ALTERNATE UNIVERSE SERIES presents:
Incident At Raleigh Tavern
Written By: Commander Cody CC-2224
This is a Felicity fanfic that takes place one year after the American War for Independence. However, in this particular fanfic, the British have won the war, which concluded at the Battle of Yorktown (1781 A.D.). Most of the Patriots are sore about losing the war, but some learn to cope with circumstances. Felicity and her family and friends are struggling to cope with the not-so-favorable changes of living in the Colonies, which are now under British rule again. Ben, given that he fought on the Patriot side, gets sensitive whenever someone insults the cause he fought for, or the side he fought with during the conflict between the American Colonies and the British Empire.
This fanfic is directly based from the beginning of one of the Firefly series episodes titled The Train Job. So the plot ideas aren't owned by me entirely. They are owned by the writers Joss Whedon and Tim Minear. (Joss Whedon owns the Firefly franchise.)
October 18, 1782 A.D.
The Raleigh Tavern was bustling as usual, with all the fife-and-drum music lightening up the otherwise drab surroundings. The place was both fairly crowded but very noisy. Loud, coarse, and gruff chatter could be heard across the confines of the huge room, with various menfolk talking loudly and drinking all sorts of alcoholic beverages, such as ale, beer, and cider.
At the back of the left side of bar, were Benjamin Davidson and his otherwise longtime friend Walter Wheaton. Also included in the group were the two merriest girls in Virginia: Felicity Merriman and Elizabeth Cole. All four were in their teenage years, save for Ben, who was now in his early 20s; twenty-two, to be exact. Walter was at least one year younger than Ben. As for the girls, both of them were of the same age of seventeen.
Ben was dressed in his buff dark blue waistcoat of the Continental uniform belonging to the dragoons, having formally served under Col. Henry Lee's 5th Continental regiment of light foot infantry, a subdivision in the Southern Department which belonged the 1st Continental Light Dragoons. He first as a private until he worked his way to the rank of sergeant. His decorations and white belts across the front of his body, especially the semi-polished brass thing he had near his neck, were all half-rugged and worn. The silver epaulettes across each of his shoulders had their tassels nearly intact in terms of neatness, although they were slightly fringed. His black boots were fairly rugged, having known wear and tear in the midst of battle while he was on horseback and foot. His brown hair was formed in a queue, with a white ribbon pinning it up. Crowning his head was his nearly worn-out flat black tricorn cap with his sergeant's cockade.
Walter was dressed in his casual colonial outfit, and had the same hairstyle as Ben did.
Felicity was dressed in her homespun gown, with the vertical turquoise-blue stripes. Elizabeth was dressed in her elegant blue gown that had some pink frills attached to it. Both girls were wearing mobcaps, and their hair was each formed into a bun by a light blue ribbon. Tendrils of Felicity's reddish auburn hair could be seen sticking out of her mobcap, and the same could perhaps be said of Elizabeth's blond hair.
All four were seated at a perfectly round table, enjoying themselves a little lazily, with each of them having a mug of refreshing apple cider. Both Ben and Walter were busying themselves to a game of chess, the chess pieces and the board being of antiquated origin. Felicity and Elizabeth helped themselves to chattering away on various grown-up topics. The topic of marriage was the main course, since Felicity was engaged to Ben. Elizabeth was still on the search for eligible beaus, and her best friend was helping her on that topic.
"Your move, Ben," said Walter.
Ben placed the white knight in a manner so as to prevent his white queen being captured. Walter made a move with one of his black pieces in a manner which captured one of his pawns.
"Your queen is only two moves away from being captured," remarked Walter.
"Sad," replied Ben rather sarcastically.
The girls were chatting away about marriage prospects.
"You know, Lissie, I think you and Ben make such a romantic couple," said Elizabeth meditatively, her avid blue eyes gazing dreamily at her friend's beau.
"You are very kind," concurred Felicity. "Aye; Ben and I are already engaged. But how about you, Elizabeth? Found any eligible beaus yet?" she asked her friend, grinning impishly. Her sparkling emerald-green eyes were wide with glee.
"I'm still eyeing for one," replied Elizabeth.
"Is your bashfulness becoming an impediment to your feminine wiles?" asked Walter.
"Elizabeth is shy," said Felicity, trying not to sound too unkind about her friend. "Which…is why I'm trying to help her find one."
"So that she doesn't have to endure the prospects of dying an old maid," finished Walter.
"You can be quite blunt at times," said Felicity, frowning slightly at Walter in a disapproving manner.
"Bluntness adds a bit of flavor to this otherwise dull environment," said Ben.
Bluntness was being exercise again when a white man dressed in a rugged colonial outfit, with a waistcoat of a British regular, and a well-worn grayish-white bag wig was leaning on his left side on a bar counter, which was located at the right side of the room relative to the open doorway. He was carrying a pewter mug of ale in his right hand, and was calling for everyone to bear silence. By the looks of it, he might have been a British regular himself in the King's army. But looks would eventually confirm the way he acted in the tavern. His demeanor seemed to indicate he was half-drunk, though he had a tinge of sanity within himself.
"A toast! A toast!" he cried, in the accent of an English hob. The noise of revelry was still going on.
"Quiet!" he called. Then in an even louder voice, he shouted, "SHUT UP, YOU DOGS!"
The tavern became suddenly silent. Some of the tavern folk stared at him. Elizabeth recoiled, and so did Felicity; well, a little bit, since she was a little more braver than her friend. Ben looked intently at the redcoat-ed stranger. Walter peered a little bit to take a look.
The redcoat began his speech. "I've…I've got words, ye lads and lassies. Today…is an auspicious day."
Walter looked at Ben. "Auspicious?"
The redcoat continued. "We all…know what day it is, don't we. A glorious day for all the proud and loyal subjects of the British Crown!" He raised his mug high. "Yorktown Day!"
A hubbub of "Hear, hear!" emanated across the room.
"The day…when the mother country of Britain united her rebellious colonies under the sovereignty of the Crown during a smashing victory at Yorktown!
"Yea, yea," came the hubbub from the tavern.
"The end of the scumbag Continentals, and the dawn of a new world under the old world!"
"Hear, hear!" shouted the tavern folk.
Ben frowned at the stranger as he slowly got up from his seat.
"Ben, what are you doing?" asked a concerned Felicity.
"Ben, don't," said Elizabeth in a slightly stern manner, as she grabbed his right hand.
"I don't intend to sit back while this…ruffian…insults the very cause we fought for," declared Ben, seething mildly. "Besides, I strongly feel the need for another drink.
Ben pushed his way past guffawing tavern folks under the influence of strong drink until he came to the counter. He slapped a shilling on the counter, and placed his order for another pewter mug of cider. Ben seemed to be waiting for that redcoat-ed stranger to provoke him. That provocation came soon, when the stranger approached him and leaned on his left side at the counter, facing him.
"Hey," greeted the man lazily in his English hob accent, half-drunk. "You're going to drink to his Majesty King George? Twelve months today, at the battle of Yorktown, the redcoats sent the blue-clad Continentals running, pissing their breeches."
Ben stared at the man, half-frowning. The stranger leaned further until his face was fairly close to Ben's by a mere half-foot distance.
"You know, your raggedy coat is kind of a bluish color," remarked the stranger.
"'Twas on sale," replied Ben as casually as he could. "Standard issue of Washington's army." He took a swig of the ale from his pewter mug and set it down. The stranger leaned a little more to Ben.
"You didn't toast," said the stranger. "You know, I'm thinking you're one of them Continentals."
This time Ben looked serious. "And I'm thinking that you're woefully ignorant of the ideals we Patriots were fighting for, bleeding for, and dying for, not to mention the unfavorable conditions we had to cope with during the war, while you arrogant Brits were luxuriating in your revelries. So why don't we just ignore each other 'till we head out on different roads?"
The stranger didn't particularly enjoy being called "arrogant", since he formally served as a regular under the King's army, so he decided to provoke Ben even further. "The Patriots were just a sorry bunch of cowardly, reeking, inbred shit pots. Should have been killed off in all the Colonies."
Ben banged the mug on the counter and faced him defiantly. "Say that to my face!" he said angrily, glaring at the face of the rude stranger himself.
The man protruded his face near Ben's. "I said…you're a coward, and a reeking shit pot. Now what are you going to do about it?"
Ben grinned mischievously. "Nothing," he replied briskly. "I just wanted you to face me so my Patriot sweetheart could get behind you."
The man slowly turned his head behind, only to notice Felicity knocking him out with a strong punch to the head, which knocked him unconscious. Felicity faced Ben, beaming.
Ben gave a rather encouraging nod. "Good punch," he remarked.
"Why thank you, Benjamin Davidson," said Felicity, grinning.
Ben glanced at the unconscious stranger. "Drunks are so cute," he said.
The duo's elations over their victory against a stranger who dared to insult everything they believed in was cut short when they noticed the rest of the tavern folk slowly taking up arms. A large majority of the menfolk started brandishing out their bread knives and flintlocks.
"Oh, no," said Ben in a rather casual manner.
"Walter? Elizabeth?" called Felicity.
"Hey, I didn't fight in this bloody war, you know," replied Walter. "Best of luck, though," he said, as he continued taking another swig of his cider.
Ben exhaled, as he manfully straightened his Continental uniform waistcoat. "Fine. Let's do this," he said finally.
Ben was immediately thrown outside the doorway and landed on the ground with a heavy thud. His tricorn cap lay strewn near the doorway. Several men rushed outside to confront him.
Ben used his battle training to take on the armed tavern folk. He dragged, kicked, and punched every man that sprang upon him. All this happened in a flash. One man tried to brandish a long knife at him but Ben dodged the blow and knocked the man out. Another man bopped his pistol over his head but he pushed him out of the way.
"Is Walter even awake from his drunken stupor?" shouted Ben.
Suddenly Walter barged out of the tavern, yelling, armed with nothing but a wooden chair, which he used to bash the skulls out of people. The combat lasted for at least a minute. Walter banged his chair against every person that tried to assail him.
In a few seconds both Felicity and Elizabeth managed to push their way out of the crowded doorway filled with belligerent tavern brawlers.
"Lovely place I'll tell my snobby sister," said a frightened and flustered Elizabeth.
Another few seconds of brawling passed before a heavy sound of hoof beats were heard. A company of British regulars led by a young pompous officer on horseback arrived to the scene.
"What's this?" he shouted in a pompous tone of voice with a British lilt.
Ben slowly got up and faced the British officer. Walter followed suit. Felicity tried to protect her best friend.
The officer was dressed in a fine bright red British uniform, with the decorations of an officer. His head was capped by a polished white bag wig. His brass thing gleamed majestically in the sun.
"Just an honest brawl among folk, sir," said Ben, speaking on behalf of his friends.
The officer stepped down from his black-brown horse. "What is your name, boy?"
"Mr. Benjamin Davidson," replied Ben.
"Mr. Benjamin Davidson, sir," corrected the officer.
"Manners, Mr. Davidson," warned the officer. He observed him closely with a superior look in his face. "I can see you were an officer under the Continental Dragoons. But your rank will not save you this time. I can have you flogged or confined to the jail if you dare disrespect an officer in the King's army."
Ben decided to hold his tongue, as he gave the officer a seriously cross face.
"I take it you are responsible for this…brawl?" inquired the officer.
"Well…maybe a little," replied Ben in a rather lazy manner.
"He struck a loyal subject of the crown, sir," called one of the tavern folk.
"He insulted the honor of our cause," said Ben.
"Oh," said the officer pompously. "Your rebel cause, if you mean. I take it you are most sore that you and your comrades lost the entire war, aren't you."
"To be quite honest with you, sir, I am," replied Ben. He caught sight of an anxious Felicity. Elizabeth was quite frightened, too.
"Hmm," remarked the officer, eyeing at both Felicity and Elizabeth. He eyed Walter next. "Rebels. Rebel men and women. Rebel boys and girls. 'Tis most difficult to conquer their hearts and minds, isn't it. But eventually you'll learn to cope with the changes of having the Colonies united under British rule, Mr. Davidson," he declared smugly.
Ben took a defiant step forward. "I do not hold to that, sir," he said. "The King had been unfair to us, time and again. And I fear he still is. I pity his Majesty."
The officer thrust his face near Ben's. "One more word out against the King out of you, Mr. Davidson, and I'll guarantee you will see the inside of a jail. Do I make myself clear?"
"Inescapably," replied Ben, seething.
"Inescapably, sir," corrected the officer.
"There's no need to call me sir, officer."
The officer glared at Ben. "Such insolence," he snapped. He turned to his men. "Take him away," he ordered.
Two infantrymen stepped up and to grab Ben when Felicity brashly stepped in front of him. "You'll do no such thing, sir," she said firmly and defiantly. She had a fiery temper as red as her hair.
"Lissie, what are you doing?" cried Elizabeth. She feared very much for her best friend.
"Protecting my beloved," answered Felicity. "You take him, you take me," she said, frowning.
"That's the only choice you have," replied Felicity.
The officer seethed. "For God's sake, woman…"
"I wanted to be free," declared Felicity. "And now that my freedom…and freedom of my family and friends is dreadfully restricted, possibly taken away, thanks to the...smashing victory of the King's soldiers at Yorktown, all that I have that I hold most dear…is my beloved." She gulped almost nervously as she approached the officer. "You take him, you take me."
Ben stepped up to cover Felicity. "My turn to negotiate, Lissie," he said. He approached the officer. "My apologies, sir," he said. "It won't happen again, if ever."
"I should hope not. You know full well that officers in his Majesty's army are not, I repeat, not very forgiving. 'Tis time you watched your every step, Mr. Davidson. And yours, too, Miss."
The officer gives the order to withdraw from the scene. Most of the men who participated in the brawl returned back to the tavern, leaving Ben, Felicity, Elizabeth, and Walter standing near the front of the building outside. Felicity took Ben's hand gently.
"That was most brave of you…to stand up to the officer," she said quietly.
"I dare say the same can be said of your bravery," said Ben.
Elizabeth stood side-by-side by her friend. "Honestly, I admire your bravery, Lissie, but I fear your actions and the actions of your beloved may have got not only you, but all of us, into trouble."
Walter dusted himself off. "Nice show you put, you two," he commented.
"A marvelous comment to hear from our longtime friend," said Ben.
"Right. I hope you and the ladies won't mind if I head back to the tavern." Walter moseyed back inside the tavern building. Now Ben, Felicity, and Elizabeth were left standing in the building front. Ben stared at the surroundings of the Duke of Gloucester street as he stood at Felicity's left side, holding her hand.
Elizabeth daintily arrived to the scene carrying Ben's squished tricorn cap. "I thought you'd want this back, Ben," she said quietly. "As part of your dignity."
Ben gently took the cap from Elizabeth's hands. "You're most kind, Miss Cole," he replied. "Thank you."
Elizabeth stood by Felicity's right side, holding her hand as well. Felicity looked at her beloved Ben and her friend Elizabeth with a sad look in her face. "Change…" she said quietly, as she sighed sadly. "Seems as if we have to cope with having our livelihood managed under the likes of the King again."