War Stories: Shipping Out
Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This is the fifth of a series about the Unification War. (As if it needed to be said) Pre-BDS. Our Big Damn Heroes are finally shipping out. New friendships are forged and romantic tensions grow.


Haha, I'm at Starbucks again. Seems to be the only time I find to write.

You know the drill. Bow down to Joss and Mutant Enemy and proclaim your undying love. Oh, I mean, you know, they own everything. Even your soul.


"Look! Look!" Nandi was practically hissing from the effort of trying to whisper through all of her excitement.

"What am I looking at?" Inara asked, releasing the flower she'd been sampling the scent of and crossing to Nandi. The two were once again in one of Sihnon's many gardens.

"They're leaving!" Nandi said, pointing to the troops marching to the docks.

"So they are." Inara said, watching them go with a sigh. "How long before their return, do you think?"

"Not long at all." Nandi replied, "As far as wars go, anyway." she smiled that crooked smile that Inara liked so much. "It'll be no time before they come back and business will be booming again, because they'll be so happy we won that they'll celebrate until none of them can walk anymore."

"You seem so certain." Inara murmured.

Nandi gave Inara a strange look, tilting her head to the side and resting her hand on her friend's shoulder. "You forget, dear friend, that I was not always the princess that you met that first day of training. If my daddy hadn't struck big with Blue Sun, well, let's just say I wouldn't be standing here with you now. This is a charmed life, but it is also very sheltered. I haven't forgotten my beginnings." she sighed, "And while passion and spirit are good and all, strength, numbers, and regiment will crush them relatively quickly."

"I suppose you're right." Inara said, "But I still think that the Independents are going to make a powerful stand. We will win this war, but the costs will be high."

"That is probably true." Nandi said.

"Now, what are we to do while all of our clients are away at war?" Inara asked with a sly smile. It was an exaggeration, they still had clients here, but they had just lost about ninety-five percent of their clientele.

"What we always do." Nandi said, taking Inara's hand, that crooked smile in place again.


"Have you ever wondered about acronyms?" Wash asked Velkan as they walked down the dock to the ship they'd been assigned to. They'd finally gotten the orders to ship out. Oh boy. Relocating from one place to another so that they could wait for more orders. "Like, who comes up with those things?" he continued.

"Hmm?" Velkan responded.

"Take SNAFU for example," Wash went on, "Situation normal, all fucked up. Did a bunch of army guys just sit around one day and say to one another, 'What's the most complicated way we can say everything's fine?' I mean, seriously. Why can't you just say 'normal,' or 'fine,' or 'dandy,' or something like that?"

Velkan chuckled. "Because that would be easy."

"Maybe it was a joke." Wash said.

"Hmm?" Velkan asked again.

"Well, you know. After a gunfight or something, someone asked how things were going and someone else replied with, 'Situation normal, all fucked up,' and it just caught on. And pretty soon they just made it one word so they wouldn't have to waste time saying the whole thing."

"Do me a favor, Wash," Velkan said, a smile on his face as they stopped in front of the Flamingo. They'd had a good laugh about the name of their ship, but what better name was there for a ship of which Hoban Washburne was the pilot?

"What's that?" Wash asked.

"Stay away from caffeinated beverages."


"Three months to the day." Dodd said as he and Zoe read the message that had been flashing across every public vidscreen in the base all day.

"Finally." she breathed.

"Just relocation, for the moment." he went on.

"At least it's somethin'." Zoe replied, "'Sides, we're going to join the cavalry. Musta been what the wait was for. Trainin' the first wave of new recruits."

Dodd nodded in agreement, "Musta been." he said, "I've just been itchin' for a fight though. Hearin' about all those skirmishes..."

"Don't get too eager." Zoe said, smiling in a big sister way at Dodd. "Wouldn't want to go into a battle half cocked. That's how you get yourself dead."

"I know," Dodd said sheepishly, "But hey, we're gettin' reinforcements now. Battle shouldn't be too far off."

Zoe rolled her eyes and shook her head, "You're hopeless." she laughed.

"It's why you like me so much." he winked at her.

"Probably. Still, you'd best stick near me when the fightin' starts. There'll be no dead-gettin' on my watch."

"Naturally." Dodd replied.


Jayne scratched his chin as he looked up at the sad excuse for a ship in front of him. "Looks awfully small." he grunted at the man standing next to him.

"Looks can be deceivin'." Stitch Hessian replied. "She's big enough fer the both of us and any cargo we might... acquire." he gave Jayne a grin meant to be friendly, but which came off as sinister instead. "And anyway, less can be better. Don' haf ter worry about no one but ourselves and there ain't much ter keep track of."

"S'pose you got a point." Jayne said, giving the tiny ship another once over. "Pay?"

"Seventy-thirty, a partnership."

Jayne took a deep breath as if he were seriously considering this proposition, "Seventy-thirty ain't exactly an equal partnership." he said, glancing at Stitch, "Fifty-fifty. Equal."

Stitch scoffed, "I don' know you yet, boy. Needs to be trust for equal. Sixty-five-thirty-five."

Jayne scratched his chin again, "I won't settle for less than fifty-five-forty-five."

"Sixty-forty, and we can work on the trust thing."

Jayne thought it over a moment. If this man could seriously get him all the jobs he'd promised he could, it wasn't a bad deal. Better than those war-mongerer's anyway. "You got yerself a deal."


"I still don' get what I'm s'posed to be seein'." Mal muttered under his breath as he was throwing his possessions into his bag. Mac, of course, had already finished her packing and was sitting crosslegged on Mal's bed.

"What's that?" she asked him, watching him with those hawk-like eyes of hers. Wait, raven-like, that's right. Those black birds she liked so damned much.

"What?" Mal asked, looking at her, then, "Oh, nothin', just talkin' to myself."

"What about?" Mac asked. Damn, the woman was persistent.

"Jus' makin' sure I got everythin' is all."

"Oh." she said in that strange little voice she'd been using more and more often lately.

"You could help, you know." Mal said.

"You're right. I could help." she replied with a wry smile.

"But you're not gonna, are you?"

"Nope." she said. "Come on, Malcolm, it's not like you've got a terrible lot. It shouldn't be takin' this long."

"Yeah... Well, you're just, you're just..." Mal stuttered as he thought of something that Mac was 'just.' "You're just all... womany." he finally settled on.

"Womany?" she asked, amusement in her voice. "Oh, that explains everything."

"Does." Mal retorted to her sarcasm. "You're all... you know... womany." he said, and she simply raised her eyebrow. "You know what I mean! Women are all tetrissy and tidy..."

"Tetrissy and tidy?" she repeated, her amusement clearly growing.

"Nevermind!" he exclaimed in frustration, which was rewarded by a giggle from her.

"Hey, there'll be none o'that!" Monty said jovially, pointing his finger at Mac's giggling face as he entered the room, carrying two pairs of boots. He tossed one pair to Mal, who stuffed them in his bag on top of the rest of the heap.

"Wo de ma, Malcolm! Give me the gorram bag." Mac ordered. Mal responded obediently. He made a noise of protest when she dumped the contents out onto his bed, but she shushed him and proceeded to fit everything into the bag neatly in no time at all.

"What'd I tell you?" Mal said, "Womany." Mac gave a strange little laugh and Monty shook his head.

"Yes, Mal, I am womany. And it only took you twenty-one years to figure it out." Mac said, her tone clearly upset. What was up with her and all her mood swings these days? She cursed under her breath and abruptly left the room.

Mal turned to Monty, puzzlement written all over his face, "What'd I do?" he asked.

"Nothin', Mal, nothin' at all. Tha's the problem."

"Then, what do I do?"

"Tha's jus' somethin' you haf ter figger out on yer own."


Wo de ma - Mother of God


Wednesday, November 12, 2008 7:36 PM


Can't wait to see where this leads.


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