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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. Inara is missing and Zoe hurt, and an old protagonist may be involved ... Please leave feedback and ratings - it makes the writing process easier!
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1557 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
“Sir?” A young steward in smart livery approached the entrance to the alleyway, looking a little uncertain. “Are you Captain Reynolds?” he asked Hank.
“No, I am.” Mal sat forward into the light.
“Sir, Mr Malfrey requests you meet him at the rear entrance. Immediately, sir.”
“Why? What’s happened?” Mal stood up, and Jayne came out of the darkness, his hand on his gun.
“I don’t know, sir. That was the message I was to give you.” The young man gave Jayne a last look, and hurried away.
“Come on,” Mal said, heading out of the alley.
They skirted the ballroom, weaving amongst the vehicles waiting for those inside, and as they reached the rear of the building they saw Dillon’s hover set on the ground, doors open, unattended.
Jayne drew his gun.
They broke into a run as they saw Callum come out, something – or someone – in his arms, Dillon close behind.
“What the hell –“ Mal said, pulling up, then, “Wuh de tyen, ah.”
“Zoe!” Hank cried, pushing past him and taking hold of her hand, gripping tightly.
“I think she’s been stabbed, but I don’t believe it’s as bad as I feared,” Dillon explained quickly. “But she needs to be seen by a doctor.”
“Got one right here,” Mal said, even as Simon moved to Zoe’s side. “Hank, move.”
His pilot glared at him but let go, stepping back only enough so that Simon could check Zoe’s vitals.
“Inside the hover,” he ordered, moving with Callum as he laid Zoe on one of the long seats, Hank scrambling in after them.
“The hospital isn’t too far –“ Dillon began, but Mal interrupted.
“Yes. Of course. By the way, your Companion seems to be missing,” Dillon said, aware this man was controlling pent-up rage.
“Missing?” Mal looked up at him sharply.
“I think Zoe probably followed, and got stabbed in the process. By whoever’s taken Inara, I imagine.”
Mal’s face tightened and he turned to Jayne. “Look for her. Go inside and search, and I don’t care if they make a fuss. Just do it. Then bring the mule back to Serenity.”
“Gone, Mal.” Jayne hurried through the ballroom‘s backdoor, his hand awfully close to his gun.
In the hover Callum slid into the driver’s seat while Dillon and Mal climbed into the back. Simon knelt next to Zoe, opening the laces between her breasts so he could see the stab wound. He felt the craft take off but didn’t look up. “I don’t think it’s too bad,” he said, quietly. “It’s bleeding a lot, but I don’t think it hit anything vital.”
“Is your doctor good?” Dillon asked Mal, pulling the first aid kit from under the seat and passing it across.
“Very,” Mal replied absently. As he did so it occurred to him, quite inconsequentially, that although the front of the dress was stained with blood, the colour of the fabric merely made it appear darker.
Zoe’s eyelids fluttered and she moaned slightly.
“Honey?” Hank said, moving forward to lean over Simon’s shoulder.
“Hank, please, let me work,” Simon said sharply, but he didn’t move.
“Captain?” Zoe murmured.
“Here, Zoe,” Mal said, leaning over so she could see him. “Just lie still,” he added. “We’re heading home.”
“Sorry, sir,” she ground out. “I didn’t see … who took Inara. Didn’t look … after her.” Her eyes closed again.
“Simon?” Hank asked, his heart beating so loudly in his chest he could hardly think.
Simon’s face was a careful blank as he carried on working. “We’d best hurry,” he said quietly. “The bleeding … I need my equipment.”
“Callum,” Dillon ordered.
At Serenity Kaylee was waiting, and as they pulled up and the door opened she yelped and punched the comlink. “Freya!”
River ran out of the common area, the stretcher in her arms. “Here,” she said as the hover door opened.
“Good girl,” Mal said, smiling just a little as he took it from her.
Between them he and Simon got Zoe onto it and lifted her carefully out of the craft. Callum hurried round, taking one end from Simon who ran into the infirmary. “Bring her through,” he called unnecessarily.
Freya hurried onto the catwalk, her face tightening as she saw her friend being carried through the cargo bay, Kaylee close behind. “What the hell happened?” she asked.
Mal looked up at her. “Don’t know,” he admitted. “Looks like someone’s taken Inara.” His eyes were dark, filled with anger. “Zoe … got in the way.”
She hurried down the stair, joining him. “Does Simon need help?”
“Kaylee’s with him, and River. And Hank ain’t moving from her side. I don’t think the doc wants us cluttering up the place as well.” He sounded almost normal, but she knew him much better than that.
“Then I'm sure she’ll be okay.”
“Yeah.” He turned to Dillon, standing somewhat helplessly in the middle of the bay. “Do you wanna explain to me how come my first mate is lying in the infirmary, leakin’ blood everywhere?” he asked, making it perfectly clear it wasn’t a suggestion.
“I don’t know what happened, Captain,” Dillon said, shaking his head. “All I know is Zoe found your friend, and she went to get her coat. I …” He looked ashamed. “I went to get a drink, and when I came back I couldn’t see either of them. I found Zoe at the back of the ballroom.” He took a deep breath. “I'm sorry.”
“It’s okay,” Freya said, putting a hand on her friend’s arm. “I doubt there was anything you could have done, except maybe get yourself hurt too.”
“Freya, Simon needs you,” River called from the doorway, and she hurried through towards the infirmary.
“I am sorry,” Dillon said as they followed into the common area. “I should have looked after her better for you.”
“Yeah, well, Zoe’s never really thought about things like that,” Mal conceded, glancing into the infirmary, seeing Freya helping Simon at work in his first mate’s insides.
“She was very concerned about Inara.”
“Yes.” Dillon looked at Mal curiously. “I get the feeling there’s something else going on here. You and Inara perhaps.”
Mal bridled. “That’s not a conversation I intend having with you. It ain't any of your concern.”
“No. Perhaps not. But Freya is my friend. And I want to see her happy.”
“And Zoe’s my friend. I want to see her live.”
Mal watched through the window as Simon worked, Freya and River assisting where they could, using instruments he had no idea the name of, while Dillon relaxed as best he could in one of the easier chairs, calling on a lifetime of remaining calm in the face of other people’s adversity. Hank had been thrown out of the infirmary, but was standing with his face pressed against the door. Kaylee stood next to Mal, her arms wrapped around herself.
“She’s gonna be okay?” Kaylee whispered, and Mal put his arm around her shoulders.
“Simon’s a good doc, mei-mei. You should know that.”
“I do,” she said. “And Zoe’s strong.” She looked up into his face. “But what about Inara?”
Mal tightened his grip a little, not seeing his mechanic wince. “Jayne’ll find her,” he assured her. “Let’s get Zoe mended first.”
Suddenly Hank moved from the door, stepping back as it slid open.
“Doc?” Mal asked, getting in first.
Simon smiled. “It’s okay, Mal. It looked a lot worse than it was. I've stopped the bleeding, and stitched the wound up. She’ll be sore for a while, but there’s no lasting damage.”
“Shiny.” Mal felt himself relax, then had to smile as Hank threw his arms around the medic.
“I owe you one,” the pilot said. “More’n one. Lots.” He let go and hurried into the infirmary, pulling the stool up so he could sit and watch the woman who’d finally let him in.
Freya dragged the bloody gloves from her hands and dropped them into the bin, her eyes on Hank, a smile lifting her lips.
“He’s in love,” River murmured. “Everyone on board is in love.”
She sounded so sad that Freya hugged her. “Jayne isn’t in love either,” she pointed out.
River glared at her and stalked out. “I’ll be with Bethany if anyone wants me,” she said over her shoulder.
Freya left the infirmary and joined Mal and Kaylee. “Did I just say something I shouldn’t?”
The others were saved from answering by another voice.
“Mal?” Jayne stood at the doorway to the cargo bay. “Zoe okay?”
Mal nodded. “Doc says she’s gonna be fine.” He stepped closer. “Anything? Did you find Inara?”
“Nope, no sign. And I looked good.” The big man was apologetic.
“Nee ta ma duh tyen-shia suo-yo duh num doh gai si,” Mal swore, letting some of his anger vent.
“But there’s someone here who wants to see you,” Jayne went on.
“Ransom?” Mal headed towards the cargo bay, the other following.
Mal glanced back at him, his brows drawn down, but he didn’t stop, just carried on through into the bay.
“Captain Reynolds.” The man with the red sash nodded to Mal.
“Sir Warwick Harrow.” Mal was more than a little taken aback to see the older man here, standing in his ship. They’d done business once before, when Mal transported a herd of cattle from Persephone to Jangyin, but hadn’t spoken since. He stepped into the bay.
“So this is Serenity. I often wondered what she looked like, after our business before.” Harrow looked around the cargo bay appreciatively. “You do wonders keeping her in the sky, Captain.” He nodded to Dillon, who stood behind Mal.
“Thanks, I think, but I’ve a notion your visit wasn't just to give me skewed compliments on my boat.”
“No. How is Zoe?” At Mal’s look, he added quickly, ”Dillon introduced us at the ball. She seems an amazing woman.”
“That she is. And she’ll be fine. How did you –“
“I told him about your Companion,” Dillon put in.
“And your man made something of a nuisance of himself when he searched the ballroom. He told me about Zoe.”
Mal glanced at Jayne, standing back, who said, “They weren’t too happy about it. But I weren't in the mood to be polite. But no sign of ‘Nara, like I said.”
“I think everyone was more concerned that it was so easy for people like him to bring guns into a place with sophisticated weapon scans,” Harrow explained. “Just by coming through the kitchens.”
“There’s always a back door,” Mal muttered. He studied Harrow. “Not that I’m not happy to see you here and all, but … why are you here?”
“I thought I might be able to help.” Harrow adjusted his sash.
“Help? I don’t see how that’s possible, unless you can conjure the man who took –“
“Perhaps I can. And you know the man I have in mind yourself, Captain.”
“I do?” Mal looked surprised.
This time Mal couldn’t stop his jaw from dropping. “Wing?” He remembered that dandy very well, who had, as far as he was concerned, insulted Inara and when Mal had taken exception to it – punching Wing in front of the whole ballroom – he had been forced into a swordfight that he very – very – nearly lost. He had sustained several wounds before getting the better of Wing, albeit with his fist rather than steel.
“Does he have the ability to orchestrate this?” Dillon asked. “I've met the man, of course. Has a scar on his left cheek.”
“Courtesy of our Captain, here,” Harrow said. “And I believe he does.” He turned back to Mal. “He dropped out of sight for a long time, after you humiliated him.”
“I didn’t kill him. Showed him mercy. What kind of humiliation is that?” Mal said.
“You stabbed him. Twice.”
“Well, that was funny.”
“Captain, face is very important to people like him, and it took very little time for the results of that fight to be well circulated.” He smiled. “I saw to that.”
“You think he –“ Mal began.
“I heard, just a few weeks ago, that he’s back on Persephone. In his residence here.”
“So he may have Inara.” Mal squared his shoulders, his face set. Pulling his gun from its holster, he checked the cartridge, flicking the safety off and back on, before sliding it back into the leather.
“I'm only saying he’s here,” Harrow put in quickly. “I would advise caution. He’s still a powerful man, still wealthy, and he harbours a great deal of resentment towards you. And his family …” He stopped, biting off what he was about to say. “If he’s not involved, then it won’t be wise to get on the wrong side of him.”
“Is that possible?”
“Oh, I think it is,” Harrow said fervently.
“But why Inara?” Mal asked. “It was me beat him. Why go after her?”
“Because, in his perverted way, he may blame the Companion. That she planned his humiliation.” Harrow shook his head. “If he took her.”
“Where does he live?” Jayne asked, stepping forward.
“You can’t go in there all guns blazing,” Harrow warned.
“Try me,” the big man said.
“No,” Dillon said quickly. “Warrick’s right. If he has got Inara, just barging in there could be fatal. He’d kill her as soon as think. And he’s tight with the Alliance. If he even suspects you’re coming – and if he has your friend he’ll know – he’s sure to have Federal officers waiting.”
“Then what exactly do you suggest we do?” Mal asked, realising these men spoke the truth. He couldn’t go in shooting, no matter how much he wanted to.
“Let us check,” Dillon offered. “If we really suspect Wing, then it will be easier for us to find out if he’s involved."
"And if we can’t, well, you still have the option for violence,” Harrow added ironically.
Mal stood for a moment, his brow furrowed in thought, then said, ”Okay. But only a little while. If he has got Inara, we don’t know what he’s doing to her, not after he threatened to ugly her up.”
“A few hours only, Captain,” Harrow said. “If we can’t find out by then, I'm sure we can get you some more manpower.” Mal nodded and Harrow turned to Dillon. “Can I beg a lift from you?”
“Of course.” Dillon strode out of the cargo bay, Harrow at his side.
“You think this is a good plan, Cap?” Jayne asked.
“No,” Mal said. “But it’s the only one we got at the moment.” He looked across at Freya. “Find out where Wing lives. Shouldn’t be hard to get the address.”
Freya crossed the bay to him. “Mal, they’re not wrong.”
He looked into her face. “So you want me to wait too?”
“Oh, I know that isn’t going to happen.” She knew him too well for that. “I'm just … Mal, that was a long time ago. Why would he still be holding a grudge?”
“You got a better idea who’s snatched her?” he asked. “Frey, I know you ain't …” He closed his eyes briefly and changed tack. “Just find it, will you? I want to see this place.” He turned and strode back towards the infirmary. “Someone’s gonna pay for taking Inara, and for Zoe.”
“He’s sure got something under his bonnet,” Jayne said.
“Didn’t use to be like that,” Jayne pointed out. “Time was he didn’t get all uppity about things like this.”
“You think?” Freya gave him an odd look and started up the stairs towards the bridge.
Simon was checking on Zoe when Mal stepped up behind him. “Doc, I gotta ask. Does this … Inara being snatched … does it have anything to do with what she told you?”
The young man looked up in surprise. “What … how did you …”
“Whatever anyone else on this boat might think, I ain’t stupid. I know she confided in you, something she hasn’t told the rest of us.” He looked down at his first mate. “But now, with Zoe … I need you to tell me.”
“Mal, I can’t. I can’t break a confidence –“
“No, not …” Mal took a breath. “Just if, in your opinion, her reasons for leaving the Guild are in any way connected with what’s happening.”
Simon was shocked. Not that Mal would ask, but that he was willing to take his word on it. “Honestly, Mal, I don’t see how it can. What she told me … well, it … no.”
Mal nodded slowly. “Okay. If you’re sure.”
Hank stepped into the infirmary, his arms full of clothes.
“Oh, hey, sorry,” he said, stumbling to a halt. “Didn’t know you two were talking.”
“We’re done,” Mal said, stepping back. “What’ve you got there?”
“I … I just went and got some of Zoe’s stuff. For when she wakes up.”
“You went into her bunk? Without permission?” Mal shook his head, and put a hand on his pilot’s shoulder. “Would you prefer your remains to be buried or cremated?” he asked.
“Mal,” Freya called from outside in the common area. “I’ve got the address.”
Mal hurried out. “So where is it?”
“Not far. It’s an estate outside of the city. It should take us about half an hour on the mule. Jayne’s warming it up now.”
“Take us …” It dawned on him that she had her boots on and was wearing her gun. “No,” he said firmly, waving his hand. “No. You are not coming.”
“Mal, you need me out there with you.”
He stalked past her towards the bay. She wasn’t even a step behind. “Ain’t gonna happen.”
Simon, curious as to how Mal was going to deal with this, followed, first having picked up a hypo from the counter.
“Zoe’s laid up, Hank is worse than useless at the moment with worrying about her, Simon has to stay here, Kaylee … do you want me to go on?” she asked, stepping round him so she could look him in the eye.
“No, not particularly,” Mal said, putting his hands on her shoulders. “But you’re not coming.”
“I’m going,” River said from the catwalk, calmly walking down into the bay in her bare feet. She had Betty, one of Jayne’s sidearms, strapped to her hip.
“Jayne, did you give River a gun?” Mal called, not taking his eyes off his wife’s face.
“Nope,” the big man admitted from where he was checking the hover mule. “Don’t mean to say she can’t get into my room, though. Even when I lock it.”
“River …” Simon stepped forward.
“The Captain needs me,” she said to her brother.
Mal smiled, a little tightly, at Freya. “See? No need to worry.”
“Gorramit, Mal,” she began, “you honestly think she can –“
“Frey, you’re pregnant!” He wanted to shake her.
“I ain't putting you out there. Not happening.”
“You think you can stop me?”
“Yeah.” Mal nodded very slightly at Simon, who stepped forward and pressed the hypo against Freya’s neck.
“Oh, you bastard …” she muttered as her eyes closed and she slumped forward, Mal catching her.
“Not gonna hurt my … the baby, is it?” he asked as he swung her up into his arms.
“She’ll be fine. She’ll just wake up in a couple of hours hating your guts,” Simon said chattily.
“That I can live with. Her losing this child I can’t.” He started to carry her towards the infirmary. “River! Get on that mule!” he called over his shoulder.
“Yes sir, Captain!”
to be continued
Friday, January 12, 2007 12:27 AM
Friday, January 12, 2007 1:36 AM
Friday, January 12, 2007 9:39 AM
Sunday, January 14, 2007 6:32 PM
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