Dead Man's Chest - Part II
Sunday, January 4, 2009

Maya. Post-BDM. Some more fluff before landing on Ezra. And River has a good idea. NEW CHAPTER


As Serenity soared out of the atmo of Constance into the black, Hank flexed his hands on the control yoke and said, quite conversationally, “Well, that went better than anticipated.”

“You think?” Zoe responded, her hand on the back of his seat.

“Nobody got seriously hurt.”

“Jayne got stabbed and Mal got shot.”

“Yeah, but not seriously.”

Zoe couldn’t help but smile. “You’re as bad as Kaylee,” she said, leaning down and putting her arms around his shoulders. “Always seeing things from the positive side.”

“The kind of jobs we do, I think it’s for the best. And Jayne was barely scratched, and Mal’s was only a graze.”

“You wouldn’t think so, not with the way Freya was fussing. And as for River …”

There hadn’t been a problem with the buyers, at least not this time, but trouble arrived with another crew who had decided it was easier to pick up such trifles as a cargo by stealing it. Only they hadn’t bet on the Firefly carrying someone like River.

Hank laughed. “Surprised she left anyone alive down there.”

“I don’t think she actually killed anyone,” Zoe pointed out.

“No, but she had blood on her, and it wasn’t hers.”

“Well, they hurt her husband.”

He turned enough in the seat so he could see into her dark eyes, her dusky face merely inches from his. “Would you do that for me?” he asked.

She ran her hand through his untidy brown hair. “Maybe.”

“Only maybe?”

“It depends on the severity of what was done to you.”

“Oh? Is there a sliding scale or something?”

“Perhaps.” She moved closer so their breath mingled.

“So if I lose a limb …”

“I might consider coming in your side.”

“Nice to know.” He lifted himself up enough so their lips could touch.

Someone coughed. Then again, this time with more meaning.

“Think perhaps you need to see the doctor for that, sir,” Zoe said, not moving.

“What did I say about no sexing on my bridge?” Mal asked, stepping over the threshold.

“That we weren’t to do it when you were looking?” Hank supplied.

“No. I’m pretty sure it was you weren’t to do it at all.” Mal crossed his arms and glared at them.



Zoe stood up slowly. “Do the words pot and kettle mean anything to you, sir?”

Mal powered his glare up to maximum. “What me and my wife do, on my own ship, when everyone else has gone to bed, is between me and her.”

“Of course, sir.”

“First River, now you …” Mal shook his head. “And me a wounded man, too.”

“I’m sure Freya will kiss it better for you.”

Mal sighed. “Well, now, I’m not too sure about that. I think it might take a while before she forgives me for not ducking soon enough.”

“It does seem to be an occupational hazard,” Hank said. “For you, anyway.”

“I don’t actually go out planning to get shot, you know.”

“And yet it happens on a regular basis.”

Before he could formulate a suitable pithy and possibly obscene reply, hands snaked around Mal’s waist, and Freya said from behind him, “Hey.”

“Hey.” He looked at her over his shoulder, ignoring Zoe‘s pointedly raised brow at this display of affection in a captain-ordered affection-free-zone. “I thought you were giving lessons.”

Freya sighed, making the tiny hairs on the back of his neck tremble. “I’ve given up.”

“What, forever?” Hank asked hopefully, seeing the ordeal of homework vanishing.

“Yes, forever.” She looked at him pityingly. “Of course not forever. Just for today.”


“The kids’ mood not improved?” Mal put his hands on top of hers.

She shook her head. “None of them would say more than a couple of words, and the way they were looking at each other I’m surprised the table didn’t burst into flames.”

“They’ll get over it.”

“I know, but … it’s just been longer than usual this time.”

“Maybe they’re a little stir-crazy,” Hank suggested. “You know. Being cooped up. It’s been a while since they’ve been able to run amuck. At least, outside.”

“Yeah, I know. I figure proximity has something to do with it.” Mal shrugged, then winced as the wound on his shoulder pulled. “’Cept short of locking ‘em all in their rooms, I can’t see a way round this.”

“Maybe they can work it out on Ezra,” Zoe said.

Hank, ever the diplomat, added, “And even if they don’t, I hardly think you can put them all out of the airlock and start again.”

“Thought hadn’t crossed my mind.”


“You wanna see the airlock from the wrong side?”

“Do we know who started it yet, sir?” Zoe asked, interrupting the threatening of her husband and leaning back against the console.

Mal shook his head. “Not that I can find out." He glanced at Freya who had her chin resting on his shoulder. “You?”

“I think it was six of one and half a dozen of the other.”

The others looked at her for a long moment, then Mal said, “I take it that means they were all to blame.”

“Pretty much.”

“You know, sometimes River makes more sense.” He peered into her face. “And I’m kinda surprised you’re talking to me. After I got that graze.” He touched the point of his shoulder lightly with one finger and feeling the dressing Simon had used to cover the row of tiny sutures.

“I was just mad. I can’t keep mending your shirts.”

He moved around in her embrace to look at her. “So that was it? It wasn’t because my delicate hide had been breached? Just ‘cause you hate using a needle and thread?”

“That’s right.” She lifted her chin to gaze into the depths of his blue eyes.

“So if I buy a whole load of shirts, you won’t mind if I get shot occasionally? Or if I stitched ‘em back up myself?”

“Won’t mind a bit,” she agreed, her hands caressing the soft fabric across his back. “You can get a whole plethora of bullet holes if you like.”

“A plethora.” He looked thoughtful. “As many as that.”

“I think she’s lying, Mal,” Hank put in helpfully.

“You know, I think you may be right,” Mal said softly, and smiled at his wife. “Maybe I should remonstrate with her.”

“Pot, kettle …” Zoe murmured, almost too low to make out the words.

Mal grinned, kissed Freya lightly on the lips then turned back to his first mate and pilot. “So, course set?”

Hank nodded. “We’ll be putting into Port Town in a little under two days.” He sighed. “You know, River was right. Her route is quicker. A bit,” he added quickly.

“Well, soon as you feel like retiring from your job, she can take over.”

“What, and give up this life of exciting adventure?” Hank turned back to the stars, ostentatiously flicking a few switches. “I don’t think I could cope.”


Simon pushed the drawer closed on the sealed syringes of adrenaline and looked at River. “There I was, thinking just a short while ago how we’d been lucky and no-one had been hurt for some time, then I get two patients in one day.”

She picked up a used swab between two finger tips and dropped it into the medical waste bag she was carrying. “I think perhaps you tempted fate. And it was only minor,” she pointed out.

“And you could have been seriously hurt, going after those men like that.” He’d watched as his little sister had taken the hostile crew apart, breaking noses, arms, even a couple of legs.

“They hurt my Jayne.”

Mei-mei, he’s a bear of a man who can handle a scratch like that.”

“Might not have been a scratch. He could have been bleeding to death.”

“And you getting injured would have prevented that?”

“No. You would.” Empty weave packets followed the swab.

“River, you’re a mother. You have to think about that before you dive head first into these things.”

She turned to look at him, her gaze seeming to bore into his skull. “I do think. First.”

“But then you still go ahead and do them.”

“Of course.”

“But the captain and Zoe could have handled it.”

“And I’m a member of this crew too.” She put the bag down on the counter. “Or do you think I should hide very time there’s a fight?”

“Honestly? I’d be happier.”

She had to smile, feeling his honest concern radiating off him like a warm blanket. “Simon, this is what I do. What I was trained for. Created to be.”

He put his hand on her arm. “No, mei-mei. You’re a beautiful young woman, who was apparently meant to be, God help me, Jayne’s wife.”

Her face lit up with joy.

“Glad to hear that, doc, only yours needs a little of the old TLC right now,” Jayne put it.

Simon turned to see Kaylee standing in the doorway, one hand on her belly, the other over her mouth, the big man holding her up. “Simon …” she moaned quietly.

He hurried to her side, helping her into the cool room and up onto the medbed. “Sweetheart, are you -”

He couldn’t finish as Kaylee threw up, loudly, into the pan River had whipped under her head. As she finished she looked up, a wretched expression on her face, and said, “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.”

Simon touched her forehead, checking as doctors had done throughout the ages for any sign of fever. “Better?” he asked.

“Not really.”

She looked so unhappy that he wanted to take her into his arms and hug her, only that would have to wait. “None of the usual remedies are working,” he said, taking the damp cloth from River and cleaning his wife up. “I can try to get something on Ezra, but … Kaylee, bao-bei, you might just have to tough it out.”

“I wasn’t like this with Bethie, though,” Kaylee complained. “After the first couple of months it was just once in a while, not all the time.” She lay back on the medbed. “I feel sick when I wake up, I feel sick when I go to bed … the only time I don’t is when we’re sexing.”

Simon blushed slightly at her accusatory tone. “Honey, I’m just a man, and I do need some recovery time.”

Jayne chortled from where he was leaning on the wall, stopping only when River shot him a look.

Kaylee pulled Simon’s hand into hers, holding it tightly. “I know. And I’m sad to say there’s too much for me to do to even think of getting you naked more’n I do.”

“Kaylee.” There was a hint of pleading in his voice as he glanced towards his sister and brother-in-law.

River rolled her eyes. “Don’t be such a boob,” she said, exhaling heavily. “I know you have sex. I can’t not know you have sex. Sometimes I know all too much that you’re having sex.”

The blush deepened across Simon’s pale cheeks. “Mei-mei, that’s not something you should be saying.”

“I’m psychic,” she pointed out, somewhat unnecessarily. “I can’t help it.”

“No, but you can help being a brat.”

“But I like being that.” She grinned, looking like the young girl she’d once been.

“’Sides, you’d have to be deaf not to know,” Jayne added. “Worse’n the Cap and Frey sometimes. There’s been times I‘d wondered if you were killing a cat, the amount of screamin‘ going on. And that was just you.”

Simon bristled visibly. “Jayne -”

“’Scuse me?” Kaylee interrupted. “I don’t mind you talking like this, but I’m the one who’s feeling poorly.”

Simon turned his attention back to the most important woman in his life. “Sorry. Well, I can run a few tests, make sure there’s nothing else that could be making you feel like this.”

A scared look crossed Kaylee’s face. “You mean something wrong with the baby?” She looked down at her bump.

“No. There’s nothing wrong with him,” he assured her quickly. “He’s fine. But you might have picked up an infection, or perhaps you’re low in something … It’ll take an hour or two, but I’d like to rule anything like that out.”

“And it if isn’t?”

“Well, as I said I might be able to pick up some different medications on Ezra. But there’s no guarantee they’ll be any more effective.”

“But we can try?”

“Of course.”

“Good.” She relaxed a little. “’Cause I got work I got to get back to.”

“Not right now you haven’t. You’re going to rest. And I think you need to think about getting Freya back up to speed on how the engine works.”

Kaylee looked doubtful. “She’s not really … I mean, she’s okay, but -”

“It’s not a suggestion.”

She was going to argue, but saw the look in his eye. “Okay, Simon,” she said meekly.

“I have an idea.” River smiled, patted Kaylee’s belly once, then ran out of the room and up the stairs.

“Do you have any idea what she’s talking about?” Simon asked Jayne.

The big ex-mercenary shook his head. “’Spect she’ll tell us in her own good time,” he said, more tolerant of his wife’s idiosyncrasies than anyone else on the boat, including her brother. “And if it’s something dangerous, I’m thinking she’ll post a sign ‘fore she does it.” He chuckled and followed River up towards their shuttle.


The next two days passed easily enough, with people either healing, throwing up, or waiting for a response to a particular wave they’d sent.

Mal did get a slight infection in his shoulder, which meant Freya was alternately fussing and annoyed, and Simon had to break into his supplies once again to give him several doses of antibiotics. This made Mal cranky. Well, more cranky than usual.

Kaylee, in the meantime, was feeling somewhat sorry for herself, her naturally sunny disposition subdued under the need to puke and the need to pee, often both at the same time. Simon did what he could, but as he’d said, he did need some rest.

River just floated around the ship with an enigmatic smile on her face, even more so when Hank said there was a private message arrived for her, which she took in the privacy of the shuttle.

At least the tension had eased between the children, although not so much that Ethan and Bethie didn’t jump back like scalded cats as they reached for the same hunk of bread at dinner. Mal forbore to comment, privately considering that the least said, soonest mended. He then berated himself internally for resorting to phrases that would have been better coming from Freya.

Only Jayne seemed like himself, and he spent most of the time in the cargo bay, either working out on his weights, Bethie beside him on her child-sized bench, or attempting to write the best man’s speech for the wedding reception. Mal got used to finding balled-up sheets of paper scattered throughout his Firefly.

Eventually, though, they broke through Ezra’s top layers, leaving a long streak of vapour in their wake, hanging in the sky like an arrow.

The man in the desert below looked up, noting the direction. It looked like the ship was heading for Port Town, a safe distance off, and his hand relaxed on the rifle at his side. The water from the small spring had overflowed the bottle and was now running down his hand, and he quickly screwed the top back on, shaking the excess off so it flicked onto the scorching sand, drying immediately.

He closed his eyes, letting the heat of the sun seep into his body, warming muscles that were being over-used. It would only take a few more hours digging, though, and he’d be there. That is, if one of the many props he’d had to employ didn’t give out, and bury him under several tonnes of soil and rock.

Despite the high temperature he shivered, and his resolve wavered. Then the ghost at his shoulder whispered in his ear, and he straightened up with renewed determination. Grabbing his spade, he headed back into the cool of the tunnel towards his destiny.

to be continued


Sunday, January 4, 2009 9:19 AM


Lots of potentials going on here. Poor kaylee. loved Mal's hypocrisy over his bridge. But things just seem a little too peaceful... I know it won't last.

Sunday, January 4, 2009 9:20 AM


Fluff ... then creepyness.
I didn't expect anything different.

Sunday, January 4, 2009 10:01 AM


Loved this, I tried leaving a comment a couple of hour's ago and it wouldn't go through and so trying again. This is brilliant, loved every bit of it though I am concerned that the man digging at the end may plunge our happy band of heroes into trouble yet again. And who did River wave? Can't wait for more! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me!

Sunday, January 4, 2009 10:55 AM


What ghost? What tunnel? And can Bethie sense something--is that why she is out of sorts? Loving it!

Sunday, January 4, 2009 3:29 PM


Okay, this is getting deep. A ghost and a mysterious tunnel...what's next?!

And Mal wounded...of course, that's nothing new. LOL!

Keep the goodness comin.


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Now and Then - a Christmas story
“Then do you have a better suggestion? No, let me rephrase that. Do you have a more sensible suggestion that doesn’t involve us getting lost and freezing to death?”

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little standalone festive tale that kind of fits into where I am in the Maya timeline, but works outside too. Enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Epilogue
"I honestly don’t know if my pilot wants to go around with flowers and curlicues carved into his leg.”
[Maya. Post-BDM. The end of the story, and the beginning of the last ...]

Monied Individual - Part XX
Mal took a deep breath, allowing it out slowly through his nostrils, and now his next words were the honest truth. “Ain’t surprised. No matter how good you are, and I’m not complaining, I’ve seen enough battle wounds, had to help out at the odd amputation on occasion. And I don’t have to be a doc myself to tell his leg ain’t quite the colour it should be, even taking into account his usual pasty complexion. What you did … didn’t work, did it?”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Simon has no choice, and Luke comes around.]

Monied Individual - Part XIX
“His name’s Jayne?”

“What’s wrong with that?” the ex-mercenary demanded from the doorway.

“Nothing, nothing! I just … I don’t think I’ve ever met a man … anyone else by that name.”

“Yeah, he’s a mystery to all of us,” Mal said. “Even his wife.”

[Maya. Post-BDM. Hank's not out of the woods yet, and Mal has a conversation. Enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Part XVIII
Jayne had told him a story once, about being on the hunt for someone who owed him something or other. He’d waited for his target for three hours in four inches of slush as the temperature dropped, and had grinned when he’d admitted to Hank that he’d had to break his feet free from the ice when he’d finished.
[Maya. Post-BDM. The Fosters show their true colours, Jayne attempts a rescue, and the others may be too late.]

Snow at Christmas
She’d seen his memories of his Ma, the Christmases when he was a boy on Shadow, even a faint echo of one before his Pa died, all still there, not diminished by his burning, glowing celebrations of now with Freya.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A seasonal one-off - enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Part XVII
Jayne hadn’t waited, but planted a foot by the lock. The door was old, the wood solid, but little could stand against a determined Cobb boot with his full weight behind it. It burst open.

[Maya. Post-BDM. The search for Hank continues. Read, enjoy, review!]

Monied Individual - Part XVI
He slammed the door behind him, making the plates rattle on the sideboard. “It’s okay, girl, I ain't gonna hurt you.” The cook, as tradition dictated, plump and rosy cheeked with her arms covered to the elbows in flour, but with a gypsy voluptuousness, picked up a rolling pin.

[Maya. Post-BDM. Kaylee finds the problem with Serenity, and Jayne starts his quest. Read, enjoy, review!]

Monied Individual - Part XV
“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]

“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]