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Simon's Story - Simon goes back home
Monday, June 12, 2006

This is written as if it's an episode inside Serenity the movie


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 906    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Mr Universe stared out of the screen at Mal, Wash and Zoe, ‘it’s Alliance and it’s high military. They have gone to enormous trouble to find your little friend – and found her they have. Do you all know what it is you’re carrying?’ ‘No,’ Mal admitted, ‘but I guess we’re gonna have to find out - somehow.’ ‘There’s a shadow on this, gotta backtrack my memory, yeah that’s it the brother, there was a message for him. Contact home. Can you get that to him?’ Mr Universe asked.

...Kaylee walked in to the infirmary looking for Simon. He was sat on the ledge at the side, his shoulders hunched, depression in his face. ‘Simon, tsai boo shr, you ain’t goin’ home,’ Kaylee insisted, standing in front of him. ‘What else am I going to do Kaylee? Since I’ve been on Serenity, I’ve been kidnapped, arrested, beaten up, shot. River told me things are going to get much, much worse. What if I’ve brought her out here to be killed?’ He rubbed his forehead, trying hard to think. ‘But Simon - ,’ Kaylee started to say. ‘And River,’ Simon interrupted, ‘she’s shot at least three people dead, then maybe more in the Maidenhead. She was ready to shoot the captain if I hadn’t found her, and she might have killed Jayne – every day has its good side,’ he finished, forgetting to laugh at his own joke. ‘But you know it ain’t safe to go back,’ Kaylee argued. ‘They’re my parents Kaylee, if I can’t trust them at all where do River and I stand anyway? Maybe they regret what they did, everyone’s fallible,’ he said. ‘If I knew what it meant I’d agree with you,’ Kaylee teased, but she couldn’t cheer him up. Mal walked into the room. ‘So you’re going,’ he commented. Simon nodded. ‘Capt’n they can’t do anything can they? Kaylee pleaded, ‘Simon hasn’t done anything wrong, ‘cept rescue his sister.’ ‘Hmmm, he’s got coin from the payroll heist on Lilac,’ reminded Mal, ‘and he set up the St Lucy's job - and he was on board for the Lassiter job. Not bad for a fugitive,’ he pushed the point home. ‘All right, bee-jway,’ said Kaylee covering her ears for a moment. Simon frowned in concentration, ‘I’ve thought of a way I can get to Osiris but keep River safe.’ ‘I’m listening,’ said Mal. ‘Dr Hawkins - Matt, was a friend of mine, we were students together at MedAcad. He’s got a place on Unison, one of Osiris’s moons. He’s not there often, just uses it for some downtime – and phenomenal parties. One time when we were …...’ Simon recalled, smiling at Kaylee, till he saw Mal’s blank face and quickly got back to the point. ‘I know all the access codes, though we’d have to avoid any service personnel. There’s a huge underground cavern where he keeps several short range craft to travel between moon and planet. Serenity will be undetected there if Wash’ll take me planetside in one of Matt’s ships.

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Serenity reached Unison safely and docked in the underground cavern. Kaylee wanted to stay onboard with River but the rest of the crew followed Simon out onto the docking bay. Wash noticed the smaller ships immediately. ‘Jing-tsai, LOOK,’ he admired, ‘these are exclusive ……..I’ve only seen pictures of these on the cortex.’ ‘Honey, they’re just ships,’ Zoe sighed. Yeah - but look,’ Wash repeated. ‘I’ll switch off the alarms and show you where everything is,’ Simon said to Zoe and she followed him upstairs followed by Mal and Jayne. They walked out into a beautiful spacious room - marble floors, fashionable, stylish furniture and towering glass doors opening out on to a huge expanse of landscaped terraces. Simon looked at Jayne, ‘I expect everything to still look like this when I come back.’ ‘I can be civilised - I won’t touch nothing,’ scowled Jayne. ‘Nothing, yes, don’t touch anything,’ Simon agreed. ‘Yeah, shiny,’ Jayne sneered as Simon looked at him doubtfully. ‘Hey doc, would I lie to you?’ he continued. ‘Er, yes,’ said Simon. ‘You got me there doc,’ Jayne shrugged. ‘Mal, Zoe, use the place as home. There’s probably food, drink,’ he said waving an arm in the direction of the kitchen. ‘Matt won’t notice, he never knows what’s here.’ With a last hard look at Jayne he left to join Wash. ‘Ain’t a bad place for some shore leave,’ Mal said looking round. ‘Yeah,’ said Jayne as he started to look on the shelves and in the cupboards for something good to eat. He jumped as something began to curl itself round his ankles. ‘Gorramit, a cat,’ he exclaimed, ‘don’t see many of those,’ and he picked it up. Zoe came over and stroked it till it began to purr. It was soft and white and Zoe noticed it had a kind of pearly sheen to its fur. ‘You wanna keep it, or can I skin it for the cooking pot?’ Jayne asked. ‘Jayne,’ Zoe glared at him, ‘it’s well-fed, it’s cared for, put it down and leave it alone.’ ‘Don’t seem right,’ he protested but he put the cat down and looked outside. ‘Hey a pool that’s where I’ll be,’ he stated opening one of the huge doors and letting himself out. Within a few minutes he was swimming rapidly across the pool.

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Wash sat happily at the controls of the small spacecraft. As they descended in to the planet’s atmosphere he realised that Simon hadn’t said a word since they left the moon. He glanced round at Simon’s serious face. ‘Don’t worry, I feel the same when I visit my family too,’ he joked. Simon managed a half smile. ‘Look take a com with you, keep in contact,’ Wash suggested. ‘I’ll always be in the ship or nearby. Even better if you’re still there tonight, tell me where and I’ll wait outside the security fence at midnight. You don’t show I call in the troops.’ ‘Yes, thanks, that’s a good idea,’ Simon nodded.

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Simon’s dad put his arm round his shoulder. ‘Simon it’s good to see you home,’ Gabriel said. His mother hugged him quickly, ‘you have no idea how much this means.’ Simon could see that for the moment at least, he was going to be welcomed home. Regan took him back to his old room so that he could freshen up and new clothes had been put out on the bed for him to change in to. ‘Dinner will be ready soon. Don’t be long, ‘she said. As Simon walked in to the dining room he felt at home immediately. The soft lighting, silver and crystal glinting on the table, tempting smells that proved no-one here lived on protein supplements. His mother was talking quietly to a beautiful woman, but stopped when she noticed him come in. ‘Simon you remember Penelope from MedAcad. She’s having dinner with us tonight.’ ‘Penny, yes, hi,’ he said remembering her and the fun they’d all had in their student days. He remembered too how amazing she had looked when she – no he thought that’s just a distraction. His parents were clever. He focused his mind on River and Kaylee back on Serenity. By the end of the meal Simon felt more relaxed than he had done in months. Everything was luxurious and elegant, people listened to him, he didn’t have to fight his corner all the time. Gabriel finished his glass of wine and turned to Simon. ‘Now we do need to have a serious conversation,’ he said. ‘I have good news for all of us. I’ve been talking to senior government officials and they’re willing to forget the past. Do you realise what a privilege that is? You can return to the Hospital, have control of your accounts again,’ he tapped his finger on the table to emphasise the point. ‘Your life can be exactly as it was before, all you need to do is tell us where River is.’ Simon frowned, ‘dad you know I can’t do that.’ Regan interrupted him, ‘Simon we know you think you’re doing the right thing but how can you do this to your sister. I thought all these months away would have taught you the value of the things you gave up.’ ‘Mother, you don’t understand,’ Simon said. ‘Simon, think about it,’ Penny said. ‘You’re trying to say that your sister was involved in secret experiments in a government-run facility. That she was being hurt, damaged, tortured by these people. Look around you. Does it look as though we live in a society where that could happen? This isn’t a dictatorship, everyone’s accountable. Can’t you see how these delusions are hurting everyone?’ ‘Penny,’ Simon said, ‘you really don’t understand. There’s no way I’d let River go back to the Academy.’ His father sighed, ‘Simon even if any of this was true, Dr Mathias who ran the Academy is dead now. Does that help? Does that change your thinking? We’re getting nowhere,’ he snapped in irritation. ‘Think about it overnight and let us know your decision in the morning.’ When Simon went back to his room that night he thought through the conversation again and then connected up to the cortex typing in ‘Dr Mathias’. It was true he was dead as the glowing obituary proved. Dr Mathias – tragic accident – shuttle crash – two security men died too – a sad loss to the scientific community. Could that mean that River would be safe if she came back? Would the project have finished with the doctor’s death? But what was this Miranda that River had on her mind. How was that connected? Life would be so much easier if they could come back home - and maybe he’d ask Kaylee if she wanted to see the central planets. Simon sat back and considered the options, but then remembered that he’d promised to meet Wash and realised that he should go and find him now. He went downstairs and could hear his dad still talking in the dining room so he decided to go and see him, talk things through again. He had his hand on the door but stopped when he heard an unfamiliar voice. ‘Everything is arranged, a doctor has agreed to sign the committal papers. We just need your signature too.’ ‘Perfect,’ Gabriel said, ‘once Simon is safely out of the way we’ll offer a further reward for River’s safe return.’ Simon’s looked stunned but his reaction was instant. He knew Wash would be waiting for him so he ran straight for the door outside. He stopped for a few moments till his eyes adjusted to the darkness and he could see Wash in the distance waiting just outside the security fence. Then he felt his arm grabbed, a needle go in and then he felt nothing at all.

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Kaylee brought in a drink for River. ‘Need a drink mei-mei? Can’t undo the cuffs but I can hold the cup for you.’ River drank thirstily at first but suddenly she stopped and pulled her lips away from the cup. ‘Someone’s coming,’ she said. ‘Where, where?’ said Kaylee looking round alarmed. ‘A shuttle, up there,’ she said looking upwards. Kaylee froze for a second and then grabbed a com to let the others know upstairs. Zoe answered then shouted to Mal, ‘move, we got company.’ Mal rolled under a long low table which was hidden by one of the large padded chairs. She ran outside and yelled at Jayne to get out of the pool and they both threw themselves flat behind a large flowering shrub just as a shuttle came into view. A man and a woman came out from the shuttle and let themselves in through the glass doors. ‘Reckon that’s Dr Hawkins,’ whispered Jayne scowling. ‘It is his home, guess he’s got a right to be here,’ Zoe pointed out. ‘Yeah, but I wish like hell he was elsewhere,’ Jayne growled. Zoe raised an eyebrow, ‘do you know what I wish Jayne?’ ‘No, what?’ said Jayne looking confused. Zoe didn’t usually get all whimsical. ‘I wish the hell you’d put some clothes on before we ended up horizontal out here,’ she said. ‘Er, yeah, guess I might want to see to that,’ said Jayne. Mal breathed as slowly as possible as Dr Hawkins walked into the room with a woman. ‘Help yourself to a drink Yu Jie, it’ll take me a minute or two to find the right papers,’ he said as he threw his coat across a chair almost hitting Mal in the face with a sleeve. ‘Hello Cleo,’ he said as the cat wound herself round his ankles. Yu Jie picked her up and started stroking her and Mal was grateful for the loud purring that filled the room. He could see Dr Matt Hawkins’s security ID card hanging from the pocket of the coat - no point in missing an opportunity he thought as he removed the card carefully. Dr Hawkins returned. ‘I’ve got what I need.’ ‘Simon will be all right though won’t he Matt?’ Yu Jie asked. ‘Sure the Sanctuary’s a psychiatric hospital but it’s run by the brothers and sisters of the Holy Order. You don’t know what his family’s been through, having to deal with his delusions, and dragging his sister down with him too. I’ll be pleased to sign the committal papers, it’s for his own good – a nice safe place to recover.’ ‘Good. I’m glad there’s something we can do,’ said Yu Jie. ‘I’ll get the ship to dock at the Hospital first. There’s some new drugs might be worth trying, we’ll pick some up from there.’ They left the house and returned to the shuttle, taking off and heading back to the mother ship. Mal absorbed all the information for a minute then crawled out of his hiding place to find Zoe and Jayne. ‘Zoe get your uniform and ID from the job on Ariel. I can use this ID if folk don’t look too hard. It won’t be top security anyhow,’ he said holding up Dr Hawkins’s card. ‘Where are we going sir? Wash sent a wave, Simon’s in trouble,’ Zoe said. ‘Yeah, reckon he is. I’ll explain on the way,’ Mal said. ‘You up to fly one of those ships?’ ‘One way to find out,’ Zoe nodded and they headed downstairs.

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As Mal and Zoe approached The Sanctuary the guard at the door glanced at them but didn’t even stand up to check their ID as they walked through. The ship had been scanned and checked as Dr Hawkins’s before they landed and sensors picked up corroborating evidence from Mal’s ID, so he wasn’t about to go to any extra effort. They walked into large, cool, dimly-lit hall and Zoe noticed an intricately painted wooden cross that had been fixed to the wall. Mal drew in a deep breath, ‘this don’t feel good,’ he said. ‘Psychiatry AND religion – what’s not to like,’ smiled Zoe. ‘Yeah no problem for a rich sane doc like me,’ grinned Mal then his expression became serious as a door opened and a woman came into the hall. She was dressed completely in white muslin which covered her from neck to feet and she’d pulled the folds over her head to form a hood. She clutched her gown tightly to her body as she walked gracefully but quickly away from them towards another door. ‘Miss, um, Sister,’ Mal called as he walked towards her. ‘Ta ma duh,’ he shouted breaking the tranquil atmosphere. ‘Sir, I don’t think you should curse in here,’ said Zoe following him. ‘Gwai-gwai long duh dong! Saffron.’ Saffron smiled, ‘Mal, Zoe you’re welcome here,’ she said in a soft voice. ‘Gos se. What are you doing here?’ Mal exclaimed in a tight voice. ‘I knew this was a bad idea.’ ‘Durran said I needed help,’ Saffron in her silky voice, ‘and the judge agreed with him. ‘Specially when I explained how I’d fallen in with bad company. I was naïve, too easily influenced.’ She lowered her eyes and pulled the folds of muslin even closer to her body. ‘I’ve changed now, repented, my name here is Charity to mark the start of my new life.’ ‘Saffron you ain’t ever going to change,’ said Mal. ‘My name’s Charity,’ she insisted, ‘and that’s so hurtful Mal.’ A tear came in to her eye, ‘but I forgive you. I’ll get my reward in Heaven.’ Zoe laughed, ‘the day you get to Heaven Saffron, everyone else’ll leave.’ Saffron eyed her speculatively, ‘The way you two are dressed you ain’t here on no mercy mission, you got something planned. You got transport? I’ll help you, if you take me with you I’ll help you.’ Mal exhaled slowly and glanced at Zoe, weighing up the probabilities in his mind. Saffron’s help could make things easier but he wasn’t counting on it. ‘Tell us where the new patient is an’ I’ll think about it,’ he offered. ‘I want to help, Mal,’ Saffron pouted, ‘I’ve forgiven you all for betraying me. There’s a new arrival in the room down there, on the left.’ ‘Betraying you?’ Zoe muttered under her breath. Saffron led the way to the door of a small room. She tapped in the entrance code, ‘I’ve been learning something here,’ she smiled. They found Simon lying drugged and half-conscious on the bed. ‘There’s a wheelchair in the closet there,’ Saffron nodded towards a door. ‘I can’t help, the Sisters must be modest at all times,’ she murmured pulling the gown even closer to her body. Mal gave her a cynical look, ‘Saffron quit that act or I’m gonna wrap you up in that shroud and bury you.’ ‘Mal, have you thought about joining an Anger Management group. There’s one here if you’d like to,’ Saffron smiled sweetly. Mal and Zoe looked at each other in exasperation but supported Simon in to the wheelchair. He groaned and held his head as he slumped back into the chair. They retraced their steps back through the main entrance, Zoe pushing the wheelchair and Saffron walking close by. The guard observed them as they walked past and began to follow them at a slight distance. ‘Just keep moving,’ Mal muttered in a low voice. They only had a short distance to go to reach the ship docked close by. A voice shouted out from the side of them, ‘Stop! You are bound by law.’ They froze as three officers ran up, guns pointed right at them and blocked their entrance to the ship. One took a step forward, ‘Dr Hawkins, our apologies, this won’t take long.’ A man dressed in the same kind of white robes as Saffron came towards them and took her arm. ‘Charity, you didn’t expect to get away with this.’ He forced her arms to her sides and a small painting slid from her gown on to the ground. The ancient paints glowed from the robes of the Saints pictured there and the gold leaf glinted in the daylight. ‘Stealing from a church wasn’t the cleverest idea Charity, but all our artefacts are tagged. I thought you were getting better.’ He picked up the picture and the officers marched Saffron back to the Sanctuary. She gave a backwards glance at Mal but he didn’t notice. It took a few seconds for Mal and Zoe to breathe again but they pushed Simon on board and took off quickly back to Unison.

---------------------------------------------------------------- Wash met them on the docking bay as Zoe helped Simon to walk out of the ship. ‘Shiny, let’s get moving,’ Wash said. ‘I’ll go get Jayne from upstairs.’ ‘Jayne?’ Simon gasped. ‘You – you - you didn’t leave him up there on his own?’ he stammered. ‘Well, yeah. Guess we were too busy saving your sorry ass,’ Mal said. Simon clung to the railing and pulled himself up the stairs followed closely by Mal and Zoe. Jayne was just sitting sprawled on a large chair and seemed to be looking out at the night sky. He stood up and picked up a box from the table at the side. Simon looked round suspiciously – everything seemed clean and tidy till he noticed some white fur left on the fabric of the chair. ‘Cleopatra, I’d forgotten about her. Where is she?’ he said. ‘Who?’ said Mal puzzled. ‘The cat,’ Simon replied, ‘where’s she gone.’ Zoe looked at Jayne. ‘Well?’ she asked. ‘Come on doc,’ said Jayne, ‘you can’t let a piece of protein like that run around. Makes a real tasty meal.’ ‘Tsai boo shr, you didn’t,’ Simon choked. ‘She’s unique, there’s no other pearl-haired cat in existence. Worth a fortune too but that’s irrelevant.’ ‘Jayne what did I tell you,’ Zoe said crossly. ‘What, times are hard, you folk are too soft - got too squeamish. Didn’t know it was worth some coin, wouldn’t have skinned it then.’ Jayne shrugged. Simon had seen plenty of blood and gore but he was looking distinctly green now as he leaned back against the nearest chair. Mal forced the box out of Jayne’s hands and heard a loud meow come from inside. He opened it up and the cat bounded out of it making Mal jump. ‘Aw hell,’ laughed Jayne, ‘I was taking it for Kaylee’s birthday, thought she might like some company in that bunk of hers. Ain’t like anyone else is taking up space there,’ he sneered at Simon. ‘This ain’t no time for playin’ games,’ Mal said. ‘Gotta get back to Serenity, set a course for Haven. The Shepherd’s waitin’ for us.’

COMMENTS

Monday, June 12, 2006 7:51 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Story within story, huh? Interesting....would have made things a bit more clear about why the hell Simon and River couldn't go home;)

BEB


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