Wolf Pack (Part X)
Sunday, February 15, 2004

In the aftermath of the firefight on Macau wounds are treated and plans made


Disclaimer – Everything either does belong to Joss or it should. I’m just borrowing his shiny ‘verse for a while.

The 21st Lancers belong to the British Army so I’m borrowing them too. I hope they don’t mind

* * *

Qingdao Spaceport - Macau – 2520AD

Laying there on the concrete bound and gagged Zoe was as much embarrassed as relieved when River came bounding up pulled her new utility knife from her pocket and began cutting the plastic handcuffs off. Nobody had managed to get one over on Zoe like this since basic training, she had an amazing talent for both sneaking up on and sensing when she was being snuck up upon. This time however she’d been ambushed, stunned and tied up. The only consolation was that Jayne was in the same condition otherwise his mockery would have been unbearable.

As soon as the cuffs were cut loose Zoe pulled off the gag and River handed her the knife ‘I’ve got to tie somebody up myself before she gets her senses back’ she said and trotted back to the forklift where Steven was standing over someone.

Zoe cut off the other restraints on her legs and then did the same for Wash. He was nursing some bruised ribs from a kick received to stop him making so much noise earlier and was in a foul mood. Zoe was experienced enough not to have provoked the opposition whilst securely bound and had been instead hoping to exploit a mistake if one had arisen.

Jayne was bleeding slightly from a wound resulting from a sub-machinegun stock to the head. He had tried to bite off the fingers of the guy who gagged him. Jayne was experienced too but obstinate and pretty gorram mean into the bargain.

Zoe had cut them all free and they were retrieving arms from the fallen Special ‘Ops when a distant noise sent Zoe and Jayne diving for cover weapons up.

‘Hold your fire’ River called out ‘It’s the Captain’

Sure enough Mal appeared apparently dragging someone. As he got close Zoe ran to meet him and when she got close she saw who it was.

‘Glad to see you Captain. Run into an old friend of Rivers?’

‘Surely did’ Mal said grinning ‘Can’t wait to have a long meaningful discussion with him back on Serenity. I’m thinking we let Jayne take an ear for starters’

‘You know by dragging him that way you’re probably scraping half the skin off the back of his head onto the cement’

‘Better than that by pulling him along by the legs I’m really messing up the knee I shot him in’ Mal stated.

‘Want a hand?’

‘Yeah grab the other leg. Make sure to pull him through the potholes. He can’t feel it now but he will when he wakes up’ he told her ‘Everyone okay?’ he asked.

‘Everyone breathing except the opposition’

Mal smiled ‘Do we still have the money?’ he asked

‘Should still be on the mule Sir, they just weren’t interested in it’ Zoe responded


Zoe recognised the look on her Captains face. He was smug as hell.

Mal reached for his radio. ‘Book, get everybody to the ship we’re leaving in a hurry’

The Captain went back to dragging the blue-gloved Agent with Zoe’s assistance. ‘Good Day’ he said to no one in particular.

* * *

Serenity/Granite Gorge – Leaving Macau Orbit – 2520AD

Simon was forced to heavily tranquilise Steven before Mal and Jayne together could manhandle him onto the infirmary bed. Ideally he would put him completely under but he was concerned about the possible effect that may have given he was still reacting unpredictably to the painkiller he’d injected himself with.

Jayne left the infirmary for another task while Zoe acted as Simon’s assistant. She had been the closest thing Serenity had to a medic before the Doctor came aboard and he had gradually increased her knowledge over the years. She had a steady hand and was un-phased by the sight of blood which made her a useful helper to the Doctor.

‘I hate this Instant Bandage stuff’ Simon commented as he opened up the wound in Steven’s stomach again in order to inspect the damage ‘Why did you let him move around after this happened’ he asked Mal.

‘Didn’t have a choice, needed him mobile’

‘He’ll live but his recovery will take a lot longer because of that. It’s a mess in here’ Simon stated. ‘Hole in the arm didn’t go through anything but muscle. Fingers a total right-off though’ the Doctor continued whilst probing the stomach wound.

‘Hi honey’ Steven slurred. He was still conscious although only just and was restrained from moving and messing up the Doctors work

Mal turned to see Jennifer at the infirmary window. Kaylee was looking after the children. Needless to say she looked more than a little concerned watching Simon opening her husband up.

Serenity’s Captain turned to her and gave her a reassuring smile. Always look after the crew.

‘After you’re done here take a look at our wounded guest’ Mal told Simon ‘but only after you’re completely done here. I poured some more of that powdered crap on his wound so he won’t bleed to death’

Simon looked up ‘I know where the priorities are Sir. It’s our people first, second and last’

Mal nodded. ‘I’m going to check on your Sister and her playmates’

‘Right’ Simon said and began working in earnest.

* * *

The girl Laura was curled up in a foetal position on one of the cabins over on Granite Gorge. One advantage you did have in using an old slaver vessel were the first class locks on some of the doors.

River was monitoring her mentally from the Granites Cargo Bay where she was sat cross-legged on the deck watching the blue-gloved agent. He was literally chained to the port bulkhead the chains being another inheritance from the previous owners.

At one point he had regained consciousness only to have himself returned to oblivion by Jayne’s fist. The big mercenary was in the cargo bay too cradling one of the stun-guns they had stripped from the Special ‘Ops before leaving Macau. Captain said he wanted him alive so Jayne was under orders no to use lethal force.

There was however no prohibition on non-lethal force so whilst Jayne planned to use the stun-gun the next time the agent woke up he was going to use the blunt end as a club rather than deploy it in the conventional fashion.

Mal entered through the airlock and first went to River squatting down beside her. ‘How you feeling sweetheart?’

River looked up at her Captain ‘Scared’ she said ‘I think they must have trained me to be fearful of them as a control method’

‘You weren’t afraid earlier’

‘From what I’ve been picking up from the girls thoughts about Academy Conditioning I think another part of the training takes over during combat which overrides all other thought processes’ River told him ‘You may have noticed before I’m a bit less obscure when I’m in a fire-fight. That’s because I actually find it easier to think in a more conventional linear fashion when someone is trying to kill me than I do normally’ River frowned ‘that’s rather sad when you think about it’ she said.

Mal decided to change the subject ‘How’s the girl?’

‘She’s on the edge of the precipice. I’m going to suggest to Simon he gives her a shot of the mood stabilisers he pumps into me’

‘Took losing hard then?’

‘She never even considered the possibility of failure, so when it happened all the carefully constructed conditioning just fell to pieces. We smashed the keystone that supported the entire edifice and it crumbled’

‘She a threat?’

River nodded emphatically ‘Yes but to who I cannot say, possibly herself. She’s an arrogant little pōfù though and that’s her own personality not the programming’

‘Can you keep her in check?’

‘I’ve had an idea about that which will also stop her scanning the crew when she gets a better grip on herself’

Mal looked serious for a second ‘If she proves to be a threat can you take her?’

‘I feel sorry for her but if she proves to be a serious threat to the rest of you then yes I can and will take her down’

‘Glad to hear it’ Mal said ‘now what are we going to do with this qingwa cào de liúmáng?’ he asked pointing at the agent.

‘I’m thinking interrogation followed by explosive decompression’ River said coldly ‘but I think Book might object to the second part’

Jayne had been listening in ‘Spacing him is kinda quick. I know a few ways to make it last a real long time’ he announced.

‘It’s River’s call Jayne, she’s the one they messed with’ Mal told him.

River turned to the mercenary ‘Exactly how long are we talking about?’ she asked.

* * *

Steven had eventually passed out and when he came to he found Jennifer holding his right hand. He felt very strange indeed.

Seeing his eyes open Jennifer leaned over and kissed him gently ‘How are you feeling’ she asked.

‘Fuzzy’ he answered

‘Do you remember anything?’

Steven strained his memory. ‘Am I missing a finger and did I get into a fire-fight when I was high on painkillers?’


‘Then it wasn’t a dream and my memory’s fine. I would have preferred the first alternative’

‘I was so worried about you’ she said and started to cry ‘I couldn’t lose you Steven. I couldn’t bare it’

‘I’d feel bad about losing me too’ Steven responded and kissed her hand ‘Any more injuries and I’ll be one great big walking scar’ he joked. ‘I’m okay please stop crying’ he said when his humour fell flat.

Jennifer wiped her tears on her sleeve and forced a smile ‘I love you’ she said

‘I love you too’ Steven replied ‘How are the children?’

‘They’re worried but Kaylee and Inara are looking after them in the shuttle’ she told him ‘Do you feel up to a visit?’

‘Give me half an hour. I still feel a bit groggy’

Simon appeared ‘Oh you’re awake. You’ll have to rest in bed for a couple of weeks minimum and it’ll be light duties for a long time’ he told his patient. ‘I can speed up the healing a bit but even so a bullet in the guts doesn’t heal quickly’

‘You’re the Doc, Doc’ Steven responded ‘You hear that woman? Two weeks in bed and only light duties. Guess that leaves you doing all the work then’ he said and winked at Jennifer who blushed.

Simon rolled his eyes ‘If you tear open the stitches I spent an hour putting into you then I’ll be very annoyed’ he said ‘I hate to say this Jennifer but our wounded guest is being bought over and I need the space so can you come back later?’

‘I’ll be in Shuttle Two with the children. Please tell me when I can come back’ she replied before turning back to her husband ‘Don’t get shot again in the meantime’ she told him.

‘I’ll do my utmost to avoid it’ he told her and they kissed goodbye.

* * *

Steven watched as the Doctor patched up the Agents knee, and then dress his other injuries most of which were clearly inflicted by various members of the crew. Apparently he had struggled when being bought to the infirmary and Jayne gleefully told Simon when they got there that, although he had knocked him out, the broken nose was a result of River’s clenched fist.

River had returned to Granite Gorge again to watch the girl leaving Jayne to guard the prisoner. He was leaning against the infirmary wall cradling the stun-gun whilst Simon worked.

You had to give it to the Doctor, Steven thought, despite everything that the Academy people had done to his sister Simon still did his job properly when it came to medicine. There was little doubt that Simon would have enthusiastically beaten the man senseless in a different environment but here in the infirmary the Hippocratic Oath held sway.

The agent came round again just as the Doctor finished his work. He was clearly a professional because once he realised he was bound and gagged tightly he surveyed the scene dispassionately. He wasn’t happy with the way the big man was looking at him while sharpening a large knife but at least he was being medically treated which meant they weren’t going to kill him, well not immediately at least. The agent recognised the Doctor as Simon Tam himself who the Academy had hunted along with his sister intently for several years. The scenario playing out wasn’t exactly how he had envisioned meeting him though.

The other man on the bed noticed he was awake and turned slightly to face him. They regarded each other for a minute until eventually the man on the bed smirked.

‘Well, this has buggered your plans for conquering the ‘Verse’ he said grinning.

Part XI


Sunday, February 15, 2004 3:22 AM


Always looking forward to another episode, so I'm glad you didn't wait until you'd finished it. That is, I suspect some really interesting things are about to transpire.

Monday, February 16, 2004 5:21 AM


Excellent story, I just love the way you have written River, showing that she is really smart not just randomly clever. All the characters shine and it is really nice for our heroes to get the drop on those evil hands-of-blue fellows. Very well done! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, February 16, 2004 1:25 PM


To "Artships" - Just needed a convenient place to end the chapter and I thought I'd end with a bit of humour before things got dark

To "Anonymous" - Syeven actually worked out as a much better character than I'd hoped. I like him too :-)

To "AMDOBELL" - I always appreciate the way you seem to like my spin on River's character. Thanks again

Sunday, September 19, 2004 8:53 PM


I wish I could write something at every juncture, but you've written a lot of stuff Hotpoint, and I'm always clicking on the next chapter...

Hope that's something you want to hear...


Keep flyin'


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