Quest - Chapter 16
Monday, December 7, 2009

Parting is such sweet sorrow. Quest departs Earth for home without her Captain and Engineer.


Disclaimer: Joss, Fox, Universal Own em’. I’m just playing. No money being made. The situations come from my own twisted mind as do my original characters.




Quest-Chapter Sixteen


“I don't know how to thank you for this Janice,” Allan said sincerely.

“Nonsense, Allan,” The Republic of North America's President replied, “Sara and Rebecca will be perfectly welcome here on Earth. I will see to it personally.”

“Clay as well as two of Quest's security officers will also be staying.”

“I understand...”

Allan nodded and sank back into the overstuffed chair he occupied in the President's office, “Thank you, just the same.”

“Allan... you are a parent. I too would do anything for my children. In fact, I just became a Grandmother myself a few months ago.”

“Maybe you can give Zoë some tips? Ever since we got the news, She's been going a little nuts... Worse than me, actually.”

“If you think the maternal instinct is strong, try the grand-maternal... It's worse. I assure you.”

Allan chuckled slightly, “I have been noticing that.”

“What about you, Allan. How are you fairing with the news?”

Allan shook his head, “I'm not sure yet. To be honest. I never expected to have a family after I left. I half expected to die on the trip. And then to arrive three hundred years late? Well at my age I'm just happy to be breathing. In the first year and a half after I got out of cryo, I was nearly killed so many times... well.”

“Still, you survived...”

“That I did,” Allan agreed.

“When do you plan on returning?”

“It will be tight but we hope by Christmas. I know Clay and Becca are thinking of a New years wedding.”

“That should ensure Clay does not forget his wedding anniversary,” Janice chuckled.

“That's for sure,” Allan grinned in reply.

“I hate to cut this short, Allan but I do have work to attend to...”

“Certainly Janice. I understand,” Allan replied as he stood to leave.

“We'll take of them, Allan.”

“I know,” the elderly engineer smiled as he took his leave.


The security staff escorted Allan to his rented car. A sporty two door model with a powerful hybrid power plant. With the reduced need for petroleum and the greatly increased supply compared to the early twenty second century, Allan hadn't driven a anything like a muscle car since his Grandfather's eighty year old Mustang.

Merging into the early afternoon Boston traffic, Allan headed west towards the airbase where he had Free Bird parked. When Washington DC and Philadelphia had been nuked, the seat of the North American government had moved back to another important historical city, Boston. While the League was headquartered in Montreal, the RNA's bureaucracy was centered around the Boston metroplex.

Pulling onto the expressway, Allan sped up to the posted cruising speed of 100 KPH. The engineer flipped through the available entertainment channels and amazingly found a station that played pre world war three war music. The music of his youth. Picking up his speed slightly, Allan cruised along, bobbing his head in time to the sounds of Bad Company pouring from the speakers.

An hour later, Allan pulled into the gates of the airbase known to him in his younger days as Westover Air Reserve Base. The base where his Mother had flown C-17's.

After checking in with security, Allan followed his escort's vehicle onto the flight line. A line of what Allan had learned were F-135 interceptors as well as a line of large transports that looked a great deal like the C-17's that his Mother flew glistened into the soft falling rain. Typical fall New England weather.

Standing out among the fighters and transport aircraft were the shapes of two spacecraft. One based on a design from Earth and the other, a ship designed in the 'Verse.

Side by side on the large ramp sat the Firefly called Sara Jane and the replica orbital shuttle called Free Bird.

Allan chuckled at the ring of wet security personnel who ringed the two ships. Keeping the gawking base personnel at bay. Allan pulled his car up to the base of Sara Jane's ramp, the neck of the ship affording some protection from the rain. Sara was waiting with her mother at the top of the open ramp.

“All set, Dad?” Sara asked as her father clambered out of the car.

“All set, Princess. Sara Jane will be parked here as long as is necessary. They have set up a nice apartment building for all of you.”

“Where is it?” Zoë asked.

“Near the intersection of Mass ave. and Beacon st. Across the River from MIT.”

“Isn't that where you went, Dad?” Sara asked.

“Yep,” Allan grinned, “My alma matter. If you get too bored, I spoke with the physics department chair. He would be delighted if you would speak with some of the physics classes for the undergrads.”

Sara rolled her eyes. Her father had been trying to get her to take a teaching position for the last year and a half. She had even agreed once Quest was fully up and running and the first mission was out of the way. Now that she was expecting. Sara could see the logic in what her father was saying. She didn't have to like it though.

“We'll see, Dad,” Sara replied after a moment.

“How will they be getting around, Husband?” Zoë asked. Knowing that Sara, Becca and Clay along with their minders would need transportation.

“It's an hour and a half drive, depending on traffic from the apartment to the base here. Janice set up for a pair of SUV's for them to use. As well as the coupe I've been driving.

Sara grinned, “Dibs on the S-1900,” she said quickly, referring to the car that Allan had been driving.

Allan chuckled, “I kinda figured that. Janice arranged for diplomatic passports and drivers licenses for all of you,” he said as he handed an envelope to Sara with the documents, “You will be here as representatives of the Alliance. As such, your apartment will be considered the defacto embassy for the short term. Owen and Rosie will have some backup from Diplomatic Protective Services. You can also keep carrying your weapons.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Zoë replied, “In the meantime, Sara and I are going shopping...”

Allan groaned. He had set up a credit account for the Quest crew shortly after they had arrived. He used almost a ton of platinum as well as one of Quest's shuttles as collateral. With Zoë on a maternity shopping spree, he wondered if it was going to be enough.

“Relax, Dad,” Sara grinned after seeing the expression on her fathers face, “Just some early maternity shopping. By the time you get back, I wont even be showing yet.”

Allan smiled, “I know, kiddo. I just know what my credit statements look like when you and your mother go shopping...”

Sara giggled and Zoë scowled, “What was that, Dear?”

“Have fun shopping,” Allan grinned before pulling up the collar on his leather jacket for the short walk to Free Bird.

Laughing, Mother and daughter entered the car with Sara behind the wheel. She first entered the location of the apartment into the navigational system and then in a roar, tore off across the ramp, heading for the gate.

Allan chuckled and climbed aboard Free Bird and the quick trip to orbit. He still had to help Becca and Clay get Quest ready for the trip back home.


On the ride into town, Sara and Zoë chatted. Both enjoying the scenery as they drove. It was still a bit surreal to be driving a gasoline and battery powered car on an expressway heading into the city of Boston. A city that was only myth and legend to most people from their side of the galaxy.

Sara had left the radio station that her father had preset. Enjoying the music as she drove. Soon they began entering the outskirts of the city. In short order, they took the exit indicated by the nav system and found themselves on Beacon street. The apartment building wasn't hard to find. The sign on the the front identifying it as the 'Embassy of the Alliance of Planets' made it kind of hard to miss. Apparently, the RNA government had taken over the entire building and deeded it over to the Alliance as an embassy. Pulling around the corner, Sara spotted a small guarded driveway to the rear of the Brownstone looking building. A uniformed guard stopped them.

“This is a restricted area,”

“Not for me, I hope,” Sara replied as she handed over her new passport.

The man snapped to attention, “My apologies, Dr. Reynolds.”

“It's okay. My Mom and I are just here to look at the place. Then we're going shopping afterwards.”

“Downtown is a bit hard to navigate for those unfamiliar with the city, Ma'am. The Back Bay Mall is just five blocks from here. Much easier to reach on foot.”

“Thanks,” Sara smiled, “Okay to park the car here?”

The young man smiled, “It's your embassy. Take any of the open spaces. Ambassador Wu and the Sec State are inside.”

“Sounds good,” Sara grinned before gunning the engine and whipping into a parking spot.

Zoë exited first and chuckled, “Bein a married woman ain't changed your drivin any.”

Sara rolled her eyes, “And who taught me how to drive?”

“I did...” Zoë trailed off.

“I rest my case,” Sara giggled.

The mother and daughter entered the rear door and were met by another security type, “Welcome,” said the man.

“Hi,” Sara replied, “We're looking for Ambassador Wu.”

“The Ambassador is in the front room, Ma'am.”

“Thank, you,” Sara replied as she led her mother deeper into the building.

Zoë and Sara came up short when they saw the 'negotiations' in progress in the front room. Trudy Wu, Ambassador to Earth from the Alliance of planets and former registered Companion was in a passionate embrace with Robert Pace, The Republic of North America's Secretary of State on the sofa. Trudy's blouse had just hit the floor.

“So this is what they mean by Interplanetary Intercourse...” Sara chuckled.

With a yelp, Trudy jumped back , her fair skin turning red. Mr. Pace simply looked mortified.

Zoë tried to hide a grin but it slipped onto her face, “Relax Trudy,” she said after a moment.

“I... we... ah...” Robert stammered.

“Got lost in the moment,” Trudy finished.

“That I can see,” Sara replied.

Zoë shook her head, “Bout time you two. You've been makin eyes at each other since we got here.”

“Zoë, I...”

Zoë sighed and took a seat across from the couple, “Trudy, we've known each other a while. I'm happy for you.”

Trudy blushed again. Something that Zoë thought that would be hard for someone who was a companion to get that embarassed.

“So... why are you here?” Trudy asked after a moment.

“Checking out where we'll be staying,” Sara replied as she averted her eyes while Trudy re buttoned her blouse.

“Oh,” Trudy replied, “There are bedrooms on the third floor. I've set one aside for you and Becca and Clay have the other. Roseanne and Owen will have rooms on the fourth along with Lt. Coletti.”

“Luigi?” Sara asked.

“Got his orders this morning. As did I. I am being assigned here permanently as Ambassador. Luigi will be my military liaison. When Quest returns, they will be bringing the rest of the embassy staff.”

Sara nodded, “I thought Mr. Pace was coming along with Quest?”

“I am,” Robert replied, “That's why...”

“And that's our cue to skedaddle,” Zoë smiled, “Come on, Daughter... time for shopping.”

“Okay, Mom,” Sara chuckled.

Leaving the diplomats alone, Sara and her mother walked out the front door and onto the streets of Boston.


“That's the last of it, Uncle Allan,” Becca smiled as she slid out from under the main gravity generator for the FTL system. The pair were deep in the bowels of Quest.

“Good. Lets get you out of here before you take too much radiation. This part of the ship isn't as shielded as the rest.”

“I know,” the young woman replied, “Stop worryin.”

Allan patted Becca on the shoulder, “You know, you are like a second daughter to me...”

“I know, Uncle Allan. Just kinda' nervous about the next couple o' months.”

“You'll be fine here.”

“Ain't worried about that,” Becca replied, “Just... I'm gonna be a momma...”

“You'll do fine, shorty,” Allan teased, “If you're half the mother Kaylee was, you won't have to worry.”

“Wish I could tell her in person,” Becca said as she and Allan climbed out of the access tunnel.

“I'm actually looking forward to the look on your father's face,” Allan grinned.

“Probably faint dead away,”

“That's what I'm figuring on,” Allan grinned.

“What about Uncle Mal?” Becca giggled.

“Let's put it this way. I better make sure I tell your dad first. That way he can deal with Mal's heart attack.”

Becca thumped Allan on the arm, “That ain't even funny.”

Allan looked down at this young woman who reminded him so much of her mother, “If that's the last of the checks. You and Clay better start packing.”

“Already done... well I packed for the both of us,” Becca said as they entered the small elevator that would take them to the topmost deck.

“For both?”

“I swear that man is playin up the fact he got shot...”

“Give him this chance, Kiddo. The next nine months are gonna be all about you.”

A smile appeared on Becca's face, “Ain't it shiny?”


The goodbyes were teary as Jeff and Sara kissed at the base of Sara Jane's ramp. Becca got a hug from her cousin Rachel. Allan and Zoë were last to say goodbye.

“We'll be back as soon as we can,” Zoë said as she hugged her daughter.

“You better,” Sara sniffled, “I'm not having this baby without the father here.”

“Bring him at gunpoint if I have too,” Allan smiled.

“It'll be the other way around if they won't let me come back,” Jeff stated.

Allan hugged his daughter so hard he lifted her off the ground, “Take care of yourself, Princess.”

“I will, Daddy,” Sara replied weepily.

After one last kiss, Sara turned and strode up the ramp into Sara Jane. Beside her stood, Clay, Becca, Rosanne, Owen and Luigi. Trudy had already said her farewells and was back in Boston.

Allan turned to his son-in-law, “Ready to get this show on the road, Captain?”

Jeff looked at Allan, “Only for this trip. The real Captain is right there,” he said as he waved to his wife as she disappeared out of sight behind the closing ramp of the Firefly.”

“I know, Jeff. But look at it this way. The quicker we go... the quicker we get back.”

“You're right,” Jeff said. Then louder he addressed everyone else, “Clear the deck! Depressurizing in three minutes!”

Three and a half minutes later, Sara Jane gently eased from her docking bay along the spine of Quest.

As soon as the ships were clear of each other, Quest slowly powered up her main engines and began charging the FTL system for the first time in over a month.

In less than three hours, the ship would be twenty light years away and back home in orbit around Boros. They had to make a stop there before heading on to the shipyard over Londinium.

Engines glowing blue fire, Quest began to accelerate away from Sara Jane and Earth. Just before the ship disappeared from sight, the FTL pods glowed with their golden fire and in a flash of light. Quest was gone.

With a combination of fear, excitement and a little joy, Sara turned her namesake around and began to head for Earth.


“Son of a bitch...” General Dan Reed growled after rinsing his mouth.

“You get used to it, Dan,” Allan soothed as he handed the officer a towel to wipe his mouth.

“I haven't thrown up in anything flying since flight school,” the younger man groused.

“Like I said, the next jump will only upset your inner ear,” Allan replied. “Care to see the next one from the bridge?”

“You bet.”


“You okay, Ma?” Jesse Cobb asked his mother as they drove back to Serenity Acres from town.

“I'm fine, Jesse,” River replied, “I miss the connection I have with your sister's mind. It's like a piece of me is missing.”

The teenager nodded. His mother had been a bit off, the last few months his big sister had been away on her mission. Even on opposite sides of the system, River could at least sense her daughter. Twenty light years away? It was like there was a black hole.

As Jesse pulled the old hover truck into the gate, his mother suddenly stiffened in her seat, “Ma?”

A huge smile slid across River's face, “Your Sister is home...”


“Wow,” Robert Pace said as the blue and white globe that was Boros filled the bridge windows.

“Said that right, Bob,” Dan Reed replied.

Jeff turned around in his chair, “Welcome to our side of the 'Verse, gentlemen.”

“Thank you, Captain,”the Secretary of State replied.

Allan looked at the Navsat display and reset his watch to the local time, “You know, it's almost dinner at home...”

“Can't sneak up. Mom knows already,” Rachel said from her position at the sensors.

Jeff turned to the rest of what was temporarily, his crew, “Lets do the post jump checks. Virgil, get the Navsat updated. Melissa, upload all the ships logs to Blue Sun HQ and fleet HQ. The rest of you, get ready for one last short jump to Londinium in the morning. Rachel and I are the only one's going down. The rest of you will have a weeks leave once we get Quest put to bed at the shipyard.”

A chorus of yes' sounded around the bridge.

“That doesn't include us,” Allan chuckled, “Come on Dan, Bob, you're eating at our house tonight.”

“Haven't you forgotten, Husband?”

“What's that, Zoë?”

“There's no food at the house...”

“Oh... yeah... okay... we're eating at Mal and Inara's tonight.”

“Good thinkin, Husband.”

“I am a genius...” Allan grinned.




Monday, December 7, 2009 11:39 AM


thanks, brian, enjoying these tales, especially since a recent cancer diagnosis. Hope your sweetie is doing well.

Monday, December 7, 2009 12:19 PM


Why do I get the feeling that all is going *too* well? Oh, yes. Because I know you. But before anything else happens, I hope you've written the scenes where Mal and Simon find out they're going to be grandpappys. Please?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009 4:50 AM


Ominous fluff.. agree with Jane.. all is too well.. Mal is going to hurt his self for sure... good to tell Simon first. I am concerned about freevers's cancer diagnosis comment. If this is happening in your real world, my heartfelt prayers and best wishes are with you and yours.

~ Maineaxe ~


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