Per Ardua ad Astra [part 1]
Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Directly after the end of 'Heroes of Beltane'. Post BDM, with Vera (and Vera!) and Hori on board Serenity with the rest of the gang.


PER ARDUA AD ASTRA Or, 'In Vera Veritas' [sic!] PART ONE

They're not mine [darn it]. Just borrowing the post BDM Serenity crew and writing more about Vera (and Vera!) adventuring in space along with them. Please try to skim-read 'Vera' and 'Hero[es] of Beltane' first so that you have a clue as to what's going on!

New(ish) characters: 1) Vera Samuels; now called Grace Maclean in public 2)Hori Makaore; Maori, ex-deputy of Vera's from when she was a sheriff on Beltane

Vera and Jayne are getting sexed up regularly, Simon and Kaylee are also still happily bunking together.

When it gets to the relevant part, try to imagine Judi Dench and John Mahoney ('Martin Crane') as Ma and Pa Cobb.

R17 for steamy bunk (and anywhere else they fancy it!) scenes between Jayne and Vera and maybe others if they tell me how they like it! ***

How do you know who the hell you are? Wake up each day under a different star Uniform – Jethro Tull

“So, wan nao; tell me exactly how you got hold of this and then I'll tell you how I feel about you watching me.” Jayne looked up, looking for all the world like a rabbit caught in the headlights. He figured he was in trouble with Vera – again. “Well, um...” He swallowed his current mouthful of food, “Cliff and I; we were in your cave and..erm... That vidpod of you looked so temptin' an' all...” Vera leaned closer. She breathed in and gave Jayne a close-up ringside view of her cleavage. “How do I feel, Jayne?” His gaze dropped. If she breathed in much more those lovely puppies were gonna pop right out no more than a couple of inches from his nose. He was dimly aware of a pair of tight, short shorts further down Vera's body and not a lot else. Suddenly, through the haze of violent arousal, he caught the verbal undercurrents and the distinct scent of Vera getting *very* warm and welcoming. He grinned, “Ya feel hot!” Vera leaned closer, “Oh, yeah. Hot enough to want to strip for you, right here and now.” Jayne stabbed his knife deep into the table top. There'd be trouble about that tomorrow, but right now his hormones were zinging and firmly in charge, “If we were alone, I'd nail you on this table, good and hard.” Vera licked one finger and drew it slowly down her cleavage, popping the two buttons on her shirt as she went, revealing her breasts to his gaze, “So?” Jayne pounced, over the table and sweeping her into her arms in one smooth move. He growled, deep and low in his chest, “Oh, that merits being nailed at least twice tonight! Mebbe three times!” Vera chuckled, “You don't want me to strip for you?” Jayne's teeth slashed white in the gloom as he flung open the door to his bunk, “Hell, yeah! But in private, woman!”

After a very eventful and exhausting couple of hours or so and after a sleep, Jayne lay wide awake at what felt like about three o'clock in the morning to his body, the lingering remnants of hormones keeping him alert for once. Vera was curled up, head pillowed on his chest and one leg slung high over his – her favourite position when they were sharing a bed – and snoring gently. He stroked through her long hair and remembered a conversation they'd had way back in the first day or so after they'd finally become lovers. It was not long after they'd played 'you show me your battle scars and I'll show you mine'.


They were sitting together in her jacuzzi on Beltane, Vera pillowed up in front of him, in a blissed-out post-coital haze. There'd been a whole heap of the coital to recover from, that was for sure. Jayne had held up his hands to Vera, palm up, above the hot water. “You know I've killed with these hands, Vera.” She'd gently placed her slenderer hands on top of his, also palm up, “Yes; and I with mine, Jayne.” He kissed her shoulder, “Guess so; not met that many lady killers.” Vera turned over her hands and laced her fingers with his, “We're two of a kind. I may have had different schooling to start with – which accounts for my cultured-sounding accent - but I became a bad girl when I was fifteen. Been on the road and travelling from one star to the next ever since.” “Didn't fight in the war?” She shook her head, “Considered it, but I'd seen life on both sides. Expensive Alliance-type schooling and then life on the road living from hand to mouth and using my gun and wits to stay alive. Couldn't pick which side to support, so stayed on the sidelines, at first disguised as a man and then as a bounty hunter.” Jayne cupped her breasts, “Don't know how you hid these beauties!” Vera kissed his jaw, “They're not that big! And it's amazing what you can do with strapping and the right sort of clothing. I always packed a prosthetic further down as well.” Jayne frowned, “You had a fake...?” His hands indicated the general area. “Uh-huh. Yup, a fake penis.” Jayne gestured wildly and spluttered, “Woman, that's so *dirty*...!!” Part of him was getting turned on, though. Vera grinned naughtily, “Came in handy if I was feeling lonesome.” Jayne hauled her out of the water, “Gotta show you how much nicer a real one is, woman!” Vera grinned right back, “No argument; specially when it's yours, Jayne.”

**** So here he was, with a lady who was an amazing lover in the sack – and out of it – who was darned handy with a gun and her tongue in several interesting ways and wasn't afraid to go toe to toe with him when he was being stubborn. And she trusted him. He looked at those hands of his in the dim light, remembering most of the guys he'd punched or taken out with his gun. And yet, they'd also been applied, even from the first, in pleasuring women. The mother of that first posh kid who'd hired him as a bodyguard; she'd seduced him and he'd been a hormone driven teenager, eager to learn everything she wanted to teach him. The first six months had covered the basics of loving and most of the positions and the next year or so had taken him into the practice of full control. He hadn't had the chance since then to show a woman the full experience of the learning he'd received. He simply hadn't been in any woman's bed longer than a night or two at best. And whores were there to please *him*, not the other way around, although he did his best to leave 'em with a satisfied smile on their faces. With Vera, he burned every time she touched him, so it might be a while, but he was planning to show her a whole new area of Jayne Cobb loving as soon as he could catch his breath.


Mal was in the cockpit of Serenity with River. They'd spotted a small asteroid floating out here in the black and were heading there for a few hours of down time so that everyone could sleep. River located a crater big enough to take them and they made a fair landing. Mal preferred it this way, so that everyone could follow the same sleep patterns; or something close to it. River flicked off the switches and helped set the proximity alarm, just in case. “There's letters coming.” Mal gave a small chuckle, “They'll have fun getting the post to find us here.” “Next mail drop place. Important letter for you and Inara.” Mal frowned, “We're not a couple; nor ever likely to be so.” “You love her.” Mal turned angrily and held River by the shoulders, “If you've been peeking in my mind...” “No. It's plain as the nose on your face. She loves you too.” Mal gripped tighter and his voice dripped with cynicism, “Yeah right, and have you forgotten what she does for a living, girl?” “That's sex for money. Courtesans are all beautiful, mannered and restrained. She'd let all that go for you.” “Gonna be a pig flyin' overhead 'fore I'd believe that, girl.” He stomped out of the bridge. River watched him go, then commented to the universe, “Pig's ready for take-off. Gonna be a stormy flight an' all, but you'll see it.”

**** A few days later

Serenity made landfall on Dionysus. The whole of the system was named after Greek deities, with Zeus the gas giant far out with its twin planet Hera circling around it, followed by Ares, Artemis and Poseidon. Dionysus was the second closest to the star which was called Hades. The nearest planet to the star was a burned little chunk of a thing, barely an asteroid, with three big peaks which had led to it being called Cerberus.

Dionysus was covered in lush, tropical forest – even over the seas. Sailing was restricted to wooden canoes and similar small boats which could manage in between the vast forest of sea-loving trees and plants. The land was even more densely covered with vegetation. The landing platform was built very high up above the treeline, but even so the local crews battled daily invasion by intrepid and persistent lianas. As the crew apart from River and Hori descended into the green gloom in an elevator, they were surrounded by myriad simian and animal eyes peering at them through the leaves. Jayne fidgeted, “Downright unsettlin'!” Vera smiled up at him, “They're just curious. I've not seen anything much bigger than the apes of Earth-that-was seemed to be.” The elevator man nodded, “Not many large predators; just a small number of lazy Saurian-like carnivores which pick off the odd monkey here and there. Not big enough to tackle humans, and even if they did, the things are so dopey in the heat, we'd get them before they got us.” Mal had his hand on his holster, “Wonder what River would have made of all those little minds out there.”

Simon was gazing at the tree-dwelling animals and using his medical knowledge to speculate on how they were put together, “She'd be fascinated. I know I am – even if I'm not a veterinarian.” The elevator guy gestured, “The vast majority of life here is insect. Hope you're not too freaked by large butterflies...” An enormous, brightly coloured specimen the size of a dinner plate floated across in front of them. “Ohh, that's so shiny!” Kaylee was enchanted, “Looks like one of Inara's dresses.” Inara smiled, “I don't think I could wear that butterfly!” Mal privately reckoned she could and have men whimpering at her feet. “We have a kind of silk, harvested from one part of the forest. Happily we don't have to kill the caterpillars to get at it; it's spun by the adult butterflies as a kind of web.” Inara nodded, “Of course, Dionysian silk. Maybe I'll do some shopping while I'm here.” Simon smiled at Kaylee, “Maybe I will too.” Her smile rewarded him. Jayne made a private note to have a look himself. He knew the crew knew, but he wasn't about to blazen his sexual relationship with Vera about in public. Maybe some sexy silk undies or something slinky she could turn into a dress.

The post-room was built around several tree trunks. It was a little strange, to look both up and down into green leaves. The Dionysian hostess smiled at them. She was darker than Zoe, with light blue eyes, “I'm Ephiny. We built the post room here to keep the mail reasonably dry. There are habitation rooms on this level, and shops. Most of us Dionysians sleep underground or out in the sea in houses among the trees. Building anything much on the forest floor is a waste of time. Plants either grow through the floor or push the whole structure slowly upwards. So we give in and become arboreal. At least there's a breeze up here; down there it's humid to the point of super saturation and things rot very quickly. We grow mushrooms down there and several edible fungi; medicinal ones too. Fruit and vegetables on this level and higher, fish in the sea.” “No steak?” Jayne sounded bereft. Ephiny laughed, “Yes, but not from cows as you'd know them. There's what we call a sea-cow; rather like a huge tuna. The steak we get from that is almost indistinguishable from the real cow variety.” “What about bread and carbohydrates?” Simon had noticed a gap in the diet. Ephiny gestured out of the window, “Something like potatoes over there in the vegetable area and bread fruit. Cakes and biscuits are a luxury we buy in! So, what can I help you with?” Mal stepped forward, “We've come to see if there's any mail for any of us left here. If you want to trade, we can swap tinned cake for fuel. That'll do for now.”

Mal had a package which he wasn't expecting. The franking mark was blurred, so he couldn't tell where it had come fro. Even the printing on the labels was anonymous. He smelled it and felt it, very gingerly. “Thinking it might be a bomb?” Jayne was standing behind him watchfully. “Wasn't fully expecting mail. Just being cautious.” He opened the package very slowly, with Jayne keeping watch. There was a lurid orange plaid shirt inside, “Well that's not from my mother. She'd have better sense than send me a tablecloth to wear!” Tucked into the pocket of the shirt was a vidpod and a note, “Oh; it's from Cliff. Ah. Better take my gifts back to Serenity...” Mal ascended back to Serenity, locked himself in his cabin and started watching. Cliff's face came on first, “G'day, mate. We found this stuff whilst clearing out the bunker. I'm hoping Inara doesn't know about this, eh; but she ought to. It's secret material about the Companion houses and the 'medicine' the Companions get given which has some nasty long term side effects. Destroy it after you and Inara and maybe the crew have seen it, please. I took a risk sending you a copy, eh.”


Tuesday, June 6, 2006 6:43 PM


Oh boy...Inara's gonna be pissed at this! Her target? Would be a few coins that she'd be pissed at Mal and Cliff for a little while until Simon can prove the message right...then all Hell's gonna break loose:D


Tuesday, June 6, 2006 8:10 PM


I love your description of Dionysius and the planets in that sector. It really brought the planet to life quite vividly. Felt weird them having a post room on it and even weirder that Cliff had sent post there for Mal about Inara. Can't wait to find out exactly what it will mean. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me


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