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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Well, my muse apparently only went away for a long weekend, but I still don't know quite where this story is going, so bear with me! And please leave feedback ...
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1693 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
They’d landed here because Kaylee had wanted to make some minor repairs to Serenity’s fuel feed system.
Although the way she’d put it was, “Cap’n, if we don’t put down now, we’re gonna explode into a billion itty bitty pieces, and I won’t be able to put her back together again.”
Hank had immediately changed course and set the Firefly down on this moon.
"How come you didn't fix it on Phoros?" Mal wanted to know.
"Because it weren't broken on Phoros," his mechanic said brightly.
“How long d’you need?” He watched her taking off all sorts of important looking parts from his engine.
“Won’t know until I see what the problem is, Cap’n.”
“I thought you said it was minor!”
“I didn’t want to worry you.”
“You also said we could blow up.”
She looked at him. “Cap’n, unless you plan on helping, and I don’t reckon you do, can you just leave me to get on with it?”
“Fine,” Mal said. “You just …” He waved a hand at the heart of his ship. “… get on with it.”
“Xie xie, Cap’n,” Kaylee said with a grin and returned to her work.
“So we gonna explode?” Jayne asked as Mal stepped into the galley. “I don’t wanna explode.”
“Not today,” Mal assured him.
“Good. Got things I wanna do before that happens. Lot of skirt out there.”
“I ain’t even gonna dignify that with an answer,” Mal said, pouring a coffee and sitting down, although he did have a mental flash of Jayne and a queue of women stretching all the way to the horizon. He shuddered slightly as he sat down. Freya gave him a quick smile as if she could read his uncomfortableness off the back of his brain, which she probably could. He smiled back.
“So am I going to get to Persephone in time for my appointments?” Inara asked.
Mal looked down the table at her. “Better ask our genius mechanic,” he advised. “Although with the way she was taking us apart, I think you’d be wise to make your apologies.”
“This is the third time this month I’ve had to cancel clients,” Inara said with a trace of asperity in her voice.
“We go where the work is, and if it inconveniences you then you have my sincere regrets. But this time it weren’t exactly my fault.”
Inara glared at him then sighed. “No. I suppose it isn’t.”
“Thank you for your very gracious acceptance,” Mal said dryly.
There was a heavy pause for a moment, then they all laughed. It had sounded so like it used to, before Freya, and it brought back memories.
“Maybe you can just rearrange,” Mal suggested. “I’m sure they’ll understand, seeing as you’re in such demand.”
“I’ll speak to them,” Inara agreed. “And you’re right, of course. If they won’t wait, they probably shouldn’t be on my books anyway.”
“Damn right.” Mal looked around at the rest of his crew. “So. Looks like we’ve got some unexpected time off. What’re we all planning on doing with it?”
“I had been considering rewiring the vid,” Hank offered. “I’m sure I can get more range out of it. Got a coupla ideas I want to try.”
“I’ve got Bethany to look after,” River said. “She takes so much time …” She sounded so like a mother that Mal had to smile.
“Well, you do that, little albatross.” He looked around the table. “And the rest of you?”
“Inventory,” Simon said. “Once we get to Persephone there’s some supplies we need, and I’d really like to –”
“Doc, we’re stuck here for a while,” Mal interrupted. “You can do that any time. Doesn’t anyone have anything not usual to do?”
They all looked at each other, then Zoe spoke for them. “What were you planning on doing, sir?”
Mal smiled, glad someone had finally asked. “Treasure hunting.”
Jayne sat up. “Treasure? What treasure?”
“I checked this place out on the Cortex. There’s stories of a transport ship crashed nearby, carrying gold, jewels, fabulous artefacts. Course, most of it was salvaged, but –”
“Gold, Jayne,” Mal confirmed. “So I thought I might go take a look see, just in case they missed something.”
“How far?” Hank asked.
“’Bout half a day by mule. Have to stay overnight, come back tomorrow.” He grinned. “Make likes it’s an adventure. So who’s with me?”
Jayne immediately held up his hand. “I’m in.”
“The vid can wait,” Hank added quickly.
“Doc?” Mal asked. “How ‘bout you? You look like you could do with some fresh air.”
“I don’t know.” Simon shook his head a little. “I’ve been wealthy. Gold doesn’t exactly have the same attraction -”
“Simon, you got a little girl to provide for,” Mal pointed out. “And a soon to be wife.”
“Okay.” Simon smiled. “Should be fun. I used to go hiking with the other students at MedAcad.”
“Great.” Mal turned to look at his first mate. “Zoe?”
“Someone has to stay with the ship, sir,” the dark beauty said. “In case you all get lost.”
“Ain’t gonna get lost,” Mal blustered. “I know exactly where I’m going. I never get lost.”
“No, sir?” Her dark eyes glittered humorously.
Mal stared then backed down a millimetre. “Ok. Hardly ever. But we ain’t gonna get lost this time.”
“Well, I’m not coming,” Inara said. “The idea of going hundreds of miles across a desert to look for something that isn’t there is, well, childish.”
“That’s why the menfolk want to do it,” Freya said. “Gives them a chance to relive their youth.”
Mal glared at her. “I take it you ain’t coming, then?”
“I think I’d get in the way of the male bonding,” she said, putting her hand on his.
“I was kinda hoping –”
“No, you all go. We can have a nice girlie time together and talk about you to our hearts’ content.”
“You do that anyway.”
“Ah, but not in such explicit detail.”
He looked into her dark eyes and grinned. “If you’re sure.”
“Go,” she said, smiling herself. “Have fun. Who knows, you might bring back something wonderful.”
The hover mule hurried across the desert towards the distant hills, and Mal was enjoying the feel of the breeze in his hair.
“Shoulda landed Serenity closer,” Jayne complained.
“Come on,” Mal laughed. “It’s an adventure.”
“Or we coulda brought the shuttle.”
“Jayne, you could get off and walk.”
“I was just saying –“
“I know what you were just saying. But this is supposed to make it more fun. What fun would it be in getting there in ten minutes?”
“Might be rich quicker.”
“I doubt there’s anything there,” Simon said, pushing his hair back into place for the fifteenth time. “If this was on the Cortex, other scavengers would have long since picked it clean.”
“You calling us scavengers, doctor?” Mal asked.
Simon sighed. “You want me to get off and walk?”
“No. Just asking.” Mal grinned. “’Sides, it ain't exactly the reason we’re going.”
“Yes it is,” Jayne put in.
“It’s gonna be fun.”
“Is that an ‘or else’ hanging in the background?” Hank asked, steering around a small outcrop.
“Does there have to be?”
“You know they’re going to be ripping us to shreds back there, don’t you?”
“Probably,” Mal agreed. “Getting all our neuroses out into the light of day.”
“Who said I was neurotic?” Hank glanced over his shoulder.
“Hank, you ain't the only one,” Mal said, laughing, clapping the pilot on the shoulder. “As I'm sure Freya is bound to be telling everyone about now.”
“Just so long as it stays amongst them.”
“So how did the date go?” Simon asked. “I never really got the chance to ask.”
“Mal, you know that ‘getting off and walking’ scenario?” Hank said.
The sun was setting as they reached the crash site, throwing long shadows from the wreckage.
“Better get ourselves set up before it gets dark,” Mal said, looking around. “I reckon we should make camp in the lea of that section of bulkhead.”
A breath of wind moaned around the debris and Jayne looked up. “So did anybody die in this?”
Mal nodded. “The whole crew were wiped out. Didn’t get a chance to get to the escape pods, apparently.”
“Are they … still here?”
Mal looked at him in surprise. “I doubt it. Probably taken away when they salvaged the cargo. Why, Jayne, you scared?”
“I never said that,” the big man said, then jumped as Hank touched him on the arm.
“Looks to me like you’re afraid of ghosts,” the pilot said.
“I ain't afraid,” Jayne said firmly. “Just don’t like the idea of bodies underfoot.”
“Then I think I know what we’ll be talking about this evening, once we get the fire going,” Mal said, grinning widely.
“… and it is said that the operating theatre is always cold, no matter what the temperature should be, and, on a still night, you can hear the clank of the old gurney being wheeled inside, and a scream cut off in mid wail as the door swings slowly shut.” Simon let his voice fall away, then sat back.
“That was … pretty good, doctor,” Mal said, surprised.
“Ghost stories,” Jayne said again. “Why’d we have to be telling ghost stories?”
“Appropriate, don’t you think?” Hank said, leaning over and slapping him on the back. “Out here, in the middle of nowhere, in the dark … whoooooooo,” he moaned softly.
Jayne reached round and tried to hit him, but he dodged back in time.
“Can we not fight?” Mal asked. “Like having to deal with a coupla kids here.”
“It’s good practice, Mal,” Simon said. “For when Bethany gets older.”
“Are you saying I'm like a girl?” Jayne asked, bristling.
“Would I do that?” Simon asked, his face blank.
“What part of not fighting didn’t you two get?” Mal asked.
“Kids,” Hank said, smiling benevolently.
Jayne glared at him and stood up. ”I'm gonna get some sleep,” he said, stalking away from the fire towards his sleeping bag. “Wanna be up early to find me that treasure.”
“You know,” Hank said, watching him go, “I really wish I’d thought to pack some practical jokes.”
“He’d’ve killed you,” Mal pointed out.
“And Zoe’d have killed him for killing me.” Hank beamed, then his smile faltered. “Course, I wouldn’t have been around to enjoy it …”
Mal’s lips twitched. “I'm sure she’d have made sure it was long and painful.”
“Long as she did,” Hank agreed.
“So how did the date go?” Simon asked. “You still haven’t told us.”
“And I don’t intend to,” Hank said firmly. “That’s between me and Zoe. ‘Sides, you were too busy yourself playing that mean joke on Kaylee.”
“It wasn't mean!” the young doctor insisted.
“You made her think you were going to fight over her.”
Simon shrugged. “Okay, maybe it was. But I was mad.”
“I'm still surprised she said yes.”
“And you’re changing the subject.”
Hank started to get to his feet. “Looks like the fire needs some more kindling,” he said deliberately, then his head jerked up as he heard something. “What was that?” he asked.
“What?” Mal looked around. “I didn’t hear anything.”
“Like a moan.”
Simon sighed. “I thought we’d finished with the ghost stories.”
“No, I ain't kidding. I’m sure I heard … there it is again.”
This time they all heard the sound.
“Must be the wind,” Mal said.
“There ain't none,” Hank said. He was right – the night was still.
“What the ruttin’ hell was that?” Jayne asked, coming back into the firelight with his sleeping bag clutched in his arms.
It came again, a definite moaning.
“It sounds human,” Simon said, scrambling up. “Someone hurt.”
“Out here?” Jayne asked.
“Spread out,” Mal ordered, grabbing the torches from the pack and handing them out. “If it is someone hurt, they’re gonna need our help.”
They moved off into the darkness, each trying to follow the sound, until Hank shouted, “Over here!”
Mal got to him first. He was kneeling beside a figure on the ground, looking like nothing more than a rock, with sand and dirt accumulated on one side.
“I kinda fell over him,” Hank explained. “Otherwise I’d never've seen him.”
Simon went down onto his knees in the sand, turning the body over. “It’s not a him. It’s a girl,” he said, checking her vitals. “And she’s alive. At least for the moment.” He ran practised hands over her arms and legs. “She has fractures, and quite possibly internal injuries.”
Mal nodded. “Hank, get onto Serenity and get Freya to bring the shuttle,” he ordered.
Hank ran to the mule and the com.
“How the hell did she get here?” Jayne asked, looking around. “We ain't seen no ships or nothing.”
“Doc?” Mal asked.
“I think she’d been here a few days, from the general dehydration.” He opened the bottle of water and moistened one of the swabs from his bag, laying it gently on the girl’s lips. “That’s my main worry. If we don’t get enough fluids into her, her body will go into shock and she’ll die.”
“She looks like she’s been beaten up,” Mal said, looking at the damage to her face.
“I believe she has.” He concentrated on his new patient. “Pretty convincingly, and by someone who knew what he was doing.”
Hank ran back. “She’s on her way.”
“Good,” Mal said. “I want to know what’s been going on here.”
to be continued
Wednesday, December 6, 2006 1:20 AM
Wednesday, December 6, 2006 5:02 AM
Wednesday, December 6, 2006 2:44 PM
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