Note: thanks to szhismine for the beta.

Friends old and new

A swirling vortex of energy opened up, and the Starship Andromeda Ascendant exited slipstream and headed towards Infinity Atoll.

On command, Tyr shook his head, “Tell me again why we are wasting time here?” Dylan smiled, “We’re here because Harper’s been through a lot and needs time to relax.” Andromeda’s holographic Avatar appeared before them as Harper walked through the hatch, “Dylan, I’ve just picked up a ship in orbit of Infinity Atoll.” Tyr glared at her, “So?” Andromeda smiled, “It’s the Shoulder of Orion.”

Harper blinked a few times, and then started jumping up and down, “YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!” Tyr looked at him like he was something you’d scrape off your shoe, “What are you so happy about?” Harper grabbed Tyr by the shoulders “Excuse me? That’s the Shoulder of Orion: Mary’s ship!” he turned to Andromeda, “Can you get me a shuttle ready to go over there please.” Andromeda smiled, “They’ve already launched a shuttle of their own, and are asking for permission to dock.”

Harper looked at Dylan, who nodded, “Permission granted.” Harper span round again, “What hanger are they headed for?” Andromeda looked at him coyly, “What’s it worth to you to know?” Harper stopped for a second, “I’ll help you tweak your fire-control sensors like you asked.” Andromeda smiled, “Hanger deck three.” Harper bolted through the hatch, almost knocking Beka and Trance over. Beka looked after the fast disappearing engineer, and then back into command, “What’s got him so excided?”  Tyr shook his head, “That manic woman he’s been pinning for all year’s ship is in orbit, and they’ve sent over a shuttle.”

Beka grinned, “I take it you mean that the Shoulder of Orion is in orbit of Infinity Atoll, and that Mary McCoy in on her way over, and Harper’s run off to great her.” Dylan chuckled, “Tyr still has found memory’s of their last encounter.” Andromeda blinked, then grinned, “I’ve just scanned the shuttle. Someone better go down to the hanger deck: Harper in for a really big surprise.” Intrigued, the rest of the crew followed her instructions.

Harper was hopping from foot to foot as the airlock cycled. Finally it opened, and he got the surprise of his life: Mary stood before him, a young baby in her arms. She smiled sweetly, “Hi Seamus, meet your son, Travis.”

Harper sat dazed in medical as Trance ran the tests Dylan had ordered. Mary sat down next to him, “Sorry to drop the bombshell on you like this Seamus, but you’re a hard man to track down.” Harper nodded, “We’ve been around a lot the past year, it got kind of hectic for a time.” His voice sounded distant.

Trance finished the last scan, “It’s confirmed: he’s Harper’s son.” Mary smiled, “I could have told you that. In fact, I think I did.” Dylan smiled sheepishly, “Well, we’ve had a few people try to con us in the past, and we’re a bit weary.” Mary laughed, “Relax, I know we’re your coming from: you want to protect Seamus. I can understand that. I didn’t come looking for anything from him: we had a cargo to deliver here, and when you popped out of slipstream, I decided it was as good a time as any to tell Seamus he was a dad.”

Harper was still shocked: he looked up, his eyes vacant, “This is like, huge. I mean, me, a father!” Tyr shook his head from the doorway, “Your not the only one how has trouble excepting the concept that you’re DNA has been able to reproduce.” Mary shoot him a glance, “Any time you want a re-match pal, just say the word: I’d be more than happy to give you another lesson in politeness.”

Orion stepped between the two of them, “Knock it off the pair of you: we may be in medical, but that’s know excuse to knock each other senseless.” Rommie nodded, “I agree. Tyr, why don’t you go back to command and relieve Beka? Trance; help Harper back to his quarters. I’ve arranged some guest quarters for Mary and Orion, if that’s ok by you Dylan?” Dylan nodded, “Good idea: I think Harper needs some time to think about this.”

Rommie walked with Orion while Mary carried Travis, “So, this must have come as a shock to you.” Orion shrugged, “I’ve seen a lot over the last five hundred-odd years. I think Mary was more suspired then anyone: she’d always planed to have kids, but not until she was older.” Mary was taken aback, “Do you to mind not talking about me like I wasn’t here!” Orion put an arm around the young woman’s shoulder, “I’m sorry Mary, it’s just the way us AI’s talk. Live as long as we do, and your end up the same.”

Harper sat on his bunk, thinking. Mary was back, and not only that: she had had his baby! He had never been so shocked or confused in his entire life. He loved Mary; he had since they first met, and had hoped that they would get back together and get married or something. But for her to suddenly turn up with his kid? That was beyond his wildest dreams!

He got up and walked along to the room Andromeda had assigned Mary and Travis. He knocked, and Mary opened, “Oh, Seamus, I wasn’t expecting you so soon. Come in.” Harper sat down on a chair and looked at Travis’s sleeping form, “We have a lot we need to talk about.”

Mary sat down next to Harper, “I know this must have been one hell of a shock for you, me turning up with Travis and all, but I don’t want you to feel obligated in anyway.” Harper shook his head, “I’m just kind of confused by it: I thought we used protection?” Mary smiled slightly, “Every time except in the service conduit.” He dug-up the memory and smiled, “True. Well, at lest we call tell him where he was conceived should he ever ask.” Mary looked at him, “We?” Harper nodded, putting his hand on her arm, “I want to do this together: you and me.”

Mary shook her head, “It won’t work Seamus: you’re needed here on Andromeda and I’m needed back on Orion.” Harper stood and started pacing backwards and forwards, “I’ll leave, go with you on the Orion. After all I’ve been through recently, I can’t think of a reason to stay.” Mary stood and stopped him mid-pace, “Dylan told me what happened to you: I doubt that I could have kept going if that happened to me.”

She placed her hands on his shoulders and looked him straight in the eye; “This universe is going to go to hell in a hand-basket if someone doesn’t stop that Magog ship. Dylan says you’re working on some secret project that may be able to slow them down if not stop them.” Harper shook his head, “Someone else can finish my work. My place is with you and Travis.”

Mary started to cry, “Think about it for a second: what sort of life is he going to lead if the Magog aren’t stopped? A few years running from system to system, trying to scavenge enough to survive, until one day we can’t run anymore and they catch us! Is that the life you want for your son?” Harper shook his head, “No, it’s not.” Mary kissed him, “If ever you feel like giving up again, just think of why your doing this: when it’s all over, the three of us can be together.” Harper hugged her tight, “I’ve missed you so much.”

Harper looked out to sea: normally he’d be out surfing on a day like this, but that didn’t seem so important anymore. He looked down at Mary, who was dozing happily in the sunshine. Trance and agreed to look after Travis for the day, giving the two of them some time alone.

Mary opened her eyes and yawned, “What you looking so glum about Seamus?” Harper lay down and put an arm around her, “I’m just thinking: you have to leave tomorrow, and this is probably the last time I’m going to get to do this for ant other year.” He pulled a small box from his pocket and handed it to Mary. She opened it and gasped: I diamond ring glistened in the sun-light, “Jesus Seamus! How did you ever afford this?” Harper smiled, “I had some money sitting in a bank from the last time I was here, and I sold a few bit’s and pieces.”

He took the ring and held it up to before her, “Will you marry me?” Mary sat up, “But we talked about this: we can’t be together with things as they are now!” Harper got up next to her, “I know that, but I still want you to have this as a promise of the first thing I’m going to do after this is all over.” Mary nodded, tears welling up in her eyes, “Yes Seamus Zelazny Harper, I will marry you.”

Dylan sat in his office, opposite Mark McCoy, “I know you have a job, but I’d like to offer you a new one: the Mobius military academy needs people to help train the new High Guard officers for the re-formed Commonwealth. You told me that when I had the Commonwealth back together, you’d be willing to help. Well, its not entirely re-formed, but it’s getting there.” Mark looked at the flexi Dylan had handed him, “Well, I don’t know quite what to say. I’d like to say ‘I accept’, but it’s not just up to me: I’ll have to run this by Orion, Mary and Whisper before I can give you a definite answer.” Dylan nodded, “I understand.”

Mary was having lunch with Harper in Andromeda’s mess hall when Orion and Mark found them. Mark sat down next to his sister, “Dylan’s offered us jobs at the new High Guard academy on Mobius. I’m for it, so is Orion and Whisper, but if you say no, then we’ll turn it down.” Mary thought for a moment, “If I say yes, we’ll be in one place all the time, and that means Seamus here can visit. But, on the other hand, I’ll have to follow the rules.”

Harper looked at her, “Is that such a bad thing? I’ve learnt to live with High Guard rules. Well, most of them. I like the idea of being able to see you more often. Mobius isn’t that bad compared to some places.” Mary smiled, “You would say that: you’re a mud-foot. It would be nice to have a stable home to bring Travis up in, not that I’m knocking you Orion.” The Avatar shrugged, “I don’t blame you: I know a lot of people spend their entire lives in space, but this is a opportunity to be a part of something big. I miss being in the High Guard. I’d like to be apart of that again.” Mark nodded, “Looks like we’re going to Mobius then.”

Tyr was in his quarters, doing his best to keep out of everybody’s way, and was thus quite annoyed when someone knocked at the door. He opened it, expecting to find ether Dylan or Beka, but was surprised to find Mary standing before him. He looked at her, “What do you want?” She looked him dead in the eye, “I have a mutually beneficial proposition to put to you. You going to invite me in?” Tyr stepped aside and allowed her step past him. Mary walked to the center of the room and looked up at the ceiling, “Andromeda, engage privacy mode.” There was a bleep as the ship responded. Tyr raised an eyebrow, “So, what do you have to say?”

Mary pulled a metal cylinder from her pocket, “You know what this is?” Tyr nodded, “It looks like a slightly modified DNA canister.” Mary smiled, “That’s right, and it contains a sample of my DNA, Kodiak DNA: all you will need to re-start your pride.” Tyr went to take the canister, but Mary yanked it back at the last moment, “There is a price for this Anasazi.” Tyr looked at her, “There always is. What d you want?” Mary smiled, “What I want is for Seamus to live long enough to marry me like we plan. You’re a survivor Tyr, it’s your nature, and if the need arose you’d do anything to survive. I can live with that. I want you to keep an eye on Seamus, make sure he survives.” Tyr looked at her, “What’s to stop me from just taking the sample, using it, and killing Harper just to spite you?” Mary smiled, “Two grams of C4 explosive in the lining of the cylinder. I know you’re past, so there is a 50/50 chances that you could disarm it without the proper code, but would you really be will to take that risk?” She handed the cylinder over.

Tyr looked at it, “So when do I get the code to open it?” Mary walked over to the door, “As soon as Seamus and I are married, I will give you the code, and you can do whatever you want with it. The only condition is that Seamus never knows that I gave you that. You try and open it and the sample is destroyed, don’t come running to me asking for a replacement. I trust you about as far as I could throw this ship, but I know how you think: keep your end of the deal, and I’ll keep mine.”

Harper sighed, “Why is it we seem to spend so much of our time together saying ether hello or goodbye?” Mary smiled slightly, “I know what you mean Seamus, but things are different this time, better: you know where I’m going to be, and I fully expect you to visit every chance you get. Who knows: maybe I’ll get a chance to visit you from time to time.” Harper smiled, leaning over to kiss Travis on the top of the head, “Hay, the two most important things in my universe are soon going to be on Mobius: I’ll be there every chance I get, even if I have to hot-wire the Maru and go AWOL.” Mary smiled slightly, “As much as I look forward to seeing you, being forced to hide you from a vengeful Beka Valentine is not top of my ‘to do’ list.”

Orion stood to one side, talking to Rommie in a voice that was to low for even Mary’s enhanced ears to pick up, “So, how goes things between you and captain Hunt? Any change?” Rommie looked at the deck, “If anything, things are worse: I almost told him when we where on the Magog World Ship, be he stopped me, saying we weren’t going to die. I doubt he even has a clue as to what I was going to say. And it looks like he’s found someone: Molly Noguchi. He was on the run from some Ogami mercenary’s, and ‘borrowed’ her ship. She helped him escape, and well, they fell for each other. We dropped her of at the Mobius academy so she could learn to be a High Guard pilot. If we didn’t have things to do, I’m sure Dylan would insist on escorting you there so he could see her again.” Orion smiled slightly, “Well, as I’m going to be teaching there, I’m sure I could arrange some sort of accident: get her kicked out or something.” Rommie smiled, “That’s sweet, but I think Dylan would just offer her a place here if something like that happened. I think its time I moved on.” Orion put his arm around her, “You’ll find someone, some day.”

Mark and Dylan walked over to where Orion and Rommie stood. Dylan smiled, “Looking forward to being a training ship?” Orion shrugged, “Well, it’ll be nice to have a full crew again, but I like moving around, visiting different places. Being stuck in the general vicinity of Mobius all the time could get boring.” Rommie punched him on the shoulder playfully, “Pull the other one! You transport ships are all the same: moaning and complaining about having to carry things all over the place while us warships have all the fun blowing stuff up.” Orion laughed, “You know me all to well Andromeda, all to well. It’s going to be interesting, and I like the idea of playing a big part in re-forming the High Guard. But then again, that’s probably part of my programming.” He leaned over and kissed Rommie on the top of the head, “Have fun.” Out of the corner of her eye, Rommie saw Dylan’s face tighten slightly, “Well” she thought to herself, “there’s hope there yet.” Orion winked at her as he walked towards the airlock, forcibly dragging Mary and Travis away from Harper as Beka held him back from following them.

Dylan turned and shook Mark’s hand, “Well, good luck on Mobius Commander: I’m sure the academy will be all the better for having the four of you.” Mark smiled, “I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.” Dylan smiled, “I trust Rommie, she trusts Orion, and he says you’re one hell of an officer. I’ll take their word for it.” Mark saluted Dylan as the airlock closed.

Beka turned to Harper, “You going to be ok this time? You pined for her all year after she left the last time.” Harper smiled slightly, “True, but now I know where they’re going to be, and I know that we’re going to be together again.” He sighed, “I’m sad to see the two of them go, but I’m happy that they’ll going to be safe.” They turned to see Tyr leaning against the wall. He looked hard at Harper, “Listen to me little man: despite what she may say, Mary is the closet thing I have to family in this universe, and if you ever do anything to hurt her, I will kill you. If I even see you look at another woman in a way that I feel as disrespectful to Mary, I will break your legs. You have been warned.” With that, he turned and left. Beka shrugged, “The ever confusing enigma that is Tyr Anasazi. I doubt I will ever understand that man.” She put he arm around Harpers shoulder as they walked back to command.

The End

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