Saturday, August 13, 2011

Starlight Chapter Eight

By J.D. FarnWorth

(081211) 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 Gorram copyright. It is for entertainment use only.


Starlight station, Module Two, Deck 9, July 12th, 2504, 21:41

Adam, Jenny and the captain stood in silence listening to the feedback from the ship’s intercom. The engineering room seemed to grow in size as the three lost all confidence.
A lump formed in Jenny’s throat at the thought of Gabe and Judy, dying at the hands of the horde of zombies. Jenny climbed the shelf and pulled her duffle from its hiding place. This was New Years all over again. She was determined to find a way off the station and find a new place in the black, zombie horde or not.
Adam had given up on calling the zombies anything other than what they were, controlled by the Starlight’s computer, they were the enemy now. Killing Judy and Gabe was the last straw.
The captain dropped to the decking and looked up at the camera hoping to hear from his crew. His crew, his plan and his responsibility; his fists tightened as the new plan formed. “Adam, you go see what the hell happened, Jenny, you stay here and block the hatch. I am going to head to the Grav-Room and take out the station’s gravity system. Let’s see how the horde can get around in weightlessness. Dohn mah?” He jumped up and headed out the hatch to the Grav-room.
Adam grabbed a large spanner and launched himself into the crawl space. He was determined that he would kill anyone in the Caf-Deck that hurt his friends.
Jenny threw her duffle on her back and tightened the strap. Reaching the hatch in three paces, she pulled it closed and tried the lock. It was broken, like most things on this derelict. She exploded, screaming, “Feh feh pi Gob,” then giggled at the thought of her mother hearing her little princess speak such vulgar language. “Yes, mother,” she yelled, looking into the over head lights, struggling with the first crate and then the second, dropping each at the foot of the hatch. “No! Mother. I do want to go to the training house.” It was then she realized that it was their dream, their wish, not hers. The last 6 months on this station had been the happiest of her life. “Ku,” She whispered as she heard the rapid foot falls, coming from the corridor.
 Jenny smiled, deciding that she would have her new life. She would not end here after all that she had gone through.
A group of Walkers, now numbering five, had split off from the attack on the Caf-deck and headed down into the casino. The gaming computer chose which direction would have the best chance of another win for the casino.
“I always like the name, Virginia, a new Id tag and maybe I’ll head out further on the rim.”
The monitors in the control room, no longer manned, flashed different points of view from across the station.
“Docking release manually activated,” said the Starlight’s system, and then repeated it in Chinese. On the monitor the Alliance Patrol Boat the Falcon eased away from the Starlight’s upper section.
* * *
The captain slipped into the Grav-room falling to the deck. He rolled onto his feet and tapped the intercom. “I am ready.”
“Just do it!” exclaimed Jenny as the first of the zombies hit the hatch pushing the pile of debris a full three inches.
As the captain was about to key in the right combination into the gravity console, Jenny’s screams came from the intercom. “They’re here!”
 * * *
The hatch opened fully, she turned to run, but it was too late. She turned and hit the first zombie, knocking him to the ground. The second and third grabbed at her just as the captain made good on his promises to shut the gravity down. The deck plating clicked and the sound of metal on metal could be heard from all around.
The two zombies clung helplessly to Jenny as she pushed off the deck.  
 * * *
“Docking release manually activated,” said the Starlight’s systems computer, and then repeating it in Chinese. On the monitor the Firefly called Betty eased away from the Starlight’s lower docking ring.
Adam, crawled hand over hand through the belly of the Starlight’s guts, he emerged as the station lost gravity. The Caf-Deck was silent and dark, but no horde lay waiting on his side of the counter. Easing as if in slow motion he peaked over the counter to what lay on the other side.
Judy stood with Gabe and two settlers. In the hands of the settlers were cookies and tea. The fluid floated out of the cups as they jumped in surprise in seeing him.
“What the hell! We thought you were dead!” he exclaimed in his excitement he let the spanner go, which floated away.
“Gabe is my hero. He took out the camera in the Caf-Deck and the computer was blinded. These two were in here when it happened. When the camera went down it shorted out the power,” she answered pointing over to the camera and the busted EC unit.
“Let me guess you throw the evidence at the camera.”
“Well, what good was the evidence if we were dead,” answered Gabe.
“Well, I guess I can’t argue, we need to be getting out of here.” Adam turned to leave but was stopped by one of the settlers.
“We can’t go that way. My wife stepped out of the hatch, and the computer took her over once again.” He looked both sad and terrified at the thought of once again going in to slavery. “I am Tyranny, and this is Nero.”
“It is nice to meet you,” said Judy, smiling widely at the man and his friend.
“We don’t have much time. We need to get the docking ring. The captain is going to…” Adam was interrupted as the alarm signaled, and the decks flashed red with a strobe light from the warning system.
“May I have your attention? An evacuation order has been requested. All guest and crew will report to the lifeboat stations. We at the Lexus Corporation would like to thank you for your assistance,” said the computer the message repeated in Chinese.
“Okay, you two head into the crawl space.” Adam pointed at Nero and Tyranny. “There are no cameras, so you should be okay. We are going to head down the corridor and through the casino. It is the only way, Judy and Gabe will get off this station.”
30 seconds earlier.
The captain struggled with two of the zombies as he reached an alarm panel, hitting the woman with his left arm to free his right, he pulled open the panel. The zombies seemed to have no trouble fighting in zero gravity. He pulled the handle down to the bottom, triggering the evacuation alarm.
As he raised back and was about to kill the man that had been crawling up his leg he realized the man showed emotion in his face. Something the zombie’s lacked before.
“You all there?” he asked the man.
“Yeah, I think so.” The man grunted.
“You mind letting go.”
“Sorry,” said the man.
The captain turned to the bulkhead and pulled himself over to the intercom and triggered the com, station wide. “Adam, the computer has released control of the zombies.” He looked over and apologized with his eyes for calling them zombies.
The man that had been crawling up his leg, nodded in understanding.
“Let’s get out of here,” he said it into the intercom but really meant it for the confused man and woman around him.
“We are already on our way,” responded Adam, pulling his body across the video poker machines of the main casino.
* * *
The captain, together with his new friends, was first to get to the docking ring. He went to work punching out instructions on the console.
“Here comes someone,” yelled the woman. 
Adam was not more than fifty meters from the console, where the captain tapped away on the little screen. He pushed off the bulkhead launching him self down the corridor, followed by the others.
Adam pointed to the little hatch, “Go!”
Judy pushed off and disappeared into the hatchway. One by one everyone slipped into the opening.
“Captain, where’s Jenny?”
The captain continued to type orders into the console. “I don’t know.”
Adam launched himself down the hallway as another group of settlers emerged from the same corridor he had come from. One of the men pulled Jenny along. Adam’s mouth dropped open as he reached her floating body.
“I think she is alive,” said the man pulling her along by the wrist.
Adam grabbed her by the waist and held her for just a moment before taking charge of her limp body. “Go,” he ordered the men and pointed to the captain at the console.
He turned her up right and kissed her on the mouth despite the blood from her wounds that were all over her face. He pushed her away to get a better look and met her eyes staring back at him.
“The first one is free; the second one will cost you.” She smiled, and then grunted in pain.
“Captain!” he exclaimed as he launched her down the corridor.
The captain looked up as the Jenny reached him. He caught her with ease and pushed her into the little opening.
Inside the compartment, it was getting a little crowded as Jenny dropped to the decking. The captain stepped over her and Adam followed pulling her up from the deck of the Captain’s Launch.
“The gravity plating is working fine in here, by the feel of it,” complained Jenny rubbing her head.
Gabe stepped over to the hatch and pulled it closed as he heard someone on the other side. He gave it a push, and there was Zack holding his brother in his arms.
Zack smiled pushing his brother into Gabe’s arms, “I figure we could eat him if it takes too long to get rescued.”
Marty moved a little and gave Zack the finger.
“You’re alive?”
Marty laid his little hand flat and moved it side to side.
“I think that means, so, so,” answered Zack, entering the Captain’s launch and finding a seat for his brother and him.
“It looks like you broke your jaw,” said Judy, moving over to help care for Marty.
He shook his head and pointed to the men who sat quietly.
“Sorry,” said Tyranny, lowering his head in thought.
“We will have time for apologies later,” interrupted Adam, as he locked the pressure hatch and spun the handle around.
“Ready?” asked the captain.
“Everyone, hold on!” yelled Judy.
* * *
On the well lit deck of the Falcon. Commander Black stood next to his command chair. He watched the front screen waiting for the transport to be out of the way.  
“The Betty is underway,” said Petty Officer Blue.
“Fire, all weapons until there is nothing left of the Starlight. Mark the disposal of the station as a main reactor breach.”
“Aye, aye.”
Just as the first of the volleys of light hit the station, small objects scattered from the lower and upper half of the station, out into all direction.
“Life pods launched, Sir, the computer tallies three hundred objects and counting.”
“It was expected, they're empty.”
“Maybe a few guardsmen got away.”
“No, it must be a malfunction, main guns continued to fire on what’s left of the station. Inform the engine room, we will be going to full burn in 30 seconds.”
The home team moved away in the captain’s launch with the rest of the life pods scattering into the black. They watched as the Starlight was awash in white light with destruction set upon it by Black’s ship. It slowly was disappearing from view. The Alliance vessel’s main engine lit the view ports as the ship went into full burn.
“How soon to Jubilee? I'm hungry!” yelled Gabe.
“Not for a few hours. I am afraid to go to full burn, until they have put some distance between us and them. I am going to have to thank Mr. Black for making me a captain. After all, only the captain can take the launch out for a spin.”
“Can I come and help you thank him?” asked Adam.
“Yeah, can I come to,” whispered Jenny.
The others nodded in agreement.
“Jubilee is a bad idea,” stated Nero.
“Why is that?” asked Adam.
“Wrong time of the year, Jubilee is rounding the Red, The only planet that is close is Greenleaf,” said Nero, without raising his head.
“How would you know without a chart,” asked Adam.
“He is our navigator,” whispered the woman.
 “I have family there, and I know of a place to get help for the wounded,” said Judy.
 “So, Greenleaf it is,” stated the captain.

The arrow shaped launch slipped into full burn disappearing quietly into the black. Leaving what was left of the station to slowly burn out and fade away.