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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Jed Kurtz and his Scarpers make their move on an unguarded Serenity.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1238 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Disclaimer: Not mine, no coin changed hands. This story has not been beta-ed. Please accept my apologies for any errors or correct me.
Dedication: To all the folk who endure traumatic events and somehow find the courage to rebuild their lives.
Rating: NC17, Adult content, violence in later chapters.
Remarks: The next section in my long story arc following Jayne and Kaylee as they define and strengthen their relationship. Takes place between the series and the BDM, three weeks after my previous story, “Leaps of Faith”. Click on my name to read the backstories.
Feedback: Sincerely appreciated when civilly offered; that’s what it’s all about. Some of you have expressed distress over this story’s title. Please consider the following:
Definitions: Source: The Random House Dictionary of the English Language
Raping – (3) The act of seizing and carrying off by force (7) Plundering.
Serenity – (1)The state or quality of being serene, calm, or tranquil.
Chapter Eight – The Scarpers: Lockdown
Jed Kurtz and his boys have been in position since before dawn, almost two full hours. From his vantage point behind a shallow rise, Kurtz stands in his stirrups and peers through binoculars toward the Firefly settled in between two low hills. His horse shifts under him and nickers softly. Behind him, Evert Lazely and Bert Portman sit in a tracked utility vehicle towing an open trailer containing the tools and equipment they’ll use to strip the ship of her valuable electronics.
All three men are armed, leathered veterans of this particular sort of salvage known as “scarping”. They’ve been working Newhall for the past six months and have stripped and accumulated equipment from half dozen ships. Once they’ve gathered all the sellable gear off the Firefly, their cache will be picked up for black market resale and they’ll move on to another world, doing their best to avoid attracting the notice of any authorities.
Kurtz watches as the Firefly’s shuttle takes off toward Newberg. “The birds have flown, boys, Let’s see if’n they left any chicks in the nest. We git up close, you hold off 'til I can scout her.” He nudges his mount up and over the rise and canters across the open ground toward Serenity with his buddies in the tractor following behind.
Simon checks his sister’s pulse and heart beat, then pulls a light blanket over her. “I think it will be safe to leave her for a couple of hours,” he tells Book. “She seems safely sedated, and I’m hoping the additional rest will be helpful, too. She’s awakened so often by nightmares. I still don’t know what’s triggering these outbursts, but fatigue may be a factor.” He lightly kisses River’s forehead and smoothes her long dark hair back from her face, his deep concern for her welfare clearly evident.
Book shakes his head in concern. “I know this is terribly distressing for you, son. It’s hard to understand why anyone would do the things you suspect were done to River.” The Shepherd puts a hand on Simon’s shoulder and hands the white chess queen to him. “Since she’s sleeping now, why don’t we go back up to the galley. We can get those chess pieces picked up and I’ll make us some tea.”
Jed Kurtz signals his boys in the tractor to hang back while he dismounts and scouts the exterior of the ship, using the surrounding rocks and brush as cover. Having determined that the Firefly seems to have no perimeter guards posted, he waves the men in the tractor up and they park at the bottom of Serenity’s ramp. The bay doors are closed and auto-locked, a security precaution Mal insists on when the armed crew members are off the ship on unfamiliar dirt.
Bert Portman checks the massive steel doors and finds them secured. He quickly unscrews a panel on the control box just outside the bay doors to gain access to the circuitry inside. In less than a minute he’s clipped and stripped wiring and attached a hand-held key pad that allows him to over-ride the security code. Serenity’s bay doors part with a soft whoosh and muted thonk and the ship lies breached and open.
Shepherd Book carries cups of steaming tea to the table where Simon is carefully packing away the chess pieces and board.
“Here you go, son. Be careful. It’s quite hot.”
Simon turns the white queen between his slender fingers and notices the piece now has a deep crack. He shakes his head sadly. “This set is very old, you know. It belonged to my great, great grandfather. The pieces are bone and ebony, all hand carved long ago. I’ve loved it since I was a boy and my father first taught me the game. He promised it to me when I graduated from medical school.”
“It must be very precious to you for you to have brought it along when you fled with your sister,” Book observes, stirring his tea.
“Yes, it is dear, but I actually brought it mostly for River. She’s been able to beat me consistently since she was nine, so it’s not as if I actually have any expectation of winning. I suppose I indulge her, but the structure of the game often seems to help her organize her thinking, so we play and she beats me. Always.”
The doctor studies the chess queen as he sips gingerly at his tea. “I think I can get some epoxy from Kaylee to fix the crack. Maybe River won’t even notice.”
Drawing his pistol, Kurtz nods to his crew, “Lasley, you and Portman clear that upper level; I’ll take this one. Don’t kill anyone unless you gotta, but secure ’em one way or another. We’ll meet back up on the bridge.”
The two scarpers, firearms in hand, make their way quietly up the stairs to Serenity’s main deck as Jed Kurtz takes a quick look around the bay.
Shepherd Book jerks up from his tea and hushes Simon. It’s clear from the expression on his usually serene face that the preacher is alarmed.
After listening a moment, he whispers, “I think there’s someone onboard the ship. Someone who doesn’t belong, I mean.”
Simon whispers back, “River’s asleep down in the medlab and Kaylee’s back in the engine room. What do we do?”
Reacting with surprising speed, Book points toward the crew quarters.
“If we can get to Jayne’s bunk, I know he’s got guns and ammunition. All the bunk doors are open. Let’s try to get down there as quickly and quietly as possible. I think that’s our best chance at defending the ship.”
They carefully slip their chairs back and quietly cross the open space to the short stairs that lead to the foredeck corridor and the mercenary’s quarters. First Simon and then Book climbs down the rungs into the merc’s cluttered bunk.
They do not know they are being watched.
River struggles to consciousness from her deeply drugged state, like a fish rising from deep, black water, her eyes wide and her mouth agape. Around her, the medbay whirls in a spinning confusion of blue and gray and white, cabinets and monitors and panels and glossy surfaces glittering with light like shattered glass.
They’re coming! They’re on the ship. Danger, danger! Hide, River. Hide, Kaylee. Everybody… hide!
Her mind screams warning, tearing through the sedative-induced fog that fills her, and she rolls off the med table and onto the floor, fumbling and thrashing in an effort to untangle her limbs from the blanket. Danger, danger! Hide!
She can’t focus her eyes on the swirling room and crawls as best she can toward the bank of drawers and cabinets where Simon stores medical supplies, dragging the blanket with her. She fumbles with handles and latches and finally opens the doors covering an empty storage area that she can fit herself into. It takes all the concentration she can manage to wiggle herself into the tight space and drag the blanket in over herself, but she is small and limber and driven by the threat she senses coming closer.
Unfamiliar footsteps echo down the corridor just as she manages to pull the cabinet doors closed with a sharp ‘click’.
Hide, River! Danger!
Evert Lasley moves stealthily up the ladder that leads from Serenity’s foredeck to her bridge, and smiles to himself as he takes note of all the loot the ship’ll yield. The scarper is a tall, slender man in his early forties with a gaunt, narrow face and bony fingers. He turns to look back through the bridge door and down the corridor just as the Shepherd’s head dips below the casing framing the entrance to Jayne Cobb’s bunk.
Simplest way to deal with this is to just lock ‘em in, Lasley thinks.
He scouts the corridor and quickly locates the nearby control panel. A half-dozen steps and he’s able to throw the master switch that automatically closes and locks the chute doors to all the crew quarters.
That was easy enough. Now let’s see who else might be on this tub.
Lasley heads down the corridor and into the common room and galley. The door at the far end leads straight to Serenity’s engine room where Kaylee works, unaware.
Simon and Book are staring at the lair of Serenity’s mercenary. The bulkhead behind his messy bunk is a display and storage rack for the large collection of firearms of all sizes that Jayne refers to as his “ladies”. Above them, the dingy metal wall is plastered with a rich and elaborate massing of pinups: nude women, partially nude women and pictures of more guns. Clean and dirty clothes are piled here and there, draped on ammo boxes and over crates.
On the floor next to the bunk, almost lost under well thumbed copies of “Soldier of Fortune” and “China Babes in Bondage”, lie a pair of tiny flowered panties, overlooked by Kaylee that morning in her haste to be up and away.
Simon and Shepherd Book note the garment at the same moment. “Oh, my!” Book exclaims, while Simon shades his face to hide his embarrassment.
Their mutual discomfort is interrupted by the swoosh and ca-chonk of the chute door above them swinging closed and latching. Both look at one another and Simon dives for the “Open” button on the bulkhead next to the chute and presses it.
“I think they’ve locked us in,” Book notes with dismay.
Simon curses, “Ai ya women wanle!” and looks around at the mess with evident disgust. “I can’t think of anywhere on this ship more repulsive to be confined. How can someone live like this?” And then the realization hits home: his sister and Kaylee are both elsewhere on the ship, unprotected.
“River and Kaylee are up there… what do we do?”
Although Book is clearly distressed, his response is sure. “We pray that they hear whoever is on board and manage to hide themselves until the Captain and the others return.”
The young doctor looks at Jayne’s bunk – the only place in the small space to sit down on – with obvious squeamishness.
“Do you suppose it’s safe to sit there?” he asks doubtfully.
(To be continued…)
Wednesday, May 24, 2006 9:55 AM
Wednesday, May 24, 2006 1:11 PM
Wednesday, May 24, 2006 2:06 PM
Wednesday, May 24, 2006 6:24 PM
Thursday, May 25, 2006 2:47 AM
Thursday, May 25, 2006 6:47 PM
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