Somnambulism - Chapter Eight
Monday, January 2, 2006

Simon's Dream, Mal's Choice, River's Verdict


When Simon awoke, having been viciously knocked unconscious by his sister, he was laying in a desert. For the neat and orderly Dr. Tam, a desert was the worst possible place to be. There was dirt, sand, everywhere...blowing into his very mouth with every breath. From one side of him, a blue, cool light shone. From the other, a rough, hot red light overwarmed that side of his face. He had had this dream several times since boarding Serenity. Since meeting Kaylee. When he turned to face the blue light, there was Kaylee, wearing something gauzy and flimsy. Wonderfully alive and vibrant...near humming with vitality. There was water everywhere around her, and the wind wasn't kicking up. There was a lovely breeze licking at him from her direction. She smelt of strawberries. From the other direction, the red light proved once again to be his sister, and here is where Simon's dream had been altered mercilessly. Simon knew in the dream that he had to choose between the two of them. He didn't know why, he just did. And, he always chose River. The sister he had looked after well into her young adulthood. Here was a nightmare version of her though. Her hair was wet with her own sweat. Her eyes were the black/red he had seen earlier. Her fingernails were growing into points. She hissed at him, and her teeth were as frightening as they had been. But, behind this nightmare form of River stood the little girl that Simon remembered being such a brat. The little girl that always made him feel like an idiot every time she spoke. And this little girl looked horrified. She reached for Simon, but suddenly disappeared behind the other form of herself. And, like that, Simon understood what was going on. It had been laying right out in fron of him the whole time. River took a step towards him, and for the first time, he ran from her. Even in her state, she was still his sister, but her visage frightened him so completely that he ran. Not for himself. He ran to protect Kaylee from River. He didn't get far. He ran directly into something else. Something that grabbed him up by the throat before ramming a fist into his ribcage. And that's when Simon came to in the engine room to see Inara staring at him.

* * *

"What is it, Walt?" The man on the Cortex screen smiled nervously at Mal. "Mal! Malcolm Reynolds? Is that you. Good to see you, boy!" "Cut to the chase Walt. I'm not overfond of talking to to you, and you know it." The smile went away as quickly as it had appeared. "Very well. I'm calling to subcontract to you...There's a problem here on Hera with an Alliance security company." "Walt...Walt, Walt, Walt." It was Mal's turn to smile. "Surely you're not calling me to help you with a problem against the Alliance?" "Nope. I'm calling you to help me for the Alliance. It appears that some of their personnel have been disappearing of late, and they need to know why. I'm calling you because...well, they can't call the Alliance to report it, you know, what with things being the way they are. They asked me to find someone to get rid of the problem. I thought of you." "Why me? I got no stomach nor heart for Alliance woes, as you well know." "There's a lot of scratch on the line. Plus, you know the area, and ..." "What area? And, Walt...if you say Serenity Valley, I'll come down there and personally feed you to whatever's taking those people..." "Hell no, Mal. Besides, if I wanted a tracker for Serenity Valley, I would call Zoe...not you. Either ways, I'm talking about here around The Rusty Hinge...and I know you know the area because of that night." Mal watched Walt inscrutably for a moment. Wash watched Mal, unsure of what he'd say. Zoe watched Mal knowing exactly what he'd say, but was a little confused about the moment that had just passed between them. "I'm coming Walt, but let me make two things perfectly clear. I don't want to see all! And, I don't want to see any Alliance. I come handle your problem, you pay me what you're claiming to, and no doubledealing. I've had to deal with too much of it lately, and I'm in no mood. From now on, you'll deal through Zoe, but believe that she has mine, and this ship's crew best interests at heart. She'll negotiate our price and you'll deal with her." "But Mal..." "Bye Walt!", Mal said, as he turned off the screen. "Sir?" Zoe said. Wash though she was asking why her. Mal knew she was just asking for instructions. "You know what to do, but if he gives you any lip, or tries to alter the deal, end it, immediately. Do the same if he mentions The Skirmish at Rusty Hinge or Serenity Valley. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to deal with a little brother/sister problem."

* * *

Simon sat up. "Where's River?" Inara looked around for a moment, suddenly a little afraid. When River went missing, it was never good. "I haven't seen her." "Where's Kaylee?" And, now, Inara was more than a little afraid. "You mean she was here? With you?" Simon nodded. "I came down to talk to her about something, and found you on the floor. Simon, Where's Kaylee? What happened to you?" Simon touched a tender spot on his head. His fingers came back slick with blood. "River." Inara's growing unease flew into near panic mode. If River was doing this to her brother, none of them would be safe. She flew to the intercom box near the door. Mal caught her eye as he was making his way to the cargo hold. "Mal! Mal get over here!" The urgency in Inara's voice moved something in Mal, and he jogged over, gun drawn. In the engine room, sat Simon Tam, his hand covered in blood. "Where's your sister, Doctor?" "I don't know. I don't know where Kaylee is either." Simon sounded as though it were the end of the world. And, if urgency in Inara moved something in Mal, then hopelessness in Simon moved it in the other direction. "Doc, I wonder if you would head to the infirmary and set me up a tranq for your sis?" "It won't do any good, Captain." "Doc, I am in no mood to argue orders with you today, so..." "It won't do you any good, because River's already asleep. She's sleepwalking. Its what's causing the changes in her body." Inara and Mal both whirled towards Simon and said: "What changes.", at the same time, an inhuman howl filled the ship. They even heard Wash call out from the cockpit. "What the hell was that?" Mal caught Zoe's eye at the same time she looked at him. She and Jayne had both headed in his direction from the galley after the howl had went out. He gave a subtle hand signal to her that said, arm yourself, and report back to me. Zoe moved off soundlessly to her and Wash's bunk. To Wash, Mal toggled the intercom and said "Could be some engine noise, we'll check it out. Keep flying, Wash." No need in having your pilot in a panic, as Wash tended to do when confronted with the unknown. Zoe came back, but she was holding more than her gun. The was holding the torn off sleeve of Kaylee's coveralls. The cuff was soaked in blood. Simon began to bolt off, but Mal held him back. "Easy Doc. There's a hundred little hidey holes they could be in. Even Zoe and me don't know them all. But, I bet your sister does. So, before we go running off half cocked, how bout you explain some of this, before anyone gets more hurt." There was a seething anger in him that Simon had seen only once before. The time he almost left Kaylee to bleed out so that Mal would change the course of the ship. Simon realized that he had to tread very carefullly here.

* * *

River dragged the unconscious from of Kaylee Fry along the floor of the cargo hold. She did this slowly and quietly, so as not to draw attention. Even someone standing three feet from her wouldn't have noticed it. It was her way. Her new way. She moved the covering off one of the little pockets that smugglers loved Firefly class ships for so much, and began to stuff Kaylee into it. The rusty, dirty ship had already scratched Kaylee's arm. River went about her business in the fugue state she had been in for the last two days. As she stuffed Kaylee in the hole, she did it so detached from herself that it was almost as though she were a stranger, watching all this happen from outside. In a way, she was. But, she had a job to do, and this was the only way to do it. Next, she needed to find a hiding spot. Not a problem, on board a Firefly.


Monday, January 2, 2006 12:31 PM


Uh oh, I have a bad feeling about this. River turning on those she loves? Sounds like someone has activated her assassin skills but to what purpose? Gulp! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, January 2, 2006 9:12 PM


Shiny stuff, Pezzie. I love the flow and sway of your words, the story paints a brilliant picture without using excess languages. I totally saw this playing out in an episode format, as if it's to be a future ep, or movie.

One fave line: "It was her way. Her new way."

Get back to writing us some more of this good gravy.

Friday, January 6, 2006 8:07 AM


river's a werewolf now? ai ya...poor kaylee!!! hurry up and save her!!!



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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