Out of Gas Out of Luck ( Repost)
Monday, November 12, 2007

What happend on board the other ship in Out of Gas



We were 4 days out of port when Billy comes over the com. He found a ship, a Firefly free floating. It’s powered down and both shuttles had been launched, must have been abandoned. She’ll be easy pickings for this crew. I make my way up from the engine room to see if I can be of help. I hadn’t been with the crew long, just three weeks, and they were being cautious. They had gotten burned bad on a job bout a month before I joined up. By bad I mean, there wouldn’t have been an opening for a mechanic, otherwise. They don’t talk about it much. I over hear a little here and there. They expected more heat after, but it looks like they got away clean.

I hit the bridge to offer my service and everything’s a buzz. They hailed her a few times but no answer. Just as the Captain was giving the orders to board her, they got a reply. I was half listening to Jessie filling me in, and trying to place the voice I hear on the com. I know that voice.

“Well I'm not looking for a ride, Captain. Just a little push is all.”

A quick glance at the screen, yeah I know him, it’s Malcolm Reynolds.

The Captain tells him they’ll do some business, somethin about a catalyzer, I know better. I tell the Captain I know the man, and that we fought together in the war. He gives me look of disgust and I lower my head.

“Stay on the ship Caleb. Make yourself useful and start some grub.” As he leads the crew off the bridge I overhear “Rutting Browncoats, good for nothi…”

Rutting Browncoats, he might change his opinion after he tangles with Mal. Of course, if Mal knew I was here he might just wade through everyone of em to put a bullet in me.

We fought together at Quisan Mesa. The Alliance had been shoving us back for 2 weeks. They were pushing us towards a box canyon. Once there, it would be a slaughter. Another couple of days and it would be over. Mal had saved my life twice already, and no telling how many others. There was no quit in him. That really knew how to build up moral. After one of his speeches we would throw ourselves at em with all the piss and vinegar we had. We were going to fight our way out of there. I think Mal knew different, and later, so did I. I got word from command that they were going to give us up. They couldn’t chance losing their remaining air support to spring us. Now why would I be getting that call you might ask? Well that’s a much longer story so here’s the short version. When the war started I was with the Alliance. I saw the error of my ways and started giving Intel to the Independents. Most of the time it was safe and easy sometimes I would get stranded; this was one of those times. Well I wasn’t ready to die in those canyons. I explained to command that we could feint at them with the air support and I could give the Alliance the heads up that it was a full blown attack. It might open a hole in the line the troops could squeak through without risking their ships. And that’s just what happened.

Mal had spotted me sneaking towards the Alliance lines. He cursed, screamed and even fired a couple of shots my direction but I was out of range. Funny huh? Here I was saving his life. There are a few drawbacks to being a double agent. One is most people don’t ever know the good things you accomplish, another is, if the side your backing loses, your out of work, hence my current position as the mechanic/cook.

Speaking of cooking that’s exactly what I’m doing when Stern comes through the galley. I turn down the music. At first the Captain hated my choice in music, but he loved my cooking so he allowed it. Now the crew put up with it, some even seemed to enjoy it.

“Where ya heading Stern”

“They just called over, we took the ship. I’m gonna help Jessie pilot her. Man the Bridge until they come back.”

Guess Mal’s luck ran out. That’s a shame.

I’m on the Bridge when the Captain, followed closely by the crew, comes on deck.

“Get your ass out of the way Caleb! Stern pull us out to a safe distance and lock us on to that ship. I’m going to blow that piece of outta the sky!”

“What happened?” I asked Jessie

“Cap gut shot the guy but he still got the drop on us.”

“Captain this is wrong, he let you go!” I pleaded

“Gorrammit Caleb if you wanna join him that can be arranged.”

Click My gun is trembling in my right hand as my left reaches for a switch under the console. As soon as I push it the ship starts trembling too. “What the hell are you doing Caleb?”

“Stopping you, there’s a good man over there that just beat you. I’m not going to let you kill him.”

“What’d ya do to my ship you little…?”

“I never did trust you. I rigged a switch up here, in the engine room and my bunk. In case I ever needed it. I’m pumping all the hydro out of the cooling lines, and over revving the engine. The shut off’s disabled, She’ll blow if you don’t back off”

“Stern can you fix this?”

“Yeah Captain I can fix it.”

Boom! My gun goes off and Stern falls to the floor dead. The bullet hits him left of center. Amazing considering how bad I’m shaking. I point my gun wildly around the room. No one likes gun play on a ship in space. Even if you’re not loading armor piercing there’s still the chance of a hull breach or hitting something else just as deadly. I turned just a little too far right of Jessie. Just out of my peripheral. Then it all goes black.

I don’t stay out long. I wake up in the engine room; the Captain is over me yelling for me to fix the ship. I can barely hear him. She’s really rattling now. The heat in the engine room feels like a furnace. I get to my feet. The point of Billy’s knife pokes me in the back. I go to work. When I’m finished the engine is cooled and the heat is all but gone, but me I’m still sweating. I look towards the door; the Captain and Billy are blocking the way. Both armed both aiming at me.

“Come on boy, we got a special surprise for ya”

Billy heads out first, them me, the Captain in the rear and his gun barrel in my ribs. As we enter the cargo deck I see the rest of the crew, Sterns body is covered and laying on the floor. The Captain pushes me towards the stairs. I look up and see my surprise. Looks like my luck may have run out too.

It’s a noose, their going to hang me. Jessie is on the catwalk as the Captain leads me up. I start to beg and try to pull away. The Captain is having none of that. He shoves me down hard to the grating. I look up and see the rope strung over the main support beam, the noose just a couple of feet below hanging over the cargo hold. I start hyperventilating as they pull me to my feet. “I’m going to miss your cooking Caleb, but not that gorram music.”

They said they gut shot Mal. I wonder how he’s fairing. I wish I could have thanked him for this.

Three minutes later their all dead.

Like I said there are drawbacks to being a double agent. If you’re on the losing side your out of work. I wasn’t on the losing side. The Alliance takes good care of me. Matter of fact the only reason any of those Independent troops made it out of those canyons was to protect my cover. All part of the job.

This band of miscreants is just another job. They did do a big heist that went bad on them. Today they found out how bad. Two months ago they robbed a wealthy family on Bellerophon. It caused quite a stir. Some people started carrying emergency signals and security was completely overhauled because of it. They thought they could bypass the security system by rigging a Brosk timer to the system relay. Stupid, how could they think that would work for more than a few minutes? There are at least 4 easier ways to get around the tagging system, five if your stupid enough to try and reprogram… well that ones not that easy.

On the way out they triggered every alarm, lots of shooting, lots of death. The family had two members killed that day. They lost another the next, a little girl, taken hostage, and used to escape. Once they were off planet they jettisoned her into space. She was the Niece of a Parliament official.

The day she died every mention of the crime disappeared off the Cortex. They thought they got away clean. They were feeling real lucky. My employer was very specific about how the Captain should die. Luck; funny think how it can turn on you.

Running into Mal today was just the distraction I needed. I didn’t rig switches in all those rooms. Only the Bridge and I finished that right before they arrived. It wasn’t the cooling system. I rigged the fuel mix, a big shot of O2, to make it spike and then steady flow to keep her running hot. I actually had to disable the safety switch while I was pretending to solve the problem, It was about to shut the engine down.

The bullet into Stern necessary, he would have figured out the ship was not in danger. The music I played nightly, packed with subliminals, the nightly meal, laced with Payleon 36, creates a trance like sleep and helped push the subliminals into their brains. The hyperventilating was to oxygenate my blood. I knew I would be holding my breath awhile. The switch I installed over the main support beam, a bypass to the floor cargo doors. Of course they were going to hang me. I had been telling them to for three weeks.

As they helped me to my feet, I sprang up, my left arm going through the noose. Pulling up I reached the switch. The doors opened slower than I expected but the result was the same. Chaos. Stern’s body and the crew on the deck were sucked out with everything not secured. Because the door opened slow Jesse and the Captain were able to grab the rail. There we were, me hanging from a rope and them from a rail. We exchanges glances. I locked eyes with Jessie and a smiled. Infuriated she reached for her gun. She shouldn’t have let go.

No final words possible without letting out the last of his air the Captain stared at me confused. I reached in my pocket and pulled a picture of the little girl. I held it in the palm of my hand against the suction. It only stayed there a second. I thought he might not have seen it. He had, he closed his eyes and let go. Shortly after the doors closed, the heaters kicked on full, and life returned to the ship.

The job is done the ship is mine. It crosses my mind to go check on Mal, but I’ve had enough fighting for today. Besides he’s probably dead and my arm’s sore. Damn near dislocated my shoulder when that cargo door opened. I think I’ll take a little R&R before taking my next assignment. “Lucky me. I wonder what I can get for this ship on Persephone?”


Monday, November 12, 2007 11:58 AM


I loved this the first time, and the second time it's even better! Great work! :D

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 6:00 AM


Good stuff! I always like it when the bad guys get their due.


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