Prospero's Legacy - Part XXXIII
Friday, November 28, 2008

Maya. Post-BDM. Freya and the others reach the hybrids, but are they in time? NEW CHAPTER


Freya lifted a finger to her lips in the universal sign to keep quiet, and Alex nodded, watching her move silently forward to the next corner, her gun ready, slack taken out of the trigger …

“Are you trying to get yourself killed?” she asked in semi-irritation.

Dillon and Breed materialised.

“I’d really rather not,” the older man said, somewhat dryly. “And you wouldn’t have shot me.”

“Oh? Why not?”

“Because I still owe you money.”

She seemed to think for a moment. “True.”

Alex looked past them. “Where are the others?”

Dillon shrugged. “Mal, Zoe and Simon have gone looking for Gabriel. He’s taken it into his head to come down and face Quintana alone.”

His forehead tightened. “Does he need our help?”

“No. We’re to deal with the hybrids. Mal’s orders.”

“What about Jayne and River?”

“They’re just behind us.” Dillon half-turned, then took three steps back down the corridor. “They were just here. Where the hell have they gone?”

“It’s all right,” Freya said, sighing slightly. “They’re after Mara.”

An icy chill settled into the pit of his stomach. “You can feel that?”


“But you couldn’t feel it was us around the corner.”

She smiled, just a lift to the corners of her mouth. “It’s … complicated.”

“You just wanted to scare us,” Breed added. “And you did.”

“Come on,” Freya said. “No time to waste idly chatting.”

She led the way forwards, stopping them before they got to the next intersection. She held up one finger, then pointed forward, then to herself. One guard, she was saying, and she’d take care of him.

Dillon shook his head, about to whisper, talk her out of it, but she’d already gone, diving around the corner into a forward roll that meant the two bullets meant for her body went over her head instead, and then bounced lightly up onto the balls of her feet, her gun pressed into the guard’s neck.

“One more twitch and you won’t be seeing another sunrise.”

The guard’s eyes widened. No more than twenty or so, he suddenly had his entire life story flashing in front of him, and it seemed very boring, and about to come to an abrupt end. “Who … who are you?”

“Not the right question.”

“What do you want?”

She smiled and tapped her pistol lightly against his jugular. “That’s better. Turn around.” He obeyed immediately. “Now open it,” she commanded. “Or …” She let his imagination fill in the rest of the threat.

“Yes, yes. Whatever you say.” With trembling fingers he managed to type in the security code and the door hissed open.

She grunted. “Now why doesn’t that surprise me?”

“What?” Breed wanted to know, the men joining her.

“The date of surrender at Serenity Valley,” she explained, then shrugged. “Something about being an Independent. Mal uses it on the safe we’ve got.”

Alex’s lips twitched. “I think you’d better get him to change it.”

“Oh, I intend to.” She leaned again on the New Browncoat. “Thanks,” she murmured in his ear.

The man licked his lips. “Just don’t kill me.”

“Not ready to die for your cause, then?” She exhaled a single bark of laughter and hit him on the back of the head with her gun, none too gently. Her back was still hurting, and she could feel fresh blood from the stab wound making her shirt stick to her skin, pulling each time she moved, so she was in no mood to be polite.

He slid to the floor, nothing more than a sack of unconscious bones.

“Remind me not to piss you off,” Alex breathed.

“I’ll try. She walked into the room beyond. “Wuh de mah.”

“What is it?” He followed her, his feet staggering to a halt at the sight in front of him. “Merciful Buddha.”

The cavern was huge, roughly cut out from the bedrock with no time or inclination to make it look pretty.

“No wonder they needed all that equipment,” Breed said, his face white.

“Good God, how many of them are there?” Dillon breathed, aware of eyes turning on him.

Freya stared at the creatures suspended in their plastic and metal wombs, lined up and filling the space almost entirely. Most had their eyes open, glaring at her, even through the amniotic fluid, and she could feel their consciousness battering at her walls, the normal psychic madness of a Reaver enhanced by Mara Tam’s DNA. “More than we imagined.”

“A thousand? More?”

“I don’t know.”

“And they’re fully grown.”

“What did you expect? Babies?” Freya pulled her belt from her waist.

“No, I …” He stopped, realised he had expected just that, and was disgusted with himself. Of course they’d be adults – had to be, what with all the growth enhancers and cell replicators those New Browncoats had obtained. “Sorry.”

“Don’t be.” She tugged the first canister from its mount. “But we have to destroy them.”

One of them howled, the sound taken up by the others, crashing through the cavern in a liquid wave.

“Do we have enough?” Dillon was mirroring her actions, removing the canisters, his hands sweating slightly.

“Pack the regular charges against the outer wall, along from the door. That should bring enough down to block their exit, give the V59 time to burn them out.”

“How long do you want the timers set for?”

“Two minutes.”

He stared at her. “Frey, that’s not going to be long enough for us to get far enough away. Not with this amount of explosive. We could be buried too.”

She gestured up towards the display above each of the cocoons. “Look.”

His eyes followed. “Dear God …”

The numbers were ticking down, very quickly.

“It’ll barely be short enough.”

“Frey –“

“Come on.” She twisted the top on the first of her canisters, pushing the green button twice. She took a breath and depressed the red. The light on top began to glow. Placing it at the base of one of the wombs, she ran down the narrow gap between them, aware of the eyes on her through amniotic fluid.


Mal stumbled, then righted himself.

“Sir?” Zoe was at his side, her arm around him.

“It’s okay. Just … they’ve got to the hybrids.”

“That’s good.”

“Yeah.” He didn’t say anything, just looked into her eyes.

Her lips tightened.

Simon, standing behind them, felt excluded somehow, as if they were communicating on some level he had no way of understanding, but could feel as a lump of hard stone in the base of his belly.


“Done,” Dillon said, waiting by the door.

“Me too,” Breed said, having set the conventional charges against the walls.

“Time to go, then,” Freya said, glancing once more at the clock above the nearest womb. The occupant scraped hard at the plastic with hooked fingers, nails tearing so little trails of blood hung in the fluid.

They left the cavern, the door sliding closed behind them, and Dillon fired his gun directly into the lock, disabling it.

This time it was Freya who grabbed the unconscious guard, dragging him with her until Alex and Breed took him, one under each shoulder, barely slowing as they ran hard down the corridor.

Dillon could hear Freya counting down as their feet pounded along the corridor, but she’d reached zero and nothing happened. Then he realised, and all the blood ran from his face. It was the hybrids clock she was echoing, and it had just reached zero.


Three … two … one …

Maybe there should have been a clarion call from hell, or at the very least a drumroll, but instead there was a delicate beep and a click, and the amniotic fluid began to drain from the front row of artificial wombs.

The creatures inside beat their fists against the plastiglass, their entire beings consumed with the need to get out, to eat, to kill, to destroy.


“Time’s up,” Freya muttered.

Dillon half-turned, expecting to see a horde of the creatures about to overwhelm him, mouths wide, claws ready to rip his body into pieces. Then a deep rumble sped towards them, twisting the corridor, the floor rising and throwing them about as if they were dolls, deafened by noise and blinded by grit and dust as the light panels went out.


Inside the cavern, the explosion from the V59 and the regular charges had done what Freya hoped, bringing down huge chunks of rock to block the exit irrevocably. More had fallen on some of the cocoons, smashing the occupants into bloody messes.

A few managed to clamber free from their containment, ripping wet flesh on broken plastic, but most were trapped as the V59 vapourised those closest to the canisters, throwing corrosive chemicals high into the air to rain down on them.

As it hit metal it began to burn, eating through and propagating itself, like a living being, thriving and growing, spreading like the wildfire it was. Those that had already escaped tore at their own skin to try and stop it, while the rest of the hybrids boiled in their metal and plastic wombs, howling their insanity into the inferno as their flesh peeled from their bones.





“But …”

She took his hand, and he could feel her trembling.


Mal could feel the vibration through his boots, and a tiny portion of the tension that had built to almost unbearable levels inside him dissipated.

“It’s done?” Simon asked softly.

“It’s done,” Mal agreed.

“Thank God.”

“Yeah.” He touched the gold cross resting on his chest, then opened his mind. Frey? There was nothing, and the tension double, tripled, until he thought it was going to overwhelm him. Frey!


Breed rolled onto his chest, coughing so hard he was surprised not to see his lungs on the ground in front of him. Pushing himself to his hands and knees, he shook his head to try and clear the ringing in his ears. After a moment, spitting dust out of his mouth and blinking hard, he looked around. “Dillon?” he managed to call.

There was a groan and an apparition sat up, grey dust cascading from him in a cloud.

“Dillon!” Breed repeated, scuttling over to him and feeling sharp points of rock digging into his skin.

“I’m okay,” his lover assured him, wiping at his mouth. “You?”

“My hearing’s none too good, but I seem to be in one piece.”

“What about Freya and Alex?”

“I don’t know.”

They stared at each other for a heartbeat, then Dillon said, “Help me up.”

Staggering to their feet, they stared at the mass of stone filling the corridor, huge blocks that would take expert equipment to move.

Breed whispered, “You don’t think –“

“No,” Dillon said sharply. “No. They’re not under there.”

“No, of course not.” He looked around. “There must have been a fault in the rock,” he added, needing to say something rather than envisage his friend lying crushed and broken.


There was the sound of someone swearing, badly, in Chinese, and they saw Alex appear in the gloom, supporting himself on the wall as he ignored the blood running freely from a cut above his eye. “Where’s Freya?” he asked, seeing the two men standing by the rockfall. “Where’s my sister?”

to be continued


Friday, November 28, 2008 9:32 AM


You just love the cliffhangers don't you? We couldn't have a simple clean getaway, and not have to wait with baited breath to see what your fiendish imagination comes up with next. Great job with the destruction of the clones, any more and I would feel like crawling out of my own skin. Loved the visual of Mal and Zoe's silent communication - so much said in so few words - kind of like your writing technique used to describe it. Looking forward to more, and an explanation as to why it's complicated.

Friday, November 28, 2008 12:28 PM


Looks like Freya is going to suffer the brunt of the aftermath, just hope they get her out from under all the rubble in more or less one piece - and soon, before anything else bad happens to her. Great way to sort out the hybrids and like Katesfriend I love the connection between Mal and Zoe as well as between Mal and Frey. Worried though about River facing that nasty piece of work Mara. Ali D
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, November 29, 2008 7:58 AM


Always good. I love Frey. The more I read from you, the more I love the connection between her and Mal. She is definitely tough enough to be his wife. LOL!!


You must log in to post comments.



Now and Then - a Christmas story
“Then do you have a better suggestion? No, let me rephrase that. Do you have a more sensible suggestion that doesn’t involve us getting lost and freezing to death?”

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little standalone festive tale that kind of fits into where I am in the Maya timeline, but works outside too. Enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Epilogue
"I honestly don’t know if my pilot wants to go around with flowers and curlicues carved into his leg.”
[Maya. Post-BDM. The end of the story, and the beginning of the last ...]

Monied Individual - Part XX
Mal took a deep breath, allowing it out slowly through his nostrils, and now his next words were the honest truth. “Ain’t surprised. No matter how good you are, and I’m not complaining, I’ve seen enough battle wounds, had to help out at the odd amputation on occasion. And I don’t have to be a doc myself to tell his leg ain’t quite the colour it should be, even taking into account his usual pasty complexion. What you did … didn’t work, did it?”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Simon has no choice, and Luke comes around.]

Monied Individual - Part XIX
“His name’s Jayne?”

“What’s wrong with that?” the ex-mercenary demanded from the doorway.

“Nothing, nothing! I just … I don’t think I’ve ever met a man … anyone else by that name.”

“Yeah, he’s a mystery to all of us,” Mal said. “Even his wife.”

[Maya. Post-BDM. Hank's not out of the woods yet, and Mal has a conversation. Enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Part XVIII
Jayne had told him a story once, about being on the hunt for someone who owed him something or other. He’d waited for his target for three hours in four inches of slush as the temperature dropped, and had grinned when he’d admitted to Hank that he’d had to break his feet free from the ice when he’d finished.
[Maya. Post-BDM. The Fosters show their true colours, Jayne attempts a rescue, and the others may be too late.]

Snow at Christmas
She’d seen his memories of his Ma, the Christmases when he was a boy on Shadow, even a faint echo of one before his Pa died, all still there, not diminished by his burning, glowing celebrations of now with Freya.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A seasonal one-off - enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Part XVII
Jayne hadn’t waited, but planted a foot by the lock. The door was old, the wood solid, but little could stand against a determined Cobb boot with his full weight behind it. It burst open.

[Maya. Post-BDM. The search for Hank continues. Read, enjoy, review!]

Monied Individual - Part XVI
He slammed the door behind him, making the plates rattle on the sideboard. “It’s okay, girl, I ain't gonna hurt you.” The cook, as tradition dictated, plump and rosy cheeked with her arms covered to the elbows in flour, but with a gypsy voluptuousness, picked up a rolling pin.

[Maya. Post-BDM. Kaylee finds the problem with Serenity, and Jayne starts his quest. Read, enjoy, review!]

Monied Individual - Part XV
“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]

“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]