Viva New Vegas: 6. Blue Harvest
Tuesday, March 20, 2007

All Jayne wants to do is finish his breakfast and get back to his wife. Just there's a gang of bikers think a bit different.


6. Blue Harvest

Somewhere about sky level, there is bickering going on.

“He’s ‘near the mountains’. You didn‘t think to get co-ordinates?”

“They’re mountains, River. Kinda hard to miss.”

“Should hope so. Lucky I’m flying.” Scornful glance. “We’ll find one man in a desert, no problem.”

“What am I supposed to do? Swoop down and ask a passing motorist for directions?”

“You’re a man. Unlikely.”

“Can’t you...” Waves hands helplessly. “Sense him?”

An incredulous look.

“Little brain, big world.”

“Guess that’s a ‘no‘, then. Kaylee, you had any luck tracin’ that wave back?”

“Not a one, Cap’n. Went through the central city din’t think to ask him where he was?”

Mal cuts the comm.


“There’s only one place between here and the mountains he could have got a wave out.” G puts his finger on the map. “Doesn’t even have a name.”

At this point, Serenity looms up in the rear mirror. River has taken the logical approach and is following the road.

Even Rik’s usual imperturbable calm receives a severe jolt, as he fights the wheel in the backwash.

“What the f....”

G holds his hat on with one hand, steadies Honey with the other.

“Follow that firefly!”


“Need to get a horn fitted. Road-hogs.”


Jayne wipes the last of the gravy with a biscuit, sighs. World looks a whole lot brighter when you got yourself wrapped around a plate of breakfast and some coffee.

Peace is broken by the noise of engines. And memory roars back in a tide of petrol and cordite.

“You got any guns? Trouble’s coming.”

“We don’t want no shootin’ here...”

“Hell, ain’t nobody wants shootin’. But I reckon it’s what you’re gonna get.” Looks about. Coupla dirt farmers passing through at breakfast time, one scared owner and his whimpering wife, and one fry-cook. It ain’t anything to be working with.

They got a handful of chop-shop specials and a souped-up skiff, ranging out behind Marlon. He rides a real muscle-hog, a custom chopper, speckled chrome bowing a little under his weight.

Marlon sends Crank and Grunt in. Men who would cheerfully eat a kitten sandwich, between them they have the social charm of vomit, and about the same intelligence.

“Now, we don’t want no trouble...” Seth begins. Hand like a ham wrapped in nails swipes him flat. Maggie screams. (Jayne very gently eases back from the table.)

“Lookin’ for a stranger.” Crank looks about him.

“Le’ss ask the lady...” Grunt leers. Maggie can’t help it. Her frightened eyes slide sideways.

They do a fair job of looming, ‘cos Jayne is still sitting down.

“Word’s out you might feel like squealin’.”

“Way it goes round here, is you keep your mouth shut ‘bout anything you might’ve saw.”

“I got no idea who you are.” Jayne half-lies. “But all I wanna do is get back to my wife.”

“Mebbe we should come with you, say ‘hi’ to your miss...”

Jayne ain’t ever been one to wait for the other fella to shoot first. Dumbass way of thinking. So the man’s gun ain’t even clear of the holster when he goes down with a slug between the eyes.

‘Snick’ of the shotgun chambering is awful loud.

“Could do with a little less conversation and a little more action...” Roy says quietly. “You get yourself gone.”

“Now, you don’t wanna get involved here, friend...”

“Y’ain’t nothin’ but a hun dan,” Roy pulls the trigger, “And y’ain’t no friend’o mine.”

First shot din’t worry the boys outside. They reckoned someone got up in Crank’s face. Problem solved. But the shotgun is a bit of a surprise, specially since it blows Grunt out the doorway.

Seems a good time to join Seth at floor level. World is gonna get a whole lot more exciting once those boys get their heads outta their butts and their guns going. Roy tows Seth by the collar (man’s breathin’, but little more) and they all scramble for the counter, in a cloud of shot and splinters.

“I hope you got a back way out.”

“Through the kitchens. You ain’t ever goin’ out there...” Roy looks at him.

“Sometimes a man’s gotta do...” Jayne gives a mirthless grin. “Just wish I had some o’my grenades with me, is all.”

“Better take this.”

Roy chucks over the shotgun. Jayne catches it out of the air, snags the ammo in passing. He actually hesitates a beat.

“You got any weapons?”

“I got a six-gun and some kitchen knives. And if that don’t work, I’ll piss on ‘em.” He’s already levering up a trapdoor behind the counter. “Don’t you worry none ‘bout us.”

Well, there ain’t no more to be said. Jayne’s still a mite fuzzy on the detail, but he’s got folk trying to kill him, and he knows how that goes. He’s got no desire to get trapped down a hole. Kicks out the back door of the kitchen, and round the side of the building, fast and low.

The skiff is a piece of fei wu, best of times, and having a shotgun emptied into the grill don’t do it a mort of good. Don’t do much for the driver, neither. Swerve and a crunch, and a whole lot of yelling, as the thing parks itself on a couple of folk. Jayne puts one judicious shot into the tank, and rolls clear...


In a flat and barren landscape, a column of black smoke is very visible.

“Someone’s blowing up the scenery.” They exchange glances, chorus, “Jayne!”


Smoke clears. Marlon bellows,

“He’s one gorram man. How hard can it be to take him down?”

After that, it all goes terribly wrong. Jayne’s been killing folk for twenty years, and he’s got quite good at it. And he don’t have to worry about hitting friends here. ‘Course, Marlon’s crew just blaze off regardless, so they ain’t too fussed neither. Which stops a couple of unwary morons polluting the gene pool further. Jayne lets ‘em waste lead a space, then pops out and takes his shot back.

Still, he ain’t got endless ammo. And he ain’t sure he can hold ‘em much longer.

The air is suddenly wrenched apart by the most unexpected noise. The ear-splitting screech of massed strings and a fanfare of martial brass.

Serenity comes down out of the sun like an avenging angel.

“Hi-jo-to! Ho!” River yells gleefully. Mal, holding grimly onto the other steering yoke, seriously regrets letting her put music on the external speakers. There’s a strong whiff of frying circuits.

“I can smell something, River...”

“Yes.” A beaming smile. “Victory!”


The remnants of the Wolf Pack, unaware that a transport ship don’t have guns, dive and scatter. Jayne takes the opportunity to dart across the road, ready to grab a pistol off a fella done medium rare.

“Hey! Asshole!”

Marlon, mad as hell, guns the engine, bears down on this one sonovabitch in his way.

Jayne, out of bullets, and out of time, looks about him. Only thing to hand is the chrome bumper hanging loose. Muscles bulge as he pulls it free, swings...

Last thing that goes through Marlon’s mind is his nose.


The man is down, but good. Jayne impounds his pistol, ‘cos he won’t be using it no more. There don’t seem to be too many folk keen on moving much. Something about a large angry man with a bloody length of metal will do that to a person. Dying thunder of the ship’s passing means he can hear sirens, so it might be time to get gone. First, though...

Shrugs on the jacket. There’s a pair of mirrored shades in the pocket, miraculously unbroken. Settles them on his nose, and his face splits in a wide grin.

“Gorram. I always wanted me a bike.”

Time to head on down the highway. He’s goin’ home.

(~Jayne. Black leather. Motorbike. Enjoy~)


“Guess we don’t hafta worry about a stand-off.” drawls Pancho.

They survey the devastation that was the main street. This season, outdoor decor consists of wrecked vehicles, shot-up frontages and dead bikers. Apocalypse chic.

“Damn.” says Rik, wonderingly.

“Man, what is this guy?”

“The ultimate unstoppable force.” G strides over to the doorway, knocks on the shattered frame. “Hello, is there anybody alive in there?”

They help the Bleekers and Roy out of the cellar. Luckily Seth is still in no condition to appreciate the wreckage of his business. Roy quite calmly sets about making coffee for folks, as they begin the grisly business of collecting up the bodies.

Miss Kit eyes the row of stiffs with a calm face. Then she shrugs, smiles.

“If I can’t have my cash back, I’ll settle for retribution.”

“Tomorrow is another day?” G suggests.

“That, and I just heard that the pleasure liner ‘Quentin T’ is due in.” She’s already striding back to her vehicle. “Got some redecorating to do.” Stops by Rik, glances up. “Why don‘t you come up and see me?”

“Maybe I will.” His feral grin. Maybe she sent the word out that brought these guys down. But hell, it’s just business as usual in their city, and it’s one less bunch of scum to deal with.

Pancho casts a suspicious eye at G. The man don’t look too twitched at having his case collapse.

“You don’t reckon he’s here, do you?”

“No.” G squints into the distance, points his binoculars. “Check out that dustcloud.”

“That’s Marlon’s hog.” Pancho says, grimly.

“Sure ain’t Marlon ridin’ it.” Rik focuses his own glasses. “Not unless he’s dropped seventy pounds.”

Gets his first sight of the man they have been looking for the last couple of days.

Well, the face says ‘thug’. But it has a bigass grin on it. That’s not only Marlon’s hog, that’s Marlon’s jacket.

“Not much use having a witness when all the suspects are gone.”

“Along with the evidence.”

“And half the street.” Dodge peers into the hole behind them. “Glad as hell we didn’t have to try arresting him.”

“You and me both.” G admits. “On the bright side, this is saving us a lot of paperwork.”


Serenity sets down on the first clear patch of ground, and the crew come tumbling out to greet their lost lamb.

Little speck of dust on the horizon becomes a cloud, and the full-throated roar of the machine fills the air, as it skids to a showy halt.

Jayne kicks the stand down, props his shades up and grins.


“Larji!” New toy is forgotten, as he wraps his arms round his wife. They don’t even kiss to begin with, just holding on so tightly. “Told you I’d come back to you, mi tao. Take more than this ‘Verse has got to stop me.”

She turns her face up to his, eyes sparkling.

“You owe me a steak dinner, mister.”

“You ain’t keeping that bike...” Mal’s protest is weak.

“She already has a name.” River touches the chrome letters on the tank. “‘Grace’.”


Pancho and Rik watch the firefly lift away, a speck on the horizon. Rik sighs regretfully.

“That First Mate was a fine lot of woman.”

“You do like ‘em dangerous.”

“Oh, yeah.” A grin. “Twenty credits says the Captain and the pilot.”

“Well, we ain’t ever gonna know...”

Dodge strolls up with a couple of coffees, and Rik arches an eyebrow.

“Thought you was working with the G?”

“Well...” Dodge squirms a little. “Honey came in, and it was getting a little crowded, you know?”

Pancho grins.

“They really think nobody’s figured it out yet?”


“Sure was a shame about all that money, though.”

Jayne pulls a wedge of notes out of the back of his waistband.

“You think I’d leave without searching ‘em? What kind of a fool you take me for, Mal?”

“Well, then...” Mal looks from the cash to his grinning merc. “Guess dinner’s on you, then.”


New Vegas at play. A shrine to excess, lit by neon candles. A church without God, where faith is in the rattle of dice and the turn of a card, and the Devil is in the detail. The crew watch the street in bemused silence for a moment or two.

“Did I just see a man dressed as a six foot rabbit?” Simon asks carefully.

“This is one crazy-ass town.”

“I like it.” River grins. “Makes me look normal.”

“Mebbe we shoulda waited, got hitched here.” Jayne grins at Ilargia’s look of horror. “Aw, c’mon, bao bei, you don’t think I could carry off one of them shiny suits?”

The mental image of Jayne in a rhinestone-studded jumpsuit stops everyone dead.


Mr Conrad had not wanted to let them in. But in this town, money talks. Loudly.

It’s about the only talking there is. Thick steak, meat from actual animals, still pink in the centre, with a caramelized crust of pepper. Vegetables that didn’t come out of a can, with real butter on them.

Then the dessert trolley goes past. River and Kaylee eye it with identical expressions, somewhat akin to wolves watching something young and tender wobble away from the herd...

It’s very late. Just them and a few weary staff left.

Jayne and Ilargia are on the edge of the dance-floor. She’d taken his hand and drawn him up, and he, well, he’ll look like all kinds of stupid for this woman in his arms. They don’t need the music or nothin’, just swaying together, gentle-like. A slow old-fashioned tune makes Ilargia start, look around Jayne’s shoulder. She laughs softly. Simon, who has been coveting the baby grand since he first clapped eyes on it, has finally stepped up and had a quiet word.

He’s now installed at the piano. River, curled cat-like on the lid, stretches and smiles.

“Dance with me, Captain?”

“River, I don‘t think the Captain...”

“If she can stand it, I can stand it.” Mal grins. “Play it, Tam.”

~I apologise unreservedly to the ghosts of the silver screen, the godfather of gonzo and the geekmeisters of grindhouse. Though I guess Tarantino would probably be tickled pink (or brown, or something...) Anyway, until next‘s all, folks.~


Tuesday, March 20, 2007 5:09 AM


Jayne on a motorbike! Ya beat me to it <GGG>. Had that one in my head sometime in the middle of 'So long as the sky holds up the stars'. It was Meatloaf popping into my head in 'Bat out of Hell' mould that sold the idea to me. Pure Jayne <BEG>.

I had big shiny plans for a hell for leather ride away from the Reavers with Vera riding pillion, but the muse went sideways when fingers hit keyboard. Gorram <G>.

That was all kinds of shiny and you write fight scenes so well <EG>.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007 6:17 AM


“Y’ain’t nothin’ but a hun dan,And y’ain’t no friend’o mine.”

Shame on you... :<) Funny, though.
Good stuff.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007 1:32 PM


Let's see: Elvis lyrics? Check....Jayne decked out in biker leathers and on a hog? Check....Nod to Casablanca? Oh that's check;D

Utterly brilliant work, SpaceAnJL! Can't wait for your next instalment or series;D


Wednesday, March 21, 2007 5:15 AM


"Serenity comes down out of the sun like an avenging angel." OH YEAH!

Woman, you are witty and funny and articulate (although I couldn't say about the naked part) and I just ruttin' love the cleverness and intelligence all over your writing.

If you're crazy, I wanna be crazy, too!


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