Today, finally, it had come. She stood in the room, smoothing her red skirt with a happy grin. Inara had done her hair and makeup, River was her maid of honor, and in just a minute she’d finally be stepping before Shepard Book with Simon. What a magical day.
River stuck her head through the door and beckoned with her wild grin. Kaylee picked up her skirts and followed gladly. There was the hall, and down the hall was …
“Kaylee! Wakeup girl! Engine just stopped. Find out why!” Mal’s screams, timed with banging on the hatch of her quarters, snapped Kaylee from her dreams.
“Every gorram time,” she muttered.
“Coming, Captain,” she yelled, heading for the ladder.
“You want what?”
“Just a bit of credit until our next visit,” Kaylee tried to explain. “We’re good customers, always comin’ to you for our parts. We need that grave boot now, but we just don’t have the coin …”
The glare she was getting did not imply there was a chance in hell he was going to let that part out of his junkyard without cold hard cash.
“I suppose we could just shoot you and take the part,” Jayne commented from behind her shoulder, fingers caressing the butt of his gun.
“Now, Jayne, Captain wouldn’t take kindly to us making unnecessary enemies,” Kaylee said.
”Who says it’s unnecessary?” the large mercenary countered, raising an eyebrow at the wilting junkman.
Prompt: Flower, Character: Kitten
Jayne walked into the dinning area and stared. This was unusual even for Serenity.
“What’s your moon brain sister doing now?” he asked, turning to the doc sitting at the table. However, it was River who responded.
“Immature feline imitation. Animal charades for character study,” she said from her position curled up on the table, her head all but in her brother’s lap and her hand batting at the flowers Kaylee had gathered last planet fall. It almost sounded like she was … purring between words.
Jayne looked blank for a moment, then said, “Gorram crazy chit,” and walked back the way he came.
The voice yelled, “Freeze!” and River did, in mid pirouette. One leg high as her arms, she peered at the man approaching through the trees at the edge of the clearing. He had a gun. No big. And his friend was coming around the other side, less than silently. A bit more of a problem.
“Well aren’t you a pretty little thing,” the first purred, walking up to her with a lascivious grin. At the same time, his friend stepped out of the tree line. The timing was perfect. But what would Simon say?
Too late. She snapped her arm into his solar plexus, dropping her leg and wrapping her other arm around his gun arm. She turned and fired the gun at the other man.
A twist of her arm knocked the first to the ground and slipped the gun from his hand. She turned and fired.
“Good work, little albatross,” called Mal from the tree line, having just caught the end of the fight. “Let’s go home.” He held out his hand and she placed her stolen gun in it.
“What is that piece of go se?” asked Jayne.
“I was just wondering the same myself,” added Simon.
Kaylee frowned at them both. “Go se? This isn’t go se. It’s folk art. They dry the gourds they grow and then paint them. It’s a tradition that comes from Earth that was.”
“I still say it looks like go se,” said Jayne, stalking past in search of food.
Simon stuck around to receive a fierce glare from the mechanic as she stalked past, gripping her gourd.
Prompt: Shelter, Character: Wanderer, Action: Sneeze
“I was born on a space ship, you know,” Zoe pointed out.
“The eternal wanderer,” Simon said flatly, his eyes glued to the table.
“It’s not such a bad life, really.”
“Oh, sure, always on the go, constantly running out of everything, go se for food…” he bitched, the sneezed. “Picking up ever mutation of the flu from every planet.”
“Seeing new people and places. Not every ship likes to run on the edge like Serenity. You just can’t ride with them being a fugee. But a wandering life is just the kind of shelter you and your sister need.”
Prompt: Gin, Action: Swear
“So what is it this week, Kaylee?” Mal asked, taking the jug she proffered.
“Gin, Captain,” Kaylee chirped. “Got some nice juniper berries for flavoring back on Persephone.”
Mal eyed the clear contents of the jug. “Looks a lot like your white wine last month.”
“Sa gua. If you don’t like the results of my engine distillery, you can give it back,” she snapped, grabbing the jug back.
“He’s just a houzi de pigu,” said Jayne from where he’d been listening from the doorway. “I love your engine booze.” Lurching forward he pulled the jug from Kaylee’s hands, running it under his nose for an appreciative whiff.
“Ta ma de,” snarled Mal.
“I never did,” Jayne snapped back.
“You really like him, don’t you xiao mei mei,” Inara said wrapping a comforting arm around Kaylee’s shoulders.
“Sometimes I think I do,” Kaylee said through tears. “But then he does something stupid and … well it’s clear he doesn’t think about me much at all.”
“I think he does … just needs a little nudge is all,” Inara assured her.
The captain and his mercenary cornered Simon in the dining room. Jayne slammed his hands down on the doc’s shoulders, pinning him to his chair while Malcolm sat in a chair across the table.
“What’s going on?” asked the uneasy Simon, trying to get a look at the man holding him in place.
“My mechanic’s been rather unhappy of late, so I’m here to give you a nudge,” said Mal, giving the doctor a calm but serious look.
Prompt: Moonlight, Action: Savor
It wasn’t often that Simon got off the ship. There simply weren’t a lot of worlds that were safe for him to wander about. Even less often did he get off ship without having to play guardian to River.
He took a deep breath as he walked through the field where Serenity had landed. The night sky was full of stars and … well, could you call it moonlight if it’s reflected off a planet onto a moon instead of the other way around? Either way, the sky’s features were crisp. Fresh air, no hint of pollution or recycling, was a thing to savor, as was peace and silence.
Something dropped loudly in the open cargo bay.
Simon sighed. So much for savoring silence.
Use a Quotation
Quote by Richard J. Daley, Mayor of Chicago from 1955 to 1976
“You know, there’s a mayor out in Chicago who once said, ‘The police are not here to create disorder, they're here to preserve disorder.’ I gotta say, Murph, it sure feels like all were doing lately is create disorder. I miss the old days.”
“The policy changes do not assist in creating order, that is certain. But we can not stop serving.”
“Sure we can, Murphy. We can get any time until we die, and death is looking more and more likely for the lot of us.”
“Even death is not always an out.”
“Sorry, Murph. Good point.”
Sometimes he wasn’t sure if it was the mask or the whole suit that made him so hard to recognize. Some knew him by the sound of his voice, others by his actions. Yet OCP expected no one to realize even though they left him his original features.
If they had succeeded in destroying his memories, would it not have mattered? He liked to think that his fellow cops would have known him, and would have been even more appalled.
But whether he remembered or not, he could not be the man he was before. There was a veil drawn between his life before and his life after as solid as the one the mask made over his face.
“No wonder you don’t use these things much, Murph,” commented Lewis, looking him up and down.
“What do you mean, Lewis?” he asked, cocking his head as he looked at the handcuffs dangling from her hand.
“They didn’t give you anywhere to stash them,” she said, waving her hand over his armor. “One gun holster, and wherever you stash your spare ammo, but no hook for the handcuffs.”
Back when they were dating, he used to keep every scrap of writing she ever gave him. There wasn’t as much as he gave her, but he cherished every bit.
When they wed, he’d put it all in a nice box and kept it on his dresser. He didn’t know if she’d ever looked inside or not. At least not then. She probably had now … since his death.
Some days, he’d give anything for the familiar action of looking through those letters, sifting through the written evidence of her love for him. But it wasn’t possible any more. Even if they still existed, he couldn’t ask for them back.
And how would written proof of her love for him then have any effect on him now?
Some considered RoboCop stalking through the streets as disruptive and distracting. However, he had found it a nice preventative and an occasional chance to catch something in the act.
Today all he found was a small child sobbing by the street side.
“Hello there,” he said, kneeling down to her level as best he could. “Are you lost?”
“I can’t find my mummy,” she cried, throwing herself into his armor plated arms.
“Hush now. I’ll help you find her,” he assured, encouraging her to stand on her own feet.
“You promise?” she asked, staring uncertainly at his offered appendage.
“I promise,” he said, gripping her tiny fingers lightly in his own.
Some considered RoboCop wandering about an improper use of OCP funds, but these were the moments he lived for. Without them, he’d be as mad as every other attempt they ever made at creating a RoboCop.
He was the man of steel, the cop you could send into almost any situation and still expect him to come out. The perfect soldier, the perfect cop, and unique, since despite his success they’d never made another.
Sometimes he yearned for another like him, someone to share the madness, the disassociation, the frustration with. Someone who could understand what it had been like to lose everything and yet retain it at the same time. Yet, it was a fate he would not wish on his worst enemy. He didn’t want anyone to learn of loss as he had.
Thoughts of his loss led to a yearning for his life before his death. He didn’t have the same parts or hormones, but he remembers his love for his wife, for his son, and he misses them so. If only he could tell them … but that wouldn’t be fair to them. What kind of husband or father could he, a half alive cyborg, be?
The only yearning he could follow up was the one for justice and upholding the law. It gave him a purpose and a life, but sometimes it seemed a thin thread to hang his existence upon.
“You know, you got advantages being in there, Murph,” slurred John Cable as he stumbled through the door to Murphy’s lab space. He was drunk, very drunk. Murphy almost felt his sensors could do a breathalyzer test from across the room.
“What are you doing here, John?” he asked from his throne.
“Talking to my friend,” slurred John. “Not allowed to talk to my friend anymore? OCP say that.”
“Not at all,” Murphy assured his friend. “I am just surprised to see you at this hour.”
“I wanted to see my friend,” John babbled on, no slumping down against one of the computer backup systems. “Tell him how lucky he is.”
“How is that?”
“No nagging wives, no squalling kids. You can walk into any room, and if your parts get battered they just give you new ones.”
“There are disadvantages too …”
“And at least you never have to risk catching yourself in the zipper ever again.”
Murphy didn’t have a response for that one.
Character: Policeman, Action: Strip
“I’m not even sure why we got this assignment,” Anne Lewis grumped as they exited the car.
“Why not?” Murphy asked as he looked over the unassuming storefront of the address they’d be sent to.
“I’m a woman, and you can’t even care about such things.”
“Perhaps that is exactly why they sent us,” Murphy pointed out.
The doorman took one look at them and reasonably stepped aside. Within, they found loud music, nearly naked women dancing on stage, and a large number of men watching and drinking. One woman wearing slightly more cloths sauntered up to Murphy, looking him up and down.
“As I live and breath, RoboCop,” she purred, rubbing up against his armor. “You looking for a good time? I’d be happy to help,” she added, tugging one strap of her top off her shoulder.
“Thank you but no thank you, mame,” Murphy said politely as Lewis pulled a face. “We have been sent to close down your illegal operation. Please come quietly.”
“Your point is well made, Murph,” Lewis muttered as she slapped cuffs on the first stripper.
“Freeze, scumbag,” Murphy called to the fleeing criminal. Since he decided to continue running, Murphy decided to enforce his request. A well targeted bulled pierced the criminal’s left calf, missing the bone but inducing sufficient pain for the man to fall.
By the time the man finished rolling over and wrapping his hand around the wound, Murphy was right above him. “I said freeze,” he repeated, causing the criminal to look up, wide eyed, into the barrel of his gun.
One hand still gripped the leg wound, the other held out a bag of stolen items. “Here?” the criminal said pathetically, almost hoping that returning the items would be enough.
It was hard visiting her parents’ farm, her childhood home. She’d wanted to get away for so long part of her couldn’t understand why she was back. But it needed to be. Whatever her parents had done to her, they deserved the chance to know their granddaughter. And after what happened to Ree, Sergei, and Belle, she was very aware of the potential shortness of life.
All the same, when night came and she found herself tucking her daughter into bed with the same quilt her mother had made for her all those years ago, Yvette could not help but cry. She spent that night wrapped in that quilt, her daughter asleep in her lap, mourning for her friends and for what her childhood should have been.
When young Jamie first picked up an imaginary friend, Yvette didn’t think anything of it. Robyn hadn’t had one, but Yvette herself remembered that short phase from her childhood.
However, when imaginary conversations and tales of adventure turned to detailed suggestions for their trips Yvette began to worry. She spent several days in and out of meditation, trying to identify exactly what it was her son was listening to, for listening he was. She could hear the voice when she tried hard enough, but not identify the source.
In the end, it took Jack working in concert with her to pin things down. Turns out the wind itself had a bit of a personality and a memory, something she’d had a few hints of over the years. However, she’d never talked to it directly. Apparently, Jamie could. Figures her son would turn out more powerful than either of his parents. And now he was teaching his older sister tricks the wind taught him. Those two were going to drive her either to insanity or death before they both turned eighteen.
When Ree and Sergei entered the building, there was an unmistakable glow about them, at least Richard thought so.
“It’s so good to see you both again,” he said, welcoming them both with a big hug. “So when are you going to tie the knot?”
Sergei and Ree shared a grin. “As soon as we can get a hold of my parents, if you’re willing to perform the ceremony,” Ree said.
“I’d love to,” he assured them.
“What is this?” Victor asked, flipping open a decorative box on Elizabeth’s dresser. She flushed red as he took in the two compartments full of paper.
“Letters, notes, just stuff,” she murmured as he picked up the first piece in the front compartment.
“This is the note I left inviting you to dinner last week,” he said, looking up at her in confusion.
“It’s … an old habit I guess,” she admitted. “Whenever I started dating someone, I’d put all the letters and notes I got from him in the front compartment. When we broke up, it went into the back compartment.”
Victor flipped quickly through the back compartment, noting that there were a few small items for each name. Then he flipped through the front compartment, a bit more quickly.
“There are notes here from almost as soon as we met,” he commented, looking over at her.
She blushed again and shrugged. What could she say? “It seemed right at the time.”
He walked over and kissed her on the cheek. “I think it seems right now too,” he whispered into her ear.
West Prompt: Glass, Character: Sweetheart, Action: Quip
“I don’t like the term boyfriend,” Elizabeth admitted, sipping her wine. “Reminds me of the smucks I dated in high school.”
“I hope you don’t consider me a shmuck,” Victor quipped.
“Certainly not,” she assured him, grinning over her glass.
“Then what do you prefer?” he asked. “Lover seems a bit revealing.”
“I always thought sweetheart sounded … sweet,” she said shyly.
“Sveetheart,” he purred with a grin.