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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
The crew becomes very rich, for the moment at least. Mal makes Saffron a sandwich. Disturbing revelations continue to manifest.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1442 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Joss Whedon. Mainly because I haven't the courage to stick in a Mary Sue. Also because he is awesome. Will continue to live vicariously through Mal.
This is Chapter 2 of the story that began here:
and is a continuation of Our Co-Pilot Tam, which can be found here:
It would be very shiny if anyone could tell me how to stick in actual links. Also italics.
The crew gathered in the cargo bay to welcome Zoe and Jayne back. River had awakened by then and stood by Mal, leaning on his side with her arm around his waist. Across the bay, Simon and Kaylee held hands as Zoe and Jayne wheeled in the truck, a large case resting on it. Zoe stopped the truck, resting her hand on the lid. “Got your cargo,” she said. “Was a bit of an adventure. There were some things that jien hwo didn't mention.”
“Go tsao de whore,” Jayne added.
“What happened?” Mal asked.
“For one,” said Zoe, “Not only did she bugger their ship so it crashed, but it crashed into a gorram ravine. Two, there were two other teams out to get the chest. I don't know if they saw it come down or if they were planning to intercept that ship regardless, but they were ready for some serious shiong-tsan sha-de.”
“Good thing they saw each other first and blew each other ruttin' away,” Jayne put in.
“And the crew hadn't bailed out,” Zoe said. “They weren't all dead neither. The place smelled like Du-Khang in summer, during the siege. Complete with people shooting at us from within the gu-zoeng ship.”
“Most importantly,” Jayne added, “The chest don't open. Ruttin' heavy, but it's locked with some kind of Alliance code.”
“Not shiny,” Mal breathed. “Glad you're home safely, though. Jayne, think you could bust the thing open? 'Cause I really would rather not wake up Yo-saf-bridge and ask her unless I had no other choice.”
Jayne shook his head. “Too heavy. Alliance-built, coded locks. You could land Serenity on it and it'd be the ship that'd break. Maybe Vera could blow off the hinges or something. Should I get her?”
“Worth a try,” Mal said. “In the meantime, everyone listen up. We've got a job. Should be a safe one, won't take long, won't pay much. Some Central Planets jun-da wants Inara's services, and wants them bad enough to pay us to take her there and back. She's handling the initial money transfer now, and we boost when she's done. We're going to do this real quiet-like, get there, get out. He lives on one of the big Allied Worlds, so there won't be much of a police presence, but nevertheless: Unless things change, we're all confined to the ship there. I ain't going to take the risk of anyone getting nabbed, or leaving anyone behind if we have to boost out double-quick when Inara's done. Got it?” Zoe and Jayne nodded. “Kaylee, Simon, dong ma?”
“I was hoping to send a message to my dad,” Kaylee said, “To tell him the good news and invite him to the wedding.”
“You haven't done that already?” Mal asked.
“You haven't let us into town,” Kaylee replied.
“That I haven't,” Mal said. “I don't suppose we'll have another good chance to send mail anytime soon, so why don't you two lovebirds take the truck in and do that now?”
“Wedding?” asked Zoe.
“Yes,” Kaylee said, as Simon bent to kiss her.
“Well congratulations,” Zoe replied. “When did this happen?”
Jayne smiled broadly. “I win the wedding pool!” Simon and Kaylee looked at him, confused. “We all laid bets on how long it was going to take. I got closest.”
“And...how much did you win?” Simon asked.
“Not much,” Jayne said, “A couple platinum each.”
“8 platinum?” Kaylee asked.
“Six,” Mal corrected. “We thought it'd be cheating to let River bet.” He tousled River's hair affectionately. Turning to Jayne, he added “Alright, let's unload the truck and then go get Vera.”
A couple of minutes' straining by Mal, Jayne, and Zoe dropped the chest on its side on the cargo bay grating, leaving the truck free. Mal opened the main doors, and waved as Kaylee drove it out, grinning broadly. Simon, one arm around her, waved back. Jayne gave the chest a light kick, then walked up the stairs toward the crew compartments. River, who had been leaning on the wall watching the three lower the chest, skipped up to Mal, kissed him lightly, then skipped to the back of the cargo bay and through the door.
“That girl is unsettling,” Zoe said to Mal.
“Yep,” he said. “I don't rightly understand her myself. But she seems to like me.” He laughed. “I don't understand that at all.”
“What did Saffron tell you last night?” Zoe asked, leaning on the chest.
“Quite a bit,” Mal said. “River really spooked her. I doubt she'd lie to any of us unless she was sure River was ten miles away. That woman has contacts all over the system, knows of all kinds of plots, and has seduced a fair cross-section of the Alliance command structure.” He smiled. “And after that knife across the face River gave her, I doubt she'll be doing much more of that last one.”
“Have you got all this written down?” Zoe asked.
“Most of what she told me,” Mal said. “'Course, that's nowhere near all of it.”
“I'm just wondering how soon after we boost for Osiris we can show her out the airlock,” Zoe said.
Mal shook his head. “Can't. Inara wants to drop her on Sihnon, give her to the Guild. They'll find out who trained her and shut them down.”
“And in the meantime she stays on board Serenity, endangering all our lives? Mal, she's shown the ability to get out of anything we put her in, and she's tried to kill us all three times.”
“Simon's keeping her asleep,” he said. “She'll wake up to eat and that's it.”
Zoe frowned. “You'd trust her with a knife and fork?”
“I'll make her sandwiches,” Mal replied.
“The Captain seems more relaxed, don't you think?” said Kaylee as she drove the truck up to Serenity.
“I know,” said Simon. “Laid back. Before Miranda he'd never have delayed departing from anywhere for anything short of a life-and-death situation.”
“Do you suppose...” Kaylee began.
Simon squeezed her hand. “Yes, my Intended?”
“Do you suppose it's 'cause of River?” she asked. “I always thought he might loosen up if he, y'know, had someone.”
“Could be,” Simon said. “At least two people would be relaxed by that, then. As for me, if they're happy I'm happy...I just think it's odd. You know, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
“I know what you mean,” Kaylee said, stopping the truck and getting out to knock on the main doors. “She is a few years older than when you remember her from, though. I bet she'd have changed a lot no matter what.”
The main doors swung open, revealing the remaining five crew members busily stacking platinum coins. Kaylee carefully drove the truck through the airlock and parked. “Got it open, I see,” she said.
“Going well?” Simon asked.
Zoe grinned. “We're still highly wanted fugitives, but now we're highly wanted and filthy rich ones.”
“How much is there?” Kaylee asked.
“A whole payroll for a thousand troops for three months,” Mal said.
“One million and two hundred thousand,” River said. “Mostly in hundred-platinum coins. We haven't gotten to most of the lower denominations yet, but there should be two thousand ten-platinum coins.”
Kaylee's eyes lit up. “Shun sheng du gao wahn! Mal, you know how long we could run Serenity on that?”
“Months and months,” he said. “See? This is why we lost the war. Zoe, did you ever see this much money?”
Zoe shook her head. “Once, at HQ on Verbena, when I was guarding the army commissary. And in my dreams, a lot.”
“A thousand troops. For a month.” Mal spoke partly in bitterness, partly in pleasure. “Simon, how much is that in the Central Worlds?”
Simon blushed, embarrassed. “The top surgeons at the hospital I worked at were paid about that much. And I spent more than that breaking River out.”
Kaylee stared at him in shock. “You had a million platinum?”
“And you spent it all?” Jayne said. “Not that I wouldn't have, in your place,” he added. “But ai yeh-su ta ma deh, that's a lot of money.”
“I'd say it was worth it,” Mal said, squeezing River's hand.
“Runt-tse du fu-tzu,” Inara said, “But you two carry on.”
“We're inspired by my brother,” River said.
“How about you, 'Nara?” Jayne asked. “You charge a lot, what's this money to you?”
“Oh,” said Inara, “The best Companions, working a lot more frequently than I do, might make more. I've never seen more than a third of this in a year, myself.”
“What do you know,” Jayne said. “Now there's a profession. Ruttin' whores makin' more than doctors. Though I suppose all whores are ruttin'.”
“Jayne!” Mal said.
“Think you're in the wrong profession?” Simon asked.
“Yep,” Jayne mumbled. “I'm going to run off and be a doctor.”
“How did your trip go?” Mal asked. “Did you get in touch with your father?”
Kaylee nodded, smiling. “It was just like I thought it would be.”
Simon's voice took on a low, gravelly tone. “You're gonna take good care of my girl, young man, you hear?”
“So you finally did go for a fancy doctor after all,” Kaylee put in, trying to match his accent. “Better than one of them shiftless mechanics.”
“Tell me where you're getting married and I'll come there, even if it's on Ariel itself. I wouldn't miss this for the system!” Simon replied.
“So you did well,” Zoe said.
Mal rose, groaning and cracking his back. “Well, now that we're all here, let's get moving. Kaylee, Jayne, will you stow what we've counted already? We can finish the counting during the dull moments on the way.”
“Dull moments? We have dull moments?” asked Zoe.
“Zoe, Inara, Simon, it's about time to feed the prisoner. I'll need your help. River, take us out of the world.” The crew dispersed to its various tasks.
As Mal opened the cargo bay's back doors, Zoe asked, “What kind of sandwich did you make for her, anyway?”
Simon jabbed the syringe containing the stimulant into Alexandra's shoulder and pressed the end. Alexandra stirred on the cot, then opened her eyes as he withdrew the syringe. “Where am I?” she asked.
“She should be a bit disoriented,” Simon said.
“Especially since by all rights she should be dead,” Mal added.
“Give her a mirror,” Zoe suggested.
“Oh, it's you,” Alexandra said to Mal, fixing him with a distracted gaze. Inara took a mirror from where it lay atop the cabinet and held it out in front of Alexandra. Her face drained of color. “My face! What have you done to my face?”
“Actually, I think you look rather fetching,” Inara said.
“Striking, even,” Zoe added.
“You're mocking me,” Alexandra said despairingly.
“I brought you a sandwich,” Mal said, holding out a place on which sat a hastily-assembled ham and cheese on whole wheat.
“Now you're really mocking me.”
Mal continued. “What kind of mustard do you like? We only have honey mustard, though. That's what I get for making Jayne go shopping last time.”
“Stop,” Alexandra said, sitting up. “What are you going to do with me? Did you find the treasure?”
“Yeah, about that treasure,” Zoe said, slapping her fist against her palm. “There are some things you left out in your description.”
“Do I get a share?” Alexandra asked plaintively.
“You get to live,” Zoe replied. “Right?” She looked back at Mal. “We're not going to space her?”
Mal shook his head. “Inara has some further use for her. Women, always so soft-hearted. What, Alexandra, you don't like the sandwich? What do you think we proles eat for lunch?”
Alexandra picked up the sandwich and carefully bit into it. Finding nothing wrong, she took a bigger bite, then looked up at Inara. “What do you want?” she sighed.
Inara crossed her arms. “I want to know where you came from. Who trained you. Who she was working for.”
“Didn't...” Alexandra lost her train of thought. “Didn't the Tam girl get all that from me already?”
“If you recall, I was unconscious at the time,” Inara said sharply. “And River is busy now.”
Alexandra looked around the infirmary desperately, then back up at Inara. “I was taken prisoner during the Battle of Boros,” she said sullenly, “By those two.” She turned to glare at Mal and Zoe. “They wouldn't take me with them when the Independents were pushed back. So I was recaptured.”
Zoe frowned. “I don't recall taking any prisoners—Oh...I remember...” She turned to Mal. “In the house-to-house fighting, that girl Tsai's brigade captured...and you decked Tsai when you caught him trying to rape her.”
“Got court-martialed for it, too,” Mal said proudly. “I'd wondered what happened to her.”
“That would explain why you took 5 years to make sergeant,” Inara said evenly.
Zoe smiled broadly, putting her arm around Mal's shoulder. “The Captain here was quite a hero.”
Alexandra bowed her head through the reminiscence. “I don't want to think about this,” she said as they finished.
“I need to know,” said Inara. “Just the names.”
“Bu hwai-hun du pu-fu,” Alexandra said. “They brought me to a woman who called herself Rose...Rosemary. That's where I came up with Saffron, later. I didn't know her by any other name.”
“I can't recall a Rose in the Guild,” Inara said. “What did she look like?”
“She was short,” said Alexandra, “with very pale skin...I remember that, every bruise they gave her showed through, no matter what she used to cover it. Long black hair, straight...and green eyes.”
“That still doesn't help,” Inara said. “I'll have to run it past Guild records. Go on, who were 'they'”?
“The boss's name,” Alexandra said slowly, as if drawing the memory out with extreme pain, “was Lang...Carter Lang. General Carter Lang.”
“General Lang,” Zoe said. “The Butcher of Verbena?”
“General Lang,” Simon said, “Is now, if I recall correctly, the senior Member of Parliament for Osiris.”
“I'm going to be sick,” Alexandra said. “It's not the sandwich.” Simon passed Inara a bowl, and Alexandra heaved into it for a long time, stopping long after food had stopped coming up.
Friday, October 28, 2005 1:36 AM
Friday, October 28, 2005 8:40 AM
Friday, October 28, 2005 12:26 PM
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