Disclaimer:No harm intended, no profit made, anything you recognise belongs to Joss or the BBCNotes:
Some slash here although only implied or over the clothes. It’s certainly nothing that wouldn't appear in an episode of Torchwood, anyway.
It had all been going so well for Mal Reynolds that he really ought to have seen disaster on the horizon. They’d finished a cargo run between Jiangyin and Persephone, which had been both honest and well-paid; only to immediately pick up another job while they were still on Persephone.
It was simple enough; take the daughter of a wealthy mine owner and her chaperone to their new home on Beaumonde, where the young woman’s husband to be was waiting for her. So, grateful for another payday, Mal committed Serenity
to the job.
By some providence, they arrived at their destination without incident and delivered their charges to her waiting groom, a handsome young ranch owner. Miraculously, Jayne had managed to keep his trousers round his waist, and even his lecherous behaviour was limited to a few leers and suggestive gestures and so both women arrived with their virtue intact.
Zoe and River escorted the ladies off to their destination, while Mal and Jayne completed the task of loading the luggage onto the mule. As he returned to pick up yet another trunk, Mal spied his doctor and his engineer in the corner of the cargo bay.
“Simon, Kaylee, if you can keep your hands off one another for five minutes, perhaps you’d like to take some of our hard-earned money and barter us some of those pesky supplies and parts we’re in need of?” Mal instructed, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth.
“Sure thing, captain!” Kaylee replied with her usual enthusiasm and, grabbing Simon by the hand, she skipped off toward the marketplace. Mal watched them go for a moment until Jayne came up behind him.
“How many gorram clothes do two women need anyhow?” he grumbled, reminding the captain of the job in hand.
“Got me, Jayne. I never needed more than a change of pants and a couple spare shirts. Guess we aint acquainted with the kinds of circles these fine ladies move in,” Mal replied as he lifted the trunk he had onto the mule.
Kaylee danced excitedly between market stalls, choosing the best looking supplies and parts she could find before haggling. Despite her cheery and naïve appearance, Kaylee was a hard negotiator, and there were few traders who could get one over on her. Still, the heady thrill of having actual cash to spend had caused her to be a little overzealous and poor Simon was struggling to keep all their purchases balanced on the loader.
He had just stopped for the umpteenth time to catch a loose box before it fell when he noticed two Alliance military. Casually, he rearranged the loader, all the time watching the men. One of them muttered something to his companion and then pointed towards where Simon and Kaylee were standing.
!” he exclaimed under his breath before saying to Kaylee, “I think we should get back to the ship now, Kaylee.”
“Huh? Oh, shiny, let me just see what they want for this,” she answered absently, too distracted by the nearly new compression coil in front of her.
“No, Kaylee, now please,” Simon said, a little more urgently. She finally tore her eyes away from the stall and looked toward where he was discreetly signalling. Kaylee’s eyes widened, but she otherwise didn’t indicate her concern.
“I’m sorry, but I’ve changed my mind,” she told the trader with an apologetic smile. She and Simon then headed back to the ship as fast as possible
“We need to leave, now,” Simon panted to Mal as he and Kaylee came up the cargo ramp. Mal looked at him, eyebrow raised. Kaylee moved the loader further into the bay and began to secure it for flight.
“I’m sure I remember warning you about giving orders on my gorram ship once before, Doc,” he said coolly.
“It wasn’t an order, Captain, more a friendly warning. While we were in the market we were spotted by the Alliance.”
“You sure?” Mal asked. As the words left his mouth, a dozen Alliance men came running across the docking area toward Serenity
, guns drawn.
“Pretty sure,” Simon replied. Mal drew his gun and aimed it towards the approaching men as he moved to close the ramp.
!” Mal said before contacting the cockpit on the com. “We need a fast exit Little Albatross, dong ma
The engines roared into life in response and Serenity
lifted off, Alliance weapons fire bouncing harmlessly off its hull. Mal left Simon and Kaylee to stow the provisions while he headed up to the bridge.
“How’re we doing?” he asked as he entered the cockpit.
“Not good, sir. There’s a cruiser out there waiting for us. No way we can sneak past if they’re looking for us,” Zoe replied.
“Keep her straight, River, nice and casual. Maybe their boys on the ground won’t have reported in yet,” Mal instructed, although he silently added fay-fay duh pee-yen
. “I knew things were going too gorram well,” he muttered aloud. Zoe smirked.
“What’s life without a little excitement though, right, sir?” she said.
“Not the kinda excitement I had in mind,” Jayne said as he appeared at the door, his leer and hand gesture making his innuendo clear.
, Jayne, or get off my gorram bridge,” Mal ordered. Jayne saluted sarcastically, but did as he was told.Serenity
approached the gigantic cruiser; any one of its towers dwarfed the tiny Firefly class vessel. They continued past her, heading out into the black. Once they were far enough past her, Zoe looked at the monitor in front of her.
“No sign of life, sir. I think we’re in the clear,” she reported. But as Mal let out a sigh of relief, the ship was rocked by an explosion off its stern. Mal leaned forward to examine the monitor.
“Son of a …looks like you spoke too soon. River, get us out of here. Kaylee, we need full burn, now,” he added over the com. “Zoe, deploy the decoys.”
Zoe nodded and flicked a switch, sending five transponder beacons in five different directions. The plan was that the ghost trails would prevent the Alliance vessel from tracking them. It had worked once before, and Mal seriously hoped it would work again this time.
But, just before they could go full burn, an Alliance fighter fired, clipping Serenity’s
port thruster. As she shot off away from the Core, a field of debris was left in her wake.
“Remind me again what we’re doing in this arse-end of the universe?” John Hart bemoaned, putting his feet on the console in front of him. Jack Harkness pushed them back onto the floor again before replying,
“Because, as I’ve explained many
times before, this was the only part of the universe we could be in and guarantee we wouldn’t bump into an earlier version of ourselves,” he explained patiently for about the thousandth time.
“Oh, right. Bugger the timelines, I want civilisation. I lived through the Wild West once already, not thrilled to be doing it again.”
“You did not! You were in Europe until the twentieth century,” Jack said, laughing. John pouted.
“Maybe, but I visited Buffalo Bill’s show three times. Even ate one of the Indians,” he replied. Jack shook his head.
Since John revealed his vampiric nature over 500 years ago, Jack had learned a lot about John’s life as William and his death as Spike. He’d told Jack tales of derring-do, of saving the earth on countless occasions from demon hordes and some of his less salubrious adventures before his soul was returned.
A blip on the screen in front of them caught their attention. John waved at the blip. “Why are we doing this, though? It’s not like Torchwood officially exists anymore.”
The two of them were in their ship, Ianto
, flying towards one of the uninhabited moons that orbited the Rim planets. They’d left Osiris three weeks ago, searching for an alien vessel they knew had crashed in the region. After much searching and questioning locals, it seemed they had finally tracked it down.
“It’s something to do,” Jack answered with a shrug. “Besides, I’d never heard of the Alliance until we arrived ten years ago, had you?” Jack asked as he piloted the ship toward the blip’s coordinates. John shook his head. “Exactly, so someone must have protected this pocket of the universe from alien contact.”
“Yes, but why us
?” John opined.
“Because we’re Torchwood.”
“Well that’s bloody brilliant circular logic. I’m sick of this hero bollocks. Why don’t we just go back to the old routines? A little larceny, a few long cons…” John leaned forward and placed his hand on Jack’s thigh. Jack smiled lasciviously but then batted the hand away, playfully.
“Uh-uh, no distractions until we find the ship. Besides, isn’t saving people what you did before you met me?” he teased.
“Yeah, well I grew out of that habit not long after Peaches got dusted. Only took me about a thousand years, so I guess you’ll stop caring in, what, another four hundred?” John replied wearily. Jack leaned over and grabbed John’s cheek like an overbearing grandmother who hadn’t seen her grandchild for months. “Gerroff!” John yanked away Jack’s arm.
Jack realised he’d pushed a little too far, so he switched to autopilot and turned to John. He stood up and walked to John’s seat, then kneeled in front of it. He reached up and gently stroked the place where he had pinched John, the red mark already fading on the vampire’s cheek. Then he used both hands to stroke John’s thighs, moving up from the knees toward his crotch. They still had a few hours before they reached the crashed ship. Perhaps there was still time for distraction.
Once the crew of Serenity
had put a safe distance between themselves and the Alliance to ensure they weren’t being followed, Mal ordered a full stop and headed down to the engine room.
“How bad is it, Kaylee?” he asked, though from the sparks and loose wires he already knew it wasn’t good.
“Most damage is outside. We’ll have to put down somewhere with an atmosphere so’s I can repair her. We’re lucky I stocked up ‘fore we left Persephone; I’ve probably got most of what we need. This’ll take an hour. The thruster? Maybe five,” she reported.
“I’ll give you three. Use Simon and Jayne if you need them,” Mal replied as he stalked back out.
“I’m shiny, by the way, thanks for asking,” Kaylee muttered to his retreating back before returning to her repairs.
They found a nearby deserted moon with an atmosphere and put down. With a thruster out it was an ungainly landing, despite River’s best efforts, but Serenity
survived without further damage. Mal left Simon and Kaylee to continue repairs while he took the rest of the crew to investigate a wreck they’d spotted on entry.
“Might be something worth salvaging. Then maybe we’ll actually come out of this mess ahead for a change,” Mal said as they waited for the cargo ramp to lower.
“I don’t like it, sir. That ship’s like no configuration I recognise. I’ve got a bad feeling,” Zoe answered, fingering her gun nervously.
“Duly noted, but we’re going anyway,” Mal replied and headed out toward the wreck.
As the four crossed the barren moonscape, they couldn’t help but marvel at the strange and huge spacecraft that loomed before them. Four claw-like turrets had been driven into the ground at an angle. The main body of the ship, a massive sphere that would have dwarfed the Alliance cruiser that had attacked Serenity
, was held just above the moon’s surface and four more claws spiked up toward the stars.
“Looks like something from a gorram horror tale,” Jayne said. “How’d that thing ever fly?”
“Born in space. Born for war,” River replied cryptically.
“Born for war. I can believe that,” Zoe said with a shudder. “That thing looks vicious. You think it’s some new Alliance design, sir?”
“Could be. Could be they were testing it, something went wrong. Don’t think I much care, long as there’s salvage worth having. All the same, someone might have survived, keep a watchful eye,” Mal instructed. Jayne chuckled.
,” he said, stroking Vera’s barrel.
“Sontarans. Great, why’d it have to be Sontarans?” Jack bemoaned as they entered the orbit of the small moon and he got a good look at the derelict.
“I hope some survived, always up for a good scrap, the Sontarans. And for a species that replicates entirely by cloning, they’re not half bad in the bedroom. That’s assuming you can get their mind off war for five seconds, of course.”
. I’m trying to land,” Jack interrupted. He piloted the Ianto
down towards the derelict ship, and found a functioning airlock to dock with.
“Should we really just be going up to the door, ringing the bell like this?”
“You know what the Sontarans are like, John. If we sneak in and any of them are alive, they’d think it dishonourable. Last thing we need is Sontar declaring war on the Alliance,” Jack replied. John nodded. Jack shut down the engines before he added, “Let’s go greet the neighbours.”
They entered the ship through the airlock and quickly made their way to the central command deck. They didn’t meet any guards on the way, but they didn’t expect to. With the ship this badly damaged, and no hope of rescue, the Sontarans would have gathered to commit ritual suicide. They would not dishonour themselves by allowing the enemy to capture them.
But, when they entered the command deck, they did not discover the bodies they expected. Instead they found evidence of a fire fight, weapons blasts scorched onto the walls.
“What happened here? Where are the Sontarans?” Jack asked, not expecting an answer.
“I think I can answer that. Look at this,” John said and pointed to a screen. Jack looked at it and shook his head.
“Now what in the hell were Sontarans doing with vampires on board? You don’t think they were…oh that’s not good,” Jack said, half to himself. John was a little slow on the uptake, so he looked at Jack quizzically. “Come on, you know the Sontarans. All they care about is the war with the Rutans. They’re obsessed with winning by any means necessary.”
“They were going to try to crossbreed? Bloody hell! I knew Sontarans were as mad as a sack of hammers, but even I think that’s too much.”
“I wouldn’t have even thought demon and Sontaran genes were compatible,” Jack commented.
“Guess we’ll be heading to the cargo bay then?” John said, already heading to the door. Jack nodded confirmation and the two headed toward the cargo area.
Clearly, a pitched battle had occurred in the corridors of the ship. Further evidence of weapons’ fire marked the walls, and the bodies of dead Sontarans littered the floors, and also the walls and ceilings. John stopped by one and examined it.
“Looks like Sontarans don’t make an appetising meal. They’re all torn up, but nothing’s missing. Guess we know why the ship crashed now,” he said. He didn’t wait for an answer from Jack, instead he continued down the corridor.
As they reached the entrance of the cargo bay, John began to psych himself up, rolling his shoulders.
A smile tugged at the corner of Jack’s mouth, he hadn’t seen John this excited about the prospect of a fight in a long time. Then again, he didn’t usually allow John to use terminal force. But this was their first vampire hunt since leaving Earth-that-was.
Jack had never really known what his companion had been like when he was Spike, although John had revealed a lot about that time; about Sunnydale, Buffy, and Angel Investigations. But three thousand years had elapsed between that time and when Jack had first met him at the Time Agency. Jack knew how much he had changed in only a few hundred years, so he couldn’t begin to imagine how different John was to Spike.
When they went demon hunting, he imagined he was getting a little glimpse of the old Spike. He hoped one day he might meet the real William Pratt, but he suspected that there was little of him left, beyond a few moments of tenderness in the bedroom.
Reaching into a pocket on the inside of his greatcoat, Jack pulled out a small crossbow. John reached to a slender, long pouch on his belt and pulled out a wooden stake. He placed his hand on the door panel, pushing his fingers together to make them fit the three-fingered Sontaran technology.
“Heh, live long and prosper, Jack,” he joked as he removed his hand. Jack chuckled.
“Trust you to remember that. It’s been what, three hundred years since they last ran Star Trek?”
“I blame Andrew and Xander. You got the reference though, so now who’s the geek?” John replied with a grin. Jack shook his head and led the way through the door.
The cargo bay was dark, the lighting damaged in the fire fight that had brought down the ship. John took the lead, his vampire eyesight able to see clearer in the dark. As Jack’s own eyes adjusted to the gloom, he could make out the remains of shattered containment units and more fallen Sontarans. John stopped and sniffed the air before motioning for Jack to halt too.
“There’re humans here,” John said quietly.
Jack nodded and drew his sidearm. Even after all the centuries he still carried his World War Two service revolver. She’d been the one constant presence in his long life. Despite the seriousness of the situation, he couldn’t help but lean forward and whisper to John.
“You know, I think that sniffing thing’s really sexy,” he said with a grin. John grinned back, and then continued forward. Suddenly, the lights came on and the two found themselves confronted by four humans, all with guns drawn.
“Hell, they don’t look like no Alliance,” said one, waving a gun in their direction.
Jayne, let the captain do the talking,” said a second, a woman that Jack would have thought of as African-American if they were still on Earth-that-was.
“Mighty fine ship you’ve got here,” said a third, another man that Jack took to be the Captain the woman mentioned. The fourth, a slight looking young woman, was looking at both of them with some amusement, as though she were sharing a private joke with them.
“Not my ship, Captain….” Jack answered, leaving the invitation open.
“Reynolds, Mal Reynolds. This is Zoe, my first mate, Jayne and River. And you’d be?”
“I’m Captain Jack Harkness, this is Captain John Hart,” Jack replied. John glared at him. “Might as well play nice,” Jack whispered out of the side of his mouth, too quiet for human ears, but loud enough for John.
“Well, Captain Harkness, seeing as this isn’t your ship, and me and mine were here first, I think you should be moving along now,” Mal said, his tone pleasant but the threat implicit. John grinned.
“Oh, I don’t think you want us to leave anytime soon, mate,” John replied.
“And why’s that?” Mal asked. John pointed behind Mal.
“Because of them.”
“How dumb do you think we are?” Jayne asked. Any further conversation was forestalled however, as a loud snarl came from behind Mal. The four spun round to find themselves facing a dozen vicious looking creatures straight from a child’s nightmares.
“wuh de ma
,” whispered Zoe.
!” cried Mal at the same time.
,” River said with a giggle at the precise moment that Jayne yelled.
“ Tsai boo shr
! Reavers!” he shouted and opened fire on the newcomers.
“Aw hell,” Jack muttered and he and John ran forward to join the fray as the vampires attacked.
crew were stunned to see that their bullets had no effect on their attackers. River, who had not fired at all, was laying into them with an axe, and Zoe and Mal realised that guns were useless and looked around for a different weapon. Jayne continued to fire, despite knowing full well it was doing no good.
“They aren’t Reavers. Bullets won’t do any good!” Jack shouted as he fired his crossbow. It entered the heart of the nearest attacker, who exploded into dust. Mal, Jayne and Zoe stopped, shocked for a second, before being thrust back into the fight.
! Did you see that, sir?” Zoe shouted.
“I saw it, but I don’t believe it,” Mal replied, tackling an assailant to the ground and beating him repeatedly. John got close enough to pass him a stake.
“Here, use this. Put it right through the heart,” he instructed before pulling another stake and demonstrating by dusting another attacker. Mal quickly followed suit and dusted his opponent.
Meanwhile, River had managed to take out half a dozen on her own by decapitation, and Jack and John had to admire her moves.
“Here, you don’t think she’s a Slayer, do you?” John asked as he staked another, sending dust cascading to the floor.
“You’d be the expert in that department,” Jack replied. “Maybe we’ll get a chance to ask her later.”
Jayne was still firing, fear making him shoot wild, and a stray bullet hit Jack in the head, sending him to the ground.
!” John cursed and turned to find the source of the bullet. “You bloody idiot,” he began, but was cut short when another bullet hit him in the chest.
By now the last remaining attackers had been taken care of, and Mal, Zoe and River had turned their attention to Jayne, Jack and John in time to see John get shot. Shocked, Mal and Zoe raised their guns again as Jayne fired another two shots into John.
“Ow! You…wanker!” he shouted. For the first time in a millennium John was sorely tempted to vamp out and bite Jayne for being such a moron, but he restrained himself, knowing that would only cause more problems.
Jayne walked away from John and joined Mal and Zoe.
Jack chose that moment to recover from his head shot, and returned to life, coughing and gasping for air.
“Okay, what the hell is going on here? What were those gorram things? And what are you?” Mal demanded, the barrel of his pistol oscillating between John and Jack.
“There’s no need to point that thing at us Captain. Besides, you know full well it won’t work on either one of us,” John said.
“Put them out the airlock captain,” Zoe suggested.
! That’s what you always want to do, Zoe. Show some imagination. I say we strap a dozen or so grenades to them and …KABOOM!” said Jayne, who seemed to have recovered some of his composure. Jack raised his hands in a placatory gesture.
“Look there’s no need for any of that. We just saved your lives!” he tried to reason with them.
“It’s okay, they aren’t the bad guys. Well, you aren’t any more, are you Spike?” River said, stepping forward. “They’re Torchwood, they protect us from the monsters.”
“Are you sure ‘bout that River?” Mal asked.
River nodded. Mal looked wary still, but he lowered his gun, apparently trusting River. Trusting her captain, Zoe did the same, but Jayne continued to point his at Jack and John.
“How’d you know all that, sweetcake?” John asked.
“She’s a telepath. Can’t you feel it?” Jack answered, stepping forward, ignoring the gun still pointed at him. He reached out and caressed River’s forehead. “You’re a reader. A good one too if you can get past my mental shields.”
“You’re broken, inside. You need a Doctor to make you better again,” River said. Jack smiled sadly and moved his hand down to the axe in River’s hand.
“So, how’s a pretty girl like you end up knowing how to fight like that?” Jack asked, gently running his hand up the axe and along River’s arm. River giggled.
“Alliance looked in my head, messed with the wiring,” she replied. Jack sighed and stared into her eyes. John shook his head before striding over toward Jayne.
“So, Jayne, you seem to know what you’re doing with those guns of yours. I bet you’ve got more back on your ship, right? In your cabin?” John said coyly, playfully patting Jayne on the arm.
“Are you coming on to me?” Jayne asked incredulously.
“Would that be so awful?” John asked, running his finger down Jayne’s shirt and staring into Jayne’s eyes. Jayne smiled.
“Wang ba dan
! Let me introduce you to someone. Her name’s Vera,” he said, raising the gun and using her barrel to push John away.
“Callahan full-bore auto lock with customized trigger double cartridge thorough gauge. Nice. I like her a lot,” John replied with a grin. Jayne fired. The others all stopped and glared at him as John picked himself up from the floor.
“What?” Jayne said.
“Captain Reynolds, I suggest you and your crew return to your vessel. Captain Hart and I will sweep the vessel to double check for more…survivors. Once the ship is clear I’ll send a wave so you can come and claim your salvage. Agreed?” Jack said, all business to prevent John killing Jayne. He held out his hand to Mal, which Mal took. Jack then offered his hand to Zoe, who shook it, a little uncertainly.
“Come on, back to Serenity
,” Mal instructed. Jayne began to protest, but Mal raised a hand to forestall him. “Jayne, you can stand guard outside
, dong ma
Jayne grumbled something incomprehensible, and probably unrepeatable, but he headed for the door. Jack laughed and clapped him on the back as he passed, but he stop laughing as Jayne glared at him and pointed Vera in his direction.
Mal and Zoe followed Jayne out. River hung back for a moment and gave Jack a kiss before skipping out after her crew.
“Pretty little thing. But definitely a few gunmen short of a posse,” John commented.
“So are you,” Jack replied with amusement.
“Did you give them the Retcon?” John asked. Jack held up his hand to reveal a device like an old-fashioned joy-buzzer.
“Yep. In an hour they’ll be asleep. We’ll go over to their ship to take care of any others, and then pilot them to a different moon. When they wake, they won’t remember any of this,” he said. “Except maybe River. I have a feeling it won’t work on her.”
John began to run out of the cargo area after the Serenity
“Where are you going?” Jack called after him.
“Since Jayne won’t remember any of this, and Retcon makes people more…suggestible…” John answered as he disappeared out the door. Jack laughed when, moments later, he heard a gunshot echo through the corridor.
suggestible,” he said to himself.
- Hell!aiyah tyenah
– Merciless hell.bizui
- shut updahng ran
- of coursedong ma?
- understand?fay-fay duh pee-yen
– a baboon’s a@*crackkao
- f*@&ktsai boo shr
- no wayuh mo
- monsters/demonswang ba dan
- S.O.B.wuh de ma
- mother of God