Eden - Part VIII
Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. The rescue, and people die ... epilogue to come, folks. PG for implied horror. Please feedback - for us writers it's lifeblood.


“What is taking so gorram long?” Mal was pacing, unable to keep still.

“It’s only been five minutes,” Simon said, not feeling that much calmer himself.

Jayne understood, though. Inside that room, with that ga ni niang doing things to ‘em, were the two most important women in Mal’s life. His first mate and his wife. The one who’d kept him alive all through the war, and the one who made it worth living now. “She’s going fast as she can,” he said. “It twists a lot.”

“She’s telling you?” Simon asked in surprise. She’d rarely dropped her thoughts into his mind, and to find this big man mentioning it so nonchalantly, as if it happened all the time …

“Yeah,” Jayne admitted. “You got a problem with that?”

As much as Simon wanted to say yes, to admit it hurt him more than he wanted that his little sister would communicate with this mercenary ape, he remembered her words.

“Does he make you happy, mei-mei?” he’d asked.



Does there have to be a reason?

He’d had to tell the truth. “I suppose not.”

Be happy for me, Simon.

“River … I’ll try.”

So Simon shook his head. “No. If she talks to you … that’s fine.”

Jayne nodded, for once not taking the opportunity to make fun of the young doctor. Not at a time like this. “She’s there,” he said quietly.

Mal jerked, staring at the big man before laying his hands on the door.


River watched through the grating, doing the math. Five men, including Niska. She’d never seen him in the flesh, but didn’t need to. It was him. Of the others, only three were really any threat, but they were real enough.

Time to act. They’d put Hank into some sort of tube, and from the feelings and thoughts emanating from the two women chained to the wall, this was bad. Very, very bad.

Triangulate, measure, aim … everything was going through River’s mind at once, as she tried to block out the fear below and outside, the anger beating at her. If they’d all just shut up she could …

She kicked the grating cover, falling from the duct and turning in one movement, firing one of her guns before she even hit the floor. One down, gasping for his last breath as his blood pumped from a throat torn out by her bullet.

Niska was in reach, and she span on one foot, her other catching him on the side of the head, knocking him down. Two.

Her momentum kept her going, and she saw the man she had considered less of a threat drawing a small pistol from inside his expensive jacket. She quickly added him to the variable, but continued in her movement, firing again from each gun, doing a forward roll to land on her feet.

The third one fell backwards, his forehead showing two small holes, the back of his skull missing. He’d managed to fire, the bullet hitting the wall a scant two inches from Zoe’s head. Not good.

A breeze over her shoulder indicated the fourth one had missed, but he was lining up for another shot. She began to run, her speed taking them by surprise, up the wall and flipping backwards, firing twice more as she was upside down, two different directions.

The torturer looked down at the remains of his hand, his fingers smashed and missing, then slumped to the floor, blood pouring from the hole in the back of his mouth.

Donaldson, hit with the other bullet, slid to the decking, his gun falling from nerveless digits as he tried to speak.

In the sudden silence River stood still, looking around before replacing her weapons in their holsters.

“River, what the hell are you doing here?” Freya asked, almost conversationally.

“Rescue,” she said simply.

“River? You’re River Tam?” Donaldson managed to say, staring at her, his hand pressed against the blood bubbling from his chest.

River furrowed her brow, looking down at him. “I don’t think I know you.”

“I can’t believe you‘re really …” What he was about to say died with him as his life rushed from his mouth and nostrils, staining his shirt and pooling on the floor. His eyes, fixed on her face, didn’t move as she walked away.


“They’re safe,” Jayne said, a wide grin on his face. He clapped Simon on the back, thrusting him forward with the impetus.

“And River?”

“She’s shiny.”

“Thank God.” He smiled at the mercenary.

Mal, the man who didn’t believe, who only prayed for his wife, thanked every deity he could remember.


“Key’s over there,” Zoe said, nodding towards the small table. River sorted through the various instruments of torture, then picked it up.

“I never thought I’d be so pleased to see you,” Freya said, holding out her hands.

“The others are outside,” River said, releasing the manacles, then managing to catch Freya in time before she slid to the floor.

“I’m okay. Do Zoe’s.” She leaned against the wall for a moment, trying to get past the aching in her entire body before going to help Hank.

“Thanks,” Zoe said, her hands dropping, wincing as she rubbed her wrists where they were raw. Her shoulders were killing her, but that wasn't her main concern. “Where’s the control for this damn thing?” she added, joining Freya.

Suddenly River screamed. “No!”

She’d turned towards the control panel, but saw Niska on his knees in front of it. She ran towards him but it was too late. He’d reached the override control, and pressed the button. Vapour began to pour into the capsule with Hank even as River caught him across the temple with her foot.

“Get him out!” Zoe ordered, reaching for the door.

“No!” Freya put her arms around her, trying to hold her struggling body back.

“Let me go …” Zoe hit out, her fist catching Freya on the cheek.

Her ears rang, but she held on. “I let you go and the gas gets out, we’re all dead.”

“It might not be like that –” Zoe was still fighting.

“It will for River and me.”

Zoe stopped, looked aghast at Freya. “Wo de tien a,” she muttered, all the fighting going out of her. She turned to watch the father of her child inside the plastiglass coffin, her eyes fixed on his as the gas rose above the level of his head. “Can’t we clear it?”

“It’s an automatic system,” River said softly, studying the controls. Indeed, a few moments later the pumps started and the gas was evacuated through the pipes at the top.

Freya let Zoe go, and the first mate reached out, resting her hand on the cold capsule. Something touched her arm, and she looked down. River was holding out one of her guns.

“If anyone has to …” River said softly.

Zoe nodded, taking the weapon from her, knowing she had to end the father of her child if it came to it.

There was a long pause, and no-one was breathing. It lengthened, until the tension was so tight in the air that just a sound would make it shatter into a billion pieces.

Then Hank slid to the floor of the capsule, his face vacant, his eyes staring into nothing.

“Frey!” Zoe shouted, dropping the gun.

“River, the antidote,” Freya called.

Even as she thought, before the words were fully formed in her mouth, River had nodded at her and dropped to her heels next to Donaldson’s body.

Zoe found the door release and the side of the capsule popped. She reached in, pulling Hank out to lie in her arms. “Hold on, baby. Just hold on,” she whispered.

“Here.” River held out an automatic hypo.

Without a moment’s thought Zoe injected it into his neck. “Help me,” she said quietly, getting her hands under Hank’s arms, lifting him. River took his legs and they carried him away from the pod, setting him down on the floor.

Zoe smoothed his sweat-damp hair from his face. “Come on, Hank. I know you’re strong. You can beat this.” She waited, for what seemed an eternity. “Gorramit, Hank! Don’t you want to see your son born?” she shouted into his face, shaking him.

“Can’t you leave a feller alone to die in peace?” Hank croaked, trying to open his eyes but only succeeding with one. “Without all this noise?”

Zoe gave up her own prayer of thanks and wrapped her arms around him.

“Hey, is this heaven?” Hank asked, trying to smile.

Freya watched, then turned to Niska. He was sitting dazed against the console, his glasses askew, blood seeping from a head wound. She went down on her heels next to him.

“It’s not right,” she murmured. “Not right. None of this.” She shook her head as she gazed at this monster of a man. “What you were doing.” She came to a decision and lifted him to his feet. Her back wrenched, but only a slight groan forced its way past her lips as she manhandled him towards the capsule. “Not even for belief,” she muttered. “Just for the pleasure of the pain you were causing.” She thrust him inside.

“What are you doing?” Niska asked, his faculties returning.

“Time to end it.” She pressed the button and the door closed.

As Niska fully realised where he was, and her intentions, his hand darted to inside his jacket.

“Looking for this?” Freya asked, holding up an automatic hypo, twin to the one Zoe had used on Hank. “I may be a little rusty, but I can still pick a pocket if I need to,” she said, knowing her words couldn’t be heard, but the twisted smile on her lips was loud enough.

Niska’s face registered what was happening. He began to bang on the inside of the capsule, his mouth screaming silently, his glasses falling to the floor in his terror, trampling on them, his eyes naked, small … afraid.

Freya crossed to the control panel, picking one of the vials from the open box. She watched the liquid move inside, the green chips barely touching each other. Sliding the cover open, she put the vial inside the waiting receptacle. “Which one do you suppose makes this all work?” she asked, her head on one side.

River stepped close. “This one.” She put out her hand but Freya grabbed her wrist.

“No. Not you.”

Zoe, on the floor next to Hank, watched them look at each other, the unspoken communication between them at what was about to happen, and nodded slowly.

She didn’t need the darkness, not this time. She lifted her head and looked at Niska, still pounding on the inside of the capsule. “Wo xi wang ni man man si, dan kuai dian xia diyu,” Freya murmured, dropping her hand on the button and speeding him to hell.

Gas whispered into the capsule. Niska looked down, trying to wave it away, attempting to climb the sheer walls, anything to stop himself inhaling. He held his breath until his vision began to redden, until he knew he couldn’t hold out, until he had to take it deep into his lungs … it tasted of roses and death.

The others watched as the vapour filled the capsule then was sucked out.

“Do you think –” Hank began to say, then stopped as Niska threw himself at the wall of the capsule, his mouth working, saliva running down his chin and spitting onto the plastic. His eyes were mad, insane, his fingers curled into claws, ready to rend and tear.

Freya stood, expressionless, staring.

“Time to go,” River said softly, putting her hand on the older woman’s arm. “They’re waiting for us.”

Zoe got Hank to his feet, supporting him. “She’s right, Frey.”

“I hate to think he’s like us,” Freya said quietly, hardly even words.

“He wasn’t,” River responded. “Only a potential.” She glanced at the thing in the capsule. “Not even that now.”

Freya nodded slowly. “Let’s go.”

“Is he …” Hank began, letting Zoe help him to the door.

“Not now, dear,” she said, stepping into the outer chamber. “Best to forget all about this.” She headed for the door, not looking back.

River went to follow, then stopped. Freya was still staring at the capsule.


She didn’t answer, just held out her hand. River placed one of her guns in it.

For a long moment Freya didn’t move, then in one smooth motion raised the gun and fired at the capsule. The plastiglass crazed but didn’t break. She fired again, hearing River’s pistol open up next to her. It wasn’t strong enough to withstand that kind of firepower, and the entire side shattered. The creature that had been Niska climbed through, ignoring the sharp edges that cut into his skin, leaving blood smears and scraps of flesh.

River expected Freya to fire again, to kill him, but instead she pushed a tray of surgical instruments towards the raging beast, then slammed the door closed, locking it. She turned to see a technician cowering in the corner.

With something like gentle hands, she slid the hypo from his pocket and handed it to River, who took it carefully. She nodded over her shoulder towards the door. “Best not open that,” she said softly. “Not for a very long time. If ever.”

The technician, terrified at what he had seen, nodded.

Picking up her and Zoe’s weapons from the side, Freya glanced through the heavy window. The Reaver was tearing at the bodies of the men River had killed, but finding no satisfaction. Then he saw a scalpel on the floor. He picked it up, turning it, letting the light catch it before he drew the blade down his own cheek … His howl echoed through the air ducts.


“What the hell was that? And where are they?” Mal asked, turning on Jayne.

“They’re coming,” the big man assured him. “Just cleanin’ up some crap.”

“What?” Mal’s brows drew together, but his next words were halted by the sound of metal sliding on metal. He turned.

As the grey panel slid open, Mal and the others had their guns ready, but there was a collective sigh of relief as Zoe helped Hank through, River and Freya following.

“Everyone okay?” Mal asked, wanting desperately to take his wife into his arms and hold her tightly.

”Shiny, Cap,” Hank said, his words slurring a little.

Simon was checking him over. “I need him back on board Serenity right now.” He glanced at Zoe and Freya, the blood on their wrists, the pallor to their skin. “All of you.”

“Not going to get any arguments from me,” Zoe said, letting Jayne help with Hank.

Freya turned to him. “You need to check Zoe first. She got hit by a stun weapon. I think the baby’s fine, but …”

Hank stared at her, then at Zoe, his face ashen. “God, Zo, I didn’t even think …”

“It’s okay,” she said. “I’m fine.”

“But the baby …” He glanced down at her belly, then back into her eyes. “If anything happened to him …”

“Freya’s right,” Zoe assured him, trying to make him believe. “I’d know if anything was wrong. And he’s fine.”

“It’s a boy?” Jayne asked but everyone ignored him.

Hank lifted his arm from Zoe’s shoulders. “And what are you doing helping me? You should be being carried out of here yourself!”

“No-one is carrying me anywhere.” Zoe had her calm face back on. “Dong mah?”

“Yeah, sure, but … honey, the baby.”

“Is fine.”

“Can you let the doctor be the judge of that?” Simon asked, glaring at them. “And the sooner we get back to Serenity the sooner I can prove it.”

“What, that you’re the doctor?”

“Hank, move before I sedate you and make Jayne carry you home.”

“I'm going, I'm going.” He leaned on the big man and they started to walk back to the docking area.

“You okay?” Jayne asked River, who fell into step next to him.

“I’m fine.” She put her hand on his arm.

“Good.” He smiled at her. “Wouldn’t want anything bad to … you know … to you.”

Freya hung back.

“What is it, ai ren?” Mal asked. “They likely to be coming after us?” He was still tense, his hand ready near his gun.

“No. Niska doesn’t exist any more.” She closed her eyes, swaying a little.

Immediately he had his arms around her, holding her up. “Frey?”

“Take me home, Mal,” she whispered, leaning into him. “Just take me home.”

to be concluded


Tuesday, May 1, 2007 11:32 PM


I love it! This is brilliant! I can't wait for the ending number. But, it wont exactly be ending. It will go on, right? Yes? Good!

I love how you turned Niska into mini-Reaver dude. But, wow.. Yeah! I wonder if he'll make a cameo in the next one!

Hmm.. and PLEASE don't let Zoe's baby die! Please! please please please please please please please please please please please....

Wednesday, May 2, 2007 1:33 AM


Glad to see the BDH's surviving in one piece. You always seem to have a surplus of twists and turns for your story line. The hidden level on the station was very inventive. Well done as always!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007 6:19 AM


Sweet - although I really think Freya should have killed Reaver-Niska. Some idiot is going to let him out of that room and then he'll wreak havoc on the station until someone kills him.

But I liked the way this resolved for so many other reasons. I think that the interplay between everyone at the end (when they're "safe") was perfect. Can't wait for the epi!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007 8:28 AM


Okay, now my heart rate's up. That was intense! Twists and turns everywhere! Great work!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007 8:49 AM


Whew, my heart is racing. And I have to go back to work and appear sane.

You needed to end Reaver-Niska so he doesn't turn up again. I have a feeling he will.

Sunday, May 6, 2007 4:50 PM


Niska as a Reaver?! Oh THERE is a thought I don't want to muse on!


Utterly superb work here, Jane0904! The amount of tension and action was perfectly balanced, and I can't wait to see more about the fallout from this;D


Wednesday, May 9, 2007 10:27 AM


Oh, Wow, this was FABULOUS! And what a perfect punishment for Niska to turn him into the thing he was turning others into. Having him cut on himself until the madness rages enough to kill him. So very happy that it was Freya who got to shove him in the tube and drop in the gas. Yep, payback is a bitch. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, October 18, 2009 10:47 AM


Wash helping Hank... Priceless.. Progressing wondiferessly.... Im so Hoooooked!!! Jayne/River are getting comfortable and is it Me?? or is she making more sense..:)

As I turn the page..

Sunday, October 18, 2009 10:49 AM


I know.. Im so far behind.. Im just glad I can read these at work.. lol.. :)


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[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!]