Somnambulism - Chapter Seven
Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Memory, Atavism, Hera


Mal had a pretty good idea where his medic was stowing his sister, but didn't have the time to check on them. Zoe had called him to the bridge, and she sounded excited. That made Mal nervous, as his first mate wasn't exactly the excitable type. Mal made his way to the bridge, more quickly than was his norm. Zoe and Wash were having an animated discussion. "But...for that kind of money..." Wash said. "There's no way, husband." Zoe said sternly. "There's no way, what, and what kind of money?" Mal asked, stepping onto the bridge. Zoe was at her customary place on the bridge, at Wash's side. Most people, even the captain, made room for her there, even when she wasn't on the bridge. "There'sajobpaysalotbutyou'renotgoingtolikeit!" blurted Wash. Zoe's slitted eyes stopped Wash in his tracks. "A job's a job. Done plenty of jobs I didn't like. Or have you forgotten crates upon crates of bobbly headed geishas?" Wash started to speak again, looked at his wife's expression, and fell silent. He gently squeezed her hand and turned back to his flight controls. Mal advanced into the cockpit. Picking up one of Wash's plastic dinosaurs that always flew as his little copilots, Mal adopted a childish tone. "Mister Triceratops would tell me...wouldn't you Mister Tri..." Wash snatched the dinosaur from his captain's hand. "That's not a triceratops! Don't start acting like a kid just because that job's on..." This time Zoe squeezed Wash's hand. Not enough to hurt, but enough to get the message across. "Allright you two. I've had enough of this. This boat needs business to stay afloat, and if there's somethin' needs doin', then I need to know. So stop wrestlin' with it, and let me have it!" "It's a stegosaurus..." Wash said, under his breath. "Sir, the job that we just got a wave for pays a lot." Zoe motioned to the screen behind her to show how much. Mal's eye went to the rather large figure there. "Whoa...Not a problem there that I can see!" Zoe, with a strange look of sadness and foresight, extended her index finger to point to where the wave came from. Hera. Mal's eyebrows knitted together as he backed away to sit in the copilots seat, not looking behind him once.

* * *

In the engine room, River, still under the effects of the sedative her brother had given her, slumbered in Kaylee's hammock. Simon, who was not one to venture into the engine room often, was trying to find a clean place to sit. It was a problem that required a great deal of thought. Kaylee, sitting in a pile of rust and grease, eyed him moonily. "Stop pacin' and sit, Simon. Nothin' here's goin' to bite!" "Are you sure?" the Doctor said, in one of his characteristic pauses in politeness. He automatically knew he'd said something wrong when Kaylee's face fell. The look of hurt she threw his way made him immediately ashamed, and he squatted down next to her, before sitting awkwardly down. The gesture itself meant a lot to the mechanic, who knew Simon avoided dirt whenever he could. Kaylee brightened cheerfully. Simon, for his part, was unable to take his eyes off River. The eye changes, the dreams, and the sudden growth spurt was something he was ill equipped to deal with out in the cold reaches of space. Kaylee followed his gaze, and frowned. River frightened her, and it was something she hated to admit, because she also cared a great deal for River. River was only a little younger than she was, and a sisterly bond had formed between the two early on. A bond that had been stretched once Kaylee had discovered first hand that River was quite dangerous. Stretched, but not broken. River murmured in her sleep and Simon and Kaylee shot to their feet. Kaylee had unconciously grabbed onto to Simon out of fear, her fingers grasping to edge of his waistcoat. Simon didn't notice. Then again, neither did Kaylee. After a moment, nothing happened. Kaylee turned her eyes onto the oblivious doctor, and removed her hands, running them down his body beforehand. Simon didn't notice. "I can't figure this out. There is no way she could quickly as she has. The human body just can not handle that kind of physical strain. I mean, River is not what I'd call normal, by any means..." He trailed off. "Well, you said yourself, Simon, that you weren't sure exactly what had been done to her at the academy. Could this be a part of that?" "I don't know." He said, hopelessly, and Kaylee could see that this was weighing on the doctor heavily. "The dreams, I almost understand. By tapping into whatever psychic abilities River had, the Alliance could just as easily turned her into a transmitter for her own thoughts and feelings, given a person with the right faculties to recieve. But, why now? And, given how "irrational" she can be at times, why is her intrusion into Jayne's and Wash's dreams so subtle? If she's transmitting her thoughts and feelings, and she can't hide what she's feeling, shouldn't the link have been more...I don't know...violent?" "Beats me, Simon. None of us know what she can really do." "That's right...we don't. You know..." He said, turning to Kaylee, and noticing for the first time just how close they were to each other. He stammered for a second. "...there...there's no way I can curse the Alliance enough for what they've done to her." "Damn straight." Kaylee said, and the two froze, staring at each other for a second. The tenuous, palpable link these two had shared countless times almost coming into focus for them both. It didn't last long. From the hammock, a low chorus of the song River had been singing earlier broke out. "From this....valley...they say..." Both Simon and Kaylee tensed up, as River's eyes shot open. The familiar color and hue, gone, replaced with black and crimson. Kaylee screamed, not having seen it before, and as River rose from the hammock, Simon could see that she had easily grown another inch or two. "we...are...going..." As River sang, Simon could see that there was something wrong with both River's skin, and teeth. Her incisor seemed to have grown to points, as the gums seemed to have receded from the rest of her teeth, giving her a predatory look. River's skin seemed to have darkened. One of her boot clad feet thumped to the floor. Simon didn't see River's arm arc outward in a vicious punch until it was far too late.

* * *

Hera. Of all the place in the ruttin' verse, why Hera? Mal's body shook, and when he opened his eyes, he saw the pitious looks both Zoe and Wash were giving him. Zoe's was laced with something else. Genuine fear. Something that Mal was very much not used to seeing from her. Hera. Mal closed his eyes again, and saw the faces of countless young men and women who had died there. Hera. The face that haunted his nightmares the most, of course, was young Bendis. The last person Mal had been able to reassure of anything in the verse before he had had all hope crushed out of him. Just as soundly as the life had been crushed from Bendis's body in a hail of Alliance gunfire. Mal stared at the screen. Mal stood. Crossed to the pilot's console. "Sir?" Zoe asked. "Yeah, Alleyene? I mean, Zoe...sorry." He turned to her with a hollow eyed stare. Zoe stiffened at being addressed by her last name after so long. "How do you mean to proceed?" She said. "I mean to proceed in whatever direction keeps Serenity in the air. If that means, Hera, that means Hera. Wash...punch it through." Wash watched the two of them for a moment longer before complying with Mal's wishes. There was something heavy and hot and tense in the air here, and it scared Wash more than a little. More than the nightmare he'd had this morning, in fact. Wash bounced the wave back to its source, and a face came up immediately. Walt, the barkeep at the Rusty Hinge came up on the screen. "Oh go se..." Mal said.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005 12:34 AM


Oh, Mal don't do it! This just screams of bad things to come. And what is happening to River? From the description it sounds as if she is changing into a VAMPIRE!!!!! Gulp. Trouble every which way, think I'll read the rest with the light on. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, December 17, 2005 11:57 AM


if our little experiment is turning into a vampire...don't turn this into a buffy crossover!!! i beg of you!!!



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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