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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Serenity’s been taken by some unwelcome visitors, with Kaylee still on board… While the rest of the crew try to figure out just how to start out in pursuit from Athens with no transport and no money. (Sorry about the wait for this episode, folks...)
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 824 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
Disclaimer thingy: Firefly/Serenity are owned by other folks and not by me, though I appreciate being able to write some stuff purely for fun inspired by the Firefly 'Verse. All constructive comments and feedback from you shiny readers out there much appreciated!
Felix returned to Serenity’s bridge a couple of times, dumping onto the deck armfuls of assorted booty he’d found in the crew’s cabins. Most of it was Jayne’s weaponry plus some odds and ends of electronic equipment: Vaughan took a cursory look at his colleague’s haul, then shrugged. “Nothing special there. But we’ll take it.”
“That’s all the cabins,” said Felix. “You want me to go through the infirmary?”
“Yeah, but there’s no hurry.” Vaughan leaned back in his chair. “We got a few hours before we get to the breakers. You go fix us something to eat. And see if they got anything drinkable on this piece of gos se.” Felix nodded and moved off again. Vaughan glanced back at Kaylee. “Don’t suppose you want anything, do you, girl?” he said mockingly. Kaylee said nothing. Vaughan smiled. “Not even a drink? Might loosen you up a bit.”
“I ain’t thirsty.” Kaylee spoke in a low voice. Vaughan smiled and turned back to face the flight controls.
Felix strolled into the galley and began to open and shut storage lockers. He located some food which he tossed onto the table: then grunted as the next locker revealed a bottle of whisky. Smiling, he snagged it by its neck and took it across to the table with a couple of glasses. He glanced up in the direction of the bridge, then back at the bottle. Grinning, he pulled out a chair and sat down, unscrewing the bottle cap and pulling a glass towards him. “No harm in makin’ sure it’s the good stuff,” he said to himself. The amber liquid glugged into the glass: he set the bottle down and picked up the drink, then knocked it back. He lowered the glass to the table with a sigh of satisfaction – then started violently at a sudden stinging sensation in his leg.
“Kao!” His hand knocked the glass over as he lurched to his feet, the chair he’d been sitting on falling over backwards. He stared for a moment at his right thigh, reaching out with one hand to hold the place on his leg where the pain had jabbed him. “Gwai-gwai long duh dong - ” His fingers rubbed at the place - then his eyes tracked up sharply as a chair scraped on the floor on the opposite side of the table. Scrambling out from underneath the table, eyes fixed on the big man, was Leon.
Felix blinked. “What the hell - ” He looked down at Leon’s hand: the youth was holding a hypo. Felix’s eyes narrowed. Then his angry gaze locked onto Leon. “You little - ” He lunged swiftly in the youth’s direction.
Leon didn’t expect the big man to move so fast; he’d been hoping that the sedative drug he’d taken from the cupboard in Simon’s infirmary would work instantly. As the furious Felix dived around the table, Leon dodged the other way. As his feet skidded for a moment on the deck floor he almost lost his balance, then he recovered and headed for the galley doorway. One hand caught the doorframe and he swung through, heavy footfalls sounding behind him. Great plan, worked perfectly. Now what do I do? He ran down the aft hall, hearing the sounds of Felix’s angry pursuit. It’s not going to work - I must’ve used the wrong drug.
There was a loud crack! of gunfire and a sharp pain tore through the side of his leg. He staggered, grabbing at the bulkhead to hold himself up. Ai ya! His escape was slowed, and suddenly Felix was on to him, tackling him to the ground.
Leon landed so heavily with the big man’s weight on top of him that his vision darkened. He gasped for air, winded; then struggled frantically, thrashing to get free. The grip on his shoulder loosened and he rolled clear, colliding with the hallway wall. Dragging himself upright he stared at the floor – where Felix now lay with eyes flickering closed, his gun clenched in a twitching hand. The drug had finally taken effect.
The sound of the gunshot echoing up to the bridge made Kaylee start and jolted Vaughan’s head up, his eyes dragging round to the doorway. “Felix?” he yelled. “Felix?” There was no reply and he got to his feet. “Felix – goddamnit!” There was no reply. Vaughan hit the intercom on the wall. “Felix, you hearing me? Answer me!” Still no answer.
Vaughan swore violently, then turned to look at Kaylee. “No-one else on board, hah?” He strode over to her and grabbed a fistful of her hair, hauling her to her feet: Kaylee cried out with pain. Vaughan shook her. “You lying bitch! Who else is on this ship?” Kaylee made no answer and Vaughan slapped her open-handed across the face. “You talk to me or - ” He drew his gun and jammed it against the back of her neck. His voice dropped. “We’ll just go see who’s back there, shall we?” he snarled softly. “Then whoever’s playing hide and go seek can come out… Or watch you take a bullet in the head.”
Kaylee stumbled as Vaughan dragged her along the fore passage and into the galley. Vaughan’s eyes swept across the overturned chair. “Hell - ” He savagely yanked Kaylee forwards to the far doorway, paused, then swung through with her ahead of him as a shield. In the distance the form of Felix lying slumped on the passageway floor ahead was clearly visible. Vaughan cursed again and hauled Kaylee onwards. Stopping by the unconscious Felix, Vaughan kicked him none-too-gently with the toe of his boot. “Felix! Get up!” The big man was jolted by the kick, but his eyes stayed firmly shut. Vaughan stared down at his now-useless companion. “Son of a bitch…” He bent down and tried to take Felix’s gun from the unconscious man’s hand; but the fingers were so tightly locked around the weapon that he couldn’t prise it away. Furiously Vaughan stamped down on the man’s fingers: there was a crunch of bone that made Kaylee flinch. Vaughan kicked at Felix’s now misshapen hand until he got the weapon loose, then stuffed it into his belt. Turning back to Kaylee, he shoved her onwards.
“Okay, girl.” Vaughan held her close as they made their way down the stairs that led to the infirmary. “Where’s your friend at?”
“I don’t know,” said Kaylee, then cried out as Vaughan ground the gun muzzle into her cheek bone. “Take a guess!” he snarled. He dragged her down the last few steps onto the floor and jerked her around to face the passenger quarters and infirmary. “I’ll bet he’s around here somewhere, ain’t he? Some little smuggling hidey-hole you didn’t tell me about?” He shook her hard. “Hah? Some smart little place your captain uses?”
“Please - ” Kaylee felt the fear surging in her at his anger. “I don’t know where - ” Vaughan wound his free hand in her hair and yanked on it hard, making her cry out. “Don’t try to bullshit me, girl.”
Leon ran lightly but swiftly across the cargo bay, hearing the voices behind him. His leg stung where Felix’s bullet had clipped the outside of his thigh: blood had started to soak down his trouser leg. He heard the fury in Vaughan’s voice: the pain and fear in Kaylee’s. Got to do something now. Take that liou mahng out, before he hurts her bad. Silently he slipped between some containers, disappearing into the shadows.
Vaughan emerged into the cargo bay through the doorway leading from the rear of the ship, still holding Kaylee before him like a shield. His eyes scanned warily around the space; flickered up to the empty catwalk. Tightening his grip on Kaylee, he leaned in close to her face. “Okay, bao bei: where’s your friend holed up?” He gestured quickly at the cargo bay with his gun before bringing it close to her cheek again. “You better speak up now. I’m not playing hide and go seek all round this goddamn ship.”
“I – I don’t know – where he is - ” Kaylee’s voice shook: she couldn’t stop herself from trembling in Vaughan’s grip. The cold metal of the gun’s barrel pressed against her skin fixed her, like a rabbit caught in the glare of headlights. She tried to think but nothing would come, only fear. Don’t hurt me Please don’t hurt me. A sudden memory rose up inside her: of stepping into the cargo bay all those months ago, to be hit in the stomach by Dobson’s bullet. God, please don’t let him hurt me.
Leon listened to the sound of Vaughan and Kaylee’s footsteps across the floor: they were coming closer. He could hear Vaughan’s heavy boots, Kaylee’s breath catching in her throat as the man with the gun pulled her along. Every muscle in Leon’s body tensed, as he prepared to move. Okay. Any second now. For a split second he was reminded of the last time he’d hidden himself behind these cargo containers, before diving out to be felled by Jayne. That didn’t go so well. But maybe practice makes perfect.
Movement flickered at the edge of the crate: then Leon was lunging outwards, charging at Vaughan. He hit the big man with his shoulder, slamming between him and Kaylee and knocking the man’s gun hand violently outwards: the gun fired as Vaughan dropped it, the bullet striking harmlessly into the deck. Kaylee was thrown forwards by Leon’s lunge, sprawling off balance onto her knees with her bound hands outstretched.
Vaughan and Leon both staggered sideways, but Leon recovered first: his hand went to Vaughan’s belt and jerked Felix’s gun free. He started to raise it but Vaughan recovered his balance, the big man throwing a swift punch which caught Leon hard on the cheek. Leon went down, Felix’s gun falling from his hand to clatter away across the floor.
Vaughan stepped forward and kicked out hard, his boot slamming into Leon’s side. The youth gasped as the breath was driven out of him, then cried out in pain as Vaughan kicked again, this time aiming at the bloodstain on his leg. Leon jerked away then rolled onto his stomach, trying to brace his arms against the floor to push himself up. He made it onto hands and knees when Vaughan’s third kick landed hard in his ribs, knocking him sideways into a cargo container.
Vaughan was on Leon quickly, grabbing hold of his shoulders and neck and dragging him up against the container. The big man pulled the youth forwards – then slammed him forcefully back. Leon’s head connected violently with the container behind him and his vision darkened. He clumsily reached up and clawed at Vaughan’s grip, but was jerked forward then slammed back again. He felt the crack as he hit metal; heard the choking gasp driven out of himself by the impact. Then Vaughan’s forearm was across his throat, pinning him, cutting off his air. Already winded, Leon fought to breathe: tried again to reach up and pull the man’s hands away. Vaughan leaned into him, pressing harder, and Leon felt the strength leaving his arms.
Then Vaughan froze, as a gun barrel rested on the side of his head. Kaylee’s voice said unsteadily, “Let him go.” Vaughan’s eyes narrowed - and the gun muzzle pressed hard into his temple. “Let him go: or I swear I’ll blow your ugly face clear across this cargo bay.”
Slowly Vaughan lowered his hands, keeping still as Kaylee held the gun against his head. As Leon was released, he caught a breath with a sobbing gasp. Putting a hand to his throat, he breathed deep; his head lifted and he stared at Kaylee, then at Vaughan. His mouth tightened… Then he kicked out low and very hard, striking the big man squarely in the groin.
Vaughan went down with a muffled sound, the colour wiping from his face. Kaylee backed away slightly, still keeping the gun trained on him, but Vaughan was beyond caring as he curled up on the floor with his hands between his legs. Leon shook his head to try to clear it, one hand resting on the container, and looked at Kaylee. “Rope… Y’got any rope on board?” She looked at him, then held up her own tied wrists. The gun in her hands was shaking, just a little. Carefully, Leon took it from her; then he began to free her from the knotted cord.
With Vaughan incapacitated it was no trouble to tie his hands securely behind his back. After he had stopped moaning they were able to prod him to his feet and take him to an empty passenger cabin, where Leon tied his feet as well before locking him in. Then they made their way back up to the aft passage, where the still slumbering Felix lay. He was too heavy to move far, but between them they managed to drag him as far as the galley and tie him up securely. When they had done this Kaylee straightened up, her eyes frowning. “Guess that’ll hold him. How long you reckon he’ll be out?”
“Don’t have a clue.” Leon picked up the empty hypo from the floor where he had dropped it. “Gave him all of this.”
“Gee…” Kaylee smiled wryly. “Well, maybe we won’t have to worry about him for a good long while.” Then she grew serious again, turning to look worriedly towards the bridge. “Which don’t mean we ain’t got lots of other stuff to worry about.”
“Like what?” Leon set the upturned chair back on its legs.
“Like we’re headed for some junk-breakers who most likely won’t be too friendly when they realise it ain’t their friend Vaughan flyin’ towards them.” Kaylee began to walk swiftly towards the bridge. “Guay…”
Leon hurried after her, limping slightly on his injured leg. He stepped into the cockpit just behind Kaylee. The young engineer sat in the pilot’s chair and stared at the controls. “I ain’t never done more than just play with this… Zoë and the cap’n did all the flyin’ after we lost Wash.”
“Move over.” Leon nodded at the co-pilot’s chair. Kaylee looked up at him, frowning. “C’mon, let me sit down. I need to before I fall down, anyhow.” She got up and shifted seats, watching as he settled into the pilot’s chair. “But you can’t… Can you?”
“Zoë showed me.” Leon reached out for the controls.
“A few times!” Kaylee’s voice rose in alarm. “And you ain’t never flown Serenity in atmo! How’re we gonna land?”
“Better than with no-one flying her.” Leon checked coordinates, then cancelled the course heading Felix had set in. “We’re only a couple of hours out from where we started from. Should be able to get back without too much trouble.”
“And land in one piece?” Kaylee sounded nervous. Leon turned his head and gave her a sidelong grin. “Well, if we don’t, I promise I’ll tell the captain it was my fault.”
In spite of herself Kaylee grinned. Then she began to laugh. In the aftermath of the fear and tension of the past few hours, the release was catching: Leon began to laugh too. Then he winced and his shoulders lifted. “Oww.”
“You okay?” Kaylee stopped laughing at once. “He really pounded you.”
“Uh, yeah…” Leon rubbed one hand lightly across his side. “It feels like I’ll be hurting pretty bad tomorrow… but I’ll live. Thanks to you.” He looked at her. “You saved the day.”
“Heck, all I did was point a gun at him. You did the hard part, jumpin’ out onto him. Near about gave me heart failure,” she said.
“Did I hurt you?”
“No.” Kaylee smiled at him. “You saved me, is what you did. Me, and Serenity.” She leaned back in her chair. “You’re really something… Takin’ out that big guy, then jumpin’ Vaughan… And them both armed!” She glanced at his leg. “Speakin’ of which – the other guy get you?”
“Yeah.” Leon looked down at the bloody patch on his trousers for a moment, frowning. “I got lucky, I guess… He just winged me.”
“Right.” Kaylee stood up. “Then I’ll go fetch a med kit, get us both cleaned up some. You okay on your own up here for a few minutes?”
“No problem. I got it,” replied Leon, punching a control. “Setting course now.”
“And when we get there, you really think you can get Serenity down okay?”
“I think so.” He tried to sound confident. Kaylee started to leave, then paused, regarding him for a moment. “Leon?” He looked up at her. “Just how hard did Vaughan hit your head?”
Leon grinned. “Not so hard I don’t still remember how to fly a ship.” He gestured at the door. “Go on. I promise not to crash into anything without warning you first.”
“Well, that’s real reassuring…” Kaylee turned away and headed out of the cockpit.
Left behind in the suddenly quiet space, Leon faced the viewscreen and looked out into the starry universe. He let out a long, unsteady breath, his shoulders dropping: resting his elbows on the console, he held his face in his hands for a moment. After a sigh he slowly straightened up and felt gingerly at the back of his head. His eyes flinched and he dropped his hand, hissing softly. Kao. Carefully he shifted in the pilot’s chair and reached out to adjust a control, wincing at the soreness in his ribs. That liou mahng really got me.
Kaylee was soon back, carrying a med kit and, surprisingly, the bottle of whisky that Felix had found in the galley. She set it on the console as she sat in the pilot’s chair: Leon looked at it, then quizzically at her. She shrugged, smiling wryly. “Figure the least we earned is a drink.” She lifted the bottle. “Some of it got spilled, but there’s enough left to take the edge off.”
“Off what?” asked Leon, watching her take a swig. Kaylee lowered the bottle, wiped her lips and coughed. “This.” She gestured generally. “Those guys takin’ Serenity. And us.” Her fingertips lifted to her cheek, barely touched the dark bruising there. “And this.”
“He hurt you.” Leon spoke slowly. “While I was hiding out.”
“Yeah. But if you hadn’t hidden out, he’d have hurt you too. Hurt us both worse ’n we are now.” She passed him the bottle, her eyes suddenly serious on him. “I was scared plenty with them… But what scared me the most was when I thought he’d find you.”
Leon took a sip, then winced hard as the fiery alcohol stung a cut inside his mouth. “Yoww…” He swallowed, shaking his head. “Don’t know if hiding out was the best way… But I couldn’t think what else to do.” He passed the bottle back to her.
“What else could you have done? They was both armed.”
For a moment the two of them were quiet, thinking of the two men now lying bound and harmless on the ship. Kaylee was the first to break the silence. “What… do you think they did to Mal?” Her eyes were dark. Leon looked at her soberly, seeing the fear in her face. “Don’t see how they could’ve got on board unless they… did something to him first.”
“We’d have heard a gunshot,” Leon answered uncertainly, trying to be reassuring. Kaylee swallowed. “No we wouldn’t. Not outside.” She clutched the bottle on her knees, her knuckles whitening. “If they hurt him bad – If they shot him - ” She swallowed. “The others wouldn’t have got back from town for a good while. Long enough for him to - ” She broke off.
Leon looked at her pale, drawn face; the fear in her eyes. He took a deep breath. “Don’t face up to the worst. Not till you know it’s happened.” Kaylee raised her gaze to him. “I don’t know your captain very well. But I get the feeling he’s too tough for a couple of dirt-scammers like that to take down permanently.”
Kaylee held his gaze for a long moment; then she slowly nodded. “Hope so.” She let her eyes roam around the cockpit. “But I’d feel a whole lot better if I could just know for sure he’ll be standing there when we touch down, ready to bawl us out.” She sighed.
“It won’t take long to get back,” Leon comforted. “And I can get us down dirtside, I’m sure. It’ll be okay, Kaylee.” She looked at him doubtfully. “Fahng-sheen.” He tried what he hoped was a confident grin. It must have convinced her, because she seemed to push her worries out of sight for the time being. Carefully she set the whisky bottle down, then reached for the med kit. “Well… We’ve had the anaesthetic.” She took a medicated wipe out of its packet. “Now it’s time to operate.”
* * * * *
Inara stood in the meagre shade afforded by a dilapidated hangar and tried to think positive thoughts. Beside her Simon leaned with his arms folded, head down, body radiating barely controlled tension. River sat on the dusty ground with her arms wrapped around her knees, eyes trained on the sky.
There was a movement in the hangar doorway: Mal emerged with Zoë and Jayne just behind him. Inara and Simon immediately turned to face him as he walked up, their faces expectant. As Mal stopped in front of them, Simon demanded, “Well?”
“We got us a deal.” Mal spoke shortly. “Fella’s got a medium-range transport he’ll hire us short-term for what we’ve offered.”
“Then we can go!” exclaimed Simon. Mal gave a brief shake of his head.
“First we got to raise some more cash, sell the mule. And we need to find Vaughan’s nearest and dearest, talk them into giving us a notion on where he might be headin’. Me and Zoë and Jayne’ll handle that. Soon as we got a direction, then we’ll burn atmo.” Simon caught his breath with frustration, but could not argue the logic of Mal’s words.
Inara looked at Mal. His face was drawn and pale, showing the effects of the beating he’d taken. “Are you all right?” she asked softly, knowing he was unlikely to give her a truthful answer.
“Had better days,” he replied, his eyes meeting hers for a moment before turning away.
Zoë spoke up. “We get moving, we can roust Vaughan’s nest and be after them in an hour, maybe.”
“Yeah.” Mal drew himself up a little, trying to shake the weariness from his shoulders. “We should - ”
“They’re coming back.” River’s voice interrupted them all. She was still sitting on the ground, her face turned up to the sky, with her eyes closed. For a moment they watched her, then she opened her eyes and blinked at the sky. “They’re nearly here.”
Mal’s brows drew together in a frown. “Don’t be startin’ one of your notions, River - ”
“They are.” River gave him a sidelong look.
“How could they be?” asked Inara.
River shrugged. “They’ll come back to where they started from.” She stood up and started walking towards the mule. For a long moment the crew stood baffled beside the hangar. Then Simon started after his sister. “River - ” He caught hold of her arm and she stopped, turned to look at him. “River – are you sure about this?” Simon spoke quietly, but the strain showed in his voice. “We musn’t lose any time…”
River smiled at him suddenly. “Trust me.” She took hold of his hand and led him to the mule. Behind them, the rest of the crew watched in indecision.
“Wuh de mah…” Mal was frowning at brother and sister. Beside him Zoë was also watching the pair under doubtful brows. “You figure she’s right?”
“Damned if I know what to think,” said Mal.
“Gou hwong-tong…” Jayne shook his head impatiently. “We gonna go roust Vaughan’s boys or not?”
“River’s been right before,” said Inara.
“Yeah, sure - and sometimes she ain’t even been within spittin’ distance of reality,” Jayne snorted. “C’mon, Mal – we lose any more time, we might as well kiss Serenity goodbye for good!”
Mal narrowed his eyes. “Hell with it.” He started to walk towards the mule. “Let’s go see if our luck’s changed.” Zoë fell into step beside him.
“You sure about this, sir?”
“Nope. But I stopped bein’ sure of things some considerable time ago.” He fixed his eyes on River, who had turned in the mule to watch his decision. “You better be right about this, little albatross.”
“Simon believes me,” said River.
“That’s real reassuring.” Mal climbed into the mule. “Let’s get moving.”
Although Zoë drove fast the journey back out into open country took some time, and no-one made small talk. Tension mounted in the crew as they neared the crest of the ridge that Serenity had landed behind. As they gained the top height and the landscape fell away in front of them, six pairs of eyes fastened on the view ahead.
Which was largely defined by its complete lack of ship.
Zoë slowed the mule and brought it to a halt. Jayne was already cursing in the back seat. “Hwai luh! Goddamnit, Mal - I told ya this was a crazy idea!”
Mal said nothing, his eyes dark as they took in the empty landscape below them. His mouth tightened – then he turned to look at River. She met his gaze squarely; blinked; then slowly lifted her head and raised her eyes to the sky.
Suddenly a shadow passed over them: the sky darkened and the bulk of Serenity flew overhead. Transfixed they all gazed up at it, their eyes following the ship’s descending trajectory as it headed towards the open country beyond the ridge, coming down for a landing.
“Wuh duh ma huh ta duh fung-kwong duh wai-shung doh…” Mal stared at Serenity as the ship began to descend. Zoë let out a short breath beside him. She and Mal exchanged glances – then she put the mule into gear and began driving down the ridge.
Zoë parked the mule a short distance from Serenity; the vehicle was still slowing to a halt when Simon leapt out and sprinted across the open ground. Mal, Zoë, Inara and River followed a few yards behind, whilst a protesting Jayne brought up the rear. “Hell, we don’t wanna just go runnin’ up to it! What if they’re plannin’ an ambush?”
Serenity settled slowly onto the ground, clouds of dust swirling up as her propulsion engines cushioned her landing. Then the engines throttled back and began to power down. As Simon and the others drew closer the dust began to drift away, leaving only the sound of cooling metal. Simon stumbled to a halt beside the ship, gazing up at it; Mal and Zoë arrived beside him only a few seconds later. After a short pause the cargo bay door clunked, then began to open, the access ramp starting to lower to the ground. Mal’s hand moved to his gun, his brows drawing down: Zoë edged to one side, her own eyes fixed on the widening gap.
The ramp rumbled to a stop with its lower edge touching the ground, then a figure stepped out of the shadows of the cargo bay into the bright sunlight, holding up one hand to shield their eyes. “Hey… Can’t see a thing.” Kaylee squinted into the sun and took another few steps forward. “Gee, it’s bright out here.”
Simon let out a sound that was somewhere between a gasp of relief and a laugh, then rushed forwards and gathered her into his arms. For a moment they were locked in a tight embrace, then Kaylee drew back with a grin on her face. “Now that was a pretty good welcome.” She looked into his eyes and laughed, but the shake in her laugh told Simon something of what she’d been through. His eyes fixed on the swelling bruise on her cheek, and he put out gentle fingers to it. “Bao bei…” He swallowed. “Are you okay?”
“Nothin’ that won’t mend,” she told him. Then let herself be held tight in his arms and rocked for a while.
Inara, River and Jayne had caught up by now and were standing with Zoë and Mal. They were all smiling with relief. Mal was the first to move, stepping forward to lay a hand on Kaylee’s shoulder. “You all right, little Kaylee?” She turned from Simon to look at him, her eyes widening.
“Mal?” She let out a gasp, then threw her arms around him. “They didn’t shoot you! You’re okay!”
“Yeah – I’m fine - ” Mal managed to get out in a reasonably comforting tone, whilst suppressing the urge to yell at the stabbing pains her hug was sending through his ribs. Gently he unfastened her grip and held her away a little, smiling at the sight of her. “All the better for seein’ you back safe and sound.”
Kaylee smiled up at him. “And Serenity. They didn’t hurt her.”
“That’s almost as good news as seein’ you, sweetheart,” Mal affirmed.
“Where’s Vaughan at?” asked Zoë, glancing up the ramp. Kaylee looked at her.
“He’s tied up good, in one of the spare cabins. And that no-neck goon of his is laid out up in the galley.”
“Laid out?” Jayne sounded incredulous. “By you?”
“No – it was Leon.” Kaylee turned back to Mal. “He really did good, cap’n! Took one of them out, then when Vaughan was draggin’ me along with a gun to my head - ” She didn’t see Simon wince behind her “ – he jumped out and landed on him, knocked the guy flat! Then we were able to put him out of action, between the two of us.” She grinned proudly.
Mal and Zoë exchanged glances, then Mal said, “And just what was Vaughan planning to do, anyhow?”
“Oh, he was takin’ Serenity to some breaker called MacDonald. But we were only a little ways there when we got the drop on ‘em… Then Leon turned us around and headed on back her.”
“Wait a minute.” Mal fixed on her words. “Leon flew Serenity back?”
“And landed us.” Kaylee was grinning again. “I wasn’t too sure ‘f he could do it, but he brought her into atmo real sweet, and set her down like he’d done it a million times before. Reckon he was pretty nervous, but didn’t hurt his flyin’ any.”
Mal felt someone’s gaze on him, and turned his head to see Zoë’s eyes resting on his. He met her look for a moment, silently acknowledging her judgement, then turned back to Kaylee. “Where’s Leon at now?” She gestured upwards at the nose of the ship.
“He’s on the bridge, powering down.” Mal nodded. He started to walk up the ramp.
“Zoë, Jayne, have Kaylee show you where Vaughan and his muscle are, and get them down into the cargo bay. Everyone else, get on board. We’ll be leavin’ soon.” He headed towards the cargo bay stairs.
Saturday, May 31, 2008 2:30 PM
Sunday, June 1, 2008 8:28 AM
Monday, June 9, 2008 4:41 AM
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