how to un-cross a double-cross...

“That no good, double crossin’ little bun tyen shung duh ee dway ro! I jus’ knew somat was up when he didn’t take offence when I called him a midget! I say we go back an’ drop him!!”

Mal looked at Jayne, and for a second I thought he was considering just that.

“Are you sure ‘bout this? There’s no way your pal coulda got it all backwards?”
“Sorry Mal, it’s just like I said. The ‘dupe crew’ are to pick up a package from some big-shot, take it to a certain destination, and en-route, Jimmy an’ his crew are to do a hi-jack, take the goods an’ head off to a buyer that Badger has lined up, who is willin’ to pay twice what the big-shot is payin' Badger. He’ll claim all innocence, and leave us swingin’, tryin’ to explain to the big-shot an’ his buyer why we have no package. Badger walks off with double his fee, leavin’ us in the chou ma niao while he smells clean of any wrong doin’.”
“Did he say if the big-shot is part of this double cross?”
“He aint. Apparently he’s someone that'll only use Badger if there aint no other choice. From what Jimmy said, Badger aint on his birthday card list. Badger wants to put one over on him too by the looks of it.
We still takin’ the job? An’ what exactly is the job anyways?”

Mal and Zoe exchanged glances before Mal spoke.

“Well, the original job was to collect a package from a feller we did business with before, again somat that Badger’d had his fingers in. Sir Warrick seemed like a decent fellow last time we met, an’ sure enough, he an’ Badger wouldn’t be meetin’ in any social events… The way Badger told it, we’d pick up the package from Sir Warrick, take it to the place of his choosin’, receive our payment, and then be on our merry.
What you’ve told us, does complicate things somewhat though…”
“I still think we should go back there an’ help him to shuffle off, we’d probably be doin’ folks ‘round here a favour!”
“Jayne, that’s somat that I’ve been considerin’ myself, but for now, maybe the fact we know what he thinks we don’t know, means we’re in a position to make him look a bigger fool than he planned for us.”

A confused look spreads over Jayne’s face…it took Wash, sat in the pilot’s chair, to untangle it for him.

“…we double cross him, right Cap’n?”
“Aint that what I just said?”

Serenity lifted off, and we made the short flight to Sir Warrick’s homestead on the outskirts of Persephone City. During the flight, I busied myself putting the remaining foodstuffs away, and then helped out stowing what cargo had been brought on board. I let Jayne grumble away, and listened to the various ways he would like to end Badger’s life, none of them pretty. Shepherd and Simon moved the medical supplies that Simon needed to the infirmary. Box after box of bandages, tape, dermal-weave. Made me wonder just how often Simon was used for things other than headaches or upset stomachs…

Sir Warrick Harrow was a likeable chap. He most certainly trusted Mal, and at the mention of Badger, his face turned thunderous. We had been met by him personally when we landed, and he allowed us free reign of his grounds, to re-supply our water and foodstuffs should we need to. It was when Mal told him of the planned double cross, were we told to follow him into the house, and for a large guy, he could move pretty fast.
In the massive room that he used as his office, paintings of cattle, prize bulls and cows cover the walls. From the window, the view was dominated by one of the biggest ranch-steads I'd ever seen.
We sat on comfortable leather chairs, and I for one, couldn't help but feel conscious of the fact that we had walked through enough niou se to fill a crater…

“So our friend Badger plans on double crossing not only you Mal, but me also? I knew I should have trusted my better judgement than to use that little ching wah tsao duh liou mahng! I apologise Zoe, for my language…”
“No offence taken, Sir Warrick, I called him a lot worse when Taylor told us what he was plannin’ to do.”

For the first time, Sir Warrick looked at me, and asked me to once again go over exactly what had been said by Jimmy. He only interrupted me when I mentioned the name of the buyer that Badger intended to sell the goods to.

“…after they’ve got the package, they’re to meet with someone called ‘Harwoodson Morris’ who will…”

Sir Warrick slammed his hand on the table….
“Wait a moment, are you sure of that name?!?”
“That’s what Jimmy said, Sir Warrick. I take it you know of the fellow?”
“He’s not a fellow. It’s a company, bitter rivals of mine. Harwoods & Morris. This all makes sense, now that I know they are involved in this.
The package you are to carry Captain, is a case containing 30 vials of bull semen, genetically checked to ensure that each cow that would be impregnated, would birth stock of the highest quality. 3 months ago, when I had my prize bull Zeus valued, even I was surprised to find that he is worth almost 750 thousand credits. His genetic coding, in a guaranteed male spermatozoon, is worth 4 thousand credits each.
Harwoods & Morris have been doing their best to get their hands on Zeus’s genetic product ever since. If they could, then they would use it to impregnate their stock, and almost triple their market value…”

Jayne, as usual, asked the question…

“So…your Sirness, you mean to say that all this is about some bulls ‘baby jelly‘? An’ this other company want to get their hands on it?! How much're we talkin’ money wise in that case?”

“Each vial contains 2 confirmed male spermatozoon. The case is worth 240,000 credits.”

The silence from the four of us was deafening.

Shuh muh? Did you say 240 THOUSAND credits?”

For once, Mal’s voice sounded about a pitch higher than normal.

“Yes, I did Captain. And, as it would seem that there is no need for me to factor Badger’s percentage of the payment in this proceeding, then I suppose that it is only fair that it should come to you direct. His percentage was to be 12 percent, but in view of your honesty, and the fact that we have had satisfactory dealings before, how does 15 percent sound to you, if you can swear you will do your utmost to ensure the case reaches its correct destination?”

I did the math quickly. A 15 percent cut of 240 thousand was around 36 thousand credits!

From the corner of my eye, I saw that both Mal and Zoe had done the same equation. Only Jayne seemed to be slow in catching up, and when he did….


“The question is Captain, how do you propose to ensure the case’s safe arrival?”

I leant forward in my chair, the shock of the payment figure still on our faces…
“Actually Cap'n, I think I've an idea…”

The End

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