Spiritual - pt 2
Saturday, January 26, 2008

Post BDM - The Serenity crew (sans Simon) are on a mission to retrieve some money owed. Seems some other folk made may be on missions of their own. One reg OC – Shepherd Face.


chapter two


and, following a short service of thanksgiving and thinking on our lot and the Lord and all his good works and our place therein, there shall be a meeting of true seekers and the prayerful with them as are closer yet to His mystery and are able to rend the veil and grant us all a sight of his blessed and joyful words of comfort from those that have crossed over. All refreshments to be paid for. A generous donation to our kind visitors is not only appreciated but expected - empty collection plate aint nuthin but a rudeness. Pastor Nehru - Town Announcement Regis Colony Vol Xxii 43, year of the Plough.


Regis colony sat sullenly in its valley and endured the inclement weather with a weary frown of outhouses, chimneystacks, corrugated boardings and the clankings and groanings typical of any mining town. Huddled at the base of three hard mountains – the colony exuded a stubbornness – a hunkered stubbornness that meant the difference between survival and extinction. It clung to the muddy earth and the smut laden air and the iron rocky mountain bases with the same determination that had brought people here in the first – and made them grind away days, weeks, years and lives in the unforgiving mines. It was a community that smiled little – but it complained even less.


“Let’s just try not griping for once is all I’m saying” Captain Reynolds was addressing his crew as they stood ready by the loading bay doors, on hand was poised to hit the big red opening button. “I mean,” He continued, “you’ve seen one rim-world you’ve seen them all – we’re veterans – leastways – no actually that’s pretty much all of us now aint it… cepting maybe the Preacher.” Solomon Face snorted. “Don’t let my moisturising fool ya.” Mal paused for a second before carrying on. “Ok – well, ignoring that horrorsome image, all I’m saying is we know what we’re expecting to see.” He hit the switch and the heavy bay door screeched open. This lead to the inevitable low throated cursing that Reynolds was so good at. “ ‘See?’ ” Jayne echoed, squinting his eyes. “I can’t see a ruttin’ thing.” “Drear.” Said Zoe, moving aside to let Jayne get past and standing next to the Captain at the top of the service ramp. “That”, said Mal slowly, “is a very accurate description.” “Apposite, Sir”, Zoe affirmed.

Staring through the diesel-scented, smoke-stained, slate grey drizzle… was like trying to peer through a hole in the ground with a magnifying glass, it just hurt the eyes. Jayne, wiping his face with one calloused hand, reached with another for – something, what – gorram it! – “Mal? You aint taken my…?” Goggles. Blinking through them, River Tam darted a little way from the ship and looked about, one hand on her hip, the other waving in slow circles, as if feeling the rain. “Figures,” complained Jayne to himself. “Hey now – they aint yours – get your own…” He sniffed at the wet sooted air suspiciously. River ignored him.

As for the Captain, it didn’t take but a rainy moment for his hair to plaster itself down sulkily over his face. He turned to Zoe. “Well, we do tour the sights don’t we?” Zoe nodded – even as she scanned the dim shapes of buildings some way off, shadows between the muddy earth and the leaden sky. “Remind me to have stern words with the pilot. Right. That’d be me.” She eased a pistol back into its holster. No point risking the quality of the ammunition. Reynolds eyed her. “What’s that now – Flyer’s humour? I gotta start putting up with that all over again?” There was a hint of mischief in his eyes. Zoe accepted that as a compliment – any acknowledgement of Wash was a rare thing… but the Captain was just made of those. How many years now? – And Mal could still surprise her. “You look very boyish in the rain Sir. May I suggest we move out? ‘Sgonna be dark soon.” “That’s the plan – you sure it’s this way?” Getting a bearing in the bleak surroundings was just plain difficult. “Yes Captain – got a good view of her as we were coming down.” “Well – chalk one up for the Doc’ and let’s roll.” Reynolds took a breath and started to slough off into the heavy drizzle. …………………………… Dear Diary – Today is the day! I should say THE day maybe – or today is the DAY! Believe me Diary I am trembling some with the excitement. Today the Spiritual Folk will be here, though I guess I am almost a little sad too. Sad? I know Diary – that may sound strange to you since TODAY is the day when, I believe, when I’m sure, I will find the peaceful knowledge of my Boy’s crossing over – to know just once that he is well and his spirit rested, that’s all I been after knowing for the longest time. I do believe that after knowing that, well – I won’t be so minded to talk to you Dear Diary since I will be a deal calmer – and folks hereabouts too will know the truth of what I have been saying – and they will know I am not a bad person and that I was not a very wicked mother. So then when I am walking in light (And that despite of the gloom of this valley – which never does seem to lighten much ‘cept right in the middle of the year and I guess that’s why I love swimming so much and have most of my memories so connected) I will have gained a son, in some ways – and friends too maybe– but I will have lost a friend also, diary – a real close friend too… and of course I am talking of you Diary, you yourself. So in case we don’t speak again – or not for a wide acre of time, I am signing my name here in these pages and that is something that I do with love, Annabel James, Miss.


Coming up behind the other crew members as they trudged the muddy path into town, Shepherd Face had been ignoring his surroundings concentrating on the subtle - and the not so subtle - play of expressions on the faces of the crew. Veterans indeed, he thought. It had begun to worry him a little just how much he was enjoying himself, enjoying them. As he began to move forward it occurred to him that right now that might not be such a problem. The Captain turned to him. “Y’say something there Shep?” “Yay though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil…” “Huh. That so…” Face gave a tight nod. “But next time – I’ll pack the damn umbrella.” Mal was wiping a large drop of wet from his nose and hoping it was just rain. “Kinda undignified aint it,” he shrugged. “Yep.” Jayne’s voice drifted back through the drizzle. “Still don’t see why we aint takin’ the mule…” Reynolds sighed, picking up his pace. “I told you Jayne – we aint looking for trouble here. Walk soft. No needing for us to be conspicuous.”


Dusk was coming down like a dirty curtain as the queue of people, the congregation, with Annabel James at its head, stomped into the tin shack that served as Church. The noise of boots rubbing, of waxed leather coats been beaten dry was deafening. A rude stage had been raised at one of the shack, the floorboards were of differing types, cannibalised from multiple sources.

As the audience took its seats – most leant forward precariously on rickety wooden chairs trying to get a decent view of a morose man stood with his arms behind his back – and before him a young girl in a long veil sat in the centre of the stage – but clear sight was not made easy. There should’ve have been plain darkness – or clear light - but instead the candles that circled the girl seemed intent on spitting, flickering between light AND dark in a manner most like to cause distress rather than illumination. There was a woman’s voice, strong, that cut through the buzz of chatter and the audience expectation with a curt - “best trim them wicks less’un you want some poor soul an’ suffer a seizure – we don’t wanna be talking to them as crossed over… an’ find out it’s the audience gorram it.”

It was Annabel herself – got out of her seat to clip the candles down with a pocket knife, seeming oblivious to the dark looks from the townsfolk. Once she had sat down again, smoothing the fabric of her hemp skirt and rubbing her pale hands together, there was silence. All eyes were on the stage.

The owner of the compelling voice stepped from the side of the platform and made her way to address the crowd. She was an elderly lady, and diminutive in size – but her posture was neither broken nor frail – her eyes were hidden behind a pair of deep blue tinted spectacles, but this served only to draw the audience in yet further.

“Welcome, fellow seekers”, she proclaimed – and her voice rang through the hall – “for who amongst us is not a seeker – a seeker after truth, a seeker for comfort…” The assembled people made a point of looking suitably eager now. “Well I bring you the truth!” The old woman roared. “I offer comfort!” There was a sudden burst of applause. “Stop that!” she yelled, “don’t sound like nuthin but two sweaty dogs humpin!” The clapping ceased and the woman waited the length of an appropriately moody pause. “Now then,” she said at last, “it looks like our own Angel here is ready and willin’”, she nodded towards the girl in the centre. “While my job is to guide – to translate – and keep some of you peckerwoods in line if I have too!” the woman added for good measure. On her chair the woman in the veil began to groan – a great rising wail that struck the gathered Regis folk like a blow. It was a groan such as pulled the memories clear out of the closets that been thrown in – grown men paled and stout looking drams gazed up with forlorn regret. And for a second or so there was again pure silence. The crowd kept its breath held as if they shared the same lungs.

“Well now, this’d be the good part,” said Malcolm Reynolds as he strode suddenly onto the stage with his gun in his hand and Zoe and Jayne at his back. “I’m thinking there’ll likely be ectoplasm?” he asked with deliberate facetiousness, “only I heard tell, substance like that is a devil to get clean.” He glanced across to his first mate. “Aint that right?” Zoe nodded. “I’ve heard it said, Sir.”

The young girl and the others had been momentarily struck dumb – but the audience were beginning to bellow with dangerous sounding accord. Mal raised a hand against the tumult – raised his gun too. “ Woah now! Don’t be twitchin’ yr britches for no good reason – we aint here to mess up your doin’s any – well, only a little – just come for what we’re owed is all…” The audience, quieted now, were regarding the Captain stonily instead. He was not at all sure which was the better response. He indicated his crew, “…Fair play”.

“And money” Jayne added.

“And coin, yes, thank you Jayne” Mal gave a curt nod of the head.

“Cashey money”.

This time Mal nodded his with gun. “I do believe we’ve covered that, thank you Jayne . Oh – no – don’t you good folks be worrying any – we aint thieves – robbing you aint the deal here – so, uh, relax just, uh, enjoy the show!”

He moved back from the footlight by the edge of the rough-hewn stage – and turned to regard the assembled people he was interrupting. Half in shadow, half hidden by the woman in tinted glasses and the girl upon the chair, the man whose name was Xavier Clem seemed in no mood to talk – not yet… that’s likely to come though thought Reynolds eyeballing him. Maybe it was his glaring that done it but the older woman strode forward and, removing her spectacles, stared straight at him, up close, distracting the Captain from his view of Clem. Mal looked down at the fierce old woman. “Let me guess,” Mal’s voice was sarcastic, “You got a message from the other side for me?” The woman shook her head contemptuously. “Why? You figure yourself important enough? I do have a message – can’t say it concerns you overtly.” Mal sighed. “Well? You best get it out – because I have little intention of standing still and bandying words with you – we’re on a clock here. Just want my money and gone.” He waved his pistol again for effect. Again the woman snorted derisively. “My message is – What the ruttin’ good gorram are you doin’ still playin’ nursemaid to this sorry sack of hammer’s Son?” If she had meant her message to have an effect then the woman was not to be disappointed. Leaping forward - as though struck on the ass with God’s own cattle prod – Jayne Cobb cleared the distance between himself and the old woman in a single bound. Like Mal, there was a gun in his hand but it was pointed at the ground. Mal stared open mouthed as Jayne next licked a hand and slicked his hair – which was rain soaked already – in a parody of scrubbing up. The big man’s mouth twitched to all four compass points before he finally got words out of it. They were addressed to the fierce looking tiny woman. “Ma?” Jayne croaked, “Is that you?”

End of pt 2.


the usual thanks are owed to many a goodly FFFN member - you know who you are, shiny people:) . ……………………………….. next chapter – Simon on the Independence moon. River makes connections. Face ponders his position. oh and a mighty danger of course.


Saturday, January 26, 2008 6:38 AM


OMG!! That's Jayne's mother!! Can't wait for the next part so we can see more of her - I've always found Jayne's mom an interesting character *grins*

Keep flyin' ;)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008 6:17 AM


Thats perfect. Jaynes Ma a bible thumper. The "peckerwoods" line had me rolling.
More soon I hope.


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