A Night on the Town-Jayne’s Tale
Saturday, March 11, 2006

When confronted by a personal conflict, I always find it helpful to ask myself WWJD, What Would Jayne Do? The answer usually comes back, "Shoot stuff."


This story takes place before the series, so there are no spoilers to worry about. This is the eighth story in the Tales series. The rest can be found here: River, Wash, Mal, Kaylee, Zoë, Simon, Inara, Book Rated PG-13 for language and violence. Thanks go out to my much appreciated beta-ers. Go-se=Crap Mei Yong Ma Duh Tse Gu Yong=Motherless goat of all motherless goats Cheong Bao Ho Tze=Monkey raping Ta Ma Duh=Dammit Nee Tzao Se Mah?=You wanna die? ***** Jayne Cobb had an awful rutting headache. Every time he tried to sit up in the bed, it just got worse. Somebody was playing some damn music or other outside, and the light he’d forgot to turn off flat hurt his eyes. No doubt about it, Jayne was suffering from one of the more violent hangovers he could recollect. He knew that he was back in his hotel room on the second floor of a piece of go-se hotel on Boros, and he could see stars outside his window. He’d been on Boros to run a freelance job for some guy named Nakamura. They’d robbed themselves a nice, fat bank on one of the backwater towns and he’d had coin to burn. After the job, Jayne had needed to flex his legs some, but he was still smart enough to get himself a room to recover afterwards. He knew that he’d spent most of last night and a good chunk of this morning in a bar called the Flameout. It wasn’t the type of place that he’d bring his mother, but it suited him just fine. It was the sort of place where a man could get himself a good drink and a good fight, if he wanted. And it was clear that he’d gotten himself nice and drunk at that very establishment. Trouble was he couldn’t remember much beyond that. Ah, screw it all. The way Jayne figured, if he couldn’t remember what he’d done, then he must have had one hell of a time. Maybe he even talked some young thing into sharing some special time with him. After all, he was quite the virile fellow. Yeah, that must’ve been it. He’d gone out and been the envy of the whole bar, and then he’d come home with some pretty woman…. Jayne suddenly shot up. His gorram money! He looked around the room for his pants, ‘cause his take was in the back pocket. Last night was rapidly losing its humor value for him. Lord help any cheap whore who took off with his coin. They weren’t on the chair, or the dresser, or on the floor. He reached down from the bed to the duffel bag he kept his weapons in, and pawed through it. He tossed the coat and hat lying next to it across the room. No sign of the pants. As he got up to check the rest of his bags, he was ready to swear a mighty oath that his mother might hear from her current location. Then Jayne realized that he was still wearing his pants. He dug his hand deep into the pocket, and was relieved when he came out with a roll of bills. That was it; it was time to cut back on the booze. He’d done this over and over again, and it had to stop. One of these days, somebody would find him passed out in some corner and put a bullet in his brainpan. Or worse, they’d make off with his stuff. Jayne conjured that he didn’t have a whole lot of time in the ‘verse as it is, and he wanted to keep a hold of his things to make that time as good as it could get. He needed to cut back on his drinking, or something bad could happen to him. He pulled a whiskey flask out of the pocket of his coat. He took a long hard swig. He’d work on the drinking thing later. Honest. He might have imagined it, but he thought that the pain in his head got a little better. He lay back down on the bed, ready to sleep it the rest of the way off. Just then, there was a pounding at the door. At first, Jayne thought it was just more of the pounding in his head. He ignored it and rolled over. Then, when the pounding turned to a voice, he sat up. “Jayne Cobb! You miserable mei yong ma duh tse gu yong, open the gorram door! Cobb!” Jayne reached under his pillow, hoping that he hadn’t gotten stupid drunk. Lucky for him, he hadn’t. The semi-automatic pistol was still under there. He grabbed it and gave a quick thought to riddling the door with holes, along with the dumb bastard behind it. Jayne decided not to shoot. If this was just some fool who he’d spilled beer on in the bar, there wasn’t any point in shooting him down yet. It’d just bring in more attention then Jayne wanted, especially with the stolen money in his pocket. There weren’t many Feds out here, but there was always a chance that the banker had decided to put out a contract on him. Still, whoever this guy was, he seemed mighty insistent. Jayne figured he’d either kick his ass, fill him with bullets, or get killed himself. No matter what, the guy’d shut up. That was good enough for Jayne. He shoved the pistol into his waistband at the middle of his back, and got up to open the door. He was careful to stay out of the window, and stood away from the door as he took hold of the knob. He pulled it open and three men pushed into the room. He didn’t know any of them. There were two that looked alike enough to be brothers, and the third was a tall fellow that looked familiar to him somehow. The brothers both had pistols holstered on their belts, and the heavier of them had a Callahan full-bore autolock hanging from his right shoulder. Jayne couldn’t tell if the tall one was packing, but they all looked ready to commit some violence. Jayne backed away from the door and stood by the bed. He leaned his shoulders against the wall near his duffel and kept his hands near his back. If he was lucky, then he’d look like he was just propping himself against the wall. They wouldn’t know that he had a piece ready to end any or all of them, and a knife hidden away in his right boot. From the dim light of his room, he could see three more men in the dark hall outside. Jayne didn’t recognize any of them, either. The first was short, only about five feet high. The second had a huge mole in the middle of his forehead. The last was totally bald; didn’t even have eyebrows. They looked ready for violence, too, and they all had pistols of their own. This was shaping up to be a real interesting night. Maybe a real short one, too. The man in the front looked him straight in the eye. Jayne couldn’t place it, but there was something about him that struck Jayne as real gorram familiar. He spat on the ground and started to talk. “You don’t know me Cobb, so you can stop tryin’ to place me.” The man had been slowly walking up to Jayne. They were near the same height, and by the time he got into Jayne’s face, they were eye to eye. The guy wasn’t terrible big, and Jayne was pretty sure he could take him if it came to that. What worried him some was the other five of them ready to do him considerable harm. “My name’s Elias Lansing, Cobb. These’re my associates, Michael and Gabriel. Like I said, you ain’t never seen us before. ‘Though you might recollect my sister from the Flameout last night?” Things started to fall into place for Jayne. There had been a woman at the Flameout that looked a bit like this fellow. Still, that was all he could remember. As far as he knew, he hadn’t even talked to the gal. He’d had a LOT to drink. “You still don’t know what you did, did you?” Jayne wasn’t known for his dental hygiene, but even his eyes watered at the amount of liquor on Elias’ breath. “Look, I ain’t got any idea what the ruttin’ hell you’re talkin’ about, so how ‘bout you let me in on the secret, huh?” Elias raised his hand, looking to hit Jayne. Jayne shot him his most intimidating look, and Elias swallowed, slowly, and brought his hand down. “Don’t care how drunk you was, Cobb. You were flat rude to my sister last night. A Lansing don’t stand for some cheong bao ho tze son of a whore like you slapping the ass of his sister. You’ve done my family wrong, Cobb. And I’m gonna make you pay.” Jayne smirked. “Don’t think ‘you’re’ gonna do much of anything to me junior. Why else would you need to hire all these men to take me? Don’t trust your own skills much, do ya?” Elias’ face got red. Jayne had managed to make him good and mad. He lifted his hand again, and this time no look would get him to back down. Jayne was counting on that. Jayne grabbed the incoming fist with his left hand, turning Elias around and tossing him at Michael and Gabriel. The three of them went down in a tangle before any of them could draw on him. At the same time, he pulled his pistol with his right hand and shot out the light. The whole room went black. Jayne crouched down to pick up the duffel holding his guns and grenades, and ran like hell for the door, swinging the duffel like a club as he went. As he left the room, he felt his bag connect with two of the men in the hall. He heard them go down, but he doubted he done anything more than break their fool noses. For Baldy, that’d be a real improvement to his looks. He tore down the hall, taking corners at random looking for the stairs to the ground floor. Just as he could make out the stairwell, somebody kicked him in the back. As he stumbled forward, he swung the butt of his gun behind him, but only hit empty air. It must have been Shorty, slipping under his arm. He didn’t have time for this, and he needed to get rid of this guy quick. He spun around as he came to his feet. He could hear Shorty charging towards him. Lucky for Jayne that the little runt must’ve been green at this sort of thing. Shorty was trying to take him down alone, and the midget didn’t have any idea how much trouble he was in. You could say all manner of things about Jayne, but his hearing was still pretty good. Jayne dropped the duffel and brought his arms up into a defensive pose, and waited. He heard Shorty getting closer, but still waited. Then, as the noise got just loud enough for him to be sure of where the little man was, he lashed out with both hands. Jayne brought the gun down on the top of Shorty’s head, and used the left to grab at his shirt. Jayne yanked Shorty off of the ground and then brought his knee up into the runt’s groin. Hard. Shorty fell to his knees, wailing. Jayne was going to let the dumbass go, but now he was making too much noise. Jayne didn’t need Elias and his boys figuring out his location based on this little troll. He reached down and grabbed Shorty by the head, and twisted. Shorty fell to the ground, and wouldn’t be getting up again. One down, five to go. A bullet tore into the wall next to Jayne’s leg. He grabbed his bag and returned fire with his pistol as he ran down the stairs. He didn’t care about hitting anybody; all he wanted was for them to keep their heads down. He heard Elias scream something about finding cover, and then Jayne was in the lobby. He didn’t bother to explain anything to any of the staff, who all looked real surprised to see an armed man charging through their establishment. Jayne smiled a bit as he passed the checkout desk. At least he didn’t have to pay for the room. As Jayne made for the front door, he noticed an old tread mule sitting outside the hotel through the huge front window. The mule had a cart attached, just big enough to hold a half dozen men. It was the perfect vehicle for Elias and his boys, and Jayne decided he couldn’t let them keep such a fine toy. He reached into the duffel and found the grenade pouch near the top as he burst through the front door. He pulled two out and set them for a fifteen second timer, then dropped them both into the mule’s cart. Way he figured it; if he was really lucky they’d all pile in and get blown to hell and back. If he was less lucky, then all he’d do is blow the damned mule up without anyone in it, but at least they still couldn’t use it to chase him down. If he was real unlucky, then the mule belonged to some poor bastard who didn’t have a stake in this at all, but at least he’d still get a nice shiny distraction out of it. There was a narrow alley just across from the hotel, and he ducked down it. He found himself a decent sized trash pile and hid behind it, checking around the side to see how his little trap played out. While he crouched there, he opened his duffel bag to expand his weaponry options. He loaded his pistol with a fresh magazine, grabbed a second pistol and a gun belt, and put both guns into the belt as he threw it on. He pulled out a lightweight automatic rifle with scope, a gun he’d named Alyssa, and slung it over his shoulder. Jayne grabbed a few extra magazines for each gun and stuffed them into his pants pockets. He would have liked to pull out more, but his new friends were finally catching up to him. He pulled his Saint Christopher medal out from under his shirt and hoped that God or whoever it was that kept men like him alive would keep doing it. Mole and one of the two brothers tore through the door of the hotel, looking in either direction for him. After a few seconds, they both jumped aboard the mule itself, leaving the cart alone. The other three came out later, more carefully, with Baldy and the heavier brother in front of Elias. As they started forward, the heavy brother looked toward the cart. His eyes got wide. “Everybody off! Michael, get the hell…” The rest was drowned out by the explosion. The mule’s fuel tank went up in a huge fireball. There wasn’t anyway that Mole and Michael would be surviving that. Jayne shook his head; he might be fighting, but he was still hungover, and that much light and loud noise rutting hurt. Three down, three to go. Gabriel was growling at him. Looked like Jayne had managed to make himself a brand new enemy today. He figured he had enough of those as it was, so he decided it was time to let Gabriel loose from the burden of breathing. He pulled Alyssa up and sighted Gabriel’s left eye with the scope. Jayne was pretty sure that even if Gabriel wasn’t the best mercenary Elias could find, that Callahan definitely made him the most dangerous of them. Jayne needed to take him down, quick. Just as he was about to squeeze the trigger, something hit him in the small of the back. Jayne fell forward, hitting the trash pile he was hiding behind. All manner of trash flew out in all directions. He rolled over, moving closer to the nearest wall, and drew down on his attacker. It was a gorram cat. It hissed at him as it ran out of the alley into the street. Jayne hoped that it got trampled by a horse. “Over there!” It was Gabriel, and he sounded angry. They were coming this way, unless they were all total morons. “Ta ma duh.” Jayne muttered as he came up into a crouch. He opened fire with his rifle, not particularly caring what he hit. He sprayed ammo across the hotel front, sending Baldy diving behind the remains of the mule, and sending Elias and Gabriel onto their bellies. He kept firing one handed as he grabbed the duffel and backed out of the alley. He needed to find himself a place to set up an ambush for these bastards. As he came out the other side of the alley, he found his chance. There was an old wood stable a bit down the road. He couldn’t tell from here if there were any horses there, and he hoped there were because it would make his life considerable easier, but it didn’t much matter to him one way or the other. There would be all manner of stalls inside he could hide in, and it looked like there was a hayloft. If there was a second floor, then there were sniper positions. Excepting the main door and the loading door for the loft, there weren’t even any windows. They’d either have to come in and get him, or take forever chewing through the walls with bullets. There was all kinds of potential in that stable. Jayne sprinted to the stable as fast as he could. He thought he heard Gabriel screaming his name behind him, but didn’t look back. The streets were mostly deserted, on account of the late hour. He kept firing randomly behind him, keeping them jumping as best he could. There were a few return shots, but only a couple actually got close enough to worry him. As he made it to the stable, one last bullet came flying by, grazing his left bicep. He ignored the blood, slammed the door behind him, and kept going. There was a lot of noise inside, on account of at least one horse spooked by all the ruckus. He looked around, taking stock of the stable. There weren’t any lights on, but he could still make out the details of the place pretty well. There were only six stalls off the main entry, with the ladder to the hayloft in the far back of the building. It turned out there was only one horse, in the nearest stall. She was jumping all over, just about ready to panic. She was held in her stall by a rope, but it was frayed and ready to give. All she needed was somewhere to go. And that gave Jayne an idea. Elias and his boys had stopped shooting. Jayne figured that they were waiting to see what he had up his sleeve. No way they’d see this coming. Elias yelled into the stable at him. “Cobb! Dammit, you know you’re gonna die in there, why don’t you just make it easy on yourself and come the hell out!” Gabriel was next. “‘Easy?’ That son of a bitch killed my brother! Ain’t nothin’ about his death’s gonna be ‘easy!’” Jayne moved next to the door, with his back to the wall beside it, and yelled back at them. “Don’t think any of you got the guts to kill me, Elias! Nee tzao se mah?” He figured that at least one of them would be fool enough to take the bait. He yanked the door open, and ran past to the stall across from the horse. He dived into the corner, keeping cover from the door as best he could. He dropped the duffel in the corner and aimed Alyssa at the rope holding her in place, and fired one shot. The rope exploded, and the horse charged out of her stall. He kept firing behind her, driving her towards the front door. She charged out, and Jayne heard somebody scream. He snuck up to the stall door and peeked out. He wasn’t sure if the horse had managed to scare Baldy into running from the group, of if she’d broken the group up as they’d come at the door. Jayne didn’t really care, either. All that mattered was that Baldy was away from the others, and he was real shaken up. Looked like he didn’t come up against panicky horses too often in his work. Point was, he didn’t have a chance in hell to defend himself right now. Jayne aimed his rifle out and emptied the clip into Baldy. Baldy took a half dozen rounds in the chest, and fell to the ground stone dead. Four down, two to go. Jayne re-slung Alyssa and pulled both pistols, heading for the door and firing as he went. He rolled forward, slamming into the wall beside the door. He swung it shut quickly, before anyone outside would be able to draw a bead on him. He wedged Alyssa into the door, even though it wouldn’t be enough to keep them out for too long. After all, he was in a wood building. They might not be that all fired smart, but even they’d figure out that they could smoke him out eventually. He reloaded his pistols, stopped for his duffel, and climbed the ladder. If he was lucky, he’d be able to get some shots off on them as they got closer. He made it to the hayloft without any more problems. Elias and Gabriel hadn’t said anything else, and they’d stopped shooting. That made him more nervous as he moved up beside the opening in the front wall. If they were talking or firing, then he could get a feel for where they were. As it was, he couldn’t tell a damn thing. They could be rutting anywhere, and he wouldn’t know it. He looked out on the street, trying to catch any sign of them. He couldn’t see anyone moving down there. Even the horse had made tracks. As near as Jayne could tell, there wasn’t a soul about on the whole world. Just then, he heard glass shattering, and then a gunshot behind the stable. After that, there were a few minutes of silence. Jayne didn’t know what was up, but he was sure that he wouldn’t like it. An engine started up near the back wall. Then, there was the sound of wood splintering. He ran over to the hatch down, and saw a power saw blade digging through the back wall of the stable. They were cutting their own way in from the back. A town this size would have all manner of hardware stores, and Elias and Gabriel must have broken into one and stolen a power saw. They’d be in the stable in a minute or two, maybe less if it was a decent saw. “Gorramit!” Jayne ran back to the front of the building, careful not to be seen in the opening. Just because one of them was in the back didn’t mean they both were. He checked outside again, and still didn’t see anyone. He kneeled down against the wall and drew down on the ladder. There were all kinds of ways they could come for him now, but the ladder was still the most likely. As soon as someone showed anything up that hatch, he’d shoot it off. Simple as that. There was a loud BANG as a section of the back wall fell in. One or both of them was in the stable. One way or another, this was all about to end. Jayne waited for some sign of what was going on down there. He heard two sets of footsteps, so at least he knew they were both inside. They were moving around, going through the stalls, looking for him. Other than that, they didn’t make a sound. They didn’t even speak to each other. Jayne kept waiting for the ladder to creak as someone put their weight on it. Suddenly, a section of the floor near the ladder exploded upwards. Then another section was shot out, and another, each moving towards the front of the stable. Gabriel was using the Callahan to blast the floor out from under him, starting at one side and working his way to the other. Jayne turned his own guns down to the floor, hoping to blast them before they shot him. He pulled the trigger, but the bullet wouldn’t penetrate. The wood was too thick and his pistols didn’t have the firepower he needed right now. The blasts from the Callahan got faster, because now Gabriel knew that Jayne was up there. In a couple of seconds, he’d be shooting the floor out from under Jayne’s feet. Jayne turned and looked at the opening. He didn’t like it, but he didn’t have a choice anymore. There wasn’t even time to grab his duffel. Jayne holstered his pistols and sighed. Then he grabbed his Saint Christopher medal again, and jumped. He tried to tuck and roll as he hit the ground, but he didn’t land right and fell more or less flat on his face. He screamed as he felt his left ankle twisting out of place, and knew that running wasn’t an option anymore. The impact sent both of his guns flying off in either direction, way out of his reach. He rolled over onto his back so he could get a view of the stable, and started to inch away towards one of his pistols. Inside, Gabriel was still firing at the second floor. After a few more shots, he must have figured out that Jayne hadn’t screamed because he’d been shot on account of there not being any body falling through the floor boards. Jayne heard Alyssa being pulled out from the door. His gun was still a good two yards away. He pulled himself into a sit, with his right hand resting over his right boot. He pulled the knife out, and hid it behind his left forearm. The door swung in, and Gabriel ran out. He had his rifle out and ready, but when he saw Jayne’s current state, he lowered it to his side. He looked down at Jayne and laughed. “Well Cobb, it looks like all your big talk ain’t got you too far now, has it? I’m gonna kill you right here, Cobb, and there ain’t a damn thing you can do to stop me. I’m gonna shoot out both of your kneecaps and all of your fingers and then, maybe, kill you if I’m feelin’ merciful-like.” Gabriel started to bring the Callahan up to his left eye. At the same time, Jayne pulled his knife out from his right boot. He pulled it up and threw it as hard as he could at Gabriel. Gabriel was halfway through bringing his rifle to bear, and didn’t have a chance in hell of avoiding it. He fired one round as he realized what was coming, but it sank into the street without hitting anyone. Then, Jayne’s knife embedded itself in Gabriel’s right eye. Five down, one to go. Jayne heard Elias’ voice from inside the stable. Jayne lunged forward, landing behind Gabriel’s body. He reached over and grabbed the Callahan, and then rolled over onto his back to sight into the stable. Elias had been hiding in one of the stalls, apparently trying to stay out of Gabriel’s way while the fire was flying inside. Elias stepped out into the main doorway, and saw Jayne holding Gabriel’s weapon behind Gabriel’s body. Elias brought his own pistol up, but didn’t fire. Jayne suspected he’d been right all along; Elias Lansing just wasn’t cut out for this type of thing. “Well junior, you’ve caused me considerable trouble here tonight. I’m thinkin’ that you ain’t gonna pull that trigger, and I’m the one who’s gonna shoot somebody down right now.” Elias looked like he was about to cry. “Please, don’t hurt me, Cobb. I’ll give you anything, I swear.” “How much you got?” ***** It was three days later, after Elias had paid a good doctor, of Jayne’s choosing, to have a look at Jayne’s ankle, and Jayne was a thousand credits richer, that Jayne left Boros in favor of another job on another world. He figured that the amount of excitement that he’d had on Boros was enough to last for awhile, and it was time to find somewhere where the heat wasn’t on quite so hot. He’d gotten some good coin, and another job was already lined up, so all and all, Jayne was willing to say that the trip to Boros had been worth it. Plus, he’d come out of the experience with more than just money. He’d decided to keep the Callahan. It was a beautiful piece of weapons engineering, and he was sure that it’d help him out plenty in the future. A man could never have too many firearms, in his estimation. She was a sight to behold, and he was sure that she could hold her own in a firefight. Still, he’d had trouble naming her. He liked to name all of his special guns, and this one was obviously special. She was a big, bulky piece of work, but she could be real elegant when it needed to be. Also, she tended to make an unholy racket every time she was out in public. And, most important, the first time they’d met, she’d almost killed him. Now that he thought about it, she kind of reminded him of one of his aunts. His mother’s sister had never liked him much, and Lord could she make a fuss. That, and she’d hit him in the head with a pan during a family reunion a few years back. That settled it. He’d call her Vera.


Saturday, March 11, 2006 2:38 PM


Ohh this is so shiny!
Wow, you write my merc so well.

Saturday, March 11, 2006 6:33 PM


Nicely done! You write action very well, could picture it all happening...good job!

Thursday, March 16, 2006 1:40 AM


Great action and great insight into my favourite mercenary!

Love how he decided to name the gun.

"Now that he thought about it, she kind of reminded him of one of his aunts. His mother’s sister had never liked him much, and Lord could she make a fuss. That, and she’d hit him in the head with a pan during a family reunion a few years back.

That settled it.

He’d call her Vera."

Saturday, April 1, 2006 5:02 PM


Very, very nice.

To Vera!

Sunday, April 23, 2006 8:12 AM


it wasn't until he killed gabriel that i remembered jayne's line from our mrs reynolds ("six men came to kill me one time...") and started grinning. i LOVE stories about our big, violent, noisy boy. and it somehow fits that a member of jayne's family would hit him with a pan. brilliant, as usual!!



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