Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Final part of the story about the virus on Serenity ... and another uninvited guest comes to call. Feedback, please ... I love it!



“Go away, Freya.” She rolled over and pulled the covers up higher over her head.

Freya dropped down the ladder and stood at the end of the bed. “Ah. I figured you might have come down with it at last. Sorry.”

“If I were strong enough I’d explain to you just exactly how sorry you should be.”

“I hadn’t intended to make everyone sick! I thought my cooking did that well enough.” Freya smiled but Zoe just groaned.

“You mention food and I will decorate your boots.”

“Ain't wearing any,” Freya said, looking down at her bare feet. “Can’t quite seem to be able to get them on at the moment. Simon says it’ll wear off, but for now I am shoeless.”

“Can’t you just be Freya-less and go away?” Zoe asked from the depths of the fug she had created.

“I brought you a clean bucket.”

“Fine. Take the full one and go.”

“I’m feeling better, thank you for asking, though Mal’s sick now too.”


“He’s acting like he’s dying, saying he was wrong in not agreeing to shoot me. Says he wants me to be better’n him and shoot him instead.”

“Go ahead. As long as you do it quiet like.”

Freya grinned. “Could smother him, of course. Pretty much like you’re doing. Are you gonna come out?”

“No. I intend staying right here.”

“How long for?”

“What year is it?”

Freya laughed. “Okay, I’ll leave you in peace. Just call if you need anything.” She picked up the used bucket with some distaste and carried it carefully back up the ladder.

“She okay?” Hank asked in the corridor, his face still pale but his demeanour nonchalantly sympathetic.

“Why, were you planning on being a ministering angel?”

“Thought I might pay her back. Do you know what she did to me?” He looked disgusted. “A bed bath. She insisted on giving me a bed bath.”

“And that’s so bad … how? Zoe, in your bunk, you naked … I mean, you had to have been naked for that, right?”

“No. She said she was going to do it the traditional way. Freya, have you ever had an ice-cold soaking sponge thrust down the front of your pyjama pants?”

“Not … that I can recall.”

Hank shuddered. “Don’t. It ain’t nice. And she wouldn’t let me change afterwards. I'm surprised I didn’t catch pneumonia.”

“That may have been her plan,” Freya pointed out.

“What did I do to her?” he asked, his eyes wide in honest astonishment.

“You’ve been telling everyone that you and her are an item,” Freya pointed out.

Hank looked abashed. “Well, maybe a little. It just …I kinda figured that if I said it enough she’d come to believe it.”

“She didn’t. In fact, I'm surprised that was all she did.”

“It wasn’t.” His whole body quivered this time. “Do not ask how she took my temperature.”

This time Freya laughed out loud. “Sorry, Hank, but I think you deserved it.”

“You ain’t no friend of mine,” he said, turning on his heel and heading back for the bridge. “Inara’ll be checking in soon – I’d better tell her not to come back yet. Simon said we’re probably all still infectious, even if we feel better.”

“Good idea.”

“You know, I really didn’t think Zoe’d come down with it,” Hank added over his shoulder as he climbed the steps. “I didn’t think the germs would dare.”

Freya was still chuckling as she walked down the stairs, but her good humour deserted her as she came in sight of the cargo bay. “Tzao gao,” she murmured to herself, putting the bucket down on the floor.

Badger was standing by the open bay doors, his men behind him. The greasy little tick was examining the contents of one of the crates.

“That ain't yours,” Freya called, hurrying down the stairs.

Badger looked up at her, dropping the geisha doll back down. “Pretty thing.”

“I'm presuming you meant the doll,” Freya said. “Or are you giving me an unexpected compliment?”

“The doll. Always did like ‘em.” He stepped forward. “Been waitin’ for your captain to deliver my goods,” he said. “Much as I love doing business with him, he ain’t usually tardy.”

Freya crossed the bay floor to face him. “He’s not feeling well.”

“Really? Nothing minor I hope.”

“Food poisoning,” Freya lied. “We picked up some bad meat on Boros, and it’s hit some of the crew pretty hard. You know, vomiting, stomach cramps, that kind of thing …”

Badger sniffed the air. “Yeah, it do smell worse than usual in 'ere.” He looked at her. “You seem to be okay.”

“I’m vegetarian.”

Badger looked at her from under the rim of his bowler, deciding whether to believe her or not. Then he shrugged. It didn’t matter one way or another. “So where’s my goods?”

Freya pointed to a small stack of boxes by the door. “There they are. All present and correct, and in tip top condition.” She smiled coldly. “Where’s our money?”

Badger pulled a small bag from his pocket. “'Ere. And don’t insult me by countin’ it.”

“I know you wouldn’t gyp us, Badger. Mal’s too efficient for you to do that.” The smile hadn’t warmed up.

“So how sick is he?” Badger asked hopefully. “He likely to snuff it?”


“Pity.” The little man turned to his goons and nodded at the boxes. One of them, a big man with tattoos down one arm, picked up the stack easily and carried them out.

“You sure he can manage all by himself?” Freya asked.

“He can manage.” He turned to leave.

“That’s it? No polite conversation? No fascinating little wordplay? No threatening us with the Alliance?” Freya asked.

“You ain't that funny,” Badger said over his shoulder. He walked towards the ramp.

Freya looked down and smiled. “Badger, wait.”

The little man turned, his men moving closer to him in case she tried anything nasty. “What is it?” he asked warily.

Freya held out something. “Here.”

It was one of the geisha dolls.

“You’re givin’ me a gift?” Badger asked suspiciously, not taking it.

“You said you liked them. Here.” She waved it at him.

“I don’t know …”

“It isn’t booby-trapped,” she said, then shrugged. “Okay, if you don’t want it –“

“No, I’ll ‘ave it!” he said, grabbing it from her. “’Ad one of these once when I was a kid. Sat on the windersill at home, ‘til my dad got drunk one night and pulled off ‘er ‘ead.”

“That explains a lot,” Freya murmured.


“Nothing,” she said quickly. “Take it and keep it close to you always.”

He looked at her askance, then nodded. “Thanks. You know, you ain’t as bad as the rest of ‘em. Mind, that ain't saying much.”

“Badger, you’d better go before you turn my head with all this fulsome praise.”

The little man stared at her, then straightened his jacket. “Might ‘ave another job for you if you’re around in a coupla days.”

“I expect we’ll be here.”

“Shiny.” He turned and walked away, his geisha doll in his hand.

“You are wicked,” Hank called from the catwalk.

“What? What did I do?” she asked, turning to look at him, her eyebrows raised in innocent query. ---

A few days later Badger was lying in his bed, a girl either side of him. They were asleep, and he smiled to himself. It was good to be alive right now. He’d got his goods, and put another job the way of that Reynolds and his crew, and he should make a tidy profit out of it all. They’d come through, he knew that, much as he’d have liked them to end up a smear on some border moon. Still, beggars can’t be choosers. He nearly laughed out loud. Not that he was a beggar. And maybe that Freya liked him. He could get used to her being around the place. She’d put lead in a man’s pencil. He glanced over at the geisha doll, whose head was wobbling slightly in the breeze. Gave him a present, and all. Might have to see … he stopped as a wave of nausea swept over him.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006 2:39 AM


Nice end to this story - but how did Badger get sick? Germs can't live on inanimate objects can they?

Still, I love this story - the conversation between Zoe and Freya at the beginning was great! Too many funny moments to single out!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 3:30 AM


Apparently viruses like the stomach flue can survive for days or weeks on inanimate surfaces ... yeuch!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 8:28 PM


Oh...Freya is just evil!


Definitely gotta love Zoe when she's sick...all grumpy and cuddleworthy:D



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