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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Post BDM light fic with a job involving sheep and goats. Wackiness insues. Normal parings. Kinda heavy on the M/I. Part one of three, all written. Part one: The ship has issues, the crew gets a job and some M/I.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1158 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Malcolm Reynolds walked up to his first and only true love and planted one hand firmly on her backside. ”Now, there are two ways we can do this. One is a lot more pleasant then the other. I leave this to you to decide.”
Responding to her silence Malcolm, Mal to his friends and more often to his enemies, shot her a look that would cause most men’s blood to run cold. She was used to him, however, so the look didn’t faze her at all. He had been hoping by getting a look at this angle, there might be some obvious reason for her hesitation.
“Won’t talk to me, eh? Lucky for you we got Kaylee working inside of you, so you’ll get off and flying soon enough.”
We are not, of course, speaking of any mortal woman. Hell, we aren’t speaking of a woman at all, but a ship. A midbulk transport ship, running with a standard radion accelerator core. Class code 03-K64. A Firefly, named Serenity. She was Malcolm Reynolds beating heart.
And right now, that heart was broken. Or at least a little bruised.
“Kaylee, report,”demanded Mal. While grumpy was not an unusual state of Mal’s being, being stuck on Bernadette made him doubly tetchy. He was too close to the core, and therefore the Alliance.
Kaylee grinned, hair glued to her forehead with grease and sweat,” Can I still blame that compression coil?”
“Sorry, Kaylee, that ship has sailed. Got the scar to prove it.” Mal put on his serious face and furrowed his brow. “Really, what’s wrong with her?”
“She’s okay, just gummed up is all. My guess she got some bad fuel cells last pit stop and she was letting us know she needs to be treated better.”
“45 minutes, Cap. We’ll be back on our merry way.”
That’s why I’m Chief Engineer, she thought to herself, smiling. No one else knew she thought of herself like that, and Kaylee liked it just that way. She knew she was appreciated without the big fancy title.
Mal walked into the cargo bay of Serenity looking for Zoë, his first mate, and instead found Jayne Cobb, resident ruffian and dumb muscle cleaning his substantial arsenal on his weight bench.
“You plannin’ something I should know about Jayne?”
“Just showing the girls a little attention. They needed a cleaning. Wanted to make sure they knew they was still loved, is all.”
Mal nodded. “I’m hoping to not need to use them for a while. Like to lay low for a spell.”
“Yeah, Mal, but how often…”
Mal shot him a look that slammed his mouth shut.
Remember that look that didn’t work on Serenity? Well, it works on Jayne.
------------------------------------------------- One of the few design flaws on a firefly is also part of what gives the ship such a personality. The doors to the crew bunks open inward and one has to climb a ladder to get in or out of a bunk. Sure, it gives the ship a nice open feeling, but it was a little difficult to carry boxes while trying to climb a ladder. “Wuh duh mah huh ta duh fung-kwong duh wai-shung doh.”
This was something Zoë Washburn was fast learning. She heaved the last of the boxes up out of her room and pulled herself up. She found herself face to face with Simon Tam, the ships doctor and Kaylee’s beau.
“Zoë… everything okay?” said Simon slowly, fearing a mass exodus from the ship.
“Fine, I’m just shipping some things when we stop at the trade-plex.”
“Can I help at all, or…?” Simon was expecting a no. He was just being polite and Zoë was no weakling.
“A hand carrying these to the cargo bay would not go unappreciated, thank you.”
Simon grabbed a box walked away. Pleased to do it, but a little surprised.
“Hey”, said Kaylee watching Simon go. "What’re we shippin’? Anything good?”
“Um, just some stuff. Cleanin’ out the bunk a little bit.”
“Oh”, sighed Kaylee, realizing, “Is that Wash’s stuff?”
Zoë nodded. “I’m shipping them to his mother on Verbena.”
“Verbena? But that’s really close. Why don’t we just stop…?”
“Not a good idea, Kaylee. Wash’s mom never really approved much of me. We never met and I see no reason to do so now. We got other business with Amnon anyway. Best just to let this go.”
“God, that’s so sad,” she was starting to get a little teary. She looked away from Zoë, who didn’t look so comfortable herself. “Here I go again. I’m sorry”
“It’s alright Kaylee. A bit of friendly advice?”
“There comes a point where the tears just need to stop and it’s better to focus on other things.”
“I know, but it’s just so unfair.”
“And I can’t possibly disagree with you. But trust me when I tell you, Kaylee, when it comes to things like this, it’s not how much time you have, it’s you do with it.”
Kaylee managed a smile.
“Now with that in mind”, now Zoë was smiling, “go see to your doctor.”
Kaylee nodded and turned around to do just that.
He was standing at the entranceway that separated the common room from the bunks, watching them and smiling.
They each grabbed a box and walked off.
Alone again, Zoë looked down into her bunk at the thick brown sweater lying on the bed. It was the only thing of her late husbands she was keeping for herself. Even when she closed her eyes to pinch the tears away, she could still see it lying there, nothing but air inside of it. Zoë did what she always did, what she was trained to do. She sighed, gritted her teeth and went to work.
River Tam sat in Serenity’s co-pilots chair reading an ancient piece of Earth-that-was literature on the Cortex. She had not read Animal Farm before, but something in about it caught her attention. She seemed to know that knowledge of this book might come in handy soon. And when you are a psychic, you tend to trust your hunches. She used the cursor to make a mark at her stopping point just as she heard the beep from the console noting someone was hailing the ship. Naturally, she knew it was coming.
She pushed the button to bring up the wave. She didn’t recognize the weathered face in front of her, but she knew who he was.
“You have work for us.” She said in lieu of a greeting.
“Well, that’s the oddest greeting I ever been given. But, I might have work. Is this still Malcolm Reynolds’ ship?”
“It is, he’ll be right…” she pointed behind her without turning around, “here”
“River,” bellowed Mal, as River made a face, “I thought we had a talk about you answering waves. You have a tendency to make people a mite nervous and eventually you are going to scare off some work. That’s the last thing I…,” the face on the screen caused Mal to stop with surprise. “Sheriff Bourne. You change your mind on prosecuting me, because I believe the statute of limitations is up on that particular incident.”
The sheriff of Paradisio chuckled. These two had met near a year back, when Mal technically stole some supplies meant for Sheriff Bourne’s mining town. When Mal found out he was stealing badly needed medical supplies he returned the goods, a move Bourne appreciated enough to allow the whole felony thing to just kind of go away.
“No, Captain Reynolds. All that is dust in the wind. I believe I have some work for you, however.”
“Really. Town doin’ well, then?”
“Yes. Quite well, actually.”
Almost as if she knew she was needed, Zoë arrived on the bridge.
“Everything okay, sir?”
“Fine, looks like we may be making a return trip to Paradisio.”
“Sheriff,” nodded Zoë.
Bourne nodded in return.
“So this job…,”asked Mal.
“Well, here’s what I need. We got fuel here in abundance, but we lack in livestock. Small creatures, sheep and goats. Got a nearby planet willing to sell for our price, but it’s too far off for any of us to get to them without trouble. This is where you come in.”
“Livestock,” Mal sighed, rubbing his head at an incoming headache. “What are we looking at for payment?” Payment always made Mal feel better, especially at times like these.
“Well, this is where it gets a mite tricky. All of our loose money is going to go to the purchase of said animals, so what we have to offer you is fuel. We’ll fuel you up for the trip from here out to Whittier. Do the job and head on back to us and as payment we’ll re-fuel your ship and leave you with a months worth of cells.”
“I don’t know, Sheriff. Only three times have I taken on a job that didn’t pay in cash and I have nearly died two of those times. I don’t like those odds.”
“Captain, this is a win win situation here. My town gets the animals it needs, you get fuel, so you can put your money elsewhere, but also the word of mouth that Serenity is flying again. We both know it’s been awhile since you had a job.”
Mal’s jaw at set in annoyance, and his eyes turned cold.
“Now I can’t say I blame you for taking the time off, but you have been off the radar. You need this job. We both know it.”
“Fine, Bourne, we’ll be there in under a week. We’ll send you a wave when we’re close.”
“Thank you Captain. Ladies” he nodded. With that the screen went dark.
“Sir, livestock?” Zoe’s stance was defensive. She was not amused.
“I am more then a little perturbed he called us on it, but he’s not wrong. Ain’t no other offers comin’. We take what we can get for now.”
“You said never again.”
“I said never gain with cows.” Mal said defending his decision, something he would only do with Zoë, “Besides, never say never.”
With that, Mal took his leave of half of Serenity’s women. He had to go prepare for a conversation with a woman he found more intimidating then a seasoned war veteran and a psychic put together.
A few months ago, the sight of Inara Serra having a mug of tea on Serenity would not have been worthy of much pause. It would have been standard, actually. But this night both she and Mal, as subconsciously as it may have been, were both taken aback by it.
For Inara it was re-adjusting to her surroundings. The heavy wood table prone to splinters, the ugly green mug she was drinking low quality tea out of. It was as if she had gone from the opulence of the training house to the reality of Serenity in a blink of an eye. She was simultaneously trying to not to dwell on what brought her back here yet still trying to decide why she really wanted to stay. Long before she allowed an honest answer to form in her head, she heard the heavy thump of Mal’s boots behind her.
Speak of the devil.
The thump of those boots stopped as soon as he hit the common room door. He still was not used to running into her on the ship and the site of her sitting there, her back to him, froze him up. His heart leaped into his throat. He needed recovery time. He didn’t get it.
Inara, picking up on his reaction to her, spoke first. She didn’t like to give him the advantage.
“Are you going to say hello?”
“Yeah, um, I’m gettin’ to it. I was looking for you, actually,” he said, getting some weak tea for himself.
“Yeah, got a job and I’m trying to plan our next few stops. Need to know what your plans are.”
“I’m not completely sure.”
“Nara, I ain’t meanin’ to push you one way or another but I’m going to need more than that,” he said, sitting. “I got five other folks on this ship needin’ to get on with their lives. We have to start moving again. So if you have someplace you need me to take you or stuff you need to get, I need to know.”
“Such a tempting invitation, how can I refuse?” She noted how tired he looked. The last months had aged him so much. She was more then a little surprised that he had sat down next to her, rather then across from her. It softened her. She sighed, and gave in.
“I’m…I want to stay. I just don’t know anything beyond that. I don’t know if I’m going to get back to work, or if I even can.”
“There has been some talk of the guild revoking my license on account of my involvement with the Miranda incident.”
Mal couldn’t find quite the words to express how complex his feelings were on that thought. It was just as well, as Inara continued before he had time to speak,
“If I’m not renting the shuttle, what place do I have on this ship? Or any ship?” she asked, looking to him for help, or sympathy. She was unsure which.
Inara stood up to leave before she said or he saw more then she wanted him to. Mal grabbed her and at the wrist and pinned it to the table. She sat back down. The look between them was so intense it woke River up clear on the other end of the ship.
“Don’t matter what title you have, or don’t. As many times as you have helped this crew, you have earned a place on Serenity. Understood?”
“You sure this is what you want? You know what this world is like, I can’t promise you’ll be safe or that there’ll be work or…”
“I know, but…” she started, her free hand covering his.
“Inara”. His hand moved to her face, thumb circling her cheek before either of them realized it was happening.
The tromping of boots coming up the stairs sent them to opposite ends of the room.
River, nose in a handheld encyclopedia, never even looked up as she walked through the room and towards the bridge.
“Didn’t need to have moved. I already know.”
She was right. Walking through the room, River knew more about what was and what would happen then they did.
“I think I liked her better crazy”, said Mal, breaking the tension. “Well, I’m going to try to sleep a spell.”
“Sleep or wandering around the ship until the rest of the crew wakes up?” she teased.
She did know him well. It didn’t escape him; he just didn’t know how to feel about it.
“Don’t rightly know, he said, smiling warmly, ”we’ll see what happens. Can I, um, walk you to your room?”
It was a painfully sweet gesture and for a split second, Inara was able to see the young man that Mal left behind on Shadow. But she was not ready for the kind of good night her training had taught her came with that kind of gesture.
Not that Mal would have worked up that kind of courage anyway.
“No thank you, Mal. That’s very sweet, but I need to clean up my little mess here.”
“Can’t complain about that. You know, Serenity could use a maid, I mean if the companion thing doesn’t work out.”
She attempted mock shock and offense and then threw a towel at his head.
“So angry for a pretty lady.”
“Sleep well, Mal.”
He nodded his little Mal nod and headed for his bunk feeling thinking he might actually sleep after all.
He didn’t. But for once it wasn’t Inara that kept him awake. It was livestock. More live animals on his ship. Zoë was right, he had said never again, but what could he do. His one goal in owning this ship was simple, keep flying and live free. He and the rest of the crew had worked too hard and had lost too much to lose it all now. So livestock it was. Like it or not.
Saturday, September 09, 2006 8:36 PM
Monday, September 11, 2006 3:16 AM
Friday, September 15, 2006 6:08 PM
Monday, July 07, 2008 6:36 PM
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