sleep.

Trance examined Harper's hand more closely. "Tyr, did you see any unusual creatures while you two were down on Oridian?"

"No," Try raised an eyebrow, "why?"

"Because, this is not a cut." Trance held up Harper's hand for Tyr to see. "It's a bite."

"A bite...from what?" That was when Tyr realized the odor he had detected had been the venom running through Harper's body.

"That, I don't know, but what I do know is that we need to find out, quickly." Trance looked at Harper. His pallor had little more color than the white sheets he was laying against. "I don't know what bit him, but it must have injected some kind of venom. I need to know what it was, so I can treat it. I'm afraid if I don't find out soon..." Trance didn't need to finish her sentence. They both knew what the consequences were.

30 minutes later...

Everyone in the crew had stopped by to see how Harper was doing, but at the moment, Trance and Harper were there alone. Trance would not leave his side. She just sat there watching him, and talking softly to him. She knew he could hear her. Harper's eyes would open every now and then, and he would ask her questions, like where he was, and why was she looking at him like that, but Trance would just smile and place a hand softly on his face, and he would drift back off to sleep.

The sound of Dylan's voice brought her out of her reverie.

Trance stood up and looked on with hopefulness.

Dylan watched Harper, but he didn't go over to him. He handed Trance a flexi with all the information he had gotten on the spider. "I spoke with the Oridians, and they believe it was a Black Serota that bit him. There's anti-venom, but we'll have to go down to the planet to get it. How's he holding up?"

"Not good. The venom is destroying his tissue. I've been able to slow it down in his organ's, but his hand..."

Dylan was trying to remain calm, but his eyes grew wide with fear of what Trance was about to tell him.

The tears welled up in Trance's eyes. "I can't stop the venom from continuing to destroy his hand. It's too concentrated there." She barely got out her next words. "He might lose it."

Dylan was at a loss for words. He was trying to grasp what Trance had just told him. He wanted to reassure her, but he was having difficulty dealing with what was happening himself. "How much time does he have?"

Trance looked over the information on the venom. "It's hard to say, four, maybe five hours before his breathing won't sustain him, but I think if he gets the anti-venom in less than two hours, we have a good chance of saving his hand."

"I'll go."

Dylan turned, he hadn't heard Tyr come in, and he looked puzzled by his voluntary act.

"I'm a better pilot." Tyr said, explaining himself.

"Wait! There won't be enough time for you to get the anti-venom and get back the Andromeda. You have to take him with you. If you give him the anti-venom as soon as you arrive on the planet the deterioration should stop immediately, and he might not lose his hand."

Tyr glanced at Harper's hand. It was now becoming a shade of deep purple. He didn't waste anymore time.

On Board the Maru...

Tyr guided the ship out of the Cargo Bay doors. He had reclined the seat next to him and placed Harper in it, so he could keep close watch of him. Trance had given him some more of the medicine she had given him earlier, but he was instructed only to administer it to him if the situation became desperate. He wondered what that meant.

The boy continued to slip in and out of consciousness, but even when his eyes were open, he seemed to be in some distant place.

Tyr was just about to hit slipstream, when Harper gasped loudly. Tyr leaned over the boy to check his breathing and pulse.

"Where are we?"

Tyr noticed the confusion in Harper's face. "The Maru, heading to Oridian."

"But, I thought we just got back."

"You don't remember?" Tyr knew he needed to get going, but the boy looked frightened, and he didn't want him becoming hysterical again. "You were bit by a venomous spider."

"I remember...Trance was talking about my hand. Oh my God." Harper lost what little color he had in his face.

"Calm down, boy."

"She said I might lose it." Harper attempted to push Tyr away from him, but the Nietzschean refused to move.

"You listen to me, little man, you will survive."

"Survive!" Harper's over exhilaration was making him gasp for breath. "Not like this."

Tyr was close to Harper's face. "Do you really want to die?"

The question made Harper stop and think, but that only made it worse. He was having trouble focusing on Tyr, and he knew he was losing his battle to stay awake. "I don't want to live like this," was all he said as his eyes drifted shut.

Harper didn't wake back up until after Tyr had landed the Maru on the planet. The Oridians had someone waiting with the anti-venom; Tyr hoped that it was timely enough to save his hand. He wasted no time in administering the drug. The syringe he had been given was primitive, but Tyr had no problem injecting the liquid.

Harper woke up suddenly with a yell and strained to sit up.

Tyr pushed him back down. "They said it might burn." He could tell the boy was clenching his teeth to keep from letting out another scream. Tyr kept an arm on his chest to keep him from moving.

"The cure is worse than the illness." Harper joked, trying not to think about the pain. The burning began to subside and Harper's body grew less tense.

"Feel better?"

Harper nodded, and then his head fell to one side as he lost consciousness.

Tyr shook his head at Harper's low pain tolerance.

Back on Andromeda...

The light hurt Harper's eyes, as he slowly squinted them open. He realized immediately where he was. Tyr and Trance were both standing a few feet away from him.

Trance smiled widely, but Tyr was unreadable. Harper wanted to look and see if he had all his parts, but he couldn't bring himself to check. He tried to feel his fingertips, but his whole body felt heavy and numb. He was reminded of the story of the Sandman, and that was exactly how he felt. "Am I all right?" Was all he could muster up to say.

Trance started to speak, but Tyr interrupted her. "If you mean are all your appendages still intact..." Try paused, letting the boy suffer a bit.

Harper wanted to curl up in a ball in a corner. He wasn't sure if he wanted to hear the answer or not.

"Yes." Tyr stepped closer to Harper. "But I never want to hear you talk of me killing you again." The Nietzschean was stern, as if talking to his own child. Tyr watched Harper's expression change from fear to a look that he thought was almost certainly guilt. The boy made him so frustrated at times. He let out a load growl and turned away, leaving him to Trance and his recovery.

Trance stepped over to Harper. "Did the anti-venom hurt as much as Tyr said?"

"Oh man, I never...I mean I am never going back down to that planet. I would rather be electrocuted, shot, burned..." Harper paused. "Wait a minute...Trance, what are you up to?" He could see in her face that she was hiding something.

"I have to give you another injection."

"Oh, no way!" Harper scooted as far back on the bed as he could.

"You have to have a series of three injections, so it will reverse the effects of the venom."

Harper thought for a moment, but realized that he had no choice but to give in. He rolled up his sleeve and prepared himself by shutting his eyes tightly, "go ahead," and he held his breath.