Firefly: Albatross - Chapter 3
Sunday, May 20, 2012

Simon plays doctor and big brother, River talks to the dead, and the captain waits for thing to go awry.


Chapter 3

River Tam sat on the edge of the infirmary counter kicking her feet back and forth making wave in the hem of her blue dress. She was waiting for her brother. She knew he had come to a decision. Simon entered the infirmary a few moments later. He ignored his sister and walked over to the opposite counter and opened his note pad and began writing. Neither of them spoke or acknowledged each other for some time.

“I know what you are doing,” Simon said, finally breaking the silence.

“So now you’re a reader?” River asked in reply still concentrating on the hem of her dress.

Simon turned around to look at her, “No, but I know my sister well enough to know what she is doing.”

“Well, what am I doing?” She asked looking at him with a smile.

“Gloating,” Simon started, “you’re gloating over the fact that I changed my mind and you’re going to get what you want.” As he finished he turned and retrieved a small vile and syringe from a nearby cabinet.

“You should just listen to me right away,” River said playfully.

“If you’re going to be a brat…” Simon said stopping his preparation.

River stuck her tongue out at him invoking a smile and the continuation of his work. Once finished Simon turned and walked over to his sister with a full syringe in hand.

“This will not be fully effective for 8 hours,” Simon said as he swabbed Rivers right bicep, preparing it for the injection, “no sexual activity until after that time.”

“Simon, I know,” River said, winching slightly at the injection.

“As your doctor it is my responsibility to tell you these things,” Simon continued. “The injection is 99.9% effective against preventing pregnancy and will boost immunity to the most common sexually transmitted diseases. I would still suggest any male sexual partners you…you may have are also on a sperm blocker.”

“Thank you,” River said.

“You will need another injection in a week, then they will be monthly,” Simon continued in his formal tone. “Make sure you tell me immediately if you experience anything out of the ordinary, such as heavy bleeding.”

“I will,” River replied.

“Now can I tell you something as your brother?” Simon asked.

“Yes, please.”

“Just be careful, I don’t want to see you hurt.”

“…and you don’t want to have to shoot Aleksander.” River joked.

Simon turned and walked back to his notebook, “I would never do that…I would pay Jayne to.”

River smiled and walked over and wrapped her arms around her brother from behind, “Love you, thank you.”

“You welcome, I love you as well mei mei.”

As river left the infirmary she ran into Aleksander coming down the stairs.

“Hello,” he said with a smile.

“Hi,” she replied with her own smile, “looking to me?”

“No, your brother.”

“Well now is a good time to talk to him. He’s in a good mood,” She replied walking passed him lightly touching his hand.

“I’ll see you after?” Aleksander asked as she headed up the stairs.


Aleksander paused for a moment before stepping into the infirmary.

“What is your issue?” Simon asked still reading from his notebook.

“Excuse me?” Alek asked confused.

“Most people who come to an infirmary have some type of medical issue,” Simon explained dryly.

“Actually I wanted to talk to you about your sister.” Aleksander replied.

“Ah yes, you have been spending an awful lot of time with her,” Simon said turning to face the young man. “I’m wondering what your intentions are?”

“My intention?”

“Yes. What do you intend to do with my sister?” Simon asked.

“I was hoping to ask her on a date,” Alek responded.

“…and seduce her?” Simon asked bluntly.

“No, that’s not my intent at all!” Alek quickly responded.

“Really, why not?” Simon said glancing out the infirmary window behind Aleksander to see River poking her head around from the stairway, “Don’t you think my sister is attractive.”

“Well…yes…I mean, no…wait…” Aleksander stammered as River shot Simon discouraging looks from the stairs.

“What is it? You are a young man, are you not attracted to my sister?” Simon asked in his dry tone.

“Yes, but I would not take advantage of her…”

“So you wouldn’t have sex with her?”

Aleksander stopped and just glanced around the infirmary. After gathering himself he stated, “Doctor Tam, if you want me to be completely honest about every feeling I have for or about your sister I will. I think you have a pretty good idea of what those are. I’m not looking for anything in particular from her. I simply like spending time with her. The one thing you should know is that I would never think about hurting her.”

“I know,” Simon said leaning back against the counter. “You have been nothing but a gentleman since coming onboard. On this ship that is quite a feat. Now that could be an act, you could be hiding something from all of us. That is, except my sister. In the end I have to…” Simon glanced up at River still monitoring from the stairs, “trust her.”

“So then I can ask her?” Aleksander asked to be sure.

“Yes,” Simon answered, “just know she is very special…to everyone on this ship.”

“That I know, thank you.”



“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” Mal said from the small cooking area as he worked on breakfast.

Inara responded from her seat at the table, “It was not long ago you were ready to let River leave the ship, now you don’t want her to even go into town for the night.”

“That’s not fair,” Mal replied.

“What, using your own words against you?” Inara smiled slyly.

“It’s not about River. I don’t think it’s a good idea for anyone to go gallivanting around with recent events.”

“The attack on Lennox may not have had anything to do with what happened to Jayne. You said yourself you doubt anyone is tracking us,” Inara argued.

“I could be wrong,” Mal commented as he cooked.

“That I know,” Inara said in a way which got her a look from Mal. “The crew has not really had a night off the ship since we left the training house. I’m sure everyone could use one.”

“I know I could,” Zoe said as she entered the galley.

“You eavesdropping now?” Mal asked her.

“No, sir, looking for some coffee, but I do think the crew could use a night off,” Zoe replied.

Mal stopped and looked at the two women, “Okay, so long as the rest of the job goes smooth everyone can have a night in town. Now can I make breakfast in peace please?”



The metal chair slowly rose as River struggled against the wrist straps. Men moved about in the deep shadows of the room. At first she tried to scream, but had no voice. Slowly the mechanical arm and its large needle grew closer and closer. Finally her voice came to her.

“River, are you okay?” Aleksander asked from behind the metal arm.

River’s mind raced. Aleksander is on the ship…I’m on the ship, not at the Academy. She glanced up at him again, the vile arm was gone and she found herself sitting in her bed.

“I’m…it was a bad dream,” River said to Aleksander who stood in the doorway of her room in his boxers.

“River, is everything alright?” Zoe asked coming around the corner of the doorway to stand next to Aleksander.

“Yes,” River responded quickly.

“She had a nightmare,” Aleksander commented.

“Apparently, heard the screaming from the galley as I was getting some tea,” Zoe said giving Aleksander a look.

The young man took notice and said, “Well, since you are okay River, I’m going back to bed.”

Once Aleksander was out of earshot Zoe asked, “A bad one again?”

“Yeah,” River responded still shaken.

“You want to…”

“Yes,” River responded quickly.

“Alright,” Zoe said with a slight smile, “but you start snoring I will hit you.”

A little while later River found herself in Zoe’s room lying next to her staring up at the ceiling. This was not the first time River had taken an offer to sleep in someone else’s room, but it was a first for Zoe. It had also been awhile since anyone had heard her walking from a nightmare. In the past it would have been Simon of Book coming to check on her. Now most nights she was the only one sleeping in the aft part of Serenity. The captain had offered her the empty crew bunk, but she had refused. She liked her room. Problem was the nightmares seemed to come more often when no one was close.

“You should just move,” Wash’s specter said from the corner of the room. “It’s a nice room. I should know it was mine once.”

“Not that easy,” River replied.

“Suit yourself, I guess it’s better talking to ghosts,” Wash replied.

“You’re not a ghost. You’re a figment of my mind as it moves into sleep.”

“Let me guess, brought about because you are in my room lying next to my wife.”

“Most likely, I also think of you often.” River said with sadness in her voice.

Wash smiled, “Well you do sit in my chair a whole bunch…okay it not exactly the same chair since, well you know.”

“Your dinosaurs keep me company.”

“Glad someone is looking after them. Now weren’t we talking about you?” Wash asked.

“Yes and why I won’t move,” River gave in.

“It’s because part of you doesn’t want things to change.”


Wash looked puzzled, “Okay that was easy.”

“Remember you are just a part of my mind,” River smiled.

“Then you know that things are going to change. Heck, look at you. You’ve changed. The crew has. Mal and Inara are together, your brother quit being a total boob and got with Kaylee, I’m dead. Things change,” Wash explained.

River looked at him for a moment, “I know. Is it wrong to want to hang on to some things for just a bit longer?”

“River if you are going to talk to yourself could you do it a little bit quieter?” Zoe asked sleepily.

“Sorry,” River responded as Wash faded away.



“New Buffalo port control this is Firefly class transport Serenity, please respond,” the captain called into the microphone attached to the ceiling between the bridge consoles.

“Perhaps the mice are playing,” River said from the pilot’s seat.

Mal glanced at her, “Someone has to be home. You don’t just leave…”

The com crackled to life, “Firefly transport Serenity, stay on your present course, we will transmit docking instruction momentarily.”

“Thank you,” Mal replied before hanging up the microphone.

River held the ship’s course until landing coordinates came up on the navigation screen. As the ship soared over the waters of Bellerophon the city of New Buffalo came into view.

Far before Bellerophon became the home of the rich it was a planet of industry. Very early in the planets terraforming process it was discovered that Bellerophon had rich deposits of what were once called rare earth metals. Along with such elements as yttrium and lanthanum there were also good quantities of iron and copper.

Much of this material was mined during the terraforming process, but vast quantity still existed once that process was complete. It was not long before cities began cropping up near mining sites. Processing plants were soon built, along with the other industries to support them. Bellerophon and its cities, such as New Buffalo, soon became major exporters of raw materials and a number of other manufactured goods.

With this success came wealth. Those holding that wealth wanted to get away from the industrial heavy cities. This gave rise to the Bellerophon estates. The massive floating islands that now dominate the skies above the planet’s oceans.

Unfortunately for the not so well off the prosperity brought by the planets industries did not last. As more planets were terraformed more raw materials became available. Demand dropped as it became cheaper to mine and process materials closer to the new worlds and cities. Plants soon closed all over. Some cities became almost deserted. The only saving grace was the estates.

The rich needed people to work for them, to maintain their massive homes. Those workers would come from the cities. Shuttled in each day to work their shifts and then shuttled home. The pay was fair and it put food on the table. New Buffalo and a few other cities also developed thriving night life as the children of the rich looked for places to party and have fun away from the prying eyes of their parents.

All of this produced a planet which some argued was even more striated then Persephone. The only thing that kept that from being true was the fact that the service workers had demanded decent wages and benefits and had been willing to strike to get them. The result was workers getting paid enough to afford decent lives. The rich also agreed to pay some taxes to the closes cites. This allowed the cities to maintain fairly good hospitals and infrastructure. So while the gap between the rich and middle class was extreme and the cities where far behind that of other core cities places like New Buffalo still offered better opportunities then most boarder or rim cities. All this also meant that crime had been pushed to the old industrial sections of the cities.

“Okay,” Mal called as he headed down into the cargo bay, “the place we’re installing these pumps at is sending a truck that should be here in a few minutes.”

“How do we know that trucks not going to be full of more goons?” Jayne asked as he chewed on a cigar stub.

“That would be stupid of them, seeing as the docks have security about,” Zoe responded.

Mal hit the controls to open the ship as River made her way down the stairs, “Well let’s hope they ain’t stupid. Jayne, Zoe and I are going with Aleksander to install the pumps. The rest of you I need to get the ship’s needs squared away, but stay close. I don’t want any surprises.”

“We’re still planning to stay the night so we can go out, right?” Kaylee asked hopefully.

“So long as the delivery goes smooth, yeah,” Mal responded. “But no playing around with hair and stuff until the work is done,” the captain finished looking at Kaylee and Inara.

“Will do, cap’n,” Kaylee responded.

Inara smiled, “We will just have to hurry with that work. It takes time to make one’s self ready for a night on the town.”

At this River and Aleksander flashed each other smiles.

It was not long before a flatbed hover truck pulled up to Serenity. A dark skinned man hopped out of the truck only to utter, “Ohhh!” at the sight of Jayne standing at the end of the ramp with numerous weapons strapped to him.

“You Mac?” Mal shouted at the man as he walked down the ramp.

“Yes,” the man answered tentatively, “I don’t want no trouble.” It was clear from his work uniform this man was no threat.

“Don’t worry about Jayne his bark is worse than his bite,” Mal reassured as he approached. “We got your pumps and equipment. Shall we get them loaded up?”

“Okay,” the man replied relaxing a bit.

The pumps and controllers were loaded and soon the captain, Zoe, Jayne, and Aleksander were on the Mule following the hover truck through the streets of New Buffalo. About a half hour later they arrived at the gates of the refinery. Mal and the rest tensed a little as they drove into the fenced area around the facility and the gate shut behind them. As they park a few other workers came over and started to unload the truck.

Mal and the others hopped down from the Mule and a woman of Asian descent approached them, “Captain Reynolds?”

“Yes,” Mal responded looking around waiting for something to happen.

“I’m Sue Kind, the plant manager, the one that returned your wave,” the women said.

“I remember,” Mal replied a bit distracted.

“Is something wrong?” the manager asked.

“No…let’s get to work.”

The crew really did not have to do much as the plant workers unpacked and started to install the pumps deep in the refinery with Aleksander watching on, “That’s weird,” he said as he started helping install the first of the control modules.

“What,” Mal asked walking over to him.

“It looks like this refinery had these type of pumps installed before,” Aleksander replied.

“It did,” the plant manager said. “It was just over a month ago that we had someone broke in and damage our pumps and electronics. It was strange, they didn’t damage much else. It was like they wanted us shut down for awhile. Luckily I got a tip that Mr. Bernoulli might have some pumps for us. Otherwise we would still be waiting for them from the factory.”

“Yeah…lucky,” Mal said.

It took Aleksander just over three hours to get the pumps calibrated and the refinery back up and running. Mal took payment and thanks from the plant manager and workers. Not long after the four of them were back on the Mule heading towards Serenity.

“You thinking it was the plan to bring some of Bernoulli’s people to Lennox, sir?” Zoe asked Mal as he steered the Mule through the streets.

“Seems likely,” Mal replied. “Perhaps someone has a grudge against your father,” Mal called back to Aleksander.

“Maybe, not all of my father’s dealings are aboveboard,” Aleksander replied.

Jayne leaned forward, “Still don’t make sense why they’d go through all this trouble just to kill a few people.”

“Probable wanted to grab them, ransom them back,” Zoe replied.

“…and they missed their shot,” the captain smiled.


Sunday, May 20, 2012 7:36 AM


Took some time, but here is chapter 3. Hope you all enjoy.

Sunday, May 20, 2012 11:43 AM


Very cool, the River "Wash" talk was funny.

Monday, May 21, 2012 3:59 AM


I especially liked the talk between River and Wash. River's attitude toward Wash's "ghost" ("You’re not a ghost. You’re a figment of my mind as it moves into sleep.”) was perfect, and also very funny. I'm glad Simon let his actions be guided by his role as River's physician, although he can't let go of being her brother, too. The job seems to be going smooth...too smooth, and I can see why Mal seems a bit distracted and disconcerted. Something's up, and I guess we'll be finding out about that soon? I'm wondering if it will all come to a head when they're all out trying to have a nice relaxing evening. Nice job, thanks for posting, and I hope for more soon.

Monday, May 21, 2012 5:13 AM


Mal mal mal, WHY do you say things that you know will just jinx you? Now whoever is looking for kidnappings and ransoms is absolutely GOING to have their shot. And they will have a federal fugitive someone will pay good money for wrapped up in the package as well.

Monday, May 21, 2012 11:06 AM


Yeah, sometimes you can just feel that other shoe about to drop.

Monday, May 21, 2012 7:02 PM


The twenty ton metal spiked shoe full of reaver chickens?


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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.