Copyright © David Noe 2011
Picking up Trash
Written by: David Noe & Kieyotie McDermott
Edited by: Laura Loolaid
The forum that was, could no longer support our ideas, there were so many…
I had met Kieyotie at a Firefly fanfic group, and our collaborative ideas soon grew into a new fictional universe of our own. This text is a considerably edited version of the original roleplay notes; there is also a parallel version of the story from Trouble’s perspective. After all the years, the stories, the roleplay, and the new crewmembers, Tucker 9/Tucker X is the place we always return to, even with newer and remixed storylines – this is where it all began!
Chapter 1 – Picking Up Trash
Smoke swirled and rose through the gaps in the rotting ceiling-boards of the bar as the many patrons drank themselves into a relaxed stupor. Work on Hubris was hard. Tucker 9, the desert moon’s only real source for crops and livestock, was no exception. Every waking cycle the townsfolk would struggle to create life out of sand and rocks. Their pay-off – a simple, mostly happy life, free from the burdens and bureaucracy of central civilized worlds. Dust rolled in from the street as people came and went. The mixed sounds of horses and charging hover-cars rose up and muted again each time the doors swung back to their rickety frames.
“Another!” The man at the bar uttered a low growl as he slammed his now empty glass down, causing cracks to appear around its base. He wore a large hooded coat that almost engulfed him. Dry blood covered his hair, face and hands.
He was unsure of how he had even ended up in this bar; his whole life up until this point felt like a haze. Impatient, he patted himself down, finding a small tin filled with herbs and smoke-papers in his top pocket. His hands had passed over a holster and a protruding handle jammed to his left side; he made a note to examine the weapon once he was on his own.
At least the motion of rolling felt familiar. Maybe if he thought hard enough, the rest would come back… His head began to ache again, as if remembering meant a physical ordeal.
The bartender returned with a drink. Placing it on the counter, he lit up the man’s smoke. He decided against asking questions, and turned to serve another customer instead.
Alone with his drink, the man looked down at himself in an attempt to gain some answers. His eyes jumped from bloodstain to bloodstain, provoking more questions. Besides some obvious knuckle damage, he seemed in good enough shape, just in need of a good clean-up. He took a deep lungful of smoke, and let his gaze slowly explore the room, avoiding directly looking at anything – or anyone – in particular. The bartender gave him an occasional sideways glance but left him be. The man slammed another empty glass down on the bar, stubbed out his roll-up, and got to his feet, using the stool to steady himself.
Rubbing his head, he slowly made his way towards the bathrooms. The pain he had awoken with gave way to numb discomfort. The door to the bathroom swung open. He squeezed himself past a heavily intoxicated patron, and quickly locked the door behind him. The smell almost knocked him out, and the floor welcomed him with a puddle better left unexamined. Yet for now, these were the least of his concerns.
He rested for a moment slumped against the door, trying to gather his thoughts. He still wasn’t sure how he’d come to arrive here but one thing was certain – it had taken some struggle. Slowly, he made his way over to one of the more intact mirrors. It was missing a corner, and had a large crack running all the way through. He stared at himself, turned on the cold tap, and let the sink fill.
As he gripped the sides of the basin, his eyes wandered back to his reflection.
‘Who am I? ‘Why don’t I remember?’
He stared some more.
Continue reading Taking Flight – Chapter 1