The Importance of being Nietzschean
In a place unknown by all but two men, was a woman, of unknown age, whose origins and true identity had been kept secret for as long as anyone could remember. The two men knew that her name, or so she had told them, was Trinity Gemini. Everyone else knew her as The Seer. As The Seer peered into a small bowl of water, the two men were standing in a corner, waiting for her to tell them something. While anyone else who looked into the bowl would only see clear, clean water, the woman was possibilities. She saw what was, what is and what may come to be. She could see what would happen based on the actions of others, namely, the two men whom she answered too. Her master, the leader of the two, was a man who wanted only one thing. Power. He wanted his people to rule the universe over all others, even over the other people of his race. He knew that a very powerful force would be coming soon; the Seer had already told him that. Now, they needed to know what to do about it. She had told him what would happen if this new power went unchallenged. It would end his people's, his pride's powerful rule forever. If this power was not stopped, everything would be lost. After a few moments, the woman looked up at the men in the corner. "I know how to stop it."
Chapter 1 Not So Reckless Abandon
<10063CY Links-Nich Drift. Night.>
Everything was dark. The only light was that coming out of windows of buildings inhabited by people who either couldn't or didn't sleep and from a few ships with cockpit light on. Everything was still. The only sound was the skittering of bugs, rats and mice. Very few people were awake at this time of night and even less were out. Those who were were dressed in dark clothes and moved noiselessly, darting from shadow to shadow and alley to alley. They were either thieves or drug dealers and users. All except one. There was a single woman that was quietly running, slightly hunched over as if protecting or hiding something of grate importance. The woman slowed as she approached her destination. Pausing at the airlock of the cargo ship, she glanced at the bundle in her arms. As she stared at her newborn daughter, silent, burning tears streaming down her face, she kissed the sleeping baby's tiny head. Glancing around nervously, she momentarily placed her on the ground, unstraped a small basket from her back, put it too on the ground and picked her baby back up. Quickly kissing her child, she placed the baby in the basket. On top of the infant she laid a flexie and banged hard on the door, waiting until she heard someone approaching from within to run into the nearest alley. She watched in silent pain as the door opened.
<Fifteen minutes earlier>
Inside the cargo ship Eureka Maru, the home of Thalia Valentine,
everything was as quiet and peaceful as outside. Everyone was asleep, except
Thalia. She couldn't sleep. She had tried everything she could think of.
Finally after an hour of lying in bed, she decided to get up and read in
the cockpit. As she slipped out of bed she leaded over and lightly kissed
her husband, Ignatius, whom everyone called Nate, telling him she would
return soon. She softly walked out of the room and closed the door. As she
was walking down the hall, she looked into the bedroom of her sleeping children,
five year old Rafael who had brown hair and blue eyes, like his father,
and three year old Rebecca who had blonde hair, like Thalia. She watched
them for a moment, making sure they were ok. As she was closing the door,
she heard the quiet voice of her small daughter calling out to her. She
moved into the room and knelt at her daughter's side.
"What is it Rebecca?" She asked quietly.
"I can't sleep." The girl answered.
"Why can't you sleep?"
"I had a bad dream."
For a moment, Thalia simply looked to her child's angelic face. She could tell that Rebecca was still scared by the look in her wide, innocent blue eyes.
"Would you like to come with my, get some hot chocolate and sit in the cockpit?" Rebecca may have been only three, but she had a total fascination with piloting, especially slipstreaming. She would often tell her parents, and especially her older brother, that she would one day be the best slip pilot ever. No one doubted her. Rebecca quickly nodded her head in response to her mother's question. Thalia picked her child up into her arm and headed toward the kitchen. Once in the kitchen, Thalia placed her book on the table and Rebecca in a chair.
"So, do you want Human chocolate, Nietzschean chocolate or Magog chocolate?" She asked as she got out a cup, the imitation milk, no one had real milk because no one had cows, water and chocolate powder. She already knew which 'chocolate' Rebecca would choose.
"Human chocolate, mommy!" The girl said bouncing in her chair.
"OK, OK, Human it is." Her mother said with a smile. There really wasn't a difference between Human, Nietzschean and Magog chocolate, it was all the same chocolate powder, the difference was how much powder was put in to milk. The Human was really chocolaty, Nietzschean had very little powder and Magog had none in it at all. The point of the names, besides being funny, was to reinforce what the children had been taught about the respective races. Human's were, well human and therefore good in the Valentine children's eye's. Nietzschean's hated human's, were interested in only their personal survival, and were not to be trusted. Magog were just evil. Because of this Rafael and Rebecca always wanted Human chocolate. After Thalia mixed the chocolate, milk substitute and water in two cups, she placed them in the Heater and sat down across from her daughter at the table.
"So, are you going to tell me about your dream?" She asked Rebecca.
Before Rebecca answered her mother, she got off her chair and went and sat in her mother lap, resting her head on Thalia's chest.
"It was scary." She said quietly.
"I was in a ship."
"Was it the Maru?"
"No, it was weird."
"It was, umm, kinda, prettier. Everything was smooth and it was really big. And there was the man. He was Nietzschean, I think. He had those strange pointy things on his arms that you said all Nietzscheans have. His skin was dark, brown. He was dressed funny. And there was a lady, she looked like you, but different. She was laughing. And the man was smiling, talking to the woman. And….." Rebecca was interrupted when the Heater started beeping, signaling that the hot chocolate was ready. She got off her mother's lap and went back to her original chair. Thalia got the chocolate and gave Rebecca her cup. As they slowly drank their drinks, Rebecca explained how in her dream the woman had shaken her head and suddenly her hair changed from blonde and short, to brown and long. She also explained how a Magog, who was dressed funny, had walked into the room and neither the man nor woman had seemed scared of it. Thalia was about to ask Rebecca if she was sure that it was a Magog when there was a loud pounding on the main hatch door. She quickly told Rebecca to go back to her room and lock the door and to 'not open it for any reason until either mommy or daddy says so.' Rebecca did as she was told. Thalia quickly grabbed a Gauss gun and ran to the door, hoping that the knocking hadn't woken anyone else. She flipped on the outer hatch lights, looked out the view port in the door and seeing no one, and cautiously opened the door. She quickly looked to both sides of the door. Then she looked down and saw a basket.
"Oh goddess!" She gasped. The basket wasn't really what surprised her; it was what was in the basket that was shocking. She saw the flexie on top and picked it up. She quickly read the message. She put the flexie back in the basket and picked the whole thing up, closed and locked the hatch, turned off the lights and went back to the kitchen. She placed the basket on the table, went and unlocked the door to the children's room, made sure that Rebecca was back in bed sleeping, which she was, and went and woke up her husband.
The young mother watched as the hatch lights were turned on,
the door opened and a woman looked out, searching for whoever had knocked.
The woman then looked down, picked up the flexie, read it, picked up the
basket and went back inside. The young mother breathed a small sigh of relief,
knowing that her child would be safe, taken care of and loved. She hoped.
As she turned away and made her way back to the apartment she had rented
for the duration of her pregnancy, she thought about how she could finally
go home to her family. She knew she didn't have a choice, but that didn't
help the grief she was feeling.
Ignatius Valentine sat at the small table in the kitchen of his cargo ship, looking at the small baby girl in his wife's arms. The baby had woken up and started crying softly about one minute after Thalia had woken Nate up and dragged him into the kitchen. While Thalia had gone searching in the boxes of old baby stuff they still had from when their children were infant's, Nate had walked around the kitchen, gently rocking the child, trying to calm her. When Thalia returned with several bottles, she quickly made a mixture of water and milk substitute and fed the crying baby. The infant had drunk most of the milk and then fallen asleep. Now, Thalia was holding the once again sleeping baby.
"What was on the flexie?" Nate asked his wife.
"A message from her mother. You should read it. There is also a video message." She answered.
Nate picked up the flexie and accessed the message. This is what appeared on the screen.
' "To the inhabitants of the Eureka Maru: I know you
have young children and I know that you love them. I have observed you.
Please take care of my daughter. This is the only way I can ensure her survival.
I love her very much, but am unable to care for her. Please, I beg you;
love her as your own. She has had all the required shots for a Nietzschean.
She is healthy and strong. She is exactly two weeks old today. Please make
sure that she knows I love her and always will. Attached is a video message
I have made for her for when she is older. You are of course welcome to
view it. In it is an explanation of why I am unable to keep her. I have
named her Shalimar Aurora. Shalimar was my mother's name. She would have
accepted my daughter even if no one else in my pride would have. In the
Nietzschean language, Aurora means beloved child. Her last name is the same
as mine. If you wish, you may name her anything. In the bottom of the basket
is a credit chit for 200,000 throngs. I know this is not enough to raise
a child on, but it is all I have. I thank you in advance for everything.
Nate sat in stunned silence. For a moment he couldn't process
what he had just read. Then he spoke up.
"A Nietzschean woman wants two humans to raise her child. This is crazy! We can't raise a Nietzschean."
"Why not?" Thalia asked.
Nate looked at his wife like she was insane. "Why not? Because she is a Nietzschean Thalia! Do you get that? Nietzscheans hate us, that's why not." He stated.
"She is just a baby Ignatius. If we raise her, she won't know any different. She needs us. We are not going to abandon a helpless baby. I won't stand for it." Thalia stated. Nate knew she was dead serious because she only called him Ignatius when she wasn't going to back down, when she was mad or scared, or when they had the ship to themselves.
"Her mother abandoned her." He tried to argue. She quickly shot him down.
"No, her mother ensured that she would be taken care of. Nietzscheans value their children about all else Nate, even their personal survival. If she left the child in our care, then she obviously trusts us."
"Fine, we will tell the children they have a new sister in the morning." Nate finally agreed.
"Do you want to change her name, because I personally like it." Thalia said.
"No, we will only change her last name. If she is going to be raised by Valentine's, she will be a Valentine."
"I guess we can't call it Neitzschean chocolate any more, can we?" Thalia asked.
"No. No we can't" Nate answered, looking at the beautiful, sleeping infant in this wife's arms. His new daughter. His new Neitzschean daughter. The one he already loved as his own.
Chapter 2 Parent and Child
Andromeda Ascendant, Command Deck, 10089, Monday 6pm
"My mother?" Shalimar asked in disbelief. Shalimar,
whose full name was Shalimar Aurora Valentine, was a twenty-six year old
Nietzschean with long, curly dark red hair, emerald green eyes and stood
a whole five foot three inches tall. She was the adopted sister of Beka
Valentine and second engineer of the Andromeda. She may have been short
for a Nietzschean, but she was beautiful. She was standing in front of the
pilot station, glaring up at Dylan Hunt and Beka. They were both looking
at her calmly.
"What do you mean 'we just received a message from a woman claiming to be your mother? You mean the one who ABANDONED ME?!" She practically shrieked.
"Girl, I highly suggest you calm down on your own or I will do it for you." Tyr Anasazi stated in a bored sounding voice. He was standing at the weapons consol. Trance and Rommie were standing off to the side of command, trying to not get in Shalimar's way. Harper was only the Devine knew where. When Andromeda had first received the message, she had told Harper to get his butt to command as quickly as possible, knowing that he would want to be present for anything that involved Shalimar. They loved each other like brother and sister and were always there for each other, as was Beka.
"Don't you dare try to 'Girl' me, Anasazi. I am not a child to be ordered around by someone like you." Shal yelled, glaring at him and taking a step in his direction. Tyr saw her step toward him, basically challenging him to do something. Beka quickly stepped down from where she was and moved in front of her sister, placing her hands calmly on Shal's shoulder's and blocking her view of Tyr.
"Shal, chill, please. Look, I know you hate your birth parents for what they did, but don't take it out on Tyr. As much as I would love to see you kick his annoying Uber ass, we have more important things to worry about." Beka said softly, but not softly enough that Tyr, with his superior Nietzschean hearing, didn't hear. He let out a low growl. Everyone just ignored him. If Shalimar had been any other Nietzschean, she would have also growled at Beka for using the term Uber, but she wasn't any other Nietzschean. In fact, she hated Nietzscheans. She hated the fact that she was a Nietzschean. She hated the bone blades on her forearms, but she recognized that they made a very handy weapon and she often used them while fighting. She may not like being what she was, but that didn't stop her from using what was given to her, like her advanced sense of hearing, sight and smell. She could walk completely noiselessly if she wanted to. She could see much better then Beka, she could identify people and things simply by sniffing the air around her and she could hear almost everything. She could hear when someone's heart started beating fast. She could smell fear, and many other things, she knew when someone was lying and she could smell when she was affecting a man.
"Fine, whatever. Captain, can you play the message?" Shal asked.
"Sure. Andromeda?" Dylan answered. No one, except Rommie and Trance noticed Harper as he walked onto command and went and stood next to his Purple Pixie and RomDoll.
Andromeda appeared on the main view screen. "Playing Message."
"This message is for the Nietzschean female currently serving on board the Andromeda Ascendant. Please identify." A very computerized voice said.
"This is Shalimar Aurora Valentine. Play message." Shal said. The image of a very attractive Nietzschean female appeared in the main view screen. For a moment, she didn't do anything. Then she started to speak.
"My name is Natalea Kasadi out of Marissa by Serge. I am attempting to contact my daughter. Her birth name was Shalimar Aurora Kasadi. Many years ago when she was just a newborn, I was forced to give her up. I left her in the care of the occupants of a small cargo ship, the Eureka Maru. Since that time, the situation that led to my inability to keep Shalimar has been resolved. For several months, I have been searching for any hint as to what has become of the Eureka Maru. That search has led me to the Andromeda. I have heard that the former crew of the Eureka Maru now serves on the Andromeda and that Shalimar is part of the crew. Shalimar, if that is still your name, please, my daughter, contact me. I have missed you so much. I know you must be angry with me for leaving you, but, my dear child, I had no choice. If I had kept you, you would have been killed, as I explained in the message I left for you when you were a baby. Please contact me."
The message ended and everyone stood in silence, waiting to see how Shal would react. She must be in utter shock. They were all in shock. Slowly every eye in command turned to look at Shalimar. Beka was the first one to say anything.
"Isn't Kasadi a Drago-Kazov name?"
Both Tyr and Harper answered at the same time. "Yes." They looked at each other, both knowing exactly how the other knew this. Harper knew because of his time spent on Earth and Tyr knew because the Drago-Kazov Pride was responsible for the destruction of his entire pride, the Kodiak.
Shalimar turned to her sister and instead of commenting on the fact that her mother was a Drago-Kazov, she simply said three words.
"Beka, what message?"
Chapter 3 Message? What Message?
Now it was Beka's turn to have all eyes on her. She didn't like it.
"I'm not sure. I don't remember our parent's ever talking about a message. Besides the one that told them how old you were when we got you and that told us your name, I don't remember a message." Beka said.
"What do you remember Beka?" Dylan asked. Beka was quickly becoming very uncomfortable.
"Well, not much. I was only three. Rafe was five. If I knew where he was, I could ask him. I do remember being in the kitchen with my mom when someone started knocking on the main hatch, well banging is more like it. Our mom told me to go back to Rafe's and my room and telling me to lock the door and not come out till her or dad came to get me. So, I did what she said. I guess I fell asleep because the next thing I remember is waking up to crying," Beka pause and turned to her sister, "Man where you a loud screamer as a baby." Dylan, Rommie and Trance smiled. Tyr smirked, he was glad to finally be finding something out about the Nietzschean girl. Harper grinned really big.
"So, do you still cry out loudly?" He asked, being his predictable self. His question was greeted with "shut up Harper" from Dylan, Beka, Trance and Rommie. Tyr actually wanted to know the answer to that question, what he didn't want was for Harper to find out. He wanted to know for himself. Shalimar glared at Harper.
"Harper, I can't begin to tell you how wrong that is and on SOOO many levels." Shal said. What no one besides Beka and Rev knew was that at one point Harper and Shalimar had been together. What Tyr didn't want Harper to know, Harper knew. He knew exactly how loudly Shalimar could cry out. Shal and Harper had been together for seven months. They had eventually realized that while they loved each other and loved being together, their love was turning platonic. Eventually that love turned into the sibling relationship they now had. Even thought Harper still made flirtatious comments to Shalimar, he considered her his little sister, he was a year older then she was, and he was very protective.
"Anyways," Beka said, "I got up and went to find out what was wrong. I found my parent's in the kitchen. When I asked them where the baby came from, Harper don't you DARE say anything cause yes, I know where babies come from, they said that the baby was given to them from whatever gods existed, just like Rafe and I had been given to them, and that her name was Shalimar and she was my new little sister. It wasn't until I was older and asked why my sister looked different from me, yea know the bone blades, that I found out that her birth mother had left her for us to take care of and that she had left us a message on a flexie telling us how old Shal was and what her name was. That's all I know Shal. The flexie might still be in one of the boxes of mom and dad's stuff, we could look for it if you want. Try to see what your birth mother said." Beka finished.
"Why do you keep calling Shalimar's real mother her birth mom?" Trance asked.
"Cause Trance, I was raised as their little sister and they as my older brother and sister. It didn't matter that we weren't related by blood. All that mattered was that Rafe, Beka and I loved and took care of each other." Shalimar said. For a moment everyone was quite.
"So, do you want to contact your birth mother?" Rommie asked.
"No. I really have no desire to meet her. I don't care what her reason's were. She left me. She no longer has the right to call me her 'dear child.' She gave that right up years ago. Besides, I have a sister and two brothers. Who else do I need?" Shal asked.
"Two brothers?" Tyr asked. Shalimar turned and looked him straight in the eye. During the whole thing, she had felt his staring at her. The others probably had not noticed, but she had.
"Yes Tyr. I have two brothers."
"We know Rafe, who is the other?" Trance asked.
"Harper is. He is as much my brother as Rafe is."
"By law?" Tyr asked, though he highly doubted the answer would be yes. Harper slowly walked over to Beka and Shal and Shal unconsciously put her arm around his shoulders. She was very protective of Harper, more so in many ways then Beka, probably because they were closer in age.
"No Tyr. Legally Harper is not our brother, but to Shalimar and me, it really doesn't matter." Beka said. She looked Tyr straight in the eye. The look in her eyes basically said 'They are mine. You WILL stay away.' If Tyr hadn't known better, he would have sworn that Beka was a Nietzschean woman protecting her young. The love he saw in her eyes was that of an older sister bordering on motherly. Tyr knew that Beka was feeling threatened by the sudden appearance of Shalimar's birth mother and there for took her warning for what it was: a warning that said if you touch them I will kill you. He acknowledged her authority with his eyes and a small nod of his head. Beka saw the compliance in his eyes and turned away. No one had noticed the silent communication between the two. Beka turned back to Dylan.
"So, Dylan, can we hold off on a reply and see if Shal and I can find the flexie?" She asked.
"Sure. You two take all the time you need. Let me know what you find, if you don't mind telling me. I will understand if you do. Shalimar, you do what you want to do concerning your Nietzschean family. It is up to you."
"Thank you captain. Is there anyway to find out more about them with out talking to them? I really don't want to talk to them."
"Sure, let my see what I can find for you." He told her. Shalimar and Beka left to go search the Maru.
"Trance, unless you have something else you need to do, I need you to help me."
"Ok." Trance said enthusiastically.
"Good. Harper, what were you going to be doing today?" Dylan asked the young engineer.
"I was going to be working on the sensor's boss. The fight with the Nightsider's really did a number on them."
"Andromeda, anything we need to do?" Dylan asked his ships AI. Andromeda, who had come back onto the main screen after the message was done playing, responded.
"No sir. Nothing I can think of. Rommie?" She asked her Avatar self.
"No, nothing." She responded.
"No." Tyr said dryly. In truth he wanted to talk to Shalimar, though he doubted that would happen. He also wanted to go work out to try and clear his mind. The girl was really starting to get to him, even if she didn't mean to and even though he wouldn't admit it.
"Ok, Rommie, you have command. Andromeda, keep as alert as you can with your sensor's in the shape they are in. Harper, tell me as soon as they are repaired. Tyr, go help Beka and Shalimar, if that is ok with them. You have command in four hours. If they don't want help, then do whatever, but be here in four hours." Tyr nodded.
Dylan walked toward his office with Trance, Rommie moved behind the main command consol, Harper headed to the machine shop and Tyr went to the Maru.
....to be continued