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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
THe Battle for Osiris is joined
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 815 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
Archangel – Chapter Thirty-Seven
Author owns no rights to Firefly, and no copyright infringement is intended. Fanfic only.
“Zoe, get up here!” Inara called over the com. The sensors had just erupted with activity. She heard feet pounding on the deck, and then Zoe was there.
“What is it?” Zoe asked.
“Look,” Inara pointed at the screen. Zoe took a moment to look at the scope, and Inara saw a faint smile appear.
“Monty’s goin’,” she breathed finally. “He’s scrambled everything he’s got.”
“Will it be in time?” Inara asked.
“Don’t know,” Zoe admitted. “But he’s goin’. If Jayne and his bunch can hold out, then it just might be.” Zoe took a seat at the controls.
“Time for us to go,” she declared.
“Set course for Osiris,” Mal ordered, as the ship lifted.
“Sir?” the pilot replied. “I thought. . . .”
“We ain’t leavin’ them to die,” Mal said tersely. “We’ll detach a shuttle with the files, and send it on to the Monastery, but we’re going to Osiris.”
“Yes, sir,” the pilot grinned, and changed course.
“Hayes,” Mal called, walking back into the ship.
“Sir,” the big man stood.
“I want those files, any wounded, and enough men to keep them safe, loaded on the shuttle. We’ll pass close enough for the shuttle to make Londinium, and then we’re headed for Osiris as fast as this crate will go. Dong ma?”
“Excellent,” the big man smiled, and began snapping out orders.
'I won’t leave them to die', Mal thought to himself, watching the preparations. 'I won’t. We’ll all win, or none of us will.'
The defensive plan was simple. Reavers loved violence. Even those who were apparently under control would leave a helpless victim in favor of a real fight.
The Archangels would provide that fight.
Thomas had selected an area four blocks square in the inner city in which to make a stand. Much work had been done in the few days they had. They were as ready as they could be.
As soon as the reaver vessels appeared in atmo, the plan had been put into motion. Streets were blocked, pallets of heavy sand bags, hidden until now in warehouses, were hastily put into place, and armed acolytes lined the barricades, and the rooftops. They were few, and their enemies many. Forcing the reavers into the narrow corridors of the streets would reduce their advantage.
For a time.
There were thirty-six armored Archangels who would carry the battle directly to the reavers, fighting outside the barricade. Three teams of two would occupy each of the four areas fronting the reaver assault. The remaining twelve would function as a reserve, replacing fallen brethren, and helping in the event of a breach in the lines.
None of them expected to see another sunrise.
“It is time, Michael,” Thomas said softly.
“So it is, Brother Thomas.” Jayne was watching the oncoming flow of citizens, fleeing from the reavers already on the ground.
“God go with you, son and daughter,” Thomas smiled softly, and moved to others, issuing orders as he went. Jayne looked down at his friend.
“Time to go,” he said simply. River nodded, and the two stepped through the barricade. They were followed by four others. A large, heavily muscled black man, named Rale, a tall, wiry Asian called Weng, and two light haired men known as Ball and Maze. As they spread out, Jayne and River to the center, River heard Jayne’s voice over the com in her helmet.
“Allow the civilians to pass through. Hold your positions, and let them come to us. We have a few surprises for them, and you don’t want to be in the way.”
The wave of panicking people hit them with brute force, and the Archangels simply stepped aside, allowing them to flow through the waiting gaps, where others would guide them into the waiting shelters. As the press of bodies pushed in on them, Jayne shielded River with his great bulk.
Finally the press eased, though people were still fleeing.
“Resume your positions,” Jayne ordered. “And hold. Do not advance, for any reason.” The others acknowledged the order, and River could hear the excitement in their voice. She marveled that they could face this and feel nothing more than the thrill of battle.
She was more scared than she had ever been.
“Easy,” Jayne’s voice came to her, and she looked up. Jayne was watching her.
“We’ll do fine,” he winked, and River smiled at him. His confidence was reassuring, despite the fact that there was really only one way for this to end.
But she would not turn away. Just as she had not on Universe’s Moon. This was her fight as much as it was Jayne’s. She found it very satisfying that she would use the skills forced upon her by the Alliance to help thwart their plans to control the ‘verse.
And then, time for reflection was gone.
“Reavers approaching,” she heard a lookout call.
They were indeed. A solid wall of massed reavers, yelling and screaming, following the throngs of fleeing Osirians, was coming toward them at an intimidating speed.
“Stand by spikes,” she heard Thomas’ calm voice.
“Ready,” a strange voice replied. The reavers were only a little over one hundred yards away. Suddenly Thomas said;
Dozens of cylinders suddenly shot up from hidden areas along the way and began to spit spikes at the oncoming reavers. The mass suddenly wasn’t as massed anymore, as the reavers fell by the score.
“Stand by, mines,” she heard Thomas say next.
“Ready,” a different voice answered. Again the reavers pressed forward, packed into the streets approaching the barricades. In these narrow corridors, their numbers didn’t count for so much.
“Fire!” she heard Thomas yell, and before the word was completely formed, mines filled with ball bearings erupted on each side of the reaver column for at least a hundred yards. Again, the mass of bodies broke, and this time reavers fell by the hundreds. The street beneath them was awash in blood, now.
Enraged, the reavers erupted into a run, bearing down on those waiting for them.
“Open fire,” Thomas’ voice was calm, and from behind them, River heard the Acolytes open fire. Perched on protected platforms, high off the ground, they fired into the mass. They would be able to continue firing even as the Archangels fought to protect the barricades beneath them.
“Stand ready!” Jayne ordered, and those who had not already done so, drew their weapons.
“At them!” Jayne cried, and waded into the first gaggle of reavers to reach the barricades. River followed, and there was no more time to think, or reason.
Now there was only the battle.
“Sir, we’re almost in range,” the pilot informed Mal softly. Mal nodded. He rose and went aft again, where the men selected to carry the files home were assembled.
“No matter what else happens,” Mal ordered, “you keep them files safe. Dong ma? Their more important than anything you could accomplish goin’ with us.”
The men were not happy about being left behind. Especially the two Archangels Hayes had assigned to lead the shuttle.
“Yes, sir,” they murmured.
“Go on, then,” Mal ordered gently. He watched as the men trooped into the crammed shuttle.
“What is it makes them want to get killed?” Mal wondered aloud.
“Hope,” Hayes said quietly from behind him. Mal whirled, surprised.
“Hope?” Mal asked. “Hope of what?”
“Peace,” the big man said simply, and turned, walking away.
Mal thought about what Inara had said about Jayne. Maybe she’s had the right of it. Maybe Jayne had been glad at the thought o’ dyin’. Mal, even now, had no idea what Jayne lived with, and wasn’t certain he wanted to know. He did know that it had to a burden all outta proportion to any he carried.
And Jayne had it worse than any of them, apparently. Mal shuddered at the thought of having the reaver virus running rampant through his veins.
“Shuttle’s away, Captain,” the pilot’s voice came over the com.
“Set course for Osiris, then,” Mal ordered. “Best speed. Burn the engines out, if you have to, long as we make it there.”
Mal sat down, then, tired. All he could do now was wait, and hope they got there in time to help.
“Mei mei, can we do a burn for Osiris?” Zoe called. Kaylee’s voice came back in an instant.
“You bet we can! Anytime you say.”
“Then let’s set it up,” Zoe ordered. “Damned if I’m gonna float around out here in space, whist the rest are fightin’.”
“Give me five minutes, and we’re good,” Kaylee replied.
“What are we going to do?” Inara asked quietly.
“We’ll set down right in the middle of them if we have to,” Zoe told her. “If nothing else, Simon can tend their wounded, and we can be there if it all goes to hell. Maybe get some of them off world. Jayne and River for certain,” she added.
“I’ll let Simon know what we’re doing,” Inara rose. Zoe nodded.
“Simon,” Jazz said softly. He looked up from where he was studying a sample of Jayne’s blood.
“Yes?” he asked, smiling as brightly as he could.
“I’m sorry, for the other night, Simon,” Jazz told him. “I shouldn’t have said all that. I. . .I just wanted you to focus on me, a little, I guess. It wasn’t fair, under the circumstances.”
“No,” Simon shook his head. “In a way, you were right, I guess. I do obsess over her. Too much. And she’s not a little girl, anymore. She’s proved that more than once, and I simply refused to see it. That’s all.”
“I. . .I haven’t adapted as well as River has to this kind of life,” Simon admitted. “I have no one to lean on, as the saying goes. No one to go to when I need to talk. And no one to reassure me when things look. . .well, normal, for us,” he laughed.
“You can lean on me, Simon,” Jazz said softly, wrapping her arms around him from behind. “I really like you, Simon Tam,” she told him. “You’re what my grandma called a ‘keeper’.”
“I take it that’s a good thing,” Simon stated, reaching up to grasp her arms.
“Very good thing, doctor,” Jazz agreed.
“Simon, we’re. . .oh,” Inara blushed a bit. “I’m sorry,” she added.
“It’s okay, Inara,” Jazz smiled, though she didn’t release Simon.
“What is it, Inara?” Simon asked. Inara couldn’t help but notice how comfortable the two were.
“We’re going to do a burn for Osiris,” Inara told him, and Simon’s eyes grew wide. “Zoe plans to sit down directly in the middle of the defenders. She says you can treat the wounded, and we’ll be on hand in case things go badly. We can pull Jayne and River, and as many others as possible, out of the battle, if that happens.”
“Thank you, Inara,” Simon said softly. “I’m glad we’re going.”
“Me too,” Jazz smiled. “I might get a story outta this boat ride yet!”
Inara and Simon both joined in her laughter. They all needed it.
Soon after, Serenity was on her way to Osiris, as fast as Kaylee could make her go.
River was beginning to think she’d made a mistake. While she was adept with the blades, her small size and mass made it difficult for her to battle the way Jayne and the others did. She felt small, and irrelevant, surrounded by the mass around her.
“You’re doin’ fine!” Jayne yelled, as if reading her thoughts, or feelings. She smiled as her sword bit into the neck of a reaver. Jayne was watching over her. Just as he had promised.
She would watch over him.
Jayne, meanwhile, had allowed himself to go nearly free. There was no sense in holding back. Not here. He was unlikely to survive, and knew it. He meant to hold his position as long as possible, and ensure that River survived.
After that, his only plan was to kill as many of the hated reavers as he could before he fell.
He spun away from an axe wielding reaver, and decapitated him as the axe blow threw the reaver off balance. Another was there to take his place, but Jayne was already moving again. Blocking the reaver blade with his left blade, he slashed with the right across the reaver’s middle, almost cleaving him in two.
Next was a double strike, taking two reavers side by side in the neck. A swift kick to another that erupted from between them, and then another decapitation. The battle flowed around him, and he let it.
River was doing well. She fought her own way, he saw now, after his encouragement. She lacked the strength to engage them as he did, so she was reverting to her ballerina style of fighting, dancing around the larger ones, cutting and slashing and piercing. Wasp stings, in enough number, could bring down the largest animal.
And River’s stings were many.
The two fought side-by-side, back to back, anyway they had to in order to protect each other. As if they were in perfect synch.
Jayne caught a reaver swinging at River’s back, splitting his skull with an overhand blow.
River stepped in front of another coming at Jayne from the side while he fought two reavers, both larger than he was. As the reaver prepared for an overhand blow, River’s swords found his heart, killing him in an instant.
Jayne’s sword caught an axe descending on River with his sword, and River struck the axe bearer in the belly, ripping his stomach open.
Back and forth, the two saved each other countless times as the battle wore on.
The Acolytes fire had been taking a toll on the reavers as well, and the press of bodies began to ease. With a start, Jayne realized that the reavers were withdrawing. This was welcome, but unexpected.
Very unexpected. Reavers never withdrew. But then, these reavers were under the control of someone else, at least partially.
What were they doing?
“What are they doing?” Thomas murmured, watching the reavers withdraw slowly, though those in front continued to fight.
“Sir?” one of the few men assigned to help Thomas oversee things said. “They’re reforming, it looks like,” he pointed.
In the distance, Thomas could see the reavers streaming out of the narrow streets and into the open, gathering again into a single mass. Their screaming was easy to hear, high on the rooftops, and away from the sounds of battle below.
“They’re rallying?” Thomas looked on. He stepped up to a telescope, and looked through it, aiming it at the mass. He could see no one, reaver or otherwise, encouraging them, but it was clear something was hyping them.
“Streets are clear, sir,” the aide advised him. Thomas nodded.
“Get them off the street,” Thomas ordered. “Let them rest, while they can.”
Jayne and River lay back against the barricade, side by side, munching on protein energy bars, and drinking water. Both were weary. Weary as they were, however, they were more concerned that the reavers had withdrawn.
“How you doin’, mei mei?” Jayne asked, concern in his voice. River had removed her helmet, and her brown hair was matted to her head. Tangled. She was clearly tired.
“I am functional,” River replied dully. The strain of the day had taken it’s toll.
“Maybe you oughta sit out for a while,” Jayne told her. “Rest a bit. Ain’t no reason to wear yourself out. Plenty to go around, looks like,” he grinned.
“No,” River shook her head. “I will stay beside you, as I promised.”
“Won’t do me no good for you to be out there wore out,” Jayne pointed out. “You get tired, you tell me, and we’ll get you a relief. Dong ma?”
“Yes, ge ge,” River smiled weakly. She leaned against him, closing her eyes.
“I will rest here for a while. Until they come again.”
“Sounds like a good idea,” Jayne agreed, closing his own eyes.
Monday, April 07, 2008 1:01 AM
Thursday, April 10, 2008 11:19 AM
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