Cargo Cult
Sunday, October 12, 2008

Set during the series, pre-BDM, no OCs, so can be read by everyone. Jayne has to get rid of something very precious to him ... STANDALONE


“Gorramit, Mal, why not?” Jayne’s eyes appealed to the rest of the crew, standing around the big dining table.

Serenity’s captain crossed his arms, looking implacable. “First, because I say so. And second, because it ‘ppears our mechanic here is allergic, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want her to be sneezing just as something important falls off my boat.” He nodded at Kaylee, who sat red-eyed and apologetic, wiping periodically at her nose. “And third - did you have to teach it all that cussing?”

They could hear it in its cage under the blanket, muttering obscenely to itself.

“Yeah, but it just seems to have a natural talent for it,” Jayne protested. “Picked it up real easy.”

“Well, we’re putting it down.”

“Cap -” Kaylee began, looking worried now as well as puffy.

Mal held up a hand. “No, I ain’t gonna flush it out the airlock. Told you I wouldn’t. No matter how much that first appealed.” He turned to his pilot. “Wash, there any place in easy reach that we can land?”

The blond man nodded. “There’s a small moon about four hours from here, pretty much on our heading. Mind you, seeing as we’re flying under the radar and we‘re away from normal civilisation, it’s deserted, but -”

“Shiny. Lay in a course.” Mal strode out, calling over his shoulder, “And get it off the dining table. People eat there.”

Wash got to his feet and followed, Zoe at his heels.

Jayne sighed and picked up the cage. “S’okay, Hamlet,” he murmured. “I’ll miss ya.”

“Hamlet?” Simon said quietly to Book.

“I don’t think we want to enquire,” the Shepherd responded.

River bent forward, her body at an unnatural angle as she peered under the blanket. “Little soul,” she whispered. “Big world.”

A stream of obscenities wafted out, and Simon quickly gathered his sister up to take her back to the infirmary for the latest round of tests. She kept looking back.


The moon was everything Wash had promised, looking like one of his Hawaiian shirts. Tropical forests bloomed with all manner of bright flowers, and birds called to each other in the thick canopy.

The Firefly touched down on the beach, but Mal was insistent that nobody else get off.

“We’ve got a delivery to make and Inara to pick up,” he said as Kaylee turned the big eyes on him.

“But Cap’n -”

“We don’t want to be late for our Ambassador, do we?”

Her face fell. “No. ‘Spose not.”

He put his hand on her shoulder. “Maybe another day. Soon. Okay?”

“Okay, Cap’n.” She headed disconsolately back towards her engine room, passing Jayne on the way and sneezing mightily.

The mercenary didn’t stop, just walked out of the cargo bay onto the sand. Pulling the blanket from the cage in his hand, he looked inside. “Now you be good, y’hear?”

The parrot gazed back at him, head cocked to one side, before opening its beak and swearing.

“Yeah, I know what you mean.” Jayne opened the cage. “Go on, now.”

Twitching multi-hued plumage, the parrot hopped forward, sensing freedom, then darted out and up into the sky. It flapped its wings, circling overhead twice, then cussing into the clear air it disappeared over the forest.

Jayne sighed and walked back inside, dropping the empty cage into the corner of the bay. He didn’t even look at the captain as he walked morosely back towards his bunk.

Mal hit the button to close up, then pressed the com. “Wash, take us out of here.”

“Aye aye, sir.”

As Serenity rose gracefully on its vertical jets, the parrot sat in the tree at the edge of the sand and watched it go, swiftly becoming a tiny dot before disappearing from sight. It ruffled its feathers twice, then noticed another bird hopping towards it along the branch. This one was all black, with a tail made of feathers that hung down in a graceful arc. The parrot, as was his manner, cussed.

The other bird listened carefully, then moved closer.


It was raining on Borodin as Inara manoeuvred her shuttle into position and docked. She exited her shuttle to be almost run over by a mercenary on his way off the ship.

“Jayne?” she asked, seeing his face dark like thunder.

“Gonna find a whorehouse,” he muttered. “Least he can’t make me give that up.” He pulled his combat jacket higher around his ears and strode out into the rain.

Inara looked at Mal. “Did I miss something?”

“Jayne found the love of his life.”

Her eyebrows raised. “He did what?”

“Only it wasn’t to be.” He smiled. “How about you make some of that tea you’re always sippin’ on, and I’ll tell you all about it?”

She stared at him.


Seventeen years later …

The Alliance Survey Ship Demeter circled slowly and came in to land on the beach.

“Are we picking up anything worth more than a couple of credits?” the captain asked his subordinate.

“No, sir. No minerals to speak of, not even coal. It’s pretty, though.”

The captain stared at him, and the man blushed slightly.

“Well, that’s as maybe, but -”

“Sir.” A soldier, still new enough to be standing to strict attention, appeared at his side. “There’s something I think you ought to see.”

The captain sighed. “What?”

“Sir. I think you need to see this.”

Glaring, the captain followed the soldier off-ship. He had to admit, it was pretty. Tropical forests, brightly painted flowers … a pity the man who owned it had never done anything with it. “Well?” he asked, disgruntled. “This had better be good.”

“Listen.” The soldier cocked his head almost comically.


“Just … listen, sir.”

The captain did as he was asked, hearing the waves rolling gently onto the beach, the breeze through the canopy, birds …

His eyes widened. “What in the name of …” Walking forwards, he looked up into the trees, at the multi-coloured birds sitting in the branches.

One, shimmering with metallic green, opened his beak. “Hwoon dahn,” it said.

A little further along a tiny specimen with a red breast answered. “Gorramit.”

A third, all bronze and spiky, put in, “Cao.”

Suddenly he could hear them all, calling among themselves, the words echoing along the shoreline, all spoken in the same deep, Rim-accented voice.

Da-shiong bao-jah-shr duh la doo-tze.”

Ching-wah tsao duh liou mahng.”

Liou coe shway duh biao-tze huh hoe-tze duh ur-tze.

Nee ta ma duh tyen-shia suo-yo duh num doh gai si.

And as he wondered just how he was going to put this into his report, he felt he had to agree.

A.N.: And why the title? Well, there's this thing called a Cargo Cult, where primitive cultures are thought to unknowingly assimilate modern ideas and then parrot them back as ancient teachings ... and this is my version! Jane


Sunday, October 12, 2008 2:52 AM


*cackles* Great!!!! The parrot they call Jayne....great idea. I love it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008 3:13 AM


How suiting that Jayne would start something so anthropological. Great idea!

Sunday, October 12, 2008 4:00 AM


JAYNE!!! Poor Jayne having to give up Hamlet! Hehehehehe, He let River name his parrott! SQUEE! Awesome work, seriously. Had me in stitches!

Sunday, October 12, 2008 4:12 AM


So funny! I can sooo see Jayne pouting and the look on the Alliance officers face!

Sunday, October 12, 2008 6:38 AM


LOL This was great fun! Thanks!

Sunday, October 12, 2008 8:31 AM


I actually laughd really loud at this - my brother got scared! lol
Amazing. Just utter brilliance.

Sunday, October 12, 2008 9:40 AM


I'm just happy the parrot found his own paradise and have to say I loved it that not only did Hamlet get his freedom from life in a cage but also found love and seemingly hasn't stopped gorram multiplying. Yep. Definitely takes after Jayne... Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, October 12, 2008 1:15 PM



Sunday, October 19, 2008 9:34 AM


This was great! I keep laughing about the part where Hamlet swears, and Jayne says "Yeah, I know what you mean." :)) I get the perfect mental image of that happening!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 5:27 AM


great one off


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