BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

HOROVITS

Out of Gas, Short story version; Chapter 1
Sunday, August 27, 2006

The first chapter of my traslation to prose of Tim Minear's Out of Gas. Not technically fan fiction, but it'll do untill I have a better place to keep this.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1130    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Out of Gas By Joel “Horovits” Salomon, based on the screenplay by Tim Minear.

CHAPTER ONE

SERENITY FLOATED THOUGH BLACK SPACE, engines silent, lit only by emergency reserve power. Adrift.

Alone in the cargo bay, Captain Malcolm Reynolds let himself collapse to the floor with a thud. He could hear the salesman’s voice in his head, “A real beauty, ain’t she?” Mal grinned weakly at the memory as he lay on the grill-work floor. He could hear the fellow’s voice in his head. “You buy this ship, treat her proper, she’ll be with ya for the rest of your life.” Zoe had something to say about that hadn’t she.…

* * *

The airlock doors opened with a loud clang and bright daylight poured in, illuminating the cargo bay. Malcolm Reynolds and Zoe Alleyne stepped aboard and looked around the empty, dusty room. Mal watched for his former Corporal’s reaction. Waited. Finally broke the silence. “Well?” he asked.

Zoe gave the ship another good long look before answering. “You paid money for this, sir? On purpose?”

She had to be sarcastic. “Wha— Come on. Seriously, Zoe. Whaddya think?”

“Honestly, sir, I think you were robbed.”

So not sarcastic, then. “Robbed? What, no. What do you mean?”

“Sir, it's a piece of fèiwù.”

“Fèiwù?” She had no call to be calling the ship junk when she’d barely seen it! “Okay, so she won’t win any beauty contests, that’s true enough. But she is solid.” He was using the salesman’s pitch on her, he realized; if it sold him, it should sell her too. “Ship like this, be with ya ’til the day you die.”

“Because it’s a deathtrap.”

“That’s not— You are very much lacking in imagination,” Mal sputtered.

“I imagine that’s so, sir.” She sirred him as respectfully as if he was still Sergeant Reynolds and she Corporal Alleyne, but Zoe could squeeze a lot of sarcasm into that word.

“C’mon,” he said, leading the way. “You ain’t even seen most of it.” He hadn’t really thought he could talk past her, and it was time to give up the attempt and let the ship do the persuading. “I’ll show you the rest. Try to see past what she is, on to what she can be.”

“What’s that, sir?”

“Freedom, is what.” Why did she even need to ask?

“No, I meant—what’s that?”

He looked at what Zoe was pointing to. Oh. “Just step around it. I think something must’ve been living in here.” The ship wasn’t making much of a case for herself in Zoe’s eyes, he could tell. He walked toward the back of the cargo bay, Zoe following. She had to made to see what he saw in the ship.

“I tell ya, Zoe, we find ourselves a mechanic, get her running again. Hire on a good pilot. Maybe even a cook. Live like people. Small crew, them as feel the need to be free. Take jobs as they come—and we’ll never be under the heel of nobody ever again. No matter how long the arm of the Alliance might get, we’ll just get us a little further.” Sergeant Reynolds was known for his inspirational, if not quite eloquent, little talks.

“ ‘Get her running again’?” Zoe quoted back at him. She never missed anything he let slip.

“Yeah.” Mal could see where she was going with this question, and Zoe didn’t disappoint

“So, not running now?” she asked. Calm, unruffled, as if she already knew the answer and was just asking for confirmation. Which she did, and was, of course.

“Not so much,” Mal admitted. “But she will.” Continuing on to the dining area near the rudimentary kitchen, he added, “I even know what I’m gonna call her. Got a named all picked out.” Zoe laughed out loud when she heard the name, as he knew she would. She would come around after all.…

* * *

Mal winced in pain as he lay on the cargo bay floor with a burning pain in his belly where he’d been gut-shot. “Serenity’s belly ain’t doing much better,” he reminded himself. He reached for the bit of machinery lying on the floor near him. Grabbed it and started dragging himself aft painfully. “Infirmary first,” he thought.

* * *

The common room was full of laughter as Shepherd Book finished his amusing, if somewhat improbable, story about his time at the Southdown Abbey. Simon Tam was laughing along with everyone else, though a good portion of his attention was focused on his sister River. It was one of River’s good days; she seemed to be enjoying the story too, laughing along with everyone.

Zoe managed to express some skepticism about the story through peals of laughter that had her doubled over in her seat. “It’s all true,” Book assured Serenity’s first mate. “I swear it is!”

Catching her breath, Inara protested, “Surely one of you must have told him!”

“No!” said Book. “Not one of the brethren had the heart to say anything. He was so proud!” On his left, Kaylee started a fresh bout of giggles. “Shepherd makes her laugh so easily,” Simon thought wistfully. He found that endeavor much harder, himself, and often wound up hurting her feelings when he bantered with the ship’s mechanic.

Glancing back at his sister, Simon noticed Wash entering the room from behind her. The pilot came to the table just as the Shepherd added, “Looked rather natty, truth be told!” inspiring yet another round of laughter around the table.

Wash tried to pick up what he had missed. “What was he proud of? Who he?” he asked, pulling over a chair and making room for himself between his wife and the Shepherd. “I want to hear about the natty thing.”

But Book was in tears from laughing and helpless to continue. He waved the pilot’s questions away and took another drink to get his laughter under control. The story wouldn’t hold up to retelling anyhow.

Kaylee tried to be more helpful and said, “Shepherd Book was just tellin’ us funny stories about his days at the monastery.”

“Monastic humor. I miss out on all the fun,” Wash grumbled good-naturedly as he reached for the serving bowl. It was empty; Jayne tended to do that to available food. “And all the food, too, apparently,” he added.

“Now just who do you think you’re married to?” Zoe told her husband and uncovered a plate piled with food she’d saved for him. “Voilà!”

“I love my wife,” Wash said, sounding appeased, and kissed her. Simon had thought the two mismatched when he came aboard Serenity; not anymore. He still didn’t understand them, but he could recognize a happy couple when he saw one. That could never be him, Simon thought, easy and relaxed with someone he loved, as long as he had River to care for. And since he couldn’t see himself laying that burden down in the foreseeable future….

He turned back to the last bits on his plate. There wasn’t much most people could do for the flavor of protein, but Kaylee had managed to make quite a meal out of it.

Captain Reynolds asked Wash, “So we got a course set?”

“We do,” Wash said. “Took a little creative navigating, but we should make it all the way to Greenleaf without running afoul of any Alliance patrols.” He frowned, then added, “Or a single living soul, for that matter.” Zoe tucked a napkin into his collar.

Malcolm was more sanguine than the pilot about the choice. “Good. Way it should be,” he said. Simon silently approved; he’d come aboard Serenity to avoid the Alliance.

“’Course, what should be an eighteen hour trip’s gonna take the better part of a week by this route,” said Wash.

“We’re in no rush,” said Mal. “I like an easy, languorous journey.”

This wish was so far from the experience of Serenity’s crew that even Kaylee commented on this choice of words. “Oh, gee, I wonder what would that be like?” she said, mildly sarcastic, as she rose to clear the plates off the table.

Simon got up. “Let me help you with that—”

Kaylee didn’t let him finish, even pushed him back toward his seat at the table. “It’s your turn,” she said.

“My turn?” he wondered aloud.

“Uh huh,” Kaylee explained. “Shepherd told us a funny story about being a preacher, now you tell us a funny story about being a doctor.” Book chuckled; he seemed to approve of the idea.

Simon thought. “Oh, a funny story …” he began and his voice trailed off. This was a tough call; hospital humor tended not to be suitable for a dinner table, even in a setting as rough as Serenity.

Jayne obviously didn’t think much of that idea either. “Yeah, ’cause sick people are high-larious,” the big tough broke in.

“Well, they can be,” chuckled Simon. On reflection, he had just the story for Kaylee. “In fact, I remember there was this one time I was working the E.R. and this fellow, very upright sort of citizen, comes in complaining of—”

Jayne interrupted again. “So predictable,” Simon thought. “Now Inara—she’s gotta have some real funny whorin’ stories, I’d wager.” “And crude.”

The courtesan laughed sarcastically. “Oh! Do I ever!” she said. “Funny and sexy! You have no idea!” She gave Jayne a level look and continued. “And you never will. I don’t discuss my clients.”

Over everyone’s laughter, Jayne tried again. “Aww, come on ’Nara. Who’d know?”

“You,” she said simply. It was hard not to smirk watching Inara cut Jayne down. She went on. “Anyway, a Companion doesn’t kiss and tell.”

Mal perked up at that. “So there is kissing?” he asked with a grin. That earned him much the same glare Jayne got.

Zoe broke in, changing the subject. “Hey, doc?” she said. “I think maybe our Kaylee could use your help after all—” She cut off as Simon looked behind him. At Kaylee who was carrying an obviously ship-made birthday cake, complete with mismatched candles ablaze on top.

“Care to make the first incision, Doctor Tam?” Kaylee asked him. “Happy birthday, Simon.” From the rest of the table came wishes of “Happy birthday!” and “Yeah, many more,” and “Happy birthday, son.”

“So that’s why Kaylee didn’t want my help,” Simon thought, taken aback. “Well this is … I didn’t … How did you know?” he finally managed to ask. “River, did you—?”

His sister answered in what had become her normal manner. “ ‘Day’ is a vestigial mode of time measurement based on solar cycles. It’s not applicable.” Sophisticated and, in a way, reasonable. And quite insane. “I didn’t get you anything.” That, at least was his sister talking. He still knew too little of what Dr Mathias had done to River. Too much of the “why” for comfort, but not enough of the “how” for Simon to help her. And today was a good day, at that; River had answered the question put to her, if in a roundabout manner.

Wash’s voice brought Simon back to the present, if not to happier thoughts. “I’m afraid it was me who ratted you out, Doctor,” the pilot said.

This begged explanation and Simon requested it.

The captain explained. “Seems a fresh warrant for your arrest come up on the cortex. Had your birth date attached right to it.”

“Oh.” That certainly wasn’t good news. Captain Reynolds did have a way of reminding him of his fugitive status every time he got too comfortable aboard Serenity. “Really?” he asked, worriedly.

Kaylee extricated him from the awkward moment by pointing to the cake. “Hope you like it,” she said. “Couldn’t get a hold of no flour, so it’s mostly protein. In fact,” she continued, “it’s pretty much what we just had for dinner. But I tried to make the frosting as chocolatey tasting as possible, so….”

Simon looked at her. “She really is a sweet girl,” he thought. “If only I didn’t have to keep running….” “Thank you,” he told her. “I’m really—I’m very deeply moved.” Kaylee beamed.

Jayne, on the other hand, got to the point, setting aside his dislike of the doctor for a chance of some cake. “Well ‘deeply move’ yourself over there and blow out them candles so we can try a slice,” he said.

“Come on Doc,” Kaylee encouraged him. “Give a good blow.”

“Right,” Simon agreed, and leaned forward to blow out the candles. He was interrupted by a deep noise from elsewhere in the ship, a rumbling and grinding sound from near the engine. The lights dimmed and flickered as the engine’s familiar hum stopped. The hum restarted, but the lights stayed dim.

Jayne spoke for the crew. “What the hell was that?”

“Maybe just a hiccup,” said Kaylee. “I’ll check it out.” She started aft toward the engine room.

Wash got up too. “I’ll take a look at the helm,” he said, heading back to the bridge.

“Fire,” River said. Simon turned back to his sister, who was staring at the cake and the flickering candles atop it. She looked apprehensive, as if the tiny flames were an important task that needed attending to.

“Okay, right,” he told her. “Whatever the problem is, Kaylee can fix it—or Wash can,” Simon thought, and again prepared to extinguish the tiny flames. The rumbling returned then, louder than before.

Zoe suddenly jumped up, ran past Simon, and pushed Kaylee away from the aft deck doors. Simon turned around just in time to see Zoe thrown back by an explosion at the doorway. Thrown the better part of the way across the room. Simon ran over to her, leaving River huddled calling “Fire!” over and over. Wash ran back from the fore deck to his wife.

It was like the E.R. again, Simon half-thought as he tended to Zoe. He almost ignored Wash as the pilot knelt down near his wife repeating her name over and over; just gently pushed him aside so he could examine the unconscious first mate. He spared a glance toward Kaylee—Zoe had pushed her fairly hard—and saw her getting up, Inara and Book by her side. “Concentrate on the patient that needs help most.”

Mal ran towards the aft deck and pulled the heavy door shut just in time to keep a second fireball out of the common room. “Seal off everything that leads below decks,” he ordered Jayne, the only member of the crew not otherwise occupied. Jayne moved afore decks to obey while Mal ran to the bridge.

Wash had his wife’s limp hand pressed between his own. “She gonna be okay?” he asked Simon as the doctor felt for a pulse.

Simon couldn’t answer that just yet. “I need my med kit,” he said and stood up to get it.

The aft doors were closed. Kaylee shook her head when he moved to open them. “We have fire,” she reminded him.

He headed for the fore deck instead, where Jayne barred his way, having just sealed off that part of the ship. “Where you think you’re going?” Jayne asked.

“Zoe’s badly hurt,” Simon told him. “I need my medical supplies.”

That failed to move Jayne, who said, “Sorry, Doc. Nobody leaves. Everything’s sealed up tight.”

Simon tried to impress Jayne with the seriousness of the situation. “If you don’t let me through, she could die,” he told him.

Jayne, it seemed, had his own grasp of the circumstances. “I let you through, we all die.”

Impasse. They stared at each other a while.

* * *

At the bridge, Mal worked the controls to vent Serenity’s lower decks. Alarm bells sounded as the cargo bay ramp lowered and the airlock doors opened onto hard vacuum. The air throughout Serenity whistled horribly as it raced out of her, drawing the flames surrounding the engine out through the lower decks toward deep space.

Mal watched from the window above the bridge controls as loose cargo and fire poured out of his ship’s open cargo bay, dissipating into emptiness. He stood silently for the few minutes it took for the fire to deplete its air supply and go out. He closed the cargo bay doors and ramp with a sigh and headed back to the common area.

When he came back with the news that the fire was out, Jayne and Wash helped Mal rush Zoe to the now available infirmary. Wash kept talking to his unconscious wife as if she could hear him, reassuring her “you’re gonna be okay.”

The doctor had a clearer view of the situation. “She’s going into shock,” he told Mal. “I need to bring her vitals back up.” Precious time had passed when Simon could do nothing for Zoe. There was no help for it and Mal had ordered the doors sealed, but Zoe was now in critical condition.

“How bad is it?” he asked Simon. “She gonna be all right?” There were other things aboard needed the captain’s attention, some of them urgent, but the crew came first. Especially Zoe; she came first always.

Simon gave him a quick diagnosis. “No sign of burning; it must be internal,” he observed. “I’ll have to do a scan.” He turned to get the equipment he needed.

Wash stood at his wife’s side, distraught. “Baby, Zoe, can you hear me?” he asked her, an unfamiliar look of concern on his face. “Come on, sweetheart.” Mal made ready to interfere—he’d need his pilot before long—but then he saw Kaylee staring in through the infirmary window. And he needed her elsewhere.

Mal left the infirmary, shutting out the sound of Wash pleading with his wife. “Kaylee,” Mal called. That got no response from the mechanic. Mal repeated himself. “Kaylee, look at me.” She did. “I need you up in the engine room, figuring out what caused this.”

Kaylee turned back away from Mal. “She ain’t movin’,” she said in a small voice, still staring into the infirmary. Mal wished he had the luxury of worrying over his first mate, but nobody did who wasn’t the doctor. Then Kaylee continued. “Serenity’s not movin’.” Staring into infinity, not the infirmary; she meant the ship, not Zoe. Mal accepted that from Kaylee, who saw the Serenity as at least as alive as any of the crew. “I know it,” he told her gently. “Which is why we need to suss out what it was happened, so we can get her going again, right?” Kaylee nodded again, near tears. “Think you can do that?” Mal finally asked her.

“Yes, Captain,” she said.

“That’s a good girl,” Mal encouraged her as she headed for the engine room. Then he turned his attention back to the infirmary.

* * *

Mal stumbled to the infirmary and pushed the doors aside, dropping the heavy device he’d been carrying. Stopping his bleeding was the first priority; he was already feeling dizzy from blood loss. The infirmary hadn’t always been particularly well stocked, and Simon had asked the captain many times for some vital bit of medical equipment he couldn’t do proper work without. The intensive-care scanner had been one such purchase Mal had made; it cost half a month’s take, but Kaylee was still recovering from her gunshot wound at the time and the expense seemed quite reasonable. Serenity now had the finest mobile trauma unit aboard any smuggler’s ship, her captain reckoned. Which wasn’t much, but it included bandages.

He allowed himself to howl in pain as he began to wrap the sterile cloth around his middle. The bleeding slowed some, but the bandage was still quickly turning red. “I’m gonna need a doctor soon,” Mal thought wryly.

* * *

Wash was getting in the doctor’s way with his hovering over Zoe; even Jayne could see that. The little man was all tore up, babbling desperately to his unconscious wife. Jayne himself had only one question for Simon. “She gonna make it?” he demanded. A simple question, and an important one to answer; not a big imposition on the kid’s time.

But Simon was tuning him out too and said only, “Please, I need to work.”

The prissy doctor puzzled Jayne, when the merc though about it; he seemed weak and useless most of the time and his gentrified ways were effeminate enough that Jayne would have pegged him for sly if he hadn’t mooned over Kaylee so obviously, but Simon had some fight in him that came through on odd occasions. Plus, he was a hell of a doctor—or at least a hell of an improvement over no doctor.

Before Simon could press the point, though, Mal came back to the infirmary. “Wash,” he called from the door. “Wash, I need you on the bridge.”

“Zoe’s hurt,” the pilot said.

“And the doctor’s gonna do everything he can,” the captain rejoined. “Meantime, I gotta have you on that bridge. We need to know how bad it is.”

Wash laughed grimly. “How bad?” He turned on Mal. “It’s bad, okay, ‘sir’? My wife may be dying here, so my feeling is it’s pretty damn bad.” Jayne had never seen Wash mouth off to Mal like this.

“Wash,” the captain said again, with an edge in his voice.

“I’m not leaving her side, Mal,” Wash insisted. “Don’t ask me again.”

“I wasn’t askin’. I was tellin’,” the captain insisted.

“Qù ni de.” Wash didn’t even look up this time. Jayne began to wonder if sticking around an irritated Captain Reynolds was a good idea, but was completely unprepared for what came.

Mal grabbed his pilot by the shirt and swung him around until he had shoved him against the infirmary door. “You’re gonna get to the bridge and get us on our feet,” he told Wash. Calmly, coolly; no anger but pure determination. Jayne had never seen the captain behave like this and it scared him.

Apparently satisfied with the effect he’d had, Mal suddenly relaxed his grip on Wash and the pilot left for the bridge. The captain glared balefully around the infirmary before leaving to follow. Jayne shrank back from his gaze.

Simon, incredibly, ignored everything going on; he kept working as if nobody else were in the room. “A hell of a doctor.”

* * *

The pilot’s seat was empty. Mal had assumed that Hoban Washburne—“Call me Wash,” he’d insisted—would sit at the console for the interview, but the pilot was on his back beneath it examining the innards of the cockpit controls and making satisfied noises. Tinkering, actually, when he’d been on the ship for not quite half an hour. Mal and Zoe watched him at work.

“Oh, yeah,” Washburne said as he slid out from under the console. “This is all very doable.” He was a lanky fellow with bright red hair and mustaches almost as bushy as old Colonel Orbrin’s, wearing a shirt of some indescribably hideous pattern; “Hawaiian,” he’d called it when Mal commented. He stood, relaxing in the midmorning sun streaming in through the cockpit windows, and continued talking in his easy patois. “Shouldn’t be a problem at all. A few modifications, get some real maneuverability out of this boat. You’d be surprised.”

“So you’ll take the job, then?” Mal asked. Catching Washburne would be quite a coup.

“Might do, might do,” the pilot said. He sat down in the cockpit’s chair, swiveling it around. “Think I’m startin’ to get a feel here.” Was he looking at Zoe when he said that?

Setting his suspicions aside, Mal made ready to discuss his decision with Zoe. “Take all the time you need,” he told Wash. “Make yourself to home, fiddle with them dials. We’ll be nearby.” He walked down the fore deck to the dining area, Zoe following close behind him.

“He’s great, ain’t he?” Mal offered.

“I don’t like him,” Zoe replied. “Something about him bothers me.”

This took Mal by surprise. “What about him bothers you?” he asked incredulously.

“Not sure,” she replied. “Just … something.”

Mal began to lose patience with her. “Your ‘something’ comes up against a list of recommendations long as my leg. Tanaka raved about the guy, Renshaw’s been trying to get him on his crew for a month. And we need us a pilot.”

“I understand, sir,” she said, but then continued, “He bothers me.”

Zoe had never been shy about giving Mal her honest opinion about any plan of his, or of any person he worked with. This vague feeling was something new from her, but Mal was not going to override her concerns until he was convinced they were baseless. “Look,” he reasoned with her, “we finally got ourselves a genius mechanic, now it’s about time we hired someone to fly the damn thing.”

The said “genius mechanic” happened past right then, very pleased at the appellation. Or maybe he’d been snooping; Bester had a bad habit in that direction. “ ‘Genius’,” he grinned. “No one’s ever called me that before. Shiny.”

Zoe didn’t even seem to notice irritating mechanic’s presence, but continued talking about the new pilot. “Just bothers me,” she mused, and Mal’s earlier suspicions returned in full strength. This guy might do very well indeed, Mal thought….

* * *

The doctor was now working with an audience, Mal saw as he approached the infirmary to check on Zoe. Jayne had stopped hovering over the patient; he sat with Inara and the Shepherd near the far wall of the little room. They were all watching Simon, but quietly.

The beeping of a monitor brought Simon into a flurry of activity. He paused only to explain the urgency of the situation. “Her heart’s stopped,” he said.

“Maybe someone should get her husband down here,” Shepherd Book suggested.

“No,” Mal said. The ship needed the pilot where he was, even if his wife was dying. The captain’s time was available, though. “What do you need, Doc?” he asked as Simon chose a vial from the infirmary’s stock.

Simon pointed. “Top cabinet,” he said. Mal opened the cabinet to find a package of several large hypodermic needles. “That’s the one,” Simon confirmed. He took and filled the hypo and placed it above Zoe’s heart.

“What is it?” Inara asked as Simon steadied himself for the injection.

“Pure adrenaline.” The doctor depressed the plunger and Zoe’s body jolted violently on the table.

* * *

Captain Reynolds tried to get up and continue his painful trip aft, but almost immediately collapsed back onto the table. Black stars swam before his eyes and he almost passed out.

Between the pain and his fatigue he wasn’t going to make it. But … “good ol’ Doc showed me what I need,” he thought as he reached for the top cabinet he’d opened hours before.

The injection was a clumsy affair. His shaking, bloody, fingers could hardly handle the syringe, big as it was. He managed it, after a fashion. Then he did black out for a moment as his body thrashed uncontrollably.

The moment past, Mal came to. The pain in his belly was deadened and ignorable and his tiredness was gone. The engine room didn’t seem so far now.

On his way, Mal turned to look back into the infirmary. It hadn’t been that long ago that Zoe.…

* * *

Zoe lay still on the operating table. The heart monitor was beeping at a steady pace and Simon looked relaxed; the initial crisis was past.

“Cap’?” Kaylee called to Mal from just outside the infirmary door. Mal looked up her; the mechanic looked pale and worried, the bearer of bad news. Not every crisis was done with after all. Mal walked out to get her report.

“Zoe gonna be okay?” Kaylee began in a small voice when they stood in the common area.

“You let the doctor worry about Zoe,” he told her gently. “Tell me what you know.”

“Catalyzer on the port compression coil blew,” she said. “That’s where the trouble started.”

All Mal caught from that were the words “compression coil” and “catalyzer”; Kaylee’d been talking about those components being ready to fail, but he had no idea what this failure meant. “I need that in Captain Dummy talk, Kaylee.”

“We’re dead in the water.”

That was a little too simple; Mal liked alternatives to impending doom scenarios. “Can you fix it?” he asked her.

“I could try,” she suggested faintly.

“Just get us to limpin’,” Mal said with a weak laugh for a feeble joke. “That’s all I need.”

Kaylee looked at him and nodded silently.

Pessimism and silence from the usually chipper mechanic was ominous. There was more he needed to hear. “What is it?” he prodded.

“Well, it’s worse’n just the coil,” Kaylee said.

“How can it be worse?”

“Main life-support’s down on account of the engine being dead.”

That made their situation more urgent but not yet desperate, not yet cause for Kaylee’s behavior.

“We got auxiliary—” he began, but she cut him off.

“No, we don’t,” she said. “It ain’t even on. Explosion must’a knocked it out.”

This was dire. Just about the worst news a captain could survive long enough to hear. “So what are we breathin’?” Mal asked.

“Whatever got pumped into the atmo before the explosion shut it all down.”

Jayne was nearby and joined the conversation. “Mosta that oxygen got ate up by the fire when it went out the door,” he pointed out.

“Whatever’s left is what we got,” Kaylee added.

“How long?” Mal asked. No need to say what the count-down was towards.

“Couple a’ hours, maybe,” Kaylee estimated.

Simon stepped out of the infirmary, oblivious to the conversation outside and relieved about Zoe’s condition. “She’s stabilized,” he told the group in the common room. “I think she’s out of the woods.”

The others stared back at him glumly, his good news almost ignored.

* * *

End Chapter One

COMMENTS

Sunday, August 27, 2006 5:30 PM

TONYAHUQT03


One thing I like about reading is that you get a glimpse into the character's minds that you don't get by watching tv. Good job on the re write. You got them down pretty well.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006 5:28 AM

LEIASKY


Nicely done in adding the characters thoughts and feelings into this 'episode'. Something we only usually get by carefully paying attention to the expressions on everyone's faces or their mannerisms.

Thursday, August 31, 2006 4:57 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Ya know...someone should do "official novelizations" of the episodes, ala Doctor Who (pre-2005 reboot). Might be a way of getting people interesting in the series if they could read a novel or two about the episode;)

BEB


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Out of Gas, Short story version; Chapter 1
The first chapter of my traslation to prose of Tim Minear's Out of Gas. Not technically fan fiction, but it'll do untill I have a better place to keep this.