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The Dr. Tam Journals - Part 16 - Serenity(BDM) 1
Friday, November 23, 2007

Kaylee reads on the terrible events leading to Shepherd Book's death and the crew finally gets its first look at Boros and has a fateful meeting with P.T. Beauregard.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1113    RATING: 8    SERIES: FIREFLY

Author's note - The events of the BDM and after were too much to fit into one chapter so this will be divided into two parts. Part 2 follows as soon as possible and then there will be a final part to tie everything together.

The Dr. Tam Journals – Part 16 – Serenity (BDM) 1

Kaylee awoke earlier than Simon, her fears and worries only relieved a short while by the loving touch of her husband. She sat up and saw it was 6:20 am on the ship’s clock. Dreams had come again to her, and some were wonderful, of children and picnics in green valleys by shimmering lakes, and some were dark and horrifying, of Simon and River being dragged away by the police, of Serenity being destroyed, of all she loved being lost. That was twice now she dreamed of the ship in trouble and she wondered what it all meant. Her mind was racing in circles, her anxieties taking a toll on her mental health.

She had to be stronger, had to be ready to face this man today, this Beauregard. Size him up, was what the Capt’n would say, look him in the eye and find out what he was about. To trust a person or not was one of the greatest problems Kaylee had, because she believed in the inherit honesty of everyone. She wasn’t that naive that she didn’t know there were plenty that couldn’t be trusted, especially since she was on ship full of, well, crooks, to put it politely. Still, she couldn’t help but want to trust a person, ‘til they proved otherwise.

Kaylee recalled the first time she realized what Serenity and her crew were all about. She had been on the ship less than a month and they had done a few real cargo runs. Then one day Zoe and the Capt’n came running back to the ship carrying two large sacks of cash with bullets flying all around them from the pursuing posse. Kaylee had been in the cargo bay, checking the Mule when she heard a shout from the Capt’n just as a bullet hit the Mule no more than an inch from her hand. Paralyzed with fright she couldn’t even move as more bullets zipped by and struck various parts of the ship. Finally, they were aboard and the ramp was up and Serenity was in the air yet Kaylee still hadn’t moved. The Capt’n had rushed right over to her to see if she was hit. Then she just broke down and cried and a rush of anger and questions poured out of her.

She was appalled they were part-time crooks but she couldn’t very well leave the ship. There was no place for her to go, except back home, and they were a long way from Taos. The Capt’n sat her down and they made a deal. She’d never have to go on a job, which was good cause she wouldn’t be much good anyway, he’d give her fair warning if there was any future such misadventures in the works, and he guaranteed her safety..

Well, the first part of the deal had worked out, and she never went on any jobs, just like Wash, but the last two were harder promises to keep and many a time they were surprised or trouble found them before they found it. Safety wasn’t a word that went with the kind of life they led, which was why she had to leave. At first it had been a little bit on the glamorous and adventurous side but the last year, since Simon and River had come on board, more especially after the deaths of Wash and Book, the glamour and adventure had worn off.

Thinking on Wash and Book again got Kaylee thinking on what was to come in Simon’s journal. The selling of the Lassiter, the repairs to the ship, the new Mule, the trading post job, the flight from the Reavers, the Maidenhead bar, the return of Inara, the death of Shepherd Book, the search for Miranda, the space battle, and the Reaver fight and the death of Wash.

She sat in the chair, careful not to wake Simon as she got out of bed. She flipped through the journal and saw the pages where he written about those events. The penmanship wasn’t as neat on some of the pages, since he had written about the Reaver fight after he had gotten out of the Alliance hospital and as he recovered from his bullet wound, and his hand wasn’t as steady. How did he write all that? Commit those horrible events to paper. Then she remembered how he had written on those other horrible events she had already read. He was analyzing, giving details and examining, trying to find out what happened to River, find out how to approach her, expand their relationship, how to deal with the Capt’n and Jayne, and just how to deal with the circumstances he had found himself in, so alien to all he knew in his 27 years before he came on Serenity that fateful day. He wrote because he would have gone crazy if he hadn’t. He needed to get it out and his journal was his release from all that had happened. Before she was even fully awake, Kaylee found herself sleepily looking at the journal. After the first sentence she was wide awake.

“I have decided that it is for the best to forsake my feelings for Kaylee. Ruinous is the path that lies ahead for my sister and I and I should not want to drag a woman I love through such perils that lie before us. Her continued attempts to drag out my true feelings are heart wrenching and sometimes I want to break my vow to not carry on a relationship with her. But I can’t for both our sakes.”

Kaylee looked at Simon, his dark locks fallen over his forehead, his soft snoring making her smile, and wondered at the depths his soul had searched for this course he had chosen soon after the Jubal Early incident. From that time he had become so distant and at times cold to her and for many weeks she despaired that he did not care one bit for her at all. River was her strength in those days, telling her that Simon did care for her, and that he needed time to sort out in his mind what to do. Time! He had almost eight months, what more time did he need! But Kaylee listened to River and did nothing to confront Simon in those weeks. She couldn’t help but show interest in him because she was in love with him but she respected what River said and gave him his space, as much as was possible on the cramp confines of Serenity.

“The big score Mal has been dreaming about finally came true, thanks in part to my sister. A man on Paquin heard through Fanty and Mingo that we had the Lassiter and he wanted to purchase it. Mal was very wary of a trap and told him to meet us in high orbit over Paquin. Before they came on board the captain asked that River be present when they talked. I protested that she wasn’t a mind reader again but finally Mal confronted me on this and said he knew I was trying to protect her but he wasn’t going to throw us off. He also assured me there would be no trouble and just wanted River to decide if the man was being honest or was setting a trap. I reluctantly agreed as long as I could be there also.”

“The man’s ship docked and he came on board with two bodyguards. We stayed in the cargo bay and everyone was on edge. He was an Oriental, wearing silken robes and bejeweled fingers, with an air of perfume, a bit on the effeminate side. Of wealth he certainly was. His bodyguards were large and carried no visible weapons but I suspect they were not totally unarmed. After brief introductions he asked to see the Lassiter. Mal looked to River and she nodded OK, so out came the precious gun. The buyer ogled and almost drooled as he saw it. After a quick examination to determine its authenticity, he declared it the real thing. He took a case from one of his men and handed it to Mal. The captain looked inside without showing the rest of us, said they had a deal, shook hands with the buyer, and the deal was done. The trio departed with the Lassiter and we were finally rid of it and happier for it. With baited breath we eagerly waited to see how much we got but Mal kept this to himself and retired to his cabin with Zoe. Jayne grumbled that he needed to know how much it was because he was supposed to get a percentage of whatever it was we received.”

“That night Mal gave everyone their share and it was a big pile of money, indeed, more than I had seen since my days on Osiris at the hospital. River even got a small amount for helping at the meeting and Mal said he might find some more use for her special talents. Again I protested about this and he said not to worry, maybe we could become more legitimate business people now that we had this big score. Exactly how much Jayne asked and the captain refused to tell him, saying that Jayne received more money today than in the entire two years he was aboard the ship so he had nothing to complain about. Serenity needed an overhaul and the bulk of the money would go toward that.”

Kaylee had never seen so much money and didn’t care if it was the exact percentage she was owed or not. The first thing she did was ask the Capt’n for some leave time so she could go home and much to her delight he agreed. Kaylee spent a wonderful week with her father and returned to Serenity at the docks on Beaumonde where they began to overhaul the ship. When she returned only the Capt’n, Simon, and River were on board. Jayne had also gone home and came back after two weeks, with some new guns, a big grin, and almost empty pockets. Kaylee knew most of that money went to his family but also suspected he had a really good time in a few less than reputable establishments. Zoe and Wash had also taken off to visit Wash’s family and they returned just before Jayne did.

Kaylee felt bad for the Capt’n, Simon and River, having no one to go to. Capt’n’s parents were both dead and she knew he had sold his family ranch to buy Serenity so there was no real home for him to go back to on Shadow. Course, Simon and River could go no where near Osiris and weren’t even safe coming off ship for just a few hours. She thought about inviting them to Taos to meet her father but it was just too complicated, with her and Simon’s situation unresolved and with his constant worries about the Alliance.

“While the others were gone Mal, River and I re-supplied Serenity and got it ready for the changes to be made. During this time I got to know Mal better than before and he let his guard down a bit and told us stories from his youth and the war. However, he still needs to make sure we know he’s in charge and that does strain any attempts to be overly friendly with him. River found him lingering in Inara’s now empty shuttle and once he mentioned he should contact her about giving her her share of the Lassiter take, but I don’t think he ever did wave her. Kaylee is returning tomorrow and I cannot help but be glad. This is the first time in almost eight months that I have not seen her every day and I miss her smile and her sunny disposition.”

She knew he had missed her and he had almost hugged her when she arrived back but held himself back at the last instance. She had missed him also, more than she had realized ‘til she saw him again. Her father had, in a roundabout way, asked if she was dating and she said she wasn’t, which was the truth, but he could sense she wasn’t telling the whole truth so she finally told him all about Simon. He knew the name, the doctor who had saved her life when she had been shot, and asked if she loved him and she confessed she did. She had to explain all about Simon and River’s situation and he had nothing but admiration for all Simon had done for River. Her father had no advice on what to do, but she felt much better talking to him. She had also waved Inara at the training house and had to wait a day for a reply, Taos being out of direct wave contact. Inara was fine and getting on well, but missed her shuttle, and Kaylee and the others. Kaylee knew who she missed most of all but nothing was said about him.

“We’ve been making changes to the ship for the last week and all are extremely busy. Kaylee is supervising all the work and I barely see her. The engine has been overhauled and many parts replaced, the cargo bay has gotten a new interior and we have finally found a replacement for the Mule. It’s a hovercraft, seating four and with cargo capacity. Kaylee and the captain found it and rode it into the cargo bay without letting us know so it was quite a surprise. Kaylee is in love with the new Mule and spends hours tinkering over it.”

It had become her favorite toy. One day when the repairs were almost finished the Capt’n asked her to come with him. She wiped the grease from her hands and face and followed him to the outskirts of town to a vehicle lot. Some were new and some used. She eyed the hovercraft immediately and when the Capt’n saw the look on her face he set to negotiating with the salesman. After a quick test ride, some bills changed hands and Serenity had its new Mule. Then, after that, everything seemed to go downhill again.

“Jobs are becoming scarcer and the Alliance noose seems to be getting tighter on the outer rim. More Alliance patrol ships are about and have to be avoided and even on a few small moons we’ve seen wanted posters for me and River. This is worse than before and it seems the Alliance search is taking a new direction. River and I have not been off the ship in several weeks and it is maddening. Somehow the word has also gone out to not deal with Serenity. Badger or even the Alliance or both have put a barrier in front of our ability to find work and the captain is growing increasingly frustrated. Almost all our money was spent in overhauling the ship.”

The Capt’n had even asked Kaylee if she had any money left and she did and gave it to him for fuel. She said Simon had a lot since he didn’t go anywhere but he wasn’t quite ready to beg from Simon. Kaylee told him he had it all wrong, that it weren’t begging but he just walked away from her. Finally, Simon offered some of his money for the ship’s needs and the Capt’n took it but she knew he wouldn’t have done so if he had any other choice.

“We have been forced by circumstances to become criminals again. The Lassiter money is mostly gone and now Mal is kicking himself for having spent so lavishly on the ship and the new Mule. A job has come our way, a trading outpost on a rim moon, where a security force payroll is supposed to be in a vault this Sunday, moonside time. I believe Fanty and Mingo have told Mal about this situation. The captain and I are at odds with each other again and it feels like the first days when I came aboard Serenity. He wants to take River on this job and despite my violent protests he persists in doing so.”

The Capt’n wanted River on the job so she could sense trouble. Kaylee understood but still didn’t like it anymore than Simon did. River wasn’t made for fighting, or at least they thought so at that time. Now they knew differently.

“We are on our way to Beaumonde where River and I will finally leave Serenity. The job with the security company payroll went well, up to the point the Reavers arrived. In fact, River may have saved Jayne, Mal, and Zoe since she sensed the Reaver’s coming and they managed to get away a minute sooner than they would have. We then pulled off a daring and dangerous recovery of our Mule and shipmates when we had to do a “barn swallow” as Wash called it, to get them inside while being pursued by the Reaver ship. The Mule slid into the cargo bay backwards and the Reaver ship crashed on the ramp, with part of it and one Reaver ending up inside of Serenity. The Reaver was quickly dispatched with. It was the first time I have seen one of them. He was an ordinary human male who had desecrated his flesh, slashing his face and arms in a hideous manner.”

Kaylee had come running down the stairs, afraid Simon had been hurt when the Mule came flying into the cargo bay. Then the Reaver stood up and was dead an instant later. It was the first time Kaylee had gotten a close look at one also but it would not, unfortunately, be the last.

“My anger boiled over at the danger River had been placed in and I finally did what I had long to do so many months ago: I struck Captain Reynolds. In the ensuing argument I told him we were leaving the ship and he eagerly agreed. The only one who it seems will miss us is Kaylee. The look on her face told me everything but it is time. In a few hours we will be off the ship.”

Simon finally hit the Capt’n and Kaylee had thought it was the end. Again the Capt’n didn’t strike back, the second time he hadn’t done so, after Shepherd Book. No one seemed to shed any tears over Simon’s decision which made it harder for Kaylee to bear. If only Book and Inara had been there, they might have changed the situation. But they were gone and Kaylee had no more support for her desires to have the Tams stay on board. It had always been that way now that she thought on it. The ship had been divided in its opinions on the Tams. While Jayne, the Capt’n, and Zoe, with Wash trailing reluctantly behind, thought they should have been rid of them long ago, Kaylee, Book and Inara never said a harsh word about Simon or River or ever said anything about them leaving. She almost felt like leaving herself. And then the Maidenhead happened.

“I have had a shocking day and my sister’s true abilities and all the Alliance have done to her has come to light in a startling way. Much to my amazement we are still on board Serenity and have left Beaumonde. This was not the plan. As the crew left to take off to do some business and have some recreation, I planned to walk around the docks and find another ship to take us somewhere else. We still had a bit of money from the Lassiter job and some money from the recent payroll robbery. I had hoped to find a ship and then return to Serenity for our luggage. No one even said goodbye to us except Kaylee. Had we failed to make one friend among the crew except her? Did they all despise me and my sister so much as to be so rude at the end? Reynolds, I understand, because of my hitting him. Zoe and Wash I didn’t understand, especially Wash as we have had many talks together and I saved his wife’s life. And how many times had I patched up holes in Jayne? No, he is not my friend in the strictest sense of the word but there was no goodbye, not from any of them besides Kaylee. Her face betrayed her emotions as she said goodbye and gave us some good advice. I wanted to say so much, to tell her all I felt for her but it was all meaningless, as I would never be back, or so I thought.”

She had almost broken down on the ramp there as she said goodbye. She wanted to hug him, kiss him, beg him to stay, to apologize to the Capt’n, not to leave her. But the words got stuck and she just had to walk away before she broke down. And then she got angry, angry at the Capt’n for putting Simon and River in such an awful position. She even suspected he may have told Simon to stay away from her but she knew that wasn’t true now. They were crew and he had said so himself on many occasions. Simon had saved him, and Zoe, and Kaylee herself. That had to count for something. Kaylee followed the others to the Maidenhead bar and gave the Capt’n a piece of her mind. The crowning zinger was after he had said if he truly wanted someone nothing would stop him from going to her. Kaylee told him to tell that to Inara and stormed off.

“As we examined the electronic notice board with destination of the nearest ship, I noticed Kaylee heading back to Serenity. I had to say something and found my courage and began to follow her. Just as I almost reached her I snapped back to reality and realized River was not with me. I turned and saw her way off in the crowd. The traffic and flow of humanity impeded my progress and I believed she had gone into a bar. As I reached the entrance screams could be heard, and the odd gunshot. I feared the worst and raced in just to see River, surrounded by bodies, Jayne’s included, aiming a pistol at Reynolds. The words leaped to my lips before I even realized it or knew I had remembered them. It was a phrase the underground movement taught me in case River had a violent episode. She passed out in an instance. Reynolds picked her up and we quickly made out way back to the ship.”

Kaylee was just sitting on the ramp, fuming about all that had happened when suddenly everyone was heading back to the ship. The Capt’n was carrying River, Simon and Wash were helping Jayne and Zoe had her gun out looking around for trouble. The Capt’n yelled for her to get them in the air and before Kaylee had time to ask a question or feel a bit happy she raced off to the engine room and Wash raced for the bridge. After they left Beaumonde the questions came and the Capt’n, Jayne, and Simon tried to explain but it sounded crazy. River beat up a bar full of people? Shot some, stabbed others, knocked out Jayne and almost shot the Capt’n. It was just…crazy! Even Simon didn’t know why she had started attacking people. Kaylee was stunned at all this information to digest but she was secretly glad they were back on board. River, however, was handcuffed and locked in the storage closest off the dining room.

“The captain has been in contact with an old friend of theirs, a man who calls himself Mr. Universe, a moniker he no doubt employs because he is wired into the Cortex and the flow of information between the planets is at his fingertips, giving him a God-like complex. How much of this information is useful I have no idea seeing as the Alliance is mostly telling lies these days. What he did know was that River seemed to be triggered by a subliminal message in an advertisement she saw on the vid screen in the Maidenhead. The Alliance is looking for her and used that message to trigger a reaction in her, causing the violent outburst. It is now apparent that they have manipulated the subconscious of her psyche, allowing them to plant pre-programmed commands that can be triggered by these subliminal messages.”

River was like a walking weapon, ready for the Alliance to command at their will, as long as she could receive the messages. Aboard a Firefly, barely leaving the ship all those months, they had no way to contact her. How many more were out there like River, unknowing who they were, having been stolen from their families and lives, all for the sake of power and control. Kaylee shuddered at the thought.

“On the vid feed from the Maidenhead, River can be seen saying the word ‘Miranda’. Who or what it is we have no idea and neither does River. What happens now, I do not know. Captain Reynolds is at a loss himself, unable to say even why he brought River back on board. He could have left her there and no one would know he even knew her. I am grateful for this one small bit of humanity he has showed. I hope I and the others don’t live to regret it. River is dangerous, there is no doubt and perhaps it would have been better to have left us there to face the police and the Alliance.”

After all that had come to pass in recent months Kaylee could see the sense of what he had written. All their troubles started from that moment. If the Capt’n had left River, if Simon hadn’t walked away to follow her and left River alone, if she hadn’t argued with the Capt’n and left the bar, if, too many ifs, it’ll drive you crazy thinking on them all. Kaylee looked at next entry in the journal and caught her breath. It was about Haven and Book’s death.

“Shepherd Book is dead and there is no time to even weep for him. We have turned our ship into a facsimile of a Reaver ship and we are headed into deep space, to Reaver territory, to Miranda, which is a planet, long forgotten and abandoned. I don’t even know how to explain it all, the events of the last day happening in rapid succession. An evil man, an Operative of the Parliament, according to what Shepherd told Mal, is on our trail. I have never heard of an “operative” before, but it seems he is a highly trained tracker and assassin, according to what Mal and Zoe have heard. After our escape from Beaumonde we landed at Haven to take refugee for a spell. Seeing Book and his flock again was good for us all. Haven is a haven. Or at least it was. Serenity landed in one of the deeper mine shafts and the crew left to enjoy the colony’s hospitality. I stayed aboard to be close to River.”

That had been the last happy time. They had a campfire, some barbecue, and Jayne had played some tunes on a guitar. They had a little to drink and the night air had been cool and refreshing. Kaylee had wished Simon had been at her side but he never left the ship, worrying over River, who was still locked in the storage closet. Suddenly Kaylee felt a little guilty for being happy for those few brief moments while River was still locked up.

“The next morning we received a wave from Inara, whose training house is located on a nearby planet. She asked for some help and immediately Mal sensed a trap and his sixth sense for these matters did not fail him. The Operative was waiting for him and us. After a desperate struggle Mal and Inara managed to escape and we retreated to Haven”

A desperate struggle with the Operative. Kaylee had only seen the man once, a glimpse of him in the Alliance hospital after the battle, and he looked deadly and seemed as cold as ice. The Capt’n beat him, twice, which said a lot for the Capt’n.

“During the voyage to Haven Jayne confronted the captain over why he was still sheltering me and River. The captain had no answer and I can only surmise that his sense of honor is all that is preventing him from turning us over to the Operative. That, or his deep hatred of the Alliance. The argument got out of hand and we feared that Jayne and Mal would come to blows but Zoe intervened and Jayne walked away. Soon after he tried to take River away from Serenity and she knocked him out with heavy can of vegetables. And then she knocked me out.”

River had punched him in the throat and kicked him in the head, worried her brother would make her fall asleep again before she could show them that Miranda was a place, a planet. Kaylee went looking for Simon and was stunned to find him lying in the aft corridor out cold and even more stunned to learn River had done it. Kaylee and Inara brought him around with a few gentle slaps to the face. By that time the Capt’n had found River on the bridge and then they all knew the secret of Miranda. River was so much more powerful and intelligent than any of them could have ever imagined.

“River believes that Miranda is a planet and that the secret the Alliance is after is somehow tied with this memory of Miranda. Our return to Haven was not pleasant. The colony had been attacked by a small Alliance gunship, which Shepherd Book managed to shoot down. Tragically, he was mortally wounded by the gunship and everyone else was dead. Even if I had reached Book in time I could not do much for him. The wound had destroyed most of his liver….”

No, she couldn’t read that part, not about the Shepherd. Kaylee had wept for him and the others, her friends on Haven, alone in her room, on the voyage to Miranda. She broke down for a long time, just crying and wondering how it would all end. They had turned the ship into a Reaver ship and were going to try to reach Miranda. She mucked up the reactor core so it was just within tolerable safety standards, closed the engine room door and told everyone to stay away. The bodies tied to the nose of the ship had been the hard part, those people being their friends. Shepherd hadn’t been one of them. They laid him out in his little house, on his bed, covered him with a blanket and promised to return to give him a proper send off. Then they started on the ship, turning it into…a monstrosity. The Capt’n had been so mad, his blood about to boil out of his skin, he looked like he would have shot any one of them in an instance if they didn’t follow his orders. For the first time since she knew him, Kaylee was afraid of him, and she could see why he had been such a fearless leader of men and women in battle.

Kaylee stretched and felt the urge to go to the bathroom. She put on Simon’s robe and left and when she returned he was awake, rubbing his eyes and yawning. She sat next to him and gave him a quick kiss and morning hello.

“Busy day ahead,’ Kaylee said.

“Yes. Been up long?”

“Yeah. Just can’t sleep. Did some reading.”

“Oh. How far now?”

“Beaumonde, the Maidenhead. You following me and River getting away. What were you going to say to me?”

He looked at her with a puzzled expression. “Don’t rem…oh, yes. I guess I was going to tell you…how I felt…and ask you to come with us…or maybe we would have stayed…I don’t know really.”

“Wish you had caught me,” she said in a sad voice. “Wish River had stayed with you. So much happened because of the Maidenhead. So much pain.”

Simon put his arm around her and she knew they were both thinking on the friends they had lost.

“Time to start our day,” Simon said finally and they got up and began what could be their last day on Serenity.

Kaylee and Simon joined the others on the bridge after breakfast, looking out the windows at the blue green world of Boros, surrounded by white fluffy clouds. There were two large land masses and plenty of water. Boros was known for farming and provided much for the local planets like Persephone but it was far from the Core and not developed enough to attract much Alliance presence.

“Status?” the Capt’n questioned River.

“All clear. Few transports, no patrol craft, no Alliance wavebands active,” she replied in an instant.

“Good,” said the Capt’n. “Prepare for landing”

Serenity made for the northern hemisphere of the larger land mass, and soon they could see endless farm fields separated by forests, lakes, rivers, and the odd low mountain range. It was mostly flat and the small towns and farm houses were separate by great distances. There was a rough road net, but nothing as extensive as on other planets they had been. A few large trucks, carrying crops no doubt, traveled the roads, and they picked up a space transport or two but nothing large or fancy. The Lancaster Townships was located in a valley, with a small river running through it and Serenity made for a clump of forest outside the valley proper.

They set down in a small clearing in the forest area and the landing was perfect. After they secured the area, Mal, Zoe, and Kaylee got the Mule ready to go. Mal drove with Zoe in front and Kaylee climbed into the left backseat. Both Zoe and Mal were dressed in their usual brown and were armed. Kaylee was in her overalls with the teddy bear on the knee.

Simon gave Kaylee a quick kiss and passed her the bag with the vid equipment. She told him all would be well but she could see he was worried.

“Be careful,” Simon advised.

“I’m with the Capt’n and Zoe. What could go wrong?” she replied and Simon got even more nervous.

“Plenty,” was all he said, in a low whisper and Kaylee just chuckled a little, more from nerves than a desire to laugh.

Mal called over Jayne. “Never thought I’d say this but you got the boat.”

Jayne grinned. “About time. Been on it two years.”

“Now, just cause I said you got the boat don’t mean you “own” the boat.

“Yeah, I . She’ll still be here when you get back.”

“And so will Simon and River. Right?”

“Course. Hell, why you still got to bring this up?”

Simon and Kaylee shared a worried look as this conversation took place. Simon looked at Jayne with as serious a look as he could muster. “Jayne, we have an understanding, don’t we? You leave us in peace, and my sister will stay out of your head.”

“Yeah, I got it, gorramit. Just go already!”

The Mule took off and as Kaylee looked back she could see Simon looking at her until the ship was lost in the trees.

They came into the valley where a river was crossed by a wooden bridge. A few farmers were out in their fields and they all stopped what they were doing to watch the strange hovercraft fly by. In the distance was a cluster of buildings and the Mule was heading straight for them. As they progressed more and more people were looking at them from the fields and by the time they reached the edge of town Kaylee could see people heading from the fields toward them.

“Ah, Capt’n?”

“I see them. Guess they ain’t never seen one of these before,” he replied in a grim voice. “Ain’t exactly the entrance I was planning to make.”

“They’re not armed,” said Zoe, her eyes zoned in and wary of all that was going on around them.

The Mule arrived at the buildings and pulled into what looked like the main street. Kaylee got out the vid equipment and started recording. There couldn’t have been more than fifteen buildings, none more than two stories, all made of wood, with quaint shapes, glass windows, and simple doors. There were electric lights and wires going to the buildings but none extended to outside the town so Kaylee suspected they had a small generator for local use only. There was only one vehicle on the street and plenty of horses and wagons. Some of the horses grew nervous and bucked when the Mule drove by but mostly they were calm. The people were dressed in simple clothes and were healthy looking and suntanned for the most part. The Mule headed for the one vehicle parked in front of the largest building. Kaylee also noticed a small satellite dish on top of this building and that had to be for comms and a Cortex connection. A small crowd of people followed them.

As soon as Mal parked and let down the Mule brake the questions came flying.

“Fancy machine,” from a young boy. “Can I go for a ride?”

“What the hell is this rig?” came from one old timer.

“Where you all from?” from a lady with a baby in her arms. Kaylee smiled at her and looked at the baby as she stepped down. It was a gorgeous little bundle and Kaylee felt a desire to reach out her arms and hold the baby but didn’t, not wanting to scare these people.

“From Persephone” she said and Mal looked at her and nodded as he climbed down next to her.

“That’s right folks, we’re all from Persephone. This here’s a hovercraft we drove in from the next township. Take a look but please don’t touch,” said Mal.

The crowd had gathered round the Mule looking it over and under it. Kaylee kept vidtaping them, enjoying the enthusiasm of the people.

“I don’t like this one bit, sir,” said Zoe as she climbed down, eyes going every direction looking for trouble.

“They’re harmless. Just curious folk,’ he answered. Then he looked at the old timer. “Come here to speak to the local mayor, chief, leader, whatever you call him, P.T. Beauregard.”

“Yup, this here the right place. P.T. be inside. Don’t expect he’s taking visitors though,” replied the old man in a cracking voice.

“How’s that?” Mal asked.

“On account a his leg. P.T. done had an accident a few weeks ago and his leg is broken and didn’t set well. We ain’t got no doctor and he’s in an awful state. Called for one from ‘nother township but ain’t seen hide nor hair a him yet.”

Mal looked at Zoe. “This might work after all.”

He turned back to the old timer. “Be much obliged if you tell P.T. that Malcolm Reynolds is here and wants a word. Tell him I also got some medical aid if he needs it.”

“It’s almost ten. Suspects he’s drunk already but I’ll tell him,” said the old timer and he shuffled off into the large building.

Kaylee came over next to Mal and Zoe. “What’s going on Capt’n?

“We’re about to find out.”

They waited a minute, nodded politely to the folks and answered some more simple questions. The old timer returned and nodded inside.

“He called me a liar at first, said Malcolm Reynolds never come to this backwater, then asked me who was with you. I said a fierce looking woman with steely eyes was at your side and a fresh faced young beauty was taking pictures.” Kaylee blushed as he said this. “Then he just nodded and told me to tell you to come in. Guess he does know you, young feller.”

“Appreciate it, my friend,” Mal said. He handed the old timer a few coins. “Be obliged you keep an eye on my machine here.”

The old man looked at the coins and handed them back. “Ain’t much use for money out here. You keep it. I’ll watch your machine.” Mal just nodded and pocketed the coins again and turned to go inside.

“That’s so kind,” said Kaylee and then she followed the others inside.

It was immediately clear that this was some kind of administrative building, but it was as low tech as could be possible. On the first floor were some desks with people, mostly woman, sitting and looking over papers, but they had no Cortex screens or computers and were doing everything by hand. One desk said Treasurer, another said Agricultural Department, and a third said Administration. Kaylee also noticed that there were no wanted posters and nothing that resembled Alliance, police, or a jail.

A huge safe with two armed men in front of it was at the back of the room. As the trio walked to a stairway to the second floor everyone stopped what they were doing and looked at them. Kaylee got a very uncomfortable feeling about all this. A third armed man stopped them at the foot of the stairs

“P.T. said to take any guns you got,” he said in a low cold voice.

Zoe looked at Mal and he just nodded and took out his pistol and handed it over. “I expects to be getting that back as I gave it.”

“Not to worry,” said the man as he also took Zoe’s gun. He laid the guns on a table and then looked at Kaylee.

“Oh, no, sir, me and guns we don’t get along so good,” she said in a nervous voice.

“All right. Man see you now.” And he led them upstairs.

The second floor was mostly empty, with a few book shelves, a small bed in one corner, and a small wardrobe. P.T. Beauregard was sitting behind a desk near the front windows, his left leg propped up on some pillows on another chair and a whiskey bottle and several glasses were on an almost bare desk in front of him. Also on the desk were a pistol and a Cortex screen, the only one Kaylee had seen so far.

Beauregard was a thin wiry man, in his early 40s Kaylee ventured, with curly black hair going bald, and with a big droopy moustache like their friend Monty had. He worn a neat grey suit with an open collar and had nice cuff links and a rose in his label. He also worn wire rimmed glasses and could have passed as a school teacher except for the two inch scar on his left cheek which was deathly pale next to his tanned features. It gave his features a sort of menacing cast and Kaylee was a trifle frightened

His face was also a mask of pain and Kaylee could instantly see why. His left pants leg was cut open and his leg was at an odd angle and was wrapped in bandages and Kaylee could see blood and something green and yellow on the bandages. He drank a shot of whiskey just as they got to his desk and immediately began to pour another.

“Malcolm Reynolds,” he said in a weak raspy voice. “Last person I expected to see on Boros. Come to kill me? Well, you’re too late. Be dead in a week anyways.”

“Ain’t here to kill no one P.T. Last time we met I might have done so, but them days is long past. I see you is in bad shape here.”

He grunted. “That I am. Join me for a drink?”

“Can’t say no to that,” Mal replied and as Beauregard poured they sat down in some nearby chairs.

“Zoe?” he said looking at her through his heavy eyelids. “That old timer, Old Pete, said a ‘steely eyed woman’. That you? ”

“Yeah, P.T., its me. Can’t say I’m glad to see you,” she replied with a trace of venom, eyeing the pistol on the desk.

“Same old Zoe,” he said as they picked up their glasses.

“And this here’s Kaylee Frye, my mechanic,” Mal said as way of introduction.

“Hi,” said Kaylee in a nervous voice. “Nice to ah…make…your…hi.”

He chuckled. “Howdy. A toast. To meeting old...enemies I guess.”

Mal even laughed at that and they drank, Kaylee just taking a sip, whiskey not much to her liking.

“Mechanic are you?” Beauregard said looking at her with bloodshot eyes.

“Yes sir,” she replied.

“Best in the verse,” said Mal and Kaylee just grinned.

“Got me a vehicle down on the street, only one in town, been given me nothing but trouble, same as this leg. Care to take a look at it?”

“Sure. Just need to get my tools later, be happy to.”

“Much obliged, not that I’ll be needing it much longer,” he said and poured himself another drink and more for Mal and Zoe.

“Now to business,” said Mal as he drank some more. “We’re here on account of that wave you sent looking for medical personnel.”

Beauregard’s eyes got a bit brighter as Mal said this. “Old Pete, he said you had some medical aid. What’s it all about?”

“Got us a doctor on Serenity,” Mal said. “And he’s looking for a new home, for him, his wife and his sister.”

There it was, out in the open, and Kaylee just held her breath, waiting for his reply.

“You got a doctor? A real doctor?’ Beauregard said in a weak, unbelieving voice.

“Alliance trained, brilliant fellow, fixed my crew up plenty of times,” answered Mal and Kaylee felt proud of Simon again, and even the Capt’n and all his ups and downs with Simon couldn’t ignore the fact that Simon was good at what he did.

“What’s fellow like that doing on an old Firefly?” and he was immediately suspicious.

“Well, that brings us to the part that might mean difference ‘tween life and death for you and some others. Him and his sister is wanted by the Alliance.”

Beauregard just grunted and smiled a bit. “Hell, so am I and so are you I imagine.”

Kaylee was confused. “Sorry sir, but if the Alliance is after you how do you get to be in charge here?”

“Cause ain’t no Alliance here and we don’t want them. I’m in charge cause these farmers asked me to be. See, this here’s my hometown.”

“And a mighty fine town it is,” said Mal. “Now, this here doctor and his sister is wanted fugitives. He’s looking to settle down, start a family with his wife, and is looking for a place to work and a place to lay low. Think you can provide all that?”

Beauregard looked at his leg and then turned to them. “He can save my leg, I’d be obliged rest of my life.”

Kaylee felt a warm flood of relief flowing through her body. “He can do it, he’s the best. He once re-attached a whole leg.”

“That a fact?” said Beauregard. “And what would his name be?”

COMMENTS

Friday, November 23, 2007 9:57 PM

MERRYK


Ooh, nice supposition of what happened in between series and movie. I liked it, and also the explanation of how River got away from Simon at the Maidenhead. She sure does seem to do that frequently. ;-)

Saturday, November 24, 2007 8:35 AM

AMDOBELL


I am really sad that Simon and Kaylee are still so fired up with wanting to leave Serenity. Not that I don't think they should get themselves settled, I just don't see anywhere being as much home to them as Serenity and her crew. Of course they fall out from time to time, all families do, but they are also the ones who are there for you through thick and thin. I'm thinking that only after they finally leave will Simon in particular properly realise what he had. As for Kaylee, I don't think leaving Serenity is going to be as shiny as she supposes. As for P.T. I am all manner of anxious now that he is asking for Simon and River's names. Ali D
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, November 25, 2007 5:01 AM

SHAMROCK


And there it is. On step closer to the end. However, I believe this will be a god step for Kaylee and Simon. And of course River. And a town with no alliance seems to put them in their best bet. Just want to say how great this one is written. Very well to the point, but explaining the entire movie at the same time. I like it! :) Can't wait for part 2!!

Sunday, November 25, 2007 10:56 PM

JANE0904


I agree with Amdobell - Serenity is the best place to be, always on the move. But I'm still wondering if you're going to end with Simon, River and Kaylee getting off, just so you can do a sequel ...


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