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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ADVENTURE
(*CONTAINS MOVIE SPOILERS*) A vengeful Niska has trapped Serenity and her crew on the Decamerone, an automated freighter bound for Reaver space. With time running short, our Big Damn Heroes have been working hard to extricate themselves...
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1586 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Chapter 8. In which Mal, Jayne and Zoe return to Serenity with Simon and await the success of Kaylee and River’s mission, which is not going entirely smoothly... This is a short completed segment which I've decided to post because it's taking me so gorram long to get this chapter done, and folks are champing at the bit for more! The rest should follow once I've edited it some more.
Mal clicked the seals on his helmet, lifted it clear and breathed in, long and deep. Serenity’s good air rushed into his lungs, a fine wine compared to the suit respirator’s bland water, and it was the best, sweetest thing in the world.
A man could become inured to his surroundings; only by spending some time away from them could he appreciate them anew. He savoured it momentarily and then stepped away from the ladder, whereupon he was immediately enveloped by Inara’s small frame.
She clung to him, light as a bird, as though daring him to make her let go. After a few moments, Mal had to admit that Serenity’s air ran a close second to her scent.
“I prayed for you,” she told him, softly.
Flustered by her familiarity, he was about to attempt a suitably deep and meaningful response, but then found his fluster compounded when she broke away to throw her arms around the emerging Simon, and then of all people, Jayne. The big man lent him an unclean grin; Mal scowled.
Inara embraced Zoe rather more decorously. “I’m overjoyed to see you all safe again,” she said, smiling.
“Thanks, ‘Nara,” Zoe said, “but we ain’t safe yet. Not ‘til we’re free of this gos-se freighter and halfway 'cross the system.”
“Has there been any word from River and Kaylee?” Simon asked anxiously, as he unshouldered Lola and handed it to Jayne.
“No,” Inara said, shaking her head as they left the narrow corridor and trooped through to the dining area. “They’ve been out of radio range for a long time. But if they’re on schedule, they should be reaching that tug fairly soon.”
Mal set his helmet and Ossie Chen’s handheld on the empty dinner table and began unfastening his suit. Zoe and Jayne did the same, keen to be free of their bulky confines. The sooner they were back to their everyday duds, the better.
“We got us a while to wait, then,” he said. “Let’s use that time to get things prepped. Jayne, you get these suits stowed an’ on charge. Might need ‘em again, never know.”
Jayne nodded compliantly.
“Zoe, gonna need a fix from the navicomp. I wanna know exactly where we are.”
“Sir.” Zoe turned and left.
“Smells funny in here,” Jayne said, sniffing the air as he bundled up his suit. “Like that fancy smoke a’ ‘Nara’s. Incest.”
Inara shut her eyes.
“That’s ‘incense’, jackass,” Mal said.
“Whatever,” Jayne said, with a vague shrug. “Words is just words.”
“Really, you might want to look up the difference,” Inara said disdainfully. “It could save you a lot of embarrassment some day.”
Mal threw his suit to Jayne and the big man left with an armful. Only then did he look back to Inara.
“You really prayed for me?”
“Don’t flatter yourself, Mal.” She smiled at him, poised now, a Companion once more. “I prayed for everyone, not you personally. As I recall, you don’t feel the need for help from on high.”
“Prayin’, I got no time for,” Mal said. He ruffled his matted hair into some kind of straight. “Does a man good to be thought of once in a while, though.”
Two figures skimmed purposefully along the Decamerone’s flank, one trailing the other like a banner.
Working with gloved hands was slow and awkward, but finally Kaylee had transplanted the receiver into the middle of the tug’s control systems. Floating inside a haphazard tangle of stripped cabling, it was real ugly to look at, and until they got back to Serenity they wouldn’t know how well it functioned, if even at all, but she felt confident. The more she had looked at it, the more it felt right, and her gut was generally a reliable assessor of her handiwork.
Time was growing short. The chronometer on her wrist told her that they had only thirty-eight minutes to get back to Serenity before they broached Reaver space, and River had the same notion: she was barely touching the hull plates now as she drifted along.
“Will we make it in time?”
“Faster going back,” River answered, her voice crackling in Kaylee’s ears. “We’re swimming downstream now, going with the current. We should have time to spare.”
Kaylee found herself marvelling at this new, improved River. Ever since this job had gone south, she had been nothing short of invaluable – the escape plan had been her notion, and Kaylee knew that she would still be working on that remote now if the girl had not lent a hand.
Sure, she still had her off days, when not even Simon could make her talk sense – and no-one could begrudge her that, considering the deep-seated damage the Alliance had inflicted on her brainpan – but these were fewer and farther between now. She seemed at last to have a handle on herself. Perhaps Miranda really had been the turning point.
Perhaps she had nothing more to be afraid of.
She opened her mouth to ask River if she was getting tired, and there was a sudden, stunning impact on the back of her left shoulder – she felt something crunching and found herself turned upside down, bumping along the ship like a wind-blown scrap.
The stars whirled crazily across her vision; River was torn from her grasp and she could no longer feel her arm. She had no time even to panic. She flailed her right hand; her fingers dragged along the plates and managed to snatch hold of something – a protrusion, the edge of a tile: whatever it was, they gripped it like they were iron pegs, and held on.
Panting hard, face twisted with sharp, searing pain, she righted herself and looked about, cradling her arm. Only now did the panic began to rise in her.
River was nowhere to be seen.
“River?” she said shakily into her ‘com. Whatever had hit her had done some damage, that was for gorram sure. It was a bone-deep pain in her arm, and she fancied it was broken in at least one place. “River, where are you, sweetie?”
Silence followed her words.
Ai ya, tien ah, she thought. “River, please answer me.”
Tears began pricking at her eyes, more from discomfort than terror, but she could feel her composure beginning to wobble.
She was all alone.
Gotta stay calm, she told herself firmly. Deal with what's in front of you. You lose it here, you lose it all. Breathe deep, get yourself oriented, take another look around. She can’t have gone far.
ai ya, tien ah = merciless hell
Wednesday, February 8, 2006 4:01 AM
Wednesday, February 8, 2006 4:33 AM
Wednesday, February 8, 2006 5:20 AM
Wednesday, February 8, 2006 7:27 AM
Thursday, February 9, 2006 12:36 AM
Thursday, January 11, 2007 7:00 AM
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