War Stories: Assembly
Saturday, October 29, 2011

This is the seventh of a series about the Unification War. (As if it needed to be said) Pre-BDS. Our Big Damn Heroes get ready for a fight. Motivations are revealed, certain words are exchanged, certain fists, new feelings emerge.


Disclaimer: Dude. Joss, Mutant Enemy, Universal, whatevs. Grr. Argh.


“It’s funny how different a planet looks from here as compared to down there.” Wash said, “A sea of green here, a bit of blue there, a bumpy little rash that probably looks like mountains planetside.”

Velkan chuckled, “So many trees on Verbena. I’ve never seen so many trees.” he said, staring at Wash’s sea of green with amazement. “Mostly water where I come from. And fish… all the fish you could ever want and all the fish you don’t. So much fish that you can never quite get the smell out. If I ever smell another fish, it‘ll be too soon.”

“That explains a lot,” Wash teased, earning a sarcastic glare from his friend. “There weren’t any trees where I’m from either. There was a forest, though. It covered the whole damn planet. A forest of steel and iron and concrete,” Wash smiled reminiscently, “It disappeared into the blanket of smog that separated the land from the sky. Sometimes, I think the reason I wanted to become a pilot was to see what the sky looked like. To see the stars. Yi jian zhong qing.”

“Me, I just couldn’t stand the smell of fish anymore. So, I jumped on the first chance to get off that rock.” Velkan said, “And now, here I am, being independent.” he chuckled softly. Wash did too.


“Can’t believe we let them jus’ take all our loot, like l’il sissy girls.” Jayne complained, as he and Stitch sat at the bar. Technically, they were there looking for work, but neither of them was looking much farther than the bottom of his own cup right now.

“’An wha’ was we s’posed to do? Have them turn on us like that Alliance blockade was like to do?” Stitch asked.

“Well, we din’t hafta give them all the loot fer nuttin‘, gorrammit.” Jayne downed his liquor and slammed it on the bar for a refill. “Coulda haggled ‘em down a l’il, s’all I’m sayin’” He picked up his refilled cup and took another swig, “Hell, coulda even sold it to ‘em half price for comin‘ in and savin‘ the day.”

“I figger they feel like they’s din’t have to save us, so they’s got a right a to our loot. Got the feelin’ they wasn’t askin’ all nice fer it.” Stitch said, downing his own drink, “If yeh’d get yer head outta yer ass long enough to see that it was us or the loot, yeh’d know we din’t have a choice.”

“All I know is this. We do a job for the Independents, they oughta pay us fer it. Liftin’ a cartload o’ammo offa the Alliance t’ain’t no easy thing. Yeah, we got humped, but we was nearly to the meetin’ place anyway, they coulda at least given us half what the sum they told us when we took the job was. We still did the job, we should still get paid. You could get off yer damn high horse long ‘nough to appreciate that.”

“Yeh ign’rant piece o’shit!” Stitch bellowed at Jayne, “Jus’ let it go and lemme drink without goin’ on about it. It’s done, it’s over. Now, shut yer damn mouth and get on with it.”

“You qing wa cao de liu mang!” Jayne shouted, jerking to his feet, his stool toppling over. They had been at the bar for awhile, the mercenaries had already knocked back quite a few drinks and Jayne was not entirely sure if he was moving or if the room was. “I’m ‘bout tired of yer gorramed high and mightyness!”

“Boy, yeh better sit yer ass back down an’ I’ll pretend like this never happ’ned. Don’t make me knock yeh out.” Stitch stood now, too.

Wham! Jayne’s fist collided with the side of Stitch’s head. The older man staggered a bit before retaliating, his fist coming up to land squarely in Jayne’s solar plexus, knocking him backwards and removing him of all the air in his lungs. Jayne fell against the bar, gasping for air as he poorly aimed a jab at Stitch’s knee. He missed, grazing the man’s thigh instead, nearly falling down. Stitch’s fist hit him in the back and the haze of alcohol and rage began to take over, clouding his mind.


The flight to Verbena was uncomfortable and cramped. Too many soldiers were crammed into too little space. Mal could not wait to be planetside and stretch his legs a bit. Mac was not faring as well as he was, however. She had always been a mite claustrophobic and now was no exception.

Mac sat huddled in the corner next to Mal, taking shallow little breaths, her eyes the size of moons. Her knees were drawn to her chest and she held onto them tightly, as if they would protect her from the tightly packed, confined space. All in all, Mal thought she was doing pretty well. He had seen his best friend in much worse states than this when it came to small, closed spaces.

“Mac,” he whispered, reaching over and taking her hand in his. She grasped it tightly, as if it were her lifeline. “Mac, we’re almost there. Did you hear the last comm message? We’ll be landing in just a few minutes.” He gave her a smile. She forced herself to return it, giving his hand a reassuring squeeze to let him know that she was okay. He knew that she was determined not to let this get the best of her, to not look weak.

They landed a few minutes later. Mal offered Rowan his hand to help her up, which she gratefully accepted. As soon as they hit open air, she started drawing in great big lung’s full of air and he patted her on the back. She smiled back at him, “I’m okay, Mal. It wasn’t even that bad. I’m just glad I can breathe comfortably again. The air was so hot and stuffy in there.”

Mal’s reply was cut off by the arrival of privates Alleyne and Dodd. “Glad to see you two survived the trip.” Alleyne said, grinning wryly.

“’Course we did. Got more moxy than a little drift through space could jaunt from us.” Mal told her, grinning back.

“Good, you’re gonna need that moxy here soon. General Vaughn has warned us all that an Alliance attack might be imminent. Some heavy activity, looks might be directed towards us. When the time comes, I wanna know your moxy ain’t gonna fail.” she said.

“Don’t worry, we got what it takes.” Mac chimed in, “I’m itchin’ for some sharpshootin’ practice anyhow.”

“Don’t get too eager on us,” Dodd smiled warmly at Mac. In the week or so since they had known each other, he had warmed up to her quite a bit. Mal didn’t like it, didn’t like him. Dodd gave him a queer feeling in the pit of his stomach. It made him angry. It made him want to hit something. Like hit that smug little smile right off his face. Mal’s fingers twitched and he cleared his throat uncomfortably. Dodd continued, “Battles aren’t easy affairs. Sometimes, you lose yourself in them. I don’t want you to go losing your head on me, I’d be a bit upset if I didn’t get to see your pretty face anymore.”

“Wo you dian bu shu fu,” Mal muttered to himself, his fingers twitching some more. He had to beat down the irrational urge to simply tackle Dodd and beat the everloving shit out of him. It didn’t help when Mac smiled back. “All right, I’ll keep that in mind. Stay focused,” she giggled.

“Stay pretty,” he winked. Zoe rolled her eyes. Mal’s hand finally clenched into a fist. “So, you guys want to find the mess? I’m starving.”

“I could stand for something to eat, you?” Zoe said, looking at Mal.

“Wha? Oh… Er, yeah. Food. Let’s eat.” he said, turning to Mac, who was giving him an odd look. He tried to ignore it, offering her his arm to come along. Normally, he wouldn’t have offered unless she had reached for it, but he did not want Dodd hanging all over his best friend. It was… disgusting.


Entertaining her first female client was not the worst thing Inara had ever done. In fact, it had been rather pleasant. So pleasant, that Henna had purchased even more of Inara’s time in the days following their first engagement. Inara could definitely see her as a potential long term client.

The house priestess was certainly happy with this development. It seemed that the only person that was not excited about Inara having a fascinating new client was Nandi. Inara was a little hurt by Nandi’s sudden distance and by the fact that she had hidden to avoid Henna in the first place. What was going on with her best friend? Why was she being so unkind, so unfair to her now?

Inara sat alone in the park, her and Nandi’s favorite spot to sit down and have afternoon picnics. Nandi had not met her here since last week, the day of Henna’s arrival at the companion house. Nandi had not met her anywhere, for that matter. On the rare occasions that she had seen her best friend since then, the older woman had made an excuse and hastily departed. Inara no longer knew what to think.

Sighing, she watched a few children playing a game with some lines drawn in the dirt and a stone thrown into them. This game seemed to involve a lot of hopping on one foot. Inara’s mother had never allowed her to play such games. From the day she was born, her mother had wanted her to go into the companion house. While the other children were playing games with dirt and stones and hopping on one leg, Inara was learning etiquette and tea ceremonies and all the finer things in life. She thought that she was probably better off for it.

Staring at the children, somewhat vacantly, she made up her mind. If Nandi was not going to come and meet her for afternoon tea, then she would simply have to go and meet her. She could not stand this rift between them and she was determined to mend it, even if she did not fully understand its existence.

“Nandi,” she demanded, her voice stern and forceful after having knocked on Nandi’s door and receiving an “I’ll be just a moment,” which Inara took to mean that she did not have a client, which was really all she had wanted the knock to ascertain. Barging into the room, she glared at the woman that had just stood up from the couch, who was obviously rather disturbed and angry by this intrusion.

“Inara,” she said tersely, “I don’t remember inviting you into my quarters.”

“I don’t remember the last time you invited me anywhere, Nandi,” Inara replied, trying to keep her tone even. “You don’t want to have tea with me, you don’t want to play music with me, you don’t want to eat dinner with me, you don’t want to play cards with me, and you certainly don’t want me in your room.”

“If you know all of that, then what are you doing here?” Nandi asked, an odd tone to her voice that Inara could not place.

“I can’t stand it, Nan. What did I do wrong? Why do you suddenly hate me so much?”

Nandi sighed, clicking her tongue against her teeth. Folding her arms across her chest, she said, “I don’t hate you, Inara. Not even a little.”

“Then why have you been avoiding me like I have some contagious disease?” Inara plead.

Nandi looked away, unable to meet her gaze any longer. “I… I can’t answer that. I don’t want to.”

“Why not? You’re my best friend, Nandi. If you don’t want to see me, that’s fine. But at least give me a reason.”

It was silent for a long time. Inara was aware of each and every heartbeat. The longer Nandi refused to answer her, refused to even look at her, the harder and faster her heart beat. Finally, Nandi looked at her and said, “Do you want to know? Do you really want to know?”

Inara swallowed heavily and then nodded. The harshness of the other woman’s tone had surprised her. Slightly scared eyes followed Nandi as she crossed the room and closed the door. For a moment, she lingered there, but then she whirled around to face Inara. There was something wild in her eyes. It was that spark that had drawn Inara to her initially. Like a cat, she stalked over to Inara, taking hold of her shoulders and staring down at her with those wild eyes.

“To stop me from doing this…” she breathed, her grip tightening on Inara’s shoulders as she leaned down and kissed the younger woman. Inara’s eyes widened in surprise, but slowly closed as she found herself enjoying that kiss. It was not a kiss like they were taught in companion training. It was a passionate, fiery, wild sort of kiss that ignited something inside Inara that she did not want to end just yet. Without realizing it, she began to kiss back.

--- Yi jian zhong qing - It was love at first sight Qing wa cao de liu mang - frog humping S.O.B Wo you dian bu shu fu - I feel sick


Tuesday, November 8, 2011 3:12 PM


Interesting look at the characters' lives pre-series. I see this is part of series, which I haven't read. I'll try to catch up on it and re-read here afterward. Thanks for posting.


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