Ok, I came up with this idea watching a preview for ODST, right before a Firefly marathon. Gave me some ideas. Beyond the movie, tv series, one graphic novel (those left behind), and whats contained in the main manual for the Serenity role playing game, I may be a a little out of date, and be missing some information. For Halo, I have only the knowledge from the games, and books 1 through 4. ( i have not made it through Contact Harvest or Cole Protocal.) I do the best I can, with what I have to work with. I'm not claiming to be any good, by any stretch of the imagination. But I think the story in my mind is interesting and entertaining, and I would like to share it with everyone.
This is obviously AU. Wash is not dead, b/c I refuse to acknowldge it. lol. I own nothing in this story, cept the personalitys of my OC's.
Most of my OC's are based on someone I know in real life. If you guys are interested, I'll tell you later on who is who. I hope for reviews, but more so I hope you guys enjoy it.
"WASH?!? You wanna explain to me why my ship is doing all kinds of shaking and various other worrisome things?" Mal shouted stumbling into the cockpit.
"Debris Mal, debris. We're practically floating through a junk yard here, so something is bound to hit us"
" You best make sure nothing hits hard enough to punch a hole through the hull, or we're all gonna be a peck humped"
"Well that wouldn't be too great. I've never felt the need to swim in the black." Wash joked, leaning over the ships controls. Mal leveled his eyes at the pilot, his nerves not in the kind of mood for Wash's particular brand of sarcastic humor. Wash however, paid him no mind , and moved one of his plastic dinosaurs out of the way to flip a switch, while humming a tune.
"Now have just a might respect here. Lotta people met their makers above this godforsaken moon. Gotta be mindful of that. That, and makin sure we don't join'em."
"I for one am fond of the living." Something beeped on the controls, "And we're coming up on the coordinates. Zoe and Jane might wanna start suiting up Captain, we'll be there in a few minutes."
Mal turned and left the room, heading down towards the cargo bay. Karyn's information had turned out more than a mite promising so far, and just a bit above truthful. Outside looked an awful lot like what was left of the Battle of Sturges. The remains of the ships floated above the moon that hadn't been important enough to receive a name, just a serial code. The moon had been, however, the site of one of the bigger hidden bases of the Independents during the war. The Alliance had sniffed it out, and a big, rather nasty battle had occurred in orbit. The base was destroyed, and a lot of POW's taken. Unlike the Battle of Sturges however, the talk was that the Alliance, in all their 'glory' had been kind enough to retrieve all the bodies and give them burial, seeing how the Independent commander had been sweet enough to surrender after a few day's assault. But, in more hushed tones, someone had told them about a big bounty of medical supplies, weapons, fuel etc that had been left behind afterwards.
Why had no one picked the bones clean already? Reavers tended to haunt the area. But after last years 'encounter' with their lovely creations, the Alliance had taken to hunting the more active reaver ships down, and blowin them half to hell. Which ment less Reavers in the verse to worry about, and whole new opportunities for jobs.
Mal came down the catwalk stairs into the cargo bay, and found Zoe and Jayne almost ready to go. This job could take the better part of a few days, depending on what they found.
"C'mon Mal, the hell you waitin for? Aint a two man job we're pulling. Aint even a three man job."
"Jane, you're so eager to work, and there's not even any killing involved. I'm touched. Truly" Zoe remarked sarcastically.
"Well, this is seeming to be an easy job, even with that bit of length on it. Alliance doesn't come near here, and neither do the settlers planet as we know, we're the first to get pickings at such a large booty. " Mal sniffed, beginning to seal up his space suit.
Jayne fidgeted with his gloves, grinning like he'd just fooled the devil himself.
"How many Alliance wrecks you think are floatin around out there? Independent?"
Mal never looked up, but answered, " Couple dozen Alliance at least. Don't much care how many of the other though. We wont be touchin a finger to them."
"Well why not Mal?"
Zoe answered. " Cause we ain't gonna. And neither are you. Alliance only. Pick'em clean. Right Sir?"
"Right you are. Hurry it up, I wanna get this going like it was yesterday."
Wash guided the ship to nearest wreck, that looked the most intact. Serenity docked, and there was a hiss as the doors slid open. Zoe ran the scanner at the control panel.
"No atmo, no grav, but the pressure is intact. Looks like it's just missin the life support, this part of it anyway."
Wash guided them through the blue prints, towards the med bay, and dining hall. They popped the door to the kitchens. Floating like odd little morbid balloons, all manner of fruit, meat and once liquid substances were frozen and moving about the area freely. Their lights reflected off the surfaces of pots and pans. Mal ordered Jayne to look in the pantry for the dried foods, and sent Zoe off to the Med bay. The corridors of the ship were dark and only added to the somber mood. Though there were no bodies, the ship remains carried the feeling of wrongness and sorrow for all the lives lost. Mal really couldn't have cared less. One, or two, or several hundred Alliance soldiers dead couldn't make him blink a single tear. He radioed Wash.
"Wash, see if you can't get Kaylee to do something with this grav issue. It'd make moving about our giant treasure chest a mite easier."
"I take it the job was a win captain?"
"Looks like, but I wouldn't be getting all excited and holdin me to it though. Work's just begin'n."
Work was indeed, just beginning. Eventually a highly cheerful Kaylee, and a red faced Simon emerged from the engine room. Kaylee got the gravity on the wreck working, and made it look easy in the process. When Zoe called out that the med bay was fully stocked, and only a portion of the supplies was moderately damaged, Simon quickly sat at the comm, and told her what to grab. He told her what was good for the ships own stock, selling on the black market, and various items Karyn would accept for payment, finders fee, or anything else they might owe her. The amount of items on that particular list, that were sitting in the med room, waiting to be grabbed was very long. Jayne was busy hauling in crates of packaged dried food, protein supplements and vitamins. Most of the food was edible, at least, even if it wasn't the most appetizing.
The load of food was enough to stock Serenity's kitchen full, and last them for several months. The drugs and supplies not only filled Simons lab, but filled most of the hidden cargo spaces nicely. Anything not given to Karyn, could be sold, and bring in good coin. This was only the fist ship….
Wash rested comfortably with his feet up, and dozing. All was quiet, and he was happy to sit while the others hauled in the goods. Zoe, Jayn and Mal brought them in, and the others shifted them around the bay, while he sat to 'man' the bridge. Nap in it was more like it. It was so peaceful in the floating junkyard…… except an annoying bit of static. He ignored it at first…… and then again the second time, brushing it off as a figment of his imagination……until the third time when it was louder and stronger.
"Gahh!!! Go Hwong Tong!" He almost slipped out his chair, and straightened his back to look over at the controls. "What is that?" It sounded like static, through and through, until he listened closer.
"…..rtana……..117 aboard……cryo…..meadiate evac………"
"Shuh Muh?" he said, trailing off. He listened again, and after a few times, realized it was repeating it's self three times before stopping. Wash pressed the comm button and buzzed the Captain.
"Mal?" He waited a few minutes.
"Go ahead Wash"
"You might want to come to the bridge"
"Why's that? Got work need to be done."
"I'm picking up some kind of a wave. Sounds like a distress signal, and I think it's on a loop. Real garbled, but I'm starting to make it out." There was a pause. The captain didn't answer him.
"On my way. Pin it down and clear it up."
Mal looked around at Zoe and Jayne as they finished loading on the last bit of their find. It was time to drop off the payment to Karyn, and decide what they were keeping.
"Get the rest of the precious on board. I want this place behind us inside of ten." He walked back into the hold of his ship, and stripped off the space suit. This place had more than lived up to it's promises. It would keep them in the air for a good while, and they could continue to come back and pick. He ran his hand through his hair going up the catwalk, and past the door to Inara's shuttle. He didn't want his thoughts to wonder there right now. As if to compound it all, he found River standing outside the bridge.
"It's not a demon in there."
Mal stopped and raised an eyebrow.
"Armored angel, tortured for the good of all, sleeping away the ice."
"You know, I reckon I'll never get used to the oddities leakin out of that brain pan of yours." He held back a grin. River returned the smile he didn't show, only her's had a hint of mischief in it.
"If you did, it wouldn't be my brainpan I'd be worried about captain."
"Hmm, you may just have a point there albatross. Think you could go get Kaylee into the engine room?"
River made a mock salute and skipped off with a light hearted giggle. Still a bit strange, but better since Miranda. Things looked awful bright for the Doc's sister. Mal entered the bridge to find Wash concentrating hard on the panels in front of him.
"Wash, what have ya got?" The pilot sat back.
"Well, it's definitely some kind of distress signal. It's set to repeat three times on a loop every thirty minutes."
"What's it say?" Asked Mal. Wash fiddled with the controls.
"It's repeating again…….. Here, got the signal cleaned up some what…"
" This is ….OS…..NSC Forward……awn. This is Cortana. Aboard is Master Ch……117, curr…..cryo…. Requesting immediate evac and rescue."
"You said it's on a loop?"
"Yeah, and who knows for how long."
Mal sat down on the edge of the controls and crossed his arms, listening to the loop. For the next few minutes, he gathered that somewhere on some kind of ship the were survivors of something. At least one was a woman, named Cortana, and they needed help like it was yesterday. After a few moments, Zoe walked in, slightly sweaty, and wearin a lopsided grin.
"You missed it captain. Jayne didn't walk as gracefully as he's accustomed, and introduced his face to the floor of the cargo bay."
"I'm sorry I missed it. But we got something might be a bit of interest."
"Oh?", Zoe asked curiously," Thought the only things of interest were what's fillin our hold?"
"Take a listen" Mal pointed to the screens. Wash pressed a button and played back the message. Zoe's expression went serious as the garbled message ran through.
"They need help, who ever they are."
"Yep, or, they needed help."
"It's playin on a loop, constant like. No way telling how long its been like that."
"Sir, there could be people out there needing help."
"Could also be an old message back from this here battle."
"Well, the signal source is coming from the other side of this debris field. It's not even really out of the way if we check it out." Wash interjected.
"What, are you siding with her? I know that's yer wife an all Wash-"
"She'll beat me mercilessly if I don't agree."
"I'll beat you something shiny in a minute."
Wash threw his hands up. "Feh Feh Pi Goh, my pretty face will never survive the relentless onslaught!" Zoe smiled and bent down to kiss him. " Sweetheart, who said anything about hurting this face?"
"I know I should terrified, but I'm hoping the manner of death involves whoopi." They both smiled, and Mal groaned in fake disgust.
"When the two of you are aptly finished makin me sick, I concede to the gang-up. Run the ship by there, see if we cant dig something up."
"Yes my Captain, like we didn't know you were gonna say yes anyway!" Wash called after Mal, as he walked out the door.
"Watch it Wash" Mal uttered, and he could hear the two laughing after him. He suppressed a grin thinking about how close they had come to losing Wash after Miranda. Then the loss of Book…..Mal never wanted to lose crew, or come close to losing his crew like that again. Breaking out of that train of thought, he noticed Jayne coming down the hall.
"Every things strapped down captain, ready to go." He continued to walk past, but Mal turned and stopped him.
"Don't get to over eager. Wash found something in the debris field we're gonna check out."
"Is it gold?"
"Then who gives a gorram?"
"I do. I want you waitin in that bay and don't give me a ruttin hard time about."
"Don't have to bite my head off."
"Call it preemptive."
Wash guided the ship through the floating scrap as carefully as he could. He frequently had to send out bursts of oxygen to move large, particularly nasty looking pieces. After about an hour, they had safely navigated to the signals point of origin, which was buried pretty deeply in all the floating slag. Mal stood behind his pilot with his arms crossed, watching everything. He wasn't going to sit patiently at this for too much longer. Stickin around with illegal salvage wasn't the greatest idea. Infact, it was down right inviting trouble. For once they had a chance to have a job go exactly as planned, and here was Mal, right up front on the bridge watchin them deviate from the original course.
"Wash, how much further?"
"It should be right in front of us captain…… I think it's that one." Wash pointed at one of the larger ships. Mal walked to the window, and tried to get a better look. The ship, didn't look like any kind of cruiser he'd ever seen. It seemed like it should have been bigger, but was missing a large section….
They moved in closer, and Zoe pointed out writing on the side of the ship. It looked like a lot of numbers, possibly serial code, but not in any format they had ever seen, Alliance or other wise. Then there were words Forward unto Dawn emblazoned on the side of the ship.
"Wash, check the records for the Battle of Abisha system. Check for any ship matching this description…."
"I'm already on it."
"Sir, what is this?" Zoe asked. Mal didn't look at her, and thought for a moment before answering.
"I don't know. But I'm itchin to find out."
"Looks like it's not whole. There's a design here… and it's not complete…" She trailed off.
There were a few more silent moments before Wash broke it. "Captain, there is no listing of any ship fitting this description or call name, Alliance, Independent or otherwise, ever."
"Ever. Not in this battle, not in the war, not before, after or presently."
"Well get back on the cortex and scan again."
"I did, twice. Who ever this ship, or what's left of it, belongs too, it's not from anything in the known Alliance, Core, Border, or Rim worlds."
"And what in the Ai Yah Tien Ah is it doing here?
Zoe clapped her hands on Wash's shoulders. "Dunno, but I wouldn't mind finding out myself." Wash moved Serenity around a corner of the ship, and they all sucked in a breathe rather quickly. There was even a verbalization.
"Lio Coh Jwei Ji Neong Hur Ho Deh Yung Duh, Buhn Jah J'wohn!"
"Darling, language." Zoe almost whispered.
"Now Zoe, I do believe if there was ever a time in the verse for such fringing language, this is it." Mal commented. There wasn't just sections of the ship missing, an entire end seemed to be gone, sliced clean off by the looks of it…
They could see what would have been corridors, and the various decks, completely bisected by only god knows what….
"What in the verse could muster this kinda tech? Not even the Alliance can cut a ship in half, let alone this clean!" Wash sputtered.
"Keep your panties clean Wash, I'm going to need you to fly her in as close as possible. Try and find a place to dock."
"Or to clamp on to?"
"What ever works without killing us. Zoe? Get on down to the cargo bay with Jayne. Suits on, and anchor lines ready." Mal turned from the bridge, back to the cargo bay. On the cat walk, he watched Zoe and Jayne prepping, the Doctor writing down the stock of drugs and medical supplies, and River pawing through the food stuffs. This was his home, and this was his life, and nothing in the verse could make him want it any other way.
"Mal, what's going on?" A soft, sweet, cultured voice asked from his side.
"Business, as usual Inara." He turned to face her. She was beautiful, as always. She had her hair down, and it looked like a flowing ebony waterfall. Her dress was the tight purple one she was fond off. Why did she have to be so damn attractive?
"Well this is the second time I've seen them putting the suits on. Is this operation so top secret you're unable to share a snippet of the information?" She jested. Inara's humor and jabs were the sly kind. Mal crossed his arms.
"We picked up a distress signal, going to check it out. See if there ain't nothing we can do for whomever so left it." He began walking down to the bay, and didn't catch her say "Be careful".
He descended the stairs, and yelled out to Simon, "Doctor, there's a chance we might be bringing in some wounded, or something of the like."
"I'll be ready." Simon had a high smooth voice. It made him standout, especially among most rim world and border folk. Mal worked himself into the suit one more time, River helping him rig it up. They secured the anchor lines to plating that seemed stable in the remains of the ship, and Mal grabbed a beacon locater, and a set of cutting tools, just incase. Everything was sealed up, and Wash opened the air lock, letting them out.
The decent into the ruins was quiet, cept for Jayne muttering his complaints about it all. They ran something along the lines of the place not 'feeling right' and some other nonsense he tended to spew when he was nervous. They followed the anchor lines down to one of the corridor openings. When the beacon locater beeped, they stopped at that particular level. Meanwhile, above them, Wash could feel the sweat beading up on his forehead. Carefully, and slowly he moved Serenity closer to the wreck, watching the cameras in the side of the ship. After one of the longest five minutes he could remember, they were in range for the magnetic clamps. When he engaged them, the ship shuddered and groaned, but held firm. Only then, after the fact, did he release the breath he'd been holding.
The trio engaged the grav lock on their boots and started to explore. Based off the lay out he was seeing, Mal felt sure this was a military cruiser of some sort. They passed by several signs, directional and otherwise, all written in English. There was a symbol of an eagle with a globe in several areas, with the letters 'UNSC' on it. They kept following the signal, and were turning down a corner when Malcolm noticed something.
"Look, each step we take is seemin to bring us closer to this 'Cryo Bay'. Watch." The locater indicated they take a left at a fork, and the words 'To Cryo Bay's Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie' were written in an white arrow pointing down the same hallway.
"Well lets see what or who's in there." Jayne mumbled.
It wasn't long before they reached three large, gray steel double doors. Mal glanced at the scanner for a moment, before he pointed to the middle one. Zoe moved over to the control panel, and tried a few buttons. Nothing happened. She tried again, and got the same result. Wondering what was next, she looked over at the captain.
Then, a sudden beeping caught their attention. Looking back at the panel, there were lights showing up on it, and a green one that began to blink. With a pneumatic hiss, the doors slid open.
"Well now, ain't this interesting?"
"Interesting? It's a gorram ghost ship. We should turn around and leave, and be happy with the haul we got!"
"Jayne, remember how nice it was when you weren't talking?" Mal remarked.
"Much as I agree with you Sir, some thing aint right with all this." Zoe said.
"All the same, see'in as we're here, lets find that signal source."
The room they were in was large, and long, and went far back. It was dark except for the light from their suits. It was the same plain steel gray, and had long tubes with glass exposures on top lining the walls. Various numbers for serial codes decorated the walls, and several raised panels held words laid out like instructions. Though he could understand the words, them being in English and all, the Captain couldn't grasp their meaning. Who ever wrote them was talking about sitting in one of those tubes, having some kind of fluid flushed into your lungs, then getting frozen. Put simply, a whole recipe for unpleasantness that he wanted no part of. After a few minutes, Mal was thinking about leaving, until Jaynes voice cut into his thoughts.
"Captain, I think I found something….. Or someone."
Mal moved towards where Jayne was standing, next to one of the tubes. "What in tarnation is this supposed to be?"
Mal walked up on the other side of the tube, and leaned closer. Inside, laying as if sleeping, was an armored figure. Actually, armored didn't really describe it appropriately. Who ever this was, was covered from head to toe in green colored plates and a helmet, with a gold visor.
Mal uttered the only thing that seemed to describe the moment correctly.
A/N : So thats the first chapter. I honestly hope you liked it. Again, I don't claim to be any good, but I thought the idea was interesting. I'm not good at putting story's to paper or text, but this is a good relief from College, and the stress of my husbands deployment. Reviews of all kind are more than welcome. You'll get to meet my OC's next chapter. Thanks in advance!