Trouble for Nothing 1.0
Saturday, November 26, 2011

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.


Trouble for Nothing, Tricks for Free 1.0 Title is a play off the old Dire Straits song, Money for Nothing, Chicks for Free. I want my MTV….. ************** Follow me she said, all tattered and torn, And I’ll tell you the truth, about what’s going on, Things aren’t always as they will us to believe, There are forces about, that choose to deceive ….

From “Whispers of the Albatross” R. Tam’s ledger : 2517 __________________________________________________________________

Malcolm Reynolds lay in his bunk thinking about the events that had taken place over the past several weeks. First, it had started when the crew of Serenity had been on their way to Persephone to hook up with Badger for a job after dropping off Simon and River on Haven with Shepherd Book.

Then second, enroot to Persephone, the Firefly transport had received a cortex message from the Power Authority,…..and this was one that could not be ignored, to set an appointment for hull inspection, which was passed due at this time. The order was from the SOUP, or System of United Planets, and it requested, in somewhat of a nice manner, yet mandatory all the same, that every verse traveling vehicle report to the nearest inspection docking station for an annual hull examination.

Funny that the message reported the examination as being “annual” when the last time Serenity had received a wave like this had been over two years ago. This meant one of two things, either the Alliance was looking for something, or there actually had been too many hull breaches out in the dark recesses of space. Could be that the “ Governing Powers” were getting tired of wasting resources on rescue missions, locating and assisting the recovery of vehicles that were “NOT” considered space worthy.

Sometimes pioneers, explorers, surveyors and just plain folk conducting casual business in the black, after purchasing a craft that was classified as “space worthy”, found that they were not. Many times, patrol craft were call out for an emergency where folk were left stranded, because the ship that they were aboard was sub-standard for space travel, and therein lay the problem.

Official police vessels weren’t in the business of towing stranded pilgrims to a safe port of harbor, and time spent searching for lost vehicles, or missing craft that were found marooned or stranded at the end of the search was costing too much. It was time for another round of compliance policy inspections.

All area merchant, transport, business vehicles and privately owned craft were to report and have their hulls inspected and approved “space worthy” by Port Authority by the posted date, as deemed by SOUP standards. This meant that Serenity had a little over a week to get to Persephone and have the inspection performed, and to receive it’s stamp of approval.

Malcolm’s ship was listed to report to the Eavesdown dock’s area to have the task conducted. Trouble is, Mal NEVER let his ship be inspected by any authority. Well, except for those spot inspections where he didn‘t have a choice.

Anyway, he could pass any spontaneous spot inspection luxianrúyí (effortlessly), just as if he were Doc Simon passing a third grade math quiz. He had the false identity papers, and tricks to do it. But if he let some inspection crew board his boat that could really do a thorough exam, then they might find all those little nooks and hidey holes where he chose to store his illicit goods and contraband. He couldn’t have the authorities knowing where those were, now could he?

The Captain of Serenity did have a solution for the upcoming inspection problem though. He put in a wave to his friend, and ex-browncoat soldier in arms, Charlie Two Toes.

Charlie was an old veteran war buddy of Malcolm’s. They’d been through “Boot” together, and also the battle for Serenity Valley. Charlie had been in a different regiment than Sergeant Reynolds and had gained the position of Sergeant himself. He had acquired the nickname “Two Toes” after stepping on an Alliance field mine which had destroyed his left foot completely, and left his right foot with only two toes. He wasn’t bitter about his nickname,……..fact was, he’d named his business after his misfortune.

Charlie was the proud owner/operator of “Two Toes Tow & Salvage”….. and his employees were some of the best mechanics, parts scavengers and restoration experts in the verse.

Mal called his trusted friend and put in a request for a new Serenity. Of course, the Captain wasn’t looking to trade in his old ship for a new one. That was crazy! What he was planning to do was have a dummy ship equipped to pawned off the inspection to the authorities on Persephone. A fake Serenity would work just as well as the REAL one, and all he wanted was an old Firefly transport good enough to fool the inspection team. Once he received his compliance papers he would regain his real ship and be on his merry.

“Ok Mal,” Charlie was saying over the private feed of the cortex monitor, “ same ship as before, the “Chameleon” or would you prefer another?”

“Same ship Charlie, you know the ID numbers on the false papers we have, have to match up with the ID tag for the authorities! The report has to match up with the forms from two years ago. The Alliance may be gullible, but they aren’t stupid,” Mal had used the same ship for deception two years before. He still had the papers, “We have to pass hull inspection, nothing more, then we‘ll be bring her back right after. That is if we can reach an agreement with you on rental terms? ”

His friend laughed, “Sure we can, just checking to see if you were on your toes.”

Mal smiled secretly to himself as he thought, sure I’m on my toes, I’ve got ten of them not just two! It was a cruel joke, but privately what harm did it do? Then his friend continued,

“………and yeah, I know that all the paperwork has to match up! Let me see what I‘ve got here…...”

The salvage/repair owner looked down at several sheets of paper he had pinned to the clipboard he was holding. Mal could hear the sounds and noise of the owner’s busy repair shop in the background, and he could see welding sparks and crane hoist moving things around in the big shop. Good to know that some ex-Freedom-Fighters were doing well with their legitimate businesses, well legitimate was a relative term.

“Alright, we can have the Chameleon ready for you in two weeks.”

“Two weeks!” Mal was not ready for that bit of info. He needed to have a vehicle ready for deception in a week at most!

“Sorry, two weeks is as soon as I can get her back and ready for your inspection on Persephone.” Charlie told his client, “ she’s over on Osirus now doing the same thing you’re wanting us to do for you for Colonel Cyrus Momsen, from the old 22nd brigade! Momsen has been using a Firefly class vessel for smuggling for years. The Chameleon matches up with his vessel as well as she matches up with yours……that’s just how it is Mal, it’s the best I can do. By the time the Chameleon returns and we change port and starboard monikers and the identification signature in the ship’s onboard computer system, it will take at least that long.”

Malcolm Reynolds could see that there was no way to get around this. They would just have to wait until the changes were made, and he would be late for his due date inspection on Persephone, which would mean a more drawn out and detailed examination, and more questions by the Feds.

There was one thing in this whole gorram process that he was thankful for. He didn’t have River and Simon Tam aboard to worry about. They were already with the Shepherd. Having to ditch them somewhere on short notice would have been another pain in his pìgu.

************ It had been nine days since Mal’s business arraignment with Charlie Two Toes had first been presented, but nine days was better’n two weeks. Charlie had put a rush job on his old army buddy’s order. The salvage owner/operator had several off-world stations just beyond the atmo off Bellerophon. Charlie’s specialized reconstruction crews were able to get the Chameleon in from Colonel Momsen and transform her into a near spitting image of Mal’s own vessel, almost at light speed. The Serenity Captain looked at his new ship with pride.

“Not bad!” he said looking exceptionally pleased, “not bad at all.” In his way of thinking, Charlie’s team had done as good a restoration job on the Chameleon as Wash and Kaylee had done on the hospital ship for that job on Ariel they‘d pulled several months back. He wouldn’t say anything about that to his pilot or master mechanic though, there wasn’t a need to.

Anyway Kaylee seemed to have enjoyed the whole mechanic to mechanic experience on Two Toes’ salvage port stationed high above the world of Bellerophon. She was in her element, mingling with so many folk that shared the same love of engines and mechanical parts as she did. They shared that kind of nerdy mechanical terminology. It was all Greek to Mal, he didn’t understand a word, but he didn’t have to, it was what he paid her for.

Had Serenity’s crew remained aboard the salvage and reclamation vessel much longer than the few days it took to make the transformation, his ship’s mechanic may have lost a little of her magical entrancement over the doctor back on Haven. There were many a young, handsome employee working for Charlie that caught her fancy, and she had them enthralled as well,…..just as she’d had the fellows at the shindig party……all those months ago back on Persephone. A memory that wasn’t a very pleasant one for Mal, being that he’d gotten himself skewered during the duel at Cadrie Hill.

As it were, they were on their way to Persephone now, to do their duty and meet with Verse Code Compliances. The Chameleon….I meant Serenity, was a bit different flying for Wash than usual. Each boat had it’s unique personality…. and there were a few more buckling sounds and squeaks that Mal wasn’t used to hearing on his own vessel. This Firefly didn’t have the extenders as Serenity did, which made her a bit more shaky. Proof that she was an older model, but it was also what was shown on the false identification papers.

Mal felt that he really didn’t have anything to worry about with his deception. Even with Cyrus Momsen using the same boat to fool the Authorities over on Osirus less than two weeks ago. The verse was a very big place, wasn’t any way an inspection crewmember would pull double-duty on Persephone and Osirus, and it was extremely unlikely that they would recognize her if they did.

Anyway, they were three hours out from Persephone and had received landing instructions from the Eavesdown Port Authority and were looking to make a delicate touchdown.

It was just Mal, Kaylee and Wash, Mal having elected for Zoe and Jayne to remain with Serenity. What would be in the Mulligan Stew of events to come was anybody’s guess? All Mal knew was that he wanted to pass inspection, make a visit to Badger for a job assignment, and get outta Dodge, or rather off Persephone. They were here to sniff the air, not kiss the dirt, was his motto when it came to this world. Oh, and of course, to pass inspection.

End Part 1.0


Saturday, November 26, 2011 11:26 AM


Uh oh, just know things are not going to go smooth. Am powerful glad River and Simon are not on board though it may flag as more than a mite suspicious not to have Zoe and Jayne on board. Would have expected Mal to have the real Serenity tucked away with Two Toes until after the deed was done. Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Saturday, November 26, 2011 1:56 PM


Momsen, wonder if he's any relation to the technophile in EB's Persephone story.

Anyway, fun, and I'm with Ali, this is just tempting fate.

Saturday, November 26, 2011 6:05 PM


Good start here, BPZ. I like this premise for a story--having to pass annual flight-worthiness inspection. Part of the magic of Firefly is that these are ordinary folks, not larger-than-life, and so of course they have to deal with ordinary headaches, like annual inspections. Only I *know* you're not going to just have them land, get inspected, get their happy face stamp, and be on their merry. I'm with Ali and Byte...something's gonna happen. (and P.S. good on you for bringing Col. Momsen into the story...just love it when Joss's walk-on characters make a re-appearance.)

Sunday, November 27, 2011 4:40 AM


Good morning AMDoBell, Bytemite & ebfiddler,

Alison how are you? Good I hope,

“ I just know things aren’t going to go smooth….”

What make you say that, he said while grinning,…….….Also Mal’s real ship IS with Two Toes. Mal trusts Charlie, yet being the trusting soul that he is, may haps he thinks some of Charlie’s workers might have sticky fingers (the reason for Zoe & Jayne to remain with the ship) Thanks for your comments….

Bytemite my friend,

“Momsen, wonder if he’s any relation to the technophile in EB’s Persephone story?”

A technophile on Persephone? Does that make him a Pechnophile? Sorry, bad joke…you had me stumped there for a second.

I don’t know, may haps they’re soul mates…..Just Jokin with ya……

In the above story here, Colonel Cyrus Momsen is the gentleman that was halted at the door of the shindig party and quested to remove the small firearm he had hidden beneath his vest. The back-story goes, that he was a Colonel in the Browncoat army, but now he’s a gun-runner or weapons smuggler, and doesn’t feel safe unless he has protection on his person. Guess you could say that it’s the type of profession he’s in. Also he may have been at the shindig to line up a little illicit business himself. If that sounds anything like eb’s gentleman…..then yepper.

ebfiddler, Howdy!

Yeah, having those ordinary day-to-day things happening on or around the ship made the short run Firefly tv series that much more of a gem! I’m glad that you like that Colonel Momsen has joined the story (even if only by name) & I agree with you 100%. It’s always fun to sneak in a few folk from the series here and there. I really like doing that, and seeing other fan-fic with it as well!

“I’m with Ali and Byte…somethings going to happen.”

Come On! You know me better’n that! Well, guess you do know me pretty well….he..he..he

THANKS to each of you for the feedback. Ya’ll keep the rusty gears in my head a’workin and not freezing up!


Monday, November 28, 2011 8:33 AM


Oh! *smacks self*

No wonder. I thought he was one of EB's original characters, and hadn't put it together they were the same person from Shindig.

Usually I'm better at my Firefly minutia than that, but I honestly didn't realize that was the guy's name.


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