Deja Vu Ain't What It Used To Be (part 1)
Friday, November 4, 2005

A routine delivery on a central planet turns out to be not so routine. Intended as an episode-style, four-part story set during Firefly.



As day turned to night, the silver spires that raked the city’s horizon came to life in a carnival of flashing light. Beyond them, the sunset splashed the skyline pink and gold, melting up into a deep purple sea of stars.

Kaylee knew that those spires were probably home to every treachery known to man, but right now she didn’t much care. She’d sit here just outside of Serenity, feeling the grass between her toes and hoping the captain took his sweet time getting back.

"Beautiful, isn’t it?" Simon had appeared beside her, hands in his pockets, scanning the sky.

"You could say that," Kaylee smiled warmly. "Didn’t figure you for the sunset type. I mean when you’re arms deep in doctorin’ all the time. Too busy to see much else, I s’pose."

"Well, this is its own kind of therapy," he said. They enjoyed a few moments of contented silence. "As... as a student back on Osiris, I used to look forward to this time every day. See, the planet had this atmospheric quirk that created a sort of prism," he gestured toward the horizon, lost in a distant past. "Those were some truly spectacular..."

Kaylee’s eyes fell to the grass.

His mind swam back to the present, and Simon scratched his forehead with an embarrassed grin. "I’m sorry, I’m – that was so long ago. That’s all in the past now that I’m on the run through every God-forsaken place in the verse," he laughed.

Kaylee stood, walked away, then resolutely marched back toward Simon. "Why d’ya always do that?"

"Excuse me?"

"Ya got a perfectly good moment there, great sunset – okay maybe not an Osiris sunset," she gestured sarcastically to the horizon, "and a girl willin’ to watch it with ya. And you gotta just trample all over everything-"

Jayne moved beside them, loudly clearing his throat then spitting the product into the grass in front of them. "Jever get a real nasty taste stuck way back deep, and it just won’t..." He spat again. "Gotta be somethin’ with this God-forsaken planet."

He looked to Kaylee, then Simon, then the sky, and his brow knotted. "What’re we lookin’ at?"

River appeared on the other side of them, watching the horizon. "Atmospheric refraction from the death of the solar day, varied by axis tilt and the stationary observer’s celestial meridian." Her face turned toward the others. "Shiny."


"The ambassador has arrived," Wash’s booming and overly official-sounding voice rang through the ship.

Inara sighed. "You know, you don’t have to do that every time I dock."

"I know," Wash said, releasing the com beside her. "It’s just fun."

"Where’s the captain?" she said. "We need to speak about our next port. I somehow have to convince him that another pointless trip to the rim isn’t going to help either of us right now." She stopped and looked through the cargo bay doors at the shimmering skyline. "I can’t believe he came to an actual city."

"Apparently he can’t either because he’s still out taking in the sights," Wash said, continuing up the stairs. "Plus the clandestine rendezvous with evil, evil people. He’s got a lot on his schedule, that’s all I’m saying. We’ll see if he can squeeze you in."


Malcolm Reynolds strode purposefully up the ramp and into Serenity. Inara was waiting a level above, looking down at him. He climbed the stairs and approached her, without a word.

"Mal, I need to talk to you about something."

With no thought or hesitation, he took her into his arms and kissed her for all he was worth. Two figures joined against the starry night sky, hands tangled in each other’s hair. It was so easy, so natural. Like breathing. Something inside him gave way, and he felt more free, more full of hope than he had the first time he set foot on this ship.

What seemed like a very long time passed, and her face withdrew to arm’s length. She was blurry for a moment, then back in focus, and the lights behind her head grew brighter.

"Whasam I?" Mal slurred. He had been dreaming. Now the dream was over, and he was on his back in the infirmary, looking up at Inara. There was a stinging crack, and the world rocked back and forth before steadying again. "D’she jusslap me?"

Simon came into Mal’s line of sight, ushering Inara out of the way and shining a light into his eyes. The captain lifted his head off the table and tried to roll away, but the doctor stopped him with a hand to his chest. "Easy. You took a pretty nasty bump to the head when you fell."

"Fell? She jusslap’d me." If anyone could hear him, they were doing a pretty good job of pretending otherwise.

Jayne was considering him with a look the captain thought was reserved only for River. Meanwhile, Inara just stood with her arms crossed and her eyes on the ceiling.

"What do you remember?" Simon asked, peering at a display.

Mal thought hard, but the last thing that came to mind was leaving the ship to meet with a client. "Nothin’," he said, blinking and gingerly shaking his head.

"Liar." Inara turned her back and left.

"No money, no goods, no recourse..." Jayne said from across the room, running a knife over his cheek. "Cap’n - and I say this with all respect - you could be the dumbest man I ever met."

Jayne rose and followed Inara out the door, muttering.

"Wasswithem?" Mal asked the doctor.

"They believe you are lying," he said, setting down an instrument and preparing a syringe, "to cover up what you’ve done."

"Whad’you believe?" the captain managed as his head began to clear.

"I believe" – he delivered the shot – "that you’ve been given such a potent mix of narcotics that I’m surprised your brain isn’t puree. I also believe that you have short-term memory loss."

"But how-"

"The only facts, however," he said, putting away his instruments, "are that you left to deliver a package, spent a good deal of time enjoying the local nightlife, and all you came back with was a Good Night Kiss. We found you unconscious outside the ship."

Mal closed his eyes and groaned in understanding.

River emerged from somewhere near the wall and ran her fingertips lightly over his head. "It was just her," she smiled. "Inara and all those stars."

He quickly pulled away and, with a mighty effort, sat upright. "You mean the ones dancin’ ‘round my head? Yep, you can thank our companion for those. I’d do it myself, but I think I’ve had enough feminine wiles for one night." He wobbled to the door.

Simon turned from examining data and saw the captain gathering himself on the precipice. "Wait, where are you going?"

"To reclaim our property. I see my dignity lying ‘round here, I aim to collect that too."


Part 2


Friday, November 4, 2005 10:14 AM


Oh, I like, very much. But it was rather confusing. I got that Mal left, came back all drugged and kissed Inara... but was he given the Goodnight Kiss? Or did he have the drug on his lips and Inara passed out? And did she really slap him? And why is everyone so pissed?

Friday, November 4, 2005 10:28 AM


"I got that Mal left, came back all drugged and kissed Inara... but was he given the Goodnight Kiss? Or did he have the drug on his lips and Inara passed out? And did she really slap him? And why is everyone so pissed?"

He didn't really kiss Inara. That was just a drug-induced dream. She did really slap him, though. Everyone's upset because he was obviously seduced by someone and didn't get the money.

Probably not a good sign if I need to do a Q&A. :(

Friday, November 4, 2005 12:59 PM


that last line was so damn cool...

"I see my dignity lying ‘round here, I aim to collect that too."

i'm not exactly sure how, but it is


Friday, November 4, 2005 2:08 PM


*Was so hoping he was finally over angsting about Inara*

I'm not sure what to suggest to make the hallucination clearer, but if you did that this would be an awesome beginning. Nothing like a lack of memory to spur plot movement. Maybe they robbed him too...

And the Simon/Kaylee opening, plus Jayne vulgarity, is dead on target.

Friday, November 4, 2005 9:14 PM


OK, you fixed it well. Go get 'em, Mal!

Monday, November 7, 2005 5:32 PM


You are definitely improving. The characters are right on. The Simon whining felt right, too, but then again, that should come easy to you by now. ;)

A good start.

Thursday, November 10, 2005 12:04 PM


Hey man. This is really good. As long as our systems are down at work I'm going to read more. I like how you did the dream sequence and then went on to explain they found Mal outside the ship.... which helps solidify that he didn't kiss Inara.


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Deja Vu Ain't What It Used To Be (part 1)
A routine delivery on a central planet turns out to be not so routine. Intended as an episode-style, four-part story set during Firefly.