Author's Note: This is an AU of Andromeda. In the real time-line, Seamus Harper's parents died saving him from the Nietzcheans. What if they'd failed in their efforts? What if he had become a Nietzschean slave? Tyr Anasazi was once a slave in the mines. What if he and Harper had been slaves together? Standard fanfic disclaimer that wouldn't last ten seconds in a court of law: these aren't my characters. I'm just borrowing them for, um, typing practice. Yeah, that's it, typing practice. (Loosely) based on characters and situations created by the late Gene Roddenberry. All characters will be returned to their original owners, suitably bandaged, after the story.

Clever Kludge

Andromeda

Susan M. M.

His mother screamed as the flamethrower scorched her arm. His father ignored the pain of his singed fingers as he tried to beat out the fire with his bare hands.

"The first shot was a warning, boy. The second shot kills. Come out now," the Nietzschean warrior ordered.

"Please, don't hurt my Mom," Seamus begged. He came out of the kitchen, his hands raised. It was hard to tell what color his hair was under the dirt and grease, although it might have been light brown. His blue eyes were wide with fear.

"Seamus, no," his mother cried. "Don't give yourself up for my sake."

"Run, Seamus. I'll handle them," his father said with more bravado than honesty. There was no way an unarmed human could fight two Nietzscheans, and he knew it.

Seamus, a scrawny thirteen-year-old human, raised his hands higher. He stepped forward. "You got me. Don't hurt them again. Please."

"This sniveling pup is the one High Command wants?" the second Nietzschean asked scornfully.

"This 'pup' invented shriekers, and doubtless a few other toys which have given these mongrels sharper teeth," the first informed his partner. He pulled a pair of handcuffs from his belt and jangled them. "Come here, boy."

Trying to wipe the expression of abject terror off his face, Seamus obeyed.

Seamus Zelazny Harper sat up in bed. The same nightmare again – the last time he'd ever seen his parents. Ten years now, and still the memory haunted him.

He glanced at the clock – only twenty minutes until the alarm went off. He lay back down again, hoping – but not expecting – to go back to sleep. After lying in bed awake for ten minutes, he gave up and simply got up. He pulled on his gray coveralls, switched off the alarm, and headed for the galley. Maybe he could sweet-talk the kitchen-slaves into giving him a bigger breakfast if he got there before anyone else.

Author's Note: I found an old battered notebook as I was cleaning house, with the beginning of an unfinished Harper-crunch. Since this website permits works-in-progress, I thought I'd post this bit. If you don't mind PWP, it stands alone. If you're the sort of reader who insists on a plot, well, obviously you're going to be disappointed. In my copious free time, I will try to finish the story. Once I finish the Airwolf/Quest/A-Team story, the Master/A-Team story, the Planet of the Apes/Battlestar Galactica story, a few Alias Smith & Jones Mary Sues, the Richard Sharpe Mary Sue, etc., etc., etc. Back when I belonged to a writers' group, I used to hear comments about my habit of starting a new story before finishing the previous forty-seven. Alas, I still have the same bad habit. But I hope to get back to this in two or three years (HH1/2K).