The Storm IV
Saturday, December 22, 2007

Serenity has survived the blizzard and help has come in an interesting form. Set post-BDM.


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


The next time I decide on something stupid, Zoe’d better direct a bullet into my brainpan. Bitter thoughts continued on as Mal made the arduous climb out of the hole and up the port side of the ship. The wind was blasting snow and other fine material into his cheeks and goggles, obscuring his vision. He hoped that the safety line was fastened securely enough.

Finally reaching his destination, the former Browncoat opened his utility bag and pulled out the pliers. Grasping the metal antenna firmly, he clipped the pliers on and began the slow process of bending the array into something resembling normal.

He felt the tension in his muscles as his hand began to cramp from the cold. He couldn’t let go, though, couldn’t face his crew with failure.

Satisfied after another couple of minutes, Mal replaced the pliers with a sensor pad and connected it to the outlet after first wiping away the snow. He flicked off his miner’s light to read the backlit display, punched some buttons on it and yelped at seeing the reading. A solid connection had been established and the signal was getting out. Whether or not it could get past the storm was another matter, but this was something at least.

Hauling himself back into the ship, he manoeuvred the crates as best he could in front of the opening. Less snow was coming in, but the cold was still present, still threatening. He hoped to hell that Inara had some luck with her shuttle.

Mal whipped off his leather hat and smacked it against his legs to rid it of snow. He strode from the guest quarters back towards the infirmary. “Any change, Doc?”

Simon winced at moving his neck too fast. “No.” He removed his stethoscope from his neck and blew on his numbing fingers. “And if we don’t get some heat soon, it really won’t matter.”

Mal eyed River sitting placidly on the couch in the lounge. “What about you? Gettin’ anything in the way of good, darlin’?”

She tilted her head and closed her eyes, concentrating. “Only go through the out door. Not the in door.” She opened her eyes wide and smiled. “Dinner!” She leapt from her seat and rushed up to meet Zoe coming down the stairs with a tray of steaming bowls.

Mal’s gaze followed the woman. “She still makes precisely no sense.”

“Not always,” Simon answered, tugging Jayne’s blanket further up. “But she has improved. I’ve been able to give her less medication and we’ve been working-”

Mal’s raised hand quieted the doctor. “How’s about focussing on the patient. Can he be moved?” He nodded his thanks to Zoe as she handed him a warm bowl. He momentarily let the smell of packaged stew and spice fill his senses.

Simon shook his head. “No,” he continued after a spoonful of stew. “He still hasn’t stabilised yet. He lost quite a bit of blood. Ironically, the cold actually helped keep him from bleeding out.” He swallowed another mouthful. “Of course, he does have severe frostbite.”

Zoe gave a sidelong glance at Mal as she spooned her own meal. They’d all have frostbite soon.

River looked up, staring at the ceiling. “Someone’s coming.”

In unison, Mal and Zoe grabbed for their weapons and placed their bowls on the infirmary counter. He motioned for her to head up towards the outer hatch while he went back to the crew quarters and the only other entrance into the snowbound ship.

Zoe strode cautiously up the steps into the corridor, listening carefully. She noted that the wind seemed to be lessening. Taking a quick glance around the corner, she spotted Inara walking from the bridge.

“Zoe? Where’s Mal?”

The woman holstered her mule leg. “River said there was an intruder.” She lifted an eyebrow at the woman before her.

The Companion shook her head. “I managed to contact the local authorities on my cortex. They must be nearby. Zoe?”

Dark eyes ran up and down Inara taking in the very unusual, very non-companion like outfit now adorning the woman. “All those clothes and not a thing to wear, eh?”

Inara grinned. “Pitfalls of not whoring anymore, I suppose.”

Zoe chuckled then cast her eyes upward as she heard the familiar whine of a small transport overhead. “Better tell the Captain. Don’t think he’s going to be much pleased.”

Mal was indeed not pleased. “You called the Feds?”

“They’re not the Feds, just local authorities,” Inara answered.

“Which is the same goramn thing. God damn, Inara, I thought you had more sense.” His hand pulled harshly through his hair.

Inara’s eyes narrowed. “This isn’t about you and your psychoses. It’s about getting this crew out of danger.”

“Which you just put them into more of. Ta ma de,” he cursed. Banging echoed on the hull. Mal eyed Zoe. “Best put on the face of a law-abiding captain.” Before swinging up the stairs from the lounge, he gave Inara a lingering look. “Guess not whoring don’t pay so good anymore.”

Before Inara could respond, River jumped in front and held out a coat. “Going for a walk. Bundle up.”


The clanking continued until Mal twisted the wheel of the hatch and was inundated with fresh snow to his face. Wiping it away, he put on his most charming of smiles. “Boy, are we glad to see you.” He jumped from the ladder as the Sheriff entered. “We thought we might be buried alive under here. Ain’t that so?” He looked to Zoe.


The Sheriff breathed out, pulling her gloves off and blowing on her hands. “Sure is a bitch outside.” She rubbed them a little. “Hennings. Carol.” She extended a hand to Mal and Zoe. “Got a message that you’d been stranded.” She looked down the corridor past the galley. “Engine trouble?”

Mal nodded enthusiastically. “Uh-huh. That’s right.” He smiled. “Seems we lost our way and had to make a crash here on your lovely piece of property.” He moved as a deputy jumped in from the hatchway.

Hennings nodded. “Happens.” She blew on her hands again. “You the captain?” She turned to Zoe.

Mal waved a hand. “That would be me.”

“Of course,” Hennings nodded.

“We got papers,” Zoe added, holding the brown leather fold.

“Uh-huh.” Hennings waved the papers away. “Message said something about needing medical assistance.” She pulled off her toque.

“Funny thing, that.” Mal chuckled.

“Didn’t think hurt folk were altogether funny.”

“No. ‘Course not, just he’s kinda big...”

Hennings huffed. “Listen, Captain..?”


“Harbatkin. I seen all kinds of ships come and go from my little town’s port going to all manner of places that may or may not be in the best interest of the Alliance. Now given that you have a mighty fine little Firefly vessel and an equally fine little brown coat leads me to believe that you just want to be left alone and do your merry little business.”

Zoe heard Mal’s swallow.

Hennings continued, thrusting her gloves into her overcoat pockets. “Well, that’s just dandy with me. Long as your people don’t interfere with my little space, all’s the better. So let’s stop pussyfooting around and you take us to your downed crew and we’ll see what can be done for ‘em. Dong ma?”

“Yes, ma’am.” Mal was a little more than stunned and Zoe was nearly gaping.

“Wonderful. Aikens?” She turned to her deputy.


“Why don’t you head down with this fine lady and tell me who needs our help,” she looked to Mal, “so the Captain and I can see if we can reckon on the engine problem and might not get that fixed.” She grinned and it gave Mal an uncomfortableness. Woman was altogether too bossy and too much in control on his boat.

Zoe stared at Mal, waiting for instruction. “Best do like the Sheriff says, Alleyne. Don’t want no trouble with the law.”

With a cool face, Zoe lead Aikens to the infirmary as Mal and Hennings went to the engine.

“Had some time on a bird like this,” Hennings continued. “Ship’s engineer was the worst piece of go se you’d ever have the misfortune of meeting. Couldn’t tell ya the difference between a drum casing and rotator stand.” She snorted. “Fucking miracle any of us lived to see the light of day. Well now.”

Hennings stepped into the engine room and noted the disarray from the crash. She dropped her coat on the hammock and began unbuttoning the sleeves of her shirt to roll them up. “She’s in a might better condition than I would have given you credit for, Captain. So let’s find the problem.” Moments later, the Sheriff was elbow deep into the engine and Mal was left wondering how he managed to have the local authorities provide him with such service.

He only hoped that Simon and River had managed to hide themselves away.

Standing behind the Sheriff, Mal watched the woman hunt and root around inside the engine proper. “Got yourself some engineer.” She pointed a finger. “See this? Took a team of Alliance rocket scientists three years to figure out that this is the best place for it.” She shook her head with a grunt. “Useless sons a bitches. Your crew figured it out in ten seconds, by the looks.”

The woman fiddled and babbled more about the engines of Fireflies and the incompetence of the Alliance for another twenty minutes before Mal heard a click then the sound of a soft hum.

“Hot damn!” Hennings exclaimed. “That got her.” She emerged from underneath the engine, greased fingers now being wiped on her pants. “The cooling valve got clogged, likely on impact. Shuts the engine down after a minute otherwise it’d explode.”

Mal blinked. He didn’t wanna explode.

“Just pulled it out and now the thing’s flowing again.” She held a hand out for Mal to help her stand. “Gonna take some time to get the engine warmed up, maybe an hour, then you can try starting her up.” She smiled. “Don’t look so stunned, Captain. Women are capable of all kinds of things, even this one.” She went for her overcoat. “In the meantime, I’m expecting that you folks might want a warm place to be.” Hennings shifted her shoulders inside her coat. “Got us a bar with something that passes for beer, which you can buy me one of for saving your sorry asses.”

“Sounds right friendly.” Mal was stupified. This woman was not like any officer of the law he’d ever encountered. Seemed unnatural.

The Sheriff tapped her small comm. “Aikens? Report.”

After a moment, the deputy’s voice came back. “We have two needing medical assistance, one right away.”


“Well, ma’am... it’s just...”

Mal and Hennings both heard the gulp. The Sheriff rolled her eyes. “I’m coming down.” She flicked the comm off and muttered something about backbones. She eyed Mal. “Am I going to find a surprise in the infirmary?”

“Define surprise.”


Saturday, December 22, 2007 11:34 PM


Loved this and I **really** like the lady Sheriff. Not only did she fix the problem with the engine she managed to stupify the Captain as well. Not a bad day's work. And I'm guessing from the Deputy's last transmission he is going to agree that Jayne really is big (and heavy to lift). Merry Christmas, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, December 24, 2007 3:33 PM


Interesting take on their engine trouble, and really wondering where you're going next!


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