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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
The crew trades River for Simon.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 2129 RATING: 8 SERIES: FIREFLY
All Grown Up: Part III
Disclaimer: All characters of Firefly are the sole property of Joss Whedon and his crew, yo!
Notes: I guess it was meant to be a trilogy but the third act is longer than most of the others. Comments always welcome.
“I told you he’d sell us out,” Jayne said to Mal. They were all sitting against the wall of the cargo room lined up like cans at a shooting range. Jayne’s leg was throbbing but it could have been worse. Zoe had been allowed to get to the infirmary and get something to stitch up the hole and thankfully, brought back some pain medication. It would be another pretty scar and only just a minor discomfort now. Course, there weren’t have been discomfort in the first place if Mal had just listened to him. Always thinkin’ he were right in all things just because he has some soldierin’ in that gun belt of his. He had hoped Zoe had some plan up her sleeve when she went to get the goods from the doc’s infirmary but she came back just as River said she should. Wouldn’t want no harm to come to her Captain now would she. Inara, Kaylee, and Book were on the one end. Book was whispering some silent prayer from his holy book while Kaylee looked over, her chin resting on her knee. Inara had her eyes closed as if she were meditating but who knows went on in that pretty head of hers. Zoe was in the center, cross-legged and fiddlin’ with some scrap of metal on the floor. Mal was beside Jayne on the other end of the group, Jayne with his one leg stretched out. Mal had his arms hunched on his bent knees staring at River who was staring right back at him, still holding the gun at his chest. Wash was, of course, at the helm steering the ship directly into Alliance hold. No hope of him coming up with a plan in that simple brain of his. What kind of man likes to play with toy animals anyway? Sure not a smart one. Probably just watching the clock tick down to we reach the Alliance station.
“Jayne, this ain’t the time or the place to discuss your perceptified bout on a deal that I had already made.”
“But I was right. Now I’m shot and its your fault you didn’t listen to me about him not bein’ an upright businessman. I want some kind of acknowledgment of that fact ‘case we don’t make it out of here.”
“Allright, I acknowledge that you would not have been shot if you didn’t associate with men who would sell their family members for the right price.”
“That’s all I’m askin’,” he proudly nodded his head. “Wait…”
“We still have the cargo,” Zoe interrupted before Jayne could go on. “Could be we can still make the drop and get paid.”
“Could be,” Mal said intently. “Could be that that was just a front for the Alliance deal.”
“I bet it’s a real drop,” Jayne said. “Bastard would want all the money he could get out of it. He may be a lowdown dirty businessman but he ain’t stupid. He’ll get his cut when we deliver the goods, I’d stake my other leg on it. ‘Sides, he don’t know we know.”
“What I want to know is how you knew it was him who took the doc?” Mal turned his attention to River.
River took her time answering. “The room smelled of polystyrate, a common packing material for fragile shipments.”
“Like sheetglass,” Mal said.
“Yes, it is a very distinctive odor. Sheetglass has become a valuable commodity on the Rim, especially after the embargo taxes were put in place. I guarantee that your shipment will be well met, Captain Reynolds.”
“So, what, this guy hid in a bunch of glass and polypacking?” Mal asked. “We scanned the cargo before coming on, didn’t see nothin’ out of the ordinary.”
“A simple transmitter was put in one of the boxes to conceal its contents and also to send for the transport when it was activated.”
“And how’d they get your brother out without a sound. I am sure he don’t go gently into that good night,” Mal was getting angrier with each added particular tidbit of knowledge.
“Dioxin gas was filtered into his room while he was reading. That is why the lamp was on but the books were on the floor. He would not have put the books on the floor unless he was ready to go to sleep but…”
“He would have turned off the lamp if he were sleepin’,” Kaylee finished.
River nodded her head, “Dioxin is a sleep agent regularly used by the Alliance for prisoner transport.”
“Okay Miss Smarty-pants, here’s a hard one then. How in the hell did we not detect a gorram transport near Serenity?” Mal asked fuming with irritation.
“”That would be classified information.”
“Classified? Classified?” Mal said with a giddy laugh. “You workin’ for the Alliance now, missy?” Mal shot to his legs, River adjusting the gun. “Why didn’t they take you? Seems the Alliance is just itchin’ to get you back.”
Before she could answer, Wash came over the comm. “Uh, Captain or hijacker lady or whoever is in charge down there, we’re here. What should I do?”
“Captain, please instruct your pilot to fly within communication range and not any closer. They will not engage if not provoked.”
“Wash, get within earshot, and keep it that way so them Alliance folk don’t start shootin’ with their big guns,” Mal translated.
“Now lead me up there,” River motioned with her gun. Mal moved slowly toward the front of Serenity, not sure of what was coming next but sure he wasn’t going to like it. River told him to stop before he reached the stairs and she moved ahead of him and into the small pilot’s room.
“I will be speaking with them alone,” River mentioned to Wash as he got up out of the seat, his toys falling out of his lap and moved toward Mal in the hall. She closed and locked the door behind him.
“Now we make our big move, right?” asked Wash. “The cunning plan that you and Zoe have worked up in your minds. We are going ahead with the psychic cunning plan that everyone knows about but me because I was stuck in the pilot’s seat while everyone’s brain waves meshed in the cargo hold. Please tell me we have a plan,” Wash put his fingers to his temples, eyebrows raised.
“What am I supposed to do? She’s talking to the Alliance as we stand here. We can’t outrun them and even if we could, we’d be hunted down harder than ever. I just want her gone so we can get off this stinkin’ station.”
A rather long time passed but River finally emerged moving down the stairs and between the two men staring at her. Her gun was at her side but not aimed at anyone as she went back to the cargo hold, the Captain and Wash following her resolutely. Zoe had her sidearm now and Jayne also had a gun in his hand. Mal caught their eyes and pleaded with them not to do anything stupid.
“You make a nice deal with your friends?” Mal asked when they reached the cargo hold.
River turned and spoke to the group, “The ship is docked with the station. I will be leaving alone. No one will step aboard your ship. Soon after I leave, Simon will approach without guards. After he is on Serenity, you will be allowed to leave quietly and unescorted.” She went to Jayne and handed back his gun. “Thank your for allowing me to use this. It has a good balance.” Jayne whispered a sheepish ‘thanks’ and she turned to the Captain, “Please give this note to Simon.” She handed him a folded note written on the back of a page out of Wash’s old manuals.
“You ain’t gonna be able to see him?” Kaylee asked River. “That ain’t fair.”
“No power in the ‘verse,” River said with a confident smile to Kaylee. She looked back to the Captain.
Mal felt like he had to say something, “I ain’t sayin’ it ain’t good that your goin’ but you made things interestin’ for a while.”
River nodded her head slightly and looked at the rest of the group before she went to the cargo bay doors and pushed the button to open it. The entire group, braced for anything, watched as she moved to the other side without a backward glance.
Inara stepped beside Mal and placed a hand on his arm. No words were spoken save Book’s prayers and five minutes of silence turned into ten before Simon came through the other side. He had a split lip and was a little pale but he was walking steady.
“Where’s River?” Simon asked Mal. Wash and Zoe went back to move the ship off the station. Kaylee found a blanket and threw it around Simon’s shoulders as the Captain explained everything that had happened, the rest of the group listening and inserting their own comments.
“She gave this to me to give to you.” Mal handed him the note.
Simon opened it and his shoulders sank as he read the Chinese script. “She says not to come after her.”
“Uh, Mal, you’d better come see this,” Wash’s voice came over the comm. “She put some coordinates into the system.”
“Is it in the core?” Mal said back to the pilot.
“No, its on the Rim.”
Simon handed him the note, “She said this contact would make you the best deal on your cargo and that you might find another job out there.”
Mal nodded in agreement, “Wash, take us out there.” Turning back to Simon, Mal put a hand on his shoulder, “Sorry, son. Ain’t nothin’ we can do about her now. She made her choice and seems she made yours too.”
“It is not one I would have preferred,” Simon answered with resolve.
“Ain’t one I liked either. We ain’t givin’ up forever, Doc, just for right now. ‘Least we’re still flyin’.” With that he walked to make contact with a new dealer.
Simon was watching the cargo being unloaded from the ship. He thought he might as well get some sun before they head off to whatever job the captain took from the new dealer. It was a respectable planet if not a bit dusty and he was tired of searching through River’s letter for a code. Kaylee said she left the note because she did not get to see him before she left but he did not believe that. Something told him that River was trying to tell him something. Hearing voices, he turned his attention to the two men walking towards him.
“Yeah, this glass will go a long ways. We couldn’t afford no taxes and black market’s even worse than that. You sure your buyer didn’t want this? We don’t want no trouble.”
Mal assured him, “Turns out the client had another deal on the side. Didn’t like him much anyhow. Just glad to get rid of the cargo to a place that needs it.”
“Well, you can be sure that. It’s silly the Alliance don’t supply us with more what with all the dealing we do for them. Gorram purple bellies.”
Mal laughed, “What’s that now?”
“Oh, we are their major supplier of Dioxin gas.”
Mal stopped in his tracks, “What’s that you say?”
“Yeah, got a shipment goin’ out next week. It’s our only real income and they hold it over our heads like danglin’ carrots.”
Mal looked up to see Simon watching them, his sunglasses on and his hands in his pockets. A giddy feeling starting to tickle his throat. “Would you excuse me, please?” he said to the man as he moved toward Simon.
“Doc, you got that letter your sister wrote you?”
Simon pulled the folded piece of paper out of his front shirt pocket and handed it to Mal surprised only a little when he turned it over to the backside and studied the diagram. “This here’s part of Serenity’s shuttle.” Mal jumped into a run and made his way to where Wash was setting up what seemed to be a Jurassic war on the pilot’s dash. “Wash, where’s the rest of the manual that fits this page?”
Wash took the sheet and then pulled out a box from the bottom of the cabinet at the back of the room. He took out a white notebook from the box and gave it to Mal who started flipping through it. “I’ll be a sonofa…” but his words were cut off when he turned to the back inside cover. On it was a map of the Alliance station with smuggler’s markings of backdoors, guard changes, and alternate routes. Below it was a date and time and above it in large Chinese characters was the word, CLASSIFIED.
“Seems the Tams have mighty fine criminal minds,” Mal said with a huge grin on his face. “Looks like we’re goin’ to rescue that sister of yours after all.”
“I don’t understand,” Simon said shaking his head and taking the manual.
“That makes ten of us,” Wash said. “Counting the dinosaurs,” he added after they looked at him funny.
“She got us a way in with the Dioxin shipment and I bet Kaylee can muster up a transmitter like we need. The shuttle manual’s shows the alterations to make so that it goes in undetected. I just hope we can figure out those changes and get them on the shuttle in time. Next week don’t give us much.” He ran back out the cargo bay door yelling, “Zoe, get the crew together. We got us a job.”
River slowly opened her eyes, surprised to find she was warm. Her eyes focused on the drawings on her wall. Her latest consisted of Serenity flying through space with her outside walking alongside it. Serenuas: Latin for calm. The voices were calm now. Simon thinks they may fade in and out making her as unpredictable as ever. Jayne was not too happy to hear about that. It seems he acquired a guncage with three locks and put a Digicomb lock on his door. She only smiled when he told everyone one that. The mathematical solutions to digital combinations are easier to solve than Fourier combinations. But he did not need to know that. He was proud enough that the captain asked his opinion about the next job. She did not want to spoil it.
She slipped out of bed and into her robe. It was a present from Inara when they last stopped on Persephone. She and Kaylee had brushed her hair and painted her fingernails while she recovered her insanity, as the captain had named it. She had overheard him talking to Simon last night saying that she no longer ‘creeptified’ everyone and she may just be an asset one day on the job. Malcolm Reynolds had his family back together and all his derogatory statements attested to the fact that he liked it that way. After all, you only hurt the ones you love.
Breaking fast was not a usual occurrence on Serenity but River found what looked like pancakes and fresh strawberries set out on the common room table. Conversations were taking place about the next stop, needed parts, and the exact rules of Companionship. Simon pulled out a chair next to him for River to sit down and no one stopped talking when she did so. Mal gave out a big laugh as he told a Companion joke he heard on Persephone and Jayne wiggled his eyebrows in a knowing fashion.
“Because they have ‘Guilded’ cages,” River laughed as she finished the punch line before the captain could. Everyone stopped eating and looked at her. Jayne, in particular, rolled his eyes. She put some strawberries on her flat but stiff pancakes. Yes, she had certainly grown up but there was nothing like coming back home.
Sunday, November 07, 2004 10:05 PM
Saturday, June 04, 2005 11:10 AM
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