Trigger Finger- Part1
Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Good morning Coats! Started a new story arc of fan-fiction. Trigger Finger it be! Don’t know how many chapters it will take to complete (likely the usual, 4-8) but as always there will be new folk introduced, some twists & turns, and mayhem to boot. Hope you find it interesting and likeable. As always thanks for reading. ZBP. PS: Starting scene is from the TRASHED eps. But you know that.


Trigger Finger -------------------------- Part 1 --------------------------- Burg Clairy Jess Watkins Newhall Skara Brae Sprey

************************************************************************* MAL All according to plan.   INARA Really? I thought the plan was for me to act as a failsafe in case everything else went wrong. Like, for instance, if Saffron disabled Serenity and left you for dead.   MAL Nonsense. You had a key role to play in this. How sad would you have been if you hadn't gotten to play it?   INARA Heartbroken.   MAL See? All according to plan.

--------------------------- The Grass Greener, Sky Bluer ------------------------

Malcolm Reynolds sat on the boulder sized chunk of rock two feet off the ground awaiting his team on Serenity to come make his rescue. Although he’d never call it a rescue. The Captain of that small transport vessel would never admit to having to be rescued, he would just say that it was part of his plan.

Improvisation! As often as it happened, you’d think that Mal’s crew would agree with their Captain that it was always to be considered part of any scheme he came up with. Still, ever mindful of the times he had vented his will, sarcasm, and unmerciful reasoning in their direction, not a one of them would ever let him forget any miscalculation, discrepancy, or anything else which had caused one of his plots to go a little astray. No matter how minor, they wouldn’t let him forget about a bad judgment call. Even if the heist were a success, no one was injured or killed, and the loot ended up resting comfortably in Serenity’s hold. A flaw in his scheme was always brought to his attention. Especially after the fact. They wouldn’t let him off the hook so easily.

It wasn’t as if they were out to get their Captain, only that most of the crew always wanted to add in their two coppers worth to any plot heist he came up with. Jayne, Wash, Kaylee, Simon, Zoe and even Shepherd Book sometime weren’t always happy with some minor detail and wanted to change what Malcolm considered an already solid plan. He did ask for their input sometime, but still went with his gut feelings for the most part. Which sometimes wasn‘t very popular with one or two of his crew. It was part of human nature he guessed, questioning authority, even if it was his own. But Mal always considered his ideas as well schemed, a work of art, like creating the perfect painted masterpiece. There would always be someone who’d want to come up and change a work of art. No matter how good it was.

“ It would look better if the grass were greener” , or “The sky bluer”. The jerks. He was the Captain and he had the final say! A masterpiece was a masterpiece, no call to change it! He wasn’t a criminal mastermind, but he was damn close!

Malcolm assumed it was that way for anyone in a position of authority, from Badger to Niska, to the Captain of Serenity himself. An individual in the lead always had those looking to question his decision, add their own version, or disagree with him on some point. It was just the way humans were.

Being a leader meant folk below you sometimes weren‘t in line with your ideas. They would carve away at the foundation of your control, as to say. Not that they intended to drag you all the way down, just bruise your ego a bit. Stain your “King of the Hill” status. Yet, at the same time attempting to prove their own point may ironically drop the whole mountain upon themselves. Folk were often self destructive, even if they weren’t aware of it.

The ex-sergeant wondered if this would have happened had the browncoats won their independence? Would some of the border and rim worlds been able to govern themselves? Winning out over the governing Parliament may not have been the best thing that could have happened. Still, what aggravated the ex-soldier the most was that they would never find out. They would never be given the opportunity to fall under the rule of their own hand. All those soldiers who had died on his side had given their lives for that chance. Many of them under his command, he had been responsible for. It was transparently oblivious now that their lives had been shortened for nothing?

Malcolm Reynolds suffered from “survivor’s guilt”. A post war disorder affecting many returning soldiers from the horrors of war. Shepherd Book recognized it even before he’d known that Mal Reynolds had been in the battle of Serenity Valley. The preacher knew even before he had set foot on the transport vessel. How did he know? That was a secret, however. The Shepherd hadn’t come aboard Serenity for the Captain’s post war complex. There were other reasons for his posting passage onboard Serenity.

Malcolm Reynolds was letting his mind wander a bit. No particular rhyme or reason, only a bit of internal thought to help pass the time until his rescue,……. retrieval.

The lone brigand looked around at the environment he found himself in. A desolate place, a desert area very similar to the one where he’d been marooned some time ago by Saffron, or Yosafbridge, depending on one’s preference of name choosing. Only this time he was clothed, and there were two bodies laying at his feet. Also, another thing, he was painfully missing a finger.

Missing a finger wasn‘t actually the truth. Yes he did have a bit of cloth wrapped around a missing piece of his hand, and yes, it was bleeding profusely and he was trying to stop it from bleeding, but missing? No! He had actually retrieved the missing part and had stored it for safe keeping in his pocket. Doc Simon would have a bit of surgery to perform back in Serenity’s med lab once the Captain was picked up by his crew. The Doc had reattached his ear once, this shouldn’t be that much more of a chore.

Mal had found himself in close quarter combat with a couple of souls that now lay on the ground. He had been injured sure, but at least he was still breathing. The poor creatures laying in the sand had taken their last breath by his hand a short time earlier. Malcolm wasn’t happy about having to kill folk. But sometimes taking someone life was a matter of preserving your own out here on the rim. It wasn’t an evil or calculated thing, by his way of thinking, it was just the way it was.

Malcolm Reynolds looked down at the red piece of cloth he was using to stop the bleeding of his severed finger. It was growing redder by the minute. His finger bitten clean off, almost to the knuckle. He hoped his crew showed up quickly!

Mal looked over at the bodies, then he glanced over at the strong-box which lay in the sand next to him. THAT had been the reason for all of this. A box full of wealth! Gold to be exact. People did crazy things for the shiny stuff, even kill one another. He would have to consult with the Shepherd on the subject once he got back onboard his ship. He readied himself for an impassioned lecture….

“Shepherd! Why does God allow folk to kill one another over the petty metal called gold?” Yep, he would be ready to hear the preacher’s explanation for that one. A long, winded sermon that would likely put him to sleep, which is what he did sometime when the nightmare of a horrid war wouldn’t let him. He used the preacher’s calm, soothing voice as a sedative. Shepherd knew, Mal was certain, but it didn’t stop him from talking.

Mal looked back again at the two dead men. He then thought back to how this had all began.

**************** Serenity’s cargo bay three weeks prior:


The bullet hit the target, but not exactly where the shooter had intended to place it on the marked spot.

A little off center, Malcolm thought to himself. A little high on the outside. He re-holstered his weapon.


Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity turned to view the individual who’d spoken his name…..altered his focus, broke his concentration.


There stood the preacher. Bible held close to his chest, almost as if he were a schoolgirl hugging her schoolbooks tightly to her bosom.

“Just wandering by chance, why the practice? I mean, your aim is certainly good enough to hit the target. Does it have to be a head shot every time? Seems like a waste of ammo, shooting up cactus out in the middle of nowhere,” the preacher spoke……

The transport vessel Serenity found herself parked on some desolate moon just off the sizable world of Athens. Mal had lowered the loading ramp and was firing his pistol through the opening at a nearby desert plant that just happened to resemble the size and shape of an actual human being.

“Well Shepherd, you can never go wrong with practice!”

Jayne Cobb, who’d been sitting on the stairs leading to the upper parts of the ship said nothing. He just smiled at the Captain’s response to the Shepherd’s question.

“……besides preacher,” Mal continued before turning back to view his practice target,” bullets are cheap! Cheaper than an individuals life out here on the rim. As per Alliance rule. You ain’t become aware of that yet?”

Mal pulled his gun and fired again, this time blowing the head of the cactus plant clean off. He turned back to look at the preacher, a smug little smile upon his face.

“ Besides, I have to maintain my edge. We got us a new job. A shipment heist on a moon near Newhall. Cargo being delivered to a staging area owned by an evil land Barron on that world, according to Badger, that is!”

“Gold!!?” Jayne’s attention suddenly perked up. He hadn’t known that the Captain had been practicing his aim for a reason.

“Could be Jayne. Badger wasn’t specific on the details, but by assumption from the wave I got from him, his mouth watering and all,” Mal told the mercenary of his crew, “… … nothing sparks a response from Badger like that but gold!”

Jayne’s eyes began to shine.

“Then I’m with Shepherd on the point of you practicing Mal. Might go easy on that trigger finger. Don’t want to subject it to too much stress, might develop a blister on that digit, and we can’t have our Captain sporting a sore finger when it comes to a bank heist,” the mercenary added.

Mal chuckled a bit at the big fellow’s psychology of him shooting up the vegetation on this small moon.

“So, you figure my aim is well enough also?”

“MAL! Incoming wave from Badger!” the folk in the cargo hold heard Wash’s voice over the com system.

Mal quartered his weapon and headed to the bridge.

**************** Burg Clairy, land Barron and Magistrate over the small town of Skara Brae on the world of Ur looked over at the man who was sitting across from him.

“So, the guarantee of safety I can expect to be provided for my shipment on it’s way from here to Bernadette can be viewed how favorably?”

Jess Watkins, representative for transport hauler “Night Crawler” scrutinized the face of the fellow who’d asked him the question.

“Ninety-four percent.”

“Ninety-four percent? That’s six percent less than I was hoping for,” Clairy spoke his unhappiness at not having a one hundred percent guarantee that his shipment would reach it’s intended port.

“That’s the best I can do sir,” Watkins said, “ and since this is a smuggling undertaking, therefore illegal, and not logged on any ships manifest, that’s a better percentage than you’ll get from any other business player in the game,” he paused a moment then added, “ that’s a six percent upgrade from our normal guarantee of eighty-eight percent.” He looked to see if Clairy was contemplating other options?

“I’ll also add that there is some new technology which we have gotten our hands on which is so advanced that even now it is only becoming available to the Alliance Authorities on the border worlds. If it works out favorably, it may raise our commitment guarantee to ninety-nine percent which is almost an ironclad guarantee to provide for our customers Mr. Clairy.”

“If it’s that good why not guarantee it one-hundred percent now?”

“Well sir, the technology is untested on a large scale. It works in the lab, and on trial runs on crowd control on the center worlds, but out here it is just making it’s way. The governing body is looking for feedback as to how successful it is. We’re actually in violation of law by having it aboard our ship. It was pirated to us by a partner in crime so to say. Still, that has nothing to do with being unable to sport our clients with a full guarantee. There are unforeseeable accidents that happen in space sir. We are never privy to those unseen misfortunes. Unavoidable collisions with trash debris and hull breaches by micro meteors keep my boss from providing such a full one-hundred percent guarantee.”

“And Pirates?” Burg looked at the gentleman wondering how he’d answer that question.

“I assure you sir, that with this new technology, the “Sprey Solution” , pirates would be the least of our worries, and your’s, getting your shipment to it‘s destination. Alliance spot inspections are more of a worrisome trouble for us. We’ve dealt with a few of those though, and know how to deal with them. We proceed with caution.”

Burg Clairy thought about what Jess Watkins was saying for the moment. A ninety-four percent was not a bad guarantee! Could be that he could gain the final six percent with a back-up plan of his own, so his decision was to go with what Watkins had to offer.

“We have a deal. I‘ll have the cargo ready for you in a week.” Clairy extended his arm for a handshake.

“A pleasure to be doing business with you sir,” Jess Watkins said.

End Part 1


Tuesday, January 24, 2012 8:28 PM


Good work, ZBP. I love how you start off with the result -- Mal alone in the desert awaiting, retrieval, that is--by his crew. Then going back (as in "Trash") to tell the story of how he got there. Liked Mal's thoughts on improvisation, because, yeah, that is exactly what he does, all the time. And I was intrigued by the line about Shepherd Book knowing that Mal had survivor's guilt before he ever set foot aboard Serenity. I hope you'll show more of Book in this fic; he doesn't get enough screen time in most fanfics.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 2:59 AM


Good Morning eb. Great to hear your comments, as always, and thanks for posting the parts that you like and that stick out for you.

Trashed was a great Firefly episode (as they all are). The more I watch it, the more I like it. It’s also were the plot bunny for this fan-fic took root. The above scene with Mal & Inara in the desert, coupled with what Jayne said at the beginning of the BDM,

“….Well what you plan and what takes place ain’t ever exactly been similar!”

….is where the idea got it’s start. As in most of the stuff I write, I do have a pretty solid idea about the beginning, ending, and a piece or two of certain things to throw into the middle. The WORK of writing, as you know, and everyone that writes, is putting them all together.

Shepherd Book ………the mystery of the Preacher was always an interesting topic here on when I first arrived six years ago. Now with “A Shepherd’s Tale” out in book form, maybe the mystery has been solved. I don’t know since I haven’t read it yet. I do want to get my hands on a copy, and I will at some point. I also agree with you that the Preacher doesn’t get much “screen time” in fan-fiction works. I’ll make sure that he does here, trying not to step on anything canon from the book.

Points of interest that occurred to me when I began this works were, Mal being injured, and out in the desert (like in TRASHED) and some new technology the Alliance has come of with to test out on the rim and border planets.

Dang! I’ve gotten long winded here again! Thanks again for coming by and reading. Looking forward to more of your works…..see ya, ZBP.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 4:51 AM


I was entertained by Mal comparing his "plans" to a "masterpiece."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 6:55 AM


Howdy Byte! So glad to hear from you!

I base a lot of my writhing on your, eb & Allison’s feedback. I’m hoping that I know the Captain’s character pretty well, as well as the characters of Kaylee, Jayne, Wash, River, Zoe , Simon and so on…..( those actors, as well as Joss & company, made it easy to visualize a scene).

Mal has every confidence in what he does (ie…comparing his plans to masterwork paintings) Why wouldn’t he? His track record shows that he ain’t wrong! Well, most of the time! And his consideration that he isn’t a criminal mastermind (as per Inara) is shadowed by the thought that he ain’t a slouch either. It’s evident in that his full team is alive and well after countless adventures.

“This is what I do darlin’…it’s what I do.” (BDM)

The flaws in Joss’ created characters are so humanizing! Like was said in the “Done the Impossible” dvd. One could take any of a number of those folk and identify with them readily.

Working on chap 2 at the current, which means it isn’t totally figured out yet. There’s room for changes, rewrites, and a total scrub of what has been written so far (though the ending is pretty concrete).

Thanks for letting me know what you’re thinking, Hope I can make this a fun read! Appreciate your comments….ZBP

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 7:33 AM


This is the first fan fiction piece I've read and it is pretty good. The writer did a good job at putting you in the story. I'll rate it an 8.


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