From Bad to Worse, pt 07
Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Mal, Jayne, and Zoe make their way back to Serenity, and Claire and her posse run into even more troubles.


pt 01,pt 02,pt 03,pt 04,pt 05,pt 06

- - - - -

Tom, Amos, and Claire still had their guns trained on Mal and Zoe as Zoe turned to face them, her sidearm already in her hand. Mal’s hand rested lightly on the butt of his pistol, though he hadn’t drawn it.

“Better tell your first mate to stand down, Mal. Ain’ no way she can drop more’n one of us before we drop both of you.”

Mal stared into her fiery green eyes with his cold grey eyes, his face devoid of emotion. He was determined not to let her see any sign that he was disappointed in himself for letting her get the better of him. Looking over at Zoe, he let her know that they had no choice with a nod of his head, causing her to lower her weapon but not holster it.

“Ya see Mal, two can play at the game of turning on someone when it is least expected. Now I’d call us even, though I should find some way to charge you interest for the three years it took to run into you again.”

“This is nowhere near the same,” he exclaimed angrily, his voice rising but barely contained. “I saved your ass today, so you decide to rip me off in return, not to mention a bullet in an uncomfortable place?”

“It sounds exactly the same to me,” Claire snarled, not backing down an inch. “There I was, working to get the feds off of your trail, and what did you do? You tossed me out on my ass, no explanation, no apology, nothing. I figure you owe me the difference in the money, so I think I’ll keep it.”

“Getting the feds off my trail, Claire? You were talking directly to them! Seems like quite the opposite...”

“He was a Browncoat sympathizer, you moron!” She was practically yelling her arguments at him, the rage evident in her face. “Which I told you a countless number of times, you are just too stubborn to listen. He is a Browncoat I knew from the War, and had gotten a fed job to infiltrate their ranks, in order to help people like you!”

Mal opened his mouth to retaliate, stopped to think for a second, then closed it without making a sound, continuing to stare at her with venom and cold steel in his eyes.

“I think that you had better leave,” Claire bit out through clenched teeth, “before I change my mind about letting you live.” Mal could see the barely contained anger fighting to get out and decided to cut his losses before they became worse. Motioning for Zoe to follow him, he limped backward toward the open door, his hand continuing to rest on his pistol. Zoe backed away as well, keeping her gun in her hands.

Once outside, Mal let his mask melt away as the pain from being shot reminded him that it was still there. Zoe, keeping her eyes on the door, broke the silence.

“Is it true Mal? Is that why you kicked her off the boat so quickly?”

“Graham’s a double agent, been so since the War, I just can’t prove it. He worked in the same labs she did, and was present when Harley was a captive. I think that is when he was turned.”

“Did you ever bring that up with her?”

“Yes, several times. She wanted proof. She has known him since the War, worked with him, and even considers him a friend. Wouldn’t surprise me if he were behind this whole job, him or his superior. That reminds me, we need to move, those reinforcements are still on the way.”

Mal turned to face the ship they were not using, drawing his pistol. He fired several shots into a metal box just below the window of the cockpit, causing a small explosion there. He fired several more shots into various components of the ship as Zoe climbed aboard the remaining one, heading to the front to warm it up.

Jayne poked his head out of the side door as Mal limped around to it. “Where’s the rest of the ruttin’ gold? Zoe says this is all we get.” His hand had begun to bleed through the bandage Tom had wrapped it with, and Mal was sure that it hurt Jayne more’n a little, though the giant mercenary would never admit it openly.

“That’s all we are gettin’, double-crossin’ bu huihen de pofu. Let’s move before we get away with even less than we got, or don’t get away at all.”

Jayne hadn’t noticed Mal’s limp until he started walking toward the door to the little ship. As he opened his mouth to ask, the engines roared to life, causing Mal to quicken his pace. Once he was inside with the outer door shut, he felt the ship lift off of the ground, the unsteady tilt almost taking his feet out from under him as he and Jayne both stumbled to keep their balance.

“Gorramit woman, can’t you keep this thing level?” Jayne yelled, leaning against the back wall as the ship began to accelerate.

“Do you wanna try flyin’ this thing, or are you going to just keep making noise? Next time, maybe I’ll open the back doors before accelerating.”

“Bizui! We aren’t in the clear yet. According to Wash, there is another ship headed this way, and there are still the other four patrol boats out there. We need to head toward that base until we pass the approaching ship, gotta look like we are taking wounded troops back to base.” Mal limped forward to the cockpit, reaching for the control that would turn on the scanner and give him access to the 2-6-2.

“Mal, what happened to you? Yer walkin’ like someone stuck a lead pipe up your...”

“That’s enough. I got shot, that’s all. Crazy woman shot me in my ass.”

Trying her best to conceal her smile, Zoe asked, “Is it bad, sir?”

“Is it bad? I got shot in the ass!” Mal smiled, picturing Simon’s response. “Prissy doc’s gonna have a fit when I tell him where he has to take the bullet out.”

Jayne, who had been laughing aloud since Mal mentioned the wound, calmed himself slightly, moved to the front of the ship to talk to the other two. “So, how much’re we gettin’ paid for all our troubles?” He gestured to the large bag full of gold bars. “If’n that’s all ours, I am gonna be one ruttin’ happy man.”

“You might not get to be a ruttin’ happy man,” Mal winced as the pain in his rear reminded him that it was still there, “But you still might be a happy one. Half of that is ours, which makes your ten percent equal to two and a half of those gold bars. If that don’t make you at least a mite happy, I am sure I can find other uses for it.” Mal shot the larger man a smile, knowing that the payment would definitely make his disposition a bit brighter.

“Hell yeah that makes me happy, Mal,” Jayne exclaimed excitedly, the prospect of such a payday helping him to ignore the pain in his left hand. “We gonna go somewhere decent where we can spend some of it?” Jayne opened the zipper of the bag slightly, pulling out one of the heavy metal bars. He held it up in front of his eyes almost reverently, weighing the heft of the solid block in his uninjured hand. “Yeah Mal, this’ll do.”

“Glad to hear it. Zoe, keep us at a constant speed until we are within range of the oncoming ship, and listen up for them to hail us. I’ll talk to him when he calls. Jayne, you make ready in case he is less than convinced by storytelling.”

Zoe rolled her eyes as Jayne attempted and failed to hold in a laugh. Mal turned to the viewscreen, a determined look on his face. He punched in the commands to access the 2-6-2, getting right through on his first attempt.

“Still no sign of them Lieutenant, we don’t know where they could have gone.”

“You guys split up, and I will split with Wedge. I need to meet the Commander, as it seems the others managed to capture the target, and he needs me there. Carry on with the search until you find those Browncoat scum, and bring them to me. Alternatively, you can just kill them, avoid the paperwork and labor from having to process them. Over.”

“That voice was the voice of Lieutenant Alec Graham, former Sergeant of the Browncoat army, now apparently a Lieutenant for the Alliance. I’ll bet you my share of that gold that the Commander he is talking about is Ryan Harley.”

Mal looked up from the screen just in time to see the small blue ship appear on the horizon in front of them.

- - -

Amos lifted the heavy bag onto his left shoulder, his large gun still clenched tightly in his right. Claire and Tom had already moved toward the exit with Anya ambling along behind them, still a little shaken up from the attack. When they were fifteen yards away from the door, they could hear multiple gunshots outside, and by the time they reached the door, the sound of the other ship’s engines filled their ears, gradually lessening as the other craft flew away. Amos could hear Claire’s cursing from outside the cargo bay.

“Ben tiansheng de yi dui rou! Wangbadan de biaozi! He chusheng zajiao de zanghuo! Why the hell didn’t I kill him?”

“Claire, what’s wrong?” Tom asked her, keeping his distance so he didn’t become a target for the physical eruption of her rage.

“Oh, I should have learned the first time not to ever underestimate Mal. I should have either shot him dead on the spot, or at the very least covered him until he got into the ship. Now we have to fly the Firefly, he disabled the other Alliance boat.”

Tom, sensing the urgency in her voice, headed back inside, filling Amos in before heading immediately up to the bridge, Claire following closely behind. Amos slung his gun over his shoulder, hit the button to close the airlock doors, then returned to Anya’s side to help her get to the engine room.

Once on the bridge, Claire began the powerup sequence, strings of unintelligible curses flowing freely from her as she thought of all sorts of horrible things to do to Malcolm Reynolds.

- - -

“2-7-3-Echo-Tango, what’s your destination? Jerry, where’re you going?”

The voice was crisp and clear as it emanated from the comm. on the main console, startling Mal slightly. He quickly turned and grabbed the device, calming his mind to keep his voice steady for the forthcoming storytelling.

“Sir, some of our men are more wounded than we previously thought, and need more immediate medical attention. We left the able-bodied there with the target. She’s a fiery one, ya know?”

“Yes, I am more than aware of her fervor. After you get the wounded settled, prepare your report for me. Over.”

The small blue ship that had been approaching them flew past a moment later, and Mal had to agree with Wash’s assessment that it was one of the fastest he had ever seen.

Replacing the comm. on the console, Mal poked the tiny activator button on the transceiver in his ear. “Wash, we’re clear.” He looked at a terrain map on a side viewscreen. “About forty klicks south of us is a decent canyon where we can meet up, leave this ruttin’ ship and get off of this gorram rock. Coordinates are nine point seventeen point six by eleven point twenty-four point one.”

“We’ll see you there Mal. Do I need to tell Simon to get the infirmary ready?”

Grinning to himself at what the doctor’s reaction would be when he saw the wound, Mal responded, “Yeah, me and Jayne might need a little patching up.”

- - -

Claire continued to curse as the Firefly’s thrusters struggled to power up. Tom watched helplessly, his frustration growing as hers did.

“Anya, is there anything you can do to make this pile of goushi warm up any faster?”

“It should only take a minute more Claire. I am doing all that I can.

The silent moments stretched on to an eternity as Claire watched the indicators that would tell her when the engines were ready. Finally, the LED blinked green and her hands were instantly on the controls. She pulled them toward herself, feeling the ship rise a few meters, then a sudden impact as the ship dropped back to the ground. Looking out the front windows, she could see the green glow of an electromagnetic net. She stood, instinctively reaching for her gun as she realized that it was a futile reaction. The doors slammed shut as the magnetic field began to lock the ship down, a look of abject terror spreading across Claire’s face.

- - -

Zoe landed the stolen Alliance patrol boat in the canyon beside Serenity, Wash, Book, Kaylee, and Simon awaiting them expectantly outside the open cargo bay doors. As Zoe exited the ship, Wash practically ran to her, enveloping her in a large hug. Jayne followed Zoe down the stairs, the large black bag slung over his right shoulder, the bandage on his left hand soaked through from his wound there.

“Jayne, what happened to your hand?” Simon asked, concerned both that it was a severe wound and that he would have to operate on this hulking man-ape. “And who did such a piss-poor job of wrapping it?”

Laughing to himself, Jayne replied, “All I got was this hole in my hand, the Captain has the interesting one. He won’t be sitting down comfortably for a little while.”

Simon replied, trying to keep a straight face. “So, he took one in the ass?”

“Yeah, but it wasn’t the first time.” Wash chimed in, his arm still around Zoe’s waist. Upon seeing Simon’s confused look, Wash explained further. “That’s the same place Patience shot him about a year back, s’the reason Zoe didn’t want to deal with her.”

As if on cue, Mal began his descent down the stairs, turning to look at the assembled crew. The all had expectant looks on their faces, their tight pressed lips barely able to contain their laughter. He limped over, daring them to laugh with the fire in his eyes. “Doc, you get to work on patching up Jayne. Wash, take us up and outta the world. Zoe, you and Book stash the gold, just in case we have any more surprises coming our way.

They all stood staring at him as if he hadn’t said a word. Turning and limping up the open cargo bay ramp, they heard him angrily bark over his shoulder, “You all have jobs to do, go do them.”

- - -

“Claire Jameson, if you present yourself at once I will guarantee that you and any who are with you will be allowed to leave this ship alive. Otherwise, you know I can send a current through the ship and fry you all from the inside out. Make sure you keep your hands where I can see them.”

Conceding to the fact that she was backed into a corner, Claire decided to go along with his demands. She and Tom entered the cargo bay from the bridge, keeping their bare hands in plain sight. She could see him standing alone in the middle of the room, though she knew there were several men stationed around the room, keeping themselves well hidden.

“Come on down here Claire, aren’t you glad to see me? I figure we have a lot of catching up to do, so we can start with you telling me where my stolen gold is.”

Peering down into the room from his perch on the stairway, Amos watched the exchange, knowing that their chances of getting out of this were becoming slimmer by the minute. He retreated up the stairs, activating the earwig he had kept from the previous skirmish.

“Mal. Zoe. Jayne. If any of you can hear me, we need help. I will get you the other twenty percent that Claire neglected to share with you if you come back and help us.”

Mal heard the call, leaning on a crate in the cargo bay as Simon worked on Jayne’s hand. “Why the sudden change of heart? And does Claire know you are making such an offer?”

“If we don’t get some help, we won’t have any of that treasure for ourselves. I figure it’s only fair to get you what you were promised. Claire will see it the same way after it is over.”

“If you say so. You guys try to double cross me again and you’ll wish the Alliance goons had taken you in.”

The only response Mal got to his last threat was the garbled static as the tiny unit went dead.

- - - - -

pt 08

- - - - -

Translations ( from ):

bu huihen de pofu (BOO hway-HUN duh PUO-foo) – remorseless harridan

bizui (BEE-jway) – shut up

ben tiansheng de yi dui rou (BUN tyen-shung duh ee-DWAY-RO) – stupid inbred sack of meat

wangbadan de biaozi (wahg-ba DAN duh biao-tze) – whores of sons of bitches

he chusheng zajiao de zanghuo (huh choo-shung tza-jiao duh tzang-huo) – filthy fornicators of livestock

goushi (go-se) – shit


Tuesday, August 22, 2006 9:50 AM


Why do I get the feeling they aren't going to be able to keep those pretty gold bars. . .

Love Jayne's reaction to the gold and Simon's to Mal's wound.

Looking forward to the next chapter!

Saturday, September 23, 2006 10:59 AM


“Better tell your first mate to stand down, Mal. Ain’ no way she can drop more’n one of us before we drop both of you.”~~Great line, very old westernish and thus, Fireflyish.

"...continuing to stare at her with venom and cold steel in his eyes." Liking this line. Can see Mal in that pose.

“That’s enough. I got shot, that’s all. Crazy woman shot me in my ass.”~~LOL @ this whole exchange, Zoe asking if it's bad, Mal's response and then Mal imagining Simon having to work on that.

"...weighing the heft of the solid block..."~~Good line, always have liked the word "heft".

Pretty good Jayne in this part. Good voice for him.

Excellent fight or flight response, very believable for Claire: "...she could see the green glow of an electromagnetic net. She stood, instinctively reaching for her gun as she realized that it was a futile reaction."

“So, he took one in the ass?”~~LOL, Simon! “Yeah, but it wasn’t the first time.”~~HEH HEH, Wash! And good on Mal for ordering Jayne get gunshot attention first. That's our cap'n.

“Claire Jameson, if you present yourself at once I will guarantee that you and any who are with you will be allowed to leave this ship alive. Otherwise, you know I can send a current through the ship and fry you all from the inside out. Make sure you keep your hands where I can see them.”~~Good line. You've an eye and ear for threatening behavior-type dialogue.

Good fic part here, River. Folks ain't reviewing people's fics much lately. Even Frell's smut don't get much play. Don't let non-reviewers keep you from writing though. On to the next part.


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From Bad to Worse, chapters 1-10 (COMPLETE)
This is a re-post from before the BSR got hit a few weeks ago.

The story takes place in between ‘The Train Job’ and ‘Bushwhacked.’ According to Inara, there is a three-ish month gap here, so I thought it would be perfect for this little story and its epilogue.

From Bad to Worse, pt 10
Thrilling heroics ensue.

From Bad to Worse, pt 09
Mal, Zoe, and Jayne come to the rescue, and backup from the engine room arrives.

From Bad to Worse, pt 08
Claire is put to the ropes, though the cavalry is on the way.

From Bad to Worse, pt 07
Mal, Jayne, and Zoe make their way back to Serenity, and Claire and her posse run into even more troubles.

From Bad to Worse, pt 06
The fighting is ended for now, though revenge is on more than one person's mind.

From Bad to Worse, pt 05
The feds arrive, a shootout involving the BDHs and Claire's posse ensues.

From Bad to Worse, pt 04
The gold is recovered, and a getaway is planned.

Sailing Beyond the Sunset, pt 17
Several crew members dwell on things past while one reunion is made and a wave from an old aquaintence is received.

From Bad to Worse, pt 03
The crews search the wreckage for their valuable treasure as Wash and Book attempt some thrilling heriocs.