Disclaimer: Andromeda, its characters and concept, rightfully to Gene Roddenberry, Tribune Entertainment, and Fireworks Presentations.  No infringement is intended on my part.

Author's Notes: This is after season 2's episode 12, "Ouroboros," so this fic will indefinitely spoil the most significant event of the show as well as a slight mention to the previous episodes "Bunker Hill," "Last Call at the Broken Hammer," "Fear and Loathing in the Milky Way," and "The Pearls that Were His Eyes".  On the SlipStreamBBS, there was a recent upset over the many changes in Ouroboros (or "The Big O" as some dubbed it) pertaining to Trance Gemini.  This little fic focuses on Harper's thoughts as he gets used to the new Trance, and it does contain some hints of shippiness.

False Idol

I was left alone in the plain old machine shop.  There was something really important that I was about to do and now I could do it in complete and utter-

Wait, not entirely.

"Ah... Andromeda, can you engage privacy mode, please?"

The beautiful, if transparent, hologram of my favourite AI, the Andromeda Ascendant, flickered to life before me.  Always with that stern look and no-nonsense attitude.  Feh, warships.

"Of course Harper.  Privacy mode engaged."

Then poof!  The beautiful vision was gone.

And I was left alone, truly alone, in the plain old machine shop.  There was something really important that I was about to do and now I could do it in complete and utter privacy.

I walked up to the tesseract machine, picking up one of my tools along the way, and circled it, trying to decide where to start pulling the damned thing apart.  Aw hell, I'm a genius!  Where to start dissecting and dismantling something you build by yourself should come automatically.

But then again, I didn't build it by myself.

I twirled the tool in my hand and look down at the machine with disdain, then got on my knees and started to tinker around.  Well, fine.  My skilled hands flew over every component and and subsystem with great speed and accuracy.

The work seemed more focused to me, an intense point where things automatically made sense, compared to the emotional jumble I felt inside.  God, I wish Rev were here.  He promised he'd be here.  I can probably just take a trip down the old river, De-Nial, and just talk as if he were here.

"Hey Rev, we have two names.  Seamus Zelazny Harper, or just Harper, mudfoot and self proclaimed freaking genius.  And then there's supreme technical overseer Hohne of the Sintii government, the Perseids, and probably all of the known worlds."  I cocked my head back and looked at he who was supposed to be watching me.  I just had to ask this big question.  The one that's haunted me for days.

"Now, given these two choices of people, if both of them were going to die, which would you save?"  A few tense moments passed, and no reply.  "Dammit!  Rev, if you were here, you'd sit patiently and let me come to my own conclusions."

Frustrated, I looked back at my work and replied in my usual smarmy way:

"Well you know what?  I have.  And I'll tell you who I'd choose.  Hohne, definitely Hohne.  And that's a very good decision too, did you know that?  Insignificant me compared to one of the greatest minds... in... like... ever!"

I still feel a pang of guilt over the choice that was made.  My life over his.

"Hohne is dead, Rekeeb returned to Sintii with news of a great chinhead's... okay, okay, Perseid's death.  And the government is pissed off at the Commonwealth!"

I stopped in mid-tinker and just ran a hand through my sweat soaked hair.  Getting on this topic made me think of Hohne's last few moments.

"I... I had him by the hand as he was hanging there.  I could have saved him and saved us all this trouble for the Commonwealth!"

I picked up that piece of equipment and threw myself into my work with even more energy.

Anger and bitterness crept into my voice.  "No Rev, don't tell me it was some plan of the Divine.  Just like it was some plan of the Divine for you to leave.  You left Rev, you broke your promise..."

Finished with my work, I got up and just walked around the scattered pieces.

Then, halfway through the circumference of the useless pile of metal and wires, I found something biological.

Still caught up in my anger, I brought a boot down on each of the six pale blue and gummy forms.  It almost seemed to squeal in defeat as it met its end, but that was the squishing sound as I ground the larvae underfoot.

"I'm not gonna miss any of you.  Not you Wormy, or you Crapface.  That's right, for the past few and torturous months, I gave you guys life, and now, I'm taking it from you.  Payback's a bitch, eh?  Goodbye little Magog babies!  Guess you won't be feeding off of daddy's innards, huh?"

I bent down and looked at the mess.  I should get one of the Maria bots to take care of it later.

Sighing in exhaustion, I sat down on the nearby couch and held my head in my hands.

Just like it was, I was left alone to wallow in the mess that, through none of my control and by circumstances greater than I, somehow stemmed as my fault or seemed to have screwed me over the most.  The universe truly does hate me.  Been there, got over it.  Still getting over it.

I start one revolution on Earth, my home, to set it free and make it more than just another slave planet.  What do I get?  The Dragans win, crush the rebellion (yes, even in Johannesburg), and I lose my cousin, Brendan.

Reverend Behemial Fartraveller, or just plain Rev Bem, was a great mentor and friend, and also a reformed Magog.  He promised to stay and help find a cure for me.  But then he left, even though there was a more important matter at stake.  My life!

Damned 'gog larvae... they were in my belly and I wanted them out.  Nope!  No say in that matter!  Stupid dodgy immune system.  Stupid could've been killed either way scenario.

Hohne.  Dead already and I could've brought him back.  I could've just smashed up the damned tesseract machine and ended it all, then and there!

I yanked my head away from their resting place and just looked up at the ceiling, trying to beseech the Divine, or God, or whatever deity existed.  I wanted to know if it was just trying to play some kind of sick and cruel game with me.  But as Tyr and Nietzche said, "God is dead."

"That was the one decision I had.  One that was mine alone to change and make everything better.  But no."  I stamped my foot on the cold metal floor and screamed upwards, "The decision was made for me!"

Made for me.

By her.

At that very thought, I wilted.  My head just dropped down and I stared at the floor.

My left hand reached up and touched my left cheek.  Not right on the cheek.  A little more to the side of my face and just lower, maybe a bit past lip level.  It traced over that faint area and then fluttered to my lips.

It probably tasted like grapes.

That sweet little peck on the cheek.  It was a short kiss, but somehow, it seemed to last a lifetime.  It seemed to say everything, and nothing at all.  It was all so very vague, but kept in a familiar form.

Whenever she was around me, she did such weird things to me.

"Trance, my sparkly purple babe."

Her purple skin that almost glittered.  Blonde locks with bits of pink and purple.  Her tail, I'll definitely miss that.  The way she was so cute and bouncy, but something in her that told me that there was more.  She was quite the enigma, wrapped in a riddle, and topped off with a tail.  Her innocence, her evasiveness about her past, her fascination with chaos, plants, peace and love, and pretty things... not to mention that she was one hell of a gambler and could possibly drink me under the table (from what Beka told me).  It was obvious, she was something special.  And now, I'd never get to know what it was completely.

I wanted to cry.  I lost my best friend.

And was replaced by that golden idol.  That false Trance.

She wasn't Trance, even if she did respond to her name.  Everyone else is getting used to her, but to me, she's not Trance.

She was gold, for one thing.  No tail.  Freaky red hair that could make Tyr jealous, and... could those be horns?  Skilled and hardened fighter.  Straightforward.  Tightlipped.  And my biggest complaint:

"She pushed the button!  My Trance, our old Trance, she would never have pushed it herself.  She would've talked me out of doing nicely, just like she did on that little road trip with that rat-face, Gerentex."

I sat there and envisioned what would've happened if she were there.  The true Trance.

"'Harper, think about what you're doing!  We need you, we all need you.  I mean, I don't want to lose my best friend.'  Nuh-uh, no way, Hohne matters more, I'd probably say.  'But Harper, if you live, you can make it up to him.  He'd want you to live, right?  And if you live, you can prove to him, to everyone, just how important you are.'  Turn up the cute factor and I'd be hers: hook, line, and sinker."

My voice went high as I continued to bitch and moan about what already happened.  "But no!  She pushed the freaking button!  That's not Trance!  Trance does things in a round about way, pushing all of us to eventually do the right thing.  She doesn't do it for us!  Not even at the most critical time!"

"Well, that is what I'd do if it was necessary.  And believe me, it was absolutely necessary."

I guess I was so caught up in my whining that I didn't notice anyone come into the shop.  I looked in front of me to see her.  The false idol.  The one who seemed to be an affront to the Trance I knew and... cared for.

Even the way she stood was wrong.  Feet planted shoulder width apart.  Arms planted squarely on her hips.  Her gaze boring into me.  Her face a serious and unreadable slate.

No, no.

She was supposed to stand feet close together, hands behind her back, her eyes probing and searching, and her emotions on her face letting me know her sincerity.

I just narrowed my eyes and sneered at her.  I don't care if she did decapitate a Kalderaan without blinking.  "How would you know?"

"Because I am her.  I just grew up."

Not even a bit of a halt to search for her words to explain this mysterious transformation.

"Don't be so skeptical just because I saved your life."

How did she do that?  Huh, she probably read it off my face, or used her Jedi Mind Tricks.  God, I love classical Earth history.

"If you want me to explain myself, I did it because you're my friend.  I save my friends, not strangers."

"Hey, Hohne could've been a good friend.  You just needed to know him better," I replied in my snappish and sardonic way.

"But he's not."  She bent down and leveled with my face.  "You are."

"That's just some crap you're telling me.  I died in your future.  You just saved me because I'm important to your mission.  Whatever the hell that is."

Trance, the new one, she got down on one knee and kneeled before me, meeting face to face.

She didn't sound like she was lying, so I scanned her face.  It was still set and serious.  Her clenched jaw, slender cheeks, furtive brow, unblinking eyes...

Her eyes.  The windows to the soul.

Maybe Trance had a soul.  I wouldn't know.

But those eyes.

They used to be so soft and expressive, with the slightest spark of mischief.  A cloud of emotion was like a sheer curtain that hinted that something was behind held back.  Her true power?  Her true nature?  Her true feelings?

Now, they were hardened, just like the rest of her.

There was no cloud, no curtain.  All they said, all they showed, was that something was being held back.  The mystery of her true power now seemed reduced as it was revealed in all, or most, of its splendour.  The mystery of her true nature?  That to was reduced as the grim determination to set things right was displayed before me.  Her true feelings?  I could barely see it, for all I know they seemed to be held so far back that it was like there was nothing at all.

I was going to give up on her ever being my purple pixie, but then I caught something that I thought was lost forever.

A slight spark or mischief, but it was quickly dampened.

"Harper," she said firmly and evenly, bringing me back.

I regarded her with suspicion and eyed her up and down as she stood back up and seemed to tower over me as I sat.

"You're going to take some getting used to.  I still miss the old you- the young you.  But, I guess you're still you if you wanted to save my life.  So, I guess, I'm saying... thank you."

"You're welcome."

Unexpectedly, she leaned close and finding the same place as she did before, she gave me another kiss and pulled away all too quickly.  But she did it with such fluidity that was natural for a warrior.

It seemed to almost be the same as before.  Feeling and saying so much, but compressed, and I mean really compressed.  She tried to recreate the same feeling, but it no longer felt cute and chaste.  The loss of innocence and the rigid unfeeling mask made themselves all too apparent in that too short moment.  But, I could feel my Trance somewhere underneath the years that wore down on the golden one.

I smiled inwardly to myself and then went back to looking down at the floor as I heard her walk away.  Those boots padding on the floor.  There was a stop and pause, then they continued as the doors automatically hissed shut behind her.

She didn't think I caught that last look, a slight tugging on the sides of her lips and eyes that made an almost visible smile.  Something slipped from that mask of hers as she looked back at me.  It was as if she wanted to do something more but thought better of it.

I raised my hand again to where she kissed me again and slid it over my skin to rest on my mouth.  Slowly, kindly, gently, I returned it, trying to emulate the exact same way she did it, the first time, but not even coming close to a reasonable facsimile.

The End

Additional Author's Notes: Thanks for reading and I hope to hear your comments and criticism.