BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

THESOAPBOXER

Antebellum - Book I: Chapter Two
Sunday, December 25, 2005

Second chapter in a post-BDM series (i.e. Big Damn Sequel). Warning: this one has length to it.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1859    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

A/N: I know, I know, it's really long and it's mostly dialogue. But it's Christmas so you'll forgive me, right? Holidays Happy! _______________________________________________

Book One – Chapter Two

What are you doing right now? Oh, yeah. You’re sleeping. Keep doin’ that.

Malcolm Reynolds stopped straining his neck and let his face drop back down on the dining room table and heard his bowl of half-eaten noodles clatter a bit. No, the table wasn’t the most comfortable piece of wood to lay his head on, and he couldn’t imagine his posture being approved by any kind of chiropractor, but nowadays when sleep came to him, he’d take it, even if it was disintegrating his lower back.

Mal could feel the saliva dripping across his cheek, and he knew that it was probably ruining the ink on his maps. It was his fault for falling asleep when he should have been plotting yet another impossibly clever route through the increasingly narrow safe space, but it was all just so boring. The more he looked at the faded, somewhat outdated star charts taped clumsily to one another, the less they seemed to hold any actual meaning. Besides, those clever kinds of routes were getting hard to come by. Truthfully, Mal didn’t have as great a grasp on navigating as he would have his crew believe. Wash always was the one to plot courses. But now he really couldn’t be doing that, the condition he was in.

It was thoughts like that that kept Mal from sleeping. So he tried to push it behind him to continue enjoying his uncomfortable slumber.

He could notice that he wasn’t as cold as he expected; the ship’s engine was running at half speed to conserve its energy before its forthcoming refueling so everyone had to live a little chillier than usual. He moved slightly, and he could feel the blanket draped around his shoulders and neck. It wasn’t his scratchy military-grade blanket, though. No, this one smelled good. A lot gooder than his stuff. Smelled like Inara.

Whenever he started thinking about Inara, he knew he’d never get back to sleep.

She was back. That wasn’t too bad. After all, she was better off with him—with the crew, rather—than she would be alone. Her links with known terrorists, as well as her own willing participation in a firefight with Alliance battleships, had effectively put her in the proverbial dog house with the Companion’s Guild. They refused to protect her, she being a profiled criminal against the Guild’s benefactor government. So she was back with Mal—and the crew—literally living in the same boat as the rest of them. Mal didn’t like to say it, but he often felt the responsibility of her discharge firmly on his slumping shoulders.

Kaylee and Simon were a handful, though. They said they wouldn’t be, but then, Mal was fast learning what liars they were. Of course they weren’t too much trouble when they started dating, or sleeping together, or whatever. Hell, Mal had even gotten use to the idea of his medic and his mechanic knocking boots and dress shoes, even though he only found out about this several weeks after the two started their affair. Truthfully he wasn’t overly curious about their relationship. But what really tweaked his undercarriage to the breaking point were the times that the two would not speak to each other for a week or a month. They’d always start by telling Mal, “This time, it’s really over.” But by the third day, Mal felt like he was in Secondary again, being forced to be the conduit of “I miss you’s” and “Take me back’s” between the annoying adults.

They were back together now, though. Again. This was actually the longest they had gone without the hiatuses. Now they had occasion. Celebrating their 32nd anniversary of their 14th kiss or something like that. So they were in Kaylee’s bunk… celebrating. The proximity of Mal’s bunk to Kaylee’s was another factor in Mal’s recent lack of sleep, and why he was currently sleeping in the dining room.

Get to sleep. Stop thinkin’ of stuff.

Mal would’ve loved to go back to sleep, but it was hopeless. He was awake now. There was nothing to do now but lay there, with his head on his maps, for at least another two hours.

He was thankful, though; he was sitting in his favorite vibrating chair that subtly eased his back right on his sword scar and gave him the most physical comfort he had in a year.

Your chair doesn’t normally vibrate. Why’s it vibratin’…?

He heard his bowl clatter again, except this time it was clattering on the floor. The vibrating of the chair intensified. And intensified some more. Mal thought it would be beneficial if he lifted his head very slightly to see if everything else was shaking as much as the table was. He could see that the entire dining room was now rumbling a little dangerously. That information gathered, Mal decided he could put his head back down and sleep.

Inertia felt a little bit differently about the situation.

CHALUNK!

Mal was tossed from his chair and to the shaking ground. He’d never get back to sleep now.

Gorram new-tech autopilot piece of…

Mal’s thoughts were cut short by another hit to the artificial gravity, sending him stumbling to the comm on the wall. He didn’t know what was wrong exactly, but he definitely had a good guess.

Mal could fly Serenity just fine. River wasn’t too bad neither. But with Mal’s navigating skills constantly being pulled into question, a new-tech autopilot was bought and installed to compensate this. However, it had less-than-desirable effects since the new-tech model didn’t intertwine with the seventeen-year-old Firefly console very well. This caused for several minor and major mishaps during the flying experience.

This one generally felt like a major one.

“Testing, testing,” Mal spoke into the comm, trying to stand up straight. The room refused to stay in one place. “This is your captain speaking. Not really meanin’ to alarm anyone so early in the morning, but to avoid imminent peril, I’m callin’ an ‘all hands on deck’ emergency for all crew members. River, Zoe, to the bridge. Kaylee, engine room. Wait for further—” Another rumble and Mal was back on the ground, some three feet from where he was just standing.

Oh yeah. This is gonna be a great day.

Mal managed to open the door leading to the crew quarters hallway and frowned to see that despite the current situation of inevitable danger not a creature was stirring. Made sense for his crack team of heroes to be sleeping in, without regards to orders or safety. Mal’s patience wasn’t the best in the daytime, but it was significantly shorter when just waking up. It was even less when his ship was crashing.

“In case there was any confusion, I was not kidding just a while ago!” Mal shouted to the crew through their respective doors. He then went to each one and pounded it with the toe of his foot, a complicated procedure in the current situation.

“Kaylee! Climb off of Simon long enough to do your job!”

“Jayne! Wake the hell up already!”

“Go to hell!” was the muffled response that came from Jayne’s bunk.

Ignoring Jayne’s compelling argument, Mal went straight up to the bridge, shouting behind him, “And for the Love of God! Will someone get River to the bridge!”

“You’re talking loud again. It’s distracting.” The voice came from the young, dark-haired girl in a flower dress sitting at the pilot console on her heels, punching buttons and turning dials like the whole thing was so incredibly boring. River was hardly even looking at the controls, or out the windows. Mal wasn’t even sure if her eyes were open at the moment. But the cabin’s shaking began to decrease considerably.

How does she get up here so fast? How long has she been awake?

“W-well, I was… The autopilot’s gone all--”

“I know, Captain.”

“’Course you know. Well, did you get the stabilizer--?”

“Yep.”

“All right. And the sequence is--?”

“Yep.”

“And you--?”

“Yep.”

“Shiny. You wouldn’t have left anything for me, the Captain, to do around here by any chance, would you?”

He staggered over to the co-pilot’s console. He figured he might as well help the clearly inexperienced 19-year-old girl in fixing the big, complicated vessel. He reached for the control sticks in front of him.

“Don’t touch those,” River said, not looking up, still pushing buttons and pulling on the control sticks.

“It’s my ship,” Mal protested.

River chose not to respond.

“Fine.”

Another jolt tossed Mal halfway across the console, while River sat serenely balanced on the chair. For a moment, Mal thought he could see something in her eyes that he didn’t often see in these situations. Some sort of glisten of liquid. But the next second it was gone, so Mal shrugged it off. It was probably just some gleam coming off of the huge planet that was hurdling wildly toward the ship.

Huh? 胡扯! There’s a huge planet—

“River, there’s a huge planet--!”

“I know, Captain.”

“Not much comfort there, sweetie, without explanation. We weren’t supposed to reach Three Hills until noon-ish. That’s not until another six or so hours!”

“Someone didn’t tell the autopilot that, Captain,” she said pointedly. “We’re going to have to land.”

Mal looked at the radar screens in front of him to keep from looking out the window. “We’re on the wrong side. To taxi over’ll eat up our fuel cells.”

River sighed. “Fire scraping across glass. Shards of bloody metal floating in the atmosphere. Mangled, charred bodies blistering--”

“Okay, all good points. We’ll do it your way.”

“Good choice.”

A small buzzer sounded on River’s side.

“What’s that?” Mal asked.

River’s nimble fingers quickly danced over to the buzzing sound. It ceased, but River began punching buttons at double-speed.

“We’re crashing.”

Mal stared blankly at the girl, hoping for a follow-up on the statement. “What?”

“I can fix it.”

“Please do so!”

“Kaylee needs to alter the ignition sequence and recalibrate the grav trust 73 degrees port, minus 52 degrees starboard.”

“Clearly. Well, I’ll get her for ya.” He managed to stand up and reach the comm, but was stopped yet again.

“Don’t touch that.”

“Fine. You know what? You touch whatever you want in my ship.” He turned to leave the bridge stopping at the archway. “But just you remember who’s paying you, and who’s being so nice about letting you fly my--!”

A jolt from the port side knocked Mal’s footing out from underneath him. As he scrambled to his feet, he could tell from the back of River’s head that she was smirking at him.

“I’m getting Kaylee,” he said turning out the door.

“Good luck,” River said, only half to herself.

---

Zoe Washburne was already up on the upper level as Mal left the bridge. She was finishing fastening her web belt and zipping up her bulletproof blouse when she locked eyes with the Captain. She didn’t look too happy, so Mal made a point not to make any eye contact.

“You know, this is really getting old, sir.”

“What’s the point in having an autopilot that can’t land?”

“It’s a world gone mad, sir. Speaking of which…”

“Really not doing this right now, Zoe. Is Kaylee up yet?” Mal tried breezing by her, but she was quick on her feet and sidestepped into his path.

“Folks in Bingham Colony will turn us in for a pack of light bulbs and a cigarette.”

“Not too bad of a deal. They’re making light bulbs with lifetime guarantees now.” He managed to gently push past his first mate. “’Sides, no one’s gonna know where the ship’s at ‘cept Fuller, and he hasn’t smoked in years. Simon ‘n Jayne’ll take a low profile when we’re in the market. We’re in, we’re fueled, we’re out, and we’re flyin’.” He turned and walked into the dining room.

“Yeah, the plan’s foolproof.”

A laddered door clanked open, and Kaywinnit Lee Frye emerged from her lighted doorway, her hair a bit mussed, still wrestling to get a shirt on. Zoe was the first person she saw.

“Where’s the captain?”

Zoe didn’t have to answer because Kaylee had already caught Mal in her sights, scurrying away.

“Captain!”

The dining room was a mess before, but now all the cupboards had somehow regurgitated all of its contents on to the floor, effectively covering up the fact that River and Kaylee had spent yesterday cleaning the place up.

Mal shook his head in disappointment. “Damn ship’s fallin’ apart.”

Kaylee suddenly appeared behind the captain. “Cap’n, we gotta talk.”

It’s a fairly well known fact that those words hold little optimism for a nice, friendly conversation. Based on this reasoning, Mal felt in beneficial to avoid the “talk” before it began.

“You gotta recalibrate the engine or whatever ‘fore something bad happens.”

“We gotta talk ‘bout me ‘n Simon.”

Oh, holy hell…

“First offs, no we don’t. Second, why would it possibly occur to you to talk to me about this now?” He wanted so badly to make it to the engine room, but the shaking hindered his progress. River was probably shaking the boat on purpose now.

“We’ve nearly crashed the last five planets, Cap. Show me a time we’re not about to die, be glad to talk to you then.”

“Watch your tone, Kaylee.”

The hallway between the dining room and engine room seemed to get even longer.

“You’re tryin’ to keep me ‘n Simon apart.”

Mal felt sick. “I’m--? What’s makin’ you think this?”

“You’ve put up signs.”

Mal sighed slightly. “All right. I’ve put up one sign. With a very distinct purpose that I believe you’ve misread.” He pointed to the crudely duct-taped cardboard sign hanging to one side of the entrance to the engine room. Mal’s handwriting read: No sexual activities in the engine room. NO EXCEPTIONS. ~Your Captain.

Kaylee refused to dignify the sign with another reading. Instead she stared directly back at Mal. “I read the sign. I don’t agree with its implications.”

“Yes, I’ve noticed that.” He turned into the engine room only to find he was now at a dead end. “I noticed it the last six times you’ve stolen the damn sign. And it makes a valid point. This room is a place of business. You shouldn’t mix business with…”

He hesitated. Another dead end.

“Pleasure?” Kaylee offered.

He didn’t meet her gaze. “Or what have you.” He tried to distract himself by turning to a temperature gauge and began turning a small wheel lever. Kaylee batted his hand off.

“Okay, don’t touch.” Kaylee crouched down to one side of the engine and began doing stuff that held no real meaning to Mal. “What I’m sayin’ is I can’t help but think that the sign was directed toward us two. Hand me the wrench, please.”

Mal did so. “Well, it sure as hell wasn’t for me ‘n Jayne!” He shut his eyes tight to avoid Kaylee’s look. “I order you to forget I said that.”

River chimed in over the comm system: “73 degrees port, minus 52 degrees starboard.”

“Thanks, sweetie,” Kaylee called out.

“You’re welcome.”

Kaylee moved briskly over a step ladder and climbed up to another panel, while continuing her conversation with Mal. “I’ll have you know, Cap'n, Simon doesn't even like doin' the deed in here anyways. That's why we only tried it the three or four times. Too many metal pointy things for his liking. There really ain't enough room to go around, and we kinda need our space in the action, you know? Then there's always the danger of somethin' gettin' caught in a rotor—”

Mal couldn’t help if he had sudden outbursts sometimes. “Why, why, why do you think I want to know these things!?”

“It’s not the room, is what I’m sayin’! You know me, Cap’n. I’m like the wind. I can blow anywhere.”

This was getting ridiculous. “Kaylee. Please, oh please tell me that came out wrong.”

Kaylee was apparently finished with her work on the engine, as she leaped across the room to a comm.

“River, honey, the engine’s fine. Give her a go.”

The shaking began to lessen and the contents of Mal’s stomach finally settled.

“It ain’t just the sex, though,” Kaylee continued.

“Oh, thank god.”

“It’s bringin’ him on jobs. Like today.”

“Hold on. You honestly believe I’m taking him to keep him from you?”

He left a little too hurriedly out the engine room. He was quickly learning that the ship wasn’t as big as he once imagined.

“You don’t even like him.”

“Right now, I’m kinda disliking a whole bunch of people on this boat.”

Back in the dining room, the mess seemed to have gotten worse, mostly due to Jayne Cobb walking through the boxes looking for breakfast and discarding items that he deemed unsatisfactory. He was currently eating a bowl of half-eaten noodles. Mal decided not to entertain the idea that they were the same noodles that fell on the floor five minutes ago.

“Thanks for knockin’ my soothin’ sleep, jackass,” Jayne spoke in Mal’s direction.

“Shut up, Jayne.”

“You shut up,” Jayne muttered under his breath.

Mal turned to Kaylee. If he couldn’t run away, he was going to win. “He’s a good fighter, all the same.”

“Not like Zoe,” Kaylee replied.

“Or me,” Jayne contributed.

“You already go on jobs.”

“What’re we talkin’ ‘bout?”

“Me ‘n Simon.”

Jayne took a moment to process this. Quite honestly, it befuddled him. “Why?”

“An excellent question,” Mal said. “We’ve been dancin’ ‘round the answer for some time now.”

“Zoe used to go on all the jobs with you two.”

“Well, Kaylee, a lot’s happened in the last two years,” Mal said, gliding past Jayne to the exit. “I need River, case there’s trouble comin’. I need Jayne, obviously. I need a second gun hand. And I need someone back on the ship who can get the girl up and running long enough for the autopilot to kick in.”

Jayne didn’t ordinarily care what anybody else had to argue about, especially when it didn’t even have him on the peripheral of the story. But, seeing as how the current conversation made Mal uncomfortable, and that being an emotion of the captain that amused him, he decided to tag along.

As Mal exited the dining room, with Kaylee and Jayne in tow, Zoe was heading down the stairs from the bridge.

“A lot of good that 胡扯技术片断 has done us,” she said.

“Even so.”

Mal turned right and into the upper level of the cargo bay while Zoe followed. There was still hope for him to get away from the incessant talking. But Kaylee kept on going.

“Point is, Cap, what’s next? You gonna ban him from my bunk next?”

“I do not want to talk about that. But since you brought it up, why’s he even in your bunk? He’s got a room too, y’know.”

“Cap, do you even know how hard it is to get a man to concentrate on me ‘n mind when there’s the possibility of his sister hearin’ us lovemakin’?”

Mal had had more than enough visuals to repress for one day. “Will you please, 为神爱, stop talking to me about this stuff!?”

Zoe walked up behind Kaylee and cradled the girl in her arms. “Captain. Stop yelling at the lovesick girl.”

“I’m not yelling!” Mal yelled.

“Why don’t you want them to sleep together?”

“I don’t! I mean, I do—I mean—Aren’t we crashing?”

“Fixed it,” River sounded through the comm system.

“Not exactly sayin’ crashin’s the downside here.

Jayne joined in, loving to see his captain squirm. “Ease up, Mal. No sense in dividin’ the two jus’ ‘cause you’ve got yer problems wit’ intimacy.”

“You are two hops from a thrashin’, Jayne.”

“I don’t think he’s far from truth there,” Kaylee chirped, a tad too much joy sparkling in her eyes.

“Outta curiosity, when was the last time you had sex?” Jayne asked clinically.

“What!?” Mal asked.

“Eighteen months,” River piped in.

Mal made it to the bottom of the stairs and on the main floor of the cargo bay, waving his arms wildly. “All right! That’s the line! If everyone seems content to keep their jobs, then they should be advised to stay exactly here while I go someplace where I can have some quiet!”

With that, Mal went into the common area with the firm intention to fall asleep on the couch. His plans were cut short, however, by the sudden presence of Simon Tam, who appeared right in his path.

“Captain: We should talk.”

Mal physically brushed by him. “Not at all what I had in mind.”

Simon, unfazed, went on. “Kaylee’s been talking—”

“Yeah, she seems to do that a lot nowadays.” Mal tried to get comfortable on the old couch, but Simon took all the fun out of it.

“Kaylee’s been talking to me the past few days, and I feel that I should explain the situation to you.”

Mal sat up with a grave look on his face. He felt as if he had had this very same conversation with the man nearly a dozen times before. It always seemed to come back up after he and Kaylee had just gotten off one of their sabbaticals. “Seriously, Simon, I do not want to know about where you do it, how you do it, or your particular preferences on doin’ it.”

“Um… All right. Just out of curiosity, were you under the impression I was about to tell you all those things?”

“Simon, I think you’d be generally surprised at how much I’ve learned about your sex life in the last fifteen minutes.”

Simon chose not to delve into that bit of information. “All right. As you’ve probably guessed, Kaylee and I spending most nights in her bunk now, because--”

Mal leaped up to try to find a route out, but he only found that he was once again cornered. “Don’t tell me why!”

“I just don’t want any complications here to be on account of us. It’s clear that you don’t need me for runs, so--”

“You’re on my crew, Simon. You haven’t had to stitch anyone up lately, so you’ll have to earn your keep other ways. I’m gonna use you for work.”

“You don’t even like me, Mal.”

“Why does everyone keep sayin’ that? I was one of the onlys who stood up for you ‘n your sister back when you were the only fugitives on the ship.”

“Okay, no you weren’t. And I didn’t say hate, I said you didn’t like me.”

“’Course I don’t like you… What’s the point?” Mal scurried up the stairs to the upper level, but was stopped once again by the young doctor.

“If Kaylee and I are—”

“Seriously, doc, I don’t care where you two sleep. I’m happy you two have found romance. Again. And I’m happy that you feel responsible to tell me this. Again. However,” Mal said as he marched up the stairs with strict determination, “as I’ve said before, I don’t want to hear about it. So long as we’re on my boat, you’re gigglin’ and squealin’ better be quiet like, y’hear? All I want is for everyone here to behave like adults, to do what I tell them, and to obey and respect all posted signage.”

As he finished the sentence he pointed to the sign at the entrance to the engine room. Rather, he pointed where the sign used to be. Currently there were only a few scraps of duct tape left.

“Hey, where’d—Dammit, Kaylee!” Mal yelled down the hallway.

“Fine, Captain,” Simon replied.

“Good.”

“But another thing.” Simon’s voice got a little quieter. “You’re not bringing me along just for an extra gun hand, are you?” Mal shifted a bit, and then looked Simon square in the eye. He let the doctor explain the rest. “You want me there to keep an eye on River.”

“Simon, I like your sister. We’ve been able to last two whole years side by side with no major catastrophes and that ain’t no small task. But it don’t put my quiverin’ stomach to rest any knowin’ that the Alliance is still out there, and that they still know a certain trigger to make that sister of yours shatter skulls with her dainty, li’l feet.” He swallowed. “Should any of that happen, I want you there to sedate her or whatever.” He shrugged. “You know Jayne won’t. And you know I won’t.” Mal spoke the last part with more than a hint of meaning.

Simon’s eyes instinctively dropped to the floor. “Yes, sir.”

“Good.”

Mal entered the dining room for the third time in seventeen minutes to find Jayne there once again, still eating what used to be Mal’s dinner.

“In the meanwhile,” Mal said to Simon, “I want you to concentrate that big brain of yours on being as little a hassle as possible, 了解?”

“Yes, of course. At this point, I’d be glad to just get through the week without anymore complications or embarrassments.”

Jayne finished slurping his last noodle. “That Kaylee’s shirt?”

Simon, despite his schooling, could not account for the phenomenon that caused his clothing to look like Kaylee’s clothing in the dark. However, as he looked down, he realized he was in fact wearing a purple flowered blouse, not the best choice for someone with his complexion.

Simon remained silent, wanting to choose his words wisely. “I’m going to go change.”

“Yeah,” Mal said, not hesitating.

As Simon left the dining area, Jayne leaned over to Mal to say, “Ten bucks says he was wearin’ her panties.”

That successfully made six different visuals that Mal would be glad never to think about again.

“Don’t I pay you to do something?”

“You sayin’ you want me to shoot ‘im?”

“No,” Mal said, walking by.

“You want to know my thoughts on the subject—”

“No!”

As he exited the dining room, Mal’s path was cut off yet again. This time, he didn’t mind it too much.

“Inara. Good morning.”

Even when just waking up, Inara Serra looked like she was carved out of silver. She wore a silk kimono morning robe that Mal had told Kaylee he liked several months back. Mal forced his mind shut when he began to speculate on what was beneath the robe.

“Uh, you… uh…” he began, but never finished.

“Is everything all right? There was a lot of shaking and yelling.”

“Yeah, that was me. The yelling part, not the shaking. Anyway, we’re landing a bit earlier than planned so if there’s anything you need from the market, you should go ahead an’ tell Jayne or Simon.”

“Yes, I was actually… I have some stuff for them to sell. I guess I’ll have to pack it up quickly…”

Stuff?

“Stuff? What stuff?”

“Just some—”

“You don’t need to be sellin’ nothin’ of yours here.”

Inara’s back straightened and her voice got stern. “Due respect, Mal, I don’t need your permission to sell my property.”

“What are you sellin’?”

“Just a couple knick-knacks I’ve kept over the years I don’t need anymore. A couple dresses—”

“Dresses? Dresses ain’t any kind of knicks or knacks last I heard. You don’t need to be sellin’ your belongings. We get on fine without them.”

“This is my home, too, Mal. Anywhere, I can help, I will. And you will not stop me.”

Mal did feel a little silly arguing the point with her. He allowed himself to calm down a bit. He wanted to go back to sleep.

“You don’t have to sell your dresses, ‘Nara.”

She looked back at him with her big eyes. “We don’t sell what we need. That’s the rule, isn’t it?”

Mal swallowed. “That’s the rule.”

“I’ve got plenty of things to keep me warm, Mal. I’ll go pack up my things.”

He sighed and pounded the comm on the wall. “River. When are we—?”

“We land in Bingham Colony in twenty-point-four minutes,” River spoke through the comm.

***

Fuller wasn’t a pretty man. He was about five foot, five inches, he had a reddish-brown beard that occupied most of his lower face, and his overall body shape resembled a potato. He wasn’t all that nice either. But he was as tight-lipped as they come, which is why Mal chose him so often. No one would know Fuller was helping fugitives so long as the waves were kept vague and through channels.

“Mal. You’re early.”

“Good to see you too, Fuller.”

“It’s a good thing. Trust me.”

“Really? Why’s that?”

Fuller became aware of the girl following close behind Mal’s brown long coat.

“Miss Tam,” Fuller said with a bad taste in his mouth.

River creased her brow at the old man. “Same to you.”

Fuller blinked. “Tell her not to do that,” he told Mal.

“Hey,” Mal said. “You be nice or I’ll have her tell me what you’re thinkin’ ‘bout me. Now what’s up?”

Fuller breathed deep, and then continued. “I can fuel you guys up, but if you have any of your crew in the market, you best get ‘em back quick.”

“Why?”

“You don’t want to stay here long.”

“I’m returning to my original question: why?”

Fuller reached over to his woodcarving of a desk and picked up a sheet of video paper. On it had a paused image of a news anchor.

“This came in over the Cortex couple hours ago. I would’ve waved you, but I didn’t want to tip anyone off.”

Mal took the sheet and pressed the triangular “play” button.

The news anchor spoke: “—but this is the first riot to take place on a Core planet in a federal facility. While the damage was minimal, over fifty of the rioters were put into custody. Federal agents attached to the case say that the only words those custody would say were ‘Remember Miranda.’

“They were of course referencing the terrorist propaganda report that was sent to over thirty planets two years ago by former Independent soldier Malcolm Reynolds. While Reynolds is still at large in parts of the Border territories, several officials believe that he orchestrated the riots and several others that have occurred over the past few months. In response, the federal government has now officially changed the statuses of Reynolds and his gang to ‘Immediately Dangerous,’ thus renewing their respective warrants as ‘Wanted Dead or Alive.’ If you have any knowledge regarding the whereabouts of Malcolm Reynolds or any—”

Mal stopped the report and put the sheet down.

Oh yeah. This is gonna be a great day.

COMMENTS

Monday, December 26, 2005 2:01 AM

AMDOBELL


I can't believe how everything is just piling on top of them. And poor Mal. He seems to be getting the sharp end of everyone's tongue with little or no respite. I just know there's gonna be trouble at that gorram market.. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, December 26, 2005 10:34 AM

AGENTROUKA


Gah, I hate when I forget to sign in.

The last comment was me. *g*

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 10:04 AM

BELLONA


- Outta curiosity, when was the last time you had sex?
- What!?
- Eighteen months

hee!!!! trust jayne to get right down to *ahem* business

b

Thursday, December 29, 2005 2:21 AM

AGENTROUKA


Oh, ummm, one last curious question: When do you think you'll be posting the next part? Days? Weeks? *g*

Saturday, May 6, 2006 9:35 PM

LEIGHKOHL


WOW! I read the first part but never got a chance to see the rest! I am loving this! You have the character voices down pat, they're great! And the scene was very reminiscent of the opening scene from Serenity, but you put your own stamp on it and it's great! Will try to read through the rest as quickly as I can! This is just wonderful!

Thursday, May 25, 2006 12:30 PM

TAMSIBLING


All of Mal's interactions with each member of the crew are spot on! I love his conversation with Kaylee, Jayne, Zoe and Simon about any and everything and River calling him on his last sexual encounter was just awesome! It made me giggle ....

Love it!


POST YOUR COMMENTS

You must log in to post comments.

YOUR OPTIONS

OTHER FANFICS BY AUTHOR

Antebellum - Book I: Chapter Sixteen
The sixteenth chapter in a Big Damn Sequel series. In this installment: Agent Oren demands answers, and the crew lands on Cytherea.

Antebellum - Book I: Chapter Fifteen
The fifteenth chapter in a Big Damn Sequel series. In this installment: Jayne talks with Zoe about a plan of his... and other stuff happens.

Antebellum - Book I: Chapter Fourteen
The fourteenth chapter in a Big Damn Sequel series. In this installment: Michael plays with Andrew and argues with Gabriella.

Antebellum - Book I: Chapter Thirteen
The thirteenth chapter in a Big Damn Sequel series. In this installment: The crew is back on the road, but it's not going to well

Antebellum - Book I: Chapter Twelve
The twelfth chapter in a Big Damn Sequel series. In this installment: Tension mounts as the law comes knocking at the door.

Antebellum - Book I: Chapter Eleven
The eleventh chapter in a Big Damn Sequel series. In this installment: Mal contacts the Baron von Jeffery. Elsewhere, River has run off...

Antebellum - Book I: Chapter Ten
The tenth chapter in a Big Damn Sequel series. In this installment: After a fine dinner at the Novaks...

Antebellum - Book I: Chapter Nine
The ninth chapter in a Big Damn Sequel series. In this installment: The newly awakened Readers make everyone just a little nervous.

Antebellum - Book I: Chapter Eight
The eighth (belated) chapter in a Big Damn Sequel Series. In this installment: The crew makes it to Neo Sombra and everything goes as planned (i.e. poorly).

Antebellum - Book I: Chapter Seven
The seventh chapter in a Big Damn Sequel series. In this installment: No one's sleeping on the Road to Neo Sombra, with vague sprinklings of M/I and S/K added for good measure.