Ghosts from the Past - Part Three
Monday, April 16, 2007

The jailbreak is planned and executed but will it be successful? 4th fanfic featuring the usual post BDM characters and a few of my own creation. Constructive criticism or comments are always welcome. Part 3 of 4.


Bane found Karl lifting weights in the cargo bay, late in the evening. Mal had agreed to Karl’s suggestion that he should be the one to go to jail, based on his prior knowledge of the place. An extra night and day would allow them to come up with an escape plan. Kaylee had made a technical drawing based on Karl’s descriptions of what he had remembered. Karl was not entirely comfortable returning to that particular jail, as it was one of the most violent jails he had ever done time in. It was little more than a cattle market for scum from the docks and only the strongest and wiliest survived. He hoped Mitchell was one of those or he would be dead before Karl got to him. “I’ve got something that might be useful,” he heard Bane say. He placed the weights on the stand and sat up, reaching for a towel. “Pretty much all I will need are my fists and wits,” Karl replied, flexing his hand in demonstration. “And after those are spent, you can use these,” replied Bane with a smile, opening her hand. “Used them to get myself out of a few extra tight spots.” “What are they?” he picked one up and inspected it closer. They were half-inch sized balls, much smaller than the bullets he had seen her making. He then handed it back. “No good – they make you strip and change clothes once you’re in.” Bane grinned knowingly. “These are designed to be ingested, not hidden about your person.” With the sweat having cleared his forehead of hair she saw his eyebrows raise. “Let me guess, EMP?” Bane pouted, good-naturedly disappointed at his accuracy. “Am I getting that predictable?” Karl shrugged with one shoulder. “Seems to be what you are best at creatin’. ‘Sides there’s not a lot else that can get me outta there. How do they work?” “Well, once you’ve swallowed them, we wait about an hour then I set the timer with this,” she produced a small remote from her pocket. “We can set it for any number of hours. When it goes off it has about a ten foot radius. It’ll knock out any electronic locks that you’re close to. Just make sure you take off any jewellery or remove any piercings before leaving Serenity, as it can sometimes short-out the effect.” “Wish I’d had this before,” said Karl. “Do you mind me asking what you were in for?” she asked curiously. There was silence for a while. He ran his hand through his hair and considered his answer. “I guess our pasts have to come out eventually when we spend so much time cooped up together. Though I have to say that this is the first crew I’ve worked with where I felt inclined to share.” “None of us, except maybe Kaylee, has a past that makes us conscience-free either,” said Bane, echoing an earlier thought she had. Karl had made a lot of effort to hide his past, mainly because it was something he was not proud of, not because he had any big secrets. Well, maybe he had one or two. “I was a thug – a dock hand like that Arnold last night. But more hygienically aware,” he added seeing the look on Bane’s face, instantly regretting bringing it up. “Most of the time. I got into a drunken fight in the Broken Leg, almost killing two men. That’s how I knew who the owner and her chief bouncer were. Broge was the only one who could take me on.” Sentencing at West Sheldon was quick and because of the severity of his victims’ injuries, and the fact that he had pissed off the sheriff at sentencing, they gave him two years. He had served every gorram day of it and had the scars to prove it. “You are definitely not a thug anymore,” said Bane confident that she had him sized up right in their time together on Serenity. Karl smiled, showing his teeth through his thick beard. “Mal has a way of bringing out the best of one’s skills. Any other boss an’ I might still be just another disposable gun hand.” Bane put the EMP pellets back in her pocket. “Not sure I want to practise all the skills I’ve ever learnt,” she said, not really expecting an answer from Karl. “Now, how about a last meal for the condemned man? Pye Special.” Karl grinned and stood up, wanting to make the most of his freedom. “Now there’s something that’ll keep me going.” He followed her up to the galley, drying his body with the towel and putting his t-shirt back on, as he watched her prepare a meal. Bane got out some ingredients and opened the box containing her knives. No one else on Serenity was allowed to use her utensils unless she gave her permission. She looked at Karl and tried to gauge which meat would be his favourite, like she used to do on the Rosalyn. Karl felt a little uncomfortable under her gaze. “What is it?” he asked, concerned that something was wrong. Bane blinked out of concentration. “Sorry – I was just trying to guess what you liked. It’s something I always did on the Rosalyn.” Karl frowned, not understanding. “Why don’t you just ask me?” “Because I like to guess.” “Okay then. Guess away,” he challenged. Bane looked at him while she prepared some vegetables. She thought some more and then grew puzzled herself as nothing came to her – maybe it was all that gorram hair. She tried anyway. “I reckon you like most meats – I’ve seen you eat it lots of it. I kinda had you down for a beef man, but then chicken in mushroom sauce keeps popping into my head.” Karl laughed. “I think you’re out of practise, Bane.” “Really?” she was disappointed and realised that with all the other stuff she was doing now, she must be slipping in that area. “What is your favourite?” “Don’t really have one dish. I’m used to eating what’s available and being content. Surprise me.” Bane started cooking and Karl smiled at the annoyed look on her face. She really did not like it when she got things wrong, being such a perfectionist. “Well, seein’ as I have chicken in my head, I might as well make it. Mashed potato all right?” Karl nodded and she carried on. “So you from Beaumonde originally?” “Na. Worked there for three years, prison for two.” “I’ve only been to New Dunsmuir before, but briefly during the war.” “On a job?” “Near the last one I did,” she replied evenly, and Karl changed the subject. He wanted to keep away from less gloomy topics like their pasts. * * * * * * * * Late the next evening Mal, Zoe, Bane and Karl went along to Jian Li Street. Jayne and Kaylee had been sent to check out the streets nearest the prison. Karl was nervous, having not picked a fight with anyone in years. Well, that was not strictly true, but it amounted to the same as far as everyone else was concerned. Mal turned to him. “I think it’ll look better if you walk down the street with Zoe, then accuse once of the bouncers of eyeing her up.” “No, Mal,” said Zoe. “I can’t do that play-actin’ stuff you guys seem so fond of. Why don’t you an’ Karl walk down there.” “I can’t risk getting arrested as well.” They all turned to look at Bane who had been behind them fiddling with the remote. She gave it a frustrated knock and looked up, realising the silence meant something. Mal spoke. “You an’ Karl walk up the street and pick a fight.” “Haven’t I done enough for the cause on this one?” she pointed to the bruise on her face, Arnold’s handprints on her neck were also very visible. “Well you’ll just have to do a bit more. Give Karl a reason to pick a fight with the bouncers like a good girl,” retorted Mal. Zoe opened her mouth to say something in Bane’s defence, but then refrained because it was the most sensible suggestion. “Fine,” said Bane through her teeth. She pulled Karl towards her so he stood in front of the remote. “I’ve set the pellets to go off in twenty six hours. That’s this time tomorrow plus two. About two thirty am.” “I know how long that is,” Karl said in a tense voice, worrying about his own part to play. “Fine. Let’s go then,” and she walked off. Karl held out his hands and shrugged at Mal and Zoe before following her. “Sir, I don’t think you should have done that,” said Zoe in a low voice. Mal looked at her. The agreement with her statement was on his face but his words said different. “She’s part of the crew and she’ll do the job like anyone else.” “Bane’s done more on this job than anyone else, with possibly the exception of Karl,” she insisted. Mal’s expression changed. “Yeh, they do work well together, don’t they?” he watched them walking up the street. Karl had caught her up, but she was giving him the cold shoulder. It looked a good act from a distance, and probably was not an act this time. They reached one of the nightclubs and they saw Karl give Bane a shove. Bane twisted and swung an upwards right hook which bowled him directly into the bouncers outside one of the clubs. Mal winced, “That musta hurt,” he chuckled. “Match made in heaven.” Zoe looked at him, horrified. “Tell me you ain’t playin’ cupid to those two?” Mal grinned and turned back to watch the show. Karl was wildly punching the two bouncers and Bane was screaming at him. From where they were they could not make out what she was saying, but eventually Karl was restrained. One of the bouncers was lying on the ground not moving. The other was spitting blood. As soon as the Feds arrived Bane disappeared into the crowd that had gathered to watch the action. Zoe tugged Mal’s sleeve, still reeling from his previous statement. “Sir, I thought you didn’t believe in shipboard romances. Fact, I remember rather clearly that you ordered me not to marry my husband for those very reasons.” Mal still kept his eyes on the street. “Maybe I’m mellowin’ in my old age. ‘Sides, did you see those two in the bar the other night? They worked together like they’d been doin’ it for years. I’ve never seen anything like that before.” Zoe remembered and it had been one of the reasons Jayne had been unable to keep his eyes off them too. “That’s all nice and shiny for you, but in case you ain’t noticed, Bane dint exactly like whoring herself out like that.” “I can’t see the ruttin’ problem. She didn’t sleep with him. I wouldn’t have let her.” “She don’t have to sleep with someone for you to still be her pimp,” Zoe shot back. Mal was about to let loose another retort when Bane reached them. “Satisfied, Captain?” she was still angry but a lot of it had been released when she had punched Karl. It was something she now felt ashamed of, having hit him hard enough to hurt her own hand. ~ * ~ Karl had watched Bane merge into the crowd. He had given and taken quite a beating, but the crack on his jaw from Bane’s punch hurt the most. If he did not know better he could have sworn it had been for real. The Feds did not believe in being gentle with dock scum either. Before they reached the jail he had a few more bruises to add to the ones already forming. West Sheldon jail could be heard before it was seen and Karl’s memories were not pleasant. As before, he was taken to a holding cell first, kept there with anyone else who got thrown in, until the morning shift came in to process. Karl was not the first in the cell and by no means the last. By morning it was almost bursting and there had been several fights and the first in, tended to be the last out. Karl was getting worried about how much time was passing and he still had not been processed. When he was finally brought before the sheriff it was two in the afternoon. He had been handcuffed as soon as he was taken out of the holding cell, but now the sheriff waved his deputies to un-cuff him. They put his hand on the printer which scanned his hand and threw up the details on the sheriff’s com pad. He looked up at him sternly from the desk, his face not impressed. “Karl Jacobsson. Date of birth, twenty-fifth September twenty four eighty three,” he paused and looked up. “Your picture looks better than you do now. I see you’ve done time here before, as well as other places. Seems you just can’t stay outta trouble. Well we take a low view of brawling and because it seems you’ve not learned your lesson, I’m gonna extend the sentence from two month to eight months.” Karl said nothing. He knew that the sheriff had the power to give any sentence he saw fit up to two years, depending on his mood and how he behaved, as Karl had found out the last time. Anything higher had to go further up the food chain. The sheriff spoke again. “You know the drill, strip and shave him.” Karl was taken to the next holding area and told to strip. It was a process he had gone through a number of times and there were several others going through the same thing, although not as willingly. They all had to put on navy jump suits, after which he was taken next to the barber. The man was no hairdresser and just held a pair of clippers determinedly. Within minutes Karl’s head was shorn about a centimetre all over. Being a veteran, he had asked for a number four, which bought the length of hair to about the same as Jayne’s. He had no choice with the beard, but managed to sweet talk the barber into leaving a lovely handlebar moustache, which he liked immediately, thinking he might keep it that way. He did now feel facially naked and his head was freezing. It was four by the time he was finally thrown into the prison yard. If he remembered rightly, they would not recall them to the cells until near sunset. Karl had known from the map he had described to Kaylee, the best way to get out of the jail. Across the yard was a locked door and beyond that an open corridor used by staff from which the outside wall of the prison was visible. Now all he had to do was locate Mitchell. ~ * ~ Mal was in his quarters looking over a copy of the prison plan that Kaylee had drawn. Unfortunately his eyes kept being drawn to the capture of Inara. Kaylee had taken it at least a year ago and loaned it to Mal, but had never asked for it back. In it she was packing up her stuff, readying herself to leave Serenity, and him. Like Zoe said, maybe he was getting mellow in his old age, as he seemed to forget all their bad arguments and just remember the good arguments, the looks and the touches. He needed to see her. Maybe after this job he would let Kaylee send her a wave saying they were coming to visit. He touched the capture to activate it and watched it once more. Then he went to clear the air with Bane who had gone to ground in her quarters since they had returned from Jian Li Street. He knocked on her hatch and she called him down. He blinked in shock when he saw that her quarters were covered in bits of machinery and parts. “Wu de tyen ah, Bane! Is this how you normally live?” Bane looked at the stuff scattered around her and turned up one side of her mouth in annoyance. “No, normally this would have only taken about two days, but you’ve had me kind of busy on other things.” Mal leaned against the ladder folding his arms. “The things that you’ve been doing will help us get paid.” Bane looked down at the grenade in her hands, not wanting to look at him directly. “Not sure I want to go fully down that road again, Cap’n,” she said quietly. “Whatever job we do, Bane, you’ve got skills and there’s no denying it. That’s why I hired you,” he held up his hand to prevent her interrupting. “But I will never, ever, expect you to sleep with anyone in order to help us get paid. Dong ma?” Bane felt some of the tension go out of her shoulders. “However,” he continued, “If a little female – or male – persuasion is needed, then it’s needed. I would expect the same from me, Zoe, Jayne or Karl.” She took his words on board, then a wicked thought entered Bane’s head and she fixed him with a penetrating gaze. “So if the mark was into men would I see you sashayin’ up to him and makin’ out with him, even if his personal hygiene left much to be desired?” Mal coughed in shock, then smirked and scratched the back of his head, embarrassed. “Well now – that’ll be a day for the reckoning. You’ll be puttin’ me in a dress next.” “Accordin’ to Kaylee, that ain’t so hard.” “Ahh, so you’ve heard that story,” Mal laughed. Bane nodded and laughed with him, her anger and worries eased. “Thanks for clearing up the grey area for me.” Mal grew serious again for a moment. “I know what you would’ve had to do during the war an’ you’ve told me what happened to you afterwards, before you went on the Rosalyn. Who you sleep with now is your choice and no one else’s.” Bane nodded again and picked up another grenade for some tweaking. “Have you got many more of these to go?” he asked, changing tack. “About another twenty, then it’s on to the mystery crate. Once Mitchell and Karl are free, then I should be able to have them finished by the time we land back on Persephone.” “Good.” “There’s something you oughta know about this munitions thing I do.” Mal looked concerned. “Well because all these workin’s take up a lot of brainpan space, I don’t tend to sleep well til it’s done. Plus I’m a bit of an insomniac anyway.” “That explains why I keep hearin’ your heavy boots up and down the corridor late at night.” “Jus’ thought you should be aware in case you’re planning anymore manoeuvres like tonight’s escape. I kinda need some sleep soon before I collapse.” ~ * ~ Karl recognised Mitchell from the picture Mal had showed them back on Serenity. He went up to him and listened for a while from a discrete distance. The man was a born dealer, he had only been in prison a few days and yet he was already the go-to guy for all the convict needs; drugs, smokes, pretty much anything. Karl waited until all Mitchell’s customers had left before going up himself. “What you want?” he looked him up and down. “Only got ‘ere this afternoon, so I ‘ear,” he said. His accent sounded similar, but not exactly like Badger’s. “It’s more what I can do for you, Mitchell,” replied Karl. “Yeh, I ‘ear that a lot from people who can’t pay. Don’t waste my time,” he turned away. “Badger wouldn’t like it if you spoke to me like that,” said Karl, and he watched Mitchell’s attitude change completely. He looked around to make sure they were not overheard. “Badger sent yer? Blimey, thought I’d be stuck in ‘ere for the full six months. What’s the plan?” “We walk outta here together in about six and a half hours.” “That simple, is it mate? Well, I’ll believe it when I see it.” “Just make sure that we’re in the same cell come lock down.” Mitchell nodded, it should not be too hard. West Sheldon did not insist that prisoners kept to the same cells, only that there was two per cell come lock down. For the next few hours Karl became Mitchell’s new best friend. ~ * ~ It was just Bane and Jayne that stood in the alley alongside the prison, now it was near the time that Karl’s pellets would be going off. She looked at the timer on the remote in front of her which was still counting down. There was about twenty minutes to go and she stifled a yawn. There was a staff entrance to the prison around the corner from where they were hiding, which would be the one that Bane would disable when the time came. Karl’s pellets would only get him out of the immediate area and once he got out of his cell he would need help from the outside. West Sheldon prison security turned out to be cheap and uncomplicated – and would probably be upgraded after tonight. Bane was nervous as it had been a long time, nearly ten years since she had last broken into an Alliance facility. Jayne shifted beside her, also nervous. “Think that Karl’s trick will let any other prisoners out?” It was something that had crossed Bane’s mind as well, but apparently not Mal’s. As soon as the other prisoners realised someone had got out of their cell it would be chaotic and the shouting would probably alert the guards sooner than planned. They would have to move fast. “I should imagine it would as there is a ten foot range. I’m was just wondering if it wouldn’t be better for us to break in, rather than him and Mitchell to break out.” Jayne looked over at her, but could not see her face because of the darkness. “Mal wouldn’t like us to change the plan,” he cautioned. “Neither would he like a lot of Fed attention either. If too many get out then there’ll be a whole lot of plan changin’ needed.” Jayne could see her point and gave a comfort check of his weapons. “We likely trip any alarms when the EMP kicks in?” “Yes, but more in the security control booth, rather than lightin’ up the place. It’ll look like a malfunctioning lock. Won’t give us much time before they realise though.” ~ Mitchell had acquired a timepiece from somewhere and they had been watching the clock for several hours. Karl had explained to him about the range of the pellets and they had realised that the cells either side of them would also unlocked when it the pellets were activated. Mitchell had done some rapid and very profitable dealing before lock down, and arranged for the highest bidders to be in those cells next to them. They would escape too. Karl hoped they would also keep the guards busy while they got away, but as a consequence, all the prisoners knew what was going down. Karl now stood in front of the gate to their cell, holding it so he could tell when it was unlocked. He had not mentioned the merchandise to Mitchell – that was not a topic to be discussed when there were so many people who could listen in. He just hoped that this prison break would not all be in vain. After this he would be flagged as an escaped convict and if he was caught then it would mean the Penal Moon and a longer stretch than eight months. Karl did not feel a thing when the pellets activated and the door clicked open. The two other cells opened beside them, but Karl and Mitchell were already down the corridor running. They had taken their shoes off and made no sound on the metal floor. They reached the locked door to the yard out of breath and so far no one had made a sound, even the prisoners who had been left behind. All they could do now was wait for Bane. Bane had got through the side gate with Jayne close behind. It was now that the guards would be reacting, and they had less than ten minutes before it reactivated again. They raced along the inside of the wall and up to the gate leading to the yard that had been on the plan. Bane swore as she realised she was faced not with an electronic door, but a very ancient padlock. She frantically rummaged in one of the pockets of her belt. She no longer had any lock picking tools – it being such an outdated method of security. They were losing valuable minutes. She rolled a small ball of putty in her hands and placed it on the lock where it flashed briefly and the padlock disintegrated. They silently belted down the side of the yard, keeping to the shadows, until they reached the door. She could see Karl’s dimly lit face and the faces of the others on the inside. She activated the EMP and the door opened. There was no conversation, they just all ran, following her and Jayne back to the side gate. Once they were through there was a shout from the opposite direction to where they were now running, the guards had discovered them. It was not possible for them to sprint any faster, but Bane made sure everyone was through the gate before her. Using a metal sealant to bond the lock she now held the door until it activated. Torches and other lights were jittering around them, coming in their direction. The other prisoners had scattered and Bane was about to join them when her hand was grabbed through the gate. She tried to pull to it free, but the man’s grip was like a vice. He shone the torch in her face and several other guards caught up. She could not get free and they could not open the gate to get at her, they just held on to her wrist. She stopped struggling when they pulled out their guns. Jayne shouted to Karl as he got to the end of the alleyway and found Bane was not beside them. Leaving Mitchell, they returned back up the alleyway where both of them tried freeing her from the guards’ grip. Alarms and lights were now activated all over the prison. Bane could not help a groan of pain escape from her lips, she could not feel her fingers and was pretty sure the guard had damaged her wrist. He was not letting go. She managed to gasp to them that there was something in her pocket. Jayne got his hand in there and pulled out one of her grenades. He set it immediately and the cocked pistol that had been about to fire at Bane shut down, along with all the other weapons. He then punched the guard’s face hard through the bars and Karl pulled her arm free as his grip loosened. Their escape route had been planned and they followed it to the letter, where the other escaped prisoners had gone was not their concern. After a short stop to allow Karl and Mitchell to swap their jump suits for alternative clothing, they continued until they reached an alley off Jian Li Street. A few street whores were occupied with customers at the end. Karl turned to Mitchell. “Are you going to tell us now where the merchandise is stashed, so we can get back to the ship and get out of here?” Mitchell, who was very unfit, was trying to catch his breath. It was still very dark, but the occasional street light had showed them the way. “It’s not far but I don’t have my pass.” “Not a problem,” replied Bane. “I can open whatever it is.” “I’ll go back to Serenity and tell Mal and Zoe that you’re on your way,” said Jayne. “Better tell him we shouldn’t lift off tonight as it’ll look real suspicious. It’ll be the first place the Feds will look,” added Karl. Jayne disappeared into the darkness and Mitchell took them out and across Jian Li Street, and into another dark alleyway. Bane found she could move her hand again but it was really painful. She could feel exhaustion setting in as well, but she knew it was important for them to keep going. She did not know where Mitchell was taking them, just that there were very few people about, either still in the bars or in bed. “’Ere we are,” he said, and it did not look like they were anywhere. “For Buddha’s sake, hurry up about it!” hissed Karl. The longer they were exposed like this the more likely they would be captured. “Alright, mate, keep yer ‘air on. Need you to open this panel,” he said to Bane. She could not see any panel but activated the last EMP grenade anyway. They heard rather than saw something slide across. Mitchell reached down into the darkness and they heard him moving things. At last he stood up. “Got it. Let’s go,” and they did not hang around or look behind them. If they had, they might have made out the shadow of another man in the same alleyway. The ship was in sight but they still zig-zagged their way back in case they were being followed. Bane had kept looking up a Karl’s clean shaven face. Although there was very little light, they had passed places that shone lights out onto the street. He look a different person, but she still could not get a good look. The ramp was down and they carefully closed the outer door after stepping in. Jayne, Mal and Zoe were waiting for them in the cargo bay. Bane smiled in welcome and all their faces changed from a happy welcome to absolute horror. She realised that they were not staring at her or, Mitchell, but Karl and she turned to look too. Zoe was ashen and uttered one strangled word. “Wash.”


Monday, April 16, 2007 10:50 AM


Wah??? Is this actually Wash, or just his twin?

BTW, love this, but some of the sentences run on a bit. Makes it a bit annoying to read at a few points.


Monday, April 16, 2007 11:24 AM


Hey jW - wait for part 4 - all is revealed!!
Let me know which bits were annoying for you and I'll have a look at them.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 9:51 AM


Oh...guess "Karl" is gonna have some explaining to do in this case. That and possibly have two ladies fight over him;)

Definitely a brilliant cliffhanger here, hermitsrest! Can't wait for part 4:D



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