BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ADVENTURE

JAYRO

New Prospects: Chapter 8.2
Thursday, February 9, 2006

(*CONTAINS MOVIE SPOILERS*) A vengeful Niska has trapped Serenity and her crew aboard the Decamerone, an automated freighter bound for Reaver space. With time running short, our Big Damn Heroes have been working hard to extricate themselves...


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 3078    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Here’s the second part of Chapter 8. The first part was a little short, but it seemed to work best as a little cliffy!

8.2

Simon had offered to man the ‘com, partly because he wanted something to do, but mostly because he was fretting about River and Kaylee. Sitting in the pilot’s chair, he toyed nervously with his lower lip and stared distantly out the windshield at the unchanging view of the Decamerone’s hull. In truth, it wasn’t so much River he was concerned about - Simon knew enough now about his sister’s talents to admit that she could probably handle anything that came her way – but Kaylee: he had seen the naked terror in her eyes when she looked back at him before entering the airlock. It had taken fahn dahn like he had never seen in her before to volunteer for such a run, and for that he both respected her and feared for her. I guess we’re all finding out new things about ourselves today, he thought sombrely. He still couldn’t quite believe what he’d done. He had space-walked solo, and then bombarded his way into a full-burning space freighter. The more he looked back, the more it all seemed to have happened to someone else, someone far less rational and mild-mannered than he. Voices drifted to his ears from elsewhere within the ship. Mal and Jayne were in the dining area, and he heard their conversation clearest of all: they were debating the best way to proceed after they had stopped the Decamerone and extricated themselves from its clutches. This seemed a little previous to Simon, with River and Kaylee both not yet returned, but he supposed they needed to have a Plan A worked out as well as the more consistently utilized Plan B. Jayne’s voice was raised: he sounded particularly adamant that he be allowed to pay a visit to Trinity Station. Simon heard a snatch of something about a Round Hill, whatever that meant. To his surprise, and probably Jayne’s too, Mal was nodding his head in agreement. It wasn’t often that Mal and Jayne concurred about anything. “What's on your mind?” Simon blinked out of his reverie and looked across at Inara. He hadn’t even seen her come in, but she was a graceful woman and could move almost as silently as his sister. “They’ll be fine,” she added, recognising his thoughts. “It's a long way to travel. I’m sure we'll be hearing from them any moment.” “Yes. I hope so.” Simon matted his palms on his trousers and stretched his legs. “What are you doing up here?” “I thought I’d just come and give you a pat on the back, for what you did. Everyone seems to have forgotten you.” Simon looked humble. “Well… I only did it because I had to. I don’t mind telling you that I was frightened stiff the whole time.” “That doesn’t make it any less worthy.” Simon gave her a half-smile. “Is it your Companion training that enables you to say the right thing all of the time?” “No.” Inara’s eyes twinkled. “It’s pure talent.” Smiling more fully at this, Simon looked back down the corridor. Jayne and Mal were still talking, and they had been joined by Zoe, who was sitting on the edge of the table, listening intently to the captain. He considered something for a moment, and then looked back at Inara. “She’s told you, hasn’t she?” Inara looked momentarily quizzical, and then realisation dawned. “Oh… Zoe. Her ‘condition’. Yes – she confided in me yesterday.” “I thought so,” Simon said. “She said she wanted to tell everybody in her own time, and I guessed she would go to you first. My sister already knows, but then she has her own way of finding things out. I asked her to keep it to herself. I think she understands.” “I’m sure she does. She seems much happier in herself now.” “Yes.” Simon nodded slowly, cautiously. “I’m pleased with the way she’s responded to everything that’s happened. Back in that shuttle... it was the first time I’d seen the real her since before she went into that Academy. I think the whole thing was just so incredibly cathartic for her - it broke down some of the walls they built in her mind. Or put doors in them, at the very least.” “But you’re still worried.” Inara recognised the signs. “Of course. Her mental condition is still so fragile… this improvement in her could be as transient as it is welcome. I just can’t tell. I really need to examine her neural output again, to see what’s changed, but since we don’t seem to have a neural imager on board, I’ll have to settle for watching and worrying.” “Would you like me to see what strings I can pull on Sihnon?” Simon gave her a curious look. “How do you mean?” “I have connections there. There are people I haven’t spoken to in some time, but they certainly owe me a favour, and they might be in a position to provide such a service. If I recall correctly, there was a brand new hospital being built in Lu’Weng when I left. It must be up and running by now.” “An Alliance hospital?” “Naturally," said Inara. "But one bridge at a time, Simon. What do you say?” “I don’t know. I suppose I’m more accustomed to breaking into Core hospitals these days, so being offered free passage into one feels somewhat odd. I think I’d have to speak with River first.” “Of course. You let me know when you have. I’ll always do anything to help you both.” “Thank you, Inara.” Simon nodded his appreciation. After a pause, he added, “You’re a quite extraordinary woman.” Inara smiled warmly and was about to reply when they both heard something. A slight, crackly sound, drifting out of the ‘com speakers. A voice from the black.

---------------------------

Simon had no qualms about being suited up this time. Holding her good hand tightly, he helped Kaylee through the airlock hatch and onto the ladder. The rear of her suit looked as though it had been in the War. The shoulder armour was shattered and scored, the material beneath scuffed almost to tearing point. Even the fabric covering her helmet showed some signs of impact. His medical eye immediately recognised that her left arm was broken. The way it hung uselessly by her side, the way she winced every time it knocked against her body, everything pointed to a fracture. He would have to set that as soon as possible. His emotional eye was just jubilant to see her alive. “What happened?” he asked. “Something hit us,” River answered. Her radio was working just fine, as opposed to Kaylee’s, which was a crushed mess of valves and wiring. “A glancing blow, but Kaylee took it, not me. It was a thruster housing from an Alliance patrol boat. The series number isn’t relevant.” River closed the hatch above her head and quickly floated down to the ground. Simon pushed the button to restart the g-field, and Kaylee cried out as her arm was jolted by the sudden weight. “Kaylee, hang in there,” he said, trying to sound as calm and professional as possible. “We’re going to go down to the infirmary and get this splinted.” “I thought she’d been knocked into the black,” Kaylee said, shaking her head, her voice tight with pain. “I called and called and couldn’t get an answer, but then – I heard her in my head. She talked to me. Came to find me. Oh, it hurts… Simon…” Jayne opened the airlock door to allow them through. Mal was there, too, and Inara and Zoe, all of them radiating concern at Kaylee’s condition. “Zoe, the infirmary,” said Simon. “Prep 20cc of prepoxin, and a splint set. Hurry please.” “Is the job done?” demanded Mal. “Mal, please,” said Inara, sounding offended. “Kaylee’s hurt. She needs immediate medical attention.” “That she does. And the doctor’s gonna see to that. But I need to know where we’re at first. Mei-mei,” he said to Kaylee, “tell me: are we in business?” Kaylee nodded, as best she could. With her helmet off, Mal could see that all the colour was drained from her face. “Shiny,” she said weakly. “Good work, Kaylee. Doc, go get our champ fixed up. ‘Nara, go with him – help him with whatever he needs. River an’ Jayne: with me.” “Where we goin’?” asked Jayne, falling into step beside him. “To put the gorram brakes on,” said Mal. As they strode through the dining area, River removed the pin from her hair and shook it loose. “Kaylee couldn’t see me for the trees,” she said. “She was knocked away from me – ended up underneath the ship. Didn’t know where she was, didn’t know where I was. I heard her screaming. It guided me to her.” “Screamin’?” Jayne’s brow furrowed. “Thought her radio was knocked out?” River gave him an admonishing stare. “Silly Jayne. More than ears to hear with, remember?” They reached the flight deck. Still in her suit, River settled immediately into the co-pilot’s chair, and Mal regarded the jumble of components that was formerly a perfectly ordinary flight console. It suddenly looked real desperate. Was this really going to work? Then he remembered who had designed and built the thing – the gifted mechanic being patched up in his infirmary, and the gifted… well, gift, in front of him – and felt a renewed confidence. What did Inara tell you? Stop questionin’ the abilities of your folks. Of course it’ll work. “You know what you got to do with this?” “Yes. It’s very simple.” “For you, I imagine it is.” Mal looked at Jayne, and gestured toward the redundant helm. “Sit there and watch that navicomp screen. You sing out like a gorram parrot if you see us goin’ anywhere near Reaver space, dong-luh mah?” “Damn straight,” said Jayne, taking the seat. Mal rested his hands on the back of River’s chair. “All right, little albatross. Bring us good luck.” River pushed a series of buttons and the panel lit up haphazardly. “Signal’s strong,” she announced. “Waiting for a connection.”

---------------------------------

Simon injected Kaylee’s neck with the hypodermic pistol. She immediately sank into a grateful daze. “Will she be all right?” asked Inara. She was holding Kaylee’s good hand, since Simon had Zoe to assist him, and comforting seemed to be what she was best at. He had managed to extricate her from her space suit and lay bare the injured area; Inara noted with heartfelt fondness that Kaylee’s bra was also printed with little flowers. The skin of her arm and shoulder, and some of her neck, was less endearing to look at, already puffy and discoloured by massive bruising. “It seems like a clean break,” he said, gently feeling and moving it. “Should heal fine, if I splint and set it immediately.” “That’s something, at least.” “It’s quite high up. Looks like her shoulder armour took most of the impact. Lots of soft tissue trauma, but no deep-seated damage.” He turned to Zoe. “A cast pack, if you would. Behind you, second drawer down.” “She’s so lucky,” said Inara, gazing down at the sleepy mechanic. Simon knew what she meant. More to the right, and the blow would likely have broken her neck. As it was, she would merely have to cope with the inconvenience of being one-handed for a month or two. “A little luck is what we’ve been short of lately,” he said softly, caressing his girl’s dishevelled hair. She gave him a drowsy smile. “I’m glad it decided to come today.” “I agree. Although that wasn’t really what I was saying,” Inara said. “I meant: she’s lucky to have you to look after her.” Zoe handed him the cast pack, and it was then that they felt the first shudder - it ran though the table, and then the whole room. They looked at one other in alarm, and then in anticipation. “Something’s happening,” said Zoe. "That didn't come from us. That was bigger." “S’my girl,” murmured Kaylee dreamily.

-----------------------------

Mal watched with his heart in his mouth as River gently engaged the column and pushed a couple more buttons. Serenity shuddered again, a deep vibration that seemed to shake her to the core. The Decamerone’s drives were under sudden strain and that was being transmitted through the dock-and-lock, into their airframe. Metal spacers groaned; rivets chattered in their seating. “Signal holding,” River said, staring intently at her charts. “The other ship is responding. We’re beginning to decelerate.” The Decamerone was at full reverse thrust now, but stopping a four hundred thousand ton cargo freighter was no simple matter. It was a dance, a delicate balancing act of drives and attitude thrusters and pure dumb luck, and River Tam was a prima ballerina at the controls. “Eighty percent of initial speed,” she said, reaching to dab yet another button. “Seventy.” The hard braking effect could be felt now; the lateral forces interacting with Serenity’s g-field caused their stomachs to lurch more than a little. Mal gripped the back of River’s chair and braced his legs apart to counter the pushing sensation. River seemed not to notice. “Sixty,” she said, and then, “Fifty percent.” “Jayne?” he called. “Uh... I see a blue line comin’ on here, Mal. You said that weren't good, right?” “Da chung, wu dahn,” Mal said, under his breath. “How close are we?” “Too ruttin’ close.” “Thirty percent.” River’s fingers flew over the bastardised console, re-engaging the freighter’s main drives, and then took a firm grip of the control yoke. “Captain, you should tell the others to hold on to something - I'm not sure if this is going to work.” If she didn't know, nobody did, was Mal's guess. He snatched the ‘com from above his head and said, "Everybody brace yourselves, hard." River pushed the column to the left. And nothing happened. Mal heard Jayne cursing imaginatively in Chinese. His basic sentiment echoed very closely what Mal was thinking. River shook her head. Silly boys, she thought, smiling tolerantly. When will they ever learn that patience is a virtue? A few seconds later, delayed by the transmission time between Serenity and the tug, the Decamerone finally responded to River’s input, and began executing a curving hard-to-port. The superstructure groaned and shuddered under the strain of turning. Her glaring thrusters bellowed silently at the inky void, staining her wake with blue gases. Slowly but surely, the freighter veered away from the borders of Reaver space – and tabbed to her side like a tiny remora, Serenity went with her.

===========================

fahn dahn = a show of courage mei-mei = little sister dong ma? = understand? da chung wu dahn = big gun, no bullet

---------------------------------

COMMENTS

Thursday, February 9, 2006 7:22 AM

JAYRO


Again, thanks for being patient, you shiny shiny folks.

The good news is, Chapter 9 is already completed - I've just got to edit it a little more and then I'll post tomorrow. Talk about two coming along at once!

Chapter 10 will be the final part, and I'll write that over the weekend and post it on Monday. No rest for the wicked, though - I've already got a couple of ideas lined up for my next fic... Stay shiny, y'all!

Thursday, February 9, 2006 7:56 AM

SAFEAT2ND


Nice stuff Jayro!! Very in character with post Serenity. Or at least how I imagined it would be...

Keep it up!

Thursday, February 9, 2006 7:56 AM

GOR


Stay wicked then Jayro! ;) I'm liking this series a lot.

Thursday, February 9, 2006 8:01 AM

LEIASKY


Looking forward to the next part! I'm quite thoroughly hooked.

Of course, I want to read more about S/K.... but the story as a whole is good too:)

Thursday, February 9, 2006 8:26 AM

LEIGHKOHL


Just started reading the series and I am really enjoying it!!! Great Job! Can't wait to read your next post! I think you captured the realtionship between Simon and Inara very well in this chapter. And Mal in this chap is very in character(concerned for KAylee but wanting to make sure the job is done).

Thursday, February 9, 2006 9:18 AM

MAL4PREZ


Yay! Good story, and more tomorrow! I love River, calm and cool at the helm.

I hope they get to beat up on Niska some...

Thursday, February 9, 2006 9:56 AM

ALLIETHORN7


Good god, this is good stuff. Post the next part soon, if not earlier.;-)

Thursday, February 9, 2006 11:53 AM

OBSIDIANAGIRL


Editing...we don't need no stinkin' editing!

LOL

I love your story and River is a hero...WOOT!

I love were you are goin' with this...Mal is gonna need somethin' or someone in the near future to be his...

Sid putting her order in for RIVER and MAL shippiness/companionship.

Thursday, February 9, 2006 2:14 PM

ARCADIA


I just read through all the chapters and I must say, this is a quality fic. Good job. I eagerly await the next installment.

Thursday, February 9, 2006 2:18 PM

GWENFREWI


You just made me all kinds of happy.

Another chapter tomorrow. X-mas came early this year!

I love your fic. Can't get enough.

Thursday, February 9, 2006 2:48 PM

AMDOBELL


OOOooh, great stuff, might have known our little albatross would manage to steer them away from Reaver territory, just hope the rest of it goes smooth. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, February 10, 2006 6:55 AM

TAYEATRA


Yay... River's a big damn hero!

Love this series!

Thursday, January 11, 2007 7:06 AM

BLACKBEANIE


Awesome


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