BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JANE0904

Prospero's Legacy - Part XXXIV
Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Maya. Post-BDM. Has the unthinkable happened to Freya? Can River stop Mara? NEW CHAPTER


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1784    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Time seemed to hang by a thread in the ‘verse as the three men searched for Freya.

Alex nearly had a heart attack when he saw a hand sticking out from beneath the collapsed wall, and dropped to his knees, narrowly avoiding the pool of dust-clogged blood that was spreading out from under the rocks. It only took a moment to ascertain it was a man, probably the young guard they’d tried to save, but it was the longest moment of Alex’s life.

As he climbed slowly back to his feet, a silent prayer on his lips, he heard Breed yell.

“Over here!”

He ran back down the corridor, reaching the other man at the same time as Dillon. “Freya?”

She was laying on her side, wedged against the wall, her body half-twisted towards them.

“Is she … alive?”

Breed was checking her pulse. “Yes.”

“Thank God.” He paused. “I must have passed her. And I didn’t even see.”

“Help me,” Breed requested. “We need to lay her out flat.”

“What if she’s got internal injuries?” Dillon nevertheless had gone down onto his heels, ready to assist.

“One way or the other we can’t leave her here. And I don’t think we’re going to be able to find a doctor, do you?”

“But if we aggravate something, make it worse -”

“Are you arguing?” Her faint voice seemed to be sent from heaven.

“Freya?” Alex was next to her head in a moment, brushing dust and tiny fragments of stone from her face. “Are you all right?”

Her eyes fluttered, finally opening. “No?” She shifted slightly, and a wave of pain crossed her features. “Oh, most definitely no.”

“Where does it hurt? Most, I mean?” Breed asked.

She was breathing shallowly, trying to control it. “My … my leg.”

Breed looked at the others. “Help me,” he said again.

Between them the three men tilted her hips back so she was lying flat, each supporting her as they did so. Breed straightened her leg, knowing he couldn’t begin to understand the agony biting deep into her face. She stifled a groan. “Cao.”

“It’s okay, Frey,” Alex muttered, her hand seeking and finding his, holding it in a death grip. “We’re here.”

Breed gently palpated the area. “Looks like you gave your knee one hell of a whack on the wall,” he said, feeling liquid coating his fingers. “And you’re bleeding.”

She tried to squirm backwards, away from the pain. “Yeah.”

“Are you a medic?” Alex asked, surprised.

“No. Just picked up a couple of things in my rebellious youth.” Breed’s mouth tightened. “Damn. It’s not stopping.”

“Here.” Alex quickly pulled his shirt off, turning it inside out. “Use this.”

Quickly the older man employed it as a cross between a tourniquet and a bandage, wrapping it tightly around Freya’s leg. She couldn’t help the moan grinding from her throat.

“Sorry.” Breed tied it off.

“Not your fault.” She glanced down at the makeshift dressing and added, “Help me up.”

“No.” Alex shook his head firmly. “No way. We need to find a stretcher.”

“I can use you as supports, but we have to get out of here as …” Her eyes closed and she bit down on her lip hard enough to make it bleed. “… as fast as we can,” she finished.

“Why?”

“Because if there’s even a single crack in that wall, if metal cuts through it in any way, the V59’s going to use it like a wick,” Dillon explained, his face set.

“You mean –“

He indicated the metalwork at intervals along the wall. “We don’t want to be here if that happens.”

Freya levered herself into a sitting position, panting slightly, her face sheened with sweat. “Then we’d better get moving, don’t you think?” She held her arms up.

---

River closed her eyes.

Jayne felt his heart freeze. “Moonbrain?”

“It’s okay,” she said, looking at him. “She’s hurt, but …” Her eyes widened. “Jayne.” She grabbed his arm. “He’s after Simon.”

“Yeah, but that’s why Mal’s going to find him, make him go back to the ship.”

“No. Not my father. Emil Quintana.”

“When?”

“Now.”

Jayne pulled his comlink from one of the many pockets on his pants and pressed the button. “Mal.” He paused. “Gorramit, Mal, can you hear me?”

River put her hand over his. “Too far from the boosters. Too much rock.”

“Shit.” He narrowed his eyes. “Can you tell Mal? Speak to him?” He tapped his temple.

River couldn’t look more incensed. “No. Mara’s not letting me.”

“Frey?”

Now the anger was tinged with worry. “Not her either.”

“You mean she’s –”

“No. Alive. Moving. But Mara won’t let me talk to her.” Her dark eyes fixed his. “Find him. Save my brother, Jayne.”

“What about Frey?”

“Alex is there. You have to find Mal, stop them taking Simon.”

He understood. Simon was blood, no matter how River looked on Freya as her surrogate mother. “Any idea where?” A plan of the complex unfolded in his mind, one area lit from within. “Got it,” he said, proud as always of his wife’s talents. “Close too.”

“Run.”

He chuckled, but there was little humour in it. “You be careful, you hear?”

“I will.” Reaching up she touched his lips with hers, her tongue sketching his mouth for a moment, then was gone.

The big man, ex-mercenary that he was, allowed himself to taste her for less than a second before he loped off.

---

“Captain.” Zoe watched him lean on the wall. “Sir.” He was concentrating so hard it was as if his ears had been disconnected. “Mal.”

At that he looked up. “She’s okay, Zoe. They did what they went for, and she’s okay.”

She’d seen him in many moods, from euphoric to almost suicidally depressed, but this made her heart leap into her throat. The sheer relief on his face, the change from the possibility that he’d lost his reason for living, to the knowledge that she was still with him, was almost embarrassing. Then it was gone, and he was Malcolm Reynolds again, with a job to do. “That’s … good, sir.”

“Yeah.” He glanced at Simon, who appeared to be studying the backs of his hands. “You still with us, doc?” he asked.

“Yes, Mal,” the young man said, a soft smile on his lips, as always impressed by the captain’s ability to hide his true emotions, if only from himself. “I'm here.”

“Then let’s go find your dad.”

They hurried down the corridor, not encountering anyone, friend or foe, a situation Zoe remarked on.

“Think the Reavers are up there?” she asked.

“More like the Alliance are down here.”

“Ubermann?”

“Probably.”

A noise echoed from one side of the corridor to the other, and Mal pressed himself against the wall. Not even looking at Zoe, he jabbed with two fingers to the darkened passageway a little further ahead. She gripped her Mare’s Leg more firmly, slipping silently to check. Her brows drew down as there was nothing and no-one. She looked back, shaking her head, even though her war-trained senses said there had to be. He indicated they should move forward, but very carefully.

At the next junction Mal released the safety on his pistol, then peered around, almost head-butting Jayne.

“Cap.”

“Gorramit, Jayne, I nearly shot you!”

“Where’s Simon?”

“He’s back there.”

“Where?”

There was a stupefied hush, then …“Zoe, where the hell’s Simon?”

She stared at her captain, then all three ran back down the corridor, but there was no sign of the young man.

“Gorramit, what the hell’s going on here?” Mal demanded to know. “People can’t just wander off like this!”

Zoe grunted and dropped to her heels, picking up Simon’s gun. “I don’t think he went on his own accord.”

“He hasn’t. Quintana’s got ‘im,” Jayne said succinctly. River.

She melted into his mind. Simon?

I couldn’t get to him in time. Sorry, Riv.

Jia yan will find him.

You got a lotta faith in the Cap, girl.

Always.

I'm heading back to you.

“Mal, I gotta go. River’s going after Mara.”

His captain nodded. “Yeah. Better take Zoe with –“

“No. You gotta find Simon and Gabriel. She’s countin’ on you.” The big man didn’t wait for a response, just ran, gone before Mal could formulate a suitably scathing reply.

“Huh,” was all he could come out with.

“I don’t like being this separated,” Zoe said.

He turned back to her. “Me neither, and it’s gonna get worse.” He pulled the last booster from his pack, activating it without extending the spikes. Pressing the button on the comlink, he said, “Hank, is Kaylee with you?”

His pilot sounded surprised to hear him. “Mal? You okay?”

“Shiny. Is Kaylee with you?”

“No, she’s with Mrs Tam. Do you need her?”

“No, no. You leave her there.”

“I’m confused. Why did you ask for her?”

“Can you get a reading off Simon’s transmitter?”

“What? Why?”

“Hank, you keep arguing and we’ll be here ‘til either the Reavers or the Alliance get us, and I don’t relish either prospect. Simon’s transmitter. Is it working?”

There was a slight pause. “Yeah. He’s moving. Looks like level four.”

Mal glanced up to the plate above his head. Level five. “Looks like they’re heading up. Can you patch his signal down to the palm reader?”

“I think so. You still got one of the boosters?”

“That’s how come I can talk to you.”

“Oh, yeah. Right. Keep it with you and you’ll be able to… there.”

The palm reader in Zoe’s hand beeped, and a tiny red light appeared on the screen.

“Got it.” He breathed a sigh of … if not relief, then at least a reprieve. “My boat safe?”

“Yeah, Mal. We’re buttoned up tighter’n a virgin’s pants.”

“You need to get out more.” He saw Zoe’s lips twitch. “Okay. Any sign of the Reavers on the ground yet?”

“Nope. They’re still fighting as far as I can see. Mal, is Simon missing or something?”

“You just keep Kaylee occupied, dong mah?”

The tone in his voice obviously transmitted well. “Yes, Mal.” The com disconnected.

“I'm surprised he’s still carrying it,” Zoe said. “The transmitter.”

“You really think Kaylee was going to let him go anywhere without it? After last time?” Mal countered, putting the com back in his pocket and sliding the booster into the backpack. “You keep trying to find Gabriel,” he added. “I’ll get Simon back.”

“If Quintana does have him, Gabriel’s likely to end up in the same place.”

“Yeah, and more’n likely get himself shot. See if you can’t catch him before he does.”

“You’re going to need this,” Zoe said, handing the palm reader over.

“Yeah. Don’t get lost.”

“I don’t have that problem, sir.”

“Are you suggesting I get mislaid easy?”

“No, sir. Just remembering Ogden …”

“That’s … cruel.” He glanced down at the red dot, still moving slowly, then back up at his oldest friend. “Try not to run into anyone liable to fire those gas pellets at you. Seeing as Simon’s got the antidotes in his pocket.”

She’d read the concern under his words. “I’ll try not to.” Checking her gun once more, she ran off down the side passageway.

---

Simon groaned. His head hurt, a pounding ache across his forehead, but centred mainly above his left ear. He was being dragged, at least from the vibration running up his legs.

“So you’re awake? Good. I’m tired of lugging you around.” A man’s voice, hard and without pity.

He felt himself dumped unceremoniously against a wall, the motion making him feel sick. “What … where …” His voice sounded faint, far away. He opened his eyes, fighting the nausea, but everything was blurred.

A hand under his jaw forced his chin up. “I didn’t hit you that hard.”

Simon pulled away. “Who are you?”

“My name’s Ramsey. And you’re the prize, at least according to the professor.”

“Quintana?”

“So you know.” There was an amused tone. “What else is in that head of yours?”

“Only that name.” He wondered why he’d lied, then felt the other man lean closer, his breath hot on his cheek.

“Not that it matters. But if Quintana didn’t need you, I’d show you just how I feel about you bringing the Alliance down on us.”

“And the Reavers?”

Ramsey laughed. “No need to worry about that.”

Simon shuddered. They believed Mara would save them, stop the Reavers before they could feast. Except River had been sure she’d called them deliberately, and had no intention of not letting them do what they wanted with the New Browncoats, and anyone else in their way.

Simon. Hold on. He’s coming.

He looked around, unable to focus. River? he thought finally, but she was gone.

“Come on,” Ramsey said, taking tight hold of his arm, and pulling him forwards. “You’ve got an appointment.”

---

She was close. Very close. There was a tangible feeling of amusement coming from inside one of the rooms ahead, and it was grating like a knife across a china plate. There had been the briefest of moments when she’d wavered, and River had been able to touch Simon’s mind, but that had gone now. All that was left was the satisfaction.

River walked forward slowly, trying to centre herself, concentrating on the task in hand, but it was hard, so very hard.

Then suddenly she saw the painting in her mind’s eye, the one she’d done when she was carrying Caleb, and heard Freya’s voice, although she wasn't sure whether it was real or she imagined it. Control, the older woman said. We’re here. And she realised it didn’t matter.

Mal and Freya, Ethan and Jesse, Hank, Zoe, Ben, Kaylee, Bethie, Hope, Simon, Jayne … Jayne. Her Jayne. Her rock. Her place where she could stand and move the ‘verse. She glanced down at the tattoo around her finger, unending, just like his adoration of her, and when she lifted her head again she wasn’t River, the fractured girl who escaped the Academy. She was the crazy psychic assassin with a family who loved her.

She stopped outside the door. There was a name tacked on it, a piece of card that somehow belied the menace of the occupant.

395MT.

Experiment number three hundred and ninety five. Mara Tam.

to be continued

COMMENTS

Tuesday, December 2, 2008 9:29 AM

SERENITYRIDDLE


Ohhh... River is going to kick some pigu! Excellent chapter!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008 12:39 PM

KATESFRIEND


Great chapter but Mal needs to take better care of where he leaves Simon. Nice job of building the tension up to River's showdown

Tuesday, December 2, 2008 12:54 PM

WAKEUPSOON


SHOWDOWN! xD Ooh, I so can't wait! xD
Anna.x.(:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008 12:56 PM

AMDOBELL


Oh wow, action on all fronts and now River is about to face Mara. I hope she kicks her butt all the way to every one of the nine hells. Also hope Mal gets to Simon before he can be handed over to Quintana and that Freya isn't too badly hurt. Can't wait for the next part, *dong ma*? Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, December 2, 2008 1:36 PM

ANGELLEMARCS


Go RIVER!! I hope she kicks Mara's tush. Nice tension and good dialogue!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008 7:30 PM

NCBROWNCOAT


Cliffhanger...this is more like holding us over a bottomless chasm just by our finger tips.


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