BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

13

Phoenix Rising: The New Crew
Thursday, April 20, 2006

The captain of the Rising Phoenix, Deep-Water Rikun, his crewmembers Monid, E.C, and Starr decide to find new crew. First in a series. First fanfic, excited. "Life On-board Serenity" fans will recognize Deep-Water and Monid.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2470    RATING: 1    SERIES: FIREFLY

Deep-Water squinted against the furious rising sun, weathered hands shading his face. Despite the heat, a cerulean scarf was wrapped around his throat, masking a horrid ridge of scar tissue. An ebon bandana held back his steely hair, collecting sweat summoned up by the warmth. He wore a simple, tan changbao, a rusty belt, and a commoner’s dusty pants.

The man’s eyes were dark sapphire, as vast and hidden as the ocean. They shared qualities of the ocean, a den of chaos masked by a placid surface. A scraggly, rough beard disguised angular features. All in all, he would be described as an average border-worlder, but his speech and movement rung similar to someone from the Core. This was one of the qualities that caused people to like him almost immediately. Unfortunately, it was also a quality that attracted Core trash like the Dockmaster.

Beside him was a man best described as a peach-colored toad, although the way the flesh on his neck pooled over an over-tight collar was reminiscent of some form of swine. When he spoke to Deep-Water, his almost bloated eyes shone with a false idea of shrewdness. His chins would sway as well. The man was Core, no doubt about it, somehow assigned to look after the docks of this border-planet. A respectable place, compared to some of the rougher moons, but it wasn’t exactly ribbons and ponies on Haemon. “In case of your ship being stolen, Captain Deep-Water, I will need some...funding to acquire a guard.” Interesting how a pig so desired to be greased. Deep-Water’s earlier impression of a toad began to fade, and the man looked more like a pig the more he spoke.

“Of course, Dockmaster Peaulieu.” Deep-Water enjoyed handing out bribes, especially when the cash was counterfeit. “How long do my crew and I have to return to the ship, Dockmaster?”

The corpulent gob of flesh smiled self-importantly at the use of his title. Most called him Mr. Peaulieu, or the Hogmaster (behind his back, of course; Peaulieu had much power over the dockworkers).

“I’ll ask the workers to wait five days, or your ship is scrap.” He raised a ledger, and scribbled almost furiously. “I do not understand why you are so concerned with the people on your ship. They seem hardly your sort. Our sort.” Peaulieu smiled haughtily, obviously believing Deep-Water was a Core-worlder, a fancified dandy running an outer-planet ship. The piggish man was Core, and took pride in the fact.

“Well, that is what makes me the better man.” Peaulieu began to laugh at this, and only realized it was an insult when Deep-Water left to round up his crew.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

“Paper’s are cleared, E.C. I’ll be in Southtown if anything comes up.” Deep-Water stood in the wide doors of the Rising Phoenix, as his first mate, E.C Monroe, rhythmically pounded a heavy-bag. Deafening music thundered from the bridge, and E.C battered the punching bag to the heavy metal.

E.C was a man frightening in appearance, face and arms adorned with Nordic-style tattoos, mystical blue patterns stretching across his black skin. His hair was shaved in a pattern as well, his initials garnering the back of his head.

The tattooed first mate obviously didn’t hear the Captain, continuing to box. Deep-Water ignored the ignorance of his first mate, and preceded towards the bridge, his leather boots squealing against the grate.

Inside the bridge, a beat-up stereo was pounding out screaming guitars and dark vocals. In spite of sounding like strangling roosters and a cat smoothie preparation, it was a brand of music that had made a revival the last few years, and one the Deep-Water disliked intensely. Rising Phoenix’s pilot was busy playing the air-guitar and mouthing the vocals. The man used to play drums in a band, once.

“Monid.” The pilot continued to “rock out,” as he called it, not noticing (or choosing not to notice) the captain. Monid “jived,” with wild abandon, unaware that Starr had rigged a camera to record these eerie ballets. She planned to show them to the pilot’s family at Christmas.

“ROKER!” Deep-Water shouted, using that tone of voice that Starr called “the Captain voice.” The pilot nearly collapsed with fright, immediately falling into regular pilot actions while the Captain turned down the volume considerably.

“Yeah, Cap, I’ll get her offa the ground soon enough, just get E.C to prep the engines, and..”

“We’re already on the ground, Roker. You even landed us, remember? I just cleared up the docking papers. We’re taking a vacation.”

“Oh, well, I guess that’s all right.” Monid Roker scratched uncomfortably at the back of his head, and scuffed the floor with his boot.

“ ‘That’s all right?’ You’ve been begging to get off-ship the past two weeks! You even said, “ ‘Captain, why can’t we just take a vacation’?”

“Yeah, that’s a problem. See, my girl sent me a wave two days ago? She’s off-planet now, moving to some moon few weeks out. So, since she ain’t here, and ain’t ever gonna be, I don’t feel too obligated to go off-ship. See, we was gonna..”

Deep-Water cut off this diatribe with a hastily raised hand. “I don’t care what you and your harpy were going to do. I only care if you’re going to stay on-ship or not.”

Roker stroked his chin melodramatically, a sure sign that he had already made a decision. “Well…I guess I could stand a few days offa Phoenix.” Monid grinned widely. “So, what’re we doing first?”

“Correction, pilot. What you’re going to do. I’m heading for Southtown, see if I can find some work for us.” Deep-Water exited the bridge as E.C’s head darted in the doorway, a dark mass of azure tattoos and insanely white teeth. “Happened to the music, Monid? I was working up a sweat!” Indeed he was, dark face glistening. It made Deep-Water think of those vintage sports-drink commercials, with the athletes sweating blue drops.

“Doing what, exactly?” A smooth, young voice lilted from behind E.C. The pilot, captain, and mechanic all turned simultaneously to see a nineteen-something girl resting coolly against the catwalk rail. “I heard heavy pounding and music. Left a little too much to the imagination, I think.” She stalked almost catlike into the bridge, E.C making way for her. Had to, of course, he was so massive.

Deep-Water glanced at her Spartan use of clothing (probably by choice, not requisition) and shook his head disapprovingly. “No way.”

“ ‘No way,’ what?” The young chef and merc cocked her head. “What, Cap?”

“No way you’re heading out into Haemon like that. Especially this time of year, when the roaches come out. If you don’t get snatched by some drunks, then people will think you’re a…you know.”

“Anybody tries to snatch me,” she displayed a vast collection of knives on her belt, and the heavy jade ring in her braid, “they’ll suffer some kind of hurt.” A razor sharp length of piano wire fell from her bracelet. “Although this doesn’t hurt incredibly, if I do it right.” The fact that this girl had an unnerving amount of weapons, and all the training to use them, didn’t faze Rikun at all. The blue-eyed captain simply shook his head and crossed his arms. His merc rolled her eyes, and stomped to her bunk.

“I’m sure he hates to abuse his authority!” E.C shouted at her back, face splitting into a grin. “No matter how many times you give stupid orders, Captain, I’m amazed we put up with it.”

“That wasn’t a stupid order, E.C. If people think she’s what she dresses, there’s bound to be some complications.”

“You know she can handle herself, Rikun.” Monid said, sounding slightly defensive. He almost swore when he realized he used Deep-Water’s name.

“It’s ‘Captain,” Roker, and it isn’t her I’m worried about. You remember the last time someone laid a finger on her?”

Roker and E.C grimaced painfully at the memory. “I had no idea she could inflict so much pain with one hand before that day.” E.C shuddered, and turned to the Captain.

“If you’re heading into Southtown, Captain, you oughta take one of us.” E.C yawned, and collapsed into the comfortable pilot’s chair, popping open a stray beer can that Monid had missed. “I’m guessing Starr’s gonna get the job?” Despite having ten inches and a hundred and forty two pounds on Starr, E.C wasn’t the better enforcer.

“I’ve got a different job for Starr this time.” As the captain recited his plan, Monid and E.C rock-paper-scissored over the last beer, resulting in E.C simply yanking it from the pilot, chugging the whole thing.

“Have you two listened to a word I said?” Deep-Water stared angrily at the two crewmen, blue eyes flashing.

“Huh? Oh, of course, Captain. Monid’s gonna split from us with Starr, see if they can round up some fun, while we head into Southtown, getting some work.”

“Good ears, First Mate.” E.C nodded in thanks, and began searching for another beer in the papery and electronic jungle that was the cockpit. “Remember, though, Roker. Five days, or the ship is scrap metal.”

“Either that or we’ll leave you behind,” E.C shrugged, triumphant over locating the very last beer, which caused another frantic rock-paper-scissoring. Unfortunately for the duo, Deep-Water lunged at the last second, and hurled the can into the cargo bay.

E.C grinned widely as Roker’s face began to turn a very light green. “Now this is gonna get interestin’.”

* * * * * * * * * * *

“Cannot believe he tells me what to wear,” Starr grumbled as she and Roker weaved through the dusty crowds, rubbing elbows with the common folk of the planet. A few young hopefuls gave Starr looks that could be identified with a puppy’s, but Roker managed to keep up the pretense that he was a young tough, and would do anything for Starr. Of course, this wasn’t a pretense, at least the second part.

“I mean, does he tell E.C what to wear? Does he tell you?”

“Sometimes he tells me, only when I’m drunk and playing ride the,” Monid gestured with his hands, “...with a…” and began to gesture again, “okay, maybe that isn’t the greatest story to tell you, now is it?” He laughed shakily, trying to repress memories of that specific party.

No longer was she wearing that red, silky dancer’s outfit Rikun had disapproved of so much (Monid had different thoughts towards that matter. Wait. No he didn’t. A disgusting display, horrible, just…horrible).

“He isn’t my father, you know. I mean, he looks after me, sure, but-

“Who is your father anyway, Starr?” Roker stopped walking, thinking he had accidentally stumbled onto something with tangible meaning.

Starr didn’t think the same. Her eyes took on a displeased look that steadily rose to anger.

“You’re saying my mother was a..”

Roker stumbled through his whole repertoire of apologetic phrases, sign language and spoken. “No, it’s just…you have to lay down some rules for your life, you know? Have to take orders from someone, and since the Captain’s the one who gives ‘em…”

Starr stopped short, and actually considered what Monid had said, to his immense pleasure. He enjoyed those moments when people thought of him as more than the joking pilot who occasionally had too much to drink. He especially enjoyed it when Starr thought of him like that.

“Not to be harsh, Monid, but that might be the dumbest thing I’ve heard all day.” They began to walk again, except this time Roker’s head was hung, straw-colored hair loosed over his eyes. “Honestly, who’s rules do you have to live by but your own? Nobody’s. You make your own.”

As they swung into a local pub, Starr turned Monid, saying deadpan, “My mother actually was one, by the way.” And with a swirl of black hair, she was inside, leaving a bewildered and disappointed Roker to follow.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

“We’re meeting who again, Captain?” E.C struggled to keep up with Deep-Water, who strode tirelessly through the throngs of Southtown, Haemon’s roughest part of town. It was a minor inconvenience to slap away pawing hands, or to break them in E.C’s case. It was a place of junkies, thieves, and roaches, a place well known for its crime rate and unknown for hospitality.

“We aren’t meeting anyone, E.C. We’re going to a bar.”

“You said we was going to look for work, not get drunk!” E.C reflected over this statement. “Did I really just imply I’d rather work than get drunk?”

“There’s work to find where we’re going, and more crew.” Rikun continued walking as E.C nearly fell from amazement.

“New crew? New crew? When’d you make this fantastic decision?”

“Right about the time my mechanic and my pilot passed out for seventeen hours in the galley and the chef had fly the ship, and the captain was on repairs!” Rikun thumbed through his wallet while conversing with E.C, “We’re losing too much work because of our crew. You two are unreliable.” He silenced E.C’s protests with a cutting motion. “This isn’t what I think; it’s the opinion of our former employers. They won’t give us work unless we have more than just you two and Starr.”

E.C fumed in his mind at this. New crew? They didn’t need new crew, and they never would! And that pass-out thing only happened three times! Deep-Water must be off his nut. You can’t replace friendship, Mother Monroe had always said. That was the benefit of a small crew, the friendship and the good times, not “how much work you got!”

“We’re taking passengers, too.” Rikun shot back as he entered the smoky bar.

Passengers! “This is gonna turn out great,” E.C mumbled as he loyally followed his captain.

COMMENTS

Thursday, April 20, 2006 10:15 AM

13


Worst piece of trash I've ever read. THe dialogue was more painful than gouging out your eye with a spoon.

Monday, July 3, 2006 8:54 PM

GUYWHOWANTSAFIREFLYOFHISOWN


I agree


(haven't actually read it yet)


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