Have Wings, Will Fly Chapter 3: Jailbreak
Thursday, December 8, 2005

Simon employs the help of an old friend to help the young man escape from the Academy's transit point on Londinium.


Have Wings, Will Fly Chapter 3: Jailbreak

Wow, I cannot thank you all enough for the wonderful and encouraging comments. Gypsylife, I took your comments into consideration for this chapter. The idea about the crew intercepting them through transit was brilliant, but for some reason, I never thought transit as in “they capture another ship with him on it”, I thought “holding place”. Duh. So, I hope this chapter gets things moving a bit, moves away from “mysterious boy” to “mysterious boy crew member”. Much more interesting for me to write, too. I’m excited to actually start developing relationships after this, but for now, we need backstory. ~*~*~ “He’s so scared…” River whispered in the copilot’s seat as a fresh wave of emotion flooded her mind. She lingered on that thought while the crew continued to speak with Garcia. He had suspect that the Academy had just brought in a new group of unsuspecting young minds to play with. There were about 50 new students that were as of now in the process of being evaluated and sorted into “categories”. It was easy to see that River had been sorted into one of the most secretive categories: assassin. It pained Simon that they could look at a bright, beautiful, young and gifted fourteen-year-old child and think “She’s going to be wonderful for killing someday.” A child. Someone’s daughter, someone’s sister. He just didn’t think that people could have such disregard for life. That is, before he left Osiris.

The crew had been discussing the plan for such a long time. Code names, ID’s, passageways, rooms, the works. It seemed complicated and dangerous to be trying to bust out someone they had never even seen before, especially someone only seen through the eyes of a crazy girl. But River’s conviction was unwavering. She had seen him in the early stages of processing at that place, and knew it wasn’t too late.

River stared at the viewscreen without actually looking at it, and then it came to her. A name. A name for the face that haunted her dreams even while she stood.


“Who?” Mal asked, startled a bit by her sudden urge to speak after being silent for two hours.

“Eagle. He’s a flyer. Cage is in the dirt, though. They buried him, along with their hands.”

“If’n yer ta ask me, that there ocean just made her extra fong luh.”

“Well, Jayne, if we were to ask you about anything, we’d be eating niou-fun by now.” That was from Wash. He had his bed rolled out onto the deck and was propped up with a pillow. He really hated missing out on all the action.

River turned to Jayne and gave him an icy stare. Those always made him shut up. Or run away. It was always a toss-up.

“I can get my ship to you tonight. Are you sure you want to go through with this, Simon? I mean, I’ve been trying to dig up the Academy for ages, and, well, rescuing River wasn’t exactly easy.” Garcia’s face was kind. He looked older than he was, about mid 40’s but with an air of an old man. He had seen a lot while being part of the resistance.

“The again, I always love a good challenge.” ~*~*~ Later that night Garcia’s ship settled on the shore of Marina. It was a small vessel, but perfect for quick getaways. Simon recognized it, and so had River. The crew boarded, but Wash had to be left behind. Kaylee stayed with him, as Mal had preferred she not get involved in case of violence. Inara had been contacted and was to stay with Kaylee as well as soon as she arrived back to Serenity.

Simon didn’t want River to go, but he knew she would know more than any of them about this boy, so she was completely necessary.

Garcia’s partners resembled the ragtag team of Serenity herself. There was the brave captain Garcia, the first mate Duke Conrad, the merc Red Carlisle, the mechanic Rick Porter, and the pilot Valentina, Garcia’s sister. Quite the local color, Mal thought.

“So, whereabouts we headed, Garcia?” Mal questioned as they took off.

“Well, Mal, if I was to tell ya, I’d hafta kill ya.” He turned and half-smiled at him. “Can’t be givin’ all the secrets around here, but I’ll tell ya it’s in some Godforsaken city called Achilles on this gorram planet.”

“Tunnels.” River pointed as their ship neared a set of glimmering lights in the distance. It was nighttime as they sailed towards the city of Achilles. It was an ugly city quite different from Marina, that was certain. It had the grimy, dark look of a place that had obviously seen better, brighter days. Too much technology in a small space that had lost its luster. Just the average scummy Core city, now. It was oddly apart from the other cities on Londinium, miles away from the nearest one. Not much vegetation to speak of. Why anyone would want to live there was a question left unanswered.

“Well, she certainly is a little genius, Doc. What we know for certain is that this is the place where the Alliance begins prepping their next victims before being shipped of to the main hell-house where they do their dirty work. Achilles is not where we found your sister. That place I cannot reveal, and don’t much wish to. It was a nightmare. But yes, this place is buried deep underground. Like a gorram maze.” Garcia sounded bitter.

The plan was set as the landed on the outskirts of the city. The “prepping facility” was a heavily guarded area, but not so much near the entrance. The Alliance had wanted to put up a front where unsuspecting students were lured in. It looked like a regular school on the top, and possibly the only place in the entire city with a fully lush campus. A diamond in the desert, the campus was pristine and healthy-looking. Traffic usually came and went among the campus, mainly officials of the government and prospective students. It was night, though, so it looked eerily deserted. The holding chambers for the newly selected students were deep underground. It was designed like a very high-tech prison, where the students would be forced to wait as they performed a series of basic tests and scans to determine their “category”. Mal, Zoe, and Simon were to be posing as administrators checking in on the students in their holding cells. Garcia, Duke, Jayne, and Red were in stealth, breaking into the security system and disabling the vid cams for approximately 20 minutes –enough time for them to break out “Arden” and escape. River was dressed in the garb of a student, which meant she had to wear regular shoes. She giggled to herself at the thought of Jayne being “stealthy-like”. It was times like those when she almost enjoyed reading minds. Almost.

Time was short, and they moved quickly. After tapping the system and disabling the cameras, Garcia pulled out his comm. and whispered into it:

“She’s blind, now. Click the cage and go.”

Mal and the others moved quickly. Zoe had her hands on River’s arm, gripping it tight. She was to appear as if returning River to her cell. The tunnels were numerous underneath the school. They passed by many doors without windows, and sometimes heard faint yells and whispers around every corner. It made Zoe shiver, thinking about River.

“Honey, we need you to find this boy. Just him. We don’t have time for any other.”

River’s mind searched the tunnels and rooms. She saw hundreds upon hundreds of chambers with kids holed up in them. Some were older, and some were too young. A particular 13-year old girl held River’s attention for a while as she mentally searched. She was alone in her sparse room, cradling a small doll. She was crying, wondering why her parents sent her away to this awful place. River knew it was the same way for her. She hadn’t been in this particular facility, though. The place she went to was picturesque and beautiful on the outside. Her parents sent her there because she wanted to go and learn and become successful. This girl was there because she wanted to learn, too. River blanched, overcome by pain, and made a quick promise to return. She hated to think what would become of her otherwise. Perhaps she would become a shell of a girl like River herself, or much, much worse. River shook this image from her mind. Not a shell.

Most of the students were much older, about River’s age. Quickly, she found his mind. It was open, pleading, and frightened. His was clearer than the others. She felt him a hundred yards down the long stretch of hallway. She tugged at Zoe and pointed, whispering,

“Found you,”

Mal got the hint and began to move slowly towards the T-shaped intersection where River was pointing. Simon glanced around; there was no one to be seen, which gave him a false sense of security.

They heard footsteps. Heavy, and closing in, fast.

“Gorrammit, Mal, where the hell are ya? You gots five minutes ‘fore the feds see!” Jayne whispered into his comm. Mal could have sworn he heard Duke in the background whispering “Use code, you stupid hwoon dahn!”

“Can’t talk” Mal clicked off the comm. and tried to walk calmly, motioning for the others to follow. Behind a corner, a surly official pushed a young man down the hallway. They flattened themselves against the wall, but River began to strain against Zoe’s grip.

“Get movin’. I don’t have all rutting day here, you know. Got other…’students’ to teach,” his voice was cruel and eyes even crueler. He leered and gave the boy another shove and began punching a keypad to the boy’s cell.

“Arden,” River repeated. Simon knew it must have been him, too, with River’s rough description. The boy began to struggle to no avail against the guard. The man was enormous, and the boy, well, wasn’t. He was tall and strapping, yes, but dwarfed by the man he had just tried to elbow in the nose. The guard punched him hard in the stomach, doubling him over. As the door swished open, River twisted away from Zoe, and ran to the boy.

“What the-” Before the guard could make a move River pulled a gun on him and cocked it. Zoe, bewildered, patted herself, checking for her gun.

“Well, I’ll be a jien hwo.” she muttered.

The guard held up his hands. “Now just calm down there, missy. How the hell did you get…” But the guard never finished his sentence, as River had backhanded him savagely with the gun and promptly shot him in both his legs. He certainly wouldn’t be following them. River turned to the boy and kneeled down, placing her hand on his forehead. He looked into her eyes for a brief second, before alarmingly looking at the ceiling. Klaxon sirens were sounding throughout the entire passageway, red and loud.

“Time to go!” Mal grabbed River and helped her pull Arden up. They raced down the long tunnel they came before. Gunshots could be heard in the distance, and Mal knew that their security cover was shot. They were ruttin’ sittin’ ducks. River sensed them before they came, men in blue uniforms carrying the same guns. She pushed Simon to the side and shot two on the spot from a stairwell on their left Mal had missed in their fleeing. From another hallway to their right –they all looked the same- came Jayne and the other men. Red had been shot in the arm, and Jayne was cradling a wrist. The others looked a little worse for wear, apparently in another firefight.

The crew stampeded down the hallway Garcia was pointing to. It had a narrow passageway leading to the surface, and the only way was up. “Valentina, we need you!” he yelled into his comm. “One step ahead of you, little brother.” As Red blasted the grate to the shaft, a platform suspended by steel rods dropped down. They would have to go in shifts, as the platform would only hold a few at a time. Simon pushed River, the boy, and them himself aboard. Mal and the men fanned out, guns raised, pointing in either direction and guarding their getaways. As they ascended, Simon heard some muffled shouts and gunshots. After two more agonizing shifts onto the platform, the crew was safely aboard their getaway ship.

“I’m sorry bro, we held the screen up as long as possible, but they’ve tagged us. We gotta run.” Valentina punched the consol and drove the ship straight up, sending the unbuckled crew flying to the back of the aircraft.

“We got him? Hah! Take that you Alliance bastards!” Rick shouted, eagerly shaking hands with Mal’s crew, and cuffing his own men on the shoulders.

“You know, we have a rather cute, chipper mechanic that I think you might like, Rick…” Mal teased, throwing a what? look at Simon. Simon rolled his eyes and turned towards River and Arden. She was wrapping up some of his minor cuts and bruises. He had quickly passed out in River’s arms soon as they tossed him into the ship. ~*~*~ Garcia’s ship touched down next to Serenity. Inara and Kaylee rushed out to meet them, kicking up sand. Simon rushed to Kaylee and pulled her into a tight hug. He then parted from her and rushed Jayne and Red into the ship to tend to the gunshot wound and the sprained wrist. Zoe and the men assisted River as they carefully brought the boy into Serenity. They layed him down in the infirmary at first, but River insisted he be placed in the spare bunk. Waking up in another hospital was the last thing he would want.

Mal and Garcia watched as the events unfolded and their crews scurried around assisting one another.

“Well, friend, I’m glad we could be of service. That boy is just one of the many we’ve helped bust outta that place. It wasn’t as bad as where River went to, though.” Garcia shuddered.

“Look, if there’s anything we can do for your crew, anything at all--”

“Well,” he laughed, “We could use with a decent meal. Alls we got on this luh suh heap is dried out protein and maybe a few o’ them spacebugs.”

Mal grinned. “Well, our good friend Mr. Operative made sure we got all the prime eatin’ right here. I’ll get Kaylee.” ~*~*~ Later, the crew bid farewell to Garcia and his friends.

“You know Mal, he did us quite some favor. Some folks just do things like that without askin’ nothin’ in return. He’s quite a hero.” Kaylee sighed and wiped down another dish and turned to face her captain, who was elbow deep in soapy water, cleaning after both crews made a hell of a mess in the kitchen. They figured they’d let the boy sleep for now while the crew settled down after a painfully long night. It was nearing midnight as Kaylee and Mal finished cleaning and bid each other good night. Mal poked his head into the cockpit. After their little jailbreak, the crew decided it was better they get off Londinium sooner rather than later. They couldn’t afford any detection from the feds, who by now had them marked, again. The city of Marina, however, was beckoning for them to stay in all her seaside glory. It made River sad to think they’d be leaving in the morning.

“Hey, how are we doing tonight, little albatross? Shouldn’t you be sleepin’ now?”

Her head was resting between her knees as she sat curled in the pilot’s seat, absentmindedly playing with Wash’s stegosaurus. She placed it on her nose. “Can’t. Too much to think about.”

“I reckon you’ve done enough thinking in the past day for all of us. When we get off this rock, I promise we’ll find a place to relax. Newhall has a mighty fine coastline we could explore. Nice city called Delmar sits real pretty next to the ocean. Would you like that?”

River looked up from her sulking and gave Mal a dazzling smile. On any other occasions he would have been terrified. She usually only gave him smiles like that when she was about to, or had just finished doing something like hiding everyone’s socks in the pots and pans and forbidding them to cook until they danced on the table barefoot with her. They grudgingly gave in to the dancing, and tossed out the cooking pot that had Jayne’s socks stuffed in them afterwards. Jayne stopped speaking to Mal for a week, and the crew had nicknamed him “Fancy Feet” for the smell…and the dancing, too.

Now, though, her smile was sincere.

“Of the sea,” she chirped, before jumping of and giving Mal a quick peck on the cheek.

“I’ll take that as a ‘yes’, then.”

~*~*~ Meanwhile:

“Hey! Where’s Steggy?!”

End chapter 3. ~*~*~ Translations: Fong luh: loopy in the head Niou-fun: cow poop Jien hwo: cheap floozy Hwoon dahn: bastard Luh suh: crap


Thursday, December 8, 2005 9:52 PM


I can't wait to see the next chapter, more character interactions and development. MASSIVE kudos for the little bit between Mal Simon and Rick. That was too cute. Nothing to make Simon notice Kaylee better than jealousy huh? (makes silent plea for a cute simon kaylee scene next chapter). Keep it up.

Friday, December 9, 2005 7:15 PM


Just wanted to chime in with the others and say I'm enjoying this. This is some strong storytelling. Looks like you might have an issue with your italic coding toward the end. Also, your quote attributions can be a bit awkward at times.

It's well-written overall, though, and like I said, I'm enjoying it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 9:29 AM


"Hey! Where's Steggy?"
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! and go crew for bustin' out arden!!!



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