Meanwhile, the leader of the Alliance fleet
demanded to come aboard Serenity.
"This is the Flying Dutchman. There is no serenity here, nor any peace
for anyone 'cept for the dead. Still want to come aboard?"
There was silence for a while, followed by a further demand for entry.
"Well, if you really want to, but on your head be it. Permission
to come aboard the Flying Dutchman."
According to the life signs, some two dozen or more people had come on board
at the double. They spread out in search mode. Daniel monitored the chat. They
found nothing. There was talk of leaving this obviously abandoned heap of junk
and using it for target practice.
"The Flying Dutchman here ain't abandoned," came a piratical
voice over the PA system. "There's me an' my crew on board as well as your
good selves. You just cain't see 'em on account of they bein' phantoms," -
Daniel turned up the bass - "cursed to travel the void for aaaall
All movement seemed to have stopped. Good! He had their attention.
"There's Barbossa, and Bootstrap Bill and his son, Will Turner, and
Cutler Bennet, and Sao F'ng, and Pacifico who... isn't, and Clanker - who is -
oh, and there's me, your captain. Daniel Sparrow. Now, you can try blowin' up
this ship of mine if ya really like a death - er, life, that should be
life - that's real interestin'. 'Cos ya see, although I let yous on
board like you deman er, politely asked, I ain't fixin' to let yous all
off of my ship. To be honest with ya, I am in sore need of a few new
crew members, cuz a phantom ship don't run herself now, does she? So if you'd
all make your way to the stern"
Daniel paused seeing a movement on the life signs monitor.
"Er, no fella - the stern is the back of the ship. As I wuz
sayin', if you'd all make your way to the stern, we'll be comin' among ya and
selecting our new crew members. Hey, come on guys! No point in crammin' round
the airlock. Ain't no way out that way. I did warn ya when ya wanted to come on
board, but you wouldn't be told, so no point in cryin' about it now..."
He gave his evilest cackle.
The life signs monitor, which had first shown the unwelcome guests making
their way through the ship in a disciplined and methodical manner, now showed
them zipping around like some kind of demented Brownian motion.
He cackled again, then took his boots off for stealth and made his invisible
way to the theater of war Or theater of panic...?
This was heading in the direction of hysteria by way of the screaming abdabs
as Daniel blew in faces or flicked earlobes or occasionally goosed someone as
he passed among them. He was looking for the leaders, the ones whose presence
on Serenity would be most likely to deter the others from using her for target
practice. He identified four likely candidates, and added another couple of
Using a nearby communicator on the wall, he said breathily, "Weee
More panic, which made it easier for Daniel to move around undetected. If
anyone bumped into him, they got out of his way sharpish. Didn't try to grab
hold of him. A surge of crackling electric blue from Daniel's zat, took down
his first victim and ratcheted up the panic several notches. A wide clearing
appeared around the fallen guy. Daniel quickly zip-cuffed him.
When he'd taken down as many as he thought necessary to be used as hostages,
he used the communicator again.
"We have our new crew members. The rest of you are free to go. Do not
touch your lost fellows unless you wish to join them on my crew..."
Daniel shot off back to the bridge before the panic wore off and people
began to recover the use of their brains. Once there, he ordered those still
mobile to make their way to the airlock in an orderly manner and thanked them
for replenishing his crew. Then he let them go with an order not to trouble his
ship again. They would not like the consequences if they did.
The view-screen showed the Alliance ships breaking off and hightailing away
at maximum speed. Daniel breathed a sigh of relief and returned to the Tardis.
The Doctor responded to his tap on the door.
"Yes, but the crew might like to find somewhere to put the hostages
before they come round and try to make trouble..."
Over a meal - he didn't know whether it was lunch or dinner, only that he
was hungry - Daniel told his tale briefly. Captain Reynolds still wasn't happy.
Okay, so the Alliance fleet had gone away, and yes, they'd gotten some
hostages, but Serenity would be a marked ship from now on
"Like we weren't before?" Simon Tam muttered drily.
and, as other vessels might not be aware of the hostage situation - or
the supposed invulnerability of a ghost ship, they might just blast Serenity to
"I think this is where I come in," said the Doctor. "I'll,
erm, 'explain' the situation to them. Daniel, you'd better remain invisible -
and, as they'd recognize your voice - keep quiet. You, Captain Reynolds, will
let the captives go with your goodwill."
"Like hell we will!" the man named Jayne exclaimed.
The Doctor gave an exasperated grunt and stood up. "Well, if you'd
rather be used as target practice... Come on Daniel, we're leaving."
"Hey now, wait just a goram minute here," Mal said. "He ain't
the captain of Serenity. I am. You reckon you can fix this?"
"Of course. I am The Doctor."
"Okay, go ahead. Seems like we don't have a lot of choice in
"No. You don't," the Doctor agreed with a smile that leaned
towards the smug end of confident.
Daniel donned the Tarnhelm again as the Doctor and Captain Reynolds set off
for the brig, putting together a plan of sorts as they went.
"Looks like you wuz right, Doctor," Mal said, looking down at the
bound, gagged and glowering 'guests.' "We do seem to've picked up picked
up a few hitch-hikers on the way."
He removed the gag from one of the hostages who embarked on an outpouring of
threats and expletives. Shaking his head and tutting, Mal replaced the gag.
"Ok, now is any one of you non-fare-payin' passengers prepared
to act as spokesman for your group and discuss this here kwong-juh duh
2 situation like a civilized human being?"
There was no response.
"Just nod yer head if you're prepared to take on that role." Still
no response. "Well, Doctor, I guess we're just goin' to have to do like
you said - carry 'em to the airlock, send 'em out into space and hope that the
Suddenly, everyone was rolling around the floor, wide-eyed and grunting.
"Wah! So, any of you wantin' to change his goram mind now?"
Suddenly everyone was nodding furiously and mumbling, "Mmm, mmm, mm,
Mal picked a guy who looked to be a middle-ranking officer, one who carried
the right amount of weight - enough to speak for the group but not enough to
throw around - and removed his gag.
"Now first of all, I'd like to know how you all come aboard Serenity
without my permission and, come to that, without my knowing anything about it
till you wuz all on board?"
"You invited us on board."
"Did not. And there's no record of it in Serenity's log. Try
"Serenity? You said it was the Flying Dutchman!"
"What?" Mal put an Oscar-winning effort into his expression of
total surprise and mystification.
"Ah, I think I see what's happened," the Doctor said, nodding
sagely. "As you know, Captain, I was investigating a rip in the space time
continuum. Clearly Serenity and this other ship crossed over from one universe
to the other, possibly sharing the same space for some time."
"How would that happen?" Mal asked.
"Well, as I'm sure you know, matter is made up of... well, put simply,
atoms. Even in something as solid as a metal bulkhead, there are immense spaces
- relatively speaking - in and around the orbital shells of each atom. Hence
there's plenty of room for the two ships to occupy the same space. It's a bit
like having formations of a dozen people with red balloons and dozen people
with blue balloons crossing the main hold in opposite directions. They arrive
at their destination in the same formation. More or less. If you see what I
"Uh, yeah," Mal said, eyes glazed.
"No, I don't get it at all," said The Spokesman. "How do you
know all this anyway?"
"Well, I'm the Doctor."
"Where's your stethoscope?"
"Not that sort of doctor. I'm from Gallifrey. I'm a Time Lord."
The Doctor produced his 'I.D.'
"Oh, I see!" The Spokesman smiled. "So what are you going to
do with us now?"
"Well now, we'll shortly be arriving on a border moon in the Nereus
system. Arethusa. Know it?"
"Yes, my Mom was born there."
"Fine! So you and your friends can find your way back home from there
The Spokesman nodded.
"Good! And as I guess you're a fair way from home and you didn't have
much say in the matter, I'm prepared to be magnanimous and waive all
charges," Mal said with a gracious smile.
"Thank you, sir."
"So, if you're all prepared to act like gentleman, we'll release you.
I don't suppose there's any trace of this - what was it? - Flying Dutchman,
around now, Doctor?"
"Oh no! Shouldn't think so." The Doctor flashed a crocodile smile
that segued into nervous, making a bid to join in the Oscar stakes.
"Besides, if the rip does open up again, if we all keep very, very
quiet - and as still as possible - I dare say your Flying Dutchman people won't
A jittery five hours later, Serenity landed at Ortygia Docks on Arethusa.
The unwanted guests could hardly wait to get off the ship, especially as the
invisible Daniel passed among them, lightly making his presence felt again...
As soon as the ramp was lowered, they were off and disappearing into the crowds
milling around the docks.
"Hhhappy now?" Daniel breathed into Mal's ear.
Mal drew a deep breath to cover the fact that Daniel had made him jump.
"Just so long as you don't materialize in public."
A few moments later, Daniel apparently stepped out of the Tardis and
wandered over to join the rest of the group standing on the ramp. "So what
"Well," the Doctor drawled, "Now that we're here, might as
well take a look around. Never know what you might find."
Daniel shrugged, feeling like he'd lost the plot of this particular
adventure a long time ago. "Ok."
"If you want to stay on," Mal said, "You'd better be back
here inside four hours, 'cause that's when we're leaving - with or without
"What about the Tardis?" Daniel asked.
"Don't worry. We'll leave it with the port authorities."
"I'd really like to pay you for our transport, but I guess these won't
mean anything here?" Daniel said, fishing a couple of twenty dollar bills
and a ten spot out of his billfold.
"Where'd you get these?" Mel exclaimed, snatching them out of
Daniel's fingers as if before anyone else could see them.
"From my bank."
"You robbed a bank?" Jayne exclaimed, looking impressed.
"No! I just drew it of my account as usual."
"Ah yes, you said something about wanting to go to Earth in the year
two thousand, when you first came on board?" Mal recalled.
"Why, what year is this?" Daniel asked.
"2517." Daniel whistled. "So what happened to planet Earth
"The Earth That Was? It got used up, so we moved out and terra-formed
a whole new galaxy of earths."
"Oh. Used up, blown up, is there any universe with the Earth still in
it?" Daniel sighed, remembering the wistful look on Trillian's face as she
spoke about the Earth she'd lost and could never go back to.
"Oh yes, loads of them," the Doctor assured him.
"Well, getting back to business," Mal said, bunching the notes in
his hand, "I should tell you that these here bills are valued in tens of
thousands of credits - maybe more, being so rare an' all. I saw one in a museum
once and it was nearly falling apart."
"Can I have one of those please?" Kaylee, Serenity's engineer,
asked, tugging on the corner of one of the notes.
"I can give Serenity a complete mechanical make-over, fix all the
things that need fixin', maybe increase the speed to power ratio." Kaylee
craned her neck as if to look behind Mal. "Besides, all that money will
spoil the line, Captain Tightpants!" she grinned.
"Well, since you asked so nice an' all." Mal handed her one of the
twenties. "Just don't spend it all at once! I think I owe you some change,
Daniel, since you can't very well spend bills like this without folks askin'
awkward questions. Here's enough credits to keep you going for a few days, in
case you decide to part company with us. It's certainly been... int'restin,'
havin' you aboard!"
Daniel gave a surprised smile. "Thank you. I think. If you need a new
crewman, well, maybe I might need a new job."
"Come on, Daniel. We've only got four hours."
Daniel and The Doctor spent a little time, meandering around the docks,
getting their bearings, sightseeing, chatting and looking at the many and
varied types of spaceship.
Suddenly Daniel sucked in sharp breath and stopped dead.
"What's the matter, Daniel?"
"There!" He pointed. "Th-th-that's the Heart of Gold, I'm
sure of it!"
Daniel broke into a run with the Doctor not far behind. Disappointment was
in store; there was no one home.
"But they're here! Against all possible odds. I have to find
"Daniel, they could be anywhere by now. We don't have too much time
unless you're planning to stay here."
A small smile curved Daniel's lips. "Cover me," he said, bending
down on one knee as if to fasten his boot lace.
In a slightly less flamboyant transformation - Daniel was getting the hang
of controlling the thing - a bloodhound appeared at the Doctor's feet and began
There was quite a confused collections of signature scents, but Daniel
rapidly homed in on Jack's and was off on his trail with the Doctor following.
This was definitely turning out to be one of the Time Lord's more entertaining
Daniel was relieved to find that, though the group had split up, S.G.1 had
stayed together. The rather fusty odor must be the scarecrow. He seemed to have
deserted Jack and gone with the other group. Thankfully, so had
Twenty minutes later, in a crowded market, Daniel knew he was nearly there.
The crowds parted momentarily, allowing him a glimpse of his beloved team. He
loped after them. The Doctor correctly identified the source of the
bloodhound's delight and sauntered along in his wake.
Daniel passed Jack then turned round and sat down in front of him, barring
his way. As expected, Jack bent down and made a fuss of him.
"Hey there, big fella!"
"He's certainly a fine looking animal," Sam smiled.
"Indeed, he is."
The three became aware of a tall dark stranger watching them, eyes twinkling
"This your dog?" Jack asked.
"Actually, I think he might be yours," the Doctor responded with a
Jack did a double take at that.
Sam nearly choked.
Teal'c raised an eyebrow in total discombobulation.
The bloodhound... laughed.
"Huh? Daniel? What the hell have you gotten yourself into now?!"
"You might all like to gather round Daniel," the Doctor
Jack gave the stranger a suspicious look as if he thought he was the author
of Daniel's current predicament. He sighed. "Ok, what he said."
And then Daniel was standing in his usual form in the middle of them,
stuffing the tarnhelm inside his jacket, and getting hugged and kissed.
"Don't say it Jack! I still get way too much stick about the
last one! Ok, let's go get something to eat."
"Problem there," Jack said gloomily. "No money."
"Good thing I have plenty then."
"I meant local money, Daniel."
"So did I."
Jack did another double-take. "You're enjoying this, aren't you?"
"Just a little," Daniel grinned.
The five found a cheerful little eatery on the fringe of the market and also
on the route back to Serenity. The food reminded two of the party of their very
first mission together. They hoped it wouldn't give them food poisoning. If it
didn't run away first...
But they were all hungry and, happily, it turned out to be quite palatable.
Over something like coffee but of unknown provenance, they exchanged tales,
then moved on to what to do next.
"Frankly, I don't know how we're ever going to get home again,"
Sam said. "We have no means of finding our own universe among an infinite
number - even if we had a quantum mirror. Trillian's Earth doesn't exist any
"And the Earth here was 'used up,' Daniel said, sketching air quotes.
"Actually, I have an idea. How much of our money do we have? Actual bank
notes? No, keep it hidden!"
"I think we have to accept that we are stranded here, but I
think we could make a life for ourselves in this universe."
"How so, Daniel Jackson?"
"Well, this could actually be our universe, but five hundred
years into the future. Captain Reynolds nearly freaked when I tried to pay him
in dollar bills. What we have on us are probably worth a small fortune. If we
can change them into the local credits, we could be millionaires!"
"Depending on the value of a credit," Sam said. "A million
credits might only be the equivalent of a thousand bucks back home."
Daniel thought about it. "I don't think so. Anyway, we'd better be
getting back to Serenity and find out how feasible this could be. We can't sell
all our bank notes here - or in any one place. It would either raise suspicions
that they're forged, or lower the value. Or both. I think Mal could probably
work out the angles on that one."
Jack sent Daniel a questioning look as he stood up and put an appropriate
number of credits on the table.
"Thank you, kind sir," said the serving wench with a very
friendly wink which suggested that Daniel had been overly generous with the
As they left, he continued, "I think Mal runs a legit. trading
business, but borderline legit. Hence he probably has contacts"
"Who will rip us off?"
"Not if he does it for us. I suspect he knows who to deal with,
"Whom," Jack murmured. "And why would he do
that for us? You've only just met the guy."
"I like to think we established a working relationship, and I think we
can make it worth his while."
"Well, let's cross that bridge when - or if - we come to it."
When S.G.1 and the Doctor arrived back at Serenity, the crew were busy
loading crates into the cargo bay.
"Could use a hand here," Mal yelled, beckoning them over.
The rest followed Daniel and pitched in to load the cargo.
"You - and your friends - stayin' or goin'?" Mal asked when the
job was done.
"Well, I have a little proposition to put to you."
Mal looked interested. "Ok, let's go inside and discuss it."
He led the way up to the dining area, followed by his crew, S.G.1 and the
"Oh, first, I owe you... "
He left for a few minutes and handed Daniel a sheaf of bank notes when he
"I made a good deal on the bills you paid me with, so I figure this is
your share. Now, what's your proposition?"
"Well, looked at realistically, our chances of finding our way home
are slim to zero. Therefore, we have to explore other options."
"You want to join my crew?"
"It's a tempting proposition, but really, we'd like to find a home
base, and get used to living five hundred years in the future."
"Which actually seems more like a hundred years in the past," Jack
"Please, Jack. That's not helpful."
"So, Daniel?" Mal prompted.
"So, it seems that our bills are actually worth a fair amount."
Daniel explained about not wanting to sell them all at once and why and asked
Mal if would be prepared to act as S.G.1's agent in exchanging dollar bills for
credits - for a good commission - and also to find them a nice quiet world on
which to buy or build a house suitable for their needs.
"By way of an extra incentive, and I apologize if I've got this wrong,
I think you and these Alliance guys don't get along and that, maybe, you'd
appreciate a safe bolt-hole off their radar?"
Mal nodded. "I won't say you're entirely wrong there, so tell me about
"Well, once we're established on some backwoods planet, you could fly
in contractors - who then wouldn't know which world we were on. They could
excavate a bunker big enough to hide Serenity. It would have roof doors, which
we could camouflage, sliding on tracks. That way, if you're coming in hot, you
could open the 'garage doors' electronically before you arrive, drop into the
bunker and close the doors before the bad guys arrive."
"I could maybe fix up a cloaking system," Sam suggested, "for
if they're too close behind."
"And if they land on our property," Daniel continued with a smile
at Sam, "then we've never heard of Serenity or anyone connected with
He watched Mal closely, trying to read the way his mind was headed.
"And of course, you and your crew would always be welcome to stay with
Eventually Mal's face cracked a smile. "Yeah, we'd like that. I think
you have yourselves a deal. Anyone here say nay?"
No one did, though Jayne looked rather grumpy. Mal and Daniel shook hands on
"I suppose I couldn't persuade you to join me on my travels?" The
Doctor asked. He looked sad, accepting the inevitable.
"In any other circumstances, I'd be delighted, but"
"You belong with your people. I understand."
"But I'll always be grateful to you for your part in reuniting us, and
to the Tardis for saving my life, of course."
"Saving your life, Daniel?" Jack mouthed at him, looking
"And of course, you'll always be welcome to stay with us too,"
Everyone went down to the cargo deck then to bid farewell to the Doctor.
After his departure, Daniel and Mal strolled to the top of the ramp for a last
look across Arethusa's Ortygia Docks.
Daniel suddenly drew a sharp breath. He took a firm hold of Mal's arm.
"Can we leave soon? Like now?"
Mal gave him an odd look.
"Well, let's put it this way, if you don't, you'll regret it..."
Mal activated the ramp which rose smoothly, and called the order back to
Wash who was staring at the space so recently occupied by the Tardis.
Daniel's last view over the edge of the ramp was of the scarecrow trying to
comfort a distraught Brünnhilde. Behind the pair, the crew of the Heart of
Gold waved a fond farewell and disappeared circumspectly into the throng.
And so it came to pass. Mal tracked down a pleasant border moon called
Rhiannon in the Gwydion system. There they bought a large ranch-style property
with plenty of land around it.
Mal and his crew visited regularly, bringing the results of the latest
banknote sale, and often they stayed a while. Occasionally, as Daniel foresaw,
Serenity came in hot and disappeared into the bunker, to the frustration and
mystification of the Alliance troops.
Jack usually dealt with the authorities. He didn't want his 'paying dumb'
abilities to get rusty, he said.
Daniel usually 'disappeared' in order to spy on their visitors, which Mal
found very useful on more than one occasion.
With the help of Kaylee, S.G.1 bought themselves a small space ship for
trips off world. Sam had wanted better opportunities for shopping, and Daniel
was able to replenish his wardrobe with lots of new checked shirts.
And every now and then, S.G.1 went off and had interesting adventures,
thoughtfully penned for them by Joss Whedon...
The Author sighs wistfully at the thought of Joss running
Stargate S.G.1. ::hnnggg!::
The Reader groans at the thought of all the plot bunnies this
might spawn in the Author's demented brain.
::diabolically evil cackle::