Destiny: The Director's Cut - 9
Friday, October 21, 2005

Repost of chapter 9. The impact of Elise's sacrifice barely has any time to settle in before things start going from bad to worse...


Shadow Hesh Davoy’s hands were wrapped so tightly around the steering column on the bridge that his knuckles were turning white. He could feel the Captain’s hand on his shoulder, put there as an attempt at comfort but now only serving as an ever present reminder that he had just lost the woman he loved. Forever. His heart thundered inside of his chest, and there were tears trying to force their way from his eyes; but he stayed calm, controlled, just like Elise had taught him. Elise… A single tear forced itself from his tightly closed eyes and wound it’s way down his cheek. Why? Why her? The last time they had spoken, it had led to yet another fight. He hadn’t even told her…hadn’t even… God, I loved you so much! Silence. The one thing Etris was good at was knowing when to talk and when to let things remain unspoken. So Hesh let the silence linger, until his brain was screaming out for answers. “How did it happen?” Hesh finally asked, if only to silence the clamor of voices in his head. Etris sighed, and when he spoke, Hesh could hear sadness in his voice. “She died saving Inara from a Reaver. She pushed Inara out of the way and took the bullet for her.” Elise died…saving Inara? If his heart hadn’t been trying to tear it’s way out of his chest, Hesh might have been more amazed at that statement from Etris. Elise gave her life for the woman that she had only thought of as a whore, nothing more. What had happened, then, to make her willing to sacrifice herself for Inara? “So she died a hero, then.” It was more of a statement from Hesh than a question. “Yes,” was all Etris said in response. * * * “She hated me…then why did she have to die for me?” Inara cried as she knelt beside Elise’s dead body. Jayne chuffed as he let loose another round of bullets into yet another approaching Reaver. “Ain’t no time for regrets now, ‘Nara,” the merc said, but the Companion’s question stuck in his mind as well. He hadn’t known Elise for very long, in fact he had only talked to her briefly on Serenity, and even then only long enough to hear about her animos…aminos…aw, hell, she was pissed off about ‘Nara and even more so about Hesh defendin’ the Companion. Personally, he didn’t see any real problem with Inara. He didn’t see a problem with anyone in her line of work. “Jayne!” Tark yelled as he lowered the comm mike from telling Etris about Elise. Jayne looked over at the other merc and noticed the pained expression on his face as he looked back at Elise. But Tark’s face turned back into a scowl as he gestured with his gun. “Behind you!” he yelled. Jayne spun, firing over Inara’s head as three more Reavers came running around the far corner of the building. His stomach turned as he saw what looked like fresh skin sewn onto their, well, “clothes”, as well as rivers of blood running their bodies; some from likable victims, more from the mess that Vera was making of the huh choo-shang tza-jiao duh tzang-huo and it’s buddies. Yup, rivers of blood. River. Where in the good gorram was that girl? And for that matter, where was her gou tsao de brother? “Hey, ‘Nara!” Jayne shouted as he fired upon two more Reavers rounding the building towards them. Inara didn’t respond. She was bent over Elise’s body, but she was ignorin’ him. He moved towards her, still squeezin’ Vera’s trigger. “’Nara!” Still no response. He moved right up behind her and nudged her with his foot. He expected her to respond to that, but she still didn’t move. He bent low, keeping Vera trained on the far corner, and grabbed at the Companion’s shoulder, pulling her towards him. Then he noticed the blood. Not just from Elise, but from a fresh hole in Inara’s chest. Bright rivers of blood. * * * Mal stood on Serenity’s bridge, one eye on the readout in front of him, the other on the circling Trans-U that seemed to have suddenly gained an interest in the ships on the dock. The larger ship turned and headed over the town, still dropping incendiary bombs as it headed in a path that put it straight on for Serenity. Wash shifted in his seat. “Mal?” “Get us in the air,” Mal ordered. “We can’t save our people if we lose Serenity.” * * * Across the tarmac, Destiny was lifting into the air as well. Over the sounds of the explosions and the constant gunfire, Jayne could hear the sound of Serenity taking to the sky, and as the Trans-U rumbled by overhead, Jayne could understand why. Not that it helped him in the slightest. Jayne knelt on the ground, Inara cradled in one arm, while he fired Vera with the other. Tark had lost ground and stood behind Jayne, both men trying to hold their position. The wall of the Governor’s house was behind them, but the number of Reavers attacking them kept increasing. He knew that Vera’s magazine was running dry, but he was out of clips. He kept his finger on the trigger though, trading a steady stream of bullets for more controlled bursts, but after a few more seconds, Vera clicked on empty. “Gorrammit!” he yelled. Tark glanced down at him. “You out?” “Yeah! What about you?” As fate would have it, Tark’s gun chose that moment to run dry as well. “I’m out!” Tark yelled over the continuous roar. Jayne looked around them as more Reavers approached. “We’re humped!” It was true, too. Inara’s breathing was shallow, and for a moment Jayne feared what would happen if he didn’t bring Inara back with him alive, and what Mal would do to him. Then he realized that he probably wouldn’t make it back, either. Most men close their eyes at that pivotal moment when they know that death is there for them, but not Jayne. He pushed himself to his feet and lifted Inara into his arms. Tark stood beside him, holding Elise’s lifeless body. The two men glanced at each other, and something passed between them, a sort of mutual respect. They stared into the bloody face of death together. * * * Hesh handled the controls masterfully, despite the tears of loss in his eyes, bringing Destiny alongside Serenity as the two ships faced down the behemoth that was heading their way. Behind him, Etris opened a comm. link to Serenity. “So what’s the plan?” Etris asked. Captain Reynolds’ voice came back full of static. “Just stay clear of their port side. That grappler’s their weapon of choice.” “Well, I’ve seen plenty of firebombs being dropped out there,” Etris stated, his voice sounding concerned. “Do they have anything else that they can throw at us?” Almost as if on cue, the alarms on Destiny began to blare, and Hesh could hear the same thing over the comm link to Serenity. “Liou coe shway duh biao-tze huh hoe-tze fuh ur-tze!” Hesh cursed. “They’ve got a missile lock on us!” Since when do Reavers have missiles? * * * On Serenity’s bridge, Mal and Zoe grabbed for the nearest handholds as Wash yanked back on the controls, pulling Serenity back to a safe distance. He watched Destiny do the same, and then for a horrible moment, both ships hung in the air waiting to see which way the Trans-U would run. Finally, the massive ship turned and burned its engines for Destiny. Wash almost breathed a sigh of relief, but even though Serenity was safe for the moment, the Reaver ship was now bearing down on Destiny, and if the Trans-U really did have a compliment of missiles loaded on board, then the other Firefly could use all the help it could get, even with a pilot like Hesh at the helm. As if he knew what his pilot was thinking, Mal pointed towards Etris’ ship. “Change course,” Mal said, and Wash found himself remembering the Wave from Inara that got them into this mess in the first place, and of the order to change course that Mal gave then, the order that Wash had challenged. This time was different, though. There was no arguing the order. Mal may lead with his heart, but as Wash had realized yet again, Mal’s heart was almost always right. Wash changed course, and as the first barrage of missiles tore after Destiny, he piloted Serenity straight into hell. * * * The two mercenaries stood together, facing now nearly a dozen approaching Reavers, all of whom for some reason, despite the fact that both Jayne and Tark were unarmed, did not fire their guns. Instead they formed a wall around them, growling as their bloody lips formed into sneers. “What the hell they doin’?” Jayne asked. Tark shook his head. “No clue,” he replied. What in the good gorram is going on? “They got us right where they want us,” Jayne said. “Why ain’t they killed us yet?” Shrugging, Tark shifted Elise’s body in his arms. “Maybe they’ve got to wait for some head Reaver or some such before feastin’ on us.” “That ain’t funny, gorrammit!” Jayne hissed. Tark chuckled. Then he heard some commotion above them. He looked up, for the first time noticing the balcony overhead. The sound was that of footfalls, and they didn’t sound like those of the Reavers surrounding them. The footsteps sounded ordered, almost military, and something about the methodical rhythm of the steps sent chills down Tark’s spine. “Who in the…” Jayne mumbled, and then Tark watched Jayne’s eyes go wide and all color drain from his face. Tark looked up again as a pair of blue-gloved hands appeared over the railing. There was a murmur of voices, and it took Tark a moment to realize that Jayne was the source of the voice. “Two by two, hands of blue,” Jayne said. “Crazy girl was right…” “Of course she was right,” came a voice that only amplified the Tark’s chills. “She was made that way.” A head peeked over the balcony, a weathered face staring down at them with dark eyes that pierced into Tark, and he shivered involuntarily. The man raised one of his hands, and Tark noticed a small device nestled in his palm, almost like a wand of some sort. “I’m sorry, but you’ve seen too much, and you’ve worn out your welcome.” He waved his hand and the Reavers all stepped back, but in the same movement, they raised their rifles and aimed them at Tark and Jayne. In Jayne’s arms, Inara whimpered. Tark watched as Jayne adjusted the Companion in his arms. Tark looked down at Elise in his arms. She was one loss too many. Now Inara was on the brink of death. Jayne and himself were probably going to be killed next. Why? He had so many questions that he knew he could never get answered. He had fought hard, and Elise had died trying to save someone that she hated, and now her sacrifice might have been in vain. Captain Reynolds had found his mother again, but it looked like he was about to lose more. Tark heard a high-pitched whine, and felt a sharp pain in his head. He lost his balance and fell back against the building, Jayne doing the same. He tried to hold onto Elise, but he was finding it hard to concentrate, and he collapsed to the ground, dropping his friend, and as the searing pain began to wipe out every other thought in his mind, a single thought prevailed. It’s not fair.



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