The long and winding Road
DISCLAIMER: I don't own any portion of Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda. I just like to bring some of these characters out to visit my playground and promise to put them back when we've finished our game. No money has been made as a result of this fan's creation.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: There is little canonical information regarding the past of Telemachus Rhade. If you find inconsistencies, and have a canonical source to which you can refer me, please do it so that I might refine this work and bring it a little closer into alignment with “Andromedaverse.”
REVIEWS/FEEDBACK: Yes, please!
With a luxurious stretch, Stasia lay silent and still, surveying her surroundings. She glanced at the bioscanner and was pleased with the display; most of her injuries were nearly repaired, and the more serious ones would be a faint memory in a few days. She smiled as her gaze fell over the sleeping form propped against a bulkhead.
He was disheveled and unkempt; his hair was longer than she’d ever seen it, and she wondered when last he’d considered—and abandoned—the idea of shaving. His attire was absolutely beneath any standard he would have considered acceptable even under an extended combat situation. Even so, he was still the most impressive thing she’d ever laid eyes on.
“Telemachus,” she whispered, the sound barely
traveling from her lips.
He murmured her name in his sleep and shifted restlessly, lost in some dream.
“Telemachus,” she whispered in a louder voice.
He kicked the blanket off.
“Telemachus Rhade,” she repeated in a normal speaking voice. “Wake up.”
His eyes snapped open. He wiped at his face with one hand and shoved hair out of his eyes with the other. An expression of confused amazement washed over his face. He scrambled to her side, a bright smile flashing in the low light.
He ran his fingers through her hair as he bent to kiss her forehead. He leaned on an elbow and gazed into her eyes. “I was afraid that you were just another happy dream,” he whispered.
She laughed, lacing her fingers with his. “Do I always look this pitiful in your dreams?” she asked ruefully. “I’ve never looked so hideous!”
“You’re beautiful,” he assured her, kissing her lightly on the lips.
“You tell the sweetest lies,” she laughed.
Without warning, the lighting level increased and the doors hissed open. Trance beamed brightly as she stepped in. “Good morning.”
She picked up a scanner and examined the results momentarily, then nodded. “You’ve made excellent progress in the last six hours. Your scans are simply lovely. In a day or two, you’ll be good as new. How are you feeling?”
“Hungry,” Stasia announced. “Very hungry.”
“Well, that’s always a good sign,” Trance said. “I’ll go prepare a tray and bring it to you. Any food allergies I should know about?” she asked, and then laughed abruptly. “What am I saying? You’re a Nietzschean, of course you don’t have any allergies.” With a giggle, she left on a quest toward the nearer of the two officer’s mess areas to get some food.
“Please, tell me she was purple when the Andromeda came to Terazed, or I’ve got something terribly wrong with my long-term recall factors!” Stasia hissed after the doors slid closed.
Telemachus smiled and nodded. “She was purple,” he affirmed. “It’s difficult to explain, but this isn’t precisely the same Trance Gemini that visited our home world. She, ah, exchanged places with herself from a different time stream.”
Stasia shrugged. “That makes as much sense as anything else I’ve seen and heard lately. I don’t think I want to try right now to wrap my mind around the equations necessary to traverse time streams, although it is an intriguing concept.”
Telemachus pulled a stool over to the side of her bed and rested his elbows on his knees, watching her expectantly.
Trance returned with the promised tray of food. Dylan trailed
in her wake.
“I’m glad to see that you’re looking much improved,” he commented pleasantly.
“I am much improved, thank you.”
“I hope you’ll forgive me, and I’m sorry to have to do this, but I need to borrow Rhade for a while,” he ventured.
“That’s hardly behavior becoming to an officer or a gentleman,” she said, crossing her arms. “I just got him back and you’re taking him away?”
“Whatever it is, it can wait,” Telemachus announced flatly. “I’ve waited a long time for this reunion; I’m not going anywhere.”
“Harper promises that it’s really important,” Dylan explained. “He might have a solution for our…problem. Well be gone a day, two at the most.”
With a growl, Telemachus stood. The hope of leaving this nightmare behind, and taking Stasia with him, was an enticing notion. “Not a minute longer,” he warned. Reluctantly, he looked down into Stasia’s confused and disappointed face. “I swear you’ll be safe here. Beka and Trance will be here, too. I’ll be back before you have time to miss me.”
“Don’t make promises you may not be able to keep, Telemachus Rhade,” she cautioned.
Kissing her quickly, he left hastily lest he change his mind about Dylan’s proposed mission.
“This had better be really good,” he huffed at Dylan as they headed down the corridor toward hangar number two.
“Harper has something important for us to see down on Seefra-1. He says he thinks it may be the answer we’re looking for.”
“And what, exactly, is it that we are going to see?”
“Well, he was a little cryptic about that, but he was too excited to explain it anyway. If it turns out to be a solution to getting us out of this place, you’ll have all the time in the future to spend with your lady.”
Telemachus frowned as he and Dylan strapped into the seats in the drop pod. “Since we got trapped in this hell-hole, I don’t even think about the future. I don’t think about the next month, the next week, or the next day. All I care about is the minute I’m in, and right now, I’m with you instead of Stasia. It’s an incredibly unsatisfying trade-off, I might add.”
Dylan snorted as they cleared the hangar bay. “I understand. It’s because she’s prettier than I am, isn’t it?”
Telemachus gritted his teeth and monitored their progress on the console at the co-pilot’s station. “I want to know how she got here.”
“You’re not the only one, Rhade, and we’ll get those answers. There have been lots of newcomers to Seefra since we got here, but never one from our own universe and timeline. Who knows, maybe her answers will even put us another step closer to getting free of this place. Whatever Harper’s got to show us, we’ll know in twenty minutes if it was worth the trip or not.”
Telemachus nodded absently, his mind wandering. His universe was in a tailspin. The woeful expression on her face was still irrevocably burned into his memory from their last unhappy parting.
Their final conversation played through his mind, unbidden and demanding, as it often did when he allowed himself to dwell on it. No matter how hard he rubbed at his throbbing forehead, the memory was relentless in its pain and devastation.
He stood alone in the quarters that had been assigned to him on Andromeda, an open communications channel connecting him to Stasia who was in their home on Terazed. Tears trailed down her cheeks and she smiled, touching her fingers to the view screen. “Thank the Divine!” she said, letting out a heavy sigh. “’Lemachus, I was so afraid for you! Everything is utter chaos right now. What’s happening?”
“I’m going to go with Captain Hunt, clear my name, and try to set right some things that have gone terribly wrong.”
“I’m going with you,” she said quickly.
“Out of the question!”
“This isn’t open for debate, mister,” she snapped. “What kind of husband are you going to be for me, running off like this?”
“I want to be the husband that you deserve, Stasia,” he implored. “I’m a fugitive now, and I can’t be your husband like this; you deserve so much more than to be the wife of a wanted man. I need to clear my name of these ridiculous charges of high treason, prove my worth to you, come home, and be your husband.”
“Be my husband now,” she countered. “You’re everything I want, everything I need. You’ve proven your worth a thousand times over, ’Lemachus! How can you even think that you have anything to prove to me? As for what anyone else thinks, it’s immaterial and irrelevant. I don’t care about status—we don’t have to build our lives around Terazed, we can start a family anywhere in the universe. Please, ‘Lemachus, don’t leave me behind! I’ll beg, if that’s what you want.”
He shook his head vehemently, wanting to have her in his arms to soothe away the great pain he saw radiating from her. “I don’t want to leave you behind, and I certainly don’t want you to beg. I want you to be safe and well, waiting for me to come back home to you.”
“How can I be safe and well if we aren’t together?”
He reached his hand toward the viewscreen, needing to touch her, feel the warmth of her skin next to his. “It will only be for a little while, my darling. I swear it. I’ll be back before you have time to miss me.”
She wiped disconsolately at her tears. “Too late. I miss you already. Telemachus Rhade, out of Brianna by Galahad, I have chosen you for my husband. You are mine; never forget that!”
He wiped at his own eyes. “Anastasia, my sweet Shadow, nothing in the power of darkness or light could ever cause me to forget that!” he swore earnestly.
“Slipstream in ten seconds!” announced a female voice over the shipwide communication system.
He saw the blind panic in her eyes. She’d heard the announcement, and the quality of the comm transmission was already starting to deteriorate. “I love you, and one day I will accept that proposal with great joy and cherish it for the honor and privilege that it is.”
“…love you!” she said as the transmission broke.
There was the sickening lurch and vague sense of disorientation as the ship entered the slipstream. Their journey had begun.
“…listening, Rhade?” Dylan’s voice asked, jarring him from his recollection.
“What?” Telemachus asked, annoyed at having let his attention stray.
“It’s not important,” Dylan said, shaking
his head. “Small talk,” he chuckled, landing the small craft.
“You obviously had more important things to think about. Let’s
go see what Mr. Harper has conjured up for us.”
...to be continued