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Friday, April 29, 2011
Malcolm Reynolds Vs. Caleb (Parts 6-10)
Last time: The crew of Serenity are hijacked and brought into Reaver space, where they find a man with a striking resemblance to Mal.
Zoe and Mal stared stupidly out of the view port.
“Captain, what are you doing outside the ship?”
“I ain’t outside the ship. I’m here.”
“That fella out there looks a hell of a lot like you.”
“Not really. The hairs all wrong.”
“Yeah, but not by much.”
“Why would we be hijacked, only to find somebody floating out in the black?”
“I can’t say I know, Captain.”
“This has just been a weird day.”
“Well, besides this. I saw Kaylee and Simon naked.”
“We need to institute some sort of early awareness system for those two. Like a necktie on the doorknob.”
“Except Serenity don’t have doorknobs. Just a weird day.”
“I can scan him, make sure he’s just a dead body in space.
“Do that. Then bring him aboard. Fella that good looking should have a proper burial.”
“The body could be full of bombs.”
“Yeah. The scans should pick that up. If he is, leave him be.”
Jayne wasn’t aware that he was getting on Zoe’s nerves. Jayne had heard that they’d found a man in space, one that was still alive. He wanted to see. He wanted Zoe to see. He was as excited as a child on Christmas morning. Confusion plastered across his face when he saw who they’d brought in.
“That ain’t Wash.” Jayne said aloud.
“What?” Zoe asked. She looked like she’d been slapped in the face. “What do you mean ‘That ain’t Wash?”’ Jayne went pale.
“Why the hell would it be?” Zoe asked. Moisture was welling in her big brown eyes, but rage was festering as well. Jayne tried to summon words, but none would come.
“Get the hell away from me, Jayne.”
Jayne hurried away, moving back to his bunk.
“You are dumb.” The first said with a biting sort of glee.
“What the hell was that?” Jayne said angrily. “Who the hell is that and why does he look like Mal?”
“How do you managed to breathe, you stupid ape?” The first was laughing openly now. Jayne swung at him and his hand went, harmlessly, through the incorporeal Wash. Jayne’s fist slammed into a metal wall and a loud crack issued into the silence. He’d just broken his own hand.
“Every single, last person on this boat is going to die, Jayne. It’s all thanks to you.” The first said, before disappearing into the shadows.
Caleb awoke on Simon’s table. His arms were bound down and he was feeling swimmy in the head.
“Morning, or Evening. It gets difficult to tell when you’re not orbiting a star.” Simon said, while washing his hands. “I gave you a sedative for any pain you might be feeling. Deep space isn’t good for your health.”
“And the restraints?” Caleb asked.
“Strangers tend not to be good for our health. Somebody ends up getting shot, or stabbed. One time, a stranger stranded the Captain in the middle of the desert, naked.”
“Good policy, then.” Caleb said, ripping the restraints out from the bed in one smooth motion. “You know, in theory.” Caleb stood and then stumbled to one side, holding his head.
“You gave me the good stuff, didn’t you.” Caleb fell to one knee. Simon picked up a scalpel.
“That’s brave of you, but I’d recommend running. Once the room stops spinning I’m gong to snap your neck like a chicken bone.” Simon took the advice and skirted around the preacher. Caleb vomited on the Medical bay floor.
Simon raced down the halls, his footfalls echoing through the narrow spaces and straight into Jayne. He cradled Kaylee in his arms. He was favoring his left hand. His right was clumsily bandaged.
“Kaylee.” Simon said in a near whisper. “What happened to her?”
“She bumped her head. I think she’ll be okay.” Simon brushed back her hair and pried apart her eyelids.
“Minor concussion. You’re right. Give her to me.” Jayne deposited Kaylee in Simon’s arms. “Go tell Mal that the man we brought in is awake and hostile.” Jayne did as he was bid.
Jayne arrived breathless in the cockpit, his favorite gun under his arm. Mal and Zoe were fiddling with the navigation control and Mal yelled out as sparks issued from the terminal.
“Simon says the Shepherd’s up and acting crazy.”
“So you’re going to shoot him?” Zoe asked.
“Seems like a good idea.”
“How crazy is crazy?” Mal asked.
“Crazy enough that Simon left running.”
“The three of us will go down, see if we can’t cool him down some.” Mal said, getting up from under the terminal.
The three of them arrived in the medical bay with blasters in hand. Caleb was hunched over on the examination table with his arm holding his stomach.
“Hello, My name is Malcolm Reynolds. I’m Captain of this here boat. I’d like to have a word with you.”
“What word would that be?” Caleb said, puling himself erect.
“Probably words about how one might treat his rescuers…”
“Words about why you have The Captain’s face and why we were led straight to you.” Zoe added.
“He does not have my face.”
“I don’t know about that. There is a resemblance. If it bothers you, though. I don’t mind smashing it in for you.”
“Comments like that make us not what to play nice.” Mal said.
“I don’t play at all.” Caleb’s threat lost credibility when he attempted to walk. He was all stumbling feet and flailing arms. Mal, Zoe and Jayne resisted the urge to laugh. Caleb got close enough to strike and he did. He sent the three of them flying into the opposite wall.
“Somebody start shooting, please.” Mal yelled. He found himself at the bottom of a pile of writhing limbs. Jayne was near sitting on his chest. Zoe was the first to fire and Caleb roared with pain as he fell back into the depths of the medical bay. Jayne was the second to fire, but that was more reactionary. His shots punched into the wall. Mal got up and drew his pistol. He moved forth before the other two and got a foot to the chest for his bravery. He flew past the other two and Zoe and Jayne opened fire.
“I’m tired of being hit!” Mal screamed out, getting back up on his feet. Caleb was getting up for the second time.
“Captain, He’s getting up more times than a shot man should.” Jayne called. Mal popped a few shots into Caleb.
“Just keep shooting him, he’ll get the point.”
“I don’t think so. I’m a slow learner.” Caleb said and then he threw the examination table at them.
Mal, Zoe and Jayne groaned under a pile of twisted metal and broken glass. Mal freed himself from under Jayne for the second time and limped down the hall. Mal had a gash across his forehead and his ribs were feeling tender, but he was on his feet. That was good enough for him. Caleb had left the three for the rest of the ship. There was a fair concern, in Mal’s mind, that Caleb was up to some sort of mischief. At least, the bullets had done some good. A dotted trail of blackish crimson snaked the hallway leading away from the medical bay. At least they hurt him.
Mal found Caleb panting by Inara’s shuttle. Caleb had beads of sweat creeping down his brow and blood dripped from his fingertips. Hate bristled on his face and Mal saw what he’d look like if he were an animal. This man he’d pulled from space wasn’t a man at all. Mal plugged him twice and a third time as he snaked his way into Inara’s shuttle. She wasn’t there, fortunately. Mal rose his gun as footsteps thudded toward him. It was Jayne. He was puffing and grimacing, favoring his right leg. It’d have to be set in a cast.
“He in there?” He asked, hefting his favorite gun.