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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
The crew lands on Whittier and they meet Dr. Jessup. Inara gets a new friend.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1811 RATING: SERIES: FIREFLY
A/N: There isn’t a ton of action per say in this chapter, but it’s a good filler to have before things get intense again!
I Own Nothing!
I hope you enjoy!
Mal caught her without a moment’s thought, “Wash! What the Di Yu is going on?” He demanded lifting her into his arms.
“They’re right in our path.” The pilot explained, “Maybe they haven’t seen us yet, but if we change course now, they’ll definitely notice!”
Mal cursed “Just stay on course!” He ordered before directing his attention back towards the woman in his arms. “Inara? C’mon darlin’ wake up for me!” He pleaded giving her a gentle shake.
“Sir.” Zoe’s voice called from the co-pilot’s seat. “Maybe it’s best that she sleeps until we pass.” She suggested. Mal set his jaw and nodded with a sigh.
Silently he watched as the large vessel ahead of them drew closer and closer. He couldn’t see any lights on the ship, but the red paint and sparks coming from the sides stood out in the black.
“She can smell the death.” A small voice whispered from the corridor. Mal’s head shot around to see River crouched at the bottom of the stairs. “Smells it on her clothes…in her hair…”
“Albatross, what are you goin’ on about?” He demanded, kneeling down so he could rest Inara on his knee.
“She can’t take it again…Won’t survive it…”
The captain decided to ignore the girl’s ramblings before turning back towards the ship looming in the distance. “I don’t see no magnet.” He muttered. “Maybe it’s one of ‘em smaller ones.”
“Yeah sure, but they still have canons on them…and REAVERS inside.” Wash replied, getting more and more anxious as they drew nearer. Zoe nudged her husband to silence him before turning to her captain.
“I don’t think they even see us sir.” She told him confidently.
And it appeared that she was right. They flew right by the intimidating vessel and it didn’t even slow down to give them a second glance. Mal sighed and collapsed back against the doorway to the bridge. “Ai ya! I need a vacation.” He said before turning to his pilot. “Wash, you get us to Whittier just as fast as she can move. Dong Ma?”
“Ai Yi Captain!” Wash, who was equally winded by their brush with death, saluted and put Serenity into full burn.
“Okay Qing Ren,” Mal whispered to Inara, as he carried her back down the stairs. “Let’s you and I go wake up doctor boy.”
She hated the idea of hurting anyone. But Madame Pinchon continued to insist that it was absolutely essential to her training. “If you were stuck in a room with an angry client. Be it a man or a woman,” The woman paced behind her as she sat nervously in her armchair in the study. “Wouldn’t you want to know how to defend yourself?”
“But what if there isn’t a sword in the room.” Inara demanded. “Or a pistol?” She gestured the array of artillery arranged neatly on the table in front of her.
“Then you learn to improvise.” Madame patted the child’s head. “It only takes one slight pinch in a precise location to kill a human.” Inara flinched when the woman pinched her cheek as she said this.
“What if he pinches me first?” She growled, disliking every bit of this area of study.
Madame laughed and sat on the arm of the chair beside her. “Darling, if you let him that close, then you deserve it.”
“Mal?” She whimpered as she awakened abruptly from her sleep. In an instant she knew where she was and she knew that she was safe. She turned to look at the man who was holding her in his arms as he slept soundly beside her on the small infirmary bed. He seemed calm, he wouldn’t be asleep otherwise.
She let out a breath of relief and closed her eyes. She must have imagined Wash’s words. Her Captain wouldn’t be lying in here with her if there were Reavers anywhere near Serenity.
“I’ve never been here before.” Inara told him as he carried her towards her shuttle. “What’s the weather like? I mean it’s pretty close to Kalidasa so it must be warm right.”
“S’not as close as one might think.” Mal set her down on her bed gently before opening her wardrobe. “It’s the tenth planet out so it can get a might chilly. Doc Jessup told me that it’s between winter and spring, so we need to bring warmer clothes if we’re gunna be near the water.”
Inara nodded and smiled when he held up one of her negligees and stared at it in bafflement. “So we’ll be by the ocean?”
“Some.” He murmured, as he finally found some thick tights amongst her undergarments. “But you’ll mostly be inside the sanctuary with me. I need your keen eye to help me with pickin’ out fish worthy enough for a big ole fancy aquarium.”
“I’ll do what I can.” Inara said as he pulled one of her few sweaters over her head and helped her thread her arms through the sleeves. “But I don’t really know too much about fish.”
Mal chuckled and fixed her hair as it stood up from the static of the wool sweater. “As long as you say it’s purdy, I defer to your judgment.” He said with a mock bow. Inara giggled and smacked his arm.
Whittier was by far, one of the oddest planets they had ever touched down on. It had all of the looks of a tropical planet—with palm trees, brightly colored buildings, and sandy beaches—but once they lowered the ramp of the ship, they felt the stark contrast of the weather.
“Wo de ma! It’s worse than St. Albans out here!” Jayne exclaimed as he scurried away to find a jacket.
“It’s just a bit o’ wind!” Kaylee called to the bickering mercenary. “There ain’t a speck of snow on the ground!” She turned and grabbed River’s hand before pulling the girl towards the beach. “C’mon River! Let’s go collect some shells!”
“Kaylee, I find one grain of sand on this here ship and I’m throwin’ you in the airlock!” Mal yelled as the two youngest members of his crew scurried across the freezing sand in their bare feet. “Doc, keep an eye on them, make sure they don’t get into too much trouble.” He ordered Simon, who seemed to already have that exact intention.
“Sir, The Shepherd and I will go down to the market and round up some rations and such.” Zoe told him.
“’Kay…go check with Kaylee and see if she still needs a replacement for thermal cap in the bridge.”
Mal watched his crew disperse before turning to Inara who was sitting on one of the crates in the cargo hold. She was bundled up in about four layers—the top of which were a pair of his trousers and thickest winter coat. “We got Jayne with us.” He told her, walking over and taking her fidgeting hands. “He’ll be stuck to our side like white on rice…you feel uneasy or scared at all you let him know. Dong ma?”
Inara nodded, “Dong.” She tried to give him a smile, but her lips were shaking too much. “Um…maybe I should just stay on board with Wash…I mean…he might need help holding down the fort.”
“Do you want to stay on board?” Mal asked her with a gentle smile.
Inara sighed and looked down at their hands. “No. I want to stay with you.” She whispered. “I just don’t want to be trapped again.”
“You won’t be Bao Bei. I promise you that.” He kissed her forehead and glared at Jayne as he came bounding down the stairs in his thick coat. “You ready to go Chun?” He rolled his eyes as the large man donned the cunning hat his mother had sent him.
“Now I am.” Jayne gave them as innocent a smile as he could muster as he bounded towards the ramp. “I hope this guy’s got some sharks! Or some kind of mutated laser sting rays!”
“The Indigo Daphne are by far my most popular creation.” Dr. Jessup informed them as they strolled through his large sanctuary. “I have bred many different types of Daphne—large, small, bow-finned, rose, azure—but the Indigo have been quite satisfactory.”
Jayne grimaced as the small man gestured to the tiny fish swimming about in a large tank. “What…those little purple things?” He tapped the glass making the fish scatter behind some decorative reef.
Mal slapped his hand away, “Indigo ben dan!” He growled. “Now for the last time, no tappin’!”
Inara smiled at the two and turned to Dr. Jessup, “I think a few dozen of these would be lovely.” She told him.
Jessup was a very kind old man, who had been in contact with Mal for years. Though they never made it out to his planet before, he was always a good contact to have when it came to finding respectable clients—given that he made a career out of selling rare fish to the wealthiest in the ‘verse.
He had been kind enough to provide Inara with a wheelchair when he saw her moving around with some discomfort about twenty minutes into their visit. Jayne had volunteered to push her, but quickly had that responsibility revoked when he made the chair pop-a-wheelie and nearly startled her to death.
“What are these gooey lookin’ things?”
“Those are my Hydrozoa’s.” Jessup told him, staring at the graceful creatures with pride. “They’re a rare breed of phylum Cnidaria…Jellyfish.” He elaborated at the Captain’s confused look.
“They’re kinda shiny.” Mal smiled as the long, colorful blobs swirled around each other. “Whatchya think ‘Nara?”
“Beautiful.” Inara agreed, “Can they live with other species?”
“The males can.” Jessup nodded, “The females can be quite vicious though.”
“Hm…sounds about right.” Mal chuckled when Inara glared up at him as he pushed her along. They left the main part of the sanctuary and wandered into a dark hallway.
“These are my newest hybrids.” Jessup announced, before flipping a switch. Ultraviolet lights that lined the walls illuminated to reveal several large tanks full of glowing, colorful fish.
“Son of a bitch.” Jayne gasped as he approached a tank full of long neon colored electric eels. “These things are gao gan!”
“What do you think Bao Bei?” Mal murmured resting his chin on top of Inara’s head as she looked around in amazement.
“Jing cai.” She whispered.
Zoe, Book, Wash, and Simon made their way over to the sanctuary to help them bring tank after tank back to Serenity. Dr. Jessup, not new to shipping aquatic life, had constructed a type of clear shipping crate that had filtration systems as well as compartments at the top for feeding.
“Doc, thank ya kindly for your assistance.” Mal said, shaking the older man’s hand.
“Oh, it was my pleasure my boy.” Jessup smiled. “And I so enjoyed meeting your charming—” He went to address Inara, but found that the woman was no longer beside Mal. She had wandered from the chair and towards a small tank near the back of the room.
“’Nara, darlin’?” Mal called cautiously walking towards her as she grazed her fingers across the top of the water. “Careful now…that could be one o’ them laser rays Jayne was goin’ on about.” He took her hand in his and peered into the tank.
“Laser…what?” Jessup crinkled his eyes in confusion.
“Doctor, what is this?” Inara asked, ignoring Mal’s alarm as she knelt down to get a closer look at the long grayish-blue fish in the bowl.
“This is one of my failed creations.” The doctor sighed. “I tried to recreate the largest mammal to ever exist on the Earth-that-was.”
“The Blue Whale.” Inara said softly, eliciting a surprised look from both men.
“Yes indeed.” Jessup smiled and shook his head. “Something went wrong with the mathematics, and I ended up with this little fellow, no bigger than my hand.”
“He’s beautiful.” She brushed her fingers over the glass and gave the tiny whale one more fleeting glance before turning back to them. “What’s his name?”
“I never got around to naming him.” Jessup shrugged. “To be perfectly honest, I didn’t expect him to live this long, but here we are nearly a year after his creation and he’s swimming strong.” He studied Inara as she turned to stare at the fish again. “Would you like him?”
Her head whipped back towards him. “Shen me?”
“I have no use for him here. And you seem to have a lot more value in him.” The doctor said passively. “If you’d like to take him, he’s yours.”
Inara smiled and looked back at Mal pleadingly. The captain chuckled and lifted his hands. “How can I say no?” He grinned as she wrapped her arms around his waist in the most enthusiastic hug she could muster in her state.
“He’s just shiny ‘Nara!” Kaylee exclaimed over her friend’s new pet as they watched Jayne and Wash set the tank up in her shuttle. “You gotta name for him yet?” Inara smiled and nodded.
“I was thinking Galileo.” She replied.
“Gally-ayo, that’s kinda a funny name.” Jayne teased lightheartedly.
“He was rather famous on Earth-that-was…he had something to do with the discovery of…well all of this…” She gestured out the window of the shuttle’s cockpit.
“I like it.” Kaylee assured her, sticking her tongue out at Jayne.
“My-Oh-My!” Mal announced his arrival while clapping his hands together. “Don’t he look nice with all your décor?” He kissed the top of Inara’s head.
“Yeah, how nice of you to show up right when we’re DONE maneuverin’ this giant tank.” Wash narrowed his eyes at the captain as he wiped some spilt water off of his hands.
“Excuse me!” Mal held his hands up. “I was just busy arranging for us to have a nice supper at the nicest joint on the planet, but if you think I was just waistin’ my time, I’ll call and cancel!”
“No! No need for that!” Waved him off.
“Well, good.” Mal nodded indignantly. “Now…go get dressed, the lot of ya. We’re meeting at the docks in twenty.” At that, Kaylee, Wash, and Jayne hurried out of the shuttle towards their respective cabins.
The Captain chuckled at his crew before turning to study Inara who was still focused on her whale. “Hey.” He called running his hand across her shoulders. “You okay for one more outing?”
Inara smiled and gave him a small nod. “Of course. As long as it’s not TOO nice of a restaurant.” She murmured, lifting her fingers to run them across her wounded cheek, but retracting them when she saw Mal studying her.
“Jayne’s comin’ ain’t he?” He joked, trying to fake a smile, but failing when he saw her shoulders slump as she sat back on her couch. “You okay darlin’?” He sat down next to her and began playing with her hair.
“Yes. Just tired.” She rested her head on his shoulders. “I’m going to sleep very well tonight after all of this action.” She let out a wry chuckle. Mal grinned and ran a hand up and down a small stitch-free section of her arm.
“I’m glad you came out with me today.” He murmured into her hair.
“Me too.” She smiled and turned her face up to look at him. “And I’m very glad that we’ll be eating ACTUAL food tonight.”
“Wow! Look at that sunset!” Kaylee exclaimed as her and Simon walked arm and arm down the dock leading to the restaurant.
“Man, I’ve missed those!” Wash wrapped his arm around Zoe. “We need stop and admire this kinda stuff more often!”
“Yeah, I’ll be sure to remember that next time the Alliance is on our tail.” The Captain replied, as he pushed Inara in the wheelchair that Jessup had let them keep. Inara chuckled quietly as the approached the ferryboat that had been refurbished into a five-star Brasserie.
Her smile quickly faded when a group of tipsy women exited the boat and walked past them. A couple of them turned to stare at the former Companion not so surreptitiously, before carrying on with their inebriated stroll. Noticing the judgmental looks they were giving her, Mal quickly ran his hand through her curls and leaned over to kiss her.
“You okay Meinu?” He whispered. Inara shook her head as she tried to bite back the tears that were playing with her eyelashes.
Watching them sadly, Jayne reached into his pocket and knelt down in front of the distraught woman. “Your ears getting’ cold?” He asked pulling the yellow and orange knit cap over her head, and carefully covering the gash with one of the ear flaps. Inara smiled shakily and nodded.
“Yes…Th…thank you.” She tried not to let her voice shake as she answered. Mal watched in utter shock as the large mercenary stood up and followed the others inside.
“I’m gunna have to give that Hun Dan a raise.”
Bao Bei—Sweetheart, Precious, Treasure
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 5:01 AM
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 5:02 AM
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 1:59 PM
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