Wedding Blues - Part Two
Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The blue-handed operatives are on Serenity’s trail. Will Mal and the others find out before it’s too late? 6th fanfic featuring the usual post BDM characters and a few of my own creation. Constructive criticism and feedback is always welcome. Part 2 of 3.


“I’m glad you ordered the crew to stay on board,” said Inara, as they walked down one of the many corridors of the Training House. “I don’t think I could have coped with them all milling around while we tried to say goodbye.” Mal could see that Inara was getting some strange looks from people. He smirked to himself. “Looks like you’ll have some explaining to do after I go as well.” They reached her rooms. Mal had been there once before, when Inara had left the first time.” Inside it was neat and airy with material draped everywhere, and it was another world. Inara closed the door and locked it. Normally she had an open door to anyone, but not today. She ran into another room leaving Mal on his own, leaving him to briefly inspect his surroundings before following her to the door she had gone out of. She rushed back in almost bumping into him, having changed into a dark red silk robe. “It feels so good to be in my clothes again,” she exclaimed, and then put her arms around Mal’s waist. He did not feel as comfortable in these surroundings as on Serenity. He shook off the brief feeling of frustration and looked down at her lovely face, realising that it could be months before they saw each other again. He had to say what they were both thinking. “I don’t know if I can do this,” he said quietly. Before Inara could get angry at him he continued. “I don’t mean this,” he emphasised. “I mean it could be months before I get a chance to get back here.” Inara’s shoulders un-tensed, only slightly. “There’s not much of an alternative for us at this time.” “But haven’t you liked it this last couple of weeks?” said Mal. Inara pulled away from his arms and sat down on a cushion. “Mal. The last couple of weeks have been a dream. We both knew that sooner or later we would have to get back to the reality of our own lives.” “It could work, Inara,” said Mal earnestly. “You know it could.” “No, it couldn’t. It would possible for a while, but you have a family of crew to support and I can’t just lie there and do nothing.” Mal looked out of the window because he could not look at Inara. He wanted her with him all the time. To hell with the rest of the crew, it was his ship, his rules. Inara continued, “We’ve been over this, haven’t we?” Mal was torn between carrying on the conversation that may not have a good ending, and saying goodbye to Inara without a fight. He thought of all the times they had parted with bad feeling and did not want to climb that same old rope again. He felt the softness of the robe under his hands and could not stop the desire rising in him. Inara was still gazing up at him expectantly, waiting for his answer. He did not want to answer, so he changed tack, lifting her up into his arms in a swift moment, catching her off-guard yet again. “Then I insist you take me to your room, woman, and have your wicked way with me.” Inara laughed out his name, her worries forgotten. ~ * ~ It was almost dark on Sihnon when Serenity broke atmo. The first night back in her own quarters, River woke Simon and Kaylee with her screams. She was awake by the time they got to her and refused to tell Simon what it was, as it was her problem. Her brain pan was frying again and Simon had already admitted that there was nothing he could really do except give her time. They did not need to know that the nightmares were back and getting worse. She was being suffocated in blue. Mal caught up on his messages, particularly several waves from Monty. They had finally agreed to meet on Aberdeen again to make the drop. From Sihnon, Aberdeen was some three days hard burn. This was the bit no one else saw him do, the planning and figuring of forthcoming jobs. Hopefully his cousin would have some more munitions orders for Bane to do. Monty also had some goods to deliver to him – lined up by Kostova – that he then had to take to a contact on Athens. In between they probably would need to drop in on a core or semi-core planet for Bane to pick up some more materials to fulfil her orders. He looked at the very basic planet chart he had on his desk – Greenleaf would probably be best for that. He liked to do as much planning as possible, but usually the unpredictable events took over. Having finished his initial plans, he went up to the cockpit to update the navcom and instruct the pilot on the heading. Bane was at the wheel and he gratefully sank into the other chair. The chair at his desk could be a mite uncomfortable on the old behind after a few hours. “Change course and head to Aberdeen. I’ve set up a drop with Monty.” “Great,” said Bane. “I’ll be glad to empty out the workshop. I’ve finished converting his gun as well.” Mal tapped various things into the navcom while Bane adjusted their heading. “Were you alright at dinner yesterday? Seem’d a mite quiet.” If Bane was surprised that Mal had noticed it did not show on her face. “Been meanin’ to ask you something, Cap’n.” Mal hesitated and looked up – this sounded very ominous. Bane looked over at him and saw his expression. She smiled reassuringly. “Oh it’s nothing bad, don’t worry,” she said and saw him relax. “It’s about Tony’s wave. He’s gettin’ married next month an’ we’ve all been invited to Persephone to celebrate.” “That’ll be somethin’ nice to look forward to. We’ve gotta pretty tight agenda though. Might have to see nearer the time.” Bane accepted his words without complaint. The life of a spacer meant that you were not always able make specific dates. They both heard footsteps down from the galley, it was Kaylee. You’re up later than usual, mei mei,” said Mal genially. Bane glanced around to see Kaylee dressed in a night robe. “Somethin’ you should know, Cap’n,” she said, sounding more ominous than Bane had. “Been a lot of that lately,” he said in Bane’s direction, and he was rewarded with a shrug from her. But Mal knew it was not like Kaylee to say something like that and for it not be important, so he gave her his full attention. “River’s been havin’ nightmares again. She wouldn’t tell us what they were about.” “Could be nothing,” replied Mal. “Or it could be a whole lot of somethin.’” Mal could not disagree, they had all become accustomed to River’s ways. She was more than sensitive to danger and after the various troubles they had been through, Mal had come to trust her quirky ways of letting them know something was wrong. Bane was not aware of this though and spoke up, sounding unconcerned. “Everyone has nightmares, once in a while. Surely it can’t be as serious as you’re makin’ out?” “River’s special, Bane. She has her own way of telling us when something is wrong, even if we can’t understand her,” explained Kaylee. “What did River say this time?” asked Mal. “She didn’t. By the time we got to her, she had woken up. She wouldn’t tell us what. Simon’s with her now. “I’m really worried, Cap’n,” she added. Bane flicked on autopilot and swivelled the chair around. “Is what she said important?” Both Mal and Kaylee looked at her expectantly and Bane realised that it was important. “She stayed in my quarters while Inara was here – said you guys were too noisy. She had a nightmare an’ kept repeatin’ the same thing over and over. ‘Two by two, hands of blue.’ It dint make no sense. Do you know what it means?” “No,” said Mal. “But it don’t usually mean fluffy bunnies are on the way.” “Why dint you tell us, Bane?” asked Kaylee. Bane took a couple of seconds to answer. “Figur’d it was River’s business. We all get nightmares. Why should River be any different?” * * * * * * * * * * * * Dedham had been sweating profusely all morning and he had already taken three showers. Chief Wladek had dropped him right in it. Whatever he had done, the two Agents had found out and he refused to believe the man when he had said he had left no trace. They had set a time for them to come and see him at eleven in the morning - that was yesterday and he had no sleep in the meantime. He looked at himself in the small mirror in his office. He was immaculately dressed as usual, his black hair trimmed and neatly parted, every inch a career Alliance officer. Sure, he had cut corners and made himself some nice little earners on the side, but that was tucked away. Or at least he hoped it was. The opening of his office door heralded the two Agents. They obviously felt they were above knocking. Agent Dunne and Agent Marquez stood together like twins, despite the distinct difference in their appearance. Again with the blue gloves, thought Dedham, if I was any other Colonel I might get offended. “Sit down, Colonel,” said Marquez, or was it Dunne? Dedham sat in his chair, looking over his desk at them. It was supposed to give him a feeling of superiority, but he felt like he was five years old and getting ready to receive a thrashing from his father. “What can I do for you gentlemen?” he said, just about managing to keep the quiver out of his voice. Dunne smiled sweetly, he could see the sweat forming on the man’s forehead. There would be no need to read this one, he would cave easily. Marquez smiled in agreement at Dunne’s thoughts. “Do you really think we wouldn’t find out, Colonel?” said Marquez. Dedham was used to hiding things and his eyelids barely flickered when the question was asked. “Find out what, Agent Dunne?” he replied. Marquez, although skilled at hiding his intentions, failed to hide his dislike of Dedham. “I am Marquez,” he corrected through his teeth. Dunne picked up the questioning again. “You must think we were born yesterday, Colonel. We came aboard your ship already knowing that you had salvaged a Firefly vessel.” Dedham gulped visibly, he was beginning to get a ringing in his ears and his head was pounding like he had just been running for two hours. “And you will see from the records, that we found the crew dead and my predecessor blew it up,” explained Dedham. Marquez walked forward and leaned bodily over his desk. Dedham swallowed. “You see that’s where you messed up,” said Dunne, stepping forward to be parallel with his partner. “We had our information from your former commander, not your ship’s records.” “So when you took it into your head to alter them, we realised that you knew a little bit more than we’ve previously been led to believe,” continued Marquez. Dedham felt the sweat soaking into his shirt. “For instance, we knew that Colonel Collins had ordered the ship to be scrapped, not blown up. We did not know until now that you were assigned the task of scrapping it,” said Dunne. Dedham kept looking from one to the other, his shirt now fully soaked. He had felt like this just once before, but had managed to get himself out of that scrape. This one did not look so promising. Marquez looked at Dunne and smiled. “So, rather than us having to direct you to various sightings we’ve had of the vessel, we thought you could direct us to who you sold it to.” Dedham opened his mouth to speak and Dunne jumped in, anticipating his next words. “Before you incriminate yourself further, we know you didn’t take it to any of the Alliance scrap yards.” Dedham’s mouth closed again. A drop of sweat was trickling down behind his ear and he wiped it away. The first sound out of his mouth was a high pitched squeak which he cleared away with a short cough. “I sold it to Kostova Ship Repairs on Boros,” he said quietly. “Thank you, Colonel,” said Marquez satisfactorily. “That wasn’t hard, was it?” “You can give orders for the Malaga to head there.” And with that they left the room. Dedham ran to the en-suite bathroom attached to his office. * * * * * * * * * * Serenity broke atmo on Aberdeen a day later than planned, on account of some engine trouble. Having only just had a major tune up at Christmas, Mal was more than a little annoyed until Kaylee explained that she had the spare part – expecting it to last a bit longer before it needed changing. It took a day’s work for her to change it over. Monty and his crew were fortunately still waiting for them. “Thought Reavers had got you, Mal,” was the first thing Monty said. They both stood by as their respective crews loaded goods into each others’ vessels. Monty had been glad of the extra crate of grenades from Bane, as he already had the orders lining up for them. “Kaylee had to change a part over,” Mal replied. “How’s business?” “The usual slow after Christmas. Hopefully it will pickup soon. Got a wedding to got to next month on Persephone.” Monty almost choked on the swig of brandy he had taken from the flask they were sharing. “Not our wife again?” he managed to splutter. Mal laughed. “No, don’t worry. Bane’s brother’s gettin’ hitched this time. Marryin’ his cousin, no less.” “Like that in the Pye family, is it? Mind you, our grandparents were second cousins.” “Really! Well, I never knew that. Guess I shouldn’t have teased her so much about it the other day.” “And how is your little munitions genius getting on?” asked Monty. Mal glanced across at him and then followed the direction of his gaze to where Bane was helping to load her crates onto Monty’s ship. “Very well. Taught three of the crew to swim over Christmas. Still can’t sit still for more than a minute, unless she’s pilotin’.” “I’ll admit I’m jealous, Mal. You’ve got yourself one useful crew there.” “They’ve their problems like everyone else. I’m a mite worried about one of my other geniuses at the moment.” “The young’un?” he suggested, and Mal nodded. Monty did not know River all that well. She was a pretty scrap of a girl and some of his crew had taken a shine to her when they had last been on Aberdeen. But then the fact that all his crew were men, meant that any girl was likely to look good to them. “She’s been havin’ nightmares again and got very quiet all of a sudden. I can’t help feeling somethin’s coming that I ain’t gonna like.” “Nothing you can do about it till it happens,” said Monty. “Wave me if you need help though.” “Thanks, cous,” replied Mal, genuinely grateful. “So, you got more munitions orders for us?” Monty sat down, he never liked to stand for very long unless it was absolutely necessary. “Matter of fact, I got me some regular buyers. Reckon Bane can cope with ten crates of EMP grenades and six crates of putty? I’ve put the price up with them as well.” Mal sat down next to him with a jolt. “She’ll have no problem. How come the new interest though?” Monty shrugged before replying. “Word’s already got around. Munitions of that type are hard to get hold of without the Alliance stamp all over it. Her stuff is well made and works every time. It also don’t kill people.” Mal nodded in agreement. Bane could easily create and sell some serious explosives, but that would put them all in danger. Once you started killing Feds, then you would never be left alone. Both Captains continued to talk companionably until the goods transfer was complete. Bane came over as Monty had just handed Mal the platinum payment for the munitions crates. “Finished your gun, Monty,” she said, handing it over to him. Monty handled it like it was a baby. It was a truly beautiful piece of work. The conversion had been simple enough, but she had tooled a scrolling pattern into the base and barrel, wood and metal. At the butt of the gun was a Chinese character. His name, Monty, or rather his full name, Montgomery. He was speechless. Mal smiled warmly at his cousin’s expression. Bane, nervous due to the silence, carried on talking. “I did the same work on mine,” she said, showing her own gun for comparison, “I tried to make a holster for it, but I just couldn’t get the hang of it.” “This is the most beautiful gun I’ve ever seen,” was all he could manage to say. Bane was pleased at the compliment, Monty had been in the business a long time and knew his weapons. “It’s a gift, Monty,” said Mal, putting his hand on his cousin’s shoulder. Monty looked at them both grinning at him. “And a promotional sample,” added Bane. “Anyone else wants one and it’ll be four hundred for the full Monty,” Mal said grinning again at the phrase. “And three hundred for one without the extra workmanship. Both prices include twenty four bullets.” Monty agreed that it was an excellent price. One that would allow him to put on his take and make a little profit too. He was astounded by the quality of work. “Gorram it, Mal, I wish I’d found her before you.” Bane laughed. “Shame about the holsters though, might be a problem with that. It’s a pretty unique gun now.” “Might be able to convert the holster for a Mare’s Leg,” suggested Bane. She had tried fitting the gun using Zoe’s holster, but the sawn off shotgun was a little longer and fatter. Karl coughed behind them and they all turned around. “Sorry to interrupt,” he said, looking a little embarrassed. “I remembered Bane saying she had problems making a holster, an’ I thought I would have a go at constructing one.” He produced his prototype from behind his back. Bane’s mouth hung open, so did Mal’s. “Let’s have a look then,” said Monty holding out his hand. Karl passed it over under Bane’s nose. “That’s where that piece of leather went! I was looking for that everywhere.” Karl shrugged guiltily. “Where’d you learn to do this?” asked Monty. “Yeh, I’d like to know the answer to that too,” said Mal, beginning to understand that he really did have a very exceptional crew. “One of the jobs they made us do in prison.” Bane leaned passed Monty’s shoulder to inspect the workmanship. “This is nice work, Karl,” she said. “Why didn’t you say anything?” “Didn’t know whether it’d be suitable. I haven’t tried it with the gun yet, as that’s been in your quarters.” Monty put the belt on before Bane could grab it out of his hands. There were plenty of notches in it and it hung comfortably enough without the gun. Bane gave Monty his gun to put in the holster. It was a little snug, but then the leather was new. Monty leaned down to tie the extra thong around his leg. He walked around like it was a new shoe he was trying on. “Good work. It’s the right size. You do need to wear the leather a bit more before construction, or buy it a bit more worn.” He drew the gun out of its holster to demonstrate its tight fit. With the barrel sawn off it was a lot lighter and able to be handled in one hand. “I like this a lot.” Mal was impressed as well, but tried not to let the moment get away from them. They were trying to do business after all. “Reckon it’ll need a pouch of some kind to store extra bullets, otherwise all it’ll be is a dead weight after two shots,” Mal suggested. They all nodded in agreement. “Price we quoted still stands, Monty.” “Got yourself a little production line now, Mal. I conjure this’ll make a nice retirement fund for all of us.” “If we don’t get humped in the meantime.” * * * * * * * * * * * * The I.A.V. Malaga was orbiting around Boros. A shuttle containing Agents Dunne and Marquez, as well as a reluctant Colonel Dedham, flew down and landed outside the Kostova Ship Repair yard. Spike, the foreman, had time to run up to the boss’s office to give him a warning before they arrived. When they walked in his office, Kostova could not hide his surprise at seeing Dedham, his lapels indicating that he was now a Colonel. Being ex-military himself, he realised this could not be good. It was Dedham who spoke first. “Kostova. This is Agent Dunne and Agent Marquez. They want to know about that Firefly vessel I sold to you last year.” Kostova noticed that although Dedham spoke clearly it was without his usual superiority. He was sweating, there were dark circles under his eyes and he looked like he had not slept. He stepped aside and the two Agents came forward, agreeing silently between them, that this one would not be as easy to cave as Dedham had been. Marquez looked up at Spike who was standing beside his boss. “You may go,” he said. But Kostova held up his hand to stay him. He knew the law. “Unless you have a warrant of some kind, you cannot order me to do anything. Spike is my foreman an’ I want him to stay.” Despite his firm words Kostova shivered inwardly at the look he received from the two men. He was starting to get a headache and he never got headaches. Dunne looked at Dedham, and Dedham left the room quietly, looking completely whipped. As the door closed Marquez spoke again. “The Colonel sold you the Firefly. What did you do with it?” Kostova had been about to lie, something he normally did with Feds as easily as breathing, but the pain in his head was getting worse. He found himself saying something else. “Gave it back to the rightful owners.” “Malcolm Reynolds,” finished Dunne. They had both placed their hands on his desk. Matching blue gloves, he noticed. “Yes,” said Kostova, and he noticed the pain lessening. He glanced across at Spike who was squinting as if the light in the office was too bright. “Where are they now?” asked Marquez. “Could be anywhere in the Black,” answered Kostova quickly. He gasped in pain and held his hand to his temple. Spike was doing the same. Before he could wonder how, his nose started to bleed. “Where?” asked Marquez again. Kostova screwed his eyes shut and answered. “Likely on their way from Aberdeen to-to Athens by now,” he stuttered. What was happening to him? The Agents looked at each other and silently left the room. The door closed and the pain stopped. Kostova looked over at Spike – his nose was bleeding too. After allowing themselves time to recover and make sure the Alliance shuttle had left, they went to their local bar and had several shots of the strong stuff. “What happened, boss?” Spike said finally. “I don’t know, Spike, but I’ve never seen anything like it.” “My head felt like it was going to explode,” said Spike and Kostova nodded in agreement. “I don’t like it one bit.” “You’ve gotta warn ‘em, boss.” “I know, but it’s likely they’ll be monitoring my waves.” They both sat in silence and Kostova refilled their glasses. “What about waving Monty?” suggested Spike. “They would have already left him by now an’ I know Monty’s headed to the outer Rim next.” “Don’t one of the crew have family on Persephone?” Kostova tried to recall which one it was. They sat in silence again until a waft of cooking meat caught them both and they said in unison. “Pye!” “Bane Pye,” added Kostova. “She said she’s got relatives on Persephone. You wave them from a public comport, Spike. Tell them that they’ve got Alliance bloodhounds on their trail. Tell them I’m sorry.” Spike finished his drink and stood up, feeling sorry for his boss. He was a tough battle-hardened man and would never have given up his friends so easily under normal circumstances. Before he walked out the door he saw his boss pour fill up his glass again. * * * * * * * * Mal did not recognise the face of the person waving him. “Hello, Captain. My name is Lo Pye. I’m Bane’s uncle.” “What can I do for you, Mr Pye? Do you want me to get Bane?” “Call me Lo. No, this message is for you. It’s from Kostova.” Mal had been trying to wave Koz since they made the drop on Athens, but he had not responded. “Is something wrong?” he asked, afraid for the answer. He still owed Koz and the man was his friend as well. “He’s fine, but they’ve had a visit from some Alliance Agents. They’re looking for your ship. I was waved by his foreman, Spike, because they feared they were being monitored.” Mal’s belly contracted. With River withdrawing further and further into her self, he had begun to expect something was coming round the corner at them. “What did he say exactly?” he asked. Lo looked at him, the years of experience and living lining his features. “Kostova was made to tell them you were between Aberdeen and Athens.” Mal nodded, understanding. “Is he dead?” Mal knew that Koz would have taken some beating to hand over that information. Lo shook his head. “All this fellow Spike would say was that they were made to tell.” “Thanks for the message, Lo. We’ll watch our backs. Maybe see you for the wedding.” Lo smiled then. “I wouldn’t like to be the one telling my wife why you couldn’t make it, but she’d understand. Look after my niece.” “I will,” replied Mal and broke the connection. They had been flagged again. Mal realised it was inevitable, the time since Miranda had been the quiet after the storm, he should have known it would not last. He came out of his quarters and went to find Zoe. She was in the galley cleaning her weapons on the table. Fortunately she was alone. “Wave was important?” she anticipated. Mal sat down. “Looks like we’ve got ourselves some unwarranted Alliance attention again. They visited Koz and made him talk.” Zoe stopped what she was doing and looked him full in the face, the kind of look that would wilt a normal man. “We can’t afford to go to ground, we’ve gotta keep moving.” “I know it. Reckon we can do it. Could make for the outer Rim and pick up some transport work there.” “Sounds like a good plan,” said Zoe. “But we can’t stay hidden forever though.” “Figure that they’ll give up after a while an’ we can carry on as normal.” “Do you really believe that, sir?” asked Zoe. Mal walked out towards the cargo bay. “No,” he replied quietly.


Tuesday, May 1, 2007 8:49 PM


Please please post your thoughts as (good or bad) it inspires me to keep writing.
For a quick synopsis of crew members Bane Pye and Karl Jacobsson, see my log.

Sunday, May 6, 2007 4:42 PM


*jaw drops*

The Hands of Blue can pop blood vessels with their minds now?!? Aw crap...things have just taken a turn for the pooched with all undue haste:(

Still...lots of great stuff here, hermitsrest! Can't wait to see what happens next!



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