BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JORJAREYNOLDS

SEEN BETTER DAYS - PROLOGUE & PART 1
Monday, September 4, 2006


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2807    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

I would like to thank, all the shiny browncoats who helped me produce this fanfic. My hat's off to you guys and gals, couldn't do it without you. _________________________________________________

The long dusty road unrolled ahead of her, the clouds of red clay swirling in her wake. Ahead of her the path she had chosen to follow. Behind her the road she vowed never to travel again.

A gentle breeze picked up, moving auburn locks of hair across her face, like barriers blocking the path of her future. The sun beat down on her back, burning its way through her shirt, to the scars that laid beneath. All the signs of this man-made world cried out, in an attempt to keep her from changing the future.

Her eyes glanced upward toward the light blue sky, a few clouds were in sight. A firefly class vessel appeared from the horizon, venturing towards her. Its hull glistening in the sunlight. Slowing down, it hovered for a moment above Dashdown Docks before making a steep descent and disappearing out of view.

*****

“Everyone strap in. We’re coming in to land,” Mal ordered over the com to the crew. Pushing a few buttons, he helped River prepare Serenity for docking. She had sucessfully proven to him that she was a capable pilot, but had yet to prove her skill to dock the ship.

“She’s all yours,” Mal commented, releasing control of the ship to her. He leaned back into the pilots chair, watching with a careful eye River’s movements.

“No Faith. No Belief. No trust, ” River rambled, gripping the controls and pressing several buttons.

“I believe you can do it,” Mal tried to encourage her, knowing that she knew better than he did, he couldn’t land Serenity in one piece.

They don’t,” River replied, veering Serenity towards the docks. River maneuvered Serenity with such grace, however her landing technique left much to be desired. She'd gleaned her ability to fly by watching Wash, but had always been ushered off the bridge during the landing sequence.

Serenity began to buck and jump, as River pulled on the controls, slowing Serenity. People scattered on the docks as they became aware of the out of control Firefly attempting a landing.

*****

"Not again," Jayne exclaimed, as he Kaylee and Zoe raced to strap themsleves in.

“What? She’s not that bad,” Simon pleaded, defending his sister. Serenity rumbled and shook, sending items crashing to the floor. Catching his balance, Simon continued, “Maybe she is.” A little fazed, he ran towards the others who had finally strapped themselves in.

*****

A large rumble echoed out along the valley, disturbing the elements that blocked her path. Immediately, the breeze stopped and the sun faded behind a distant cloud, cowering in shame.

They had arrived.....

PART 1

It had been a long morning, the crew had finally loaded the last of Badger’s cargo, all 31 boxes of fresh produce and were now taking a well deserved break before tying down the boxes and leaving the booming agricultural planet.

Arcadia was a small planet known mostly for its production of food and clothing. The food produced there was known to be the best in the universe, and worth its weight in gold. The crew of Serenity was there to liberate some and earn themselves a little wealth.

31 crates from Dashdown Docks, Arcadia to Peresphone. Three days 80,000 credits Four days 30,000 credits Badger.

It was the biggest haul Badger had ever assigned the crew and they were eager to complete it in the three days to receive the extra 50,000 credits. Their eagerness was well shown as the crew followed their duties without question, hoping for an easy run.

Zoe had noticed Mal’s distraction while they loaded the last three crates. He seemed distant, checking the ramp constantly as if waiting for something or someone. She wandered over to where Mal stood, sipping a bottle of beer, watching the bustling crowd on the minorly damaged docks.

They had arrived in a somewhat extraordinary way, but despite their haphazard arrival, little damage occured, a few minor dings and scratches to Serenity and two meters of destroyed docks. Not bad, considering a first attempt at landing by River.

“Sir, may I ask what we’re waiting for?” Zoe questioned, removing her work gloves, “We’re set to go,” Zoe’s enthusiasm for riches crackling in her voice.

“New pilot, ‘spose to be the best in the verse,” Mal replied, recapping the bottle, turning his gaze to Zoe as her eyes dropped to the floor. Her thoughts immediately returning to those of her fallen, beloved husband.

“Oh...” Zoe frowned, kicking a sod of dirt off the ramp, her eyes remaining focused on the dirt covered floor.

“After Wash ‘course,” Mal tried to cheer her up, placing a hand on her shoulder. He could clearly see his attempts had failed as her stare remained on the ramp, “’spose to be some young hotshot. You remember the last one we had? How crazy and outrageous he was,” he commented, regretting the words the moment they left his mouth.

“Yeah. Grew into a great pilot didn’t he?” Zoe turned, brushing the comforting hand aside as she strolled her way over to the rest of the crew.

“Sure did,” Mal whispered returning his gaze to the crowd, mentally thrashing himself for the comments he made.

*****

A small boy about ten years old approached the deeply withdrawn Mal, who was contemplating how long he was going to wait for this potential pilot. The boy had obviously tried his best to clean the dirt and grime from his caked skin but nothing could hide the boy's worn hands and heartbroken eyes as he positioned himself in front of Mal.

“Where ya headin’?” the boy questioned Mal, wiping the sweat off his brow, as he scanned the crowd for trouble.

“Not where your going. Now scram!” Mal retorted, trying to rid the kid quickly. Mal’s patience was being tested by both the boy standing in front of him and the lateness of the new pilot.

“Heard you were the great Captain Malcolm Reynolds. Is it true you killed 8 men with a single bullet?” The boy questioned, a large smile appearing across his face, as he looked up towards the hard worn face.

Mal’s focus remained on the crowd, hoping he could leave this red-necked planet and collect his large booty waiting for him on Peresphone.

The boy's words made Mal momentarily forget about the pilot. Hunkering down to be at eye level, Mal grinned a little, "Who's been fillin' your head with such nonesense?"

"I hear stories here and there," the boy replied, fidgeting slightly under Mal direct stare as he glimpsed at the crates that were labelled Peresphone.

"Killin' don't make for good bedtime stories. Now run along, I got adult work to do." Standing, Mal adopted a fierce scowl hoping to scare the boy off.

The boy stood stunned for a moment before scampering away, disappearing into the bustling crowd, leaving Mal to scan the swarm of bodies for his new pilot.

Badger had arranged for Mal to meet a potential pilot here on Arcadia. Mal hated the idea at first, but after River's hazardous arrival at the Dock's he found himself warming to the prospect.

*****

“So what did the capt’n say?” Kaylee asked, jumping down off the crate to meet Zoe.

Zoe’s saddness glistened across her face as she struggled to say, “Waiting on the new pilot.”

“I’ll be in my bunk,” Zoe shouted, dashing up the metal stairs. She couldn’t bare to face anyone, their pity had consumed her soul, devouring her piece by piece.

*****

“Yes Ma’am and they’re headin’ to Peresphone,” The boy replied, holding out his hand towards the young lady in the alleyway.

The young lady fished around in her pocket and produced 5 credits, placing them in his hand. She watched the boy dart into the mob, dodging a horse and cart and squirming his way off into the distance.

She looked across Dashdown Docks to the Firefly class transport, taking in its beauty before turning her attention to the small hand cart holding her two crates. Picking up the broad-rimmed cowboy hat that sat on the crates, as she turned to go.

“Now or never,” she murmered to herself, hauling the cargo through the crowd towards Serenity.

*****

“Well that’s them strapped in. What’s the captain waiting for?” Simon queried, pushing himself off the floor. His hands and clothes were clean despite the dirt and grime that engulfed the crates and floor of the cargo bay.

“New Pilot,” Kaylee replied, turning a small smile as she cleaned her hands on the already grease filled rag, dangling from her pocket.

“Pilot? Lil' Albatross is doin’ just fine,” Jayne commented, appearing from the other side of the huge mass of crates, adding, “We’re still alive aren’t we?”

“That wasn’t her fault,” Simon defended, “She didn’t mean to run into the docks. She’s still getting her grips on things.”

“Yeah, just like runnin’ at me with a knife, huh?” Jayne scowled.

*****

“Heard you’re the capt’n of this fine vessel,” J.D commented, sizing up Mal. He was much smaller and thinner than her brother had described, but he was right about one thing, though, those pants were tight.

“Whatever they said isn’t true,” Mal commented, an expression of confusion spread across his face as he pondered her last sentence. He hadn’t imagined it, she had said “fine vessel”.

“Did you just say fine vessel?” he queried, scratching his head.

“Yep sure did. Unless of course my friend was wrong,” J.D replied, flicking through the ships that were docked. It was the only Firefly class standing in the now slightly ruined Dashdown Docks.

“No. No it is a fine vessel. The best in this part of the ‘verse,” Mal blurted, mentally smacking himself in the head, again, remembering he'd already put his boot in his mouth once today.

“Good, seems that my friend failed to mention your unusual humor though,” She prodded playfully, receiving the look she wanted, she continued, “My name’s J.D. I was told to come and chat with the capt’n of Serenity by a close friend of mine. ‘Told me you could set me up.”

“Really? You must be the new pilot then,” Mal retorted, not pleased that his newest recruit had cost him time and money he could not afford to waste. His anger filled his voice as he added, “You’re Late!”

“Pilot? I’m not your pilot. ‘Was just hoping to get a lift to Persephone. My friend told me you could get me there for a 1000 credits,” J.D explained, digging through her pockets before producing a large wad of credits.

“Not a pilot. Peresphone. Sure thing,” the stunned Mal replied, before snatching the money from her hands and shaking the hand she had also produced.

*****

Jayne sat awkwardly on the edge of the crates, his attention on Mal and the newcomer. He was uncomfortable with the way this new person was dressed. “Cattle wrangler,” he thought to himself, “ain't no way I'm gonna let one o' them on the ship”. A shiver went up his spine.

“A crate of strawberries, some pretty dresses and.... Jayne are you listening?” Kaylee rambled, slapping the distant Jayne as he continued to ogle at the Mal and the newcomer.

He jumped down off the crate, ignoring Kaylee’s rambling and stormed over to the captain and the newcomer.

Kaylee yelled after him, “Jayne? Jayne, where are you going?”

*****

“So capt’n ya think a cowboy like this can fly our ship?” Jayne queried, eyeing the back of the newcomer.

J.D turned around to face Jayne, her hair flowing down around her face and ordered, pointing at two crates on the ramp, “Ah... So you must be the bellboy. Those two crates are mine.”

“You’re a she....” Jayne stammered, staring at the elegant woman that stood before him. Suddenly, his thoughts on the cowboy outfit fluttered away in the breeze.

“What are you starin’ at Jayne? You heard the lady, those two crates go in the cargo bay. Pronto!” Mal ordered, tapping his boot on the dusty metal ramp. Jayne scampered away, still stunned by the fool he made of himself as he maneuvered the crates.

“Sorry ‘bout that, he’s a little....” Mal tried to explain, but was cut off by J.D.

“It’s ok. I get it all the time,” J.D cutted in, slightly blushing.

“I’ll show you around,” Mal added, taking the lead as he showed J.D Serenity’s inner depths. Walking past Kaylee and Simon, he commented, “Kaylee, If you see our new pilot. Give me a holler.”

“Sure thing, Capt’n,” Kaylee replied, turning her attention back to the task at hand, fixing a small internal problem, caused by River's landing.

Simon’s eyes remained fixated on Mal and J.D as they climbed the stairs. Without noticing he murmered, “Wow she’s...” Kaylee stopped his sentence with a slap of a wrench across his thigh.

“What was that for?” Simon questioned, watching Kaylee storm away.

******

COMMENTS

Monday, September 4, 2006 6:03 PM

SILENCE


BRILLIANT!!! All I need now is the next 200 parts and I'll be happy :)

Monday, September 4, 2006 6:30 PM

AVERYFINECOMPANION


Read the begining and the end and it was pretty shiney!!


Tuesday, September 5, 2006 12:08 AM

AMDOBELL


Intriguing, especially with the notion at the beginning that the future could be changed. JD seems like a fun addition but who is the new pilot? Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, September 5, 2006 1:33 AM

SPACEFULLOFOBJECTS


Good start here Jorja.

I like you're new characters and Mal's interaction with the little boy was great.

Good voices of the BDH's also.

Looking forward to the next installment.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006 5:30 AM

AGENTRUSCO


good stuff this.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006 9:00 AM

WHIMSICALNBRAINPAN


Another great one Jorja! I loved the opening and the little scene between Kaylee and Simon at the end was perfect. I can't wait to meet the new pilot. Keep them coming. Please!

Wednesday, September 6, 2006 4:43 AM

RIVERISMYGODDESS


So, is the other one on pause or just scrapped altogether ??

There are some very funny lines here, and I am waiting to see where you go with this, taking away River's pilot status and all. :-\

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 3:34 AM

SAFEAT2ND


Well done! Very in character.

I liked River's landing. With all that's been written for River, this strikes the closest to home.



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