Blue Sun Job, Part 22: X1823
Tuesday, August 17, 2004

And all have returned to their places in Serenity and all is well... sure.


Blue Sun Job, Part 22: X1823

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
Blue Sun Job, Part 11: Home Again...
Blue Sun Job, Part 12: Waiting
Blue Sun Job, Part 13: Bushwhacked Revisited
Blue Sun Job, Part 14: Two By Two
Blue Sun Job, Part 15: Give the Devil His Due
Blue Sun Job, Part 16: The Edge
Blue Sun Job, Part 17: Going Through the Motions
Blue Sun Job, Part 18: Never Leave
Blue Sun Job, Part 19: The Bottom
Blue Sun Job, Part 20: Countdown
Blue Sun Job, Part 21: PS1467


No critical dialog using actual Chinese characters, just exclamatory expressions

他妈的 = ta ma duh = f*ck, or motherf*cking
狗屎 = go-se = crap

Blue Sun Job, Part 22X1823
靑日 Job: X1823

“Whatchu lookin’ at?” Jayne growled at Wash as he herded the three Alliance troopers off to the side. Their stunned expressions rivaled Wash’s own. This sort of thing wasn’t supposed to happen in the normal, sane ‘verse. What the good gorram was going on? And why was Jayne turning his back on that still-armed Fed captain and the shuttle’s pilot?!

“Um… uh... you… uh… it’s, uh…” Wash rapidly approached the babble zone. No one was shooting anyone yet. That was something. “Just real, real happy to see you, Jayne.” Then he added sincerely, “I love you, man.”

Jayne snorted but did look unaccountably--no, countably--pleased. Wash had never exactly been a fan of the big oaf, and never shy of pointing it out, but at this very moment Jayne looked as luscious to Wash’s eyes as Zoe ever had. Wash gulped. He’d deal with that disturbing thought later. “You, uh, do realize there’s a Fed officer behind you?” Wash asked in a stage whisper, tugging anxiously at the cuffs. The whole helpless thing grated on a fellow’s nerves.

As Jayne forced the three guards to kneel (Vera seemed to have them thoroughly intimidated), he flicked a glance back at the officer. “Oh, yeah... you ain’t met Monty’s nephew yet.” Monty had a nephew? Monty had a nephew who was an Alliance officer? Monty had a nephew who was an Alliance officer helping them escape??

Everything launched into full throttle at once. Shepherd Book appeared with bolt cutters. Simon had an injector gun with which he knocked the three guards out with a chilly, mechanical precision. Cutting Wash loose first, Book cut Zoe’s tethering chain, then Mal’s. Wash and Book carried/dragged Zoe out of the shuttle while Jayne and Monty’s nephew took Mal. Zoe was just conscious enough, and helpful enough, to hinder rather that help their progress.

“Kaylee! You’re up,” Jayne called as they laid Zoe and Mal down on the deck of Serenity’s cargo bay. Kaylee marched past Wash with a tool box and a grim, hard look on her face such as Wash had never before seen.

Wash glimpsed Kaylee and the shuttle pilot moving about inside, then focused on his wife.

“Zoe, sweetcakes… can you hear me?” She giggled then her eyes roamed randomly around the cargo bay, clearly nothing really registering with her. He stroked her cheek and glanced nervously around. What was going on here? Was this all part of the master plan? Had Mal and Zoe planned the gorram job out this 他妈的 far and just neglected to mention it to the only-the-pilot/only-the-husband?

“Can you unlock these chains?” Book asked the Fed officer. Monty’s nephew? Rebel, outlaw, hard-core Independent Monty had a nephew who was a Fed? A living Fed?

“No. The keys aren’t carried onboard,” the Fed answered. He looked--understandably, Wash supposed--a bit uneasy in this company.

Inara appeared with a small tool kit. Working quickly and smoothly with two slender tools, she unlocked the cuffs around Wash’s wrists, then moved on to Zoe’s. He gaped at her. He wasn’t the only one.

“You’re pretty damned good at picking locks. You learn that at whore academy?”

“Jayne!” Simon and Book exclaimed in unison in shocked, admonishing tones.

Jayne shrugged. “What? Cap’n’s out cold--someone had to say it.”

To Wash’s surprise, Inara chuckled.

Simon knelt by Zoe, flashing a penlight in her eyes. “What was given to them?” he asked brusquely toward the Fed. Wash noticed Simon avoided showing his face to the Fed, and the Fed avoided looking at any of them. What the…?

“I understand it’s just a standard sedative,” Monty’s nephew answered. “I couldn’t stop it, but they should be fine in a few hours.”

“She all right, Doc?” Wash asked, not willing to take a Fed’s word for it.

“I think so,” Simon said. “Vitals are strong. Responses good. She’s conscious… sort of. Just very, very relaxed.” Zoe giggled. Simon moved briskly on to the captain.

Scanning the cargo bay of Serenity, Wash felt the shock of the abrupt rescue start to throttle back. As he looked about he did a mental roll call.

“Uh...” he said, running through the list again. “Who’s flying the ship?”

“River,” Inara answered, freeing Zoe’s hands.

“Riv...” Wash’s eyes darted around in alarm. This was one of those situations where the captain would be ordering him to abandon his wife’s side to do his job. But Mal was still out and no one was ordering anything--the others all seemed to have their roles set and were executing them with swift precision.

“River?!” he repeated, hearing the tinge of panicked horror creep into his tone. Wash was actually surprised how calmly he was taking this bizarre bit of news. Screaming hysterically didn’t seem at all out of proportion. “River?!” Simon, bent over the captain, gave Wash an annoyed glance. Since when did Simon think his sis was anything but crazy? Or that she could fly the ship? With another glance down at his wife, Wash bolted on a dead run for the bridge.

* * *

“We’re set,” Kaylee called. She slapped the airlock controls, sealing Serenity up. Simon looked up from his examination of the captain to watch. The shuttle pilot began shedding his Alliance uniform rapidly, as though he couldn’t get the contaminating thing off his body quickly enough. Monty’s co-pilot, obviously didn’t relish his brief tenure as an Alliance shuttle pilot. The Fed captain stood apart, arms folded across his chest, studiously avoiding looking at any of them, or at any part of the ship except the airlock door.

Jayne slapped the comm. “Go.”

“I’ll just wait here,” the Fed said quietly to Book when asked if he’d like to go some place more comfortable.

“For what it’s worth,” Book said to him, “I think you did the right thing.”

The Fed officer flicked a brief glance at Book. Simon saw a play of many things across his face. “How many rights and wrongs does it take to balance the scales?” he said to the Shepherd. “I was just paying a debt here. I owed Reynolds and I owed my uncle.” His face went hard. “I don’t owe them anymore. Now leave me be. What I don’t see and don’t know I don’t have to decide on the rightness or wrongness of.”

Simon ducked his head away again, even though the Fed returned to staring carefully at the airlock door. With a jerk of his head, Simon gestured for Book to come over to him.

Kneeling by Simon, Book looked the captain over gravely. “Is he alright?”

“I don’t know,” Simon said, shaking his head. “He shouldn’t be unconscious. There’s something else going on with him other than just a simple sedative.” He wondered briefly at Book’s sharp glance at the captain. “I want to move him into the infirmary.”

Inara finished unlocking the rest of the chains, which Jayne scooped up. “I’ll take these,” he said. Everyone froze for a second of studied avoidance of thinking what he meant to do with them. “What?”

Simon shuddered briefly, in sync with Serenity’s shudder as the drive lit and shuttle fell away. He glanced toward Kaylee, and her stony expression, and tried not to think about the three guards left aboard the shuttle. Another of the hard realities of life in this ‘verse, he thought. This one would be Kaylee’s burden to bear. Then he focused on the captain again, flicking his penlight in his eyes.

Wash’s voice sounded over the comm. “Shuttle’s on its trajectory, Kaylee, five-by-five. Good work. Everyone hold on--as soon as it blows we go to full burn… Get your hands off of that!”

River’s voice cut over his, sounding petulant, echoing through Serenity, “We should do a hyperbolic below the shuttle as it blows. It’ll cover our burn better.”

“That’s too low in the gas giant’s atmo--we’d rupture a bulkhead!”

“Standard tolerances for a Firefly…” River started.

Serenity’s not standard. And you’re insa…” The comm cut off.

Another moment of rich silence again filled the cargo bay.

“Well,” Shepherd Book said evenly, “I think we should take the ‘holding on’ suggestion.”

* * *

“…idea of people being addicted to excitement and tension is not new,” Simon said, his conversation with Book having veered off on a different track. Quiet filled Serenity again now that the rendezvous with Monty’s ship had been completed and they again plunged alone through empty space with no indication of tracking or pursuit.

“Adrenaline junkies?” Book said, with a chuckle and grin. “Being a Shepherd leading a cloistered life would suggest I have no such affliction. The others on this ship, however…”

Simon grinned back. “You don’t seem to be living in a quiet Abby now, Book. On this ship, pulling off the occasional daring rescue…” He raised his eyebrows with a hint of challenging amusement. “A few adrenaline addiction issues of your own, perhaps?”

Chuckling again, Book said, “Perhaps. Or perhaps it’s like it is with the others on this ship--the times of peace and quiet become so much more the precious and cherished because the danger and tension provide such a stark contrast. You’ve gone from trauma surgeon and E.R. doctor--not exactly bland occupations--to criminal mastermind slash fugitive slash outlaw ship’s medic. A few excitement issues of your own?”

Simon laughed agreeably. “And yet I’m bored senseless most of the time… in the times I’m not abjectly terrified.”

“Oh, you don’t scare easily, son,” Book said. Then he gave a slight jerk of his head, drawing Simon’s attention to the captain, sprawled on the infirmary’s exam table, and the readouts behind him registering subtle changes.

Simon stood. “Yes. He’s close to waking. Finally.”

Moving his stool close to the captain, Simon watched him drift back toward consciousness. This was always interesting; the captain in one of his rare, absolutely unguarded moments.

His eyes flickered open. No comprehension yet. Simon watched, a faint smile growing on his face as he saw his private prediction of Mal’s behavior play out. The captain’s gaze roamed across the infirmary, passing Simon and Book without even a hint of recognition. Not finding what he was apparently looking for, he started tracking back across the room.

“She’s fine,” Simon said, watching the captain intently.

Mal’s eyes snapped over to Simon, recognition sinking in after a moment, followed quickly by a questioning squint.

“Zoe’s fine,” Simon said. “She’s on the bridge.”

The captain nodded acceptingly, then scowled. “How…?”

“Did I know that’s who you were looking for?” Simon grinned. “I’ve seen you do that before. Almost like an ingrained compulsion.” It was like Mal had to find his benchmark in the ‘verse and lock onto it before everything else settled into place. It was an interesting character trait, and--Simon suspected--for Wash probably an annoying one. There were some strange dynamics between those three at times, ones Simon still hadn’t fully deciphered, and wasn’t sure if they had themselves.

“Great,” the captain muttered. “More amateur psychoanalysis.”

“How do you feel?” Simon asked, studying his patient closely.

“Fine,” Mal said, then visibly winced. He lifted his hand to shade his eyes.

Snapping off the overhead lights, Simon shoved them back out of the way. “You didn’t convince me that was the truth,” he said, pulling out his penlight.

With an unduly irritated glare at Simon, Mal sighed. “Okay. I feel like someone poured caustic acid through every blood vessel in my head.”

“That I believe,” Simon said, flashing the penlight across the captain’s pupils. He tried to jerk away.

“You don’t seem surprised to be waking up here, son,” Book inserted. Simon wondered at the tone of amusement in his voice.

Mal squinted at the Shepherd. “Well… no. You said we’d be freed, and… umm…” He scowled with concentration.

“And what?” Book nudged with a chuckle Simon didn’t understand.

“And… and… uh, that we’d go to… our place in Serenity?” Mal finished it as a question. Simon glanced at Book, wondering at the broad grin on the Shepherd’s face.

Book chuckled again. Mal frowned, staring hard at him with confusion reading clearly on his face. “Yes, that is what I said, but do you recall exactly the way I gave you that message.”

After a blank moment, a look of complete and utter disgust passed over the captain’s face. Book laughed loudly.

“Oh, I had you figured right from the start, captain,” Book said, still laughing and wiping his eyes. Simon looked back and forth between them, baffled. “The word is ‘peace’ in every other version. It’s only ‘serenity’ in the Twenty-third Century Reformed edition.” Mal groaned and turned his head away.

“Could you give us some time alone, Shepherd?” Simon interrupted, still uncertain what was going on between the two, but knowing it was upsetting his patient.

Book’s laugh was broad and deep as he turned away toward the door. “Right down to the denomination,” Book added, still chortling as he slid the infirmary doors closed behind him.

Simon turned back, the question automatically rising to his lips immediately stifled by the captain’s expression. Instead, he said in a brisk, doctorly tone, “So, seeing as I have you here, more or less at my mercy, I thought we could have a personal chat.”

The captain groaned again. “Won’t that be fun,” he said with a heavy sigh. Simon quelled a smile.

“What did they do to you, captain?” Simon asked seriously.

“Nothing,” he answered, giving a faint shudder. Bad recollections?

“There’s some serious bruising around your wrists,” Simon said, studying him intently.

Mal glanced down, then shook his head. “They’re just a little… forceful. It’s not nothing.”

Simon sometimes suspected the captain used that plethora of double-negatives on purpose to add a level of confusion to his listeners. It worked. Shaking his head, Simon said, “There’s more to it, Mal, and I need to know what. They shot you and Zoe with a fairly standard sedative. We even have it here on Serenity. Zoe came out of it with no problem--other than a latent tendency to giggle, which was somewhat disturbing on its own merit--but you it practically put into a coma. What happened on that cruiser? What, exactly, did they do?”

“Just lots of talk and a few drugs,” Mal said. He rubbed his temple. It must be bad, Simon thought. He had noticed the captain wasn’t in any rush to get up and leave.

“I’d give you something for that headache, but I just don’t dare, not until I find out more,” Simon said. Mal glanced over questioningly at the IV line running into his left arm. Simon shook his head. “That’s just fluids. No drugs. Just helping your system flush out whatever’s in it. Which would be…?”

“Couldn’t tell you, doc. They didn’t let me read the labels, and they weren’t too damned concerned with my health when they were mixing them all together,” Mal said.

“Captain,” Simon paused, wondering if he ought to wait until the man had recovered more before bringing up this point. No. It was too important. “Did they question you about River and me?”

“Oh, yeah. You were the warm-up act,” Mal said. “Don’t worry. I didn’t tell ‘em nothing.”

Again with the perplexing double negatives. “Are you sure?”

The flicker of doubt that ran across the captain’s face chilled Simon. He’d expected Mal to answer with his typical cocky certainty.

“Yeah,” Mal said, his gaze turning inward and his tone not at all confident. Then, more certainly, “Yeah. If I’d’a told ‘em anything I’d still be there chained to a wall ‘til they pumped me dry. Or dead…” his eyes suddenly did a quick glance around the infirmary.

“Yes, you’re really here,” Simon said, trying hard to sound soothing though he was, himself, a bit shaken. Chained to a wall? And that was classified as ‘nothing’? “I’m… I’m asking, captain,” Simon said, trying hard not to stumble over the words, “because I ran several sets of bloodwork on you.” He hesitated. “And… well, I have to tell you, though I couldn’t conclusively identify the substances in your bloodstream, I can say that some of the results… well, they were very much like the results I’ve gotten from tests I’ve run on River.”

Mal looked shocked. Understandably so, Simon thought.

“The intensity of the results did decrease between tests,” Simon added hastily, “so I can tell you that it does seem to be wearing off…” He stopped. The captain wasn’t listening. He’d gone someplace internal, shaking his head and muttering to himself.

“Sonuvabitch,” Mal said. “Blue…” Simon felt another chill as the captain said faintly, “Two by two…” Mal’s eyes slid past Simon toward the door. An absolute down-to-the-spine shudder passed through Simon as the captain whispered, “hands of blue.”

Simon’s head whipped around. River had cracked the infirmary door open and peered in, her face eerily pale, eyes intense. She and the captain stared at each other. She’d echoed his words.

“Didn’t dig. Didn’t probe,” River chanted. “Just squeezed.” She shook herself and Simon saw her grin, looking like a not-so-eerie girl again. “Ya done good, cap’n,” she said, then spun away.

“Thanks,” Mal muttered, then murmured a string of cuss words so intense that they would have had Simon blushing at any other time.

“What…?” Simon was at a loss for words.

The captain shook his head, seeming a bit at a loss himself. “I think I met River’s blue hand guys. Sonuvabitch.”

“Those… those… aren’t real,” Simon said. “That’s just…”

“Real enough for government work,” Mal said. He shook himself again. “I am well and truly creepified now.” He looked up at Simon. “And I’m thinking you ought to pay more heed to what that girl says. Sonuvabitch. Um… doc… who makes that sedative you were talkin’ about?”

“Well, I’m not sure,” Simon said, turning away to find a vial. He looked at it, then held it out toward Mal. “Blue Sun.”

“Sonuvabitch,” Mal said again. He sounded like he was stuck in a loop… like River sometimes did. “Blue Sun again.”

“They manufacture a lot of pharmaceuticals. This is one I give to River quite often. Why? What are you thinking?” Simon asked.

“I’m thinking we shouldn’t buy stuff made by Blue Sun anymore.” The captain looked up at him and gave a shrug. “And I’m thinking you shouldn’t be giving that drug to River anymore either.” He rubbed his temple again.

“You want something for that pain?” Simon asked reflexively, too overloaded to process all that had passed in the last few minutes.

“Really, really not,” Mal said. “Just unhook me from this 狗屎--” he gestured toward the IV “--and let me out of here.”

“Um… okay… sure…” Simon stuttered. “But we, uh, need to discuss this more. And I’ll need to run some more tests, and…” It didn’t take but a glance at the captain’s face to see that wasn’t going to happen.

Blue Sun Job, Part 23: Fallout


Tuesday, August 17, 2004 2:14 PM


"Monty had a nephew? Monty had a nephew who was an Alliance officer? Monty had a nephew who was an Alliance officer helping them escape??"

“You’re pretty damned good at picking locks. You learn that at whore academy?”
“Jayne!” Simon and Book exclaimed in unison in shocked, admonishing tones.
Jayne shrugged. “What? Cap’n’s out cold--someone had to say it.”

These are absolute GEMS!! My hat's off to you...brilliant!

Tuesday, August 17, 2004 2:42 PM


Loved this to pieces, so many good bits in it and I just can't wait for the next part but don't want the gorram story to end, *dong ma*? What creepified me most was Book laughing at the Captain. Even though we only got a bit of River in this part she was excellent and that whole Blue Sun thing was pretty chilling. Wonder what wacky fun Wash will have with a giggling Zoe? *Xie xie ni*, so shiny I need sunglasses to read this. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, August 17, 2004 4:18 PM


Da da da dum... love the way you build it all up. Absolutely masterful. Lots more fallout to deal w/ from this chapter....and wonder what jayne will think of simon taking river off her meds??

Wednesday, August 18, 2004 1:55 AM


" He’d deal with that disturbing thought later" fnerg!!

"Jayne shrugged. “What? Cap’n’s out cold--someone had to say it.”" I think this may become my favourite fanfic line ever!

Oh and I really like the way Wash does his duty voluntarily when Mal's not there to order him around and make him obstinate. Nice insight.

Adore the way the code played out. "Right down to the denomination" .. hee!

Interesting what you had to say about the double negatives - a friend and I have been thinking about that. Sure it has more to it than just being uneducated-cowboy-speak.

Another yummy chapter. What job do you do BTW? Cos I think you've found your vocation here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004 4:25 AM


Aaall good

Jayne shrugged. “What? Cap’n’s out cold--someone had to say it.”

Work. Of. Genius.

Thursday, August 19, 2004 2:39 AM


Evil. The purest shiny evil. I'm so lovin' it, and I know that the end is near, but in a way, I don't want it to end. Your complexities and humor have me hooked. Promise me that you'll right more when you finish with this story.


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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.