On The Edge: Chapter 5
Thursday, February 15, 2007

The crew races off a planet they had landed on to render aid, and Mal finds himself with two extra passengers. Cannon pairings.


Sorry folks. Had a lot going on this week. Didn't expect it to take me this long to get the next chapter up.

Thanks to tamsibling and mal4prez for the beta.

Chapter 4 can be found Here

-------------- Chapter 5


Mal was still barking orders into the comm as the mule pulled up the ramp and into the cargo bay. It wasn’t the first time they’d had to make a quick getaway, but it had been a while since it was an Alliance ship hot on their heels. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed River leap down, her feet landing on the deck with a dancer’s grace. Madeline waited for Simon to get out of the mule before holding her arms out so he could lift her down.

Vaulting easily over the side of the mule, Mal stopped beside Inara; he hoped that the worry in his eyes would make her swallow the vitriolic remark he knew waited on her tongue.

“Get to your shuttle, take the girl with you. This goes bad, I want you off this boat.”

“I’m not leaving, Mal.”

Madeline, having heard that she was to go with Inara, slid her hand into Simon’s and squeezed his fingers tightly. “Don’t want to leave. Don’t make me go.” Big brown eyes begged him and Mal didn’t envy Simon this situation. He’d have been tongue tied too. Tears formed in the little girl’s eyes as Simon knelt before her and wrapped his hands gently around her arms.

“I need to go to the engine room and help Kaylee,” he told the little girl. “Please go with Inara. She can keep you safe.”

Madeline’s bottom lip trembled as she asked, “Where’s my dad?”

As if in answer, the roaring engines of an antiquated hovercraft echoed in their ears as it roared into the cargo bay, barely slowing down enough to not slam into the aft bulkhead.

“Dad!” Madeline launched herself into her father’s arms as he exited the craft.

Zoe slammed her fist into the controls and the ramp began to lift as Jayne leapt out of the hover.

“Xiăo guǐ, I need to get up to the bridge and see if I can scramble some signals.” Aaron looked to Mal for approval and got only a raised eyebrow in return.

“Yeah, said he might be able to jam ‘em. Keep ‘em from gettin’ a lock on us,” Jayne offered as Mal’s head swiveled toward the mercenary.

Off Mal’s somewhat hesitant look, Aaron confirmed. “I’m a communications expert, Captain. Let me try. I’m your best hope of evading capture.”

Desperate to get himself and his crew off this rock alive, Mal relented. “Good. Go.” Mal knew that if Aaron didn’t get the signal scrambled, they’d all soon be in Alliance custody, or worse.

Aaron glanced quickly toward his daughter, and Mal nodded approvingly as he told the girl to be good and obey whatever Inara told her to do. Unable to spare more time to talk with her, Aaron kissed her quickly on the top of the head and then hurried toward the back of the cargo bay.

“I’m headed to my shuttle. She can come with me,” Inara offered as she stepped forward to take Madeline’s hand.

“No!” Madeline pouted. “I want to go with Doctor Simon.”

Simon, in a hurry to reach Kaylee, glanced down at the little girl, ready to tell her she needed to go with Inara. But when he noticed her looking up at him with excitement and hope, he couldn’t bring himself to deny her.

“Kaylee I need you in the engine room!” Mal called into the hand-held comm. “River –“

“Launching now, Captain,” River answered through the comm and the ship groaned as it lifted off the planet and soared upward toward space.

As Mal and Zoe followed Aaron toward the bridge, Simon knelt beside Madeline. “I need to go help Kaylee in the engine room. Please be a good girl and stay with Inara.”

“But I –“

“We don’t have time for this,” Simon stood, his patience wearing thin. He needed to get to Kaylee and make sure she was okay. “You need to go with Inara. Now.”

A tear snaked its way down Madeline’s cheek and Simon, feeling like a heel for raising his voice to the child, bent down and wiped it away. “Kaylee is pregnant and I need to go make sure she’s okay.” He rested his hand on the child’s head and smiled briefly, before hurrying up the stairs toward the engine room.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

“Think you can jam their sensors?” Mal asked as Aaron sat himself into the co-pilot’s chair and began looking over the controls.

“I don’t know. But I’m going to try. You don’t have the most sophisticated equipment here.”

“Must perform evasive action, Captain,” River said, not bothering to look back at him. “Please take a seat and make sure your tray tables are in their upright and locked position. This is going to be a bumpy ride.”

Aaron looked up, stunned at the dry humor that had just come out of the girl’s mouth. He hadn’t had much interaction with the young girl, and only knew about her from what little Jayne had said as they scouted the ruins of the Independent compound.

“If I had a tray table, I’d hit him with it, River.” Zoe pulled a flight seat out of the wall and strapped herself into it.

Having heard what had happened to the amazon woman’s husband, Aaron imagined what memories must be darting through her mind and quickly averted his eyes so he wouldn’t have to see the quickly masked pain she tried to hide.

“I like the unlocked position myself,” Mal said as he sat down and fastened the restraints across his chest and hips. “I always like to have my insides scrambled as we make a quick getaway.”

“What the hell have I gotten myself into?” Aaron muttered as he resumed his work.

River rolled her eyes as she flipped on communication to the engine room. “Kaylee, I need more power.”

The comm crackled as it came to life. “Workin’ on it, River. Ain’t as easy to get around as it used to be. Gonna re-wire power from everything but life support an’ hope it don’t short out nothin’ critical.”

Mal reached out and flipped on the shipwide comm. “Jayne, get to the engine room an’ help Kaylee.”

Breathless, Kaylee’s voice echoed through the ship. “Simon’s here with me, cap.”

Mal grit his teeth before responding. “Even so, I want more hands down there.”

The ship lurched as additional power hurled through the engine. “Here we go,” River said as she gripped the controls tightly and banked so hard that she knew Kaylee had just been thrown against Simon. With a wince and a pang of remorse, she said hurriedly into the comm, “Sorry about that.”

“I think I’ve jammed a good portion of their sensors, but we need to move out of range before they get close enough to lock on and bring us in.” Aaron kept flipping switches as he spoke, grimacing as most things he tried didn’t work. “I must say I’ve never flown on a Firefly before. Most of the ships I trained in were a bit more –.”

“Advanced?” Zoe finished for him with a small smirk.

Aaron grinned at her and nodded sheepishly. “For lack of a better word.”

“She’ll hold together,” River said as she directed the ship toward the large moon that loomed ever so closer. “Hear me, Serenity? Hold together,” River whispered beneath her breath, certain to make sure no one heard.

When the ship shook violently from the power Kaylee was kicking out of the engine, Mal reached out to brace himself against the console. “River, I’m sure I don’t need to explain how very upset our passengers will be if the ship breaks apart as we’re tryin’ to get away.”

River muttered something nonsensical about the ratio between their chances of escaping the Alliance cruiser, and the likelihood of the ship exploding before they reached safe airspace.

Mal glared at his pilot, annoyed. “River, never tell me the odds.”

River smiled secretly and responded with a quick and snappy, “Yes, Sir, captain, Sir.”

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Inara checked the belt holding Madeline to her chair and nodded in satisfaction. When the ship jerked suddenly to the left, she was thrown off balance and landed on her backside with a hard thud.

“You okay?” Madeline called, eyes scrunched in concern.

“Fine, sweetheart. You just don’t unhook that belt no matter what happens, you hear me?” Inara pulled herself into the pilot’s seat of the shuttle and readied it for departure. She didn’t really want to leave the ship. Her life and her heart were here, but Mal had been explicitly clear. She was to go if she received the order.

So she sat, watching and waiting as the ship continued to shake, the floor dropped out from beneath her feet more often than she cared to count, and the ship turned in so many directions so quickly that she was amazed she could still see straight. She was infinitely glad she hadn’t eaten recently, even more glad that it appeared Madeline hadn’t either.

Closing her eyes, she said a prayer to Buddha that they all came through this with no serious injuries. The whole crew had suffered enough.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

“Jayne, ya gotta turn that!” Kaylee yelled over the whine of the engine.

Simon stood glued to her back as the ship did its level best to knock her off her feet. With each sharp turn, she was thrown back or to the side, her weight colliding with Simon’s. He was taking a bit of bruising, but better him than Kaylee.

“Tryin’! How’d you get this so tight by yourself!?”

The ship shook as something struck it and Kaylee growled angrily as she reached for a fuse that needed to be reattached. “Bein’ mad at Simon always helps!”

Behind her, Simon frowned, doing his best not to speak and simply provide the insulation between Kaylee’s fragile body and the multitude of sharp, hard objects in the room.

“Yeah, he makes it so easy!” Jayne’s voice was partially drowned out by the groan of the engine.

By the time River’s voice came over the comm to tell them they were out of danger, Kaylee was covered in sweat and exhausted. Jayne didn’t look much better, and Simon figured he didn’t either.

Kaylee, a triumphant smile on her face, reached out to brush her palm against the bulkhead. “That’s my good girl.”

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Kaylee’s annoyed voice carried all the way into Inara’s shuttle. Once Inara consented, Madeline followed the raised voice all the way into the infirmary. She stood in the doorway for a moment while Kaylee fussed over being asked to sit in the diagnostic chair.

“Kaylee, I just want to examine you –“ Simon started.

“I’m fine. You’re just bein’ overprotective.” Kaylee rolled her eyes as he nimbly unzipped the front over her coveralls and rested the end of the stethoscope against her belly.

“That’s cold, Simon.”

He gave her a patient look, lifted the metal, rubbed it against his hand, and then put it back in place, not noticing that Madeline had moved closer and was watching him carefully. “Better?”

Kaylee pursed her lips. “Yes.”

“Everything sounds okay.” He lifted his eyes to hers, melting the annoyed expression right off her face.

“I think I’d know if somethin’ were wrong.” She wanted to be annoyed that he’d dragged her out of the engine room just as soon as it appeared safe; she had damage to repair and it wouldn’t get done with her lying on her back in the infirmary. But she couldn't conjure any real bile towards him when he looked at her like that. Simon didn’t say anything, the air between them strained with the tension associated with the events of the last forty-eight hours. He looked away, and was surprised to see Madeline standing there. She looked up at him with eyes that were so much like River’s at that age that he inhaled sharply, drawing Kaylee’s attention.

“Well, hi, sweetie,” Kaylee said brightly when she noticed the little girl.

Simon smiled tightly and went to prepare a nutritional shot, leaving Kaylee and the little girl to talk for a few moments alone.

“He only wants to help, you know,” Madeline said, doing nothing to mask her annoyance with the pregnant woman for being so mean to Simon. Her eyes followed Simon’s movements on the other side of the infirmary, as she spoke. “He’s a doctor. It’s his job to make sure you and the baby are okay.”

Kaylee took in the child’s rebuke with an understanding smile and gazed lovingly at Simon’s back. “Oh, I know. Simon’s real protective of me an’ the baby.”

Madeline smiled openly and walked over to Simon, just as Kaylee reached down to touch the girl’s head. Kaylee stared curiously at the little girl as she looked admiringly up at the father of her baby.

“Can I help?”

Simon tilted his head down and smiled softly at Madeline. “Well, you can give this to Kaylee.” He dispensed a bit of water into a small cup. “I’m afraid there really isn’t anything else to do right now.”

“Can I help deliver the baby?” The girl’s eyes were wide, excited.

“Oh, ah –“ Simon glanced up at Kaylee, who appeared to be hanging on every word exchanged between the two. “I’m hoping that won’t be for another few months yet.”

“Oh.” The disappointed look on Madeline’s face was evident. “We might not be here then.”

“I dunno about that, little one,” Mal walked right into the infirmary and stood beside Kaylee, Aaron following on his heels. “Your pop here’s mighty talented. Could probably use –

Simon whirled on Mal, his eyes full of anger, and just a little bit of hurt, which Kaylee’s own gaze reflected. “But you can’t accept Kaylee’s baby?” He moved toward the mechanic, hypo in hand, and took her arm. Swabbing it quickly, he injected the contents, set the instrument down and told Kaylee she was fine to go back to work as long as she was careful. Then he turned to Mal. “Or is it simply because it’s my baby that you’re so bent out of shape?”

Mal’s eyes narrowed. “Pickin’ a fight with me after we just pulled off a billion to one escape ain’t a wise idea.”

Simon crossed his arms and stood his ground, causing the rest of the onlookers’ eyes to shift uncomfortably between the two men. “You wanted to land there, Captain.”

“An’ you done your job admirably by patchin’ up all the hurt. But we’re in the air again an’ what I say goes.” More to himself than anyone else, he added, “I am the captain of this here boat, after all.”

Simon stared incredulously at Mal, unwilling to back down from a fight he knew he could win. The two of them didn’t notice Jayne and Aaron standing in the doorway.

“Oh, a fight,” Jayne leaned against the infirmary door and crossed his arms, smiling eagerly.

Aaron moved closer to Jayne to whisper, “This happen often?” as Mal shot back an annoyed response to something the two men hadn’t heard Simon say.

“Oh yeah,” Jayne shook his head as the men argued in the background. “The two ain’t never really got along.”

“I see.”

“Used to be fun to see ‘em argue, now its just gettin’ old.” Jayne eyed Mal and Simon and then reconsidered with a small chuckle, “Though it is amusin’ to see the doc’s face puff up like a big fat cherry when he’s mad.” He flattened himself against the wall as Kaylee said something in as angry a voice at he’d ever heard and stomped out of the room, leaving Jayne with no doubt whatsoever that if she’d wanted to knock him over with a punch to the gut just then, she’d have succeeded.



Liked it? Hated it? Leave a review and let me know.


Thursday, February 15, 2007 6:06 PM


Great Chapter. I have always loved the idea of Serenity filled with a whole pack of children. Maybe that's just my mom side showing through. I hope all goes well for the new recruits and Kaylees pregnancy goes smooth. Can't wait for the next chapter - Heidi

Thursday, February 15, 2007 6:43 PM


Hmm....quite the brilliant chapter, but I really gotta wonder why Mal's all OK with Aaron and Madeline potentially staying around, but has such issues with Kaylee pregnant.

Still..definitely entertaining stuff, Leiasky. Can't wait for more;D


Thursday, February 15, 2007 7:34 PM


"Never tell me the odds"... I think I've heard that line from another Captain.

Love your River in this chapter...getting the "spare Inara" scenario from Mal...not sure on the hostility toward Simon and Kaylee.

Has Kaylee outgrown her usefulness as ship's mechanic from Mal's POV?

Thursday, February 15, 2007 8:57 PM


Madeline's lines to Kaylee and Simon were so cute, couldn't stop myself from smiling.

Thursday, February 15, 2007 9:03 PM


Mal keeps this up, he'll be without a mechanic, a medic and a pilot, particularly if the Tams find another sanctuary or the Alliance revokes their warrants. But this is exactly the Mal I'd expect to see in the second movie.

Thursday, February 15, 2007 9:14 PM


Brilliant again!

I love your sprinkling of Star Wars references throughout the getaway - especially with River speaking to Serenity as Han so often spoke to the Falcon.

The tension between Simon and Kaylee worries me too. The whole scene in the infirmary, I was just holding my breath praying Simon would hug her (or Kaylee would hug him) so they'd know it was all right. Regardless of what Kaylee thinks, her body is changing and different and the stress she's been under, both physical and emotional, is not healthy for her or the baby.

I love Madeline, but you already know that ... I'm still not a fan of Aaron's. But of course, we'll see. I hope ch. 6 comes faster!

Friday, February 16, 2007 9:12 AM


Yey, I'm finally all caught up!

Okay, this story so far is probably some of your best work. From reading all your fics pretty much back to back, it's really clear in this one how much you've honed not only the characterisation but the dialogue - it seems every single line is important and that's the way it should be. I love all the relationships - hey, that's why I love Firefly - Mal and Simon in particular, and I like seeing the tension between Kaylee and Simon. So many fics have them get together and suddenly have everything be rosy - but I think it's a little foolish to believe the two could slip so easily into a 'perfect' relationship from the way they are in the show and movie.

Saying that, however, they better END UP in bliss, or I slightly miffed.

I love this fic, love this chapter, update soon and keep it up :D


Friday, February 16, 2007 9:58 AM


Phew. I've just read the entire story so far and I have to say...WOW!!! Where do I start?

Firstly, your characters and dialogue are spot-on, seriously. Everything flows perfectly, and I have no trouble picturing these scenes playing out in my head like a second movie. Your portrayal of the various dynamics between all the different characters is realistic and true to the show, which I think is really important, so yay for you!

You also have a real talent for writing, and do a really good job of engaging the reader - I feel every single emotion the characters are going through and I just get so enthralled in the story that I forgot it's not actually canon. But believe me when I say it definitely could be!

Btw, in this chapter I particularly liked the nod to Kaylee's line from the pilot. I'm so excited about finding out what happens next, and how Aaron and Madeline fit into the crew - I'm particularly curious about Aaron's history, because I'm still a bit iffy about him. And I can't wait to read about the events that lead to the ship crashing, and finding out the aftermath.

Keep up the great work, eagerly awaiting more!

Friday, February 16, 2007 3:18 PM


Okay, after this much tension I need some humor, and the "Other Verse's" references are great...this is really rolling along mighty fine, Leiasky, keep it coming and yeah there better be some happy time ahead....yup, better.

Sunday, February 18, 2007 5:00 PM


some of the best lines from one cockpit pulled into another...loving it! keep it up...can't WAIT to see the next installation!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007 2:56 PM


Back to the list-making... Sorry it's not as detailed as before. But, I will say that none of the characterizations put me off in any way; I ranked them more as I liked them this time around.

1. Mal
2. Kaylee
3. River (Is she supposed to be channeling Wash on purpose? 'Cause I like it.)
4. Jayne
5. Simon

Inara and Zoë have smaller parts, ya-da, ya-da, blah; you know.

That little girl is starting to annoy me (as all children tend to do eventually). Still unsure of Aaron, though I'm warming up to him again.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007 11:03 AM


I'm so glad I finally have time to catch up on this story!

Great chapter. Loved River, Mal and Zoe joking around while trying to escape the Alliance. Also really loved your Kaylee here--she has just the right amount of defiance/independence, especially when it comes to the baby.

I can't wait to see Simon and Mal come to blows. ;) I hope Kaylee tells off the both of them!


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Simon and Kaylee discuss other - avenues, as they lay in bed. Oddly, this is a pretty PG story.

Simon and kaylee disturb the ship with their nocturnal activities. Post BDM. Part of a challenge table. Rated NC-17 for adult content.

Broken Wings: Conclusion (Repost)
The crew take Kaylee home to be buried and the reason for Simon's secrecy is discovered. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 18 (Repost)
Simon, Mal and Jayne have a moment with Kaylee. Inara and River are reunited with the rest of the crew. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 17 (Repost)
Simon has a conversation with Zoe, Mal and Jayne - separately. Sequel to 'On the Edge.' Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 16 (Repost)
The crew is reunited - mostly, as Simon arrives to treat the wounded. River rushes to Inara's aid before her deception is discovered. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 15 (Repost)
Simon's escape is halted by his father. But River comes to the rescue. Jayne - sees the light - far too up close and personal for his safety. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 14 (Repost)
Simon and Inara's deception is discovered. Mal, Jayne and Zoe continue to fight what looks to be a losing battle. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 13 (Repost)
Simon has some unexpected help with his fussy son and River receives another assignment. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 12 (Repost)
Inara and Simon continue their work while a message gets out to those on the front lines. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.