From Bad to Worse, pt 08
Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Claire is put to the ropes, though the cavalry is on the way.


pt 01,pt 02,pt 03,pt 04,pt 05,pt 06,pt 07

- - - - -

Ryan Harley knew the instant that he stepped inside the junker that he had been lied to. Though he couldn’t see the bodies, he knew that both squads and their pilots were dead. He had briefly examined the ship that was left outside, noting the scorch marks where the power systems had been disabled. He had silently cursed himself for letting whoever was in the working patrol ship fly right past him, making a mental note to send his favorite Lieutenant after them. He knew the occupants of that hijacked ship were at least partly responsible for the slaughter, and vowed to repay the dept upon them tenfold. He also knew that the gold, or at least most of it, was most likely aboard that ship.

Claire Jameson stared into his face, eyes burning with rage and hands in fists on her hips. Tom stood behind her, leaning on a crate. Aside from being stripped of his weapons, he actually looked bored with regard to what was going on with Claire and Harley.

“I’ll ask you one more time, where is my gold?”

“And I’ll tell you one more time, my accomplice flew off with it. Why is that so hard to believe?”

“Because I know you, Claire, and I know that you wouldn’t let anyone in the ‘verse leave with your share of the loot. I know you’ve got to get some back to your fixer, but I am also positive that there is still some on this boat. You can tell me now, or you can wait until after we get through with the reciprocation I owe you for my treatment six years ago.”

“You can gen houzi bi diushi, you purplebelly hundan.” She spat at his feet, hands still on her hips.

“Language, Claire. You shouldn’t be so rude to people who are able to determine the level of pain that you will feel for the last few days of your miserable life. Now, tell me where the gold is before I start removing finger joints.”

Claire stared back at him, fury still burning in her eyes and her mouth a thin line.

- - -

Inara glided gracefully down the stairs to the floor of the cargo bay where Mal continued to lean on a crate, keeping his injured cheek from any sort of unnecessary contact. Walking over to him, it took all of her resolve to keep from laughing out loud, though she did have a formal looking smile on her face.

“So Captain, I hear you got a new wound in the pursuit of crime.”

“Yes, and before you ask, it was indeed in a very sensitive area. Wanna see?”

“No Mal, I don’t wanna see it. No one needs to see that.”

“Not sure that you could handle such a fine specimen?”

“Please, I have seen them in all shapes and sizes, and judging by what I have seen of you, I have seen better.”

Mal got quiet, his eyes locking on to hers and they continued their banter in silence, the fiery looks passing between them saying more than any words could.

“Mal, we’re warmed up, headed out of the world, should be breaking atmo in five, maybe six minutes.” Wash’s voice rang out over the cargo bay, causing Mal to finally avert his gaze from Inara’s. Walking as quickly as he could without aggravating his injury, he moved to the comm. on the wall beside the cargo bay controls.

“Hold on a sec Wash. I got a message from Amos, he says they are in danger. He also offered us the rest of our share of the gold. As much as I want to get her back for the shot I took, I like to take any chance I can to hit those gou cao de purplebellies where it hurts. The loss of a Commander and possibly one of his Lieutenants would most certainly hurt, and as a side note the extra money wouldn’t be bad either. Zoe, you up for it?”

“Well sir, we will have the element of surprise on our side, and I agree, we can use the money. However, I just want it to be made known that I think it is a bad idea to do anything for her, especially after today’s events.”

“Your opinion is duly noted. Wash, how fast can we back there?”

“Should take us 10 minutes, twelve at the most. You gonna get yer ass patched up?” Wash made no attempt to hide the laughter in his voice, and Mal was sure he could hear Zoe snickering as well.

“Just get us in the air, ma shang!”

Mal pushed the button to cut off the comm. unit, turning to look at Inara. As his eyes scanned the room, he realized that she had left while he was talking to Wash, the lingering scent of her perfume being the only indicator that she had even been in the room.

- - -

Lieutenant Alec Graham stood in the cockpit of his patrol boat, watching with arms crossed as his pilot pushed the ship onward toward the wrecked transport. He was barely containing his anticipation at seeing the look on his old partner’s face as he walked in and stood beside Harley.

“Pilot, how long until we’re there?”

“Seven or eight minutes sir.”

“Any word from the other ships? Have they found the runaways?”

“No news on that front Lieutenant, but I will let you know the instant that changes.”

Graham nodded his approval, continuing to stare at the terrain as they passed over it at top speed.

- - -

Ryan had marched Claire and Tom into the Firefly’s common area, two of his commandos continuously moving in the shadows throughout the cargo bay. Using metal cuffs, he attached Tom to a thick section of the ship’s bulkhead, his stare never breaking from Claire’s face.

After the restraints were on, he motioned her into the infirmary. He pointed to the exanimation chair as he pulled more restraints from his belt. He tied her wrists and legs to the chair, smiling with a sadistic delight in his eyes. He stepped over to the drawers in the countertop, rummaging amongst various metal and plastic objects inside. Claire heard metal scrape on metal as he turned around to face her.

“Do you remember the time we spent together before?” He asked in a light voice, brandishing the scalpel casually. “You seemed to really enjoy your job back then, and I think I will get just as much enjoyment out of repaying you the same attentions.”

“You don’t have it in you Harley, you sorry excuse for coward of a man.” She spat at him, hitting his left cheek.

Smiling evilly down at her, he remained silent as he wiped his face on his sleeve. He lowered the sharp instrument to her bared arm, watching her pull uselessly at her restraints with pleasure as the slender blade split the skin, causing her red lifeblood to spill onto the rusted metal floor.

- - -

Alec could see the dark blue ship that belonged to his Commander as he approached, the bright green electromagnetic net visible from even farther away. Still smiling to himself about the look he was expecting to see on Claire’s face, it took several tries for the pilot to get his attention.

“Sir, they have found one of the other patrol ships. It was left in a canyon, the power supplies disabled. We think that escapees from the wreckage were able to hijack it and rendezvous with the other runaways that were being chased, though we are not sure where that ship is due to the pulse beacon trick they pulled on us.”

“Tell them to keep canvassing the areas, starting from that canyon. Maybe they’ll decide to come back for their wayward friend, then we will have them all. Let them know to stay alert, as we may need assistance if they return to the wreckage after we are there.”

Alec crossed his arms, looking out the front windows once more as they approached, landing well away from the base of the net to keep from being affected by it. He led the way out of the ship, his squad following close behind him. At various points, they broke off in pairs, the first stopping at the exit of the patrol ship to stand guard. The next two pairs broke off as they entered the narrow airlock door, one staying outside and the other posting themselves inside. The remaining six followed his brisk walk across the cargo bay, two more splitting off to flank the door to the common area. As he approached the infirmary, the other four men in his squad took up casual observation positions around the room, keeping an eye on the restrained form of Tom and all other entrances to the area.

Alec Graham entered the infirmary, a twisted grin on his face. He looked down at Claire, his smile broadening as comprehension dawned on her face as to the true nature of why he had selected her specifically for this job.

- - -

Amos and Anya had both taken defensive positions inside the engine room. They knew that going out into the cargo bay was suicide due to the probability that more troops were on the way. Amos knew they were cornered, but at least they could see and hear anyone coming toward them. Anya had taken a concealed position almost completely underneath the engine itself, while Amos was in a corner of the room that was tangent to the door, so he could see anyone coming in as soon as they crossed the threshold.

The sound of padded footsteps was barely audible as the figure approached. It kept to the shadows as much as possible, keeping Anya from having a clear shot. As the figure stepped over the bottom lip of the doorway a single gunshot instantly rang out, the splattered blood and brain matter sliding down the wall as the body collapsed, face up, revealing it’s identity.

- - -

Wash and Zoe both spotted the bright green net before they ever saw the little blue ship it was radiating from. Zoe recognized the ship, reaching for the button to activate the comm. above her head.

“Sir, we are approaching the wrecked ship now, there is some sort of electrical net coming from the commander’s ship. What do you want us to do?”

“Have Wash give them a quick flyover with the engines pointed down, should give them the right idea.”

As Zoe released the comm. switch, Wash increased Serenity’s speed slightly, a look of determination on his face as he tried to gain the necessary altitude.

- - - - -

pt 09

- - - - -

Translations ( from ):

gen houzi bi diushi (gun HOE-tze bee DIO-se) – engage in a feces hurling contest with a monkey

hundan (hwoon dahn) – bastard

gou cao de (go tsao de) – dog-humping

ma shang (ma shong) – now


Thursday, August 31, 2006 8:00 AM


Mal's conversation with Inara about his newly acquired wound was great!

Some nice action happening, and coming up in the next chapter. Looking forward to it!

Saturday, September 23, 2006 11:06 AM


I like claire the way you write her. "Claire Jameson stared into his face, eyes burning with rage and hands in fists on her hips." Firey remorseless harridan. :0)

And this: “Language, Claire. You shouldn’t be so rude to people who are able to determine the level of pain that you will feel for the last few days of your miserable life. Now, tell me where the gold is before I start removing finger joints.”~~See what I mean about being so good at the threats?

Enjoyed the badinage between Mal and 'Nara. You're best with Mal's voice during the short pithy convos, I think.

*shivers* Torture of claire commences...hope thrilling heroics intervene soonish.

Looking forward to part 9


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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.