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  1. #1
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    Default Firefly fiction - Return to Firefly ch1 pp 1-4

    Return to Serenity

    Chapter 1 Prelude

    “In the year 2525, if man is still alive; If woman can survive, they may find ...” Zager And Evans.

    -----

    The detective at the crime scene just shook his head. Drive Who Orange had never seen a crime scene like this one before.
    His partner, J Ti Won, asked “Who could do such a thing?”
    Orange looked around the crime scene. About 20 bodies of Alliance troopers in various stages of dismemberment laid about. “J, do you recall the Reaver mess about 18 years ago?”
    “Not really.”
    “I did not think you'd recall that goram incident. Book died in that mess.”
    “Book? Your retired A-team partner that got religion?”
    “I was never certain if he was under cover or retired, but yes, him. He and I were brothers in arms. I never heard what the Reaver incident was all about.” Drive said. “I always wondered if he might have been following someone instead of a walkabout.”
    “You did not have close contact with him?”
    “He, as I, was often on deep black missions.”
    A junior detective came hurrying up. “Detective Orange. The results say that there was only one intruder.”
    J was startled into a comment “One? That can't be right.”
    Orange looked at a mark he dismissed before. It looked like nested pentagons – a ten pointed star. A mobius strip was entangled in the middle of the image with the letters a-k-s-i-n-a randomly placed around the mobius surface.
    J started saying “That can't be t-” when Drive Orange interrupted with “Don't say or think any more about this 'till I tell you otherwise. Either of you.
    “Junior detective, seal off this crime scene. Code word XYZZY.”
    The junior detective's eyes bulged but then said “Yes sir.”
    “J as of this moment only you and I are authorized access. Take the junior detective and use op-sec AZA-19. I have things I need to do and we'll meet up later.”
    “You got it.”

    -----

    Drive got out of his hover at a shopping area on Areal. He goes inside and looks at a window display. There is a small knob that he covertly pushes. He then enters a code and gets a DNA scan. He walks into a wall that has become a passable holographic image.
    He walks down the blueish corridor through a body scanner and enters an office. It is a semi plush office that is more utilitarian than anything else. There are two wall screens with images on them. Off to one side is a small meeting nook with a sofa and some chairs and a high coffee table. There is a standard desk with a holo screen and keyboard, along with two other desk like items that might or might not be real desks.
    D. R. Who stops and waits while the female behind one of the maybe desks acknowledges him.
    “Hi Orange, you were not to report in for another two weeks.” she states.
    “Tante Anna, something's come up and it can not wait. I have an XYZZY.”
    “Op-sec?”
    “AZA-19. I was on a routine call to the Alliance storage facility at Jcityton. There were about 20-odd Alliance soldiers dead and a police test showed only one intruder. They were not killed but taken down like with a scythe.
    “This symbol was found.” he showed Anna the pentagrams and mobius strip logo.
    She studied it and then zoomed in to the a-k-s-i-n-a letters. “An assassin?” she queried.
    “Could be. Look at this.” he passed over a palm computer. She looked at the items and then looked to Orange.
    “Anything else?”
    “I have not had time to look into everything but enough to judge codeword security.”
    “Good call.” she said. “who knows about this?”
    “ J Ti Won and a junior detective are sealing the site right now.”
    “Does the junior detective have a name?”
    “Yes, I'd like to hold it close if I may.”
    Anna looked long and hard at Orange. “Doc Who, I want a status report in 4 days. We may have to revisit the deal then. What other resources do you want?”
    “Small standard to help out J Won and to handle site security. The military will need to be told to keep silent and hands off.”
    “I'll take care of the military. Anything else?”
    “No. If this turns the wrong way, we've got corruption in places I do not know about. I want to do a little snooping. I'll know better what I need then.”

    -----

    Orange was looking at what he had. It might be very bad – even Alliance shattering bad. The crime was theft with killing to get the job done – not assassination.
    He opened a book to review some items he recalled from “Shepherd” Book's communications.
    He was sure now that this was big scale crime. One that normal infiltration would have a very low chance of succeeding.
    Orange started reviewing several files. The first one was on Malcomb Reynolds.
    Reynolds' file included the fact that he was on the black side of gray in his business dealings. He captained his own ship – a Firefly named “Serenity.” Mostly he operated out on the fringe and “led” the Reavers incident years ago. He was never given public credit for this due to his own desires. He was used to “flying below the radar” and would be hard to find.
    Zoe Alleyne Washburne followed Reynolds around. He had been her sargent during the war. She had been a corporal. The two made a powerful team. Speculation on their rough relationship with Adelai Niska was an interesting gossip point. Zoe would be found only by finding Reynolds.
    Hoban “Wash” Washburne had not been seen since the Reavers incident.
    The Companion Inara Serra had been married to Captain Reynolds for many years but they had gone their separate ways. There was a notation that further information was restricted.
    In an oddity, Jayne Cobb was still on Serenity. He was a heavy armed gunman who did not know how to spell scruples much less have any.
    Kaywinnet “Kaylee” Frye had been the ship's mechanic. She had left a time or two but always seemed to return.
    Dr Simon Tam had a successful practice on Ariel. He occasionally met with the crew of Serenity when he wss on Persephone.
    River Tam had remained on the Serenity crew. She had some sort of special almost sibling relationship with Reynolds. She did leave Serenity but found the safety of Serenity preferable.
    Orange had tosses the files onto the glass coffee table as he selected them. He knows he will have to set a crook to catch a crook.
    He nodes slowly while striking a match. This might be the best way.

    -----

    Orange had to locate them and get them to agree to the proposal. Finding them first before trying to work out a deal.
    First steps first. He refered to a data base. He maked a wave. With a short conversation ended, Drive left his office

    -----

    Orange entered a waiting room just before the close of business. There were only two patients in the waiting room. After a seemingly long wait, the attendant calls for him and shows him to a treatment room.
    A short wait later Dr Tam enters.
    “I'm Doctor Tam.” They shake hands.
    “And you are Mister Who. What can I do for you?”
    Orange replies, “I'm flying false colors here. I do not need a medical Doctor. Do you know how to find Serenity?”
    Dr Tam raises his right hand and turns his hand behind his ear. “Mostly by meditation I would assume.”
    Orange asks, “I am talking about a ship out on the fringe. I believe your sister is on that ship.”
    Simon looks. He did not have a ready answer.
    “Dr Tam, I have little time for banter. You were part of the Reaver Incident back in 2518, I believe. I was a partner of Shepard Book before he retired.
    “While much of the truth of the Reaver Incident was down played/covered up at the request of the crew of Serenity, certain files still exist.
    “I do not want to try to change the deal but I have a very urgent need and do want to talk to the crew of Serenity that was involved in the Reaver Incident.”
    Simon looked and considered. “I do not have any way to contact Serenity that is quick. I see River once a year or so and get a wave about twice as often.
    “May I see something that will assure me that this is on the level?”
    Orange offered an item.
    Simon looked at it for a moment. “The best I can do is tell you to contact Inara Reynolds.”
    Orange looked and asked “I understood that they had divorced.”
    Simon replied, “They did. She kept his name.” Simon wrote down some information. He handed it to Orange.
    “Mister Who, here is a possible contact to Inara Reynolds. Wave me at that second contact number if you need anything more.”
    “Thank you Doctor Tam. I will be circumspect.”
    They shook hands and Orange left.

    -----

    Inara opened her door to the new customer. She was as glamorous as usual.
    “Mister Who, so nice to meet you.” She smiled openly.
    Orange entered the boudoir. “Thanks you for taking my custom. You are a very beautiful as says your file.
    “You are Inara Serra Reynolds are you not?”
    The steel behind the velvet came out. “What do you want?” came out hard and courteous.
    “Please do not take offense, Mrs. Reynolds. Please answer my question are you or are you not Malcolm Reynolds ex-wife?”
    “That does not have any bearing on my services.”
    Orange lifted an item and Inara blinked. “Yes, I am Malcolm Reynolds ex-wife. What do you want?”
    “I am sorry for the false colors I am flying but Shepard Book always said you were loyal.
    “I received a package from him after his death in the Reaver Incident. I am very sorry to bring this up but Book's opinion about the crew of Serenity at the time was very interesting. I need a way to get in contact with Captain Malcolm Reynolds and one that is quick.
    “Would you be willing to help?”
    Inara took a step back and sized up Who. “What do you want from him?”
    “A recent incident has lead me to believe that the crew of the Serenity would be very useful. I'd prefer not to go into many details at this time.
    “I have been in contact with Doctor Simon Tam and he sent me here. Feel free to verify that.”
    Simon and myself to find Mal? Notes from Shepard Book?
    “May I ask a little for a information about this need?”
    Interesting. Not what is this about but may I ask. “Before retiring to the Abby, Shepard Book and I were close associates. We would not see each other for months or years but at the next meeting it was as if no time had passed.
    “I would not want to offer too much about the need yet. Could you get a message to Captain Reynolds and a response back in a week or so? You will be compensated for any expenses and your time.”
    For a moment, surprise crossed Inara's face. “I do not know how fast I can get an answer. I would expect no more than two weeks though.” She then realized that her decision had been made, this was important, and it was the right thing to do.
    On his way out, he handed her contact information and payment for her time.

  2. #2
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    Default Firefly fiction - Return to Firefly ch1 pp 5-8

    Chapter 1 Prelude

    pp 5-8

    As we zoom in on Serenity and into the main living area, the six members of the crew (Mal, Zoe, Jayne, Kaylee, River, and Li Sherman “Valkyrie”) are having a meal. Mal is at the head of the table, Jayne and Valkyrie are sitting side by side on his right. Zoe, Kaylee, and River are on his left.
    Small dinner table talk is happening.
    Valkyrie was saying, “... and that was how we caught Jora Nel. One heck of a bad guy. It was an honor to fight him and win.”
    Jayne, “How much was the reward for taking Jora down?”
    “Two hundred credits a month and a feeling of a job well done.” she replied and playfully punched Jayne in the arm.
    “Gunny Li – you can not live on a pat on the back. I don't see the percentage in that.”
    “You goram diphthong,” she replied, “not everything is credits and coppers.”
    As Jayne and Valkyrie argued the time worn argument again, Zoe asked about the next job.
    Mal replied, “Nothing yet. I'll contact Badger and Teton when we make planet fall.”
    When he was finished, he left the others to check on the ship's condition.

    As he entered the bridge, he noticed a signal for a wave message.
    He sat down. The wave was from Inara – neither unusual nor usual. It was a request for a direct contact call back. A half grin on his face happened. He punched up a code and Inara answered.
    “Hi Mal. How are you and how's the crew?”
    “We're all fine. What's up?”
    “I'd like to meet you when you have the time. Do you have a date available?”
    “We're between jobs right now. Where 're you?”
    “Can we meet at Persephone in 3 days?”
    Mal saw something in unusual in her face. He could not place what it was though. “We're about 52 hours out. Will that be good enough?”
    “Yes. I'll tell you then.”
    “I'll be looking forward to it.”

    -----

    As the freight door-ramp opened, Mal and Zoe saw Inara standing there. There were a few smiles.
    “Zoe, may I meet with Mal alone, please?”
    “Sure.”
    Mal and Inara adjourned to his cabin.
    He gave Inara a kiss on the cheek. “What brings you out here?”
    “I'm 5 weeks pregnant. Simon ran the tests.”
    Mal's jaw dropped. Inara had not seen Mal speechless very often. “Is it ours?”
    “Yes. Simon says it is too early to tell yet.
    “I will need to be inactive as a Companion for a few years.”
    “What about a doctor? Won't Simon be good for care? Did you come out here for help? I ain't sure about what I can do do help out. Do you need to lie down? Business is as usual – very iffy. Do you need to sit down? Do you want a drink?” Mal said in a hurry. Words almost tumbling into one another.
    “Mal, Mal, Mal. I'm all right. Shshshsh. I am fine.” Mal's tirade stopped as he found himself hugging her.
    “Take a deep breath. That's good.
    “I was planning come out for this but another item has come up. A fellow named Who contacted me. He claims to be an ex-partner of Shepard Book. He contacted Simon first. Who is a police detective.
    “He talked about the Reaver Incident. Simon thinks that Who wants to find River.
    “He also wants to talk to you face to face.” she said.
    “I wonder what he wants.” Mal said.
    “Here's his bona fides”
    “Huh.” Mal grunted. When he looked back at Inara's face, she was wearing an expression similar to how he felt. “OK. let's set it up.”
    Inara nodded her head.

    -----

    Mal, Zoe, Jayne, Kaylee, River, Valkyrie were joined by Simon and Inara in the common area on Serenity.
    Mal was standing with Inara. “We have a couple of announcements to make.” he said. Kaylee, Zoe and Val all glanced at Inara and had smiles on their faces. Kaylee's was huge. Val had a grin and Zoe had a smirk/smile. River had a knowing face and nodded. The always effervescent Kaylee jumped up and hugged Inara.
    Mal continued. “The child is ours.”
    Jayne, as blunt as ever, “How can you be sure its not someone else's?” Simon slapped Jayne.
    Some more inconsequential talk about the child went on.
    Mal then spoke up again, “That is the personal announcement.
    “We have a lead on a job. It is not the usual kind of job but both Simon and Inara felt it important enough to come out here to discuss.
    “I want y'all's input before making a decision.”
    Simon spoke up, “Since Inara got more information from Who, I'll let her tell it.”
    “Apparently,” Inara said, “there is a agency inside the Alliance that is wanting to speak to us about a need they have. The contact's name is Mister Who. He apparently partnered with Shepherd Book over the years.
    “He has been working as a crime detective and there has been an incident that he will not share details with either Simon or myself. He wants to discuss it with Mal and those of us who were on board after the Reaver Incident.”
    The silence was deafening.
    After telling what little she, Simon spoke his piece, they both turned to Mal.
    Mal: “Here's how I see it, anyone who does not want in on this job will need to be left behind until the job is over. It appears that secrecy is the most important condition. Not that I don't trust you but the Alliance might be touchy about op-sec.
    “From the very little we've told you which is everything we know right now, are you in or out?”
    Jayne spoke up first, “I don't see a percentage in it. Do we have a fixed price?”
    “No.”
    Valkyrie slapped Jayne. “I'm in.” she said.
    Zoe, Kaylee, and River responded in kind.
    “Jayne?” Mal asked.
    Jayne hesitated and Val said, “You're in you dumb ass mode.”
    “Don't I get a say?” Jayne responded.
    “No, I'm your Gunny and what I say goes. We'll discuss it in private. Mal, we're in.”
    Simon spoke, “Since time is apparently short, I would bet Who followed Inara or myself here.
    “I have contact information.” Inara offered.
    “Let's take the next step.” Mal replied.
    They waved Who's contact number and he said he would be there in two hours.

    -----

    Once again the members and former members of Serenity's crew occupied the common area. Zoe had not arrived yet.
    Drive Who Orange and his junior detective were there also – Orange standing and the junior sitting out of the way as unimportant people did.

    “Thank you Captain Reynolds.” Orange responded after being introduced. “First, my name is Drive Who Orange. I was in the winning side in the war. Please note that I did not say I was on the right side.
    “I am a supporter of the Alliance. As anything man made is, it is not perfect and I try to work inside the system to correct problems. Since the war, most of the time it is routine police work.
    “To make sure I did not miss anything, I received a box of personal information from Shepard Book after he died. We had been very close.
    “About ten days ago, I was called to a crime scene that was at an Alliance military location but not part of it. This symbol was found at the crime scene.” he passed the ten pointed star with the mobius strip around.
    “Twenty military guards were dead. It looked almost like the remains of a Reaver attack. Several oddities jumped out including the symbol. Forensics determined that there was only one perpetrator.”
    River said “Niska.”
    “Yes, the letters on the symbol could be interpreted as A. Niska. You have had some experience with him and have had some success in standing up to him. I would guess you have an uneasy truce with him.”
    “Nothing was said explicitly,” Mal commented, “but I would say that that is correct.”
    “You've had success with the Reavers also.”
    “It was bloody but that is so.”
    Orange looked at River. “You were very successful against them.” She nodded.
    River: “There's more.”
    “Yes. Some data not at the crime scene lead's me to wonder if there might be a Reaver with your abilities, River.”
    Mal: “Simon is that even possible?”
    Simon: “I don't know. Seeing how hard it is to kill them and their unfriendly ways, I wonder about how hard it is to get hands on a live Reaver.”
    Val: “Isn't Blue Sun the only way to make a reader?”
    Zoe: “The evidence seems to show that Niska has a River-like Reaver.”
    Kaylee piped up, “Could he be thinking on coming after us?”
    Everyone seemed to be talking at once now.
    Mal shouted for control. “Orange, is this all the information you are giving us right now?”
    Orange: “Yes.”
    Mal: “What is it you want from us?”
    Orange: “You are a gray area business working on the edges. I think you might be able to find information for me that I can not come up with from other means. I need help in identifying the problem. Once I can better define the problem, I should be able to come up with a better action plan. I might need to use you in the clean up.
    “If it goes well, other options might be possible.”
    Mal: “Full time or part time?”
    Orange: “Most likely part time.”
    Mal: “What's on the table?”
    Orange: “I'd like to discuss that in private at first.”
    Mal: “Let us discuss this a little. I realize you are pressed for time. Can you give us until tomorrow?”
    Orange: “Of course.”

  3. #3
    Staff Sergeant
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    Default Return to Firefly ch1 pp 9-12

    Chapter 1 Prelude
    pp 9-12

    Mal and Zoe were sitting on a park bench feeding the birds as Orange walked up.
    “Hi.” Mal smiled.
    Orange had an internal grin. He had expected Zoe to come even though this was supposed to be a conversation between Mal and Orange. The phrase joined at the hip when dealing with jobs was alluded to by Book.
    “G'day”
    Mal: “We discussed a lot about your offer. What do we call you?”
    Orange: “Who is fine. I assume you've tried to check up on my name?”
    Mal: “Yes. Not much available. We actually found a reference to a library.”
    Orange: “Where you found a reference to sheep and books.”
    Mal: “Yup. Oddly, we found a sliver of a reference to an Earth-that-was dealing with a man named Who.”
    Orange: “Yes. It is a useful ancient nugget. Do you have any more questions?”
    Zoe: “I do not think Kaylee or Simon recognized your junior detective. I think only River, Mal and I did.”
    Orange smiled. “I see that River is as good as it is claimed to be. As an aside, Gwinett Fryetam is much like her father. Very focused - a little uncomfortable in non-business dealings.”
    Mal: “Did you pick her up after the adoption?”
    Who/Orange: “Based a a few notes from Book, I looked for any possible off-spring from Simon and Kaylee. I saw that Gwen got a good education and upbringing through a foster home. She thinks her parents were killed in an accident.
    “Book was very concerned and it is a personal favor to him as a friend I did this.”
    Mal: “Did Book tell everything?”
    Who/Orange: “No. He did not say much but was worried that if Kaylee and Simon got together, they could not support a child.
    “Book cared for all of you very much. I suspect that he had found a home – a place to belong – that he had not had in a very long time. I suspect he thought of the eight of you as family. Most of his contacts were business and understandably held close or at a distance.
    “About 8 years ago, Simon Tam moved back to the Central planets. Do you happen to know what that was about?”
    Mal: “Putting Gwinett Fryetam up for adoption was a very big problem for their relationship. I believe Simon went to find her. Setting up a practice at Ariel was the first step to finding Gwen.
    “What about this job?”
    Nodding to himself, Who/Orange said “Back on Earth-that-was, there were many nations. Each had its own government. Some were allowing very easy travel to and from it while others ruled each individual as much as they can sort of like the Alliance is now.”
    Zoe: “Didn't they have a central government for settling disputes?”
    Who: “In a way. They had a United something or other that was basically non-functional. With limited authority, it was a mediocre solution.”
    Mal: “It sounds like the Alliance.”
    Who: “Yes it does. Since there is not another governing body to balance the Alliance, the only choice is the Alliance.”
    Mal: “Are you anti-Alliance?”
    Who: “No. I'm a realist. The only game in town is the Alliance. So I personally work to improve the Alliance and remove the corruption. This is much like what you did reporting on Miranda.
    “I do not want anarchy.”
    Zoe: “So you are trying to improve the Alliance Government from inside and you need a hired gun from the black to help out sometimes.”
    Who: “That is exactly what I want. Many would call it treason. I feel that them that can help make changes have the duty to do so when possible.
    “Malcolm Reynolds. You are a leader of men. Men under you are drawn to you and are loyal to you. You took in Simon and River Tam and Shepard Book and in eight short months without realizing it (I think) bound them into a family.
    “I need you to help me cut out some of the rot and corruption in the Alliance. Are you interested in that?”
    Mal: “Does this mean you want us to be agents for your arm?”
    Who: “No. You would work best under you current situation.”
    Zoe: “We could be the cut out if something goes wrong.”
    Who: “Yes. I would work the inside and you would work the outside and hopefully we'd meet in the middle.”
    Mal: “What about the payment for this one-time job?”
    Who: “I'd pay your approved expenses for this work. You'd need to keep up the smuggling as a cover. What I need is the information from your end. I already have the crime on our end. There will be a fixed payment for services at the end.
    “How you run it is up to you. However, I've had time to think on it and believe that I have a few suggestion for you. Use what you want – they are not mandatory.”
    Zoe: “Sir, we'd have to hide the legit money in the smuggling money.”
    Mal: “That tickles me. Most like Niska try to hide illegal money.” A sly smile on Mal's face shows.
    Who: “I'd suggest adding two people to your current crew. Gwen and an agent of mine. He needs more field work experience on the gray side. He's got about 8 years of experience as my partner as a detective.
    “I'd suggest that Inara return to Serenity. She can go places no one else can.
    “Simon might need some time to tie up his practice but I think he'd be a good member of your crew, also.
    “You might need to split up now and then so one or two of my men might be available or actually travel with Serenity.”
    Zoe: “We have Val who is ex-Alliance military. Mal and I are Browncoats. Last we have Jayne. Good in a fight.”
    Mal: “I ain't gonna make a decision right now, but the options are interesting for the crew changes. What about contacts dirt side?”
    Who: “We do not have a large presence on the fringe, but I'm sure something can be worked out.”
    Mal: “I believe we have a deal.”

    -----

    Zooming into Anna's office, Orange and Anna are talking.
    Orange: “Sorry about not getting back to you sooner.”
    Anna: “You sent a note about talking directly with Serenity's crew. Results?”
    Orange: “Very good. I took the Junior detective (Gwinett Fryetam) along. I'm sure that neither Kaylee Frye nor Simon Tam had a hint of who Gwen is. I know Reynolds and Zoe Washburne knew and I think River Tam is a reader – she seemed to know who Gwen was.”
    Anna: “That is good news. I suspected Gwen was your junior but why the secrecy?”
    Orange: “There seems to be a lot of unexpected depth to this developing case. I wanted to use her as a test for River. If there was a leak anywhere, it would have nullified the test.”
    Anna nodded.
    Orange: “I'd like to put both Gwen and J on detached duty to this project. I'm not sure yet if they should be on Serenity or contacts in the area.
    “It is confirmed that Wash Washburne died in the Reaver Incident. River has joined with Mal to cover piloting. If a cover is needed, Gwen could handle piloting I think.
    “Mal and Inara apparently talking about getting back together. I think there is a child involved but I do not know why they separated the second time.
    “As for Jayne, he picked up Li Sherman 'Valkyrie' who is ex-Alliance military and seems to be able to keep his wild side in check.
    “Kaylee is still the mechanic. Simon was there on Serenity but a cover story for him to leave a successful practice and return to Serenity will be needed.
    “That about covers it.”
    Anna looked and thought. “Good move. Maybe have Doctor Tam go on a tour that takes him to the fringe planets and helping with free or low cost medical service.”
    Orange: “That would work well. Doctor Tam came to the central planets to earn money to find the child he fathered with Kaylee.”
    Anna: “What about Gwen? Are you going to tell them?”
    Orange: “I was not planning to do so. If they figure it out on their own, that would be very good. But I think that they should not feel manipulated by the Alliance. There is a strong wariness of the Alliance coming from the crew.
    “I am hoping to get the information from them for the other end of the the crime itself.
    “I offered them expenses for the work and a lump sum at the end plus possible other work. They are living hand to mouth. They liked the hiding legit money with bad money idea. They will continue as they have been.
    “Inara will be able to get a few doors into the upper crust if needed.
    “Simon will be able to hear common/poor people's grips.”
    Anna: “Negatives?”
    Orange: “I think Inara is pregnant with Mal's child. Her continuing as a Companion might be stressful to their relationship.
    “Gwen is a mixed blessing. It gives her some good experience. I've no feel about how Simon and Kaylee might react when they find out about Gwen. It could break everything.
    “Those are the most dangerous break points but I think it is the best we can do.”
    Anna spoke after a few moment. “I agree that this is about the best we could hope for. Do you need other resources?”
    Orange: “I'll need ways to contact them and for them to drop messages to me. Also there needs to be a secure and untraceable way to pay them. If I can, I'd like to stage a couple of agents off ship that they could call on if needed.
    “Mal, Zoe, Jayne, Kaylee, River, Valkyrie, Simon, and Inara would be a crew of eight mostly from the Reaver Incident. Gwen and J would make that ten.
    “For combat/fights, Mal, Zoe, and Val have fought in the war. Jayne is good in barroom brawls and performed well in the Reaver incident. River also was excellent in the Incident. J is an unknown but I think he could work with some seasoning.
    “If they need to land one group and keep the Serenity flying, Val, Jayne and River might be the second team. With six women on the crew, the men are a bit stretched if dividing the crew into combat teams.
    “Cutting Simon out for a few day stay on one planet or another as a low cost doctor, I'd suggest a male combat nurse in the mix. It would also be a reason for a larger crew.”
    Anna: “What about having Simon have a 3 man aid station. He calls upon Serenity when needed to move between planets?”
    Orange: “I told Mal that he could set up the details as he pleases but I'll suggest that to him. It might make messages between the two of us easier to hide”
    Anna: “What about Gwen? She does not seem to have a niche.”
    Orange: “She could be an administrative assistant to Simon.”
    Anna: “I think this is a good stopping point. I approve your basic ideas.
    “I'll approve up to 4 prestaged agents for you for communication and emergencies. If you want to add Gwen to the aid station, make it a four man aid station – I want a heavy out there for protection. He might look like someone whose only job is to lift and carry. Your call.
    “Will Reynolds agree?”
    Orange: “Yes. I think he is willing to try to weed out the baddies with me to try to improve the Alliance without having to declare support for it.”

  4. #4
    Staff Sergeant
    Member Since
    Feb 2017
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    Default Return to Firefly ch1 pp 13-16

    Chapter 1 Prelude
    pp 13-16

    Opening into Serenity's common area again, Mal, Zoe, Jayne, Kaylee, River, Valkyrie, Simon, and Inara are discussing the situation.
    Mal (standing) “.. and that is the situation as it stands now. Questions?”
    Kaylee: “Cap'n. What about you and Inara and the baby?”
    Inara: “Kaylee, Mal and I will work it out if need be.”
    Mal: “Let's talk about the job. If we do not take the job, the other things won't matter.”
    Kaylee looks concerned. She does not say anything more.
    Jayne holds up his hand and wiggles two fingers: “So the job's collecting information. What information? It don't make no sense.”
    Val smacks him on the head: “It doesn't make any sense.”
    Jayne looks at her: “That's what I said.”
    As Val hits Jayne on the head again and tries to explain common Mandarin English, Mal says: “Who will place several agents in place in the area we normally operate. They will be a contact point and sometimes team addition for special ops.”
    Zoe: “Do we know who these agents, Gwen and J, are whom Who wants on Serenity?”
    Mal: “Not much more than they have worked with Who from time to time. I get the feeling J was his partner for a while.”
    Inara: “Why is Simon to head an aid station?”
    Mal: “I think it is to get the pulse of the common folk out there more than anything else. He can be used to pass messages when Serenity is not around. Since the perp of the trigger incident seems to have both Reaver and Reader qualities, it is felt he is best qualified to handle anything that comes up.”
    Simon: “I thought there was a three man team for the aid station. Gwen, myself, and another.”
    Zoe: “We worked it out that there will be four. You as doc. Gwen as an administrative assistant (non-medical), a nurse, and a heavy posing as a corpsman for muscle if you need help. If the nurse has a military background, you would have a bit of protection when you are alone.”
    Kaylee quietly commented to no one: “Protection. That's shiny.”
    The difficulty between Kaylee and Simon showed.
    Mal: “With J and Gwen, we have a crew of ten. Inara will need her shuttle back. Val and Jayne are already double bunking, that gives us eight rooms taken. With shuttle 1, we have room for three more. Two are taken for the med team.”
    Jayne: “Where do we start?”
    Mal: “Good question. I don't know yet.”
    Jayne: “Seems like we need to also work normally. Do we have another job lined up?”
    Mal: “With talks with Who going on, I held off on new jobs a little. Sir Warrik may have a job for us. I ain't sure on his timing.”
    Jayne: “Don't make no sense” pause “Doesn't make no sense” he looks to Val with a triumphant look on his face “that we need to work for ourselves and this Who also.”
    Val: “We are working part time for Who. Do you expect to have him pay us full time?”
    Jayne: “Yes.”
    Zoe: “We need to keep the smuggling cover going to cover legit funding from the Feds. The smuggling cover is why we get this extra job from the Feds.”
    Jayne grumbles.
    Mal: “For running the ship, myself, River, and Kaylee are required.
    “For the first combat team, Val will lead with Jayne and J.
    “This leaves us a little flexibility with where to assign Zoe or maybe the heavy from the aid station team if he is available.
    “I hope a corpsman or Simon will be available for shipboard duty but right now it is up in the air.
    “If we all are in one place, the status quo remains for jobs.”
    Jayne: “Who's Status and who's Quo?”

    -----

    In shuttle 1, soon to be redecorated to Inara's place for business, Mal and Inara were talking.

    “Mal, I'm sorry this happened with Who. I was hoping to try again with us.” The barriers that had separated them had been dissolving before their marriage.
    Mal looked directly at her: “I have regrets to. This timing is bad.”
    Inara: “Will this cause more problems?”
    Mal: “I don't know. I assume you came back with pregnancy news to try again. The Companion thing might be a problem as before. I can not help it.”
    Inara: “I know. I was also hoping that the business was better off to support the two of us. It looks to be better but not enough for me to quit.”
    Mal: “Yeah. The baby is another complication. I assume you want it, I do but this is no life for a child and we're not able to support the three of us on my income.”
    Inara: “Will this Who job have any affect?”
    Mal: “It might have a big affect and it might not. I like the chance to pick at the Alliance in the bad areas. Who makes a lot of sense there.”
    Inara: “You'd never be able to work as an Alliance citizen. I think it would kill you. You're too free spirited for that.”
    Mal: “How about you? Could you be a free spirit?”
    Inara: “I was for several years and had little trouble. The biggest problem I think is my being a Companion. I do not want it to come between us again.”
    Mal: “I'm sorry about that. I really tried.”
    Inara: “Do not be sorry, I knew going in and more importantly you'd not be the man I love if you were different.”
    Mal nodded. A comfortable silence between them occurred. They were both concerned. Afraid that if they tried again at this point Who's job requirements would come between them again.
    Inara: “I'd like us to talk a little about plans including both of us and the child in case we can make it.”
    Mal: “I agree.” He reached over to Inara and they hugged.

    -----

    Drive Who Orange was in a briefing room with several people including Gwen and J.
    Orange: “This briefing is classified code word XYZZY. Our operation is Ellipse.
    “I will require a verbal response from all of you now.”
    After all had responded, Orange proceeded with the first crime and then some of the implications.
    Orange: “As you can see we are in a fog and a bog with no clear path out.
    “A few of you know Shepard Book. He died during the Reaver Incident.” Several nodded back.
    Orange: “The following is classified N2 under op-sec AZA-19.” A few eyes opened or narrowed as the impact hit home. There was a murmur of “Yes sirs” and “Yeahs” and OKs.”
    Orange: “Reavers still exist. The Reavers were not exterminated during the Reaver Incident – greatly reduced but not exterminated. Best we can tell they are growing but not any where near the level of the Incident.
    “The response to the Reavers by the Alliance was the Readers. The only one that has turned out to be balanced is River Tam who was the main anti-Reaver force in the Incident.
    “The apparent use of a possible Reaver with Reader abilities at the crime scene has bad implications. I already have a deal with the crew of Serenity, most of who fought in the Reavers Incident.
    “They have eight members. J Ti Won and Gwen will be assigned to the crew probably. I left the assignment to the crew to the Captain.”
    From the audience: “Does the Captain have a name?”
    Orange: “Not yet for us. Gwen, your cover will be Gwen Dee Lynch. J, I think that you should go as Jay Tea. Questions you two?”
    “No.” both answered.
    “Based on what the Captain said, he will have a crew of three for the ship and can double as the second combat team. All three are from his current crew. The Captain was a Redcoat Sargent in the War and knows his stuff. He earned a medal for Valor in the Battle of Serenity Valley. River Tam is the pilot and the other is the ship's mechanic. Questions Comments?”
    One of the Audience: “I knew a Captain Reynolds from the battle.”
    Orange with an ambiguous “Yes.”
    After a moment, Orange: “For the first combat team, two are from his crew. One was a Gunny for the Alliance and the other is a good brawler. Questions Comments?”
    After a moment, Orange: “For what we are currently calling the aid station team, there is a doctor from the central planets who also served on Serenity during the Incident. I am considering placing Gwen with him as an administrative assistant.
    “This leaves two from the Serenity unassigned. One is a floater that was the Captain's Corporal during most of the War. The other is a Companion that might let them get into upper places to find information.
    “What remains for us to fill are another person or two for combat team 1. One person for combat team 2, a nurse and a heavy for the Aid Station team, a medic that can stay on the ship while doctor is off ship, and several, say four to six, prestaged planet side people for on-call use by the Captain. Additionally, we need to set up communications and all the other covert items for support. Since the cover for the Captain will still be his basic salvage and gray area work, we can not have a high visibility here.
    “I think having him transport bogus cargo might be an aid. I'd also like to prestage a few weapons and ship parts. I believe he is living hand to mouth and has little money for spares.
    “I'll call an hour's break for you to eat and think by yourself. When we return, please have an idea if you want to join and at what level of risk. This is a mostly volunteer operation.”

    -----

    Orange: “You've had a short time to think on this. The high risk positions will be volunteer. These are the ones on Serenity. The planetary side positions are mandatory.
    “J and Gwen are the only higher risk mandatory positions at this time.
    “We have openings for about fifteen. Three are ship. Two are aid station.
    “First, the aid station team. Nurse and heavy. The floor is open.”
    Corporal Wayne: “I'd like to fill the nurse position. I've been in the War and have been working as a nurse since I got out.”
    Agent Goldarn: “I was not in the war – too young. But I was in the Newgyn Yung skirmish putting down the rioters.”
    Orange: “That nearly turned into a war.”
    Goldarn: “Yes sir.”
    Orange: “Anyone else for these two positions?”
    After a moment: “No? Then we'll have Gwen, Wayne, and Goldarn in the aid team contingent to approval by Serenity's captain.”
    The same sort of process continued until all positions were filled.
    Orange restating the final choices for shipboard assignment: “Second combat team/crew will not need any help from us.
    “First combat team is J and Humperdink.
    “Aid Station is Gwen, Wayne, and Goldarn.
    “Ship's medic/chaplain is covered by Hump.
    “These assignments are fixed and there's no swapping them out.
    “With the aid station only part time ship board, that gives Serenity's captain a crew of eight and a part time crew of four.
    “The eleven others can be swapped in and out as needed for duties and/or op-sec.
    “Good work people and thank you. The floor is open.”
    Work got underway for the details and the aliases and the 1001 other items to get the plan rolling.
    At the end, Orange: “I think we have a good set up. Things might still change. Serenity's captain has final say for ship board. With time probably being critical, we'll make changes on the fly.”

  5. #5
    Staff Sergeant
    Member Since
    Feb 2017
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    Default Return to Firefly ch1 pp 17

    Chapter 1 Prelude
    pp 17

    The next meeting between Orange/Who and Mal was several weeks later.
    Orange/Who brought J and Gwen. Mal had Zoe in tow.
    They discussed the overall Alliance support and the Serenity assets.
    Mal and Zoe had no major changes to offer.
    Mal: “May I have a moment alone with you Who?”
    Orange/Who: “Sure. Will this be long?”
    Mal: “No. Zoe, would you accompany J and Gwen outside?”
    Zoe: “Yes Sir.”
    Once they were alone, Mal spoke: “Concerning J, why is so junior a person being assigned on this operation?”
    Who: “J is a good man. I have had him as a partner for several years. I'd like to use him in the future in other places.
    “You are a good leader and I think you can teach him better than anything I can do at the moment. He needs seasoning in gray area but he is a very good support man you can use.”
    Mal: “Is he expendable?”
    Who: “As much as anyone is. I want a better agent but with this operation, if he saves you or Zoe, for instance, I'd call it a good trade.”
    Mal: “Good. With Val and Jayne, they can probably cover his weak points.”
    Who: “I thought so also.”
    Mal: “Zoe and I know who Gwen is. What's the deal there?”
    Who: “It is for several items. As previously mentioned, Book asked me. Another item is that she believe her parents died and she does not know anyone but her foster parents as her parents. This might cause problems you might have to handle.
    “Gwen has trained as an undercover police officer. I normally would not place her in this sort of situation – she's marginally trained for this – if not for Book, Kaylee, and Simon.”
    Mal: “I'd love to see Book's notes. Not that I'm asking. What he said to you is confidential. You're providing a situation where they might recognize each other?”
    Who: “Thank you, Mal. Book sent me a lot of information and I do not think it is most of what he knew. Yes, both Book and I want to allow the opportunity to occur for reconciliation. If Simon had not returned to Ariel, I do not think I would have involved Gwen.”
    Mal: “Currently our only contact is you. What happens if something unexpectedly ...”
    And they focused on a few but very important details.
    Last edited by edgarcorny; March 4th, 2017 at 08:16 AM.

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