Shiny New Toys 4: Interrogations
Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Mal goes looking for answers to his missing crew. The Alliance goes looking for answers to their missing River. They find each other instead. Guess what happens?


A/N: I don't own these folks, I just play with them.

I do believe I ripped off most every interrogation scene from every movie you can think of. I'm just not cut out for drama, although it does give sarcastic Simon a chance to play. I also tried to keep the torture aspect low key.

Suggestions on how to make this one better are welcome. I don't feel as satisfied when tackling more serious subject matter.


Well. Charles had been in the food service industry all his life, and had never seen such a boorishly mannered young man. The boy's audacity was amazing: a wanted fugitive, strolling into the restaurant with his cheap floozy - God, how utterly PLAIN her dress had been - and acting so poorly. It was almost fitting that he'd noticed the man was actually wanted - for murder no less! - and called the police. That would teach uppity lower-class scum like them to keep their place. Charles ran an upscale eatery, after all! He'd even served members of Parliament. There was no room for riff raff here.

So imagine Charles' surprise when the door burst open thirty minutes later, and a burly man with an extremely large firearm came barrelling in. Holding his gun on everyone present, he quickly scanned the room and decided that there was no immediate threat. He turned and yelled "Clear!" back through the door.

This was the signal for three more people to enter. In the lead was an extremely capable-looking woman, holding a scanner in one hand and a well-used shotgun in the other. Cloesly behind her were two more people: a shorter man wearing - of all things - a Shepherd's collar, and a taller man wearing a dusty, knee length coat. Both of them were also armed to the teeth. The woman quickly swept the room with her scanner, and moved to the table that had been the scene of so much drama earlier. "Found it, sir. This is Kaylee's work, no doubt of it." She picked up a small radio from the floor.

The tall man in brown nodded and turned as Charles approached, furious. "What is the meaning of this? You can't just barge in here like common thieves and take - " He quickly fell silent as three guns levelled at his head.

"I'll be askin' the questions, if ya don't mind none." The tall man spoke in a friendly tone, but held his gun ready at his side. "Name's Reynolds. I captain a ship, and my first mate there - Zoe - just managed to find a radio belongin' to me an my crew. Wouldn't happen to know where the folks with that radio have gone?"

Charles subsided a bit. They weren't here to rob him. They were just lookng for that obnoxious kid. "Oh, them. The boy and his whore were taken by the Alliance. Space trash, both of them. Not unlike you." He sneered.

Mal's gun clicked ominously as he cocked it and placed it two inches from Charles' face. His voice was still conversational. "Now, I'm fair certain you didn't just mean to call my mechanic a whore. But on the off chance ya did, what say I ask you the question again so you can go about makin' amends?"

"Aw, hell, Mal. Just wing him an' let's get this movin'." Jayne was not one for the finer points of negotiation - frankly, he saw giving a man time to talk as waste of everybody's day - and was finding this whole gorram thing boring. But Mal was the Captain, and so Jayne played it cool and instead used a giant paw to help himself to some poor woman's leftovers. Turning back to cover the room again, he remembered his manners just in time. "Ma'am," he told her, tipping his hat.

Meanwhile, Charles had dropped the sneer and decided that talking fast would be a mighty fine idea. "They were arrested. Fugitives, you know."

"So I've been told. Any idea where they went?"

"I believe I can help with that, Captain." Book spoke in mild tones, trying to keep Mal from blowing anyone's head off. "There is only one substation in the area. It's almost a certainty they were taken there."

"Gorram. We best hurry, then." Jayne was suddenly in motion, all too aware of how the Alliance interrogations would go. The screaming from Ariel still haunted him. He shouldered Vera and made for the door.

"I agree with Jayne, Captain. Time is of the essence." It was likely Book was also aware of how Alliance interrogations went, although not for the same reasons as Jayne.

Mal motioned for a quick, whispered pow-wow with his crew. This was getting uglier by the minute. "Lay it out for me, Book. How many purplebellies in there? An' what'll they do to Kaylee while I'm busy killin' 'em?"

"It's likely they will be 'interrogated' for information, Captain." Mal could hear the quote marks around the 'interrogated' part. "River is their ultimate target, and they'll want information on where she is. Since it's already been established that Simon won't easily give up his sister, I'd bet they'll start with Kaylee, either to get her to talk or to motivate Simon to do so." Mal turned red with rage at the suggestion of Kaylee being tortured. Book kept his face netural, willing Mal to calm down. "A few hours at most, depending on how strong she is. As for resistance, figure a dozen armed soldiers, assuming the Spec Ops hasn't arrived."

"Spec Ops? What happens if they show up?"

"Then we leave the planet as soon as possible, as Simon and Kaylee would be beyond our reach and dead soon after."

Mal began to curse under his breath, most of it directed at Simon in absentia.

"Will they kill 'em 'afore that?" Jayne started fiddling with Vera's settings in anticipation of offing some Alliance goons.

"Probably not. Which buys us a bit of time."

"Right then. We go fast, we find Kaylee, and we get gone." Mal issued his orders and looked Jayne in the eye to settle him.

"Aren't you forgettin' someone, sir?"

"You wanna bring back the ruttin' doc, Zoe? After he gone and got hisself kidnapped? Again? An' this time it weren't Jayne or crazy sis what went with him." As far as Mal was concerned, Simon's fugitive status had gotten enough of his crew in trouble. River was a special case, being all helpless and such, but Simon was a grown man and had only himself to blame for getting snagged. Just like the hillfolk on Jianyin. Just like Stitch in Canton. Just like the Alliance in Ariel. The boy had a pattern Mal didn't much like.

Zoe had a different opinion. "Weren't his fault, sir, an' you know well as I that he'd not harm Kaylee on purpose. He was doin' just fine, but this hundan sold him out." Mal was wavering at Zoe's words. She aimed a final shot at his weakness for helpless females. "An' you might have trouble explainin' things to River, comin' back without her brother."

"An' she has herself a way with brains," Jayne added. He didn't really mind leaving Simon behind, but he always remembered River's threat if he ever tried to harm the Tams again. Best to bring the boy back.

But Zoe had already melted her captain. "Hell. Fine. Someone grab the Doc if ya find him. Book, lead on." Pow-wow over, he motioned to leave.

"Wait!" Charles had to jump in one last time. "Who's going to pay for the wine they ordered but never drank? We uncorked it!"

Zoe looked at the man with the most amazed expression she could muster - which was mostly a slight widening of the eyes. "Are you serious?" Charles nodded. Without taking her eyes from his face, Zoe aimed her shotgun at the cash register and unloaded two shells worth of buckshot into it. It exploded into a rainbow of coins and bills. "Keep the change."

Mal nodded with approval as Book led his crew out the door. "Mighty generous with the payment, Zoe. Buckshot ain't cheap."

"I try to tip big, sir."


"Where is your sister, Dr. Tam?" Smith was getting a trifle impatient with his prisoners. The doctor had a tendency to be glib and sarcastic - Smith got enough of that from his wife and did not appreciate it from his subjects - while the girl, as yet unidentified, just sat there looking sullen and saying nothing. This was not the most productive interrogation he'd ever conducted, and he would soon have to resort to more drastic measures. That was fine. Smith found he frequently enjoyed the more drastic measures.

"At the moment? I don't know. I'd be happy to go check on her for you, but I seem to be tied up at the moment. Aren't these high level meetings a bitch?" Simon was falling back in to his sarcastic mode. It helped him manage his own fear, and had a nice side effect of keeping attention on him instead of Kaylee.

"Doctor, you do yourself a disservice. You can't score points here. You can't win." Smith walked back to the table and picked up a large, black rod. "But I don't have all day. Sadly, some higher-ups want you for their own questioning. So we'd best cut to the chase." He showed simon the stick. "Do you know what this is?"

"Cattle prod." It was the first thing Kaylee had said since being shoved into the hover. Simon wiced. He'd been hoping she'd stay silent.

"Exactly right, miss. A cattle prod. I assume you know what they're used for?"

Simon jumped in. "Prodding cattle?"

"You really are the funny one, Doctor. But I was addressing the young lady."

"Sure," Kaylee answered. "My Daddy used 'em to keep the cows in line. When the Alliance weren't taxin' Daddy so hard he could afford 'em." Kaylee held Smith's gaze defiantly.

"Charming. What's your name? I can't keep calling you 'miss' all night."

"An' why not? You ain't earned nothin' from me."

"Humor me. As a courtesy."

"River Tam." Kaylee grinned at him. Simon could tell that it wasn't Kaylee's normal grin. She was trying very, very hard to cover her fear.

Smith chuckled. "Not likely, my dear. But I bet you do know where she is, don't you?"

"I forget."

"Allow me to jog your memory." He reached forward and lightly touched Kaylee's shoulder with the prod. She yelped and jerked, nearly falling over. She finally managed to right herself, panting heavily and cursing brilliantly in Chinese.

Simon had seen it coming, and jumped out of his seat. Unfortunately, that proved quite difficult to do while tied to a chair. He managed to get himself into a crouching position before Smith grabeed him by the shoulders and sat him back down. "Just relax, Doctor. This setting is not generally lethal." He turned back to Kaylee. "Now, young lady. What's your name?"

"Bite me," Kaylee spat out.

"Oh, I prefer this. Much more cultured." He touched her again. Kaylee's eyes screwed shut and she nearly passed out. When she finally opened them again, Smith was smiling congenially at her, and Simon looked positively sick with worry. "Feel more talkative, Doctor? For reference, this setting has been known to kill. Rare, I assure you, but still...." Smith clicked the setting on his prod up a few notches and moved towards Kaylee again.

"Wait! Stop! I'll tell you." Simon finally broke and panicked. He couldn't watch this any more. He'd seen what they did to River, and he couldn't stand to have any more women in his life at the mercy of the Alliance.

Smith, on the other hand, was having way too much fun to stop quite yet. Besides, Simon's flippant attitude had irked him, and it was obvious he was hurting the Doctor as much as the girl. "What a pity. I was just getting started." With a maniacal grin, he advanced on Kaylee once more.

"Kaylee? Kaylee, look at me." Simon spoke quickly, trying to get her attention. "Whatever he does, I can fix it. I promise. I won't leave you. You're stronger than him. Just hang on." Had Simon been in a better state of mind, he might find it ironic that he was behaving exactly as Mal did when Wash was under torture from Niska. But for the moment, Simon was intent on getting them through this, then killing Smith with his bare hands. Kaylee funally turned her head and looked him full in the face, scared out of her wits. Unfortunately, this meant Simon could see every expression when the cattle prod touched her again.

This time, she didn't even whimper. She just went limp, breathing shallowly. Smith chuckled some more. "Only three? Such a lightwieght. How about you, Doctor? Are you a three-and-out type of man?"

Simon couldn't help but think that this was getting awfully cliched. Around about this time, the cavalry would assault the walls and draw Smith from the room, allowing Simon time to get his hands free. Simon would of course grab a conveniently misplaced weapon, hunt his captor through the building, ending in a climatic showdown of gunfire and witty reparte. Once the bad guys had been vanquished, he'd return to Kaylee, hoist her over his shoulder, and manfully stride out of the building to the adoring cheers of his friends.

That didn't happen. Instead, Simon got Zoe. In retrospect, it probably worked out better that way.

While Smith was busily cackling over his torture technique, Zoe had crept up to the only vent into the room, opened it with her pocket knife, and dropped in a flashbang right behind their torturer. Simon was knocked backwards in his chair, hitting his head on the floor and cursing mightily. Smith crumpled like a rag doll, the force of the blast rupturing his eardrums. Kaylee was already unconscious, and thus had no objection as she was also knocked over.

"Hey, Doc. Nice to see you." Zoe leaned over him and cut his bonds with a knife. She offered him a hand and lifted him to his feet. He shook his head to clear it a few times before Zoe pressed a pistol into his hands. "You want the honors?" She motioned to their now helpless interrogator.

Before Simon could form a coherent thought, the door burst open. Mal and Jayne entered the room like a whirlwind, clearing all the corners before focusing on the crew. Without breaking stride, Mal walked forward and shot Smith neatly between the eyes. "Sorry, Doc," he smiled apologetically. "Captain's perogative." Simon could only nod dumbly.

"Captain, I suggest we leave immediately." Book's voice carried in from the hallway, where he was engaged in a stand off with a few Alliance soldiers. "These gents are hiding their kneecaps."

Jayne popped out the door and fired a quick burst from Vera. "That's why I aim for the head, Preacher." He slung Vera on his back and went over to collect Kaylee. "She's breathin', but not well."

"Doc?" Mal didn't even have to explain himself.

"Infirmary. Right now. Call ahead and have burn cream ready."

"Book? Lead us out." Mal took point with the Shepherd, Jayne carrying Kaylee in the middle, with Simon and Zoe covering the rear.

Once out the front door, Jayne turned just long enough to throw a few grenades into the building. "Just for good luck," he explained. With a whoosh, the front part of the building collapsed.

Mal pulled a comm from his pocket and began issuing orders to Wash as the crew of Serenity ran.


Tuesday, December 27, 2005 7:15 PM


Great job. I cant wait to see what goes down next also i loved the fact that mal killed smith before simon could do anything.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 7:21 PM


Wow, that was fast. I just commented on your last installment when this popped up!
I try to tip big, sir- love it cause I'm a waitress!
And sarcastic Simon is always good!
For a one shot start this is turning into quite the series, great job!:)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 7:32 PM


Wow, you're quick! I'm really enjoying this! Can't wait for the next chapter!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005 12:48 AM


My favourite bit was Zoe paying that piece of *goushi* Charles by shooting up his till and telling him to keep the change! Loved that to pieces. Of course the rest is mighty fine too. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, December 28, 2005 3:24 AM


Simon couldn't help but think that this was getting awfully cliched. Around about this time, the cavalry would assault the walls and draw Smith from the room, allowing Simon time to get his hands free. Simon would of course grab a conveniently misplaced weapon, hunt his captor through the building, ending in a climatic showdown of gunfire and witty reparte. Once the bad guys had been vanquished, he'd return to Kaylee, hoist her over his shoulder, and manfully stride out of the building to the adoring cheers of his friends.

That didn't happen.

I lmao. Classic

Wednesday, December 28, 2005 3:45 AM


Keep going. I loved it, but I can't stand suspense.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005 1:13 PM


So good! I really loved Simon imagining his "Die Hard" situation, should he take matters into his own hands :) Please tell this story's gonna have a happy ending?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005 2:41 PM


- Mighty generous with the payment, Zoe. Buckshot ain't cheap.
- I try to tip big, sir.

that woman's a waitress's dream...


Tuesday, January 3, 2006 9:49 PM


Zoe is hilarious.

I think you tackled the subject manner fine given the scope of this story - you don't need anything drawn out with painful, bloody details of the torture and having Simon remark upon the sitatuon in his mind was a nice touch.

Thursday, February 23, 2006 9:13 AM


Gotta love them thrillin' heroics!

Tuesday, October 3, 2006 12:18 PM


hiding their kneecaps! OMG! Such a great Book line!


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In The Ether 13: Secret Agent Man
Simon takes a turn at super spy as the crew tracks him down.

In The Ether 12: Motivations
A brief history of Simon Tam

In The Ether 11: Telling
Simon and Regan tell each other off, Jayne tells Kaylee a little story, and Wash tells everybody about basic chemistry. Bonus: Jayne actually quotes Shakespeare! Kind of.

In The Ether 10: Technical Difficulties
Jayne goes trophy hunting, Kaylee and Wash attempt to explain technical things to Mal, and eventually everyone realizes that they left something at the last stop.

Generic S/K Plot Outline
Inspired by a story posted at, I present the outline of pretty much every S/K fic out there (including my own, so no one take it personal-like).

Dino Tales: Loss
The dino army mourns the loss of one of their own.

The Old Switcheroo
Jayne and Simon wake up with unique perspectives on life.

In The Ether 9: Minor Complications
Jake and Jasper check out Serenity, River secures some backup, Jayne discovers his protective side, Simon gets physical, and Kaylee meets an old flame.

In The Ether 8: Lady's Choice
Zoe fixes the plan. Kaylee shows Simon how to turn up the heat.

In The Ether 7: Shore Leave
Mal gives everyone a day on Belix to calm the nerves. Wash gets suspicious. A plan is hatched.