BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

BRIGLAD

Relics - Chapter 6
Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mal and Allan board the Kansas. After retrieving the logs they find a survivor.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1493    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Disclaimer: Joss, Fox, Universal Own em’. (Except for Allan and the kids. they're mine) I’m just playing. No money being made.

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This story takes place nine years after Serenity (BDM) and has the established couples of Simon/Kaylee, Mal/Inara, Zoë/Allan and Jayne/River. Takes place five years post “The Bash”

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Thanks again to Woonsocket and Chris for the Beta work

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Relics

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Chapter Six

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Allan clicked down the visor on his helmet, “Ready?”

There were acknowledgments from his companions. The engineer hit the switch to depressurize the shuttle; after a few moments, he began to feel his suit stiffen against the vacuum.

When the status light indicated it was safe, Allan opened the shuttle’s door revealing the micro-meteorite scarred hatch that led to the Kansas. Once outside the deck plates of the shuttle, he was in zero g, floating forward to the hatch. As he was looking at the mechanical status display, Lt. Henderson floated up beside him.

“I expected an electronic status display. Good thinking, whoever decided to use a mechanical one,” the young officer said.

“Thanks for saying,” Allan grinned.

“You mean the rumors are true?” Henderson asked.

Allan reached out tentatively with his gauntleted hand and reverently touched the hull of Kansas, “I designed her.”

“What?” Robert's voice crackled across their headsets.

“Allan's from Earth-that-was,” Mal replied, “Came here in his own ship, spent about four hundred years in cryo himself.”

“Laotian ye,” Robert replied.

Allan smiled. One glance over at young Lt. Henderson showed what looked like a bit of hero worship on his face.

“Mal?” Allan asked.

“What is it, Allan?”

“Pressure shows 10 PSI on the other side. Can you bring the shuttle’s pressure up to match?”

“On it,” the Captain replied as he moved back to the shuttle’s environmental controls.

As soon as the pressure was equalized, Allan began turning the stiff hand crank in the center of the hatch. A puff of ice crystals flashed around the opening as the air equalized. Henderson pushed the hatch open, the door swinging into the interior of the Kansas.

“Big airlock,” Robert commented as the four men entered..

The airlock was nearly thirty feet square, their helmet and hand held lights illuminated the space.

“This lock opens onto 'Main Street',” Allan replied, “The passenger transports from the surface docked here and at four other locks on this same deck.”

“Makes sense,” Henderson replied.

“Lots a frost on stuff,” Mal remarked.

“Moisture in the air froze when she got cold,” Allan said in reply.

Allan floated across the airlock to the main hatchway to the interior. He took a deep breath and braced his feet against the frame to gain enough leverage to turn the handle.

“Why did you use so many mechanical systems?” Henderson asked.

“KISS,” Allan replied.

“Kiss?”

“Keep it simple, stupid,” Allan said to the younger man, “If I hadn't, we’d be cutting through doors to get about everywhere right now.”

“Oh,” the young engineer replied, comprehension about the lack of power required for mechanical systems suddenly dawning.

“Here we go...” Allan said as he opened the hatch.

Allan's eyes fell upon the interior of the Kansas. Some debris floated in the wide corridor that was 'Main Street'; frost covered every surface and reflected back from their lights.

“Get lost in here pretty quick,” Robert said.

“Stay close to me,” Allan ordered, “Bridge is two decks up, nearest access is eighty meters aft.”

Allan pushed off in the direction indicated and began floating down the corridor. The rest of the boarding party followed suit.

“Wu de tyen ah,” Mal whispered as they came to a huge open space. ‘Main Street’ was just that... a street.

The wide corridor they were in widened into a huge space nearly one hundred meters wide and almost that tall. Lining the space were what looked like actual buildings.

Allan grinned at their reaction, “Every ship was different. Kansas' ‘Main Street’ looks like a street from a prosperous middle American town. The Manchester's ‘High Street’ looked like what parts of New London on Londonium do. Same for the Hong Kong, looking like parts of Sihnon City,” Allan explained, using current cities for comparison.

“Reminders of Earth?” Robert asked.

“Yes,” Allan replied.

“Which way to the bridge?” Mal asked.

Allan pointed his light up, illuminating a balcony overlooking ‘Main Street’, “Up there.”

Allan pushed off and began floating upwards in the zero gravity. Mal, Henderson and Robert followed

Allan grabbed the rail on the balcony to arrest his accent, paused a moment, and then floated over the railing. Ten feet away stood the door that led to the bridge.

“Kinda easy access ain't it?” Mal asked as soon as he alighted next to Allan.

“With the gravity on, you can't just float up here,” Allan chuckled. “The access doors to the stairs and lifts are key coded. Crew only.”

“What’s at the end of the street?” Robert asked.

Allan pointed his light aft; the bright beam did not quite reach the end of the street. “It branches off to the port and starboard Pastures.”

“Pastures?” Mal asked.

“Kansas was one of the two agricultural ships. That’s why she only carried around eight thousand people. There were about six thousand head of livestock on board too. Cattle, pigs, chickens... everything. Even llamas and alpacas.”

“A big farm...” Robert said.

“Yep,” Allan replied, “There's also two hundred thousand frozen animal embryos in storage. If we're lucky, they will still be viable. With it being as cold as it is, they should still be frozen. Quite a few species on board this ship weren't on the Calgary, the other Ag ship. Might be some previously extinct animals will be making a comeback.”

“Wow,” Henderson muttered.

Allan turned to face the doors to the bridge, “Showtime.”

With a little effort, Allan was able to activate the emergency door opening mechanism and the doors slid open. A short access corridor led to an open doorway. The black of space could be seen through the bridge windows.

Outside on Serenity, Zoë spotted the glow from the boarding parties lights begin playing around the bridge.

“Does this remind you of anything, Zoë?” River asked.

“What’s that Mei-mei?”

“The night we found Allan.”

“You're right.”

Allan set foot on the bridge of the Kansas for the first time in his frame of reference, ten years. For everyone else, it was over four hundred since anyone stood here. The only light came from the LED numbers on the mission elapsed clock which ran off its own independent power source. Allan moved his light around the bridge. His blood froze when the light fell upon someone sitting in the command seat.

It wasn't Sylvia Marsh.

“Is that a Lassiter, floating there?” Henderson asked.

“Yep,” Mal replied, recognizing the weapon immediately.

Mal floated up next to Allan. The older man was now in front of the command chair, staring at the frozen body sitting there.

“You okay Allan?” Mal asked.

“I think so. Looks like he used the Lassiter...”

Mal looked at the frost covered corpse. A small hole was visible in the man's temple.

“You know him?” Mal asked.

“George Tashima, First Officer,” Allan replied. He returned to staring at the body.

“Serenity to boarding party,” Zoë voice sounded across their headsets.

“Go ahead, Zoë,” Mal answered.

“Everything alright over there?”

“Yeah... Allan's just payin his respects. Found someone he knew.”

“Copy, Sir.”

Zoë sighed. She hadn't counted on this. Her husband wouldn't sleep well tonight, most likely.

“Dr. Bryant?” Henderson asked, “How are you going to retrieve the logs?”

Shaken from his reverie, Allan turned to face the young engineer, “Still got a few tricks up my sleeve.”

Allan pushed off and floated across the bridge, stopping himself in front of a console marked Engineering. He unclipped a powered screwdriver from his belt and began to removed screws from the console. A few seconds work and the cover of the panel lifted up, trailing some cables.

Allan pulled a small object from a pouch on his belt. After a few moments, he clipped a few wires in place and suddenly the bridge consoles began to come to life.

“What did you do?” Robert asked.

“Battery pack. It will run the bridge systems for about two hours. Long enough to pull the logs and check a few systems. Mal, can you hand me that bag there?”

The captain nodded and handed the satchel to Allan. Allan retrieved his laptop computer and a length of cable. He pushed off again across the bridge to the sensor station and connected the cable between the console and his laptop.

The three other men stood in silence as Allan moved back and forth across the bridge, opening the odd access panel and checking the readouts that were just becoming to appear on long dormant screens. Returning to his floating laptop, Allan entered a few commands into the keyboard and suddenly static was heard. Allan had used his computer to tie the audio output of the logs into the frequency used by their suits.

The large primary display over the bridge windows flickered to life. The image was distorted slightly due to the extreme coldness of the screen, but soon cleared.

The image of the dead man in the command chair began to speak.

“This is the last log entry for the EES Kansas, First Officer, George Tashima recording. November fifteenth, 2114,” the image paused, “Where to begin? The beginning works I guess. Two months ago, we suffered a collision with a cometary fragment approximately one thousand meters in diameter. The fragment was on a converging course and showed very little Doppler. The high gain radar was focused forward, as we were at nearly full burn after clearing the Oort cloud around the Sol system.”

“We tried to evade the fragment but to no avail. Captain Marsh ordered the burn killed and tried to pivot us away from the point of impact with the thrusters... Almost worked, too. We were hit on the port side. This ripped open the port pasture and aft hydroponics. We lost two thousand, three hundred and ten passengers and crew within the first thirty seconds. Over five hundred injuries as well.”

“We had power surges all over the ship. The aft cryogenic chambers in hydroponics malfunctioned. The emergency revival system activated. All seven hundred ninety in those chambers were killed when the chambers opened to vacuum.”

Tashima paused again. Looked down, took a deep breath and continued., “The engineering section, engines and three of our five fuel tanks were ripped off the ship. I thought we were dead... I was mostly right.”

“We didn't have the velocity to reach our destination in the planned one hundred years. We were also off course from the evasion, burn, and collision. We were... are, screwed.”

If we ran every system on the ship, we had enough fuel for the backup fusion reactor to run life support for about six years. Using the fuel in the remaining fuel tanks that is. Then we'd be dead. At the most, by shutting down all but the most basic of systems, we might be able to stretch it to ten. Still not a great option.”

“In the end, we decided to kill ourselves. Sylvia... Captain Marsh laid out all our options and told everyone plain and simple. We were all going to die. Except that is, for the remaining four hundred people still in the forward cryo capsules... they had a chance.”

“The Wunderchild,” Tashima chuckled for a moment, “I mean Chief Navigator, Manfred Ditz, figured out a workable plan. By rigging a fuel line from the remaining fuel tanks to feed the backup reactor and the maneuvering thrusters. We executed a thirty five day burn on the thrusters that put us on a course that after about four hundred and thirteen years would swing us around Cygnus 45638, a brown dwarf, and slingshot the Kansas back where she was supposed to go.”

“To make this all work meant that we needed to kill the power to everything but the cryo capsules. Ten women among the passengers and crew were found to be pregnant. We had fifteen unused and functional cryo capsules. These ten women volunteered to be placed in cryo. They were very brave, leaving husbands, lovers and other children behind.”

“I need to say this. There was no panic, no revolt... nothing. We just got to work. It was decided to have a party. Sort of like a New Orleans funeral for ourselves. Eat, drink, and be merry... Until the narcotics in the food kicked in.”

“It was the most humane way we could come up with. The six veterinarians on board ran out of drugs after euthanasing the animals. The medical department came up with a cocktail of drugs that would induce unconsciousness. Then the Captain depressurized the compartment herself.”

“Tian xiaode,” Lt. Henderson whispered.

“I truly hope no one suffered,” Tashima said on the screen, “I know I won’t. Manfred has an overdose of morphine to take and the Captain... well that's another story.”

“Captain Marsh was pregnant, you see. I insisted that she go into cryo herself but she steadfastly refused,” George Tashima paused, “I then committed what is essentially mutiny. I hit the Captain with something to knock her out. Then Manfred and I put her into cryo. Sylvia... if you get to see this message, don't be too pissed at me. Manfred only helped after you were out. This was my idea. To whomever gets to see this message, I implore you. None of this was the Captain’s fault. She preformed her duty with compassion and great bravery. She and her child deserve a chance.”

“I... I guess that’s it. All the previous logs detail exactly what happened and there is a data dump from the flight data recorder as well. This is George Tashima, First Officer of the EES Kansas signing off... Oh yeah, the captain is going to be royally pissed when she wakes up... god bless,” The recording ended.

It was quiet on the bridge of the Kansas. Robert, Mal and Lt. Henderson shared looks through the visors of their helmets. Mal floated over to Allan's side.

“Are you okay?” The Captain asked his friend.

Allan looked at Mal and nodded. Gently pushing off, he floated over to the body of George Tashima, “Thank you, George,” Allan whispered.

“What's next?” Robert asked.

“Cryo is eight decks down. Has it's own airlock. We'll take the shuttle,” Allan stated.

“Let's move people,” Mal ordered as Allan unhooked his computer and followed the others back to the shuttle.

XXXXXXXXXX

After advising Serenity what was happening, Allan flew the shuttle to the other airlock. It was a bit balkier but soon opened. The four men found themselves in a large compartment. Glass fronted tubes lined the walls. There was some light in the room from a number of still functioning cryo chambers.

The number was quite low unfortunately. Allan spent ten minutes floating from one chamber to another, checking status displays.

There were only five chambers still working.

Allan had tears in his eyes as he checked the equipment. He blinked to clear his eyes: crying in zero g was messy. The first functioning chamber held a man about forty years old. Allan thought he looked familiar. Next was a young woman who looked to be about eighteen or nineteen. The last three chambers still functioning also held women. They were at the end of a row. Two, Allan didn't know. The last held Sylvia Marsh.

Allan smiled for the first time in hours. Until he took a close look at the status display on the unit.

“Shit!” the engineer swore.

“What is it, Allan?” Mal said as he floated up next to the older man.

“This chamber is about to fail. Henderson! Get over here.”

“What do you need, Dr. Bryant?”

“There's a power cell like I used on the bridge on the shuttle, bring that and the tool box. We need to get this chamber to Serenity,” Allan ordered.

“We can move it?” Robert asked.

“They're movable. Just need a power source. The problem is, that this one's primary suspension regulator is about to fail. If it goes, the chamber will go into emergency revival. If that happens in here, she's dead.”

“Here's the power pack and tools, Dr. Bryant,” Henderson said as he shot back into the compartment.

"Mal, you and Henderson start unbolting it from the deck. Fifteen millimeter wrenches fit the bolts. Robert, give me a hand getting the power pack attached."

The four men worked quickly. Allan hooked up the power supply as fast as he could with the bulky suit gloves. Mal and Henderson got the bolts undone just as a red light began to flash on the chamber.

Allan swore again, “We need to move. Two minutes before this thing opens up.”

Power pack connected, the four men began pushing the bulky chamber towards the shuttle.

“Will it fit?” Mal asked.

“It better,” was Allan's reply.

With some scraped paint, the chamber finally slid into the shuttle. As soon as the door was closed, Mal hit the controls to turn the gravity back on and bring the life support back up to normal levels. He turned to Allan as he removed his helmet, “What next?”

“Head for Serenity, and have Simon standing by,” Allan ordered, as he too removed his helmet.

“What can we do to help?” Robert asked.

“A prayer wouldn't hurt,” Allan replied as a piercing alarm sounded from the chamber. The figure within was obscured as the emergency revival system began to hopefully bring Sylvia Marsh back to the living.

Allan felt the shuttle lurch away from Kansas as Mal engaged the engines. With one final squeal, the chamber fell silent for a moment. Several clicks were heard as the transparent cover unlatched. With a hiss and wave of cold air, the chamber opened.

Inside lay the nude body of Sylvia Marsh. Frost still clinging to her honey blond hair. Allan held his breath. While never a religious man, Allan was praying now.

Sylvia took a breath.

Allan let out the one he had been holding.

Another breath and a cough. Then another breath followed by a hoarse moan.

A smile spread across Allan's face as he felt the shuttle dock with Serenity.

“Henderson, hand me that blanket there.” Allan ordered.

“Huh? Oh, yeah,” the young man stammered as he handed a rough blanket to Allan.

“Put them eyes back in your head son,” Robert chuckled. Sylvia Marsh was a very attractive woman.

The woman in question opened her eyes them shut them immediately followed by a moan.

“Take it slow, Sylvia,” Allan said quietly.

The woman's reply was a right cross that impacted Allan's jaw.

XXXXXXXXXX

All Sylvia Marsh could remember was George Tashima attacking her and the world going dark.

Reflexes took over when she came to and she lashed out at the man she thought was her traitorous first officer.

Allan shook his head to clear the stars he was currently seeing.

Sylvia looked around, wild eyed. She was naked and sitting in what looked like one of Kansas' cryo chambers. However, the place where the chamber was located looked nothing like Kansas.

Four men stood around her dressed in strange looking EVA suits. One large man with red hair stood on one side, another with dark brown hair and piercing blue eyes on the other. A young man with a military haircut stood wild eyed in the corner and directly in front of her stood someone she never thought she would see again.

“Allan?”

“Hey, Sylvia,” Allan grinned, “Still got a mean right cross, I see.”

At that moment the hatch opened and Simon and Zoë rushed in. Sylvia suddenly went pale and vomited all over the deck next to the chamber before passing out.

“Shit!” Allan swore. In one swift move, he scooped the Kansas' captain into his arms and headed for the infirmary. Simon on his heels.

Zoë looked at Mal, “What the hell just happened?”

“Ain't quite sure, Zoë. I'll let ya know when I do, though.”

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TBC

COMMENTS

Wednesday, February 18, 2009 1:51 PM

JANE0904


And the others? Hopefully Sylvia's just got a touch of overdue morning sickness, but what about the others still in cryo? And who is the one Allan thinks he might recognise? And thanks for answering my query about why they didn't just euthenise everyone rather than opening the hatches to space. Good catch!

Thursday, February 19, 2009 4:57 PM

ANGELLEMARCS


Awesome! I just love how you enjoy twisting us!

Thursday, February 19, 2009 5:08 PM

FREEVERSE


This is quite a tale, Briglad! I'm glad SImon's on hand, especially as Allan just got clocked!


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