Children Of The Academy: Chance Meeting
Saturday, July 8, 2006

River runs into a fellow student from the Academy, and it's not what you expect.


Brian could feel it. Like a noose tightening around his neck. The Alliance had been on his tail before, but he’d managed to shake them every time. Always pulled his head out just as they yanked on the cord. Heck, he’d even untied the knot once or twice, just to confound them even more. Why, back on Persephone, when they tried to…

Focus, Brian. Focus. Now’s not the time to be wandering off.

He hated it. The way his mind drifted when he started getting nervous. And he’d been that way ever since he set foot on the skyplex. The large amount of Alliance soldiers that were spread throughout had only intensified the feeling. But he’d had no choice, he was running low on supplies, and he’d had to drop off the goods in order to get paid.

But I’ve got the money now. My ship’s ready to go, but the minute I try to take off, they’ll be all over me. I’ve got to find a way out of this!

Which was why he was walking around aimlessly, trying to find a way to escape this new trap that had been laid. Only problem was, the Alliance knew him too well, and had prepared for everything he could think of. They had even taken extra precautions to prevent him from trying something new.

Figures. They drilled into my head, pumped me full of drugs, and even invaded my dreams. They know just about everything there is to know when it comes to my life, so why wouldn’t they be cautious.

Brian stopped next to a bazaar. He pretend to be interested in the man promoting some proof of alien life, all the while trying to figure something out. Roaming around without a plan was only making things worse. He ran through the list of people he’d done runs for, when he remembered Amnon. A while back, the post hadn’t been moving like it was supposed to, and Brian had taken a load to help get things going again. Amnon was always thanking him for that, maybe it was time he cashed in. Having made a decision, Brian headed off towards the post office.


Captain Malcolm Reynolds was watching River Tam very closely. She was studying some trinket on a table with intensity, and he wondered what she’d found. At least this time he would know where it came from, as opposed to the three other times River had ‘stolen’ something on the way over. Placating vendors was not what he had in mind when he agreed to let her come.

Matter of fact, he almost hadn’t. It was still dangerous to be letting the Tams just walk around, but there hadn’t been any new reports since Miranda, and Kaylee had wanted some alone time off-ship with Simon, saying something about a mutant cow. So he had decided to let them have their fun, and allowed River to tag along to get the mail. Something he thought was going to be easy. But the second time River had shown up with a crystal figurine, followed by another angry vendor, he had given up hope.

Mal sighed. “Nothing ever goes smooth.”

“You say something, Mal?”

“Huh. Oh, no.” Mal turned to look at Jayne diggin through the box his momma had sent. “Look, why don’t you take the mail and head on back to the ship, Jayne. See if Zoe needs any help cleaning up the cargo bay. Inara should be done shopping soon, and Simon and Kaylee are sure to be not far behind. I’d like it done before we take off.”

“Ah, hell, Mal. You know ain’t nothing wrong with the cargo bay. Zoe’s just tryin ta keep busy, as always. Ya ask me, she spends too much time on that ship.”

“Well, I ain’t askin you, so shut your lip and get movin. I’m gonna try and tear River away from whatever she’s lookin at, and then we’ll be on our way.”

Jayne started to say something else, but Mal shot him a look that would hear no arguin, so he got up and left, muttering a few choice words. Mal shoved off from the wall he’d been leaning against and took a good look at his surroundings.

There seemed to be a lot more Alliance soldiers about this time around, though that was true just about everywhere nowadays. For the past eight months, the Alliance had tried to calm the people by providing more protection against the ‘newly discovered Reaver threat’. Which meant more soldiers with more guns crowding his sky. They’d even started providing their soldiers live ammo, once they figured out that the pulse weapons they preferred didn’t work on something that enjoyed pain.

Way Mal saw it, this was just another excuse for the Alliance to assert their control over the ‘verse. But they hadn’t bothered him or his crew yet, so he wasn’t too bothered by the turn of events. Things would either explode or calm down eventually, but so long as they left him out of it, he didn’t care one way or the other. He’d lost too many loved ones to want to be involved.

Turning away from the post office, he began to make his way towards the stand that River was inspecting. He had to admit, the girl was doing better these days. She still tended to speak in riddles, and wasn’t able to block out the emotions of everyone around her, but she wasn’t as wild as she used to be. Everyday, a little more of the teenager that she was shone through, though she did break down every now and then. Quite a few times he’d found her curled up in Wash’s chair crying, though whether it was her own grief or someone else’s, he couldn’t tell. He had his theories, especially since it got worse once River and Kaylee switched rooms. Being that close to Zoe’s pain at night had to be taxing on the girl, but he had no idea how to fix it. Feelings weren’t just something you talked to Zoe about.

Hell, it could be just as much his fault as it was Zoe's. He’d brought the Alliance down on their heads. He’d been the one to make the decision that led to Wash’s death. He’d lost a lot of men throughout the years, but none of them mattered as much as the loss of Shepherd Book and Hoban Washburne. He wondered if he’d ever live it down. The only thing he could do now was try and protect River as best he could, he owed them that much at least.

Shoving his thoughts aside, Mal looked up just in time to see someone bump into River. He couldn’t have been much older than twenty, had brown hair, a slight tan, and a slender build. He was wearing non-descript clothing, the kind you could find just about anywhere, though whether that was intentional or not was hard to tell. He didn’t seem to be carrying any weapons, though something told Mal that he didn’t need them if it came down to a fight.

Getting a grip on his gun, Mal started to pick up the pace. River turned, and a look of what Mal could only guess was disbelief appeared on her face.



Mal stopped dead in his tracks. He didn’t know what shocked him more, the fact that these two people seemed to know each other, or the fact that River actually looked surprised. Either way, he decided, this couldn’t be good.

Brian seemed to have reached the same conclusion, as he now appeared to be slightly panicked, and was looking around the room at the soldiers stationed along the walls. He looked straight at Mal, and started to smile.

Before Mal could begin to contemplate why this kid was smiling all of a sudden, Brian turned around and punched River in the face.

In the time it took for Mal to draw his gun and get a bead on the hwoon dahn, River had spun into his line of sight in order to deliver a roundhouse kick aimed at Brian’s head, which Brian subsequently managed to block.

For the next few seconds, Mal tried to get a clear shot, but wasn’t able to. He played with the idea of rushing in there to try and break it up, but realized he’d just be hurt in the process. Something the locals happened to agree with, as they were clearing out of the area as fast as they could. Which only caused the soldiers to take that much more of an interest.

“Oh, juh jen sh guh kwai lu duh jean-jan” Mal pulled the comlink out of his pocket and switched it on. “Zoe, Jayne, you there?”

Zoe’s voice came through the line. “We’re here sir.”

“Get the ship prepped. And tell the others they might want to hurry back, or they’re gonna get left.”

“Trouble with the locals sir?”

“There will be in about a minute.”

As Mal switched off the com, he heard Jayne in the background. “Gorramit Mal, can’t we go anywhere without you startin something?!”

“Now what would be the fun in that?”

Mal took stock of where he stood, and the locations of the Alliance soldiers that had started to creep up on the two fighters. Taking a second to glance at the fight to make sure River was doing alright, he discovered that the pair was evenly matched. Not a single one was able to land a blow, despite how hard they were both trying.

As one of the purple-bellies reached out to try and grab River, Brian grabbed his hand and pulled his arm straight into one of River’s kicks. River then dodged a right hook that landed in the man’s face. This only galvanized the others, and they were soon rushing in to try and stop the fight. But as they rolled in, they were almost immediately used as cover, or sometimes even weapons. In fact, the more Mal watched, the more it seemed that Brian and River were actually working together to take out the soldiers. While they were aiming kicks and punches at one another, the only ones that were actually getting hit were the soldiers who were trying to stop it. It was a bizarre and interesting sight, one he would have liked to sit back and watch, when two soldiers grabbed him from behind.

“Hey, you, what are you doing?”

“You need to get out of here.”

“And just when I thought I wasn’t going to get to join in.” Mal elbowed the man on his right in the jaw, then punched the one on his left. He tussled with them for a few minutes before finally getting the upper hand. By the time he managed to lay the two men out, the rest of the soldiers had been dealt with by Brian and River.

The two of them stood at arm’s length, just staring into each other’s eyes, as alarm tolls started sounding throughout the skyplex.

“Well, looks like they finally caught on.” Mal picked his gun up and put it back in the holster. “River, say goodbye to your boyfriend, we gotta go.”


Mal wasn’t used to hearing River disobey one of his orders. He was about to object, when Brian spoke up.

“He’s right bao-bei. You go your way, and I’ll go mine.”


“No, River. This is the way it has to go. But I promise, I’ll see you in our special place one of these days, alright.”

River looked down and slowly nodded.

“Good girl. It was nice seeing you again River, even if we did have to fight,” and with that, Brian turned and ran.

Mal walked up next to River to watch him leave.

“Come on River, time to go.”

“Time is irrelevant, always shifting based on one’s views and opinions.”

“That may be true, lil’ albatross, but we still have to go.” Mal pulled the comlink out and switched it back on. “Zoe, we’re on our way,” and as he shoved the comlink back in his pocket, he grabbed River’s hand and pulled her towards the docks.

------------------------- Chinese translations

Oh, juh jen sh guh kwai lu duh jean-jan = Oh, this is a happy development

hwoon dahn = bastard

bao-bei = sweetheart -------------------------

What do you think? Good, bad, ugly? Let me know.


Saturday, July 8, 2006 3:40 PM


Good. Your writing is solid, and I like Brian. Would like to see a part two, and more of Brian's back story.

Saturday, July 8, 2006 6:14 PM


Great start! It'll be interesting to see where this goes from here.

"I love my captain."

Saturday, July 8, 2006 8:44 PM


This is really interesting!! I would love to see where it goes from here. What is River and Brian's "special place?" More please?

Sunday, July 9, 2006 5:49 AM


I love the fight scene, very clever.

Sunday, July 9, 2006 7:36 AM


Great start!

I like that the Alliance response is to send out more armed soldiers. It seems like a realistic action to take and reflects the wider political ramifications of Miranda.

I also particularly like the little details of River stealing and the subtle exposition you wound into Mal's thoughts.

The scene between Brian and River worked out well, especially as it was presented through Mal's viewpoint.

Looking forward to reading more!

Sunday, July 9, 2006 7:38 AM


Ooo. I liked it. And would like to see more!

Sunday, July 9, 2006 7:40 AM


NIce... I liked it! Keep it up!!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 5:13 PM


Well now...guess River's picking up the bad habits pretty quickly. Though ya gotta wonder if she's getting "caught" for a reason;)

Still...really liking where you're going with this, Draconus. Can't wait to read parts 2 and 3:D



You must log in to post comments.



Children of the Academy: Shopping
As Mal and Zoe meet with Badger, most of the crew goes shopping.

Children of the Academy: Decisions
Mal must decide what to do with Brian, and the crew must decide if they can trust him.

Children of the Academy: Goodbye
Caught between a rock and an Alliance ship, the crew watches a Brian makes the ultimate sacrifice.

Children Of The Academy: Trapped
Serenity is trapped between a rock and an Alliance ship. Who is this new enemy, and just how much can they trust Brian?

Children Of The Academy: Cooking Dinner
Brian arrives on ship. Who is he, and how will the crew, especially River, react?

Children Of The Academy: Special Place
As Serenity heads towards Beylix, the crew struggels to figure out why they're headed there, and what River has planned

Children Of The Academy: Secrets
River's takes control of the ship, and the rest of the crew tries to figure out why, where they're headed, and what they can do about it.

Children Of The Academy: Chance Meeting
River runs into a fellow student from the Academy, and it's not what you expect.