Broken - Part IX
Thursday, February 21, 2008

Maya. Post-BDM. Mal has a plan, and so does Hank. NEW CHAPTER


“Reynolds!” The man outside was getting louder. “You took that cargo out from under us on Bernadette, and Sullivan owes me. You’re gonna give it back and the money he paid you. I think that’s fair.”

“Is this to do with you?” Corcoran asked.

Mal tried to look reasonable although his heart was sinking. “Let’s just say I was involved, though it ain't exactly my problem.” But it’s sure as hell gonna be Sully’s when I catch up with him, he thought.

“Oh, but it is.” The man lifted his gun again. “And it could just be a permanent problem if me or my men get hurt in the crossfire.”

“And that should worry me … how?” Mal almost laughed. “You were just about to shoot me. You think I'm gonna be concerned about your health?”

“Mal …” Jayne ground out, and even Zoe winced internally. Mal’s overconfidence seemed to be back.

“Talk to them,” Corcoran ordered.

“What?” Mal’s eyebrows went up.

“Talk to them.”

“And tell them what, exactly?”

“I don’t care. Make a deal if you have to.”

“You gonna keep it?”

Corcoran gave him a withering look. “Sure I am.”

Mal walked towards the door, stopped by Baxter while he was still six feet away.

“Close enough,” the man said, his gun pointing squarely at Mal’s chest.

“I wasn't intending to make a run for it.”

He poked Mal hard with the barrel of his rifle, enough to bruise. “It’s still close enough.”


“Lie still,” Simon ordered.

“I have to be doing something.” Freya was struggling to sit up on the medbed.

“You’ve been shot. That makes me in charge.”

She paused and glared at him. “You think?”

“It does down here.” He pressed on the wound in her shoulder and she gasped. “See?”


“That’s right. Insult the man who’s trying to save your life.”

“I'm not dying.”

“Don’t tempt me.”

She took a calming breath. “Simon, we’ve got bad guys outside, and Mal’s … I can’t afford to lie here.”

“Fine.” He’d had enough. “So go ahead,” he said, stepping back.


“Bleed to death. See if I care.”

Her jaw dropped. “You’d let me …”

“I've told you I need to stitch this up. You don’t want me to. Fine. Go ahead. Walk out of here, and when you pass out I’ll just get Hank to pick you up and carry you back and do it then.” He crossed his arms, his face impassive.

“Gorram it, Simon …”

“And swearing at me isn’t going to help.”

She ground her teeth in frustration but lay back. “Okay, okay. Just … get on with it.”

“Thank you.” He picked up a swab to wipe the new blood away.

“But just you remember if you had let me bleed to death you’d’ve had to tell Mal,” Freya pointed out.

“I'm sure he’d have understood. He lives with you, after all.” He ignored the new obscenity she threw at him and began to work.


Up on the bridge, Hank was trying to see past the rain still beating down onto Serenity, but not having much luck. They could have been alone in the ‘verse for all he could tell. He glanced at River who was leaning her weight on the co-pilot’s chair, her belly resting on top.

“They still there?” he asked.

“Still there.”

“You okay?” He could see a light film of sweat on her forehead.

“Jayne.” It was the truth. Just not all of it.

He took it at face value. “Yeah. Course.”

“Ain't there something we can do?” Kaylee asked, cradling her shoulder.

Before Hank could say anything, River put in, “It’s raining.”

Her sister-in-law smiled sadly. “Honey, we know that.”

“And electricity loves the rain.”


“River, are you suggesting …” Hank stared at her, then nodded slowly, a smile beginning on his face. He turned to Kaylee. “Can you get Serenity powered up with one hand?”

“It’ll be awkward, but … sure. But why’d I want to? We can’t go anywhere.” Her eyes widened as Hank jumped from his seat and dropped into the avionics bay under the windows. “What’re you doing?”

“Disconnecting the safeties for the discharge spikes.”

Kaylee’s jaw dropped. “Hank, if I power us up, there’ll be nowhere for the –“

He popped his head back up, a hard smile on his face. “I know.” He disappeared again. “Pretty much the idea.”


Mal glared at Baxter, but the other man wasn't going to move. “Fine.” He took a breath. “I'm Captain Reynolds,” he yelled. “Just who is it that’s threatening me out there?”

The voice from outside sounded closer. “If it matters, my name’s Prater. Reed Prater. And you stole from me.”

Mal hitched his thumbs into his empty gunbelt. “Repossessed. Not stole. Didn’t belong to you.”

“Sullivan didn’t pay us. Makes it mine.”

“You chased us halfway across the galaxy to tell me that?”

“Nope. I chased you halfway across the galaxy to kill you,” Prater replied, his voice half-lost in the pounding rain.

Mal chuckled slightly. “And you think that’s gonna make me want to come outside and play nicely?”

“Shit, Reynolds, right now I'm not that sure I care.”

“How’d you find us anyway?”

“Beacon. In one of the crates. Just in case.”

Wang ba dahn,” Mal heard Jayne mutter.

“Hurry it up,” Corcoran hissed.

“Look, Reed … can I call you Reed?” Mal felt himself settling, his mind taking in every detail, even as he prepared to talk his way out of things. If at all possible without bloodshed.

“Whatever you want.”

“Reed, this business with Sullivan, well, it ain't our affair.”

“I’m making it your affair!” Prater wasn’t coping with his anger too well. “You got our goods and our money. I'm wanting it back!”

“And if we go. You think you can change your mind and let us leave?”

This seemed to surprise Prater. “You ain't gonna fight?”

“Looking at all the options, actually.”

There was something of a delay, then … “You made us look all kindsa fools. And my rep don’t like that. Not likely to let you go unscathed. You know how it is.”

“Bruise level?”

“More like bullet holes.”


Corcoran was staring at him. “What the hell’re you doing?”

Mal glanced back. “Making a deal. Like you said.”

Prater called, “It could happen. Maybe you’ll walk out of here instead of being carried.”

“Then I’d like to oblige, only there’s some folks in here laid claim to the goods too, and they’ve already killed my contact.”

There was an explosion of laughter from outside. “You being held up already?”

“Looks like it.”

“Well, ain’t life a bitch?”

“You have no idea.”


The glow of the Firefly lit the rain, turning it golden all around the ship. Not that its beauty reached the occupants of the infirmary.

“He’s insane,” Freya said, struggling to get up again from the medbed.

“It wasn't Hank’s idea,” Kaylee said, looking worriedly from her friend to her husband. “River suggested it.”

“I take it it’s not safe,” Simon said, attempting to hold his patient down.

“He does it wrong and it’ll fry us. That’s what the spikes are for, discharging the build-up of electricity from the hull while we’re in flight. If he’s disabled them –“

“Not disabled. Rigged it so he can fire ‘em when he wants,” Kaylee put in quickly.

“It could still burn us out. You’d better get back to the engine room, make sure the idiot doesn’t kill us all before those folks outside get a chance to.”

Kaylee nodded and ran for the stairs.

“Is it really that bad?” Simon asked.

For answer Freya pushed Simon away and swung her legs over the edge of the medbed. “Am I likely to bleed dry on the way up to the bridge?” she asked, daring at him to tell her to stay put.


“You’re impossible,” she said, levering herself to her feet, swaying a little. Then she doubled over slightly.

“Freya?” Instantly Simon was at her side. “Were you hit elsewhere?”

“No,” she said, her eyes screwed shut. “I just feel …” It passed and she stood upright. “I'm okay. Just felt wrong for a minute.”

“You need to lie down again, so I can check and make sure –“

“Later, okay?” Freya took a deep breath and headed for the door. “Once I’ve made sure there’s a later to be had.”


“Smooth,” Mal muttered. “Why can’t things just go smooth?”

Jayne growled behind him. “It never does, does it? Not when it’s your planning.”

Mal turned slowly, about to ask what he was talking about when he saw Jayne’s eyelid flicker. Not even a wink – just a tremor that could have been nothing at all. “You saying you could do it better?” he demanded, hoping he’d seen right.

“Couldn’t do it much worse. Ain't a job hardly goes by we ain't been shot at. ‘N’ I got more scars’n a man should have ‘cause of you.”

“And you’re saying that’s my fault?”

“Ain’t no other runt where I'm looking.”

“Since when did you grow a spine, Jayne?” Mal put as much venom behind it as possible, seeing Zoe’s mouth drop slightly until she realised what they were up to. “Has to be ‘cause there’s someone else around likely to finish the job for you.”

They moved closer, knowing all attention was on them. Zoe faded into the background.

“I could finish you with one hand tied behind my back,” Jayne spat. “Hell, I’ll even close my eyes.”

“Yeah?” They were squared up to each other. “You’ve been a pain in my pi gu for long enough, Jayne Cobb. I’ll be pleased when Corcoran here finally shoots you.”

“Only after I've ripped your throat out,” Jayne warned.

“You think?”

“I think!”

It was enough. Zoe leaped for the hover mule, standing idling in the shadows. Baxter had left the engine running and neglected to set the brake, so a hand slammed down hard on the controls had an immediate response. The mule went into a spin, clipping two of the men and tossing them aside like broken rag dolls.

It took the attention away from Mal and Jayne long enough for the former to drop into a crouch and take Baxter down, while Jayne pulled Binky from the sheath at his back and threw it. The knife buried itself in Corcoran’s chest, making him slip to his knees and drop the gun from suddenly nerveless fingers as he died without a chance to protest.

Mal managed to hold Baxter on the ground by the simple expedient of kneeling on his chest, using the rifle to cut off the other man’s air supply. He felt rather than heard a bullet part the hairs on his head, and leaned forward, putting all his weight behind his hands. Baxter was struggling, trying to throw him off, but Mal kept up the pressure.

More gunfire, and he recognised the individual sounds of Zoe’s Mare’s Leg and Jayne’s handgun, interspersed with a scream and some obscene bubbling noises as a man died noisily.

Baxter’s face was turning red, and he was trying to breathe through a throat that was being crushed, his heels drumming on the hard-packed dirt. Spittle was forming at the corners of his mouth as his eyes bulged, and Mal was about to pull back, to let the man breathe, when he saw Jayne bend down and fire his gun into Baxter’s temple. He sat back in shock, then looked up at the big man.

“They don’t leave no survivors, Mal,” Jayne said by way of explanation.

After a long moment Mal nodded and took the hand Jayne proffered, allowing him to help him to his feet. Zoe gave him his gun, which he slipped back into its holster, feeling more like himself again.

“Runt?” he said to the ex-mercenary, who shrugged.

“So … who am I dealing with in there?” Prater called into the sudden silence amid the rain thrashing down.

“Still me,” Mal shouted back.

“Knew I wasn't going to be that lucky.”

“We’re still deep in the cao,” Jayne said, cleaning Binky on what appeared to be part of Corcoran’s shirt before resheathing the blade.

“Least we ain’t drowning in it now,” Zoe put in softly.

“Nope,” Mal agreed. “Only knee deep, far as I can see, with just got the one lot of bad guys to deal with.” He sketched a smile. “Easy-peasy.”


River leaned on the bulkhead, her hands on her belly. The pain was easing again, but now she could hear Simon and Freya’s footsteps coming up the stairs. As they rounded into the corridor she hurried past them as fast as she could into the galley, then through towards the other staircase.

“River?” Simon called but she didn’t respond.

Freya didn’t even watch her leave, just headed for the bridge. Feeling torn, Simon shook his head but followed his patient.

After a few moments River slid back around the corner and into the dining area. Glancing towards the engine room she could see Kaylee going frantically from dial to dial, but she wasn’t looking her way, and River felt a wash of relief spread through her. She needed to be somewhere safe, somewhere to hide. Somewhere dark that no-one would ever find her. Someplace she could tell herself this wasn't happening.


Kaylee bit her lip at the sounds her girl was making, feeling the static building up and making her hair stand away from her head. Freya was right – this was dangerous. Carefully avoiding touching anything metal with her bare hands she stepped into the corridor and hurried through the galley. “Hank, it’s gonna be close,” she shouted, even as the banging on the cargo bay door increased.

“Little bit longer.” He watched the readings.

“Hank …” Freya, leaning on the wall with Simon at her side, wasn’t taking her own eyes off the scanners.

His hand hovered over the button. “Just a little more.”

“Hank …” Kaylee’s voice was really worried. “It’s going to burn us if we don’t –“

“Now!” His hand slammed down, and the discharge spikes flared. It was as if a huge bolt of lightning flashed around the ship, filling the air, evaporating the rain in a nanosecond. Even on the bridge the glare of light blinded them all momentarily, and the hairs on everyone’s arms raised. In their hiding place Bethie hugged Ethan to her as the thunder rolled, and Hope buried her face in Ben’s lap.

to be continued


Thursday, February 21, 2008 11:35 PM


Loved Jayne's *plan* to start arguing with Mal giving Zoe the chance to get to the mule then taking out the bad guys. One group of stupod *tamade hundan* down, one last group to go. And not only is there the tension of Hank's efforts to electrocute the enemy perhaps backfiring and frying everyone on Serenity it looks like River is going into labour and Freya has pushed herself too much too early after the little bit of stitching she let Simon do to keep her innards on the inside. Boy, what else can happen? Exciting stuff and nice to see Jayne being all Heroic. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, February 21, 2008 11:36 PM


Ooops, I meant stupid not stopod. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, February 22, 2008 3:49 AM


This was great fun again! The powerplay inside the warehouse, outside the warehouse, between Freya and Simon, Freya and Hank and Kaylee, and River and the baby - all trying to gain control over a situation out of control. Even the weather's out of control and the port authority is in too much control. Do I sense a theme here? May want to fix your title though.

Friday, February 22, 2008 3:52 AM


Just got caught up on this story. Exciting stuff as always.

Friday, February 22, 2008 3:55 AM


Katesfriend - yes, sorry about the title. I'd just uploaded, noticed I'd mispelled, went back to change it and my connection crashed! Only just able to get back in ...

Friday, February 22, 2008 3:57 AM


Cool way to dispatch Cocoran. Coccoran? Anyway, that guy. Wonder what River's up to though. And if the spike got her. And the bad guys. You're definitly gonna be gettin' the "Baddie" award for tension on this one. And people say that 'I' like cliffhangers? ROFL

Great as always Jane. Great as always.

Friday, February 22, 2008 3:58 AM


OH, and I've decided that Mal and Freya deserve each other. Can there be two more stubborn people in the entire 'verse?

Friday, February 22, 2008 3:16 PM


“Well, ain’t life a bitch?”

“You have no idea.”

That about sums it all up! LOL :D

Saturday, February 23, 2008 3:05 AM


very well handled both action - and reactions


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

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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!]