Diplomatic Immunity, Part 1: Proposals
Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Simon gets around to doing something he's meant to do for a long while, and Inara learns something very interesting.


“White. Everything is white. But it's not winter. And everyone's happy. They're dancing, drinking, eating,'re happy. And you are. But you, and you, and you, and you, aren't. And you're confused. And you, and you, aren't there at all. I'm there, I think. Why? Where am I? I know this place, I've been here. It's all faded, like it's never been. Faded, in mist...the mist is white too...drowning everything, no! I want to see it! No!” River tossed and turned, half-awake. Mal put his arm around her. “River...are you all right?” Shaking, she clung to him. “I don't know what it meant...I saw us all, all of us wearing white...then it faded into hurt to think about...” “It's all right, you're here on Serenity,” Mal said. “I'm was only a vision,” River whispered. “I get visions sometimes.” “Did you...could you have sensed someone? Yo-saf-bridge still as asleep?” Mal asked. River nodded. “The sedatives Simon gave Alexandra won't wear off until tomorrow.” Mal kissed her cheek. “That's reassuring,” he said. “Can you go back to sleep?” “No,” River said, “Not at the moment.” “Anything I can do to help?” River shook her head. “Nothing I can think of. Not yet.” “Wake me if you need anything, then,” he said, turning over. “I will,” River said, staring at the ceiling.


The infirmary was quiet this morning, Simon noted. River had often slept there, sometimes with the help of his drugs, and usually went there after waking up otherwise. Now...he supposed it would be different. Besides, both beds were taken. First he looked in on Kaylee, asleep on the central examining bed. The long cut on her calf was healing well, patched by a dermal patch. She hadn't quite gotten a concussion, but the bang on her head had been sufficient to black her out for a minute, so he'd hooked her up to the monitors overnight. She was doing fine, it looked like, and about ready to wake up. Before waking her, he went over to the side cot to check out his other patient. Alexandra Petrova Smirnova, or Saffron, or Bridget, or Yolanda, or Yo-saf-bridge, or River knew what else, was still asleep. The sedation would wear off in about 6 hours or so. The dermal patch he'd put on the cut River'd given her was setting nicely, although it'd still leave a substantial scar—for which he was in no way sorry. He regarded her for a moment. River knew all of her history now—all he had to go on was the last bit he'd heard. So she really was some kind of Central Worlds hotshot by birth—of course, he and River were too. She'd been in the war, too. He wondered what her life had been like, to turn her into what she was. Not too hard, though—she'd hurt his Kaylee, and so she got nothing but the minimum the Hippocratic Oath would let him give. It was time, he guessed, to wake up Kaylee. The surprise he'd prepared up in the dining nook wouldn't last Jayne coming to breakfast, he reckoned. Jayne hadn't been too badly hurt, nothing sleep and some headache pills wouldn't fix. Same for Inara—she hadn't really been out at all. Coming over to Kaylee's side, he gently detached the monitors and bent over to kiss her brow. Kaylee stirred. “Zzuh...Simon, is that you?” “It's me,” he said. “How are you feeling?” “Like I fell down some spiky stairs. What happened?” “Saffron—Yo-saf-bridge—escaped. You were in her way so she stabbed you in the leg. Don't worry, we captured her—well, River did.” “Space the po-fu?” Kaylee inquired. “Actually, no,” Simon explained. “The Captain questioned her some, then had me sedate her. Apparently, she has some ideas for interesting jobs. Oh, and we're on Baldur. Jayne and Zoe are out getting that treasure the po-fu mentioned.” “Can I space her when she wakes up, then?” “Ask the Captain.” “But he'll say no!” Kaylee protested. Simon kissed her. “Violent bao-bay, can I perchance induce you to come upstairs for breakfast?” “Let me see if I can get up,” she said, swinging her legs over the edge of the bed. “Ooh, dizzy.” She clung to him, first to steady herself and then lovingly. “All right, being knocked out does build up an appetite. Lead the way.” Simon helped her to her feet and took her arm. “Be careful with your leg, it should still hurt a bit to put weight on it.” Supporting her injured side, he helped her up the stairs and brushed away the curtain he and Mal had hung over the dining nook. “Ooh, pretty,” Kaylee said, looking at the lights strung around the nook and the small cake, frosted in white, sitting on the table. “Just like my room! What's the occasion?” Simon helped her sit, then knelt at her feet. “I was just thinking...after what happened yesterday...there's something I'd like to say to you, just in case the occasion doesn't arise again.” He fumbled in his pocket, bringing out a small box, and opened it to reveal a glittering ring. “Kaylee, would you do me the supreme honor of becoming my wife?” “Oh...” Kaylee was speechless for a moment. “A real wedding? You mean all right and proper-like? With a dress and cake and everything?” Simon grinned. “Actually, it'll probably be more like Wash and Zoe's wedding. You can have whatever dress you like, anyhow.” “Aww...that was a lovely ceremony. I was the flower girl.” Kaylee pulled Simon out of his kneel into a deep kiss, only breaking away to say, “Yes, yes and yes! I thought you'd never ask.” Simon slid onto the bench next to her. “Now, do we plan this thing ourselves or leave it to Jayne and Inara?” “And what are you two planning?” Inara asked, gliding into the kitchen. “We're getting married!” Kaylee said gleefully. “How are you feeling?” Simon asked. “Married?” Inara said. “Tzu-fu ne. Actually, I believe I may have the perfect wedding present. I'll have to ask the Captain about it, though.” “You've got some time,” Simon said. Turning to Kaylee, he asked, “How much time, do you think?” “Well, we are on a world,” Kaylee said, “And worlds do have ministers. I would like to get the chance to invite my dad, though.” Simon looked vague for a moment. “Yes, I'd like that too. It'd be good to have one father present.”


Mal was awake long before Zoe and Jayne returned with the shuttle. River was still sleeping, probably after having stayed up more of the night. He dressed quickly, then left her with a kiss on the brow and climbed out of his cabin, the Captain once more. He wished there was more he could do for her, but this was probably the best they'd get. Even the Academy surgeons who had torn apart her brain couldn't reverse the operation. Inara was sitting at the kitchen table as he came in, drinking tea. “'Morning,” he greeted her. “Oh, Mal,” she said. “I'd been waiting for you to get up. I had something to ask you.” He took a seat across from her. “Ask away.” “When we landed here,” Inara said, “There was a message waiting for me.” “A message?” Mal asked, concerned. “Wo mun wan leh! How would anyone know where we were going to be?” “It's through the Companion network,” Inara explained. “I just had to log in from anywhere.” “So what was the message? Let me guess, you have a hot contact on a particular planet and you want us to go there.” Inara nodded. “And this is a Central Planet, because that's where the clients are.” She nodded again. “And you have some idea for getting us there and not arrested?” “The contact specifically vouched for our safety once we enter the atmosphere of Osiris.” “Osiris,” said Mal. “That's a long way out of our way. I'd have to see about lining up a cargo from here to there. Might take a while. As you might imagine, we ain't too popular now with those that deal with the Central Worlds.” “My contact will pay extra to cover the travel costs,” Inara said. Mal shook his head. “I know you're really something, but you'd think there'd be Companions a lot closer. Who is this guy?” Inara leaned over the table to whisper in Mal's ear. Mal's eyes widened. “Oh. I see.” “Speaking of which,” Inara added, gesturing to the dining nook, “Kaylee and Simon are getting married. Have some cake.” At this, Mal's eyebrows raised. “About time. I'd figured Kaylee'd good and de-civilized that boy, 'til he was content to live in sin.” He shook his head. “I haven't been to a wedding since Zoe and Wash. Lao tyen yeh, I miss the man.” “I miss him too,” Inara said. “And Zoe hasn't been the same.” “I know,” said Mal. “All irritable and touchy...I haven't seen her like this since after Serenity Valley.” “I'm not surprised,” Inara replied. “That was the last time she'd lost everything in one blow. She still had you after the battle, but now she has to share you with River. Her world's coming apart, Mal.” Mal sighed. “Things go up, they come down. I can't even make myself right, and I've got to play psychiatrist to this fong luh crew. Sometimes I think River's the only one of us who's sane, me included. I'll...I'll talk with Zoe, after she and Jayne get back.” He heaved himself upright. “A little something to eat, a little congratulating my doctor and my mechanic, A little trying to figure out what to do with our Alexandra have any ideas?” Inara shook her head. “Our Alexandra there?” “Yo-saf-bridge,” Mal said. “That's her real name. She's some big Alliance man's daughter—he died in the war, though. You would not believe the things she knows.” “When did she train at the Guild?” Inara asked. “Never did. A rogue Companion trained her in the service of one of their generals. Ta ma duh, some of those Alliance higher-ups were rotten through and through.” The implications of that worked their way through Inara's mind as Mal made himself some breakfast. Finally, she spoke. “We heard stories about cases like that at the Guild. Companions kidnapped, forced into perversions or addicted to drugs until they belong to someone else, and not the Guild. Abominations,” she said bitterly, “Like Reavers. Taking what is beautiful and pleasurable in the world and turning it to the worst luh suh. I should learn who did that to her, and see that she is recovered, or given release if need be. But,” she said, “Saffron, or Alexandra, still cannot remain at large. The Guild must be given control of her, or she must die.” “I've never heard you talk like this, Inara,” Mal said. “I thought the Guild was an annoyance.” “Oh, their rules are sometimes stricter than I'd like,” replied Inara, “But I learned a great deal as priestess, before the Operative drove me back to you. The Guild could be ruined if crimes were committed by those pretending to be Companions. Even if our monopoly is eroded by these rogues, we are weakened. And if we cannot starve the vile of the best that pleasure has to offer, their ranks will only grow.” Mal nodded gravely. “That makes a fair bit of sense. And I can't say I'm overly fond of anyone who likes the kind of thing she was taught. You find out where she learned it, and I'll look for jobs that get us there. After we hit Osiris,” he added. “I'd imagine a lot of things will change there.”


Wednesday, October 26, 2005 10:10 AM


This is the continuation of <a href=">"Our Co-Pilot Tam"</a>

Summary: River decides she loves Mal. All hell breaks loose. Then Yo-saf-bridge shows up and tries to turn the crew in to the Alliance.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005 11:06 AM


Hell yes! I love this story! Please keep writing it, its fabulous. I love the hole story about river and mal. Its so differnt. Keep it up!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005 11:45 AM


Oh very shiny and very much wanting the next part to hurry along! Looks to be another gorram epic in the making - Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, October 27, 2005 8:59 AM


squeeeeeeee!!! a tam/frye weddin' fic!!! YAY!!!!


Thursday, October 27, 2005 4:00 PM


im still waiting on a sequel! this is torture man. I hope theres another story at least in the oven.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 1:08 PM


YAY good job this has been coming for a while!!! very good 10!


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