Summary: "Don't know about your old man," Jayne says, "but captain's plans don't always go all smooth-like." Dean takes the grenades. "I hear you."
Thanks to musesfool for beta-reading, rez_lo for advice, and the_grynne for help with Chinese language.
Xú Landing, 1
Xú Landing, 2
Xinwuwei Docks, 1
Xinwuwei Docks, 2
"These gonna work?" Jayne's got a skeptical look as he fingers the IDs.
Dean shrugs. "Depends how good Inara is."
"Oh, yeah, they'll work." Jayne's leering as he says it. "She's real good," like he knows what he's talking about, which Dean don't believe for a minute.
"Whatever," Dean says, because it’s not like Inara didn't shoot him down, too. "That everything?"
"Nearly." Jayne grabs a string of grenades and shoves them across the table to Dean.
"These part of the plan?" Dean asks. He doesn't exactly remember that part of things; in fact, he has a pretty clear memory of the phrase "no explosives" being used more than once.
"Don't know about your old man," Jayne says, "but captain's plans don't always go all smooth-like."
Dean takes the grenades. "I hear you."
John sticks his head in just as Dean shoves them into his bag. "You boys ready?"
"Simon and Sam are in place. Time for you to get moving." He's gone before Dean has a chance to answer. Not like he's gonna try to argue any more, not after the way Sammy put his foot down about going in. Dad didn't even have to back him, just stood there, arms folded, staring at Dean until Dean gave in, because didn't they all want to find out what was going on and how to stop it before Sam -- or anyone -- got hurt? Sure they did.
So he hides the grenades under the jumpsuit and the wrenches and the foam sealant and follows Jayne out into the cargo hold. Reynolds takes him aside a moment, out there. "You keep an eye on Jayne, now. Long as he ain't thinking for himself, he's good. Every now and again he starts thinking on what's best for Jayne Cobb, and that's when you got to watch your back." Which leaves Dean wondering why exactly Jayne's part of this plan, and wishing this was the kind of job he could work with just Sam, maybe just Sam and Dad, none of these strangers.
And Dean's still wondering what the hell use Jayne is when they're changed into those jumpsuits and inside the blackout zone, because the man sure don't know how to talk to soldiers. It's taking an extra helping of charm to get them past the MP who's waved them over, and the whole time Dean's sweating over those gorram grenades in their bags. But in the end she waves them along with a "get to work, technicians."
"That sucked donkey's balls," Jayne grumbles as they turn a corner.
"She wouldn't've given us such a hard time if you hadn't been staring like that," Dean grumbles.
"Like you weren't checking out her tits too. Where the hell's the building we want, anyway?"
"Down this way," Dean says.
"Come on, then," Jayne says. "Let's go do some damage."
Well, that's one thing they can agree on.
The blackout zone looks like any other part of town, but plainer: no posters on the walls, no adverts, no video screens. Everything's just different shades of gray and brown concrete, a little green-gray paint every now and then for color. Empty, too, and though Dean mostly likes being left alone to work, this has the hair standing up on the back of his neck; he feels like he's got a target painted on his back. Ten minutes on, they reach a low building, gray concrete like all the others, a sign for Blue Sun Educational Division in small letters by the door. Dean fiddles the lock to let them in and he's ready to do the same when they hit the stairwell door, but Jayne's there ahead of him, gun out, and he's shot the lock right off before Dean can get started. "Asshole," he says. "What if someone was around to hear that?"
"Shoot them too," Jayne says as they head down the stairwell. Three levels down, Dean checks the compass and they get going into a network of passages, warm concrete tunnels crowded with pipes. The lights cast more shadow than anything else as they flicker and Dean hunches his shoulders a little against it. But Jayne's right there behind him, muttering something about why they're dawdling, so he heads off down the tunnel, ducking to keep from hitting his head when the pipes get too crowded up there. It's another half an hour before Jayne grunts. "This looks good."
Looks all the same to Dean, except for the point where the pipes go right through a wall, and just on the other side of that wall, if the plans they have are right, is that Blue Sun educational facility. And right there, with that bit about the plans, is their first problem. "I see three pipes," Dean says.
"Plan only had two."
"Well," Jayne says, "we'll block 'em all. Can't hurt, can it?" Jayne's already reaching up to start turning the valves. "You got that foam stuff handy?"
This is not a plan Dean wants going anywhere near wrong, not when Sam's somewhere in the building on the other side of this wall, with only Simon and his own nerve as backup. But Jayne's got a point, so he closes of the valve on the pipe he's working on, drills a little hole and fills the pipe with foam. Five minutes to harden, then open the valve again. Pipes'll be blocked for six hours, plenty of time for everyone to get what they need and get out.
"Hey, Dean?" Jayne's already working on the third pipe.
"This foam stuff don't react funny with water or anything, right?" Dean's wondering whether he should ask why or just start swearing now, but Jayne keeps talking. "'Cause the pipe's got hot all of a sudden."
And it's officially too late for swearing, because now the pipe's kind of banging and hissing and they drop back and away from the wall, which is trembling and shedding concrete dust. "Na kuai goushi schematics -- that pipe must've had something else running through it." The foam's supposed to be completely safe; he really wants to know what was in there, but the hisses have turned into moans and there's an honest to god set of cracks in the wall.
It lasts a minute twenty by Dean's watch, and then the pipe goes silent. He doesn't have much in his bag, but he grabs the air-quality monitor and his old EMF monitor, and what the hell? The EMF starts shrieking as soon as he turn it on, and the closer he gets to the wall, the louder it gets.
"That don't mean the air's funny and we're gonna die, do it?"
"No," Dean says. "But there's something on the other side of this wall I'd like a closer look at."
"Lucky we brought them grenades then," Jayne says. "Won't take much to knock a hole in this wall."
Dean grins. Now he understands why Jayne's part of the plan. "Sounds good to me. Let's start blowing shit up."
Next part: Blackout Zone, 2/3
FYI, part two is mostly done, and part three half done.