In Sunshine and in Shadow Part Four
Saturday, April 29, 2006

Mal brings his people to Whitefall, into a situation which looks darker and nastier than before.


This episode has turned into a bit of a monster, but I wanted to get them to a certain place and it took more words than I expected, so my apologies it does go on a bit.

The Firefly characters are someone else’s property, I am not getting paid for this.

All reviews welcome


In Sunshine and in Shadow Part 4

“There’s blood on my dress, there’s blood on my dress! Oh God NO! GET IT OFF! GET IT OFF!”


Simon moving with a speed and grace to rival his sister, leaping up onto the mule.

“River move your hands!”


River holding both hands up to her face looking with wonder at the blood glistening in the cargo bay lights.


Al on the stretcher eyes rolled back in her head.


Inara setting out medical supplies in a glorious robe of red and gold.


A string of cuss words in English, Welsh and Chinese.




Then… becomes… now.

Mal woke up with a start, his head resting on one arm his fingers crocked round a stone cold cup of Coffee.

He groaned as he sat up, bones clicking, muscles twanging and went through that confused period that comes from waking up somewhere other than your own bed.


“Zoe?” Mal rubbed his face, he needed a shave.

“It’s morning sir, sun’s up, Owen’s gone. Doc strapped him up good, gave him some meds for the pain. He asked me to tell you that he’s sorry, they were bigger ‘gwirionyn’ than he thought and if they weren’t dead he’d ‘have rutting’ killed them… Oh and to keep your head down on Whitefall and maybe he’ll see you there.” Zoë pulled a small purse out of her pocket and threw it to Mal. “Owen got Jayne to empty their pockets before he buried them said to take the coin to help pay for the repairs.”

“Mighty generous of him, Al still alive?”

“She is and likely to remain so, bullet was a through and through, hit her in the left of her back and went through at an angle, one of the bastards must have got her while she was turning the Mule. You missed River getting all twitched; she thought she might have shot Al by mistake ‘til the Doc showed her the angle was all wrong. “The bullet broke up and made a mess of Al’s ‘soft tissue’ as the Doc puts it, that’s why she bled so much, but he reckons she’ll be able to leave the infirmary in a couple of days.”

“Ok, we stick to the plan, take Kaylee into town, see what she needs to fix the cargo bay door. Ask Simon to give you a list of supplies he needs in priority order.”

“Are we still going to Whitefall, sir?”

“That we are.”

Zoë turned half way to go, and then turned back.

“Owen told me about the job.”

“Did he now.”

“I think he told me to try and get me… like he does when he grabs hold of me all the time. I really…” Zoë took a deep breath, “I really do not like that man sir, and I really do not like the job he is going to do.”

“Zoë, I found something out last night. I find Owen Thomas plain despicable; reckon I’ve figured out just how low I won’t go.”

About ten pounds of weight seemed to lift of Zoë’s shoulders.

“Seems you’ve known that a while sir, what are you gonna do?”

“I am gonna, shower, shave, eat and then I might see if our passenger’s awake and ready to talk.”


Mal found Al slightly propped up on the med bed one hand resting on what remained of the green dress. Mall could see the frayed seams where Simon had sliced through the thick silk and a damn great dark patch spoiling its sheen. Al looked up at him, a wry smile twisting her mouth. Aside from a grey tinge she actually didn’t look too bad.

“Seemed so important last night, keeping the blood of this dress I mean. Hell I still got one real ugly hat to remember him by.” She paused, threw the dress on the end of the bed, “I apologise for bringing trouble to your ship Captain.”

“Could’ a taken off last night, my choice not to, I trusted in a man’s ability to control two fools. I was wrong. Your taking the Mule out made things a lot easier.”

“Thank you. Makes me feel better.”

“Weren’t my intention, just the truth. We should be on the way to Whitefall in a couple of hours.”

“It’ll be something shiny to be home.”

“It maybe that home ain’t what it was when you left. We got two weeks before we land, I want to know every damn thing about Whitefall before we do…”


Mal was checking on Kaylee’s progress with the cargo bay door when a woman came up to the ship, a bundle over her shoulder and a hesitant look on her face.

“Can I help you with something?”

“I heard your gonna fly to Whitefall.”

Mal stepped down the ramp, “You looking for passage?” The woman was standing kind of scrunched up, whether from the weight of her bundle or nervousness he wasn’t sure. It wasn’t until he was right up to her that he recognised her.

“You’re the wh… girl from the bar.”

The woman stood up a bit straighter.

“Whore’s the right word Captain, aint trying to deceive you none. My Auntie has the Cat House now on Whitefall, got more business than she can handle. Maybe I can get a new start.” She paused and ran a tongue over her dry lips. “I got some coin and I can cook and maybe we can… trade?”

“Let’s see if we can do a deal for coin and cooking, other… trade won’t be necessary. Fact is I’m happy enough to sell you passage but while you’re on my ship you’re closed for business. You hear me straight?” She nodded, “Well now what’s your name?”

“Lizzie Appleby.”

“Zoë!” Mal yelled over his shoulder. Zoë appeared at the back of the Cargo bay. “Take Miss Appleby to the guest quarters and see what coin she’s got, if she’s got more than it will cost to feed her we’ll take her.”


Al recovered well on the journey; she spent a lot of time with the Captain and Zoë telling them all she knew about Whitefall, making plans. Other times Mal saw Al and Inara with their heads together, seemed some kind of friendship developing.

Jayne was happy for all of ten seconds when he found out Lizzie Appleby was going to be a passenger. When he found out that Mal had banned her from trading he sulked for two days.

Drunk and trading Lizzie had been pretty raucous and bold. Near sober and cooking she was mouse like quiet, drifting around like a ghost. Mal had wondered whether she could stay sober on the trip and though he could smell gut rot spirits on her now and then she caused little trouble.

What trouble there was came from River, she didn’t take to Lizzie.

“Her heads all fuzzy and tangled up makes no sense at all.” She told Mal “Not straight.” River took to following Lizzie round the ship in very River like ways. In one notable incident terrified screams brought most of the crew running to the guest quarters to find Lizzie sat on her bed pointing up at River who was curled into an impossibly tight space on top of Lizzie’s closet.


They landed on the edge of town, close to dark, Mal had chosen to keep it simple, they were here to drop off passengers and that’s what they would tell anyone who asked. Chances were Owen was already here and it would look odd if they didn’t make an appearance. Hanging around to pick up business and take their ease would look natural enough. Lizzie was encouraged to go straight off to her Aunt.

Mal left Jayne on the ship took Zoë along as Al led them to the church at the end of Main Street.

The door opened to her knock, standing in the lamplight was a willowy man with troubled lines on his face.

“Dennis.” Whispered Al and hugged him so hard his feet left the floor.

When they got into the light you could see the family resemblance, Al’s brother, the town’s Shepard Dennis Baedillion-Trehearne was tall and rangy and had his sisters green eyes.

He was also shit scared.

It showed in the tension in his face, the slight tremors in his hands and the way his eyes kept darting towards the door. Mal remembered Owen’s tale of the Shepard near pissing in the dirt as he conducted a forced wedding and found it more than easy to believe, that was a story he hadn’t told Al.

“Dennis, what the hell’s going on, I’ve heard tales about this Samson fella and they tell me Chilli spends his time drunk or worse. I never seen that man sink more than one beer at a sitting.”

“It’s all true Allana, It all happened on one day,” Dennis had the more refined voice that Mal had learnt to associate with Shepherds, he drew a ragged breath; his words tumbling out faster and faster, his eyes standing out in his head.

“Patience and Louis dead, I ran to him, I begged him but he slapped me down,” Dennis’ hand went to his cheek in memory.

“They tied them up, knelt them in the dirt outside the town hall, everyone looking on. They beat Louis half to death in front of Patience and held her eyes open so she had to watch when Samson shot him through the back of his head. Then he just turned and shot her in the face.” He closed his eyes on the memory, a green tinge suffusing his skin.

“I was holding onto Marie, she was screaming and fighting me to get to them but I couldn’t think of another thing to do. He came straight up to me and grabbed her by the hair, dragged her away to where the bodies lay and put a gun to her head. He forced me to do the marriage service over their bodies. Told her he’d spare her son if she did as she was told or he would find the boy and gut him right in front of her.

“The people just watched, when I’d finished the service he stood up in front of them and told them to ‘think to the safety of their own families’ and ‘keep the peace.’ I had blood on my shoes, I couldn’t clean it off.” Dennis’ voice died of to a murmur, “I had to throw them away in the end.”

Allana got straight into his face, anger coming off her in jagged waves “Where the hell was Chilli, you aint gonna tell me that he just stood by?”

“Knocked out and locked in his own cell, he has not been sober or straight since. Samson left him as Sheriff but it doesn’t mean anything. I think Samson likes to see him stumbling about”

Al backed off from her bother, hands on her hips, “We need to go see him is he still up at the jail house? Can we move about the streets or are we gonna see trouble?”

Dennis gulped “The town’s still open for business; we have strangers coming in for trade, people from the ranches out in the wilds. Samson’s men are mostly found on main street and Jenny’s bar and boarding house, you could take the alley’s go round the back.” The Shepard stood there and literally rung his hands.

“Don’t tell me what you’re going to do, I can’t know, I have to face this monster in the morning at early service, just for god’s sake be careful!”

Al looked blankly at him for a moment, and then just opened the door and led Mal and Zoë out into the night.


They had no trouble moving through the town, a few drunks, and a male whore making suggestions to Zoë from the street corner. As they crossed over the side streets they could see up into Main Street and more than once caught sight of small groups of men seemingly taking their ease, rifles across their knees, the flare of matches and the glow of cigar ends lighting their faces.

The jail house was pretty much the other end of town from the church, in the richer sector, round the church it was all what Al called ‘the better off Hicks with social aspirations,’ this end of town in the side streets were cheap bars selling cheaper gut rot whiskey and the town cat house looking a mite spiffy with its flashing signs. Al stopped for a moment to look around.

“Place has changed, Patience was all for people having a little fun, but not like this. Looks like the docks on a core world.”

As they approached the jail house a figure resting in a rocking chair leapt up and levelled a rifle in their direction.

“State your name and business.”

“Agnes Harrow you put that gun down and give me a hug.”

The rifle was lowered and a chubby figure started to shake with chuckles.

“If it ain’t Al, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, come here xiǎo māo.”

For the second time that evening Al was throwing herself into an embrace, this time however she was on the receiving end. The woman was nearly as tall as Zoë and about twice the girth. What looked like an antique bugle was strung round her neck.

“Bai gǎn jiāo jí nǚ hair, ain’t you a sight for sore eyes, guess you know we are in a world of trouble.”

“I know dà dì, I got some friends with me who had a kindness for Patience and we want to see what can be done, first I want to see Chilli.”

“It ain’t a pretty sight nǚ hair.”

Agnes opened the door for them and gestured them in.

The first thing to hit them was the smell.


Welsh Translation Gwirionyn - Idiot

Chinese Translations xiǎo māo - Kitten dà dì - Mother earth nǚ hair - Daughter Bai gǎn jiāo jí - All sorts of feelings well up in one's heart


Saturday, April 29, 2006 8:53 PM


Ahttp://www....don't make the Welshman a baddie (even a minor one):(

Still...I am mightly interested to find out what kind of shape the sherriff's in: Gene Wilder in Blazing Saddles drunkard or something worse....


Wednesday, May 3, 2006 4:33 AM


Wow! You really know how to ground your readers right there in the middle of the dust and the male whores! Never was one for Westerns before I watched Firefly but you make me want to sit down and watch them all till I get all the references!

Wednesday, July 5, 2006 10:20 AM


agree with BEB: don't make owen mean, please?
just out of curiousity, what was the second thing to hit them?



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In sunshine and in Shadow Part Nine
The finale.

In Sunshine and in Shadow Part 8
Samson's going to jail, Jayne gets a sandwich.

In Sunshine and in Shadow Part 7
A trail leads to a Rat's nest and Chilli finds his guts again.

In Sunshine and in Shadow Part Six
Chilli is mostly upright, Samson get's madder by the minute.

In Sunshine and in Shadow Part Five
There's a drunk to sort out, River has fun with Jayne (Not the rude kind)and Lizzie Appleby's Auntie turns out to be a right little Madam.

In Sunshine and in Shadow Part Four
Mal brings his people to Whitefall, into a situation which looks darker and nastier than before.

In Sunshine and in Shadow Part 3
A nice dinner and a little gun fight.

In Sunshine and in Shadow Pt 2
A new passenger has come aboard, Jayne's had one of his itches scratched, a dangerous gunman is due for dinner and something nasty is brewing ready for the crew....

In Sunshine and in Shadow
Plot partially stolen from the favorite Western of my childhood. Please review but be a little gentle, it was written during a bout of insomnia last night.