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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Inara hits a rough spot, or two, on serenity, Mal begins to feel better about his new job, and tempers fray on the Companion
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 751 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Inferno – Chapter Nineteen
Author owns no rights to Firefly, and no copyright infringement is intended. A work of fan fiction only, and not done for money.
Inara awakened to a piercing alarm, and Holly’s voice yelling into the intercom.
“Miss Inara! We got trouble!” Inara shot to her feet, slipping on her shoes and scurrying to the bridge. When she arrived, she noticed that Holly was looking at the monitor.
“We’re. . .we got company!” he yelled.
“Are we. . .are they attacking us?” Inara asked, silencing the proximity alarm.
“They fired on us,” Holly nodded, “but I’m pretty sure it was just a warning.”
“Have they tried to contact us?” Inara asked, then looked at the cortex. The incoming signal was blinking.
“Holly, I want you to go to the engine room,” Inara said calmly. “How long for you to get set up for full burn?”
“I can have us ready in five minutes, ma’am, but. . .”
“Then get us ready, and be prepared to initiate as soon as I say to. Go on, now,” she shooed, when he hesitated. John met him as the engineer hurried on his way.
“What’s wrong, ma’am?” he asked quietly. “And what do we need to do?”
“I think we’re being attacked by pirates, John,” was her calm reply. “I’m about to see if this is them hailing us.”
“I’ll wait here, then,” John nodded. Inara walked over to the screen, and accepted the call.
“About time,” a man in what had once probably been a uniform snarled. “Took you long enough to answer.”
“We’ve a very small crew, not that that’s any of your concern,” Inara replied stiffly. “And we were on night cycle. Who are you, and what do you want?”
“Who I am is the man aiming a rather large cannon at your vessel,” the man smirked. “Other than that, it doesn’t matter. Shut down your engine, and prepare to be boarded.”
“On whose authority do you seek to board my ship?” Inara demanded, stalling for time.
“On the authority that I will blast you into atoms if you don’t!” the man on the screen snarled back. “That’s all the authority I need.”
“I see,” Inara nodded. “And what is it you intend to do, once you’ve boarded?”
“This ain’t a game, lady,” the man told her darkly. “You either. . .” Inara stopped listening as Holly’s voice came to her quietly over the com;
“Ready, Miss Inara.”
“Give me a moment, then,” Inara told the man on the screen. She broke the connection and walked calmly to the pilot’s chair.
“John you and the others will want to take a seat,” she spoke casually over her shoulder. John hurried back down the passageway. Inara made sure she was prepared, then spoke into the comm.
Instantly, Serenity shot forward, speed increasing rapidly. She took the helm, and began jinking the ship, just as she’d seen Wash and River do, though not so sharply as they would have. Inara knew her limitations, and stayed within them. The cortex light began flashing again, but she ignored it. There was no way she would willingly allow this man to board Serenity.
She felt the ship shudder as the pirate ship’s cannon tried to disable her, but Serenity was bobbing and weaving all over the black, and the pirate gunners weren’t up to the task.
“We’re’ looking good, ma’am,” Holly called. “No problems.”
Inara didn’t bother to answer, busy with the controls. After a moment, she called out to John.
“John, could you come up here please?” In seconds the man was on the bridge.
“Can you use the sensors? See if we’re gaining on them any?”
“Yes ma’am, I can,” he surprised her. He crossed to the screen, studying it intently for thirty seconds. He frowned.
“We’re gaining a bit,” he told her. “Be some time before you can get far enough away that we’d be out of range of that gun.” Inara nodded.
“Get on the cortex, if you will, and call Astra. Maybe there’s someone about who can help us out.”
Mal was whistling happily as he walked across the street to the small café he’d been using for his meals. He had a room in the office, where he slept, with just a bed, chair, and table.
He’d have to think about a more permanent arrangement before long, he knew. But with everything in a whirlwind of late, there hadn’t really been time.
As he started into the café, a passerby stopped him.
“Good work, yesterday, Sheriff,” the man nodded. “And on that stolen goods recovery, as well.”
“Well, thank you, mister. . .?” Mal extended his hand.
“Fragle, Sheriff. Jonathon Fragle.” The man shook hands with a firm grip.
“Thank you, Mister Fragle,” Mal smiled warmly. “I was glad we were able to get that done.” Fragle nodded, walking on. Mal watched him go, a warm feeling welling up inside.
This was why he’d taken the job, he realized. For once, since the war, Malcolm Reynolds was able to do something to help people like himself. Folks, just trying to make their way.
His meal was better than usual.
“Astra Planetary Patrol,” the bored woman said as John managed to connect.
“Ma’am, my name is John Hagey, and I’m a crewman aboard the Firefly transport Serenity. We’re. . .” he looked at Inara.
“Thirty-nine hours,” Inara supplied, still doing evasive maneuvers.
“Thirty-nine hours out, on a heading from Argo moon. We’re currently under attack by an unknown vessel who are demanding that we stand down to be boarded.”
“We don’t have any ships that far out,” the woman told him, her bored look now gone. “And we have no information about any Alliance ships in the area either.”
“Well, I don’t think he’s Alliance, ma’am,” John replied. “We were wondering if there was anyone about who might be able to lend us a hand.”
“Our nearest vessel is over twelve hours from your location,” the woman told him. “I’ll order them to plot an intercept course, but. . .”
“Thank you, ma’am,” John nodded appreciatively. “We’ll see if we can’t last until then.”
“Good luck, Serenity,” the woman said sincerely.
“Well, that’s not as good as I’d like,” Inara sighed. “But better than nothing. Tell everyone to stay calm, John. This will likely get rougher before it gets any easier.”
“I will, ma’am.”
Inara was trying to catalogue her movements, avoid falling into any patterns. If she did, the gunners might be able to use that against her. She jerked the helm to the right, suddenly, and Serenity responded with a veer to starboard. Before she even straightened the course, she plunged downward, relative, and then back to port before climbing slightly.
She was rewarded by several distant bursts of cannon fire as the pirate cannon failed miserably to lock on to Serenity. Inara smiled.
Now, if we can just keep this up until we’re out of range.
As Companion limped along on it’s way home, tempers aboard the ship were running a little frayed. The air temperature had been lowered to around sixty degrees Fahrenheit, the normal for night cycle. For the first few hours no one noticed, as the press of bodies prevented the temperature from falling right away.
After a few hours, however, the interior began to chill considerably. With the bay opened to space, the cold of the Black was creeping in, and several people were shivering.
Jayne had put the Mann’s in the starboard shuttle. They had nothing but the clothes on their backs, and would suffer more from the cold. The crew had delved into their own clothing, donating each member of the family an outfit of some kind. They were also given extra blankets, which they wore wrapped around themselves as they visited Weldon Mann in the infirmary.
Typically, it was Samantha who bitched the loudest.
“Can’t we turn some heat on?” she sulked as Jayne walked by.
“No, ma’am,” he replied politely. “The air will get heavier as we go. Keeping it cool will help keep the air as fresh as possible. We’re still five days from the fueling station.”
“And we can’t get there any faster?” she demanded.
“No ma’am,” Jayne shook his head. “We don’t have the fuel to go any faster.”
“You didn’t plan for this very well, did you?” she snorted, lying back on her pallet. Jayne was tempted to let this pass, but he’d had about all he thought he could take from Kaylee’s arrogant sister.
“We planned to get here as quickly as we could,” Jayne told her flatly. “That takes fuel, and a good bit of it. Also, we burned a great deal of fuel getting off planet. More than we anticipated. So, we travel at a lower speed until we reach the fueling station. That’s the best we can do.”
“Well, we’ve seen your best, already,” Samantha sneered. “When Ethan died.”
“Well, consider this,” Jayne fumed. “He died bringing us to find you. After your folks asked you not to leave their home. Maybe had you listened, he’d still be living.”
Before the woman could say anything else, Jayne stalked away, afraid he wouldn’t be able to control his anger.
Samantha was white faced, both with rage and horror. Rage that the big ox she blamed for her little brother’s death would dare speak to her that way. Horror that, as his words sank in, he might be right.
Jayne ignored her crying a few minutes later when he passed back through, heading for the bridge.
“Okay, we got it,” Kaylee said, as she and Simon walked onto the bridge. Jayne
was standing, looking out the window. River had fallen asleep in the pilot’s chair, exhausted. Chelsa was still asleep in the co-pilot’s seat.
“I just walked through,” he told the couple, not turning around. “Kaylee, I. . .me and your sister, Sam, had words. I ain’t complaining about her, just letting you know. I. . .I shouldn’a said anything to her, I guess, but I’m so tired. . .”
“Don’t worry, Jayne,” Kaylee said softly, patting him on the back. “I heard. And you’re right, you know. She hadn’t gone off like that, might notta happened. Let it lie.”
“I just don’t want you made at me, Kaylee,” Jayne turned to her. “That’s all I’m worried about.”
“I couldn’t be mad at ya, Jayne,” Kaylee smiled sadly. “Saved my family. How’s a girl ‘sposed to be mad at the man what done that?” Jayne smiled, kissing the top of her head.
“Thanks mei mei,” he murmured. He turned and gathered River into his arms.
“Doc, you care to kick open our hatch?” he asked. “I’ll come back for the ni zi,” he added to Kaylee.
“She sleeping in ya’ll’s bunk?” Kaylee asked.
“River aims for us to look after her,” Jayne nodded. “Reckon we’re gonna.”
“Oh, Jayne, that’s so sweet!” Kaylee beamed.
Jayne smiled, following Simon down the passage. When the hatch was open, Jayne shifted River’s small form to one arm, her head against his shoulder. Turning, he went slowly down the ladder, where he carefully laid her on their bed. He removed her shoes, and loosened her clothing, then covered her with a blanket. He then went back up the ladder.
“She could stay, if you want,” Simon said, nodding to the sleeping Chelsa.
“I would, but I’m expecting her to wake up screaming, or at the least disoriented. She’s had a pretty rough ordeal, Simon.”
“I know,” Simon sighed. “Too much evil in the world.”
“And that’s the sad fact of it,” Jayne agreed. He gingerly picked the sleeping girl up, and started for the bunk once more.
“Daddy?” Chelsa murmured, her eyes not opening.
“Shh, it’s okay ni zi,” he soothed. “Everything’s fine.”
“‘Kay, Daddy,” she murmured again, falling back to sleep. Jayne repeated his earlier motions, easing down the ladder once again. He pulled the blankets back, and placed Chelsa next to River, covering the two back up.
Looks like the floor again, he grinned to himself. Shrugging off his boots, he laid his own pallet, and lay down upon the floor.
He was asleep in seconds.
On the bridge, Simon had watched until Jayne was gone, and the hatch closed. Then he turned to Kaylee.
“He never ceases to amaze me,” he told her quietly.
“How so?” Kaylee asked, wrapping herself in Simon’s arms.
“How gentle he can be, like now,” Simon replied, “compared with how violent he can be. And go from one to the other in seconds.”
“He’s had a hard life, Simon,” Kaylee pointed out. “Worse than we can probably imagine, I’m thinking.”
“Oh, I’m not criticizing,” Simon assured her. “Just. . .impressed, I guess. I think that’s the right word.”
“He’s something, that’s for sure,” Kaylee nodded. “But he’s so. . .brutal at times.” She shivered. “I love Jayne to death, I do. But he scares me sometimes, too. I don’t mean I’m afraid he’ll hurt me, mind,” she made clear. “But I ain’t never knowed nobody was as violent as he can be.”
“Except River,” Simon chuckled softly. “They’re two of a kind, in that regard.”
“Maybe that’s why they get on so well,” Kaylee mused. “They understand each other better’n any of us could understand them.”
“I think you’re right,” Simon nodded. “I never thought I’d say it, but I’m. . .happy, I suppose, that things worked out the way they have. I know that two years ago I’d never have even considered my sister with Jayne. But now?” He shrugged.
“It just seems. . .right, somehow.”
“Yeah,” Kaylee laid her head on his shoulder, hugging her doctor tightly.
“How are we doing, John,” Inara asked. Gunfire had been slackening in the last few minutes, and she hadn’t heard a shot nearby in several.
“We’re practically outta their range, I’d say, ma’am,” John told her, studying the sensor readout. “I’d take that with a grain o’ salt, mind,” he warned.
“I’ll keep jinking a while longer,” Inara nodded. She hit the intercom.
“Holly, how are things back there?”
“We’re holding good, ma’am,” the engineer called back. “Sure am glad I went ahead and fixed that valve, though,” she could hear his grin.
“So am I,” she replied. “Can we keep this up a while longer?”
“You bet, Miss Inara,” was the instant reply. “Burning the heck outta fuel, but we got plenty for this run.”
“I’ll pay for the fuel,” Inara grinned. “Long as we aren’t taken by pirates.”
“I hear that.” Inara shut off the intercom, and concentrated on her flying.
“I think they’re. . .they’re breaking off, ma’am,” John told her a few minutes later. “They’re veering away.”
“Notify Astra,” Inara ordered. “Give them any sensor data we have, and a general bearing. Maybe they can track the hun dan down, and give him a taste.”
“Yes, ma’am,” John chuckled. It was odd to hear Miss Inara talk like that. But she had steel in her, that one, he decided. Yes sir. Steel.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008 2:33 PM
Tuesday, January 08, 2008 10:37 PM
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