Wish I Was Somebody Else, ch. 5/26
Friday, January 19, 2007

Jayne tracks down an important clue; Kaylee picks up another.


AN: I told myself that if five people commented on chapter 4, I'd go ahead and post chapter 5. When I checked this morning, there were six comments, so I felt shiny and happy and unearthed chapter 5 for y'all. Here it is:

5. You're a very "up" person.

After Miranda

Jayne and Kaylee obviously had to go; Zoe obviously could not be denied the opportunity to go; River might prove to be useful; and Mal was not about to be left behind. So they landed Serenity on Beaumonde under an alias, and left the ship in the care of Inara and Simon while the five of them trooped off together to the scrapyard where Wash – the real Wash – had last been seen. The attendant was not the same person who’d been there the day Wash disappeared, but the Firefly was still on the lot.

Jayne led them – or, rather, they followed in his wake – back through the scrapyard toward the Firefly, which they could just see through the forest of derelict hulls. Jayne moved quickly, with his eyes to the ground, which was a thin skim of gravel laid over packed earth. In places, the gravel was worn bare, and the tracks of men and small vehicles were visible there. Every so often, Jayne would squat to examine something on the ground, picking up small rocks or clumps of dirt and sniffing them, but only River had any idea what Jayne was seeing.

When they reached the Firefly, Jayne held up a hand to forestall them. “If there’s anything left here to find, I don’t want you trampling it,” he said. “Wait here.”

He disappeared around the Firefly as they stood waiting. They heard the airlock door creak open, but nothing more.

Zoe touched Mal’s arm, and he looked where she indicated. Kaylee had wandered off, and was standing underneath the bulbous stern of the ship, looking intently upward.

Mal walked over and stood next to her. “See something?” he asked.

“She ain’t burned up,” Kaylee said.


“She ain’t burned up.” Kaylee pointed upward. “They told us she burned up her accelerator core. Well, if she’d burned up her accelerator core, then the engine compartment ought to be about half melted. But look at her. She’s pristine.”

Mal looked where Kaylee was pointing. ‘Pristine’ was not exactly the word he would have chosen.

“I bet she’d fly,” Kaylee said.

“You know, we got one of our own,” Mal reminded her.

“Oh, I know,” Kaylee agreed. “I’m just saying. It ain’t what we was told.”

“Well, that would be on account of it being a trap,” Mal said. “Usually when something’s a trap, it ain’t exactly what you was told.”

Kaylee pursed her lips and gave him an angry, why-are-you-patronizing-me look. Then she walked back to where River and Zoe were standing. Mal winced, and followed.

Jayne reappeared, and spent some time poking around the ground near the hull alongside the ship.

He picked something up; examined it; sniffed it. Then he walked back to the group and dropped the object in Mal’s hand.

Jayne walked back to the Firefly’s hull, scanning the ground.

“What is it?” Kaylee asked, trying to get a look at the tiny object in Mal’s hand.

Mal held it up in two fingers. “Tranquilizer dart.” He traded glances with Zoe.

“Come look,” Jayne said. “Stay about two feet back.”

They came forward as far as he’d bid them come, and stopped.

Jayne cast a glance skyward. “It has rained her two times since Wash was here,” he said. “But no drenching rains. Wind here mostly comes from thataway –“ he pointed across the Firefly’s hull, “So this spot’s kind of sheltered. Right here’s where that dart was,” he pointed down, “and if you look, you can see how the gravel’s rutted just a little. Two tracks, like a man’s heels dragging.” Actually, only River could see what Jayne was talking about, and only because she could see it through Jayne’s eyes. But they followed Jayne as he followed the tracks around to the cargo airlock.

“Look what’s inside here,” Jayne said, leading them through the lock. He walked several steps into the cargo bay and stopped. “There was some blood here. Just a little. I got a sample to take back to Simon. Find out if it’s Wash’s. Probably came from whatever wound that dart fell out of. There’s more in here.” He led them to the ship’s infirmary, where they stopped, slackjawed, staring at the well-equipped operating suite. The setup fairly screamed Alliance.

“This is where they did it,” River said, her voice trembling. “This is the equipment they used.”

“Yeah,” Jayne agreed. “Wash was here. There’s more blood.” He tapped on the operating table. Mal saw a few drops of dried blood where Jayne had indicated.

Zoe walked forward and ran her fingers gently over the dried blood, her face unreadable. “Then what happened?”

“Can’t rightly say,” Jayne said. “If they killed him, they did it somewhere else, or some way don’t spill much blood. But I think they were using local help for some of their operation. I think they gave Wash to those guys when they finished with him. ‘Cause he ain’t here. And somebody had a mule round the other side of the ship sometime recently, and left with a load on it.”

“Why do you think they had local help?” Mal asked.

“That dart. That ain’t Alliance issue,” Jayne said, and he was right. Alliance had stun guns and other toys that wouldn’t have left a trace. The dart was old tech. “We need to talk to whoever was working the day Kaylee and Wash was here.”

“Let’s go find out,” Mal said.

They walked back toward the entrance, and Jayne sent Kaylee ahead, alone, to find out who’d been working before, and where he could be found.

When they caught up to her, she was beaming and waving a couple of sheets of paper in the air, which Mal found mighty curious, considering their errand.

“D’you find out?” Jayne asked.

“Nope, but I learned somethin’ else,” Kaylee said.

“Well, spill it, girl,” Jayne said.

“When the attendant looked up that day in the record, he said that was the day they got robbed!” Kaylee said. “Said there was two guys came in before we did, on a ground mule, and left right after we did, and they had something fair-sized on their mule under a tarp and they rode right past and didn’t pay for nothing! So there’s a lawforce report. Got a copy right here!” She handed it triumphantly to Jayne.

Mal put an arm around her shoulders and gave her a squeeze. “You done good,” he said. “You want, you can go on back to the ship now.”

Kaylee looked up at him in surprise, and said, “Yes sir, Cap’n!” Then she skipped away, and Mal groaned. Simon was on the ship. Alone. Well, except for Inara, who’d probably be in her shuttle. Mal hadn’t thought of that when he told Kaylee, truthfully, that her part in this search operation was done. Having thought of it now, it suggested to his mind what Kaylee was so excited about, and that was something he’d really rather not contemplate.

“River, you go too,” he said, thinking River’s presence might put a damper on any such behavior. Or thinking he’d like to believe that, anyway. “Make sure we’re ready to go right quick if we need to.” River nodded and floated away after Kaylee.

Mal snatched the lawforce report from Jayne and glanced over it. The report included snaps of two men, one who was noticeably missing a few teeth, and both of whom were listed as having longish criminal histories. “All right,” Mal said. “Let’s go find these thugs.”


Friday, January 19, 2007 5:28 AM


I second the above!!

Friday, January 19, 2007 7:45 AM


It's just keeps getting more and more thrilling! I'm totally engrossed! Jayne is AWESOME with his mad tracking skillz! LOL

Friday, January 19, 2007 9:36 AM


LOL It's not a matter of withholding, it's more a matter of not wanting to bother unless people are actually reading the thing.


Friday, January 19, 2007 12:06 PM


We need posts and stat, nauticalgal! You can't leave us hanging like this!



Friday, January 19, 2007 12:47 PM


I love seeing Jayne in his element. People rarely if ever give him credit, but he is supposed to be an expert tracker and I'm glad you let that shine through!

Also, loved that Kaylee was able to unearth some clues on her own. Something tells me the information about the ship not being burned up will be important eventually.

Friday, January 19, 2007 3:14 PM


Really good to see our Heroes taking such pains to find the real Wash and I just loved Jayne doing his tracking and showing how professional he is when it comes to one of his skills. I just hope they get to Wash soon, don't like him being in that hole waiting for some faceless bad guy to decide it is his time to die. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, May 21, 2011 10:37 AM


Very nice use of Jayne, also impressed at their detective work. Alliance may have covered their trail well, but the locals didn't. Lucky break.


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The Four Winds, Epilogue
The end...or maybe just another beginning.

The Four Winds, Chapter 25
The rest of the crew return home.

The Four Winds, Chapter 24
Me and Elwood, we're puttin' the band back together.

The Four Winds, Chapter 23
Inara investigates matters; Mal discovers that the impossible has been done in his absence.

The Four Winds, Chapter 22
River needs Mal to solve her problem; Mal is forced to provide information to the Alliance.

The Four Winds, Chapter 21
When Mal tries to recover the cargo, will he lose more than he stands to gain?

The Four Winds, Chapter 20
Mal makes changes to his plan; River puts her plan into action; Inara decides on a plan of her own; Wash finds something he'd lost.

The Four Winds, Chapter 19
Simon gets an alias; Mal gets a look at his client; Wash gets a shock.

The Four Winds, Chapter 18
Our Heroes - and Our Villains - try to figure a way out of the mess they're in.

The Four Winds, Chapter 17
River finds out what's really going on; Simon and Zoe fall into the wrong hands.