A Corpse of Him
Jayne frowned as he opened the coffin parked in Serenity's cargo bay. "'Nother friend of yours?" he asked. "Better make sure he's dead this time."
Mal shook his head, staring down at the unruly bleached curls, the slashed eyebrow, and the black duster Pratt always wore in place of a browncoat. "Oh, he surely is," he said, dryly. "'Course, that don't exactly mean much with this one."
Blue eyes cracked open in a pale face, staring back. "'Bout bloody time you got here," the corpse said, irritably.
Kaylee shrieked, and Mal sighed. This was going to be a long trip.
Hands of Blue
There was something not quite right about Illyria Burkle's ice-blue eyes, but she was just a tiny little thing and paid cash money, so Kaylee ignored her uneasiness and accepted the girl's passage fee with a smile. Then she took her to the dining room to meet Jayne, who was watching the ship while Captain and Zoe talked to Badger.
Next thing she knew Jayne was pressed against a bulkhead; the girl had changed and lunged at him, yelling an unfamiliar name. Kaylee trembled, remembering River's boogeymen, and wondered if this Hamilton's hands were as blue as Illyria's were now.
Keeper of Secrets
The quiet, middle-aged man with the precise inner-world accent stayed mostly to his room during his passage on Serenity, despite Simon's best efforts to draw him out. Simon cared for the crew, but he still often missed the companionship of speaking with an educated man of his own class.
Unfortunately, Dr. Giles seemed almost to be avoiding Simon; when pressed, he said of himself only that he was "from far away" and traveled "on a quest for a lost artefact."
By the time he disappeared on Beaumonde, thirty days after coming aboard, Simon was perversely relieved to see him go.
Second Little Sister
One morning, Malcolm Reynolds awoke to find three Tams aboard his ship, instead of two.
Mind you, he only knew that there had been two before because River insisted that was the way of things. That worried him a mite-- but he did believe her. Before Miranda, he might not have, but she'd long since proved her abilities.
Regardless of how Dawn Tam had arrived, though, she was still an innocent little sprite. It was clear to Mal that like River, she was a victim, not evil herself. He'd give her sanctuary aboard Serenity as long as she needed it.
Jayne could not figure out what it was about the little red-haired guy that made him reach for his weapons every time they were within three feet of each other. It was uncanny, the way the hair rose on Jayne's neck whenever Oz so much as looked at him, whether Jayne was looking back or not.
Since confusion always seemed to make Jayne do things that Mal got mad at him for, Jayne reacted mostly by staying far, far away. Which was a shame. He'd seen the kid's guitar case; he would have liked the chance to play with him.
Inara knew there was something-- off-- about Drusilla the moment the woman entered House Madrassa. Her dark, luxuriously long hair, rich dress, and alabaster skin might have been the envy of anyone not a Companion, but there was a strange stillness to her and a madness in her eyes that unnerved a trained observer. Inara could not understand why the Housemistress had admitted her.
Hours later, Inara had ceased trying to understand, or even fight Drusilla's hold on the others. She fled instead, renting the first shuttle she found, and dreamed of golden eyes and lips painted red with blood.
Instrument of Vengeance
River stared in horror at the blue-skinned, six-horned being who'd appeared in her quarters. He didn't belong there. Not on the ship. Not in the 'verse.
She cringed back, arms curled up over her head, and tried to block out the searing thoughts that wormed into her brain. Hatred, poisoned and infectious, dug talons into her wounded mind, showing her pictures of her parents, the doctors, the Operative, all dying at her hand. "No," she gasped, sickened. "It isn't mine!"
"It could be, my dear," he said, kindly.
"No!" She waved him away.
"For now," he replied, nodding, and vanished.
Zoe didn't quite comprehend how it was she'd come to be speaking of Wash to a passenger she hardly knew. It might have had something to do with the knowing pain in the red-haired woman's gaze when Mal had mentioned the recent loss of Serenity's pilot. Or the bright, familiar way Willow babbled, words spilling out of her to hide the nervousness underneath. Or even the alcohol they'd had at dinner.
Whatever the reason, Zoe had to admit it was a relief to finally speak of her husband to someone who hadn't known him and would understand, not pity, her.
The Brave, Undefeated
None of the crew knew what to make of the dueling exhibitionist they picked up on Beaumonde. It was odd enough that he'd picked a freight ship in the first place for the short hop over to Bellerophon, but his strangely gentle manners and polite speech didn't fit the image of a man who collected and used old-fashioned edged weapons for a living.
When Kaylee asked him, half-way through the brief trip, why he traveled, his answer was simple: "I left my princess, long ago, when I should not have. Now I seek her, that I might remedy my mistake."
To the Alliance, the antique ship found half-buried on an outer moon would have been a celebrated discovery, one of the last colony ships to make the long journey from Earth. To the crew of Serenity, however, it was just another opportunity for salvage.
Until, that is, they discovered a living woman aboard, with blond hair, ancient green eyes, and a strangely shaped axe in her hands.
"I've waited for this moment for five hundred years," she greeted them, extending the axe toward River.
River smiled, and reached for it before Simon could stop her. "I'm ready to be strong."