(Author's notes: Chapter's from now on are going to be really long, since I got all the eps on DVD's, copying dialog and action, just putting Rhade in where I want. Ya know where he'll do some of the talking or fighting, instead of others. And since in the show, they showed Rhade and Beka involved, going to go there too as well. So there will be a few 'off camera' dialog's going on. If you're not sure what I mean, ask. LOL)

An Affirming Flame

Season 1, Episode 2

Some say the Commonwealth would have fallen
even without the Nietzscheans treachery.

They underestimate both the Commonwealth and
the Nietzscheans.

Yin Man-Wei

The Rise and Fall of the Systems Commonwealth
C.Y. 11942

The big, dark Nietzschean stormed down the corridors, taking out every robot he saw. They didn't run and between his rifle and his bone blades, they were easily destroyed. The rest of his mercenary's, 10 in total, were clearing the other decks.

"Bots down, desk 15, deck 12, deck 11."

Rhade growled, while Dylan sighed.

They looked at the picture of the offender, "a Nietzschean." Dylan sighed.

"Just when things were starting to look up." Andromeda stated.

Rhade looked at both of them, "I don't know if I should be insulted or not."

Andromeda and Dylan both grinned at him.

The Nietzschean and his mercenaries wandered a deck. He looked around a second, "secure this deck." They nodded and went off in different directions.

A few minutes later, the hunter entered a cargo hold, carrying several robot heads in a net. "I've taken out every android and robot from here and deck 9." He tossed the heads at Generentex's feet,


"Sensors are down just like you asked." Beka walked in behind the Nietzschean. She stopped and put her hands on her hips, not really happy about the whole situation.

"And we found a way to disrupt the signals of the nanobots. The crewmembers are completely blinded." Rev stated.

"They're all alone here. Now that they know what they're up against, maybe we can get them to surrender." Trance offered.

Gerentex moved towards them, "I'm not interested in surrender." He looked at the Nietzschean, "finish the job, kill them."

Dylan and Rhade tried several controls on the bridge, both on opposite sides. Dylan looked at his friend, "still nothing." He stated as Rhade shook his head no, nothing worked where he was either.

"They've cut off my internal sensors." The hologram stated. "If I have any android's left outside command, I can't contact them."

"We gotta change tactics…" Dylan started.

"Take the fight to them." Rhade finished, as they both walked towards each other in the center of the bridge, only the pilot's chair between them and the doors.

Dylan sighed as the bridge doors suddenly opened and a bot came flying through, followed by the big Nietzschean and two other huge mercenaries. The Nietzschean fired at the bot, destroying it.

Dylan and Rhade reacted. Without a word, they both took off running to access conduits, on opposite sides of the bridge. To many years together, the men knew each other well.

The Nietzschean wanted to go after who he thought was the biggest threat, the other Nietzschean. But Gerentex gave him his orders. The Nightsider figured two humans could take out one Nietzschean and one Nietzschean could take out one human. So unfortunately that's how it was. Gerentex was paying the bill.

The mercenary's kept firing at their prey, even after both went into tubes.

Dylan's tube was a flat one; he could crawl on his hands and knees. He dove in head first, crawling as he was fired upon. He came to a corner and stopped to breath for a second. His second didn't even last a whole second. His pursuer fired two shots of glowing lights, "Great." He moved as fast as he could on his hands and knees.

He came to a ladder, stopped, looked at the lights and slid down the ladder, just clearing it as they lights exploded in flames and smoke.

Rhade's tube was slanted and since this was his ship, he knew that. He got close to the tube, flipped and went in feet first. His two human pursuers kept firing, barely missing him as he entered.

He let himself free fall a few, then put his feet, hands and boneblades out to stop himself. He looked up as he stopped; saw those same white lights as Dylan, "great." Captain and XO were more alike then even they knew.

Seeing the lights, Rhade let go and let himself fall. He slowed down enough to not break something when he hit the deck. When he did meet it, it was hard enough to start his wounds to bleeding again. He knew he had to get clear, so pain or not, as soon as he hit, he rolled away.

He got around a corner, crouched against the wall, when the boom and flames came. He breathed a second, then picked up his jacket and shirt, saw the blood flowing and swore. He put them back down, "another fun filled day with Dylan." He took off running.

Gerentex and Beka entered the bridge, Beka put her rifle on her shoulder, "Nothing like mercenaries when you need to clean house."

The Nietzschean looked at Gerentex, "he got away."

The other two moved towards them and Gerentex looked from the man in charge to the others, "I don't know boss." One answered.

The big man scoffed and they all turned and looked at him, "Of course he got away. He's Nietzschean." He moved and leaned against the hole Dylan just went out of, having no fear the man would be back that way.

Beka made a sound at that, but said nothing else.

Gerentex moved towards him, "Enough mutual love. Why did they get away?"

The just looked at him, "they are survivors. They won't be easy to kill."

"I hired you…" He waved his hand about the mercenaries, "creatures. To do a job for me." His face got livid and the words came out harsher, "I want complete control of this ship and I want those High Guard fossils dead."

~~Later on the bridge~~

Harper had an access panel opened on the bridge and was working on rewiring things.

"You're working to slow human." The hunter came closer to Harper and Rev, who was watching his young friend work. "The longer we stay here, the great chance of a counterattack."

"Look I appreciate paranoia." Harper got up a bit and sparked two wires together, "but if I don't get this right, we'll lose the entire ship."

The Nietzschean looked at him funny and Rev stepped closer, "what my young friend is saying…" as he got closer, the man raised his rifle. "…is give us some space." Rev finished without reacting to the rifle.

"Did I ask you opinion?"

"The universe does not always provide what you ask for. The universe provides what you need."

"Hey if you guys are gonna kill each other, go ahead and be my guest, just don't get any blood on my gear ok." Harper added.

"Don't test me Magog." The man moved away.

"Geez. Mr. Personality." Harper came over to stand by Rev. He watched the other man wander the bridge. "Who does he think he is?"

Rev smiled a bit, "I assume he thinks he's a Nietzschean." He turned back towards the panel. Harper moved with him.

"Very helpful. Thank you Rev." Harper moved behind the Magog. "Come on spill what have you dug up so far?"

Rev Bem looked at him, "what makes you think I've been trying to dig things up?" He turned to face Harper.

"I know you Rev. Where there's a will, there's a Wayist. How ya gonna convert the heathens without knowing their names."

"Waysits don't convert people. We simply show them they are already Waysits." Harper gave him a look and they both moved to sit down.

Rev looked at the other man a second and then back at Harper, "however, there's nothing wrong with satisfying a little intellectual curiosity." Both men watched the other walk around the bridge.

"He's Tyr Anasazi of Kodiak Pride. According to his companions he's a high priced mercenary…" He looked back at Harper, "one of the best." He moved to make sure Tyr wasn't listening.

"But?" Harper waited.

"What I gather. His Kodiak pride was destroyed in a clan war. My guess is he's trying to prove his genetic worth, so he can join a new family."

"Great. Not just a Nietzschean but a Nietzschean with a chip on his shoulder." Harper moved to get back to work.

Rev made a sound that kind of sounded like 'uh huh', "another of the universe's little jokes." He looked up at the ceiling, as if to look at Heaven, "at our expense."

Rhade stopped at the some crew quarters to get something to change the bandage on his stomach once again. This was the sixth time he'd done it, so he knew it was bad.

He found a shirt, ripped it up, wrapped it around the wound and went to find Dylan.

It really wasn't hard to do, he knew his captain. He went to the weapons locker, keyed in the code and stood there calmly when what he thought was going to happen, happened.

As soon as the door opened, Dylan pointed the force lance at it. Seeing Rhade, Dylan relaxed and pulled his friend quickly inside. The doors closed and Dylan looked at him, "you trying to give me a heart attack?" He started to hand Rhade armor.

"The thought has crossed my mind once or twice before." He stated with no visible emotion.

Dylan shook his head and slammed the force lance into his chest, "get ready."

Rhade smiled a bit and turned his back to Dylan to change. He kept his bloody shirt on to cover the make shift bandage. He knew soon he'd have to tell Dylan, simply because he knew one of the boneblades had nicked his lung. He'd been having problems breathing ever since it happened.

Soon both warriors were dressed in all black, armor included. Dylan looked at his first officer before they exited, "no killing." He loved his best friend, loved him like a brother, but Gaheris didn't hold the same value on life that he did. He saw his face, "I mean it."

Rhade nodded and they exited. Both their lances extended. They looked at each other, both nodded, and they walked away. Rhade going left, Dylan going right.

The little purple girl and a mercenary lady were wandering the hall. The mercenary aimed her rifle, high, low, left and right as they went.

Trace walked with her, "so what's it like being a mercenary? It sounds like it'd be a really tough job. I guess it'd allow you to travel a lot, which is kinda nice, but it's not as if the locals would be happy to see you when you arrive and I supposed killing people is a very stressful way of making a living."

"Would you shut up?" The other woman basically growled.

"I'm sorry am I distracting you?" Trance looked at her, feeling a bit bad for that. "I don't mean to, it's just sometimes I find that a little casual conversation…"

The rifle charged as the lady pointed it at Trance, "not another word."

Trance turned around with a look of 'ok' and kept walking. She rounded a corner and stopped dead in her tracks. She stared a second and then looked back at the lady, "miss killer lady…"

"Err…" the mercenary was exasperated at the girl's talking.

Trance turned back to look at her, "ma'am."

The mercenary came after Trance, "that's does it you little…" She raised her hands at the force lance pointed at her.

"How ya doing?" Dylan asked casually, as Trance moved to get out of the way. "Drop it." The mercenary did as told and dropped her rifle.

She looked a Dylan, then brought her right arm to hit the lance, turning she slammed her left elbow into Dylan's face, sending him stumbling a bit. She suddenly ran away, running along the line of an arched doorway, Dylan firing at her. Every shot missed, as he fired at her moving to the ceiling.

She landed on her foot and one knee, her hand down on the floor, her head down. She picked her head up and gave Dylan a killer look.

"Great…" Dylan moved a bit to get ready for anything, "Cyborg."

She moved suddenly and did a summersault, and hit Dylan's force lance out of his hand. She spun and kicked him in the face, then took his feet out from under him.

Dylan landed on his butt; she moved and landed on him, starting to punch him in the face. Dylan flipped her and paused a second, almost as if he didn't want to hit a female, it didn't help she said 'wait'. His pause gave her time to push him off, sending him flying backwards. He landed on his back again, and she flipped up to her feet, coming towards him.

Dylan tried to get to his feet, but he wasn't successful. While he struggled, she did a back flip to get to him. Upon reaching him, she kicked him hard in the ribs, sending him flying again. She advanced on him, but he was prepared this time. He kicked her in the chest, then double backhanded her hard in the face. He then kicked her in the back, sending her flying into one of the ladders, which she proceeded to climb. She got to a level and attacked Dylan, who attacked her at the same time.

Dylan jumped when she did and hit her hard in the chest, with both his feet. He struggled to get back on his feet, while the cyborg hit her head on the deck plating.

Trance moved forward a bit, as the cyborg went 'eh', 'eh' repeatedly, her eyes closed. Dylan looked at her a second, "I hate cyborgs." A second later he took off running after Trance.

Trance turned and ran down the corridor, Dylan hot on her trail. He rounded a corner, to see Trance on one of the downward ladders, she waved to him. He went after her; she seemed to jump the space. He got there, saw her, she smiled at him and unwrapped her trail from around the ladder. "She's very quick." He said to himself.

He then put the cyborg into cryofreeze and closed the door, "sleep tight."

Captain Beka Valentine put the by pass on the controls to the weapons locker. It didn't work at first, "come on...come on." If she was going to be on this ship with two High Guard officers, she was going to be able to defend herself. She sighed, "Fine…be tough." She punched the wall.

A huge mercenary came up from behind her, "What are ya doing?"

Beka looked at him, "I need more ammo."

"No body goes in the weapons locker without Tyr's or Gerentex's permission."

"I'll ask for permission just as soon as I get my ammo." She tried it again and this time, the doors opened.

Beka stared into the space, seeing the Captain wasn't something she expected, not in a jillion years.

Dylan looked at her, "How ya doing?"

Beka looked down and saw the ordinance that was ticking away. She looked back at Dylan, shock was written all over her face.

"I'd duck." Dylan moved and basically fell threw the access tube.

Beka stood there another second, "down!" She threw herself at the mercenary, taking them both down. The explosion went right over their heads.

While Dylan was playing with explosives, Rhade had to stop three more times to change the bandages, which made him behind in the count. He slowed coming around a corner, because he heard something.

"I don't know Tanner. Really what can a human and a Nietzschean do against us?"

The two mercenaries, where the same ones that went after Rhade on the bridge. Tanner was tall, like Dylan and had the muscle mass to match. Jake was closer to Rhade's height, but both were bald and had matching goatees, almost down to their chests. They looked like a set of cue balls.

"I don't know Jake." Tanner answered, "Were a couple of heavy worlders…" Which made them stronger then others raised on lighter gravity worlds, and a ego thing to both them. "…so probably…"

"…A whole lot."

They rounded the corner and stopped at both the words and the force lance pointed at them. They stared at Rhade a second and then raised their rifles.

He swung the lance, slamming it up into Jake's hand and then slamming it down into Tanners. Both rifles went flying.

They both looked surprised and then got into fighting position. One foot behind, fists out.

Rhade smirked a bit, turned the lance so it was extended across his body…from right to left…and it closed up. He put it in its holster and took the customary Nietzschean stance…right arm up, bone blades extended to fight.

Tanner looked at Jake a second and then swung at Rhade.

He blocked it easily, with his left hand and hit the guy hard in the chest. Tanner stumbled back. They may be heavy worlders, which did give them strength, but they weren't trained like Rhade was.

When Jake attacked, Rhade spun and did a spinning back kick to the man's face, he went down and Tanner came back for more. Tanner ended up next to Jake, a hard punch in the face sent him there.

By now they got smart and moved as one, attacking Rhade.

Rhade was holding his own for a while, hitting, kicking, and flipping the men, until one got in a lucky shot and got Rhade right in his wound. He groaned and fell against the wall. Both men moved in and kept hitting the weak point. Even with the body armor on, Rhade felt it all.

He ended up on is back, the man still hitting him. He brought his arms up and Tanner screamed, his fist went through bone blades. Rhade turned his arm, sending Tanner off and giving him a starting spin. He used that momentum, kicking Jake in the face as he spun. Jake went back and Rhade spun to his feet.

He pulled his lance, it extended in his hand and he hit Tanner with it, spun and caught Jack in the head. He turned and hit Tanner in the head, sending him down. He put the lance under his arm and waited to make sure they weren't getting up again.

Satisfied, he did something very un-Nietzschean like, he put his hands on his knees and breathed heavily. His breathing was getting worse.

"You can't keep this up Rhade." The hologram stated. When he didn't answer, she went on. "Your heart rate and pulse are dangerously high…"

He looked at her, "Even before this." She added. She rolled her eyes as if he should have known what she meant. "Your body temperature is to low…you're going into shock. I have to tell Dylan."

"No!" Rhade stood up then. "If you tell Dylan, he will be more concerned about me, then the intruders."

She looked at him, understanding by not liking it, "Fine. But as soon as they are gone…" She disappeared.

Rhade moved, grabbed both men by their collars and drug them to one of the unused escape pods. He got them inside, hit the button and waved bye to them.

"You are lucky to be alive." Harper, Trance, Beka and Rev were on the bridge with Tyr, Gerentex and the mercenaries.

"I don't think he wanted to hurt us." Beka whispered, she didn't want Try or Gerentex to hear them. "He went out of his way to control the explosion; he warned me it was coming. If he wanted me dead, I don't think I'd be here right now."

Rev sighed, "Why do I get the feeling we're on the wrong side."

"Hey we're not on a side ok?" Harper added. "We're working for Beka same as always."

"Fine…then I say we quit." Trance was sure about this. "Get out of our contract and leave."

By this time Gerentex and Tyr were paying attention. "Is that what you really want?" Gerentex questioned. They all stared at him, wondering how he heard them. Gerentex pointed to his ears, "Nightsider hearing. It makes up for the eyes."

Trance seemed to stand taller while Gerentex came closer, "I asked you a question."

Beka stood up to protect Trance, "leave her alone." She declared coldly.

"No…it's ok." Trance turned back to Gerentex, "I meant what I said. We should not be here, this is their ship…" Her voice got louder, "and we should let them have it. Now I'm not going to speak for anyone else here, but I'm done…I quit."

"Well if that's how you feel." He chuckled a bit about it, as if finding it all funny.

"You mean I can…just leave?" Trance wasn't sure about this, but was hoping it was true.

"Oh I insist." That was sarcasm. "In fact…" He turned to one of his mercenaries, "I'll ah…give you a hand!" He banished a weapon and fired on Trance.

The little purple girl looked shocked for a second, then she fell to the floor. "No!" Rev moved towards the girl.

Beka stopped Harper from pulling his weapon, they were all upset, but she realized there was nothing they could do.

Tyr moved forward, "Blastin, sidearms." He wanted the others without weapons. Gerentex put his weapon away, looking happy at the moment. Rev looked at him, for once seriously thinking about throwing away his vows of peace.

He looked at the heavens again, "Eternal life, grant onto her…" He started to wave his hands over Trance's body, "and let virtual light, shine upon her…"

"Any more burning issues that need to be discussed?" He questioned the Maru crew, who now all had their hands up, didn't answer, "Good. Mr. Harper, unless I'm mistaken your work here is done?"

"Ya…ya I'm done." His look showed nothing but distaste to the man.

"Then by all means let's be going. I find the smell of death quite…distasteful." He turned to leave the bridge; the rest of the Maru crew was forced out as well.

Rev didn't move fast enough and Tyr went over to him, "Magog." He pointed his weapon at him, "Go!"

Rev growled and again thought about abandoning the way, but sense got to him and he got up to leave Trance.

"No respiration, no pulse, no brain activity. There's nothing I can do." The A.I. stated, while Dylan and Rhade looked at a picture of Trance through a wrist video. They were in one of the man access tubes, only they knew about.

"So young…"

"I'll bring the corpse to medical just to be sure."

Dylan sighed, "I didn't want it to come to this." Rhade raised an eyebrow, 'how was it Dylan's fault?'

"You didn't kill her Dylan…they did."

"Still one death to many."

Rhade opened his mouth and then closed it again. Now was not the time to make a comment about Nietzscheans and how they felt about death.

"I'm ending this, now."

"How?" Rhade finally questioned.

Dylan moved to leave, Rhade following him, "you'll see."

"Damn it, I never shoulda let her on this death trap. I shoulda left her on the Maru." Beka looked like she wanted to cry.

"She's the E.S. officer Beka…we needed her here." Harper didn't look much better.

"Don't blame yourself." Rev always the one to heal the soul, tried.

"You am I supposed to blame? I hired her, I trained her, she trusted me and now she's dead."

"She knew the risks boss, you explained them to her dozen a times."

"I don't even know who to talk to about this." Beka whispered. She looked at Rev, "She have family, parents…" Harper seemed to shake his head no, "do you know?"

"She was…" He stressed the 'was' part "…a very private person."

"Trance…she was positively clandestine." Harper smiled a bit. "When ever I asked her about her name, what it really was, in her native language…" He paused a bit, "She'd tell me I couldn't pronounce it. The more I'd try to pry, the more she'd cover it up." They all smiled a bit, remembering that about Trance.

"In all my travels, I have never seen or heard of a species quite like hers." He sighed sadly, "and now…I fell I never will again."

"Ok…I say we kill 'em." Harper got an evil look on his face.

Rev looked at him confused, "Gerentex?"

"Oh ya think. I can rig up an explosive easier then a shock wand." Beka appeared to be thinking about it.

"Violence begets violence…"

"Ya well I say it's time we start forgetting…"

"Whoa…whoa…hold it." They both turned to look at Beka. She looked around, "Even if we could take out Gerentex, and I have my doubts about that, what do we do about his posse?"

Harper's face got angry again, "I was thinking a really big bomb."

"Harper…" The man looked at him, "I advice you consider carefully this path that you will choose…" Harper did not look happy, "the place that it leads is very dark. If you murder Tyr and the other Mercenaries, you'll be no better then Gerentex."

"Of course I will. They'll be dead."

"More then likely…you'll be dead." Beka added. Rev nodded, "Now…if we're going to get back at Gerentex…we're going to do it smart." They both agreed to that.

The doors opened and Tyr and several mercenaries entered the gym. Behind the wall was the computer core, their prime target. "Place the shape charges along that bulkhead. The ships main computer core is located right on the other side." Tyr ordered and the men went to work.

"What's this?" One looked up at a hoop, unable to figure it out. "It's not on specks."

"It's a basketball hoop." Captain Dylan Hunt stood there, dressed in armor still and with his forcelance. He was ready to take them on, even after having an argument with his first officer. The mercenaries moved to attack the man.

"They are going to try and take out the ships core. That's what we'd do." Rhade stated to him.

Dylan nodded, "I know. And I'm going to meet them there."

"Dylan…" Said man held up his hand. He'd already had a talk with Andromeda, and knew Rhade was hurt, but she made him promise to put saving the ship first…before she'd talk.

"I need you on the other side. If I fail…you have to stop them from getting to the core." He saw Rhade's look, "that's an order Commander."

Rhade nodded, put his hands behind his back and walked towards the core to protect it.

Dylan looked at the Hologram, "he's going to kill us both when he finds out." She smiled and disappeared.

Tyr pulled his weapon, the other two took flanking positions, "if you ask nice…I might show you how to play."

"Kill him!" Tyr ordered and all three fired. The shots went right through Dylan, doing no damage to him, but damage to several items in the room. They fired a few more, before they realized nothing was happening.

Dylan stood there after the shots stopped, "I don't think so…" The voice sounded metallic. The Hologram went out a second and came back, "this is my court." It then disappeared.

The mercenaries turned to the exit, "play by my rules!" He hit one of the mercenaries in the arm with the lance, making him drop his gun; he then turned it so it was against the man's neck.

Tyr was aiming, waiting for a shot, but the business end of the lance faced him. A second later, the shot went off. Tyr dropped to the ground to prevent from getting hit. Two more shots went off and Tyr got on his knees, firing his own weapon, but missing. He threw several sharp Frisbees at the man, but the shield in the room made them run amuck.

The other mercenary came towards Dylan and got kicked in the chest for his trouble. He kicked the first one in the knee, hitting it hard enough, he might have broke it. The man dropped. Dylan waited for Tyr, his lance extended and ready to take on the Nietzschean.

Before though, to even his chances, he hit one of the mercenaries hard in the face, he went down for a second. He turned to the other and hit him in the head as well, then spun and took out the first one again. He used the lance as a battering ram and hit one in the stomach, then in the face. He went down.

The other man caught the lance mid swing and punched Dylan in the stomach, he fell and hit a potted plant. He looked at the man a second and then a red colored laser came out of the lance. The man screamed and shook.

Tyr had enough and came after Dylan.

Dylan swung the lance, took his victim down and turned to Try.

He swung the lance and Tyr ducked, he swung again and Tyr blocked it with his leg. The third swing he blocked it with his arms, Dylan moved and hit the man in the face, sending him stumbling backwards. Tyr got back up and attacked again. For a few minutes they dealt with hand to hand combat, till Tyr threw Dylan down. While he lay there, he thought that maybe he should have let Rhade deal with them. He'd seen the man on death's door before and keep going.

Tyr looked at him, "you can't beat me. Should have sent your friend."

Dylan reached over for a mine, picked it up and showed it to Tyr, "I don't have to." He hit the button on it. Tyr ran for cover. Dylan put it down, threw the bag of mines…the explosion was loud and bright.

Dylan stayed where he was, "like I said…" The lance seemed to sparkle, "my court, my rules." He fired it and light covered the whole room, everyone was temporarily blinded.

Tyr looked around after, Dylan was gone, "Rexos." He didn't see his mercenary, "Rexos!"

Dylan put another into cyrofree. "That's two down…four down." He remember how many Rhade dealt with.

Gerentex and Tyr stomped onto the Maru, nothing was going to the way it was supposed to.

"I assume he's been taken prisoner." Try stated. "All Hunt wanted was to prevent us from setting those charges." He moved to lean on the wall, his arms across his chest, "Capturing Rexos was a bonus."

Gerentex did not look happy, "this is getting so tedious. They are only two men."

"They're two men fighting a gorilla war. They know the terrain; they've got superior weapons and excellent tactical ability."

Gerentex growled, "You sound like you admire them Anasazi."

Tyr got a look on his face that was hard to describe and he pushed Gerentex back, "as I said, they are survivors."

Gerentex looked at him, "there's more. I don't pay you to keep things…"

Tyr growled at him and sighed, "Rhade…there is a rumor that he's a traitor to the Nietzscheans. He didn't help the fall…The Commonwealth says, he did."

Gerentex looked at him, "and this affects you how?"

Tyr sighed, the man would not get it, "Whether he's a traitor or not…he's survived this long because he's good at what he does. Add that to Hunt…"

"You don't think you can beat them?" The creature got in Tyr's face again.

"I know I can beat them." He honestly wasn't so sure.

"Oh let me guess…Harper to the rescue." He came down the ladder between some mercenaries, putting an end to their conversation. He started to walk towards the control panel, "lucky for you, I'm a freaking genius…"

"So your system is finally in place at last?" Gerentex followed him towards the bridge.

"Ya a couple a seconds I'll have the Andromeda's central computer eating out of my hand." He moved to take something out the Jack on the side of his neck. "Jane's encyclopedia for armed combat maneuvers." He turned to them, "anyone?"

"Oh shut up."

"Your loss rat face." He moved to Jack into the Andromeda. "Beka, what's the good word boss?"

"Channel's open."

He took a cable and jacked it into his neck. Harper jumped a bit, his eyes closed and the next thing he knew, he was in a computer core. It was blue, with computer information everywhere. "I'm in."

"Go Harper, Go." Beka stated from her station.

Rev moved to see better, "Do you believe this is wise?"

"Hey Gerentex wanted Harper to take over the ship, the only difference is, whose he taken it over for." She looked back a second and back at Rev, "Now I want ya to get into the control array, once it's housebroken, I wanna teach it a few new tricks." Rev nodded.

Harper was in the computer core, wandering around, "man…this place is a lot bigger then I expected."

Beka hit a few buttons on a hand held device, while she waited for Harper to break the ship. Tyr and his mercenaries picked then to enter. She turned her head a bit and looked at them and went back to work.

"Alright…you stay alert." Beka rolled her eyes, "I'll keep an eye on things here."

"Think they're gonna try something?" One of the mercenaries asked.

"You count on it. They need to protect their ship." He didn't know the ship didn't need protection.

Beka moved so Tyr couldn't hear her, "can you rewrite the command nexus?" She questioned Harper.

"Of course I can…if I can find it." A picture of Andromeda showed up. She looked at the little man and felt there was no reason to fear he could do any damage to her.

"Maybe I can help?" She questioned in a seductive voice.

Harper spun and looked at her, 'By the Divine she was hot!' Suddenly Harper was in her huge hand, he looked at it wondering what was going on. It took him a second and he looked at her, "Oh crap."

Andromeda looked at the little man, "Welcome to my mind…" Harper was beyond shocked, "Now go home." She blew a breath and Harper was thrown out of the program.

"Whoooaaa…" He suddenly opened his eyes on the Eureka Maru, sparks started to fly everywhere, including the jack in his neck. He managed to undo himself and fell on the floor.

He breathed while Gerentex came over to him, "What happened?"

"The ship…she's alive…" He couldn't accentuate the point enough.


"And she is ticked off."

"I copy…Glastin its Tyr." He was walking out of the room he'd been occupying with Beka.

"Go ahead." The other mercenary held his rifle to the ready.

"Meet me on deck 12. We've got to blow the computer core…"

"We don't have any explosives…"

"Then we'll shoot our way through, but either way that computer is coming down."

"You're the expert. I'll be there in…ahhh…"

Tyr recognized that sound. "Glastin?"

"What's your hurry?" Rhade questioned and hit the man again, knocking him out cold. Dylan just smiled about it, then they moved to start taking the man to cryo freeze.

"Glastin?" Tyr didn't get an answer, so he moved suddenly to go after him.

Dylan decided on the escape pods instead and with Rhade's help, put him inside, "take the scenic route."

Glastin woke and moved to try and get out, "Hey!" The door's closed, "what are you doing?

"Second time today." Gaheris told Dylan.

Dylan smiled still; hit the button to send the pod off, "audios." He moved with Rhade to finish this. The pod hit space and went lord knows where.

"Anasazi, Valentine. What is going on over there?" Gerentex needed to know.

Harper was still sitting behind one of the counsels on the Maru, "Gerentex, looks like you got a little problem here."


Harper smirked, "The A.I. the Andromeda…"

"What about her?" Andromeda's picture showed up on the Maru's view screen. Gerentex looked shocked.

Harper turned and looked at him, "I think she's trying to come in."

"Well disconnect the system!"

"Ah…she's just not using the computer; she's also coming in through the commline, the airlock controls…"

Gerentex grabbed another creature and threw him towards the back of the ship, "Prep for launch!" Harper stared at him, "Now!"

"But Beka and Rev…"

Gerentex turned at him to show he didn't care, "they'll just have to take care of themselves, won't they." What was that old saying, if looks could kill. Gerentex would be dead right now.

He knew that look and aimed a gun at Harper, "Unless you want to end up like your little purple friend." Harper turned back to the controls.

The whoosh noise was unmistakable to everyone who lived and worked on a ship. The airlock sound was as common as an alarm clock. And Beka and Rev immediately recognized it. They ran towards it.

"The airlock!" Beka didn't make it in time.

Rev made it to the door and tried to stop them from closing, but he had no luck either.

"Damn it. Gerentex is abandoning us." She hit the wall with the back of her arm.

"Andromeda." Both Rhade and Dylan heard that sound.

"What was that?" Dylan asked.

The hologram appeared, "They've left the hanger. I think we've won." Both Highguard officers looked at each other, not so sure about this.

The Eureka Maru left the hanger bay of the Andromeda, it went forward a bit and Harper who was now piloting said, "We're clear." Sarcasm dipped off the young man.

Gerentex moved, the gun still in his hand, "what about the Andromeda."

Harper wasn't to happy, "She's dead in the water."

"Good…" Gerentex spun his gun, "move." He came towards the pilot's seat, while his friend, physically pulled Harper out of the seat.

Harper was moved off to the side, while Gerentex got into the pilot's chair. He held the controls and looked around a second, "Now…let's see. I believe this…" He pulled a control and the ship moved forward, "is the forward thruster. Right?"

Harper refused to answer, but the ship kept moving forward anyway. It moved around in a loop and came back towards the Andromeda. "You're on a collision course." Harper wanted the creature to know.

"Yes…a gentle tap." It slowed as it got close and then gave it a bump. It wasn't a huge bump, but enough to send it back into the black hole.

"What was that?" Rev questioned, but maybe it was more for the Devine then Beka.

"I have a bad feeling about this."

"And we'll let gravity do the rest." Gerentex informed Harper.

"Gravity…The black hole…" Harper was indeed a genius. He hoped over the bar and moved towards Gerentex, trying to get the controls. Gerentex's friend grabbed him to stop him. He pulled Harper away and held him by his neck, his feet a few inches off the ground.

Gerentex looked at no one in particular, a look of pure insanity on his face, "ya know this may sound petty to you…but if I can't have the Andromeda...no one can." The Maru moved away from the ship and the black hole.

Beka looked at a few readouts on the Andromeda, "This is not good." She informed Rev.

"Black hole."

"We're headed straight in."

Tyr came running threw the doors, "you know what's happening?"

Rev pointed with his head to the view screen, "Behold the beast."

Tyr got a momentary look of panic on his face, then that Nietzschean control came back into place, "what'll we do?"

Beka looked at him, "you're the survival expert, why don't you tell me."

"Engines are totally offline. We are falling back into the singularity. I can't compensate."

Rhade and Dylan were on the bridge trying to figure this out. Dylan stayed at one counsel; Rhade moved from counsel to counsel, almost falling a few times, he was still running on adrenaline and quickly running out. The A.I. gave him a look, but he ignored it. "How long until we hit the event horizon?" The first officer asked what he knew the captain wanted to know.

"Less then an hour."

Dylan sighed, "This has been one long day."

"So this is your brilliant idea. Put ourselves in cold storage." She couldn't believe Tyr came up with that.

"If the status field protects us we may survive long enough to be rescued." Rev looked at him, not sure if he was insane or not. Tyr looked at Rev, "We may even emerge on the other side."

"Ideas that black holes have exits into other universes, is completely unproven."

"It's a chance."

"Look…" Beka interrupted them, "even if your plan works and we don't get torn apart by tides or fried by radiation, we could be frozen in time like those Commonwealth guys were." Neither noticed Rev starting to wander off. "By the time we get out, hundreds of years may have passed."

Tyr gave her a look of distain, "I don't care if we wake up when the suns have all burned out and the universe is winding down to die…so long as I'm there to watch." He moved to open the container. While Rev worked on opening his own.

Rev moved his hand over a pod, "on the bright side, looks like you'll have company." Tyr and Beka moved to see. What they saw was the Cyborg lady and another mercenary.

"So that's the situation. You can either go back into status with Tyr or help me save the ship."

"I'll take none of the above." The mercenary stated.

The crewmembers were still working on the ship, trying to get power from somewhere, so they didn't have to end up in the black hole once more.

"Anything?" Dylan questioned.

The lights came on in the ship, "some of my critical systems are back on line." The hologram stated. "But still no power to the engines."

Rhade swore in a language that Dylan knew well, so the captain sighed a bit and let it go, going back to working along with his first officer. "Well that's a start anyway."

The male opened the escape pod, he looked at everyone, "I wish you luck, but I doubt it'll help." He moved to get in.

"Wait. I'm coming with you." The Cyborg stated.

"Listen to me…" Beka tried.

"Let them go. Perhaps they'll make it." Tyr added.

"We'll make it." The lady commented. "Go…let's go." She ordered. There was nothing Beka could do but watch.

"Dylan, Rhade…" The Hologram started, "someone just launched an escape pod."

"This close they'll be sucked into the black hole." Rhade hit a few buttons, trying to get bucket cable's to work.

"Patch it through to me here." Dylan went to the comm..

"They're headed straight for the singularity." She looked at Rhade, cause he was right.

"They'll never make it…" By now you could hear noises in the escape pod, yells and screams as the passenger's realized what was happening to them. "We gotta help them."

"Even if I were fully functional, it would already be too late."

"What about bucket cables?" Rhade yelled at her and the look on her face gave him his answer.

Dylan and Rhade had to stand on the bridge and listen to the deaths of two humanoids, knowing there was nothing they could do. The signal went dead.

"They're gone."

"There was nothing either of you could have done."

"You keep saying that. You said it about the fall of the Commonwealth, you said it about that girl dying and now this and I don't buy it."

"Dylan…" The Andromeda and Rhade said his name at the same time. He ignored them both.

"Scan the ship, lock on to the intruders…" He took off the armor, Rhade did the same thing, "I want to know how many of them are left."

The hologram's eyes moved back and forth as she did what was ordered of her, "There are only three. All in medical, do you want me to contact them?"

"No…I'll do it myself."

"Understood." She looked at Rhade who just shrugged, he knew how his captain was and not to mess with him right now. "There…." She went on and then stopped. "Hold on…"

Dylan sighed and stopped, "What is it?"

The hologram smiled, "I have a surprise for you two."

Beka paced in medical, her hands on her hips, "all I'm asking is for is 15 minutes to help us figure a way out of this. Look if it doesn't work, you have plenty of time to get to status."

Tyr leaned on one of the pods and watched the human female. He moved and looked at her, "Every second I'm out here, is an unnecessary risk."

"Status chambers…" They all turned to look at the captain and first officer, "won't help." Rev actually stepped back from the two of them.

"We're headed right into the singularity, the AG field won't last past a few thousands kilometers and once it's gone, the status generators will be ripped to shreds and so will you." Rhade educated them. His usual stance of his hands behind his back.

"If you want to survive you only have on option, you work with us. You do exactly as I say, when I say and if we're very, very lucky. We might just get out of this in one piece." He let the captain take over now. He was the diplomat after all.

"I'd listen to them." Trance came from around the corner.

"Trance…" Beka was shocked.

"You're alive." Rev was shocked as well. "But how?"

"Thanks to Rhade, Dylan and their ship. They saved me when everyone else had given me up for dead." Rhade and Dylan looked at each other a second, cause they knew they had nothing to do with it. "Now if you listen to them, maybe they can do the same for you."

Beka looked at the first officer, keeping her thought about how handsome he was to herself, and then looked at the captain, "Ok…what's your plan?"

The Andromeda Ascendant kept floating towards the event horizon of the black hole. Both Dylan and Rhade had a feeling that this time, they'd not survive another 300 years.

"Nova bombs?" Tyr couldn't believe the ship had them. Rhade gave him a look that basically said they weren't play toys and were not something they were going to keep after this. "You're carrying Nova bombs?" His tone softened a bit from the look the other Nietzschean gave him.

Dylan shrugged a bit about it. "Andromeda's a Highguard ship of the line, wide range of combat capabilities." Rhade answered for him.

Trance looked at them, "you'll have to excuse us, it's just that we've never met anyone who could blow up a sun before."

"The System's Commonwealth never used Nova Bombs in combat." The Hologram stated.

"As far as you know." Beka added.

"You didn't know what you were salvaging?" Dylan couldn't believe this.

"No." She rolled her eyes, "all though I'm beginning to expect Gerentex did."

Rev growled, "Obviously we've underestimated him."

Tyr turned to the group, "40 Nova Bombs." Rhade rolled his eyes at the man. "Do you have any idea what could be achieved with that kind of fire power?"

Rhade stepped forward a bit, "Nothing but destruction."

"That's all Nova Bombs are good for." Dylan finished.

The Eureka Maru worked on getting far enough away from the Andromeda and the black hole.

"How much longer?" Gerentex sounded like he'd lost it finally…if he ever had it.

Harper stood behind him, Gerentex's friend still had the weapon on him, "two minutes…three at the most." He didn't want to lose his friends.

Gerentex chuckled about that, actually starting to laugh.

Captain Rebecca Valentine, hit a button on a counsel, "done."

"I'm ready." Trance added.

"Wait for my mark." The captain's voice came over the intercom.

"Three light seconds away." The Hologram stated to them.

"Weapon's station ready." Tyr stated.

"Ready." Rev commented from his station.

The pilot's chair turned around, showing Dylan in the pilot's chair. There had been another argument about who should pilot, but after Andromeda let Dylan know Rhade was on his last leg, the captain decided to take over.

Trance and Beka were in the weapon's room and they heard a noise, "What is that?" Trance wasn't sure if she should be scared or not.

"It's the tide. It's starting to pull the ship apart."

"Stare to long into the abyss and the abyss stares back at you."

Rev looked at Tyr.

"Any minute now." Gerentex was on the Maru still and couldn't wait for the ship to end up in the black hole.

Harper felt the pull and once again thought of his friends.

"It's now or never." The hologram stated.

Dylan hit a few buttons on the pilot's chair, "Initiating Nova deployment sequence. Let's bring it."

Beka moved to the counsel, "acting first lieutenant Beka Valentine. Nova deployment authorize, zero, zero, strike red zero." The computer took it; a loud sound could be heard showing it accepted Beka's code.

"Acting arms master Trance Gemini, Nova deployment authorize…ah…retro, nine, blue, strike, five, nine, five." The sound was heard again.

"Fire control officer Tyr Annassai, arming nova weapons one through forty. Execution code nine, five, over seven, blue, five…arm." The computer once again armed.

Rev looked at Rhade and Dylan. Rhade was now at the captain's station, Rev at his, "ready for your final order gentleman."

Dylan looked at Rhade, glad he was still on his feet, barely. If he wasn't, there was a whole hell of a lot to do without the first officer. As it was, it was easy with him. He nodded to Rhade, and they both started talking at the same time.

"Captain Dylan Hunt, commanding officer, Nova deployment authorization ten break alpha, strike, strike, strike."

"Commander Gaheris Rhade, first officer, Nova deployment authorization ten break alpha, strike, strike, strike."

The computer accepted the duel code.

"They're ready." Tyr stated.

"Missile tubes one through 10…" Dylan started.

"Fire." Rhade finished. The Andromeda fired it's Nova Bombs into the black hole.

"Second salvo…"

"Fire…" Dylan realized how much he depended on his first officer.

"Third salvo…"


"Forth salvo…."


"All missiles away." Tyr lost all the Nova Bombs he wanted to keep. The crew stood there and waited for the bombs to explode.

Gerentex watched the view screen. He moved closer, "What's that?"

Harper moved towards a counsel, putting his hands up to Gerentex's friend and his gun, "they've launched some kinda missiles into the black hole."

"Nonsense. Nothing can affect a singularity." The light started to go on, "almost nothing."

Harper wasn't sure what was going on, "How many?" Gerentex asked, "How many?!"

"I don't know…looks like forty."

"Forty! God they're insane! Get us out of here!" Harper was pushed towards the pilot's chair.

"What's the big deal…what? What's the big deal?"

Gerentex groaned about it, "Just do it!"

"Detonation in three, two, one…" Rhade's control counter said.

"Detonation!" Rev finished.

The dark of the black hole suddenly turned, at first mild white, and then bright white. It rocked the ship and everyone on the bridge had to shield their eyes. A second later the explosion stopped and the white hole sat there calmly for a second.

"A white hole." Gerentex stated. "They've made a while hole."

"I don't know what that is, but it doesn't sound good."

"It's the reverse of a black hole…" he informed the human, "it's a miniature big bang." He seemed to try and find a place to hide on the Maru. "Oh God…we've got to get to slip stream before it hits us."

"Thanks that part I've figured out for myself rat brain."

"We're still engaging field." Dylan held on to the controls, "hang on. This is gonna hurt."

"Hunt! Power up the engines we gotta get outta here before it collapses back in on itself." Beka yelled from weapons.

"You think?" Rhade said quietly.

"I know…I know…."

"The forcefield is over 10 million terra tons. Radiation damage will reach lethal levels in less then three minutes." The Hologram informed them.

Dylan turned the ship, so its back was to the white hole. The hole started to expand.

"I can't believe it; they're still in one piece." Harper moved the ship towards slip stream.

"Forget them. Just get us out of here!"

"Yes sir…Mr. Fearless Leader sir." He hit a few buttons, "transiting to slip steam in three seconds." He grabbed the controls, "Three." The ship jumped into slip stream. It was a bit of a bumpy ride, Harper was rusty, but they were making it.

"The White hole is becoming unstable. Normal gravitational fields are returning." The hologram needed them to know, besides the fact the ship was being pushed by the holes power.

"Come on…here comes the riptide…" Beka stated to herself.

"Just a few more seconds."

"My engines are at 15% of maximum."

"We're almost far enough out to enter slipstream."

Rhade raised an eyebrow at that one. So they'd either enter slipstream and survive, or die here. Interesting.

Andromeda looked shocked, "you're going to overload."

Dylan ignored her, "slipstream…now…" The Andromeda entered slipstream, with a bit of a jerk, but she made it intact.

Rhade looked at Dylan as the ride smoothed out, "Practice." He got a look back that basically said bite me. But he kept steering the ship threw the slipstream portal.

"Transiting to normal space…" Andromeda stated.

Once out of slipstream, the whole crew seemed to sigh a breath of relief, they'd made it in one piece. "We're clear…we made it." Trance stated for the whole crew.

"We'll I'll be damned." Beka still couldn't believe it.

Dylan sighed and tried to relax. He looked at his best friend, "It's over."

Rhade nodded his head and hit a few buttons on the counsel, doing his job still.

Rev looked heavenward again, "I owe you one."

Dylan shook hand…actually shook hands with a Magog. Rhade stayed behind them, ready, willing and able to attack the creature if necessary, but something told him, he'd not have to worry about this particular Magog.

"Thanks…I couldn't have done it without you." Dylan informed him.

"Careful…" Tyr added, "He might bite it off." Which for some reason actually made Rhade growl. Rev seemed to appreciate that, nodded to the man and turned back to his tormentor, "you're to kind." He growled himself at the man.

Trance smiled, "I think you just made the menu." She teased Tyr.

The hologram seemed to smile, till the doors to the bridge opened, "Rat face, weasel. Took my ship." They all looked at her, "I matched the Maru's course but it isn't in the system and look at this…" A map proceeded to appear.

"Pyon particles." The A.I. started.

"A big spill right on the edge of the slip stream nexus."

"Young master Harper's work."

"Trail of bread crumbs." Dylan looked at Rhade. He didn't think he knew that term. Beka also smiled at him with that comment.

"Crumbs for us to follow…" She looked at Rhade, who indicated she had to ask Dylan. So she moved past him to the captain, "if you're willing."

Dylan laughed a bit, "ah…wait a minute. Ah let me get this straight, you forced your way onto my ship, you tried to steal my ship, and now after we've saved all your lives…you want us to help you retrieve your ship." He looked past Beka to Rhade, who nodded a bit. He was willing.

"She's like that…don't take it personally." Trance smiled.

"Believe me…you're the last person I want to ask for help, I have no choice." Hell if she had her way, she'd ask the first officer at least he seemed willing.

Dylan thought about it and kept looking at Rhade, he knew his first officer's opinion on it all. "Ok…on one condition."

"Name it."

"Not now…when we're done."

"You want me to do something for you, but you won't tell me what it is?"

"Welcome to my world." Rhade looked away when Dylan looked at him.

"You want your ship back or not?" He asked Beka then, he'd learned long time ago to ignore smart assed Nietzscheans.

Beka actually looked at Rhade a second and then back at Dylan, "I guess we have a deal."

Dylan smiled, "Alright then…let's go hunting." He moved to the pilot's chair and put the ship into slipstream.

They found the Maru easily, especially after Harper's little bread crumbs. The entire group stood outside the doors of the Andromeda, to get ready to go to the Maru.

"Come on…let's do it." Dylan stated and they stepped forward, all except one.

Rhade took a step and had to grab the wall, to not fall over, "Rhade…" Trance went to him. He waved his hand, "I'm fine…"

"No you're not…" Tyr started, "I've smelt blood on you since we first meet."

"As have I." Rev added.

Dylan looked at his first officer, "Get to medical."

Rhade picked up his head to look at his captain, "Dylan…"

"That's an order commander." Rhade nodded and started to walk away.

Trance looked at them, "I'll help…I have some medical experience." She turned and followed the wobbly Nietzschean.

The Eureka Maru's engines were running, the ship moving forward, of course not knowing the Andromeda were looking for them.

"That's a thousands thrones for slip steam piloting time…" Harper walked towards Gerentex, holding a read out, "time and 20% for hazardous duty bonus…" He started walking and Gerentex started to follow, "comes to a grand total of 84 thousand thrones."

Gerentex stood there with his hands on his hips, "Huh…" He looked at the human, "are you quite done?"

Harper looked at him, then back at the read out "well ya…base pay times 30 days plus expenses and overtime…that pretty much covers it." He looked at the rat again.

"Ha…then let me give you my totals. One million thrones for the location of the ship. 15 million thrones…" He moved towards Harper, "for the purchase of special salvage equipment…" He spit out that part. "Five hundred thousand thrones for fuel and supplies…" He leaned against the bar, "an additional million thrones for research, bribes and gifts, to find an appropriate buyer. Ah yes, seven hundred thousand thrones for Tyr and his oh so helpful assault team. What does that come to?"

Harper looked uncomfortable, but he couldn't resist answering, "Plus my eighty-four grand…a lot." Ok maybe he could resist.

"Eighteen Million two hundred thousand thrones…for nothing."

"Plus my eighty-four grand." Didn't seem the rat could get it.

He moved closer to Harper again, "if you show me that bill one more time, I will make you copy it under these walls in your own mushy blood!" The ship chose then to rock. "What was that?"

Harper hit a few buttons, "I don't know…but something's jamming our sensors."

"Guards!" Two creatures came running to Gerentex's call.

A second later the hatch doors opened, Gerentex looked confused, while Harper moved towards the people. "Mind if we come in?" Dylan of course would have come in no matter what.

Beka stepped forward, "Gerentex…there you are."

The Nightsider got a look on his face like he didn't do anything wrong. He chuckled and waved his hand a bit.

"We brought you Captain Hunt like you asked, sorry it took so long, but seems someone tried to feed us to a black hole."

"Whatever he's paying you, I'll double it."

Tyr looked at him, "and kill us, before we can get to the bank. No thank you."

"It is written, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." Rev affirmed.

The guard's started to back away, "Don't just stand there. Get them!"

"You don't have to do this you know." Dylan stated to the men, who weren't sure they wanted to do anything in the first place.

Tyr looked as menacing as possible, while Rev growled at them.

"Oh…I think they do." Tyr let Dylan know. Tyr walked up to the guards, took both by their necks and threw one at Beka. She kneed him in the nuts and Dylan smiled as he went down. He threw the other at Harper, who head butted the man, making a face after he did, cause it wasn't as easy as people pretended it was.

Gerentex moved away, trying to get off the ship and away from the crew.

The one Beka kneed, got back up and got hit in the face by Tyr for his trouble. He made a swing at the man, who moved and easily avoided it. He ended up next to Rev, who sprayed the paralytic toxin from his mouth on the guard. Tyr covered his face to protect himself, still not trusting the creature.

The guard screamed and fell to the deck. Rev looked at him, for a few seconds the real face of the Magog shown threw the Devine. "Paralytic poison, he'll be alright in a couple of hours."

Gerentex chuckled again and Dylan stepped forward, "its Gerentex right?" The creature seemed to chuckle insanely, yes, "Well frankly Mr. Gerentex I don't have much of a problem with you. Revenge isn't my style…" The Nightsider moved closer to them. "But I want ya off the ship…revenge is my first officer's style…" He added, "And I never want to see you again…ever. Am I making myself clear?"

He chuckled again, "perfectly." He smiled and Dylan added a smile too, "thank you…for you're…" He bowed, "consideration." He stood back up with a weapon in his hand, aimed right at Dylan.

He pulled the trigger, Dylan jumped, Gerentex jumped, and pulled the trigger again and again…it wasn't working.

"Looking for this?" Harper held up a small chip.

Dylan smiled, "Thanks." He pulled his force lance, and instead of firing on the creature, Dylan used it as a club. He backhanded Gerentex hard with it, sending the creature down and out cold. "What an unpleasant individual."

"I can cure that…" Tyr moved forward, only stopping cause of Dylan's arm.

"No." Tyr looked at him, he didn't like being ordered. He wasn't that other Nietzschean, "leave him." Dylan moved towards Gerentex.

"Are you insane? Why would you leave a live enemy behind?"

"This is my operation, we do things my way."

Tyr turned back, "Rhade wouldn't leave him alive." He was so sure of that, but it was said low enough that Dylan didn't hear.

"I don't suppose there's anyone that we can turn him over to for prosecution?" Both Harper and Beka shook their heads.

"Not likely."

"Well guess we put him in a life pod and let him find his own way home. Cripple the engines so it'll take him a few months. That'll give him time to think about his mistake."

Harper opened his mouth, "The only thing he's going to think about is how to screw over the next people he works with."

"Maybe…but I won't kill a man in cold blood." He looked at Beka, "Captain Valentine…" He waved his hand, "your ship."

"Thank you."

She hit the comm., "Trance…if Rhade's fine…get your butt down here we're leaving."

A few seconds later, she entered, "Rhade will be fine."

"Trance?" Harper was shocked she was alive. "You're alive!" He pulled her into a hug. "You're alive."

"Yes well, people keep telling me so."

"Ah before ya leave, there is one last thing." Beka looked at him a bit confused, "My favor." He reminded her. "All I want is 10 minutes of your time." He stated to all. "Of all your time. Meet me on the observation deck of the Andromeda in one hour." He moved to leave and stopped by Harper, "Oh and you…" He started to itch his own neck, "stop by the medical ward on the way." With that, he left the Maru.

Harper was in the cleansing field to take care of the measles. Occasionally he looked over at Rhade, who was still out and already decided that he didn't want that man on his bad side. Not that he'd ever see him again, but still. He was tall, muscular and those bone blades…

"There…that should sterilize the protozoa." The hologram stated.

Harper looked at this green container that was given to him, "apply this, three times a day for a week and you'll recover."

"Just outta curiosity, what would have happened if you hadn't treated this. Would it ah…left a scar?"

"No. It would have eaten every inch of your skin away till it was gone." Harper realized the ramifications of that. "Then it would have started on your muscles, organs, eyes and brain. You've have lived about five more weeks and then all that would have been left are bleached bones."

"Three times a day for a week…"

"Don't miss any spots."

He looked at the container again, "right." He got off the bed, "mind if I ask you a question?"


"When Trance got shot…how did you fix her?"

"I don't know. She didn't show any vital signs, so I brought her down here and monitored her and then…" She paused as if to think, "she got better."

"That's our Trance."

"She's done this kind of thing before?"

"The whole coming back from the dead thing…no…that's a new one, but ah…let's just say it's not outta character."

"You should get up to the ops deck."

"I'll see ya there." He stopped at Rhade's bed on his way through.

"He will be fine." Andromeda knew what he was wondering, "He has lost most of his blood, had a nicked lung…if he wasn't Nietzschean, he'd be dead already." As it was, he was lying there, shirtless, bandages wrapped around the wounds, and leather bands around his bone blades.

Harper smiled a bit, "Gotta love the Nietzscheans." He moved to go.

The crew of the Maru, plus Tyr stood in the observation room, the stars moved behind what appeared to be glass. Plants decorated the place, strategically placed between benches.

Dylan entered and before he got a chance to say 'howdy do' Rebecca broke in, "ten minutes."

"I'll make this quick." Dylan would try at least. The Hologram picked then to appear into the room. "This isn't our time anymore. I've checked your historical records…and since my time, life has gotten a lot harder." He kept pacing. "Civilization is in tatters, strong prey on the weak, there is no justice, there is no unity, no law." He turned and looked at them, "I intend to change all that."

They all looked confused at him, "Commonwealth wasn't just in institution, it was a dream, and dreams don't die, and as long as I'm alive and in command of the Andromeda, neither will the Commonwealth."

Beka was beyond shocked, "you want to restore…the…common…wealth?" She couldn't believe this.

"I think it's my duty to try. But I need help, I need a crew." They all looked at him, "beyond Rhade…" He waved his hand to show that was a given.

"Us?" Harper was like the rest, shocked.

"Why not? You're smart, you're capable and you deserve better lives then what you've got…"

"Now what's wrong with our lives?"

"Living moment to moment, nothing to fight for but survival, scrambling for the fast score, the big bucks, you tell me."

"If we agree to come along, how is that any better?" Trance wanted to know.

"It's a chance to do something important." He looked at them, "something meaningful…it's more then that…it's an adventure." He hoped he was getting to them. "Maybe the greatest adventure anyone has ever seen, and if we succeed you'll go down in history, you'll be heroes."

"And if we fail, we'll be dead." Beka…always looking on the bright side of life.

"In the end we all die…" Beka turned to look at Rev, "when our time comes."

"You wanna do this?" She asked him.

"When the Devine opens a way…who are we to question."

Trance seemed to nod about this, seeming to have made up her mind already, "we're with you Bek, whatever you say goes, but…" He moved her eyes towards Dylan, "I think it might be fun."

She couldn't believe Trance was thinking about this. "No offense Beka but have you seen the crew quarters on this thing. Showers in every room and…" Dylan knew they were thinking about doing it. "…fresh coffee."

"What do you say?"

Beka sighed and thought about this for a few more. She looked at Dylan, "if worse comes to worse, you can always leave." He added.

"Ya know a lot of people will not be enchanted by this plan of yours."

"Nothing worth doing is easy." Dylan waited her answer.

She rolled her eyes, "what the hell. Beats doing salvage runs, looks like you got yourself a crew." They all smiled, except for Tyr.

Dylan looked at him, the man was playing with a knife and seeming to ignore it all, "what about you?"

Tyr looked at him, "what about me?"

"We are gonna restore the Commonwealth, we have to restore it for everyone. Including the Nietzscheans."

"Well that's a lovely sentiment sir, but what's it in it for me?"

"Didn't Nietzsche once say 'the secret of reaping the greatest enjoyment from life is to live dangerous.'?"

Tyr looked impressed, "You read the right books…" he stood up, "or your friend has been talking to you."

Dylan smiled with a smirk that showed he'd read it, "I'm a man of many talents."

"And high ideals. Which frankly is a problem…" Dylan was used to dealing with Nietzscheans, but the ones of old who were more warrior poets then those of today. But he told himself to not let Tyr's influence him, he might just be one man and not how all Nietzscheans were. "I have worked for a great many fools over the years," he moved to stand next to Rev and Beka, "perhaps it's time for something new." Tyr was alone as a Nietzschean and now he had access to one, he was going to take advantage of it.

Dylan smiled, "In that case…welcome aboard." He moved forward to shake hands.

Beka shook his hand, "I'm not saluting you or calling you captain…or the other commander."

Dylan chuckled, "Dylan and Rhade will be fine."

"He'll be fine." The hologram appeared next to Dylan who was looking at the still sleeping Rhade.

"I know…I just wish he would have told me. He could have died…" That part came out chocked a bit.

"And after all this, if he had died…" She left it unsaid. Dylan just nodded.

"From now on, you will tell me. Despite what he says…" He turned to look at his A.I. "Understood?"

She nodded, "yes sir."

He stood there another second, "I want to see it…" He saw her confused look, "how he got hurt."


"Now…" She knew what it might bring up, but the captain ordered her. "I'll have it in your quarters."

By the time he got there, he got a drink and sat in the desk, as the playback started.

Rhade was walking towards the cells with his guards, not knowing the drama that was going on the bridge. He got an indication, when the warning, "all hands abandon ship." Came through. He ignored the scents of the other Nietzscheans who were close, figuring they were leaving.

Both Rhade and his guards stopped a second. He turned to say something to them, when they both suddenly fell. Standing behind them, were two other Nietzschean crewmembers. Rhade put his hands behind his back and looked at them.

"Commander. Are you with us?" One asked and Rhade nodded his head, his decision made now.

He moved in front of the two Nietzscheans and started to walk. A second later, his bone blades flared, the one caught it, the other…well he hit the floor, dead.

Rhade removed his blades and turned in time to the other crewmen taking a swing at him. Rhade blocked it and looked at him, "this is a fool's errand."

"You are the fool." They both moved apart and went on the offensive. Fists and feet flew as they fought for control. Rhade had to knock the crewman's force lance out of his hand and the fight soon ended.

The other Nietzschean put his bone blades into Rhade's stomach. He looked at Rhade who looked at him, "Mistake." Rhade said with all the calm in the world.

A second later he brought his left arm up, impaling his blades in the crewman's throat. The man fell and Rhade fell back against the wall, his hands to his stomach.

"Rhade, you're injured." Andromeda's hologram stated with a lot of emotion for a computer.

Rhade looked at her, "I'm fine. Do not tell Dylan." He gave her a look that said it was an order.

Her face showed she didn't like it, but she disappeared.

Rhade moved then to change jackets with the dead crewmember. Dylan didn't need to know.

Dylan sat there quietly a few more minutes, "He knew."