BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

BRIGLAD

Relics - Chapter 15
Thursday, March 5, 2009

Back home on Boros, Allan begins to piece together the puzzle.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1428    RATING: 10    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 Fifteen

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“The drone failed.”

“Shen-me?”

“Serenity was not destroyed.”

“How could that happen?”

“From the report received from our... people... the vessel seems to have a very capable anti-missile defense. This, coupled with Bryant's skill as a pilot.”

“Bah! He's just lucky.”

“He may well be untouchable now.”

“Not to me he isn't.”

“Is that wise?”

“Not my first option, but at the moment, I cannot think of a better way. Tell me about phase two.”

“Proceeding as planned. As of this morning, seventeen ships have been destroyed. The rest of the independent haulers are frightened. I estimate that within a week, the only ships that will carry Blue Sun cargo will be the ones that we control.

“Excellent. What of Blue Sun itself?”

“The stock price is down thirty points at the opening of the markets on Londinium. And retail prices on the rim are rising again.”

“Good.”

“Will that be all?”

“Prepare my ship for departure this afternoon. I'm going to Boros.”

“Very good.”

XXXXXXXXXX

“I'm sorry to put you on the spot like this, Reggie,” Allan said to the man on the cortex screen.

“It's what you pay me for, Allan” the redhead replied.

“First week on the job and you get dumped with the biggest PR mess since I took over the company.”

“We'll fix it.”

“I hope so. Has Oso come up with anything?”

“A few leads. Interpol is all over things as well. The fleet is upping patrols but I doubt it will help much.”

“I know,” Allan replied sadly, “On a happier note... How are you and Alisha getting on?”

Reggie smiled, “Fine. We found a nice apartment three blocks from the office. And she has four interviews at restaurants looking for executive chefs.”

“I'm glad that's working.”

“How are the folks from the Kansas getting on?”

“Adapting, slowly.”

“Boros is a good transition for them. I think dropping them in the core would just overwhelm them.”

“I agree.”

“Any progress on the drone that attacked you?” Reggie asked.

“Feds found the wreckage. It was a remote with limited AI. Pre-war model. Supposedly they were all destroyed after the armistice but like all things, a few slipped through the cracks.”

“I've got to get back to work, Boss. I'll wave as soon as I have anything else to report.”

“Thanks, Reggie. Give Alisha my love.”

“And Zoë mine.”

Cutting the wave, Allan leaned back in his chair and rubbed his eyes. He could feel the headache building already.

It had been a hectic week. After being nearly blown out of space by a drone, realizing that many of the ships carrying cargo for Blue Sun were being targeted and getting four women from early twenty-second century Earth settled into the guest house here at Serenity Acres had been exhausting.

Allan heard the front door to his house slam shut and the sound of small running feet came closer. Sara came bounding into her father's study.

“Daddy! Come quick!”

“What is it?” Allan asked, alarmed.

“Lightnin' is havin' her baby!”

“Well, that is important,” Allan smiled before scooping up his five year old.

With Sara in his arms, Allan left the house and started walking towards Mal's horse barn. The horse he rode, when he had time, was about to deliver her foal.

XXXXXXXXXX

Allan leaned against the coral fence next to Mal and Jayne. A few feet away, a spindly legged foal was standing on his unsure legs. Standing next to the adults were the three oldest Serenity children.

Mal looked down at the kids and smiled, “What are you gonna name him, Sara?”

“I can name him, Uncle Mal?”

“Yup. Jeff and Becca named the last two. It's your turn.”

The little girl looked deep in thought for a moment. Her eyes gazing at the newborn horse, “Zephyr.”

Mal looked taken aback. How did a five year old come up with a name like that? Then he remembered that it was Allan and Zoë's little girl.

“That's a right good and strong name for 'im,” Mal smiled. “I'll go register than on his papers.”

Sara beamed at her uncle.

“What do you guys think of the name?” Allan asked Jeff and Becca.

“Shiny!” the tots chirped in unison.

“You little ones all ready to start school?” Jayne asked the children.

“Sure are, Uncle Jayne,” Jefferson replied. The girls nodded.

“Now make sure you study hard. You don't want to turn out dumb like me.”

“You ain't dumb, Uncle Jayne,” Becca pouted.

“How come you know that, Squirt?”

“Cause you married Aunt River,” Becca stated.

Allan and Mal snorted in amusement. “She's got you there, Jayne,” Allan grinned.

As Allan walked back towards the house, he spotted Sylvia sitting on the front porch of the guest house, a slight smile on her face. She was wearing khaki shorts, sandals and a tank top. Allan wandered over.

“Hi, Aunt Sylvia,” Sara called out. She had 'adopted' Sylvia as another aunt immediately and called Melissa another cousin.

“Enjoying the weather?” Allan asked.

“I am,” the former captain of the Kansas replied. “I never thought I would be outdoors like this again. We were so busy on Deadwood, I didn't get the chance to take your advice.”

“What advice was that?” Allan asked.

“Stop and smell the roses.”

XXXXXXXXXX

Putting Sara down for a nap, for which she protested against even though she was yawning at the time, Allan made his way back downstairs and plopped down on the sofa. Absently he picked up the remote and tuned in the news channel on the cortex. What he saw didn't help his mood any.

The reports about the lost shipping had gone public and the media jumped all over it. The talking heads were debating Allan's choice of using freelance freight haulers versus the larger cargo companies.

“That's not helping your blood pressure,” Simon said through the screen door.

“Tell me about it,” Allan said, waving the younger man inside.

Simon took a seat across from Allan. “Looks bad.”

“It's getting there... I... I just don't know what to make of it. First, whoever is doing this did things on the sly. The bombs on the ships. Now, outright attacks on innocent shippers. Not to mention trying to kill all of us.” Allan threw his hands up in disgust.

“My father waved. That's why I came over. His investment company is seeing a rush of clients trying to dump their Blue Sun stock. He's advising them to hold on...”

“I understand and I appreciate his efforts,” Allan sighed.

“Who would want to both attack Blue Sun as a company and you personally?” Simon asked.

“That's what is bugging me, Simon. I can't figure it out. Someone attacking me or a business rival going after Blue Sun, but both?”

“It's almost like a conspiracy,” Simon muttered.

“A what?” Allan asked.

“A conspiracy.”

“That's it!” Allan exclaimed.

“Shen-me?”

“All I need to do is figure out who would have the most to gain in attacking the shipping. Then backtrack to see who might have a personal grudge.”

“Sounds like a tall order.”

“Luckily, three of the smartest people in the 'Verse are right here.”

Simon smiled, “You're right on that account.”

“Still, we need to get information from someone in the underworld. Someone with ears to the ground and a finger in lots of other pies.”

“I think I know the person to call,” Simon smiled.

“Who's that?”

“An old contact of the Captain's.”

XXXXXXXXXX

“Reynolds. Never thought I'd hear from you 'gain... now that you're all fancified playin' gentleman farmer and the like.”

“Cut the crap, Badger. I need intel,” Mal snarled at the little weasel on the cortex screen

“Words like that and I just might up the price.”

Mal's face grew dark and he stared at the little man, “Someone tried to kill me and mine. You know me. That ain't healthy for the ones doin.”

Badger backed down. As one of the only survivors of the Operative's purge of Mal's contacts years ago. Saved only by the fact that Mal had marooned the little man in the middle of nowhere after a double cross, Badger actually owed Mal his life in a manner of speaking.

“What, you need?” Badger said after a moment.

“Someone is hitting Blue Sun transports. Ones run by Browncoats.”

“Aye, I been seeing that m'self.”

“Heard anything?”

“Might... gonna cost you.”

“Money ain't an object,” Mal replied.

“Farmin that profitable?”

“I do okay. But I ain't the fella payin.”

“Let me guess. That would be your friend, Mr. Bryant,” Badger grinned.

“It would.”

Mal could almost see the credit signs rolling in the weasel's eyes on the screen.

“What's his terms?”

Mal stepped back and Allan came into view on the screen, “Name your price,” Allan said.

“Ain't gonna be cheap,” Badger smiled.

“Cut the crap and tell me a number,” Allan growled.

“Don't get so techey,” Badger replied. He seemed to think for a minute, “Thirty-five.”

“I'm assuming you mean that in thousands,” Allan replied.

“You assume right.”

Allan didn't even blink, “What's the account I can send it to?”

Badger rattled off a sting of numbers. Allan entered them into the cortex on his end and typed a few more commands. He looked up at the little man, “Check your balance.”

Badger typed commands into his unit at his end and his jaw dropped, “That... that ain't thirty-five.”

“Nope, it's seventy,” Allan replied, evenly, “What do you know?”

Still in shock, the little man began to tell what he knew.

XXXXXXXXXX

Mal, Simon, River, and Zoë were gathered around the dining room table in Allan and Zoë's house. Allan paced back and forth as he spoke.

“Badger was quite knowledgeable,” he said.

“Usually is... for a weasel,” Zoë replied.

Allan nodded in agreement, “From what he has heard. He called them rumors. A few of the larger shipping companies are upset about how little freight work they are getting from Blue Sun.”

“Ain't these the same haulers that said they didn't want the little runs to the outlying moons and such?” Zoë asked.

“They are,” Allan agreed, “But as the program grew, it expanded as more freelancers were added to the fold. Now, there are more freelancers hauling for Blue Sun than the big companies.”

“And they are upset about that I take it,” River asked.

“To put it mildly,” Allan replied.

“What about the Feds?” Simon asked.

“They have started an investigation but for the short term, there's not much they can do. What's worse is that these tactics are doing what the big companies want. The contract haulers are running scared. Refusing loads. Since I pay so well, Many have enough in savings to hold out for a while. Meanwhile, Blue Sun has been forced to utilize these other shipping companies to get the products to market... at inflated prices.”

“What companies are involved?” Simon asked.

“There's no official proof but Osiris Shipping, Shinon Freightways and Golden Dragon Transportation. They are the big three besides Blue Sun's own fleet of transports.”

“None of the Blue Sun ships have been hit?” Mal asked.

“Not yet. Most are newer ships with better sensor packages. Hard to sneak up on. Also many are licensed armed merchantmen. They can shoot back.”

“Leavin the older, unprotected boats to get blown outta space,” Mal grumbled.

“Yes,” Allan admitted.

“What's the plan?” Simon asked.

“Later today, Reggie is releasing information to the press regarding this little discovery.”

“Won't the shipping companies yell and scream a bit about that?” Zoë asked her husband.

“That's why I'm doing it. My hope is that with the public eye on them, they'll squirm and make a mistake.”

“What about the attack on Serenity?” Mal asked.

“Not sure yet but I have a feeling that it all ties together somehow.”

“What's the next step?” Simon asked.

“We wait.”

XXXXXXXXXX

“Mr. O'Leary, I must protest the tone of the press release you sent out this afternoon,” Marlin Aguirre, the chairman of Osiris Shipping said to Reggie over the wave.

“I'm sorry you feel that way, Mr. Aguirre,” The Public Relations man replied, “But it seems strange that only the ships commanded by former Independents were targeted in these attacks.”

“How do you know they were attacks. Those old luh-suh boats could have just blown up on their own.”

“Since our own CEO found evidence of explosives on one ship and three ships actually found bombs... these are attacks,” Reggie replied sternly.

“My company had nothing to do with that,” Aguirre replied indignantly, “And the accusations in your press release border on libel.”

“All we said was that it seemed strange that only freelance ships hauling cargo for Blue Sun were attacked. Blue Sun's own ships and those belonging to all other freight carriers have been so far, untouched.”

“Perhaps Blue Sun is doing this themselves.”

Reggie's face grew hard. “How stupid are you? Why would we do something like that?”

“I protest! How dare you call me stupid!”

“How dare you insinuate that we would blow up our own contractors!” Reggie replied, steel in his voice.

“Who knows what goes on in the Blue Sun boardroom. I'm sure they thought Pax was a good idea at the time too. And look at what happened with that.”

“Good day, Mr. Aguirre,” Reggie snarled before cutting the wave. Taking a deep breath to calm himself, the former Alliance Major started to smile. “Hook, line and sinker,” he muttered.

Aguirre was the last of the senior executives to call Reggie that day. The CEO of Golden Dragon Transportation and Shinon Freightways had called as well. Their protests had been nearly identical. Right down to the accusations that Blue Sun was doing this themselves and mentioning Pax. It was almost if all three were reading from a script.

XXXXXXXXXX

“Inara, I'm so glad to hear that you are safe.”

“Thank you, Angelique,” the former companion replied to her friend on the cortex screen.

“If you have time. I'll be arriving in Capital City on Boros in two days.”

“You're coming here?” Inara asked.

“Yes. With it's development, the guild is considering opening a training house on Boros.”

“That's wonderful, Angelique,” Inara replied.

“If you could send me the coordinates to your home, after my business is concluded, we could fly our shuttle to visit.”

“We?”

“My pilot. I am not skilled in piloting, I'm afraid.”

“Certainly. I'll send the clearance codes for landing. Serenity Acres has... security features that would preclude a safe landing for an unknown ship.”

“Very good. I'll wave once we arrive in Capital City.”

“I look forward to it,” Inara replied.

-

TBC

COMMENTS

Thursday, March 5, 2009 6:44 PM

FREEVERSE


No, Inara! Not the security codes!!! I smell a rat in companion's clothing. THe conspiracy thickens. River to the rescue? Please?

~freeverse

Friday, March 6, 2009 3:52 AM

JANE0904


Things are becoming clearer. But I agree with freeverse - nothing good is going to come of Inara giving the security codes to anyone, even someone masquerading as a friend! Unless Allan and the others are now so paranoid that they suspect everyone is a trap?


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