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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Zoe regains some ground, and Mal wakes up.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 966 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
River scrubbed her hands over her eyes irritably. “Minimal chance of success for unacceptable risk level,” she said finally.
“You got a better suggestion?” Jayne asked.
River reached into her pocket, pulling out the cylinder she’d lifted from the BlueSun woman. “Can find out how this works, and use it to our advantage,” she said.
“And how do we do that?” Jayne asked.
“My father knows people, scientists who might be willing to help.” She turned toward the shuttle controls. “Buckle in, we’re going back to the cabin.”
Jayne, seeing no other reasonable course of action, did just that.
Zoe stood up slowly, testing the strength of her legs in the early morning light coming through the small window of the hospital room. Pleased with the lack of nausea, she walked around the perimeter of the room. Her stomach rumbled and, for a moment, she was startled. It had been days since she had even vaguely felt like eating food at all, and now she was suddenly ravenous.
After watching Jim sleep for a several minutes, she quietly opened the door and moved into the corridor. The nurse’s station was empty as she began her walk. Each step increased her confidence. She felt energized, suddenly alive again after days of feeling little more than almost dead. Turning the corner, she ran into the nurse.
“Mrs. Bowden,” the nurse said cheerfully. “I see you’re feeling better.”
“Might live through the day, at that,” Zoe said, a slight smile tugging at her lips.
The nurse nodded. “The first week of treatment is always the worst,” she said. “It takes time for your body to assimilate the medication. From now on, you should feel a bit better each day until the course of treatment is completed.” She looked at her patient carefully. “Is there anything I can get for you, now that you’re up and about?”
“Breakfast would be good,” Zoe admitted.
“I’ll call the doctor immediately,” the nurse said. “He left no order for food until we were sure your nausea was under control, but if you’re hungry, that’s a very good sign.”
Zoe nodded, the talk of food setting her stomach rumbling again. “Think maybe today I can walk with Jim when he does his rounds,” she said.
The nurse’s smile widened. “I’m sure Mr. Bowden will be so pleased with that. Often, patients with his type of injury do best when their families are an active part of the therapeutic experience.”
“I’ll be there,” Zoe said, a warm flush rising as she thought about the nurse referring to her as a member of Jim’s family. Even now, the idea of actually being his wife was a sort of novelty to her, a vast emotional terrain she’d not yet had the strength to explore fully.
The thought of family immediately triggered thoughts of Mal and the others on Serenity’s crew. Thinking that her newfound strength might be needed sooner rather than later, she walked back toward her room with a determined step.
Simon stood beside the pilot’s chair, thinking it a strange course of events that had left him to be the decision-maker aboard Serenity. Medical decisions were easy, he mused privately, compared to the decisions he had faced since River’s departure in search of the Captain. The thought gave him yet another in an increasingly long list of reasons for respecting his brother-in-law.
As if reading his thoughts, Inara asked quietly, “What do you think they’re doing to him?”
Not needing an explanation as to whom she was referring, Simon sighed, stretching the muscles of his back tiredly. “I don’t know, but it can’t be good,” he said truthfully. “Their track record is less than encouraging where this crew is concerned.”
Inara nodded, swallowing nervously. “Where are we going?” she asked quietly.
Simon looked out into the Black, as if the answer might magically appear if he just concentrated hard enough. But, as always, the sight of the vast expanse of space out the transparency gave him a vague feeling of unease. “We need to contact River. Warn her about what happened at the cabin.”
“They were after Adam, weren’t they?” Inara asked, deep worry pooling in her eyes.
“That is what I believe,” Simon said. “I assume they must have been listening in somehow. They must have heard what Adam saw.” He shook his head. “Or, assuming the best case scenario, they were simply hoping to apprehend my sister.”
“That hardly sounds like a ‘best case scenario’,” Inara said.
“True, but it’s what we have to work with,” Simon replied.
River’s fingers moved rapidly over the console of the shuttle. “There’s a wave,” she said, rousing Jayne from his short nap. “From Serenity.”
Jayne sat up, instantly alert. “Means they had to run,” he said.
River nodded, waiting for the image to coalesce on the screen. Simon’s face came into view, drawn tight with tension. “River,” Simon said as soon as he saw his sister. “They came to the cabin. Two of them. We had to leave.”
River nodded, her pulse beating wildly at her throat. “Felt Adam’s fear,” she said. “He…he’s okay now, right?”
“Everyone’s safe, for now,” Simon reassured her. “But we can’t go back to the cabin. Any word on Mal?”
“None,” River said tightly. “We had trouble with three of them. But no sign of Mal. We were headed to the cabin to get Father.”
Simon frowned. “For what?”
“We were able to get one of their weapons, and we need to see if it can be modified in some way to make it easier for us to tap into the BlueSun system. Father has friends, scientists who might be able to help us. Where are you now?”
Simon glanced at Inara, who gave River the coordinates for Serenity’s location.
River nodded, keying in the coordinates as she spoke. “We can rendezvous within the hour.”
Giving Inara instructions about how to accomplish docking procedures from the pilot’s chair rather than the shuttle itself, River adjusted her course, heading with all haste to reach Serenity as soon as possible.
Adam lay on his back, staring up at the bulkhead above his bed. Serenity felt strange, alien without the warmth of his parents in its walls and corridors. He knew Mama was coming, could feel her steady resolve as she closed the distance between them. But she was not bringing Daddy home with her. Adam closed his eyes, reaching out tentatively to touch Mal’s mind, unaccustomed to this stretching. He felt it, the barest hint of his father in the foreign landscape of Mal’s dreams. The images meant little to the young boy, full of dark shadows and piercing light, causing him to flinch away instinctively. But his mind returned, again and again, to connect with his father under the cottony layers of Mal’s subconscious. And he comforted himself with the knowledge that his father was alive, that somewhere beyond the places his mother and Jayne had gone, his father’s heart was still beating steady and strong beneath the dreamscape through which he walked alone.
Jim walked along the long hospital corridor without having to concentrate an inordinate amount on the motion he achieved with every step. Zoe walked beside him, not touching him, afraid to upset the delicate balance that allowed him to move unaided. The neurotherapist, eager now to share with her the progress Jim had really made in the past few days, explained that for each step Jim took, he was re-training his brain to achieve the desired results by rote.
And Zoe had to admit that Jim was much steadier on his feet than she could have imagined at first. The combination of intense physical therapy, which she had largely missed due to her own course of treatment, and the medications available to stimulate synapse production had worked a minor miracle on her husband, giving him back his mobility, albeit somewhat more precarious than it had been before the injury.
“Depth perception is key,” the therapist was saying as she turned her attention back to his words. “Once that is achieved, everything else pertaining to motion should fall into place like dominoes.”
“D..don’t s…s…say fall,” Jim said, smiling crookedly.
Zoe smiled, the evidence of Jim’s sense of humor warming her to the core. “And the speech?” she asked.
“Should continue to improve as well. The more he talks, the more quickly the right connections will be made in his brain. It’s really quite astounding, the trauma that the human brain can endure. Amazing how it can compensate for areas of damage,” the therapist said. “And with new advances in the field of neurotherapy, there is a real possibility that Mr. Bowden here will be fully functional, given enough time and hard work.”
Jim winced at the mention of time. “H..how long?” he asked.
“That’s really up to you, Mr. Bowden,” the therapist said. “We can facilitate your recovery, but it is really dependent on what you put in to the process.”
Jim scowled, the pressure to get back up to speed building as he thought of Mal, lost somewhere in the hands of BlueSun. He could feel the tension in Zoe like a current of electricity. And now that she was recovering some of her own strength, he knew it would be no time at all before she was compelled to join the search for the Captain. And Jim had no intention of being left behind. Wondering vaguely if he could even remember how to aim a gun, he sighed.
“Are you getting tired, Mr. Bowden?” the therapist asked solicitously. “Because you’ve already surpassed yesterday’s distance by quite a bit.”
“N..n..not tired,” he ground out, determined to strengthen himself as quickly as possible. “M…more.”
The therapist looked at him doubtfully for a moment, but then nodded his approval.
Mal awoke with a start. His eyes sprang open, aware for the first time in some days that he was in the white room. Monitors still blinked and beeped around him. Needles still dug into his flesh. But he was aware, in that vague, undefined way of things, that he was alone for the moment.
He slowly tested his bonds, cursing in frustration when they refused to give him any leeway. He turned his head as much as he was able, given the position of the restraints. Still, he could see nothing except the gleaming tray of instruments beside him. He wondered how long he had been in this room, but there was no way to measure the time.
He had no wish to dwell on the things that must have been done to him while he had been sedated, but he could not help the pervasive sense of dread that came with the thought. This time they had not stated their purpose, had instead simply laid him on the table like a side of beef and begun their work without so much as a hint as to their plans. Mal shivered on the cold table.
He heard a door somewhere behind him open and close and he tensed instinctively, wishing that at least one of the restraints had loosened a little. The technician came into view, looking at him curiously, as one might view a particularly interesting lab rat.
“What do you people want?” Mal asked, his voice raspy from lack of use.
The technician looked vaguely surprised, as if it had never occurred to him that his specimen might speak. However, he knew better than to answer such a question and he busied himself with checking the monitors.
Mal swallowed with difficulty, his mouth dry as sawdust. “Where am I?”
“Nowhere of consequence, Captain,” a disembodied voice answered through an intercom system.
“Think I’d like to make that determination on my own, if it’s all the same to you,” Mal replied.
“Don’t concern yourself with such matters, Captain Reynolds,” the voice continued evenly. “You will be returned to your previous location soon enough. Our work is almost complete.”
“And what work is that exactly?” Mal asked, fighting the cold panic that was beginning to take hold of him with the other man’s words.
There was only silence in answer.
To be continued
Thursday, July 10, 2008 11:29 AM
Thursday, July 10, 2008 1:33 PM
Thursday, July 10, 2008 1:34 PM
Thursday, July 10, 2008 3:02 PM
Thursday, July 10, 2008 9:29 PM
Friday, July 11, 2008 2:25 AM
Saturday, July 12, 2008 12:02 AM
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