The Christmas Run pt 3
Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Malcolm Reynolds was eyeing the uniformed men and the frozen figures of his crew, those in the loading bay leastways. Figures that River musta sensed something – he thought – here’s hoping that tricksy miss got the women stashed somewhere. But where was Zoe and the damn Shepherd?

Sergeant Louis met his gaze. “I do surely hope you aint thinking of making a play – Captain… I’ve seen that look before – mostly on men soon to be very dead.”

Keeping up his callow Captain Duncan persona, Mal nodded. “Don’t doubt it Sir… I can surely tell that you boys are all hardened men of action. Been on some tough runs no doubt.”

“Gorram right.” Louis hefted his piece, the way another might heft a belly. Reynolds began to move, looking distracted – but slowly, very slowly coming between the Sergeant and Jayne.

“Yes Sir,” Reynolds continued. “Some fierce action – I mean, just look at them splendid outfits – I mean uniforms – gun battles made a mess of something I’m sure your mother was proud to see in you in.”

Louis coloured. “Leave my mother out of this Captain.”
Reynolds nodded. “No offence meant Sergeant. I got nothing but respect for what I see. Take that bullet hole there…” The Captain pointed to Louis’ side where there was indeed a hole and a faded burn mark. “That must’ve been a close call.”
Louis agreed cautiously. “I’ve had my share.”

Mal inclined his head. “Absolutely – a shot there, that’s a nasty thing, a lotta parts a man values, kidneys, liver, spleen, internals.”

Kaylee was beginning to look a shade of green – but Reynolds spoke up to Simon. “Hey Doctor - That look like an exit wound to you?”

Disconcerted, Simon Tam came over and gave the Sergeant a once over. Nonplussed, Louis waved him away with his gun. Simon looked across to Mal. “Actually Captain, it does.”

Mal raised his hands “And they say that dead men tell no tales.”
Without warning he kicked up and out at the Sergeant – who stepped backwards avoiding the blow… and blundered straight into Jayne. Cobb’s powerful arms seized the struggling man – held him tight. The other purpled figures raised their rifles but seemed unsure how to respond. Reynolds reached forward and swiped the gun from Louis’ struggling fingers.

“Now the rest of you boys might wanna calm down a smidgeon – less you want your ‘Sergeant’ here damaged.” The other men froze. Reynolds regarded Louis – who avoided his gaze, still wriggling in Jayne’s grasp. Mal shook his head. “’Sergeant’… somehow – I doubt that… fact I doubt you fellas truck with the Alliance at all. Y’doubt that Jayne?”
Cobb snorted. “Bout Alliance as my Aunt Fanny.”
“You got an Aunt Fanny?”
“Got an Aunt with a fanny.” Jayne said straight-faced.


Solomon Face came across Zoe in an access corridor near the flight deck. She was holding a sullen and subdued looking young man in a battered Alliance uniform. Zoe of course looked a great deal less than flapped. The Shepherd smiled. “So you got one too? Seem to be all the rage this Xmas.”
“Seems so.” Zoe agreed. “And yours would be?”
“Oh, I’ll unwrap it later.”
Zoe’s prisoner mumbled something in Chinese.
Face looked serious again. “Y’know I don’t think- ”
“They’re Alliance? They’re not.”
Face stroked his neat beard. “Uh huh. So – what’s next?”
Zoe considered. “Think I’ll throw this tadpole back in the pond.”
The ‘tadpole’ blanched.
“And the Captain?” asked the Shepherd.
Zoe raised an eyebrow. “He’ll be enjoying himself I should imagine.”


He’s enjoying this, thought Kaylee as she watched Mal chide the assembled ‘Alliance’ men – him and Jayne both. She looked over at Simon – he just looked… impatient.

“So now you’re all truly educated in regards to your horrible amateur status and the ridiculous ease with which the tables were truly turned – I’m thinking it’s time to deal. This, Boys, is known in the trade – amongst professionals that is, as a stand off.
I’m thinking your ship may be armed…”
Louis opened his mouth - but Mal cut him off. “No way to know for certain – if I ask – well, you’ll just lie. So – here’s the thing. You skidaddle off my boat and I’m meaning NOW. We may keep our prisoner here. Standard practise.”
There were surly grumbles – but no single voice was raised to disagree.

“Got more than one Sir.” Zoe stepped carefully down from the bays upper balcony – her catch still walking in front, covered by her firearm.
“Shepherd’s got one too.”

Mal grinned. “Well, dandy – good going Preach’.”
Face sighed.
Zoe reached the floor of the bay. “Claimed to be Alliance, Sir – don’t seem likely though.”
“That being coz it aint.” He turned to Louis. “See – no/one here is quite what they claim to be.”

Simon coughed. “I am – that is, a Doctor – and I have a job to do Captain – so if you all want to just – ‘stand off’, fine. But I’m taking the bus out to the trailer park. It’ll be here any minute.”
Mal folded his arms. “He’s right”, he said after a moment. “So I need you all to clear your ship out of my docking area. The hostages stay here – we have some talking to do.” He nodded to Simon. “But you aint likely to do much but chase your tail without the, uh, women.” He acknowledged. “We know where they are?”

“I thought they were in your cabin Captain?” Simon face showed the thoughts dashing across his mind. “Maybe River – maybe they’re with – maybe they’ve got…” His voice trailed off as he span to face Louis. “If my sister is harmed in any way Sergeant I will hold you personally responsible.”

He dashed from the loading bay.
“What was he? What women??” Louis seemed genuinely confused.
The only answer he got was an upside the head from Jayne.


“River! River? It’s ok – you can come out now…” Simon tried to keep his voice level. The Captains cabin had been empty – he was moving slowly down the corridor beyond, passing lock-ups and cubicles. He froze.
“River?” Had he heard –
There was an explosion of laughter and a locker behind him burst open. With as much decorum as they could muster, the three women – Erren, Amora and Katee-LI – emerged, smoothing themselves down. River jumped out after. Her face was hot from laughing. She looked at Simon – touched for an instant by his obvious concern – then giggling anew she said to the women, “Go back – can we go back? I’ll tickle YOU this time!”
Simon’s eyes went wide and he turned to the three women. They were studying the ceiling as though it was quite suddenly the most beautiful thing they had ever seen.


end of pt 3

thanks to those who are supportive
hope everyone here is having a great holiday


Thursday, January 3, 2008 2:41 PM


Awesome. But uh... what's River up to?

Hee, Jayne had an aunt with a fanny.

stars galore *********


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