Hero[es] of Beltane: part 2
Tuesday, May 23, 2006

River's vision bears fruit; whores and water and hidden stuff. Not so much of the sexing up in this part, but references to the same.



Water wide, water deep Miles to go before I sleep [Venice; All my life]

Mal got back on the topic of interest, “Tell me more about Venice, just in case.” Vera nodded, “It’s a terraformed large asteroid. Some rich woman in the Alliance way back fancied somewhere to call home. It got towed out of the asteroid belt around Imbolc, the gas giant in this system and planted as a kind of distant moon; although it has its own orbit, and not around Beltane. It was brought within reasonable distance of our sun so that it had a prayer of supporting life.” Kaylee whistled, “Must have cost yu bun duh piles of money.” “Yes, it did. Terraforming didn’t take totally to the client’s liking, she pulled out her money and left this system with a place that works as a brief pleasure stop-over and for growing certain specialised crops and that’s about it. There’s just enough of the necessaries to keep the croupiers, whores, hydroponics farmers and a handful of expert divers and cavers going plus a limited number of visitors. Not really a choice place to live.” “If it’s all water, where do people actually *live*?” Kaylee was curious. Vera made shapes with her hands as she talked, “Imagine a ball of water, with a reasonable layer of solid granite-like rock, then more water. Well, apart from the north pole; that’s on the mostly dark side and frozen solid a good deal of the year. The maybe fifty or so buildings are built on pilings that go down into the granite, like Venice of old. There are walkways and level areas between the buildings. Most of those are metal, but some rock was shipped in way back from other planets, so there is land - of a sort. Venice is mostly like a giant metal boardwalk surrounded by a mixture of water and plants. Explorers have found a few openings that go down into the inner water and you can dive there if your nerve and skill is up to it.”

Mal spoke again, “So it would be difficult to have a large fire there?” Vera laughed softly, “I’ll say! Not impossible though.” “Well, it’s worth noting. River has a psychic knack for smelling out the truth, even when it’s ugly.” “Don’t smell the truth, dummy. It gets in my head as words and pictures.” Vera spoke again, “Do you think we ought to visit Venice, just to check things out? It’ll take a few hours to get there and back in Cliff’s souped up transport.” At that moment the monitor on her desk burst into life with a howl of static. A very good-looking redhaired man was on the other end of the feed. “Hello, Vera.” She smiled warmly, “Hello Rusty.” “Fraid this isn’t a social call, Vera.” She nodded, “Got my hands full anyways.” Her glance shot briefly in Jayne’s direction. “Ah. Been a couple of strange guys hanging round the sisters’ brothel. Tastes on the vanilla side, but shifty; although they’re hiding it well. The girls smell trouble a-brewin’.” “Your own sheriff?” “Gone down below searching for some crims we think have managed to get toe-hold on the north pole.” “Good grief! I hoped he packed his woolly knickers! It’s brass monkeys and damn near frozen solid out there!” Rusty grinned, “We’re heading for the Thaw; if they are there, things are going to get pretty liquid for them soon enough.” Vera grinned back, “Flush ‘em out, like.” “Indeed. So if you and maybe that big fella with you and some of the Maori would like to come and ask questions, now would be a good time.” “That’s Jayne and he’s good people. Got another gun hand or two as might join us...” Mal and Zoe nodded, “Called Mal and Zoe; they’re business partners with Jayne. A couple of Maori like you suggested. Be there soon, Rusty,” She flipped the switch, “And so it begins.” “Dark. Imprisoned. Cut off.” River was seeing something far off again. Simon butted in, “I don’t like my sister going off planet without me.” Mal turned to him, “After Maidenhead and playin’ slice and dice with a room-full of Reavers, I think River can take care of herself. You got twins to deliver, ’member?” “Need to see tiny humans born. Need River there, doctoring.” She seemed sure of that. So, the crew of Serenity split up. Simon went to Auckers with Kaylee and River for the twins and the boat parts. Inara elected to have long talks with Beltane’s resident whores. Mal, Zoe, Cliff, Hori, Jayne and Vera headed for Cliff’s speedy shuttle. Jayne caught hold of Vera’s arm and held her back, “Boyfriend?” There was a fair slice of jealous threat in his words. “Male whore. And a friend. And yes, if you’re asking, I’ve used his services in the past.” “Don’t like it.” “I told him in a roundabout way that I was off limits at the moment, in case you weren’t listening fully.” Jayne’s furrowed brow told her he hadn’t been listening, “I said I had my hands full at the moment. And with a certain part of you, it’s damn close to the facts, lover boy.” She smiled, conspiritorially. He grinned, “Ain’t that the truth!” Vera was relieved that he seemed mollified. Jayne, however, was in stubborn ox mode, “So you sleep with boy whores?” Vera gave as good as she got, “Seem to remember you sleep with girl ones, Jayne.” “Yeah, but... Whores is fun and relief...” He suddenly realised he was in a hole and stopped digging. “Boy whores are much the same.” “Thinking I’m a boy whore, then?” Vera sighed. Sometimes Jayne could be too pig-headed for his own good, “Of all the men I’ve had sex with, only one so far has matched my heightened libido, pushed most of the right buttons for me, challenged me, been physically pretty much exactly as I like ‘em, teased me just how I needed it and been just plain damn fun.” “Oh.” The tone of his voice was flat. Vera let him stew in disappointment for a while, thinking it might be someone else. She touched his shoulder as they got near Cliff’s shuttle, “It’s you, idiot.” The radiance of Jayne’s smile might have outdone the sun; but it was loaded with a huge slice of bad boy and eagerness, “Ta mah duh!” Vera matched his grin, “When you’ve recharged your...batteries and we get back.” Jayne bent closer, “I’ll want you in that red dress of yours and your highest heels and in my bunk, woman!” “You got keys or something to get into Serenity?” “Don’t tell Mal, but yeah!”

They flew easily across the modest slice of black to Venice. Cliff guided them down onto the small landing strip at the edge of the settlement. Gentle waves lapped at the massive pilings holding up the boardwalk. The air was warm, and they bounced slightly with the reduced gravity as they got out of the shuttle. Rusty was standing there waiting. Jayne was pleased to see that the man was smaller and less muscled. He squared his shoulders. Vera made brief introductions. Rusty responded, “The official story is that you’ve brought your visitors for some R&R and to view the hydroponics.” Mal looked at the banks of green growing in the sea, “If we could grow some basic vegetables on Serenity, I’d be interested in learning how.” Zoe nodded, “Kaylee would welcome strawberries, sir.” Rusty nodded, “Might be something we could do about that. You need the right kind of daylight bulbs inside and maybe solar cells on the hull to catch the light from any suns you pass.” “Don’t want my ship to look like a shiny ornament.” Rusty shook his head, “Doesn’t have to, Mal. If I can find something suitable, consider it payment.” They walked away from the water towards the whorehouse.

The whorehouse was built on oriental lines, with curved sloping roofs and a Buddha at the door. It was basic but clean. Two Japanese-looking women met them in the tea room. Rusty gestured, “Lotus Flower and Jasmine.” Mal was pretty sure those weren’t the names their parents had given them. Lotus Flower smiled, “Please - call me Iona. The other name is for clients.” Mal chalked one up to his instincts. Jasmine elected to stay with the name Rusty had given her. Jasmine started as Iona made some tea, “The two guys say they are cavers, but something about them doesn’t feel right. I’m sure they’re hiding something.” “Smugglers?” Vera ventured. “No; not that sneaky. But a secret agenda, certainly.” “Rusty said their tastes have been vanilla; have you offered them...well, stronger medicine?” Iona nodded, “Yes, and I got the distinct impression mine would have said yes, but restrained himself.” “BDSM?” Jayne bit his lip. Women discussing sex pretty much always lit his fuse. The fact that one was Vera made it worse. Or maybe that was better. He shifted his gun butt over his crotch. “Well, just him being spanked. Powerful guys often get off on relinquishing control.” Mal interjected, “Powerful?” Iona frowned, “Yes. That is the strange thing. He wears messy cavers’ clothes, but his nails are clean and he hasn’t got callouses on his fingers. I’d put him down as a suit if I had to guess.” “Bureaucrat?” “Maybe a banker or a lawyer; something like that. And I’d bet he’s never caved in his life.” Mal considered, “Anything here someone like that might be looking for?” Rusty shook his head, “We’re a tiny speck of water and dirt. Sheriff’s got things mostly under control; we pay our taxes, keep our heads down and our noses clean.” “Apart from availing themselves of your services, what else have they been doing?”

Jasmine spoke, “The one who came to me went walkabout in the middle of the night and I found him trying to find the ‘basement’” “Which you don’t have,” Mal stated. Rusty shook his head, “The plans clearly show this is built on solid rock, just like all the buildings in the original settlement. That rock was dropped in from offworld and terraformed together to make one solid mountain of granite ages ago. Anyone wanting to dig into that would need diamond cutters. Which were used for the foundations, of course, but that’s expensive. We’ve searched the ground floor thoroughly with no luck. Man’s off his chump.” Zoe asked the next question, “Could there be something *in* the foundations?” Rusty chuckled, “There’d be the devil’s own job in getting at it!” Vera looked at the two women, “Mind if we have a hunt around?” Mal nodded, remembering hidden bank vaults in the past, “If you don’t mind, ladies. We won’t get in your way.” Jasmine passed out the tea, “And if any of you would like to negotiate some...entertainment whilst you’re here...?” Mal shook his head, remembering Nandi, “No thanks, Ma’am.” Jayne was most emphatic, “Uh-uh. I might...otherwise, but I’m kinda on a promise.” Zoe looked stoic, “Don’t go with women. No offense.” The two Maori just shook their heads.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006 4:13 AM


I liked this.

References to Venice and it's unique features were great.

Then of course you know I how much I like to see Jayne put in situations where he just doesn't know quite how to act. Great job.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 7:21 PM


Loved how ya had Jayne slowly winding up with the notion of Vera sexing with male whores before she managed to stroke his ego;)



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