TEMPTATION SERIES: 18. "Food For The Soul"
Saturday, August 6, 2005

"Mal and Zoe go to meet their contact on New Dunsmere. Jayne is forced to turn to Simon for some help."



SUMMARY: "Mal and Zoe go to meet their contact on New Dunsmere. Jayne is forced to turn to Simon for some help." 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.


"Firefly" story

Written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * * *

Curtis Manning Armstrong stared. For once in his long and grizzly life he was rendered totally speechless. The Mayor of New Dunsmere had warned him against this folly. Dealing with outworlders was always a risk but Malcolm Reynolds? An ex-Browncoat and Firefly Captain with no little reputation of his own to precede him? That was plain asking for trouble. Yet Curtis remembered the delicate smiling face of Shen Ling. She spoke highly of the man and he had to wonder at that.

The Captain sat very upright in his chair. At first Zoe had thought he was simply a little on edge, new contact and all but it wasn't that. Her frown deepened, annoyed at Jayne for not being with them and then annoyed that it actually mattered. Her focus drifting firmly back to the matter at hand. Mal was smiling that poised but ready to flash to deadly smile of his. It put her on notice and was somewhat baffling to their contact. Good. Unsettled was useful providing it was on the other side of the table not theirs. "So," The Captain paused to widen his smile a notch, his eyes bright and keen but with no trace of humour. Not missing a gorram thing. "Anxious as I am to haul this cargo how'd you get my name?"

"You are not exactly invisible, Captain Reynolds. Your exploits, shall we say, have drawn all manner of attention."

Mal's smile dimmed, concern held at bay by a will of iron. "All good I hope?"

Curtis tilted his head slightly. The Captain caught his breath. The movement reminded him of someone. Subtle and barely there but a signature nonetheless. Course he could just be mixing his memories with the unconscious body language of a perfect stranger. "Depends on who tells the tale, Captain."

Now the smile and the cosmetic bon homie was gone and the Captain didn't try to hide the flash of irritation and impatience burning in his veins. He began to rise from his seat, slowly. Zoe stayed put, the better to watch the faces at the table and those only glimpsed out of the corner of her eye. Clinging to shadow could as easily shift to clinging to life. Their choice not hers, she would just be carrying the gorram bullet. "Can't believe you brought me all this way to waste my gorram time."

His contact seemed to come to a decision. "Relax, Captain. A mutual friend passed on your name, wants to be remembered to you."

He was warier than ever now. Most of Mal's 'mutual friends' knew better than to draw attention to him and his crew. Lord Warwick Harrow had put a job or two his way after their first business together but it had always been Harrow handing the details to Mal for him to look at first not the other way around. Gave him a polite back door with no offence to no one if he didn't decide to take the gorram offer. This was different and he had learnt long ago that variety was not always the spice of life. "What friend might that be?"

Carefully Curtis leaned forward on the table, his eyes not leaving the Captain's. "I was told to tell you - 'within the four seas all men are brothers'."

Startled, the Captain just stared at him. Chung Li? What the good gorram did this have to do with him or had Rafe gone and got his self into all manner of trouble? Perhaps that *tamade hundan* Cyrus White was playing up again? Or had something happened to little Rosie? Seeing his words had hit their target, Curtis relaxed and leaned back in his chair. Waiting for the Captain's response. Mal's mouth had gone dry but he had to know. Didn't care if it was a heartbeat from begging. "He alright?"

He not she. Curtis hid his surprise. What else had Shen Ling left out? "Far as I know this is not so much a cargo job as a transport one. Your ship up to that?"

The Captain's eyes narrowed, not liking a good gorram how cagey the conversation was but not wanting to open it out if things were that sensitive. This *lese* bar had too many pairs of ears in it for his liking. His friend could be in really big trouble and no way in *diyu* did he want to make things worse. Owed the man his life several times over. The friendship between them a bonus he would treasure life-long. "Best you come look - check it out for yourself." Their eyes locked, each weighing up the other. Curtis nodded, ignoring the brief look of distrust on Donny Hobbs' face. "Sounds like a plan."

* * * * *

Aboard Serenity Simon Tam was fast losing his grip on the finite store of patience in his doctor's repertoire. Never had he dealt with such a rough, child-like and stubborn patient before. He sighed, straightened and held the syringe away from his body for a moment. Jayne stared with eyes wide and wary, a look of utter panic and dread etched on to his face. Only the pain and growing agony of urinating with his John Thomas on fire had finally driven him to seek the doctor's help. Now he was having second thoughts. "Ya ain't stickin' that in my pecker."

"Jayne, I have to reduce the swelling to treat the infection."

"Ya swallow antibiotics, don't have to stick 'em in me."

"Normally tablets are fine but in this case you left it too long before coming for medical help. I need to be able to get the medication where it's needed as quickly and efficiently as possible, that means injecting directly into the...." The mercenary was in a state of semi-undress, his pants lying over a chair, his shirt undone. His penis swollen and weeping so much he could hardly bear to put one foot before the other, the moment anything rubbed or touched him he was in agony. And that was not even counting the sores. "Not gonna happen." "I can sedate you."

"An' I can make sure you break your pretty little neck. They say most accidents happen in the home." Jayne growled nastily.

The doctor looked at him in exasperation. "I'm just trying to help you, Jayne. If you had come to me earlier..."

"I wouldn't have come at all." Simon blinked. "*Shenme*?"

"Ya heard. Didn't want ya' tellin' me when an' where I could get sexed, *dong ma*?"

Even accustomed to Jayne's crudity there were still times when it caught him by surprise. Unnoticed in a corner, River unwound her slim frame from the curled huddle that had been watching their exchange in silence. Looking at Jayne she began to sing a song.

"Some talk of Alexander and some of Hercules Some talk about Lysander and such great names as these But of all the world's deseases there's none that can compare To the drip, drip, drip of a syphilitic prick and they call it gonorrhea!"

Simon turned to stare at her, mouth agape in shock. "River! That's disgusting."

She smiled sweetly at him. "It's Jayne."

The doctor didn't really have a response to that for awful as the truth sounded it *was* Jayne - literally. He had been more than liberal for far too long with his man parts and now he was reaping the rewards of unprotected sex. "River, I know you only want to help but you need to leave now and let me help Jayne."

It took a bit of coaxing but River finally left, her parting shot to Jayne making the mercenary cringe even more than the sight of Simon advancing on him with a hypodermic needle. Her smile seemed all sweetness and light until his brain grasped the meaning of the words that accompanied it. "Syphilis, veneral desease now called STD. Caused by the spiral shaped bacterium Treponema pallidum. Needs a moist environment to survive. It's where the cautionary warning comes from."

Even though he didn't want to ask Jayne could not stop himself. In a voice shrunken by fear he managed to squeak out, "What cautionary warnin'?"

River gave him a blinding smile. "Too much sex can make you go blind." Then she sailed out of the infirmary door leaving two uneasy looking men in her wake. Jayne stared at the empty doorway while Simon wished for the thousandth time that his overly gifted sister would not choose the most inopportune times to share her little insights. He turned his reluctant attention back to a very scared looking Jayne Cobb. "What did I tell you about unprotected sex?"

"That it was impressive an' manly?"

"No," Said Simon with exaggerated patience. "I said *don't* but you wouldn't listen. You *never* listen."

"Ya gonna help or just keep yammerin'?"

"I have to inject you, Jayne. There's no other way you're going to get passed this."

Jayne stared off to one side, steeling himself for the inevitable. "Whatever, just do it an' get it over with, *dong ma*?"

Nodding nervously Simon advanced and idly wondered if he would ever make it out of the infirmary alive. The howl that filled the ship echoed off the metal walls alarming Kaylee who sat up too quickly and banged her head on the engine block. At his place by the landing ramp, Book glanced back then faced out across the planet again. The bible had a powerful lot to say about the sins of the flesh. A powerful lot but nothing at all about needles.

* * * * *

Inara Serra heard Jayne howling. Shuddered and was doubly grateful that she had hire of the shuttle. While it was good to have the security and safety of Serenity to fall back on, it was a relief to be apart from it as well. Shelter without Shackles. Her grooming done she smiled at her reflection then waved Wash, her hands now busy with the preflight sequence.

"Hi Inara, you ready?"

"*Qu*, I should be back by this time tomorrow."

His voice sailed back over the com with undisguised affection. There was always something very comforting and straight forward about Wash. Zoe was a lucky woman. "See you then, Inara. Take care.

"I always do."

Wash watched the shuttle as it rose and flew passed the cockpit windows. On the ramp the Shepherd shielded his eyes against the glare of the sun and watched Inara leave, the smile on his face vanishing as he turned his head and saw the little deputation heading for Serenity. The Captain seemed to be in somewhat stilted conversation with a man several inches shorter than him but stockily built. A broad powerful frame, light grey eyes that almost seemed transparent when the light hit them a certain way, and short wavy blond hair. He looked to be in his early forties. Alongside the man strode another, lean as a sappling with a lithe grace to his movements that sharpened the Preacher's instinct. Younger than the first man, this man was tanned with a thin moustache and a plain silver earring in his right ear. His short dark hair had no parting and his black beady eyes moved restlessly belying the relaxed motion of his body.

As they reached the ramp the Captain nodded to Book, happier than he could put into words to see him there. He could not account for the unsettled feeling stirring in his gut but knew Zoe had picked up on his unease. Alert and poised her professionalism allowed him a hair's breadth of ease. But just a hair's breadth. Something about this whole set up was more than a mite disturbing. He aimed to get to the bottom of it. "Mr Armstrong, I'd like you to meet Shepherd Book."

Curtis raised a curious brow then extended a hand. "Please to meet you Mr Book." "An' this here's Donny Hobbs. They're gonna take a look around Serenity, make sure our boat can handle their cargo." Book shook both men's hands politely, gleaning snippets of information from them as he did so. Armstrong's grip was strong and firm, a decisive and open declaration of the kind of man he was. Hobbs grip by contrast was slack and almost limp in his hand, a sign as far as the Preacher was concerned that he held himself back, projected only what he wanted others to see and leaned more to the furtive and sneaky side of human nature. He would be sure to keep a sharp eye on that one. He knew first impressions could be misleading and even dangerous but not so much as ignoring them completely.

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*tamade hundan* = fucking bastard *lese* = crappy *diyu* = hell *shenme* = what *dong ma* = understand? *qu* = yes (lit. go)


Monday, August 8, 2005 7:37 AM


Nice setup, but poor Jayne!

Friday, August 12, 2005 2:55 AM


ick, JAYNE!!!

Saturday, August 27, 2005 3:07 AM


I adore Simon's reactions in this. Very true to character.

Meanwhile poor, poor Jayne. Give a man enough rope etc. Can't say he didn't have it coming, what with his earlier betrayal of Mal but wow, that's some punishment!

And now I'm all manner of uneasy about all manner of things ...

Friday, January 12, 2007 5:47 AM


Simon, River, Jayne, Book - all perfect reactions to Jayne's predictament.


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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.