Here Be Dragons (Part I)
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Follow up Sequence to Wolf-Pack. Welcome to the Deep Black



Hotpoints Fan Fiction

The Granite Gorge docked with Serenity: Model by Artships


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.

Thanks to my regular readers for making it worthwhile to continue the story and special thanks to my Proof-Reader Landry

* * *

Serenity/Granite Gorge – The Deep Black – 2520AD

Mal found Wash leaning back in his seat with his feet up on top of the controls. He was asleep and snoring gently.

The Captain leaned over quietly and screamed ‘Hull Breach’ into the pilot’s ear as loudly as he could causing Wash not only to jump out of his skin but also slide forwards completely off of his chair so that he ended up with his backside on the deck, his head resting on the front of the chair and his legs still up on the controls pointing almost straight up. ‘Je shr shuh muh lan dong shi,’ yelled Wash, looking up at his Captain.

‘You’re supposed to be on duty. I won’t have you sleeping on duty,’ Mal said sternly.

‘Gorramit, Mal. You could have just shaken me awake or something,’ the pilot said, dragging himself back into his chair.

‘You got off lightly Wash. Sleep on your own time, not the ship’s.’

‘Mal we’re in the absolute centre of nowhere. We haven’t run into another ship in three months. There’s nothing out here at all,’ said Wash pointing out to the black. ‘I know you said you just wanted to drift for a while but it’s not exactly exciting from my point of view. We’re not even using the Radar in case someone triangulates our position from that, so I can’t even watch the screens in the idle hope something interesting passes by like maybe a big rock’

‘I want you sharp for when we do run into something out here which means I ain’t gonna let you get into bad habits. I don’t care if you’re memorising charts, running numbers through the computer, playing with the controls or shining the buttons. I just want you awake,’ Mal said. ‘Play with your darn dinosaurs if you want, but no sleeping on duty, dong ma?’

‘Yes Captain,’ Wash replied and gave a sloppy salute.

As Mal left Granite’s bridge Wash was opening up a panel so he could check the circuits yet again.

* * *

Mal frowned. This relaxed attitude was becoming endemic on the ship. Ever since they left colonised space three months earlier the sheer lack of anything to do was starting to drive the crew either stir-crazy or lazy. Only Kaylee was half way immune and that was because she had half of Serenity’s engine in pieces going through a total service. It was something she never got a chance to do until they had Granite to push them around and she was taking the opportunity to do some really major repairs.

The children were starting to get really tired of being cooped up. They’d been on the ship for quite some time but until now they’d usually gotten a chance every few weeks to get out onto a planetary surface. The only person crankier about things than the kids was Jayne who was clearly both bored and more than a little sexually frustrated. He was both working out more frequently and was spending even more time in his bunk than usual.

Judging from the sounds in the cargo bay as he made his way back to Serenity they had finally finished moving enough crates to enable Jennifer to play squash against the rear bulkhead. By moving a lot of the supplies into unused quarters and moving the rest to either side of the bay the cavernous hold on Granite Gorge was easily large enough for a squash court with room to spare.

Thanks to Simon’s skills as a doctor, Steven was fully recovered from his injuries but was more than a little out of shape. He had taken up weight lifting in order to get some muscle condition back in his left arm and now it appeared his wife was planning to either raise his fitness or else induce a cardiac arrest judging from the colour on his face when Mal entered the bay.

It didn’t help that Jennifer was a far superior player but his injuries had precluded much exertion and Steven was fairly unfit. Thusly his wife was clearly beating the pants off him as he dashed from one side on the “court” to the other smashing the small rubber ball with an improvised homemade racket.

‘What’s it like having your ass whupped by your wife?’ Mal asked as Steven missed the ball once again and, unable to stop in time, nearly smashed into a pile of crates.

‘You play her and find out for yourself,’ Steven wheezed back as Jennifer recovered the ball and went to serve again. ‘She’s holding back and she’s still twice as good as I ever was.’

‘I’m very rusty,’ Jennifer said, ‘but I did used to play a lot back on Toulouse.’

‘When we first dated she took me to a court and pounded me into the ground playing this game,’ Steven said, getting ready to play again. ‘She neglected to mention the trophies she’d won.’

‘I thought you needed to be taught some humility,’ Jennifer said. ‘You were the big opinionated Lecturer and I was only a student so you were a tiny bit patronising sometimes.’

‘Thought you couldn’t date students?’ Mal asked.

‘Totally different department at the university so it was allowed,’ Steven said then turned to his wife. ‘Go on then. Serve,’ he told her.

Jennifer served against the bulkhead and once again a game developed in which Steven covered better than twice the distance at breakneck speed trying to keep up with his wife’s smooth technique. Mal grinned at the sweat pouring off the academic and left them to it.

* * *

On the other side of the airlock Mal found Kaylee sitting cross-legged surrounded by engine parts laid out according to a pattern only she knew. She was doing something with a screwdriver to a rectangular piece of metal connected to a cylinder and the Captain could only hope that she knew exactly how to put all this junk back together because he was sure as hell nobody else did.

She looked up and smiled then went back to her job. She was clearly enjoying herself quite a lot because you had to keep reminding her to eat and sleep. Not for the first time, Mal wished he could enjoy his job with half the passion of his mechanic.

Jayne and Book were also in Serenity’s bay working out as usual with the mercenary spotting for the Shepherd who was working out the last of three sets of reps on the Bench Press. At least they were keeping busy and they’d be fit when he’d need them to be, thought the Captain as he continued on his rounds.

Simon was teaching science to the children in the communal area. He had a different curriculum for the three of them but tried to keep the subjects the same just teaching at a different level of complexity to each. As Mal walked in the children greeted him with a ‘Hello Captain’ as they always did, then went back to work. A surprising amount of money had been spent on teaching materials for them before they left the colonised worlds but as Steven pointed out “If you think education is expensive try ignorance,” and most of the crew clearly agreed since they had insisted on chipping in some money along with the children’s parents.

Mal smiled to himself remembering Claire-Marie coming to see him on the bridge one morning and asking if she could stop going to school because it was really boring that week and could she have a job as assistant pilot instead. Mal had told her that there was no way that he’d ever give a job to an uneducated pilot because that job took a lot of brains, but he’d think about it for the future if she did well in lessons. The look on her face as she sighed with resignation and tramped off to class was priceless as far as Mal was concerned.

Apparently Inara was planning on starting formal dance lessons for the children soon, having talked about it with their mother. For one horrifying moment Mal had thought he might get roped into that one as she had already been teaching him but Inara had instead recruited Simon and River since they had been raised in the sort of family where they’d been taught the ways of polite society from a young age and could waltz with the best of them.

Also in the communal area was Laura who had been glowering at the Captain since he came in. It had been a month since the girl had been given a more or less free hand to roam about the ship. Although still wearing the shock-anklet, she was by no means friendlier for it. River constantly kept her under telepathic scrutiny and every so often you could hear Laura yelp as a thought crossed her mind that River considered deserving of some voltage. For the most part she was just miserable rather than malevolent, and eventually, Mal hoped, they could bring her round. But if not there was always the airlock.

Every so often Laura would make eye-contact with Cally and it was always the former that broke and looked away first. The strong-willed little girl did have a glare that would rival a Particle-Beam cannon but there was surely more to it than that. Mal wondered why the older girl seemed wary of the eleven year old. It was puzzling.

‘How are you today Laura?’ Mal asked.

‘Still captive,’ she replied. ‘How is my captor?’

‘Still in charge,’ Mal responded, ‘and still willing to give you better quarters and food if you’ll help out around the ship.’

Laura looked at him. ‘Find another slave,’ she said.

‘I guess its dried rations and water for you again tonight then,’ Mal said and headed up the stairs by the infirmary leaving Laura to glower at his back. River said that she was close to breaking on that one. Making her eat nothing but nutritious but downright unappetising concentrated rations every meal whilst everyone else ate proper food around her was really starting to work. They all had to eat the stuff sometimes to eke out the stocks of real food but brown blocks washed down with water every darn meal was nobody’s idea of a tasty repast.

* * *

River was on the bridge with her pocket computer connected to the main console when Mal found her. She had asked him to meet her here earlier via the intercom but said there was no rush.

‘What’s up girl?’ he asked.

‘I’ve been talking to Shadow and I’ve had an idea.’

‘How have you been talking to Shadow? I hope you didn’t break communications blackout?’

‘Negative Captain. Communications by laser tightbeam only.’

‘Good, but in future talk to me first,’ Mal ordered. ‘So what’s the idea?’

River passed over her pocket computer. ‘This is a chart of the local area of space from Shadow’s databank,’ she said. ‘The Alliance apparently has an outpost in this area which they’re using to scout out new worlds to terraform.’

‘Darn. Then I guess we’d better be heading in another direction.’

River smiled. ‘In good time, but I had another idea.’

* * *

Mal made the announcement after dinner.

Simon looked concerned. ‘If there’s Alliance around here shouldn’t we be leaving?’ he asked.

‘Not right now. You’ve all been getting a mite bored out here and I’m guessing you’ll be wanting some action. So I’ve got some for you. River’s idea actually.’

‘What’s the idea?’ Zoe asked.

‘The Alliance runs supplies to the base and we could do with some, especially fuel, so we intercept the transports delivering it,’ River replied.

Steven was grinning. ‘We’re taking up Piracy then? I thought we were lying low?’

‘By the time the Alliance can get out here we’ll be long gone so they’ll never find us. The volume of space is too large,’ Mal replied. ‘What does everybody think?’

The crew looked at each other.

Simon spoke up. ‘Can I wear an eye-patch?’ he asked. ‘I’m a traditionalist.’

Part II


Wednesday, March 10, 2004 8:16 AM


YAY!!!! So glad to see the gang back in action!

Wednesday, March 10, 2004 1:37 PM


Really shiny, H...You've got the crew interaction perfectly

Wednesday, March 17, 2004 12:35 AM


Nice! Liked the upbeat atmosphere. Laughed at Wash and the sleeping, Mal and the still being in charge.

Looking forward to more.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004 12:33 PM


To Kispexi2 - Glad you liked it. Plenty of story to come I assure you

To MiloraDell - I like the characters too much not to keep writing them

To Anonymous - Thanks Dude ;)

To MalsDoxy - Perfect may be overstating it a touch but thanks :-)


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Horse, Foot and Artillery (Part XX)
The Independents lift for a return to the Valley

Horse, Foot and Artillery (Part XIX)
As they train for the Campaign to liberate Hera the soldiers of the Independent military continue to go about their daily lives.

Horse, Foot and Artillery (Part XVIII)
Mal faces a worse fate than he ever imagined, Serenity has an image change and Cally adjusts to life back on Toulouse

Horse, Foot and Artillery (Part XVII)
After the initial Independent blitzkreig the Second War of Independence continues with the Alliance still reeling and the Browncoats starting to consolidate their position

Horse, Foot and Artillery (Part XVI)
Scylla and Charybdis show the Alliance Navy what real warships are made of

Horse, Foot and Artillery (Part XV)
After the skirmishing the Battle of Toulouse begins

Horse, Foot and Artillery (Part XIV)
Mal Reynolds takes his "Valley Wolves" into action as the fighting on Toulouse escalates

Horse, Foot and Artillery (Part XIII)
The Independent Navy takes the fight to the Core while Mal Reynolds takes his new troops into action on Toulouse

Horse, Foot and Artillery (Part XII)
Unification Day 2522 goes not as expected

Horse, Foot and Artillery (Part XI)
Reunions and opening gambits