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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
The crew take a few minutes to relax and regroup in the cargo hold, but trouble soon follows Shepherd Book back to Serenity.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1538 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Thanks so much for the kind words on previous chapters! It means a lot to me to know that people are enjoying what I write....and it paid off! You guys inspired me to finish the next chapter tonight:)
The unsteady lurching of the makeshift platform might have proved nauseating had it not been for the relief of entering fresh air and arising out of the din of the coliseum into the quiet, soothing night sky. As they were slowly winched up to the ship, Simon handed Zoe a small vial.
"Break it under his nose," said Simon, nodding at the unconscious pilot whom Zoe was once again clutching in her arms. "Ammonia, might be all it takes to bring him round."
Zoe did so, looking around as she heard a groggy voice. "Pretty shiny rescue. I'm startin' to think you got a knack for this," Mal said weakly.
Zoe smiled and took his hand, gratified that this time he was able to grip it in return. He held on tightly and rolled onto his side with a slight groan. Zoe winced in empathy. "It would help if you didn't give us quite so much practice, sir."
"You criticizing my plans?"
"Not at all, sir," Zoe replied dryly.
"Who's flyin? Is - Kaylee's flyin the ship?" Mal asked, startled.
"Yep, and scared to death she's gonna slip an' crash, earn your undying wrath. A few words might not go amiss," Zoe replied.
"Undying gratitude, more like. Speakin' of which...." Mal's voice trailed off as he searched for the right words. Zoe squeezed his hand in understanding.
Zoe went limp with relief as she felt Wash stir slightly. The cable jerked as it came to a stop, holding them inside the ship as they watched the bay doors close beneath them. They were lowered to the floor with a clanging jolt that made Zoe cringe for Mal, and she reached up to release the net. It fell down to their sides.
None of them felt much like moving at first. Mal was the first to stir, pulling himself up to his knees and crawling off the platform, crumpling face first to the metal floor of the cargo hold. He spread his hands out on the cool, rough metal and closed his eyes, listening to the soothing rumble of the ship's engines and the quiet stirring of the little group behind him. He relaxed, letting the vibration of the engines ripple through his body. He was home, his crew safe, and he let himself cherish the moment, let Serenity's steady and familiar motion wash away the chaos and trauma of the day.
"I'm so sorry, baby," he heard Wash say unsteadily.
"Shh, it's okay, sweetheart," Zoe whispered comfortingly.
"Wait a minute! Is it just me, or do the pearly gates look an awful lot like Serenity's cargo hold?" Wash lifted his head and looked around rapidly in confusion.
"You're not dead, baby. We're back on the ship."
"Mal! Where's Mal?" he asked, sitting bolt upright and spotting him lying limply on the floor, blood staining nearly every inch of his clothing. He scrambled quickly to Mal's side.
"Mal! What-" Wash's voice cracked in heartbreak. "What did they do to you?"
Mal heard the genuine sorrow and concern in the normally lighthearted man's voice and rolled over to meet his eyes. "Just beat on me a little is all. Nothin' to worry about."
"I'm sorry, I -"
"Wash. We're alive. We're back on the ship. They did the impossible. Matter of fact, I'm thinkin' I need to alter my position on happy endings."
Wash shook his head with an ironic grin. "So, this is what passes for a happy ending out here?" He slumped towards the floor as his head spun violently at the movement, and Mal patted the deck beside him sleepily.
"It's comfy," said Mal, and Wash crumpled to the floor with a moan. Mal looked at him with sympathy. "Tell - him -" he said, raising one finger and pointing it in the very general direction of the doctor - "drugs. They're fun."
Simon knelt down beside the pair, studying Mal with concern. "I'd like to get you in the infirmary, clean you up and patch the worst before I operate on Jayne."
Much to Simon's surprise, Mal nodded. The man must really be in a good mood, Simon thought. "Kaylee's going to be none too happy with me, returning you in this condition," he said.
"Wouldn't worry about it over much," said Zoe. "I seem to recall her only specific requirement was that he not be eaten by a tiger."
A strange look crossed Simon's face. "A favor?" he asked. Zoe raised her eyebrows questioningly.
"Don't tell Kaylee I killed a tiger." He hung his head sheepishly. "Don't imagine she'll have a problem with the fact that I'm now a mass murderer," he said dryly, "but she finds out I shot that tiger, I'll be getting the cold shoulder for weeks."
A chuckle arose from the group, even River giggling a little. "Don't worry, doc, your dirty little secret's safe with us," said Zoe.
Mal felt the ship dip slightly, unevenly before coming back as River cried out sharply, looking rapidly around, breaking the calm of the few moments they had taken together to relax and regroup. He braced himself and scrambled to his feet, heading for the bridge.
Kaylee had been startled by a transmission from Book cutting through the silence. She'd been so tense that the disruption of her concentration caused her to jerk the yoke sharply, but she moved quickly back on course and answered him.
"I'll be docking in just a couple of minutes. A word of advice, keep an eye on your rear. There's a good deal of trouble about, and I'm not entirely certain I'm not being followed," said Book calmly.
"Okay Shepherd," replied Kaylee. "Be careful, okay?" Her stomach sank at the thought of more trouble. She was starting to get the feel of flying Serenity, and even enjoying it a bit. But she didn't know how to evade anyone, and she was feeling very alone and uncertain. She wished she knew if the others were okay, wished Wash were in his seat flying the ship, wished Mal were there to tell her what to do.
"Of course," Book said, cutting the feed.
Kaylee forced herself to focus, and employed the tactic that had pulled her through several times already that night; imagining Mal standing behind her, talking to her. We'll worry about that when the time comes. You just concentrate on your flying, don't let nothin' shake you up.
"How's it goin,' little Kaylee?" came his voice, roughened and gentle. "I got a new pilot now?" She whipped her head around. This wasn't imagined, it was real!
"Cap'n!" she cried, letting go of the steering column as she beamed up at him. "You're back!" The ship lurched, and Mal reached forward and grabbed the yoke.
"I'd take it as a kindness if you didn't crash us by way of celebration," he replied, his grin taking any sting out of his words as he handed the controls back to her. She looked up at Mal, concern replacing her joy at seeing him.
"You look - you're -"
"A bloody mess? I know, shouldn't be walkin around givin' my crew nightmares. Inconsiderate of me." Mal knelt beside Kaylee. "I understand you got some worries about flyin' the ship, thinkin' I'd be upset with you or some such?"
Kaylee bit her lower lip. "Just - I know how much she means to you, and if something happened you'd never forgive me, an' I was just scared-"
"Scared of me?" Mal asked sharply.
Kaylee nodded hesitantly. She was shaking slightly, finding herself fighting tears, wanting to hear he was okay, wanting to hug him and tell him how glad she was to see him, wanting anything but to be talking about this. He placed a hand gently on her arm, offering comfort, but the only things Kaylee could see were the cuts and bruises on his wrist, the quiver of his body, the hurt and exhaustion in his eyes.
"Kaylee," he said, his voice thick. "I reckon you're the only person on this boat feels the same way about her as I do. Nobody I'd rather trust her to, an' if something did happen I'd be real upset, same as you. Wouldn't never take it out on you." They both looked up as a light on the bridge flashed to indicate that Book had successfully docked the shuttle.
Mal looked back at Kaylee, but his intentions to continue the conversation were cut short by a piercing siren behind the ship and the appearance of a stern-faced officer on the vidscreen.
"Firefly-class transport, you are ordered to reverse course and follow us to the nearest landing station."
Monday, March 13, 2006 1:33 AM
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