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  Chapter 2



Time: CY 10090 - AD Aug 5167
Location: Andromeda Ascendant

"Come to Mommy, Aurora" said Trance as she squatted down and held out her arms for her child.

"Go get Mommy," said Harper releasing his hold on the girl.

The little girl toddled a few steps down the corridor towards her mother then her tail got between her legs and she sat down, hard. Fortunately the diaper she was wearing cushioned the impact so nothing was hurt but her pride. After a moment Aurora resumed her progress towards her mother, but this time on her hands and knees.

"A truly classic family scene," said Andromeda 's holographic self to Beka. Both women were watching as the two youngest members of Andromeda's crew fussed over their daughter telling her what a good walker she was.

"It is now," agreed Beka. "But the first couple of months after Trance came aboard the Maru were, shall we say interesting. Between cultural misunderstandings and sibling rivalry I spent as much time being a parent as I did captain."

"Sibling rivalry?" asked Andromeda. "That DOES sound interesting. What went on between them?"

What didn't go on between them would be a better question," answered Beka.

"You aren't going to leave me in suspense are you?" asked Andromeda. "Not after a lead in like that."

"Why don't we go into the mess to talk about it. It could be a long tale."

"Let's see now," said Beka after she had obtained a cup of coffee and had settled down at one of the mess deck tables. "Things started getting interesting," she stressed the word interesting, "about the second week after Trance had become part of the crew. I was checking environmentals and noticed that the CO2 levels were a bit high... "


Chapter 1

CY 10086 - AD Jun 5163
Location: The Eureka Maru

"Yawn." Beka got up from the pilot's chair yawned again, stretched, and then walked over the the environmental systems console. She frowned when she saw the N2 levels. They had increased over the past hour. It was nothing to be concerned about yet but the problem needed to be fixed before it did become serious. She began to enter commands into the console to determine the cause for the increase but then changed her mind. She was training Trance to be the Maru's new environmental systems technician and this would be a good training opportunity for the girl. She keyed the ships intercom system and announced "Trance, come to the command deck as soon as you can." She then went back to studying the console, mentally making a list of the questions she intended to ask Trance.

A moment later she heard the sound of running footsteps followed by a breathless "Here I am, Beka."

Beka looked up from the console and her jaw dropped in surprise. Trance was standing before her stark naked and dripping water.

"Uh, Trance," said Beka when she got control of her voice. "Just why are you dripping water on my deck and didn't you forget something?"

"Here I am Beka, ma'am?" said Trance obviously confused by the question and shifting uneasily.

"No, Trance. I was wondering why you forgot to get dressed."

"Oh that," said the girl obviously pleased that she could answer the question. "I had just finished replacing the grey water filters. You know how messy that gets,, and was taking a shower when you called. Harper heard the announcement too, and he told me that when you say 'as soon as you can' that means right now. So I jumped out of the shower and hurried up to the command deck. Should I have dried off first?"


Location: the Andromeda Ascendant

"Should I have dried off first?" laughed Andromeda. "I just know Harper set her up. Did she ever try and pay him back?"

"I wouldn't be surprised if he set her up," agreed Beka. "It's the sort of thing he would think of. I don't know if Trance did it as payback, but about three weeks later..."

  Chapter 2