Title: Not Always What They Seem Rating: PG

Synopsis: Simon is kidnapped by the Feds and when Mal and Co. get him back, he's not quite the same. And the doctor brought aboard to 'fix' him causes quite a stir.

Timeframe: Takes place a few months after the movie, Serenity.

Notes: The medical terms used in later chapters are hopefully correct. I looked up as much information as I could. If anyone notices a very glaring error, please let me know and I will correct it.

Disclaimer: This story is not meant to infringe on the copyright of any person or company related to the trademarked characters and situations depicted in the Serenity movie or Firefly series. I make no money from this. OnIy done for fun - and a desperate craving to have more stories told about this wonderful 'verse Joss Whedon created.


Not Always What They Seem

Prologue

"What was Simon thinking, getting off the ship?" Mal swore as he paced the cargo hold. "I should have told him he couldn't get off the gorram ship."

"He's been off the ship lotsa times since Miranda. No ones ever cared before." Kaylee offered, shaking with the mere thought of Simon in federal custody.

"Yeah, well someone does now." Mal cocked his gun and turned toward Zoe and Jayne as they readied their own firearms. "We're too close to a Core world for gorram's sake! I should have insisted he stay put."

"So much for that Operative tellin' ya the truth." Jayne said as he examined his guns.

"Maybe the Feds don't have him," Kaylee offered with a hopeful, shaky smile.

"Then who would?" Jayne asked with a dumfounded look.

"Another bounty hunter? Someone like Jubal Early?" Kaylee knew she was grasping at straws but it wasn't in her nature to just give up hope.

"Their names haven't been removed from the wanted list. Though," Zoe added, "I noticed there hasn't been a recent warrant issued for their arrest." She glanced up at Mal. "The Alliance has more concerns now than finding these two. Despite how they've tried to cover up the news from Miranda, factions of the government have split over the news."

"Lovely. So likely we're dealin' with an ungoverned faction of the notably ungoverned union of allied planets?" Mal turned to Kaylee. "Get on the Cortex and find out if there has been any suspicious activity. Monitor all channels." He flipped a switch on his hand held communication device and tossed it to Kaylee. "Keep in touch."

"Too late," River said as she stood on the top of the stairs gazing down at them. Her eyes were glazed, her mind clearly elsewhere. "It's too late."

TBC