BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

GUENEVER

Extra Cargo -- Chapter 11: Jonah 1.17
Thursday, March 2, 2006

Continuing the fluffy Extra Cargo series. The crates are open, and Simon finally figures everything out! He's a little slow. This is PG-13 or R for adult themes. I've been revising some of the chapters so that the story makes sense -- in particular Chapter 5 & Chapter 7. And as always starting at the beginning is always a good idea so here are all of the link for the ones I haven’t already listed up top: Chapter 1-4, Chapter 6, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, and Chapter 10.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 3159    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Jonah 1:17 And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

“Jayne, Jayne. Where ya goin’?” Caroline yelled careening around the corner and crashing into his legs.

“Going to lift weights, Mini-Mal.” He said lifting her and doing bicep curls with her. It was one of Caroline’s favorite things to have Jayne toss her around. He was the biggest strongest person she’d ever met. Jayne held her upside down and tickled her feet all the while still walking towards the cargo bay. Caroline was shrieking in laughter. “What cha doin’? Ain’t you got lessons or sumpin?”

“Finished them. Did adding, subtracting and spelling today. Shepard said someone should help me with my words. I don’t like spelling, it’s hard.”

Jayne grunted and spun Caroline right side up. “Didn’t like it much either. Always did a lot better in Geography.”

“Geography, what’s that?”

“Places. The names of places, where they is, and who lives there.” Jayne flipped her sideways and started tickling her stomach with his bristly face.

When she could catch her breath Caroline asked “You gonna teach me that? Everyone else is teachin’ somethin’. ‘Nara’s teachin’ me ta talk all fancified; so as I seem like a zang shang liu core person.”

They got to the hatch leading to the cargo bay. “Mebbe. This is where you get off little one.” Jayne made like he was going to drop her on her head before he gently set her down on her feet. “Need shoes to be in here.”

“Bye Jayne, I’m gonna go paint clouds with River. Ba’ says I gotta wear my old clothes to paint.” Caroline waved and skipped off.

Jayne nodded and walked down into the cargo bay. Kid seemed a lot happier since she’d shown up weighed more too. He looked around the cargo bay; Simon was running his hands over the crates going to Pythagoras like he was going to hump ‘em. Gorram doc and his moon-brain sister were pieces of work.

Mal could hear the shrieking from his place at the dining room table -- made it gorram hard to concentrate on the books. It sounded like they were really running around; maybe Caroline would sleep through the night without any nightmares for once.

“If you break your heads open I ain’t cleaning it up” he bellowed, although it was a good thing that she was having fun, and wasn’t hauling that stuffed horse everywhere. Girl deserved a childhood. She’d even let Inara fix it – it now looked kinda’ like a horse again. It still only had three legs; but, she’d refilled it and sewed it closed and added yarn to give it a mane and tail.

“Ni ta ma de,” he thought to himself. The columns of numbers were starting to fuzz and become double. “Sleep, sleep would be good. How many nights have I been up with the little one? Last night it had been dreams of giant whales, giant purple whales that ate people. Whales that were taking away Golensa away?”

Mal shook his head staring at the books “Whales.”

“Whales, Sir?”

Mal looked up to see Zoë standing in the galley holding a glass with a very quizzical look on her face. She had a glow around her, a glow that screamed good sex. Mal ignored that and talked to her hair “Caroline dreamed about purple whales last night. Purple bellied whale takin’ away Golensa; one had her in its belly. Kept her awake for the better part of the night.”

“Well we all got our nightmares. Gotta figure out how to deal with them individually.”

“Yep Zo, we all have our own demons.” The two of them shared a look that spoke more then words ever could. It spoke of war and peace. Good times and bad. Sickness and health.

Kaylee wandered in hunting for a snack, breaking the moment. She wasn’t too fond of the grey goopy gao se either, and had taken to eating a much lighter morning meal then she was used to. Zoë was looking all kinds of satisfied, had kind of a glow around her tousled hair. Made Kaylee all kinds of envious, she wished that someone would make her feel that way. Simon didn’t even look at her anymore since he’d gotten that holo-imager.

Mal looked over at Kaylee, “your turn to cook dinner tonight, mei-mei?”

She grinned over at them “Nope, River’s cookin’; got some grand idea ‘bout sumpin she said we all must eat tonight. Sumpin about Simon Surprise, I don’ know.”

Zoë looked at Kaylee and then Mal “You helpin’ her?”

Mal looked over at Kaylee “Certainly hope you are. Her last effort was quite interesting; and inedible if I remember correctly.”

“Of course I’m helpin’ her Cap.”

“Jonah, the story of Jonah and the whale. Whale ate Jonah, stomach three moon cycles. Shepard’s symbol tells it. Whale vomited Jonah up; people taste bad.” Everyone turned to look at River standing in the door her hair hanging in dark streams down and her shoulders.

“So, Shepard’s telling my nǚ hair gorram bible stories.” Zoë left taking Wash a snack of protein crackers.

“I think it’s shiny. Mom used to tell us all bible stories back at home after dinner. We’d all be sittin’ round her in the living room she’d have her sewing; ba’ would have some engine part he was tryin’ to fix at the table. The boys would be playing cards or checkers.”

“Right shiny, keep her up all night. Keep me up all night, just what I need to keep everything together.”

“Cap, I’m sure he don’t mean no harm. Shepard’s a good man. Telling her stories he knows. They’re good stories.”

“Don’t want no preachin’ on my boat. This ain’t no gorram church. Don’t want no preacher man spouting off gibberish, warp her mind.”

“The LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.”

Kaylee and Mal watched as River walked around the galley seemingly in a trance telling the story of Jonah.

“Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.”

Mal glared alternating between River and Kaylee. “I’ll get her outta here; leave you to your broodin” Kaylee said.

As soon as Kaylee touched River her head snapped around. “Girl in the box. Jonah made her come out.”

“What are you talkin’ about?”

“Back into the box, Shepard, Jonah, calm.”

Kaylee looked at Mal. “I think she’s saying that Jonah and the whale is the story that Shepard Book told Caroline when she was hiding after we found her. Am I right bao-bei?” River nodded yes, shook off Kaylee, and pirouetted out of galley. A fragile looking little bird in big combat boots.

“Least Jayne ain’t tellin’ her ghost stories ‘bout reavers or other stuff” Kaylee added.

He crossed his arms and pushed back in his chair sighing “True nuff, true nuff, gotta be thankful for the small things.”

Kaylee looked at Mal, looked at the ledger in front him and bounced out of the galley “I gotta go work on some wiring in the bridge; don’t want my Cap’n mad at me.”

“Too gorram cheerful,” muttered Mal slamming the account book shut.

“I’m a mean old man, you best remember that” he yelled after the vanishing figure of Kaylee. A nap was what he needed, Mal stood up, stretched, picked up his account book. Mal planned to walk up to the bridge after dropping the book down into his now shared quarters. He looked around and saw girl clothes scattered around, draped across the bench, and over his bed. Zoey, the horse, was dangling from the ceiling. Pink frippery was scattered across the floor, furniture, and bunks. His clothing drawers were opened had been gone through. His one spare pair of suspenders was tied to the bench.

“Caroline!” Mal smacked the comm button, although the whole ship could hear him without the added amplification “Caroline, get down here now.” He was bellowing so loud that the comm system acted as an echo.

A small tousled head popped down the hatch. “What?”

“What in the gorram hell has happened in here?” Mal was scowling sternly up at her. “Get down here.”

Caroline tentatively climbed down the ladderwell and looked around “Playing.”

“Ya’ done?”

“No.”

“Yer done now.”

“No, I ain’t.”

“Not gonna repeat myself. Yer going to pick everythin’ up right now.”

“No, I ain’t” Caroline added emphatically stamping her bare foot. “Can’t make me.”

Mal picked her up by the back of her overalls and gave her a shake “Yes, I can. And yes you will.”

Dr. Spock had said to expect incidents like this when children were adjusting to new authority figures and new environments. He said that they were testing the boundaries of their behavioral envelope. Some psycho-babble like that.

“Ain’t fair; no one else has gotta keep their berths clean. Jayne don’t.”

“Nope, he don’t. He also ain’t sharin’ his bunk with me.”

“Ain’t fair.”

“Life ain’t fair. And why you arguin’ what’s been decided?”

“You can’t tell me what to do! You ain’t my ba’! Ma wouldn’ make me do the stuff you make you do.”

“I ain’t your ma. Don’t want to hear one more word outta you.”

“I hate you!” Caroline stomped her foot again, curled her toes back and kicked Mal in the shin.

Mal wished he was anywhere in the ‘verse but in this compartment right now. Anything would be better than dealing with her, dealing with this, right now. He reached over and grabbed back hold over to her pulled her over his knee as he sat on the bench in front of his desk. Caroline started crying as soon as his hand smacked her bottom the first time.

“Don’t think Kaylee, ‘Nara, and the rest of them would want to see all their work bein’ treated like this.” He smacked her butt again, and again. When he was done Mal held Caroline close, whispered into her hair over and over that he loved her. Finally she stopped sobbing, and was just whimpering.

Mal stood up settin’ Caroline on her feet. “You get this cleaned up. I don’t want nothin’ like this happening again. You’re gonna stay in here till chow. Dong ma?” He headed the ladder leaving a sniffing child standing in the middle of her mess.

“Shirrah. Cap’n. Shirrah.”

Quiet, peace and quiet. That was what he needed. Why couldn’t anything ever go smooth? Mal headed towards the bridge, figuring he’d go check the course, and be alone with the stars for the while. Reaching the bridge, he paused and took his a look out at the stars they held him in awe as they always did. It looked like Kaylee had finished with whatever she’d been up here doing. He settled down in the pilot’s chair and just looked out at the black. He let himself relax and mull through the events of the day at his own speed. Mal closed his eyes and propped his feet up on the control panel and drifted off to sleep.

“Funny looking large creature, wake up. It’s dinner” Mal opened his eyes to see a plastic Apatosaurus being waved in his face. “We will have to call in reinforcements if he doesn’t move soon. Send in squirming squealing women type creatures.”

“Rrrr…” growling appeared appropriate as he saw Wash having a conversation with a blue dinosaur. It was an Apatosaurus he’d learned the names of the dinosaurs that sat perched around the cockpit since Wash had come on board. Zoë and Kaylee knew ‘em all too; Zoë knew them best of all of them. Although since she was married to Wash, that was to be expected.

“The female beings cooked something special.”

“Smells fishy, what’s the occasion?”

“Fish. Exactly, strange looking human.” Wash set the dinosaur down on the nav screen and headed down to the fish dinner that had been cooked.

“Fish? Where’d they get gorram fish? We haven’t been planetside in a while.”

“That is a secret, one of the great secrets of the verse.” Mal stretched and followed Wash down to the galley. Everyone was already down there; it was its usual hive of activity. Caroline was setting the table, with Zoey tucked into the bib of her overalls. The horse was present again, that usually meant that she either wasn’t sure or wasn’t too happy about something. River was at the stove looking industrious, Kaylee was humming some annoying jingle that she must have gotten from the cortex, and furtively watching Simon. Shepard Book was sitting at the table reading, and Zoë, Inara and Jayne were sitting in the common area talking. Simon was reading what looked like the manual to the holo-imager. Boy was too interested in that machine if you asked him.

“Cap, I hope you don’t mind I went got Caroline.” Kaylee said from the counter from where she was watching River and Caroline.

At the mention of her name Caroline looked up hesitantly at Wash and Mal.

“Smells good.” Mal said looking quizzically at River. “What cha cooking?”

“Salmon Surprise for Simon.”

“Huh, sounds good. When’s it going to be ready?”

“It’s ready now.” River responded carrying the casserole dish to the table. Kaylee was right behind her with a basket of bread.

Mal looked around, and shouted to the gathered crew. “Chows on; get it while it’s hot.”

Everyone scrambled for a seat, salmon was a nice break from protein. Even if it was rehydrated. Plates were passed; Shepard Book said grace silently to his plate. Most everyone studiously ignored him.

“Crazy girl; this ain’t half bad.” Jayne said around a mouthful of food.

When Simon finally got his plate he looked down at the pink chunk of stuff on it. He poked it once, twice “Mei-Mei, what is this?”

“Simon Salmon Surprise.”

“She made it with Mr. Ricky’s dehydrated rehydrated Salmon treats.” Kaylee added “Don’t know where she got em; haven’t eaten any of them since we left Oeneus” realizing that mentioning ‘The Fish Job’ might still be too fresh in Mal’s mind she looked over at him “Dui bu qi, Cap. Didn’t mean to bring that up.”

“That’s ok, Li’l Kaylee.”

“Good grub River,” Wash added waving his fork in the air.

“Very nice,” Shepard contributed “What spicing did you use?”

“Dried dill.” River said staring at the ceiling. “Surprise inside whale, Jonah. Surprise inside Serenity, salmon.”

The din of dinner time conversation quieted as everyone was eating heartily. It was a very nice change from molded protein. Simon was staring petulantly at his Salmon Surprise. He really hated fish, and River knew that. Why would she call this gao se Simon’s Salmon Surprise? Had she squirreled away some dehydrated fish for all this time? Simon went back to thinking about the holo-imager -- maybe that would distract him from the food. This was better then the bouillabaisse, fish soup, that mother’s cook made. Fish soup, drug soup that’s what Mal’s blood had been when they’d freed him from the Alliance station on Oeneus. The few marks that remained on him were covered by hair and the last time he’d checked Mal out he was recovering fine, physically. Still needed to put on a little weight.

“The walls aren’t solid. They have doors that swing. Open, closed. Monsters sneak out.”

“Moonbrain girl’s spouting crazy stuff again. Shut her up Doc.”

Simon looked up at River, eyes darting from River, to Jayne, to Mal and back again. “It’s not crazy, it makes perfect sense. Monsters sneak out.” Simon got from the table dropping his chopsticks on the floor and sprinted out leaving his napkin in the wake of his path.

“Huh, what’s goin’ on?” Jayne sputtered.

Mal put his chopsticks and napkin on the table and followed Simon. “I intend to find out.”

Everyone else was right behind Mal. When they got down to the cargo bay they found Simon madly sorting through the pharmaceuticals and muttering to himself “sedatives, holo-imager, inter-cranial micro-surgery. I’m an idiot, a hun-dan sa-gua.”

Jayne chuckled and smacked his leg “I’ve been sayin’ that forever!”

River was trailing behind the groupl shaking her head. “Yu ben de, silly brother slow to catch on.”

“Doc, what’s goin’ on here?” Mal asked thinking that Simon was rapidly turning into his moonbrained sister.

Simon looked helplessly up at Mal. “There doing it.”

“Who’s doing what? And to whom?”

“This is interrogation equipment. Those rebels are going to do to other people what the Alliance did to you on Oeneus.

Bao bei -- Precious/treasure Dong ma? – Understand? Dui bu qi -- I’m sorry/forgive me Gao se -- Crap Gorram – Damn Hun dan -- Stupid Mei-mei – Little Sister Ni ta ma de -- Mother humper Nǚ hair – Daughter Sa gua -- idiot Shirr ah – Affirmative yu ben de -- stupid, foolish, silly zang shang liu - filthy, upper class

Many thanks to Mal4Prez for beta-reading. And for the ideas. Here's the link to her fic 'The Fish Job'.

COMMENTS

Thursday, March 2, 2006 12:42 PM

TAYEATRA


Oh wow! Fish Job Fun, and here's me thinking that those thrilling heroics were over and done with.

Liked Jane in this chapter, always nice to see a new side to him.

Also, yay for me... I think I might have managed first review!

Thursday, March 2, 2006 1:17 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


I have to say that this series is getting all manner of interesting ;)

And nice tie-in to Mal4Prez's "Fish Job"...should we be expecting a cross-pattern of stories?

BEB

Friday, March 3, 2006 2:35 AM

BOOKADDICT


Wow, interesting chapter! I like River's way of waking up Simon & the link with the "Fish Job".

Loved the Mal & Caroline interaction and of course any and all mention of Jayne!

Friday, March 3, 2006 5:26 AM

MAL4PREZ


Cross-over fun, weeee! I like how the link is working Guenever. And I agree with Bookaddict, Jayne and Caroline are adorable together.

m4p

Friday, March 3, 2006 5:27 AM

GUENEVER


I'm glad I could meet expectations on the link! Now if only we could get other people to link their stories loosely.

Friday, March 10, 2006 10:34 AM

AMDOBELL


What a place to end this gorram chapter! Please get the next part up soon. Very much enjoying this shiny story. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me


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