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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ADVENTURE
The crew makes a stop on Kaylee's home planet for a job. Cue dramatic music. Set soon after the events of "Objects in Space."
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 897 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Disclaimer: Not mine. And the most expensive thing I own might be Firefly on DVD. What would the lawyer's fee for a boxed set be?
“It’s like a tangerine giving birth to a baby tangerine,” Kaylee sighed, resting her forehead against the window.
Simon cocked his chin a little, as if picturing a tangerine reproducing like a bright orange amoeba, the smaller of the ovals breaking free of the surface, then the radiation layer and jettisoning into the black. “Yeah. That’s pretty much it.” Simon turned from Aehoon’s flares to face Wash. “I believe a certain primate requires restitching.”
Wash laughed, rocked back in the pilot’s chair and put his feet on the console. “If he tears it just a little more you can hem the flaps and he’ll have a little pocket in his side.” He outlined a weld in the bridge’s ceiling with his left toe. Simon laughed and stepped through the doorway. Kaylee stood and slowly followed Simon at a slight distance. Wash watched her timid progress. “Don’t take too long there Kaylee, we’ll be landing any minute now.”
“I know!” Kaylee hopped. “Home!” Before leaving planet-side she’d never been away from her parents more than a night. Now it’s been years without her mom’s fresh buttermilk biscuits in the morning.
Jayne poked a dirty digit into a laceration on his left side. Squeezed out a little pus. “That’s better,” he said when the yellow gave way to red fluids. Simon entered the infirmary to see Jayne draining his wound over his clean scalpels.
“Hey Doc, just getting started for ya.”
“Why did they tear out this time?” Simon removed a needle from its case.
“Movin’ cargo.” Jayne said gruffly. He flinched at an extra hard jerk of Simon’s hand. “Easy!”
Simon continued his stitching. “Easy would be you letting this heal properly, so I didn’t have to restitch it every few days.”
“If my job was to sit in this gorram white room all day and twiddle my thumbs—” another sharp pull jerked the left of Jayne’s face upward in a wince. A quick inhale. “Then maybe I would only worry about breaking my fingernails. But that ain’t the case now, is it?” Jayne stared Simon down. Simon stared back unflinchingly, snipped the excess thread. “See you tomorrow.” Jayne sneered, then broke his stare as he leaned forward off the table, and returned to the cargo bay.
Pendula in Spring is a beautiful but hot affair. Every activity results in sweat. Sometimes even just breathing. The night sky sees purple and green radiation in fluctuating waves of shimmer. A dance of complimenting colors against its navy. Kaylee skipped ahead of Mal and Inara. Kaylee’d insisted they meet her parents. After all, they were her new family. Mal conceded, let Zoe and Jayne contact Greco for the job details. He was a good type of thief. Wouldn’t rat you out for any amount. At least, any amount feasible for a couple nobodies like them.
Inara wore a maroon silky top, modest, Mal his brown coat as they emerged from Serenity and left the docks on the hard dirt roads lined with shops, all of varying shades of off-white.
“The sky really is beautiful,” Inara broke their softly held silence, turning her face up to the colorful sky. Her neckline sharp against the white of a bakery door. Mal focused his eyes on the Baker’s sign.
“Can you believe they take Alliance Cred out here now?”
“Civilization is spreading.”
“Like a urine stain.”
Kaylee paused before an alley for the dawdling duo. “Come on you guys! You’ve gotta meet m—”A black figure had snatched Kaylee around the waist like a feather pillow and darted into the alley with her.
Mal was three long strides into his chase before Inara could even shout “Kaylee!” He saw the leg of Kaylee’s overalls disappear around the far end of the alley. His legs pumped harder, longer strides. He could hear his beating heart in his ears. Around the corner, and she’s there, not far. Mal leaned farther forward. Flying. The black cloaked figure picked up speed, hearing Mal’s thundering footsteps. The gap shortened. Mal could make out the teddy bear in the surreal purple skylight. They’re almost back at the docks. Maybe a block. Mal reached out his left hand, caught the black belt, and slammed his heels into the dirt. The three tumbled into a filthy shin-deep puddle. Mal’s right knee slammed into a rock. He felt its sharp edge deflect off his knee cap. Slice its way out.
The figure splashed to its feet first. The light from the docks shone on the figure’s face, his mask torn off in the fall. Sharp lines etched into his cheeks. Eyes sunken. Mal stood with his left leg. The cloaked man leapt at him. A blade reflected the dock’s yellow light.
Mal tried to grab the man’s wrist. Too slow. The knife easily passed through Mal’s left hand. He grunted in pain, launched his other fist under the man’s chin. Caught his Adam’s apple. Compacted it. The man grabbed his throat, gasping. The released knife solidly nestled to the hilt in Mal’s palm.
“Oh my God oh my God oh my—“ Kaylee chanted, hands covering her face so she could only peek at Mal’s wounds between her index and middle fingers. “Cap’n—“
The cloaked man writhed a little on the ground. But less violently than before. Adam’s apple not crushed. His throat starting to regain its shape, allow breath to pass through it. Mal yanked the knife from his hand. “AIYA!” He shouted. The man started to pull himself away with one arm.
Mal forced his right leg to bear his weight. Only a slice. Stepped out of the puddle. Grabbed the man by the hair above his forehead.
“If you can breathe enough to beg for your life, now’s the time to start.”
“Don’t—“ the man gasped struggling for breath with every word, “kill…
if… you… want… to see…
your crew alive.”
Kaylee’s fingers widened. She stepped out of the puddle toward the two.
Mal took his handful of hair and smashed the back of the man’s head into the rocky dirt. “What do you mean by that?”
“Your crew… they have them.”
“Curtis?” Kaylee leaned forward, trying to get a better look at the man.
“Sorry Kaylee. Work’s work.” The man’s foot practically disappeared from the ground and reappeared at Mal’s ear. Mal flopped onto his side.
His head released, the man rolled onto his stomach. Pushed himself up to his knees when Mal’s left elbow descended on the man’s spine. His shoulders came nearer to his buttocks than they ever had before. His ribs crunched as Mal tried to force his elbow through the man’s body into the dirt. The air forced out of his sore throat in a heavy huff. Again, gasping for breath, the man pulled a small pistol from his waist with his left hand, lifted it. Mal brought the knife down on the man’s hand. The gun loosened. Mal twisted the knife until the gun dropped from his hand entirely. A blood-black circle in the dock’s yellow lights. The man screamed.
“You can’t bring a gun to a knife fight, son. That’s just poor manners.”
Mal pulled the knife out and used its tip to slide the gun toward Kaylee, who picked it up awkwardly. Held it at an uncertain angle. Mal stood, again with the man’s hair as his reins, and led him the three steps back to the puddle. Forced him down to his knees. His own knee beginning to feel the ache for the first time.
“Now, that’s twice you’ve pulled a weapon on me, son. Third time’s the charm. Remember that while you live, and tell me where my crew is.” Mal held the man’s face just above the muddy water.
“I don’t know,” the man whimpered.
“Who has them?”
Mal thrust the man’s head into the puddle. He struggled to break the surface. Mal’s hold remained iron. He struggled to grow gills— tried to breathe water. Mal yanked him up as the first inhale was caught mid-throat.
“I’m not one for repeating myself, son. And I sure as gos se ain’t askin a third time.”
“Cap’n,” Kaylee said tentatively. No one took notice.
“Where is my crew?” Mal demanded.
“Greco. He’s holding ‘em. Safe place.”
“’S a job. A job’s a job.” Mal pushed the man’s face so close to the water again that the little waves lapped his muddy forehead.
“What’s the job?”
“Don’t know. Didn’t say.”
“Cap’n?” Kaylee repeated.
“Not now, Kaylee,” Mal fired. “Are they alive?”
“Long’s I am.”
“And who are you?” Mal demanded.
“Curtis,” Kaylee interrupted. “The mayor’s son.”
“That true, boy?”
“Why did you take Kaylee?” Mal shook the man’s head, his hair a dirty curtain combining head and water.
“Not part of the lot they’re after. A freebie.”
“If you don’t speak straight, mayor’s son or not, you’re looking for an O2 tank in the bottom of this here water.”
“They wanted you, the black bitch, and the big one. Knew they’d take you separate. Kaylee’d just go to waste. Can get a shiny penny for a girl pretty as h—“ Mal pushed his head into the water so hard his head cracked against the ground. His arms splashed at Mal’s waist ineffectually. Kaylee screamed.
Mal ground the man’s face against the gravel under the water. His eyes burning holes through the muddy water where the man was flailing. Then Inara’s scream. It shook him. He felt Kaylee clinging to his back. The splashing slowed. Mal yanked the man’s head up. Water dripped from his scratched face. He didn’t shake. He didn’t move. Inara had finally arrived in the shadow of the docks to see Mal’s eyes burning with rage. Drowning a defenseless man.
Mal saw himself in Inara’s eyes and pulled the man out of the water. Kaylee was crying. Mal pushed on the man’s stomach. Water geyered from his mouth. Still, his lungs would not expand. Inara knelt beside the bleeding Mal. Plugged the man’s nose, blew air through his swollen throat. His lungs accepted some of it. Mal felt his chest, heart still beating. He pushed hard on the man’s stomach and some more water gurgled out. Inara leaned down and gave the man another breath. And then another. Kaylee covered her eyes again. Inara gave the man another breath. An exhale blew pork breath into Inara’s face. He coughed. He gasped.
“We should probably finish this on Serenity,” Mal said.
“We just brought him back from the dead and you want to kill him again?” Inara replied incredulously.
“Wasn’t dead.” Mal said, standing, lifting the man to his feet. “Heart never stopped. He knows where they’ve got Jayne and Zoe.”
“Jayne and Z—“ Inara began.
“Kaylee, could you help me here?” Mal limped forward a step. Kaylee grabbed the man’s elbow, and pulled him onto her shoulder a little.
“Where are they?” Inara asked.
“That’s what this boy’s gonna help us find out.”
Sunday, December 16, 2007 5:12 PM
Monday, December 17, 2007 11:25 AM
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