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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Reavers are real aren't they? My entry into the Serenity contest.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1378 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
The sergeant shifts uncomfortably, “Outer Rim,” he says, “One of those pleasure yachts that went missing years ago,” the officer is clearly shaken, “There were some bodies as well. The ship… The ship wasn’t made for deep space…” he drew up to attention, “Looks like it decompressed with most of the… crew… alive…”
Another peer stood up behind the other man, “Did you watch the tape, Sergeant?”
The officer straightened tighter, “Yes, sir,” he says, “It’s all in the report.”
The two men exchange a look. The taller of the two stood up from his desk, “Thank you, Sergeant,” he salutes the officer before him, “Dismissed.”
“We’re here on the six month anniversary of the end of the War,” the reporter begins, “Out here on the edge of space, we have the privilege of being present on the IAV Akodo,” the camera panned out to what looked like a crew’s mess, “The newly formed Alliance is investigating rumors that there still might be Independent holdouts here in the far reaches…”
“The Akodo?” the darker of the two men asks as the tape continues to view in front of them, “Well, this is going to be interesting. Have we ever found any evidence of her yet?”
The other man scratches his beard, “This’ll be the first.”
After a series of lackluster, but patriotic interviews, the reporter signs off. He’s a balding Caucasian male with a ready smile, a slight paunch and a deep voice. His attire is civilian, a little informal, but neat. His name is Howell Yin. There are several more interviews with some of the senior officers of the Akodo regarding several engagements that the ship has had on the way to deep space. It’s clear that the officers are being less than forthright, but the reporter hides it with patriotic innuendo and various other comments about military life. The recording goes on for hours with crew interviews, asides about deep space navy living and amiable subjects. Howell Yin has a way of putting both his subjects and the audience at ease. Soon, both of the men are relaxed and sipping coffee after only the first few hours of reviewing the recording. In a few reflections, the cameraman is actually revealed to be a woman. A petite young blonde with a serious demeanor, but a pretty face tied back into a ponytail. Howell introduces her a few times. Her name is an uninspired Mary, but she rarely, if ever comments, while the camera rolls. The few comments that do make it on camera paint a humor that is a subtle, if dark, counterpart to Howell’s amiability.
The darker broader man takes silent notes on the various crew that are introduced by Howell’s interviews.
Suddenly, the camera jolts in the space between takes. When the camera turns on, it focuses on a very different Howell Yin. Unkempt and barely dressed, the man is back lit by flashing alarm lights.
The two men lean forward.
“Mary?” Howell Yin asks, “Is it on?”
There’s an unseen reply, “Yes, gorramit, Howell, it’s on,” she replies, “We need to get to the lifeboats…”
There is gunfire in the background. There’s a scream that is alike anything anyone has heard before, “They’re already here,” Howell says. He produces a small revolver, “I don’t think we’ll make it to the lifeboats…”
“Who is it?” Mary asks, “Is it the Browncoats we’ve been searching for?” More gunfire, “Have they breached the ship?” More yelling, but then it dies down as feet stomp down the hall beyond.
After a few minutes, Yin opens the door and peaks out. Klaxons are heard from the hall, “The ship’s been breached, but I don’t think they’re Independents.”
The camera focuses on a lump of a man just outside the door. Mary pans to either side of the hall, revealing it to be empty, but for a few more bodies littering it, “Oh my God,” she comes back to the first body, a soldier, “What is happening?”
Yin bends over and puts the revolver in his waistband, “Do you know how to shoot a gun, Mary?” he begins to field strip the corpse.
The camera focuses on the wounds to the man’s throat and chest, “Yeah. My brothers taught me,” her voice is just as flawed as Yin’s.
Within moments, Yin’s hands are covered in the young man’s blood, still bright red and flowing easily, “Put the camera down and put this on,” he offers the man’s flak jacket.
The camera is set on the floor. Its picture is off the man’s face, his eyes open and unseeing, his once handsome face pale and specked with blood.
Yin fits the flak jacket hastily on Mary, who is wearing flannel pajamas and cowboy boots. He fits on a holster with the soldier’s sidearm still in it, “Check the safety.”
Mary does so.
Yin picks up the man’s automatic rifle that had been thrown aside, “Come on.”
The alarms are constant now. With the emergency lights flashing, it’s hard to recognize the other bodies that Mary passes with the camera. They aren’t soldiers, but their bodies are mangled by automatic gunfire. Blood decorates much of the sterile steel walls, spatters of gunfire and slashes of their counterparts.
After a few more field strips of dead Alliance soldiers, Yin has a flak jacket of his own and combat boots that replaced his soft bloodied slippers. He looks just as ridiculous as Mary did in her attire, as the flak jacket doesn’t accommodate his girth well at all. But there is no mistaking the professional demeanor that is on his face.
After half an hour, the duo comes to a T in the hall. The bodies have been growing in frequency. The gunfire which had been just ahead of them begins to peeter off.
Yin cautiously looks over the corner down the right corridor. Mary focuses on a radio that sputters on the body of an Alliance soldier. Over the klaxons, screams choked in static are heard.
Mary picks up the handset gingerly so as not to get blood on her hands. Yin has wiped his so much on his pants that they are crimson down to the bottoms, “Howell, try this…”
The radio is offered and Yin slings the rifle to receive it.
Yin flinches when an unearthly scream comes through the unit, but he patiently begins to cycle through the frequencies, “There’s got to be some one…”
Sure enough, a steady voice peaks in through the com-unit. The conversation is between the steady voice and a gruff, though, feminine voice. The steady voice is named Ears by what appeared to be a Marine corporal named Gerhard, after a while, the conversation is broken up by others who are consistently panicking, but Ears wins them over.
After a few minutes, the gunfire dies down completely and the klaxons mute.
Yin looks up and down the corridor and presses down on the com; “Ears?” he says into the unit, “Ears?”
After a few interruptions the com clicks back, “This is Ears. What is your location?”
“We’re at a T-junction on deck 36, section 4,” Yin replies, “There are two of us…”
Ears wastes no time, “Thirty-six four, you need to get off that deck,” he says, “We’ve lost contact with that unit patrolling that deck…”
Yin flips over the body where the radio came from inspecting the name and rank from the uniform, “Lieutenant Green of the Eighth?”
A pause, “He’s dead?”
“Yes,” Yin replies, “We’ve got his com.”
“Are you armed?” Ears asks.
“Yes,” Yin replies, “I’m retired infantry,” Yin glances over to the camera, “But I’ve got a civilian here, my camerawoman…”
Another voice growls over the com-unit, “Howell Yin?” Corporal Gerhard asks, “Get you and yours to the elevator back through section twenty. I’ll send a unit to retrieve you. Keep your gun high, we won’t take offense.”
“Where’s section twenty?” Mary asks.
Yin pointed back to where they came from, “That way,” He pointed forward, “This forks out sections 8 through 0, odd right, even left.”
The camera bounces as the pair runs back through the corridor. Soon they pass the point where they came from and continue to run down the hall. There are several more turns but after a while the elevator appears.
The doors are closed.
Yin bends over from exhaustion, panting for breath, “Six months…” he smiles at the camera, “Soft and heavy after six months,” the amiable personality resurfaces, “I’ve gotta lay off those cookies.”
There’s a giggle from Mary, “Frosted ginger snaps are the devil.”
“How are you doing?” Yin asks her, “That camera’s gotta be heavy. We should probably leave it.”
“Story of a lifetime…” Mary says from behind the camera, though it’s clear she doesn’t believe it.
“Suit yourself,” Yin replies. He looks down, “Don’t we look pathetic? God, I must look like a fat armed plumber,” he swipes a sweat leaden brow, “I love the cowboy boots.”
“Boyfriend’s idea of a gag gift,” she says, the camera focuses down on the aforementioned boots, “Funny thing is, they’re comfortable as hell...”
Yin straightens out and brings up his rifle. The camera focuses on the elevator, catching the doors open.
There’s an audible sigh of relief from Mary as two Alliance Marines point their guns out, then down as they recognize the pair.
“Howell Yin?” one asks.
The other looks at the camera distractedly.
The two media step in. The second soldier relays in his radio, “Targets acquired.”
The elevator shuts and the first Marine punches in a deck number. Twenty one.
“Soldier,” Yin takes note of the man’s name stitched on the uniform, “Kuon, is it?”
“What’s going on?”
“Reavers,” the second soldier, Georges, replies, “We’re being hit by Reavers, Mr. Yin.”
Kuon shakes his head, “Didn’t figure they would try for a whole Alliance destroyer, but…”
“I thought Reavers were just a story told by the Brownies,” Mary popped in, “They’re not real…”
The elevator chimes. Twenty one glows.
The door opens to more dead bodies. Kuon and Georges look toward each other, before Georges responds, “Guess we were wrong.”
Yin and Mary are led up to several more Marines that were centered around another. The other is a woman with a com earpiece held tightly to the side of her head. She looks up and catches Yin and the camerawoman.
“How’s the field trip, Yin?”
“Corporal Gerhard?” Yin asks.
“The same,” she replies.
“Thank you for the rescue,” Yin nods.
Gerhard sizes up the camera, “I would have left the camera and got some decent clothes.”
Yin lays on his smile, “Story of a lifetime.”
The corporal shakes her head, “We’re all going to be dead, soon anyway…”
Another Marine calls out from a console, “We’ve got another attachment!”
“Christ almighty,” Kuon shakes his head, “How many does that make?”
“The three freighters and the four unidentified not withstanding: Twelve,” the Marine replies.
Mary turns on Georges, “Attachments?”
“Yeah,” the Marine replies, “Damn Reavers are taking us down like ticks on a dog,” he flips over a body beneath him, “They’re attacking the decks with no armor plating, cutting right through the hull and onto them…”
Yin turns around, “What about propulsion?”
“We got mined,” Kuon says, “Took out propulsion and most of our fuel. Lines are cut and we’re on auxiliaries. If we weren’t armored like we were, we’d be dead already.”
“And the crew?” Yin asks.
“It’s a Navy crew, most haven’t got the spirit to fight these butchers,” Georges says, “Some of them are war veterans, but it’s like fighting your worst nightmare. It’s like a tribe of sadistic murderers.”
“Ears has got them fighting,” Kuon says, “He’s on the comm and the radios organizing the ones that haven’t lost their marbles yet. They’re holding decks 11 and 12, but those Reavers are still coming. It’s not going to be long for them…”
“Who is this… Ears?” Yin asks, “Is he the ship’s comm officer?”
“Bridge is gone,” Gerhard tells them, “There isn’t a naval officer left on the Akodo. If there is, they’re hiding,” she looks Yin up from the ground, “Ears is a grunt. Damn resourceful and sneaky, but he’s a grunt. We’re picking up the stragglers that he’s contacting and bringing them here. Ship comm’s gone; he’s using the infantry radio units.”
Yin looks around, “Where is he? I’d like to shake his hand.”
All the Marines exchange a look.
“He’s trapped on another deck isn’t he?” Mary asks from behind the camera.
The Marines nodded, “We think he’s on deck 12 in an auxiliary weapons locker. He’s got some of the crew up there with him, but there’s too many of those monsters between us and them,” Gerhard says, “The elevator shafts are bent past 14, and we can’t get to them.”
The camera catches glimpses of huddled crew around the Marines, “We’re going to make our stand on this deck,” Gerhard told Yin, “Got us enough ammo to lay siege to a small city.”
“I’ve got another option,” Another Marine steps up with a blueprint in herhand, “Cargo elevator, Corporal, we secure it and go get the rest of those Navy boys.”
“Reavers hold the cargo area,” Kuon says.
“But they don’t hold all the decks that the cargo elevator goes to,” the Marine, Calie, as it says on her uniform replies, “Deck 12 is the crew’s mess, and as far as I can tell, the shaft is good. Next deck is Sciences and we still have it. We splice the controls on that deck and the elevator’s ours.”
“What about the crew on 11?” Kuon asks.
“I think we owe it to those boys, gentlemen,” The camera focuses on Gerhard, “We go get them.”
“Whatever it takes,” Gerhard replies, “Any of the crew a good electrician?”
“None that’ll go,” Calie replies, she tosses back a ponytail of dark hair revealing dark exotic features, “But it can’t be that hard.”
“It’s not,” Mary replies from behind the camera, “It’s not hard at all.”
Gerhard comes in close to the camera, “Can you do it?”
Georges objects, “Corporal.”
“Stow it, Georges.”
Yin looks on apprehensively, “Mary?”
“I could do it,” the camerawoman replies, “I could do it, Howell.”
“Do you want to?”
Yin reaches over and grasps her hand, “You sure?”
The camera gets tapped, “What about this?” Calie asks.
“It’s my armor,” Mary replies shakily.
“Alright, then,” Gerhard says, “Let’s get you two looking official,” she looks down at Mary’s attire, “Teddy bear flannel was last year’s model.”
The camera focuses on a panel with the camerawoman in front of it. Wires are hanging from the wall and the emergency lights are still going. The camera pans around catching the grim faces of a dozen Marines and a pair of gentlemen in feudal Oriental garb.
“I need the camera’s light, Howell,” Mary says, “Stop screwing around.”
“Sorry, Mary,” The camera swings back around to the elevator panel. The doors are much larger than the personnel elevators, triple if not more in width.
“Here it comes,” Calie says from the grated doors.
Mary checks the electronic pad, “It’s occupied.”
“With who?” The corporal asks.
Mary swallows as she looks into the hack pad’s visual.
“Not friendlies,” Calie says, pulling Mary from the ground.
“Handguns, people,” Gerhard says, “We don’t want to damage the ride.”
There’s a click of firearms.
“Get back there, Yin,” she orders.
Calie and Mary come back to Yin and the camera begins its journey behind the Marines.
“Good job,” Yin says.
Mary looks up into the camera with slow tears in her eyes, “Thanks.”
Calie reaches for the camera, “I’ll hold it.”
There’s a hasty jiggle as the camera changes focus.
When it does, Mary and Howell are forefront. Howell’s messy form is hidden by a full purple uniform and a bulletproof vest giving him a stocky one that almost blends in with the rest of the Marines. He’s taller than Mary by a foot. Mary’s pajamas are gone as well, replaced by a well fitting uniform and vest. Defiantly, a pair of cowboy boots remain on her feet.
Mary embraces Howell around the shoulders forcing her face into the side of his, both kissing and crying at the same time. Howell returns the embrace, “Shhh…” he said, “You’ve done good, darling.”
“We’re going to die…” she mumbles.
“No, honey,” Howell reassures her, “No, we’re not.”
“You’re just saying that…”
Howell presses into her, “Yeah…”
“Look sharp, people,” the corporal sounds off.
Mary squeezes Yin once more and then disengages. She walks toward the camera and retrieves it. The camera toggles.
In turning, Howell retrieves his handgun from his holster and aims toward the elevator…
Gunfire is heard.
Mary is running. The camera jumps up and down. Marines are both flanking her and in front of her. Gunfire is heard throughout the corridor. The constant movement of the camera makes for hard detailing.
Shadows move constantly and are highlighted by remarkable displays of firefight. Howell is almost always in front, though Calie is there as well. Every time the camera flashes downward, there’s a dead body to be seen. It’s often of a Reaver, but every so often an Alliance crewman torn to shreds or shot multiple times.
This is deck 12.
The emergency lights are gone on this deck. Most are shot out, but the others have been shattered by concussion. The bodies are deep. Some are so deep as to be arranged in piles as cover.
The deck is slick with blood. In the light of dozens of flares, it reflects like water.
Calie and Yin stop and pull Mary off to the side. They take cover in a gruesome pile of bodies.
Mary retches as she puts down the camera. She sits on her hunches unable to sit in the blood or touch the bodies to keep her balance.
There is a prominent firefight is ahead, the constant round after round of automatic gunfire, punctuated by fragmentary grenades. After a few minutes, the three are joined by one of the men in feudal Oriental clothing. An earpiece comes down to his chin.
“What’s going on?” Yin yells at the man.
The man replies in Mandarin. In the din of battle, Mary and Calie couldn’t hear the words.
“He says that they’ve caught the Reavers in a crossfire,” Yin says, “That Ears and his crew has got them trapped and we’re just cleaning them up.”
The man nods.
After a few minutes, the gunfire slows; Calie and Yin pick up Mary and make their way forward. Fully armed Navy crew begin to appear in the camera. Their grim visages are splattered by crimson and cut by shrapnel or other. Most have injuries that are wrapped in shredded clothing. Some of their eyes are glazed and unseeing.
There’s a short burst of laughter ahead.
Yin and Calie increase their pace. Ahead, several of the Marines are openly embracing the survivors. Clapping shoulders and reveling in their short lived victory.
Corporal Gerhard is seen shaking the hand of a man. The man is short, shorter than the corporal. There’s a com-unit on his back and an earpiece on the side of his face. His form is slight and bloodied.
Yin walks over the man, “Ears, I assume?” And offers his hand.
The man smiles easily, “Howell Yin,” he looks directly into the camera, “And the eye of the public,” he shakes the offered hand, “I’m glad you made it.”
A small icon beeps in the picture’s leftmost corner.
“Howell, I’m running out of juice,” Mary says.
“Turn it off in a few…” Yin replies, “What’s your real name, son?”
“Britton,” the man says, “Richard T.”
The corporal scrubs Britton’s head, “I think Ears is better…”
“Hell of a fight…” Yin says.
“I’m powering down…” Mary says, “Howell…”
“That’s good Mary,” Yin replies, “Go ahead and shut it down…”
The picture fades but the audio continues.
Ears speaks, “Corporal, I’ve got us an idea to get off this ship…”
Then the audio fails completely.
“That’s it?” The dark man replies.
“That’s all the recording that we have,” the other man tells him, “But there is more in the report.”
“More?” the darker man asks.
“We identify the camera woman.”
“That shouldn’t have been too hard,” the dark man asks, “The media would still have her name on file. Mary’s a common enough name, but Howell Yin’s not.”
“Open the sergeant’s file,” the other man says, “Three pages in.”
The man opens the manila folder, “This is an autopsy report.”
“From the yacht. It’s one of the victims,” the darker man then pauses.
“Those weren’t victims, Derrial,” the man says.
“‘Mary Kara Dent,’” the man reads aloud, “‘Age 22. Civilian. Last seen on the IAV Akodo in 2512.’”
“They were Reavers.”
“I take it this report will never see public light,” Derrial supposes, “Denial, I assume.”
“We’ve done our best to keep the ship tight,” the man replies, “But you know as well as I do that there are reports all over the Outer Rim. Sooner or later, we’ll have to make a statement.”
“They hit a military destroyer and that was two years ago,” Derrial says, “This statement had already be prepared.”
“I wouldn’t worry about it too much. We are moving in on the threat.”
“By ignoring it?”
The man folds his arms, “It’s all in the capable hands of the Alliance military.”
Derrial has no other comment. He looks down at a picture attached to the autopsy. The most current picture of Mary Kara Dent before her disappearance. It’s a prepared picture with an unnamed boyfriend in it. The autopsy photo below it resembled nothing of the girl’s beauty and was nothing short of horrific.
“That poor girl.”
“Story of a lifetime,” the other man carelessly says, “You going to wrap this up? I’ve got a dinner date.”
Derrial closes his eyes, “Yes. I’ll finish it up.”
Too many secrets…
Tuesday, September 13, 2005 6:58 PM
Tuesday, September 13, 2005 11:08 PM
Wednesday, September 14, 2005 12:22 AM
Wednesday, September 14, 2005 12:55 AM
Wednesday, September 14, 2005 2:33 AM
Wednesday, September 14, 2005 2:55 AM
Wednesday, September 14, 2005 2:58 AM
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