Communication - Part XII
Monday, March 19, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. River may be naked, but she's in control. Inara isn't, even though Mal and the others are nearly there. Please leave feedback/rate - it makes my day!


The shuttle locked on and Hank immediately powered her down. In a moment Mal had the door open, gingerly peering around the corner, but there was no-one in sight.

“Mal,” Freya murmured. “I think everyone’s in the ballroom.”

“River and Inara with them?”

She shook her head. “I can’t tell.”

“Well, makes it easier. If we come across anyone, they’re probably bad guys.”

“’Specially if they’re shooting at us,” Hank put in, wiping his hands together then down his pants.

“Yeah, that does kinda take the guesswork out of things.” Mal looked at his crew. “Jethro, you roam with Jayne. Zoe –“

“Aw, Mal, why does he have to come with me?” the big man asked.

“Because I said so.” Mal glared at him. “Zoe, Simon, with me. Hank, you stay here with Frey.”

“Mal?” His pilot stared at him.

“Frey’s staying put, and so are you.”

“But –“

“And I don’t have time to argue.” Mal eased his way out into the other ship. “Come on.”


Jones ran his fingers down River’s face. “It would be such a pity to destroy such beauty. But I will if I have to.” His hand continued down her chest, but stopped as he felt her gaze on him. “Yes, well.” He stepped back, going to the com. “But I don’t really have the time to enjoy myself.”


Inara listened as the voice, almost like Mal’s in timbre, sounded over the ship’s system.

“Miss Serra. I have your sister. And a pretty little thing she is too. Even with the goosebumps.”

No. Not like Mal’s. There was ice under the banter, a heart frozen with no remorse.

“Course, she won’t stay that way unless you come out.”

“God, no!” Inara screamed, tugging on the door.

“So many things I could do, and not a one of ‘em fatal. Not yet.”

“I'm here!” she shouted, banging on the wood, trying to break it with her bare hands.

“You have five minutes to get to the ballroom, as I'm feeling generous, and you might be hiding.” He laughed and shut the com down.


“River?” Simon said. “Does he mean –“

“I reckon he does,” Mal agreed, slowing as he approached the crosswalk.

“Then we have to –“

“Doc, we are. Now keep quiet.” Mal signalled to Zoe to take the other side of the corridor, while he counted down. As he reached one he dropped to a crouch and looked around the corner. A shotgun blast nearly took his head off, and he felt splinters ricochet off his coat.

Zoe’s mare’s leg came on its heels, almost one sound, and the man at the end was driven back against the wall, sliding down to the expensive carpet, his chest a bloody mess.

“Thanks,” Mal breathed.

“You’re welcome, sir.”

They moved on past, Simon swallowing back the bile as he looked at the dead man. Not the first he’d seen, particularly as a doctor, and probably not the last, but it always made him feel a little sick. Only this time it added to the nausea that was tearing his guts up from the treatments, and it was just too much. He leaned over and lost what little had been in his stomach.

“You okay, doc?” Mal asked, glancing back at him.

“I'm fine,” he said, wiping his mouth on the back of his hand.

“Then don’t be dawdling.”


“Jayne!” Jethro said urgently.


“Shouldn’t we go help River?”

“Mal’s on his way there.” Jayne glanced over his shoulder. “Sides, she ain’t in no danger.”

“But he just said –“

Jayne sighed. “Preacher, you ain't exactly thinking with your brain, are you? This is River we’re talking about. You know? The Reaver-slaughtering machine?”

“But she’s alone.”

“She was then, too.”

“I still think –“

“No. We’ve got a job to do, and we’re gonna do it.”

“Which is?”

“Get to Inara and get her off this pile of gos se.”

“But we don’t know where –“

Jayne stopped in his tracks, and Jethro nearly ran into him.

“What?” asked the younger man, trying to see around the mercenary.

“Inara’s in a cupboard. Level five.”


Jayne turned to glare at him. “I said Inara’s in a cupboard. Level five.”

“No, I heard. But how do you know?”

“River told me.” Jayne moved off again, surprisingly silently for such a big man.

“She … when?”

“Just now.”

“She spoke to you?”

“Didn’t you hear her?” Jayne peered around the corner then headed towards the stairs.

“I didn’t hear a thing.”

Jayne grinned. “See, that kinda makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.”


“Sir, Grogan’s reported shots from the lower decks.”

“Who’s down there?” Jones asked, not taking his eyes off the naked young woman in front of him. She didn’t seem at all concerned with her predicament, and that fascinated him.


“Tell him to check it out, although he was probably just being trigger happy.” Jones smiled. “Unless he found Miss Serra.”

“Sir.” The gunman headed off.

River shook her head. “No.”

Jones raised an eyebrow. “No what?”

“It wasn't Inara.” The girl looked him up and down.


“I was just wondering whether to render you limb from limb, or just disembowel you.”

Jones laughed, but there was something in her gaze, in her way of speaking that made his skin crawl. “I don’t think you’ll be getting the chance, sweetheart.”

“I'm not your sweetheart.”

“Mr Jones,” Captain Branscombe could take it no longer. “She’s just a girl. Please, at least let her dress.”

“I’m shiny, Captain,” River said, turning to look at him. She smiled softly. “I find it quite liberating. I often wander the corridors of my ship at night naked. It makes me feel at one with her.”

“But my dear –“

“It’s all right,” she assured him. “It will be all right.”


Freya was on the small bridge, checking that Serenity was still pumping out static. If the Delko, docked at the far end of the Marrakech, realised another ship was dogging them, things could turn nasty in a moment.

“Frey …” Hank’s worried voice filtered back to her.


“I think … I think I saw movement.”

Freya struggled to her feet, grabbing her crutches and trying to move through the cluttered cabin as fast as she could as Hank shouted, “Frey!”

Three gunshots crashed into the wall above her head, and as she sidestepped one of the crutches slipped on the decking and she went down, slamming her knee on the corner of the bench as she fell.

Hank, having ducked back inside the door, could only watch as she tried to get up, but her knee wouldn’t hold her. And then there were footsteps outside. He tried to calm his wildly beating heart, half deafened by the gunblast, and gripped the suddenly slick butt of his gun. He took a deep breath and moved into the doorway.

A man. His age. Same build. Same height. Same brown hair. Dark eyes, though, not grey like his own. And raising the gun he held, ready to fire.

Hank tried to pull the trigger. He wanted to, was telling his brain to send the signals to his finger, to pull the gorram trigger. But all he could see was a man falling against a dirty wooden wall, the smell of blood fighting with the smell of urine as it pumped from his body, feeling the gun he’d already used to send the man who’d hurt Freya into one of the deepest reaches of hell …

Freya fired, two shots sounding like one, lying on the deck.

The gunman took a step back then fell, an almost surprised look on his face.

Hank stared at him.

Freya rolled onto her back, letting her hands fall above her. “Cao ni zuxian shi ba dai,” she breathed.

The pilot turned in surprise. “Who, me?”

“Only if you don’t help me up.”

Glancing back at the dead man again, Hank slid his unfired gun back into its holster and crossed the shuttle. He got his arms under Freya’s and helped her to sit on the bench.

She probed her knee, feeling blood under her fingers. Quite a lot of blood.

“You okay?” he asked, going to the emergency aid box and removing a pack.

“Another pair of pants,” she muttered. “Gonna end up naked before long.”

Hank couldn’t help it. He let out a laugh. “I doubt Mal would mind.”

“The rest of you might,” Freya said, smiling a little. She grabbed the pack from him and tore it open, sliding it inside the tear to cover the wound. “And I don’t think Simon’s going to be very pleased that I've undone some of his good work.” She winced as the seal took hold.

“I'm sorry,” Hank said. “I couldn’t. I don’t know why but I … I couldn’t fire.”

She looked up at him. “It happens.”

“I just … all I could see was that man I killed before. And I couldn’t fire.”

“I know.” She sighed. “Hank, you’re not a killer. And I'm pretty sure Zoe’s pleased about that.”

“Zoe …” Hank glanced out of the door.

“She’ll be careful. Especially now.”

Hank stared back at her.


“Sir, I can’t raise Hannay. And now Miller isn’t answering either.”

Jones glared at him, then turned to Branscombe. “Who is it?” he asked, his eyes full of wrath.

“Who?” the captain asked, bewildered.

“Your crewman. The one who’s making a nuisance of himself.”

“But they’re all here,” Branscombe insisted.

“Then who …” Jones stopped. “I don’t have the time to play games,” he muttered, sliding a knife from the sheath at his waist. “Time to end this.” He took hold of River’s arm and dragged her to the com.

“It’s nearly over.”

“For you, yes.” Jones hit the button to send his voice throughout the ship.

“No, for you,” River smiled.

“I’ve run out of patience. Inara Serra, if you’re not in this ballroom in the next thirty seconds, your sister is going to be giving up the last of her blood onto the floor. Dong mah?” He pulled River into his arms, turning her so the knife was at her throat.

to be continued


Tuesday, March 20, 2007 12:46 AM


Oh, that *tamade hundan* is so going to die screaming! Can't wait to see River teach him the error of his ways. And neat that Jayne can hear River inside his head and I could feel Jayne's smugness when he found that Jethro couldn't. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, March 20, 2007 6:54 AM


I love that River is so in control of her situation and that no one else can quite believe it.

And I really love the fact that Jayne can still hear River - it's just great! Poor Freya though - she is just not catching a break. I think Mal needs to spirit her away somewheres for a bit so she can really heal.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007 10:02 AM


Keep it up your a great writer

Tuesday, March 20, 2007 1:03 PM


Oh...I can just picture Adam giving Jayne an expression that is the epitome of smug right then! Cuz Jayne would be ten kinds of arrogant and prideful in knowing that he can get psychic messages from River when her snugglebunny can't;D

Brilliant work here, Jane0904! Absolutely brilliant!



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“Then do you have a better suggestion? No, let me rephrase that. Do you have a more sensible suggestion that doesn’t involve us getting lost and freezing to death?”

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little standalone festive tale that kind of fits into where I am in the Maya timeline, but works outside too. Enjoy!]

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"I honestly don’t know if my pilot wants to go around with flowers and curlicues carved into his leg.”
[Maya. Post-BDM. The end of the story, and the beginning of the last ...]

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Mal took a deep breath, allowing it out slowly through his nostrils, and now his next words were the honest truth. “Ain’t surprised. No matter how good you are, and I’m not complaining, I’ve seen enough battle wounds, had to help out at the odd amputation on occasion. And I don’t have to be a doc myself to tell his leg ain’t quite the colour it should be, even taking into account his usual pasty complexion. What you did … didn’t work, did it?”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Simon has no choice, and Luke comes around.]

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“His name’s Jayne?”

“What’s wrong with that?” the ex-mercenary demanded from the doorway.

“Nothing, nothing! I just … I don’t think I’ve ever met a man … anyone else by that name.”

“Yeah, he’s a mystery to all of us,” Mal said. “Even his wife.”

[Maya. Post-BDM. Hank's not out of the woods yet, and Mal has a conversation. Enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Part XVIII
Jayne had told him a story once, about being on the hunt for someone who owed him something or other. He’d waited for his target for three hours in four inches of slush as the temperature dropped, and had grinned when he’d admitted to Hank that he’d had to break his feet free from the ice when he’d finished.
[Maya. Post-BDM. The Fosters show their true colours, Jayne attempts a rescue, and the others may be too late.]

Snow at Christmas
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[Maya. Post-BDM. A seasonal one-off - enjoy!]

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Jayne hadn’t waited, but planted a foot by the lock. The door was old, the wood solid, but little could stand against a determined Cobb boot with his full weight behind it. It burst open.

[Maya. Post-BDM. The search for Hank continues. Read, enjoy, review!]

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He slammed the door behind him, making the plates rattle on the sideboard. “It’s okay, girl, I ain't gonna hurt you.” The cook, as tradition dictated, plump and rosy cheeked with her arms covered to the elbows in flour, but with a gypsy voluptuousness, picked up a rolling pin.

[Maya. Post-BDM. Kaylee finds the problem with Serenity, and Jayne starts his quest. Read, enjoy, review!]

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“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]

“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]