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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. Things come to a head with Quintana, but they're not over quite yet. NEW CHAPTER
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1963 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
This was hard. Very hard. He admitted, at least to himself, that he hadn’t exactly given it much thought when he left Serenity, just knew he had to do something, stop Quintana, but he had had no idea how much it was going to take out of him. Not that he’d have not gone, even if someone had read him chapter and verse on it. One way or the other, he’d have been out here.
At first he’d looked down the well, knowing that was where the crew of Serenity had breached the complex. Or rather, it looked back at him, and he knew he wasn’t ever going to be able to force himself to climb down the rope, and he’d turned back, surmising there must be another way in.
Resting his hand on a low stone wall, Gabriel paused again, trying to calm his fast-beating heart.
He’d had to take several breaks during his quest, leaning against the ancient walls, or sliding to a sitting position on the dirt, gathering his strength before going on, and each time it became harder to get going, but he forced himself, trying to catch his breath. And the pain in his chest was growing.
There wasn’t much left of the Abbey above ground, but he searched everything pretty thoroughly, finding nothing except a small personal ship, tucked away under a convenient overhang. He wondered whether he should disable it, but realised he didn’t have the skill. Instead he walked away, and now faced the only place he hadn’t been.
Looking over at what was left of the church, he realised it was something of a misnomer. While he had never seen it in its prime, it was obvious that once upon a time it had been magnificent, probably with an intricate and highly carved wooden roof, possibly even a spire or two. Now it was open to the elements, that very roof probably blown into firewood by any number of mortars, and used as such to keep Alliance and Independents warm during the long Hera campaign.
The remains of a campanula sat a few metres beyond, a bell tower that called the faithful to service, but that was now little more than a tumble of rubble, resembling a broken tooth mouthing at the landscape. Only the Abbey walls reached up in prayer to an unresponsive sky, its supplications ignored.
Moving closer, holding onto anything available, he approached a gap in the wall, probably where a door once hung, but paused. He heard could hear voices inside.
“This is insanity,” Simon said, staring down at his hands and wondering if he’d ever be able to use them again. They were congested, turning dark red either side of the plastic tie.
Quintana tutted, still pushing the young man ahead of him. “Genius,” he corrected.
“And my cells won’t help either. Kroll’s can damage the DNA. You have to know that.”
“Oh, I'm sure we can get around that. Ramsey has a lot of contacts, and there are gene therapies we can try that aren’t too painful.”
“Too …” Simon shuddered. No matter what he said, how much he tried to persuade this man to be a human being, it wasn't going to work.
There was a sound like scraping coming from the corridor behind them.
“Ramsey?” Quintana half-turned, then pulled Simon in front of him as a shield.
“Sorry, no.” Mal limped into the greying light of Hera’s late afternoon. “Just me.”
“Who are you?”
“Oh, let’s just say I'm an interested party.” He looked at Simon. “You okay?”
“Peachy.” Sarcasm dripped from the word.
“You know, considering I'm actually trying to rescue you, you could try to be a little more enthusiastic.”
“I'm sorry, Mal.” He composed his face, even though his eyes promised murder. “I'm shiny. How are you?”
“Did someone shoot you again?”
“Oddly, no. Knife this time.”
“I suppose it makes a change.”
Quintana looked non-plussed by the conversation going on in front of him, and he took it out on Simon, pressing the thick needle of the hypogun a little further into his neck, making the young man gasp.
Mal tensed slightly. “Now, no need for that.”
“I assure you there is. And you take one more step and I’ll be forced to inject him.”
“Hey, not moving,” Mal assured him. “Not sure I can, truth be told.” He glanced down at his blood-soaked pants leg.
Quintana’s lips twitched. “Put your gun on the ground.”
“Will you let him go if I do?”
“I’ll inject him if you don’t. Not much, but it will be extremely painful.”
“Mal, just shoot him,” Simon said.
“Full dose if you do,” Quintana countered. “A slow death, in agony.” His eyes glittered. “Do you have any idea how it feels for a man to want to beg for death, and not be able to? Because if you don’t put that weapon down, you’ll see first hand.”
Mal sighed. “As much as I figure I could find a new medic without too much hassle, I have the notion Kaylee’d be a mite unhappy if I came back without him.” He leaned forward, hissing slightly at the pull of his own injuries, and laid his gun down on the moss-covered flagstone. Straightening up as best he could, he asked, “So now what? Do we wait here for either the Reavers or the Alliance to get us, or are you thinking I should let you go on your merry?”
“Of course.” Quintana spoke as if it was a foregone conclusion. “Ramsey will –“
“Ah, no. He won’t. On account of him lying dead back there a ways.”
Quintana shrugged, taking the death of his closest ally like he’d broken a nail. “It’s no matter. I still have bargaining chips.”
“If you’re talking about Mara Tam, I'm afraid you’re wrong there too.”
“Is she dead?” This time Quintana showed a little more concern.
“With her brains scattered all over the wall, I conjure she is.”
I didn’t say that, he heard in his mind, River’s pedantic assertion making him almost smile.
You mean I ain't allowed to exaggerate a little? He could tell quite clearly which expression was on her face without needing to see her.
Hold on. We’re almost there.
Quintana sighed. “That’s unfortunate.”
“And so’re your abominations, in case that was your next question.”
Now Quintana looked annoyed. “My, my, you have been busy, Mr …”
“Captain. Captain Reynolds.”
“Of the Firefly so aptly named Serenity?”
“The very same.”
“Then you’ll understand I still have Simon Tam, here. The Alliance want him. I think they’re more than likely ready to do a deal to get him. I think you’re the ones in trouble.”
Mal shook his head and leaned against the remains of what had once been an elaborate pew and now was home to a thousand burrowing worms. “You know, I ain’t got the energy for this. You know I ain’t gonna let you walk out of here, not with my doc. So you might as well let him go.”
“Shall we wait and see?” Quintana smiled, looking like an amiable uncle and not a man willing to sacrifice millions to see his vision come to pass. “And from what Ramsey told me, they’re going to be interested in you too, Captain Reynolds. Particularly as there are children on board your ship. Perhaps one of them might be suitable for my experiments …”
“No!” A man screamed from the darkness, and Gabriel rushed forwards, taking Quintana down, Simon falling with them.
In a moment Mal had his gun back in his hand, ignoring the pain shooting through his body, and he stepped forwards, unsure what he was going to find. “Doc?
Simon rolled onto his back, both hands at his throat where a bloom of blood filtered between his fingers. He looked at Mal, and managed to sit up. “Cut me free.”
It was an order, not a request, and Mal found himself limping forward, pulling Ramsey’s broken knife from his belt as he moved. He stopped. “Shit.”
“I don’t think I can without cutting you.”
“I don’t care. Just hurry!”
With his eyes tight in concentration, Mal slid the knife between Simon’s swollen wrists, knowing from the thin slick of red on the blade that he’d done what he was afraid of. Quickly he snicked the tie, and Simon immediately scrabbled round, cradling his father. He checked his pulse, ran an expert eye over the man, and felt his own breath hitch.
Gabriel’s chest was barely moving, his face grey, his lips blue. But as he felt himself lifted up, he opened his eyes, fixing them on his son. “Simon …”
“Why did you do that?” Simon wanted to know, smoothing back the sheen of sweat on his forehead. “We would have handled this.”
“How?” A little of Gabriel’s old fire burned for a moment, then died back. “He threatened … your children. My grandchildren. I couldn’t … have that.”
“That didn’t mean you had to …” He stopped, seeing his father getting agitated. “Thank you,” he said instead.
Gabriel relaxed. “Proud,” he whispered. “Always was. Proud of you. Never told you enough. You and River. Proud to have you as my …” He tried to inhale, but his lungs wouldn’t work. “As my children.”
“Father … Dad … hold on. We’ll get help.” Simon glanced up at Mal. “Help’s coming, isn’t it?”
Mal nodded, his throat tight. “Sure. Help’s almost here.”
The young doctor looked back down. “See, Dad? You just hold on.”
“No … no need.” Gabriel smiled. “Called … me … Dad …”
“Of course I did. What did you expect me to call you?” He waited, but there was no response, and with trembling fingers he closed his father’s eyes.
“Simon …” Mal didn’t know what to say, how to comfort.
“He … he saved my life,” Simon said quietly, his arms holding his father close.
“I figure he loved you.”
“Yes. At the end. Yes, I think he did.”
“No, Simon. Always.”
The young man nodded, then dropped his head so the captain couldn’t see him cry.
Mal turned away, determined to give him some privacy, and his eyes fell on Quintana.
He’d thought he was just winded, but now he looked he could see the hypogun needle was thrust into his chest, the phial empty. Physically he appeared to be almost resting, but the occasional tremors that ran through his muscles bore testament to something other than relaxation.
“A slow death, in agony,” that’s what Quintana had said. “Do you have any idea how it feels for a man to want to beg for death, and not be able to? Because if you don’t put that weapon down, you’ll see first hand.” Well, now he was.
Mal didn’t want to interrupt, but felt he had to. “Simon.” He didn’t look around, giving the young doctor a moment to compose himself. “What about him? Looks like he took what he intended to give you.”
Simon, grateful beyond measure for Mal’s thoughtfulness, wiped his face with his hands. “Kill him.”
“What?” Very little shocked Mal anymore, but this did. “You … what?”
“Kill him.” Simon stood up. “There’s no antidote to the drug in that hypo. And he was right – it will take him a long time to die.”
Quintana’s eyes flickered from one to the other.
“The rest of what he said. It was true?”
“Yes. Agony. Kill him, Mal. It would be a kindness.”
“He was gonna … what he threatened … what he did … maybe he deserves some of it.”
“Then give me the gun. I’ll shoot him.”
“Don’t think you got the ability at the moment,” Mal pointed out, indicating Simon’s hands, wincing inwardly in sympathy at the pain the young man must be going through as the circulation was restored.
“Mal, please …”
Serenity’s captain nodded. He understood the doctor’s sensibilities, even if he didn’t exactly share them. But he’d done it for enough men during the war, men who would never see another sunrise, but die screaming during the small hours. It was a mercy. “Okay.” Without another word he leaned down and placed his gun against Quintana’s temple.
The noise was loud, even in that roofless place.
“You’d better let me take a look at that wound in your leg. It’s still bleeding.”
“I think there’s a bit of metal in there. Sure hurts like the devil.”
Simon went down onto his heels, awkwardly pulling the fabric aside. “I'm not surprised. You’re lucky. There are major blood vessels running through this area. You could have bled out and no-one could have stopped it.”
“Kinda glad I didn’t.”
He looked towards the exit from the underground complex, and saw Freya, supported by Alex and Breed, Dillon behind them. He’d known she was okay, mostly, but to actually physically see her made some of the tension in the pit of his stomach evaporate, although how she looked did more than enough to ignite it again.
She was covered in a thin layer of grey dust, giving her something of the appearance of a ghost, but what concerned him most was the large bloodstain on her pants leg, a bandage tied around it made from what looked suspiciously like Alex’s shirt. Indeed, the younger Rostov was standing bare-chested, revealing a surprisingly well-sculpted upper body.
“You been working out?” he asked inconsequentially.
Alex blushed, all the way up his chest. “After Ephesus, and all that running around we did, I thought perhaps I should.”
“Looks good. I mean, if I were that way inclined.”
“Jayne’s been helping me.”
Mal’s eyebrow raised as his imagination supplied the mental image he really didn’t want to have. “Right.” He looked at Freya. “Are you okay?”
“I've been better,” she admitted.
“Mmn.” She knew he was referring to the broken knee she’d sustained some time back, but didn’t comment further. Instead she looked at the stain darkening his own pants, and the way he winced as Simon investigated further. “You?”
“Knife. Ramsey was determined not to be the one dying.”
“The one with the knife.”
“Glad to see he was wrong.”
“Made sure of that.” He breathed in sharply as Simon pressed around the wound. “Doc, you mind?”
“I’m trying to examine you.”
“Fine. Just … you got cold hands.”
“My apologies. Do you want me to huff on them, warm them a little?”
“No, no, that’s okay. Just warn me next time.”
“Of course, captain.” Simon went back to work.
Mal looked back across at his wife and nodded at her leg. “So I got knifed. How about you?”
“Roof fell on me,” she said succinctly.
He stared at her, then finally said, “Okay. You win.”
“It’s not a competition, Mal,” she said, then the smile on her lips died as any colour she had left deserted her face and she would have fallen except for Alex’s arms around her.
“Doc! See to Frey,” Mal ordered, trying to take a step back from the young man’s questing fingers.
Simon glanced around, seeing Alex lower his sister carefully onto one of the other pews. He straightened up and hurried across. “Support her head,” he said, going down onto his knees to examine her.
“I'm fine,” she managed to say, pushing at him with kitten-weak hands. “Go back to Mal. He could bleed to death while you’re fussing.”
“He won’t. I’ll still have to operate on him, to get the knife point out, but he was lucky. It isn’t near an artery.” He tried to undo the makeshift bandage, but his fingers weren’t yet under sufficient control.
“Let me,” Breed said gently, joining him.
“Thanks.” Simon smiled gratefully.
Mal hobbled across so he could see what the two men were doing. He drew in a sharp breath as he watched Breed loosen the bandage, and fresh blood appear, glistening wetly on the already soaked fabric.
“Tighten it. More,” Simon ordered. “Right,” he said. “Nothing to worry about.”
“You need to practice your lying just a tad,” Freya said, biting her lip.
“Then you know full well I'm not going to examine it here.” He looked at his hands. “Even if I could.”
“You did me,” Mal pointed out.
“That’s just because you’re … you.”
“You and me, we’re gonna have a little chat about talking back to your captain,” Mal promised.
“I’ll look forward to it. Before or after I operate?”
Whatever Mal was about to say was interrupted by Zoe as she ran into the church.
“Sir! We have to leave, now!”
“We got company coming?”
“On my heels.”
“Jen diao mei.” He turned to Simon. “Can Frey be moved? Won’t damage anything else?”
“I don’t –” He didn’t get any further.
“Captain Malcolm Reynolds! You are ordered to stand down. Drop your weapons and surrender.” Commander Klaus Ubermann marched through the opening, a dozen Feds at his back, all aiming their rifles at the small group. He smiled in triumph.
Mal rolled his eyes. “Tah muh duh, anyone else feel like joining us?”
The comlink in his pocket buzzed, and Hank’s voice was heard, muffled but unfortunately more than understandable. “Mal! Reaver shuttle! It’s come down right next to the Abbey! They’re headed your way!”
“That was a gorram rhetorical question!” Mal yelled in frustration to the silent heavens.
to be continued
Wednesday, December 10, 2008 11:08 AM
Wednesday, December 10, 2008 11:24 AM
Wednesday, December 10, 2008 5:19 PM
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Thursday, December 11, 2008 7:40 AM
Thursday, December 11, 2008 8:47 AM
Sunday, December 28, 2008 4:49 PM
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