Two gentlemen stood in a laboratory that had been abandoned for only a short time. On the counter was an opened cargo box and inside were five dead mice – one much flatter than the others – and a handkerchief holding the remains of a sixth.

"Most inconvenient," said the first gentleman.

"Yes," the second agreed. He tapped several commands out on the computer beside the cargo box. He wore gloves of an unusual shade of blue. "The accounts appear to have been emptied only a few days ago."

There was a pause during which a normal person would have sighed or tsked in frustration.

"I see," the first gentleman stated. "Shall we deal with technicians Monroe and Lee?"

"Eventually," the second one answered. "For the time being, I would suggest that we see about recovering the genetic record of their work and recreating the projects."

"I think that's a wise plan."

In a grubby office in the sprawling dockside, Badger leaned back in his chair, lazily watching the two cretins who stood before him.

"This is all your fault," the first muttered.

"Shut up!" the second hissed.

"Now, let me get this straight," Badger interrupted, pushing his hat further back on his head. "You want my help in disappearing off this planet."

"Yes," the second one nodded vigorously.

"And you don't care where I drop you," he added.

"No," she responded.

"I do!" he answered.

"Shut up!"

"I told you we shouldn't have hired those bounty hunters!" he whispered furiously, and the bickering started up again.

Irritated and amused, Badger watched them for another few moments. He would most like to kill them, but he doubted the percentage would be worth it. Instead, he pulled up a few miscellaneous listings. Serenity, Malcolm Reynold's ship, was due back in less than forty-eight hours. It would do his heart good to see Captain Reynolds trapped on his little boat with this pair of brainless gits. Yes, that worked out quite nicely.

"Well, I think I can work out something for the two of you," he smirked.