I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Firefly. The characters likewise. I'm hoping at least most of my readers catch my reference with the one passenger's name.
THE SLAYER'S WHITE KNIGHT
**Persephone, Mid Rim World
December 18th 2518
The one-eyed man was a frightening customer. That was the only truth Kaylee Frye could be certain of as she watched the fellow stalk about with the calm grace of a jungle cat that was searching for prey. He was searching for a ship to book passage on, she could tell that much. Still, Kaylee wasn’t sure if Serenity was that hard-up for coin. The man, as previously stated, looked rough. Still, there was a humanistic twinkle in his eye that had not been present in Early. Early had nearly ruined her for strangers entirely. Luckily the Captain had been there for her to help her upgrade ship’s security… to help her feel safe again, aboard Serenity…
Which brought her back to whether or not to approach the man in question. He was just the sort of man that Simon disapproved of, but then she figured that she was the only thing on the Rim that Simon did approve of. Besides, this was a passenger, not a crew-member. It didn’t matter if Simon approved. What mattered was if the guy was safe and had coin to burn…
Finally, after much debating, Kaylee decided to approach him. The man was obviously looking to go somewhere and the Captain had said they needed the extra coin all the more these days. Even with the Alliance off their back, the simple fact of the matter was that over half of their friendlier contacts were either dead, gone to ground or unwilling to talk to them anymore. The Operative’s purge had been devastating.
With a wide and friendly grin, Kaylee approached him. He was an odd contrast of eye-hurting colours that would have made Wash smile and rough and ready ruggedness that would have made Mal want to recruit him as a Browncoat back in the days before she had joined the crew.
“Hi there. You lookin’ to book passage to anywhere in particular?” She paused and gestured at her girl. “This here’s Serenity, and she’s the fastest ride to Boros for anybody who can pay…” A chill went through her as she spoke that that line. She remembered it. She had said that same line, on this exact planet, in this exact landing slip to an elderly Shepherd who would join their crew for nearly a year. A Shepherd who was now dead, killed defending his flock from a ravening pack of wolves. Kaylee shuddered in remembrance.
If the one-eyed man was aware of Kaylee’s disturbing remembrances he gave no sign of it. Rather his one brown eye seemed to flash with a mild amusement, as if he was recalling some long-forgotten memories. “You’re going to Boros?” The man’s face split in a grin that took years off his face, again reminding Kaylee of Wash. She hoped fervently that this wouldn’t set Zoë back. Wash’s death was still something of a raw wound. “That’s just excellent. Boros is the next stop in my search.”
Kaylee perked up with curiosity. “Search? For what? Maybe we might be able to help.”
The man grinned grimly for a moment. “I fear that some associates of mine misplaced one of their assets and I am attempting to find it before they do. They have a method of doing business that I don’t particularly approve of. I am hoping to retrieve the asset in question and keep it in better working order then they would prefer. Their lot don’t appreciate it when their toys go astray.”
Kaylee frowned briefly. Something about the way the man described the asset bothered her. Still, it was none of her business. “Whatever you say. You got coin to pay passage.”
The tight grin became the genuine smile again. “Yes, I’ve been working to rebuild a couple of the local agencies. They apparently had a bit of trouble with Reavers, if you can believe it. Anyway, they paid me quite well for my work. I am quite confident that I can pay for passage.”
Kaylee nodded in satisfaction. “I’m Kaylee Frye, ship’s engineer. And you are?”
The single brown eye twinkled with an irony that she couldn’t place or understand. “The name is Marx, my dear. Zeppo Marx…”
Another nod from Kaylee followed as she lead Mr. Marx aboard to join the three other passengers who were already aboard. The only thing that, perhaps, gave her pause was the large crate that he had lifted aboard by a couple of local cargo loaders. The crate reminded her all too well of Simon’s initial voyage with Serenity. Granted, it wasn’t a cryo-container. It was just a well built shipping crate. Still, why would someone searching for a missing asset need quite that much luggage?
Kaylee wasn’t sure, but she was sensing far too many parallels to that transport trip over a year ago. The trip that made two passengers and one piece of cargo into crew, while the third passenger was left dying on a Rim World. No, Kaylee did not like the connotations at all…
I am, as yet, undecided as to who to 'ship Xander with. I can make a case for River, Zoe or Inara easily. Xander will not be 'shipping with Kaylee. Think Willow, without the magic, when you think Kaylee.
Hope you all enjoy...