BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JEBBYPAL

Susanna's Story Ch1: The Roles We Play
Wednesday, March 3, 2004

History of Saffron/Bridget/Yolanda


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2471    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Susanna's Story By Jebbypal

Notes: After re-watching Trash, I became harassed by the idea of Saffron's life before Durran Haymer. Also, I felt like both episodes indicated that Saffron was much better educated than Serenity's crew which had to have a good explanation.

Spoilers for Our Mrs. Reynolds and Trash

Used the timeline provided at www.fireflyfans.net/referencelist.asp?s=timeline.

Chapter 1: The Roles We Play

Chinese Glossary: Cao – fuck Hundan – asshole fuqin - father laji - garbage ai ren-sweetheart


Security forces the 'verse over are pretty much the same, she thought to herself. Of course, it wasn't like she had a lot of experience with them, but unfortunately she did know that those employed on the richer planets like Bellerophon were paid well enough that they were almost impossible to bribe.

"This one from Haymer's estate?" the sergeant at the front desk of the security office asked as she was dragged in by one arm.

The officer escorting her smirked. "Yes, sir. One Yolanda Haymer. Her accomplices left her shut in the garbage drone."

"Get her up to ID for the ret scan. We'll see if Haymer actually knows who he married," the sergeant ordered.

"Come on, I'm ready to get rid of the smell of you," her escort said as he pulled her toward the elevator at the side of the grey entrance room. After a short ride to the fourth floor, she found herself surrounded by white. Apparently the rich didn't see fit to provide enough funds for decorating. The first room they entered contained the retinal scan equipment.

"Sit her down and lock her in," a female technician in all white scrubs directed. The cuffs on her arms where released only after she had been pushed into an uncomfortably straight metal chair and her head strapped firmly against it. As soon as her hands were free, they were each cuffed onto the arms of the chair.

"Mind if I hang around?" her guard asked. "Haymer wanted to know the Ident results of the scan." The technician nodded her assent as she entered commands into a computer terminal.

"If you cooperate and keep your eyes open, this will be painless. One way or another we will get this scan done." The scan probe was directly in front of her face. Now she remembered why she generally stuck to doing cons out on the rim: the take might not be very much, but homesteaders and smugglers could rarely afford retinal identification equipment. Hell, they rarely had the means to even read Ident cards.

"Hope you brought a large enough data stick," the technician joked with the guard. "I have ten aliases here. Bridget Johnston, Yolanda Haymer, Yolanda McKirk . . . Ahh, here's the earliest. We are graced with the presence of one Susanna Carmody, age 25."


11 years earlier, 2506, Age 13

"Susanna, I will not call you again. Get down here now!" her father's voice boomed as it echoed through the large apartment. Susanna hunted furiously for her shoes. She didn't know if any of his business partners were expected today, but knew she would regret not being fastidiously dressed more than being delayed. After finally finding the last shoe under the dresser, she hurried down the stairs as fast as possible to the first floor where her father waited.

As soon as she reached the parlor she saw him exiting his study. "Finally," he said as he crossed the wood-paneled room to pour himself a drink. "Sit down and stop panting."

After seating herself on the divan, she turned her attention to her father. His face had an expression that meant he was planning a long term job. She wondered idly if she could convince him to let her stay alone in the apartment this time rather than going to Holly's boarding house. As far as her father's women went, Holly was one of the nicer ones, but her boarders were definitely not the best class of people on Persephone.

Her father leaned against the wooden banister across the room from her. "Every day you look more and more like your mother Suzy," he said studying her carefully. He sipped his scotch slowly before proceeding. "I'm having some trunks delivered this afternoon. You'll need to have Holly help you pack all your things before Tuesday morning."

Trunks meant space travel. "Will Holly be moving with us?"

"No. The trunks will be here when you get back from your lessons. Holly should be here shortly after." Her father finished his drink and set the glass on the marble wet bar. His blonde roots had started to show again, so his day would probably be spent updating his look for whatever con they would be doing this time. Maybe his hair would match hers for this one. He'd always complained about the fact she'd gotten her mother's red hair. Said it made her too noticeable to be of much use. Although he was glad enough as to which of his women had left him with a daughter she knew, her mother had been the only one of his mistresses to participate in any of his jobs. Of course, Susanna knew he held her accountable for the death of her mother during her birth as well.

"Don't give Holly any trouble this evening," he said in parting as he grabbed his hat and suit coat.


"Hey there honey," Holly greeted as she strolled into Susanna's room that night. "I'm so proud of you Suzy-Q!" Susanna looked at the older brunette confused. "Didn't Justin tell you? You're going to the Academy baby!" Holly squealed as she grabbed the younger girl in a hug. "I hope I didn't ruin his plan to surprise you, but I'm just so happy for you. Now let's get you packed so we can enjoy the last bit of time we have together."


After a restless night, Susanna confronted her father the next morning. "Why are you sending me there? Why? You always said the reason you were paying for me to go to school was so I wouldn't end up a whore like my mother? That I was too smart for that!"

"Don't tell me what I said girl!" her father growled as he slapped her. After pushing her into a chair, he continued in a low, gravelly tone. "Now listen good, because I'm only saying this once. All women are whores, you included. You just ain't growed into it yet. One way or another you sell yourselves, be it to men for a night or to your husbands for the rest of your lives. You should be thanking me, at least this way you can demand the highest going price." Shocked, the small red-read could only stare in horror at him. "As it is, I'm paying a small fortune to get them to take you at all. You're almost too old for them, but after hearing how you couldn't bare to go last year when your ma was so ill."

"But my mother died when I was born…"

Justin O'Dell glared at the girl who was his daughter. "Yours did, but Elana Moore's mother died two months ago. Here's your story, know it all by the time we leave tomorrow or you'll have a rough trip to Ariel." After laying a datapad on the coffee table, he left her alone with her tears.

The next morning, as they boarded the transport ship bound for the Core, Susanna struggled to keep a smile on her face. Her father had made it clear that any deviation from his planned script would be punished. She didn't understand any of it.

Apparently he hadn't kept her all these years out of love for the woman who was her mother or because she was his daughter. Upon being told by Jan Carmody that she was pregnant with his child, Justin O'Dell had merely assumed he was gaining two props for his cons. Instead, he'd been stuck with a red-headed infant girl who was an expensive mouth to feed until she was old enough to remember a script and stick to it. And even then, he felt she was next to useless because a man traveling alone with a small girl drew too many questions.

Now he'd decided that the best use for her was to send her to a school to teach her how to do what her mother had done before meeting him – how to be a whore. A whore who said prayers and charged more, but she knew from the whispers overheard at parties and school that a Companion was just a whore who hid behind a religion.


On Ariel, their ship was met by a guide from the Guild. "Mr. Moore. My name is Adama. It is a pleasure to meet you. I trust your trip was not too tiring?" their guide greeted. She was the most beautiful woman Susanna had ever seen. She was dressed in a burgundy red sari that accented her mocha skin. Her hair was covered with a dark blue hood. Every inch of her skin seemed to almost glow and her manicured nails sparkled in the sunlight.

"I am already refreshed upon seeing you, my lady," her father returned.

"I am glad to hear that I have been able to help. Our porters are collecting young Elana's bags now. I'll allow you to say goodbye before I escort her to the Academy grounds." Adama bowed slightly before removing herself a respectful distance from father and daughter.

Justin knelt beside his daughter, took her face in his hands and gazed into her eyes. "Remember your place Lanny," he advised. Kissing her cheek, he stood. "I look forward to seeing the Companion you'll grow into." With that, he walked off into the city.

Adama came forward and claimed Susanna's hand. "I know it must be hard, dear, to let go of one parent so soon after losing the other," she said sympathetically. Susanna just remained silent as she allowed herself to be led along the foreign sites of Ariel City. Her dread of what was to come prevented her from being drawn into Adama's tour. She tried to think desperately of a way to not do this, to escape from a future as a Companion, but she could find none. Her father had given her no money and she had nothing in her trunks other than clothes that could be sold. If she chose to run away and live on the street, her fate would not be any different, just less glamorous.

"And here we are Elana. The Academy grounds are quite nice and you are of course free to roam them when you are not in your classes." As they walked along the landscaped lawn, Susanna turned questioning eyes on Adama after hearing the woman sigh deeply. "You have much to catch up on little one. You are nearly two years behind the other trainees. Your father assures us that you've been attending the best schools available on Persephone, but well, I can tell just from your walk that we have much of that rural culture to train out of you."

Adama squeezed her hand reassuringly. "I'm sure you'll do fine though. It is good that you were active in drama in your school though. That will make things a little easier. The keys to being a Companion are to be cultured in every aspect of your being: your speech, your movement, your interests, even your thoughts. But equally as important is the ability to play the part that your client needs. If you can't determine what part that is or fail to play it convincingly, you will be unable to help them. And no matter what you have heard from the uneducated on the Rim, what we do is help our clients. Its not about sex, it is about helping them. Do you understand Elana?"

"Yes, ma'am," Susanna answered obediently. She knew plenty about playing parts, she thought to herself.


2510, Age 17

"There you are Elana! It is so good to see you again," Adama greeted her former pupil warmly in the empty temple.

Elana hugged her mentor warmly. "Tell me you didn't come all this way just to see me."

Adama cupped her cheek in her silky palm. "Of course I did, Mei-mei. The first client is an important step. The cortex is not an adequate form of communication with which to support you in this event." Elana smiled and hugged the other woman again. Over the past years at the Academy, Adama had become the mother she had never known and given her a taste of the love she had never had as a child. Although still in demand for her services, the older woman had always made time for her. Elana still had doubts hidden far in her heart about whether this was the life for her, but Adama had taught her that the skills she had learned in the Academy gave her more control over her life rather than putting her at the mercy of her clients. For most of the inhabitants of the universe could easily be charmed, even manipulated if necessary, with the training that had been taught to her. Especially men.

"The house mistress showed me your choice of your first client. I approve."

"I'm glad Adama." The older woman entwined her hand in Elana's and started walking towards the temple exit.

"Is there anything you wish to discuss before you leave?"

"No, I think I have heard every piece of advice three times from all of the others."

Adama hugged Elana again. "I know you'll do beautifully. You have become the picture of grace," she told her before leaving Elana to her meditations.


Elana gazed at the sleeping man next to her. He really was the ideal first client: handsome, charming, passionate, but needful of her compassion and understanding. He was a young Alliance officer who was leaving the military after having given the command for the use of a planetbuster during the war. He felt that after his acts he did not deserve compassion or warmth from anyone, least of all companionship. Their three days together had been helpful though, she thought.

She jumped back against the headboard, waking her client, as the door to his bedroom was blown open by the force of an exploding body. Elana screamed as the client jumped up reaching for a weapon stored in a lockbox on top of the bookshelf next to the large bed. His gambit for the weapon was stopped when an individual in the door shot his leg out from under him. The shooter was followed by three other men, all dressed in army fatigues and their faces obscured by black paint. "Get him up and tie the leg off before he bleeds to death," one of them ordered as the others began ransacking the room for valuables. "And don't forget the Companion either or we won't get paid."


Hours later, Elana found herself sitting in the cargo hold of a small scout ship. Her hands were chained to a piece of equipment and she was struggling to keep herself from going into shock. They had killed the officer in front of her while broadcasting it on the cortex; apparently her captors were with the Independent faction. Why they had taken her as well, she still didn't know. They hadn't touched her other than to force her to move from ship to ship and they refused to talk to her even when she threatened them with retribution from the Guild. Desperately, she ran through the meditations and trainings in her head, but could think of nothing that could help her. Exhausted and confused, she found the most comfortable position offered by her captivity and attempted to sleep.


"Cào! I never told you to chain her up húndàn," someone shouted as she felt her hands being released from the chains. Groggily she gazed up at the stranger who was lifting her to her feet. "Susanna, are you okay? Are you hurt anywhere?"

"Fùqin?" The blonde man holding her up was the same height she was. This couldn't be her father, he was always so tall. But that scar over his eye, she remembered the story he would tell about how he got that on the first job he did with her mother. Her head was still spinning from the past twenty-four hours; it was so hard to think. She didn't know if she was happy to see him or not. She couldn't decide if she wanted to play this part again. "What's going on?"

"I told you that I couldn't wait to see the Companion you'd grow into," he told her gently. Kissing her on the forehead, he led her towards an open airlock. "You're safe now, but we need to go. I've got appointments to keep."


Susanna had been surprised to find that many of her father's old associates were still part of his gang. She felt as if she had gone back in time and was once again a ten-year old girl who was desperate to be able to help her father. Every time she felt herself falling into that role, she forced herself to remember Adama and all she had been taught. She was a Companion now and owed her father nothing. All she had to do was show up at the nearest temple and she could escape her past once more, she hoped.

She turned as she heard the door to the cabin that she shared with her father open. "I'm disappointed daughter," her father said as he shut the door. "You were rude to Zeke. I thought that school would have taught you to be polite to everyone."

"He presumed too much. I'm not going to allow that lājī touch me, let alone dye my hair!"

Her father just stared at her as he sat down at the table. "Are you done?" At her nod, he leaned forward with a grim look on his face. "I'm afraid you've forgotten the facts of the 'verse. Let me remind you. There is a war going on, if you hadn't noticed. One Elana Moore, newly initiated Companion, was kidnapped with her client. The client, an Alliance officer who had made a number of enemies by destroying a planet that was an Independent stronghold, was publicly executed on the cortex." He paused and crossed the room to where she was standing. Grabbing her face so that she could only look at his eyes, he continued. "It is presumed that the Companion is dead, if not by the hand of her kidnappers then by her own to prevent herself from being sold to slavery. That part of your life is over Susanna. There is nowhere to run, no one to believe you. Dong ma?"

At her slight nod, he smiled. "Good. Now, we are headed to a planet where I have some contacts. You will have some surgery to make you a tad less identifiable as Elana, and I will teach you your new role. You and I are going to pull a job of a lifetime little one, and I won't let you screw it up."

Stepping back, he released her. "Now get some rest. We'll have a busy day tomorrow." Susanna dropped to her bed as she watched her father exit the room. Thinking of Adama, she began to plan. She may not be able to return to the Guild and resume her old life, but she knew that she could adjust. She had been taught for the last seven years to evaluate people and how to be what they needed to be while getting them to respond to her plans. As a Companion, those plans were devised with their needs in mind, but as her father had pointed out, that role was over. Now those plans would result in other giving her what she needed. Her father thought she would become his obedient daughter again, but she swore to herself that that was one role she would never assume willingly.


2511, Age 18 The war was finally over, Yolanda McKirk thought silently. She had just received a wave from Durran, her fiancé, informing her that he would be returning within a month. The wedding would take place soon after. Her father's plans were proceeding without any glitches whatsoever. She smiled to herself as she destroyed the apartment that Durran had bought her. Turning to the man she had hired, she nodded. "Do it now." The man began to beat her brutally. He stopped on her signal and began to plant the items she had given him. When he was done, he exited, careful to leave no trace of himself.


One week later Yolanda awoke to find Durran at her bedside. He smiled fondly as he saw her eyes open. "Ai rén, I was so worried when I heard," he whispered after kissing her gently. "The doctors said that you will be fine."

Gripping his hand, she widened her eyes in fear. "You shouldn't be here Durran. He said he'd kill you, that he wouldn't let me marry an Alliance . . ." Durran silenced her with a kiss and caressed her head.

"It's okay dearest. Your father was killed when the Feds went to have him bound by law. He won't ever be able to hurt you again."

Yolanda smiled with relief at the news. Biting her lip, she looked away from her fiancé. "I'll understand if you want to cancel the wedding," she said hesitantly.

"Never," he growled. "What your father is changes nothing about my feelings for you dear heart. I love you. We'll be married and then live happily on Bellerophan," he announced.

Yolanda smiled and accepted his kiss. After he had left her to rest, she frowned. Her father had been taken care of, but the rest of the plan had not worked as intended. She would have to go through with the wedding until the opportunity presented itself to leave. After all, never again would she play a role that had been defined by someone else she thought to herself as she fell asleep.

***

Ch2: Writing Herself

COMMENTS

Monday, March 15, 2004 5:53 PM

NEROLI


Very interesting look at Yo-Saf-Bridge, I can totally believe her douple crossing her own father, not that he didn't deserve it. :-)

Tuesday, March 16, 2004 7:12 AM

JEBBYPAL


The man who beat isn't necessarily Heinrich. Just needed an event that eliminated her father, made her the victim, and showed she orchestrated it. In my ind, just a random thug she hired.


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