BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

BRAINSPECIALIST

Remembrance: From the top
Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Every journey has to start somewhere.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1885    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

What many people today are ignorant to is that the chain of events did not begin with the desecration of Thor. Truth be told, I do not have the slightest idea as to when or where the conspiracy began, as the crew of Serenity – a small ragtag band of eclectic individuals, of which Kaylee and I were part of – may only have opened that book at the very end, but the recollection of events I present to you now starts from when we first became involved, so to speak.

*****

We first became involved nearly fifteen months after the infamous Miranda broadwave. Those who remember the aftermath will not remember it with fondness. The Union of Allied Planets was in uproar. Most of Parliament resigned, apparently having not been privy to the information which was currently being shown across the system. Riots on over half the Central Planets resulted in a massive economy crash, leaving millions unemployed. For two months, travel between the Major Planets, Londinium and Sihnon, and the rest of the system was prohibited until the planets could be deemed safe. I feel it relevant to note that two of Serenity’s crew, and very dear friends of mine, were killed because of the broadwave.

Fifteen months later, I was sitting next to Serenity’s Captain, the late Malcolm Reynolds, and his First Mate, Zoë Washburne, opposite a criminal who went by the name of Badger*, to discuss Serenity’s latest exploit.

I should really explain. You see, Serenity is a Firefly Class cargo ship, which is primarily used for smuggling goods. The Captain, in his infinite wisdom, saw that he could make money using his ship to transports goods. Unlike many a law-abiding citizen, he did not deter from taking up less-than-legal jobs. If the job paid well, then the crew of Serenity did not ponder much over the legality of it. Of course, if the job was actually legal, that was an added bonus.

That was how I came to be sitting opposite this man, Badger. I had met him several times previously, each time with varying degrees of displeasure. It was not that he wasn’t an unkind man; it was that he gave off an aura of roguishness, even more so than Malcolm, a feat I had previously assumed impossible. One Jayne Cobb**, Serenity’s muscleman, described him as a “Twisted and malicious individual with delusions of grandeur.”*** I am inclined to agree. However, I must point out that regardless of his criminal nature, the man had style, which is more than I could say for Jayne Cobb.

So here I was, stuck in the middle. I hated to think of myself as a criminal, yet I doubted I would be accepted back into the fold on the Central Planets any time soon. Thankfully, with the help of Kaylee, I began to embrace life on Serenity. I believe that had it not been for her, I would have gone mad. So it came to be that I arrived at this point in time with all my mental faculties intact, which enabled me to participate in the highly intellectual conversation that Mal (As I shall henceforth refer to him as, because had he still been alive, he would have hated me to keep calling him Malcolm throughout this entire manuscript) and Badger were current engaged in.

‘Pleasure to see you again, Mr. Reynolds.’ Badger spoke, in his cockney accent.

‘Wish I could say the same.’ Mal replied. ‘In fact, no I don’t, because it would mean I’d still be here talking to you.’

‘You’re a funny man, Reynolds.’ He glanced over at Zoë and me. ‘Mrs. Washburne.’

‘Badger.’ The exchange was as short as necessary, indicating Zoë’s lack of amiability with him.

Nodding towards me, he said, ‘This your doc?’ Mal nodded.

‘Actually, I’m a mite curious as to why you asked us to bring along our medic.’ Mal said, his right hand resting on his revolver. I glanced over at Zoë and saw her fingering her rifle. You see, we weren’t entirely sure that Badger wouldn’t turn us in. He isn’t exactly the most trustworthy individual in our beloved universe.

‘Well, you see, I’ve recently been hearing about some Alliance goods being moved around the system, all secret-like.’ Mal remained silent, allowing Badger to continue. ‘Well, a little birdie told me the co-ordinates of a shipment of medical supplies.’

‘So? We just grab everything. Why do we need the doc?’ It was here the Badger appeared uneasy, and apparently Mal noticed too. ‘Well?’ He asked, probably expecting not to enjoy the answer.

‘Well, it’s not quite as simple as that.’ Badger admitted.

‘It never is.’ Mal replied, sounding understandably annoyed.

‘Y’see, Mal, the shipment won’t be there for long.’ Mal’s eyes narrowed as he waited for the clincher.

‘How long.’ It wasn’t a question.

‘About ten minutes. Someone will come drop it off, then about ten minutes later another ship will come pick it up.’

‘So you need our medic to come say what’s worth stealing?’ Badger seemed to go into a state of suppressed glee as he revealed the next little titbit.

‘Worth the money, Mal.’ Both Zoë and Mal suddenly perked up. Mal seemed to become a lot more cooperative.

‘How much?’ He asked.

‘Half a million in platinum.’ Badger watched Mal’s eyes widen. Mal swore, and Zoë stared in amazement.

‘Ai ya! You’re kidding me, right? Whatever we can pick up in ten minutes ain’t worth that much!’ Mal was right. You couldn’t make half a million from medical supplies you picked up in ten minutes, it was impossible. However, Badger wasn’t lying.

‘Ain’t lying. ‘Course, I get twenty-five percent. That still leaves you with a pretty bundle.’ He laid a small chip on the desk. ‘The coordinates, Mal.’ Mal fingered the chip cautiously, as if checking if it was truly real. After he was apparently satisfied that it was in fact real, he pocketed it, and stood up.

‘Pleasure to do business, Mr. Reynolds.’ Badger said, tipping his hat and holding out his hand. Mal eyed the hand like a piece of particularly unpleasant roadkill, before walking out. Zoë and I followed hastily.

As we were walking through the street, Zoë asked the question that had plagued all three of our minds.

‘Well, Sir?’ She asked.

‘What?’

‘The job.’ She said, spelling it out for him.

‘What about it?’ Mal asked innocently.

‘We gonna take it or not?’

*****

It was some time later that I sitting next to Kaylee in the engine room, having talked over the job with Mal. She was fiddling with one of a thousand engine parts, the name of which escapes me, but she could probably name in a nanosecond. Kaylee is very emotional, you see. If she feels something, scared, happy, depressed, she tells people. I have heard Inara describe her as wearing her heart on her sleeve. So right now, it was very easy to tell how nervous she was.

‘Do ya have to go on the job?’ She asked, turning the part over in her hands.

‘Why? Don’t you want me to?’ I replied. Ever since Mal had revealed to the crew the nature of the job, Kaylee had gone rather quiet, and walked off to the engine room, saying something about “The suspender valve needed harnessing”, or something akin to that.

‘Just don’t want to see you get hurt is all.’ I smiled at her sweet nature, and decided to try and reassure her.

‘Don’t worry, everything will be fine.’ Upon speaking the words, Kaylee looked straight into my eyes, and I could her struggling to keep her emotions in check.

‘You don’t know that!’ She said, her voice becoming higher in pitch. ‘You can’t tell what’ll happen! If something happened to you, I wouldn’t know…’ She trailed off, her eyes sinking to her feet, and as she did so a tear fell down her cheek. Using one hand, I made her look back up at me, so she could see I meant what I said.

‘Kaylee. You’re right. I can’t tell what’s going to happen. All I know is that I will do everything in my power to come safely back to you.’ In a split-second, Kaylee shot forwards and pressed her lips to mine. I was overwhelmed by the emotion she drove into her kiss, and as I held her there, we eventually parted, and she rested her head on my shoulder.

‘Promise me you won’t do anything stupid.’ She said. I chuckled, and ran my hand through her hair and heard her purr slightly as she enjoyed the feeling.

‘I promise.’ I said, before pressing a kiss to her forehead. I have no idea how long we both sat there, just enjoying the feeling of holding each other.

Looking back, technically, I didn’t break the promise.

*****

It was two days later, and I was sitting on the Mule, enjoying the sensation of my hands freezing to the metal. It was cold. The entire planet was cold. The north and south poles weren’t as much ice caps as frozen mountains. It was Anubis, the dead planet.

Terraforming, the science of transforming a planet’s atmosphere into a habitable environment, is a delicate process. It isn’t just blasting chemicals into the atmosphere until it changes. So much can go wrong. The Core planets had more work done on them than the others, Londinium and Sihnon most of all. They have pristine environments, as close to Earth-That-Was as you can get. The backwater planets were given less care, and so vary from cold to hot, from prairie to glacier. There are those planets to which terraforming didn’t take, due to factors such as unstable atmospheres. Then, of course, there’s Anubis.

Anubis is, statistically, a very normal planet. It has a similar gravitation mass to Earth-That-Was, and is nearly the same distance from its orbiting star. There, however, the similarities end.

Anubis, like many other planets, was terraformed over a number of decades to support human life. However, within a few years after completion, the planet’s temperature fell like a stone. People froze to death in their houses; ships fell out of the sky when their systems froze solid. Thousands died. The Alliance, obviously horrified by this, took measures to make sure the atmosphere stayed stable, and they succeeded, to a point.

It still has an oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere, but apart from that, nothing spectacular. The planet is almost completely frozen over, and only a few outposts of civilisation remain. Unfortunately, where I was going was not one of them.

Mal followed the coordinates to a small valley, quite natural and out of the way. Well, natural for a frozen Hell. Without warning, a ship landed in the valley, and opened its doors. Some men decked in artic gear more thoroughly than I could have hoped for me ran out, carrying a large crate. It was rectangular, and though I couldn’t tell at this distance, it looked to be solid metal. Even as they placed it on the ground, I’d swear I could see icicles forming on it. Puzzled, I glanced over at Mal, who had a similar expression, and I could see we both shared the same thought.

Whatever was in that crate was definitely secret, but I would bet my life**** that it wasn’t medical supplies.

Job done, the men rushed into the ship, which closed its links with the environment and made off for the skies. This was it. Waiting until they’d gone out of sight, Mal thumbed the throttle and the Mule shot forwards, down the valley and to the ‘supplies’. At the same time, Zoë took out a transmitter, relaying their position to Serenity. I got out as soon as the Mule reached its target, and I looked at the mystery box. It was about eight feet long by three feet wide. Along its side were several locks, each one built into the case itself. For the next few minutes, I silently helped Mal and Zoë open the crate, trying not to say anything so to not waste any breath or time. Finally, with a loud click, the final lock sprung open, and the three of us hefted the lid off. Placing it on the floor, we looked down at our prize.

Inside was a man made of metal.

Well, I not entirely, but when you see something as bizarre as that, your brain tends not to pay attention to detail. However, once I’d calmed down, I noticed he (Judging by the size of the thing, I wouldn’t say she) wasn’t entirely made of metal. Not entirely. The only piece of skin I could see was his left hand, but only half of it was actually flesh. His right eye was a digital camera, while his left had a tinted lens over it. Another odd thing – among many others – was that he was completely bald. Not a single hair. I bent down for a closer look, and upon inspection found that the alphanumeric combination SH1N3 was engraved into his right shoulder. I cannot tell how long we stood there, staring at the damn thing, but my amazement was halted as I heard the tiny, yet unmistakable sound of a gun being cocked.

‘Well, now,’ A smug voice spoke out, ‘What do we have here?’

*****

*According to his wife, Henrietta, who I met at a later time, under circumstances that I would be disinclined to repeat, his real name is Thomas Dermot. To this day, I do not know why he calls himself Badger.

**Yes, Jayne Cobb. It’s pronounced exactly as it sounds.

***This quote was paraphrased, as his actual words are unprintable.

****More likely Jayne’s.

COMMENTS

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 5:43 AM

RCHD


The LATE Malcolm Reynolds!!
Damn You!!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 6:52 AM

TAMSIBLING


This is really intriguing and I am digging the first person point of view ... I can't wait to read more ... keep updating, please!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 7:10 AM

LEIASKY


This is really good! I'm hanging on your every word wondering what happened. Two members of the crew were killed? When? The prologue begins some 10 years after Miranda so how long ago did those crew members die?

This is a great story and please post faster!

So they didn't find medical supplies, they found a metal man. . . hmm, very interesting!


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