She hadn’t expected them to take it so well.
Explaining what Waller had originally intended, nanite explosives in their necks, a disposable squad of talented, dangerous individuals, to be controlled and set loose to either fix a problem or die trying… Well they hadn’t reacted favorably.
Mal had folded his arms and leaned against the galley counter, “Ya’ll might want to shut up and listen to ‘Tross there. She’s smarter’n all of you put together, and she’s got a way out.”
“A way out figured from the jump,” Riddick added from behind her. “I’m gonna get us off the ground and on course to meet up with Serenity.” He said quietly and headed for the bridge.
“Thank you,” River called after him and got rewarded with a wicked smile.
“I’ll collect my thanks later, and in a much different position,” He informed her with a leer that sent blood rushing through her body.
Damn the man, he messed with her equilibrium like no one else.
Explaining her plan, that they act like the Big Damn Heroes Waller didn’t believe they could ever be, got mixed reactions.
“You want us to go out and fight, when all they wanted to do was lock us up and use us?” Captain Boomerang…displeased was an understatement.
“Waller’s modus operandi is leverage. Offer you something, time off your sentence, safety for your nana, school for your daughter, shelter for your cousin, your mother,” River looked at Harkness, Lawton, Santana and Jones respectively. “For Harley, it would be access to books, maybe even news of the Joker.”
The Joker’s evil chuckle echoed off the walls, “I’d say Waller’d be a little late with that.”
“She would,” River agreed. “But I got to you before she could. Before she could scoop you up.” She looked at the rest of the escapees. “She wanted you to follow my Captain, under Colonel Rick Flag. She wanted to use whatever leverage she had on you to get you to fight for her cause.”
“We got that much from listening in,” Lawton nodded. “So what’s the play?”
“First… I tried to bluff our way out, but Waller had electronic eyes and a connection with Flag; she recognized me. And Riddick,” River shrugged. “I passed for a Parliament Operative with the prison guards, which is how we got into Belle Reve in the first place. With Waller in his ear, Flag called my bluff.”
“Right…” Joker was talking more than Harley which River didn’t really care for. “And that matters why? Now that we’re off the ground?”
“Because they can cripple this ship,” Riddick told him flatly as he reentered the galley. “We’re on course,” He told her and Mal. “Less than twelve hours.” He looked at the Joker, taking in the green hair, pale skin, tattoos and crazy without a blink. “Right now, they think we’re cooperating. They stop thinking that, we’re all dead. Everyone on this ship.”
“Which is why my Lil Albatross is saying Big Damn Heroes,” Mal put in. “The idea is, we do what Waller wants, but on our terms.”
“No nanite explosive,” River agreed. “No leverage. And after we go our own way.” She looked at them, “The alternative is…not palatable.”
“What is the alternative,” Harley tilted her head. “What’s this Enchantress problem?”
“There is… a meta human,” River explained. “She’s more powerful than any other Waller’s come across. She’s able to perform magic, for want of a better term. Make you see things. Change reality. Teleport from place to place, take over your mind. Waller thought she had her under control. But she slipped the leash. Not sure how yet.”
“And,” Harkness rolled his eyes. “What’s that got to do with us?”
“You like robbing banks?” River rolled her eyes. “She’s going to destroy Mission City, then the planet, the system and she’ll take over and destroy the rest of the ‘verse. You won’t have any banks to rob, if you’re even alive to rob them.”
“Her aim is to take over the ‘verse,” Mal offered the explanation in simple flat terms. “So we can let her do it, see how far we can run. Or we stand up, and we fight. Try to protect the ones we care about.” He stared at all of them.
“So that’s the question,” Mal put it to the group. “You want to run away, or do you want to fight for something that’s worth your blood and sweat? Last time I fought a war I lost. Got told to lay down my arms and wait in that valley for death or the Alliance. I stuck a needle in their eye about a year and a half ago and ever since they’ve been just a mite annoyed with me and mine. They threw me in that hole so they could forget about me. Well I won’t be forgotten. And I won’t just lie down and let anyone try to do that again. Whether its with the Pax or a Witch trying to remake the ‘verse. No such thing as a better world. All we got is what we got. We make it better or worse our own selves. Not some witch.”
River smiled at her Captain and felt Riddick’s hand on her shoulder, warm, supportive. Covering it with her own she nodded, “I’ve had enough running. I aim to misbehave. Make this witch see that she’s not all powerful. I don’t care if she’s a meta human. She wants to make the world over in her image and I will not hold to that.”
Riddick’s low thunderous growl of a voice sounded from behind her, “You all know me, some personally, some by reputation. You know I’ve fought my own wars. They haven’t made a slam that could hold me. And I haven’t found anyone I’d be willing to follow into battle until she came to find me. I don’t know if you’d call me a meta human or not. Don’t really care. I’m Furyan. Defiant until the end. And nobody is going to remake my world in their image. I don’t care who it is. River says our best bet is to play Big Damn Heroes, then I’m with her. Woman’s smarter than anyone else I’ve ever met.”
“And I’m a Reader besides,” River threw that grenade into the conversation and had the pleasure of every eye in the room staring at her. “So yes, I know what you’re thinking Harkness, and no, I really don’t want the pleasure of kneeling in front of you.” She wrinkled her nose.
“The question is, where do you stand,” Mal looked at them. “If I’m not mistaken, all of you have people you care about, somewhere. What’ll it be? Run and hide, or stand and fight?”