Blue Sun Job, Part 11: Home Again...
Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The robbery complete, each of the others take up their part in the job while Mal and Zoe overcome obstacles to return home to Serenity.


Blue Sun Job, Part 11: Home Again...

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
Blue Sun Job, Part 3: Going Smooth
Blue Sun Job, Part 4: Return to the Core
Blue Sun Job, Part 5: Life That Was
Blue Sun Job, Part 6: More Life That Was
Blue Sun Job, Part 7: ...and Robberies That Were
Blue Sun Job, Part 8: Zoe’s Tale
Blue Sun Job, Part 9: More of Zoe’s Tale
Blue Sun Job, Part 10: Going In


No critical dialog using actual Chinese characters

混蛋 = hwoon dahn (hundan) = bastard
哎呀 = Ai ya = damn
鬼 = guay = hell

Blue Sun Job, Part 11: Home Again...
靑日 Job: Home Again...


Monty's crewmen--a man and woman--came to alert. Kaylee looked over. They were nice enough, she supposed, but kinda on the grim and serious side. Ex-soldiers, like the captain and Zoe, but without their light, good humor.

Quickly ripping open the delivered crate, the two grinned. Kaylee did too. Sure enough looked like the job had gone smooth. Hidden beneath the metal blanks was a thick, thick layer of platinum coins.

"Let's get to it," Kaylee said, suddenly not regretting her part in the job had stuck her in a grimy old foundry rather than a fancy Core shopping mall. Kaylee stroked the molds she had. Be more than a little fun to cast engine parts out of pure platinum. She grinned up at Monty's crewmen and started to help divvy up the loot.


This was, without a doubt, the best gorram plan the captain ever had. The captain... his pal, his friend. The man was like a gorram brother! Jayne sniffled a mite as he stroked the rows of shiny coins laid out in the briefcase. The case had been so rutting heavy he’d almost had a hard time lifting it. It was enough to make a man forget all about the swarms of willing women on this world what seemed to find him, his pretty togs, the gallons of fine liquor he’d bought, and his pocket money, so appealing.

And the good kept getting gooder. Gorram rutting genius, Mal was, to have Jayne launder the coin at a casino. He was a 哎呀 good gambler. Might just increase the take... well, his cut, at least.

Shepherd Book...

It felt odd praying for the success of a robbery. Book consoled himself he wasn't really praying for the theft to succeed, but for the participants to return safely home. Lord... Maybe he didn't belong here after all. Had he converted even one of them to the Word? Or drew them back to it, as the case may be? Or had they lured him away from the path? Or, just maybe, the path was more complex than he'd once believed it to be. Perhaps how you got there truly was the worthier part.

Flipping Bible pages, seeking words of advice and comfort, the Shepherd knew that, at least for now, he couldn't leave these people, not abandon nor betray them.


They also serve who stand and wait... Isn't that what they used to say? Wash believed it. The waiting was probably worse than going in to the danger. Especially when it was his wife going in. So very dangerous, this job... Mal was with her and they always came back. Always. So far, at least. It still nagged at him, just a touch, that they were spending three days--and nights--alone together. He should never have looked up the ad brochures for that hotel. Oh... 鬼, Inara had picked the place, not the captain. Mal’d probably be happier if they spent their time squatting in some bombed-out ruins. Just old army buddies, cool and distant toward each other except when the shooting started. ‘Cept when they told tales about sharing bunks. ‘Cept when he saw a look pass between them that Wash couldn’t quite read. ‘Cept when another story Zoe hadn’t seen fit to mention before happened to come out. Lot of history they were walking back into here. Lot of history... Lot of... But they had never... Never.

Wash rechecked the news services. Still nothing on any robbery. It was nearing sunrise there on Beta. Job should have been done--the going into the treasury part, at least--a couple hours ago. No alerts. No warrants. Nothing. Unless the Feds were suppressing the news to lure the robbers into a false sense of security until they'd caught them all.

Maybe they should have a baby. Maybe that would get Zoe out of this dangerous line of work. No it wouldn't. Not as long as Mal was in. Where her captain went Wash knew gorram well nothing would keep Zoe from following. She might choose Wash's life over Mal's, but she'd choose Mal's life over her safety or her husband's peace of mind every single time. Or--and he hated himself for thinking it even as he did--had Zoe’s choosing him over Mal at Niska’s skyplex been a military decision? One of those cold, heartless calls he’d seen her make before? A tactic rather than a statement of love and devotion?

Old army buddies... saved her in the war. Sure. Wash didn't doubt it. The captain was resolutely loyal to those in his command. Sure he had saved Zoe. Why wouldn’t he? But suddenly Wash realized that's about all he knew about it. He didn't know the details. How, exactly, had it come about and what was it that made Zoe so life-long devoted to the captain? Mal'd saved a lot of people in the war. Not all of them followed him to hell and beyond every single day since. In point of fact, only one of them had. Zoe. What exactly had happened between the captain and Wash's wife that sometimes made Wash feel like an excluded outsider in his own marriage?

Checking again for news of robberies or arrests, Wash settled back for another long day of waiting and worrying.


Inara didn't need to think about her job to perform it to the client's satisfaction. While going through the motions convincingly, she thought about the Serenity crew and their captain's insanity. She'd tried to talk him into 'working' in the Core worlds before--or at least worlds with a civilized Companion client base. This, though, was certainly taking it to the extreme. What next? Rob the king’s palace on Londinium?

Mal would be displeased with the clients she'd chosen here on Alpha, not that he’d be pleased with any client she chose. Her clients here, however, had been particularly selected from among Alliance officials who could keep her informed of certain events--if things on Mal's job went wrong, and wasn't it nearly a certain bet they would?--or provide her the influence to aid any of Serenity's crew as might get caught. The very thought chilled her. She wasn't sure there was enough influence in the ‘verse to spring Mal and Zoe if they got caught in the Blue Sun treasury, especially not with their history on that world.

She'd managed to get a peek at their records on Beta and creative dossiers they were indeed. There were still local warrants valid for both of them on suspicion of a payroll robbery--a robbery Inara knew perfectly well they'd done--as well as warrants for a plethora of trivial crimes like failing to check in as ordered, skipping out on fines for convictions Inara could see perfectly well were for crimes that had been contrived to harass the former Browncoat soldiers.

She'd gotten a look at the life ex-Independents like Mal and Zoe lived under Alliance rule in the year-plus she'd traveled with them, but to see the hard black and white evidence of a calculated program of persecution had shocked her. They were low ranked soldiers who’d been through hell doing their duty, not officers or officials. Yet they were clearly harassed by the Alliance authorities in a planned manner. Within little more than a week after being released from the Alliance military prison on Beta, Mal had been arrested four times on charges that were plainly aimed at baiting the ex-soldier into a precipitous action. Well, he'd taken that action, but--thus far--had survived the fall from the precipice.

Speaking of ‘fall’... Inara squeezed and moaned in just the right measure, at just the right time, then smiled like a besotted lover who’d just known her finest moment at the fool atop her.

She was still leaving him... them. She had to. But first she’d wait and watch to see if they landed safely at the cliff’s bottom one more time.


More adventures in sitting... Simon sighed. At least it was a wondrous place to sit. Designed for it actually. The Shepherd’s Sanctuary was a pleasant vacation spot--peace and quiet, soft sunshine, gentle breezes, rolling green hillsides and lush forests. The only sounds were the wind rustling the leaves in the trees and the chiming of the bells on the chapel calling the Brothers to prayer. Tranquil...

He was soooo bored. Simon never dreamed he could miss the somewhat-dirty, rough, disreputable ship he and River had been calling ‘home.’ And he missed the people. It surprised him to realize that. Strangest of all, Simon realized he missed the captain. The man was cold, heartless, dangerous, sometimes murderous, and possibly criminally insane, or given the nature of the current crime, just insane. He didn’t much like Simon, certainly didn’t seem to respect him, and he usually treated River like she was an almost invisible object, talking to her in the third person to Simon rather than addressing her directly. And yet he gave Simon a strength... he kept them on, kept them safe... and came back for them when no one else would have.

Simon scanned the crisp, blue sky. Would Serenity come back this time? With all hands aboard and intact? Until that ragged little ship actually set down here, Simon wouldn’t know.

Looking down from the sky, Simon watched River, sighing. For a few days she’d been fine, better than fine. Vastly improved. She’d even done a happy little song and dance a few hours ago, some odd bit about Christmas and presents. He smiled wistfully. The joy had vanished from her, though, and even with the best combination of drugs he could give her, she’d been shaking and weeping, terrified of something, something Simon couldn’t see. She huddled in on herself, now, a blank expression on her face as she chanted, over and over, “two by two, hands of blue...”

Simon wished he knew what that meant. If it meant anything at all.

Mal and Zoe...

Creeping through the night amidst the ruins, Mal and Zoe glanced over at each other. Mal gave her a hand signal, instructing her to go around the other way. Moving cautiously, they arrived on the opposite side of the structure at the same time, guns drawn down on each other.

“Clear,” Zoe whispered, turning around to scan the adjacent area. Mal turned away and did the same.

“Looks to be as good a place as any,” he said, leaning back against the partial wall.

“So, ‘plan B’, tomorrow,” Zoe said, settling down on the ground beside him.

“Yup,” Mal said, sinking down with a sighing groan. He was starting to get tired. Must be getting old. Used to be they could run three, even four, days without sleep if they had to. Now it was just half way through the second night and he was a mite weary. ‘Course, dodging the cops on Beta wasn’t quite as stimulating as having a full-on Alliance military assault coming straight at you.

He yawned. “Someone at that gorram hotel must have spotted us. Be funny to get arrested for that old guard payroll job and get away with this one clean.”

Zoe scowled at him, giving him her finest ‘you crazy 混蛋’ look. “Yeah. Real funny.” She shook her head.

Mal had palmed his ident card off on a fellow heading into a tube station, then they’d stood back to see what happened. When the poor dupe stuck the card in the slot alarms whooped and barricades dropped into place. Mal and Zoe faded back and away before the cops arrived.

At a different tube station their ‘plan B’ cards had been accepted without incident, depositing them near their old territory of years past. The black out zone boundaries had changed somewhat, but that hadn’t proved an impediment. It was an odd comfort to be sneaking about among ruins, rather than walking openly among a world full of Feds.

“Well,” Mal said, “no point fretting on tomorrow until we’re there.”

Zoe stood. “I’ll take first watch,” she said tersely. Soldier Zoe. Couldn’t ask for better comfort than that, Mal thought as he nodded at her, making her statement an order. Gun in hand, Mal stretched out and dozed off.

* * *

Stripped of anything that could trip the detectors at the shuttle port, Mal and Zoe remained artificially calm as the port guards slid their cards into the slots. Just a little sigh of relief as they passed through unchallenged. They had checked the public news for word on the robbery, or word on the search for them, finding nothing about the Blue Sun treasury, and only a small paragraph saying a couple was being sought for questioning on the other. It didn’t sound like anyone had made a positive I.D. on them at the hotel, or there’d be pictures and names posted. Like as not, someone had a glimpse and a hunch and was playing it out. Well enough, then.

The shuttle lifted and Mal could feel Zoe’s tension as thick as honey beside him. He didn’t bother to chide her this time, now that he knew why she had an issue with this particular type of transport. Then he saw her fix abruptly on one of the other passengers, as quickly looking away like she’d never seen him. Wouldn’t have been nothing to anyone else, but Mal picked it up right away.

Casually stretching his arm along the seat back, Mal pulled her in close. Cuddlesome. Leaning in, he whispered, “What?”

Like a fond lover, she nuzzled him, whispering, “Familiar face. Maybe. From that bar where we met Monty.”

The bar where they met Monty... This fella could be Fed or Underground. Or nothing. Mal shuffled that off into the unlikely category. Zoe seldom made a mistake on worrisome matters.

Landing in the smog of Delta, they passed through the port without incident. Zoe scanned about, then murmured, “Don’t see him. Don’t think we’re being followed either.”

“Let’s take the long way home, anyhow,” Mal said, leading off into the crowded port streets.

If they were being followed, neither of them could spot it. “Just paranoid,” Zoe said dismissively as they turned onto the row where Serenity was parked. “It’s all just been going so smooth. Haven’t even had to shoot anyone. A little frustrating.” Mal grinned at her.

“Another minute we’ll be home and clear and, hopefully, a helluva lot wealthier.” He chuckled. “The first time I don’t figure on it going smooth, it does. Have to be a new policy, I guess.”

They passed a larger ship and Serenity’s berth came into view. Both exchanged a quick smile at the sight of the ship--of home.

The smiles faded as they approached. The ramp was down. Mal had ordered Wash to keep the ship buttoned up. Waving Zoe back, Mal started up the ramp cautiously. The airlock doors were part way open. Half way up the ramp he froze at what he saw. Turning to warn off Zoe, he saw her staring backwards. Mal heard the sound, closing his eyes for a split of almost-but-not-quite prayer. The distinctive clatter. Half a dozen. More.

Mal swallowed hard as the Alliance MPs flooded out of Serenity’s airlock seizing his arms. Hauling him into the cargo bay, they immediately cuffed him and forced him to his knees. A gun barrel dug into his neck. Zoe was dropped down near by.

There weren’t cuss words strong enough in any language in the ‘verse to describe the moment. Mal saw the three others lined up in the cargo bay. Kaylee, Wash, and Shepherd Book all kneeled with the hands on their heads. Two MPs covered each of them. Kaylee looked terrified, yet as she looked at Mal, he could see she was worried too--worried for him. That unnerved Mal a touch. Shepherd Book appeared frighteningly angry, not at all preacher-like. And Wash... his eyes were fixed on Zoe and Mal could see right into the man’s soul at that moment. Mal couldn’t see Zoe--they wouldn’t let him turn his head that way--but he knew without looking the expression she wore.

Jayne was missing. Jayne who should have been back before them. Jayne who had also been at the same bar as the fellow Zoe’d spotted on the shuttle. Jayne who had a boatload of cash in hand and just maybe a score he wanted to settle with Mal.

The officer--a major--and his adjutant approached Mal. One of the guards grabbed his hair, pulling his head back. The adjutant flashed a retinal scanner in Mal’s eye. Plugging the scanner into his Cortex unit, he tilted it toward the major.

“It’s him,” the officer said sharply, gesturing to the guards.

Hauled up to his feet, Mal was dragged off and out of Serenity.

Blue Sun Job, Part 12: Waiting


Wednesday, June 30, 2004 1:26 PM


Arrghh! Yikes, don't let them gorram purplebellies hurt the Captain! Jayne better not have betrayed them, somehow I don't think he did. He sounded too happy and grateful but then you could just have been making it seem that way if you were feeling a mite on the sneaky side. Can't wait for the next part, please hurry! Loved the detail of the retinal scan. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, June 30, 2004 10:22 PM


Heh, shiny. Drama!

Thursday, July 1, 2004 3:56 AM


Wahh, how come no one will never let things go smooth for cappie? Hope inara can help him and the the blue hands stay a figment of river's imagination!

Thursday, July 1, 2004 10:37 AM


I just caught up on this story in one large sitting. Bar none, word for word this entire story is just shiny. Personally id have preferred a little bit longer of a robbery but truly thats just if im looking for something to complain about. Next few episodes will be fun no doubt. I smell a Jayne hero approaching... Serenity and its crew can therefore officially start to panic!

Tuesday, July 6, 2004 10:01 PM


That was so, so good. Again. How DO you do it? Loved Jayne's fondness for Mal (who's been delivering some rather unkind words as to his character in earlier chapters). Perfect on Wash and the waiting and the time it gives him to be suspicious. Great on Simon.

Sunday, October 17, 2004 9:42 PM


Still absolutely loving your story. I want to just sit and read every last chapter, but at the same time don't want it to end. You are an extremly talented writer.


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Blue Sun Job--A Sequel: It Means a Thing
Post-Serenity, Mal & Zoe share a moment, or two. And then some. Story takes place in the context of the "Blue Sun Job" scenario. COMPLETE One-er.

Blue Sun Job, Chapter 39: Into the Black
The conclusion of the Blue Sun Job.

Blue Sun Job, Chapter 38: Shadow
Mal & Zoe's past smashes into the present. Everyone on the crew gets an earful, especially Wash.

Blue Sun Job, Chapter 37: Plan B
There's a dead Shepherd on the floor, a bunch of angry live ones, and Mal, Zoe, and Simon in their midst.

Blue Sun Job, Chapter 36: One Down
Return of the "Blue Sun Job"! First of the last four chapters of this story.

Blue Sun Job, Part 35: The Worthier Part
Book's more nefarious, Mal's less crazy, and Zoe is dangerously pissed.

Blue Sun Job, Part 34: Of Many Books...
Book's nefarious. Mal's crazy. And Simon is bewildered.

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.

Blue Sun Job, Part 32: Revelations
Mal and Book talk about some Big Damned Things.

Blue Sun Job, Part 31: The Heart of the Matter
Tales & stories come out into the open--more than a little dark. But not to worry, Jayne, the philosopher, also explains women.