BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

RONINWRITER

Finding Emma – Ch 24 Conclusion
Sunday, February 10, 2008

The final chapter of this story. Osirus has been saved and the Browncoats are celebrating a major victory. Things are looking up on many fronts. But what of the crew of the good ship Shire? Without a ship, will they be forced to break up and go their separate ways?


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 637    RATING: 8    SERIES: FIREFLY

The Nietzsche was to meet up with the Independent forces at a secret location two days after the failed attempted to destroy Osirus. With the small number of Browncoats that had actually managed to get aboard, Christine Wilkins was the official ranking officer on the ship. As she had no experience in commanding a ship of any sort, however, it fell to Jason to fill the role of ship’s Captain.

While there was no public admission of the near destruction of the planet Osirus, the Cortex was ablaze with news that the planet Shadow has been expelled from the Alliance of Planets. Now that several of the most deadly weapons systems ever developed were in the hands of the separatist, the Alliance Parliament had apparently decided it was better to let one or two planets go rather than press the issue. These details, of course, were conspicuously absent from the media coverage. Rather, several Core world politicians took the opportunity to grandstand and speak of how much of an embarrassment this was to the people of Shadow, as if it were somehow a punishment that they were no long part of the Alliance. As it now stood, votes where still in progress to expel Hera as well, and about a dozen moons that had aligned with the two larger planets. As a result of this, the Browncoats on the ship were in high spirits as it made it’s way back out to the Rim.

In contrast to the festive mood of the Browncoat soldiers, was that of the former crew of the Shire. All of them had lost a home at least once before, and having to go through the experience again was no easier. Their depression was particularly acute as they picked through the debris of their destroyed ship. Under different circumstances, Jason and Sarah would have found it technically interesting that the double bulkhead that surrounded the crew cabins managed to keep their contents relatively intact, despite the near total destruction of the surrounding ship. This bit of technical trivia, however, seemed of little consequence other than that it allowed most of their personal effects to be salvageable. This last activity was conducted mostly in silence as they picked through the mangled wreckage. With no ship to share as their home, there was little practical reason for any of them to stay together. This was a fact that weighed heavily on all of their minds as they collected what they could of their meager possessions.

Rick and Linda spent a good deal of their time together, usually talking in low voices, while Jason and Sarah were as awkward as ever around one another. Matt was also clearly sad but kept it mostly to himself. Emma was the quietest and tended to shrink away from even Jason when he tried to talk to her. Having nearly killed her best friend and then being the one to destroy her brother’s ship weighed heavily on her heart and mind.

It was the morning of their second day when Rick finally approached Jason. “Jay, something I wanted to talk to you about.”

“Sure, Rick.”

“Been speaking to Linda. My folks have been doing alright since Wing croaked. My Pa was one of the best horse breeders on Persephone. You might remember how the other nobles were always trying to buy out his indenture from Wing. Now as a free man he runs a stable and is looking for help. I’ve asked Linda and Matt if they’d be interested and they’ve agreed.”

“Don’t reckon I’m one for stable work,” said Jason.

“That’s, uh, not quite what I mean.” Said Rick. Jason eyed him questioningly.

“They’ve been your crew for a while now,” continued Rick, “and it didn’t feel right to not ask you first.” “Rick,” said Jason. “I need to have a ship to have a crew. No ship. Now crew. At this stage, everyone is pretty much free to do as they choose.” Jason sat down on a crate and looked at the floor.

“What about Sarah,” asked Rick.

“What about her,” replied Jason.

“Look, Jay, ain’t anyone was on that boat didn’t know you two’ve been dancing around each other since the day Sarah came aboard. See’in as its probably your last chance ta be with her, you might wanna act on it.”

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Jason’s last act as commander of the Nietzsche was to put its former Alliance crew down on a randomly chosen planet to await pickup by their comrades. As he watched the Alliance personnel ushered onto a troop transport in the hanger bay, he wondered on what he would do with his life. Even though he had only captained the Shire for a few months, its destruction weighed heavily on him. He felt as badly as when his home had been taken away from his family as a boy.

Also on Jason’s mind were Rick’s words. He wanted to say something to Sarah, but he wasn’t sure what. Part of him wanted to just walk up to her and take her in his arms and kiss her and ask her to stay with him. After he turned the large cruiser over to the Browncoats, however, he would be essentially a vagabond, hardly a life worth offering to a woman.

His thoughts were interrupted however, when one of the young psychics approached him. It was a young Asian woman who’s name he did not know.

“Captain Libby, sir,” said the young woman. She was clearly agitated.

“Spit it out, I cant read minds like you,” said Jason. He mentally corrected himself for being short. It was not her fault he was in a bad mood.

“It’s Elizabeth, she’s gone missing.”

“Gorramit,” said Jason. Just when things were going smooth for a change, this had to happen. “You’re a gorram Reader, cain’t you sense her or something.”

“I’ve tried,” said the girl. “It’s like she’s not on the ship.”

Jason quickly headed back to the bridge. As soon as he got there he had Lindsey, who was still acting as the one-woman bridge crew, do a full sweep of the ship.

“It looks like one of the escape pods seems to be missing,” surmised Lindsey.

“Since when,” asked Jason.

“Hard to tell. Too many of the systems are still offline since the virus shut them down.”

The com beeped and the voice of one of the Browncoats come over the intercom. “Captain Libby, one of the prisoners is asking to speak with you.”

Jason sighed, there was nothing he could do about Elizabeth now. “Well, I suppose one more crazy person running around the ‘Verse aint gonna make too much difference,” he said to himself. Then, speaking into the intercom he replied, “I’ll be there in a minute.”

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Jason arrived back in the hanger bay to find the cruiser's former XO waiting for him. "Commander Lockhart here asked to speak with you, Captain Libby," said the Browncoat next to him.

Jason looked at the man. "Last words before we put you on the surface?” asked Jason.

Lockhart cleared his throat, "Ah, yes." He stepped a bit closer to Jason before continuing. "You did a good thing the other day. Not many would make such a sacrifice and destroy their own ship, especially for those who are technically their enemy. You’ll never hear it officially, but the Core Worlds owe you a debt of gratitude."

"I'm flattered," said Jason dryly. "You’re not too bad yourself. Though I somehow don’t think that uniform suits you.” The words were the truth. Lockhart had proved to be an honorable soldier in the few short days that Jason ha known him.

“You might get your wish. High Command will be looking to blame someone for the loss of an IAV. The Captain is dead, so the whipping boy will probably be me.”

“I am sorry to hear that. There are few enough good men in the Alliance military as it is.”

Lockhart smiled slightly at the compliment. “Just as well. I never thought most of the thing’s I’ve seen on this ship, what it’s been used for, were right. Perhaps I’ll resign my commission and become a pirate like you.”

Jason outright laughed at this description of himself. He had never thought of himself as a pirate, but he supposed that now the title was accurate. “You’d do well. And I do reckon more than a few of your crew would follow you. Hell, maybe I’ll sign on now that I don’t have a ship.”

“About that.” Lockhart leaned closer, so that only Jason could hear. "In hanger bay 2 there is an impounded ship. We took it from illegal slavers."

Jason raised his eyebrow at how the man made a distinction of illegal slavers, as if there was another kind. He held his tongue however. It was enough to watch the other man's conscience war with his trained loyalty to the Alliance.

"It was to be scrapped at our next port of call. It's a bit old, and not in the best repair, but should still have a few good years left in it," said Lockhart. "I doubt anyone will notice or care if it disappears."

The two men looked at each other for a moment. Jason was not quite sure he believed what he was hearing. “Well then,” said Lockhart. “I believe I have a transport to catch.” With that, Lockhart turned and walked away.

Jason stood watching for several minutes after the transport departed. He was not sure what to make of the other man’s last bit of information. Finally, he pulled a portable com unit from his pocket and pressed the button.

“Rick, you there,” he asked.

“Yeah, Jay, what’da need,” replied his friend.

“Need you to meet me in Hanger 2. Bring Linda and Matt.”

Jason headed to the engineering deck were he knew he would find Sarah and probably his sister.

Twenty minutes later, Jason and his small crew found themselves gathered in the cavernous interior of hanger 2. No one said a word as they looked at the sight in front of them. Standing before them, with its neck towering over them in all its rusting glory was nothing other than an old Firefly.

“Well if that don’t beat all,” said Jason finally.

With a squeal of glee Sarah threw her arms around Jason and kissed him on the mouth. Jason was so surprised he didn’t even get a chance to respond before she released him and backed a way.

“Sorry,” said Sarah, her face blushing under her freckles. Jason simply put his hand on her shoulder and pulled her back to him. This time it was her eyes that widened in surprise as he kissed her full on the mouth. The two of them finally disengaged when they heard Linda clear her thought behind them. Rick was grinning like a Cheshire cat and young Matt was staring at them wide eyed.

“Well folks,” said Jason, “looks like we’re still flying.”

THE END

Authors Notes:

That's it folks. I extend a big thanks to all who have followed this tale. Hope you liked it at least a little. Feedback, positive or negative, is welcome.

COMMENTS

Monday, February 11, 2008 3:37 AM

SABOT


Well I must say that it have been a pleasure to read this story, and hopefully it will not be the last.

Monday, February 11, 2008 4:07 AM

ANGELLEMARCS


It was awesome. Keep on writing!!!!


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