Leaps of Faith - 8
Friday, April 14, 2006

Mal’s shaky deal with gun-runner Hadley Emerson is goin’ down, and Kaylee’s scared Jayne won’t make it back to her.


Rating:PG-17, action/graphic violence

Remarks:Set following my most recent story “The Birthday Gift”, after “Objects in Space”. Inara has departed from Serenity and things on board ship are getting more difficult. Click on my name to read the backstory. They’re all backstory.

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Leaps of Faith

Chapter Eight

“Mal, we’re on the ground.” Wash announces their landing in the hilly, tall grass prairie of Aberdeen.

Mal grabs the handset. “This is the Captain. We’re on, people. Wash, you keep ‘er hot, ready to pick us up mid-air if necessary.” He claps his hands together and hits the buttons to open the cargo bay doors and lower Serenity’s ramp. “Let’s get rollin’!”

Striding down the ramp, he surveys the land that spreads out before him, thinkin’ what good cattle country it would make. Wave after wave of rolling hills march to the horizon, undulating in shades of green and gold under a cloudless turquoise sky.

Zoë slips the second shuttle free of her moorings and brings the little craft around to land right in front of the ramp. She slides the shuttle’s hatch open and nods to the captain.

“Shuttle handles good, Sir. Whatever Kaylee did really seems to have improved her maneuvering.”

“Let’s get her loaded up, then.”

Jayne and Kaylee stand at the back of the bay, concealed behind the stack of crates. He’s geared up for the job, his best sniper rifle slung across his back, a semi-automatic Deckler 9 millimeter on his chest, the heavy belt around his hips loaded with more weaponry and ammunition. His mind’s already on the tasks ahead.

“Jayne…” Kaylee anxiously grabs his elbow, tugs. “Promise me you’ll be careful.”

The merc studies her wide chocolate eyes for a moment, then oh-so-briefly kisses her before he turns and says over his shoulder with the practiced bravado of a professional gun, “Wouldn’t have it any other way.”

He joins Mal and they yank the cables and tarps off the stack of crates filled with stolen Alliance arms, then begin to shuffle the heavy containers down the ramp and into the shuttle.

Book and Simon come out to stand with Kaylee on the deck while River sits up on the catwalk with her chin resting on her crossed forearms, slender legs and boots danglin’ into empty space. Kaylee smiles tentatively up at the girl and waves, just a soft shift of her hand.

“Brave smile can’t keep him safe,” River murmurs to herself. “Too much empty space. They’ll both fall down.”


The shuttle rises smoothly and Zoë turns the little craft south toward where the hills break sharply, falling off toward a small, clear lake. Mal stands beside her, his hand braced on the back of the comm chair.

Beside the stacked crates, Jayne is going through a last-minute check of his weapons and munitions. The golds, browns and greens of Jayne’s camos echo the sun-streaked grassland below.

“Now, you sure you and Zoë can get these cases unloaded on yer own, Mal?”

The captain nods. “I don’t want to take a chance of tippin’ Emerson’s hand and I’d rather drop you off before we ever clear this ridge, figurin’ he’s probably got his own spotters already in place.”

“Then I’ll find ‘em and take ‘em out real quiet-like. That hundan’ll never know they’re down.” The merc clenches his teeth.

“Take her down now, Zoë – just skim the grass if you can.” Mal points toward a rocky outcrop on the ridgeline ahead. “We’ll drop you there.”

Jayne looks Mal square in the eye. “Don’t trust him, Mal. No matter what.”

He pulls on a pair of goggles and slides the hatch open. The roar of wind makes speech impossible. Mal gives him the “thumbs up” sign.

Just before the shuttle passes up over the ridge, the merc dives out of the hatch and hits the thick grass rolling, staying low. In a flash he’s impossible to see amid the thrashing grass and brush stirred by the shuttle’s wake and Mal slams the hatch shut.

“Okay, Zoë, set her down on this end of that little clearing just north of the shore.”

“Yes, Sir.”


“Hey Cap’n, can you hear me?” Jayne whispers into the mike of his transmitter.

“Like my mama callin’ ‘Dinnertime’.”

Jayne snickers and slings his rifle and the Deckler to his back. He snakes his way along on his belly through the rough brush right up to a gap in the rocks. He reaches into his jacket and pulls out the small pair of binoculars around his neck and scans the ridgeline in both directions, staying low.

They’ll be comin’ in from the west on that track, so most likely any lookouts are gonna be west of me so’s they c’n give ‘em cover, he reasons.

He watches as Zoë neatly settles the shuttle into position with the hatch toward the incoming dirt road. Mal and his First Mate step out carefully, scan the slope to their left, and begin to unload and stack the heavy crates.

The big merc carefully wiggles from cover to cover, making his way silently west along the ridge, using his binoculars from time to time to scout for Emerson’s snipers.

Most likely, he’ll have two of ‘em, one as backup, probably up in that cleft high over the road.

The faint breeze carries the hint of unwashed skin and tobacco.

Must be downwind a the chou wang ba dan to catch his stink so clear.

Among the boulders he can just make out the worn boot and lower back of a kneeling man. In two long steps he’s behind him, covering the man’s mouth with one gloved hand while the other abruptly twists the man’s head sharply right, feeling the ‘pop’ as vertebrae and ligaments separate. The merc lowers the limp body to the ground, and crouches to drag it clear.

“One down, Cap’n,” Jayne transmits.

Now where’s that other hundan hidin’?

The mercenary continues to carefully scan the ridge to the west, his sharp eyes alert to the slightest anomaly that might indicate another of Emerson’s snipers. In the distance, he can see a rising dust plume on the road below, headin’ in.

Better find him fast. Deal’s goin’ down soon.

The merc continues to work his way along the boulders and heavy brush overhanging the lip of the ridge, staying low, moving silently. Faint footprints and bent grass tell him he’s close to his target.

Beside a break in the high rocky outcropping ahead, a man crouches with his eye to the scope of the rifle he has pointed at Mal and Zoë.

Jayne draws his knife. He holds his breath and moves as silently as possible, hoping to catch the lookout unawares, but some shift of the wind or faint sound causes the man to turn in alarm. Before he can defend himself or cry out, the mercenary swiftly pulls his head back and skillfully cuts his throat, stepping back to dodge the spray of bright blood. He rolls the body aside and lays the man’s abandoned rifle close by, in case of need, then settles himself into the sheltered overlook.

“Just took care a number two, Cap’n,” he advises over the radio. With the binoculars he picks out details from the dust-cloud and softly passes the recon info on to the Captain. “Heads up on the incoming. Looks like there’s two, no, make that three men on horseback and another fella driving a mule-drawn wagon.”

Jayne watches in silence as the group draws closer, searching the dust-obscured figures for one face in particular. Finally able to pick out the one he seeks, he smirks. In the middle of the group is a heavy man with a patch over his right eye wearing a dusty black hat.

“Cap’n, Emerson’s the one in the middle, on the big bay. ‘Course, bein’ one-eyed mighta give him away, too.”

“Yep, “ Mal chuckles dryly, “Does tend to set a man apart.”

(To be continued...)


Friday, April 14, 2006 11:01 AM


Oh....I wonder if Jayne's gonna try for some permanent paybeck against Emerson besides the buggered eye? Cuz the bastard deserves it, but....things could spiral:(


Friday, April 14, 2006 3:38 PM


I don't like the sound of River's comment. Don't hurt Jayne,or Zoe, or Mal, too badly! Can't wait to see what's next!

Friday, April 14, 2006 3:56 PM


River's comment gave me the creeps. You KNOW that can't be a good sign. It's not like she's wrong often. Oh, the pins and needles!

Keep up the good work. Thanks for your efforts.

Saturday, April 15, 2006 2:04 AM


Great lead up to the showdown, love Jayne's professionalism.

River says both fall down...not Jayne and Kaylee? Please.

Needless to say I love this chapter & can't wait for more.

Saturday, April 15, 2006 3:00 AM


I really enjoyed reading about Jayne going about his job. You did a very good job, I could picture this all happening.

I'm waiting patiently for the next chapter....please don't hurt the crew...

Saturday, April 15, 2006 6:19 AM


I like your Jayne in this series. Thoughtful and a bit ruthless all at the same time. I'm very interested to see where you take this, given your theories in some of the recent threads.

Saturday, June 24, 2006 4:27 AM


you keep our big noisy boys and tough gal safe!!


Friday, August 19, 2011 10:45 AM


too busy reading to comment :D


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