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Just passin' time...

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The gun was in his hand before he had even turned around, and yet it seamed it would make no difference.


He counted at least fifteen men pointing guns at him and his, and those were just the ones he could see.


Judging by the closest few, they were mercs - and not particularly good ones, or else they wouldn't be here, protecting the man they were.


Entirely oblivious to this fact, and supremely confident that the odds were stacked in his favour, the man who held command here was giving him a lopsided, idiot grin. A grin full of teeth that looked in certain need of a good dentist.


A well worn brown jacket, pinstriped beneath the accumulated dirt of years, hung ill-fitting from his shoulders. Mismatched ovals of unrecognisable material had been stitched onto the elbows, as if its owner thought it gave him an air of sophistication.


Even if it had, any sophistication afforded by such very fine modifications were immediately overwhelmed by the fingerless woollen gloves, gaudily patterned neck tie and pathetically tattered bowler hat.


"Malcolm Reynolds, I was wondering when your sorry arse would drag it's way through my neck of the woods." The man said, talking through that idiot grin.


"Badger, you know well enough the situation we're in." Mal replied, his face as serious as the pistol held comfortably in his hand.


"Now that I do. I know that very well indeed. Seems I had myself some Alliance feds come my way, setting my neatly set affairs all askew. Took down my office on Persephone, killed my boys and left me with a smoking hole as a reminder not to deal with the likes of you no more." Badger replied, his eyes narrowing in a way Mal did not like one bit. All the while that mighty fine smile remained on the swindlers face.


"Well now, seems to me that an upstanding gentleman such as yourself need not be to fretting about a few Alliance leathernecks. Besides, as I see it if they wanted you dead then we wouldn't be having this conversation." Mal replied, before furrowing his brow in confusion. "Sayin' so, how exactly did they miss that pretty little head of yours?"


"Now then, there's a story for another time!" Badger said with a laugh, turning to his closest lackeys in turn to ensure they were laughing with him. Most needed some encouragement to take the hint.


Mal waited patiently for the laughter to abate, raising his eyebrows expectantly at Badger, knowing the other man would spill the tale soon enough - he always liked to hear himself speak.


"Suffice to say, I wasn't there. I always keep an ear to the ground for all things Malcolm Reynolds. Pays to know what trouble you might bring my way. Gau si tends to follow you around wherever you go." Badger said, a look of smug satisfaction on his face.


"And how exactly did you manage to find me?" Mal asked innocently, glancing sideways at Jayne Cobb, the big man looking back at him with a half formed smirk on his face. Even Jayne knew Badger well enough to know what was coming.


"I... I followed you." Badger said, not really sure why the question had been asked. It wasn't until Jayne began to snigger before the penny dropped.

Edited by DanBeresford

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