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Destiny: The Director's Cut - 1
Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Yet another re-post here. I'm taking this opportunity to give my series a needed rewrite. Most of the first series "Destiny" isn't changing, but I will be expanding and adding scenes. The second series "Vengeance", however, will be undergoing a few major rewrites for the better. This story is my version of the events between the show and the movie, and it will continue with another series after the events of the BDM. As "Destiny" begins, we join the crew of the title ship as they pick up a job on Whitefall, a job that will change their lives forever...


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1404    RATING:     SERIES: FIREFLY

Running out of Patience

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Whitefall When Captain Etris Kurdian stepped out of the warehouse and into the blinding sun, the first thing he noticed was that the street that had been bustling with people twenty minutes earlier was now empty and silent. The second thing he noticed was the loud gunshot accompanied by a bullet that tore into his shoulder, spinning him around and planting his face in the dirt. The third thing was the odd thought that he now had a hole in his favorite jacket. He hit the ground hard and his mind suddenly focused on the pain that radiated in waves from his shoulder. Behind him, his Ex-O had already dived back inside the sliding doors, using the building walls as cover from the unseen assailant. Well, maybe unseen isn’t the word. Etris lifted his head painfully and caught sight of the shooter in a second floor window across the street, lining up for another shot. Standing, Etris presented a 6-foot-three target, but he didn’t think that by lying on the ground he would become any smaller. He rolled as the gun fired again, and with a zing the bullet whipped past his head. His instinct took over then; he looked above his head at the overhang twenty feet above him and looked for the supports for the structure. He saw the two wooden pillars and rolled for the nearest one. Another shot rang out and another bullet whizzed by him, missing his right side by less than six inches. Way too close for comfort. Gritting his teeth against the pain in his shoulder, Etris kicked out hard with his legs, pushing against the pillar and propelling his body backwards through the open warehouse doors. It proved to be a smart move, as three more bullets peppered the ground where he had just been lying. “Etris!” Rian Reese grabbed Etris’ good arm and pulled her husband the rest of the way inside. He yelped in pain as dirt dug into his wound, but he knew that Rian had needed to get him inside fast. Having his wife as his Ex-O had its good moments and its bad. Her saving his life on more than one occasion was one of the good sides. “Thanks,” Etris gasped as soon as he was behind cover. Rian nodded in response, helping him sit before taking a closer look at his shoulder. “How is it?” he asked. “Worse than on Florida Moon?” She chuckled just like he knew she would. “Close to that,” she replied as she probed his wound, “but at least this time you didn’t get shot by one of your crew.” Etris tried to grin back, but whatever Rian was doing to his shoulder hurt worse than the bullet had. “Bullet went clean through,” Rian commented, proceeding to wrap up his arm in a strip of cloth she grabbed off the floor. “Where’s Spooky?” Etris asked, looking around for the big gunner. A single shot echoed through the doorway, the boom louder than the sniper’s rifle, and Etris had his answer. He leaned away from Rian as she set his arm in a makeshift sling and peered around the edge of the doorway. In the second floor window where the sniper had been shooting from, Etris could see the long brown hair of one Ellington “Spooky” Tark as the gunner leaned out over the ledge and looked down to where the assailant’s body lay crumpled on the ground twelve feet below him. “Nice shooting, as always,” Etris stated with a smile. Tark looked over at his Captain and grinned. * * * By the time Tark had made his way out into the street, people were emerging from the doorways and side alleys where they had been hiding. A few of them were crowded around Tark’s handiwork, so he headed over there first. The group parted when they saw his six-foot-two solid frame approach, and he knelt down by the body. The shooter was male, and young from the look of it. Maybe twenty. He wore the common pedestrian outfit of grey slacks and long-sleeve shirt, except his shirt had a hole in the center that was becoming a rapid producer of blood. Tark knelt down and placed his fingers on the neck of the young man, but as he had expected he found no pulse. He briefly rifled through the man’s pockets, coming up empty until his fingers closed around the thin wafer of a Cypher pad. He turned the personal computer over in his hand before sliding it into his pocket. He’d let Rian take a look at it later. Satisfied that there was no sort of identification on the body, Tark walked over to where the gun lay several feet away. The crowd that had parted for him to examine the body crowded back around as soon as he walked away, and he shook his head, chuckling. When he reached the gun, however, the chuckle turned to an admirable whistle when he saw the gun that the shooter had used: a Marlow Type 12 Sniper Rifle, complete with computer targeting and an integrated scope. Tark picked up the gun and checked the readout on the side, noticing that the computer targeting was turned off. So the shooter had decided for a manual approach, a test of skill instead of letting the computer do all the work. Worthy of respect in itself, but the fact that he had been shooting at the Captain kinda pissed Tark off. He heard an increase in the commotion behind him, so he stood up quickly and tucked the rifle away inside his trench coat. A loud voice boomed out behind him and he turned to face a burly man with a very red face. “What in the hell is going on out here?” the man shouted, his gun raised and pointed in Tark’s direction. “Evenin’, Sheriff,” Tark nodded his head. “I was just teaching this young man his manners.” He indicated the body lying in front of him. The Sheriff huffed and twitched his mustache. He looked over Tark very slowly while the gunner remained still, staring back at the lawman with an emotionless gaze. The standoff seemed to go on forever. Finally, the Sheriff relaxed and holstered his gun. “Damn hired guns, always getting’ themselves killed in my town.” The lawman cleared his throat and spit on the dead body, hitting the corpse in the face. “We’ve been lookin’ for this one for about a month.” He turned to Tark. “Thanks,” he offered, holding out his hand. Tark, his gaze still emotionless regarded the outstretched hand for a moment, but the laugh building up inside him finally won over. A grin broke across his face and he grabbed the Sheriff’s hand in a crushing grip before pulling the lawman into a tight embrace. “How the hell you been, Pugh,” Tark chuckled as he pulled away to look over his old friend. “Haven’t seen you in what, four years?” Pugh laughed a deep belly laugh. “Damn near five years. ‘Course back then you were a yellow-bellied coward.” Tark nodded, remembering back those five years. “Times do change, though.” Pugh nodded. Then his expression got serious again. “So what brings you to my neck of the woods?” “I fly with a ship now,” he replied, spying Rian and Etris walking out of the warehouse. “She’s called Destiny.” Pugh nodded in respect. “Heard of her. Good Captain, they say, and a fine crew.” “Glad to hear it,” Etris said, coming up behind the Sheriff. Pugh turned, and introductions were made. Then the lawman turned back to Tark with a curious expression on his face. “I find myself kinda curious about the turn of events just now. Mind fillin’ me in?” Both the Captain and his Second looked over at Tark as well with the same expression as Pugh, so Tark explained about the meeting with the warehouse manager and how he had stood watch when Etris and Rian had gone inside the sound-proof office to discuss the transfer of supplies. Tark had been waiting just inside the warehouse doors when the first shot had gone off and the crowd in the street started screaming and stampeding. Two more shots rang out before he spotted the glint of the gun in the upper window of one of the stores. With the confusion on the street Tark slipped down an alley, in the back door and took out the gunman. Easy as cake. Pugh shook Tark’s hand again, explaining how the shooter had been moving from warehouse to warehouse, shooting at everyone who tried to deal supplies off world. No clue who had hired him or why. At that Tark fingered the Cypher in his pocket and considered handing it over to Pugh, but his instincts were telling him otherwise. He kept the Cypher. After good byes and promises to stay in touch were made on the part of Tark and Pugh, the trio of Captain, Ex-O and gunner made their way down the street towards where Destiny was docked. Tark looked over at Etris’ bandaged arm and grinned. “You get yourself shot again, Cappy?” “Shut up, Spooky.” * * * “Again?” Gretta Kale looked up from her papers as Rian and Tark walked in with the Captain, whose arm was wrapped in a blood-soaked cloth. She shot up from her chair and hustled over to where the Captain was sitting onto the exam table. Rian was pulling off his jacket while Tark stood grinning like a baboon. Gretta spun to face the gunner. “Why is it that every time you leave this ship you bring me back a wounded Captain?” she yelled, pleasingly noting Tark’s fading grin. She may not have been blessed with height, but she knew she could make up for it in attitude. He held up his hands in defense, but she pushed them aside. “Easy, Cupcake,” Tark said, backing up. Gretta said nothing in response, instead pushing back a lock of her blonde hair and turning back to the Captain. She loved Tark, but he had a knack for getting everyone around him shot. “I guess you found another good reason to keep me around?” she asked the Captain sarcastically. The Captain laughed painfully. “Don’t yell too much at Spooky,” he said as Gretta cut away the bandages. “He did good today.” She looked over at the big man and finally relaxed with a smile. “Don’t worry, Sir,” she said to the Captain, “I’ll punish him later.” At that, Tark’s grin returned wider than before. “Now out,” she ordered, switching into Doctor mode. She turned to Rian. “You too, unless you want me to make you and the Captain into Siamese twins.” Rian stood next to the exam table for a moment, then turned and walked out of the room without a response. As she brushed by Tark, he fired one last “I’m the King” grin back at Gretta before jogging after Rian. Gretta hit a control on the wall and the door hissed shut. “Now,” she said, pulling on a rubber glove and giving the Captain her full attention, “Where does it hurt?” * * * Tark jogged out of the Infirmary and turned left, racing up the stairs, through the dining room, and catching up with Rian just outside her quarters. The Ex-O impatiently ran her fingers through her short black hair as the gunner handed her the Cypher pad and explained where he had gotten it. She promised to look into it, doubting that she would find anything of any real consequence on the disk; but like she told Tark, she would look anyway. * * * In the belly of the ship, Harvey Breisch, Load Master extraordinaire oversaw the final loading of the cargo, noting unhappily the seedy looking men wandering his cargo bay, strapping down the myriad of boxes that littered the floor. If it had been his call, they would never have been picking up cargo on such a backwater world as Whitefall, but the lady Patience had offered such a high pay that it was almost worth landing on the shu ma nyaow of a rock. He also had the added peace of mind knowing that Elise Dyan was up on the catwalk with her rather large gun casually pointing at the interior of the bay. He glanced up at her, but she kept her eyes fixed on the men below her while she calmly sipped from a cup of tea. Finally, the loading was complete. Elise came down from her perch and ushered the last of the men down the loading ramp before Harvey hit the controls, closing the interior doors and the ramp at the same time. He did a quick check of the cargo, and, determining that nothing was going to turn into a flying projectile, he turned and headed through the hatch, Elise clambering down the stairs and following him out. As he stepped down into the passenger berth, he turned to see Etris stumble out of the infirmary, a very irate Gretta right behind him. Harvey smiled. “So where to this time, Cap’n?” Etris groaned as Gretta shot something into his arm. “Hesh has our course all laid in. We should be touching down on Shadow in about a week or so.” Something flashed in Harvey’s mind, some memory that seemed more evasive than an ice planet. Something to do with Shadow. But he had never stepped foot on the world himself. He shook his head. “Sounds good, Cap’n.” Then he turned and headed to his bunk, shouting over his shoulder as he went. “Wake me when we’re there.” Etris laughed. Shadow… * * * “I gave them the cargo and sent ‘em to Shadow, like you asked, so why are you still here?” Patience spit blood out of her mouth, along with two teeth and stared vehemently at the pair of dark-suited men standing in front of her. She wanted to shoot the both of them, just fire until her gun was empty, but the two large men on either side of her along with the huh choo-shang tza-jiao duh tzang-hou who was responsible for her need of dental work prevented her from even moving. Her mouth hurt to talk, and her body hurt to move. Patience had tried squirming out of their grip, but her mouth had paid for that; so she just stood still, using her eyes to communicate a message that the suited men seemed to be ignoring. Their eyes stared back at her; dark, emotionless voids that were beginning to really mess with her mind. And their hands! Those blue gloves they wore, like they were doctors of some sort. She shook her head, but a wave of pain swept over her, and she coughed up more blood. The first blue hand spoke, his voice calm and even, yet in the same instance grating, nearly scaring the go se out of her. “You spoke to Kurdian, saw him face to face, and we simply can’t allow the chance that you might…slip and tell him about the trap he’s falling into.” She wanted to speak, but only managed a weak squeak. “There is no need to defend yourself,” blue hand two added. “You have served your purpose, and we no longer have need for you.” “But why Kurdian, why Shadow?” she spat, desperate to keep them talking, to find a hole she could use to weasel her way free. The first blue hand reached into his pocket, pulling something out and cradling it in the palm of his hand. Blue hand two jerked his head, and Patience fell to the ground, the two men holding her walking quickly out of the room, followed by the one who had hit her. She pushed herself back to her feet. Was this her chance? She stumbled to the side, bracing herself and preparing to charge, but as she wiped her hand across her upper lip, it came away covered in blood, much more than there should have been. She looked at the two men; one held a hand outstretched, holding whatever he had pulled out of his suit jacket, the other stood behind the first, his hands clasped in front of him. Blue hand one: “Unfortunately for him, Kurdian has two connections that we are going to need to exploit; one in the past, and one in the present.” Patience looked at him quizzically, about to ask whom he was referring to, but a sudden pain ripped through her head. She cried out and collapsed back onto the floor, blood now pouring through her fingers. Her thoughts were ripped apart, her vision gone, all her senses taken from her until all she could do was scream. Past and present…pain…past and present…pain…past and-

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COMMENTS

Wednesday, October 5, 2005 9:00 AM

WERZBOWSKI


Always loved how this one starts off.

Keep up the shiny work.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005 11:14 AM

CHANNAIN


Me too - that is, what Werzbowski said.

"The third thing was the odd thought that he now had a hole in his favorite jacket."

Always liked that line.


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