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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. Okay, because I'm NOT evil and I didn't want you to have to hang on for too long, here it is. River and Jayne take matters into their own hands. NEW CHAPTER
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1863 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
Boone aimed at Freya but looked at and spoke to Zoe. “Let’s see how you like watching her die in front of you.”
A shot rang through the superstructure.
A little while earlier …
Immediately the EMP pulse hit River knew what was going to happen, as clearly as if she was remembering the future. Even in the pitch black she could feel the shape of Serenity, and it was only the work of a moment to run through the infirmary doors into the common area then up into the cargo bay. Jayne’s aura gave him away, standing facing the doors.
“They’re coming,” he said, not turning.
He looked down at Vera in his hands, even though he couldn’t see her. “Can we fight ‘em off?”
“Not like that.”
“Then what?” He felt a hand on his arm, directing him to one side even as there was the sound of someone else coming into the bay.
Freya swore as her shin connected with something in the dark, but she located the cages quickly enough.
Jayne opened his mouth to speak, but River’s hand tightened.
We gonna be doing something the cap wouldn’t approve of? he thought carefully.
He grinned in the darkness. Good.
Freya hurried back to the infirmary, lanterns in her hands.
“Help me,” River whispered.
“Moonbrain, I can’t see a gorram thing. Just ‘cause you ate your carrots like a good girl when you was a kid –“ He stopped as there was the sound of something cracking, and a green glow developed in his wife’s hands. “That’s my crazy River,” he muttered, seeing the light reflect from her teeth as she smiled at his endearment.
“Here. We will need more.” She handed him another half a dozen, and they quickly activated them, spreading them around the cargo bay.
“Now what?” he asked.
She lifted the lid of the EVA suit locker. “Help me,” she repeated.
It didn’t take long to dress in the suits, but something was troubling Jayne. “You sure your bro don’t need you?”
“Kaylee is with him. Quickly, they’re – ” There was a metallic clang and the ship shuddered.
“Locked on,” Jayne said.
River nodded, then ran, as much as she could in an almost complete EVA suit, up the stairs towards the top emergency hatch.
He followed, his longer stride keeping up with her. “But Mal –“
“Simon will save him, Jayne.” She handed him her helmet.
“You sure about that?”
“I am.” She smiled sweetly as he lowered the helmet, fastening it swiftly. Have I ever lied to you? he heard in his mind.
Nope. Don’t reckon you ever have. Maybe bent the truth a bit. He dropped his own helmet onto his shoulders, feeling her pulling the connection behind him.
That’s not the same. That’s … a kindness.
Are you doing it now?
You sure about that?
My Jayne. There was a flavour of admonishment in the mental tone, and he had to grin.
Time to get this done. He started up the ladder to the topside hatch.
Outside, in the quiet of just the starlight, he could almost believe he could feel the icy cold of space eating through his suit. He knew it was an illusion, as he was nicely warm, but that didn’t help. He turned towards the bow, where the familiar lines of Serenity were interrupted by what could have been an enormous growth, but was the predatory ship, locked on. He felt an irrational annoyance at his home being desecrated like this.
How long ‘fore they get in? he asked, not wanting to use the com in case they were picked up.
We can’t sniff the daisies.
Don’t dally. She was off already, her magboots sticking to the hull as she made her way along the Firefly’s neck.
He gripped Vera tighter than ever, and followed his wife.
As they approached the junction of the two ships, she paused, her body tense.
What is it?
He couldn’t hear, but he knew she was talking to her surrogate Ma. She okay?
She will keep them occupied.
God help ‘em, then.
After what seemed like an age but also no time at all they were at the Beowolf’s emergency escape hatch, and River was quickly punching numbers.
Just one second more … There was a faint puff of silent air, and the hatch swung open. He climbed down into the airlock, no time to wonder if there was a reception party waiting at the bottom. How many inside?
Three. One on the bridge, two in the bay. She joined him, closing them in, then activated the system. Suddenly there was air pressure against the fabric of their suits and the interior door opened on well-oiled hinges.
I’ll take the two in the bay, he began, but she’d already moved away from him down the stairs. He sighed. Even when he wanted to be all manly and take the majority, she wouldn’t let him.
Don’t need you to be manly, he heard. Just be you.
That is me. He shook his head at her, and tried to remember the one and only time he’d been on a Beowolf. He’d been robbing that particular boat, and the folks he was robbing from weren't being very co-operative, but he thought he knew the way to the front end. Yeah, that’d be it. He started forward.
As River predicted, there was one man inside, sitting in the pilot’s chair. Or rather, half out of the seat as he craned his neck, trying to see somewhat futilely through the thick hull plating to what was going on aboard Serenity.
For a moment Jayne contemplated shooting him, but instead he just stepped forward and brought Vera’s grip down onto the back of his head. The man fell without even knowing he’d been hit.
Jayne allowed a small, feral grin to adorn his face, and hurried towards the bay. As he approached he slowed slightly, not wanting his lunatic assassin of a wife to mistake him for one of the bad guys and shoot him, but as he reached the door he heard, muffled but carrying quite clearly through the helmet, the sound of a gunshot very close by.
“River!” he yelled, not caring if anyone else heard or not.
Boone jerked his head around at the sound of the gunshot echoing from inside his ship, giving Freya the opportunity to duck under his gun and grab his wrist, her fingers digging into the nerves. He yelped and let go, dropping the pistol into her waiting hand. The yelp turning into a yell of anger and frustration, he grabbed for her, but she was too fast for him. She slammed the gun into his face, breaking his nose and cutting deeply into his forehead. Blood ran down into his mouth as he staggered under the blow before she kicked him behind the leg and forced him to his knees. He looked up to stare into the barrel.
Zoe used the diversion to punch one of the other men in the gut, pulling his rifle from his grasp and in the same movement using it to catch him under the chin, flipping him onto his back so he rolled on the floor, gasping like a fish and holding his belly. She twisted and fired, the round catching another in the shoulder so he went down screaming.
Hank elbowed Kelly as hard as he could, ignoring the sudden shooting pain up his arm and dropping down to avoid a fist flung in his direction.
The others, in shock at what was happening, were slower to react, but they were turning their guns on the two women when there was what sounded like a small explosion, and a bullet ricocheted into the shadows.
Two monsters, lit green and ghastly, stood in the open doorway, one of them holding a cannon. It sighted on another man and the sound of the weapon cocking again was very loud …
“Stop right there!” the man who had been at Boone’s shoulder shouted, swinging his rifle around and aiming at the people in EVA suits. “Right now!”
There was a moment when things could have gone either way, then the smaller of the two slowly lifted a hand, releasing the clamps on the suit’s helmet and lifting it away. She shook out her long dark hair.
There was a collective gasp from the men watching, and even Boone couldn’t take his eyes off her, particularly when she spoke. “We can kill you all, and not break sweat.”
“Take them,” Boone ground out, spitting blood which blackly flecked the metal floor. “Take them out, Ryder, and the consequences be damned.”
The man with the rifle swallowed, his Adam’s apple moving prominently. Then he lowered his gun. “No. It’s over.”
Boone almost howled in desperation. “No!”
“Put them down,” Ryder ordered.
The others glanced at each other, then at the huge man still holding the big gun, then each lowered their weapons. Hank quickly scooped one from unresisting fingers and stood back a little, but his eyes kept creeping towards Zoe.
“Bastards,” Boone muttered, sitting back onto his heels.
Handing Vera to River, the Callaghan somehow managing to look at home in her small hands, Jayne took off his own helmet. The intimidating effect wasn’t diminished.
“Who fired?” Zoe asked.
“First time, me,” River admitted. “I knew what he was going to do.” She looked down at Boone on the deck. “I couldn’t let him shoot gan niang. Had to distract.”
“And I'm grateful,” Freya put in quietly.
“Second time was me,” Jayne added. “Think Mal’s gonna space me for scratching up his boat?”
“Probably.” But Zoe nodded her thanks.
“So no-one’s dead over there?” Ryder asked.
“No.” River shrugged, quite an impressive manoeuvre in a bulky space suit. “Not particularly conscious, but alive.”
He nodded. “Good.”
Boone stirred. “Always were squeamish, weren't you, Ryder?” he sneered, wiping at his nose with the back of his hand.
Ryder looked startled. “They killed my family too. But all this … Paul, we could have followed them to Priam. Taken her then, and no-one else would have been hurt.”
Boone looked at him pityingly. “No stomach left for this?”
“Maybe I don’t. And neither should you, not after all this time. All these years …”
“You think we wasted it?”
“No.” An expression of pure misery washed over his face, gone as quickly as it arrived. “Maybe. We killed so many, Paul.”
“They deserved it!”
“And the families? Wives, husbands … did they deserve it?”
“Yes.” Tears began sliding unbidden down Boone’s cheeks, and blood mixed with the salt water to drip onto his shirt. “Because it’ll never be over. What they did, they destroyed everything that was good in my life. They can’t get away with it,” he added bitterly.
“We didn’t.” Zoe hadn’t moved, but there was infinite sadness n her eyes. “I walked away that night, because of what happened. So did others, like MacLean. I saw what we’d become, what I was in danger of being, and it terrified me. The war truly ended in that town for us.” She paused. “And I still get the nightmares.”
“It’s not enough.” Stubbornness warred with grief in Boone’s whole demeanour.
“We took it too far,” Ryder added, his shoulders slumped.
“You became that which you hated,” Freya said quietly.
Boone lurched to his feet, even as Ryder nodded. “How dare you! The Dust Devils took it all!”
Freya’s mind skittered to the man lying in the infirmary, knowing what would probably have happened to him if not for River and Jayne, and her voice hardened. “And how many have you killed in revenge?”
He glared at her. “Justice. It was justice.”
“Revenge. Justice would have been handing them over to the Alliance. How many innocent lives had to end for you to be satisfied?”
He glared at her. “Just one more.” He dived for the Mare’s Leg lying forgotten on a crate, spinning on his heel towards Zoe as he grabbed the gun …
The third and final shot seemed loud, louder than it had any right to be, and Boone’s eyes widened in surprise. Then his body went slack and he fell against one of the cages, catching in the netting and only slowly sliding to the deck, already devoid of life.
Ryder lowered the smoking rifle. “It’s over, Paul,” he whispered. Dropping to his knees next to the fallen man, he lifted Boone’s head into his lap, heedless of the fluids that immediately began soaking into his pants. “It’s finally over.”
Zoe exhaled slowly, untensing her finger from the trigger. “We have a doctor. He might be a little busy at the moment, but if you can wait, he’ll see to your men.”
“That would be kind.” Ryder didn’t look up, just stroked Boone’s hair from his face, so much more relaxed now in death than it had been for years.
Freya licked dry lips. “Zoe, do you have this?”
Serenity’s first mate nodded. “Go.”
“It’s all quiet,” Kaylee whispered, staring at Simon as he continued to work.
“Do you think –“
“Best not to, bao bei.”
“No. I guess not.” She watched as he wielded the tiny needle. “But maybe I should get your gun, or something.”
“That won’t be necessary.” Freya stood in the doorway, staring at her husband. “Simon, is he …”
The young man looked up, seeing the worry in her face she hadn’t dared show to the others, and he smiled slightly. “He came through it well. Surprisingly good, in fact, given the circumstances.”
“But he’s …” She nodded towards the gaping wound still in Mal’s chest.
“I’ve done the internal sutures. All I have to do now is close up.”
The regular hum of the small bypass machine stuttered, then slowed.
“That’s it,” Kaylee said, staring at Simon. “Battery’s dying.”
“Then it’s a good job I can restart his heart.” Picking up the small cardiac infusers, he placed them inside Mal’s chest. “Clear.” There was barely a jolt, but as Simon studied the monitors he appeared satisfied. “Good. Good.”
“Simon …” Freya was holding her breath.
“I can take him off bypass now,” Simon said, doing exactly that. “His heart is beating normally.”
“Even though he’s …” She couldn’t say it.
“Frey, this is the easy part. You can assist if you like. I think Kaylee needs a break.” He busied himself getting a larger needle and more thread.
The young mechanic nodded. “Gotta get my girl back up and running.” She stopped. “That is, if we ain’t likely to be blown up.”
“Not today.” Freya closed her eyes, letting her head drop onto her chest for a moment before taking a deep breath. She had obviously centred herself, because when she looked up it was the cool, confident woman they all knew back in control. “Simon, the crew of the Beowolf could do with some doctoring as well, once you’re done in here.”
“Are they bad?”
“A shoulder wound and a few minor concussions, I should imagine.”
“Not even a scratch.”
“That must be a first.”
“I think it must.”
“Then you help me here, Kaylee can go and see to her engine, and I’ll deal with the others shortly.” He showed her where to put her hands to draw the edges of the wound together. “Just don’t move.”
“I won’t.” Freya glanced quickly towards where Kaylee was backing up towards the door. “Oh, and would you get the children out of their hiding place?”
Kaylee’s hand flew to her mouth. “The kids … I’d forgotten!” It was almost comical the way she span so fast on her heel that she was almost in orbit, then ran out of the infirmary towards the crew quarters.
River was satisfied that Ryder and his men were no longer a threat, and as she helped her brother do minor surgery and patching up she mentally soothed where she could.
As Simon finished with the last, Zoe beckoned her to one side.
“Everything okay?” she asked.
River nodded. “Boone was the driving force. With him gone, the others will drift apart.”
“Can we do anything for ‘em?”
The young psychic was surprised. “You want to help them?”
“It wasn’t their fault.” Zoe tightened her lips. “Just feel like maybe we should if we can.”
Expanding her consciousness for a moment, River spoke slowly. “They have no rudder any more. Nothing to drive them. They may go home, or crawl inside a bottle, I can’t tell. But they wouldn’t take anything from you.”
“No. I figure you’re right on that score.” Zoe scanned the Beowolf’s crew sitting scattered through the cargo bay under the watchful eyes of Jayne and Vera. “So the best thing we can do is let ‘em go.”
“The only thing.”
“I wish …” She bit the words off.
“They’ll bury him on Priam. No home to take him back to.”
“No.” She glanced towards the hideaway. “Better make sure they take the goods with ‘em, then.”
“Ryder didn’t like to suggest it.”
“I don’t think Mal’s gonna worry himself overly about not getting the other half of our wage.”
There was a silence, then Zoe asked, “Is he gonna be okay?”
“If Freya sitting next to him all the time until he wakes up is any indication, then yes.”
Her lips twitched. “I doubt she’s going to let him do anything for the foreseeable future, do you?”
“Not a thing.”
There was another pause. “Is it likely to happen again?” Zoe asked, her mind only seeing her captain, her best friend. “Will he have another attack?”
River shook her head. “I don’t think so. Simon cleaned the accretions off the valve, and reinflated the damaged artery. What happened was because of the Quicksilver, not any of the usual causes like diet, smoking, lack of exercise.”
From his standpoint a few feet away, Jayne chuckled. “Figure he won’t be getting that kind of exercise for a while there.”
At River’s piercing look he subsided, but couldn’t stop the grin.
Up in the engine room a similar conversation was going on between Kaylee and Hank.
“You sure he’s gonna be okay?” she asked, her hands deep in Serenity’s guts.
“Simon’s sure. It’ll just take a while for him to be back on his feet.” He smiled. “You know, ‘fore he’s doing anything more strenuous than reading.”
“But he’s going to be all right. Right?” Kaylee almost begged.
“Yes. He’ll be all right. If Simon wasn't sure you know full well he’d insist we carried on to Greenleaf. But you heard him, Mal’s responding well, his heart’s beating strongly, and … besides, he’s stubborn. He won’t let a little thing like this stop him.”
“Little?” Kaylee shook her head. “I’d call that more than little.” She couldn’t help the shudder that ran through her. No matter that she was proud as a peach of her man, she never wanted to have her hands inside someone again. She’d rather clean out the septic vat buck naked than do that again.
“You know he’s gonna be fine.”
“I know.” She twisted something and there was a groaning noise.
“Wait, is that …”
“Hang on.” With her foot she pushed on a lever, and the lights flickered on as Serenity’s own heart began to beat again. Kaylee stood up and patted the engine housing. “That’s my girl.”
“Jury-rigged. I gotta get someplace where we can put down and I can do a big overhaul. Not sure I got the parts, but I can probably make do with what I have, long as we can get to a yard before too long.”
Hank grinned and pulled her into a hug. “How about Lazarus?” he asked.
She stared at him. “You mean …”
“You think Inara’s gonna put up with just a wave about this? She’ll need to see Mal to make sure he’s okay, not just hear about it.”
She snuggled closer, enjoying the contact with her friend. “Zoe said it’s okay?”
Hank’s face clouded a little, but Kaylee couldn’t see. “Her idea.”
“That’s shiny. So long as Mal don’t come over all captain and say no.”
“Yeah.” He managed to smile again. “Long as he doesn’t do that.”
Freya rotated her shoulders and wondered idly whether she could justify getting a painkiller out of the cupboard. Sitting for hours on a stool wasn’t exactly pleasant, but she wasn’t going anywhere.
She’d heard the Beowolf disengage shortly after Kaylee had worked her miracle and got their engine back on line, not needing to piggyback off their air purifiers any longer. Not that they wanted to stay. Now that Boone was dead, there was a lot of mixed feelings running through those men, and not a little embarrassment. Although that was probably the last thing she’d be feeling, if she’d done what they had.
Simon had finally been persuaded to take a nap, but it was on the old couch out in the common area, and that was only because she’d finally threatened him with Jayne. But she wasn’t going anywhere. Not until Mal woke up.
Freya lifted her head to see Ethan and Jesse in the doorway. “Hey, why aren’t you two with Bethie?”
“We wanted to see Daddy,” the little boy insisted, holding tight to his sister’s hand.
“Is Daddy asleep?” Jesse asked, chewing a strand of her long brown hair abstractedly.
“Yes,” Freya said. “He’s only asleep.” She held out her arms and Jesse ran to her, allowing herself to be picked up and settled onto her mother’s lap.
Ethan pulled another stool across the floor, the feet squealing, then climbed up so he could see better. “Are you sure?” he asked.
“Well, I was,” Mal muttered. “’Til you started making all that noise.”
“Mal?” Freya leaned forward, her own breath catching.
His blue eyes fluttered open. “Gorramit, what fell on me?”
“You really want me to answer that? And lay still,” she added quickly as he tried to look down at his chest. “Or I’ll have to restrain you.”
“Promises. You make all these promises, but you don’t keep ‘em.” He smiled, and her heart melted all over again.
“Not here. And not now.”
“Long as I got your word for some time, some place.”
“Daddy?” Jesse said, her little hand resting on his arm.
“Hey, sweetheart. You all right?”
“Shiny.” She blew him a kiss.
“That’s just what I needed.”
“Love you too, JJ.” He shifted slightly on the medbed, then groaned, his forehead furrowing.
“Mal?” Freya couldn’t breathe.
“It’s all right,” Simon said, stepping back into the infirmary and running his hands through his hair. “I’ve got something ready.” With the minimum of movement he injected a hypo into the drip running into Mal’s arm. “And you need to sleep.”
“I been asleep.” He could feel the narcotic working its way up his veins. “Can’t I wake up now?”
“Soon. Just rest for a while longer.”
“Gorramit, doc, can’t I be captain on my own boat?” he managed to get out, but his eyelids were growing heavy again.
“Not in here. In here, I am king.” Simon smiled.
As he drifted into the soft and welcoming darkness, Mal felt a small hand on his chest, just faintly tracing a line down his ribcage, and he heard Ethan, as if from a long way off.
“Like me now, Momma,” his son said. “Like me.”
His last conscious thought, before sleep claimed him, was Thank you, God, for my family.
to be concluded
Tuesday, March 17, 2009 9:43 AM
Tuesday, March 17, 2009 10:15 AM
Tuesday, March 17, 2009 10:39 AM
Tuesday, March 17, 2009 12:47 PM
Tuesday, March 17, 2009 7:13 PM
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