New Blood - Chapter 6
Sunday, April 26, 2009

Enroute to Salisbury, the crew gets a heads up that trouble may be brewing...


Disclaimer: Joss, Fox, Universal Own em’. (Except for Maxine. She's mine) I’m just playing. No money being made.


A new story line to recharge my Muse. Set outside my “Allanverse.” Just to see what happens. Set about a year and a half post Serenity. Story line has the standard pairings of Mal/Inara, Simon/Kaylee. Also has River/Jayne. Zoë... we'll you'll have to read it. -



New Blood


Chapter Six


“Do you mind if I sit up here?” Maxine said as she entered the bridge.

River turned in the seat slightly, “I don't mind at all. The company would be welcome.”

The older woman smiled and sat in the co-pilots seat. “I love looking at space like this.”

River nodded, “I agree. Helps me keep centered.”

Maxine looked over with some pity visible on her face, “Must be hard...”

“It is,” River replied, “When we are in the black, I can tune everyone on the ship out to some extent. Planet side it's harder. It's like... a hundred cortex screens. Each with it's own broadcast. I can block it out but it's tiring.”

“Did... did you always... you know...”

“In a way. I was always very intuitive. Combined with my intellect, I could make very educated guesses as to what was happening around me. But it was what the... well, they made me this way.”

Once again, the anger welled up in Maxine. If she ever met one of those...

“Like the Captain said... take a number.”

Maxine opened her mouth then closed it quickly.

“Sorry. That thought was very strong. Thoughts tied to strong emotions always stand out to me. It's like you shouted it.”

Maxine nodded, “I'll try to think... quieter.”

“Just be you. I'll do the hard part.”

Changing the subject, Maxine asked, “How long till we get to Salisbury?”

“Ten hours, thirty eight minutes, six seconds... approximately.”

“Did you just do that in your head?”

River nodded, “I earned a bachelors of science in astrophysics by the time I was thirteen.”


“Simon didn't get his bachelors in biology until he was sixteen.”

“How old are you, River?”

“That is a subjective question. In physical years, I shall be twenty years old in four days. But, I have experienced much more in my life than one of my age should ever experience.”

“Amen to that.”


Maxine had wandered back to the galley to figure out what they were going to have for lunch. The captain had planned on stocking up on real foodstuffs when they arrived on Salisbury. There were numerous farms and real food was plentiful and cheap. As she stood, staring at the nearly empty cupboards, the Captain walked in.

“We'll stock up, soon as we land.”

“Xie-xie, Captain,” Maxine replied, “I was wondering... Why haven't you ever installed a decent food cryo unit?”

“Money, mostly. Protein was always cheaper.”

Maxine's face screwed up with a disgusted look, “You want me to cook. We're gonna need real foodstuffs I don't mind using some of the protein based stuff. The breakfast sausage is actually pretty good. But some of the stuff makes tofu look appetizing.”

Mal considered her words for a moment, “If you can find a cheap, used one, maybe we can get it.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Max replied, “We're landing at Long Port, right?”

“That's the plan. This cargo is well above board. No landin out in the sticks.”

“Might know where to scare up a freezer then.”

The Captain looked intrigued, “You been to Salisbury before?”

“Nope. But an old friend moved out here. We keep in touch. Matter of fact, we might bump into him. He's foreman at the docks.”


Maxine chuckled softly, “Jessie's from my home town on Persephone and as sly as I am. When you're the only two sly kids growing up, you tend to hang out together.”

Mal smiled, “I reckon so. Seems you and Zoë is getting along now...”

“Just becoming friends, Captain.”

Mal held up his hands, “Not insinuating nothin...”

“No problem, Captain. Mind if I wave Jessie before we arrive?”

“Feel free. We got any o' that stew you made last night left over?”

“Some in the cooler. Help yourself.”

“Thanks Max.”


Maxine settled into the co-pilots seat to make her wave. Inara had relived River at the controls. Maxine typed in the address for her friend.

“Jessie, Ishikawa...”

“Hey Jess.”

“Maxie girl!”

“How you doing, you queen you?”

The man smiled. Maxine could tell he was in his office, “Fair to middling. What's new with you?”

“Crewin on a ship, due in Long port in a few hours. Hopin you could give us a hand.”

“Nothing... illegal, I hope...”

“Nah... Legit cargo. I'm workin as cook and I think I talked the Captain into getting a food cryo unit. Know where I might score one on the cheap?”

“What kind o' ship you on? Might have a couple layin about I can lay my hands on.”


Jessie's eyes went wide, “Firefly, you say?”

Immediately, Maxine went on alert, “What's up, Jess?”

“Had two creepy types around the port the last day or so. Looking for a Firefly by the name o' Serenity.”

Inara rose from her seat and moved to Maxine's side.

“Well hello, dearie,” Jessie smiled.

“Jess, this is Inara Serra, she's the Captains...”

“Girlfriend,” Inara finished.

Jessie's face fell, “Damn, thought you might have scored you a good one Maxie.”

Inara smiled, “Thank you. What about someone waiting for Serenity?”

“Two really weird dudes. Almost like twins. 'Cept they ain't. Wear blue gloves all the time. Give me the hebie jeebies.”

“Go-se,” Inara swore, “Maxine... go get the Captain.”


“So, that's the situation,” the Captain stated. The crew had gathered in the galley. River sat in Jayne's lap trembling. Muttering something over and over again. Jayne looked like he wanted to kill. Everyone else had similar expressions on their faces.

“What are we gonna do, Cap'n?” Kaylee asked.

“Can't run... follow,” River whispered.

Mal nodded, “Maxine's friend said there wasn't any Fed presence. Operative was true to his word. Ain't been no warrants for Simon and River since Miranda. I reckon this is whoever did this to her wantin her back directly.”

“I agree, Sir,” Zoë replied.

“Two by two... hands of blue,” River began chanting. Jayne did his best to sooth her.

“She ain't goin back to that place, Mal. I'd die first.”

Simon looked up at Jayne. In the six months Jayne and River had been together, he had never felt respect for the mercenary. He did now.

“Think we can bluff em'?” Jayne asked, “Make em' think River ain't here no more?”

“They're not likely to take our word for it.”

“Jessie will help,” Maxine said, “Told me he just got promoted when we were up on the bridge. He's assistant dock master now. It's a weekend. Jessie's in charge.”

“Can we trust him?” Simon asked.

“I do. And his daddy wore brown during the war,” Maxine replied

“Gonna need a distraction,” Mal mused.

“Got an idea about that, Sir.” Zoë stated.


Inara guided Serenity to a graceful landing in their assigned berth. As arranged, it was in an isolated part of the huge port complex. As the ramp lowered, two men stood waiting. Dressed in identical suits and wearing blue gloves.

The taller of the pair stepped forward, “I'm looking for the Captain,” he said to Mal.

“Ain't me,” Mal replied, “I'm just the hired help.”

The man looked confused. He had been informed that Serenity was captained by Malcolm Reynolds. This sweaty man moving cargo looked like the capture he had memorized of Reynolds. Except for the blonde hair and mustache.

“Captain's over there,” the blonde man said, indicating the two women kissing in the corner, “Wish they wouldn't do that.”

The blue handed man's eyebrow went up. He motioned to his partner and they both stepped up onto the ramp, “Captain?”

The redheaded woman growled, causing her partner to giggle. “Hold that pose, Bao-bei,”

“Hurry back, Ai-ren,” the dark skinned woman replied.

The blue handed man looked a bit uncomfortable as he watched the redhead drag her hand across the breast of the seated woman. A woman that looked suspiciously like Reynolds first mate, Zoë Washburn. Except this woman while dark skinned, had shoulder length straight hair dyed a ludicrous shade of purple. Further confusing the issue was the woman's clothing, Fishnet stockings, a black miniskirt and a purple halter top with lots of gaudy makeup. She looked like whore.

The redhead turned to the men, “What!”

“Are you Captain Reynolds?”

The woman held out her hand, “Maxine Harbatkin. Mister...”


The smile faded slightly, “What can I do for you Mr. Smith?”

Behind them, two cargo trucks pulled up and several port workers climbed out.

“We're looking for a fugitive. We think she is on this ship.”

“Only four women on this ship,” The Captain replied, “Me, Yolanda over there, our mechanic and a registered companion.”

Just at that moment, a beautiful woman with sandy hair and dressed elegantly stepped out of one of the shuttles. The second blue handed man reached into his pocket but paused.

“Captain, Harbatkin?”

The Captain rolled her eyes, “Jin tzahng mei yong-duh, Companion,” she said quietly, “Yes, Winnifred?”

“Will we be long? I have a client waiting.”

“Soon as we're finished with these gentleman, I'll have Jane run you into town.”

“Oh... We have guests,” the woman said as she began descending the stairs.

Unnoticed behind the blue hands, the dockworkers had formed themselves into a semi circle.

Both of the Blue hands kept an eye on the woman coming down the stairs.

“That's Winnifred Kay, Our companion,” the Captain said. “Beautiful to look at but ain't got the sense of a rosebush.”

“Indeed,” Mr. Smith replied. “To... satisfy my... curiosity, may I meet your mechanic?”

“She's busy.”

“It will just be a moment. I really must insist.”

“You don't look like Feds.”

“We are independent contractors.”

“I see. Well, I guess it won't hurt nothin... Jane!”

“Yeah, Cap'n?” A woman with long curly hair tied up in a messy pony tail said as she ran into the bay. She was dressed in dirty green coveralls and there was grease on her face.

“And this is?”

“Jane Mallory, my mechanic,” The Captain replied.

“Very well. It seems we were misinformed. Before we leave, I must show you something,” Smith said as he pulled a small device from his pocket.

With a wet thud, Smiths head exploded in a cloud of red. Before his partner could respond, he too hit the floor, struck unconscious by the large wrench held by the assistant dock master.

Still shaking with rage, River lowered herself from the mule, hanging overhead where she had hidden. Smoke still wisping from the barrel of her silenced pistol.

Jayne and Simon ran in from the common area while the dock workers took up station outside and Mal closed the ramp.

“Much obliged, Mr. Ishikawa,” Mal said as he walked up and peeled off the fake mustache on his face.

“Glad to help, Captain Reynolds,” the big man replied. Mal hadn't noticed on the wave when they had planned this little operation but Jessie Ishikawa was a big man. Taller than Jayne by about an inch and even more muscled.

Mal turned, “Jayne, Doc, get our guest into the infirmary. Make sure he can't get loose.”

“Of course, Captain,” Simon replied. River gravitated to Jayne.

“You okay, Riv?”

River nodded, “I am now.”

“Nice job, 'Captain',” Mal said to Maxine. He turned to his first mate where she still sat on a crate all dolled up, “You okay Zoë?”

“Fine, Sir. I just hope this go-se washes outta my hair.”

“I think purple looks good on you,” Mal grinned.

“Still carrying a gun, Sir.”

“Point taken.”

The greasy mechanic walked up, “I'm sorry we had to cut off so much of your hair, Zoë.”

“It's okay, 'Nara. Needed a trim anyway. Was gettin kinda long.”

Inara shook her hair out of the pony tail it was in and looked at the companion next to her, “Now I know why you like these coveralls so much Mei-mei. They are very comfortable.”

“And I don't know how you wear this corset, 'Nara. Can't hardly breathe in this getup,” Kaylee replied.

Maxine stepped over from where she had been talking with Jessie, “A corset is an acquired taste, Kaylee.”

“And you know this how?” Zoë asked as she slid off the crate and grabbed her crutches that had been hidden behind another crate.

Maxine grinned, “Got a couple in my wardrobe.”

Zoë shook her head as if to clear an image from her mind. Then she looked at the other two women, “You two wanna get help me get this go-se outta my hair?”

As Kaylee and Inara helped Zoë hobble across the bay, Jessie stepped up next to his childhood friend, “Saw that look, Maxie girl.”

“Not to be, Jess.”

“Not so sure about that, Mei-mei.”


Zoë exited the shower. It had taken three washings to get the purple dye out of her hair. At least her hair color would wash out. It would take weeks for Mal's hair to return to it's normal color. Grimacing in pain, she slumped into a chair in the common room. She had not used her crutches in the shower and her leg was throbbing.

“I like that hair style,” River said. From her perch on the sofa.

“Ain't been this short since I was younger than you,” Zoë smiled.

River shot Zoë a slight smile, “Maxine likes it too.”

Zoë sighed.

“Was she a good kisser?”

“Yep,” Zoë replied before realizing what she had said. “I mean...”

“She thought you were.”

“River...” Zoë warned.

“Sorry. Blue hands upset my control. Conditioned to fear them. Very hard to maintain focus in their presence.”

Zoë's expression softened as she glanced into the infirmary where the other blue handed agent lay on the exam table. Jayne and Simon had stripped him down to his underwear. The blue gloves he wore extended up his arms and across his torso. Almost like it was sprayed on. Jayne had peeled it off the man. Upset that he wasn't awake to feel it since Jayne was sure it would have hurt like the dickens.

“Are you gonna be able to read him?” Zoë asked after a moment.

“I think so. As long as Jayne is there with me,” River replied with a slight smile, “He helps me heal. Keeps me focused.”

Zoë nodded, “I noticed that. You seem a might calmer and not so twitchy ever since you and Jayne got together.”

“We are two, become one.”

Zoë smiled a sad smile. She had known that feeling before.

River smiled at her, “Maxine could be the one to make you whole again.”


“You are confused. I understand that. Don't want to forget Wash. Still. You are lonely. Don't have to be a reader to realize that.”

Zoë averted her eyes, “I... know that.”

“Talk to her. Let her know exactly what you are feeling.”

“I'm... not sure....”

“You are both strong women. I think you wold be good for each other.”

Zoë cracked a little smile, “You been plotting with Inara and Kaylee, Little one?”

“Maybe,” River grinned.

Zoë cracked a grin, “Uh, huh.”

Suddenly River looked up, “He's waking up.”

Before Zoë could say anything further, River leaped to her feet and ran into the infirmary.

“Keep his jaw open!”

It was too late. The Blue handed agent bit down hard on something in his mouth. The man convulsed once and then his body relaxed. The heart monitor went flat line.

“Gun-hoe-tze-bee-dio-se,” Mal swore. Simon slumped against the counter.

“You get anything, Riv?” Jayne asked as he pulled her trembling body into his arms.





Sunday, April 26, 2009 8:13 AM


They just get to the point where they might find something out, and it's snatched away! But I think maybe Zoe and Max might end up with something good, at least I'm keeping my fingers crossed for them. And the image of Mal blonde and with a moustache? Thank you so much!!

Monday, April 27, 2009 5:24 AM


"Still carrying a gun, Sir" This has to be my favorite line. So simple, yet so Zoe. :) Looking forward to reading more. Please continue!!


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