Underground - Chapter 5
Saturday, June 16, 2007

Crazy Girl attempts a big damn rescue, but things become more complicated than even she suspects.


Summery – Crazy Girl attempts a big damn rescue, but things become more complicated than even she suspects.

Disclaimer – They all belong to Joss, I just enjoy hanging out in their midst.

Pairings - Its all fairly cannon. There’s some OC’s to mix it up a bit.

Setting – During the series, in between Trash and Heart of Gold

This story is a hundred times better because of all the wonderful betatype advice given to me by Mal4prez. I throw many thankyous in her direction.

My story line indicates nine segments: prologue, chapters 1-7 and an epilogue. I have included more about the storyline and my motivation for writing in my blog.

If you haven’t read the beginning, I’d suggest starting at the Prologue

Your comments (good or bad) really do make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and I find I miss them when they are not around. So let me know: Love it? Hate it? Want more? Think there’ll be a happy ending? Or not? Why?


Underground Chapter 5

“Don’t talk; the walls have ears.”

Kaylee turned toward the sound but didn’t see anything. Not that she would really be able to in the cramped, dark tunnel those monsters had her caged in. The rough stone ceiling was about five feet above her head; the walls were half again as wide. It was enough room for her to move around, but not easily. In the time since she had awakened, she had explored as much of the area as the ten foot chain attached to her ankle would allow. There wasn’t much to find, just darkness in either direction. The light bulb hanging above her head was the only light.

Her explorations of the tunnel had taken just a few short minutes, after which she had sat down and had a good cry. Even if she could somehow escape the shackle around her ankle, there was no place to go, just endless tunnels of black. And she knew better that to go walking underground in the dark.

Kaylee had only been eight when she had heard the story of the Emerson children. Toni, Scott and Emma had all been older than her. She had always looked up to them; to her they seemed to have the ideal life. Scott especially had always seemed to know what to do and what to say. Until one day they all disappeared. They just hadn’t shown up at school. Over the course of the next day it had come out that Scott, the eldest, had been daring his friends at school to go exploring in the Hu li jing caves. It took two days of relentless searching to find them. Emma had fallen down a crevasse and died, her body was so badly damaged they said she was hardly recognizable. They had found Toni, the youngest, in a small room full of cave formations, just sitting in a corner. It appeared that he had just given up and sat down and died. Scott, they found in long tunnel, he was alive, but he never was the same. His family had to take him to capitol city to live in a hospital.

Kaylee was not about to go wondering about underground. Instead, she decided to take a look at the hulk of broken machinery sitting next to her. A tool box laying beside the monstrosity made it painfully obvious why she had been snatched, and what they wanted her to do. As much as she didn’t want to help the hwoon dan who’d grabbed her, the feel of tools in her hands was soothing and the hulk of metal became more and more intriguing as she examined it. Pretty soon, she was humming away busily, working on what appeared to be a drilling machine.

It worked until the mysterious voice broke her trance – the sound had come from underneath the drill bit. ‘I’m going nuts,’ Kaylee thought to herself. The sudden thought that she would end up like Scott Emerson paralyzed her momentarily, but not for long. She picked up the biggest wrench she could find and worked her way towards the front of the machine.

“Don’t talk,” the voice said. “Think loud. I can hear you. You are not crazy, that’s my job.”

This time, Kaylee recognized the voice. ‘River?’ Kaylee thought.

“You’re caught in the web, but the spider’s not here. They watch from afar to make sure you’re doing their work.” Kaylee could see the girl now, laying in the small crack between the drill bit and the tunnel wall. It would be impossible for any hidden camera to see her. “They’ll see your lips moving if you talk - just think loud.”

‘River, what are you doing here?’ Kaylee picked up her wrench and began loosening bolts as she thought the question.

“Had to find you, webs are scary.”

‘If there’s cameras how did you get here?’

“Cameras are on one minute cycle, rotate clockwise around the scanned area, then pause on the target object to ten seconds. I’m sneaky.” Kaylee could hear the smile on River’s face come through in her words.

‘Can you get me out?’

“Labyrinths can be negotiated without difficulty, shackles are more troublesome. I don’t have any bolt cutters.”

‘And conveniently this tool box contains nothing useful either, I already checked.’ Kaylee thought loudly, still slightly amazed she was conversing with her friend in her mind, and wondering if she was just hallucinating.

“I’m sneaky, and resourceful. Keep busy on the far side. I’ll return. You’re not crazy.”

‘Don’t leave!’ Kaylee screamed in her mind before she could stop herself. River could not help her if she was hiding under a drill bit. She knew that. Still, it was comforting not to be alone. ‘I’ll be here when you get back,’ Kaylee finally thought out loud, as she picked up her wrench and returned to the other side of the driller.

Ten minutes later, Kaylee walked back toward the drill bit to tighten the bolts she had loosened during her imaginary conversation. She looked into the crack in the wall – it was empty.


The moonlight shone softly on the edge of the lake. Sounds of the water gently lapping the shore filled the air. A young woman sat on a large stone at the waters edge listening to the water, and occasionally lifted her head to stare towards the trees at the edge of the forest. She was beginning to wonder if he wasn’t going to come. That happened some nights, after all he was a busy man. Finally, she heard what she had been waiting for. As the blond man came strolling toward her, a broad grin grew across her face, she stood to greet him. They embraced, kissing passionately, then strolled off together arm in arm, slowly walking away from the town and the more commonly used paths.

“We can go back to my house this evening if you want,” the woman whispered in his ear when they were far from the potential earshot of any other couples.

“Ashti, your mother would kill me if she knew who I was. That, and lock you in the basement for a year.”

“She just doesn’t know you. She believes all those lies Katra tells her. One day she’ll just have to accept the fact that we love each other.”

“One day, we’ll pick up and leave this god forsaken moon, then it won’t matter what people think.”

“Anyway, Mama sent a wave; they’re all staying at the ranch this evening. She asked me to look after things, said that friend of Shepherd Stevenson’s has a crew mate in trouble. Said they were going after the men that snatched her. I think her words included, ‘largest explosion Lonepine has ever seen,’ and ‘sending the chusheng zajiao de zanghuo slavers back to their maker.’”

As she spoke, the blond man became stiff at her side and stopped walking. “What, have I said something?” she asked.

“Ashti, I’ve gotta go, I have something I have to take care of this evening.” He lifted her arm away from his waist and quickly strode away into the forest, leaving her standing on the edge of the lake, tears welling in her eyes.

“Vetch,” she yelled after him. “Please come back. What did I say?”

*************** Jayne swaggered into the Dancing Boar late that afternoon. He had emerged from his bunk refreshed after five hours of deadening sleep. It had taken him only a few minutes to shower and dress to go to town. It had taken him a bit longer to decide which pistol he wanted to hide in his boots, and which knives would be appropriate for impressing a pretty young bartender.

The place was almost empty as he entered. Mira stood behind the bar, unloading glasses from a dish rack. Her dark brown hair was plaited in a single braid reaching most of the way down her back. This evening she was wearing a blue blouse and a full black skirt. A black apron full of pockets was tied around her waist. He didn’t want to stare, but he was quite certain that her cleavage still contained that knife that had so impressed him this morning.

“Good evening,” she said to him with a smile? “We don’t technically open for another hour yet, but you’re welcome to have a seat and wait. I’ll have the liquor out in a few minutes.”

“That’s fine, didn’t really come to drink myself silly this evening.”

“Ah, well, the girls’ll be down in a bit then.” He suspected she was toying with him, that she knew he wasn’t really here for the whores.

“I ain’t here for the girls this evening.”

“Oh yeah? Tell me then, what brings you to the Dancing Boar this fine evening?” Mira said with a sassy smile.

“I came to see if I could get a look at that knife between your tits.” For a moment they stared at each other, each wondering what the other would do now that his cards were on the table. Eventually it was Mira that broke the spell.

“I see, but I find it’s so much more fun to leave things up to one’s imagination. Don’t you?” She smiled and walked to the other end of the bar, whispering something to an elderly fellow playing solitaire with a worn out deck of cards.

They spent the evening passing flirtatious barbs at one another across the bar. The crowds came and went, and by midnight Jayne had spent most of the coin he had brought with him on beverages. He found he was drinking more than usual just to keep her talking to him while she poured.

Mira had just served what would have to be his last greyslish when the raucous group that had filled three corner tables finally left. It was then that they heard the screaming.

Jayne had his gun out and was halfway up the stairs before anyone else in the bar sobered up enough to realize what they were hearing. Mira was five steps behind him. He recognized the door from which the bloodcurdling screams were coming, having spent most of the previous evening in that very room. He kicked the door hard, just below the knob.

The impact of his foot forced the door to burst inward with a bang, revealing a dark skinned man pounding his fist into the face of a skinny naked woman lying in a pool of blood. He was sitting atop her chest holding her arms down with his knees. Along her legs were several parallel cuts just deep enough to inflict massive amounts of pain without doing serious damage.

Jayne’s first shot impacted in the man’s shoulder as the man jumped up and dove out the window. The second shot grazed his side. Jayne and Mira both heard him strike the ground. Unfortunately, the sound was more the thwack of a man hitting the ground running than the thunk of an unconscious body impacting the dirt.

“Datron Howard! That liou coe shway duh biao-tze huh hoe-tze fuh ur-tze. He’ll pay for this,” Mira swore as she ran to the window. In her hand was a knife skinny enough to be an ice pick, most likely the one Jayne had asked to see earlier that evening.

“She’s gunna need docterin,’ Jayne told Mira. He walked over to the girl and gently picked up her hand. Leaning his head down to her face he said softly “Carli? Can you here me? It’s Jayne, Jayne Cobb. I was with ya last night. That piece of shu ma nyaow is gone. Your safe now, but we gotta get you to a doctor.”

“There’s no doctor in Lonepine.” Mira sighed “That ching-wah tsao duh liou mahng that did this tried to force Doc Burgess to work for him at the mine about six months back. The doc chose to hitch a ride off world instead.”

Jayne assessed the state of the wounded girl before replying “Think we can get her to Serenity? We got ourselves a right proper doctor. Sewn me up tons of times.”

The girl looked up into his eyes and blinked at him. The corners of her mouth tilted upward just the slightest bit before she passed out.

“You surprise me, Mr. Cobb,” Mira said, and she smiled at him while she wrapped a blanket around the unconscious girl. “I didn’t expect you to have a soft side.”

“Yeah, well. I show it about as often as you show off that fancy knife.” Gently, he picked up the girl and carried her out the door.

When they reached the top of the stairs, Mira let out an ear piercing whistle, causing every ear in the place to perk up. “Place’s officially closed. You’ve each got exactly five minutes to finish your swill and get out. Anyone left after that time will have to have to deal with Papa Ankerson and the rifle I’m about to hand him!”

By the time Jayne was down the stairs, most of the evening’s patrons were setting down their glasses and heading for the door. Mira quickly scooted around him and went to confer with the elderly man who’d been playing solitaire most of the evening. She reached behind the bar and handed him the afore mentioned rifle before joining Jayne at the door.

“I’ve got a mule in the barn. Let’s go,” she said as she reached him.

It took just ten minutes to fire up the mule and reach Serenity. Mira took the corners of the narrow forest path at breakneck speed. When they reached the ship, Serenity was sitting peacefully in the clearing, moonlight bouncing off her metallic hull so she looked like she was glowing. Braking at the last second, Mira spun the mule ninety degrees to a stop just at the top of the cargo ramp.

Jayne climbed out of the hovercraft, still holding the bleeding girl. He adjusted her slightly so that he could reach up and punch in the entrance code for the ship, but she didn’t stir at all. Mira opened the hatch, but stepped aside so that Jayne and the girl could enter first.

The cargo bay was shrouded in darkness, which was not unusual for this time of the night. Jayne was used to returning to the ship after everyone had gone to bed. He hit the light on the com panel, then hit the com. “Doc, there’s a girl here who’ll die if you don’t get your ass outta bed on the double!” He didn’t wait for a reply, just made his way to the infirmary with Mira following close behind.

Jayne gently set Carli down on the exam table in the infirmary before reaching again for the com. “Doc, get your ben tian sheng ass down to the infirmary!” Turning off the com he turned to Mira. “Stay with her while I roust that doctor out of bed.”

Jayne looked first in the passenger dorms, but the doc wasn’t anywhere to be found. Neither were River or the Shepherd, which was a little odd. He wondered if perhaps the doctor had finally kept his foot out of his mouth long enough to get himself into Kaylee’s good graces.

As he climbed the stairs up toward the dining room, it struck Jayne how quiet the ship seemed this evening. Usually there was someone about. He banged on all the doors in the crew quarters, but no one answered. As he walked back toward the infirmary, extremely puzzled, he spied the note on the dining table. His name was written in big letters across the top. He grabbed it and headed back to the infirmary.

Mira had been busy while he had been gone. Both of Carli’s legs were now bandaged and Mira was wrapping a coldpack in a bandage around her head.

“They’re all disappeared, but they left this for me.” He handed her the note, which she read out loud.

“Jayne – Kaylee and River are in trouble. We are joining the others at the Lazy Moon Ranch. We will come for you at first light.” Mira looked up from the note. “I know that ranch – let’s go.”

“Wait a minute; I’ve got to grab something.” When Jayne returned five minutes later, he carried no less than five guns and three grenades.

“Just in case,” he said. He handed her two riffles so that he could pick up Carli and carry her back to the mule.


Wash woke from a fitful sleep on the parlor couch to a loud pounding. Slowly he sat up, and buttoned his pants, then he stumbled across the room to discover the source of the noise. Opening the door, he stared at five grimy black faces. The middle aged blond man that was standing in the front of the group spoke first.

“Sorry to wake ya. But the angel said to come to the farm house. Who are we to argue after she saved us?”

“Angel?” Wash asked.

“We escaped from the mine. The overseer’s always watched over us with a riffle, but today, while we was digging, an angel snuck up behind the overseer and knocked him out. We didn’t even know what was going on until we heard him hit the ground.

“The angel – a girl, skinny as a rake with long, brown hair – told us to drop our tools, and she led us to a tiny tunnel entrance. I had no idea there is a backdoor to that mine, but there it was. Sure couldn’t find it again though. She said to come to the farm house, that there is a Shepherd that would help us. And she also said to tell Mal that Kaylee needs bolt cutters.”

“Ah, well, they do say sleep is overrated” Wash sighed. “Think Mal’s in the kitchen, better come on in.” He motioned the tired looking miners into the house.

Chapter 6


Saturday, June 16, 2007 10:17 PM


Ooh, this is all coming together very nicely. My only worry is Ashti opening her mouth to Vetch, him then making a poor excuse to hurry off does not bode well for our heroes. I'm thinking Vetch is off to warn the slavers. At least that is my suspicion. Loved Jayne immediately offering help to Carli after she has been beaten up and cut on. And I adored 'sneaky' River, so very in character for her. Can't wait to see what happens next! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, June 17, 2007 12:58 PM


I'm still very much enjoying this. Keep up the good work:)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 4:18 PM


Utterly fabulous work here, Dersertgirl! Definitely was all kinds impresed with the Jayne-Mira scene...that and the Kaylee-River conversation while Kaylee was trying to fix the drilling machine;D



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