Honest Run: Distraction
Thursday, July 21, 2005

Comets, comedy, and confession. Another day on Serenity.


Honest Run: Delusions
Honest Run: Deal
Honest Run: Din
Honest Run: Detail
Honest Run: Detachment
Honest Run: Diagnosis
Honest Run: Dance
Honest Run: Dignity
Honest Run

“Who’s this?” Kaylee asked eagerly. Zoe and the new recruit had only just finished picking up his belongings from his previous employment. If his old boss had any objections, he didn’t voice them. There was a good deal of scowling though. That was mostly due to the bullet that the merc had put in his former boss’ leg. Zoe wasn’t sure what Mal was thinking when he invited this one on Serenity, but if her captain was anything, it was unpredictable. The new recruit seemed capable with a gun, but his character was definitely nil. She wasn’t sure whether it was the captain’s winning deal making or this that broke the man’s decision to switch sides. It went without saying that such an easy betrayal had portents for a similar future. As for herself, Zoe didn’t care for him. At all. It was worse than what she felt for the pilot. While ‘Wash’ Warren had kept running his eyes over her all the time while talking to Mal about this and that, this one’s eyes weren’t roaming all over Zoe, only sticking to certain lusty parts. She had no doubt that she could convince him otherwise, all Zoe needed was a moment for her to show him how ‘capable’ she was. The man could leer, though. However, she realized as they stepped on the ship, Kaylee had an excellent question… They never really did catch the man’s name. Zoe’s demeanor went extremely frosty when the stranger eyed Kaylee the way that he had just finished doing with her. A lusty smile, “Jayne.” As with all cruel intentions, Kaylee ignored the man’s demeanor, “You’re the new crew the cap’n was talkin’ ‘bout…” she took his free hand with both of her greasy ones, “I’m Kaylee. I’m the ship’s mechanic. Welcome to Serenity…” she gestured to the ship around them, “Oh, well,” she glanced at their hands, “It’s just engine grease…” The man could not, for the life of him, take his eyes off of Kaylee’s chest. Zoe glanced down at the man’s boot knife. “Had to reset the port engine’s O-ring ‘round the manifold,” she looked at Zoe, “That’s the pull Wash’s been feelin’ lately…” Other than the lengthy leer and the stare, Jayne said nothing. “That’s good, Kaylee,” Zoe glared at Jayne to no effect. “Them O-ring’s a bugger are they?” he asked, although Zoe bet he had no idea the difference between that part or another. “Can be,” Kaylee nodded, “Makes you lose thrust through the venting…” “Can’t have a man losing his thrust now, can ya?” The insinuation was lost on Kaylee, “Nope. Wash has been…” “Kaylee,” Zoe interrupted suddenly. “Yeah, Zoe?” “Is there a problem that Mal sent you down here for?” she asked. “Nope,” she gushed, “Just hopin’ to spy the new guy…” “Get underfoot then,” Zoe said, “You’ve met ‘im and I can’t imagine the captain’s lookin’ to linger…” “Sure,” the mechanic said, “Pleasure to meet ya,” she let go of Jayne’s hand, “I’ll be in the engine room, Zoe,” she waved, “See ya ‘round the ship.” “See ya.” Jayne smiled back. And if Kaylee didn’t give him an eyeful when she left. Zoe walked over to the cargo switchboard and began the process of getting the bay doors closed, “I’ll be showing you your bunk and board.” She heard him readjust the grip on his armory as she walked past him, “I don’t suppose that little lady’s room is on the way…” Zoe stopped mid step. Surely the man couldn’t be that stupid… “Unless that’s the captain’s girl,” he said, “Course, that’s what I figured you fer…” A pin dropped. Yes. Yes, he was. Zoe felt the heat rising to her face as she turned on her heel, “What?” “Space gets kinda lonely,” Jayne leered at her, “Don’t it?” he walked over, “Looks like everyone’s bunk should be shared on this…” his brow furrowed in concentration, “What’d she call this clunker?” He was close. Stupidly close. No one would even hear it, she reasoned… He snapped his fingers in front of her face as he remembered what Kaylee had just told him, “Serenity.” A body drop. She fixed his eyes on his, “Jayne, is it?” “Yeah.” “It occurs to me that we haven’t touched on some of the rules on the boat.” “Rules?” “Rules.” “Ya got rules?” Jayne frowned, “They ain’t about toys or nothin’, are they?” The man wasn’t talking about dinosaurs, that much Zoe was certain, “No.” “Alright.” She stepped forward, “Rule one,” she told him, “Everyone’s got their own bunks.” “So?” Jayne told her, “Your captain told me that…” “Rule two,” she continued, “Everyone stays in their own bunk.” “Aw.” “And then we come to a very special rule,” Zoe said to him, “Jayne’s rule.” “Huh?” It seemed to finally dawn on the man that danger was extremely close and he stepped back, “How come I git a special rule?” “Kaylee is our own little piece of precious,” Zoe slowly explained, “She keeps the ship running and cheerful.” A pause. The leer vanished, “O-kay…” “If you touch her in any unfriendly way,” Zoe could smell the ground cigar on his breath, “Anything that would be unwelcome to her, two things will happen, depending on who finds you first…” Jayne swallowed. “If the captain finds you, he shoots you,” Zoe said matter of factly, “And if you have any doubt that he won’t do it in some lethal fashion, you would be wrong.” “And the other?” “The other is that I find you first,” Zoe smiled… Zoe had been told that she had a beautiful smile, an open and inviting one… “And then?” “I’ll take a knife to the part that does all the thinking for you…” Jayne looked fearfully looked down to his waist. “That’s right,” Zoe smiled wider, “And then…” She let the phrase dangle. “And then???” “And then the captain shoots you.”

“Tell me, ‘Nara,” Jayne frowned as he washed up the dishes, “What’s with the doc?” Inara had just daintily crumbled some leaves in her tea cup of freshly heated water. Getting around Jayne behind the counter wasn’t the easiest thing, but she managed it without much fanfare. “I’m sorry?” she raised an eyebrow. “Why ain’t he bunked with Kaylee yet?” Maintaining her composure, she gave him a look, “Who’s to say they haven’t?” Jayne scrunched his eyes at her. He nodded to himself, washing out more soup bowls, “I guess…” “Jayne.” Inara stated, “It is none of our concern…” He flipped the towel over his shoulder, “’Course you’re gonna say that,” he frowned at her, “She tells you everythin’.” “Then it’s none of your business.” Inara said. “Aw, come on, ‘Nara,” Jayne said, “Don’t be like that…” While she wasn’t about to compromise any of Kaylee’s personal details, Inara was more curious with what Jayne wanted with them. He had been acting a little… off lately and she was wondering if she could at least get to the bottom of it, “Let’s entertain the notion that I might tell you something,” Inara told him, “What is it to you?” “Huh?” “Jayne,” she said, “Why do you care?” “I care.” He scowled. “About Simon?” “Well, no,” Jayne said, “Well, a little bit,” he leaned across the counter, “He’s alright, I guess. It’s moonbrain that I’m worried about,” Jayne shook a dish towel at her; “All this stabbing and shooting ain’t natural.” Inara took her own stab, “And how old were you when you started on your path of villainy?” “Path of what?” Inara sipped, “Your own stabbing and shooting?” Jayne put down the dish towel and started counting off on his fingers, “I gotcha,” he said after a minute, “Abouts her age I guess. Does family count?” Inara coughed into her tea. “What?” Jayne asked. The companion produced a handkerchief, “Nothing. Sorry.” “Whatever,” Jayne picked up some more spoons and tossed them in, “What about Kaylee? She and the doc?” “You care about Kaylee, then?” Inara regained her composure, “Is that it?” “Well, no,” Jayne lied transparently. “So this is about Simon then?” Inara asked. “Well, yeah,” Jayne stammered at her. Inara raised an eyebrow, “Really? I had no idea.” “Idea about…” Jayne said, “What about the doc?” “If you feel this way you are talking to the wrong person.” “Then who should I be talkin’ too?” “Simon.” Yes, Inara felt that she was being cruel. But as she said before, it was none of his business, and he hadn’t produced a reason for it to be otherwise. She knew there were feelings between Jayne and Kaylee, mostly on Jayne’s part. It was part of the reason that Simon got it as bad as he did from the merc. That and Jayne was a jerk. The man cared for himself and very little else. But everyone had it in for Kaylee at some level and Jayne was no exception. There were times when Inara could almost imagine an affectionate spark in his demeanor regarding the engineer. Lately now that, for whatever reason, Jayne was softening up, Inara wasn’t having too hard a time putting the two together. Jayne reddened as he finally caught her meaning of their conversation, “That ain’t natural, ‘Nara.” “Depends on who you ask.” “That ain’t funny either,” Jayne said, disgusted. “I wasn’t laughing.” “No. No,” he washed out another bowl, “You weren’t. Fine, you win.” “I’m sorry?” Inara asked. “Let’s talk about the doc, then.” Inara searched the man’s face for a joke put found none. She sipped from her tea, “Talk.” “Kaylee’s been throwin’ herself at the man since he got on the ship with that sister of his,” he dried the bowls with a clatter, “And it ain’t got her nowhere but mad with ‘im.” “They’ve had their disagreements,” She said, “Couples do.” “So they’re a couple now?” Jayne said, “Ain’t no bunkin’ goin’ on, what makes them a couple?” “They have a mutual interest in each other, Jayne,” Inara explained, “And I’m not saying…” Jayne interrupted, “What if they ain’t no couple?” “Kaylee’s pretty sure of it…” “And the doc?” Inara frowned. When did someone gift Jayne with a brain in the head? Everyone knew Kaylee’s intentions. She had made them clear on several occasions. While Simon was fumbling with his, they all assumed he had the same intention. As assumptions went, it wasn’t necessarily a bad one, but… It was still an assumption. As much as everyone cared for the engineer, Inara found it very odd that no one had even talked to Simon about it. They would put their feelings for Kaylee far ahead of intruding on the man’s privacy… Inara shook her head free of the thought, “No one’s thought to ask him, have they?” “What if he’s just stringing her along?” Jayne asked. Inara took another sip of tea, “Then he’ll have a whole ship to answer to, won’t he?” Jayne hastily grabbed the spoons and swished them around in the soapy water, “I guess,” he turned around rinsing the silver. She narrowed her eyes at the man’s broad back. Clearly there was some thinking going on, and there was an alien hesitation in Jayne’s stance. He quickly threw the mass of spoons in the towel, hastily dried them, and dropped them in a drawer. He discarded the towel in a corner and came to the table with Inara without a word, but slow thought on his face. “I don’t have to pay ya to keep from talkin’ to the others do I?” Jayne said in a secretive closeness, “No kissin’ and tellin’ right?” Inara wasn’t sure how to answer. It was one thing to have Jayne talk to her before when he was obviously not addressing her face. Now not only was he not doing his usual lusty once over, but he was actually giving a mind to what the others thought. Had she spoken too soon to Mal? What was going on with Jayne anyway? Strangely, Inara felt like she had just been tested. “No kissing,” Inara stated, “No telling.” “You ain’t gonna git mad or nothin’?” Jayne asked her, “’Cause all of it ain’t nice.” “Jayne.” Inara told him, “Companions have an objective nature. There will be no judgments.” The mercenary still wasn’t entirely convinced, “I dunno,” he was still close, drumming his fingers and looking around nervously. The china jumped slightly to the beat, “But you ain’t gonna tell no one, right?” “Perhaps you would feel better talking to Book,” Inara got up with the intent of making another cup of tea, “I wouldn’t be offended.” Before she reclaimed her porcelain cup, Jayne grabbed her by the arm as she reached across him, “Can’t tell the preacher,” he looked up to her with a tic in his cheek, “Can’t tell no one.” There was a bruising strength in his hand, but Inara calmly laid her other atop it, “Jayne.” The brute instantly released, a guilty flicker in his eyes, “I gotta go.” Inara’s hand grasped the top of his still as he stood up, “Jayne. We’ll talk,” she placed a hand on his shoulder and pulled him back down to his chair, “We’ll talk and no one else will ever know,” she resisted the urge to comfort him further, “I promise.” “You promise?” She sat down in her chair, “I do.” There was still more hesitance, but Jayne slowly began, “It’s about Ariel…”

“Where is this comet?” Zoe asked Wash. The bridge was full with its crew. Wash and Zoe were over his console, while Book and River were behind on an auxiliary. Kaylee stood in the middle taking in the sight ahead, her eyes big and searching. “It has a name, dear,” Wash said, “Can I get a telemetry check from the good Book?” “Har. Har,” Book replied dryly, “Everything seems to be in order from here,” he reported from his console. “The margin of error is nominal,” River added, “Three minutes to intercept.” “It somehow feels right that she said that,” Wash nodded to himself, “Honey, I need both hands,” he smiled apologically, “The headrest is always lonely, though.” “Oh,” Zoe let his hand go, placing hers like he said, atop the chair. “Thanks.” “What’s the name?” Zoe asked, her gaze joining Kaylee’s searching the heavens ahead of them. “Hrrmm?” Wash said inspecting the radar. “The name of the comet, dear.” “Oh,” he pulled up his palm and read what he had scrawled on it, “XRS-452, celestial body, class two…” “That’s quite a name,” Zoe added. “You know Alliance, hardly a planet, or celestial body for that matter, that doesn’t have a dreary designation of letters and numbers…” Wash explained “Doesn’t seem right that it doesn’t have a proper name,” Kaylee said, “We should name it if we can…” “People have to see the thing to name it,” Wash said, “And bein’ in a ship doesn’t count… The locals can’t see it planetside with the two moons so close by, so they haven’t got around to it much,” he looked over to Kaylee, “You spiked the fuel, right?” “Did it right after dinner.” she answered. “Honey, if Mal finds out that you burned more fuel on this showride,” Zoe said, “He won’t be in a generous mood when he gets back…” “Relax, pumpkin,” he gave her a look that made her insides lurch, “River said that we’ll have a few liters on the up and up when we finish…” “Three and a quarter liters,” River told her, “Point two four seven liters…” “No one usually cares after the first two digits River,” Wash replied. There was a sure confidence in his voice. Zoe searched Wash’s face, “Honey, I have this feeling that you haven’t told me something,” she said tightly, “Wife’s intuition.” “Honey don’t worry, it’ll be fun.” Cheesy grin. “Fun.” Zoe stated. “Yeah, it’s that thing with the exhilaration, smiles and the canned whipped cream.” Zoe shook her head. She glanced back toward the expectant Kaylee, “I’m not sure what we’re doing, but you’re sure this is going to work, right Kaylee?” “River ran through the numbers,” Kaylee said, “Isn’t this exciting?” she glowed. Zoe gave River a glance. Apparently no one but her had a problem with their current predicament being mapped out by Serenity’s more problematic of mysteries. Despite her incident previously, River was doing incredibly well without her medication. When Simon had told her what he had decided on for River’s medication, she had asked the obvious question. His explanation seemed reasonable. She still had him revisit the placement of the sedatives, but Zoe hoped that he was right. So far… He had been. “There is a negligible percent of error,” River reassured. “Is that percentage fatal?” Without a beat, “Yes.” Zoe’s eyes drifted back towards her husband, “Wash…” “Mmmm?” “Honey,” She closed in over him, “Are we going to die?” “Sure,” he laid a hand on hers above him, “But I got that shiny insurance plan from the good shepherd,” Wash told her, “The one with all the brilliant clouds and angel choruses,” he patted the hand, “There was a special.” “Today?” “Oh. No,” Wash checked his instrumentation, “Well, I don’t think so. Is it wrong to forge a significant other’s signature?” “Allegedly only the devil deals in contracts,” Zoe looked over to Book. “More of your husband’s levity I assure you.” The shepherd replied properly, “However…” Zoe arched an eyebrow. “Should there be any last minute misgivings,” Book said with an innocent smile, “I’ll be close by.” “That’s a comfort,” Zoe said. “I thought it might be.” “There’s going to be a little turbulence,” Wash admitted, “Might be enough to shake the fillings,” he smiled that smile again, “Is all.” Zoe realized suddenly why it troubled her so much. It was Mal’s smile. “Object is on approach,” River interjected. “Oh my,” Book said as the readings flashed across the darkness of his face, “This should be,” he looked up, “Interesting.” Wash reached up and took the mike from the intercom above him, “This is going to be the best part,” he toggled the switch to create a squawk over the intercom. “Interesting?” Zoe looked over to Book. “Attention crew and passengers of Serenity, this is your pilot speaking,” Wash grinned from ear to ear, “I regret to inform you that there is going to be some turbulence in the next few minutes. The turbulence will be temporary as we intercept a class two celestial body…” “How big is this comet?” Zoe asked Kaylee as Wash continued his announcement. River spoke up, “A class two comet is several kilometers in diameter, traveling at a speed between eighty thousand and sixty thousand kilometers an hour…” she said, “the velocity is largely dependent on the position of the body to its perihelion…” “Perihelion?” Zoe asked. “The point where a comet is closest to the gravitational mass that anchors the far end of the comet’s path,” River explained, “Usually, a star.” “---please upturn your dinner tray and don’t remove the tag under penalty of law…” Wash concluded, “And I’d like to thank you for flying Serenity Airlines.” “Wash?” Wash replaced the mike, “Yell at me later, honey,” He glanced over his shoulder, “Can I get the count, River?” “Engage main engine and port thruster on my mark,” River said, “Fifteen.” Serenity began to shake underneath them. Wash took the column with both hands. Zoe searched and searched but could not find a thing in the Black outside. “Honey, if there is so much as a scratch on this ship,” Zoe said, “Mal will kill us.” “Thirteen.” “Oh, honey,” Wash said as he tightened his grip, “We all know that Mal’ll only kill me…” “Eleven.” Shake the fillings, my ass. Zoe imagined that she could hear every loose object in the Firefly. Everything from the doc’s tools in the infirmary to the very plating all over the ship. She noticed a silvery blue glow off to starboard. “Nine.” “We could always blame it on Jayne,” Wash said. “Seven.” “Because Jayne frequently has the idea to fly into a comet…” Zoe grabbed for a handhold from above. She checked to see that Kaylee had done the same. There was vibrance in the engineer’s eyes that indicated a mischievous degree of the aforementioned fun… “Five.” As Book caught a loose tool before it hit the floor, “Perhaps now is not the time for a martial disagreement…” A loose connection in the lighting above caused it to flicker. “Three.” The radiance was everywhere now, drowning out the flickering lights and backglow of consoles. The very memory of shadow was all that existed. Wash looked up, catching his wife’s eye, “Honey…” “Mark.” “I love you.” Somewhere in the din of the ship, Zoe could feel the bowels of Serenity spark and arc. The low rumble shook away and the brightness was instantly realized for a blinding moment. Eclipsed by a mass in front of them. It was the body of the comet stark against its own glow. It seemed so close… “It’s so…” Zoe began. “Beautiful.” Kaylee said behind her, “Oh, Zoe… It’s so pretty.” Zoe turned to see tears in the young engineer’s eyes. She found the preacher’s face seemed strangely awed and contemplative. River was quietly braced against the bulkhead next to him. After such a space of noise, the silent light soothed as it bathed the deck. There wasn’t a single noise that she could hear. It was as if Serenity herself had stopped running. There was no engine noise. “Wash,” Zoe said, “I can’t hear the ship.” He grabbed her hand from the headrest, “The engines’re on warm-up,” he said, “We don’t need them now.” “You mean…” He nodded, “We’ve caught ourselves a fetching ride…”


Thursday, July 21, 2005 2:28 AM


The crew's lagging behind Simon and the captain. The piece is a bit random in its 3 parts, but it hit its amount of revision that I usually give a story before I post.

Keep flyin'

Thursday, July 21, 2005 4:48 AM


Loved that Inara's surprised no one's talked to Simon about Kaylee. Like always, quite well written, especially the comet-riding.

Thursday, July 21, 2005 12:23 PM


I thought the bit with the comet was very shiny. Hope nothing important got rattled loose, apart from Jayne's conscience that is. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, July 21, 2005 1:24 PM


Great job and wonderful descriptions!


You must log in to post comments.



Honest Run: Daring
Another round table discussion on how to get the captain out of trouble.

Honest Run: Dilemma
Honest Run?!? He's still writing this?!?!

Honest Run: Derelict
Zoe and the crew finish their part of the deal, running across a bit of history along the way.

Reaver Attack: Denial
Reavers are real aren't they? My entry into the Serenity contest.

Honest Run: Door
Mal has another one of his barroom confrontations.

Honest Run: Distraction
Comets, comedy, and confession. Another day on Serenity.

Honest Run: Delusions
Things get a little more resolved. Simon's mind begins its downward spiral.

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

Honest Run: Din
Pair up. Where's River?

Honest Run: Detail
What is it with Jayne anyway?