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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
The crew rally to save Kaylee when she is knocked out on her spacewalk, but don't get to her before she has an out-of-verse experience.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 850 RATING: SERIES: FIREFLY
"Well, now, that's a thing you don't see every day." Suppose I was speakin' to cover my own worry as Kaylee drifted close to the forward viewport, her face all peaceful with her eyes closed like that. "Seen a guy who got the leg of his suit blown out by a meteor, or the side, or even the helmet. Had meteors bounce off the padded part of my suit and shook 'em off, in the arm or the chest."
"Meteoroids, or micro-planetoids," River corrected me absently. "They're not meteors until they get into a world's air and start to burn up."
"Well, whatever," I muttered. Getting the word right was never a big priority for me. "But still - to have a rock bounce off the helmet of somebody's suit, not even crack it..."
"And knock her out, from the concussion, or the whiplash," Simon said, his face still darkening. "Okay, this is enough gandering time. How do we get her back?" He turned, to look to Mal. "You can't possibly be thinking that we should just stay here and wait for her to wake up by herself. That could be hours, and her air won't last that long..."
"No, I don't think so," Mal muttered. "Just trying to weigh the options..."
"I'm ready to launch, at a few seconds' notice," Inara reminded Mal over the comm circuit.
"Well..." Mal drawled.
"No, I don't think so, thanks," Zoe replied crisply. "She's drifting way too close to the ship, at the moment, and as fancy as that shuttle of yours is, it doesn't have a rescue grapple or anything. Last thing we need is you cracking the window in here."
"Okay, then... then somebody HAS to go out in a suit and bring her in," Simon said, and then uttered the words that he knew would force the issue. "If no-one else will take that risk for Kaylee, then I'm going."
I'd been thinking of what to say since he started. "Alright, I'll go fetch you a suit."
"I, I... much as I might like to..." Having got this far, Mal took time out to sigh. "Not sure that it's worth the risk of sending our surgeon out there, Mister Tam, instead of someone who's actually experienced at extra-vehicular activities in a space suit."
"Or even someone who's gotten training in spacewalk rescues," Zoe chimed in.
"Yeah, but I don't think that we've got anybody who's been..." Mal trailed off and looked at Zoe. "I don't think I knew that, if you mean you."
"I did live for many years before I ended up in your platoon, sir," Zoe replied dryly. "Looks like this really is the girls' chance to save the day. River's flying us all safely through, Kaylee was the only one who could fix the radar, and I'm the best one suited to rescue her, if you'll pardon the accidental wordplay."
"Okay, then... I'll fetch YOUR suit?" Simon hazarded.
"As long as you're sure you can tell which it is," Zoe agreed with a little smile.
"Is there anything else that you need?" Mal asked.
"Not... not really," Zoe muttered, though she didn't sound sure. "We don't have much in the way of advanced rescue gear. Oh, Jayne - any chance you got more of those push guns?"
"The... the gas tubes?" I asked. "Um, just one, and it's nitro."
"Still push me back to Serenity, if I really need it," she pointed out.
I was already almost gone, but picked the conversation back up after retrieving the tube. "But this one doesn't have enough thrust to push both you and Kaylee."
"Hmm... well, then I can push further off, and Inara can go fetch us once we're far enough away from Serenity," she said after a moment."
"You're missing the obvious," River put in. "If you get Kaylee, then you've got the gas jets that Jayne gave *her*, too. If she's still out, then look in the front pocket of her right thigh."
"Yeah, that'll work," Zoe agreed. Quickly and efficiently she suited up, took what rescue gear we had, and disappeared out the airlock. Now we had only to wait.
Kaylee had been through two minor difficulties since going out - one that she'd recovered from herself, and one that had left her unaware. Would Zoe's trip be smoother, on a trip like this?
First off, just don't even ask how or why.
I smiled at Kaylee and waved her over. A somewhat confused, or maybe bemused, expression came over her face as she walked over the brown grass to join me. "Okay, let's start with an easy one," she said after getting within two paces. "Why are we *here*?"
"I'm not sure that there are any easy questions, including that one," I pointed out, "but I'll give it a try. This is a very important place, to both of us, even though we've never really been here. There's something about it that changed both of our lives."
"I don't like riddles," she told me. "I've never liked riddles, even in dreams, or - near death vision experience things, or whatever..."
"You're not near death," I said as reassuringly as I could. "Scary situation, I admit, but - well, Zoe should be making sure that you're okay, and Simon, of course, will be able to diagnose if you've got whiplash or a concussion or whatever. And if you don't like the riddle, then try to think of it like a mechanical puzzle. What can you tell about this spot?"
"Well, it's an empty spot near the edge of... of a used spaceship lot, I can see that much," she admitted. "And, well, something about..." She frowned at the ground. "This is very familiar to me, but, well... okay, a Firefly was landed here, but the grass has grown up since. And that suggests, since the marks are still visible - that it was here for a long time."
"Now, since you made the connection to you and me, and there's only one Firefly that's really been important to either of us... has Serenity been here?" I nodded silently. "Was - was this where Mal first bought her?"
"Wait a second, though. If you were the pilot that Mal hired, how come you weren't here?"
"Oh, right, that. The guy who ran this place was starting to insist that Mal get it off the property, while I was still on the way to meet with them. After Bester had got it flight-worthy, you know, which did take a little while."
"So, what, did Zoe take the controls herself?"
"Hmm, no, probably because she didn't have any experience with a Firefly model back then. Maybe she could still have flown Serenity a little ways and landed her, based on the general pilot skill she'd managed to scrape up as a kid and during the war, but nope." I couldn't quite keep from chuckling at the memory. "I was the pilot that they hired, and the top of Mal's wish list, but I weren't the only one that they talked to. And the first qualified pilot that they could find, they had her take Serenity up as a sort of an audition, or a test drive."
"Wasn't umm, she curious that she wasn't landing right back where she'd taken off?"
"Hmm, yeah, that would be a bit odd. I hadn't thought on it though." I considered for a moment and shrugged. "Maybe Mal pretended that he was horrified by her piloting, and wouldn't risk the ship on the trip back. I wouldn't put that kind of performance past him."
"Alright, now." Kaylee walked up to me and took my hand in hers, standing across the line where the imprint of the cargo bay ramp could still be seen. "Now, I'd like to ask another one of these big questions. Why are *you* talking to me? I mean, if there are spirits of those who've passed on, then why me and not - well, not Zoe?"
"Maybe I'll get a chance to see her too," I said. "Or possibly I'm just a subconscious thought in your head, and I'm not really here even in a dream. That would be weird, I admit. Makes my head hurt - or, what seems to me like my own head, at least." I shook the hand awkwardly, and Kaylee shook back and then let it drop. "So, how have things been, since...?"
"Can't you tell? I mean, if you know how I got knocked out, and can guess that Zoe and Simon will help me..."
"No, I haven't been watching the whole time, if that's what you're thinking of. I wish that I could, except that... well, it seems a bit sad, me being dead, and spending my entire afterlife or whatever just watching you guys. I mean, you were my family, but still. I was able to - to somehow sense your surface thoughts about what happened right before you came here, and I made some guesses about what was likely to happen next. That's all. By the way, it's great about you and Simon... and Mal and Inara. One couple gets torn apart, and two more come together..."
"Mal and - and Inara?"
"You already believe, deep down, that there's something going on there," I told her. "But if they're trying to be low-profile about it, then you should probably pretend that you haven't noticed anything. Inara has her reasons."
"Right, umm, okay. So, let's see." Kaylee's face assumed a cute, thoughtful expression. "What else is there that you might not have been able to get from whatever my 'surface thoughts' are? We went to Boros - Zoe and Jayne went on a bounty hunting side job and they both got shot, actually, but they're okay now. The alliance is cracking up and there's this guy from Ariel who's already keen on putting the pieces back together. We're taking a short-cut trip across the heart of the 'Verse to take a few passengers and some supplies to Hera..."
"Oh, right, the deep slot," I said, adding an appreciative whistle. "Only did one of those, and it was before my days with Serenity. It was quite a rush. Wish that I'd made a point of doing it again before... well, you know. Who's piloting... Is it River? Are you sure that she's up to it? I mean, I know that she's very smart and all, but..."
"She was doing fine until the radar started to fog out," Kaylee told me. "That's about all I can be sure of."
"Alright. And aside from getting herself shot *again* - Zoe's been keeping it together okay?"
"Well... she's a bit grimmer than her most carefree, I have to admit. Even more than when I first met her, before you guys got together, actually."
"Do you think that she's... really let herself grieve, and start to move on?"
"Well, I... I guess I'm not sure how to answer that, honestly!" Kaylee shook her head, and I noticed that her hair was a bit different than it had been back on Haven, but couldn't put my finger on how. "We - well, we had the funeral ceremony for you of course, and Shepherd Book, and Mister Universe..."
"Oh, man! He bit it too?" My knees got shaky, and I sat down with my legs crossed on the grass. Kaylee blinked in surprise, and then kneeled to get close to my level.
"Yeah, huh, I guess that you - well, should I tell you the whole story of what happened after... we landed?"
"Highlight reel only, please, I'm not sure how long we have." So she told me how the Reavers had chased the crew of Serenity out into Mister Universe's home, and Mal had found Universe himself dead, with a message that he'd manage to program into his Love-bot Lenore as he was dying. There were condensed explanations about a showdown between Mal and the Operative near the home generator, where U had put in a backup signal transmitter, and in the meantime the rest of the gang tried to fend off Reavers - but Kaylee herself, Simon, and Zoe were all incapacitated, and Simon had dropped his bag when they were getting overrun, and River managed to access the combat skills that the Alliance had programmed into her and save them all - until the Alliance soldiers had them all surrounded, and Mal got the message sent out, and the Operative called off his troops, on the somewhat dubious grounds that killing them out of revenge would be pointless.
"But come to think of it, ever since the funeral... I dunno, I guess that none of us have really been doing much to process what we lost when we lost you - and Book, and come to terms with it," Kaylee admitted reflectively. "Just - well, trying to stay busy, to keep flying, and distract ourselves from thinking of it. Oh, I adopted the dinos, but not quite sure where they got to when we started switching bunks and all..."
"Hmm." I considered that. "Maybe you can think of something to change that, when you get back."
"Yeah." Kaylee shuddered. "I think possibly that's going to happen pretty soon, so one more question."
"Do - do you remember anything since you got... thunked? Something even more after-lifey than being here and talkin' to me?"
I broke up laughing. "Sorry, but that would be telling, and it just isn't fair."
"Not fair? Not fair to who?? I swear, Wash, if this is one of your silly jokes, I'm not ever going to forgive you..."
I tried to smile mysteriously, but Kaylee did start to wake up at that point, and I think that the effect was ruined.
"Hey, she's waking up," I pointed out, as I noticed Kaylee's eyes fluttering and trying to stay open. Simon turned from the metal bands that he had been adjusting, and I saw the tender smile in his face as he looked down at the girl on his table.
"How are you feeling, honey?"
"I... not quite sure," Kaylee moaned. "I... I'm in the infirmary, right?"
"Yes," he said. "Inara's here - she's been assisting me. Now that you're awake, if you feel up to it, we can bring some of the others in - except River, of course, because she's still busy."
"Everything's still fine with the radar?"
"Perfect, as far as I know," I replied. "There are some difficult course calculations to be made, and a couple adjustments, because of all that time when we couldn't see clearly, but things look good."
"Alright." Kaylee's breathing was starting to speed up. "Next question - why can I hardly move? Did... did something really go wrong..."
"Not that badly," Simon quickly assured her. "I've restrained you and used some anaesthetic to keep you from struggling, but that's just to make sure that you'll be all better by morning. There was some stretching of your spinal ligament, and a hairline fracture on your number three disc, which could have caused some problems later on, so I gave you injections to speed the re-knitting of the bone and tissue, and you absolutely cannot move your head or your chest until they have had sufficient time to take effect, which will be many hours. If you want, I can un-restrain your arms and legs as long as you promise to remain calm."
"Whoo, boy," Kaylee let out a sort of a quiet moan. "First off, thank you for taking such good care of me. Secondly, yes, I think that I'd like to be able to move the free ends about some, and I understand about not jostling myself or anything."
"Alright. Inara?" I came over to the table and helped to undo the limb restraints at Simon's direction. "Please bear in mind, you may not have much strength or co-ordination in your muscles, this is partly because they've been still for so long, and mostly on account of the anaesthetic. In a little while, that should wear off somewhat, and I'll only reapply it in your spinal area." Sure enough, Kaylee's legs only twitched slightly and fell still, and one of her arms nearly fell off the table, but I caught it and put it back at her side in case that might have caused an accidental 'wrench.' Noticed at this point that Kaylee was still in only the brief underthings that she had been wearing beneath her spacesuit, but I didn't exactly mind that. I wondered if she would. Obviously, between Kaylee and Simon, that wouldn't be particularly an issue.
"I do have a third point, what was it?" She whined deeply. "Oh, yeah - what *happened* to me out there?"
Simon looked at me, but I shrugged. I hadn't been able to see what was going on nearly as well as he had, from where I'd been sitting at the helm of the Thunderbird shuttle, ready to fly out in case that was needed. "Umm, well, from what I saw, and somebody mentioned... there was a little rock, around fist-sized or something, that hit you on your helmet. Pushed you right into the windows, and - well, that's about it. Must have pushed your suit into you as well. You blacked out, and -- and Zoe went out in a suit of her own, and brought you back in. I was on the comm, giving her as much help as I could on how to transport you without any risk of making things worse. We fashioned a sort of a spinal board and tied it to you outside of the space suit..."
"Alright, that's enough of the explanation, honey," Kaylee said, but her tone was somewhat relieved. "Nobody saw anything weirder than that out the window, after I'd been knocked out? Something that really didn't make sense?"
"Um, no, I don't think so."
"Good," she insisted. "Well, I'm feeling calmer, but... no reason to get anyone else in here, I think, just to keep me company. Everybody's probably still busy."
"Do - do you want me to stay here?" Simon said, reaching out to lightly pick up Kaylee's left hand and hold it in his own. "I - I really should check out Zoe, though there's not much reason to suspect that she took any injuries herself. But still, as a precaution..."
"That's alright, baby. As - as long as you can stay a while, 'Nara? I don't much feel like lying here all alone."
"Certainly I can stay," I told her. "Shuttle's down from high alert, and nowhere else I need to be just at this moment." As Simon said his goodbyes, I pulled up a little folding chair so that I could sit close enough to the table to reach out and touch Kaylee myself.
"Alright, there's something that I've been wondering," Kaylee said once Simon was gone. "If - if you really wanted to be with, well, just a regular guy. Because you liked him, or loved him, I mean, and not as a paying proposition... would there be any way to arrange it? Would the Guild get upset?"
I stiffened inside my mind, forcing my muscles, at least, to remain calm, and trying not to let my blood race. Was this just idle Kaylee curiosity, or was she starting to hint around at the possibility of my arrangement with Mal? Well, I could answer the question honestly at face value, at least. If she *did* suspect the truth, then this question showed quite a bit more maturity and sensitivity than I'd really given Kaylee credit for when I'd decided that she couldn't be let in on the secret. She had waited for a moment when the two of us were alone, and asked not about the central issue itself, but circuitously inquired about the reasons that I would have for wanting to make sure that the affair was an iron-clad secret, IF it hypothetically existed.
"It's very complicated," I said slowly. "Very generally, for a companion to take a lover, which is the term usually used, must be a matter of the deepest secrecy. The Guild does not believe in dictating the private lives of its membership, but believes that the perception of favouritism, or that any Companion might lose her emotional objectivity enough to desire a continuing sexual relationship with someone unable or unwilling to pay the going rates... that it's bad for us all if the word gets out."
"Not good for business, you mean," Kaylee said, giggled softly, and then went 'ow.'
"Does it hurt to laugh?" I asked her.
"A little bit, yeah. Not in my back or anything, but - these restraints are actually very tight over my chest, and so when I laugh, I breathe in a way that's less... restrained than otherwise."
"Yeah, I guess that makes sense," I agreed neutrally.
"Can you make them just a tiny bit looser, maybe??" Kaylee wheedled sweetly.
"Sorry, in one sense I'd love to, but... well, I don't know enough. Either to be sure that it's something that can be safely done without risking you hurting your back, or... or even to know the right way to adjust the straps without hurting you."
"Oh." The disappointed tone to Kaylee's voice tugged at my heartstrings a bit.
"You can ask Simon when he comes back," I pointed out. "But getting back to the topic of conversation, it's not all about business and the money coming in. I had to tell..." VERY nearly stumbled over my own tongue at this point, but caught myself and realized that it wasn't anything I needed to worry about 'giving away', and in fact, the fact that I was talking about this openly might distract Kaylee from the things she was really hinting towards. "...Mal that, when we were stranded on Ares," I finished, with only about a breath's pause in the middle of the sentence. "Money's important, on one level it makes the 'Verse go round, but you can't let yourself become fixated on that aspect of things. There's... there's a philosophical aspect to the work that a Companion undertakes, a metaphysical sense that studying and practicing the art of love the way that we do allows it to become more than a simple trade, money for physical gratification, but a healing and a spiritual renewal of those that come to ask for us, and thus, a benefit to the entire cosmos... in our own little ways."
"Yeah, right," Kaylee muttered.
I was torn for a second. Usually I was used to getting this kind of reaction to anyone who I'd explained this much of the Guild rule to, and it was the standard cue to pipe down and start listening to what they wanted to speak about. But Kaylee wasn't just anybody, but one of my dearest friends and 'companions', in the common sense, in the whole 'Verse... and I suddenly realized that I had a captive audience in her, at least until Simon returned to the Infirmary. I hadn't gotten this far when trying to explain to Mal, and it was growing more important to me that he really understood and accepted my work and how much it really meant to me.
"Okay, what's so hard to believe about it? You won't dispute the idea that sex can transcend the physical condition, that it can affect your emotions in a very powerful way and even heal the spirit?"
"Well, no - not when it's with someone that you love, someone who you know you're going to be with a long time," Kaylee started.
"There speaks the determined romantic," I said, and chuckled. After hearing the story about Kaylee and Bester, there was once a time when I didn't think I'd ever be able to accuse her of over-sentimentality. "Yes, certainly, making love in a circumstance like that is... is incredible, and I'm not about to discount that. But... but I don't think that's the only way to qualify for what I'm talking about. What about..." I groped for an example, given what I knew about Kaylee's sex life. "Okay, umm... what about your first time with Simon. Did you realize that you loved him then?"
"Umm... I think maybe I did - by the time we were done with each other."
"You were high on hormones and the sense of finally getting something that you'd been longing for over months, but... I'm not sure that's what I'd think of as love," I hedged, though I wasn't sure if I could make that stick. "And you've told me that you weren't sure about your future together. But..."
"Okay, okay, I'm not entirely convinced, but I think that I can start to get a sense of what you're talking about," Kaylee admitted. "Passion, chemistry. REALLY good sex. I can see how that can be more than just offering nookie up on a platter. But - but can you really duplicate something like that on a platter, just by... by studying and practicing in it?"
"Not always," I had to admit. "It has a lot to do with your... partner. Over the whole, though, I've found that in the bedroom, the ones who weren't ready to put in the effort in and help me craft food for the soul - were the ones who couldn't really tell the difference and were just as happy munching cheap burgers. Satisfied customer either way, though it makes a big difference in how *I* feel about the appointment."
"Yeah, of course," Kaylee said. "Oh, blueberry."
"What??" I blinked in surprise at the unexpected word, and then realized that there were footsteps outside the door - Simon returning to check in on Kaylee. When he came in, I made sure that neither of them needed me for anything further, and then made my own withdrawal and started out on the prowl through the ship.
Five rooms and three wrong people later, I found Mal leaning against the wall of the engine room, looking back and forth between an unfolded sheet of plas-print and the rapidly spinning rotor. "Umm, hello there. What's going on?"
"Well, River mentioned that something needed to um, get adjusted back here," Mal said doubtfully, but the smile that he flashed briefly in my direction was very sweet. "Something to do with reducing our fuel consumption now that we're well into the core of the 'Verse, and falling about as quickly as we're going to."
"Ah," I said. "But Kaylee isn't available, and you're not quite sure exactly what needs to be done."
"I know what needs doing!" Mal countered. "Some other people's opinions to the contrary, Serenity is mine own ship, and though I don't have the specialized knowledge that some people can bring to her, I do understand the guts of her workings..."
"That only started after Kaylee started tutoring you," I pointed out. "You didn't even know what the coil catalyser was when... well, you know." He shot me an aggravated look, and then shrugged with a bit better humour. "Why don't you call her on the intercom and ask her?"
"Simon FORBADE me from 'bothering' her," Mal muttered, and I suspected that this was what was really bothering him, someone else giving the orders around here. "I may be captain, but I admit I've sort of learned not to push my luck when Doctor Simon Tam feels protective over a young lady. Might never be sure just when the fist of his anger is gonna strike again."
"Okay, well..." Something about that confused me, and I wondered if it was a story that hadn't yet been told about the weeks when I'd been away from my family here aboard ship. Had it really been nearly three standard months? Hard to imagine, that I could leave for so long... "So just what's the issue?"
"I know what switches to flip, and so on, but... but they're - well, they're on there." Mal gestured to the quickly spinning rotor. "Not really quick enough to get in there without worrying about breaking a finger, and I'm not quite sure if I can stop it from turning by pushing against it, or if that would be bad for her."
"Oh, dear Buddha." I couldn't quite stifle the fit of giggles, and went over to hit the intercom near Kaylee's hammock and the Cortex source there.
"Don't call Kay..." Mal started.
"Engine room to pilot," I reported. "Requesting a brief bypass of the main core system. Do you want to handle that, River, or should we?"
"Hey, I'm no control freak," River reported. "Go ahead, but don't leave me dead in the water for too long."
"No, of course not." I turned the intercom off, and nodded at Mal. "That big red button-switch, here on the stator - that's the part that doesn't move, connected to the rotor - that's a bypass switch. You push it once, and the rotor gradually slows down and stops turning."
"Oh, right," Mal said a bit sheepishly. "And we've got no main power to the engine then?"
"Nope," I agreed with an affirmative nod. "But you can make adjustments on the rotor itself, and then turn the bypass back off."
"Hmm." Mal considered that. "Maybe you'd better manage the bypass. Not that I don't know how to work it, now - seems dirt simple once you know it's there and what it does after all."
"But if speed is the critical thing, then I'd have to be rushing hither and yon..."
"Sure," I agreed. Speed wasn't THAT critical, but if it would make him feel more comfortable, I was quite willing to go through with this. "Tell me when."
So I turned the bypass on, and Mal reached out to slow the rotor down once he could tell that it was losing speed all by itself, made the adjustments, and gave me the go to hit that bypass switch one more time. The rotor started to pick up speed once again, but not nearly as quickly as before, which made some sense.
"So, what's up?" Mal asked, crossing over to sit on the hammock, as if that was something that he was entitled to after taking care of the engine himself. "Kaylee doing alright down there?"
"Oh, yeah, I think so," I said, smiling. "We had an interesting talk, about Guild companions and their secret lovers..."
"Oh, Hun Dan, she's close to figuring it out," Mal muttered.
"Maybe, but I actually think that she won't blab if so," I insisted. "And, well... the talk turned to chemistry, and *really* good sex."
"Yes." I reached out to take his hand. "Come on. It's been a long day, and I don't think anyone will miss you for a while."
Mal rose to his feet and grinned. "That sounds like a truly excellent idea."
I fought the urge to stop touching him or even look around for other members of the crew as we stepped out of the engine room. But I have to admit that I was listening for footsteps.
I knocked on the door of the Infirmary, even though it wasn't open. "Hey, Zoe, is that you?" a familiar voice called from inside.
"Yeah, hi Kaylee," I said, stepping inside. Our talented mechanic was still stretched out on the bed-table back first, so that explained why she hadn't been able to tell it was me from looking. "Simon said that you wanted to talk with me about something specific?"
"Oh, like you wouldn't have come to see me if it weren't for anything specific," she teased me back. "Not just for the sake of keeping me company? That's pretty unspecific I think. I see how it is."
"It's not like that, quite," I said, pulling up the chair. "I can hang around for a while, but there are chores to be taken care of, and Mal's nowhere that I can find him."
Kaylee giggled. "And is Inara anywhere to be found?"
"Hmm... in her shuttle, I would expect. Gets touchy about anyone going in there without permission, still."
"Yeah. So - you doing fine? Simon said that he checked you out, but..."
"A little tired and throbbing of the head, but that's not too bad. And yourself?"
"Feeling great, except for itchy and restless inside this contraption." She lifted and flexed a leg, carefully but deliberately, so as not to jostle her torso, but moving it as much as she could given the restraints. "Thank you for coming out to fetch me, by the way."
"All part of my job. I'd have done the same for any crew or passenger," I said gruffly. "But if it had been Jayne, or Mal, I'd never have let 'em live it down. You're okay on that basis I think."
"Well, good to know!" Kaylee made a weak attempt at a giggle, which actually made her sound very sick just for a moment, but I didn't read much into it. "Okay, I guess that we've got to the specific part now. I s... I want to have a wake for Wash, and -- and thought I should ask if it was okay with you, and how much you'd like to be involved."
"A wake?" For a moment I was surprised enough that I couldn't even mentally connect the word with the concept. And then, I wondered why I hadn't thought of it myself. Perhaps I hadn't been ready enough to see how well it fit, to put that four-letter name to the thing that I knew was missing and explain it to the rest of the ship's company. "And just how did you think of that one, Kay Frye?"
"It came to me in a dream," she told me flippantly. I ignored that, except for wondering if Simon had her on any painkillers. Wouldn't have thought she'd need any. "Can I assume that you're okay with the idea?"
"Well, we definitely do have to have something like that for him," I agreed. "Whether you call it a goodbye party or a watching vigil, or... well, whatever, doesn't matter so much. Do - do you think it's something that we should put together soon? It's overdue, I suppose, but we aren't exactly in a great situation to make preparations..."
"Yes, we *have* to do it before we arrive on Hera," Kaylee insisted. "He'd love the idea of having his wake on the ship, while we were in the middle of a flight like this, wouldn't he?" I had to grunt a grudging agreement to that much. "And it's not like you really need that much in the way of party supplies for something like this - I mean, back home we didn't, and I'm not sure what traditions you'd want to include, but..."
"I guess you're right," I admitted. "We're fairly well stocked on liquor, I think, and that might be the only truly required supply."
"I, um, I guess maybe so," she agreed. "Anything I can do to help?"
"If there's something you can do lying there... well, I'll be sure to tell you," I replied. "Failing that... come see me when your boy cuts you loose. That'll be in the morning, ship's time, yeah?"
"Yup. Just hope I can actually get some sleep."
I wondered if Simon didn't have a drug that would help her rest, but decided not to bring that up. It had been a while since he'd had much of a chance to replenish his doctor's bag, after all, and lots of need for it lately. Except... what about Boros? Kaylee had mentioned that Simon had sold out a cache of some sort and let her use the money to buy supplies and tools for the ship - wouldn't he have done the same in his own specialty? "Yeah, me too," I said, not quite sure why. "I could turn the light off."
"Sure, give that a try." With the main bulbs off, the infirmary was still illuminated by some of the monitors and controls, and light passing through the observation window, but Kaylee assured me that was better than lying there in full darkness.
I headed off towards my own bunk, trying to sort out what I'd need to organize for the wake.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Saturday, June 27, 2009 12:04 PM
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