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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
3 months post BDM. The crew of Serenity lands on Persephone for the first time in five months and finds they need to come up with new papers on the ship or have their home impounded by Eavesdown Port Authority. Mal talks to the entire crew before an inspection of the ship. PG-for mild language, adult content, and angsty character developement. 2,700 words.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1559 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Mal massaged his temples, “I’m real sorry but we just weren’t around when the new rules came. We haven’t found our way back to Persephone for almost five months. If you would just let us land I’m sure we can suss it all out.” He was pleading with the Eavesdown Port Authority. They wouldn’t allow Serenity to land without a new registration.
The woman on the screen scowled at him in total apathy, “In that case sir, you will need to purchase a temporary registration wavier. They are fully refundable once you have your required papers.”
“And just as before, lay’n 800 down on that piece of paper makes it impossible to get the other piece of paper, not to mention food and fuel to make the visit worth while. Look please, I can understand your situation. But we have a situation too. That situation gets added to your situation if we’re put on the drift in lower orbit. Let us set down and find work. We can make everything right afterwards.”
The woman set her jaw forward, “Alright Captain Reynolds. We will suspend payment on the wavier but you must have everything in place by noon tomorrow. You will not be permitted to leave before then. If you fail to produce a registration to port authority by that time we will impound your ship. Thirty days after that it will be auctioned.”
“Any thing else?”
“We will require an inspection upon arrival.” Mal rolled his eyes. “I’m sorry Captain, does that put you out?”
Mal held up his hands, “No. That’s shiny. Love to show off the ship all the time.”
“And Captain, I will tell you what I tell everybody that receives one of these waivers although you aren’t paying for it. Don’t treat it as a ticket, a pass, or a receipt. Think of it as a bail bond.” The woman’s face disappeared from the screen.
“Uuugh!” Mal shouted, “You unbelievable puo-foo!” Mal banged his head on the console once and quickly sat up. “But don’t listen to me River. That right there is a fine role model of assertiveness for you.”
River smiled, “She’s a really good soul. Loves cats, you know.”
“Cats? She needs a man.”
“She’s working on it.”
“Remind me to not go bar hopping around here. I’ll be making the rounds.” Mal left the bridge. He walked aft towards his quarters. He was about to open the hatch when Jayne appeared by his side.
“Mal, are we gonna get some gorram R and R here or what?” Jayne was looking down at Mal with a nasty sneer.
Mal thought for a second, “Get back with me on that. We might need you to do some bar hopping.”
Jayne’s face lit up like a Christmas tree, “Whoa, sounds like my kinda assignment.” Jayne punched Mal in the shoulder lightly.
Mal smiled and nodded. When Jayne merrily strolled away Mal climbed down into his quarters. He checked his hair in the mirror briefly then walked over to his Cortex screen. He entered Inara’s code. He paused for a second and thought about what we wanted to stay. He hit the record control. “Hi Inara,” he smiled widely, “I’m sending you this wave set on silent because I didn’t want to wake you. It’s three in the AM over there. Uh… we’re pulling into Persephone as I speak and look’n to scare up some work. We’re not staying long. But if you want to send me a wave I should be back when you wake up. Who knows? Maybe I can finagle a trip over there sometime. The crew could use a little relaxation time.” He laughed nervously. “I could too.” He looked up to the ceiling for a second then back at the screen. “Uh, this thing we have worked out. We need to talk about it. I think we both know that it’s more short-term than we let on before.” He paused again then clapped his hands into a steeple. “Well I’m gonna go. I miss you. We all miss you. It just…damn. Feels like this ship is half empty all the time. Talk to you later.” He pushed the button to end the recording. His finger hovered over the delete button. He considered making a new message but decided against it and hit send.
Mal climbed the ladder back to the bridge passage walked aft and down the stairs to the cargo hold. It was as empty as ever but cleaner than recent memory. All of Serenity was. She basically got a total overhaul after crashing courtesy of the Operative. Mal had a hard time admitting that without the help Serenity would have died with Wash on that planet. But he was not thankful to the man at all and regretted not shooting him in his emotionally composed face every day since they left.
He descended the stairs to the cargo hold deck and continued his path aft to the infirmary. As soon as he stepped through the door he saw Simon and Kaylee sitting on the couch together with their shoes and socks off. What had obviously started as an innocent massage of Kaylees’s feet had progressed to a massage of her inner thigh and beyond. Mal cleared his throat and in his best military command voice sounded off, “Decency on deck!”
Both Kaylee and Simon jumped out of their skins. Simon tried to stand up but Kaylee hooked her feet around his neck and held him in place. She smiled and said, “Hi Cap’n”
“Morn’n Mei-Mei. At ease Simon. I ain’t your seventh grade calculus teacher. I’m not going to ask you to stand in front of the class in your current state.” Mal stopped in front of them, “So this is why the couch is get’n to smell worse.”
“My current state, Captain?” asked Simon.
“Yeah, no big deal. Just do me a kindness and grab that pillow over there.” Simon looked at his lap and suddenly understood. While he reached for the pillow on the rug Mal turned to Kaylee and winked. She shook her head and mouthed the word “boob.” For almost an entire year Mal’s feelings towards the young doctor oscillated between two extremes of great admiration and utter disgust. But in between those two polar caps of a world of frustration the boy simply cracked Mal up with his high class fish out of water ways. “Do you have the list for the medical supplies we need.”
“Yes.” Simon reached under the pillow on his lap and produced a long ribbon of paper, “I listed them in order by priority.”
“Ah. Now that’s helpful. So is this stuff at the top the most expensive?”
“No. I would say the most expensive items--.”
Mal interrupted Simon by tearing the top quarter of his list off and handing it back to him. “Good. Then we’ll get those things and worry about the rest later.”
“Welcome to my world, Simon,” said Kaylee.
“Which, by the by, you can experience more of today,” said Mal. “You and Kaylee are going to handle refueling and restocking stores.”
“Yay!” said Kaylee.
Simon shot her a serious look. He turned to Mal and said, “Captain I always try to help around here but I think that’s too risky. This planet isn’t central but it still crawls with Alliance.”
“I know. I got a case of the heebee jeebies already but this whole trip is about testing the waters doc. Can we arrive at a planet without getting nuked? Can we dock without being impounded? Can we walk around without getting pinched? Can we earn enough to make prison rations less appealing than they are now?”
“I see,” said Simon. “How are we doing so far?”
Mal cocked his head side ways, “Ehh. It’s iffy. But I’m optimistic.”
“Mal I still don’t think--.”
“I know you still don’t but that’s your job today until someone gets shot or there’s another warrant for your arrest.” Mal turned and headed for the cargo bay. “Kaylee you’re gonna teach the young doctor everything he needs to know about haggling down street merchants and blowing off hustlers.” He stopped at the door and looked back at the door. “You two should work on a routine. Like a good cop, bad cop thing. It’ll be real cute. And Kaylee, you carry the cash.”
“Will do Cap’n,” replied Kaylee.
“Thanks a lot, Captain,” said Simon without looking at Mal.
Mal didn’t move for a moment. “Have either of you seen Zoe?”
“Not all day,” said Kaylee. All three of them exchanged knowing looks.
“Then we know exactly where she is.” He stepped through the door and yelled back, “As you were!”
Kaylee leaned into Simon and grabbed his face around his lips. She squeezed and made them mash together, “Oh poor Simon has to spend the day with me.”
“I planned on spending the day with you. My plans just did not involve leaving bed.”
She let go of his face and tossed the pillow off of his lap. She threw her leg around him and took the pillows place slowly grinding into him. “Well if you’re going to jail today, best we make good use of the next ten minutes. How about you carry me to bed?”
Simon shook his head, “How about the engine room?”
River braced herself. She had become better at controlling her emotional reactions to things on the ship. Anything. Arguments between shipmates, trysts between lovers, and fluctuations in artificial gravity interfered with her train of thought less as time went on. Part of it was having control of the ship and being part of the ship. Having it react to a tug on the helm or a flip of a switch. It allowed her to focus her attention to its fullest. The other part was finding inner peace. She was down to two injections a day…with the occasional extra booster. After Miranda so many burdens had been lifted from her consciousness. They left so quickly she couldn’t even count them.
But now a new problem was arising. Her friend’s burdens were growing heavier. While her time in the Black was therapeutic their time allowed things deep in their mind to fester. Zoe was the worst off. Mal gently wrapped on the hatch of Zoe’s quarters with the toe of his boot. To River it might as well have been a bronze knocker banging against the base of her skull. She allowed a part of herself to become detached from her body and float backward about thirty feet. The perception of it she hadn’t defined yet. But it was like having the impression of a translucent image imposed over her real vision. Her real time vision. She could still see the console and the planet approaching just outside the ship with all the necessary clarity but in away she was more aware of the passage way. She listened as only River Tam, graduate of The Academy, could.
Zoe emerged from her quarters with her carbine and body armor in place. “Are we there yet?” Please don’t bother me until I’m needed.
“Just about. I figure since we’re in a bind for time we’ll go strait to Badger.” I miss you Zoe.
“Is that the best we could do?” I need your help, sir. I’ve lost something inside and I need you to help me find it
“Well out of everybody the Operative could have tracked down and killed he should have been at the top of the list but wasn’t. Gives me the notion that the Alliance doesn’t know about our dealings with him.” Zoe, are you thinking of hurting yourself?
“He damn well could have set us up on purpose with Dobson.” You helped me find it once before, whether you meant to or not.
“No. I think Badger likes keeping us on the hook for certain jobs. I also think showing up for a job rather than being tracked down by his goons will throw him off guard. It’ll be me and you at Badger’s. Kaylee and Simon for resupply. River and Jayne to watch Serenity.” If you were a normal gorrram woman I could talk to you about this without worrying about scaring you away from it!
“Sounds fine, sir.” But if you can’t help me find it…just find something for me to kill.
Jayne kicked over a stack of crates in the cargo hold. “ Wang bao dahn I knew it! I knew it! First time planet side in three rut’n months an I’m picked to baby sit psycho girl!
“Finished?” asked Mal.
“Hell no. Why not Zoe? She probably doesn’t even want to leave the ship.”
“I need her with me and you with Serenity in case something happens. River and Serenity are now a packaged deal, Jayne. Get over it, quick like.”
“Get over it? After everything she’s done to me?”
“Well now. Let’s not forget everything you done to River…and me.”
Jayne walked up to Mal and locked eyes with him, “That shit is getting old, Mal. I’m tired of you hanging it over my head. I think the statute of preservations is bout expired on it.”
Mal shut his eyes and exhaled slowly. At least Jayne was trying to sound smart. The ship lurched slightly as it landed in Eavesdown. “This shit is getting old and going no where fast.”
“You better come back with some damn good work.”
Mal walked over to the com box and thumbed the general announcement control, “Alright boys and girls time for the dress recital.”
Simon and Kaylee were the first on deck coming from the aft ladder well. Kaylee had a bag slung over her shoulder and Simon looked as pressed and as clean as ever. “Do we really need River as well?” asked Simon.
“Everything and everybody in plain sight,” replied Mal, “that’s how it’s done.” He looked up at Zoe and River descending from the catwalks. He turned back to the couple, “I fully expect them to come in with a team of nosy hwan dan to sift through every nook and cranny of Serenity.” A bang sounded from the airlock. “Prompt hwan dan.” Mal wrenched open the door, “Whoa now, is this necessary?”
A tall man dressed in black fatigues and every piece of tactical gear imaginable strapped to his chest stepped on board. He had a modified submachine gun that Mal could not even identify. It looked powerful and fast. He scanned the room with his visored eyes and waved somebody in. Another man in a button down shirt carrying a data pad quickly strode on deck. “Mr. Reynolds, I am Port Authority Inspector Sims. Let’s make this quick.” The guard continued to scan the cargo hold but would quickly look back toward the airlock entrance.
“Okay. No need to be so skittish.”
“You understand the terms of your registration wavier?”
“You agree to have full registration by noon tomorrow.”
“Identify your crew.”
“Well you know me, Captain and pilot, Malcolm Reynolds.” He motioned to the group. “The tall lady in leather is my first mate Zoe. This is our doctor, Joseph and his sister, uh, Julie. And our maintenance crew Jayne and Kaylee.”
“Which one is which?”
“Kaylee is the happy one. Jayne is slightly less feminine.” The guard looked Jayne up and down a few times. Jayne puckered his lips at him and made a kissing sound.
“Do you have anything to declare?”
“Are you transporting any contraband at this time?”
“Nope we’re pretty low on just about everything.”
A loud boom could be heard in the distance. Serenity’s hall shuttered. Mal looked out of the airlock and could see a rising cloud of dust and smoke.
“Gorramit,” yelled Sims, “what did they hit this time?”
The guard had his finger to his ear, “Wait one, I’m getting…it’s the new station just off the port.”
Sims swiped a card through a slot and thrust it at Mal, “Screw this. Here’s your wavier. Get your papers squared away. Thank you for visiting Persephone.” The inspector half walked and half ran in the guard’s wake out of the air lock.
Mal shrugged, “I knew it’d be a cake walk.”
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 12:47 AM
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 9:21 AM
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 3:31 PM
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 6:03 PM
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 6:18 PM
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 8:05 PM
Thursday, February 21, 2008 9:45 AM
Friday, February 22, 2008 9:47 AM
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