Wolf Pack (Part XIV)
Thursday, February 26, 2004

Some people learn, others make lists, preparations for the Deep Black are made


Disclaimer – Everything either does belong to Joss or it should. I’m just borrowing his shiny ‘verse for a while.

The 21st Lancers belong to the British Army so I’m borrowing them too. I hope they don’t mind

* * *

Serenity/Granite Gorge – In Transit to Virginia – 2520AD

‘Do you think Serenity minds being pushed backwards through the ‘Verse?’ Claire-Marie asked ‘It looks a bit undignified to me’

Wash thought for a second then turned to the little girl sitting on the co-pilots seat next to him. It was raised to its maximum height and she still needed an extra cushion to look forward over the controls. ‘I think she might be grateful for the rest’ he said. ‘Serenity has done a lot of miles in her time’

From the Bridge on Granite Gorge you looked forward over Serenity as it was propelled ass-end first through space. The Trance Class was taller than the Firefly as well as far bulkier generally so Serenity did not interfere too much with the view but you could still see her and it was reassuring to Was to know that, despite the fact he spent more time flying the lumbering transport now, the swifter, more manoeuvrable, ship was still there waiting ready for action.

Claire-Marie thought about that ‘Maybe you’re right’ she said ‘but I still think she’d like to fly free sometimes’ she pointed at the control column ‘can I fly the ship again for a little while?’ she asked.

‘Just grip the column and no sudden changes in course or the Cap will have my hide’ Wash told her ‘keep on the same heading’

‘Thanks Wash’ Claire-Marie said happily and took the co-pilot controls in a vice-like grip. The pilot switched over the controls to her and took his hands off the stick. ‘It still seems funny heading this way when we’re going to the dot over there’ she said.

‘By the time…’ Wash began.

‘…we get to the planet its orbit will have taken it to where we’re heading’ Claire-Marie interrupted ‘I know’ she said.

‘Flying lessons?’ Zoe asked appearing on the bridge.

‘Wash is showing me some things’ the girl said still concentrating intently on holding the control column ‘he’s my favourite teacher’ she continued ‘but please don’t tell daddy that’

‘Your secrets safe’ Zoe responded and bent down to kiss her husband ‘thinking about a new career?’ she asked.

‘You never know’ Wash replied ‘It’s kinda fun’

‘You and Wash should have children’ Claire-Marie stated with her eyes still locked forward over the controls ‘he needs somebody to play dinosaurs with when I grow up. I’ll baby-sit for you and fly the ship sometimes so you’ll have time for them and your job’

The Pilots eyes widened and Zoe held back a laugh, children were so direct.

‘It’s a bit more complicated than that sweetheart. There are other things to think about’ Zoe said.

‘But you’re married’ Claire-Marie said ‘married people have babies. This is a nice ship for children, it’s fun and you learn lots of useful things every day. Kaylee knows loads of games to play and Jayne’s the best hide and seek player in the whole ‘Verse’

‘Might be dangerous for babies not big girls like you’ Wash said.

Claire-Marie stuck her tongue out ‘Don’t be silly everyone would look after them and if they got hurt Simon can fix anyone. He fixed daddy and he was shot three whole times’ she paused ‘if I do it gently can I bank the ship to port with the thrusters? I’ll put it back on course afterwards’

‘Make sure you do it very smoothly’ Wash told her. And watched to make sure she was doing it right.

Zoe watched her husband. He had definite daddy potential and he seemed to be starting to reach that conclusion himself.

She smiled.

* * *

At Mal’s request Inara was making up a shopping list going around the crew finding out what supplies they thought was required before heading out to the deep black.

It was Jayne’s turn and he already had a mental list himself.

‘We’ve only got about 5000 rounds of 5mm caseless rounds onboard and most of our rifles are chambered for it so we double that to my mind’ Jayne stated ‘ on the other hand might be better to triple it ‘cause Steve’s Brimstone shoots it too and that thing eats ammo’

Inara looked at him ‘you really think we need another ten thousand bullets?’

Jayne shook his head ‘No I mean we need another ten thousand rounds of five-milimetre. We also need an extra couple of thousand rounds for Vera. We’re okay for shotgun shells but I reckon another thousand rounds of pistol rounds would be good too not to mention a few hundred more of those weird-ass calibre rounds for Zoe’s lever-actions’

‘Anything else’ Inara asked writing down the list.

‘Grenades, we need more grenades. Frags, smoke, concussion and stun if we can get them’ Jayne paused ‘yeah and twenty-millimetre autolaunchers for the Brimstone. That might be hard though, it’s military issue only’

Inara continued making notes ‘Any idea on costs?’

‘Should be able to get a decent deal if we through in our excess weapons, we got a load of hardware which ain’t worth keeping’ Jayne replied ‘doubt it’ll cost too much cash wise’

‘Right’ Inara said ‘Final question, if we find we do well on the deals and have some additional funds what do you think we should we spend it on?’

Jayne smirked ‘Getting some trim’ he said looking at her lecherously.

As ever Inara ignored him.

* * *

Steven considered his hands ‘I’ll never be able to touch-type properly again’ he said ‘I can’t write anything with the letter s in it’ he joked.

‘Could have been worse?’ Simon told him checking his injuries again. ‘How does the arm feel?’

‘Pains not too bad there’ Steven told him ‘it’s the hole in my guts that never lets me forget about it. I have to stop myself laughing and coughing hurts like hell’

‘That the worst of it?’

‘No. I had hiccups earlier today. Considered suicide as a solution’

‘Always keep a glass of water to hand then’ Simon advised deadpan ‘even if it doesn’t cure the hiccups it’ll make the cyanide pill easier to swallow’

‘You’re all heart Doctor’

Simon finished his examination ‘you look fine. I’ll give you another couple of shots for the pain and to speed up healing but otherwise it’s up to you to get better now’

‘Why is it in the films people can get over serious injuries in hours or days whereas in real life it always takes bloody ages?’

‘Blanks are a lot less effective at creating injuries’ Simon replied ‘this won’t hurt a bit’ he said holding up a syringe.

The needle went into his right arm and Steven winced ‘Why do you medical types bother saying that. It’s not true and nobody believes it anyway?’

‘But it really doesn’t hurt a bit’ Simon said ‘I’ve given thousands of injections and I’ve never felt a thing’

Steven gave the now smirking Doctor a baleful glare ‘Be grateful it would hurt too much to punch you’

‘I think you’ve just discovered why I don’t allow firearms in the infirmary’ Simon replied reaching for another syringe.

* * *

Kaylee was in the Engine room on the Trance Class. She nearly had the ship running to specification and was now thinking about how she could up the performance beyond normal levels.

In many ways it was a pity they were not selling the ship now because they’d get a fortune for it now it was respectably clean and worked properly. Still the mechanic enjoyed playing with machinery and shifting from Serenity to Granite gave her life a little more variation. She was actually considering a major overhaul of the Firefly since they had the other ship to push her around and could finally afford to dismantle parts that would take several days to work on.

Mal found her working on the reactor plant tweaking the mixture again. The pirates who had previously owned the ship had cared nothing for efficiency, they stole their fuel, but the new owners bought theirs, well usually, and it would be better to run on a lighter Deuterium/Tritium mix.

‘Think she’ll do alright for us in the Deep Black?’ Mal asked.

The mechanic looked up ‘Oh yes Captain she’s a sturdy beast. Easy to fix too because there’s lots of space around the engine and not a lot of finesse to her design anyway’

‘Of the parts we took from the other one which do you want to keep?’

Kaylee thought ‘I’d keep all of them by choice but a few of them we can still sell because the equivalent units here were only recently replaced. The main breakers and the inertial suppressors can’t be much more than a year old’

Mal frowned. It meant nothing to him ‘Could you give me a cash value?’

She considered for a while ‘Say another five-six thousand in saleable parts’

‘I thought we had a part that was worth twenty on its own?’

‘We do and if the one already installed on Granite ever fails we’ll be leaving her drifting behind us when we leave on Serenity’

Mal considered the situation ‘Well I suppose an extra six thousand worth of supplies will get us a long way’

‘Yes Captain’ she replied ‘but I do need to buy some spares for Serenity, nothing major though only maybe two thousands worth. Might get a better deal if we just exchange a couple of Trance parts for Firefly ones rather than deal wholly in cash’

‘I’ll expect you and Wash to get the best deal you can’

‘Of course Captain. The more we save on parts the more we have for better quality food supplies’

‘I was thinking more fuel myself’ Mal said. ‘I really don’t mind that reconstituted protein crap’

Kaylee made a face ‘If you think I’m eating that for two years I’m leaving’

* * *

Laura eyed the remote in Rivers hand nervously. It hadn’t taken many days to train herself not to automatically scan people for fear of a shock, but she still did it absent-mindedly and suffered as a result.

‘You know I don’t like any of you don’t you?’

River nodded ‘That would be obvious even without the telepathy. You’re a little lost girl amongst strangers you don’t know or care for’

‘You make me sound weak or powerless. That’s not the case’

River grinned ‘She understands she does not comprehend’ she said.

Laura sighed ‘Exactly how much medication are you on anyway?’

‘More than you but only because I’m gradually becoming resistant to it. Simon may have to start using a new mixture in a few months but he’s already working on it’

‘You can’t be happy knowing you’ll be tranquilized the rest of your life. If you returned to the Academy they could train you to not need the drugs’

‘Your conditioning failed Junior. Why do you still advocate it? One definition of insanity is repeating the same action over and over when it didn’t work the first time’

Laura frowned ‘The process works they just used the wrong set of programs’

‘The idea of being a brainwashed zombie frankly doesn’t appeal. I’d frankly rather be thought of as not quite right sometimes’

‘They call you crazy, mad, “not quite right”, they don’t really understand you so why should you stay with them’

‘Because while they call me crazy they’d never let anyone else say it’ River replied ‘and because they need me to look after them’

‘Why should you care?’

‘Hopefully you’ll learn why’ River replied ‘if not I’ll be changing a lot of batteries in your shock ring over the next few years’

River made a mental note. Tell Inara to add batteries to the list.

* * *

Jennifer was sat down with John for reading lessons in Serenity’s common area when Book walked in via the stairs.

‘Have you seen the Captain?’ he asked.

‘I think he’s over on Granite Gorge’ Jennifer replied ‘but if you’re considering what I suspect you want to talk to him about you’ll be wasting your breath’

Book looked at her ‘You must see the immorality of what they’re planning. It’s nothing short of cold-blooded murder’

John looked up ‘What’s going on mummy?’ he asked

‘Nothing for you to worry about John’ his mother told him

‘Alright’ the little boy replied and went back to reading. If he found a difficult word he would ask his mother what it was otherwise he would read the whole passage aloud then be asked what it meant.

Jennifer looked up at Book ‘That man is a threat to my family. So I have no problem with anything that “removes” him’ she said simply ‘my priorities are more grounded than yours here. I’m sorry but I cannot feel otherwise’

‘I’ll talk to your husband. He’s a thoughtful ethical man’

‘He is but more than that he’s a realist and a pragmatist so don’t expect any results’ Jennifer told him then went back to looking at her son ‘did you understand that long word there?’ she asked.

Book looked at the mother and child then went to find Mal.

* * *

After leaving the bridge Zoe ran into Mal in the cargo bay as he was also heading back to Serenity.

‘Made any decisions on what we’re doing with the Agent yet?’ Zoe asked.

The Captain shook his head ‘No but River had an idea’

‘Yeah what was it?’

‘When we get to Virginia we let him go’

‘We do what?’ Zoe exclaimed ‘Book hasn’t been working on her has he? He knows too much we need to get rid of him’

‘I agree. So does River’

‘Then why let him go?’

Mal gave Zoe a wry smile ‘At what point did I specify how high up we’d be when we let him go?’ he asked.

Part XV


Thursday, February 26, 2004 9:07 AM


You managed to make the Steven-Simon banter funny even though it was old jokes. But then, I like all the interactions. Glad you're not making Laura's rehabilitation too easy, and that River's not cured. All in all, not much happened in this episode, but it was very enjoyable. Thanks!

Thursday, February 26, 2004 1:53 PM


I thought you gave Simon the best lines and could easily hear him saying them, well done! I loved the quip about the glass of water and the cyanide, that had me rolled up. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, March 2, 2004 9:15 AM


To "artships" - Rivers problem is physiological so I can't ever see her being really cured just treated

To "AMDOBELL" - Glad you liked the cyanide joke it just popped into my head and I had to use it


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