Big Blue -- Chapter 7
Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Serenity departs Londonium bound for Deadwood. However trouble seems to be following them.


Big Blue Chapter 7


Disclaimer: Joss, Fox, Universal Own em’. (Except for Allan. He's mine) I’m just playing. No money being made.


This story takes place almost three years after Serenity (BDM) and has the established couples of Simon/Kaylee, Mal/Inara, Zoë/Allan and Jayne/River. Follows immediately after Out to the Blue.



Thanks again Chris for the Beta.


Big Blue


Chapter Seven – Followed


“How ya' doing kiddo?” Allan said as he stuck his head through the door to River's hospital room.

“I have been better da-shu,” She replied.

His body following his head into the room, Allan smiled, “Bored yet?”

“How did you guess?” River replied, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

“Because when I passed Jayne in the hallway, he was muttering something I refuse to repeat in mixed company.”

River rolled her eyes, “Am I getting that bad?”

“You don't like hospitals... not that I blame you. Here, I brought you a present,” Allan said as he produced a large ice cream sundae from the bag he was carrying.

A smile crept across River's previously dour face.

“Thank you Allan.”

“Don't thank me yet,” Allan replied chuckling, “You need to work for that.”

River paused mid bite, “Adjust the Z bias five percent in atmo, two in vacuum.”

Allan laughed, “Should have figured that you'd see the problem in my head.”

“I am psychic you know,” She said giggling before tearing back into the ice cream.

“Well I figured you would know how much to adjust the flight control software to compensate for the weapons pod.”

“How is the work progressing?”

“Other than Mal sputtering while techs crawl all over Serenity... quite well. Should be ready to sail in two days.”

“How's my mei-mei doing this afternoon?” Simon said as he entered the room. Giving Allan the evil eye for the huge sundae in front of River

“Better ge-ge,” she replied, “My fingers are still a bit numb.”

“To be expected,” Simon replied, “As soon as the swelling goes down some. The sensation should come back.”

“Should?” River asked, suddenly a bit frightened.

Whatever loss of sensation can be overcome with physical therapy, mei-mei. It will just take some time.”

“Remember how I was numb almost all over before starting PT after my little... skydiving accident?” Allan said, referring to the time when he rode a reentry shell into the atmosphere of Kelly after his own ship was fatally damaged.

“By the time you're out of that cast, we'll be on Deadwood. Now who's the best physical therapist you know?” Simon asked, a smug look on his face.


“Thats right,” Simon replied, And she's on Deadwood waiting for us to pick her and Dad up.”

River's smile brightened a bit, “Think we can still have the wedding when we get there?”

“Yes mei-mei, although you will still need to take it easy.”

“Spoilsport,” River giggled.



“Guess I'll leave you two alone,” Allan chuckled as he took his leave.


“So this is it huh?” Mal asked Allan as they stood in Serenity's cargo bay.

“This is it,” Allan agreed, checking the connections on a cable.

“Don't look like much.” Mal commented as he paced around the large steel box bolted to the center of the deck.

“You wanted it removable Mal. This is what I came up with.”

“So... It does what exactly.”

Allan chuckled, “This is just the pressure housing to keep the atmo in. Inside are the eight missile racks and the railgun turret.”

What's this door for?” Mal asked looking at the large opening In the back of the casing.

“That's to reload the missiles and the ammo drum for the gun.”

“Okay,” Mal mused, “And how about the flight controls?”

“Already reprogrammed, River did the calculations.”

“You know I'm not entirely happy with this arrangement.”

“I know, Mal,” Allan replied, “I'd rather not be a target either. But at least this way we can shoot back.”

“There is that,” Mal agreed, “When's River going to be released from the hospital?”

“In about an hour. Jayne and Simon will be bringing her home.”

“Good to know. Be glad to have everyone together. When do you reckon we can fly?”

“Late tomorrow evening I think,” Allan replied, “I just have to finish setting up the control console on the bridge and finish the wiring.”

Mal nodded, “Worse come to shootin,” Mal asked, “Who's gonna play gunner?”

“River can do it one handed, or Zoë. I'll most likely be flying.”

“Thats where I want you if it hits the fan.”

“This is my home Mal... Ain't going to be anywhere else.”


“Kaylee will you please stop hovering? I'm fine,” Inara said, trying not to hurt Kaylee's feelings.

“Jus wanna make sure nothin happins to the baby Nara,” The mechanic replied.

“The baby is fine. The gas those... men used, only seems to have an effect after the second trimester.”

“Iffin you're sure...” Kaylee trailed off.

Inara smiled and pulled the younger woman into a hug, “Mei-mei, I am very sure. Besides, you can save the mothering for River when she gets back.”

“Ain't gonna have a chance,” Kaylee giggled, “Jayne's been waitin on her hand an foot.”

“Doesn't mean you can't try,” Inara chuckled, “Besides, Mal's been hovering over me as much as you have. Now, get out of my shuttle so I can take a nap.”

“Yes'em,” Kaylee replied with a grin, “See ya at dinner 'Nara.”


The next twenty four hours went quickly. River was brought back to the ship from the hospital and settled back into her and Jayne's bunk. Simon insisting on bed rest for at least three days before letting her up and back on light duty. Alisha and Zoë laid in the supplies need for the nearly two week trip to Deadwood.

Allan and Kaylee finished the wiring for the weapons pod while Jayne and Simon were trained on how to reload the ammo drum and missile racks if necessary. Kaylee also spent time with the assistance of several Blue Sun ship fitters, replacing several nearly worn out engine parts. With a full load of fuel, supplies laid in and system checks completed, Serenity was ready for the black ahead of schedule.

The Blue Sun ground crew had towed Serenity from the massive hangar where she had been parked while the ship was undergoing modifications. The sun had just set as the ship was brought outside into the cold air. Floodlights threw odd shadows on the concrete landing pad giving it a surreal appearance.

Allan shivered in the cold a bit as he did a final walk around of the ship. Using a flashlight to double check the gear struts and a few access panels on the engine pods. Pronouncing the ship space worthy, Allan made his way to the open ramp.

“Where are them purple bellies?” Mal groused from where he stood at the top of the ramp.

“Should be along in a bit Mal. We are ahead of schedule.”

“I want to be gone as soon as we can be.”

“Soon as they are here, I'll get us in the black.”

Mal grunted in reply.

“How do you like the new jacket?” Allan asked.

“I kinda like it. It's the right color anyway,” Mal chuckled, “But when were you gonna tell us about the built in body armor?”

“I was trying to keep it a surprise,” Allan replied, “But Alisha kinda ruined that part.”

“Glad she was wearin it,” Mal replied seriously, “Never was one for body armor m'self though.”

“Thats why I didn't tell you right off. Who gets shot the most around here?”

“Are you insinuatin my person has an affinity fer attractin bullets?”

“If the shoe fits...”

“Har har,” Mal replied, “Spose now that I'm gonna be a daddy an all, I best be thinkin about that.”

“Inara would probably appreciate it,” Allan said thoughtfully, “Besides, Zoë and I are thinking about maybe having a little one of our own.”


Allan chuckled, “Zoë's not getting another birth control shot. When it wears off in about four and a half months... well, we'll see what happens.”

“Zoë and Wash were tryin before he was killed. She was almost worse when her monthlies came back than when Wash was killed. She was hopin that Wash had left her with a baby. Wasn't to be.”

“She told me about that,” Allan admitted.

“You ready to be a poppa at your age, Allan?”

“Other than the fact that I'll be pushing seventy when the kid is ready for college... Yeah, I'm kinda looking forward to it. If it happens. Never thought I'd ever even have the chance, to be honest.”

“Funny how that goes.. I never figured on it m'self either.”

“You'll be a great dad, Mal.”

“Reckon you will be too, Allan.”

The two men stood in silence. Watching the bustle of the small shipyard. Several ships owned by Blue sun were preparing to depart that night as well. All part of Allan's plan to get needed supplies to the rim.

He didn't have enough ships though. So many planets and moons needed things and most of the larger commercial haulers didn't want to be bothered with the runs. Happy with their stable runs between the core and the border planets like Persephone and Boros. Allan suddenly had an idea.

“Hey Mal?”


“You know of any other captains, like yourself that might be interested in some well paying legit cargo runs?”

“Might know a few. My cousin Monty fer one.”

“How big's his ship?”

“It's a Skylark class barge. Bout three times the cargo room a' Serenity.”

“Perfect,” Allan replied, “Once we get in the black, we'll wave him and see if he's interested.”

“Sounds good... Looks like our feds are arrivin.”

A medium sized hover truck was approaching Serenity. It pulled up in front of the ship as two men hopped out of the back. Allan and Mal moved to greet them.

“Bought time you fellas showed,” Mal grumbled.

“My apologies Captain,” Reggie Michaels replied, “I didn't think departure was until 20:00.”

“We were ready a bit early. I'd like to get underway as soon as you two get aboard with your gear.”

“Certainly, Captain,” Ora “Oso” Tangaroa replied, “We only have a few items besides our luggage.”

“Allan, warm her up, Once we're loaded we can break atmo.”

“You got it Mal,” Allan replied as he turned and made his way to the bridge.

“Well gentlemen, lets get you settled.”


Earlier in the day.

“Are you sure Serenity is departing tonight?” the leader asked his three colleagues. All that remained of the vaunted Blue Hands.

“I am sure,” replied the tallest of the group, “They have two flight plans filed. One for Salisbury and another for Harvest.”

“Interesting. Nearly opposite directions. However they can only go in one.”

“My thoughts exactly.”

“We should prepare for both eventualities,” the third man piped up.

“You are correct,” the leader replied, “Take your ship and lay along the trajectory for Harvest and we will lay in wait along the path to Salisbury.”

“A pity the apprehension did not go as planned with Hall.” the fourth said quietly.

“That operation had only a limited chance of success,” the leader replied, “Once we have the Tam subject in custody again, The Bryant problem will then take priority.”

“Is this all really necessary?” the tall blue hand asked, “Now that we no longer have corporate support or even parliamentary approval, there is little chance that the Academy program can be reinstated. Also the graduate we sent against Bryant failed in her attempt.”

“I understand your concern,” the leader replied, “But there are plans you are not aware of. I do not know the full details but the program will rise again. If not right now... A time in the future. Now go and see to your ship. I will contact you if we find Serenity.”

“Very well,” the tall agent replied, “Good hunting.”

“You as well.”


“All aboard, Allan,” Mal's voice came across the com.

Allan grabbed the over head microphone and keyed the button, “Kaylee? We set?”

“Ready whenever you are, ge-ge,” she replied.

Switching to the shipwide com, Allan spoke again, “Attention travelers. Prepare for takeoff... that is if I remember how to fly this thing... Better brace for impact just in case,” Allan finished with a grin.

“You tryin to scare the feds, baby?” Zoë asked from the hatch.

“Nah... just keepin Reggie and Oso on their toes.

Zoë gave Allan's shoulder a squeeze and then a quick kiss on the top of his head. Wiggling her hips, Zoë moved to the co pilots station.

“Wish you wouldn't do that when I'm tryin to concentrate baby,” Allan grinned.

“Just warmin you up for later.”

“I'm plenty warm already. It's good to be home,” Allan replied as he smoothly lifted Serenity from the landing pad and headed for the black.


After a smooth takeoff. Allan carefully set course for Salisbury. While not their real destination, the planet was close to Deadwood. As Serenity began to accelerate from orbit, Allan toggled open the belly airlock door and grinned at Zoë.

Zoë hit a button on the weapons console grafted onto the co pilots station and a small object ejected from the bottom of Serenity.

The object looked like a standard 55 gallon drum. In fact that is exactly what it had started life as. Now it was equipped with a small engine, transmitter and transponder. After a moment, the barrel lit it's engine and shot off in the general direction of Harvest. It would run out of fuel in less than fifteen minutes but would coast for weeks before the battery ran down. All the while putting out the electronic signature of a certain firefly transport. Right down to the proper transponder code.

“Glad Kaylee thought to put a couple of crybaby launchers in the pod,” Allan said as he closed the belly door.

“Girls right smart about that stuff,” Zoë agreed, “Anyone followin?”

“Too much traffic this close in to tell,” Allan replied, “Once we're away from Londonium I'll be able to tell. This new sensor software is pretty good, we've got twice the detection range now.”

“Might need that before this is all done baby,” Zoë commented.

“I'm afraid you're right,” Allan agreed.


Once underway, Alisha announced that dinner was ready. Setting the autopilot, Allan and Zoë made their way to the galley. Most of the crew and their two Alliance guests had arrived and were helping themselves to the food.

Oso sat next to Jayne and River. Released from her bed rest for meals only, River appreciated the time with her family. Jayne had insisted on carrying her everywhere, despite River's protests to the contrary. Soon the Alliance Lieutenant and the deadly couple were engaged in a conversation about weapons.

Meanwhile, it did not go without notice that Reggie had pulled out Alisha's chair when she sat down and then sat next to the ships chef. Throughout the meal the two of them kept stealing glances at the other. Alan and Zoë shared a look, from their spot further down the table.

“Looks like us about six months ago,” Allan whispered to Zoë.

“Think you're right dear.”

Mal cleared his throat, “If I can have everyone's attention.”

The conversations died down.

“Now that we have a pair o' guests, we need to set some ground rules.” Mal began.

“What kind of rules sir?” Zoë asked.

“No offense to the lieutenant or major, I'm a might uncomfortable havin a couple o' feds on my ship. Now that bein said, you two ain't just supercargo, I expect you to pitch in with the chores. Also, you may be Alliance officers but your boss seconded you to my command. What I say goes... Dong-ma?”

“Shr-ah, Captain Reynolds,” Reggie replied, “Our presence is just a formality for paperwork. And we are still technically assigned to Allan as his bodyguards. That extends to you all as well.”

“Glad we got that settled,” Mal replied, “you can start on some chores after dinner. Reggie? You mind helpin Alisha with the dinner clean up?” Mal finished with a slight grin.

The young major chuckled, “I'd be happy to sir.”

“Good,” Mal replied smiling, “And you Lt. Tor.. Toran...”

“Call me Oso sir,” the big man said.

“Thanks... Oso, after Jayne puts River ta bed, I want the two o' you to go through the armory and check things over. I'll be headin for the bridge for my watch.”

“Okay Capn',” Jayne replied.

“The rest o' you are off duty, we go back on the usual watch rotation cept' fer River. Inara's gonna be takin over River's watch for the near future. Allan's primary pilot till Albatross has two wings again.”

Everyone around the table nodded.

“Those that have work, get to it... the rest, go do whatever.”


Allan lay back on he and Zoë's bunk. He didn't even undress, just kicked off his sneakers. Eyes heavy with exhaustion, Allan was nearly asleep when he heard the hatch to the bunk open and the nearly silent footsteps that could only be Zoë.

He felt the bed rock a bit as Zoë knelt next to him.

“You better not be sleepin...” Her voice whispered.

“If I am?” Allan replied, eyes still closed. He felt Zoë straddle his hips.

“Then you don't get to see this...”

Opening his eyes, Allan was treated to the sight of Zoë seductively unbuttoning her shirt. Once unbuttoned, she slid it from her shoulders. Revealing an ivory colored silk teddy that was the perfect contrast to her skin tone.

Reaching out, Allan drew his finger across the material underneath her breasts. Zoë shuddered at his touch.

“This is new,” he said simply.

“Me an Nara went shoppin.”

“Remind me to thank her later.”

“I will,” Zoë replied as she started to undo her belt.

The squeal of the shipwide com and Mal's voice was an unwelcome interruption.

“Allan an Zoë to the bridge, Kaylee get yer pi-gu to the engine room... We got company!”




Thursday, September 4, 2008 2:11 AM


Good stuff. Lulling us into a false sense of security by giving us some lovely family bits, and then ... wham! Be good to see the BHs get their just rewards, though.


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