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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
She'd been hoping it wouldn't be so bad as she got closer. Outside was okay, really; body was sturdy, only the hull panels had been crumpled some and the engine had been knocked around. She bucked up, peered inside. (Salvage)
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1716 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
The hush of rain as it whispered down onto the long grass muffled the sounds of the cattle shifting, ruminating, the water running sheets off their black coats as they laid low in the field. His white speckled chestnut mare made no complaints either; he'd first found her in a blizzard. Compared to that, this weather was calm, contemplative.
Behind him on Snowy's back, his passenger was pondering, deep thoughtful eyes peering up from underneath her parasol. She was swinging her little legs, riding sidesaddle, her faded denim skirt and two long black braids getting soaked.
"Ever looked real long up through the droplets?" she wondered. "Like as the water forms a pillar 'round you. Like as you look long enough, maybe you get sucked up to heaven."
"More so when the thunder comes down and strikes us dead on account of that rig you're carryin'," he agreed.
She shrugged, her umbrella bobbing with the motion. "Can't be helped. And lightning." He gave her a questioning glance. "Lightning strikes," she clarified, "not thunder."
The air was sweet and fresh, the mist splashing over them, running down the back of his neck from his bedraggled hair, cool and welcome after nearly being broiled earlier in the day. He missed this, he realized: the wild untamed storms that rushed over the land as often as sunlight, the company while he watched the herd. He missed how when there wasn't rain, he was able to see past the fenceposts in the far distance to the horizon, the sky open and seeming endless above him.
"What'd you bring that for, anyway?" he asked, sounding younger than he had in a long time. Like a boy, maybe around fourteen. "Ain't doin' you much good."
"Don't want my book to get wet." As if to punctuate the statement, he heard her refresh the page with a couple beeps, and he smiled. Ever since she learned how to read she loved to quote passages to him, and as his chores gradually began to take up more and more of his time, she started to accompany him to the fields.
"But neither breath of morn when she ascends, with charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun, on this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower, glist'ring with dew; nor fragrance after showers; nor grateful ev'ning mild, nor silent night with this her solemn bird; nor walk by moon or glittering starlight; nothing without thee is sweet."
He made a face. "Could you maybe pick somethin' else to read?"
- - - - -
Dismay wasn't at all the word for Kaylee's feelings, not one bit.
When Jayne had been flying the shuttle none too steady – maybe he was lying when he said he'd flown one before – that had been dismay. When they lost Serenity's beacon and had to follow the scattered debris and the scar gouged into the dunes like the tracks of some awful sidewinder, that had been dismay. Seeing her ship, her home, lying there on its side like a broken toy, wings ripped off from rolling, windows built to withstand breaking atmo and meteoroid impacts shattered, that had been dismay.
She rushed out and fell to her knees, letting out a little cry at the sight, the wind and dust whipping around her. And she thought that she was going to give the captain such a yelling at, and then remembered that the captain was still in there.
Then River was kneeling next to her, patting down her hair. "Slipped under the water, hard to breathe," she explained, standing again, her attention already focused elsewhere. "Must hurry." The wraith of a girl passed like smoke over the sand, like her bare feet shouldn't leave footprints.
"Kaylee," Zoë called as she followed River with about the same speed, "Need your eyes. Jayne, stay and guard the shuttles."
The mercenary set her up on her feet again like she weighed nothing at all, surveying the wreck himself. "Weren't like I'm all fired to cook my balls over a plasma leak anyhow," he grumbled at the orders.
"No, that would be such a tragedy," Simon remarked dryly as he stepped in beside her. The bigger man scowled instinctively at the mockery but didn't bristle for a fight like he might have before. "Aren't all your clothes still on the ship?" the doctor asked.
"Yeah. Gonna want those, less'n you like your air on the unfresh side," Jayne told them dismissively, pointedly beginning to scan the distant sands for scavengers, but glancing and frowning at the ship now and then. "Bring my guns out too."
She'd been hoping it wouldn't be so bad as she got closer. Outside was okay, really; body was sturdy, only the hull panels had been crumpled some and the engine had been knocked around. She bucked up, peered inside.
Everything was strewn every which way, and part of the scaffolds that had been lining the cargo bay had been shorn from the wall during the tumble. One lone electric light flickered and sparked, losing power. Zoë was the closest to frantic Kaylee had ever seen her except when they were facing down the Reavers, the way she was hollering. And so was Simon; River had somehow managed to get up onto the unstable scaffolds, a long thick rope used to tie down goods coiled around one of her narrow shoulders.
The little dancer firmly ignored her brother's requests, arms out, dainty-stepping across the metal railing of the overturned catwalks like the tightrope walkers Kaylee'd seen at a wandering circus that came to the Kowlonshi harvest fair back home. Zoë started watching too, and River climbed up into the stairwell, disappeared into the front hallway, and let down the rope shortly after with a little curtsy and a cat-caught-the-canary smile.
Kaylee distracted herself looking over the hovermule that had snapped its tethers, stepping over the metal wall trusses, assessing and cataloguing the repairs to be made as Zoë, Simon, and River headed for the bridge.
"He's alive!" Zoë shouted down, crouching in the stairwell above like some kind of panther, and Kaylee let out a breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding. "Simon's saying the infirmary ain't going to be in any condition, have to get 'im to a shuttle."
She considered the likely state of the captain, judging by the state of Serenity, then the twenty foot drop from the stairwell to the ground, then winced. "Won't be easy," she called back. "You'd need a stretcher, but could rig up some pulleys to the top hatch ladder…"
"That'd work," Zoë agreed, "Got anything we could use?"
After a quick look around she spotted just the perfect thing. She tied some rope around the middles of some old cable spools and tossed the loose ends on up, watching Zoë haul them up hand over hand like they were nothing. "Gonna be awhile," the warrior woman said, securing the system. "Might wanna go sit with Jayne, case we get company."
What Kaylee wanted was to be around if she was needed, but she nodded reluctantly at the second in command and waved, heading back out into the wind.
She closed up the shuttle doors against the rising dust storms, gave the mercenary a brief update. Jayne shrugged like he didn't care. "Stubborn sumbitch," he muttered, all grudging admiration that wasn't.
Conversation spent, they both just watched out the windshield. Life on Serenity had been harder than usual for the last several months, and she wondered what would be next for everyone. People had been hurt when they sent out the Miranda broadwave, like the Alliance soldiers. She'd never been too fond of the Purplebellies after their taxes had nearly put her folks off their land, but they were people, same as her. Just like those Reavers once were. And she shot at them, might've killed some, she wasn't looking too closely. Just like she might've killed that man on Niska's skyplex.
She shivered and hugged her knees tighter. When she'd first joined up with the crew, traveling was looking like a big shiny adventure. And even after she'd found out the sort of jobs they often did, she'd stayed, because heck, lots of people did what they did on the rim, you couldn't blame folks for just trying to keep living. And because she knew, they were all good people, Zoë, Cap'n... Wash. They weren't trying to hurt anybody, even picked their targets rather than preyed on the less fortunate, which was better than some tried for. Bullets and such just seemed to happen.
Well, bullets had found them, this time, and all those poor people on Haven... And she'd found bullets, and she wasn't too sure of much anymore.
The dust had choked the sky, couldn't see a thing when someone knocked on the shuttle hatch. Kaylee jumped up grateful to answer, but Jayne grabbed her arm and pulled her back, opened up just a tiny crack and stuck Vera's muzzle through to say howdy-do to their guests.
He jumped back all of a sudden, cursing and spitting, and their younger crew member danced in. She twirled to the rhythm of the sand on the outside and blew another handful of dust around. "It's raining," she declared, dropping cross legged to a random spot on the floor.
Jayne's lip curled, confounded and angry, and mostly angry. "Yeah, crazy girl tears next time you skulk up 'n I got a gun." River just stared at him, and he growled in annoyance at another knock after Kaylee just shut the doors again.
Zoë and Simon carried in what looked like a mummy from an old horror vid on a surplus cot between them. She settled herself back down real quick though, all that blood on his face, that was just from a gash on his head, and he was still breathing, long and slow if a bit unconscious.
"We thought it was a flood," River explained, in that funny bug-eyed way she had sometimes that made her brother try to edge her away from the annoyed Jayne. "But they all swam to safety, and the rain washed everything clean." Zoë gave the girl a long look, then took over the shuttle controls.
The engine shuddered and protested in a way that told Kaylee she'd be spending some time soon cleaning sand out of the housing, but apart from that, their flight was silent. Spots of desert scrub began to pepper the landscape as they flashed by, then grass. A town several miles off to their port side looked welcoming, and they banked a broad circle before landing.
Already the sunlight was feeling like the home she'd left for Serenity just as soon as they stepped out, the first mate saying something about scouting out the town. "See, won't be so bad," she told herself, "might even wave Pa once the Cortex's up and working again." She took a deep breath of fresh summer air, and felt herself start to smile again.
Saturday, May 21, 2011 5:12 AM
Saturday, May 21, 2011 6:04 AM
Saturday, May 21, 2011 6:18 AM
Saturday, May 21, 2011 1:24 PM
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