Modest Proposal

by Grey Bard
Email: fitzrose at


They were new and they looked strong and they were walking toward him. Brown coats, brown everything, they surely weren't Feds. Something tough and not quite broken - yet - about them that backed that up.

Well, one plus for their side. Wash wasn't convinced yet.

They were coming for Wash. He knew it. They weren't coming for the beer, because last call before things went down for siesta had been half an hour ago.

He was trying to sleep out the heat on a bench outside the bar because he didn't have anywhere else to go. Pilots without ships had that problem.

Wash still didn't regret getting kicked off his last hire. His crewmates had been next thing to a pack of Reavers and Wash liked to consider himself a sane man. Flying with people who took an unhealthy interest in arson wasn't safe.

The only thing he did regret was getting ejected onto such an out of the way little moon. He could have kept his eyes down and his mouth shut until they hit port somewhere bigger.

He watched them through half closed eyes, as they walked up to him to inspect a sleeping man. It seemed a discussion was well in progress.

The man looked sturdy, with the walk of a gun and a laughing, knowing look about him. He sounded sure of himself, but the woman was less impressed. She moved like a gun too, but a more steady one. She wouldn't take trouble easy, and she'd likely survive it.

Closer up, they were an impressive pair. Wash felt right in his decision to stay still, act like he had actually managed to drop off into a siesta. Might as well hear what they wanted to say as well as what they wanted to tell him.

"What have we got? What can we offer him?" the woman asked after passing a hand in front of Wash's eyes, checking if he was asleep. Strong, dark, slim woman. Lots of hair, nice gun.

The man smiled. Twist of something wild on a face that said trust me. "Us."

A pause. A long pause.

"You're crazy." With a little awe and some residual surprise.

"We want this pilot to stick around don't we? What keeps a dog on the porch, tell me that." His brisk hand patted Wash's shoulder gently.

"Sir, you do hear what you're saying? That's awful." She shook her head and tried not to look at Wash.

The hand slipped down his shoulders, lightly running over the back of Wash's shirt. "How? Good for him, good for us..."

Wash chanced moving his head a little, to see the man better. The afternoon sun lay well on him. Light brown hair shone with copper thread, eyes got lost in strange shadows. Same wild smile. He looked like a happy Lucifer in a brown coat, not convinced yet that losing Heaven was a big deal.

"I'll take him if you won't. He's not bad looking, a good pilot, so he can't be too stupid." The man's hand traced a bicep. Her eyes seemed drawn to them against her will.

"Of course, I was thinking of making this a group venture." The man leaned in front of her, put himself between them catching her off guard

"I'm not sharing with you!"

"Fine, we'll flip for him." Serious, serious.

"Fine." Out came a lucky piece. Woman pointed to one side, tossed it, saw it come down on the same side.


"So what, do I say we can give him his own bunk on our freighter, but I'd prefer to share?" Defiance, and sneaking anticipation.

"Give it time, you'll figure it out. For now just smile at him or something, okay?" The hand dropped from his forearm, leaving Wash feel naked.

He'd take the offer. A job, lover, way into space; he'd take it.

She did look good in a leather vest, he noticed. Still, Wash almost wished she had lost the coin toss.



Grey Bard