Sign Up | Log In
BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
A Firefly "What if?" story. A possible future for Serenity's crew...how much change can they withstand?
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 3222 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Posting at the request of Gabriel and ManiacNumberOne.
Rather interesting timing, as I wrote this story two years ago this month.
No archiving please.
Author's Note: As a rule, I don't like to give away too much about a story. I have very mixed feelings about specific types of warnings. And by saying that, I've already said more than I like. Let's put it this way: I was influenced by the dark side of Joss while writing this one.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction. No infringement is intended on the rights of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, or 20th Century Fox TV. This time, the monkeys were evil. (c) HawkMoth, 12/29/02.
Dedicated to the brilliant cast of Firefly, for making us believe in these wonderful characters so completely.
"Turn of the Wheel"
Don't know how, but we're still flying.
Seems like it's awful hard sometimes. Too much has changed. But sometimes the going is easier, and the crew still has confidence in my ability to command, to keep them alive. Wish I shared in that more completely.
If it hadn't been for some tender-hearted rich folk in the Core, funding new colonies out here on the farthest edge of the Rim, we might've run out of business opportunities long before this. Good thing the Alliance doesn't much care if money's spread around among so many poor worlds, so long as enough's still being spent on the central planets. Good for them–better for us.
Even better–the ones out here that control the flow of that money don't seem too particular on who they contract with, for honest jobs or messy ones. This ship and crew have a reputation for getting the job done, no matter what. Means a lot to folk. Means a lot to us.
This latest job shouldn't be too troublesome. I head up to the bridge, to check on how we're progressing. Wash is navigating us into the approach, heading for a world still without a name. We're bringing in a load of genseed and farm equipment.
"We're shiny, Captain," he says when he hears me enter. Funny how he always knows when it's me. He's pretty much the same old Wash...although maybe the jokes don't come out as quick as they used to. But he's still the best damn pilot in the ‘verse, and I'm lucky to have him.
Him and Zoe both. There's a footstep behind us and we both know it's her without looking. She's changed a bit too--as we all have since the troubles--tougher, if that's possible, and a lot of the time she only talks if she absolutely has to. Right now, she's in a fair mood, smiling at me as she goes to Wash's side, simply laying a hand on his shoulder as he concentrates on making a safe landing.
They could've left, after it all went wrong. I'm ever grateful they didn't.
We touch dirt and it's feather-soft perfect. Wash powers down and gives me a thumbs-up. "Nice," I say, and he grins archly.
Zoe stoops over to give him a quick kiss, then glances at me. "When's the customer due?" she asks.
"Not for a bit. We're early, so let's get prepped."
She nods. We don't take any chances these days, not even if we've done smooth business with someone before. Starting down the gangway, she hollers for Tyler.
"Yo!" comes the enthusiastic response. Tyler's our muscle now; lean, tough and good with a gun. He's no Jayne, but no one else ever could be. Sometimes I can't believe how much I miss having that sorry excuse for a human being around. We picked Tyler up on what turned out to be our very last visit to Persephone, when Badger's operation went bust. Saved him from a lynch mob, and won his loyalty forever. I just wish the circumstances of his recruitment could've been less unpleasant.
I follow after Zoe. She veers down to the cargo bay, and I head on through to the kitchen. River's there, busy with her newest toy–the latest version of a hand-held comp, smuggled out to us in a twisty, clandestine fashion by a special friend. Even out here, it keeps us in touch with doings on the Cortex, and aids River in her prognostications. She's long since modified it so it's more powerful than its designers ever intended.
"What's the news?" I ask her, leaning over the table beside her and brushing my hand affectionately along her hair.
She finishes a set of pen and paper calculations before smiling up at me. "We'll be good to hit the border-edge fuel station when we leave here," she says, tapping her pen eagerly. "We can take a break and resupply."
"Word is the Foundation is sending out another colony ship. If we get to their intended landfall first, the rep won't need to go looking for anyone else to contract for transport assistance." She's got the faraway look that means she didn't glean all that info from the Cortex.
I nod, feeling grateful for how far she's come, but more than a jot of guilt at how easily she's adapted to a life of near-crime.
Gently, she pats my hand, knowing how the thought's a burden to me. "Everything here will be A-OK," she promises.
"‘Course it will." I smile as she returns to her calculations. She still carries the taint of what the Alliance did to her–nights when she can't sleep, days where she won't talk. But her brilliance at thinking ahead, the way she intuits things, gives us an edge we desperately need.
Book appears at the opposite hatchway. It's amazing how he stuck with us. Although the years are catching up to him, he won't take the offer to get him settled someplace where he can live in peace. He insists he's still needed here more than anywhere else. I guess that's so.
"Something quick and simple tonight, Captain?" he asks, with a nod towards the stove.
"Yeah, that'll do. We'll be back in the sky sooner than later."
"Fine. I'll join you all in a moment."
We keep our Shepherd behind the flock these days, in reserve, armed and ready. He lingers to converse a bit with River, and I move on to the engine room.
My sweet Kaylee is tinkering with something, as always. We managed a near-complete overhaul of the turbines about a year ago, but she stays on top of every little potential glitch. Sometimes I wonder if we're all a mite over-cautious these days. Then I think, no, we're not.
Kaylee puts down her tools and brushes the hair out of her eyes, leaving a smudge of grease across her forehead. When I grin at the sight, she frowns and scrubs at it, just making it worse.
"Ain't you supposed to be out there sealing the deal?" She still gets nervous on a drop, and it pains me that there's nothing I can say or do to prevent it.
"Getting there," I tell her. "River says it'll go well."
"Oh, good." She smiles, trying to be brave, for me, for herself.
There's no sense trying to offer her comfort now. It'll have to wait till our business is concluded. "We won't be lingering," is all I say.
Her smile becomes a touch more confident. "We'll be ready," she says, patting the engine housing affectionately.
"I know you will." We share a brief look, turning away at the same moment.
Down then to the cargo bay. Zoe's there with Tyler. He looks up with a lopsided grin. "Hey, Boss."
He's never called me "Captain." I've never minded.
They're checking their weapons. Book comes down the stairs, rifle in hand.
My own gun is a comfortable weight on my hip. Our employer's sworn blind there won't be trouble, that the folks waiting with the money for the goods are 100 percent trustworthy.
No reason not to believe him.
Standing tall, Zoe cocks her shotgun, and looks at me. "Ready, Simon?"
We don't trust anyone. Not never.
Not since we lost Mal.
He died the only way he could have: Defending Serenity, protecting his crew.
It was on Beaumont, nearly three years back. There was no reason to suspect a double-cross, but we were dealing with new customers, so Mal had the four of us–Zoe, Jayne, Book and myself–standing by. Wash was on the bridge, Kaylee in the engine room. River was waiting to help load cargo. Inara, as I recall, was in her shuttle.
The meet was in yet another out of the way location. Waiting for us was a party of six, no more or less disreputable looking than any other middlemen. The crates and boxes we'd contracted to deliver to Pacquin were piled nearby.
We watched from various distances as words were exchanged, then the payment. Zoe was standing closest to Mal.
He must have sensed the deal was about to go south, for his hand was on his gun when the first shots rang out from too many directions.
Jayne shouted "Ambush!" just a second too late.
We returned fire, ducking and dodging as we tried to fall back to the ship. Zoe dropped and rolled, aiming for the outlying shooters. Mal stood his ground, giving us cover. I saw him take the first bullet. He just kept on shooting.
I took a crouched position and fired rapidly. Yes, I'd finally learned how to use a gun properly, at the captain's insistence, a few months after our encounter with the bounty hunter Early. I took lessons from Zoe, Jayne, and even Book–different methods all, which I refined with my medical knowledge. I never wanted to shoot to kill, but I did what was necessary as part of the crew. "Wound ‘em if you want," Mal had said. "But when the time comes, you will kill."
I killed the day Malcolm Reynolds died. Two, at least–maybe three.
Mal stumbled backwards, hit again. Zoe yelled something and he started to move with her to safety. Then he went down on one knee, struggling to keep shooting.
Book and I were almost to the ramp, Jayne right after us. Then he looked up into the ship. River was there, hiding just inside the hatch.
Jayne grinned maniacally. "Take ‘em, crazy girl!" he hollered, tossing a hand gun to River. She caught it, took a stance and started shooting. Jayne ran out under her cover fire. He and Zoe reached Mal at the same moment.
Behind us, Serenity's jets rumbled to life. Someone on the other side yelled out, and they began to retreat. While River continued shooting, holding them off, we made our escape up the ramp. Zoe had Jayne's back as they followed us on board, Mal slung over Jayne's shoulder.
Last on, Zoe hit the hatch controls and the comm simultaneously. "Wash, go!"
As Serenity lifted off, I ran to Jayne and had him put Mal down right there on the cargo bay floor. There was no time to get him to the infirmary; I knew he had taken at least two hits–maybe three. Kaylee came flying out of the aft hatch with my medkit, Inara right behind her.
The others hovered close by as Zoe and I worked feverishly to save Mal. But the bullets had torn him apart inside. Too much damage–too much. We couldn't control the bleeding.
I had him doped, but Mal was fighting to stay conscious, willing himself to hang on. I never stopped working, even as I watched the light fade from his eyes. Zoe kept up with me, but I knew she felt the shadows closing in.
Inara stood silently by, holding River, who in turn cradled Kaylee, crying in her arms. Book's lips moved in prayer, while Jayne called down curse after curse on our attackers. There was a clatter from above, and I didn't have to look to know that Wash was there.
Mal's rapid, strained breathing went suddenly soft. He moved his head weakly, trying to catch sight of his crew. He focused on Zoe, his eyes wide and questioning. She took his hand in her blood-soaked one, her own eyes glistening.
I kept on trying to repair an artery, silently cursing the futility of it. But I wasn't ready to quit.
"Zoe." It was hardly a whisper. "We flyin'?"
"Yes, sir," she said, soldier-stalwart. "We're flying."
His breathing changed again. I knew what it meant, and finally halted my desperate efforts. Slowly, I raised my head. Mal was looking right at me, his familiar one-sided smile smoothing the pain from his face as he said, "It's...enough."
Then he was gone.
Thursday, December 02, 2004 6:19 AM
Thursday, December 02, 2004 7:50 AM
Thursday, December 02, 2004 9:33 AM
Thursday, December 02, 2004 4:18 PM
Thursday, December 02, 2004 7:35 PM
Thursday, December 02, 2004 8:50 PM
Thursday, December 02, 2004 9:17 PM
Friday, December 03, 2004 6:06 AM
Saturday, January 22, 2005 3:29 AM
Monday, December 05, 2005 2:33 PM
Thursday, March 23, 2006 4:13 AM
Thursday, March 23, 2006 6:24 AM
You must log in to post comments.
OTHER FANFICS BY AUTHOR
All FIREFLY graphics and photos on this page are copyright 2002-2012 Mutant Enemy, Inc., Universal Pictures, and 20th Century Fox.
All other graphics and texts are copyright of the contributors to this website.
This website IS NOT affiliated with the Official Firefly Site, Mutant Enemy, Inc., or 20th Century Fox.