Disclaimer- "Creativity is taking someone else idea, and changing it slightly. There are no new creative ideas."- (quoted from my aunt who quoted it from somewhere else) In other words Andromeda and all its characters belong to someone else and I am just borrowing them.

~~~~*~~~~

Harper stood in the main camber of the Maru; he guessed you would call it the command deck. He ran his hands along the pilot chair. So much had changed in the pass two days. He was off earth and in space. He was still getting use to the feeling of being in space. There was so much that he wasn't use to; the constant hum of the engine and the slight vibration and movement he could feel in his feet, the lack of wind bothered him the most. The prison he had spent the past months in had no breezed either. There people had been crammed in so close that the air was so stale and hot. Sometimes it felt like he wasn't get enough and was going to suffocate. He took at deep breath trying to calm his racing heart. Every time he thought of that place. No more thinking of there, he was out of that hell hole. He would never go back.

"Hey Kid," Harper jumped at the sound of Beka's voice and looked up at his new owner. His debt to Bobby had been paid but he knew he was still not free. This women owned him now, until she dumped him on the nearest space rock. "You ok Kid?"

"Yes Miss," Harper replied quickly looking at the floor. Never make eye contact that was the first rule of the camps; the second was always say sir and ms forgetting either got you a beating. Forget them enough you didn't get up from the beating.

"Don't call me Miss, call me Beka"

"Yes, Miss Rebecca"

"BEKA not miss, or Miss Rebecca, or Miss Beka, just Beka, no one calls me miss. I was never proper or much of a lady, now or growing up. Heck I don't think I even own a dress right now"

"Yes, M..."

"BEKA"

"I'm sorry, miss, some things are just engrained I feel weird calling you by your first name, miss."

"Fine call me something else, captain, boss, I don't know anything but miss."

"Yes, M…Boss"

Beka looked down at her new crew member. Where had Bobby found this kid? It seemed wrong to just dump him out an air lock after he had saved their tails. He had proven he knew his machines and was handy with a nano- welder. To keep him or not? She needed another hand now that Bobby was off her ship. Bobby lied, so he was off the ship. Her rules were simple and therefore if you broke one you were given no second chances. Someone had worked this Harper kid over pretty well. He never looked up at her and the whole miss thing. He was right some things were engrained but it looked like that lesson had been beaten into the tiny teen. At least she thought he was a teenager, he could still get the child rate on some transports he was so thin and short.

"So, Harper right?"

"That's my name, well Seamus Zelazny Harper, but everyone calls me Harper."



"That's quite a name. Anyways Harper the rules on my ship are simple, don't lie to me, don't go behind my back, and don't even think about doing damage to the ship or me. You do any of these things and you're out of here, just like Bobby. I don't care how good you are with a nano-welder or who you are, you break my rules your gone."

"Got it Boss"

"Alright let's get you settled in; your in command right now, crew's quarters are down the hall, next to the main room. Most of the time it's the mess but it also works as medical and any other room besides command in your average ship. There's also engineering and my quarters. Everything else is mainly storage and hallways. Stick to your quarters, and the mess. Only go to engineering or command when you are needed there. Got it?"

"Ya boss"

"Good, you hungry?"

"Ya boss"

"Well let's get some food in you before I see how well you do with a nano- welder in engineering."

Beka lead Harper down the hall to the mess. She couldn't help to notice that he walked two feet behind and one foot to the left of her with his head hung low. It looked like calling people miss and sir were not the only engrained habit of living on earth. She was used to the ruff neck crew members her father hired, not one of them ever called her miss. Often it was missy, honey, babe, sweet cake, and well that was the "nice" ones. Of course she also knew never to be alone a room with most, no all of Dad's old shipmates. She grew up sleeping in a storage closet with the door locked, and gun under the pillow. Before she was old enough to carry a gun she use to string a trip wire across the door every night and sack old sharp ship parts in front of it. It normally slowed down the person long enough for her to hide.

Harper was a different story. He was not much younger than her but he treated her, well like she had the power of life and death over him. He was so jumpy like he was waiting for a smack for saying the wrong thing. She would swear she saw him wince when she tried to shake his hand when he can on board.

~~~~*~~~~



"Hey kid slow down, that has to last us till the next space station."

"Yes, Boss. Sorry, Boss."

"It's ok. But you might want to slow down and taste your food for once." Harpers just nodded and begin shoveling the food on his plate into his mouth at a slightly slower pace. The Maru had plenty of food but Beka was always amazed at the rate Harper ate. It was almost a month since Harper had come aboard. He still ate hunched over his food, one hand on his plate the other on his fork at all times. If there was a drink he kept the cup in the cruk of the elbow holding the plate. If Beka had wanted take any of his food it would be a fight. Beka wondered how often on earth had his food been snatched away from him. First he would shovel the food into his mouth as fast as possible, then chug whatever drink was there and then clear his dishes and go back to work. Food breaks took less then five minutes with him. It was as if each meal he ate was his last.

Even though there was plenty of food half of the meal always was wrapped in his napkin and careful snuck into his pocket. He was careful to have Beka not see it. If she wasn't use to watching for people pocketing parts she would have missed it. It was the only thing she could tell that he took from her. Food was expendable a good engineer well they were harder to find. The kid had fixed everything she had asked him to. The repair costs he was saving her more then made up for the food. Besides they would be at the space station in a week.

~~~~*~~~~ (week later)



The space station was cram with people. The usual wall the wall of bodies told you the place was just wealthy enough to be free and just poor enough to have to watch yourself wherever you went. Beka weaved in and out of the crowd with Harper close on her tail. She needed new pipes for the coolant system. Harper had repaired some of then but there was no way the repair ones would last them through their next shipment. He was so apologetic when he told her this that she had started laughing.

"It's ok," she had told him. "I didn't think you could keep this ship running on spare parts forever." The relieved look on his face showed that he expected to get at least one good hit for asking for new parts. Beka was amazed the stuff Harper had managed to build and repair.

His timid nature was getting on her nerves though. He always asked before he did anything. She was waiting for him to ask permission to breathe when he first came on board. He was better he was starting to learn his way around the ship. What he could and couldn't use. He wouldn't step a foot out of line right now. She was amazed it was the two of them alone on the ship and he never seemed to figure out that he stood a chance in a physical fight. Maybe it was his small figure. He had started to put on some weight after coming on board. She could see the hints of muscles forming on his arms for the hard work. There was still no fat on his whole body, but he looked less like a starving twelve year old these days. He was starting to look like he was in his late teens. She had tried in vain to get Harper to tell her his age but it switched daily. He always claimed to be over 18 and younger than 25 but he said every age in-between.

She glanced behind her and spotted Harper again. He was a few feet behind her, head held down. He would be hard to miss in the large crowd if you didn't know who you were looking for. His whole outfit and manner blended in perfectly.

Beka was so busy studying Harper's manner in the crowd the she ran straight into another person. She turned forwards to mutter an apology when she felt the persons strong arms wrap around her. She tensed for the fight to come and snaked her right hand down to the gun on her side, when she the man push his lips roughly into her. She looked straight into the face in front of her and gave a startled gasp.

"Bobby!" She cried though her closed lips.