Belle of the Ball
Friday, May 2, 2008

part seventeen.. thanks to the proper know who you be....Cat goes in.


The Belle of the Ball ---------------------------------- based on the world of Firefly by Joss Whedon

Maps spread across crates in the cargo bay, each one hand drawn meticulously, down to the very last room. Cat had them with her, mostly in case she was ever taken again or if she felt the absolute need to return and save the others, a course she had, yet, to pursue.

“They will be here.” She planted the need of her dagger in a group of rooms near the west wing, a place that would take them through almost all the compound from where their ship would dock. “What about Serenity?” Kaylee asked. “Will they board her?” “Leave that to us. You just keep this beast running and make damn sure if anything electric gets on this ship, you disarm it. I left a shotgun and a few extra bullets.” Cat looked at her.”They'll be more worried about us than this little old ship. Anything this small is mostly consider a trash bin.”

“That's no way to talk about Serenity.” Kaylee looked as if you had insulted her mother.

“Kaylee, I meant no disrespect. What they wanted from her, they got and the other thing they desire is coming to them. You are just of no consequence.”

'Ski grabbed and loaded the shotgun for Kaylee before strapping on his combat harness. It was filled to the hilt with an assortment of weapons and extra ammo. “We going to do the telepathy thing again?”

“It ain't telepathy,” Cat smiled as she handed him an almost transparent head set. “Makes it easier if we get separated.”

“Told you. Just follow the Grim Reaper. He'll lead you straight to me.” 'Ski laughed.

“Very funny. Would you give me a test?” She pushed down the small power button as 'Ski's voice poured into her ear.

“You ready to go dancing, my wife?”

“More than I want to admit.” She whispered, the sound barely heard to the naked ear. Serenity jerked a bit sending Kaylee into 'Ski's arms and Cat toward the crate. The latter caught herself before any damage was done to any of her precious cargo. Each grenade on her hip was still pinned. “The tracker bean just kicked in. We've got about ten minutes.” “I've already got my black tie.” 'Ski motioned to the gun strap around his neck. “I just don't want to hear how I never take you dancing.” “One question before you two leave and get yourself killed. The wife thing...” Kaylee asked. “Long story.” Cat smiled. “Short version. She wanted my body, but I wouldn't give it to her without a wedding ring. I'm old fashion like that.” 'Ski winked at Kaylee and ignored a look from Cat.

“If we make it out alive, Kaylee, I'll tell you.” Then, she looked directly at 'Ski. “If we don't, do yourself a favor.”

“What's that?” Kaylee glanced from one to another as Cat took a deep breath and slammed home the button to open the bay door.

“Blow up yourself and Serenity. Don't let them do to you what they did to River.” 'Ski walked up behind Kaylee, who had gasped at Cat's statement. His hand fell on her shoulder. “We'll be back. She's just preparing you for the bad.”

“What do you mean? Like Cap'n and the others bein' dead?” Kaylee's eyes watered a bit.

“Smart girl. Now, get behind those barrels and stay down.” 'Ski gripped the gun in his hand and walked up to stand near Cat. He cast a glance back to see Kaylee hugging her shotgun and hiding in the shadows. Cat shifted beside him getting her muscles ready for the battle at hand. Lips, dry from the air coming in outside, split into a smile even 'Ski could not exactly read. “You know, I promised myself I would never come back here. Even when they told me who to kill, I made them contact me outside. This place is a nightmare and now here I am, standing at a threshold I'm not sure I want to cross.”

“Could always carry you. Make the marriage official.”

“Can you ever be serious?” Cat glanced at him.

“The only thing I take serious, Babe, is killing. All the rest of my life is what it is.” He sighed. “We can always go back. Find another bank to rob, maybe another town to save. I'll go where you want, but make up your damn mind, before I do it for you.” “Let's go see if they remember me then, shall we?” She smiled finally, the old Cat emerging from the worried one. Her emerald eyes lit up as she stepped off the ship.

“Right behind you, Babe.”


The Academy, if one could call it such, looked more like a hospital than anything else. It was cover by computer panels and equipment, wires like veins fed information to the places that needed it. 'Ski watched warily as Cat walked down and into the docking bay.. She knew exactly where they were going.

No one had been waiting at the entrance, the landing bay simply a large metal room, where another ship was docked, about half the size of the firefly and shaped a bit like a disc. 'Ski recognized it right away as an Alliance scout. “Not much of a welcoming committee,” he said, the sound echoing gently off the narrow hallway that lead to the next part of the Academy. His nose wrinkled at the smell of clean, too clean if you ask him and small sweepers continued to perform their jobs as the little crab shaped bots dodged around their feet. “They know I can find my way. Why waste men when they can lead me where they want us to go?” Cat caught one of the sweepers in her hand and brought it up so they could see into its inner workings. There as its one eye was a camera laced between the two pincher brushes. “Bastards are following our every movements.” He stared into the camera as close as he could without bumping the pincers. “Can they hear us, too?”

“Of course.”

“Hey, purple bellies, ever heard that payback is a bitch. Well, there's your bitch and here comes that payback.” He slammed his fist into the camera as it shattered. The other sweepers began to scatter as if someone had commanded them home. 'Ski cast a look toward Cat. “They are a hive. A.I. that can be controlled to a point. Once you hurt them, they no longer obey.” “And why didn't you take care of it?”

“You look like you needed to punch something.” Cat teased and received a smile from 'Ski. “Don't I always?” He quipped as they came to a junction in the hallway. Screams could be heard echoing down the one and the other was as silent as the grave.”Go toward the screams, Babe?”

“Nope. That's where they keep the ones who don't make it. The ones that go completely crazy and can't control the monster. They put them in cages for the interns to see and learn from. The ones screaming are interns that got a little too close.”

'Ski shook his head. “The bastards don't try and help them?”

“Ever heard the expression...fresh meat.” Cat's eyes seem to almost glow for a second before returning to their normal color. “I'm beginning to understand why you call this place a nightmare.”

“We're just falling asleep, 'Ski. The real nightmare is down that hall.” Her fingers brushed the side of the wall, where it looked to be scratches embedded in the surface. “ Here screams are a good thing. In this place, silence isn't just golden, it's deadly.”


Friday, May 2, 2008 11:40 AM


Oooh, things really hotting up now and Cat'a comment about silence being deadly is all manner of creepifying. Can't wait to find out what happens next and I sure hope that this time if the bad guys get close Kaylee actually fires the gorram weapon at them. Ali D
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, May 5, 2008 2:08 PM


Crrrrrreeeeeeeee-PY! You did a really good Kaylee in this one. I like how 'Ski keeps dropping hints about his past with Cat. Will we ever get more than subtle hints, I wonder.... ;)

Your vision of the Academy, need I add - THAT'S a new eye for morbid and creepifying. Neophyte Reavers, I shouldn't wonder? Leave it to the government to be that cruel to anything that lives. Not just the victims, but the interns as well.


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