DUPLICITY Series: 14. "Plans and Schemes"
Monday, June 16, 2008

"Jayne come up with an idea to stop the Captain getting bored while the crew get ready for a bit of crime."


TITLE: "PLANS AND SCHEMES" AUTHOR: Alison M. DOBELL FANDOM: "FIREFLY" PAIRING: Zoe/Wash, Kaylee/Simon. RATING: PG-13. STATUS: Sequel to "BEFORE THE STORM". ARCHIVE: Yes. Just let me know where. FEEDBACK: Welcomed. EMAIL: WEBSITE: None. All Firefly stories archived at

SUMMARY: "Jayne comes up with an idea to stop the Captain getting bored while the crew get ready for a bit of crime." The usual disclaimers apply. The characters and 'Firefly' are the property and gift of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No infringement of copyright is intended.


"Firefly" story

Written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * * *

Simon's head jerked up from the screen he was studying, his eyes widening in horror and disbelief. The Captain didn't think he'd ever seen the doc move so quick.

"You can't bring those in here!"

The mercenary ignored him, his arms full of what looked like every weapon from Serenity's armoury. Curious, the Captain raised his eyebrows. Only the fact that Simon had him propped up in the infirmary bed made it possible for him to see what was happening. "Jayne, there some reason you're bringin' weapons into the infirmary?"

Jayne was about to dump them on the Captain's bed when Simon blocked his path. "This is a sterile area."

The big man blinked as if it was the doc that wasn't making sense not him. "He's bored."

Simon's brain seemed to short circuit at the non-sequiter. "*Shenme*? What are you talking about?"

"Mal, he's goin' *shenjingbing*. Not that he had far to go anyway just, ya know, bein' couped up in this gorram fishbowl."

"My infirmary isn't a fishbowl." Simon bristled. "Neither is it the armoury, now take those filthy weapons out of here this instant."

The Captain watched with interest, the odd turn of events more entertaining than anything else that had happened to him since being shot. Twice. At point blank gorram range.

"That's my point, doc. Cleanin' 'em up'll keep him occupied."

Simon pushed himself as close to Jayne as he could without actually allowing any part of himself to touch the guns. "Occupied but not free of germs, *dong ma*?"


"Germs. Viruses. Bacteria. Things that cause INFECTION. Ringing any bells yet, Jayne?"

Amused the Captain kept his mouth shut and waited. Watching the meaning of Simon's words trickle through Jayne's brain pan was all kinds of mesmerising.

"I ain't *ben dan*."

"Then maybe you're just DEAF."

Jayne began to bristle back when the Captain couldn't hold his laughter in any longer, even though it hurt he welcomed the lightness to his heart and the way it tweaked his humour. Jayne and Simon both turned to glare at him. With difficulty the Captain got his fit of the funnies in hand and tried to straighten his face, a silly smile tugging at his lips despite his best efforts. "*Wei*, ain't my fault." He gasped. "I'm the patient, *jide*?"

"Yes, well, as your doctor my aim is to get you better not leave you open to whatever kind of infection Jayne brings into my infirmary."

"Hey, these're good guns. Got some of mine among 'em."

"Jayne." Simon tried again, this time with studied patience. Mal thought his blood pressure had to be fair miraculous not to be blowing right about now. "How many times have you seen weapons stored in the infirmary?"

The big man blinked. "Huh?"

"Let me help you out. Never. Why do you suppose that is?"


"Because this is an INFIRMARY. A place that has to be kept as STERILE as possible which means spotlessly CLEAN. You do understand the concept of cleanliness, *qu*?"

The big man's face started to darken and the Captain realised it might be a good time to intervene. Before things got ugly. "Um Jayne?"

Jayne answered without taking his eyes off Simon. "Yeah, Cap?"

"That's a lot of weapons you got there."

Distracted, he glanced at the Captain. "Every one I could lay my hands on."

"Don't see Zoe's mare's leg."

A ghost of a smile cracked Jayne's lips. "Ya see me gutshot?"

Mal smiled back, point taken. "Just as well, need you fit an' healthy but doc's right. Best take those weapons back an' put them away."

"But Mal..."

"But nothin'. Ain't that I don't appreciate the gesture, more than you might know if I'm bein' truthsome, but this ain't the place to be bringin' germs."

"How 'bout I lay 'em out on the table in the commons room? We could carry ya through, give ya cloth an' oil an' such."

"Jayne, they're dirty. All greasy and who knows what germs they might be carrying." Said Simon, his voice sounding more than a little exasperated that he wasn't getting his message across that introducing a patient with open wounds to infection was a bad idea.

"That's kind'a the point. Cleanin' 'em'll give the Cap somethin' to do an' be helpin'. I'd be bouncin' off the gorram walls by now if I was couped up in here all this time."

Simon blinked and looked from Jayne to the Captain. Momentarily lost for words.

"He does have a point, Simon."

"But they're...*zang*." Simon protested.

Jayne grinned. "An' if Mal cleans 'em they won't be. I call that a win-win situation." The mercenary turned his head and looked at Mal. "So, ya just gonna lie there like a useless lump or ya gonna clean these guns?"

The Captain should have yelled at him for implying he was being lazy, fact was he was bored out of his skull. And Jayne's suggestion would at least get him out of the gorram infirmary even if it meant he couldn't walk there. "Doc, what d'you think?"

He wanted to say no, really he did, but the hopeful look on the Captain's face did him in. It wasn't that Malcolm Reynolds was a bad patient exactly but he never ever forgot that he was the Captain, always doing, always thinking up new ways to find work and so on. For a normal person it would be hard enough, for a man like Mal it had to be close to torture. Simon gave a little sigh then nodded. "Okay, but as soon as you start to feel tired we'll have to get you cleaned up and back in the infirmary resting, *dong ma*?"

"Restin'. Back here. Got it."

Jayne grinned and moved towards the door. "I'll just go an'..."

"You do that, Jayne. Oh an' Jayne?"

"Yeah, Mal?"

"Kaylee got any of that interengine brew left?"

Simon's voice rose quickly, determined to nip any future idiocy in the bud. "*Bu qu*! You can't have anything alcoholic, Mal, because of the medication you're on."

As the Captain's face fell Jayne gave him a wicked look. "I ain't on no medication an' would be a shame to waste your share."

Mal glared as the big man hurried out. "Jayne Cobb, don't you dare! I can hurt you!"

Laughter rang back loud and hearty. "Like ya could catch me."

Simon and the Captain exchanged a long look. Mal huffed and crossed his arms over his chest. "How we gonna do this?"

"Don't look at me, Captain." Said Simon, moving back to the the computer screen as if he had work to get back to. "This wasn't my idea."

* * * * *

Now that the time had come to leave Inara found that it was even more difficult than she had expected. Her brother put a hand on her arm causing her to pause mid-step. His gentle smile was supposed to cushion the blow but all it did was cause a spike of pain in her heart as if she could already feel their parting. "Inara, you act as if I am dying for real. Be happy for me, *bao bei*. Rejoice that at last I have found my true calling."

There were tears in her eyes but Inara resolved to be brave. She would not let a single one fall until she was well and truly out of the Abbey grounds. She owed him that much. "I still have so much to tell you. To share with you."

He took her hands in his. "And you shall, I promise."

Her eyes searched his. "When will I see you again?" "How about the Winter Fair?"

"They celebrate that here?"

Sendhil laughed. "We are monks Inara, not Neanderthals. It is one of the biggest local festivals before Christmas. If you can return for the Fair I am sure the Abbot will allow us time together."

Happiness so deep it filled her heart to overflowing robbed her of the ability to speak so Inara hugged him instead, her head bobbing to show she would do just that.

Once the Abbey was out of sight Inara turned her attention to what she must do next. While it would be somewhat galling to face Malcolm Reynolds smirking 'I told you so' face she did owe the man both an apology and an explanation. And if he was in a forgiving mood there was a certain shuttle belonging to an aging but much loved Firefly that she wanted to rent.

* * * * *

"Where can he have gone?"

Mr Morgan seemed untroubled by the Alliance Captain's words. He watched the man pace for a moment before speaking. "We have a saying: when your enemy goes to ground give him no ground to go to."

Captain Afram frowned. "Sounds like an Operative saying."

"It is."

The officer's eyes narrowed slightly, a little disconcerted by how calmly the two men from the Blue Sun Division were taking this. "Badger has a lot of contacts. Some of them even have influence."

"How you flush him out is up to you, Captain. We would not dream of telling you how to do your job."

Afram felt his throat tighten. Even though the words were not threatening in and of themselves they set his pulse racing in a way that made him all manner of uncomfortable.

"One other thing."

The Alliance Captain paused at the door. "Yes, sir?"

"We want him alive, *dong ma*?"

"And his 'contacts'?"

The two men smiled, it was cold and creepifying but the Captain got the message loud and clear. "Just be careful with those who have 'political' connections." Afram understood the carefully couched euphemism for leaving those alive.

"I will be the soul of discretion."

The two men waited until the Captain had gone then exchanged a long look. Once this was over and they had Badger in their clutches they would upgrade the hunt for River Tam and her brother Simon. Then. When the outcome was assured they would tidy up any lose ends. A pity the conscientious Captain Afram would never make Commandant.

* * * * *

Malcolm Reynolds considered being carried by Jayne and Book to the commons room only slightly less embarrassing than trying to walk unaided and falling flat on his gorram face in front of his whole disrespectful crew. Fortunately it was done with a minimum of comment or fuss, a fact for which he was eternally grateful. Well. Glad at least. His eyes widened in surprise on seeing the chairs pushed to one side and a line of crates from the cargo hold set up in a long low bench all down one side of the table. The makeshift bench was covered in a variety of scruffy but well stuffed cushions. Jayne and Book were careful about placing him at one end of the bench. All along the length of the table facing him Jayne had laid out the weapons, to one side the oil and assorted cloths and on the other a mug of something dark and still steaming. The mug was thoughtfully placed within hand's reach. Well. Least there was coffee.

"Why in the nine hells I got no chair?"

"Told ya he'd complain." Chirped Kaylee, even though she couldn't seem to wipe a grin off her face.

It seemed his whole rutting crew had turned out to see him at his chores. Made a man feel more than a mite self conscious and put upon only the relief at being away from the infirmary even if only to shine and polish bits of metal was enough to temper his response.

Jayne leaned on the table next to the Captain. "Figured be easier to get to weapon after weapon an' work ya way down the table than havin' to call out for Wash to come an' move your chair. Ya know, give ya some of that independence ya like so much."

Mal glared up at him. "You mockin' me, Jayne Cobb?"

Zoe's lips twitched but she managed to keep a straight face. Her husband's arm tightening around her waist, his chin resting on her shoulder as he watched. "Think we should adopt, *bao bei*?"

She turned her head dislodging his perch. "Adopt?"

Wash smirked and nodded in the direction of the Captain and Jayne. "They do look kind'a cute together."

A laugh broke free before Zoe could stop herself. Kaylee smiled and Book seemed mighty amused. Simon shook his head as if suspecting the whole crew was as *shenjingbing* as their Captain. How did he come to be on this *lese* ship of thieves and reprobates again? River danced around him then paused to whisper in his ear. "Saved us, keep us safe. Free."

He nodded, a stir of affection settling in him though wild horses wouldn't get him to admit as much. River smiled but kept his secret. Her brother's eyes sparkled back. "You know you're still a brat?"

"Your brat."

Simon thought about that and nodded, the laughter from the others causing him to turn his head and smile at the crew's antics. It was heart warming to see how much livelier and happier the crew were when they were all together like this. If Simon had his way he would fix the Captain and ensure things stayed that way for a long time to come.

"Don't make promises you can't keep."

River's whispered words sent a shiver of apprehension down his spine but when his sister pulled back to look into his eyes she was smiling, her eyes dancing and sparkling with fun.

"Jigsaw has many pieces, Simon. One piece isn't the whole."

Before he could ask what she meant Book clapped his hands then rubbed them together. "If we are going to do this I suggest we get moving. Kaylee, did you and River work out the schedule for the cameras and alarm?"

Then everything became an orderly bustle of activity. While the Captain occasionally chipped in with a comment the job was discussed so he could hear what was going on and be kept in the loop. Wash would stay with the ship as would Simon but everybody else it seemed had a part to play. Once Book was sure they all knew what they had to do he had a quiet word with the Captain then all too soon the ship emptied until only three remained. Simon stared at the Mal for a moment.

"How long do you suppose it'll take?"

Mal picked up the first weapon and began to dismantle it. His hands moving smoothly over the metal. Simon found himself fascinated by the Captain's dexterity. "It'll take as long as it does, doc. No need to fret. It's a good plan."

He was about to say he wasn't fretting but caught the look on Wash's face. "I fret." Said Wash, peering down into the Captain's untouched mug of coffee. "Can't help it, every time Zoe's on a job." He paused and looked at Mal. "You gonna drink that coffee? Only I need to go back to the bridge so I can monitor everythin' an'..."

The Captain waved a distracted hand in Wash's direction while he reached for the gun oil. "Go ahead, knock yourself out."

"*Xie xie, Cap'n."

Simon watched the pilot go then took a moment to study the Captain. The man actually looked relaxed, his hands busy, his eyes critically checking each part over as he cleaned and polished every piece until it gleamed. Realising he was under scrutiny the Captain looked up and gave Simon a quizzical look, automatically reassembling the weapon without looking at this hands. Simon waved a hand at the gun. "How do you do that?"

The Captain frowned slightly. "Do what?"

"Take a gun apart and put it back together without even looking at it?"

He chuckled, the sound warm and amused. To Simon it sounded like treacle toffee. "Practice. Be like how you know just by lookin' how many stitches you're gonna need to close a wound an' such."

Simon hesitated. It seemed everybody had a job but him yet he didn't want to go back to the infirmary and count all the bandages and supplies for the hundredth time.

"*Shenme shi*?"

"*Yiwusuoyou* Captain, I was just about to make myself a cup of tea. Would you like one?"

The Captain was pretty sure that wasn't what Simon had been about to say but let it be. Working with his hands always calmed him and even if it was busy work Jayne had been right. The weapons needed cleaning and it would be good to know they would be ready for use at a moment's notice. He gave the doc a smile. "That would be shiny."

* * * * *

He did not like her hold on him, the way every breath he took depended upon her good humour. Or not. Life before was nothing more than a vague indistinct dream. Too distant to be memory, more like wishful thinking or so it seemed. Yet he could not defy her, not again. His body would scarcely hold him up as it was and another bout of discipline would probably end him. So why, if his life was so rutting hard, did he marshall every last scrap of his strenth to cling to it? What was it about enduring this mortal hell that kept him hanging on? Straightening his shiny vest he put some steel into his backbone and stepped outside, the bright sunshine a mocking counterpoint to his dark thoughts. Ahead was the carriage waiting to take him to his destination. He could think no further than his next task, pushing to the back of his mind the growing nagging cry to break free. No. Not yet. If his hardships had taught him anything it was this. Timing was everything.

* * * * *

Kaylee was excited. This was the first time in a good long while since she had been included in an operation of this size. She liked that her skills were so critical to the success of the job, revelled in being part of the team, filled with anticipation of how shiny it would be to outwit the alarm sensors and cameras and get what Serenity needed to keep her flying. It didn't feel so much like stealing knowing that it was an Alliance supporting business. Not that she was political or anything but Kaylee had seen first hand the way the Alliance treated those out on the Rim, how hard life was for folk like Mal and Zoe who had stood up for Independence and got crushed under that Almighty heel. Didn't endear her any to them the way they persisted in trying to capture River and Simon, especially knowing what they had done to her friend. Cutting into her brain like that, keeping her locked up to be experimented on and turned into some terrifying assassin. Only Simon had saved her from that and the Captain kept them both safe on Serenity and that made her more proud than she could put into words.

So if the Captain wanted them to break into this here junkyard that was more than shiny with her. Kaylee checked her small electronic pad, noting the readings and being careful to make the external connection appear to be a natural part of the circuitry. She nodded to River who slunk away to locate the camera covering the back door. This time they would not be using their coms, not knowing whether the signal would trigger something. Book had it all worked out and each of them had synchronised the cheap watches he had handed them. No one asked where he got them from but just made sure each was set to the same gorram time. They were doing this by the numbers, eyes peeled to that slow second hand, watching the minutes burn a path into their back brains while waiting for the exact moment for each step of the plan.

Round by the fencing Jayne and Book were lying flat on their bellies in the nearest shrubbery waiting for the next minute to pass. They did not speak. Jayne passed Book a knife and eased Binky from its' sheath. As soon as the second hand finished its' sweep they crawled forward and began to dig and loosen the soil their side of the fence. It would take several minutes to clear enough soil for a good sized hole but between the two of them the point of entry should be ready by the time Kaylee and River had done their part. Book was a little wary about keeping the alarm to the fencing connected but having been outvoted he held his peace.

At last they heard the quiet scuffling that told them Kaylee was crawling towards them. She wriggled between the two and grinned at them. "Looks shiny!"

Shepherd Book did not smile back. For all her enthusiasm he needed Kaylee to be serious. It would only take one mistake, a little too much confidence, and it would all be for nothing. "Kaylee, the hole looks big but it really isn't. You'll need to push the backpack through first then crawl under the wire after it, *dong ma*?"

"Sure Book, I know what I gotta do."

He frowned. "You must not try to come back under the wire with the pack on your back. I'd rather you took a little longer and fed it back through the hole than tried to rush."

Her smile dimmed a mite. "I ain't gonna let ya down. Serenity needs that stabiliser."

"An' no huntin' around for other stuff either." Growled Jayne softly.

"I ain't no *baichi*, Jayne. I go in, find the part then come straight out again."

"Yeah, well I know how ya get when you're looking through engine parts."

She flushed a little. "Well I ain't hangin' around this time."

The Shepherd nodded and gave her a little smile. "Good to hear, now push that pack through nice and easy."

They watched with baited breath, relieved when it went under without any hitch. As Kaylee was about to wriggle through after it Jayne hooked a finger through the loop of her jeans and gave a tug. She scowled back at him. "*Shenme shi*?"

"That top." he hissed.

"What about it?"

"It's ragged."

"So? I figured it was the one I least minded gettin' ruined."

"Kaylee," Book's hushed voice broke in "I think what Jayne means is that with the pocket being torn and hanging the material may catch on the fence on the way through."

The mechanic flushed, embarrassed. "*Duibuqi*, I never thought."

"Just take it off."

She stared at Jayne. "*Shenme*? I on'y got my bra on underneath Jayne."

"Ain't like no one's gonna see," Jayne produced a leer "on'y me an' the Shepherd an' he don't - not ever."

About to refuse Kaylee realised they didn't have time for this so with a huff she pulled the top over her head and dumped it next to the Shepherd. "I promise I will take good care of it for you." He said.

Kaylee nodded and thanked him then turned and wriggled down into the hole, carefully crawling and pulling herself up and out the other side, pushing the pack out of her way until she was clear. At least now she was all dirty she didn't look half naked. Book gave her a nod and Jayne just waved her on. Clock was ticking.

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*shenme* = what *shenjingbing* = crazy *ben dan* = moron (lit. stupid egg) *dong ma* = understand? *jide* = remember *wei* = hey! *weishenme* = why *qu* = yes (lit. go) *zang* = dirty *bu qu* = no (lit. no go) *xie xie* = thanks *bao bei* = precious/treasure *shenme shi* = what's the matter? *baichi* = idiot *yiwusuoyou* = nothing *duibuqi* = sorry *lese* = crappy


Monday, June 16, 2008 6:45 AM


Excellent chapter. Glad to see Mal out of the infirmary, if only to clean guns. And was very impressed with Jayne's sharp thinking in this one! :D

Monday, June 16, 2008 6:56 AM


Cleaing guns is a good way to pass the time. :))

Such a wonderful chapter.

Monday, June 16, 2008 7:50 AM


I loved the Mal/Jayne/Simon convo! And I admire the way your style changes when you go to the Inara section, as if it's more formal. I still don't know who the unknown man is, but I'm wondering if there was an inkling in this section. I'll just have to wait and find out!

Monday, June 16, 2008 1:44 PM



Tuesday, June 17, 2008 3:56 AM


i second jane's remarks about the dialog here.


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His head still ached from the rutting probe but after the men had satisfied themselves that his story was true a thousand questions peppered the air like machine gun fire.

The vessel was shiny, sleek and black with nowhere near the bulk of an Alliance ship. Something about the way it moved through the Black was more than a little creepifying.

Personally she didn't care if Serenity was towed off to a junk yard and stripped into spare parts. She had promised the ship to Jer and his crew as a bonus but it looked like scavengers had beaten them to it.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: 2. "Counting Chickens"
The fact that her eyes were hard and sharp with intelligence kind of chilled him. Smart women always made him uneasy, it just weren't natural.

What in the nine hells were they so afraid of? Then he remembered Tracy. The body mailed to them by their old war buddy and all the trouble that had brought down on them.

If it was too gorram wet to hunt for rabbits what in the nine hells was his son really hunting? And was it something on four legs or two?

The man was in a terrible condition, his pulse weak, and for some reason he was soaking wet which did nothing to staunch the blood soaking through his clothing and seeping from the poorly tended wound where he had been shot.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 9. "All The King's Men"
The man sighed like the weight of the of the 'Verse was on his shoulders but unlike anyone else he looked like he could carry the weight.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 8. "All The King's Horses"
Without warning something came through the opening and rolled with a metallic clang across the ground before exploding.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 7. "Friend or Foe"
Then he found himself falling, the whole world silent as in slow motion the hordes of *diyu* came to swallow him up and everything disintegrated in fire, blood and pain.