Quest - Chapter 26
Saturday, April 24, 2010

The aftermath of the battle. Steve contemplates, Simon does surgery to save Sylvia's life and another Pike surfaces.


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 Six


It was getting late. Simon and Jack had been working on Sylvia nearly four hours. Twice, Sherri had entered Tranquility's infirmary for nearly half an hour to assist. The second time, returning with an additional nurse from Navajo's medical staff. Later, a runner had brought three units of whole blood from the destroyer's supplies.

On Admiral Henderson's orders. Captain Suzuki had called in a disaster relief team from Aberdeen to handle the newly freed slaves. They would arrive in ten hours.

Monty's crew, along with Jesse Cobb had been relived of their guard duties by Navajo's Marine detachment.

As for the Admiral himself. He sat on a crate outside of the infirmary while Simon and Jack did their work. His once impeccable uniform, ragged and dirty from the battle. He stared at the door to Simon's domain. Praying for the best but accepting that the worst might happen.

He looked across to the sofa. Derick Marsh sat there, head back asleep. His girlfriend, Rachel Cobb tucked up to his side. Melissa was similarly asleep in the big recliner. The rest of the crew were either napping in their quarters or waiting impatiently in the galley. Mal made an appearance every twenty minutes or so.

Steven sighed. If things had worked out. Derick might have been his stepson. Instead, he had let his career get in the way of his happiness. He had been the one to break off the relationship that had bloomed between himself and Sylvia.

Now he was a Rear Admiral. Chief of the Bureau of Ships. Essentially the Chief Engineer for the entire Alliance fleet.

He'd trade it all to save Sylvia's life.

Steve nearly jumped out of his skin when a hand came down on his shoulder, “Steve?”

The officer looked back to see Allan Bryant standing there with two mugs of coffee, “I thought you could use some,” the elderly engineer continued.

“Thanks, Dr. Bryant.”

Allan frowned and then pulled over a small stool to sit beside the younger man, “I told you twenty years ago. My name is Allan.”

A small smile crept onto Steve's face, “Sorry.”

Alan matched the smile before taking a sip of his coffee, “No problem.”

“How do you think...” Steve trailed off.

“They're still working. That in itself is a good sign. Simon is one of the best surgeons I've ever seen.”

Steve nodded, “How... how did she end up here?”

Allan sighed slightly, “You know Sylvia. She and Mal are pretty similar. Me too. Don't mess with our families. You won't live to regret it. Sylvia showed up just before we lifted from Londinium. Ready to kick the asses of whomever had tried to kill Derick.”

“Sounds like her...”

“Yep, Allan agreed, “Sylvia gave Cordell a hand flying The Flores...”

A sly smile crept onto the Engineer's face, “Speaking of flying. I seem to have noticed that a couple of Blue Sun ships seem to be capable of some rather astounding speeds all of a sudden. That is if what I hear from Navajo's XO is true.”

Allan shrugged, “You know me... always tinkering.”

“Uh-huh... right.”

“So... I just came up with a little bit of revolutionary propulsion technology a month ago.”

“Revolutionary is a gross understatement, Allan. You know... you just made every other ship in the verse obsolete.”

Allan shook his head, “Nope... while the system can be retrofitted. I'm not going to release it to the general public yet.”

“Why not?”

“We aren't ready for it being used in a widespread role. Look at what happened earlier today. Bobbie could have blown Navajo back to Earth. Because a regular warship has no way to deal with an FTL ship.”

“I see your point.”

“Some ships will be outfitted, of course. Quest was public knowledge. My new system grafted into similar ships and only operated by the fleet and maybe Blue Sun...”

Steve nodded, “It will give us time to become... comfortable with FTL.”


Suddenly, Rachel snapped awake. Rousing Derick from his fitful slumber, “Rache?”

“Done... Uncle Simon is hopeful.”

Steve shook his head. Confused at the teenagers words. He didn't know about what Rachel or her mother could do.

The door to the infirmary slid back. A weary Simon Tam stepped out into the common area.

“Simon?” Allan asked. Getting to his feet. Steven rising also.

“Mom?” A frightened Derick asked.

Simon took a deep breath and addressed the young man that he had delivered all those years ago, “I won't sugar coat this, Derick. Your mother was gravely wounded. I believe we have repaired all the damage. She is stable right now but the next twenty four hours will be telling. If her condition remains stable. I think she will recover in time.”

The young man sagged with relief. Rachel hugged him close and kissed his forehead, “Told you not to worry so much,” she whispered.

“Simon?” Allan asked.

“Give us about half an hour to get things ready and you can visit. Sylvia will still be out from the anesthesia. And on a ventilator. She was wounded very similarly to how you were Allan.”

The elderly engineer winced, “Ouch...”

Steve looked at the doctor, “So... you think she'll be alright?”

“It's looking good so far...”

“Doc?” Melissa asked as she awoke.

“I'll fill her in, Simon,” Allan began, “You see to Sylvia.”

Simon nodded and turned to return to the infirmary.

“He thinks she's gonna be okay,” Derick said as he turned and hugged his adopted big sister.

“Oh thank God,” Melissa breathed.


The news about Sylvia had traveled like wildfire. As soon as possible, Derick and Melissa were let in to see Sylvia. After a while, the rest of the crew filtered through. Last were Zoë and Allan.

Sylvia lay still on the bed. The ventilator breathing for her. The reassuring beep of the heart monitor audible in the background. Zoë took Sylvia's pale hand in her own and squeezed. She and Sylvia had become good friends over the years. Despite her initial jealousy about her friendship with Allan.

“You better get better, Sylvia,” Zoë whispered, “Cause my Husband ain't got many friends left that are nearly as old as him.”

Allan chuckled slightly, “What she said, Mei-mei.”

Zoë put her arm around her husband's waist, “You okay?”

Allan blinked back the stinging in his eyes, “No... but if Sylvia gets better. Then I will be.”

Zoë could only nod.


Meanwhile, Inara had her hands full with a distraught Maria Flores. After being kidnapped. Held hostage by Jordan Pike to assure her brother's cooperation in stealing the data from Quest's main computers and then nearly being raped by Pike after the man had cavalierly told her that her brother was dead.

Maria lay sobbing on the sofa in Inara's shuttle. Quietly, the former companion lit incense and began to brew tea. She hoped that she would be able to help.

As the teapot began to whistle, a knock was heard at the hatch. Smoothly, Inara came to her feet and made her way across the deck. She slid the door back.

“Mrs, Reynolds?”

“Yes... Alexandra isn't it?”

The former Alliance maintenance tech nodded, “Mrs. Tam told me, Maria was in here.”

Inara nodded and stepped aside. Alex's breath caught in her throat when she saw Maria. Inara had given the young woman a robe to wear since she had only been wearing some of Zoë's clothing when she was brought aboard tranquility. Through her tears, Maria looked up and saw her brother's girlfriend, “Alex?” she sniffled.

“Oh, Mei-mei,” Alex said as she rushed to Maria's side, pulling her into her arms.

Still sobbing Maria tried to speak, “Is... is it... true? About Lito?”

Alex nodded and began to cry herself, “I'm so sorry...”


Alex tried to think of how best to tell Hipolito's sister about the sacrifice her brother had made. Inara answered for her.

“Hipolito sacrificed himself to save the lives of the rest of Quest's crew. Including my Son.”

“Really?” Maria sniffled.

“Really,” Alex agreed. It was a little white lie but at the moment. It would be best that Maria didn't find out all the sorted details.

“How... how did you know where to find me?” Maria asked. Her tears lessening.

Alex and Inara shared a look.

“Pike tried to use holding you as leverage to make Hipolito do something illegal,” a new voice said from the entryway. It was Cordell Olsen. He continued, “But instead, he did the right thing and told us about it. With some investigation and a few tips, we figured it out.”

Maria nodded. Suddenly yawning.

“Why don't you get some rest, Mei-mei,” Inara said, “Alexandra and I will be right here if you need us.”

“Gracias...” the young woman replied as she lay down on the sofa. Her eyes closed almost immediately.

“Thank you, Commander,” Inara whispered as she eased Alex and Cordell out of the shuttle onto the catwalk.

“Just call me Cordell, Mrs. Reynolds.”

“Then call me, Inara.”


“Isn't that enough tinsel, Becca?” Sara asked as she watched her best friend decorate the Christmas tree in the corner of the parlor.

“Ain't never enough,” the engineer replied.

Sara grinned, “If you say so...”

“That looks lovely, Becca,” Trudy said as she flowed into the room. The former companion smiled, “And you are right. There is never too much tinsel.”

Sara chuckled and then rolled her eyes.

Trudy took a seat next to Sara on the sofa, “How are you feeling, Sara?” she asked.

Sara sighed, “Other than having morning sickness at all hours...shiny.”

“It'll pass, Cap'n,” Rosie said as she joined the other women in the parlor.

“I hope so, Rosie,” Sara grumbled.

“I was the same way,” the security officer replied, “Around the clock.”

Sara suddenly looked a bit pale, “Enough with the sickness talk...”

Trudy nodded, “Where is Clay, Becca?”

“Christmas shopping,” Becca replied as she took a seat herself on the opposite sofa, “Hopefully he's getting me somthin shiny for Christmas.”

“Like your wedding rings?” Sara chuckled, her transitory nausea having passed.

“There is that...”

“I just wish the Cortex links were faster. Somethin must have shifted in that gas cloud,” Becca pouted, “Now it takes near on four hours to send a message.”

Trudy nodded, “It is troublesome. I had to resend the latest copies of the mutual defense treaty... twice. Wasted an entire day.”

“Any problems with our hosts?” Sara asked.

“None at all,” Trudy smiled, “Other than the time delay, this has been the easiest ambassadorial post I have ever held.”

“Glad to hear. Without any way home... if something were to happen.”

At that moment, Luigi Coletti walked into the room. His expression pale.

“Luigi?” Sara began, “You look like you just saw a ghost.”

“Damn near, Sara,” the Alliance fighter pilot replied, “I just got a message from Fleet Headquarters...”

Trudy and Sara stared at the man. Still in a daze, he handed Trudy the message flimsy.

Scanning the message quickly, Trudy's eyes widened in shock, “Merciful Buddha!”

“What is it, Trudy?” Sara asked, becoming concerned. Likewise, Becca leaned forward.

Unable to speak further, Trudy handed Sara the message. Becca leaned over her shoulder.

--- Alliance Fleet Headquarters – Londinium ---

To: Alliance Embassy, Earth -1286 Beacon St. Boston Massachusetts. Cortex Address: 77654-UYRE-1257865300-37

Subject: Loss of the Blue Sun Exploratory Vessel, Quest.

--- At approximately 20:39 hours GMT. December 07, 2546. The vessel 'Quest' was attacked while docked with the Blue Sun Industries Orbital Shipyard. An unknown perpetrator using a missile armed shuttle engaged the docked vessel. Destroying it. All crew members were aboard at the time of the attack...

Sara let out a small gasp. Sharing a look with Becca she continued to read.

... Of the twelve personnel aboard. Eleven were wounded and there was one fatality. The Ministry of Justice along with the Ministry of Navigation are investigating.

End Message:

“Huh choo-shung tza-jiao duh tzang-huo...” Becca nearly whispered.

“Cap'n?” Rosie asked. Sara handed her the printout, “Son of a bitch!” the security officer swore after reading.

“What are we gonna do?” Becca asked, “With Quest gone.... ain't no way to come and get us... and one fatality? Who was it?”

Sara sat stony faced. Twelve people. That meant that the Alliance crew was possibly aboard. But who was killed? “Do we know who?” Sara asked after a moment.

Luigi shook his head, “I sent a message asking for clarification.”

“The rutting thing is over a week old!” Becca growled.

“I know,” Sara said quietly, “Eight hours before we hear back, Luigi?”

“Approximately,” he nodded.

Sara's face darkened with a building fury, “Ain't nothing we can do till we hear back. Gotta keep thinkin positive about this...”

“Gonna take over a year to build another Quest...” Becca trailed off.

“I know, Jie-jie,” Sara replied.

The room grew quiet as the four women and one man contemplated the news. With a burst of cold air, the front door of the embassy opened and Clay followed by Owen entered the embassy. Both men were brushing new fallen snow from their shoulders, “Damn it's cold out there,” Clay remarked as he set down his shopping bags and began removing his coat.

Owen immediately noticed the somber atmosphere in the room, “What's wrong?”

Becca immediately stood and launched herself into her fiancé's arms, “Someone done blew up Quest!” she cried into Clay's shoulder.

“And when I get my hands on who did it... I'm gonna kill em',” Sara declared.


“Dr. Bryant?” a voice said, rousing Allan from his fitful slumber on the sofa in Tranquility's common area.

“Huh? What?” Allan said as he sat up. A slight groan escaping his lips.

“Sorry to disturb you, Sir,” began a young Alliance officer, “But one of the former Altair slaves is demanding to speak with you...”

Allan shook his head to clear it, “Slave?”

“Yes, Sir,” the Ensign replied, “She claims to be the rightful owner of Altair shipbuilding...”


Allan followed the Ensign into Tranquility's cargo bay. Under guard at the foot of the ramp stood a beautiful young woman. She was dirty, emaciated and clearly hadn't been well treated. Despite that, she seemed to exude an aura of both power and competence.

The woman smoothed her stringy brown hair. She hadn't had a shower in weeks. She looked at the elderly man in front of her, “Dr. Bryant?

“Yes?” Allan replied. He gave the woman the once over. She looked to be about thirty years of age.

She stepped forward slightly, “My name is Elizabeth Pike. Jordan Pike was my half brother.”

“Say that again?” Allan asked.

“That, liou coe shway duh biao-tze huh hoe-tze fuh ur-tze of a brother of mine took my gorram company from me and turned me into a tzaogao slave!”

Allan shook his head, “Perhaps you could start from the beginning, Ms. Pike.”

“Certainly,” she replied, “But first, could I perhaps take a shower somewhere? And maybe find some clean clothes?”

Allan smiled slightly, noting the wrinkled noses of the woman's escorts, “Follow me. You and my wife look to be of a similar size. I'll have her grab you something.”

“Thank you so much...”


After a shower, Elizabeth Pike looked even younger. Now wearing a pair of Zoë's pants along with an over sized Blue Sun t-shirt from Allan's stash. She sipped at her coffee like it was the nectar of the gods.

Allan took a seat across from Ms. Pike. Zoë standing next to her husband. The woman glanced around Tranquility's homey galley. Shortly after Mal had gotten the ship from Allan, Kaylee had set to work with Inara's help, painting the floral patterns on the bulkheads. Just like she had done on Serenity.

“Nice ship.”

Allan nodded, “It is. Now. Getting back to where you claim to be the rightful owner of Altair shipbuilding?”

Pike nodded, “Altair shipbuilding began as an offshoot of Altair Terriforming. The company that terriformed Oberon. Altair was founded by my Father. Devin Pike.”

Allan nodded and Ms. Pike continued, “Jordan Pike is a bastard. In the literal sense of the word. My Father had an affair. Jordan was the result of that tryst.”

“Pardon my asking,” Allan began, “But aren't you a bit younger than... your brother?”

“I am,” Elizabeth replied, “I'm the baby. I had an older sister who died when I was just a girl. Jackelyn was the oldest.”

Zoë looked at the woman, “So your brother thought he was going to get the company...”

“Correct. That son of a bitch thought he was owed it. I was the one who got the business and engineering degrees. Dad groomed me to be the head of Altair from an early age. Then two years ago, I was in the middle of a board meeting and a group of my brother's goons. He called them his 'Personal guard' burst in. Shot up the rest of the board and then gave me the ultimatum of either signing over the company to Jordan or being killed. I signed...”

Zoë nodded, “Probably the best at the time.”

“That's what I thought so too. A week later I've got an explosive collar around my neck and I'm virtually tied to a design computer. I've designed every ship Altair's built for the last five years.”

“All built by slaves,” Allan growled.


Allan looked at Zoë for a moment. She nodded slightly. After nearly twenty eight years of marriage, they could almost read each other's minds sometimes, “Ms. Pike. I regret to inform you that your brother, Jordan is dead.”

Elizabeth actually smiled slightly, “Good. Who did it? I want to shake their hand.”

Allan and Zoë shared a grin. Simultaneously, they held out their hands.

“Shiny...” smiled Elizabeth as she shook both Allan and Zoë's hands.




Saturday, April 24, 2010 2:52 PM


Both Good business & heroics, Shiny.

Sunday, April 25, 2010 2:31 AM


What a wonderfilled 'verse this is developing into.. TY.. Great Chapter, cant wait to see whats next..

Yes Please!! May we have another???

You keep writing, I'll keep reading..

Sunday, April 25, 2010 8:01 AM


Great chapter. But I want to see Sara's face when one of the FTL ships appear over Earth - it is going to be such a surprise!


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