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Damaged Goods- Chap 7 final
Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mal Reynolds and his crew again find high adventure on the surface of a little moon. Maybe more adventure than they bargained for…….but isn’t that usually the case.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2015    RATING: 0    SERIES: FIREFLY

Damaged Goods- part 7; Crappy Town Where Im a Hero

Prologue :

Mal Reynolds and his crew again find high adventure on the surface of a little moon. Maybe more adventure than they bargained for…….but isn’t that usually the case.

*************************************************

The heist team of Serenity found themselves in a big pile of datiao. They had become imprisoned inside the Velxar Magistrate’s treasure vault, and there was no treasure.

Malcolm Reynolds had been in worse situations, along with his trusted first mate Zoe. This one had to rank up there in the top ten though. The idea was to stay cool, not panic, and to figure a way out.

“ WE’RE GORRAM DEAD!” Jayne’s voice sounded, echoing off the vault walls.

“ Jayne, collect yourself,” the captain responded, he couldn’t let things get out of hand, “ We aren’t dead…. yet.”

He looked around at his crew. They could fight, but he couldn’t ask them to sacrifice themselves. Better to lay down arms and maybe look for a chance to escape later,” that’s what he decided.

“Alright we’ll give up,” the words from the captain’s mouth startled the team. They all looked at him.

WHAT? Was he crazy? that was totally against the big mercenary’s nature.

“ Not me and Vera, we go out blasting!” the big mercenary said.

“ Jayne, listen to what I said, we give up, but we don’t give in. We start a war and all they need do is toss in a grenade, or even keep the vault door sealed tight so that we run out of air. Ain’t much grace in going out like that. Even the most brainless creatures in the verse know when to give ground as to fight another day.”

The light came on in Jayne’s eyes, he understood.

“No, we lay down arms. They’ll be looking for answers, they’ll wanna know how we got in without using force. They’ll also want to know who assisted us, the inside guy‘s name.”

It made perfect sense and was likely why the captain and Zoe had survived Serenity Valley. Jayne could see the reasonable logic in the captain’s decision.

“ Besides we still have our outside team,” Mal finished.

*************************************************

“ Daddy how could you? These people helped me to get home! How could you turn on them as if they were nothing more than six legged insects that crawl upon the ground?”

“ Amanda not now,” Jacob Tate told his daughter, “we’ve not the time for discussions. Now help your mom and sister load up as much of ours things as we can possibly get into the shuttle.”

“ Dad, I can’t! I must help the people that helped me!” Amanda stood firm in her decision.

The father of the Tate clan took his daughter by the shoulders.

“ Amanda we must leave. We are on the run now. Just like your friend River. Yes I know of River and Simon, brother and sister. We ourselves have now become like them, fugitives, outlaws of society. We must go! I had to get the authorities off of our trail. It’s why I set the alarm off at the Magistrate’s home, and why you must trust me. I am doing the right thing. I’ll explain it all to you later, but for now, know that we’re heading to a better place for us, for the family.”

Jacob Tate was in a rush. He was in a hurry to gather his possessions and escape the gravity of Velxar moon. There were things going on that he couldn’t explain to his oldest child, not yet anyway. He didn’t have the time. Better for her to have a moment distain of him than to have them get caught. There were only minutes to make an escape in the shuttle he’d stolen from the estate of the Magistrate Blankenship, and the clock was not slowing down.

*************************************************

Malcolm Reynolds sat on the concrete dais in the vault studying the babushka doll. It was knida cute in it’s own little way. People on the rim loved those things, he remembered saying so to Inara once. Now he was developing a real dislike for the delicate painted thing. He handed the small doll over to Kaylee standing next to him.

Serenity’s master mechanic studied the design of the piece like she did every engine part.

Mal continued to think about what had happened.

Treachery, he sure hadn’t seen it coming. Not from Jacob Tate anyway. Still, he wasn’t positive they’d been betrayed by the Velxar technician. What he did know was this gave him leverage for any future undertaking he and his crew would be involved in, that is, assuming they had a future.

The minutes began to tick away like hours, although in reality it had been only a short time. Mal thought how radically odd it was that they had been caught so off guard. Not a one of them had thought to carry a hand held communicator inside the vault.

Suddenly they heard the sound of the vault tumblers being weighed inside the heavy iron door. This was it, soon they would hear the voices of the security guard asking them to yield their weapons.

Zoe stood brazen with her hands on her hips, Inara and Kaylee huddled close together, Jayne stood defiant, Vera in his strong firm grasp, and Mal stood out-front between them all.

It wasn’t until the door cracked open that the sound of the alarms returned to their ears did the team realized just how sound proof and air tight the room had been. The door slowly began to swing open.

Almost as a reflex Jayne responded with his weapon to his shoulder.

“JAYNE!” The captain voiced loudly over the sound of the alarm.

“Hello?” came the word of an almost childlike voice. They looked at one another.

“ River?” Kaylee recognized the voice of the young Tam first. In popped the head, then the shoulders of the young River Tam. She looked in and smiled at the captain.

“ It’s your lucky day Mr. Dillinger,” she spoke looking directly at Mal, “ told you that you needed me.”

Malcolm Reynolds didn’t have time for riddles and games, they rushed towards the door and exited the chamber. Outside they could see Serenity’s land “Mule” parked alongside the hovercraft. There were blast doors that had been closed up the tunnel a bit, leading back to the Blankenship estate. No wonder there hadn’t been lawmen there to meet them. They were still being detained outside their own security system.

“ Everyone on the hovercraft!” Mal commanded, “ Jayne, you and Kaylee take the “Mule”, meet us back at the ship as quickly as possible!”

The big merc started the engine and was off in a flash, Kaylee seated directly behind him.

Mal retrieved a hand com from the hovercraft,“ Shepherd, meet us back at Serenity, pronto!”

“ Understood captain.” Came his reply.

Those blast doors should hold back the security force long enough for us to reach the ship, Mal thought. Long enough for them to get off this miserable little rock. They may be leaving without treasure, but at least they were leaving with their lives!

The loud noise of the hovercraft engine being revved-up let the captain know that Zoe had fired up the machine, it was time to go.

She throttled up and the little craft pitched forward. Funny what a difference a few minutes make. A short time ago Mal was ready to hand over his weapon, now if a target got in his way he would blast the hell out of it. He spoke again into the hand com.

“ Wash get Serenity warmed up, I want her in the air as soon as my boots hit the back ramp.”

“ Roger captain,” the Firefly pilot answered, “ I’m ready for a hot bath as soon as we get to a descent watering hole…..” the pilot said referring to a nice town with good accommodations.

“ Fraid your gonna have to be happy with a cold sponge bath Wash!” Mal said looking over at Zoe.

“ What, we didn’t get paid?”

“I’ll explain later, just be ready to bust atom in ten.”

*************************************************

Moments later on Serenity, after a safe distance had been achieved:

Malcolm Reynolds gathered his team in the ship’s galley. He couldn’t remember being around such a silent group of survivors since he and Zoe, along with four other army buddies, had crawled out of the rubble at the battle of Bull Zung.

He looked around the table. Everyone was there except Simon and River. The doc was examining his sister after the ordeal. Making sure she had no cuts, scraps or lacerations from the accelerated trip back to Serenity.

Shepherd Book was the first to speak.

“ Well we’re all on board, that’s what counts the most.”

“ That’s all fine and dandy preacher but I’d rather be counting coin,” Jayne said still aggravated at life itself.

“ Second job in a row and not a ruttin thing for it,” he pretty well summed up the whole crew’s feelings.

“ Well, though I feel the same, I think I have to agree with the Shepherd this time out,” The captain was ready to hear all the reasons why he was right and the balance of Serenity’s crew members had been wrong. He was a patient man though, he could wait for apologies.

Maybe next time they’ll listen to me, he thought, we could have easily dropped Amanda off with one of Inara’s trusted friends in this quadrant and not gone through the risk of sticking their necks out.

“Let’s chalk this up as a lesson learned,” he said, “ and no matter how young and innocent a person might be they can still get you in a datiao load of trouble.” He finished just as River and Simon came into the galley.

The doctor got something to drink out of the kitchen then posted up at the galley table.

“ Captain, where are we off to next?” The doc asked.

“ Don’t know, guess somewhere where we can find work.”

“ Work?” Simon seemed confused with his answer but then just shrugged his shoulders.

“ I was wondering because River wants to spend some of her loot acquiring another set of babushka dolls. Some of hers have been lost or broken in all the excitement as of late.”

The entire crew looked at the doctor as if he’d lost his genius marbles.

“ What the hell are you talking about,” the captain asked?

Simon looked around. Everyone seemed to be starring at him.

“ River told me that we acquired a sizable amount today?”

“Yeah, a sizable amount of gos se, “ Jayne said. Yet the entire crew turned their attention to the girl.

“River,” Mal questioned?

The girl Tam stopped playing with skirt long enough to look up at everybody.

“ Mr. Tate told you to follow his instructions to the letter,” She paused, “ didn’t you get the note from the babushka doll in the vault?”

Mal Reynolds looked over to his ship’s mechanic.

“ Kaylee?”

“ In my pocket sir, getting it out now,” she opened the top and there inside was a note. She opened and read it.

“ Dear crew of Serenity, sorry about all the mistrust and misgivings. Think you’d probably right now like to put a noose around my neck. Well if the truth were to be known you wouldn’t be the only ones. See, for a long while I’ve known that Magistrate Blankenship was stealing from the people. The funds and profits coming from Velxar mines were being ciphered from for a long time. I became aware of his secret hiding place behind the air vent control panels during one of my excursions to make repairs. A nice simple vault stored out of the way where he assumed no one would find it. I guess rebellion on small worlds is often a concern for the controlling powers and they don’t hide their gold in the obvious places.

Anyway, I didn’t want to say anything with my little girl gone, but you helped me with that and I am grateful. My apologies for sounding the alarm and getting you in trouble, but you have to understand, you are used to being on the run and hunted, we are not. I had to give my family a little breathing room.

Well, all is without naught as they say, in your cargo hold is a box filled with Velxar loot, complements of Magistrate Blankenship. I got your pilot to help me store it aboard while you were in the pursuit of vault treasure. I had to lie to him and tell him it was unused chloroform so that he wouldn’t ask questions. Sorry Mr. Wash, promise I’ll do something to make it up to you.

I wish you all well with many, many years left to come to you my friends. Thank you again for my daughter.

Jacob Tate

They all rushed down to the cargo hold to fine the crate. Jayne was first of course, and it was just as the Velxar technician had stated. A box filled with bills and coin. That sure filled the cargo bay with sunshine at that time, well, had there been a sun outside.

************************************************ There had been a crate dropped on Velxar moon that day, on the mining colonies. Busting it open the folk found it to be loaded with coin and treasure of all sorts. They distributed the loot and for a long while reaped it’s benefits. They erected a monument in praise of the one who dropped it.

“ A gift from the gods,” one of the miners was heard to say.

“ No, a gift from Hodan Wash. It’s written right here on top the box,” another told him.

************************************************ Some time later:

“Where are we going dad?” A little girl rapped her arms around her father’s neck as he steered his small craft towards a little world that they didn’t know to much about.

“ As far away from Velxar moon as possible sweet cakes. There’s a woman here, says I can work for her doing basically the same thing I was doing for Magistrate Blankenship, troubleshooting technical issues.

“ Where is this place and what’s her name?”

“ Well darlin, the name of the place is Whitefall and the name of the lady is Patients,” he answered.

“ Sounds fun,” Amanda said.

THE END

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