Sign Up | Log In
BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
The crew takes a much deserved break on Kaylee's home world as relationships head off in new directions and a new enemy visits an old acquaintance on Persephone.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 930 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
The Return Home – Part 4
Mal limped his way down to the cargo bay and walked out into the cool night air of the spaceport. Serenity was parked at New Shanghai, Kaylee’s hometown on Taos Moon, and it was summertime but still a bit chilly out. Jayne was outside smoking a last cigar before he went to bed.
“How’s the leg?” he asked Mal between puffs.
Mal leaned on the cane Kaylee had fashioned for him out of two pieces of metal she had welded together just before they had landed. “Still sore. Awfully close to…you know.”
Jayne couldn’t help but laugh. “Ain’t like you got much use…”
“You said that already,” Mal interrupted him harshly. “And it wasn’t funny the first time either. How would you like it if you lost yours?”
That sobered Jayne up. “Hey, don’t be saying stuff like that. It’s bad luck.”
“We’ve had enough of that lately. Time to try to get some on our side. You got any of that bank swag on you?”
“What? Ah…just a trinket or two. Ain’t like anyone’s gonna miss it, all that we got.”
“Follow me and be prepared to hand it over.”
Mal start limping toward the port controller’s booth and Jayne tagged along, not sure what the hell Mal was up to now. There were only two other ships in the port, both small transports, smaller than Serenity. Mal knocked on the window of the controller’s booth and the sleepy man who was inside awoke with a start.
“Something I can do for you Captain Reynolds?” he asked in a groggy voice as he slid open his booth window.
“You report in what ships are here yet?” Mal asked and then Jayne understood what was going on.
“Nope, waiting till midnight, like always,” the man replied.
“I’m sure you noticed that we ain’t got a transponder when we landed.”
“Ah, yeah, that did seem kinda strange, but seeing as Jonathan Frye was meeting you, I guess he can vouch for you guys.”
“We’re gonna stay a few days hereabouts, get some repairs done, supply my ship. Anyone asks questions, you ain’t seen us and we aren’t gonna be on no report at midnight or any other day. Dong ma?”
The man hesitated for an instance. “I don’t want no trouble with the Alliance.”
“Jayne, give it to him,” Mal ordered and Jayne gave a Mal a questioning look and held up a fist and the man started to lose a bit of color before Mal straightened things out.
“No, the swag.”
“Oh, right,” Jayne said and he took a small diamond ring from his pocket and handed to the controller.
“That’s for keeping your mouth shut,” said Jayne. “You get the first thing otherwise.”
The man looked over the ring. “That’s real shiny. Guess the misses would like it. You got a deal.”
After exchanging pleasantries Mal and Jayne walked back to Serenity and Mal locked up the boat as Jayne went to bed, after promising not to take too much from their stash in the future.
“And then he said, ‘Not with Kaylee, never with Kaylee’. Can you imagine how mad I was?” Kaylee told her father as they laughed, recounting their adventure on Canton Moon and the story of how she and Simon ended up in each others arms.
“I was surprised by Mal!” Simon protested, not finding it so funny. “He was acting like your big brother!”
“Good for him,” Jonathan said, a little drunk now. A bottle of Chinese wine was on the table and all three had had a few drinks already to top off the ones they had earlier in the evening. “I told Reynolds to look after my little girl. But you Doc, you saved her life. Twice now was it? So guess it’s OK if you sleep with her.”
Simon turned a bit red and tried to stammer a reply.
“Daddy! You’re embarrassing him!”
“What? Hell, I’m one should be embarrassed. You ain’t even married!”
“Don’t bring that up again, daddy. Told you it’s too soon!”
“Is it?” Simon said in a tipsy voice and she looked at him with big eyes. “I mean…we do love each other.”
“Simon Tam, you best ask me proper like, when we’re both sober and with a ring in your hand,” Kaylee said, hoping he’d ignore her, wanting more than anything to be his wife. She said this just cause her father was here and she thought that’s what he expected.
Simon was too stunned to speak for a moment and Jonathan did it for him, surprising Kaylee. “Hell, son, no worries there. You got my permission.”
Kaylee and Simon just stared at each other and then Simon found his voice. “No, Kaylee’s right. It has to be proper. Appropriate.”
“Oh, to hell with being proper,’ Kaylee said suddenly and she kissed him. "Yes, I’ll marry you Simon Tam!”
“There, that’s done. Let’s drink!” Jonathan said very loud.
“But…but…I haven’t even asked you yet!” Simon protested. “In a proper manner, I mean.”
“Best get on with it then, son,” Jonathan said and then Simon got down on his knee in front of Kaylee and held her hands. Her face beamed with joy.
“Miss Frye, will you do me the honor of being my wife,” he said.
“Yes, Doctor Tam, I will be your wife,” Kaylee replied as she gave him a big kiss and felt like nothing in the whole in verse could ruin her happiness now.
Mal had to take care of something else and he guessed she’d still be awake. He limped up the stairs to Inara’s shuttle and saw that the door was still opened. He didn’t want a fight with her but he thought it best to get this over with, didn’t want it hanging over his head in the days to come, knowing deep in his gut that there was more fighting to be had. It was the first chance they had to have a moment together since they left Earth.
“Come in,” Inara said after he knocked.
“Still up I see,” Mal said and she was surprised to see him. Inara was in the middle of changing the sheets on her bed.
“Oh, Mal. Come in.”
“Expecting someone else?”
“I thought…well, I thought it might be Kaylee coming to say goodbye. I expect she’ll be staying at her father’s house tonight.”
“Suppose so. Don’t know if Simon will be, though.”
“I’m sure her father will welcome Simon with open arms. Maybe not to spend the night with his daughter, but that’ll come soon enough.”
“Happy for them, aren’t you?”
“Of course. Why wouldn’t I be? You know how long she’s had a crush on the doctor. And don’t say it complicates things and that shipboard romances get in the way of business.”
“Been taking mind reading lessons from River?”
“No, I just know you too well.”
“Not that well. Simon and Kaylee ain’t gonna have no trouble from me. The last thing in the verse I’d do is break her heart. And Simon, I owe him more than I can ever repay.”
“Yes, we all owe him a lot.” There was an awkward pause and Inara just looked at him, wondering how well she really knew the man after all. “How rude of me. You’re hurt. Please sit.”
Mal sat on her sofa as Inara bundled up the sheets and put them in a wicker laundry basket on the other side of her bed and then sat with him.
“Sorry about the sheets.”
“Not your fault you were shot, Mal,” she said and again there was a pause. “Was there something on your mind? I mean…why did you come here? To my shuttle.”
He hesitated and knew there was going to be trouble but had to get it over with. “Was wondering what your plans are now.”
“Oh, I’m…not sure,” she said as she cast her eyes away from him and suddenly there it was, out in the open, the subject they had both been avoiding.
“Before all the wormhole stuff that happened you were planning to leave.”
“Yes, I was. But…maybe for the wrong reasons,” and she looked him in the eyes and saw everything he was, rouge, pirate, scoundrel, crook, thief, and an honorable man fighting against things he didn’t even understand. “Mal, I was leaving because of you.”
“I know. Whole crew knows.” There. He said it. Either she does or she doesn’t and he wanted to find out once and for all. Enough games.
Inara was stunned speechless for a moment. “What does everyone think they know?”
“That you’re crazy about me. And that since you think you can’t have me you want to be far away from me so I don’t break your heart.”
Inara felt the blood rushing to her face and she didn’t know for a second if it was from anger or shock and then knew it was anger. She stood and glared at him.
“You…you arrogant…self-centered…petty thief! I was leaving because…because…”
And she never finished as Mal stood and kissed her hard on the mouth.
Inara had imagined this moment and had thought about it often, even when she was sleeping with other men. He was rough and soft and tender at the same moment, an urgency in his kiss that told her he did it because he was afraid if he didn’t do it now he never would. She returned the kiss and put all her years of training and experience into it, letting Malcolm Reynolds know exactly what he had missed since he was too pigheaded all these months to express his desire for her when she was right there in front of him. After a long moment they broke apart and looked at each other, Mal stunned by the kiss.
“Wow,” was all he could say and then they kissed again, fell to the sofa and for a long time held each other and let emotions take over. Finally, they came up for air.
“I was leaving,” Inara said as she caught her breathe, finally willing to admit the truth. “For all those reasons and more.”
“Don’t leave. Stay,” he said, almost a plea and she just smiled and he thought his heart would melt and all the toughness he had to put on day after day fell away and he held her tight and for a long time they sat on the sofa and talked on what was to come, this barrier finally broken. After a long while, Inara got up, closed the door and started to make her bed and lit some candles, turning out the lights in the shuttle, bringing a soft glow to the room. Mal knew what she wanted and he wanted it too and wished like hell he had done this on a day where he wasn’t shot near such a sensitive area.
“I sure as hell want to…but…” he said in embarrassment. “Ain’t sure everything will work.”
“That can wait till you’re better. Come and lie with me, just hold me,” she said softly. “Every man always gets what he wants from me. Now it’s my turn.”
She left her clothing on and lay on the bed and Mal came over, sat, took off his boots, kissed her and then lay down and let the softness of her arms and lips send him off to a blissful place.
River lay awake in her room and was troubled by the emotions that were rocking the boat. Her body was growing used to her daily medication and the walls she built to keep out the emotions of those that surrounded her were falling more easily. She could almost hear Kaylee scream with joy about something and felt her brother’s happiness and Kaylee’s father also. She felt Mal and Inara, knew something had happened between them, the captain’s normal pensive energy being released as his soul relaxed, even for a short time, and Inara’s joy that the man she wanted more than any other had at last broke his silence and did what she had longed for him to do. Jayne was dead to the world as were Wash and Zoe, sleeping peacefully for the first time in weeks, no cares to burden them as they felt safe for a brief while.
But one more emotion was crawling over her barriers and she sensed a strange feeling, one she was not accustomed to and it was coming from Shepherd Book. It was guilt, guilt for things he had done in his past and she could feel him praying to his God, asking for forgiveness and River knew there was no answer because in her world there was no God. Maybe he would find his salvation but River knew one thing about the religions of mankind and that was the concept of confession. As he prayed Book confessed his sins and River suddenly saw an image and her mind reeled from the shock of what she had discovered.
She arose from her bed and dressed, then crossed the hallway to Shepherd Book’s room, lightly knocking on his door. After a pause he opened it.
“River? Is anything the matter?” he asked in surprised.
“You need to confess,” she said and he was taken aback by these words and then asked her to come in. Book’s room was sparse, like the other passenger dorm rooms. He had a small chair he picked up from an apartment on Earth and asked River to sit there while he sat on the edge of his bed.
"'I need to confess', you said," Book began.
"For your sins."
“Of course, River, I was just praying before going to bed. It’s my custom to ask the Lord for forgiveness for my sins.”
“Has he forgiven you?”
Book looked at her in a fatherly manner. “One can always hope. Our good deeds will be re-paid with an eternal reward. But one shouldn’t expect rewards for these deeds. My only hope is that….those who I have sinned against will forgive me.”
“I have killed people,” she said suddenly and Book thought she was looking to confess.
“Do you wish to confess your sins, River Tam?”
“No, those people were trying to kill us so I don’t think it is a sin that I had to kill them.”
“Logically, that makes sense,” said Book after a moment’s pause. “But all killing, no matter why it takes place, is wrong.”
“Have you killed?”
He sat back and sighed deeply. “I feel I will never be free of my past sins. I have tried to make amends these past years and I sometimes think I am taking one step forward and two steps back, especially since I came on Serenity.”
“You will find a way,” she said quietly. “You will be given a chance to make things right. For Miranda.”
Books eyes widened in shock at this word. “How can you know?” he managed to get out in a strangled voice, his eyes glistening with emotion.
“Your mind is open when you pray, your thoughts are filled with images of a world and the things you did there. I’ve seen it before but until now didn’t know where it was. Miranda is the key to your salvation. A chance to set things right.”
“But...it’s impossible, it’s…too late,” he said quietly.
“You know I don’t believe but you do. Pray to your Lord. He will find a way,” River said and then turned and left a deeply troubled Book alone with his thoughts and his crimes.
Far away on the world of Osiris it was daytime still and Gabriel Tam sat in his office in his own building in the center of Capital City. Tam Trading and Holdings was one of the most successful companies on the planet and Gabriel had worked hard most of his life to make it so. One time he thought he would leave the company to his children but Simon was set to be a doctor and River was going to be a scientist, a professor, a dancer, whatever she wanted to be and they had showed no interest in business whatsoever as they grew up. Gabriel and his wife Reagan understood that their children’s lives were their own and they did not try to push them into their world. Now Gabriel was full of regrets. If only he hadn’t allowed River to go to that academy, if only he hadn’t shut Simon out when he had asked for his help, if only…. Now it was almost seven years since he had seen his daughter and more than four since he spoke to his son. Where were they? Were they even alive?
The Alliance stooges had come calling when Simon had broken her out of the academy, asking him and his wife where they were, if they had given money to help Simon, questioning them for days before releasing them. The Alliance had threatened to ruin his business if it ever came to light that they had aided their children. At no time would anyone give the Tams any answers. Why did Simon have to break River out of a ‘school’? Why were they so interested in finding them? What was really going on? Gabriel’s lawyers told him to drop it, that High Chancellor Adam Cutter had taken a personal interest in this case and nothing could be done about it.
Gabriel knew his computers and wave addresses were tapped, hoped that Simon had enough sense not to contact them at home or work. He had hired private detectives and they had searched and searched and had taken his money and there was nothing except one small clue. A “businessman” on Persephone named Badger had met his children briefly on a Firefly transport called Serenity. He didn’t know their names at first but recognized their pictures and for a substantial fee told the detectives that the ship was owned by Captain Malcolm Reynolds. When the detective made his report he told Gabriel that there was a reward posted by the Alliance for the capture of River and Simon Tam. A reward, for his children? What had they done?
“You have a new wave,” came a pleasant female voice from his computer consol on his massive oak desk. Gabriel sat and saw the name. “Maston Forbes, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Capital City, Londinium.”
The police? What now? It’s been four years. He hit the open button and the blond haired Maston Forbes greeted him with a smile.
“Good day, Mr. Tam. I’m Maston Forbes of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. I have news of your children.”
Gabriel felt a cold shock as the words sunk in. “My children?’ he managed to stammer. “Are they alive?”
“We believe so. They were last seen in New Caledonia on Greenleaf on a Firefly transport called Serenity. I have its wave address if you wish to contact them.”
Another trap, now from this man, who was hardly a man, and more like a boy in a suit. But Gabriel recognized the hardness in those eyes, from years of doing business with men who wanted nothing more than to take everything he had worked hard for. “Mr. Forbes, I have been in the trading business all my life. To discover the wave address of a transport is an easy matter, as you well know. If my children are on that vessel and you bring me this news then I can only assume you have a trace on my wave addresses that you can use to try to pinpoint Serenity’s location. I will not help you find my children.”
“Yes you will, Mr. Tam.”
Then the pleasant female voice came from his computer again. “You have a new wave.” Gabriel saw immediately that it was his home address and quickly hit the button. The image of his wife came on, very nervous with tears in her eyes. She was sitting in their living room and behind him he could see many uniformed Alliance troops moving about.
“Reagan? What’s happened?”
“Police and soldiers are here, they…they are searching everywhere, wrecking things. I tried to call our lawyer but they refused to let me make any calls except to you.”
“Just calm down, I’ll take care of this,” he said and then returned to Forbes. “Who do you think you are? Threatening my home and wife? How dare you?”
“I will do more than threaten, Mr. Tam,” Forbes replied coldly.
“Do you think my son is so stupid as to answer a wave from me? If he is still on that ship, then he will know you are still looking for him. And he will know you have traces on all my communications.
“Perhaps you are correct. Then you will give me any information about your children or you, your wife, and your company will suffer the consequences.”
“Why now? Why after four years? What happened on Greenleaf?”
“The information, Mr. Tam.”
Gabriel hesitated, not sure of this man, and then remembered that Cutter was probably behind all of this and there was nothing he could do about Cutter. He took a deep breath and then said what he had to say. “On Persephone, the Eavesdown docks. I sent private detectives and just over four years ago they found a criminal named Badger. He had seen my children on Serenity.”
“He didn’t say. All he knew was the name of the owner of that ship, Malcolm Reynolds. That small piece of information cost me dearly.”
“What’s this “Badger’s” real name?”
“I don’t know. A business contact of mind on Persephone, Sir Warrick Harrow, he also knows this Badger, mentioned him once in passing as a low life criminal.”
“We will look into this. Good day.”
“Wait! Why are you still looking for them? What did they do? Why were they on Greenleaf? Please…tell me.”
“There is nothing I can tell you, Mr. Tam. Good day.”
Mal awoke in his own bunk and suddenly remembered all that happened with Inara. They lay and held each other for a few hours, neither wanting to separate, Mal not feeling such warmth and total relaxation for such a long time. Finally, they both realized it might be better to not let the crew know anything was happening with them, not just yet, so he went to his own bed. Take things slow, she said, and he agreed. He could feel the heat from her body and they both struggled with the sexual tension but Mal also felt a bit too much pain to make it anything but awkward and knew it was best to wait for his wound to heal.
He got up and felt a streak of pain shoot through his wound to his brain. Standing took another ten minutes and he knew he’d need a shot if he was to get through the day. He might also need it just to get up out of his bunk. Mal looked at the clock, 8: 10 am it said, and reached for the intercom, and pressed the button for Simon’s room.
“Doc, rise and shine.” No answer. He tried again, and again there was no answer. Next he hit the button for ship wide. “Simon, need you in my bunk.” No answer and then Zoe’s voice came through.
“Think he’s off the boat, sir,” she said in a sleepy voice. “Kaylee, too.”
“Well, find him and tell him I need a shot for this leg,” he growled.
He sat back in his bed and grimaced in pain and the next thing he knew Inara was coming down his ladder.
“Mal, what’s the matter?” she said with worry and she was barely dressed, just in a robe.
“My leg,” he said in pain. “Hey, thought we were…you know, keep things under wraps.”
“Not when you need me. Let me help you get dressed,” she said and he was about to protest but gave up.
Zoe sent Jayne to the Frye house and after getting lost once or twice Jayne found the house and was just in time to join Simon, Kaylee and Jonathan for a big breakfast which he couldn’t refuse. He forgot all about Mal till Zoe contacted him by the communicator he was carrying.
“Jayne! You find Simon?”
“Oh, yeah, we’re on the way.”
Simon was looking at Jayne as the big man shoveled eggs and bacon into his mouth. “What’s going on?”
“Mal needs a shot,” he mumbled. “Come on.”
Simon kissed Kaylee goodbye and told her to finish breakfast and he’d be back later. Jayne and Simon arrived back on ship as everyone was sitting down for breakfast and Jayne grinned cause two breakfasts were always better than one, even if the captain was giving him a dirty look for taking so long.
“Spent the night in a real bed, Doc?” Mal said as Simon gave him an injection and Mal finally got some relief for his pain.
“Ah, yeah, sorry I wasn’t here. Stupid of me,” Simon said in an apologetic manner.
“No worries, Doc. Getting along well with the Frye’s I see.”
“Yes, he knows about us. Everything’s fine."
“Better than fine,” said River as she grinned at Simon and he knew she knew what was going on.
“That’s nice,’ said Inara as she placed a platter of pancakes on the table. “It’s hard to keep something like that a secret.”
She gave Mal a sideways glance and he tried to hide his smile but couldn’t. “Ah, anyways,” Mal said. “After breakfast we need to get to work. Kaylee and her father going to make us a transponder and he’s going put word out for a legal code for it. Jayne, you take some more swag and see if you can change it for some hard cash.”
“Small place like this, might not have much luck.”
“Try anyways. We still got that 25,000 from New Caledonia. We load up on grub. Zoe, you and Inara and Book can handle that. Nothing fancy, but edible. Wash, talk to the port controller and find us a fueling station.”
“We’re not staying?” Wash asked as he sipped some coffee and the question of where to go to next was on all their minds.
“Need to be ready to run if we have to but we’ll stay for a few days anyways,” Mal said. “Till we get everything straightened out. Then…not sure what the next move is.”
“Ain’t like anyone gonna give us a job,’ Jayne snorted and then Mal explained to them all what Seifert had said on Greenleaf.
“Can they blacklist you?” Simon asked, not wise to the ways of the business world despite his father’s company being one of the biggest on Osiris.
“They can,” said Zoe. “It’s an informal thing, but reputation is everything in this business.”
“Before we talk about any other jobs, this crew ain’t been paid in a while and I seem to recall something about a raise for me,” Jayne said and everyone started to protest again but Mal told them all to shut up in Chinese.
“All right, all right. After all the boat’s needs are taken care of, I guess its payday. And…you all get a slight raise, I guess.”
“About time,” Jayne said with glee.
“What should River and I do?” Simon asked. “I mean, everyone else seems to have a job.”
“Well, Doc, seeing as your names are still plastered on the Cortex as wanted fugitives, I guess it’s best that you stay aboard ship. For now anyways. But I got a job for you both. Find out everything you can about Miranda, the Reavers, and this here rebellion.”
“We don’t even know where it is,” said River and she looked across the table at Book and the preacher kept his eyes on his plate.
“Maybe something will jog your memory,” Inara said to River.
“Not while I’m taking my medicine,” she said and they all looked to Simon.
“Is this so important?” he said to Mal. “I mean, why should we care about Miranda?”
Mal looked at him like he’s crazy. “Doc, that’s the reason they’re after you!”
“I know but…what if we find out it’s all true. That the Alliance did something on Miranda, that they are somehow responsible for the Reavers and this is why they want River, because Cutter is somehow connected. What then?”
“I don’t know,” Mal said and he chose his next words carefully. “But if what Mr. Universe said is true and if what River knows is right, then might be time to pick up a gun again.”
“Rebel?” Book said quietly. “And how many more must die?”
“I ain’t taking about rebelling,” Mal said to them all. “I’m taking about justice against those responsible.”
“Cutter,” River said.
“That’s crazy!” Jayne said after a stunned moment. “Mal, he’s top cop. No one can get near him!”
“You don’t have to get near him to bring him down,” Inara said and all were surprised that she spoke on this matter. “He’s an appointed official, responsible to the government, and liable for his actions.”
“In a perfect system, that would be true, Inara,” Book said in a gently manner. “But Cutter knows everything about every high official and to think they would turn against him is to dream. No, he cannot be brought down from within or from the outside. It has been tried already and they have failed.”
“I ain’t too found of failing,” Mal said but didn’t elaborate. Inara knew he was talking about the war and thought maybe she could finally get him to break his silence on that. But not now, not in front of the others.
“Let me think on things,” Mal said next. "Meantime, let’s get to work.”
Mal then handed out the cash for the various jobs to be done and also an advance on their pay. He told Jayne to drop by the Frye home and tell Kaylee what was going on and to pay Jonathan some cash in advance for his work and what supplies the boat needed.
“We’ll see what we can find out about Miranda, Mal,” Simon promised after everyone else had left and then he ran after Jayne and gave him a message for Kaylee.
Mal sat all alone in the dining room, thinking for a long time on want he could do and should do. And he came to only one conclusion. It was the right choice or there would be no future for any of them. The time for running and hiding was over. The time to confront all of their demons, past and present, was at hand.
Kaylee hummed a childhood song to herself as she washed the dishes in the kitchen of her father’s home. Her home too, she thought and maybe someday Simon’s and River’s also. After the wedding proposal last night her father invited Simon to spend the night here and he couldn’t say no. Kaylee knew it wasn’t wise to leave Serenity, especially not after their latest brushed with the Alliance but it was her home and her father wanted her and her future husband to spend the night. But he didn’t stay long himself. After she and Simon had gone to her bedroom Kaylee heard her father sneaking out and knew he was off to see his woman Mary.
Kaylee’s room was exactly as she had left it when she had last been here and she almost started crying as she saw all the things her mother had given her over the years. A small toy pony with a pink mane and tail, many dolls, a beautiful mirror, a small jewelry box with the first earrings and necklace Kaylee ever had. Her bed still had sheets with moons and stars and spaceships on them. Simon stood quietly as she took in her room and then she felt a twinge of embarrassment.
“It’s a girl's room,” she said. “Not a woman’s.”
He smiled and held her in his arms from behind. “It’s your room. That’s what matters. Did you ever…with a boy…man? I mean, in here.”
“Simon Tam!” she said in mock shock as she turned to him. “Are you asking about my love life?”
“Ah, yeah. Sort of. I guess I want to know all about you. Don’t you want to know about mind?”
“Only the good parts,” she said and for an hour they lay on the bed talking about their first time and different things they had done and while Simon seemed not to be bothered by Kaylee’s sexual adventures he could sense the jealousy growing in Kaylee, especially after her told her he had almost gotten married once.
“Who is she?” she said and he felt some anger in her voice.
“Ah, the daughter of one of my father’s business associates. Nothing came of it. The things with River started and she believed me no more than my parents. I think she was engaged to another doctor, someone I worked with, the last I had heard.”
“Oh. That’s good,” Kaylee said and he teased her about being jealous. After more talk they let their growing desire consume them and for the first time in her life Kaylee did have a man in her parent’s house and she was glad it was a man she loved.
“You sure would make a good wife,” said a voice and Kaylee just cringed as she realized it was Jayne Cobb and she came back to reality. She turned from the just completed dishes to see him standing in the kitchen doorway.
“Certainly not yours, Jayne Cobb. Didn’t your momma teach you to knock on doors and wipe your feet before you enter a house?”
“Oh, sorry," he said as he realized he tracked in some mud. "Ah, Mal gave me some money for your father to get on with the work for Serenity.”
“He’s already gone to the factory. I’m just going now. Where’s Simon?’
“Mal confined him and moon…ah River to the boat. Seeing as they still got a big reward attached to their pretty faces.”
“Jayne, I know you don’t like them much, but you ever think on cashing in on that reward, you’ll never be forgiven by any of us.”
“Don’t worry none on that. Mal warned me enough times and besides, they’re kinda growing on me. River’s awful good in a scrap.”
“Yeah, I’ve seen that first hand. Did Simon…say anything about…anything?”
“What? Oh, just a message asking you to come to Serenity for lunch if you got time.”
“Thanks, Jayne. Sorry I been mad at you once or twice last few weeks.”
“Hell, no worries, little Kaylee. Just glad you’re OK and happy. We almost lost you there.”
“Yeah,” she said quietly and there was an awkward pause. “You and Christine? Was there anything…”
He interrupted her quickly. “Nope, not much.” And Kaylee got the feeling maybe there was. “See you later. Got to go sell more jewelry and stuff.”
“Wait, I’ll show you where to go.” And Kaylee changed into some work clothes and took Jayne to the main street to show him some jewelry shops and then went on to the factory where she met Mary and had a nice chat with her and then her and her father spent the morning putting together a transponder for Serenity.
“When’s the wedding?” River asked Simon as they sat on the bridge looking through two different Cortex screens for the information Mal had asked for.
Simon just sighed. “I know you know. We haven’t made a plan yet and we aren’t telling anyone yet so I would appreciate it if you kept it secret.”
“Secrets. Too many of them in my head, ones I don’t even know I have.”
Simon looked at her, wondering how in the verse he was ever going to help her. “Do you want to stop the medication treatments?”
“I don’t know. So many emotions on this ship, even with the medication. But if it helps me remember, many I should stop.”
“Or not,” he said as he returned to a Cortex screen, looking through news reports form the past four years.
“You don’t want to know the truth, do you Simon?”
“Not if it’s what I’m afraid it is. I think we are better off running and hiding.”
“That way nobody gets hurt.”
“Exactly,” he said quietly. “Especially now, with Kaylee, I…I’m afraid for her and you. Afraid of what could happen.”
“Mal hates hiding and running,” she said. “He wants to know all about Miranda, wants to confront Cutter.” Simon sighed and said what was on his mind for a while now and knew River already knew before he said it.
“Then we will leave Serenity.”
The next three days went by quickly on Taos Moon. The transponder was built and set in the cockpit of Serenity, just a small black box that was hooked directly into the nav computer and the system wide nav sats. Jonathan found a legal code for sale and for most of the money they managed to get for the sale of the Australian swag, Serenity suddenly became the Calypso, an older model Firefly that was being scrapped. With a heavy heart Mal ordered the big Serenity sign on the side of the ship painted over and said it was too soon to add the new name, since he was hoping it was only temporary anyways.
They loaded up the boat with food and supplies, found a fueling station and kept away from the few Alliance forces in town. Jayne managed to sell some of the swag but there weren’t many takers. Kaylee and her father worked the hardest, setting the Kovalev Drive so that it could be operated from the bridge and Kaylee wouldn’t have to worry about being exposed to rads any more if something went wrong. Her father managed to scale back the drive a bit so they could go to just below light speed without actually popping into FTL mode. That was still faster than any other ship in the verse and could take them places in no time at all. He also did some reinforcement of Serenity’s frame work, adding some steel bars in her frame so the FTL wouldn’t shake her apart if they had to engage it in an emergency. Wash took Serenity for a few flight tests to get used to the added weight of the frame.
Kaylee was over the nausea from the small dose of rads she had gotten and Simon gave her a clean bill of health. They kept their wedding proposal secret for the first two days but Kaylee was about to burst at the seams if she didn’t tell someone soon. Inara and Mal also kept what happened between them secret but Zoe knew something was up with both of them and kept hinting around it until Mal finally took her aside and told her yes something was going on but that news was not even for Wash’s ears. Zoe promised to keep his secret and then immediately told Wash the first chance she got. He wasn’t surprised, noticing how Inara and Mal hadn’t had a fight in three days.
Kaylee was the next to find out, noticing the same thing Wash had noticed, and she just came out and asked Inara and she confessed. Kaylee couldn’t very well keep her and Simon’s engagement a secret after that and before they knew it the whole crew knew everything, about both couples.
“Well, Taos just as good as any place for a wedding,” Mal said after everyone offered their congratulations at dinner on the third night at the Frye house. Mal was really looking for a reason to extend their stay here, not sure what his next move was and enjoying a little peace for a change. Even those weeks on Earth weren’t very peaceful, with so much to do and so many worries about returning home.
“A wedding license requires a visit to an Alliance government office,” said Simon sadly as he held Kaylee’s hand. “It will have to wait.”
“Maybe there is something we can do,’ said Book after a moment’s thought. “In the eyes of my order a wedding needs only a man and a woman who love each other to take their vows before a Shepherd.”
Kaylee’s eyes shone with excitement. “You mean it Shepherd? You can marry us?”
“Don’t see why not?” he replied and before Simon knew what hit him the women were all making wedding plans and he was shunted aside to the living room with the rest of the men where they sat drinking and having a cigar.
“End of the line,” Jayne said to Simon with a grin as he took a puff on his cigar.
“Unlike you, Jayne, I do not view marriage as a prison sentence.”
“Hell, guess ‘Nara and Mal be next.”
Mal just sighed, being the butt of jokes all day since the word about him and Inara got out. Maybe he should threaten to fire the lot of them. “Jayne, don’t you want… something… out of life before you die?”
“Nope. Got everything I want. Least I’ll enjoy life till I go. Can’t say same for you married and attached fellas.”
Jonathan looked for a long time at the big merc. “Best listen to these fellas, Jayne. Ain’t no substitute for the comfort of a woman at your side when the chips are down. Can have a lot of laughs and a barrel of fun, too.”
“Fun?” said Wash in surprise. “You mean a relationship is supposed to be ‘fun’?”
They all had a chuckle at that comment, knowing how Zoe sometimes intimidated him.
“Wash, you wouldn’t stay with her if you didn’t love her,” Jonathan stated.
“Course not…maybe…no, what am I saying!” Wash said with a quick glance toward the kitchen to see if Zoe was listening. Then he leaned forward and almost whispered to the men. “Fact is, she’s unbelievable in bed and very, very generous.”
“I knew it!” said Jayne very loud.
“Knew what?” Zoe said as she entered the room.
“Ah, nothing babe…just…about Mal and Inara again!” Wash got out in a quick burst of nervous energy.
“Uh, huh,” she said with a stern look at him, then turned to Mal. “Captain, need a word.”
Mal was happy to follow her to the kitchen to get away from all this relationship talk and then ran into more of it in the kitchen. Kaylee asked him if she could have the wedding aboard Serenity since a wedding at the Frye house or a church would attract too much attention from folks and might have Alliance get involved. Mal quickly agreed and plans were sent for the Tam/Frye nuptials two days hence.
Maston Forbes arrived at the Eavesdown Docks on Persephone and immediately went to the local police station. The captain gave him all the information they had on Badger. After shifting through it for an hour Forbes realized this man was more than a small time crook. Forbes also concluded that this captain and his men were most likely corrupted or otherwise Thomas Jamison, AKA Badger, formerly of the Dayton Colony and the Tashkent Penal Moon, would have been back in prison where he belonged a long time ago. That was not his concern but he put the fear of Adam Cutter into these men before he left and was sure no one would be contacting Badger to tell him someone was looking for him. After leaving the office Forbes contacted Warrick Harrow and Harrow immediately promised to cooperate as much as he could as soon as he learned who Forbes was and represented. He arraigned a meeting for Forbes with Badger in his lair, telling Badger that Forbes was a potential customer.
Early the next morning Forbes entered Badger’s office in the maze of shipping containers. He could immediately sense the distain that Badger and the several henchmen around him held for Forbes because of his age as he sat in a chair opposite Badger who was behind his desk.
“And what can I do for you, “sir”?” Badger said full of his usual bravado, more so in front of this whippersnapper. Another rich dandy looking to make a dishonest wage.
“Malcolm Reynolds and Serenity,” Forbes said and the shock it produced was evident on Badger’s face.
“Eh? Come again? You’re talking about ghosts, chum. No one‘s seen hide nor hair of Reynolds and that piece of junk he flies in four years since he stiffed a customer on Greenleaf. And anything I can tell you about Reynolds will cost.”
“I’m not here to negotiate. I’m here to shut you down and to use you to get Reynolds to come out of hiding.”
There was a stillness in the room as Badger suddenly felt all was not as he thought.
“And who do you represent, to come in here all high and mighty making threats?”
“High Chancellor Adam Cutter,” Forbes said and the words were barely out of his mouth before Badger told his men to kill him. It was a short fight and in less than fifteen seconds all of Badger’s men were dead, all five of them gutted by the knife Forbes swiftly pulled from his jacket. Using kicks, punches and stabs he spun and turned and ducked, avoided their wild gunfire, and slashed a throat here, stabbed a heart there, and drove his knife to the hilt into the brain of the last man through the eye socket. As he pulled his knife out Badger recovered from his shock and was going for a pistol in his desk when Forbes stabbed him through the right hand, pinning it onto the desk and Badger screamed in pain and fear.
“Reynolds’ dead, hit a moon, fell into a star, ran into those Greenleaf boys!” he yelled in agony. “Can’t help you find someone don’t exist!”
Forbes took the pistol from Badger’s desk and told him to sit down but didn’t remove the knife. Then he sat back opposite Badger and smiled.
“Oh, he ran into those Greenleaf boys alright.”
Badger’s genuine surprise came through all the pain he was suffering.
“Can’t be. When?” he managed to gasp.
“Four days ago, on Greenleaf. Met Reynolds and some his crew by chance. Two of them are dead, third is telling us everything. Seems Reynolds was supposed to deliver a shipload of guns there four years ago and never arrived.”
“What do you want from Reynolds? What’s he done to you gorramn lot?”
“That is not your concern. First, I want names. Who do you remember working with Reynolds?”
Badger hesitated, informing to the coppers a deadly crime among criminals and he hated informers with a passion. But this man was not one to be trifled with and Badger was clearly at a disadvantage.
“The names,” Forbes said again.
“Woman name Zoe, Reynolds’ right arm, pilot was fellow called Wash, and a hired gun, big guy named Cobb. That’s it.” Of course that wasn’t it and Badger knew Kaylee and Book and Inara Serra, having met them all that time when Mal got himself in a little duel. And then there were the Tams and a reward that maybe Badger might be able to collect if Serenity was still about and things went his way.
“Not what you told Gabriel Tam’s detectives.”
It was about the Tams and the reward! “Then I guess you know already the Tam whelps was on board. But that was more than four years ago.”
Forbes ignored his comment. “You will contact Serenity, tell Reynolds you heard he is back in operation and you will offer him a job.”
“What job? He’s blacklisted anyways for what he did to those Greenleaf boys’ shipment, guns or no guns. I ain’t got a job for him.”
“You do now. Tell him the new rebellion contacted you and is looking for weapons. From his history Reynolds has no qualms about dealing with weapons and I’m sure he has a soft spot for the rebellion.”
“And then you trap him, is that it?”
“And what happens to me, afterwards?”
“If he believes you and it works, you get a nice warm bed in one of our more modern prison facilities.”
“And if not?”
Forbes looked around the room at the dead men. “Get the picture?”
Badger nodded. “The knife?”
Forbes took it out with a jerk and Badger wrapped his hand in a handkerchief. He then took a bottle from his desk top and took a long swig. “For me nerves.”
“Serenity’s wave address is…”
“Already got it.” Badger turned to his computer console, made sure the screen was placed so it would not reveal Forbes or the carnage in his office, and then with one hand operated the keyboard, going first to the Wave Communications page and then clicking on his saved addresses. He kept Serenity's all these years, knowing somehow that someday he might need Mal for something. Now he needed him to save his life of all things. “Where you want him sent to?”
“Here,” Forbes said and Badger hit Serenity's address and then the send button. After a long moment a tired looking Mal came on screen.
“Badger,” he said without surprise and Badger knew Mal had checked the name before answering as any smart person did.
“Hello, Malcolm, old mate,” Badger said with a big grin. “Let’s do some business, shall we?”
And Mal just stared at him for a long moment and then smiled and said, “Let’s, old chum.”
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 5:37 PM
You must log in to post comments.
OTHER FANFICS BY AUTHOR
All FIREFLY graphics and photos on this page are copyright 2002-2012 Mutant Enemy, Inc., Universal Pictures, and 20th Century Fox.
All other graphics and texts are copyright of the contributors to this website.
This website IS NOT affiliated with the Official Firefly Site, Mutant Enemy, Inc., or 20th Century Fox.