Tall Ship - Part III
Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. So maybe he isn't as dead as he thought he was, but the crew don't know that.


“I’m sorry to hear that,” Barrick said, nervously looking around off screen. They’d suggested he come to the ship but he refused, and found his normal reluctance to talk over a wave working against him this time. “But the deal was made, and half the money paid. If that’s gone -”

“No, we have the money,” Zoe said firmly. “I just need the details.”

“Look, I don’t like to discuss business over an open link –”

“Then send the co-ordinates.”

Barrick paused, then nodded. “Fine. I’ll get someone to do that straight away.” He leaned forward slightly. “He’s not the first, you know.”

“What?” Zoe stiffened.

“Mal. There’s been at least five that I know of. People getting killed in the dark, all their valuables taken off them.”

“But the sheriff didn’t mention -”

“The law around here ain’t worth much,” Barrick said, then glanced guiltily over his shoulder as if someone might have been eavesdropping. “Folks don’t generally go to him. They take care of matters themselves.”

“I’ll bear that in mind.”

Barrick nodded, all business again. “You sure you’re gonna be able to get the job done?”

“We’ll get it done.”

“Good. And … well, good.” He switched off at his end.

There was a slight beep and Hank leaned forward. “Info’s here,” he said softly.

“Yes,” she responded, but she wasn’t really listening.

“What is it?” he asked. “What’s going on in that brain of yours?”

In the galley the others were talking, sitting around the table, notable for its lack of Freya.

“She ain’t gone into their bunk,” Kaylee said, her eyes still red from crying.

“I know,” Simon said, Bethany asleep in his lap. “I had to threaten her with a sedative even to lie down, but she’s in one of the passenger rooms.”

“Ethan and Jesse are with her,” River put in, her hair hanging down around her face as if she was trying to hide. “They’re asleep.”

“That’s good.”

“They’re exhausted.”

“I’ll keep an eye on them,” Simon promised.

Jayne moved a little in his seat. “We’re gonna get paid for this job, right? I mean, we got half already, right?”

Kaylee glared at him. “How can you talk like that at a time like this?” she demanded, never having felt such revulsion for him before.

“That ain’t what I mean,” he growled, flushing a little. “I was thinking of a reward.”

“What?” Simon sat forward.

“You mean if anyone finds him?” Kaylee asked, ashamed at her previous reaction.

“Yeah. And maybe who did it.”

“You think we could?”

“Don’t see why not. Post it someplace central, sheriff’s office maybe -”

“No,” Zoe said as she stepped down into the dining area, Hank behind her. “No point.”

“What? Why?” Jayne stared at her. “If’n it helps Frey –”

“I didn’t mean that. But Barrick says no-one talks to the sheriff, not even to report other murders like this one.”

The big man stiffened. “There’ve been others?”

“At least six now.”

“So what do we do?” Simon asked.

Zoe looked at Jayne. “You willing to stay behind? Could be a couple of weeks. Barrick gave us the co-ordinates, and the drop’s on Hammond.”

“Coupla …” He glanced at River. “I don’t –“

“Stay,” River said quietly, nodding slowly.

“You sure? You won’t need me for the baby?”

She put her hand on the mound at her belly. Not yet four months pregnant and she was showing already on her slight frame. “We won't,” she said. “And I promise not to give birth until you’re back.”

Jayne smiled briefly at her then turned back to Zoe. “What do you want me to do?”

“Find out who did this.”


“If you need to. But someone knows. And you’re going to find out for Frey.”

“You think it’ll help her?” Kaylee wanted to know.

“It will if you let her kill him,” River said, her eyes deadly serious.

Kaylee shivered at her tone. “I … right.”

“And if someone comes up with Mal’s body?” Jayne asked.

“Then you keep it on ice ‘til we get back. And we can have a proper funeral for him.”

“Prometheus?” Kaylee whispered, a tear running down her cheek again. Simon cuddled her.

“Only right,” River murmured. “Closure.”

Zoe pulled a wad of notes from her pocket. “We have to leave now if we’re going to get to the pick-up point in time,” she said briskly. “Take this. If you need more let me know.”

“I got some,” Jayne said, pushing the money into his pants.

Kaylee stood up quickly. “I want to contribute.” She ran off towards the stairs.

“Me too,” Hank said, reaching into his own pocket and pulling out some cash. “Might as well.”

“Thanks.” Jayne added it to the rest.

“I’ll go and pack for you,” River added softly, getting to her feet. “Help me?” she asked, looking at him.

He nodded and took her hand, walking out together.

“You think he can catch this man?” Simon asked quietly.

Zoe shrugged. “If anyone has a chance, it’s Jayne.”


Moments. Moments of clarity amongst the sea of darkness. Moments he wished he hadn’t had. Someone pulling him through the snow. Being lifted onto … something, and screaming. So much screaming. Then something in his belly, digging, and he screamed more, begging them to stop, to let him die in peace. A hand on his forehead, something cool laid against his skin. A voice, a woman, calming, soothing, singing an old lullaby he thought he recognised …

“Where am I?”

“In my bed.” She sounded … nice.

“What? No, I can’t …” He tried to move but pain lanced through him.

“Lay still. It’s been a while since I practised sewing anyone up, and I’d rather you didn’t waste all my good work.”

“You helped me?”

“Surely did.”


“You needed it.”

“I …” He screwed up his forehead, and he tried to focus better. “What happened to me?”

“You got shot. Don’t know where, or what you were doing to get that way, but we found you on the beach.”


“Me and my two young’uns.”

“You saved my life?”

“Guess so.”

“Thanks.” He shivered violently.



She lifted the covers and climbed in next to him, sharing her body’s warmth with him. “Better?”

He lay stiffly. “Some.”

She laughed. “I ain’t gonna ravish you. You ain’t my type for one thing, and for another my kids are asleep in the next room, so if you start shouting they’ll hear.”

He smiled a little, forcing himself to relax. “Sorry.”

“S’okay. Strange woman climbs into bed with you, I’m sure you wouldn’t know what to think. Less it happens a lot?”

“I don’t know.”


“I don’t know. I don’t remember.”

“Hmmn.” She put her arm over him, carefully avoiding the bandage around his belly, the splint on his hand. “So what’s your name?”

He forced his eyes open. “My name?”

“You got one, ain’t you? Most people have.”

“Sure. It’s …” His forehead creased. “It’s … I know it. I’m sure I …”

“Don’t worry. It’ll come.” She looked into his face, his blue eyes confused, almost frightened. “It’ll come,” she repeated.

“Sure.” He shook his head, but his eyes were closing, and in a moment he was asleep.

When he woke again he was aware of a body next to him, but something felt wrong. Not the right body, maybe. He reached out, touched whoever it was on the shoulder, but the movement made him groan with the pain.

“Shh, shh, don’t try and move.”

Not a voice he recognised. “Don’t think I’ll try again.” A face swam into view through the red-tinged darkness. Didn’t know that either.

“You remember where you are?”

“I … no, not really.”

“Do you remember who you are?”

“I …”

“Don’t worry. You’re safe. And you’ll heal.”


“Just go back to sleep. Nothing’s going to hurt you here.”


Jayne watched Serenity take off, the snow blowing around him from its thrusters, River’s words to him echoing through his mind.

She’d been pushing his spare pants into a bag as he packed several of his guns. “Try not to kill him if you don’t have to.”

“I’ll try. And you keep an eye on Frey.”

“I’ll try.” She sat down suddenly on the bed, her arms wrapped around her belly.

“Riv?” He was immediately at her side, on his knees, his blue eyes worried. “You need your bro?”

“No. It’s just …” She looked at him, and a tear rolled down her cheek. “I can feel her, Jayne. Every thought, every pinprick, every hammer blow against her, and it hurts. So much.”


River nodded. “I want to be here to help her, to make her understand she isn’t alone, but I don’t think I can.”

He put his hand on her swelling stomach. “Is it putting the kid in danger?”

“I think it might,” she admitted.

“Well, you can’t stay with me, however much I want you to. This place don’t have a decent doctor that don’t treat horses too, and Simon can’t stay because of Frey.”

“I could help you … see who’s lying.”

He smiled a little. “That gonna work? With the static you’re feeling?”

“Well …”

He stood up and pulled her into his arms. “I figure maybe Lazarus is our best bet. Tell Zoe to get you there. And Sam can talk to Frey at the same time.”

“How long for?” she asked, her voice muffled against his chest.

“Long as it takes. I ain’t letting anything hurt you.”

“Too late …” she whispered. “Father …”

He knew she wasn’t talking about Gabriel Tam. “I know, moonbrain.” He hugged her tightly. “I know.”

And now Serenity was just a dot in the sky that vanished even as he watched. Taking a deep breath and blowing it out through his mouth, he turned back towards the town. A man was striding by, bundled up in a heavy coat, and Jayne caught his arm.

“Mister –”

The man looked at him with fear on his face, shrinking away. “What …”

Jayne eyed him with disgust. “Ain’t gonna hurt ya. Just want to know where’s the closest hotel? Or place I can find a room?”

The man looked him up and down. “Francine’s. Decent kind of place, and her whores are clean.”

“Don’t want a woman. Just a bed.”

“She’ll let you sleep there, if that’s all you want. And only hotel we had burned down during the fall. Ain’t been rebuilt yet.”

“So where is this Francine’s?”

“Main street. Next to the sheriff’s office.”

“Yeah?“ Jayne grinned humourlessly. “Thanks.”


“How’re you feeling?”

He opened his eyes. “What? Who –”

“Shh. It’s okay.”

He tried to move, but the sudden agony in his chest had him gasping for air. “Oh …”

“Here, drink this.” It was a woman, somewhat familiar, sitting next to him. She held a cup to his lips. “Drink. It will help.” He sipped at the warm liquid, bitter tasting but almost welcome to his parched mouth. “Good, good. As much as you can.” She held the cup until it was empty. “Good.”

“Thank you,” he managed to say.

She put the cup onto the table behind her. “You’ll start to feel the pain ease soon. I brewed up herbs, bark … it tastes terrible but it does work.”

“Thank you,” he said again. “Who are you?”

“I‘ve already told you once, but I seem to be very forgettable.” She smiled. “My name is Hannah. Hannah Tebril.”

“Hannah.” He smiled a little. “Nice to meet you.” He managed to look around the room without killing himself, finding it filled with odd pieces of furniture and books. “How did I get here?”

“We took you out of the river, patched you up. Someone had shot you.” She put her hand on his arm. “Don’t you remember? You came to several times.”

“Did I?” His brow furrowed. “I don’t …” Something she’d said registered. “We?”

“My children and me.”

“And I was shot?”

She nodded. “Do you remember?”

“No. Only pain.” He took a slightly deeper breath. “Which is easing, you were right.”

“I still remember a few tricks,” she said, smiling, her face taking on an aspect of youth he hadn’t envisaged.

“Good tricks.”

“My husband was a good teacher.”

He felt his eyes beginning to close. “Sleepy.”

“Yes, that’s the drawback of that potion. It does tend to knock you out. But rest is the best thing for you right now.” She patted his arm. “Get some sleep. We can talk later.”

“Talk later,” he repeated, drifting off. “Later.”

to be continued


Tuesday, December 4, 2007 3:49 AM


Exciting and challenging is how I'd describe this story arc. How are three psychics going to find Mal if they don't think he's alive and he doesn't know how to tell them. How is Jayne going to find him and be a BDH? How is Mal not going to fall for Hannah and get his mind back? How does Sam work into these plotlines? How do you find the original shooter and fix the sheriff? Yup, I think you'll be a litle busy for awhile, Jane. Thanks for a great story!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007 4:43 AM


I'm enjoying this story. Got a feeling more actions on the way now that Jaynes on the hunt.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007 11:10 AM


Very intriguing plotlines so far. And I see you have a Hannah of your own to intersect with Mal's life. lol

Tuesday, December 4, 2007 1:00 PM


I love the decision to have Jayne stay behind and try to find out who the *tamade hundan* is who shot Mal. I'm hoping his skills will lead him to Hannah. I'm also guessing that none of the psychics aboard Serenity are aware Mal is still alive because he has lost his memory and therefore can't be casting thoughts about them/to them? Whatever, loving this story to bits. All manner of impatient for the next part. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, December 4, 2007 6:31 PM


Figure it'll take you a while to answer all our questions. I will be enjoing the story while you do.

BTW Mal has to rescued. Freya and Mal belong together.


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[Maya. Post-BDM. A little standalone festive tale that kind of fits into where I am in the Maya timeline, but works outside too. Enjoy!]

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"I honestly don’t know if my pilot wants to go around with flowers and curlicues carved into his leg.”
[Maya. Post-BDM. The end of the story, and the beginning of the last ...]

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Mal took a deep breath, allowing it out slowly through his nostrils, and now his next words were the honest truth. “Ain’t surprised. No matter how good you are, and I’m not complaining, I’ve seen enough battle wounds, had to help out at the odd amputation on occasion. And I don’t have to be a doc myself to tell his leg ain’t quite the colour it should be, even taking into account his usual pasty complexion. What you did … didn’t work, did it?”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Simon has no choice, and Luke comes around.]

Monied Individual - Part XIX
“His name’s Jayne?”

“What’s wrong with that?” the ex-mercenary demanded from the doorway.

“Nothing, nothing! I just … I don’t think I’ve ever met a man … anyone else by that name.”

“Yeah, he’s a mystery to all of us,” Mal said. “Even his wife.”

[Maya. Post-BDM. Hank's not out of the woods yet, and Mal has a conversation. Enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Part XVIII
Jayne had told him a story once, about being on the hunt for someone who owed him something or other. He’d waited for his target for three hours in four inches of slush as the temperature dropped, and had grinned when he’d admitted to Hank that he’d had to break his feet free from the ice when he’d finished.
[Maya. Post-BDM. The Fosters show their true colours, Jayne attempts a rescue, and the others may be too late.]

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[Maya. Post-BDM. A seasonal one-off - enjoy!]

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Jayne hadn’t waited, but planted a foot by the lock. The door was old, the wood solid, but little could stand against a determined Cobb boot with his full weight behind it. It burst open.

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He slammed the door behind him, making the plates rattle on the sideboard. “It’s okay, girl, I ain't gonna hurt you.” The cook, as tradition dictated, plump and rosy cheeked with her arms covered to the elbows in flour, but with a gypsy voluptuousness, picked up a rolling pin.

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“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]

“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]