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Friday, May 27, 2011
Malcolm Reynolds Vs. Caleb (Parts 15-19)
I wanna hear some screaming. I give you four! Count'em Four Chapters of the Mother-f'in' mini-epic: Malcolm Reynolds Vs. Caleb. We're nearing the end of the road, so I won't keep you.
Here is, the story so far: Mal and Jayne had Caleb cornered, but the tables were quickly turned when a confused and scared River attacks the pair. Meanwhile, the first pays Zoe a visit. It attempts to get her to kill herself. She does not.
Zoe stood up on unsteady legs, rubbing tears from her eyes. Kaylee tried to help her, but she pushed the girl away, putting her palm on the girl’s shoulder and applying not unkind force to it. Kaylee put her arms around herself and watched as Zoe stumbled toward the doorway. Simon was sifting through the wreckage of the medical bay.
“Any idea where the Captain went?” Zoe asked, clearing her throat and peering down the hall.
“Not sure. The action moved out toward Inara’s ship, probably there.” Kaylee said, watching Zoe with concern. Simon drew in an excited breath and Zoe and Kaylee turned to look at him. He gave an embarrassed look and showed them a small, black leather bag about the shape and size of a bible.
“Not everything is broken.” Simon said shyly.
“What is it?” Kaylee asked.
“Just some antibiotics and sedatives. Nothing, really.” He dropped the hand holding the bag.
“He was walking funny, like he was drunk.” Zoe said, looking back down the hall.
“The man we brought in? Yeah, I administered a sedative.”
“Would that do the same thing?” Zoe asked.
“Something like it, yes.”
“Than we’re going to visit your patient.”
Sparks popped down onto Caleb’s chest. The First had him and River go into Inara’s shuttle. He wasn’t much for machinery, a priest and murderer by profession, and he made his frustration known. It wasn’t really his fault either. He was being asked to work with technology a handful of centuries more advanced than anything he’d ever seen. He growled as he tried to undo what the First had had Jayne do earlier. The First whispered instructions, which Caleb found more and more difficult to take.
“You are a special kind of guy, aren’t you.” The First said, a hollow smile stretched across its face.
River sat in a corner, wiping silently with her hands over her head, a small bit of cruelty on the First’s part. The First had the ability to appear to a singular person, to whispering, to corrupt. The First hadn’t chosen to do this. No, the First decided to allow River to see it as Wash and to see it as Wash with a sucking chest wound, complete with dribbles of blood. This wasn’t the fully extent of the First’s cruelty. River had barricaded the door with Inara’s old furniture. She’d seen hordes of the undead gnashing and clawing at her. Blackish brown blood streams from their mouths, noses and from their eyes. They bore jagged, shattered teeth in their mouths and they looked hungry. She couldn’t understand what she was see, couldn’t rationalized how hundreds of dead people were both animated and on Serenity. The First had spared Caleb the constant sounds of ragged fingernails scratching against the metal.
The shuttle began to hum softly to life and Caleb gave a celebratory hoot.
“River, darling. We’re getting out of here.”
Mal blinked and blinked again. He smiled softly as a lovely voice spoke his name. It was Inara’s voice, though Mal wasn’t sure how that could be. Inara was gone. But he looked up to her face. Plush lips, soft skin, long, dark curls and such lovely eyes.
“Mal, you need to get up.” The news that Mal wasn’t privy to, was that Inara wasn’t there. His heart would shatter when he learned that fact.
“Mal, you need to get to the cockpit. Reavers, Mal.” Reaver knew Reavers and need to get up. What wasn’t Inara was right, if there were Reavers. He patted around, looking for his gun. His hand landed on his weapon. Where Jayne laid unconscious, Mal saw a writhing Reaver with a face striped with blood and bits of metal. He aimed the gun down at Jayne, fixing to put the Reaver out of his misery.
Jayne’s eyes cracked open to the sight of Mal aiming the gun down at him and Jayne uttered an apology for the wrongs he did. He remembered the conversation Mal and him had after the business on Ariel. Mal chose not to kill him, and Jayne knew it was a choice.
“Mal. Do it quick. It was my fault.” Jayne said softly.
He felt the blast before it came, though the blast never did. The gun exploded out from Mal’s hand and footsteps rushed toward the two of them. The world was swirling around for Jayne, but he steadied everything enough see Mal do something Jayne never thought Mal would do. Mal drove the heel of his boot into Zoe’s chest, just in time to stop Zoe from shooting Mal.
Simon screamed that Mal wasn’t the other guy, but Mal wasn’t backing down, so Zoe wasn’t either. Simon was fumbling with a black bag and fished out a needle, which he stabbed into Mal’s neck. Mal gave a scream and then collapsed to the floor.
Simon was tending to the unconscious Mal, though Jayne was the one with the bad leg. Simon hadn’t forgotten what Jayne did, nor Kaylee, nor Zoe. There was more than a little bit of bad blood flowing in the corridor. Nobody was aiming a gun at Jayne, which Jayne was grateful for. A finger might slip, accidentally on purpose. Jayne wasn’t sure how much they gleamed about his part in the matter. He wasn’t looking to hide any of it, but he would have liked to share that information with an unarmed party. He figured that if anyone would, it would be Zoe. Simon was sweet on Kaylee and Jayne attempting to sell his sister to the Alliance didn’t help the relationship the two of them had. Kaylee was probably still sore about being knocked out and stuffed in a cart.
“How many of those sedatives do you have left?” Zoe asked Simon.
“One more.” Simon said with a wilted tone. “He shouldn’t have been able to move around like he was with the sedatives that I gave him in the first place. This is weaker in comparison.”
“Will it slow him down?” Zoe asked.
“It’ll do something, I’m sure of that at least.”
“Zoe!” Jayne called. A low rumbling sounded through the hall that heralded a shuttles departure.
“Zoe! He’s in there. He’s got River in there, will him.”
“River’s in there?” Simon said, his eyes beginning to bug out of his head. He jumped up, leaving Mal to Kaylee’s care. He began banging on the porthole, leading into Inara’s shuttle. The door wouldn’t open. He screamed his little sister’s name and his calls echoed through the halls.
From the other side of the door, River couldn’t hear much of Simon’s desperate calls. Simon’s voice couldn’t carry through any ship worthy of space travel. But still, River heard him. It was a pin point of his psychic consciousness blazing light out to her. She thought his eyes and understood the world as he did. She wasn’t with Mal and the halls weren’t filled with the undead. Through his understanding, she saw the man before her and saw the bloody mess he’d made of her new family.
In the excitement and hurry, Mal hadn’t noticed that River still held Jayne’s favorite gun which was a horrific mistake considering the size of it and considering that the First was losing what control it had over her. Caleb turned to the sound of the gun cocking.
“ Such a big gun, being held by a little girl. Remember me, there darling?” Caleb said, walking casually to River.
“Ain’t no need for…” River fired twice into his stomach. It didn’t kill him, like all the other bullets didn’t him, but wasn’t her focus, he was just in the way. She fired again, blasting the shuttle’s navigation terminal. It sparked, exploded and the shuttle caught fire. Caleb stood with a wild blaze at his back. Violent arks of electricity lanced through the air and the two of them sneered at each other. Caleb was bleeding black acid and his fists were balled. River shot him again, popping him in the head. Caleb collapsed to the ground like a hog-tied bull. River went to the task of breaking down the barricade she’d made and of getting the door unlocked. The onboard computer wouldn’t allow the doors to open while the shuttle was launching, but she took care of that when she destroyed the terminal. The door swung open and she fell into Simon’s arms. She pulled away from his embrace and started toward the cockpit.
“We have to jettison the shuttle before he gets up.” She told him. She ran and Simon followed, tossing the black bag to Zoe.