Water Under The Bridge: Travel Time

New Londinium, Time Square: High Noon

"Everyone here's your positions," Mal announced. "Faith take the alley over there. You should be in perfect position to snipe with your crossbow. Kaylee and Simon, hide in the shadows, only make your move if you think we need help. You aren't as experienced as we are, so your main job is back up, right now."

"We can handle that," Simon said grabbing Kaylee's hand and leading her across the street.

"Where are you going to be?" Faith asked, as she loaded her crossbow.

"Jayne will come straight to the bank," Mal said. "Subtle is not in his nature. I'll step out of the bank and draw his attention. That's when you take him down."

"I like this plan," Faith said, slapping him on the shoulder before vanishing down the alley.

Mal rubbed a thumb across the emerald ring on his right hand and stepped back into the entrance of the bank, so he couldn't be spotted from the street. Not five minutes later, just as predicted, Jayne and his two partners in crime, bold as brass, approached the bank and Mal stepped out to meet them.

"I told you I'd stop you," Mal said, standing with his hands on his hips, blocking entry to the bank.

"And I told you, I have a plan for that," Jayne said with a grin. Reaching behind his back, he whipped out an oversized four barreled shotgun and pulled the trigger, nearly cutting Mal in half.

Willow waved her hand and a violet shield appeared around them, deflecting a crossbow bolt and several throwing knives.

"I've got it," Dawn announced, growing to the size of a five story building, catching Faith underneath a car sized foot before she could escape, and reducing her to red paste.

Kaylee turned to Simon. "What say we sneak off, change our names and concentrate on having a lot of kids together, rather than throwing our lives away?"

Serenity, Dining Room

"Eww!" Dawn said, making a face. "That's disgusting!"

"Yeah," Willow agreed. "You two are brother and sister."

"What?" Simon said picking up his character sheet. "I thought they were a married couple with matching rings."

Kaylee laughed and hid her face behind her character sheet. "We've been naughty!"

"I wanna know how Jayne cut me in half with a shotgun," Mal asked. "I thought a green lantern ring gave you a shield that made you bullet proof."

"They are called the Wonder Twins because they are twins," Julie explained to Simon. "And if we can conclude that Gorilla Grod, Giganta, and Star Sapphire have won this game, I'll let Jayne explain."

"If that shotgun blast was legal, we're toast," Mal agreed.

"Remember that jewelry store robbery early on?" Jayne asked.

"Yeah," Mal agreed. "I thought you were just testing the waters on that."

"Nah, I just needed a half pound of gold," Jayne replied.

"Gold?" Mal asked, even as Simon groaned, realizing what had happened.

"Can't tell it from lead in the dark," Jayne agreed cheerfully. "Same weight and malleability, which means you don't even have to adjust your gunsights."

"Jian ta de gui!" Mal cursed in shock. "You filled me full of gold?!"

"A yellow metal," Jayne replied with a grin.

"At least I died rich," Mal said, causing a wave of laughter.

"OK, this time we get to be the bad guys!" Faith said.

"DC or Marvel?" Julie asked, getting ready for another round.


"If I eat anymore I may explode," Kaylee said with a sigh.

"If we don't start exercising a bit more we're going to have to reinforce the cargo ramp," Mal said. "I've had to move notches on my belt, plural."

"Zero gee football?" Xander suggested.

"Naked twister," Faith added.

"Naked zero gee twister," Julie challenged.

"How would that even work?" Faith asked.

"Suction and body paint," Jayne said after a moment's thought, causing the rest of the crew to stare at him.

"I was thinking of an activity that the entire crew could participate in at the same time," Mal said.

"Just have Simon go first and me last, so we're at different ends," River suggested.

"River!' Simon exclaimed, red faced.

"That much moisture and fluids in zero-g would clog the air filters," Kaylee told River, laying a hand on Simon's arm to calm him down.

"Calorie burning physical exercise," Mal said slowly. "Something that won't traumatize the more conservative members of the crew, of which I am one," he reminded them.

"No nude jello wrestling then," Dawn joked.

"Something that causes neither injury nor pregnancy," Willow said thoughtfully.

"Dancing," Inara suggested.

"I thought you said no injuries," Jayne replied.

"Protective footwear will be provided," Kaylee promised him.

"That's fine then," Jayne said relaxing; he hated getting his feet stepped on.

"We also need some hobbies to pass the time," Mal said. "Last long haul we resorted to Core Builders-"

"Monopoly," River whispered to Xander.

"-and that sparked a mutiny and some hard feelings," Mal continued.

"Role playing games?" Kaylee suggested.

"Shepherd was the DM," Mal reminded her.

"Someone else could be DM," Kaylee replied.

"You guys play RPG's?" Dawn asked surprised.

"Got a lot of time to waste in the black," Jayne replied. "Most small ships tend to alternate between board games and RPG's."

"I'd have thought cards would be more popular," Dawn admitted. "The ships we've been on just offered vids and wave broadcasts."

"That's mostly for core traffic," Mal explained. "Between the subliminals and the commercials-"

"Mostly the commercials," Jayne broke in.

"We prefer to make our own entertainment out on the fringe," Mal finished.

River jumped up, grabbed a pipe near the ceiling and pried open an air vent, disappearing inside. Xander quickly followed after.

Inara stood up. "I'm going to find out where they're going."

"Have fun with that," Jayne said. "I wanna play a bad guy."

Shipboard Routine

"I spy-" Faith began.

"It's a rock," Mal replied.

"It might not be," Faith said.

"But it is," River assured him.

"Fine, it was a rock," Faith admitted. "Why do we all have to take shifts in the cockpit? I mean, I'm not a pilot."

"There's a whole long chapter in the ship handler's handbook," Mal replied. "It talks about psychological models and deep space orientation, but really it's because anyone who managed to avoid this long boring, though necessary, job would inevitably suffer an 'accident'."

"That makes sense," Faith agreed. "I'd kneecap anyone who managed to skip out on what we four are doing."

"Three," Mal corrected.

"What?" Faith asked.

"There are three of us here," Mal said.

"Me, you, River and Xander," Faith told him.

"Xander?" Mal asked, looking around the cockpit and not seeing him.

River pointed up and Mal glanced upward before jumping in surprise and cursing. "OK, why is he clinging to the ceiling?"

"He's planning on taking me by surprise," River whispered.

"And why is he naked?" Mal asked.

"Did you miss the whole taking part?" Faith asked.

Mal groaned. "I don't need to see that!"

Faith laughed. "Then I'd advise avoiding the cockpit for the next hour."

"I think I'll risk my kneecaps and skip out on this shift," Mal decided.

Faith grinned. "I'll allow it, since there's going to be live entertainment here."

"Right," Mal said slowly as he retreated from the bridge, closing the hatch behind him. Mal muttered, "It never fails, spend more than a week in the black and everyone goes a little nuts and half of them start humping like rabbits."

"Mal," Inara greeted him cheerfully. "Just the man I was looking for."

"Well here I am," Mal said. "What can I do for ya?"

Inara looped an arm through his and led him down the corridor. "As a registered companion I can't afford to get out of shape, so I was wondering if you would care to help me burn off some calories?"

"I just happen to have a hole in my schedule," Mal agreed allowing a small grin to slip out.

"Good, Willow and Dawn are waiting for us in my shuttle."

Mal's eyes almost bugged out. "Willow and Dawn?" he asked nervously.

"Yes, and I hope you brought your dancing shoes," Inara said trying not to laugh.

Mal cleared his throat. "I like dancing," he agreed a little disappointed but mostly relieved.

"Julie and Jayne were going to join us as well, but Jayne offered Julie a freebie to get out of it."

"A freebie?" Mal asked.

"The Man-Ho introductory package," she replied.

"Better be careful or he'll steal all your clients," Mal teased.

"Oh, but I offer something he doesn't," she purred seductively.

"Yeah," Mal replied, trying to pretend she wasn't affecting him.

"Yeah," she replied. "I offer dancing first," she finished with a wink as he stumbled and she pulled him down the corridor.

Typing by: Bankrupt Samurai!