Honest Run: Derelict
Wednesday, October 26, 2005

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


Honest Run: Door
Honest Run: Distraction
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

“There is a place where the sidewalk ends And before the street begins, And there the grass grows soft and white, And there the sun burns crimson bright, And there the moon-bird rests from his flight To cool in the peppermint wind…” Wash looked over his shoulder to find River still at the console behind him. Book had gone to help Zoe and Kaylee secure the ship from the exit of the comet’s draft. He wiped his eyes wearily, “That’s awfully familiar, River.” River only smiled back at him. “Are you really alright, River?” Wash asked, “You seem better is all…” “I know where I am,” she said, “It hurts still, but I’m not lost.” Wash cocked his head. One of River’s patented abstracts that word for word made no sense, but communicated anyway, “I’m sure that your brother would be glad to hear that.” River’s expression blanched, “Simon’s not well. His big day has gone dark,” she rubbed her shoulders, “You checked it over, but you didn’t find what he did. It’s all spilled out and Simon’s gone sick. Daddy can’t help him, not until he finds what you didn’t.” Wash opened and closed his mouth a few times. Still staring at River, he reached up for the intercom. He fumbled it in his hand, “Zoe?” There was a pause. Wash could almost see her in his mind, clearing the cargo bay for the meeting that they would having shortly with Mal’s contact. It was such that Kaylee would be receiving a part. “Wash, what is it?” Wash kept staring into River’s eyes, afraid that if he broke the contact that she would pull her patented vanishing trick. “Wash?” The pilot clicked the mike, “Honey, I think you’re right.” There was a sigh of exasperation, “Dear, that may be the thing that a wife always wants to hear, but could you be more specific?” “I think we need to wrap this up as soon as we can, and go get Mal and Simon.” There was another pause, “Is River still up there?” “I haven’t let my peepers off her, love.”

“Is this where we’re supposed to be?” Zoe asked Wash. Inara sat in the secondary console, alone. Wash seemed a bit irritated. “Checked and double-checked,” He hadn’t left his station for several hours and they were beginning to tell. He rubbed his eyes and yawned. Zoe frowned at the detection screen. “We’ll give them a few more minutes and then we’ll head back to the New Denver,” Inara piped up quietly, “Do you still believe that Mal is in trouble?” “It's not a question of still,” Zoe replied, “He’s the captain: it’s not if he’s in trouble, it’s the how much and what kind that keeps me up.” “Well said, honey,” Wash turned a few dirty knobs, “The fact that we can’t communicate with him doesn’t help much either. But we knew that beforehand.” “We did,” Zoe said as she stood up. “Cortex interference shouldn’t be that bad at all, Inara,” Wash called over to the companion, “Their signal’s certainly strong enough in this area…” “Thank you, Wash, but I’m fine,” Inara replied, “I’ve finished my business for now.” Zoe looked over to her, “Taking a break?” “You could say that,” there was a mild evasiveness there, but Zoe only took note. Wash frowned at one of his readouts, “I’m getting a signal,” he began to calibrate the instrumentation, “Odd signal, it seems familiar though…” Wash’s frown deepened, “Zoe, give Book a call…” Without a word, Zoe reached over Wash and picked up the intercom, “Shepherd, we could use your help up here…” After a minute, the com crackled, “On my way.” “Why not Kaylee?” Inara asked. “Kaylee might know, but the signal’s kind of old,” Wash conceded. “Old?” Inara asked, “How’s that?” “Well, most ships out here are old, but their signals’ have to be recalibrated every couple of years so they can keep up with the Cortex and drift beacons for comm and navigation. ‘Course the Alliance military has their own signals that are far and above this…” “New Denver does have its own fleet inherited from the War,” Zoe squinted at the signal readout. “No go,” Wash shook his head, “They don’t have their own Cortex or navigation beacons, so their signals would have to be current.” “But you communicated with them before…” Inara replied, “If these are the same people that you brokered the deal with, that is. Didn’t Mal talk to them?” Wash and Zoe shared a look, “It was an older signal,” Wash conceded, “But it was different.” “A different ship?” Zoe asked. “Could be,” Wash shrugged, “Some kind of shuttle, maybe?” There was a quiet footfall behind them, “How can I help?” Wash jumped in his chair but Inara and Zoe were unaffected, “Got us a signal here that we want you to take a look at, Shepherd,” Zoe told him. Shepherd Book nodded and headed to Inara’s station. Inara made a move to get up, but he waved her off, “Sit down, Inara,” he studied the screen, “This must be a joke.” “A joke?” Zoe asked. “Zoe, you don’t recognize this?” Book asked the exec. “No.” Book raised his eyebrows simultaneously, “Interesting,” he frowned to himself, “Wash, could you do a full turn?” “Starboard or port?” “Doesn’t matter,” Book replied, “I suspect that our contact is closer than we think,” he shared a look with Zoe, “The strength of the signal is purposeful.” “Will do,” There was a change in the stars as Wash did as he was asked. “Shepherd?” Zoe asked, “What is it?” “An Independent signal,” Book answered, “From an Independent vessel.” Zoe’s lips tightened, “The Independent Navy was destroyed according to the terms of the surrender.” “Not every vessel was accounted for,” Book stated. Inara replied, “You can’t be serious. How is that even possible?” Wash let out a whistle, “Well, I’ll be…” At first, Zoe didn’t see anything. Then the absence of stars in front of Serenity startled her, “Shepherd,” there was something out there, “What am I looking at?” “I believe it to be a Delta-class Independent destroyer,” Book answered. “None of the running lights are on,” Wash looked down at his screen, “And there’s her signal, but it should be bigger than that,” He glanced over to Book, “Is it really that close or is it really that big?” “The fusion generator is shielded with an alloy so that it isn’t easily read by sensors and the like,” Book explained, “Not quite stealth technology, but it’s enough to fool low grade detection systems,” the Shepherd explained, “No offense.” “None taken,” Zoe replied. “I suppose given the vastness of space, it’s easy to imagine such a vessel to avoid detection as long as it has.” Wash squinted against the dark, “I don’t think its avoided detection completely. I think I can see hull ruptures at this distance.” “What is our distance?” Zoe asked. Wash told her. Zoe shook her head. The ship class wasn’t unknown to her, but with only the starlight playing on its hull, she could barely pick out any characteristics. With the intercom still in her hand, “Kaylee, come up to the bridge immediately.” Book spoke up, “What do you intend to do?” “As soon as Kaylee gets up here,” Zoe laid a hand on Wash’s shoulder, “I’m going to let those two gawk and tell me what they can.” “This is your contact?” Book asked. “I believe so,” Zoe replied, “Some things are falling into place.” “The bartering instead of the buying?” Wash asked. “Among other things,” Zoe said, “She’s running too quiet and too clean for Reavers.” “It’ll take a couple of passes to look her over,” Wash replied, “She ain’t as big as an Alliance ship, but she’s big. You figure they’ll let us sight see?” “If they’ve stalked us for a while, I figure them for the patience bit,” Zoe said, “She’s also running silent,” Zoe looked across to the comm panel, “And they haven’t responded to our turn yet. I think we’ve got ourselves a cool customer.” “That and they’ve got us outgunned and overpowered,” Wash said, “Those are some mightly big engines, I could outmaneuver them, but we can’t outrun ‘em.” Book understood as he and Zoe shared a look, “You’re going to force the wave out of them.” “Head of the class, preacher,” Zoe walked down across the bridge, bumping into Kaylee as she walked down the steps,” Gotcha a rare oddity, Kaylee.” “What are they--,” Kaylee stopped as soon as she saw the black object on the viewport, “Flying???” “Give it a look see,” Zoe said, “I’m going to check on Jayne and River.” “River?” Kaylee asked. Zoe stopped, “Is there a problem?” “No,” Kaylee dubiously, “At least I don’t think so. She’s asleep,” Kaylee tilted her head ahead, “That’s a Delta-class destroyer, Zoe.” Book shook his head in amazement. Wash grinned, “That’s our baby.” “Just how did you know that, Kaylee?” Zoe asked, amused. “Oh, you know,” Kaylee continued forward, “They’ve got a fantail thruster assembly; you can see it there off to the right. Not well, but its there.” she squealed, “Do you know what my papa would say if’n I told him I saw a double D, Wash?” “Pass the mayonnaise?” Wash asked. Kaylee swatted him, “Broke my papa’s heart when he saw all them Brownie ships being busted up at the end of the war. He even managed to find himself a few of their blueprints when the Feds weren’t lookin’ too close,” she walked right up to the forward pane, as if a few more feet could make up the hundreds between her and the vessel beyond, “Alliance couldn’t make a graceful ship to save their lives. Just stuck ‘em full of high-rate technology and boxed it up,” she pressed her forehead to the glass, “But them Independent engineers were artists. They didn’t have time to make too many ships, but they done themselves proud on the ones they did make. Solid, too.” “I don’t think this one’s had a good go round, Kaylee,” Wash said sadly. “It’s better than what her sister ships got,” Kaylee said, “Gutted and thrown in planetary fusers. They wouldn’t even let the superstructure rot in a shipyard; fusers were the only way to go.” She looked over to Book, “You figured out which one she is yet?” “There’s no identicode, Kaylee,” Wash said, “Just a poor weak nav-signal.” “I’m reviewing the possibles now, Kaylee.” “I bet it’s the Aborigines,” Kaylee said, “Papa heard that the crew didn’t abide the cease-fire and took to open space. They were going to take their chances in the Black rather than an Alliance prison camp.” Zoe looked over to Book, who replied, “Independent records were largely destroyed by their own officials so that they would not fall into the hands of the victors. It was to insure that there would be no further acts against those that aided the Independent cause,” Book contemplated the screen in front of him, “From what I can tell, the Aborigines is marked destroyed, but there are several ships that this could be…” “Her broadside deck is gone,” Kaylee observed sadly, “This side at least.” “Hmmm,” Book asked, “This broadside deck damage… Does it look old?” “Can’t tell.” “I think it would be safe to assume that that is a war wound,” Book punched up the controls, “Give me a minute, I seem to recall something…” Inara stood up, “Zoe, I’ll check on River,” she said, “Is she in your room, Kaylee?” “No,” Kaylee said, “She fell asleep in the engine room sling while I was working,” the engineer flipped her brown hair, “I thought about waking her when Zoe called, but she looked so peaceful. I think Serenity put her asleep…” “I’ll wake her,” Inara said, “I’ll probably take her to my shuttle where I can watch her.” Zoe smiled appreciatively, “Thank you.” “Let me know if anything exciting happens,” Inara said on her way out. Wash gestured grandiosely toward where Kaylee was, “Mysterious Independent destroyer doesn’t rank exciting?” Inara took in the sight once more, “A little bit,” she winked at Wash, “Anyway, I’m sure Kaylee will give me an earful later.” “Yep,” Kaylee answered as Inara left. “We’re still closing,” Wash replied, “It doesn’t look like much, but it’s happening…” “I’m not gonna be able to walk it, am I, Zoe?” Kaylee asked, “Us worryin’ ‘bout the cap and all…” “We’ll see.” “I believe it could be the Boston,” Book volunteered. “The Boston?” Wash asked, “There’s a story to that, I know it…” Wash tapped the side of his head, “I just can’t remember it.” “Odd that you would, Wash, it wasn’t a well publicized engagement,” Book told him, “The destroyer Boston was on the outer patrols of Independent space toward the end of the war. The Alliance battleship Chin found and nearly destroyed it. During the battle, the Boston crippled the propulsion systems of the Chin so that it could escape to the outer reaches. The war concluded months later and a search team was never dispatched,” Book caught Kaylee’s eyes, “The commanding officer of the Chin reported that the port broadside deck of the Boston was destroyed along with the navtower.” Wash snapped his fingers, “That’s not the story,” he said, “That’s not what I remember at all,” Wash pulled his chin, “There was something about rescue pods…” “There’s nothing else here on the Cortex.” “I don’t see a navtower, Shepherd,” Kaylee responded, “I think you’re right…” “Are they holding course, Wash?” Zoe asked. “Yep,” Wash replied, “They’ve turned off their drive engines. Didn’t have much other than a salt and pepper, but they’re completely off now. I think they’re going to let us have our look…”

Inara found River just as Kaylee described her; enfolded in the sleeping sling that Kaylee herself had put up in the engine room. In the time that Inara had known her, Kaylee had spent many a night in it herself. The young engineer claimed it was to help the ship along through its difficult times. Sometimes it was just the opposite. Inara found the whole thing rather endearing. It was stated by Simon that River felt just as passionate about Serenity as either Kaylee or Mal. Seeing the girl in the makeshift bedding with a single arm stretched out in a still caress of the hull made Inara smile in silent acknowledgement. “You gonna take her to yer shuttle?” Came a voice from behind. Inara turned; barely acknowledging the surprise, “Jayne.” There was no doubt that he had been watching River. Jayne nodded toward the girl, “You gonna take her?” There was a conspicuous amount of gunwork on the man, no doubt preparing for the business at hand with Zoe. “I was going to wake her,” Inara stated, “Yes.” “Seein’ her like this,” Jayne said, “Kinda makes you forget that she’s got all that crazy marchin’ ‘round in her head.” Inara reflected on the peace on the young River’s face, “It is.” The companion reached out to Serenity’s hull closing her eyes against the glad warmth that was generated from the engine just beyond, “Maybe Simon’s right about her medicine.” “‘Spose so,” Jayne looked over the girl, “Funny she ain’t woke up yet with us here.” Inara smiled a bit, “Jayne.” “Yeah?” “Carry her to my shuttle?” Inara asked, “Is there really reason to wake her?” There was an easy ‘no’ read on the mercenary’s face. With a disgusted sigh, Jayne put aside the shotgun that he had held in his hand, “Just to prove I ain’t as ‘fraid of her as everyone thinks,” he said, “But you owe me a beer at least.” “Done.” Jayne swept River up gingerly. It was so quick that Inara marveled slightly. “Get my gun,” Jayne gruffly said, “We’ll be docking with that ship in a while.” The companion retrieved the weapon, following Jayne as he stalked toward the main hold. With River’s head over Jayne’s shoulder, Inara thought she saw a hint of movement underneath the dark hair. A flicker of an eyelid and a trace of a smile on the young woman’s face.

Wash and Kaylee did just what Zoe had them do. They commented on the various patches and condition of the ship. Zoe stood next to Book, “Shepherd?” “It may be that the ship doesn’t have all of its engines operational,” Book supposed calmly, “After years of deep space, I doubt that…” “I don’t need any hand holding, Shepherd,” Zoe said quietly, “I just want to know what you think.” “Space is vast,” Book replied. “With Alliance patrols getting tighter and tighter,” Zoe said, “You know where this ship had to come from…” “Perhaps.” Book said, “But conclusions like that are…” “Messy?” “Prone to fancy,” he said, “If anything River has proved that there are a great number of things that happen that are not easily explained. A great number of forces that are not known or even spoken about,” Book continued to review the file in front of him, “Secrets blacker than the void outside.” “That seems a little dark for you, Shepherd,” Zoe replied.

The cargo doors opened and a single man stepped through them flanked by two others. The air coming from the other ship was certainly not the freshest that Zoe had ever smelled. The three men were armed with handguns secured in their holsters and eyes that searched all around. Their garb was mismatched and dirty, but two of them wore faded Independent jackets. The leader was one of these. Zoe took note of his rank and easily matched the face to an earlier communiqué. She hadn’t spoken to the man at length, but Mal had. “Bad recirculators,” Kaylee said underneath her breath. She, Zoe and Book stood in the cargo bay proper while Jayne walked along the catwalk above visibly armed with an excellent view of down below. The man looked to be approaching early forties; his face was cleaner than the men behind, his hair slightly unkept. There was a serious demeanor about him as he looked Zoe and Book over. He spared a glance at Kaylee, but it was only cautionary. “Zoe Warren.” The man stated. Zoe’s eyes flicked toward the rank on the jacket, “Corporal.” “Jameson will work fine,” the man said, “Haven’t had much use for the rank in the last couple of years,” he looked at Kaylee, “I trust the girl is your mechanic. Would you like to inspect the part?” The question wasn’t aimed at her, but Kaylee replied, “Sure.” The emotionally charged response wrought a smile from the corporal, “Tskune.” One of the men behind him perked up, “Sir?” Both of the men were imposing, but Tskune was the leaner of the two. Not that the other had any extra weight, he just had a thicker structure. “Go help Nao with the part so that we can get this started.” There was a glance toward Jayne above, but the man turned and went back the way he had come. “I noticed you folks had an eyeful before we linked up,” Jameson said, “I’d appreciate that you keep the particulars of our ship a trade secret.” “Sounds like a reasonable request to me,” Zoe indicated the man beside Jameson, “Is this one the passenger?” “Graves?” Jameson replied, “No.” There was some grunting as Tskune lead a larger part out through the cargo doors. Nao, on the other end, was a short lean Oriental woman with close cropped hair. She wore a jumpsuit that was sleeveless and gray. There were deep stains in it, some explainable, others not. Zoe recognized the getup also as Independent. Kaylee had been attacking the part as it was first visible. Zoe could easily see the gears turning and burning. There was a gleeful cry as the part was set down before her. Everybody that was on edge jumped. “Kaylee,” Zoe warned. The engineer quickly knelt down in front of the part. “Zoe, this is perfect!” Kaylee replied, “I was worried about some of the clearances, but this one is shiny.” She rotated the transducer in the assembly, “Looks like this came from an Outlander,” she looked up the stranger Nao, “A Mark three?” The Asian smiled and knelt beside her, “Close enough. I think it was second hand in the ship we got it from.” She indicated along the frame, “You can see where they had to bolt it to the manifold.” “Yeah,” Kaylee replied, “Oh. You got this off a Niagara,” she picked through the wires, “They’re always havin’ problems with their auxiliary transducers.” Nao said, “You certainly know your ships,” she looked over to Jameson, “You must have it in the blood.” “I do,” Kaylee pulled at some more of the wiring aside, “Oooo. Alignment thread. Shiny.” Zoe locked eyes with Jameson. “Kaylee,” she asked, “This part going to do you?” “Yep,” Kaylee said, “It sure will.” “Looks like I’d better be getting your passenger then,” Jameson took a handheld from his belt, “Britton, get out here, looks like they’re taking the part.” Static, “Alright.” “Tskune,” Jameson said, “Get scarce.” The corporal shared a glance with Zoe, “There’s too many bodies up here and I don’t want to queer the deal.” Cool customer indeed. Another form appeared at the door. He was a short man with a haircut similar to the engineer, Nao, and had a single duffel bag that bulged with suspicious forms. Kaylee stood up but didn’t smile. She flicked a nervous glance toward Zoe. Book coughed. Zoe’s own demeanor went frosty. The stranger’s eyes went through each one of their expressions. “There’s a problem,” he stated in a calm tone. “Only the usual,” Jameson replied, “The color of the uniform. Alliance may have won the planets in the war, but they haven’t got the space, yet.” The uniform the man wore was not an Independent uniform. It was an Alliance jumpsuit of similar age and upkeep. In some areas it looked like it had been resown by the seams where numerous patches couldn’t do the job. “War’s over.” Zoe stated coldly, “If this is the passenger, then he’s the passenger,” she looked the man over, “A deal’s a deal.” Jameson looked deeply into her eyes for any type of treachery. “This is Shepherd Book,” she turned her head to Book, “Show him to the guest rooms would you, Preacher?” Book wasn’t looking over the man like Zoe expected him to be. Instead, he was staring at one of the patches on the Alliance uniform. “Of course,” Book replied smoothly. The man indicated his bag, “Do you have a place to secure armaments?” “We have a weapon store,” Zoe replied, “However; most of the crew has their own.” “Would you like mine secured?” Britton asked. “Your intentions?” “Keeping myself from walking out of an empty airlock,” the Alliance officer replied, “I would like a ride free of…” he paused, “Misunderstandings.” “I can’t promise none of those, but there won’t be any of the fatal kind. You’re not the first we’ve taken on that has business of their own. Keep your business yours and we won’t have a problem. Besides, we do have a man of the cloth here,” Zoe replied. “Might not get our evening benediction if we space someone for no reason.” “We never said you didn’t have a reason.” Jameson replied, “Man’s colors are reason enough depending how much you lost in…” “Didn’t lose that much,” Zoe cut him off, “Is there anything else?” “We have an agreement?” Even Kaylee’s gaze looked serious. Seemed that she was taking up for the captain in his absence. Good girl. But Zoe didn’t blink, “We do.” Jameson and Britton shared a look and then a nod. “Give the weapons to Book,” Zoe indicated the Shepherd to the passenger, “We’ll have a place before long.” “We’ll get you settled before too long, son,” Book offered a smile that melted some of the tension, “This way.” Britton acknowledged crisply and followed Book out of the bay. Zoe looked deeply into Jameson’s eyes, “We need to talk.” “Your captain was aware, believe it or not,” the corporal replied. He watched Kaylee kneel back down to the deck. “Had the attitude that you got now: War’s over.” He looked to his man Graves, “Get back to the ship, we’ve a bit more business to discuss…” Graves’ eyes flickered to Jayne above, but said nothing. The large man turned on his heel and left.

Jameson sat down on an empty durasteel crate, “I was hoping that we could continue to do a little more business,” Zoe tracked a stressed weariness in the man, “You’re one of a few contacts that we have had and I want to run a few things by you if you’ll find the time…” Zoe sat down across from him, “How long do you think that you can dodge Alliance patrols?” “Probably not long at all,” he sighed. “The thought has been to put the Boston down on an outlying planet…” he continued to watch Kaylee and Nao interact. Kaylee’s defensiveness was gone and she was talking with delight as the pair discussed the Boston in technical detail, “Somewhere the Alliance isn’t too interested in…” “I take it you’ve heard about the Independent Navy?” Zoe asked. Jameson nodded. He folded his hands together, “If only you knew…” his gaze turned distant. Zoe continued to observe the man so that she might determine just Jameson had meant. When he said nothing more, she prompted, “Business?” The corporal shook his head abruptly, “I’m sorry,” he looked at her, “Business. Your water stores, actually…” “What about them?” “You going planetside soon?” “Looking to.” “Would you be interested in parting with them?” Jameson replied, “It probably seems like an odd request, but…” Zoe’s eyes softened, “Of course,” she motioned Kaylee over, “Kaylee…” “Yeah, Zoe?” “Get Jayne to pull the exchange hoses for you,” she looked over to Jameson, “We’ve got a thirst to quench,” she turned from Kaylee, “Your engineer know where the exchange point is? She’ll need to tell our pilot…” The Independent officer nodded, “Nao. Get on the horn and outline the deal with Tskune…” A curt nod, “Yes, sir.” Kaylee yelled over to Jayne, “Can you get the water hoses? We’re gonna need ‘em.” “Gorramit, Zoe, those things are heavy!” Jayne called down as he slung the weapon on his back. “Jayne.” Zoe said in a tone that brooked no argument. “Yeah, yeah…” the mercenary replied, “I don’t have to be happy about it…” “I can’t imagine that our stores are really going to do that much for your need,” Zoe replied, “But we’ll give what we can.” “It’ll last us plenty,” Jameson replied, “I appreciate whatever you have.” “What do you have to trade?” “How about fuel?” Jameson answered, “Liter for liter.” Zoe blinked, “I’m sorry. Did you say fuel?” “Boston has a reactor that hasn’t timed out in nearly a decade,” Jameson smiled, “I can’t guarantee the grade, but we have it spare.” “Serenity hasn’t been topped off for a very long time,” Zoe said, “So I think we have a deal. Is there anything else? Protein, perhaps?” Jameson’s smile widened, “I think we could come to an arrangement.” **** With most of Serenity’s own running lights turned off, Wash stared at the underneath the Boston’s expanse of black hull. The umbilical hoses for the water had just started from Serenity to the ship beyond. To be desperate for something as water and protein had to be something, he imagined. Willing to trade it for fuel tightened the spin. With River’s haunting words stuck in his head, he recalibrated the comm system to use the size of the destroyer to amplify any signal aimed at Serenity. Amazed at his wife’s control on continuing the run, Wash had already mapped a course back to New Denver. It was nearly at full burn, but it shaved several hours off of the arrival time. He rubbed his tired eyes. It had been a long stretch with the run and the side entertainment of the comet. It had been eighteen hours since Mal and Simon had departed and Wash had been in the pilot’s seat nearly as long. His eyes flicked over to the comm light. Still dark, he sighed. The new passenger raised the interest a little as well. Kaylee and Jayne were talking about it constantly over the com as they ran the line from Serenity to the Boston. Kaylee was actually the one that was up in arms about it. While Jayne wasn’t quite defending the man, he was definitely wondering why the engineer was afire about it. ‘Course the way that Jayne went about it got Kaylee more mad until it was a back and forth argument on the coms. It was funny to Wash that he could see the pair in space arguing back and forth, all the time pin wheeling on the waterline. Wash tried to manage a bit of stern to end the argument which did its job to a degree. They both became mad at him. It didn’t matter much as Kaylee never stayed mad long and Jayne was always such. An offer came in minutes ago that Kaylee could take an abbreviated tour of the destroyer with the Independent engineer. Zoe’s doing, he knew. It took only minutes for Kaylee to return and accept the offer. Of course, that left Jayne out in space alone while the transfer continued, but Wash didn’t see that that would be too much of a problem. Kaylee was only out there if so that if there had been some problem with the connection, she would be present to troubleshoot it. “Wash.” Jayne’s voice came over the com, “How much longer?” Wash smiled, “About ten minutes to go.” ”You said that five minutes ago,” Jayne growled. “Nope, nope,” Wash grinned at the man’s discomfort, “What I meant to say was ‘fifteen minutes’.” More grumbling over the com. Wash clicked it off and leaned back. His eye caught movement behind him. He turned, “River?” It wasn’t River, but a stranger, “I’m sorry?” the man asked. Wash froze for a minute, “Hello?” “I was looking for the Shepherd,” the man said, “I didn’t mean to…” Wash’s eyes blinked, “You’re the new passenger…” The man looked like a refugee. His skin was sallow from lack of sun and contrasted with the dark shadow of a beard and short cut hair. And his small form was draped in clothes that were numerous sizes too big, if neatly cuffed at the wrists and ankles. Where the flannel shirt parted halfway down the stranger’s chest, Wash could see numerous scars that reached up to the neck. The denim pants ended over boots whose tread was long gone. The pilot found the face to be stark and sharply angular, the eyes a mellow brown. “I am,” the man offered his hand, “Richard Britton.” The pilot took the hand, “Wash.” There was a curt nod, “I’ll be going,” the man paused and ran his eye along Wash’s board, “Looks like you’ve got a wave coming through.” Wash’s eyes switched over to the comm light to see it glowing a tired orange, “Thanks,” he turned back around to see Britton walking soundlessly down the ramp.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005 12:49 PM


Believe it or not, Honest Run was one year old last month ago. Some have voiced the opinion that it should go on forever. I don't know about forever, but it's looking to close in one or two more chapters.

Thankfully Serenity didn't impede any of my story at all, but there are somethings that I'd like to backedit. Some details that aren't exactly right.

Thanks for reading and feel free to make any comments!

Keep flyin'

Wednesday, October 26, 2005 2:37 PM


Jack, you've managed to capture each characters' character and manner of speech. Excellent work! Reads like a lost Firefly episode.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005 2:55 PM


Sorry, I forgot to rate it and when I said characters character i meant the characters essence.

Thursday, October 27, 2005 10:24 AM


This has been one of my all-time favorite fanfics, so much so that I even remember what's happening between episodes (hint: Write more). Loved how you got more fuel to Serenity, especially since it involved another 'ship! Looking forward to hearing Boston's and Brittn's stories.

Friday, October 28, 2005 8:27 AM


Another excellent part. It had been so long I'd wondered if this was going to end up in the never-to-be-finished stack.

Only another part or two to go? But, but, there's still so much to deal with, you can't end it that soon!

Cna't wait to read what happens next.

Saturday, October 29, 2005 6:49 PM


I almost missed the last two chapters. Yikes! I'm glad I found them. Wonderful work, as usual.

Tuesday, January 3, 2006 4:22 PM


I can't wait until the next chapter. You have no idea how much I treasure a fanfic writer who does a good Wash. :)

Friday, January 20, 2006 6:32 PM


wow! just found the series and I love it! you do an awesome Wash and Zoe voice. I also like the little poem you had at the beginning of this chapter too. keep up the good work! can't wait to read the next chapter!

Saturday, June 3, 2006 1:32 PM


I have been avidly reading this whole series, and am captivated.
Very good writing. Is there some conclusions coming?


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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?