Keep Them Burning

BY : LeComtesse
Category: 1 through F > Andromeda
Dragon prints: 1317
Disclaimer: I do not own Andromeda, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

The ship seemed full of people from the planet making repairs, some over due, to many of the ships systems. Rakel had been very helpful Gaheris thought as they walked through the corridor with her trying to convince him to make a speech on Terazed backing the referendum, but he still wasn’t too sure.
“I don’t think your people would really care what I have to say? I'm nothing more than a stranger here.” It sounded strange saying it with his descendants running around on the planet below, but it was still the truth in many ways.
“You're much more than that, captain. You're a legend. And, uh, if I may be so bold, an extremely charismatic and attractive individual. Who better to champion this referendum?”
Gaheris considered her words for a moment, she was trying to persuade him with flattery, a political manoeuvre, despite that it still made him grin. “Why do we even need to do this? I thought the outcome was assured.” He was curious as to what her answer might be, hoping to get to the part where she would admit there were deeper issues here.
“The truth is, there's a strong isolationist movement on Terazed. We have a good life here and some people don't want to send their sons and daughters away to die in your war.”
Gaheris huffed and raised an eyebrow at the stupidity of her statement and more so of the isolationists, they would achieve nothing but death. “Well, then the war will come to them.”
“Then you have to tell them that, Gaheris. Because right now the election is too close to call and I could use your help.” Gaheris still wasn’t convinced. He wanted to rebuild the Commonwealth but every step seemed to hold new challenges that were starting to bother him, the stupidity of so many people resisting… these isolationists were just the same as so many others… he was almost getting sick of trying to help people now, when there were so many that refused to be helped, to learn from the mistakes of the past. But he wasn’t sick enough of it yet.

***

Gaheris made his speech with no small amount of passion. It felt like his last chance on Terazed, the planet would be an important asset to the Commonwealth, if the outcome was good. If not it was just another planet waiting for the Magog, there seemed so many of them now. After his speech was over he headed from the room, the applause behind him didn’t make the situation feel any less desperate. He was getting tired of failing, his personal quest was becoming just that; personal.
“Nicely done, Captain. Your speech was very impressive.” Gaheris looked over at Admiral Rhade, still a little put off by his mirror image he tried a formally pleasant smile.
“Thank you. But I am a soldier not a politician.” Gaheris stated. Seeing his smile returned was unsettling, a man with his face, his body, his genes… his smile. They continued to make their way to the lounge.
“Don't underestimate your powers as a leader.” Telemachus smiled, pausing slightly to add “Do you have a moment?”
Gaheris was still side-tracked by the situation, his genetic reincarnation. The memory of his friendship and betrayal of Captain Hunt flashed into his mind. He was a leader because he betrayed and killed his best friend. His Nietzschean mentality allowed for it, but seeing the devastation his actions caused, the future he helped create, the regret went far beyond Dylan Hunt. And now here was a man just like him… would he betray as inconsiderately of consequence?
“Captain. I asked if you wanted a drink.”
“I suspect you wanted to ask more than that.” There was definitely something hidden about this man, information he wanted but for some reason was hesitant in asking.

Telemachus looked at Gaheris for a moment, there were things he wanted to know about the past, about the events that had lead to the founding of the Terazed civilisations and Gaheris’ role in them. He cleared his throat and raised an eyebrow a little as he began. “Here on Terazed, you are something of a hero - a loyal Commonwealth officer, only survivor of that first terrible battle… But the Nietzscheans tell a different story. That you betrayed the Commonwealth. That you were a spy who served a key role in the Nietzschean rebellion.”
Gaheris gritted his teeth. His own judgment was bad enough, without the judgement of others as well, entitled to it as they might be. Gaheris looked coldly into the Admiral’s eyes.
“I acted as any Nietzschean would have. I tried to warn him, Hunt I mean. No matter what you may think of me, I tried to warn him about the rebellion, and by the time he listened, it was too late.” Gaheris spat the words angrily, angry at himself for not seeing the consequences before acting, angry at Dylan for not understanding until there was no turning back. He looked back to Telemachus who was nodding slightly.
“Yes, as any Nietzschean would.” He considered the words, a little too long for Gaheris’ comfort, then smiled a little. “So you were a hero after all.” For a moment Gaheris couldn’t tell whether or not Telemachus was being sarcastic but then the man bowed his head a little in reverence. “As part of your lineage… that means a lot to me. Thank you. I just wish we weren't on opposite sides.”
Though he had not expected such a reaction, Gaheris found little comfort in his words, being considered a hero by his people was something that no longer held so much honour for him. His actions so seemingly right at the time were marred by the aftermath – that stopped him from being a hero. As Telemachus finished speaking Gaheris frowned, not sure he quite understood the man’s meaning, or perhaps a little afraid that he did.
“Opposite sides of what?” He asked, though not sure he wanted the clarification, he could feel the sense of foreboding in the air.
“I thought you knew. I'm opposed to the Commonwealth referendum.” Gaheris drew in a deep breath at the Admiral’s words. Maybe it wasn’t quite what he had expected, but surely this was the betrayal by Rhade that came with the repeating of history. The rest of the conversation passed in a blur. Gaheris using his same old arguments, the Magog threat that he was leaving his people open to, something he was getting a little tired of having to explain to people.
“We're still here after three hundred years. Because we haven't let the chaos out there touch us. Because no one knows we exist. You have powerful enemies, Captain.”
“So do you, Admiral. The Magog are coming. You can't deny them out of existence.” Gaheris raised his voice, unable to keep back the anger behind his usual calm, to accept the stupidity he saw before him and call it Rhade. He had been worried about being betrayed, but really he should have worried that his lineage was corrupt. Betraying him would have been Nietzschean, unfortunate but almost acceptable… this stupidity left him cold.
“No, but I can keep us out of their crosshairs. I'm sorry. It's my duty to protect
Terazed and I'm not going to let anyone compromise that.” Telemachus kept his voice calm, adding those few words before he left the room. Gaheris stood, taking a moment to consider. Rhade was a fool, he could not see that the best way to protect Terazed, his family, his Pride, was to join the Commonwealth and fight the Magog threat before it even reached the planet. Gaheris placed a hand to his head, a pain had begun behind his eyes. This whole encounter at Terazed was taking its toll. A moment of reckoning he felt. A very long drawn out moment with as much indescribable pain and anger that could possibly be fit in.

***

Gaheris sat in his quarters, his head in his hands as the music played softly. He tried to find some answers in his mind, but clouds of questioning were thrown up instead.
“Gaheris open the door.” He heard Beka’s voice over the speakers, unaware she had been knocking at his door, he silenced the music and let the doors open. She came in and greeted him with a smile, handing him a flexi.
“I’ve been talking to Rommie… they have huge armament stockpiles, dozens of shrike fighters just sitting in hangars. Janus light attack drones, Oracles, Centaurs… Rommie is hoping for a new crew.” Beka took a seat opposite Gaheris and frowned. “Please… tell me what it is… Rhade again?”
Gaheris looked at her sharply and then away again, giving a slight nod before getting to his feet and walking to the window. “He is the leader of the isolationists.”
“What!” Beka didn’t get to her feet but she turned to look at the man, his back to her. “But…” She shrugged and sighed a little in confusion. “I thought the Nietzscheans would be all for getting at the Magog… I mean, isn’t that what it was all about…” Beka stopped herself, thumping her hand on to her knee silently, now was not the best time to point out that the reason the Nietzscheans wanted to bring down the Commonwealth was because of the treaty with the Magog. “uh… I just guessed they would want to be part of the fight.” They hadn’t had much luck with any Nietzscheans yet, but then that was mostly down to Gaheris truth be told… but Terazed was different it was Commonwealth in many respects… not just some random Pride picking off the bones of its neighbours. These were Nietzscheans living alongside Human and Than... and whoever else… they really were Commonwealth. And they didn’t want to take the fight to the Magog, they wanted to hide as best they could. She shook her head.
“I’m sorry Gaheris, this must be hard for you.” She had hesitated to say it even knowing it was the truth. They weren’t just Commonwealth, they weren’t just Nietzschean, they were his people. His lineage. He turned back to her, covering the distance between them in a few easy strides and crouching down beside her.
“You make it easier.” He told her quietly. Beka smiled, moving over and pulling him onto the couch beside her. He sat back in the seat, exhausted and let the woman slip into his arms. “I want you here… always.” He hadn’t meant to say it out loud. She didn’t answer, but ran a hand under his tunic, holding it against his warm chest. He sighed and closed his eyes. Beka frowned at his words, seeking to reassure him without having to speak. This trip was becoming hard on him, she wanted to be there for him. In fact she didn’t realise quite how much until she had talked to Rev, and he had mentioned how the Nietzscheans here were the closest they would get to those that Gaheris missed. Not this new generation of fools like Tyr, as Gaheris had once said himself. Part of her was scared of losing him to them, that he might find a more suitable woman and she would no longer be necessary, it was only just occurring to her that that was something she didn’t want to happen. In some ways she was thankful for Telemachus Rhade, as long as he continued to disappoint Gaheris’ expectations he would not want to seek out the Nietzscheans of Terazed and recover his old Pride. She moved her hand further up his chest, pressing into him, wanting him close.
“I’m here now… that counts right?” She smiled. He ran a hand through her hair. After a moments peace, his fingers still threaded in her hair, Gaheris started to pull his other hand up her thigh when Rommie’s holo-image flickered into life in front of them, reminding Gaheris of the need to make privacy mode automatic anytime Beka entered his quarters.
“What is it?” He asked, sitting forward, forcing Beka to sit also.
“The election results just came in…. Rhade, they voted against your restored Commonwealth. We lost.” Gaheris felt suddenly aware that the two women were looking at him. Waiting for his reaction. He shook his head and sneered a little.
“That's just great.” He got out, the anger evident in his voice.

***


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