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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - SUSPENSE
Book and Torsten discuss religion. Jayne and River plot.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 978 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Book busied himself with helping organizing the distribution of supplies. He had always been a practical man, and experience had taught him that when it came to consoling people in grief practical help was often the best consolation one could offer. And while handing out blankets and bars of protein to the people now making themselves a home in the caves, he discreetly observed Torsten Norby, who was nearby doing the same thing. He saw how people seemed to flock around the man now, they looked to him for guidance and assurance, and Book wasn't surprised. After all it had been Torsten who had talked them all into evacuating the town and thus saved their lives, and the mayor – Wong – was gone now, buried under millions of gallons of water, together with his followers.
Book was only saddened by that thought. Despite all the harsh words he'd endured, it gave him no satisfaction whatsoever to be proven right, and he had prayed for them, for all those lost souls. They hadn't been evil, only misguided, and out here on the rim you couldn't really blame people for not trusting strangers. And now they were all dead; men, women, children…
And Wash… God rest his soul.
Zoë was still sitting on the crate by the entrance. Book had tried talking to her on a few occasions, but even though she hadn't exactly yelled at him she'd made it pretty clear that these attempts weren't welcome. He cast her another long glance and sighed heavily.
"The pilot was her husband?" Torsten was suddenly beside him and he spoke in a soft whisper.
"I'm so sorry. She didn't deserve this."
"No." Book looked at him. "None of you did."
They turned and walked further inside the cave to take a little breather by one of the fires that had been lit there. "I've been thinking a lot about it," Torsten said as he poured them both a cup of coffee. "About how you just happened to show up the day before the dam broke. Never thought of myself as an religious man, but… Do you think your God sent you here? To save us?"
Book waited a little before answering. "I… I'm not sure if I hope that's the case."
Torsten frowned. "No?"
"Because then I would have to question God for not letting me save all of you."
"So you don't think he smites the wicked?" There was a certain tone in Torsten's voice that strongly suggested he didn't believe this himself.
"These people weren't wicked." Book answered the question nevertheless. "And the God I believe in isn't like that. Bad things happen, to good people and to bad people alike. It's just the way things are."
"Then… what's the point with having a God?"
Book glanced at him. "Well, that's a hard question," he admitted. "And there's a million right answers to it."
They sat in silence for a while, drinking their coffee, and it was Book who in the end reignited the conversation.
"What will you do now?" he asked.
"Well." Torsten shrugged. "I managed to send a wave for aid over the Cortex before we evacuated. Hopefully somebody in the Alliance will care enough to send someone. Until then… We should have enough supplies to sustain us for a couple of months or so." He sighed and stretched his legs out in front of him. "You know, I was already putting aside money for my ticket outta here."
"Yeah?" Book raised his eyebrows. "Any particular place you were planning to go?"
Torsten nodded. "Haven. A moon orbiting Deadwood in the Blue Sun system. I have a cousin living there, in a small mining community. Nothing much, but he says they're good folk and they're always looking for welders."
"Yeah." He laughed a little bitterly. "Compared to this gorram rock most places would seem nice, I guess. Don't get me wrong, these are good people too." He gestured around the cave with his hand. "But you get so tired of… well, everything else."
Book smiled a little and understood perfectly what he meant. He himself had spent no more than two days on this moon and he already knew he didn't want to live on it. "You can still get to Haven," he said.
Torsten met his eyes and returned the smile, then lifted his coffee mug in a salute.
Jayne went back to the kitchen as silently as he could. There he closed and bolted both the doors and took up guard by the one he'd walked in through. He peered through the small window at the hallway outside and then turned and swept his gaze across the room, trying to decide what to do next.
River kept watching him, her brown eyes were wide and seemingly lucid and followed his every move. "They'll take the cargo," she said. "And then they'll go away."
"Can't let 'em take the cargo," Jayne replied without looking at her. "It's worth a gorram fortune!"
"You'll protect it." It didn't sound like a question, the way she said it.
"You bet," he snarled. "My ten percent and my head is at stake here."
He threw a glance at his guns resting on the kitchen table. "Got my hardware," he thought out loud. "But I need more ammo. Need to get to my bunk." He checked the hallway again. It looked clear.
Only one problem…
With a muffled curse and against his better judgment, he glanced at her sideways and met her eyes. "I'll make too much noise."
She simply nodded. "I won't."
He hesitated for another moment or two, but then gritted his teeth and hobbled over to the table. After all, it was high time the girl earned her keep around here.
He rummaged through his weapons, carefully choosing the right ones. Vera was out of the question, she was too big and bulky for him in his current condition, and in the end he went for a smaller assault rifle and his two LeMat revolvers. He held up the cartridges to show River what he needed. "These… and these. Got it?"
"Two-twenty-three Remington for assault rifle and rounds for point forty-two caliber sidearm," she muttered. "Got it."
He raised his eyebrows. Not bad. But this was not the time to compliment her and nor did he really want to, so he just headed back to the door and opened it for her. "They're in a box underneath my bed, okay?"
She slipped under the arm he held the door open with and moved to step outside, but he reached out his casted leg and stopped her with it. "Don't go snoopin' through my stuff!" he hissed.
She said nothing, only waited until he'd removed his leg and then walked lightly down the hallway, and he watched as she opened the hatch and disappeared down the ladder.
It didn't take her all that long, but for Jayne it felt like a small eternity had passed before she reappeared and came towards him carrying the boxes of ammunition, with that same somewhat emotionless look still on her face.
"Good," he whispered as he snatched the boxes from her hands and started filling his belt and pockets with the ammo. "Now stay here inside the kitchen. Hide. Don't come out 'til I call ya, dong ma?"
She gave no reply, but stepped back from the doorway until her tiny body was pressed against the wall inside the room. He holstered his revolvers and strapped the rifle to his chest. Then he took a deep breath and left the galley.
He felt a little silly going to war on crutches, but if the people in the cargo bay were just as stupid as he hoped they were, he could probably still take them. He reached the end of the hallway and turned left towards the bay, and very carefully popped his head around the corner to have a look at the situation.
At first he saw no one. But he heard them. Voices talking and discussing and the scraping sound of crates being moved. He silently moved out unto the gallery, and as he reached the banister, he spotted the men.
There were three of them that he could see. Ragged, dirty lookin' sons of bitches. They had opened the cargo bay doors and were already in the process of unloading the goods, and Jayne felt his anger rise another notch. Over his dead body!
Luckily the corner where he stood was a good vantage point. He had known this, as he had used it several times in the past. You could see most of the bay, and the banister and a crate standing there provided you with cover if you should need it.
He steadied himself.
He cocked his rifle and the miscreants' heads snapped up to face him. "Hey!" he yelled at them. "Drop that cargo and leave this ship if you value your gou cao de lives!"
They did drop the cargo, but only to draw their own guns and fire at him. Apparently not so stupid, then.
He just managed to send a handful of bullets in return before he had to drop down to take cover. None of his rounds hit target and he muttered a curse. Now they had him pinned down, because his gorram leg had stripped him of all his normal maneuverability.
And if they discovered that, he would truly be humped.
At first Wash thought it was only his eyes getting used to the darkness, but eventually he allowed himself to really believe that the room was in fact getting lighter. That tiny spark of hope kicked his body into action, and he crawled over to the window and got down on his back to have a good look outside and upwards.
He couldn't believe his luck and he actually laughed out loud as he lay there. He had feared that the shuttle was resting at the bottom of a deep lake or perhaps even the ocean itself, but now he could see that this was not the case. From what little he could make out, it seemed he was still somewhere along the river. It made sense really, now that he thought of it. The wave of water released from the broken dam had swept down the valley but now that it had passed, the water levels were again dropping. And that meant that most of the top… er, bottom of the shuttle was now visible above the surface.
He could also see that the little ship was tangled in a bunch of roots or branches or debris of some kind that obviously had prevented it from following the stream any further.
Damn lucky, indeed.
If it hadn't been for the relenting pain in his knee he would have done a little dance to celebrate. He was going to be rescued! Serenity would pick up the shuttle's homing beacon and the others would find him here.
Maybe he could even climb outside? He sat up and moved a little to check out that possibility.
And then suddenly the whole shuttle shifted as one of the roots, or branches, or whatever, gave way.
Kaylee couldn't help but envy Simon a little. At least he was of some use to the locals. He had patients to see to, family members to comfort and nurses to order around, all perfect distractions from the somber reality around them, whereas she was just sitting there with nothing to do but grieving and worrying.
She saw Shepherd Book move about the cave, exchanging a few words with people now and then, Zoë was still keeping watch by the entrance – so far nothing had been able to distract her from that task – and she had no idea where Mal had gone. Probably to find some corner to himself (if that was even possible in here), to battle his own demons.
Dicte sat down next to her, nudged her a little with her elbow and tried to smile. "We'll be okay," she said, and truth be told the young woman actually looked a lot happier now than what she had when Kaylee first met her, as if a burden had been lifted off her.
She glanced over her shoulder at the area where Simon was working and moved in closer. "I've been meaning to ask you, is he yours?"
Kaylee frowned, surprised at the question. "Mine? Who?"
"The doctor," Dicte specified. "Is he yours?"
Kaylee felt her cheeks flush. "Huh… No, not really, no."
Dicte's face broke into a smile. "Good!"
"Wha… What? Whatta ya mean?"
"Well, if he was yours I wouldn't wanna get in the way, you know. But if he ain't yours nor anyone else's, then I guess he's fair game, huh?" And with that she stood and walked over to Simon with a flirtatious smile gracing her lips.
Kaylee needed a few moments to recover from the initial shock, but then she made a face and glared daggers at the other woman's back. Apparently she'd been wrong when she'd thought this day couldn't get any worse.
Her dark thoughts were interrupted by a sudden commotion in the cave. It started near one of the many tunnels leading into the dome and spread from there. People shouted and got to their feet, flocking around a figure making his way across the floor. Dicte and Simon had also turned around to see what was going on and the young woman paled at the sight.
"Mayor Wong, you're alive!" she exclaimed.
Kaylee's eyes widened. It was that awful mayor. He stood there in front of her, very much alive indeed. He ignored Dicte and addressed the whole room when he spoke. "Yes, I am." His voice was icy cold. "I heard that the strangers were at the dam and so I went to investigate. I was still in the hills when it broke."
A few people muttered but otherwise it was dead silent in the cave now. In the corner of her eye Kaylee saw Book making his way through the crowd.
Wong suddenly spun around and pointed a quivering finger at her. "It was her!" he shouted, and she flinched under his angry glare. "She was there. She did something to it!" He took another step in her direction. "Murderer!"
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