STOLEN MOMENTS: 27. "No Rules"
Friday, June 3, 2005

"The Captain and womenfolk try to work on a plan of escape without giving the game away. Meanwhile Zoe has plans of her own."



SUMMARY: "The Captain and womenfolk try to work on a plan of escape without giving the game away. Meanwhile Zoe has plans of her own." The usual disclaimers apply. The characters and 'Firefly' are the property and gift of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No infringement of copyright is intended.


A "Firefly" story

Written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * * *

It should have been relatively easy. After all there were more of them than him and they knew the house and grounds inside out. The problem was that in addition to being vain, spoilt and privileged Atherton Wing was also paranoid. About everything, especially his current prize possession. Might be a bordello but right now it was pretty much an airtight one. Only folks going in or out were Atherton's men. It made the sneaking out at night plan somewhat less than a sure thing. Annie's face fell, the women looking a whole lot less confident than they had when the plan had first been mooted. Oddly enough the only safe place for any of them was in the Captain's room. With all the soft furnishings and such, couldn't exactly call it a cell but in effect that was what it was. Carla sat on the bed next to the fitfully sleeping Captain. She trailed a light hand down his arm in a soothing gesture. Evie sat the other side of him and brushed the hair from Mal's face. She was frowning. "What do you suppose he's dreamin' about?"

Carla snorted. "Way he's tossin' an' turnin'? More like a nightmare."

That hushed them for a few moments, the girls feeling even more depressed. Anna looked from face to face before speaking in her slow and deliberate fashion. "This ain't gonna happen, is it?"

"What ain't gonna happen?"

Five startled pairs of eyes looked down at the bed and found themselves staring into Malcolm Reynolds soul-deep eyes. He looked as if he had been running a marathon, which in a manner of speaking was too rutting accurate for words. They helped him sit up, a sigh of frustration tumbling out of his lips as they got him settled. Naked as the day he was born but more comfortable with it than most men would have been. Carla looked him straight in the eye. "We're thinkin' of gettin' outta here."

His voice was deceptively mild, honey warm with amusement. "Now why in *diyu* would you wanna do that?" He let his eyes travel slowly around the room before coming back to settle on their faces. "Comfortable place such as this is, wouldn't expect any of you would want to go roughin' it away from such fancies."

"Yeah, well life isn't so shiny once you been here a while." Said Evie.

The Captain nodded slightly, still having dizzy bouts and trying not to trigger another one. He needed his wits about him. Some clothes also would not go amiss. "Was thinkin' that my own self but why would you risk leavin' everythin' you've worked for?"

The women arranged themselves on his bed, any surprise he felt at their casual acceptance of him buried deep where it would not be a distraction. He suffered the warm touches of their hands and the occasional light kiss, sensing they were not just trying to reassure him but also themselves. Now wasn't that odd? How in the good gorram did he know that? And why was he getting so he could tell what was about to pop out of their mouths before they did? He wanted to shake his head but forebore. Wouldn't learn nothing if he passed out.

"Being kept by Atherton ain't as shiny as you'd think." Said the little one who rarely spoke. What was her name? Emma or something, that was it. Pretty little thing but too pale for a healthsome constitution. Her pale face made him think of River and a shard of sorrow touched him deep.

Seeing the change in his expression Carla moved closer and trailed a wondering hand down his face. He shivered slightly and not with the cold neither. "*Shenme shi*?"

"*Mei shi*." She didn't believe him but didn't want to upset him either. Strange how he knew the fashion of her thoughts almost like they were his own. A coldness struck him. Knowledge percolating through his brain that wasn't his. He tried to change the subject. "Why am I so gorram weak?"

The women exchanged looks. Understanding hit him swift and he scowled before he could mask his reaction.

"You drugged me?"

Flushing Emma dipped her head to avoid eye contact. Evie looked away. Anna gritted her teeth but it was Carla who looked him in the eye and nodded. No shame just regret. Oceans of it if he was any judge. "*Qu*. Atherton had it administered."

That made sense. Such deviousness did not seem something that would set well with the women of this house. Not that they were above such things, just wasn't natural to them. "How'd he get it in me? Injection?"

Anna shook her head. "The water." He paled. Rutting hell, now he wouldn't be able to trust anything they handed him to eat or drink. *Wode ma* he had to get out of here. A thought struck him. "I'm thinkin' none of you are any happier being kept by Atherton Wing than I am?"

"You have to understand Mal," Said Carla, her golden hair cradling her face in soft waves as it fell to her bare shoulders. Green eyes watching him, wanting him to understand without pity. "It wasn't always that way. This is what we do an' it's honest work. Atherton was always the gentlemen, had a temper as many do but by an' large he kept his fists an' anger away from the girls. Then somethin' happened an' more of his temper kept showin'."

"An' fists?" Asked Mal quietly.

She nodded. "Among other things." Carla did not elaborate but he noticed the others shudder a little and look away. Images popped into his head and he felt his own anger building in a slow burn. Carla blinked at the change in the Captain's expression but pressed on. "We wouldn't be thinkin' of this for ourselves, Mal, but the young uns don't deserve to grow up this way."

"Young uns?"

"Some of us got kids, by-blows. Some of 'em by Atherton, some by his hangers on an' such. Hard to judge the paternity when they run us hot. This is the quietest spell we've had in months - 'til you came."

"Mayhap we can make it quieter yet." Said the Captain.

A hand ran down his chest as Evie leaned towards him, her eyes glinting with mischief and more than a mock promise. "Doesn't have to be that way."

Carla tapped her hand and Evie scowled at her then smiled at the Captain. Man was pretty *shuai* and she knew all his most intimate spots. "Evie, take your mind outta the gutter."

Pouting Evie fell into line but her eyes kept straying to the Captain when she thought the others weren't watching. Carla gave Mal a considering look. "You got a plan?"

He almost smiled. "Not yet but gettin' out is the first priority an' if any of you are wantin' off this warped merry-go-round you can come too."

It was what they wanted but there was some reluctance to simply agree. The Captain began to frown then realised why.

"That offer stands for the children too. Not nobody gonna be left behind less'n they wanna be, *dong ma*?"

Emma looked towards the window as if distracted. "Atherton's comin'!"

With a nod Carla turned a sweet smile on the Captain, easing him on to his back while the other girls got the hint and pulled the rest of the covers off him. "How're your actin' skills, Cap'n?"

"A little rusty but it's startin' to come back to me..."

"*Hao*." Murmured Carla then closed her warm mouth over his.

Hands ran through his hair, down his chest, bodies rubbing against his. Mouths, tongues, teeth all over him now as he shivered in Carla's mouth. Her tongue teasing his, her eyes holding his in a promise any man could read that still drew breath. Good gorram, they were like to wear him out. Something glittered in her eyes then the friction of moving bodies got him so hot and excited he could hardly process a single thought clearly. The moan was long, low and took forever to slide out of him, no part of him ignored. Body heated and tingling, his stomach muscles twitching, little shivers of want and need exciting him while they gently but firmly held him down then took him so far over the precipice he was aware of nothing else but pleasure so intense only his body's response functioned. Wherever his brain was it was not transmitting.

In the doorway Atherton Wing smiled. His face wreathed in oily satisfaction. The girls had intended to make it look good but not go too far. Atherton stayed until the pretense became reality then slunk away. There was something deeply satisfying about degrading a man like Malcolm Reynolds. What he didn't know and would probably never understand was that the only one who fit that description was himself.

* * * * *

Jayne listened to Zoe outline her plan. It was simple, straightforward and not a step removed from suicide. "Can't come at him like that. You know Badger's got plenty of muscle."

"Never said I was gonna knock on the door an' wait for an invite, Jayne."

"But you said..."

"I said we go in, get Badger, then *make* him tell us what happened to the Cap'n."

Shepherd Book nodded thoughtfully. "Jayne does have a point."

"If ya ain't gonna hit him direct what ya gonna do?" Asked Kaylee.

Before Zoe could answer River piped up. "Lie in wait. Ambush is always better than a frontal assault especially when the numbers don't match."

Zoe blinked. "Exactly."

No one but River could tell whether that was what Zoe had been about to say or not. Simon wished a dozen times a day that his oh-so-gifted sister could be normal like everyone else but there were also times when they all benefitted from her strange insights and creepy knowledge. He wondered if it were some kind of perversion that he was beginning to like her just the way she was. Looking back was all well and good but if you did that you would forever be tripping over your feet. Unable to see where you were going. River turned to look at him, a beautiful smile gracing her face and making his heart ache with brotherly love. The emotion so intense it crowded out everything else.

"Now you see me. Just a glimpse but it's real."

"I always see you, River." He said gently.

"The heart sees Simon but the eyes are often blind."

Then the moment was gone. Everyone was moving, Zoe snapping out orders while Wash anxiously fretted. He did not like the notion of them going to take on Badger but neither did he like the thought of doing nothing to find the Captain. Also, there would be no living with his beautiful but deadly wife if anything terminal happened to the man. Jayne walked briskly to his bunk and returned minutes later cradling Vera in his hands, a bandoleer of ammunition across his chest and various knives and guns loaded up and ready for whatever trouble they ran into along the way. Kaylee found it a comforting sight. Shepherd Book was armed with a rifle and a handgun. Calmly he propped the rifle against a crate and loaded the hand gun then did the same with the rifle.

Inara Serra looked at them with concern. Noting that Kaylee wanted to go too but that Simon was gently disabusing her of the notion. Their last outing to the Skyplex had taught the doctor that guns should be left to those who were competent to use them. Knowing his luck he would discharge his weapon and take out one of their own crew instead of Badger's men. It was a notion that haunted him from time to time. River thankfully made no move to arm herself. He was relieved and more than a little grateful. Distracted by Zoe's instructions he missed the look in his sister's eyes. Zoe wanted Wash to take off once they left the ship. Predictably Wash was more than unhappy with the idea.

"I'm not leavin' you down here with no way off planet, Zoe. Not gonna happen!"

"Wash," Zoe moved to stand right in front of him, her voice calm but softened from the command edge she used when giving orders. "If Badger is the one who set this up he knows exactly where Serenity is. We go after him, what's to stop his men commandeering the ship? Then where will we be? We have to be one step ahead of that little *tamade hundan*. *Fang xin*, I'll be taking a com unit so we can keep in touch."

"What if Badger don't know where the Cap'n is?"

"Well then," Said Zoe, tight lipped and in a voice cold as the grave. "Be a short conversation."

Behind her Jayne grinned as if already relishing the little King Pin's downfall. Zoe then looked at Inara.

"I'm thinkin' it wouldn't hurt if you could find out all you can about that graveyard Inara. Somethin' about this doesn't sit right an' I'm not just talkin' about the double cross, *dong ma*?"

Inara nodded. Shepherd Book gave Zoe a calculating look but held his tongue. He already had a notion of where she was going with this but didn't want to say anything if he was wrong. They had enough to worry about without adding to it. River smiled. "Time to go!"

With a nod of agreement Zoe led the way, Jayne and Book close behind her. In silence the others watched them leave, Wash delaying until the last moment before running up the stairs to the bridge to get Serenity airborn. Simon put an arm around Kaylee and River began to follow them to the commons area double backing once the two love birds became too engrossed in one another to notice. On the ground Zoe tested the coms then Wash yelled for Kaylee to get to the engine room. It was time to lift off. Hurrying to her shuttle, Inara battened down the spike of worry worming its' way towards her heart. He was alright, he had to be. After all, he was Malcolm Reynolds and everyone knew he was indestructible. Inara did not want to think about what it would mean the day they found out he wasn't.

As Serenity lifted off Zoe, Book and Jayne set off on the mission, already out of sight by the time the Firefly class transport cast its' large comforting shadow over the ground where she had been standing. Only one pair of eyes looked up and watched until the ship rose enough to speed up her ascent, disappearing shortly thereafter into the atmo. The pale faced girl smiled up at the ship, her home. Her lips moving as she whispered. "Time to go, daddy's waiting."

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*diyu* = hell *shenme shi* = what's the matter? *mei shi* = it doesn't matter *qu* = yes (lit. go) *wode ma* = mother of God *dong ma* understand *shuai* = handsome *hao* = good *tamade hundan* = fucking bastard *fang xin* = don't worry (lit. ease your heart)


Friday, June 3, 2005 3:36 AM


Imminent violence - fantastic.

Friday, June 3, 2005 7:00 AM


Good entry as per usual, but I gotta dumb question. When did Inara go back to Serentity. I scanned the last two chapters and I didn't see it. Lost in the woods, I need your help to find my way clear.


Friday, June 3, 2005 7:01 AM


As always very well written though I am a might curious how River manage to get off the ship with out being noticed. Not that I don't think she could with how sneaky she often is but still curious.

Saturday, June 4, 2005 11:54 AM


Phaedra, patience. All will become clear. As for how River managed to get off the ship without being noticed Nutluck, the girl isn't a genius for nothing. Keep flyin', Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, June 8, 2005 8:38 AM


Lovely on Simon and River, with Simon almost seeing the light. Liked that bit a lot.

But I've got to be worried about what Mal's debauchery is doing to River!! I mean, she's inside his head an' all ... Wait up! I see another Mal/River sex scene coming!


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His head still ached from the rutting probe but after the men had satisfied themselves that his story was true a thousand questions peppered the air like machine gun fire.

The vessel was shiny, sleek and black with nowhere near the bulk of an Alliance ship. Something about the way it moved through the Black was more than a little creepifying.

Personally she didn't care if Serenity was towed off to a junk yard and stripped into spare parts. She had promised the ship to Jer and his crew as a bonus but it looked like scavengers had beaten them to it.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: 2. "Counting Chickens"
The fact that her eyes were hard and sharp with intelligence kind of chilled him. Smart women always made him uneasy, it just weren't natural.

What in the nine hells were they so afraid of? Then he remembered Tracy. The body mailed to them by their old war buddy and all the trouble that had brought down on them.

If it was too gorram wet to hunt for rabbits what in the nine hells was his son really hunting? And was it something on four legs or two?

The man was in a terrible condition, his pulse weak, and for some reason he was soaking wet which did nothing to staunch the blood soaking through his clothing and seeping from the poorly tended wound where he had been shot.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 9. "All The King's Men"
The man sighed like the weight of the of the 'Verse was on his shoulders but unlike anyone else he looked like he could carry the weight.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 8. "All The King's Horses"
Without warning something came through the opening and rolled with a metallic clang across the ground before exploding.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 7. "Friend or Foe"
Then he found himself falling, the whole world silent as in slow motion the hordes of *diyu* came to swallow him up and everything disintegrated in fire, blood and pain.