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Antebellum - Book I: Chapter Fifteen
Wednesday, July 5, 2006

The fifteenth chapter in a Big Damn Sequel series. In this installment: Jayne talks with Zoe about a plan of his... and other stuff happens.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1592    RATING: 10    SERIES: FIREFLY

A/N: Yep, updates are getting far in between, but they are coming. As always, I keep writing so long as you keep reading. Candle Wax, friends!

Book One – Chapter Fifteen _______________________________________________________________

Simon had a haunting feeling. That horrible nostalgic feeling that created a pit in his stomach, and he found that concentrating on the pit only tore it up more.

He hadn’t been in his sister’s dorm in at least three months, probably more. At most, he would poke his head in to tell her dinner was ready, as if she didn’t already know. It had been years since he had even considered spending a night in the dorm, ready to assist her in case of her midnight attacks. But those nightmares were believed completely in the past. Now that Simon had reason to believe otherwise…

The nostalgic pit had returned.

Back on Osiris, Simon would always shake his head in disbelief at the young orderlies trying to make the beds comfortable for comatose patients. He convinced himself that this was different. Should River wake up suddenly, she might require the extra blankets and pillows. Although, she didn’t really like too much material touching her when she was awake, so Simon figured it was mostly for his own benefit. He had to feel like he was doing something useful.

The color had returned slightly to River’s face, and Simon welcomed the homecoming. She showed no further signs of waking up, but the fact that her body was still taking care of itself gave him a little bit of comfort. He checked her pupils again, just to be sure, and retired yet again when he greeted with no response.

River never locked any of her drawers. All the drawers on Serenity had locks on them, but River never used them. Simon figured that she probably could tell if anyone had any intention on stealing her possessions. That, and she didn’t really keep a lot stored away. Her clothes, obviously, took up the most room, but other than that, she only had a colored pencil kit she had borrowed from Inara and several tiny trinkets from the Border planet tourist traps, each of them displayed in reverence on a metal shelf among many pages of her drawings.

Simon found it odd that her drawers were never locked, though he couldn’t quite figure out why. He knew that Kaylee kept hers locked, so out of force of habit, he started locking the drawers and door in his dorm, even though he spent very few hours in there. He had given Kaylee the key to his dorm the year prior. That is to say, Kaylee made a duplicate of his key and asked Simon to give it to her. He happily obliged, even though he knew she’d never use it.

The floor of the dorms weren’t designed for sleeping on. This, of course, was apparent, but it still was an observation Simon couldn’t help but make whenever he slept in his sister’s room. There were a couple seams that were held together by large bolts that dug inconsiderately into Simon’s side at night. Despite this knowledge, he put down another blanket of his on the ground next to River’s bed. On the table by River’s bed was a picture of Simon and Kaylee that Simon had never seen before. Looking closer, he realized that the picture was a drawing that his sister had done. Neither he nor Kaylee had posed for the picture, but River had a real talent for drawing from memory. Kaylee looked so beautiful, Simon thought to himself. He felt his eyebrows looked too bushy.

His eyes scanned over the other drawings she had hung up around the dorm walls. A lot of portraits. Of the crew. Of her parents. Of people Simon had never seen before. Or at least he couldn’t remember seeing them. Most of them were not colored in, merely monochromatic in a shade of blue. River seemed to have liked the blue pencil.

Simon became aware, suddenly, of the necklace in his front pocket. He had not yet taken it out. He didn’t want to think too much about it, but the image of it hung in his face unrelentingly.

It was blue. Turquoise, to be specific. The pendent was kind of disc-shaped and held suspended by a silver metal frame that then attached to the flimsy chain. But since he wanted her to have it so much, he settled on the scenario of giving her the pendent now and getting her a new chain later.

That was his plan. A lot had changed in the last couple hours.

“Hey,” said a familiar voice from the door.

Simon looked up to see Kaylee, hovering in the space between the dorm and the hallway. It didn’t take much effort for Simon to smile up at her.

“Hi,” he said, rising to meet her. He gently kissed on the lips, then withdrew to see her pretty smile.

“How’s she doin’?” she asked.

“Same,” Simon said simply, the pit in his stomach returning.

Simon could see a look in Kaylee’s eyes; one that he had yet to put a definitive word to. It could be sadness, or hesitation. Or grief. Simon thought for a moment of something to say to relieve her, to remove that look. He wished he had more time to think about it. Thinking about what to say to Kaylee always proved fruitful in the past. That is, it mostly proved fruitful.

“Look, Kaylee, I…” he slowed down once more to finish the thought. “I’m not sleeping down here because… What I mean is, I’m not not sleeping in your bunk tonight because I don’t want to.”

“Simon…”

“I want to, is my point. But… I should be here. In case she wakes up or if anything else happens, you know…”

“Yeah, I know. Ya think I don’t get it, Simon?” she asked with a sympathetic smile as she rubbed the side of his face. “River’s important to all ‘us. I want you to be where you feel you gotta be. Family comes first, right?”

Her eyes glittered with moisture as she lightly raked her teeth across her bottom lip. Simon desperately tried to study Kaylee’s face, but quickly abandoned that plan when he feared it might be too apparent.

“Uh, yeah,” he answered, looking down at Kaylee’s oil-stained boots.

She raised his chin with her fingers so that he was back to looking in her eyes. Her smile didn’t spread enough to show her teeth, but it was more than enough to put Simon’s stomach back to ease. He gathered up her hand into his and led her fingers to his lips. She leaned forward into his arms and buried her face against his neck, breathing him in.

“You told me we’d be all right, remember?” she whispered. “Don’t be goin’ all ‘Simon’ now on me, ‘kay?”

“Okay,” he whispered back.

She smiled once more for good measure and turned back down the hallway. As he watched her leave, the pit began digging its way through his abdomen again. Several thoughts began to pester him as soon as she left, and he wished he could just stop thinking so hard.

That one nagging thought, the one about the necklace in his front pocket, simply would not let him rest.

He forced himself out of the dorm and into the hallway where, thankfully, Kaylee was still in sight.

“Kaylee,” he called and watched her turn expectantly. “Um… Would you… I mean, if you like, you…” He sighed, letting his energy fall from his shoulders and out the ends of his fingertips.

“Will you sleep down here with me tonight?”

A short silence lingered in the common area, and he noted that it sounded a lot more pathetic than he had planned. But Kaylee didn’t seem to mind. She trotted back to him with a big smile and kissed him deeply, wrapping her arms tightly around his body.

“I’ma get some more blankets,” she said with a soft smile and went toward the cargo bay entrance on her way to her bunk. She stopped and turned before leaving.

“I love you, Simon,” she said. Simon noticed something different in the way she said that common phrase. She didn’t say it as a pleasantry or a gratuity. But instead as a declaration of fact, a reassurance. Simon noticed that she had never said it like that before.

“I love you… too,” Simon said, almost absent-mindedly. Kaylee, a soft smile on her lips, then turned and left Simon in the hallway between the passenger dorms.

Simon decisively returned to his sister’s room. Stopping by her bed, he leant over to kiss her forehead and push away some hairs that had been blown across her face by the conditioning vent above her bed.

His mind made up, he went over to River’s bottom drawer, the one that had nothing inside, save for the key to all the other locks in River’s room.

Pulling the necklace out by the chain, so that the blue pendent was the last to leave, Simon imagined briefly what Kaylee would look like wearing it. After allowing himself that image, he placed the jewelry into the empty drawer, removed the key, and closed the drawer until he heard the clicking sound, confirming that the drawer had been shut properly. And then Simon locked it, ignoring the ache that had found its way to his chest.

Someday, he thought to himself, confident that, for now, he had made the right decision. His confidence wavered, of course, but he pushed forward, placing the key behind the picture of him and Kaylee. It wasn’t hidden, but now Simon knew where he could find it when he needed to.

‘When,’ he thought confidently. His confidence wavered just slightly.

***

“Ow! 那創傷!” Jayne did his best to hush his voice, slurring his words through gritted teeth.

He looked around the dining room to see that the gaslights had been dimmed. Another thing Mal had forgotten to tell him about.

Whenever the ship was being pressed for energy, the Captain would turn down the lights in the community sections of the boat. Usually, he did so while the crew was sleeping, so that no one would be walking around getting hurt in the dark. But sometimes he would have to do so during the “awake” hours, in which event he would make an announcement.

However, Jayne received no such announcement, so he blamed his stubbed toe, and his subsequent limp, on his Captain.

He growled a few more Chinese curses on Mal’s head as he hobbled over to the kitchen, looking for his private cubby.

Mal also hadn’t told Jayne about their current destination, which didn’t please the mercenary any more. Jayne had to learn about it from the grapevine of the crewmembers, and from what he understood, he was the last to know. Jayne was fairly certain that he deserved more than that.

The whole boat seemed to be dead. Quiet, that is. Only the sound of the engine humming and vibrating the entirety of the galley gave any evidence that she was still breathing. There wasn’t much to do in the small boat, so at times like these, everyone else was in their respective bunks.

Jayne knew that it would be a long haul to Cytherea, and he knew that the momentary shudders coming from the engine were just a small indication that the old boat would be strained to its limit, should they be lucky enough to land. Without a pilot, even.

There was an unsettling thought.

He knew that Kaylee probably already heard those shudders. They were very quiet, and no one would probably pay attention to them, but she always heard what the engine was saying. Jayne didn’t know a lot about the engine, but he liked to think he knew enough to keep her in the air. He figured he knew more than Mal did.

Mal never did give him any credit for that.

His key fiddled with the lock on his personal cupboard for a couple seconds until finally opening with a clunking sound that echoed through the dining room. He looked cautiously around the dining room, making sure he was alone, before pulling out three cans of food. Two of them filled with peaches, the other with pear halves.

He gingerly sliced the tops of the cans off with his knife, spilling the contents into a tin tray and splashing the accompanying juices onto the counter. He quickly dabbed up the small drops with his fingers, leading them straight to his mouth. This was to be a feast he was going to savor.

“You holdin’ out on us, Jayne?” came a voice from the near-darkness.

Jayne looked up sharply and saw the silhouette of Zoe standing near the table, her features and hair highlighted in gold by the dull gaslights.

“Didn’t see ya,” Jayne muttered, turning his attention to the silverware drawer, fishing around for a clean fork.

Zoe motioned to the towering display of fruit in the small tray.

“That’s a lotta food for one man.”

Jayne smiled wryly. “I’m a lotta man. Gotta eat, Zoe. Even in the Black, on the edge of space, a man’s gotta eat.”

Making his way around the kitchen counter, and putting much space between him and the First Mate, he settled down at the table, the centerpiece lamp glowing just enough for him to see the peach slices.

“Where’d you get the food, Jayne?” Zoe asked suspiciously.

“Found it,” Jayne replied, his mouth already full.

“Where?” Zoe pressed on. But Jayne kept silent, digging his fork into his meal. “You stole it, didn’t you? From the Novaks?”

Jayne glared up at Zoe, struck by the unrestrained disgust in her voice. He did himself the service of swallowing before bothering to answer her.

“Now, look,” he began, pointing at Zoe with his fork. “I been me all my life, an’ I ain’t ‘bout to quit now. Ev’ryone always ‘spects me to be me, but ev’ry time I do just that, they act all shocked, an’ I’m sick of it.” He lowered his head and chewed another forkful of fruit. “Man’s gotta eat. Even in the Black, man’s gotta eat.”

Zoe hovered above him beside the dining table for a moment staring at the large man in the dim lights. She wasn’t in the mood or the place to chastise him at the moment, and she knew it.

“Don’t let the Captain see you with that,” she said, walking slowly toward the residence corridor.

Jayne grumbled something unintelligible under his breath, causing Zoe to turn back to him.

“What’s wrong with you?” She spoke urgently and quietly, a flame growing in her eyes.

“Whatdaya mean? When?” he asked, not looking up.

“Now—Lately, all this week. What’s wrong?”

Jayne scraped absent-mindedly at his tin tray. “Jus’ thinking is all.”

“Really?” Zoe scoffed incredulously.

Jayne looked up at her with blades in his eyes. He exhaled slowly, making sure she could detect his annoyance, and gestured to a chair with his utensil-wielding hand.

“Sit down, would’ja? I wanna talk to you ‘bout somethin’.”

Zoe sighed, but at the moment, she couldn’t think of anything else to do. So she obliged and cautiously took a seat nearby Jayne, but still putting a chair between them.

“What do you wanna talk about?” she asked, covering her voice with a layer of impatience. But Jayne just sat for a few seconds unresponsive, slurping down his ill-gotten goods.

“Where is our fearless leader right now?” he asked quietly, still not looking Zoe in the eye.

“That’s what you wanted to talk to me about? Where the Captain is?”

“Jus’ curious, is all.”

“In his quarters.”

That term always put a lump in Jayne’s throat. Every other crewmember had their respective bunks, passengers had their dorms, but a Captain has to have his ‘quarters.’

“What’s this about, Jayne?”

“I been thinkin’ lately.”

“So we’ve covered.”

“Really I been thinkin’ for some time now. But lately they’ve been more… what’s the word? Concentrated.”

“You’ve had concentrated thoughts?”

Jayne reflected on how that set of words sounded. “Yeah.”

Zoe heaved another sigh. “Fine, I’ll bite. Concentrated on what, Jayne?”

“Why’d you get on this boat, Zoe?”

The question took Zoe off guard. “What?”

“You weren’t born on this boat. Mal offered you the job; you took it. So…” Jayne leaned far back in his chair to get a good look at Zoe. “Why’d you get on this boat?”

Zoe took a moment to consider, to recollect, and also to speculate as to what Jayne was driving at.

“It’s like you said. The Captain offered me the job. And I took it.”

“That ain’t—“

“What do you want? He offered me the job; I took it.”

“It still don’t answer ‘why’,” he pressed on.

“We were in the same boat to begin with. You exchange one metaphorical boat for one actual boat, it’s no big deal. The War was over; the Browncoats were through. The Captain was a rancher who lost his ranch and—oh, yeah—the planet it was sittin’ on. I was a career army soldier whose command got seven circles of Hell beat outta ‘em. Neither of us had else to go to, so where one went, so went the other.”

Zoe broke her gaze, looking down at the worn dining table. A reminiscent smile met her face.

“This boat was the first thing that he ever talked about after the War with a smile on his face. With a look of hope. When he was talkin’ about Serenity, he talked like he did before we lost. I figured that was more than enough reason to stick around.”

She looked back up a Jayne, who was trying his hardest to shove the entire peach half into his mouth.

“So… Why’d you get on this boat, Jayne?”

With his mouth still full, he answered, “Money.”

Zoe readied herself to leave the table. “Well, Jayne, I have to say, this has been real enlightening, and I think we should do this again. Wait, no. Never again, is what I meant to say.”

“Siddown, I ain’t finished yet,” he said swallowing.

Zoe relaxed her position and looked at Jayne’s illuminated face, her impatience growing.

“I was gonna say,” he continued. “I got on this boat for money, but you wanna know a secret? I ain’t been paid for a long time. So, begs the question.”

“Does it really?”

Jayne paused and swallowed another forkful.

“I like this ship, Zoe. I been jumping around ships since I was fourteen, been on most ‘a them longer than I’ve been on this one, but for some reason… I like this one the most. Ain’t that funny? Tell you the truth, I’d like very much to die for this li’l boat.”

Zoe creased her brow slightly but made no other response. She just stared blankly at Jayne as he continued eating.

“What do we do after Cytherea?”

Again, Zoe was taken off guard. “Jayne, are we gonna land on an actual topic of discussion anytime soon?”

Jayne smiled patronizingly. “I’m leading into it.”

“We land on Cytherea, we pick up the stash, barring any attacks and pillaging, we fly away from Cytherea, and—“

“And?”

“And we avoid any other landings or encounters until things settle down.”

“Until things settle down?”

“We’ve had to run this sort of game plan in the past. It’s worked before.”

“Don’t really need to bring it to your attention, Zo’, but ain’t nothin’ round here is like ‘before.’ It’s a whole lot quieter, for one.”

“Hey,” Zoe spoke sharply. “If all you wanna do is talk about how you’re unhappy with our situation, you should know right now that I don’t wanna hear it. Serenity’s goin’ through a tough spot, but relatively speaking it could go worse.”

“Ya really wanna tempt the gods like that?”

“We’re all hurt right now, Jayne. We all just got over…” Her voice faltered momentarily. “We all just got over Wash and Book not bein’ around, and now things keep getting harder. It ain’t a bad thing to go into hiding. And as long as Captain’s leading the way, that’s where we’ll follow, no questions asked.”

“What if he weren’t?”

“What?”

Jayne looked up at Zoe and leaned forward over his tray, but because of the way the shadows cast on his face, she couldn’t make out the look in his eyes.

“Hippo-thetically speakin’, what if Mal weren’t leadin’ us no more?”

Zoe let the words sink in. For a reason not even she could comprehend, she couldn’t force herself to believe that the man was implying what she thought.

“Jayne?”

“Yeah, Zoe?”

“Are you talking about what I think you’re talking about?”

“Nope. Not talkin’ ‘bout anything. Jus’ thinkin’. What do you think our move would be if Mal weren’t in charge?”

“Jayne—“

“We wouldn’t be hidin’ around the Rim, would we?”

“Whatever you’re thinking about, Jayne, I highly advise you to cease discussing it with me, your Superior, or anyone else for that matter—“

“You ain’t my lawyer, Zoe.” Jayne’s voice was reduced to a forced hush, and he leaned closer to Zoe and the gaslight lamp, thus lighting the rest of his face. “Now I told ya… I’d like to someday get the chance to go out of this big world for this li’l boat. But you listen to me… I’m never, ever gonna die for the great Captain Mal Reynolds.”

Zoe narrowed her eyes at the mercenary who was burning holes in her with his eyes, and she began to fear that she should have seen this coming a mile back.

“Jayne…”

“He’s givin’ up.”

“He’s not,” she protested, albeit more weakly than she had planned it.

“Full well he is, Zoe! An’ you know it too. He’s jus’ bidin’ time ‘til we get snatched up. I don’t know ‘bout you, but I had very strict plans to die in a good ol’ blaze of glory yelling my name at the top ‘a my lungs and such. We continue the way we’re headin’, it’s gonna be shackled and blindfolded in front of some firin’ squad, an' I’m not goin’ down like that.”

“Yelling your name?”

“He ain’t the same guy he was two years ago, Zoe. He don’t give a gorramn ‘bout any of us anymore. And you know it.”

He sat back and dragged his half-eaten meal closer to him, and watched how Zoe no longer seemed to be fighting back.

“You know, he let the girl get all veggie-like back there.”

Zoe’s eyes flashed bright again. “That’s not true.”

“I heard him—“

“That’s not true.”

“I was there, Zoe. He knew that she wasn’t 100% no more and he didn’t do a gorramn thing about it.”

“He’s been distracted. You know he has.”

“Call me crazy, but I kinda like the guy leadin’ us into Hell to have a clear view of things. Listen… I know the Baron put weapons in the stash we’re headin’ toward. The kid loves weapons. We’ll probably have just enough to help us put together some sort of militia to—“

“Militia?” Zoe exclaimed.

“Listen.”

“Are you completely deranged? A militia?”

“I ain’t a guy to hide, Zoe, never have been. I’m a fighter, and you used to be too.”

“It’s useless, Jayne. You know it. I was there the last time we tried to take on the Alliance. The ‘Big Bad.’ Never even made a dent.”

“A dent’s better ‘an nothin’. Right now we’re just reserved to flyin’ ‘round waitin’ to be caught.” He lowered his voice so that it was barely audible. “We keep flyin’ with Mal, that’s just what’ll happen. All according to his plan.”

Jayne threw his fork down onto the table and pushed the tray away. He had momentarily lost his appetite.

“I know you both got history wit’ one another.”

“You used to, too.”

“That ain’t the same guy, Zoe. Anyway, I jus’ wanted to tell you first, ‘cause I respect you. And ‘cause if I don’t got your support, it’ll only make things a whole lot harder.”

Zoe was having trouble formulating rational thoughts. She tried to see past the truth in Jayne’s confessions, tried to remember where her loyalties lay. She tried to convince herself that Jayne was lying, that the Captain was the same as he ever was. She thought about what Jayne was asking her to do, and she asked herself if she really could do so. These thoughts were buried under layers and layers of anger she was struggling to get control of.

“I oughta shoot you in the throat right now. I'd shoot you right now, an' no one would shed a tear.” She stood up from the table and turned her back to Jayne as she made her way back to her bunk. “I’m gonna forget this conversation, Jayne. You try anything, I will kill you, forgetting any kind of history, got me?”

“The ship’s gettin’ quieter, Zoe,” Jayne said softly, but Zoe could hear him fine. “Sooner or later, somethin’ real bad’s gonna happen, gonna shut us up for good. You always say doesn’t hurt to have a contingency plan. Our contingency’s comin’ up real soon, too. And you know it.”

Zoe stood in silence.

“Don’t let the Captain catch you with that food.”

She then left the dim, golden light of the dining room, and Jayne returned to his meal.

“Something bad’s comin’,” he said, swallowing another piece of peach. “Don't gotta be a genius to see that.”

***

“Where is everyone?” Nicolas looked around the cryobank, his old workspace, and saw that it was mostly empty. No one at all was down there except for him and Christina.

“All the other techs are at the send-off meeting. I’m in charge for about thirty minutes,” Christina chirped over from the main console, which was, generally speaking, a computer laid out horizontally across the room in front of the cyrochambers themselves.

“Send-off meeting?” Nicolas repeated.

“Yeah,” Christina said, tapping rhythmically on the monitors, making sure each conffin-like cyrochamber was operational. “They found Malcolm Reynolds, you know?”

Nicolas looked up in surprise.

“Really?” He tried hard not to sound interested.

“Uh, yeah. Somewhere on the Rim, I think. They’re going to pick him up now. The Readers, that is. Isn’t it great?”

“Yeah,” Nicolas said quietly.

The cryobank looked different, but Nicolas accounted that to the fact that he hadn’t been there in a long while. That, and they seemed to have moved the caffeine table closer to the restrooms.

He had forgotten how many cyrochambers they held down there. At least fifty, each one piled on top of another like boxes of paper in a storage warehouse. Several dozen Parliamentary officials, senators, and influential, disease-ridden citizens of the Alliance frozen solid, thereby living forever. The oldest one had been in stasis for sixty-two years. That one would never wake up, Nicolas speculated. It was generally considered company policy to never wake up the cyrochambers after twenty-five years. But Dr. Chen, as well as the other directors of Area 54, remained optimistic that one day they could wake up a one hundred year old cryochamber.

And then there were the unnamed chambers. The ones the Alliance held down in the depths of Area 54, not because of optimism, but because of embarrassment. The chambers that held no value to keep alive, but still were to valuable to kill.

“I wonder what Blue Sun’s gonna do about it,” Christina said to Nicolas, breaking him out of his daze.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, they had that contest, you know? They were going to give an entertainment system and 10,000 credits to the first person to lead the authorities to Malcolm Reynolds. Maybe they’ll turn it into a sweepstakes sort of thing, now that he’s caught.”

“How did they find him, do you know?”

“No, I don’t. Guess he screwed up somewhere.”

“Yeah,” Nicolas said quietly. “I shouldn’t be down here, Christina. You could get in trouble.”

“You have twenty minutes, at least. I miss you, Nicolas.”

“I mean serious trouble.”

“I miss you. You miss… this place. Just keep me company for a little while. Please?”

Nicolas sighed and looked around for the caffeine table, wondering where they had moved it since he was gone.

“You want some coffee?”

Christina smiled brightly. “I’d love some.”

She went back to her monitors as Nicolas readied their beverages.

“Besides,” she continued, calling back to him. “It’s not like you won’t be assigned here soon anyway, right? I mean, now that Reynolds is found, you’ll probably be promoted to Head Tech or something.”

“Sure,” he called back, chuckling.

“It’s like Blue Sun’s been saying. ‘The end of Malcolm Reynolds is the beginning of a new day for the Alliance.’”

“Blue Sun’s been saying that?”

“I’m paraphrasing.”

A red light on the console on the other side of the room started blinking rapidly. Christina’s heart stopped when she feared that it might be Dr. Chen or one of the other directors checking in. She was instantly relieved to see that it was just an external message service. But then she noticed something… off.

“That’s odd.”

“Hmm?” Nicolas called from his position near the restrooms.

“Hey, Nic? Do you know what ‘Protocol 54Z-Delta’ means?”

Nicolas paused for a second. “No. Why?”

“The whole system’s going into Protocol 54Z-Delta. Some sort of lockdown. We were just getting an external message, too.”

“It’s probably just a glitch or something. Trying overriding.”

Christina tapped furiously across the console, shutting down all the safeties she knew about. She would set them up again after she knew what that Protocol meant.

All the screens in the cyrobank instantly went blank.

“Um… Nicolas? I don’t think that did it.”

The screens began springing back to life, a high-pitched whirring sound accompanying them.

Each screen, in basic type, read only four words.

“’Can’t stop the signal’?” Christina read. “What’s that mean?” Hearing no response from Nicolas she turned around.

Nicolas stood there, his eyes wide, holding the two cups of coffee. He had suddenly turned very pale.

“Nic?” Christina asked, fear quickly covering her face.

“Get down, Christina. Get away from the console now!”

The whirring sound coming from the console increased until it was all that filled Christina’s ears. Her last thought was mostly indistinguishable.

There was a loud pop.

Then a warm, white light that enveloped the entire cryobank.

Then there was nothing.

COMMENTS

Wednesday, July 5, 2006 1:17 PM

LEIASKY


>“Kaylee,” he called and watched her turn expectantly. “Um… Would you… I mean

SUCH a tease! I thought he was going to ask her to marry him right then and there! Since he'd been fingering and thinking about the necklace. That was an excellent exchange between them!

Ohh, Jayne and Zoe's conversation was great. Jayne's kind of creeping me out...and the explosion at the end, or what I assume was an explosion...wow....did all of those cryo chambers just explode? Ohhh, tangled webs...I'm really loving this!

Please post the next chapter quickly!

Wednesday, July 5, 2006 8:15 PM

ERYN


you're an amazing writer

Thursday, July 6, 2006 5:08 AM

TAYEATRA


oooh! A very creepy chapter. Leaves you with that uneasy pit in your stomach. I'm guessing this is going to get much darker before the end.

Well written as always.


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The tenth chapter in a Big Damn Sequel series. In this installment: After a fine dinner at the Novaks...

Antebellum - Book I: Chapter Nine
The ninth chapter in a Big Damn Sequel series. In this installment: The newly awakened Readers make everyone just a little nervous.

Antebellum - Book I: Chapter Eight
The eighth (belated) chapter in a Big Damn Sequel Series. In this installment: The crew makes it to Neo Sombra and everything goes as planned (i.e. poorly).

Antebellum - Book I: Chapter Seven
The seventh chapter in a Big Damn Sequel series. In this installment: No one's sleeping on the Road to Neo Sombra, with vague sprinklings of M/I and S/K added for good measure.