Quest - Chapter 17
Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mal and Simon get the news that they are going to be Grandfathers but there's a problem with Quest. Can they get back to Earth in time for the babies to be born?


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.


AN: Sorry for the delay, kinda hectic here.


Quest-Chapter Seventeen


Allan gently lowered Free Bird to the ground next to Tranquility. The 04 Firefly he had given to Mal to replace the destroyed Serenity. The small ship was a bit crowded with Allan and Jeff in the two pilot seats, Rachel, Robert Pace and Dan Reed occupying the three aft bridge seats and Zoë in the jump seat on the side wall next to her husband. As he shut down the engines, Allan noticed the reception committee approaching the small ship.

So did Jeff. He gulped nervously as he saw his approaching parents through the windows.

“You okay, Jeff?” Allan asked.

“I reckon so,” the young man replied, slipping into his Boros accent.

Allan arose from his seat, “Welcome to Serenity Acres,” he said to the visiting Earth delegates.

“This is where you live?” Dan Reed asked.

“Yep,” Zoë replied, “We built the houses a little over twenty five years ago.”

“It's a beautiful area,” Bob Pace said.

“Why we picked it,” Allan replied.

“Dad looks a little miffed,” Jeff said as he saw the expression on his fathers face as he got closer.

“Lets go,” Allan smiled.

Free bird's ramp descended and the first one down was Jeff, followed closely by Rachel. Dan and Bob were next down followed by Zoë and Allan.

“Jefferson!” cried Inara as she ran to her son.

Jeff scooped his mother up into a hug, “Hey, Mom.”

Mal was next up, “Welcome back son,” Mal said before also pulling his son into a hug.

“Thanks Dad,” Jeff smiled.

“Where's Sara?” Inara asked.

Before he could reply, a dark haired blur nearly tackled Rachel.

“Hi, Mom,” the teenaged psychic grinned as she hugged her mother.

Steps behind River came Jesse and Jayne, “Hey Jei-mei,” said the younger male Cobb.

Rachel grinned at her brother, “Hey shorty...”

Normally the tall boy would have chafed at being called shorty since he was only two inches shorter than their father but he was so happy to see his sister that he didn't mind.

“Welcome home, Baby Girl,” Jayne grinned.

“Daddy!” Rachel cried out as she launched herself into Jayne's arms. The retired mercenary turned cop turned rancher grinned widely.

“I'll ask again,” Inara said, “Where is Sara? Come to think of it, where are Becca and Clayton?”

Jeff's face darkened slightly, “They didn't come back with us...”

“What?” Mal asked, suprised.

“Relax, Mal,” Allan said forcefully, “We'll explain it all in a minute. Where's Simon and Kaylee?”

“Went to town about two hours ago,” Jayne answered, “Their turn to cook tonight...”

Allan slapped his forehead, “It's Friday night, isn't it?”

“Yep,” Mal replied. Then spying the new faces for the first time turned to Allan, “Who are theses two fellas?”

“Mal, I'd like you to meet, Republic of North America, Secretary of State, Robert Pace and General Daniel Reed. Bob, Dan, Meet, Captain Malcolm Reynolds, Jeff's father.”

“Your son has spoken highly of you, Captain,” Dan Reed said smiling.

“You fellas from Earth?” Mal asked.

“We are,” Bob Pace smiled.

Mal matched the smile, “Welcome to Boros.”


Mal jumped, “Uh... I'd like to introduce my lovely wife, Inara.”

“A pleasure,” Bob Pace smiled as he kissed Inara's hand.

“Welcome, Mr. Pace, General Reed,” Inara smiled. Her companions charm coming to the forefront.

“Thank you, Mrs. Reynolds,” Dan Reed replied.

“River Cobb,” River said as she stepped forward to shake Bob and then Dan's hands, “And behind me are my husband, Jayne and my son, Jesse.”

“Howdy,” Jesse said as he stepped forward. Jayne just grunted. A moment later he yelped as River and Rachel both cuffed an arm.

“Howdy,” Jayne grumbled.

“Please forgive my husband,” River began, “He is not the most social of creatures.” the thinly veiled insult was robbed of it's sting by River's smile.

“Now, what's this news?” Mal asked.

“Soon as Kaylee and the Doc get back,” Zoë said, trying to hide a small grin.

Not entirely happy, Mal huffed once and then said, “Well, come on up to the house.”

“Lead the way, Captain,” Bob Pace replied.


Allan waved his hand in front of Simon's face. The doctor upon hearing the news that he was going to be a grandfather had dropped into a chair and sat perfectly still. A blank look on his face.

“Ummm, Earth to Simon,” Allan grinned.

Prior to Simon's catatonic state, Kaylee had pierced eardrums for miles around with her yelp of joy.

Mal chuckled slightly, “Think ya' broke him, Allan.”

Allan grinned knowingly, “That's not the only baby news.”


“Sara's pregnant too,” Jeff said quickly.

“What?” Mal yelled.

“Congratulations, Grandpa,” Zoë teased.

Allan smirked at the play of emotions on his old friends face. Mal went from surprise to anger to fear to acceptance in about three seconds flat.

“We're gonna be grandma's” Kaylee blurted as she pulled a surprised Inara and grinning Zoë into a group hug.

“I... me? A grandpa?” Mal sputtered.

“You okay, Dad?” Jeff asked. The senior Reynolds had suddenly gotten very pale.

“Ya'... I reckon so...”

“Why is my daughter on Earth?” Simon said after finding his voice.

“Dr. Lee felt it was the safest course,” Allan began, “We have no idea what the FTL jump would do to the fetus invitro.”

The doctor in Simon's brain began to function again, “Yes... of course...”

“When can they come home?” Kaylee asked.

“After the babies are born,” Jeff replied.

“So you just left em' there to fend for themselves?” Mal asked, indignantly.

“We're heading back as soon as Quest is refit with new pods. We also need to bring the rest of the ambassadorial staff for the new Embassy... and everyone for the wedding.”

“Weddin?” Kaylee perked up.

“Becca said she wasn't having the baby before she and Clay got married. And they both want everyone there.”

“They're gonna get hitched on Earth?” Jayne asked, speaking for the first time.

“Yep,” Allan grinned as he handed over a data stick containing a video message for Kaylee and Simon from Becca and Clay. There was a second one for Clay's parents, Gary and Marci.

“When you plannin on headin back?” Mal asked.

“As soon as we can. Hoping to get back in time for Christmas,” Jeff replied.

Well, Son.,” Mal grinned, “Best we get started getting things ready.”


Sara sighed as she looked out the window at the small group of protesters marching up and down the sidewalk in front of the Alliance Embassy. Their signs said 'Aliens go home' and 'Don't believe the lies'.

“What's their problem?” Becca asked as she moved up next to her best friend.

“Some go-se that they think we're aliens or some such.”

Becca snickered, “Not real bright are they.”

“Nope,” Sara agreed.

As the two young women watched, reporters converged and began snapping away with their cameras. It seemed that as emissaries from the Alliance, they had become front page news.

The local police kept a discrete distance but made everyone aware of their presence. With another sigh, Sara stepped away from the window and sat back on the sofa. Becca plopped down next to her.

“You as bored as I am?” Becca asked.

Sara nodded, “I'm all shopped out... Sara Jane is in fine repair, I've already tweaked the power output on the rental car and I miss Jeff.”

Becca put her arm around Sara's shoulder, “I'm sorry Mei-mei. I know it's rubbbin your face in missin Jeff when Clay is here with us...”

“At least you're still getting some at night,” Sara grumped.


“I heard you two last night,” Sara said, cutting Becca off.

“My, we are in a snit today,” Becca grinned.

Sara tried to stay grouchy but Becca's smile finally broke through, “Guess I'm getting a bit hormonal...”

“Good excuse,” Roseanne said as she entered the room, “Cap'n... Trudy wants to see you in her office.”

“At least it's something to do,” Sara grumbled slightly as she stood up.

As Sara left the room, Roseanne grinned, “I was worse...”

Becca's eyes went wide, “You got a little one, Rosie?”

The former soldier nodded, “When I was a teenager. Young and stupid. The father was a few years older then me. I wasn't ready to be a mother so I gave Seth full custody. I see Sandra whenever I can...”

“A girl?” Becca smiled.

Roseanne grinned, “She turns nine in three months. I hope we're back in time for her birthday...”

“Shouldn't be a problem. Quest should be back by Christmas,” Becca replied.


“We've got a problem,” said the Blue Sun dockyard foreman.

“What do you mean... problem?” Jeff asked.

“The manufacturing plant that does the synthetic diamond application on the pods suffered an accident two weeks ago. They won't be able to finish the new pods or refurbish the old ones for at least six months...”

“What?” the acting Captain of Quest shouted.

Allan tried his best to calm his son-in-law, “What about other suppliers?”

“No one else has ovens large enough.”

“Go-se,” Jeff breathed.

Quest had docked with the Blue Sun orbital yard just half an hour before. General Reed and Sec State, Pace had been whisked off for a formal meeting with the Prime Minister.

“What are we going to do?” Jeff asked.

“Get everything else done on the ship,” Allan replied, “All we can do. In the meantime, I'll see if I can figure out how many more jumps the current pods have left.”

Jeff nodded, “Okay. Lets get to work.”


“Fuck!” Allan swore as he gently maneuvered the small work pod away from the massive gravity field pods mounted on Quest's hull.

Coated in synthetic diamond, the pods focused the massive energies of the gravity generators built into the ship. The generators that created the artificial singularity that tore open a hole in space time, allowing Quest to appear to travel faster then light.

The surface of the pods. The inner surface in particular. Needed to be nearly flawless. Each jump eroded the surface. The longer the gravity field was used, the more erosion occurred.

After the six long range jumps to and from Earth and the numerous local and test jumps, the pods on Quest had perhaps, two short jumps left in them. Not enough to get back to Earth, let alone return.

Piloting the work pod, which was not much more than a glorified hard sided space suit with a propulsion system and manipulators, back to the airlock on the dockyard. Allan began to wrack his brain. Trying to figure out how to either get more jumps out of the current set of pods or another way of getting across twenty plus light years in less than six weeks.

After landing in the airlock, the elderly engineer yawned as he shut the small craft down. He was due to leave orbit around Londinium in Free Bird in a few hours and head back to Boros. Zoë had stayed behind to get the house back in order and also the start getting things ready for the much longer stay on Earth next trip.

Opening the hatch after the lock pressurized, Allan headed for the docking arm that led to Quest. He needed to give Jeff the bad news.


With a heavy heart, Allan departed for the two day trip back to Boros. Jeff hadn't taken the news well, but in typical fashion, he continued work in getting Quest ready to go nonetheless.

Ariel Coatings had put two shifts on, trying to get the massive microwave gaseous deposit chamber rebuilt after the fire that destroyed the original.

Even with the additional shift, it would be at least four months before they could begin work on the first of the four pods. Each taking nearly a week to have the required thickness of diamond applied.

Zoë hadn't taken the news particularly well either. She had no intention of leaving her daughter on Earth for nearly six months. Kaylee and Simon had similar feelings in regards to Becca.

Sighing, Allan set Free Birds autopilot and crawled tiredly into the small bunk aft of the bridge.

Maybe he could think of something tomorrow.


“Six months?” Sara exclaimed as she dropped into the chair opposite the Ambassador.

Trudy nodded, “That's the gist of it. There's another data file in the transmission with the particulars but as far as I can tell, the factory that builds a part of Quest suffered some kind of accident.”

“Tai-kong suo-yo duh shing-chiouh doh sai-jin wuh duh pee-goo!” Sara swore.

“I agree with your sentiment,” Trudy smiled.

“This isn't going to go over well,” Sara said after composing herself.

“I agree. Would you like me to tell the others?”

“I'll do it,” Sara replied, “They are my crew after all.”

“I'll tell Lt. Coletti. Since he works for me now.”

“Good plan. In the meantime, I'll tell the others.


On the two day trip back to Boros, Allan did everything he could to figure out a way to get Quest back to Earth.

The solution eluded him.

Arriving late in the evening, local. Allan sat down and had a late dinner with Zoë before she went off to bed. Allan's body clock was still on New London time and several hours behind his wife. After a few more hours spent thinking, Allan followed her to bed.

Four hours later, Allan awoke sweating. His brain still reeling from the dream he had just had.

Rolling out of bed, Allan threw on some sweats and a t-shirt and nearly ran out of the house.

Just as the sun rose, Zoë awoke and frowned. Allan wasn't in bed. Thinking that he might be downstairs, she threw on a robe and made her way down the stairs. After checking Allan's study and even the guest bedroom, she stepped out on the porch.

The mist was rising off the trees as the sun came up. Boros was on it's long summer season and the day looked like it was going to be hot and muggy.

No one else was up yet at Serenity acres but Mal and Jayne would be rising soon to take care of the ranch.

Walking down the path towards the landing pads, Zoë noticed a light on in the large workshop her husband and Kaylee shared. A annoyed smirk on her face, Zoë headed for the workshop.

Upon entering, Zoë spotted her husband furiously scribbling with a marker on the huge dry erase board in the corner of the shop. The board was filled with mathematical equations that Zoë thought looked like so much gibberish. But her husband was the engineer and physicist, not her.

Fascinated, Zoë stood transfixed as Allan's hands flew across the board, letters, numbers and symbols appeared on the surface almost as fast as Zoë could look at them.

It was times like this that she truly realized how smart her husband really was. Allan usually came off so casual and almost... lazy in his thinking. It actually hid the prodigious intellect that he truly had.

Allan paused for a moment, his finger following along a string of equations, his lips moving as he re-read what he had written.

“Damn!” Allan swore as he threw the marker against the board.

“Baby?” Zoë asked.

Allan nearly jumped out of his sneakers, “Jesus, Zoë!”

She quickly crossed the floor to her husband, “Sorry...”

Allan's shoulders slumped, “It's okay... I'm... I'm so close. I can almost taste it...”

“Close to what?”

“Figuring out a way to get to Earth...”

“You figured out a way to make Quest work?”

“Not just Quest... any ship with a radion accelerator core engine.”

“Shenme?” Zoë asked as her eyebrow raised.

“The math almost works,” Allan explained, “But I can't figure out the last little bit...”

“How is math gonna help?”

Allan grinned at his wife, “Let's see if I can explain it for you...”

“I ain't stupid, Husband,” Zoë growled.

Allan chuckled, “No you're not, honey, but this is a bit above the math you learned as a girl.”

Zoë nodded, “So.. how is this gonna work... if you can figure it out?”

Allan picked up a piece of paper off a nearby table, “Imagine this piece of paper is space,” Alan then marked a dot on the paper, “This is us on Boros,” He then marked another dot at the opposite corner of the sheet, “And this is Sara on Earth.”


“The distance between these two points is approximately thirty eight light years,” Allan continued.


“When Quest appears to travel faster than light, it literally tears a hole in the universe...” Allan poked his finger through the paper, “And enters what we have been calling 'Hyperspace' where the laws of physics go out the window.”

“I got that part,” Zoë said.

“Okay,” Allan smiled, “Quest is a brute force way of entering Hyperspace. It requires a lot of energy and is rather... violent on the ship and crew.”

“Tell me about it,” Zoë grumbled, “That first jump made me puke more than the chemo did for my cancer... or the morning sickness I had with Sara.”

“Right,” Allan grinned, clearly on a roll, “Now if I can figure out the equations, I think I can modify the field emitters on a standard radion core engine to, instead of blow a hole in space-time like Quest does. but...” Allan picked up a small screwdriver off the bench and poked a hole in the paper near the dot representing Boros then bent the sheet and poked a second hole that came out near the dot that signified Earth, “Slip into and out of hyperspace.”

“We can?” Zoë asked.

“If I can figure it out... we could make some modifications to not only Quest, but Tranquility, Free Bird or any other radion core powered ship, so that it can enter hyperspace,” Allan finished

“All well and good husband, but how does this help us get our girl back? Took Sara and Becca years to design the system on Quest...”

Before Allan could answer, River suddenly entered the workshop, wearing only a nightgown, robe and sandals. She walked up to the dry erase board, stared at the string of equation upon it and frowned.

After a moment's thought, she erased several symbols, picked up a marker, wrote something new and then turned to glare at Allan, “You're giving me a headache...”

Allan's jaw dropped as he read what River had written on the board. He stepped forward and ran his finger along the progression of the equations and slowly began to get more and more excited.

Reaching the end, Allan wrote several more numbers and letters while River grinned and nodded.

With a whoop, Alan scooped River into his arms and spun her around, “You did it!”

River shook her head and smiled, “You did it. I just helped...”

Allan kissed River on the forehead and turned to face his wife, “To answer your question, Baby... we can be back on Earth by the weekend...”




Wednesday, December 23, 2009 5:23 AM


PAINFULLY...EXCRUCIATINGLY....EXCITNGLY Great!!! Worth the wait!! YOUR giving ME a headache.. waiting for these installments.. HOWEVER.. like a good little Allenverse fanatic.. I will calmly..ok maybe not calmly, patiently maybe, await the next chapter.. Thank Buddah there is Christmas to keep me occupied.. :)
Great stuff here top3%, suitable for printing...
MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and yours, from me and mine..


Tuesday, December 29, 2009 4:33 AM


So any ship can jump? Someone. somewhere, is not going to like that. But thanks for the scene where Mal and Simon learn they're gonna be grandpappys. Made my day!

Thursday, December 23, 2010 4:05 AM


Standing the test of time, this is still very much a favorite of mine. I would like to reiterate what I wrote in my last comment..
MERRY CHRISTMAS to U and Yours from Me and Mine.



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