Quest - Chapter 25
Friday, April 16, 2010

The other half of the assault on the Altair shipyards begins. The Alliance finds out just what FTL can do in a fight and someone is wounded.


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: Getting closer to the end of the arc folks. I'm guessing two or three more to finish this up.


Quest - Chapter Twenty five


Not many people knew that Inara dyed her hair. It was some ingrained need left over from her days as a Companion that led her to color her hair. Hiding the gray creeping in. At age fifty three, Inara still looked to be barely forty. Many times when they went out together, casual bystanders thought that Emma was her little sister rather than her daughter.

But right now, she didn't think there was enough black hair dye in the 'Verse to hide the gray she could almost feel appearing on her head.

The former Companion's fingers drummed on the pilot's console of Tranquility. She shot a nervous glance over to Kaylee who sat in the other seat, “How do you think it's going?”

Kaylee shrugged, “Cap'n didn't do the plannin...”

Inara nodded, “True. Allan's plans do tend to go a bit more smoothly than my husband's.”

“I'm just worried about, Simon and Jack.”

I know, Mei-mei. I mean, your husband and son are just guarding the ships with Monty's crew...”

“Not out fightin like Jeff, Emma and th' Cap'n are.”

Inara could only nod. Suddenly the cortex screen in front of Inara sprang to life, “Attention Firefly vessel. This is the Alliance Destroyer, Navajo. State your intentions and reason for docking at the Altair yards.”

Startled for a moment. Inara composed herself and then addressed the young officer on the screen, “This is the Firefly Transport, Tranquility. Were are here on a rescue mission.”

“Rescue?” the officer replied.

“Correct,” Inara replied.

“Rescue of whom?”

“Every one of the dockyard workers.”

The officer looked confused, “Why do they need rescue?”

“Because,” Inara replied, “They are all slaves.”


The Navajo's executive officer turned from the com screen and addressed his Communications officer, “Get Captain Suzuki or the Admiral on the com... NOW!”

“Yes sir,” the young man replied.

After a few moments the officer turned back, “I can't reach either of them, Sir. Nor their Marine escorts.”

“huh choo-shung tza-jiao duh tzang-huo! Lock weapons on those three Fireflys and that Skylark.”

“Locking on, Sir” the weapons officer replied.

“Sir!” cried the sensor operator, “Two vessels close aboard. Came from behind the yard. Locking on us!”

“Identify!” the XO ordered.

“Heracles Class frigates. Pulse beacon's identify them as belonging to Blue Sun Security.”

“What the hell?”

“Navajo, this is the Blue Sun Security vessel, Heracles. Roberta Sutherland, commanding. Release your weapons locks on the civilian vessels immediately or we will be forced to defend them.”

“Who the hell do you think you are? Threatening me?” the XO snarled over the wave.

“I'm the woman who's gonna blow your ship back to Earth-that-was if you don't back off,” Bobbie growled in reply.

“With what?” the XO smirked, “That little tin can is no match for...”

The XO's voice trailed off as the small vessel that was in front of his ship suddenly disappeared in a flash of light.

“Where did it go?” he thundered

“Behind us, Sir! Fifteen miles.” the sensor operator replied, “And the second ship just did the same thing.”

“Open fire on the Frigates!”

Six missiles roared away from Navajo. Three each towards Heracles and Challenger. Neither ship seemed to take any evasive action. Just as the missiles neared the two ships, they disappeared again. Reappearing ten miles in front of Navajo. They turned to face the larger warship. The doors on their missile tubes opening.

“Navajo,” Bobbie began, “Altair has over two thousand slaves being forced to build ships. We have four teams on board the shipyard, trying to free them. Now as much as I'd like to dance with you all day. We've got work to do. Now... you can either help, get out of the way or I'll blow you to hell. I don't want to do that but as you have seen. You can't touch us. And all three of those Fireflys can do the same thing,” Bobbie paused for breath, “Think about it.”

The XO growled, “My Captain as well as an Admiral are aboard the yard now. On an inspection tour.”

Bobbie frowned, “Unless my people have found them. There's a good likelihood your people are dead or captured.”


While this was all going on, Inara tried desperately to raise Mal on the com. Kaylee had retreated to the engine room in case they had to break away from the station.

“Mal!” Inara yelled into the microphone.

“Kinda busy, Darlin,” replied Mal's voice. Automatic weapons fire could be heard in the background.

“That Alliance Destroyer is back. Says they have people aboard the station. And they are threatening to destroy all our ships.”

Mal growled as he fired a burst around a corner. Turning, he looked over to Admiral Henderson, “You got a com that can talk to your ship?”

Steven shook his head as he ducked back after taking a shot at the Altair security troops himself, “The Altair goon's took it!”

Mal tossed his com to the officer, “”Nara's at the end of this. Have her patch you through!”

“Mrs. Reynolds?” Steve said into the device.

“Who is this?” Inara replied.

“Rear Admiral Steve Henderson. Can you patch me through to Navajo?”

“I'll try.”


“Sir!” the Com officer cried out, “Message coming through on a civilian channel. It's the Admiral!”

“On speaker.” the XO replied.

“... vajo. Do you read?”

“This is the Navajo,” the XO replied.

“Commander Gagnon?”


“I want every Marine you've got as well as every crewman with hand to hand and weapons training on shuttles and on their way over here now!”

“Sir... I need the proper passwords for confirmation.”

“Liou coe shway duh biao-tze huh hoe-tze fuh ur-tze!” Steve swore as he ducked back. The guards were starting to surge forward again. Leaning around him, Emma Reynolds nearly emptied the magazine in her rifle on full auto, forcing the gunmen back.

“Code phrase is, 'Overlord Blue'. Now get those Marines on the way! Ma-shong!”

Commander Gagnon's eyes bugged out for a moment, “On the way, Sir. What should I do about the docked ships and the two Blue Sun frigates harassing us?”

“You even so much as weapons lock those ships, I'll throw you out an airlock myself!” Steve yelled.

Commander Gagnon gulped, “Help is on the way, Sir.”

The officer turned to the rest of the bridge crew, “Away all boarding parties...”


Jeff and Rachel led their team down the corridor that headed towards central control. Rachel feeling with her mind for any of the guards who might be waiting in ambush. As they encountered yard workers, they funneled them back towards the main docking complex.

Meghan, Derick and Joe Brought up the rear. Everyone was heavily armed.

Rachel slowed her pace, an arm out to slow down her cousin, “Next intersection. Four men. Three on the left, one right.”

The group slowed to a trot, weapons at the ready. Four guards came around the corner. Each hadn't even brought their guns to bear when a hail of bullets ended their lives.

Picking the pace back up, the five former Quest cremates continued their journey to the central control room.


Captain Suzuki stood in awe. The officer had never seen anything like it. Mal's group had entered into a large open area. Nearly fifty armed men faced them. With a battle cry, the gray haired former Browncoat leading them charged into the fray. The slip of a woman, the one the Admiral had called River leading the way. The small woman cut a swath of destruction through the guards that was hard to comprehend.

A sword in one hand and a pistol in the other, assailants fell to the weapons as well as River's feet and hands. At her side, Captain Reynolds and the woman's husband covered her back. Emma Reynolds, Cordell Olsen and Sylvia Marsh guarded their rear. Admiral Henderson keeping close to the attractive woman.

“Go-se!” Cordell yelled as a hail of gunfire erupted from a side corridor. With a yelp both Emma and Sylvia staggered back. The latter falling to the deck. The former Alliance fighter pilot poured lead down the hall, temporarily forcing the guards back.

“Emma!” Mal yelled as he ran to his daughter. The old Captain slid up next to Emma who sat on the floor, on his knees.

She grinned at her father, “I'm okay, Daddy. Armor took it.”

A loud boom made everyone duck, “Jayne!” Mal bellowed, “What did I tell you about grenades?”

The big man grinned, “Jus' a little ole' flashbang, Mal.”

“Sylvia?” Steve cried as he knelt down next to the blonde woman.

She groaned in pain, “Captain Suzuki! Get over here and help me,” Steve ordered.

The Captain nodded and moved to his superior's side, “Sir?”

Emma pushed her Father away and crawled over to Sylvia, “Rut me,” the twenty year old grumbled.

Blood was rapidly pooling under Sylvia, “Missed her armor,” Emma began, “Went in at an angle. Might have hit a lung.”

The Admiral's eyes widened in fear, “Is she...” he trailed off.

“Need to get her to Uncle Simon or Sherri,” Emma replied, “Quick like.”

Mal looked into Steve's eyes and saw a familiar look. He turned to his crew, “Tross. Hold here. Jayne, you take Sylvia back to the Doc. Cap'n Suzuki. Go with em'.”

Jayne unslung Vera from his shoulders and handed the rifle to Mal. The former Browncoat slid his rifle to Steven, “Simon will fix her,” River said as Jayne hefted Sylvia into his arms.

The admiral nodded, “I know. Now Captain Reynolds... I suggest we go kill those sons a bitches.”

“I like the way you think,” Mal smirked, “Tross? On point. Cordell, watch our six. Let's move.”


“Oh shit,” Allan swore as the Altair yard came into view. Six assault shuttles were just docking with the complex. Just behind them loomed the shape of Navajo.

“Husband?” Zoë asked.

“I don't know...”

“Freebird... this is Heracles.”

Allan answered the ship to ship com, “Go Bobbie.”

“Navajo is sending boarding parties to help.”

“They are?” Allan asked. At best he had expected the destroyer to impede things if not be openly hostile. This development was a surprise.

“Seems there's an Admiral Henderson aboard the yard. He and Mal hooked up and are kicking pi-gu from what I can tell.”

“Henderson?” Allan thought out loud, “Steve?”

“Think so,” Bobbie replied, “Ain't he the engineer that helped us way back when on the Kansas salvage?”

“One in the same, Red,” Allan smiled as he maneuvered Freebird for docking with the yard, “This just might work out...”


To say the main docking area was chaos would be an understatement. Well over six hundred workers flooded the area. Monty's crew were hard pressed to keep things somewhat organized. The old Walrus himself was bellowing at the top of his lungs, trying to get the slaves calmed down.

Add in the fact that many of the slaves were injured complicated things immensely. Simon, Sherri and Jack had their hands full as they tried to triage the worst injured.

“Doc! Simon!” Jayne's voice carried over the din.

Simon looked up and swore. His brother in law was carrying the unconscious form of Sylvia Marsh. “What happened?”

“Got hit. Missed her armor. Emma thinks it might have got a lung,” Jayne replied. Not stopping as he headed for Tranquility's infirmary.

Sherri looked up, “Go, Dr. Tam. I'll handle things here.”

Simon looked over at his son, “Jack?”

“Right behind you, Dad.”

“Let's go.”


The audible bangs as the alliance shuttles docked caused a wave of cries to go through the assembled slaves. Suddenly the bay was more crowded as nearly one hundred heavily armed Marines burst through the airlock doors.

Now with at least something he could do to assist. Captain Suzuki stepped forward, “Major Baudre!”

“Sir!” the Marine officer replied, jogging up to his superior.

“I need one platoon here to organize the former slaves. The rest, fan out. The Slaves are all wearing coveralls and the guards are in uniform. Admiral Henderson is with the primary assault team from Blue Sun. if you see unarmed people in civilian clothing, they are most likely, Altair managers. Capture if you can. Anyone armed and in civilian clothing is likely to be the assault team. However. If your men and women are fired upon. Shoot back.”

“Aye, aye, Captain,” the Marine replied. He turned to his men, “Lieutenant Cho. You are in charge of the bay. Get this rabble organized and get some medics over from the Navajo. Everyone else is with me.”

With a chorus of Aye, aye's. The Marines dispersed.


“Cao!” Jeff swore. The entrance to the shipyard's central control room was at the end of a twenty meter exposed catwalk. Looking over the edge quickly. He spotted at least twenty armed guards lying in wait. Anyone who tried to cross that catwalk would be dead within ten steps from the vicious crossfire.

“We got any grenades left?” Jeff asked.

“We're out, Boss,” Meghan replied, “Not even any smokes left.”

Jeff mumbled something under his breath. Hearing a noise. Rachel stuck her head around the corner and fired off a shot. A gurgled scream was heard.

“One less,” the psychic teenager replied.

“What we need are about twenty clones of your dad,” Jeff commented.

Rachel grinned at Jeff, “Think you just got your wish.”


Just then a full platoon of Alliance Marines rounded the corner. Weapons up and looking for blood

Meghan had started to raise her rifle but Rachel batted it down.

“Identify yourselves!” ordered the lead Marine.

“Captain Jefferson Reynolds of the Quest... I mean, Endeavor.”

The grizzled old Gunnery Sargent lowered his rifle slightly, “How old are you, son?”

“Twenty six... not that it matters.”

“I suppose not,” the man chuckled, “What's your status, Captain?”

“Central control is at the end of that catwalk. There's at least twenty armed men all over the nearby catwalks and down below. And we're out of grenades,” Jeff replied

The Sargent grinned, “Glad we brought some then.”


“Son of a bitch,” Allan grumbled when he entered the chaos that was the main docking bay. Fleet Marines were moving among the growing crowd of slaves, checking for weapons and injuries. He looked over at Zoë. She shared her husband's outrage over what had happened to these people.

A young Alliance Lieutenant came up to Allan, “Who are you?” he asked, eying the old man carrying an antiquated assault rifle with an equally old colt pistol strapped to his hip. The woman beside him was no less threatening, despite the slight amount of gray in her hair. The way she held her own weapons clearly showed she was comfortable with them.

Allan looked over the young officer and grinned, “Allan and Zoë Bryant.”

“Who?” the man asked.

“Stand down Lt. Cho.”

“Aye, Captain,” the young man replied.

“Thank you, Captain,” Allan said.

“Your reputation precedes you, Dr. Bryant,” the officer said as he offered his hand, “Captain Nobu Suzuki. Captain of the Navajo.”

“Pleased to meet you, Captain. This is my wife, Zoë.”

“Mrs. Bryant.” Zoë simply nodded.

“What's the status, Captain?” Allan asked.

“I was hoping you could tell me. Admiral Henderson and I came aboard for an inspection and suddenly all hell broke loose. What were all the warnings about Reavers?”

Allan chuckled slightly, “My fault. Decoy ships I arraigned for. I needed the station personnel away from the ships under construction.”

“And why is that?”

“Because, my original plan was to blow the copies Altair was building of my Daughters ship to hell.”

The officer looked perplexed, “You might want to start at the beginning.”


After explaining what had transpired to Captain Suzuki, the officer was even more cooperative, “My god... what happened to Mr. Pike?”

Allan glanced at Zoë who smirked, “He ain't gonna be building no more ships...”

“But.. he could escape...”

“No he won't.” Allan chuckled.

“Why is that?”

“Kinda hard to run when you're scattered all over the landscape,” Zoë grinned.


“Ready, Gunny?” Jeff asked.

“Let's do it,” the Marine replied.

Three Marines eased up to the door leading onto the catwalks. On the count of three, they pulled the pins on their grenades, counted to two and then dropped them over the edge.

With a roar the devices detonated. The latest model. The grenades were designed for shipboard combat. The shrapnel thrown by the weapons would shred flesh and bone but couldn't penetrate metal. Therefore avoiding the ever present risk of explosive decompression.

As the blast subsided, screams could be heard. A moment later, a pair of stun grenades sailed over the edge and activated. The solid wall of force rendered the survivors either unconscious or at least took them out of the fight.

With a yell, twenty Marines charged onto the catwalks. What little resistance there remained was quickly suppressed.

“Clear!” yelled the Corporal who had led the charge.

Jeff, Rachel, Meghan, Joe and Derick ran onto the catwalk leading to the control room. Unsurprisingly. The door was locked.

“Derick?” Jeff asked.

The young engineer slung his rifle and examined the door mechanism, “No problem, Jeff.”

popping off the cover to the access keypad, Derick quickly attached a jumper wire between the unit and a small device he had carried on his belt. After a few key presses, a small click was heard.

Rachel had been concentrating on the room beyond the door. As soon as it unlocked, she shoved Derick clear.

Just in time as the door opened and several shots rang out. Narrowly missing the engineer.

Before anyone else could do anything, Rachel shot into the control room. She had pulled her sword from it's scabbard across her back.

It was over in moments.

“Nothin says 'Rachel was here', like widespread carnage,” Meghan joked as she followed Jeff into the room. Derick brought up the rear. Still shaken at how close he had been to being shot.

“Rache...” Jeff began.

“All secure,” the teen replied, “I left one alive. And I pulled the deactivation codes for the slave collars from his mind.”

Jeff let out a deep breath, “It's done.”


Allan ran to Tranquility as soon as he had found out that Sylvia had been wounded. Zoë went back to Freebird to retrieve Melissa where she had been waiting with Maria Flores. Inara and Kaylee had quickly hustled Maria away to Inara's shuttle.

Serenity's shuttles hadn't been damaged when the old Firefly had been attacked and damaged beyond repair. Mal had insisted on using his old shuttles on Tranquility. Inara did admit that it offered some continuity between the old and new ships.

Upon reaching the infirmary, the old engineer glanced inside the small room. Simon and Jack Tam were working on Sylvia. Assisted by a nurse from Navajo's medical staff. The rest of the destroyer's medical personnel were helping Sherri with the three slightly wounded Marines and the nearly thirty wounded slaves.

More than one hundred slaves had been killed in the firefight. Mostly by the guards detonating the explosives in the collars each slave wore.

“Allan?” Melissa asked as she stepped down into the common area from the cargo bay.

“Simon and Jack are working on her...”

Allan's words had no more left his mouth when an out of breath Derick Marsh ran into the room, Rachel on his heels.


Allan put his arm around the young man's shoulders, “Simon and Jack are doing everything they can.”

A single sob escaped from the young man. Rachel pulled her boyfriend into her arms, tears on her face as Derick began to cry.

Tears welled up in Melissa's eyes. After her parents had died in cryo aboard Kansas. Sylvia had taken her in. Melissa considered Sylvia a second mother and Derick her little brother.

The dam broke. Both from the stress of the day and what had happened to her adopted Mother. Melissa collapsed into the newly arrived Zoë's arms.

“She's gotta be okay...”




Saturday, April 17, 2010 6:23 AM


Altair Shipbuilding's & managers & guards Assets?
Ariel Coatings, microwave gaseous deposit ovens.
Alan & Sara, Quest Clones for Kansas museum.
Alliance, six destroyers.
Slaves, years of back pay.
Slave casualties, Marines & Hipolito's family’s restitution
Should be enough to bankrupt Altair.

Monday, April 19, 2010 2:45 AM


Nice action! And I hope nothing happens to Sylvia, not with the chance of romance on the horizon.


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