HELLBOUND SERIES: 32. "Doctor's Orders"
Tuesday, November 6, 2007

"The rest of the crew find out what Jayne has done. Shepherd Book realises he may have been a mite hasty in agreeing to go with the mercenary."


TITLE: "DOCTOR'S ORDERS" AUTHOR: Alison M. DOBELL FANDOM: "FIREFLY" PAIRING: Canon pairings RATING: G. STATUS: SEQUEL to "NEVER SIMPLE" ARCHIVE: Yes. Just let me know where. FEEDBACK: Welcomed. EMAIL: WEBSITE: None. All "Firefly" stories archived at

SUMMARY: "The rest of the crew find out what Jayne has done. Shepherd Book realises he may have been a mite hasty in agreeing to go with the mercenary." The usual disclaimers apply. The characters and 'Firefly' are the property and gift of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No infringement of copyright is intended.


"Firefly" story

Written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * * *

Shepherd Book could not believe he had let himself get talked into this but Jayne had been so adamant and confident. Book handled Inara's shuttle with ease, not sure what had surprised him most: Jayne's hare-brained scheme or the fact that Inara had leant him the use of her shuttle. Only now, when he had the luxury to think it through did he realise they could be making the mother of all mistakes. He sighed. "Tell me again why we're going back?"

The mercenary's eyes glittered with excitement, his look smug. "Told ya, gonna be big damn heroes."

"Jayne, I don't see what returning to this planet has to do with heroics of any kind. As I recall this planet has nothing on it but people wishing they had a way off."

"We need coin an' with the Cap laid up we ain't got a job."

"Are you saying there's a job for us on Barclay?"

"Could be."

Book blinked and adjusted their heading. Jayne's directions had been pretty basic. He wanted to be dropped off where they had picked him up. The sack and shovel dumped just inside the hatch gave Book an uneasy feeling. "Jayne, tell me you didn't kill anyone."

The big man frowned, confused. "Huh?"

"You brought a shovel."

For a moment Jayne just stared at him then the dime finally dropped. "*Shenme*? Shovel's for diggin' a hole not fillin' one in, though o' course we gotta get in the hole to dig it out."

"Dig what out?"

A big grin flashed across the mercenary's face. He leaned on the console bringing his face a little closer to his friend's, eyes widening as he shared his secret. "Gold!"

Shepherd Book's first reaction was anger, quickly muffled into irritation. He didn't want to lose his temper with Jayne. "Does Inara know why you wanted her shuttle?"

"*Qu*, showed her."

"Showed her what?"

"The gold."

Book decided nothing would be gained by eeking out bits and pieces of information. Slowing their speed, the Shepherd brought the little shuttle down to idle and turned to face the mercenary. "Before we go any further I think you should explain - from the beginning." With a nod Jayne did just that. "Gonna make us a pile of coin."

"Let me see it."

"Ain't got it with me. Gave it to 'Nara."

Book raised his eyebrows in surprise.

"Needed to convince her I wasn't funnin' around."

"Inara confirmed it was gold?"

Some of Jayne's excitement was dampened by the less than enthusiatic response he was getting. "Told her it was gold ore an' there was plenty more just waitin' to be dug outta the ground. Can't do much without coin. Figure I'll be gettin' a raise for this."

"Jayne," said the Preacher calmly, voice steady "there is no guarantee that what you found is gold."

"You think I don't know gold when I see it?"

"I'm just saying that if it was the real thing it would already be being mined. One thing Barclay has in abundance Jayne is people looking for any way to get rich. Do you really think they would walk away from a treasure in gold?"

The big man considered his words for a moment. "I think sometimes folks is real stupid an' don't recognise what's sittin' under their gorram noses."

Book realised Jayne was not going to be swayed by reason. "Okay, we'll go down and take a look." The grin returned to Jayne's face. Book held up a hand, his expression serious. "But we go carefully, *dong ma*? If it really is gold there may be someone keeping watch and even if there isn't we don't know who else might be down there. The Captain won't be thinking very heroic thoughts about either of us if we end up in Alliance custody."

"You worry too much."

The Shepherd sighed and began their descent. "Maybe you don't worry enough."

* * * * *

Simon was not amused. "I haven't spent hours putting you back together for you to undo all my work not to mention putting weight on that hip."

The Captain didn't seem much inclined to take his doctor's advice. Behind him Inara hovered, her concern overshadowed by guilt for getting the man all het up when he should be recovering from his injuries. Mal tried to hide a wince of pain as he got his feet under him, pausing to get his breath steady and block out the pain. "Have to stop Jayne before it's too late."

"That doesn't mean you need to get up. You have a crew Mal and last I checked the com was still working."

He got a glare for his trouble. "When I want a clown I'll go to the gorram circus."

Simon activated the com and asked for the First Mate to join them, *mashang*. Within seconds Zoe stomped into the infirmary, Wash and Kaylee right behind her. "*Shenme shi*?"

Simon told her and watched Zoe level a hard look at her Captain. "Sir, best you do as the doctor says. We'll get Jayne back."

"Ain't gonna do that. He took Inara's shuttle down to the planet's surface. For all we know the place could be crawlin' with Alliance an' such."

"If you jar that hip you'll break it." Simon warned.

"Know that for a fact?"

"No, but the fracture makes the bone frangible and the likelihood of a break is high if you move around on it before I can seal the fracture."

"Ain't got time..."

Simon cut him off, angry now at the Captain's stubborn attitude. "Do you want to be crippled, Captain?"

Mal looked at him in shock. "You said..."

"I said if you jar your hip you'll break it. I never said it would be a clean break."

Both men fell silent. Zoe stepped in. "Sir, let me handle this. We need you healed an' fit."

"I'm the Cap'n."

"Which is why you need to delegate, sir. Let the crew do the running around while you come up with a masterplan." Simon marvelled at how easily Zoe handled the fractious Captain.

The Captain visibly sagged, only his grip on the side of the infirmary bed keeping him upright. Simon moved closer but didn't offer help unasked for. Malcolm Reynolds could be difficult enough when the mood took him. "Let me check that hip, Captain. *Qing*."

"Wash could scan the planet surface, sir, see if there's any unusal activity." Mal did not look good, the colour draining from his face. He nodded carefully, his jaw clammed shut to keep the pain in. Wash squeezed Zoe's hand and hurried off to the bridge. Kaylee could see that the Captain wouldn't be upright for long and hated the look in his eyes as if the crew had betrayed him. She waved a hand behind her, wanting desperately to do something to help. "I should get to the engine room, make sure Serenity's ready."

"*Duibuqi, mei mei*." The Captain muttered, his lips whitening with pain.

As Kaylee left Zoe gave Simon a look and stepped up to the Captain, ignoring his glare as she took hold of one side while the doctor got on the other. Between them they half lifted and half eased him back on to the infirmary bed. The Captain closed his eyes and laid back slowly with a hiss of pain, his face white as a sheet. Simon didn't like the look of him and decided that operation had better happen sooner rather than later. He needed to get a bond on that fracture and maybe pin it then check to make sure he hadn't missed anything. Inara readied the hypo and handed it to him, Simon giving her a nod of thanks and administering the shot before the Captain realised what was happening. His eyes fluttered open, speech slurring a little with pain. "Don't wanna be knocked out..."

"I have to operate, Captain." Simon explained.

They watched the Captain's eyes flutter closed. Once they were sure he was out for the count Inara gave him an apologetic look. "This is my fault. I told him what Jayne was going to do. I should have waited."

"*Bu qu*. You did the right thing."

Inara, Simon and Zoe turned to see River standing in the doorway. Simon took a step towards her. "*Mei mei*..."

"He didn't go alone. Took the Shepherd with him but we have to move fast. Won't be left alone for long."

Zoe's heart raced. "Alliance?"

River nodded.

* * * * *

It was dark. Soothing to her eyes and nerves. Despite how the plan had to be constantly adjusted she was still on track. Ahead of the game. Weariness tugged at her but she couldn't rest. She was close and nothing was going to get in her way this time. The baby in her arms shifted, began to squirm and cry. Casey felt a rush of frustration so strong it was more allied to hate than impatience. She wanted to shake the precious bundle to shut it up but River had been right. There was no maternal love involved, the child was merely insurance. If there had been somewhere safe to stash it she would have but Casey drew short of simply killing the child. She didn't know enough about biology to be sure his DNA would remain intact and usable should he die.

After all the effort she had gone to get to this point she wouldn't let a little thing like a crying baby divert her attention. Casey readjusted the cut down blanket so that the child's arms were wrapped inside then tucked the top edge around the baby's mouth leaving his nose clear but muffling his cries. She did not try to soothe him or give reassurance. Moving as quietly as she could, Casey moved through the rough cave and when it branched took the downward opening, not alarmed the slightest by how it steadily grew narrower. When it tapered to a close she did not panic. A slow smile gifted a crafty mouth. With care she reached with her free hand and brushed it over the surface of the stone. It was rough, the surface uneven and in places sharp. Casey took her time, letting her fingertips brush every part of the surface until she found the tiny smooth area that felt different from the rest. She paused and memorised the spot then knelt down and put the baby on the floor.

For a moment she stared at him and the fierce singularity of her own self centered determination almost wavered. The baby was nothing. A means to an end, no more. Getting attached to him would be as stupid as handing the code over to her enemies. No. She could do this. Had trained for it all of her misbegotten life. Casey tapped her pocket carefully then removed the stolen syringe. It would probably be months before Simon realised it was missing, after all the drawer had been well stocked. The syringe was empty, sealed in a sterile pack which she now ripped open with her teeth. For a moment she thought of saving the child but shook the notion off. This was as good a time as any to see if the plan had worked. If not, no need to keep toting a crying infant around the 'verse. If it had she would find him food, keep him alive as best she could.

She chose the stomach, wincing as the needle bit. One shaky hand covering the distressed baby's mouth. The needle sank slowly through tender newborn flesh, the angle and depth memorised. Once it was in place Casey removed the hand covering the baby's mouth, finally allowing him to scream in pain and anguished confusion, not understanding what was happening or why the person who had brought him into this life was abusing him this way. Casey needed both hands now and slowly filled the syringe. It looked like blood and nothing else but she knew different. Once the syringe was full she pulled the needle out then wrapped the blanket around the child. It was wimpering down, his face screwed up and red with screaming, little body squirming in the blanket as if trying to kick his way free.

Casey stood up and searched for the right spot then carefully pressed the plunger until a trickle of the bloody fluid dribbled down the wall. She used the needle point to swirl the blood around until the whole of the small area, no bigger than a coin, was covered. As soon as this was done, Casey pressed her right thumb into the blood. For a moment nothing happened then there was a deep low grinding sound. Not loud but reverberating up through her boots as something impossibly heavy shifted. A piece of wall then swung inwards, the sudden glare of artificial lighting blinding her. Casey squinted and just had enough presence of mind to snatch up the child when a man appeared. He was calm, his features showing no surprise at her appearance or the presence of a babe in arms. Dressed all in black his chest armour seemed more a part of him, tailored to fit and mould to hidden muscle. He stepped to one side and gave a slow nod.

Not exactly a welcome but not a rejection either. More an acknowledgement that she had done the impossible. As soon as she was over the threshold the great heavy piece of rock swung back in place. It clicked then hissed as if it was pressurised. Casey blinked, her vision adjusting to the light. Her eyes locked on his waiting for him to take the next step. "You were right, it worked."

"So I see."

She did not smile. Was not smug. "Qu*, I have done my part, now you do yours."

An eyebrow rose in an unmarked ebony face. The eyes looked distant, almost sad, but Casey was not fooled. The man was like Death's shadow. So many subtle nuances flowed through the dark depths of his eyes that a person could get lost in the myriad layers of subtext.

"You promised me a new life." She wanted to kick herself for reminding him, showing him her weakness. Nerves straining and fear just a heartbeat away. One flicker of emotion out of place and her life would end here and now. The bargain be damned.

A slow dark smile oiled its' way across his face. It made her skin crawl but also her palms itched in anticipation.

"May I?"

Casey blinked, not able to hide her surprise that he was asking to hold the child. Had she at last found his achilles heel? Without a word she passed the baby over. He glanced at the child which was still distressed but whose cries were mercifully muted, as if the baby knew no one would comfort him. After a moment he put the child on a table top, murmured something soft and so low to it that she could not make out the words. As he turned back to face her, his right hand swept up in a clean almost choreographed motion and drew his sword. Casey's mouth dropped open, her heartbeat slowing to a sticky gurgle in her veins. Time slowing down to a sickening crawl as if it wanted to savour what was to come.

"It is time for your old life to perish." He said softly.

The words could have been shouted for all the impact they had on her. The whisper as the blade of steel arced through the air was something remote from her senses. Numbed by the realisation of her own stupidity she did not even have time to cry out before the blade found her beating heart and stilled it. Her mouth was stuck open like a gaping wound, her eyes wide and staring, the terror not etched in them. Too startled for anything else to register. The Operative removed the sword and gave her crumpling corpse a small bow before wiping the blade on his sleeve then resheathing it on his back.

"Welcome to a better world."

Turning away from the body, he took up the precious bundle and walked off down the shiny illuminated room, banks upon banks of cryo units humming softly in some obscene lullaby to the future sleeping innocent and not knowing what part they would play in the ultimate vision of Armageddon. They flanked his path like an obscene honour guard. The Operative allowed a tiny smile to soften his lips, his eyes glancing down briefly at the child in his arms. With the appearance of this little one the others were already obsolete.

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*shenme* = what *qu* = yes (lit. go) *dong ma* = understand? *mashang* = immedately/at once/on the double/quickly *qing* = please *duibuqi* = sorry *shenme shi* = what's the matter? *mei mei* = little sister *bu qu* = no (lit. no go)



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