Here Comes The Rain (Part 1/8)
Friday, December 30, 2011

The crew is forced to make an emergency landing on a border moon with some rather interesting weather conditions.


A/N: This story follows "Lessons" and takes place about two-three weeks later.


Serenity was airborne again, and even though he didn't exactly show it by clapping his hands and bouncing around, Captain Mal Reynolds was thrilled. The sixteen days they'd spent on Boros was the longest consecutive time he'd been in port in the last five years, and it was at least thirteen days too long. The planet had never been Mal's favorite place in the 'verse, if he had such a thing. It was crawling with Alliance, and surprise visits from port control representatives and tax collectors were just a few of the many things there that made an honest crook's life a little more interesting than it had to be. But they'd arrived with empty tanks and no money, and sitting put waiting for the first job opportunity to come along had been their only choice.

The captain had spent most of those sixteen days on his toes, always looking over his shoulder, desperately longing for the sky. His crew, on the other hand, had been exploiting the down time for what it was worth. They'd lounged lazily in the sun outside the ship and gone sightseeing in the nearby docks and settlements; Kaylee had even gone to the market to sell the earrings and bracelets she and River sometimes made during the long hours onboard when there was nothing else to be done. The guys had all teased her for it, but when she came back with a decent amount of money the teasing abruptly stopped.

Mal had admonished his people more than once to stay out of trouble and they mostly had (maybe because Jayne with his broken leg had been a lot less mobile than usual), but he was still relieved when the Sanchez brothers finally approached him with a job (the same ol' drill: move some goods off-world, under the radar, don't ask questions). They'd been paid half the fee up front, which had enabled them to fill the tanks and resupply, and as soon as they possibly could they'd been on their way.

And here they were. Back in the Black. And he walked around the cargo bay enjoying the sight of all the crates taking up space.

Zoë suddenly poked her head around one of them and grinned at him. "You're smiling, sir," she stated. "That glad to have cargo?"

"Didn't know it showed," he said.

"It doesn't," she replied. "But I still see it."

He made no effort to hide his smile this time. "It's good to be in business."

Her eyes strayed to the piles of boxes and her face turned grave. "This is worth a hell lotta money," she said.

"That's why the pay's good," he retorted.

Her smile returned as she leaned casually against a crate. "There just ain't a win for us, is there? When we don't have cargo we worry 'cause we're not makin' coin, when we do have cargo we still worry, 'cause we can't stop thinkin' 'bout the risks that comes with carryin' it."

"Well, I'll choose the latter anyday," Mal said. "Cheer up, the drop's only a couple a days away. What could possibly go wrong?"

"Sir, sometimes I worry 'bout the state of your short term memory." Still smiling she turned and headed for the stairs, and with a small chuckle he followed her.

They found most of the crew in the galley when they entered a few moments later. Book and Simon were by the stove cooking and chatting. Jayne was in the lounge area, settled into an armchair, his broken leg propped on the table, while he flipped through something that looked like a weapon's manual. Next to him were Kaylee and River, both girls deeply concentrated on decorating his cast with color markers. That was a sight Mal had to take a moment to really absorb. He stopped in front of them and tilted his head a little to the side to study the colorful drawings. "Shiny," he smiled.

Kaylee looked up at him with a grin, but River was lost in her own world or at least appeared to be. Jayne glanced up as well and saw what the captain had been commenting on.

"Oh, that." He shrugged. "They wanted to, so…" His eyes narrowed as he a little dubiously checked out the girls' work. "Jus' don't draw anythin' girlie, like flowers and butterflies or such."

"Approximately half of all butterflies are male," River said, obviously not so lost after all. "And so are half of the plants, except the transgendered plants which have no gender or, one could argue, have both. And as such there is nothing particularly feminine with neither butterflies nor flowers."

Jayne just glared at her. "Whatever," he grunted and went back to his reading (or his looking at pictures; Mal wasn't sure what).

The captain pulled out a chair and sat down at the table just as Wash joined them. "Course plotted and laid in," he happily declared as he came through the door and descended the little staircase. "ETA in forty hours."

"You shaved some time off," Mal realized. "Well done."

"Thank you," Wash replied. He received a kiss from his wife as he passed by her, and then went to the lounge to admire the piece of art being produced there. "Shiny," was also his opinion.

Mal gratefully accepted the cup of coffee Zoë handed him. He truly enjoyed the atmosphere surrounding him at this point. His crew seemed well relaxed and, just like him, content and happy to be on the boat. Forty hours or four hundred – after all it didn't matter when you were home.

"Who's on septic vac duty this week?" Zoë asked. "'Cause the toilets need lookin' after. They stink."

"They always stink," Simon pointed out, but not really in an accusing way.

"They do?" Wash said. "Huh, guess I've stopped noticing." He frowned. "Now, that can't be a good thing."

"Well, it's Jayne's week," Mal replied with a sideways glance at his hired muscle sitting in the lounge. "But…"

Jayne looked up. "Hah! 'Bout time I got sumthin' good outta this gorram leg."

Mal ignored him. "Kaylee, you do it."

Kaylee made a face, but didn't voice any complaints. "Sure, Cap."

"That's my girl. I'll have Jayne do your chores once he's healed up."

"Hey!" Jayne exclaimed.

Again Mal ignored him. "And when will that be, Doc?" he asked Simon.

"The cast can come off in two weeks or so," the doctor replied from over at the kitchen counter, where he was portioning the food out on the plates. "And then some rehabilitation and therapy to rebuild the muscles and regain the flexibility… Maybe a month all together?"

Jayne frowned and glared at his leg for a moment. "Sure we can't take it off a little early?"

"Not unless you want to walk with a limp for the rest of your life."

Being Jayne, the mercenary seemed to actually consider if it would still be worth it.

"Forget it," Mal told him.

And then the power died.

The lights flickered and went dark, and the sound of the engine – the low hum nobody ever noticed until it was gone – disappeared. It only lasted for a few seconds and then it came back on.

"Oh hell no!" Mal yelled, remembering all too vividly the things that occurred the last time this had happened.

Kaylee had already jumped to her feet. "I'll go check." But she paused for a few seconds in the doorway, making sure no ball of fire was hurled at her this time. When nothing happened, she went on her way.

"Check out the bridge," Mal told Wash before he followed her.

Zoë also came along. "You jinxed it," she said.

"What?" Mal asked.

"'What could possibly go wrong?'"

"Oh come on!" he said as they entered the engine room where Kaylee was already down on all fours looking for whatever was wrong. "Look, engine's still turnin', we ain't driftin' this time."

Just then a loud clunking sound emitted from the engine, and as it spat out a huge cloud of smoke it died once again, causing Mal to exclaim, "I have got to learn when to keep my mouth shut!"

All was dark and silent for a second and then the lights went back on as the emergency power kicked in.

"What goin' on?" Jayne yelled from the kitchen.

"Kaylee?" Mal said.

"I'm on it!" she replied as she frantically kept working.

Realizing he was of no use to her, Mal decided to give her some space. "Just get it back on," he said before he and Zoë headed back to the galley. Book and Simon were waiting in the doorway with worried looks on their faces, but it was Jayne who spoke first.

"So, are we gonna die or what?"

"All that is born must perish," River calmly told him.

"Oh shut up!"

Wash returned from the bridge. "Nothing out of the ordinary at this end," he reported. "But the engine stopped again."

"We noticed," Mal impatiently snarled, just as the well-known hum suddenly started up again. "And now it's back on." He turned and shouted, "Well done, Kaylee!"

The mechanic returned from the engine room. "Don't thank me just yet, Cap'n. I got it stared again but it ain't a permanent solution. One of the fuel conduits is busted. We have a leak."

Mal groaned. "Ta ma de! Can you fix it?"

"I think so. But we need to land." She knew he wouldn't like it, so she hesitated a little before adding, "Somewhere with a decent scrap yard, 'cause I need to replace a few parts."

Mal cursed again. "Don't like the idea of us landin' on a populated rock with this kinda cargo."

"We ain't got no choice, Cap. Right now we're wastin' two thirds of the fuel, and we won't be able to reach our destination like this."

Mal sighed. "I see. Wash…"

"I'll check out the neighborhood," Wash finished the sentence for him and headed back to towards the bridge. Book went with him.

"Sometimes I'm positively sure the 'verse is out to get me," Mal muttered to no one in particular. "And I love Serenity, but she really do disturb my calm once in a while."

"It's not her fault she's old," River said. She seemed completely unfazed by all the commotion and just continued drawing on Jayne's cast.

Mal felt himself soften just a little. "Guess not."

Somehow Kaylee kept them going, but the occasional clang and smoke cloud still emitted from the engine room when he joined his pilot and the shepherd on the bridge ten minutes later. Wash saw him coming and pointed to the map on his console screen. "We figure Shahadeva is our best shot. Little backwater moon, a few thousand inhabitants only, no Alliance. Should suit our needs."

"What's the downside?" Mal gloomily asked, because there always was one and the expression on Wash's face did nothing to convince him otherwise.

"The weather forecast."

"The what?"

"Shahadeva, like many other worlds, has it's own little quirks," Book explained. "Apparently there was a glitch in the terraforming process that made the weather conditions a little interesting."

Mal's eyes narrowed. "Define 'interesting'."

"Looks like we're just in time for the monsoon season. Eight months of heavy rain."

"Eight months?"

"Followed by eight months of drought," Wash added. He pointed to the map again. "The main settlement's here on the northern continent."

Mal sighed. "I can tell you I already hate this place, but by all means, take us down." He turned and hurried back to the kitchen. "Okay, ladies and menfolk, best unpack your raincoats and umbrellas. We're goin' someplace wet."



Saturday, December 31, 2011 6:00 AM


Lovely start to the next story in the series, MarKomi. I especially love it that you have everyone in character so am looking forward to the rest. Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 2:02 PM


Mal really needs to learn to just keep his thoughts to himself! He jinxed them and bad! And I can't imagine they're gonna have fun on a planet that spends half it's year drenched in rain!


Fantastic start to another wonderful tale of our beloved BDHs, MarKomi!


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