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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
3 months post BDM. The crew of Serenity locate and excavate the cargo for Badger's job. But disaster strikes when desert bandits make a run for Serenity. River makes a rash decision and takes matters into her own hands. Rated R for adult language, adult content, graphic bloody gun violence, and mild nudity. Word count = 10,730 P.S. when you come across the link that says "music" open it in another page and keep reading...you'll know when to stop it.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1213 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Some one banged loudly on the airlock door. “I’m come’n gorramit!” shouted Jayne. He peered through the view port with his right hand touching his pistol. It was Simon. Jayne unlocked the seven inch thick door and heaved it open.
Simon slapped a brown paper bag into Jayne’s chest, “Kaylee is out there with the delivery.” He walked into the cargo hold. “River! Come down and help us with the food.”
Jayne shoved a hand into the bag and pulled out a green golden delicious apple, “What’re these for, Doc?”
“You. For watching River. Did anything happen?”
“Well I ain’t bludgeoned, stabbed, or shot so I guess I’m fine. She’s been pace’n up and down the walls though. Make’n me nervous.”
River came thumping down the catwalk with her combat boots and cargo pants. She ran across the cargo hold deck and hugged Simon.
“Whoa. Where did this come from?” he asked.
“I was worried. Are you still the same?”
“Uh...yeah. As much as I can be.”
“You saw them?” asked River.
“Oh, the bombing. Yes, let’s not talk about that in front of Kaylee for a while. Okay? But there was really nothing I could do to help. By the time...”
“It wasn’t going to change Kaylee.”
“She was really upset so I think it’s best if we don’t talk about it in front of her.”
River looked up at Simon curiously. As if she had misplaced a set of keys, “Are you sure you’re the same.”
“Hey you jien huo, hands off my man!” Kaylee stood just beyond the door with a beaming smile. River smiled and walked outside. “You have to be out in the Black for a whole five months before that’s tolerated.”
Jayne and Simon followed the girls out to the donkey drawn wagon that carried their food stuffs and supplies. They each grabbed a crate and hauled them into the cargo hold. Upon returning for another load they saw Mal and Zoe walking towards them. Mal smiled, “Perfect timing. River, get up to the bridge and get us ready to get off this rock.”
River turned and walked back into Serenity. Jayne walked over to Mal, “So do we have a rutt’n job?”
“Well, let’s just say that the math is a mite harder than ten percent of nothing,” said Mal. He tapped him on the shoulder then entered the ship.
Jayne smiled like a boy at his surprise birthday party. He shouted after Mal, “So it’s big, right? Mal? It’s a big job? Oh Cap’n, don’t be like that.” He turned to the wagon, “Come on Zoe. I’m smell’n money. How much?”
Zoe picked up a crate, “Are we taking this into the hold or directly to the pantry?”
Kaylee looked down, “Well I better get spot check’n before we get airborne.” She hurried into Serenity.
“Spot check what?” asked Jayne as Kaylee left.
Mal poked his head out the door, “Zoe. Need ya up in the bridge.” Zoe set the crate down and left Simon, Jayne, and the now defecating donkey outside by themselves.
“Ah, hell!” yelled Jayne. “Ya see! Ya see, Doc. This is what we get paid for when someone ain’t dying or ain’t need’n to die round here.”
Simon pointed at the donkey, “Well, how do you like those apples?”
Jayne laughed, “Pretty shitty, Doc.”
“And that was basically everything that happened,” said Mal. He finished recounting their meeting with Badger and the revelations that were shared. River sat cross legged on the pilot’s seat silently listening to it all. “Time for you to weigh in, Albatross,” said Mal.
“Weigh in?” asked River.
“Yeah, well Zoe and I talked about this. Seeing as how you’re the pilot and all intuitive; whenever you, Zoe, and me are on the bridge with the door shut, like it is now, and talking about these kinds of things...it’s nobody’s business what we’re discussing. Dong-ma?”
River shut her eyes for a moment. She opened them and said, “Badger knows what he’s talking about. At least he knows enough. But so do you. About him. He is reaching too far and flying too high. When he crashes he will never be more dangerous.”
Mal frowned. He folded his arms across his chest and looked at Zoe, “Well, how long do you figure we’ve got before that happens? Fact is, there’s nothing more that we need right now than steady work if everything he says is true. Whole ‘Verse could be in for some tough times. Might even be able to work some of his new connections.”
“I can’t say when anything will happen but I think I know what will happen. Things will be fine for a while. But he’ll make too many promises. Promises he can’t keep. Then will come betrayal. Not of us but of others. He will be paranoid. He will do everything to quash his fears. He will be obsessed with them. Then when he thinks he overcame it all...disaster. Don’t be around him when it happens.”
Zoe looked at Mal, “That ain’t encouraging. This take will be a big enough cushion to find some other work on.”
Mal nodded slowly. “But there will be signs, yes?”
“Yes, but the print will be very small,” replied River.
“Well we’ll stay with Badger, until we see the fine print. I for one feel pretty good about this.” He rapped his fist on the console, “And we’ll be doing this, the three of us, more often. Get us to Santo.”
Mal left the bridge and headed aft. He heard Zoe follow him but only to her quarters. He entered the kitchen where Simon, Kaylee, and Jayne were stocking shelves.
Kaylee looked up, “Oh Cap’n, we got some change for you.” She pulled a few bills from her pocket and handed them to Mal.
“Change? Did you get everything?”
“Oh yeah. Simon’s a great haggler. He read the expiration dates on all the food and drugs and used that to talk’em down on prices.”
“Expiration dates. How...innovative.” He never noticed expiration dates on the cans before.
“If you want peas or you think you will need a local anesthetic get them before the end of the month,” said Simon.
“Right. Some pea soup will be nice on the mend from a gunshot wound,” said Mal.
Sheng Feng gathered up the last four eggs his men had stolen. They were all still asleep. All of them, including him, were convicts of one sort or the other. Brawlers, thieves, rapist, and scam artists. He stopped over by a shelf where they kept some other food related items in their cave. He placed the eggs in a bowl and grabbed a griddle, the last of the bread, and a wooden spoon. The bread was stale but it did not matter. They figured out how to make a type of pancake a while ago with stale bread or crackers, eggs, and sugar. It was too bad they no longer had sugar anymore. Some honey from a jar would be used in lieu of syrup. It would be a good breakfast for everybody. There would not be any full stomachs; but no empty ones either.
He walked to the mouth of the cave where he had some water boiling. He set the items down by the fire pit and walked outside. The blazing sun had just peaked out from the rocky horizon over the vast arid Santo desert. It was already warm. About eighty degrees, he guessed. They would have to venture out again to one of the settlements. It was getting more difficult to get by this way. His band was large and capable enough to successfully scavenge in the desert and small enough to avoid detection. But the settlers were shooting first and asking questions later. At the last house they broke into somebody woke up and actually started screaming, “Reavers! Reavers!” They escaped before the locals poured bullets into every window and door. The owner probably died. Maybe they could get some meat this time. A goat they could milk as well, perhaps. Sheng Feng smirked. Lofty thoughts.
His dark calloused hands broke the bread down and tossed it into the boiling water. He started to crack an egg into the bowl when he thought he heard a distant clap of thunder. Sheng looked out to the desert confused. The skies were perfectly clear. Rain could sweep in quickly but not during this season. He tapped the egg on the rim of the bowl until a small crack spanned its entire circumference. He grabbed both halves of the egg to drop its contents into the bowl when something exploded over his head. He dropped the egg in the dirt. The entire cave echoed and shook. His men jumped from their bedrolls and grabbed their weapons. He looked out of the cave again. A transport ship thundered over their cave and flew north. His men were jumping and cursing. One dropped down to a prone position with their anti material rifle. He quickly loaded a red and black tipped armor piercing incendiary round into the chamber.
“Wei!” shouted Sheng. “Jones, put that away!”
“Let me kill’em! Please let me kill’em! One of dese suckers in the exhaust will blow dat whole thing apart!” the crazed man pleaded.
“I said no! Get ready to move. We’re going to take a closer look.”
Jones shook his head, “Whadya mean? They go’in to Brunswick. Dat’s a fi’teen hour trip on foot.”
“They aren’t going to Brunswick. They wouldn’t enter atmo over here then fly there. It’s a waste of fuel. They’re setting down somewhere. Get ready. I’ll finish breakfast. Pack ammo, radios, weapons, and water.” Sheng looked to the desert once more, “Lots and lots of water today.”
“So how are we finding this small fortune, Cap’n?” asked Jayne. They set down on Santo at the designated location at the designated time. Jayne, Zoe, and Mal sat at the kitchen table. River and Kaylee were cleaning up after a breakfast of canned sausage, toast, and frozen concentrated orange juice.
Mal noticed that even after a whole day later Kaylee and Zoe were doing that catty female thing where they would occupy the same areas but refuse at all costs to acknowledge each other. It would be less agonizing for them to just have a cat fight, Mal thought. “With this here homing device,” Mal held up the box that Badger had given them along with the coordinates on which they landed.
“Don’t that seem risky to you?” asked Jayne.
“Well if we can receive that signal so can everybody else.”
“That’s good thinking there Jayne. But this one is a little different. I can tell.”
“What do you mean, different?”
Mal looked at the ceiling for a moment, “Have you ever heard of a triad dead drop?” Jayne shook his head. Mal turned to Zoe who also shook her head. “This little box has a battery life of about one hour as soon as it’s turned on. If you run out of power or try to change the battery it’ll loose the encryption for its signal. When you turn it on two things happen. Another device somewhere in the area is switched on and a space borne device locks on to the signal. Might be on a satellite, on a ship, even a piece of space junk. That device tracks your position and relays it to the other device that’s planet side. The planet side gizmo compares that position to the position of the goods, which it has stored in its memory, and guides you to them. If anything happens to one of the three devices, like someone pry’n them open, they all power down and lose all data and encryption. You don’t always get the goods but you do always get out alive.”
Zoe leaned forward, “Sir, how did you learn about that?”
“Never was supposed to,” replied Mal, “but I had to help support this special outfit once. You know, the cloak and dagger type stuff.”
“Ain’t that a whole lot of trouble?” asked Jayne.
Mal shrugged, “Beats having it tortured out of you I suppose. But I tell you I freaked out a little on the inside when I saw Badger with this thing.”
Zoe thought for a few seconds, “He said it came from Alliance deserters.”
“Which makes me wonder if they were on to the special ops boys the whole time or...”
“...wily Browncoats bringing Alliance defectors into the Rim,” Zoe finished the sentence.
“What gorram deserters?” asked Jayne.
Mal blanched for a second. He blamed himself. He did not mean to let that slip in front of Jayne, “Oh it seems that some Alliance folk are get’n tetchy over the Miranda broadwave.”
“An leave’n behind all that easy live’n?” asked Jayne incredulously.
“Doesn’t make sense, does it? So not much point in going over it.” Mal stood from the table and headed forward to his quarters. He climbed down the ladder. He checked his messages again. Nothing. No response from Inara. He retrieved his pistol and rifle from his locker and climbed back up the ladder. River was standing there waiting for him. She wore a dress today but still had the combat boots on.
“It’s difficult for her,” she said.
“Hey, mind your damn business when it comes to that,” he said sharply. “Now, are you getting a read on anything afoot?”
“It will be one hundred and thirty degrees out there in two hours.”
“I’ll take that as a good sign.”
A few minutes later Mal, Zoe, and Jayne were loading up the mule with shovels and jugs of water. Kaylee hit the button to lower the cargo ramp. The hydraulics hummed as the ramp was extended. Hot air carrying sand and dirt blasted into the cargo hold.
“Wang bao dahn!” screamed Jayne as he covered his face. “No rutt’n way!” The sand washed over the deck and fell into the grating. The crews’ mouths became dry and their noses irritated.
“Okay people,” said Mal, “it’s a gorram wasteland out there. We don’t want to spend any more time out there than what is necessary. So we’re going to find the loot quickly and dig carefully. The three of us will dig in five minute shifts. That means five minutes of digging and 10 minutes of rest’n and sip’n water.”
“Why not have Doc come along and make it ten/ten?” asked Jayne.
“The doc will be checking us out when we get back.” Mal took out the location device and thumbed the control, “Let’s hope this works.” A second later the screen displayed a line of bearing but no range. “We’ll be heading west it seems.” The three of them climbed into the mule with Mal piloting.
The mule pulled out of Serenity with a lurch past Kaylee. Mal fish tailed the craft into a right turn and when the mule was pointing the direction he wanted to go he slammed the throttle back. It disappeared from Kaylee’s view.
Feng Sheng had his men moving at a decent trot. He checked his thermometer which read one hundred eight degrees. He decided that once it reached one twelve he would have them slow to a fast walk. Most of them have spent more than two years in the desert climate and had much more endurance to the heat and lack of moisture than most people. They had crested a mountain and were winding into a valley. He looked ahead. The next mountain wasn’t very tall but he knew that the terrain there was treacherous. The transport might be on the other side but he dared not say that. He didn’t want to upset his men by getting their hopes up.
Kaylee and River were on the bridge under the helm console. Kaylee wanted to show River some of the modifications she and Wash had performed in the past to the electronic and avionic controls of Serenity. River was glad they were doing it. Serenity had been hot wired and crossed patch in more ways than River cared to count. But it seemed to be fine. She thought about redoing it herself but one of the ways she learned not to hurt people’s feelings is to not fix their things if it works for them.
Kalylee was telling the story about how she hacked the main power bus when River got that cold feeling over her. Shadows swept towards them. Dangerous ones. All of them with evil intent. Her first instinct was to call the others. But no. They might hear them and figure out the location of the cargo. River decided she needed to take the monetary needs of Serenity more seriously now that Mal trusted and confided in her. “We need...” she said aloud.
“What’s that?” asked Kaylee.
“We need...we need lemonade,” said River. She pulled herself from under the console.
“That’d be perfect,” Kaylee agreed. River looked down at Kaylee with a strange look and walked off. Kaylee rested her arms on her stomach and looked up at the beautiful tapestry of wiring. “Nobody cares about this stuff but me,” she sighed.
Mal let one hand off of the controls of the mule. With the free hand he pushed his old brown duster off of his shoulders. Despite the ample airflow they were sweating bullets. Jayne had his leather hat pulled over his face to protect it from the harsh sun. Zoe’s head wrap was already saturated with perspiration. Her curly hair was matted against her forehead. She held the device that pointed them to the cargo. Mal brought his canteen to his lips and sipped. The water tasted incredibly good to him. He could feel it travel all the way down his throat soothing everything it touched. He even imagined the water being immediately absorbed into his body to replenish it. The thought made him want to turn the canteen upside down and chug all of the water out of it but he decided against it. They needed to conserve water and he was driving.
“Still say the Doc could’ve helped,” said Jayne’s muffled voice. “Or maybe psycho girl. Who knows, she might be programmed with superior dig’n abilities.”
“Think you’re being treated unfairly, Jayne?” asked Mal over the hover craft’s drive engines.
“Just say’n I don’t think its fair the three of us are do’in all the work on this job,” replied Jayne.
“Well, the next time the good doctor is pulling a slug out of your ass I want you to remember how fair life is,” said Mal.
“Whoa! Stop!” shouted Zoe. “That was it! We passed right over it.”
Mal pushed the throttle up and gently turned the mule around. Zoe dismounted the mule and walked ahead of it to home in on the location. She took a few steps to the left. Then to the right. She turned to face the mule. She looked at Mal with a smile and carved an “x” in the sand with the heel of her boot.
Mal smiled back, “X marks the spot.” He powered the mule down. “Jayne, set the shade up. Zoe, unload the shovels. I’ll take the first dig.” He reached into his coat and pulled out a radio. “River, come in. River come in, over. Young lady, you had better get on that radio.”
“Cap’n, this is Kaylee,” squawked the radio back. “River’s off the bridge. She went to make lemonade.”
“Lemonade! Gorramit!” shouted Jayne.
“Kaylee tell River that we’re at the location. We’re about fifteen miles out. It’ll take us around, say, two hours before we return.”
“Alright I’ll tell her.”
“And you’re positive?” asked Feng Sheng.
Sheng’s safe cracker, Gus Nai said, “Yeah, two bitches on the ship and a dude two hours away. Might’ve heard another one too.”
Sheng took a moment to think while his men rested, “Okay. We’re going for the ship. The captain’s away and it’s safe to say this ‘River’ is the pilot. We can get her to take us somewhere else. Then we part that thing out until we all have a nice little nest egg.”
“What about the other bitch?” Gus asked while tugging at his crotch.
Sheng shrugged, “If there’s anything left of her we’ll bring her along. When we get to where we’re going, we’ll part the girls out too.” The men around him laughed. “Nobody makes a peep on that frequency. As a matter of fact we won’t use the radio’s from here on out. Let’s get over this mountain and have some lemonade.”
“River?” Kaylee walked into the kitchen when River had not returned for over twenty minutes. There were two pitchers of ice lemonade and another pitcher of water on the counter. Just beyond the aft kitchen door was a heavy steel box fan that was used for ventilation of fumes and smoke. It was supposed to be secured it the engineering locker. Kaylee heard footsteps behind her, “River, why is the...holy...Jayne is going to kill you!”
River stepped into the kitchen with a small arsenal bundled up in some camouflage netting and a bag slung across her chest. She set the bundle and bag on the table and opened them. There was an assortment of hand guns and rifles and a set of desert camouflage fatigues on the netting. In the bag were ammunition magazines.
Kaylee walked over to the com box and pressed the general announcement button, “Simon, get up to the kitchen quick.” She turned towards River, “Okay, let’s calm down. Why did you break into to Jayne’s room and take some of his guns?”
River turned to Kaylee. She had that look. Focused but wide eyed. Her posture was rigid yet leaning forward. Her hands were balled into fists and held away from her waist. Kaylee felt that fear again but fought to keep it from her face. “There are nine men coming this way,” said River. “All dangerous desert hardened bandits desperate to find a way off this planet.”
“What’s going on?” said Simon as he bounded into the room. He took one look at the table, knowingly sighed in anxiety, and let River continue.
“They will come for Serenity and take from us what they can. Our ship, food, money, lives, and more.”
“How much time do we have?” asked Simon.
“They will reach us in less than an hour.”
“Well, great. That’s plenty of time. We’ll call the Captain and others back.”
“No,” said River firmly.
“Why the hell not?” asked Kaylee.
“They will be here in less than an hour but they will be able to see us in a few minutes. They will see what direction the cargo is before it’s excavated. If they kill us it will be theirs. We also lose the element of surprise. They are listening on the long range radio.”
“River, if they kill us we won’t be care’n bout the rutt’n cargo!” pleaded Kaylee.
“We will care. The cargo can’t fall into the hands of these men. They are evil. We can do this. I have a plan.”
Simon didn’t want to hurt River’s feelings but he also didn’t want anybody to get hurt or die. “River,” he said, “how are we supposed to know we can trust you right now?”
“I know you’re both afraid. This is good. It will help. I also know you think there’s another me. One that you don’t know. You think that because you don’t believe what I can do. But you’ve seen it before. If we do this my way everything works out. If we don’t...it will be the end of us.”
Simon’s head reeled. He knew everything about this would seem insane to anybody. But that had never stopped them before, “What do you want us to do?”
“Take your clothes off,” she replied.
Yep, Simon thought, definitely my sister.
Ten minutes later River and Simon were standing on the cargo ramp. River scanned the horizon with a set of binoculars. She wore a white spaghetti string shirt and a towel wrapped around her slender waist.
Simon wore Jayne’s desert fatigues. Because of the difference in size between the men, Simon looked like a child in oversized clothes not meant for him. In his hands he held a precision sniper rifle with a large scope. “I don’t know about this River,” said Simon.
“You’ll be fine,” she said.
“I have never fired this thing before and you’re trusting me to shoot these guys in front of you.”
“I showed you how to use it. It’s a bolt action. Really simple.”
“Yeah, okay. I could say the same thing about a scalpel but using it is a different story.”
She pointed to a rock formation in the distance, “There. Climb up there and hide in the bush growing from under the bolder. Cover the front of yourself and the rifle with the netting and keep drinking water. You will need your vision. You need to go now.”
“River, let’s just get the Captain on the radio.”
“No. But we will use the short range radio. When I say, ‘Are you sure you want to do that?’ start shooting.”
Simon trotted off towards the rock formation weighed down with water, weapons, ill fitting clothing, and heavy doubt. River watched him leave. He’ll be fine, she thought. Behind her she heard Kaylee. Kaylee carried two fold out lawn chairs under each arm. “River, don’t get offended but in your whole history of craziness this is one’a the craziest notions,” she said. Kaylee also wore a towel around her waist as well as a white spaghetti string shirt. It was the same size as River’s because it belonged to her. Kaylee was worried about being so exposed but regretted that Simon did not see her before he left. She set the chairs down in front of the box fan and on either side of a fold out table where the water and lemonade was set. They would be under the shade of Serenity but it was still scorching outside.
“My plans worked before,” said River.
“Yeah, but usually not before someth’n real bad happens.”
“We need to get into position. Off with the towels.” River hooked her thumb into the fold of her towel low on her waist.
“I’m feeling nekkid enough really,” pleaded Kaylee.
River shook her head and whipped the towel off with a flourish. Underneath she wore only white panties. She walked back into the cargo hold to retrieve another weapon to wrap in the towel. River returned in a moment with the bundle. She stepped out of her combat boots and reclined on one of the chairs. “This will only work if there is bait.”
Kaylee nervously opened the towel. Her underwear was pink and lacy at the top and hips. There were bruises on the outside of her right thigh from lying on the grating in the engine compartment. She covered the chair with the towel, sat down, and pulled her boots off. She leaned back and tried to look as relaxed as River. “This’ll only work if they’re idiots.”
“Today is our lucky day,” replied River.
Kaylee pushed the side of her left breast back into the tiny borrowed shirt, “Yep, I’m feel’n all kinds-o-lucky.”
It was coming up on Jayne’s fifth shift on the shovel. He shared the mule with Zoe. She only stared out to the hamada wilderness on the horizon in silence. She and Jayne had never talked much. But now he had this small feeling that he should say something but knew it would now be less appreciated. They were sitting under a shade made out of a couple bed sheets and camouflage netting. Mal dug at an unhurried pace. He had his brown duster on as well as a droopy boonie hat to block the sun. Jayne had to admit Mal was right about the five minute shifts. They were not acclimated to this kind of climate after their stint in the black. “That’s about it, Cap,” said Jayne.
Mal stood in a five foot hole up to his chest. He stabbed the shovel into the ground, “Bout gorram time.” He peeled the duster off his sweaty back and tossed the hat into the mule. He handed the shovel to Jayne as he stepped into the shade. Jayne jumped out and went to work. Mal took a sip from his canteen. He worshipped water now. At that moment water became his god. Water had temporarily reinstated his faith that there was a higher power than random chance. He opened his shirt and poured some onto his chest. He looked at the back of Zoe’s covered head, “So if we were to look else where for work, where would it be?”
Zoe turned, “Don’t know sir. The way Badger was talking, maybe all we need to do is hit the streets and ask around.”
“Might be,” Mal gasped after another sip, “but I’m not too sure the coast is clear for us. I don’t want to push our luck.”
“You heard River, Captain. Hell, you said it yourself. He’s going up in flames in the future. Staying put is pushing our luck.”
“Damned if we do, damned if we don’t,” said Mal.
“I’ll be damned if we turn down more jobs like this,” Jayne interjected. “What’s with all this talk about Badger?”
“He’s getting too big for his britches, Jayne. Raking in all kinds of money doing who knows what. Badger might be a shark but he’s still a bottom feeder.”
“Well I say we stay latched on ‘til...” a loud thunk silenced Jayne. He looked up with a grin. “There’s number one.” He stabbed around the hole a few times to find the edges of the buried object. Mal and Zoe leaned forward to watch but didn’t step into the sunlight.
Seconds later Jayne hefted a small metal case wrapped in dusty clear plastic onto the edge of the hole. He clapped his hands together once, “Alright. Let’s...wei.” Jayne studied the case closer. He unsheathed his buck knife from his belt and deftly slit the plastic open.
“Come on Jayne, get to digging,” Mal said worried. “Don’t want to be out here all day.”
“Now, hold on,” said Jayne. He pulled the locking tabs to the side and opened the case. Reflected sunlight blasted his eyes and he squinted.
“Shit,” said Mal. He saw the look of awe in Jayne’s illuminated face.
“Oh, Cap’n, Zoe, look at the pretties.” Jayne turned the case around. Tightly packed in grey foam were a gleaming chrome plated laser pistol, two energy clips and a dual charger. “Heh. No black finish on these babies. Ya don’t hide in the bush wait’n to pop somebody when you’re armed with this. You just march into them and pre-sear’em for hell. Oh!” He picked up one of the clips. “These are the new ones! Ya see the venting on the side? Oh man! They ain’t even sure how many charges they last for because the prototypes still haven’t crapped out!” Jayne chuckled. “Wait a tick,” he furrowed his brow. “What in gorram hell is Badger doing with these things?” He looked at Mal and Zoe. “I want the two of ya to start from the beginning. What about these gorram deserter’s?”
Sheng looked down at Serenity. It was a fine looking ship. Precious in fact. It could change his life forever if he played his cards right. “Jones, what do you see?”
Jones had a much smaller rifle trained on Serenity’s aft end this time, “No patrol. No tracks round or away from de ship dat I can see. No movement in de windows. But they got’s power.”
Sheng considered the information for a moment. “We’re going to work our way around east. Gus and a couple men will scout ahead and take a look at the front. We’re going to stay off the radio until something goes down. If it does or if somebody comes from the mouth of that valley on the west, you lend cover fire.” Jones nodded to Sheng and opened the tripod attached to his rifle.
“Gus,” said Sheng. “Get going. Rally behind the eastern ridge in forty five minutes.”
Kaylee shook her head. She felt like the air alone was killing her. She grabbed an ice cube from a cooler under the table. She held her hair up and rubbed the ice on the back of her neck. Because she and River were not moving around anymore they were not covered in sweat. The perspiration evaporated instantly. The box fan made it marginally bearable. She took a sip of lemonade and looked over to River who in the past five minutes assumed a cartoonish girly magazine pin-up pose. Her back was arched, chest out, and legs crossed. Every minute she slowly crossed them the other way. How could she be so calm (and cliché), Kaylee asked herself.
“River this is Simon, I see some men,” he said over the short range channel on the radio. The girls hid their ear pieces with their hair. “They’re armed and very unpleasant looking.”
“Where are they?”
“They’re coming around on the left. They’re far from you right now.”
“Good. Stay on them. Let me know when you can’t see them.”
“Uh, River. I have a problem. I have to go.”
“You can’t go, Simon. Don’t be afraid. You’ll be fine.”
“No genius. I have to pee.”
“Oh,” said River. “Well you can’t. If you stand up they might see you.”
“My bladder is about to burst. I’ve been drinking water for over an hour.”
“Simon,” said Kaylee, “listen to me. I have an uncle that used to hunt. What you need to do is scoot over a little. Real slow dig a trough in the dirt with your hand. Take it out. Do you’re thing in the trough. Then scoot back to where you were.”
“That’s a good idea Kaylee,” said Simon. “But there’s one problem. I forgot to bring my pocket jack hammer and River placed me on an oven hot slab of sandstone!”
“Simon, pee where you are,” said River.
Kaylee’s head snapped towards River, “Where do you get off order’n him round like that?”
“River,” said Simon. “Throwing away my career for you... fine. Turning my back on Mom and Dad forever; that was fine too. But this? This, I will never forgive you for as long as...oh no. Oh god. Son of a bitch. Oh, it’s...so disgusting. Ugh. It’s going to itch so badly.”
Kaylee frowned and clinched her fists as she listened to her lover’s humiliating prostration over her ear piece. River laughed. “Shut up, River. That ain’t a bit funny.”
“Oh come on,” River mocked. “It is a little bit. Look at it this way: you get to help him clean up later.”
“Yeah,” replied Kaylee sarcastically, “real fun there.”
“So have you let my brother use your pocket jack hammer on you?”
Kaylee raised her eye brows, “Excuse me?”
River smiled, “You know.” She acted as if she held something in her hand against her crotch, “Buuuuuzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!”
Kaylee’s eyes shot open, “River Tam! None of that is you’re gorram business. That’s your brother you’re talking about. Wanna talk about other boys? That’s just dandy. But you’re brother...that ain’t right.”
River flipped her hair over her shoulder and leaned close to Kaylee, “You know I’ve seen you two do it, like, over two dozen times, don’t you?” Kaylee gasped and covered her mouth. “Twenty seven to be precise.”
“Girl, you are put’n a whole world of strain on my comfort zones today.”
“Well then you’re probably not prepared for this,” River stood with a full pitcher of ice cold water in her hand. She poured it over Kaylee’s body from head to toe, drenching her. Her sheer clothing was completely transparent.
Kaylee wailed in surprise. Her body trembled from the shock of the cold water, “You...crazy...insane...skinny...bratty...bitch!” She sat looking at her nipples through her transparent top.
River bent forward with her hands on her knees and smiled, “Come on. Are you going to get mad or are you going to get even?”
“Fine!” screamed Kaylee. She picked up her tin cup of lemonade and chucked it at River. It hit her square in the chest spilling all over her little shirt and flipped up into her face. She stumbled backwards and tripped over her chair. She landed on her back with a thud. Her belly laugh echoed throughout the desert.
“Sheng, man! You should have seen it! They were just having a gorram wet tee shirt contest in the middle of the desert! It was the stuff wet dreams are made of. The ultimate wet dream. The one that you have and then happily and peacefully die from at the end. And oh, when the younger one was bending over, before getting smacked in the face with the cup...thank the good lord in heaven ‘cause that’s how far them legs went up!” Gus hugged himself, “Please, let them be sisters.”
“How about mother and daughter?” some one shouted. The bandits laughed uproariously.
Sheng was quiet. It was all too good to be true. Two frolicking tarts sun bathing in front of a defenseless transport ship was far more luck than anyone deserved, let alone a group of criminal scum. “I don’t like it,” he said finally.
The group’s enthusiasm died. Gus’s eyes borrowed deep into Sheng’s skull. He walked over to Sheng. “Let’s take a little walk.” He waited until the two of them were out of earshot from the others. “You did it Sheng. You should be so rutt’n happy. You said a couple years ago that you were going to get us out of this hell. And today, you did it! Freedom is within spitting distance. And not only that, it comes with a nice side dish of hot young poonanie. It’s all waiting for us on that ship. So let’s just take it.” His voice got lower, “Because, I don’t know if you noticed. The point of no return was somewhere before that last mountain range. The men are pretty rutt’n ragged. We humped our way out here really hard. We wouldn’t be able to make it back before sundown. There’s no water between here and there. We didn’t pack to camp. And if we did, some would still die with the scorpions and spiders out in these parts.”
“Gus, I know all of this. But you also know something isn’t right here.”
“So these fucking tourists came from space, set down in our desert, and laid an ambush for us using these two hot bitches as bait. How likely does that seem? If they’re mercs, none of the settlements could have afforded them. So what the hell is you’re problem, other than you have some thirsty, hungry, and rutt’n overjoyed people depending on you. People that’ll turn on you in a second if you do them wrong.”
Sheng nodded once.
Gus clapped his hands together, “That’s it! That’s my brother in crime! You know, nobody’ll have a problem with you taking first crack at them bitches. You, of course, like the more voluptuous kind, right?”
The two men walked back to the group. Sheng stepped forward, “We proceed. Gus will take two people up to the ship. He’ll get the girl inside, secure the other one, and search the interior. We’ll move in when everything is cleared. Say good bye, boys. We’re getting off this rock in thirty minutes.
River and Kaylee sat silently. Kaylee wanted to leave but was afraid to. After all of the previous high emotion and knocking River over she was a little dumbstruck when it ended suddenly. River simply got up and sat back in her seat without a word. As if she was a robot. It always frightened Kaylee when River was like this. She was too unpredictable. It was impossible to say where they would end up when this was finished.
“River, they’re back,” said Simon. “They just sort of appeared.”
“Kaylee,” River said, “get back in the ship and prep the engines in a couple minutes.” Kaylee left without saying anything. Her stomach was in knots. “Simon, are you ready?”
Simon’s lower legs felt numb from laying on the rock for so long. The urine completely soaked the camouflage pants and some of the shirt. He took another sip of water and tried to concentrate. It took him a while when he first got into position to figure out exactly how close his face needed to be to get the right sight picture from the scope. But he eventually learned how to adjust the scope as needed. He gently tightened his grip on the hand guard of the stock and pivoted the rifle around to scan the area. “Okay River, three of them are walking strait to you from the left. I see one crawling beside them. There are two of them about two hundred feet away from the front of Serenity. They’re spaced apart. Another two are walking towards you from the rear. I can’t find the ninth one.”
“Never mind him,” said River. “Keep your eye on the others and be ready.” River sipped her lemonade and leaned back in the chair. A few minutes passed and she heard the footsteps of shuffling weary feet. Three men came into view. Dust and dirt clung to their faces. Their lips were cracked and raw. Their eyes were hungry. The middle one was a large dark skinned man. He spoke first, “Hey there sweet thing. Awful hot to be out today.”
River let a little outer rim accent slip in to her voice, “Been cooped up in that ship too long, mister.”
“Ah, thas too bad,” the man replied. He looked to either side nervously.
“You and your boys look thirsty, mister. You want some lemonade?”
“What’s your name, mister.”
“Call me Nai.”
“What’s your first name?”
“Good name. Gus’s short for Augustus. Means ‘worthy of respect’ in Latin.”
Sheng’s anxiety grew. She was just sitting there chatting up three convicts in her underwear. Something wasn’t right. Sheng stopped following the three about fifty feet away from the ship. He cocked his assault rifle and took aim at the girl but couldn’t get a good shot. A heavy metal fan obstructed his view.
“So what’s your business out here, darling?” asked Jones.
“Oh they’re out doing a survey. Soil samples and the such. Looking for resources.” A whining noise emanated from Serenity’s jet engines followed by the clicks and bangs of a series of solenoids and valves. “Oh don’t mind that. That’s our mechanic. She’s just doing a little routine fix’n.” River shifted her hips a little. Jone’s eyes unglued themselves from the engine and followed her gyration.
He looked up from her slender bare thighs, “Huh, a woman mechanic? That’s a bit odd. So who flies this thing?”
River smiled, “I do, Gus.”
“Well hot damn. Kids these days. Do’in all kinds of things at a younger ages all the time.” He licked his cracked lips, “All kinds of things. I tell you what, why don’t you get covered up and show us round your ship? Like to meet your mechanic too.”
“Cap’n wouldn’t like that.”
“Come now, let’s not turn this into a fuss. Don’t want to get rough with ya. You wouldn’t like that.” Jones pulled a submachine gun from behind his back. His companions produced pistols from their shirts.
“Oh Gus,” said River, “are you sure you want to do that?”
Gus shook his head, “I think you’re failing to respect...” A hole burst open in Gus’s chest. Bloody bits of shattered bone blasted through the air and pink bubbly fluid gushed from his destroyed lung before the crack of the supersonic bullet was heard. The next shot caught the man on the left in the shoulder and spun him around before falling to the ground. The remaining man turned to find the shooter. He dropped to one knee and raised his pistol completely forgetting about River.
River stood. She carried Jayne’s fifty caliber handgun. She leveled the shiny nickel plated gun at the side of the man’s head. Not just an object, she thought. She squeezed the trigger. Hot blood splattered her face and chest. On the other side of the man’s head a huge gout of blood erupted from his temple.
A couple shots rang out from the left. River dove into the gritty sand. It scratched her delicate bare skin. She reached out in front of her and grabbed the towel in which her other weapon was wrapped. She pulled the bundle to her and opened it. The weapon was Vera. More bullets from the north whizzed past her head and ricocheted off of the cargo ramp. She shouldered Vera and switched the trigger group from safe to three round burst. River returned fire with Vera barking hot fire and fury. “Kaylee, the engines, now!” shouted River into the radio. The engines tilted ten degrees aft in unison in a split second and belched long tails of hot exhaust. Nobody could hear the screams of the men approaching from the rear as every cell of their body was superheated.
Sheng jumped from his prone position and retreated back to a rocky berm. He grabbed his radio and held it to his mouth forgetting it was still on the ship’s crew’s frequency.
“Jones! Jones! Sniper to the north of the ship! Take him out!” squawked the radio.
“Can’t see’em, Sheng! He’s behind a big rutt’n rock,” replied a voice.
“Just fire on him and keep firing! Throw his aim off!” shouted the first voice.
Mal slowly raised his head out of the hole, “What in Sam hell is that about?”
“Said somethin’ bout a sniper north of a ship,” said Jayne.
“My ship!?” shouted Mal.
Zoe keyed her radio, “River, come in.” She waited for three long seconds. “Serenity, come in please.” She waited another five seconds, “Somebody better get on this rutt’n radio now!”
“That tears it,” said Mal. “Dump the boxes back in the hole, we’ll cover it with the camo net. Zoe, stay with the cargo.”
“Stuff it, sir,” replied Zoe. “I’m going.”
“Jayne?” said Mal.
Jayne pushed a stack of the weapon cases into the hole, “Sounds pretty serious, Cap.”
“Damn it. Shiny. Let’s all go.”
“River, some one is shooting at me!” shouted Simon into the radio. Bullets thumped into the dirt and ricocheted off of the rocks around him.
“It’s okay. They can’t see you. It’s just harassment fire. Keep firing. Find the crawler I’ll take care of these two.” River backed up slowly in a crouch towards Serenity while alternating triple shots on the two bandits in front of the ship. These two were worthy gun fighters. They had found decent cover out there and she still was not completely certain where they were. She stepped into Serenity and quickly ducked into the doorway of the cargo ramp. Two fresh ammo clips for Vera were waiting there. She quickly ejected the one in the rifle, grabbed one off the floor, and slapped it into the receiver. She lowered herself to the floor and did a quick head juke out of the door way. Bullets poured into the cargo hold in response. They rattled and sparked off of the steal deck as she pulled herself to safety.
“River, what’s going on?” asked Kaylee on the com box. River gracefully extended her foot and with the tip of her big toe pressed the talk button. “It’s all under control Kaylee. Simon is fine. Stay put and this will be over in a couple minutes.” She swung her extended foot outwards and used the momentum to snap out of cover when she planted it. She loosed two bursts into the desert and with the second one she was rewarded with a scream of pain. He wasn’t dead, she knew, but he was affectively taken out of the game. She ducked back into cover as another volley of bullets came in. A brief lull in the fire occurred. River popped back out of cover. The man Simon had shot in the shoulder was right there on the ramp crawling up it. It startled her for a split second but as he raised his pistol at her she switched Vera to full auto and whipped a rope of bullets at him with a battle cry. Before she disappeared back into cover she saw the bullets stitch a line across his chest and down his left leg. She did another head juke to confirm the kill. “Come on, River,” she said to herself. “Can’t slip like that.”
Sheng edged his face from behind a rock. A rifle report from Jones sounded and a second later a muzzle flash from the rock formation to the west flared. The shot darted into the ground ten meters away. Sheng slowly moved back into cover. This was no trained sniper, he thought. This shooter barely knew anything about marksmanship it seemed. If he did he would not be taking pot shots at him like this. He would reposition to take out Jones then concentrate on the two men in front of the ship. His assault rifle did not quite have the range to reliably take out the shooter by the bolder. Sheng reached into a pouch on his belt and pulled out a cylindrical incendiary grenade. He estimated that he was about eighty feet from the ship. “River,” he said aloud, “If you survive this I will bore your rutt’n ass out and enjoy every second of it you little bitch.”
Simon flinched every time he heard an incoming shot. He couldn’t control it. His hands were shaking badly. The incoming fire had completely unnerved him. He had developed a tunnel vision on this one man and had no idea of how River was doing. He heard her returning fire. As long as he heard Vera, he thought, River is alive.
The man Simon focused on jumped out into the open and ran. Simon adjusted his aim but before he could shoot the man changed direction. Simon lost him in the scope for a second. He regained his aim and fired but as soon as he did the man was off in another direction. Simon zoomed way out, found the man, loaded another bullet into the chamber with the operating rod, and then zoomed back in. The son of a bitch was smiling. Simon fired and missed again. Simon’s heart thundered in his chest, “River, the crawler’s coming at you. He has a bomb or something. I can’t hit him he’s running all over the place.”
“You have to take him out, Simon,” River replied.
“I can’t he’s...”
“You will!” she shouted. “Do everything that I tell you as I say it.”
“Okay,” said Simon.
“You need to lead his face. Lead his face as if you were right there dancing with him. Aim where you would be. Move with him.”
Simon, despite the urgency of the moment, smiled on the inside. Something about what she said made immediate sense and comforted him. He looked through the scope. The maniac didn’t seem as fast anymore. He put the crosshairs in front of the man’s face but the picture was still shaky. But where did that feeling come from. It was something from the past.
“To the music, Simon,” said River.
That’s what it was, thought Simon. Dance lessons. Although River loved to dance Simon did not. He always felt so awkward on the dance floor with all of the music and movement. But that did not stop his parents from forcing him to go to ballroom dance lessons for two years. His mind returned to the scope. The crosshairs were firmly set four feet in front of the man’s nose. The center of the picture had a red dot. He pretended it was an annoying bumble bee. Flying there to annoy the maniac. A tone sounded deep in Simon’s mind. He couldn’t make it out at first.
His parents had not only made him go to dance lessons but also the opera and the ballet. Clarinets. That was the sound in his head. He remembered sitting there in the audience between River and his father, bored to tears while everyone around him was captivated. Then there was the sound of a harp. The bee gracefully kept in front of the man, turning with him, as he pivoted to his right and continued on.
“Inhale,” said River. Simon breathed in. “Exhale,” she said. Simon let the air out of his lungs gently.
English horns came next. He knew this tune. Waltz of the Flowers by Tchaikovsky. Ancient music from Earth-That-Was. Somehow it had lived on triumphantly while the planet it came from died a slow, pathetic, pointless death. The bee was still in front of the man’s head. His head was the flower.
“Inhale,” said River. “Exhale.”
Then came the strings, followed by the flutes and chimes. The dance was in full swing.
“Inhale,” said River. “Exhale and hold it. In three...two...one...”
A somber whimsical song, thought Simon. His hands were steady and his mind was calm.
“...squeeze trigger now,” said River.
And he did. The man’s face detonated in a thick pink mist in the middle of the scope. The body was knocked off of its feet and slid forward in the sand a couple seconds until it stopped six yards from Serenity. Simon’s mouth fell open. The music was gone. So was the adrenaline rush. His hands began to shake again. Panic and deep, unjustified, senseless remorse crept into his mind.
The two men in front of the ship were shocked to see Feng Sheng’s head blown off. So much so, they failed to see River dash out of the ship to get the angle on them. A long burst of auto fire from Vera ended them.
Jones tore his eyes away from Sheng’s corpse. He returned his attention to the sniper behind the bolder. There was no movement. There was no sound at all. A few seconds ago the entire valley below sounded like a war zone. He scanned slowly left to right. When he came to the starboard side of the ship his site grazed something black. He snapped the rifle to the left a centimeter and pitched down. There she was. It had to be her. She was standing there in the harsh sunlight on a rock with her jet black wild hair, blood smeared adolescent face, skimpy torn shirt, dirty underwear, scraped up skin, and bleeding knees. But out of all those extraordinary things nothing compared to her eyes. They were as hard as tempered steal yet still beautiful. Jones slowly pulled his index finger out of the trigger and held his hands up by his face. He kept the rifle balanced between his shoulder and the tripod. Jones mouthed the words, “You got me.”
River mouthed back, “Yes.” She fired.
River turned casually and walked back to Serenity. In the distance she could see Simon walking towards her. She smiled and waved but apparently he did not see her.
Mal sat in the speeding mule with his pistol in one hand and chewing the fingernails off of the other. They had tried to get somebody on the radio two other times. They cleared the last plateau and Serenity came into view. Mal shut his eyes. She’s still there. In the distance he thought he saw Simon standing to the right of the ship. Then he made out the shape of Kaylee and River. Relief was replaced by anger. He wanted to know what was going on before he killed somebody.
“Corpses!” shouted Zoe while she drove the mule. “Over there, two of them.”
Mal saw them. Mal, Jayne, and Zoe played a quick round of eye tag. The mule slowed to a stop in front of Serenity.
“Holy shit,” said Jayne. “What in the hell happened here?”
Mal jumped from the mule, ignored Kaylee who looked like she was about to cry, and stomped up to River stepping over one of the bodies. He stood over a foot above her, “Talk gorramit.”
River looked very much like a little girl at this moment. Standing there awkwardly with her pretty dress covering her blood and dirt smeared body. “I...I didn’t see them until it was too late. If we called for help they would have heard and they might have found the cargo,” she said weakly. She couldn’t look Mal in the eye.
Mal swallowed hard, “And so you took them on by yourself. You put not only your own life in jeopardy but also Simon’s and Kaylee’s. Then you wouldn’t respond to our calls. You can’t make those decisions, River. Ever. That’s why I am the rutt’n captain! I don’t give a good gorram about what is planted in your brain. There is no way you’re equipped to make that kind of call. You don’t have the experience.”
River looked up with shimmering sad eyes, “I’ve done it before. I had a plan. Do you remember...”
“No!” shouted Mal. “Do you remember? Remember when Early shot Simon? Remember before that when you were playing with Jayne’s guns? Remember any of those people you killed in the bar? Do you remember the second time Simon was shot? You were still pulling your rutt’n mind together, River! How do you know the difference!?”
“But the cargo,” said River, “we needed the money.”
“Screw the cargo! You’re my crew. Kaylee is my crew. Simon...Simon get your ass over here on the double! Simon is my crew. Serenity is my ship, River. My ship. When it comes down to which one of these gets risked it is my call. Nobody else’s but mine.” Mal pounded his chest with his palm. He looked at Kaylee, “And you. Why in the hell did you go along with this? There’s nobody more scared of River ‘the Weapon’ Tam, than you.”
Kaylee looked at her feet, “Well, Cap’n, it seemed sensible at the time. Like she said, she had done this kinda thing before. And she was real steady and calm explain’n it. It wasn’t until she started killing folk that she seemed crazy again.”
“That was the first thing that seemed out of place, huh?” asked Mal.
“Uh...well. There was a bit of...uh...an exchange before the shooting...I don’t want to talk about it Cap’n.”
“Oh. Well that’s okay, Kaylee. Cause I’m really interested in what Simon...Simon! Have you gone deaf or suicidal boy!? Get your ass over here now!”
Kaylee grabbed on to Mal’s shoulder, “Oh Cap’n, take it easy on him. He’s real upset over blow’n that bastard’s head off.”
Mal looked at Simon for a long moment. His shoulders were hunched and he barely held on to the rifle he carried. Mal could not even tell if he was breathing. “Shiny. This is what we need. River, take a look at your brother. That’s your do’in.” River looked Simon in shame. She squeezed her eyes shut and tears streamed down her face in dark muddy lines.
Jayne, who along with Zoe, had been listening quietly, stepped forward, “I’ll talk to him, Mal. We’ve all been there at one time or another.”
Kaylee spoke up, “Jayne, just be careful what you...”
Jayne held his hand up and said in a serious tone, “Don’t worry, Kaylee. I know jus what to say.” He walked towards Simon.
Simon looked at the body of the man he would never know to be Feng Sheng. The bullet had entered through the bridge of the nose, ripped through all of the bone on the bottom of the skull, and separated the entire spine at the exit wound. When the body hit the ground there was nothing to keep the top of the head from coming apart in two halves. Scorpions waded through the pool of blood to get to the fleshy neck hole. This was it, Simon told himself. This time there was no denying that he had killed another human being. Not some Reaver. The Alliance killed those people in his mind. But a living human being. And from what Mal was shouting, Simon could not help but wonder if it was avoidable. He heard footsteps behind him.
Jayne approached slowly. He bent over at the waist and gently grabbed a hold of the butt end of the rifle, “How bout we hand this over, Doc.” Simon released the rifle. Jayne pulled the magazine out and ejected the round in the chamber. He looked at Simon’s sad eyes then at the corpse. “First real kill, wasn’t it Doc.”
Simon slowly nodded.
“It was a damn fine shot,” said Jayne. He cringed as soon as the words escaped his mouth. But to him it was the undeniable truth. A marksman would brag his way to the grave about a shot like that on a moving target. “I don’t know if you’ll believe me or not, Simon. But we’ve all been there before. Wonder’n if it was right. Wonder’n if you’ll pay for it later. You just move on though.” That didn’t seem to have an effect to Jayne. He fell silent for a minute. “Uh, Doc? Know this ain’t the best of times but...was it necessary to piss my camies all up?”
Kaylee looked down at Simon. It looked like he had finally calmed down. They were in Simon’s room because the bed was a little bigger. Simon lied on the bed face down with only a towel covering him. Kaylee straddled his back while massaging his shoulders and neck. She wore an old midriff tee shirt and a pair of Simon’s boxers. She seriously considered doing without but she felt a little leery after the revelation that River had been peeping on them for three months.
Strangely enough, Kaylee did take River’s previous suggestion and gave Simon a sponge bath. It was scary for her at first because he was somewhat catatonic. But after a while he seemed to relax. Now his muscular back seemed like warm clay in her hands. She was overwhelmed with relief. She scooted herself down her man’s body until she rested on his legs. Kaylee firmly ran her hands up and down Simon’s lower back twisting them as she changed directions. She grabbed on to his butt and gave it a hard squeeze. A deep, muffled chuckle emanated from the mattress.
She gave him a playful spank and said, “Somebody likes that, huh?”
“Mm-hmm,” Simon dreamily confirmed. Kaylee did it a few more times.
She returned her hands to his back, “Now, Simon. You did everything right today. You’re a hero in the only book that matters. Mine.”
He turned his head so he could speak, “Captain didn’t think so.”
Kaylee scoffed, “When the hell did that start make’n a difference to you?”
“It is his area of expertise.”
“Oh, Simon. You had to do that. If they had gotten on board...”
“I know. Say no more. Let’s just give it time, Kaylee.”
She bent down and nibbled on his ear, “Okay. By the way I wanted to show you something.” She jumped off of the bed. Simon heard some rustling behind him. He started to rise up. “Ah,” said Kaylee, “no peeking!” A few short seconds later Kaylee plopped into the chair by the bed in front of Simon. She was wearing River’s little shirt again. “What do you think? I don’t know if you saw it or not but it’s kinda flattering.” Kaylee shook her shoulders back and forth to make her breasts jiggle.
Simon smiled as he watched the show. But after a few moments he looked down on the floor.
Kaylee stopped, “Simon what is it? Somethin’ else is eating at you. I can see it.”
“There is something Kaylee,” admitted Simon. “Something has changed. If I ask you a question could you keep it a secret?”
“Yes. Anything. Just please get it off your chest.”
Simon looked at Kaylee with serious eyes, “Would you ever consider leaving Serenity?”
Tuesday, March 11, 2008 9:49 PM
Wednesday, March 12, 2008 12:09 AM
Wednesday, March 12, 2008 4:54 AM
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