"Know anyone who can shoot a gun?"
The words caught Jack's attention immediately. Yeah, he knew someone who could shoot a gun. The 'someone' in mind could do with a bit of excitement.
Fred, whom the question had been directed to, looked at Jack. Jack decided to intervene.
"Right here, ma'am," he said. The girl turned her head, slightly surprised.
"What's with the face? I don't look like the merc type to you?"
"It's not that," the girl said, hesitating. "You look too much like one."
"See a man with a stubble and slightly dirty clothes, and everyone thinks he's going to die in the first five minutes like some movie character," he muttered.
He turned back to the girl. "Look, I don't know what kinda situation you're in, but I'm pretty sure you can't afford to be picky right now."
The girl nodded. "Yeah, okay. Well, I might as well tell you what kinda situation I'm in, before you think I'm trying to murder a husband or something."
Jack smiled. "Never gave that scenario a thought."
"Look, anyway, I work for a logistics company," the girl continued.
Heh, would be pretty ironic if it was GalEx, Jack thought.
"It's called Galactic Express."
"Hey, what's wrong?" The girl noticed his sudden grimace.
"Oh, nothing, just thought of something sad," Jack replied.
"Were you even listening?"
"Well, I am now."
The girl sighed, exasperated. "Look," she said, "All I want to say is that my ship got stolen, and I need your help to-"
"No way am I going to try and take on Thanatos for you, lady."
"I didn't say it was Thanatos."
"This is Serenity. It practically belongs to Thanatos. Do you even know who he is?"
"Well, I heard he was some kind of crime lord, but-"
"Some kind of crime lord? Some kind of crime lord? He's THE some kind of crime lord! If your ship was stolen, he has it."
"Please," the girl persisted.
"Okay, supposing I give this little mission a thought, which I'm not saying I am, what would be in it for me?"
The girl bit her lip nervously. "Okay, I guess I can cut you in," she said slowly.
"Cut me in?"
"Yeah. I was transporting some valuable cargo, probably why Thanatos stole the ship," she lied.
"You have peaked my interest, ma'am."
"Well, the cargo is worth a lot of money. I suppose I could have one or two items 'stolen'."
"Hmm," Jack said, intrigued. "And what kind of items are these?"
"Erm," the girl thought for a few seconds, "Artifacts. From Earth."
"Earth artifacts, you say? I'm all for it, ma'am."
"Really?" The girl was surprised. This was easier than she expected.
"Sure." Jack knew she was lying, but secretly, he would do anything to break out of the perpetual boredom. And besides, who doesn't want 'Battled A Major Crime Lord Who Was The Most Powerful Man In Serenity' on their resume?
"Well, okay," the girl said, hesitatingly. "My name's Meera, by the way."
I knew she looked a little bit like an Indian, Jack thought.
"A pleasure, ma'am. I'm Jack. Jack Lim."
"You can stop calling me 'ma'am' anytime, you know."
"Yes ma'am, ma'am," Jack grinned.