Four of a Kind--Part XI--Full House
Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Co-authored by Midnight Obsidian. With Mal, Jayne, and Marcus incarcerated, the plan goes a little pear-shaped.


As the door to the holding cell swung open on its hinges, Mal looked up. His mouth fell slightly open as Marcus was thrust into the cell and the door was shut with a resounding clang.

“What happened?” he asked.

Marcus rolled his eyes. “There mighta’ been a little fight,” he said evasively. A thought occurred to him. “And why exactly are you two in here.?”

Mal shifted uncomfortably on the bench. “Mighta’ been a little fight on our end too.”

Marcus laughed shortly, shaking his head in wry amusement. “Guess you can take the man outta the fight, but not the fight outta the man.”

Jayne snorted. “You just make that up, or’d you read it in one of them glossies?”

Mal glared at the mercenary. “Ain’t you picked a fight with enough Captains for one day?” he asked.

Marcus looked at them in surprise. “You mean to say, you were fighting …with each other?”

Mal sighed. “One of those things that’s a mite hard to explain. How’s about we drop it for now and work on how to get outta here. Kaylee’s little doohickeys might disable the main systems, but they ain’t like to pop this door open.”

Sobered by that thought, Marcus looked at their surroundings. “Could be a problem.”

“You think?” Jayne said sarcastically.


Zoe checked the chronometer. “There some reason you’re not done yet?” she asked the back of Murdocke’s head.

“Yeah, there is,” Murdocke replied testily. “First off, I didn’t wanna get fried by working on this safe before the others were able to disrupt the fields. Second, it ain’t like you can just blow this kinda’ safe open. It’s rigged so that if you try to blow it, you take out a section of the hull with it. Pretty much ensures you don’t live to collect the goods. Dong ma?”

“Still,” Pierre said softly from the door, where he was watching the corridor for traffic of any kind. “It does seem to be taking you longer than it should.”

Murdocke cursed, wiggling around in the small space. “If any of you think you can do it faster, why don’t you……” He fell suddenly silent.

“Murdocke?” Jim asked, a vague feeling of unease skittering along his spine. “You hit a live wire or something?”

Zoe leaned down to look into the tiny space where Murdocke had been working. Murdocke glanced back at her over his shoulder. “Might have us a little problem,” he said, much more quietly than his normal voice ever was.

“Magine that,” Zoe deadpanned. “What kinda’ problem?”

Murdocke sighed. “I’m stuck,” he admitted.

“You mean you don’t know what to do next?” Pierre asked.

“No, you idiot,” Murdocke replied. “I mean I’m stuck. My gorram hand is caught in the locking mechanism.”

Motioning Jim to take his position at the door, Pierre walked over to the vault and peered over Murdocke’s shoulder. “Well, pull it out,” he said.

“If I could pull it out, don’t you think I would have?” Murdocke asked. “Ain’t like I am wildly interested in gettin’ corpsified whilst trying to break into their safe, now is it?”

“How much time do we have?” Zoe asked, bringing the conversation back to the important thing.

“Less than an hour,” Jim replied, glancing at his watch. “The backup feeds will be booted up by that point, unless Kaylee’s little gadgets have a longer shelf-life than she said.”

Zoe sighed, thinking that some days it didn’t pay to get up in the morning.


Simon glanced surreptitiously at his watch. “They should have been back by now,” he said worriedly.

Kaylee smiled encouragingly. “Maybe they’re on their way now. It’s a big ship, after all.”

“Somehow I don’t think that’s the problem,” Bear said, his voice barely above a whisper.

Simon followed Bear’s line of sight and saw Elizabeth approaching them rapidly. “Marcus has been arrested,” she said, her wide blue eyes worried.

“For what?” Bear asked incredulously.

Elizabeth sighed. “That’s not important right now, is it?”

“Depends on whether he was arrested for trying to finish the job or for something else,” Bear pointed out reasonably.

“Something else,” Elizabeth answered. “Now can we go get him out?”

“We still have to wait for Mal,” Simon began uneasily.

Kaylee looked over at her husband and saw Inara coming into the huge gaming room. “Look,” she said, directing everyone’s attention to the former Companion.

Inara moved gracefully toward them, nothing in her demeanor to indicate alarm. But knowing her as well as they did, Simon and Kaylee knew immediately that something had gone seriously awry.

“Mal and Jayne are being detained in the holding cell on the third level,” she said without preamble when she got to the small group.

“What is it, an epidemic?” Bear asked.

“What happened?” Simon and Kaylee said simultaneously.

“Long story,” Inara said. “But at least I was able to activate the devices.”

Elizabeth nodded. “We got them in position as well.”

“Well, at least there’s that,” Simon said. Pulling the small comm unit from his pocket, he called Zoe. “Think you need to come up here. Mal and Marcus have gotten themselves incarcerated,” he said, whispering into the device.

Zoe’s voice came back, tinny and mechanical-sounding. “Can’t do that right at the moment. We got a little issue down here too.”

Simon was just about to ask what kind of issue they had when the Persephone Queen shuddered as if it had hit a force field of some kind. “Did that have anything to do with what’s happening down there?” he asked Zoe urgently as he steadied himself against the shudder.

“Not so far as I know,” Zoe said. “Stay put and we’ll be there as soon as we can.”


Six Finger Farraday swaggered onto the plating of the docking platform of the Persephone Queen, looking for all the ‘verse as if he thought he owned it outright. Behind him were ten men, each bristling with weaponry and projecting a genuine love of violence.

The captain of the ship stood between them and the first guest deck, the greeters scattering behind him like feathers on a breeze. “What is your business here?” he demanded, making as if to block their entrance.

Farraday smiled, his gold front teeth shining in the light. “Step outta the way, Captain, if’n you ain’t got a hankering for being riddled with holes.”

The Captain drew himself up to his full height. “This vessel is under the protection of the Allied system of planets,” he said. “And piracy will not be tolerated.”

Farraday calmly spat on the deck plating. “Zeke,” he said.

The sound of the shot reverberated through the room as the Captain fell to the decking, clutching at his knee. Farraday walked easily past the writhing man and into the guest area. His men fanned out behind him, picking off security personnel with wild abandon.

The passengers began to huddle together in fear as Farraday walked among them, sizing up the opulent room as he went. Planting himself firmly in the center of the room, he said, “This here is a robbery. Now, less’n anybody’s got a notion to test Zeke’s aim here, I suggest you all get busy with gatherin’ up all your fine little treasures. Ain’t no more blood gotta be spilled than what the Captain’s already contributed if’n you’re smart about it. Dong ma?”

Bear moved to stand in front of Kaylee, Inara, and Elizabeth, sizing up the situation with an observant eye. “Can’t ruttin’ believe this,” he muttered as one of Farraday’s men opened a large canvas bag into which the passengers were instructed to drop their goods. “We go through all that trouble to plan a thing, and they just waltz in here with a smash and grab.”

“Wouldn’ta’ been able to if we hadn’t disabled the security systems already,” Kaylee whispered mournfully.

Simon shook his head, struck by the utter irony of the situation. “What’ll we do?” he whispered.

Farraday, catching his question, walked up to him and put the barrel of his gun directly behind Simon’s ear. “You do what we tell you to, boy,” he said. “Empty your pretty little pockets into that there bag.” Simon complied. “That everything?” Farraday asked, as Bear calculated the odds of taking him out, his bare hands against the other man’s iron.

Simon nodded. Farraday looked at him intently. “What’s that in your breast pocket?” he asked, waving the gun in the general direction of Simon’s chest.

“Nothing,” Simon replied as calmly as he could.

Farraday snorted, grabbing at Simon’s pocket with surprising ease for a man lacking several fingers. Pulling the comm unit out of Simon’s pocket, he grunted. “Don’t look like ‘nothin’,” he said ominously.

Just at that moment, the comm emitted a small beep and Zoe’s voice floated into the suddenly charged air. “Simon, what’s happening up there?” she asked.

Farraday thumbed the transmitter. “Simon ain’t able to talk right now,” he said, laughing at his own joke. “Seems we got us a situation up here.” He slipped the unit into his own pocket. “Where are your little friends?” he asked.

Simon looked at Bear briefly before turning back to Farraday. “What friends?” he asked.

Farraday laughed, an ugly rasping sound devoid of any real humor. “That’s all right, boy,” he said. “’Spect we’ll find them soon enough.” Turning to two of his men, he said, “Best we take this lot with us, seein’ as how they apparently got a story to tell.”

Herding Simon, Bear, and the women along with them, Farraday and some of his men set out to take the other areas of the ship.


Pierre met Murdocke’s eyes bleakly. “You recognize the voice?” he asked.

Murdocke nodded, swallowing thickly. “Six Finger Farraday,” he said. “Hundan’s come to steal what’s rightfully ours.” He paused for a moment. “Well, not rightfully, but…well, you know.”

“Gotta get your hand unstuck sooner rather than later,” Pierre said. “You know he’ll be headed here, soon as he figures where the real valuables are.”

Murdocke’s face blanched a startling shade of pale. “Ain’t no way he won’t just try to blow a gorram hole in this safe either,” he said. “Nobody that travels with him has got enough sense to realize the danger.”

“So, if we don’t get you loose and stop this hundan, you’re sayin’ we’re like as not to get sucked out a hull breach when he tries to take the vault?” Zoe asked.

“Looks like,” Murdocke said grimly.

Jim began to look around for something to use as leverage. “Then I would suggest we get to it,” he said shortly.


To be continued


Wednesday, August 13, 2008 6:50 AM


Wow, it's more than pear shaped! But I hope Six Fingered Faraday's attempt at a heist some how helps the crew.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 12:29 PM


Least it wasn't reavers... yet

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 2:01 PM


When things go wrong they really do go wrong, don't they? Doubly bad with both crews involved. It's like watching a train wreck happening in slow motion and knowing nothing you do can avert the unfolding disaster. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 3:43 PM


I knew it wouldn't just be simple!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 9:40 PM


Six Finger Farraday ... great name. Does this mean he is afflicted with polydactyly, or just that he likes six fingers of booze? Or he's missing some? Come on, I need to know! Particularly as you've given some lovely hints to how he looks, what with the gold teeth and the spitting.

And the fact that it's because the Serenity crew took down the ship's defences that he got on board suggests perhaps that someone knew about the heist ...


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