GENIUS SERIES: 4. "The Hands That Feeds"
Sunday, January 8, 2006

"The Captain meets their new employer. Simon and River leave Portree. A not happy situation begins to look decidedly ugly."



SUMMARY: "The Captain meets their new employer. Simon and River leave Portree. A not happy situation begins to look decidedly more ugly." The usual disclaimers apply. The characters and 'Firefly' are the property and gift of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No infringement of copyright is intended.


"Firefly" story

Written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * * *

They were all sitting round the big oak table. Meal was pretty much finished but folk lingered. They still had a couple of hours until the Captain was due to meet their contact. Book was looking thoughtful. Trying to puzzle something out. "If you didn't push them..."

"I didn't!" Protested Mal at the head of the table.

"And we didn't push them, something must have happened."

Wash frowned. "Like what?"

"I take it there were no unexpected waves?"


Book watched the pilot's face for a moment. Beside him Jayne was beginning to get ansty. He couldn't see what folk were so upset about. "Well I say it's a good thing."

Kaylee looked horrified. "How can you say that?"

The big man did not relent and had no intention of backing down. "They's trouble, always said they was."

"They're also crew." Said Zoe flatly.

"An' now they ain't." The mercenary finished brightly. "I call that a win."

The Captain had just about enough of the way this was going. "Jayne!"

"What? Just sayin' what we all's thinkin'."

"No, no you're not but you are right on one thing. What's done is done. Mayhap when Simon an' River have walked a while in the world they'll come to their senses but maybe not. Either way, it's not our decision it's theirs an' it's made. So. Time to move on."

"But we can't just leave 'em behind, Cap'n!" Said Kaylee.

"We're not doin' the leavin'." The Captain responded gently but firmly. His eyes met Kaylee's briefly. Inara shied away from getting into that subject sensing that now was not the time.

"Who is the contact you're meeting, Captain?"

He gave Inara a long look. Just a fraction more than a glance. "Don't rightly know."

Jayne didn't like the sound of that. "We ain't gotta name?"

"Name's can be deceivin'." Said the Captain mildly. "Make a man think somethin' is that ain't."


The subtle dig passed right over Jayne's head. Kind'a how Mal had expected it would. "Exactly. Now you all know what you gotta do. Kaylee, I want the engine prepped in case things don't go smooth. Wash be ready with the fast take off. Jayne, get the mule ready. Once the meet finishes, all goes well we'll have cargo to haul an' load up. Don't wanna be on this pile of *goushi* longer than I have to."

The Shepherd started to rise as Mal stood up. "Maybe I should come along with you, Captain? Couldn't hurt to have another set of eyes."

"As temptin' as that is, man said to come alone." Mal paused and painted a smile on his face that didn't reach his eyes. Beggars could not be choosers and right now their begging bowl was empty. "*Fang xin*, I'll be wearin' a wire so what could go wrong? We don't like the sound of what he's sayin' we're outta here, *dong ma*?"

Everyone got up and left the commons room. Inara hung back, the last to leave. She gave a little shake of her head, her eyes troubled. "What could go wrong?"

* * * * *

She had been sleeping, the effects of the drugs being slow to wear off. Simon had been very careful, his every action checked and double checked to make sure the procedure had gone according to plan and that there would be no unfortunate side effects. A little weirdness was no problem and in point of fact would work in their favour. Now they just needed somewhere to stay for a while. Somewhere low tech.

He processed the update and made sure the encryption code was scrambled through another feed not just to mask its' origin but to prevent anyone using the terminal after him and downloading any information. It would be like trying to follow footprints in the clouds. When the mist cleared they would be as good as invisible. Once completed his password was expunged from the system. Another failsafe. No going back. Having the code was the only insurance Simon Tam would need.

* * * * *

New Melbourne was a comforting bustle. Market places, shops, a good sized main town with some outlying factories. Further out a few ranches, the soil too poor for crops. Most perishable goods were flown in but New Melbourne beef was a highly sought after source of natural protein. The place Mal was meeting the contact was in the industrial district. Wash didn't land. Captain wanted to take the spare shuttle down. His first mate frowned.

"Sir, I should be goin' with you."

Mal finished checking his sidearm and flashed her a false smile. "What? An' spook our client? Absolutely not." The Captain checked his wire. "You receivin' me, Wash?"

"Loud an' clear, Cap'n."

Zoe gave him a nod them went up on to the bridge and watched the second shuttle leave Serenity and take a big sweeping arc over the area before going in to land. Wash looked up at his wife. "*Fang xin, bao bei*, Cap'n knows what he's doin'."

She did not reply, her eyes narrowing as the shuttle got smaller. Every sense stretched taut like radar. Zoe would not relax until the Captain was back. Down on the surface someone else was finding it hard to relax as well but for an entirely different reason. The dark charcoal suit had a mandarin collar. Three gold buttons on each cuff, the smart dress trousers with a thin line of gold piping down the outside of each leg. His hair was dark but greying at the sides, neatly trimmed to just above the collar. Clean shaven and impossibly clean as if even dust would not dare to settle on him. He watched the shuttle come in to land a short distance from the hangar, the big bay doors left open for the Captain to get under cover only being the contrary man he was Mal had landed outside. His contact frowned, hating any departure from the orders he had given. Might have been couched as a request but both men knew the instructions for what they were. Biting back a flare of irritation, he waited.

"I'm down. So far so good." Wash toggled the com. "What do you see?"

"Warehouses. Hangars. Looks like ours has the bay doors open, can't see the welcome mat though."

"Be careful, Mal. If this does go wrong you could be trapped down there."

The Captain's lips quirked but he resisted the urge to be real sarcastic. Warning sirens were already going off inside his head. His eyes scanning left and right as he got ready to exit the shuttle. Ah, there he was. "It's okay Wash, I see him."


"Just inside the hangar. Gonna go to radio silence now, *dong ma*? Don't speak or ask no questions, remember if this thing squawks he'll hear it."

"*Wo dong. Zhuni hao yunqi*!"

"You too."

Stepping out of the shuttle, a cool blast of air riffled through the Captain's hair. The man waiting for him did not step out of the shade of the hangar. It made the Captain feel more than a mite nervous but he hid it well. Only when he reached the hangar door did he get a good look at the man waiting for him. Didn't recognise him though there did seem to be something a mite familiar about him.

"Captain Reynolds? Captain *Malcolm* Reynolds?"

Uh oh. It was never a good thing when anyone said his name twice. Made him all kinds of twitchy. Yet there was no sign of anyone else or if they were there they were standing well back in the shadows where he couldn't see them. "That would be me."

The man held out his hand but made no move to step towards him, politely forcing Mal to walk into the hangar in order to shake it. As if that was a signal the bay door closed behind him and several figures emerged from the shadows. Just enough to be seen then they stopped. Made Mal feel all manner of uneasy. All were armed.

"Uh, what is this?"

"I believe you have something of mine, Captain."

Now Mal was confused. "That's not possible, you see me an' mine ain't done the job yet. Fact is, you haven't even told us what the ruttin' job is."

"This is nothing to do with the job."

Something clicked in Mal's mind. He could feel his heart sink and a sickening feeling gather in his stomach. Why the good gorram hadn't he listened to Zoe or at least brought Jayne with him? He took a second to calm himself. "Suppose you tell me what it is you think I got?"

The man closed the gap between them, stopping a foot from Serenity's Captain. There was absolutely no emotion on his face. In fact he could have been carved out of a block of gorram granite. "I want my children, Captain, and I want them now."

Malcolm Reynolds blinked. Stunned. "Your...? There ain't no kids aboard my boat."

"River and Simon Tam."

The Captain raised his eyebrows, thinking of the reason Simon had given for leaving. His insistence that Serenity was no longer safe for them. Had he known? "Then you must be..."

"Their father, Gabriel." Mr Tam paused, a look coming over his face that the Captain could not identify. "Gabriel," He repeated without emotion. "As in the Angel of God."

"Thought he was a Messenger? Michael being the Archangel an' leader of the Heavenly Host or somesuch." There was not so much as a flicker of humour on Mr Tam's face. "Don't wanna be gettin' my angels mixed up."

"I do have a message for you Captain Reynolds but not from God. I want my children back. In one piece and unharmed or you will discover firsthand that the Beast of Revelation is not a myth."

Mal made one last effort to lighten the mood. "*Shenme*? You goin' from angel to demon just like that? An' to think I always thought Sunday School was borin'."

At last he got a reaction. Gabriel Tam's eyes now blazing with ill concealed rage. "This is no laughing matter, Captain!"

"Well now, never thought it was but last time your name came up you weren't exactly in favour."

"Then you admit you have my children on your ship?"

The Captain shook his head. He now counted at least eight armed bully boys spread out in the hangar. They moved in real slow like a noose around his neck. "Had. That's past tense in case you're feelin' slow. An' before you ask I got no idea where they might be. Seemed awful anxious to be elsewhere. In a mighty big hurry you could say." Looking at the way Gabriel Tam's face was darkening Mal found himself sympathising with the siblings.

"I have neither the time nor the patience to indulge your pathetic idea of humour Captain. Now," There was a loud clicking of weapons being cocked. It took a visible effort not to draw his gorram sidearm but Mal knew at these odds he'd be dead before his weapon cleared its' holster. "You can either hand them over or suffer the consequences of my extreme displeasure."

Mal slowly raised his hands. "No need to get tetchy. I ain't got 'em an' that's the truth. You can even search my boat if you don't believe me."

Gabriel Tam gave his first smile though to Malcolm Reynolds it looked more like the snarl of a predator getting ready to go in for the kill. Did nothing for the man's looks. "Oh, that is happening even as we speak, Captain."

The Captain's last thought was that mayhap the Beast of Revelation wasn't no myth after all.

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*goushi* = crap/dog shit *fang xin* = don't worry (lit. ease your heart) *dong ma* = understand? *bao bei* = treasure/precious *wo dong* = I understand *zhuni hao yunqi* = good luck *shenme* = what


Sunday, January 8, 2006 2:42 PM


Woah. That's all I gotta say. I was wondering when the religious card was going to be played when it came to Gabriel. Interesting to see you play it like this.

Makes me wanna write.

Peace and keep up the good work.

Sunday, January 8, 2006 3:05 PM


Oooooh. Shiny. This is going places. Makes me wanna write too. (Prods plot bunny with stick.)

Sunday, January 8, 2006 3:33 PM


Procedure, eh? Maybe Simon wasn't just being onery. Given how smart River is, maybe we don't give him enough credit on the genius scale.

I like the pace of the updates. More please!

Sunday, January 8, 2006 8:22 PM


Wow that was really good.

Monday, January 9, 2006 1:59 AM


Wow! Really great story so far. I'm dying to find out what's happening on the ship.
Love the last line.

Monday, January 9, 2006 8:52 AM


Wow!!! Can't wait to see how this is gonna turn out!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006 7:18 PM


That was incredible... You've really got me hooked, Amdobell. Everytime I read your stuff I'm inspired to do better on my own FireFly fan-fics.. Well done. Very well done!

-Roy Fokker-


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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.