Pirates of the 23rd Century: Capter 0.5
Sunday, April 9, 2006

Not exactly Firefly, but it has some Browncoat-speak in it. I think of it as what was going on before we moved out into the new solar system where Firefly takes place. Basically, 200 years before Firefly. A description would take to long, so if you really, really want one, go check out my first log entry. (the one entitled 'guuuuhhhhh.......' or something.)


Major Hank Thomas of the American-Earth Navy was not the type of man who liked setbacks. His brainchild, the new starship dubbed the Archangel, was facing a major one. It had been stolen from right under his, and half the Navy's, noses.

Two Months earlier

"You did WHAT!?!?!" "I told you, I rerouted the turbine cowling so it would blow directly onto the combustion chamber." "And you did this, why?" "Because it'd keep the engine cooler in atmosphereic conditions." "And it also exposes the engines to any crap that happens to be floating around out there." Nathan Gray slowly massaged his temples, highly frustrated with his new mechanic. Thomas Lee had just signed on at the beginning of the previous voyage, and was proving to be a slight problem. The problem wasn't Tom's ability to fix things. It was his complete lack of common sense. "well, whaddya want me to do about it, Cap'n?" "Just fix it, alright Tom?" "You got it." As Lee ran back down to the engine room, Gray heaved a long, exasperated sigh. Four months out in the black and only three good prizes. Throw in being chased by six different system patrol squads, and Gray had every reason to be stressed to breaking. His crew were unhappy, his ship was falling apart, and there was a three inch coating of dust on his cargo bay floor. Not a good life for a pirate. Almost thankful to be back on that God-forsaken rock he called home port, Gray headed for the off-ramp. The Void had been a pirate haven for a long time, since Gray could remember, at least. Hidden in the asteroid belt, the space station was built into a large asteroid, making it all but impossible to find. The only way to get there was to have the coordinates, which changed daily. The only people with the coordinates were regualr pirates who stopped in every month or so to sell their swag. The Void constantly broadcast their coordinates to these ships so they could return at their leisure. He stopped in the cargo hold on his way out to check on Kim and Kay. Kimberly and Kay Adams were a rather interesting pair. Gray had found them on the streets of Mars, abandoned by their owners. Kimberly was a slave to an old Frenchman who had the bright idea of clonong her for free labor. His attempts failed, and Kay was born. He and his "sister" were thrown out by their master, to die on the streets. Gray gave them a place on his ship, and they repaid him by being probably the hardest working of his crew. "Hey Cap'n, where ya goin?" asked Kim. "Nowhere in particular, just tryin to sell off that swag we got last month." "Don't expect to get to much for it Cap." Kay grunted from behind the crate he was moving. "Why not?" "Well, some of it's evaporated, and what hasn't is either contaminated or tastes like bathroom cleaning chemicals." Oh wonderful, thought Gray. He had two dozen barrels of spoiled water. "well, could it be good for anything?" Gray asked. "We could switch it with Tom's water ration." giggled Kim. "An idea I might be inclined to overlook at the moment" muttered Gray as he left the cargo bay. Gray left the ship wishing he never had to go back. The rust-bucket piece of shit 'Orion' class cargo hauler looked bad, and flew even worse. It looked something like a fattened paddle, with the paddle-blade being the engines and the grip holding the bridge. The cargo bay, crew's quarters, galley, and med bay were all smashed together in between. Not to mention being slow as a retard with a hangover, it mounted almost no weaponry. Two turrets. Two ruttin turrets. Not very good for getting ships to strike their colors and fall over in fear. Wandering around the station, Gray thought about the first time he came to the place. He was a stowaway on a freighter bound for the mining station orbiting Jupiter. He had gotten on to try and escape the slums of Saturn. At age 20, he figured work wouldn't be too hard to find. On the way to the station, however, the freighter was ambushed by pirates. Gray stayed hidden in the cargo bay until the fighting was over. when the pirates boarded to loot the ship, they found him hiding among the goods being shipped to Jupiter. Knowing he wasn't a threat, they took him on their vessel, and headed off to The Void. There, Gray signed on with a band of pirates who had a particularly good run. Gray managed to stay on for three years, enough for him to amass a good sized chunk of wealth and experience. Then the captain, who was getting on in years, rewarded Gray, who had become a very competent pirate over the past three years, with captaincy of the vessel. Gray's career as a pirate had begun. Things had gotten worse since then. Gray's ship, the Flame, had been a Foxhound class patrol boat once, but heavy modificatios had rendered it nearly unrecognizable. The standard Foxhound armament was eight 60mm turrets, two torpedo tubes, and four 30mm chainguns. The Flame carried ten 70mm turrets, six torpedo tubes, and eight chainguns. Not to mention an EMP beam, magnetic grappler, and radar/comm jammer. Add on the extra ten inches of armor plating, beefed up engines, and large-ish cargp bay, and you had yourself a right fearsome pirate vessel. Then things got ugly. Two years after becoming captain of the Flame, Gray decided to go after a government freighter transporting rare minerals from the asteroid belt to Earth. When he found the ship, around 2 days from Mars, he was also unpleasantly surprised to find three escort fighters. Heavily armed escort fighters. Gray and seventeen of his crew were the only ones who made it to the lifeboat in time. Eighteen survivors out of a crew of seventy-three. Not to say they went down without a fight. Quite the contrary. One fighter destroyed, one severely damaged, and the last giving of smoke. The freighter got lucky and made it to Earth with minor damage. Hence Gray's current situation. As he walked from his ship to the tavern, he thought about his current vessel. The Donkey Cart, as it was not-so-affectionately called, really was a piece of crap. The only real reason Gray flew in it was because he had no other option. The ship's lack of quality made capturing anything else somewhat impossible. He had first gotten the ship through chance. A friend of Gray's, Jacob Craig, or Jay, had just captured the ship, and didn't have the crew or money to keep it. He was about to sell it for scrap, when Gray showed up minus a ship. Jay, being the crazy bastard he was, was reluctant to just give away a ship. So he challenged Gray to a drinking game. We'll skip the details and just know that Gray's liver will never be the same again. When he reached the tavern, Gray looked around. It was mostly empty, with just an old guy sitting in the corner and a group of guys discussing something or other over drinks at the bar. As Gray sat down at the bar, he couldn't help but overhear one of the men in the group say, "....but we can't poison the water. We don't have anything to use as poison." Gray quickly went over the ups and downs of selling his contaminated water to these people. He found lots of pluses and not many miniuses. "Gentlemen," Gray addressed the group,"I believe I just heard you say you neede some form of toxic material?" "Yeah, that's right." said the man closest to Gray. He was big, bald, wearing a sleeveless jacket and microfiber pants. Gray noticed that he made no move to conceal the bulge of a gun inside his jacket. "well, I think I may have something you might like." "What is it?" asked a different man. He was smaller, almost wiry. He wore a plain shirt and pants, and Gray noticed, carried a short broadsword strapped across his back. "Two dozen drums of contaminated water." replied Gray, hoping that he'd be able to sell it. "Do you know what it's contaminated with?" asked the big guy. "Not sure. It's definitely lethal though." "You said two dozen drums?" "Aye." "How about, maybe, 200 American-Earth per drum?" offered the wiry man. "Sounds fine. I have it all in my hold. Where's your ship?" asked Gray. "Docking bay 17, but we'd like to take it right now." "Of course," said Gray. "I'll show you to my ship." The rest of that day was spent unloading barrels of poison water. The crew was doubly happy, having money in their pockets and being able to go into the cargo bay without gagging slightly. The total came to 4650 American-Earth dollars. The water in one barrel had leaked out and one was only a quarter full. Dividing up the money, each member of the crew ended up with 139 dollars, while Gray's share as captain was 390. 1210 dollars were spent upgrading the ship. Gray didn't much care about what his crew did with their money, but he always like to spend his on new equipment. With his newfound cash, he bought himself two high quality Roman gladius style swords, a new peacoat, two Sig Sauer 9mm automatic pistols, and a 10 gauge shotgun. He came out with 126 dollars to spare. With his pockets full of cash and his ship due for an overhaul, Gray decided a good sleep was in order.


Gray awoke to find Roxanne, his first mate, poking him, an amused look on her face. "About time you woke up, I've been doing this for the better part of twenty minutes." "I'm surprised you cared to wake me up at all." mumbled a still half-asleep Gray. Roxanne was known for being a hardass. "Well, considering you blew most of your money on those new toys of yours," said Roxanne, as she lifted the captain's shotgun, "I thought maybe you'd like to know that there's a Russian freighter full of ore heading out of the Belt in three hours." "Well why'd you waste time waking me up? Just get everyone on board and get the ship ready to go." "Actually, sir, we left the station an hour ago." "Oh. Well ok then. How long do we have 'til we meet the freighter?" "I'd say about an hour and a half, plus or minus." "Alright, let me just get ready."

******************************************** The Donkey Cart was a bustle of activity, everyone preparing for the upcoming raid. Turrets were manned, swords sharpened, guns loaded, and boarding ship fueled. Raymond Sharp, the weapons specialist, was getting things ready in his lair. Basking in the glow of video feeds from the turrets, monitors displaying damage, heat buildup, and ammunition usage, and various other weapon-related electronics. Ray was known for being slightly insane. As Gray descended into the control center, Ray spun around in his chair to face him. "What brings the great Cptain Gray down to my little enclave?" asked Ray, somewhat sarcastically. "Just want to make sure the new systems are alright." replied a slightly nervous Gray. Having Ray around the weapon controls scared him a little. "Oh, they're doing fine, Cap'n. The two new turrets are working at one hundred percent, and the torpedo tubes are performing flawlessly." "Alright, you just make sure they stay that way." said Gray over his shoulder as he climbed back out into the main hallway. He headed for the makeshift hangar where the boarding ship was. The boarding ship was a heavily modified heavy bomber, having had all its bombing equipment removed to make room for passengers. A special vacuum sealing and slicing mechanism had been added to attach and slice through enemy hulls to land boarding parties. Kay and Kim were busy going over last minute checks of the ship, and Gray left them to it. He needed to get his gear before they met the freighter. Gray had always preferred light weapons. The heaviest non-turret weapon he had ever used had been a 9mm rifle back when he still had the Flame. Nowadyas he used his two new Sigs, and his swords. He hung the gladiuses from his belt, and kept the pistols in holsters in his coat. People often scoffed at the idea of having a sword as a weapon. Pirates knew different. When a person is engaged in close quarters combat, like when boarding a ship, it was highly impractial to use a firearm. Aiming would be too hard, and you would probably end up just wasting ammunition. Not to mention swords were light, easy to maintain, and don't need reloading. ********************************************

"That's her?" asked Gray. "That's her." replied Roxanne. Both people were on the bridge, watching the freighter as it cam into view on their radar. Most of the ship's equipment was off in an attempt to hide from any scanners the freighter might have. "We ready?" asked Gray, for the twelfth time. "Yes, just like we were the other eleven times. But we'd better get down to the hangar if we're going on the boarding ship." As Gray got into the passenger section of the boarding ship, he looked at the other people there. Him, Roxanne, Kim, Kay, Austin, Jack, Drew, Ely, and four other people. Twleve people were boarding, while the other eleven stayed on the Donkey Cart. Roxanne was armed with her assault carbine and spiked chain, Kim and Kay both sported katanas and semi automatic rifles, Austin carried his famous two handed claymore and a .44 mag revolver, Jack went with a semi automatic rifle and a longsword, Drew took a rapier and crossbow, and Ely had his two punching daggers and his .45 Colt automatic pistol, while Gray's armament consisted of his two gladiuses, Sigs, and 10 gauge. "All ready back there?" asked the pilot. Without waiting for an answer, he started up the converted bomber and flew it gently out of the hangar. ` The Fringe was desplate, even more so than usual. There were no ships to be seen, visually or on the scanners. It was just a big section of the black with some rocks floating in it. It was a very lonely place to be, and as such made it ideal for anyone who didn't want to be found. It would have seemed almost solemn in the boarding craft if "Selfish Man" by Flogging Molly hadn't been blaring over the comm system. Gray never understood how anyone could listen to that. Even though he secretly loved it. As they approached the edge of the Asteroid Belt, the ship full of pirates looked anxiously at the radar screen. A full two minutes were spent staring at an empty screen. Then, ever so slightly, a small blip appeared on the outskirts of the radar. "That our ship sir?" asked Austin. Austin was a big man, muscled and beefy. He had a thing for big weapons. "That it is, Austin." responded Gray with just a hint of a grin. Easy pickings, he thought. No escort of any kind, and the technical readouts Roxanne had given him listed the vessel as having only four heavy ship cannons. "Starting approach, expect attachment in ninety seconds." said the pilot over the comm. Excellent, thought Gray. He was always most at home when he was fighting. The pilot fired up the ship's engines, thrusting it forward violently. As it went, the ship's flight grew steadier. As the freighter looked ahead, the pilot readied the vacuum seal for attachment. "One hundred meters and closing." came the pilot's voice over the comm. "Everyone ready?" asked Gray, knowing the answer already. As the boarding craft drew closer, a stream of Russian came through over the comm system. The message was repeated twice, then a shot erupted from one of the heavy cannons. The shell flew past the craft's nose, missing by only two meters. Just then the ships collided. "Beginning attachment sequence." said the pilot. The hissing sound of the seal extending could be heard throughout the ship. "Seal in place, proceeding to pressurize." came the pilot again. Another, louder, hissing started. "Opening bay doors." said Gray into the comm. "Roger that captain, you are clear to go." Gray hit a switch on the wall, and the bomb bay doors opened. Gray and his crew descended down into the seal and now stood on the freighter's hull. "who has the torch?" asked Gray. "Right here, captain." said Ely, coming forward holding a portable plasma torch. "Alright, everyone back up, give him some room." said Gray. Everyone moved to the edge of the seal as Ely began to cut throught the ship's hull. Soon the hull was breached, and Gray and his team were inside. They had entered into the galley area, aft of the crew quarters and bridge. As Gray lowered himself into the freighter, he felt a bullet whiz past his shin. He instinctively pulled his legs back up out of the hole. Gray pulled out his pistols, and everyone else did likewise. Peeping through the hole in the hull, Gray saw a man holding a rifle looking around a corner. Gray motioned to Jack to move where he was so he could get a clear shot. Jack lined up, took aim, and fired. The sharp crack of his rifle must have startled some of the crew, because at that moment seven more men came running from the crew's quarters, all brandishing a gun of some sorts. Gray holstered his pistols and drew his swords, as did everyone else. He readied himself, then dove headfirst into the freighter. He came up to find himself nearly surrounded, with men everywhere but to his left-rear. He brought his swords up in a blinding arc, one in each hand, catching one crewman in the throat and one in the groin. Both fell to the ground, bleeding profusely. The other five men all raised their weapons, hoping to catch Gray off guard. Just at that moment Roxanne came tumbling down through the hole, her chain whirling around like a crazy snake in its death throes. It hit two more men, wounding them but not doing any fatal damage. Roxanne was quickly followed by Austin, brandishing his huge sword. He took off one man's head in a single swipe. As Ely came down, he drove one of his daggers through a crewman's skull, killing him instantly. Drew, who was a very skilled fencer, dropped down, slashing one man on the way down and stabbing him as he regained his balance. The one crewman remaining turned and ran back towards the bridge. Gray, Roxanne, and Ely followed him as everyone else descended throught the hole and spread out to secure the ship. As Gray rounded a corner, a burst of gunfire flew past his head, missing by centimeters. He quickly ducked back behind the wall and readied his guns. He steeled himself and strafed around the corner. He saw three men, all holding automatic weapons, aiming right for him. He let off three quick shots before ducking behind the corner again. At that moment, Roxanne jumped out from behind the corner, unleashing a volley of automatic fire from her carbine. Two of the men dropped, and the third nursed a bleeding thigh. Before he could ready his gun again, Ely had dispatched him with a well placed shot from his Colt. Gray and Ely advanced down the hall, stopping to examine the bodies. They were all Russian, wearing black combat suits and, to Gray's surprise, armor. Judging by the way they shot and the weapons they carried, Gray thought that they must have been KGB operatives or some such. Gray rounded the corner at the end of the hall, went up the short staircase, and encountered the door to the bridge, locked securely from the inside. Through the door, Gray heard snatchs of Russian conversation. It was rapid, almost incoherent. The men inside were obviously panicked. Gray tapped on the door window a few times with the butt of his pistol. A very scared looking Russian man appeared in the window. He immediately spouted a stream of Russian, more than likely begging Gray not to kill him. Gray's 9mm guns didn't have the power to break through the window, but Ely's Colt did. As Ely raised his gun to window, the man looking out instinctively ducked. The explosion of glass caught one man in the temple, killing him instantly. Gray calmly reached through the shattered window and unlocked the door. The two Russians still standing both dropped to the ground, sobbing for Gray not to blow their brains out. Gray, being the mean old man he was, did just that. "Sir, was that really necessary?" asked Roxanne, who had finished securing the ship with everyone else. "Yes, it was." replied Gray. "We can't risk having anyone left around to go tell the hunters who we are." Ely shivered at the mention of hunters. Nothing but pirates themelves, really. Some of them were supposedly decent, but most were just heartless bastards. They roamed the system, targeting the enemies of whoever they worked for. They were also paid by the government for every pirate ship they destroyed. "Is the ship secure?" asked Gray. "It is sir," replied Roxanne, "and there were six who laid down arms." "Throw them out the airlock." said Gray, as he headed back toward the boarding craft.


After the freighter was patched up, cleaned, and mostly stripped of anything valuable, Gray set sail for The Void, his new ship in tow. Five hours later he was arranging a deal with a wealthy contractor's agent to sell the stolen ores. An hour after that, he was looking into having the Donkey Cart stripped and the freighter refit and repaired. Two more hours had him sleeping in his new bunk on board the newly christened 'Flame II,' enjoying the feel of being rich again.

================================================== That's all for now, more to come later.


Sunday, April 9, 2006 10:09 PM


This is good! Its rare to find someone doing a fic that is so far from the series because it's hard to pull off, but you did really good here! I'm looking forward to reading more. :)

Monday, April 10, 2006 7:33 AM


Flogging Molly!!! Yay...

I'm enjoying this :) Keep going - it's really interesting!

Is the 'Nathan' a homage to Our Captain? ;)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006 11:07 AM


no, Gray is definitely not a nice person. he's a pirate, remember.

and yes, Gray's first name was a tribute to Mal.


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Pirates of the 23rd Century: Chapter 1
The full version of Chapter one. Gray gets his ship, stuff blows up, and a jolly good time is had by all. Sorry in advance for the length and any spelling/grammar mistakes.

Pirates of the 23rd Century: Capter 0.5
Not exactly Firefly, but it has some Browncoat-speak in it. I think of it as what was going on before we moved out into the new solar system where Firefly takes place. Basically, 200 years before Firefly. A description would take to long, so if you really, really want one, go check out my first log entry. (the one entitled 'guuuuhhhhh.......' or something.)