Quest - Chapter 24
Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thing are happening quickly as the rescue operation begins.


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.


AN: Getting closer to the end of the arc folks. I'm guessing two or three more to finish this up.


Quest - Chapter Twenty Four


Rear Admiral Stephen Henderson was not a stupid man. He couldn't be one to rise as far as he had in the ranks. Most engineers did their mandatory hitch and left for the greener pastures of civilian jobs with twice the salary and less likelihood of death by explosive decompression in combat.

Steve had contemplated that himself. Offered a high paying job with Blue Sun by the CEO himself, no less back when he was just the assistant engineer aboard the Dortmunder.

But Admiral Shin had seen something in the young officer and had encouraged him to stay in the fleet. The 'Old Man' as he was affectionately known in the fleet had also recommended Steve for his first command. The ship he had been both, assistant engineer and then chief engineer. The Dortmunder.

So when he stepped out of his shuttle into the small hangar bay of the Altair Shipbuilding yard, accompanied by two Marines for security and Captain Nobu Suzuki. He spotted the primary reason Altair had beat both Allied Shipbuilding and Blue Sun in the latest ship contract.

Altair used slaves.

Stephen also knew immediately that his, as well as his companions lives were in grave danger. And it wasn't the ten heavily armed men holding guns on him.

It was the overhead intercom screaming that there were Reaver ships inbound to the dockyard.


“Say that again?” asked the Navajo's shocked executive officer.

“A transport. Identified as the Walrus is claiming that they are being chased by a pair of what look to be Reaver vessels,” said the destroyer's communications officer.

“There haven't been Reavers for twenty years.”

“Sir!” spoke up the sensor officer, “We have the Walrus on our screens and there are two ships in close pursuit. Both have very high radiation signatures.”

“Sound General Quarters,” ordered the XO, “And bring all weapons on line.”

“Aye, Sir!” replied several of the officers on the bridge

“Let's see how a Reaver piece of go-se holds up against a destroyer, shall we?” the XO grinned.


“I hope Allan knows what he's doin,” Monty mumbled as he stood behind his pilot.


“Make a close pass on the purple belly destroyer then cut the remote links with our decoys.”

“You're the boss...”


The Navajo had gone immediately to flank speed, accelerating out of orbit towards the approaching Reavers. The Warship had built up a surprising amount of speed by the time she passed by the old transport the Reavers were intending on having for lunch.

“Missile batteries are ready sir,” reported the Navajo's weapons officer.

“Missiles are too expensive, Lieutenant. Charge the mass drivers.”

“Aye, aye sir.”

Seconds later, the sleek destroyer came into mass driver range of the first of the Reaver ships. The warship shuddered twice as the energy output of one, of her two reactors was shunted to the superconducting magnets that lined her pair of rail gun tubes.

Two stainless steel balls nearly half a meter across erupted from the muzzles of the immense rail guns. Accelerated to nearly mach 25, combined with the ship's already immense speed at full burn and the result was inevitable.

The first Reaver ship was simply obliterated in a flash of fusion fire when the modern day cannonballs ruptured the ship's reactor.

The process would be repeated thirty seconds later on the second ship.

“Secure from General Quarters. Get us back to the shipyard.”

“Aye, sir,” Replied the helmsman. “ETA back to the Altair yards is forty five minutes.”

The XO swore. Navajo was going so fast, it was going to take a while to slow down and then return to orbit around Oberon.

“Get us there. Best speed.”


Even though there were only two of them. Trained Fleet Marines over matched even ten armed thugs used to keeping slaves in line. As long as they have a decent distraction first.

The distraction provided by an impending Reaver attack was more than enough. In a heartbeat, five of the gunmen had been felled by the Admiral's protection detail. The admiral himself joined the fray after shoulder rolling to avoid being shot and in one smooth move scooped up a fallen pistol and began returning fire himself.

The guards had recovered enough to try and shoot back but it was all over in seconds.

The few dockyard workers/slaves had immediately hit the deck. As the gun smoke cleared. They began to get back up.

Stephen rubbed his shoulder where it had impacted the deck plates, “Are you alright, Sir?” asked one of his escorts.

“I'm fine, Sergent,” Steve replied, “Captain?”

“Still breathing, Admiral.” replied the younger man.

Alarms were still ringing and more and more people could be seen running about. More gunshots were heard down the corridors of the station, “Sir. We need to get you to safety.”

“We're as safe here as anywhere, Sargent,” Steve replied.

“But the Reavers...”

“No such thing... anymore. Besides, if Navajo can't handle a pair of Reaver ships. I'd have to shoot Captain Suzuki and his XO for dereliction of duty.”

Suzuki grinned, “I'd load the gun for you personally, Sir.”

Before the group could do anything else the sounds of four ships locking on to the external air locks caught their attention.

Exchanging glances, the four Alliance men made sure they were ready, pointing weapons towards the slowly opening hatches.

As soon as the doors opened fully, Armed people rushed into the docking complex. None were Reavers. In fact, Admiral Henderson recognized several of them.

“Sylvia? Captain Reynolds?”


“look at that,” Bobbie growled as Heracles made a slow pass over the building slipways of the Altair yards, “If that ain't an exact copy of Quest...”

“Not taking that bet, Bobbie,” her First Mate replied.

“Cao...” Bobby breathed. In between the six destroyers under construction, lay the half completed hulls of three more Quest clones.

“Heracles, this is Challenger.”

“Go, James,” Bobbie replied into the ship to ship com.

“We're on the far side of the complex. There's a microwave deposit oven here big enough to coat pods for Quest's drive system.”

“Figures,” Bobbie muttered, “Gets worse. There's a fully complete copy of Quest here along with three more under construction.”

“What's the plan?” James asked.

“As soon as the teams on the station have everyone evacuated away from the ships under construction, we blow em' to hell.”

“My kind of plan,” the former Alliance fighter pilot, now Blue Sun Captain replied.


“What the hell is going on?” Admiral Henderson wanted to know as eighteen heavily armed civilians rushed into the bay.

“Stephen?” Sylvia Marsh said, nearly dumbstruck as she saw her old boyfriend standing there with a pistol in his hand.

After the salvage of Kansas, Sylvia had been a single mom, in command of a museum ship. She had plenty of down time. A young Alliance Engineer had caught her eye. That Engineer was Stephen Henderson. They had dated for nearly six years until their careers had gotten in the way. The parting had been amicable and they were still friends. In fact, Stephen had been one of the stronger male influences on her son and one of the reasons Derick had gone into the ships engineering field himself.

“Steve? Derick added, the youth looking very grown up to the admiral, standing there with a rifle in his hands.

As the two groups stared at each other for a moment, the Marines nervous due to the heavy arms and obvious competence with weapons the newcomers showed. Steve noticed this.

“Stand down, Sargant,” he ordered.


“These people are old friends. One is practically my stepson.”

The Sargent nodded and lowered his assault rifle. Still uneasy.

“So, what is exactly going on?” Steve asked.

Mal stepped forward, “We need to get movin but we'll explain on the way.”

“I guess that will...”

Mal turned to his 'team', “Monty, your crew will hold the bay. We'll funnel as many o' the dock workers your way as we can. You got the most space on Walrus.”

“Got it, Mal,” replied the big man.

“Jeff. You and your crew will secure the control center and the reactor.”

“Got it, Dad.”

“Cordell, yours and mine will start with getting folks clear. Once we're done, we're blowing this place to hell.”

“Wait a minute!” Captain Suzuki exclaimed, “There's several billion credits worth of Alliance property on this station.”

“The Alliance will be compensated,” River said as she stepped forward. The Captain took a step back. The thin woman looked very scary with a sword across her back and two pistols hanging from her hips, “This facility must be destroyed.”

Stephen frowned, “This had better be one damn good story...”

“It is, Stephen... it is,” Sylvia replied.


“Hello, Maria,” Jordan Pike said as he entered his 'playroom'.

The olive skinned young woman blanched in fear but didn't cry out. Pike smiled, “You have strength... I like that. It will make it much more... satisfying when I break you.”

“Get away from me...” Maria said, her voice trembling slightly, “Hijo de puta.”

The girl's reaction didn't faze Pike. “Come now, Maria. That is no way to speak to your new master.”

“I'm no one's slave!”

“You are wrong about that Maria. You are mine. Oh... Did I tell you? Your brother is dead.”

“What?” she asked, eyes widening.

“Dead. Thanks to me. And if you do not cooperate, Your parents will join him. Or maybe just your father. I gather from the surveillance reports, your mother is very attractive. Just like you are, Maria.”

“Lito...” Maria whispered.

“And with his death, no one knows where you are. You are quite alone here, Maria,” Pike grinned as he removed his suit coat.

“Te voy a matar si te ponga las manos libres,” Maria muttered. She had grown up in the Spanish enclave of New Madrid on the southern continent of Londinium and spoke more Spanish than Chinese.

“What was that, my pet? Pet... I like that. Because when I am done with you, you will be nothing but that. A pet for my amusement.”

Maria began to tremble. Both with rage that this animal had killed her brother and that she was trapped. No escape and the lives of her parents in her bound hands. Tears began to roll down her cheeks.

The room in which she was held was for all intents an purposes, soundproof. But when the entire building shook with a double clap of what sounded like thunder. Followed by a second more muted thump, it distracted Pike from what he was about to do.

Pike opened the locked door, “What in the gorram hell is going on?” he thundered to the waiting guard outside.

The man looked nervous, “A ship just made a low pass on the estate and has landed on the front lawn.”

“Blow it off the face of the moon!”

“We can't, Sir.”

Pike slammed and locked his 'playroom's' door, “And why is that?”

“Because the missile battery has been destroyed and the sensors for the guns were blown off the roof by the shock wave of the low pass.”

Pike started heading for the foyer of his house, “Get everyone armed up. I'll teach whoever did this that I'm not...”

Pike rounded the corner into the foyer and came up short. Laying on the polished marble of the entry lay the bodies of six of his guards. There were only eight on the entire household staff and one was with him while the other was on his day off.

Standing in the doorway stood three people. One gray haired man holding an antique carbine flanked by a beautiful older dark skinned woman holding a similar rifle. A sawed off Winchester sat in a holster on her hip. A second light brown haired woman hefted a late model Alliance assault rifle and shot Pike's remaining guard between the eyes. The sound of the shot echoed off the walls.

“Hello, Jordan,” the man began, “I think we need to have a little chat.”

Pike tried to remain calm. The slaves on his household staff were poking their heads around corners to see what was happening. Pike had to get control of the situation quickly, “You do know you are trespassing, Mr. Bryant.”

“Really?” Allan said, his face stony, “Zoë? Are we trespassing?”

“I'm afraid we are, Husband.”

“Damn... that might explain all the dead security guards. You need better men, Jordan. They never even got a shot off.”

“What do you want,” Pike growled.

“First off... the codes to unlock the explosive collars your slaves are wearing. And then... I want Maria Flores.”


Allan shook his head, “Don't play games with me, Jordan. Hipolito told us everything before he died. The kidnapping of his sister, the threats against the rest of his family. Coercion to hack into Quest's computer core... everything. Mr Chairman of the Board.”

Pike's eyes widened, “How did you know...”

“A member of your 'Board' is an old acquaintance,” Zoë replied, “Told us everything.”

Pike's face paled, “You won't get away with this. There's an Alliance ship in orbit right now...”

“Oh... you mean the Navajo? She's off chasing Reavers.”


“Well. Not real ones. But real enough to fool them. Now. Give me the codes and Maria... Now!” Allan snarled.

Pike reached into his pocket and froze as a bullet shattered the marble at his feet, “No fast moves, Pike,” Zoë warned.

Pike smiled, “I wouldn't dream of it, Mrs. Bryant.” Slowly he pulled a small remote out of the pocket, “But I hold the upper hand here. One push of a button and every one of my slaves will die. Quite messily too.”

“I don't think so,” Melissa said quietly. Pulling a small device from her belt, “This jammer will block any signals we don't want within one hundred meters.”

Pike thumbed the button and nothing happened, “Wangbadan de biaozi...”

Zoë slung her rifle and fast drew her mare's leg. Putting a bullet in Pike's leg. Very close to his crotch. Pike screamed and fell to the floor, blood pouring out of his leg.

“I think you hit the artery, Dear,” Allan commented.

“So?” Zoë shrugged.

Allan grumbled and ripped the belt from one of the dead men on the floor. Pike was trying to staunch the blood pouring from his leg. Allan wrapped the belt around the leg and pulled it tight. Forcing a cry of pain from the man.

Once the blood flow had slowed but not stopped, Allan rocked back on his heels, “Now. Give me the codes and you might live through this.”

“Rut you!”

“Sorry, Jordan but I don't swing that way. Give. Me. The. Codes!”

“Go to hell.”

Allan snarled. “Fine.. how about I bring your household staff in here. I'm sure that they would like to discuss your treatment of them.”

Pike paled even more. Not from the blood loss but what the slaves would do to him, “Seven, Six, Delta, Hotel, Tango, One, Zero.”

“Thank you Jordan. Now, where is Miss Flores?”

“Don't know anyone by that na...”

Allan punched Pike, “Wanna try that again?”

Pike spit blood out of his mouth. He was suddenly realizing why no one survived going up against Allan Bryant. The man was so quiet and unassuming that no one could really fathom the level of violence that the man could unleash personally.

Pike came to a decision. He had some of the best lawyers in the 'Verse at his beck and call. He would get through this, “Third door on the left. My right thumb print opens the door. Now get me to a doctor!”

Allan smiled slightly, shaking his head, “Sorry, Jordan. I can't do that.”

“Wh... what?”

Allan reached down and undid the belt keeping Pike from bleeding to death. Blood spurted forth. Pulling a knife from his boot, Allan pinned the weakening man's right hand to the floor. With one swipe, Allan amputated Pike's right thumb. He screamed.

Melissa grimaced slightly but held her ground. This son of a bitch had nearly killed her and her little brother along with the rest of Quest's crew. Besides, she knew deep down that even though, Allan was a good man. He was capable of violence to defend his family.

Alan groaned slightly as he regained his feet. He was getting way to old to do this kind of thing, “Let's go get, Maria.” he said simply as he stepped over the now nearly unconscious Pike.


Allan held Pike's severed digit against the reader and the device beeped. A moment later, a click was heard and the door lock released. Allan cautiously pushed the door open.

“Son of a bitch...”

The room made Allan shudder. It reminded him of Niska's torture chamber. Wearing nothing but a skimpy see through negligee, sat Maria Flores. A metal collar around her throat connected to a chain attached to a hook on the wall.

“Aléjate de mí!” Maria screamed.

Zoë stood in shock for a moment. As did Melissa.

Allan knelt down in front of the girl, “¿Se encuentra bien.”

Maria's eyes widened in shock, “You speak Spanish?”

Allan grinned slightly, “Un poco,”

“Your accent is a little strange,” Maria said.

Allan chuckled, “That's because I learned Spanish on Earth a very long time ago.”

Maria gasped, “Are you... Mr. Bryant?”

Allan nodded, “I am. This is my wife, Zoë. And our friend Mellisa Forbes. We're here to take you home.”

“¡gracias a dios!”

“Relax your arms so I can get those ropes around your wrists,” Allan said as he pulled his knife. Maria flinched at the sight of the bloody blade but then held still while the ropes were cut.

The chain was bolted to the wall and Allan didn't have the tools necessary to remove it, “Cover your ears,” he said, drawing his pistol.

Standing in front of Maria, Allan fired twice at the chain. The second shot breaking it. Melissa removed her jacket and draped it over Maria's shoulders.

“Let's go,” Zoë said.


When they left the... dungeon. They found the foyer filled with nearly thirty people. All wore either the uniforms of the house staff or rough coveralls. A woman in a skimpy maid's uniform stepped forward with a robe for Maria.

“Thank you,” Maria said.

“Who's in charge?” Allan asked.

“I... I guess that would be me, Sir,” said a man in a butler's uniform. Looking over, a burly man in dirty coveralls kicked the now lifeless body of Jordan pike.

“Liou coe shway duh biao-tze huh hoe-tze fuh ur-tze.”

Allan nodded in agreement, “Where is the master control unit for the collars?”

“Follow me,” the butler said.

Allan turned to Melissa, “Get Maria to Freebird. Then start working on getting the collar off. It's just a mechanical lock. Not like the one's everyone else is wearing.”

“Got it, Allan,” Melissa replied, Leading the now robe clad girl out the front door.

Following the butler down the hallway, Allan asked, “How many slaves are here on the grounds?”

“Thirty three,” the man replied.

Allan growled, “As soon as the collars are removed, you've got thirty minutes to grab whatever you can. Personal effects and whatever pretty isn't nailed down in the house. Then I'm blowing it all to hell.”

The butler grinned, “Very good, Sir.”


Allan addressed the former slaves as they gathered around his ship, “I don't have room to take you but there's an Alliance Destroyer in the area. I'll make sure they take care of you.”

“No need, Sir,” one of the men in the crowd said, “Many of us worked the Terriforming. We've got two or three pilot's among us. We'll take the bastard's own yacht.”

Allan grinned, “Sounds like a plan. Now get everyone clear. Least half a mile. It's going to be a big boom.

“You got it,” the man smiled.

Allan lifted Freebird into the air. Swinging around, he hovered some distance from the manor house. As soon as he saw that the former slaves were a safe distance away in a small gully, Allan armed his ship's weapons systems. When things were ready, Zoë slipped from the co-pilot's seat.

“Why don't you sit up here for a minute, Maria,” Zoë said.

Nodding, Maria now dressed in some of Zoë's own clothes, sat in the offered seat.

Allan confirmed the target lock and turned to face the girl, “Red button on top of the stick.”

Maria nodded and with a determined look on her face, pushed the button.

Six missiles shot away from Freebird. Smoke trails drifting on the slight wind as they flew unerringly into Jordan Pike's house.

A bright flash and a puff of smoke erupted from the still open front door. Followed half a second later by a huge explosion as the methane gas spewing from every heater and cooking appliance in the house ignited.

When the smoke abated, the only thing left were scattered bits of wood and a small fire at the bottom of the crater that now marked the spot where Jordan Pike's house once stood.

“Thank you,” Maria said as she vacated the seat, allowing Zoë to sit back down behind the controls.

“You're welcome, Maria,” Allan said.

As soon as the girl was strapped into the seat behind Zoë, Allan pointed Freebird's nose at the sky and shoved the throttles forward. The arrowhead shaped craft went supersonic going straight up.

Allan glanced over at his wife in the co-pilot's seat, “I wonder how things are going at the shipyard?”




Spanish translations. I used Google translate as I don't speak Spanish. I'm sure that it's not 100% right but since we tend to murder Chinese too, well... close enough.

Hijo de puta - You bastard.

Te voy a matar si te ponga las manos libres - I'll kill you if I get my hands free.

Aléjate de mí – Get away from me.

¿Se encuentra bien – Are you all right?

Un poco – A little

¡gracias a dios! - Thank God


Sunday, April 11, 2010 11:16 AM


The business decision would be to have the Alliance seize Altair Shipbuilding.
Unpaid back slave wages & Patent Infringement charges should be enough to get ownership.
With Pike gone install the senior slaves as officers of the corporation of Altair Shipbuilding & everybody is money ahead.

Less spectacular though.

Sunday, April 11, 2010 11:46 AM


I like. Very much. And Allan having that reservoir of violence when his family is threatened ... it makes him human. But I think there's still an awful lot of bad guys need dealing with!


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