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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
3 months post BDM. Mal, Zoe, Kaylee, and Simon venture out into Persephone amidst the aftermath of an attack on an Alliance military site. Not all of them agree on the morals and consequences of their role in the Miranda broadwave. PG-13 for adult language, adult content, graphic death, and being so, so angsty. I promise the angst peeks here...please keep reading through depression. 2,890 words.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1073 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
After the explosion abruptly ended the inspection the crew of Serenity took a few minutes to prepare for their visit to Persephone. Mal collected a few bills of local currency and a knife to conceal in his boot. He checked for any messages on the Cortex for the third time in ten minutes. He sat for a moment on the edge of his bed. Back on the grid, he thought. Not exactly safe in the Black but at least he didn’t have to look over his shoulder out there. Here, a man such as himself has to wonder if every person he sees is there for him or some one he cares about. He stood and made for the ladder to the bridge passage way. River was standing in the entrance to the bridge. She was leaning against the door with her slender arms folded around her waist. “Powder keg, huh?” asked Mal. “Any other insights before we go.”
“It doesn’t work like that,” she said evenly. “It’s not literal. When there are not many variables it’s easy. But when there are many you have to be careful in what you say and think because you can’t separate yourself from the variables. It’s like looking at a white wall with a bright light behind you. You look back at the light and that is all you see. You look at the wall there is your shadow and other shadows. Shadows of other objects. Some bounce off each other, some block each other, some attach themselves to each other, and some obliterate each other. But there they are with your shadow. The only thing you can do is observe and try not to get caught up in them.”
Mal slowly nodded believing he understood, “Does it get easier?”
“I think so,” replied River, “but once again you have to be careful what you think. I can’t say where the shadows come from. I only know that mine is real. Sorry.”
Mal waved the air dismissively, “Pffft. I didn’t need the shadow puppets before; I can get on without a translation now. Come on down to cargo with me.”
Simon, Kaylee, and Zoe were waiting near the airlock for Mal. Mal looked at Simon, “Doctor! No pressed and pleated slacks? No vest? Untucked shirt? Hair mussed up? Are you feeling alright?”
Simon gave an embarrassed smile, “I’m no longer allowed to dress myself planet side.”
“Good work, Kaylee. And here I thought you wouldn’t know what to do with yourself with a perfectly functioning ship.” Kaylee gave a slight bow at the hips. “Now that we’re all incognito let’s get this over with in a hurry.”
“Hold up!” yelled Jayne. He stepped through the aft door and strode towards the group. He was carrying something around his arm. “Doc, I think you’ll need your coat.”
“No. It’s rather warm out and…I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t go through my things! How did you know where that was?”
“I insist.” Jayne roughly grabbed Simon’s shoulder and spun him around. “Doc, your shirt’s untucked. Let me help you with that.” Simon could feel Jayne lift the shirt up and then something cold and metal was slid into the waist band of his pants.
“Right,” said Simon. Jayne slipped the jacket over Simon’s arms and he could feel the pockets weighed down with ammunition clips. Having been with the crew of Serenity for almost a year Simon had learned his way around firearms. How to reload them, fire them, and sight them in. But he still cringed at the thought of putting another human being’s chest on the tip of the foresight. Jayne slapped Simon on the back and the party exited Serenity.
River and Jayne stepped out onto the loading ramp to watch them leave. The sun was almost directly over them and the wind kicked up dust from the streets. Simon turned and waived. River waved back, “That was really nice of you. Looking after my brother like that.”
Jayne shrugged slightly, “Ya never know when one of us’ll get shot.”
River brushed her wild hair over her shoulder to reveal her face and looked at Jayne, “You respect him, don’t you?”
“Course I do. Simon patched me up a dozen times or so, does his part round the ship, planned a heist, nailed down Kaylee, keeps your freakish brain glued together, and cleans up all your messes.” Jayne walked back into Serenity without looking at River, “What’s not to respect?”
Foot traffic was chaotic. Feds were closing off streets all over the place and routing people everywhere but where they wanted to go. The craziest part of it was the most direct path to the explosion seemed to be the one they weren’t blocking. Unfortunately it was also the way to Badger’s den and the market. The four of them were keeping pace with an older gentleman. It was one of those awkward situations where two different groups of people are going the same way at the same speed but aren’t together. Mal looked at the man. His white beard was trimmed but he had hair growing out of his ears. He walked with a slight hobble in his step and a hunch in his back. He wore decent clothes; tweed pants and a plaid shirt with rolled up sleeves. Mal finally spoke to him, “Rough start to the day, ain’t it sir?”
The man was startled from his thoughts and frowned, “Oh yes young man. These days you just don’t know where you’ll be when one goes off.”
Mal nodded sympathetically, “So this has been going on a while now?” The man looked at Mal quizzically. “You see we’re from off world and haven’t been back in a long time. Seems that not much news gets off world from here.”
“True but I hear tell that there’s this kind of trouble all over, son.”
“Why are they herding us to that big stack of smoke?”
“Cause of the new protocol they came up with after last week’s bombing. A bomb was set off at an Alliance armory. When the medics and rescue workers moved in, more bombs went off. Secondaries, they call’em. Now, when one goes off, they scan the immediate area first and then the path to medical help. Meanwhile the victims have to make do. It’s come to that.” The old man shook his head.
“Who do they think did it?” asked Mal.
“Nobody claims responsibility and the government never says.” The sky grew darker as they walked closer to the disaster.
“What about the Independents?” asked Zoe.
The old man scoffed, “Independents? No, honey, nobody thinks it’s them. Not enough strength in the Verse for independence these days.”
“But they did it because of Miranda, right?” asked Mal.
The man looked at Mal with great suspicion, “Everything happens because of Miranda, son.”
A siren started up and the pedestrians in front of them started to part. A pair of feds stopped everybody walking towards the smoke. A few others opened a barricade to another street. A truck emerged from the crowd ahead of them. It was some kind of mobile kennel. Behind the cab was a cluster of eight cages all with barking dogs in them. “E.O.D” was painted on the side. The truck turned into the barricaded street and the driver gunned the engine.
“Mother of God,” said Simon. Before them was the scene of the explosion. The cobble stones that made up the street were scorched as black as coal. Several flaming vehicles looked like they were opened and discarded like cans. Most of the bodies had been moved out of the street but you could see where they landed after the explosion. There was one building that was completely destroyed. A bunch of smoldering Alliance military recruitment pamphlets were blowing in the wind over the building’s rubble. Across from the building an Alliance soldier had been thrown into an elaborate neon marquis sign thirty feet in the air. His body was impaled on several glass tubes. The sign was still on. Sparks sputtered from frayed wiring. Below him three fellow soldiers tried to think of a way to get him down. But the people just moved on.
Mal pressed forward. He wanted to lead his crew through the mess as fast as possible. They tried moving through the middle of the street but that was where most of the traffic wanted to be. They moved towards the sidewalk and discovered why everybody else was keeping their distance. The sidewalk was the triage site. Both Mal and Zoe knew it well with the smells of fiery death evoking memories of battles past.
“Do we have anymore dressings!?” yelled a young private. His helmet was off. Second degree burns had licked his face and singed his hair. A blood vessel had broken in his left eye and caused it to turn bright red in color. He clutched the hand of another private who was a close friend. His friend looked unscathed until they saw his lower body. A large piece of shrapnel passed through his armor and stomach. The private tending to him was using a bandage sopping wet with brown blood to control the bleeding. He wrung it out in front of them and clotty chunks fell to the pavement. “Hey did you hear me over there? He’s going to bleed out!”
He was yelling up the sidewalk to a group of medics and soldiers surrounding another body. “We told you, Jackson, we have to stabilize the Colonel first,” yelled a soldier. “They’ll be done with the ordinance sweep any minute now. Then we’re clear for medivac.”
“Said that four minutes ago,” Jackson whimpered. He looked down at his friend, “You hang in there, Tom. You’re tougher than this. Remember when you took Sarge down at the goal line?”
“Heh, yeah,” Tom hacked. “Took his date that one night in Osiris, too.”
Tears streamed down Jackson’s face as he laughed, “Yeah, that’s right. Damn right you did.” Tom’s body was horribly racked by a cough. “Come on, Tom. Please people can you help us? Just go back to your homes and ships. Grab some supplies and bring them to us. Help us please!”
Mal had passed Tom and Jackson by twenty paces when he felt a tug on his shoulder. He turned to see Simon in front of him with Kaylee at his side chewing her lower lip. Zoe stood behind them with her arms folded over her chest and impatiently looking at the sky. “Captain,” said Simon.
Simon nodded to the dying soldier, “I should get my bag.”
Mal shook his head quickly, “No. You should do what everybody else is doing and that is keep moving.”
“Cap’n that kid needs help bad,” said Kaylee.
“We can’t help him, Kaylee.”
“So we ain’t even gonna try?”
“I say let’em kick,” interjected Zoe.
Kaylee spun to Zoe, “Zoe, how could you?”
“That isn’t just some kid, Kaylee, he’s an Alliance soldier. That is really what he is. Do you know what he would think if he knew what we really were?”
Kaylee looked at Zoe with utter bewilderment, “What’s wrong with you?”
“What’s wrong with me?” said Zoe incredulously.
“Come on, Tom. Don’t do this!” Jackson was shaking Tom.
Tom clumsily reached for Jackson’s face and tried to push him away, “It’s okay. It’s okay.” He tried to roll away from his friend. “It’s okay. It’s…okay. It’s…” he stopped and seemed to sink deeper into the pavement. Jackson sat and wept.
“Now we can go,” said Mal. He walked fast with the rest in tow.
They moved a few paces before he heard Kaylee speak up, “They needed our help. They weren’t gonna hurt us.”
Zoe glanced over her shoulder, “Kaylee, I swear. You see a little sadness, your heart gets bigger than your brain, and then you start forgetting things.”
“At least I don’t forget that I’m human,” replied Kaylee.
Zoe froze and Kaylee stepped right in front of her. Zoe put her hands on her hips and said, “Right. Human. Like that girl the Reavers tackled to the ground and started to molest and eat at the same time on Miranda. That is what the Alliance did, Kaylee. And you feel sorry for them because now it seems their reaping a whole four seasons worth of what they’ve sown.”
“There comes a time when…” Kaylee swallowed her words hard. She placed both of her hands on her chest near her throat and tears welled up in her eyes. “I’m gonna stop now,” she raggedly exhaled, “cause neither of us deserve this.” She turned and stormed off with her head down. “Market’s this way Simon.” Simon looked at Zoe as if to say now look at what you’ve done.
Mal closed his eyes, “Let’s get to Badger’s.”
Mal and Zoe started to walk again. Zoe broke the silence, “Can you believe how naive she is? All this time…”
“Shut it, Zoe. I don’t want to hear it.”
“Captain, you don’t agree with her.”
“Course not. But it ain’t bout that. You went too far.”
“I needed to wake…”
“You went too gorram far, Zoe and you know it. When we get airborne you’re going to apologize. That’s an order. Know it’s been a bit since I last issued you one but for fuck sakes you haven’t needed it till now!” Zoe said nothing.
Simon watched Kaylee out of the corner of his eye. They were speed walking now. Kaylee was increasing her pace the sadder she looked. Tears dripped from her chin, her bottom lip quivered, and she breathed in gasps. “She ain’t the only one that lost Wash!”
“No, she isn’t,” replied Simon.
“Wash an I spent a lotta time together when the others were out do’in jobs. We patched up Serenity, ate lunches, made fun of the Cap’n, he told funny stories…” her voice trailed off. “She can’t be like that forever ya know. Wash wouldn’t do it like that. He’d be sad for a real long time but he’d never treat people that way. And then one day we’d be see’n him smile again…Oh…” her face dropped into her hands and she bawled loudly.
Simon gently grabbed her by the waist and steered her to an old crate long enough for the both of them to sit on at the mouth of an alley. He sat closer to the alley so that people were less likely to see the pistol tucked into the back of his pants while he consoled Kaylee. He wondered for a moment what the hell was happening to make him think of such a precaution. He leaned in and hugged her trembling, emotionally wrecked body.
“Oh, Simon. I keep on think’n bout that kid asking anybody for help. We’ve been that kid so many times. Only difference is that when there wasn’t no help, there wasn’t no help. It wasn’t a bunch of people pretending that they’re do’in the right thing by go’in bout their business. That go-se about the kid causing the Reavers is nonsense. The only thing we know bout that kid that died was that he liked football, cared about friends, wore the uniform, and liked get’n sexed once in awhile. I didn’t hear no different.”
Simon just held her tighter. He wanted to say something like it was not that bad, things will be better, or they did all they could do. But telling somebody their problems were not as severe as they think was not the best way to cheer them up.
“It’s okay,” she said. “We’ll figure it out.”
There it is, thought Simon. He placed the side of his hand under her chin and tilted her face toward him. He kissed her on the lips and said, “That’s right we’ll figure it out. Between you, the mechanic, and me, the doctor, there isn’t anything on Serenity that we can’t fix.”
She kissed Simon and held it a long time. She finally released his face and snuggled up against his shoulder, “I love you so much Simon. That was a double negative.”
He paused for a moment, “I love you too and no it wasn’t”
“Yes it was. Can’t and isn’t.”
“Well…we’re trying to be incognito, you know. And speaking of fixing up we have to fix up a crew with food and supplies.”
“Okay. Just let me do the talking,” she wiped her eyes with the sleeve of her shirt as she stood.
“This is what I do,” Simon replied.
The medical ships descended from the sky near the station. The jet wash from VTOL systems buffeted Jackson but he just stood there over his dead friend. The bandage he used was still in his left hand. Its gory contents dripped onto his pants and down his combat boot. In his right hand was his assault rifle. Out of the entire surreal nightmare the only things that seemed real to him were his dead friend and his rifle. One of the smaller medivac craft landed right in front of him. Four medics with gear piled out of the back. They stopped to look at Tom lying in a pool of his own blood. Then they raced up the street towards the Colonel. Jackson just shook his head.
Thursday, February 21, 2008 11:05 PM
Friday, February 22, 2008 3:32 AM
Friday, February 22, 2008 6:07 AM
Friday, February 22, 2008 6:30 AM
Friday, February 22, 2008 6:36 AM
Friday, February 22, 2008 8:05 AM
Friday, February 22, 2008 10:04 AM
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