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Somnambulism - Chapter Five
Saturday, September 17, 2005

Malice, Theory, Opportunity


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2247    RATING: 8    SERIES: FIREFLY

Mal pushed into the infirmary as though he owned it, because he did. Simon might run the medical facility, but it was Mal's as much as any part of Serenity was, and Mal had had about as much as he could stand for one day, and the day had barely begun. "Doc! I know that you're smarter than to just up and leave in the middle of a palaver like that. Tell me, in as few words as possible, why?" "Cap'n, we have a little problem in...the engine room." Kaylee said, though it sounded like an interrogative, more than something informative. Mal didn't even turn to look at Kaylee. He just pointed at the door. "But, Cap'n..." Kaylee began, mournfully. Mal kept pointing. Kaylee huffed (something she normally didn't do with regard to her captain)and left the room. Book stepped forward, and this time, Mal did take his eyes off Simon. Mal, while not being a man of God, tended to take Book's opinion with a bit of gravity. He saw Book as a font of knowledge, whenever Book was willing to impart any, which was often, so long as it didn't have much to do with himself. "Captain, I wonder if you wouldn't accompany me to the cargo hold? Where we could talk. Uninterrupted" The implication was clear to Mal. There would be information imparted that could not be done so in the present company. Simon looked distinctly nervous, which was not out of sorts for Simon, who seemed to be a nervous sort anyway. As they were walking to the cargo hold, Book said, "It would appear that you have some theory as to the cause of the sleeping problem here on the ship" "That I do, Shepherd, but you want to tell me why you are clearly trying to keep me away from my medic?" If Book was taken aback, he was very subtle about it. "I'm not, Captain, but I think that this is a situation that would warrant a moment's thought. I know that you think as I do...River is the only one capable of the kind of things that we've seen this morning." Mal shrugged, nonplussed as usual. "So? That's no big secret, Book. The girl's...unusual, to say the least. And, I think this is something well within her threshold of control." Book paused, planting his fist to his chin for a moment. Mal stopped too, clearly exasperated that he had to. "You know, Captain...we're not exactly sure what the girl's capable of, are we?" Book said. Mal stared at Book for a moment, clearly unable how to answer the question. After a hesistation, Mal said "No...of course not." He seemed unwilling to answer the question. "Then what are we arguing about?" Book said. And, then, he turned and left, leaving Mal to stew for thirty seconds before he turned and went back to the infirmary. By then, Simon and River Tam were nowhere to be found. "GORRAM IT!!!" The curse was so loud that Zoe and Wash could hear it on the flight deck.

* * *

In the cockpit, Zoe and Wash were trying to talk things out using the Scientific Method. "You two are out of your gorram minds!" Jayne said. "Why is he here, again?" Wash asked. "For some reason, husband, he seems to think that his opinion matters." Jayne diplayed his middle finger at the married couple, crossed his arms, and planted his foot on the console opposite Wash. "You know...River is the only one who could these things, right...I mean, Mal said it himself: She's a reader. Whatever that means." Jayne removed a cigar that had obviously been put out a number of times and struck a match on the console. "Jayne. Not in the cockpit" said Zoe. Jayne's eyebrows shot to the middle of his forehead and he moved the match closer to his cigar. Wash absentmindedly reached up and pulled an errant cooling duct that ran through the cockpit and aimed it at Jayne. "You have about ten seconds to not light the stoagie in here before the engine sends enough coolant through this duct to freeze your brains...such as they are." With that, Jayne licked the tips of his fingers, and extinguished the match. Shooting a dirty look at Wash, he left the cockpit. Just in time to miss a Cortex dispatch. "What does it say, Wash?" asked Zoe. "It says that there is a job...pays...well, a lot...and that they will only respond to Mal." Zoe accidentally hit Wash in the head reaching for the microphone. * * *

In the shadows of a planet not far away from the midbulk cargo freighter Serenity, a size 16 boot smashed a small cactus in its way. the owner of the boot paid it no heed. Even when several cactus spines bit into the heel of his foot through his boot. Blood poured onto the dirt, but he merely kicked the dust aside. After three more steps, he stopped, and sat indian style. Where he fell asleep.

COMMENTS

Sunday, September 18, 2005 3:51 AM

BELLONA


ooh! scary biscuits...

b


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