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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Mal and Jayne find some gold - Jubal and Neriah find Book.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1083 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Morton's Gap is just less than a square mile in size. Zoe and Wash don't have to look for long before they find the general store, the largest building in town by far - three stories, almost takes up an entire city block. It's also the cleanest looking facility in town - which isn't saying much for the dusty little community. Zoe and Wash enter the building side by side and are met by an older, white-haired gentleman with a slightly slumped back and a friendly, inviting face.
Greeter: "Travelers! Welcome to Morton's Outpost. Whatcha need?"
Zoe: "Whatcha got?"
As the greeter rattles off a list of the store's wares and their locations, Wash spots a small section of toys near the entrance. Immediately, he spots a T-Rex and Brontosaurus, both in slightly better repair than the ones littering his space on the bridge of Serenity.
Wash (in movie narrator voice): "… though their appearance drove fear into the hearts of all mortals they encountered, they had been unscarred by the horrors of battle. They were untrained, almost unable to defend themselves." Wash reaches to a high shelf and retrieves another toy. "They were no match for the Pterodactyl. It moved quickly through the air, flying circles around his prey. As he swooped in to … " (interrupted)
Zoe: "Need some new toys, dear?" Wash was startled by her sudden appearance.
Wash: "Whoa! What are we … um, do we know where everything …" Wash almost morphs into a child. "Can I have 'em?"
Zoe (puts an arm around Wash and guides him toward a lift at the near side of the room): "Later. We need to go get our big boy toys first."
Wash (eyes flittering, big smile, he sets the toys down): "Don't go anywhere, guys. I'll be right back."
On the way to the lift, Zoe stops and grabs two large carts to hold their purchases. As they head for the top floor …
Wash: "Zo, you sure about Mal's idea of leaving Simon alone with River and Kaylee on the ship? I mean, River's the only one of them we know has ever shot someone. I'm just not sure how capable he'll be as the one in charge."
Zoe: "Simon would never let anything happen to River or Kaylee, you know that."
Wash: "Of course. I'm not worried about them, I'm worried about Serenity."
Zoe: "I don't think it's a great idea. But, Captain's right, Simon needs to be tested. 'Sides, we won't be here long." The lift stops at the top floor, and both look across the vast area to see an almost uncountable number of rows, all filled with ship parts and supplies.
Wash (sarcastic): "Yeah. We'll be out of here in a snap."
Zoe: "Guess we should have packed a lunch."
Shuttle 2 reached its destination after about an hour, but Mal still hasn't found a place he's comfortable enough with to stop the shuttle and start digging.
Jayne (impatient): "You said this is where we're diggin'?"
Mal: "This is it."
Jayne: "And why ain't we stopped?"
Mal: "Just makin' sure I don't park where we can be seen."
Jayne (eyes wide, looking out the window and scanning with his hands): "Ain't nobody out here! Civilization stopped 'bout the time Serenity was out of sight. What're you …"
Mal (snaps a bit): "Whose shuttle is this, Jayne? You pay for it? Got your name on it anywhere?"
Jayne: "Alls I know is we'd be stopped by now if I was drivin'."
Mal: "Well, you ain't drivin', I am, and we'll stop when I'm gorram ready. Don't need you back there tellin' me …"
Book: "Would you two stop it already?!" Beat, calms down. "Captain, this shuttle has sensors to detect if the ground is safe enough for landing, doesn't it?"
Mal (a bit deflated): "It does."
Book: "Then what's the problem?"
Mal: "… Just a feelin'. Nothin' wrong with being too careful, is there?"
Book: "Not for anyone else, but I've only ever seen you be not careful enough."
Mal (angry again): "Fine, preacher. You want us to stop, we'll stop."
Jayne (muttering, after a few beats of silence): "Don't get no respect."
Mal sets the shuttle down in a small clearing in a corner near the base of one large mountain and another much smaller and narrower one - a pretty heavy thud, as Book watches him handle the controls slightly incorrectly on purpose to give them an uncomfortable landing.
Book: "See what I mean?"
Mal (ignoring): "Gear up. Our payday's in the ground up ahead."
Covered head to toe in a few layers of warm clothes, Jayne and Mal men are digging several hundred paces ahead of the shuttle while Book surveys the area with some sort of scanner giving him readouts on materials below the surface.
Jayne: "This where Moonbrain told us to dig?"
Mal: "Close enough. Shepherd Book, you find anything over there?"
Book: "There's definitely something about five feet below where you're digging. I haven't found anything else yet."
Mal: "Check in that alley between the mountains behind the shuttle."
Not 10 minutes after Book is out of sight of Mal and Jayne, their shovels begin to strike something blunt.
Jayne (mood immediately elevated): "Jackpot."
They kneel and begin to clear the rubble, finding a metal crate.
Mal: "Wasn't expectin' a treasure chest. Figured we'd have to gather up a buncha nuggets."
Jayne (still happy): "Less talk, more dig."
Within five minutes, they have the chest - about the size of a standard storage unit - out of the hole and open, revealing enough pure untainted gold to fund Serenity and her crew for the forseeable future and then some. Jayne is almost in tears, unable to speak. Mal is noticeably frowning. Jayne notices.
Jayne: "I always knew there was somethin' wrong with you. We just dug up enough gold to buy a ship for everyone on our crew, and you're standin' there lookin' like somebody ran over your dog or somethin'.?"
Mal: "Book ain't back yet."
Jayne: "Old man's fine. Let's load this up." Mal and Jayne lug the chest onto the shuttle and immediately head out to find Book.
Book has scanned through the length of the alley and found nothing. The alley is long enough that he can no longer hear Mal or Jayne's shovels or grunting, and he exits the other side to search more. He stops as his scanning device picks up a large object a short distance ahead of him, but he sees nothing. Quickly, he turns around and moves his arms in front of his torso in a defensive position. He catches Jubal Early's right foot and kicks his left leg out from under him. He bites the glove on his right hand to free it, mounts Jubal's midsection and launches a punch at his head. Jubal evades a few more attempts before Neriah comes from behind Book and kicks the back of his head, rendering him unconscious. Jubal pushes Book's limp body off to his side and pulls a small finger-sized unit out of a front pocket. He pushes a button and his mother's ship materializes where Book's readout was coming from. Jubal and Neriah lift Book and take him to the ship.
Once inside, they place him where Jubal had recovered - leaning against the box currently holding Inara.
Neriah: "Take us back to Serenity, son. Me and the preacher need to talk." As Jubal begins to pilot the ship, Neriah begins to bind Book's hands behind his back. Once done, she grabs a bottle and sprays cold water on his face to wake him up. A few squirts and Book is awake, trying to squirm his way free. A punch to the temple from Neriah and Book is motionless again, but awake and squinting in pain.
Neriah: "My boy says you're not what you seem, that you're actually fairly dangerous. Why don't you just take it easy for a while so we can discuss a few things?"
Book (a little woozy): "I'm obviously not going anywhere."
Neriah: "Jubal says you wear the garments of a Shepherd. He knew from the first moment he saw you, just as I know now. You're no Shepherd."
Book: "You don't know what you're …"
Neriah: "OK, let me rephrase. You may be a Shepherd, but your definitely not a full-time one. You're not JUST a Shepherd, are you?" Book is silent. "You know, from what I was taught as a little girl, I can remember a few things about Earth that Was. Seems back then, they had a term to describe people like you. They'd call you a Whiskey Priest. See, you look like a man of God, and you talk the talk, I'd even guess you walk the walk for the most part. But you're not above a little violence, are you preacher?" Book remains silent, staring deeply into Neriah's eyes. "I mean, Jubal had the jump on you back there, but you took him down. You pounced, looked like you were ready to tear his head clean off. Now, what do you think God would have to say about that?" Book doesn't move or speak; Neriah stands, hiding her frustration. "We can talk later. There's no rush." Beat. "I do have something that might be of interest to you, however." Her eyes move from Book to the lid of the box, which was knocked slightly open during Book's struggle. Neriah opens it further, a look of slight concern on her face, until she realizes Inara with her eyes closed, leaning against the other side of the box. Her demeanor re-brightens.
Neriah: "Turn around, preacher. Take a look." Book looks inside and sees Inara. His look of concern changes quickly into anger as he turns back to Neriah. Neither speak as Neriah closes the lid and continues to stare at Book, wearing Jubal's smile again.
As she begins to take a seat next to Jubal …
Book (a little less feebly than before): "It seems I'm not the only one hiding something."
Neriah (stopping short of sitting, looking directly at Book): "What was that?"
Book: "You're here now, with your maniacal deviant of a son, looking like you're helping him. But that's not the whole …" In a flash, Neriah rushes Book and slaps him silent. Her face displays her intense anger, even a little fear.
Book (almost sarcastic): "You're right. We can talk later." As Neriah returns to her seat, Jubal watches her closely, studying her reaction to the preacher.
Kaylee and River are sitting on the ground in the middle of the cargo bay playing some sort of board game. Simon is in a chair next to them reading one of River's medical charts. The girls are laughing and joking with each other between rolls of the dice. Simon looks up occasionally and smiles before diving right back into his medical stuff. Suddenly, River's laughter stops and she quickly stands, staring at the cargo bay doors.
River (laughter returns, but softly, unnervingly devious): "They're here."
Kaylee: "Who's here?" No answer. As River turns her head from the doors to Kaylee, her devilish grin gives way to a look of anguish.
River (her movements becoming frantic): "Hide! We need to hide!"
Simon (setting his chart on the ground and standing, trying to calm River with his hands on her shoulders): "*Mei mei*, what's wrong?"
River (breaking free and running up the stairs): "Hide! Now! Come on!" Simon helps Kaylee to her feet and they race to catch up to River.
The cargo bay doors open, revealing Neriah's ship parked close to Serenity. Neriah and Jubal are dragging an unconscious Book onto the ship. They toss him aside and begin surveying the inside of the ship without leaving the doorway.
Neriah: "This shouldn't take long."
Monday, May 23, 2005 11:03 AM
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