So, here I am doing everything in my power to avoid working on my other fics.

…and I kinda like Firefly.

If there is one thing I have noticed about Firefly writing is that it appears to be unusually well written and highly developed – I hope this meets the standard set by others.

I'm not sure if I want to carry this on as a full-blown story idea, but please tell me if you would like me to.

Please read and review.


What is good? All that heightens the feeling of power in man, the will to power, power itself. What is bad? All
that is born of weakness. What is happiness? The feeling that power is growing, that resistance is overcome.

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist, section 2

What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving
how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god!

William Shakespeare, "Hamlet", Act 2 scene 2


Jayne Cobb, mercenary, sometime outlaw, purveyor of quality firearms and all-around badass – if you believed his self-styled publicity – was bored. His guns had all been cleaned, multiple times, then stripped and re-cleaned again. Out of frustration he'd even tidied his cabin which, when your possessions, other than a wealth of armaments, amounted to little more than a few changes of clothes and the odd poster of the latest in a line of buxom, scantily-clad models, cleaning didn't take very long at all.

So, he sat. Bored. He contemplated cleaning his guns again, but despite his passion for, what he sometimes considered to be, his friends, even Jayne baulked at repeating things a third time, he wasn't 'that' bored. Anyway, it wasn't likely that he'd get to use them anytime soon seeing as Mal had them on a damn milk run shipping a bunch of seeds from one no-account pothole to another no-account pothole in some backwater part of the spiral arm that appeared to be inhabited solely by folks running from either the Alliance, angry fathers-in-law or folk with rotten teeth. In any one of these eventualities it made the area neither interesting nor particularly palatable. There wasn't even, much to Jayne's disgust, a decent whore-house in the area, with what passed for comforts-of-the-flesh serviced solely by a snaggle-toothed collection of atrocities only nominally female and more than likely to give a troll fits instead of some measure of release; but such was life in the wastelands. Privately, Jayne had developed a theory that the Core Worlds were surreptitiously exporting all the ugly people to the frontier as part of a system-wide beautification project. Thinking and voicing such things were two different scenarios entirely, and the last thing Jayne wanted or needed was an ill-informed lecture from the Shepherd or a snooty dismissal from Inara or, for that matter, that pantywaist doctor. To Jayne's way of thinking, it wasn't that he cared what they thought of him, it was just that he couldn't shoot them when they expressed said thoughts; made confrontations awfully one-sided and he didn't want to run the risk of Mal spacing him; being trapped in the airlock just the once was an experience he had no desire to repeat.

Bored.

Maybe he'd go and lift weights. Of course, if he did that, he'd have to put up with the doctor's lunatic sister watching him with a gaze more appropriate to a ravening bird of prey than a young female; frankly, she made him feel like a piece of meat - piece of meat that is in the sense of a raw, bloody steak, not a male model posed for maximum feminine adulation. Now there was a laugh, thought Jayne bitterly, all people saw him as was a hired gun, tame muscle, a pet ape used by his betters solely for keeping others in line; sure, he had respect, but when you're honest with yourself what is respect earnt at the end of a gun really worth?

Still bored.

If things got really desperate, he thought, he could always write his mother a letter; god alone knew she nagged him constantly to write whenever he heard from her. He'd thought about asking Mal if they could avoid Persephone for a while, if only to avoid the latest in a long line of missives advising him of his shortcomings and demanding to know when he was going to stop screwing around in the black and return home to look after the farm.

Joy.

Jayne Cobb. Farmer. He was meant to farm to about the same extent as a brick was meant to fly, and if it came down to the two of them then his money was on the brick; 'black thumb' didn't even begin to define his talents in the world of plant killing. More effective that Agent Orange his pappy said, Jayne didn't have a clue what Agent Orange was, or who he worked for, but he got the idea.

He knew his Ma meant well, but he preferred her well-meaningness from a distance of several light years, at least then she wasn't able to embarrass him in front of the church committee like that time when she had…Jayne abruptly changed mental stream, he'd sworn that he's never go there again, ever.

Maybe he'd clean his guns.

Bored.

Deciding that he'd had enough of being pathetic, well stationary and pathetic (and bored), he made to leave his cabin and get something to eat and drink; maybe… hopefully, there'd be some coffee left; assuming Wash hadn't consumed it all in another of his ongoing and seemingly eternal vigils at the helm. It was a complete mystery to Jayne how one person could drink as much coffee as Wash did and yet retain some measure of apparent control over their central nervous system; although judging by the little man's predilection for the chaos theory approach to piloting, that wasn't a given. And what was up with those dinosaurs? Damn fool was too old to be playing with toys.

Making his way down the central portion of Serenity's companionway, Jayne was relieved not to encounter any of the crew, frankly, he wasn't in the mood for interaction and he couldn't really be bothered donning his 'mercenary mask'. Truth be told, the diverse inhabitants of the ship would have been surprised to learn that one of Jayne's primary motivations for existence was for people to leave him the hell alone and if by becoming the epitome of the anti-social oaf was required to achieve this then so be it. Sometimes the guise, and the concomitant persona, were worth the momentary aggravation of necessary pretence; but then, sometimes, appearance counted for more than reality, which was something Jayne had learned early on in his career where oft-times an ostensible threat was more effective than a multitude of object lessons.

Of course, there was something to be said for the occasional object lesson.

Jayne hadn't become a mercenary out of some misplaced sense of bravado or a need for adventure and certainly not out of a passion for violence, simply, it was what he did best and, as Jayne saw it, if you were an expert shot and a skilled martial artist your career options tended to point in a certain direction. This is not to suggest that Jayne was all sweetness and light, or that his motives were pure as the driven snow; certainly, he had no compunctions about killing in the line of duty, and even killing in the line of off-duty was considered perfectly acceptable if the target had been especially annoying, however, it was fair to say that Jayne would never start anything only finish it.

For some reason he ended up finishing a lot of things.

Swinging into the ship's communal area-cum-galley, Jayne was pleased to find the area deserted; most especially he was pleased to see no River in evidence; while Jayne had moved past a desire to sell the girl to the highest bidder, he still regarded her presence with a degree of suspicion generally reserved for those people who let wild animals wander around their homes in the mistaken assumption that civilisation could be learnt through osmosis. It wasn't that Jayne considered the girl dangerous, at least not in a personal sense - despite the recent knife slash across his chest - instead, it was the pure randomness, the chaos she represented, that concerned Jayne, all the moreso because of her abilities, abilities that could flare and then, just as unexpectedly, fade away. In a lighter moment he had envisioned her imploding and leaving a bloody smear on the deck plates, then his mood, much in the fashion of spring weather, changed and he imagined the girl exploding and taking Serenity, and all aboard, with her.

Taking a seat at the table, insofar as slouching in a chair with his feet propped up could be considered 'sitting', Jayne stared at the light fixture embedded in the steel superstructure that contrived to call itself a ceiling; it was almost as exciting as lying on his bed staring at the light in his cabin. Righting himself with a frustrated sigh, the mercenary sprawled across the table, eye's focused on nothing in particular, not of course, that there was anything of a startlingly aesthetic nature to draw his attention. It was then, eyes wandering, that he caught sight of the object wedged between one of the deck plates and the wall. Curiosity piqued, he heaved himself upright and moved to examine his find. On closer examination, his discovery, turned out to be a book, which caused Jayne to smile - an action that would have undoubtedly startled a majority of the crew who would have received good odds on whether or not Jayne actually knew what a book was.

The thing is, Jayne liked to read, certainly his mother had made sure he knew how to, what with his childhood being punctuated at least once a week by his mother's clarion declaration that she wasn't going raise 'some damn fool illiterate savage'. Jayne would have ignored her if not for the proficiency with which his mother wielded a soup ladle and the fact that dinner was served only after the children had undertaken their schoolwork; Jayne went awful hungry some nights - he also cursed the fact that his mother had the patience of a rock thereby causing his cunningly considered plan of waiting her out to generally fail.

Now Jayne, on occasion, was known to be a mite stubborn, but he had nothing on his mother and eventually he came to the conclusion that if he didn't want to starve to death he'd better do as he was bid. Latter still, he actually came to enjoy reading, to his mind at least, books made a hell of a lot more sense than most people, and better yet, they didn't try to rob your pa or molest your sister. Yet, the unfortunate fact, being on a frontier world and all, was that there weren't that many books to read, other than Alliance propaganda manuals about being an upright citizen, something which didn't particularly appeal to Jayne; thus, whenever he got the chance, off-world, he'd head to the nearest library.

This, however, this was the first time that Jayne had seen a book on board Serenity, other, that is, than Shepherd Book's omnipresent bible-come-conscience-adjuster. Not, of course that Jayne doubted there were books on the ship, as he was fairly certain that hoity-toity doctor read odious love sonnets to himself in order to stiffen the al-dente stylings of his backbone. Of course that was just speculation on the mercenary's part; but then he'd caught enough nauseatingly cow-eyed looks passing between Simon and Kaylee for him to construct quixotic cloud-castles of horror at the potential thought of the doctor reciting sonnets to the girl while perched on a hill supping tea and eating cream cakes.

Thinking further on the subject, Jayne considered some of the others and, in a flight of atypical whimsy, attempted to catalogue their potential libraries. Inara, he mused probably had books from whore school, something like: 'One Hundred and One Positions for Fun and Profit' or, 'Societal Reaction and Response to Mascara'. The captain, he decided, was more politically oriented with titles like 'The Care and Feeding of Institutionalised Hatred' and 'Political Ingratitude for the Defeated', while Zoë, no doubt subscribed to 'Amazon Monthly' and he bet that even River had a copy of 'The Hungry Caterpillar' stashed somewhere.

The book he had discovered, however, appeared to fit none of these categories appearing to be a collection of plays and, in fact, judging by its condition, it appeared to have been wedged in the position Jaynne had noticed it, for a considerable period of time; perhaps even predating Mal's assumption of Serenity's ownership, for while it was whole, the cover was somewhat ragged and the pages bore the brown tinge of oxidation indicative of some measure of age. Jayne wasn't sure if the book had been dropped, or placed deliberately but he knew that if he hadn't been sprawled so inelegantly across the table it would have been unlikely that he would have seen it; a thought that caused him to question why no other had spotted the book over the period it had obviously been there; especially, he conceded, River, who, despite her addled-headed manner had a knack for observing things that others missed.

Book firmly in hand, Jayne retreated to his cabin while, for some reason he couldn't explain, he cast furtive glances about as he made his return, as, for reasons unknown even to him, he wanted no other to discover his prize. Finally, he settled back onto his bunk and began to explore this book, this world created by someone who went by the name of Shakespeare.