BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - SUSPENSE

SHINY

Orphaned Soul, Part 12
Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Inara and Shephard Book try to help a troubled girl who has lost her brother, and perhaps her mind.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 3006    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Read: Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8 - Part 9 - Part 10 - Part 11

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"It's been making that gorram racket for days – can't you do something about it?"

Guarding an auxiliary engineering bay wasn’t the sort of duty that officers usually volunteered for, but Lieutenant Calis enjoyed the peace and quiet of his remote post. Until recently, that is.

"Why do you think I'm here, Lieutenant? Hand me those tools, will ya?"

Calis considered telling the technician to lug his own toolbox, but it had taken five service request escalations to get him here in the first place, and he didn’t want the repairs to take any longer than necessary. Besides, the tech had apparently located the source of the problem and his entire upper body was now buried within the depths of the port exhaust regulator. Grunting, Lieutenant Calis set down his rifle and took hold of the heavy toolbox.

***

Book had scarcely caught up to the women when River urgently motioned him down. They were crouched behind a stack of large crates near the entrance to an engineering station. He could barely hear himself think with the relentless cacophony of clanking and rattling sounds streaming from the room.

“River, what –”

“Wait here,” River whispered as she clamored over the top of the crates.

Book crouched down next to Inara to ask her what they were doing here, but he had scarcely attracted the companion’s attention when River returned – with a rifle slung over her shoulder. Still perched atop her crate, she lowered the weapon to Book.

"Disengage the safety," she ordered.

Book hesitated, but for better or worse, it was clear that River was in charge of this escape. He flipped off the safety and shouldered the firearm, noting with distaste its familiar heft.

River rolled her eyes and reached out impatiently. "It's not for you."

Puzzled, the shepherd handed the rifle back up to River, who slipped away once more.

Book glanced at Inara. His apprehension was not eased by the companion’s worried expression. This was not what she had expected, either. The girl had suffered some terrible abuses; perhaps it would be best if –

Book’s thoughts were interrupted as River scrambled back over the crates and leapt down into the surprised shepherd’s arms. As he set her down, River took both of their hands in hers and pulled them away. Flanked by the shepherd and companion, River skipped happily back down the corridor.

***

"Yeah, the regulator's stripped alright." The engineer spat. "Six Gurstlers crammed under every cooling drive, and they wonder why these exhaust bypass systems keep breaking down." He climbed back down, retrieving his toolbox from the Lieutenant. At least he had ratcheted the noise down to a muffled hum.

"Make sure no one touches this. I've got to go get a replacement sleeve before this valve disintegrates."

Lieutenant Calis nodded. Although he outranked the tech, the Lieutenant knew better than to get on a tech’s bad side – they were a touchy bunch, and just one corrupted performance database could blow his chances of ever making it to the bridge.

He picked up his rifle and leaned against the wall, stifling a yawn. Pulling off his helmet, he mopped the sweat off his brow with a semi-clean sleeve. The room seemed to be getting warmer, and the constant humming wasn't helping any…

Slapping the helmet back on his head, Calis cursed himself. How was he ever going to pass the bridge officer tests if he couldn’t even stay alert in a slightly warm room? He could just see it now – caught sleeping on duty…busted down to latrine duty…Tanner and Stern would probably have his humiliation broadcast across the Cortex within hours…

He had such ambition when he first signed on as a recruit. But years of mind-numbing routine interrupted only by occasional political intrigue or the public flogging of some poor scapegoat had drained him of whatever enthusiasm he once held for alliance service...

Jules had liked his optimism though…he wondered what had happened to the raven-haired ensign. He had really taken to her; she had been quite a free-spirited –

"SECURITY ALERT! PRISONER ESCAPE ON DECK SIXTEEN!"

Startled, Lieutenant Calis reflexively tightened his fingers around the grip of his weapon. The sonic rifle discharged, the recoil slamming him bodily into the wall.

Biting off a curse, the Lieutenant pushed himself upright and rubbed the back of his head. He surreptitiously scanned the room to make sure no one had seen. He’d never live it down if the guys heard about this. Finally satisfied that he was alone, he reached down to recover his helmet. He found it laying upside-down just a few feet away.

Right next to what was left of the faulty regulator valve.

Lieutenant Calis looked up.

"Ta Ma De."

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Continue to Part 13

COMMENTS

Wednesday, February 9, 2005 4:57 AM

KENAN82


Thanks Shiny, This installment has pretty much described the last week or so! I really like the pace of your entries... Keep it up and you'll have a herd o' groupies clamoring at the airlock!

Wednesday, February 9, 2005 11:29 AM

SOULOFSERENITY


Okay, River is way to intuitive for her own good. Great chapter, Shiny.

- Soul


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