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Welcome to Year Eight

"Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurtin' fore she keens. Makes her a home."

Year Eight and Still Flyin'! Thank You, Everyone!


 

 Madeston: (About 20 miles from Portleaf)
Jango Gage
Posted: Jan 26 2011, 11:54 AM


Trader by Trade


Group: NPC
Posts: 5
Member No.: 1,132
Joined: 25-January 11




Jango Gage dismounted from his quad-runner and bounced a bit on the heels of his well-worn work-boots to kick out the muscle stiffness from his ride into town. Well, calling Madeston a town was like calling a mudfly a sparrow, wasn't it? It had four streets that intersected down the main road; a church, a schoolhouse, general store, and a feed & seed.

And around the back of the general store was the single room that was his office. Also his sleeping space and store-room, when he was in town and felt like sleeping. Or at least, felt like sleeping alone.

Tall and tanned, Jango could feel the hard-won look of the jungles of Greenleaf in his shoulders and down his spine. It was on his unshaven face, in his insect-bitten forearms, in the coat of perspiration that gleamed on his neck, though it was still early in the day. It was in the hard lean of his muscles: too much work and lean meat, not enough sleep. He was a bit older than he looked, but not by much, and the way the jungle ate a man, he figured sooner rather than later it would start to appear the other way around.

He glanced towards his office, but didn't head that way. Instead, his bright blue eyes turned upwards, glancing towards the skyline. With the close-in forest, sometimes you wouldn't hear the shuttle before you saw it but the sounds of Serenity's shuttles weren't unfamiliar here. He'd brokered deals with them in the past. The Missus Washburne (Jango rather regretted that he'd missed the boat on that dock) had only said they'd be there today, not the when or where or why. So Jango was naturally a spot nervous, standing exposed in the open clearing.

Something on the ground caught his keen eye, and leaning down, he scooped a black snake out of the grass, catching it swiftly behind the head and giving it a spinning toss back out into the woods. No sense letting his 'visitors' get eaten today.

Finally, the distant hum of the shuttle came over the tree-tops, and Jango rocked back on his heels and dropped his sunglasses over his eyes as it's wake threw leaves, twigs and small bugs into a whirlwind of debris. A confident smile touched his lips.

Whatever it was Serenity wanted, he knew the place to trade for it...
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Zoe Washburne
Posted: Jan 27 2011, 02:08 PM


Warrior Woman


Group: Canon
Posts: 16
Member No.: 239
Joined: 28-December 06



If not for the coordinates in the navigation software, Zoe would have never been able to pick out the settlement in the jungle. Not even having been here before. Soon enough, though, the clearing that was Madeston came over the horizon, the little town laid out in a neat grid on the ground with a landing field off to the side. Seeing a figure near the field, she knew that it was Jango without seeing him clearly and swung the shuttle around to set it down in a less spectacular fashion than Wash would have approved of.

During the trip, she had already explained the reason to meet with Jango Gage. That he knew more about Greenleaf than anyone else and if anyone could help them find a safe place for the kids, it would be him. What worried Zoe more was how Jango would react to having a couple of orphans (if, indeed, they were orphans. She still wasn't quite convinced about Greta and Jared's story) foisted off on him without warning.

"Let me break the news to Jango," she told the others, after shutting the engine down and heading to the hatch, putting a hand on the latch, her eyes falling on the kids. "And don't try to run away. Nearest proper sized town is twenty miles through the jungle. Ain't got much faith you two would make that trip and come out alive." It was a gentle, but stern warning that was given with a half-smile on her lips as she continued. "Besides, Jango would find you before you got half a mile out."

A final severe look back and forth between the siblings and Zoe turned to push open the hatch, letting the heat of the jungle into the shuttle, adding even more scents to those already lingering among the fabrics lining the walls. It was always overwhelming coming to Greenleaf, the heat and the smells were something that was uncommon aboard a ship and on most other planets and Zoe took a deep breath before stepping out, her eyes squinting against the light as she started toward the shape she identified as Jango Gage.
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Shepherd Book
Posted: Jan 30 2011, 08:42 PM


Isn't that... special.


Group: Members
Posts: 6
Member No.: 1,038
Joined: 17-December 09



“Besides, Jango would find you before you got half a mile out."

“And God would find you sooner than that,” Book warned, gathering himself from his seat. His traditional mode of dress was not well suited for the jungle climates of Greenleaf, yet he wore them anyway. The attire of a shepherd was meant to be uniform and universally recognizable, and though he had appropriate wear for extreme cold, he was unable to shed layers for the humid heat that blasted him upon exit of Inara's shuttle.

It was an exotic paradise, pulsating with an unparallelled level of greenery to the well-traveled journeyer. To one who spent a good deal of time in the black, the astounding volume of colour was a welcome reprise.

Book brought nothing but his wits and his soul out onto the the open landing field of Madeston, and regarded their broker with guarded optimism. Not much could be told from his appearance alone, which was fine, as the shepherd knew better than most not to accept first impressions.
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Greta Brandt
Posted: Jan 31 2011, 10:16 AM


The Responsible One


Group: NPC
Posts: 10
Member No.: 1,063
Joined: 5-March 10



"And don't try to run away. Nearest proper sized town is twenty miles through the jungle. Ain't got much faith you two would make that trip and come out alive."

Greta exchanged glances with her brother, but didn't speak. She hadn't had a chance to look at the map before they'd landed, and she didn't doubt that Zoe was right about the distance. They had come hundreds of thousands of miles. What was twenty more?

"Besides, Jango would find you before you got half a mile out."

Jango. Again, Greta exchanged glances with her brother. They didn't know what a Jango was, but it didn't sound good. Had she made a mistake in trusting these people? Were they about to be handed over to slavers? Or worse?

“And God would find you sooner than that,”

Now Greta did look up, meeting the Shepherd's eye with the jaded glance that only a teen-ager full of disillusionment could muster, "God hasn't bothered to find us yet... I don't think he's looking very hard."

The shuttle door opened, and the hot wet air of Greenleaf's jungles swept in. Greta closed her eyes, opened her mouth and breathed deep, letting the sudden familiarity comfort her. And take her back...

"Keep up, Greta!" Daddy was striding in front of them, his long arm sweeping down with the machete to clear the path. She could see the muscles ripple along his shoulders under his thin sweat-soaked t-shirt. To her, he seemed a giant, stomping down the jungle trails of the Madeston Park Preserve.

Behind him, Jared hunkered along, half-bent over as he studied the jungle floor for frogs, bugs and other things that boys his age liked. Mostly gross things.

"Comin', Daddy!" Greta stopped looking up at the monkeys in the tree-canopy and hurried ahead, hopping over a fallen log. She tried to make a game of stepping in the footprints that went ahead of her. Her feet covered Jared's prints entirely, (but Mom said 'not for long'). Then she tried stepping in the thick deep impressions left behind by Daddy's boots...

And paused again. Somehow, she'd managed to step directly in the middle of the print, so that his footstep surrounded her own tiny-seeming foot. Walking in Daddy's footsteps...


Greta opened her eyes, looked out at the little town of Madeston, knowing, just knowing, that they were almost home.

She suddenly smiled.

Or maybe it was just that God hadn't known where to start looking...
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Jango Gage
Posted: Feb 12 2011, 12:40 PM


Trader by Trade


Group: NPC
Posts: 5
Member No.: 1,132
Joined: 25-January 11




Jango spread his arms in greeting as Zoe Washburn stepped out of the shuttle, "Missus Washburne!" His cockneyed accent echoed in the clearing, suddenly still in the wake of the shuttle's landing, "As lovely as ever, I see. And as ready to kick my pigu as ever, I'll wager..."

"And there be my mysterious Miss Serra." He glanced again between the two women, his banter falling short for a moment, "Since when has a Shepherd started keeping company of you lovely ladies? Don't tell me Reynolds thought you needed a chaperone? Around sweet innocent ol' me?! Or did you bring him along to perform the matrimonials?"

With a wink, Jango swooped in to take Inara's hand and give it a debonaire, if slightly sweaty, kiss, "Darling Miss Serra! It's been a century since I've seen the like of your beauty!"

"Flattery will get you nowhere, Mr. Gage. Especially that old line." Inara confided with a smile that encouraged rather than discouraged. The Companion fluttered a hand towards Zoe, "We're here on business."
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Zoe Washburne
Posted: Mar 10 2011, 04:08 PM


Warrior Woman


Group: Canon
Posts: 16
Member No.: 239
Joined: 28-December 06



"Missus Washburne! As lovely as ever, I see. And as ready to kick my pigu as ever, I'll wager..."

Zoe dipped her head in a shallow nod, a slight smile crossing her lips at the greeting from Jango. "And as married as ever, Jango," she noted, in response to his unvoiced thoughts. While he flung his arms wide as if to invite a hug, she didn't accept and allowed him to turn his attention to Inara instead. Meanwhile, the first mate of Serenity kept a hand on her mare's leg and a close eye on the kids they'd brought along.

"Flattery will get you nowhere, Mr. Gage. Especially that old line. We're here on business."

A delicate kind of business, Zoe reflected, giving a glance back toward Inara as the Companion left it to her to handle the explanations and negotiations. Motioning at Greta and Jared, she smiled at Jango, shifting her stance a little to turn in a way that she was half-facing both parties. "Meet Greta and Jared. Ain't told us no last names." That was another thing that bothered her. Everyone had last names, even orphans, but these two had skilfully avoided parting with theirs. "Orphans we picked up on Persephone."

She paused for a moment, glancing away from Jango to the kids as she chose her next words carefully. "Need your help finding their uncle, Jango," she said, looking back at the man with a tilt of her head and another shift in her stance, turning slightly more toward the trader to offer him a smile and a lift of her brow. "'course, we don't expect you to help out of the kindness of your heart. We'll pay you well enough for your troubles."
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Jared Brandt
Posted: Mar 12 2011, 01:13 PM


Old Enough


Group: NPC
Posts: 8
Member No.: 1,060
Joined: 8-February 10



Jared stayed back, half-behind the edge of the shuttle door, peering out.

Greta was smiling, not her 'something good is about to happen' smile, but her 'coming up with a plan' kinda smile, and as much as he hoped she'd really come up with a good one this time, he wasn't about to lay odds on that he'd like what she was thinking.

She'd been different since they left Serenity, more secretive, closed up. Of course it was hard to talk about what mattered in close quarters on the shuttle with strange ears around.

At least they were back on Greenleaf, where it all began.

At least they were where they could start to really find the answers.

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Jango Gage
Posted: Mar 25 2011, 01:00 PM


Trader by Trade


Group: NPC
Posts: 5
Member No.: 1,132
Joined: 25-January 11



"Orphans we picked up on Persephone."

Jango'd been thrown too many curves in life to be surprised, but he shook his head, "Orphans?"

He flung one hand towards the forbidding jungle, turning away from the shuttle and calling back over his shoulder, "Portleaf's thatta way. Along with the orphanages. Catch me when you have a real job, Zo."

"Need your help finding their uncle, Jango. 'Course, we don't expect you to help out of the kindness of your heart. We'll pay you well enough for your troubles."

"I'm not a babysitter." Jango tried to explain, voice lowered to reason, hands resting wide-splayed on his leather belt, "Money isn't the issue. This is a hard place... If their uncle is here, they'd be better off waiting for him in town."

"We aren't babies." The voice came from shuttle doorway, bright and cocksure. The young girl, her untidy hair yanked up in a pony-tail, stared down at him, her own hands on her hips in imitation of his own, "And we know a bit about the jungle."

Jango glared up at the child, hand leaning casually on his belt knife as he stepped up to the shuttle door until their height was even, eye to eye. Lowering his voice to a threatening hum, he leaned in a bit, "Do you now?"

"I do." She didn't back up, just met his stare with keen brown eyes that missed nothing, "Enough to know you're standin' in poison sumac."

Rutt. Jango didn't dare look down, but he knew the second she said it, she was probably right. Instead, he aimed a finger at her flimsy running shoes, "That is why I wear boots."

"And why you keep your pants tucked into 'em. ... We don't need a babysitter." Greta answered him coolly, "We need information and a ride. Like Missus Washburne said, we can pay. You want to help us? Or you want our deaths on your hands when they find our shriveled up corpses all bug-eaten out there in the rainforest?"

Jango sighed, backing down. Without breaking his eye contact with Zoe, he nodded, "All right. But Mal is gonna owe me for this. Owe me big. Come on down to the canteena and let's get a drink over the details."

He flashed Missus Washburne a wink, "I'll even buy if you promise not to tell your husband."
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Hands of Blue
Posted: Mar 25 2011, 01:21 PM


Two by two...


Group: NPC
Posts: 7
Member No.: 56
Joined: 15-May 06



From the edge of the jungle, they watched. The Zero-Life platform they stood upon held the jungle's dangers at bay, but their crisp black suits were somewhat dampened by the humidity. Their hands were sheltered in deep pockets, waiting to be resheathed in blue nitrile. Even the jungle sun lent no color to their grey palor.

They waited.

Now was not the time.

The Companion, the Preacher and the Soldier may have been irrevocably contaminated and were in need of elimination, but it would be more discreet to learn from the children first. They could always find the Companion easily enough, and where she would be, they would find the other two.

Gage was expendable.

It was the children that mattered.

Heads turning, they nodded to one another, replacing their protective gloves and activating the land-lock device that would ensure the shuttle would remain until they could prioritize their next objectives.

"Precocious, isn't she?" One said to Two, a half-smile on his face as they slowly moved forward, placing the trail into Madeston between themselves and the group in the landing field.

Two did not nod, but kept his eye on the scene playing out in the meadow, "Yes. Very much like her father."
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Zoe Washburne
Posted: May 9 2011, 05:59 PM


Warrior Woman


Group: Canon
Posts: 16
Member No.: 239
Joined: 28-December 06



She had to grudgingly admit it to herself, but those kids sure knew what to say to make people like them. The girl especially, even though some folk might call her a smart-mouth. But somehow, Greta had managed to say the magic words that got Jango to at least hear them out rather than send them on the way to dump the kids at one of those orphanages in town.

"All right. But Mal is gonna owe me for this. Owe me big. Come on down to the canteena and let's get a drink over the details. I'll even buy if you promise not to tell your husband."

“Appreciate it, Jango,” Zoe said, giving a glance around the clearing before turning back to the man whose help they needed so desperately. “Make sure the Captain won't forget what's owed.” Motioning for Greta and Jared to get out the shuttle, not caring to leave them here where she couldn't keep an eye on them. “Hope that canteena of yours serves something appropriate for those two?”
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Inara Serra
Posted: Aug 12 2011, 11:59 PM


The Ambassador


Group: Canon
Posts: 120
Member No.: 9
Joined: 2-May 06



Canteena. In a jungle pit. On Greenleaf.

Oh, Mal. The places you take me, Inara muttered silently to herself as the others started down the ramp and across the field. At least Jango usually meant an entertaining time, even in insect infested canteens.

"I'll just be a minute! Let me lock the control panel!" She called down to them, and grab some disinfectant ... did it come in big enough containers for these situations? Her hand reached down for the control lock and paused as the panel blinked read. "That's strange... Jared? You didn't touch anything in here did ... did..."

The call died on her lips and Inara stared at the panel. She'd seen similar lights before- on Serenity. When they were landlocked.

Rushing back to the door, Inara started to wave, "Zoe! Book! We're hard-docked. Someone's landlocked us!"
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Hands of Blue
Posted: Aug 13 2011, 12:10 AM


Two by two...


Group: NPC
Posts: 7
Member No.: 56
Joined: 15-May 06



"That would be us." Two spoke as he stepped from behind the wing of the shuttle.

"Or rather, me." One suggested, breaking from the shadows of the trees. He raised the sonic device in his right hand, that unseemly sceptor of doomesday magik, and aimed it at the group.

"The children are all we want," Two said calmly to the dark man, the man who wore the mantle of religion as a cloak against his past. One blue-gloved hand flickered towards Washburne and Gage, "They might be foolish enough to think they can resist, but you know. You know you can't win. Give us the children."

And we'll let you die in peace...
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Serenity
Posted: Oct 8 2011, 12:00 PM


10th Crew Member


Group: NPC
Posts: 52
Member No.: 12
Joined: 2-May 06



EIGHT HOURS LATER


The jungle birds had gone silent with the setting of the Greenleaf sun, wary of drawing the wild's predators with their sounds. Beneath the thick canopy of Greenleaf's banyan and malabar trees, faint rustlings and hushed shufflings broke the silent night, along with the croaking of frogs and the chirping of insects. Here a snake slithered, there a jungle cat padded silently in the thick loam.

And nearby, in a small clearing, four people slept, apparently comfortably, upon the thickly leaf-strewn ground.

An Untame-able forest-man slept unsmiling, his body tense with a sense of danger that pervaded his dreams. Even softly perfumed hair stroking his face, the memories of a softer life that was not his own, could not draw him from the sleeping he kept. The forest-man's dreams were of hunting and being hunted.

A Soldier slept sitting up, back braced against the sturdy trunk of a fallen tree, seemingly alert and on guard, though her closed eyes and slumbering breath told another story. Black curls, like windswept promises, draped around her face, tickled over the skin of the man who slumbered beside her. Yet her smile was bright and alive and loving. For her mind brought her love and peace and solace in the form of dancing blue eyes and a laugh that had, since she had met Hoban Washburne, driven away the darkness of her past.


A Shepherd, far from his fold, lay on his side, head rested in the crook of his elbow, eyes closed as far away his dreams drew pictures of glowing stars as seen from the bridge of a far-away ship. His heart searched for answers to the questions the monastery hadn't answered in the distant astral voyages of his dreams. But close than dreams, the woman in his arms, breaching defenses. An Angel having come to him. An Angel or a Succubus come to tempt him?

A Companion lay stretched body-long, head resting upon a sturdily breathing chest, arms secured around the form beside her. Her full lips were slightly parted, and still-painted eyelids quivered as her dreams brought her, not jungle floors and memories paid for and purchased with her body, but dreams of a man with whom she could let go of her self-reliance. In her dreams, no man was unobtainable, no one could not be hers. She dreamed not of contracts and paid privelegs, but of a love-filled future away from the strictures of the Guild. Living in her dreams, she sought that man...

Jungle Guide Jango Gage, Soldier Zoe Washburne, Shepherd Derrial Book and Companion Inara Serra slumbered in the night-time forest, all danger but for the curious insects, snakes and cats gone beyond their reckoning, and even their memories....
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Serenity
Posted: Jan 14 2012, 02:13 PM


10th Crew Member


Group: NPC
Posts: 52
Member No.: 12
Joined: 2-May 06



PLOT PROGRESS:

Zoe, Shepard Book, and Jango Gage have returned to Serenity, while Inara, vowing her return as soon as her duties allow, has gone on ahead to a grieving Sihnon to pay her respects.

Memories are foggy, insubstantial pieces that they wish they could put together, yet fall apart when probed too closely. They had turned the children over to missionaries on the outskirts of New Leaf, hadn't they? Vague impressions of pressed suits, of smiling faces, of Greta's voice so seriously telling them not to worry... But they weren't worried. Still, they felt they needed top be.

Jango, at home with the jungle, at home with his wandering ways, suddenly felt the need to roam further, to go on to new worlds, maybe catch another ship in another direction.

Something about Greenleaf no longer welcomed him...



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Greta Brandt
Posted: Jan 14 2012, 02:40 PM


The Responsible One


Group: NPC
Posts: 10
Member No.: 1,063
Joined: 5-March 10



Little child, be not afraid,
the rain pounds harsh against the glass,
like an unwanted stranger,
There is no danger.
I'm here tonight.



Greta huddled closer to the trunk of the great bilboa tree, cradled in branches high above the forest floor, green mossy warmth against her back, and dug her arms closer around Jared.

The boy, so brave, so strong, turned his face to his sister's sleeve, burying the tears he could no longer keep from falling. All she could do was keep singing, singing Daddy's song, singing Mama's song, as the warm tropical rains poured down over them, dripped from the broad leaves and hushed down to the thick forested floor.

"We aren't going to find Daddy here, are we?" Jared whispered into the watery-rush between the verses of the lullaby, and Greta shook her head, unable lie even as she sucked in a deep breath and began the next verse,

Little child, be not afraid,
the thunder explodes, and lightening flash
illuminates your tear stained face,
I'm here tonight.


The jungles dangers she knew well, they were ingrained in her from birth, the thick Greenleaf wood, its moisture-laden air, its deep black mud, all a part of her body and soul. And that was why, when she had realized that their friends, these people who had risked their lives and livelihoods to help her, were in danger, she had chosen the forest over the strangers with their odd gloved hands.

They had run, darting through thickets of needle-thorns that a larger creature would be forced to go around, crawling on hands and knees beneath old rotted logs where a grown-up would never fit, and finally climbing, high and higher, and traversing the trees like agile monkeys, the wildlife surrounding them and masking their signatures through the treetops. Finally, weary and hungry, they had to stop running. For a little while, at least.

The puzzle was adding more pieces before Greta could get the original bits locked together, like a labyrinth that changed walls when you weren't looking.

Jared sniffled and raised his head, looking out into the nighttime jungle, adding his watchful gaze to her own, "This is how it's always gonna be, isn't it? No help but us, huh?"

Greta smiled faintly, brushed a hand over her brother's damp forehead, "We gotta find Uncle Wally, he'll help us."

"How?" Jared whispered, his eyes blinking against the wind that rustled the treetops, "We don't even know where he is."

Greta didn't have an answer. Instead, she whispered, "Look..." And pointed to where a faint glow opened on the far side of the world, the rain's wild drumming fading away, "Morning's coming."


[font]And some day you'll know,
that Nature is so.
The same rain that draws you near me,
falls on rivers and land,
on forest and sand,
makes the beautiful world that you'll see in the morning.

[/font]




ooc:
Lyrics- Vienna Teng, "Lullabye for A Stormy Night"


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