BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

HOTPOINT

Here Be Dragons (Part II)
Friday, March 12, 2004

The Crew try their hands at Piracy


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 3969    RATING: 10    SERIES: FIREFLY

Disclaimer – Everything either does belong to Joss or it should. I’m just borrowing his shiny ‘verse for a while.

The 21st Lancers belong to the British Army so I’m borrowing them too. I hope they don’t mind.

Thanks to my regular readers for making it worthwhile to continue the story and special thanks to my Proof-Reader Landry

* * *

IAV Transport Stokerton – En Route to Gibraltar Station – 2520AD

Captain Adendorff was a suspicious soul, which is how he had lasted thirty-five years in the Service, so when the ship received the hail his first action had been to charge the ship’s weaponry. Although Transports usually go unarmed, the IAV Stokerton was a veteran of the war and had been refitted with a Laser Cannon during the conflict making it an ideal candidate for long-range deliveries out into the Deep Black beyond the protection of the Fleet.

Adendorff had been making this run for four years ever since Gibraltar Station had been established. In that time he had never run across another vessel and this was unsurprising given how far out they were. He did know however that there were both unlicensed colonies and less savoury elements out here so it was only a matter of time until he did.

The hail was coming from a small transport, which claimed it was out of fuel and requested assistance. It had apparently been heading towards the colony of that strange religious cult which was supposedly in this neck of the woods but the aging ship had not been up to the job and had burned its reactor dry trying to get there.

The ship’s pilot was convinced it was one of those mythical Reaver vessels or else some Pirates, but to be honest no one would be out here raiding shipping when there was a lot more of that available closer to the core…a lot closer to the core.

However there is nothing wrong with being prepared, which is why the Stokerton was aiming its single Laser Cannon turret at the aging and clearly unarmed Firefly when it moved alongside to check the vessel out.

‘We’ll dock and send over a party to assess your situation,’ Adendorff radioed to the other craft. ‘Please be aware I have several times your crew and we are armed military personnel. Also kindly note the Lasers pointed at your hull.’

Adendorff could actually see the pilot of the other craft in the cockpit. The reaction was not what he would have expected. He seemed to be laughing.

‘This is the Pilot of Serenity. Nice gun turret hope it didn’t cost the taxpayers too much.’

‘Serenity?’ repeated Adendorff. His eyes widened. ‘Tāmāde.’ He was about to give the order to open fire when the Stokerton was apparently struck by something which caused the entire hull to ring like a bell.’

‘That was a Railgun firing at low velocity knocking that shiny Laser Turret off your ship,’ came the Firefly Pilot’s voice from the speakers. ‘I suggest you look to Starboard.’

Adendorff turned his head to look out the Starboard cockpit window and saw a sleek black ship pull up alongside. While he watched a powered turret slid out from the bottom of it and the unmistakeable sight of a Particle-Beam Cannon swung around to point directly at the bridge of the Alliance Transport.

‘This is an act of Piracy against the Alliance Navy. You’ll be hunted down and killed for this,’ Adendorff stated.

Another voice came from the speakers. ‘Aye Piracy it is, so strike ye colours or I’ll give ye a broadside and send you to the bottom of the Vacuumy Black.’

On board Serenity Mal looked at Wash who shrugged his shoulders but was grinning broadly.

‘What do you want?’ Adendorff asked.

‘Wenches, Rum and Booty,’ came the voice over the speaker again, ‘and any Deuterium/Tritium Fuel ye be carrying.’

Mal turned off the radio and flicked on the intercom.

Down on Serentity’s cargo bay several crew members loaded firearms preparing to board the Alliance Vessel. They looked up when Mal’s voice boomed out of the internal speakers.

‘All right,’ he said, ‘who programmed Shadow to sound like a Pirate cliché?’

* * *

Adendorff opened the Airlock and found himself looking down the barrel of several large weapons in the hands of several upside down Pirates. The Firefly could only dock inverted with the Alliance Transport which meant artificial gravity would reverse half way through the lock, a frequent occurrence between docking vessels that those unused to it found unnerving.

The largest of the Pirates spoke up first. ‘We ain’t got no plans to harm your crew. Just let us take your cargo and we’ll be on our way all peaceable like. Course if we get trouble I’m not one to object to causing harm neither.’ Another, apparently the leader from the way the others looked to him nodded. ‘Any difficulties and we’ll have the warship flying alongside burn a hole in your engines and, frankly, it’ll take a gorram long time to push your ship back to the core.’

‘I told you on the radio we’d submit to your demands and I keep my word even to renegade scum,’ stated Adendorff, spitting on the deck for emphasis.

The leader turned and looked to a girl standing just behind him. She nodded and he turned back to Adendorff.

‘Course if you hadn’t agreed to be boarded we’d have just blown a big hole in you, watched your crew get sucked into vacuum and then taken whatever we wanted anyhow,’ said the big Pirate.

‘I know who you are. You can see the wanted posters on every gaol house from here to Londinum,’ stated Ardendorff. ‘I’m well aware of your reputation for butchery.’

‘Always nice to meet a fan. I’m Mal Reynolds by the way,’ the leader said introducing himself. ‘Now step aside and let us aboard or I’ll live up to my reputation.’

* * *

Mal looked at the two dozen Alliance Crew who had gathered on the main cargo deck as ordered by their Captain. They regarded him and his crew with obvious contempt although some were plainly petrified into the bargain. Mal guessed they really did have a serious reputation.

Steve was carrying one of the captured stun-guns taken from the Academy Special Ops’ on Macau and was covering the ships crew whilst Zoe bound them with wire. It wouldn’t hurt them unless they struggled, but if they did they’d tear their wrists to shreds. Jayne was also covering them but with a far less humane and messier shotgun.

Mal looked across to River who was scanning the rest of the crew for signs of resistance or duplicity. She came across one of the junior ranks and pointed to him.

‘He need watching specially?’ Steve asked.

‘No’ said River ‘he needs the toilet really badly. Apparently I have a very intimidating manner,’ she said.

‘You seem to provoke that reaction quite a lot,’ Steven said.

River put on an innocent look. ‘I don’t know why?’

‘Could be the dozens of men you’ve killed,’ Jayne interjected reasonably. ‘Taking out, what was it, three squads of Ally Infantry single-handed on Toulouse probably didn’t help none either.’

‘More like two and a half,’ River said. ‘Mal took out a few of them too.’

‘You are the most wanted person in Alliance space. That’s gotta have an effect on folks who don’t know how cuddly you really are,’ Zoe pointed out, securing another crewman with wire.

‘You may have a point,’ River agreed sadly. ‘That could also explain my lack of a love-life.’

Jayne rolled his eyes. ‘Hey I offered to take care of that for you. Even if you did slash me with a butcher knife once.’

The captured crew looked at each other. If she attacked her own people with knives what in the nine-hells was she capable of with them?

‘I may get back to you on that one,’ River said, ‘although this lad here is pretty cute,’ she said, pointing to another terrified young crewman. ‘What do you say? You’re already tied up like I like them,’ she asked him.

‘River stop scaring the captives,’ Mal shouted across the bay.

‘Sorry Captain,’ River apologised, then leaned in to whisper in the crewman’s ear, ‘I might be back later. I’ll bring the leather straps.’

Zoe bit back laughter.

Steve looked over to Jayne. ‘I’ve never imagined River in black leather before,’ he said quietly.

‘I have,’ he replied wistfully.

River came across a female navigator. ‘Of course I am adaptable,’ she said, stroking the woman’s hair, causing the navigator to shudder.

Steve looked over to the mercenary and fought back a grin. He looked like he might cry.

* * *

Mal checked through the ships cargo manifest. ‘Looks like it was worth waiting three weeks for you to come along,’ he told Adendorff. ‘Gave us time to fix our engine, too. it was in bits not two weeks past.’

‘Just take what you’re taking and get the hell off my ship.’

‘Don’t worry. As soon as we get it loaded we’ll be leaving you,’ Mal told him. ‘Your crew can keep its personal effects. I’m just after Alliance property.’

‘It’ll take you forever to shift my cargo over to your ship.’

‘No it won’t because I’m killing your AG over here and floating the stuff over. Anyway you’ve got spare parts that I ain’t got no use for so a lot of it’s staying.’

‘What makes you think you’ll get away with this?’

‘Because we’re in the middle of nowhere and I’ve got away with a lot more even when I wasn’t. It’ll be a month before any of your ships can get here and start looking for me and think about the volume of space you’ll have to check by then. Got plenty of fuel to burn thanks to you,’ Mal looked up from the manifest. ‘Lets face it, even bothering to try to find me is just a waste of time, money and fuel.’

‘We should have put an end to your kind after the war.’

‘Well that would have saved you a lot of problems now wouldn’t it?’ Mal replied, ‘but for now I’m out here, you Ally types can’t find me and I’ll bet that just burns, now don’t it?’

‘The fleet expands its reach every day. You can’t keep ahead forever.’

‘It’s a big gorram ‘Verse,’ Mal told him. ‘Reckon I’ll be dead of old age long before I see a tiny parcel of it.’

* * *

Zoe had run a rope through the loops provided by the bound crews arms and tied it off at each end so they didn’t float away when the gravity was switched off. All the times Mal had been persuaded to turn off the field on Serenity for the crews amusement was paying off wonderfully as their experience in zero-gee allowed them to effortlessly handle the cargo and shift it through the airlock back to Serenity.

In order to limit the hazards of the cargo suddenly reverting to it’s true weight once it was pushed through the lock into Serenity the AG unit had been turned down to ten percent output so things could be placed and wouldn’t float away but also wouldn’t suddenly crash to the deck as soon as it entered the Firefly’s artificial gravity field. Jayne, Steve and Zoe were moving cargo whilst River kept a watchful eye and an even more watchful, not to say intrusive, scan on the crew. Mal was checking off the desired items on the manifest and marking boxes to be shipped with a blue cross.

The IAV Stokerton had been hauling Fusion fuel to run a whole space station, which was more than sufficient to run three ships for an age. Half Serenity’s bay was full of D/T (Deuterium/Tritium) Mix alone even before the crew started to move foodstuffs and the more useful looking spare parts and machinery.

Quite why the Alliance had bothered to ship two crates of paper money Mal couldn’t begin to guess. It wasn’t like there was anything to buy out here, but he supposed the station crew’s pay was worth taking too, and it certainly made Jayne happy, not that he could buy anything out here either.

Best haul ever, Mal thought. He should have taken up Piracy years ago. As long as he only hit government ships his conscience wouldn’t bother him none and in fact the look on the Ally crew made it worthwhile all on its own.

One real bonus was the crate of ship-to-ship missiles, which were the same type as carried by Shadow. Those things were irreplaceable which is why he’d given the AI orders not to use them without express permission. They were non-nuclear but packed a serious punch nonetheless.

Wash hailed the boarding party over his headset microphone. ‘Mal, everyone, you’ve got to listen to this,’ he said.

‘What are you talking about?’

‘Just listen,’ Wash said.

A voice came over everyone’s headset speakers. It was singing.

‘I’m a salty old Pirate set sail from Hong Kong. Way Hey blow the man down. Give me some whiskey, I’ll sing you my song. Way Hey and blow the man down.’

Steven went into hysterics and dropped a huge crate of tinned food onto his foot. Fortunately at one-tenth gee it didn’t hurt much.

‘River I know for a fact that it must have been you that did this,’ Mal said into his mic.

‘Yes Captain,’ River replied, ‘but it does have a great voice.’

‘Shadow this is Mal. Stop singing right now,’

‘Aye, Aye Sir. And how goes the plundering?’ replied the AI.

‘Plenty of fuel.’

‘Arrr. It sounds like a good haul, and no mistake, Cap’n.’

Mal gritted his teeth. ‘I want that Pirate gôu pì purged from it’s programming as soon as we get out of here, River,’ he ordered.

‘Aye, Aye Cap’n,’ River replied.

Mal turned to Adendorff who had been able to overhear most of the conversation and the singing, for that matter. ‘I bet we’re just awe-inspiring aren’t we?’ he asked.

‘Now, honestly, not so much,’ the Alliance Captain replied, wondering how in the ‘Verse this bunch had possibly ended up public enemy numbers one through five.

* * *

Ardendorff watched the sleek black warship veer away heading along the course the Firefly had taken half an hour earlier. Reynolds had left his pet AI to watch the other vessel until his slower Firefly was well clear of the scene.

The Alliance Captain had already freed his crew and they were a sullen group. It would fall on their Captain to take the blame for losing the cargo but they’d all have their records sullied by the day’s events. Long-term promotion prospects were downright slim as of now.

The IAV Stokerton resumed its course for Gibraltar station.

Four days later, as he aimed his service pistol at the ship’s nuclear reactor, Captain Adendorff damned Malcolm Reynolds to hell.

That one laser cannon turret would have saved the ship. ‘Life’s a bitch,’ swore Adendorff as he pulled the trigger.

The explosion blew both the Transport and the other vessel to pieces just as the Reaver boarding party reached the engine room.

Part III

COMMENTS

Saturday, March 13, 2004 4:13 AM

ARTSHIPS


Jolly good fun, up until that last bit. And it looks like piracy is a slam-dunk for our little fleet. What've you got lined-up that's challenging? I can hardly wait!

Sunday, March 14, 2004 10:54 AM

MALSDOXY


Great continuation of Wolf Pack
Can't wait for the next installment

Thanks Hotpoint

Wednesday, March 17, 2004 3:21 AM

SEVERA


This is a great series, I only just discovered it from Death or Glory through Here be Dragons, and read the entire thing in less than a week! Great work! You captured the crew well.

-Severa

Wednesday, March 31, 2004 12:37 PM

HOTPOINT


To artships - Don't worry I've got a few ideas waiting around

To Anonymous BC - The notion struck me as hi-larious so I couldn't resist :-)

To Severa - Reading the lot in a week is very dedicated. Thanks

To MalsDoxy - Always another installment in the pipeline





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