Firefly: Albatross - Chapter 2
Saturday, April 21, 2012

The crew heads to Bellerphon to complete their job while River and the ship's guest grow closer.


Chapter 2

“Well did we make a clean getaway,” Simon asked from the table as the captain and first mate entered the galley.

“It appears we did,” Mal said as he walked over to pour himself some tea. “The alert on the cortex is for an unidentified ship, not even a make on it.”

“I wantna know who those men were,” Jayne ask sitting back in a chair next to the table.

“What do you mean?” Zoe ask leaning up against one of the galley’s pillars.

“Well they sure as hell weren’t normal security,” the merc started, “unless you’ve heard of security waiting outside a place and setting up an ambush.”

“Could they have something to do with Jayne being kidnapped recently?” Inara asked as Mal sat at the table next to her.

“How would they know where to find us again? I checked the ship before we left Blackwood, didn’t find any trackers,” Kaylee added from the small seating area.

“Could be Bernoulli tipped ‘em off,” Jayne said.

Aleksander sat up in the seating area, “My father would not do something like that.”

“He’s right,” Mal added, “Bernoulli would not have had him come with us if that were the case. Now we got cargo that might have gotten shot up a bit. Aleksander, you’re the expert, why don’t you go and check.”

“Okay,” the young man replied glumly as he got up.

“I’ll help,” River said and followed him out of the galley.

“Are you thinking Bernoulli had something to do with this, Sir?” Zoe asked once Aleksander and River were out of earshot.

Mal took a sip of his tea and replied, “I don’t think he would tell anyone where to find us, but he might have forgot to mention a thing or two.”

“Well if he didn’t tell anyone someone must be tracking us somehow,” Jayne stated.

“I already said there ain’t no tracking devices on Serenity,” Kaylee said annoyed.

“And you could be wrong. Lots of places on the ship to hide one,” Jayne replied.

Kaylee frustration grew, “only smaller ones, but they wouldn’t have the range to track us across a system.”

“May not need to,” Mal said calmly.

“How’s that, Sir?” Zoe asked.

“If they got people spread out on multiple planets all they'd have to do is wait for us to show up someplace,” the captain explained. “Pulse beacon will fit in a pocket, and can be picked up by a place fair amount before you land.”

“So do we rip the ship apart looking some sort of device? Can’t we just tell if a signal is being sent from the ship?” Simon asked.

“Sure, we would just have to shut everything down for a few minutes,” Kaylee responded.

“Unless the bug is drawing power from the ship,” Zoe commented.

“No, we ain’t going to spend time looking for something that’s probably not there. We keep going and keep your eyes peeled,” Mal commented.



“How am I going to look at anything if I can’t open the gorram crates?” Aleksander muttered to himself as he searched in vain for a crowbar.

“You’re upset,” River said seated on the nearby stairs.

Aleksander stopped and looked at her, “Yes…know where a crowbar is?”

“Bottom locker to the left of the doorway,” she replied.

“Thanks,” Aleksander said as he headed to retrieve the tool.

River stood up saying, “That’s not it, you’re upset about what happened at the factory.”

“It’s not like I get shot at everyday, it’s a bit unsetting,” Aleksander said walking over to one of the crates with the crowbar in hand.

“…and seeing men shot is as well,’ River added.

Aleksander stopped at one of the taller crates and let his head fall against it, “I really didn’t expect any of this when I came on board. I know you probably think I’m being over sensitive about it, I’m just not use to it.”

“That’s a good thing.”

Aleksander picked his head up and looked at River who had moved next to him, “Why’s that?”

“Because it would change you, you don’t need to change,” River said with a smile.

Aleksander gave a tentative smile back, “Are you complimenting me?”

“I believe I am,” River laughed.

“You don’t mind that I’m not...tough?” Aleksander asked as he started to pry open the first crate.

“A blade of grass is a match for the wind,” River responded.

“So, I’m grass?”

“No,” River smiled, “More like a reed,”

Finally prying the crate open he responded, “So you’re being philosophical now.”

“Yes, but you understand,” River said as they began checking over the pump control unit.

“Yeah, the reed bends but doesn’t break…right?” Aleksander asked.

“Right,” River responded, “All terms are relative.”

“What ain’t is if those parts are damaged,” Mal said as he came down the stairs.

“Sorry, we’ve only check this one, it’s fine.” Aleksander said.

“Well get to checking the rest,” the captain responded.

“Yes, Sir” River said snidely.

“Less attitude and more work,” the captain ordered, “or you’ll be doing septic-vac for the next six months.”



Kaylee was all smiles as she entered the infirmary and found Simon busy rotating his medicine stock.

“River and Alek are just shiny together, don’t you think, hon?” she asked taking a seat on the counter next to him.

“I don’t know what you mean,” he replied still focusing on his work. The truth was Simon knew what she was alluding to but had not paid it much mind. Perhaps he was simply ignoring the situation, he wasn’t sure himself.

“Simon,” she said, “you haven’t noticed them together, like all the time?”

“I’m sure River is just enjoying having someone new on the ship. She’s always liked people,” he replied.

“But this person is a boy, and a cute one at that. He’s got that tan skin, and those bright green eyes,” Kaylee smiled.

“I don’t think River would…” Simon replied.

“Be interested in sex?” Kaylee asked bluntly.

Simon finally stopped what he was doing and looked at Kalyee, “She my sister and she’s only…”

“Eighteen now,” Kaylee cut him off, “I don’t know about you but I was thinking about it well before I was that old.”

“River has been through a lot of trauma,” Simon argued.

“So she’s going to be celibate for the rest of her life?” Kaylee asked.

Simon’s brow furrowed, “Well…no, but…um,”

“It’s only normal, her hormones are raging…” Kaylee added.

“You can stop now,” Simon interrupted.

“Quit being such a prude.”

Simon did not respond, he merely went back to his work with an unhappy look on his face.

“Don’t be mad,” Kaylee pleaded.

“I’m not mad,” the doctor started, “I just don’t like the idea of River with some boy she hardly knows.” In his mind Simon wondered if he likes the idea of her with anybody.



Zoe stood on the catwalk above the cargo bay watching River and Aleksander work. Well they were supposed to be working, re-crating the pumps and controllers after doing some minor repairs to them, but it had turned into an impromptu game of tag. The two of them raced around and between the crates playing their cat and mouse game. River had the advantage, but was allowing Aleksander to catch her every now and again.

Watching them she could not help but imagine what Wash would have to say if still there.

“Would you look at those crazy kids,” he would say.

“Seem to remind you of something, dear?” she would ask in return.

“Let’s see, a young women capable of kill people in various interesting ways being chased around by a man who probably cries at hangnails…nope, can’t say it does?” Wash would smile back at her.

“Really?” Zoe would reply wrapping her arms around him.

“Everyone knows I’m the tough one in our relationship,” he would joke.

“Gorram it, how’s a man suppose to workout with them two playing grab ass?” Jayne said gruffly as he came down the nearby stairs bringing Zoe back to reality.

“Don’t know,” Zoe replied as she walked passed him.



“Miss Serra,” Aleksander called from the floor of the cargo bay as Inara headed to her shuttle.

Stopping she replied, “Please call me Inara.”

“I will, have you seen River?”

“No, I have not. She might be helping Kaylee in the engine room,” Inara replied.

“Okay, thank you,” Aleksander said heading off to check.

Inara entered her shuttle to find River sitting on her couch with her head down, “River, Aleksander was just…”

“I know,” River cut her off, “I want to talk to you.”

“Alright, mei mei, what is it?” Inara asked sitting down next to the young girl.

River looked at her, “Simon won’t give me pregnancy prevention injection.”

Inara was a bit taken aback. “Are you and Aleksander thinking of having sex?” she asked a moment later.

“No, but if we were it would be our decision,” River answered.

“You’re right, it would be.” Inara took Rivers hand in hers, “I take it you want the injection incase that decision is made.”

“Yes, but Simon is being…”

“Your brother,” Inara interrupted.

“Yes…I need him to be a Doctor, not my brother,” River explained.

‘He’s both River, I don’t know if he can separate the two,” Inara explained.

“Will you talk to him? He might listen to you,” River asked.

“I would, but I don’t think I’m the right person to,” Inara replied.

“I hoped you wouldn’t say that,” River said sullenly.

Inara gave her a half smile, “Mal’s the captain and he's the one that needs to address things such as this.”

“So are you doing this to force him to deal with it, or me to deal with him?” She asked.

The companion replied, “Both.”



Mal entered the bridge saying, “Inara tells me you got something you want to talk to me about lil’ one.”

“Could you shut the door?” River asked turning to face him from the pilot’s seat, “It’s personal.”

Mal looked at the seriousness in River’s eyes and decided to shut the bridge door. “Okay, speak your peace,” he said as he took the co-pilot’s seat. The last time someone asked him to shut a door was when Zoe told him she was going to marry Wash. Mal feared what this was going to be about.

“At some point I’m going to engage in sexual activity,” River said bluntly.

Mal stood up with a shocked look, “For the love of…I don’t need to know this…”

“Yes you do,” River interrupted.

“Look what you do and with who…no!”

“It’s not about Alek,” River said.

“Well then…no…who, cause there’s not a lot of…” Mal said looking like he wanted to bolt out the door.

“Let me finish, please!” River pleaded.

Mal stopped and looked at his young pilot. He did not have to be a reader to know she was frustrated and a bit embarrassed.

“Okay,” he said as he sat back down, “but get to the point without a lot of details.”

“I asked Simon to start me on pregnancy prevention. He refused. He said he was not comfortable with it,” River explained.

“Still don’t see how this is a captainy type issue,” Mal commented.

“It would be an issue if I got pregnant,” River replied.

A look of fear entered the captain’s eyes. The sudden thought of a pregnant River was not something he wanted to face, “Well you ain’t, right?”

“No, and I don’t want to be, but I might choose to have sex. I’m old enough to make that decision. When we left Blackwood you said no one could tell me what is best for me.”

Mal leaned back in the chair thinking before he responded, “You’re right, no one can. If you were someplace else your physician wouldn’t be your brother.”

“You understand, but you’re not going to talk to him,” River said defeated.

“That ain’t so. I’ll talk to him, but I ain’t going to order him,” Mal explained.

“You can, you’re the captain.”

“That I know, but I’m no doctor neither,” Mal replied. “Now if he won’t change his mind there are clinics and the like planet side. Sure Inara or Kaylee would go with you. If not them, I’ll take you myself,” he finished standing up.

River got out of her seat and kissed him on the cheek, “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome…just think on one thing. Don’t do something just because you have the opportunity. Try to make sure it’s right,” Mal said.

River smiled and said, “Okay.”



“Doc, you got a minute?” Mal asked from the bridge doorway as Simon was about to open the door to Kaylee’s bunk.

“I guess,” Simon responded unsure.

Sit down, doc, got something to speak to you about,” Mal said as Simon entered the bridge.

“What’s this about, captain?” Simon asked taking the co-pilot’s seat.

“Seems your sister has taken issue with a recent medical decision of yours,” Mal explained from the pilot’s seat.

“I’m not sure what you are referring to.”

“She asked you for some…meds, but you declined.”

Simon’s eyes narrowed, “That is none of your business, captain.”

“It is when my doctor is not acting like a doctor,” Mal said bluntly.

“Are you suggesting I’m not doing my job?”

“What I’m saying is that you’re treating my pilot like your sister.”

“She is my sister,” Simon replied.

“Well…yes, but that’s not my meaning. I’m wondering if your decision was based on you being a brother or a doctor.” Mal stated.

Simon shifted in his seat, “I’m both.”

“Well in this regard River needs her doctor, not her big brother.”

“So you’re ordering me to start her on anti-preg meds?” Simon asked.

“No, that ain’t my place,” Mal said.

“You’re right, I don’t tell you how to run this ship, don’t tell me how to treat patients,” Simon replied.

“Is that what you’re doing? You giving River what’s best as a patient? There any medical reason that girl shouldn’t have the measure of protection she’s looking for?”

Simon seemed to think for a bit before saying, “There no reason other than I don’t think a traumatized girl should be engaging in such activity.”

“So, you expecting not being on meds to stop her?” Mal asked.

“River is smart enough to…”

“Lots of folks are, many of them are called mom and dad,” the captain interrupted.

“You think my sister…”

“Despite everything else your sister has the same failings as the rest of us,” Mal started. “You bank on her not going to bed with anyone ‘cause she ain’t on meds and you might get called uncle ‘fore to long.”

Simon sat there letting the captain’s words sink in. “I’ll think about it,” he finally replied slowly.

“All I can ask, doc,” Mal said getting up and heading out off the bridge.



Aleksander Bernoulli was suddenly awakened by a loud alarm. He quickly threw off his covers and jumped out of bed. Before he could grab his clothing the door of his room slid open and Jayne, dressed in his environmental suit rushed into the room.

“We got a hull breach, quick get this on or your dead!” the large merc said as he threw a suit and helmet on Aleksander’s bed before putting his own helmet on and rushing away.

Aleksander quickly grab the suit but noticed the glass of the helmet had holes in it. “Hey, this helmet is broke...HELP MY HELMET HAS HOLES!” he screamed in a panic running out of his room and into the waiting group of people.

Laughter erupted from Jayne, Zoe and the Captain as Aleksander stood there in nothing but his boxers carrying a busted helmet. River stood off in the corner looking disappointed at the antics.

“What is going on…ohhhh,” Kaylee said as she came into the common area.

“Childish games again,” Simon said from the doorway of the infirmary as Kaylee walked passed him to use the small control console inside to shut off the alarm.

“Just a little bit of fun, doc,” Mal said with a smile.

“My helmet has holes he said,” Jayne laughed.

“Well I though it did,” Aleksander said glancing over at River, the red of embarrassment slowly started to fad from his face. “Turns out it’s just fine,” he smiled putting the helmet on and lining up one of the holes with his eyes.

This plus the little dance he did back into his room got another round of laughs from everyone, including River.

“Okay, breakfast is in fifteen,” Mal said recovering from his laughter.



It had been a good day Mal thought to himself as he headed to the bridge to check the ships course before hitting the hay. It had started with a laugh, at Aleksander expense, and moved into the crew slowly getting odd jobs done with no complaining or yelling. Plus Kaylee had finally got the Mule back up and running.

“Evening,” Mal said to Aleksander as he stepped onto the bridge.

“Hello, captain. Zoe told me I could use the cortex screen here to do some research,” the young man quickly replied from the pilot’s seat.

“Don’t fret, she told me,” the captain said moving to the other console to do his check, “You took that little joke this morning well. Earned some more respect from folks.”

“Well, being in a fraternity you get accustom things like that,” Aleksander said turning off the cortex screen.

“So, what exactly were you looking for?” Mal asked looking down at the nav screen.

“I was checking to make sure I had the calibration sequence for the pumps right in my head,” Aleksander explained.

“That’s a good thing I guess,” Mal said looking up at him happy with Serenity’s course.

“There is something I wanted to ask you, captain.”

Mal leaned back in his chair, “Ask away.”

“When we get to New Buffalo, well that is after we install that pumps, I would like to take River out.”

“You’re askin’ my permission to do so?”

“Yes, there are a few dance clubs and restaurants not far from the space docs,” Aleksander replied.

Mal turned and looked out into the black.

After what seemed like an eternity Aleksander said “Captain.”

“I don’t know,” Mal said looking at the young man again. “It’s not that I find fault with you, ‘cause I don’t. It’s recent events that have me a might worried.”

“So, no?” Aleksander asked.

“We got a little over two days ‘fore we set down, I’m going to think on it awhile,” Mal said getting up from his seat. “There’s someone else on this boat you might want to ask as well.”

“Doctor Tam, he hasn’t said two words to me since I started talking to River,” Aleksander said solemnly.

“Well, you get his okay and it might help get mine,” Mal explained leaving the bridge.


Saturday, April 21, 2012 2:54 PM


Great Mal reaction on the bridge to the River talk.

Sunday, April 22, 2012 12:29 AM


Hmmm, I'm wondering if someone is monitoring Aleksander's cortex activity and maybe tracking Serenity that way. I liked the conversations River had about anti-pregnancy meds and can see Simon acting in this way, unable to separate the brother from the doctor in her case. River is growing up and in doing so, so is Simon. Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Monday, April 23, 2012 4:11 AM


Me, I think something got snuck into one of those crates. Might not have been Bernoulli, might be someone on his payroll making a play for the business or looking for easy money.

Tricky moral dilemma you have here. River pregnant when she doesn't want to be is definitely not the best case scenario, so she kind of does need the injections. At the same time, just because someone is a min-reading and possibly partially pre-cognitive super-soldier assassin genius doesn't mean they know everything and can't be taken advantage of. Especially what with her condition.

And with her condition, there's some question about the neurochemistry, River is potentially vulnerable to addiction and nymphmaniac tendencies, and that's if her judgement is 100% there, which it might not be always. There's also a good chance she might be less clear after, accusing someone she might have actually consented with.

Altogether, too complicated to be worth it. I've actually think that River ought to keep Pandora's box closed for business. It may not be her fault what the Alliance did to her, but the situation is such that now she does have certain responsibilities to the people she cares about, and that includes not putting those people she cares about in potentially morally compromising or life-threatening positions, or even just starting relationships that due to those same responsibilities can't actually go anywhere.

Just my thoughts, from someone who's had to make a similar decision herself. Without the painful traumatic involuntary brain surgery parts of it anyway.

Thursday, April 26, 2012 10:22 AM


I like this story. You're addressing some interesting issues, and doing a good job of presenting the different characters' views on these matters. Mal's reactions to River's talk were good, as was his response to Aleksander's request. Simon's reaction to Kaylee when she first suggests the possibility also in character.


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Firefly - Albatross Chapter 8 and Epilogue
A message from River set the final events into motion.

Firefly: Albatross - Chapter 7
River and Aleksander look for a way to contact Serenity, while a Fed follows an unusual trail.

Firefly: Albatross - Chapter 6
The crew tries to get off Bellerophone but find things getting more complicated.

Firefly: Albatross - Chapter 5
Mal and Zoe find River while the rest of the crew deal with some new friends.

Firefly: Albatross - Chapter 4
River goes on her first date but it does not end how anyone expected...with napkins.

Firefly: Albatross - Chapter 3
Simon plays doctor and big brother, River talks to the dead, and the captain waits for thing to go awry.

Firefly: Albatross - Chapter 2
The crew heads to Bellerphon to complete their job while River and the ship's guest grow closer.

Firefly: Albatross - Chapter 1
The crew looks to complete the first part of their job as they get to know their guest.

Firefly: Albatross - Introduction
The crew of Serenity finds its next job while events in the Core unfold.

Firefly: Family - Chapter 6 and Epilogue
The Tams on Blackwood, tissue samples taken from Jayne, the crew tries to make sense of it all.