Blue Hand Blues: Track#4-Greek Choirs, Poets, Scientists and Saints
Saturday, March 19, 2005

This is track 4 in the album. I wanted to have a section where River played covers of specific songs for all the crew members. But seeing as how it's been a while between tracks, I decided just to do the first three and then do the second half with the other six (one of them will get their own track). This is the first three. To get more mileage out of it, listen to "Poets" by the Tragically Hip, "The Scientist" by Coldplay, and "St. Jimmy" by Green Day as you read it.


Mal was the Captain. Zoe was the Second. Wash was the Pilot. Kaylee was the Mechanic. Simon was the Medic. Jayne was the Muscle. Inara was the Ambassador. And Book was the Chaplain. Everyone had a title to them as crew members on Serenity. Everyone except River. For the longest time, she was simply the sister of the medic. She never went on missions. She never did any grunt work on the ship. She never really did anything. All she did was be River.

But now, thanks to her newfound talent and treatment, she finally had a title on the ship.

She was the Greek Choir.

Later that evening, after her breakfast tune cheered everyone up and got them working a little better, Mal approached River in the cargo bay as she strummed along to some chords she was listening to them over her headphones. She looked up and grinned at the Captain. He tapped on his ears indicating to take off the headphones. She stopped playing and took them off. Mal then sat down on one of the crates and looked at her.

“Evenin, River.”

“Evening, Captain. How was I?”

“What do you mean?”

“How was I today? I know I don’t normally wake up everyone on the ship by playing like Hendrix.”

“Well, I was a little ticked that I didn’t get to wake up the crew myself like I normally do. But I was pretty impressed by the way you played. I’ve seen some pretty amazing things in my life. And what you did this morning was pretty high up there.”

River giggled. “Thanks. Didn’t know if I could pull off infusing 16th century music with 20th century iconography.”

“Hey, I noticed you’re speaking normally now. You feeling better up there?” he said as he tapped his head.

“Yes. They’re still there. The voices. There’s just quieter now. Playing just lets them out for a while. They’ll never be gone for good. This just helps me deal with them.”

“That’s kinda why I’m here, actually. I’d like to offer you a job on this ship.”

“You’re asking me now, after two years of tagging along?”

‘Well, I made a deal with your brother about keeping you on the ship when you first came on. But in light of your new talent, I think it’s about time I put you to work.”

“What do you want me to do?”

“Well, seeing as how you did wake up far more interestingly and elaborate than I ever could, how about you do the wake up call now? 0700 hours, on the tick. Just don’t play it too loud. Some of us don’t appreciate having out eardrums blown out after a deep sleep.”

“Is that it?”

“There’s that. But also, I noticed the crew was a little happier having some entertainment on board. And a happy crew is an efficient crew. So all you gotta do is just keep playin.”

River smiled. Actually, smiled was an understatement. She beamed just like Kaylee would upon seeing a junk shop filled with spare parts. She leapt up and hugged Mal as he was sitting on the crate in shock.

“Easy there, girl. Don’t get to ecstatic. Don’t wanna damage the thing that got you the job in the first place.”

River broke away from the hug and stood up. “I have a song for you.”

“Really? I’m intrigued. Let’s hear it.”

“It’s about you. I heard it on Wash’s playlist, and it just seemed like something you’d sing.”

River stood back and got into her stance. There were no drums on board, but she heard them in her head as she tapped her foot to it’s rhythm. After a few seconds, she chimed in on electric mode with a simple common time chord.

“Spring starts when a heartbeat's pounding/ When the birds can be heard above the reckoning carts doing some final accounting.” She looked up at Mal as he sat there with a bemused look on his face. She looked back down to the strings and kept going. “Lava flowing in super farmer's direction/ He's been getting reprieve from the heat in the frozen-food section. Yeah.” She looked up at Mal with a look of subversive glee as she did a little improv moment, before diving into the chorus. “Don't tell me what the poets are doing/ Don't tell me that they're talking tough/ Don't tell me that they're anti-social / Somehow not anti-social enough, all right.” She repeated the main phrase of the song and increased the intensity of her strumming and notes. “And porn speaks to its splintered legions/ To the pink amid the withered cornstalks in them winter regions/ While aiming at the archetypal father/ He says with such broad and tentative swipes "Why do you even bother?", yeah.”

As she repeated the chorus, changing the part about them being anti-social to them talking about the Hymalaya’s of the mind, Mal reflected on seeing this former waif of a girl transform into this loud, confident and coherent woman. He may have lost his faith in humanity a long time ago, but seeing her riffing a guitar solo of a 500 year old Canadian rock song brought it back just a little bit.

“Don't tell me what the poets are doing, on the street and the epitome of vague/ Don't tell me how the universe is altered/ When you find out how he gets paid. If there's nothing more that you need now/ Lawn cut by bare-breasted women. Beach bleached, towels within reach for the women gotta make it/ that'll make it by swimming.”

As she finished playing to song, she had a satisfied look as she picked at the final notes. A smaller look of ecstasy that was on her face when she played earlier. Mal clapped as she took a bow and patted her on the shoulder as he headed up the catwalk, and she slipped the headphones back on.

“Girl’s a genius, I’ll give her that. Now if I actually knew what the hell she was talking about.”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

A new part of the crew’s daily routine was added the next morning. After fashioning a mike out of a com link and a metal broom pole screwed into one of the spare tires of the mule, River followed Mal’s orders and woke the crew up every moment with her singing and guitar playing. In order to keep this new job from getting stagnant, River never played the same song twice and tried every conceivable genre of music that one could use a guitar in. For the most part, she kept playing 20th century rock and blues to wake up the crew. But on slow lazy days, she would sometimes switch the guitar to viola mode and improvise some classic bluegrass with a Chinese twang to slowly bring the crew out of their slumber. She would sometimes take requests, but for the most part the musical selections were made by herself. At first, the crew was still unsure of what she was doing and why she did it. But after Simon explained to them that this is her own personal therapy, and Mal reiterated that she’s just doing her job like they should, they eventually got used to this new variation in their routine.

While Simon was impressed by her leaps and bounds, he still requested that he meet with her at least twice a week for injections and a check-up. River consented, but only if she was able to treat him with her music. It was only fair that she help him out with his emotional hang ups and tortured aspects of his soul. The first day, after he had put the needles away and disposed of the glass vials, River set her guitar to acoustic, but did not start playing. To Simon, she was just idly tapping her foot against the floor. But in her mind, the most glorious piano accompaniment was filling her ears. After about thirty seconds, she began singing in a soft British accent. “Come up to meet you/Tell you I’m sorry/ You don’t know how lovely, you aaaaaarrree. I had to find you, tell you I need you/ Tell you I’ve set you apaaaart. Tell me your secrets/ And ask me your questions Oh let's go back to the start/ Running in circles/ Coming in tails/ Heads are a science apart.” Her voice raised as she sang the chorus. At times it seemed as if her voice would crack. “Nobody said it was easy/ It's such a shame for us to part/ Nobody said it was easy/ No one ever said it would be this hard/ Oh take me back to the start.”

When she said the last word, the soft acoustic kicked in with the strum of her pick against the strings. As she strummed along, she looked at her brother. This song was for him and was about him. She gave a look of love and understanding to him as she kept in time to the piano metronome that was in her head. The guitar was his gift to her. This song was her gift to him.

”I was just guessing/ At numbers and figures/ Pulling the puzzles apart/ Questions of science/ Science and progress/ Could not speak as loud as my heart/ Tell me you love me/ Come back and haunt me/ Oh when I rush to the start/ Running in circles/ Chasing tails Coming back as we are.”

As she repeated the chorus, Simon reflected on what has happened between the two of them. What she sang about perfectly fit in with what their roles to each other encompassed. The sacrifices, the doubts, the progress, the adventure and the love that they’ve felt for others and themselves. While there was still a lot of shit that he had to figure out for himself, as well as a never ending treatment, albeit paired down, he finally realized that his baby sister, for once, was going to be all right.

He smiled at this as she pressed a button on the guitar and switched a dial so that now the guitar was playing an earlier recorded acoustic track and she played a similar electric guitar melody, both creating a harmony that was increased with her wailings at the end. Not in pain, or sadness, or anger, but ecstasy. She gave one last howl and strum and smiled.

She then pivoted on her heels and walked out of the infirmary. There were no words spoken between them. None were needed.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

A few evening’s later, River was back in the cargo bay, strumming along like always. She was listening to a bootleg copy of Green Day’s AMERICAN IDIOT album at the same time, trying to keep up with the incredibly fast tempo of Armstrong’s style. As she listened to the politically charged lyrics, she understood why this band, along with so many other classical rockers were banned by the Alliance Censorship Board, but kept alive by people like Wash.

She was not alone in the cargo bay. Jayne was taking a break from cleaning his guns and was lifting weights. She kept egging him on by playing melodies of Shania Twain songs, which wound him up to no end since she usually serenaded Simon and Kaylee every night with one of her songs. While it soothed her brother and sister-in-law, it usually got Jayne’s blood boiling. He was still not on the whole impressed with River’s newfound ability. “It’s just her ramblings with string pickins, which makes her more annoying.” She overheard him say that once, and since then she’d been listening to illegal punk music to find the right song for him. And strangely enough, there was. She listened to it, made sure to change the name in her mind, and then took of her headphones and walked quietly over to Jayne. She stepped very quietly so as to not tip Jayne off on her presence. When she got close enough, she bent over very quickly so as to scare him. Jayne was so alarmed by the sudden appearance of her face that he lost balance of the weights. They slammed down on the groove holding them, which caused him to sit up suddenly and slam his head on the bar. River laughed as he sat back up, hand to forehead, spewing out Chinese expletives in pain.

“Wo de ma he ta de feng kwan de wa sheng dou!!! What the Hell was that all about!!!”

“You looked so intense lifting those weights. You’re just setting yourself up like that.”

“Yeah, well thanks for the sudden tutorial about being prepared. Jesus Christ, this fuckin hurts.”

“Language. Not very saintly of you, St. Jayne.”

“Now don’t you start on that.”

“I didn’t want to. I wanted to sing you a song.”

“Whatever it is, I ain’t interested. Go bug Kaylee or Wash with your pickings.”

“Don’t worry. I won’t be serenading you. This seems to be more up your alley.”

And just as she said that, her pick slammed down on the guitar, set on electric mode, and kept going. She was playing so fast and hard that her fingers were starting to become a blur.

“St. Jaynie’s coming down across the alleyway/ Up on the boulevard like a zip gun on parade/Light of a silhouette/ he’s insubordinate/ coming at you on the count of 1 2, 1 2 3 4.”

The guitar and a base accompaniment suddenly exploded from her as fast as humanly possible. For a second, Jayne was dumbfounded as this little waif played at a speed faster than anyone thought was humanly possible. River just kept looking at Jayne with an angry, fuck you attitude that came across in her snarling delivery of the illegal ballad.

“My name is Jaynie and ya better not wear it out/ suicide commando that yo mama talked about/ King of the 40 theives, I’m here to represeeennt/ the needle in the vein of the establishment/ I’m the patron saint of the denial/ with an angel face and a taste for suicidal.”

River went back to her guitar as she channeled Billie Joe Armstrong. As she played like him, Jayne reached up and touched his face. “I ain’t good lookin.” He thought to himself before she went back into it again.

“Cigarettes and ramen and a little bag of dope/ I am the sonofabitch and Edgar Allen Poe/ Raised in the city under halo of lights/ Product of war and fear that we’ve been victimized/ I’m the patron saint of the denial/ With and angel face and a taste for suicidal.”

The next minute or so was just the guitar solo as she said random sentences like “Are you talking to me?” and “Saint Jaynie.” She then began running and bounding around the cargo bay, never once breaking tempo and rhythm to the song. The song seemed more to be fueling her endless energy, rather than taking it out of her. As Jayne saw her playing this illegal song, he couldn’t help but feel a little more respect towards her. Sure she was still a moonbrained brat from some wealthy Core planet, but if she was this driven, fearless and passionate about musically giving the finger to the establishment, then maybe she might be of some use to them in the future.

She was literally bouncing up and down as she sang the final refrain with gusto, sweat now making her glisten in the high powered lights of the ship. “My name is St. Jaynie/ I’m the son of a gun/ I’m the one that’s from the way outside/ I’m a teenage assassin executing some fun in the cult of the life of crime/ I’d really hate to say it, but I told you so/ So shut yo mouth before I shoot you down, old boy/ Welcome to the club and gimmee some blood/ I’m the resident leader of the lost and found.”

She stopped bounding as she took a heroic stance and played the final part at her loudest. “It’s commmmeeeedy, and traaaageeeedyyyy, it’s Saint Jayyynnnieeeee, and thaaaaaats myyyy naaaaaaaaammmmmeeeee. And don’t wear it out.” She band at the strings one last time with that same look of ecstasy on her face she always had every time she played a song. And like she had a switch, as soon as the room went silent, she went lack and just walked away. She didn’t need to look on his face. While he’d still act as if he didn’t care about her, she knew she had a closet fan.


Saturday, March 19, 2005 11:22 AM


I loved this latest installment. All of the song choices worked well with the characters. I really liked learning the thoughts each character had about River's new talent. Even grumpy old Jayne was swayed with her musical ability. --> "While he’d still act as if he didn’t care about her, she knew she had a closet fan." <-- I think that was a perfect way to close out the chapter. It's nice to know Jayne's a softie deep down inside.

I can't wait to read the next track. =o)

Saturday, March 19, 2005 2:54 PM


This really works well even though I don't know any of the songs. I particularly like the ones for Simon and Jayne, the lyrics really fitting them. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, November 8, 2009 7:12 AM


great keep it up cant wait for the next installment


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Wash and Shooter discuss death and dinosaurs, Gabriel tells Kaylee about Regan, River brings her family together one last time, and Simon and Kaylee face an uncertain future.

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Everyone returns to the mansion, Johnny helps a grieving River with some Van Morrison, and Gabriel asks Mal to end it all.

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The next day of Simon, River and Kaylee's journey to the Core. Simon comforts Regan in more ways than one, Kaylee makes some figurative and literal repairs of her own, River and Johnny go from the top of a warehouse building to front and center of the Metro in less than 24 hours, and Regan shows it's never to late to make things right.

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Set after THE SERENITY GIG, BLUE HAND BLUES and SHOTGUN TAM, this story takes place in an AU where the BDM never happened, although there will be refrences to it. With the social and economic breakdown of the Alliance, the Tam's are finally free. But a message from home forces them to deal with a larger issue at hand.

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