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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Repost of chapter 5. Trouble arises for the crew of Destiny. Plans continue to unfold, though the details are still fuzzy, the crews of Serenity and Destiny meet for the first time, and Zoe remembers someone from her past...
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1460 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
Remembering the Past
“I’m really likin’ the Captain’s idea that we stay here a few extra days, especially with a spa like this available to our private use.”
Tark sat in the bubbling hot tub, holding Gretta tight against him. The doctor smiled up at the mercenary, emphasizing what she had just said. “I’m tellin’ you, Spooks, a girl could get used to a life like this.”
“Didn’t you have stuff like this back on Osiris?” Tark asked.
She shrugged. “Probably did, but I was too stuck into school and doctoring duties and the like. Honestly, I didn’t really even know what is was like to just relax until you brought the Captain into my office with a hole in his chest.”
Tark frowned, remembering what had happened on Florida Moon and the agony of the long flight to Osiris because no Alliance ship would let them board to get Etris taken care of. So much for the Alliance taking care of their own. Etris had actually died right before they had gotten him into the hospital, but Gretta had fixed him up nice. But Florida Moon…he remember the firefight there, when Etris had led a rescue mission onto the slaver ship to free the rest of his crew. They had almost lost, too, but Davis…Davis, the hwoon dahn engineer that had betrayed them in the first place offered the slavers a trade: himself, for the life of his former Captain.
God himself only knew where Davis was now.
“Spook, you still with me?”
Pulled out of his thoughts, Tark smiled down at Gretta. That was all in the past now, and Gretta was his future. “I’m good.” He leaned down to kiss her, to blank everything else out of his mind, when his communicator went off. He cursed.
“This better be good,” he growled, grabbing the black box.
Togan’s voice came back sounding rather worried. “You’d better get back here quick,” he said. “We’ve got a problem brewing.”
Tark groaned. Not now! “How bad is it?”
The terse response from the engineer came back quickly. “Bad. Get back here now!”
* * *
“Every piece of this protein is marked,” the man yelled out, his gun trained on Etris as the Captain descended the cargo ramp beside Rian. “Every last gorram block. What in the hell do you expect us to do with this go se?”
Marked? Well, that had been something that Patience had failed to mention. Etris found himself wondering exactly what else the old lady hadn’t told him about the goods he had transported.
“Well that is a surprise to me as well,” Etris responded, eying the dozen or so men who surrounded his ship. Even with his entire crew armed and standing with him, they would still be outnumbered. So a gunfight was out of the question. Maybe a peaceable discussion could save the day.
The man that had bought the protein – Chang, was his name? – turned and fired his gun into the crate of protein until it was dry. “I want my money back, and I want it now, or else I’ll treat you just like this box here.”
So no peaceable discussion then.
Chang reloaded his gun and waved his arms around him, indicating his men. “I’m waiting Captain, and don’t you even think that you can take all of us by yourself.” He looked at Rian. “Even if the lady is good with a gun, you’ll still be dead long before either one of you can draw.”
“You’ll be goin’, with ‘em, then.”
Chang turned, as did the rest of his men to see Tark step out of the shadows of another ship with his gun trained on Chang’s head. Etris had never been happier to see the big mercenary. “If I even sense someone thinking about shooting me, my Captain or anyone else I don’t want dead, the pieces of your head will be used as this dock’s newest paint job.” He paused. “Dong ma?”
Etris caught movement to his left, and out of the corner of his eye watched Hesh, Togan and Harvey use the momentary distraction of Chang and his men to get into firing positions of their own. He grinned and cleared his throat. The Chinese man turned back to Etris, his eyes widening as he noticed the three other men with guns trained on him as well.
“Well, Mister Chang, “Etris said, “we seem to be at a standstill. This day can either end in blood, or you can walk away with your purchase, repackage the protein to hide the seals, and save yourself a bundle of trouble. The choice is yours.”
Chang stared at him for a moment, and then his face suddenly lit up in understanding of what Etris had just said. He stared at the Captain for a moment more, and then holstered his gun, giving Etris a ghost of a smile. “You heard the man, boys. Let’s pack up and go home.”
* * *
“Good gorram!” Togan exclaimed, the engineer holstering his own gun as Chang and his men wheeled what was left of the crate of protein off of the dock. Hesh raced by him, apparently headed for the bridge, while Etris smiled at Rian and Harvey in victory.
“Relax, Togan,” Etris said. “We won.”
“All because of me, of course,” Tark said as he shouldered his gun and marched up the ramp, Gretta jogging up behind him.
“All because you actually listened to me for once,” Togan said, still shook up over the incidence. He hadn’t signed onto Destiny to risk his life, but after Harvey and Hesh had handed him the gun to help them protect the Captain, what was he supposed to do? Say no? They probably would have shot him for that.
Hesh’s voice interrupted his thoughts. “Captain, you’ve got a Wave coming in.”
* * *
Etris walked up the steps onto the bridge, Rian beside him. “What do you have, Hesh?” he asked.
The pilot looked up at him quizzically. “It’s from another Firefly that’s about to land here. Their Captain wants to meet you.”
Etris returned the curious gaze. “About what?” he asked.
* * *
Volk and Ketter stood at a spot several miles outside of the township, staring at their young protégé, Anne. The young girl was so much like River Tam had been, before her brother had managed to steal her from them. Such gifts, gone to waste. Anne was powerful, but not as powerful as River would have been had she finished the Program. River Tam was a risk, with gifts that if she knew how to use them correctly, she could bring down all that the Program had worked so hard for.
“Everything is in place,” Ketter said. “Reynolds is landing now. We have to be sure that he comes here.”
Volk nodded and turned to Anne. “That is all up to you.”
She smiled a wicked smile. “He’ll come. He would never say no to his little old ma.” She laughed then, and turned away from the pair of men in blue gloves. She made her was to the awaiting mule, pausing briefly to run her hand over the wooden sign that after all these years still proclaimed the location of the “Reynolds Homestead.”
* * *
“I still don’t get why in the hell we had to come to this rock,” Jayne whined.
Zoe gave him a look. “Captain’s got something to take care of here.” She shouldered her rifle as she, Jayne and Book made their way across the tarmac, following Mal as he made his way towards the other Firefly. “We’re here to make sure that he doesn’t get himself killed in the process.”
“We ain’t got enough fuel to leave here, and we ain’t got any money to buy fuel,” Jayne shot back. “I’ve got half a mind to kill him myself.”
Zoe spun towards Jayne, anger billowing up inside her; but Book put a hand on her shoulder, stopping her outburst.
“There’s a good reason why we’re here,” Book said calmly, “even if the Captain didn’t tell us exactly what that reason was. Just trust him right now. We’ll get the money and the fuel, and Badger will get his cargo delivered. It might be a bit late, but it’ll get there.”
Zoe glared at Book, but she felt her anger slipping away. “You need to watch you mouth, Jayne,” she said to the mercenary.
Jayne opened his mouth to say something back, but a glance from Book stopped him. Instead, the big man mumbled something under his breath and started walking again. Zoe turned and resumed walking as well, noticing that Mal, completely oblivious to the confrontation that had just taken place, was now halfway between the two ships. Zoe increased her pace, catching up with Mal just as he came to a stop.
Standing at the bottom of Destiny’s loading ramp was a group of four people. The first man was big, possibly bigger than Jayne and maybe as tough. He looked a bit smarter than Serenity’s resident mercenary, though. The next man was a bit pudgy, but he held a revolver like he knew how to use it. Beside him, a woman stood, her Oriental features emotionless as she held a rifle casually aimed in Zoe’s direction. The final man in the group stood just ahead of the others, unarmed. He held an air of authority, but as Zoe looked at his face-
* * *
Zoe made her way down the hill, past bodies that were burned beyond recognition. The bile built up in her throat, but she forced it back down. She would have time to mourn the fallen men and women that lay scattered across Serenity Valley at a later date; right now she had a job to do.
She stopped at the first sign of movement and bent down to the body on the ground. She avoided looking into the person’s face first, instead examining the soldier’s injuries, of which there were many. Almost all of the exposed skin was black and charred, and when she looked for the person’s legs, they weren’t there. So she looked at the face, and gasped despite her resolve when Private Dana Harris looked back at her.
The eighteen-year-old girl had been under Mal’s command ever since her own unit had been slaughtered by one of the Skiffs that had been circling the skies. Zoe had even taken her under her wing, since Dana had been the only other female in Mal’s ragtag squad.
It had been Zoe who ordered her to change position and move further into the valley.
She tried to comfort the girl, to ease her pain, because even with her limited battlefield medical knowledge, there was nothing she could do for Dana. The girl whimpered, staring up at Zoe, pleading with her eyes to end her pain. After a moment, though, nature did it for her. Dana fell limp in Zoe’s arms.
The warrior in Zoe wanted to believe that Dana had died for the “greater good”, that her death would not go in vain; but the woman in Zoe, the realist that she tried to ignore knew the truth: that Dana’s death, along with so many others would be catalogued in a book somewhere, filed away as statistics, rather than names, and that the cause that they had fought for would just as soon forget them. Maybe not the people that knew them, but the fight for Independence would only be know by the numbers of those who had died, not by the individuals who had given their lives for what they believed in.
Damn it all.
She slowly lowered Dana to the ground, and stood to her feet. She couldn’t have saved Dana, but there were still others out there that she could help. She moved ahead a little further until she came upon another soldier still alive. He wore an Alliance uniform, and for a moment that gave her pause. The Alliance were the enemy, weren’t they? Then she looked at the man’s face, and realized that whether Independent or Alliance, in Serenity Valley on that day, they were all equal.
She bent down to help him when another movement caught her eye: someone was stumbling up the hill towards her. She waved and yelled at him; she could use help carrying the wounded soldier up the hill, and the approaching man had come just in time. The Alliance officer who would help her, despite what side she was on. The man she would later come to know as…
* * *
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