One to Many chap 2
Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Recap: Malcolm Reynolds and Jayne Cobb have completed a successful heist in the small town of Watsonville on the tiny moon of Minear 2, only to find that upon their exit from the bank the streets of the little town are empty. Not a soul can be seen, not even so much as a hummingbird. Something’s going on and the captain just doesn’t know what it is. Better to reach the safety of the ship before seeking answers. Things are starting to get interesting…….. Just to tell folk of the list of offenses they’re due to commit: Bank robbery, horse thievery, animal cruelty and false identity….just to name a few. Also, for all intents and purposes, the “Mule” in said story refers to the hovercraft as seen in the BDM. With the successes of a few well planned and executed crimes…. the crew of Serenity has upgraded their ride. Can’t have them galloping around on horseback all the time now can we?


One To Many- chap 2 --------- Riders on the Storm --------- ********************************************** Malcolm Reynolds and Jayne Cobb were riding northwest to a tiny desert valley hidden by a ring of small mountains were Serenity lay in wait. They had just completed a successful bank heist in the town of Watsonville on the moon of Minear 2 which had gone better than expected. The unnerving part was that Kaylee had not arrived with the mule to pick them up and there seemed to be no pursuit on their tail. Also, upon their exit from the bank there had not been a living soul walking the streets outside the bank, or anywhere in sight after the robbery. Things were definitely not right! Mal’s stomach was beginning to knot up. The thoughts running through his brain seem to add up to this becoming an ill fated adventure.

It wasn’t Sunday, so there were no church activities, there wasn’t a festival in town, and there weren’t any shindigs the townsfolk could be at. Where were all the people?

A mile outside of town, Mal pulled out a hand held communicator from his pocket. He pressed the button and spoke into the box.

“ Kaylee, where the hell are you girl?”

Nothing but static reached his ears. His next attempt was to communicate with the ship.

“ Wash, you there?” again no answer. He looked over to his riding partner, “ Jayne we’ve gotta reach Serenity as quick as possible. This whole thing is going south quickly.”

The big mercenary agreed. The two men rode for twenty minutes, then dismounted their horses just before entering the valley where their small transport ship lay hidden. A quick look around a huge bolder had Mal whip his head around to gaze back at Jayne.

“ She’s gone Jayne! The ship’s not there!”

The big merc had to take a look for himself. Malcolm was right, Serenity was nowhere in sight. Just as the stunned mercenary looked back at the captain they heard the sound of Winchester rifles cocking………

“ Don’t know what you gents were lookin for, but if it’s your getaway vehicle, I’d bet to say they saw us and turned tail to leave you fellows sittin dry!”

The two bank thieves turned to see three men emerging from the rocks, all with weapons drawn and aimed in their direction.

“ Howdy fellows, names Cain. Marshal Wit Cain, and these boys are deputies Felix and Demmers,” he spoke pointing to the two young men with the rifles.

They each nodded their heads in greeting.

“ Seems there’s been a problem back in town,” Cain started, “ there’s some gold bricks missin. You fellows wouldn‘t happen to know where those bricks might be would ya?”

Hands raised to the heavens nether Mal nor Jayne said a word.

“ I see,” Cain spoke, “ them saddle bags sure look a might heavy hanging down along the ribcage of them animals,” he rubbed his chin between forefinger and thumb, “ ain’t proper having your mounts carrying heavy loads out in the afternoon heat like this now is it? Down right cruel weighting animals down like that. Could cause a horse to collapse from heat exhaustion,” Marshal Wit looked at the two men, “them are your horses right?”

He again gained no responses from either Jayne or Malcolm Reynolds.

“ You boys ain’t sayin much in your defense. Maybe it’s because you haven’t got one. See, we have your lady friend back in town, Kay, and the mule she was supposed to be riding, we ain’t found it yet. Still, I ain’t worried about some getaway animals you were lookin to make your escape on,” He paused momentarily,

“Now, since I have you, what I am looking for is the rest of your crew and the vehicle they made their departure in. When I find them I’ll have all the spoiled eggs in one basket. Till then I do believe I’ve bagged the majority of the vermin,” he walked over and stood in front of the captain.

“ Now Mr. Mal, I’m thinkin that isn’t your real name,” he said looking the captain straight in the eye, then he glanced over at the big mercenary, “ and Jayne? As phony an alias as I’ve ever heard,” he looked back to the captain, “You guys are in more trouble than a Watson toad frog hanging over a hungry man’s skillet. Time for some answers.”

Still holding his arms in the air, Mal looked straight at his accuser.

“ No comment officer Wit sir, until we get to talk to the magistrate lawyer in this territory,” he said, knowing full well that there was no such thing out here on the rim.

The three lawmen burst out laughing.

“ That’s good……that’s real good! So we have a thief, an animal abuser, and a comedian,” Cain spoke, “ the Watson jailhouse has been needing to get a hold of somebody with a sense of humor for a time. Someone with some new jokes. I’m getting a little weary of the ones Felix repeats day after day. You‘ll be able to perform your routine in a jail cell for a while there Mal, till we find out what to do with ya,” then the sheriff paused for a second, “but if you guys want a show that will really make you laugh……watch this?”

He walked over to the horse closest to the men standing there. From it’s saddlebag he pulled out a bright, yellowish, heavy brick. It glimmered in the afternoon sunlight. He smiled and looked at the two bank robbers. From about chest high he dropped the brick onto a hard rock sticking out of the ground. The thing broke apart into two equal halves, reveling an inside of forged red clay.

What Mal and Jayne had actually stolen from the Watsonville Holding Company were a bunch of stone mason building bricks. The captain and mercenary were utterly shocked! Both stood there with their mouths hanging open. The gold bricks, FAKED! Painted shiny so that they resembled the valuable metal.

It was ironic but Mal was thinking, what sneaky, untrustworthy &*^%$ (bastard) could have committed such an atrocity? It was down right criminal! The robbery had been botched from the very beginning. Spoiled before it had even started. Someone had warned the lawmen that they were coming. Someone had told them of the robbery well in advance. Who the hell could have done that? The face of Shepherd Book entered his mind.

“Shepherd!?” Mal whispered under his breath.

************************************************ Malcolm Reynolds and Jayne Cobb were escorted up the jailhouse steps in handcuffs. A crowd had gathered to watch as the two men were greeted at the doors by another authority.

“ Greetings gents, my names Gantry, Gantry Dillon. I’m the judge in this town, but I double as a deputy marshal also. I see you’ve become acquainted with sheriff Cain and his men. There are six of us in charge of this territory, which runs as far as the eye can see for a hundred miles in each direction. There isn’t much crime here and we like it that way. Still there are a few that test the law. Since off-worlders like yourselves think we’re backwards hillbillies, I guess they believe it won’t be much of a chore robbing us blind. But let me tell you fellows, we take our jobs serious. Just as serious as they do on the core planets. Let’s lock ‘em up Wit, I‘ll start the paperwork in a few minutes.”

Officer Cain marched the two offenders inside.

Once the doors shut behind them, Mal and Jayne got a good look at the interior of the jailhouse. They noticed Zoe was there also, locked in a cell along a wall at the far end. She came to the bars as they locked up the two men in the cells next to her. Each one had a cell to themselves except for Mal. He was thrown into a cell between the others, and was sharing his with none other than Jonathan Bixby.

“ Howdy there cap. You in for drunk and disorderly too? I tried to tell ’em it was just a show , but seein I throwed tha first punch they locked me up anyways.” Bixby said.

Great, I’m in here with the town drunk when I need to be thinking of a way outta this, Mal thought. He edged over the bars next to Zoe.

“ Well captain, looks as if you didn’t fare any better that I did. What happened?” she whispered.

“ We got caught.”

“ That’s obvious! Soon as I got here they marched me inside and locked me up. What‘s going on?”

“ I’m not sure. Do you know anything?” Mal asked.

“ I know they think I’m someone named Kay. I assume from talking to the robbery witnesses, and Bixby has been spilling his guts the whole time.” she said.

“ Hey Cap….” Mal turned to see his cell mate standing right next to him, “ Tom said he was going to drink all the whiskey you guys bought us, his and mine too. He’s not going to do that is he? You won’t let him will ya?”

Mal turned to face the man.

“ Look, you go sit in that corner and I’ll buy you two cases when we get out.” Mal whispered back, “ just keep an eye on that judge for me.”

“ You will, two cases?” Bixby smiled, “ Alright I’ll keep an eye on Judge Lynch for ya!”

Mal’s eyebrows touched in the middle.

“ I thought he said his name was Judge Dillon?” He quizzed.

“ It is, but round here we call him Judge Lynch. Kinda funny don’t ya think?”

“Yeah, hilarious.” Mal whispered, but he wasn’t laughing. He turned back to Zoe,“ Every word spoken during the heist is coming back to haunt us. They know my name, and Jayne’s, although they think we’re using aliases. That could work in our favor.”

Zoe continued…..

“ Also captain, listening to the talk around the jailhouse, I know the whole thing was a set-up. We were baited,” she spoke.

“ Yeah, But who?”

Just then the Judge’s voice rang through the entire room.

“Mr. Mal!” he called, “We’ll start with you! Felix……” Judge Dillon motioned for the deputy to free the captain, “ bring him here and secure him to the chair if you will!”

The interrogation was about to begin. Mal was placed in a chair opposite the judge, the hanging judge. His arms secured to the back of the chair.

“ Now let’s see….” Gantry leaned back in his chair. With a pencil to his lips he studied the captain, “ just waiting for the cortex monitor to warm up,” he said.

The silence seemed to last for a millennium, but in about three minutes the computer came online and was good to go. Gantry looked up the multitude of “Mal” aliases. They numbered in the thousands. Malfoy, Mali, Maalox….and so on. The captain knew it would take twenty years to learn his identity this way. He smiled at the Judge each time he looked in his direction.

“ Gorramit, I’m getting nowhere fast with this,” Dillon said, “ How about you just fess up to your intentions, and your crimes sir, otherwise I might have to throw you down the HOLE.” Mr. Lynch informed him.

“ The Hole?” Mal had heard nothing of this.

“ Yeah, for robbing banks and horse thievery I usually string ‘em up. You know justice at the end of a noose. But animal cruelty is something we don’t joke about. Horses and mules are our living hovercraft out here. Animal abuse is a serious crime, and we sometimes throw folk down the HOLE for it,” he leaned in close to Mal and whispered, “ you see there are many old mine shafts out at the Gipson Mining Company. And in one of them we keep our pets and we like to keep ‘em fed.. We are very near Reaver territory out here Mal, and I don’t have to tell you what we keep down in that deep dark pit now do I?” He stopped a second, “all I can tell you is that they‘re crazed, they skin people, and they eat them alive, and not necessarily in that order.”

Mal’s eyes went wide, but he knew the judge was bluffing. This was such horseshit, but when it came to Jayne’s interrogation, the captain knew the big merc would spill his guts.

Just then deputy Demmers opened the front door.

“ Judge! You might want to come here for a second,” he said.

“ Excuse the interruption,” the judge spoke, then he stood up and exited through the front doors.

Malcolm Reynolds sat quietly tied to his chair. He was left to ponder the weights of justice. Death by rope, or consumption by Reavers. Not an appealing option either way. Then he noticed a reflection in a tea flask sitting on the judge’s desk. In it he could see the print reflection from the cortex monitor. The words were backwards, but if Malcolm could learn how to read Mandarin Chinese, he certainly could read english in reverse.

The type read: “Have foiled the bank heist we were made aware of. Have procured three gnomes. The rest are on the ferry, but we will get them. Awaiting your response. OUT!”

Below was the response……

“ Excellent work! Purple Wolves are on the way. Blue Wolves will soon follow. Looks like congrats are in order for and you and your fellow authorities. Unbelievable bonuses will be yours shortly, be ready. OUT.”…..

Mal couldn’t understand all the code, but he knew enough to understand that they were in deep goushi (crap). His thoughts became more desperate…..they’d better figure a way out fast.

********************************************** Outside…….in the late afternoon sunlight of Watsonville, Judge Dillon walked down the steps of the courthouse/detention center. He greeted an officer standing there dressed in a neatly fitting Alliance uniform. He extended his hand.

“ Hello, I’m Judge Gantry Dillon, welcome to Watsonville”.

The man extended his own hand.

“ Lieutenant Roston Riley sir. Alliance Republic Rim Guard. You have something for me?”

End Part 2


Tuesday, September 6, 2011 9:51 AM


Animal cruelty? Most horses are trained to carry a 200-ish pound man, and they only rode twenty minutes. How much gold do they have in those saddlebags? Sounds like nonsense to me. Course that's probably intentional.

Good characterization on that hanging judge. Nice little plot builder with the Blue and Purple Wolves. The Judge and Sheriff may or may not know who they have but it sounds like the Alliance and Blue Sun do.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 12:57 PM


Hello Bytemite!

I think the thing to say here is, now everybody all together, “TRUMPED UP CHARGES”. I would venture to say, that although the local law-enforcement may be good at their work, I don’t believe they know who they have in custody…..or for that matter, who they’re dealing with as far as the feds.

One thing is for sure, things are gonna change in Watsonville.

Thanks for the feedback, BPZ

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 12:58 PM



Thought as much.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 2:50 PM


Definitely trumped up charges. But it won't stop Mal and Zoe and Jayne from being in deep goushi, will it? And where have the others gone? Does Judge Dillon's name owe anything to Marshal Dillon of Gunsmoke?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 3:06 AM


Hello ebfiddler!

Although in this case the claim of animal cruelty & the use of false identity amount to nothing, bank robbery and horse theft are enough to get the crew of Serenity hanged though. So, it isn’t like the lawmen have Mal, Zoe & Jayne locked up for no good reason.

Still, they may have no idea of the feds true interest in their prisoners, and I would say they’re better off not knowing.

Anyhoo, Marshal Dillon from “Gun smoke”. I will say that sheriff Matt Dillon did come to mind while filling in the blanks of this episode. Good catch ebfiddler. Maybe Gantry Dillon is a genetically engineered, test tube relative of the famous lawman? I wouldn’t put it past the folk escaping the doomed ETW to have a built “special” spacecraft for just those purposes. I mean after all there had to be an ark strictly for animals, don’t ya think?

Thanks for your post. Working on chap 3 now…hope to have it complete in a couple days. Till then Mal, Zoe & Jayne Cobb will just have to sit in a jail cell….see ya.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011 6:55 AM


Gasp! Couple of days? But Mal, Jayne, and Zoe are already only one porridge meal away from a full-on prison riot!

Who'da thought prison food would be worse than protein packs?

They taste like FREEDOM.


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