Archangel Chapter Forty-Five
Author owns no rights to Firefly, and no copyright infringement is intended. Fanfic only.
"Mal! You better get up here!"
Serenity was still on the ground at Osiris, though they would be leaving within the hour, if all went as planned. Hurrying to the bridge at Jazz's urgent call, he wondered sourly if the plan had just tanked.
"What is it?" he demanded, huffing slightly after running all the way from the cargo bay. Jazz pointed to the screen. Mal saw a rather dignified looking man approaching a platform with the Alliance seal on it.
"Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Ephram Azili, Minister for Military Affairs. I know that there are numerous rumors concerning the recent upheaval, and I hope that I can lay some of those rumors to rest, here today.
"I will explain what has happened, in so far as we know for certain at this time. I won't be taking any questions, as I simply do not have any more information than what I'm about to give you."
"For some time, the Office of Internal Security has been investigating the Blue Sun Corporation. The reasons for this will become self explanatory as I explain. At this moment, the Board of Directors of the BSC, along with most of the senior executives within their organization, are being arrested for crimes ranging from misappropriation of funding, to murder, and conspiracy."
"Let me add, on a personal note, that the time has come to take a long and hard look at how much power and influence such corporations are allowed to have over us as a people."
"Four days ago, the planet of Osiris was attacked. I know that up to now it's been assumed, and stated by members of this government, that the people responsible for this attack, and others like it around the systems, were the work of revolutionary hold outs from the Unification War."
"I'm here to tell you, that is a blatant lie. What we have discovered in the last few days is not only disturbing, but, I would add, enraging. The public trust has been abused in a way not seen since the days of Earth that was. This started with. . . ."
"Well," Mal breathed, ignoring the nuts and bolts of the report. He knew what had happened. "That's something you don't see everyday, now ain't it?"
"It's bigger than that," Jazz told him, holding up a copy of something. "I just got this from Hank. Seems INS is now an 'accredited' news service. We're on the OPI mailing list." Mal glanced at the papers.
The look of shock on his face was priceless to say the least.
"When was you gonna tell me 'bout this?"
Monty looked at Mal with something like a smirk.
"Well, Mal, I only just found out, myself, 'bout an hour ago," the man said.
"And just too far away from where my ship is," Mal pointed to where Serenity still sat nearby, "to sorta amble on over and say, 'by the way, Mal old buddy, a funny thing happened to me on the way to my revolution this morning'?"
"Mal, this wasn't something that just came about outta the blue, okay?" Monty sighed. "I been talkin' back and forth with the Minister for two days. We only reached an agreement this morning, early."
"So now you're still General Reynolds, only now you're an Alliance general!" Mal almost screeched.
"With a large enough command to run every last reaver in the 'verse to ground, and put paid on their account," Monty shot back. "And, none of the men and women who left the Alliance to serve with me get any kind of reprimand. Fact, most are gettin' a promotion," he added smugly.
"Is this for real, Monty?" Mal asked suddenly, calmer. "I mean, there ain't no chance this is all just some kinda. . . ."
"Trick?" Monty supplied. "Maybe," he shrugged. "But I'm takin' it on faith, Mal. That preacher man, Thomas, he says I can trust Azili. So does Book. So, I'm trustin' him. Well, their opinion of him," he amended. "It beats a war, Mal. I shouldn't oughta have to tell you that."
Mal's temper cooled rapidly at that.
One of the announcements on the agenda Jazz had received was the appointment of one Montavius Reynolds as Major General Reynolds, and command of a newly formed fleet and ground force whose sole objective was the elimination of the reaver threat.
"I'm gettin' any and every thing I want to fight the reavers, Mal," Monty said quietly. "And promises that our people won't be squashed by the Alliance no more. I thought that was worth the risk."
"I'd have to agree," Mal nodded, not quite reluctantly. "When do you start this new job o' yours?"
"Now," Monty admitted, waving at the activity around him. Aides were hurriedly packing everything up. "I got a ship waiting to carry me straight to my new command."
"Be careful, Monty," Mal warned, taking his friends hand. "Watch yourself, and give'em hell."
"I aim to do just that."
"What is it, Simon?" Jazz asked, seeing Simon stalk back aboard the ship.
"River and I tried to visit our parents," Simon informed her glumly. "It didn't go well, to say the least."
"I'm sorry," Jazz rested her hand on his shoulder.
"I wish I could say I was surprised," Simon told her, reaching up and grasping her hand. "But I'd be lying, if I did. I was hoping, for River's sake, that things would go better."
"It must have been hard on both of you," Jazz commented, moving to where she could hug him. "I wish I could make it better."
"You do," Simon smiled at her. "Just by being here."
"River, are you all right?" The small pilot looked up at Inara.
"Tried to see my parents," she admitted sadly. "Didn't go well. I wasn't surprised, of course, but I had hoped, for Simon's sake, that it would."
"I'm sorry, mei mei," Inara said softly. "I wish I could help."
"No help for it," River shrugged. "They are lost to us. At least we tried," she added. "Now, there is no need for guilt. We are free to be."
"That's one way to look at it," Inara admitted.
"Only way, for me," River told her firmly. "I could never stay here, anyway. Not now," she smiled faintly. "Too much wanderlust, and need for adventure, after this."
"Well, that's one thing about flying with Mal," Inara smiled ruefully. "There's always adventure."
Kaylee had gone to the infirmary to give the still unconscious Jayne a bath. She hadn't done it before now, thinking he would awaken soon. But he was still covered in blood, and she couldn't stand to let him lie there like that. So intent was she on her task, that she wasn't aware that Jayne had woke, until she happened to glance at his face, only to see two deep blue eyes looking back at her.
"Jayne!" Kaylee squealed. "You're awake!" She flung herself at him, crushing her lips to his. When they parted, he was smiling.
"I had a dream," he told her. "You were in it, telling me that it was time to stop fighting."
"Weren't no dream," Kaylee grinned. "River did something, I don't know what, 'xactly, but she took me inside your mind."
"So it wasn't a dream," his smile grew.
"Nope. It was real," Kaylee assured him. "Now that you're awake, I 'spect we can get going."
"We're goin' to Celeste, Jayne," Kaylee told him flatly. "You're gonna take that law job, and we're gettin' married."
"I am? We are?" Jayne looked at her.
"You are, and we are," Kaylee nodded firmly. "No more flittin' about, fightin' reavers and what not. Not for us. We're gonna live like folks oughta."
When Jayne didn't reply, Kaylee grew a little apprehensive. She resisted the urge to bite her lip. Suddenly, Jayne smiled.
"I'd like that, ai ren," he told her softly. "I'd like that very much."
"Jayne's awake!" Kaylee announced over the com. Soon the entire crew was gathered in the infirmary. Simon was clucking over him, Mal was telling him what had happened while Jayne was 'nappin', Inara was smiling at him, telling him how glad she was to see him awake.
River hung back, smiling. Jayne caught her eye and winked. She beamed at him, and patted his leg in reassurance.
"Well, 'tross, what say we get shut o' here?" Mal said finally. "Kaylee, we set?"
"Good to go, Captain," Kaylee informed him.
"Then let's get in the black."
It was agreed that Jayne and Kaylee would stay a while longer, until Jayne was healthy, and Kaylee could train a replacement engineer. It wasn't much of a sacrifice, she decided. The ship had been home for a long time, and she would miss it.
But she was determined that she and Jayne would live a good life, a better life, than they'd had the chance to up to now.
Serenity's first stop was the monastery.
"Hello, Malcolm," Thomas smiled as Mal and the crew eased down the ramp. He looked older than the last time Mal had seen him. The old man's eyes fell to Jayne, then, and they sparkled a bit, when they did.
"Hello, Michael," he said softly, embracing the younger man. "I prayed for your survival, and God has not turned a deaf ear to me."
"Thank you, Brother Thomas," Jayne murmured.
"So, now that this adventure of yours is past, what are your plans?" Thomas asked, turning his attention back to Mal.
"Ain't got any at the moment," Mal admitted. "Wanted to see how you folks were, and if you needed anything."
"We have lost many, of course," Thomas nodded sadly. "But our injured are receiving good care, and most will be able to return to duty. With this. . .experience, behind us, it is time for us to once more go forth, and do that which is our mandate."
"Wouldn't think you'd need to do that, way things are going," Mal semi-objected.
"I once told you, Malcolm," Thomas replied, "there are more things than just the Alliance to contend with."
River spun at the voice, having been distracted in the garden. She was safe here, and felt no need to be on guard, thus was surprised.
"No need to fear," Reson raised his hands. "I saw you here, among the flowers, and thought I'd say hello."
"I'm glad you did," River smiled. "It's good to see you. I didn't know if you were injured or not."
"Dings and dents," Reson shrugged. "Nothing that hasn't already healed, for the most part. Yourself?"
"The same," River nodded. "What will you do now that this is over?"
"I thought I'd ask you some advice about that," Reson smiled, and River noted, not for the first time, how good looking the man was.
"Captain," River said to Mal, as he was staring at the ocean. "This is Reson. Reson, this is Malcolm Reynolds."
"We all know of the Captain," Reson smiled, offering his hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you, sir."
"Same here," Mal smiled.
"Captain Daddy, Reson has a question for you," River smiled, and Mal looked at the young man.
"What would that be?"
"I understand you're going to need a new hand, soon, Captain."
The older man looked up to see Jayne standing before him.
"Yes, my son?" he smiled.
"I gotta favor to ask of you, sir," Jayne told him.
"I've already made the arrangements," Thomas smiled. His smile grew at Jayne's surprise.
"Your bride to be is a most, formidable young woman, Michael," Thomas smirked.
Jayne and Kaylee were married the next day, as the sun rose above the horizon. It was a simple ceremony, with the crew, and several of the Order in attendance. Inara, River, and Jazz cried, of course, and Zoe's eyes were a bit misty as well. Mal and Simon stood with Jayne, and Thomas officiated.
There was a simple reception afterward, a quiet affair with food, banter, and fellowship. As the talk died away, Mal spoke quietly to Thomas.
"We'll be leaving this afternoon," he told the older man. "Gotta see can we rustle up some work, and I gotta take Jayne and Kaylee to Celeste, soon. One of your men spoke to me, earlier, 'bout coming to work for me. I didn't want to. . . ."
"He has my blessing, I assure you," Thomas smiled. "And he is a good man. He will protect you and your crew."
"You sent him?" Mal asked, eyebrows raised.
"No, he asked my permission," Thomas smiled.
"Oh," Mal replied.
"And I think you'll find it easier to get work, now, as well," Thomas added. "The various warrants and what have you, stop and search orders, and so forth, have been lifted from your ship, Captain."
"How'd you manage that?" Mal asked.
"God works in mysterious ways, Captain," Thomas smiled. "Remember that."
"I don't think I'll be forgettin' it again," Mal assured him.
An Acolyte had also asked to join the crew, one who was a skilled mechanic. Mal had accepted his offer, after talking to Thomas, and as Serenity lifted off to begin her six day journey to Celeste, he was in the engine room, Kaylee showing him everything.
Jayne sat in the cargo bay, lost in thought. He would miss the ship, he decided. And the people. They had been home, and family, to him for a long time.
"Regrets, Brother?" River's voice floated to him. He shook his head, not bothering to look around.
"Not a one," he told her truthfully. "I'll miss you. All of you. But this is what I want. What Kaylee wants."
"True," River glided over to sit beside him. "We'll miss you, too," she told him.
"Reson's a good boy," Jayne said suddenly, and River's head shot up. He smiled at the faint blush on her face.
"He's not like me, River," Jayne told her. "No reaver virus. Just a little hot tempered. But a good man, never the less."
"He's. . .different," River allowed, unsettled at how Jayne had picked up on her feelings, if that's what they were, for the quiet Archangel now part of their crew.
"He is that," Jayne smiled, and kissed the top of her head. "You two will work well together," he smirked, and River's face heated again, making Jayne laugh softly.
"It's not a bad thing, River," Jayne told her. "And you deserve it. And," he pointed out, "Reson isn't likely to be put off by your abilities, having already seen you in action."
"I know," she smiled. "I had thought of that."
"I figured you might have," Jayne smirked again. "Good lookin' boy, too," he added as a dig, and River's face heated yet again.
Jayne's laughter was heard through the ship that time.
"Whatcha thinkin' on, Zhang fu?" Kaylee asked, as she lay atop Jayne's bulk.
"Home," he told her, stroking her hair softly. "About how you and I are married, and how life's gonna be different from now on."
"You don't want it to be?" Kaylee asked.
"I do," he kissed her gently. "More'n anything. I like thinkin' about it, that's all."
"Me too," Kaylee sighed. "We ain't gonna be puttin' out Mister Crow and Missus Higgins are we?" she asked suddenly.
"No," Jayne laughed. "'Spect they'll be pleased as punch."
"Good," she lay her head down on his chest again. "I love you, Mister Cobb," she whispered huskily.
"I love you too, Misses Cobb," Jayne kissed the top of her head.
"I like the sound o' that," Kaylee looked up, grinning like a cat.
"I do too, ai ren. I do too."
"We'll be home, in three days," he added.
"Home," Kaylee whispered sleepily. "I like the sound o' that, too."
So did Jayne.
Mister and Misses Cobb were going home.
And so finally we come to the end of Archangel. This has been and incredibly difficult story to write, at times painful, even. But it's been a labor of love, and I'm glad I was able to finish it. There were a number of ideas that I had to end this story, but this one appealed to me the most. I hope you all like it as well.
I want to thank everyone who gave me advise and encouragement when I struggled with this story. It was an idea that I had for a long time, and I'm glad to see it in print, so to speak.
Archangel is finished, however, and there will be no others in this story line. I will continue to post Spartan's Quest, and there will probably be one, or possibly two more Shade stories, and then he, too, will be laid to rest. I think Shade has run his course, after these next two stories, which may be combined into one long one. I haven't decided yet.
Thank you all for kind words, constructive criticism, and for letting me know when you like something, or you don't. I write solely for entertainment, and if you aren't entertained, then I'm wasting my time, and yours. I don't wish to do that.