Sign Up | Log In
BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ADVENTURE
What do you do when you run out of options?
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1776 RATING: SERIES: FIREFLY
Annie M (email@example.com)
See part one for disclaimers and summary
Serenity wasn't being pursued. The three of them watched silently as the unidentified ship barrelled towards their position. As it came closer they could see that it was definitely a gun-ship, its port, stern and starboard sides outfitted with heavy duty cannons.
The ship slowed as it came in, landing in practically the same spot Serenity had recently vacated.
Mal and Zoe shared puzzled expressions as they watched the ship's landing struts hit the dirt.
"They ain't taking *me* alive," Jayne whispered tightly, taking aim.
"Take cover," Mal commanded, turning back to point in between the larger compound and its smaller twin. Running as fast as they could, the three settled themselves at the corners of the two blocks, Jayne at the out edge of the smallest one, Mal and Zoe at the corner of the largest stone fronted complex, a few feet away from Jayne's position.
The unknown ship's engines powered down and moments later two side ramps began to lower from either side of the vessel. An armour-plated jeep exited one ramp while six armed men rushed down from the other side, moving swiftly to take cover behind the moving vehicle.
Zeroing in on their prey's position, the men behind the slow moving jeep opened fire.
Firing back in return Mal, Zoe and Jayne exchanged round for round, filling the air with the sound and smell of spent shells and gun smoke.
Zoe tossed off two grenades in the direction of the jeep, both detonating just shy of their target. Jayne picked off two men who had veered out from the cover the vehicle; one went down in a heap, clutching his neck, the other his chest.
Bullets zipped off the ground and blew chunks out of the masonry around them, a ricochet grazing Mal's cheek. Zoe threw another grenade and it exploded under the front of the jeep, momentarily scattering the men behind it. The jeep shuddered with the impact, but kept coming, its speed slowing to crawl.
The assault continued with no clear ground being gained by either side.
"Hold your fire," Mal ordered Zoe and Jayne, knowing that their ammunition wouldn't last indefinitely.
Soon the firing on both sides died down and Mal, from the shelter of the compound, called out to the intruders over the continuing hubbub of the generators. "I don't know about y'all over there, but I can think of better things to do than swap bullets all day long. Why don't we talk a spell, see if we can't maybe come to an understanding."
A gruff voice replied to his offer. "Ain't got no need for talk. We got enough ammo here to bury you all back there, take what we want and run after your little ship too. Now how'd that be?"
"Well, I figure you could, " Mal responded, "But see, when you're done with us all you're gonna find on this here moon is a bunch of dead Alliance boys."
"The hell you say!" their leader shot back dismissively.
"I can see you're obviously men of trade," Mal yelled back. "But whatever was here, you missed the best of it. This place has been picked clean; armoury, technical what-knots, ain't nothing left."
"We didn't come all the way out here for no gorram funeral!"
"Don't have to take my word for it, check for yourselves; start with that compound over there in back, we'll wait," Mal reasoned casually.
The raiders huddled around the jeep to converse, every now and then looking up to check on the position of Mal and his band.
Mal, Zoe and Jayne watched the group in the distance; it was impossible to hear the raiders' whispered discussion over the whining and rumbling generators.
"Pirates?" Zoe asked, using the moment to un-holster a pistol from under her arm as she looked out from behind the stone wall.
"One of them boys I hit looked like he was one of Drooda's men maybe, "Jayne ventured, loading more ammo.
"Yeah," Mal agreed, checking his own weapon. "They must have gotten wind about this moon, come out here looking to add to their stock. No wonder that woman's got her fingers all over this quadrant."
"How do you want to play this, sir?"
"Careful," Mal replied, "real careful. They still got a ship out there. No telling how many they still got on board."
"They're moving," Jayne warned.
Two men split from the cover of the jeep and raced into the small structure where Serenity's crew had made their own grisly discovery, returning after several tense minutes.
One of the men was shouting breathlessly as he rejoined his group. "It's true! Them boys weren't just hit with bullets; some of them been chopped up, others gutted and hung up to dry like hogs at a town festival. By the looks and smell of 'em, they've been hanging for a couple of days too."
"No way these guys could've put 'em all in the dirt," declared the other.
"Gorram Reavers!" Drooda's deputy hollered to his gathered men. "Now they're hitting Feds?" he raved. "God damn!"
"Ain't no job worth crossing their path for," a shorter man at his side said.
"You're god damn right," the leader agreed. "They're likely to come on back anytime. We're falling back, everyone back to the ship!" he ordered.
The men took off, leaving their fallen comrades in the dirt, their jeep making a wide circle as it struggled to gain impetus.
Mal, Zoe and Jayne moved slowly out from the cover of the complex, watching with amusement as the pirates sprinted away.
"Well now, ain't that a picture," Jayne laughed.
Something caught Mal's attention and he spun around, looking hard into the distant horizon. "Listen," he said.
Jayne cocked his head. "Generators?" he questioned. The deep thrumming, rumbling sound was getting louder and closer.
"We never did find the power housing, sir," Zoe murmured, glancing skywards.
"Maybe not, but that don't sound like no gorram generator--get down!" Mal yelled, launching himself at Zoe. The force of his momentum smashed Zoe into Jayne's mid-riff and all three hit the dirt in a pile of twisted arms and legs.
Two small vessels, front guns blazing, flew over their sprawled bodies, firing rapidly at the slow moving jeep, Drooda's fleeing men and at the raiders' stationary ship.
The jeep careened wildly under the onslaught, crashing into one of the ramps of the ship, its engine ablaze.
The grounded ship's engines began to power up, its own guns rotating and firing desperately at the fast moving and agile ships.
Untangling herself from her two companions, Zoe rolled over and turned to her captain. "They're short-range gun ships, sir. They had to be stationed here."
"Feds? I thought all them boys was dead," argued Jayne, reaching into the dirt to retrieve Vera.
"They are," Mal replied, his chin inches from the ground. "There ain't no Feds on those boats."
They scrambled back to the limited cover of the compound as another ship streaked overhead. Remaining low and talking in ragged breaths Mal continued. "Not generators; ships, and God knows what else."
Zoe nodded in understanding. "All those power spikes."
"They've been here all along."
"The gorram Reavers!"
Wash checked his sensors, Book and Simon at either shoulder as Serenity streaked away at full power from Morfan.
"They're not following," Book observed.
"Turn back," Simon urged. "We can't leave the captain and Zoe down there."
"We're not a gun ship, son," Book admonished. "We wouldn't stand a chance down there."
"What can we do? We can't just wait for the Alliance to show up."
"Wash sent an emergency hail as soon as we left orbit--"
"But it's days to the Talos system, if we can't go back what are we supposed to do?" Simon argued.
"Would you two shut up, please? You're not helping," Wash yelled angrily, trying to concentrate on his readings.
Serenity's short-range sensors were picking up faint power spikes on Morfan. They were similar to their initial readings, but no longer irregular. Wash tried to adjust his controls for accuracy before they were out of range, and as he did so another vessel appeared on his screen, hurtling rapidly towards them.
"What the hell--?" he said in confusion.
A huge cruiser with Alliance markings came into view and all three stared at it in mute surprise.
"Firefly transport, Serenity, this is the Alliance cruiser, Hessen. We received your distress signal on route to Morfan. Release control of your helm and we'll pull you in."
Wash let out a sigh of relief. "Never let it be said that the Alliance don't know how to crash a party," he said, flicking switches across his board.
Simon grabbed Wash's shoulder and hauled him back into his seat. "Wait!" he begged.
Wash spun around to face the young doctor, silencing him quickly with a raised finger to his lips.
"Say again, Serenity?"
The audio comm channel was still open.
"What? Oh, we're good; helm's all yours. And could we hurry please, my wife's down on that moon, and I'd really like to see her again," Wash smoothly improvised.
"Copy that, Hessen out."
Wash turned back to Simon and Book. "We shouldn't get boarded, but you never know with the law. Simon go get River and meet Kaylee in the cargo bay, she knows the plan."
"I'm sorry," Simon stammered. "I didn't realise...."
"It's been a tough day on all of us and we're not out of the woods yet, Doc. Go get your sister," Wash encouraged.
Simon nodded, backing away. "Shepherd, I might need your help. River's probably still unconscious," he said.
Book turned to Wash expectantly and the pilot gave him a surprised double take.
Sure, Wash supposed, he was in charge, but it wasn't as if the preacher needed an order to get moving.
"Go, go!" he shooed them both off the bridge in earnest. "The Feds ain't likely to want to be kept waiting once we're inside that beast," he said to their departing backs. "Kaylee," he called, picking up his comm unit, "Doc's on his way down, prep the space."
"We being boarded?" Kaylee wanted to know.
"I sure hope not, but they're pulling us in."
"We going back for the captain and Zoe?"
"We sure are."
"Stay low!" Zoe heard Mal command as heavy fire rained down around them. More ships had emerged from the surrounding area, flying in crisscross patterns across the sky.
"Looks like they're just trying to take out the ship, sir," she said, hunkered down by her captain's side.
Drooda's ship was still managing to defend itself, but the burning jeep lying on its side and across one of its ramps was hampering the ship's escape.
"Yeah," he agreed, "We're their free lunch. They take out the ship, then move in on the rest of us."
"Maybe I can get to the mule," Jayne said. He started crawling forward on his stomach, but Mal grabbed his leg before he'd managed more than a few inches.
"Us not moving is what's keeping us alive for now," Mal reasoned. "We try and run, they'll gun us down."
"Going down fighting is sure better than waiting to be raped and eaten," Jayne spat back.
Zoe had already been considering that option. "Won't come to that," she said, pulling three grenades from around her waist and offering one each to Mal and Jayne. "If the time comes," she decided emphatically, looking down at the grenade in her hand, "I'll be the one doing the ending."
Mal took the grenade from Zoe's hand sighing wistfully, "Well, you were right again."
"Doing a job for the Alliance was a bad idea."
Drooda's ship took another direct hit, its port side erupting in flames and smoke.
"Thanks for saying so, sir, but we didn't have much choice," Zoe tried to offer comfort over the sounds of groaning and twisting metal.
"Talos was a bad idea," Mal continued.
Zoe shrugged. "Never did like Talos, sir, but Serenity would never have made it to Boros." From the corner of her eye she saw Mal staring down at his own grenade.
"I make Wash a widower, he's never gonna forgive me," he said, playing with the pin.
Zoe had considered that probability also and turned her dust filled gaze out toward the burning ship in the distance. "Me either, sir," she said quietly.
"Better get ready to pull those pins," Jayne warned. "Looks like them Reavers got reinforcements coming in from off planet," he said studying the sky.
Zoe followed his gaze to see several other gun ships enter the melee from above. Instead of joining the bombardment on Drooda's ship, the vessels fanned out, launching laser fire and rockets at the Reaver vessels, flying overhead and delivering missiles that blew great craters of dirt and twisted metal up into the air.
Zoe reached out and pulled Mal's grenade out of his grasp, and taking a deep breath she heaved a sigh. "All hail the great Alliance." Shaking her head she reattached the grenades to her belt.
Commander Choi watched the events on Morfan unfold from the bridge of the Hessen. The cruiser's superior tracking devices and sophisticated screens displayed the ensuing battle clearly. Older model ships--transport and fighter class--were rising from the ground in several locations.
From the scans and the information being passed to the Hessen's commanders, Choi realised that the Reavers--he knew in his gut it was them--had been laying in wait, camouflaging their vessels under dun coloured shelters. The ruse was laughable, but out here on the rim even the best ships had only rudimentary equipment, so it offered invisibility to most scrutiny.
Morfan had became an aerial battlefield as the Hessen sent out gun ships and ground crews to re-secure their base of operations.
An ensign approached and called for his attention. "Sir, I've been authorised to give you an update," he said crisply.
"What is it, Ensign?"
"One of our ground crews has secured the evac of the captain of Serenity and his team."
"Yes, sir. Seems they took cover when the firing started. We have Captain Reynolds in interrogation room one; Captain Santos thought you might want to debrief him, he's waiting for you to join him."
Choi took a breath to steady his emotions, knowing what lay ahead of him in a few short minutes. "Thank you, ensign. Where is the interrogation room?"
"Follow me, sir," the ensign said helpfully, leading Choi away. "I've also been given permission to tell you that the ship under attack on the surface is registered to a... a--" The ensign paused and checked a data pad. "Magda Drooda, a so called business woman on Talos."
The news brought a smile to Choi's lips. "Yes, she's a criminal I've been trying to bring to justice for some time. Her men's unauthorised presence on a Federal moon is the sort of evidence that will finally see her behind bars. Have we recovered any of her crew?"
"We don't know yet, sir. Our teams are still trying to secure the area. This way," the ensign directed, gesturing Choi into a waiting elevator.
Choi made the introductions.
"Captain Reynolds, nice to see you're still with us," Choi said before indicating the taller man behind him. "This is Captain Santos of the Hessen; without his cruiser showing up in the nick of time I'm afraid we might have had to add you to our list of casualties," he said solicitously.
Neither official offered to shake his hand and Mal sat perfectly still at the table, ignoring Choi's false sentiments.
They'd been rescued by a young team of Federal marshals who had landed in a shuttle near their location on Morfan, and the three of them had been quickly ushered aboard, taking off again immediately. When they'd arrived at the Hessen and their identities had been confirmed, Mal had been led here for a "debrief", while Zoe and Jayne had been ordered to wait in a nearby room.
Commander Choi sat with him at the table while Santos paced quietly behind Choi.
"It seems we didn't need your services after all, Captain, but you'll be paid for your troubles, as agreed," Choi was saying. "The credits are being delivered to your ship as we speak, we've even added the loss of your lost transport to the cost," he went on in a patronizing tone. "It was nice doing business with you; stay out of trouble and you and your crew might not end up like those pirates down on the surface."
"You're not going back for them?" Mal asked, genuinely surprised at Choi's attitude.
Choi got up from the table and said angrily, "They're criminals! They attacked an alliance out-post, murdered Federal marshals, stole weapons, technology and provisions. They're getting exactly what they deserve."
Mal couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Pirates they may be, but that moon was attacked by Reavers, and unless I'm going senile that moon is still under attack by Reavers. Hell, they've practically set up their own base down there!"
"You're mistaken, Captain," Choi said dismissively. "There's no such thing as Reavers. Local criminals from Talos have been behind these attacks and that's what our forces are trying to contain now."
Mal sat back, stunned. "That's it," he said incredulously. "You write this off as some pirate caper gone south?
"Well this ain't the end of it, more Reavers are out there, in your space," he emphasised. "Skinning and raping your good Alliance citizens. So, yeah, you sit on back and let those *tamade dongwu* do what they want."
Choi folded his arms across his chest, appearing unmoved by Mal's outburst.
"Even after what they done to your own men, you still don't want to accept the truth, do you?" Mal accused. "What the hell are you all so afraid of?"
Sounding irritated Choi stated, "The current outlaw threat in this sector is being quashed, Captain. You've been paid, your ship and crew are intact; what more would you have us do?"
Mal eyed the commander with scorn and rose from the table, there was nothing further to discuss with these bastards he decided.
"Nothing," he said bitterly, "not a gorram thing."
Friday, June 06, 2003 3:06 PM
You must log in to post comments.
OTHER FANFICS BY AUTHOR
All FIREFLY graphics and photos on this page are copyright 2002-2012 Mutant Enemy, Inc., Universal Pictures, and 20th Century Fox.
All other graphics and texts are copyright of the contributors to this website.
This website IS NOT affiliated with the Official Firefly Site, Mutant Enemy, Inc., or 20th Century Fox.