Julie Frost, SFF writer (agilebrit) wrote,
Julie Frost, SFF writer
agilebrit

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My contribution to Fred Appreciation Day

Not that it's finished or anything. Heck, I don't even have a title. Or a theme. Or a plot. What I have...is 1600 words of set-up. I humbly offer that much here, with the promise that it will be done, sometime. That being said, I have two ficathons that I really need to be working on (one of which I may actually have a start for, yay), plus another H/C Jayne/Zoe RPB (Rabid Plot Bunny) nibbling at my ankles, so this may go on a back burner for a bit until I figure out just exactly what I'm going to do with it.

Without further ado...




What...where...? She regained consciousness, slowly and muzzily, her first thoughts confused and blurred. She could move, so that was a good; but she seemed to be surrounded by cold metal, in the dark, which didn't fit her last memory and therefore was probably a bad. She was also...naked? Um. Probably another thing for the "bad" column.

Her last memory floated to the surface. Wesley, why can't I stay? Burning up, some virus or other invading her body, devouring what had been Winifred Burkle and leaving a shell behind. Illyria, that was its name. Old One, sarcophagus, she'd been curious. What was that saying about curiosity and cats?

She smiled to herself. Of course, the little-used addendum to "Curiosity killed the cat" was "Satisfaction brought it back." Apparently that had worked in her favor. This once. But cats had nine lives, right? Probably not smart to stretch the metaphor too far, and she was babbling, albeit mentally, again. Best to shake herself out of this and figure out just where she was and how to get in touch with the others. Wesley would be happy; she couldn't wait to see him.

She felt around herself and discovered that she was in a coffin-like space, which gave her the willies until she found a sliding panel on one side. She opened it and rolled into a roomful of surprised-looking people. One of them hollered, "Jayne!"

:-:


Later, dressed in a kimono donated by a lady who was prettier than she had a right to be, she sat at the kitchen table surrounded by the inhabitants of this real, live spaceship. The Captain of the ship was staring at her with his arms crossed and his brow lowered thunderously, and the rest of the crew seemed to be in varying stages of puzzlement and suspicion. The only person who seemed to be completely blase about the whole thing was a teenage girl who appeared to be slightly loopy and kept muttering about cats.

She was a bit discombobulated herself. Finding out that you're aboard a spaceship in another solar system five hundred years in the future would throw anyone off their game, and just because she was used to a dozen mystical events happening around her on a daily basis didn't mean that the physics of this particular event didn't make her head hurt. She wanted to curl up into a ball and hide, but apparently that wasn't an option.

The Captain was yelling at the big guy again. "You're tellin' me you had nothin' to do with a naked woman aboard my boat in one of the smuggling spaces?"

"I swear on my Mama, Mal, I ain't never seen her before in my life! Not that I wouldn't mind havin' her, she's damn cute, but I didn't have nothin' to do with bringin' her on."

Mal rounded on Fred. "And you say you got no idea how you got here?"

"I'd have to run some pretty complicated equations on a supercomputer to even begin to figure out the 'how.' As to the 'why'--" She shrugged. "Last thing I remember is dying."

"Why does everything happen to me?" Mal asked the ceiling. "How come, for once in my life, things just can't go smooth? We finally get a nice, simple job, and along comes a nekkid dead girl from out of nowhere to throw a monkey wrench into the works and gum up the whole plan."

"I-I'm sorry," Fred stammered. "I don't mean to be any trouble. You can just drop me off on the nearest, um, planet, or wherever we're close to, and I'll get out of your hair."

He snorted. "Sounds easy, don't it? Only we're flying way under the radar here and we ain't gonna be close to any-damn-place until we get to where we're going. Looks like we're all stuck with each other 'til the job's done with. Shiny." He pointed at her. "Stay out from underfoot, don't bother my crew, and don't touch anything. Dong ma?" She wasn't familiar with the foreign phrase, and her puzzlement must have shown on her face. "Understand?" he clarified.

"Oh! Yeah. I won't be any trouble. Promise."

Mal snorted again. "See that you ain't. I've not put anyone out the airlock in awhile, but I won't hesitate. No matter how cute Jayne thinks you are."

:-:


Somehow, Fred had expected the future to be more...futuristic. Okay, she was on a spaceship, which was all kinds of just neat, but they still used regular old-fashioned books (although she wasn't familiar with any of the authors), bedsheets still seemed to be made from regular old-fashioned cotton, and everything was a whole lot dirtier than she thought it would be. Also, the food? If you could call it that, she snorted to herself. Was terrible.

Whatever her vision of the future had been, it sure hadn't been this.

Apparently the order to "not bother the crew" didn't extend to "the crew not bothering her." She soon found out that River and Book weren't members of the crew, but passengers, sort of like her, except they hadn't apparated out of thin air after being eaten alive by an Old One. And Jayne had been hanging around her more often than she figured was strictly necessary as well; she gathered that his duties tended more to be ground-side work rather than having anything to do aboard ship. In fact, she got the distinct impression that the others would rather he just disappeared until they needed him.

Wesley would have liked his guns, she thought with a pang. And Wes is irretrievably gone, and so is everyone else from the past. She still wanted to curl up into a ball or run away, but going outside the spaceship right now wouldn't be too smart.

Simon examined her and declared her healthy, so the Illyria infection apparently hadn't crossed over with her. Kaylee loaned her some clothes, although they were a bit short.

However, Wash, the pilot, had given her some charts of the solar system to study, and the Cortex was like the internet on steroids. She spent hours at a time going from one site to another, checking up on breakthroughs in physics, and then hanging out in the doorway of the engine room to see the practical application. Kaylee was more than happy to chatter endlessly about "her girl" and pointed out where all the parts were and what did what.

All the new and exciting technology was almost enough to make her forget that she was stuck five hundred years in the future with no personal infrastructure and no way to make a living once she got off the ship. At dinner that evening, she was a bit overwhelmed with the enormity of it all and sat poking at her protein while the conversation carried on over her head.

That conversation died abruptly when thumping noises and British curses began emitting from the same smuggling space in the kitchen cabinets that Fred herself had appeared in...

And a familiar--naked--platinum-blond form rolled out of the door, wrapped in the embrace of an equally-naked blue-tinted carbon copy of herself.

:-:


Mal thought he was going to have a heart attack, right there in the dining room. He was beginning to have his suspicions that this job weren't as easy as it had been made out to be. Three nekkid folk appearing out of thin air in the same spot on his boat, directly after they'd taken on this new cargo...

And they all seemed to know each other, too, which pinged his radar plenty. The two girls looked an awful lot alike, and they apparently didn't get along; the guy with the radioactive hair sat between them attempting, unsuccessfully, to keep the peace. If looks could've killed, Kaylee wouldn't need no oil for the engine for awhile, because nothing'd be left of the blue one except a greasy spot.

At least they had clothes now. The blue gal, Illyria, apparently could do...something or other that covered her decently, and Spike, the guy (why would anyone want hair that color? Mal kept coming back to that), was about the same size as Wash, if a bit skinnier. He complained some about the brightly-patterned shirt and seemed to be eyeing Mal's coat a bit more covetously than he ought.

Speaking of covetous eyeing, Jayne had switched his attention from Fred to her twin. Illyria stared back at him in a haughty fashion. "Cease lusting for me, human," she said. "You would snap as a dry twig were we to do what you contemplate."

"Wouldn't mind tryin' it anyways." Jayne turned to Mal. "Can I have her, Cap'n? I'll take real good care of her."

"No!" Mal pounded his fist on the table. "There will be no 'having' of anyone on this trip, least of all our unwelcome visitors! Don't even think about it. Wuo de ma..."

Illyria tilted her head and looked closer at the mercenary, then turned to Spike. "He resembles Hamilton, does he not?"

"Thought Angel said he killed that bugger."

"Hamilton was a creature of the Wolf, the Ram, and the Hart. He could be defeated, but would not actually die. The match is uncanny."

"Bit of a coincidence," Spike said doubtfully.

"It is no coincidence. We have been brought here for a reason. Such a confluence of events can never be happenstance." She gestured at Fred, who bristled. "The shell is here also. There is some source of power on this vessel, drawing us all to this place."

Mal's mistrust about their job solidified. "The gorram cargo. Shoulda known they was willin' to pay too high a price for somethin' seemed so simple." He slapped the table again, with both hands, and jumped to his feet. "Let's go have a look-see." He strode out of the room without waiting for anyone to follow.

TBC...
Tags: fic, fic: crossovers, firefly/angel, fred, spred
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