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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
A "missing episode" that takes place...somewhere in the middle of the series. Mal and his crew just landed the job of a lifetime and there is much rejoicing. Unfortunately, things are never as they seem. Ch.5 - Hanging out time on the Arcanus.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1278 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Chapter 4 can be found here:
- - - - -
"Did you really?" Zoe laughed.
"And I couldn't get down!" Grey declared, reclining her pilot's seat so that she could lie back as she reminisced. "And since I hadn't the slightest idea of how to stop the stupid plane, nor slow it down, they had to send another fighter up to chase me all through atmo!"
"No way," Wash hooted. "No ruttin' way - "
"Language, boy," Grey wagged her finger at him. Zoe smirked at her husband and nudged him so that he would scoot over and give her space on his large pilot's seat. For some reason, he seemed unwilling to move and she had to resort to sitting in his lap. His random bouts of selfishness were a funny thing, Zoe thought as Wash's arms snaked around her waist.
"But yes, and the kicker was it didn't occur to anyone that sending another fighter wouldn't do a darned thing. It isn't like those things have arms to grab me, so it was like an hour of just us playing cat and mouse in the clouds! Eventually, though, they wised up and had the wits to talk me through turning off each of the thrusters one at a time. I'd pretty much wet my pants at this point, but at least that slowed me down long enough for them to net me."
"You had to get netted?" Wash cracked up.
"Yes, sir!" Grey said. "First pilot in fifty years that ever had to get netted by the Academy. Didn't do much for the bias against women pilots back then, but I did manage to graduate with honors in the end. Sure showed them."
Suddenly there was a loud thudding sound as someone with heavy boots and a striking inaptitude for stealth stepped up into the bridge.
"They give atomic wedgies over at your flight school, Granny?" The three of them looked up to see that Jayne had appeared in the doorway, leaning on the frame and munching on a carrot. It was speared through the middle on his large hunting knife, as was usual Jayne fashion, and he was talking with his mouth full, also as usual.
"Don't you have something brutish and barbaric to attend to elsewhere?" Wash rolled his eyes.
"Touchy, ain't we?" Jayne snickered, allowing a few bits of carrot to hit the floor. "What'sa matter, got your dainties all bunched up your - ?"
"Jayne, is it asking too much for you to be civil?" Grey asked, a tiny spark in her eye that suggested that she wasn't exactly asking as nicely as she sounded.
"Might be a bit much," Zoe said. "Especially since 'Jayne' and 'nice' go together about as well as Wash and his flared-leg pants."
Everyone grimaced at the sudden disturbingly humorous mental image except Wash. He looked at Zoe with the expression of a man betrayed.
"Hey, that was the style back in the day!" Wash insisted. "Besides, it's coming back. Flared pants always come back every thirty years or so. Been like that for over five centuries now."
Grey cleared her throat loudly. "I think now would be a wonderful time for a change in subject! Jayne, dear, what have you been up to lately?"
Jayne shrugged. "Ain't got nothin' to do but eat and be a general nuisance, looks like," he took a large bite out of his carrot and proceeded to talk as he chewed. "Lots of quality foodstuffs down there. You oughta go help yourself 'fore I'm through with it all. Never know when we're gonna get our paws on real carrots again. That other fella, though. Lee. He's taken up residence in the galley and he ain't much a good company. Gotta get through him to get at the grub."
"I would have figured you two'd get along," Wash said thoughtfully. "What with your mutual surliness and want for gun fights, grenades, and general bloodshed."
Several hours into their job, Lee had proven himself to have a less than amicable persona. He mostly kept to himself, but when he did venture out among the others, he was rude, easily angered, and prone to violence. He nearly strangled Simon for "looking at him funny", and Mal had to fire a shot into the floor to get their attention and break up the fight. Lee was shorter, but he was built very solidly and was definitely a force to be reckoned with. Even Borneo had some difficulty prying Lee away. Mal had had his worries about him, but he also had concerns about the rest of Kent's crew and all he could do at that point was look out for his own. After the ordeal, everyone had more or less gotten the impression that Lee should be avoided when possible. Kent had even advised the same thing.
"Actually, Jayne's not too far off with Lee," Grey said. "I always thought the boy didn't seem quite right. I used to think he was just one of those march-to-the-beat-of-their-own-drum people, but it doesn't seem like his drum is beating any place pleasant."
"Keeps talkin' 'bout blowin' up Feds'n the like," Jayne grumbled. ". Ain't no mention of gettin' coin for it neither, he just likes the thought'a purple-bellies' guts all spread around the floor'n such. He tickled me up a bit, puttin' the doc in his place like that, but there's a line ain't s'posed to be crossed by no man. Might as well have been kickin' a...a puppy, that doc is so scrawny."
Zoe raised an eyebrow. "He's dangerous. Passion like that tends to be more trouble than it's worth."
"I don't know, bao bei, he sounds like a lot of fun to me," Wash said grimly.
"He hasn't done anything to hurt any of us yet," Grey pointed out optimistically. "Well, there was your medic, but he's just fine. I like to see the good in people, and I think I do see some good in him. I wouldn't write him off as a bad man just yet. Though he's no sweetie like Jayne, here."
Jayne scowled and Zoe and Wash hid behind their hands. "Listen, Granny, I ain't a sweetie!"
"Now, now, Jayne, we all know you're a sweetheart," Grey's eyes sparkled as she teased him. "So handsome, too. You actually look a bit like my daddy back in - "
"I don't look like no one's daddy!" Jayne cried as Zoe and Wash laughed, unable to contain it any longer. Jayne's expression was that of an indignant five-year-old who'd just been told he had to share his toys. With a girl. "Everyone's gone moon brained - gorram it, I'll be in my bunk." He stormed off angrily, throwing the stub of his carrot on the floor just to be spiteful. On his way out he pushed past Kent.
"Where's he off to?" Kent asked as he stepped onto the bridge. He eyed Zoe and Wash holding each other in one of the pilot's seats and frowned. "Too much fun goin' about. We ain't gettin' paid to horse around."
"Oh come on, Kent, let us have some fun. All we're doing for now is cruising," Grey said to her captain. "We can't really do much until we near Troy, and we're still over two hours away. That's when we'll need all hands on deck, since this ship is as hard to maneuver as Borneo through the mud pits of Canton."
Kent scowled. "Yeah, well...keep an eye on them screens while you're wasting time doin' nothin' particularly useful, will you? Some of us got work to do."
"Will do, sir," Zoe spoke up. Wash saluted Kent mockingly behind his back as he walked out and Zoe kicked him.
"Ow!" Wash yelped. "What was that for?"
"'Til we're off this boat, he's our captain too, you know. It's not right to disrespect him like that."
"Since I said so," Mal had apparently ascended to the bridge and snuck up on them all. He stood behind them and looked at Zoe and Wash sternly, his arms crossed. Their captain was in full business-mode and they both knew it. "Which means...uh, now. If you people ain't workin', you gotta go ahead and make a show of it anyhow. Can't have the little punk - only minimal offense intended to your captain, Grey - can't have him stool-pidgeoning us to Grant. That means play nice."
Grey smiled, mostly to herself. "And what about you? You seem to think you know a lot about the boy, Mal. Don't you think you're being awful presumptuous with him?"
Mal shrugged off the old woman's comment. He'd heard it all before. "Presuming things keeps me and mine a step ahead."
"But if you're wrong, it knocks you a step or two behind, doesn't it?"
The captain turned around and started on his way back towards galley. At first they thought he wasn't going to give an answer, but just as he started to disappear down the escalator, his gruff voice echoed towards them.
"Keep flyin', you catch up eventually."
- - -
Kaylee swiped the sweat off her brow as she rode the escalator up to the kitchen. That engine was hard work, but it was more than worth it. She couldn't have been happier if she were a four year old boy with an attention deficit being given a box of crayons and thousands of feet of clean, white, living room wall. But her partner-in-crime, Borneo, didn't say much at all, even when Kaylee cautiously tried to strike up conversation. He tended to shrug and grunt, and when Kaylee's questions required more complex answers, he announced his relocation to another of the engine rooms. After the first few times, Kaylee decided not to follow. He was a very big, strong man. All those tattoos had to have hurt, not to mention those stretched earlobes of his. He knew pain, and therefore it only made sense that he knew how to dish it out. He snapped at her the last time and Kaylee nearly jumped out of her skin, it was so scary. Yet somehow, she still wished to know more about the mysterious Borneo. There was always more than met the eye. Machines taught her that.
But it was time for her break, as announced by her grumbling stomach. Her eyes widened in disbelief as she beheld the large, silvery kitchen for the first time. It was big. So very big, and at the center against the back wall was a large metal door. Kaylee ran her fingers over the smooth metal before pulling open the handle and she almost fell over at how much delicious food was sitting right in front of her.
Kaylee swiveled around to find the blond girl-doctor, Elise, standing behind her. She really was quite pretty, with all that long, silky-looking blonde hair. And she was wearing some nice professional-looking fits, too. Just like Simon.
"Hi," Kaylee greeted, mustering up the strength to smile. They usually appeared on her face as easily as bullet holes in one of Jayne's shirts, but Kaylee couldn't help but feel a sting on the inside.
"You're hungry too, huh?" Elise returned the smile and stood next to her, gazing at the selection. "Those bananas look good."
"Ain't ever had one," Kaylee said skeptically as Elise plucked the strange yellow fruit from its bunch. Elise looked surprised.
"Really? It should be one of the first solid foods a baby is introduced to."
"Guess we didn't have 'em back home. Didn't have a lot of things," Kaylee said. Like college.
"Right..." Elise said softly. It was obvious she was trying very hard not to offend, but the truth seemed to be that she just wasn't quite used to working with people from outer planets. Much like Simon when he had first boarded, she forgot that not everything grew up with what she had. "Well, you really should try one. They're fantastic. Very wholesome, too."
Kaylee took the fruit Elise offered her and mimicked the odd peeling maneuver she was doing. "'Fraid if you're gonna be helpin' people out here, you're gonna have to get used to eatin' unwholesome-type things."
"I've heard about all the protein base you all live on," Elise said, wrinkling her nose. "From Simon."
Of course, Kaylee thought. The two of them must have been having a grand time in that little private Infirmary of theirs. Comparing needles, cataloging medicine bottles, chatting about their favorite reattachment operations and such. Then maybe someday they could live in a nice, white-walled house clinic together, complete with a stainless steel sterile dining table and scalpels in the knife silverware drawer. Maybe a nice garage to keep their ambulance craft in. Their fridge would of course be filled with only wholesome foods, and when the kids got restless the family would all sit around the holographic fire and learn about aortic bypasses.
"Where'd you say you were from, Kaylee?" Elise asked pleasantly, unaware that she had started an awkward silence. Another trait she shared with Simon, it looked like.
"I ain't said yet, but you probably ain't read about it anywhere," Kaylee shrugged. "All our moons tend to look the same from your side of the 'verse, anyways."
"Oh..." Elise said slowly. She was finally sensing the development of Kaylee's snappish attitude, and Kaylee instantly felt guilty. Elise had done absolutely nothing to her but try her darnedest to be nice and she certainly didn't deserve the rude retorts she was getting.
"But where are you from? Sure I hearda your place," Kaylee said quickly, hoping the conversation wasn't completely lost.
Elise bit into her fruit and chewed thoroughly before answering, no doubt making sure her mouth was completely empty for the sake of being "proper".
Good grief. How many things did she and Simon have in common now? Kaylee had lost official count after around thirty billion.
"Wow, that's great. Musta been hard, though, leavin' the folks and all," she said conversationally.
"I don't have any parents," Elise said, taking another bite. "Dead."
Kaylee gasped. "Oh no, I'm so sorry, I didn't - "
"It's all right, I never knew them. They died not too long after I was born and I lived in an orphanarium until I was thirteen." Elise shrugged. "Ancient history, and it hasn't bothered me for quite some time now."
"Yeah..." Kaylee looked down at the floor unsure of what to say next. That had definitely been unexpected. It looked like even the best-oiled machines could have some stripped wires and rusty gears under the surface. "But you got yourself through school and you're a doctor and everything! Sorta, anyway. That's real shiny." She smiled a genuine smile.
Elise smiled back humbly. "It isn't impossible. I lived at the Gerber Estate Orphanarium. The top orphanarium in the 'verse. My parents must have been very wealthy for me to have landed there, because that place is like a spa for kids. Good meals every day, great care, wonderful toys, and a high-class education. Gerber has a long and tedious application process that works with only the most exclusive of insurance programs. In other words, I was just as privileged and spoiled as any other Inner Core brat you might have heard of."
"You're not a - "
"But what about you? You left a family behind?" Elise asked.
"Just my folks," Kaylee sighed, after a moment's hesitation. "They took it real hard, my leavin', but we really needed the coin. Still do, seein' as my daddy ain't found good work in years. They're real thankful for what I'm sendin' over but it don't look like none of us'll be retirin' anytime soon. Shame, since my folks ain't gettin' any younger, y'know?"
Elise was looking at her in a sort of open admiration that was very similar to the one Simon had when their whole cold shoulder debacle began. Kaylee wasn't sure when the similarities between the two would stop cropping up, but she hoped it was soon or else she would get a headache.
"What is it?"
The medic shook her head. "You're pretty brave, to do a thing like that."
"Me? Last I checked, you're the one who fought her way to the top by yourself," Kaylee insisted. "I can't even imagine growin' up without my folks, and you up and went all the way to med school without a set. Lots of folks with all the money and family members in the 'verse can't even pull off half'a what you got done. And then you clawed your way back down to help people. To pull other people up with you. That's braver."
Elise shook her head. "But you? You're an only child, off on your own in a really big universe, having to leave behind a loving family. That's the most valuable thing in the world, Kaylee, and money can't compare. It's easier to throw money away than...I don't think...if I had something that good, I don't think I'd be as willing to give it all up like you did."
Kaylee thought for a moment. "So how bout let's say we're both big damn heroes and save us some fuss?"
Elise laughed. "Agreed. You haven't eaten your banana yet."
"Oh, right..." Kaylee took a cautious bite and was promptly plunged into complete, utter heaven. Bananas were...amazing. Her eyes fluttered as she chewed the banana and savored its sweet, creamy flavor. Something that tasted so good and still managed to be healthy couldn't possibly be legal. It just wasn't right. It had to disrupt the balance of the universe or something.
"Wo de ma, this is so good!" Kaylee exulted. Elise looked at her, amused.
"Do you always have that funny look on your face when you eat fruit?"
"What funny look?"
Someone answered from the doorway, "The kinda funny look that makes a man all hot inside. Specially eatin' something with that particular...shape."
The two women looked over at the door. Lee was standing there; fingers looped in his grenade belt arrogantly and leered over at Kaylee, whose eyes had gone wide and frightened. His voice was like a slow-acting poison; thick, sharp, and sickening.
Elise scowled. "Lee - "
"What? I'm just sayin', it's a shame a mouth like that's wasted on a banana," Lee was leering at Kaylee intently, and she felt frozen to her spot. "Now, I wouldn't object to the little harpy comin' over and - "
"Hey," Kent interrupted and came up behind Lee. He squeezed past him roughly and noted the furious blush creeping up Kaylee's face. "What's going on here?"
"Lee was having his fun, with the usual demeaning remarks and the sexual harassment and all," Elise said simply. "Nothing out of the ordinary, though this time I was interrupted before I could knee him in his jewels."
Kent narrowed his eyes at Lee. "What'd I say to you about - ?"
"Listen, kid, I ain't your lapdog," Lee sneered. "You told me to lay off the blond bitch, not this new one. I say whatever the gorram hell I please."
"As does my favorite little piece, here," a new voice said. Mal strode into the kitchen, twirling his gun around one finger. Kaylee knew that move. He'd been practicing that tough guy move in the dining area of Serenity all last night. "'Cept it don't 'say' things, so much as 'shoot' 'em. And believe you me, people listen when it does so."
"Mal, I've got this under control," Kent said firmly.
"Don't look like you do. Looks like your thug here's bein' inappropriate to my mechanic, and if he ain't scarce in about thirty seconds, he will most assuredly find a bullet inappropriately lodged in his thigh muscles."
Lee rolled his eyes and muttered an annoyed curse under his breath, sauntering off as the two captains stared down one another, both angrier at each other than they were at Lee. Elise and Kaylee watched as both men refused to back down.
"I can keep him in check. He's on my crew," Kent snarled.
"Yeah? You call that keepin' him in check? He's a loose cannon, kid, and you oughtn't be hirin' loose cannons. They go all...loose on you. And they're heavy. And...point is, if I ever see him near any of my crew again - "
"Bananas!" There was the thundering of loud boots as Jayne all but galloped into the kitchen and tore himself open a few bananas. "I love these things. Had 'em once on the Core. Course, they had tiny pellets'a drugs in 'em that I was supposed to smuggle through customs in my innards, so they was a lil' hard to digest then - "
"Jayne, get out of here we're in the middle of something," Mal said forcefully. Jayne snorted at him.
"Qu ni de, Mal. Up yours."
Kent cocked an eyebrow at him. "Call that keeping someone in check?"
"I got ten bits says you're gonna get out of here and make yourself useful someplace else," Mal said.
Jayne brightened. "Well, all right then." He left, taking the coins from Mal on his way. Mal looked smugly at Kent.
"No, that's keepin' him in check."
"You bribed him."
"He ain't harrassin' anyone, is he?" Mal leaned in closer. "Kent, you'd best keep your men in line, because I don't tolerate this kinda niu shi. I hear 'bout something like this again, him comin' up to my mechanic or Zoe or Wash, even, I won't hesitate to put him in line for you. Dong ma?"
Kent just glared at the other captain angrily. "He ain't paid to be a gentleman."
"You don't have to be paid to act like a normal human being," Elise cut in angrily. "I cannot believe you just said that, Kent."
To Mal's surprise, Kent had the decency to look embarrassed at what he had said. However, the expression quickly disappeared and he sneered indignantly.
"Whatever. He's gone. He won't do it again," Kent stormed out, hopefully to exchange a few choice words with his troublesome mercenary. That was twice now Lee had caused problems with Mal's crew. He'd been serious when he said he would put Lee in line. They didn't need anyone jeopardizing the job, and it didn't seem like the man was popular among his own crew anyway.
A moment later, Jayne returned, looking as if he had lost something.
"Forgot. Came in to open up one of them whiskeys I saw earlier," Jayne dug into one of the large steel cabinets. "Can't be much useful without a shot of whiskey, can I?"
Elise rolled her eyes. "Kaylee, I'm so sorry. Lee's a...character."
"Yes, well, I didn't say he was a likable character. I've had more than a few run-ins with him. Had to hurt him a few times to get the message through that thick skull of his."
"Why'd your captain hire him?" Kaylee asked, the embarrassment at what had just gone down starting to diminish. "He don't seem like pleasant company to have on a boat."
"Probably wasn't his choice," Jayne said, his behind hanging out from one of the cabinets. He dropped something and they heard glass break, but he continued his search for the whiskey.
Elise shrugged. "All I know is that Kent owes him something. Something big. Kent had to give him a job. I still haven't been able to figure out if its blackmail or - "
"As fun and cheery as this conversation is going, I'm afraid we're gonna have to break it up for now," Mal sighed and looked over at Elise. "Doc? You got someplace to be? Reckon you ought to be there. Or maybe you ought to turn in for a spell and you can take a watch shift later. It's gettin' pretty late."
"Yes, I suppose I'll head on down now. Coming, Kaylee?"
Mal raised an eyebrow. It appeared Kaylee had made herself a new friend. She always did have that amicable aura about her. But he hadn't quite anticipated them to get along so well, since it was plainly obvious that Elise and Simon were getting along just as well in their Infirmary. Leave it to Kaylee to befriend an opponent. Maybe he had a thing or two to learn from her.
Or she was the one who still had a lot to learn.
"Found it!" Jayne declared, brandishing a bottle of what was most likely the finest alcoholic beverage any of them would probably ever see. He busied himself looking for something to pop the bottle's cork top.
"Actually, Kaylee, can I have a word?" he said, in the tone of voice that made it clear he was not asking, but telling. Elise shrugged and made herself comfortable at the door. It looked like she intended to wait. Mal scratched at his head nervously. He was suddenly painfully aware that maybe it was a girl who should be talking to her about this sort of thing.
"You okay?" Mal asked.
"Just fine, Captain, not like I ain't been through worse," Kaylee said quietly.
Mal sighed. "You ain't supposed to, mei mei. You steer clear of Lee from now on. And if he tries anything, you come find me."
"And while we're at it, try and stay away from that Borneo fella too. Frankly, I don't trust him any farther that I can throw him."
"You mean any farther'n he could throw you, Cap?" Kaylee asked innocently, her cheerful and teasing spark back in full force. Mal smiled.
"He is a mighty big fella, but I'm quick. Quick like a cat - ow!" Something small sped through the air and clonked Mal in the forehead.
"Sorry Mal," Jayne ran over to pick up the cork that had blown off his bottle. "Pulled it a lil' too hard."
"Gorram it, Jayne!"
"Serves you right," Elise said, her arms crossed. "Borneo's never done anything wrong. He's a sweetie once you get to know him!"
"Well, not that I don't trust your judgment, Doctor, but I prefer to not take any chances," Mal took Kaylee by the shoulders and pushed her lightly out of the kitchen. "Now get along, do your jobs."
The two women left, Elise taking a moment to shoot the captain an irritated look, and Mal turned to Jayne. "You gonna share some of that?"
Jayne took a long swig and shook his head. "Find your own, I called this one. Coughed in it and everything."
Mal scowled. Suddenly they heard shuffling behind them and they looked over the door. Tony was standing there, eyeing Jayne's whiskey bottle.
"Hey there, son," Mal nodded towards the boy. "You drink? I know it ain't exactly legal but that hasn't been a concern of mine in a long while."
Tony shook his head vigorously.
"What then, you hungry?" Jayne asked as Tony made his way to the large refrigerator.
Tony nodded and opened it up.
"What's your problem, kid, don't you talk?" Jayne demanded. "You're bein' a lil' creepifyin'."
"Leave him alone, Jayne," Mal said tolerantly.
"But the boy's bein' real annoyin', Mal!"
"Jayne, go find something to do."
Jayne grumbled and stomped away, muttering about Tony and the universe's over-abundance of crazy teenagers.
"You have a good night, Inara," Shepherd Book held the Companions hand. "We'll be just fine here."
"Are you sure you don't want me to stop by - ?"
"Inara, we can look after ourselves. You enjoy yourself," the Shepherd insisted kindly. "Now go. Do you want to say good-bye, River?"
River cocked her head curiously and seemed to be staring at the empty space behind Inara rather than at Inara herself. "Don't need to. You'll come back, won't you?"
Inara smiled. "Of course, sweetie, first thing in the - "
"They always come back. Everything," River said paradoxically. "Goes round and round in a circle. Like a spinning moon."
- - - - - END CHAPTER 5 - - - - -
Chapter 6 can be found here:
I'm sorry this chapter is a little later than usual. The crazy storm that hit the northeast knocked out my power. I am now sitting here, middle of April, in my dorm with a foot of snow outside. Back home there was a state of emergency with floods all over the city and all that, it's been hectic. I hope everyone's all right from the weather and...well, everything else. Monday wasn't exactly the best day ever, which most people would know unless you've been living under a rock and missed the worst shooting incident in U.S. history o.0
Wishing everyone well...!!
lol and I have a rough (very rough! like, "ow I just sanded away my entire finger" rough!) outline of this story and according to it, I'm a chapter and a half behind o.0 This story might end up being 11-12 chapters right now. Maybe more at this rate...oh boy.
OH and also, I just wanted to point out how their way of talking is a bitch to spell check. lol.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007 6:52 AM
Thursday, April 19, 2007 4:24 PM
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