Blue Sun Rising
“Okay, let’s not panic.” Mal took a deep breath. “River, tell me
what’s going on out there.”
River said, snapping out of her daze.
shook her head emphatically. “Like a worm on a hook, they wriggle
for the Alliance…they’re being sneaky,” River muttered.
talking about the Reavers, River?” Zoe asked, puzzled. “That
don’t sound like Reaver tactics...Reavers don’t have
can plan, when they want to,” River said quietly. “Dark, twisted
plans, full of rivers of blood. They want to rape the ‘verse; take
what was taken from them.”
doesn’t sound good,” Mal muttered.
good,” River agreed, solemnly. “They sit like spiders, waiting
for the honey to draw them in.” She pointed at a blank spot on the
screen, just beyond a gas giant. “I can feel them, they’re
planetary interference would mask even a Reaver’s engine,” Zoe
said, looking closely at the readings. “It’s possible.”
that’s just great,” Mal muttered.
taking the bait,” River said. “The reaver ship is moving away,
and the Alliance ship is following. Blue minced meat.”
Zoe looked at Mal’s troubled face.
thinking, I’m thinking,” he muttered. “Damn it, we can’t
let this happen, can we?”
the radar screen “It’s an Alliance cruiser,” she said. “The
crew will be at least a thousand strong.”
them much good if the Reavers get on board; they wouldn’t stand a
chance in hand to hand combat…River, have they spotted us?”
nodded. “They’re ignoring us, got bigger fish to fry.”
then,” Mal said, grimly, as he grabbed the com. “Time to find out
if Caruthers is who he says he is, or if he’s just stringing
us along – Jayne, bring our guest to the bridge.”
Zoe asked, uneasily. “What are you thinking?”
know as well as me, Zoe, that the Alliance won’t believe a word we
say. To them, we’re a bunch of troublesome thieves who can’t keep
our noses out of their business. But if Caruthers is Alliance, he’ll
have codes, and he won’t be able to resist trying to warn them.”
we’ll have to come up with a plan B, won’t we?”
at him doubtfully “I’m not sure about this Captain.”
a better plan? Coz I’m all ears,” Mal asked, impatiently.
turned to look at the hatch door, as they heard footsteps approach.
An annoyed looking Caruthers stumbled through the doorway, followed
by a grinning Jayne. “Could you call your attack dog off, please? I
think he might have fleas.”
Jayne. “He wasn’t moving fast enough,” he said, unrepentantly.
“I had to nudge him along.”
sighed. “Okay, here’s the deal. We’ve got an Alliance attack
cruiser facing off a Reaver ship. Now, usually this would not
be a problem, as an Alliance ship would win, hands down. But what the
Alliance ship doesn’t know is that the Reavers are drawing
them into a trap and, a much as I’m not a fan of our gracious
government, I wouldn’t wish that fate on anyone.”
his head, Caruthers eyed them sharply. “Don’t get me wrong, but
what has that got to do with me?”
you see, I know you all hot to deny you’re an Alliance spy; but
lets face it, they are way too many coincidences piling up, so
I reckon you’re lying.”
you reckon wrong,” Caruthers said, dryly. “I’ll admit
it, I was eager to get off the planet quickly, but I assure you it
has nothing to do with Alliance. There were…personal reasons.”
sure, personal reasons,” Mal drawled. “They wouldn’t have
anything to do with a certain antique sword, would it?”
already explained to your first mate, the sword is a family heirloom;
and no, it has nothing to do with it,” Caruthers snapped angrily.
“Now, can we please drop this charade? I am not an Alliance
telling the truth,” River piped up.
Startled, Mal rounded on River. “Why didn’t you mention this
funny,” River said, shrugging.
funny?” Mal echoed, disbelief in his voice. “Excuse me if I don’t
see the humour in this, River.”
smirked. “You don’t know the joke yet.”
this mean we don’t get to throw him out the airlock?” Jayne
him a look. “Yes, Jayne, it does.”
it, and I already had the perfect fence in mind for that sword.”
this is just dandy,” Caruthers growled. “I’m stuck on a
ship where they don’t even wait until the body is cold before they
figure out how to dispose of the spoils.”
not, want not,” Jayne said, promptly. “Words to live by, my mama
her choice in knitwear, I wouldn’t take her advice too seriously.”
are you disrespecting my mother?”
kids, break it up,” Mal roared. “We don’t have time for
this; we still got Reavers on our screen, and whole lot of Alliance
troopers about to become dinner.”
shrugged. “Not our problem.”
fault,” River said, quietly. “We drew them from their home. Now
they roam new hunting grounds, but the fresh prey has sharper knives,
so they need better teeth.”
eyes narrowed. “What is she talking about?”
mind the reader,” Jayne grunted. “She don’t know what she’s
talking about, most of the time.”
head whipped around. “Did you say reader?”
going, Jayne,” Zoe said, rubbing her temples. “Couldn’t you
just keep your mouth shut for once?”
once, managed to look contrite. “Sorry, just slipped out.”
time, no time,” River said, her voice quavering as she moved
uneasily in her seat. “I can’t feel them, they’re in my mind
and they won’t let go.”
calm down, they’re not going to get you,” Mal said, placing a
hand on her shoulder. “Zoe, get Simon on the horn, we need him up
Zoe picked up the com. “Doc, you’re needed on the bridge.”
Mal said, straightening up. “Here is what we’re gonna do…
River, set a course right between those two ships; not too fast, I
want to be pretty near the giant when we intersect.”
that isn’t a good idea,” Zoe warned. “If either of those ships
fire, we’ll be dead meant.”
fresh out of good ideas, Zoe,” Mal said, tiredness showing in his
voice. “All I’ve got left is crazy.”
are you hoping to accomplish?” Caruthers asked.
hoping that the Reavers will react and do something stupid.”
want to draw them out, spring their trap before the Alliance ship is
caught in it.” Zoe said, understanding. “Might work.”
it doesn’t?” Caruthers folded his arms. “What then?”
will work,” Mal drawled. “Coz we’re about to send out a warning
signal, on all channels, giving the Reaver ships’ position away.
Even if the Alliance doesn’t listen, you can be darned sure they
will. And Reavers never let their prey go easily.”
eat us alive,” Caruthers said, softly.
the catch us,” Mal countered. “And that ain’t gonna happen.
Serenity may not look like much, but her engine can outdistance any
ship going, if it has to.”
here, what’s wrong?” Simon asked, stepping onto the bridge.
got Reavers,” Mal said, abruptly. “River needs someone to keep
her in the here and now, you’ve been volunteered.”
Simon asked, frowning as he sat by River. “Why aren’t we
will be, we just have to take care of a few things first.”
Mal grabbed the com. “Kaylee, we’re gonna need your magic in the
engine room. We’ll need all she’s got.”
we don’t have time for this, just do it.”
communications console beeped, and Zoe raised an eyebrow. “The
Alliance is sending a proximity warning; they’re asking us to back
they can just keep on asking,” Mal muttered. “River, how’s it
scowled at him. “Hold your horses.”
alarm chirped, and Zoe leaned over it. “They’re now trying to
open a communications channel with us. They might fire if we don’t
position,” she said, grimly.
them, Zoe; make sure it’s broadcast on all channels.”
goes nothing,” Zoe muttered, opening a link. “This is the Firefly
class ship, Serenity—”
know damned well who you are,” a voice cut in as the link
sprung to life. “And, in other circumstances, I’d have you
brought in so fast your head would be spinning; but, in case it has
escaped your notice, I have more important things to deal with at the
moment. So consider yourself lucky, and get the hell out of my way
before I shoot you out of my sky.”
you’re falling into a trap, they are more Reaver ships hiding
behind that giant, if you don’t break off now—“
already given you my warning, Serenity; I am not going to repeat it.”
don’t understand—” The link cut off, and Zoe caught Mal’s
eye. “Somehow, I don’t think he believed us.”
think?” Jayne broke in, irritably. “Now let’s get the gorram
out of here before—”
moving,” River interrupted, as she checked her console. “Look.”
glanced at the screen and felt her mouth go dry as several blips
suddenly appeared on the screen. “How many?”
nine,” Simon said, flatly.
Alliance ship seen them?” Mal asked.
changing trajectory,” Zoe confirmed, looking at the screen. “So
I’m guessing that’s a yes.”
run?” River asked, turning to Mal.
run,” he agreed, grimly, leaning into the com. “Kaylee, give us
all she’s got.”
the engines rev beneath her and automatically grabbed onto the
nearest chair. Turbulence wasn’t really a problem, once you were
out in the black, but old habits die hard.
going, gone,” River murmured, as Serenity arched out of position
and fired its drive. Zoe felt a small tug, and then nothing, as
Serenity settled into its new speed.
that it?” Caruthers asked quietly.
Zoe looked at him, she had almost forgotten he was on the bridge; he
had been so quiet. “For now,” she said, studying his strangely
calm face. Most planet-bound folks would be shaking in their breeches
hummed tunelessly under her breath, and they all turned to look at
her. “We’re being followed,” she said.
course we are,” Mal muttered. “Who is it?”
sure?” Zoe asked. “They shouldn’t be able to keep up with us.
Their engines are usually falling apart.”
eyed the blip that shone ominously on the screen. “It seems one of
them got an upgrade.”
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