Space Dust
The crew of Serenity comes into a job, as usual, by the skin of its teeth. And its hull.

Serenity's Bridge, Space, The Final Frontier

"If we completely die, you're fired."

Stars populate the world outside of Serenity's bridge: stars and black. Some ludicrous distance away lies a planet, a "civilization", a job, calculated in numbers flashing green and static across the controls laden with dust and a herd of long extinct creatures. Wait, dust? Somebody should likely see to that.

It's not the first or last thing that needs seeing to on the Firefly class transport this month, the usual whine of half-antiquated parts making it seem especially ailing lately. Not to mention a particular and somewhat disturbingly mysterious food shortage. So's it that somebody remembers a ping once reached them before a certain unremarkable instance of failing life support and large, angry, engine fires took a little tending to. Maybe, months later, the ping's still relevant. Maybe there's a job. Maybe, maybe, maybe. All's certain is that Inara's picked out a client on the quaintly settled planet. If anyone's noticed it's somewhat of a departure from the class of her usual patronage, no one's quite said so yet; but it's like to do with the Captain and companion giving each other eyes and a sudden course departure during a supposed flight towards Melbourne.

"Alrighty then," Bracing both hands on the console, Wash pushes off, spinning the pilot's chair outward. "Looks like we'll be within Paquin's atmo in about two hours, with just enough fuel to not completely die doing it."

"While we're there can we take a breather? That'd be right shiny, Cap'n," Kaylee's voice chants through the speaker to the bridge. Back in engineering, the engine-whisperer rests on her hammock while admiring two large metallic cyllinders as they whir with noise above. "Serenity's a beaut, but I think she needs a break now and then. It's a love thing. You love your ship, and she loves you back, you know."

Ever since certain Words and Eyes were made between Inara and Mal, the captain has been in a bit of a mood. It's a little hard to tell the difference between this mood and his normally happy shiny self, but the tell is somewhere in the twitch of his eye. He stands with his arms crossed, looking out in the Black with a dour expression. Not even Kaylee's chipper replies are enough to shake him out of it. He gives a look to Wash and just replies. "If we completely die, you're fired." He looks at the pilot's console and then adds, "And I'll take all your dinosaurs." Then, with a long suffering sigh, he moves forward and just leans on the com button for engineering. "I'll love 'er more if she keeps me in the air and don't lead me to a fiery death. And ya know whose fault that'll be if that happens, Kaylee?"

"What did I say?" mumbles Wash with questionable defensiveness, neither pushing the matter in Mal's face nor quite letting it go. "Did I say completely?" A hand slides up the console to inch a stegosaurus further from Mal's com-groping reach. "It's okay, baby," he coos out, even quieter, "You won't have to go with the nasty, mean man."

The button is pressed back in turn, giving a small crackle before Kaylee's voice comes through, "Don't push her buttons too hard and she'll take care of you in return, Cap'n. 'Sides, I been telling you for the better part of a month she needs a breather. Reckon the crew could use it too! I hear engineers work better with breaks." The speaker crackles again, "And just remember she's beautiful and wants yer constant love and companionship." Once more it crackles, "I can fix that."

Mal releases the button and leans over toward Wash. "I got ears. I heard it plain as day between not and die. You just make sure to keep it that way." He eyes the stegosaurus. "Or I'll…" he trails off. He hadn't thought of what he'd actually do to any of his dinosaurs once he confiscated them. "I'll… well, you'll know what I did when you see it." Take that, plastic dinosaurs. Now, onto other matters. Punching the com button, he keeps the meat of his fist on it so Kaylee will be able to hear them. "I don't recall askin' 'bout your reckonin'. Why don't you fix the coms so I can yell at you proper and then we'll see if there's enough time for breathin' after that."

Wash's eyebrows twitch at beautiful and constant love, companionship… "Is she still talkin' 'bout a ship, Cap'n?" He inquires, squinting at Mal's figure before it's rounding on him and his beloveds— well, the beloveds that aren't his wife. His wife comes first. Nobody said otherwise! Shhh.

"How 'bout seein' if there enough time for eatin'?" Jayne may have been standing there for a long moment or a short moment. It doesn't really matter which it is, since he looks as annoyed as he ever does. Arms crossed over his chest and just staring at the back the Pilot and the Captain's heads. He don't know where they're going. He don't care. Only thing he cares about at this moment is eating something that ain't been stale for the past — too long. "Or killin'. Or women. Make no difference to me. Go Hwong Tong!" Jayne ain't no happy camper.

"Oh hey," murmurs Wash beneath his breath, hand slapping his thigh, "Another one. Was just thinkin' how I was hopin' somebody else would come in to give me a hard time."

Down in engineering, Kaylee has disappeared underneath one of the ships many large metal mechanics. The com crackles again, "The com capacitor's out. She needs a new one if ya want the cracklin' to stop. Or ya could just wait till sound stops a'together. Needs a new one." There's a pause, "Or we could all learn to yell real loud across the ship. Bad capacitor means it's just a skip away from total quiet. Just sayin'." And then, the engineer clears her throat along the crackle again, "Serenity's just talkin' to ya Cap'n. She needs a breather." Either she's on the mark or Kaylee really really wants to explore planetside…

"Huh choo-shung tza-jiao duh tzang-huo!" Mal is both pushing the button to engineering as well as hollering it down the ship. Either way, everyone should hear him. He's sick of all the chatter and is done negotiating. "Last time I checked, this was still my ship. And I'm the one who says where we go, if we rest there and…" he looks toward Jayne, "… what sorta recreation that'll entail. Wash, get us to Paquin without the fiery death. Kaylee, fix the gorram coms. Jayne… No." Whether that's for eating or killing or women, who can be sure. He glances at those in front of him in turn and then stalks off to his quarters. "And whatever you do, do it quiet."

There is a lot of silence from Engineering. At least for awhile before a very resounding clanging can be heard from its depths.

"Now see what you've done?" accuses Wash loftily of Jayne before scooting hurriedly back to facing the black. Less crashing, less burning. Captain's orders.

The clanging continues, and, if anything gets louder, eventually feeding itself through the coms. Throughout the ship in a chorus of clangs. In a way it's genius, like music with each clang presenting itself at a different time thanks to the speed of sound. The sound that emits in the hall arrives at a different time than the clangs that feed their way through the com system. Evidently it's now been wired so everything is on the same channel. From engineering. Enjoy!

On the plus side, the crackle seems to be gone.

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