Self Contained Chapter 3
Sunday, April 27, 2008

A continuation of ‘Anti Hero‘. Set significantly after ’Objects in Space’. Xiaofan has to make a quick exit after thugs bust into her practice. She assumes it’s just a robbery gone wrong. But is it ever that simple? It’s now her turn to call on the help of her old friend Simon Tam and the crew of Serenity.


Author: joly

Rating: Pg to Pg-13'ish

Genre: Drama-y, Romance-y, Angst-y (maybe), Adventure-y

Pairing: Mostly Simon/Kaylee

Spoilers: All the way to ‘Objects in Space’. But no BDM spoilers. In this story that hasn’t happened yet. We can, however, assume that things have gone all canon-like after ‘Ariel’ and up til this point.

Summary: A continuation of ‘Anti Hero‘. Set significantly after ’Objects in Space’. Xiaofan has to make a quick exit after thugs bust into her practice. She assumes it’s just a robbery gone wrong. But is it ever that simple? It’s now her turn to call on the help of her old friend Simon Tam and the crew of Serenity.

Disclaimer: I don’t own Firefly, the crew, the ‘Verse, any of that stuff. I just like to tell stories. Joss and The Man own the stuff. All the OFC’s are mine and I reserve the right to use them any way I please. I make no money, I expect none. Peace and Blessings.

Thanks: To everyone who read ‘Anti Hero’, much thanks. Makes me all squishy inside.

Distribution: Any where, just let me know so’s I can do a little dance.

Feedback: Please and Thank You. Read and review at your leisure. **************************************************

Simon paced the floor in the galley.

“Top popping, Simon. Brains flying out.”

“I can’t sit. I can’t think straight. She…” he stopped pacing for a second. “It’s my fault.”

His sister regarded him quizzically.

“Doesn’t withstand inquiry.”

“I… What?”

“Placing blame. Criminals often find themselves in criminal situations. That is within statistical probability.”

“If I hadn’t contacted her… If I had chosen anyone else.”

“Melo-drama and Simon are ill-fitting.”

With that she stood and headed toward the cargo bay.

“River…” he said, “I’m not being melo-dramatic.”

She just waved her hand at him, continuing out of the galley.


Mal walked into the engine room of his boat and found his mechanic Kaylee under the engine, as usual.

“We got fuel cells ta get us ta Persephone and then back to Boros?”

“Even if we don’t, can always refuel…”

“~Xiaomeimei~, tell me you have need of items only procurable on Persephone.”

“Alright, Cap’, I have needa items only procurable on Persephone.”

“Don’t you want to know why?”

“Not really.”


“Ya jus’ wanna have an excuse ta do somethin’ ya already set yer mind ta. Prob’ly ‘cause someone you don’ particularly like who needs it done.”

“Meimei... That hurts, in my heart.” Mal touched the comm. “Wash, looks like Kaylee needs something on Persephone.”

Through the comm, Wash answered, “Done, Cap.”

“Xie-xie, Cap’n sir,” Kaylee called as Mal turned to leave the engine room.

“Nothin’ to be thankin’ me for, li’l Kaylee.”

“You gonna tell Simon?” she called to his retreating form.



Mal walked into the galley, started rummaging through cupboards.

Simon, finally worn himself down a bit, was sitting at he table. There was silence, except for the shuffle of items and the sound of breath.

Simon sat quietly, for a change. Determined to make the captain begin the conversation.

Mal, on the other hand, was in for the long haul. He dug through the cupboards, pulling out this item and returning it. Grabbing another, turning it in his hands, returning it as well. Mal made a big to do of finally choosing a food item then set upon an equally pain staking task of choosing the right eating implement. He picked up a spoon, then noting a speck, set it back. Another spoon and then…

“~Benzhuoyumeibujishi~!” Simon stood, but made no movement towards the captain.

“I’m afraid Kaylee is wrong, doc. You’re swearin’ ain’t comin’ along at’all.”

“Just say it.”

“Say what?”

“Yes or no.”

“’Bout what?”

“Captain Reynolds…”

“I can see the top of yer head is fixin’ to blow off that well- educated brain o’ yours.”

A vein in Simon’s forehead began to throb wildly.

“And since I’m still in need of a medic, I’ll tell ya that we have indeed changed headin’ to Persephone.”

Simon sat heavily in the chair, taking deep breaths He mentally willed his blood pressure to normal, and continued to fight the urge to throttle the other man.

“Kaylee needs parts only ‘vailable there. But I guess we’ll have time to check in with yer doctor friend.”


“Yea, her.”

Simon’s calm was slowly restoring itself.

“When can we expect to break atmo?”

Mal looked down at the food he’d chosen.

“When we do, doc, be sure ta let ya know.”

Simon clicked his teeth together, biting back the words struggling out of his mouth. He took a deep breath and watched Mal walk out of the galley.


The general consensus, if you believed the captain, was that Serenity was setting down on Persephone for parts and supplies. What belied that fact was that Mal and Zoe had their heads together trying to put together contacts that might know something about Doctor Lo.

“Wash said he didn’t get response?”

“None, sir. Her office, her private communications, the private box she used to wave us last. Nothing.”

“And she did say she’d wave later with more info?”

“According to Wash, yes.”


“Nothing, sir. Why are we goin’ over this in such excruciatin’ detail?”

“Mostly wishful thinkin’ on my part, Zoe. Was kinda hopin’ we wouldn’t end up hip deep in the muck so soon.”

“We don’t have to…”

“She helped us out, we owe ’er…”

“I was just gonna suggest, sir, that we go visitin’.”

Mal made a sour face.


“He’d be the one who’d know.”

“Our luck, Zo, he’d be the one snatched her up.”

“Well, it would make the search shorter, sir.”


“Jayne! Get strapped up, we’re headin’ out.”

“I’m going with you, Captain,” Simon called, leaping down the stairs.

“I don‘t think so, Doc. You’ll be keeping’ yer sister company.”

“Not. No need of company,” River stated sitting on the stairs to shuttle one.

“I’ll bear it in mind. But you, Doc, are stayin’ on the ship. Final.”

“Keep the moonbrain from cuttin’ up anyone else,” Jayne added.

Simon looked at the mercenary sourly, his face moving into a grimace.

“It’s been some times since River… assaulted… anyone.”

Mal raised his voice, “Not discussin’ this. Doc, yer stayin’. Me, Zoe an’ Jayne, we’re goin’. That’s the final tally. ~Dong ma~?”

Simon pulled himself up, ready to do battle.


The assembled folks looked over to River on the stairs.

“Might what, River?” Mal asked.

“Might ‘assault’ someone. Simon should stay.”

“There you go, Doc. Straight from the mouth o’ the ~nizi~.”

Simon, again, held his anger in and watched the three leave.


The conversation with Badger was short and to the point. The point Jayne was holding to his throat, specifically. There was a mite more pressure applied before the ~bujishipigu~ would speak.

“You want work from me ever again, Reynolds?” Badger spat, his head held against the top of his desk, pinned by a forearm. Jayne had thoughtfully cleared the area before slamming the little man’s cranium down.

“Work I can get, Badger. This info, I’m in ready need of. I came in here asking simple questions, yer the one went and got all hinky.”

“My men will gut you, you ~hechushengzajiaodezan~!”

“I ain’t did nothin’ with them cattle an’ you know it,” Mal replied pleasantly, smiling at the man. “And yer men are a bit… tied up at the moment.”

Zoe walked in at that very moment, holstering her weapon.


“Now, you tell me what I need to know an’ Jayne’ll be much more kinder to yer ~qingxiu~ noggin.”

“Piss off, Reynolds.”

“Now, that’s just not nice, Badger.”

Jayne applied more pressure to the knife and the skin broke. Blood trickled across the other man’s throat.

“What could this possibly have to do with you?” Badger gasped.

“Curiosity ain’t enough?”

Badger just stared.

“Let me guess…” Mal smirked, “Money changed hands?”

“What’s money between friends?” Badger tried to brazen it out.

“Come on, Cap, let me gut this fish!” Jayne sounded like a petulant child, whining for a treat.

“Alrigh’, alrigh’! Got a … request… to pick up a certain physician ‘cross town.”

“Looks like I was right, Zo. “

“By accident, sir.”

He looked at her, mock wounded, “Zoe, ain't you heard? I know everything.”

Jayne sighed in disgust, “Can we git on with this, my arm’s gettin’ tired.”

“Your arm?!” Badger yelled.

“Let ‘im up Jayne. He starts trouble you have my permission ta gut ‘im.”

“Xie-xie, Cap’,” the big merc smiled, knife in hand.

The smaller man gave up the ghost. Or so it appeared.

“She’s in the back. ‘Ave at ‘er.”

“Sweet o’ ya to let us know.”

“Awful obliging’, sir,” Zoe put in.

“How many men ya got on her?”

“That slip of a thing?” Badger smiled sweetly, slid down into his chair and smirked up at the group, rubbing his throat gingerly. “Didn’t leave none. She wasn’ makin’ a peep when I left her.”

“Likely story.”

He turned and headed down the hall.

“She better be in the same condition I last saw her, or Jayne’ll be comin’ back for an ear.”

Jayne held the knife pointed towards Badger, then sheathed it. He turned and followed Zoe and Mal.

“I do like the ears.”


Xiaofan quietly took in her captor. A tall, brutish looking man with an ugly scar running from under his left eye to the ridge of his jawbone.

“If I’d seen you before that healed up, I could have kept the scarring to a minimum.”

He didn’t speak.

“But, the line of work you’re in, scarring might be like advertising, yes?”

Still no response.

“My specialty back on Osiris was treatment of disfiguring wounds and scarring.”

She took a deep breath, ‘Just keep the lies to a minimum.’

“Well, there is a long and complicated title for the specialty, well, sub-speciality as it would be properly referred to, but it would just bore and probably irritate you.”

The thug shuffled his feet, finally looking directly at Xiaofan. There was no triumph in it for her, as it was only to point his weapon at her.


Xiaofan sighed and leaned back on her seat.

“You could offer me something to eat or drink if I’m going to be here much longer.”


Over his shoulder she noticed a familiar face peeking through the bars.

“I mean really… I haven’t had a bathroom break or anything. I may burst with pent up excess.”

The thug moved towards her menacingly.

“Boss said quiet.”

Mal eased the door open slowly. There was, regrettably for him, a long squeak as the opening widened. His face held a rueful smile and he pushed the door all the way open.

“Well, that’s unfortunate.”

The thug turned his head towards the door.

Mal pulled his weapon and pointed it at the thug. Just then it looked like he was going to give up peaceably, lowering his weapon. Jayne and Zoe entered the room behind the captain and the thug raised his weapon again.

Jayne’s hand was fastest, bullet tearing into the man, throwing him to the back of the room. Xiaofan sat on the chair, still as a statue, eyes closed with her chin on her chest, taking deep breaths.

“Is it over? Is… it done? Can I look?”

“If the sight o’ blood upsets ya, best lift yer head and walk straight to me.”

Eyes still closed Xiaofan responded.

“Blood doesn’t bother me. Pieces of that man’s body strewn across a room might.”

“Well, the first thing I said stands. Just open yer eyes and walk straight to me.”

Xiaofan opened her eyes, stood, walked to the man, placed her hands on the captain’s shoulders and looked into his eyes.

“I was not kidding about needing a restroom, Captain.”


“I’m glad you’re safe, Xiaofan.”

“Safe is relative, Simon.”

“Safer, then.”

“More safe?” she laughed.

“I hate to break up the reunion here, but I have a need to know what happened,” Mal said, joining them at the table in the galley.

Zoe was not far behind, followed by Jayne.

“Well, Captain, I was minding my own business…”

“The short version.”

“Thugs, criminals, miscreants, what have you, they attempted to abduct me from my office. I was able to extricate myself from that situation, but the events that followed lead to a belief that the situation was not entirely about me. I was only caught after figuring out why anyone would be looking to abduct me. I talked to your man and was heading back to the safe house…”

“No comm in yer safe house?”

“It was... Out of service."

"Smart," he grunted.

“Jayne, leave ‘er be." He saw the look on her face, “But go on.”

“As I was saying. I sent the message and then the gentleman with the trying accent, Badger, had someone assault me. I woke up in the room you found me in.”

“Yea and ya were ‘bout ta get yerself killed when we gotcha out.”

“I… had a plan.”

“Sure,” Jayne grunted and headed for the exit.

“You done, Jayne?” Mal called after him. “’Cause I was sure we still had things to sort.”

“Don’t need me here for all this palaver. You jus’ call when ya need the big stuff hauled or killin’ done.”

“Sweet man,” Xiaofan said to her cup of tea, “Truly.”

Xiaofan lead the group through her reasoning and there was a general feeling of discontent through out.

“So, someone found out you’d helped with the…”

“How’d they know we had anything to do with it? Specifically Simon?”

“If I had all those answers I don’t believe you would have found me in the position I was in. I just put things together and came to a likely conclusion.”



“Well, we got you out before anyone could put the screws to ya, that’s something.”

“So, Mister Badger, and it is quite a fitting name, he abducts me, places me in that room and worse things were going to happen to me?”

“Most likely,” Mal said, “He’da handed you to whoever paid, and then the real trouble’d begun.”

“Good to know.” She took a deep breath. “Do we know who wanted to abduct me?”

“He didn’t say. And we didn’t have the time to keep questioning him.” He sighed, “We should get a move on, he’s probably sellin’ us out as we speak.”

Simon took this chance to interject.

“Captain, Doctor Lo is probably tired. We should…”

“No doubt. Rest, Doctor, then we’ll decide what to do.”

Mal and Zoe left, heads together, planning.

Xiaofan turned to Simon.

“So… How’s your sister?”

“Fine. Fine. How have you been?”

“Other than the kidnap and imminent torture… fine.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I don’t know why. You didn’t do this.”


“Enough,” Xiaofan sighed, tiredly.

“Yes, I’m… Let me show you to a room.”


“What do you mean you no longer have her?”

“Just that. Men broke up the place, took her.”


The thought passed through Badger’s mind to give up Reynolds’s name. It passed when he also thought about what would happen to him if Reynolds lived through the endeavor. Didn’t fancy the mercenary’s knife at his throat.

“Mister… Badger, we will require our payment returned.”

It pained him, but, “Yea, that you will.”

“Within the hour.”

“Gentlemen,” Badger motioned towards the door.

The two well-dressed men made their way to the street.

“We must locate that woman.”

“Your grasp of the obvious is heart-rending.”

“May I remind you…”

“You may not.”

“We must.”

“I am well aware of the consequences of failure.”

“I don’t believe you do. She his information vital to our…”

“Not on the street, fool.”

“Who would know? These peasants?”

“You’re lack of caution is… worrying.”


“We will locate the woman.” His voice brooked no further conversation.



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