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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
When Serenity and her crew learn from a friendly source that the Alliance is on a search for lost treasure on Jiangyin, Mal can't resist the urge to at least try and steal it out from under the Alliance. But do Mal's jobs ever go according to the plan??? Just the 1st 2 chapters but please R&R!
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 605 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Chapter Three: Run-In
“I’m trustin’ that they’re all here,” Mal said with a wary smile as he looked at the small box in his hands.
“They are,” replied the tall, thin man before him as he motioned towards his men to pick up the rather large cooler of meds that Mal had brought with him. “I hope you’ll find better use for them than me. ”
“That’s a certainty,” Mal insisted. “Anyway,” he began, raising his brow curiously, “how exactly did you get a hold—”
“Ah!” Hale interrupted, holding up his hand to silence him. “No questions, Reynolds, remember?”
“Dahng Rahn,” Mal replied. “Of course, I remember…” Each man sized the other up for a moment before both reached out for the handshake that would seal the deal.
“It’s been too long, Mal,” Hale stated.
“No, I don’t think it’s been too long at all, Hale,” was Mal’s sharp reply. “Point of fact, I don’t think its been near long enough.”
“Look, the war was a long time ago,” Hale stated, crossing his arms over his chest.
“Not so long…”
“Mal, it’s been over almost seven years!” he cried and Mal nodded.
“Yeah, but almost seven years ain’t quite long enough to erase the fact that you fought on the wrong side.”
“Please,” Hale guffawed. “You still think I’m a traitor?”
“I surely do,” Mal said.
“Should a known you were holding onto that grudge,” Hale said with a shake of his head. “You never could just let things go.”
“What made you turn thief anyway?” Mal asked, changing the subject before things went any further south.
“I’m not a thief,” Hale said as if he had been insulted. “I was doing a favor for an old friend,” he explained.
“Well, thanks for that,” Mal said, turning to walk away.
“Wait,” called Hale and Mal turned back. “In order to make it a fair trade, I’ll offer some information you might find useful…”
“What could you possibly know that could benefit me, Hale?” Mal asked and Hale shrugged.
“I work for the Alliance, remember? I know a lot that could benefit you…” Hale took a step towards Mal and lowered his voice. “I just got orders to assemble a small infantry unit to be sent to Jiangyin by the end of this week,” he whispered, leaning even closer. “The unit is to specialize in jungle search and recover missions.”
“And what exactly does that mean for me?’ Mal asked, suddenly suspicious of the man’s motives.
“It means that there’s something on Jiangyin that’s worth salvaging,” he said with a smirk. “Something that you and yours might be able to find if you do a little research.”
“What could be on Jiangyin that the Alliance would want?” Curiosity had gotten the better of his bitterness and Mal’s kick the Alliance in the ass philosophy took over.
“Do you remember your myths, Mal?” Hale asked.
“Since when do we take a trade instead of payment?” Jayne called over his shoulder to Zoë. She shrugged, tightening her grip on her binoculars as she forced herself to focus on Mal’s lonely figure.
“Just keep your aim steady,” she said. “The captain knows what he’s doing,” she added and she didn’t doubt it.
Jayne shrugged, repositioning his scope. “We been on this dusty rock near an hour and we ain’t seen nobody,” he growled. Him and Zoë had been watching the trade for the past half an hour from a rock outcropping not fifty feet from where Mal stood.
“Your point would be?” Zoë asked.
“It’s damn eerie, is my point…” Jayne paused before continuing. “Why here at the ass end of the galaxy? It’s not like it was on our way or nothin’,” he said.
“Maybe Hale wants to shoot him,” Zoë suggested.
“Wouldn’t be the first time neither…”
“All right, focus on Hale, Mal’s comin’ back,” Zoë suddenly snapped, loading her gun. “I got a bad feeling about the captain being out there alone,” she mused.
“What the hell is that he’s carrying?” Jayne suddenly asked, squinting into the scope.
“I dunno,” Zoë said, tilting her head curiously. By now, Mal was about fifteen feet away and the closer he got, the more they wondered what was in the box he held. It couldn’t have been much bigger than a crate of fruit and Zoë hope that that was exactly what wasn’t in the box.
“Jayne,” Mal said upon approaching, “Go tell River to get us the hell off this rock quick as she can.” Mal handed Jayne the small box, which Zoë could now see was locked and Jayne hurried off in the direction of the ship.
“Sir?” Zoë questioned.
“Shoot him,” Mal stated, eyeing her seriously.
“Shoot Hale?” she asked, surprised by the blatant command. From what she had seen, the trade had gone fairly well compared to the usual.
“That’s what I said,” Mal snapped. Taking her binoculars, Mal scanned the deserted field of sand, dust, and dirt. Pausing in one direction in particular he smiled and said, “Well I’ll be damned… Feds.”
Zoë immediately lifted the barrel of her gun and, placing her sights on Hale, pulled the trigger. Hale sank to the ground, dead before his face hit the dirt. His partners ran back from their Alliance Cruiser and Mal watched in both curiosity and apprehension as two men of similar dress and look appeared.
Mal handed the binoculars back to Zoë and, walking at a brisk pace, motioned her to hurry.
“Why isn’t this bird moving?” Mal shouted upon entering the cockpit.
“Landlock,” was River’s frustrated reply.
“Landlock? Can you fix it?” Mal asked and River looked up at him, an irritated, adult expression on her young face. Then, looking back down at the controls, she began fidgeting with dials that usually weren’t touched.
“What kind of ship is it?” River asked suddenly, looking at the screen in front of her in confusion.
“Alliance Cruiser,” Mal replied and she sighed. “Why? What’s the matter?”
“It’s going to take a few minutes,” she replied, looking up at him. “Because it’s an Alliance system, I’ll have to bypass their primary firewalls and get deep into their system before I can disable their range of authority and confine their jurisdiction to the core worlds… At that point, though, I can decide whether they’re able to do something as simple as send a wave over the cortex.”
“Sounds good to me,” Zoë said, throwing a smile to Mal who, though confused, looked pleasantly surprised.
“Jayne,” he said, turning to face the thirty-five year old, “while she’s working on this, I need you to do what you do best and go down to the cargo bay. If anything so much as moves outside that door, you shoot first and ask questions later,” Mal commanded and Jayne nodded. Mal then turned back to the module and waited.
“How’s it coming?” Mal asked after a few minutes of silence.
“Quiet,” River snapped, not even looking at him.
Suddenly, the silence was shattered by gunfire. Mal looked anxiously to Zoë who nodded and, grabbing her gun, went after Jayne.
Mal reached above the consol and grabbed the radio. “Kaylee, I need you in the engine room getting this bird started and Simon, I’d like it if you were on the Bridge. We have a little situation…” He put the radio back on the hook and thirty seconds later, Simon was rushing in, med kit in hand and as well kempt as ever.
“What’s going on?” He asked, looking to River. “I heard gunshots.”
“My guy was with two Feds,” Mal replied, his eyes never leaving River.
“Got it,” she said triumphantly, but the immediate relief around the cabin was short-lived. Zoë burst onto the bridge, looking at Mal questioningly.
“Are we moving?” she asked anxiously and Mal nodded.
“Soon as we can,” he replied. “What happened to him?” Mal asked, suddenly turning his eyes on Jayne who just had stumbled in hunched over.
“Got shot,” Zoë said.
“Doc,” Mal said expectantly and Simon nodded. With Zoë’s help, Simon lowered Jayne to the ground and got to work, cutting open Jayne’s shirt to get to the bullet wound.
“Was this a normal gun?” Simon asked after a moment of examination and Jayne shook his head. Simon then noticed the sweat on his brow, the sallow tinge to his skin, and the unfocused look in Jayne’s eyes. “Ai ya, hwai luh,” he murmured. This was new.
“Mal?” Came a new voice as Inara entered the room.
“Everything’s under control,” he immediately snapped and there was a sudden jolt as the engine started and all River’s former attempts to take off were reapplied. Inara’s eyes then shifted to Jayne, who was bleeding on the floor.
“Jien tah-duh guay, everything’s all right!” Inara guffawed, bending down to help Simon as much as she could. There was then another jerk and everyone on the bridge was knocked off balance. “Run-tse duh fwo-tzoo…” Inara muttered.
“Something’s wrong,” River mouthed and Jayne said, grabbing Simon’s arm. “This ain’t right,” he said, motioning to the wound and Simon nodded. There was a hole where the bullet had passed through the skin, but all around it, it seemed like the skin was dying away at an alarming rate.
“New technology,” Simon spat, looking closer at the wound. “A biological agent that eats away at healthy tissue harnessed in a bullet…” Jayne looked to Mal, a questioning look on his face. It was obvious he hadn’t understood what Simon had said.
“I don’t need a lot of medical jargon, just fix him up!” Mal shouted and Simon turned to look at him.
“If I knew how, captain, I would,” Simon snapped indignantly.
River, having disabled all functions of the Alliance vessel, now set the course for Serenity with no worries of them being followed. Turning the chair to face the current focus of the ship’s crew, she allowed herself to feel worried, which seemed to be the predominant emotion of all those present.
Simon suddenly began rummaging through his med pack as if struck with a new idea. A second later, his hand emerged with a small clear bottle filled with clear fluid and a syringe. Filling the syringe with two milliliters of the liquid, Simon gently injected it into the arterial vein in Jayne’s bicep.
“That should stop the progression of the infection,” Simon said, shaken but confident in what he said.
“Infection?” Mal asked and Simon nodded, placing the end of his stethoscope on Jayne’s chest to make sure his heartbeat remained rhythmic. “Are you saying those Alliance niao se duh doo-guay shot him with some kind of sickness?”
“Bio-engineered weapons are not a new idea, captain,” Simon said. Convinced that their friend’s condition was stable, he packed away his things and stood.
“They’re new on this boat,” Mal said, looking down at Jayne. “Regular bullets—that’s what we’re used to.” Letting out a string of curses, he pushed past the others and climbed down into his bunk to think.
By then, Kaylee had left the engine room and was now making her way to the bridge. Simon, not wanting her to see Jayne, met her in the hallway and led her to the dining area so he could fill her in without the visual.
Zoë, tired, followed the captain’s example and left soon followed by Inara, who was paler than usual, but composed.
That left River and Jayne; one who was curious and other who was very afraid.
“Fahng-sheen,” River assured quietly. “You’ll be all right,” she said, hugging her legs to her chest tightly as she spun slowly in the chair. “Simon’s the best doctor in the ‘verse.”
“Yeah, well…” Jayne said, looking at his abdomen. All around the bullet hole the flesh was decayed and he could see where the infection had begun to trail through his veins.
“Once Simon cleans it, removes the bullet, and cuts away the dead tissue, it should heal all right,” River stated, unconcerned.
“He’s gonna be cuttin’ on me?” River nodded and Jayne leaned his head back against the wall.
Just then, Simon and Kaylee returned. It took all three of those present to lead Jayne to the infirmary. Once there, Simon suggested the others leave.
“Sometimes I forget he’s a doctor,” said Kaylee to River as they left the infirmary.
“So does he,” River said candidly. “But he never forgets how…”
A little over an hour later, the crew was assembled on the bridge yet again at the captain’s orders.
“All right,” Mal began, his voice charged with energy. “Before he kicked, that old buddy of mine on New Hall shared with me some privileged information that, had this little incident not occurred, I wouldn’t have even considered taking advantage of,” Mal said. “But seeing as how it did happen and one of mine got shot, causing us no small inconvenience, I think it’s only fair that we return the favor.”
“How?” Jayne asked eagerly.
“Well, the Alliance seems to be very interested in a hunk of metal that smashed into the jungle of Jiangyin almost two hundred years ago,” he said and watched as Kaylee’s face lit up, her eyes opening wide.
“The Dothan K-Liner?” Kaylee asked.
“That’s the ship,” Mal commended.
“That’s a myth, Mal,” Inara input, rolling her eyes. “Lost treasure in the middle of an untamable jungle? That’s a tale for storybooks…”
“Just how much treasure are we talking about here?” Jayne asked, ignoring Inara’s logical discount.
“Enough to buy Bellerophon,” Kaylee replied with a wide smile.
“I’m in—” Jayne began but was interrupted by Simon.
“It’s just a story,” he said after a moment of deliberation, weighing the facts against the exaggerations. His eyes met Kaylee’s and he wasn’t surprised to see an almost disappointed look on her face.
“Well doctor Tam, if it’s just a story then why would the alliance be putting nearly thirty thousand platinum into dispatching an exploration crew?” Malcolm asked and Simon shrugged. “The Alliance don’t throw away money,” Mal answered himself, “and thirty thousand platinum ain’t nothing…” he said.
“Human curiosity.” Simon suggested, throwing a significant glance to River. “On Earth That Was, they spent millions of their currency on launching large-scale expeditions in an attempt to trace and prove events of the Christian bible. These expeditions lasted for years at a time… I’d wager that records of a crash resurfaced and the Alliance heard the stories. They probably want to find the cargo just as much as everyone else.” Simon looked back down at his electronic encyclopedia and nodded to himself. “But you’re right… the Alliance doesn’t throw away money. They must have some reasonable proof that suggests the loot is still there. They’ve removed all articles about the myth from the catalogue,” Simon said, holding the device out so that Mal could take it.
“But you still don’t want to go,” Mal said, looking closely at Simon’s expression.
“Forgive me for my apprehension, but if we can all recall, the last time I was on Jiangyin, I was kidnapped, along with my sister, and nearly burned at the stake,” Simon said slowly. “We don’t exactly have many fond memories of being planet-side.”
“Well, just sew us up when we get back and you and your sister won’t never to set foot on Jiangyin,” Jayne snapped. “As for the treasure… I’m a mite interested,” he said, his eyes moving from Simon to Mal. “But how is it, I ain’t ever heard anything about this Gotham K-Line thing before?”
“It’s the Dothan K-liner and it was one of the first commercial space freighters that carried humans as well as cargo from Earth that Was.” Kaylee explained and Jayne looked surprised that she knew.
“K-liner…” Jayne said aloud as if thinking. “Isn’t that an antique?” he asked. “I thought those were out of use before we even left.” Jayne said and Kaylee nodded.
“They were out of use, to be sure,” Kaylee said with a nod, “and long before we left. The thing is, the newer engine propulsion technology of that time weren’t able to support a large quantity of cargo, not the amount they wanted to carry or at the speed they wanted it carried, anyways.” Kaylee said. “You could compare K-liner engines and the engine that’s in Serenity’s belly to diesel and electric engines. Though electric vehicles used petrol less and more efficiently, they couldn’t haul a fraction of what the old diesel engine could…” Kaylee paused and took a deep breath.
“So,” she went on smilingly, “since the engines couldn’t handle the weight, they couldn’t even break atmo without burning up all the goods if they had more’n a few hundred thousand pounds on board.” Kaylee spoke quietly, but everyone was hanging on her every word; even Jayne who didn’t have a clue about what she was actually saying was watching her in interest. “But the K-liners… they had engines in them that were built to haul, which was exactly what they needed. They may have been bulky things, but they were reliable and you could take ‘em apart and put ‘em back together faster’n you could spit. Kept in working order,” Kaylee said, articulating her point with her hands, “those parts were good for life…”
“What they needed, was a ship that could transport mass amounts of cargo to the few core worlds that were already terraformed quickly and reliably,” Mal simplified and there were nods of understanding around the bridge.
“Mmhmm,” Kaylee agreed, clapping her hands together.
“What kind of cargo was it?” Inara suddenly asked, curious as to what they could possibly want to transport so quickly and in such large amounts that they would take a whole transport class out of retirement.
“It’s said that the Dothan was carrying over four hundred million old currency’s worth of gold and over seventy million worth of precious jewels… rubies, diamonds, sapphires… shiny stuff of the likes.” Mal replied, looking around at his crew as he spoke. “It was scheduled to dock on Osiris. A lot of rich people were wanting to establish their fortune in the new solar system. They were hoping to invest in new banks.”
“And it managed to go down?” Jayne asked. “All that money and it went down?” His eyes were wide with confusion, nearly outrage. “With that kind of money involved you’d think someone would’ve been on that wreck within days.”
“Jiangyin wasn’t terraformed and it wasn’t worth the money to go out of their way to get to it… or the people for that matter.” Zoë said, crossing her arms over her chest.
“How many passengers were on it?” Inara asked and Mal shrugged.
“Back then, on a ship like that?” Kaylee asked. “I’d say no less than two-hundred and that’s not including the crew needed to run it.” She finished and Inara, surprised, frowned.
Simon, irritated that the conversation had gotten this far, finally decided to add a voice of reason to the madness. “Well,” he began, “how is it that no one’s found it?” he asked and Mal shrugged nonchalantly as if it hadn’t occurred to him as an important question.
“The definition of laziness is how,” he replied. “Once it happened, our forefathers recorded the coordinates that were reported, filed, then logged them away somewhere and never looked at them again,” he explained.
“And what’s with the Alliance’s sudden renewal of interest?” Inara asked. “I mean, why now?”
“It’s probably just like the doctor says,” Mal said. “Reports have probably just resurfaced and the Alliance don’t waste money. That treasure down there is a large fortune to be had and they won’t stand by the notion that someone else may get it if it’s still down there. ”
“Aren’t we sort of tempting fate here?” Simon asked, attacking the plan from another perspective. He was nearly resigned at this point, but was willing to try at least once more to add a rational position to the conversation.
“How so?” Mal asked.
“We just got out of the Alliance’s line of fire and we’re going to go in and steal this load of money right under their noses?” Simon replied and Mal smiled.
Leaning back against the controls, he crossed his arms over his chest and said, “What you don’t seem to realize about it is that if we get to it first, we get every cent and here’s the ironical part…” He said, his smile widening. “It’s a legal salvage…and it’s one hell of a pay-off.” Mal said.
“And what if it isn’t there?” Simon asked. He had put his encyclopedia away and was now leaning against the railing, a serious, brooding expression on his face. “Couldn’t it be that your buddy is setting us up?”
“Actually,” Mal said, “I’ve got no doubt that he was.”
“What?” Simon exclaimed. Not even being as suspicious as he was could prepare him for what Mal said next.
“He was setting us up, that’s a fact,” Mal replied, no change of expression or manner. It was obvious he still planned to go through with it. “I have no doubt that Hale relayed the wave that I sent him to his higher ups. He may not know anything about their particular interest in us, but I’m willing to bet that the money they offered was of a large enough sum to make any question of it disappear.”
“How can you be sure he was setting us up?” Inara asked.
“I knew as soon as he waved me back that something wasn’t right…” Mal stated. “He’s been kissing the Alliance’s trousers even before the war and there is no way in hell that he would risk his good reputation to do me a favor… someone wants us on that rock.”
“You mean someone wants River on that rock,” Simon snapped. “But yet again, River’s safety isn’t the object. It’s the payoff.”
“Simon, nobody said we ain’t worried about River,” Kaylee murmured, placing her hand on Simon’s shoulder. Simon shrugged it off and took a step towards Mal.
“If we land on Jiangyin, my sister is as good as gone.” Simon said. “You saw what their bullet did to Jayne and I have no doubt they’re more anxious than ever to get her back.”
“We’re not going to be the only ones landing on Jiangyin,” Mal growled. “River, send an anonymous message over the cortex to anyone within range. I want you to tell them everything we know about the shipwreck, minus the Alliance. Once that’s done, I want you to set the shortest course for Hera and if you can, hack into some high-profile Alliance files. I want to know exactly where this shipwreck is. For once, I want everything to go according to the gorram plan…” Turning back to Simon, a smug smile on his face, Mal said, “In two days time, every other pirate in range of our vessel will be on Jiangyin causing all sorts of trouble for our Alliance friends.”
“Finding River would be like finding a needle in a haystack… Not to mention, all that ruckus might distract the other hwoon dahns they sent looking for the shipwreck.” Zoë interposed.
Mal nodded and his eyes narrowed on Simon. “Next time you want to question me, doc,” he began, his voice dangerously low, “don’t.”
Simon took a step back as Mal pushed past and watched after him as he made his way to the dining area. Zoë and Jayne followed, wanting to know the particulars of the plan and Inara, eager to lend a voice of reason, went as well.
River, who had said nothing during the entire assembly, smiled as she spun and said, “It’s a good plan.”
Simon shot a quick glance at her but she was already hard at work and when he turned back to say something to Kaylee, she shook her head and walked away. Letting out a sigh, he took Jayne’s vacated seat at the other set of controls.
“You’re not very good with people, Simon,” River quietly informed him and he threw his hands in the air in frustration.
Here is the link to the other two chapters:
And here are the chinese words and their meanings:
Dahng Rahn- of course
Ai ya, hwai luh- s on my head
Jien tah-duh guay- like hell
Run-tse duh fwo-tzoo- merciful buddha
niao se duh doo-guay- piss-soaked pikers
Fahng-sheen- dont worry
Monday, August 14, 2006 7:00 AM
Monday, August 14, 2006 7:47 AM
Tuesday, August 15, 2006 8:34 AM
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