Thursday, August 18, 2011

Starlight, Chapter Nine

By J.D. FarnWorth

  (081911) 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.

Note: I have started adding translations at the end of every chapter. If anyone would like a translation of a line in Chapters 1 and 3, just send a note.

In transit; Red Sun System, July 13th, 2504, 05:41 ETWT

The Captain’s Launch was quiet; it had been a long day. Sixteen hours ago life had been somewhat normal. The cabin lights had been turned down to help calm its passengers. The launch was comfortable for up to eight souls and two pilots with little room for cargo. It was built for speed, which with the extra mass; it wasn’t going its top speed.  
Adam stirred and looked up at the woman and 6 men. Each remained awake and each was fighting their own battle to stay awake. Their heads bobbled, one by one, but lifted just at the edge of sleep. They had gone through hell and had come out as survivors. If I could call them that, he thought. Adam repositioned himself on the floor next to Jenny. She had been hurt badly by their new friends. He knew that it hadn’t been their fault. He also knew who’s fault is was.
The Alliance strived to bring the unruly people of the verse under their control. Slavery was know throughout the Galaxy, and was nothing new. A man could find himself on a slaver ship for a number of reasons; some were very much justified in the eyes of the federals. However, what the Alliance scientist did to those men and women was nothing of the sort. They abducted them off their ship and brought them to the Starlight to perform test. They wanted to control their every movement; they wanted slaves to do the Alliance’s bidding.
He touched Jenny’s forehead. He quickly pulled his hand away and touched Judy’s forehead and then back to Jenny’s. “She has a fever.”
“I know,” whispered Judy. Moving a little closer and letting Gabe fall to the floor with a thump.
“What can be done?” asked Adam.
“At the moment, Shénme.”
Adam nodded in understanding and slowly stood. His bones cracked and he stretched to loosen his frame. He quietly stepped over the unconscious crewmate and nodded to Zack who had remained awake to watch over his broken brother.
Marty had been beaten within an inch of his little life, by the same seven that sat across the cabin from the Starlight’s crew.
“How is he?” whispered Adam looking at Zack.
“Adam, he hasn’t moved for three hours. But he is still alive.”
Adam nodding and glanced up to their new friends, catching the glances from each of them, they felt bad for what had happened but there was anger staring back at him. He turned, telling himself, this wasn’t their fault. This hadn’t been anyone’s fault, other than the man in black, Doctor Ryan, and Gorram Alliances willingness to let this happen. They were pushing out further and further, to bring civilization to the border planets. When the planets that had survived without them for almost 50 years pushed back, they would send men like Mr. Black to enforce the Alliance’s will. 
He could site different times in history, when men stood up for what was right, when their freedom was threatened. That, after all, was why he found himself in the company he kept these days. When the Americas were founded, they had to fight for their right to life and liberty, but now things were different. More like America’s first Civil War. He said a quick prayer that the good people would not fight again. Everyone had learned about the second civil war from their parents, who had learned about it from their parents.
Shortly before human’s left, “Earth that was”. There were three wars that left the world broken. Half the population was dead or dying when the first ships left orbit. There are still some that believe that a great deal of people still remained back there. One day, he hoped he would know for sure.
Adam moved past everyone and into the cockpit, sitting next to the captain. The man had come a long way in just a day’s time, from a half crazed spacer, who just wanted to have a little fun to the serious captain, piloting them to safety, all on the pull of a straw.
“How is it coming?” whispered Adam, looking out at the Red ball. He wondered if he would lose his eye sight if he continued to look, but figured the front ports were protected from the solar rays.
“Hmm. Well, it’s coming. Do you see that little dot off to the left? That is Greenleaf.”
Adam looked out the blue planet and slowly turned around to confront the captain at the minor revelation stirring in his head. “Why is it off to the left and not the dead ahead of us?” He turned to point out the front port and then looked back into the cabin as if he alone shouldered this new secret.
“I have been doing some calculations, we are too heavy.”
“Too heavy,” repeated Adam, looking back to Gabe’s 400 plus pounds and leaning closer to the captain. “What are you getting at Rod?”
“I was thinking on burning up a little fuel, but it hasn’t had much effect on our weight. We will still be far too heavy. We are okay, floating about space where we just burn more fuel to get ourselves moving, but once we hit the Atmo, we will fall like a rock.”
“Can you land her?” Adam asked, with a watchful eye back into the cabin.
“I don’t know,” answered the captain, with the confidence of a mole worm.
“You are a pilot?”
“No, I am an engineer and a good one at that. I know how to pilot a spacecraft, I know how to dock a spacecraft, I even know how to fixer if her breaks, but…”
“You don’t know how to fly a craft in inside the atmosphere of a planet?”
“Heck, I haven’t been planet side in three decades.”
He returned to his work and Adam sat back and wondered what would happen to Jenny, if they waited to get to a station which could be days. “No, captain, we need to tell the crew.” He stood and moved back into the cabin without stopping to discuss it any further. He could feel the captain pulling at his uniform as he did so, but in the end he let him go.
“May I have your attention,” announced Adam.
“Yes, I would like your best ale and a Yú tǎ kē,” asked Gabe.
Adam shook his head. “Not now Gabe, I have something to tell everyone, so wake up.” He watched his crew stir from their slumber and couldn’t bring himself to look over to the other half of the group.
“Does it have something to do with the fact that the captain has no intention on going to Greenleaf?” asked Vin flatly, pointing out the port side.
Adam turned and looked at the shiny blue planet. They had been looking out the view ports all along, not just staring at him and his crew for the last few hours. “Oh, well, I see you are more informed than the rest of us.”
“What are you saying?” asked Judy, turning to see her home planet for herself.
“We have a problem,” answered Adam, “as everyone can see we are not, on a course for Greenleaf.”
“Adam, Marty can’t wait, he needs to go to a hospital or a horse doctor, and I don’t care, as long as he is seen by someone.”
“Nero, can fly,” said the woman.
Adam noticed the others looking sternly in her direction.
“Explain?” asked Adam.
“I thought he was your navigator?” asked Gabe.
“He is both,” answered Vin, looking around at the others before continuing. “He asked us not to tell anyone that he was the pilot. Mary shouldn’t have told you…”
“Why,” said Adam.
“…because, up until a day ago, we were on our way to a new life on Miranda. That is until; we experienced a malfunction with our ship’s environmental system. The Speedwell sprung a leak and we needed to put in somewhere for repairs. The Cortex stated that Raven’s Station had great service at going rates. But when we got there, there was no one around. The whole place looked like a grave yard for ships.”
“I came about, and felt the first harpoon take hold, then the second. It made it impossible to escape,” said Nero. He lowered his head and went back to shouldering the blame.
“Turns out, the place was a trap, they reeled us in,” continued Vin.
“But, why we’re not the Alliance,” said Judy, injecting.
“Mister, you are wearing an Alliance uniform, just like the ones the pirates wore.”
Judy laughed. “I ain’t no Alliance anything and I sure the heck, aren’t a man. Wǒ de rǔfáng bǐ nǐ dà!” She started pulling her uniform from her shoulders when Adam stopped her.

“Judy, you’re not helping, no one wants to see them. I mean to say we are not the Alliance that everyone knows and fears. We are a different kind,” Adam fumbled over his words.
“What he means is that most of us were raised on the one of the border planets and have never seen the Core. We took jobs in space and ended up on that giant fèn, we called the Starlight,” stated Judy, nodding to Adam to go on.
“Us that moved out here from the core, are running away from something or to something,” answered Adam, looking back at Jenny.
“We need to get back to our ship,” asked Mary, the only woman of the group.
“I know and we need to get our friends to Greenleaf for Medical treatment,” answered Adam, regaining his composer.
“We have children,” said Mary, blurting out some untold secret and slapping her hand to her mouth.
“Shut up!” exclaimed one of the other men.
“No, let her talk,” said Judy, standing to her full height, which would have looked far more impressive in a taller cabin.
“I would listen to her,” stated Gabe.
“Captain, maybe you should come back here,” asked Adam, looking away from the settlers for the first time since the conversation had started.
The captain stepped into the cabin and turned to Judy’s point of interest. “What has happened?”
“She was saying something about children and that other one mouthed off. Now, she all closed up about it,” answered Judy, moving closer to the man on the end with the mouth.
Adam moved to intercept her, he was half her size and it made no difference. Other than the fact he felt her ease up when he got in between.  
“Can someone start talking? Before Judy starts working this guy over,” asked the captain, who found himself caught up between Adam and Judy. 
“We have children on the Speedwell,” said Mary, “We hid them from the pirates. They are tucked away in the forward cargo hold.”
“But, you said, there was a leak.” Judy pulled away from Adam and moved back to her place next to Gabe. “We need to save them kids Cap’n.”
“Yeah, but first things, first…” he answered, pointing to the direction of Jenny and Marty.
“If I get you to your doctor, will you help us rescue their kids?” asked Nero, leaning back in the seat for the first time since the trip had begun.
The captain looked to Adam and then to each of the others before answering. “Yeah, I think we can come to an understanding.”
“It isn’t that you didn’t want us to know you were a pilot, is it that you know the codes to activate your ship,” stated Adam.
Nero nodded, “So, it remains right where it started.”
“Unless, someone tows her out of there,” stated Zack, before he thought to check his wording.
“We hadn’t thought about that,” said Mary, shooting daggers at him with her glare.
“Okay, Okay, but what about the atmosphere,” asked Judy, wrapping her arms about Gabe’s shoulders.
“The leak is in the main cargo section, crew and dinning area,” answered Nero, as he stood, everyone noticed his elf like features for the first time. He was thin as a rail, white as a sheet, with pointy little ears.
“What’s with the ears? You some sort of alien,” said Gabe, without thinking.
“No, I was just born with pointy ears. Does anyone know where on Greenleaf we’re heading?” He walked passed the captain and moved into the pilot’s seat.
“The coordinate are set in the Nav-con,” answered the captain. He watched him disappear into the cockpit and turned to Adam. “I better give him a hand, it won’t be long now,” said the captain, slipping into the cockpit.
“Everyone, you best get yourselves seated,” said Judy.
The stars out the view ports changed as the Captain’s Launch turned towards the planet of Greenleaf. Out the front, view port the little planet, grew in their field of vision. Nero’s hands flew over the controls as the craft hit the atmosphere and they leveled off for flight.
“We’re okay, just a little heavy!” yelled Nero over the growing noise.
“I was thinking that we were heavy, with the extra passengers and all!” yelled the captain.  
“No, it’s more than that, there must be something else,” answered Nero, struggled with the yoke as the launch began to shutter violently.
“Are we going to crash?” asked the captain.
“Did someone say we’re going to crash?!” yelled Adam.
“I’ll take that beer and fish taco, now,” Gabe said, as he was slapped in back of the head by his new girlfriend.
“I don’t want to die!” yelled one of the Speedwell’s crew.
Nero lowered the nose and dropped the altitude of the launch to gain control of the ship. The sound of the wind ripped through the outer frame of the launch, unnerving its occupants.  
Wǒ de rǔfáng bǐ nǐ dà, My tits are bigger than yours.
Shénme, nothing.
Yú tǎ kē, fish taco.
Fèn, Turd.