Walking the Nightmare Softly
Saturday, May 3, 2008

part eighteen...thanks to the readers, my advice givers, and for Werzbowski for the loan on such a great character, hope I'm doing him justice.... Cat starts to dance.....


Walking the Nightmare Softly ----------------------------------------- based on the world of Firefly by Joss Whedon

She took her first step into the hallway, her left hand shaking a bit as she stifled it. Cat knew this hallway far too well. They had made them run it over and over again, a drill to see if they could negotiate a maze even in pain. A glint caught her eye as she bent to pick up a piece of glass from within the far corner. It had escaped the sweepers and had probably driven them crazy until finally programming won out and they learned to ignore it. Was it just her or could she see blood still on its edges? After a few seconds, she did a peculiar thing, Cat took the shard and placed it in her pocket before venturing farther into her own personal nightmare.

Scratches seemed to be on every door jam and across every wall. Blood cleaned from the metal, though naked to the normal eye, shown like new fallen snow on black pavement to her genetically enhanced eyes. “What do you see?” 'Ski asked, trusting his partner's senses above his own.

“Fear.” She commented back, her emerald eyes glowing like a cat's at night. One word to describe the way they had felt, as their blood mixed together on the floor, the walls, everywhere. Light at the end of the hallway caused her sensitive eyes to hurt and as they emerged into the brightly lit room, 'Ski cussed. Monitors of every shape and size covered the walls, the room oval and flashing images that would horrify most. 'Ski let out a low whistle before commenting. “Fuck me blind before I die, I thought the Reavers were bad.”

“Reavers got an excuse. These don't.” Cat took in each room as she watched the torture begin and end with young ones and ones her age. A single monitor, though caught her attention. “They're alive.”

Mal and his crew stood bold on the front screen, his shoulder bandaged as was the right leg of Jayne, the only other one Kaylee had mentioned being shot. Zoe paced against the far wall, normal for her. If Cat remembered, the warrior woman did not like closed in spaces. Only one other was seen in the room, a young man dressed in fine clothes, though not as fine as when he first put them on. He looked distant, and worried.

“River.” Cat stated and made a frantic search for the young woman on every monitor there and only one had no picture, the room containing the Machine.

“No offense, Babe, but I don't see anything that looks like a river to me.” 'Ski watched the crew as Cat responded. “River is my replacement. They didn't have the patience to 'grow' a new one so they took the next best thing. A fourteen year old gifted child.” Cat threw a fist into the screen as sparks flew from its remains. “It's my fault they took her.”

“Well then, instead of going on about it, let's go show them their mistake.” 'Ski knew Cat needed his hardness now more than ever. She wasn't soft, but unlike him, her emotions had not quite yet been tamed. They still tended to get out of control and rule the moment. He was the voice of reason, even though he may not have been the best one for the job.

“You're right. It's time to show the world and my creators just how well they made me.” She let the glass fall from her cut fist as the wounds simply closed and healed. “Think when they made me, they would have been smart and not given me choice.”

“Probably thought you would be loyal without question seeing how well they treated ya.” Her partner muttered as they turned down yet another hallway. This time Cat was not moving slow. She didn't have the time.

“Guess they thought wrong.” She responded as her body just stopped in front of a large metal door. “Well, my Husband, ready for that dance.”


River's mind screamed out as they strapped her in again to the large terrifying Machine, its long needles dripping with some horrible fluid meant to give the tortured visions. Her eyes saw the blue gloves and smelled the nasty cleanser as one of them brushed her forehead, preparing her for the session. They had her back, she could feel the almost lust like quality all over the three in the room. It almost was an orgasmic feeling. Her stomach pitched as she felt her mouth fill slightly with vomit before her reflex to swallow won out sending the burn back down her throat. They had finally gotten her and what they had in mind would eventually kill her.

The one who had applied the cleanser came toward her again this time with a needle for her arm, his head filled with the promise of fame by the time this was over. She had barely felt the beginning of the prick when another filled her head and this one was familiar and full of hate.

Cat's arm wrapped around the man with the needle as River looked around to see the other two dead. It had taken but a second. A man, rough like Jayne, but having more the mind of Mal helped loosen the restraints as River snatched the needle from the man Cat was holding and jabbed it into his neck.

“You sleep.” She smiled as he slumped to the floor and Cat grinned. “Hello, Sister. Bit late, aren't you?”

“Had to clean up and fix your carriage, Princess. Couldn't have you go to the Ball in a dirty coach.” The older woman joked as River turned to 'Ski. “He is a strong mind. I can see why you like him.”

“You must be River.” 'Ski stuck out a hand as the young woman leaned over to sniff it.

“You should wash more.” 'Ski raised an eyebrow and then placed the hand back by his side after giving it a test sniff. He watched as the weird girl looked over every dead body, the one he had killed and the one Cat had. “Are we going to get Simon now?”

“Yes, but I need a favor.” Cat smiled. “I need you to return to Serenity. Kaylee is alone and I know you can protect her.” “I can hear her thoughts. She is scared. I will go, but you must bring Simon back to me.”

“That you can be assured.” Cat nodded.

“Fine.” River walked out the door, but stopped. “Nice to meet you, Stinky Man.” With that she disappeared down the way they came.

“Nice girl. Bit weird in the head, but then look who's my partner.” 'Ski turned to Cat as she stood staring at the large round ball above the chair. He had heard talk of it before, but to see it now, the Machine was a proper name for it. His partner reached out to touched it, her fingers shaking a bit as they graced the fine reflective metal.

“I never had to see this thing, but the stories I heard.” She let her fingers trace the minor imperfections and dents, probably from those who did not go willingly. Her eyes cast down as the drugged man groaned. “They'll be coming now...for us. We have upset their uniformity.”

'Ski handed her a grenade from his belt. “Why don't you light up the disco ball, for old time sake?”

She took it in her hand and then looked at him. “It won't stop them. They'll make another one.”

“Probably, but think of the satisfaction.” He sighed. “Just blow the damn thing up.”

She slid the small bomb into place near the top of the ball, sandwiching it between a wire and the base. Her eyes lit again for a second as her finger laced itself through the pin. “Ready to run?”

'”As long as you're right behind me.” 'Ski winked.

“Please, you and I both know I can run faster than you.” Cat retorted as she released the pin and they both took off running. The explosion rang only ten seconds later, but the walls had withstood most of the blast. A few of the flames and some debris had followed them out into the hallway, along with a body part or two. Cat stretched her neck as she rubbed away the dirt and looked to 'Ski, who was doing the same with a large grin on his face.

“Don't you just love when things go boom?” He laughed, a hearty sound that made Cat do the same.

“Come on, you demented bastard. We got a crew to save.” She turned to take one last look at the damage done before proceeding in the direction of Mal and his crew.


Saturday, May 3, 2008 11:16 AM


Loved this but wish you would write longer chapters, they end just as I get into them. Mighty frustrating but great story. Can't wait for more! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, May 3, 2008 2:22 PM


very exciting. I'm ready for the next installment.

Sunday, May 4, 2008 2:16 AM


Fantastic opening description of the Academy - I particularly like the 'new fallen snow on black pavement' image of the cleaned blood still showing to Cat. And the body part following them into the hall after the explosion ... Now, on to the rescue!

Monday, May 5, 2008 2:24 PM


Glad River's okay. She just loves to make up smart-ass names for the men she meets though, doesn't she? The Machine, pwned....nice touch. I always like to see the bad guys get their pi-gu totally whupped once in a blue (which you will see up close if you stick with TOTIS, which I am very grateful you're sticking with! :D).


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