BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

BRIGLAD

Recollections
Friday, January 9, 2009

A little one shot set seven months after Birthday and also four hundred years in the past. Allan finds an old video file that dredges up painful memories


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1474    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Disclaimer: Joss, Fox, Universal Own em’. (Except for Allan. He's mine) I’m just playing. No money being made.

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This story takes place four years after Serenity (BDM) and has the established couples of Simon/Kaylee, Mal/Inara, Zoë/Allan and Jayne/River. Follows seven months after Birthday.

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A/N: this story line will explore Allan's life back on Earth when he was a young man. It will consist of a number of long flashback sequences. I've never written anything like this so cross your fingers.

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Thanks again Chris for the Beta.

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Recollections

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Chapter One

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“Here you go Zoë.”

“Thanks Marion,” Zoë replied as she took the offered fruit drink.

“You know,” Allan commented as he looked at the young woman who was his bodyguard, “Just because I hired you to be my bodyguard doesn't mean you have to wait on us hand and foot.”

“Allan, for what you pay me, I should be cleaning the bathrooms around here.”

“Still...”

“Relax Dear,” Zoë chuckled from her perch on the lounge chair on the rear deck of she and Allan's new home on Boros.

“Fine,” Allan grinned as he gazed at his very pregnant wife. Zoë was seven months along and she had never looked more beautiful in Allan's eyes.

Allan leaned back in his own deck chair and closed his eyes. Inhaling deeply, he smiled, “Nights like this remind me of when I was kid.”

“How is that dear?”

“Sitting out on the deck after supper, drinking iced tea, enjoying a nice warm evening with family.”

“Sound nice,” Marion said as she sat in her own chair. Allan had moved her into the guest bedroom on the first floor when the house had been finished.

She had initially balked at the idea, insisting that she could get her own place. Allan had insisted. Arguing that the nearest place with an apartment to rent was nearly ten miles from what Mal now called Serenity Acres.

“Ohh,” Zoë said suddenly.

“You okay Baby?”

“Your daughter is a mite restless tonight. Just stepped on my bladder... again,” Zoë replied as she struggled to get up, “Be right back.”

Allan fought the urge to help his wife up. Nothing got Zoë more riled than mollycoddling her because of the pregnancy. She insisted she was pregnant, not broken.”

As Zoë waddled into the house, Marion looked at her boss, “What was Earth like?”

“Not an easy question to answer,” Allan said thoughtfully, “Boros is more than a bit like parts of North America. Montana or Wyoming primarily. From what Mal tells me, before the Alliance blew it all to hell, Shadow was pretty similar with elements of the Texas prairie. Where Jayne's from, Deadwood. Well, that's a lot like Arizona. Lots of desert. Ezra's the same. Most of the Rim worlds I've seen are pretty arid and desert like.”

“Did you travel around much?”

“In my later years. Had to, running Blue Sun. Growing up? Not much. I was a farm kid. Raised by my grandparents after my folks were killed.

Zoë returned and sat back down, “You don't talk much about you folks baby,” She said.

“I was twelve when they died. I knew my grandparents longer than I did my own parents,” Allan said sadly.

“If you don't mind me askin...”

“It's okay Marion. Both my parents were pilots. My dad was a mechanic too. He flew for the airlines for a few years, moved back to Vermont and started working for a big air charter company. That's where he met my mom. They got married and about a year later I came along.”

“What year was that... I mean, uh...”

Allan chuckled, “It's okay. When you're four hundred and fifty five years old...”

“Umm, that would be...”

“January seventh, 2067.”

“Oh.”

Zoë snickered.

“As I was saying,” Allan grinned.

“Go on dear,” Zoë smiled back.

“Anyway... a couple of years after I came along, my dad had a chance to buy a little air charter and repair shop in his home town. My grandfathers farm was right next to the airport so Dad, sold the big house in Burlington and moved us into a prefab place on the farm. He could walk to work that way.”

“They scrimped and saved and bought a newer airplane than the one the place had before and started building up the business.”

“Did your mom still fly?” Zoë asked.

“Yeah. Actually, she was in the Air Force Reserve and flew C-17 transports. The last squadron that operated them in fact. When I was ten, the United States, Great Britain and China formed the Anglo-Sinai Alliance. My mom's squadron was disbanded and she retired.”

“Mom and dad ran the business together. I grew up splitting my time between the airport and the farm. Thats when I discovered my... talent for fixing things.”

“Like Kaylee?” Zoë asked.

“Like Kaylee,” Allan agreed, “I was helping my granddad fix farm machinery and my dad airplanes.”

“You said your folks were killed?” Marion asked.

“Yeah. Two years after the Alliance formed, the air traffic control system fell apart. Actually My parent's death helped reform the system some. The system wasn't flexible. If you deviated from instructions given, you faced suspension of your license. A holdover from the Chinese side of the house.”

Allan took a deep breath and continued, “Global warming was really taking off then. In the summer the thunderstorms were pretty bad. Tornados formed in ares where they hadn't ever been tornados before. My folks were returning from a charter to Rochester NY and ran into bad weather. My dad called for a weather diversion but the controller didn't want to give it to him.”

“After getting bounced around for a while, my dad called again and the controller got pissed and turned my dad and mom right into a cell. Thought it would teach them a lesson.”

“I'm guessing it didn't.”

“The wreckage was spread over about a five mile area,” Allan said darkly.

Marion didn't know what to say to that statement.

Allan collected himself and continued, “My Granddad went ballistic. He may have been a farmer but he was a retired Marine fighter pilot. Came out as a full bird. Had a squadron command when he retired. He raised holy hell. Paraded me in front of the news cameras, put a face on the crash. A twelve year old boy, orphaned by an arrogant air traffic controller who wanted to teach a pilot a lesson.”

“What happened to the controller?” Zoë asked.

“Ate his gun.”

“Better than he deserved,” Marion commented.

Allan nodded.

“So, your grandparents took you in?” Marion asked.

“Yeah. That's when the economy took a dive for a few years. Things got difficult. Government closed the airport next to the farm because it was 'redundant'. Granddad sold what equipment he could and put it in my college fund. He was barely making ends meet with the new taxes the Alliance had instituted. If not for his pension, it would have been really tight those first few years.”

“Sounds bad.”

“It was, Marion, It was. Got a bit better when I started a little repair shop I ran out of the barn.”

“How old were you?” Zoë asked.

“Fourteen.”

Marion chuckled, “Entrepreneur at an early age.”

“I was,” Allan agreed, smiling for the first time in several minutes.

Allan continued, “I was two and a half grades ahead in school. I graduated high school when I was sixteen. Could have done it earlier but my Grandparents didn't want me running off to university at age fifteen.”

“I can see that,” Zoë chuckled, “Innocent farm boy in the big city.”

Allan laughed, “Still pretty innocent the next year when I started my freshman year at MIT.”

“Luckily, my growth spurt had taken off. Combined with the fact that I was at a school where being a nerd and a geek was the status quo. If I'd gone to another university, I think I would have had to fight.”

“Also, when I was home from school, I started running with the local rescue squad. When I turned eighteen and got my paramedic certification. I was already a pilot, Granddad taught me how to fly, the summer before I went to school.”

“What did you study?” Marion asked.

“I double majored. Mechanical engineering and physics.”

“Wow, and you became a paramedic in your spare time?” Marion asked incredulously.

“And taught myself to play the guitar.”

“And I thought River was smart...”

“She's still got me by about a hundred IQ points at least. My IQ's higher than Simon's though,” Allan chuckled.

“Is this when you and Sara were dating?” Zoë asked.

Allan's face clouded, “Yeah.”

“Who's Sara?”

“My high school sweetheart,” Allan replied.

“What happened?” Marion asked.

Allan's face fell.

“She died,” Zoë said.

“Oh... I'm sorry Allan.”

“It's okay. Long time ago.”

“Still...”

Allan reached for his laptop which lay on the table next to his deck chair, “I've got a video capture of her here. Just found it the other day when I was going through some of my old files. I haven't really looked at it yet.”

Allan opened a file on the computer and the image of a young woman with vibrant red hair appeared. She looked like she was dressed as a waitress. She was sitting in a small booth next to a very young Allan. He appeared to be wearing some kind of uniform. Allan turned up the volume.

“... Pete, will you shut that damn camera off,” Sara said in the image.

“Gotta get a record of the cutest couple in Newport,”said a voice off screen.

“Knock it off you moron,” Allan laughed in the image.

Allan paused the playback. A single tear ran down his cheek.

“That was supposed to be a great weekend...”

XXXXXXXXXX

Allan smiled to himself as he stuffed his duffel bag filled with mostly dirty laundry into the small luggage compartment behind the seat of the old Piper Super Cub. Nearly ninety years old, the plane had been rebuilt from the ground up by Allan and his Grandfather four years previous.

Gear stowed, Allan began his preflight inspection. Running his hands along the edges of the propeller, he checked for nicks in the steel. A big enough nick could translate into a crack and then a broken prop. That could ruin his whole day.

He continued the walk around, feeling the fabric covered surface of the wings. Checking for tears. He moved the control surfaces, making sure everything was working properly. After making a full circle, Allan, pulled out a small aluminum step and checked that the fuel tanks were full.

Aviation gasoline was hideously expensive these days. Most piston powered airplanes now in service had diesel engines that ran on biofuel. Not the old Cub though.

Thankfully, Allan's first patent was producing income. He had come up with a system that increased the efficiency of the new fusion reactors now coming into service.

Allan had made his first million during his junior year at MIT. Most of it was now going to pay for grad school in the fall. But enough was left over to indulge in a little aviation from time to time.

The roar of a jet taking off interrupted his reverie. Allan's eyes followed the old Airbus A380 as it roared into the sky. He was surprised that any airlines were still using the old jet fuel burners. Of course it was bio-jet now, but like his grandfather always said. Nothing was better than good old fashioned kerosene to make a jet run right.

Allan had flown down to Boston to register for his classes. While ostensibly on summer break, Allan needed to commute back and forth a few times to set things up for the fall.

He could have driven the old diesel pickup truck he had fixed up. But with the weather forecast calling for nice weather all week, he decided to fly down. Once school started, he would have to settle for the five hour drive rather than the two and a half hour flight.

Clambering into the cramped cockpit which was no easy feat for someone of his stature, Allan pulled on his headset and turned on the master power. Turning on the radio, he keyed the mike.

“Boston Clearance Delivery, Piper November-four-two- one-one-bravo. FBO ramp, requesting VFR departure to the north.”

“Piper one-one-bravo, say type.”

“One-one-bravo is a Super Cub.”

“Copy Super Cub. Cleared as requested, squawk five-zero-six-two.”

“Five-zero-six-two, Piper one-one-bravo.”

“Contact ground on one-two-one point nine.”

Allan contacted the controller and was cleared to taxi to runway 15 left. The shortest runway at Logan. Cleared for takeoff, he was airborne in seconds. The old Cub getting off the ground in less than four hundred feet.

Turning north, Allan climbed to twenty five hundred feet and began following the main highway north. He would follow I-93 to Concord New Hampshire then I-89 to White River Junction Vermont. Then Allan would follow the Connecticut River north to just south of St. Johnsbury. After that, a slight turn to the left would point him at the old Newport airport and home.

It would take just over two and a half hours according to his calculations.

The air was warm in the early summer sunshine, Allan opened the left side window and the door on the right side to let in the air. This was flying.

Crossing over St. Johnsbury, Allan changed course a bit, heading for Lake Willoughby. A grin appeared on his face, “I wonder if anyone's at the nude beach?” he said to himself.

After a low pass on the beach, Allan was disappointed. No one was there today. He climbed back to twenty five hundred feet and turned for home.

Crossing back over I-91, He slowly descended towards the old airport and his home that lay just beyond it.

Landing at the closed airport would be illegal. That's why he and his grandfather had hacked a one thousand foot strip out of some unused pasture.

Slowing the plane down, Allan dropped the flaps and turned to line up with the grass runway. Light as a feather, Allan touched the old Yellow cub down. Lurching across the uneven ground, Allan taxied the plane towards the barn and the small hangar his grandfather had built to protect the plane..

Trodding on the left brake and rudder pedal, Allan swung the plane around directly in front of the hangar. The engine shuddered to a stop.

As Allan extricated himself from the cockpit, a voice startled him.

“Good flight?”

“Hey Grandma,” Allan smiled as he kissed her on the cheek.

Evelin Bryant stood back and looked up at her tall grandson, “I asked you a question boy.”

“Great flight. Only a few bumps.”

“Classes all set?”

“Yup, had to do some switching around to get the the professor I wanted for my applied physics class but it's all sorted out.”

“Glad to hear. Your grandfather will be home in a bit. Had to run to town for a bit.”

“Anything need doing?” Allan asked.

“All caught up. We can run this farm without you you know.”

“I know... Just feels like I've been slacking off a bit.”

“Nonsense Allan. You're too damn smart to be stuck a farmer for the rest of your life. You're gonna make a difference someday. I know it.”

“Thanks Grandma.”

“You got two messages by the way. Bob called from the squad, wants to know if you can cover for Alice tonight as medic.”

“I promised Sara I was gonna take her out to dinner...”

“That was the second call. Sara's gotta work. Wanted you to stop by and see her at work tonight,” Evelin grinned. She knew that Sara had Allan wrapped around her little finger. Of course she had done the same to Allan's grandfather fifty years ago.

“Guess I'm taking call tonight then,” Allan grumped.

“You love helpin people and you know it boy.”

Allan grinned, his grandmother knew him too well.

“Go on in the house and get changed. Bob said he wanted you at the station at five.”

“Yes Ma'am.”

XXXXXXXXXX

Allan pulled his battered old pickup truck into the rescue squad parking lot. Allan slid from the seat and grabbed his stethoscope off the rear view mirror.

“Hey, Allan!”

“Hey, Bob.”

“Glad you could run tonight. Alice had a family emergency and I needed a medic.”

“Sara had to work tonight anyway,” Allan said as he collected the rest of his gear from the truck, “Who's my partner?”

“Pete Ridge.”

Allan smiled. He and Pete had been best friends since elementary school. While only an EMT, Pete was good at what he did. “Which truck is primary?”

“Unit One. I'm headed home for supper. Call if you need anything,” Bob called as he headed for his car.

Allan grabbed his jacket and walked into the building. It was a warm night and the bay doors were open. He found Pete rummaging through a supply bin in the back of the ambulance.

“Ain't gonna do you any good, I've got all the good pharmaceuticals with me,” Allan said smiling.

“Allan! Hey man. How was Boston?”

“Same as always.”

“I hear ya,” Pete replied.

“You hungry? I haven't eaten yet”

Any place in particular?”

“I was thinking Toni's...”

“Wouldn't be for the mediocre Pizza. I'm thinking it's a certain red headed waitress who thinks she's in love with you.”

“Might...”

“Just gotta grab my gear, back in a sec.”

Allan climbed into the passenger seat, clicked on the main power and picked up the radio microphone, “Dispatch, Unit One.”

“Go Unit One.”

Out of quarters on detail, available by radio.”

“Copy Unit One. Time out, 17:05.”

Pete pulled the Ambulance out of the station and turned right onto Western Ave. A few minutes later, they pulled into the lot at Toni's Pizza and Subs.

After locking the rig, the two young men entered the restaurant.

“Allan, Pete. How you two doing?”

“We're good Toni,” Allan replied.

“I got your usual table. You guys primary tonight?”

“Afraid so, o' fair damsel of the pie,” Pete grinned. He had always been the class clown and Allan was quite often his straight man.

Toni chuckled. The tall blond woman had known the two boys since they were little, “Sara's in the back for a minute, I'll send her out.”

“Thanks Toni,” Allan replied.

Taking seats in the booth, Pete looked across at his partner, “All set for grad school?”

“Classes are set. Not looking forward to all the time away from home though.”

“You mean time away from Sara,” Pete replied, “Why don't you marry the girl. Get an engineering job somewhere and raise a family.”

“So says the guy who's slept with half the girls in town...”

“Just separating the wheat from the chaff.”

“I want to marry Sara,” Allan said seriously. “But not yet. She deserves a good life. The way things are going. Fuel getting scarce, screwed up weather from global warming. The overpopulation... I need to have a real good job or a couple more patents out there bringing in money before I tie her down somewhere.”

“I hear ya Allan. But just remember. Nothing in life is set in stone. The whole situation could change tomorrow. You need to learn to stop planning every little detail and just live your life. Sara deserves that too.”

“What do I deserve?” said another voice.

“Someone better than this loser,” Pete smiled as Sara slid into the booth next to Allan.

“Nah, I got him just the way I want him now,” Sara giggled just before kissing Allan, “Hey Sweetie.”

“Hey yourself,” Allan smiled.

Pete rolled his eyes, pulled out his camera phone and activated it.

“Pete, will you shut that damn camera off,” Sara said.

“Gotta get a record of the cutest couple in Newport,” he replied.

“Knock it off you moron,” Allan laughed.

“Fine, I know when I'm not wanted,” Pete sniffed. He hit a few buttons on the device before putting it away.

“What did you just do?” Allan asked.

“Just e-mailed the video to you.”

Sara snickered and pulled out her order pad, “Before Toni yells at me, what do you two want to eat?”

“Couple of pepperoni slices for me and a large iced tea.” Allan said.

“And you laughing boy?”

“Make it a double,” Pete replied, “Just in case we get a run.”

“You two causin trouble over here?” Toni asked.

“No Ma'am,” Pete and Allan replied in unison.

“Allan, you busy tomorrow?”

“Not that I know of, Toni.”

“Could you maybe stop by and take a look at the control unit on the fryer. Been giving me fits all week.”

“No problem Toni, Be late morning probably.”

“No rush, and the foods on me tonight.”

“Thanks Toni. I'll...”

Allan was interrupted by tones transmitted over his portable radio.

“And you said in case we get a run,” Allan admonished as he got to his feet.

“Not my fault...”

“Newport Unit One. Respond to Derby Line. The customs office. Medic intercept for Derby Rescue. They have an assault victim and request ALS,” said the radio.

“Unit one copies,” Alan replied to the dispatcher.

Sara kissed Allan and smiled, “Be safe.”

“I will,” Allan replied, not knowing that it would be the last time he and Sara kissed.

XXXXXXXXXX

After stabilizing and transporting a man who was beaten nearly to death by Alliance Border agents when he refused to allow them to search his car upon entering from Canada. Allan and Pete went on three more calls back to back.

It was nearing midnight and they had only grabbed some junk food from the machines at the hospital for dinner. All hope of Toni's pizza lost since the restaurant closed at eleven.

“I'm beat,” Allan said as he and Pete climbed back into the ambulance.

“Me too. Glad we're off in three hours. I'm gonna sleep till noon.”

“Count yourself lucky. I'll be up helping milk at five.”

“Farm boy.”

“Slacker”

“Dispatch to Unit One...”

“Fuck!”

“Go dispatch.”

“Respond to Airport rd. near the Bryant Farm for a motor vehicle accident. Troopers and Newport Fire are also responding.”

“Copy, Unit One's enroute.”

Pete hit the lights and Allan turned on the siren as they roared out of the hospital parking lot.

“Did she say it was by your house?” Pete asked.

“Yeah.”

“Hope it's not anyone we know.”

“Me too.”

XXXXXXXXXX

As they passed his home, Allan noted that the lights were still on in the house. Cresting the slight rise, they saw the flashing lights of the troopers car as well as the fire departments rescue truck.

“Dispatch, Unit One's on scene.”

“Copy Unit One.”

Pete stopped the ambulance and Allan quickly exited and pulled open the compartment where the med kit was stored. Slinging it over his shoulder, he began to walk quickly towards the wreck.

An old pickup truck similar to Allan's had crossed the center line of the road and struck a tiny electric car head on. It was a bad one. Allan could hear someone screaming in pain.

Before he could reach the crushed small car. A powerful arm grabbed him.

“Hey! What are you... Grandpa?”

“Don't go up there Allan,” Bernie Bryant said to his grandson.

“I gotta Gramp,” Allan replied as he pulled loose of his grandfathers grasp. He made it three more steps when he heard Pete swear.

“Oh fuck no.”

Allan looked to where his partner was staring. He could see a young woman partially ejected from the drivers seat. She had long red hair.

Long red hair. Blue electric car. Allan's brain made the connection... Sara.

“No!” Allan screamed as he dropped his bag and began to run towards the car. Two firefighters grabbed him. Pete was a step behind.

“Let me go I gotta check her!”

“She's gone Allan,” Toby Rogers, the Fire Chief said, “She's gone.”

Allan screamed.

The next hour was a blur. Allan collapsed to his knees in the center of the road. His grandfather hugging him. Pete had called for another ambulance to take the slightly injured drunk driver from the truck to the hospital.

The next thing Allan knew he was sitting in the living room of his grandparents house. Pete sitting across from him and Bob Jennings, the director of the rescue squad speaking with Allan's grandfather in the corner.

Allan became aware of his grandmother holding him tight.

XXXXXXXXXX

“Baby? You okay?”

“Huh?”

“I asked, are you okay. You kinda zoned out for a minute.”

“Sorry Zoë,” Alan said as he wiped away a tear from his cheek. Just thinking about something.”

“Thinking about Sara...”

“Yeah. That video was taken a few hours before she was killed. Brought back some bad memories.”

“I can imagine.”

“I think I'm going to bed,” Allan said as he stood up. With a quick kiss on Zoë's head, he walked stiffly into the house.

Zoë's eyes followed him as he walked away. She looked at Marion.

“Don't worry Zoë. I got this.”

“Thanks, Marion.”

Zoë struggled to her feet and followed after her husband. Zoë found him sitting on the edge of the bed. Staring into space.

“Copper for em'.”

“Hmm? Oh, sorry Baby.”

“I would have done the same thin if I suddenly found a capture of Wash.”

“It's been thirty three years... I mean, four hundred and thirty five...”

“Thirty three years, four hundred or five minutes. Don't matter none. You loved her.”

“I did.”

“I loved Wash.”

“I know.”

“Shepherd Book told me once, the events in out lives shape who we are. Good or bad. It's who we are.”

“Wise man.”

Zoë lifted Allan's face up until she could see in his eyes, “I love you.”

Allan smiled and reached out and caressed Zoë's swollen belly, “I love you too Zoë. And the little one inside.”

Zoë pulled the long tunic she was wearing over her head and slid down her leggings. Allan smiled.

“You are so beautiful.”

“I'm fat.”

“You're pregnant... there's a difference,” Allan chuckled as he ran his fingers across Zoë's belly again.

Zoë smiled, “Lets go to bed.”

“Okay.”

An hour later as they lay in each others arms, Allan looked into Zoë's eyes, “I think I have a name.”

“A name?”

“For our daughter.”

“What name is that?”

“I want to name her Sara.”

“Sara?”

Allan nodded, “Sara Jane Bryant.”

“Would that have been her name?”

“Hmm?”

“Sara, if you had married her.”

“Yeah, it would.”

“It's perfect.”

“You sure?”

“I am.”

“Thank you Zoë.”

“For what?”

“Being you.”

Zoë's reply was a kiss.

TBC... maybe?

AN:2 Like it? Love it? Hate it?

Tell me what you think. I have ideas for more of Allan's recollections. Most won't be quite so angsty.

All the town names I used are real. As are the road names I used.

COMMENTS

Friday, January 9, 2009 5:38 PM

FREEVERSE


Loving the Vermont setting, and the evocation of a future not too distant or different from our own. More please!

~freeverse

Friday, January 9, 2009 6:48 PM

NCBROWNCOAT


Loved the not too distant future setting and you're right, it would be the same for Zoe if she had found a capture of Wash.

Saturday, January 10, 2009 8:13 AM

JANE0904


Beautifully done, even though I knew what was coming. And it brought a tear to my eye, nevertheless.

Please write more. Young Allan is as good a character as older Allan, and I'd like to know more about him.

Oh, and Zoe's reponse? Perfect.


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