Honest Run: Deal
Sunday, June 19, 2005

A little prequel action, explaining a few of the questions of the where and how variety. Features Wash and Zoe and certain Denton.


Previous chapters include: Honest Run: Din
Honest Run: Detail
Honest Run: Detachment
Honest Run: Diagnosis
Honest Run: Dance
Honest Run: Dignity
Honest Run

“Wash Warren,” the pilot offered his hand, which the stranger shook quickly… “Bobby. Who’s this?” the stranger asked, indicating Zoe with a nodding gesture. Instead, Wash looked at his dinosaur that lay on the cockpit console, also behind him, “Oh, that’s Brutus…” Zoe smacked him on the shoulder. “Oh,” Wash smiled widely, “Hehe. That’s my wife, Zoe…” “Your wife always armed?” One of the strangers noticed. “Well, as a matter of fact,” Wash thought for a moment, “Yes, usually, she is…” he stepped back, “Brought her own shotgun to the wedding, if you can believe it...” he remembered fondly, “A vision in white… Fully armed…” “Made for a handy item to confront the objectors,” Zoe said nonplussed. The man that shook Wash’s hand was a big fella with an easy grin and gray eyes. If he was intimidated by Zoe’s silently violent stance, he showed it none. “I imagine. Ain’t no need to be overly picky about the security,” he indicated Zoe’s armament, “Keeps people thinking in the right direction of good business instead of bad.” “You ain’t one of us, Denton,” a weaselly fellow replied from behind him, “I don’t see how you get to speak to us about ‘business.’” “What about our guns?” the other asked. “You’re right, Yang,” Bobby addressed the weaselly man, “I’m only here for the part run to Outrider Station. I’m only here ‘cause your captain asked me to be. Something about the last time not working out so well. Lost Jenny a little bit o’ profit the way I hear it…” Yang grumbled. “As for you Lon,” The man said, “When they outnumber you on your ship, that’s when you bring up your guns,” he stared the man down with a smile, “However, when I’m the one standing in front… Don’t.” Lon wasn’t the size of this Bobby, but he was considerably bigger than Yang. He had a hunch in his shoulders that spoke little of confidence, “Gotcha, Bobby. Sorry.” “I’d hate to interrupt your little pep talk, Bobby,” Zoe stressed the informal name she had been given, “But if you’re not the captain then why are you here?” The way that the man looked into her eyes and not at the primed gun in her hand moved this cool operator up in her estimation, “Jenny wasn’t too keen on not meeting your captain either, Zoe,” he replied, “I’m just filler to make sure Yang and Lon don’t ruin a potential deal for her. And to ask your husband here a few questions…” Wash had been trying to make himself a little more invisible in the developing tense situation, but his interest was piqued, “What kind of questions?” “I saw you come down,” Bobby replied easily, despite that fact that he clearly hadn’t won Zoe over, “I know that any pilot that can fly like that through those canyons has an idea or two how his ship is put together…” “And the questions?” Wash asked. Bobby laid a hand on a strut above him, “I just picked up one of these Scarabs from scrap a few months ago,” he looked at Zoe, “Noticed your configuration coming down.” Zoe nodded. “I picked it up for the hull,” Bobby explained to Wash, “So you probably understand that…” “You’ve got to pull a Humpty-Dumpty,” Wash nodded, “I gotcha. Cool,” He glanced at Zoe; himself clearly won over, “Hey babe, why don’t you meet with this Captain Jenny, while we talk shop…” “Denton…” Yang objected. “Be still, Yang. She ain’t gonna shoot ya,” Bobby eyed Zoe, “Are you?” Zoe smiled at the two behind him, who cringed slightly at the rather luminous smile, “Gentlemen,” she put her gun away, “Business.” Wash looked over to Zoe questioningly as she began to leave, “Honey?” “The captain’s above waiting for some waves,” she looked at Bobby seriously, an unspoken warning in her voice. Bobby put his hands up in mock surrender, “I really have no interest in stealing your husband, Zoe,” He offered up some parts, “I’ve just picked up one of these Scarab assembly manifolds and I need to see it work…” Zoe narrowed her eyes. The man had charm, but he no weapons that she could see, and she had eyed him for the last few minutes. He had on some overalls that fit him tightly and a satchel of parts in his hand. It was conceivable that there was a weapon in there… Bobby had about fifty pounds on Wash, most of it muscle; but he didn’t walk like a thug that used it. Wash stepped forward, “Is it the drive manifold?” he offered his hand, “’Cause we haven’t got the originals anymore…” “No,” Bobby pulled out a part from his satchel, “It’s really the valves that I’m trying to refurbish…” As if he read Zoe’s mind from a moment before he opened the bag for her to inspect as Wash turned the part in his hands, “That and I need to check the torque on your own manifold bolts…” Zoe nodded briskly. “Yeah… These should work,” Wash winked at her, “It’s usually the polymer rings that give out…” As much as Kaylee, Wash enjoyed a good ‘shop talk’ as it were. Things were done differently out on the outlying systems, where in the Core everything was new and replaced frequently, everyone out here had to make do with the castoffs. Kaylee had an intuitive nature about engineering, whereas Wash was more practical, and he knew his ships nearly as well, and it was because of talks like these. “No misunderstandings?” Bobby asked. “Only the usual,” Zoe began to walk through the men, “Honey, behave.” “That goes for you too, dear.” “As for you,” Zoe stopped next to the stranger, “If you do anything to my husband,” she smiled, “I’ll gut you like a pig, hang you up by your toes, and let you drown in your own blood,” she patted his shoulder, “Just so that we don’t have any misunderstandings…” Bobby was silent. Wash coughed uncomfortably. “Boys,” she said as she drove the others in front of her and off the ship. Bobby watched her go, “Did I…”he asked. “Not really,” Wash said, “My wife’s just…” he smiled to himself, “Well, Zoe…” Bobby smiled back at him knowingly, “I’ve got me one of those too,” he said, “She’s about the quarter size of me, but she’s got a mean armbar… Haven’t had the guts to even ask her to marry me…”He borrowed the introspective smile, “There’s a real possibility that she might shoot me…” Wash leaned against the his chair, “Once you get over the fear of them killing you,” he winked, “Its gravy…” “Believe me, Warren,” Bobby shook his head, “It’ll be anything but…” “Family?” Wash guessed. The hesitation was the cue that Wash had guessed right. “The part, man. The part…” Bobby changed the subject, “I can’t imagine that your wife is one to dawdle, so I haven’t got the time…” “Yeah, yeah,” Wash handed the part back to him, “I seem to remember Kaylee talking about that a few months ago. It’s just like any other gasket, they wear out and need to be replaced,” He walked past the man into the cargo hold, “I think we ended up using a sealant for awhile, but then… Bobby didn’t notice the gesture as he continued to nod, “You just can’t get those gaskets anymore, not even in scrap, I’ve tried…” “If you can get to the Core,” Wash volunteered, “You wouldn’t believe what those people throw away…” “Have you ever seen the valve line on the Zero-Eighties?” Bobby asked following him, “Those almost have the tension rating…” Wash shook his head, “The Zero-Eighties?” he knelt down on the deck, portside, “Those are way too big…” “Not the main rings,” Bobby shrank his fingers down, “’Cause you’re right, those won’t work…” The blonde man paused as he tried to remove the panel, “Damn thing’s stuck,” he pointed to the wrench off the deck, “Could you hand me that?” Bobby sat down next to him, flexing his muscular arm a bit, “Do you mind?” “Not at all,” Wash replied. He then snapped his fingers, “The rings around the primer rods, right?” Bobby popped the panel off without much to do, “Yeah. Those.” “Good to be strong I guess,” Wash said as Bobby laid the panel next to him. “Don’t give me that crap, Warren,” Bobby told him with a smile, “Engineers are vile double-jointed little bastards..." “That muscle does get in the way,” Wash conceded. Bobby pulled out a part and rotated it in the light above, “You got a tensioner? I want to see how this’ll compare to yours.” Wash picked out a part of Bobby’s, “A fuel regulator?” he got up, “Damn, we need one of these for our other shuttle,” he walked over and unsecured a beat up tool box. “Yeah?” Bobby asked, “What are you making do with?” Wash shrugged, “The old one. We just have her running it below specs ‘til we can replace it. We just can’t find it for these old Scarabs, if you know what I mean,” Wash handed Bobby the tool. “No kidding,” Bobby said as he started to adjust the tensioner, “I just picked that up from a guy that knew it, too.” “Bad?” Wash asked as he handed back the part. “Thanks,” The man took back the part, “You have no idea,” he displayed it before Wash, “It was left nut bad.” Wash whistled, “Damn.” “If I didn’t need this one so bad, I would have left it…” Bobby laid the regulator next to his knee, “Had to leave a few things behind that I’d rather not have,” he smiled, “And that excludes you-know-what…” Wash coughed out a chuckle, “They never want the right nut, always the left…” And in unison, “And never the pair.” They both had a good laugh at that one. With the instrument fully calibrated, “I think I got it,” Bobby told him, “Eight is what I’m guessing…” he put his arm down and through with the tool, “What do ya think, Warren?” “I’m thinking nine,” Wash said watching him, “Could be ten though.” There was a clang from inside the compartment. An annoyed expression passed over Bobby’s face. “Butterfingers,” Wash accused. “Ha. Ha,” Bobby said as he continued to fumble around in the compartment, “More of that vile engineering we were talking about,” And doing it by the feel of one arm. Bobby took a minute to find and readjust the tool, “Warren, you got a flashlight?” “Yeah,” Wash said, “Just a minute,” He turned and retrieved a solid rod of a flashlight. “Thanks,” Bobby told him as he peered into the compartment, “I think you might be right, though. It feels like nine…” “Told ya,” Wash said as Bobby pulled out the instrument, “I haven’t had to work on this manifold before, but Tanger started small and likes everything uniform…” Bobby inspected the tensioner, “Nine it is,” he passed it back to Wash, “I ain’t heard any gunshots,” and peeked out the open door, “I don’t suppose your wife’s done anything to the fellows…” “Well…” Wash said hesitantly, “She doesn’t always need a gun…” “Somehow,” Bobby told him, “I got that.” “Thought you might have…”

“Honey?” Zoe asked above him. After Bobby had got his measurements and talked a bit more, he was gone. That left Wash to inspect the compartment that the stranger had had his hands in. Despite the rapport that Wash had had with the man, he wasn’t going to leave anything to chance. While he felt a little guilty that was easily brushed aside by the facts. Better to be suspicious than dead. It was part of a philosophy that he had picked up from Mal over the years. Of course, there was that incident with Mal’s wife… Despite his suspicion, there were no extra devices in the compartment and there were no rerouted connections. The compartment was tight, but he had an easier time checking the fuel manifold than Bobby. To make sure that he had missed nothing after the first couple of passes, Wash had taken out some of the Scarab’s schematics and double-checked the connections from there. He still found nothing amiss. What did surprise him was the fact that Zoe was gone so long. After Bobby had left, Wash had given her a heads up. Zoe responded, a trace of annoyance in her voice, but one that he could tell wasn’t directed at him. Obviously brokering the deal was taking a little longer than she anticipated. She told him to stay with the shuttle when he offered to come down to her. The tone of voice brooked no argument. It was coming towards dusk when Zoe marched up the ramp to the shuttle. Wash could tell from the precision stepping that it was his counterpart. There was also a heaviness that he noticed in her stride. “Hey pumpkin,” Wash greeted from the port compartment. “What are you doing?” Zoe asked him, “Maintenance?” as she took in the tools assorted schematics. “Just double checking a few things,” he looked up and frowned, “What took so long? Did this Captain Jenny have a problem with the deal?” “Our captain has funny ideas…” Zoe leaned against the bulkhead. “Did they have anything to do with beach and warm sunlight?” Wash asked, “Suntan lotion and beautiful scantily clad people?” Zoe gave him a stare. Wash put up his hands in mock surrender, “No trunks and bikinis either, I gather…” He walked past her, “I’m going to idle the shuttle for a minute…” “I spent more time wrangling with him over their com then I did with their captain,” Zoe followed him, “He has this idea of conserving fuel and crew…” “How is this new?” Wash asked as he started up the shuttle. From the corner of his eye, he caught the other ship fire up their engines and badly execute a turn before returning to the sky, “Who is piloting that thing?” “The captain lost her pilot on the last deal she made,” Zoe replied, “I said I knew one of the best,” she winked, “But he was taken…” He turned around, “Did you now?” he wrapped his arm around her as he turned back to the rear of the shuttle, “Taken, is he?” Their faces closed in, “At the very least,” Zoe replied. Their’s was a quick embrace that Wash regretted that he had to break, “We’re going to have to hold that thought, dear.” Zoe smiled, “Mal wouldn’t let us work together much if there were…” she teased, “Delays.” Wash bit back a response as he returned to the compartment, “Fuel burn good,” as he checked the dials, “Why don’t you give Mal a wave to keep him from getting ideas…” he yelled over the engines. “On it.” There was a very imaginative thought that attached itself to Zoe’s comment. Wash started to remove the tools and fold up the schematics, “Tell him that we’re doing a quick pre-flight…” “Is there something wrong?” “Nope,” Wash replied back, “Just paranoid.” A few minutes later, the shuttle was off and heading toward Serenity.


Sunday, June 19, 2005 2:31 PM


I have more stuff on the way, but this was a part of a larger story that was good enough to stand alone. That larger story will be featuring the continuing misadventures of Simon and Mal.

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Keep flyin'

Sunday, June 19, 2005 3:21 PM


Nice story, don't really have any critics.

Sunday, June 19, 2005 10:59 PM


Thoroughly enjoyed this and loved Wash rechecking everything to make sure they weren't being humped. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me


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