BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

SHINYTRINKET

NOTHIN' IN THE 'VERSE - PART I: Chapter 11
Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Takes place after "War Stories". Mal is having trouble sleeping after being tortured. A passenger aboard Serenity discovers an old friend - and makes a new one.-------CHAPTER 11: The job goes off...but does it go smooth? Do they ever?


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1456    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Disclaimers: Everything belongs to Joss, except for one character of my creation.

**Mousing over the Chinese should reveal the English translations on most browsers. If not, translations follow the story. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mal grimaced and slapped a mosquito off his arm as he crouched in the brush outside the station. Ruttin’ bugs anyway. He had never developed a fondness for insects, that was for sure. How he’d ended up owning a ship named after one... Pearl was right; the tree cover and underbrush were very dense, and Mal was having a hard time even seeing the building from where he was hidden. He was glad to have Wash and Book high in Serenity ’s cockpit, where they were able to observe what he could not. He could hear Jayne and Zoë moving about as Jayne boosted Zoë to the roof. Mal shifted position on cramped legs, and readjusted his holster. He carried a rifle and had his service pistol on his hip. According to Pearl, there shouldn’t be anyone about, but one could never be sure in such a place as this, and Mal felt it best to be well armed. There had been no sign of life as they landed and disembarked Serenity . As Pearl had said, the station sat by itself quite a piece from the tiny town it serviced, with nothing but a small dirt road and a lot of wooded land in between. Getting in and out without being noticed seemed like it should be a cake job, and Mal had said as much to the crew. He rose to his feet and stretched, certain there was no one about to observe him. All was quiet by the station now; from a standing position he could see the roof, and see that there was no sign of Zoë up there. She was most likely already inside, probably heading for the door to let Jayne in. Suddenly Mal heard a loud rustle behind the station, followed by a thud, as if something had hit the ground. He craned his neck, instinctively readying his gun. A couple softer rustles followed the first one, then silence. He stayed on alert for a few moments, then relaxed as it got quiet again. Maybe an animal, he thought. Seems to be gone now. Wash’s voice, urgent, suddenly came over the radio into his earpiece. “Mal!” “Yeah, Wash,” Mal answered softly. “Jayne’s down!” “What!” Mal couldn’t believe his ears. “Jayne’s down,” Wash repeated. “Define ‘down’,” Mal commanded. “Down. Somebody clocked him, Mal. He’s out cold. I can see him from here.” Wash’s voice was a frantic hiss. Adrenaline pumping, Mal looked warily around, every muscle tense and ready. He spoke softly into the two-way. “Can you see anybody?” “No,” Wash replied. There was conversation in the cockpit, and then Wash was back. “Book just saw a guy head in the back door. Warn Zoë!” Mal craned his neck, desperately trying to see through the trees and brush. He keyed the radio. “Zoë,” he said quietly. “You’ve got company, and it ain’t Jayne. Are you still in the vent?” “Yes sir,” Zoë said in a low whisper. “I can hear ‘im in here.” “Don’t move,” Mal told her. “I’m comin’, I’ll try to take him out.” He cocked his rifle and began moving as quietly as he could through the brush and toward the station’s back door, which he could now see was standing open. Jayne lay just outside. He was almost out of the underbrush when Wash’s voice, sounding even more frantic this time, came over the radio again. “Mal, you got three guys on horseback comin’ up the road!” Mal dropped to his knees, able now to hear the hoof beats for himself. He shook his head in disbelief. “ Wong ba duhn! This can’t go south,” he muttered. “It simply cannot go south.” He risked a tentative look toward the front of the station and saw the three horsemen come into view. “And yet, there it goes!” He activated his radio again. “Zoë, stay put,” he commanded. He crouched low, watching the three horsemen dismount in front of the station and enter through the front door. He felt woozy. “Fuck!” he moaned forlornly. Suddenly he heard footsteps behind him, moving quickly, coming from the direction of the ship. The brush rustled loudly, twigs and leaves snapping under running feet. He whirled, raising his rifle—and then someone collided with him, hard enough to knock him off balance and send him sprawling backward into the brush. The rifle was snatched from his hand. “Wha’ fuck—” he grunted as he fell, instinctively whipping his pistol from its holster and pointing it— —At Alex, who was suddenly and inexplicably there with his rifle in her hands, running toward the clearing in front of the station. “Whaddya...THAT’S MY GUN!” Mal yelled at her retreating form. She stopped briefly and turned back. “You have more,” she yelled back, gesturing. Mal looked down at the pistol in his hand, then raised it at her again. Everything happened very quickly then. Alex raised the rifle, took aim, and fired one well-placed shot at the feet of the three horses in front of the station. The horses, which were not tethered, but merely standing with their reins dropped, panicked and began to run, scattering across the dusty clearing. “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING??” Mal bellowed at her, his self-possession completely gone. She looked briefly back at him. “Distractin' them,” she said simply. She raised the rifle and fired again, kicking up a spray of dust in front of one horse, causing it to veer sharply in the other direction. Sure enough, the front door of the station flew open, and the men poured out, yelling and cursing and stumbling over each other in their confusion and haste. Once the men were outside, Alex burst into the clearing and fired Mal’s rifle into the air. The three men whipped around to face her, fumbling in pockets and boots for their own weapons. Alex ran toward one of the horses, yelling, causing the already spooked horse to rear in panic as it frantically bolted for the cover of the woods. One of the men took aim at Alex—she saw him and shot, knocking the gun out of his grasp. He screamed and fell on the dusty drive, clutching his injured hand. Wo bu shin wo dah yan jing , Mal thought, I’m hallucinatin’! “Captain, are you seein’ this?” It was Zoë in Mal’s earpiece, obviously out of the vent shaft. Mal, incapable of speech for the moment, merely stared, slack-jawed, at the scene unfolding before him. “Sir?” Mal continued to stare. “CAPTAIN!” Zoë bawled, in a voice that could have made folks in town wet themselves. “Huhn?” Mal snapped out of it. “Zoë?” “We’re clear in here, sir,” Zoë said. “Best get a move on.” Mal pulled himself away from the show and ran toward the back door of the station, looking back long enough to see Alex disappear into the woods on the far side of the clearing, two of the men hot on her heels—the third was still curled in a fetal position on the ground. Mal stopped briefly to check on Jayne. He was unconscious but breathing. Mal stepped over him, radioing for Kaylee as he entered the station. Zoë met him inside, gesturing to a still form on the floor at her feet. “This is the one that got Jayne,” she said, cool and businesslike. The man was out just as cold as Jayne was, a bruise shaped like the butt of Zoë’s hogleg forming on his head. “I called for Kaylee—she should be comin’ any second. We better get the goods outside,” Mal said. “You wanna tell me what’s goin’ on out there sir?” Zoë asked him. “I wish I could,” Mal told her. “Wasn’t part of my plan. Kuang zhe de nurse...may not have to worry about that gorram prison moon after all.” Mal sighed and looked out the front window. The man who had been shot in the hand was now up and moving painfully off toward the tree line. Neither Alex nor the other two men were anywhere in sight. He went to work stacking shipping crates outside the back door, and could hear the sound of the mule as it neared. Soon Kaylee pulled up. “What happened to Jayne?” She jumped down and ran over to where he lay. “Got knocked out,” Zoë told her. She holstered her gun and began tossing boxes onto the trailer. “C’mon, let’s get this stuff loaded.” Working quickly, Kaylee helped Mal and Zoë load the cargo onto the flatbed, and then the three of them together laid Jayne’s limp body across the top of the crates. They climbed aboard the mule and headed back toward Serenity. Mal scanned the woods for any sign of Alex as they rode down the narrow two-track leading through the trees. They were almost to the ship when Zoë suddenly grabbed Mal’s arm. “Sir.” She pointed back down the trail. Alex was galloping up behind them on one of the horses, reins in one hand and Mal’s rifle in the other. “I’ll be a son of a bitch,” Mal murmured. He felt an inexplicable warm burst of relief at seeing her. Maybe she will be all right at that gorram prison, he thought. Kaylee drove the mule up the ramp and into the bay. Book, Simon and River came into the bay to meet them. Alex was only a few seconds behind. She dismounted the horse and trotted up the ramp, panting and bedraggled, a hand pressed to her cheek, blood smeared on her fingers. Zoë closed the airlock and crossed to the ‘com. “Wash, we’re on,” she said. Serenity’s engines began to whine in response. Alex hurried through the bay as the airlock closed behind her. All eyes were turned her way. “Here’s your gun,” she panted, handing the rifle off to a stunned Mal. She walked on through the bay to the stairs leading to the passenger dorm, and disappeared into her room just as Serenity began to lift off. Mal made a move to follow her, and then stopped. “Wha—I... ” he began, and then turned back to the others, his face a question mark. He was holding the rifle gingerly as though it were a foreign thing. He looked from Zoë to Kaylee to Book and back to Zoë again. “What was—” he started again, and then Jayne, who was still sprawled across the shipping crates, began to groan and stir. “Oh-h-h,” he moaned, a hand going to his bruised head. “Wha’ happened?” he muttered groggily. He blinked and looked around at the faces surrounding him. “Did Santa come yet?” Simon looked at the bruise on his head. “Should probably get him to the infirmary. Can someone give me a hand?” Book and Mal moved to help lift Jayne, who was muttering incoherently. “What happened out there?” Simon asked. “You told us to get out of sight, so River and I were...” He stopped and looked at Mal’s stupefied expression. “I thought this was a cake job?” “I can’t rightly say just what happened, but we’re all back and we’ve got the goods, so all’s well,” Mal replied, looking as baffled as Simon had ever seen him look. River had moved closer to them and suddenly spoke. “Jayne got beat up,” she said. She moved so she was standing over Jayne and looking intently into his face, then laughed. “Told you Jayne’s a girl’s name!” Kaylee snorted and Book chuckled. Mal looked at Zoë and saw the corners of her mouth twitching. There was a lurch as Serenity broke atmo, and Mal grabbed the mule to steady himself. Suddenly the tension he had been carrying drained out of him, making him weak in the knees. He looked around at his gathered crew, together again after a job that could have gone very, very wrong, and yet had somehow turned out okay. He looked at the amused faces and started to chuckle. The chuckle turned into an outright laugh, and Mal couldn’t stop himself after that. The stress of the day and his exhaustion caught up with him all at once. His knees buckled, and he leaned against the crates as laughter shook his body. Everything suddenly seemed hysterically funny, although he had no real idea after a time what was funny at all. He just laughed, holding his stomach (and realizing dimly how sore he still was from the torture), tears spilling down his cheeks. The others stared at him, perplexed; but the laughter proved contagious, and soon they were laughing and guffawing right along with him. Even Jayne, addled and half-conscious, was chuckling as he looked from one to the other, not wanting to be left out. The laughter finally abated, and Mal gathered himself. “Zoë, you help Kaylee unload the mule,” he said, wiping his eyes. “Shepard, would you be kind enough to help Simon get Jayne here to the infirmary? Get his noggin looked after?” The crew nodded and began going about their appointed business. “I’m gonna check on our passenger, make sure she’s okay...and find out just what the hell happened out there,” Mal continued, half to himself. He headed for the passenger dorm. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- CHINESE: Wong ba duhn! = Son of a bitch! Wo bu shin wo dah yan jing = I don’t believe my eyes Kuang zhe de = Crazy ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Go to Chapter 12. Back to Chapter 10.

COMMENTS

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 5:25 PM

KACIDILLA


holy...i'm the first to post a response?! i feel honored!

okay, so still loving this...the language shocked a bit...i did like "Define 'down.'" but i'm not sure Mal would be that out of it in a panic sitch...that's his element, if you think about it...

still can't wait for the next installment!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 5:56 PM

SHINYTRINKET


I hate to comment on my own story, but...Kacidilla, you're right--Mal wouldn't normally be that out of it in such a situation, but I'm writing here of a Mal who has lost a lot of sleep and is under a lot of stress, and is not on his game. So, yeah, Mal is a bit odd in my little version of the 'verse here!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 3:29 AM

BORNTOFLY


Oh, Alex is...gun-happy?
Looks like there may be a new Warrior Woman on the ship. A nice contrast to Mal's current meekness. Can't wait to see that conversation unfold!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 12:49 PM

JETFLAIR


Mal a bit out of it is what you're trying to portray, so that bit's very understandable. I do have to say though, that the "fuck" twice is out of character. Mal swears violently and creatively in chinese.....not so much with the modern English. A good stream of Chinese cursing would have been in order there.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 1:27 PM

KACIDILLA


yeah...sorry about that... *sheepish* momentarily forgot about the excess amounts of stress...and sleeplessness...

Friday, September 15, 2006 6:33 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


I don't know about that, jetflair. If one reads the "Serenity" novelization by Keith R.A. DeCandido, the speech Mal gives to the crew on Haven before he shoots the survivor of the Alliance skiff is punctuated by an F-bomb. I could imagine that, along with Mal being a lot less proactive and on his game, he would let an English profanity or two drop instead of Chinese;)

ShinyTrinket...this was definitely a brilliant chapter and I so wanna find out what the Hell Alex was doing appearing out of nowhere and saving the day (though it was a mighty lovely gesture;D)

BEB

Saturday, September 16, 2006 3:09 AM

SHINYTRINKET


The only other English curse I can remember Mal using was "son of a bitch" in 'The Train Job' when he found out they'd taken the medicine that was needed in Paradiso. I get the feeling he's the kind of guy that ONLY uses English curses, especially dropping the F-bomb, when he's really at the end of it, thus my usage of it here.


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