War & Serenity
By Michael Weyer
Star Wars created by George Lucas, owned by Lucasfilm
Firefly/Serenity created by Joss Whedon, owned by Mutant Enemy.
Timeline wise, takes place a year after Episode IV and in between the Firefly series and the movie Serenity.
This was kicking around my head for a while, thought I'd try to get it out with at least the start to see if it generated interest. As you can see, some shifts to the Firefly characters but hoping I can still capture the spirit of things. All reviews welcomed.
Finding a Charter
The mention of the name Dantoine brought unpleasant memories for Leia Organa. It had nothing to do with the planet itself but rather her own world. She still remembered that moment when Grand Moff Tarkin had threatened to destroy Alderann unless Leia told him the location of the Rebel base. She was desperate, her world and all on it on the line and said the first planet that came to mind. It was no use, of course as Tarkin had the Death Star annihilate Alderann anyway.
It wasn't just the memory of her own world destroyed that pained Leia. It was guilt over what would have happened if Tarkin had believed her, that an innocent world would have shared the same fate as Alderann. Even worse was how she might have taken it.
But working with the Rebel Alliance meant facing hard choices and moments and she had to work with it. So if this meant a trip to Dantoine, so be it. For the good of the galaxy, she was willing to put up with her own feelings. Not to mention, her traveling companions.
"Nice planet," Han Solo remarked as they walked down the pavement around the main city. "Must have been a gorgeous place…four thousand years ago."
Leia glared at him. She was clad in a dark brown jumpsuit with a bulky jacket vest, her brown hair done under a short cap, just another face in the crowd. Beside her, Luke Skywalker wore a similar outfit save for the belt containing large pouches, one enough to hide his light saber. Han was in his usual black pants and vest over white shirt with his quick-draw holster at his side. In all, they were simply three normal people among the crowds of visitors at the city port, no hint of the Alliance around them.
"It's a very important planet due to its neutrality and low Imperial presence," Leia told the smuggler in her cool tone. "Just because it's not flashy doesn't make it less vital to the Alliance."
"Yeah, well, I don't take to places that seem too quiet," Han said. "I can handle a place like Mos Eisley. You got guys who want to kill you all over, you know where you stand. Here, no telling when someone may want to take a shot at you."
"I thought you thought that way wherever you went, Han," Luke said.
"I'm used to handling myself, kid," Han told him. "Me and Chewie but not other people. If you or the princess here get into some mess, I may not know about it in time to help."
Leia glared at him. "I'm not exactly helpless, Han."
"I'll vouch for that," Luke said as he glanced about. "Although I do agree that the faster we're off this planet the better." He looked back at Han. "You sure Chewbacca can keep the droids safe?"
Han snorted. "The only danger is Goldenrod talking Chewie's ears off and him trying to rip his head off in return. They'll meet us when we get a ship, which is still a stupid waste."
"Why could we not use the Falcon? It's the fastest ship in the fleet and you know it! It can make the jump from here to Corellia in no time!"
"It's too high profile," Leia told him for the fifth time. "The Imperials have identified it as part of the Alliance."
"Yeah, thanks for reminding me," Han grunted. "You're really making it hard for me and Chewie to get work outside the Rebels, princess." He raised his eyebrows. "Or is that your goal?"
Leia's own eyes rolled. "Those delusions are going to get you into trouble some day, flyboy."
"Han," Luke interjected. "It's important to keep as low a profile as we can here. We got the supplies we needed and the new contacts for financial backing. All we need is a ship that's not on every Imperial watch list. A simple ship, a simple crew who won't ask questions."
"I used to be that type of guy," Han pointed out. "Then I got a job that turned out to be nowhere near as simple as I wanted and now I've got a massive bounty on my head."
"Relax, Han," Luke said. "All we need is a flight out. So use that experience you always brag about and find us the right ship for it."
Han sighed as they walked about toward the main space port. "We need something unobtrusive, that's for sure. Quick but not flashy, something we can use to get out and under Imperial sights."
"And someone who won't ask too many questions," Luke pointed out.
"Not sure who we can get for the credits," Han remarked. "You know, princess, you're going to have to start loosening up your wallets if you want to win this thing. Wars don't come cheap, you have to spread the wealth around."
"It takes more than money to win a war, Solo," Leia snapped.
Han snorted. "Yeah, tell the Empire that."
"Ya'all looking for a ride?" The trio stopped and looked over to the source of the voice. It was a young woman who appeared even younger than Leia with brown hair framing a pretty face filled with a bright and energetic smile. She wore a nice dress with a parasol set on one shoulder which she twirled around as he leaned back in a reclining chair.
"We are," Leia said as she stepped toward the girl. "As long as it's a dependable ride."
"Oh, Serenity is dependable, don't you doubt it," the girl said, her smile growing as she rose to her feet. "And her captain will keep it flying wherever you want to go with as little fuss as you can ask for."
"Can we meet with him?" Leia asked. "We'd like to take off as soon as we can."
"Sure shooting!" the woman said as she led them toward a nearby bay. "He should be willing to take on passengers, long as you can pay us right."
"We've got the money," Han said as they entered the bay. "As long as the ship's good, we can find…." He stopped along with Leia and Luke as they stared at the ship occupying the docking bay.
For years, Han Solo had put up with people taking in the Millennium Falcon and immediately asking if it could even get off the ground, let alone fly wherever was needed. He was used to people judging his ship by its seemingly decrepit appearance and deciding whether or not it was space worthy. For the first time ever, he knew how that reaction felt.
Sitting in the bay was a large carrier ship with outsized engines framing a long wedge shape with a larger rear. The front part was shaped almost like a bird…a rather old bird. The plating was clearly falling apart in some places and it looked as if it hadn't seen new paint in at least a decade. A large ramp way slid down to the ground showing an open bay. On one side was a large painted sun and the word Serenity.
"That's it?" Leia demanded in shock. "That is your grand ship?"
"A Firefly?" Han laughed. "I thought they stopped making those clunkers before the Clone Wars!"
"Hey!" the girl said, wrinkling her nose with a frown. "She's a lot better than she looks! She'll make it a couple points past light speed and is really maneuverable. Plus, she's pretty well stocked, full kitchen, nice bunks, all you need for an easygoing voyage."
Han and Leia seemed dubious but Luke was examining the freighter with a more assuming air. "It can get us to Corellia?"
"And back with no problem!" the girl beamed. "Trust me, I'm the mechanic, I keep this sweetie running easy and simple!"
"Kaylee!" The four turned to see a man tromping down the ramp way. He was athletic and with a strong build, short dark hair and an unshaven face, clad in dark pants and a yellow shirt. "The main thruster's spitting oil again!"
"Did you remove the clamp?" the young woman asked with a resigned sigh. "I keep telling you, Jayne, you can't remove the clamp."
"I needed it to clean Vera."
"You can use any other oil can in the workshop."
"Ain't but one at the moment, remember?"
Kaylee sighed but turned her smile back on the trio. "Sorry, little mechanical difficulties, be fixed in a jiff!"
The man named Jayne noticed the group for the first time. "Who are they?"
"Yeah, cause our old ones worked out just ducky," Jayne muttered. He shook his head. "I'll let the captain know but you know how he gets at times." He headed in to move toward a communicator. Kaylee closed her parasol as she headed in as well. "Just wait here, the captain will be right on out!"
"Are you sure we shouldn't find another ship?" Leia asked.
"We're already here, let's see how it works out," Luke told her. His attention was caught by a pair of figures coming out of the ship and down the ramp. One was an attractive woman with quite dark skin, her black curly hair done up in a loose ponytail, clad in dark pants and a tight leather jacket. Her walk was a stride of a soldier, her gaze hard despite her beauty.
Her companion had an air of command about him that instantly told the trio he was the captain. He was a handsome man of Han's age with brown hair, clad in dark leather pants, an orange shirt with suspenders and a long brown coat. It was open to show off the holsters on his sides as he stopped at the ramp's edge, his eyes fixed on one person.
"Solo," he drawled in a strong voice marked with an air of false calm.
"Reynolds," Han said in the same tone. "Thought you were dead."
"That a thought or a hope?" the man asked, one hand flickering toward the holster at his side.
"You two know each other?" Luke knew it was a stupid question but it was all he could say.
"We go back a ways," Han noted. He looked to the woman and smiled. "Hey, Zoe. Still looking good."
The woman smiled too as she came forward. "You too, Han. I think we left some unfinished business between us." She reached up to rub her gloved fingers on his lip while Leia's eyes narrowed. In a lightning-fast move, Zoe swung her right fist out to smash into Han's jaw, knocking him back to the ground.
Leia's glare was replaced by a smile. "I see she knows you all right, Han."
Han shot her a look as he stood up, rubbing his jaw. "I said I was sorry!"
"Your apology meant little then," Zoe snapped. "Time done nothing to inflate its value any."
"Now that we have the niceties out of the way," Reynolds began, appearing nonchalant about all this. "What brings you by, Solo? Thought you had a ship of your own."
"I do," Han said. "And it's a hell of a lot better than this piece of bantha droppings."
"We make do with it," Reynolds said. "So, assuming you want a ride to somewhere with as minimum a fuss as possible and questions on the short side?"
"We'll pay you a fair wage," Leia interjected.
"Fair is a debatable subject, lady," Reynolds drawled. "Keep in mind, Imperial currency doesn't go as far at some places."
"We've got some metals you might want," Han quickly said. "And mechanical parts, which I think you can use." He ran his eyes over the ship again.
"Now that would be a fair price at that," Reynolds said. "Cargo?"
"Three crates of supplies," Han explained. "Plus, the three of us, two droids and Chewie."
Reynolds smirked. "Still have that Wookie with you? Thought you'd have found a way to get out of that life-debt thing by now."
"Ah, he's useful," Han replied. "Come on, Reynolds, I don't exactly see a line of folks trying to get in here for your services. We've got the cash, you've got a ship, if I can stretch the definition to the limit, let's just make a deal here."
Reynolds cocked his head to the side as if concentrating on it tightly. He then suddenly nodded. "All right then. How soon can you get your cargo here?"
"About an hour."
"All right then." Reynolds nodded to Zoe. "Stay here to watch over them and help Jayne load them up. I'll go check with your husband on how soon we can get this crate going."
"Husband?" Han's eyes bulged as he looked at Zoe. "You're married?!"
"Surprised?" Zoe asked. "He's the pilot and a lot more skilled than you." The tone in her voice made it clear that it wasn't just flying she was talking about. Han frowned but kept himself quiet as Reynolds chuckled heading into the ship.
Leia leaned in toward Han. "All right, flyboy. I want to hear an explanation before we step foot on the ship. Who is this man?"
Han sighed. "Mal Reynolds and Zoe Alleyne. They were both in my class at the Imperial Academy."
Leia's eyes widened. "They're Imperials?"
"Not for a while," Han quickly said. "I got cashiered out of the military pretty fast. I ran into the two of them a few years later. I'm not sure of the details but the way I hear it, they were involved in an Imperial crackdown on a planet in the outer rim. It didn't go well; there were reports that the Imperials were using more brutal measures than expected, ignoring the surrender offers. Reynolds and Zoe were the only ones who got out alive and the rumor was they actually killed their commanding officer when he tried to wipe out a village."
"They were court-martialed?" Luke asked.
"More like going AWOL," Han replied. "I ran into them a while back, part of a big crew hired for a special job and less said on that the better. Guess Reynolds finally got around to buying that ship like he always wanted." He glanced at the freighter. "Such as it is."
"Can we trust him?" Luke asked the important question.
Han shrugged. "Bout as much as anyone I know."
"Not exactly a sterling recommendation, Han," Luke noted.
"Reynolds is a decent guy, that's always been the reason he didn't go as far in the smuggling business," Han said. "We pay him well, he won't ask too many questions and we'll be on our way."
Leia sighed. "All right. I suppose this ship would definitely avoid Imperial attention. All we need is a ride to Corellia and we can move on from there."
Han nodded. "I'll signal Chewie to come on over." He glanced at Luke, who was staring at the ship. "Something wrong, kid?"
"Just an odd feeling," Luke said.
Han lowered his voice. "JedI thing?"
"Maybe…" Luke murmured. "Let's just keep it quiet for now."
"That I can handle," Han nodded as he reached for his comlink.
"I have a very bad feeling about this, sir," Zoe remarked. She and Mal stood on one of the catwalks atop the docking bay, watching as Han, Chewbacca and Jayne tied down the crates they'd brought inside.
"You have a bad feeling about every other job, Zoe," Mal said in a calm voice.
"And I'm more often right as I'm not, sir," she pointed out.
Mal smirked at her. "Sure it's not just being around Solo again?"
She rolled her eyes. "Please. I left whatever feelings for that man behind on Nar Shadda. And I am married, sir."
"Sure Inara would have something to say about the general commitments of the married folk," Mal noted sardonically. Noticing the glare his long-time second in command gave him, he quickly went on. "You and your amazingly loyal husband being an exception to such rules, of course."
Zoe sighed as she followed Mal down the ramp ways. "I just feel there's something off about all this, sir. I keep saying those two with Solo look familiar."
"Big galaxy, Zoe, plenty of folks wanted around the place. As long as they pay us, not asking questions."
"That big a payment, sir?"
"Enough to keep Kaylee happy with materials. And what makes her happy makes this ship happy and that makes me happy so I'm happy to leave it at that." He walked down the steps and nodded to the group. "Chewbacca! Nice to see you again!"
The wookie let out a loud bark of greeting. Han glanced at him before shaking his head. "That sentimental side is gonna get us in real trouble some day, furball."
Mal's eyes glanced toward the two forms behind the Wookie. One was a tall golden-plated protocol droid, the other a squat white and blue-trimmed power droid. "Hello there," the taller of the two said in a friendly voice. "I am See-Threepio, human-cyborg relations and this is my counterpart Artoo-Detoo." The smaller droid let out an electronic beep in greeting.
Mal's eyebrows rose. "You changing on me, Solo? Thought the one thing we had in common, besides our devastatingly good looks and friendly demeanors, was that we didn't like machinery that talked back."
"They're the kid's," Han nodded toward Luke. "Goldenrod is annoying but the little guy's got his talents. Just stick 'em in a corner and ignore them, works for me."
Mal nodded. "Well, we're all set in, the engine's are heating up, we'd best be on our way." He nodded toward the ramps. "This way to the rest of our humble ship." He led them up the ramp ways as Jayne locked down the crates.
"Pardon me, sir," Threepio said. "Where may Artoo and I situate ourselves?"
The man grunted. "Anywhere you won't get thrown about when we take off."
"Thrown about?" Threepio cocked his body to the side. "You expect difficulties in our flight?"
"No need to expect what always comes," the man said as he rose up. He threw a smirk at the droids. "Best part of Serenity, droids, always a wild ride."
"Oh, dear," Threepio remarked with a bad feeling of robotic déjà vu.
"As you can see, we have a nicely stocked medical center," Mal said as he led Han, Luke, Leia and Chewbacca into the stark white room. A young man with black hair, pants and vest over a white shirt was working at a table, glancing up at them as they entered. "Complete with our resident surgeon, Dr. Simon Tam."
"Captain," the man said in a flat voice that fit his demeanor perfectly. He glanced at the newcomers and frowned. "I had thought we had agreed you would be informing me well in advance of new passengers."
"We had agreed on the principle, Doc," Mal stated in that calm and amused tone. "But then I recalled the fact that this is my ship and as such is not a democracy and I don't need your permission to take new clients on."
"Captain, I do have to ensure the health and safety of this crew, something you seem to neglect quite often." Something in his tone hinted at more than his words let on. He glanced at Chewbacca as he took a deep breath. "Especially when we have a rather savage alien type among them, the crew may need inoculations against disease…"
Chewbacca growled out, causing Simon to take a step back with a flash of fear. Mal smiled in true amusement before turning to the newcomers. "Forgive the doctor, he's a big city boy, still believes in too many of the unfortunate stereotypes of alien life. If you want to pound him, feel free but make it an easy one as he is the only medical man we got here."
A cough came from the doorway and they turned to see a dark-skinned man with white hair and a mustache standing there, clad in dark pants and a blue shirt with an odd collar about his neck. "Captain," he said in a booming tone. "I see we have more guests."
"Indeed we do," Mal said. "Han Solo, Luke Kenobi and Winter, meet Sheppard Book, our resident wise man."
"A pleasure." The man bowed his head. "I'll save my welcome aboard until you decide if it's merited."
"Always a cheerful time with you about, Book," Mal noted as he led the group out of the medical center. Luke paused glancing back at Book, wondering why he had a strange feeling around that man.
Leia frowned at him. "Luke? Something wrong?"
"Hmm?" Luke looked at her. "No, no, just…it's nothing."
"Nothingness is not upon us yet." Everyone stopped and looked about in confusion at soft words. "Not until we take flight does it surround us. But the true darkness is upon the center of the galaxy."
Chewbacca felt something at his head and looked up to see a pair of wide eyes staring at him. His growl alerted the others as they all glanced up to see a young girl no older than eighteen hanging upside down from the ceiling. She was wearing a loose dress around her thin body, her long black hair hanging about her face, china-doll beauty marked with innocent and a distant look in her eyes.
"River," Mal said, seeing nothing wrong with this odd sight. "What have I told you bout hanging from my ship's innards?"
The girl looked to him with innocent eyes. "It's funny?"
Mal leaned back and called out. "Doc! She's doing the monkey thing again! I had thought we discussed this!"
Simon came out, sighing as he stepped under River. "River, come down."
"Don't want to," she pouted.
"River…please." He wasn't stern but sounded kind if firm as he held out his arms. Sighing, River let go of the bar and flipped herself down, landing on her feet right before Leia. As she rose, she actually seemed to smell at the older woman before looking her in the eye. "Pretty girl in a row….a warrior behind the dresses." She glanced at Luke and frowned. "Two by two you are and yet you don't see it. The moons must meet before father eclipse comes." She turned on her heel and literally skipped down the hallways.
Han, Luke, Leia and Chewbacca stared at the direction she'd gone for a long moment before turning in unison toward Mal with blank looks. Mal shrugged. "River's Doc's sister. Good gal, just a bit…off. Don't mind her none." He turned to lead them down the hallways. "Guest quarters are right up here, should have you settled in…"
"Captain," came the elegant voice of an even more elegant woman who stepped before them. She was clad in a gorgeous red dress that set off her shapely body, her lush black hair falling around in curls, her body adorned with decorative rings, bracelets, earrings and necklace. Her smile was quite engaging as she nodded to the four passengers before looking to Mal. "I was just told I have to make room for people in my shuttle, which is not part of our agreement."
"See, there you go again, Inara," Mal said in a tired tone. "You once more labor under the misapphrension that it is your shuttle when it fact it is mine, you merely rent it from me. As captain, I can take on passengers as I see fit and the spacing is limited so I think it only fair for Ms. Winter here to room with you for the duration of this journey."
Inara frowned which did nothing to mar her beauty. "Captain, we had an agreement."
"And as you know, I am ever a man of honor," Mal said with no trace of irony in his voice, ignoring Inara's look of disbelief. "But as I understand, you have no new business or clients on this trip so you can spare the rooming for now. Maybe you can even give Winter here fashion tips."
The woman frowned. "I don't suppose any sense in arguing about this more at the moment." Her eyes narrowed. "Not that you should take this in any way as a victory, Captain."
"My ship, I take my victories easily, Inara." He bowed his head as she stalked to a side door with a sign of her name over head. "Interesting lady," Han had to note.
"She is at that," Mal wistfully said. "Well, care to see the take-off from our cockpit?"
"Why not?" Han asked. "Like seeing amateurs doing their best." Mal glared as they headed up the hall to the main cockpit. It was larger than the Falcon cockpit, the windows showing the great sun and the controls spread out along the window edge. At the main chair was a blonde haired man in an oddly-patterned shirt and dark pants clicking some switches as he gripped the large control handles. "We good to go, Wash?" Mal asked.
"Depends," the man said without looking at him. "Main thrusters are still acting up, the hyper drive still has that little build-up problem and…" He turned to see Mal glaring at him before four strangers and instantly shifted his tone with a smile. "We're good to go for high skies, Captain!"
"Your confidence inspires as always, Wash," Mal noted as the young man turned back and started to flick switches. A loud growling sound began to rumble outward as the engines flared to life. Mal frowned as it shook harder and reached to a comlink. "Kaylee?"
"She just needs a little pushing, Captain!" the young woman's voice came over it, sounding under stress. There was another shake as the engines fired up and the ship rose upward, boosted on a pair of large jets that allowed it to rise vertically.
"Not bad," Han had to note as the ship headed upward. Mal smiled at him. "There you go. Nice and easy, have you on your way with no fuss."
Han raised an eyebrow. "You with no fuss, Reynolds? This I gotta see." Leia couldn't help feeling worse at the way he said that.
In the small corner of her room, River pulled her knees up and closed her eyes. "He comes…he comes…the father eclipse comes…" Her voice was lost as Serenity flew into the wide galaxy above.
So, opinions as to whether I should continue?