Blue Sun Job, Part 3: Going Smooth
Saturday, May 15, 2004

Everything on the Blue Sun Job is progressing smoothly--give or take a bit of Fed trouble.


Blue Sun Job, Part 3: Going Smooth

Sequel to the Truthsome series (link is to part 1)
Blue Sun Job, Part 1: Plans and Schemes
Blue Sun Job, Part 2: Into the Lion’s Den

Again, no critical dialog using actual Chinese characters, just a few exclamatory words and phrases, and most of the strong cussing. In Jayne’s section, if you don’t want to look up the Chinese characters, you can pretty much read in a wide variety of cuss words at will.

懂吗? = dong ma? = do you understand?
哎呀! = Ai ya! = damn!
鬼 = guay = hell
混蛋 = hwoon dahn (hundan) = bastard
他妈的 = ta ma duh = f*ck, or motherf*cking
狗屎 = go se = crap

Blue Sun Job: Going Smooth
靑日 Job: Going Smooth

“Someone Alliance.” Monty stared at Mal fixedly. Mal could see the gears clicking. Monty’s eyes darted around the bar. “Maybe this isn’t the right place to have this conversation,” Mal said. “No, no. We’re fine,” Monty said, a titch more nervous sounding than Mal’d heard in quite some time. The big guy was generally nothing if not cool and self-assured. “Just don’t use that word out loud in here again.” Alliance. He paused, reconsidering. “Leastwise, not unless you got some powerful cuss words attached to it.” Monty’s love of the Alliance rivaled Mal’s and Zoe’s... save for that one exception. “Gorram it, Mal,” Monty hissed, leaning over the table toward them. “ ‘Sides the two of you, ain’t but two on my own crew know I got..” he mouthed the words, “an Alliance connection.. It’s not a card I’ll play lightly. 懂吗?” “Yes. I appreciate that. The score’s worth it, in my estimation. And he’d be taking a minimal risk, give or take. So... Think your boy’d be willing? And...” he held Monty’s eye, “...trustworthy?” Leaning back, Monty clasped his hands over his broad chest, twiddling his thumbs thoughtfully. “I’m thinking ‘yes’ He owes me. Hell, he owes you. Our prison camps weren’t no more of a treat to be stuck in than theirs were. But no way he’d get in to,” he cleared his throat, “that place.. Background checks there got to be fearsome. Anyone get to digging too deep in his shiny” mouthed “—Fed—” out loud “background, they run into me.” Mal nodded. “Don’t need him to. There’s a warehouse nearby that...” He stopped in mid-sentence, looking up. The light over their table flickered briefly. Mal saw Monty tense. “What is it?” “Raid,” Monty said. Other table lights also flickered. A couple people stood up, hurrying toward the back exit. All three, Mal, Zoe, and Monty brought their hands up to the tabletop, resting them in plain sight. As the door to the bar opened and six well-armed Alliance police strode in, Mal gave Jayne a small ‘do nothing’ hand signal. The chatter in the bar ceased. One bold—or foolhardy—soul made a snide comment about the Feds’ ancestry and sexual habits in a stage whisper. The head cop scowled and crossed over to the man, demanding to see his I.D. Mal figured that fella for a decoy, giving some others time to get out and away. The man did produce a shiny ident card that seemed to pass muster. A low, seething undercurrent of hatred in the bar, a fair bit of it his own, crept over Mal like a Chinese dragon snaking down a crowded street, twining amongst the people, waiting to breath fire. He gripped his drink, tight, with his right hand—the one itching to pull his piece and blow the 他妈的 Feds to the hot place. Mal didn’t need to look at Zoe to read her expression. He could hear her breathing, carefully measured and controlled. The Feds were here just for a shakedown, for harassment, trying to bait someone into taking a swing, or a shot at one of them so they’d have an excuse to kill or arrest the lot of them. Did the Feds know this place was an underground site? Once he realized what was going on, Mal spotted a good half dozen who were probably in the underground. How deep in was Monty? Didn’t know. Wouldn’t ask. Didn’t want to know. The connections could be useful, but damned dangerous, too. Now was an especially bad time to get marked by the Feds for such associations. They had suspicions enough tied to them. Finishing the persecution of their first victim, the head of the Fed squad scanned about the room. Though overtly ignored, Mal noted, everyone keenly tracked each move the cops made. Mal knew the instant their table was selected as the next target. Monty clenched his teeth, but otherwise didn’t move a muscle. Zoe’s breathing became more deliberate. Mal stared down at his glass, shifting it slightly to better track the Feds in the reflections on the surface. The head cop came to stand by the table, flanked by two of his goons. The other three were ranged around the bar, fingers on triggers. “I.D.,” he demanded of Mal. Not looking up, Mal answered lightly, “Darn. Must have left it in my other trousers.” He raised his eyes to meet the Fed’s with just a hint of challenge. Sometimes he just couldn’t help it. A nasty smile flickered across the Fed’s face. “Get up,” he ordered. Carefully, Mal stood, keeping his hands flat on the table. “Trouble, officer?” he asked pleasantly, while he glared death at the Fed. Zoe slowly and subtly brought her feet further back under her, ready to move if the play called for it. Mal felt her eyes on him, set to back any action he chose. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Jayne easing into a better position. Violence was inches away. Half the others in the bar would back them just for the hell of it. Though he ached for a good fight, and to wipe the 他妈的 Fed’s smile off his face, Mal held it in. Years of painful training had taught him to take what he had to take, like it or not. He raised his hands when ordered, submitting without a twitch to a pat-down. The cop pulled Mal’s pistol from his holster, unloaded it and set it on the table, same with another piece Mal had in a left-hand position, and his small hold-out. Confirming that the intent was just general harassment, the cop ignored several other objects—wallet and such—he clearly felt. The cop stepped back. “All right,” the Fed in charge said distractedly, looking about the bar. Already disinterested in Mal, having failed to incite any resistance, they moved on to their next targets. Mal sat down slowly, not touching any of his weapons arrayed on the table top. Focusing on reining in anger, he glanced at Zoe, wondering what Wash would make of the look in her eye just now. Probably be an even split between backing away from her slowly and dragging her off to their bunk. “You know,” Monty commented mildly when the Feds finally left, one cuffed victim in tow, “this might not be the right place to talk after all.” “Ya think?” Mal snorted.

* * *
Jayne followed Mal and Zoe down the dark alley back toward the shuttle. His eyes darted to doorways and shadows, checking for ambush and cover extra careful ‘cause Mal and Zoe didn’t seem to be paying any attention at all to such niceties. Too 哎呀 pissed at the Feds and more than a little spoiling for a fight. 鬼, they was both probably just hopin’ someone would jump ‘em so they could knock some teeth in like they hadn’t done with the cops. “Don’t know how you can just take that 狗屎 off ‘em like that,” Jayne said, hurrying an extra step to catch up with them. “I’d’a flattened that 混蛋.” “Right,” Mal said, not even glancing back. “ ‘cause getting locked up or killed would have really helped the situation.” Zoe did look back at him, eyeing him kinda like he was an idiot child tagging along behind them. Pesky annoying, it was. They both did that sometimes. “You take what you have to take, Jayne,” Zoe said. “Pick your battles.” Jayne snorted loudly. “Yeah. You two done a damned good job of picking your battles.” He came a bit closer. “Tell me, back in the war… You ever in a battle you actually won?” That got the look from both of them simul… simutan… at the same time. Backing off out of fist range, Jayne decided that maybe this was one of them ‘pick your battle’ moments. Grumbling to himself, Jayne changed the subject. “There was some powerful odd stuff goin’ on in that place. I was seeing some strange things,” he said. Mal glanced back. “Don’t go lookin’ too close,” he said in his captain/sergeant ordering voice. “I’m just sayin’…” Jayne started. Zoe cut him off. “Jayne.” Mal and Zoe stopped and turned toward him. “The captain’s serious. Don’t go lookin’. And don’t go talking. Not about anything you saw or anything you think you saw. 懂吗?” “Yeah, but…” “Just don’t,” Zoe ordered. She started to turn away, stopped. “And if you ever find yourself in a place like that, seein’ things like that, if the captain or I aren’t with you, get out immediately. That’s an order.” “All right,” Jayne said. The two turned and continued on toward the shuttle. Jayne stood for a moment as it suddenly occurred to him just what this 狗屎 was all about. “Son of a bitch!” he said loudly. They stopped again, and turned to stare at him. “You rutting fools,” Jayne said, lowering his voice as he neared them. “That was some sort of gorram Independents’ underground 狗屎. You’re planning another 他妈的 war. Ain’t you?” Okay… the picking battles thing might need some fine tuning. Cap’n looked like he might just put a slug in Jayne right here in this alley. Zoe, on the other hand, looked like she wanted to take him apart barehanded. Well, hell, that might be a mite bit of fun, at least. “Jayne,” the captain said, very low and very damned deadly-sounding, “I’m gonna say this once and then it’s never talked on again. Ain’t us. We know some of them as gots notions, but we ain’t in on it. 懂吗? War’s over. We lost. And we know it gorram well. Ain’t fixin’ to reenact history.” It was hard not to back away when the captain stared him down that way. He might have thought Mal was a bit too soft at times, but he’d also seen the man do some gorram cold, lethal things—had almost been on the receiving end a time or two. “Right,” Jayne said, wondering at the cold sweat trickling down his spine. “I gotcha.” They turned and started on their way. Jayne stood still, struck by their coats. “Right,” he repeated, recollecting sudden-like that Mal was one of the coolest liars he’d ever met. Jayne didn’t much care to play poker with Zoe neither. “Right. Ain’t you. You’re just run around the ‘verse in a ship named after a big-ass battle you lost, robbin’ the Feds every chance you get, and...” he raised his voice as they started ‘round a corner, “...still wearing your gorram uniforms.” Jayne chortled quietly. Sometimes he just couldn’t help himself.
* * *
Half way around the world, the shuttle docked with Serenity. Mal saw the preacher standing in sunshine on the open ramp as he, Zoe, and Jayne left the shuttle. “You sure you can trust Monty’s boy?” Jayne asked. “Monty trusts him,” Mal said shortly, watching the preacher. Shepherd Book turned as he heard them on the catwalk. “Still, ain’t like you to bring in an out-n-out Fed in on... well, anything.” “Monty’s nephew was a conscript,” Zoe explained as they came down the stairs into the cargo bay. “Couldn’t help it.” “Yeah,” Jayne said darkly. “But he re-upped. Twice. That makes him a for-real Fed.” “Which is why we need him,” Mal said. Looking out the ramp, Mal saw a pretty town off in the distance. It didn’t look at all like the crowded, slummy industrial city they’d just left in night on the other side of the world. A clear chiming from a tall spire sounded. “Have a nice visit to the cathedral, preacher?” Zoe asked of Book. That was the cover story for the visit here. It suited Mal—let them leave Serenity far away from the meet with Monty. “Yes, thank you, Zoe,” Book said, smiling at them. “It was a very satisfactory visit,” he added. He gave Mal a slight nod, little more than an emphasized blink. Good. The preacher’s deal had gone smooth, it appeared. Plans with Monty were flowin’ on slick as spit, too. And they’d managed not to kill Jayne despite grievous temptation. “We’re gonna be closing up here, pretty quick,” Mal said. “Got a cargo to pick up on Beylix.” Another thing goin’ smooth. Monty had to pass a load off to Serenity so he could arrange things for the Blue Sun job on his end. Worked out well. They were getting mighty low on both coin and fuel and the job was looking to be pretty darned pricey in the setup and execution. Crime shouldn’t require such a damn big investment—crime was supposed to pay, not cost. “Don’t know if you’ll like the cargo,” Monty had said with a mocking grin. “It’s all Blue Sun merchandise. Kinda ironic, huh?” “But is it stolen?” Mal had asked, remembering his last unfortunate encounter with Blue Sun property and the Feds. “Nope,” Monty said. “legally owned by the client. Well... he may have neglected to pay some taxes and tariffs here and there, and a few other places. Maybe a slight lack of proper paperwork on the load. But the cargo, itself, legal as can be.” Mal smiled at the recollection. Honest work just enough on the illegal side to feel good about it. “Everyone aboard?” Mal asked Book. “The Shepherd shook his head. “Kaylee, Simon and River went into town. They should be back shortly.” Gazing out over the pastoral landscape, with the peaceful, storybook-looking town beyond, Mal couldn’t help wondering at the dangerous nasties beneath the surface. Occupational hazard. Then he saw the three walking casually toward the ship, arms full of packages, and relaxed a touch. Not running. No gunfire. Everything was still going pretty damned smooth. It was a mite unsettling. “Hey, capn!” Kaylee called when she saw him. “Hey, Kaylee,” Mal answered, looking over their packages. “You kids been shopping?” Simon gave a mysterious smile. “Yup. We’re doing our part on ‘the job’.” “Whatcha get?” Mal asked, peering at the packages. He didn’t know of anything else they needed, other than what the Shepherd was getting here. “Uh uh,” Simon said, moving the packages out of reach. With a broad grin, he added, “This part of the plan is on a need-to-know basis. And you don’t need to know… yet.” “Huh.” Mal stared after them, ignoring Shepherd Book’s and Zoe’s laughter.
* * *
It was the last dinner they’d be spending together for a while. Tomorrow they’d drop off the load Monty had passed to them, make a quick, off-the-radar stop at the preacher’s Sanctuary to leave off Simon and River… Danged if that girl didn’t turn to look at Mal right as he thought her name. How much could she read in a person’s head? Then he clicked onto something he’d never thought on before--did what they thought ever hurt her? “Sometimes,” River said to Mal so softly no one else noticed. Zoe was in the midst of telling the story--severely edited--of their adventure with Monty in the bar. Mal didn’t half listen. 鬼, if what they thought on hurt the girl, then being on a boatload of folks who’d done and lived some gawdawful things probably wasn’t doing her any kindness. “Sometimes,” River repeated, staring distractedly at a small whatzit she’d been playing with since she sat down. Mal couldn’t make out what it was. “Sometimes the coal in the closet is Christmas. Sometimes the little blue things make the shiny presents come out and play.” She looked up at Mal with a smile. Right… might be he was just over-reading their little mind reader. While he was thinking on one thing, she was talking on another. Fine enough. Didn’t care for the notion that they were paining the child with their thoughts. “Sometimes,” River whispered at him, those big eyes of her staring right into him. Then she looked abruptly back down at her little doohickey. “Huh?” Mal said, looking up. Simon had said something to him? “I was just wondering if you actually have an ident card?” Simon asked. Oh, right, Zoe was telling their adventure tale. Mal shrugged. “Sure. Several.” Simon chuckled. “No, I mean a real one. You know, a genuine Alliance-issued ident card with your real name and identity and everything?” With a half-smile, Mal said, “Sure do. Reads up all sorts of colorful things when they stick it in one of their scanners.” He flicked a brief glance at the Shepherd whose expression didn’t twitch. “Wouldn’t hand it over to a Fed unless my life depended on it. Even then I’d be having some serious second thoughts. Gets ‘em in a real arresting kinda mood when they see what it says.” Wash looked at Zoe with one of his another-thing-she’d-never-told-him expressions on his face. “You have an Alliance ident card, too, sweetcakes?” Zoe snorted. “Hell, no.” “But…” Mal interrupted. “Zoe did some violence to hers a while back.” “Why did you keep yours?” Simon asked. “Reminder.”
* * *
Mal stood from the table, about to carry his coffee cup over to the sink. The rest had gone to bed. He’d stayed, running over the details of the plan in his head. Everything looked good. Smooth. Rutting smooth. Zoe thought so, too, at least, and that was a comfort. Going back there. Lots of places he’d never gone back to. Some couldn’t. Some wouldn’t. With a shake of his head, Mal tried to chase that train of thought away. Didn’t do to dwell on such things. “Sometimes it does.” Mal looked up. 哎呀 that girl could creep about quiet-like. “River, sweetheart. What are you doin’ up? You get on back to bed afore your brother comes looking for you.” River stepped closer. In her fingers she held up her toy. Mal could see it now. Just a little piece of souvenir junk--a tiny gadget that played the Blue Sun/靑日 logo over a string of pictures of their products when you pressed on it. They gave the gorram things away to anyone gullible enough to take one. “Take this,” River said, her voice hollow-sounding. “Okay,” Mal said, questioningly. “What for?” Staring at him intently, River said, “Greedy to look in the closet. But this will make the greedy all shiny. All the presents shiny.” Mal opened his mouth and closed it again, trying to decipher what the girl might be trying to tell him. She’d been distracted ever since their failed smuggling job on New Horizons, but not as erratic and peculiar as she used to be. But now, this load of gobbledygook… “Just keep it with you on the mission,” River snapped, suddenly perfectly lucid, and a mite pissed, if Mal judged rightly. “Keep it with you. You’ll know when you need it.” River spun around and ran off down the corridor to the stairs, Mal staring after her. He looked down at the gadget, pressing it to light up the Blue Sun/靑日 logo. “Huh,” he said, sticking it in his pocket.
Next: Blue Sun Job, Part 4: Return to the Core


Sunday, May 16, 2004 3:32 AM


Great! I really can't wait until the next chapter. The story is flowing nicely and I loved your Jayne bit.

Sunday, May 16, 2004 8:02 AM


Wonderful and I just love River. I have a feeling that her gift for the Captain is going to come in mighty handy. Just hope Monty's fed contact doesn't betray the gorram lot of them.
Very shiny, Ali D :~)
"Doing the impossible makes us mighty".

Sunday, May 16, 2004 6:58 PM


Its shaping up to be a good story, still don't completely understand what that gadget actually is but meh :)

Well done.

Friday, May 28, 2004 3:25 AM


I'm really enjoying this story. More, please!

Thursday, September 29, 2011 7:29 PM


Mal interrupted. “Zoe did some violence to hers a while back.”
Hehe go Zoe!!! XDXD this story is PURE SHINY!!!!


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Blue Sun Job, Part 34: Of Many Books...
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Blue Sun Job, Part 33: Light and Shadow
Mal has just had his big tell-all session with Book concerning his and Zoe's history. Now landed at the Shepherd's Sanctuary, they have to deal with the fallout and with Book's mysterious past and plans.

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