Capacity Chapter 13
Thursday, August 21, 2008

Plot moves forward. People from the past poke there heads in. Serenity is quiet and mournful.


Capacity Chapter 13


Rated PG

Archive? Yes, ask first.

Summary: Quiet time before the storm.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything or anyone from the Whedon-verse. Just the originals. So, please don't sue.


It was quiet onboard Serenity.

Harken and 3 of his men were camped out in the hold, staying out of the crew's way.

Everyone else was in their own space, contemplating, or trying not to.

Kaylee stayed in the engine room, eschewing even Simon's company.

She let River in, though. Not that there was much choice in that. The girl just appeared, with out a word. She laid a hand on Kaylee's face and set herself down in the midst of the room.

Kaylee laid in her hammock,eyes open, glazed over. River stretched out on the floor next to the engine, feeling Serenity's heartbeat calm her own.

Zoe joined Wash on the bridge, curled on his lap, arms wrapped around each other. Occasionally Zoe would whisper something and her breath would hitch. Wash's hands would go to her hair, fingers entwined therein, whispering back. Then a hand to her abdomen, feeling the small swell. Her hand joined his, making slow circles, murmuring to their unborn child.

Simon, once he had Xiaofan settled, and realized Kaylee needed 'alone time', set himself to reorganizing the infirmary. He tried to lose himself in the task; cataloging items, making lists for supplies, trying to make the small room more orderly and efficient. He tried not to think about his friend and her delirium tremens not far away. He could sedate her, but it would just put more drugs in her system, defeating the purpose of the pain and the sickness she was currently going through. Simon tried not to think.

Mal sat on his bunk, trying to remember the faces of the men from Barton's camp. He tried to soothe his conscience with the fact that they had drawn first. That was then negated by the fact that it was exactly what he would have done. Inside Mal was grief that caught in his throat and clutched his heart, though his face was a pale mask.

Ruby sat outside Mal's bunk, knees pulled up to her chest. She'd paced her room, small though it was, and needed more space. Eventually she exhausted herself and settled by Mal's door, still unsure what to do. Her heart said to enfold him in her arms, but she could feel his rage and distress as it were a physical thing around him, closing him off from her.

So, she sat there and waited a while longer. Maybe she could reach him before they got to Markham.

Jayne was standing in Xiaofan's doorway, watching her struggle in her half sleep- half exhausted stupor. A few times, he had to put hands to her to keep her from throwing herself off the bed or pulling out her IV.

The only sustenance she was getting was the fluids going in her arm. He could hear her mumble and cry, call out. It pulled at him, his stomach clenched every time her back arched off the bed, her hands clawed at her skin and at the air.

The one time he left was to grab food and put a few of his smaller hand guns in a crate. He took them both into Xiaofan's room and set up on a table. Food gone, he started cleaning his guns, smallest to largest, pausing to put a hand on Xiaofan when she called out.

Jayne didn't count the time, he continued to clean his guns, slowly and methodically, and kept the watch.


"You are certain that the Badger is out of the equation?"

ZhangZi looked at his view screen, nodding.

"Yes, sir. I'm sure."

"And Lo Xiaofan Niu… You are sure she is no longer among the living."

ZhangZi didn't pause.

"I scanned the samples myself. It was her DNA. She is dead."

"But this Reynolds and his affiliates… I don't enjoy the thought of them involving themselves in this affair."

"Easily remedied, sir."

There was a harsh bark of laughter.

"They sent Jubal Early after that ship and he never returned! What makes you think you can do any better?"

ZhangZi smiled.

"I make no claims of superiority, sir. You are aware, though, of my diligence and tenacity. And I am still here, accounted for."

"Indeed, Hong, indeed. Carry out this mission, remove Reynolds from the playing field, and you will be rewarded richly."

ZhangZi nodded to his view screen.

"As you say, sir," he replied and switched off.

Xiaofan's brother settled back in his chair. He would need all his cunning, everything he knew about his sister to locate her. Through her was the way to Reynolds…


"What in all the alliterative hells are you going on about?" Cook yelled at the young maid standing before her.

"Mistress Serra… She's… just gone."

The older woman's face burned red hot.

"What are you doing here? Get to the House Mistress!"

The girl turned slowly to go.


The young woman broke into a run. She wound up stairs and down a long corridor until she was outside Mistress Sheydra's rooms.

She took a deep breath, calming herself, and knocked politely on her door.

"You may enter."

The girl slipped through the door.

"My lady…"

Sheydra turned to face her, noting the look of panic.

"What could have happened at this early hour to cause such a face?" she asked, attempting the soothe the girl.

"Lady…" The girl took a deep breath. "Mistress Serra is gone."

Sheydra paused, taken aback. She resumed her usual look of calm quickly, the mask barely fallen.

"I am aware, Dalia, that Inara has taken a leave."

"But her things… Nothing is gone, except her."

"Do you require a more definitive explanation?" Sheydra asked coldly.

The young maid cast her eyes down.

"My apologies, Lady."

"Inform the staff. Mistress Serra will be gone indefinitely."

"Yes, Lady."

"You may go."

The maid left the room as quickly as was politely possible.

Cook was not going to believe this!


The second the silly maid was gone, Sheydra ran to her comms.

"Delphine," she said quietly but urgently, "Inara has disappeared."

Lights reflected off of Sheydra's face as a woman responded.

"Is it what we feared?"

"I can't be sure," Sheydra replied.

"Will she go to him?"

"If she is not with him already."

"Is it in her possession?"

Sheydra arched an eyebrow and shrugged elegantly.

"I will personally search her apartments."

"See that you do. We are in a delicate position, Sheydra. We have much to lose."

"I am aware, Delphine," she replied abruptly.

"I meant no offense."

Sheydra's face softened.

"Of course."

"Message me when you have more information."

"I will."

Sheydra closed the communication.

After a set of deep, cleansing breaths, she left her rooms for Inara's.


In the one moment that Ruby left to see to her personal needs, Mal climbed from his bunk and headed to the bridge.

He found Wash alone, eyes closed, head back against his seat.

"Zoe in bed?" Mal asked, entering the bridge.

Wash didn't open his eyes as he rested in front of the controls.

"Just recently."

"I think you'll understand when I say this, seeing as I've known her longer than you, that I have never seen that woman break down."

Wash did open his eyes, he even turned to face Mal.

"It's always inside her. She never lets it out, but it's there. And all the hormonal changes…"

Mal shook his head and sat in the co-pilot's seat.

"How long?"

"I'm assuming you're talking about 'til we get to Markham."


"Five more hours. And I'm just wondering… What are we going to do when we get there?"

Mal stood, grim lines set on his face.

"Have to talk to Harken. It's his show once we're there."


Mal took his leave and headed back towards crew quarters. And ran into Ruby.

"So, we'll be there soon?" she asked.

"Depends on your concept of time, I suppose…"

Ruby closed the distance between them, slipping a finger in a loop of his pants, bringing him close.

"What are you about, Ruby?" he said, face softening slightly.

"I'm tired, but I can't sleep. I imagine you're in much the same boat," she answered, "But you'll need to rest a while, or else you'll be useless when your people need you."

She watched his face harden.

"I'm not criticizing you, Mal. I'm telling you I want to go to bed, but I don't want to be alone."

Mal still managed to look consternated.

Ruby sighed.

"I'm not asking you to bed me. And if I was you would know. But, I think we've been lonesome long enough. Mama said sharing burden lessened the load, which would be obvious to you if you weren't so stubborn."

"No, this definitely don't sound like seduction..." Mal smirked, corner of his mouth twitching up.

Fatigue showed on the woman's face as she looked into his eyes.

"I'm tired, Malcolm. Help me rest a while."

Mal relaxed a bit.

"Well, Ru, your bed is bigger."

Ruby smiled, tracing a finger from his ear to his chin.

"It is."


Thursday, August 21, 2008 11:02 AM


So terrific. Like the end you added and the few other bits, fleshed it out more. As for Xiaofan's bro, I hope she is able to keep him at bay.


You must log in to post comments.



Capacity Chapter 15

Capacity Chapter 14
Just about to set foot on Markham and face the bad. One way or the other.

Capacity Chapter 13
Plot moves forward. People from the past poke there heads in. Serenity is quiet and mournful.

Capacity Chapter 12
Mal and the crew find out exactly how horribly they'd been used.

Capacity Chapter 11
The crew does not find what they expected on Kerry.

Capacity Chapter 10
It’s just not a normal day on Serenity unless somebody gets shot, threatened or beat up.

Capacity Chapter 9
It’s a long story… Mal and Ruby bond some more, Xiaofan gets her new face and… then she leaves. Wash and Zoe have a chat and Jayne gets over his issues with Simon and Xiaofan.

Capacity Chapter 8
Out in the black, heading to the next destination. Ruby gets on as a passenger and Xiaofan bullies Simon into getting her a new face.

Capacity Chapter 7
Still on Abaddon Station, Xiaofan confronts her brother, Mal confronts the mystery woman.

Capacity Chapter 6
A stopover at Abaddon Station, weirdness ensues.