Firefly: Albatross - Introduction
Friday, March 30, 2012

The crew of Serenity finds its next job while events in the Core unfold.


This story follows my others, Firefly: After Miranda and Firefly: Family.

Firefly: Albatross

The ice was here, the ice was there,

The ice was all around:

It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,

Like noises in a swouned!

At length did cross an albatross,

Thorough the fog it came;

As if it had been a Christian soul,

We hailed it in God's name.

It ate the food it ne'er had eat,

And round and round it flew.

The ice did split with a thunder-fit;

The helmsman steered us through! ~The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (excerpt)


History often records the turning point of an event, that moment when things took a turn for the better, or worse. Six months after the Miranda wave the protests and violence in the core reached a peak. The Parliament decided to act. Investigations were launched and quickly found answers.

The members of Parliament whom were for this horrible act were arrested, quickly tired and found guilty. They had knowingly approved of this terrible experiment and found ways to fund it. They had tricked the Blue Sun Corporation into thinking it was helping to create a treatment for the violently insane. These, so called, servants of the people were quickly taken to remote prisons to serve out the rest of their days in cells.

The brave crew which had revealed this dark secret to the universe, and allowed justice to prevail, was found and given the accolades they so richly deserved. Judas LaBoue captain of the cargo ship Figmentum and his brave crew had picked up a weak signal coming from the Burnham system. Fearing someone was in trouble they risked their lives sneaking past legions of Reavers. What they found on Miranda had shocked and horrified them. Once they found the recording from the research ship they knew they had to get it into the hands of the authorities. They left the planet and contacted the nearest Alliance ship. Unfortunately that communication was picked up by the Reavers, whom gave chase. The Alliance commander called in every ship he could and a trap was set above one of the Verse’s relay stations. The battle was fierce and many brave Alliance soldiers gave their lives in the name of justice. Captain LaBoue feared the Reavers might win and decided set his ship down on the stations surface, only to be followed by a number of Reavers. His crew fought bravely and was able to broad wave the recording, ensuring what ever happened in the battle above the truth would be known.

…of course those were the official stories. The truth was much different.

The members of Parliament which were arrested and found guilty were a mixture of troublesomely honest men and women and those that wanted out the limelight. As such some did end up in very nasty prisons on the edge of the verse. The others found themselves in facilities that were basically county clubs surrounded by fencing and barbed wire, serving to keep prying eyes out more then to keep people in.

Captain LaBoue was nothing more than an actor, a puppet. He toured the core telling his story and calling for peace now that the truth had come out and justice had been done. He even successfully ran for one of the then empty seats in Parliament.

So after months of a slow burn and an explosion of violence it took only a matter of weeks for the Parliament, and the power brokers within, to bring the flames to little more than embers. All the razzle dazzle would’ve made Billy Flynn very proud.

With the troubles in the Core and the loss of a number of ships the Alliance had had little choice but to pull some of forces back into the central system. The increased government influence that had been creeping in to the outer systems over the last few years was quickly swept away. In the Red Sun system this meant an increase of black market goods moving through the planet Greenleaf.

Where most of the ports on Persephone did only the bare minimum to hide their illegal dealings, Greenleaf’s ports keep up an immaculate appearance trying to signal that everything was on the up and up. Port Siracusa was the largest and most well maintained port outside of the Core. It was situated north of Greenleaf’s wide tropical zone. The port consisted of six massive docking rings, each one inside of the next. The outer part of each ring had a number of docking slots, while the inner part was home to warehouses and trading shops of all shapes and sizes. The two sides were separated by a wide street which allowed cargo and people to move around to the adjacent rings or into the surrounding city. The center of the port housed port control and many other official offices. You would not find any two-bit gangsters with makeshift offices here. Port control was very tight, everything was marked, labeled and inspected. Of course this was much like recent events in the Core, nothing but a show.

The truth was you could get almost anything into and out of the ports on Greenleaf for just a little extra coin. Corruption was ramped and everyone knew it. To keep everyone’s mouth shut, everyone had a share, and no one talked about how much their share was. The rich kept a low profile making it harder for the not so rich to come looking for bigger cuts.



“Serenity, you are cleared to land at docking ring three, slot one forty three. Welcome to Port Siracusa,” the voice of a female port control agent announced.

“One forty three, got it,” Captain Reynolds said into the microphone before hanging it back in it back in place.

“I could do other chores,” River said as she piloted as Serenity towards its assigned landing slot.

“Just concentrate on landing my ship, lil’ one,” the captain replied. “Besides we’ve been over this. You have just as much responsibility for doing the chores as everyone else, including this one.

“Inara, doesn’t…nor you,” the young pilot argued.

Mal frowned at her continued protest, “Inara pays to stay on board, and I’m the captain.”

Serenity set down easily on the reinforced concrete pad. River quickly moved through the power-down sequence and brought the engines to their resting positions.

Before River could launch any further protests Mal turned and marched off the bridge saying, “best get some older clothing on, you might get messy.”

River frowned heavily in the pilot’s chair and mocked his words.

Mal was met by Inara as he descended the stairs into the cargo bay. She was wearing one of her more common outfits.

“You got your list?” Mal asked with a smile.

“Yes,” she replied matching his smile, “would you mind if I make a few substitutions?”

“What, the food we normally get not good enough?” the captain asked in a jocular tone.

Inara smiled again, “Different selections might turn out to be more appealing.”

“Find, just as long as you get enough and don’t go over budget,” Mal conceded.

“Very well, Captain,” she said wrapping her arms around him and pressing her lips to his.

“Get a room you two,” Kaylee smiled from below as she activated the Serenity’s bay door.

“How ‘bout the engine room, works for Kaylee and the doc,” Jayne mocked from his seat on the weight bench.

Simon entered the bay from the common area and asked, “Is there a reason you’re always so crude?”

“All of you gwan nee tzi-jee duh shr. Now you all got jobs so let’s get to doing,” Mal ordered as he followed Inara down the stairs. “Jayne, make sure…”

“Primer cord if they have any, got it, Cap,” the mercenary replied as he and the others headed out leaving only Mal in the cargo bay.

Mal couldn’t help but smile; it always made him happy when the crew was working like a properly greased machine. Kaylee was getting the ship fueled and checking on a few spare parts she needed to repair the Mule, Jayne was topping off the ship’s ammo stores, Simon doing the same for the infirmary supplies and Inara had agreed to pick up the eatables. Soon enough River would be doing her part, with a little oversight from Zoe.

Mal walked down to the edge of the ramp and watched as one of the dock officers finished imputing Serenity’s data into the nearby port control screen. The captain rolled up his sleeves to help combat the hot summer weather. It was not long before Mal saw the man he was waiting for headed his way.

Anatolia Bernoulli had thinning dark hair and tan skin. With his average build and height was unremarkable accept for his round belly which gave him a silhouette closer to that of pregnant women than an overweight man. He wore a light grey summer-weight suit much like the other traders walking the docks.

“Who’s that with Bernoulli, Sir?” Zoe asked walking up next to the captain.

Mal hadn’t noticed the younger man walking with Bernoulli. He was Bernoulli’s height and shared his dark hair and tan skin, but with a slimmer build and thicker hair. Instead of a suit he wore a powder blue polo shirt and tan slacks.

“Don’t know…where’s River? She’s got a job to do,” Mal stated.

“Right here,” River responded coming down the stairs. Her dress had been replaced with an old oversized tee-shirt and black spandex shorts.

“Malcolm Reynolds, been awhile,” Bernoulli said as he reached Serenity’s ramp.

“Bernoulli,” Mal simply replied.

“Mal, Zoe, I would like you to meet my son Aleksander,” Bernoulli announced motioning to the young man next to him.

“Hello, it’s a pleasure to meet both of you…and this would be?” the young man finished looking at River who had joined them.

“Pleasure I’m sure, this is River our pilot,” the captain replied.

“You’re young to be a pilot,” Aleksander said with a smile.

“Not so young,” River said returning his smile.

“This is all very nice, but I believe you have a job to attend to,” the captain said turning to River.

River rolled her eyes and started down the ramp with a huff. Zoe followed along saying, “Pardon us, gentlemen.”

As she passed, Bernoulli stopped her for a moment saying, “I heard, and I’m sorry about Wash. He was a good, good man.”

“Thank you,” Zoe replied and then went to catch up with River.

Mal cleared his throat loudly noticing Aleksander’s head had turned to follow River. The young man’s head quickly turned back around.

“I believe your wave said something about a job,” the captain started, “which was surprising considering you said you would never hire us again.”

“No, no I said I would never hire you to deliver anything with a deadline,” Bernoulli corrected. “Remember why that was?”


“It was because you never once got me my goods, or delivered goods for me on time. Not once,” Bernoulli replied.

Mal smiled, “Yet here we are, you offering me a job.”

“That’s because this particular cargo doesn’t have a solid deadline,” Bernoulli replied.

“And what is the cargo?” the captain asked.

“Magnetic…I mean…” Bernoulli stammered.

“Gravitational fluid pumps and control systems,” Aleksander answered for his father. “They’re used mainly in ore processing. Strong gravity fields are used to keep molten ores under pressure which keeps them from cooling.”

“See my boy here studied engineering on Sihnon before deciding to truck out here and work with his father,” Bernoulli explained proudly. “Much to the annoyance of my ex-wife, that…”

“Dad!” Aleksander warned.

“Okay, so beside these pumps being all high tech what is it that requires us, rather than one of your other haulers?” Mal asked.

“Well for one I don’t currently have the pumps. About four odd months ago I dealt them to a start up ore processor on Lennox. They put a good sum down and were to make payments,” Bernoulli explained.

“Let me guess, that never happened. Now you want us repo your merchandise and deliver it to the new buyer,” Mal responded.

Bernoulli smiled, “Not just deliver, install and calibrate. That’s why my son will be going with you. Which is the other reason I called you Mal, after all is said and done there aren’t many I would trust with my boy.”

“That’s good to know. How do you know the pumps are still in the hands of the people you sold them?” Mal asked.

“I don’t for sure.” Bernoulli explained, “That’s why I haven’t promised anything to the new buyer. If you do get the pumps you will have to wave the buyer on Bellerophon.”

“Bellerophon, how is it a core planet can’t get pumps like this?” Mal asked skeptically.

“They can, but it’s a longer wait and a much higher price. Plus New Buffalo is not exactly on the same level as all those floating estates,” replied Bernoulli.

“With all that to considerer I’m starting to think your offer’s a bit low,” Mal smiled.

“Don’t dicker with me. The price is the price; I’m already taking a loss on the pumps. You can take it or leave it,” Bernoulli said not returning the captain’s smile.

“Fine, you got a deal,” Mal replied offering his hand, “so long as you re-think your stand on us being late those times.”

Bernoulli took his hand, “I’ll never mention it again…except when I do,” he finished with a smile.

“Looks like you’re sailing with us,” Mal said to Aleksander.

“I’m ready when you are, captain. My bags are just down the way.” The young man responded.

Suddenly a loud popping sound was heard from outside the ship followed by an equally loud scream.

“What was that?” Bernoulli asked.

A wide smile came over Mal’s face, “Sounds like someone just experienced a septic vac-line blowout.”

A few moments later an angry, very dirty, very smelly River Tam marched around from Serenity’s port side and up the ramp saying, “It’s not funny!”

The three men watched her for a moment as she headed towards the common area washroom before Mal turned back towards Aleksander and said, “Welcome aboard.”


Saturday, March 31, 2012 9:12 AM


Oh ho ho, sounds as if Mal knew that spetic vac-line was going to blow! And at the beginning you keep using the word 'choir' when I think you mean 'chore' unless you intend to imply they have to sing for their supper. Be interesting to see how deep the *goushi* is that our intrepid crew end up in. Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Saturday, March 31, 2012 9:13 AM


Sorry, I meant septic vac-line. My gorram fingers can't spell! Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Sunday, April 1, 2012 6:43 AM


I like the setting backdrop, sounds about like what I'd expect to happen. Extensive conspiracies are never taken down quite so quickly.

Good conversation setting up the job. Something tells me the kid is going to cause complications.

Sunday, April 1, 2012 6:14 PM


Very interesting start to the story.

Monday, April 2, 2012 7:38 PM


Starting a new topic here, hoping you'll share some of your thoughts on this subject.

What do you think are some of Simon's most notable character traits and motivations? I'm writing a brief consideration of Simon from an outside character's POV, as part of a longer scene. The outsider knows Simon somewhat but not fully (knows he's a doctor, knows he helped his sister when she was in an unhappy situation, but is not aware of the full extent of how bad that situation was, or the specifics of it). What would this outsider notice as being remarkable about Simon? What makes Simon tick?

My thoughts are that Simon would clearly appear to be someone who cares. The doctoring is not just a job, it's more of a calling. Simon feels he has an obligation to use his medical knowledge and skills to try to help people if he possibly can. While he's not really arrogant about his intellect or abilities, he is very confident in them; he knows he is no slouch. This might appear as arrogance to others.

2 days ago, 9:20amHmmm...I would say to someone who doesn't know him, Simon would appear (at first) to be not only somewhat arrogant, but also cold, uptight, and somewhat short in his manner with people. Think of how he is at the beginning of the pilot ep, how the rest of the crew sees him - of course a lot of this is Simon being paranoid about being caught, but still. He is not a person who's comfortable in unfamiliar situations. But when he's in his element, as we see in Ariel, he is very confident and might well make people around him feel stupid without meaning to (I suspect that's a lot of his problem with Kaylee!). I think he's the sort of smart person who forgets that not everyone around him is as intelligent as he is.

One of his biggest defining qualities, imo, is that he's very protective...obviously this comes up most in regards to River, but I think the same would hold for anyone Simon saw as weaker than himself or in need of protection, especially anyone under his medical care. But on the other hand, I think if Simon sees someone as a threat to himself or River, he could be surprisingly ruthless in dealing with them, after all this time on Serenity. He's also very determined, responsible, trustworthy, and capable - but he isn't terribly charming, and he's much more of a natural observer than a participant. He's also far more logical than he is intuitive or emotional, except when it comes to River or others he loves, which means it takes him a while to understand why people do the things they do.

Obviously what parts of this would come through depends on the scene in question; Simon in a medical setting of any sort will be very different from Simon trying to pass himself off as a smuggler, for instance! And both will be different from the Simon who's Kaylee's boyfriend (if that's how the 'verse works in your stories, of course), etc. But you know that.

Hope that's a little helpful, at least!
2 days ago, 9:57pmOh, thank you. Yes, the logic and caring I had put into the scene already...but I had forgotten how easily Simon can make others feel stupid...surely one of the reasons he engendered so much hostility early on. Also, that he can come across as ruthless is a point I had not fully explored. Very helpful thoughts!
Yesterday, 7:03am

Monday, April 2, 2012 7:44 PM


Gah, this is driving me nuts. Apologies all around. First of all, it ate my comments. Then I re-wrote them and it inexplicably replaced them with the above, something that came from another discussion entirely. Pardon the completely irrelevant comments above. I tried to get rid of it but I don't know how.

So now, third try on this...

Liked the history lesson with its touches of humor. Snickered at the name of LaBoue and his ship Figmentum. Good set up with the new job. I wonder what kind of trouble the crew will get into now. Mal knew about that septic vac line, didn't he?

(crossing my fingers as I press submit and hoping it gorram works this time)

Thursday, April 12, 2012 1:26 AM


Been awhile since I've browsed a flik and seems I'll be around awhile longer too see where it goes.


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Firefly - Albatross Chapter 8 and Epilogue
A message from River set the final events into motion.

Firefly: Albatross - Chapter 7
River and Aleksander look for a way to contact Serenity, while a Fed follows an unusual trail.

Firefly: Albatross - Chapter 6
The crew tries to get off Bellerophone but find things getting more complicated.

Firefly: Albatross - Chapter 5
Mal and Zoe find River while the rest of the crew deal with some new friends.

Firefly: Albatross - Chapter 4
River goes on her first date but it does not end how anyone expected...with napkins.

Firefly: Albatross - Chapter 3
Simon plays doctor and big brother, River talks to the dead, and the captain waits for thing to go awry.

Firefly: Albatross - Chapter 2
The crew heads to Bellerphon to complete their job while River and the ship's guest grow closer.

Firefly: Albatross - Chapter 1
The crew looks to complete the first part of their job as they get to know their guest.

Firefly: Albatross - Introduction
The crew of Serenity finds its next job while events in the Core unfold.

Firefly: Family - Chapter 6 and Epilogue
The Tams on Blackwood, tissue samples taken from Jayne, the crew tries to make sense of it all.