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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Inara/Mal interactions, then a strange package from an old friend arrives.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1076 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,pt 05,pt 06,pt 07,pt 08
- - - - -
Inara re-joined the crew on the other side of the world, then they swiftly left and set a course for GreenLeaf. The journey passed relatively uneventfully, though Mal couldn’t help going to the cargo bay a couple of times to take a couple of shots with the Lassiter at random empty boxes and anything else he could find to shoot. During the last of these shooting sessions, Inara had gracefully descended from her shuttle, her interest engaged by the sound of the gun being discharged.
She watched from above for a minute, admiring the things she liked about Mal. He was still somewhat of a mystery to her. When he had showed up in that yu bun duh costume at the training house, on a mission to save her, she had feigned anger at him walking into the trap. Honestly, she had felt a great relief at seeing his face, that intoxicating smile of his beaming as he called her a tease.
He had saved her life by coming to get her, there was no doubt about that. The Operative would have left her dead without a second thought, caring more about cleaning the fresh blood from his blade than about the life that he had just ended. Even though she hated to admit it, his care for her well being had definitely endeared her to him, and after the shootout at the Heart of Gold and Nandi’s words to her, they both knew how the other felt, which had scared her into running away in the first place.
Mal’s boyish grin brought her back to the present. He genuinely looked like a boy on Christmas morning, no worries in the ‘verse except not having enough hours in the day to work in all the fun he had planned. He drew the gun, shooting from the hip, and incinerated an empty protein container. He mimicked blowing away the smoke from the end of the barrel, which caused Inara to let out an almost inaudible giggle. Mal looked up at her, smiling even bigger when he realized who it was.
“Guess you’ve been watching for a while,” Mal said, looking up at her.
“Well Mal, you’re not the only one on this boat who knows how to eavesdrop,” she shot back with a smile. “I didn’t realize that was working, nor that playing with a priceless artifact had become an acceptable pastime.”
“River actually got it working, though she locked us all out of the ship while doing so. Still, it is an amazing piece, and if I can’t make any coin off of it, I might as well put it to some use.” He looked down at the laser, smiling again, then offered it to Inara. “Wanna give it a try?”
Inara looked at the gun, tempted to refuse his offer just to spite him, then recanted and took the offered piece. Mal set up another protein box, then stepped back to let her take her shot. She purposefully raised the gun clumsily and pointed it in the direction of the target, not anywhere near where it would need to be to hit it.
“Whoa woman, careful where you point that. Don’t want you putting any holes in my ship. Let me help you with that.”
Mal walked over to Inara, stepping up behind her to help her to steady the weapon. With his right arm he helped to steady her right arm, his left wrapping around her to show her how to support the bottom of the gun herself. He held her steady as she squeezed off a shot, barely missing center but incinerating the target nonetheless.
“I wish this thing had been working when I caught Saffron off her guard on Bollerophon,” she said, happy that her deception had worked. She pressed her body against his slightly, turning her neck up to try and catch his scent. He smelled musky, sweat and dirt mixing with his natural smell, with the slightest odor of gun oil to balance and mix into a scent that was distinctly Mal’s.
His nose caught her scent, rising from her exposed neck. She smelled of sandalwood and rose, her bare skin perfect. Everything about her seemed perfect. She always wore outfits that showed her slender figure, and her hair was always done just the right way, no matter what style she decided on. Mal looked down at her neck and jaw line, fighting with all of his resolve to keep from placing his lips there.
“Captain, you may want to come up to the bridge,” River’s singsong voice rang over the com. “There’s a ship up ahead that may be of some concern.
Mal reluctantly disengaged himself from Inara, focusing intently on the sight and smell of her before heading upstairs to the bridge.
- - -
When Mal made it up to the bridge, he was greeted with an unwelcome sight. Directly in their path was an Alliance cruiser. Mal stared at it for a moment before River brought him back to the present.
“They haven’t hailed us yet, Captain. We can alter course to avoid them, if you like. If we do continue our present course, they will most assuredly pull us in and board us. I would like to avoid that if possible, and I am sure you would too.”
“Yes, little albatross. I’d like to try to not be too obvious about it, but at this point almost any action we take will raise their suspicions. Try to find a vector that will give us a good escape route if they send out their gunships.”
River disengaged the auto-pilot from their previous course, searching for a vector on the NavSat that would get them shy of the cruiser’s range. A moment later, Serenity and her crew were safely around the cruiser, that hadn’t seemed to even notice them, and back on their way to GreenLeaf.
“Good work little one. Let me know when we are about to break atmo.”
Mal left the bridge, headed for his bunk, as River stared out into the all-encompassing Black, lost within her own dark and convoluted thoughts.
They landed on GreenLeaf at the designated site and began to unload their cargo. They received the second half of their payment, parting on good terms. Mal couldn’t help but think that he had endangered the lives of these men by dealing with them, but he still had to make a living, creepy stalkers or not.
As he headed back up the ramp onto the ship, he heard a voice behind him.
“You’re a very hard man to catch up with, Captain Reynolds.”
River felt the men outside the cargo bay before she looked out to see them. They had a familiar feel to them. It was a feeling of warm compassion, of understanding, and of a fellowship that she didn’t quite understand, which was odd, because she usually understood everything. She stood and thought about it for a long time, a deliberate frown on her face.
Mal turned around slowly, keeping his hands in plain sight.
The sight that greeted his eyes dumbfounded him, his jaw going slack.
Three men, each wearing the clothing of a Shepherd, stood around a large wooden crate. A ground-based mule was nearby, hooked to the trailer that carried the crate.
“How?...Why?...What??...Who are…?” Mal stuttered, trying to comprehend the situation. “Why were you looking for me?”
The Shepherds were all standing in a non-threatening position, two with their hands clasped in front, the third with his arms at his side. It seemed to Mal that they meant no harm, but he knew better than to trust anyone for what they appeared to be, so he kept his hand prepared to grab his gun but relaxed at his side.
“This crate is for you. We have instructions to deliver it to you.”
“Really? Well, what is it? Who is it from?” Mal had been hesitant to accept unknown crates ever since that damn fool Tracey had mailed himself to them.
“We don’t know what’s in it, we didn’t pack it. We just have instructions for delivery. However, we can tell you who it’s from.”
After a moment that stretched into a lifetime, Mal asked “Well, who is it?”
“The late Shepherd Derria Book.”
Silence. The words echoed in the cargo bay and finally sunk in.
“Gao yang jong duh goo yang!”
How the hell could this be from Book?!? Mal’s head was spinning, his brain overflowing with possible explanations.
“We had instructions to bring some of his personal effects to you upon his death. He left very specific instructions as to what to bring, and who everything goes to. Other brothers at the abbey packed it, we picked it up on our last visit there. We have been following you for a couple of weeks. As I said, you’re a hard man to catch up to.”
“How do I know you’re telling the truth?”
“His instructions say to mention ‘A Special Hell’ to you and to remind whoever Jayne is about ‘poems and songs.’
Mal looked at Jayne, who nodded. He turned back to the men.
“Alright, we’ll take it. Jayne, help these guys get it into the cargo bay.”
Jayne and the three Shepherds each grabbed a corner of the large crate. They carried it into Serenity, the Shepherds walking solemnly out in a single line. The one who had spoken stopped and offered his hand to Mal, who absentmindedly shook it, still thinking about Book. The Shepherds boarded their mule and headed west, toward the city.
Jayne already had gotten out a crowbar, eager to see what the box contained. Everyone else was gathering around as well. Mal walked up the ramp, closing it behind him, and joined the rest of the group.
Jayne finished removing the top of the crate, tossing it aside. Inside was a very odd collection of objects. Jayne pulled out a couple of packages and stepped aside to look at them. One was a box of finely crafted hand rolled cigars, the other a bottle of some decent bourbon.
Mal approached the crate, seeing Jayne distracted with his things. He began to pull out more items. There was an old beaten Bible with writing in it and page missing for River. For Kaylee there was a package of freeze-dried strawberries. Inara received a small white box, which promptly disappeared into her robe. There were two exquisite pistols, of the highest craftsmanship, adorned with the most intricately carved grips they had ever seen. Mal removed them from the crate almost reverently, handing one to Zoe before turning his over in his hands to further examine it. After a moment, he put it aside, saving the treasure for a future inspection. He pulled several electronic encyclopedias out and handed them to Simon. He removed a thin, flat package with his name on it and held it under one arm.
The last package, at the very bottom of the crate, was a rectangular box, cold steel, and roughly the size of a shoebox. Mal hesitated before grabbing it, staring at it with a contemptuous look.
River walked over, knowing what Mal had seen but needing to verify it with her own eyes. As she peered into the box, her face devoid of all emotion, the electromagnetic waves that were absorbed and processed by her optical nerve verified what the neurons in her brain had seen through Mal’s eyes.
River’s name was on the shiny box, right beside a Blue Sun logo…
Translations ( from http://fireflychinese.home.att.net/episode.html ):
yu bun duh - stupid
gao yang jong duh goo yang – motherless goats of all motherless goats
Friday, May 12, 2006 11:18 AM
Friday, May 12, 2006 11:49 AM
Friday, May 12, 2006 5:22 PM
Friday, May 12, 2006 6:12 PM
Friday, May 12, 2006 9:38 PM
Friday, May 12, 2006 10:03 PM
Saturday, May 13, 2006 11:16 AM
Sunday, May 14, 2006 6:51 PM
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