Eagle (Part 5/7)
Friday, December 30, 2011

Bad turns to worse, and River shows off another of her many talents.


In the kitchen Mal was sitting at one end of the eating table together with Zoë and Wash, while Book was at the other reading… well, a book. Zoë was halfway through her report on last month's fuel expenses when they heard hurried steps on the stairs and Simon entered the room.

"Captain, we have a problem," he said.

Wash, who was balancing his chair on its hind legs, threw his arms up in the air. "The soundtrack of our lives!" he exclaimed.

The doctor ignored him. "Jayne's running a fever."

Even though Mal knew perfectly well what that meant, he – when the doctor failed to continue – still cocked an eyebrow and said, "Yes?"

"Which means there's an infection," Simon continued. Everybody's eyes were on him now; Book had put down his reading material and was paying closely attention to what was being said with a worried frown on his face. "Now, I cleaned the wound as best as I could, but it must have already entered his bloodstream. I…"

"Don't beat around the bush, Doctor," Mal said, a little impatiently but not unkindly. "You got something to say, you go ahead and say it."

"He needs antibiotics. Which we don't have."

Zoë cursed under her breath. Wash, definitively not smiling anymore, tipped his chair back on all fours.

Mal only stared at Simon. "I thought your infirmary was stocked!"

"It is… with basically anything else." There was a desperate look in the young man's eyes. "Look, I'm pumping him full of any antipyretics and immune boosters I've got my hands on, but…" He shook his head.

Silence fell upon them. Mal looked at his own hand resting on the table and slowly tapped his fingers against the wood. "So, without this medicine he'll die?" he eventually asked.

"He might die anyway," Simon replied truthfully. "We're talking sepsis here. As in…"

"Blood poisoning," Shepherd Book gloomily ended the sentence for him.

"But, yes, without it he doesn't stand a chance," Simon concluded. "He'll suffer multiple organ failure and die." He looked down at his feet for a minute. "If we'd found him sooner…"

"Hey, Doc, knock it off!" Mal firmly interrupted him. "Don't need them what ifs and if onlys. It'll do us no good." He straightened in his chair, back in captain mode. "We need solutions. Now, what's the name of this drug?"

Simon answered his question, but as with most medical jargon the name slipped from Mal's mind almost instantly. He would have to get it in writing.

"It's pretty common," the doctor told him. "Any place with a trained doctor will probably have it."

"Not more than they could use themselves, though," Book emphasized, eyeing Mal suspiciously.

Mal ignored him and turned to his first mate. "Zoë, get in touch with our contacts in this sector. See if anyone has this stuff or know where to get it."

She straightened. "We goin' on a heist, sir?"

Book got to his feet. "No, wait! You cannot think to steal this medicine from others. Now, don't get me wrong, I want to help Jayne, but taking it from people who might need it just as much I just don't feel right about."

Mal glared at him. "First of all, what you feel about it don't mean a gorram thing. Secondly," and now he was addressing them all, "I never said nothin' 'bout stealin'."

He looked back at Zoë, then at Simon and then at his hands. "We got some coin, thanks to that job we just pulled." He sighed heavily, hitting the table with his palms. "We're gonna buy it."

This seemed to please the good shepherd, as he kept his mouth shut and only nodded.

"Zoë?" Mal repeated.

"I'll ask around," she said and left for the bridge.

Mal sat back in his chair, sighing heavily. Apparently they hadn't hit rock bottom yet.

"This is decent of you, Captain," Simon said.

Mal only offered him a short glance. "Just do what you can."


This was wrong.

Kaylee was always beside herself with worry whenever somebody got injured, but this… this downright frightened her.

Twelve hours into their search, Zoë and Wash still hadn't had any luck tracking down the desperately needed medicine, the captain was stomping around the ship like an angry ox, and Jayne was getting sicker by the minute.

He was on the doctor's table, freezing one moment and sweating like a pig the next. Sometimes he would move his lips as if he was muttering to himself and his hands senselessly grab the air in search for something unseen. And Kaylee had a bowl of water and a rag, and she stayed with him, carefully mopping his face not knowing what else to do.

Shepherd Book was in the room with her, silently pacing the floor with his Bible in his hands. He'd sent Simon to bed for a few hours, worried that the doctor would otherwise collapse with exhaustion, and promised to watch over the patient in the meantime. Now and then his gaze would meet hers and he'd send her a reassuring smile she wanted so hard to believe in.

Jayne's eyes suddenly flashed open, then squinted a little against the light before they found Kaylee. She tried to smile. "Hey, Jayne, how you doin'?"

"Mama," he croaked.

"Uh, no," she said, hesitantly. "It's Kaylee."

He turned his face to look the other way. "Mama?"

"He's delirious," the shepherd quietly stated from the other side of the table. "Hallucinating."

"Mama?" Jayne called again.

"Your mama ain't here, sweetie," Kaylee said. She tried to make her voice soothing, but it only came out sounding awfully sad.

"They took her?" he asked worriedly, his breathing becoming increasingly faster.

"No, no, that's not what I meant."

"Mama!" He tried to sit up and almost succeeded. Book hurriedly placed his Bible on the counter, grabbed the sick man's shoulders and tried to ease him back down.

"Take it easy, boy."

Jayne didn't listen to him, or maybe he couldn't hear him. He frantically tugged at the tubes and wires attached to his body, and the preacher let go of his shoulders and grabbed his hands instead to try and stop him. "Jayne, listen to me, you're dreaming."

Jayne continued to fight him, surprisingly strong even in this weakened state. "The gate… forgot… dogs… they'll come… need to…," he groaned.

"For Heaven's sake, Jayne, lie still, you're only gonna hurt youself," the shepherd said. "Kaylee, go wake the doctor, we might have to dope him."

Kaylee didn't move.

This was wrong.

Jayne rambling like River.

Jayne – big, strong Jayne; irritating, annoying Jayne; Jayne who would tease her and thump her over the head like a surrogate big brother; and on occasion, sweet, sweet Jayne who would watch her from across the room in a bar, making sure that none of the local miscreants tried to take advantage of her – crying for his mama.

She couldn't help it. Tears welled up in her eyes and she started crying.

And then River was suddenly there. None of them had noticed her arrival, but like a ghost she had appeared next to Book, and she watched Jayne with a curious expression on her face, as if he fascinated her in some way.

"Oh, River, this might not be the best time to…," the shepherd began, but she just stepped in between him and the bed, sort of nudging him away, and leaned over Jayne, placing her small hand on his brow.

"Ssh," she shushed. "It's alright, sweetheart."

Kaylee stared at her. She'd changed her accent, just like that time with Badger, but a different one this time. Now she sounded like the farmers out on the border planets. Kind of like Jayne, actually.

He relaxed almost instantly. "Mama?"

"Yes, I'm right here," River said. "Now, everything's gonna be fine, darlin'. Don't you worry none."

"Forgot to close the gate. I'm sorry. The wild dogs…" There were still hints of panic in his voice.

"Dogs won't come until nightfall, baby, you know that. I've sent Jo to close the gate. Stop frettin'."

He closed his eyes and breathed heavily for a moment or two. "Ma, I don't feel so good," he slurred.

"I know, Jaynie. Just go to sleep now. You'll feel better in the mornin'. I'll stay with ya."

He mumbled something inaudible. She laid her head down on the table next to his, calmly breathing into his ear, until all the tension finally left his body and he slipped back into a deep sleep.

And then her eyes lost all focus and that dreamy stare returned and she was River once again. She abruptly straightened and headed for the door, as if she suddenly remembered that she was supposed to be somewhere else, but halfway across the floor she stopped and gazed at Book.

"Don't care much for the monsters in his head," she said, her voice flat and definitely her own. "They scare me."

She continued out of the room, leaving the other two to just stare after her before they looked at each other, both shocked by what they had just witnessed.

"Well, at least he's calm now," Book said and absentmindedly picked up his Bible to continue his silent prayers.

But Kaylee couldn't help but shudder a little. Despite everything, some things about River were just downright creepy.




Friday, December 30, 2011 6:20 AM


Loved River knowing exactly what to say to calm Jayne down, just hope they find someone with antibiotics soon. Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Saturday, January 7, 2012 4:20 PM


Jayne's going from bad to worse. He really needs that medicine and I sure hope they can get their hands on it soon. Glad River knew what to do to soothe him.

Saturday, January 28, 2012 2:26 PM


The end of that scene was amazing.

Rob O.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 9:45 AM


Awww crap...Jayne's an ox of a man, but sepsis is extremely dangerous and even if they get the antibiotics immediately after this scene, how much damage will have been done to Jayne?


Powerful work here, Markoni! Especially River's channelling of Radiant Cobb (or at least memories of Mrs. Cobb from Jayne's frazzled mind ;D), since it solved multiple problems at once (keeping Jayne calm and letting Simon rest)!


You must log in to post comments.



Angels We Have Heard (Part 5/5)
Mal teams up with Simon to search for some hidden crates on the ice planet of St. Albans. They find something else instead.

Angels We Have Heard (Part 4/5)
Mal teams up with Simon to search for some hidden crates on the ice planet of St. Albans. They find something else instead.

Angels We Have Heard (Part 3/5)
Mal teams up with Simon to search for some hidden crates on the ice planet of St. Albans. They find something else instead.

Angels We Have Heard (Part 2/5)
Christmas special. Mal teams up with Simon to search for some hidden crates on the ice planet of St. Albans. They find something else instead.

Angels We Have Heard (Part 1/5)
Christmas special. Mal teams up with Simon to search for some hidden crates on the ice planet of St. Albans. They find something else instead.

The Night Before (revised and reposted)
It's the night before Christmas and Jayne is having spiritual problems. Literally.

Book of Secrets (Part 8)
Mal drew a deep breath and exhaled slowly, closing his eyes for a moment. "Gorram preacher," he muttered.

Book of Secrets (Part 7)
Kaylee comes clean and River goes for a swim.

Book of Secrets (Part 6)
The captain dances, Inara's feeling out the new girl and the first secret is revealed.

Book of Secrets (Part 5)
Zoë and Inara have a heart-to-heart, and Mal discovers more shades of grey.