Birthday - Part IV
Wednesday, November 8, 2006

The drugs are breaking down Simon's will ... Feedback, as always, encourages my muse!


“Who was the woman with you?”

Oh please forgive me. “Kaylee.”

“What is she to you?”

Stop. Don’t say anything. “I love her.”

“We should have taken her too. When we had the chance. He’d have talked a lot quicker.”

“We’re more sophisticated than that. Dr Tam, are you the father of her baby?”

Bethany. God. “Yes.”

“Well, he’s certainly responding.”

“Mmn. And this may be too good an opportunity to miss. Dr Tam, what do you know of my brother’s death?”

“Mitch –“

“He knows, Kyle. He knows what happened to Eric. And I’m going to find out.”

“We don’t have time for this!”

“We have all the time we need. Now, Dr Tam, do you know how my brother died?”

Burning. “Yes.”

“Did you kill him?”

Please. “No.”

“Then who did?”

I can’t. “Mal.”

“That would be Malcolm Reynolds. He owns that piece of gos se he berths on.”

“He killed Eric?”

Bullet, blood, brains. “Yes.”


Forgive me. “Because of what he did.”

“What did he do, Dr Tam?”

Smell. “He burned her.”

“Who? Who?”

Don’t ask. Please don’t ask. “Freya Nordstrom.”

“Why would he do that?”

Simon screamed, but the sound only filled his mind.

“He’s fighting it.”

“He has a strong will.”

“Do you want to up the dosage?”

“Not yet. He’s had more than the maximum Eric suggested in his notes, so I think we’d better hold fire on that for the moment. Much more and he could end up comatose, even brain dead. His sister is going to make us a lot of money, but I'm sure the Alliance will pay handsomely for the good doctor’s return.”

“And if we don’t get what we want from him?”

“We will. Now, Dr Tam. Where were we?” ---

“Is Bethany all right?” Freya asked.

Lee looked up in surprise at the woman standing in the doorway to the galley. “Why shouldn’t she be?” He put down his mug of coffee. “She got through the birth trauma extremely well.”

“I mean otherwise. Hearing, sight, that sort of thing.”

“From what I can see.” He gazed at her. “Is there some reason she might suffer from any problems?”

Freya bit her lip, stepping down into the dining area. “It’s just … did Simon make any notes?”

“Dr Tam? Yes. But the birth was comparatively straightforward so I’ve not –”

“You should.”

“Freya, just tell me.”

Freya took a deep breath and sat down opposite him. “Kaylee was exposed to the air down the mines on Tetris when she was less than three months pregnant.”

Lee’s brows went up. “Tetris? Then she’s lucky to have survived.”

“Yes, we were,” Freya said.

“You were there too?”

Freya nodded. “Not something I care to repeat,” she said, remembering the convulsions that had torn through her, the pain in her lungs and brain, the numbness that had finally and gratefully overtaken her.

“And you say Kaylee was pregnant at the time?”


“No wonder Dr Tam was worried.”

“Can you … “ Freya paused. “Could you speak to Kaylee? Get her to let you check?”

“Well, I could do tests. Nothing invasive, just some passive scans that could rule out most problems.”

“I’d be grateful.”

“Why don’t you ask her yourself?”

“I …” Freya swallowed. “Just do it, would you?”

“Of course.” He pushed the mug away from him. “Have either of you been checked for any long term damage yourselves?” he asked.

“Simon made sure we were okay.”

“Good. Because what I’ve heard of Tetris has always suggested problems with conception if left untreated.”

Freya stood up, giving a bark of laughter totally lacking in humour. “No need to worry about that, Lee,” she said, walking towards the door. “Just take a look at Bethany.” ---

“Sir, do we really think this is a good idea?” Zoe asked, standing close to her captain as he stared out into the black. Hank glanced up at her.

“They’re crew, Zoe. Family. You think I’m gonna go tell that girl down in the infirmary the man she loves is gone just ‘cause we’re afraid?”

“I didn’t mean that, sir. But trusting Smith … sir, he’s Alliance.”

Mal turned to look at her. “I know, Zoe. And that worries me. But I ain’t got another notion of how to deal with this. None of our regular contacts have heard a thing, or if they have they ain’t telling.” He shook his head. “Frey said she wasn’t gonna let Kaylee or the baby die. Well, I feel the same about River and Simon.”

“We all do, sir. But Smith is Alliance. This could be a trap.”

“Well, we’ve got out of those before. ‘Sides, if they wanted us, why just go for Simon and the girl?” Mal looked pensive. “They had time to take the rest of us, but they didn’t even try. No. As much as I hate to say it, I think Smith’s right.”

“I agree, sir,” Zoe said unexpectedly. “But is this the right way to go about getting them back?”

“You come up with a better way, you let me know. Hell, any other way.” He glanced down at Hank then back to his first mate. “You got one? Either of you?”

“No, sir,” Zoe said.

“Hey, I just fly the boat,” Hank said. He looked at Zoe. “But if you want my opinion, for what it’s worth I think Mal’s right. Simon and River are family. And I ain’t got enough left of that to lose a couple.” He met Zoe’s gaze and coloured a little but held his ground. “Well, you asked.”

Mal’s lips twitched a little. “I did. And thanks.”

“You’re welcome,” Hank said, turning back to the controls.

The com crackled. “Captain, could you join me in your cargo bay?” Smith’s voice resonated in the small room.

Mal looked at his two crew members then walked off the bridge.

“Sorry,” Hank said.

Zoe looked back at him. “I’m not saying he’s wrong. Just that there might be another way.”

“Trouble is, I don’t think there is.” Hank tried a half-smile.

“That’s the problem,” Zoe said. “And that’s got me worried.” She followed her captain. ---

“Enough money greases many palms,” Smith said, looking up at them somewhat smugly.

“I gather you’ve found something?” Mal asked, hurrying down the stairs.

“How gracious you are in your thanks,” Smith added sardonically. “But yes, I have. They’re on a small vessel heading for Osiris.”

“The Core?” Zoe put in, glancing at Mal. “I thought you said it wasn't Alliance.”

“It isn’t. It’s a man called Lon.”

Mal jerked. “Lon? Eric Lon?”

“No. His brother, I believe. Mitchell Lon.” Smith looked closely at the captain of Serenity. “Why?”

“We’ve had … dealings with that family before,” Zoe answered.

“What sort of –“

Mal interrupted. “How far ahead of us are they?”

“I don’t know, captain.” Some of Smith’s arrogance seemed to dissipate. “I'm trying to get their pulse beacon code, but so far I'm not having any luck.”

“Zoe,” Mal commanded, and she headed for the com. “You’re sure about it being Lon?” he asked Smith.

“That part is certain.”

“Hank, set course for Osiris,” Zoe said into the com.

“Osiris? Which part?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“Oh. We chasing the bad guys?” he asked.

“No. We’re going to catch them.” ---

Mal climbed slowly down the ladder into their bunk. Freya was lying on the bed, staring into the ceiling.

“You okay?” he asked.


“Can you try saying that with a bit more conviction? ‘Cause it sounded kinda lame to me.”

She half-smiled and looked across at him. “I’m fine. Honestly.”

“Thinking about Bethany?”

Her eyes returned to scrutinising the superstructure. “A bit.”

He sat down on the bunk next to her, his hip pressing into her thigh. “And Alice?”

This time she just nodded, not letting herself speak.

Mal took her hand, pressing it between his own. “Kaylee was asking when you were going to go in to see her.”

“I did!” Freya said indignantly, turning her head so she could look at him. “I was there when Bethany was born, remember?”

“That wasn't what she meant.” He stroked her cheek. “It hurts, doesn’t it? Seeing them?”

“I just …” She looked away but he wasn't surprised to see a tear roll down her cheek into her hair. “I should be getting fat by now. Five months, Mal. Over half way. I should be feeling her kicking soon.”

“Frey …”

“When does it stop hurting?” she asked, looking at him.

“I don’t know. When it does I’ll let you know.” He pulled her over so she lay in his lap, her arms wrapped around his waist. “Frey … I have to … there’s something you need to know.”

“What?” she asked, not moving, just taking in his heat, his comfort.

“Jeremiah Smith found out who took Simon and River.”

Her head snapped up. “Then we know where they are?”

“More or less. We’re headed there now.”

The look on his face was enough to make her sit up. “What? What is it, Mal?”

He took a deep breath. “The man who kidnapped them – it’s Mitchell Lon.”

Freya’s face blanched. “What?” she whispered.

Mal felt her muscles tensing, her hand gripping his tightly. “Eric Lon’s brother.”

Freya let go and scuttled to the far end of the bunk, shaking her head. “He’s dead,” she said softly, shaking her head. “You told me he was dead.”

“He is, Frey. I killed him. I promise you. He can’t hurt you any more.” He was shaken by the look in her eyes, one he’d seen in River’s so often, when she was at her most desolate. “Frey. Listen to me. This isn’t him.”

Freya nodded slowly. “I know. His brother.”

Mal held out his arms. “He won’t hurt you either.”

She gazed at him, then slid back into his embrace. “I'm sorry. I just …”

“I know, my love. I know.” He held her close. ---

“What was your treatment of the subject River Tam, doctor? What did you give her?” Mitchell Lon looked at the young man sitting in the chair, so still now, so passive. His skin was grey, sweaty, and his eyes sightless.

“Anti-psychotics.” Simon’s voice was dull, expressionless.

“Did they work?”

“Her system eventually broke them all down.”

Lon’s associate nodded enthusiastically. “He’s being very helpful.”

“I told you it would work. Eric knew what he was doing.” Lon grinned.

“Yea for your dead brother, then.”

Lon glared at him. “If you don’t stop being facetious, you’ll be the next one in this chair, Kyle.”

“Sorry, I’m sure.” He backed down.

“If we can get back to the matter in hand? Thank you.” Lon turned back to the man in the chair. “Dr Tam. Name the drugs.”

“Hyprobrovin. Gloxacavin. Redion18B.”

“Common enough. Go on.”

"Didroethylone. Mandrin.”

“Less common. And expensive. Where did you get these, Dr Tam?”


Kyle was fidgeting. “Does it matter, Mitch?”

“I guess not. Dr Tam. What was your latest medication?”


“How much are you prescribing currently?”


“What?” Lon asked, glancing at Kyle.

“You sure he isn’t lying?”

“He can’t. Look at those readings,” Lon insisted, tapping the screen. “Doctor, are you saying your sister is no longer medicated?”


Lon glanced towards the other room. “Kyle, how much sedation do we have her under?”

“Top whack,” the other man confirmed. “Like you told me.”

“Keep it there.” Lon looked at the young doctor. “Simon, why isn’t your sister medicated?” he asked.

“She doesn’t need it.”

“Why the hell not?” Kyle asked.

“Shut up. You don’t know the right questions to ask,” Lon told him shortly. “He can only answer direct queries, not volunteer information.” He waved him to silence, stemming further comment. “Doctor, what was the turning point for your sister’s – for River Tam’s condition?”


“Mir –“

“That’s it,” Lon interrupted, a smile growing on his face. “That’s the key. Kyle, find that stream broadwaved about Miranda. That’s what will work – River Tam will be cured of the cure.”

to be continued


Thursday, November 9, 2006 1:55 AM


I like your muse, so here's feedback!

Goddamnit! This Mitchell Lon is a real hundan. Man, if Simon survives (he does, right?), he's gonna be so whacked out not only because the drugs will have seriously messed with his psyche, but I have no doubt that he'll fell himself with overwhelming guilt at what he probably perceives as his being weak...Poor Simon.

Man, I really feel for Mal and especially Freya in this. As lovely as having Kaylee and Simon's daughter be born is, and as wonderful as the fact that she's's got to burn the couple in ways they never even imagined to know that their child wouldn't be far's gotta be like reliving the pain and grief all over again.

I'm loving the entire 'Birthday' series, so keep writing!

Thursday, November 9, 2006 5:00 AM


I LOVE THIS! Something tells me that Bethany is not totally healthy - I'm thinking hearing loss or maybe some degenerative bone disease ... something that's not totally noticeable at first glance.

I too feel awful for Freya and Mal - however, I feel worse for Freya as her tormentor is in a sense, not quite gone, although Eric is dead, his brother is obviously worse, based on what he's doing to Simon.

Poor Simon too - it's terrible that he is berating himself for his weakness, when he literally has no control over it. The drugs are deadly and now, he's really in a bad way - I'm just hoping Mal & co. can get to him before any permanent damage is done.

Keep it up, I'm dying to see how this resolves!

Thursday, November 9, 2006 11:27 AM


Poor Simon, that evil Mitchell Lon is every bit as nasty a piece of work as his brother was. I don't think it will help Freya too much that Eric is dead with Mitchell being his twin, it will knock her for six anyway. Poor girl, so much suffering and having to watch Kaylee's little girl knowing her child would have soon followed. Thank God she and Mal have each other but with the heat turning up in this fic nothing is set in stone I'm thinking. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, November 10, 2006 8:03 PM


Aww's a threeway angst-fest! Mal and Freya are getting aftershock pain attacks from Alice's death, Kaylee's gotta deal with Simon being held hostage and probably harmed (along with the concern Bethany's got something wrong with here that ain't "cosmetic") and Simon's gonna end up a vegetable at the rate he's trying to fight off the drugs Mitchell Lon gave him:(



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