Persephone. Wash guided the ship toward the Eavesdown Docks with a grin as wide as the Captain’s scowl was dark. After a few weeks of skirting the worlds at the back end of the Rim to give the Alliance a chance to forget about the elusive little ship, everyone was glad to be going back to a world where they could stock up on supplies and spend a bit of the money they had saved up. Of course Mal was his pessimistic and surly self so close to the core planets and while classified as a border world, Persephone was Alliance friendly.
“We’re heading back out soon as refueling is done.” The Captain grunted and spun around to let their passenger know it was almost time to disembark.
Wash rolled his eyes and didn’t let that discourage him. He knew Zoe would convince him to give them at least a couple of hours on solid land.
Mal stalked the narrow halls to make sure their passenger would be ready to go and warned the rest of the crew as he passed by. Each time he denied requests or suggestions that they leave the next day. He muttered to himself about short memory spans and cursed planets full of cameras.
It wasn’t quite as bad on Persephone as some of the other planets the Alliance decided to ‘help’. While there were a lot of blind spots in the cameras they were still scattered everywhere and if they were particularly unlucky the right people would be paying attention at the right time. The smart thing to do was get Serenity a full tank of fuel and make a quick retreat back to the safety of the far reaches of the ‘verse. Might not be glorious but it certainly was peaceful.
“We’ll be landing shortly. Need help with those bags?” Mal asked as he leaned into their passenger’s open door.
The older gentleman gave the captain a bright smile and shook his head. “I can get them, son. Thanks for going out of your way like this. It means a lot to me.”
Mal nodded, turned without a word and made his way back toward Wash. He didn’t take the job out of the kindness of his heart and both of them knew it. The old guy was rich and didn’t think twice about offering an absurd amount of money for a rush trip here to see his great-granddaughter’s birth. Everyone in the crew knew all about his family since it was all he wanted to talk about the entire trip. At least it kept Shepherd Book busy.
“You know, the good shops are more than a five minute walk from the docks.” Zoe pointed out as she fell into step beside him.
“There are good shops on New Canaan, too.” He paused as Zoe turned a baleful glare on him. “Well... good drinks, anyway.”
“Sir…” Her tone was a low warning, the formal title almost an insult.
He clenched his teeth and kept his expression neutral. She wouldn’t be pushing without good reason. If he denied them a bit of freedom and fresh air he’d have to deal with Kaylee being mopey and Inara being snippy. “Fine. Two hours. Anyone not back in time gets left behind.”
She gave a nod and though her expression never changed he was pretty sure she was gloating. He went to tell Wash the ‘good’ news, still fuming and hoping they were luckier this time than they had been in the past. Even if they weren’t spotted by the Alliance they had a few other enemies to worry about and he had a nagging sense of foreboding that grew even as the planet in front of the ship did.