The events of yesterday’s SERENITY session….
We find the Icarus, having run like a bitch (noticing a theme here?), hurtling through space.
The crew wants to continue on their way to Bernadette, in the Core, but there are a few problems:
One, the two-dozen slaves that they rescued don’t want to go to Bernadette. That’s where they were grabbed…they were settlers, and looking to go out to Triumph, on the Rim. They gave money to a ship to take them there, but the ship turned out to be slavers, and so now they have no money and no gear, and the last thing they want to do is go back to where they started.
Two, Jules examines the underside of Icarus, and discovers heavy damage to the hull from the collision with the slaver ship. Not only is the main fuel cell ruptured and empty (Icarus is now running on the back-up, and it won’t last long), but the hull is damaged enough that any atmospheric re-entry will burn them up like a marshmallow in a campfire.
Three, Bernadette is a week away. Triumph is over a month away. Given the fact that they’re carrying enough food for the crew for a bit less than a month, having 2-dozen more mouths to feed means that they’ll run out of food in less than a week.
So, after deliberation, they hit upon a plan. Kai sends a Wave to Cassiopeia Ivers, one of her old friends. Ivers is a captain of a ship, Gráinne Uaile, that does regular runs between the Border Worlds and the Rim. Ivers agrees to meet them on the nearest world, Santo (“Vegas in Space”, basically….sex and gambling resorts, which is sure to go over well with the essentially Amish settlers), where she will take on the settlers and bring them where they want to go. Icarus will remain in high orbit as Jules affects repairs, and the crew will take the settlers down in two of the three shuttles, and then sell the extra shuttle, giving half the money to Ivers, and spending the rest on parts, food and fuel.
They reach Santo. Repairs are made, the settlers turned over to Ivers, they sell the extra shuttle, and secure parts, food and fuel….all without a hitch. Willem is very nervous that it all went so well.
A week later, Icarus arrives in the skies over Bernadette. The Core World is a restricted-landing zone, but they manage to secure permission by pointing out that they rescued a man (Renner) who left his belongings on the planet, and they’re just returning him so he can get the stuff back. Which is actually true….although Renner doesn’t tell the crew what “stuff” it is. He sends a wave to the individual who is holding on to his property: a crime lord by the name of Fats. (Thing Sydney Greenstreet in “Casablanca.”) Fats tells him that he’s been racking up charges, and he’ll need 15 credits to release Renner’s property. Renner asks Jules for the money, who gives it to him.
Icarus lands. The plan is as follows: Aida will stay on the ship, and keep it warmed up and ready to go. Renner and Gideon (who have been bonding with eachother over scars and weapons) will go to Fats and get Renner’s property back. Kai, Leda, Jules and Willem will go to the hospital with the cat, sneak in, and use the DNA scanner to read what the cat is carrying.
How will they sneak in, though? “I’ve got it!” Willem says. “Somebody hit me, and then we—” He never finishes the sentence, as a wicked right cross from Gideon rockets across his jaw and knocks him to the deck. He decides he doesn’t look “injured enough”, so he bangs his head against the deck plating and opens up a scalp cut. Bleeding, bruised and with a loose tooth, he then has the others take him to the hospital…he’s dressed as a Shepherd, and the plan is “oh my! Somebody beat up a Shepherd!” Kai has plans of her own.
They arrive outside the hospital, and Kai turns to Willem. “Sorry, Captain,” she says, and without warning, gives him an injection that puts him into an uncontrollable seizure. They rush him into the hospital, get him on a gurney, and with Kai as his doctor, wheel him quickly through security and into an examination room, where she gives him an antidote that stops the seizure. Willem, naturally, feels like hammered shit.
A nurse comes in and begins to tend to Willem. Kai tells her that they’ll be back in a bit. Kai, Leda and Jules leave to go scan the cat….leaving Willem at the mercy of the nurse.
Renner and Gideon go meet with Fats, who, true to form, screws Renner over. He tells him that yes, it is a 15-credit charge….but with interest, and processing, etc. the total comes to 30. Renner only brought 15, and so asks if there is any work that he can do to make up the difference. Fats takes the 15 and tells Renner that there is something he can do for him. Some “clients of his” are looking for a Firefly. Renner remarks that there are plenty of those around. Fats says that they are looking for a very specific Firefly….one that is captained by a Shepherd. Apparently, this particular ship is carrying something valuable to his client. Fats would like Renner to locate this ship, and bring them to him….BEFORE his clients find them. This will give Fats a valuable negotiation tool with his clients. Renner agrees, and he and Gideon leave.
Fearing that they’re being followed, they lie low at a bar, and contact Aida, telling her that Gideon is coming back to the ship to defend it, but that Aida should lock up and only let Gideon in when she gets there. Nobody else. Renner also contacts Jules and tells her that she needs to pose as the captain, because somebody is looking for a Shepherd who captains a Firefly.
Kai, Leda and Jules find the section they’re looking for….unfortunately, due to a certain theft at a certain hospital on Ariel, the entire place is behind a security door that requires a passcard to get through. Jules whips out her tools and bypasses the lock, and waits outside while Leda and Kai go through and find the DNA scanning room.
Willem tries to tell the nurse that he needs no treatment, but she gives him a sedative to shut him up.
Kai and Leda find the DNA scanner. Leda keeps watch, while Kai does the scan on the bio-storage that the cat is carrying. She reads the data, and saves it to disc. She tells Leda that they need to leave. “Go back and join Jules. I’ve got something I need to pick up while we’re here. I’ll meet you in Willem’s exam room.” With that, she hands the medical bag (with the unconscious cat) to a dumbfounded Leda, and heads off in the opposite direction.
Leda only freaks out a little bit, grabs Jules, and goes back to Willem’s room, where he’s sleeping soundly.
Kai, junkie that she is, goes to the pharmacy to steal Mimezine. Unfortunately, it’s also locked….but she follows an orderly into the room, and manages to bluff him into leaving while she “picks up a few things.” She then notices a big problem….the containers with the drugs are new, post Ariel-robbery security measures: each container is rigged with a security transmitter that will set off alarms if she tries to take them out of the hospital. So, instead, she decides to open every container, dump the drugs into a bag, and leave the containers behind….a process which takes time.
Sure enough, as she’s finishing, and is trying to hide the now-empty containers, the orderly comes back. Flustered, she tries to bluff him again. It doesn’t work….he’s suspicious. She tries to intimidate him, using her position as a doctor. It doesn’t work…..he decides to call security. She decides to jump him and inject him with the seizure-inducing drug.
She apologizes, and leaves. She returns to Willem’s exam room, and gives him an antidote to the sedative. Willem has been pumped full of several kinds of drugs in the past hour, and has a raging headache…not to mention his entire body being sore from cramping during the seizure. Things are not happy for the Captain.
Naturally, at this point, somebody finds the seizing orderly in the pharmacy. The hospital announces a security alert. Willem realizes that they’re probably reviewing security camera footage even as they speak, and tracking the intruders back to this very room. Time to leave.
They call Aida, and get her to call up a map of the hospital on the Cortex, to tell them the quickest way to a side-exit. As they leave the room, though, they are spotted by four security guards coming down the corridor.
Willem throws his bible at them, and then charges them, unarmed. In seconds, he has knocked two of them unconscious, and is fighting a third.
Jules and Kai run away, following Aida’s directions. Leda joins the fight, to help Willem.
The two remaining guards fire their sonic stun weapons at Willem and Leda, both of whom are hit, but not dropped. At this point, with the cocktail of drugs in his system, and being hit with a sonic stunner, Adrenaline is the only thing keeping Willem upright. A few seconds later, and the two other guards are dispatched as well, and Willem and Leda run to catch up with Kai and Jules.
Aida accidentally loses track of where they are on the map, and gives them the wrong directions, delaying their escape. She then hits upon the idea of hacking into the security system via the Cortex…which she does. She tries to shut it down, blinding security, but it doesn’t work. However, she does manage to listen in on Security communications….and what she hears makes her blood run cold.
“All security: hold position. Repeat: Hold position. Do not converge on the target.” When several security guards ask dispatch what the hell is up, the response is: “This has been flagged as a Government Matter….and there is an Operative on the premises.”
Aida loses her gorram mind. “Get out NOW!” she cries over the comm.
At this point, Gideon arrives at the ship, scaring Aida half to death. While she’s freaking out, she’s not communicating with the group at the hospital, who are also freaking out, while trying to escape. They use the passcards from the unconscious guards to open a few security doors that bar their way, but soon the cards are locked out the system. They end up finding a Fire Exit, and kick it open, running out into the streets of Bernadette.
The signal goes out for everyone to get the hell back to Icarus and get off-world ASA-gorram-P. Kai, Willem, Leda and Jules jump into an automated JohnnyCab, and Jules “hot-wires” it, shutting off the ‘bot and driving it herself. Aida, back on the ship, is still freaking out, telling them to keep an eye out for any individuals pursuing them. “What, are we supposed be looking out for a Ninja or something?” “He might be one.” “WHAT???”
Renner goes back to Fats, and says that he doesn’t think he can find the ship in question. He says that there was some security problem at the hospital involving a Shepherd, but that the only Firefly docked in the area is registered to a “Jules Beckett.” (So, he only SORTA sells out the crew.) He gives Fats another 15 credits (which he got from Jules…forgot about that), and asks if that makes them even. Fats says sure, but after Renner leaves, he tells his men to look into it, because the fact that Renner gave up the money so easily has made him suspicious.
Renner recovers his property: a very small one-man ship, illegally armed. He takes off and tells Aida that they’ll meet in orbit.
The cab arrives as Icarus and everybody piles on. Aida manages to get an Exit Visa from the Port Authority, and Icarus blasts off. They meet up with Renner…and since there is no open shuttle slot, he has to very carefully dock his ship snugly into the cargo bay. Pretty much no chance of carrying any cargo while it’s there, though.
They get the hell outta Dodge.
At this point, the crew all sit around the kitchen table, and tell eachother what they know. Renner tells them that he sorta kinda sold them out, but not really….and that Fats’ “clients” are looking for them. Aida tells them about the Operative….and Kai tells them what she found in the cat’s bio-storage:
The Battle of Serenity Valley was the turning point of the War. Half a Million men and women….some Alliance, some Browncoat, died there, and are buried in a vast graveyard, which serves as a memorial. Thing is, though, it seems that the guys who were charged with the duty of burying those half-a-million…..well, they took to looting the bodies, removing personal effects and valuables. Hundreds of thousands of credits worth…possibily millions. They buried this loot in a grave, under a false name: Caleb Hart, so they could come back for it at a later date. That’s what’s the data was. The story of the looted treasure, and the name and location of the grave. Caleb Hart. Row 630, Plot 44.
Speculation flew around the kitchen. Who encoded this? The biostorage was labeled as Blue Sun property. Was Blue Sun involved? Or was it just encoded on Blue Sun equipment, possibly by Chow himself? Why are people so eager to retreive the info….is there something in the grave more valuable than the treasure? Could it be of strategic importance?
The crew mulls this over. (Well, some of the crew. Renner and Gideon decide to have sex in the cargo bay, hanging from the guns on Renner’s ship)
Then, Aida drops another bomb.
She checked the Cortex, to see if there were any reports of the break-out from Bernadette, or any “wanted” posters generated on the Icarus or her crew. She found nothing.
Nothing. At all.
The ship, and the crew, have been erased. They no longer exist.