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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Since taking River and Simon on board the crew is finding it difficult to make ends meet. Mal is starting to feel the pressure on him to keep his crew together.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1033 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Locating the principal of depravity on any rock used to be very easy. All one had to do was spread the word they were crewing a smuggling ship, or had a gun hand for hire, and within a few hours you’d hear the toll of reprobate boot heels landing on the ramp. Serenity had been relishing its part in this dance; choices about work to come were easy to make. Jobs that afforded the opportunity to slide a tack under the heel of the Alliance were accepted, with little thought. The only real choices came if the job didn’t pay much, or put innocents at risk.
Mal rarely struggled with choices; he saw things as pretty much black and white, right and wrong. He fancied himself as a bit of a gangster, but when confronted with a moral dilemma, the gangster vanished, revealing the benevolent nature of his inner being. Bringing Simon and River Tam on board was the natural choice; the ship needed a doctor, even better, a doctor who could pay.
Mal’s decision to allow the young doctor and his sister to refuge on board Serenity was costing the crew dearly. The Alliance had been alerted to stop all Firefly class transports, in search of two very important fugitives from justice. Any captain of a Firefly was finding it hard to move anything that wasn’t completely legitimate.
Badger knew Mal was a keen enough smuggler boss to keep his cargos hidden from even the most prying Alliance eyes. However, the turn of events that spotlighted Firefly’s for extra attention gave him the opportunity to change the contract rules to his own advantage. Even if the Alliance didn’t take chase, he’d tell Mal the shipment had been devalued, and then offer payment at a substantially reduced rate. Badger had Serenity by the cullions; he was one of the few, wang da ban still willing to procure the services of the Serenity crew.
Burning skyward away from Persephone, Badger’s prized consignment strapped to the deck, Serenity got humped. Routine called for Simon and River to suit up and take residence a step away from the Black. River had grown to almost look forward to Alliance boarding’s, but was also cognizant of her brother's absolute dread; comforting him with her awe stricken smiles as her eyes gazed deep into the 'verse.
Hard lock obtained, the Purple bellies boarded and began rummaging around; the only excuse given, that they were checking cargo manifests. A young Alliance Lieutenant barked orders for his men to check every nook, throwing open cabinets haphazardly, revealing the obvious; they were looking for something other than stolen goods. The dullards never even bothered to open the crates marked “Novelties”.
They’d been so hard up for a job; Mal hadn’t questioned what the crates contained. If he had, he'd a' been a mite more careful about keeping them hidden. Had the Alliance gotten too nosy, everyone would have been in extreme danger. Seemed some greedy private surgeon on Bellephron wanted to seek more, subtle, duty-free avenues for his prized Botulinum Toxin, which he used in many of his treatments.
“Looks like all this ship’s carryin’ is boxes of rubber dog shit” The Lieutenant laughed, gazing over at Mal and Zoe. “Respectable ship you have here captain, you and your crew should be proud.” Motioning to his men, he directed them to exit Serenity.
In the end, they slapped Mal with a warning for some ambiguous safety violation and let them go. Wanting to avoid any further intrusion, Mal smiled as they exited through the airlock, extending his middle finger in their direction in their wake. Once Serenity was free, Wash made haste to Bellephron to drop the shipment. Mal pondered whether Badger might have caught the wave announcing their boarding. That tamade hundan ‘ll probably try to cheat us out of full payment on this job too, he thought.
“So Mal, we get paid?” Zoe inquired, the rest of the crew standing behind her, feet tapping on the deck of the cargo bay.
“Yea, we got paid, 'cept, Badger, uh…felt our little run-in with the Alliance caused him too much attention.” Mal answered, fumbling for the right words.
“Mal turned tail an' went all sissy again!” Jayne blurted. “Let that scum-bag take an extra 20 off the top, didn’t even haggle with 'im!”
Even Book was getting frustrated by the scraping-by the crew was being forced to do. “I don’t know how many more street corner sermons I can give, Mal, the donations are starting to dry up.” Book had taken to preaching in the street when he had the chance, asking for donations for his mission. He’d always felt a little helpless, not taking part in the many unscrupulous deals the crew had taken in the past. Yet he did feel he belonged on Serenity, it was his mission; he’d become a conscience to so many on the crew. He didn’t feel wrong about using donations to help his sick and afflicted; the ones he loved.
“So tell’m Mal, tell’m what ya got.” Jayne continued his disgusted ramble, “Oh wait…I remember, thirty percent…makes ya wanna plan yer retirement!”
“Jayne, give the captain a break, will ya!?” Kaylee pleaded, trying to calm the big lug down. “It’s better than nothing at all; guess I’ll jus’ have to put off replacing the right steering damper till later.”
Mal was dejected; he’d never been one to back down, but he knew the crew needed food, and Serenity needed a heap of work just to keep her flying. Badger had grown accustomed to making hell with the arrangements, and Mal had grown accustomed to letting him. Badger was one of the few scoundrels left who’d deal with the Serenity crew regularly. The hope for more work was beginning to outweigh the dream of a big payday. He knew he’d let the crew down again, his confidence in himself beginning to wane. “Why the hell didn’t I leave 'em behind? “ He thought to himself of the young doctor and his sister. “ We’d have jobs aplenty if I had.
Book walked over, placing a comforting hand on Mal’s shoulder, a smile on his face. “You needn’t worry about this Mal, there’ll be more jobs coming. Kaylee’s right, we did get something out of this job.”
Mal proceeded to split up the take, handing each earning crewmember his or her share according to what they’d been promised. Taking her own share, Zoe turned to her sappy husband, who’d been lapping at her ears during the whole conversation. Taking his face in her hands she smiled. “C’mon honey, let’s go paint our room.” She said, frisking him off to the quieter places on the ship.
Kaylee took River and Simon by the arms. “Simon?” She asked, gazing into the doctor’s eyes. “River and I’d be charmed somthin’ awful if you’d find us some ice cream in town!”
“Huh? …um…yeah, ice cream!” Simon replied, her admiring pair of eyes taking control of his mental facilities. He turned, a girl on each arm, the three making their way down the ramp in search of a sweet, cold, delight.
Turning towards the Captain and Book, Jayne sulked. “Think I’ll go find me a stiff drink, bein’ how I ain’t gonna be able to afford no sister for Vera anytime soon!”
Simon felt in heaven, he loved the attention Kaylee gave him, but he never knew how to respond. All of the answers in his head were programmed, “doctor speak”, the romantic emotion cut from the words he tried to say. But oh how he loved the way she spoke, it turned him inside out. She bested him every time she opened her mouth to speak, her slang hitting him on the lips, causing paralysis, breaking his thoughts as he fumbled for a response. His sister gazed at him, his confused mind causing her to wish she could help him through his oratory dilemma.
“Here we go!” Simon announced quirking his head to the side, as the trio came up on the bustling parlor. Curious little faces pressed against the glass of the cases, while older hands passed credits across to the vendors on the other side. All the while, scions running around, reaching to their parents for the prized treat, lapping at cones in complete contentment.
River loved children; they fascinated her. Her own childhood had been stolen from her, and she seemed to revel in the sight of the youngsters, so innocent, and undamaged. She watched, her body turning around in circles as she followed the little ones in their gleeful dance, her mind reaching in and seeing perfect tranquility, no doubt, no fear, and most of all no pain.
“Mei mei, what flavor do you want?” Simon inquired, seeing, but not understanding the pleasure his sister was having on their escapade.
“Vanilla.” River answered, her face lit up like the sun, her smile distinct as she bounced around, twirling her dress for the children.
“And you, Kaylee, what would you like?” The doctor inquired with a smile on his face.
“Strawberry, Simon, double scoop!” Kaylee beamed, her mouth watering at the thought of the taste.
Deciding it fit him to have a beautiful girl on each arm, the doctor pushed away his desire for ice cream. The three headed down the street, slowly, arm in arm, taking in the activity going on at the various shops along the strip.
“Why do you think Mal let’s stay, Kaylee?” Simon asked. “We’ve caused you all so much trouble, he’s had the opportunity to turn us over so many times.”
“Ah, Simon…heh…the captain likes you, likes you both. You’re part of his crew, I’ve never seen the captain turn his back on anyone on his crew,” she answered, taking a slurp off her delectable double scoop cone.
“Yes, but by keeping us on board, in a way, he’s turned his back on everyone.” He continued. “The ship is finding it hard to get work, you’re having to work double to keep the ship in the air, and Jayne…well that’s a whole different story.”
“We all want you two here, Simon,” she smiled. “Some more than others I ‘spose.” she continued with a giggle. “And don’t you worry none ‘bout Jayne, he’s Boo tai jung tzhang duh, but he knows where he belongs. No one leaves Serenity.”
Jayne was furious. His ten percent of the take kept turning into ten percent of littler, and that was math Jayne could figure out easy. He was short on funds, and becoming shorter on temper. His steps became more deliberate as he made his way into town. Mal’s gone cod soft,” He thought to himself. “Lettin’ them fugie’s stay on board like that, I gotta get off this gorram boat…need some ruttin’ coin!”
Dead set on leaving Serenity for greener pastures, Jayne headed for the sleaziest saloon he could find. Maybe, if he could find a ship or a group of mercenaries that needed an extra hand, at least he’d be layin’ down his own steps again.
He glared from side to side, searching hard for a place to find his escape. “There must be a place around here somewhere” He thought to himself, as he turned the corner of the street. “Ah…that’s the place.” He continued, a snide grin forming on his angry face.
“BARLEYCORN’S”, flashed from a broken neon light above the door to the opening of the establishment. Jayne could hear the ruckus inside; he knew this was where he would find a way off Serenity.
The bar was a snake pit, scallywags of all types milling around, dealing with each other, fabricating plans to take the most they could out of the ‘verse before they left it. It was a place where Jayne felt at home. He was a mercenary, and damn proud of the presence he commanded when he walked into an establishment such as this.
Walking straight up to the bar, he slammed a couple of credits on the wooden surface. “Bourbon, make it a double.” He barked at the keep, as he lifted himself up on the barstool.
The barmaid grabbed the credits, exchanging them for a shot glass, which Jayne grabbed with his fingers.
Tipping his head back, draining every drop of the almond brown liquid, he turned on his stool to survey the room. A man was standing in front of him.
“You part of the crew on that Firefly class docked on the north side of town?” The man inquired.
“Yea…who’s askin’.” Jayne gruffed, expanding his chest in the direction of the stranger as he stood up from his bar stool.
“Is your captain there?” The man continued. “I’d like to speak with him, I have work for you.”
“What kinda’ work?” Jayne smarted back.
“Do you have a gun hand on board?” The man asked continuing his inquiry.
“Depends on your meanin' of what a gun hand is, yeah, there’s guns on board, best one’s fixin’ to find another boat though. You mind elaboratin’ a bit more a‘bout this job of yours?” Jayne continued.
“I’ll speak with the captain.” The man answered, obviously not wanting to divulge any details of his proposal to Jayne.
“Well, the ship's name is Serenity, he and the rest of the crew are there.” Jayne barked back. “I guarantee you’ll get a good price for whatever job you’re lookin’ to hire ‘em for.” He continued in a low cackle.
With a nod of his head, the man turned and left the bar. He moved quickly as if the goal he’d been seeking was finally attained.
Jayne pondered the man’s request. There was something about it that needed more investigation. He began to rethink his desire to leave Serenity. As much as he wanted to suppress it, he couldn’t get over the feelings he had there. He’d spent so much of his life with the wretched lowlife in the 'verse. On Serenity he experienced feelings he’d not felt since he’d had to care for his siblings as a younger man. He felt needed there. He was their protector.
Slamming his glass back on the bar, he got up from his chair to follow the man at a distance. "Better make sure nuthin’ goes amiss, make sure Mal don’t lose the gorram ship." He thought to himself.
A melancholy mood had developed inside the belly of Serenity. The comments he had received as he divvied up the take weren’t helping. The crew had reason to be upset with him, and that was starting to tear at his heart.
Mal rarely let his emotions get the best of him; he had developed a particular skill in maintaining a stone face. This was different; he was upset at his behavior. Badger had learned to take advantage of him, and he wasn’t used to being taken advantage of. No two ways about it, he’d let his crew down, again, by backing down from that weasel. “From now on,” he thought to himself, “no one’s gonna take advantage of me.”
Sitting down next to him, legs hanging over the catwalk, Inara could see that he was upset with the situation. “Mal, you’re taking this kind of hard, aren’t you?” She asked as she handed him a glass of wine.
“Well, it ain’t happenin’ again.” Mal snapped. “I’ll get full share payment for every member on this boat who deserves a piece. No more deals, we do the job, we get paid!”
“Mal, do you really think anyone on this crew believes you’ve gone weak?” Shepherd Book asked, taking a seat on the opposite side of Mal.
“The problem is Shep, no one wants to work with us.” Mal complained. “We’re trouble for them, 'cause we attract too much Alliance presence. If it weren’t for…”
“Mal, you always end up on the right side, it’s a part of you. Even when you try not to, you end up there.” Book continued to counsel. “It’s why you have the crew you do, its why you carry two fugitives on the ship, it’s why you put up with Jayne. You are good at the core Mal, your heart is gold, and the worm can’t penetrate.” Book placed his hand on the captain’s shoulder. “You care for these people, no matter what the price. Taking in Simon and River was the natural thing for you to do, and it sets you apart from those who want to harm them.”
“Jayne doesn’t seem to think so, I think he may be off in search of another boat.” Mal replied, concerned about the prospect of losing his 'minister of public relations'.
“Since when do you care what Jayne thinks, Mal?” Inara quibbled. “And besides, he’d never leave Serenity, no one can leave Serenity.”
A silence settled on the three as they noticed the man walking up the ramp. Mal immediately jumped up from his feet-hanging-over-the-catwalk position, and began a brisk walk to the staircase to meet the stranger in the cargo bay.
“Hello?” The stranger called out. “Is anyone here? I’m looking for the captain of this vessel!”
“I’m he.” Mal responded as he made his way down the stairs. “What might I do you for?”
“My name is Jobe Dyer, I’m in need of a gun hand.” He looked the captain in the eyes.
“You’ve come to the right place Mr. Dyer…may I call you Jobe?” Mal asked placing his hand on the man’s shoulder, leading him back towards the end of the cargo bay where they could sit. “You can pay, right?”
Inara and the Shepherd made their way down the stairs listening to Jobe as he spoke with Mal. “See what I really need, is for you guys to bust in and steal something for me.” He explained. “Something very precious to me, something that I lost. Lost in a deal gone very, very bad.”
“Steal?” Book inquired, his eyebrows raised at the probability of another unscrupulous deal being made.
“Steal what?” Mal asked.
“I need you to steal my daughter back.” Jobe burst into tears, his face falling into his hands.
“You need…us…stea’…you…wha?” Mal buzzed, his brow furrowing in confusion.
**End of Part 1**
wang da ban – Dirty Bastards
tamade hundan – f****** Bastard
Mei mei – Little sister
Boo tai jung tzhang duh – Not entirely sane
Sunday, July 02, 2006 4:41 PM
Sunday, July 02, 2006 6:19 PM
Sunday, July 02, 2006 7:45 PM
Sunday, July 02, 2006 7:56 PM
Sunday, July 02, 2006 8:07 PM
Sunday, July 02, 2006 10:50 PM
Monday, July 03, 2006 1:03 AM
Tuesday, July 04, 2006 12:55 PM
Wednesday, August 16, 2006 4:12 PM
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