In The Ether 13: Secret Agent Man
Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Simon takes a turn at super spy as the crew tracks him down.


A/N: As usual, I don't own them, no money, yada yada.

WTF? He's still writing? I guess so. Magic, ain't it?

This one has more action and less angst, so it moves faster - almost too fast, so no one panic if I edit it tomorrow after thinking some more. And I simply adore stealth!Simon. Please sing the James Bond theme when you see him appear.

For everybody who's lost as all hell, here's a link to the previous chapter:

Chapter 12

If that doesn't help (and it probably won't), feel free to re-read the whole thing. Come on. You know you want to.


It wasn't often appreciated how hard it was to navigate in space. Unlike land navigation, where a simple two-dimensional map - with optional topographic information if one was feeling detail oriented - would suffice, interplanetary navigation required a lot more work. Not only was the area to cover much larger, but all the things in the system were constantly moving - planets orbited suns, moon orbited those orbiting planets, comets and asteroids zoomed about all over the place, and random space debris and derelict hulks floated wherever they had been abandoned. Not only did each of these things provide a hazard to navigation, but they made for a bigger dilemma: with no fixed landmarks, how the hell did you know where you were in the first place?

To help alleviate this problem, the Alliance had placed several "beacons" in their wake as the first wave of new colony ships had pushed out from the inner Core. Each terraformed planet had at least one - and usually several - in orbit around it, as well as lines of beacons marking the boundaries of standard trading lanes. The beacons themselves were marvels of technology: powered by a uranium core and stabilized by internal gyroscopes, the beacons could ensure they held their position in space almost indefinitely, accurate to within half a meter. They provided a time stamp, Cortex relay, and position to any ship's computer that asked. Combining the timing signals from four or more of these beacons enabled a pilot to fix exactly where he was in space, and then use standardized star charts to figure out where to go next.

Most folks knew that the Alliance kept track of what ship interrogated which beacon at what time. Some companies bought basic access to this data on a gross level - shipping concerns frequently used it to provide "where's my stuff?" real-time tracking of cargo. But some other entities - like Parliament and the military - had much finer detail in their requests. Given the transponder code of a ship, a detailed map of a ship's course could be plotted, even a ship that was not actively broadcasting it's position or using scrambled ident codes.

Wash knew all about the beacons, and knew how to scramble his ident. But when it came down to it, he had no choice: space was too big to navigate without any position fixing at all. Once he determined that the Tam scout was headed for Perspehone - given the distance and boost speed, Persephone was the only planet in the right spot along its trajectory - he had to follow; and to do that, he needed to plot his own course. Given Serenity's usual level of legal cargo, he was of course as discreet as possible.

But not quite discreet enough.


Simon had been training for months. It wasn't all that easy, learning to be a super-spy. To his credit, he had a good deal of natural intelligence and dexterity, but lacked that instinct to see his target and go for it, leaving all other concerns behind. Alex - Simon had given up on the "sir" bit within a day, seeing as how the man literally never left his sight - has chalked it up to Simon's schooling as a Doctor, trained to save lives and show compassion. "Save that compassion for you sister, boy; she's the only deserving one!" his teacher had said, motioning to the ever-present pictures of Malcolm Reynolds and Kaylee Frye. "These two won't show it to you; best do the same in return." So Simon had redoubled his efforts, and now could blend in with crowds, move silently when needed, and even make a passable attempt at hand to hand combat.

But he truly shone with weapons. Not guns, oddly enough - it was quickly established that no matter the level of teaching, Simon could simply not shoot a gun properly. Undeterred, he had been shown an array of other weapons to work with, finding he did indeed have an aptitude for knives outside of the surgery realm. With a few items hidden about his person, the Alliance had turned their mild-mannered doctor into a one man army, hell bent on avenging his broken sister. While he practiced, other watched.

And finally found. "We got them," Alex announced with a smirk, holding a small printout in his hand. "They just shot the nav satellite for Persephone."

"Serenity? Are you sure?"

"Certain, my boy. Have I steered you wrong yet?" Alex nodded once as Simon shook his head. "Exactly. They're expected to land in two days; I suggest we beat them there."

"Fine. I'm ready now." Simon grabbed his one duffel bag and slung it over his shoulder.

"Hold on there. You'll need a cover." Alex dropped a small bag at Simon's feet. "In there is an ident chip and clothes. You're going to be a VP of Acquisitions for a small trading concern attached to Blue Sun. Your supposed 'job' is to meet various shippers at Perspehone and inquire as to their availability for transporting goods."

Simon looked in the bag, noting the sharp black suit provided for him. "Very well. What am I shipping?

"Does it matter?"

"Of course. Knowing the lie now means I don't have to make it up later and possibly get it wrong."

"Well put. Let's say you're shipping...cryogenic containers. No one ever really asks about those. Out of sight and out of mind."

"And when I find Serenity?"

"Don't make contact right away. Keep tabs on them, but stay out of sight. You have a more than slight resemblance to your sister, and if one of them catches sight of you, you may be marked. We're going for isolation; we want to question them all, so singling them out for easy pick up would probably be best. I'll leave it to you to decide when and where to do so."

"When do we leave?"

"Two hours. Be dressed and in character at that time." Alex clapped a hand on Simon's shoulder. "Don't worry, boy. Just think of how proud your family will be."


Mal paced his cargo bay, not quite ready to lower the ramp. He watched as his crew again assembled, waiting for orders. Wash and Zoe approached from the bridge, Book from the common area, Inara from her shuttle. Kaylee had been in the cargo bay as soon as Persephone was in sight, fairly bursting to get out the door and find Simon. River was with her, but more subdued as she seemed to look through the closed airlock. Jayne, to no one's surprise, had been in his bunk and roused once the ship landed.

"OK," he began. "We know the Doc came to Persephone from Beylix. Given the speeds, they've been here 'bout a day ahead of us, after a week of flyin'. Now I hate to say it, but like as not they've used that time to make sure Simon ain't gonna be able to help himself in gettin' away, so we need to find him. Also means that if you do see him, assume it's a trap."

Zoe nodded her agreement to the assessment. "We got a plan, then?"

"Yep. Zoe, Jayne an' I are gonna go visit Badger, see if he has any word on a spiffy Alliance ship touchin' down anywhere. 'Nara, Book: I'd be much obliged if you could check with your own people an' see if any prissy core doctor's shown up recently. Kaylee, you're going shoppin'. Not for real, but you can wander in places where other folk might gossip 'bout strange goings on whilst they shop. Wash, you an' River are stayin' on the boat. River: in your room or on the bridge, no exceptions. Ain't riskin' you gettin' seen. Wash, I want you monitoring comms and keepin' her warm. Might need to leave in a damn hurry. Girl starts pitchin' a fit, call us back but listen to her; might be she's got an inklin' of somethin'." Each person nodded in acceptance of his or her assigned task. "Everybody take a comm. You see somethin', you holler for backup. No heroics here. Already lost one crew; don't aim to lose any more.

"Let's get to work."


Simon stopped to admire himself in a store window. Damn, this suit was well tailored. He looked every inch the corporate drone. If medicine never worked out, he decided, business would at least look good. Taking a moment to adjust his tie, he turned to survey the docking space he'd been watching. The Port Authority had allocated this particular space to a Firefly transport ship, and it was due any moment. Having been briefed on the habits and training of the entire crew, he began formulating how he would go about dismantling this happy little band of terrorists.

His most important decision was which one to take out first. Alex had been clear that he wasn't to immediately kill them all. Instead, he was to bring them back - at his discretion - for interrogation and likely arrest. It helped that each member of the crew had at least one felony to their name - although some, like the mercenary, had many more. He could invoke the help of the Federal Police if needed, but it was preferable to take them down methodically so the others didn't spook and run. After a bit of deliberation - and another glance at his smashing reflection - he decided that he'd start with Miss Kaylee Frye herself.

He told himself he had good reasons. She was smart but weak; any physical fight would be over quickly and in his favor with little notice. According to the dossiers provided to him, she was also a favorite of the captain. Capturing her would likely not make the crew run; they'd stay to find her, possibly allowing him to draw them into a trap. And as mechanic, she was the most likely to be alone, shopping for parts to throw into that crap pile they called a ship.

But, honestly, those weren't the real reasons. He wanted to start with her because he hated her utterly. If he only got one chance - and despite the training, he was still just Simon, not a secret agent - then he wanted her to be the one to suffer.

Taking a deep breath, Simon melted into the crowd. He knew where he needed to go.


Kaylee loved Persephone. It was where she got her big pink dress for that party. It was where her favorite parts shop stayed open late, and she was on "good terms" with Andy, the stock boy. Most of all, it was where she met Simon that one day, as he wandered along the docks looking lost. And if luck was with her today, she'd meet him again. She just had a feeling about it. And that made her all kinds of happy.

So she set out to do some 'shopping' with a determined air, fairly bounding up to the door of the local machine shop. She smiled brightly when the little bell over the door rang as she opened it, waving to the boy behind the counter. "Hiya, Andy. How ya been?"

Andy was a fairly studious and shy lad, given to reading technical manuals in his off time. His thick glasses and oversized apron hid the fact that - in Kaylee's opinion, anyway - he was fairly proficient in a broom closet. "Oh! Miss Kaylee!" He always called her "Miss". It was cute. "Haven't seen you around lately."

"Well, we've been real busy out there, keepin' the trade goin' an' such." She leaned over the counter a bit so he could give her a peck on the cheek. "An' my girl's runnin' smooth; ain't needed some parts for a bit now."

"Well. Good to hear it." Andy blushed a bit. Despite their torrid history, the boy still couldn't manage to talk to her in public without getting a case of nerves. "Um. Is there anything you need in particular?"

"Well, honestly, yeah. I'm lookin' for a guy."

Andy coughed and nearly turned white, looking both flattered and terrified. " You wanna get hitched? Me?"

Kaylee grinned. "No, silly. Ain't lookin' for a guy like that. Lookin' for one fella in particular. Tallish, dark hair, pale skin, goes by name of Simon. He's a doctor."

Sudden marriage crisis averted, Andy regained some color and thought back. "Nope, can't say as I've seen someone like that. I'll, uh, let ya know if I do. Anything else I can help ya with?"

"Nah. Just thinking' 'bout lookin' a bit, though. See if anythin' catches my eye." She gave him a wink and a wave, skipping back along the aisles and listening for any gossip she might overhear while browsing. There were a few spacers back towards the back, most of them poring over piles of refurbished coils, synchronizers, and engine mounts. She easily ignored the talk of who got knocked up, who died, and who should be killed, preferring to spend her time examining a new set of grav boots while keeping an ear out.


River looked at Wash, confusion on her face. "Two by two, hands of blue," she told him, then cocked her head. "But divided by two."

"Uh...two divided by two. One?"

River nodded. "Yes."

"Well, then. That's good. I think." Wash grabbed his comm. "Hey, Mal?"


"Kaylee." It was so soft she almost missed it. Looking up from the boots, she wasn't able to see anyone talking to her. The folks over by the bins weren't even looking her way. "Kaylee. Over here." She looked right, towards the back hallway that led to the storeroom and alley beyond. There was someone back there, but she couldn't quite make him out in the shadows as he went out the back door. But right as he turned, she got a look at his profile. It was Simon.

She was sure it was wishful thinking. Had to be. But she'd spent far to much time peeking at him around the door to the infirmary to mistake it. Suddenly glad that her luck was holding out - and forgetting the comm in her pocket - she hurried out the back door and into the alley.

And she was right. Simon stood at the end of the alley, hand behind his back and looking severe in his fine suit, just like the day she met him. "Simon!" She walked towards him, all smiles and concern. "You ok? We all been worried over ya, 'specially River. 'Course, I'm real glad to see ya, too."

"I'm glad to see you, too. Bitch." Kaylee barely had time to look confused before his left hand shot out and pricked her neck with something. The world went blurry for a moment, then dark, and Kaylee pitched forward into Simon's blue gloved hands.


Thursday, December 28, 2006 5:20 AM


Yay! You haven't left this story behind! *g*

Wow! They've sure done a job on Simon. Very creepy! *shudders* He's going to feel sooo bad when he returns to normal. *eg*

Be interesting to see where you go from here.

"I love my captain."

Thursday, December 28, 2006 6:55 AM


Huh. It's been so long I don't remember the previous chapters or why Simon is behaving like he is.

But - UGH. He better recover from this - whatever was done to him. And then regret and make it up to Kaylee!

I like angst, so please, draw it out . . .LOL!

Thursday, December 28, 2006 8:08 AM


I had about given up on any further chapters so this was really shiny but totally creepifying! And why the good gorram does Simon hate Kaylee so much? Gorramit, Kaylee should have used her com but the girl simply can't think straight when Simon is around. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, December 29, 2006 5:26 PM


Oh, I cannot wait to see how this unfolds. I really hope that Simon comes to his senses, not too quickly as the angst really is the fun part - well, second only to the smutty make-up sex, but still, fun!

So, if River says the hands of blue are split, one and one, does that mean they've designed Simon to be a hands of blue? Interesting ... Please update more frequently as the suspense might very nearly kill us.

Saturday, December 30, 2006 8:51 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER soon as I read the description of Simon looking at his "disguise" for the mission, my mind screamed "Hand of Blue wear!" rather vocally;D

Damn ManicGiraffe! Been a long time coming for this chapter...and a lot of re-reading to do to get caught back up again. least it's high quality fic;)


Thursday, January 18, 2007 1:12 AM


hurry up and finish the next chapter you moran your a good fan fic writer

Thursday, February 1, 2007 4:07 AM


Great stuff, can't wait for more.
Please get that next chapter up soon.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 1:36 PM


OMG this is getting too much to handle. CRAZY!Simon is a blue handed agent now?! NOOO

One question though, how has he been in in training for months if Serenity was only a day behind the ship? Or was that part programmed into his memory too?


Love this though, just caught up. :D xx


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In The Ether 13: Secret Agent Man
Simon takes a turn at super spy as the crew tracks him down.

In The Ether 12: Motivations
A brief history of Simon Tam

In The Ether 11: Telling
Simon and Regan tell each other off, Jayne tells Kaylee a little story, and Wash tells everybody about basic chemistry. Bonus: Jayne actually quotes Shakespeare! Kind of.

In The Ether 10: Technical Difficulties
Jayne goes trophy hunting, Kaylee and Wash attempt to explain technical things to Mal, and eventually everyone realizes that they left something at the last stop.

Generic S/K Plot Outline
Inspired by a story posted at, I present the outline of pretty much every S/K fic out there (including my own, so no one take it personal-like).

Dino Tales: Loss
The dino army mourns the loss of one of their own.

The Old Switcheroo
Jayne and Simon wake up with unique perspectives on life.

In The Ether 9: Minor Complications
Jake and Jasper check out Serenity, River secures some backup, Jayne discovers his protective side, Simon gets physical, and Kaylee meets an old flame.

In The Ether 8: Lady's Choice
Zoe fixes the plan. Kaylee shows Simon how to turn up the heat.

In The Ether 7: Shore Leave
Mal gives everyone a day on Belix to calm the nerves. Wash gets suspicious. A plan is hatched.