Trouble for Nothing 4.0 final
Tuesday, December 6, 2011

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, Tricks for Free 4.0

I often sit, and stop, and wonder, What causes those to abuse their power,

To rule with hurt, and pain, and suffer, Just like a controlling, selfish lover,

She flew to help.….but was now forever lost, To those who harmed the Albatross.

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

Malcolm Reynolds lay in his bunk, pondering the events which had happened over the past several weeks. They really had been lucky. Returning the Chameleon, Charlie had said they carried an angel on their shoulders, but Mal didn’t believe in angels. Yet he did believed in devils.

Was it possible to believe in one without the other? Mal didn’t know, and he often wondered if he was harboring one or the other on his boat?

“She may be a witch, but she’s our witch,” he had remembered saying to the simple hill folk on Jiangyin. But actually now, he thought about how much of that statement could really be true? How could River have known about the Union Star? How too, could she have known of anything that had taken place aboard the Chameleon?

He had blamed it on the Shepherd at first, with his deep knowledge and uncanny ability of knowing things. Yet upon further consideration Mal knew that this could not be. If the Preacher had, had information like that (Bartholomew stamping all the ships he inspected with the “Union Star”) then he, himself woulda sent Malcolm a warning wave, not River. The Captain had all kinds of ideas running through his head. Some had him believing that River was only a confused child, others…..that she was something more.

Had Parliament gotten to her in ways that even he did not understand? Was she a mole with even deeper connections than Dobson had, had? Mal meant to ponder this further, yet he wouldn’t let his guard down about what he was thinking. He just hoped the girl couldn’t read minds! _________

Glad to be back on the REAL Serenity, Mal felt that it was a place that he could think more clearly. He would have to get down to brass tacks with River and Simon when he arrived back on Haven,…..then he surmised, maybe that would be the wrong approach.

Serenity needed a doctor. No sense in pushing Simon or River into a corner to get information. She was a bit of a mystery still, but so far she hadn’t caused any harm. Well, except for that slash across Jayne’s chest. But Mal had made it clear to the big mercenary that they were a part of his crew, and no one was getting left!

Just then there came a buzz on his bunk com.

“ Mal! Something interesting’s come up! I need you on the bridge!” The tone of his pilot’s voice showed that this was no joking matter. Mal leaped from his bunk, and was up the ladder in a jiffy.

************ “What is it Wash?” Mal questioned his pilot as he entered the bridge.

“A ship ahead. Nothing strange about that, only she’s just sitting there. Like she’s waiting on us.”

“Her call-sign and ID?”

“I can’t make ’em out yet. She’s too distant…..just outta range.”

“Well…..changing course will make us look suspicions. And with our cargo from Badger aboard, better not look as if we’re trying to avoid anyone. Whether Pirates, Alliance or Reavers, we turn now, and they’ll just give chase.” Mal spoke leaning over his pilot’s shoulder, “Just stay on course. We‘ll let them make the first move,” the Captain paused to consider his options. He grabbed the overhead cabin mic from above.

“Zoe, you and Jayne ready the weapons! Kaylee, get ready if need be to boost power, Captain out!”

He returned the mic to it’s hanger, then he exited the bridge to get his own weapon.

************ Once inside his bunk, Mal had just finished strapping his sidearm onto his leg when there came another call from the bridge.

“ Mal you need to get up here!”

“fà de de shanyáng” (hair of a goat) what is it this time, he thought! He hurried back to Serenity’s control center.

“Gorram Wash what we got now!?”

Although Wash was focused on his flying, he wasn’t about to let a good joke be avoided this time around.

“Oh just wanted to invite you to the shindig I’m having…..OUT IN SPACE!” The pilot defiantly spoke that last part with a bit of nervous humor. He continued his update to the Captain…….

“Mal, there’s another ship alert come up on the proximity monitor, only this one is off starboard and it’s moving at rapid speed towards us! It will be on us within five minutes!”

“ Pirates! Gotta be!” Mal spoke. Just then a transmission came over the ship’s open com.

“Firefly-Serenity, this is the Bosh Regina of the Verse Authority-UAP requesting you halt and prepare for boarding party!”

Mal looked at his pilot.

“Tell them we‘ll comply.”

Wash retrieved his mic.

“Affirm, Bosh Regina. Understood and reducing power now,” the pilot answered.

“I don’t know what your plans are Mal, but I hope they’re good!” Wash said as he applied reverse thrusters.

It was Mal’s turn now to vent a little nervous humor.

“What plans!?”

************ The Bosh Regina pulled alongside the Firefly transport. By her look and design, she seemed to be who she said she was. There was a big purple star painted on the side of the craft. Mal was starting to think that he was seeing too many purple stars.

Wash had run the ID code and it indicated that this was a true Alliance vessel.

The magnetic docking links were connected, and the two ships joined. The door was opened and the cargo bay was flooded with a flock of purplebellies. Six in all, and all sporting Alliance field weaponry.

Mal spotted the fellow that looked to be in charge.

“Captain Reynolds sir, owner and commander of Serenity. Here’s my papers,” Mal had chosen to go the honest route this time.

“Captain Victor Bartholomew of the Bosh Regina, Captain.”

Mal began to wonder if this gentleman was any kin to the Alliance Lieutenant inspector they’d just dealt with on Persephone?

Bartholomew walked a couple steps past Mal, disinterestedly pushing Serenity’s ID papers, and cargo inventory aside.

“I don’t need to look at those. As far as I’m concerned, they could be as phony as the day is long!”

Mal was a little disturbed by his superior arrogance.

“What’s the reason for stopping us then?”

The man stopped and looked at the Captain.

“For stopping you?” Bartholomew put forth an expression that told Mal that he was considering the question, but not seriously.

“You could be a smuggler, or an arms runner, or a slave trader,” he stamped his foot on the storage doors of the cargo bay flooring , “or you could be transporting sixty diseased penguins from St Albans under the decking of this ship for all I know. But as far as you‘re concerned, I could have stopped you for nothing. See this patch,” he pointed to the purple “U” star insignia sewn onto his uniform sleeve, “this says I don’t need to have a reason to stop you. I can do whatever I want. But out of the goodness of my bleeding heart, and my tender personality I‘ll tell you why you were stopped. Spot inspection, is that a good enough reason?”

The man then signaled to his crew to begin searching for contraband. Captain Bartholomew noticed three land rovers, in fairly new condition to one side of the cargo hold.

“These yours?”

“No sir, property of, and purchased by someone on Whitefall named Patience. We are on our way to deliver them post Compliance Inspection off Persephone.”

The Bosh Regina Captain’s eyes widened when he heard they just come from Persephone. He had a brother who was a Core1 inspector over there. Truth be told, his brother had sent him out on this mission. Maybe it was a revenge maneuver? They were waiting on a wave from him now to explain why he wanted this particular vessel detained.

They walked over to the three rovers.

“I see, so these are being delivered to Whitefall?”

Just then Wash’s voice came, sounding vociferous and clear ,over the cargo speakers,

“Captain Reynolds sir, we’ve just been hailed by another vehicle to prepare for boarding,.….. Another UAP vehicle sir.”

This was becoming more interesting, yet confusing by the moment.

In ten minutes another ship arrived, and another party boarded. These folk were dressed the same, just as the ones aboard Mal’s ship now.

************ “Barlow Avery,” a man said coming from the second ship, “Captain of the “Glass Ceiling”, the officer introduced himself, “we’ve been tracking these smugglers for weeks,” he paused, “finally caught them with the illicit goods onboard!”

Both Captain Bartholomew and Captain Reynolds eye’s grew wide at the accusation. Barlow could see that there were questions upon their faces. He walked over to one of the land rovers. He unscrewed the top to the fuel tank and stuck his finger inside. When he pulled it out it was covered with a white powder.

“ shénshèng lashi (Holy crap)!” the Captain of Serenity announced.

“ Yes, you are in heap of lashi Captain!” He said.

“ Drugs?” Bartholomew asked.

“ No, “Expanding” flower,” the Captain of the Glass Ceiling told them, “A spoonful of this stuff could help feed a family of four for a year out on the rim. Longer if they didn’t like their….”

“ That ain’t mine.” Mal informed them.

“ It never is.” Barlow said with a smile.

“ What makes you think that I’m going to give up my capture of these criminals Captain Barlow? Just because you‘ve been tracking them for a few weeks?” Bartholomew stated, “ I was here first!”

“Well, not to step on your toes Victor, but my superior might have something to say about that. You DO understand the “chain of command” don‘t you?”

Kaylee, who’d been standing there, along with Jayne and Zoe turned her head slightly to the side, and whispered a little side muse to his inquiry…..

“ Yeah, it’s a chain Jayne goes gets and………,” she stopped there and smiled.

They all heard her say it, but most of them just pawned it off as just gibberish. Jayne though, knew exactly what the Serenity mechanic was teasing him about.

“ Colonel Momsen, could you come to the cargo hold of Serenity and settle a dispute here sir?”

“ On my way Captain!” came the reply to Barlow.

The eyes of the crew team of Serenity grew wide as they heard the name of the Commander of the Glass Ceiling. This couldn’t be Colonel Cyrus Momsen, was that possible?

************ It took a little convincing, but in time Captain Victor Bartholomew understood that he could get into more trouble disobeying a superior officer, than doing what his brother had requested. Colonel Momsen made clear the consequences. Momsen was now sporting an Alliance field officer’s uniform, and credited ID that showed his authority in this quadrant.

Bartholomew abandoned his capture of the crew of the Firefly vessel, and returned to the Bosh Regina, then departed without gaining a thing.

Mal walked over to where Colonel Momsen was examining the three land rovers.

The Captain was a little confused again about what had happened. This whole trip had turn out a little more interesting than he liked. But he had began to just accept things that way.

“Colonel Momsen,….Captain Reynolds,” Mal stuck out his hand, “ we’ve never met, but I hear that we once fought for the same side.”

The Colonel looked at the Serenity commander.

“ Yes Malcolm, I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about you,” he shook the ex-browncoat Sergeant’s hand.

Momsen thought that it may be a good idea to explain why he’d also gotten into food supplement trafficking aside from arms distribution.

“I’ve been into gun running most of my smuggling career, but the authorities are starting to turn up the heat when it comes to that illicit affair. Thought it may be safer to try a little unlawful provisions activity for a while,” the older gentleman smiled at the Captain.

“You’re coming more under our trust every day,” he said.

Malcolm wasn’t certain what he meant by that. The Colonel then turned to the wrist mic on his arm.

“Colonel Momsen, in the kitcheb, with the candlestick,” he said.

Mal realized that it was code.

In a short period of time Mal heard a booming voice call out from around the cargo bay doors.


He turned to see Monty standing there…….. He was flabbergasted.

“ Hiya Mal!”

“ Monty what in a mónu máorongrong jiaohuái (witch’s hairy ankles) are you doing here?”

“It’s MY leg of the run!” he said looking at his cousin, “You see, Momsen set this crime up, you acted as the go-fer and I’ll deliver the goods. You didn’t think Patience would allow you to land on Whitefall after your last meeting did you? As I understand it a few folk got shot that time!”

Mal really hadn’t thought about it. Although he didn’t hold grudges (Ok maybe sometimes he did) he hadn’t realized that the “Queen” of Whitefall had instructed that the entire moon be off-limits to Serenity. Of course, Whitefall was a big place, that might be a law that could never really be enforced.

“I’ll be delivering the goods from here, and,…..!” he reached into a pouch and pulled out a heavy bag of coin, “ this should be more’n adequate payment than what Badger had actually promised. I figure we owe you since you where left outta the loop on this one,” Monty smiled and patted Mal on the shoulder as if this had been just another smuggling job, which, in reality, it had been to him.

“Thanks for the coin,” was all Mal could think to say, even though he hadn’t liked the idea of being the Ginny pig in this venture.

“ Don’t thank me, thank that girl genius of yours. The one you stashed over on Haven. She smoothed over every ruff snag we came across in this little venture. You stayed to your Bow incase you ran into trouble. She even alerted us when she saw Bartholomew headed in your direction.”

This was something totally unexpected by the Captain, and something that got him to wondering….

************ Malcolm Reynolds approached the girl who was sitting on the swing on that breezy afternoon on Haven. He came and stood before her and she looked up into his sky blue eyes. He went to speak, but she rushed to put a finger to his lips. SHE had something to say first…..

“She’s not quite right,” she smiled, “ but she still knows what she’s doing.”

A thin grin coursed across the Captain’s lips….then he decided to say nothing at all. He sat beside her in the other swing and they both enjoyed a few peaceful moments under a beautiful Shepherd sky.



Tuesday, December 6, 2011 5:12 PM


Watching the Alliance bureaucrats trip over something to write them up on, and have that taken from them was satisfying. Two spot inspections right after each other, seems like there's probably actually a statute against that, like serving a jury only one a year. I suspect someone did bend the rules to call that in.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 5:12 PM


*trip over themselves trying

Sorry, lap top, sometimes it randomly selects stuff, I must've not noticed and typed right over it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 5:13 PM


*to find something


That time I just didnt finish the thought.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 7:02 PM


“I don’t know what your plans are Mal, but I hope they’re good!” Wash said ...It was Mal’s turn now to vent a little nervous humor. “What plans!?”--ha, ha! That made me laugh.

"See this patch,” he pointed to the purple “U” star insignia sewn onto his uniform sleeve, “this says I don’t need to have a reason to stop you. I can do whatever I want."--ooh, what an arrogant @#$%. Thinks he's above the law. Made me want to take him down. I'm glad you did!

"Although he didn’t hold grudges (Ok maybe sometimes he did)"--*snicker*

“She’s not quite right,” she smiled, “ but she still knows what she’s doing.” --I just loved the image of Mal and River sitting side by side on the swings in the last scene.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 2:36 AM


Howdy Byte & eb……good morning to both of you!

Yepper, so far as I know thins will be the last time we’ll get to see Charlie Two Toes, Paul Jacob, or the Bartholomew brothers. Well, maybe not? They may make appearances in later fan-fic at some point.

Bytemite, I agree with you. Two spot inspections within such a close period of time should be illegal. But when it’s the Law Authority…..they pretty much do what they want. Guess it would be like having your car pass State Vehicle Inspection…..then driving down the road getting pulled over by an law officer telling you your tail light blinked out.

Also, there may have been more to this “spot check” of Serenity then what was on the surface. Might be the Bartholomew brothers are caught up in a little illicit activity themselves, and don’t see it as illegal stealing from smugglers. Thank goodness (and River) they were fooled by Momsen & Monty’s fake crew.

Eb, yeah…Mal is pretty good at making plans, but he’s very good at improvising. Still, this may have been more trouble for him and his team then they could see coming. They knew they were delivering “mules” to Whitefall, but seems they were unaware that there was also food-stuffs in the fuel tanks. That may have cause them trouble if Captain Victor had found it.

******"--ooh, what an arrogant @#$%. Thinks he's above the law. Made me want to take him down. I'm glad you did!”*****

I’m with you on that totally! Not all law authority is like that, but it really @#$% me too, when someone thinks they’re above the law, especially if they are the law.

Glad that you liked the last line with River. I thought it was something the mild mannered Miss Tam would say. That young girl was the most dangerously/innocent person in the Firefly series.

Sorry I got a little long with my reply here. I do appreciate all the feedback from both of you! Thanks again for checking out my fic works…..waiting on new stories from both of you….

BPZ, out!


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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

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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

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