The Marble Room, Parts 1 & 2 (Repost)
Saturday, January 12, 2008

So I go to find this story some months after its debut here and I find it lost in the black. Likely a quirk of fate, but I plan to repost. This episode: Kaylee finds herself in a bit of a situation as the crew realizes she's missing.


She shivered. Why’s it so cold in here? she thought as she opened her eyes and tried rolling out of bed. Probably just the temp regulator deciding to quit again, and after I told the Cap’n it needed replacin’… As her feet hit cold stone, however, she suddenly realized that she wasn’t in her bunk.

Kaylee tried to shake the sleep from her system and looked around the tiny space she was in. The walls were made of smooth black stone, and there was no hint of a door. The floor was made of the same substance, and it felt to her like some type of solid marble. There was a small wooden table, and a chair, and the bed she sat on was a great four-poster—one like she imagined in some fancy Core bedroom. She got up, adjusting the bulk of her weight to her feet, and slowly began tracing the walls for some sign of an exit. There wasn’t one she could easily find.

What was more troublesome were the silver bands around her wrists. Kaylee didn’t remember putting them on, and they were on just tight enough that she couldn’t pry them off with her fingers. There had to be an internal lock on the inch-wide bands that kept them on.

The fog finally evaporated from behind her eyes and she took a look at what she was wearing. Not her usual nightgown or one of the last floral dresses that still fit her—no, she found herself in an almost transparent, white gauzy gown that just came to her knees. The garment was incredibly thin—thin enough to allow the cold to seep right through the cloth and into her chilled form.

Kaylee sat down in the chair, glad to have something solid to sit on, and tried to remember what had happened before she woke up in here. She absent-mindedly ran her hand over her abdomen as she recalled going to the parts dealer on Elgin, hoping to find a new catalyzer and maybe a used temp regulator. She remembered the dealer, a jovial man named Thomas, directing her to the used parts shelves and tried to set her up with some new capacitors along with her purchases. She remembered leaving, and walking towards Serenity…and then nothing. Wherever she was, it was not of her choosing. Kaylee knew eventually she’d be missed, and that by now the captain was working a plan to find her.

There were no windows in the tiny room, and no chronometers either—there was no way to know just how long she’d been here. There were no panels, no wires, no instruments of any kind that might help her to escape and get back home. There were only four marble walls, a marble floor, a marble ceiling with solid-paned recessed lighting, and the sparse furniture. Whoever had put her here seemed to want to make her comfortable, she thought—but not too comfortable. Kaylee grimaced as her stomach growled. It felt like she hadn’t eaten in days. Her mind wandered back to before she’d left the ship for parts, where Simon had promised her a surprise when she returned. She remembered the taste of his lips as she’d kissed him, and her voice telling him she’d be back before he knew it. She could still see that swai smile of his playing across his face.


A little jolt brought her out of her reverie. She had been able to convince him that she was capable of doing her job, and could until the time came. She’d had to convince him not to come with her to the parts dealer. It hadn’t taken much, seeing as Elgin was filled with Alliance and the prices still hadn’t been lifted from his or River’s heads. He had unwillingly conceded, making her promise to have the parts delivered and that she wouldn’t wear herself out. It had been an easy one to make.

Waking up in strange places, though…that was something else entirely. There was a slight taste in her mouth, like she’d been eating copper. I was doped, she thought with a sudden alarm. What if…

“There will be no ill effects, I assure you,” came a voice from behind her. Kaylee spun around in the chair to see a man standing there, his salt-and-pepper hair shining from the reflection of the recessed light.

“Who—who are you?” she asked, a quaver in her voice. Kaylee struggled to sit up, but something was forcing her down into the chair. There was a slight pull on her wrists, and she soon realized that the silver bands acted as magnets or somesuch, pulling her to a predetermined point in the floor. She couldn’t lift her hands, even to wrap them around her midsection.

“Someone who is concerned about your child,” said the man, carefully walking over and rubbing his hand across the slight swell of her belly. Kaylee cringed at the touch. “You see, this child will be special. More than you could possibly know.”

Kaylee could imagine, however. She knew there was a chance that her baby might end up a Reader, like River. She knew that it was likely that her child might have a knack for books or maybe for trades, and that her baby might be smarter than even her genius sister-in-law. Kaylee had smiled at the thought, though she only cared that her child---their child---was healthy and safe. She knew that the baby would be loved by them and by those who loved them, and that was enough. Her eyes widened in horror as she realized what was happening. She tried to pull away from the man, who was busy preparing a hypo, but the silver bands on her wrists kept her in place. “No,” she whimpered, first softly and then louder as he came forward and stuck her abdomen with the syringe, drawing fluid from it. She tried pushing him away with her feet, but he merely grasped her ankles and held them under his arm, rendering her functionally immobile. When he had taken what he wanted, he let her legs drop, but her arms remained drawn to her sides.

“It’s no use to struggle,” said the man coldly but plainly. “By now you’ve figured out what those bracelets are used for.” He turned, reached into his pocket, and pulled out a small remote. It held three red buttons, and he pushed one of them. A holo-door materialized in the far corner of the room—the one farthest from where Kaylee sat. “This is the only key to the door, Kaylee,” he said, “and I carry it at all times. There is no escaping, so don’t bother to try.”

“How do you know my name?” she asked. “And why am I here?”

“First,” he said, “I have many connections. I knew eventually I would need to find a way to retain my standing and my legacy. It took years, but I knew that my children couldn’t just disappear. The second is even simpler: your child—my grandchild--is going to make that happen for me. You, Kaylee, are merely a means to an end.”

Kaylee’s eyes widened in fright, and she began to struggle against her invisible bonds with more force.

“I told you not to bother,” said the man, who she now realized was Simon and River’s father. “Five months from now the child will be mine, and this time, things will be done right.”


“What do you mean, she’s not here?!”

Simon was in a panic. He knew he never should have let Kaylee go to town alone. He should have tried to get someone to go with her…

“Did she make it to buy the parts?” asked Mal. “Don’t seem like her to not have done the thing she meant to do…”

“Fella at the dealer said she placed an order, even paid extra to have ‘em delivered,” said Jayne, handing the captain a receipt. “She left, didn’t take this with her…well, that ain’t like her.”

“No, it ain’t,” Mal conceded. He scanned the dock for any sign of his first mate, hoping she might have found the mechanic lost in a shop somewhere—or have better news, at any rate. His face began to show the faintest signs of worry.

Simon, on the other hand, had moved from pacing to sitting on the catwalk steps. He held his head, trying to collect his thoughts. She’d made the purchases, so she had been okay until then… The trouble was, where had she gone after that?

Finally Zoe appeared, looking as serious as ever. “What?” asked Simon and Mal in unison as she entered the cargo bay.

“Seems there was some trouble.”

“What sort of trouble?” Simon asked. The look on Mal’s face began to deepen.

“Folks say there was a little bit of a little bit of a struggle not too far from the parts shop. Asked around a little, found out that some guy’s daughter just had a fainting spell.”


“The “daughter” seems to fit Kaylee’s description perfectly.” Though her appearance was unreadable, Simon knew the woman was just as concerned as they were. “Likely someone took her, decided not to tell us why.”

“He took her.”

The words startled everyone, and five pairs of eyes focused on the wisp of a girl standing underneath the catwalk. “What are you talking about, mei-mei?” Simon asked, trying to keep his emotions in check.

“He took her, Simon. Wants to do what he couldn’t, not with us. New life, new chance. He’ll hurt her, but baby means more. Salvation.”

“What the ruttin’ hell’s she on about now?” Jayne snapped.

He’d learned to take it a piece at a time. Together, River’s words often didn’t make sense, but taken apart they might mean something. “New chance…do what he couldn’t…not us.” Simon’s face blanched at the last word. A stream of Chinese escaped his lips, cursing every imaginable thing he could think of.

“You know who done this?” asked the captain, in that this-better-start-makin’-sense-right-ruttin’-now tone he reserved for such times as this.

“If I understand it right…I think my father had Kaylee kidnapped.”

“To get you, or River?” asked Inara, who had been silently worrying since Zoe and Jayne arrived.

“Again, if I understand it right…I think he means to take our baby,” he said. “And he’s likely somewhere where he can keep her prisoner and just wait it out.” Another set of curses spewed forth from his lips, this time making even Jayne’s head turn at the normally proper doctor.

“Well, now.” Mal’s jaw set, his face seething with fury.

“Well indeed, sir,” said Zoe.

“Well, what are we waiting for?!” snapped Jayne. He held a soft spot for the mechanic---as everyone on Serenity did---but the thought of her and the doc’s little one being taken by someone who turned crazy girl…well, crazy…that was just too much.

“Jayne, we have no idea where he might have taken Kaylee. For all we know, she could be across three quadrants by now,” spat Inara. She was worried for her mei-mei and furious at the man who would bring harm to her or her baby.

“Any ideas on where the old man might head?” asked Mal.

“Honestly…no,” answered Simon, the admission killing him. “The best I can think of is to start at the beginning and go from there.”

“You can’t mean…” started Inara, but she merely watched as both the captain and the doctor started up the catwalk steps, their determination clear.

“We’re gonna head for Osiris. Best place to start.”



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