Communication - Part XIII
Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. Things have come to a head on the Marrakech and there's blood ... lots of it. Please feedback/rate - Thanks!


“Let her go,” Branscombe said, stepping forwards, regardless of his own safety. “She’s a child!”

Jones pressed the knife point a little harder into River’s skin, drawing a single drop of blood that ran quickly down the blade. “And I have finished waiting!”

River smiled, and Branscombe felt a thrill like ice water run down his spine.


Mal’s comlink buzzed. Quickly freeing it from his pocket he whispered, “Yeah?”

Freya’s voice sounded quietly. “Mal, Jayne’s nearly got to Inara. Level five.”

He smiled a little. “Good work. River tell you that?”

“Yes. She also said to hurry before she does something she won’t regret.”

“Like what?”

“Do we really want to find out?” Freya asked.

“Not really. We’re almost at the ballroom.”


Jayne nodded towards a door. “That’s it.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah.” He reached up to the frame, running his large calloused fingers along it, then grinned as a small key fell into his palm. “Told ya.” He unlocked the door.

“Jayne?” Inara cried from inside, throwing her arms around him.

“You okay?” he asked, looking her up and down. “Not hurt, are ya?”

Inara glanced at the bruises on her hands from where she’d been beating the door but shook her head. “No, no. But River –“

“Cap’s taking care of that,” Jayne assured her. “Come on. Best get you home.” He put his arm around her and stepped out into the corridor.

“Jayne!” Jethro shouted, pushing him back, falling into the room himself even as a shot rang out.


River screamed.


“Oh, dear God,” Freya breathed, staring at Hank, her face going white.


Mal ran into the ballroom, fearing the worst.

Jones looked startled, his ears ringing from the noise she was making, and it gave her more than enough time. She slipped under his arm like oiled water, pulling the knife from his hand and slitting his throat in one smooth movement. Blood spattered across her skin but she ignored it as he fell to the floor, thrashing as his life spread out beneath him.

His men, although shocked, were hard enough to know trouble when they saw it, and all raised their guns to kill this sao bi. But they were too late. Half a lifetime too late.

Mal could do nothing but watch in fascinated horror as she took those men apart. Literally. Within the space of a heartbeat the raiders were dead, body parts and viscera spread around.

River stood still, blood running down her skin, none of it hers. “Jethro,” she murmured, then collapsed to the ground.

Mal ran up, taking off his coat to cover her, but Branscombe was there first. He laid his jacket over her, not caring about the blood. Mal went down onto his knees, lifting her up. “Zoe. Fifth level. Find out what she meant.”

Zoe nodded and ran out as he laid the psychic on one of the tables.

Simon checked his sister’s vitals. “She’s not hurt,” he whispered, his own heart thudding against his ribs.


“What she did …” He was trying to be professional, objective, but ... “Why?”

Mal didn’t answer, just looked bleakly at the young doctor.


Jayne was sitting on the deck, his back against the wall, Jethro in his lap. “I don’t get it,” he said quietly as Zoe ran up. “Why’d he do that?”

“What happened?” Serenity’s first mate asked, looking from the big mercenary to Inara.

“There was a … a gunman,” Inara managed to say, her arms wrapped about herself. “We didn’t see him.” She pointed towards a body lying half in an open doorway a dozen metres up the corridor.

I didn’t see him,” Jayne corrected her.

“He … fired at us.”

“He saved my life.” Jayne was staring down at the young man lying so still in his arms. “Why’d he do that? I ain’t worth the saving.”

Zoe went down onto her knees, and pressed her fingers against Jethro’s neck. There was nothing. Just flesh.

“Jayne,” she said, her voice low. “We have to get him back.”

“Ain’t no good,” he said, finally looking up at her. “Nothing anyone can do. I know that. Killed too many men to be fooling myself now. Killed him.” He nodded towards the dead gunman. “Too late.” He dropped his head, such confusion across his features. “I just don’t understand.”

“Jayne.” She put her hand on his shoulder.

“How’m I gonna tell her?” he said softly. “How do I say what he did?”

“She knows.” Zoe swallowed. “Jayne, she knows.”

He raised his eyes. “Yeah. Guess maybe she does.” He somehow got to his feet, Jethro in his arms.

“Let me –“

“No.” He shook his head. “Ain’t your fault.” He walked down the corridor.

“Zoe …” Inara was trembling.

“Come on.” She put her arm around the other woman’s shoulders and they walked slowly in the big man’s wake, Jethro’s blood staining his shirt.


Branscombe had overcome his initial shock, and his natural leadership had taken over. He ordered some of his crew to begin taking the passengers back to their rooms, and the rest to gather up some of the arms from the dead men and make sure there was no-one else on board who shouldn’t be.

“Careful you don’t shoot any of mine,” Mal said, tugging cloths from the tables and covering over the bodies. He’d experienced worse horrors during the war, when the only recognisable bits were maybe a hand, all raggedy ended. Then you could only wait to see who didn’t come back and make a note to write another letter of condolence. It never got any easier.

“Mal,” Simon said behind him.

He turned.

Wuh de mah.”

Jayne stood in the doorway, Jethro in his arms.

“He’s dead, Mal,” the mercenary said.


“I killed him.”

“Jayne –“

“Sure as if I’d pulled the trigger myself.”

Mal looked at the big man. “Take him back to the shuttle.”

“Yeah.” Jayne glanced at River lying so quiet on the table. “She okay?”

“Take him back.”

Jayne nodded and walked out of the door, passing Zoe and Inara without a word.

“’Nara?” Mal asked, moving across the ballroom to her.

“Why did you have to come for me?” she asked, her voice shaking with anger. “If you’d left things alone this wouldn’t have happened!” She struck out, her hand connecting with his cheek so hard the sound rang through the room. Then she turned and ran.

Mal watched her go, her handprint burning brightly on his skin, not touching it.

“I’ll watch her, sir,” Zoe said softly.

Mal nodded and his first mate slipped away.

Branscombe stepped up behind him. “She’s angry.”

“She’s right.” He looked across at the young woman still unconscious on the table. “Can you clear this mess up?” he asked.

“Don’t worry about it.” Branscombe went to put a consoling hand on the other man’s arm, but pulled back at the last moment. “I'm sorry. For the loss of your man.”

“Yeah. Me too.” Mal didn’t look at him, just strode to the table and gathered River into his arms. Her weight seemed nothing as he walked out of the room, Simon at his side.

to be continued


Wednesday, March 21, 2007 1:02 AM


There are times I could shake Inara until her teeth rattle. What a total jerk. I know she has to be in shock but to lash out like that at Mal for going in with the crew to rescue her is very annoying. I don't think she would have struck him, maybe glared at him but they did rescue her after all ow what is her problem? A little gratitude would do her the world of good. Loved Jayne and River in this. I had a feeling Jethro would end up either doing something very heroic or dying, I couldn't see any other reason why he was still in the story. Now the way is clear, once the grieving part is over for River and Jayne to start again. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 1:10 AM


Another angsty chapter to be proud of. Interesting lesson for Jayne in compassion - hope he uses it for himself, also.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 2:18 AM


Jethro... that was sad. As usual the plot is very suspensful, which is great, BUT Inara is not in character if you compare with the tv-series and the movie but in total character when it comes to the Freya-universe - a total selfish, dumb bitch. It's getting a little bit tired though because almost ALL problems are her fault in one way or the other. I feel a little bit unhooked.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 3:48 AM


SwedishMystery, I feel like I should answer this. As far as I'm aware, I haven't made Inara to be a totally selfish, dumb anything. She is not the easiest of characters to write for, but I do try. As for all problems being her fault ... well, this particular storyline has its roots back in the Atherton Wing/Shindig episode, so maybe you could say that. However, in real life things happen because of consequences. I'm just trying to portray that, while telling what I hope is a good story.

Sorry if you feel otherwise.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 4:08 AM


Don't feel sorry at all :) Your stories always have great plot and as a reader I can really feel that you love to write about these characters - which is one of the things I love about fanfic. You are one of the most driven writers I have encountered here on this site and on the Internet and I admire your dicipline and imagination a lot.

You ask for feedback for your stories and this time I wanted to be honest with how I thought about the characterization . I seldom give negative reviews (and hey! I hope you took my positive feedback to heart as well) because people usually can't handle it.
Please don't feel bad about me feeling this way.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 6:22 AM


I think this was a great chapter. I feel awful that Jethro died, and the fact that Jayne's feeling guilty will be a really interesting arc to play out as River mourns Jethro's death.

I'm not sure about Inara being in or out of character. I think she'd definitely yell at Mal for sticking his nose where it didn't belong (in her opinion), but I don't know if she'd begrudge the fact that Mal came back for her and in the end saved her life.

But I'm okay with it as far as the story goes. I can't wait to read more!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 7:01 AM


Hooray Jethro is dead,Im sorry but I just never liked him and maybe with his death Jayne can better deal with his feelings for River.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 1:55 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER this is definitely a chapter worth talking about! Lots of character moments and actions that stir up debate and analysis...which is good, ya know? Author gets all kinds of feedback and the readers get to express their $0.02.

Let's see...probably should do my "critical" comments before anything else, to get the negative out of the way:

1) Jethro's death? Brilliant moment and totally shocking. Bit of a tension disappointment though - he saves Jayne's life with little obvious lead-up - but definitely something that fits in with both what Joss & co did with the series and movie, and the various plot twists you've crafted so far Jane0904;

2) Inara slapping Mal? Hmm...mixed reaction to this. Inara's upset that someone she's grown to care for just got shot protecting her and Jayne from harm, and that Mal decided to insert himself and the crew into a situation that she feels didn't need their presence. However, I would have laid money on her getting into a screaming fit over the situation, rather than hauling one off. But's prerogative and all gives you the power here, Jane *friendly smile*;

3) Capt. Branscombe's reaction to River's naked display of her fighting skills? Uh...I would think he would be kinda freaked out at seeing a young woman who probably weighs 90lbs soaking wet eviscerate several guys with a knife. I know I would, and I have dealt with some freaky shit in my time.

Ok...niggly complaints aired, so time for the praise! Sufficed to say, rock! Even after narking on those three points, I think you did an outstanding job on the chapter and I really can't wait to see where things go from here. Definitely can't wait to see how Jayne tries to shy away or become River's slave to compensate for his perceived guilt over Jethro's death:D



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[Maya. Post-BDM. The end of the story, and the beginning of the last ...]

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[Maya. Post-BDM. Simon has no choice, and Luke comes around.]

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[Maya. Post-BDM. Hank's not out of the woods yet, and Mal has a conversation. Enjoy!]

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Jayne had told him a story once, about being on the hunt for someone who owed him something or other. He’d waited for his target for three hours in four inches of slush as the temperature dropped, and had grinned when he’d admitted to Hank that he’d had to break his feet free from the ice when he’d finished.
[Maya. Post-BDM. The Fosters show their true colours, Jayne attempts a rescue, and the others may be too late.]

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[Maya. Post-BDM. A seasonal one-off - enjoy!]

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“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]

“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]