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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Jayne and Kaylee’s plan for revenge on Badger comes to fruition and the little weasel receives his surprise.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 851 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Title: The Contract / Revenge 5/5
Disclaimer: Joss's toys, my make-believe. No money changed hands and all that.
Rating: PG-15 for adult language, sexual references.
Compliment to my story, THE CONTRACT. To read my other stories, click on my name above. This falls between "RED" and "Too Little, Too Late", post OIS, pre BDM.
Technical assistance from my very own bigbadman, with beta by the lovely ArtemisPrime. Italics indicate time and represent internal dialogue.
Sure makes a writer happy when you take a minute to comment. Thanks!
On into the evening Jayne and Kaylee continued their work on Serenity’s maintenance, struggling to get the replacement pump operating smoothly. Preoccupied with their repairs to Serenity’s engine, the mechanic and her helper had completely lost track of time until Mal yelled back to the engine room, “Put your tools down and come to the table. Supper’s awaitin’.”
Kaylee glanced over at her helper and laughed. “Can’t tell you how many times I heard my Ma yell the same thing at Pa and me. Well, havin’ a break won’t hurt us, anyways.” She grabbed an old towel and scrubbed off her greasy hands before passing it to Jayne so that he could remove the worst of the grub from his own. Smiling at one another, they headed down the corridor to the galley where, in keeping with Mal’s long-held tradition, they joined their shipmates around the big oak table.
Surrounded by an assortment of chairs, the sturdy old table bolted to Serenity’s galley deck was as important a communications center as the ship’s bridge. Crew members often used the evening meal as a time to share news, discuss upcoming jobs and sort out schedules and other issues, much as any family might. The golden glow of the galley area, decorated by Kaylee shortly after Mal hired her, comforted her and reminded her of home. Suppers on Serenity were a lot like sitting down with family, and that was both good and bad. For Kaylee. family meals at home meant Ma’s cooking, hearty culinary masterpieces made from recipes handed down through generations of Kaywinnits and Mortons and Lees.
Instead, tonight they sat eyeing one another warily as Simon and River served a dish of spicy pickled vegetables and a large bowl of tofu and brown rice with some greenish-brown sauce poured over it. The smell was, to say the least, unusual.
Jayne wrinkled up his nose and looked plainly disgusted. “That stuff smells like…”
“Jayne!” the group chorused, hoping to silence the merc before he said something excessively rude.
“… something awful.” He turned to Mal, his voice almost pleading. “Why we gotta let them cook? Ain’t you worried they’re likely to poison us or something.”
Mal looked with consternation at the meal before them. Of his crew of eight, three were disasters in the kitchen. River and Simon were living proof that being geniuses didn’t mean possessing culinary aptitude, and while Wash could pilot better than anyone Mal knew, allowing him to cook was inevitably an invitation to disaster. The crew had always taken turns with preparing supper, Mal’s reasoning being that since they mostly ate freeze-dried, processed protein out in the Black, just how badly could someone bungle such fare?
Simon pulled out the chair for his sister and gestured at her with pride. “River fixed the vegetables.” He glanced at Shepherd Book, the ship’s acknowledged master cook, then smiled sheepishly at Mal. “I was trying for a dish our mother used to prepare on special occasions. I’m afraid it lost a little something in translation.”
“Looks like somebody lost something all over it, doc.” Jayne shook his head and looked plaintively at Mal. “We really gotta eat this stuff?”
The captain gingerly spooned a portion from each of the dishes onto his plate, while the rest of the crew watched him uncertainly. “Guess I shouldn’t be askin’ you folk to be eatin’ something I ain’t willin’ to try myself, although I gotta agree with Jayne that this smells kinda… unusual. Can’t really be so awful bad, now can it?”
Using his chopsticks, Mal gathered a mouthful of rice and tofu, lightly anointed by the strange green sauce, and placed the questionable bite in his mouth. There was total silence for a moment and Mal’s handsome face slowly took on a pained expression.
“Je shr shuh muh lan dong shi?” he blurted out.
“Better if you just swallow quick,” River told him. “Less time to disagree.”
They’d made it about half way through the meal when Jayne grabbed his mug and snagged another roll from the bread basket before announcing, “’Scuse us. We got work to get finished.” With that, he and Kaylee fled back to the engine room.
“Well,” Mal pushed his chair back from the table and looked at the remaining food on his plate, ”that was real… ah… different. Ain’t poisoned, best I can tell, but it sure leaves room for improvement. Maybe next time, doc, you an’ your sister’d best pair up with folk who know cookin’. Meaning, not with Wash.”
The pilot reared back, offended. “Hey now, Mal, my cooking’s not that bad!”
Zoë patted his hand gently, “Don’t argue with the captain, dear. He’s right and it is that bad.”
“As bad as this?” Wash pointed at the remains of their supper and glanced apologetically at Simon.
The remaining crewmembers answered in unison. “Yes!”
While River and Simon cleared away the remains of their experiment, Mal called Zoë aside.
“Walk on up to the bridge with me.” Once they were out of earshot of the others, he went on, “You know, we ate some right awful stuff durin’ the war and right after – whatever we could scrounge – but I can’t recall ever eatin’ anything quite that awful.” His mouth curled in a wry, lop-sided grin as he shook his head in bemusement. “Kinda scary a doctor can cook that bad.”
“Real scary, sir.” Zoë agreed, then her dark face shifted as she pulled herself up straighter, her expression becoming more serious. “You still plannin’ on treckin’ over to Badger’s ‘office’ tomorrow morning to finish lining up the deal with Li Chen?” This run had set wrong with her since the captain first discussed it, and she was hoping that he’d changed his mind.
“You conjure a pressin’ reason as to why we shouldn’t?”
Zoë’s dark eyes met Mal’s blue ones. “Just got that feelin’. Something’s felt off about our dealings with Badger for a couple weeks now, like he knows something could have an impact on us and ain’t tellin’.”
Mal laughed. “Let’s be honest here, Zo. When has Badger ever been straight with us on a deal? Wouldn’t be workin’ with him if I had options, but here and now, he’s the man offerin’ us work, and that’s somethin’ right hard to come by since we took the doc and his sister on board.”
He rubbed his chin thoughtfully, taking in her reservations. “We’ll go, but we’ll play it real low key, be careful not to do anything to set him off. I’m countin’ on Kaylee to have us space-worthy by noon tomorrow, and we’ll take off for Lemnos as soon after as we can.”
Late into the evening, Kaylee continued to tinker with the replacement pump until she was satisfied that it was functioning smoothly. Jayne helped when he could, although he knew better than to get in her way when she was in one of her mechanical frenzies. Swapping out the old, broken Reuter attenuator for the new one was pretty straightforward, and finally the mechanic wiped the sweat out of her eyes and announced, “Guess that’s got it for tonight. Wanna pump up our little gift for Badger?”
Jayne grinned wickedly. “Hell, yeah.” He’d been looking forward to getting even with the crooked dealer for weeks, and the pay-off on this job would be sweeter than Christmas.
Kaylee pulled Gel’s little contraption and the ink he’d procured out from under her hammock, then fished a small box and a roll of packing tape out of a cubby close by. She plunked the bomb into the box and lay the tape on top. “It’d be easiest to fill and seal the thing down in the cargo bay, since the air compressor’s down there. Just gotta be sure no one spots us and asks awkward questions.”
The little mechanic’s dark eyes sparked with mischief. “Once we got it all packed up and addressed, we’ll stash it somewheres safe until tomorrow mornin’ an’ find a runner to deliver our little present for us. “
Jayne nodded smugly. “Anybody asks, I’m just goin’ down to do a few sets with the weights and you noticed the mule’s got a tire’s goin’ flat. That oughtta do it, don’tcha think? I ain’t so stupid as folk around here reckon. If I was, I’d be dead.”
The girl looked him suggestively up and down. “Well, I can plainly see you ain’t dead and ya ain’t dumb, neither, so they’re wrong, Jayne.”
“I know that, but it’s nice hearin’ you say it.” The big man pulled her close and bent to kiss her lingeringly. “How’s about I git me some more a that once we get this done? Another installment on my pay, ya know.”
“Then let’s get busy getting’ it all filled and pumped up.” Kaylee pulled him toward the hatch.
“You mean the bomb?” he teased.
“I mean the bomb.”
Down in the cargo bay, it only took a few minutes for Kaylee to carefully pour the concentrated magenta liquid into the container as Jayne held it steady. She deftly connected the compressor hose to the small valve on the side and slowly took the container up to pressure, then locked off the fill valve and disconnected the hose.
“Hold the box for me, Jayne. Real still, now or we’ll be doin’ a lotta explainin’ to the Cap’n.” The girl gently slipped the loaded container into the sturdy corrugated box and folded the flaps down onto the pressure catch on top of the bomb, taping them firmly in place. The fit was very snug.
Jayne fished a grubby slip of paper from his pocket bearing the address for Badger’s ‘office’ and the name and address of one of his most important business associates, a Mr. Phe Long Nhow. “Best you do the addressin’, Kaylee. My writin’s pretty messy. Don’t want nothin’ to make Badger suspicious.”
As the mechanic carefully lettered the address labels and applied them to the top of the box, the merc recalled, “Remember when we salvaged them food supplements for Badger and then the sonuvabitch wouldn’t pay us? We wound up pitchin’ ‘em to Patience on Whitefall.”
“An’ the Cap’n got shot.”
“Yeah, that time. Anyways, I went with Mal and Zoë to close the deal. Badger said somethin’ that stuck in my mind. Told Zoë crime an’ politics was fluid, meanin’ he didn’t have to keep his end of the deal.” Jayne ‘s face twisted in a hard, feral grin and his hatred for Badger was clear in his tone of voice. “This baby goes off tomorrow, he’s gonna really find out what’s fluid.”
Hearing a faint rustle, the mercenary glanced up, and Kaylee’s eyes followed his. River lay quietly on her side on the catwalk, her flowing navy dress pooled around her. Her knowing eyes focused on them and her long, dark hair and slender arm dangling into space. Neither Jayne nor Kaylee had any idea how long she’d been there or what she’d sensed or overheard. They looked at one another, unsure of what to do. Finally, Kaylee stepped closer to the empathic girl.
“Uh, River, we…uh…”
In a voice that perfectly imitated Badger’s Dyton Colony brogue, River whispered, ”Nasty little man. Too pretentious, wha? Sad little king’s gettin’ ‘is just come-uppance, ta my way a thinkin’.”
“Gorram! Now that’s creepifyin’,” Jayne muttered under his breath.
River sat up and leaned her forearms on the rail, then smiled at the unsettled merc. “Know y’d rather kill ‘im. Bullet in ‘is brainpan. Trust me, love, I won’t tell. This is better -- ’e’ll be pretty in pink.”
And with that, she gracefully stood and silently headed back toward her room.
Kaylee stood with her mouth agape and Jayne looked totally shaken.
“Don’t think she’ll say nothin’ to Mal, do ya?” he asked Kaylee uncertainly.
“Don’t never know for certain with River, but she said she won’t tell. Sounded to me like she understood what we’re doin’ and why, maybe even agrees.” Kaylee picked up the wrapped and addressed package. “I’m gonna put this in the tool locker beside the bay doors for tonight. You can get it out tomorrow whenever the time seems right.”
The big man just kept shaking his head. “I ain’t never gonna get used to that, her readin’ folks’ minds. Just downright wrong. Got things in my head I don’t want nobody pokin’ through an’ I wish she’d just stay the ruttin’ hell outta there. Man’s got a right to some privacy, don’t he?”
After placing the small box in the locker and closing the door, the pretty mechanic walked back to Jayne, her footsteps resonating in the large, hollow space. She paused and looked up into his blue-gray eyes.
“Bet I got a good idea of what’s up there,” she reached up and tapped the side of his head, “an’ it ain’t Sunday School songs.”
Jayne’s eyes widened.
“Might be the same things I’m thinkin’…” Kaylee suggested, trailing her fingers down his neck and wide, t-shirt-covered chest and over the point of his small, hard nipple. She smiled as his nostrils flared and he grabbed her wrist.
“I’m thinkin’ we might go work off summa that trade we got goin’,” the merc growled softly and bent to kiss the inside of her wrist.
“Funny thing,” Kaylee replied, grabbing his belt with her free hand. “I was thinkin’ the exact same thing. Your bunk or mine?”
After a quick breakfast of sweet, black coffee and whatever else he could scrounge, Jayne headed down to the cargo bay, smiling to himself. Wasn’t many jobs he got a double payoff on, but he’d never taken on a job quite like this one. Taking revenge on Badger was sweet, but not nearly so sweet as that beautiful woman still sleeping off last night’s tussle in his bunk.
The revenge business pays off a helluva lot better than mercenary work, an’ ain’t nearly so dangerous. Think I’m getting’ the better end of the deal, but long as Kaylee’s not complainin’, I sure ain’t gonna.
The merc glanced around to be sure the bay was empty, then took the small box out of the tool locker and softly opened the bay door just enough to slip through. He ambled down off the ramp and scouted through the busy flood of vendors, dock workers, ship crews and the ragged boys who worked Eavesdown as laborers, runners and messengers. One boy, somewhat taller and better dressed than most, stood out and the big man waved him over.
The boy was older than many runners, although he was still scrawny from infrequent meals and hard living. Jayne chose him in part because he carried himself with more authority. He’d probably done this work for years and perhaps even managed a group of younger boys.
“You need somethin’ delivered, Mister?”
Kid’s sharp. That’s what we need.
“Yeah. The address is on the top. An’ kid, don’t turn it over or shake it or nothin’. Just deliver it real polite-like and don’t stick around for a tip. I’ll pay ya up front.”
The boy studied him knowingly.
Jayne handed his package to the runner and pulled a couple of bills from his pocket. Handing the boy one, several times the usual fee, he told him, “This un’s for the delivery and yer tip.”
The big mercenary waggled the other bill before the kid’s face and patted his sidearm pointedly. “Anybody ever asks, you never saw me. You got no idea who gave you the package, or where it came from, dong ma?”
The boy’s green eyes widened and he gulped. “Yes, sir. I… uh, understand. My memory’s lousy, Mister. You don’t gotta worry.” And with that, the kid grabbed the second bill and lit out through the crowd, lost to Jayne’s view in seconds.
A faint touch on his arm made the merc turn abruptly to find River standing just behind him. “What the hell’r you doin’ out here, gal?” he snapped at her. “Don’t you know it’s dangerous to sneak up on a man like that? I mightta shot you.”
“Tossed a pebble in a pond to see the ripples spread.” River grinned at him mischievously. “Think pink!” She glanced back toward Serenity’s bridge, high above them. “Mal’s looking for you. Best go back in.”
“Lead the way, li’l Crazy.”
Mal, Wash and Zoë were standing near the stairs in the bay, deeply involved in a discussion. Jayne could see from Mal’s body language that the Browncoat captain was antsy. Zoë just looked focused and ready for battle. Wash was a mess. Over a pair of white cargo pants, the pilot was wearing the most garish shirt Jayne had ever seen and his ginger hair stuck out randomly, as if he’d just climbed out of bed, which he had.
“Where in the sphincter of Hades have you been?” Mal snapped at his mercenary. “Got business need’s takin’ care of and can’t find half my crew.” He glared at Wash. “An’ where’s Kaylee? She get them repairs done?”
“Why are you chewing me out, Mal? I think she’s still sleeping – she was up pretty late last night.” Wash glanced pointedly at Jayne, then ran his hand through the wilderness of his hair, leaving it even more disordered than before.
The captain automatically checked his pistol to be sure it was loaded and holstered the weapon. “Well, soon as we head out, you wake her up. I want this boat ready to take off soon as we can get Inara back on board. An’ by the way, tell ‘Nara I said no more last minute changes in her schedule, lessen I say so.”
“Yeah, sure, Mal, I’ll just do that,” Wash replied sarcastically. “I’m sure she’ll appreciate your… ah, involvement.”
Mal turned to Jayne. “I’m takin’ Zoë with me to Badger’s. He’s been more’n a mite techy about you lately for some reason. No point in making things stickier than they already are. All goes well, we’ll be back by noon with the deal for Li Chin on Lemnos all tied up. Just keep your eyes open and finish lockin’ down those supplies. Nobody off the boat, you hear?” Mal pointed at River. “’Specially not that one.”
A faint grin crept across Jayne’s features, but he corralled them into a solemn cast. “You got it, Cap’n.”
Kaylee was chewing on her thumbnail intermittently as she stood making small talk with Jayne. The mercenary had settled on the stairs nearest the bay doors and was eagerly anticipating Mal and Zoë’s return from their meeting with Badger.
Shortly before noon, the captain of Serenity and his first mate strode up the Firefly’s ramp and into the cargo bay. Both were laughing so hard they could barely talk.
“Who do you think was responsible?” Zoë asked.
“I’ll be damned if I know, but somebody sure as hell had it in for the little weasel.” Mal wiped the tears from his eyes. “An’ pink? Outta all the colors might have got chosen, pink. Suited ‘im right well, didn’t it?”
Zoe put her hand over her mouth in an effort to stifle her amusement. “It did at that, sir.”
Mal bent over and braced his hands on his knees, shaking his bowed head. “Gave him an’ his wardrobe a total re-do an’ decorated his office all at the same time. Pink! Now that’s downright vicious. Whoever done it, I sure hope I never piss’ em off my own self.”
Jayne winked at Kaylee, then leaned close and whispered, “Best keep that there in mind, ‘case we ever need it.”
“Did we get the job, Cap?” Kaylee called out cheerfully.
“That we did, although not without some hilarious entertainment.”
Jayne stood up, wearing his very best poker face. “What’s all the hoo-ha about?”
Mal cracked up again. “Seems our friend Mr. Badger has made himself one hell of an enemy. Not more’n an hour before we arrived, somebody sent him a present.” He struggled to speak between chortles. “Gorram thing blew up and totally soaked him, his ‘office’ an’ his mighty fine hat in florescent pink dye. Time we got there, he was scrubbin’ on himself with paint thinner an’ not even making a dent in the stain.”
Zoë chimed in, “He was so anxious to get rid of us, he didn’t even dicker with us over the job with Li Chen on Lemnos, just handed the captain our contact info and had his goons hustle us right out his door.”
“His very pink goons…” Mal guffawed. “I’m guessin’ it’ll be awhile before he comes outta hiding. Don’t know who he messed with, but they sure picked a fine form of pay-back.”
Jayne looked sidelong at Kaylee and snickered.
“Good ol’ Badger. Guess now he’s a horse’s ass of a different color.”
Tuesday, September 12, 2006 2:59 PM
Tuesday, September 12, 2006 5:57 PM
Tuesday, September 12, 2006 11:10 PM
Saturday, September 16, 2006 4:01 PM
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