Underground - Chapter 6
Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Plans are made, action is eminent, and crazy girl becomes a big damn hero.


Summery – Plans are made, action is eminent, and crazy girl becomes a big damn hero.

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

Thanks so much to all of you who have taken the time to leave me such shiny comments. It just makes my heart do a little dance to know how much you’re all enjoying the story.


Underground - Chapter 6

The kitchen at the Lazy Moon ranch house was filled with people all talking at each other in loud agitated voices, a scene Mal suspected was much more common in the Dancing Boar at two thirty in the morning than in any ranch house in the settlement.

Mal, Katra and Zoë had returned from the mine empty handed, having not found either Kaylee or River, but with a new understanding of the mine and its inner workings. Mal was grateful for the warm cups of fresh coffee that were placed in their hands as they entered the chaotic kitchen, but the raised voices he could do without.

Slowly, he wandered through the throng gathering information about what had happened while he was in the mine. Sorla and Shepherd Stevenson had settled five miners who had appeared just an hour before, along with the fifteen others that followed, into the barn. They were now poring over the plans for the mine that were laid out on the table, Shepherd Book joining in. Simon had just finished seeing to a girl brought to him by Jayne and Mira. After setting several broken bones, he had placed her under heavy sedation in one of the upstairs rooms. Jayne and Mira now sat in a corner flirting with one another over a fancy looking dagger. Simon was pacing the kitchen looking as if he wanted to break something. Sharla, having recognized that the short naps they had all taken while Zoë and Mal searched the mine was all the sleep they were going to get, had begun cooking breakfast. She had put Wash to work flipping pancakes, and her eyes were on Simon. It looked like the doc was next on her chore list.

Mal finished assessing the situation and figured it was time to get focused. He took his place at the head of the table and ended the fuss with a shout: “Bizui!” It only took a minute for the collection of people to settle themselves and turn their attention to him.

“Seems to me that several people in this room know quite a bit about this situation. But perhaps no one knows quite the same information. We need to put the puzzle pieces together. You, for example. Shepherd.” He pointed towards Wormfood. “You’ve been sneaking people out of the mine for a while?”

“That’s right. Just a few at a time, so the ben tian sheng wouldn’t be suspicious.”

“You’ve got a contact on the inside?”

“A fellow by the name of Marroe.”

“And where d’you send them, after they’re out?”

“There’s a monastery just outside of Tritan City. I take them there and the brothers get them home.”

Mal looked from one Shepherd to the other. “Book, you got a plan yet to blow the mine?”

“Given the right explosives, I think we can make that mine disappear quite nicely.” Mal nodded and moved his gaze towards the pilot.

“Wash, how much weight can we long line using the shuttle?”

“Zero to none, captain. The shuttle’s not set up to sling a long line.”

“Kaylee was in the middle of rebuilding Serenity’s starboard engine this morning. You gunna tell me that before she was snatched she finished and that engine is all assembled and ready to fly?”

“It’s closer to a large number of metal scraps and wires carefully arranged on a big canvas tarp.”

“Tzaogao,” Mal swore, and he stared at the wall for a moment. “Any chance you could put her back together?”

“Assemble her myself? Not a chance. But I think I can still fly her.”

Zoë stared at her husband in disbelief. “Husband, you have got to be kidding. Fly her with one engine?”

“It’s tricky – but, theoretically, if I compensate for the rotation, I should be able to make short hops planetside.”

“How theoretical?” Mal inquired.

“Only a slight chance of dying a fiery death.”

Mal took a deep breath, thinking that if anyone could pull it off Wash could, but knowing he should be worried. He thought for a moment and glanced around at the four Lonepine residents. “Any of you know how to fly a shuttle?”

Sharla spoke up “My girls are some of the best pilots in the district.”

“If they’re the best, I’m surprised there’s not a thriving hospital around here.” Simon mumbled, causing Sorla to stick her tongue out at him.

Mal turned toward Katra, his would-be sweetheart.

“Katra, you realize that with these new developments your plan ain’t gunna work the way you wanted?”

“I don’t see why–”

He cut her off. “We can still accomplish your goals, but everyone in this room’s gotta be in on it. No more of this play-acting.”

Katra looked at her feet for a moment before saying, “No, they’ll hate me.”

“They’ll hate you even more for lyin’ to ‘em. ‘Sides it appears to me you were slightly mistaken as to whose sweat and toil, you aim to be stealin’. It appears to be not your neighbors but a bunch of offworlders encouraged rather forcefully to work that mine.”

“Still, I–”

Mal interrupted her again. “Folks, Katra here plans on stealing this month’s shipment of bars as seed money on a new life. She didn’t tell ya, cause she didn’t want her friends and neighbors thinking she profited on their misery.”

At these words, Sharla rushed up and put her arms around Katra. “Dear, no one’s gunna think bad of you for takin’ just a titch of what is rightfully yours. Don’t you fret.” Katra’s face relaxed in visible relief as she hugged the older woman

“The way I see it, we have a couple of issues,” Mal said, regaining control of the group. “We’ve got a crew member in dire need of bolt cutters caged in that mine somewhere. We’ve got another playing at earning her angel’s wings. We all want to blow the mine to kingdom come so that no one else gets snatched to work it, as well as seein’ those already working the mine home safe. Finally, there’s the shiny yellow payoff.

“Thing is,” Mal continued, “River seems to have taken matters into her own hands concerning the health and safety of the mine’s workers. They continue to pour out of the mine. Most are coming here for shelter, talking of avenging angels.”

“And bolt cutters,” Wash put in.

Mal ignored the comment from his pilot. “Seems that come daybreak, the next shift is gonna start wondering why no one’s coming out of that mine. Security is going to get ramped up and that back door of Wormfood’s is gunna get discovered.

“The way I see it, we’ve gotta do this thing by sunrise, or not do it at all.”

There were nods around the room, as everyone thought to themselves whether or not they figured they could pull this one off. Jayne was the first to speak up.

“This gold? How much are we talking?”

“Katra has offered us a share of what we get off world as payment for our help. You’d get your normal cut.” Mal responded to Jayne’s query.

“I’m in,” he said and started fingering the gun he held in his lap. Everyone nodded.

“Katra, you, Zoë and I are going to town in one of the mules. We’re gunna wake up that friend of yours at Dry Goods and do some shopping.

“Wash and Mira go to Serenity. Load all the parts on board, and bring her back here. Don’t loose any, ya hear?”

“Sharla, Wormfood, Book, while we’re gone, you’ll need to be making arrangements for all the folks coming out of that mine.”

“Jayne, we are gunna need a sniper. Take Vera and go pick out a good spot.”

The big man nodded.

“But what about Kaylee and River?” Simon said his voice filled with indignation.

“That’s where you come in, Doc. You’re headed into the mine. Sorla, I need you to get our doctor a pair of bolt cutters and take him to the backdoor.”

“Captain, if you and Zoë couldn’t find them, what makes you think I can?”

“Because you’ll have something your sister wants. And you’re going to be thinking about them cutters as hard as you can. I suspect she’ll be waiting for ya at that backdoor, when you get there. You get Kaylee and anyone else you see out of that mine. She blows at sunrise.”


Moonlight filled the porch of the Lazy Moon as they returned from their shopping foray in the basement of Dry Goods. As they slowed the mule to a stop, a figure stood and walked toward them from the shadows.

“Any trouble getting the supplies we need, son?” the figure said as he got closer.

“Jamison answered his door with a gun, but so’d I if someone pounded hard enough to break it down at three in the morning. Once Katra explained the situation, he let us all in,” Mal answered.

“Got everything on your list, Shepherd, plus a few extra tidbits.” Zoë cut to the chase, handing him a crate from the back of the mule. “Remote detonators are in the red box.”

“Sometimes I’m amazed how creating willful, violent destruction can spare so much pain and helplessness. God works in mysterious ways.” The preacher smiled at the thought as he spoke. “I’ll collect Wormfood and we’ll get going into the ground.”

“None of this is the result of God’s work, preacher,” Mal said as he began unloading another box from the mule. “I want to make sure no one else gets into that mine. Start with something small at the entrance.”

“Already in the plan, son.” The Shepherd picked up the crate Zoë had given him and headed to the barn to collect his friend.



Kaylee thought she was going crazy again. This time it sounded like Simon’s voice whispering at her from the darkness. In the hours since she had thought she had heard River’s voice, she had pretty much come to the conclusion that her mind had been playing tricks on her. There was no way River would be able to find her way in and around the dark shafts that made up this mine. That’s what the logical part of her brain told her. Even though, deep down she still wanted to believe that someone was out there trying to rescue her. But she would not let herself go crazy. She would make herself stay sane.

“Kaylee!” This time the voice was louder. It sounded as if it was coming out of the darkness on her left. Kaylee ignored it.

“Kaylee – answer me. It’s Simon.” Kaylee didn’t turn around, instead focusing harder on realigning the gears of the humungous drilling machine she was using to occupy her mind as well as her time. It was the only thing she could know was real. If she could touch it, and she could fix it, it was there.

“She thinks she’s crazy, like me.” This time it was River’s voice Kaylee heard coming from the darkness. “She thinks ignoring us will keep away the demons. But demons don’t go away. They only get stronger.”

“Kaylee!” It was Simon’s voice again. “It took five camera cycles but we got the chain cut. I need you to walk towards us into the darkness. We’ve only got twenty minutes before the whole mine blows.” Kaylee stared at the wrench in her hand. What if it really was Simon and River in the shadows? What if she was saved? She glanced at the large bolt two feet up the opposite wall. Hanging from it were three chain lengths. The rest of the chain lay loose on the floor.

Slowly she grabbed a link of the chain about five feet from her leg and pulled it toward her, hoisting it above her shoulder. Then, in one fluid motion, she jumped up and raced toward the voices. Three steps into the shadows she was enveloped in warm arms. Suddenly she felt safe, and tears started to well up in her eyes.

“We need to get away before those cameras show you’re gone. Come on.” Simon grabbed her hand and pulled her. Together they ran down the dark tunnel, her chain clanking behind them.

Kaylee lost track of the twists and turns they took in the dark. After about ten minutes of running, she spied a slight hint of light up ahead. She could now make out River leading the group, holding Simon’s hand, pulling him along just as Simon led Kaylee. River pulled them around two more turns before she stopped.

“Shuttle’s outside. Road to safety,” River said, and she turned to run back into the mine.

“River, Stop! You can’t go back in. The mine blows in less than five minutes!” Simon’s voice was urgent and commanding.

“Three more spiders, can’t leave them to die. Explosions go from front to back, can make it just in time.” Then she was gone back into the darkness. Simon just stared helplessly after her.

Kaylee reached down and grabbed the bolt cutters that River had set on the smooth dirt floor and cut the shackle off her ankle. The blade just barely fit between her skin and the dark metal. She reveled in the freedom as the shackle fell to the ground with a thunk. ‘Good riddance,’ she thought, dropping the bolt cutters beside it.

Grabbing Simon’s hand, she led him out into the gray blue light of false dawn and the awaiting shuttle. Five steps from the mine’s shaft they heard the first boom. Simon just had time to stop and turn before they heard the second and the third.

“River!” Simon screamed into the dust that was emanating from the mine.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007 3:06 AM


Uh oh, sounds like the blasts went off early. Gorramit, don't tell me those Shepherds don't have a watch between them? Good that Simon got Kaylee out but I was surprised she dropped the bolt croppers, I would have hung on to them as a makeshift weapon in case they ran into trouble getting back to safety. Please let River be alright! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 5:18 AM


Nicely tense at the end there. I like how Kaylee didn't really think it was them and Simon had to convince her.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 4:45 PM


There's never any lack of excitement in your fics, is there? Great job!

Sunday, June 24, 2007 7:36 AM


Why do I get the feeling that Book and Wormfood got the explosives in place and setup right, but Vetch arrived with backup in time to disrupt things:S

Still, this was utterly briliant work, Desertgirl! Really can't wait to see how things go down in the final chapter and epilogue;D



You must log in to post comments.



Snowball - Chapter 11 The Conclusion
Life on Hawthorne will never be the same, now that our BDH’s have escaped.

Snowball - Chapter 10
There’s a daring escape, and our hero’s finally secure some cargo. Chapter 10 of 11, we’re almost there people :)

Snowball - Chapter 9
High tech video surveillance catches up with our hero’s causing no end of problems. This is the ninth of eleven chapters. You can find out all about it in my blog.

Snowball - Chapter 8
Mal and Inara discover a clue that could possibly clear Mal of the murder charges, but can they use it? Jayne races Adria to prove his pass and maybe get some... This is the eighth of eleven chapters. Find out all about it in my blog.

Snowball - Chapter 7
Mal and Jayne both ease their way through treacherous encounters with the Cottonwoods Ski Patrol. This is the seventh of eleven chapters. You can find out all about it in my blog.

Snowball - Chapter 6
Sometimes long lost family members spell trouble. Simon knows this but can he convince the crew? Can he even contact them? This is the sixth of eleven chapters. You can find out all about it in my blog.

Snowball - Chapter 5
Our BDH’s finally do some skiing, well at least most of them do. It’s the chapter that inspired the whole epic. The fifth of eleven chapters, which you can find out all about it in my blog.

Snowball - Chapter 4
They can’t leave and they can’t stay. Fortunately for our BDH’s they have on board a criminal mastermind disguised as a doctor. This is the fourth of eleven chapters. Find out all about it in my blog.

Snowball - Chapter 3
Our hero’s deliver their cargo, only to run into some unexpected complications. This is the third of eleven chapters. You can find out all about it in my blog.

Snowball - Chapter 2
Mal discovers he does not have as much control over of his life as he thought and he learns just how people conduct legal type business deals near the Core. Chapter 2 of 11, find out all about it in my blog.