Quest - Chapter 12
Sunday, October 18, 2009

Allan returns to where he was born and lays to rest some ghosts. Later at a party welcoming the Quest's crew, something is about to happen.


Disclaimer: Joss, Fox, Universal Own em’. I’m just playing. No money being made. The situations come from my own twisted mind as do my original characters.





Quest-Chapter Twelve


Allan had dreamed of this day ever since his daughter had told him she could build a ship that could go faster than light.

After arriving on Earth. Weeks of meetings and negotiations. Sudden media celebrity as representatives of Earth's lost brothers and sisters had led to this day. A side trip from the League of Nations headquarters in Montreal to the small city of Newport Vermont. The city where four hundred seventy nine years previous. Allan Bryant had been born.

The buildings were all different, as was the pier that Allan sat on the edge of. But right now, the seventy seven year old engineer felt like a kid again.

Clutching the flat rock in his hand, Allan expertly threw the piece of shale at the right angle and spin to skip across the still waters of Lake Memphremagog before sinking after several hops.

The only thing that made it better was the fact his wife sat by his side. Zoë grinned slightly and looked at her husband with a knowing smile.

“Feel better?”

Allan grinned back at Zoë, “Haven't done that in a very long time.”

“Skipped a stone on the water or just on this particular lake?” Zoë asked, already knowing the answer.

Allan sighed a happy sigh and smiled a bit wider, “This lake. The city is different but the mountains... they still look the same.”

Behind the older couple, Sara and Jeff stood on the dock, holding hands.

“So this is where your dad grew up?” Jeff said quietly.

Sara nodded, “I recognize the mountains from Dad's photos.”

“It is nice,” Jeff observed.

Craig Simpson, the crew of the Quest's tour guide approached the two couples, “Are you folks all set?”

Allan nodded and clambered to his feet. Holding out his hand, he helped Zoë up, “What's next on the tour, Mr. Simpson?”

“Two more stops before we head back to Montreal for the welcoming ball. The Bryant Museum and the old graveyard you asked about.”

Allan smiled at their 'guide'. Craig Simpson was a native of the area and also a retired military officer. While welcoming, the League of Nations wasn't about to let the crew of the Quest just wander around unescorted.

Squeezing Zoë's hand, Allan led the way back to the motor coach waiting at the end of the pier. Jeff and Sara fell into step behind them.

“Sure is pretty around here,” Becca Tam said to her Fiancé before climbing into the coach.

“Sure is,” Clay agreed as he took his seat, gazing at the fiery red and orange leaves adorning the trees. It was early October and the fall foliage was at it's peak.

Becca slid in next to him, “Uncle Allan looks real happy don't he?” the young engineer said as Allan and Zoë were the last to board.

“He does.”

Jeff and Sara sat across from Becca and Clay. Ambassador Trudy Wu sat next to Secretary of State Robert Pace. They conversed quietly.

As soon as everyone was aboard, the fuel cell powered vehicle pulled away from the curb and turned onto the main street. Following a course Allan knew well. Rebuilt countless times over the centuries, the local roads were pretty much where they had been when he had lived in Newport in his younger days.

Climbing the hill out of town, the coach headed past houses and stores not all that different than the ones on the border worlds like Boros and Hera. Soon a familiar shaped building came into view. It was a barn but it was a very personal place for Allan. It was where he grew up.

“Wow,” Allan said quietly, “They got it right.”

The coach pulled into the parking lot of the Bryant Museum and came to a stop. The parking lot was large and several other coaches were parked as well as numerous private cars.

Outside the barn, on pedestals were models of a typical Exodus ship and Allan's original ship, Free Bird. Allan smiled to himself since the real Free Bird II was parked less than eighty miles away in Montreal.

A man in a dark suit was waiting at the curb as the bus stopped. When the driver opened the door, the man stepped back. He looked to be nearly vibrating with excitement.

Allan knew why and sighed.

Mr. Simpson motioned for Allan to step out first. He balked at first until Zoë cuffed him on the arm.

Reluctantly, Allan got to his feet and exited the coach. Followed closely by Zoë, Jeff and Sara. Becca, Clay, Trudy and Secretary Pace brought up the rear.

Stepping off the vehicle, Allan looked around. The Barn looked right as did the house. General Reed had told him earlier that the grounds had been recreated from Allan's own records unearthed in his underground vault buried under where the old milk house had been.

“Dr. Bryant?” said the man in the suit.


The man's face split into a wide smile, “I'm Joseph de la Brule. Curator of the Bryant Museum. I never in my wildest dreams thought that this day might come.”

Allan smiled at the man, “I have the same feelings,” he looked around some more, “The barn and house look right. But the hangar for my Cub is about thirty feet too far south.”

The curator's eyes widened, “We'll fix that immediately!”

Allan chuckled, “Relax Mr. De la Brule. It's not that big a deal.

The man relaxed. He had studied Allan Bryant's life history for years. To actually meet the man... well.

“I'd like to make some introductions, “ Allan began, “First, this is my wife, Zoë”

“Mrs. Bryant,” The curator nodded politely.

“And this is my daughter Sara and her husband Jefferson Reynolds.”

“Pleased to meet you.”

“Also with us is Rebbecca Tam and her Fiancé Clayton Cook. And last but not least is Alliance of Planets Ambassador Trudy Wu and I'm sure you recognize Secretary Pace.”

“Of course. Welcome all of you to the Bryant Museum,” De la Brule smiled. Come, I'll show you around.”

After the tour. Allan presented the Museum with a small computer that held his memoirs, a brief history of what had happened during the Exodus and the current history of the Alliance.

He also gave the Curator a couple of Blue Sun logo shirts and a ball cap. Allan had been saddened to see that the company he had founded on Earth, after the war had slowly gone out of business.

Boarding the bus, they had time for one more quick stop before the two and a half hour ride back to Montreal.


The cemetery was old. The fence surrounding the numerous granite memorials was in disrepair. Solemnly, Allan walked through the rusted gate. Taking a few minutes to orient himself. Allan set off across the leaf covered grass.

He came to a stop and his shoulders slumped. In a line lay four headstones. The granite having held up well over the centuries. Sunken into the ground slightly, it looked like someone had maintained the plot at sometime over the many, many years.

Allan sniffled slightly and wiped a tear away. Zoë stood by his side and held his hand in support. Smiling at his wife, Allan knelt down and wiped the leaves away from the first stone.

Capt. Amber Bryant USAF (Ret.) loving wife and mother. Killed August 10, 2079. Age 38.

Allan swept away the leaves from the second stone. It read; Christopher Bryant, Loving husband and father. Killed August 10, 2079. Age 40

“Hey, Mom... Dad,” Allan whispered as a tear ran down his cheek, “I made it back...”

Zoë squeezed her husbands shoulders. Suddenly, Sara knelt down over the next grave in line and she also brushed away the leaves over that stone.

Col. Bernard Bryant, USMC (Ret.) Born April 23, 2017- Died December 3, 2099

“Hey there, Great Grandpa,” Sara said quietly.

Tears were running down Allan's face openly now as he watched his daughter lovingly clean away the debris on her great grandmother's gravestone, “You raised a good grandson. Best father a girl could ever hope for.”

Wiping away his tears, Allan shakily stood and walked over to where his daughter knelt over the grave of Evelin Bryant. Allan's grandmother.

Allan smiled at Sara, “Come on, Princess. You need to meet your namesake.”

A score of feet away stood a mighty red maple tree. Over one hundred feet tall and half again that wide, the old tree stood in an isolated corner of the graveyard. A single stone lay nearby.

Sara Jane Leary. Born October 6, 2069, killed August 3 2087. Aged 17. The epitaph read, “The sun shines a little less brighter now.”

Zoë moved to her husbands side and Allan draped his arm across her shoulders. Sara stood on her father's other side and Allan hugged her as well.

“This is Sara,” Allan began, “The first woman I ever loved. And the inspiration for my life's work...” The old engineer trailed off as a sob broke from his lips.

Zoë pulled her husband into her arms and Sara joined the hug.

In the background, Becca was sniffling while Jeff and Clay carefully cleared away more debris from the stones. Using her considerable willpower not to cry herself, Trudy Wu turned to Secretary Pace.

“I hope that someone can look after these graves...”

“I'll make sure Ambassador,” Pace replied.

Craig Simpson stepped forward, “I live only a few kilometers from here. I'll take care of it personally. I'm sure I can come up with the proper United States flags for Dr. Bryant's mother and grandfather's graves.”

“Thank you, Mr. Simpson,” Trudy smiled.

Allan kissed his wife's lips and then placed one on the top of his daughters head, “Let's go. We have a party to get ready for.”

With a nod, Sara grinned at her father, “We need to make a good impression.”

“How can we not?” Zoë asked rhetorically.


Allan stood with his hands behind his back as he gazed out the window across the skyline of the old city of Montreal. The city, nearly seven hundred twenty years old. Looked nothing like it did in his day. The buildings were all new but a few reminders could be seen. There was still the lighted cross on top of Mount Royal, visible from Allan's fortieth floor suite in the Place de Ville Hotel.

Dressed in his best tuxedo. Allan smiled slightly. It had been an afterthought to bring formal clothing on the trip. The old engineer smoothed his gray hair in his reflection from the window.

Allan heard the door open to the bedroom and Zoë flowed into the sitting area. Her graying and still curly hair hung loose and free. The ankle length conservatively cut gown Zoë wore still showed off the curves she still had, despite being nearly sixty. Allan gave his wife a quick wolf whistle.

Zoë snickered at her husband, “Could say the same, Husband, You look real swai in that tux.

Allan smiled and then kissed his wife, “Think the kids are ready to go yet?”

“Let's go see.”


Allan and Zoë entered the grand ballroom of the hotel. Jeff and Sara just behind. Clay and Becca had arrived just ahead of them.

At the door, their invitations were checked and they were announced to the gathering crowd.

In this room were heads of state and ambassadors from nearly every major power on the planet.

Allan spotted President Blackwell chatting with Trudy and Secretary Pace. Across the room, he spotted Commander Olsen and Lt. Commander Baxter. Conspicuous in their Alliance dress uniforms.

Allan glanced over at his daughter and son-in-law. Jeff was dressed like Allan in a current style tuxedo from Londinium. Sara was in a spaghetti strapped black cocktail dress with a metallic sheen.

“Guess it's time to mingle,” Allan remarked.


In orbit on Quest, Virgil was in command for the evening while Sara and Jeff were at the party.

Derrick and Rachel lounged in their chairs on the second level of the bridge watching a comedy broadcast from Earth.

Lt. Coletti had the helm while Virgil sat in the command chair. Everyone on Quest had visited Earth over the past few weeks but for most of the crew, it didn't hold the emotional bond like it did for Allan and Melissa.

The crew's unofficial Mom, Melissa Forbes was sitting behind her console, watching the live feed from the ball the rest of the crew was attending.

Quest had been moved to a geosynchronous orbit over the East coast of North America. In that position it was easier to keep in contact with whomever was on the ground.

Meghan and Sherry were off duty in their quarters as were Joe, Rosie and Owen.

“What did you think of the surface, Luigi?” Virgil asked.

The Alliance fighter pilot smiled, “Rome was shiny. My family came from that part of Earth. My grandma taught me to speak a little Italian. First time I actually got a chance to use it.”

“Food as good as I heard?”

The pilot rolled his eyes, “Better. I thought the food my Mom made was good... Can't compare to real Italian cooking in Italy.”

“My family is supposed to be from Spain. We're supposed to go down to Madrid in a few days,” Virgil replied.

“It was shiny to see where my Mom was from,” Derick interjected.

“How about you, Mel?” Virgil asked, “How was your visit to the old homestead?”

“Surreal,” The computer expert replied, “Nothing yet everything was the same. The buildings were all different but the terrain... It looked just like I remembered.”

“How old were you when you left on the Exodus, Melissa?” Luigi asked.

“Seventeen. To me it was twenty years ago. Not over four hundred.”

“Guess that would be strange,” Virgil agreed.

The conversation trailed off as the bridge crew went back to whatever they were doing.


“Good evening, Dan... Cordell,” Allan greeted as he strolled over to where General Reed and Commander Olsen were standing.

“Allan,” Dan Reed smiled as he shook the older man's hand, “How was your visit today?”

“Laid to rest a great many ghosts,” Allan replied.

“The General and I were just discussing the merits of atmospheric flight controls on spacecraft that enter atmo,” Commander Olsen said with a slight smile.

Allan chuckled, “Put a bunch of pilots in a room full of beautiful women and they will inevitably start hangar flying.”

Dan snickered and Cordell continued grinning. Allan didn't miss his glance towards where Lt. Commander Baxter stood a few feet away, chatting with Becca. Allan did admit to himself that Vicki filled out her uniform nicely.

Allan smiled at the reaction and the Commanders glance, “As for the subject at hand, I've always felt that some kind of backup atmospheric control system was essential for an aerodynamically designed craft...”


Zoë excused herself from the conversation she had been having with the South African Prime Minister. The man had been disappointed that Zoë didn't know her family's history enough to say where they had originated on Earth. Zoë knew that there was both African and Cuban bloodlines in her family tree somewhere. But that was it.

As she passed one of the waiters circulating, she noticed something strange. There seemed to be a bulge under the Asian man's jacket. Her instincts as a soldier, criminal and cop began buzzing. The obvious security guards were very evident. All Jayne types in cheap suits with ear coms and seemed to be everywhere in the ballroom.

Spotting another waiter who also appeared to be of Chinese or Japanese ancestry with a bulge in his coat. Really began to set Zoë's alarm bells ringing. Spotting her husband standing with general Reed and Commander Olsen, Zoë made a beeline for the men.

“What's up, honey?” Allan asked as Zoë walked towards him.

Zoë slipped her hand around Allan's waist and felt the familiar bulge of his Colt pistol at the small of his back. Allan never went anywhere in public unarmed.

Zoë addressed the General, “Is there extra security here tonight... the waiters perhaps?”

The general's face clouded, “Not that I know. Just supposed to be the Secret Service officers.”

“Might have a problem then,” Zoë said quietly.

Allan was suddenly on alert, “What did you see?”

“Several of the waiters have bulges under their coats. Too big to be handguns...”

“Son of a....” General Reed said quietly.

“I concur,” Cordell said quietly as he eyed a white jacketed waiter who also had a nearly unnoticeable bulge under his coat.

“Usual rig, Husband?” Zoë asked.

Allan nodded before bending down to ostensibly tie his shoe. He also slipped his backup pistol into his hand and as he stood, handed it to Zoë who slipped it into her handbag.

“Cordell... you have a sidearm?” Allan asked.

“Unfortunately... no.”


“Not with my dress blues.”

“Shit,” Allan breathed.

“Sara, Jeff and Clay should be carrying,” Zoë commented.

“Go check,” Allan ordered. Zoë quietly slipped away to where she could see her Daughter and Son-in-law.

“Thinking a terrorist op?” Cordell asked Allan.

“What I'm thinking,” Allan replied gravely, “Got half the world leaders in this room and the rest, their Ambassadors. We and Trudy are high profile targets too.”

“I need to warn the Secret Service,” Dan Reed said quietly.

“Already working on that,” Allan smiled.


Things were already happening on Quest. Thanks to the mental 'eye' Rachel Cobb had been keeping on her family. She had sensed her Aunt Zoë and Uncle Allan's alarm. Then with her mind focused on them, she saw what was happening.

The alert klaxon was sounding. Rousing the off duty crew to their posts. Shorthanded, Melissa took over the helm while Meghan powered up the weapons systems. Chief Woodard took over the coms and computer console and tried to raise the Secret Service command post.

Luigi ran for the launch bay followed by Rachel. Both ASREV gunships were aboard Quest and the highest performance craft available to mount a rescue with.

Rachel had been a qualified pilot since she was sixteen thanks to her mother and headed for the second gunship while Luigi preflighted the other.

Rosie appeared next in the bay, dressed in her tactical armor and bristling with weapons. Owen and Joe on her heels, similarly dressed.

“Rosie!” Rachel called out, “You're with me. Owen and Joe, go with Luigi!”

“Sure you can handle that ASREV?” the Alliance Lieutenant called over.

“In my sleep, flyboy,” The teenager called back as she climbed into the cockpit.

Nodding, Luigi began strapping himself in while Owen and Joe did the same behind him.

“All secure,” Rachel called over the com to the bridge.

“Depressurizing,” said Derick, “Be careful Rache...”

“I will Boa-bei” Rachel replied as she started the ASREV's engines.

A few moments later, the bay doors opened and the two gunships headed for the surface as fast as they could go.


Before Zoë could reach the kids, she spotted something she didn't want to see. Every one of the secret service guards seemed to have a shadow. Namely one of the waiters or other serving staff. Nearly twenty by Zoë's count. Before she could warn anyone, the first gunshots rang out.




Sunday, October 18, 2009 11:26 AM


OUPS THAT`S NOT GOOD:-) how can it be that Mal and Inara, River and Jayne did not go back with them to Earth.

Sunday, October 18, 2009 2:22 PM


Nice as always. I am glad your writer's block has been crushed. :)

Monday, October 19, 2009 2:20 AM


There you go, lulling us into a false sense of security (and bringing the odd tear to the eye with the cemetery scene, if I have to be honest) but all the time knowing something wasn't quite right. And here it is! Great stuff, and I can't wait to read more.

Monday, October 19, 2009 2:57 AM


Hot Dang!!! Kids to the rescue!! 'In my sleep flyboy' SOOO River!!.. she is her mothers daughter.. :) Im so glad you were able to shunt your mental block and get back to this Arc.. Angst and (tearful) sentiment with a heaping dose of emeinent violence and rescuing are on tap... Thank You

Yes PLEASE!! May we have another? sOOn?


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