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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Mal gets dropped in the dismal Erebos Bounty Slam and rescued in the nick of time from an unknown quarter.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 777 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
His cell was barely a cell, was the first thing that Mal discovered when he woke up. Half of a wall was missing, allowing him to climb out of the cell and into the main area of the Slam. His head throbbed where Valinski had hit it, but he’d had worse and it was gonna be worth it when he clapped eyes on Dash. On blonde hair and fine bones. On violet eyes. He hadn’t realised how much he’d missed her since the war ended. Since she flew out Hera, away from Serenity Valley, where the brass had ordered her and her Squadron onto some conflict they considered less than doomed. That last night they’d had together, Mal on rotation off the front line, in a field camp a few miles down the Valley, before the conflict had really gotten ugly. Like usual she’d brought something in extra with the Supply Ships she ran escort duty on. This time, that last time, she’d brought them all something special and half of Mal’s Platoon, the Lieutenant included, had been drunk on the finest bourbon, liberated from some country Baron’s mansion on a Central Planet raid. It had been a night of ceasefire, so the guns on both sides had been quiet, for the last time until the end of The Battle of Serenity Valley. Mal and Dash had sat alone on a rise above the camp, watching the fun, together throughout the night.
As Mal smiled fondly at the memory, his revere was interrupted by the sound of footsteps coming from outside the cell. He flattened himself against the wall as their voices came into hearing, not to sure he wanted to be encountering any of his fellow prisoners right at that minute.
“And I’m sure I saw Valinski and the other guards dump a new fish down here, Rus!” the first voice was young, but with an edge of hardness to it.
“Yeah, I ain’t saying you’re wrong, but it could be anyone. Lets just wait it out. ‘Sides I don’t like hanging around here to much. This is Harris’s territory. Lets just find JJ and head over to Norys’s with the gear, before his thugs show up.”
There was assent from the first voice and their footsteps faded away again.
Mal stood up and climbed out of the cell, ready to have a look around. The Slam had been daunting from the outside, but from in here it was a hair short of terrifying. It appeared that the fortress above them was really just the roof of what was, in effect a giant hole in the ground, filled with walkways, caverns, walls built out of broken rock and mortar. It was a deep, dark maze, light from below with the fires of the earth, light from above with the flickering lights of the guard towers. Mal quickly began forming opinions about the place. Probably if the guards had a prisoner to sell to a client, the Alliance or otherwise, a party of guards would be sent down, armed with high-tech weaponry and hunted out a prisoner. Or offered favours to the rest of the inmates for catching the wanted one themselves. From what Mal had seen of Warden Iverson he probably offered the man-hunting as an entertainment for those who enjoyed that sort of sport. Food and water and other supplies were probably deposited in various area’s for the prisoners themselves to collect and divvy up amongst themselves; Mal couldn’t see the guards making regular trips down to ensure their erstwhile charges were all getting their fair share.
Brushing himself down, he stooped to pick up a rock, one small enough to fit in the palm of the hand, unseen, yet it would give him one blow that any attacker would not be suspecting. Then he set off, sticking to the shadows, in search of Fast Dash and Jeremiah Frye.
It wasn’t long before he came across his first grouping of prisoners, a good dozen of rough looking men and women, swaggering their way through one of the wider tunnels. He’d seen plenty of inmates before that, but they had been in frightened ones and two’s, huddled in corners, away from the light. Broken pieces of humanity, that fled when he tried to get a word out of them. This was a gang, if Mal had ever seen one. And gangs, from his experience, liked nothing better than to spoil some poor souls day. With no intention of being that poor soul Mal looked around for a place to hide. He slipped down behind a pile of fallen rocks, waiting for them to pass. It would have worked had not one of the gang stopped to scratch at something near his ankle. With a holla he shouted out and the rest of the gang stopped. Mal stood up, arms outstretched and grinned his most charmingly disarming grin.
“Hey there. It wouldn’t be to much trouble for you folks to point me in the direction of the nearest fine dining eatery, now would it?”
There was a round of laughter, but it wasn’t the type of laughter Mal was comfortable with. It was the kind of laughter who knows they have the other hand, so everything is funny. Everything. One of the gang stepped forward, a broad shouldered man, who would have given Jayne a run for his money in a tussle. He had a shock of tousled blonde hair atop his head and a thin pale beard, blue eyes that accented his thin nose. He was the type that had the ladies swooning in most places. But this was the Erebos Slam and here he was just a bruiser.
“Hey there, new fish,” said the man slowly, “That’s a remarkably cheerful attitude you got for someone whose just been dropped into a Slam. ‘specially a pit of hell like this one. Maybe you need me to teach you the proper manner of acting.”
The gang around the man laughed, even though no joke had been made. Mal felt the situation becoming decidedly more and more dire as the seconds ticked by. But there was nothing like giving it one more shot. Then it might be time to clear out.
“No need for that, friend. I’m Malcolm Reynolds. And who do I have the good fortune to be addressing?”
“The name’s Marvin Harris. But I ain’t yore friend. And I don’t like it when people presume.” Harris gestured and weapons bristled from among his gang, shivs and brass knuckles, even the odd club.
Mal gaped. This had gotten rather more sour rather more quickly than he had expected. He chanced a glance to the exit of this tunnel. He could probably make that if he was lucky. Then maybe they would stop chasing him.
“Hey, hey, now fellas! There’s no need for that sort of thing, now is there?” He put his hands in his pockets, feeling the rock that was his only weapon, the weight of it small comfort.
“There certainly isn’t,” came a deep voice from behind him. Mal didn’t chance a glance round, but several of Harris’s gang took steps back.
Harris himself, though, flipped out a shiv, a long jagged piece of metal, still encrusted with dried blood, “Back it up, Taylor. This ain’t none of yore business.”
“Yeah?” said the voice, “I’m making it my business.”
Harris gestured and four of his gang leapt forward. Mal ducked under the blow of the first one, but the mans shoulder caught him a glancing blow to the head and Mal fell, managing to crack another attacker in the knee with his rock. Behind him two figures tussled with the three Harris boys, but it didn’t last long. The biggest of the two figures, the deep voiced, one threw his assailants away like paper dolls, slamming them into the walls of the tunnel. The rest of Harris’s gang had stopped, fear holding them back. A hand grasped Mal by the collar, the deep voiced man, huge and dark, who lent close and whispered, “Lets get you out of here, pal.”
He began to drag Mal away while Harris’s voice echoed down the tunnel after them, “You just wait Taylor! I’ll catch up with you soon! And your little blonde friend to!”
Monday, July 14, 2008 11:45 AM
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