Shieldbrothers: The Bonding

BY : Lursa_and_BeTor
Category: 1 through F > Andromeda
Dragon prints: 7261
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.

Chapter 1: The Rescue Mission

"Captain," Andromeda's image fills the center panel of one of the three large forward screens located on the Command Deck. Her head tilts to one side as if she is listening to something in the distance. "I'm picking up a distress call."

Dylan Hunt turns from his command station to look at her. He frowns, "Where is it coming from?"

"A planet in the Valerus Cluster." Andromeda's image is the epitome of the old Commonwealth High Guard. Her red leather jacket with the black trim is impeccable. Every sable hair is in place as per regulations. Her blood red lipstick is flawlessly applied and perfectly matches the color of her jacket. "The Sixth planet from their sun...Valerus Prime."

"On screen," Hunt orders.

"Accessing..." Andromeda's brown eyes fix on a point above Hunt and to his right, almost as if she is thinking.

A middle-aged man appears on screen. His thick, black hair is touched with gray. Bushy brows top the navy frames of glasses perching in front of dark brown eyes. He has a wide mouth that looks as if it is accustomed to smiling often, but is now compressed into a flat line. "Thank the Divine! I am Wallace St.Clair, Headman of the Colony on Valerus Prime. We have a dire emergency and are requesting immediate assistance."

"I'm Dylan Hunt, Captain of the High Guard ship Andromeda Ascendant. What is the nature of your emergency?"

"High Guard?" St.Clair's eyes widen at the mention of the name of the ship. "Andromeda Ascendant, you say?"

"Yes." Dylan's blue eyes glint with curiosity at St. Clair's reaction. "The nature of your emergency, please."

St. Clair adjusts his glasses. "Yes, of course. We are the only human settlement on this planet. There are two Nietzschean Prides in the sector and they are converging on our location. We fear that they mean to take us as slave labor. We have no way to defend ourselves and are requesting evacuation until the danger passes."

"Which prides?" Tyr demands as he leans against the weapons console.

St. Clair's brown eyes widen. He frowns as he stares hard at Tyr's face. His frown deepens as his gaze slides over the long black dreadlocks, chain mail shirt and black leathers.

Dylan notices the look. He can understand the prescence of a Nietzschean on Command Deck making St. Clair uneasy considering the situation that the colony leader is facing. He gestures toward Tyr. "This is Tyr Anasazi, acting Weapons and Tactical officer for this ship."

"Tyr...Anasazi? Yes...yes, of course. I see." St. Clair blinks and looks away, but his gaze returns quickly to Tyr.

"Which prides?" Tyr repeats impatiently.

"Er...um...the Creek-Shalom and the Neteryu," St. Clair mumbles nervously as he continues to stare at Tyr.

Tyr glances at Dylan. "Two minor prides, Dylan. However, the humans will be in danger if they remain on the surface."

"I see. Headman St. Clair; how many people are in your colony?"

"About one hundred and seventy."

"Good. I'm dispatching two of my crew to pick up your people. We’ll keep you here on the Andromeda and see if we can discuss terms for a truce of some sort with the Nietzscheans."

"Thank you, Captain. Colony out."

"Rommie, do we have anything in the database on Valerus Prime?" Dylan asks, glancing over his shoulder at the ship's avatar.

"Accessing All Systems University Database." Rommie cocks her head at a thoughtful angle as looks back at her Captain. Sable brown hair slides across her elegant cheekbones. "Dylan, there is a small bit of information on the planet. Approximately three thousand years ago it was the home of the Valerians."

"I remember reading about them at the academy." Dylan nods. "There was not much known about the species, other than they were humanoid."

"That's true. Nothing has ever been found about their society. No writings or recordings," Rommie adds with a frown. "They disappeared about two thousand years ago. The planet has remained uninhabited. It has not been visited in nearly 20 years."

"Well, someone's inhabiting it now, Rommie." Dylan trades a thoughtful stare with her. "Keep digging. I want to know who these people are and what we're up against with these Nietzscheans."

"Aye." Her hands fly over the console in front of her.

***

Tyr walks in silence down the corridor, looking at the rows of lights embedded in the gray walls. He eyes the gray and white carpet under foot. He looks everywhere, except at the human walking beside him. He is going to have to say something soon. It will not be long before they were at the docking bay. It goes against all his training to openly express his genuine emotions. It is dangerous. True emotions offered a clever warrior too much opportunity to manipulate others toward his own desired ends. He has often used his enemies' emotions and desires against them. It's part of what he is. And if a warrior isn’t cunning enough to conceal his real needs, then he deserves to have them twisted against him. But -- his shieldbrother is human -- not Nietzschean. Harper needs to hear words of caring and concern from his shieldbrother. More importantly, Harper needs to hear things spelled out in a way that a Nietzschean shieldbrother would not.

Tyr glances at Harper's stiff shoulders. Harper will not like being advised. The set of those shoulders tell him that Harper knows that advice is to be forthcoming and does not like it. Harper will see the advice as patronizing interference, but the human needs it, whether he knows it or not. Harper is exceptionally clever, but he is not trained to assess things as a warrior would. He is not always as alert to nuance or opportunity as he should be. His choices of action could be...careless and impulsive at times but that is of no consequence. Harper is his shield brother and, as such, deserves these words...these...emotions, however difficult it is for him to give them to the human. Tyr reaches out and grips Harper's shoulder as they walk down the corridor. His hand lingers on the strong line of Harper's shoulder beneath the soft, gray shirt. Tyr notices the dull color with approval; at least, Harper is wearing something likely to blend in rather than the bold, just-shoot-me-now colors that the human typically favored. Tyr tightens his hands on the human's shoulder. "Take care, little one. This is no routine run. Be...wary...of these humans."

Harper glances up, a mocking glint in his blue eyes. "They're just humans. What could happen?"

"I won't dignify that with a response."

"I know. I know. Danger lurks everywhere." Harper rolls his eyes. "No one is trustworthy. I'm gonna be okay, Tyr. Besides, I've got backup. Trance is going to watch my every move."

Tyr sighs. Somehow he does not find that information terribly reassuring. Trance is a frivolous creature and even more impulsive than Harper. What trouble one of them does not find, the other one will. He reluctantly allows his hand to slide away from Harper's shoulder as they pause in front of the docking bay doors. Tyr folds his arms over his chain mail shirt; black leather gauntlets protect the highly sensitive skin surrounding his bone blades from direct contact with the silvery metal. He looks past Harper to where the Eureka Maru is berthed. "I know. But you are going into a potentially lethal situation. I don't like it when you are placed in danger."

"Big guy." Harper looks into Tyr's eyes, holding the amber gaze. He moves closer and reaches out slowly, settling a hand on the Nietzschean's forearm. His fingers move in a subtle caress that brings a softer, more sensual curve to Tyr's lips. "I'll be careful."

Tyr's eyes widen with pleasure and surprise at that hesitant and shy touch. This is the first time that Harper has offered him a touch that just crosses the border of friendship and eases over into the sensual. Apparently his patience and restraint are finally going to be rewarded. Many times it has been so difficult to restrain his needs around Harper, but he had known that a human with his shieldbrother's background would require a prolonged and careful seduction before being ready to yield to a Nietzschean. Now each day brings him closer to finally being able to fully claim his shieldbrother. He will leave Harper in no doubt about his sensual pleasure in that tentative touch. Tyr lightly slides the back of his hand down the side of Harper's face in an open caress as he stares into the human's blue eyes. His fingers ease around to grip Harper's nape briefly, before lightly tracing a circle on the sensitive skin around the dataport. Tyr smiles as Harper shivers and the clever blue eyes take on a lambent glow as the human leans into the caress. Tyr lowers his head to touch his forehead to Harper's. "Remr hor how dear you are to me."

"I'll be home soon," Harper promises softly as he strokes the long black dreads back from Tyr's face. He pulls away, suddenly shy, and turns toward the entrance of the docking bay. Harper pauses, glancing over his shoulder. "I'll be home soon."

"Don't make me come for you, boy!" Tyr speaks in a playful tone, but his eyes reflect a silent promise of protection. He shakes his head in mock irritation as Harper simply chuckles and walks through the portal to the waiting Maru. He lingers until the docking bay doors slide shut for his shieldbrother's launch before turning away and walking back to Command Deck.

***

"The Eureka Maru is exiting the planet’s atmosphere." Andromeda's image announces from the center forward screen. "ETA thirteen minutes, twenty-three point two seconds."

"Thank you, Andromeda." Hunt looks over to where the avatar stands in front of a console. "Any luck on that research, Rommie?"

Rommie turns to look at him with a frown. "No. It is odd that there is virtually nothing current on the planet. It is not located in a particularly remote area of space. There should be more information available."

"We won't worry about that now. We'll find out more when the colonists arrive. I'm sure they'll be happy to help us in exchange for our aid." Dylan studies the view of the planet on the first forward screen.

Tyr shakes his head in amazement as he stares at Hunt's back. The human could not possibly actually believe that the colonists would simply give them the truth on a platter for the asking. "Captain Hunt, you actually think you're going to get the truth from these people. Your continued naiveté astounds me."

"Unlike you, Tyr." Hunt smirks over his shoulder. "I have faith in human nature."

"Then you are a fool."

"The Maru is docking now," Beka interrupts. She touches a screen on her console and adds, "Docking Bay Eight."

Dylan turns to face Tyr and nods toward the corridor. "Tyr, walk with me."

Tyr shrugs and stalks out the door, walking shoulder to shoulder with the Captain. "Yes?"

"Can you tell me anything about Valerus Prime? Why would the Nietzscheans want it? Is it the colonists? Are they in danger of enslavement?"

"There are a number of reasons, Dylan. The simplest, most logical one is that they want the humans removed to they can expand their boundaries." Tyr glances sidelong at Dylan. Is the Captain listening to what is not said as well as what is? Will Dylan accept the simplest reason as being the most likely one or will Dylan push for more? Simple, easily understood reasons are often useful for hiding more complex motivations, as any Nietzschean knows. Tyr paces along aside Dylan in silence, waiting to see if the Captain will ask for additional reasons. He is not Dylan's shieldbrother to advise and guide him, but his own well-being and Harper's is tied to that of the Andromeda and her crew for now. Another sidelong look, shows only Dylan's impenetrable blandness. Dylan is either not going to ask or has not caught the implications. Still it is dangerous to underestimate Dylan merely because the Captain has less sense of self-preservation than a Nietzschean youngling. Dylan had a certain amount of cunning and intelligence. Perhaps a huge, thumping, clanking hint will be in order. Tyr stops and turns to face Dylan. "Be wary of these colonists, Dylan."

"Why? Something I should know?" Dylan asks, his pale eyes reflect only mildly curiosity.

That is warning enough, Tyr decides as he studies the human's expression. Dylan can be quite obstinate about responding to counter-arguments, when someone objected too much to his decisions. Some days, he really wants to strangle Dylan with his precious little High Guard uniform. "Just keep on your guard."

Dylan laughs. "Tyr, these are humans, not Nietzscheans!"

Tyr takes a deep breath at the implied slur. While humans were not always as cunning as his own people, they did have thier moments. And Tyr, as any wise Nietzschean is well aware, knows that humans are the root stock of his own people. So Dylan has heard his warning and chose to dismiss it for now as paranoia rather than an appropriate level of caution. "I'm well aware of that, however, it would be prudent to watch them closely before we welcome them completely with open arms."

"I'll take your suggestion under advisement."

"As is your prerogative." Tyr forces his face to blankness. He will not give the human a reaction to the way his advice is being dismissed.

"Will you see to the settlement of the refugees in one of the cargo bays? Make sure they are under constant surveillance?" Dylan seems preoccupied with straightening his tight jacket.

Tyr eyes him narrowly. Finally the man is showing some intelligence. Why do they always have to have this discussion everytime something happens? Does Dylan find it amusing? Is he truly as heedless as he acts at times? Just when he begins to think the Captain a fool, Dylan suddenly exhibits almost Nietzschean levels of action. "Certainly."

They walk in silence the rest of the way to the hanger deck. Tyr smiles as the doors slide open. The Maru safely berthed, exactly where it should be. Perhaps, Harper has taken his advice to heart this time. Or maybe not. His smile fades as he watches Harper and Trance emerge from the hatch. Harper's wild blond hair looks even wilder than usual and Trance's tail is lashing nervously back and forth. This does not bode well. The pair of them had the manner of younglings who had done what they should not and knew it.

TBC


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