Reavers Return - Part Two
Monday, February 4, 2008

Events continue to intertwine between the crews of Serenity, the Rosalyn and Gang Kou leading up to some fateful events. 18th fanfic featuring post BDM characters and a few of my own creation. Grateful thanks to BlueEyedBrigadier for the beta. Having feedback is like charging my battery, please comment. Part 2 of 4.


THE ROSALYN: Lo stepped on board the Rosalyn, his first time traveling in the Black since before the War. He looked around keenly before turning to his daughter. “Make sure the banners are kept packed and they must be stored away from any smell of food.” “Yes, Pa. I know the drill.” Lo didn’t look directly at her, but continued to glance around the ship. “Then you also know that when we talk about ceremonial procedures, you must refer to me as Shenfu and not Pa.” Anna quashed her smirk and looked chastened. “Yes, Shenfu.” Anna turned to continue supervising the loading of the banners and poles. Her father had always taken his priest responsibilities seriously, especially now he was the only one. The role didn’t follow one of the popular official religions, but was their own - a position handed down from the days when they were permanently space-bound. Marriages, baptisms and burial rites, all celebrated in the ways of their ancestors. Her own wedding had been done with Pye ceremony, the only difference being that there was a Christian Shepherd officiating. In older times the Pye Shenfu had performed it all, whether legally recognized or not. With the War and the end of the Pye Fleet, the Shenfu was mainly responsible for keeping the Pye family records and the knowledge of the traditions. Although every Pye she knew had been given the traditional baptism, it was now usually done in batches and was the only thing they had never let slide since the end of the Pye Fleet. Lo was adjusting his bag when he saw David and Sarah Pye and he approached them. “It’s been a few years, David. I’m just sorry we meet again under these circumstances.” Lo shook his hand warmly. “Tony’s set aside his quarters for us, why don’t we go there?” “Shall I bring the children?” asked Sarah. Lo smiled kindly, a gentle comforting touch to her arm. “No. I’ll talk to them individually. Let them enjoy the thrill of sailing in a space ship like their ancestors.” Sarah looked stressed, she was an earth dweller and not used to traveling in the Black. “Well, it won’t be for long. Soon as the funeral’s over we’ll all be going home.” David and Lo looked at each other without speaking. His wife had never spent anytime in the Black, other than to travel from Persephone and Haven and back. Sarah was certain that her husband’s poky traditions could not bring her wayward daughter back, and there was no amount of persuading David could do. Tony scraped back his hair, watching them ascend the steps and leave the cargo bay. He was happy to do this run, on account of Corren, but he had to get himself some more cooks, otherwise they would be unable to stay afloat for the year. And this time at hiring, he would get them to sign on for a minimum of six months. He held no grudge against Esper, but she had left him in a bit of a bind and it was not fair to make Maloranty and Ragen do all the work. In the old days, it had never been a problem, ships were full of family and had always been easy to fill the cooking stations, taking turns even, and training up the young ones. Nowadays trustworthy people were hard to come by. He got on the portable com. “Okay, Stan. We’re all in. Let’s get on to Deutschland.” “No worries, Captain,” came Stan’s voice cheerfully. ~ “Lo, I appreciate this,” said Sarah. “But I’m only going along with this because David said it’s a family tradition and we owe it to Corren.” David frowned and rubbed his hands together nervously. Lo gave a small smile and took her hand. “Sarah, my dear. I’m not here just to perform the ceremony for your daughter. I’m here for you as well.” Sarah sat back a little, but Lo kept hold of her hand and held her glance. “Tell me your first abiding memory of Corren.” Sarah blinked, unable to prevent the tears forming. She frowned, her grief and anger getting the better of her. “I don’t understand. She’s dead and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. She was nothing but an ungrateful child and it came back in spades to haunt her!” Lo’s expression did not change. “So she deserved to be captured by slavers?” He said, giving a miniscule pause. “Is that how you want her remembered by her brothers and sisters?” “No –I-I-,” Sarah fell silent and tried to pull her hand away. David’s arm came around her shoulders and he spoke, the beginnings of a reminiscent smile forming. “I remember when she started talkin’ an’ used to follow me everywhere pickin’ up words, an’ muck, an’ everythin’.” “Thanks to you her first word was filthy and it dint stop there,” sniffed Sarah. “She got into everything an’ wanted to know everything too. When she was six she tried to make supper for us, on account that we’d bin workin’ in the fields all day.” Sarah looked at her husband and her eyes glistened with tears. “We came back to flour goo mixed on the floor and sweet corn charcoal.” “I still don’t know how she managed to light the stove.” In the cargo bay, Ross Pye, two years younger than his older sister, Corren, felt the excitement deep in his chest as the Rosalyn broke atmo. He had been all set to follow his sister onto the Rosalyn – his father had promised – until Corren had disappeared. Now she was dead and none of them had any hope of ever leaving Haven. “You feel it too, don’t you?” Ross turned to his younger sister and saw her eyes shining. “What?” he said, wanting her to put their feeling into words. “Instinct,” she said softly. Binan Chu Pye, seventeen and dangerously discovering the enjoyment of men, put her hand to the side of the cargo bay. “No use hidin’ it Ross – it’s where we’re meant to be.” Ross looked behind them to make sure they were not overheard. “And now’s not the time to bring it up. There may never be a good time to bring it up.” “We can’t stay stuck on Haven all our lives. You’re old ‘nuff to just leave. Why don’t ya?” Ross could not deny he hadn’t been thinking of it lately. But then Tony had brought the news of Corren’s death and he knew that they wouldn’t let them go. “They won’t let us go now,” he said. Binan Chu was more optimistic. “Pa might. He was born in the Black.” “Just leave it, Binny. At least until after the funeral. We’ll talk to him then.” “I won’t spend my life diggin’ for potatoes,” said Binan Chu earnestly. “I wanna see the ‘Verse an’ I wanna be in the Black..” ~ GANG KOU: Bane rubbed the palms of her sweating hands on her clothes. Having interviewed all the freed slaves over the last week or so, she was exhausted. Hans had told her this morning that an I.A.V. was on its way, but it could still be another couple of weeks before they arrived, so it was important to interview the crew before they arrived. It was the bit that Bane had been dreading, especially facing Dedham again and he would be the first they interviewed. She heard the door open and several people come in. She had got to know the small room while it had been empty and knew she was sitting on one side of a table and there were three chairs on the other, the middle one for the prisoners. Hans had assured her that Dedham would be sitting between two sturdy men and would not be able to move much, even if he had been inclined to try with a broken arm and gunshot wound to the leg. “Name?” asked Bane. “You know my name,” said Dedham belligerently, nostrils flaring. He knew he was in all amounts of go se, but, as always, he would play it out to the end. He would go to prison again and he would get out again - he knew too much and would not stay in prison long. All he had to do was get off this rock and safely into Alliance hands. “For the record,” she replied evenly. Bane could feel her hands shaking, so she kept them firmly clasped and under the table – it was not entirely possible to let Dedham’s menacing presence wash over her, there was too much history there. “James Dedham.” “Former Alliance Colonel James Dedham,” insisted Bane smoothly. “Yes, bitch. Former Alliance Colonel James Dedham. And I’d like to know what authority you have here. Last time I looked you were a whore and a criminal.” Bane had been expecting this question, but it was Hans who answered, stepping forward from the corner of the room. He knew scum when he saw it. “She ist hired as translator. You vill answer her questions.” Dedham reckoned he could still get revenge on Bane, but now was not the time. And there was no way he was trying anything while this behemoth of a lawman was standing there. “When did you start working on the Mamma?” Bane continued assertively. There was a pause in which Dedham took in the men either side of him and the ape wearing the law man’s badge. “May 2520.” Less than two months after he was arrested at her trial, Bane realised. “You mentioned earlier that you’d bin hired by the Alliance. How’d that happen exactly?” “You must have misheard,” Dedham answered with a smirk. “I wasn’t the only witness to that statement.” Bane neglected to mention that Karl was about as reliable a witness as Dedham, being that he was an escaped convict. Still, until Dedham admitted it, they had nothing. Hans nodded to one of his men and they applied some pressure in the right place. “Still your word against mine – Aaagh!” “Sorry, what was that?” she asked innocently. Dedham could see he was in an untenable position until the Alliance arrived, and although he liked inflicting pain a lot, he disliked receiving it intensely. He breathed shallowly as the deputy removed his vice thumb from his bullet wound. “My sentence was commuted on condition that I went to work for an Alliance holding company.” Commuted, Bane thought, he had served virtually no time at all. “The name of the company?” she asked, almost in a whisper. There was silence in which time Dedham looked at the law man glowering at him from across the corner of the room, ready to nod to his men again. Well, there was no point in holding back. As soon as the Alliance arrived he would be safe; he’d been a Colonel for God’s sake and the Alliance looked after their own. The records of this conversation would disappear and in time he would get his revenge on this woman. And this time he would be ever so patient. “The Blue Sun Corporation,” he said, a miniscule moment before Hans was about to nod to his men. “So the Blue Sun Corporation hired you onto the Mamma?” There was more quiet and this time Dedham didn’t feel like talking. Bane felt the silence like a leaden weight and then the sound of a quiet groan. “Yes,” he replied through his teeth. Bane’s mind was already working fast. The Blue Sun Corporation was one of the largest conglomerates and spread right across the ‘Verse. Everything from food, machinery, weapons and building supplies – the whole lifeblood of what made the ‘Verse work. Hans spoke to Bane in German. “I want to see if the others say the same.” “Dedham will tell us,” insisted Bane. “But the Alliance will dismiss an interview given under torture. The rest of the crew has likely been on board longer than him and know more about the setup.” Bane smiled in his direction, still talking in German. “And I was so enjoying hearing him squirm.” Hans turned to the deputies and told them to take him back to his cell. All the crew that had survived had been separated since their arrest. As Dedham was limping past the Pye whore he spat at her, making Bane jump sideways and fall off her chair onto the floor. “Whore! I should’ve killed you when I had the chance. I’ll get you po fu, even if it takes years.” The last of his words were cut off as the door to the interview room was shut. Hans helped Bane to her feet, feeling her trembling ever so slightly. “I’m sorry – I should never have let you take this interview,” he said. Bane wiped the spit off her cheek with her sleeve and then smoothed her clothes down, mainly to calm herself. Dedham could always instill fear in her and she had to believe he would go to prison this time. She squeezed Hans’ arm in answer to his concern. “There’s no one else to do it, an’ there’s small comfort in knowing that I’m as much his nemesis as he is mine.” Bane took a shaky drink of water and Hans sat in one of the chairs, having turned off the tape before Dedham had decided to spit on Bane. “We need to find out more about the Blue Sun and Alliance connection,” said Hans. Bane stifled a yawn and rubbed her nose. “Agreed. Let’s have the next one.” ~ “Name?” asked Bane, after the prisoner was settled. “Lon Lacey,” the man replied. By the sound of his voice, Bane pictured him to be a large man. She remembered it as the name Dedham had called out when she had come upon him raping her cousin. Bane and Hans had agreed that if Dedham was crew and former Alliance on the Mamma, then it was a good bet some of the others were, except maybe the mechanics. There was only one mechanic left, and currently heavily sedated with pain medication, the other four died when her bombs had exploded. By Hans’ description, they both reckoned that Lacey was also ex-Purplebelly, and they had decided to play that card straight away, to catch him off guard. “You were formerly a serving member of the Alliance. What was your rank?” She felt his surprised silence almost tangibly. Lacey looked around him. The interviewer didn’t look like much of a threat, but he could see these Deutschlanders were a different matter. He’d fought against them in the War and knew they were stubborn bastards who didn’t give ground less’n they were dead. “I was a Captain,” Lacey replied quieter than before. “When did you start working on the Mamma?” “August 2515,” he replied. “Hired by the Blue Sun Company,” she asked rhetorically. Another silence followed by a ‘yes’ answer. “Who recruited you?” she continued calmly. Lacey sized up the woman sitting opposite him with a belligerent glare. If Bane could have seen his expression, she would have noticed that it looked more than a little like Jayne’s belligerent glare. “Can’t remember,” he answered. “Try harder,” she insisted. “You’re going to prison for kidnapping, assault, rape, and a list of other charges. You maybe shouldn’t have told all the women you abused your name in your eagerness to dominate them. I’ve testimony from them all.” Hans saw Lacey visibly gulp, feeling no pity for sick hun dan. “Answer zee question,” insisted Hans. “Was my former commanding officer. Colonel Abigail Penney. She visited me in prison and offered me a way out – and it was better than sitting in a grey cell for ten years or more.” “What specifically did she hire you to do?” Bane tried not to rush ahead with her questions. “To be part of the crew of the Mamma and to take my payment in the profits.” “Is that all? Who Captain’d the Mamma?” “I did.” “So you made all the decisions about where to raid?” “No. I got instructions broad-waved.” “From Colonel Penney?” Lacey shrugged. “Dunno. I never saw the Colonel after that day in the prison. Instructions came via data transmissions.” “Tell us how it worked?” Lacey sighed. He had nothing to hide, the game was up. “A data transmission would tell us where and when to raid. We’d confirm when the raid was over and then another transmission would arrive to tell us where to rendezvous.” “What was the purpose of the rendezvous?” “To pick up the docs.” “Doctors?” “Yeh. All the people we’d got would have to undergo a physical before we were able to do the usual whorehouse runs and trade. They’d also select the ones best suited for The Farm.” Bane felt a cold chill run down her spine. “Can’t see how doctors would be needed, especially if you were selling them to whorehouses.” Lacey shrugged. “I guess it don’t do no good to sell diseased bodies. Have to be checked out first.” Bane didn’t remember having a physical when she had been on board, only once she was in The Farm. “Have the slaves always been checked out this way?” “No. Only since a gangster named Adelai Niska sold his majority shares.” Bane gasped involuntarily. “Heard of him, have ya?” “I’m asking the questions, Mr. Lacey. Who did Niska sell his shares to?” Lacey shrugged again. “Instructions still came the same way. I’ve no idea.” ~ SERENITY: River didn’t care about changing, she just wanted to see him, to reassure herself that everything was alright. Mal pressed the button to release the ramp and River ran past him, jumping to ground before the metal door made it’s familiar thump on the ground. “Be back before nightfall, or I’ll take off without you!” shouted Mal, hoping she had heard. River heard but from his mind rather than the sound of his voice, as she was already too far away. She knew where Stan was and ran to meet him, only to see the disappearing thrusters of the Rosalyn as it made its way to break atmo. She could not hide her disappointment. She was desperate to see Stan again, to make sure things were alright. And besides, she missed him. And now Eavesdown held nothing for her, but River didn’t want to go back right away. Back on Serenity, Simon walked through the cargo bay to come to a stop beside Mal. “I think my sister is fit to return to duty, Captain.” Mal, arms folded, turned to Simon, amused. “No kiddin’. She just dived off my ramp.” “I’m a little worried about her relationship with Stan.” Simon said quietly. He hadn’t wanted to bring up the subject, but when he’d tried to talk to Kaylee, all she had said was ‘ah, she’s just in love.’ He was pretty sure that was not just it, he just needed a second opinion. “I reckon it’s about the healthiest thing she’s done – long as it don’t interfere with her job.” “She just seems so distracted all the time.” “Hmmm. You ain’t wrong there. Well, we ain’t likely to see them Pyes for a while, so maybe that’ll give her time to mellow.” “I’m not shiny about this.” Mal snorted. “Shiny? You said ‘shiny’.” Mal put a friendly arm around Simon’s shoulder. “Might be the first normal thing she’s done for a while. An’ believe me, you ain’t never gonna be ‘shiny’ with your little sister shackin’ up with any man.” Simon grimaced. “S’pose not,” he muttered. Mal sniggered again and then the moment past as there was work to be done. Upstairs, Zoe walked into the galley strapping on her holster, having just fetched it from her quarters. She was glad Kaylee was there with Marcus. She was grateful that Kaylee was such a willing ‘aunt’ to Marcus, and one who appreciated that Zoe was unable to take Marcus to certain places. She didn’t like asking her, but she couldn’t do it all on her own. “I’ve got to sort out the shipment to Badger. Are you sure you’re okay watchin’ Marcus?” Zoe said to Kaylee. “Oh, I’m jus’ shiny. He’s a little gem most of the time.” Except when he’s in a tantrum, like recently, they both thought. “I appreciate it, Kaylee. We won’t be long. The Captain wants to be away before nightfall.” “Won’t be long afore this little one’ll be helpin’ you with the drops.” Zoe smiled. “Not for a piece of time yet,” she retorted. “No thoughts on that score yourself yet?” Kaylee flushed a little but hid it by giving a little ‘coo’ of delight to Marcus’ wide eyed gaze. “I only jus’ got myself hitched. I ain’t lookin’ at doin’ anything like that yet,” she said stroking Marcus’ cheek. “If I do, I’ll want ‘em to be as cute as Marcus here.” Zoe saw a flash of a worried expression fly across her face. “What is it?” “I know it’s bad for me to say this.” Kaylee looked around at each of the doors. “Just say it, Kaylee. It don’t do no good for you to keep these things in.” Kaylee allowed her feelings to emerge in front of Zoe. “I’m scared. I’m scared that if me an’ Simon have a baby, it’ll be like River.” Her voice dropped to a whisper as she said the last few words. Zoe sat in the chair next to Kaylee and pressed her arm in comfort. “A reader, you mean?” Kaylee nodded. “I know it ain’t right for me to think these things.” “Maybe you should talk to Simon about it.” “I can’t! What would he think? It’ll be like me sayin’ that River ain’t right.” Zoe couldn’t instruct Kaylee what to do, but it was surely something the two young people should discuss with each other before things got to the baby-making stage. Not that Zoe could talk about that, she hadn’t exactly been prepared for motherhood herself. Mal’s voice came over the com requesting Zoe’s presence in the cargo bay. She dropped a kiss to her son’s forehead and stood up. “Kaylee. Talk to Simon. He married you for thick and thin, not just for the good bits.”


Tuesday, February 5, 2008 2:41 AM


really enjoyed this chapter - so much going on!... but you keep things clear - i like some of your characters very much.


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