The Firefly Serenity coasted smoothly through space, passing clouds of dust and occasional debris as her crew slept soundly in their cabins. They were on their way to Bernadette to drop off a shipment of supplies to a colony of settlers. It was an honest job, an easy job and not a hint of thievin' at all. The crew would get some much-needed r&r, and Inara had some clients lined up for their arrival.
Suddenly, the proximity alarm began to blare. Mal's eyes shot open and he jumped out of his cot, and quickly threw on his clothes. He flew out into the hallway at the same time as Wash and Zoe.
"I'm on it, Captain," Wash called out before Mal had a chance to bark an order. The pilot ran up the steps and disappeared.
"Reavers?" Zoe asked in an urgent whisper, strapping a pistol to her hip.
"What's going on, Cap'n?" Kaylee's head appeared from behind her door as the rest of the crew stumbled into the hallway.
"I want you all to get back to your cabins until I tell you otherwise," Mal looked pointedly at each of them, the alarm still blaring. "Zoe, you're with me." They raced to the bridge where Wash was frantically hitting buttons and flicking switches.
Serenity, it seemed, was being pulled into an anomaly.
"It's pulling us in, Captain!" Wash yelled.
"Well, pull us out!" Mal yelled back, gesturing wildly at the windscreen.
"Wuh de tyen ah, I'm trying!" Wash spat back through gritted teeth, wiping some perspiration from his brow. "It's too strong!"
"Ta ma de!" Mal muttered as he jabbed at the intercom. "Kaylee, why is my gorram ship flying into this big, blue blob thing? Get us the hell out of here!"
"Well, gee, Captain," Kaylee's voice boomed back through the intercom. "If I'da known we was flyin' into a big, blue blob thing, I might be able to tell you."
"Get those engines working, Kaylee." Mal stared out at the anomaly and swallowed the lump in his throat.
Wash spun his chair around in exasperation. "It doesn't matter, Captain, we're too close."
Serenity was enveloped in the brilliant blue light and began to shake and groan as it entered the anomaly. Zoe sat down in one of the jumpseats and buckled herself in.
Mal ran his hand over his face and hit the intercom again. "We're goin' on a field trip. Brace for impact."
Serenity swam in a sea of blue for what seemed like hours, though none of them could say with any certainty how much time had actually passed. No one spoke, though Wash let out a string of muttered curses every now and then.
And then, in the midst of the blue, a great flash of white enveloped the ship and everything stopped.
Mal's head throbbed and he opened his eyes gingerly, feeling like he'd drank gallons of the "mudder's milk" they made in Canton. He found he was lying on the floor of the bridge. Wash was passed out with his head resting on the controls and Zoe's head was laying limply against the wall. Mal looked up and his eyes widened in shock.
"Wash," he said urgently. When the pilot didn't move he spoke again, louder. "Wash!"
Wash stirred and looked up. "What's going…. Oh… oh God. I can fix this. God."
Serenity no longer swam in an endless sea of blue. Instead, the Firefly was now hurtling toward some world at an incredible rate of speed. Wash's eyes darted around as he struggled to get the ship back under his control.
Mal had pushed himself up and roused Zoe before leaning forward with his hand resting on Wash's chair. "You are not allowed to crash this ship, do you understand?"
Wash swallowed a bitter laugh in his throat. Footsteps from behind caused Mal to glance over his shoulder.
"What's all the gorram noise?" Jayne yawned as he stumbled on to the bridge. "Can't a guy get any gorram sleep around here?" He stepped forward and blinked. "Uh, you guys know we're about to crash?"
Serenity began to lose momentum and Wash let out a breath. "We're not crashing, Captain… but, as I'm pretty sure this isn't Bernadette, this would qualify as an 'unscheduled rendevous.'"
Mal grunted and pulled the intercom from the wall. "Wakey, wakey. We've hit some weirdness and we're gonna have to make a stop until we figure out what just happened."
Kal Tabris felled the last of the hurlocks that had overrun the alienage and spun around wildly, looking for movement. In the commotion, she'd lost track of her friends. And Shianni. Had any of the other elves survived? She felt her stomach clench in fear and bile rising to her throat.
She jumped off of the platform she had been standing on and began to run through the street back the way she had come.
"Kal," a voice called weakly from her right. She whipped her head around and gasped.
"Zevran!" she cried out, running to him. He was pale, and bleeding from a wound on his side. "Shit!" She fumbled with a potion in her pack and brought it to his lips.
"Ah," he croaked out. "I feel better already."
Kal wrapped some cloth tightly around the wound. "I need to find Wynne and Alistair... if they're... don't move. If something else comes just don't move!"
Zevran smiled weakly and reached up to run his thumb over her cheek. "Go, mi amor. Do you remember when we met? I am quite adept at feigning death when the opportunity arises."
Kal kissed him and began to run. She found them at the gates. Wynne was hunched over Alistair, blue light spilling out from her fingers over a cut on his head. She ran over to them.
"Ow, ow, ow," Alistair whined as his skin knit together. "Is this going to leave mark?"
Wynne rolled her eyes. "Only if you keep moaning."
"Wynne," Kal breathed as she came up next to them. "Zev is hurt. He looked bad. Are you both okay?"
"Yes," Wynne said with a quick nod. "Alistair, this will have to do for now."
Kal led them back to where Zevran lay motionless on the ground and watched as Wynne used her magic. Slowly the color began to return to his face and his chest began to rise and fall steadily. He opened his eyes and groaned.
"Under normal circumstances, I would suggest resting," Wynne said as she looked over Zevran's wound. "But..."
Zevran pushed himself to his feet and winced against the pain. "I believe we have an Archdemon to kill."
The four headed deeper into the city.
Mal stood with his mouth open staring at the scene in front of them. Black smoke and flames rose into the air as a city burned to the ground. They could make out figures coming together in close battle as Wash guided Serenity over the city.
"I don't see any other ships, Captain," Zoe said quietly. "Why are they fighting so - what was that?"
Something huge flew off in the distance, circling a tower. Smaller than Serenity - but not by much.
"Something ain't right here, Captain," Jayne said nervously, tugging his wool-knit hat over his ears. "That's a ruttin' dragon."
"Huh," was all Mal could manage to say.
Kal and the others reached the top of Fort Drakon. The archdemon roared, fire spitting out of its mouth, as it landed on the old stone fortress. The tower shook at the contact, and Kal almost lost her footing. Darkspawn began pouring out onto the roof.
Kal felt her blood pumping and her head almost exploded with the sounds of them. She let out a scream and let her arrows fly.
Jayne ran down to his bunker and dug through his collection of guns, artfully concealed behind a ratty blanket on his wall. Jayne hoisted a big one off of the wall and dug through a box for ammo. He loaded the weapon and strapped some more shells to his belt.
He reached the bridge and found the captain, Zoe and Wash staring at him with their mouths open.
Jayne shrugged. "What?"
"Tell me you didn't really have an rpg in your bunk," Zoe choked out a laugh.
Jayne scratched his chin. "It wasn't in my bunk. It was on the wall."
"Whatever," the captain said, turning back to the window. "Think it'll take down a dragon?"
Jayne grinned. "Only one way to find out."
"Okay, the plan is, Wash gets us close enough for you to blast that thing to pieces," Mal yelled up at Jayne. Jayne had climbed up to the roof hatch.
"Uh... Captain," Jayne yelled down to him with a frown. "I know this was my idea and all, but... what if it don't work?"
"Well, in the event you get eaten by a dragon, we'll probably all be dead, so I'll let you off the hook," Mal grinned. "Wash, we ready?"
"Good to go, Captain," Wash called back.
Mal smacked the ladder and yelled up. "Shoot the bastard!"
The archdemon was struggling. Kal could see it. Feel it. The screaming in her head was almost deafening now. Dalish archers showered arrows at the darkspawn as they advanced on her party, making it so they could focus on the dragon before them. But from the corner of her eye, Kal saw something else coming toward them in the sky.
"Maker's blood!" Alistair cried out. "What is that?"
Kal risked a look and saw... something... flying toward them. It was no dragon, that much she could tell, but any other explanation escaped her. But there were men inside of it, and someone had come out from the top.
A sudden scream erupted through the air and three projectiles slammed into the archdemon's head one after the other. The archdemon's head exploded in a shower of blood and corruption, and Kal watched, mouth agape as a bright light erupted from where the creature lay and swept over her.
Wash brought Serenity down to the ground and Mal watched as what looked like thousands of men - no, not men, weird man-like beasts - retreated from the city. A crowd of people began surrounding the ship whooping and cheering, waving swords and axes and bows in the air.
"Guess we done good, Captain," Zoe said, her arms folded over her chest.
Mal nodded and slapped Jayne on the back. "Let's go meet the adoring public."
Jayne gaped at the beautiful woman in front of him. A queen. A ruttin' queen! And there she was, thanking him for saving her country. It was enough for him to forget about the elves and the huge rock person, and the purple-eyed muscly guy staring holes in the back of his head. And that fact that he had just killed a dragon.
"Wow," Kaylie breathed next to him. "Queen Anora is mighty pretty."
"Without this man," the queen's voice carried beautifully over a crowd. "We surely would not be standing here right now. I present to you, the Hero of Ferelden."
Cheers washed over him like rain, and all Jayne could do was smile.
Kal and Alistair were speechless. Everything Riordan had said to them had been a lie.
"My name is Leliana," a pretty red-head said as she came beside Jayne. "I am a bard, and I have been charged by the queen with writing a song about you."
"Not another one," Mal groaned as he wiped a hand over his face.
"That other one don't count!" Jayne glowered at him before turning back to the bard.
Leliana smiled at him. "It seems you are no stranger to adoration. That should make this a little easier, no? Tell me, Jayne, how does it feel to be a hero?"
"All I did was blow the head off that thing," Jayne found himself saying, much to his surprise. "It seems to me that you all were fightin' and dyin' way before we got to this little 'verse."
"Interesting," she said slowly. "So what you're saying is everyone is a hero of Ferelden."
"Uh, sure," Jayne said with a shrug. "What you said. Kind of. Not as big a hero as me, but uh... yeah."
Serenity flew off the world and into the quiet space that surrounded the world. The anomaly was still there.
"Well, let's all get strapped in and hope this thing can take us back home," Mal said matter-of-factly. "You got that, 'hero'?"
Jayne grunted as he headed to his bunk. Zoe had managed to record the song the bard had written for him. He closed the door behind him and pulled the chip out of his pocket and stuck it into the player on a shelf.
Leliana's voice crackled through the old speaker and Jayne closed his eyes as the ship began to shudder and groan, and as the music washed over him, all he could do was grin.
Everyone's A Hero (Of Ferelden)
The darkspawn filled our country
With their corrupted, evil ways
But you helped to fight them, one by one
And our hero sings you praise
Everyone's a hero of Ferelden
Everyone helped to save our Blighted land
The man they call Jayne defeated evil with his might and glory
But you, my friends, have a place in this story
Everyone's a hero of Ferelden
In their own not-that-heroic way
Translations are from here
"Wuh de tyen ah - Dear God in Heaven"
"Tah ma de - Dammit"
And a HUGE thank you to valiasedai for being my second pair of eyes here!