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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Meeting with Badger to offload their goods, Mal, River, and Jayne learn some terrifying news.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1788 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
with apologies to Robert Heinlein for the bastardization of one of his titles…
previous story segments:
pt 01,pt 02,pt 03,pt 04
- - - - -
As the meal was coming to an end, the dessert being devoured to the last crumb, the light dinner chatter faded away until an unnatural silence filled the dining room. Forks eventually stopped scraping the plate for the last taste of the food, glasses of cider were not picked up and set back down on the table. Everyone’s focus eventually turned inward. Some of them stared up at the sunlight through the windows, some stared at their empty plates. One by one, they left the room, leaving the plates in the sink and wandering off to various parts of the ship. Eventually, only River was left alone at the table.
She sat and thought about the last time they had a meal nearly as good as this. The same thought had been on everyone else’s mind, in one form or another. That meal had been brought onboard by Shepherd Book, the day he and Simon and River first set foot on Serenity. The sadness that filled the empty room reminded her of how she felt inside about Book. They hadn’t really talked about Book or Wash a lot, being only a couple of weeks after the battle on that little moon so far off in the Black. She knew that Zoe cried a little every night, never letting anyone see, and that Kaylee had cried a good bit, usually comforted by Simon.
River missed them both immensely, she realized, a tear rolling down her cheek. Book, with his Bible and caring and patient nature, even though he had all of that hair that could crush his brain at any time. She smiled slightly thinking about the day on Canton that she had first seen all of his hair. Wash, with his dinosaurs and their funny voices, and his ability to make almost any situation into a joking matter. The world was definitely a darker place without those two men in it.
- - -
Several minutes later, Mal appeared in the doorway, his own frustrations melting away somewhat at the image of River sitting very peacefully where they had left her. That little girl had been through a lot, too much for a girl her age. Mal quietly cursed the Alliance, as happy as he could be about sending that broadwave. There would be repercussions, the Operative had warned him of that, and all Mal could do was wonder how they would come at him. He just had to keep moving, keep finding work, keep surviving. That was all they could do.
“Little one, it’s time to go,” he said, handing her a black cloak. “We all know you can take care of yourself in a fight, but if things actually go right this time, there shouldn’t be one.”
She smiled at him slightly, taking the cloak and donning it over her light blue sundress and bare feet. It dragged the ground a little, and she made sure her hair was tucked inside it before drifting away to the cargo bay. Jayne and Zoe were fastening the large crates to the wheeled mule, and Simon was pacing nearby, biting his nails and looking at them nervously.
As River descended into the cargo bay, Simon went to her and gave her a hug. “You get enough rest ,mei-mei? Do you feel up to this?”
She nodded, smiling slightly. “Should be smoother than last time. No Reavers. Hopefully no bugs to swallow either.”
He smiled back at her, remembering not too fondly the day they had almost left Serenity, left their home. It had been the first time he had ever slugged Mal, and to date, the only. Thinking about it brought on mixed feelings of power and sorrow.
He squeezed her shoulders, then watched as she got on the mule with Mal and Zoe, Jayne riding on top of the crates.
The motorized vehicle parted the crowds with ease, getting them to their rendezvous spot with relative ease. There they met up with Badger’s chief henchman, carrying his assault rifle with a not-so-sunny disposition. Mal thought about shooting him a huge grin, then thought better of it. The guy seemed to really want to use his gun, with which he was now motioning Mal toward Badger’s den.
Mal and Jayne entered, River and Zoe staying with the mule. Zoe was constantly scanning the crowd, in full soldier mode, and River was doing the same, on a different level. They stayed in the shadows as much as they could, never straying too far from the mule and their cargo.
“Hey there Badger,” Mal said, taking in his surroundings as his eyes adjusted to the light. “I trust it doesn’t matter at this point whether I have Alliance goods or not.”
Badger gave him a bit of a stare, then whistled and pointed outside. Four of his henchmen left to check out the cargo.
“Been meanin’ to have a word wit’ ya, ‘bou’ your lit’le fit’teen minutes o’ fame.”
“Oh, and why is that?” Mal responded coolly, shifting so that the only thing behind him was a wall, watching Jayne take his own observations of the room.
“Been some strange folk afoot, last cou’le weeks. Creepy folks. People are unset’led. Scared, you might say. Seems our friend Harrow up and got ‘imself killed, an’ in a bad way. Servants found him ‘n a pool of his own blood. Said he drownt innit. Said ev’ry blood vessel in his body burst clean open.”
Mal stared at Badger, transfixed. This didn’t make any sense. Who would, or more importantly, could do such a thing? But, but, how? His head was spinning and he braced himself on the table.
“Very bad men Mal, very bad,” came River’s voice over his earwig, more full of fear than he had ever heard it, which was a little more than disconcerting.
“Brace y’self Mal, that’s not the worst of it. Seems your pal A’erton, the man you stuck full of holes, ended up the same way, along with a dozen ‘r so of his hi’ falutin’ friends. They found 3 browncoats as well, linked ‘em to some sort o’ underground movement.”
“Nee ta ma duh tyen-shia suo-yo duh run doh gai si!!!” Mal could not believe what he was hearing. It seemed that anyone he or any of his crew had contact with ended up dying this horrific death. ‘You catch that, little albatross?’ he thought, hoping she was actively listening. His only reply was a very soft whimper.
Simon wandered into the engine room, spying Kaylee’s feet and legs sticking out from under the engine, and hearing her hum a quiet little song. He watched her for a minute, admiring how she just fixed bits of the engine without any education or training in the matter besides her own experiences.
He cleared his throat, forcing a smile when her grease-smeared face popped out from under the engine, smiling right back up at him.
“I’m really worried about River,” he blurted out. “She was in a weird mood this morning, one that I haven’t seen…” he hesitated…”haven’t seen since we were captured on Ariel.”
Kaylee stood up, wiping her hands on her coveralls and her face on an already dirty rag, which seemed to just smear it around even more. She walked over to him and wrapped her arms around him, looking into his face.
“Maybe it’s just a bad day, bao bei. You said yourself that she still has some pretty wild mood swings, even after she learned to control and use her implanted memories.” Kaylee ran a few fingers through the hair at the back of his neck, sending shivers down his spine.
“It’s just, well, she wasn’t nearly as afraid of the Alliance feds as I was, yet at one point the fear emanating from her was so intense it was almost a solid thing, if that makes any sense. Someone, or something, came into that hospital and made her feel that way. Also during that escape, we heard men screaming, dying, and they sounded to be in excruciating pain.” He stopped talking, breathing heavily. He had never talked about it to anyone, though now that he did he felt a little of the weight lifted from his shoulders.
Kaylee stood on her tip-toes to give him a greasy kiss on his forehead, not knowing what to say to him. She knew that he had just opened up a little more to her by telling her that, but being honest with herself, it gave her the crawlies just hearing him describe his ordeal.
He relaxed a little in her arms, knowing that she would be there for him no matter what, but also seeing the distress that his story had caused on her face. He looked at her and said, “It’s probably nothing, just me over-reacting in my protective big brother role. Do you need any help in here?”
“No, I was just about to take a break. Wanna go see if there is any cider left from lunch?”
Money changed hands, and goods were carried into warehouses. Mal, actually shaking Badger’s hand, said “So long as no one knows we have had contact, you’re safe, but you can’t be too careful.”
Badger gave a slight wink, and a nod, then returned to his desk as Mal and Jayne headed for the door.
SHE WAS HERE.
THEY WERE ALL HERE.
THEY TALKED TO HIM.
THEY MIGHT HAVE TALKED TO OTHERS.
EXTERMINATE THEM ALL.
. . .
WHERE DID THEY GO FROM HERE?
Translations ( from http://fireflychinese.home.att.net/episode.html ):
mei-mei – little sister
nee ta ma duh tyen-shia suo-yo duh run doh gai si – fuck everyone in the universe to death
bao bei – sweetheart
Friday, May 5, 2006 8:20 AM
Friday, May 5, 2006 9:17 AM
Friday, May 5, 2006 10:18 AM
Friday, May 5, 2006 10:45 AM
Friday, May 5, 2006 11:25 AM
Friday, May 5, 2006 9:08 PM
Monday, May 22, 2006 5:48 PM
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