Tales of the Rangers - Chapter 4
Thursday, June 3, 2010

River explains how a certain pilot might have survived...


Disclaimer: Joss, Fox, Universal Own em’. (Except for Maxine and the rest of my OC's. they're mine) I’m just playing. No money being made.


Continuing on the storyline I started with “New Blood ” and “Guardians” Read those first so you will know who is who and what has happened in the 'Verse.

Warning: This storyline includes 'gasp' fem slash. It won't be graphic but I know some are offended by any depiction of homosexuality. If you don't like this kind of thing... stop reading right now.

AN: Takes place both in the future and a month and a half post Guardians.


Tales of the Rangers


Chapter Four


“You didn't know Grampa was alive till then?” Hobie asked his mother.

“That's right,” Xue replied, “Made things mighty interesting for a bit.”

“What about Grammy Zoë and Max?”

Xue looked at her husband, “That's when it got really interesting...”


“How come he's not awake yet?” Mal asked.

Simon set down Wash's chart, “He fainted when we told him who Xue was...”

“Gathered that from how pasty white the girl is. But why ain't he awake yet?”

“He needs the rest, Captain,” Simon replied in the tone he used for medical matters, “Wash is fourteen kilos underweight. Malnourished is an understatement. He's been working at hard labor for what looks like years. Has a minor staph infection. Looks to have been... raped... at least once...”

Mal's face hardened. His blue eyes turning flinty, “But is he really Wash?”

“Without a doubt,” the doctor replied, “Remember when I said Xue was a ninety nine percent match with Wash when we checked her paternity?”

Mal nodded, “I recall.”

“The sample of Wash's DNA that I used was one I had taken just a few weeks before... Miranda. Like I said. It was a ninety nine percent match. Close enough for what we needed.”

“This story got a punch line anytime soon?”

Simon sighed, “I'm getting to that part. I ran this man's DNA,” Simon indicated the Wash on the table, “And got another ninety nine percent match with that sample. Then I went back further and used an older sample I had. From when Wash gave you blood after the compression coil blew on my birthday.”

Simon paused for a moment as Mal caught up, “Go on.” the Captain said.

“This, Wash on the table right now has a one hundred percent match with the older sample and is also a one hundred percent paternity match with Xue.”

Mal's face remained stony but Simon knew him well enough to see the storm brewing beneath, “How long... was that... other Wash with us?”

“Hard to tell until Wash wakes up. From what we know... I would hazard a guess, somewhere around two and a half years ago. A six month window... give or take.”

“Between the time that, Huh choo-shang tza-jiao duh tzang-huo, Early showed up and Miranda...” Mal trailed off.

“Roughly... yes,” Simon answered.

Mal's face softened slightly, “It's really him?”

Simon nodded, “It's really Wash.”

Mal's face went wide with shock for a moment, “Oh gorramit. Maxine and Zoë... what the hell are we gonna do?”

“That, Captain is going to between them to work out. Heaven help us all.”

Mal nodded.


River was furiously scanning through her liberated Blue Sun and Academy data on a hand held cortex tablet. She had seen something about cloning in the data base but she had simply skimmed the records at the time. Concentrating on Academy only information. Beside her on the sofa in the now empty common area sat Xue.

Mia had been tasked in supervising the evacuation of the attack survivors to the Magellan.

“That's my Dad?” Xue asked after a moment.

“It is,” River replied. Not looking up from her work.

“I thought he was... dead.”

“We all did, Ni-zi,” River said as she placed an arm around the girl's shoulders. Footsteps on the stairs drew both of theirs attention. Kaylee and Inara were coming down the stairs quickly.

“River?” Kaylee began, “Is it really him?”

The psychic nodded.

“Where is Jessie?” Inara asked.

“Babysitting,” Xue replied.

“Babysitting?” Kaylee asked.

“Found two children among the survivors,” River began, “Of us all. Jess has the most experience with childcare since she worked as a Babysitter for various family members and neighbors on Meadow.”

“Little uns'?” Kaylee replied.

“Boy and a girl,” Xue answered, “Girl's about three I guess. Boy's still in Diapers. Maybe a year and a half.”

Kaylee adored children. In fact, she had been talking to Simon about that ever since they had married. She couldn't imagine what the tykes were going through after a Reaver attack.

River picked up that thought, “Didn't see the badness. Momma told them to be strong. Stay hidden. All alone now.”

Kaylee sniffled, “Orphans?”

“Now,” River answered.

Scott wandered into the room at that moment. Saw the concerned faces and then sat next to Xue, “What's wrong?”

Xue snuggled up against Scott's side, “Found a man with the prisoners that came to bury the bodies. He's my father...”

Scott's eyes bugged out. He and Xue had spoken about her growing up and how she had come to Serenity, “But isn't he... ya' know... dead?”

“False Wash was killed,” River stated as she found what she had been searching for, “And I know how they did it now too.”

“Who's they?” Inara asked.

“Blue Sun and the Academy.”


Wash blinked his eyes open. He prayed that it all wasn't a dream and he wasn't still in the prison camp. When his eyes focused and revealed the familiar and very welcome ceiling of Serenity's infirmary, he smiled.

“Feeling better?” said an unfamiliar feminine voice.

“A bit, “Wash replied.

A new face came into his view. A tall brunette who was very pretty, “I'm Mia.”

He stuck out his hand, “Hoban Washburn... you can call me Wash.”

Mia shook his hand, “Pleased to meet you.”

“Where's Simon?”

“Talking with the Captain and River. Before they go and speak with... Zoë and Max...”

“Max? Who the hell is Max?” Wash asked.

Mia paused in her reply. Trying to figure out what to say. A new arrival relived her of the burden.

“I'm Max.”

Wash looked to the open door. There stood the very pretty redhead he had seen earlier. He looked at her closer now. Her rather ample chest (He was a man after all) long red hair and a leather cord tied around her throat. Just like the one Zoë wore...

“Tah mah de...” Wash muttered, “You and Zoë... you aren't... you know...”

“We're engaged,” Maxine said flatly.

Wash felt like the world just dropped out from underneath him he looked away before he spoke, “How... long?”

“We've been together for about eight months. Zoë proposed to me three days ago. I accepted.”

“And she's still my wife,” Wash snarled. The only thing that had kept him going were thoughts of Zoë. He'd always thought that as soon as Mal got a whiff of where he might be. They would all come running in to save the day.

That day never seemed to come.

Maxine saw the look of hurt on Wash's face. Even through the scruffy beard, “We all thought you were dead.”

“But I'm not...”

“We know that now...” Maxine trailed off.

“Liou coe shway duh biao-tze huh hoe-tze fuh ur-tze...” Wash muttered.

Mia had moved to the corner of the room. Her heart was breaking for what her friends were going through. She cared a great deal for Zoë and Max. they were like the sisters she had never had. They had both taught her over the few months they had been together to be strong. And no longer a victim.

Max in particular had helped the most. Having the common bond of being rape victims was part of it.

“I'll leave you two alone, “ Mia began.

“I'll leave, Mia. You have work to do,” Maxine replied. With that she spun on her heel and left the infirmary.

“I handled that well... didn't I?”

“Not particularly,” Mia commented.

“I was being sarcastic.”


“Don't worry about it.”

“I have some scissors and some shaving gear if you want to try to go clean up. I'm assuming you know where the shower is?”

Wash caught yet another whiff of himself and nodded, “That might work. I'll need clothes though. I intend to burn this jumpsuit.”

“Simon dug some of your things out of storage.”


Mia nodded as she helped Wash to his feet, “Zoë never threw any of your things away as far as I know.”

“That's something... I guess.”

Mia picked up a bundle that held underwear, pants, t-shirt and his third favorite Hawaiian shirt. The brightly patterned fabric did bring the ghost of a smile to his face, “Thanks,” Wash said quietly.

“You're welcome,” Mia replied as Wash walked across the way to the shower room.


Zoë sat at the galley table. An untouched shot in front of her. Maxine was making a halfhearted attempt at making dinner with the assistance of Bobbie.

Mal sat across from Zoë. Inara next to him. Kaylee was being uncharacteristically silent next to Simon down the table. River sat in Jayne's lap whale she examined more data on her cortex tablet.

“Tross?” Mal began, “You said you were gonna explain how this all might o' happened?”

River nodded and looked at Zoë, “It was Blue Sun.”

“What else is new,” Jayne grumbled behind her.

“They developed a human cloning project. Advanced far beyond what was available before.”

“Like them organs Tracy was smugglin?” Kaylee asked.

“Similar but even more complex. They were able to grow from a single DNA sample. A whole mature organism. In less than three months. In other words. A complete person.”

“Why Wash?” Kaylee asked.

“Unknown at this time. But I theorize that it may have been in a quest to get me back.”

“How'd they know you were on Serenity, Albatross?”

“I don't know.”

“A complete organism in that time frame is hard to believe, Mei-mei,” Simon commented.

“And how did this... clone know how to be... Wash?” Jayne asked.

River smiled at her man, “That is the important question. How indeed. That is where the Academy comes in.”

“Psychics?” Bobbie said from the kitchen.

“Precisely,” River replied, “Using a reader to 'copy' another mind and transfer it into another body. A blank vessel like a clone.”

“Why?” Kaylee asked.

“Why did the Alliance do any of the things they did?” Simon asked rhetorically.

“Point,” Mal replied, “But that leaves us with the fact that they somehow grew a new Wash. Copied his... brain. And then sent us the new Wash and dumped the old one on Mir. With none of us the wiser...”

“In essence. That is what I think happened, Captain,” River said.

“I couldn't tell,” Zoë whispered, “I should have known...”

“I doubt the clone even knew,” Simon added, “He thought he was Wash too.”

“What was the purpose?” Inara asked.

“I am supposing that this was a test run. To see if it was even possible. There is one drawback. The clones have a very short lifespan due to their creation. Ten years at the outside. After even a year. They would look much older than they should have.”

“Wash was feeling a might run down,” Zoë replied to River's comment, “Thought we needed a vacation.”

“Looks like he got one of the permanent kind.” Jayne grumbled, “So... that's really the real little man down in the Infirmary?”

“It is. I'm certain,” Simon replied.

“Where dose that leave you and Max, Zoë?” Jayne asked.

“I have no ruttin idea...” Zoë whispered before downing the shot in front of her, “But I intend to find out.”

Zoë slid back her chair and before Maxine could even say anything, she bolted from the room.

Max was about to follow when Inara stopped her, “Give them a minute, Maxine... please?”

“If you think so, 'Nara.”

“I do think so.”


Zoë stomped down the aft stairs next to the infirmary. She looked in the door to find Mia putting things away and no Wash, “Where is he?”

Mia jumped, “Ye-soo!” Mia cried out. She was still a bit jumpy after her ordeal on Whitefall with the slavers.

“Sorry, Mia,” Zoë apologized, “Where's Wash?” she carefully didn't say the word husband. She couldn't do that yet.

“Shower... washing...” Mia trailed off with a slight giggle.

A slight curve lifted the corners of Zoë mouth too. For the briefest of moments, “Thanks. You might want to head for the galley. Bobbie is tryin to help Max cook.”

Mia rolled her eyes. The entire crew seemed set on hooking her and Roberta up. But Zoë also had a point. The only cooks on the ship worse than Bobbie were Zoë herself and Simon. And Zoë was getting better with Maxine's tutelage.

“I'll go rescue the crew from certain food poisoning,” Mia replied as she left the infirmary.

With the nurse gone, Zoë squared her shoulders and walked straight into the passenger head/shower room. And froze.

A naked man stood there. Carefully shaving the remains of a beard from his face. His hair was still long but clean and was the right color of sandy brown.

He was skinny. No doubt. But well muscled for his weight. Hard labor would do that.

He suddenly realized someone was there, “Hey!”

“Wash,” Zoë said simply.

Wash realized that it was his wife standing there. Two and half years worth of longing caused a physical reaction. He dropped his hands.

“Zoë. My god... I...”

“When and where?” Zoë asked.

“When and where what?”

“When and where did they grab you?”

Wash nodded. This was a test. Before him wasn't his wife but the stoic first mate. Trying to decide if he was a threat. He hated that Zoë was thinking like that but Wash could understand it.

“Pelorum. After our run in with that Fed that was after you and Mal. And we lost all the money we got on the temple heist.”

Zoë nodded, “What did they do to you?”

“I was walking out of a toy store. I had just bought a new stuffed Dino. I was gonna name him Bob. I wanted to keep him for when we... if we had a baby...”

“Go on,” Zoë urged.

“Anyway, I took a shortcut down an alley back to the port. Some Hwoon-dahn in an alliance uniform steps out from behind a dumpster and shot me with a stunner.”

Wash took a deep breath and continued, “I woke up in some lab. Strapped to a table. Then a pair of those blue handed assholes that River's so scared of came in with this little blonde haired girl. Same age as River I'd guess. Next came in another guy. Strapped to a table like me cept' he had a hood over his face. The girl steped between us and touched our heads. I felt pain and then passed out.”

Zoë nodded. The story seemed to fit what River had thought might have happened, “And then?”

“I woke up in a prison jumpsuit chained to the wall in a cargo hold and bound for Mir. Been here two and a half years by my calculations.”

Zoë nodded. While he had been speaking. Wash had finished wiping the remaining shaving cream from his face. Revealing the face she had so longed to see again. She took a step closer, “You must have thought we abandoned you...”

Wash shook his head, “Never. Knew that you'd never stop looking for me... but you did. Didn't you.”

Zoë looked at her feet, “Didn't know you were gone.”


“Clone,” Zoë began, “River found info about it in the Academy records she hacked just before the Alliance fell. I figure that girl you saw was a reader like River. Copied your brain or somesuch.”

“Qingwa cao de liumang...”

“You never lost hope?” Zoë asked.

“All I had...” Wash said after a moment. Pausing as he said it, “Was that you would eventually come for me. My warrior princess.”

Zoë smiled slightly at the term.

Wash continued, “But all I could figure was that you either had been told I was dead or that you couldn't find me. Or you were dead yourself. I tried to think of a way to get to a shuttle. Mir was in range of Meadow. I figured if I could make it to Kaylee's folks...”

Zoë nodded, “But you couldn't.”

“Locked up tight. Only time I wasn't in chains was the once a month shower. That's when... well. Bad things happened a couple of times.”

Zoë felt a flare of anger just then. No one laid a hand on her man. As soon as she finished that thought. She suddenly remembered Maxine.

Wash had seen the anger flare and then be replaced by something else. It looked almost like fear. He made a wild guess about what it was, “Tell me about, Maxine.”


Wash grinned his trademarked cocky grin, “I gotta learn all I can about the competition.”

“She ain't competition,” Zoë said sharply, “I love her...”

“I know,” Wash replied.

“And I know what you're thinkin, Husband. Max ain't into men in no way at all. So you just get that thought outta' your head.

Wash chuckled slightly, “That blows that fantasy all to hell.”

“Damn straight,” Zoë replied.

Wash took a step closer to her. Zoë didn't move, “I know another thing too.”

“What's that?”

“You just called me husband for the first time in this conversation.”

Zoë's eyes widened, “Gorramit...”

Wash closed the distance between them and pulled her resisting body into his arms, “I missed you so much, Lambytoes. And no matter what. I'm still your husband and we'll figure something out.”

Zoë tried to be strong but the feel of her husband's arms around her vanquished all rational thought from her mind. She relaxed into Wash's embrace. Noting how good he felt against her, “I reckon we'll have too”

Wash nodded against her shoulder. The smell of her hair nearly making him intoxicated. Then he grinned, “You mind telling me how the hell I became the father to a teenager?”

The dam broke and Zoë began to laugh. It took a couple of minutes before she could continue, “Husband. That is a long story in of itself.”




Thursday, June 3, 2010 3:48 PM



Thursday, June 3, 2010 3:49 PM


(forgot to rate)

YES Please!!! Keep this arc coming!!!


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