Sign Up | Log In
BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1391 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Disclaimer: None of these characters belong to me. Firefly is the property of Joss Whedon, Fox, and Universal. Farscape belongs to Jim Henson Company, the Sci Fi Channel, and Hallmark Enterntainment. This is not done for profit, merely fun. Suing me will only result in lots of stress for me and no money for you.
Chapter Four: First Impressions
Mal hated to formulate a plan without actually meeting Patience's turncoat. Instead, he had to rely on Jayne's impressions, of all people, and carry out the new plan without ever laying eyes on him. Surprisingly, everything went smooth and it seemed like Serenity would score some free parts out of the deal.
As he steps off the ship, Mal doesn't know quite what to think as he listens to Jayne's introductions. John Crichton Car, Wash was more than happy to fill him in on the significance of that name. Still, it felt contrived that this guy managed to get stuck in the middle of nowhere on Whitefall. And his clothes…Leather pants? A leather jacket? Whitefall was chilly thanks to its location, but Mal could almost feel himself start sweating out of sympathy for the man's legs and other assets.
He's glad when Car and Kaylee finish. The guy seemed to know what he was doing with a wrench even if he managed to be dumb enough to run out of fuel in this area of space. Mal waited by the cargo bay door controls impatiently as the man said a prolonged goodbye to his craft. Overly sentimental about his own boat, Mal tried not to hurry him. Still, there's a time and a place for everything; he'd rather not be around when Patience arrives. Just as Mal was about to yell at him, Car turned and grabbed the last few spare parts left on the ground before heading towards Serenity.
"Take us out of the world, Wash," Mal ordered as he closed the cargo doors. He tried not to smirk when Car had to jump onto the rising ramp. His mood soured though when he saw most of his crew standing around the cargo bay waiting to meet the new passenger. Pretty much everyone except for Wash and Inara. A blur blew past him and he suddenly realized that more of his crew was present that he'd first thought.
"You're late! It's too gorram late! You ruined it all," River sobbed as she started beating the new guy's chest with her delicate hands. Her hair moved each time she dodged Car's attempts to grab her and soon tangled around them both. Car finally captured her against his chest and began to whisper soothing sounds to the teen.
Mal turned his back on them both. "Why ain't she in Inara's shuttle sound asleep?" he demanded from Book. "Slip-ups like this can get us all killed."
"Ah hell, Mal, it ain't like it's his fault or Inara's. That crazy girl has been slipperier than a wet eel ever since well, ya know," Jayne trailed off as realization appeared on his face.
"I don't recall asking you," Mal said. Jayne just swallowed hard and backed away.
"Jayne is correct, Captain. I imagine the girl slipped out when Inara assumed she was resting," Shepherd Book answered. "And now we have more important dilemmas to deal with than who is at fault."
The shepherd was right. Mal turned back to the newest problem that had humped an otherwise relatively smooth day. He was more than a bit surprised that Car was reacting so calmly to the mass of quivering loon currently occupying his arms. At some point while his back was turned, the two had ended up on the floor by the door controls.
"River," he said with his best friendly captain voice.
As usual, the teen ignored him, but Car looked up. "I've got her, Captain. I think I can handle it."
Mal was tempted to let him, but he'd really rather minimize the man's contact with River. No sense in giving him extra time to realize that the girl was a fugitive from the Alliance with over a million platinum reward on her head. "Kaylee, why don't you take River to the kitchen while the rest of us see to things? Shepherd will give ya a hand," he ordered.
"Come on, mei mei, there's still some fresh strawberries from our last re-supply," the young mechanic offered as she reached down to lend River a hand up.
Car almost reacted a fraction of a second too late when River leaped to attack Kaylee. "No, it's all your fault. He's gone because of you. Your fei hua and pretty face lured him out. Your fault!" she continued to scream even as Car lifted her off the ground by her shoulders and dragged her into a corner away from Kaylee.
Book immediately took charge of the stunned and hurt mechanic while they all stood in shock. River had been unstable since her brother was nabbed, but never violent towards any of the crew intentionally. If she had, Mal would have seen to it that she wasn't a threat for as long as need be. He really didn't know what to think of this new development or how the hell to deal with River's problems.
Not that that was anything new. Her own brother, a top two percent, core-educated doctor, hadn't been able to cure her in the past year. What hope did a ship full of barely educated smugglers have?
"Right then. Let me know when she's calmer and we'll get her settled," Mal said before he left the room to consult with Zoe.
Watching as the crew of Serenity leaves me alone with the distraught girl in my arms, I cann't help but feel angry at them. They obviously have no frelling clue the type of pain she is in or how to deal with it.
Of course, I don't have any idea what is going on, so maybe we're even.
"River, honey, shhh, it's okay. It's just you and me now," I say in her ear. "Come on, kid, I can't help you if I don’t know what's going on." After a few more minutes of rubbing circles on her back and waiting patiently, she finally begins to calm. It takes a bit more silence before she begins to speak though.
"He's gone. Gone. Two by Two, they'll wipe him out and keep coming. Always keep coming," she whispers in a frantic voice.
I move her face so I can make eye contact. "Who's gone, River?"
"My da ge, Simon," she tells me with heartbreak in her voice.
"Oh, baby," is all I can think to say to comfort her after the translator microbes tell me that Simon is her brother. She folds herself into my lap once more and I scoot over so I can rest against the wall of the cargo bay.
Her brother. And I arrived too late.
After some time sitting on the hard, metal grate floor, an exotic beauty descends the stairs at the back of the bay towards me. I want to pinch myself to see if I'm dreaming, but I can tell from the gentle rise and fall of River's chest that she's finally cried herself to sleep.
"I'm so sorry," the raven-haired goddess says. "I left her sleeping to go get a snack and she vanished." I think that she is easily the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.
"No trouble. Just gave us a chance to catch up," I reply without thinking. "Though I'll be forever in your debt if you can point me to Sleeping Beauty's quarters."
"Of course," her melodious voice answers. "Do you need help?"
"Nah, I think she's out for the count." As I rearrange River in my arms so I can rise, I'm relieved to discover that the girl's flowing dress easily hides my reaction to the woman beside me. "John," I introduce myself, "I, ahh, didn't catch your name."
"Inara Serra," she answers with one last smile before preceding me up the stairs and leading me into an elegantly decorated shuttle.
Wow, Sparky would love to have one of these. Enough rich fabrics that we might not have to hear about how coarse cotton and leather chafe his sensitive royal skin again. I sober as it hits me once more that I'll never hear the green Hynerian complain about anything.
"Just put her on the bed. She tends to do better when she doesn't wake up alone," Inara explains as she points at a bed lavishly adorned with satin and velour.
"Wow, do we all get this cushy sort of accommodations?"
"I'm afraid not. The decorations are my own and a part of my rental agreement with the captain," Inara replies. She is the exact opposite of everything that Aeryn was. Soft, cultured, melodious voice, make-up expertly applied to accentuate every feature. Somehow the comparison only makes me miss Aeryn that much more.
"So you're not part of the crew?"
"No, I'm a companion," she says as if that explains everything while she shows me to the door. "I'm sorry I can't chat more, but I really need to meditate while she's quiet."
"Yeah, sure. Nice to meet you. Thanks for the help," I reply as I step backwards out of the shuttle.
And nearly fall on my ass when my foot rolls on top of someone else's.
"Getting familiar with everything?" the captain asks with a dark look.
"Uh, not really. I was just…uh, River fell asleep," I stutter as I look around for help only to see that Inara has already closed the door to her quarters. Locked it too, if this is the attitude she has to deal with on a daily basis.
"Inara doesn't service passengers or crew. So see to it that you don't bother her."
"I honestly don't think I need any servicing. Thanks though." He gives me an odd look in reply that causes me to wonder exactly what kind of service the beauty within gives to the lucky bastards that aren't part of this crew.
That train of thought is interrupted by the painful grip that attaches to my shoulder as the captain propels me, none too gently, away from the shuttle and cargo bay. He shoves me up against a wall once he has me in an empty corridor.
"I need to know if we're gonna have a problem," he asks as he stands menacingly in front of me.
"A problem with what?"
He glares at me and I stiffen, anticipating a punch. If this were Aeryn, I'd already have a bloody nose. "I don’t like it when people play dumb with me. Are. We going. To have. A problem?" He enunciates slowly as he places a hand beside my head.
I think quickly about what this "problem" could be. Inara is a nice woman, hell, an exquisite woman, but I just met her. We've left Whitefall and Patience behind in so much dust without anyone getting killed. I realize that leaves just one thing. Puzzle pieces suddenly start to snap together in my head. I still don't know what's going on, but I'm beginning to see the contours of River's proof.
"With what? River?" The jaw clench tells me I'm right even before I notice the fisted hand. "Look, I feel for the kid. It's horrible to lose someone you're close to, especially a brother. But I don't have a problem with any of you over it."
I wince as my head hits a low-hanging pipe when he suddenly grabs my shirt and shakes me. "What do you know about her brother?"
"Ya know, I'm really an easy guy to get along with and I don't need this shit," I say after I knee him in the groin. I push him away from me to so I can have space if he decides to attack again. "And she told me! Dren! What the hell did you think we'd been doing since you left? Playing tic-tac-toe?"
"Is there a problem, Captain?" a cold, feminine voice asks from behind me. I flatten against the wall so I can see both Zoe and the captain.
"I don't know what the hell your all's problem is, but I don't have one. Look, I was stuck on that windblown, piece of shit moon for over a month. I don't know when your troubles started or what happened, but I seriously doubt I was anywhere nearby when it did. So how 'bout we all just calm the hell down and I'll go back to being a boring passenger waiting to set foot on the closest civilized planet?"
The captain is still bent over slightly and breathing heavily. I can tell from his eyes that this isn't anywhere close to over, but it's obviously something he wants to address alone. "Zoe, show him to his bunk."
"Yes, sir," the black amazon says. Damn, I'd pay good money to see Aeryn in that get up. Would be nice to see her in something other than black leather for once, I think as I try to convince my eyes to not stare at the woman's ass or any other portion of her body that she might take offense to. I have a feeling that I'd probably have a lot harder time taking her down than her boss.
I'm relieved to be alone finally when she leaves me in a cramped, bare passenger bunk. The furnishings are way below what I'd seen in Inara's shuttle. Heck, they're barely a step above one of the cells on Moya. But I'm tired and there's at least a mattress. For now, it's enough.
"Don't you think you were a bit harsh on everyone?" Book asked as he stepped around the corner after Zoe led Car away.
Mal snorted before he replied. "I'd rather not end up rotting away in an Alliance cell or on a prison planet for the rest of my life, so no, I don't." Gorram sneaky preacher needed to start wearing a bell.
"They're all doing the best they can in a difficult situation. Everyone concerned for her best interests."
Mal tried to step around him, but the shepherd refused to move. "See there, you're dead wrong. I'm looking out for the best interests of my crew."
"She's an innocent, Captain."
"Ain't a single one of us that's an innocent, Shepherd. We've all sinned against someone." With that, Mal finally forced his way past.
Book just didn't understand. Man always thought on the level of the individual soul, that's what religiosity does to a fellow. Mal didn't have that luxury. If he'd had his way, Wash would have turned the ship around as soon as Car laid eyes on River and they'd have left his problematic ass in the dust beside the carcass of his worthless shuttle.
Sadly, he hadn't done that. They had a schedule to keep and were running close to the wire as it was. But maybe afterward, they'd have time for the scenic route to their next stop.
Friday, June 17, 2005 7:23 AM
Saturday, June 18, 2005 12:58 AM
Monday, July 11, 2005 3:10 PM
You must log in to post comments.
OTHER FANFICS BY AUTHOR
All FIREFLY graphics and photos on this page are copyright 2002-2012 Mutant Enemy, Inc., Universal Pictures, and 20th Century Fox.
All other graphics and texts are copyright of the contributors to this website.
This website IS NOT affiliated with the Official Firefly Site, Mutant Enemy, Inc., or 20th Century Fox.