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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
In which, for once, everyone gets exactly what they deserve.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 558 RATING: 0 SERIES: FIREFLY
Sir Anderson's eyes followed lazily as the agent pointed out the various amenities inherent to owning one's own flying island: security, the gardens, indoor/outdoor swimming pools…the nobleman smiled. Despite the fact that he was acting, he couldn't help but surrender himself to the salesman's pitch; for a moment, he could almost imagine he was back on the Core. Before he and his nephew had had to brave the frontier, he would have looked down on backwater imitation-Core planets like Bellerophon and their vain pretensions of civility. Now, he admitted, he finally saw the attraction.
"So tell me," he interrupted the sales agent's excited jabbering, "what sort of acreages do you offer?"
An arm jerked out, and the passing security guard flipped limply onto his back. Saul stepped into the corridor, looked down at the crumpled form, nodded, and began walking. As she followed, Rachel looked beneath her at the guard. "Explain to me why we couldn't just sneak around the guards?"
Dex cleared his throat as he funneled into the hallway behind her. "I think Saul's got some unresolved aggression to…well, resolve."
Rachel shot a look back at her mechanic. "This your fault?"
"Let's just say I'm glad he ain't resolvin' it at me," Dex muttered.
"I swear, if it ain't one thing…"
"Uh, Rach?" The captain, then Saul in front of her when he realized no one was following him, turned around to face the Cortex screen Dex was pointing at. Across if flashed the words 'Federal Override: No Access from Secondary Terminals.' Rachel swore to herself.
The teenage pilot pulled back from Sir Anderson's increasingly high-profile tour of the model estate and drew her radio from her belt. "Yeah, Mariah, what is it?"
"I've got Fedband chatter. I think they've landed on Hamer's estate. The captain…"
"Don't you worry, Miss Wu knows how to dodge the Feds better'n anyone. But we better get in the air. You remember how to do the preflight?"
"Uh…I think so."
"Okay. We'll be right there." Mona clipped the receiver back to her belt and squared her shoulders, pushing through the crowd of salespeople and consultants who were all but planning Sir Anderson's new summer home. "Your Lordship? Boss!" Sir Anderson finally turned down toward her. "We're just on schedule, sir."
The nobleman blinked, uncomprehending; Mona held his stare until his eyes finally widened in recognition. "Oh, yes! Of course. I'm terribly sorry, but we're on schedule. We really must make our appointment on Verbena."
The original sales agent nodded. "Of course, Your Lordship. Would you like to take a brochure?"
As the three of them exited the estate and walked back toward the ship as fast as they could without looking suspicious, Mona turned toward Sir Anderson, who sighed. "I do apologize. I shouldn't have gotten so caught up…"
Mona shook her head in wonder. "Ain't got nothin' to apologize for…Your Lordship."
They were almost to the parlor door when they heard the telltale warmup of the sonic rifles behind them. "Federal marshals, freeze!"
"Really don't!" Rachel hissed, rolling into the parlor to take cover behind the pillar that had once held the Lassiter as the first round of sonic fire buffeted the room. "Dex, door!"
The mechanic scrambled across from one side of the door to the other, fingers scrambling at the door controls. As soon as they slid shut, he pried open the panel, crossing wires more by instinct than any conscious effort to figure out where they went. "Don't know ho long we got!"
Rachel scrambled to the window where thankfully, the end of the line she had used for her entry was still concealed amidst the ornamental bushes lining the outside.
"Up to Daphne, go!"
Dex was the first up, half pulling himself up the surface of the window, half being pushed up by Saul behind him. Rachel slammed the window shut behind her, scrambling up the line as the Feds overrode the door and burst into the room. The team leader glanced around at the empty room just as Rachel's legs disappeared over the eaves. "Sir, this is Beta. We've lost them."
Daphne pulled open the airlock, grinning at the bedraggled trio who entered the shuttle. "Hey team, how's the escape going?"
Saul and Rachel's glares made even the gregarious Companion's smile falter. "Right. Flying, not talking."
Rachel moved in behind the pilot's seat as Daphne eased the shuttle out of the fluted architecture of the estate and into the open air on the far side of the landing platforms where the Feds had come down. "Keep us low, and as soon as we're out of range hail Artemis. We gotta get off this planet while the gettin's doable."
Mariah glanced at the sensor readings flashing across her console. "Nothing. We're clear. Longbow's on approach."
"Right. Miss Penn, this's Mona. You ready to bring that shuttle into the bay?"
"How I make my living."
Mariah rolled her eyes even as she blushed.
A few moments later, Rachel's voice sounded over the comm. "We're locked, meimei. Take us outta atmo."
As the Companion unstrapped herself from the pilot's seat of the shuttle, Rachel spared her a brief smile. "Not a bad day at all."
It was night on the empty moon where Capshaw had set up the meet with his buyer; Rachel glanced at the sliver of stars visible through the open cargo bay ramp and sighed. Not only had they pulled off the crime of the century, they'd gotten away scot-free. It was one of those occasions when fortune just seemed to be smiling on them. Rachel took a deep breath as she silence settled around them. "Where the hell is he?"
"Comin', ma'am. Spotted a leased boat leavin' orbit just when we got here. Must have put down a ground team—"
All conversation ceased as the familiar rumbling of a mule drew closer. Rachel relaxed as the familiar form of Spencer Capshaw got off, followed by two gun hands and—"Zao gao, Spence you two-timing snake!"
Confusion reigned when Rachel drew her gun, Dex, Saul and Spence's crewmen all following in her example. Capshaw cast a glance around the group. "Rach, what the hell you doin' pointin' a piece at my buyer? I mean, I know you like to negotiate, but gorram, girl…"
"Buyer?" Rachel blinked. Could it be that Spencer honestly didn't know? "Spence, that's…"
The man stepped forward. "Don't worry, Captain. I'll be paying you everything you've been promised."
Rachel blinked again as the events of the day began to slip into place. She groaned. "Guess that's only fair, seein' as you had us steal it."
Dex glanced at the unassuming man before them in confusion. "Rach, you…know this guy?"
Capshaw squinted. "You know, I's just about to say the same thing."
Rachel holstered her sidearm, almost laughing. "Ladies and gentlemen, this here's the man we just stole from."
As a tide of shocked eyes turned toward him, Hamer bowed.
Mona's eyebrows scrunched. "You had us steal from yourself?"
Hamer shrugged. "No better way to test my new security system. I must admit, your and Mr. Capshaw's price is more than worth the number of advancements my people have been able to make after your ingenious work." Hamer nodded conspiratorially to Rachel. "Far better than any security consultant could ever do."
As the confused looks continued around her, Rachel just started to laugh.
With a generous sum of platinum and Hamer's invitation to 'stop by again sometime,' Rachel leaned against the cargo bay stairs as Mona guided the ship from the small moon back into the black. The metal jingled as Saul slid back to stand next to her, and she smiled. "Well that was a hell of a thing."
Saul nodded. "Suppose so."
"I mean, we stole the unstealable, made a boatload of cash, but nobody actually got stole from. Everybody went away happy." Rachel shook her head in amazement. "Don't mind when that happens." At the cook's distracted nod, Rachel looked over. "You okay, Saul?"
The big man shifted. "Yes, sir. Just…yes, sir." He pushed off from the stairs, walking ponderously out across the cargo bay.
He was getting too old for this.
And sooner or later that could get one of them killed.
Saul looked back over the interior of the ship, sloping gracefully away from him, and sighed.
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