Planet: Hera
Location: Serenity Valley
Date: May of 2511

It was night, but nobody was asleep as a battle raged on. Smoke was in the air and gunshots could be heard everywhere. Right now a woman wearing a brown trench coat ran as low as she could to get back to a small fort. Her hair was blonde, but looked closer to brown, and was very straight. However, she had it tied up in a bun in order to prevent herself from being grabbed by any enemy soldiers during a melee. Her breasts and rear end were proportional to her 5'3" frame. In her hands was an assault rifle which she held tightly. The clothing she wore under the brown trench coat was a bulletproof vest which lay over a light brown long sleeve button down shirt. Her pants were colored a more tan color and accentuated her rear end nicely without being too tight. Strapped to her thigh was a Taurus .38. On her feet were brown combat boots. Just before she reached the entrance of the small fort she tripped and fell down. Just as she pushed herself up someone grabbed her arm.

"Get up soldier!" yelled a male voice as she was helped back up onto her feet, "Unless you want to be the alliance's next bullet sponge, double time it!"

She didn't even bother to look at him as she hurried into the fort. As soon as she entered she sat down against the wall of sandbags and saw who came to her rescue. It was a man with brown hair dressed like her except for the fact that he wasn't wearing a bulletproof vest and had a cross on a string around his neck. She watched as he put his assault rifle down and hurried over to another area of the tiny fort. As soon as he did so some other soldiers walked up to him.

"Sergeant," said a soldier, "command says air support is holding till they can assess our status."

"Our status is we some gorram air support," the sergeant replied as an african american woman hurried up to the group, "now get back online and tell them to get in here."

"That skip is shredding us, sir," the woman said.

"They won't move without a Lieutenant's authorization code, sir," the first soldier said.

"I'll do it," the blonde woman spoke up.

"You?" the sergeant asked, "you're a Lieutenant?"

"Yes," the blonde said.

"Then why are you here?" the sergeant asked, "There should only be one lieutenant per squad."

"My whole squad is dead," the blonde said as she held back her grief.

"Well, I'm sure a it's a long and saddening story," the sergeant said, "and we can talk all about it later. Right now, you just need to get me some air support."

As the blonde hurried over to the radio the sergeant spoke to his men.

"Go back just far enough," the sergeant said as he gestured, "and wedge'em in here."

"Take your squad to the high ground," the sergeant said to another soldier, "start picking them off."

"The high ground is death with that skip in the air," the woman countered.

"That's our problem," the sergeant said, "Thanks for volunteering."

"Bendis," the sergeant said as he looked to another soldier, "Give us some cover fire. We're going duck hunting."

Suddenly, an explosion shook the place sending rocks on top of them. Unfortunately, the rocks damaged the radio just as the blonde reached command.

"Wángbā dàn!" the blonde cursed under her breath when she saw the damage.

"The alliance said they were gonna waltz through Serenity Valley and we choked them with those words. We've done the impossible, and that makes us mighty. Just a little while longer, our angels gonna be soaring overhead raining fire on those arrogant cods. So you hold. YOU HOLD! Go!"

At that all of the soldiers except for Bendis began to move. As the sergeant and the african american woman headed towards the exit the blonde hurried up to them.

"That was quick" the sergeant said impressed, "I expected it to take longer for you to get a connection."

"The gorram radio is busted!" the blonde said angrily.

"Then fix the damn thing!" the sergeant ordered.

"I'm a warrior," the blonde said bluntly as she raised an eyebrow at the sergeant, "Give me a weapon and I can repair it, but tech? That's not my forte."

"jiàn tā de guǐ," the sergeant muttered under his breath before looking around, "anyone here tech savvy?"

"I am, sir," said the soldier from before.

"Good," the sergeant said, "now go fix that gorram device, so the Lieutenant can do her job."

"It'll take a while, sir," the soldier said.

"Then get started," the sergeant advised.

"Really think we can bring her down, sir?" the african american woman asked as she and the sergeant checked their rifles.

"You even need to ask?" the sergeant asked before he kissed the cross which lay on a string around his neck. He then put the cross under his shirt before he hefted his rifle.

"Ready?" the sergeant asked.

"Always," the african american woman confirmed. She then walked over to the exit and looked at Bendis who had a scared expression on his face.

"Bendis," she said, but when he didn't respond she had to shout it, "Bendis!"

As he didn't even respond to that she nearly spat, "drat!"

"Go," the blonde said as she picked up her rifle from where she left it, "I'll cover you."

"You already have a job," the brunette said with a raised eyebrow.

"Not till the tech guy does his," the blonde said.

"Fair enough," the brunette said in agreement.

"Zoe!" the sergeant barked, "Hurry up! I don't have an interest in running out there without someone to watch my back!"

The brunette just rolled her eyes before she hurried up to the sergeant. They then ran out the fort at the same time as the blonde stood up and began firing at any alliance soldier that aimed at the sergeant and Zoe who were also firing at any alliance soldier the tried sneaking towards them. She stopped firing when the two arrived at the AA canon which they had to steal from an old Weyland-Yutani weapons plant. Fortunately, it was still functional. Of course it wasn't portable so they had to ship it to Serenity Valley in parts over the course of a week. She saw the sergeant climb into the AA cannon, but she had to look away just as she saw the soldier from before stand up in victory.

"Get down!" the blonde hollered, but it was too late as a bullet went through his head sending him onto the ground dead.

"Idiot!" the blonde growled as she ran to check on him, but when she got to him she lowered her head. The soldier, known as Baker, became the latest casualty of war. She then picked up the walkie talkie thing and spoke into it.

"Lieutenant Sara MacLeod to command," the blonde said with an emotionless voice.

"Sara," said a male voice, "I didn't expect to be hearing from you so soon after your squad failed in your last mission."

"I don't have a choice Wilkins," Sara said bluntly, "We need you to send some air support."

"Not gonna happen," Wilkins said just as bluntly, "You may as well lay your weapons down and present yourselves to be dominated by the alliance."

"You son of a bi-" Sara began before the line ended abruptly. She then picked her rifle back up and fired into it in rage.

Six years later…

Sara was laying in a fairly comfortable bed with a silk blanket on her. Her hair was no longer in a bun, and she was currently naked. Next to her was an alliance official who was currently asleep. She wasn't a Companion, but neither was she a whore. She just did what she had to in order to get some info she needed. She didn't even like men… no matter how pleasurable she found them. Unfortunately, this man was smart and demanded that she sleep with him before she got the info she needed. Otherwise, she would've just kneed him in the balls and got out of dodge, as the saying goes. So, right now she just lay there awake as she debated on what she had to do next. The official had demanded that she stayed his a full week, and the week had only just begun. He had also demanded that she does whatever he wants no matter how degrading or lewd. She knew that if she didn't, he wouldn't give her the info and would just walk away. She was furious at this, but she knew there was nothing she could do about it… for now.

She slowly and quietly got out of bed and got dressed in the grey dress she had picked up from a rich woman that had dropped it out of a bulging bag. She didn't even bother putting on a bra or panties as she knew she'd have to take them off as soon as he got up. She walked into the bathroom and looked in the mirror. He hair was sticking up all over the place, and her lipstick had smeared. With a sigh, she turned on the water faucet and then splashed her face. After she dried herself, she grabbed a spray bottle and a hairbrush. She spent a few minutes in the bathroom making herself look more presentable, and as soon as she was done she walked out of the bathroom. When she did, she saw that the alliance official was now up and wearing his clothes.

"Ah," the official said, "Kathy, is it? No matter. I have a sudden meeting in a few minutes, and since you've made yourself presentable please do join me."

Sara just stayed quiet which was also part of the deal she made with the official. He smiled at that and then gestured for her to come over to him. When she did so he grabbed her by the dress and tore it off her.

"You won't be wearing that," he said with a smile, "I have something better for you to wear."

He then grabbed her hair and pulled as he walked towards the exit. As soon as they exited the room they entered a hallway. The building they were in was now confirmed to be a hotel of sorts. There were several people exiting their own rooms, and nobody even batted an eye as he pulled her behind him by her hair. Once they arrived at the garage at the top of the building he let go once the doors locked behind them.

"Follow me," he ordered before he added, "Place your arms behind your back and hold them there so anyone and everyone can see your lovely funbags."

Hesitantly she did as he ordered and then followed him to his fancy hover car which didn't have a roof, but had a security system to ensure it couldn't be stolen. As soon as they arrived he pulled out a briefcase and opened it. Sara widened her eyes at what she saw. What she saw was a dress. It sparkled silver, and was fairly see through. It had a v-neck which was designed to expose a fair amount of any woman's breasts without looking overly slutty. Alongside it came high heels which sparkled silver as well, and the lower half of the dress had a slit that began at the top of the thigh to show off a woman's left leg.

"Put these on," the official ordered as he through them at her. She just let them hit her as she knew he would end the deal right then and there should she remove her hands from her back.

"Oh," the official grinned, "That's right. I haven't given you permission to move your arms. Well, now you may do so. Don't take to long. This meeting I have is very important, and I want you there with me so you can join the fun."

Sara then picked up the dress from the floor and put it on. She had to rearrange her breasts a bit as the dress was fairly tight. Once they got into a more comfortable position she knelt down and grabbed the high heels. Once they were on, she felt something snap around her neck. Shen reached uip and felt a collar with a tag.

"Now the others will know that you're mine," the official practically gloated before he grabbed the collar. She couldn't do anything as he pulled her to the car where he sat her in the front seat. Once she was buckled in, he went around the back and picked something up from there and then moved to the driver's seat.

A week later, with Malcolm Reynolds…

The Sergeant, now known as Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds floated in space outside of a dead ship. Zoe was also floating with him as she waited for the inevitable order. They both wore space suits.

"Vault's sealed," Mal said as he inspected a part of the ship, "Okay, I'm gonna boil it."

"Jayne," Mal continued, "give me the sticky."

Jayne, a man with a short beardstache, wore a yellow space suit floated up to Mal and handed him a gun-shaped device. Mal then took it and squeezed the trigger as he traced a rectangular circle around the lock of the vault. Some glue-like stuff ejected from it with a red wire that occasionally poked out of the gel. When he was done, he placed a flashlight looking device which flashed red before pushing away from the vault. Once he was a safe distance away the metal melted away which indicated they were nearly done.

"Okay," Mal said into the coms to the crew, "We get the goods. We're off this wreck, and back on the ship. No worries."

On the ship…

A blonde man wearing a brown and orange shirt sat at the pilot's seat of the Firefly class transport ship. On the console were some dinosaur toys that a kid would have, and he was playing with them much like a kid would. The console was full of blinking and glowing lights, buttons, and whatnot. There was even a steering wheel type device.

"Everything looks good from here," the pilot said.

"Yes," the pilot's stegosaurus said, "yes. This is a fertile land, and we will thrive. We will rule over all this land, and we shall call it… "This Land."

"I think we should call it "your grave!"" the pilot's allosaurus countered as it turned to look at the stegosaurus.

"Ah," the stegosaurus exclaimed as it also turned to look at the allosaurus, "curse your sudden, but inevitable betrayal!"

"Har har har!" laughed the allosaurus, "mine is an evil laugh! Now die"

It then bit down on the stegosaurus' neck over and over again.

"Oh, no, God!" the stegosaurus cried out, "Oh dear God in heaven!"

Suddenly, an alarm began going off prompting him to drop the toys and brush others off of a monitor.

"Oh motherless son of a bi-" said the pilot before he spoke into the coms to Mal.

Back with Mal…

The vault lock and handle flew off which made Zoe, Mal, and Jayne smile in relief.

"Full pressure," Zoe said while Jayne opened the door, "The goods must be intact."

"Okay," Mal said satisfied as he surveyed the inside of the vault, "Looking good."

"Captain," said the pilot over the coms, "we've got an incoming Alliance cruiser bearing down right on us."

"Tamade," Mal cursed to himself before he asked, "Have they spotted us?"

"I can't tell if-" the pilot began.

"Have they hailed us?" Mal reiterated.

"If they're here for the salvage we're humped," Jayne said thinking only of the payday.

"If they find us at all we're humped," Zoe began to snap, "Thieving ain't exactly-"

"I don't like this Mal," Jayne interrupted.

"Bi zui!" Mal said silencing her before he returned his direction to the pilot, "Wash, shut it down. Now. Everything but the air."

"Gotcha' Cap," Wash replied, "Shuttin down."

Back on the ship…

Wash turned off everything he could on the bridge, but once he reached some certain controls he stopped. He then spoke into the ship's interior coms.

"Kaylee," Wash said, "Kaylee. Go to blackout. We're being buzzed."

A young woman ran down a hallway to a room with a spinning engine and then pressed some controls on one side of the doorway as soon as she entered the room.

"Shi'a," Kaylee said, "Going dark."

She then hurried over to another section of the engine room and climbed up so she could reach a control. When she reached it she turned the knob causing everything to go black.

"Okay," Kaylee said nervously, "I can't get down."

Meanwhile, in the alliance cruiser…

Inside of the Alliance Cruiser I.A.V Dortmunder the commander of the ship stood behind one of the bridge officers while others walked around doing their tasks.

"So, what am I looking at?" the commander asked an officer standing next to him.

"It's a carrier," the bridge officer replied, "About a few months back, lost all hands, but it was only run by a skeleton crew anyway."

"What a shame," the commander said as the viewscreen enhanced on the image of the ship, "No point in checking for survivors?"

Back at the ship…

Wash sat nervously as he kept an eye on the monitors with the com in his hand so he can quickly talk to Mal should the need arises.

"Wash," Mal said through the com, "They slowin' down?"

"That's a Neg," Wash replied slowly, "don't look like they're interested in us. Should be eatin' wake in another minute or two."

About a minutes later an alarm sounded attracting Wash's attention.

"Āiyā! Huàile," Wash said before he brought the walkie talkie thing to his mouth and said, "Captain, we're humped."

"Prep the ship," Mal ordered, " now."

"Kaylee," Wash said quickly as he began reactivating the ship, "fire it up."

A few minutes later…

"Cry baby cry," Mal said over the coms which prompted Wash into action.

"Make your mother sigh," Wash finished as he pressed a few buttons. "Engaging the crybaby."

"Wash," Mal said after a few seconds, "We're on. Go."

With Mal…

"Hang on travelers," Wash said over the intercom while all three removed their space suits' helmets.

"Let's moon 'em" Jayne smirked.

A few minutes later…

"We look shiny captain," Wash said over the intercom as the door to the cargo bay opened, "They are not; repeat they are not coming about."

"Close one," Zoe commented on their latest job as she and Mal headed into the cargo bay. The cargo bay was pretty bare/ It had a couple of stairwells, a few walkways above, and some random stuff that probably held food, water, ammunition, and whatever else they may need while on the ship.

"Any one you walk away from, right?" Jayne asked as he dragged a box into the cargo bay acquiring Zoe and Mal's attention, "As long as we got the goods, I call this a win."

"Right," Mal said as he turned around and continued the way he was heading, "we win."

*intro begin*


Take my love, take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don't care, I'm still free
You can't take the sky from me.

Take me out to the black
Tell them I ain't comin' back
Burn the land and boil the sea
You can't take the sky from me.

Leave the men where they lay
They'll never see another day
Lost my soul, lost my dream
You can't take the sky from me.

I feel the black reaching out
I hear its song without a doubt
I still hear and I still see
That you can't take the sky from me.

Lost my love, lost my land
Lost the last place I could stand
There's no place I can be
Since I've found Serenity

And you can't take the sky from me

*Intro end*

Mal, Zoe, Wash, and Kaylee watched as Jayne used his muscles to pry the lid off of one of the salvaged crates with a crowbar. As soon as it had popped loose, Jayne stepped back to let Mal remove the lid. Once he did, they all leaned in to look at what was inside. The interior of the crate was filled with what looked like golden bars, but were in fact frozen survival rations that were enough to last a lifetime if one hoarded them all.

"Well there we are," Mal said with a smile as he looked at them.

"They're awfully pretty," Kaylee said while Mal rubbed his hand across them as he decided which one he wanted to inspect.

"I'd say it was worth a little risk," Wash said impressed at the goods as Mal picked up a bar.

"Yeah," Jayne snorted, "it was some pretty risky sittin' you did there."

"That's right," Wash said sarcastically, "Of course, they wouldn't have arrested me if we got boarded. I'm just the pilot."

"I can always say that I was flying the ship by accident," Wash continued sarcastically as Mal flipped the bar over.

"You know they're-" Wash continued before Mal interrupted him.

"Bi zui," Mal yelled shutting everyone up as he quickly flipped the bar back to the smooth side once he saw the Alliance stamp.

"Problem, sir?" Zoe asked as Mal placed the food brick back into its spot.

"Couldn't say," Mal said as he put the lid back on, "but we best be getting rid of these before we run into another alliance patrol."

"What they hell they doing this far anyhow?" Jayne asked as he pulled the crate to the smuggling compartment.

"Shining a light of civilization," Kaylee guessed cheerfully as she went to help Jayne. As she did that, Mal, Zoe, and Wash walked off to the wall opposite so they could get back to the topic of business.

"Don't do us any good," Jayne grunted.

"That's cause we're uncivilized," Kaylee giggled.

"How long till we reach Persephone?" Mal asked thinking Inara and the more than likely horrid conversation with Badger.

"Three, four hours?" Wash estimated.

"Can we shave that?" Mal asked hoping to get there before the Alliance ran their bulletin.

Wash was silence for a few seconds as he did the math and when he came to a conclusion he said, "We're down to the wire on fuel cells as it is. We run hot, we might not even make it."

"Okay," Mal said understanding, "Play it as close as you can. This catch is burnin' a hole in my hull."

"Think the Cruiser might've ID'd us?" Zoe asked.

"Let's hope not," Mal said after making a face.

"Contact Badger," Mal said to Zoe, "Tell him the job's done."

Zoe headed off to do as ordered, but stopped when Mal spoke up.

"Don't go to mentionin' the cruiser though," Mal added as if an afterthought, "keep it simple."

"Sir," Zoe asked in concern, "We're sure there's nothing wrong with-"

"It's fine," Mal interrupted as he looked around, "I just wanna get paid."

Zoe then walked continued her way up the stairs with Wash not far behind her. Mal on the other hand turned back to the others that were storing the crates and walked over.

"Alright," Mal said, "get these crates stowed. I don't want any tourists stumbling over it."

"We're takin' on passengers at Persephone?" Kaylee asked hopefully.

"That's the notion," Mal replied as he removed the smuggling compartment cover, "We could use a little respectability headin' to Boros. Not to mention the money.

"Pain in the ass…" Jayne grumbled as he shoved the crate into the compartment.

"No, its shiny!" Kaylee said cheerfully, "I like to meet new people. They've all got stories."

"Captain," Jayne asked as he and Mal picked up a crate, "Can you stop her from being cheerful please?"

"I don't believe there's a power in the 'verse to stop Kaylee from bein cheerful," Mal said as they put it in the compartment.

"Sometimes," Mal said as he and Jayned headed towards another crate, "you just wanna duct tape her mouth and drop her in one of the storage holds for a month."

Kaylee rewarded him with a kiss to the cheek before she backed up with a smile.

"I love my captain," Kaylee said happily.

Mal smiled as he and Jayne picked up the crate and headed towards the compartment.

With Zoe and Wash…

Wash followed Zoe to the bridge without really listening to her as he kept his eyes glued on her rear end with a look of enjoyment on his face.

"I know something ain't right," Zoe said as she led them down a hallway.

"Sweetie," Wash reasoned, "We're crooks. If everything were right, we'd be in jail."

"It's just that the captain's so tense," Zoe continued as they turned a corner.

"The man needs a break," Wash said in agreement, "In fact. We could all use a couple day's leave."

"We still gotta job the goods," Zoe reminded him as they stopped at the step-ladder that led to the bridge.

"And when we do," Wash said still into the idea of a break, "We'll fly off to Boros, rich and prosperous. Well less poor, but with enough to find some sweet little get-a-way."

"Oh," Zoe said getting into the idea as well, "Wouldn't mind a real bath."

"Yeah," Wash said, "and a meal that included some form of food. Just a couple of days lying around, you with the bathing, me with the watching you bathe."

"If the captain says its alright," Zoe said with a smile as they leaned into each other.

"What if we just told Mal we needed a couple of days instead of asking him?" Wash asked as he leaned away.

"He's the captain Wash," Zoe tried to explain as Wash walked up to the pilot's seat.

"Right," Wash said in annoyance as he turned around for a second, "I'm just the husband."

"Look," Zoe promised as she walked up to him, "I'll ask him."

"Don't forget to call him sir," Wash said as he sat down in the chair, "He likes that."

"Who likes what?" Mal asked as he walked into the bridge.

"It's nothing, sir," Zoe said as she got up from leaning on the console.

"Has the Ambassador checked in yet?" Mal asked ignoring the thumbs up Wash gave Zoe.

"Nah," Wash replied acquiring Mal's attention, "I think she had a pretty full docket."

"Well," Mal said, "After you have talked to Badger, let her know that we'll be leaving Persephone in a hurry."

"Inara has our timetable," Zoe reassured him, "she should be checking in."

"I can tell her to cut it short," Wash offered, "meet us at the docks."

"No, no," Mal said quickly as he turned to leave the bridge, "We don't wanna get in the way if we don't have to."

"Somebody on this boat has to make an honest living," Mal continued as he walked away from the bridge.

Meanwhile, with Inara…

Inara was currently in bed as she was doing the nasty with a man who was going in and out of her not too slowly but not too fast either. Both were making moans and gasps of pleasure and she even said "oh my god" once. When the man stopped he pushed himself upwards so they could stare at each other in the eyes. Her room was filled with fancy stuff that only a rich person could have or in her case, a companion. Inara was a very attractive woman with black curly hair.

"Xenon isn't all that different from this planet," Inara explained with a smile, "more crowded, obviously. I guess, more complicated. The great city itself is…"

"Pictures can't capture it," Inara finished believing that was the best way to describe it, "It's like an ocean of light."

"Is that where you studied?" the man asked out of curiosity, "to be a companion?"

"I was born there," Inara replied.

"I can't imagine ever leaving," the man said, clearly in awe of the place.

"Well," Inara explained, "I wanted to see the universe."

She then took a sip of her tea while the man looked down at the tea in his cup.

"Do you," the man asked slowly and sadly, "really have to leave?"

"I mean," the man continued after she didn't respond, "I… my father is very influential, we could… I could arrange for you to be…"

"I'm sorry," Inara said honestly, "but it's just not possible. Besides, I'm not ready to stop exploring the universe yet."

The man just nodded his head sadly before he gathered his clothes and dressed himself.

Five minutes later…

The man was now clothed in a grey uniform and he now stood at the exit to the room.

"The experience has been more than…" the man said, "It was very good. Thank you."

"The time flew too quickly," Inara said with a smile.

"Well," the man said irritably, "your clock's probably rigged to speed up and cheat us out of our fun."

That caused Inara's smile to fade at the accusation and the greediness of the man since she didn't get that feeling from him at all when she selected him. The man then left realizing that he heart her feelings and mentally beat himself up for it. She then placed the tray with the teapot and the two teacups down and headed towards a couple curtains and spread them apart revealing a cockpit for a flying vehicle. She then walked inside and sat down on the pilot's seat and turned the shuttle on so she could contact Mal's ship.

"Serenity," Inara said, "This is shuttle one. What's your ETA?"

"Inara," Wash replied, "hey. We're touching down at the Eavesdown docks in about… ten minutes."

"I'll join you there," Inara said, "Thanks."

"Looking forward to it," Wash said, "We missed you out here."

"Yeah," Inara replied quietly as she disengaged the break, "Me too."

She then flew her shuttle back to Serenity as fast and safely as she could.

Back at Serenity…

As soon as the ship landed, they ramp lowered revealing crowds of people wandering around the docks. Not all of them looked rich either. Mal was now wearing the same brown coat he had during the War for Independence. The same goes for Zoe, except for nowadays she also had a brown vest under her jacket which covered a dark grey button down shirt.

"We shouldn't take too long," Mal told Kaylee as he, Zoe, Wash, Jayne, and Kaylee walked down the ramp onto the sand, "Put us down for departure in about three hours."

"Grab any supplies we're low on," Mal said as he turned to Wash, "fuel her up."

"Sure would like to find a new compression coil for the steamer," Kaylee said as Wash headed back onto the ship.

"And I'd like to be King of all of Londinium and wear a shiny hat," Mal said sarcastically, "Just get us some passengers. Them that can pay, alright."

"Compression coil busts," Kaylee said as she inputted the info Mal wanted her to input, "we're drifting."

"Let's not bust then," Mal said as he headed back to the ship.

When he rejoined with Jayne and Zoe he headed down the sand walkway with them right behind. Before Zoe could get far Wash stopped her when he spoke.

"Zoe," Wash said in concern, "Zhēntāmā yàomìng. Zhùyi."

"We will," Zoe said touched at his concern. She then hurried to catch up with Mal while Wash drove off on the mule to grab much needed supplies. Kaylee on the other hand just went to grab a lawn chair, sunglasses, a drink, and an umbrella.

Somewhere in the crowd of people…

Sara MacLeod was furious with herself as that man had played her. She spent all week effectively being his sex-slave for nothing. Right now she wanted to shoot him in the head, but she knew that if she did… it wouldn't end well for her. So, she decided to get on a ship and get as far as she could from Persephone. Unfortunately, every ship she passed by didn't appeal to her. She was getting afraid that she'd be stuck on the planet until the next time ships came buy, and who knows when that would happen. She was currently carrying a duffle bag full of her weapons and other gear from the War for Independence and whatnot and wearing some clothes she bought after she sold some stuff she stole from that alliance asshole's house. She wore a black jacket over a white shirt, tight blue jeans, and wore black combat boots. Her hair was tied up in a ponytail and she had black raybans sunglasses on her face.

"Going on a trip madam?" asked a man wearing some dirty clothes and an old brown hat on his head.

Sara looked around for the guy, but didn't see him till she looked back to her front, "You need safe passage? We're cheap, we're clean."

"The Brutus," the man continued as he pointed at a huge ship, "Best ship in the 'verse."

"Hell no," Sara said, "I'm not going to be riding in that ginormous bucket of bolts."

"Why not?" the man asked a little insulted at the title she gave the ship.

"No way in hell that gorram ship is going to outrun reavers," she smiled as she continued her way.

"Reavers?" the man scoffed, "They're nothing but folklore."

"If only," Sara said sadly under her breath as she continued her way down the sand walkway.

Meanwhile, with Malcolm Reynolds…

Mal, Zoe, and Jayne walked down a hallway passing people as they went. Once they reached the entrance to the room they were headed to a guard stopped them by raising his rifle. The reason why was the fact that Badger was checking over a young woman with another man standing by. Badger was a small man and he wore a business suit, albeit in poor condition, and had a bowler hat on his head.

"Let me see your teeth," the man said to the woman. He then moved her lips around a bit to get a better look at her teeth once she complied and then decided, "Yes."

"You're late," Badger said to Mal as he walked to his desk chair.

"You're lying," Mal said as he, Jayne, and Zoe walked in once the guard let them through.

"What did you just say to me?" Badger asked affronted.

"You're well aware we landed two hours 'fore we planned to," Mal explained as he placed his hands on his belt and both Zoe and Jayne took up spots on either side of him, "with all the goods you sent us after intact and ready to roll."

"It's your decision to get tetchy and say we're late," Mal continued as Badger sat down in his chair, "Means you're looking to put us on the defensive right up front, which means something's gone wrong. It didn't go wrong on our end, so why don't we start again with you tellin' us what's up."

"You're later than I'd like," Badger reiterated.

"Well I'm sorry to hear that," Mal said

"You gotten here sooner," Badger said as he reached for a futuristic piece of paper, "might've beaten the bulletin saying 'Rogue Vessel: Classification Firefly. Was spotted pullin' illegal salvage from a derelict transport."

"Didn't ID us," Mal reasoned, "doesn't lead to you."

"No, it doesn't," Badger agreed before he said, "but the government stamp on every molecule of the cargo just maybe might.

At that Mal looked down an inch while Zoe glared at him.

"Oh," Badger said, "you noticed that? You were gonna hand me imprinted goods and just let me twist then? Is that the case?"

"We didn't pick the cargo," Mal reminded him.

"And I didn't flash my ass at the gorram law," Badger said loudly before he added in a quieter tone, "There's no deal."

"That ain't fair," Zoe said as she restrained herself from throttling the snake.

"Crime and politics little girl," Badger said condescendingly, "Situation is always… fluid."

"The only fluid I see here is the puddle of piss refusing to pay us our wage," Jayne said angrily. At that, Badger stood up and all of Badger's guards aimed guns at the three of them which prompted him to start pulling out his revolver. However, at a look from Mal he put the revolver back into the holster and left it there. He wasn't very pleased about that, but Mal was his employer. Mal then smiled at Badger, who still wasn't very pleased about Jayne's opinion of him.

"It doesn't have to go this way," Mal said as he walked towards Badger who started walking to the front of his desk, "You know you can still unload those goods, so I can't help thinking there's something else at work here."

"What were you in the war?" Badger asked rudely, "That big war you failed to win?"

"You were a sergeant, yeah?" Badger continued as he walked around Mal who glared at him towards Zoe who also glared, "Sergeant Malcolm Reynolds. Balls and Bayonets Brigade."

"Big tough veteran," Badger continued rudely while staring at Zoe before turning to look back at Mal, "now you got yourself a ship, and you're a captain."

"Only I think," Badger continued as he took a step towards Mal who still glared at him, "you're still a sergeant see. Still a soldier. Man of honor, in a den of thieves. Well this is my gorram den, and I don't like the way you look down on me. I'm above you, better than."

"Business man, see," Badger concluded as he moved his suit jacket about, "Roots in the community. You're just a scavenger."

"Well maybe I'm not a fancy gentleman like you, with your…" Mal said as he restrained himself from punching Badger, "very fine hat, but I do business. We're here for business."

"Try one of the border planets?" Badger advised, "They're a lot more desperate there. O'course, they might kill ya. But, you stay here, and I just know the Alliance will track you down. I have that feeling."

"Wheel never stops turning Badger," Mal said as he headed to the exit with Jayne and Zoe soon following him.

"That only matters to the people on the rim," Badger said before he turned back to his desk.

Back at Serenity…

Kaylee was twirling her umbrella as she sat in the lawn chair with her feet propped on a small empty crate while she looked for prospective passengers till she noticed a blonde haired woman walking around as she glanced at ships without really taking the time to look at them.

"You're gonna come with us," Kaylee said attracting the blonde's attention.

"Excuse me?" the blonde asked as she turned towards Kaylee.

"You like ships," Kaylee said, "You don't seem to be looking at the destinations."

"What you care about is the ships," Kaylee said with a confident smile, "and mine's the nicest."

"I have to admit that it does have more of an appeal than any of the others I've seen," Sara confessed, "But… its old. I can't see how it'd be able to outrun Reavers should one come across her."

"Oh," Kaylee said still smiling, "she'll fool ya."

Sara merely raised her eyebrow as a response. A minute of silence ensued till Kaylee decided to break it.

"You ever sail in a Firefly?" Kaylee asked.

"No," Sara admitted, "but my family did design them. Wasn't an Aught 3 though. Didn't have the extenders. From what I understood, it tended to shake."

"You're alliance?" Kaylee asked with her smile faltering a smidge.

"You don't know me," Sara said as she said calmly, "So I'm going to tell you this once. I have no love for the alliance. For all I care, they can go ahead and become victims of the Reavers."

"Then you'll fit in well," Kaylee said slightly relieved and slightly unnerved at how much Sara hated them. She knew Mal and Zoe hated the alliance, but they didn't have the capacity to hate as much as the blonde did.

"So, uh," Kaylee said as she stood up and walked over to Sara, "how come you don't care where you're goin'?"

"I just want to get off this gorram planet," Sara stated bluntly.

"Someone after you, or…" Kaylee trailed off as her smile faltered a smidge again.

"No," Sara said, "but if I do what I'm itchin' to do, there will be."

"Ah," Kaylee said as her smile grew again, "Bein' all proactive and smart ain't ya."

"Yep," Sara said as she too began smiling, "That's me. Sure as hell didn't feel like it at times during… nevermind. What's your name?"

"I'm Kaylee," Kaylee said before she pointed behind her and continued, "and this here's Serenity. She's the smoothest ride from here to Boros for anyone that can pay."

"Can you pay?" Kaylee asked nervously as she remembered what Mal specified.

"Well…" Sara began as she placed the duffle bag on the ground and began rooting around in it. When she stood up she had a box, and when she opened it wide enough for Kaylee to look into a lot of things glittered.

"I have this," Sara continued as she handed Kaylee the box, "I also have…"

Sara then knelt by her duffle bag again and pulled out another box, but this time when she opened it there were mangos inside.

"Whoa," Kaylee said when she saw the fruit, "Momma."

"Never married," Sara said with a smile.

Back with Mal…

"I don't understand why we didn't leave that son of a bitch in a pool of his own blood," Jayne said grumpily as they made their way through the crowds back to the ship empty handed.

"Cause we'd be dead," Mal explained ignoring Jayne's tone, "We can't get paid if you're dead."

"Can't get paid if you crawl away like an ittie bittie bug neither," Jayne countered, "I got a share of this job, and ten percent of nothin' is… let me do the math here. Nothin' and a nothin', carry the-"

"So we try to find a buyer on Boros," Zoe interrupted Jayne.

"Boros is too big," Mal said dismissing the idea, "It's crawling with alliance. They could be waitin' for us."

"You really think Badger will sell us out to the Feds?" Zoe asked.

"If he hasn't already," Mal replied quietly as he nodded at two security guards.

"Alliance catches us with government goods we'll lose the ship," Zoe said.

"That's never gonna happen," Mal assured her.

"Sir," Zoe said stopping them in their tracks as she turned to look at Mal, "We could just dump the cargo."

"No ruttin' way," Jayne objected, "We ain't had a job in weeks, and I didn't sign on with this crew to take in the sights. We need coin-"

"Jayne," Mal interrupted in annoyance, "Your mouth is talkin'. You might wanna look to that."

"I'm ready to stop talkin'-" Jayne said before he was interrupted again.

"You're right though," Mal reluctantly admitted shutting Jayne up, "Last few jobs we had were weak got nothing saved, taking passengers won't help near enough. We don't get paid for this cargo, we don't have enough money to fuel the ship. Let alone, keep her in repair. We should be dead in the water."

"So do like Badger said?" Zoe asked, "Border Planets?"

"I'm thinking Whitefall," Mal confirmed, "Maybe talk to Patience."

"Sir," Zoe said rejecting the idea, "We don't want to deal with Patience again."

"Why not?" Mal asked in confusion.

"She shot you," Zoe said plainly.

"Well," Mal said, "yeah, she did a bit. Still…"

"So, we find somebody else," Zoe said as they resumed their trek to Serenity, "Horowitz."

"He can't afford it," Mal countered.

"Hosenboyd," Zoe suggested.

"He wouldn't touch it," Mal said shaking his head, "Want me to go through the list? Capshaws are brain blown, Rubix's dead."

"He's dead?" Zoe asked shocked.

"Town got it by Reavers," Mal explained, "burned it right down."

"I ain't goin' anywhere near Reaver territory," Jayne stated adamantly, "Them people ain't human."

"Whitefall is the safest and the closest," Mal said, "besides, it's been a long time since Patience shot me and that was a perfectly legitimate conflict of interest. I got no grudge. She owns half that damn moon now. She can afford what we got, and she might just need it."

"I still don't think the old lady's the way," Zoe said skeptically as they walked through a tunnel.

"Not sayin' it won't be tricky," Mal said, "We got no kinda choice."

As they headed towards the ramp, they saw Kaylee welcoming some people onto Serenity.

"We just gotta keep our heads down," Mal said, "do the job, and pray there aren't no more surprises."

He then stopped next to Kaylee and took off his gloves as he looked at a man in a black dress suit and white button down shirt with sunglasses on. He watched as Wash drove the giant freezer thing into the cargo bay.

"Please be careful with that," the man requested as Kaylee walked up the ramp a bit till she, Mal, and the new guy made a triangle of sorts.

"Mal," Kaylee said cheerfully, "This is Simon. Simon this is our captain."

Simon nodded once before he said, "Captain Reynolds."

Mal looked at him up and down before he said, "Welcome aboard."

Every fiber in his being told him something was off about Simon, but he just couldn't grasp what it was. He knew it'd end up biting him in the ass eventually though.

"This all we got?" Mal asked Kaylee as he walked up the ramp. She nodded a yes and then smiled at Simon.

Inside the cargo bay…

Sara had just placed her duffle bag onto a random crate when Malcolm Reynolds walked past her. She looked to see who it was and then widened her eyes before she smiled.

"Tiān nǎ, zhè shì nǐ!" Sara called up to Mal attracting his attention as she hurried up to him. When Mal turned around he widened his eyes and smiled as well.

"Well I'll be," Mal said smiling as Sara wrapped her arms around him, "It's been a while."

"Indeed it has," Sara said when she let go of him.

"Zoe!" Mal called over to his first mate, "Look who showed up!"

When Sara turned to look at Zoe, for a fraction of a second Zoe actually smiled as she walked up to them.

"How's it been?" Zoe asked Sara.

"It's been better," Sara admitted.

"Well," Mal said, "You're always welcome here, Sara. We'll chat later. Right now things need to be done."

"Sure thing Mal," Sara said with a smile before she turned around and saw Kaylee standing there.

"You know the Captain?" Kaylee asked, "Why didn't cha say so earlier?"

"How was I supposed to know this was his ship?" Sara asked with a raised eyebrow.

"That's… actually a good point," Kaylee admitted, "Well see ya. I gotta go make sure Serenity is workin' fine."

With Mal…

Zoe now leaned on a railing of a stairwell while Mal stood in front of it, and they looked at all their new passengers.

"Now we have a boat full of citizens right on top of our stolen cargo," Zoe said quietly, "That's a fun mix."

"Ain't no way in the 'verse they could find that compartment," Mal said before he paused as another passenger that was around the same age as Mal walked passed. When the passenger was gone he continued, "Even if they were lookin' for it."

"Why not?" Zoe asked skeptically.

"Cause," Mal explained stupidly.

"Oh yeah," Zoe said sarcastically, "This is gonna go great."

"If anyone gets nosy," Mal said as he turned to head up the stairwell, "ya know, just shoot them."

"Shoot 'em?" Zoe asked smirking.

"Politely," Mal corrected over his shoulder as he headed up the stairwell.


The crew and the passengers were currently either sitting or standing in the dining area as Mal spoke his captain speech. Said dining area, is a combo of modern dining rooms and a futuristic dining room which makes sense since its in a ship.

"Meals are taken up here in the dining area," Mal said in front of the passengers no longer wearing his coat, "Kitchen is pretty much self explanatory. You're welcome to eat there anytime. What we got is pretty much standard fare, I guess, protein in all the colors of the rainbow. We do have sit-down meals. The next being at 1800."

"Sara has offered to help me make something," Kaylee spoke up acquiring a raised eyebrow from Sara.

"You can cook?" Mal asked startled, "Since when?"

"About four years ago," Sara said, "There are somethings I can cook, but not many."

"I didn't offer to help you make anything," Sara said with narrowed eyes at Kaylee.

"I think she just wants to know more about you," Zoe guessed.

"I think it'd be good for the both of you to make the meal," Mal said, "Now back on topic. As I said, you're welcome to the dining area at any time, but apart from that, I have to ask you to stay in the passenger dorm and common area while we're in the air. The bridge, the engine room, and the cargo bay are off limits without escort."

"Uh," Simon spoke up nervously, "Some of my personal effects are in the cargo bay."

"I figure you all got luggage you'll need to get to," Mal explained, "As soon as we're done here, we'll be happy to fetch 'em with you. Now I have to tell you all one other thing, and I apologize in advance for the inconvenience but the alliance has ordered us to drop medical supplies on Whitefall. It's the fourth moon on Athens., a bit out of our way, but we should have you on Boros no more than a day off schedule."

"What medical supplies?" Simon asked curiously.

"I honestly didn't ask," Mal replied.

"Probably plasma," Zoe said as she walked up to Mal's side, "insulin, whatever they ain't got enough of on border moons."

"Alliance says jump," Mal added.

"Alright," Simon accepted.

"Zoe," Mal said as he looked at Zoe, "You want to take them to the cargo bay?"

"Yes sir," Zoe said before she walked off escorting the passengers.

"Anything else you need," Mal said as they left, "Just ask and that'll be that."

"You send word to Patience?" Mal asked as he and Wash headed to the bridge.

"Ain't heard back yet," Wash replied before he asked, "Didn't she shoot you one time?"

"Everybody's makin' a fuss," Mal said exasperated.

In the cargo bay…

Sara simply picked up her duffle bag and slung it onto her shoulder and then turned to see Zoe walking down a stairwell as she kept an eye on the goings on. Sara then headed towards the same stairwell and walked up them to where Mal and Kaylee were. When she reached the walkway they were standing on she opened her duffle bag and pulled out the box of mangoes which Kaylee graciously accepted.

"What's in the box?" Mal asked out of curiosity.

"Mangoes," Sara replied as she reached into her duffle bag again, "Only fruit worth a damn in my opinion."

"Never had a mango before," Mal admitted, "I'm actually interested in trying one."

"You kinda have to cut mangoes up to eat them," Sara said as she stood up with the box of riches, "the skin isn't ideal for just chowin' down. They're also incredibly messy if you do or don't do it right."

"Best wait till dinner time then," Mal decided before he noticed the box in Sara's hands, "That doesn't look ideal for carryin' fruit, so what's in it?"

"My payment," Sara said as she handed Mal the box.

"Kaylee didn't take it?" Mal asked with a raised eyebrow as he accepted the box.

"Couldn' exactly fit it in my pocket cap'n," Kaylee reasoned.

"Fair enough," Mal said as he opened the box. When he did so, he widened his eyes at what he saw.

"I'd say that is more than acceptable," Sara said as she knelt down to close her duffle bag, "No ship captain that isn't a member of the gorram alliance has ever seen a payday this big."

"Ain't that a fact," Mal said mesmerized by the riches before he shook his head to clear his mind. He then looked up and noticed Inara walking towards them.

"Ah," Mal said with an internal smile, "The ambassador graces us with her presence."

"Hello Mal," Inara said with a smile as she walked down the stairs to the are they were at, "I see we have some new faces."

"Hey you," Kaylee said with a smile.

"Hey you," Inara said back equally as happy.

"Ambassador," Mal said all business-like, "This is Sara MacLeod."

"I'm Inara Sera," Inara said with a smile towards Sara, "Nice to meet you."

"I wish I could say the same," Sara said honestly causing Inara's smile to falter.

"Why?" Inara asked.

"Ambassadors are loyal to the alliance," Sara nearly spat, "That makes them just as evil."

"Not all of them are hundans," Mal reasoned, "Especially not her."

"I'll be the judge of that," Sara said dryly.

"Ambassador is Mal's way of saying-" Inara explained.

"She's a whore Sara," Mal interrupted.

"The term is companion," Kaylee corrected.

"Oh," Sara said suddenly feeling guilty, "I'm sorry…"

"It's alright," Inara said with a smile towards her.

"I always get those mixed up," Mal said, "How's business?"

"None of yours," Inara stated bluntly no longer smiling.

"She is pretty much our ambassador," Mal explained, "There's plenty of planets that wouldn't let ya dock without a decent companion on board. This… isn't a problem for you i suspect?"

"No," Sara confessed, "I've done much more degrading things than selling my assets for money. If anything she should have a problem with me."

"What are you-" Mal began before Sara cut him off.

"Let's just say its part of the reason I needed off Osiris," Sara said bluntly.

"Okay then," Mal said, "You can keep your secrets as long as they don't end up biting me or mine in the ass."

"We can talk later," Inara said when she saw the look in Sara's eyes.

"When I'm done whoring," Inara added angrily to Mal as she and Kaylee headed up the stairs.

"Don't you wanna meet the rest of the bunch?" Mal asked stopping them in their tracks.

"Why don't you make sure they want to meet me first?" Inara said before she and Kaylee resumed their trek up the stairs.

"Why are you so rude to her?" Sara asked Mal with narrowed eyes, "She seems like a good woman."

"That she is," Mal agreed, "However, I'm not rude to her perse. I'm really just being rude to her job."

"Now then," Sara said changing the topic, "Why don't you tell me what you're really doing heading to Whitefall."

"Already did," Mal said.

"You only told half the truth," Sara smirked, "You forget. I know you and Zoe both. You may not hate the alliance nearly as much as I do, but you would never bend down and let the alliance shove their fists up your ass and control you like a puppet. Whatever your really doing, I will find out if you don't tell me."

"Okay," Mal sighed, "But not now. Too many prying eyes."

"Now do we have assigned quarters or?" Sara asked as she picked up her duffle bag.

"No," Mal said, "You can pick one when Zoe escorts you and the other passengers over there."

Later, at dinner time…

Everyone had gathered up for supper and were placing some food on their plates. The crew of Serenity were thrilled that they got some actual food for once, and each of them were grateful. Even Jayne, though he didn't show it.

"It's not much," Sara said as Zoe grabbed some already sliced mangoes from a bowl in front of Sara and Simon, "I grabbed all that I could carry."

"It's very kind of you to share with all of us," Simon said graciously as he brought his cup to his mouth.

"Oh," Sara said as she brought a spoon of mashed potatoes to her mouth, "It won't last. They're not the same when they're no longer fresh."

"Why did you share with us anyhow?" Jayne asked from a ways down the table.

"I shared because I know what it's like to not have all that much food-wise," Sara answered before she put the mashed potatoes in her mouth.

"Then how'd you come by all those riches?" Mal asked his attention caught by her answer.

"Saved what I could," Sara shrugged after she swallowed down the mashed potatoes, "Spent some years on Persephone doin' a few odd jobs here and there. Most of my clients were wealthy alliance drones, so they paid loads."

"Not a big fan of the alliance?" asked the only man that Sara wanted to stab with her combat knife everytime she looked at him.

"I'm sorry," Sara said insincerely, "I don't believe I was talking to you. Who the hell are you anyway?"

"I go by Dobson," the man said, "And why are you being so rude to me?"

"I don't like you," Sara shrugged as she picked up a slice of bread.

"That's not much of a reason," Dobson said frowning slightly.

"Only reason I need," Sara said with an insincere smile.

"So," Simon said changing the subject, "Does it happen a lot?"

Mal, Jayne, Kaylee, and Zoe just stared at him in confusion for a few seconds.

"Government commandeering your ship," Simon clarified, "Telling you where to go."

"It's what governments are for," Mal replied before he ate a piece of sausage, "Get in a man's way."

"Well," Dobson said revealing himself as loyal to the alliance, "its good if the supplies are needed."

"We're just happy to be doin' good works," Jayne said as he chewed some food.

"I hear a lot of the border moons are in bad shape," Dobson said changing the subject, "Plagues and famine."

"Well," Zoe replied as she stirred her utensil in her food, "Some of that's exaggerated and some of it ain't. All those moons? Just like the central planets, they're as close to Earth-that-was as we can make 'em. Gravity, atmosphere, and such but…"

"Once they're terraformed," Mal finished, "they'll dump settlers on there with nothin' but blankets and hatchets and maybe a herd. Some of 'em make it, but some of them don't."

"Then I guess it's good we're helping," Simon said trying to lighten the mood.

"You're a doctor, right?" Kaylee asked while everyone ate.

"Oh," Simon said nervously, "Uh yes. I was a trauma surgeon on Osiris.

"Long way from here," Mal grunted as he chewed.

"You seem so young," Kaylee said blushing, "ya know. To be a doctor and all."

"You're pretty young to be a ship's mechanic," Simon said redirecting the conversation.

"Know how," Kaylee said waving him off, "Machines got workings, they just talk to me."

Sara noticed Jayne's look and felt that he was about to say something completely inappropriate so she got up from her chair and walked to him.

"What do you want blondie?" Jayne asked when he saw her next to him, "If you're wantin' to bump fuzzies then find someone else. You ain't my type."

Sara merely smirked before she grabbed his ear and yanked it hard.

"What in the gorram hell do you think you're doing Sara?!" Mal exclaimed as he too stood up.

"Tell the captain what the rude remark you were going to say about Kaylee was Jayne," Sara said sweetly, "If you don't, I may end up ripping your ear off. By accident o'course."

"Fuck you!" Jayne yelled as he punched her in the gut causing her to let go.

"Jayne!" Mal yelled as Jayne picked up a steak knife and turned it towards Sara, "Sara! I will not be havin' a fight in my boat! Especially, during dinner time."

"She started it!" Jayne complained.

"I don't give a damn who started it," Mal said sternly, "I'm ending it. Now put the knife back down on the table and tell me exactly what rude thing you were going to say about Kaylee."

"You believe that psycho?" Jayne asked affronted.

"Don't make me count to three," Mal warned.

"You want the truth?" Jayne said, "Fine. Here it is. Kaylee over there hoped rich boy over there was a gynecologist."

Kaylee just looked down at her plate as she became even more embarrassed, but nobody was focused on that. They were focused on Mal's angry expression.

"Jayne," Mal said as calmly as possible, "You will keep a civil tongue in that mouth or I will sew it closed. Dong ma?"

"You don't pay me to talk pretty," Jayne glared, "Just because Kaylee gets lubed up over some big city dandy…"

He was then interrupted by Sara turning him around and snogging him right on the lips to everyone's shock.

"Why did you just kiss him?" Mal asked in confusion as he blinked twice.

"Wait for it," Sara said as she wiped her lips and spat into a napkin. Everyone watched as Jayne fell down face first unconscious.

"What did you do to him?" Mal asked.

"Oh," Sara said with a cheeky grin, "Just a little thing I like to call 'The Good Night Kiss'."

"I've heard of that," Simon said, "It's a drug that makes people fall asleep. Mostly used by thieves and other people that use such tactics."

"Well," Mal said uncomfortably, "Can you not use it again? Also, since you knocked him out will you move him to his room?"

"I can try," Sara said frowning, "He looks incredibly heavy."

"Well," Mal said, "When you're done, there'll be food left. Please take some up to Inara as well."

"You're punishing him for being rude," Dobson asked in confusion, "But not her for starting a fight? Why?"

"I trust her judgement," Mal shrugged, "As extreme as her actions are at times, she ain't never steered me wrong."

"What do you pay him for?" Simon asked as Sara dragged Jayne off away from the dining area and to his room.

"What?" Mal asked in confusion.

"I was just wondering what his job is," Simon explained, "On the ship."

"Public relations," Mal said after a few seconds of hesitating. Practically nobody believed that as Jayne was too rude to be a PR guy.

A few minutes later, with Inara…

Inara was completely naked but used a yellow and black patterned blanket to cover herself as she used a sponge to clean herself with water. She spent a few minutes of doing that till someone knocked on the door.

"Qǐngjìn," Inara said as she finished up with cleaning herself. Sara then walked in carrying a platter and with a bit of a wince.

"Oh," Sara said as she quickly looked away going red in the face, "I'm sorry. I thought you were…"

"Decent?" Inara asked.

"Yes," Sara nodded as Inara stood up while covering herself with the blanket.

"It's quite alright," Inara said, "I've been expecting you."

"Couldn't really say the same," Sara said as she slowly turned around and saw that Inara was now covered.

"So," Inara said, "What brings you here?"

"I brought you some supper," Sara said as she held up the platter higher for a few seconds, "Mal sends his regards."

"I doubt that," Inara sighed, "He never does."

"I was trying to be funny," Sara said, "I have a crap sense of humor though."

"Not many people are funny these days," Inara sighed sadly as she took the platter, "The only person I've ever found to even be remotely funny is Wash."

"Thanks for the food," Inara said as she placed it on a table.

"So you forgave him," Sara stated.

"For calling me a whore?" Inara almost laughed.

"It wasn't very nice of him to say that," Sara frowned.

"Believe me, I've called him far worse," Inara said as she turned to smooth out a pillow, "So, why don't you sit down?"

"If I do," Sara said uncomfortably, "I might not be able to get back up."

"Why?" Inara asked in concern.

"I rendered Jayne unconscious and then had to drag him to his room," Sara explained.

"What'd Jayne do now?" Inara sighed.

"He said something really rude about Kaylee and then refused to shut up when Mal told him to," Sara explained.

"Well," Inara said as she sat on the bed, "Why don't you take off your shirt and lay down in my bed."

"Um," Sara gulped.

"Oh," Inara almost chuckled, "Don't be nervous. We're both women after all. Besides, how else am I supposed to massage your back?"

"This is for free?" Sara asked as she slowly began unbuttoning her shirt.

"Consider it as a reward for punishing Jayne," Inara smiled. She widened her eyes a little bit at how perky Sara's breasts were.

"Those are nice," Inara commented. That caused Sara to blush bright red. She then lowered herself onto Inara's bed and laid down on her front.

"These marks…" Inara said as she looked over Sara's back, "They look like…"

"Whip marks," Sara said bitterly, "I told you I had done far worse than you."

"You let people whip you hard enough to leave scars?" Inara asked shocked.

"Sometimes I had to in order to complete a job," Sara said still bitter, "The wealthiest of my clients had decided to basically turn me into his sex slave. And it was all for info he never had. Damn hundan tricked me."

"You won't have to worry about that sort of work as long as you're on Serenity," Inara reassured as she rubbed massaging oil on her hands, "I can suggest to Mal that he hire you as well."

"You kidding?" Sara said, "He can't afford me."

"Oh please," Inara snorted as she began massaging Sara, "You're not high maintenance. I know high maintenance women, and they're not anything like you."

Later, with Mal…

Mal had just washed his hands after taking a leak when Wash called from the bridge.

"Mal," Wash said in a worried tone, "You might wanna get up here."

Mal didn't waste a second as he hurried out of his room and up to the bridge.

"What is it?" Mal asked as he came through the bridge's doorway at a run.

"Signal," Wash replied as he glanced at him, "Somebody went on the cortex, hailed the nearest alliance cruiser."

"Tell me you scrambled it," Mal ordered with hope.

"All to hell," Wash confirmed, "but I don't know how much got through. Alliance got a pin on us, that's for sure."

"Nǐ tāmāde, tiānxià suǒyǒu de rén dōu gāi sǐ," Mal cursed angrily.

"We got a mole on board," Wash said in a serious tone.

At that Mal left the bridge with a furious expression, and he all but ran to the cargo bay. Once he reached arrived he saw the "doctor" looking at the big machine he had brought in. He stealthily walked up to him, and then stopped when he was right behind him. A few seconds later Simon stood back up and turned around to see him.

"Forgot your toothpaste?" Mal asked with an insincere smile right before he punched Simon in the face knocking him to the floor.

"Are you out of your mind?!" Simon exclaimed after he grunted in pain as he turned to look at Mal.

"Ah just a bit," Mal said, "What'd you tell them?"

"Tell who?" Simon asked as he stood back up.

"I got exactly no time for games," Mal said as he pulled out his Taurus .38 revolver from its holster, "What do they know?"

"You're a lunatic," Simon said as he began to panic.

"You're a gorram fed," Mal said angrily as he cocked the revolver.

"Hate to say it Mal," Sara said as she walked into view attracting Mal's attention, "You've got the wrong man."

She then looked over his head and right at Dobson who was aiming a semi-automatic side arm at both Mal and Simon.

"Son of a bitch," Mal cursed as he lowered his gun when he saw Dobson standing above them on the stairwell.

"Drop that firearm Captain Reynolds," Dobson said.

Mal reluctantly dropped his gun onto the floor as he raised his arms up in the universal motion of "I surrender."

"This is not my best day ever," Mal said in unhappily.

"Simon Tam," Dobson said as he took a few steps down the stairwell, "You are bound by law to stand down."

"What?" Mal said as he saw Simon raise his arms and lowered his own, "The doctor? Oh, hey. Is there-is there a reward?"

"Get on the ground," Dobson ordered Simon ignoring Mal as he did so.

"Get on the ground!" Dobson shouted as he resumed his trek down the stairs.

"Lawman," Simon tried, "you are making a mistake."

"You best get on the ground son," Mal said yelling in glee internally, "The man seems a mite twitchy."

"I knew you were an alliance fed," Sara said as she flicked her hand allowing a small knife to drop into her hand.

"Shut up," Dobson ordered, "This doesn't concern you."

"We're not going anywhere dumbass," Sara said as she took a step forward, "As I understand, it's really fucking cold outside."

"Well," Mal said as he reached for his weapon, "not to worry. We stick doctor Dolittle here into one of the passenger cells. He won't make a peep."

"Get the hell away from that weapon!" Dobson ordered as he turned his gun on Mal. Mal then stood back up as Dobson continued, "You think I'm a complete backbirth? You're carrying fugitives across interplanetary borders, and you think I actually believe you're bringing medical supplies to Whitefall? As far as I care, everyone on this ship is culpable."

"Well now," Mal said unhappily, "That does affect the landscape."

"Put down the gun dickless," Sara said as she took another step forward, "You're outmatched and outgunned."

"I've got a cruiser on intercept," Dobson smirked, "In twenty minutes you'll be the ones that are… how did you put it? Oh yes. Outmatched and outgunned."

"Might have less than that," Mal threatened.

"Yeah," Dobson said with his gaze back on Mal, "threaten me."

"For crying out loud," Sara said, "put that gun down. You have never actually fired a gun before, so for all I know you'll end up killing yourself!"

"Maybe I'll just shoot you!" Dobson yelled.

"Just take the kid!" Mal yelled as he grabbed Simon.

"Get your hands off-" Simon yelled.

"Stand the hell down!" Dobson yelled.

"What is-" began a new voice behind Dobson causing him to whirl around and fire instinctively.

Mal, Simon, and Sara looked at where gun was aimed and saw Kaylee leaning on a doorway with a shocked expression on her face and a bullet wound in her stomach.

"Wha?" Kaylee asked on confusion. Mal quickly grabbed his gun aimed it at Dobson, but stopped when he remembered Sara was faster. He then ran over to Kaylee with Simon and Inara close behind.

Sara on the other hand threw her throwing knife at Dobson and hit him in the hand causing the gun to fall on the ground. She then tackled him onto the ground when she pulled out a brass knuckle and began hitting him hard and furiously on the face.

"Wǒ yào tā mā de shāle nǐ, nǐ shì yīgè wánpí de jìnǚ de érzi!" Sara yelled ferociously as she beat him over and over.

"Sara," said Zoe from above along with the sound of a gun cocking, "Jayne. Just tie him up."

"Do it," Zoe ordered when they hesitated. Both Sara and Jayne shared a look which both said "later" and then Sara got off of the now unconscious and bleeding Dobson while Jayne grabbed some tape and tied his wrists together.

With Mal…

"Now Kaylee," Simon said now that he was in doctor mode, "Stay with me. Stay with me. Can you move your feet?"

"Are you asking me to dance?" Kaylee asked with a smile.

"She's going into shock," Simon said as he looked at the bullet wound.

"Kaylee," Inara said in concern, "meimei you have to focus."

"The infirmary working?" Simon asked when Kaylee cried out in pain.

"We got it stocked," Mal said as they prepared to pick her up gently.

"Captain," Wash said over the intercom, "We've been hailed by a cruiser. Ordered to stay on course and dock for prisoner transfer."

Mal and Simon kept their gazes on one another till Simon stood up and stepped away from Kaylee.

"Change course," Simon said, "Run."

"Hell with you," Mal said angrily, "You brought this down on us. I'm dumping you with the law!"

"Mal…" Inara said prompting Mal to look at her.

"She's dying," Simon stated reacquiring Mal's attention.

"You're not gonna let her," Mal said.

"Yes, I am," Simon assured with hate for himself as he forced himself not to look down at the dying form of Kaylee.

"No, you can't," Mal said nearly pleading while he rose from the floor.

"No way the feds are going to let us walk," Zoe interjected trying to get them to do something fast.

"Then we dump him in a shuttle," Mal said as he looked at her, "Leave him for them."

"Everybody's so mad…" Kaylee said weakly attracting Inara's attention.

"It's okay meimei," Inara said in concern.

"You know what a stomach wound does to a person?" Simon asked.

"I surely do," Mal said coldly.

"Then you know how crucial the next few minutes are," Simon said.

"You let her die," Sara said as she pulled out a small compact pistol, "and I'll shoot you right here and now."

"We both will," Zoe said.

"She'll still be dead," Simon countered as he looked at them.

"You rich kids," Mal said angrily, "you think your lives are the only things that matter. What'd you do? Kill your folks for the family fortune."

"I don't kill people," Simon defended himself.

"Then do your job!" Mal yelled.

"Turn this ship around!" Simon yelled back.

"Enough!" Inara yelled as she stood up, "Mal, do it!"

"Don't you ever tell me what to do on my own sh-" Mal said sternly before he was cut off by Kaylee crying out in pain. He then looked at her before looking back at Simon.

"Zoe," Mal said without looking away, "change course."

"Help me get her up," Simon said as he knelt next to Kaylee again while Zoe walked to an intercom.

"Wash," Zoe said as both Mal and Simon picked Kaylee up quickly but carefully, "change course and go for hard burn. We're runnin'."

A minute or so later, at the infirmary…

Mal and Simon quickly laid Kaylee down on the hospital bed as soon as they entered the infirmary. Simon went to go grab some medical supplies while Mal turned on the light above the table.

"Do you have an extractor?" Simon asked as he turned to look at Mal.

"I have a laser saw," Mal replied.

"Uh," Simon said, "That's not good enough."

He then turned to look at Inara who had opened the doors to the infirmary and said, "My room, red bag."

"When this is over you and me are going to have a personal chat," Mal said sternly as Inara hurried out of the room.

"Won't that be fun," Simon said sarcastically as he tossed an anesthetic to Mal before he added, "Dope her."

Mal quickly injected the anesthetic into Kaylee's neck quickly rendering her unconscious. When Simon had finished the surgery he walked over to a counter and pulled off his rubber-like gloves.

"I can't do any more till she stabilizes," Simon said as he removed his apron.

"Will she?" Mal asked.

"I can't say yet," Simon said.

"I want to know what's going on here," Inara spoke up.

"Well then why don't we find out?" Mal said as he headed towards the infirmary's doors.

"What are you-" began Simon before he realized where Mal was headed and began chasing after him, "No!"

"No!" Simon repeated once he had left the infirmary with Inara not far behind.

A few seconds later…

"Stay away from that!" Simon said as Jayne restrained him from stopping Mal in his tracks who was on his way to Simon's machine.

"Where's the fed?" Mal asked Jayne who was slowly following without losing his grip on Simon.

"Secure," Jayne replied as Mal began pulling the machine away from the wall, "Still unconscious too after the beatin' Sara gave 'im."

Mal then unlocked the device and pulled on the lever before he stood up.

"Well," Mal said as he glanced at simon, "Let's see what a man like you will kill for."

"No, don't!" Simon yelled as Mal did a spartan kick, removing the lid in the process. When that was done, fog began flowing out of the box revealing a naked young girl that happened to be asleep. Jayne released Simon as Mal took a look into the box. He then looked at Simon with a confused expression before he looked back into the box at the sleeping girl.

"Huh," Mal said simply as he couldn't think of anything else to say.

Simon tried to take a step forward but once again Jayne restrained him.

"I need to check her vitals!" Simon said seriously.

"Oh," Mal asked sarcastically as he walked a few steps towards him, "Is that what they call it?"

"She's not supposed to wake up for another week," Simon continued, "The shock-"

"The shock of what?" Mal asked believing Simon was a lowly sack of shit, "Waking up?"

"Finding out she'd been sold to some border world baron?" Mal continued as Simon struggled against Jayne.

"Or, I'm sorry. Was this one for you?" Mal asked when he saw Simon's angry expression, "Is it true love? Because you do seem a little-"

Suddenly the young teen girl woke up and bolted up straight screaming which caused Mal to jump back as he said startled, "Whoa!"

The girl looked around before she climbed out of the box plopping onto the floor in the process. When she landed on the floor she looked around in fear since she didn't recognize the place and she was still remembering her time in the alliance "academy." Simon then broke free of Jayne's grasp as Jayne was distracted and hurried over to the girl while Inara removed her silk bathrobe, kimono, or whatever it was. Simon tried to grab the girl lightly, but she screamed at his touch due to her unsure of her whereabouts.

"River," Simon tried again calmly as he slowly moved towards her. She then began panicking as he got near her.

"Hey," Simon said kindly and patiently, "It's okay, it's okay, it's okay. It's okay, I'm here."

She then stopped panicking as she focused on his mind, voice, and face. She was still confused, but she began becoming less so as the seconds went by.

"Simon?" River asked for confirmation, and then when she heard his concerned thoughts for her she began rambling, "Simon, they-they talk to me, they want me to… they want me to…"

"They're gone," Simon said with a tone etched in concern and an expression showing the same, "They're gone. They're gone. They're gone, we're safe now."

"We're safe," Simon continued as he pulled her into a hug, "We're safe. I'm here."

As they embraced she calmed down and Mal began getting an itch as to know what was going on. When he couldn't stand that itch anymore he spoke up.

"What the hell is this?" Mal asked.

"Isn't it obvious Mal?" Sara asked from the doorway behind them, "She's his sister."

"How can you be sure?" Mal asked as he turned to look at her.

"Look at his face," Sara said, "From that alone, the fact that he loves her is clear. Of course, that's not much to go on. So, instead look at them closely. They both have black hair, similar bone structure, they both have dark eyes. They're also around the same age, give or take a year or two. Also, I have siblings of my own."

"You have siblings?!" Mal asked confused, "Why is it, that the more we talk, the more I realize I don't know you at all?"

"I was the black sheep of the family," Sara shrugged, "I don't speak to them much. Especially, since I was disowned."

Mal blinked at her twice in confusion, but shook his head before he turned to look at Simon.

"It's best that you start explaining what the hell is going on here," Mal said sternly.

Later, in the dining area…

Mal, Zoe, Jayne, Wash, Inara, and Sara all situated themselves in comfortable spots while Simon stood in front of them as he prepared to explain the situation. Mal and Inara stood, while the others sat down in chairs.

"I am very smart," Simon began explaining.

"Egotist," Sara coughed rudely. At a look from Inara and Mal she just sat there with a sheepish expression without talking throughout the rest of the story.

"I went to the best Medacad on Osiris," Simon continued as if Sara never interrupted, "top three percent in my class. I finished my internship in eight months. Gifted is the term. I tell you this because when I say my sister makes me look like an idiot child, I want you to understand my full meaning."

Sara gained a serious expression as she remembered her childhood. Her family had always been extremely smart. Smart enough to start a company that built the Fireflies, but they were dumb enough to believe anything the alliance said. Sara had a younger sister who was far smarter than any of them, and one day after she was supposed to have come home from school… she didn't. Some alliance feds had come by and told them that there had been an accident. She had tried to stop a couple of students from fighting, she had always been the peacemaker, but in the process she had been slammed into and knocked into the street. Now since streets didn't actually exist in the sky, she actually fell to her death. She didn't even die when she hit the ground. She died before then, because she had been rammed into by a hover car. Of course, Sara didn't believe a word they said. She had always had a talent to detect liars… when they're not good people anyway. That was the last she had seen her family, and she had never wanted to go back home.

"River was more than gifted. She-" Simon continued as he smiled lovingly, "She was a gift. Everything she did. Music, Math, Theoretical Physics, even… even dance. There was nothing that didn't come as easily to her as breathing does for any of us. She could be a real brat about it too. I mean, she used to-"

He then stopped as he noticed Jayne standing up to go refill his coffee which both Sara and Mal glanced at him doing.

"There was a… a school," Simon continued back on track, "a government sponsored academy. We had never even heard of it, but it had the most exciting program. The most challenging. We could've sent her anywhere. We had the money, but… she wanted to go. She wanted to learn. She was fourteen… I uh…"

"Take your time," Sara advised kindly and genuinely.

"But not too long," Mal added, "Don't have all day to be waitin' for you to finish."

"I had received a few letters at first," Simon continued after he had gathered himself, "and then I didn't hear from her for months. Finally, I got a letter that made no sense. She talked about things that never happened, jokes that we've never… it was a code. It just said 'they're hurting us. Get me out.'"

"How'd you do it?" Zoe asked.

"Money," Simon admitted. "And-and luck. For two years I couldn't get near her. Then I was contacted by some men. Some underground movement. They-they said that she was in danger. That… that the government was… playing with her brain. If I funded them, they could sneak her out of there using cryo, get her to Persephone, and from there I could take her… wherever."

"Will she be alright?" Inara asked in concern.

"I don't know if she'll be alright," Simon said honestly, "I don't know what they did to her… or why. I-I just have to keep her safe."

"Wǒ huì bǎ tāmen cóng zhītǐ shàng sī chéng suìpiàn," Sara said darkly before she looked at Simon and said sincerely, "I feel your pain."

"Yeah," Mal said not as sincere as he stepped forward, "Its a tale of woe. Truly stirring in the meantime you've heaped a world of trouble on me and mine."

"I never thought…" Simon began.

"No," Mal agreed, "I don't imagine you thought. In consequence of which we got a kidnapped federal officer on board, the alliance hot on our tail, and Kaylee…"

"Give him a break Mal," Sara said quietly, "you would've done exactly the same as him if you were in his position."

"Maybe," Mal conceded as he turned towards Sara, "but I wouldn't have been dumb about it either. He sticks out like a sore thumb. It would've been impressive if he had avoided detection wearing that getup. Also, don't you ever tell me what to do on my ship… dong ma."

"How much does the alliance know?" Zoe asked as she turned to look at Wash.

"I can't say," Wash said thoughtfully, "I killed the message pretty quick, so they may have just had our position."

"Or," Mal said as he turned to the others, "they might have personal profiles on each and every one of us. Till that fed wakes up, we won't know."

"So what do we do?" Sara asked. Mal then stood there silently for a minute as he began thinking of the best course of action.

"The job," Mal decided, "We finish the job. I got word from Patience, she's waiting for us. We circle round to Whitefall, make the deal, get out, and keep flying."

"What about us?" Simon asked.

"Kaylee comes through," Mal said, "you and your sister'll get off at Whitefall."

"You're staying onboard," Sara said before Mal could speak, "You won't last a second on Whitefall. Well, your sister might at least."

"Uh hello," Mal said in irritation towards Sara, "Who's the captain here? Who bought this vessel with his own money?"

"You kick them off and I'll jump ship as well," Sara said.

"And if Kaylee doesn't come through?" Simon asked.

"Then you're gettin' off a mite sooner," Mal said in a serious tone causing Jayne to smile.

"That'd be murder Mal," Inara said.

"Boy made a decision," Mal defended his decision.

"He didn't shoot her," Inara countered.

"No," Jayne spoke up, "but somebody else did, and I'm scratchin' my head as to why we ain't dealt with him."

"Kill a fed?" Zoe asked incredulously, "Can you think of a stupider thing to do?"

"He can ID us all," Jayne reasoned.

"You can throw me out the airlock, fine." Simon said suddenly acquiring Mal's attention for a second, "but River is not a part of this."

"Can we vote on the whole murdering people issue?" Wash asked.

"We don't vote on my ship," Mal said sternly, "because my ship isn't the ruttin' town hall."

"This is insanity!" Inara exclaimed.

"I happen to think we were raised beyond that now, sir," Wash said in irritation. At that point everyone began speaking up in a way which annoyed the hell out of Mal. Even more so than Jayne's rudeness.

"Nǐmen dōu bìzuǐ!" Mal yelled shutting them up.

"The way it is is the way it is," Mal said, "We gotta deal with what's in front of us.

"I'm with Sara on this," Inara said as she began walking forward, "You throw them out, I'm leaving with all three of them."

"Might be best you do," Mal said in agreement as he walked off, "You ain't a part of this business."

Simon then began following Mal to demand some answers out of him, but Sara stopped him before he could go far.

"You start questioning him, he'll break your nose," Sara warned, "You should go check on River and Kaylee instead."

As he looked into her eyes, he saw that she wasn't kidding. With that in mind he decided to do as Sara advised. Sara however, did the exact thing she advised Simon NOT to do.

"What exactly is your business?" Sara asked stopping Mal in his tracks who then turned to look at her.

"I can't know even though I'm an old friend?" Sara asked as she walked towards him, "Is it gold, drugs, Pirate's treasure?"

"Now's not the time for this conversation," Mal said bluntly.

"When will be the time then?" Sara asked in irritation, "After you have abandoned Simon, River, Inara, and I on that sandball of a planet?"

"You keep talkin' to me this way and that might be the case," Mal said as he narrowed his eyes.

"No," Sara said a she grabbed him by the collar and pushed him against the wall, "You're going to tell me like you promised, and you're going to do it now."

"I told you," Mal said as he pushed Sara off of him and into the opposite wall, "to never tell me what to do on my own ship."

"You did," Sara admitted, "I just didn't listen."

"You never do," Mal said angrily, "Just like you didn't on the last day of the battle for Serenity Valley! I told you to get us the gorram air support, and instead when Zoe and I returned the radio was shot to hell!"

"That was the one day I did listen Mal!" Sara yelled, "Wilkins refused the request! He told us to lay down our weapons and allow the alliance to dominate us!"

"Why didn't you say so?!" Mal yelled back.

"I can honestly say that I have no idea!" Sara yelled.

"Well okay then!" Mal yelled again.

"Okay!" Sara said as she calmed down.

"If you want to know our business then you best join us on the job," Mal sighed.

"Okay then," Sara nodded in agreement, "I'm going to go check on Kaylee."

"Tell me when she's stable," Mal said, "Jayne and I have got some business to attend with the lawman."

"Tell Jayne to let me have a piece," Sara said as she began walking off.

"There ain't gonna be any torture!" Mal called after her.

Later, at Dobson's cell…

Mal and Jayne were now in Dobson's cell and Dobson was sitting down with his hands tied behind his back by tape. Mal tore off the tape that had gagged Dobson before walking a few steps away.

"I'm in a tricky position," Mal said as he turned around while balling up the tape.

"I guess you know," Mal continued as he threw the tape-ball away, "Got myself a boatload of strange folk. Makin' my life a little more interesting than I generally like."

"Chief among them," Mal continued as he glanced at Jayne, "Likes to shoot at girls when he's nervous."

"Now I gotta know how close the alliance is," Mal continued as he walked towards Dobson, "Exactly how much you told them before Wash scrambled your call."

"So," Mal concluded as he headed towards the door, "I've given Jayne here the job of finding out."

"He was nonspecific as to how," Jayne said cruelly as he pulled out his combat knife. Dobson merely lowered his head with his eyes closed.

"You only gotta scare him," Mal said quietly to Jayne. He then made to leave the cell.

"Pain is scary," Jayne reasoned stopping Mal from exiting the room.

"Just do it right," Mal said sternly before he left the room.

"You have any idea how much trouble you're in?" Dobson asked as Jayne walked towards him once the door was closed.

"Gee," Jayne said sarcastically as he sat down in front of Dobson, "Ain't never been in trouble with the law before."

"No," Dobson replied, "not like this you haven't. You think this is just a smuggling wrap? The package that boy is carrying-"

"It's a girl," Jayne interrupted.

"She's cute too," Jayne continued as he waved his knife in a twirl near his head, "Except I don't think she's all there, ya know."

"Course, not all of her has to be," Jayne added with a pervy thought.

"That girl is a precious commodity," Dobson said, "They'll come after her. Long after you bury me, they'll be coming."

"Oh," Jayne chuckled as he slapped Dobson's thigh with the flat of his knife, "I'm not gonna kill you Dobson. What's your first name?"

"Lawrence," Dobson groaned.

"Well that's a dumb name," said a feminine voice from the doorway.

Jayne and Dobson both looked to see Sara standing there as she tossed a knife in the air with her right hand repeatedly.

"Not any dumber than MacLeod," Dobson countered, "That name is clearly fake. Any MacLeods that could have existed died a long time ago."

"MacLeod ain't your real name?" Jayne asked in confusion.

"I prefer it over my real name," Sara said as she walked into the room closing the door as she did so, "Now, Larry. Are you going to tell us what we need to know, or shall we get our hands bloodied up in the process. Personally, I'm hoping for the latter."

"Yeah Lawrence," Jayne grinned, "What she said."

"They know everything," Dobson panicked, "They know every name, every record… they know how many nose hairs you got!"

"I see," Jayne said in disappointment as he stood up, "They don't know a damn thing. It's all over your face. I ain't even… I was gonna get me a ear too."

"Who says we can't torture him anyway?" Sara asked with a grin.

"What's the point?" Jayne asked, "If we don't get anything out of it?"

"Satisfaction," Sara said no longer smiling, "He nearly killed Kaylee, and since we can't just kill him outright… yet. We can still cut on him."

"You really are savages," Dobson sneered at Sara, "You enjoy causing others pain."

Sara then sheathed her knife and pulled out her brass knuckles before she grabbed him and punched him in the face with her right hand.

"We don't shoot girls when we're nervous!" Sara snarled, "We don't abduct children from school and send out a cover story of the children getting ran over by hover cars!"

When Sara stopped, Dobson's cuts he had received from her earlier were bleeding once again and he had a look of fear which quickly vanished as he tried to think of a way to get out of this predicament.

"You can take over from here Jayne," Sara said as she headed towards the door, "If I stay here any longer, I will kill him."

With Mal…

"How the hell did they find us?" Mal demanded as he rushed into the bridge, "I thought you said you could get around them."

"It's not alliance," Wash answered as he fiddled with the controls.

"You sure?" Mal asked.

"It's a smaller vessel," Wash replied as he fiddled with more controls.

"Commercial?" Mal asked hopefully.

"Uh," Wash said slowly as he looked at a monitor, "yeah… I read it as an older model Trans-U."

"I didn't think Trans-U's still operated," Mal said in confusion.

"They don't," Wash confirmed as he looked at Mal.

"Get me a visual," Mal decided.

"They're still too far out," Wash said as he began fiddling with controls.

"Get me something," Mal ordered. Wash then rolled his chair over to another set of controls and fiddled with them.

"Picking up a lot of radiation," Wash reported causing Mal to walk over to look at it himself, "They're operating without core containment. That's… kuángzhěde. That's suicide."

Mal then walked to where he could see out of the windshield in suspicion, and then just stood there as he stared.

"Reavers," Mal said in realization.

"Oh god," Wash said with fear, "Oh god, oh god."

A few seconds later, with Sara…

Sara was sitting next to Kaylee who was still asleep when Mal's voice came from the intercom.

"This is the captain," Mal's voice said, "We're passing another ship. Looks to be Reavers."

At that, Sara rushed out of the infirmary and towards her room where she had her duffle bag.

"From the size," Mal continued, "probably a raiding party. Could be they're heading somewhere particular, could be they've already hit somewhere and are full up. So everybody stay calm."

Sara pulled out her Taurus-38 revolver and its holster. She then quickly strapped it onto her thigh. She also pulled out her combat knife and strapped the scabbard to the back of her pants. As soon as she was done, she hurried back to the infirmary so that she could protect Kaylee and River as long as possible should the Reavers invade.

"We try to run," Mal continued, "They'll have to chase us. Its their way. We're holding course. They should pass us in a minute; we'll see what they do. Zoe, you come on up to the bridge."

"So many voices," said a young feminine voice suddenly startling Sara, "So much rage and hunger. They'll never stop."

Sara didn't know what to say so she merely stood with her head on a swivel.

"Kathy," said the girl again. This time Sara's attention was fixed on her.

"What did you say?" Sara asked.

"Come on Kathy," the girl continued, "let's go play!"

"Uh… River," Sara said a little unnerved, "My name is Sara, and while Reavers are out there it's not safe to go runnin' about."

"That's not the name in your head," River replied as if Sara was stupid, "Your name is Katherine Morrissy. Your family created the Firefly ships."

"That's… impossible," Sara said getting more unnerved, "You can't… how…"

"I hear you," River replied, "The you that you try to deny and the you that you show to everyone else."

"You're a reader," Sara realized.

"Your sister was too," River spoke up, "The previous model."

"You knew her?" Sara asked as her legs began to feel like jelly.

"Only her mind," River admitted, "Her ghost… the ghost in the machine."

"She's… dead?" Sara gulped.

"Chopped to pieces like steak," River giggled, "Never to be seen again heeheehee."

"No," Sara said as she stumbled once a wave of grief crashed into her, "I failed…"

Before she could continue grieving Kaylee stirred. Her stumbling must have woken her up somehow.

"Oh," Kaylee groaned as she woke up, "Is it time for break-"

She then looked up and saw that she was in the infirmary, and that Sara was standing right next to her. There was also, a black haired teen girl sitting on a counter.

"What happened?" Kaylee asked in confusion, "Why does my belly feel weird?"

"You were shot Kaylee," Sara said hiding her grief, "Dobson shot you."

"That's not very nice," Kaylee frowned, "Why'd he do that?"

"He's an alliance pig," Sara nearly growled, "All they do is ruin the lives of everyone that comes across them."

"My life isn't ruined," Kaylee smiled before she winced in pain.

"Here," Sara said as she gave her some more morphine, "That better?"

"Yeah," Kaylee smiled, "That's nice. I feel nice and bubbly again. Heehee."

She then looked at River with a confused happy expression.

"That's River," Sara said, "River, Kaylee. Kaylee, River."

"Nice to meet…" Kaylee said as she fell asleep, "you."

"They have passed us," River blurted out.

"What?" Sara asked in confusion.

Later, with Inara…

Inara was meditating in order to calm herself down since she was frightened beyond belief when Mal said Reavers were coming across their path. However, he meditation was interrupted when somebody knocked on the door.

"Qǐngjìn," Inara said as she uncrossed her legs and relaxed herself on the couch. When Sara walked in Inara became instantly concerned when she saw Sara's expression.

"Do you mind if I stay in here for a bit?" Sara asked.

"What's the matter?" Inara asked as she stood up.

"I just learned something new," Sara gulped.

"What is it?" Inara asked as she walked over to Sara.

"My sister is dead," Sara said as her grief completely took over.

"Oh," Inara said kindly as she pulled Sara into a hug, "What happened?"

"Before the war," Sara explained as Inara walked them over to the couch, "I went by the name of Katherine Morrissy."

"Wow," Inara kindly joked with a smile, "I didn't know that I was in the presence of royalty."

"The last time I saw my sister was the day she went to school," Sara continued as if Inara hadn't said anything, "Some time later in the day, two Alliance feds arrived at the door. They said that she had accidentally been pushed off of the school recess area. According to them, she fell down through the airways and was rammed by a hover car before going splat on the ground. However, I knew they were lying because I have always had a talent to tell if people were lying. Of course it only works on people who were evil. At that point I believed that she was taken by the feds just cause she was top of her class. Her intelligence was on the same level as River's."

"How long have you been searching for her?" Inara asked as she began to realize something.

"Six years," Sara said sadly, "You already know the outcome of my last attempt."

"I am always here for when you need to talk," Inara said kindly.

"Thank you," Sara said, "I may need to talk every now and then. Right now, I just need some comforting company."

"You can stay as long as you need to," Inara said, "Just… not during the night. Only my closest friends can stay the night."

"Did you just think sexual thoughts about me?" Sara asked with a raised eyebrow.

"No," Inara said quickly, "I didn't mean it like that. I meant that I allow my friends to just sleep here if they need my company during the night. I don't do the nasty with my friends."

"Well," Sara said with a sly smile, "If you did, I wouldn't mind. You are my type after all."

A minute later…

Sara walked out of Inara's shuttle just as Simon walked in. Apparently, Inara had called for Simon to come up. As she continued her way, she saw Mal walking out of the infirmary. At which point, she decided to go check on Kaylee again.

With Simon…

"Thank you," Simon said gratefully as he grabbed the packets Inara handed him.

"It's just a standard Companion immunization packet," Inara explained, "I'm not sure any of it will help."

"It won't hurt," Simon explained, "The supplies down there are pretty rudimentary."

"Is there anything else I can do?" Inara asked sincerely.

"Not unless you can turn back time to prevent River from ever entering the academy," Simon sighed before he turned to leave.

"Kaylee's very dear," Inara spoke up stopping him in his tracks, "To all of us."

"I'm sorry," Simon said guiltily, "for my part in what happened. I've never… I don't know what to do."

"You're lost in the woods," Inara reassured him, "We all are. Even the Captain. The difference is, he likes it that way."

"No. The difference is," Mal interrupted as he entered Inara's shuttle unannounced, "the woods are the only place I can see a clear path."

He then turned to simon and glared at him with loathing.

"What are you doing here?" Mal asked coldly.

"It's my business," Inara said in irritation, "The usual. I gave the boy a free thrust since he's not long for this world. What are you doing in my shuttle Mal?"

"It's my shuttle," Mal reminded her angrily, "You rent it."

"Then when I'm behind on the rent you can enter unasked," Inara replied with a glare. While the two had their glaring contest Simon quickly exited the shuttle, but Mal spotted him leaving and followed. Once Simon was at one end of the walkway above the cargo bay floor Mal called out to him from the other end.

"You'll ruin her too ya know," Mal called angrily prompting Simon to pause and then turn to look at him.

"This is the thing I see you're uncomprehendin' on," Mal continued as he walked forward a few steps, "Everyone on this ship, including a legitimate businessman like her, their lives can be snatched away 'cause of that Fed. You got a solution for that? A way around?"

"I don't," Simon admitted sadly.

"Comes a time somebody's gonna have to deal with him," Mal finished, "That should be you, but I don't think you got the guts."

Mal then came up with a mean idea and began cackling in his mind.

"And I know you don't have the time," Mal added without smiling.

"What do you mean?" Simon asked in confusion.

"Kaylee's dead," Mal said as he forced himself to force back a sob. Simon then gained an expression of fear on his face before he hurried to the infirmary. Behind him Mal began smirking and chuckling internally at his mean joke.

When Simon arrived at the infirmary he saw Kaylee and Sara chatting with each other. He then turned to look up and said, "The man's psychotic."

That caused Sara and Kaylee to look up in confusion.

Up on the bridge…

Mal, Zoe, Jayne, and Wash were all roaring in laughter at the prank Mal pulled.

"You are psychotic," Wash said with a smile as he began quieting down.

"No," Mal said with amusement as he began wiping the tears from his face. He then grunted before he added, "I'm a bad man."

"And Kaylee's really okay?" Zoe asked as she sobered up.

"Yeah," Mal confirmed as the console began beeping, "to tell ya the truth, I didn't expect Kaylee to heal this quick. The doc knows his trade, I'll give him that."

"We're being hailed," Wash said as he turned around in the pilot's seat to see what is causing the beeps.

"That'll be Patience," Mal said as he walked closer to the monitor, "We're close enough for vid. Put her up."

Wash then surrendered the pilot's chair to Mal who then began fiddling with some controls. A moment later an image of an old woman with grey hair flickered onto the screen.

"Malcolm Reynolds?" the woman asked surprised and irritated at Mal arriving at Whitefall after their last encounter.

"Hello Patience," Mal said with a fake expression of cheerfulness as he leaned back into the chair.

"I have to say," Patience said, "I didn't look to be hearin' you from anytime soon."

"Well," Mal said trying to get on Patience's good side, "we may not have parted on the best of terms. I realize certain words were exchanged, also certain… bullets."

"But that's air through the engine," Mal continued causing Zoe to roll her eyes knowing that this was a horrid idea, "Its the past, we're business people. 'Sides your days of fightin' over salvage rights is long gone. What I hear-What are you? Mayor now?"

"Just about," Patience replied, "You tellin' the truth about that cargo, cause your askin' price is a bit too reasonable for that much treasure."

"It's imprinted," Mal admitted, "Alliance. Hence the discount."

"Oh," Patience said, "Government goods huh."

"If that doesn't work for ya," Mal said, "no harm, just thought you could use a…"

"Alliance don't scare me," Patience interrupted, "It's just a little late in the day as they say. I like that you're up front about it."

"We can deal," Patience decided with a smile, "I'll upload coordinates for a rendezvous point outside of town."

"See ya in the world," Mal said before he shut off the wave. Everyone behind him was silent as Mal sat there for a few seconds.

"I believe that woman's intending to shoot me again," Mal thought out loud.

"She meant to pay ya," Jayne reasoned while Mal headed away from the chair, "She would'a haggled you down some."

"Just a little effort to hide it would've been…" began Wash as he walked to the pilot's chair before Mal knocked some spare parts in anger down causing it to clang. He then grabbed a hold of a ladder to prevent himself from going all Kylo Ren on the bridge.

"Sir," Zoe said as she walked up, "we don't have to deal with her."

"Yes," Mal countered in disappointment, "we do."

"Here's a little concept I been workin' on," Jayne said, "Why don't we shoot her first?"

"It is her turn," Wash agreed much to his displeasure.

"That doesn't get us what we need either," Mal countered.

"There's moons on this belt we ain't seen," Zoe suggested, "We could try our luck…"

"Our luck?!" Mal asked angrily as he looked at her, "You notice anything particular about our luck these past few days? Any kinda pattern?"

"You depend on luck," Mal said sternly, "you end up on the drift. No fuel, no prospects, beggin' for an Alliance meal cause you can't work. That ain't us. Not ever. Patience got the money to pay, and she will one way or 'nother. There's obstacles in our path, we're gonna deal with them one by one. We'll get through this. We will."

Later, on Whitefall…

Sara was busy talking to Simon and Inara when Mal, Zoe, and Jayne began walking towards the cargo bay doors. Mal was now once again wearing his brown coat.

"Sara!" Mal called to her, "You comin' or what?"

"Shi a!" Sara called back to him before turning back towards the other two, "See you guys soon."

"Why are you going?" Simon asked, "He's an ass, and you're leaving the ship alongside us. Seeing as he hates me that probably doesn't earn you any brownie points."

"Nostalgia," Sara shrugged before she hurried after them. She caught up to them just as Mal and Zoe were walking down the gangway while Jayne drove off in the Mule with the crates of alliance goods.

Near the meetup point…

Mal, Zoe, and Sara walked to a stop as they surveyed the location Patience had chosen for the deal.

"Nice place for an ambush," Zoe remarked.

"That it is," Mal agreed.

As they stared over the canyon Sara could hear Jayne huffing as he ran up to them.

"I buried them good," Jayne said as he handed a foodstuff to Mal, "Equipment's back on the boat."

Jayne then placed something in his ear before he said, "Testing. Testing. Captain can you hear me?"

"I'm standin' right here," Mal replied confused as to why Jayne was asking that.

"You're comin' through good and loud," Jayne said as he fiddled with the com unit in his ear.

"Cause I'm standing right here," Mal repeated incredulously.

"Yeah, well," Jayne said, "transmitter's…"

"Patience is gonna figure we buried the cargo," Mal said as he walked up a few paces, "Which means puttin' us to our ease before there's any action. She'll come at us from the East, talk the location of the cargo out of us. Course she'll have some coin to show us first."

"We get the coin, give up the location," Mal continued as he pointed out two spots, "snipers hit us from there, and there."

"Figure they're in place yet?" Sara asked.

"Should be," Mal replied, "Jayne feel like takin' a walk round the park?"

"Sure you don't wanna just piss yourself and back down like you did with badger?" Jayne asked rudely causing Mal to look at him.

"Walk soft," Mal said ignoring Jayne's rudeness, "We want Patience thinking they're still in place."

"Don't kill anyone if you don't have to," Mal added as Jayne hurried off, "We're here to make a deal."

"Don't think it's a good spot, sir," Zoe said after a while of silence, "she still has the advantage over us."

"Everyone always does," Mal said grimly as he turned to look at her, "That's what makes us special."

Five minutes later…

Mal, Zoe, and Sara walked up the path to the point they were supposed to meet with Patience while she rode up on a horse with several other riders and one guy driving a Mule.

"Mal," Patience said a bit too cheerily once she and her posse came to a stop, "how ya doin' boy?"

"Walkin' and talkin'," Mal replied off handedly as he eyed Patience and her group. One of them wore a top hat which was strange considering his attire.

"Is that Zoe?" Patience asked in disappointment, "you still sailin' with this old bum?"

"Awful lot of men to hold three crates," Sara said as she narrowed her eyes at Patience.

"Well," Patience said warily as she turned her attention to Sara, "I couldn't be sure my Mal here wouldn't be waitin' for some kind of payback. You understand."

"Oh sure," Sara sneered, "I understand that you're scared shitless that Mal would be able to kill you before you can say 'bingo.'"

"Who the hell are you anyway?" Patience asked in irritation.

"Sara MacLeod," Sara replied, "Mercenary, assassin, and browncoat."

"We're just on the job Patience," Mal said bringing the conversation back to business, "not interested in complications."

Patience just stared at them for a minute or so as she regarded him. Especially, since she didn't see the three crates with them.

"I don't see my cargo anywhere," Patience said unhappily.

"And you ain't gonna see it till I'm holdin' two hundred platinum," Mal informed her.

"Oh come on Mal," Patience exclaimed, "I'm supposed to take it on faith that you got the goods?"

Mal reached to move his coat aside which revealed the bar of foodstuffs that he had tucked in his pants pocker. It also happened to be above his holster that was strapped to his right thigh. He then pulled out the bar and threw it to the guy in the top hat.

"Its pure, Patience," Mal said as Patience began unwrapping the bar, "Genuine Grade-A foodstuffs. Protein, vitamins, immunization supplements. One of these would feed a family for a month. Longer if they don't like their kids too well."

"Yup," Patience said as she chewed on a piece of the bar, "That's the stuff."

"Where's the rest?" Patience demanded as she tossed Mal the bag of coins.

Meanwhile, on Serenity…

River slowly sat up from her position on the infirmary's counter and looked around in confusion. Rage, hate, and greed was bombarding her head. She had no idea where it was coming from, but she knew it wasn't good.

"Simon?" River called out which attracted Kaylee's attention.

"What's wrong sweetie?" Kaylee asked from her position on the medical bed.

River ignored her as she got off of the counter and began slowly walking towards the door. As soon as she stepped outside the infirmary Dobson suddenly grabbed her and placed a gun to the side of her head.

"Look at you," Dobson said evilly to River, "All woke up."

He then looked at Kaylee and pulled out his second gun which he aimed at Kaylee who leaned back as far as she could.

"Oh," Dobson said honestly, "I'm sorry about what happened before, but make so much as a sound the next one goes through your throat."

Kaylee just lay there as Dobson walked off with River held hostage by his guns.

Back with Mal…

"...Then east half a mile," Mal finished, "On the first hill, you'll see where its been dug."

"Reckon I will," Patience agreed.

"Well then," Mal said as he rocked on his heels.

"Yep," Patience said unmoving.

Nobody moved as silence ensued while both sides waited for the other to turn around and start walking off.

"I'd appreciate it," Mal said, "iffin' y'all would turn around and ride out first."

"Well now ya see Mal," Patience said as she leaned forward in her saddle, "There's a kinda hitch."

"We both made out on this deal," Mal warned, "don't complicate things."

"I got a rule," Patience said bluntly, "I never let go of money I don't have to. Which is why I'm runnin' this little world and you're still on that dinky old boat lookin' for scraps."

"Dinky old boat?!" Sara exclaimed angrily, "Why you Chǒulòu de lǎo wūpó! Take that back! Right this gorram instant!"

"Your girl there has quite the mouth on her," Patience frowned.

Mal didn't say anything in response as he happened to agree with Sara. However, he did toss back the bag of coins in order to prevent themselves from getting shot on principle.

"You got the money back," Mal said unhappily, "there's no need for killin'."

"We're just gonna walk away, sir?" Zoe asked.

"Guess that's up to Patience here," Mal said, "Could be messy."

"Not terribly," Patience said cockily.

She then laughed as she asked, "Mal you just ain't very bright are you?"

Mal didn't answer her and instead turned his attention to top hat.

"That's quite a rifle," Mal remarked as he took a few steps forward, "Boy must be your best shot carryin' that."

Top hat nodded in agreement.

"Called two-fry," Patience said, "always makes it quick and clean."

"Two-fry," Mal said as he looked at the top hat, "nice hat."

Suddenly, the sound of a sniper went off and the next second later his hat fell. Top hat happened to follow suit. Patience looked to her sniper position just as Mal, Zoe, and Sara opened fire on them. Mal and Sara with their Taurus-38's and Zoe with her Mare's Leg. The guy in the mule was the first to go, and the others began returning fire as well. Zoe was knocked back by the force of shotgun pellets hitting her. Sara jerked her left arm back as she felt something hit her there. She took a second to glance down and saw that she had been shot, and blood was gushing out. She then stared at the enemies and fired shot after shot.

Back at Serenity…

Wash and Simon were currently on the bridge and Wash was actually being kind to Simon.

"Should think about asking the Captain to drop you somewhere else," Wash said with leaning back in the seat with concern etched on his face, "Whitefall ain't exactly civilization in the strictest sense."

"You don't have to worry about me," Simon said dismissing Wash's concern.

"Zoe's out on a deal," Wash shrugged, "I always worry, so it's not out of my way."

Suddenly, Kaylee's voice came through the com and what she said wasn't good.

"He took her," Kaylee said breathless and panicked, "He took River."

Simon bolted from the bridge with Wash close behind him. However, Wash stopped when he heard an alarm beep from the console.

"Don't… don't you dare," Wash said as his eyes saw what the alarm was about.

With Simon…

Simon hurried down some stairs and saw Dobson escorting River to the cargo bay doors. As the doors were opening he jumped down and caused both him and Dobson to fall down onto their backs. Dobson had been disarmed and they were both dazed. River in the meantime was backing away as fast as possible.

At the firefight…

Mal and Sara were still firing back as they walked around in order to avoid being shot. Sara was slowly becoming dizzy as more and more blood left her body. The more dizzy she became the more wild her shots went. Zoe on the other hand had woken up and was now aiming her Mare's Leg at a retreating thug. She then fired causing him to fall off his horse. Mal was suddenly grazed in the arm which prompted him to shoot the guy who shot at him. The guy suddenly fell down and grabbed at his now wounded leg.

"Zoe," Mal said as he looked at his arm to see if he was bleeding.

"Armor's dented," Zoe reported as she unbuttoned her shirt to look at the bulletproof vest.

"Well," Mal said, "You were right about this being a bad idea."

"Thanks for sayin' sir," Zoe said as she began buttoning her shirt.

"Mal!" Patience called from behind her horse with her single barreled pump action shotgun aimed at him, "Don't you take another step!"

Mal's reply was to shoot the horse killing it dead which caused it to fall down pinning Patience in the process. He then walked over to her and aimed his revolver at her face.

"I did a job," Mal growled, "and I got nothin' but trouble since I did it, like an itch I can't scratch, not to mention a whole lotta unkind words in regard to my character. Sos, let me make this abundantly clear."

"I do the job," Mal said as he grabbed the bag of coins, "I. Get. Paid."

He then stood up and holstered his gun as he added, "Go run your little world."

"Mal!" Zoe called out attracting his attention, "Sara's down!"

"Wángbā dàn," Mal said as he hurried over to Zoe who was removing Sara's leather jacket and shirt, "What happened?"

"She's been shot in the arm," Zoe said as she inspected the wound, "She lost a lot of blood."

"Looks like there's one more job for the doc to do," Mal said as he pulled out a random strip of cloth from his coat pocket, "Here. Wrap this tight around her arm."

"Mal!" Jayne yelled as he hurried up to them, "Its Wash! We got a ship comin' in!"

"They followed us!" Jayne said with a panicked expression as he came to a stop, "The gorram Reavers followed us!"

"Zoe?" Mal asked.

"The bullet is out, and the cloth is as tight as I can make it with this cloth," Zoe reported.

"Jayne, Zoe," Mal ordered, "Get us three horses! Double time it!"

With Dobson…

Dobson slowly rolled himself onto his front as soon as he awoke. He then army crawled over to one of the guns. However, just as he reached it Simon grabbed him and wrestled wrestled with the fed. Simon managed to pull both of them to their feet, but Dobson used that to his advantage and elbowed Simon hard. Simon was knocked into some barrels that were wrapped by a net. Both Dobson and Simon reached for the guns nearest them. Fortunately, Simon had grabbed one of the guns just before Dobson could.

"No, don't!" Simon yelled stopping Dobson from picking up his gun.

"Don't move," Simon ordered in a calmer tone.

"Reavers!" Wash said suddenly over the intercom, "Reavers! Incoming and headed straight for us! We are in the air in one minute."

"You gonna do that?" Dobson asked trying to get Simon to lower his guard, "You gonna kill a lawman in cold blood?! I know what you did for your sister. I understand. It doesn't make you a killer. I don't want to hurt anybody. I have a job to do. To uphold the law. That's what we're talking about here."

With Wash…

"Come on come on," Wash said impatiently before he pulled up the com device, "Where the hell are you guys?!"

With Mal…

Mal, Zoe, and Jayne were riding as hard and fast as they could on horseback to Serenity. Sara was barely conscious as she sat in front of Jayne who was doing his best to keep her from falling down without losing speed.

With Simon…

"There's nowhere you can take her that the law won't find," Dobson continued, "nobody's gonna hurt her… unless you hurt me."

Dobson reached for the gun as soon as Simon hesitated, but Simon was quicker.

"No I said… I said don't-don't move!" Simon snapped.

"It's your call," Dobson said unhappily.

They stayed like that for a maybe 45 seconds till Simon was distracted by the sound of a horse whinnying. Dobson took his opportunity and grabbed his gun from the ground and fired. He missed Simon, however, and rolled to his back. He then hurried to his feet and then to River as Mal, Jayne, and Zoe dismounted from the horses. Sara on the other hand was just picked up by Jayne. Dobson then dragged River to the middle of the cargo bay.

"I'm not playing anymore!" Dobson said angrily as he held a gun to River's head, "Anybody make so much…"

He was interrupted by Mal shooting him in the head with his revolver. Dobson suddenly collapsed to the floor and River backed away from his body quickly while Mal holstered his revolver. He then walked towards Dobson and leaned over him to see if Dobson was faking it.

"Jayne," Mal called as both Jayne and Zoe entered the cargo bay.

Jayne quickly but carefully placed Sara down before he hurried to help Mal throw Dobson out of the ship. Zoe on the other hand walked over to the com.

"Wash we're on!" Zoe yelled into the com as Simon hurried over to River. She then pressed the button to lift the ramp as both Mal and Jayne quickly carried Dobson's body to the ramp's edge. The proceeded to throw Dobson off before hurrying back inside before the inner doors closed as well.

"You," Mal said as he pointed at Simon, "If you want me to have second thoughts about dropping you off on this sandball, do whatever you can to fix Sara. Jayne, meet us in the bridge as soon as you transfer Sara wherever the doc says."

A few seconds later, on the bridge…

Wash was very focused as he piloted the ship higher up into the sky.

"How close are they?" Mal demanded as he rushed in with Zoe close behind.

"About twenty seconds from spitting distance," Wash replied calmly.

"Give me rear vid," Mal ordered and then leaned over as Zoe did so.

"Āiyā. Wǒmen wánle," Zoe said with evident fear while Mal took off his coat and hurried back to Wash's side.

"How close do they need to be to fire those grapplers," Mal asked calmly as he looked at Wash.

"Wash," Jayne said as he arrived, "you dumbass dodge 'em!"

"If everyone could just be quiet a moment," Wash said calmly as he flew them around some cliffs to avoid crashing.

"I need Kaylee in the engine room please," Wash said just as calmly.

"Can she even-" began Zoe.

"Get her in there now!" Mal ordered Jayne.

Jayne hurried out the door with Mal following not long after. Inara passed Jayne as she walked towards the bridge but stopped when Mal spoke.

"I want you to get in your shuttle," Mal said, "Get Sara and the Tams, and be ready to go."

"I can't just leave you here!" Inara protested as some turbulence caused them to have to hold out their arms to stop themselves from hitting a wall.

"I thought that was the plan," Mal reminded her.

"Mal," Inara began, "don't…"

"We get boarded, you take off, head for town," Mal said, "We might be able to stop them from following you."

"They'll kill you," Inara protested.

"Inara," Mal said sternly as he placed his hand on her shoulder, "Go."

He then pushed on her gently before he turned back and returned to the bridge.

On the bridge…

"Wash," Mal said as he entered the room, "How we doin'?"

"I don't mean to alarm anybody," Wash replied calmly, "but I think… we're being followed."

At the infirmary…

Jayne was slowly carrying Kaylee out of the room, and Simon had just patched Sara up. In fact she was looking a whole lot better.

"Where…" Sara began as she blinked the fog out of her eyes.

"You heal faster than anyone I've ever met," Simon remarked as Sara got off of the infirmary bed and walked out of the room.

"Thank the drug," Sara said as she slowly sat up one of the dining room chairs, "Enhances one of a person's natural abilities. Completely random. For me, it's healing. I took it after the war, and today was the first I've gotten shot in a long time."

"How long does it last?" Simon asked out of curiosity having followed Sara, "and where did you get it?"

"I was told that it's a permanent change," Sara replied, "and I got it in a prison I found myself in literally right after the war. They give the drug to inmates to enhance their usefulness while mining. I managed to escape in only three days."

Suddenly, Inara arrived stopping any further conversation.

"You three," Inara said as she looked at Simon, Sara, and River, "Come with me."

"Actually," Sara said as she watched Jayne carry Kaylee towards the bridge, "I have a feeling Kaylee's going to need my help."

"Should I-" began Simon.

"Take her," Sara said kindly, "keep her safe."

Sara then hurried after Jayne while Simon stared after her before following River and Inara to Inara's shuttle.

Back with Mal…

"Can't keep this up," Mal said grimly as he watched the screens and the windshield intently, "they get a bead, they're gonna lock us down."

"Kaylee," Wash called through the com, "How we doin'?"

In the engine room…

"We're gonna need a little push here," Wash finished.

"You want me to go for full burn?" Kaylee asked.

"Not just yet," Wash replied, "set it up."

"You know where the press regulator is?" Kaylee asked Sara.

"If this ship's anything like the previous versions…" Sara said as she slowly walked towards a corner, "here?"

"More than a gun ain't ya," Kaylee smiled before she coughed from the pain.

The bridge…

"Full burn in atmo?" Zoe asked in concern, "Won't that cause a blowback, burn us out?"

"Even if it doesn't," Mal said, "they can push just as hard, keep right on us."

"Wash," Mal said as he looked at Wash with an uneasy look, "you gotta give me an Ivan."

"Let me see what I can do," Wash said calmly.

"Kaylee," Wash said into the com, "How would you feel about pulling a Crazy Ivan?"

With Kaylee…

"Always wanted to try one," Kaylee replied. She then looked at Jayne and said, "Jayne. Open the port check control, cut the hydraulics."

Jayne then walked towards the engine and began looking which prompted Kaylee to roll her eyes since Jayne didn't even see that she was pointing towards the port check control.

"Where in the hell is-" Jayne said.

"Look," Kaylee said still pointing, "Look. Look where I'm pointing."

Jayne then hurried over to the control and opened it up.

"Okay," Kaylee said as Jayne opened it up, "Now its real simple."

As soon as Jayne opened it he saw wires and blinking lights, and he couldn't make heads or tails of it. Jayne then glared at her as he thought, Simple? This ain't simple you grease monkey. It's freakin' complicated as hell.

Back with Wash…

"They're on us," Zoe reported as she looked over her shoulder towards the rear vid.

"Kaylee," Wash said into the com.

"Come on, come on, come on, come on, come on," Mal whispered repeatedly when Kaylee didn't respond.

"Okay," Kaylee said.

"Everybody hold on to something," Wash said as he prepared himself.

Everyone in the ship except for Wash then braced themselves for whatever Wash was going to do and waited patiently.

"Here's something you can't do," Wash said quietly before he flipped a lever causing one of the boosters to spin around. The ship then did a complete one eighty before Wash flipped the lever again. They then flew in the direction the Reavers were.

"Now!" Wash ordered, and the next second later they were they bolted passed the Reaver's ship from underneath and towards space. The full burn caused an explosion in the air which sent the Reaver's further away from them as it was turning around to chase Serenity. Wash stopped using full burn as soon as they reached space and his zen vanished entirely. Mal was now smiling out of happiness. Even Zoe smiled.

"I knew I hired you for somethin'," Mal praised.

Zoe then walked towards Wash while Jayne was crying out in victory over and over again down in the engine room.

"Ain't no way they can turn around and follow us in time now," Zoe said still smiling. Mal ignored her as he activated the intercom.

"We're good people," Mal said into the intercom," we're out of the woods."

"We should have just enough left in us to hit a fuel station," Wash said as he let go of the wheel, "We'll need to do some patching up."

"I hope we got paid today," Wash said as he looked at both Mal and Zoe.

"We did," Mal confirmed.

"Sir," Zoe said, "I'd like you to take the helm please."

"I need this man to tear all my clothes off," Zoe finished as she looked at Wash again before grabbing his shirt and pulling Wash away from the bridge.

"Work, work, work," Wash mock groaned.

With Sara…

Inara was sitting down across from her after she had been called to Inara's shuttle.

"How's your arm?" Inara asked.

"Healin' fine," Sara said, "Zoe got the bullet out and managed to stop the bleedin' best she could. Doc did the rest."

"That's nice to know," Inara said with a smile.

"I have a feeling my arm wasn't why you requested my presence," Sara said narrowing her eyes.

"I have some info for you," Inara said.

"What kind of info?" Sara asked.

"It's about your family," Inara said.

"What about them?" Sara frowned.

"They have issued a bounty for your arrest," Inara sighed.

"Not surprised," Sara said coldly, "They're fiercely loyal to the Alliance. I had actually expected them to send it out as soon as the War for Independence ended."

"You weren't kidding when you said you were the black sheep of the family," Inara remarked.

"No," Sara said.

"I thought you were joking," Inara sighed.

"I wish I was," Sara said with a glum expression.

Later, on the bridge…

Jayne was standing in the doorway of the bridge as Mal flew the ship to the best of his ability.

"The girl's a problem," Jayne said, "Lawman said they'd keep lookin' for her. Somethin' about her… brain bein' all special."

"Important to the alliance brass," Jayne continued as Mal got out of the chair and began fiddling with some controls on the ceiling, "Sooner we dump them two, the better."

"I suppose so," Mal said as he couldn't argue the point. Jayne then turned to leave before Mal spoke up.

"Funny how the lawman got out of his room," Mal said, "You tied him up so well and all."

"I didn't have nothin' to do with that," Jayne lied.

"Anyhow it all turned out just fine," Jayne continued as Mal stared at him, "Buzzard's the only one that's going to find him."

"But he did try to make a deal with you right?" Mal asked which Jayne's only response was silence.

"How come you didn't turn on me Jayne?" Mal asked as he turned back to his task.

"Money wasn't good enough," Jayne replied honestly.

"And what happens when it is?" Mal asked as he turned to look at Jayne again.

"Well," Jayne said, "that'll be an interesting day."

"Imagine it will," Mal agreed as he walked back to the pilot's chair. Jayne then left the bridge rudely bumping into Simon's shoulder as he did so.

"You need me to look at that?" Simon asked Mal causing Mal to glance at where he was shot.

"Just a graze," Mal said waving the offer down.

"So where do you plan on dumping us?" Simon asked as he took a few steps forward.

"I have a few places in mind," Mal replied, "but my answer depends on Sara's condition."

"Sara's…" Simon said slowly, "doing great. In fact she's completely healed up. It's as if she was never shot.

"Come again?" Mal asked.

"I still can't believe it," Simon said, "she is either immortal, which I highly doubt, or there is in fact a drug that enhances one of people's natural abilities."

"Is that even possible?" Mal asked.

"Oh sure," Simon confirmed, "There are certain areas of the brain that are inactive. If this drug does exist then it more than likely turns on one of those areas."

"Huh," Mal said, "Well, to answer your question, you'd be safer on the move, and we never stop movin'."

"I'm confused," Simon said, "No, wait. I think maybe you're confused."

"It may have become apparent to you the ship could use a medic," Mal explained, "You ain't weak. Don't know how bright you are, top three percent, but you ain't weak and that's not nothin'."

"You live by my rule," Mal continued as Simon sat in one of the pilot's chairs, "keep your sister from doing anything crazy, you could maybe find a place here. 'Til you find a better."

"Uh," Simon said slowly, "I'm trying to put this as delicately as I can. How do I know you won't kill me in my sleep?"

"You don't know me, son," Mal said as he leaned forward in his chair, "so let me explain this to you once. If I ever kill you, you'll be awake, facing me, and you'll be armed."

"Are you always this sentimental?" Simon asked.

"Had a good day," Mal smiled as he leaned back.

"You had the alliance on you," Simon said slowly as he stood up, "Criminals and savages, half the people on this ship have been shot or wounded including yourself, and you're harboring known fugitives."

"Still flyin'," Mal shrugged.

"That's not much," Simon said.

"It's enough," Mal said before Simon left the bridge.

i apologize for the length, but i want to keep the canon episodes then same as they are in the show. As in, not split into parts. I put the first episode as Pilot so people won't get confused when I start working on the Movie's story for this.