The next in the Toy Soldiers Series. Rei has come back, and she's going to need help. But, she's going to change everything.
Mal stared at the girl…no, woman before him, "Didn't think we'd be hearing from you so soon, been hearin' lots 'a chatter 'bout some purple demon causin all manner of havoc for the alliance, you wouldn't happen to know anything 'bout that would ya darlin?"
Rei grinned at him, something that nobody would have really expected from the girl they'd pulled from that cryo-pod five years before, "I might know something about that, heard tell that some girl got a fool notion in her head to take on the alliance, might know who she is." She winked at him.
Mal stared at her open mouthed, Rei Ayanami was talking like a border-worlder, and he found that it pleased him. "So then, much as I love a reunion I get a feelin' you wanted to talk to us for some other reason."
Rei's face lost its expression of happiness, she nodded. "I've been working a lot of things out the last few years, found some friends, people I thought I'd never see again. I learned some things. Asuka and Shinji, my friends, I guess you could say the only family I had…before. They died on Miranda, except…they didn't. They were too valuable to the alliance to risk experimentation on, they grew clones, the clones are who died, and nobody knew, Eva didn't know…
Anyway, that's not the point; the point is that what happened to River and what happened to Shinji are related. The 'Academy' was trying to re-create us, trying to make other children interface with Eva, they stripped River's limbic system to try and open her mind to the link, though they never got to test it because Simon managed to free her. I found that they still had Asuka and Shinji captive, the real Asuka and Shinji. I've spent the last five years gathering the resources and making the contacts I'd need to do this, and now I've come to you."
Mal nodded his head during her explanations, and he had a few questions, the most important one was, "Rei-girl, before we get too far into this talkin'… where in the gorram 'verse did you find this ship!? Gorram thing must be over four-hundred years old!"
"A well, maybe I can explain that" a man walked through the airlock onto Serenity "ah, beautiful ship, Firefly, ought three right?"
Mal nodded, "Glad to hear the appreciation for my very fine ship, but you were talkin' on explanations?"
The man nodded his head, "Right, my name's Hiro Nagato, my friends call me Johnny. Anywayl, me and my old friend Eddie Kim found a derelict ship ohh…goin on fifteen years back, found this cute girl hangin out in a freezer, near scared the crap outta me." He gestured to Rei. "had to put her back in cryo quick though, alliance was comin up on us and we were in no shape to fight, figuring that the only reason the alliance would want such an old piece of crap was for what was inside, so me and Eddie made to hide the pods we found, strapped them together and dropped them into the black, figure the ship was big enough a few croypods wouldn't register different from it on scans.
Well, short version from here is that we made to fight, got off a good shot on the alliance ship, but we took a few hits and that was all the old girl could take. I rigged up the drives for full burn and Eddie sent me back to the Blackjack and I ran like hell, wasn't long after that Eddie rammed the alliance hun dans and sent them straight to hell." He sat on one of the crates in the cargo bay of Serenity, "Anyway, I was flyin by my self for a few years when I had come across what looked to be the damn near duplicate of that ship, she was anchored in the gravity well of Athens, woulda never found her if the autopilot hadn't gone on the fritz.
Anyway I docked with the ship and got her all powered up. She'd been sitting there for a real long time waiting for somebody to wake her up. Was in much better shape than the ship me and Eddie had found, computer was in good shape and I at least figured this one's name out U.S.S. San Antonio can ya believe that? An American ship, sitting there for that long right under the alliance's nose.
Anyway, once I got her running I found a few surprising discoveries, namely a pair of two hundred foot tall robots, backups for the ones Rei here was sent with.
Anywho, at the time I didn't know that, so I just kept this discovery to myself. That was until I saw the Miranda wave. A few months after that I kept hearing about attacks, huge robot-demon-devil, whatever they were calling it, and I knew it had to be her, caught up with her a few years later and we've been sticking it to the alliance ever since, lookin for anything else, any other ships, and above all that, lookin for those other kids."
Jayne stepped slightly forward and looked at Rei. He'd had respect for her, when she first came on he didn't much think about it, she was just a weak little girl, then during the fight over Miranda he'd seen what she'd done. Anybody can fight like that was ok in the Book of Jayne.
Mal was absorbing the story, and then nodded, "So, what exactly is it you need us for?"
Rei turned to look around the cargo bay, absorbing it, remembering it. She turned to the captain, "We're going to shut down the Academy."
"You got that ship, what do ya need us for?"
Rei shook her head, "I don't have much in the way of crew, and this ship and the Evas are more of a bazooka, we need a scalpel: you. The plan is that we send you and your crew to Osiris, infiltrate the facility, take out the guards and evacuate the test subjects. In practice it will be a little more complicated than that, but that's the basic outline."
Mal frowned, "How are we supposed to get in, more importantly, how much are we getting paid? I like ya well enough but my crew has a powerful need to eat."
Rei turned around and waved in some of her crew through the open hatch, they brought in five crates. Rei turned back to Mal, "five crates of un-imprinted foodstuffs should bring in a hefty amount of coin."
Mal's eyes lit up like a little kid's on Christmas morning, "We….we'll do it, how are we gettin' in?"
Rei gave him a look, it was eerily similar to that look River had when she knew something he didn't, "Simple, we have somebody who has been inside, an-"
"-d escaped, s-"
"-he knows the layout, she can get you in."
Asuka stormed onto the ship, "Hey Wondergi-" Asuka's voice seemed to leave her body as she set her eyes on the big merc, she took in everything about him. Much like Kaji all those years ago, Asuka was falling for a man she could never have: Jayne Cobb.
Mal looked confused at the woman that just walked in, she looked about 30. "Who is-"
Rei answered him before he could even finish asking. She addressed the entire crew, "I'd like you all to meet Asuka Langley Soryu." she turned to Asuka, "Asuka, I'd like to introduce you to the crew of Serenity" She gestured to the crew and named them in order, "Simon and River Tam, Zoe, Wash, Jayne, Mal and Kaylee."
Asuka looked at the crew that she was going to help infiltrate the Academy, She looked at each of them. Then she looked at River. How is this scrawny little girl going to help? She eyed River, "What exactly is it that you are useful for?"
Mal glared at Asuka, not appreciating her condescending tone towards his reader, "She's a reader, saved our lives more 'n a few times. She's not bad to have around in a fight either."
Asuka laughed, "No such thing as a mind reader, you think I'm stupid?"
River smirked at Asuka in that creepy way that said 'I can kill you with my brain' "You think Jayne is sexy, you want to see him without all those clothes so that you can find out if he's big all around."
Asuka's jaw hit the floor in shock. Jayne smirked. Rei burst into tears she was laughing so hard, she'd never seen Asuka so shocked. Asuka turned to Rei and tried to divert attention away from that little revelation, "Wondergirl, you're really starting to freak me out with all the laughing and smiling."
Rei shrugged, "I like it."
"Why are you so old?" Jayne had no tact whatsoever.
"Excuse me?!" Asuka's face turned red, she was pissed.
Rei, thankfully, interrupted before punches could be thrown, "She woke up before I did, she's been out of cryo-stasis for ten years longer than me."
They were eating dinner, Rei had delivered real food to Serenity and in thanks Mal had invited the two to eat at their table. Swallowing his food, Mal opened his mouth to speak, "so, what I don't understand is why they were cuttin' on River to make her, well, like you. I conjure ain't none o them robots left that they knew about."
Asuka directed her glare away from Jayne and spoke up, "They made their own." She was about to go into further explanation when the proximity alarm rang out in the dining room. Wash ran to the bridge and saw what it was that triggered the alarm on his radar screen, "ta ma de captain you need to see this!"
Mal ran for the bridge, Rei and Asuka were right behind him, if it was enough to set Wash off like that then it could be something the San Antonio would have to take care of.
Reaching the bridge Asuka stared out at the forms that were now big enough to clearly see through the forward windows. What she saw made her blood run cold. There were four evangelion units, bodies pure white and they had clearly visible drive units attached to their shoulder pylons, eyeless heads with huge gaping mouths full of teeth. The were headed right for the San Antonio. Asuka swore, "Was für ein Haufen Scheiße!"
Chapter one down, more to come. R&R, you know the drill.