Simon Says (Part 4/4)
Friday, December 30, 2011

The cavalry arrives.


"Have you decided what you're going to do with me?"

Simon was perched at the edge of a rather uncomfortable chair in Badger's office, and for the last hour or so he'd done nothing but silently watch the criminal conducting his business from behind his desk. But now his patience was wearing thin and he finally asked the unavoidable question.

Badger looked up from his pad long enough to shoot him a warning but somewhat amused glare. "Not really, no," he said.

"You've held me here for three days. I did what you asked me to. I solved your murder case."

"That you did," Badger replied, but he'd already returned his attention to the pad.

Simon stretched his back and quelled a sigh. Then he looked down at himself, frowning. He'd worn Wash's ugly shirt for three days straight now; he was dirty and tired and hungry. Badger had fed him rather scarcely and his appetite hadn't really been that great after all, with all that poison seemingly floating around here.

"Why do you keep me here?" he dared ask.

"I see why Reynolds finds you useful," Badger said without looking up. "And I'm not quite done with you." He tore his eyes away from the pad and flashed that ugly grin of his at Simon. "I want to see just how desperate he is to get you back."

Simon stayed quiet; quite frankly because he couldn't think of anything to say. Badger went back to his work, but the sudden sound of some commotion emitting from the hallway made his head snap back up, the grin even wider on his face.

"Ah, they're here. Finally."

He got up, circled his desk and stopped in front of it, casually leaning back, and he looked extremely pleased and triumphant as the door was opened and his henchmen stepped inside pulling Mal, Zoë and Jayne along.

Simon jumped instinctively to his feet at the sight of them. His felt his face contract in a worried frown as the captain met his eyes. He looked rather resigned, but only for a second and then he turned towards Badger and glared daggers at him.

Badger just kept smiling. "Reynolds!" he saluted. "'Bout time you showed up. It's been three days."

"Well," Mal shrugged nonchalantly, "I had to carefully plan my search and rescue op first."

Badger laughed. "Clearly, you didn't plan it well enough."

Mal didn't answer. Simon felt Zoë's eyes on him and looked up to meet them. "You okay?" she asked.

"I'm fine."

"'Course he is!" Badger exclaimed. "I treat my guests very well, everybody knows." His attention caught Jayne who was scowling at him as if trying to kill him – slowly and painfully – with his eyes alone. He just smirked. "Check his boots," he told his men.

One of them did and pulled out a knife Jayne had concealed there. Badger wagged his finger at him. "Naughty." He gestured to the cane. "Take that from him as well." The man did and Jayne's eyes hardened even more. Badger kept smiling. "Aw, don' give me tha', big boy," he said. "It's no' like you need it or anythin'." He grabbed a box of cigars from his desk. "Here, have one."

Jayne, who was not in the habit of turning down anything you could get for free, regardless of whoever offered it to you, took one and let Badger light it for him. He got a warning look from Mal, but either didn't notice or chose to ignore it. He just puffed on the cigar and instantly looked a little happier.

Badger chuckled and turned towards Mal again. "You are, if nothing else, very predictable."

For a long beat everyone was silent. Then Simon eyed Badger and spoke softly, "You planned this, didn't you?" They all looked at him and he pressed the issue, "You set this whole thing up. You are the murderer."

Badger cocked an eyebrow. "Well, well," he said, actually sounding quite impressed. "Cookie for you."

Simon shook his head. "Why? You murdered your own man just to provide me with a mystery?"

The crook just laughed again. "It was to see you twitch in the net, of course. All of you." And then the laughter and the grin suddenly disappeared and he narrowed his eyes. "I needed to remind you who you're dealing with 'ere. I will not be taken for a fool!" He relaxed a little, quelling some of the rage Simon could see burn inside him. "So yeah, I arranged all this just to prove a point."

"And what would that be?" Mal asked, not sounding very impressed.

Badger turned towards him. "That I'm still smarter than you."

Mal snorted. Badger kept eyeing him, and for a while they were just staring at each other. Then Badger smiled again and looked at Simon instead, "There's just one little problem with your theory, Doctor," he said. "If the poison needs twelve hours to work, how did I poison my employee? See, I wasn't lying about me being away on business that night."

Simon shrugged. "Guess you had someone do it for you."

"Wrong," Badger smirked. "But I bet Jayne 'ere will be able to tell you how in a moment or two."

They all spun around to look at the big man, and he in turn frowned in confusion. "Huh?" he said.

"See," Badger calmly explained, "it works a lot quicker when inhaled."

"Gorramit, Jayne!" the captain yelled. His and Zoë's reaction had been instant. Jayne himself was a little slower on the uptake (nothing new there), but finally he too did realize what was happening and he spat out the cigar, staring wide-eyed at it as it hit the carpet in front of his feet.

"Here we go," Badger said, and as if on cue Jayne doubled over in agony. He crossed his arms over his stomach and fell to his knees with a loud whimper, and he glanced up at Simon, his eyes begging him for help.

"Do something!" Mal yelled, and Simon suddenly realized that he was the one he was yelling at and he forced himself to look away from Jayne and up at his captain.

"There's nothing I can do," he said, and his insides turned cold even as he said it.

"Oh God," Jayne groaned and began coughing violently. He was down on all fours now, retching, but nothing came up. And then he began gasping for air, slowly choking, and Simon knew he could do nothing but watch and hope the suffering wouldn't last too long.

Luckily it didn't, though it felt like a small eternity and Simon was pretty sure it had felt even longer to Jayne, but still he was strangely relieved when the fighting stopped and the big man slumped to the floor, dead silent.

No, just dead.

Simon checked him himself; he dropped to his knees next to him and felt for a pulse, even though he knew it was pointless. Then he solemnly glanced up at the others. Both the captain and Zoë were staring at him, pale and shocked, and he heard himself speak, but the words sounded distant as they came out, "He's dead."

Mal reacted with fury, something that actually caught Simon by surprise. "I'm gonna kill you!" he screamed at Badger and lunged forward, but Badger's men grabbed him and were able to restrain him.

"Oh no, you're not," Badger replied as he knelt next to Simon to check on Jayne himself. Once he was satisfied that there really was no pulse, he got to his feet again and glared at the captain. "I am going to kill you. I'm going to kill all of you. And I'm going to take my sweet time doing it. You'll learn soon enough that Jayne was the lucky one, I'm tellin' you."

Mal didn't even flinch. He kept glaring at the smaller man.

"But first we're gonna talk a little," Badger continued. "So behave. Remember, you've got a gun on you." He nodded towards the door where one of his men had taken up guard, his rifle at the ready. "No games, dong ma?"

Mal never took his eyes away from him, but relaxed enough for Badger to gesture to his men to loosen their grip on him. "Get rid of that," he ordered them next, pointing to the body, and they grabbed Jayne's bulky frame and hauled it out of the room. Only the guard at the door stayed behind.

"Well," Badger said and sat down at his desk. "'Ere we are. Everything played out just the way I foresaw it." He looked up at them, still grinning. "Really, people, it was too easy!"

"You planted the evidence," Simon needlessly remarked.

"Tha' I did," Badger nodded. "Both 'ere and on Avalon." He leaned forward. "Seriously, you didn't think I would know you'd call that companion of yours? I was countin' on you to do it, for Heaven's sake! That's why I had someone infiltrate Mr. Hanson's household. Oh, and for the record, I've never actually done business with the man." He chuckled.

"Why all this scheming?" Simon asked once more.

"I told you. To prove I can. And now I wanna 'ear you a'mi'it."

"Admit what?" Mal growled.

"That you let yourselves be fooled, of course." Badger got up again, rounded the desk and stepped up to him. "See, I've got a reputation I need to maintain, and tha's quite difficult when the likes of you treat me like you did during our last encounter."

"Oh, you had it coming," Mal mumbled.

"Shut your hole!" Badger yelled, his psychotic anger suddenly returning. "The floor is mine, you qingwa cao de liumang! You seem to think you can order me around. You're wrong, you 'ear me, wrong! I made you what you are. You wouldn't have survived a day in this business if it weren't for me! You owe me everythin'!"

Simon half expected Mal to reply in turn but the captain remained silent, which was probably for the best, come to think of it. Badger wasn't done yet, anyhow. He kept screaming out threats and wild accusations with a passion Simon had only seen in raving lunatics. He stopped listening after a while. Instead he thought of River, hoping she was safe and that Shepherd Book would be able to care for her if he was not to get out of this alive.

In the end, Mal lost his patience too. "Oh, gorramit, just shoot me already!" he yelled. "Anything but listening to your bitching another minute."

"Oh, I'm not gonna shoot you," Badger hissed. "I'm gonna kill you slowly."

"I believe he's trying to scream us to death, Captain," Zoë said.

Badger snapped his head in her direction and glared at her. "Still the smartass, eh? We'll see 'ow it is when the torture starts." He looked back at Mal and stuck his face close to his. "Like I said, I'm smarter than you. Get over it!"

Simon heard a small sound behind him and knew the captain had heard it too, because he suddenly flashed his broadest smile at the little crook in front of him. "Except that you're not," he said.

For a second a mask of uncertainty fell across Badger's face. "Wha'?" Then he leaned a little to the left to glance behind Mal and there he could see his guard standing disarmed and with his hands in the air, and next to him, pointing a gun to his head, was Jayne.

The look on Badger's face was priceless. Simon actually caught himself laughing at the sight of it and the little man turned to scowl at him.

Mal clicked his tongue. "You actually thought you had us fooled, didn't you?" he said.

Zoë had gone to join Jayne at the door and he handed her her shotgun before he knocked the guard unconscious with his own. Badger looked from Mal to them and back again, the confusion on his face just growing.

"Sorry, pal," Mal said. "Looks like I'm still a whole lot smarter than you think. Well, at least the doctor is."

Badger glanced at Simon, who nodded. "See, I already knew that you were the one behind this. Honestly, it wasn't that hard to figure out; the whole thing smelled fishy. The evidence, if one could even call it that, was just too easy to come buy. The presumed bad guy just happens to live on Avalon and just happens to be client of Inara Serra's? Come on, one would think even you could do better than that."

Badger's eyes narrowed, but he didn't look threatening at all anymore. Simon continued, "What really tipped me off, though, was the fact that the victim was allergic to peanuts. Yes, his friends told me. And even a good-for-nothing miscreant of his caliber would know that peanut butter is one of the main ingredients in protein bars. He wouldn't have eaten it. And that led me to believe he must have been poisoned some other way." He paused dramatically and paced the floor a little, enjoying the moment maybe a little too much. "Which in turn led me to the cigars; the one thing you always seem to be happy to share with your men. And so I swapped them. The one Jayne smoked was actually harmless. The poisonous ones are now next door, in the front office, where your men are assembled right now."

"So as long as they're not in the habit of touching things don't belong to 'em, they should be safe," Mal said and then sarcastically added, feigning worry, "Oh, that's right, they're crooks."

Zoë kicked open the door to glance outside, then turned back towards Badger, grimacing slightly. "Oops."

"So I called Inara back," Simon continued, "and she waved the captain and we cooked up this little plan of ours."

"Quite cunning, don't you think?" Mal added.

Badger kept his face a steely mask as he shifted his gaze to Jayne. "You were dead," he pointed out.

"Bifodan," Simon explained. "A small container clenched between the teeth, bite down on it when it's time and it will slow down the cerebral and cardiac activity to the point where it's damn near undetectable. Don't feel bad, it would even fool me," he added smilingly. "A dosage as small as the one Jayne got will only last for five to ten minutes, but…" He glanced at the mercenary. "That proved to be more than sufficient."

"Yeah," Jayne nodded. "You shoulda seen the looks on your men's faces when I returned from the dead. Those that was still alive, that is."

"Convincing death scene, by the way," Mal told him. "I honestly didn't think you had it in you, but you coulda fooled me."

"Much appreciated." Jayne stepped closer, aiming his gun at Badger's head. "Now, can I shoot this loser already?"

"Nah," Mal grinned. "It's more fun to spare him, don't you think? Let him live knowing that we are, and will always be, smarter than him. Isn't that so, Badger?"

"Go to hell," Badger snarled.

Mal kept smiling. "Goodbye, Badger." His smile disappeared as he leaned in closer. "And don't you ever, ever come near me again."

He turned to leave and shot Jayne a look as he did so. "You look a little green," he commented and even as the last word still lingered on his lips, Jayne buckled over and threw up; the contents of his stomach splashing all over Badger's shoes and pants.

"Oh, and that's a common side effect to the drug," Simon mock apologized.

Jayne frowned a little at the mess he'd made, but then just shrugged. "Sorry," he said and followed his captain out of the room. Badger didn't even move, he stiffly stayed in the same spot as long as they had him in sight.

"You empty his safe?" Mal asked Jayne as they stepped out of the building a few moments later.

"Yup, wasn't even hard. The coin's on its way back to the boat with Wash and Kaylee."

Mal chuckled. "I wish I could have seen the bastard's face when he realizes we took all his money." He patted Simon on the back. "Nice work, Doc."

Simon smiled a little. "Yeah, let's just get home."

He looked around at the others and noticed that Jayne had reclaimed his cane. "Badger's right, you know," he told him. "You don't really need that."

Jayne shrugged. "It's proved useful."

Simon shook his head. "Whatever."


They were almost home before Mal dared ask, but as they approached Serenity, he discreetly pulled Simon aside. "Are you gonna tell me how Inara got involved in this?" he pried.

"Well, I waved her," Simon answered truthfully. "Called in some old favors. I never meant for her to get into trouble. I didn't know the full extent of Badger's plan at that point."

"So…" Mal found it surprisingly hard to look him in the eyes and ended up staring at something non-existing on the sleeve of his shirt. "Did she say anything?"

"About what?"

"About… anything."

"We talked about the case," Simon frowned. "That's it."

"Okay." Just to make it really clear that this conversation was now over, Mal picked up his pace and hurried after Zoë who was leading the party. The cargo bay doors opened just as they stepped up to the ship, and Kaylee came running out as soon as the gangway hit the ground.

"Simon!" she shouted and threw herself at him. "Simon, I'm so sorry."

"Hey, it's not your fault," Simon muttered, seemingly a little uncomfortable.

"Come on, let's go," Mal impatiently urged them. "Everybody inside. I wanna get off this gorram world." He went over to the com panel and hit the button. "Wash, get us in the air!"

They piled in and soon the engines hummed to life. Mal spotted Zoë standing next to a crate, smiling broadly at the contents of it, and stepped up to her to have a look at the money himself. He whistled at the sight of it. "This should be enough for us to buy a new mule," he said.

Zoë flashed him a smile. "We did good today," she agreed.

As she and Jayne hauled the crate away, Mal made his way towards the commons and witnessed the somewhat awkward reunion of the Tam siblings. River seemed more interested in spewing out her thoughts on the colors of people's hearts than acknowledging her brother's presence. Mal shook his head, a small smile spreading on his lips, and walked passed them and down the little staircase. Outside the infirmary he ran into Shepherd Book.

"Good day, preacher," he saluted him.

"Captain, may I have a word with you?"

Mal abruptly stopped at the tone in the older man's voice. Whatever was on Book's mind it was something he was dead serious about. "What is it?"

"I believe it's time for me to make good on the threat I directed at you three months ago."

Mal frowned. "What are you talking about?"

"I want to disembark."

For some reason hearing this made Mal feel sad and hurt, which surprised him, but he was determined not to let it show. "Of course," he said and forced himself to look the shepherd in the eye.

"I've received words from Torsten Norby. You remember him, the welder from Shahadeva?" Mal nodded. "Well, he'll be settling down on Haven next month. He wishes for me to join him there. And I intend to."

"For how long?"


For one long moment they just looked at each other.

"Of course," Mal said again.

The End, the series continues in "Family"



Saturday, December 31, 2011 9:54 AM


This was a good mystery. :) Bonus points for me not figuring it out first, which doesn't happen much.

Very interesting to watch how you link the end of the series to the movie.

Sunday, January 1, 2012 4:28 AM


Not only is Simon a criminal mastermind he is also really good at coming up with cunning plans to get back at nasty, weasely, back stabbing little King Pins. I cheered, good for Simon to be the hero! I'm giving you another 10! Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Friday, November 23, 2012 12:08 PM


Figured the remark about the peanuts was the start of things unravelling, though I like how you made protein bars use peanut butter (or crushed peanut nut paste) as part of the ingredients, so the dead lackey wouldn't have eaten it unless under duress. Have to say, I am rather disappointed we didn't get to see a comeuppance like this for Badger during the series, since he's never mentioned during the film at all, not even a hint of his operation being any of the ones shown on Serenity's cockpit monitors :D

Fantastic finish!


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Angels We Have Heard (Part 5/5)
Mal teams up with Simon to search for some hidden crates on the ice planet of St. Albans. They find something else instead.

Angels We Have Heard (Part 4/5)
Mal teams up with Simon to search for some hidden crates on the ice planet of St. Albans. They find something else instead.

Angels We Have Heard (Part 3/5)
Mal teams up with Simon to search for some hidden crates on the ice planet of St. Albans. They find something else instead.

Angels We Have Heard (Part 2/5)
Christmas special. Mal teams up with Simon to search for some hidden crates on the ice planet of St. Albans. They find something else instead.

Angels We Have Heard (Part 1/5)
Christmas special. Mal teams up with Simon to search for some hidden crates on the ice planet of St. Albans. They find something else instead.

The Night Before (revised and reposted)
It's the night before Christmas and Jayne is having spiritual problems. Literally.

Book of Secrets (Part 8)
Mal drew a deep breath and exhaled slowly, closing his eyes for a moment. "Gorram preacher," he muttered.

Book of Secrets (Part 7)
Kaylee comes clean and River goes for a swim.

Book of Secrets (Part 6)
The captain dances, Inara's feeling out the new girl and the first secret is revealed.

Book of Secrets (Part 5)
Zoë and Inara have a heart-to-heart, and Mal discovers more shades of grey.