Monday, January 29, 2007

Niska's sneakiness has complications for Jayne and Vera. The two of them stranded on Euridice, a moon where terraforming has only 'taken' recently. Simon figures out what the problem is. Crew scattered in several locations.


PART FIVE * I'll make love to you in all good places under black mountains in open spaces. By deep brown rivers that slither darkly through far marches where the blue hare races.

Come with me to the Winged Isle --- northern father's western child. Where the dance of ages is playing still through far marches of acres wild. * Acres Wild – Jethro Tull

Gotta get out. Alarms ringin'. Ship going down? Where am I? Where's the ruttin' live pods? Pulled on clothes, coat, boots, got my weapons. Found a life pod. Nearby planet? Ah, moon. Got atmo. That'll do. Go, go go... * Wha..? I was having this lovely dream about being pleasured senseless by a gorgeous fella and I wake up cold and alone. The alarm's ringing. Pull on several layers of clothes lickety split. Add boots, get my all weather coat. Grab my emergency bag, hunting knife and a couple of guns. Life pod. Found it, get in. Search for nearby habitable planet. Well, there's a habitable moon with breathable atmosphere. That'll do. Launch off. Do a re-con. Ah, Euridice. Orbiting Orpheus, big sterile gas giant. I can see it, swirling blue, orange and green out the other window. Not a good way to go, the gases would be toxic. Check navigation; everything fine. Says here in the memory banks that Euridice was a lifeless mining moon with a feisty earthquake habit where terraforming didn't take until recently. The miners died and their remains kick-started the vegetation and other habitable processes into life. It's small, but it's got a bit of everything. Snow at the poles, forest, a big river and even geo-thermal activity. Some wild species dumped there recently; mostly game animals. That'll do. * Jayne's life pod drifted down into deep snow. He popped open the hatch and breathed thin, cold but clear air. He bundled up the parachute and popped it into the bag provided. In designing the basic life pod, someone had the brilliant foresight to supply a parachute which could double as a waterproof tent and bedding. Jayne picked up the hatchet and flashlight in the pod, and his weapons. He also raided the pod's supply of emergency rations and water purifying tablets. He stuck his knitted hat on his head, then pulled the hood of his all weather jacket over as well, before adding goggles and gloves. He was about as protected from the elements as he could get. He looked at the sky. Pale blue, snow coming down in thick fat flakes. He scanned the horizon and used the mini binoculars in one of his pockets. Trees that-a-ways. Shelter from the wind. Maybe game hiding in the trees and the chance of something hearty roasted or stewed later. He set the life pod beacon in case of help arriving or him getting lost. Push came to shove, he could use the pod as a cave, but something in his gut was urging him to move. * After about half an hour, he saw a second pod descending. It was a mate to his own. Probably a friend or colleague? Jayne was a bit hazy on that. He felt as if something important, true and significant had been torn out of his life but he couldn't remember what it was. Vague images and sensations; Reavers – not good, metal corridoors – fairly bland, and the unmistakeable feel of a woman's long legs wrapped around him and her sweeter parts clasping even tighter around his length. Woah. His brow creased. He'd never had it *that good...had he? He did a quick roll call of all the women he remembered pleasuring. Names, faces, pretty good sex. But nothing like what had just drifted through his mind, not the sort of sex that would make the 'verse move and the angels weep, darn it. He'd have to really love a woman for it to be that good and he hadn't found someone like that...had he? He made the other pod and waited, gun cocked in the other hand. The lid flew open and his gun was there, covering him. * Long brown hair. Female. Her head lifted, their gazes met and Jayne's knees nearly buckled completely. Deep mutual recognition. In a heatbeat, he knew what she would look like naked and saw from the answering fire in her eyes that she was getting the same images about him. He got so hard so fast, he gasped. But her name...nothing. “I know you...don't I?” She tied her hair back with a scrunchie which had fallen off in the landing, “Yes. That's what it feels like.” His smile became saucy, “Like we've had hot sexin' up pretty regular sometime.” She chuckled, “Possibly. Seem to have lost some of my memory.” He held out his free hand, considering, “Yeah. Summat like that. Jayne Cobb.” “Vera Samuels.” Their gloved hands clasped. There was a deeper shock of fire and good old fashioned lust, even through two layers of material. Jayne's smile widened, “Got me a gun named Vera.” “Got *me one named Jayne.” He stepped closer, “I *know you.” Her smile tilted, “Yeah, we know each other somehow and not just socially. You mean biblically!” Jayne's brow furrowed. Vera's explained, “I agree that we've probably been lovers in the past; if not in this life, then a previous one.” “Gorram inconvenient place to meet again.” “It *is a bit cold and this moon is rapidly turning towards night.” Jayne gestured with his gun, “Trees and some shelter over yonder.” Vera nodded, then packed up her own parachute and other essentials before stepping out of the life-pod. She fetched out a brightly coloured knitted hat with earmuffs. Jayne's grin nearly reached his ears, “Got me one of them, too!” Vera read the unspoken message in his eyes, “Not here, not in the cold and snow. Plus we might be brother and sister or something.” “Feelings I got fer you are a long way from brotherly!” “I know; me too. Survival first. Other things maybe when we find sufficient shelter.” * They trudged through the snow, “So; you a merc then?” “Hell, yeah. You too?” “Have been; though more on the bounty hunter end of things. Was on Beltane, last I remember, being a sheriff of sorts.” “Mebbe you've been sent to arrest me.” “Ever been to Beltane? If you haven't, I have no jurisdiction or possible reason.” “Red dirt; Maori people?” Vera nodded, “Yeah... There was summat...some *one.” Jayne turned his head towards her, “You wear a red and black corset an' a bustle with fancy hose and a garter pistol?” Vera chuckled, “Yes; sometimes. And I agree, we met there once.” Jayne nodded and smiled widely, “Then we met, with you dressed like that. Sure of it, same as I'm sure we got nekkid together 'bout then, even if I can't remember.” They reached the trees, daylight fading fast. The ground sloped down through the pines towards some rocks and in the rocks was a shallow cave. Vera gestured, “That'll do for tonight with our parachutes.” “Yeah, we can make a snow wall for shelter an' hunker down. It's better than bein' in the open.” * Vera and Jayne sat behind their snow wall eating some of the emergency rations with a small fire and one of the parachutes draped over the gap, keeping out the worst of the weather. The other parachute was under them. Jayne speared a piece of dried sausage on Binky and held it in the fire, “Killed many men?” “Fair few, when I had to. Got martial arts' training, so I *can kill with my bare hands if it comes to it.” Jayne shrugged, “Killed a few with my bare hands too, but mostly took 'em out quick and clean with a bullet or two.” “Bit of a tumbleweed, huh; like me.” “Yeah. Shootin', fightin', getting' my coin an' movin' on.” “Few women in there?” Jayne chuckled, “More 'n a few. Mostly working ladies, if you catch my drift.” Vera nodded, accepting, “Figures; since I've visited working men. Kept yourself healthy?” “Hell, yeah. STI medicine regular plus latex buddies. Need ta keep in shape. Been employed by fancy women too an' some of 'em wanted a piece of me after the hired gun job was done. Know how to pleasure a lady well enough, not just whores. Even with them, I left 'em happy.” Vera chuckled, “Enough advertising! I can tell you're a tiger in the sack! And I'm clean too, by the way. But I have this pull in my guts and heart tells me I've got someone. A guy I'm given to all the way.” “Might be me.” “You're my type, it'd make sense. But I don't *know it's you, not since I somehow lost my memory.” Jayne sighed, “You're right. I feel it too. It's just that I want you summat fierce.” Vera laughed softly, “Not tonight, tiger!” “I know; 's too cold. Only a few degrees 'bove freezing. Heck of a way to go though.” “No offence, but I want to live.” “Yeah, me too. And if I get my chance, wanna do you more 'n once.” Vera chuckled, “Somewhere warmer and safe, where we can take our time, huh? This moon has a much warmer zone nearer its equator. I picked up essential local intel on the Cortex in my life pod on the way down. Let's try to work thataways, maybe one of the old mining buildings will still be standing.” They finished their meal and made themselves comfortable. Vera spooned herself in front of Jayne. He breathed close to her ear, “Dontcha worry 'bout feelin' old monster there wantin' you. He can wait till it's time.” Vera chuckled softly, close to sleep, “Knew you were big all over the minute I saw you. Just try to focus on survival, Jayne?” “I know. Sleep now, darlin'.” * They walked through the pine forest for most of the next day. It was still very cold, even though the snow had stopped for the moment. They only stopped to eat and perform other necessary functions – at some distance from each other and covering their tracks from wild animals as best as possible. Sometime after the local sun had reached its zenith, another pod came screaming down, parachute badly deployed. Jayne and Vera rushed to see it crashing awkwardly through the trees and gouging out a big dark hole into the earth under the snow. The hatch banged open by itself and the pod exploded in a blaze of fire. When the flames had finally died down, Jayne and Vera edged closer very carefully. Hanging out of the pod were the burnt remains of an almost bald man of about sixty. “Feel that means summat, Vera.” “You're not kidding. Like we should be glad the poor bastard is dead.” Jayne peered closer, “He's got handcuffs and leg cuffs on, hands behind his back. Probably stopped him gettin' the pod down right.” Vera swallowed, “Yeah, that'd do it. A younger, more limber person might cope, but managing a life pod with your hands tied behind you back isn't something I'd like to risk.” There was no stopping in the woods that night. They both wanted to get away from the images of that crash. Jayne and Vera walked on, to keep warm. * The forest thinned out onto a glaringly white field of snow early the next day. Either it was the topography or the curvature of this moon, but they semed to be heading steadily and continuously down hill. A sudden noise off to their left stopped them. Out of the wood came barrelling a huge, black and pink and very angry male pig. It was squealing, growling and clearly unhappy. Jayne shouldered his gun and Vera flipped her hunting knife in one hand and her own gun in the other. They stood back to back, taking aim. The pig wasn't going to stop and its tusks looked fearsome. At the same moment, Vera threw her knife and Jayne got off a couple of shots. The pig wheeled, made a horrendous noise and keeled over. Jayne got a third shot right in the animal's chest, just north of Vera's quivering knife. “Nice shot, darlin'!” “You too. Roast pork tonight?” “One of 'em hind legs'll keep us going for a couple of days.” Vera retrieved her knife and set to, removing her gloves to disect one leg, “We've done that before.” “Huh?” “Fought back to back against...something, or someone. It felt solid and familiar.” Jayne had his own knife, opening the pig's abdomen, “Yeah. D'ya like pork liver? He's a healthy bugger, no sign of disease.” Vera made a face, “Not much, but I'll accept some intestines for sausages later and maybe the heart if you can crack that rib cage.” “No problem. Okay, we got the innards you wanted and I think both legs. We can try to dry some meat later if we get the chance and make jerky.” Vera cut some parachute to make a couple of slings for the meat, “Could do with some greens and fruit; though there's not much going to be growing in the snow. Don't want to get scurvy when the rations run out.” “Bread or taters would be nice.” “Wild kale root is a good substitute; we can roast it with piggy.” Jayne stood up. The snow sloped down almost unrelentingly, but in the far distance there was a green valley and a wide river. The river wound down between further bare volcanic-looking peaks and disappeared. A faint blue haze on the very far curved horizon suggested sea. Vera saw the same view. “Now if we can find or make a boat, we'll be at the sea in a matter of days. Looks a lot warmer there.” Jayne nodded, “Sounds like a plan.” “Maybe our memories will come back as well.” They set off. * Simon sat up in the engine room, next to Kaylee. He immediately glanced at the twins. Sound asleep, both of them. There was a strange smell. He frowned, then his medical mind clicked in. He raced to the infirmary and rifled through his supplies. Gas masks; well, they would do for now. He put one on and ran back with others to his family. River and Zhang were hovering in the corridoor. Simon shoved a couple at them. “Don't need one,” Zhang said, “I'll be okay; I've been exposed to this before.” River handed hers back, “Brain won't accept the gas. Filtered it out.” Once Kaylee and the twins were protected, Simon, River and Zhang raced through the ship. River took the controls in the empty bridge. “Mal and Inara have gone ahead,” she said, “Zoe's gone back to Beltane with Sarah. Jayne and Vera baled out. So did Niska.” Kaylee came in, sleepy and wearing her mask, “What is it, sweetie?” “Mind altering gas. Knocks you out and temporarily removes short to long term memory. Niska must have had some secreted on him; those closest to his cell would be worst affected with the memory loss. That's Jayne, Vera and Zoe. Mal and Inara are probably less affected and we were far enough away to escape most of the damage. I got to the gas masks in time.” Zhang asked, “Where are we?” River skimmed delicate hands over the controls, “Nearest to Beltane, we got turned around in the confusion. Everyone else is alive and well, apart from Niska. He got toasted.” “Can't say I'm sorry. Okay, let's fetch Zoe and we'll need to put a wave out requesting supplies of the antidote, just in case.” “Won't memory come back anyway?” Simon nodded, “Should do; but I want to be certain and prevent any permanent damage.” River stared at the stars, “Have to go to Ariel, even without Niska to bring in. They need us there. Two in the wilderness as well. Rediscovery. New beginnings.” “Let's go and find the rest of the crew.”


Monday, January 29, 2007 7:42 AM


Hmm....interesting....least it wasn't the entire crew getting affected. Though I still maintain it's a bit far-fetched to believe a capsule hidden somewhere like a false tooth or tooth-mounted container could have enough stuff to affect three people;)

Can't wait to see more of Jayne and Vera wandering about Eurydice though. Wonder what might trigger them?


Wednesday, January 31, 2007 7:03 AM


Well, you never know what might be available in the future [g].

I tried really hard to 'get' Niska right and the slippery old **** wouldn't play properly for me. Apologies.

More in a mo'...



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