A gorram girl in a box.
'Course the next thing that crossed my mind was, āiyā huàile, she's naked. Not a gorram stitch on her. And I think I leaned in a little closer at the point.
Well, hell, who wouldn't?
Had my arms locked around the fancy doctor at the time, keepin' him restrained for Mal. I tightened my hold a bit when the doc tried to break my grip and lunge forward. Then the doc and Mal had some words, and I could tell the cap'n was fixin' for more than just words. Had that look in his eye, when he thinks an injustice is bein' done, all fierce and cold. Even I can't stare that down for long. And I've tried.
Didn't have much time to dwell on that though because that was when she sat up and started screamin' her head off. Started actin' all fēng kuáng de, hollerin' and jerkin' back and forth. Lookin' around but not really seein' us. I guess she was frightened outta her skull, and she had cause to be. Wakin' up in a strange place with a bunch of strangers starin' at her like that. And her bein' naked and all.
Mal was lookin' like he'd just been shot square between the eyes, and Inara was takin' off her robe to cover her I 'spose, but we all just stood there, still kinda surprised by the fact that there'd been a naked girl stashed in the fancy doctor's box.
The girl just sorta flopped outta the box onto the floor, legs and arms all spreadeagled like she couldn't get them to work properly, and gaspin' like a fish that'd been tossed up onto the shore.
Bits of her dark hair stuck to her face and her skin had a wet sheen to it too, now that I think about it. Guess that was from that mist or whatever it was that'd kept her alive inside the box.
The doc ran to her, seein' as how I'd forgotten about him and loosened my grip. Managed to calm her down, soothed her with his whispers and by holdin' her in his arms and strokin' her hair and such.
Turned out she was his sister. And they was runnin' from the feds on account of them messin' with her head and tryin' to fry her brain.
So that was when we found out that we had ourselves a crazy-assed fugitive girl on board, who'd been experimented on, and who was bein' hunted down by damn near everyone. I was real thrilled about that.
'Course back then I didn't know just how much trouble she'd be. All I could think about was the sight of her curled up in that box. Naked. Quiet. Pretty.
Hell, she was pretty even when she was screamin' and cryin'.
I still think about it sometimes. Book'd probably tell me I was headed straight to some special hell or somethin' for havin' such thoughts, if he knew.
And maybe he'd be right.