Extra Cargo Chapter 2 (Revised)
Monday, January 2, 2006

A different version of girl in a box. I've been updating Chapter 2 as I write Chapter 3. Working on that whole consistancy thing.


Chapter 2

Most everyone was sitting around the table in the common area talking about the day, how Mal “lost” his wallet, and the woman who wanted to ship a box to Boros, when Inara glided in.

“Mal, the cargo you picked up is thumping. Is it supposed to do that?”

“Uh, no; it’s just some dresses and other pretties for someone on Boros.” Commented Mal as he shoved his chair back from the table and headed quickly towards the cargo area with everyone thundering after him.

Wash took up the rear and rather thought that they resembled a small herd of stampeding dinosaurs. Shepard Book was a brontosaurus; a large spirit, gentle except when directly threatened. Jayne was apaeotosaurus, a deceptive lizard. Kaylee was a quetzalcoatus, a birdlike creature soaring high above chaos. “Wuh de tyen ah! That box really is thumping.” Exclaimed Wash watching the crate thump back and forth as though someone or something was trying to get out “I hope it’s a beagle. I like beagles.”

“Ten, eleven. Five, six.” muttered River as she rushed out of the cargo bay heading someplace that was of great importance that only she could discern. “Not beagles…” They would have all heard if they had been listening; but, they were staring raptly at the box that was thumping quite rhythmically.

“Cap’n; be careful…said Kaylee quite concernedly as she stood next to Simon watching Mal approach the crate. Reaching the crate, Mal watching it for a minute and then popped the single latch and watched in amazement as the front fell open and a small dirty child fell out clutching a ragged stuffed horse under one arm and a small vicious looking knife in it’s left hand. Kaylee rushed forward to try and comfort or just to do something for the snarling child. Mal grabbed her arm as she tried to kneel down and get close to the child. “Ni hao.” she said gently shaking off Mal’s arm and kneeling down to be at eye level with the child. “Are you ok?”

“Is that a boy or a girl?” whispered Jayne to Wash.

”My name is Kaylee. What’s yours?” In response the child’s eyes skittered across the hold saw Mal and the others milling around the crate; clutching the horse and the knife scrambled back into the recesses of Serenity where no one could get her. Shaking free of Mal, Kaylee went after the child making comforting noises. Inara and Simon followed Kaylee hoping to lure the child out.

“Well, that went well.” Mal shook his head and lifted the top of the crate wondering if there was any information about it in there.

“Interesting cargo indeed, Kaylee got her wish indeed.” Commented Book as he watched Mal remove an old army issue brown coat to reveal several neatly packed items: a small Buddha, a gold cross, a battered wallet, and a change of clothes.

“My wallet!” yelped Mal snatching it out and turning to show Zoë, revealing the letter beneath it. Book saw that the letter was addressed in a spidery handwriting simply to Capt. Reynolds; he reached in took it out before Wash, or Jane could see it and comment. As he took the letter he saw that there was another one addressed to Zoë Alleyne and he picked that one up as well.

As everyone started talking at once setting up a hum in the cargo bay Book reached over and took Mal’s arm, pulled him aside quietly and told him “I think you should see this.” Book then walked over to Zoë and repeated his actions. Zoe took the letter and headed out of the cargo bay to read it in private; this was getting strange enough she wanted to be alone when she opened the letter. Wash followed close at her heals, kind of like one of the beagles he’d been talking about earlier.

Turning around Mal took the letter, walking to the stairs, and sank down as he began to read. “Tzao gao,” he muttered to himself “My God” as he kept reading, “wuh de tyen ah,” he kept switching between Mandarin and English. He staggered up and walked dazedly over to where Kaylee, Inara, Simon and now River were trying to coax her out of Serenity’s bulkhead. “Caroline, her name is Caroline. Make sure Simon looks her over when you get her out.” And with that he went to his quarters to think.

“That ain’t no ruttin girl.” Jayne grunted at Book as he watched the retreating back of the Captain. And seeing as all the excitement was over headed out going to his quarters to clean Henrietta, his second best boot gun, as she had been exposed to the dust and grime on Persephone.

Book headed over to where Caroline was hiding and looking at the three of them milling around the hole said that he would bring her to Simon in the infirmary when she came out, and that all of the people hovering where probably terrifying her. After they all moved off towards the common room Book sat next to the hole where Caroline was hiding and began to talk in his calming voice. He told her that he was a Shepard, a Shepard from the Southdown Abbey on Persephone. He told her about the gardens there, and how on Tuesdays they always made special meals for the children. He told her about Serenity, and her crew; and that they were good people. He told her the story of David and Goliath. He told her about the places that he had been on Serenity, and the people he had met (severely edited for content).

As he was talking Caroline was listening, and she did remember the meals on Tuesdays at the Abbey; ma always made sure she went. And she liked the Shepards they were nice, gave her new shoes when hers got too bad. Gave her medicine when she was sick, not like that nasty doctor at the free clinic who stuck her with needles and shaved her head – he’d said she had bugs in her hair, and called her a dirty hwoon dahn.

Creeping out to sit next to the Shepard, clutching Zoey, she put her knife back in its holster. She was proud of the holster she’d made it herself; it held the knife upside down under her shirt so that she could grab it easily. She’d had to use it a couple times on the streets, once to stop some boys from torturing a cat, and once to stop some from taking her money. Book noticed, by weight and smell, that she had left her hidey hole; but, not wanting to scare her he kept talking about how he missed his garden. And someday how he wanted a garden again where he would grow strawberries for Kaylee, the mechanic; apples for Jayne and Wash; and vegetables for the dinner. Lots of kinds of vegetables: beans, peas, corn, squash, potatoes, cabbage, and lots of others.

Finally looking down at Caroline he asked “Are you hungry, little one?” She nodded still scared to speak, and wondering where was her ma; but, she was completely awed by the opulence of the shuttle.. She’d pretty much figured out that she wasn’t here. She really wanted to ask; but,...

“Well, we’d best get you washed up. Would you mind if Kaylee and Inara helped and got you some clean clothes?” Caroline shook her head no as Book stood up and took her hand and led her to Inara’s shuttle. As they were making the short walk, Book told her that Inara was really nice and wouldn’t hurt her. And he asked her if she would mind if he went and got dinner ready? She nodded no, a very tentative no as Book was knocking on the shuttle door.

“Come in.”

“Inara, this is Caroline. I’ve told her that you would be helping her clean up for dinner.”

“Sweetie, come in.” motioned Inara as she lit a stick of fragrant incense. “Of course I’ll help. Thank you Shepard.” Book took his leave presumably to tell Simon and the Captain that Caroline had come out and would be at dinner; but, that the exam had probably better wait as she was still rather skittish.

Finally gathering her voice and courage up Cat asked “Where’s Kaylee? She likes strawberries, I like them too; but, blueberries are better.”

“Let’s call her. She can help you shower and I will make you a dress for dinner. Would you like to call her?” Inara walked over to the comm system and motioned for Caroline to follow, showed her which buttons to push and what to say.

The next thing anyone heard was a tentative young female voice saying “Kaylee to Shuttle 1.” With wide eyes, a desire to please, and her finger still on the talk button, she turned to Inara “did I do that right?”

Inara gently took her finger off the talk button and told her that no-one else on the ship could do it that well. Hearing the page Kaylee hurried towards the shuttle.

Zoë was sitting with Wash’s arms around her on their bunk eyes not quite believing what she was reading. She kept muttering to herself, Mal, daughter, qin aide wo de ma; over and over again. Closing her eyes she saw Golensa, as she and Mal had known her, a young and vibrant woman looking forward to seeing planets other then her own. Not some used up, broken down junky whore whose sole aspiration was to that her daughter was safe. When her daughter was safe she could die peacefully; not hearing the screams of the dead anymore.

Fei hua -- Gorram – Damn Hwoon dahn -- Bastard Ni hao -- Hello Qin aide wo de ma – Dear mother of God Tzao gao – Damn it Wuh de tyen ah – My God


Monday, January 2, 2006 12:22 PM


Interesting start but you don't say how old the child is. Wonder what was written in Mal's letter? Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, January 2, 2006 4:36 PM


This is getting interesting! I can't wait to see what happens at dinner, and how Mal is going to act. Hope you post soon:)

Friday, January 6, 2006 7:45 AM


aww, caroline's sweet. even with the knife...



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<A HREF="" Chapter 1-4</A>,
<A HREF="" Chapter 6</A>,
<A HREF="" Chapter 8</A>,
<A HREF="" Chapter 9</A>, and
<A HREF="" Chapter 10</A>.

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I think starting at the beginning is always a good idea so here are all of the links <A HREF="" Chapter 1-4</A>, <A HREF="" Chapter 5</A>, and <A HREF="" Chapter 6</A>, <A HREF="" Chapter 7</A>, <A HREF="" Chapter 8</A>, and <A HREF="" Chapter 9</A>.
Thank you Mal4Prez for betaing my fluff! I really appreciate the help.

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This is the continuation of fluffy Extra Cargo series; not to much is serious. Starting at the beginning is always a good idea <A HREF="" Chapter 1-4</A>, <A HREF="" Chapter 5</A>, and <A HREF="" Chapter 6</A>, <A HREF="" Chapter 7</A>, and a new and retitled <A HREF="" Chapter 8</A>.

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Thanks to Mal4Prez for beta-reading! I don't know what I would do without you to fix everything.

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