BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

ARTEMISPRIME

The Storm - Chapter Two
Friday, December 7, 2007

Mal assesses the damage done to his ship and crew after the blizzard crash.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1614    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Disclaimer: all things Firefly/Serenity are the property of Whedon et al. Not making any money off this, just playing with the toys.

*****

With the loss of the ship’s engine, the howling wind was causing quite a racket. Mal staggered down the steps into the fore corridor on his way to the engine room. Cutting through the kitchen, he was relieved to see Zoe in the lounge chair, strapped in good. She nodded to him to continue on. Looking down the corridor to the engine room, he could see, even with the dim emergency lighting, that it was a mess.

“Kaylee?” he called. “Talk to me, mei-mei.”

His mechanic lurched over some fallen material, her hand to her head. Blood trickled from a cut on her forehead. She eyed Mal. “I’m okay, Cap’n, but Serenity...” Mal could see her face screwing up into pain. “She’s not too good.”

Mal wrapped a comforting arm across her shoulders. “Don’t you pay no never mind to that right now. Go get yourself to the Doc to get that head looked at, dong ma?”

She nodded weakly and glanced back at the engine room. It was a complete shambles. Acrid smoke and sparks gave it a spooky glow. Tools and small parts were strewn across the floor. At least the engine looked to be intact. Mayhap be only a power line was cut or another catalyzer was needed to get it turning over again.

The pair took shakey steps down to the infirmary level, and Kaylee gasped at Simon lying on the medbed with River doing a sort of examination. The younger woman eyed them and waved them in. Kaylee stepped over the tossed medical supplies and equipment to take Simon’s hand.

“He alright?” Mal asked from the doorway.

River nodded. “Whiplash. Sleeping now.” She smiled at her friend. “Wanted to find you, but you were playing with the engine.”

The mechanic stroked Simon’s cheek and smiled at his disarrayed hair. She felt River’s finger nimbly touch her forehead. She pulled back. “Ain’t nothin’.” Her eyes went a little crossed and she wobbled on unsteady legs.

“Oh no, Kaylee Frye,” Mal admonished, entering the infirmary. “That’s a little more than something.” His arm reached behind her to keep from falling and he gently guided her to the other bed River was quickly setting up. “Best let the Albatross look you over.” He gave a rogue grin. “Need you at a hundred and ten to get your girl back in the air.” He patted her arm made space for River to examine the woman.

“Internal cranial contusion with moderate expansion within the cavity.”

Mal gave his Captain-dummy stare.

“Bump in the head. Bed rest for a day.”

“Ah. Well, okay then. Good.” He spotted the bruise across the girl’s clavicle. “How’s that?” He pointed.

“It is functional. Go find the rest of your crew.”

Mal nodded and headed back to the galley. “Zoe?”

She glared at him with embarrassment and exasperation and tugged on the strap. Had she not been his first mate, the situation would have been comical. Mal bent and wrenched the snapping mechanism, but it would not unbuckle. He quickly grabbed a knife that had been thrown from the counter and sawed at the offending strap. Once freed, Zoe muttered a “Thank-you, Sir.”

She eyed Mal. “We crashed again?”

Mal nodded gravely. “Got no power and we’re in the middle of a blizzard.”

Zoe remained cool. “I’ll check on the rest of the crew and determine our status.” Mal headed to the cargo hold and Inara’s shuttle. He pounded on the door. “Inara?”

“Mal?” the Companion responded.

“You hurt?”

“I’m fine,” her wobbly voice came back. “But the door isn’t opening.” He could hear the clicking as the hatch struggled unsuccessfully to open.

“Try again.” This time the heavy metal door separated a little from its jamb. “I’m gonna try pulling on it.”

Tightly gripping the edge of the hatch, Mal put his full weight into opening it and bit back a howl. The impact of their crash bruised his chest and shoulders more than he’d realised. He gritted his teeth and pulled again, forcing it back a few more inches, then stopped to catch his breath.

“Go look to the others,” Inara instructed. “I’ll be alright.”

“No, Inara.” Mal’s voice was firm. “Best to get everyone together.” Ain’t gonna lose you.

The Companion didn’t argue. Doing what she could, she tried to help Mal get the hatch open, but they were unable to open it much further. “We need some leverage.”

Mal nodded, letting a mocking comment slide. There would be time for wise cracks later. Scanning the hold, he spotted Jayne’s weight bar and jogged to get it. Easing it in to the space between door and jamb, he pushed and was surprised when the door opened enough for Inara to squeeze out. She stepped lively into the corridor and faced Mal. “Thank-you,” she offered, wrapping her shawl tighter around her shoulders.

Tossing the bar aside, Mal ushered her towards the infirmary. “Best have River look at you.”

“Mal, I told you. I’m fine.”

“Uh huh.” He placed his hand at her lower back and pushed her along.

“Mal!”

“Just humour me.”

The look in Mal’s eye left her no room for argument. His concern for her was deep and Inara appreciated that. As she considered what Mal had said, a horrible thought crossed her mind. “Why River?”

“Simon’s out for a bit. Whiplash or some such.”

All the way to the infirmary, Mal kept his hand on her. Presenting the Companion to Serenity’s stand-in medic, he asked River to check Inara over. “Not injured, but useful,” the girl quickly determined. “Can help with clean up here.”

The Captain nodded. He needed to assess the damage and that meant getting power running. “Kaylee, you got any notion on the how of getting the lights back up?”

The mechanic shook her head. “Have to see it, Cap’n. Serenity’ll tell me.”

“No playing!” River asserted loudly. “Must take a time out until your brain is better.”

Mal lifted his hands in surrender. “Weren’t lookin’ to cause trouble, li’l one, but in case it escaped your mind, we need to get some juice running through or it’s going to get a might nippy.”

“I can help, Cap’n.” Kaylee swung her feet over the edge of the counter bed and paused. “Just get me to the bridge.”

Mal glanced at River, who pulled a face, but shrugged, understanding just how stubborn the girl could be. “Need to get communications up.”

With Mal’s help, Kaylee made it up to the cockpit. “How ‘bout you helpin’ me get under... the control panel, Cap’n Prince. Gotta as...sess th’damage.” She blinked hard to steady herself.

Mal waited impatiently, pacing a little and starting to feel the cold seep into the ship. They were going to need blankets, lots of blankets.

Twenty minutes later, Zoë found Mal scowling with his arms crossed over his chest. He knew something was off by her expression. “I’ll be back in a tick, mei-mei,” he called to Kaylee’s protruding legs.

The pair stepped onto the stairs. “Tell me you got something on this side of good,” his voice low.

His first mate shook her head. “I’ve done a preliminary scan of the ship and Jayne’s missing.”

Mal frowned. “Can’t be. He was on ship afore we lifted from Boros.”

“I’ve checked where he should be and he ain’t there,” Zoe continued, holding his eye.

“You thinking he took off after the crash.”

“Perhaps.”

Mal’s narrowed his eyes. “You got something else?”

“Sir, it’s possible that he’s injured and can’t respond to our calls.” Or dead.

“Fuck!” This ain’t what I need. He shut his eyes to think a little. “Alright. Take Inara and go through every space on the ship. And while you’re at it, do a visual assessment of the ship’s condition.” He turned up the steps. “Need to know what’s been done to my boat.”

“Sir.”

Something in her voice made Mal glance back at her.

“Could be there’s folks already looking for us. How far are we from the meet site?”

Mal shrugged. “Could be up to twenty klicks.” He huffed. “I don’t know, Zoe, could be more, could be less. Ship was buckin’ and then spun. Couldn’t tell you how far off course we went.”

Zoe nodded. “A blizzard can do that.” She trotted down the steps.

The meaning wasn’t lost. With the storm still battling strong outside, they had to get power back or they would freeze to death. Their situation was entirely too familiar.

“How’s it coming there, little Kaylee?” He knelt down near her legs.

“Oh, okay.” Her voice wavered some.

“Don’t gotta tell ya how important it is we get the boat back up.”

“No, Cap’n.” The panel sparked. “Ooh.” She pulled her finger to her mouth.

“You alright?”

“Mm-mm,” she responded over her finger. “Just bit me to wake me up some.”

Mal rubbed his knees with his hands. “Can you do this?”

Silence.

“Kaylee?”

He was about to haul her out when she squealed. At the same moment, the pilot’s control panel started to glow and the comm began spewing static. Mal grinned and began flicking and flipping switches. Gazing out the window, he could see the snowy sky turning purple. Night was coming. If anyone was looking, he needed to send a signal now.

He picked up the intercom and pushed the record button. “Mayday, Mayday. This is the transport ship Serenity requesting assistance. Repeat, this is the transport ship Serenity requesting assistance.” He sent the wave on a multi-band broadcast then turned to his mechanic. “You done plenty good, Kaylee. Now come on outta there and rest up some. Don’t want the Albatross giving my ass a beating for undoing her work.”

“Just a sec...there!” The young woman made one last connection and then slowly pushed herself out, but let her head rest on the floor. “Got power to all systems. Gonna take a while...” Her voice trailed off.

“Okay then, back to the infirmary.” Mal bent and gently lifted Kaylee into his arms.

“Not tired...” she slurred, her head lolling back. “Wanna pet the pony, daddy.”

Mal grinned in spite of himself.

COMMENTS

Friday, December 7, 2007 6:43 PM

KATESFRIEND


Very interesting! Looking forward to more. How did they lose Jayne?

Saturday, December 8, 2007 12:44 AM

JANE0904


I most definitely like! And the little touches of humour even while they're in the midst of a severe problem are excellent, like Zoe being unable to free herself from the restraint, and Kaylee wanting to pet the pony, daddy. Concussion or what?

Saturday, December 8, 2007 5:27 AM

AMDOBELL


Yes, I think Kaylee definitely has a concussion, a bruised brain pan. Wonder where in the nine hells Jayne is? Hope he is okay. I did smile at River taking over Simon's duties while he is out for the count but at least none of the crew we have seen so far appear too seriously injured. Just hope to good gorram I haven't spoken too soon. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me


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