untitled - Chapter 3
Wednesday, May 24, 2006

An unexpected development complecates things. Alot.


The next morning, Jayne threw up.

When Kaylee hurried from her bunk to check on him, she was startled nearly to tears by what she saw. His toilet was out, and he was half sitting half lying before it. His knuckles had gone white with the grip he kept on the seat, and his arms trembled with the effort of holding himself over it. His face was waxy pale. The smell in his room was beyond rancid, and Kaylee felt herself get a bit queasy. She half collapsed onto the comm. and cried “Simon, Jayne’s sick!” and hurried toward him. An imminent reaction was to feel his forehead. He was burning up, and Kaylee felt panic begin washing over her. She tugged at his arm, hoping to close up the toilet, he held tight. “Jayne.” She said, softly, “Jayne, let go.” He didn’t budge. Kaylee stood, trembling. Being who he was, she was surprised Jayne was so organized. There was a small glass in an alcove near his sink which she grabbed and filled with cool water. Dropping back to her knees, she offered it to him. “Jayne…” his eyes were unfocused. “Rinse your mouth out, please.”

Jayne grumbled, something that sounded like “I ain’t swore today, ma.” But he took the glss, and collapsed against the corner between the sinks wall and the adjoining one, where he downed the water and dropped the glass. Kaylee started to close up the toilet, but Jayne suddenly lunged forward, the water he’d just had coming imminently back up. Kaylee felt a little ill herself, queasy and terrified. She’d never seen Jayne like this…barley able to support the weight of his own upper body.

Suddenly, Simon was behind her, softly telling her to step away. She did, quickly. Simon checked Jayne over: Looked into his eyes, took his pulse, all sorts of doctorey-things that Kaylee tried to watch but from her position several feet away using the wall to keep herself standing, couldn’t. She saw Simon’s face for a moment, and it didn’t put her at ease. “Jayne.” She heard him say. His tone startled her, Simon never spoke gently to Jayne…never that she’d heard at least. “Jayne, can you get up? I need to get you to the infirmary.”

Jayne looked at Simon, a bit unfocused. “Huh? ‘Firmary? What’s…” a slight pause, then, an almost disturbingly calm expression that by no means belonged on Jayne’s face. “Too late doc. Betcha I know what I got.” He seemed on the verge of loosing consciousness for a moment. Softly, he mumbled “Artemis Syndrome.” Jayne almost laughed “Gorram candy gave me Artemis Syndrome.”

“Jayne, you’re sick.” Simon responded. “There’s no need to jump to conclusions…” Jayne laughed, hollowly. “If you come to the infirmary…I can help.”

Jayne nodded, and then looked up at Simon. “Always safe under your knife.” He seemed to exert what, by his expression, seemed a great effort with no visable result. Then, a slight, wry smile as he asked Simon “Can ya lift me? Best I can conjure answer’s no…” Then, he winced. “Damn…hurts…”

“Kaylee, get the Captain.” Simon ordered calmly over his shoulder. Kaylee turned, and hurried to over near the wide-open door, where she hit the comm. “Cap’n.” she called. As if he’d been anticipating that very thing, Mal started down the ladder of the still-open door. It didn’t quite register with her that he’d heard the first, panicked call saying Jayne was sick. Only that he was suddenly across the room, helping Simon lift Jayne. Kaylee scurried up the ladder and out of the way.

She felt helpless, trailing them to the medbay. Jayne was sick…something was seriously wrong with him…the hand she’d felt his forehead with was still several degrees warmer then the other just from that touch. This was an emergency she couldn’t do anything about. Couldn’t just run down to the engine room and make everything go even just a little smoother. Couldn’t stand around trying to find out every little thing, Mal was already on that. River was in the medbay too, seemed she had things laid out before they got there. She found herself standing by Shepherd, who was off to one side, praying softly.

“Kaylee.” Mal said suddenly, breaking into the haze of helplessness that had descended on her. “Get on the cortex with Jayne’s ma.” Kaylee turned, hurrying to do just that.


“Shepherd” Mal continued “I think it’d be best if you get goin’ real quick. Wash is takin’ you in Shuttle two, sellin’ goods while he’s at it…”

“NO!” Jayne cried, sitting up, suddenly. All eyes turned to him. He was clearly feverish, and his eyes seemed almost mad. “Ya can’t sell that candy, Mal.” He said, reaching, grabbing at the Captain, who stepped aside just enough. “It’s contaminated.” His eyes turned slowly to River, who was standing placidly in a corner. “Girl tried to warn me ‘fore I ate any.” Jayne looked back at Mal, almost terrified, and not entirely lucid. “Can’t sell it…”

“Jayne…” Mal began to explain, feeling safe enough to approach again. “We don’t got goods, we don’t get paid. We don’t have a paycheck comin’ we don’t have a cover to stick around for our other job.”

“It ain’t worth it.” Jayne rasped, turning to Simon. “Doc, tell ‘em, tell ‘em it’s Artemis Syndrome.”

Mal looked at Simon, who said “He has a dangerously high fever that needs to be brought down imminently. I’d say his body’s fighting a bacterial infection.” A slight pause followed before Simon added “Which could very well have been caused by contaminated food.”

“Artemis Syndrome took out ‘bout half my town ‘fore we figured out what it was.” Jayne tired, in his desperation, to stand, Simon held him back. He stared, pleadingly, at Mal. The near fury in his voice was evident as he said “All ‘cause some Chou wang ba dan wanted his pay. You ain’t like that, are ya, Mal?” He stared for a long moment, nearly unblinking. Mal was more then a bit unnerved by that feverish stare, which he only barley managed to meet.

“Jayne I…”

Suddenly, Jayne relaxed. “You ain’t.” He mumbled. “You won’t sell it.” His words became almost intelligible after that. Mal thought he heard something about a factory…but it was unclear.

Mal turned. “Shepherd, you and Wash best get. Don’t want his step-daddy findin’ out…”

“He wants the preacher.” River interrupted suddenly. “Wants him here.” She clarified once she had everyone’s attention. “Can’t rest easy otherwise. Thinks he dosen’t have long. Dosen’t want to die alone. Not afraid…few words said and a nice little plot of ground here at home.”

“Jayne…” Shepherd said, approaching the only semi-conscious man currently on the exam table. “Jayne, you’re not going to die.” A short pause, no response “Listen to me, You’re not…”

Jayne bolted upright, Shepherd was forced back several steps and Simon was imminently there with a basin to catch the remaining contents of Jayne’s stomach. Still doubled over, Jayne mumbled “Everybody goes sometime” then dropped back and looked up a bit “Don’t get me wrong, preacher, I don’t wanna…” he trailed off, then reached, calloused fingers griping the Shepherd’s grey shirt with a surprising strength considering his condition. The gesture spoke volumes, and was punctuated by silence.

“I could go, Mal.”

No one had noted Inara standing in the doorway until that moment. She approached slowly. “No one would question me being gone, seeing as we’re docked, and I don’t have any actual appointments…”

“Inara, I don’t think you realize…”

“Realize what?” Inara interrupted. “The danger? or do you just think I couldn’t write a decent article afterwards?”

“Inara, you ain’t crew.” Mal protested.

Inara looked insulted. “So you turn to Shepherd?” In the pause that followed, the tension was tangible. Finally, she said “Mal? Is there another option?”

“If I may interrupt…” Shepherd interjected before things could get awkward again. Mal nodded. “Speak your piece.”

“How important is this job to you?”

“Now that we ain’t got sellable cargo? We’re short funds and a cover.”

“In other words.” Shepherd responded. “It’d be best if whoever went in…had their own transportation back out.”

All eyes turned back to Inara. Including Mal’s. Who broke the ensuing silence with a string of Chinese expletives that, moreso then any order he could have given, made absolutely clear what needed to be done.


The cortex beeped. Fred Cobb wandered over to it. A picture of a young woman, labeled “Serenity” sat in the corner of the screen. Sitting quickly, she tapped the image.

The young woman seemed a bit startled. “Could…Could I speak to Mrs. Cobb please?”

“She’s in bed.” Fred responded. “I’m Fred Cobb. Are you from Jayne’s ship?”

The girl nodded, and swallowed. Something was wrong. “You’re…Jayne’s…sister?”

Fred nodded, the feeling that something was wrong overwhelming her. “Yeah. Is he alright?”

The girl shook her head, tearing up a bit. Her words were forced, painfully, needing to be said. “He…he got sick…this morning. He…um…he thinks it’s…Artemis Syndrome…”

Fred’s world collapsed around her. Her hand flew to her mouth, her eyes filled with tears. She struggled to breathe. Artemis Syndrome…


“Jayne!” 11-year-old Fred Cobb greeted, running to her brother as he crossed the greenish brown tangle that was their apartment’s miserable excuse for a lawn. She fell imminently into his embrace. “I’m so glad you could make it.”

“I had to mei-mei.” 15-year-old Jayne Cobb responded gently, patting his sister’s hair. “How’s pa?”

“He’s…” Fred choked. “He’s dying Jayne! He’s dying and there’s nothin’ anyone can do about it!”

“Doc Worther can’t help?” Fred shook her head, not pulling it away from his chest. “He said…said…he’d put him on antibiotics.”


“I’ve put him on antibiotics.” Simon Tam explained “It should kill some of the bacteria his body is…violently…rejecting.”


“Said it should kill the bacteria.” Fred continued. “But…there’s too much of it…”


“The bacteria multiplies…very quickly.” Simon continued. “His body is fighting its hardest against it…”


“His body’s fighting real hard…too hard, wearing itself out.”


“The bacteria itself isn’t the problem, the problem is his body’s reaction to it.”


“Doc says…if he could bring the fever down…then maybe…maybe…”


“If we can get his fever down then he stands a good chance of this just being a passing illness.”

“But…you…havn’t gotten the fever down yet.” Shepherd responded.

Simon shook his head. “I’m afraid not. There’s…a lot of things left to be done…”

“Can I help?”

Simon shrugged. “For now? Just…”


“That’s not a bad idea.”


Wednesday, May 24, 2006 3:52 PM


Oh no! I hope Jayne gets better!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 4:58 PM


Great continuation, but please don't let Jayne die! I love that everyone is trying to help and that Jayne reaches out to the preacher.

Good I need the next chapter!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 5:29 PM


Oh my good. I'm cringing and gasping here. Please post the next bit in this story soon. Please let Jayne be alright.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 11:52 PM


Poor Jayne, I'm hoping it's not Artemis Syndrome and that Simon can bring down his temperature to give his body a chance to shake the gorram fever off and let the antibiotics do their job. But you just couldn't resist, could you? You have to go and call Jayne's sister - Fred! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, May 25, 2006 7:18 PM


Loved the alternating perspectives at the end, LadyKnight;)

Just hope you can have Simon fix Jayne ASAP....cuz you'll have a might big mob of Jayne-lovers after ya if you dodn't:P


Wednesday, December 27, 2006 9:40 AM


Please finish this! I know you're busy... but please?


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