Determined: Chapter Four
Friday, December 14, 2007

When their stolen flier crashes in the high mountains of Newhall, Jayne and Kaylee struggle to survive as Serenity’s remaining crew members organize a search for them.


Determined: Chapter Four Author: hisgoodgirl

Disclaimer: All belong to Joss. I got nada. Paring: Jayne/Kaylee Rating: PG-15, for profanity Setting: Post BDM Word Count: 1850

A/N: Set on the same world as my Faith Trilogy. Hover for translation. Loved it? Hated it? Let me know what you think. Thanks. X-posted from my LiveJournal



Chapter Four Second Day, On The Mountain

The faint gray of dawn filtered in through breaches in the flyer. Jayne groaned and sat up from under the mound of insulation and evergreen boughs. His breath exited him as a soft fog in the frigid air. “Jesus, what a fuckin’ awful night.” He massaged his shoulder.

Kaylee rolled onto her back and opened her good eye. The other was bruised and swollen from the cut on her brow. “I ain't never been so cold in my life.”

“I know, baby.” Jayne rubbed his face. “Look, I gotta piss and then we better get a move on. Got lots to do and a bunch a ground to cover.”

“Me, too, then I’ll start seein’ what I can salvage from the control panel.”

* * *

“I couldn’t get the radio to workin’, but I did rig this.” Kaylee held up an improvised transmitter wired to a pair of extra batteries. “I’m bettin’ River’s checkin’ the wave transmissions. Can’t send a voice transmission, but I can use the wire to tap on the battery, send a series of short pulses. If I do it right, River’ll know it’s us, maybe be able to pinpoint where we are.”

The big mercenary looked at her with open admiration. “I always knew you was clever. That’s good, Kaylee, real good. Guess we better see to how we can best keep ourselves warm.” He began to root around in the chaos inside the cabin.

“How’s your arm this mornin’?” She touched him hesitantly, hungry for the sense of reassurance his sheltering presence always gave her.

“Hurt’s like a bitch, but I’ll manage. How’s about your head?” He tilted her face into the light to get a better look at the injury.

“Ain't so bad, “ Kaylee said, unwilling to admit how much her head was aching. She figured Jayne had enough to worry about without fretting over her, too. “We both got banged up a right smart when we hit. Gonna make for slow goin’.”

“Got that right.” Jayne bent and separated the fir boughs from the bats of insulation that had helped to warm them through the night. “Let’s cram some of this stuff into our clothes. If nothing else, it’ll help cut the wind.”

When they were done they looked at one another and, for the first time since the previous day, burst out laughing. They both looked look fat and lumpy and itched like crazy, but no doubt about it – they were both warmer.

Jayne shook out the blanket they’d slept under. “Wanna give me a hand?” With the girl’s help, he used his knife to split the blanket into two halves, then cut a small slit in the middle of each half. “We can pull these over our heads like ponchos, maybe stay a little warmer.” He looked around the cabin. “Gotta find somethin’ for our heads. A person loses a lotta body heat off their head.”

“How about the fabric from the seat covers?” Kaylee asked and the merc grinned.

“That’s m’girl. Great idea!”

They stripped the remainder of the upholstery off the flier seats and Kaylee made crude hoods for each of them, lacing the fabric with fine wire she pulled from the control panel. ”Ain't so good as your Ma’s cap,” she observed, holding one out for show, “but they oughta help keep us warm.”

They’d each consumed another snack bar and shared the remainder of the water. Then Kaylee gathered the rest of their supplies in another piece of the fabric and tied it shut with more wire, twisting the long ends into a carrying strap.

“Now that,” Jayne affirmed, “is pure clever.” Kaylee grinned bravely up at him.

Bundling up as warmly as possible, the pair climbed out of the wrecked flier. The snow outside had crusted over during the night and the air was bright and crisp. The mercenary oriented himself by the sunrise and pointed downslope. “We’ll head that way. At least we won’t have far to go to get down out of the snow.” Then they set out, accompanied by the crisp crunch of the snow and the shrill cries of some bird of prey, soaring in the clear morning air far down the ridgeline.

A brisk fifteen minutes walk and they’d left the snowfield behind and moved down into an area of loose rocks and gravel that made for dangerous going. Twice Kaylee slipped in the unstable footing and both times it was Jayne’s quick reflexes that saved her from a nasty tumble. “Damn, girl,” he blurted. “Watch your footing! You break a leg or an ankle up here, we’re just fucked.”

Kaylee was shaken but determined. “I understand an’ I’ll try to be more careful. Maybe we should slow down just a little.”

They alternately slid and skidded on the scree, grateful that their activity was helping to warm them as the rising sun burned away the dew from the previous night. It was still plenty cold and Kaylee wondered if her toes and fingers would ever thaw enough for her to do her mechanical work on Serenity.

"Gonna need to find water before long," Jayne remarked. “If we keep heading down this wash, we’re bound to come to a spring or creek eventually, ‘cause that snowmelt’s gotta go somewhere’s.”

This proved true and after about another half-hour of steady downhill trekking, he pointed out a dark green area along a fold in the bare mountainside. “Them’s tamarisks. Only grow where there’s water.” He put his good arm around Kaylee’s shoulder, encouraged.

When they’d quenched their thirst from the icy spring and refilled the water bottle, Kaylee checked the tote sack she’d made. “Four more a them bars is all we got, Jayne.”

He looked at her solemnly. “Yeah, I been looking for meat for us, but I think we’ve gotta get further down these mountains before there’ll be any game. Think ya can hold off eatin’ a little longer?”

Kaylee nodded. “Oughta see if I can get a signal out, maybe make it something River would recognize. She thought for a minute, then rested the improvised transmitter on her knees and began to tap the battery contact with the lead wire in an evenly spaced sequence.

Jayne watched her in wonder. “You never cease to amaze me how you just know stuff like that,” he told her when she put the device away. “I’d a never thought of that in a million years.”

The girl smiled, then kissed him softly. His encouragement meant a lot. The hiking had been hard going, especially with both of them stiff and sore from the previous afternoon’s crash. Still, Kaylee needed to know the truth of what they were facing. “Are we gonna make it outta here, Jayne? An’ what about the Cap’n and Zoë?”

The merc was silent.

“Well then,” Kaylee’s face was filled with determination as she pushed herself up and grabbed his good hand, “I guess we best get movin’ again, huh? Got us a lot of ground to cover.”

* * *

By mid-day, Jayne and Kaylee had come down almost two thousand feet in altitude and covered about five miles. The terrain had changed dramatically and they now traveled through thick evergreen forest. It was, in some way, even tougher going than hiking on the loose rock and scree had been, because the slope was so steep, cut with numerous deep gullies and piled with dead-falls. The forest floor was cushioned with a thick layer of spruce and fir needles, shed from the immense trees that towered overhead, their limbs so dense as to block out much of the sky.

They took turns helping one another over the huge fallen trunks that lay rotting in the dim light on the forest floor, and Kaylee could see that this was especially difficult for Jayne, with his fractured forearm. Hearing him curse under his breath when his crude splint shifted, she asked if they could take a break.

“This is just wearin’ us both out. Let’s rest a minute and I’ll signal again. We can have another of them bars an’ some water and catch our breath, then I’ll re-do your arm, see if I can’t figure a way to make it more stable.”

Jayne scowled down at his injured arm. He hated the sense of vulnerability that came with injury. “You’re probably right. Gorramn thing don’t take well to all this clamberin’ about.”

They settled on the broad curve of a fir trunk, and Kaylee opened up the tote bag to retrieve the food. Jayne’s stomach growled loudly and she thought about how the big man was always eating on something. Surreptitiously, she palmed two of the four bars and handed both of them to him.

“Hey, there was one more’n I thought,” she lied. “You need some fuel for them muscles, anyways.”

Jayne gratefully accepted the food and munched away while the little mechanic popped open the first aid box and dug around in the contents. “Look here!” She held out a roll of gauze and a packet of some sort of mild pain medication. “Maybe you can take one of these, make you a little more comfortable, but not enough to knock you out or nothin’.”

He looked skeptically at her, then grudgingly held out his hand. “Just one. We gotta have more to eat an’ I need to stay sharp if I’m gonna get us any game.” He uncapped the water bottle and swallowed the pill.

Kaylee held out her hand. “Lemme see what I can do with your wrist. I know it’s painin’ ya.” The girl unwrapped the strips of fabric that bound the metal splint to Jayne’s wrist and forearm and found it swollen and badly bruised. “Looks bad.”

“Yeah, it’s talkin’ to me, all right.” He gingerly flexed his hand and winced. “Try movin’ the splint down a little further. Just leave my fingers free when you wrap it back up.”

Using the gauze and fabric, Kaylee rebound Jayne’s wrist. “How’s that?” she asked, tucking the loose end under to secure it.

“Better.” He playfully knuckled at her chin. “You’re damn clever, gal. How’s about givin’ that whatzits another shot, give us a better chance of somebody findin’ us.” Don’t know anyone’s like to come lookin’, but I wanna keep her spirits up as best as I can.

Kaylee dug out her homemade transmitter and rested it on her knees, tapping out the repeating 11-16 signal for some time. Finally she stopped, looking at the big mercenary uncertainly. “Surely, they gotta be checking the radio. River’ll know it’s us.”

Jayne kept his thoughts to himself. No point in frightening the girl. For all they knew, Serenity was gone and Mal and Zoë were already in Alliance custody. He offered her his hand. They stood together for a moment, drawing strength from one another, then he prompted, “Let’s keep movin’. With the sun goin’ down behind them mountains, we’re gonna start loosing daylight pretty early, and I’d sure like to make it clear of this dense forest while we can still see.”


To be continued…


Friday, December 14, 2007 7:04 PM


Hopefully river will track them down without too much going wrong. We can always be hopeful.

Monday, August 22, 2011 6:35 AM


might not remember too well and might have to go back re-reading, but wasn't it 11-26 in the previous chapter?


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