|Not Forgiving; The Alliance Strikes Back|
|Topic Started: Sep 12 2010, 11:09 PM (237 Views)|
|abbey||Sep 12 2010, 11:09 PM Post #1|
Note: Please be aware that some of the scenes happen simultaneously, so the timeline may appear to be slightly off. Happy reading!
They had been careful since Miranda. Very careful. No one left the ship without someone else. No one left the ship without a comm unit. No one left the ship without body armor on. Lastly, under no circumstances was anyone allowed off ship that did not have a beacon attached somewhere on their person. By habit, the crew usually wore their beacons even when they were on the ship. Knowing the exact location of each crewmember at all times was crucial in keeping themselves safe.
Cross training of roles on the ship was carried out. Everyone learned to pilot the ship. Everyone knew the bare essentials of the engine room. Everyone got a crash course in medicine. Everyone learned to use a gun. Everyone learned to fight.
Kaylee rigged a security alarm on the ship with a ‘panic’ button in each room. The alarm system was wired to work with the comms. If anyone was out and needed help, the comm alarm could be triggered. If someone on the ship was in danger, the alarm would also broadcast on the comms.
They even had escape routes planned. Nobody, except Mal, knew the complete plan. Everyone knew their parts, but he kept the whole plan a secret from them all so that the entire crew’s safety would not be compromised in the event of a partial capture of the crew. Every possible hidey-hole on board was utilized; even some were created where there were none. These compartments held anything from additional guns to extra space suits.
The Operative had told them that the Alliance regime had been weakened, but they were not gone and they were not forgiving. Mal wanted to make sure that they had a chance should that warning come to fruition. And they definitely needed a plan.
It started out as a normal day. They were on Persephone. Zoe and Jayne took the mule to buy ammunition. Mal and River left the ship to pick up the list of medical supplies that Simon needed.
“Are you sure we didn’t forget anything?” Mal asked River with a bit of sarcasm in his voice.
“Supplies were falling below acceptable parameters,” River responded.
“Were we out of everything?” Mal continued, repositioning the bags he was carrying. “Seemed like we bought out the store.”
River shot him one of her ‘you’re a boob’ looks.
“Do you require assistance with the transport of the supplies?” River asked.
Mal gave her one of his patented ‘I’m the Captain’ looks.
“No,” he said straightening his back in order to look like it was no trouble at all. He repositioned the packages again. He fantasized quickly about having a second mule and wondered why he never tried to get one. “They’re not heavy. I can manage.”
“Not heavy. Unwieldy,” River continued. “And another mule would reduce the amount space available to transport cargo.”
“Not a small one though,” Mal mumbled. He looked around at the street they were traveling on. The crowds were twice the normal amount. “Sure is busy today.”
River nodded in agreement. Mal repositioned the packages again and this time dropped a couple. River snorted and picked them up.
“Men of species are mulish,” she continued as she took some of the packages away from Mal. “Should ask for help when it is required.”
Mal and River continued walking in silence. River had a small smirk on her face while Mal tried to reclaim a sense of his perceived masculinity. Mal looked up and saw Inara’s shuttle flying back towards the ship. He tried to fish his comm out of his pocket, but it just served to further upset the precarious balance of the packages he was holding. He sighed and dumped all of the packages he was carrying into River’s arms. River rolled her eyes.
“Did Inara go somewhere?” Mal asked River as they moved out of the way of the foot traffic of the road. She looked up at the retreating shuttle as Mal tried to contact Inara. “Inara? Are you there? Inara?”
He got no response.
“Something’s wrong,” River whispered.
“Kaylee? Simon? Answer me!” Mal half-shouted into the comm.
Again, he got no response. He cued up the beacon tracker.
“It says they are still on the ship, but no one’s moving,” Mal said with concern. He turned his attention to the last two members of the crew. “Zoe? Jayne?”
“Just about to call you. We saw Inara’s shuttle. We’re almost back to the ship,” he heard Zoe say.
“River says something’s wrong. Got nothing from those left on board. We’re about ten minutes out. Be careful,” Mal warned. He turned towards River. “Let’s go. We have to get back.”
River stood with her head tilted to one side. She had dropped the packages and had started to shake.
“Too late. They’re here.”
Edited by abbey, Oct 19 2010, 08:46 AM.
|abbey||Sep 15 2010, 10:30 AM Post #2|
Inara came down the stairs on her way from the galley to her shuttle. Halfway there she heard an unfamiliar voice floating up from the cargo bay.
“Just keep quiet and I assure you that no harm will come to you.”
Inara stopped and leaned over the rail to look down into the cargo bay. Simon and Kaylee were sitting on the floor and they had been gagged. Two men were in the process of tying them to the grating on the floor. Another one had a gun trained on them. Kaylee looked up and saw Inara. Despite the gag, Kaylee screamed as loud as she could, hoping to warn Inara. Inara’s eyes widened with fear and she bolted towards her shuttle. If she could hit her panic button, Mal and the others would be called back. As she crossed the threshold of her shuttle another man grabbed her from behind and clamped his hand over her mouth.
“Don’t struggle, Miss Serra,” the man whispered calmly into her ear. “I don’t want to hurt you.”
Inara lifted her foot and stomped down on the instep of the man’s foot. He reeled back in pain. She lunged at her panic button and smacked in hard. To her horror, the button simply fell to the floor. The man grabbed her by the arm again, this time twisting it behind her back. The pain immobilized her.
“I saw that before you got back and disconnected it. I couldn’t take the chance of you using it,” the man informed her as he pulled out a length of rope and bound her hands behind her. “I apologize for the roughness of my actions, but you gave me no choice.”
“At least you are a polite kidnapper,” Inara said sarcastically.
The man smiled slightly at her remark.
“My name is John. Please sit down.”
John led her to her couch and guided her to a seated position.
“What do you want?” Inara asked evenly.
“I was sent by the Guild. I am actually here to help you,” John told her gently.
“By attacking up my friends?” she spat back.
“They weren’t harmed. I assure you,” he replied. He was interrupted by the comm that was in his ear. “I understand, madam. We will leave immediately.”
“Who was that?” Inara barked.
“Your House Mistress,” he answered, matter-of-factly. He walked out to the shuttle door. He yelled down into the cargo bay. “We must go. Now!”
With John momentarily occupied, Inara slid a few inches down the couch and felt for the knife that was hidden between the cushions. Slowly she started the process of freeing herself from her bindings.
Inara heard the rest of the men running up the stairs as John sat down in the pilot’s seat to initiate the sequence that would get them flying. She heard the engines power up as the other men slipped into the shuttle and closed the door. One of the men took over piloting the shuttle and John returned to Inara.
“What’s going on?” Inara demanded. She could feel her bindings loosen.
“The Alliance is coming for your friends soon,” John explained as Inara let out a gasp. “We were sent to erase all evidence of you from Serenity. We can’t let it be known that you are still here. The Guild can’t be associated with your crew at all.”
Inara felt the ropes drop free from her wrists. If only she could get to the end of the couch. There was a gun stashed in a pocket sewn into the upholstery of the couch itself. She looked up at the other two men who stood lightly holding on to the side of the hull to keep balance while they were in flight. She smiled sweetly at them.
“Well, since we aren’t going anywhere soon, why don’t I make room for the rest of you to sit down,” she said as she slid down to the end of the couch. The men looked over at John, but they didn’t move.
“My men are quite comfortable, Miss Serra.”
They rode the next few minutes in silence. Ever so slowly, Inara reached down into the pocket and grasped her gun. As she started to pull it out, she heard a gun cock to her right. She froze and turned slowly toward the sound. The barrel was not more than six inches from her temple.
“Drop it, now,” John commanded. Deflated, Inara did as she was told. One of the other men came and removed the gun from its hiding place. “I’m impressed. I didn’t see that when I made the sweep of your shuttle.”
“Would have been more impressive if I could have killed you all.”
“As I said before, I am not here to harm you. I am actually here to help you.”
“More like helping the Guild.”
“That is, of course, my primary concern,” John admitted. “The Guild cannot afford any further scrutiny from the Alliance.”
“Yes. After Miranda, we had to convince the Alliance that you were taken against your will and we had liberated you,” John continued. “We told them that you were in our medical facility and that you needed recovery time from your ordeal at Captain Reynolds’ hands. It was a very traumatic experience.”
“Traumatic,” snorted Inara. “You think?”
“We will explain everything in detail later. I promise.”
“After my family is dead?”
“I’m sorry,” John said softly as he knelt next to her so she could look straight into his eyes. Inara studied his face and was surprised by what she saw. His eyes were warm. There was no animosity. He genuinely seemed concerned for her.
“When will they be there?” Inara whispered.
“An hour or so,” John told her. “We just got the tip from our contacts. We have to move fast.”
“Can’t we warn them?” she asked as a tear slipped down her cheek.
“Can’t risk it. Your crew will probably bolt if they knew. It is likely that Serenity will not be able to escape. We need time to off-load your belongings. The Guild can’t afford to take the chance of them finding anything leading back to you on board the ship.”
“But they will die,” Inara said as she looked into John’s eyes. “Please let me call them.”
“I am under strict orders. I’m sorry,” John said with compassion. “I truly am.”
Knowing that there was nothing that she could do to help her family, Inara buried her face into her hands and sobbed. John moved next to the pilot.
“We’re almost there,” the pilot informed him.
“Thank you,” John replied. “I take it that the men at our destination are waiting?”
“We have to move quickly.”
“Starting landing sequence now.”
John moved back to where Inara was. He was moved by her emotion. He laid a gentle hand on her shoulder.
“If there is enough time,” he offered. “I will try to see what I can do for them.”
Edited by abbey, Oct 19 2010, 08:54 AM.
|abbey||Sep 15 2010, 10:44 AM Post #3|
Zoe and Jayne cautiously entered the cargo bay. Nothing was out of place. There was no sign of a struggle. Zoe motioned for Jayne to go down one side of the bay while she went down the other. When they got near the middle, they caught sight of Kaylee and Simon sitting on the bay floor. They were back-to-back, bound, gagged and tied to the grating on the cargo bay floor. Kaylee caught sight of them and let out a muffled scream. Zoe cautiously made her way over to them as Jayne kept a watchful eye. Zoe removed Kaylee’s gag.
“Zoe! Jayne! Thank God,” Kaylee exclaimed.
Zoe put her fingers over her lips signaling that they should keep quiet. She removed Simon’s gag and then proceeded to use her knife to free them of their bindings. Kaylee and Simon scurried across the floor and each grabbed one of the many guns hidden around the ship.
“What in the rutting Hell happened here?” growled Jayne in a hushed voice.
“They set on us about a minute after you all left,” Kaylee whispered to them.
“Are they still here?” Zoe asked.
“No. The last of them left about two minutes ago. Right after the shuttle docked,” Simon replied.
“They were after Inara,” Kaylee added. “They took her.”
“Alliance?” Jayne asked, eyes continuing to scan the area around them.
“No,” Simon continued. “I don’t think we’d still be here if they were.”
“Why’d they returned the shuttle? They could have abandoned it anywhere,” Jayne remarked. “It’s kuang zhe de (crazy).”
“Everyone stay close,” Zoe ordered. “Let’s head up to the shuttle.”
When they got there, the door had been left open. When they entered, they were astonished at what they saw. The shuttle was bare. It was like all traces of Inara had been erased.
“Only professionals could strip down something this fast,” Jayne observed. “She had a lot of stuff in here.”
Simon walked to the middle of the shuttle. Inara’s beacon lay on the floor.
“Why’d they leave this?” he asked, picking it up.
That’s when they heard the alarm sound. It had been triggered by Mal’s comm.
River felt the presence of the Academy agents too late. The volume of people moving up and down the street had made it impossible to feel their calculated movement towards them. Once she did, she was overwhelmed by fear. She could feel their glee in finding her and the things they wanted to do once they had her back. She couldn’t do anything but stand there, shaking in panic.
Their initial attack came quickly and quietly. No one on the street was even aware of what had happened. River was shot with a tranquilizer gun. She felt the dart connect and the paralytic drug spread quickly through her body. No matter how hard she struggled, her body refused to function as she wanted it to. She felt a surreal sense of detachment as she fell to the ground.
Mal had quickly grabbed her by the collar and drug her into the alley. He drew his gun and activated his alarm. He hoped that by taking refuge there, he could stave off any further attack long enough for someone to respond to the call for help, but in the back of his mind he knew that it probably wouldn’t happen. He had not received any response from the crew left on the ship and Jayne and Zoe were there now, trying to suss out what was happening. For all he knew, they were all dead.
“You OK, Albatross?” He asked as he crouched beside her and removed the dart from her neck. Staying low, he moved toward the entrance of the alley and carefully looked into the crowd. He hoped he could see where their attackers were, but he couldn’t see anything but people milling around. He looked back to River. His heart lurched at what he saw. She wasn’t moving, her head had lolled to one side and her eyes were wide open but unblinking. He was horrified. He scrambled back to her side. “Please don’t be dead.”
He felt for her pulse and it was still there. It was weak, but it was still there. He breathed a short sign of relief. He figured she had been drugged because if they wanted to kill her, they would have used bullets instead of a dart. It was also entirely possible that she was still conscious. Gently, he turned her head until his eyes met hers. The expression on her face was so blank, but as he looked into her eyes, he felt something different. He knew that she was still there.
“I hit the alarm. They’re coming. Zoe and Jayne are coming,” he said firmly. River could tell that he wasn’t so sure. By saying it aloud, he was trying to assure her and quell his own fear as well. His heart was pumping hard and he looked out into the street again. He hated not knowing where their attackers were. They obviously had a plan and he didn’t like not knowing what it was. He would feel better if he could see them enough that he could think of a plan on how to get he and River clear of this. He wanted something to fight against. He needed to do something. He wanted to shoot someone. He wanted to keep River safe.
He stood up, trying to get a better view of what may be going on and that’s when it happened. Three shots. They all connected. Mal slammed up against the wall. He knew right away that the armor had not stopped them, but oddly enough, he didn’t feel much pain. He grunted as his body fell to the ground next to River’s. He landed face to face with her.
“They’re coming,” he croaked, trying to reassure her. “They’ll be here soon.”
With great effort, he pushed himself to a sitting position, leaning back against the wall. She could feel him weakening and she wished she could tell him to save his strength because he would need it. He pulled his gun up into his lap. He was praying for Zoe and Jayne to come.
That’s when he saw them. They glided up as easy as could be and picked River up from the ground. Mal tried to raise his gun, but couldn’t. His heart broke because he knew they were going to take her and there was nothing he could do about it. That’s when he saw their hands. They wore blue gloves.
Two by two. Hands of blue. He thought. He now understood what she babbled about for so long.
“Thank you for keeping our property safe, Captain Reynolds,” the one man icily said. They looked down to see her beacon lying on the ground. With one smooth action, the man used his heel to unceremoniously smash it into bits.
“S-She’s no one’s p-property,” Mal growled as loud as he could. It was getting hard to breathe.
“It’s a shame we didn’t get to know one another better,” the other said as he raised a gun towards Mal. “But you won’t be with us much longer.”
Mal closed his eyes and swallowed thickly. That’s when he heard the mule approaching. His heart lightened knowing that at least some of his crew was still alive.
“His crew approaches, leave him be,” the first one said. “He won’t live long anyway.”
Like ghosts, they disappeared into the crowd. They were just gone. River was gone. He had failed.
So much for my brilliant plan. Still didn’t keep us safe. He thought.
Edited by abbey, Oct 19 2010, 08:56 AM.
|abbey||Sep 15 2010, 10:55 AM Post #4|
“Kaylee, heat Serenity up. Jayne, get us ready to leave atmo,” Zoe commanded. “I’m taking Simon. They could be hurt.”
Jayne and Kaylee broke into a run as they went up to their assigned areas. Simon slipped Inara’s beacon into his pocket and ran after Zoe. As they got to the bay doors, he placed his gun in the belt of his pants and grabbed the extra med kit that was now kept there. They both jumped into the mule with lightning speed and sped out of the cargo bay, almost running over some pedestrians.
“Mal’s signal is up ahead,” Zoe said as she used a hand held device to follow the signal. A pained look fell over her face as she turned to face Simon. “I am not getting anything from River’s though.”
Simon felt a wave of fear come over him, but remained composed.
“Won’t know anything until we get there,” he said grimly.
They found Mal in an alley sitting on the ground with his back up against a building. The medical supplies he and River had procured were scattered around the entrance to the alley. He was obviously wounded and barely conscious. Simon crouched next to him and began to assess his wounds. He opened Mal’s jacket.
“Pierced my armor,” Mal whispered. He drew a ragged breath.
Simon nodded at Zoe to confirm. He had been shot three times. One passed through his shoulder, another punctured his lower right lung and the last one was precariously close to his heart. Zoe looked down and saw River’s beacon. It was crushed into the ground.
“River’s beacon is smashed,” Zoe remarked. She stood up and scanned the area around them. “I don’t see her. Maybe she went for help.”
Mal slowly shook his head. A lone tear fell down his face.
“I’m sorry, Simon. I tried to keep her safe,” Mal whispered. He coughed violently. A small stream blood came out of his mouth. “They took her.”
“Who?” Simon asked softly.
“I u-understand it n-now,” Mal smiled weakly.
“Who took her?” Simon asked, a little more insistent.
“Two b-by two. H-hands of blue.”
And then Mal closed his eyes.
River was screaming on the inside as the Academy Agents carried her away from Mal, but nothing escaped her lips. Her body wasn’t helping her, the drugs were too powerful, but her mind was still very much alert. The Academy Agents smiled the whole time they carried her back to their ship. River could feel their thoughts. They were so cold and so very horrifying.
They will be very excited that the subject is being returned.
They will be able to complete the process. The final surgeries will be done.
The pain will help disassociate her from this life she’s created. She’ll never remember it again.
Her mind will be erased. Her abilities further honed. Emotions stripped.
She will be the ultimate fighting machine.
She saw the surgeries they had in mind to perform, the drugs they were going to use and their entire plan for her. Her blood ran cold. She decided to turn her attention to her family while she still could. If she concentrated hard enough, maybe she could overwhelm herself with what they were thinking. So she reached out.
She was relieved to know that Simon and Zoe had reached Mal and that he was being tended to. He was in bad shape. His injuries were life threatening. He was unconscious, but a single thought reverberating throughout his mind. I failed. I failed. Everyone is going to die. I failed. It made her head throb so much that she had to let go.
Then she felt Simon. He was working on Mal frantically. His thought processes were directed at the task in hand, but she could feel Simon’s panic hiding underneath. He was afraid for her. No, he was more than afraid. He was terrified. She also felt his guilt. He believed he would never see her again.
Zoe was in denial. She refused to accept what was happening. Zoe was still trying to see where River was so that something could be done. Down deep Zoe knew it was in vain. Zoe wanted her family back so desperately. She wanted it to be as it was before Miranda. The current situation was layering itself onto the hurt she felt when Wash and Book died. She wouldn’t be able to go on if she lost Mal as well. Her thoughts were suffocating.
Jayne had taken him a long time before he emotionally committed himself to his Serenity family. He knew that his family was currently teetering on less than solid ground. He didn’t know what the future held, but he did know that he would go down fighting to keep whatever piece of it that he could. Jayne was always a task-oriented person, so his thoughts were on the Plan. He knew what needed to be done and was getting himself ready. He was focused, but his real feelings were still there. Jayne was scared.
Kaylee was a mess. She had always worn her emotions on her sleeve and they were currently screaming in volumes. It was loud. She was worried about the Captain and River. She hoped that they would both return safely. If not, she was scared of what needed to be done in order for them all to get through this, but she was petrified that she would lose Simon forever.
River let her thoughts wander back to Mal. A tear slid down her face as she realized she couldn’t find him. Somehow he was gone. She thought back to the last thoughts he had. There was so much guilt, but she knew who was really at fault. It was all because of her. No. It was all because of them. The Academy had done this.
Then out of nowhere, she felt Inara. Inara radiated profound sadness. She grieved. Inara knew that she was going to live and her family had little chance for the same outcome. Strangely enough, Inara also knew where she was going. It was the Guild. The Guild was taking Inara home to House Madrassa.
River smiled inwardly. She had something to cling to. She had someone to hold on to. It could keep her sane. Her resolve was firm. She knew what she had to do. She was going to make sure that Academy paid for what they had done. She was going to end them once and for all.
Edited by abbey, Oct 19 2010, 08:57 AM.
|abbey||Sep 15 2010, 11:12 AM Post #5|
“We have to get him back to the ship, mah shong (now)” Simon said. “And we have to do it fast or we will lose him.”
Zoe nodded and the both of them lifted him into the mule. As they pulled away, Zoe took a quick look around.
“What about River?” she asked solemnly.
“She’s gone,” Simon whispered. “They would have taken her off world quickly. There’s nothing I can do for her now. I can only help Mal.”
Zoe floored the mule. She got on the comm.
“Jayne, we’re on our way back. I want to be in the air as soon as we get there.”
“Kaylee has her heated up. We’re ready to go,” Jayne said. There was a long pause before Jayne said anything more. Zoe almost didn’t hear him. His voice was laden with concern. “How are they, Zoe?”
“It’s happening. Just as we knew it would,” Zoe told him. Her voice was flat, devoid of all emotion.
“But how are they?”
Zoe said nothing more. Simon answered for her.
“Mal’s hurt bad. He’s been shot three times. They went through his armor like he wasn’t wearing any. It doesn’t look good,” Simon answered softly. Simon eyed Zoe warily. He took in a deep breath. “We lost River. They took her.”
“Tiān xiǎo de (in the name of all that’s sacred),” Jayne muttered. “We’ll be off as soon as you hit the cargo bay. Zhu yi, Doc (watch your back).”
It seemed like an eternity before they reached the ship. As soon as they pulled in, Zoe jumped off the mule and hit the button to close the cargo bay.
“We’re on!” Simon yelled through his comm.
Almost immediately, he felt the ship lift off. Zoe and Simon carried Mal into the Infirmary. Simon started surgery without delay, frantically trying to repair the damage. Zoe stayed and helped him as best she could. When they finished, he found Jayne and Kaylee hovering in the common area. Kaylee’s face was red and puffy. She had obviously been crying. Jayne stood with one arm around her. Mal’s situation was weighing heavily on everyone. Simon quickly noted Zoe’s demeanor. She reminded Simon of a robot. She was going through the motions. He realized she hadn’t said anything since they started back to the ship. He started to ask her if she was OK, but was interrupted.
“How is he?” Kaylee asked softly.
“I’ve done all I can. I’m not sure if it is enough,” Simon said as he pinched the bridge of his nose. “I don’t know what else I can do. I’m not sure if I fixed it all. He’s pretty torn up.”
“He’ll be OK. He’s the Captain,” Zoe said all too calmly. She stood transfixed, looking at Mal through the infirmary window.
Simon sagged into a nearby chair and put his head into his hands. He shuddered a bit.
“I can’t believe this is happening. I mean, I knew it would sooner or later,” he said, clearly exhausted. “The Alliance would never let us be after what we showed everyone, but I always held out hope that somehow we could avoid this.”
“Never thought we’d be down three people ‘fore the Plan even got started,” Jayne lamented. “Inara. River. Mal. All gone.”
Simon let out a groan.
“River. I should have protected her better. I failed her. Failed miserably.”
“That wasn’t the way of it, Simon,” Kaylee consoled. “You did the best you could. We all did the best we could.”
Zoe threw her beacon against the wall. Everyone jumped.
“We’ll find them,” Zoe said with resolve. “Captain will be OK and we’ll find both Inara and River.”
“We don’t know where they got took,” Jayne stated. “Either of ‘em.”
Zoe whirled around on him, with both fire and pain in her eyes.
“We’ll do it. Ain’t no other way. Lost too many crew as it is,” Zoe said. She turned and started upstairs towards the bridge. “Ain’t losing no more.”
Everyone stood still for a moment from the shock of Zoe’s outburst. Then Kaylee burst into Simon’s arms and clung to him while she sobbed. Jayne moved to the doorway of the infirmary, looking at Mal.
“Capt’n be OK, won’t he?” he asked.
“I don’t know. I’ve done what I can for now. We’ll have to watch him,” Simon replied.
Kaylee sobbed harder into his shoulder.
“I’m with Zoe. Lost enough as is. No more,” Jayne added. Just then, the proximity alarm sounded. “What the ruttin’ Hell now?”
“It’s the Alliance,” Zoe called out over the comm. “They’ve locked onto us. I will try to shake them so we’ll have some time, but that won’t keep us forever. The Plan goes in motion now. We practiced this, now let’s get it done.”
Kaylee’s eyes widened. She looked at Simon.
“What ‘bout the Captain? He can’t do his part like that.”
“I’ll take care of him,” Simon whispered. “It’s the least I can do. He looked after River and I for so long.”
“Love you, Simon,” she said. “And if I don’t get to say it and things go bad. Good…“
“Don’t say it,” Simon pleaded as he hugged her tight. “Don’t say goodbye. We’ll get through this. We always do.”
She kissed him passionately, smiled weakly and ran off to her station. Simon smiled slightly in her wake.
Jayne started to go towards his station, but Simon stopped him.
“Jayne, I need your help.”
“Whatcha need?” he asked.
“I need help with the Captain,” he told him as he led him towards the infirmary. “I have a plan.”
|abbey||Sep 15 2010, 11:25 AM Post #6|
Just remember that a lot of this story is happening at the same time, so things may seem out of order.
When they landed, Inara was quickly whisked outside and a multitude of men descended on her shuttle.
“Don’t worry, none of your things will be damaged in any way,” John assured her.
She didn’t say anything. Her heart was breaking in a million pieces. Her body felt so heavy that she could barely keep herself standing. John looked at her in concern. As if he anticipated what she needed, he motioned for one of the men to bring her a chair.
“Please, sit down, Miss Serra,” John suggested.
Inara sank into the chair. Her tears slid steadily and silently down her cheeks. Her make-up was running, but she didn’t care. She no longer held herself with the confidence of a companion. She was broken.
It didn’t take long for every scrap of Inara’s belongings to be removed from the shuttle. If the events of the day were different, she would have been quite impressed with their efficiency. John knelt down next to her once again.
“I need you to listen very carefully, Miss Serra,” he said softly. His face looked pained. “This is going to be very unpleasant.”
“More than my family dying?”
John didn’t reply to her question, but continued on with his instructions.
“We have told the Alliance that you have been in one of our medical facilities.”
“You said that already.”
“Well the facility you have been reported to be at is called Gardenwell,” John continued. Inara’s head shot up at the mention of the facility.
“That is a psychiatric facility!”
“We have to make sure our story matches with what we told the Alliance. We will be drugging you to make you appear as traumatized as we indicated,” John went on. He put her hand in his and squeezed it, trying to reassure her. She jerked her hand away and stood up abruptly, only to be restrained by two men standing behind her. “I’m sorry, Miss Serra, but it must be done.”
A man handed John a syringe filled with a blue liquid. Inara continued to struggle, but the two men behind her held her firmly. John injected her as gently as possible.
“Don’t worry, I will be with you the whole time,” John consoled her.
Inara kept fighting until she became more and more subdued. One of the men helping John picked her up.
“Save my family, please!” Inara pleaded softly as her eyes fluttered.
“I will see what I can do,” John whispered back. He reached inside the neckline of her dress and pulled out her beacon. Then, Inara was carried to another nearby ship for transport to Sihnon. John turned and gave the beacon to the man who piloted the shuttle earlier. “Leave this in the shuttle.”
“Yes, sir,” the man replied and he started toward the shuttle door. John thought for a moment and called out to the man again.
“When you fly the shuttle back to Serenity, make sure you fly over the main road in town. Maybe some of her crew will see you and it will alert them that something is wrong. It could give them a chance.”
“What ya' need, Doc?” Jayne asked.
Simon started to move a bunch of crates out of the way from the corner of the cargo bay closest to the infirmary. Jayne started to help him.
“I put it back here and had it ready to go in case I needed it again for River.”
“What we looking for?”
Simon moved the last box and revealed what he sought.
Jayne looked at the blue box that River came on board in.
“Gonna put him in that?” Jayne asked. He looked at the size of the container. “It’s too small. Mal’s a bit bigger than Crazy.”
Simon shot him a withering look. He and Jayne pulled it as close to the infirmary as they could.
“It expands,” he explained. Simon pulled a tray out from the bottom of the box. It held a bunch of steel beams. Then he pushed in a series of codes. The box hissed and then expanded to accommodate a larger person. He handed Jayne the tray of steel bars. “These are expansion bars. Place them on any joints that were exposed when the box expanded. Everything must be sealed tight. I’m going to prep the Captain.”
“Gotcha,” Jayne nodded as he put the first one in place. Simon touched him on the shoulder.
“We gotta hurry. We don’t have much time.”
Simon went and double bandaged Mal’s wounds. He had to make sure that his work would not be damaged as they placed him in the cryo chamber. He put a special cocktail in Mal’s IV. Mal was already stripped from the waist up from the surgery, but Simon needed help to get the rest off him. He went to check on Jayne’s progress. He was surprised when Jayne met him at the infirmary door.
“All done,” Jayne reported. “What now?”
“I have him prepped. All I need is to have help getting him out of his clothes and into the chamber.”
Jayne nodded and went inside with the doc. He looked up at the monitor and noticed that Mal’s EKG had flat lined. He stopped short of the bed.
“Is he dead?” Jayne whispered.
“No. I slowed his functions down for the cryo chamber.”
Jayne let out an audible sigh of relief and helped Simon get Mal situated. Simon pushed some more codes and the box came to life.
“Everything is good,” Simon said. “Let’s get this strapped in. No matter what, I want to make sure this unit doesn’t move and is hidden as much as possible. Can’t finish out the Plan if it comes loose. Use the other crates to conceal it.”
They finished up their task just as Zoe announced that the Alliance had applied a tractor beam as was pulling them in.
“Let’s get to our spots,” Simon said to him. Jayne nodded then paused.
“We just gonna leave him there?”
“We’ll have to get through this before we can help him,” Simon answered. “If the cryo chamber is strapped in, we don’t have to worry about it getting bounced around and possibly damaged.”
“Let’s get goin’ then.”
They both ran off to perform their parts in the Plan.
Edited by abbey, Oct 19 2010, 08:59 AM.
|abbey||Sep 15 2010, 11:38 AM Post #7|
She never thought she would be the one that would start the process. She always thought it would be Mal. Serenity was her home, but it was his ship. He was supposed to handle this part. She felt like a child going behind a parent’s back and it didn’t feel right.
Zoe reached out to the console with a slightly trembling hand. She took a deep breath and keyed the Plan’s execution code into Serenity’s guidance system. She was surprised when the cortex flickered on. A gush of computer code raced up the screen so fast that all she managed to glimpse before the Cortex flickered off was a message that simply stated ‘encryption sent.’ The Captain must have had River do this part, since she knew Mal didn’t have the technical abilities to pull off something like that. Obviously, it was a message that Mal felt was necessary to send. This person must be important to the completion of the Plan. She wondered who that person could be and what part they would play. This message also told her something else. She never realized how deeply and thoroughly he had thought everything out. She marveled at the complexity of it all. A slight smile creeped across her face.
“Full of surprises, Sir,” she whispered out loud. She wished that Mal would have let her in on the full aspects of the Plan, but she knew he was right about not everyone knowing the full details. It just wasn’t safe. She reached to the right of the console and picked up a small device. It was sitting next to the row of dinosaurs that no one could remove after Wash’s death. She lightly brushed her hand across one. “Might be seeing you soon, baby.”
She looked down at the device and the red indicator on it showed that the system was active. There was a switch on it and the switch was very important to Mal.
This switch will complete the first phase of the Plan. Mal had told them all when reviewing the Plan for the hundredth time one night. Once everyone, or them as can, are off the ship, this switch MUST be flipped. No exceptions, dong ma (understand)? They all had nodded, knowing that he was adamant about this particular instruction.
She was thrown back to reality when she felt Serenity lurch as the Alliance ship docked. She stood up to reveal the arsenal of weapons she had strapped on. She picked up the assault rifle that was leaning up against the lockers.
“It’s time, Sir,” she whispered as if Mal was standing right there with her. He had always been with her when they were on the battlefield. She would be deluding herself to think that this was any different from what they did during the war. She needed him then and she needed him now, even if it was only in her head. She headed down to the cargo bay.
When she arrived, Jayne and Simon were already there. They both were heavily armed as well. Her mind wandered a bit. Jayne looked normal, but seeing Simon armed like that was unsettling.
“Ready Zoe?” Jayne asked as he took his place on the catwalk immediately to the right of the cargo bay doors. It was his job to pick off as many incoming soldiers as possible before they could get a bead on where any of the others were.
“Ready as I’ll ever be,” she answered, checking the rounds in the rifle.
“Remember to protect the cryo chamber in the back,” Simon reminded as he took his spot outside of Shuttle 1. “It cannot be damaged or the Captain will have no chance.”
Kaylee ran out of Shuttle 2. She was armed as well. If it wasn’t for the gravity of their situation, Zoe may have laughed. Kaylee, with guns strapped everywhere, was almost comical.
“Both shuttles are prepped should we need them,” Kaylee announced as she wedged herself into a little nook by the entrance of Shuttle 2.
Zoe paused as she started to go to her appointed spot directly across from Jayne, but looked down to where Mal was supposed to be. The lowest catwalk directly across from the cargo bay doors had been fortified with thick metal sheeting so he would have some cover. It was the most dangerous place to be, but someone had to be there. Someone had to be able to see directly into the cargo bay doors. They had to know what they were up against so if they needed to further initiate or adjust the Plan, they could. Whoever took up that position was working against impossible odds. The metal sheeting would help, but it wouldn’t hold long if there was heavy sustained gunfire. No matter how she much tried to change his mind, Mal had insisted that he be the one to fill it.
Someone has to be there. There ain’t no way round it. Mal had told her.
It’s suicide, Sir. Zoe had countered.
Maybehaps, but it needs done. Can’t expect to have a chance if someone ain’t there to see what’s going on.
We can’t go into this blind and you know it.
He was right, but it didn’t mean she had to like it. And it also didn’t mitigate the fact that she knew exactly what he was doing. He was going stay on that catwalk until his last breath. While on Miranda, they held everything back while he got the wave out and he was going to do the same thing for them. He was going to hold that position until they could get off the ship. She knew that Mal never planned on leaving his ship. He would die making sure they all got a chance and the full details of that Plan would go with him.
She took a deep breath in and made her decision. Someone had to be there.
“I’m going across from the bay doors,” she announced as she raced down the stairs.
While the others may have been oblivious as to what it meant to be across from the bay doors, Jayne wasn’t. He was no stranger to gunfights.
If something happens to me, Jayne, make sure the others get off the boat. Don’t need no thrilling heroics, just get them off. Mal had asked one day as he pulled Jayne aside.
Why you asking me, Mal? Shouldn’t you be talking to Zoe?
If’n I’m gone, she might not be thinking at her best. It’s not been long since she lost Wash. I need you to step up and keep things moving if she can’t. Can I count on you? The look in Mal’s eyes was dead serious. It reminded him of Mal’s demeanor during Miranda. Jayne swallowed thickly.
You can. You have my word.
“Zoe! We should stick with the Plan!” Jayne yelled at her. “Mal would want you to stick with the Plan!”
“Mal’s not here. The Plan’s changed!” she responded as she reached her intended position just as the airlock door then the interior bay doors were forced open.
Crouching down behind the metal barrier, she got out her rifle and took aim. With Wash gone and Mal the way he was, she wasn’t sure that she wanted to leave the ship either.
Later, on Mr. Universe’s moon…
Two men stood at the graves of Shepherd Book, Wash and Mr. Universe.
“Which one?” the first one asked.
“We already have this subject’s specimen. The other has been deemed problematic to the program. Possibly unstable,” the second one said. He pointed a finger at the last grave. “We want that one. He has considerable talent and could prove quite useful.”
The hand that pointed out their intended target wore a blue glove.
Edited by abbey, Oct 19 2010, 09:02 AM.
|abbey||Oct 19 2010, 07:57 AM Post #8|
They were all on edge as the cargo bay doors were forced open.
“Everyone have their comms on?” Zoe asked as she visually checked with each of the remaining crew. They all nodded. “Good.”
They all waited as an eerie silence filled the cargo bay. Zoe thought it was the quietest she had ever heard in on Serenity, save for the night cycle. Then she saw the first of the soldiers come through. She knew she had to hide as long as she could. She needed to be the eyes of the crew. She adjusted the comm in her ear.
“Jayne, they’re coming through,”She said quietly.
“I see ‘em. Waitin’ for a few more to come out ‘fore shooting,” He answered. He looked down at Zoe. “You stay put long as you can. Don’t let them see you. We need you there as long as possible.”
She nodded and tightened her grip on her rifle.
The next few seconds were as if they were in slow motion. The Alliance soldiers creeped in a little at a time. The narrow airlock door didn’t allow them to rush in as a large group. It effectively served to bottle neck their entry. Once Jayne saw enough soldiers, he open fired. At least four soldiers were killed and another three gravely injured. The soldiers in the rear fell back through the airlock, dragging many of their fallen comrades with them.
“Rutting hún dàns (bastards),” she heard Jayne mutter.
After a couple of minutes, the soldiers cautiously started to come back through the airlock.
“They’re coming back, Jayne,” Zoe warned. She turned and looked up at Simon. “If they get past Jayne, it’s your turn.”
“I’m ready,” Simon said, sounding less than sure.
Zoe smiled a bit. Simon reminded her of some of the new recruits during the war. All brave on the surface but shaking like a leaf underneath. That was a good thing though. Over confident recruits were usually prone to getting dead.
The soldiers inched forward. They were well aware of Jayne’s general position so they were taking their time, trying to get a bead on him. Zoe could see the uncertainty on the faces of the soldiers in the rear of the airlock. They weren’t stupid, so they had to know that Jayne wasn’t the only person that was going to fire on them. It was then she saw a soldier in the back point directly at her position.
“They’ve seen me,” she said quietly into the comm.
“You stay down, Zoe,” Jayne advised. “We need you as our eyes. Don’t go doing nothing stupid.”
“I won’t fire until I have to.”
That is when all Hell broke loose; the Alliance knew that if they kept being cautious, the crew would pick them off one by one. So they surged in, pouring through the door as fast as possible, hoping that with all the confusion, they could gain some strategic positions inside the cargo bay itself. With all the crates, there were a lot of places to take cover behind.
Jayne took out a couple more before two soldiers pinned him down. He had to hole up behind a couple of strategically placed crates.
“I’m pinned down!” he exclaimed.
Simon opened fired, scattering the soldiers further. Bodies were starting to pile up. Soldiers that had yet to come through the airlock had to pull the bodies away so they could get in. Zoe saw her chance. As the path got cleared, she had a straight shot at thinning out anyone who planned on joining their little melee.
“Kaylee,” she said. “I’m going to start thinning them out on their way in. You need to keep them back as far as possible. We don’t want them to get under the catwalks. Jayne especially will be most vulnerable from there.”
“’Kay, Zoe,” she said firmly.
“We gotta get some them guys away from me. I can’t help y’all when I’m hiding behind a crate like a bitty bug!” Jayne barked over the comm.
Zoe opened fire and picked off one of the guys pinning down Jayne and then started pumping rounds into the airlock opening. Kaylee shot towards the other man who was covering Jayne. After a few rounds the soldier fell.
“I got him!” Kaylee exclaimed, strangely sounding like someone who just won a prize at the rifle range at the county fair.
Zoe looked up at her sharply and saw that she was half standing up.
“Kaylee, get down!” Zoe ordered.
Kaylee eyes widened as a bullet connected above her head and quickly dropped down into her nook for cover. The firefight continued.
Simon was the first one to get injured. A bullet passed through his shoulder where his body armor did not cover. He groaned and dropped his rifle. Before Zoe could even ask him how he was, Simon was on the comm.
“I’m alright,” he ground out through clenched teeth. “It went clean through. Can’t hold a gun though.”
“Juh jen sh guh kwai luh duh jean jan (this is a happy development),” Jayne muttered.
Simon looked around for a second and drew a very large handgun from one of the holsters he wore. He resumed shooting with his non-dominant hand. Zoe smiled. Mal would have been proud of him.
Then, the strangest thing happened. The ship was bumped hard by something. Bumped hard enough for some of the crates below to move. Zoe looked through the airlock door. The soldiers froze for a second then the started to fall back.
“Disengage!” she heard one of them yell. “Disengage!”
The soldiers near the airlock disappeared back into their ship. Jayne and Simon kept firing at anyone still entrenched in the cargo bay.
“What the gorram Hell’s going on?” Jayne yelled from his position.
“Don’t know. It didn’t feel like an explosion or the like, but something’s definitely ain’t right,” Zoe answered as she peered through the cargo bay doors. “I can’t see anything. Kaylee, get into the shuttle and check the sensors. Maybe we can get a clue.”
Kaylee disappeared into the shuttle. Zoe watched as her view got even stranger. There seemed to be some confusion happening within the Alliance ship. What soldiers she could see were starting to scatter. Kaylee emerged from the shuttle with a horrified look on her face. Zoe knew whatever she had to say wouldn’t be good.
“Zoe! We got Reavers!”
Gorram it. Could anything else go wrong today? Zoe thought.
Edited by abbey, Oct 19 2010, 09:01 AM.
|abbey||Oct 19 2010, 08:14 AM Post #9|
“Are they on us? Have the Reavers latched onto us?” Zoe asked.
“No. Looks like they are boarding through the Alliance ship. We probably got a bit of time before they get this far,” Kaylee continued as she ducked, avoiding another close shot. “Zoe, we have to disconnect or we’ll be done for!”
“Jayne,” Zoe called out. “How many we still have down there?”
“Three that I can see,” Jayne responded. “All the others have up and run.”
Serenity suddenly groaned and lurched towards the Alliance ship.
“They’re trying to run!” Kaylee said with shock. Zoe peered into the airlock door.
“We’re still attached to them,” Zoe informed Kaylee.
“Zoe, if we don’t disconnect, the stress will put a hole in our hull!”
Before Zoe could stop her, Kaylee bolted towards the cargo bay doors.
“Kaylee!” Simon shouted.
Kaylee ran down the stairs and started to make her way up the side of the cargo bay. Bullets glanced all around her, connecting with the hull and the crates she ducked behind. Somehow, she made it to the airlock door and with some newfound strength, pushed it closed and entered in the code to make a space-worthy seal. She turned to her left to come face-to-face with one of the soldiers. He had sneaked up along the side of the cargo bay where Jayne could not see him. Kaylee stepped back in fear.
“Don’t shoot me, please,” she whispered. “I have to disengage this airlock. We will all die if I don’t.”
The soldier paused, trying to decide what he should do. That pause was just long enough for Zoe to stand and move to the end of her catwalk so she could get a good shot at him. It only took one shot from her gun to bring the man down. The soldier hit the floor hard, but he wasn’t dead. Shakily, he raised his gun at Kaylee and pulled the trigger. It knocked her backwards and she fell to the floor with a thud. Another shot from Zoe made sure he would never shoot anyone again.
“Kaylee’s down," she whispered into her comm. Zoe stood there, unable to move. How many do we have to lose?
Jayne rotated further out of his designated space and took out another man. Just one left. Then she saw Kaylee stand up shakily and continue her work. Zoe smiled.
“But not down for the count,” she commented. “Jayne, get down to Kaylee. She needs some help.”
“On it!” he confirmed. Jayne took the fastest route to Kaylee by climbing over the rail and dropping straight down to the cargo bay floor.
Zoe looked up to see Simon starting down from his position.
“Zoe!” he screamed. “Look out!”
Just as his words registered with her, a single gunshot rang out. The bullet connected with her side, knocking her backwards. She nearly fell off the back of the catwalk, but she regained her balance and righted herself. She turned to where the bullet came from and lifted her gun, removing the last threat left inside their ship. She sat down to rest.
“I got it. We are free from their ship,” Kaylee said wearily as she removed the comm from her ear. The blood from her wound was dripping onto it.
Simon got to Zoe and clumsily started assessing her wound with his uninjured hand. At the same time he glanced anxiously back to where Jayne and Kaylee stood.
She’s OK, Doc,” Jayne relayed back to Kaylee’s worried boyfriend. “Grazed her temple. Not a bad wound, it’ll just bleed a bunch.”
Simon let out a breath as he tried to take a better look at Zoe.
“I’m OK, Simon,” Zoe told him. “Hit my armor. May have a cracked rib.”
“Good. Don’t think I could do any major doctoring anyway,” Simon smiled at her.
Zoe stood up and brushed herself off.
“It’s good time to split up. Make use of the confusion out there,” she said. “Simon and Kaylee are injured, so we’ll have to modify the Plan a bit.”
“What do you need?” Jayne asked from the cargo bay floor.
“Jayne, I need you to take Kaylee and get off this ship. Take the shuttle and use whatever means to get free of us.”
“Zoe, I need to look at Kaylee’s head,” Simon objected.
“I’m fine, Simon,” Kaylee reassured. “Just surprised me, s’all.”
“Jayne, you protect her no matter what,” Zoe ordered.
“You have my word,” Jayne said as he shuffled Kaylee off to the shuttle.
“Simon and I will finish up here,” Zoe said.
As Jayne passed into the shuttle, Kaylee lingered at the door. She smiled at Simon and disappeared into the shuttle.
“See you soon, bao bei,” Simon whispered.
They heard the shuttle disengage. Jayne’s voice came through the comm.
“There are more ships approaching. Whatever you need done, do it quick.”
“Well, you all get going. Be safe.”
Zoe and Simon looked at each other.
“You ready?” Zoe asked him.
“Not really, but tell me what I need to do.”
“How’s the shoulder.”
“It hurts. I am losing some blood, but I think I’m OK for now. Let’s just get this done.”
“Let’s get up to the bridge.”
“I’ll go check on Mal first,” Simon said as he looked down at the cryo unit. “I’ll meet you up there.”
Zoe followed his gaze down to where Mal was.
“Be fast,” Zoe warned.
They moved quickly to their intended areas. Zoe felt hot tears sting her eyes and she ran up the stairs. She missed having him by her side during the fight. She couldn’t remember the last time he wasn’t. When she got to the bridge, she wiped away the tears and started assessing what she saw outside. The Alliance ship was sustaining major damage and despite their efforts to escape, they were drifting. She saw the shuttle speeding off in the opposite direction, but she could barely see the other ship Jayne had told her about. She hoped it wasn’t Reavers. At least dying by the Alliance’s hands would be more humane. Simon came up behind her.
“Mal’s unit is good. Didn’t sustain any damage at all,” Simon informed her. “Still strapped down tight.”
That’s when they saw the shuttle violently jag to the left. The airlock blew and debris flew out of the ship. Simon and Zoe winced as the shuttle started to drift.
“I didn’t get to tell her I loved her,” Simon whispered as his eyes followed the path of the shuttle.
|abbey||Oct 19 2010, 08:37 AM Post #10|
“We need to finish,” Zoe prompted Simon.
He took a deep breath in.
“I know,” he said hollowly. “What do we need to do?”
“I’m going to the engine room. When I tell you, I want you to give a short burst from the thrusters. I don’t want us to go too fast. That other ship could still be Reavers and we can’t look like we are running. I just want to move us away from here.”
“You want to give the allusion that we’re drifting?”
“That’ll be a start. Wait for my signal,” Zoe said. She turned and exited the bridge. She got down to the engine room and set the controls as they needed to be. “Now Simon!”
Simon let the thrusters burn for about 20 seconds and then cut them off. Zoe shut down all power to the ship, including life support. She made her way back to the bridge, sealing up the doors as she went. When she got to the bridge, she sealed the last door.
“How’s it look?” she asked.
“We’re moving away from them. No one is following,” Simon reported. The ship was dark except a single indicator on the console. “Did you shut everything down?”
“Even life support. Only thing on is the comms. I want to know who we’re dealing with should anyone come calling. Did you know that an encrypted message was sent out when I keyed in the Plan’s execution code?”
“There was?” Simon questioned as he stood up. “You don’t know who it was sent to?”
“No,” Zoe said as she shook her head. “Must have been important though, I mean, for Mal to send out something like that to someone outside this ship.”
Simon nodded in agreement.
“How long are we going to stay like this?” he asked.
“I don’t want to fire things up until it is totally necessary.”
“I agree,” Simon concurred as he walked over to the lockers. “I’m going to get us some blankets. As we know from our past experience with no life support, it’s going to get cold in here.”
Simon opened the locker that he needed. He reached into the locker and started to pull out a blanket, but something in his pocket caught his attention. He tugged Inara’s beacon out and regarded it for a moment before tossed it into the locker. “I guess we don’t need these anymore.”
“Guess not,” Zoe answered back, hollowly.
Simon grabbed a blanket out of the locker and turned to give it to Zoe, but the room started to spin wildly. He fell back softly against the locker doors.
“I suppose I might be losing more blood than I thought.”
In an instant, Zoe was next to him and helped him down to a seated position on the floor. She pulled out the rest of the blankets and closed the door. Reaching into a different locker, she pulled out a lantern and a med kit. She set the lantern on the very lowest setting, just to give them a modicum of light and moved on to evaluating his injury.
“I can clean and dress it,” Zoe told him. “But that is about it.”
“You can apply one of the heavy-duty pressure wraps on the wound. Should slow down the bleeding,” Simon told her.
Zoe nodded and set off to her task. After a considerable amount of pain, Zoe had him cleaned and patched up.
“All done, Doctor,” she said with a slight smile on her lips. “I think I have the wrap on right. We didn’t have such fancy things during the war and that’s where I’ve had the most practice.”
“Feels better,” Simon reassured her.
After she was done, she picked up the blankets and sat down next to Simon on the floor. She covered both of them up and they sat in silence for a bit.
“Were you going to blow the airlock after you sealed everything up?” Simon asked, breaking the silence.
Zoe took a deep breath before answering.
“Planned on it, but I decided against it,” she said.
“Didn’t seem we needed to go that far… yet.”
“You didn’t blow the airlock because of Mal, didn’t you?” Simon asked. The comment didn’t seem to register with Zoe, but after a bit, she nodded her head.
“Couldn’t take the chance that he’d come loose. We ain’t losing crew because of something we done ourselves.”
Simon nodded in agreement. He took in a breath and exhaled wearily.
“I miss Kaylee. What if…” he started.
“Can’t dwell on the ‘what ifs,’ Simon,” Zoe said cutting him off. “What’s done is done.”
“I still miss her.”
“Everything is just so wrong now.”
“Been wrong for awhile,” Zoe agreed. They sat in silence for a while longer. It was then Simon realized Zoe was crying. Using his good arm, he pulled her close.
“You miss him.”
“More with each passing day. Wash was a good man. And now Mal… I-I don’t know if I can…” Zoe wept. Simon didn’t need to be psychic to know what she meant.
“We still have things to do. Mal would want you to make sure they were done.”
“We’ll get him someplace where we can give him the help he needs,” Simon reassured her. “He’ll be OK. I swear that man has nine lives.”
Zoe half-chuckled at the comment.
“That he does.”
An Alliance officer looked into the room through an observation window. Inara Serra lay curled up on the floor of a padded room. Her hair was unkempt and she didn’t even resemble the companion she was. He looked at her chart with suspicion.
“There has been quite a bit of improvement, Sir,” the Guild doctor reported. “When we first rescued her, she was quite violent. She ranted about Reavers and a planet full of dead people. We had to restrain her.”
“She still has episodes where she babbles incoherently. Usually, it is something about that Captain who had her. I think it is a touch of Stockholm syndrome; seems that she is fiercely loyal to that man. Sometimes, she also insists on going back to that ship where she was being held.”
“Serenity,” the officer stated.
“Yes, that was the name,” the doctor continued. “We haven’t been able to disassociate her with her thoughts of the Captain quite yet, but we are working on it.”
“We also think she actually believed that the unauthorized wave broadcasted about Miranda was real.”
“Does she still speak of the broadwave?”
“Of course not. She understands that it was all an elaborate hoax made to make the Alliance look bad. Miranda is a black rock,” the doctor said. He let out a small laugh. “Everyone knows that something like that would never happen. It’s too barbaric. Plus no one could cover up something so large. It fooled a lot of people out on the Rim, though.”
“Indeed,” agreed the officer. He looked up from her chart and back to Inara. “Well, everything looks to be in order. I am following this case very closely.”
“The Guild appreciates your interest in helping Miss Serra. She has been through much.”
“We just want to see her well,” the Alliance officer said, sounding less than sincere.
“Thank you, Sir.”
The officer left the hospital and went to file his report. After a safe amount of time, someone went into Inara’s room and knelt down next to her.
“Inara? It’s John. You are doing very well,” John whispered as he smoothed her wild hair and squeezed her hand in comfort. “Just a little while longer.”
John got up and disappeared as quickly as he came. Inara’s stare was fixed on the opposite wall.
“Need to go back. Mal. Please don’t be dead. Want to go home. Have to help them,” she softly babbled over and over.
Edited by abbey, Oct 19 2010, 09:02 AM.
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