Thursday, June 30, 2011

Starlight Chapter Two

By J.D. FarnWorth

   (072111) All rights belong to that of Joss Whedon, Fox and whoever else would lay claim to the Firefly and Serenity Verse. Don't copy or use this material without the permission of myself AND someone holding the copyright. It is for entertainment use only.
   Also, if you see a spelling error or any other issue, feel free to send me a note as many have in the past week. I will update with corrections so future readers will enjoy the story more and more. You can friend me on Facebook and follow me here. Search for Serenity Lost chapter one and you should find me easy enough. Also if you do have a Facebook account please Share my links with your friends. In the end it is all about keeping the verse alive.

Starlight station, Module four, Deck 12, July 12th, 2504, 10:31
Adam pushed off the bulkhead and was the first to make his way back onto the stairs. After he found his footing he reached out for Jenny and then Captain Rod. The three took to their feet as soon as they felt the gravity pull them back onto the decking, leaving Judy to find her own way off of the level.
Stop at the junction,” ordered their out of breath captain.
Aye, aye sir,” Adam managed to stammer out; he too suffered from lack of exercise.
On Deck 6, they stopped as the captain had asked and to catch their breath.
Captain Rod and Adam each showed signs of fatigue, Jenny however, didn't look like she had broken a sweat.
Adam and Jenny watched the captain open an unmarked door.
What is in there, sir?” asked Adam.
Weapons locker,” answered the captain, still breathing heavily.
We have a weapons locker?” asked Jenny.
Yeah, there is a weapons locker on this level and on deck one,” answered the captain, as he sorted the locker out.
How did you know there were weapons lockers on the station?” asked Adam.
I looked it up in the computer, just in case, we saw any pirates,” answered Rod handing a pump action shotgun to Adam.
Adam in turn opened the action and loaded a magazine into the receiver.
You want one?” he asked Jenny, pushing a Black pistol gripped shotgun toward her.
She shook her head and looked back at the now present Judy.
Judy?” he asked, holding out the shotty for her as he had for Jenny.
Oh, hell yeah!” Judy exclaimed with glee.
This made Adam a little more uncomfortable with Judy, a feat that he thought impossible.
Okay, what do we do?” asked Adam looking over from Judy to the captain who had armed himself with a shotgun and pistol of his own.
We head up and see who the hell is on our station and what they want,” answered the captain chambering a round in his shotty.
If this was a joke of Gabe’s, can I kill him, sir?” asked Adam.
You are going to have to stand in line for the job,” whispered the captain Rod.
Before we space Gabe, can I go hide somewhere?” asked Jenny.
Yeah, just listen for the gun fire and wait for the cavalry,” Adam answered, raising his shotty up hitting the ceiling of the corridor with a thunk.
They headed upstairs and were careful not to make any noise. On the ramp they met Marty and Zack, who both joined them on their climb to deck one. The hatch to the control room door was open, and the light from the room spilled out into the corridor.
“Gabe, everything okay in there?” asked the captain.
There goes the surprise,” whispered Adam.
Yeah, I am just having a good old time with captain, Commander? None-of-my-Business, Oh, Commander Bizui,” answered Gage from around the corner.
Gabe would you like to get shot?” asked Adam, who never made a claim that he either understood or liked Gabe's sense of humor.
Sorry, I am having more than one conversation at the moment. You need to drop your weapons and get your ass in here before they kill the lot of us. His words, not mine, Rod,” answered Gabe, trying to sound more serious than normal.
Whose words, Gabe,” asked the captain, showing no signs of emotion?
Commander Bizui and the half dozen purple bellies that have really big guns pointed at...,” his answer cut short as a one of the soldiers hit him with the butt of his gun.
They could here Gabe's four hundred pounds hit the deck.
Judy pointed up at the camera and they relaxed. She was the first to lower her shotty and set it on the deck, followed by Adam and Captain Rod.
So, what now?” announced Captain Rod?
Get in here,” yelled a voice that they didn't recognize.
Wait here,” whispered Rod to the other four.
Adam nodded and watched Rod disappear into the control room. After a few seconds he realized that Judy had her hand on his buttocks. He smiled and looked back at her saying, “Really?”
She only grinned and lightly squeezed.
* * *

Captain Rod stepped through the hatch onto the cluttered deck of the command center.
So good you could join us, Mister?” asked the tall man who wore black and right down to his leather gloves. He was obviously in charge.
Gabe lay on the floor next to his chair with this head resting on a stack of Bento boxes. His chest rose and fell but seemed labored.
I am acting Captain Rodney Wilson. Is your name ‘Bizui’?” he asked, looking around the bridge and the half dozen armed Alliance guardsmen, pointing the business end of the weapons at either Gabe or himself.
My name is of no concern at this moment. Where is Captain Rutherford? He is the captain of the Starlight according to the records that I have,” stated the commander.
See, he wouldn’t tell me his name either,” said Gabe waking from being brained.
Shhh,” whispered the captain pulling him back up into his chair.
If someone doesn’t answer my questions, I will have everyone on board bound over for dereliction of duty and punished to the fullest extent of the law,” said the stranger sounding more weasel than man.
He went for walk,” answered Gabe running his hand through his greasy hair.
Captain Rutherford?” asked the man.
Yes, Captain Rutherford stepped out and never returned. He is floating around here somewhere,” answered Captain Rod.
Last time I saw him he was near the port side thruster. Cold as a side of beef in the cooler,” answered Gabe looking as the blood smear on his the palm of his hand.
Bizui!” yelled both the captain and the man in Black. The captain and the Commander glanced at one another finding common ground in yelling at the communications officers.
Alright, what gives you the right to call yourself captain?” asked the commander motioning the guardsmen to relax.
The soldiers slung their weapons but stayed within striking distance of Gabe and the captain.
The captain leaned against one of the dusty consoles and answered, “We reported the disappearance and the crew drew straws.”
I didn’t get to draw a straw,” interrupted Gage.
Understandable,” said the Commander removing his gloves and placing them into his pocket. He seemed to relax and nodded to the Master Chief and a few men. Following his silent orders they, left the control room to check on the rest of the Starlight’s crew. He turned his attention back to the captain.
And you won your rank by process of a simple game of chance?” asked the Commander.
No, I lost. No one wanted the job, so I lost.”
Interesting. Captain Wilson, are you on duty?” asked the commander, running his finger over the console the stood between him and the captain.
Aye, for the most part?”
Mr. Blue, note the captain’s appearance and send reprimand into his jacket.”
Aye aye, Commander,” answered Mr. Blue who by the markings on his collar held the rank of Petty officer Second class. He raised a black EC and began punching out information on the key pad.
Now, captain Wilson, you and your crew will be dressed in uniform and in my presence in 15 minutes or Captain Rutherford wont be the only man floating near…” he paused, looking over to Gabe.
Oh, the port side thruster,” interjected Gabe.
Thank you, the port side thruster. Dohn ma?” asked the man in Black.
Aye, sir,” answered Captain Rod.
The commander nodded and waved them away.
Who is going to watch my post?” asked Gabe.
Mr. Blue is well qualified to take your post,” he said and with a waved off his hand. The Petty officer holstered his pistol and moved to the console.
Gabe and the captain could tell that the Alliance soldiers were in fact a seasoned unit. Most of the orders the officer had given were more akin to telepathic communication. This only happens when a group spends years together. These weren't the regular blue bellies of the core worlds. They were the real deal, and the crew had just been dealt cards with nothing to show.
* * *

Down the corridor, Captain Rod and Gabe joined the rest of the crew. Judy gave Gabe a hug and then the captain.
Did you hear that?” asked Gabe blushing from Judy's attention.
No, what happened?” asked Judy.
The guy just referred to this clown as a real captain,” answered Gabe hitting the young man in the shoulder.
Really, does he know that your last job was an injector cleaner on the Basure?” asked Zack.
It didn’t come up. Everyone needs to get into station overalls and meet me in the Caf-Deck in 15 minutes.”
I’m not sure I have a set,” said Adam pushing Judy away just as she tried to hug him.
You can have a set of mine. I have three sets I have never worn,” announced Gabe.
You have been here the longest of all of us. How is it you still having three sets of unies?” asked Judy.
Hell, I still have three sets of the Red's from Red Suns brief ownership of the Starlight,” answered Gabe, again feeling his head and glancing over to Judy.
I'll have a look at that in a few, k' hon,” Judy answered, looking sympathetic.
Adam pulled at Gabe to hurry and sort out their clothing issues. Judy watched them head down into crew quarter and moved closer to the captain and whispered, “Captain, why are they here? They don't come out this far, it is one thing to own the station and have a few communication outposts, but to come in strong.” What worried her, the most was that she being this side of thirty, had never seen a purple belly up close. Sure, you see them all the time on The Core news and other shows on the Cortex. “But out here,” she whispered.
No idea,” he answered motioning her away as the Alliance officer had done to his own men. She didn't move but instead gave him a puzzling look.
Who are they?” she demanded.
No idea. Alliance secret service, maybe. That is all I know. Now you have fourteen minutes,” said the captain, again shooing her off.
Captain Wilson turned to a comm-unit and opened a broadwave to all com stations. “Jenny, I am ordering everyone into standard Station jump suits. We have guests, and we will look the part. Everyone will meet me on the Caf-Deck in 14 minutes shaved and suited or you will go on report. Make this happen, people,” he announced, turning the channel off and headed toward his cabin. He wondered if this meant he could move into Captain Rutherford's cabin.
Oh, that would be shiny,” he said aloud before he could catch himself.
As he passed the large portrait of Captain Rutherford and then the one of himself. It was a much smaller portrait, one of him wearing his crap covered overall from the Basure. He laughed, then ran back and removed it from the wall. He didn’t want to remind anyone of the dark days before he was Captain Rodney Wilson.

The Caf-Deck seemed full. Everyone was hard pressed to remember when they had shared a meal.
So, who are they?” Jenny said as she ran a comb through her hair.
I am not really clear on that, either,” said Gabe.
You had enough time to take a shower,” asked Adam noticing Jenny's wet hair.
I slipped into a guest cabin. I figured it was a good place as any to hide,” she answered pulling her hair back into a bun and asked, “Why are we taking order from them?”
They are the ones with the guns, dear,” said Gabe flinching as Judy cleaned his head wound.
I hate Alliance wankers,” said Judy throwing a bloody sponge into a pot sitting on the deck.
We work for the Alliance, maybe not the gun toting, purple belly psychopaths, but still the station is owned by the Alliance,” Adam announced pointing to his badge on his jumpsuit.
Everyone looked at Adam at that point and laughed. Not at what the man had said, but at the sight of him wearing a uniform 4 sizes to big. It looked as if he had worn a blanket to the meeting. Despite the laughter he poked Judy's chest where the Alliance command patch was sewn on to her uniform.
Oh, if I only knew you liked a girl in uniform.”
Bizui,” demanded the captain.
I never understood why the Alliance wanted a communication station this far from the Core. They seem to be heading out further and further every year. They even have a base on Greenleaf.”
Judy let out a stream of profanity in Chinese under her breath.
Attention!” ordered the captain, looking over to the hatchway.
Everyone stood from the table as the Alliance soldiers and their commander marched into the already crowded dining room.
Relax and take a seat,” stated the man in black, removing his gloves and walking over to the large urn placing his palm upon the metal surface. He checked the temperature of the water before pouring a cup. The Starlight’s crew sat and seemed to relax.
Captain Wilson, is this your entire crew?” he asked, pouring a little tea into a strainer and dropping it into the water.
Yeah, they are all present and accounted for,” answered the captain, he smiled thinking of the port side thruster.
You can take a seat with them,” he answered waving his hand and motioning the captain to sit down.
Captain Rod noted the irony of the command and found room at the table.
Everyone can address me as Mr. Black. It is not my name but it will do. I was never here. We will be your guests for a few days. No record of our presence will be noted in any log. You will be taking a day or two off from duty. We will be running some battle simulations for the next few days. You will hear things that you might want to ask questions about. Don’t. You will see things that you might want to remember. Don’t! We were never here, understood?” He stopped and stirred his tea.
Everyone shrugged and shook their heads.
Mr. Black sipped his tea and set in on the counter next to the urn. He then pulled his glove back over his hand and looked at the tips of his fingers.
Aye, aye, sir,” answered Adam clearing his throat and looking about the table at his mates.
One by one they answered.
Judy raised her hand and asked, “Sir?”
Mr. Black pointed at the large woman, “Yes, who are you?”
Judy Riley, Food service tech. Will we be restricted to a part of the station? I ask because there isn’t another working kitchen on board.”
Understandable. Everyone is restricted to this deck and within fifty meters of this room,” said Mr. Black.
It sounds like you are going to seal us in,” said Gabe out of turn.
Captain Rod shot Gabe a warning look. Telling him to set there and shut up. Gabe did so.
I was thinking of shooting anyone outside the aforementioned area, but we could seal you in if you prefer,” he said looking over to a soldier with Master Chief Stripes and nodded.
Aye sir,” answered the Master Chief turning and moved out into the hall in turn motioning and giving orders to the other solders.
Okay, Captain Wilson. You will have an hour to have your crew get everything that they will need and get back here. Is an hour enough time?”
Yes, sir, plenty of time and thank you sir,” the captain answered almost joyfully.
For the amount of time?” asked Mr. Black.
No, for not sending us out an airlock,” answered Captain Rod.
Gabe stood up from the table and started for the hatch. “Was that really an option?” he asked, turning back to the group.
Judy slapped Gabe in back of the head on their way out the hatch, causing him to whine once again.
Captain Wilson, please stay for a moment,” said Mr. Black.
Yes, sir.”
The two men watched the crew and the solders filter out of the small dining room and into the corridor.
I did some checking, and your qualifications for being captain are lacking...”
The captain interrupted Mr. Black's labored pause, “Non-existent, for the most part, sir.”
Exactly what I was thinking, but for thirteen months the station has run without one report being late, all protocols followed, and the communication relay hasn’t gone down once. Other than the staff dressing like they are on vacation on the shores of Ariel, everything seems to have run fine under your command.”
Thank you, sir.”
I wasn’t complementing you.”
Sorry, sir?”
What I am trying to say is, if you follow my orders and don’t get in the way, I will make sure you will be noted as captain with full rights and status of the post, but, if you fail to keep the others in line. You won’t even get a job cleaning toilets for the Basure! Dohn ma?” asked Mr. Black again sounding like a weasel.
Aye, sir, a great deal is on the line and I will not fail you.”
Make your crew understands that if they fail to stay here they will be spaced and no one in this ‘verse will care,” said Mr. Black walking away from Captain Rod leaving the man by himself on the Caf-deck.
Captain Wilson sat down for a moment. He reached over to the comm-unit. “Gabe, I need to see you.”
* * *
Sparks flew from the hatch as the last weld was completed. They looked at one another as if the situation couldn’t get any worse.
Adam announced that, “I always said this place reminded me of a tomb.”
I was thinking the same thing,” said Jenny as she started back down the corridor in the direction of the Caf-Deck.
Hey, wait up,” yelled Zack.
Hey, Zack, what happened to you?” asked Adam.
In the excitement no one had noticed his black eye.
I fell,” answered Zack.
Into my fist,” exclaimed freshly showered Marty.
Really?” asked the astonished Adam.
Everyone laughed until Marty responded with a stern look and stated, “Really!”
The rest of the crew stopped and watched, Marty strolled down the corridor and disappear into the Caf-Deck.
Okay, everyone, if you haven’t found a place to put your head, you better sort it out now. We will be in here for a while.”
Look at you, sounding all captain-y,” asked Zack.
Zack, that man with the gun made him captain,” answered Adam.
You know I could have had that job,” said Zack looking put off.
Yeah, but as I recall you were the one that held the straws,” answered Adam.
Yeah, but no one said it was for a real promotion,” whined Zack. With that he grabbed his bunk roll and dragging it off into an open hatch.
Captain Wilson watched as everyone went about settling in. Adam disappeared into his temporary cabin and the others, one by one, found places to bunk. All he could think about was what Adam said. He touched the hatch. It felt warm from the weld.
He turned slowly and whispered one word, “Tomb.”
Just then, a boom could be felt as well as heard.
That was another ship docking. Sounds like we have more uninvited company,” yelled Gabe.