Nothing Ventured... - Ch. 2
Saturday, June 16, 2007

Motivated consumers and money-back guarantees...



Mal strolls down what looks like the main street of the town. Children are playing in fallen snow, throwing snowballs and making snow angels. Mal smiles at their antics, checking out the passing buildings. A small garrison of Alliance troops, eight in all, dressed in winter gear passes by across the street. Mal tactfully glances away, entering a small shop.

* * *


The shop is ancient-looking, though immaculately clean. A grandfatherly looking man leans on the counter next to an old cash register. The room is filled with trinkets, some recognizable devices from various eras. Mal steps close to a table and picks up a small device.

SHOPKEEPER - Can I help you find somethin’, son?

MAL - Not rightly sure. Just... I’ll know it when I see it, I s’pose.

SHOPKEEPER - Well, I won’t be givin’ you the usual song ‘n dance. I let my wares speak for themselves. Everything works. Money-back guarantee and all, ‘less ya let yer toddler use ‘em for a hammer.

Mal shakes his head and sets the device in its place.

MAL - No toddler to speak of, just one over-big juvenile. (glances around the shop) This place reminds me of the shops on my home-world.

SHOPKEEPER - Where’s that now?

MAL - Little rock, used to go by the name o’ Shadow, til some friends showed up for one rousin’ shindig.

SHOPKEEPER - Ah, yes. Kinda friends that clean out yer icebox and trample yer rug without so much as a howdya-do.

MAL - Ain’t that the truth.

* * *


River and Kaylee walk leisurely down the street, Kaylee occasionally looking into windows and pointing excitedly for River to look as well. River smiles at Kaylee’s excitement. Inara walks a couple steps behind them, people-watching. All three are dressed in heavy winter coats and hoods, hiding much of their appearance.

KAYLEE - Ooh. Simon would love that...

Kaylee points through a window. We see a gold-trimmed black vest hanging on a mannequin.

RIVER - I don’t think... (beat, catches Inara's look) Well, maybe. His taste has certainly... evolved in the last year or so.

Inara observes the exchange, occasionally glancing around.

INARA - Well, mei-mei, if you plan to buy it, now is the time. Simon did say he would only be a few minutes.

Kaylee bites her lower lip, fingering the few coins in her hand.

* * *


Paul sprints along a rooftop, his steps light and silent in the snow. He leaps to the next rooftop, his pace not slowing. He looks down at the street below and slides to a halt.

Paul POV. River, Kaylee, and Inara are barely visible through the falling snow.

Paul smiles and continues running, leaping to the next rooftop.

* * *


Simon steps out of a door, tucking a small box under his arm. He glances around.

Simon POV - The Alliance garrison is twenty feet away to his left. He abruptly turns his face away, flipping up his hood and walking away from the troops.

TROOP #1 (VO) - Hey, son! Hold up there!

Simon keeps walking.

Whip-pan to Alliance garrison. Troop #1 gestures for the others to follow him.

TROOP #1 - Son, halt, now!

Simon keeps walking and turns the next corner. It’s a dead end. He hangs his head and turns around.

SIMON - I’m sorry, Officer. I didn’t realize...

Troop #1 steps within three feet of Simon, his right hand resting on the pistol holstered to his hip.

TROOP #1 - You realized plenty well and good, boy. (pulls a small data pad from a pouch on his belt) If you ain’t who I think you are, I’m the bastard offspring of circus monkeys.

SIMON - I can assure you, sir...

TROOP #1 - Shut it. Hold still.

He holds the data pad up, revealing a minute camera on its back side. It flashes. He presses a button. Beat. Troop #1's eyes widen and he grins malevolently.

TROOP #1 - Well, hello, Doctor Tam.

* * *


River’s head snaps around, her eyes widening.

INARA - River? River, what is it?

RIVER - (bolting down the street) Simon. He’s been taken.

Kaylee and Inara run after River.

KAYLEE - River, wait!

Click to go back to Ch. 1

Click to go to Ch. 3


Saturday, June 16, 2007 9:24 PM


"SHOPKEEPER - Well, I won’t be givin’ you the usual song ‘n dance. I let my wares speak for themselves. Everything works. Money-back guarantee and all, ‘less ya let yer toddler use ‘em for a hammer.

Mal shakes his head and sets the device in its place.

MAL - No toddler to speak of, just one over-big juvenile."

What a great exchange! I'm in awe of your perfect Firefly's like stepping right back into the show, and that's ultimately what I look for in a perfect fanfic.

I loved the way the snow set the scene and the mood for this chapter, and of course now we need to see what happens with this evil cliffhanger of yours......

Oh, and by the way, I fully intend to read A Mighty Thorn, and am looking forward to doing so very much.

Saturday, June 16, 2007 10:46 PM


Excellent pacing and dialogue. And dammit if Simon didn't have to draw just enough attention to himself to get nabbed. Why can't anything run smooth? Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, June 16, 2007 11:18 PM


ooh, things aren't looking good for poor Simon.

Great chapter, can't wait to read the next.

Sunday, June 17, 2007 8:31 AM


I am still wondering what Mal is shopping for. Excellent chapter, as always.

Sunday, June 17, 2007 6:12 PM


Poor Simon, he never handles that whole walking on the street past lawmen thing very well, huh? Liked the exchange between Mal and the shopkeeper. Could just hear it perfectly in my head!

Monday, June 18, 2007 3:14 AM


Oh, Simon. Why didn't you buy yourself an outrageously plumed fan to hide behind? Has he learned nothing of espionage?

Those Feds aren't going to know what hit them...and I hope the ensuing tussle doesn't damage the box he just acquired. (For Kaylee, perhaps?)

...and what might a squad of alert MPs be doing on watch in a peaceful old town? Could major trouble be brewing?

Well done as ever!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 4:42 PM


Even with the seemingly wonky formatting (when I read it, everything was a great big amorphous blob), this was quality work here, Rob! Definitely smirked at Mal's short dialogue with the Shopkeeper;)



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