Unity Day at Duke's

"Of all the bars in the black, I never thought you'd bring us here on U-Day." Zoë looked round the dimly lit bar, "There are over bars on this station."

"You go something against my choice in drinking establishments?" Mel asked.

"You go something against Duke?" Zoë raised an eyebrow.

"Ok, this is another of those situations that needs explaining." Wash look at them, and at Jayne, who was equally confused but more interested in getting a drink than an explanation.

"Malcolm Reynolds!" A voice called out from the bar, "What are you doing here you pirate?"

"Hey Duke." Mel walked up to a bear of a man with short red hair and shook his hand, "Looking to drown my sorrows."

"Ain't that the truth!" Duke took a step back, "You still keeping this old fool alive Zoë?"

"For my sins." Serenity's first officer grinned.

"What'll you have?" Duke smiled, "First rounds on me."

"I think beers all round will do." Mel smiled, heading over to a small table, "So, who you been keeping?"

"Getting by, getting by. Trying to live on a veteran's pension is impossible; that's why I bought this place." Duke brought over their drinks and set next to Mel, "I hear you got you a ship."

"That I did." Mel smiled, sipping the cold ale, "You know me: as far from authority as I can get."

"I envy you Reynolds." Duke smiled, showing a set of immaculate ivory-white teeth.

"I didn't think Independents got pensions?" Wash asked.

"They don't: I thought for the Alliance." Duke explained, "More fool me."

"They won didn't they?" Jayne looked confused.

"A victory bought by the blood of to many young solders on both sides." Duke shook his head, "Guay, I ain't got no love for the Shee-niou Alliance."

"So how'd you meet?" Wash asked, more confused than before.

"Battle of Whightfall, about six months before Serenity Valley; I was a not-so-young- sergeant tasked with trying to capture a platoon of Independents." Duke put his drink down, "I catch their leader, one Sergeant Malcolm Reynolds."

"Captured?" Mel laughed, "You beat the crap out of me!"

"Yeah, and I would have taken you in, except someone cold-clocked me from behind with the butt of their assault rife." Duke looked at Zoë.

"Legitimate ruse of war: distracting and encirclement." Zoë smiled, "Worked didn't it?"

"Hurt like hell." Duke laughed, "But I got to admire your skill."

"I'll back you up on the 'hurt like hell' part." Mel winced, "Just wish she hadn't taken so long."

"I find it hard to believe that you guys are such good friends." Wash shook his head.

"It was never anything personal." Duke shrugged, "I was a conscript; never cared less about the Alliance."

"It's almost time boss." One of the Bartenders whispered in Duke's ear.

"Yeah, it is that." The mountain of a man stood and walked back to the bar. He rang the bell above the drinks, "Can I have everyone's attention please." The bar went quiet. "Today marks the anniversary of the end of the war, and we remember those who aren't here with us." He raises a glass, everyone in the bar standing, "To fallen comrades: their fighting days are done."

"To fallen comrades." Everyone in the bar returned the toast.

"Well Tee wuh duh pee-goo if thatain't the worst Unity Day toast I've ever heard!" A drunk voice called out from the back.

"Oh, juh jun shr guh kwai-luh duh" Wash rested his head against the table.

"Hey Duke." Mel stood, "Ching zai-lai ee-bay Ng-Ka-Pei?"

"No matter where we go, Mel can't pass Unity Day without a fight." Zoë shook her head.

"What the hell are you doing here you Da-shiong bao-jah-shing duh la-doo-tze brown-coat?" The drink asked.

"Just having a drink." Mel didn't even look at the man.

"Don't you get it brown-coat?" The drunk smiled, "You lost."

"Maybe." Mel shrugged, then span round, his fist slamming into the other mans jaw, "Maybe not."

"Mel, I think he has friends." Zoë pointed to a large group of men who had started to walk across the bar, "And this is not the time for another crack about superior numbers."

The crack of the discharging shotgun echoed off every wall, the plaster dust floating down as Duke chambered another round, "Ain't going to be no fighting in my bar, not today, no ever." He turned to Mel, "You'd better get out of here before the law shows up."

"Sure thing." Mel nodded, putting his empty glass down, "See you around Duke." He turned to the others, "Let's get back to the ship."

The End

Gray = Hell

Shee-niou = Cow sucking

Tee wuh duh pee-goo = Kick me in the bottom

Oh, juh jun shr guh kwai-luh duh = Oh, this is a happy development...

Ching zai-lai ee-bay Ng-Ka-Pei? = Can I have one more glass of Ng-Ka-Pei, please?

Da-shiong bao-jah-shing duh la-doo-tze = The explosive diarrhea of an elephant

Taken from the Firefly Chinese Pinyinary.