It started on Whitefall, way we heard it first. 'Course, that weren't altogether true, not when time differences come into it, but that's how it seemed to those telling the news. There was rumours for a long time around that world, said there was a Blue Sun outpost under one of the mountains, or inside it, something like that. Ain't nobody ever knew what they might be doing there, though, nor ever came up with any proof it was truth, so it was all just gossip far as Cap'n was concerned, and we agreed. Patience would've made it her business to know if there was anything real, right?
Guess we were wrong.
Ain't ever told nobody we were landside on Whitefall dealin' with Patience when they busted out. Were let out, ain't no way they all just happened to escape on five different worlds that way. Not exactly the same time. Anyway, no, nobody that weren't there knows. Too many questions comin' that way, didn't want everyone and his brother makin' us tell it all over again. Specially not Wash. And besides, they'd've thought we were crazy.
Poor Wash. Got right to the airlock with those toys of his, when we were clear away, only River wouldn't let him put 'em out. Took 'em and wouldn't give 'em back, not for a long time. She did in the end, but he had to promise first. Never did figure out what was in her head on that.
Gettin' off the point... shì a, we were there. Had some goods to sell, real specialized goods an' all the usual suspects'd already turned them down, so it turned out Patience was the best hope. Even after the last two times - any port in a storm, an' all. Just had to hope she wouldn't take offence that Jayne killed her boys, and the whole thing with the horse. Not that it mattered, when it came down to it. We didn't have much in the way of choice and anyway... the deal got kind of interrupted.
Heard later it wasn't the only world they'd been working on. Out in the desert on Bellerophon, St. Albans, New Melbourne for the ones that liked water... and Hera. Cap'n really didn't take to that so well. Disappeared for days the next time we made landfall, came back all sù zuì hòu tóu yūn de, not that I could blame him. Not when we all saw the vids of those... things... in Serenity Valley. And then there was what they did to fix it...
The deal, right. Got interrupted twice over, I guess you'd say. First time was a man we all thought was dead and, Zhŭ a, I wish he had been. Mind, he got a quicker death than the first we gave him. Can't say he suffered, at least, for all he deserved to. Didn't even know that yaoguài was there 'til he had a gun on Wash's head and he said... he said "Well, here we are", like it was just a meeting on the street. Like it was nothing.
She set us up. Patience. Guess I should've mentioned that already. Should've seen it comin', too, she was all friendly-like when we waved her. Zoe did call a trap, right back then, but we didn't think... we thought she was just gonna have her own people try an ambush again. Like she'd have pulled the same trick twice when it didn't work the first time round.
Didn't just stick to one set-up, neither. Still don't know how she found them, or they found her, or whatever the hell happened. Maybe Early found Niska first, or the other way round, struck a bargain that he'd get River and Niska's man could... do whatever... with the rest of us... don't matter. Like I was sayin', Early had a bead on Wash's head, and he didn't have to say what it was he wanted. Who it was. Probably would have anyhow, though, that man was a talker if ever there was one. 'Cept he never got the chance. He had his gun, Crow came up and grabbed Simon off the ramp, Mal and Zoe drew their pieces, and it was all a stand-off for a minute maybe... and then we all heard the noise.
Never in my life do I want to hear a sound like that again. The ground was shakin', just from the bigger ones' feet, but that's not what I mean. It was the roar came out of the big, big one, with the little arms... not a noise should come out of any creature in God's wide 'verse. But it did. Everyone looked at Patience, like maybe it was somethin' she'd set up too, but she looked as lost as the rest of us... was right about then Early an' Crow decided there was a bigger problem to take care of. Turned their weapons on the dinosaurs, for all the good it did.
Oh, sure, some of them went down. The littler ones, it only took one bullet an' they hit the dirt. But the big ones... maybe they would've bled out, sooner or later, but not soon enough for Early. T rex got him, Wash said after. Only took one bite and it was over, for a mercy. But there were... pieces. And Crow was even worse, I couldn't watch that one. Critter came up from behind and knocked him down, stepped on him, and then it just started... eating. Not a minute later, others caught up... I went back on Serenity, fast as my feet'd go, with the crew right behind me. Couldn't watch them fight for the meat when it used to be a man, even that sort of a man.
Patience'd already got on her horse and run, took her chance when nobody was looking, and we hightailed it out of there same as everyone with a boat that'd carry them. The worlds with break-outs got evac'd, far as anyone could, we heard later, but like you'd expect, they took more trouble about it on Bellerophon than Whitefall or St. Albans. And then... no one's lived any of those places for years. Alliance all but blackrocked them with what they did, spread stories about power station accidents and the like - and which'd you believe, a sense-making tale like that or someone tellin' you there was actual real dinosaurs?
But it happened. If there's one thing I'll never forget... it happened. That enough for you?
Thought it might be.