Howl Ch.1: An unfortunate understanding
Saturday, October 7, 2017

"Simon Tam, you are bound by law to stand down!" Simon sighed heavily, squeezing his eyes and hoping it wasn't true. Turning and seeing Badger's smug face behind a wall of feds meant that, unfortunately, it was.


I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked/ dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix. - Howl, Allen Ginsberg

Simon was startled awake by the sound of palms slapping together reluctantly, shaking and signing the less than favourable deal (for both parties) to a close. The Captain looked mighty annoyed with everything and Badger looked seriously pissed; neither had got the money they wanted on the goods but they were forced to finish the negotiations with the realisation that nobody else would complete the trade.

The crew of Serenity had been on a two-week caper to Prospero IV to pick up some rare flavoured protein or something (Simon hadn’t really cared at the time) and, upon their immediate return to Persephone, had been summoned by the self-proclaimed ‘King of Honourable Crime’ to his den. Along with the Captain and himself, Jayne had also joined the ‘negotiation’ team and was looking as interested in the goings on as the Doctor himself was. It was coming up to the hour mark by the time the deal was completed and Simon stood, stretching subtly and noiselessly moaning in relief as his body cracked and the ache fled from his limbs. Foreseeing their leave, Simon and Jayne turned to leave but stopped dead at the sound of Badger saying: “Much like the war, it seems you Browncoat’s make nuisances of yourself in business as well.”

Woe de ma. Why did he have to say that?

The young doctor did not even have to turn to sense the unbridled fury rolling off Mal in waves. Spinning on his hell Simon watched, slightly fearful, as Mal stepped up to Badger, pushing the weaker (in every sense of the word) man onto his desk, seemingly oblivious to the guns being drawn around them – though two, wait - no three-, of them were Jayne’s- as he leaned right over Badger.

“I’m gonna assume that you are just a little but drunk ‘cause I could of sworn you had more sense than that.” The growl raised the hairs on the back of Badger’s neck and he gulped audibly.

“Oh no, no, no Captain. In case your admirable self ‘asn’t noticed, my men surround you and I – “

“I don’t care.”

Everyone (with the exception of Mal) felt their eyes widen as the Captain just stared the small man down. The gunmen in the room appeared more than a little reluctant to hold up their weapons. Noting the silence, Mal nodded self-assuredly, smirked and spun away quickly, walking out without a care in the world. Simon and Jayne, along with the rest of the room, stared after him before making their move. Neither noticed the look of unadulterated hate in Badger’s eyes.

Nor when he turned them on Simon. Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Persephone was unusually hot that day and the root march pace that Mal was going at made it far more uncomfortable than it had to be. It mollified him, however, that he could hear Jayne also slightly wheezing as well – seems like he wasn’t the only one slightly out of breath. Apparently, the second Mal had left Badger, his awful mood had returned and he now stalked ahead of the two men, a deep scowl etched into his face.

Simon, despite the harsh pace on his unaccustomed core legs, couldn’t help the feeling of awe that sept over him every time they came to Persephone; known as being the border between high civilisation and the rim worlds, it was a compendium of characters, sights and experiences. I mean, thought Simon humorously, where else do you get a dog meat stand next to a high-end shoe retailer? There was so much more noise and colour, sounds and smells. Osiris seemed so bland in comparison to the worlds before him. It always amazed him when he saw the stark contrasts between the two existences but it also caused him great frustration as he was confronted with his own ignorance. He used to believe, like most in the core, that those in the rim worlds chose to ignore Alliance help: that they attacked Alliance soldiers on sight, that they were more akin to savages than people. It was, of course, all bullcrap but when one is raised to believe it from childhood, you start to buy into it, even if caused him embarrassment upon reflection.

Looking around him, Simon felt a slight tinge of worry as his noticed the unusually large number of Feds around. Kaylee had bought him a newsboy cap Prospero IV and he subconsciously pulled it lower down his head, ducking his head into his shoulder.

“Doc, what you doin’?” Jayne’s gruff voice seemed out of place and he raised his eyes to look at the giant next to him (which was slightly difficult at their speed). He shrugged and gestured vaguely to the Feds around the place.

“Don’t you think that there are more of them than usual? It might just be my paranoia-“

“Well you are a fugee doc.”

“But it definitely looks like they’ve come in bulk in the last hour or so.”

Jayne slowed marginally and swung his bearded head through the air, glaring unashamedly at anyone in Alliance grey. After a moment of scrutiny, he faced Mal, lowering his voice and speeding up to draw level with the still irate Captain.

“Hey Cap, it hurts me to say but I think the Doc’s onto somethin’.”

This forced Mal to stop and he turned, looking at Simon exasperated.

“What’s got your pretty heckles up this time Doc?” The words tumbled out of his mouth, almost like he didn’t really have the time to say them (or be bothered about them)

Simon blushed furiously under Mal’s stare but raised his arm subtly, pointing out some of the Feds stood close by them.

“As I just Jayne here, there seems to be a lot of Feds around and I don’t recall it being the May Day celebrations: they’re definitely next week.” The sarcastic tone grated Mal and, for a second, he contemplated just shooting the Doctor and serving time for it. After a couple of seconds however, he did become aware of the unusual number of Feds just standing around the place. He began walking at speed again, murmuring that it was best that they got back to the ship. Unfortunately, they didn’t even make it another twenty feet.

"Simon Tam, you are bound by law to stand down!"

Simon sighed heavily, squeezing his eyes and hoping beyond hope it wasn't true. Turning and seeing Badger's smug face behind a wall of feds meant that, unfortunately, it was. Simon immediately made the connection and felt a surge of anger at the Captain for his irrational actions earlier that day. Glancing around and seeing his friends and himself completely surrounded (and how did that happen?), Simon raised his arms and walked forward, painfully aware of the wide-eyed stares of the Captain and Jayne. He spun slightly, giving Mal a look that clearly said: Look after River for me.

Knowing with great sadness that there was no way Mal and Jayne would get away with the Feds in their current position, he began to stumble toward the Alliance Captain standing before him. As he became only inches away, Simon pictured his sister, steadied himself, and swung his fist wildly, smashing it painfully into the man’s cheekbone, smirking as he felt it give way; he might not be big but he could be strong when the situation called for it. His victory only lasted a moment however, as he twisted around and ran, terrified, through the crowd.

Tears began to gather in his eyes as he heard the pounding boots behind him and his mind flittered betwixt pictures of River and Kaylee as he processed that he would probably never see them again. Adrenaline surged through him and he gathered speed, the images of those he treasured spurring him on. He crashed to the ground, feeling the rough arms of the one who had tackled him and the hard boots as they slammed repeatedly into his body. Securing his arms behind his body, he was dragged brutally to his feet and pushed, shoved and kicked towards the Fed station. Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Mal watched, horrified as his doctor first surrendered, then attacked, then fled. He would have continued watching if his merc hadn’t grabbed his arms and propelled him towards his ship. Briefly he struggled, only stopping when Jayne slapped him hard across the face. He glared up in shock, hand jumping to the gun on his belt.

“We need to get back to the ship and get away, Cap’n. Don’t waste this opportunity!” Mal couldn’t believe what he was hearing and yanked his non- gun arm out of Jayne’s meaty hand.

“What we need is to get our Doctor back!” Jayne looked at him like he was stupid – and wasn’t that a new experience- and proceeded to grab Mal again, pushing him forcefully towards Serenity, seemingly unaware of the Captain’s struggles.

“Don’t you get it Mal? The boy’s gone and little moon brain will be next if we don’t get outta here. We can come back later (The “But I don’t see why we should” went unheard as Mal nodded dumbly.).”

Both men ran to the ship, pushing through the door. Zoe looked shock as Mal’s fist smashed onto the intercom and his shouted at Wash to get them moving. “Anywhere but here!” was the angry reply when Wash asked where to.

Marching into the sitting room, Mal stopped dead at the sight of River and Kaylee, the former of whom was gazing at him with teary eyes. In the small time it took for Serenity to take off and for the whole crew to gather in the room, Mal did a fantastic impression of a fish out of water as he wondered how he would break the news that they were short one doctor.

Thankfully (in some perverted way), he didn’t have to. Wash entered the room with a drastically confused face and asked, voice shaking: “Why is the Doc no longer on the most wanted list?”



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Howl Ch2: Laid bare
Despite what he was feeling however, he kept his head up, face blank and eyes staring; he knew it was annoying the guards but he did it anyway.

Howl Ch.1: An unfortunate understanding
"Simon Tam, you are bound by law to stand down!" Simon sighed heavily, squeezing his eyes and hoping it wasn't true. Turning and seeing Badger's smug face behind a wall of feds meant that, unfortunately, it was.