Capacity Chapter 12
Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mal and the crew find out exactly how horribly they'd been used.


Capacity Chapter 12


Rated: R for Language

Summary: Terrible news.

Archive? Yes, just ask

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything you recognize from the Whedon-verse. Just my original characters…

Please leave a review, love it or hate it.


Xiaofan woke up in a cold sweat, eyes blinking in the dim fire light. Her eyes focused and she saw a large figure in a chair by the fireplace.

“Jayne?” she whispered, trying to sit up.

He moved towards her.

“It’s so cold in here…”

“I’ll stoke up the fire,” he said, turning.

“No, inside. I’m freezing from the inside out.”

Her teeth actually chattered.

“It’s part-”

“I know. But If I just had a little-”


“Jayne, not a whole d-”

“No. You want food, water, more heat, fine. No drugs, and you know it.”

She fell back onto the bed.

“Please don’t talk about food…”

Jayne sat on the edge of the bed.

“What do you need?”

She knew what she wanted, but tried to resign herself.

“Just stoke the fire and hold my hand.”

Jayne went to the fireplace.

“And get a bucket.”

Jayne didn’t turn around, just left the room to get the basin.


Wash sat on the cortex all night. And everything he found made him grimmer and grimmer.

Then, they got a visitor.


The entire crew, with the exception of Jayne, got ambushed in front of Xiaofan’s house.

“Well, didn’t expect to see your pretty face,” Mal said, hands up along with the rest of his crew.

Harken had his gun trained on them, along with the dozen or so men he brought with him this time.

“You were easy to find.”

Mal grimaced and looked over at Wash, who in turn grimaced.

“Wonderful, we were easy to find. Anything in particular you wanna shoot me for?”

Harken eyed Mal suspiciously.

“You have no idea?” Harken replied.

Mal made the confused and angry face.

Zoe decided to intervene.

“There something you wanna tell us? Or are we just going to stand here?”

There was the sound of a clearing throat. All eyes were drawn to Xiaofan’s front porch. Jayne and the lady stood there, weapons trained on Harken. While Xiaofan looked as if she was about to fall out any moment, Jayne looked capable of putting a hole in everyone.

“Maybe we could discuss this over tea?” Xiaofan asked, “Unless you really want the bloodshed, which I vote against.”

Jayne grunted.

Harken lowered his weapon.


Xiaofan lowered her shaking weapon.



Harken and three of his men were in Xiaofan’s sitting room. The lady in question had retired to her bed, ordered by Simon. Mal asked/told Jayne to stay for the talk, though he was clearly in favor of retreating with Xiaofan.

Mal took the beast by the horns.

“What the hell is goin’ on? Why the hell ain’t you on your fancy Alliance cruiser? What in the hell do you want with me an’ mine?”

Harken sat with his coffee cup in hand, considering. He looked at each member of Serenity’s crew, and their passenger, and shook his head.

“I wasn’t sure when I boarded your ship, but now I am. You’re clueless.”

Mal gave Zoe the look. The ‘you believe this shit?’ look.

Harken continued.

“Are you aware that the man you’ve been working for, Barton, is an Alliance stooge?”

Wash blew out his breath and looked irritated.

“Yes, we recently became aware of that. Anything new and interesting? Or are you just here to bust our chops for being stupid?”

That got Wash a ‘shut up’ look from Mal.

Harken rolled his eyes.

“Not only is that man on the Alliance payroll, he’s working on a secret project. Viral and bacterial warfare.”

“Buzui,” Wash whispered.

“How do you know this?” Simon asked.

Harken paused.

“I’m not sure if-”

“We were obviously dupes,” Zoe said, “You think any of us would willingly work for the Alliance?”

There were sounds assent from the group.

“We’re actually more concerned with you,” Mal said, “Last we knew of you, you were The Man.”

“I learned some things I wish I hadn’t…”

“I believe that,” Kaylee said, shaking her head.

“Your compatriots couldn’t believe it when we got word you were moving Barton’s goods,” Harken added.

“Well, we were, too, obviously,” Mal said. “And who are you working for? What compatriots?”

Harken looked like he wanted to answer, but shook his head.

“They want you to do something first.”

Mal gave him the ‘Yes?’ look.

“Lead us to Barton.”

“He ain’t that hard to find. You coulda asked Badger…”

“Badger is… temporarily out of the equation.”

“Not dead?” Mal asked, suspiciously.

“Very nearly. Alliance got wind we were on Barton’s trail, started cutting loose threads. He’s in hiding.”

“So, besides Badger, we’re the only ones know where this guy is?” Kaylee asked.

“It looks that way,” Harken replied.

“So we take you to the man and what? We get to learn the secret handshake?” Mal said, snarking at the ex-Fed. “For all we know, you could be feeding us a line of bullshit to get to Barton ‘cause he’s working for the Independents.”

“Believe what you like, Captain, but there are other ships looking for who truly believe you are a traitor. Those folks were not going to sit down for tea.”

Zoe and Mal shared a glance.

“Suppose we believe a word you’ve said… What next? Can’t just have you trailing along, Barton’s the suspicious type.”

“We’re aware. He took out 10 men, left nothing of them behind,” Harken replied.

Jayne’s eyes widened.

“When?” he asked.

“Some months back, about when you started working for him.”

It was Jayne’s turn to share a significant look with Mal.

“Them were Browncoats,” Jayne said in a hushed tone.

“What?” Harken asked. “What do you mean?”

“The men.”

“Sympathizers and hangers on mostly, but on the right side.”

Jayne hung his head.

“I’m gonna see to Lucille,” he said, heading out of the room, shaking his head.

Zoe stood up, rubbing her hands on her legs.

“I need some air.”

Wash stood and followed her.

“Hormones,” he said to the men as they walked out the door, “You know those kooky women.”

“So, Captain, you plan on being helpful?” Harken asked.

Mal stood and headed for the door.

“Tell you after I have a chance to talk to my crew…”

Ruby wondered if she should follow him. She glanced at the remaining crew in the room.

“Go,” River said.

Ruby left.


“They done?” Xiaofan asked as Jayne walked in. “Anybody hurt?”

Jayne looked at her and then stoked the fire. He brought the water jug over to her and refilled her cup.

“Need to drink. Simon says if you can’t eat you gotta at least drink.”

“Any special reason you’re avoiding my question?” Xiaofan asked quietly, sitting up and taking the glass.

Jayne sat heavily on her bed.

“Is it that bad?”

Xiaofan took as long a drink as she could and set the glass on the bedside table.

“What happened?” she asked, hand on his shoulder, pulling herself up to the side of the bed.

“Killed some guys.”

Xiaofan shook her head and blinked.

“Not to sound flippant, but yes, you have.”

“Bumfuck Fed says they were working for the Independents.”

“Oh,” Xiaofan said, realizing. “When?“

“Markham. Guy we been workin’ for’s a Fed. Working on bugs.”


“Said viruses and bacterias.”


“To use against folks like us. Folks that don’t agree.”

“That’s what the man said?”

“What else?”

She put her hand on Jayne’s face and turned him so he was looking at her.

“We have things we need to make right, both of us…” she stopped going white. “Move.”

Xiaofan made it to the bucket in time.

Jayne was holding out the water when she brought her head up.

She sat on the floor by the bed, taking the water from his hand.

“Not to change the subject, but why the hell are you here?”

“Mal said we needed a stopover.”

“I know you’re not thick. Well, as thick as you pretend to be. Why are you here while I detox? While I shiver and vomit and fight the urge to break into my own med stores. I’m a sweaty, shaky, hallucinating freak. What in God’s name do you see?”

Jayne ran his hand over her hair, smoothing it back.

“I’m an old killer, merc for hire. Hell, only reason I signed on with Mal is ‘cause he offered me more money, food and my own bunk. I damn near sold ‘em out couplea times. What do you see?”

Xiaofan took slow, deep breaths.

“Can we talk about this when I feel less like vomiting? I mean, I do want to talk about it,” she said, choking a bit, “I started the conversation…”

She stopped talking and leaned back over the bucket. After she was done she whispered, “Could you get Simon, please?”

Jayne put the glass of water next to her and left the room.


Mal caught up with Zoe and Wash in the woods not far from Xiaofan’s house.

Zoe was in Wash’s arms, sobbing.

“A word, Mal,” Wash warned.

Mal held up his hands.

“Even if it is my hormones…” Zoe said, taking deep breaths, “I don’t want to hear it.”

“Never thought I’d see this day,” Mal said, in awe.

“We killed men.. Jayne blew them up with a grenade… We… Those could have been men from the war…”

“How could you know?” Wash asked. “You couldn’t have. There was no way. You were used.”

“Like a big, dumb blunt instrument…”

“We got used, that’s for sure. But I don’t trust a traitor,” Mal said.

“Heh?” Wash said, confused.

“He was a Fed, might still be.”

Zoe started drying her eyes.

“Need to keep a close eye on that one,” she said, pulling herself together.

“Might invite him to ride to Markham with us…” Mal mused.

“Best to keep him close,” Zoe responded, sounding more like herself. “And, sir…”

“Not a word will pass from my lips-”

She gave him a sharp look as she cut him off.

“I was going to say that Xiaofan has connection with a governmental viral conspiracy. Might be good to have her along. But thanks. Because obviously, I’d have murder you and take over the ship if anyone heard about what just happened.”

She wrapped her arms around Wash and buried her face in his neck.

“Noted,” Mal said, took the hint and returned to the house.


Ruby waited on the porch. She was sitting there when Mal walked back to the house.

“She okay?” Ruby asked.

“Fine,” Mal replied tersely.

“What’s next?” she asked.

Mal had his breakdown.

“What can I do? Can’t bring them men back to life…” he started pacing in front of the house. “And what if that turncoat is a damn liar, what if he’s using us? What-”

“Seems like River would know.”

Mal stopped mid-rant.


“River,” she said, hesitantly, “She seems to know things. She’s different.”

“That sounds a little crazy, Ruby…” Mal tried to say lightly.

“I have eyes Mal, and ears. I’ve seen her,” she replied. “And I think we’re aware I’m not a fool. River and Simon Tam, wanted by the Alliance for a laundry list of crimes.”

“Ruby, you can’t tell anyone-”

“What do you think of me? Or what could I possibly think of you if you kept evil fugitives in your midst. I know full well River isn’t a terrible threat to the universe. And Simon, a killer? Please, I’m more likely to kill a man.”

Mal stood thunderstruck.

“Close your mouth, Mal. You’re drawing flies.”

He closed his mouth.

“Miss Ruby, it’s possible you mighta stunned me.”

“Well, you’ve had one of those nights…” she said sweetly, extending a hand. “And that Fed guy is waiting for an answer.”

Mal took her hand.

“And I got one for him.”


“I can’t leave them, Captain!” Xiaofan yelled, sitting up on the side of the bed, sweating profusely. Simon adjusted her tubing to keep her from yanking the IV out.

“Mal, can’t go getting her all riled up-” Jayne started.

Simon cut in.

“She’s going through hell, Mal-”

Mal held up his hands to silence them.

“Wash has been on the cortex all night, found a replacement. They’ll be with out a doc for 3, 4 days tops.”

“Who is it? What are their qualification? Mathilde Yang is due any day. Sari Meens has been sick for a month, she needs-”

“I don’t want to cut the point too fine, but if you’d had your way, they wouldn’t have a doctor right now anyway.”

The room was silent.

“That was low, Mal,” Jayne said, dangerously.

Simon just closed his eyes.

“It’s fair. But cold, Captain,” Xiaofan said.

“I realize that. But you’re the only one amongst us that had any contact with folks dabbling in biological warfare. My last talk with Harken leads me to believe they’re gonna set it loose on those that cause trouble. To ‘cauterize’ the area, teach folks a lesson.”

“That was Blue Sun,” she said.

“What are the chances that it’s not connected? The Alliance and Blue Sun working on separate super bugs? Blue Sun’s probably just manufacturing it for them.”

Xiaofan lowered her head.

“Wo cao…”

“Me, too,” Mal said, “But we have to get to the bottom of this. Do something to make things right.”

Jayne turned his head away, then nodded.

“Mal’s right.”

Xiaofan turned to Jayne. She was pale and shaking ever so slightly.

“And I need to keep you in reach.”

Xiaofan didn’t have the strength to tell him to fuck off. She realized it was due to the withdrawal from the drug she’d become dependent on. She wanted to say she didn’t need his help, but that was a huge lie. And she wanted his help, wanted him near.

But not as a damn invalid drug addict.

She looked at Mal, resigned.

“Simon, can you do a last round on my more needy patients?”

Simon nodded.

“I’ll get you a list.”


Jayne had the few things Xiaofan wanted to take with her packed within an hour. She left all the medical equipment that Simon already had, and only took her personal professional items.

The worst was talking to Ben. No matter how much she explained, he wouldn’t remove the look of anger and disgust from his face.

“I know you don’t believe this replacement doctor is coming, but if he doesn’t, I’ll come back. I’ll wave in 4 days and if he’s not here, I’ll come back.”

Ben just signaled Ling and left the house without a word.

“I’m… I can’t leave them this way. I just can’t do it,” Xiaofan cried.

Jayne put a hand on her shoulder.

“Take it easy, Xiao,” he said.

“Guan bi ni de gou zui!” she gasped, right before she started shaking uncontrollably.

Jayne dropped to the floor and caught her, holding her loosely.

Simon walked in for that particular exchange.

“She just say what I think she said?”

“She’s sick. Can’t take it personal.”

“But she told you-”

“I ain’t taking it personally,” Jayne said firmly.

“Fine,” Simon said, picking up her last box. “Take her to her room, I’ve got it set up for the IV and her meds.”

“Come on, girl,” Jayne said, lifting her up. “Time to go home.

To Be Continued


Tuesday, August 19, 2008 6:20 PM


Awesome job! I love the twists and turns you give to this. Xiaofan and Ruby are really developing into wonderful characters. And Zoe pregnant is really wild. :)


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Capacity Chapter 15

Capacity Chapter 14
Just about to set foot on Markham and face the bad. One way or the other.

Capacity Chapter 13
Plot moves forward. People from the past poke there heads in. Serenity is quiet and mournful.

Capacity Chapter 12
Mal and the crew find out exactly how horribly they'd been used.

Capacity Chapter 11
The crew does not find what they expected on Kerry.

Capacity Chapter 10
It’s just not a normal day on Serenity unless somebody gets shot, threatened or beat up.

Capacity Chapter 9
It’s a long story… Mal and Ruby bond some more, Xiaofan gets her new face and… then she leaves. Wash and Zoe have a chat and Jayne gets over his issues with Simon and Xiaofan.

Capacity Chapter 8
Out in the black, heading to the next destination. Ruby gets on as a passenger and Xiaofan bullies Simon into getting her a new face.

Capacity Chapter 7
Still on Abaddon Station, Xiaofan confronts her brother, Mal confronts the mystery woman.

Capacity Chapter 6
A stopover at Abaddon Station, weirdness ensues.