Broken - Part VIII
Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Maya. Post-BDM. Mal, Zoe and Jayne are caught, but there's trouble back at Serenity too. NEW CHAPTER


Mal, Zoe and Jayne turned slowly towards the voice, trying to see in the darkness of the warehouse but only able to make out indistinct shapes.

“Zoe?” Mal murmured.


“Six,” Jayne corrected, equally quietly.

Mal nodded slightly, breathing shallowly, ready to shoot when necessary.

“And I’d be beholden if you’d just drop those guns to the ground,” the voice in the gloom continued. “Else I’ll be forced to make you.”

Zoe glanced at her Captain, then followed his lead in placing her Mare’s Leg carefully onto the dirt. Jayne grumbled to himself, colourful and extremely obscene Chinese curses bitten back behind his lips, but he did the same, feeling the reassuring press of Binky’s sheath at his back.

“That’s right. Don’t do anything stupid and no-one needs to get hurt.” The voice chuckled slightly. “Well, no-one else.”

Jayne stiffened slightly. That laugh sounded all too familiar.

“You gonna apologise to the men lying dead here?” Mal asked.

“Nope. They’re just casualties of war.”

“Ain't no war here. Just folks trying to scrape a living.” Mal began, but Jayne interrupted him.

“And you weren't on any side in the war,” the big man said. “’Cept your own.”

There was movement in the gloom. “Jayne Cobb?” A man stepped forward into a small glow of light, tall and thin. “That you?”

“If it ain't I’m labouring under a misapprehension.”

The man laughed. “You always did like those big words. Never figured you to be understanding half of ‘em.”

“Well, you don’t know everything, Corcoran.” Jayne couldn’t have sounded more disgusted if he’d just trodden in jin zhi and had no way of scraping it off.

Corcoran smiled coldly. “You know, I thought you were dead.” His pale, almost translucent eyes didn’t blink.

“Wasn't for lack of you trying.”

“No, true.”


Freya looked up from the book she was reading, her eyes narrowed as she tasted the thoughts in her mind. It was hard, difficult to see through the static that had been miring her for weeks, but if she concentrated, pushed just there … She was on her feet almost at the same moment as her face paled, grabbing her gunbelt and running up the ladder.


“Some of those scars you got from him, Jayne?” Mal asked, not taking his eyes off the man in front.


“And now I get to meet your friends.” Corcoran looked the others up and down. “Ain't you gonna introduce us ‘fore I take all your worldly goods?”

Jayne fairly bristled. “Ain’t yours.”

“Now, you see, I tend to look on it as being possession being nine points of the law. That and the fact that I’m armed and you’re not.” He looked past the big man out into the rain. “And it looks like I've got a bonus. Nice vehicle you got there. Make me a pretty penny when I sell it.”

“It ain't yours,” Jayne repeated, his muscles already getting ready to fight.

“You know, you’re like a stuck vid.” Corcoran motioned to one of the men still in the darkness. “Baxter, bring it inside. Don’t want a fine piece of machinery like that to get all rusty.”

“Yeah, boss.” Baxter circled around and undid the bolt on the main doors, throwing them open.

“Jayne, I never knew you had acquaintance with such fine people,” Mal said softly, using the sudden increase in illumination to pick out the exact positions of the other four men, knowing the others were doing the same.

“He’s done this before, Mal,” Jayne explained. “Hears of a cargo, goes in, kills the people waiting for it and takes what he wants.”

“You sound rather too knowledgeable.”

“Yeah, well …” For once the ex-mercenary was somewhat embarrassed. “We run together for a while. Back after the war. Things were tight and I needed cash, and he offered … But that’s a long sorry story, and I ain't in the mood to be telling it.”

“I understand.” Mal did, too. However much this man had changed over the past few years, become family, there were periods in his life that would never stand up to moral scrutiny. “Does it help us any?”

“Nah. Just thought you’d wanna know.” He flexed his hand slightly. “And he’s lying. He ain’t gonna let us walk out of here.”


Hank heard the hatch above the captain’s bunk open, and he jumped from his seat, catching sight of Freya as she hurried down the stairs.

“Frey, hold up! We got problems. Port Control’ve put a landlock on … what’re you doing?” He stared at her as she crossed the cargo bay floor towards the open door.

“Mal’s in trouble,” Freya said, buckling her gunbelt around her hips. “Stay here and –“

She didn’t get to finish the sentence as a bullet thudded into the wall next to her. Another made her stagger and fall.


Mal stiffened.

“Sir?” Zoe breathed, but he shook his head, swallowing hard.

The hover mule came in behind them, and Baxter settled it to the ground. Jumping down, he closed the doors once more and gloom descended again.

“So now what?” Jayne asked.

Corcoran took a step closer. “Fancy rig like that, you must have a decent ship. Might be something on board we can use. Or maybe someone?”

Jayne’s face ruptured into loathing. “You slaving now?” he asked, unable to keep the revulsion out of his voice.

“Hey, whatever pays the bills.” Corcoran put his head onto one side. “What, you saying you never did?”

“Not even when I was lower than the tits on a worm.”

“Jayne Cobb. Man of honour.” He moved closer. “Only we know better, don’t we, Jayne?”


“Frey!” Hank yelled, running across the bay floor and jamming his hand hard onto the external control, even as he saw figures appearing out of the rain.

A shot above him rang out, and one of the figures fell just as the ramp lifted fast, catching him under the chin and tipping him back soundlessly.

Hank glanced up. River stood on the catwalk, one of her rifles pointed at the rapidly closing gap.


“Never said I was that.” Jayne shook his head, aware Mal had paled. “Ain’t never been an honourable man.”

“No, guess maybe you didn’t. But you’re gonna do the honourable thing now, ain't you, Jayne?” They were now little more than a foot apart. “You’re gonna tell me where that ship of yours is.”

“Why? So you can take her?”

“So I don’t just shoot you.” Corcoran massaged the hilt of his gun with his thumb. “And I can make it last a long time, and it’ll be gorram painful.”


“What is it?” Simon asked, appearing in the common area doorway.

“Freya’s been shot,” Hank said.

“Help her,” River said, lowering the rifle and walking unsteadily towards the bridge, one hand pressed against her swollen belly.

Simon ran across the bay floor, even as the sound of banging started outside. “What’s that?” he asked as he went down onto his knees next to her.

“The bad guys.”

“Can they get in?”

“Probably. Eventually.” Hank ran a hand through his scruffy brown hair and looked up at Kaylee who had appeared in the upper doorway. “Can you lock us down? Make sure it’s as difficult as possible?”

The young woman nodded, hurrying wordlessly out of the bay.

“Who are they?” Simon asked, pulling the wet red fabric from Freya’s shoulder.

“No idea. Probably someone Mal’s pissed off. He does that a lot.”

Freya groaned, opening her eyes.

“Lie still,” Simon ordered.

Cao,” she murmured, feeling the pain radiating through her body, and tried to move away from it.

“Lie still,” he repeated. “You’re bleeding a lot, but it doesn’t seem to have hit anything vital.”

“Sure it has,” Freya said, her eyes fluttering slightly as she held grimly onto consciousness. “Me.”

“I meant a bone, or an artery.” Simon pressed the skin around the bullet hole.

“No, don’t think it did. It went straight through,” Freya said, gritting her teeth but not able to suppress the groan that trembled through her.

Hank went down onto his heels. “Did you mean it?” he asked, looking into her eyes. “What you said? Did you mean it?”

The doctor glared at him. “Hank, you have to let me –“

“We’re not the only ones got problems. Frey said the others did too. That’s where she was going.”

“What are you talking about?” Simon stared at the pilot.

“Simon, she said they’re in trouble. Mal and Zoe and … she said they’re in trouble.”


“Truth is,” Corcoran continued, his tone conversational, as if they were discussing the terrible weather Argus was having for the time of year, “I don’t need all of you. Don’t really even need one, least not whole, so I can make this just as messy as I like.” He pointed his gun at Zoe. “So you tell me. Where’s your ship?”

“She ain't his,” Mal said, stepping between the gunman and his first mate, knowing she was looking daggers at his back but having to do something. “She’s mine.”

Now Corcoran laughed. “So there is an honourable man here after all.” He turned his liquid eyes on Mal. “You know all about this man here, do you? The things he’s done? ‘Cause I'm sure you don’t.”

“No, doubt I do,” Mal agreed. “But I know him now.”

“And that’s supposed to make the difference?”

“Nope. Not to a man like you.”


Freya took a deep breath, ignoring the pain lancing through her. “Hank, give me a hand up.”

“No,” Simon said. “I need to –“

“You need to patch me up. I have to … they’re in trouble, Simon.” She pushed at the wall, trying to stand. “What I said to Hank – it’s true. They need my help.”

“You’re not going anywhere.”

“None of us are,” Kaylee said, her voice treacherous as she hurried back out onto the catwalk above them. “River’d already locked us, but she says there’s another five men outside, and they’re not wanting to take prisoners.”

As if in response to her words, the banging on the cargo bay doors got louder.

“Damn it,” Freya ground out. “If they make a mess, Mal won’t be happy.”

“Help me get her to the infirmary,” Simon said quickly. “And why don’t we just take off?”

“That’s what I was trying to say to Freya.” Hank looked more than unhappy. “We’re landlocked. Seems the Argus Port Control don’t want us crashing on anyone if we tried to take off during the storm.”

“Isn’t there anything you can do?”

“I’ve been trying.”

“Help me up,” Freya insisted.

Hank looked at Simon, who nodded. “Infirmary,” the young doctor said firmly.


“A man like me?” Corcoran smiled slowly, the expression not meeting his eyes. “Man like me has a gun on you, so I’d’ve thought you’d be a bit more pleasant.”

“If you’re gonna shoot, just do it.” Mal tried to breathe evenly, hoping Zoe could use his body as a shield to get to her gun. “Hate people who talk at me instead of getting on with things.”

“Fine.” The sound of the safety being removed seemed loud, even over the drumming of the rain on the roof. “Wouldn’t like to disappoint you.”

“Corcoran …” Jayne warned.

“It’s just so very easy. Just tell me which is your ship or I’ll …” He let the muzzle of the gun drop until it was aimed squarely at Mal’s belly.


“Mama?” Ethan stood in the common area doorway, his little face scared as he gripped the opening with both hands.

“You go back now,” Freya said, leaning heavily on Hank. “I'm okay. I just need your Uncle Simon to put a weave on me.”

“Hurts,” her son whispered.

“I know.” She smiled for him.

“Daddy …” He swallowed nervously.

“He’ll be fine.” Freya stood up as much as she could. “But we need you to be brave right now. I need you to be brave. I want you to go and hide, Ethan. Take the others and hide where I showed you.”

“Stay safe?”

She nodded. “You stay safe for your Daddy and me, dong mah?”

He nodded, barely holding back the tears that wanted to fall. “’Kay, Mama,” he whispered, turning to go back into the common area, his eyes fixed to hers.

Freya collapsed back onto Hank. “Gorramit,” she muttered. “I've been shot before. Why should I feel like this?”

“Because you’ve lost a lot of blood already,” Simon explained, helping Hank half-carry her towards the infirmary. “And you’ll pass out if I don’t get you patched up.” Her shirt was already soaked around her shoulder, and the blood was transferring to the two men. “Infirmary, now.”


Mal watched as Corcoran allowed his finger to take up the slack on the trigger, and he braced himself for the blow that was to come, then the shock before the pain set in …

“Reynolds!” A voice, loud, angry, filtering in from outside.

Corcoran looked up. “What the hell …”

“Reynolds! I know you’re in there!”

“That you?” Corcoran asked.

Mal nodded slowly. “Seems to be.”

“Then you’d better be telling them you don’t need rescuing.”

“Oddly enough, I doubt that’s what they’re trying.” He shrugged. “Don’t think they’re mine.”

“Reynolds!” The man outside didn’t seem to be calming down any. “You come on out and hand that cargo over, and maybe I can persuade my men not to take out their anger on the folks back on your ship.”

Corcoran stared. “Do you always make friends this easily?” he asked.

“It’s a gift,” Mal said dryly, wondering just what the hell else could go wrong today.


Up on the bridge of Serenity River sat in the pilot’s chair, hugging her belly. She couldn’t see the ground, but that didn’t matter. The five consciousnesses of the men outside were like bright flames in the grey, all filled with bitterness and anger, burning black with poison. She could see Freya red with pain, and Simon blue with concern in the infirmary, the yellow worry that was Hank on his way up to the Firefly’s cockpit, Kaylee’s green hue hovering in the corridor, but none were as bright as the press of pain that rolled through her, making her toes curl and her lungs gasp for breath even as she panted.

Not now. Not now. A mantra, over and over.

As the contraction ended, and she stood up from the chair to make way for Hank, she couldn’t stop the thought from filling her mind.

Jayne. I need you. You promised!

to be continued


Tuesday, February 19, 2008 2:32 PM


My pulse is racing so much that I feel like I just ran a race!

Mal, Zoe and Jayne in trouble, Freya shot with 5 men trying to get inside and to top it all off River's contractions are starting! You sure know how to leave us hanging!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008 2:44 PM


Not only do you have bad men with the drop on Mal, Zoe and Jayne fixing to steal their cargo, the ship and kill everyone but you also manage to have Frey get shot when she is on Serenity where she should be safe! You just can't resist any excuse to hurt her can you? You sure you ain't related to Niska? And now the people Mal was trying to deliver the cargo to turn up and seem to be more bad guys. The only surprise is that River hasn't gone into labour yet but I'm waiting... Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, February 19, 2008 4:54 PM


What else could go wrong? No, don't answer that - you'd think of something, I'm sure. Is help coming soon? Please?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 3:24 AM


Geez, what a set of circumstances! I'll be eagerly awaiting your solutions!


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“Then do you have a better suggestion? No, let me rephrase that. Do you have a more sensible suggestion that doesn’t involve us getting lost and freezing to death?”

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little standalone festive tale that kind of fits into where I am in the Maya timeline, but works outside too. Enjoy!]

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"I honestly don’t know if my pilot wants to go around with flowers and curlicues carved into his leg.”
[Maya. Post-BDM. The end of the story, and the beginning of the last ...]

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Mal took a deep breath, allowing it out slowly through his nostrils, and now his next words were the honest truth. “Ain’t surprised. No matter how good you are, and I’m not complaining, I’ve seen enough battle wounds, had to help out at the odd amputation on occasion. And I don’t have to be a doc myself to tell his leg ain’t quite the colour it should be, even taking into account his usual pasty complexion. What you did … didn’t work, did it?”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Simon has no choice, and Luke comes around.]

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“His name’s Jayne?”

“What’s wrong with that?” the ex-mercenary demanded from the doorway.

“Nothing, nothing! I just … I don’t think I’ve ever met a man … anyone else by that name.”

“Yeah, he’s a mystery to all of us,” Mal said. “Even his wife.”

[Maya. Post-BDM. Hank's not out of the woods yet, and Mal has a conversation. Enjoy!]

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Jayne had told him a story once, about being on the hunt for someone who owed him something or other. He’d waited for his target for three hours in four inches of slush as the temperature dropped, and had grinned when he’d admitted to Hank that he’d had to break his feet free from the ice when he’d finished.
[Maya. Post-BDM. The Fosters show their true colours, Jayne attempts a rescue, and the others may be too late.]

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[Maya. Post-BDM. A seasonal one-off - enjoy!]

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Jayne hadn’t waited, but planted a foot by the lock. The door was old, the wood solid, but little could stand against a determined Cobb boot with his full weight behind it. It burst open.

[Maya. Post-BDM. The search for Hank continues. Read, enjoy, review!]

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He slammed the door behind him, making the plates rattle on the sideboard. “It’s okay, girl, I ain't gonna hurt you.” The cook, as tradition dictated, plump and rosy cheeked with her arms covered to the elbows in flour, but with a gypsy voluptuousness, picked up a rolling pin.

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“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]

“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]