Gardening Tips for Dragonia Vines

BY : Lursa_and_BeTor
Category: 1 through F > Andromeda
Dragon prints: 6180
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.


I sit at Rhade’s sleek black desk. I have found his secret journal documenting his mission and his attempts at infecting Hunt. Rhade embedded the secret journal in his personal journal and his officer’s log. Only by having both on screen at the same time do I see the full account. I smile to think of him sitting at this desk, blithely using the ship’s memory to record his secrets. I wonder if Dylan read these records, looking for clues to the how and why of Rhade’s actions or if being a typical Commonwealth Captain, he had babbled loftily about respecting the privacy of the dead. He would find nothing there, of course.

To read and access any Nietzschean agent’s secret journal one must know how to read it to see what wealth of information and instruction is contained in the poems and apparent accounts of the trivia of daily life and work. Rhade was apparently very fond of poetry to judge by the number of sonnets, odes and lyric poems cluttering his journal. There are also a number of highly obscene limericks interspersed with the more standard sonnets. He seems a man of style and humor. I would have liked him. How could Captain Daffa-dilly have resisted determined wooing by such a handsome, clever Alpha?

Andromeda has noted my interest in Rhade’s records and questioned me about it. I told her that my interest was of a historical nature; that I wanted to know what life in the High Guard was like for a Nietzschean of that era. I am certain that she reviewed the records that I had been reading for all the good that it would do her.

~~~

I stand on the Command Decisteistening as Guderian talks to Hunt. I can see that Hunt is on the verge of agreeing to meeting the Orca First Alpha on Guderian’s own territory and surrounded by the Alpha’s warriors. I have seen Captain Daffa-dilly in this odd mood before where he will be so determined to prove the value of his Commonwealth that he will take foolish risks. Dylan has no idea what Guderian intends and I cannot spell it out for him without revealing too much. The most that I can say is that High Guard captains were commonly taken captive. I cannot tell him how those captains were controlled and forced into assisting with the take over of their own ships.

I know what the First Alpha intends. He will seize Dilly and have the Captain pinned and well fucked before he knows what happened. Depending on how strong Guderian’s personal biochemistry is, Dylan will be addicted to him within hours or days or weeks of continued exposure. My own actions have slowly sensitized Dylan to me but I have not yet laid a strong enough grip on him that another Alpha could not contest me for him.

I set about convincing Dylan to stay aboard the ship. It takes little to convince him that he is too important to risk on such a minor thing but he is still suspicious of my motives. I could turn Guderian. Give the Orca enough information to take the ship. Play Guderian against Dylan let let the universe decide between them. I win whichever way it turns out. If Dylan holds the ship against the Orca, it will give me the opportunity to take a measure of his will and strategic abilities.

If the Orca succeed, I can bend Guderian to my will almost as easily as Dylan. Guderian will not have Dylan’s reservations about demanding sex from me. He probably will demand it shortly after taking over the ship as a way of reinforcing his command and control. That can be dangerous for an Alpha from a Pride that is not noted for theengtength of their biochemistry. My Kodiak biochemistry alone (much less what additional chemical charms I have as Progenitor) is much more potent than his. Overwhelming him and establishing my own command will pose no problem. If he proves himself worthy by succeeding.

I gather the gear that I will need, absently reassuring Dylan that I will return for him in the highly unlikely event that the Orca actually do want to join his Commonwealth but why would they? He has proven no advantage to them in accepting it. My main difficulty in dealing with the Orca, will be preventing Guderian from figuring out why he is so inclined to accept my suggestions and growing suspicious of who I am. Even if I completely suppress my pheromones, Guderian will still be subliminally aware of what I am and want to please me. If Guderian succeeds, one taste of me will tell him my true nature.

I can change my DNA slightly whenever I leave the Kodiak to match that established as belonging to my mercenary persona. When I am ready to return, to resume my real identity, I will switch back to my true genetic identity. I can fool gene scans and present myself as either the mercenary or as what I really am, the genetic reincarnation of the Progenitor. My personal scent, I can do nothing about. Between it and my pheromones, Nietzscheans in my presence, find themselves subliminally swayed to yield to my will. Even without the pheromones, my personal scent will have its effect.

I stand on the Command Deck, watching Dylan and Guderian as Guderian makes his challenge for the ship. Dylan is not bluffing. Those cold, pale eyes tell me that he has already made his decision. He will destroy his ship and all aboard rather than yield to Guderian. It is an interesting choice of options. Dylan knows enough about us to gamble that Guderian will be likely to choose survival for himself and his Pride.

I glance at Guderian. He has gambled all on this one option and formed no alternative plans. I can see it in his face; smell it in his pheromones. His Betas eye him uncertainly, waiting for orders. I was tempted to bring him over…to add him to my collection of allies. I changed my mind after meeting Freya. Guderian is a flawed leader. His closeness to his demented brother Dimitri is not the least of his problems. He has proven himself unworthy of my time but he will survive. Dylan does not have enough crew to hold the Orca captive and keep them under control. I know Dylan well enough to know that he will not execute them. He will allow the Orca to go with revenge in their hearts.

The Orca Pride ships head for slipstream, fleeing their asteroid home. Freya is on one of those ships. I unfasten her helix and cup it in my palm. I could have avoided certain problems by not accepting her but…a smile curves my lips…she is so fair and her gene lines promising, very promising, despite her membership in the Orca. Perhaps there had once been more to the Orca.

It was a risk. My first kiss told her who I was. She knew what Guderian was not able to ascertain from the onslaught of my pheromones. By the time that Guderian came to summon me, she knew beyond any doubt. Freya was willing enough to trade whatever loyalty she had to the Orca for the status of being one of the Progenitor’s wives; for the possibility that she might be the one to found the line of my successor. I left her money and instructions on where to go and how. If she is worthy, she will succeed in making her way there and taking her place among my other wives. She will have plenty of them to keep her company since I have my pick of the best from each Pride since each wants the honor of bearing a child to the Progenitor. Spreading my genes widely is part of my duty both to my gene line, to the Kodiak and to the Nietzscheans.

&&&&

Dylan is drawn to vulnerability or the appearance of it. Has he noticed yet how Trance plays upon this instinct of his? I doubt it. My observation of the Purple girl has brought some unsettling contradictions. Something about her is familiar. She is much more than she appears. But then so am I. The humans and even the Magog are drawn to her charm, her sunny naďve personality. She seems particularly interested in Dilly and works hard to engage him and sway him to choosing whatever alternative she suggests. Since the appearance of an open and child-like nature seems to work so well for Trance, I decide to stage a play of my own.

To aid my appearance of vulnerability, I retreat to the Obs Deck. I sit on one of the benches – when you are large and strong, it’s much harder to seem vulnerable even if you do truly feel that way. My tears, my guilt, my pain – all these are real things but like any successful Alpha, I will use them to have my will of my enemy. It is only a matter of time before Dilly checks with Andromeda and discovers that I am crying on the Obs Deck. He will not be able to resist the opportunity to probe me when I seem vulnerable to such assaults.

I hear the door open and Dylan’s footsteps. I do not move.

“Tyr? Are you in here?”

“Yes.” I pitch my voice low and soft.

“How are you?”

“I’m…fine.” I allow a tremor to touch my lower vocal registers. I glance at him and then away as if embarrassed by the break in my voice.

“There’s no need to feel guilty. We had to do it.” Dylan moves closer to me.

I sniff and drop my head, allowing my braids to veil my face. “Guilt is a wasted emotion.”

“There was no way we could know how our interference would affect the future.” Dylan sits next to me on bench.

“Has not our interference already affected that future?” I ask quietly. “We are here. The Angel of Death…you gave the order to slaughter over 100,000 of my people.”

“Tyr…” Dylan shifts uneasily on the bench. His pale eyes are watchful and intent. “I took no pleasure in the order.”

“Did you not, Captain?” I ask softly. Did killing all my people make up for Rhade’s attack on you and your precious Commonwealth? Did it make up for losing 300 years? He must think me as naďve as Trance pretends to me if he thinks that I do not see other motives in his choices as well as the one that he admits to.

“Of course not. I was only doing…”

“No, Captain…allow me to finish.” My voice is hoarse with grief. “I could have stopped you. I could have warned them but I didn’t. I did nothing. I am as much to blame for this as anyone.”

That is a harsh truth. A hard, sharp-edged truth but I will not attempt to evade it or deny it. A single tear slides down my cheek and I begin to weep surrounded by the stars and shadows. Beauty in distress – just the sort of thing to lure Hunt to me. Let him play comforter. Let him feel strong and superior. Let him measure my pain and probe it’s depths in an attempt to flush out my hidden motives. He will beg at my feet for whatever crumbs I deign to grant him in the end.

“Don’t beat yourself up about this. We did what we had to.” Dylan eases closer on the bench. His hand hovers uncertainly over the bare skin of my arm before drawing back.

I sigh. This is getting tedious. Had Rhade won a warmer response? Or was Dylan’s relationship with Rhade – whatever it amounted to – what makes Dylan so ambivalent about his response to me? I have watched Dylan with all the crew. He is attracted also to Beka and more comfortable with her than me yet he has not acted on his attraction to either of us. Perhaps he is best left to the mechanical charms of his ship. The ship is devoted to him and unlikely to feel there is any lack in him.

“Did we? Did I?” I whisper softly. I had considered stopping him. The opportunity was there. I could have but how would that have affected the present? As things are, I know what I have to work with to defeat the enemy who would destroy us all, feed us to the Magog. I know what I need to do. Then there is my Pride. The Kodiak are finally prospering again. Should I trade known prosperity for a possible mirage of better things?

Harper is the other matter that I am considering as I grieve under the stars. Dylan was the one with the will and determination to give the order but Harper…Harper was the one who conceived and created the ruin of our fleet. Harper intrigues me greatly.

Dylan finally touches me lightly on the shoulder, a mere brush of his fingertips, and leaves.

I sigh as I watch him leave. Perhaps I overdid it on the emotion. Perhaps I am far too big and dangerous to successfully appear vulnerable even when I am. Or perhaps I am too male. Or too Nietzschean. Or not purple enough. I wipe away my tears.

I retire to my quarters and sit up late, reading Rhade’s journals and seeking the key to his interactions with Dylan. I know now where things had gone wrong with Gaheris Rhade’s initial plan. To Rhade’s annoyance all his seduction attempts had gone unnoticed. When he had finally resorted to a blatant offer, that offer had been quickly rebuffed. Dylan had rapidly retreated under a barrage of words about the inappropriateness of having a relationship with a fellow officer. Rhade had considered force but he would have had to wait for an opportunity to be off the ship as well as alone and private with Dylan for the needed amount of time. In the end, Rhade opted to continue concealing his activities from Dylan until such concealment was no longer needed and then kill Dylan. Did I mention that we Nietzscheans do not take rejection well?

It is late but Dylan is always saying that his door is open to his crew. Somehow, I doubt, that I am the crew that he had in mind – probably the most preferable would be either purple and cute or blond and cute -- but, nonetheless, I am here. I stand outside his door wearing nothing but my black leather pants. Even my feet are bare. My hair hangs loose down my back. I bear no weapons but myself. I do my best to look meek and vulnerable and in need of advice.

“Tyr?” Dylan opens the door. He looks tired and faded in his severe navy sweater and pants. Perhaps he regrets the orders that he gave earlier. If his choice gives him pain, I can only rejoice that it is so.

“Captain.” I bow my head, hiding my face behind my braids. Hiding my wish to mark his skin with the bruises of hard use. After a fashion, I will mark him in a way that he will find intolerable. I have already initiated his punishment all unknowing when I began exposing him to my pheromones and sweat causing him to seek me out, to feel a need for my company and the stirrings of unwanted desire. Nothing that I did could make him want me sexually if that was not somewhere hidden in his nature but I could force a latent attraction to the surface where Dylan could not deny its existence. According to Rhade, Dylan would be deeply distressed to discover himself desiring another man. “May I speak with you?”

He hesitates for a moment before, standing back from the doorway. He rubs his eyes before waving me inside. “Yes. Of course.”

I pad lightly inside on my bare feet. His quarters are neat and severe. Little trace of his personality marks them. The furnishings are all standard High Guard. Not at all like Gaheris Rhade’s quarters, filled with seductive textures. Perhaps he restricts personal items to his bedroom. I give Dylan a brief glimpse of large, vulnerable eyes before ducking my head again. “Captain…”

Dylan watches me warily as I look around his quarters. The wariness increases as I pause in front of an antique weapon mounted on the wall. The edges glint sharply. “What did you want to talk about Tyr?”

“So many things have transpired. I hardly know where to begin.” I turn away and walk back toward him, keeping my every move slow and easy. He will have no warning of my intentions until too late. Even then he will not fight me. The method that I have chosen to wound him will leave him with nothing overt to resist.

“The beginning is always a good place.” Dylan smiles but it does not warm his pale eyes. He holds his ground despite the tension betrayed by his growing stiffness.

I ease closer to him, testing the air. His scents speak of suspicion, unease and more faintly the beginnings of arousal. “This day has been…difficult for me.”

“It’s not been a good one for me either.” Dylan sighs. He looks away from me.

“Has it not, Dylan?” I ask, keeping my voice and manner soft and mild with great effort. My pheromone levels are rising quickly but reflecting anger. I manage to mingle desire with the ire in my scent by thinking of Charlemagne and the lithe grace of his body flexing beneath me. I cannot stay here with Dylan much longer and not hurt him.

Dylan frowns, shifting his position uneasily. He watches my face closely. “No. I have been replaying the events. Every scenario leads here.”

“Would that we could replay the events and start anew.” If only the Commonwealth had chosen to fight the Magog instead of making a foolish peace treaty with the vile creatures, we would not have needed to overthrow it. I turn slightly away from him, bowing my head so that my braids obscure my profile. At the edge of my vision, I see him reach out, slowly. He hesitates a long moment then his hand settles awkwardly on my shoulder.

“Captain?” I slant him a provocative look through the veil of my hair and deepen my voice to a throaty purr. “Do you need comfort as well?”

His eyebrows shoot up in surprise. He withdraws his hand hurriedly. “Comfort?”

“Yes. Do you need someone to tell you everything will be fine? Someone to hold you. Someone to do this.” I turn to face him and his eyes widen as I firmly cup his face between my strong hands. I could kill him here and now, so easily.

“Tyr, what are you doing?” Hunt gasps. He freezes, confused by the mixed signals in my pheromones and manner.

“Dylan.” I breathe his name softly and before he has a chance to react, I take his mouth, firmly parting his lips and filling his mouth with my tongue. I kiss him long, soft and tender, giving him nothing to fight against. He tenses under my touch but, as I expected, he does not fight. He does not respond and I do not expect that either of him but his heart beats fast as his mouth yields passively to my possession. That should be exposure enough to my unique chemistry to trouble him for a long time. I raise my head and drop my hands to his shoulders. “I’ve wanted to do that since I first saw you.”

Dylan laughs nervously. His pale eyes are puzzled. “You tried to kill me when you first saw me.”

I shrug. I lean forward as if to kiss him again. “It did not stop me from appreciating your beauty.”

Dylan shakes his head. He steps back but it is only a small step. “Tyr…I…”

I allow the retreat but keep my hands firm on his shoulders. It will not do for him to think on this too much. I need a distraction, something to put him off-balance. I give him big, hurt eyes and allow a trace of the anger that I feel in my voice, “You do not want the comfort of my body?”

Dylan shifts uneasily as I rub my thumb over his lips. “What is this, Tyr?”

“Whatever you need it to be.” I trace the line of his throat, noting the quickening pulse there. The scent of his arousal is increasing. It will only get worse for him. “Do you not find me attractive, Dylan? You find me unworthy?”

“Oh, uh, no. No.” He moves back with unflattering haste, putting his desk between us. He drops awkwardly into his chair, trying to hide the erection pressing against his navy pants. His cheeks heat with embarrassed color.

“Then what is wrong?” I hold out my hand, palm up, inviting him to take it.

He flattens his hands against the desktop and stares down at them. “Uh…um…I’m just not…well you see…”

“No, Dylan. I thought you wanted…” I allow my voice to trail off in apparent bewilderment. I take a small step toward him.

Dylan looks quickly at me and then away. He bites his lip and forces his gaze to my face. “I didn’t realize that you…well, my First Officer was Nietzschean so I know that you people are bisexual. Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course, but I don’t, um, I’m not inclined that way. Nothing personal.”

“Of course not, Captain.” I nod curtly as if my pride is hurt and turn to go. Liar. He probably told himself that those erections in the gym are due to Beka. From what Rhade said the human would go to any length rather than admit to having such feelings for a man. One of the things that had irked Rhade endlessly was scenting Dylan’s attraction to him and then having the Captain fervently disowning any such feelings. Ah, well, the damage is done. His proclaimed non-attraction, non-inclination to me will be even stronger now. “I’ll not trouble you further.”

Dylan relaxes slightly behind his desk. He offers me a small, stiff smile. “Tyr…no hard feelings?”

How can this idiot speak such a sentence after condemning so many thousands of my people to death? I smile coldly at him. “No…no hard feelings.”

I leave his quarters gladly. Now, for something to take the taste of Dylan out of my mouth. I head for the closest mess. Harper looks up with big eyes as I walk in. I can smell his fear and hear the rapid drum of his heart. He has been carefully avoiding me all day. He looks tired and troubled. This is his sleep shift. He should be in his quarters dreaming of whatever engineers dream.

“Harper.” I begin giving him the secure and safe pheromones that usually soothed him into a kind of ease with my company. I glance at the bottle in his hands. “That will not help you sleep.”

“Tyr.” Harper clutches his beer bottle and stares from me to the door, measuring his chances of escape. His voice is slightly slurred but not enough to hide the belligerent note in it. “Who said that I was having trouble sleeping? I’m great. I’m wonderful. I’m fine. Better than fine. I’m a frickin’ super genius! I blew away a whole huge heapin’ helping of Nietzscheans today. What more could a skinny little kludge from Earth want?”

I open a bottle of fruit juice and savor the tart flavor. I have always preferred tart to sweet. I raise an eyebrow. “Perhaps I suspect that you are having trouble sleeping because it is the middle of your sleep cycle and you are sitting in here drinking beer alone.”

“Oh, yeah? Well, maybe I sit here and drink beer every night at this time and you just don’t know about it.” Harper drains the last swallow of his beer and sets the bottle down with a defiant clink. He glares fiercely at me. “What makes you think you know anything about me anyway? That’s just it with you damn Neits…always thinking you got the skinny on the way the rest of us think. Well, you don’t know squat!”

How many beers had he drunk? How long had he been sulking in here, brooding? Tenderness creeps over me as I look at him – small, rumpled, troubled and still defiant. His blond spikes bristle aggressively. His blue-gray eyes are full of shadows and there is an unhappy droop to his shoulders. “Go to bed and get some sleep, boy.”

He scowls at me. He fingers the empty bottle. “Something wrong with your enhanced hearing, Tyr? Maybe I don’t feel like sleeping right now and who, the hell are you to think you can tell me what to do?”

I drain the bottle of juice and set it aside. In one smooth move, I yank Harper out of the chair and drape him over my shoulder. “For one thing, I’m much bigger.”

“Hey! Put me down! Don’t make me knock you senseless. I can do it too.” Harper waves his beer bottle uncertainly before managing to smack my shoulder with it. “What do you think you are doing?”

I snort and walk out of the room, ignoring the bottle tapping harmlessly against my shoulder, back and hips. I run my free hand over his thighs. Hmmm. Nice. Very nice. Solid and strong. My hand glides higher, exploring the hard, warm curves of his ass. Oh, yes. This is good too. Very good. It fills my hand in a most pleasing fashion. My fingertips glide lightly up and down the provocation offered by his cleft.

Harper stills suddenly. His breathing deepens. “Are you playing with my ass, Tyr?”

“And if I am?” I playfully nuzzle his flank, enjoying the heady scent of his arousal and the thrust of his thickening shaft nudging my bare shoulder.

“Just wondering.” He wiggles against my shoulder as I tease him as well as myself with slow, lingering strokes.

I walk into Harper’s quarters, delicately picking my barefoot way around the sprawl of circuit boards, parts, tools and assorted projects. More evidence of his lively, inquiring intellect. I drop Harper gently on the bed.

Harper squints at me and waves the bottle menacingly. “Back off, Nietzschean. You’re not going to play ‘pork the kludge’ tonight, buddy boy. Don’t make me hurt you. Done enough to you Übers today.”

“Pork the kludge?” My lips quirk as I take the bottle away from him. An interesting phrase…wonder if the meaning is what I think.

“Hey! Don’t go thinkin’ that just because I let you feel me up that I’ll spread ‘em for you. The Harper is not easy.” He points a crooked finger at me.

“Of course not.” I smile.

“Where’s my brewsky?” He stares at his empty hand in surprise as I set the bottle out of the way.

“Go to sleep.”

“Can’t.” His face suddenly takes on a mulish look. “Won’t. You can’t make me.”

“That’s not a smart thing to say an Über, Harper.” I laugh softly as I capture his feet and pull his boots off. Harper’s pugnacious company eases my heart. Will he remember my touch in the morning or put it down to too much drink?

I have him tucked under the blanket before he knows what is going on. He blinks at me in confusion from his warm cocoon. Curious, I touch the bristling blonde spikes. Not as pale as Charlemagne’s but just as soft and pleasant to my fingertips. He says nothing but his eyes widen as I lean down brush my lips against his forehead. “You did what you felt you had to, Harper. The only thing left to do is accept your deed and move on. Guilt is a useless emotion. Now, go to sleep.”

I can feel his eyes on my back as I leave, turning the lights off behind me. I go to my own bed with the scent and texture of Harper in my mind. He pleases me very much. Perhaps…perhaps.

TBC


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