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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
The conclusion. Mal has been captured because of Vinnie's betrayal, and Serenity is landlocked ... Please let me know what you think, good or bad, particularly as this is the first long story I've done!
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1654 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
The explosion sent dust and grit everywhere, and Simon could taste it in his mouth, even with his arm covering his face. As the sound died away he looked up at Hank, who was grinning.
“They’re gonna be running every which way,” the pilot said, slapping his ears with the palms of his hands to clear the ringing.
“Let’s just hope Jayne uses it to his advantage,” Simon replied, doing the same.
There was shouting from one of the tunnels. “I think they might have figured the pacifiers are down,” Hank added, his grin, if possible, getting wider. “Should give them a chance.” Then different sounds, these much sharper, harder, and Hank’s smile faded. “Or maybe not.”
“Come on. We need to get back.” Simon tugged gently on the pilot’s sleeve, and Hank reluctantly turned to follow.
“What the hell is going on?” the man in the suit asked, turning, expecting to see one of the guards from outside.
Instead it was a blue tinted demon, dusted ultramarine, who had burst into the room. “Looking for Mal Reynolds,” it said. “’N’ I ain't inclined to wait for an answer.”
The man reached for the emergency button, to call for help but Jayne was too fast for him. He crossed the floor in a split, grabbing the man and lifting him from his feet, leaning hard against the wall.
“Looks like blood on the floor to me. Fresh too,” Jayne said conversationally. “Don’t seem to be yours, so I’m gonna make a leap here and say it’s his.”
“The guards will be back soon,” the man said, his voice trembling to match the shaking of his body. “They’ll –“
“You think?” Jayne asked. “I’d’a said they were too busy putting down the little uprising that’s going on out there. What with those pacifiers bein’ down. And you ain't answered my question.”
“I don’t know what you’re –“
Jayne held him up with one hand, reaching to the bandoleer around his chest. “Where is he?” he asked again. “And if I don’t get the answer I need, you’ll be eating this grenade.”
Mal woke up with the taste of blood and dust in his mouth and tried to roll onto his back, then wished he hadn’t. A stabbing pain in his left side suggested he’d done more than cracked a rib or two, or maybe he was lucky and it was just a heart attack.
He raised his head enough to spit blood onto the floor. At least someone had put him face down in the cot so he hadn’t drowned in his own fluids, although that was probably more by accident than design. He spat again, then ran his tongue around his teeth. They seemed to be all there, but more than a couple felt loose. One more punch and they’d probably have been missing in action.
He opened his eyes – well, eye. One appeared to be swollen shut, and as he explored with his fingers he noted with an odd sense of satisfaction that he had been right – his nose was broken. He wasn’t too happy with the way his cheekbone felt, either, but what with all the swelling and the fact that as he prodded it the pain made him throw up next to the cot … well, it kinda stopped further investigation.
To the accompaniment of someone playing a steel drum inside his head, he managed to look around. He was in a small cell, on his own, the only light from a dim panel above the door, which was firmly closed. Pity, he could just have done with someone being careless, he thought, and almost laughed. Apart from himself, that is. Still, maybe all his discomfort meant that the others had managed to get away.
The door rattled, and he stifled a groan. Couldn’t they leave him alone to die in peace?
“Jayne?” he asked, so shocked that he sat up too quickly and the room span as he tried to control the nausea.
“Stay away from the door,” the big mercenary’s voice came again.
“Um … okay.”
There was silence for a moment. “Oh, and better cover your ears,” Jayne added.
Mal stared, then realised. “Shit.” He leaned forward and, ignoring the pain in his chest, covered his head with his arms.
The noise was incredible, buffeting around the small cell and threatening to explode his brain. That and the dust that boiled in was enough to wish Jayne a slow and painful death.
“Cap?” Someone was shaking him. “You dead?”
“No. But you will be if you don’t stop doing that,” Mal said, raising his head a little. “I'm in enough pain here as it is.”
“Need to get you out of here,” Jayne said, putting his hands under Mal’s arms and lifting him, surprisingly gently, to his feet. That didn’t stop the groan that forced its way past his lips. “Doc!” he called.
“You didn’t have to come back for me,” Mal said, leaning on Jayne until he felt strength flowing slowly back into his legs. “Could’a just left me.”
“I gave my word, Mal,” the big man said self-consciously. “If I’d’a come back without you, she’d’ve nailed my hide to the wall. Probably while I was still wearing it.”
Mal smiled, ignoring the pain in his face. He didn’t have to ask who Jayne was talking about.
Simon came into the room, his eyes fastening on Mal’s battered face. “Captain …” he said, moving forward to examine him better.
Mal waved him away. “I’m fine, Simon. Just a little beat up.” He groaned again. “Could do with a painkiller, though.”
“Of course.” Simon opened his medbag and pulled out a prepared hypo, injecting it into Mal’s neck. “But I’d rather -“
“I’ll heal,” Mal interrupted. “Feel a mite naked, too.”
Simon smiled a little and took Mal’s gunbelt off his shoulder, handing it over. Mal strapped it on with slightly trembling fingers, feeling a whole lot better once the weight of it was against his thigh.
“Found where they’d put it,” Jayne explained in response to his look. ”Told us where you’d be, too. After a little persuading.” He flexed his right hand, and Mal could see the grazes across his knuckles.
“Thanks,” he said. “Right, best we get out of here. Where‘s Harry?”
“With Vinnie and Hank, keeping watch.”
“Vinnie?” Mal said sharply.
“We know what he done,” Jayne said, shrugging his shoulders. “But he explained why.”
“Oh, I can figure that much,” Mal said. “Just not sure I ain’t gonna kill him for it.”
“Well, wait until we’ve got out of here.”
“And that’ll probably be easier said than done,” Simon said cryptically.
“Do we actually have a plan?” Freya asked as they walked towards the other ship.
“I was hoping you were going to come up with one,” Zoe replied.
“Seem to be fresh out.”
“So we’re …”
“Going in the front door, it looks like.”
“Trying the old ‘let them go or we shoot you’ ploy?”
“It’s worked before.”
“You ever get the feeling we need some new ploys?”
“All the time, Freya. All the time.”
“Mal, you okay?” Vinnie asked, his face troubled, catching hold of Mal’s arm.
“No thanks to you.” Mal pulled away from him. “What the hell happened to you, Vinnie?”
“I couldn’t leave him!” He nodded towards his brother. “I had to save him, can’t you see that?”
“Oh, I do. But all you needed to do was to come to me, tell me, and we’d have figured something out.”
“I couldn’t rely on it, Mal,” Vinnie said, shaking his head. “Couldn’t rely on you helping me.”
Mal glared at him. “You think I’ve changed that much?” he asked quietly.
“I didn’t know, Mal.”
They stared at each other until Jayne started to fidget. “You think you could do the recriminations bit later on?” he asked. “We still got to get out of here, and I don’t think they’re gonna be too pleased with us.” Then a sudden noise behind him had him swinging Vera around.
“Hold it, Jayne,” Mal ordered, as half a dozen miners ran past them.
“What they running from?” Hank asked, gripping his rifle tightly.
“Let’s not wait around to find out,” Mal said, moving forward along the tunnel.
All at once a series of explosions sounded, gunfire magnified by the tunnels, and one of the miners staggered back, holding onto the wall and his chest, falling in front of Mal, his red blood congealing in the blue dust. Simon was immediately on his knees, checking for a pulse, but he shook his head.
“Don’t think we’ll be going that way,” Mal muttered.
Vinnie dragged the map from his pocket. “There’s only one exit we can reach, Mal,” he said.
Mal glanced at Harry, who looked at the map over his brother’s shoulder. “He’s right. There’s a side tunnel about ten yards back. If we can get to it, it’ll take us to -”
“The front door?” Mal finished, and Harry nodded. “I hate going out the front door,” he said disgustedly. “But …”
“Mal!” Jayne said urgently. “I hear ‘em coming!”
Without another word Mal led them back down the tunnel, slipping into the side passageway just in time. Pressed against the walls they watched as guards swarmed past.
They were frisked, none too gently, and Zoe said conversationally, “My husband didn’t even get that close. Watch it.”
“Just making sure you ain’t got any little surprises hidden,” the watchman said, leering at her as he brushed his hands under her armpits and around her breasts.
“Oh, we’re all surprises,” Freya added as one of the others ran his hands up the inside of her legs. “You go any further and you won’t have to worry about wearing gloves this winter.”
The head guard nodded. “That way,” he said, indicating a door through into the main body of the ship.
“Leon, it really isn’t worth it,” Inara said, her face pale even on the main vidscreen on the wall.
“They’ve caused me nothing but trouble,” Leon Grant said stubbornly, his body language radiating inflexibility. “I don’t like to lose, Inara.”
“You won’t be losing. Just getting rid of people who are going to make things a lot worse. You don’t know what he’s like, Leon. He can be insufferable sometimes, and if he thinks he’s in a corner –”
The com on his desk bleeped. “Yes?”
“Two women, sir, from the other ship. They want to see you.”
“They say they have a proposition.”
“Another one?” He paused then said, “Let them in.”
“Leon? Who is it?” Inara asked, her face showing her concern.
“They seem to be friends of yours.”
“Friends? Oh, those lying baichi,” she murmured.
The doors opened and two women walked into his office both radiating an air of barely contained rage despite having been disarmed. His men lurked in the doorway.
“Good evening,” Grant said, as if he were welcoming them to tea. “I believe you wanted to talk to me?”
Jayne was on point, Simon next, when they heard his swear under his breath.
“Mal,” Simon said quietly and the Captain went forward to join him.
“Tzao gao,” he said bitterly, going down onto his knees in the dust next to the bodies piled against the wall.
“They didn’t stand a chance,” the doctor said.
“Least they died fighting,” Harry said, pointing to one of them wearing a guard’s uniform.
“Shouldn’t have died at all,” Mal said, shaking his head, feeling guilt wash through him.
“They were never gonna get out of here, Mal, no matter what you did. Least this way they thought they might have had a chance.” He squeezed Mal’s shoulder. “Can’t save ‘em all, Sarge.”
Mal gritted his teeth, feeling the pain building in his face, welcoming it as he nodded and moved past the bodies.
“Zoe, Freya, what the diyu are you doing there? You said you’d give me thirty minutes!” Inara was appalled at her friends, her voice loud and strident, but they ignored her.
“We want you to let those men go,” said the darker and taller of the two.
Grant stared at them, calculating, for a long moment, then looked at the men still in the doorway. “You can leave.”
The door closed noiselessly.
“And why should I do that?” Grant asked.
“They came to kill us. Five men.” Freya smiled a little. “Their bodies are outside our ship, if you want to come and clean up.”
Grant was honestly surprised. “You think I’d order that? My dear, if I wanted you all dead, you’d be blown out of the sky.”
“I ain’t your dear,” Freya said.
“No, perhaps not.” Grant sat down in the deep red leather armchair behind the desk. “I did not order anyone to kill you. I imagine that was the new manager’s decision. Perhaps he was concerned that you might kill him, as you did the old one.”
Freya shrugged. “Don’t know anything about that.”
“Of course you don’t. All I wanted was my property back. Malcolm Reynolds and the other three.”
“They don’t belong to you - they’re ours,” Zoe said.
“My company paid good money for them.”
“Who’s to say they’re not indentured? Given enough time I’m sure I could come up with the correct paperwork.”
“They’re not yours,” Freya repeated, her voice dangerously pleasant.
“Leon, please,” Inara said from the vidscreen. “Save yourself the trouble.”
“I could do that by ordering my men to end them.”
“You’d be dead before you gave the order,” Freya said quietly.
“You aren’t even armed,” Grant said, leaning back in his chair. “And if you tried anything my men would be in here in a second.”
“I wouldn’t need that long.”
“Leon, believe her!” Inara said quickly over the vid. “She isn’t exaggerating.”
Grant glanced at her, then back at the woman in front of him, for the first time feeling a trickle of ice down his spine.
“There it is,” Mal said, hunkering down behind the last of the big boulders in the tunnel, looking out towards the yellow sodium-lit night.
“This seems too easy,” Hank muttered, holding his pistol in his hand.
“I have to agree,” Harry said, lifting the rifle he’d taken off the pilot. “I can’t believe there ain’t guards here.”
“Much as I agree, I also don’t think we wanna look a gift horse in the mouth,” Mal said. “And I don’t really want to have to go back in and find another way out.”
“Couldn’t if you wanted, Cap,” Jayne said, appearing from the dark and dropping down next to him. “They’re coming up behind.”
“Five minutes. Maybe. That’s if they don’t hurry.”
Mal nodded. “Come on. Doesn’t look like we have a choice no more. Let’s take a look.” He started towards the entrance, the others following, keeping pressed against the side of the tunnel.
“Let me buy their freedom!” Inara said urgently, not wanting to watch a bloodbath take place in front of her eyes.
“And what could you possibly think I would want from you in exchange?”
He stared at Inara. “Over what?”
“Some of your activities have gone well past the border of illegality, Leon. You’ve told me about them, remember? Pillow talk.”
He tensed, his hands gripping the arms of the chair. “You can’t. That’s against Guild law.”
“Yes, I believe it is.”
Grant looked at her askance. “You’d be drummed out, never allowed to call yourself a Companion ever again.”
“That’s true, but you’d be under investigation by the Alliance. And I know where some of the bodies are buried.” Her face was pale, but her intent was clear.
“You’d really do that to save them?”
“Leon, I am creating the message to broadcast even as we speak.”
“Are you threatening me?” He couldn’t help admire her.
“No, Leon. It isn’t a threat. Not at all.”
He released his hands and steepled his fingers in front of his chin, tapping them on his lips.
“He means that much to you?” he asked them all.
The com bleeped again. “Sir.”
“Seems quiet enough,” Vinnie noted, peering over the top of a low stone wall at the entrance just as a bullet whipped past his head.
“You were saying?” Hank asked, falling onto his backside in his hurry to get out of the way of the others that followed, ricocheting off the bedrock.
A voice, amplified by some kind of bullhorn, spoke. “Throw out your weapons and stand where we can see you.”
“Tah muh duh,” Mal muttered. “Seems like they don’t want us to leave.”
“I’m sorry, Mal,” Vinnie said. “It’s all my fault.”
“Yes, that it is,” Mal agreed. He peered over the edge of the wall, then back down the tunnel. “Course, in a few minutes that may not exactly be important any longer.” He sat back down and looked at Jayne. “You got anything left?”
Jayne checked his bandoleer. “One grenade, Mal. Ain’t gonna be much use against a pack like that.”
“I wasn’t thinking about using it out there.”
Jayne looked at him askance. “If you’re thinkin’ about a group suicide, I ain’t in the mood.”
Mal smiled slightly. “Nope, not quite that far gone yet.”
“You wanna go out in a blaze of glory then? It ain’t gonna reach ‘em out there.”
“Don’t intend going out any way, Jayne. Just wanna see my kid born.”
Harry looked over his shoulder. “You gonna be a dad?” he asked.
“That I am.”
“Can we do the patting on the back thing another time?” Hank said, looking from one to the other with disbelief in his eyes. “The bad guys? Remember?”
Mal nodded back down the tunnel then looked at Jayne. “Think you can get it far enough in that it don’t kill us, but might make an interesting diversion?”
The big man grinned. “No problem,” he said, pulling the grenade from its strap and hefting its weight.
“We have them pinned down, sir,” came a voice over the com. “We can take them out any time.”
“Don’t even think of it,” Zoe said, her eyes firmly on the man in front of her.
“You’d really kill me?” Grant asked, his eyes wide with astonishment. “Knowing you won’t get out of here alive?”
“If Mal dies, so do you,” Freya said, making it clear this wasn’t an empty threat.
Suddenly he grinned. “Well, well, it’s been a long time since I’ve met anyone with cajones like you three seem to have. You walk onto my ship and threaten me …” He laughed, then looked up at Inara. “And as for trying blackmail …” He shook his head, still chuckling.
Zoe and Freya exchanged looks. Maybe he was crazy after all.
Grant leaned forward, shooting an amused look at Inara still on the screen, and spoke into the comlink. “Let them go,” he ordered, his gaze going back to Freya and Zoe in front of him.
“But sir …” The man on the link was astonished. “There’s no place for them to run. We have them.”
“No, you don’t. Let them go. And release the landlock on Serenity.”
There was a pause, then the man said, “Yes sir.”
Leon Grant smiled at the two women standing in front of him. “Go. This has been an entertaining distraction, but I don’t have to tell you what will happen if I see you again.”
Freya nodded slowly, and she and Zoe backed out.
“Thank you, Leon,” Inara said gratefully.
“Don’t, Inara. I haven’t decided if I’m going to report you to the Guild yet.”
“If you must, Leon. The truth is I am wondering whether being a Companion is still what I want. But those men are my friends.”
“They must be,” Grant agreed, and killed the vid link.
At the entrance to the mine the man in charge turned to his men, about to give the order, when there was an explosion in the tunnel and dust billowed out.
“Now!” Mal ordered, and they ran for the cover of the mine elevator housing. Suddenly a figure rose up in front of them, holding a rifle to its shoulder, aiming directly at them.
Vinnie saw him first, saw who he was aiming at, and without thinking he leaped forward, pushing Mal in the back so he sprawled on the dirt. At the same moment as the sound of a gunshot, something shoved him backwards.
“Hold your fire! Hold your fire!” someone shouted.
Mal scrambled to his feet as Harry turned. “Vinnie!” he shouted, running back.
“Ga ni niang,” Jayne muttered.
“Vinnie, hold on,” Harry said, grasping his brother’s hand tightly.
“Simon, get the hell over here!” Mal shouted, dropping to his knees.
Vinnie stared into the dark sky, his mouth working, trying to speak through the agony in his chest. Blood bubbled into his throat. He tried to focus on Harry. “Let ... let …”
Simon ran up, going down opposite Mal. “Hold him still,” he said, pulling Vinnie’s shirt open.
“Don’t try to talk,” Harry said, leaning forward.
“Let me go,” Vinnie managed to say.
“No! No rutting way!” Harry shouted. “You think I’m gonna let you go ahead of me? We’ve been through too damn much for you to talk like that!”
“Wu de mah,” Mal breathed. He’d seen too many wounds like that, sucking air into a chest cavity not designed for it, compressing the lungs, drowning …
“Why’d you do that?” Harry said, tears falling into the dust. “Be so stupid.”
“Had … had to …” Vinnie ground out, looking at Mal. “Promised her. Battered … bruised … but …” His voice faded.
“It’s too late,“ Simon said.
“What?” Harry looked into the young doctor’s face. “What?”
Mal was shocked. He hadn’t noticed Vinnie stop breathing, stop living.
“No.” Harry shook his head. “No. That ain’t true.” He stared down at his brother. “You ain’t dead. You can’t be dead until I tell you, and I ain't telling you!” He started to shake Vinnie’s shoulders. “Wake up, Vinnie! You think I can carry on without you?”
Mal, feeling tears running through the grime on his cheeks, put a hand on Harry’s arm. “He’s gone, Harry,” he said. “He’s gone.”
The cold from the airlock was making the cargo bay misty, as the chill of space permeated through the thick wall.
“Kinda reminds me of Lexington, don’t it you?” Harry said, sitting on a crate, staring at the bay door, taking a swig from the bottle in his hand then passing it to Mal.
Mal nodded. “Crappy place that was,” he said, pouring a mouthful down his throat and ignoring the aching the low temperature had set up in his cheekbone.
“Yeah. Worse after we got through with it.” He huffed and saw a thick thread of steam escape from his mouth. “And damn but it was freezing.”
“That it was.” Mal looked at Harry. “But we survived.”
“More’n a lot did,” Harry agreed. He shivered a little and pulled the coat Simon had loaned him a little tighter.
Mal noticed. “Kaylee’s got the heating boosted as much as she can, but it’s gonna stay cold,” he said regretfully.
“There’s a 92% chance that the air temperature will drop another seven degrees before we reach our destination,” River said behind them, passing through the cargo bay on her way up towards the galley, still in her pretty dress, apparently immune to the chill. “And alcohol will only make you colder in the long run,” she added.
“Yeah, darlin‘, but it helps right now,” Harry called. “You know, she makes me feel colder just looking at her,” he said in passing. “Bare feet ‘n’all.”
“Just won’t wear shoes,” Mal agreed, passing the bourbon back.
There was a moment’s silence, then Harry roused himself a little. “This is good’a you. Making yourselves uncomfortable so I can take Vinnie back. After what he did, ‘n’ all. So Pa can see he looked okay - just at peace.”
“It ain’t puttin’ us out none, Harry,” Mal said quietly. “It’s what you do for family.”
Harry nodded, lapsing into silence once more, Mal just keeping him company as, in the airlock, the outer door open just enough to keep it space cold, the last mortal portion of Vincent Reynolds was going home.
Sergeant Malcolm Reynolds opened his eyes, and wished he hadn’t.
“Hey, he’s awake!” Vinnie called, his voice making Mal’s ears ring.
“Could you be a bit quieter about this?” Mal asked, his voice pale. “Man’s trying to die here.”
“You ain’t dead,” Harry said, coming into view. “Remember? We carried you all the way back. Weren’t gonna do that for a corpse.”
Mal felt his chest, noting the bandages wrapped tightly, and the very painful area just to the left of his heart.
“You were damn lucky, Mal,” Vinnie said, watching him from where he sat on the edge of the bed, a wide grin on his face. “Bit more to the right and you’d be playing harps with St Peter.”
“Medics say you’ll be up and annoying us enlisted men before you know it,” Harry added. He sat himself on the only other available seating, the empty bed next to Mal. “Hey, these ain’t bad,” he said, bouncing up and down a couple of times. “Better’n the usual bunks.”
“That isn’t for you,” one of the nurses said as she passed by. “Get off.”
Harry stood up and grinned at her, watching her as she walked away. “Wouldn’t mind my dressing changed by that little filly,” he said, his eyes fixed to her rear.
“Does that mean you give up all claim on the Corporal?” Vinnie asked.
“Well, no,” Harry admitted. “But doesn’t mean I can’t have a reserve in mind, does it?”
“That ain’t fair.”
“Well, when you get to be the older brother, you can have first pick,” Harry said. “Now shove up.” He pushed Vinnie along the bed so he could perch.
“Are you here just to torment me?” Mal asked, feeling the bed squeak in protest.
“Nope, not entirely,” Harry grinned. “Brought you some grapes.” He held out a bag. “Damn hard to get. Cost me most of a month’s pay, but hell, I thought, Sarge’s worth it.”
“Thanks,” Mal muttered.
“Course, they won’t let us give them to you. So we’ll just take good care of ‘em until you’re out of here.”
“Might have to, you know, check them over every once in a while,” Vinnie added. “Make sure they ain’t gone off.”
“I’m sure you will,” Mal said witheringly.
“Well, we gotta get back,” Harry said suddenly, standing up. “Zoe’ll tan our hides if we’re late. She said we could come make sure we weren’t gonna have to bury you, and seems like we’ve done that.”
Vinnie got to his feet. “You just rest up, okay? We’ll keep her safe for you.” He nodded towards the bag in Harry’s hands. “And the grapes too, a’course.”
“Well, thanks for visiting,” Mal said sourly, shifting a little in the bed then wincing at the pain.
“You take care, Mal. We ain’t always gonna be around to protect you,” Harry pointed out, then added, almost to himself, “I wonder if that nurse likes grapes?” He hurried after her, Vinnie as always at his heels.
“And it’s still Sergeant to you!” Mal called, then fell back on the pillow. Damn, but if they weren’t his cousins he’d throw the book at them, soon as blink. He sighed and settled back. Harry had been right, though, this bed was the most comfortable he’d been in for a long while. Might as well make the most of it. He closed his eyes and wondered what Freya was doing right now …
Monday, October 30, 2006 2:01 AM
Monday, October 30, 2006 11:43 AM
Wednesday, November 1, 2006 8:19 AM
Friday, July 6, 2007 10:29 AM
Friday, July 6, 2007 10:31 AM
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