An Altered Perception - Chapter 1
Monday, August 15, 2005

An untraditional entrance makes a big impression.


{this is my first ever fanfic, so please be nice. it is a work in progress so any feedback is very shiny...}

Chapter 1 Aluminium boxes shine in the high sun, the lancing beams dazzling her eyes. Footsteps ring out on the grating beside her. A jingle of platinum sounds as the man swings the small cloth moneybag. River watches, listens, feels, waits. Drawing nearer, closer. White dove amongst the crows. Mal is smiling, surveying the scene before him. No complications, no misunderstanding. Shiny. It had gone well. Their first job since the Early fiasco, it had seemed a little worrying. “I like it when nothing gets screwed up,” he announces to no one in particular as Zoë punches the button to close the ramp. “Quite an achievement for us, cap’n,” she says, smiling broadly as Mal turns to walk back inside. The ship is powering up, the whine of the engines getting louder, when raised voices and screams cause Mal to whip back round, drawing his gun. Shots ring out, striking a tattoo off the ship’s hull and interior. Mal and Zoë dive for cover, Mal pulling River down with him. “It never goes smooth! Gorramit, Zoë, what the hell’s gone wrong this time?” His question is answered abruptly as with a less than dignified flying leap and crumpled landing a red haired girl thumps into the cargo bay of his ship. The doors slam shut after her. Mal’s mouth drops open. “Does that answer your question, sir?” Zoë’s voice rings out, breaking the silence. Footsteps on the gangway announce the arrival of at least some of the crew. “We heard shootin’…” Kaylee says, looking over at the scene before her. Mal gets up and slowly walks over to the intruder, who is lying splayed out on the floor, blood seeping slowly from a bullet wound in her upper arm. Long, curly, flame red hair sticks to cuts and grazes that mar a fine-featured face. She’s young, barely older than Kaylee or Simon and small, slim. Zoë and River join him. Looking up, he locates Simon among the curious faces looking down. “Think you’re needed here, doc,” he says. Simon nods and hurries down to the girl’s side. Mal’s still a little shell shocked from the girl’s, well, untraditional entrance. She’s wearing a ripped and rather bloody jumpsuit over a Kevlar vest. “Death lies upon her like an untimely frost on the sweetest flower in all the field.” River’s voice echo’s around the cargo bay, and Mal hears Inara and Kaylee gasp from above. Finally Simon’s vocal chord’s kick into action, his hand at the girl’s pulse. “River, she’s not dead…” Mal sighs, shaking his head. “Great, morbid and creepifying, just what we need.” “She seems ok,” Simon says, “but we should probably get her into infirmary so’s I can patch up that bullet wound…” “Hang on,” Zoë breaks in, raising her eyes to Mal’s. “We’re gonna keep her on the ship?” The com buzzes and Wash’s voice rings out. “Are we going or what? Cause there’s some unfriendly guys outside tryin’ to find a way in!” Mal meets Zoë’s eyes. “We keep her for now.” He walks to the com. “Wash, get us in the air.” “Sir?” “Yes, Zo’ what is it?” Mal asks, turning to her. “This just seems a tad…” She raises an eyebrow, “complicated.” River sits down by the girl. “Everything always is,” she says, echoing Mal’s thoughts. Jayne enters just as Mal is picking the girl up to take her to infirmary. “Ooh! Who’s the pretty? Did’cha git hitched agin, cap’n?” He snorts with laughter. Mal smiles sarcastically. “Not funny, Jayne,” he snaps, stomping past to the infirmary and depositing the girl in the chair. Inara comes to stand by the door, and is soon joined by Jayne, Kaylee, Book and Zoë, curiosity evident on all their faces. “Mal?” Inara asks quietly, once he has made sure the girl is comfortable and is standing back, watching her with his head on one side. “Yep?” “Are you sure what you are doing is wise? We don’t know anything about this girl. She could be another Saffron, or attached to the alliance, anything. This could be a huge mistake.” Mal glares at her. “I just didn’t particularly want to leave her for those men. Now, I know you may think that petty criminals like me have absolutely no morals but I’m here to tell you, just t’ain’t right, ‘k?” Kaylee smiles. “See, I always says you was a nice man, cap’n.” Mal grins triumphantly at Inara. “Why, thank you Kaylee.” Inara rolls her eyes and walks out where she comes face to face with River. “Darkness. Jealousy. Going nowhere. Not yours. Leaving alone.” She turns and floats away upstairs, leaving Inara feeling a little out of sorts. Watching the girl, Mal is first to notice her eyelids fluttering. “Doc? She’s movin’…” Simon turns quickly, joining Mal by the girl’s side. The four at the door lean almost imperceptibly forward. Sky blue eyes are revealed as the girl regains consciousness. Suddenly she seems to realize where she is and in a ripple, every muscle in her body tenses. Eyes wide, she stares at Mal, Simon and the group hanging in the door. In a movement faster than humanly possible, she springs off the bed, spins and pulls a small handgun from a rip in her jumpsuit by her hip. Everyone instantly raises his or her hands. “Where the hell am I?” she says, her accent crisp and cultured, almost a mirror of Simon’s. “Tamade! You’re from the gorram Core!” Mal snaps, for a moment forgetting the loaded gun pointing at him. Jayne looks horrified. The girl shakes her head. “It’s just an accent. Doesn’t mean what you think.” There’s something unsettlingly familiar about that, Mal thinks. “What do you want?” he asks, still feeling slightly snappish. The girl takes a look around her. “Mid-bulk transport, standard radian accelerator core, class code 03-K64. Firefly.” A stunned silence greets this declaration. “Can I get a lift?” “I, uh, wh-” The girl seems to suddenly remember something. “Oh, yeah.” She clicks the safety on the gun and stows it away. Holding her hand out to Mal she smiles winningly. “I’m Juliet. From Highport on New Seattle. The accent was cultivated during years stealing from the well-to-do sorts on the core planets. And those men were chasing me because I stole this from them.” She reaches into her jumpsuit, pulling out a necklace with at least seven sparkling diamonds in it. Everyone’s mouth drops open, Jayne moving forward a step. Juliet’s gun is in her hand before he can blink, and cocked at his head. “Don’t even THINK it, really.” He steps back, muttering, and Juliet stows the gun away again. “I’ll give you half the take for the necklace if you let me stay.” Mal’s mouth open’s and shuts like a fish. “It’s very shiny,” she says pleadingly, swinging the necklace. “If I may ask,” says Book, from the doorway. “Do you have anyone to fence it to?” “Guy on Persephone, name of Atherton Wing. Willing to pay one hell of a whack for it.” Suddenly Mal snaps back into the conversation, images of swordfights flashing through his mind. He backs off. Juliet’s eyes flick to him and she sighs in resignation. “Don’t tell me, you upset the only person I could find that would buy the necklace without asking questions. How, exactly?” “Long story. He stabbed me, I stabbed him back. Chances are he’s not gonna be all manner of friendly if he sees us round his pad again. How’d you know the son of a bitch, anyhows?” He gives her an accusatory glare. “Long story. Tried to steal his gos se floating chandelier. Dumbass back birth toffee nosed-” “FINE,” Mal snaps at her, interrupting her tirade. “But if I get stabbed AGAIN, it’ll be YOUR fault!” “Ok!” “Right!” “Fine!” “Glad we’re straight with this!” “You’re the one that robbed me!” Juliet and Mal stop glaring at each other and turn to stare at Simon. “What?” they say in unison. “I remember now! ‘Bout three years back, you got me blind drunk then came back to my apartment, stole my ident card then accessed my account and swiped ten thousand credits off it! You little thief!” Simon looks rather indignant. Kaylee giggles and Jayne bursts out laughing. Juliet frowns, before blushing slightly. “Ah, Simon Tam? God, you were easy to steal from. And I stole the ident card in the bar, not in your apartment.” “Huh. Thanks. Really. And I actually believed you were interested in me.” Jayne laughs even harder at this. “What? You’d just been rejected, and you were going on and on about how you had so, so much money. And you were drinking. Easy prey, really.” She grins at him. “Money went to good use anyway, got my best pal out of lock up.” Wash appears at the doorway, squeezing between his wife and Kaylee. “Hey, who’s the new recruit?” Juliet turns toward him, hand on her gun hip. After a moment’s scrutinizing, she relaxes. “I’m Juliet. You’re the pilot.” “Err, yeah. Wash. Anyway,” he turns to Mal, "wondered where exactly we was goin’. Any notion?” “Persephone. Got an item to fence.”


Monday, August 15, 2005 9:49 AM


kizzie, my dear! absolutely wonderful !!! now, i simply have to ask you to STOP WRITING!!! you are making me look bad, darling!

Monday, August 15, 2005 9:52 AM


oh, i always do that honey... he he.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005 1:15 AM


Excellent! For a moment back there I thought the girl was going to be Saffron - phew, that was a close one. A little bit scary how like River you have made her. Can she kill with her brain too? Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, August 17, 2005 11:30 AM


so many places for you to go, for us to enjoy.

Monday, August 22, 2005 6:40 PM


Very good start! Action, betrayal, a job to do, an old enemy...can't wait to see what happens next! And yes, eerily similar to River's poetic, stream-of-consciousness way of speaking...hmmm...wonder where you're going with this? Very good first fan fict. I just finished MY first fan fic on here too... called "Along Came A Zhi-Zhu... check it out and let me know what you think of it! I'm anxiously awaiting more of this story! :-)

Wednesday, August 31, 2005 5:36 AM


Very good! You packed a lot of story into a very short period of time, and set up a number of possibilities.

Now, for the technical stuff (don't worry, I'll be gentle . . .)

What planet are we on? What job are they doing? A little exposition here and there would be great. It helps set the scene a little. Only other criticisms are that your tenses and perspectives both shift, and your dialog is just a hair stiff. But just a hair. I look forward to reading the rest!



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A strange idea that got into my head while i was working. A con job on persephone goes slightly off the rails when Badger arrives. Post BDM with lots of fun River/Jayne patronisation.

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Inara has something to make everyone smile, post BDM stand alone. i had a weird idea and had to write it...

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SILLY TIME!!!! partly inspired by our wonderfull hogmanay party, partly inspired by the half asleep card games after it... (post BDM)

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A little song fic bout Zoë and Wash after the movie. WARNING: MAJOR MOVIE SPOILERS!!!!!!!

An Altered Perception - Chapter 12
yay! finaly! i'm lazy, i know. anyway - river has an episode and juliet explains what a rabbit is.

An Altered Perception - Chapter 11
Simon's view on the Jaylee situation.

An Altered Perception - Chapter 10
what i forgot to put in the last chapter. it's very short but it has to be this length, so soz.

An Altered Perception - Chapter 9
A big bit of backstory on Book... ooooooh...

An Altered Perception - Chapter 8
Wash gets a rather unpleasent surprise and river goes a tad crazy.

An Altered Perception - Chapter 7
A spot of shopping and an invitation. (sorry for the huge delay, i had serenity on the mind and real life in the way)