BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

M52NICKERSON

Firefly: After Miranda Part 3
Monday, July 11, 2011

The boys go shopping, the girls talk and Mal lines up a job.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 4619    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Parts 1 and 2 can be found here http://www.fireflyfans.net/bluesun.aspx?bid=23512

- 3 -

The Mule hovered smoothly over the worn path leading to the city. Jayne Cobb sat in the driver’s seat brow furrowed. The young doctor beside him had decided that Jayne must simply be concentrating on driving. He was wrong. Jayne Cobb was deep in thought.

For Jayne the thinking had started before Miranda, just after Shepherd Book left Serenity. Jayne missed Book. He missed having him to lift weights with, to talk to while preparing meals, and to help make between meal snacks. The Shepherd was the only member of the crew that had an appetite close to his. Book was the one Jayne turned to for advice. Book was the one that Jayne told the most about his life. That how Book had known he played the guitar, and why Book had bought him one as a gift. Jayne realize that Shepherd Book had become the closest friend he had ever had. Now, he was gone.

After Miranda Jayne’s thinking only increased. Not by his choice. He tried everything he could to stop it. He even tried to ignore it. Nothing worked. Every time he tried to rest his mind would start.

His big revelation came after an argument with Mal. Jayne had wanted to get back to taking jobs, so he could start getting paid again. Mal was not ready and asked him what the hell he needed money for? Jayne could not think of a reason. Yes, he wanted to send his mom some more money, but the truth was that he had sent them a large chunk of cash from the Lassiter job. The rest he spent rather stupidly, just as the rest of the crew did. That is why they needed that job on Lilac. Now with the ship well stocked and money from that job in pocket Jayne could not think of anything else he really wanted. He realized that he no longer wanted money; he wanted to stay on Serenity. He also realized that he wanted Serenity’s crew to like him as Book did, as family.

“Jayne…JAYNE,” Simon yelled.

“What, I was just thinkin’.” Jayne said as he realized that he had parked the mule and was just sitting there.

The city was not large by most standards, it was how ever large enough to have cobble stone streets, running water and shops where Jayne could find the things he was looking for. The buildings were brick and mortar structures two or three stories tall. Shops were easy to pick out with their large front windows and displays. The people about the streets were numerous enough to make the city seem busy, but not enough to feel crowded.

“Oh, I’m sorry I interrupted such a momentous event,” Simon mocked.

Jayne stood up and locked the Mule’s docking hook in place, “Your gorram right me thinkin’ is mountainous, brains as big as mine!”

Simon just shook his head as the two of them stepped down off the Mule. “I think I saw some shops back this way,” he pointed. “Do you have any idea what you want to buy everyone, Jayne?”

“Yah, I got some. Have a good idea what I want to get you and your sister. I don’t know if you will like it, but I think you two could use um,” Jayne said as the two men started down the dusty street.

“Gos-se,” Simon groaned.

**********

**********

For the first time in months she started to feel her muscles relax. The massage from the companion in training had started the process. That poor girl must have gotten a workout. Wash use to massage her back and shoulders while commenting on how it was like trying to soften steel cables with his bare hands. The following hair washing and sauna visited continued the process. She had never been one to indulge in this sort of way. Yes she enjoyed some spoiling, but never thought she find this level of pampering such a release.

“Getting use to this would be far too easy,” she stated sitting back in the large comfy chair, the warm salty water of the footbath pulsating around her feet.

The large corner room was dressed in marble and fine tile. Two of its wall where painted a rich deep green. The other walls where completely made up of large windows overlooking the surrounding landscape. The four large easy chairs in the center of the room faced each other. Serenity’s four women each sat in one of those plush chairs, their feet in small circulating footbaths. Each of them dresses in white cotton robes, towels around their heads drying their wet hair.

“Who wants to get use to it? Inara started, “Even this can become mundane.”

Zoe smiled, “Well can I at least see how long that takes?”

“I reckon I’ve never been this clean before,” Kaylee piped up. “Simon’s going to like it, I hope.”

“Oh, he will dear,” Inara smiled.

“Bet the Captain will to, I mean for you Nara. Now that you to are…” Kaylee beamed, hardly containing her happiness.

Zoe’s smile faded a little as she looked at Inara, “So, you and the Captain, when did this happen?”

“Nothing has happened yet. Mal, he just convinced me to stay is all.” Inara responded.

“But you two are together right? I mean you kissed him earlier, so what happened?” Kaylee inquired.

“He spoke the words and she heard them. Words from the heart, to the heart, and then back. Like beams of light cutting through the dark,” River said not bothering to open her eyes as she concentrated on each tiny bubble rolling over her feet.

“By words does she mean the Captain told you he loved you?” Kaylee’s asked her smile growing steadily wider.

Inara shyly smiled, “Yes, this morning, right after he insulted me.”

“Sounds like the Captain.” Zoe commented.

“Shiny, we all have been waiting for you two, to you know…” Kaylee finished with a wink.

“I’m sure we will get to that.”

“Hope so, it is not like the Captain is ugly, or you know, small.”

“Kaylee!” Zoe exclaimed.

“What, we all scene it, not like it’s a big secret,” Kaylee defended. “Well except for River.”

River smiled, eyes still shut, “I’ve seen.”

“Hé shí?” Zoe questioned.

River opened her eyes and looked at the others, “Same time as everyone else, was up on the catwalk.”

Kaylee leaned back with a mischievous smile on her face, “Well, Simon…”

“Eww!” River exclaimed, “It is gross enough hearing your thoughts about my brother, I don’t need to hear them out loud.

“No one needs to hear them out loud.” Zoe commented.

Kaylee frowned and leaned back in her chair, but was unable to maintain her silence for too long, “Zoe, when did you and the Captain first meet?”

Zoe smiled slightly, “Basic, we had both enlisted and ended up in the same unit.”

“So was Mal always….well Mal?” Inara asked.

Zoe’s smile seemed to fad slightly, “No. When we first met he wasn’t really that serious. He’d play pranks and tell jokes all the time. It wasn’t that he didn’t work hard, he’d always done that, he just seemed to want to make everyone smile.”

“The war changed him,” Kaylee added.

“The war changed us all,” Zoe continued, “it was during one of our first real patrols after basic. All of us except our Lieutenant and Sergeant where buck privates, we where to recon a fed base. The Captain was in front, on point, as we made our way through the woods. We where almost to the area around the base when our Sergeant stepped on a bouncing-betty, it’s a mine that actually shoots out of the ground before it explodes. The Serg was dead instantly. The Lieutenant was a good bit behind but still caught a bunch of shrapnel. He bled out before we could do anything. Most of the others started arguing about what we should do. The Captain just stood there looking at the remains. Somehow he had stepped over the mine and not triggered it. I think he blamed himself for that, felt as if he should be the one lying there. Sometimes I think he still does. Finally he looked up at me and told me to round everyone up; we were going to finish the mission. No one questioned him. We finished the mission, recovered the bodies, and made it back to base without incident.”

“Did you ever ask him why he looked to you,” Kaylee asked.

Zoe smiled, “Later on, he said I was the only one he was scared of.”

**********

**********

Mal stood on the small veranda overlooking the Training House’s landing pad, and Serenity. It was rare for him to get this view of his ship for so long. The quick glimpses he would get while on the shuttles could not match this. He smiled happy that for once the ship was in reasonably good repair, full of fuel, food, and his crew. “His crew” he thought to himself. They were more than that, they were his family. The only family he had at this point.

“I’m sorry to keep you waiting Captain Reynolds.” Sheydra announced as she entered the veranda. She was carrying a silver small tea set which she sat on the small table between the two waiting chairs. “Would you like some tea?”

“Yes please,” Mal responded taking his seat.

“Inara is a very special woman, wouldn’t you say Captain?” asked as she poured him some tea.

“Thet she is.” Mal responded while wondering where Sheydra was going with this. Mal and Inara had not even talked about anything, yet. They had kissed and held each other. Then Inara had kissed him on the lading platform in front of everyone. That was the not the best move he thought. Then again what did it matter? It was not like he was embarrassed of her. If anything it would be the other way around. He wasn’t worried about what the crew thought…save one.

“She is taking somewhat of a risk being with you Captain.” Sheydra continued as she finished pouring the tea, “especially being so open about it.”

“Now what makes you think we’re together?”

“Please, she did not kiss you as a friend. It did not take Companion training to see that. With your reputation and line of work the Guild could demands she ends her relationship with you. Or they could just strip her of standing and shun her.” Sheydra finished and sipped her tea obviously waiting for a reply from Mal.

To this point Mal had been very polite in his tone. That tone was dropped as he stated, “I reckon mine and Inara’s relationship is no one else’s business. I’m also thinking that Inara knows better than anyone what risks are involved. Now if this is the business you wanted to discuss, I think we’re done.”

“No, that is not the business I wanted to discuss Captain,” Sheydra said a bit taken aback. “I just wanted you to know what she is risking.”

Mal forced himself to relax a bit as he took a sip of tea. “Okay then, what type of business are we talking about?”

Sheydra took the final sip of her tea and started. “On Whitefall’s southern most continent there is an orphanage. For many years it was run by a very kind husband and wife. Recently that changed. Unfortunately they passed away, they where both in their elder years. The orphanage was taken over by the local pastor and his brood. They are zealots, fundamentalists that care more for saving the children’s souls then the children themselves.”

“I know the type,” Mal interrupted, “had a group of them try and set my doctor and my witch ablaze once.”

Sheydra gave him a confused look but continued, “The children as being forced to work almost all day. Little is given to them in the way of food or clean clothing. The worst part is that the zealots will not adopt any of the children to people they feel are unbelievers. Nor will they allow the Guild to take some of the older children in to give them an education.”

“An education,” Mal questioned, “what kind of education?”

“Math, science, literature, we would not teach them how to be companions unless they chose it. Some would. Others might choose to remain as employees of the Guild. The ones that want to move on, we help as much as we can.”

“You mean by shunning them if they leave the Guild,” Mal stated.

Sheydra tried to figure who he was talking about, “The Guild only shuns those who leave in bad standing.”

Mal decided it might be best to shift the conversation back to the business at hand, “So...you want me and my crew to kidnap orphans and bring them to here?”

“I would say rescue, Captain, but yes. I also want it made so that the orphanage can’t take any more children.”

Mal sat and thought for a few minutes. “We’ll take a look-see, if kids are as bad off as you say...well, we’ll see what we can do.”

“What will you require for payment, Captain?” Sheydra asked with a smile, happy that he had agreed.

“That depends, is it you or the Guild asking?”

“I am, Captain Reynolds, the Guild would frown on this type of thing. From the stories I’ve heard I did not think that would be a problem. ”

Mal’s eyebrows rose, “What stories would those be?”

COMMENTS

Monday, July 11, 2011 5:22 PM

NUTLUCK


I liked this chapter more than the first two. I think you are doing better. I especially liked the "girl talk" scene.

Thursday, July 14, 2011 4:43 AM

BYTEMITE


I actually thought the girl talk scene was rather superfluous. I use a little rule of thumb: if I put something in a story, then in some way or another I want it to advance my characterization or plot.

And while I can imagine the girls of Serenity sitting around a day spa getting pampered (because they have before, see Better Days), I can't imagine them talking about the guys like this. I mean, some of them are coworkers, you know? Would it be at all appropriate to have a scene where the guys are sitting around talking this way about the women? Wash DID tend to go into too much detail about Zoe, but none of the guys except Jayne would've talked like that about the other women. And Mal, Book, and Simon would have punched him for it. Why is that?

So, I'd take that scene out.

The other two scenes were fine.

Thursday, July 14, 2011 5:47 AM

PLATONIST


Agree with B. on the girl talk, doesn't sound like these ladies; it's too specific in comparing male parts of their men. I'd rework that part.

Also, it's "massage" not "message"

The conversation between Mal and Sheydra was well done, though.

I'd read more.

Thursday, July 14, 2011 5:02 PM

M52NICKERSON


Thanks for the feedback. I corrected the "massage" error.

I am going to defend the "girl talk" part a little. While it is not needed, it is a fun little scene. I don't believe every bit of a work has to advance the story or other elements. Not all the girls are being inappropriate, mainly it is Kaylee. The others are just responding to her.

Bytemite it would be just as appropriate, or inappropriate in this case, for the guys as it was for the girls.

Why would Mal or Simon punch Jayne? Simple, those are their characters. The difference is that it is Kalyee being inappropriate, not Jayne. The relationships are different.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 12:20 PM

BYTEMITE


You're kind of missing my point. It is VERY NOT okay for Kaylee to be talking about this, just as it would be very not okay for Jayne to be taking about this. Kaylee isn't given a free pass because she's a girl, or because she's Kaylee.

Maybe the other girls are just responding (though it seems to me like they're participating), but even if Kaylee is escalating the conversation beyond the bounds of good taste, it's STILL not okay. It's not at all respectful to the male characters, either in their conversation or in writing, as the author.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 12:25 PM

BYTEMITE


But it's also not JUST Kaylee, as River joins in supplying information on her own about Jayne without being asked, and Inara is also being pretty inappropriate.

I'd actually probably call most of this OOC. Sure, Kaylee's an earthly sort, she's even made inappropriate comments about her "needs" before, but this is beyond even that. River okay, I can understand her responding to this because she simply doesn't know any better, but Inara believes in keeping things like this confidential, so in the very least Inara is very out of character. And I would argue that this whole conversation simply wouldn't happen anyway.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 3:26 PM

BYTEMITE


Sorry, I don't mean to be so hard on you. If you like it, then that's your choice as an author. And it's your take on the characters too.

Friday, July 22, 2011 2:46 AM

M52NICKERSON


You don’t have to apologize. I want criticism, even the hard kind.

I did not want to imply that it is okay for Kaylee to be inappropriate, it is not. The others respond to her doing that in a different way then they do Jayne or anyone else. Just because it is not respectful and not right for Kaylee or any other characters to act like that in terms of common decency I disagree that it is not right for the author to write such actions.

Real people are disrespectful and crude. If you are trying to make fictional characters believable they will sometime act in those ways also.

All that being said I am thinking of rewriting that section.

…but again, you don’t owe me an apology.

Sunday, November 6, 2011 7:58 AM

M52NICKERSON


Update 11-06-2011

Corrections and a bit of a rewrite.

...including the girl talk scene.

Thursday, August 30, 2012 5:40 AM

BYTEMITE


I started reading your stories again, trying to remember something, then remembered you mentioned you had changed this chapter.

You retained the humour by making it clear that Kaylee was being inappropriate, without taking the story itself into territory about comparing all the men. I liked Zoe's line. I also think that maybe River only acts interested in Simon's private life just to weird him out, so I also think River's anti-brother reaction works, though I acknowledge there might be different interpretations on that.


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