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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. The crew of Serenity gets closer to where Jayne found the coin by an unusual method. NEW CHAPTER
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1729 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
As Mal began to explain to Freya the discovery of the two coins, Zoe came in and he paused.
“Is this a council of war, sir?” she asked, smiling.
“Something like,” Hank said, quickly getting up to pour her a coffee. “Hungry?”
“Not particularly. I grabbed a sandwich at the house.” She sat down. “So what are we discussing?”
“Where’s Riv?” Jayne interrupted.
“Coming. She said she had something to do when we left Jolene.”
Jayne chuckled. “Matty still in one piece?”
“Barely. I think he’s going for the sympathy vote right now.”
“Well, the Cobbs have been known for being able to make with the puppy dog eyes, ever since we came over from Earth-that-was. Just ask moonbrain.”
Simon made a face. “Do we have to?” He got up from the table and crossed to the alcove, smiling at the children before picking up the small portable Cortex screen Freya used for teaching.
Zoe took the coffee from her husband and said, “Anyway, I’d still like to know what’s going on.”
Mal picked up one of the coins. “Well, it started with –“
“What did I miss?” River asked, jumping down into the kitchen and landing silently.
“Mal was about to tell us what’s going on,” Freya said. “Eventually.” She gave him a look then leaned back in her chair, crossing her arms.
“I've been trying for the last five minutes!” the man in question blustered.
“Well, hurry up.”
He glared at her, then gave a surprisingly concise account of their discoveries.
“So two coins,” Freya said, rolling one of the coins over in her fingers. “And Ingleby brought this one back in from the desert.”
“Or maybe it was that one,” Hank admitted, pointing to the second coin. “’Cause they look identical to me.”
“They are,” Mal agreed. “And no way of knowing how long it’s been out there. That’s the trouble with gold,” he added. “Can’t tell how old it is.”
“Feels like gold.” Freya tossed it from hand to hand.
“I think that’s pretty sure to be the –“
“Cao.” Simon’s voice stopped all the others, not least because he hardly ever swore.
“Doc?” Mal turned to him. “You got something you wanna add to this discussion?”
The young man was staring at the Cortex screen. “I think I know what it is.” He immediately had everyone’s undivided attention.
Simon looked up. “Something about it … reminded me of something I’d seen before. A long time ago. And then Jayne mentioning Earth-that-was –“
“– it sort of kick started my brain.”
Mal glanced at Freya. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“It’s almost a myth. A legend.”
For a man who had lived as long as Mal, his hold on his temper could be somewhat tenuous. “Doc, I’ve got an itch in my trigger finger, so if you don’t enlighten us I’m gonna have to give in and shoot you.”
“Cap’n!” Kaylee said reproachfully.
“Since I don’t want to encourage you to murder …” Simon picked up the medallion. “I think ... I think this is from the Kugelman Hoard.”
“Surely you’ve heard of it?”
Bethie piped up. “I have!” She was bouncing in the easy chair next to Ethan.
Her father smiled over his shoulder at her. “You would.”
“Pirates?” Mal’s brow furrowed.
“Well, not quite,” Simon corrected.
Mal rubbed at his brow as if in pain. “Simon, you either come to the point or I give into my first instinct and shoot you.”
“Uncle Mal. Not nice to joke,” Bethie chided.
“Who said I was joking?”
Simon swallowed the smile at his little daughter chastising the captain, then tossed the medallion into the air. He was surprised to see Mal’s hand snake out and grab it before it could fall back into his palm.
“Okay, enough. What the hell is the Kugelman Hoard?” Mal demanded.
“It came from Earth-that-was, in the generation ships. It’s supposed to be a collection of some of the most exquisite art imaginable.”
“What kinda stuff?”
“Paintings. Statues. Some religious relics.”
“Worth a lot?”
“And this?” Mal held up the medallion.
“It’s a gold coin representing five hundred old dollars, minted especially for the occasion, along with one hundred and ninety nine others.”
“How much is five hundred dollars?” Hank wanted to know, and even Jayne was sitting forward.
“That’s irrelevant.” Simon saw Hank about to argue, so added quickly, “I mean, it was just an amount. The coins were worth much more than the face value, as soon as they were minted. Virtually unique. I believe the President at that time asked for one for his private collection, and was refused.”
“How do you know about this?” Mal asked, honestly intrigued.
“I was always interested in history. Besides, one of my teachers was something of a conspiracy theorist.”
“That’s why it rang a bell.” His eyes drifted away from the captain as he looked back into the past. “It was a wet Wednesday afternoon and nobody wanted to do any work, so Bradley Camberson asked Mr O’Connell about … something or other, and eventually it led onto the Kugelman hoard.”
“Spirited away to pay for revolution,” River said softly.
Her brother nodded, thinking she must have been strolling through his thoughts again. “That’s what he considered.”
River smiled at him. “Not strolling. You told me when you got home.”
“I remember.” She leaned against Jayne, her eyes half closing as she enjoyed his warmth.
Freya could see Mal beginning to make a fist. “Simon, I think you’d better get on with the story,” she said firmly.
“Of course.” Simon tapped the Cortex screen. “I just needed to remind myself. It disappeared. Not too long after the ships arrived in this system, the Hoard vanished. No-one’s seen even a gold dollar or a fleck of paint of it since.”
“And you figure this is part of the treasure?”
“There was an exhibition of some of the items as soon as the first cities were completed, and one of the catalogues survives. Look.” He put the screen down in the centre of the table so they could all see the image. Enlarged, of course, but a gold coin, an eagle in the centre, about to fly from the surface …
“Sure looks like it,” Jayne muttered.
“The eagle, n’all,” Hank agreed.
“Damn.” Mal sat back, rubbing the coin with his thumb. “So this Hoard … it really vanished?”
Simon nodded. “The curator at the time …” His eyebrows drew together. “I wish I could remember his name. Anyway, he thought some people within the Alliance would use it to buy power.”
“That happened anyway.”
“Yes, but not immediately. You have to understand, when the colony ships arrived, everything was supposed to be about a new start. Democracy at work from the very beginning, every man having the right to pursue happiness and prosperity.”
Freya gave a short bark of laughter. “Sure. Pursue it, but not necessarily achieve it.”
“I agree, they worded things very carefully. But it didn’t take long for the various factions to start fighting, and Mr O’Connell was of the opinion that there was more than one fortuitous ‘accident’ to a member of Parliament before things settled down. And even then, it was the richest who got richer, and the others –“
“Went out to the Rim,” Mal finished, tossing the coin onto the table where Kaylee picked it up.
“And I remember the Hoard now,” Freya put in slowly, quietly. “My father ... at least I think it was him ... saying something to the effect that if the authorities hadn’t let it out of their sight it would all have been sold anyway.”
“Maybe it would, but it seems we’ve got a little piece of it here,” the young mechanic commented.
“That little piece, as you call it … if it is from the Hoard, it’s priceless. You could buy a dozen Fireflys with what you have in your hand, and still have change for a small moon of your choice.” He smiled as Kaylee dropped it quickly, as if it was too hot to handle.
“And there’s more where this came from?” Zoe asked.
“If the Hoard is intact, its cultural significance is tremendous. Even a portion of it could -”
Mal couldn’t take any more of the young man’s enthusiasm. “But we don’t know where.”
“No. And it might have been broken up, melted down – at least where the coins and other jewellery are concerned – and these may be the last two. Or maybe it's all still waiting out there to be found.”
Freya glanced at Jayne. “And you’ve no idea where it came from.”
“Not a one, Frey,” the big man insisted.
“I could always hypnotise you,” Hank offered suddenly. He grinned as all eyes flicked to him. “No, really, I mean it. Someone on a ship I used to work on knew how, and they showed me.”
“Thanks for the offer, but I don’t wanna end up barking like a dog,” Jayne growled.
Hank clutched a hand to his chest. “Now, would I do that?” He sounded almost hurt.
The pilot grinned wider. “Well, it was worth a shot.”
“Actually, that’s not a bad idea,” Simon said slowly. “Hypnosis might let us regress you, and you’d be able to remember where you got the coin.”
“Ain’t barking like a dog for you either.” Jayne crossed his arms, letting his biceps bulge menacingly.
“Unlike some people, I wouldn’t do that.”
“No, but maybe you’d plant something in my brain. I seen some of those shows on the Cortex. Man seems perfectly fine until someone says something like ... like blue banana, and he suddenly starts wearing women’s clothes and putting on make-up.” The biceps tightened. “Not happening.”
“Blue banana?” Hank began, but Zoe shushed him before he could lose any teeth.
River put one slim hand on his arm. “I wouldn’t let him implant any post hypnotic suggestions.”
He gazed at her. “You think this is a good idea?”
“It might help.”
“I will be there.”
Jayne looked at Simon again. “You sure you could do this?”
“We learned how at MedAcad. It’s quite simple, really.”
“Have to be,” Hank murmured, but Jayne was too preoccupied to notice.
“I don’t wanna have to order you, but I think maybe the doc has the right of it,” Mal said firmly. “And if those coins are from this Hoard, could be there’s a sizeable fortune waiting someplace for some deeply needy people to find it.”
Jayne’s eyes glittered. “How sizeable?”
“Beyond the dreams of avarice,” Simon murmured.
“Enough so none of us’d have to work a day ever again,” Mal interpreted. “Probably terraform our own planet.”
They could all see self-preservation warring with greed on Jayne’s face, until River spoke softly. “I could go into your dreams and look, but I might see something you don’t want me to.”
A dozen such possibilities launched themselves across his mind, and another thousand were queuing up to take their place. “Uh ...” He cleared his throat. “Okay. I’spose I’d better ...” He jabbed his finger at Simon. “But you make me bark like a dog and we’ll be having words.”
Hank muttered something that could have been ‘woof’, but winced as Zoe’s heel connected with his shin.
“Good.” Simon stood up. “We certainly don’t need everyone to watch, so I suggest we do this in your shuttle.”
“Uh, sure.” The big man couldn’t have looked more unhappy about the turn of events, but he stood up. “You need to … bring anything?”
“No. Just go and wait for me.”
“Okay.” Jayne strode out, River following a moment later.
“You think you can do this?” Mal asked.
“It really is simple, as I said,” Simon assured him.
“Good. ‘Cause we really need to know where Jayne got it.”
“What the hell’s that?” Jayne was sitting in the chair, but was out of it and scuttling back a pace before he remembered he was a big, bad mercenary, and more than capable of tearing Simon apart with his bare hands.
The young doctor looked down at the machine in his hands. “It’s a brain wave reader. It will help me to know when you’re in the best meditative state to remember.”
“Yes. Now sit back down.”
“Ain't gonna hurt, is it?”
“No.” He held out the electrodes. “They stick to your skin, that’s all.”
“Well, okay.” He lowered himself back into the seat and let Simon stick the small circular pads onto his temples. “Now what?”
“You give me a moment to calibrate the machine …” The young man looked around the small shuttle, but there didn’t appear to be anywhere else to sit apart from the bed. And considering what his sister and her husband probably did on it …
Jayne chuckled. “Doc, you sit here. I’ll make myself comfy on the bunk.”
Pushing himself back until he was leaning on the bulkhead, Jayne watched Simon adjusting the tiny dials. “Ready?”
“Ready.” Simon looked up, then at Jayne’s hands. “You do need to relax a little more.”
Jayne glanced down. He’d made fists without knowing it. “Oh, yeah, sorry ‘bout that.” He uncurled his fingers, laying his palms flat on his thighs. “Okay.”
“Good.” Simon took a deep breath. “Now, close your eyes.”
“Okay.” He dropped his eyelids, but immediately opened them again. “You just remember what I said about dogs.”
Simon sighed. “I promise, on the Hippocratic Oath, that I won’t implant any post-hypnotic suggestions.”
Jayne glanced at River, who nodded encouragingly, then he leaned back. “Go on then.”
“I want you to breathe in and out evenly, deeply, each breath taking longer and longer to leave your lungs. As you breathe, I want you to see yourself getting more relaxed. There is a bucket at your feet. All your tensions are going to flow from you into that bucket, and you’re going to … what?”
Jayne was sniggering. “Bucket?” he asked, lifting one eyelid to gaze at the young doctor.
“You’re not trying.”
“Sorry.” He didn’t sound it, though. “It’s just … bucket?”
“I can’t help you if you don’t try.”
River sighed and moved forward. “Jayne, close your eyes.”
“Aw, hell, moonbrain, I was just having some fun with –“
“Fine.” He did as he was told and settled his head more comfortably.
She sank to the ground in front of him. “Listen to my voice. And only my voice. You will not hear anyone else from this point.” She glared at Simon a moment then turned back to her husband. “You are in the orchard on Lazarus. It’s a warm day and the sun is shining. You’ve set up targets at increasing distances from you. You have Betsey in your hands. Can you feel her?”
Jayne nodded, a half smile on his lips. “She’s good gun.”
“She’s full loaded, and you take aim at the first target. When I say so, you will fire at the first target, knowing that the bullet is going to be dead centre. Then you will fire at the second, then the third, and each time you fire you will feel more relaxed. Do you understand?”
Simon stared at his sister, then at Jayne. There was no outward sign beyond a slight drooping of his shoulders, but he’d never seen the big man so relaxed, not even on the operating table. That was unconsciousness – this was … something else.
River continued to talk, her quiet voice almost sending her brother to sleep, but finally she half-turned and looked at him over her shoulder. “He’s under.”
“How did you …” He glanced down at the wave reader in his hands, and swallowed. She was right.
“You know how, so I do.”
“I just thought it might be easier to hear my voice. Since we are married.” She stroked the tattoo around her third finger.
“You mean since he hates me.”
“He doesn’t hate you.”
“He doesn’t hate you,” she repeated, arranging her dress around her knees. “You’re my brother. How could he?”
“Really easily.” He leaned forward in the chair. “Do you know what to do next?”
She nodded and turned back to Jayne. “Can you still hear me? You can talk.”
Jayne mumbled his lips a moment, then said clearly, “Yeah.”
“I’m going to ask you some questions. They are easy questions, and you will answer them straight away.”
“You can see the box you gave Bethie. It is in your hands. When did you last see it?”
“When I handed it to her.”
“When did you last see it before that?”
“How old were you?”
River stirred, and Simon wondered what she was feeling.
She went on. “What was inside?” As Jayne’s brow furrowed, she went on quickly, “You are fifteen, Jayne. You are opening the box. What do you see?”
Jayne smiled, looking like a young man. “The necklace I bought Meg for her birthday. It’s not for a coupla weeks, but I know she’s gonna like it. Might even get me a feel if I'm lucky.”
Simon grimaced. Maybe he wasn't that much different.
River didn’t seem to have noticed. “What else?”
“A seashell. Found it up in the hills. Ma said that must mean there’d been an ocean there once, but I don’t see how. Maybe someone dropped it.”
This time Simon jerked. He had never even considered that Jayne would own such a thing, let alone admit to it, not even under hypnosis.
“Your mother gave it to you,” River said, more for her brother’s sake than anything else.
“Yeah. Me and Matty both. When we were christened.”
“Coupla pebbles. Reminded me of the night sky, stars thrown across it.”
River’s lips curved. She knew her Jayne had a deeply sentimental streak in him, even if she also knew Simon’s jaw had just about hit the floor without even looking. “What else?”
“A flower. From Rosie’s wreath. And the bracelet I made for her.” His voice caught, his shoulders tightening visibly.
“It’s all right, Jayne,” River said softly. “You can remember, but it won’t hurt.”
He relaxed again. “Never got the chance to give it to her.”
“River?” Simon asked, barely vocalising.
“His baby sister. She died a few days after she was born. Too early.”
River gazed at her husband. “What else?”
“The old coin.”
Simon sat up straighter.
“Look at the coin, Jayne. Where did you get it?”
“Shouldn’t’ve. Ma would be mad if she knew I’d gone there. But it wasn't that far from where Dad was hunting rabbits, and he said I had to be good and stay away from him ‘til he was ready.” He began to fidget.
“He’s resisting,” Simon murmured. “Try a different way.”
River nodded. “How old are you, Jayne? You’ve just found the coin. It’s so pretty. It shines. It’s in your hand. How old are you?”
“Where did you find it?”
“In the dirt.”
“Why don’t you pick it up? Hold it up. See how the light sparkles on it.” She paused for a moment. “Where are you?”
His face screwed up a little, and he looked like the little boy he had been, but his voice was clear enough. “Huo Yan Shan.”
to be continued
A.N.: Don't try hypnosis at home. Simon is a qualified doctor, and River is a Reader and insane. Woof.
Monday, February 9, 2009 4:32 PM
Monday, February 9, 2009 4:40 PM
Tuesday, February 10, 2009 2:58 AM
Tuesday, February 10, 2009 4:03 AM
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