Keep Them Burning Ch. 3-5bytigerprawn©
Summary: Season 2 episode Home Fires rewritten from the point of view of the TUM universe. Gaheris Rhade gets to meet his descendant Telemachus, and then must chose between letting Telemachus take the blame for a crime he didnt commit or rebuilding the Commonwealth he helped to destory 300 years ago!
Pairing: G.Rhade/Beka Valentine HET
Spoilers: Only if you havent seen Home Fires (season 2) or The Unconquerable Man (season 3)
The ship seemed full of people from the planet making repairs, some over due, to many of the ships systems. Rakel had been very helpful Gaheris thought as they walked through the corridor with her trying to convince him to make a speech on Terazed backing the referendum, but he still wasn't too sure.
"I don't think your people would really care what I have to say? I'm nothing more than a stranger here." It sounded strange saying it with his descendants running around on the planet below, but it was still the truth in many ways.
"You're much more than that, captain. You're a legend. And, uh, if I may be so bold, an extremely charismatic and attractive individual. Who better to champion this referendum?"
Gaheris considered her words for a moment, she was trying to persuade him with flattery, a political manoeuvre, despite that it still made him grin. "Why do we even need to do this? I thought the outcome was assured." He was curious as to what her answer might be, hoping to get to the part where she would admit there were deeper issues here.
"The truth is, there's a strong isolationist movement on Terazed. We have a good life here and some people don't want to send their sons and daughters away to die in your war."
Gaheris huffed and raised an eyebrow at the stupidity of her statement and more so of the isolationists, they would achieve nothing but death. "Well, then the war will come to them."
"Then you have to tell them that, Gaheris. Because right now the election is too close to call and I could use your help." Gaheris still wasn't convinced. He wanted to rebuild the Commonwealth but every step seemed to hold new challenges that were starting to bother him, the stupidity of so many people resisting... these isolationists were just the same as so many others... he was almost getting sick of trying to help people now, when there were so many that refused to be helped, to learn from the mistakes of the past. But he wasn't sick enough of it yet.
Gaheris made his speech with no small amount of passion. It felt like his last chance on Terazed, the planet would be an important asset to the Commonwealth, if the outcome was good. If not it was just another planet waiting for the Magog, there seemed so many of them now. After his speech was over he headed from the room, the applause behind him didn't make the situation feel any less desperate. He was getting tired of failing, his personal quest was becoming just that; personal.
"Nicely done, Captain. Your speech was very impressive." Gaheris looked over at Admiral Rhade, still a little put off by his mirror image he tried a formally pleasant smile.
"Thank you. But I am a soldier not a politician." Gaheris stated. Seeing his smile returned was unsettling, a man with his face, his body, his genes... his smile. They continued to make their way to the lounge.
"Don't underestimate your powers as a leader." Telemachus smiled, pausing slightly to add "Do you have a moment?"
Gaheris was still side-tracked by the situation, his genetic reincarnation. The memory of his friendship and betrayal of Captain Hunt flashed into his mind. He was a leader because he betrayed and killed his best friend. His Nietzschean mentality allowed for it, but seeing the devastation his actions caused, the future he helped create, the regret went far beyond Dylan Hunt. And now here was a man just like him... would he betray as inconsiderately of consequence?
"Captain. I asked if you wanted a drink."
"I suspect you wanted to ask more than that." There was definitely something hidden about this man, information he wanted but for some reason was hesitant in asking.
Telemachus looked at Gaheris for a moment, there were things he wanted to know about the past, about the events that had lead to the founding of the Terazed civilisations and Gaheris' role in them. He cleared his throat and raised an eyebrow a little as he began. "Here on Terazed, you are something of a hero - a loyal Commonwealth officer, only survivor of that first terrible battle... But the Nietzscheans tell a different story. That you betrayed the Commonwealth. That you were a spy who served a key role in the Nietzschean rebellion."
Gaheris gritted his teeth. His own judgment was bad enough, without the judgement of others as well, entitled to it as they might be. Gaheris looked coldly into the Admiral's eyes.
"I acted as any Nietzschean would have. I tried to warn him, Hunt I mean. No matter what you may think of me, I tried to warn him about the rebellion, and by the time he listened, it was too late." Gaheris spat the words angrily, angry at himself for not seeing the consequences before acting, angry at Dylan for not understanding until there was no turning back. He looked back to Telemachus who was nodding slightly.
"Yes, as any Nietzschean would." He considered the words, a little too long for Gaheris' comfort, then smiled a little. "So you were a hero after all." For a moment Gaheris couldn't tell whether or not Telemachus was being sarcastic but then the man bowed his head a little in reverence. "As part of your lineage... that means a lot to me. Thank you. I just wish we weren't on opposite sides."
Though he had not expected such a reaction, Gaheris found little comfort in his words, being considered a hero by his people was something that no longer held so much honour for him. His actions so seemingly right at the time were marred by the aftermath – that stopped him from being a hero. As Telemachus finished speaking Gaheris frowned, not sure he quite understood the man's meaning, or perhaps a little afraid that he did.
"Opposite sides of what?" He asked, though not sure he wanted the clarification, he could feel the sense of foreboding in the air.
"I thought you knew. I'm opposed to the Commonwealth referendum." Gaheris drew in a deep breath at the Admiral's words. Maybe it wasn't quite what he had expected, but surely this was the betrayal by Rhade that came with the repeating of history. The rest of the conversation passed in a blur. Gaheris using his same old arguments, the Magog threat that he was leaving his people open to, something he was getting a little tired of having to explain to people.
"We're still here after three hundred years. Because we haven't let the chaos out there touch us. Because no one knows we exist. You have powerful enemies, Captain."
"So do you, Admiral. The Magog are coming. You can't deny them out of existence." Gaheris raised his voice, unable to keep back the anger behind his usual calm, to accept the stupidity he saw before him and call it Rhade. He had been worried about being betrayed, but really he should have worried that his lineage was corrupt. Betraying him would have been Nietzschean, unfortunate but almost acceptable... this stupidity left him cold.
"No, but I can keep us out of their crosshairs. I'm sorry. It's my duty to protect
Terazed and I'm not going to let anyone compromise that." Telemachus kept his voice calm, adding those few words before he left the room. Gaheris stood, taking a moment to consider. Rhade was a fool, he could not see that the best way to protect Terazed, his family, his Pride, was to join the Commonwealth and fight the Magog threat before it even reached the planet. Gaheris placed a hand to his head, a pain had begun behind his eyes. This whole encounter at Terazed was taking its toll. A moment of reckoning he felt. A very long drawn out moment with as much indescribable pain and anger that could possibly be fit in.
Gaheris sat in his quarters, his head in his hands as the music played softly. He tried to find some answers in his mind, but clouds of questioning were thrown up instead.
"Gaheris open the door." He heard Beka's voice over the speakers, unaware she had been knocking at his door, he silenced the music and let the doors open. She came in and greeted him with a smile, handing him a flexi.
"I've been talking to Rommie... they have huge armament stockpiles, dozens of shrike fighters just sitting in hangars. Janus light attack drones, Oracles, Centaurs... Rommie is hoping for a new crew." Beka took a seat opposite Gaheris and frowned. "Please... tell me what it is... Rhade again?"
Gaheris looked at her sharply and then away again, giving a slight nod before getting to his feet and walking to the window. "He is the leader of the isolationists."
"What!" Beka didn't get to her feet but she turned to look at the man, his back to her. "But..." She shrugged and sighed a little in confusion. "I thought the Nietzscheans would be all for getting at the Magog... I mean, isn't that what it was all about..." Beka stopped herself, thumping her hand on to her knee silently, now was not the best time to point out that the reason the Nietzscheans wanted to bring down the Commonwealth was because of the treaty with the Magog. "uh... I just guessed they would want to be part of the fight." They hadn't had much luck with any Nietzscheans yet, but then that was mostly down to Gaheris truth be told... but Terazed was different it was Commonwealth in many respects... not just some random Pride picking off the bones of its neighbours. These were Nietzscheans living alongside Human and Than... and whoever else... they really were Commonwealth. And they didn't want to take the fight to the Magog, they wanted to hide as best they could. She shook her head.
"I'm sorry Gaheris, this must be hard for you." She had hesitated to say it even knowing it was the truth. They weren't just Commonwealth, they weren't just Nietzschean, they were his people. His lineage. He turned back to her, covering the distance between them in a few easy strides and crouching down beside her.
"You make it easier." He told her quietly. Beka smiled, moving over and pulling him onto the couch beside her. He sat back in the seat, exhausted and let the woman slip into his arms. "I want you here... always." He hadn't meant to say it out loud. She didn't answer, but ran a hand under his tunic, holding it against his warm chest. He sighed and closed his eyes. Beka frowned at his words, seeking to reassure him without having to speak. This trip was becoming hard on him, she wanted to be there for him. In fact she didn't realise quite how much until she had talked to Rev, and he had mentioned how the Nietzscheans here were the closest they would get to those that Gaheris missed. Not this new generation of fools like Tyr, as Gaheris had once said himself. Part of her was scared of losing him to them, that he might find a more suitable woman and she would no longer be necessary, it was only just occurring to her that that was something she didn't want to happen. In some ways she was thankful for Telemachus Rhade, as long as he continued to disappoint Gaheris' expectations he would not want to seek out the Nietzscheans of Terazed and recover his old Pride. She moved her hand further up his chest, pressing into him, wanting him close.
"I'm here now... that counts right?" She smiled. He ran a hand through her hair. After a moments peace, his fingers still threaded in her hair, Gaheris started to pull his other hand up her thigh when Rommie's holo-image flickered into life in front of them, reminding Gaheris of the need to make privacy mode automatic anytime Beka entered his quarters.
"What is it?" He asked, sitting forward, forcing Beka to sit also.
"The election results just came in.... Rhade, they voted against your restored Commonwealth. We lost." Gaheris felt suddenly aware that the two women were looking at him. Waiting for his reaction. He shook his head and sneered a little.
"That's just great." He got out, the anger evident in his voice.
4) Rhade's betrayal
"Gaheris please, just..." She had wanted to say calm down, but in many ways he actually was calm, maybe it was just that she knew him so well she could see it all bubbling below the surface. It had been ten minutes since the results were announced and he had just spent the last eight barking orders at Rommie to get the ship prepped to leave. Now that the ship's holo-image had disappeared Beka placed a hand on Gaheris' shoulder.
"I know it's a set back... Terazed would have been..." She could tell he was only half listening to her and she couldn't blame him, there was nothing she could say that would change what happened. The one planet that already had what it was they were all striving to achieve would not be part of their efforts, though she suspected that what hurt most of all was that the person who held a lot of the responsibility for that in his eyes was Telemachus Rhade. Gaheris wheeled on her, looking her sharply in the eyes.
"He betrayed me Beka." He let his shoulders drop a little as he sighed and walked into Beka, resting his forehead down onto her shoulder. "I'm just starting to get sick of trying... And now Nietzscheans... always Nietzscheans." He spoke the words in a low, whispered growl. He knew it was only a matter of time before things came to blows between him and Tyr, who was obviously moving his plans on a pace now that the casket was aboard, though Gaheris was sure the man had no idea that he knew what was in there. Tyr wasn't a match for him, none of these *new* Nietzscheans were... but then he had hoped.... If in this whole universe Nietzscheans would live up to his expectations they would be on Terazed, a place still holding true to the Commonwealth ideals. But he knew better as soon as he saw a Rhade amongst them, and now it would seem he was playing true to new Nietzschean form.
Beka ran a hand up Gaheris' back, finishing up massaging the hair at the back of his neck, pulling her other arm around him. She didn't have anything to say that could possibly make the situation better.
"So we're just going to leave?" She asked, not as a criticism but to make sure it was really what he wanted to do. Gaheris straightened up and stepped back, setting his jaw and recovering his composure, leaning forward to place a gentle kiss on Beka's forehead, he took her hands in his as they dropped away from his shoulders.
"If they will not join us there is no point in staying, they are doomed, we are best not to go down with them." He stated it calmly, little energy left to show emotion. Beka frowned at him, such a Nietzschean statement, and even if she didn't totally agree, he was right. They would do no good in staying, they were better off seeking out new worlds to join the Commonwealth, build up something substantial against the Magog threat that Terazed was choosing to ignore. She gave a slight reassuring smile and nodded.
"Whatever you think best Captain."
Rakel exasperated him. She was a powerful woman but that didn't mean she could keep control. Right now all he wanted was her off the ship and the Andromeda under way. She was still trying to convince him to stay, even to talk to Rhade, but the situation was beyond saving – even so the pointlessly circular conversations had continued, her political colours shining through as she tried to persuade him that she could call for another election. But he had already decided, as soon as they were ready and all the Terazed technicians were off-ship, they would be underway.
Gaheris bounced the ball, slamming it as hard as he could into the deck each time. He had never really understood Dylan's love of the game, it wasn't as mentally challenging as Go, and he would rather spar than exert physical energy in such a game as basketball. Even so he found himself increasingly coming to the basketball court, such as it was, to work off his frustrations, many of which were tied to his past, his betrayal of his best friend. Maybe this was something he needed to work through, this and the hours he spent sitting at his Go table, thinking. Remembering during those quiet times what he had done.
He bounced the ball a couple more times, gritting his teeth as he remembered the times he had watched Dylan in here, the time he had come to talk about being his best-man.... With a grunt Gaheris jumped up with the ball as he had seen Dylan do many a time, but he misjudged the jump and the ball struck the rim, sending a flash of pain down into his wrist. Yelling angrily he found his feet again as the ball dropped to the floor and rolled away.
"I didn't realise this "basketball" was so violent. Perhaps there is a more productive way to express your disappointment." Rev said as he entered almost unnoticed. Gaheris turned and looked at the Magog before retrieving the ball and rolling it over in his hands.
"You think I should talk to Admiral Rhade." It wasn't a question, and Gaheris found it almost too difficult to acknowledge. He looked back to Rev again. "I came here to think, not to be counselled.... I'm not going to talk to him!" He added the last as he caught Rev's look, wanting to cut him off before he began to reason with him, though he was sure that no matter what he said he would hear Rev's opinion anyway. Rev nodded thoughtfully, steepling his fingers as he considered Gaheris with an unwavering look.
"Why? ... Because you betrayed your captain?" Rev looked candidly at Gaheris. He wanted to draw a reaction from the man instead of allowing him to internalise things as he always seemed to. He wasn't stupid, in fact it seemed obvious to the entire crew that much of Gaheris' reaction to the Terazed situation was tied up in his encounter with his descendant. Perhaps, Rev reasoned, it was a reaction to the Terazed Nietzscheans as well, given Gaheris' past behaviour. Gaheris seemed to have convinced himself that these *new* Nietzscheans like Tyr had squandered the opportunity given them. On Terazed the Nietzscheans weren't part of this, they were remnants of the old Commonwealth in many ways and Rev thought Gaheris might even be intimidated by it. By being judged by them perhaps, and if there was anyway past this, not just Gaheris' personal issues but the issue of Terazed and the Commonwealth, it was through talking to Telemachus Rhade.
Gaheris starred coldly at Rev, his words biting at him. He had betrayed Dylan, and he knew, had even told Beka, that he didn't trust Telemachus because of their similarities, because of what he might do in the man's place. He frowned, the muscle in his jaw flexing.
"No Rev... I won't talk to him because he betrayed me. He's campaigning against the restored Commonwealth...." He knew Rev already had command of that fact, but he had to give his reasons, maybe Rev would see that he was taking it personally whether it was meant that way or not. The Magog nodded thoughtfully again, patiently looking at Gaheris.
"Perhaps... but maybe you should try to see things through his eyes." Rev ventured. Gaheris stifled a growl as his jaw clenched again, shooting Rev an angry look, sometimes the man's persistence annoyed him. That and his righteousness... his incessant babbling about The Way, he knew he meant well but sometimes it was too much for Gaheris to bear. Rev ignored Gaheris' reaction and continued.
"Telemachus Rhade was wounded twice defending Terazed against Kalderan raiders... one of those raids resulted in the deaths of thousands of people. The isolationists are not evil Gaheris, they are merely afraid."
Gaheris slammed the ball once more into the floor, allowing it to ricochet violently away from them and further across the room as he let the growl to surface this time, the skin around his boneblades tightened as his anger rose.