Somnambulism - Chapter Four
Thursday, September 15, 2005

Commotion, Discovery, Threat


In the commotion that followed Wash's bursting into the galley, no one missed Simon silently gather up his sister and leave. Simon knew that when Mal noticed it, he would be more than upset. The captain did not like having to fetch someone when he was in the middle of a conversation. In light of what he had just seen, however, he felt it better to get his sister out of the limelight. All the time he had been on Serenity, and hating most of it, he never once considered that River was capable of something truly bad. But, the evidence was stacking against her. He had to get to the bottom of this, and quickly. In the galley, Wash had run in at full tilt, grabbed Zoe, and hugged her viciously. He tried to tell them about his dream, but as soon as the word "dinosaur" escaped his mouth, most of them tuned out. Book, of course, had not been fooled when Simon had taken his sister away, but he felt it best not to say anything, given Jayne's actions of the morning. Wash telling everyone about a dream he had was nothing new. That he was so upset by this one was new, however, and Mal paid him more heed than he would have normally. Jayne sat drinking coffee, and not giving Wash any attention until he mentioned that he had seen two large red eyes in his dream. He looked sharply at Wash, mouth open. In Wash's dream, however, the eyes had not belonged to anyone specifically. When Wash had finished telling his story, Mal looked at the head of the table for River, but, she was gone. Mal merely sighed and hung his head. It was going to be THAT type of day on his boat. Kaylee slowly extricated herself from the room, but did not notice that she was followed. In the infirmary, Simon had begun to prep a needle to sedate River, only to find that she was already asleep sitting up on the counter. It was such an odd thing that he froze, motionless for a time. River did not usually like to sleep. She claimed that she had had enough sleep at the academy, and Simon, having witnessed firsthand some of the things she was speaking of, hated himself for having to sedate her from time to time. Being the brilliant physician that he was, however, he never let self loathing stop him from what must be done. He slowly recapped the needle, and set it back in the drawer from which he had pulled it. River was mumbling something in her sleep. "From...this valley...they say...we are going..." It was lyrical, for the most part, and River was making a halfhearted attempt to sing in her slumber. Simon didn't recognize the song. "It's Red River Valley." came a low voice from the doorway. Simon spun and was doubly surprised when a screech of surprise erupted in front of him. Kaylee had called out, apparently surprised that Shepherd Book was standing right behind her. River eyes snapped open, and Simon found himself relieved to be looking at River's normal eye color instead of the hideousness of what had transpired at the breakfast table. "River" Book began, gently stepping from behind Kaylee, who was staring at River in that scared way she had. Simon had seen the look before. Kaylee was, from time to time, terrified of River, and it looked like it was starting again. "Where did you hear that song? Its a very old song from Earth That Was." Book's soothing voice would gather him no truth this time. "What song?" River asked, clearly puzzled by the Shepherd's question. "You were just singing, River." Simon said, watching her eyes for any form of dilation. "No, I wasn't. I was watching you with the sharp." She said with a frown. And, she slid off the counter. Kaylee noticed something very odd, but, couldn't quite put her finger on it. Besides Simon, Kaylee was the crewmember that had spent the most time with River. There was something different about her, physically. Book, as usual, hit the nail on the head. " didn't hop off the counter like you normally do. You didn't have to." Simon turned to his sister to find her looking him right in the eye. She was almost his height. River Tam had grown at least two inches in her sleep. "I don't suppose you two would be willing to keep this between us?" asked Simon.

* * *

Having ordered Jayne to stay in the galley, something Jayne didn't object to, because he didn't feel he could trust himself around the Tams, Mal made his way to the infirmary. Before he got there, he ran into Inara, the ship's companion. Inara almost walked right into Mal before she noticed him. It was so out of character that Mal was immediately taken aback. He gently took Inara by the shoulders and looked into her eyes. "Watch where you're going, Captain!" Inara snapped...also out of character for her. Mal gazed at her for a moment longer and released her. He made to push past her when she stepped in his way. "What was that about Mal?" "Couldn't say, yet. We have a little situation this morning, so you may want to steer clear of the galley. Jayne's in a mood." "So what's new?" "You appear to be in a mood, too." Mal said. "Not that its any of your business" Inara started waspishly, knowing that she was confirming what Mal had just said, and becoming angry with herself for doing it "But, I didn't sleep well last night." Mal, who had turned his back on her, stopped suddenly. "Bad dreams?" "How did you...?" What Mal wasn't telling anyone was that he didn't dream last night, because he didn't sleep. Mal was an insomniac who had to be dead tired before he would finally fall over on his bunk and actually sleep. Most nights, he roamed the ship, adjusting this and that, or he lay in his bunk, staring at the ceiling or the wall, replaying some of the horrors he had seen in his life. "There's a hornet's nest on my ship, and I mean to throw a rock at it. Something's going on with River. She's the only one here who could be doing this." "Mal, that's yobendu...You don't know that River's...", but she trailed off. "I don't know what?" Mal said, irritatedly. "I dreamed of River last night. She killed me in my dream." And, like that, Mal resolved to either see the end of this problem quickly, or be rid of River Tam. Once, not so long ago, Jayne had clearly stated a threat to Mal after River had injured him. Jayne Cobb was not a bright man, but he knew where to look for weakness, and how to exploit it. Jayne had mentioned that River might go after Inara next. The threat had always lingered with Mal, and it shot home now. Without another word, his face set resolute, he made his way to the infirmary.

* * * On a distant planet not so unknown to the crew of Serenity, a hulking threat squatted down in the dirt. He loved where he was, for there had been much death dealt there. And, for him, the more, the merrier. He raised his eyes skyward. His crimson eyes.


Thursday, September 15, 2005 9:10 PM



Thursday, September 15, 2005 10:09 PM


OH N0!!

Friday, September 16, 2005 7:57 AM



Friday, September 16, 2005 10:35 AM


i am mighty afeared!


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Somnambulism - Chapter Fourteen
It's back...well, this is actually a reposting of a lost chapter. Hey! I just refound it myself!

Somnambulism - Chapter Thirteen
Trap. Hunt. Enemy. Trap

Somnambulism - Chapter Twelve
The Plan, Negotiation, Landing, Hunt

Somnambulism - Chapter Eleven
Wash's Orders, Mal's Revelation, The Other, Captiulation

Somnambulism - Chapter Ten
Mal's Dream. Walt's Problem. River's Regain.

Somnambulism - Chapter Nine
Safety. Recollection. Explanation.

Somnambulism - Chapter Eight
Simon's Dream, Mal's Choice, River's Verdict

Somnambulism - Chapter Seven
Memory, Atavism, Hera

Somnambulism - Chapter Six
History, Discovery, Purpose

Somnambulism - Chapter Five
Malice, Theory, Opportunity