HANDFUL OF STARS: 1. "Warning"
Saturday, October 9, 2010

"A warning out of the blue unsettles Serenity's crew."


TITLE: "WARNING" AUTHOR: Alison M. DOBELL FANDOM: "FIREFLY" PAIRING: None. RATING: PG-13. STATUS: One off story. First in the HANDFUL OF STARS series. ARCHIVE: Yes. Just let me know where. FEEDBACK: Welcomed. EMAIL: WEBSITE: None. All Firefly stories archived at

SUMMARY: "A warning out of the blue unsettles Serenity's crew." 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

* * * * *

"You'll be dead by midnight."

Several guns cocked but the stranger didn't twitch so much as a muscle nor did he look away from Malcolm Reynolds. Serenity's Captain had his hand resting on his gun but didn't draw. Something about the man intrigued him just not enough for him to turn his back.


Jayne couldn't surpress a growl. "If ya ain't gonna shoot him Mal I will."

Mal stared at the stranger, a hundred possibilities and combinations thereof sifting through his brainpan. The thoughts like shooting stars, not staying around long enough to accrue any permanence. Each idea superceded by another, all of them extinguished by the fact that he was still standing. Huh. How about that?

"I'm guessin' if you wanted to kill me I'd be dead."

The stranger didn't smile but something flickered in those unaccountably ancient eyes which hinted at a humour darker and blacker than anything seen by the living should be. The face was vaguely Chinese with a mottled patina that made his skin look painted then poorly dried in an over enthusiastic sun. There was something that didn't quite add up beyond the fact that Mal had never seen the man before in his life or why a complete stranger should be warning or threatening him with imminent death. The man gave a tiny nod, waited a second, then turned and began to walk away. Frowning with annoyance, Jayne strode after him.

"*Wei*!" He shouted.

The man paused and half turned, looking back. His almost bald head framing the black pigtail running down his back. But the pigtail was not pleated it was knotted and every knot encompassed a golden bead. Curious and more than a mite creepifying. The Captain felt like someone was walking over his grave but with him still lying awake and breathing trapped within in. He was tempted to shoot the man but had the disturbing notion that the round would go right through him.

Jayne was determined to get some answers even if Mal wasn't. "What's your ruttin' name?"

A thin crack formed between tight lips but the stranger didn't answer Jayne, instead he looked at Mal. Waiting. It was all a mite surreal if the Captain was any judge and sent a shiver of apprehension down his spine.

"I know who he is."

That brought a reaction. A flash of surprise, a lift of the brows. The Captain almost smiled at the creepy man.

"He's the gorram messenger."

Jayne glanced at Zoe, wondering why the good gorram she wasn't saying anything. The others were back at the ship, the deal a bust, no cargo in the hold and supplies running out almost as fast as his patience. "Yeah, well even messengers got names."

The man allowed a tiny ghost of a smile to frost his lips with the kind of humour that carried no warmth. "Only if I choose to give it."

Then he turned and walked away, not seeming to hurry but quickly disappearing in the to and fro of activity at the docks. Jayne was more than annoyed, he was pissed off. Only when the man was out of sight did Zoe turn her attention to the Captain.

"What just happened, sir?"

"Think I've been given a warnin'."

She frowned. "You know that man?"

"Never seen him before but why the warnin'?"

"You said he was a messenger." Jayne said, suspicious and more than a mite confused.

"That he was. Delivered it an' left."

Zoe didn't like the sound of that and neither did Jayne. The first mate stared off in the direction the stranger had gone. "Who do you think he's workin' for?"

The Captain shrugged trying not to look as unsettled as he felt. They didn't need any more complications. "*Wo bu zhidao* but we ain't hangin' about to find out."

Jayne's brow crinkled even as he flexed his gun hand. "We ain't?"

"We got enemies a-plenty, Jayne. Ain't fixin' to add more."

Back at the ship the Captain hurried up the metal staircase while calling for Wash to take them out of the world. Zoe hung back and watched her Captain's progress. Jayne punched the button to close the cargo bay door and the thrum of Serenity's engine hummed into life beneath their feet. For once the two's thoughts were perfectly in synch, wondering what in the nine hells was going on.

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*shenme* = what *wei* = hey! *wo bu zhidao* = I don't know


Saturday, October 9, 2010 3:39 AM


Well that's certainly a nice ominous beginning!

Saturday, October 9, 2010 3:55 AM


Wonderfully creepy. Warning of people wanting you dead is always a welcome treat to spice up one's day. I loved Jayne wanting to kill him...torture him to find out the messenger's name. Also...then last line was very priceless...finally, they agree on something....

More please.

Saturday, October 9, 2010 9:05 PM


Yep, good lead in. :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010 10:18 PM


Very enigmatic. And not a little scary. Until midnight, eh? That doesn't give Mal much time to figure out what's going on, and stop it. Nicely done!

Monday, October 11, 2010 12:47 AM


The messenger seems to be a pretty creepy fellow and from his looks maybe someone worth taking seriously. You’ve got me curious about what’s in store for the crew of Serenity Amdobell. They’d better keep their eyes peeled.

Good story…….BP

Monday, October 11, 2010 9:07 PM


Nice start but needs to be LONGER. :)

Monday, November 22, 2010 9:31 AM


Very intriguing beginning! I look forward to reading more. You have the crew's voices and personalities down extremely well. Good job!


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