Series: Bad Blood
Disclaimer: Okay, I don't own the characters you recognize; if you've never heard of them before that means I own 'em, simple huh?
Author's Notes: I started writing this long before I saw the movie, then I saw the movie and I kind of started it in a very similiar way (but I didn't want to change it cause it worked gorramit!) Besides you know what they say about genius's and the way they think and the like.
After the movie I had to change parts of my story (because I couldn't bring myself to ignore certain deaths cries) and I've been sitting on it for a while now. I decided one day, hey lets share with the world. I just want to start off saying the story is going to have cannon and Rayne so if it isn't your cup of tea then move along (although you can read this chapter and the next one, they don't have any Rayne in 'em, well River and Jayne interact but they don't go jumping each other or anything extreme.)
This is woefully unbetaed (my beta had to quit on me and didn't get to read my first chapter so I'm sorry) and it's kind of long (4,182 words) but the next one is betaed (and its longer) but I'll get to all of that in the next one's author note.
I have a love hate relationship with this site (they wont let me write the name of the site, but you all know where you are right now don't you?). They deleted two stories I wrote with my friend because they claimed it was "Instant Message" conversations (which if you read the thing you would know it wasn't, it was script format without the INT: BACKWOODS crap) but I do have many stories fav'd and I love the review system. On that note, I would love some constructive criticism on this; after all it's the only way I'm going to get any better.
He was asleep, and it was nice, really nice. For once his dreams weren't filled with bombs over-head, gun fire erupting around him, and dead bodies piling up. No, right now he was asleep; something that, in-and-of itself, was a rarity. He was blissfully drifting in vacant dreams, which might be the reason he jumped up with a little yelp as his world shuddered around him.
"The hell?" One very sleep laden captain asked to his empty room. Mal sat there, on his bed leaning back on his arms, hair in every direction and so very confused. Briefly he wondered if he wasn't just a glutton for punishment and subconsciously woke himself from his wonderful dreamless sleep, only imagining the whole of his ship rocking around him. Then it happened again.
Serenity shook around him as if she was going to shiver into a million pieces.
"Its gonna be one of those days." He sighed deeply and ran a hand through his hair, only making it worse. As he began to stand the ship shook again and then jumped suddenly causing him to almost fall. "Well that was a sight worse then the first bit.." he muttered under his breath as he began to climb the ladder out of his bunk.
Mal staggered down the hall from his bunk towards the bridge as Serenity continued to shake.
"What in the hell is going on? Aint somebody drivin' this gorram thing?" He comes storming onto the bridge to find River behind the wheel and Zoe at the second's controls. Both women are pushing buttons and flipping switches trying to fix whatever was wrong.
"Did somethin' fall off? Did we lose another, very important, pieces to my boat?"
"Attempts to re-stabilize are inefficient, not our fault." River muttered as she held the wheel of the ship in a white knuckled grip.
Mal stared at the small girl in confusion for a moment "What does that mean?"
"Some debris or something scans didn't pick up. Our main stabilizers got hit the worse, knocked out our Nav. System." Zoe answered him, a mix between a confused grimace and a grin on her face.
"Why didn't she just say that?" He asked Zoe, then turned to face River "Why's she gotta go and say stuff no one understands?"
The ship again shudders around them and jumps violently, throwing Mal into the wall to his right. "Tah mah duh hwoon dahn!" River mutters angrily.
Mal stared at the girl in front of him "That I understood!"
"We under an attack or sumthin'?" Jayne asks as he steps from the doorway of his bunk. "Cause I'm getting' the feelin' we're all gonna be a mite bit deader in a few."
Mal gives Jayne a short glance "We may very well be…" He moves over to grab the intercom "Kaylee!" Static meets his ears. He stares down at the com in his hand before glancing to Zoe.
"Com's and Cortex are coming in and out, musta just dinged the nav system and bounced off it into our antenna. Main feed's gonna be a mess till we fix it."
"Wait, the main feed? How the hell we gonna get clearance to land?" Zoe gives him a steady look as the ship shakes more. "Right, one problem at a time. We'll just…deal with it later." He turns and walks to the doorway that leads down to the bunks "Kaylee!" He screams down the hallway, hoping like hell she can hear him from there. The way the ship was shaking it would be hell to have to make his way down to the engine room.
"I know!" From across the ship the voice of a slightly frazzled mechanic shouted over the noise of the ship's shuttering. The entire ship jumps one more time before the violent shuddering begins to lessen.
"That's my girl." Mal grinned to himself, patting the hull of his ship. "That's my girl."
River walks down the stairs into the bay, where the rest of the crew is already gathering.
"Another, mostly smooth landing, you might just become a pilot yet 'Lil Albatross." Mal says grinning up at her from next to the Mule.
Kaylee is the last to join the crew, coming down the stairs noticeably less sunny then normal. Her eyes were glued to a blackened piece of metal in her hand.
"So, what's the damage?" Kaylee glances up from the broken part and gives Mal a look that answered that question and more. He flinches slightly at the 'kicked puppy' face she just made.
"Com's 'r down, Cortex is out, stabilizers for re-entry are shot" She holds the piece of blackened metal up so he can see for himself "Nav's catalyzer is dead, more then three power couplin's are dead…" She continues on sounded more and more despondent.
"Right…" He cut her off before she could sound any sadder "So I guess we're all headed in town then?"
"All of us?"
Mal turns towards Simon and fixes him a patient smile. "Sure, Harvest is as good as any to get out and stretch. Sides we all got errands to be runnin'. 'Nara's got herself a client later today, Kaylee obviously needs to get some pieces for the boat, you're bout due for a restock, and the rest of us got some business to get attending."
Jayne smirks at Mal's use of words. Business to attend to, more like they was gonna drop off their cargo and be forced to "persuade" those pickin' it up to pay 'em. Yup, business as usual always ended up in bullets and blood, or at the very least broken bones.
"Exactly, you have a job. Don't you think its best if some of us stayed on the ship? In case…well, in case the job goes like they normally do?" Simon questioned without a hint of humor. Mal's patient smile fell and he wore a face similar to Kaylee's, which just caused Jayne's smirk turned into a full on grin.
"He's got a point sir…" Mal throws his wounded look on Zoe, offended that she would take his side in this.
"Point or not I'm still the captain, and what I say goes!" He stated slightly hurt. He looks around the large room and notes that not a one of his crew is showing any signs of agreeing with him, in fact they just stood there staring at him. "Fine! Simon you stay here, in case our luck holds out. Me, Zoe, Jayne and River are gonna go make the drop." He turns to look at the three of them. "We aint worked with these people before, could be we get lucky and they don't tryin' shoot us….but it'd be a comfort to have our mind reading genius warrior woman with us, just in case. 'Lil Kaylee, think you can find what our girl needs here?"
"Yeah, Harvest's good as any to find power couplin's and the catalyzer we fried on the nav but…" her face fell slightly "The stabilizers for re-entry aint gonna be cheap."
Mal sighs deeply, giving the ground a good glare "Never is…" He looks back to the sunny mechanic "Don't you worry on that, just get what we need to keep from fallin' right outta the sky dong ma?"
Simon looks from Mal to Kaylee and back. "Do you think that's safe? Letting her go out on her own?"
Kaylee flashes him a bright smile "Shouldn't be any trouble…."
"But nothin' Simon. I'll be fine, honest engine!"
Mal watches as Simon's eyes move from Kaylee to River for a moment before moving back. It was brief, something a person could easily have missed, but in those few seconds the look of utter defeat flashed across his eyes. Mal knew that look entirely too well. You could tell the young doctor felt he had little sway in the actions of the crew around him, granted that was cause it was true, but that don't mean he should feel like that. Simon had fought like hell the first time Mal had decided to take River on a run after Miranda and it had been an interesting fight too. First and only time Jayne and Simon agreed on something, although to be fair they had completely different reasons to want her off the run. Jayne's had been a frighteningly intelligent reason too, and the mere fact that Mal placed the word intelligent and Jayne in the same sentence, without the word aint in-between was creepifyin' enough, he hadn't needed to agree with the Merc on top of it all. While Simon's was a good deal more selfish you couldn't blame him. River was his mei mei, and the need to protect her even if she don't need it aint going to go away anytime soon. But defeated or not, Simon was right on this one.
"Right, well just the same he's got a point. Aint been on Harvest for a while now. 'Nara you think you could go with her to get the parts?"
"Of course. My appointment isn't for some time now." She gave Kaylee a small smile which caused the slightly glum mechanic to brighten instantly.
He would find it scary how easily being happy was to that girl, except for the fact that it was a bit infections at times, annoying but infections. "Good, you find the parts an' get back to Serenity. I don't want no dallyin' dong ma?"
Kaylee just smiles at him as Inara suppresses a sigh "Okay then. Lets get a move on people."
Jayne loads the last box of cargo into the Mule before climbing in. Zoe sits at the wheel, with Mal at her side.
"Take care," Inara offers to Zoe before looking at Mal "and be careful."
"Hey, it's me." He grinned at her as the Mule raced off.
Inara sighed quietly as she watched the Mule move away from the ship and towards town. "That's what I'm afraid of."
"Aw, they'll be fine 'Nara." Kaylee offers the Companion.
"What are the odds they make it back in one piece?"
"Oh, them's odds are good what with all four of 'em goin'."
"It's 4 to 1 odds he gets shot though" Simon offers from behind the two women.
"I'm the one…" Kaylee says slightly depressed.
"You all betted?" Inara asks her in shock.
"No, not all of us…well, you didn't." She offer's meekly.
"Oh, he's going to get shot." Kaylee stares at her like she's gone mad "When does he ever not get shot? Or stabbed? Or beaten?"
"Well, he is kinda accident prone."
"Accident prone? Kaylee if it weren't for Zoe that man would be dead by now." Inara sighs again and looks out at the horizon, the Mule quickly fading into the distance.
"I suppose I should go and ready the infirmary for his impending gun shot wound then." Simon says before pecking Kaylee on the cheek "Be careful today."
"I will." She says giving him a brilliant smile before he leaves to the infirmary.
Inara smiles at the mechanic, who is staring after Simon, or more accurately where Simon had just been. "Let's get going mei mei. The sooner we start the quicker you can get back and spend some alone time with Simon."
Kaylee beamed brightly at the thought and rushed off towards the engine room, shouting about how she needed to patch a few things up first. "Won't take but a minute!"
"I'll be in my shuttle waiting then." Inara smiled after the girl before closing the cargo bay doors and making her way up to her shuttle.
The Mule took off over the flat terrain of Harvest. Harvest was a lot like many of the other mid planets, not nearly as refined as the Core itself, but no where near as poor and unkempt as the planets at the edge. No Harvest was right smack dab in the middle, which made it the perfect place for not only fairly fine livin', but more then fine dealin' in the not so legal sense.
The planet as a whole weren't much bigger then Persephone, a little less densely populated, but around the exact same size. The main difference between the two was Harvest's weather, ideal for farming, which lead to the planets name sake.
Harvest is the main exporter of grown goods in the 'Verse. Odds are if you had ever had fresh produce you didn't grown your own self, it came from Harvest. The planet had begun like any other. Terra formed and colonized, didn't take long for everyone to realize how fertile the place was. Eventually someone figured they could make a good amount of money offa those fruits and vegetables. Soon the planet had gone from your regular outer rim piece of go se, to a kind of corporate farming planet complete with huge cities on the edges of the biggest farming plantations.
"We're meetin' them downtown." Mal shouted over the noise of the air wiping around them.
"Thought we weren't doing this in the city?" Zoe asks, never once taking her eyes off of the road in front of her.
"So did I, but apparently we agreed to let 'em pick the drop point."
"We? That some French guy I aint met?" Jayne barks from the back seat.
Mal fixes him a steady glare "Point is they decided to change where we're meetin', so I want us all on guard, especially you little witch."
Jayne slouched back into his seat watching as the large city of Nieuwe Maan grew closer'n closer. He hated when the plan changed, what's the point of a gorram plan if'n you just change it at the drop of a hat? Side's a change last minuet like this usually meant trap or double cross. Might as well just have a huge neon flashing sign that says "gonna try'n steal ya blind!" over 'em if your just gonna go and pull something like that. This was why he didn't like people in general, they never made any gorram sense.
River sat next to him, those stupid ass goggles on. Never understood that neither, why he an' crazy were the only ones with enough sense to wear something' to cover there eyes. Mule kicks up all kinds of go se when you're in it, and odds are against you not getting something in your eyes. All it takes is a bitty piece of dirt flyin' fast enough to blind a guy.
It didn't take long for him to get bored with scowling at the landscape. "So what exactly 'r we droppin' off here?"
"What the hell is that?"
"Wasn't sure I wanted to know. It was sealed up and wouldn't cause any problems if it stayed that way." Mal answered looking over his shoulder at the two in the back seat.
"Methyl parathion is a highly toxic organophosphate insecticide first registered in 1954." Both men turned their gazes to River as she continues "Short-term exposure may affect the nervous system by inhibiting cholinesterase. At normal levels, cholinesterase breaks down acetylcholine, which helps transmit signals in the nervous system. When cholinesterase is inhibited, an excess of acetylcholine builds up and impairs the proper functioning of the nervous system causing neurological problems. At high levels of exposure it can lead to respiratory failure and death. It's an illegal pesticide."
Jayne glances down to the box seated between himself and River "Why'd they want illegal pesticide?"
"Place like Harvest, farmin's a competitive business." Zoe spoke up for the first time since she changed course. "Biggest farms get contracted to ship out food to all over the 'Verse. Those contracts bring in a lot of money. Plenty of people'd do whatever it takes to make sure they get those contracts. Could be this stuff is cheaper and easier to use then the legal stuff, could be they want to frame someone."
"Not our place to figure it out. Just be on guard." Mal states ending the conversation abruptly, he was starting to get a bad feeling about this deal, something he didn't want to share with the others.
The Mule came to a stop at the end of a deserted alley. Large buildings stood all around them, casting ominous shadows about the area. Mal and Zoe stared down the alley way to the 5 men waiting for them.
"They're early…" Mal sighed quietly as they began to jump out of the Mule.
"I'm not sure I like this Mal." Jayne muttered as he helped River down from the Mule. Gorram girl was wearing a skirt on a run, made no sense to him but apparently it was tactical to have someone like her lookin' all innocent when she's actually totally deadly. It gives us the upper hand Mal said, frankly speakin' she didn't look deadly no matter what, less'n she was kicking your ass, she don't need a skirt to look not intimidating.
Mal started walking towards the men in the ally "Well, you don't have to like it." He turned to look at River then Jayne. "Just stand there and look mean." Jayne glared at the captain, giving him a 'I know how to do my job' kind of smirk. "Let's get this over with."
Mal and Zoe step towards the group of men in front of them, River and Jayne not far behind. "Evenin'"
"Where's the cargo?" The big one in the front barked. Gregor Branning if memory served, son of Darryl Branning owner of one of the biggest farms on Harvest. Looks like Zoe was right, new contracts comin' up and someone wanted to make sure they were getting it.
"Where's my pay?"
"You don't get the money till we get the cargo."
Mal stood there for a moment, staring at the five in front of him. "That aint how it works." It was going to be one of those deals, first timers never did quiet know how to handle the situation. "You give me the money then I give you the cargo, that was the deal…"
"What keeps you from takin' the money and the cargo and leavin'?" One of the ones over to the side asked. He looked more then a little like Gregor, must be kin.
"Well those nice guns you've got in your hands for one." Their hands tighten on their guns. Jayne was getting antsy, he gripped his gun a little tighter too, and Zoe's hand moved to hover over her own weapon.
"Look I double cross you how much more business you think Badgers gonna do with me? None, and I can't chance loosin' that business." Mal says as calmly as possible, these men were on edge and logic may just help 'em calm down some. "Sides I'm more inclined to believe me anyhow. Changin' the meeting spot so sudden can make a guy a mite nervous."
"We?" The sentence dies as Gregor's brow furrowed. He turned back to his men, a steady glare between each of them. One of the men re-adjusts his grip on his gun, eyes darting around the group, never staying on one person for long. "Hal…"
Mal watched the exchange and grew tenser as Gregor shot his man a death glare. "I'm gonna get shot…" He muttered under his breath. "Look, you just toss over that money so me an mine can give you your cargo and we can all ride into our respective sunsets no worse for wear dong ma?"
Gregor stops glaring at his man and turns back to Mal. He nods to one of his other men who reaches behind his body to a pouch attached to his belt. He tosses the bag of money to Mal who catches it. He gives Gregor a small smirk and without taking his eyes off of the men in front of him shouts to Jayne over his shoulder.
Jayne drops his gun, letting it hang at his side, as he walks back to the Mule. The big Merc walks over next to Mal and drops the box he was carryin' onto the ground.
"Here's your cargo gentle men…pleasure doin' business and the such. Sure you wont mind us leavin'." Mal turns towards Zoe and they begin to make their way back to the Mule, Jayne right behind them.
Jayne turns and moves towards the Mule, pulling his gun off his shoulder as he walked. He didn't trust these men, trusts 'em even less after that whole stare down thing they did with one of their own. He'd rather have his gun ready in case something happened, rather then be left wishin' he'd had it ready.
River stood over to the side, unusually quite which weren't a good sign at all. He looked at her as he walked by, an odd expression on her face. Jayne frowns at her in confusion before she gasp quietly and goes totally still. "Mal!"
Mal looked back over his shoulder to Jayne, who's back was facing him, so he turned to look over his shoulder a little further to where Jayne's eyes were. Mal's carefully practiced and often worn "calm" look changed the moment his eyes fell on River. He spun back around to face Zoe, an order in his eyes long before it could come out of his mouth.
River looked up at Jayne, eyes wide and unfocused. Just as Jayne was about to say something gun fire erupted around them. Mal and Zoe dove for cover behind the corner of a building only a few feet away from the Mule as Jayne pulled River down with him until they were huddled together behind a large metal trash container.
"Fine sir. You see River or Jayne?"
Mal looked around the corner of the building they were behind. "No, musta gotten to cover 'fore I looked"
"Who's doin' the shootin'?"
"I don't rightly know." Mal stuck his head back around the corner of the building trying to see who was killin' who out there.
Gregor was huddled against a wall, two of his men next to him. One of them was down, and the other was high tailin' it down the street.
"Lester you bun tyen-shung duh ee-dway-ro! I'm gonna kill you!" Gregor yelled at the retreating man as gunfire continued to pour down on them.
Double cross, how did that not surprise him? Mal glared at the three men pinned down and then over to the eight or so that had just shown up. The two groups continued firing on one another as Mal turned back to Zoe. "Who knew farmin' was such a hazardous business?"
"What exactly should we be doin' Sir?" Zoe asked in a calm tone that let him know she had gone into warrior mode.
"Mal!" Mal stopped what he was about to say as he heard his name echo in the ally. He turned and looked around frantically until he spotted Jayne across the ally from him, River ducked down behind him.
"We're fine, got down fore they all started firin'." Jayne answered his silent question.
Mal nods mutely as he surveys the gun fight. "Think you can make the Mule?"
"Think we can make the mule?" Zoe asks from behind him, looking out to where the Mule was parked. It was only a few yards from where they were tucked away, a lot further for Jayne and River.
Jayne leans his head out into the ally a bullet coming dangerously close to his head. He moved back behind the trash container. "Doubt it…"
"I know…We get to the mule, head back and wait for Jayne and River on Serenity, that's the plan." He ordered as a bullet ringed by.
Zoe stared at her captain unflinching as another bullet came dangerously close to the two "You sure that's a good idea?"
"Hell Zoe, anyone can make it outta a gun fight its Jayne, and I aint gonna worry too much over River the government created warrior woman's safety." He answered as he continued to watch the two groups exchange fire.
"Right, but I meant us runnin' to the Mule."
Mal turned to look back at her serious face. "Don't worry, I'll be the one to get shot." He said a small smirk on his face.
"That's what I'm worried about sir." She muttered under her breath as Mal turned back to Jayne and River.
"Jayne! We gotta go." He yelled over the gunfire.
Jayne glared across the ally, partially in anger, and partially because of all the smoke the shoot out was makin. "Yeah! I know…Go."
"Get back to the port as quick as you can Jayne."
This time he glared entirely out of annoyance. "Yeah I gottchya."
Mal nodded to him and turned back to his second. "Okay, to the Mule on 3. 1…2…."
Bright lights fill the back alley as an aircraft floated overhead, Mal's counting died as he looked up at the ship. "Freeze, you are all under arrest." The Fed car's loud speakers boomed over the sound of guns.
Mal glared up into the sky, eye's locked on the Fed's car "Well this just keeps getting better and better."