Call the Man [7] [repost]
Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Jayne goes off alone on the Vera hunt.


PART SEVEN * Where’s the street-wise Hercules To fight the rising odds? * He's gotta be strong And he's gotta be fast And he's gotta be fresh from the fight * I need a hero I’m holding out for a hero 'till the morning light He’s gotta be sure And it’s gotta be soon And he’s gotta be larger than life Larger than life * Racing on the thunder and rising with the heat It’s gonna take a superman to sweep me off my feet Through the wind and the chill and the rain And the storm and the flood I can feel his approach Like a fire in my blood * [Holding out for a Hero – Bonnie Tyler {and others}] * Mal sucked air through his teeth, “Okay. Thing is, we've got business here to complete and the Fife children to worry about.” Jayne faced off, “You ain't abandonin' my wife!” “No. But you want to be up and at 'em immediately.” “Hell, yeah!” “An unspecified number of Beserkers? I know you're good, but...” Jayne's jaw set, “I. Am. *That. Good.” “You'll be on your own. Promise we'll follow as soon as we can, but with the best part of a hundred odd kids, plus our own to worry on...” Jayne nodded, “I know.” Mal looked at Jayne, “'Kay. Get your stuff, say your goodbyes, take as much coin as you *genuinely need and get going. We'll have your back, soon as we can.” * Clarry was standing just inside Serenity with Melissa and Junior when Jayne came down, bristling with weapons, pockets laden with coin. All three of them were fighting back tears with varying degrees of success. Jayne clasped Clarry's shoulder, “Look after the little 'uns for me.” She nodded, “Yes Pa. Find Vera.” He mouth wobbled but her voice was pretty firm. “Don't ruttin' worry. I will!” Jayne bent and scooped up Melissa and Junior, one in each arm, “Be good for Clarry an' Mal, 'kay. I'm gonna find Ma and bring her back.” Melissa managed, “Ma's good at fighting!” Jayne smiled at her, “That she is. Probably be standin' there, surrounded by dead Berserkers an' waitin' fer me!” He mentally filled in the picture by having her toting a couple of large smoking guns, whilst wearing her thigh knife and nothing else. His groin tightened as he anticipated the very thorough 'rendezvous' he was hopefully going to give her. “Pa.” Junior's mouth wobbled and a tear ran down his face. “Hey, li'l big guy. You gotta be strong an' look after your sisters, huh? You're the best son a fella could wish for, okay?” Junior got Jayne's message, squaring his shoulders in a manoeuvre identical to his father, “Okay.” “That's my boy!” Jayne looked all three of them, “Be back as soon as I can.” He paused, and then, “Love you all to bits.” Then he stood up, turned his back on all of them and let the cold, hard tracker and mercenary take over. He got in his rented Hornet ship and set off. * Mal and Silas Jennings were having a talk soon afterwards . “So,” Silas began, “Berserkers? Glad to say I've never actually come across them face to face before.” “Until recently, the Reavers were keeping the Berserkers at bay somewhat. Cancelling each other out, you might say. You've seen Jayne. When he gets riled, he can be as deadly as a Berserker – possibly deadlier – but at least he'll stop when the job's done. Berserkers – at least until now – just fight and keep fighting. Will go through anything like a hot knife through butter. There were a few in the war who had just enough control to be pointed at the enemy and let go.” “Ah. You fought. I did wonder if the 'Serenity' name had a bearing on things, with you being a Browncoat and all.” “You?” “Ambulance Corps, Browncoat side of things. Wasn't in Serenity valley, though I heard. I was good at carrying folk out of danger. Despite my size and muscles, I try not to kill folks.” Silas paused, obviously considering, “Could go a bit Berserker myself if the red mist descends. Not pretty fussed who I killed when it was like that. Killed...someone close to me, so I stopped, dead. Made a vow not to kill again unless it was necessary and unavoidable.” “I can understand that. Might need to kill again gorram soon.” “I've already got the boys and guns on patrol around the carnival, along with the local law. There won't be a mouse leaving this place now, unless I know about it.” “I'll do guarding shifts along with Zoe, River and Cliff. Would appreciate getting out of here asap to provide back-up to Jayne and Vera. Seems like the Berserkers have got themselves some genuine organisation.” “Head Berserker?” “Could be. Someone who can do the cool head thing and focus the aggro. Lay you eight to five the Fife attack was Berserkers.” Silas smiled grimly, “Wouldn't even take *those odds! Once the children that are going to be adopted here are sorted, I'm with you. Will give my barkers the choice as to whether they follow me. We can leave a small staff here running things and take the big guns with you if necessary.” “Thanks. The Cicada's a fast ship. Could be a long way across the 'verse by now. And if you feel that red mist descending...?” “I'll get my wife to lock me up in big chains. It was the only way...before.” “Good man.” “Try to be, Mal.” * Jayne opened the com and hacked into general chatter on the Wave, keeping an ear out for references to any Cicada flying nearby. Of course, being law-breakers – like himself much of the time – they'd be used to not leaving a trail. But there would *be one. Somewhere, some time, the Cicada would take on fuel, dock, go planetside, seek permission to enter another star system or one of a number of other options. In the meantime, Jayne had smelt the residue left by the Cicada on Ben Nevis. He altered the on-board sensors to look out for a trail with that signature to it. There'd be molecules left, even up here in the black of space. Jayne circled the planet, with his Hornet 'sniffing'. Finally, there was a trace. It was even less effective than Hansel and Gretel's breadcrumbs, but Jayne found it and followed the sporadic trail on a mixture of evidence and instinct. * Days, weeks passed. Jayne pressed the Hornet's engines as hard as he dared, stealing fuel sometimes or taking it at gunpoint when his coin ran out. He slept in cat-naps, only putting the craft on autopilot when he had a solid lead. He could feel the tug of Vera, strong and sure as iron. She was alive and she was waiting for him. Possibly fighting her way out to be with him again. When he had no trail, he followed that pull. It was like fire in his blood, in his soul. If they'd taken her anywhere in the entire universe, he'd find her. * Finally, after two months, he hit pay dirt. The Cicada herself, hanging broken and wounded in space around Caerphilly. He checked the readings. Atmo on board, not many lights showing. He suited up, docked, tooled up and went on board. Silence. Lots of silence. Signs of restrained violence. Couple of dead guys with their throats cut. Those cuts consistent with Vera's own knife. Some blood on the floor and the bodies, other droplets hanging in the air in close to zero gee. Jayne took quite a number of guys out himself as he went through. Got to the fancy part of the ship. Knew that because the décor improved significantly. Didn't quite ring true with Berserkers he'd encountered before. Jayne carried on, killing everything that moved and wasn't Vera. Finally found a state room. It was a mess. The floor, walls and ceiling were liberally spattered with blood. The bed was drenched in it. Huge, fat guy; very dead, on the bed, covered in blood. Something underneath him. Jayne's heart sang and he *knew. He levered the dead guy over. There was Vera, alive, equally covered in blood and suddenly grinning at him. Jayne took in the sight of very minimal clothing before Vera was wrapped around him on the bed and they were hugging. Kissing came moments later. * “You okay?” She nodded, “Water?” He handed her some and she drank a good few mouth-fulls, “Did he...?” “Wanted to. I decided to show willing and stayed that way right until the moment he got his tiny diao close to my mouth.” “And?” “Bit it off.” Vera made a face. Jayne grinned, “That's my woman! Powerful amount of blood, though.” “Managed to slit his throat as well, had my knife hidden under the pillow, then he died right on top of me. Couldn't shift him off me. That was...yesterday, I think. Rest of the crew don't know yet; they probably think he's still having his way with me.” “Rest of the crew is dead. Berserkers?” “Something close. Better organised; though not from this ship. Big guy supposedly in charge was a moron. Can we get out of here?” Jayne grinned, “Sure thing, mi mei gui. Here, have a gun or two.” Vera took the guns and Jayne got a really good look at the outfit she was almost wearing. It seemed to be made of widely spaced, stretchy chain mail and was trying fairly hard to be a bikini. Jayne growled. Vera knew what *that sound meant, “Need a good wash first and something to eat.” Jayne accompanied her back through the ship, “You wouldn't mind wearin' least the first couple'a times...?” He didn't know what she'd been through yet and he was trying *very hard to be sensitive. She grinned at him, “After the disgusting pawing I've had, I *insist on it!” “Oh, good!” Jayne's tone was perhaps far too relieved. Vera chuckled, “Take more than a big, sweaty guy man-handling me to crush my spirits!” “Didya take two of 'em out on Ben Nevis?” “Yup. Seven against one was unfair odds, but I killed two of 'em.” “That's my woman!” “Kids okay?” Jayne nodded, “Upset at losing you, but fine. Hadn't gotten anyone else from the carnival.” “No, just me. Get my 'messages'?” Jayne grinned, “Loud and clear! Thanks for those, mi mei gui. I'll get us away from here.” Vera put her hand out as they got to the connecting airlock, “Grenade?” Jayne raised an eyebrow. Vera's chin was set firm, “Want to blow the ruttin' hwoon dahn out of the sky.” Jayne put the grenade in her hand, “All yours.” Vera set the timer and threw the grenade into an air vent. She and Jayne got into the Hornet. As they pulled away, the Cicada burst into a huge, silent, orange fireball. * Vera looked around, “Got a shower on this thing?” Jayne was steering the ship, “Yeah. Kinda like Saffron's camper van, only space-worthy and a mite bit bigger.” He gestured with his thumb. Vera went to get washed, “Where to?” Jayne huffed out a long breath, “Need a rest for a coupl'a days. I'll Wave Serenity; they said they'd follow us when they could. Mebbe some of Jennings' folk might be helpin'. There's a moon 'bout half a day away. Intel says it's just got plants 'n animals; no humans.” Vera came back, wet but clean and looked at the charts, “Ah. Jungle. That's its name. Hot, tropical and like Dionysus, but untameable. Jungle on top of shallow water. That'll do for a couple of days.” She started munching on an energy bar. Jayne was watching a few lingering water droplets running interestingly over Vera's skin, “Oh. Yes.” Vera squeezed his shoulder, “Soon. When we start, I'm going to need you to wipe all the bad memories away. Deep, hard, a lot. Hope you're in 'turbo charged' mode!” Jayne's voice was tight as all the blood in his body seemed to pump southwards, “I gorram well am now!” Vera chuckled, “This outfit helping, huh?” “You have no *idea!” She chuckled, “I have some!” * Jayne steered in over the jungle moon, “Lookin' for a landing place. Hey, there's been a lightning strike or summat. Small gap of water in the jungle with a patch of earth. That'll do.” Vera nodded, “It's about fifty feet across, that gap. Earth looks about the right size to beach her. Let's go for it!” A Wave came through from Mal as they placed themselves on the exposed land, “Glad to hear you're both okay. We're two days out; kids are ecstatic. Rendezvous on Jungle. Mal out.” Jayne double checked the atmosphere but it was oxygen rich. He grabbed Vera's hand and they went outside. The Hornet had a pointed and curved nose which stood about three feet off the ground at the front. Jayne lifted Vera up onto it. Vera grinned, “Here? Kinky!” Jayne joined her, “In the old days it'd be the bonnet of my car. Now, spread 'em!” Vera reached up to an overhanging tree, “Oooh, mangoes!” Jayne grabbed the fruit, “Good thought!” He kissed Vera thoroughly and then peeled back the cups of Vera's top and gently squeezed the fruit on her breasts and started licking it off. Vera gasped and arched, holding Jayne's head to her ecstatically. After several minutes, Jayne worked downwards and continued the application of fresh mango juice between Vera's legs and also licking it off. Vera arched and came apart. Jayne tore off his clothes, lifted Vera's legs over his shoulders, slid back up and plunged inside her. He brought her to a second peak and then joined her. They lay in the afterglow, snuggling. “Thanks for finding me.” “No problem. Had this pull inside of me, drawin' me to you.” “Could feel you coming.” Jayne chuckled dirtily, “Well, that too! I knew you were on your way. You're like a fire inside me. Helped me keep my spirits up.” “Killed a few of those guys too, ai ren. Speakin' of keepin' things up...” Vera stretched with pleasure, “Yes please! More!” “Any time!”



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