BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JANE0904

Prospero's Legacy - Part XIV
Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Maya. Post-BDM. As Serenity approaches Whitefall, there are various conversations on and off ship. And those of you wanting to know what Gabriel and Dillon know ... soon! NEW CHAPTER


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1752    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

The Vanguard class vessel, named Columbine by the owner’s mother, cut through the emptiness of space, hurrying on towards Whitefall.

Regan Tam sat back in the comfortable armchair, and wondered again at the luxury she found herself in. Admittedly, it wasn't as if she had ever lived in squalor, but this was something else. When they’d first been shown to their cabin she’d taken off her shoes just so she could walk barefoot through the apparently ankle-deep carpet. Gabriel had watched, an indulgent smile on his lips, then done the same, just to keep her company.

Not that he let himself have too much fun. He’d been locked up with the others for hours after they’d taken off, and their faces when they’d come out told her all she needed to know.

At the moment he was standing at the window, looking out into the black, and she could tell by his back that he was willing the ship to travel faster.

She took the opportunity to slip the capture from her pocket and press play again, making sure the sound was still turned off, and she had to smile. Inara had given it to her, and it made her heart warm to see the children, all of them, playing in the orchard. As the capture centred on Bethie, the little girl grinned widely, showing all her teeth, and the sunlight caught on the silver teddy bear hanging on a chain around her neck.

“You shouldn’t have that,” Gabriel said softly.

She looked up guiltily. “I … I thought you were …”

“Preoccupied?” he supplied, then smiled. “You do know, if anyone finds that, they could make the connection.”

“That these are our grandchildren?”

“Yes.” Gabriel wasn't going to say it again, that they weren’t. Regan needed something to hold onto, at least until Simon made it perfectly clear they were never allowed to see the children again. And he knew that was going to happen, deep in his very soul. He wasn't even going to hold it against the young man.

“Then I won’t let anyone find it.” She touched the screen with the tip of one finger, almost as if she could feel Bethie’s hair.

“Can I see? Properly?” He held out a hand, but it was a request, not a demand.

“If you let me see the posy Bethie gave to you.”

His eyebrows went up. “Posy?”

“Gabriel, since I doubt very much that you’ve taken to picking wild flowers …”

He laughed, a welcome sound. “You know me too well.” He reached inside his jacket, removing a small bunch of blossoms tied with a red hair ribbon, somewhat crushed now from being in his pocket. “And you’re right. Bethie gave them to me.” He handed them to her.

There was still a faint scent of summer on the blooms, although that could have been from the herbs intertwined with them.

“They’re pretty,” she said, looking up at him. “What are they?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know. That’s why we had a gardener.”

“Three.”

“As you say.” He took the posy back, fingering the petals. “But I think one of the herbs is Rosemary. And there’s something in the back of my mind about it meaning something.”

“It’s for remembrance.” She felt a tug on her heart. “Rosemary is for remembrance. It’s in Hamlet.”

“Ah, yes.” He smiled. “I think it’s deliberate.”

“You think Bethie understood the significance?”

“I think so.”

Regan looked down at the capture, at the image frozen on the child’s face. “She’s very bright.”

“Just like River at her age.”

“We have to stop them, Gabriel.”

“We will. And she’s safe back on Lazarus.”

Her eyes flicked back to his face. “And Simon?”

He went down onto his heels, hearing his joints creak alarmingly. “Trust me, Regan. Trust me.”

She gazed into his eyes, then nodded, handing over the capture so he could look at the children playing.

---

“So that’s her.” Goff lowered his head enough to look through the small window at the young woman sitting in the centre of the floor, playing with the toys.

“It is.”

“The one who controls Reavers.”

Quintana sighed, shaking his head. “Don’t be misled by the way she looks.”

Chiang Goff had arrived at the complex only a short while before, insisting on being shown the girl, but what he saw made him doubt the veracity of the project. “She’s playing with dolls, for God’s sake.”

“They keep her amused.” Quintana peered in. “Petty used to keep her sedated a lot of the time, and controlled her hormones. Now that the drugs are out of her system, she’s returning to normal.”

“Normal?” Goff looked at him sharply. “Is that a word that can be used in regards to her?”

“Of course.” Quintana smiled slightly. “And when she’s fully recovered, she’s going to help us of her own free will.”

“You can promise that, can you?”

“She’ll see the worth in my arguments.”

Goff wasn’t convinced. “Emil –”

“Wait and see.”

The young woman suddenly looked up, her dark eyes piercing through the small window, and Goff took a step back. “Is it … safe?”

Quintana laughed. “Perfectly. She can’t get out. But that’s for her own good. I wouldn’t want her wandering the corridors. There are some areas of the complex that could be considered hazardous, and I don’t want her hurting herself.”

“I’m more concerned about my own skin,” Goff said quietly.

“And to that end I would suggest you don’t go exploring beyond the main area. We wouldn’t want you to end up at the bottom of a disused well or something, would we?” Quintana smiled, trying to warm away the other man’s misgivings. “Besides, the die is cast. And soon the Alliance will feel our wrath, striking at their very heart.” He looked up, his pale eyes almost gentle. “I’m sorry you’ll no longer be a Parliamentary Member.”

“I’m not. They’re dinosaurs, with not a forward thought amongst them.” He allowed his ambition to show briefly. “When I’m in charge, we won’t have any more of this … shillyshallying.”

Quintana closed the cover across the window. “Then let’s go and drink to the new order, shall we?”

Goff nodded. “Good idea. I could do with a whisky.” Anything to get away from the memory of those dark eyes burning into his, and the irrational belief that she was pulling his thoughts right out of his mind.

---

“It’s been nearly two weeks!”

Klaus Ubermann, Commander of the ASV Iolanthe, looked up from where he was checking reports into the angry face of Captain Gregory Bennett. “And we’ve been more than hospitable.” They were in his private quarters, slightly more hospitable than the rest of the ship, but only a little.

“That’s not the point!” Bennett dropped into the seat opposite, still glaring. “We have to get back to work, otherwise I’ll have nothing but fresh air and promises to pay what’s left of my crew, and you’re not helping.”

“I’d have thought you would want us to catch these space pirates.”

Bennett exhaled explosively. “They weren't pirates.”

Ubermann smiled slightly. “So you’re still convinced it’s Reavers?”

“That’s what it looked like.”

“Captain Bennett, Reavers don’t leave survivors. If they even existed.”

“Neither do space pirates. And I resent the implication that I don’t know what I saw.” He was grumpy, and that was manifesting as intense annoyance, particularly as the more he thought about it the more he was convinced it wasn’t ordinary Reavers anyway.

“I don’t think I implied anything. But you were hurt, concussed, and in that situation you may simply not be remembering things properly.”

“And the rest of my men? You suggesting they’re labouring under the same hallucination?”

“I wouldn’t know. I haven’t talked to them personally.”

“Maybe you should.”

“They were all interviewed, and their statements are on file.” Ubermann sat back. “I can assure you, we are doing everything in our power to catch these … criminals.”

“And in the meantime me and mine are sitting here on your ship twiddling our thumbs.”

“That can’t be helped. Your ship was impounded.”

“You think I don’t know that? And I’ve been wracking my brain to figure out a reason why.”

“You should be grateful. The Alliance is repairing it for you. It will be returned in due course.”

“And how long is that likely to be?” Bennett leaned forward, putting his fist on the table. “When I lose all my other contracts and can’t afford to keep her running anyway?”

“You’ll be fairly compensated.”

“Can I have that in writing?”

Ubermann shook his head. “Captain, I suggest you go and get on with your own business, and let me get on with mine.”

Bennett glared at him, but he could see there was no moving the man. He got to his feet. “Five days. That’s all I’m prepared to give you,” he warned, shaking his finger. “Five days. Then either you take us back to my boat, or you arrange passage. At no charge.” He strode out, letting the door slide closed behind him.

Ubermann didn’t move for a long minute, then reached out a hand to the com. “Bradshaw.”

“Sir.”

“Do we still have it?”

“It’s getting fainter, but we’re still on track.”

“Same direction?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Let me know immediately if it changes course, or becomes too faint. I want these ‘Reavers’ in restraints before the week is out.”

“Yes, sir.”

The com went dead, and he sat back in his chair, his fingers steepled before his chin. He didn’t believe in Reavers. His might be a new command, but he knew the Alliance would never have allowed Miranda.

He smiled. They’d been lucky, picking up the engine signature from the hull of Bennett’s freighter, then managing to locate the same trace in the black before it degraded too far. He was determined to follow it back to its base.

Besides, it wouldn’t do his career any harm at all to be the one who showed the Reavers to be the cowardly invention of the Independents that he knew them to be.

---

The sweet smell of incense was strong in the air, so he knew she’d been mediating, sitting naked on the floor of their bunk, trying to reach that place of inner calm her mentor had shown her.

Not for the first time Mal wished he could meet that man, to shake his hand and thank him for saving her. Freya had said that captures of Book reminded her of him, and occasionally he wondered if the two had been related.

“He didn’t talk about his past much,” Freya had continued. “Amon was one of the most open people I’ve ever met, but his previous life was private. I know he had brothers, and a sister, and that he grew up on a farm, but that’s about all. He never even told me his last name.”

“He didn’t need to tell you to save you, ai ren. Still, wouldn’t surprise me to find out him and Book were cut from the same cloth. ‘Though I can’t help but admit I have a more than healthy curiosity about the Preacher’s youth.”

“You know what curiosity did to the cat.”

“Ain't no cat, Frey.”

She had successfully derailed his train of thought at that point, and he smiled to remember it. Still, there was no sign of her now. Climbing back up the ladder, he glanced into the kitchen, but that was empty, so he strolled down the staircase towards the common area, hearing voices rising to meet him.

As he reached the bottom step he could see Simon in the infirmary, tending someone sitting on the medbed. The young man moved, and Mal’s heart jumped a little to see Freya was his patient. Still, she didn’t look like she was hurt, so he merely leaned against the wall to listen in to their conversation.

“You know this is only a temporary measure,” Simon said, injecting a painkiller into her neck.

Freya held her breath until he‘d finished. “I know. And thank you.”

“They will get less effective if you keep needing them like this.”

She sighed. “I know. But there’s not much I can do about it. It’s your sister.”

“The psychic overflow?”

Nodding, she eased her neck. “I try and block it, and it works for a while, but there are splinters, and my mind catches on them and makes me bleed.”

He looked at her. “You know that sounds … slightly crazy, don’t you?”

“Only slightly?” Freya smiled tiredly at him. “Simon, I’m counting on the gunplay at Patience’s to distract me.”

“Ain’t gonna be no gunplay,” Mal said from the infirmary doorway. “And maybe you oughtta consider that drug Simon offered before.” He crossed to the medbed and put his hand on her shoulder.

Freya shook her head at him. “Heretofen. No. Seriously, no. This is bad enough. Feeling deaf and blind would be worse.”

“How do you know?” He went on quickly before she could speak, “I mean, it might just take the edge off, if Simon used the right dose.” He looked up at the doctor. “Could you?”

Simon shrugged slightly. “Probably. It might be hit and miss for a while, but I could probably work out the right amount to block the worst of it without it leaving you feeling debilitated.”

“You need to listen to him, Frey. He’s the doc. He knows what he’s talking about. Even if I ain’t too sure what he means by debilitated.”

She wasn't going to let him change the subject, particularly as his vocabulary was a lot wider than he usually let on, and glared at him. “You’re the worst patient I know!” she said accusingly. “Since when did you do what he told you without arguing about it?”

“That’s me. Not you.”

Freya pushed him to one side and stood up from the medbed, only her knees gave a little. Mal was there, his arms under hers. “What …”

“Doc,” Mal said urgently.

Simon wasn’t phased. “It’s that particular painkiller. It has a slight sedative effect.” At the look the pair of them gave him, he shrugged. “You might as well lie down again, Frey. Here or in the guest quarters, it won’t make much difference.”

“You doping my wife?” Mal demanded to know, even as he made Freya get back onto the medbed.

“She said she didn’t sleep well last night, and as a doctor I prescribe a couple of hours rest before she has to make the daring rescue to save you.”

The man in question narrowed his eyes. “I told you, there ain't gonna be gunplay.”

“Mal, I keep notes on everyone, you know that, don’t you?” Simon said by way of answer.

“Well, I seen you writing stuff in a journal, yeah,” Mal admitted.

“Any good doctor keeps notes on his patients. And I have to tell you that yours are thicker than everyone else’s. Put together.”

“I'm sure that ain't the case –“

“Do you want me to show you?”

Mal stared at the other man, yet again struck by how much he’d grown since he’d come on board. “Not really, no.”

“Then take my word for it. You seem to be a magnet for bullets, knife wounds, laser burns –“

“I get the picture. And I promise you, I don’t intend getting shot today.”

“Hmmn.”

“Simon might, though,” Freya said, unable to keep her eyes open. “And believe me, we’re going to talk about this,” she promised, her words slurring faintly. “Soon as I … wake …”

The young doctor checked her pulse. “I’ll look forward to it,” he said quietly.

“How long will she be out?” Mal asked, stroking his wife’s hair.

“It’s mild, and wears off pretty quickly. A couple of hours, no more.”

“Good.” He smiled somewhat wickedly. “Wouldn’t want to miss the fireworks.” He walked out before Simon could decide whether he meant the possible gunplay on Whitefall, or Freya’s displeasure when she surfaced.

Mal climbed the steps up to the cargo bay, not surprised to see Jayne working out, repetitively lifting the bar above his chest, breathing in as he lowered it again. He must have been close to finishing, because he slid the bar back into the cradle and sat up, picking up a bottle of water from the floor and taking a good slug.

“Should you be doing that without a spotter?” Mal asked, closing the gap.

Jayne looked round at him. “Never used to have one, not ‘til the Preacher. And Frey’s not inclined at the moment.”

“You could ask Zoe. Or me.”

“Figured you were busy plannin’ how to not let Patience shoot ya.” He grinned and wiped his neck with the towel he had in his lap.

“There’s going to be no shooting,” Mal said firmly, perching on a crate.

“Believe that when I see it.” Jayne’s eyes fell on Bethie’s own little workout bench next to him. “Seems kinda weird,” he admitted. “Doing this, but not having the short stub doing it with me.”

“I know what you mean,” Mal agreed. “Ship seems all too quiet without them all running riot.” He looked up towards the shuttle. “How’s River faring?”

“Okay.” Jayne was suddenly wary. “Why?”

“Just asking. Seeing as I'm captain, it behoves me to keep an eye on my crew.”

“Behoves?”

Mal had to smile slightly at the confused look on the big man’s face. “Let’s just say it’s in my job description.”

“So nothing to do with the fact Freya’s feeling my girl’s anxiety and it hurting, then.”

Mal decided he really had to give up being surprised by his ex-mercenary. “That … might’ve had something to do with it.”

Jayne sighed. “River knows, and she’s sorry. But this Mara Tam … the closer we get to her, the worse she feels. Last night she was thrashing about in bed fit to bust something, and it took me a long damn while ‘fore she’d wake up. Scared me.”

“You?”

“Yeah. She’s my moonbrain, Mal.”

“I know.” Well, that explained Freya’s restlessness. “So we’re going in the right direction?”

“River thinks so.”

“Any idea how far?”

“Nope.” Jayne leaned on his elbows. “Just that it’s getting worse.”

“Maybe she should join Freya in the infirmary. Simon’s made her take a nap.”

Jayne shook his head. “Nah. My girl don’t exactly get on well with needles.”

“No, that’s true.”

“Mal, you down there?” Hank’s voice rang through the superstructure.

Mal looked up to see the man hanging over the top catwalk. “I’m here.”

His pilot rested his forearms on the railing. “Just thought you’d like to know Whitefall’s coming up, so you might wanna get that body armour on.”

“I ain't gonna get shot!”

to be continued

COMMENTS

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 7:12 AM

ANGELLEMARCS


I loved the last line, of course, but also thought it was touching how Jayne ws soo concerned with River. You make him so human and I love that about your writings.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 10:21 AM

AMDOBELL


I'm with the crew on this one, Mal should wear body armour. If only to see the look on Patience's face when her double cross doesn't kill him. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 12:21 PM

KATESFRIEND


Love how Mal is becoming the butt of the Patience joke. Nicely written and with wonderful attention to detail.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 4:18 PM

NCBROWNCOAT


Can't wait to see where Mal's going to get shot THIS time by Patience

Wednesday, October 1, 2008 2:40 PM

SLUMMING


Why do I think Mal is in more danger from Freya when she wakes up than from Patience? LOL Good work!


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