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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ADVENTURE
Concluding dealings with Miss 'Lilah. Various gifts and money changing hands. The ladies get on their own and talk turns to the subject of Jayne. Todd Lawless sends Mal a job opportunity on the planet of Cairo and discussion arises amongst the crew.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 705 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
If you’re feeling kinda tedious, if life is seriously mediocre,
Here’s how to get that adrenalin flowing: just step aboard a Boeing, going high!
We’re living the high life, we’re living it well.
We’re living the high life, where everything’s swell.
We’re up in the sky, we’re flying so high.
Oh my, oh my!
We’re living the high life!
Theme from UK comedy tv series 'The High Life'
Early the next morning, while Jayne and Vera were still enjoying the afterglow of their final 'bout', Serenity flew the short hop to Miss 'Lilah's place. A quick wash, dress and breakfast all around and all the crew walked out of the landed craft into the morning sunshine. Kaylee had a twin pulling eagerly at each of her hands and Sarah walked between Zoe and Cliff. Mal walked in front, carrying the sealed envelope of incriminating photos. The seal was simply red wax, but it had the imprint of a crest on it. Miss 'Lilah stood on the verandah, wearing a pale blue day dressing gown with a big frill around the neckline and base. She put out her hand to receive the envelope from Mal.
Miss 'Lilah smiled, “Thank-you, Malcolm Reynolds.”
Mal nodded, almost touching his hat in deference, but catching himself, “Glad to save a lady's reputation.”
Miss Lilah slowly and deliberately tore the envelope into a large number of pieces, “Thank goodness that's over.”
“Gorram,” Jayne muttered, “Not even a peek!”
Vera looked at him, “Would you like any other man seeing me in intimate compromising positions?”
Jayne frowned, “Gorram; no!” His voice was a little on the loud side.
Miss 'Lilah hadn't missed the exchange. She moved closer to Jayne and Vera, looking at him first. A smile dimpled her mouth, “Basic fella, aren't you? Guns, muscles, sex and attitude.” There were some smirks and looks exchanged between those behind Jayne's back.
Jayne shrugged, “Ain't had any complaints, ma'am.”
“And even though you clearly adore Vera, you're contemplating the sight of me naked.”
A bad boy smirk played around his mouth, “Can't help likin' women, Miss 'Lilah; all shapes and sizes.”
Her dimple deepened, “Oh, you're clearly a handful, Jayne Cobb.”
His smirk widened, “Make that two.”
Mal sighed and muttered to Inara, “Every time; straight into the gutter.”
Her eyebrow raised, “Ah. Cheeky and cocky with it. You couldn't *ever have afforded me.”
Inara murmured back, “Miss 'Lilah's got him pegged! And you...erm...measure up, so to speak.”
Mal got right close to her ear, whilst keeping half an eye on Jayne, “You are a *naughty ex-Companion and that's priviliged information!”
Zoe caught the undercurrents and rolled her eyes.
Clarry stepped forward and touched Jayne's arm, “He's my Pa!”
Miss 'Lilah's eyes were warm, “Bet you're the apple of his eye, Clarry.”
“Ma and Pa are gonna have another baby!”
Miss Lilah looked at Vera and smiled, “Well, congratulations. Come and sit down; everyone.” So, they did.
As they sat enjoying tea and coffee, Ares came into view. He was walking with a rather pronounced, stiff waddle and was yawning widely. Ares was followed by a couple of servants from the kennels who gave Ares the thumbs up. The dog curled at Jayne and Vera's feet, tail wagging lazily. One of the servants put a bowl of food and water in front of him and he tucked in. Miss 'Lilah gestured to the servants and one fetched a modest purse of coin.
“Here's your advance for Ares *and recompense for the job last night. Any other way I can be of assistance?”
Mal nodded, “We were on the trail of hunting down the location of the few remaining Reavers, ma'am. Not plannin' on engaging them, especially not with kiddies on board; more of a 'seek, locate and inform mission'.”
Miss 'Lilah nodded, “Well, Captain Reynolds, we haven't seen them near here in an age, thank goodness. I'll see what I can do, but I'm thinking it won't be much. Do you drop off on Dionysus fairly regular?”
“Yes, Ma'am. One of our regular letter drops and pick-ups.”
“I'll send the rest of the money there once the puppies arrive. If I hear any news on the Reavers, I'll send you a Wave.”
Cliff spoke up, “Ma'am; it'll be a powerful long time before those puppies are ready to be trained, eh. I know you've got some good boys here, but I got a cousin called Big Rangi back on Beltane. He's been a bodyguard all over, eh.”
Miss 'Lilah looked at him, “Ah, you're a Maori. Kia'ora.”
Cliff beamed, pleased, “Kia'ora!”
“Rangi's built big like some Maori?”
Cliff nodded, enthusiastically, “Bigger 'n Jayne here and my old mate Hori, God rest his soul. Stayed out in the boohai a lot since his woman died, but if he's willing to travel, he'd do you proud.”
Vera nodded, “I only met Rangi once, but he's a regular man mountain. Close to seven feet tall and covered in muscle. Still, quiet, deep. Doesn't say much, but sees a lot, like a hawk.”
Miss 'Lilah turned to Cliff, “Well, he could stay in the lodge; that's nice and secluded. Three meals a day, got plenty of parkland here if he wants to go walkabout. Duties would be protecting me and my property from unwanted visitors. With the physical presence you've described, that should be pretty easy.”
“I'll send a Wave. Might take a while for a response, eh.”
She smiled, “I can wait. Now, I'd like some time with Zoe, Vera, Inara, Kaylee and River. Girl talk! It's been a long time since I had the pleasure of adult female companionship and friends. I'll get Simmons here to take you guys over to the range for more overtly masculine pursuits. Probably be beer involved.”
Jayne slashed a grin, “Beer!” The guys took along the children, on the further promise of horse and donkey riding.
Miss 'Lilah led the other women to her boudoir.
“Some years ago I ran a fairly successful old-fashioned lingerie business off the back of the arty photos I told you about. I've still got plenty of stock left in these wardrobes. If you see something you like, it's yours! Free, gratis. Help yourself!”
Kaylee grinned, “Oooh, frilly stuff! I love it!” She dived right in, eagerly.
Zoe held back, “Don't really do underwear like that, Miss 'Lilah.”
The lady smiled, “Well, how about a long cotton nightdress? I've got a couple of slinky numbers in here...”
Zoe took a look, “Oh, Cliff will love this!” She picked out a cream, tapering and darted number which she could tell would fit her like a second skin.
“Well, there you go. How about you, Inara?”
“No offense, but I wear silk.”
“I can tell you were a Companion, Inara. How about something in linen?”
Inara thumbed through the few pieces and found something she liked, “This will be fine, thank-you.”
Miss 'Lilah smiled, “My best piece in linen. You've certainly got the eye for quality.”
River had found a fairly plain petticoat and was already modelling it and twirling gracefully, looking at herself in the mirror.
Miss 'Lilah turned to Vera, “What about you, dear?”
Vera blushed slightly, “Well; Jayne, my handfasted, saw pictures of you from twenty or so years back and liked one particular outfit. Very long-line corset, sheer translucent cotton, split underdrawers and pretty low at the front. If you've got that in my size...”
She smiled, “Ah! The 'gentleman's relish'. *Very popular with some into the 'slap and tickle' end of things, especially the black version. Holds everything nicely in place and does a great show and tell whilst not denying...access. With your long waist, it'll look stunning.”
Miss 'Lilah checked Vera's measurements, then found the three parts of the outfit to fit her. Shaped top, laced at the front, long waisted corset and the underdrawers.
“Thank-you. I'm going to have to make the best of this stunning gift before I get too pregnant.”
“How far gone are you; not far, I'm thinking.”
Vera's mouth curved into a wry smile, “Think last night started things off, but it'll take a while before I'm sure.”
River looked at her, “Boys are on their way.”
Vera chuckled, “I know *that much!”
Zoe shrugged, “Never pegged Jayne as being the fatherly type until he started giving Sarah piggybacks. Surprised me; and I don't surprise easy.”
River giggled, “Jayne's a tough, big, ornery dragon on the outside. That's 'cause he has to be. Lived hard, played hard. Underneath, he's a teddy bear!”
Vera mock-groaned, “*Please don't tell him that! The dragon part keeps him protected, sharp and one of the deadliest killers in the 'verse.”
Kaylee frowned, not quite believing, “Jayne's a teddy bear? Does he snuggle and everything?”
Vera nodded, “Sure does!”
“Never even thought of that possibility. Thought he was the 'wham, bam, thank-you ma'am' type. Not that it's a bad thing,” she qualified, hurredly, “If a girl's in the right mood, it can really grease the socket!”
Inara blinked a little at Kaylee's frank terminology and then smiled a knowing smile, “You haven't watched him clean his guns, Kaylee.”
“Yes, I have!” Kaylee protested, “Lots of times!”
“No; *really watched. I bet Vera noticed straight off, first time.”
She nodded, “Pretty much.”
Kaylee's frown deepened, “What are you trying to say, Inara; Vera?”
Inara filled in the gap, “That he's good with his hands. *Very good. He gets close to a meditative state every time he cleans his guns.” She smiled impishly, “Bet he's good at Tantra!”
Vera blushed, “I'm not saying!”
Kaylee grinned, getting the point, “You did say a ways back that Jayne does great sex. An' the whores an' ladies I *know he sexed up looked real pleased after. An' seein' on that moon most of us saw that he's hung like a jury...” She paused, painting her own pictures in her head, “Wow. I'm gobsmacked. Never thought of Jayne as a stud until now, otherwise I might'a jumped his bones afore Simon came along.”
Vera chuckled, “I'll take that as a compliment.”
Miss 'Lilah expertly forstalled any more 'kiss and tell' possibilities, “Now that you're all kitted out, shall we go and find what the men are up to?”
It was later that day when everyone piled back into Serenity, complete with Ares. Mal caught up with incoming messages and found one from Todd Lawless.
“We've had reports of illicit dealings with rich pickings around Edfu on Cairo, eh. There's paddle boats which ply down the long river towards the gold and silver mines in the desert. Anything disrupting those supplies along with the oil and spice crops would *not be a good thing. Only way in and out of the mine area for non-miners is on the boats; they've got fly-overs banned and no aircraft can get close apart from their own registered cargo fleet. Too sensitive an area, eh. Bit of a flesh-pot in Edfu at the far end if you're into desert heat, gambling, camels and exotic mind-enhancing drugs. You going in to do a reccy would be better than me sending Alliance; they'd hide any skimming and black market operations faster than you can say 'knife'. However, finding stuff like that and stopping or reporting it would be considered a favour. Be a heap of coin in it for you; I'm sending some electronic credits by our agreed secure line to get you started as a kind of retainer. Just insert your card and the download will take maybe fifteen minutes. Tell Vera that Jenneth said 'Hi'.”
Mal sent a brief reply and inserted his card in the slot in Serenity's dash for an electronic transfer, then went back to tell the crew that they had another job.
“Edfu,” Jayne mused, “Hot enough to boil a monkey's pi gu!”
“Been there, have you?”
“Na; just heard. Journey there takes a long time by boat; it's a gorram shame we can't just fly in and kick ass!”
“Only if we have to,” Mal replied, “I'd rather pose as a group of folks on vacation going for a bit of exotic R&R rather than blow any shred of cover. There'll be real sherbert, coffee liqueur and date brandy on offer for starters, and that's the *legal stuff. I'll see about negotiating a 'maintenance check' for Serenity, so that she can be safe in dock while we go downstream and back.”
“It's powerful hot there,” Inara commented, “We could *all use cotton or linen and if the guys are manly enough to wear kaftans, it'll be more comfortable.”
“I ain't wearing no *dress!” Jayne's mind was made up.
Mal commented, “Bit difficult to wear a piece the regular way with a kaftan, though it'd be handy for hiding weapons. We'll locate an outfitters and see what we can rustle together.”
Vera answered, “Miss 'Lilah's got a room full of ladies' stuff in cotton and linen; most of it's underwear though. The nightdresses might do for some of us.”
“We'll do some negotiations for extras before we leave, then see about a modest holiday wardrobe.”
In the end, Miss 'Lilah came up with a resonable selection of items which would do for female outerwear and a deal was struck.
Serenity duly lifted off and made for Cairo via the major trading post on Jiangyin. The crew restocked their tinned and packet food supplies, got some more seeds for the on board vegetable garden and managed to crack a deal on a job lot of buff linen kaftans which was sweetened by the addition of a box of apples. In return, they traded some silks of Inara's that she'd finished wearing and took on a delivery of live chickens to go to Cairo. Apart from the smell and actually feeding the hens, it wasn't a bad deal. Clarry and Sarah got the butt end of making sure that the chickens remained fed, watered and alive en route.
Cairo: huge desert planet with civilisation clinging on at some of the coast, but the river across and into the interior is the reason people have settled. It is, without doubt, a true river of life. First of all it leads relatively close to gold and silver mines, secondly the sweet waters have allowed a ribbon abundant growth of palms, olives, vines and other similar plants. There's an industrial spaceport and harbour at the seaward end, plus tiny hamlets and farms dotted down the length of the river. Add the fleshpots of Edfu at the interior after a relaxing cruise upstream and it's a pretty good place to visit if you mind your wallet. Not surprising that the river is called the Nile; parallels to Egypt were too strong to resist.
Sunday, May 20, 2007 10:46 AM
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