THE DEVIL'S CRADLE: "Lost and Found"
Sunday, March 10, 2013

Being cooped up on Serenity and buried up to his rutting ass in flesh eating sand wasn't his idea of a good time. The fact that it had been inert had been no comfort to him. Creepy assed Alliance experiments never ended well for those on the raggedy edge.


TITLE: "LOST AND FOUND" SERIES: THE DEVIL'S CRADLE CHAPTER: 37. Sequel to "NOT QUITE SMOOTH" FANDOM: "FIREFLY" AUTHOR: Alison M. DOBELL PAIRING: Zoe/Wash Kaylee/Simon Mal/Inara RATING: NC-17 SUMMARY: "Suzie and Davie are stuck with the dilemna of whether they can trust Lucy. Serenity goes to Persephone to deliver the cargo, and Badger finds himself facing some unexpected consequences."

"LOST AND FOUND" A "Firefly" Story Written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * * *

'Is she dead?'

It was a testament to Davie's fear that he automatically switched to non verbal communication. Suzie knelt beside Lucy's inert body, her hands fluttering uncertainly towards her wrist then the side of her neck looking for a pulse. For a few seconds she did not speak, then Davie saw her visibly relax. 'She's alive. Must have fainted."

Although relieved Davie did not look completely convinced.

'*Shenme shi*?'

'*Wo bu zhidao* but I think somethin's wrong.'


Davie looked at Suzie, drawn by the surprise in her voice. '*Qu*. I can't explain it, she just looks...ill'

Suzie gave the fallen girl a closer look, noticing how pale she was, her clothes hanging off her as if she had lost a lot of weight recently then it hit her. If Lucy's story was true she must have spent most of her time running and hiding, rarely able to forage for food. Too afraid to draw attention not only from the Hunter but also the Alliance. It was well known that the Alliance had spies everywhere and where they did not have spies they had sympathisers. Normally you could spot them a mile off but some were clever, wore the veneer of folk born free who wanted to stay that way, while all the time gathering information and reporting everything they saw and heard back to people higher up the food chain. Suzie risked a glance around. They were near the docks, off to one side, but able to see that the busy to and fro had petered out to no more than an occasional trickle. No one seemed to be paying them much mind but she knew how deceptive such assumptions could be. Still. This was now an emergency. If Lucy really were one of them then it was up to her and Davie to look after the girl, keep her safe.

A noise made her look up again. Suzie gasped as she found herself staring up at a big burly man with bushy whiskers and a frown on his ruddy face. "*Fasheng le shenme shir la*? She hurt?"

It was not his concern than penetrated but the rim accent. Suzie's mouth opened and closed then she remembered Davie. Why hadn't he warned her that they were no longer alone? A quick glance revealed no sign of Davie. Anxiety formed a painful spike in her chest. *Wode ma*, where was he?

'*Fang xin*, Suzie. *Wode hao*'

Anger replaced worry in a heartbeat. Annoyed that he had run off to find safety and left her to explain to a stranger. What if the man was working for the Alliance. Suzie swallowed hard. Worse still, what if he was on the side of the Hunter?

* * * * *

"Well, well, well, if it ain't the balls an' bayonet brigade!"

The Captain could feel Zoe stiffen beside him. A few paces off to the Captain's left Jayne Cobb stood wary and ready to unleash bloody mayhem. In fact he was thirsting for it. Being cooped up on Serenity and buried up to his rutting ass in flesh eating sand wasn't his idea of a good time. The fact that it had been inert had been no comfort to him. Creepy assed Alliance experiments never ended well for those on the raggedy edge.

"Just deliverin' cargo, Badger."

The little man's eyes were sharp, searching even. He touched a mechanical apple peeler that was sitting on his desk as he walked by, the touch almost affectionate, but the look he gave Mal was not. Badger walked up to the Captain, his whole air suspicious. "You was supposed to be doin' a job for me, *jide*?"

"Yeah," drawled Mal too calm for Badger's liking "funny thing about that, same folk. There somethin' you're wantin' to tell me, Badger?"

"Don't know what you're talkin' about not that that surprises me, just wasn't expectin' you to show up bold as brass when you left my job sailin' in the gorram wind."

"About that." The Captain paused, something in his deliberately calm manner and tone hardening just a fraction. Anyone not looking for it would have missed it. "Ran into some Alliance entanglements."

"That ain't my concern, Reynolds. Where's my gorram cargo?"

"Delivered safe an' sound."

Badger wasn't sure what to make of that, it put him on the back foot. The little King Pin's eyes narrowed. "You said there was Alliance trouble?"

"That there was, AFTER the job was done but here's the thing. You sent me on a job to deliver cargo to Jerrod Perkins on Anaeron, *dui*? Now here I am, back on Persephone deliverin' cargo back to you but this time for Jerrod. That strike you as a mite coincidental?"

"What you suggestin'? Coincidences happen."

"Did you set the Alliance on us?"

Badger affected mock offence then mock anger which quickly turned to real ire. The man was stoking himself up but why? Simple question, should have a simple answer. "You got a nerve accusin' me. I been waitin' an' worryin', no word from you, no idea what was goin' on..."

"Now that's where we differ." The Captain took a step towards Badger. Badger's men were scattered around the edges of the room ready to step in if things looked like turning ugly. "I'm thinkin' no one but me an'mine knew where we were only you."

"Perkins knew."

"Only when we got there which begs the question. Why'd you rat us out?"

Badger could feel himself beginning to sweat no matter how he tried not to. Reynolds didn't know, couldn't know. "Wouldn't make business sense would it, an' I'm an upstandin' businessman see?"

"Then you owe us for the first job."

For a moment the two men just stared at each other. Badger thought about refusing but he couldn't afford to have Reynolds any more suspicious than he already was. Still, didn't mean he had to make it easy for him. "How'd I know Perkins got my delivery?"

Mal inclined his head just a little towards Zoe and she slowly removed a folded piece of paper from her top pocket then just as slowly held it out to the Captain. Badger took a step back.

"What's that then?"

"Confirmation from Jerrod Perkins. You want proof, I give you proof."

Badger took the note and recognised the handwriting. Couldn't deny Reynolds had held up his end. Still. "Should dock you for bein' late." He paused, waiting for a reaction from Serenity's Captain, when none came he decided not to chance his arm any further. Reynolds was useful, usually predictable, but if he made him too mad the man was like something possessed and he had enough problems right now. "Okay, but next time you keep me waitin' I won't be so generous."

The pouch flew through the air, was neatly caught by the Captain who immediately passed it to Zoe without counting it. Just then one of Badger's men entered and gave his boss a nod. Badger relaxed a mite, the cargo from Perkins was all there.

"Pleasure doin' business with you." Said the Captain, ready to leave so they could be on their merry. Get the stink of Badger's den out of their nostrils.

"*Wei*, what's the hurry? Might have another job for you."

Mal paused. "Do you?"

"Not right now but if you're gonna be on Persephone for a while, call back in a few hours. Might have somethin' for you then. Can't promise mind."

The Captain just gave a nod, not actually agreeing but acknowledging the offer. Once outside he lengthened his stride, Zoe and Jayne keeping a watchful eye as they got lost in the dockside crowds. Zoe had a whole pile of questions to ask but this was neither the time nor the place. This was Badger's place of power, foul and fetid as it might be they knew he had spies all over. Wouldn't be surprised if the little weasel had someone following them. The Captain took them a roundabout route back to Serenity. He gave Jayne a look, the big man shook his head, the biggest meanest grin on his face.

"Lost the tail a while back."

They boarded quickly then Mal hit the com. "Wash, take us out of this world."

With the cargo bay doors shut and sealed and everyone safe on board, Malcolm Reynolds didn't want to spend another minute on Persephone. Jayne took the stairs two at a time, leaving the Captain and his second in command to take a moment or two before following.

"You think Badger's involved, sir?"

He was frowning and looking none too happy as he met her eyes. "Up to his scrawny little neck."

* * * * *

"Why should I trust you?"

The big man stared at her for a moment. Seriously, he did not need any complications but they were just children. "Up to you, I was just offerin' to help."

As he turned to walk away Davie felt a moment of panic. He glared at Suzie. 'We need help'

'We don't know him'

'Lucy is really *shenbing* what else can we do?'

There was no escaping the fix they were in and the longer they hung around the more likelihood there was that the wrong people would notice them. Suzie hurried after the big man. "Hey mister, you still wanna help?"

"What's wrong with her?"

"She fainted." Said Suzie.

"She's sick." Davie blurted at the same time.

"Which is it?" Seeing the guarded looks on their faces, the big man made a decision. "You know what, never mind the explanation but my ship is leavin'."

"Where're you goin'?"


Suzie felt a spark of hope blossom. "Can we come?"

"Aren't you afraid I'll eat you or somethin?"

The ridiculousness of such a thing made Davie laugh. Suzie wanted to glare at him but the man was smiling and suddenly she had the feeling they could trust him. She gave a little tentative smile then glanced down at Lucy. The girl still had not stirred.

"Okay, you can come but once you're on my ship you do as I say, *dong ma*? An' I'll be wantin' the truth, no fairy stories."

Suzie and Davie nodded then watched as the big man bent down and gently picked Lucy up in his arms as if she weighed nothing at all. As they followed him Davie gave Suzie a grin. 'Safe now'

'You can't know that'

*Wo zhidao*. I peeked, he has a good heart'

'Davie, the heart is not in the brain'

'*Bu qu* but his memories are'

Suzie should have been shocked that Davie would take such a risk but the boy had a habit of acting on instinct. For once she was glad of it. It was about time they had some good luck.

* * * * *

"You think they suspect?"

Badger nodded, more nervous than he could remember being in a long time. Couldn't help it, the Lady had that kind of effect on him. "Reynolds was suspicious, didn't tell him nothin' though."

Her face leaned in towards the cortex screen and Badger had to resist the urge to lean back. Wouldn't want to appear weak.

"Did he tell you what happened on Anaeron?"

Badger shook his head. He was more than curious himself. "What's the big secret anyhow?"

Instead of answering the Lady asked another question. "Where did he go?"

It was on the tip of Badger's tongue to give a snarky reply but this was someone you didn't want to mess with. "*Wo bu zhidao* but I did tell him if he hung around for a few hours I might have a job for him."

The Lady looked pleased. "You have done well. Keep him on Persephone as long as you can and there will be a bonus in it for you."

The little King Pin's eyes glittered, greed never far from the surface. As the screen went dark Badger's lips curved in a smile of satisfaction. Now, all he had to do was keep Reynolds on Persephone. How hard could that be?

* * * * *

It was hot, the sweat pouring off them, but neither was able or willing to stop. Kaylee smiled as she gyrated her hips, Simon groaning and squirming beneath her and so close it was almost painful but she wasn't ready for it to end yet. Slipping a hand down she gave him a tweak and the doctor's eyes sprang open in surprise.

"W...what are you doing?"

Kaylee's smile was so wide it was a wonder it fit on her face and this close even Simon could not miss the mischief in her eyes. "Don't want ya comin' too soon, *bao bei*."

"But I want...I need..."

"Sssh, all in good time."

As he opened his mouth to protest, Kaylee angled herself and quickly dropped her right breast into his open mouth. Simon's eyes widened, Kaylee squirmed some more, and then he got the message. She moaned in delight, her eyes rolling back as Simon sucked and rolled the nipple between his teeth, his hands sliding up from under her to massage her backside. Then, as Kaylee got lost in sensation he gripped her hips and rose up to meet them, his thrusts snapping and quickening until he was once again on the verge of coming. Dropping a hand down he made sure Kaylee came with him.

Her cry and his shout reverberated off the walls of Kaylee's bunk. As Kaylee caught her breath she rolled slightly to one side but kept hold of him tightly so he came with her, no way was she letting him off that easy. "If that wasn't the sneakiest thing, doctor Tam."

Simon grinned and plied her with kisses. "You can thank me later."

She opened her mouth to give him a cheeky retort when the Captain's voice came over the com. "Kalyee! Need you in the engine room, *mashang*."

A litany of curses tripped off the mechanic's tongue making Simon laugh as he massaged and tongued her breasts. Kaylee arched her back, ready to start again but with a quick twist she was on her back and Simon was standing up, starting to pick up his clothing.

"What're you doin'?"

"I need a shower."

"An' I need..."

He cut her off with a quick kiss followed by a smile as he finished dressing. "You're needed in the engine room, *jide*?"

Kaylee grabbed a pillow and threw it at him but Simon was already halfway up the ladder. As he reached the top and disappeared all Kaylee Frye could hear was his laughter echoing back at her. Kaylee flopped back on the bed and draped an arm over her face. Annoyed at the Captain for interrupting them and for Simon in leaving so readily.

"Have to hurry."

Kaylee drew her arm back and stared up into the face of River Tam. The girl was looking down at her from an opening in the ceiling to her bunk. Kaylee didn't want to think about how much the girl had seen. "River, what are you doin' up there? You know it's wrong to spy on people."

"Not a spy. I was taking notes."

More alarmed than ever, Kaylee wanted to tell her friend off but the girl was speaking again.

"Hurry, someone doesn't want us to leave and the worst thing about the widow spider isn't the web she spins but what she does when she catches you."

Kaylee's mouth dropped open in shock, disturbed by River's warning then frustrated when the girl disappeared leaving no one to yell or throw things at. Sitting up, a chill went down Kaylee's spine. Who was River talking about and why did it give her the gorram creeps? Quickly she dressed and hurried up the ladder. The sooner they got themselves and Serenity back in the Black the better.

* * * * *

It didn't occur to Suzie to wonder why the man had not tried to find medical help for Lucy at the dock but seeing the scruffy ship it had not registered until they were aboard the Kingfisher and she felt it taking off. Orders were gruffly yelled but muted, nothing like the bellow she had been expecting from a man his size. She watched the big man carry Lucy to a wide room that seemed to double as rest room and dining area. He looked like one of those old images from Earth-that-was of old sea Captains, the sort that sailed on water not through the Black

"Clear the table, John-Joe."

"*Qu, laoban*." The slim sandy haired man quickly complied, his eyes flicking from the obviously unconscious girl in his Captain's arms to the two children nervously watching. Suzie glanced over her shoulder but there was no one else around. She stared at John-Joe. "You a doctor?"

JJ snorted, amused. "*Bu qu* we don't got no medic. Got bandages an' painkillers if Danny ain't drunk all the brew."

Once laid out on the table, the big man gave Suzie and Davie a serious look. "Now, *fasheng le shenme shir la*?"

"She fainted, just collapsed."

"Think it's time for some introductions. My name's Monty Reynolds an' I Captain this ship. Now who are you an' what in the wide 'verse is goin' on? An' don't try tellin' me nothin' 'cause I got eyes an' ears sharp as any an' far as I can see there ain't no mark on this child."

Suzie bristled at them being called children but then to him they would seem that way. Maybe she had been when she first left home but so much had happened and they had been thrrough so much that it had aged them all beyond their years. How much should she tell him?


Suzie stared at Davie in exasperation. 'We can't risk it'

'We have to some time, an' if you don't I will'

Shocked, Suzie wanted to berate him but was also surprised by how determined Davie looked. With a huff of annoyance the fight seeped out of her. She was tired, hungry, fed up of always being afraid, looking over her shoulder. Maybe Davie was right. It was time to trust someone.

* * * * *

Badger was furious. He had given his men a simple job, one a gorram monkey could do blind folded. "What do you mean they're gone?"

"They must'a known they was bein' followed, *laoban*. Gave us the slip. When we caught up with 'em again at the docks they were takin' off."

"It don't make sense, I told Reynolds I might have a job for him."

"Maybe he didn't believe you, *laoban*."

Badger's eyes narrowed. Sharky was a mercenary but one getting a bit long in the tooth. Not many would hire him but Badger knew him to be quick and mean, qualities that struck him as a valuable resource. Now he was thinking maybe the others had been right and he had been weak in the head to take him on. Still. The man was loyal and that was something. "Nah, that ain't it. Somethin' must'a spooked him but what?" He took a moment to think but could not come up with anything. "You see which way they was headin'?"

"Straight up then they got lost in the cloud cover."

This was bad. The Lady believed he was keeping Reynolds and his ship on Persephone and now, within moments of speaking to her, both ship and Captain were gone. What was it she had not told him? The two things had to be connected and with him caught squarely in the gorram middle. Badger didn't like it but worse than that, he was going to have to tell her that they were gone along with his gorram bonus.

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin) *shenme shi* = what's the matter? *wo bu zhidao* = I don't know *cuode* = wrong *qu* = yes (lit. go) *fasheng le shenme shir la* = what has happened? *wode ma* = mother of God *fang xin* = don't worry (lit. ease your heart) *wode hao* = I'm good *jide* = remember *dui* = correct *wei* = hey! *shenbing* = sick *dong ma* = understand? *wo zhidao* = I know *bu qu* = no (lit. no go) *bao bei* = precious/treasure *mashang* = at once/on the double/immediately *laoban* = boss


Sunday, March 10, 2013 10:42 AM


I doubt Simon would be laughing had he heard River comment about taking notes.

Sunday, March 10, 2013 2:23 PM


>For a moment the two men just stared at each other. Badger thought about refusing but he couldn't afford to have Reynolds any more suspicious than he already was.

Badger, you rat bastard. Good on the captain figuring out that Badger suggesting he stay on the world a while was Badger speak for "Mwahahaha."

Monday, March 11, 2013 2:39 AM


You are right Nutluck, Simon wouldn't be laughing if had known River was watching. As for Badger, Bytemite, the Captain is putting the pieces together and the picture coming out of it is not very shiny. Thank you both for the feedback, it keeps me flyin'. Ali D :-)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Monday, March 11, 2013 11:26 AM


I'm glad Mal smelled a rat and high-tailed it out of there -- enjoyed the Mal and Badger scene very much, as well as Mal, Zoe and Jayne's almost unspoken and seamless communication about how to handle things immediately after the visit with Badger. I thought I recognized Monty when he turned up. He's a cousin of Mal's or something in your fic, right? I hope this means the children are in good hands, and I'm guessing that we'll see Mal and Monty meet somewhere in this fic. BTW, I would have appreciated a warning at the top of the fic about the NC-17 scene. I was reading this next to my kid and had to blank the screen. Otherwise very shiny. Thanks for another good chapter, Ali.

Monday, March 11, 2013 1:26 PM


I am glad Mal smelt a rat too Ebfiddler, it seems Badger gets away with too much so I liked having him squirm at the notion of being caught out. And oops, my bad for not putting the right warning on this fic, sorry. I'll change the rating, thank you for the heads up. I smiled at your sharp eyes spotting Monty, and yes in my fics he is Mal's cousin. Thank you for the shiny feedback. Ali D :-)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Friday, March 29, 2013 2:27 PM


Mal, so bloody clever, he KNEW that rat-bastard Badger was up to no good, on to next chapter, xie xie AliD


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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.