MIA chap2
Saturday, October 22, 2011

They tended to become mercenaries after the U-war. Jayne’s cousin, Cody Cobb was a Browncoat-Ferret/ ……….“Oh Lester quit your bellyaching you soft ass! Next you’ll be wanting a bunk in the Serenity Hilton!” One soldier was telling the other.


MIA part Serenity Valley- Battle for Batean Gorge : part 2 ************************************************************************* Hoping to create a little interest in this type of storytelling. A little blood & guts added in for good measure..BPZ

Non-Canon points of order:

*Brownghost: Elite fighting teams formed by the Independence Army. Known for their stealth and their abilities to neutralize the Alliance advantages of waging war. Unlike the Red Panther and other elite forces of the browncoats, which were kill squads, the Brownghosts coda focused less on killing and concentrated more on destroying Unification hardware and equipment.

* “Cluster Busters” or FF9-80Z are Fixed-wing aircraft that the Independence Air Forces used to intimidate and help win the victories of several small conflicts during the “War of Unification”. Operated by a single pilot, the FF(Freedom-Fighter) 9-80Z were a small assault craft fighter, smaller than a shuttle on Serenity. The Independence side had about 100 of these.

*Brown-Ferret: Intel gathering mole, Freedom- fighter that gathered important information concerning the deployment of Allied troops, missions, and any other advantage they could swing in the Independence’s favor. These folk were akin to the Australian Bushmen during the fight with the Axis side during WW2 back on Earth That Was. They tended to become mercenaries after the U-war. Jayne’s cousin, Cody Cobb was a Browncoat-Ferret.

Now on to the story------


It was 2:45 in the afternoon when Lieutenant Gardner made his way from his hiding position in gully 133 to an area just north of the Alliance held position of Batean Gorge. There was an old, bombed-out farmhouse on a hillside located there, and the Lieutenant meant to use it as his recon post before the attack got underway.

The Independence armies always seemed to preferr launching their attacks during the day rather than at night. One reason being that the Alliance forces used their satellite heat tracking systems to their best advantage during the dark hours. They also used every tactical edge available to them, as did the browncoats. There were groups of TIDs (Thermal Identifying Modules), or heat sensing satellites, launched above every battlefield the Alliance military deemed absolutely necessary to win. (* These were taken out by “Cluster Busters” at times.

They actually wanted to win every conflict, but of course, that was not feasible. There would be battles lost in some corners of the verse. The Alliance couldn’t afford to win them all. There were to be some acceptable losses, it was expected. Also, the Independence army had proven to be better fighters than the governing powers had originally perceived. The war had dragged on for longer than they‘d planned. It had become more costly than the original data had shown it would be. Both in funding, and in lives. The government meant to recoup some of that cost by acquiring the spoils of war, but also they would not expel much money when it came to the smaller battles that were of less importance. All would pan out in the final victory.

Serenity Valley was, on all accounts, a major, decisive effort, and actually the Freedom Fighters were better suited for open terrain and rugged mountain combat than the Purplebellies. This fight was being conducted on a more even playing field, with the browncoats being more than their equal, a fact that the Alliance military did not like. These folk were born of the earth. They worked the farms and ranches of their worlds. They toiled in the soil, and tilled the ground to make a living. Why would they not be accomplished fighters in their own element?

Also, it was not by accident that the Independent army had chosen “BROWN” as the natural color of their fighting attire. They knew that most of the war would be conducted out on the border and rim worlds, well away from the core planets. They knew too, that brown and earth tones would work better as camouflage out in the countryside. The deep blues or dark purples of the Alliance forces might proclaim control of the heavens, but on the ground, the Independent army fought with equal intensity.


Lt. Gardner crawled on his belly through a dry irrigation ditch towards the farmhouse he had chosen as his surveillance post. Although much of the walls of the structure were mortar-damaged and blown to pieces, the corners and a rather solid looking chimney still stood. As the Lieutenant made his approach, he considered the folk that may have once lived there. Some family much like his own. It had likely been a place of happy times, and sad, of prosperity and struggle. Still it had been their home and now it was gone, blasted from the earth by the same powers that spoke of peace and tranquility.

He moved in and kept himself concealed against the structure. The Purplbellies kept this area cleared most of the time, by means of routine shelling. There was also a minefield in the open ground just beyond the south wall, his Intel* had told him. *(Browncoat-ferret)

Gardner viewed the stability of the fireplace. A sturdy mud-brick structure with a wide opening at ground level. The chimney extended twelve feet into the air, and there were bricks missing here and there from bombardment, which left openings that he could peer though if he climbed up inside. He motioned for Corporal Brookland and Private Howard to follow him into the bombed-out structure. He then cautioned them to remain hidden in the rubble. Entering the opening of the fireplace he stood up inside. It was wide, with enough space to hold the body of a fair sized man. He peered above and saw light streaming in where bricks were missing, about nine feet up. Bracing himself, he climbed the walls with his legs. He was rewarded an excellent view of the layout of Batean Gorge.

The lieutenant retrieved his field binoculars and peered through the holes to get a look at what his assault team would be facing. There was an MG60 (machinegun/ 60 cal) in a bomb crater about seventy yards ahead, at the firebase perimeter. This would have to be eliminated. Beyond that he could see bunkers and what looked to be a field office. To the south and east were several rows of camouflaged webbing. This must be where some of the mortars were stationed. Also there was a storage area where he could see dozens of wooden crates stacked on top of one another.

“Munitions!” the officer muttered to himself. His force would take out as much as they could, but he would also target this area on his map for “Angel” bombardment when the Independent Air force made their appearance that night. The Lieutenant climbed back down.

“ Ok, here’s the deal,” he whispered to his troop on the ground. He looked at his military style watch, “ In fifteen minutes Sergeant Green will begin her diversion maneuvers on the west side of the gorge. At that time I want to be in position to begin our attack two minutes later. Then Sergeant Bailey will begin the main event two minutes after that, clear?”

Both soldiers nodded that they understood.

“ Now, that irrigation ditch that we just crawled through runs all the way up this side to that MG60 bunker. That gun’s gotta go! We get up to it and we’ll take it out just after Green’s attack starts. Got it?”

They again showed that they did.

“Good! Follow me and keep your heads down!”

The Browncoat fighting team then entered the irrigation ditch and made their way toward the purplebelly guard position. Gardner knew that the irrigation ditch wouldn’t be mined, the Browncoat Ferret had told him this. They followed this approach all the way up to within twenty feet of the MG60 bunker. They readied themselves for the final three minutes before the attack began.

The Brownghost squad waited, and listened to the Alliance banter coming from the two soldiers on duty within the hole. One was complaining about the rations the common soldier received, of less quality and quantity than their ranking officers.

“Oh Lester, quit your bellyaching you soft ass! Next you’ll be wanting a bunk in the Serenity Hilton!” One soldier was telling the other.

“ Only if there’s a luminescent hot-tube, daiquiris with the little umbrellas on top, delivered by hot browncoat waitresses!” The two men laughed. Common soldiers were all alike.

Lieutenant Gardener hated killing folk that didn’t have a fighting chance, but this was war and he must take every advantage he could to complete his mission. He motioned to Corporal Brookland to toss in an anti-personnel grenade when the action began. He looked back at his watch. Ten seconds……he counted them down with his fingers. At the precise moment there was a loud explosion that registered at the far west end of the base.

“ Right on time,” the lieutenant whispered. He motioned to Brookland that he would head in and draw the MG60s fire. Using this distraction, she was to toss in her grenade. The Lieutenant jumped up and sprang forward, heading straight for the personnel bunkers. The MG60 bunker crew were taken totally by surprise. They rushed to maneuver their gun in the right position to gun the Lieutenant down. Gardener’s distraction worked like a charm. Brookland flung her grenade and the nest was neutralized before the soldiers knew what hit them. The Corporal and Private then stood and followed their commander. Chaos was beginning to ensue. There were explosions and rapid gunfire everywhere. Bullet rounds whizzed past the assault team. Dust and dirt flew in all directions. Lucky none of them were hit.

Three soldiers came from a bunker, the Lieutenant sliced them down. He then added a grenade so that no more would exit that shelter. A bullet whizzed past his head hitting a stack of sandbags behind him. A loud cracking sound came from his rear. Gardner looked and saw a purple sniper fall from a tower just to their west. He gazed behind him and saw Corporal Brookland adjusting her rifle sight.

“ A little off center,” she spoke. She’d saved the Lieutenant’s ass more’n once already in Serenity Valley.

There was another explosion just behind them and they looked to see that Private Howard had taken out another bunker. One that the Lieutenant hadn’t seen. That’s what the officer loved about his team. They were good, they knew it, and he knew it! With so much noise and excitement happening around them, it looked as if the Alliance camp had been thrown into a state of total confusion!

Excellent! This is exactly what the assault teams wanted when beginning their attack. Gardner and his crew headed for the munitions supply.

“ Gotta take out those mortars and bombs! As much as we can!” He ordered his two comrades. “ We’ll let Green and her crew take out the mortars, we’ll get the shells!” he told them.

Just before they reached the storage area, Private Howard took a bullet through the gut. He fell forward in a heap of pain. Gardner’s team was about twenty steps from making the munitions area. Howard crawled to one side and braced himself up against a short wooden wall where tires were being stored.

“ Continue on sir!” he shouted, holding his guts in with one hand. Sitting, looking up at the Lieutenant and Corporal he added, “ I’ll keep ‘em off you!”

Gardner nodded, looking directly into the eyes of the Private, and then into the eyes of his Corporal. They knew without words what must be done. They continued onward and reached the munitions crates in five seconds. There was so much happening now, the Lieutenant knew the battle must be in full swing. Green must be engaged in her attack on the mortar field, and Bailey, by now, should have found the big guns and heavy artillery. He should be wiping them out at this very moment.

Gardner’s duty was to remove the deadly explosive rounds. He could hear fire coming from Howard’s position. He knew the private was doing what he could to keep the Alliance forces at bay.

“ Set the charges to blow this!” Gardener shouted the Brookland. She set down her rifle to comply. He hoped the others were achieving the same success as they were about to. He went to move one of the crates. It felt light and hollow, almost as if it were empty. He tossed the box to the ground. It broke apart reveling that there was nothing inside. He did another, then another.

“ Empty! All for them!” He looked over at the Corporal, “ It’s a setup! We’ve been duped!” He grabbed the communicator from his belt, “ Sergeant Green, Sergeant Bailey, it’s a trap! Get your people out!” he voiced so loud that his command would carry over the noise and banging.

“ We know sir!” Came Green’s reply, “ the mortars are all dummies! They set us up!”

“ Yeah! Make a retreat as quickly as possible Sgt! GET OUT!”

“ I copy sir!” It was a message from Bailey, “ Extracting team, headed for rendezvous!”

“ COPY!” the Lieutenant called into his communicator, “ TIME TO LEAVE!” he said ,looking at the Corporal. They exited to find Howard…..his lifeless body surrounded by the corpses of five purplebellies. There was nothing they could do.

They ran as quick as possible back in the direction they had come. They knew that route would be cleared. The lieutenant was faster then his Corporal, she was six paces behind. He heard the crack of a rifle blast, then a scream of pain. He turn to see Brookland grab her left leg, blood soaking through the clothing below her knee. Her gaze at her commander said everything! She needed help! He went back for her. Taking her in his grasp he nearly pick her up off the ground. They made haste to remove themselves from the havoc that was continuing around them. They were almost to the destroyed MG60 gun pit now, only a few more steps and they would be through to the farmhouse.

There was a burst of MG fire. The lieutenant fell to the ground in a fit of pain. Brookland fell from his arms into the irrigation ditch. She rolled but remained in the safe zone. She looked back to see the Lieutenant. His body was motionless, his face buried in the red dirt of the ditch. Just then a shell-blast fell eleven feet from the Corporal. She lost consciousness and was lost in a cloud of thick dust. ____________________________________________________________________________

“Sergeant Reynolds!” Lieutenant Baker approached his most trusted ranking leader, “ The Brownghost squad is in recovery! Pass it along your lines to mark their targets before firing and make ready to assist any survivors that get back!”

“Yes Sir!” Mal spoke. The Lieutenant turned to exit the Sergeant’s position.

“ Sir?” Malcolm Reynolds wanted to know the success of the mission, “ How’d they do?”

The Lieutenant looked at him.

“ Not good Sergeant! The firebase at Batean Gorge was a fake! Meant to lure the ghost squad in and eliminate them. The Alliance set a trap. Lieutenant Gardner and his crew were marked cards in this game of cat and mouse. Think they finally drew the losing hand. The enemy came out better in this deal than we did,” he paused, “ be ready, what’s left of the squad will be folded into your command,” he ended his orders there.

Sergeant Malcolm Reynolds, survivor of countless battles for Serenity Valley, was about to have more added to his plate. He hated the responsibility, although he never shunned it. Peoples lives, he’d already lost so many, not due to bad leadership under his command, but due to the total WAR-MACHINE the Alliance could bring to bare. Another sergeant would likely have lost more. His leadership was solid. His tactics and ability were unquestionable. Likely the reason why he was given more responsibilities.

“ Sgt. Reynolds sir!” Mal turned to see a lanky, boy of maybe 20 approaching him. Not much more than a kid really, and not much younger than himself.

“ What is it Bendis?”

“ Sir! Recovery team reports three survivors from the assault force returning from Batean Gorge! Two of them wounded,” he stood at attention. Mal thought a second, “ Two thirds of a fighting force wiped out because of a ruse! The Independence army couldn’t afford to misjudge those kinds of missions,” he thought!

“ Their names and ranks!” Mal questioned, although he knew his mentor would not be among them.

“ Private Covington, Corporal Brown and Corporal Brookland sir! Brookland and Covington are injured Sarge, and need assistance.”

“ Inform Corporal Alleyne! Have her see that they receive medical attention……..and tell her to report back any Intel they have.” Mal looked into the darkening sky over what used to be a serene valley. “ It’s gonna be a long, ass-kicking night.” he whispered.

End Part 2


Saturday, October 22, 2011 8:34 AM


Thank you Brewster!
So much of the War was left untold by the warriors that had experienced it (in the tradition of Platoon) Thought I’d add a small piece to what I think may have been an event that figured in to the conflict as seen through the eyes of someone that would have been there… Lt. Gardener.

Your feedback is very appreciated. Thank you again….BPZ

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 5:13 PM


And now, action! You certainly bring it on, with lots of noise and fire. I liked the build-up as the Lt does the final recon from the chimney. I did not expect that it was a set-up...good job making that a surprise for the reader as well as the characters. Hope to see more of Mal and Zoe in the next. Looks like you'll have something interesting coming right up. Sorry not to review behind on my reading.

Thursday, October 27, 2011 2:59 PM


Hello ebfiddler!

I totally understand how it is. I get behind on my reading, writing and actually posting on those things as well.

Just coming off a 5 day, 60 hour work week, so I’ve had little time to do anything. Anyhoo, thanks for your comments. I ready enjoyed them. Hoping to catch up on some excellent stories posted here on over the next couple of days, and maybe even write another chap or two myself.

The next installment of “MIA” will certainly have more Mal, Zoe, Jayne, Kaylee & the other crew members. I’m looking to bring it more in to the Firefly realm since this is a FF story, and the crew we all enjoy so much will become a bigger part of it.

Thanks again for your feedback, it means a lot. BPZ

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 6:33 AM


Decided to try to catch up with this story. Looking good so far, I like all your names you've come up with. Also, I think your fast-paced storytelling style works well with this kind of story.


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