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The Puzzle

Title: The Puzzle 
Author: Me. Basched. 
Characters/Pairings: Rayne. Jayne, River, Mal, Zoe, Wash, Inara, Kaylee, Simon, Book   
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Joss Whedon.   
Rating: 15 for the naughty swear word.
Genre: Silly crack/humour  
Summary:   Jayne isn't having much luck with a very complicated puzzle.  
Author's Note: This is a major biggie. This story was the first EVER Firefly story I wrote, years ago. It was a stupid idea, but eventually it was posted on a site called Browncoats.com. I think. Not sure...but anyways, its not there now and I lost my original copy. Like Childhood Wishes, I have started this again from scratch. I also changed it slightly, but I hope that this silly stupid little fic will bring smiles on people's faces...especially for  goddessofbirth.

Betaed by me, so there will be mistakes, boo-boos and possibly Yogis. I do try.



Malcolm Reynolds was curiously drawn to the mess hall by the sound of high pitched humming, utterances of curses and frustrated banging.  It was only when he got to the doorway that he realized what was going on. He had to smile, just a little bit. Mal also had to cover his ears.

                Spread out on the large dining room table were pieces of different shaped and coloured plastic, and it was each of these different shaped and coloured pieces of plastic that were causing the very high pitched wailing sound. They were lit up, pulsing and blinking fairy lights, distracting and confusing. Sitting at the table, looking red faced and as if the entirety of his head was going to explode, was his merc.

                Jayne Cobb’s eyes were wide and blood-shot, his teeth were grinding furiously as he picked up a few of the pieces and tried to slot them together. No matter what he tried, the combination of pieces only made the high pitched humming worse. It got so high, that it screeched, clearing saying that these pieces did not belong together.

                “Where the fucking hell are ya supposed to go?!?!” he yelled slamming his fist hard on the table. The puzzle pieces didn’t seem at all effected by his tantrum and carried on screeching. “Gorramit!”

                Mal was surprised when Jayne took several deep breaths, mumbled “gotta get the prize” under his breath and continued to try the puzzle again. This was unusual behaviour for the Merc.

                “Hey, Jayne.” Mal said, loudly over the sound of the pieces. “Is that the new puzzle River brought back from Boros?”

                There was a grunt—or was it a snarl?—followed again by Jayne’s utterance “gotta get the prize.”

                “Y’know, I tried it for about fifteen minutes myself before giving up.”  The Captain poured himself some coffee from the pot in the kitchen. He took a few sips and then he had to put his hands over his ears again. “Got a really bad headache and couldn’t stand the damned thing.”

                There was another and much more sinister growl and that changed to a startled gasp when Jayne put two more pieces of the puzzle together. Those very same pieces protested with an even higher pitched whine. Mal could see the tension, he could see Jayne’s calm fading.  All the effort that Jayne was keeping a hold on, was about to snap.

                “How long have you been doing this?” asked Mal, his face twitching as the constant sound from the hundreds of pieces on the table was starting to affect his nervous system.

                Jayne mumbled back the same phrase about the prize and went back to the puzzle. Mal was going to ask again, but he stopped when Jayne’s increasingly angry and frustrated attempts made Mal think of an old Earth-that-was Caveman. The furrowed angry brow, the clawing and thumping hands and grunts, it was a little uncanny. Though he kept that particular thought to himself, Jayne would surely lose it if Mal told him that he thought him to be an un-evolved cave dweller.

                “Is he still at it?!”

                Mal turned at the sound of Wash’s voice next to him. The pilot looked astounded, astonished and amazed beyond belief that Jayne was still sitting at the table trying to complete the puzzle.

                “Why? How long has he been trying?”

                “He’s been there for hours!” The pilot said. “I think he started after lunch. I was clearing up the dishes and River gave him the puzzle then.”

                Now Mal was impressed. He couldn’t manage fifteen minutes on this puzzle when River had given it to him, but according to Wash, Jayne--one of the least patient people he had ever known-- had been sitting at the table enduring the sounds and flashing lights for at least five hours.

                “He’s been here for that long?” the Captain shook his head. He really couldn’t believe it.

                “Want to know what’s really impressive?” asked Wash, pausing and raising an eyebrow as Jayne began to actually chew at one of the pieces before thumping it on the table’s edge. “He hasn’t had a thing to eat or drink!”

                “What? Nothing?”

                “I offered to make him some food and even  Zoe put a mug of that ale we picked up from our last run? He didn’t want any of it! He didn’t touch the alcohol, he didn’t even try to pick at the food! He is obsessed...kept muttering something about a prize.”     

                Jayne, not stopping for drink or food? This was more than strange, this was downright creepifying.

                “Though I have to admit, it’s fascinating in the way he’s enduring.”  Wash leaned against the counter and held out his mug, Mal poured him some coffee. “I’ve never known him to put up with anything like this.”

                “Jayne’s still doin’ that puzzle, husband?!” asked Zoe as Inara, Kaylee and herself walked into the dining room. The three women were covering their ears to block out the sounds. Mal nodded.

“I stopped after an hour and a half.” Said Kaylee. “River’s little game sure is tough!”

“Why is he doing this?!” asked Inara. Mal held out a hand towards the merc and sure enough Jayne’s mumble of “gotta get the prize” answered her question. The women were really confused now.

“There’s a prize for completin’ this?”  asked Kaylee.  

                All three of the women and Mal cringed as a particularly extra loud screech pierced their ear drums. Jayne had tried to put three pieces of plastic that clearly did not fit, together and they screamed in protest.

                “Sons of blubbering fetid asses with shit for brains!!”   The Mandarin curse was followed by another thump on the table that made it crack. Jayne was furious beyond his usual angry self and he was going to crack himself, he was reaching that point where all hell would break loose and heaven help anyone who got in his way.

Mal and Wash began to coax the women towards the door, but instead of the expected explosion, Jayne took another few calming breaths—“gotta get the gorram prize!”-- and tried an alternative method to find a solution.  The crew couldn’t believe it.

             “Something is wrong.” Mal said.

“Really sir?!”  Zoe couldn’t keep the sarcasm from her voice.  “We never would have guessed.”

“I have never seen Jayne so determined, especially over something like this.”

“I agree, Inara. So why ain’t Jayne threatening to shoot anyone?” asked Mal “Why aint he tearing this place apart? Not that I mind him not wrecking my boat, but….this is not him. It’s…its wrong!”

            “How long has he been doing this?” Zoe asked, observing Jayne sniffing at some of the puzzle, as if a smell would help him solve it.

            “For ‘bout five hours.”

“He would have thrown it all in waste disposal by now.” Kaylee gasped. “How is it he aint snapped?”  

“I think he’s under the impression that if he solves the puzzle, he will get some kind of prize.”  Inara said. Mal just frowned.


“Money?  I don’t know! But its something that’s important to him.”

             The merc clicked five pieces of the puzzle in place and instead of the crying and screeching to tell him it was wrong, the colours suddenly merged into a beautiful golden yellow and began to emit a pleasant but low tune.

“HA!”  Jayne grinned and looked smugly round at the others. He waved the four connected bits in the air and grinned. “HA!”

His eyes looked awful, so red, hazed and a lot scary, Mal wasn’t sure Jayne could see them. Jayne swayed a bit in his chair and then his eye began to twitch and he turned back around and began to carry on. It wasn’t long before he was cussing and swearing again.  

“Oh my, I never thought such language existed!” said Book joining the others with Simon.

River had been with them as well, but she stayed hidden behind the door, watching discreetly. Watching and smiling, enjoying it all.

                “Do they have a volume setting?” asked Mal.

                “No.” Simon replied. “I looked, but there are three settings for the puzzle. Easy, medium and hard.”

                “Maybe Jayne should set it to easy then.”

                “IT IS ON GORRAM EASY!”

                The puzzle reacted to Jayne’s angry retaliations and soon the room was filled with not only the sounds of a puzzle that was screaming to be put together, but with words and instructions from Jayne that would have made a Reaver blush.

                “I think a retreat from the mess hall sounds a sensible idea.” Yelled Mal. Everyone else with the exception of one person, agreed.  

                “Why? You all could use ear plugs like me.”

                Wash took out from one of his ears a small piece of special moulded wax that had no doubt blocked out the horrible sound of the puzzle.  There was a deadly silence.   


                What followed next was a scuffle that almost wrecked the entire room. A wound up, tense and anxious merc had thrown back his chair and it took everyone’s effort to stop him from doing any real damage to the pilot.  The most dangerous man on the ship had finally snapped and all because of a simple premise that would have made this task so much easier to do.

                The other members of the crew felt like kicking themselves as well for not coming up with the same idea as Wash, but now they had a very big and a very angry bear to settle.

                But that was not possible either. 

                “All done!”

                The ear deafening screeches of the hundred puzzle pieces was gone. In its place now played a harmonious and beautiful tune emitting from a golden glowing three dimensional hexagon.  The crew were absolutely dumb-founded and entranced by the beautiful sight of the puzzle floating just a couple of inches off the table.

                With the exception of one person.

                Was there a limit to his rage? They all knew what he could do when he was angry and pissed off, but seeing the real effort, seeing how much Jayne was trying to restrain his explosive temper only proved that they hadn’t really seen what he could do.

                “It does look pretty,” Said Kaylee, nervously. “I think it looks pretty, don’ta ya’ll think it looks….?”

                Her voice was cut off as Jayne took a few heavy steps towards the little fragile girl who had completed the puzzle in mere seconds. His eyes were glaring down at her with ferocity, his fists were clenching so hard that his hands were turning white…he was going to snap.

                “You didn’t complete the puzzle,” Said River, giving back the seething Merc an equally defiant and angry stare from behind her tattered locks of hair. “However you can claim your consolation prize as promised.”

                Mal didn’t know quite what to say or do when Jayne pulled the girl roughly up off the chair and flung her over his shoulder. He didn’t know how to react to the girl’s joyous laughter and her enthusiastic applause as she and the glowing puzzle were carried away.

                “Angry Jayne is much more fun!” she cried, patting his back.

                “FIVE GORRAM HOURS! I’m gonna make ya pay, Moonbrain!”       

                “Your prize is willing to pay!”

                There was a slamming of a metal bunk door and for a good few minutes the rest of Serenity’s crew still couldn’t make a move, or say anything. Simon could only open and close his mouth in disbelief and there was numbness that held everyone to the spot.

                “Am I going mad?” Simon managed to stammer about ten minutes later.

                “Here, doc.” Wash placed in Simon’s pale sweating and shaking hands, two wax earplugs. “I think you’ll needing them more than any of us.”

Tags: , , , ,
Current Mood: content content
Current Music: Rain King - Counting Crows

20 comments or Leave a comment
goddessofbirth From: goddessofbirth Date: November 10th, 2010 01:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah! This was awesome! It did make me smile:) And, I'd like to know what the prize for completing it was and what the consolation prize was...
basched From: basched Date: November 10th, 2010 02:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Ta muchly, G! Glad it made you smile.

The prize and consolation prize.....I would say they are one and the same! ;)
rjsteamboat76 From: rjsteamboat76 Date: November 10th, 2010 02:16 am (UTC) (Link)
hahahahahaha!!! this was great!!
basched From: basched Date: November 10th, 2010 12:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Cheers dude. :)
sunshineali From: sunshineali Date: November 10th, 2010 02:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Poor Jayne. She clearly took advantage of him. But, at least he got the consolation prize. This was cute and it did make me smile. YAY!
basched From: basched Date: November 10th, 2010 12:04 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yeah, naughty River. But that was the plan! Make Jayne angry for more fun! ;)

He knew what the prize was...kind of. That's why he was trying so hard to complete the puzzle! :)

Chuffed to bits that you liked it. Thank you.
willow_reece From: willow_reece Date: November 10th, 2010 02:54 am (UTC) (Link)
LMAO!! Oh, that was AWESOME! ♥
basched From: basched Date: November 10th, 2010 12:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!! I'm only too happy to make people laff!! :)
artandlight From: artandlight Date: November 10th, 2010 04:38 am (UTC) (Link)
This is great!
basched From: basched Date: November 10th, 2010 12:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
general_iblis From: general_iblis Date: November 10th, 2010 04:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh wow...really gotta wonder what the purported grand prize would have been had Jayne actually solved it? Though I get the feeling River's "consolation" prize is probably the actual prize since I don't think our beloved psychic ballerina believed he could complete the task! Which is odd, since Jayne strikes me as someone just as skilled as Mal or Zoe at being able to assemble a complex puzzle under stressful circumstances...


Some mighty schweet work here, basched, especially the various crew reactions to Jayne's escalating obsession and new additions to the dictionary of Chinese swear words and obscene remarks. Totally could picture everyone reacting they way they did.
basched From: basched Date: November 10th, 2010 12:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

The main prize and the consolation prize are one in the same. :) River wasn't going to deny him for trying so hard! Though for her, angry Jayne means....angy Jayne sex! If he completed it or not, he still would have won.

Oh I think Jayne is the same as the others. He is capable of solving a complex puzzle under stressful situations, but this puzzle was so hard...Mal himself couldn't complete it. He gave up and with the right incentive, Jayne excelled where Mal and Zoe didn't.

I don't think i made it clear but there was only one other person who completed it. That was Wash, mainly because he had the forethought to put earplugs in!

Oh that line of the fetid blubbery asses....I would SO love to know what that is in Mandarin. I was quite pleased with that line.

Once again, General, it was a pleasure to get a lovely comment from you. Thank you so much.
(Deleted comment)
basched From: basched Date: November 10th, 2010 12:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Pleased that you liked Groove! (Twas a bit silly wasn't it?!)

Thanks very much.

(Oh Groove, your icon is very familiar to me. It looks like the father of this freaky family that kept an' tortured these other folks. I can't remember the name, but the phrase "Chickin F**kers" was definately remembered. It was a very bizare film. I could be wrong, if so...ignore!)
(Deleted comment)
basched From: basched Date: November 11th, 2010 10:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah groove!

I think that was it! I'm not that easily scared by "horror" films nowadays, but that film I distinctly remember laughing a lot. It was so freaky!!!! :) Me and my friends were saying Chicken fuckers for quite a while afterwards. I thought it was hilarious!

Thanks for the name of it. It had been bugging me.
raven_40 From: raven_40 Date: November 10th, 2010 09:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Aww, she made him suffer for 5 hours. xD ....
Baaaad River. LOL!

I liked her little mischivous game. Cute story. :)

basched From: basched Date: November 10th, 2010 12:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Bad River indeed! But both of them won in the end! :)

Thankyou for your comment and I'm happy you liked.
From: cedelede Date: November 10th, 2010 07:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ahahahaha! I think I would have reacted the same as Jayne over the earplugs thing. What an absolutely annoying puzzle that would be! And the ending! Omg, that's hilarious. Poor Simon.
basched From: basched Date: November 11th, 2010 10:52 am (UTC) (Link)

Yup. It was just a simple premise isn't it? Don't like the noise, wear earplugs! That is was Wash who had the idea and no one else did just makes me grin.

The puzzle is supposed to test endurance and patience, but when completed (as kaylee said) it looks so pretty!

Poor simon indeed.

Thanks very much for reading and leaving a comment. Glad you liked it.
hobbitheart From: hobbitheart Date: November 12th, 2010 02:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Thoroughly amusing :D
basched From: basched Date: November 13th, 2010 12:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad that it amused. thanks for the comment.
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