Spiritual pt 4 of 5
Monday, February 4, 2008

NEW FIC Pt 4 of 5 – curse your sudden but inevitable ACTION chapter! Mal and the Serenity crew (sans Simon) have been chasing down a debt. On the mining colony of Regis, an unexpected reunion between Jayne and his Ma has been cut brutally short.


Part Four

“You shoot that man Captain and I will have you bound by law.” Marshal Ryder’s voice rang around the interior of the tin church in the concussive seconds after Xavier Clem shot Jayne Cobb. “Throw me a gun – I’ll shoot him!” The second voice belonged to Joanna Cobb, aged Ma, sometime business associate and now hostage of Xavier Clem. Clem himself began to back away – keeping his gun hard against the head of Ma Cobb who was emitting a throaty rumble of dire Chinese curses.

Captain Reynolds was keeping still – his gun had come up in an instant with the sound of Clem’s shot and he knew full and gorram well that he could take the man down. But there was the Marshal – and there was the mob, for all that they had been shocked into quiet by the gunfire… that weren’t like to hold. “Sir?” Zoe asked at his back. “I mean it Captain,” Ryder reaffirmed. “You shoot and you’ll be in the cells and I’ll have your ship grounded. Only one criminal here – I aim to keep it that way.” Pastor Nehru agreed – and he was already beginning to clamber onto the stage. “Blood has been spilled here – this is a church – our church that you have defiled enough! No more sir!” There was a groan from Jayne, lying on the stage – a groan echoed by the shuddering form of the veiled youngster still seated in the centre - and Annabelle James was on her feet and yelling for Doctor Brink. That was all the distraction it took for Clem to vanish into the dark of the wings… and his hostage with him.


Shepherd Face was through the back exit and into the tiny vestry room beyond – not much more than a store cupboard really but it was large enough to keep a couple of men in – and Clem’s men at that. Both were armed – but they were watching the door to the interior and Face was into them before they could take aim. All three fell in a ragged heap to the floor.

It was not the kind of fight that entertains – scrabbling for the fallen weapons, hair pulling and punches into soft places as weren’t meant ever to be intimate with knuckles and rigid fingers – but nonetheless the Shepherd heard laughing even as he rolled onto his side and brought a gun to bare.

“Don’t let me stop you!” Clem chuckled without humour – but in one respect he was too late - both his boys were out for the count.

The Shepherd didn’t move – sighting still along the barrel of his gun – Clem made a point of keeping Ma Cobb in front of him – but gagged she was not. “Don’t mind me Mister – shoot him, gorram it! Shoot the…” she slipped back into Galactic Chinese.

The Shepherd took in the situation. “Hostage. Right.” Clem nodded with the black line of his brow as Face continued. “She must be valuable to someone – and since I’m guessing you’ll be Clem… then someone of value to Captain Reynolds.” Clem acknowledged this. Ma Cobb was still cursing furiously. The Shepherd sighed. “My name is Shepherd Face. I ride with Reynolds.” “Crew?” “Of a kind.” Solomon began to get to his feet, deliberate and slow, “Valued as such too.” Clem looked thoughtful. “Well now – where are you going with this Shepherd?” Face said nothing for a moment, then, “Right now I’m guess I’m going with you.” Ma Cobb looked at him. “Huh?” Clem considered. “Exchange?” “Seems reasonable”, said the Shepherd. “Let the old woman go... it’s not right.” “Old Woman?! – You… I’ll give yer old woman!” Ma was livid. Clem ignored this. “I want your word as a Shepherd. No funny business.” “Y’see me laughing?” Face replied and there was a pause. “You have my word”, he added. Clem accepted this. “Personally I’m glad to be rid!” he snarled shoving Ma roughly forward – into Face’s gun arm. The Shepherd dropped his weapon – the safety was off and the damn thing could near shoot itself given a rough handling. Clem however was still armed. “Time to go Shepherd.” Face nodded – checking that the woman was ok, was calm at least - and allowed Clem to take him at gunpoint through the door and out into the wet blackness of Regis. The vestry was silent for a spell – the two unconscious men said nothing and Ma, with no audience, felt free finally to allow grief to take her, find her a wooden chair and sit her down on it – head in hands. ………………………..

Mal was at Jayne’s side in a blink. Zoe moved forward – covering them both and in the Marshal’s line of fire. Reynolds knelt down examining the mess of Jayne’s wound. “You breathing Jayne?” he asked. “Gorram right I am!” It was an angry hiss. The Captain shifted his position as another man came close – “I’m a Doctor,” he murmured somewhat unnecessarily – but Mal was paying more attention to Jayne who was struggling to speak. “You go get my Ma, Mal – and you…” He stopped to draw a ragged breath – Mal didn’t like the sound one bit but Cobb seemed to gain strength, he gripped Mal by the shoulder – and it was good to feel fierceness in the grip. “You do this for me…” Jayne spat, “it’s family , Mal.” Mal sighed. “Always is Jayne – why are you still not getting that?” He turned to the Doctor still earnestly examining Cobb’s wound. “Doc?” Dr Brink sighed, moving back and wiping his hands on the thighs of his trousers. He had a large face, jowly and kind. “Well, he’s lucky – I seen these trick guns before… they’re canny – but no stopping power worth a damn. Gut wounds an ugly thing though …” Mal looked at the messy spreading stain on Jayne’s shirt. “You got what y’need Doc?” “Not really, no.” “Well, we got some decent bits of kit back on the boat.” “Mister - this man can’t walk!” “Aint gonna have to.” Mal tugged the communicator from his belt – praying the temperamental piece of crap would work. “Kaylee!” He yelled “Drop whatever you’re doing and saddle up the mule – we need you here and we need you now!” There was a shocked response from the voice on the other end – Mal’s tone had made the urgency clear… but then, panicky and spluttering, Kaylee yelled, “But the mule Cap? I -” This was not the time for nerves, Mal cut her off, “Y’know how to ride a mule right?” “Sure Cap’ but…” Kaylee sounded less than convinced. Jayne was making frantic motions with his hands – reaching for the comm. “Don’t you bloody up my communicator any…” Mal said, handing it to him. Jayne growled – but it was an unhealthy sound now - “Just gimme the damn thing! – cough – Kaylee, y’hearing me? Mule aint nuthin but another piece a hot metal ‘tween your legs!” Kaylee’s response was loud and unintelligible. “She laughing or cussing?” Jayne asked. “She’s on her way.” Mal said softly. “Tell me how come I aint Captain again…” Jayne murmured but his mouth was becoming slack, his eyes filmy. Mal swore, getting to his feet.

“He’s lost a lot of blood,” whispered Brink, “it’s a transfusion he’ll be needing.” Zoe stepped smartly across the stage and with a deft movement yanked Jayne’s dog tags from their clips. “Blood type,” she nodded to the Doctor – but it was Pastor Nehru who replied, “Mine too. Guess I’ll be comin’ along.” If Mal or Zoe were taken aback they didn’t show it – in the mutual sign language of experience they were agreeing their next move – and Mal was off and running for the exit.


Riding the mule was one thing – but making the beast move swift through the black rain and over the tarry earth was something else – something harder, meaner and more ruttin’ dangerous – if it hadn’t been for Mal’s urgency, Kaylee would have loved every gorram minute of it.

Wearing her engine-room goggles kept the worst of the filth from her eyes but her hair was wild - licking around her head like flame, coiling across her vision as she threw the mule into one hard curve after another following the steep trail to town and then around towards the church.

Aint been crazy like this since Bellarophon, she thought – even as the front of the mule collided with an info kiosk shattering into tiny pieces of balsa and glass – and aint ridden a mule since – and prongs? For why did there have to be prongs exactly?

Mule liked to buck and then some – coughing smoke and heat from the mag unit under the beast’s belly. As it hit the rain it vaporised into hot steam – for all the world like the breath from a wild horse.

She was upon the church almost before she knew it – riding high in the seat as she put her weight on the brake pads and screamed in full-bloodied Chinese. The wooden doors smashed open with apart and the hard metal of the mule hit the aisle ploughing it up as it went – sending the shocked members of the congregation flying and desperately trying to cover themselves from the muck the mule raised. As the big machine finally careered to a stop – Kaylee vaulted forward from the front seat and onto the stage.

“Hell of an entrance”, said Zoe.

Kaylee’s answering grin was wiped off in an instant. “Jayne? Oh – god!”


Marshal Ryder had hit the streets scant seconds after Kaylee’s entrance – he had considered keeping back to contain the mob of the audience but that seemed a fair fruitless task all told – out through the shattered doors before his deputies could catch up with him and yelling through a communicator for back up.

Back up meaning Big Bill Duluth and Old Stan Kramer. They weren’t much, truly – but if they could get to this Clem fella’s ship first… well then maybe the thing could be played out right. Even from a distance the Marshal had read the ugly look in Reynolds eye and the fell purpose therein.

He weren’t like to be slow to it either – chances were he’d sighted Clem’s ship from his own and would cover ground at speed, even the ground of Regis treacherous going as it was.

Marshal had but one advantage – this was his town, his town dammit – and every back street, short cut and cut through were known to him but well.

As he tore up the main drag – splashing through the quagmire and the blanket of rain – he hoped that would count for something, for the life of Malcolm Reynolds at least.


As for the life of Jayne Cobb – it was oozing away with an evil swiftness. Zoe and one of Ryder’s men and Dr Brink loaded him carefully onto the back seats of the mule – satisfied he was well placed Zoe jumped forward into the vacant driving seat. Calling to Nehru and Kaylee as she did so. “Pastor up front with me – Kaylee you ride with Jayne, keep him straight, keep him alive.” White-faced, Kaylee did as bid – and without a backwards glance Serenity’s first mate gunned the engine and sent the mule roaring out into the night.

That left the church to its own – stunned, muddied and confused as that may be. It left the veiled child still howling in its chair, it left the candles still burning by the front of the stage and sending smoke and shadows in all kinds of crazy directions. It left Annabelle James staring for a moment after the departed Dr Brink and turning now to the near empty, blooded splattered stage.

And it left River Tam – easing into form from the shadows, from the dark edges of the stage, out from nowhere, out from the wings. Left her to walk barefooted and silent and free of her coat. It left her alone before the eyes of the audience taking in her appearance as she moved into focus – as she started to dance.


End of pt 4

…………………………….. To be concluded.

……………………………… Hope this was an enjoyable chapter! All comments welcome:)


Monday, February 4, 2008 3:24 AM


Nice action sequence! And River taking the opportunity to dance? Well, if nothing else it'll keep the townsfolk occupied! And I loved Kaylee riding the mule - your description of her was amazing!

Monday, February 4, 2008 9:25 AM


I'm liking Face. He's a great addtion to the crew. I hope Jayne gets well enough to exact a little revenge.


You must log in to post comments.



Independently Blue parts complete 3 parts
just a coda to wrap things up is all.

Bell, Book and Candle - pt 5. Conclusion.
CONCLUSION: While the Serenity crew are at gun-point, Inara has persuaded the leader of the men to stand down. However, as a hysterical River flees the ship, the shooting starts.
Meantime – Mal and the LoveBot™ Sebastian are en-route to find Jossiah Bell and the missing Shepherd Book.

Bell, Book and Candle pt 4
Book has been vanished. Serenity taken hostage. Mal is getting annoyed. Kaylee's getting curious. Inara is getting ambassadorial.

Bell, Book and Candle Pt 3
new chapter: Pt 3 of 5. The crew held hostage, Mal off to settle a score, Book in a very strange shop...

Bell, Book and Candle pt 2
Serenity has found a cargo of wine is actually oil.
There are complications. Book and Kaylee are taking in the town of Candle.

Bell, Book and Candle - pt 1
New Fic. Pt 1. The Serenity crew at work and... not so much,
serious and - not so much.
Easing myself back into the game with this curio.

The Wages of Sihnon - CONCLUSION
Inara and Saffron are on Sihnon, attending a ceremony between Companions and Shepherds. Radha Brook and Phil Yip are also there investigating some missing girls.

The Wages of Sihnon - pt 5 (of 6)
Having been summoned to Sihnon, Inara is attending a Temple shindig between the Guild and The Shepherds. For reasons not yet fully explained, Saffron is with her. Phil Yip and Radha Brook are investigating the disappearance of some young Companions in Training.

The wages of Sihnon pt 4 (of 6)
Inara has been summoned to Sihnon to liaise in meetings between the Shepherds and the Guild. Meantime some trainee companions are missing and GIA Agent Radha and Private 'Tec Phil Yip are investigating. Saffron appears to be in cahoots with Inara and is disguised as a novice companion.
This chapter - a nosy journalist and the High Priestess.

The Wages of Sihnon - pt 3
Inara has been summoned to Sihnon where the Shepherds are visiting. She has brought with her a young woman to act as aide to the Abbott. Meantime some Trainee Companions are missing from a shuttle and the Guild have apparently sent Radha Brook to investigate. Phil Yip, an irritable detective for a private security firm is also on the case.