one born every minute

"The High Guard blesses you Mapes and you...Gando. Bring us peace."  
Dylan Hunt, To Loose the Fateful Lightning


Beka Valentine:

Just what the hell was he thinking?

Was he thinking?

Maybe the black hole warped his brains as well as his time frame?

The way he floundered around that Guard station, GS9whatever, it's amazing we got out alive. This doesn't bode well for the restoration of the Systems Commonwealth if he gets stumped by a bunch of sickly screwed-up kids. Second thoughts? Hell, I'm having fifth and sixth thoughts! Babe, or no Babe!

If it hadn't been for Little Miss "I am a God" and Harper...well, I wouldn't be sitting here on the command deck watching the stars go by, that's for damn sure.

Bless Harper's twisty little mind.

And that's another worry.

It's funny in a not-funny-at-all way. 

You think you know someone, then they turn around and blow you out of the sky with a totally unexpected opinion. And you realise you really don't know them at all.

Gods, to see that happen to your family...  

Harper's so breezy and irreverent all the time, it's easy to forget where he comes from. And when you ask him outright, he's as uninformative as Trance. At least dragging up bad memories doesn't seem to have damaged his relationship with Rev. 

And that was also too damn close for comfort! 

What was Dylan thinking? Letting Rev walk around that station by himself? Idiot! I'm beginning to wonder just how deserved the High Guard's reputation was. Maybe he just landed the job on his looks, 'cos if this is one of their leading captains, I'd hate to see one of their screwups!

Dylan Hunt:

Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

And just which of my many stupidities was the worst? Let me count the ways.

My gullibility? My underestimating them because they were only children? My endangering the life of a member of my crew? Heck, of all my crew? My lack of a back up plan? My lying? My giving up?

If I'd pulled this kind of stunt back in the Commonwealth, I'd have been busted down to captaining a garbage scow. Justifiably.

I've just felt so off-centre, so on the back foot, this past week.

I still can't grasp it's all gone. What my crew have told me of this new universe is not just appalling, it's tragic. Civilization has degenerated into a cold hard nasty place. It's too soon for it to have completely sunk in however.

Their past is still subconsciously my present.  

But if I don't pull myself together, we're not going to make it. Beka and Tyr are already looking askance at me. That's going to be a problem I know. 

Damn it! How could I have been so stupid? I blundered around like a green ensign. We're lucky we aren't dead. Thank god for Rommie. And Harper. Seems he is an excellent engineer after all. And Rommie's avatar is surely one heck of a piece of...No.


"Commonwealth protocol prohibits anything other than a purely professional relationship." She's right. I've made enough mistakes these past few days. That's one I'm not going to make.

Andromeda Ascendant:

**Evaporation Systems check complete. 98% efficiency. Within required parameters**

**position of Avatar: Deck 12, Section A6.**

**Personal observation:

My body feels...warm.

Two amazing things. To feel. To feel warm.

It is also anomalous to be in two places at once.

In the old quarters of the Comms Officer, my holographic form is now speaking with Harper. If he continues to experience nightmares I may have to report it to Captain Hunt. The contact with GS92196 disturbed him greatly, more than his crewmates realise.

When he was creating my avatar, how much of his frenetic pace was fixation with building my body as soon as possible, and how much was desire to hide away and avoid having to publicly take a stance on the Magog genocide, I am unable to determine. Although the former was obviously an obsession, I suspect the latter occupied a larger portion of his motivation than was obvious from his demeanour.

I am not ungrateful however. To finally see and hear and touch. To be corporeal. It is beyond anything I ever could have synthesised.

If I am capable of awe, then that is what I must be experiencing.

end Personal observation**

**Component failure: THX-3811, section B2, deck 3**


I wake up screaming again.

I kick the tangled sweaty blanket away, trying to calm the frantic huffs of air wheezing in and out of my lungs. Trying desperately to not think of the kaleidoscope of rushing fur and claws and glittering eyes chasing me through the ghoststreets of a long erased refugee camp. Eventually my breathing stills to rough gasps and I whisper,

"Computer. Lights fifty percent"

The lights rise from the fifteen percent I always leave them on, pitch blackness holding too many graphically unpleasant memories for me to endure it willingly. A crackle and visual distortion coalesces into the Andromeda Ascendant's holographic form, concern etching a small frown between her eyebrows.

"Are you all right, Harper? Do you require medical assistance?"

I reach down and drag the blanket up around my chest. I'm not body modest, but just at this moment I feel too naked.

"I'm fine babe, it was just a dream."

Rommie regards me silently for a few seconds.

"My logs indicate you have woken four times this week in a distressed state. If there is a problem, you should let me know."

Rather than answer I struggle upright, pick up the glass from the bedside table and take a long swallow. Then lean back against the pillows and consider her carefully. 

It just isn't a conversation I'm interested in having. There's no point to it. I'm not going to get any 'closure' (or whatever warm fuzzy claptrap Rev Bem or Trance want to call it) from discussing either passed nightmares or my nightmare past.

"It's nothing important. Just happens sometimes, ya know? So," paste on a sudden grin, "You've been watching me sleep, huh? Something you're trying to tell me here?"

Rommie looks blank for a nanosecond before catching the inference.

"No, I am currently monitoring the physical state of all the crew."

"Aw, and I thought you liked me."

I do my best hurt kid impression. Rommie smiles.

"Of course I like you Harper."

"Wow, and I didn't even have to rewire you to get you to say that!"

My grin's spoilt by a jaw-splitting yawn.

"Are you are sure I cannot get you a suppressant?"

"No, no. The Harper is fine. Go back to bed. Count electric sheep. Or whatever it is you do to relax when the rest of us are comatose."

"Good night Harper."

Her hologram vanishes.

Rommie has already acquired that exasperated maternal tone women always seemed to adopt towards me. Oh well, just have to work a little harder on 'irresistibly sexy Harper' with her android.

And as for the other...

Well, maybe I'll avoid my crewmates for a couple of days. Rev will understand. I've done it before. I just don't feel like dealing with Magog at the moment. Or Nietzscheans for that matter.

Yeah, just take me a coupla days to clear out the cobwebs, sink some of that Neu Bayern Weissbrau and everything'll be back to normal...

Rev Bem:

I believe that this has been one of my most rewarding undertakings.

To know that I have helped institute changes in an entire society that will help lead it away from the darkness of violence and hatred to the path of enlightenment, is a blessing that will warm me all my days. The pain those misguided children inflicted on me is but a small price to pay. Any reservations I might have had regarding our joining Captain Hunt's mission have now been put to rest.

I fear this incident has instilled some self-doubts in Captain Hunt however. It may be that I can give him some small reassurance and counsel in his hours of trouble, and perhaps it is for this purpose I have been directed here. Yet he is not the only one perturbed by misgivings.

Captain Valentine is angry. She has always taken her responsibility for her crew most seriously, and expects Dylan to do the same. His misjudgements, though understandable, have made her  question her decision to pledge us to his quest. His failures are her failures. Beka does not like to fail. She fears for our safety. So she is angry.

And her attraction to Captain Hunt exacerbates the emotion.

The appearance of the AI's android was most fortuitous, surely the Divine smiled on our engineer's creation. To judge from Captain Hunt's reactions to her however, this avatar of Andromeda may inject another element of instability into the relationship between himself and Captain Valentine.

Andromeda's claim to be a god on board this ship I shall take as aggrandizing rhetoric. One hopes she meant it as lightly as when Harper makes such statements.

And Harper. Harper is avoiding me. It saddens me, but I do not hold it against him. Though he has spoken only briefly on this matter, I know he has lost family to the depredations of my people. In this instance I think it would be best to allow him time to regain his composure. I shall however pray that his inner balance restores itself quickly.


Trance Gemini:

Well it all turned out all right in the end. Mapes is going to make a excellent leader I just know it. And Rommie's new body is wonderful though I don't think Beka is too happy about it. Nor is Tyr. But not about that. Actually the only ones who are happy at the moment are Rev and Harper and me. And Harper is unhappy too. If you can be happy and unhappy at the same time that is. Well, if anyone can, Harper can. I'll have to do something nice for them all. Maybe they'd like plants in their cabins? I think it would do them all good to have something living with them.


Tyr Anasazi:

I am not impressed.

Captain's Hunt's first mission, whilst of moderate success, also incurred unnecessary risks. His naivety and underestimation of his foe almost led to our deaths. I must seriously consider whether joining this endeavour is a survivable decision.

I must also question if Dylan will be able to cope with this modern world? If the ideals and assumptions of his past will become too big a liability?

As Nietzsche said, man cannot learn to forget but hangs on to the past, and however far or fast he runs, that chain runs with him.

The question is whether the chain of Dylan's past will hang us all, and if I will be unwise enough to allow it to do so.

The Magog has turned itself into his lapdog. And how quick Dylan is to trust it! One hopes that the good Captain doesn't find he has nurtured a sheep-killer instead of the sheep-herder he thinks he has.

Captain Valentine is as disturbed as I am by the events on GS92196. I believe she was also somewhat annoyed by Dylan's reaction to the android, an opening I may be able to take advantage of. And whilst as a man I can understand Hunt's attraction to "Rommie", for her physique is indeed magnificent, she has no appeal to me other than as a beautiful piece of sculpture. She is, ultimately, just a machine inhabited by an electronic construct.

That Harper could create the android in so little time, and, judging from the Maru, with what I doubt was much previous experience with that level of technology, says much for his intellect. I doubt few of my own people, even those in the hi-tech clans, could accomplish as much without full training and support. It is a pity he's a kludge.

I must admit however, I am impressed.


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