MIA chap4
Tuesday, November 1, 2011

If the hovercraft hadn’t come to a screaming halt in time the vehicle woulda plowed straight into it and rolled into a tumbling mess. Genius idea, the Captain of Serenity thought to himself, giving the miner credit.


MIA part 4 --------------- Double Vision --------------

Malcolm Reynolds entered the bunk of the big man on Serenity and saw him sitting there. Not that Jayne Cobb minded, he only wished that the Captain had announced himself first, instead of just hacking a little cough. Wasn’t polite just to enter a man’s abode without letting him know.

Mal had actually cleared his throat in order not to surprise the big mercenary. It was custom for folk to do that instead of just barging in on someone. Besides, he didn’t want to be surprised himself by seeing Jayne handling his weapon, one that wasn’t on the wall???!!!

“Jayne, what you got there?”

The big merc was on the cortex in his bunk.

“Hey Mal, I was just receiving some info about the platinum shipment out on Shiloh.”

Mal looked at the screen. He saw the head and shoulders of a guy standing there. Although Mal had never met Cody, the guy looked nothing like Jayne.

“ I see the family resemblance,” the Captain muttered, his lips curling into a little smart-ass grin. Jayne looked at Mal.

“ That ain’t my cousin! That’s somebody named Tony Jeebs. Cody knows better than to broadcast Intel over the cortex like that. Their waves are monitored after all. Can’t be a security guard if’n you aren’t willing to give up some of your freedoms,” Jayne said, then continued.

“ No, this guy is a miner out at the Absolution Prairie Mine, where they store the platinum before it’s carried over to the bank in town. He’s the middle man, the guy Cody is going through. Still, he’s got to be careful himself. Lots of suspicion going around a little town that has a big secret. Jeebs could get himself in a whole lot of trouble. Anyway, we still good to go with my plan?”

“ Yeah, so far,” Mal said, “ We’re still some time away from Shiloh. What makes you think that we can still do this once we get there?”

“ Cody tells me that these shipments come out about once every month. This one‘s already over, but we can get the next. He’ll let us know if things change.”

“ Ok,” Mal said, “ guess we should get the rest of the crew in on this.”


Melanie Meadows, or Felicia Gardner, whichever name she was going by for the next ten minutes, greeted her brother as he walked up onto the ship’s bridge. He looked around.

“ Nice vessel, what’d you call it?”

“ The USS Ajax Sir! United Service Ship. Firefly class. Bought her at auction from the government here a while back. She’s got armory, but really isn’t built for fighting. She was used during the war to service and repair Alliance vessels that broke down in the Black, but don’t hold that against her. She’s a good ship. I flew a Firefly transport out of Fort Oliver, near Watsonville here a while back. It impressed me. When I saw this girl go up on the action block at Fort Benning, I posted bids for her till I won. She’s got rocket belts, portside and starboard, and a plasma cannon on top. She can fight if she needs to and can get out of tight spots in a jiffy.”

Fredrick Gardner looked at his sister. He couldn’t have been prouder of his baby sister had she been the Princess of Persephone.

“Well, that about answered all of the questions that I might have Captain,” he smiled.

There was a deep gash that ran from just above his right eye, through his brow and ended down below his right cheek. A scar that had heeled over time, yet it pained her to think of the suffering her brother had endured during his stay in that prison camp. She hated the purplebellies for it. She meant to get even, for him, for her, for their family, and every independent soul that suffered under the weapon of a Unified soldier.

“So, what’s our next step?” He asked.

“ Well, we gotta pay for this ship. We had to dig deeply into the till to buy her, and it’s money I told my superiors they’d get back quickly (Felicia Gardner was part of the secret underground movement that was very active)

‘ Oh,….and how we gonna come up with that much loot in a short span of time?”

“ Well, first we’ll have to ditch eleven of the folk we just rescued. They weren’t part of the original plan. It’s ok, we’re meeting up with Mathew Covington on Harvest. You remember Mathew don’t you sir?”

There was a pause.

“ I remember that a captain outranks a lieutenant. It’s strange hearing you call me sir,” he smiled, and the scar crinkled across his face. Her heart bled for him, and the torture he must have faced.

“ Yeah, well, it’s respect for the elderly….” she laughed. They both did.

“ Yes, I remember Covington.”

“ 1st Sergeant Covington. He got a field promotion just before Serenity Valley was lost.”

“ Good for him,” Fredrick Gardner spoke. His sister continued with what she was telling him.

“Like I said, he’s over on Harvest. We can drop off the rest of the fellows we rescued from the “Fox Terrier” there. Also, Mathew ran into Cody Cobb on that world some time back. Cody works for a security company and said he’d just returned from Higgins Moon with a cargo full of treasure. Not gold or silver but platinum. They mine it on Higgins, but there isn’t a bunch of it. It’s secretly stored in mud bricks and ceramic tile, but they only go there about four times a year. He doesn’t go that often anymore, girl troubles.”

“ I see, something in his jeans, I mean genes.”

“ I guess,” his sister laughed, then started again.

“ Anyway, that doesn’t do us much good now, but he said there was another shipment of platinum coming from Shiloh, place called Absolution, if we were interested. I told him not at the moment. We were trying to figure out a way to rescue you. Didn’t know the Feds were gonna release you right into our arms,” she smiled, “I got with Nora and Mathew and a few others and we figured out a way to do it. Now, you’re here and the plan turned out better than I expected. And we can maybe still make that platinum shipment. It wouldn’t be that long a journey to Shiloh.

********** Malcolm Reynolds and the crew of Serenity gathered in the ship’s galley to make plans on their burglary attempt in Absolution.

“ So, how well do we know these guys?” Wash was asking.

“ I don’t know, one’s his cousin,” Mal said, looking over at Jayne.

Wash scanned the big mercenary, then looked back over at Mal.

“ I ask again, how well do we know these folk?”

Mal could see that his pilot was in one of his inquisitive, silly moods. Still the expression on Zoe and Kaylee’s faces showed that they were in with Wash on his questioning. Mal peeped his eyes over at Jayne.

“ Jayne, you and your cousin close?”

“ Not really.”

“What does that mean?” Wash asked viewing the big mercenary.

“ It means we’re not close,” Jayne said. He hated to be hazed by the pilot. Seems Wash was always trying to make him out to be a clown. “ Mom tells me he’s my third cousin, twice removed.”

“ And that would mean?” Wash quizzed.

“ I don’t know. He’s family,…….. they lived by us once, then moved, and moved again. Twice removed, figure it out! It ain’t rocket science Wash!” Jayne was getting angry now.

Wash looked over at his wife, Zoe, who was looking at the Captain. Mal then glanced over at Kaylee, who was also looking at him. All with smiles upon their mugs. They were looking for Mal to defuse the situation before it got outta hand. The Captain brought his attention down to the galley table.

“ Ok, lets just leave that there,” he said, then gazed over at Jayne, “ so tell us what you, your cousin, and Jeebs have figured out?”

Jayne then went on to discuss some of the details about the robbery. It would still be several weeks before the crew of Serenity was in position to carry out their heist scheme. Time enough to change things if needed. They would make their approach from the south side of the planet, and hook up with Jeebs two and a half miles out of town. From there it was planned out to the nuts & bolts, yet the crew of Serenity left a little wiggle room if there was trouble.

At this same time Fredrick Gardner, Felicia Gardner, Nora Brookland, Mathew Covington and the crew of the USS Ajax were planning an assault of their own. The bank in Absolution was their target. They would make their approach from the west side of town.

Who would be faster, and get there first? That was something neither group had considered. Having two fish going for the same bait, at the same time, wasn’t something that happened that often. Which meant, if something went wrong and both gangs got caught, the authorities would be doubly happy.


Finally, the day of the heist arrived. Wash had set Serenity down just where Tony Jeebs had instructed. The cargo ramp to the Firefly transport came down and rested in a dusty blanket of Shiloh soil. Just fifty paces away stood a man with four horses and a smile on his mine weary face.

“ Hello, I’m Tony Jeebs,” he called to the crew as they exited the ramp.

“Howdy Tony, I’m Mal, this is Zoe and here’s Jayne,” Mal had extending his hand, but Jeeps just left it hanging there in mid air.

His gaze was transfixed on the Serenity mercenary.

“*Wo de ma,” he said (*Mother of God)

“What is it!!?” Malcolm Reynolds was spelled with a bit of curiosity.

Jeebs just rolled his marble like eyes around in their sockets.

“ Nothing, nothing at all…… are the horses I told you we’d be using. The hovercraft crew will be making their departure from the ferry shuttle craft which will land about a mile that direction,” Jeebs pointed southeast of their location,”…… about an hour. That’s plenty time for us to use these mounts and get into position over in Ravens Gully. They could spot you pretty easy in a shuttle using ID protocol.”

*Even shuttles the size of Inara’s left a Identification signature, although faint. Any craft deemed space worthy had to have ID protocol installed. It helped find the vessel if it was lost in space. They could be removed, but if you were caught by an Alliance patrol out in atmo without one, it was automatic jail time.

“They are used to seeing horses and cattles on worlds like this, so it doesn’t flag any alarms,” Jeebs said.

He handed each one a bridle strap.

“ Oh, and here’s what you’ll need to be wearing.” he had noticed that Jayne and Zoe were sporting a lavender colored uniform, similar to what the contract guards would be wearing, but Malcolm Reynolds wasn’t. No matter, he hauled out three coverall uniforms that he had stored in one of the horse’s saddlebags.

“ Here, put these on,” he said, handing them to the crew, “Tyvek suits, you’ll be needin them. The ground gets pretty dusty around here, and the grime can penetrate into a persons cloths and cause quite a bit of discomfort when it shifts into the cracks,” he smiled at the three of them.

Tyvek suits weren’t much more than disposable long johns used by workers and vessel mechanics around the verse. They were meant for dirty and greasy jobs, but were cheep, and could be tossed away after the job was complete. Kaylee would have loved to have gotten her hands on a couple dozen of these. They were tan in color and matched some of the terrain. Great for camouflage and hiding things underneath.

“You can just chunk ‘em when we’re done. No harm, no foul. We use a ton of these down in the mines. Oh, and you’ll be needin to cover your heads, and wear goggles. The winds can whip up a fair amount of dust sometimes. The guys on the Pinkerton/Levy hovercraft will be wearing then too,” he informed them.

This was the first change made to the crewmembers plan. They had originally arranged for Mal to remain as the driver of the hovercraft. This way, no one could see that he wasn’t wearing a purple uniform. Although this did nothing to change the plan, Mal still meant to operate the Pinkerton hovercraft, the Tyvek suit would allow him to exit the vehicle and join with the robbery if he needed to.

“Time to go,” Jeebs said.

******** The team reach Raven Gully with thirty minutes to spare. This gave Jeebs time to see to the horses and Mal, Zoe and Jayne time to find positions of concealment. Jeebs rigged up his team to some sort of gizmo, but Mal, nor the others, questioned him about it. It was part of the plan.

With fifteen minutes to spare, the Absolution platinum miner finished his chore and took a position next to Jayne.

“ Won’t be long now,” he said.

Jayne looked at him.

“ Hey Jeebs, how did Absolution get it’s name?”

“ Well, it’s kinda funny actually. It wasn’t originally known as Absolution. It was just a small colony of maybe ten houses and six families on the edge of a dead ore mine. There weren’t nothing here, so when folk on the other side of the world asked about it, they were told that it was a place that they should Absolutely- Shun, Absolution!”

Mal and Zoe looked at one another and smiled. At that moment they heard the unmistakable sound of a hovercraft approaching.

“Get ready!” Mal spoke.

Jeebs went down to his horses and the rest of the team prepared their assault. When Jeebs assessed the craft was within range, he smacked his horses on the rear and they exited the ravine at almost full gallop. They were hitched to a heavy rope and behind they pulled a canopy that, once the wind caught drag of it, lifted ten feet into the air and billowed out seventy feet across, almost like an extra wide sail.

If the hovercraft hadn’t come to a screaming halt in time the vehicle woulda plowed straight into it and rolled into a tumbling mess. Genius idea, the Captain of Serenity thought to himself, giving the miner credit.

The robbery team arose in an instant, the hovercraft coming to rest not thirty feet from them.

“ Ok hands to the heavens, or you’ll be buried down seven!” Mal used an old robbery phrase, made famous by the Ma Colleen gang back in 2460.

There were four guards nestled within that craft, and eight hands reached skyward.

“Ok, out and on the ground!” Mal meant for the security guards to exit the craft and lay in the dirt.

“Taylor and Mumpkin, keep your eye on them while I see how to operate this craft!”

Mal could see, even through his goggles, that Jayne was irritated about being called Mumpkin. The Captain cracked a smile. He couldn’t pass up an opportunity to annoy Jayne. Even in the midst of a bank holdup.

Mal studied the inside of the craft. Seemed simple enough to operate. He turned and viewed their four prisoners on the ground.

“ Ok, out of them Tyvekes, ….and off with them goggles and sand hoods! Mumpkin, keep an eye on them!” He ordered.

“ Oh! I will Sir,” Jayne spoke, “ Especially this one!” Serenity’s big mercenary was already making plans on how he would get even with the Captain. Nothing serious, but payback was hell, he smiled.

As the team undressed, Mal took Zoe aside. They discussed some of their options and further details about the heist. When they were satisfied with the plan, they turned to the prisoners, and both at the same time couldn’t have been more stunned if they’d been hit in the face with a wet squirrel.

There they stood, four guys, all standing tight and pretty in their purple security uniforms. Only the last one was who Mal and Zoe focused their attention on, stood there as Jayne Cobb, or what would have been Jayne had the big mercenary not been two feet away with Vera aimed at the whole pack.

Mal and Zoe’s lower jaws hit the sand,…..Cody Cobb was none other than Jayne Cobb’s splitting image!

End Part 4


Tuesday, November 1, 2011 6:38 PM


Oh the plot thickens. You've got lots of twists and turns here. I know they are going to get in trouble somehow. And what about Gardiner and all coming the other direction? A few typos here--the one about buying the Firefly in an action struck me, as well as the Lt being heeled from his injuries. Can't wait to see what mischief entails from Jayne and his look-alike cousin. Also loved Jayne and Mal's different perspectives on the Captain's entering Jayne's bunk, with Jayne thinking the Captain wasn't polite not announcing himself, and Mal figuring that his little cough _was_ announcing himself.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 2:51 AM


Howdy ebfiddler!

I’m glad that you seem to be enjoying the story so far. I’m not certain, but I think chap 5 will likely be the last chapter of this story arc. I usually don’t like to extend my fiction tales longer than 5-8 chapters. I prefer in chopping them up into little segments. That way if someone comes along and wants to read a story, the journey isn‘t that long to catch up. Just how I like to do it.

Anyhoo, not sure if you see it coming, but there will be a really big surprise at the end of chap 5. Hope you stay tuned for it.

Also, I’m not getting what you mean about typos? If it’s spelling errors and such, I usually have several of those. Even after reading it a few times over. Or even the way I would handle things differently. If by “Typos” you mean something about the USS Ajax, or the scars on Lieutenant Gardner, I’m not sure I’m getting that.

Anyway, elaborate if you want to. I like to fix mistakes…. Helps for better writing in the future.

See ya, BPZ

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 6:49 AM


Uh oh. Two Fireflies in this story, and two look-alike cousins. Both with an interest in the metals, a mentor from the war and a war survivor turned criminal.

This... Not gonna end well.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 9:13 AM


"When I saw this girl go up on the action block at Fort Benning"-- "auction" block, I'm sure. Although maybe the block was moving really fast :-)
"A scar that had heeled over time,"--"healed" unless there's a foot involved :-)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 9:17 AM


Howdy Bytemite, all I can do is

Thanks for your comments my friend! BPZ

Also to address another statement brought up by eb before. Yepper, Mal thought he was being polite and proper,……but the big mercenary misses those sorts of clues at times.

Jayne is an ingenious and complex character, and Adam played him to perfection. That’s why he’s so fun to write.

MIA #5- the Final will be up in a day or two. Hope folk like it…BPZ

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 11:14 AM


Howdy ebfiddler

I guess while in prison, a kick to the face, and one could almost call that a “heeled scar” ….couldn’t you say? …lol…..only joking with ya!

Also, where does one go when purchasing old, used, surplus, army goods? “Auction Block” may have been a bad choice to express how she did it. “Auction Market” may be better, yet there may be something even better….

Thanks for the feedback. It is exactly what I need to help improve on a story. Hope I do better in the next & final chapter.

The crits are very welcome, eb, Byte & Brewster…..Till next episode take care.

BPZ out!


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Levels of Heaven: Depths of Hell part3
Chapter 3 up and running. Some questions answered, and a few more created. Some characters folks may like, some not so much. But Isn’t that the way things really are? Jayne has always wanted to be the commander of his own ship. Mal, unknowingly lets him play for a while……Ok, also, a villain arrives on the scene….boo-hisss, the crowd makes wicked catcalls….BPZ

Levels of Heaven: Depths of Hell part2
This chapter….not much of a connection to chapter one, but the link is coming. Introducing a few new characters and the meaning and purpose of their mindset. Hope you enjoy and continue to follow….BPZ

Levels of Heaven: Depths of Hell part1
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Serenity finds herself on the last leg of a trip to deliver some well needed goods to Whitefall. Things look to be going rather smooth, but that can fool ya. Something happens …..and Mal finds that he has a war buddy reunion out in the deep pitches of the black….things are gonna get interesting. BPZ

Trouble for Nothing 3.0
Finally, a bit of cohesion to the confusion. Mal & Kaylee talk about things. The purple star is still around, and the one that’s dangerous, and doesn’t belong…..saves the day….

Trouble for Nothing 2.0
Mal, Kaylee and Wash land on Persephone for hull inspection. He shouldn’t feel alarmed, but the Captain is always apprehensive about such things. He’s a little nervous, but remembers the advice of the family physician that used to be his doctor on Shadow. “Just take a sugar pill with your medicine and things will be alright” least that’s what ‘ol Doc Jenkins used to say. Of course Mal ain’t on Shadow anymore….. And his mom didn’t used sugar pills, she used castor oil…. as a chaser for medicine. And for those who are familiar with castor oil…..all I can say is that you have to sit still and let things progress naturally……BPZ

Trouble for Nothing 1.0
Malcolm Reynolds, and his crew find themselves ordered to serve Serenity up for “Verse Travel Compliance”…… or rather, space worthiness inspection, and although there is no reason to be alarmed, having strangers examining his boat does make Mal feel a bit uneasy. This is also a bit of a hassle, but isn’t that what governments are for, to get in a man’s way?

For fic purposes, at this juncture Shepherd Book and Inara are both on their respective worlds. What remains of the crew of Serenity are Kaylee, Jayne, Zoe, Mal, and Simon & River as crew/passengers.

Polished Memories 2.0 - The Mission
Howdy Coats!! Been a while since I’ve been able to jot something down, but here goes. …Continuation of the “ Polished Memories” series, and more of what Mal remembers about the battle of Serenity Valley. We can see that the pain, and suffering, and casualties of war are chipping away at the Captain’s beliefs. Is Mal losing his soul? Only the Shepherd would know the soldier at this point, and maybe his Corporal, Zoe. Read on for clarification….

Polished Memories 1.0- Boot Camp
New approach at mixing things up a little. “Polished Memories” folk trying to sort through their emotions and feelings, and make themselves feel better. Doesn’t always work.

MIA chap5 Final-Clash of the Titans
More like Clash of the bed fleas or dust mites. But that can be a good thing. Being the small guys can keep you off the Alliance radar and have the old bloodhounds barking up the wrong tree. Petty crime can pay well enough, yet not have the Feds crawling up your backside…. Oh yeah, also, Mal & Zoe pick up the heat in this one. I’ll not say more. Maybe Wash does have a reason to be jealous? Hope you enjoy the final of “Missing in Action” BPZ