Harper doesn't want to like Telemachus Rhade. He's spent his life being screwed over by Niets. It took him a year and a shared Magog infestation to trust Tyr, and look where that got him. He plays nice with the new guy though, in that 'don't piss off the Uber, he can snap you in half' way. Cracking jokes and acting harmless, and generally making quite sure that Rhade sees him as just a beta-male kludge, and no threat.

Only... Rhade is so damned likeable. He laughs at Harper's jokes, banters with him, looks him in the eye and says 'thank you' when Harper helps him out. It's making Harper twitchy.

Harper finally gets it, when he sees Rhade sucking up to Dylan. It's a masterful performance, and he doesn't blame Dylan for falling for it. His suspicions are confirmed when Rhade flirts with Beka, in that vaguely sleazy con-man way that always seems to get Beka rolling over. Harper feels both better and worse, knowing that Rhade is probably using information from their Commonwealth psych profiles to make the Andromeda's crew like him.

Better because now he can go back to hating every Nietzschean ever born. Worse because he was suckered by another damn Uber, and part of him wanted it to be real. Part of him wanted to be noticed and appreciated for the everyday stuff, and not just when he pulls off an engineering miracle.

"I was raised around unmodified humans, you know."

"Huh?" Harper manages not to flinch. He hadn't heard Rhade arrive.

"It's why I'm comfortable here. The human and Nietzschean populations on Terazed are fairly well integrated. One of my father's wives was human."

"Yeah, well. I was raised around Nietzscheans. Earth doesn't have much of an Uber population, but they have all the guns, so that evens things out." Oh yes, he knows Nietzscheans well. He knows they always have an ulterior motive, a hidden agenda. Rhade is here for some purpose of his own, and Harper hates waiting for the other shoe to drop.

"I'm not like them." Rhade stands just slightly too close.

"You're smarter."

Rhade leans closer and puts one hand on Harper's shoulder. "And I don't have any Nietzschean prejudices about... friendships with non Nietzscheans."

"Oh." Harper leans into Rhade's kiss, enjoying it for a moment before pulling away. "Sorry."

"For what?" Rhade looks confused for a moment until he sees a tiny device in Harper's hand.

Harper sighs and steps back. "It's designed to send the power converters in Nietzschean nanbots into overdrive. After a few minutes they burn up, and rupture all the cells in a five-millimetre radius. Doesn't sound like much, but considering how many of those thing you guys have..."

"Are you going to activate it?"

Harper steps further away from Rhade. "I already did."

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