Crown Infernal

The Lord of the Ring?

by guest author

Daisy Wheeyull-Printa

Part IV - Future Perfect?

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 eterniteee..."

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 possibilities.

Using a nearby communicator on the wall, he said breathily, "Weee haaave choooo-sssennnn."

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 pieces anyway.

"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 this."

"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 rip—"

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, mmmm!"

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 again."

"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 mean?"

"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 ok?"

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 notice..."

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 now, Doctor?"

"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 you."

"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 then?"

"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.

"What for?"

"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 them!"

"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 sniffing around.

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 adventures.

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 Brünnhilde!

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 in amusement.

"This your dog?" Jack asked.

"Actually, I think he might be yours," the Doctor responded with a lopsided grin.

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 suggested.

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 more."

"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 gratuity.

"You're welcome."

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, and how."

"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 Doctor.

"Oh, first, I owe you... "

He left for a few minutes and handed Daniel a sheaf of bank notes when he returned.

"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 commented.

"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 this bolt-hole?"

"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 her."

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 us."

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 the deal.

"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 horrified.

"And of course, you'll always be welcome to stay with us too," Daniel smiled.

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..."

"Oh. Ok."

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...

Fizz... Ting!

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.

Diabolical Author

::diabolically evil cackle::

Part I - Wormhole Interrupted

Part II - Daniel in the Dragon's Den (Cave Actually)

Part III - A Hitch in Time

DISCLAIMER: None of the characters in this merry little crack!fic belong to me. They belong to Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich, Brad Wright, Jonathan Glassner, L. Frank Baum, the brilliant Douglas Adams, legends from the dawn of time, J.R.R.Tolkein, Sydney Newman, the brilliant Joss Whedon, more legends from time immemorial, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio. Thank you for letting me play with them for a while. [Dusts them off and hands them back in pristine condition.] This gallimaufry was written for love, not for money, its sole purpose being to entertain readers with a similarly warped sense of humour. Please don't sue. Pretty please with a cherry on top (or nut if you don't like cherries) chocolate sauce and sprinkles.

Crown Infernal