Special Delivery

Disclaimer: Another persistent idea which has wormed its way free, that's all.

###

He was going out of his mind.

The ship was beginning to feel more like a floating coffin than a form of transportation.

He had meditated, read his books, listened to music, sharpened his weapons, resharpened his weapons, worked out, worked out some more, there was nothing left for him to do while awake and it was far too early for him to try and sleep.

Why, exactly, had he agreed to go on this fool mission?

He was not a body guard, he left that thankless job up to Dylan.

The Nietzschean gathered his long dreads back with one hand and wrapped a binding tie around them with the other, securing every strand into a solid bunch to keep them out of his face.

"Tyr?"

Hearing his name called over the intercom system he softly sighed and took a deep breath, "Yes?"

"Mind joining me on the bridge?"

"Any particular reason why you are requesting my presence at this hour?"

"I'm all lonesome," the voice held as much of a smirk as the speaker's face did, "Now hurry up."

The communication channel was closed and it was his turn to smirk. Such a bossy personality packed into that small body, not that he particularly minded.

He left his quarters, and even though there was no one to see him, his natural swagger strode down the long hall with purpose.

"Hey big guy! Wait up!"

Tyr slowed his step and glanced back over his shoulder, "Why?"

"Because it's the polite thing to do," Harper flashed the huge alien a bright, big grin, "She `summoned' you too, huh?"

"I was asked to join her on the bridge," Tyr clarified, unnecessarily.

"Yeah yeah, `asked' `summoned', tomato `tomato'."

"What does food have to do this?"

Tyr looked down at the boy puzzled.

"It's a-just, never mind, what do you think she wants?"

Harper walked up to stand next to the Nietzschean.

"Of that I am not certain-but I assume we will find out once we have joined her."

The male started off again without another word, leaving the little engineer to race after him.

"Maybe-maybe we're close to the planet you think?"

The towering figure did not respond, though that did nothing to keep Harper from beginning one of his rambling spells.

"I mean it's been what? Almost a week since we left Andromeda and I thought we'd be there by now. Didn't you? Beka said it was a short trip, but I think her definition of `short' is a little wonky if you catch my drift."

Tyr's eyes nearly fluttered closed and almost rolled up in his head, "Boy.."

"I'm getting antsy," Harper seemed oblivious to his companion's growing impatience and annoyance, "I miss fresh air."

"I miss peace and quiet," the alien muttered under his breath.

###

"There you two are," Beka rose up out of her captain's chair, grinning, "What took you so long?"

"What is it that you want woman?"

Tyr folded his arms over his broad chest, not really interested in any needless chitchat.

"Hello to you too Mr. cranky pants," she smirked, "And I wanted to let you know that we're an hour away from landing."

"YES!"

Harper exclaimed, "Finally! I was going a little loopy."

"And how is that any different from all the other times Harper?"

Beka chuckled, "I know you're both sick of being cooped up in here, trust me, I feel your pain. But it will be well worth it, I promise."

"I surely hope so," a tiny smile played upon Tyr's lips, "Otherwise I might just have to seek restitution some other way, Captain Valentine."

Her bright eyes flashed in his direction, "You seem so sure that you could, Anasazi."

"Why shouldn't I?"

He leaned against one of the back, power consoles, meeting her twinkling gaze smugly.

Harper rolled his eyes; he had never seen two people work so hard to find ways of flirting with one another through insults, barbs, and jabs.

"Why don't you two just get a room, finally, and work out your problems like normal adults do?"

They both looked down at him at the same time.

"Boy I have no idea to what you are referring."

"Harper, first of all, ew. Second of all, double ew and I don't need that kind of visual in my head-ever."

"Hey, all I'm saying is, when in doubt fu-"

"Look!"

Beka interrupted the young man before he could finish his smutty motto, pointing at the screen at the bow of the ship.

"Whoa.." Harper breathed, "Does that..there's three suns.."

Surrounding an average sized planet were three, glowing, glistening, swirling balls of fire, moving in some predestined pattern throughout space.

"Magnificent," Tyr concluded once he'd had time to take in the stunning image, his smile growing, "Perhaps this little `adventure' will turn out to be worthwhile after all."

"Don't tell me you had doubts, Tyr," Beka placed her hands on her hips, smiling in utter satisfaction of being right, as usual.

Harper turned to look at her, "So does thi-" he was cut off as his body suddenly pitched forward, nearly taking a nose dive off the side of the bridge, saved only by Tyr's lighting quick reflexes that had him grabbing onto the back of the boy's saggy britches.

"What the hell was that?"

Harper barely had his footing before the ship lurched again, throwing him against Tyr who was frowning and looking at Beka gripping her captain's chair for support.

"I.."

Another hard hit snapped Beka out of her state of shock and she rushed past Tyr and Harper to check a panel, searching for the cause, or source, of the attacks.

"..Beka?"

"I'm on it!"

Her eyes scanned the readings, not understanding what they seemed to be telling her.

How the hell..

Another jarring blast struck the old ship and a loud alarm began to blare.

"Uh..Beka, does that mean what I think it means..?"

Harper looked over with eyes wide in fear.

"Harper I need to-to think right now!"

She demanded silence.

Tyr instinctively reached for the weapon on his right hip, his bone blades flaring out from his forearms.

"But-!"

Once again, Harper was not allowed to finish when a flash of white, blinding light exploded throughout the whole of the Maru, making all three cry out, in terror, as it seemed to swallow them whole, shutting out all sound, all smells, all sensations, including touch and feel.

###

"Am I..dead..?"

Beka lay flat on her back, her eyes unfocused and half blind, and her entire body completely motionless.

A groan to her left drew the woman's dazed stare and she saw the huge frame of Tyr limp, sprawled on the floor facedown, his clothing tattered and torn.

She tried to lift her head up and let out a cry of pain, her neck felt as if it'd been snapped in half.

Tears flooded the hardened captain's eyes.

"Beka.."

Forcing his body, aching and sore, with parts he did not even know he had hurting, Tyr dragged himself over to her side, "Beka..?"

"Hurts.." she whimpered, shutting her eyes to keep the tears at bay.

"Do not worry, it will be fine, just-let me.."

He slowly lifted her right arm, "Does this hurt you?"

"No.." she winced despite her claim and bit her tongue.

Tyr did the same to her left, "I do not believe you have injured your spine."

Beka wiggled her toes down inside her boots, "I can-move my-my toes..I-I think I'm..lying on top of something though.."

"Bear with me," Tyr asked her as if in apology and before she could respond or react he lifted her up into the air, ignoring the way her body jerked and withered in agony.

The alien staggered to his feet, cradling the sobbing woman.

Then it hit him-Harper.

Oh frak.

Where was the boy?

Tyr looked side to side suddenly, his neck barely able to keep up, loose braids swinging back and forth.

"Harper!"

Through the foggy haze of pain clouding her mind, Beka heard Tyr's frantic call.

"Where..where is he Tyr..? Tyr..?"

She struggled to get free, "Har-Harper!"

Beka shouted out urgently, "Kid, where are you?"

"I will..I will find him."

Tyr walked over bits and pieces of the ship now littering the ground and found a safe spot to place Beka; taking off his jacket he bundled it behind her head for a makeshift pillow.

"Rest," he hushed her opening mouth and then he turned, scanning the bridge, praying he did not see a part of the child sticking out from under any of the wreckage.

The boy might just have been the most annoying human, or living being period, that Tyr had ever encountered in his many years, but-he couldn't just go and die on him.

"Harper!"

His voice half hoarse, his vocal chords felt bruised, he began to pitch sheets of metal and long rods out of his way, his body straining to do the work as it was weakened from before, but he muscled through.

"Harper, can you hear me!"

Tyr did not know what to make of it, no moans, no body parts, no body, no signs of the boy at all.

Had he-somehow been sucked out into space..?

No-the thought was too horrible to even dwell on it a second longer.

Tyr took a moment, trying to think-the child had been right by his side before-whatever had happened, happened.

Right beside him..

Tyr then realized he'd been thrown some yards from his original position.

He tentatively walked forward, bracing himself for whatever he might find buried.

The cold blooded Nietzschean trembled, his heart of stone pounded, and his dry brow held beads of sweat, collecting together into droplets which ran down and pooled around his neck.

His hands began to move aside item after item, piece after piece, bit by bit digging, clawing through, searching, and hoping.

Tyr was not a praying man, by nature, by nurture, by design, and yet if there was a chance someone, something, lay out there which could help him-bless the boy, he called out to them, it, in silent pleas for saving grace.

Every part of her ached so badly she felt unwell, queasy even, trying to keep from giving into a certain, untimely, urge for fear she'd end up choking on whatever there was to be emptied from her belly.

The sounds of Tyr's movements helped to distract her, as the face of the young engineer was all she could see.

Beka was responsible for him-not because of anything she'd agreed to or promised, except to herself, because she told herself that she'd have to be.

Harper couldn't die on her watch-and certainly not on her damn ship.

This was her home, his home, their home away from home now that they had Andromeda.

This couldn't be his final resting place, it just couldn't be.

He felt cloth, and then he felt a belt and buttons, and then there was movement.

With a roar of effort, and relief, Tyr tossed the last, incredibly heavy, obstacle out of his way, using what little bit of reserved strength he had to do so.

He teetered, tottered, and then dropped to his knees, gasping.

A wail.

A cry.

Fright and uncertainty spurred it on, reaching higher and higher, becoming more and more despairing as each second passed.

"Tyr.."

Beka murmured his name distantly, "Tyr..what..what.."

The giant reached down with hands, shaking, and he picked up the baby, nude, scratched, and squalling.

Its bed had been on top of Harper's clothing, a small, concave pit in the floor had been the only saving grace which kept it from being crushed.

A baby crying?

She had to be dreaming, imagining things.

When the babe began to shiver and cough feebly, the shock of its current state of being settling in, Tyr wasted no more time worrying about this all making sense, any whatsoever.

Logic was thrown aside for now and he quickly stripped the shirt off of his bruised back and wrapped it around the child to swaddle and warm it up as soon as possible.

"Harper.."

Beka could just make out the distorted, moving figure of Tyr coming nearer, but he walked alone, "Where is Harper, Tyr..?"

Kneeling down by her right side, the Nietzschean stared into the face of the little baby boy looking back at him, now eerily silent, eyes of blue blinking slowly.

"Here.." Tyr cradled the child tenderly in his hands, "He is right here.."

Beka saw a tiny fist waving about in the air, as if in victory, and then her world faded to blackness.