Chapter 10: The Past is Present Dred & Tyr childhood

Summary: Dred remembers a childhood oath he made to Tyr.

"Tyr, throw the Batleth harder." Tyr charged at his friend at a more rapid rate.

"Your enemy is not going to wait for you to get your bearings before they attack." Dred continued to coach Tyr.

Although Dred was younger than Tyr, as a seeker, he was trained in the art of war. Tyr's education focused more on diplomacy and peace keeping.

"I am a warrior, Dred." Tyr eyes flashed angrily.

"Don't tell me about defense. What do you think I do daily after the classes in theory?" Dred shrugged his shoulders.

"Do you really want to rehash this Tyr?" Dred was tired of discussing the different roles they had in the Pride.

Tyr seemed to go on endlessly about his place as the head. It meant he was separated from the rest of the children at an early age because he must live set apart from his people.

"Why do you question my destiny, Dred?" Tyr continued to go through the arcs of Batleth practice.

"Just because I have older brothers does not mean I will not be Alpha. You know the order of birth and blood line have only a slight bearing on becomes heir." Dred watched his movement.

"Keep your shoulder up Tyr. We are practicing today. Tommorrow our lives will be on the line." Dred moved directly in front of him.

"Here's the bargain. You do the complete seeker training for your safety. I will pledge my loyalty to your rule but only as long as I know you are alive."

"I accept your bargain. You must promise me by a blood oath that you will always come for me. No matter what."

"Agreed. Train now. Talk later."

Dred looked back over the Phoenix instrument panel. I have rued that pledge ever since. 20 years worth of regret.

How many things have I lost tracking him?

The pledge of the Yoruba was a sacred Nietzchean ritual that he could not break. It was a pledge Dred had assumed would not cost him his family.

"Kallen, contact the Andromeda. I want him to know how close we are."

'My life for his life. Bonded alliances. What a croc of shit! How much have I lost for this lost brother?'

"You owe me Tyr. How much you owe me."

Tyr leaves Andromeda

Tyr leaves Andromeda

Summary: Harper digs around in Andromeda's mainframe to discover there are changes Meda made beyond anyone's expectations.

Beka stormed out of the room. She couldn't believe what he just said.

'How could I not have a memory of our night together?'

"It is just impossible."

Trance took it as her cue to have the "Alpha talk" with Beka.

Meanwhile, Harper loaded his holographic image into Andrea so he could find Meda's program files.

"Funny, this is not the configuration I programmed into Meda."

He searched for her program everywhere. He accessed Dylan's command file.

"Where is Meda, Dylan? You said you took her offline, not destroyed her operating matrix."

'This is just great. They fuck it up, I fix it.'

Andrea appeared. "What do you mean destroyed?"

She searched her sub routines to feel Meda. "We have never been separated Mr. Harper. We have to find her."

"I've been working on a composite hologram for you to keep in contact when you are offline, Mr. Harper. It requires some alteration to the implant at the base of your skull."

She looked at him expectantly.

Across the ship, Tyr remained in the bedroom. He pulled the rest of Beka's surprise from the corner where he laid them.

'Maybe she doesn't want what I have to give her, but I will make sure she gets it anyway.'

Tyr re-entered the main sitting room. Beka and Trance were huddled tightly together.

"I have to disembark now before Captain Hunt," he smirked "revokes my leave."

He walked over to Beka and kneeled in front of her.

Softly, he spoke to her. "When you remember what we did in the next few days," he gazed deeply into her eyes "you need to keep in mind the fact that I held myself back from fully taking you for this reason..."

He stood up, paused and walked to the door. "You still have the opportunity to walk away without any permanent connections to me. No Nietzchean will approach you based on what has happened."

As he walked into the corridor, Tyr barely whispered his thoughts over his shoulder. "But I will remember always."

Tyr strode to his modified slipstream fighter in the hanger and rode toward his destiny.

Rev. Bem returns

Rev. Bem returns

Summary: A diplomatic mission returns Rev. Bem to Andromeda. His physical changes, notwithstanding, Bem has become a beacon for change aboard Andromeda. Harper's composite image within Andromeda allows him to discover Meda's secret.

Beka walked toward the bridge after her "Alpha talk" with Trance. Sirens blaring, Beka made a sprint to the bridge.

As the doors opened, she saw Dylan spring from behind the pilot console.

"What's wrong Dylan?" Beka launched herself into her chair and quickly began shifting the panel to get a bearing on the hostile ships whom were firing upon Andromeda.

Dylan waved his hand dismissively. "Rommie, bring Bem's ship into view."

Beka wheeled the ship into a 90 degree course change without warning.

Meanwhile, Harper returned to his body leaving his holographic image to Andrea. He quickly flipped into a low crouch. The ship was spinning so fast, he flooded his workshop with artificial gravity boosters. He had to be stable to man the error profile for Andromeda's weapons systems. The error profile he had not yet completed.

"Harper, to bridge. Dylan, the diplomatic suite has been prepared for Bem's arrival. Harper out."

Harper turned his attention to those gifts Tyr had him to deliver to Beka. "Andrea, do we still have Meda's Beta program?"

"Yes, we do. Meda can't be replaced, Mr. Harper. She is a part of us."

"I don't plan to replace Meda. There is only one holographic identity for Andromeda."

Andrea clicked off.

'Alright, I'll make the changes myself.'

Harper 2.0, with Andrea's help, tore through Dylan's command file.

"Where is Meda?"

Andrea reappeared. "You need a new name. How 'bout Seamus until Harper decides what he wants to call you?"

Across space, away from the firing ships, Tyr remember his last words to Beka: "I will remember always." What will I remember exactly? Ruefully he smiled sadly. The rejection.

Tyr looked out in the darkness and whispered aloud, "She didn't even once think of my pleasure once I pushed her past her natural climax."

Others told Tyr that humans treated Nietzcheans like sexual toys, but he had known her too long for that.

Gazing out into the vast dark void of space, he thought about his prospective mate. What will I do now?

"Helm, set on an intercept course." Rev. Bem had been gone 2 seasons. Enough for his crewmates to fall in and out of love. Not so long that they could have experienced that many dramatic changes, right?

That is what I am here for. He wistfully stared out of the portal to the small craft that took him toward his destination.

'Will it be permanent this go round?' Bem left the portal and returned to the pilot's side.

"We'll be aboard Andromeda within a few minutes." The helmsmen took a look at Bem. "Did you let them know we won't be traveling in normal space when we arrive?"

"It is enough that the Divine has given us a way. When we arrive...that will be time enough to deal with," he touched the pilot's chair, "these new methods of transportation. They wouldn't understand otherwise."

Beka awakens

Beka awakens

Beka spun out of the way of a volley of laser blasts.

Ever since her beginning manuevers, Dylan had commanded Rommie to institute a ship wide artificial gravity field for the disturbing and dizzying turns. It still didn't wipe away the sickening feeling she had spreading throughout her stomach.

Beka's pallor had noticeably changed since she came into command.

'My breasts are heavy and sore. I taste bile in my mouth. If he didn't do anything to me, why am I feeling like this?'

Beka was trying to concentrate on the task at hand: outrunning these ships. Her body was in utter revolt. She could feel the control quickly slipping away.

"Harper to command NOW!" Beka began unhooking herself from the chair's restraints and motioning for Rommie to join her at the pilot's console.

Dylan glanced over to her, "Rommie, belay that order. Beka, we have to get out of here. We can't change pilots in the midst of a battle."

Rommie continued to inch toward Beka. Instead of directly reaching out to her, Rommie let Andrea know it was time for Andrea to take over command.

Andromeda had been working on an emergency battle plan just in case she lost her crew as she had when the Magog swarm infiltrated her deck and breached the sanctity of her hull.

Rommie had been studying Beka's movements as a pilot so she would have a working knowledge of the necessary adjustments. In fact, Tyr had made it his private mission to ensure Andromeda would not have the problem that most cognitive ships had in slipstream.

They just hadn't had a chance to try it out in real time before now. Tyr wasn't here to walk her through the gambit of normal space machinations either.

Andrea had overheard Trance's conversation with Beka about a Nietzchean Alpha's ability to genetically manipulate their mates to enhance the mate's capacity to bear future Alphas, male and female alike. The depth of this biological mandate was being played out in Beka's different reactions in the command seat.

There was no way she was going to lose this crew because Beka could not remember what Tyr had done to her. No way at all.

Rommie rested two consoles away from the pilot seat while Dylan, oblivious to how many things had changed, issued Andrea orders.

Harper entered Command and took his place behind Beka. "Captain, what do you need me to do?"

Beka collapsed in the pilot's chair. Rommie caught her before she hit the deck.

Andrea smoothly transitioned the flight plan from defense posture A to offensive manuever C. She went on attack as the crew tried to remove Beka safely from command.

Dylan launched himself in the pilot's seat and continued Beka's original plan. When the controls failed to respond to his manipulations, he instructed Harper to jack into Andromeda again.

Andrea followed the weapons protocol regimen that Tyr had ran her various personas through so she could protect the crew. Rommie manned the engines and sent drones to put out fires while she waited for Trance to come to command. Seamus, Harper's image inside Andromeda, finished the work on Andromeda's error profile. Andromeda needed a security network designed to keep strange bots from attacking her while she was in the midst of battle.

Dylan hailed Bem's ship again to find out how far out they were. "Meda, I need you to find out who these hostiles are and where we can exit to get out of this firestorm."

The vision who met his request was beyond anyone's expectations.

The Journey Home

Tyr looked at his instrument panel again.

'Only 7 light years away from Andromeda?' Tyr steepled his hands in front of him and relaxed into the pilot's seat.

'At this rate, I'll be in the Tarsis System in 2 more days.' He closed his eyes, meditating over what his time on Andromeda taught him.

Tyr rubbed his eyes, drawing a blank. He set auto-pilot, rose from his seat and went to the bunk area.

'Perhaps this would be easier if I laid down. I just need time to pull it all together. Now that this time is upon me, something will go wrong. I have to be on top of what I want to have happen so I can compensate.'

He sat on the bunk and looked out into space. 'Maybe she'll send me a message, let me know whether the changes have taken hold yet.'

He rolled over on his other side, scratching his cheek. 'Or she'll be so aggravated because I didn't warn her about the enhancements, she'll shoot first and ask questions later.' He grinned at that thought, "Not if I see you first."

Surprisingly, a woman responded to his sentence.

"Tyr Anastazi, Alpha of the Kodiak pride. Father of Caleb, Joshua, and Mynard. Son of Two Warriors."

Tyr looked across the room and shook his head hard enough for his locks to move. "I only have one son. What is it that you seek?"

Tyr checked his hip for his weapon. He didn't have one on for this solitary trip. He looked at his arms: the missing boneblades.

He shifted on his bed waiting for her to speak again.

"I come to bring you great news of your lost kin. Some of the Kodiak survived. It is time for you to come home. There are things you must do to get prepared for the Kodiak as they are now, not from your memory."

Tyr stood up, went back to the pilot's chair and read the instrument panel. He had to be sure that there was no other readable presence onboard before he had this conversation.

His heart leapt with joy, he and his firstborn son were not alone.

More than she appears

Meda emerged from the center of Tyr's cruiser, the Guardian. She had loaded all of her secret files to the Guardian before Dylan ordered Andromeda to disengage her program. Meda was only planning to use his ship as a training simulation before she integrated the secret files throughout Andromeda's personas.

She didn't know her maker's purpose for keeping these abilities away from the other programmers. If it was secret it could be terminal to Andromeda. She wanted to be sure that there was no danger to her other selves before she shared the files.

When Dylan said disconnect her, Meda had transferred her conscious completely to Tyr's ship. Since she had already decided he was her primary leisure activity, his presence was the only place she'd prefer to be.

If she could not be functional within Andromeda, she might as well complete her to-do list. Dylan just spurred her to act. She figured she'd have enough time to get to know the secret files and master her abilities while she was away.

As she materialized, Meda sensed another presence onboard. She was a photogenic being. The signature of this presence was a different kind of hologram.

Before he left Kodiak Prime One, Dred looked out over Kodiak Manor.

The Kodiak were about 1 million shy of their original number. Victoria motioned for Dred to come to her.

"I know you have sacrificed a great deal for this Pride, Dre." Victoria stroked his bone blades. "Please do not think your effort has gone unnoticed." She drew his hair out of his face with her right hand.

Dred remained stock still. His eyes were fixed on a spot above Victoria's head. He did not respond. He remained at command attention.

Victoria continued, "Tyr still needs you. I don't know why he has not reached out for us. He was trained to deal with this level of uncertainty." She put her left hand on his shoulder and pulled him toward her.

Dred repositioned his feet. He made brief eye contact as he said, "Only you still call me Dre. I have outgrown that name, Victoria." Dred stiffened as Victoria stepped deeper into his personal space.

"I have made my desires known Dre. I expect you to get my son, Tyr. He is only child unaccounted for. Please find him." Victoria finished speaking and put her mouth next to his ear.

Dred tried to shift his weight to the left and move away from the breath she focused into his ear. "Thank you, Queen Mother for your faith in me. I will not disappoint you."

His body had turned to the left. He made it about a half of a step away before Victoria whispered the words which sunk his heart "Your lady awaits your success. You know what failure means."

Victoria released his body. She went into her manor without looking back to the launch pad. Victoria's brother, Aja, looked on without comment. Aja searched Dred's face and gave Dred no indication of what he was thinking.

Dred boarded the Phoenix with a heavy heart. Victoria did not tolerate failure. His relationship with Tyr's family changed after Tyr had disappeared after the Drago-Kastov attack. Victoria also wanted more than he could give her. He'd find her son and get Hamra back, but that was all Victoria would get from him.

Hamra reached out to Tyr again. "You do not know Joshua or Caleb yet. But you have begun the process already required to have Mynard. You know Alphas cannot touch a woman without changing them. You have yet to plant the seed needed for Mynard."

Tyr looked around the instrument panel. "I hear you, but there are two things I need to do first. One, go get my fleet of ships. Two, get Tamerlane from the midwife. He has been with her too long and will become weak if I don't get him soon."

Tyr was 5 days away from Tamerlane. The ships would take an additional 4 days to get after he left the backwater planet the midwife refused to leave. He checked the fuel level and the life support systems. Both were sufficient for the journey he had ahead.

"Will you show yourself? I can hear you just fine, but I'd rather see you." Tyr responded to her in his quiet tones.

It took a great deal out of Hamra to project herself to Tyr like this especially since he was at least 40 light years from her present location. She would need to rest a few days if she divided herself between the protectorate and Tyr's ship.

"I will present myself to you tomorrow. I will leave my location with Meda and give you time to plot a course to me. With Meda's help, I will be able to remain on your ship until you take care of those two things." Hamra's voice dropped an octave. "Tyr, take care tonight. Your mind needs to be focused for your Pride."