|I Got Yer AU Right Here
Author: Thescarredman PM
A collection of what-if Firefly story snippets inspired by Fallshirmjager, who has since changed his name... Coincidence? I think not.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi - Chapters: 4 - Words: 5,627 - Reviews: 22 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 11 - Updated: 12-15-10 - Published: 09-14-09 - id: 5376723
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Mal stood facing his 'rescuers', hands in the air, trying to convince himself the gun their captain was holding on him was a simple precaution. "Y'know, anything that's worth anything is right here in this cargo bay. So, you take a look around, decide what's fair."
"Already decided." The man fired once. Mal felt a familiar punch in the gut, the world tilted, and the deck smacked him in the back. He found himself staring blurrily up at the catwalk. His hand found the fiery pain in his belly and came away wet. "We're takin your ship."
The mule's underside, and the holstered automatic he'd attached there, were inches from his hand. Righteous anger filled Serenity's captain, pushing the pain away, as he fumbled to free the weapon while he listened to the scheming hwundan giving orders aboard his ship. It wasn't the only firearm he'd secreted about the ship before he'd opened the hatch. He just wished he'd been able to lay hands on a better to face them with. The mule had seemed the least likely place he'd need a gun, so the least piece in the gun locker had gone there. He doubted he could force them off the ship with it; even if he did, they probably would have to wait only a few minutes before boarding again, the way the wound was bleeding. But at least he'd settle with the leader before they brought him down.
He had just gotten the gun in his hand and was preparing to stand when a voice boomed out through the ship's speakers. "Well, Mal, you was right. You just can't trust the kinda folks slip around in the back of the Black."
A red dot appeared on the side of the pirate captain's head, then traveled down to the center of his chest as he turned towards the front of the hold. The man looked down at it. "Cy! You told me he was alone!"
"We looked in every room!" The men looked up into the shadowy ceiling of the forward hold, but there was too much clutter hanging in the shadows of that dim-lighted space to make anything out.
"Bet I can drop all a ya before ya make it out of the hold," Jayne's voice went on. "Startin with Cap'n Gosa there. If any of you do make it back to your door, for sure you won't get it shut in time. I got a grenade launcher and Willie-Petes."
The pirates froze. A couple of white phosphorous grenades fired through the open hatch would be enough to set off a ship-killing fire. Their captain called up into the darkness, "You do that, you might burn up both ships. We'll all die."
"Ayuh," Jayne replied cheerily. "Kinda exhiliratin, innit?"
Mal stood unsteadily and pointed his gun at the man holding the catalyzer. "He ain't all right in the head, but he's a crack shot, and a terror in a firefight." He waggled the weapon. "I'm feelin a mite touchy myself right now."
Without waiting for an order, the man stooped, carefully placed the part in the floor grate, and stepped back.
The leader took a step towards the hatch. "You got what you wanted. We're leavin."
"Not so fast." The dot leaped to the open hatch and the inside of the other ship. The pirates froze again.
"Let em go, Jayne," Mal said. "He's right. We got the part." And besides, he thought, I don't know how much longer I can stand.
"Ain't enough. I'm thinkin you owe us something for the aggravation. Plus, you shot my captain. I don't hold with that, less I do it. Strip."
They looked at one another. "Strip?"
"Your guns are feioo, and I bet you got nothing else I want, but I gotta take what I can get. Sides," he said, "maybe your escape'll seem tighter if you go back to your ship nekkid as newborns. You need a better lesson bout dealin fair with strangers. Skin down."
Weapons and belts rattled on the deck, followed by the thump of boots. One of the pirates was a woman, and somewhat comely, and Mal put down the impulse to avert his eyes as she shrugged out of her bibs and crossed her arms to lift the hem of her shirt. In a few minutes, it was done, and the five stood shivering on the cold plates. The leader glared up into the dark. "That it? Are we done?"
"Almost. Turns out you got something I want after all." The red dot swung over to rest on the collarbone of the woman. "She stays. Bet she'll fetch a decent price on Heaven's Gate, once I train her proper." The dot returned to the pirate captain's chest. "Don't act all put out about it. I know what kinda folk I'm dealin with. Even if one a ya's tuppin her, you'll do it without lookin back to save your skins. Best leave her quick, while it's still sinkin in. She'll make less of a fuss that way."
The pirate captain shrugged and turned for the door, and the other three men filed out behind him. The woman watched them go with wide eyes. "Cal…"
Whichever one 'Cal' was, he paid her no more notice than the others. The other captain, with one bare foot on the icy ramp, said, "You'd have done the same."
"We're provin right now that's not true," Mal said before he realized the hundan was talking to the girl. He waggled the pistol. "Get the hell off my boat." To the girl he said, "Close it up." When she didn't move, he wiggled the pistol towards the control pedestal. "Close it up." As soon as the doors thunked closed, he leaned heavily on the mule, almost too weary to speak.
From the darkness at the top of the forward hold, the end of a rope dropped almost to the deck. With a slithery sound, a spacesuited figure slid into view, one hand holding a rifle with an underslung grenade launcher, the other checking the line attached to his belt. Through the transparent faceplate, Jayne's features were clearly visible. He touched boots to the plates, slung the weapon over his shoulder, and twisted off his helmet. Jayne tromped towards the two at the hatch, his eyes traveling all over the naked girl, who tried to cover herself with her hands. He grinned shamelessly. "Kinda cold in here, innit?"
Mal slumped against the mule, but with his best effort kept his feet under him, barely, and the darkness at arm's length. He could hear thumps and squeals through the hull as the other ship uncoupled and disembarked. "Get your clothes on, girl. Jayne, why aren't you on Inara's shuttle?"
Jayne took the captain's arm and draped it around his neck. "This gonna take long? I kinda wanna move past the 'I gave you an order' gosa and get on to 'thanks for savin all our lives'." He pulled until the deck was solidly under Mal's feet again. "You're tappin out. We gotta get you to sickbay and close you up."
The girl stood with her bibs clutched to her, but hadn't dressed. Jayne, his humor gone, growled. "What are you starin at? You got all your marbles, ain't ya?" He grumbled, "Last thing we need's another moonbrain female on board."
The girl eyed the weapons on the floor.
"Think it through," Jayne said. "You really wanna go back to them?"
"I don't want to end up in a crib on Heaven's Gate either." She had a nice voice, Mal thought, beginning to feel woozy again.
"Not likely," Jayne said, turning his back on her. With one hand on Mal's wrist and the other around his waist, the big merc started to walk him forward to the hatch leading to sickbay. "Captain'd never stand for me sellin you. I held you back cause I saw the look on your face when that hwundan shot him, and all the looks you gave him after. Didn't seem right to leave you with those lieu mangs. I just wanted to open your eyes a little, so you didn't miss em much. If you're real grateful, though, or just lookin for a bunkie, I'm open to suggestion."
"Show her the empty port bunk, across from Kaylee," Mal grunted. "If she wants to sleep somewhere else, that's her business. After she puts in the catalyzer." They paused at the hatch. "You know how, right?"
"Sort of," she said doubtfully.
An alarm went off, accompanied by a recorded voice. "Life support failure. Check oxygen levels at once." It began to repeat the warning in Mandarin.
"Good time to learn," Mal said, as Jayne almost lifted him over the hatch coaming and stumbled with him down the stairs. The girl followed them down, still half- dressed and barefoot.
Jayne yanked on the infirmary door, and turned to look at her. "Cap'n gave you an order, girlie. You crew or not?"
As the big merc eased him onto the exam table, Mal said, "Why'd you save her, Jayne?"
Jayne opened Mal's bloody shirt. "Dunno, really. She just didn't belong there. I just… my life ain't exactly been fulla second chances. Maybe if I pay forward, it means somebody owes me one." He applied a compression bandage to the wound. Mal groaned in pain and almost blacked out.
"Stay with me, Mal," Jayne said, seemingly from crew quarters. "Where we headed next?"
"Greenleaf." He struggled to concentrate. "And after that, Ariel."
The alarm fell silent, and a breeze moved through the compartment.