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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
The crew continues to lend aid to a war torn planet. Cannon pairings.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1303 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Finally! The next chapter is up for your enjoyment - or dislike!
Thanks to tamsibling and mal4prez for the beta.
Chapter 2 can be found Here
As much as Mal wasn’t inclined to give in to the uppity doctor, the captain couldn’t argue when the younger man asked him to dispose of the dead. Disease would run rampant through the living if the bodies were not buried, and so the people capable of digging graves did just that. Mal’d done it before – at Serenity Valley – and the memories that came flooding back as he worked were as unwelcome as the task he’d been given.
“Gonna be disease we don’t bury ‘em, sir.”
Sergeant Reynolds looked over the broken bodies of the men he had commanded – and those he didn’t. This latest battle had not been kind – to either side. “Yeah, and we don’t need anythin’ else killin’ us. ‘Nuff purplebellies for that.”
Mal met Zoe’s eyes and nodded curtly. The hostile desolation surrounding his small company was enough to steal away what little hope he had of leaving this valley alive. He touched the crucifix at his neck and gave a silent prayer. Then turned and barked out quick orders, trying to get the dead buried without risking the few soldiers still living.
Mal worked beside Aaron and Jayne in a small clearing not far from the demolished buildings. Digging a mass grave was not that difficult a task. He’d done far harder things. But the grim defeat that covered the faces of everyone he saw was enough to stroke the fire burning in his gut into a full blown blaze. After a while he had to pause and turn away from the teary, determined faces of people burying their loved ones. He leaned on his shovel while he studied Simon’s trauma center and the surrounding camp – there were so few survivors in what had been a fair sized town.
But, he figured, they were lucky to have as many survivors as they did. He knew from experience that if the Alliance had truly wanted to eradicate the people on this world, it would have been done. They had no defense against the Alliance’ far superior firepower. Someone had messed up, or something else must have happened to make the ships that attacked this world to leave before confirming they’d done their duty or - they focused the brunt of their attack elsewhere; maybe on the nearby Independent outpost that Aaron had told them about. Mal made a note to himself – he ought to send someone over to check it out.
“You were a Sergeant in the first war, why didn’t you enlist this time?” Mal turned back to sell the man puffing as he shoveled away another load of sand with a bent piece of metal. His blond hair was stuck to his face and a light sheen of sweat showed on his pale skin, clear evidence that the man wasn’t used to manual labor.
Mal’s lips grew into a thin line as he continued to work. “Had other responsibilities.”
Aaron glanced back toward the decimated town and down at the bodies that waited for burial, their faces covered only with torn shreds of clothing. “Your crew?”
“Yup,” Mal said, his tone making no mistake that this was the end of this line of conversation. Instead, he asked a question of his own. “What happened to your wife?”
Aaron stopped shoveling for a moment and regarded Mal with a long, thoughtful look. “She’s dead.”
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Simon came across Inara dozing with her back against a wall and unconsciously rubbed a hand against the back of his neck. The demanding task of treating all of the wounded must have tired her both mentally and physically. He understood all too well and shared her exhaustion, but he didn’t have time to rest.
Her eyes popped open and she instantly pushed herself to her feet. “Yes, Simon?”
“Can you please take Kaylee back to the ship? She’s exhausted and I’d like her to get some rest in a real bed.”
Their eyes swiveled toward where the pregnant mechanic dozed against the wall, an injured child curled up against her body for warmth and comfort. Everywhere people lay in various conditions, but it was easy for him to pick Kaylee out of the crowd.
“She may object –“
Simon found himself interrupting her with an uncharacteristic firmness. “I don’t care. She needs rest.”
“I’m not disagreeing with you, Simon,” Inara said as she placed a gentle hand on his shoulder.
He exhaled deeply and rubbed his eyes. “It’s just – I can’t help everyone and worry about her at the same time.”
Inara smiled kindly. “I understand. I’ll go speak with her.”
Simon forced a grateful smile to his lips. “Thank you.”
As Inara moved away, Simon returned to a patient, lying quietly and waiting for him to check a hastily applied bandage. As he worked, he mentally cursed the lack of medical technology, qualified doctors, even supplies available on this world. It wasn’t right, the way these people lived compared to those on the Core worlds.
Before he finished re-dressing his patient’s wound, Simon heard the all too familiar sound of a patient in distress. His head shot up and his eyes darted around the room, finally falling on River trying desperately to hold a hemorrhaging patient down to the table. Her frightened eyes locked with his and he hurried over, working quickly to stop the seizure, but what little medication Simon had was not enough. He swore beneath his breath when the man fell silent, dying in a pool of his own blood.
River rested her hand on his shoulder. “I’m sorry.”
Simon shook his head and lifted his eyes to hers. He knew what she was trying to do, but he could find no comfort in her touch. “There’s nothing to be sorry about, mei mei. You didn’t do this. The yi da tuo da bian Alliance did.”
River simply nodded and turned away, leaving Simon to his work. She could feel his despair over losing so many patients, his fear about Kaylee’s health, about any and every little thing that he could not control.
Because of this, River didn’t have the heart to disagree with him. Didn’t want to tell him that if she’d never gone to the Academy, if he’d never rescued her and brought her to Persephone, never gotten on Serenity, never had visions of Miranda, maybe none of this would have ever happened. But, she didn’t really know for sure if that was the case, and instead simply lowered her head and went to where Inara was having a somewhat controlled and heated discussion with Kaylee.
“I ain’t leavin, ‘Nara.” Kaylee had pushed herself to her feet, dislodging the child curled against her, and stood, hands on her hips, eyes blazing.
“Mei mei, Simon’s right. You need to rest. “
“AIn’t no one here resting.”
“I have yet to see one pregnant woman among all of these people, Kaylee.”
“But there’s lotsa kids with no parents,” Kaylee retorted.
“You can’t care for them all, Kaylee.” Inara placed a gentle hand on the younger woman’s protruding belly. “You need to look after yourself first and that little one inside you.”
Kaylee wrinkled her nose in annoyance. “You been talkin’ to Simon.”
“No – well yes, I have, but he hasn’t influenced my conviction that you need to go back to the ship and get some rest.”
“Everyone needs help, ‘Nara. I can’t go. We all gotta pitch in. Help where we can.”
Inara opened her mouth but the younger woman was right, and she really couldn’t bring herself to argue.
“See, I need to stay here. Ain’t gonna hurt the baby if I wrap a bandage around a few scrapes.”
“No, Kaylee, you need to go back and rest.”
Both women looked up to find Simon standing beside them, rubbing his bloodied hands on an already bloodstained rag.
Kaylee’s eyes flashed and Inara inwardly winced at the argument she could foresee starting between the young couple.
Eyes narrowed, Kaylee ignored the tension that descended around them. “You ain’t got a right to tell me what to do, Simon. If I wanna help, I’m stayin’.”
“Kaylee, please,” Simon sighed, glancing to Inara.
“Don’t try an’ get ‘Nara to help.”
“I’m not – Kaylee, the baby, and your health. All of these wounded and all of the dead, its not –“ A woman screamed and Simon’s attention was instantly diverted. River hurried to the woman’s side, giving Simon an extra few seconds with Kaylee. “Please. I want you to be safe, and healthy.”
Kaylee placed a protective hand on her stomach. “We’re fine, Simon. I gotta help these people, these babies who ain’t got no mother or fathers no more.”
The screaming continued behind Simon and he quickly wrapped both hands around her upper arms. “Please go back to the ship and rest. You can come back, but it’ll be more comfortable for you there. Inara will stay with you.”
Inara opened her mouth to protest that she wanted to remain and help, but one urgent look from Simon silenced her.
“Yes, we’ll just go for a few hours. Rest and shower, then come back.” Inara moved to Kaylee’s side, smiling tightly.
“Exactly.” Simon leaned forward and kissed Kaylee gently.
“What about you?” Kaylee asked Simon, concerned that he’d gotten no rest since they’d landed. He was paler than normal and the large, dark circles under his eyes were a clear indication that he needed to sleep, at least for a few hours.
“I’ll rest when I can. But I’m the only doctor and –“ he shrugged, glancing back toward the patient River was trying to help. “I’m needed here.”
Kaylee watched him leave with a forlorn look. She understood his need to help the sick and dying, but she didn’t want it to be at the expense of his own health. “Needed on Serenity, too.”
If Simon heard her plea, he gave no indication.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
By the time Mal, Aaron, and Jayne finished burying the bodies, it was nearly nightfall of the second day. They were tired, both from the mental exertion from digging so many graves, and the emotional burden of searching the bodies for confirmation of the dead. Shelters were constructed to give those capable of leaving the medical area a place to sleep. Lists were made, names checked off. But it had to be done, and Mal, of the three, had experience in making sure it was done right.
Those who had not been injured still toiled for food and fresh water, and brought what other medical supplies they could to Simon. Mal noted the exhaustion on the faces of everyone who wandered the streets, lay propped up against rubble, too weary to find a more comfortable place to sleep.
When Mal stepped into the makeshift hospital, he had to search for a few moments before locating Simon. He squinted in the low light and frowned before watching as the doctor tried to stitch some bleeding wound with barely enough light to see. He watched in silence for a few moments as Simon’s normally steady hands shook as he worked. When the younger man was finished, Mal made his way to Simon’s side, wrapped a strong hand around his arm, and drew him aside.
“You need rest.”
Simon rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand and looked around the room. “As you can see I’m the only doctor –“ Zoe worked tirelessly in the corner, and Simon smiled, amending his statement slightly, “ – the only trained doctor and even with Zoe’s experience in treating the wounded, she has questions –“
“You keep going, you’re going to collapse. Then who will be here to look after them?” He waved his arm in a wide arc to indicate the people lying scattered around the makeshift infirmary.
Simon’s struggled to form a retort, then gave up with a tired nod. “I see your point.”
“Good. Now go outside and take a nap.”
“I can sleep in –“
“No, you can’t. You’ll never get to sleep in this place.”
Simon looked like he wanted to disagree, but he was too tired to argue. He let Mal lead him out to another area away from all the sick to get some rest.
Aaron and Jayne appeared at Mal’s side as he returned to the hastily set-up medical center to see if he could lend some aid in Simon’s absence.
“We’re goin’ to patrol. See if anything’s alive out there,” Jayne said with an eager smile, as he clutched Vera tightly.
Mal’s eyes shifted from a sleeping child toward his merc. “Don’t go lookin’ for trouble, Jayne.”
“Just want to make sure the Alliance didn’t leave no troops on the ground.”
Mal knew that if there were troops, he’d have seen their ugly purple mugs already. But it wasn’t hard to guess Jayne’s real motivation.
“Hopin’ you’ll find something of value?” Mal asked the merc pointedly.
Jayne shrugged, as if to say, Well, yeah, and Mal rolled his eyes.
“I’m jus hoping we’ll find someone alive out there,” Aaron said, disapproval obvious in his voice.
Mal turned and studied the man, wondering if there was more to it than that. There was a way to Aaron, something in how he carried himself, that hinted that he didn’t truly belong with these people.
“Or at least get some goods for these folks,” Jayne added nobly, like he was trying to redeem himself. “Medicines and food and the like.”
Mal sighed, but gave in with a nod. Any supplies these two might find would be a blessing worth the risk of sending them out. Whatever Aaron’s true story, he didn’t seem likely to do any harm, and if Jayne found himself some wealth along the way, so be it.
“Take the mule,” Mal said firmly.
“Nope, ‘Nara an Kaylee took it back to the ship hours ago.”
Mal grimaced. “Right, then –“
“We’ve got a few vehicles, we can use,” Aaron said, stepping away from Mal as he and Jayne readied themselves. “Madeline is still with the doctor, please –“
“I’ll let ‘er know where you went,” Mal said, not bothering to explain that Madeline was with River and not Simon. She was safe, that’s all the father needed to know.
Mal heaved a heavy sigh as he slowly sank to the ground, letting River and Zoe tend to the sick and injured. He would only rest for a few minutes. Enough time to store some more energy for the busy days to come. He closed his eyes and was asleep instantly.
“I don’t think we’ll find anything out here,” Aaron said as the small hovercraft sped along the flat terrain. The further they got from the ruined town, the greener the landscape. But Aaron knew the scorched earth would be visible again once they reached their destination.
“Didn’t you say there was an Independent base somewhere?”
Aaron pointed a slim, smooth hand toward a large mountain looming in the distance. “On the other side of that ridge. It’s not all that close.”
“I’m thinkin’ we need to take a look. See what we can see.”
Aaron grinned at the clear excitement written all over Jayne’s face. “That’d be why we’re heading in that direction.”
Jayne smiled, the whites of his eyes and teeth glowing in the moonlight.
“It’ll be a bit before we get there.” After a few minutes of silence, eyes darting around the dark landscape, the small hills and the swaying trees, Aaron said, “Tell me about your ship.”
“Yes. Cargo transport, right?” If he played his cards right, perhaps he could get these people to help him get off this world.
“Yup. We do all sorts of odd jobs, some legal, some – not. Keeps us flyin’.” Jayne shrugged.
“Looking for any more crew?”
“Dunno, that’s up to Mal. He says who stays an’ who goes.”
“Not sure a ship’d be the best place for a kid.”
“Your mechanic is pregnant.”
“Yeah, don’t mention that to the captain. He’s like to take off the doc’s head for that one.”
Aaron nodded, finally understanding. “Ah, I was wondering if they were together.”
“Yeah, right shame too. Uptight boy like that with a pretty thing like Kaylee. Don’t seem natural.”
Aaron noted the slight jealousy in Jayne’s voice. “Opposites do tend to attract.”
“So’s why Mal and ‘Nara ain’t done nothin’, then?”
Aaron chuckled at the exasperated tone in the other man’s voice. He’d noted the tension between the two as well. “Well, your captain seems like a stubborn man.”
“’Nara would agree with ya faster than me an’ I’m agreein’ pretty gorram fast.”
“Hmm,” Aaron said simply as they continued on in silence for a while longer.
“Them Independents rich?” Jayne’s voice broke through the silence and Aaron’s eyes shifted to regard the rugged man.
“Eh, was hoping maybe we’d find some gold. Somethin’ for our troubles, y’know?”
A hint of a grin tugged at Aaron’s mouth before he willed it away. “You’re an intriguing man, Jayne Cobb.”
As they ascended the hill that would place them into the small valley where the Independent base was hidden, Aaron could see the smoke that still burned from demolished buildings. The rancid smell of decaying bodies turned his stomach, and he could hear Jayne grimacing as well, but they continued on, looking for anything that could have possibly survived the bombing, anything that could help those who had been left alive to pick up the pieces.
Yi da tuo da bian - big lump of shit
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