Jericho Wells - Part II
Sunday, April 19, 2009

Maya. Post-BDM. Kaylee doesn't want to be a burden, and there's an evident problem as Serenity lands on Jericho. NEW CHAPTER


Extract from the Union of Allied Planets Rules for Parliamentary Elections:

In order to ensure the full democratic process, all persons in residence between the time of formal notice of election to the date of ballot shall, within the discretion of the election office and notwithstanding any rank or privilege thereof, be considered under the jurisdiction of the returning officer and shall present themselves at a time and date as decided by the relevant parliamentary official, with full identity and other necessary documentation, to participate in or otherwise take advantage of the continuity of voting. Failure to do so will incur penalties, consequences and other corollaries as detailed in Section 22, Sub-Section 7, paragraphs 14 to 84. This obligation and requirement is more fully set out in Section 20, Sub-Section 19, paragraph 26.


“Kaylee, Simon wants you in the infirmary.” River stepped into the engine room, her bare feet only whispering on the metal floor.

“Can’t,” the young mechanic said, her feet sticking out from under the engine. “Too much to do.”

River glanced at Freya, swinging gently in the hammock.

“She was in here when I arrived this morning.” The older woman shook her head. “She told me it wasn’t necessary, but I think she might have spent the night.”

“Had to. Have to make sure we get to Jericho in one piece.” Kaylee’s feet twitched. “Ain’t like it’s the first time I've done it.”

“Not pregnant,” Freya pointed out. “And apparently it takes more time to explain to me what to do than to do it herself. I'm considering getting Mal to remonstrate with her.”

“Won’t do no good,” Kaylee said, her voice slightly muffled. “I know what my girl needs, and it’s just simpler to get it done while I can.”

“And what about your boy?” River asked.

“What? What boy?”

“Your son.”

There was a moment’s silence, then Kaylee slid out, the wheels on her trolley squealing. Her hand automatically went to her belly, the other clutching a sealant gun. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Sharp objects,” River said. “Heat. Radiation.”

“There ain't no radiation in here!” Kaylee looked most affronted.

“Might be. And that could affect him.” River pointed towards Kaylee’s stomach.

“That ain’t fair.”

“Fair, no. True, yes.”

Freya got up from the hammock and went down onto her heels. “Kaylee, honey, you know the drill. We do the work, you do the supervising. That way Serenity gets to where she’s going, and Mal doesn’t have another heart attack.”

Kaylee glared at her. “That’s low.”

“Yes, it is. And I’ll do anything and say anything to get you to understand, no matter how low it is.” With River’s help they got Kaylee to her feet. “Is it fixed?” she asked, nodding towards the sealant.

“Yeah. Just a little fluid leak, and … yeah, it’s fixed.”

“Then that’s it. You don’t do a thing now until after that baby’s born.”

“And the grav boot? When we get a new one? What then? You gonna put it in?” Kaylee’s sunshine was hidden under a wave of belligerence, coupled with just a hint of self-righteous indignation.

“No, I will,” River said. “The auxiliary coupler is linked to the primary O-ring, which in turn –“

Kaylee held up a hand. “You reading me?”

“A little.”

The young woman looked ready to argue, but in the end her shoulders slumped. “I just … I don’t wanna feel useless,” she muttered. She laid her hand on the engine housing. “This is my girl. No matter the papers say she belongs to the Cap, she’s mine. Put so much of me into her, sometimes I ain't sure where I stop and she starts.”

“She sings when you touch her,” River said softly.

“That’s right,” Kaylee said, glad she understood. “And if I can’t do for her, get her back up to being the best gorram engine she can be … well, I ain’t good for anything.”

Freya put her arm around her shoulders. “Kaylee, you’re the heart of this boat. And you know it. I think you’re just a bit scared.”

“No, I ain’t.”

“I was. With both Ethan and Jesse. Those last few weeks, when Mal was rushing around, trying to get everything right, doing that nesting thing he does …”

Kaylee giggled. “Does not.”

Freya glanced at River, who smiled. “Kaylee, it’s been a few years since Bethie was born. And you had a tough time of it, what with … well, everything.” She didn’t want to remind the other woman too much of when they thought Simon was lost to them, River too, and the Caesarean that had been necessary to save both mother and child. “But we’re here. Your Ma is going to hold your hand when your son’s born, and your father is going to pass around the cigars.”

“Like Jayne did,” River put in.

“Exactly.” Freya squeezed. “It’s okay to be scared. It’s natural. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t take things easy for a while. Dong mah?”

Kaylee sighed heavily. “I guess.”

“And you can start by going and seeing your husband.”

“Did he say why he wanted me?” Kaylee asked River.

“Check-up.” River leaned down until she could look under the engine housing, her hair falling forwards and obscuring her face. “He wants to play with his new scanner.”


“There.” Simon touched the screen. “I can’t believe this is so clear.”

Kaylee, laying on her back on the medbed, was craning her neck to see. “Is he okay?” she asked.

“He’s perfect. I can count his toes, his fingers, even see he has a mass of hair.”

“Simon, I can’t …” She wriggled, and the image blurred.

“Lay still.”

“I want to see.”

“Then …” Simon picked up his portable scanner, plugging in the adaptor River had put together. “Here.” He held it for her, the image duplicated on its small screen.

“Oh.” Kaylee stared at her son. “He’s …”

“Perfect,” Simon repeated.

“That he is.” She giggled. “You can see he’s a boy.”

“And this is just a passive scan. If I wanted, I could change the focus and look right inside him.”

“That wouldn’t hurt him, would it?” Kaylee asked, concerned.

“I wouldn’t, just in case. But it means that, if I was worried about anything, I could see it, possibly fix it even before he was born.”

Kaylee’s eyes were wide. “You mean you could go in and operate?”

“If needed. Not that I would if at all possible. I couldn’t on Ethan after the Minuet’s, and our … our son is even smaller at the moment.”

Reaching out a hand to him, feeling him grasp it tightly, she smiled. “Sounds good, doesn’t it? Our son.”

“It does.”

“Never thought we’d be saying that. I mean, I'm so happy we’ve got Bethie, and Hope, but … does it make me a bad Momma that I want this little boy too?”

“Only if it makes me a bad father.” Simon grinned down at her, so much more relaxed and open from the man who had first stepped on board this Firefly. “And the girls understand.”

“I think they do.” Kaylee giggled again.

“What? What are you thinking about?”

“Oh, just when Jesse was born. And Ethan thinking Mal and Frey wouldn’t want him now.”

“That won’t happen,” Simon promised. “Bethie and Hope are both looking forward to having a little brother.”

“Someone to boss around.”


Kaylee took one last look at their son, then struggled to sit up. Simon quickly moved the scanner out of the way. “Well, I gotta get back to the engine room. Ain't no telling what those two’ve done whilst I’ve been gone.”

“And are you being sensible?” Simon asked, helping her to stand then pulling her towards him, pressing as much of himself against her as he could.

“I guess.”


“Well, maybe not sensible,” she had to admit. “Least, not ‘til now. But I will be, I promise.”

His eyes narrowed, but he didn’t pursue it any further. He knew how much she wanted this baby, and she wasn’t going to do anything to jeopardise that. Even if it took someone else pointing out the potential dangers. “Good.” He kissed the tip of her nose, tasting engine grease. “And have you thought any more about our son’s name?”

She gazed at him for such a long time that he started to get uncomfortable, then she said, “Yep, I have. And I think you’re right.”

He exhaled, only then realising he’d been holding his breath. “Thank you.”

“No, don’t. It’s something I shoulda suggested myself, and … I know he’d like it.”

“Thank you anyway. For being Kaylee.”

She laughed, and squirmed slightly in his embrace. “Ain't nothing.”

“Yes, it is.”

He kissed her properly this time, and although she knew she could stay like that forever, there were things needed doing.

“I gotta go,” she said regretfully, slipping out from his arms and heading for the door.

“I think Bethie’s up there with them,” Simon added. “She said something about telling them what to do.”

Kaylee’s eyebrows raised. “Then I think I’d better get back quick. ‘Fore there’s mutiny.”

Simon chuckled and watched his wife move faster than he could have imagined in her condition, her sandals flapping up the stairs towards her kingdom.


As they watched Jericho grow fat through the bridge window Zoe studied her captain out of the corner of her eye. He was far too relaxed, standing with his thumbs hitched into his suspenders, a slight smile on his face.

“Have you come up with a plan, sir?” she asked eventually, turning to face him.

“A plan?”

“Yes, sir. A plan. For this, some might say, ill-advised attempt to rob one of Jericho Wells' banks.”

“Ill-advised. Huh.”

“Yes, sir.”

He gave a quiet laugh. “Me and Frey were thinking about it last night, that’s for sure. Well, for a little while, anyway.”

She ignored the last part. “And did you come to any conclusion?”

“A few.” He grinned. “Let’s just see how much Kaylee wants us to spend first, shall we? ‘Cause I’m not so set on the prospect if we don’t have to.”

“That’s good to know, sir.”

Hank glanced up. “Better not mention stealing anything for a while,” he advised. “Looks like Port Control are calling.” He lifted down the handset. “This is the Firefly transport Serenity, requesting landing clearance for Jericho Wells.”

A wave of static preceded a voice, sounding more than a little bored. “Firefly Serenity, stand by.” There was maybe thirty seconds of silence, then, “Firefly Serenity. What is the nature of your business on Jericho?”

Hank glanced at Mal, and had to bite his tongue to hold back the impulse to say ‘thieving, corruption and general debauchery’. “Port Control, we need supplies, that’s all. Not looking for work at this time.”

“Firefly Serenity, stand by.”

“They seem … officious,” Zoe commented.

“Jericho supported Unification,” Mal said quietly. “I don’t think there was one man in the Independent army came from there. They just like doing it by the book.” Still, he could feel tension across his shoulders. If they couldn’t land at Jericho Wells, he wasn't sure where he was going to get the replacement grav boot from. He might have to do as Kaylee had suggested and contact Dillon, although how they’d get it to –

The com chirped again. “Firefly Serenity, you are cleared to land at Jericho Wells. Be advised that you may be inspected for any contraband or other illegal goods at any time. Landing co-ordinates are being transmitted.”

“Thank you, Port Control, received” Hank said. “And we’re all law-abiding here.” He hung the handset back up, quite difficult with his fingers crossed. He grinned at Zoe, who only raised one eyebrow.

“Get us down, Hank,” Mal said, rotating his shoulders a little.

“No problem.”

They dropped into Jericho’s atmosphere, the flames outside extinguished as quickly as they’d arrived, and they were surrounded by a rich blue sky.

“Hank, is it me, or is there nothing in the air?” Mal asked slowly as his ship flew smoothly towards the dock.

The pilot checked his scanners. “Almost. Just a couple of shuttles out on the edge of town, but nothing bigger.”

“Like to hazard a guess as to why?”

“Not really.” Hank adjusted their heading slightly. “I suppose there are times when nothing flies. It’s just … I ain't never seen one.”

Port Control’s voice came back over the com. “Firefly Serenity, you are on final approach. Your navigation beacon is locked onto berth five.”

Zoe stirred uneasily. “Sir, I don’t have a very good feeling about this.”

He glanced sharply at her. “In what way?”

“Not sure. Just … like Verity.”

Verity. A small town on a moon nobody had heard of, and a place he’d rather forget, seeing as he hadn’t listened to his corporal that time, and nearly ended up dead, shrapnel peppering his back. It had become a byword for Zoe’s instincts, and since then he tended to take notice.

“Trouble is, it ain’t like we exactly have any other options,” he said slowly.

“I know.”

Serenity was now low enough to see the expanse of buildings, older ones around the dock, but taller and more expensive the further out. One or two of them appeared to exceed a dozen stories. And everywhere there was green, from trees to gardens, parks and open spaces.

Hank brought the ship down, her landing gear extending to take her weight, and she touched earth with barely a bump.

“Firefly Serenity, your Cortex link has been updated. Welcome to Jericho.” Port Control signed off.

Mal peered out of the bridge window. “We landed in the middle of a festival or something?” he asked, seeing banners fluttering in every direction.

“What?” Hank stared out, then his eyes darted to the Cortex screen. “No, no, no, no …” He started flicking switches.

“What?” Mal was immediately on the alert. “What is it?”

For a moment the pilot didn’t answer, then he slammed his closed fist down onto the console, causing minute flecks of paint to shiver to the deck. “Gou niang yang de!

“Hank, you answer me or I’ll find me a new flyboy.”

Hank pointed to the rotating green image on the screen. “We’re landlocked.”

“What?” Mal’s eyes widened in shock, then leaned over, trying buttons himself. “What the hell for? We ain't even done anything yet!”

“The date.” Hank was gesturing towards the Cortex. “It’s the gorram date.”

Mal took a deep breath, pushed down on the impulse to pummel the man into the ground, and said, in an even tone that suggested mayhem was still an option, “What about the date?”

Hank turned in his chair, looking up at his wife and his captain. “We’re not going anywhere. Not for six days.”

“You care to explain?”

The pilot gestured with his thumb over his shoulder towards the banners flying from every tall building, every flagpole, every spire on every church. “Elections.”

“What?” Now there was more than mayhem on the horizon. Possibly even murder. “And you didn’t think to let us know?”

“I didn’t realise,” Hank explained. “Not ‘til we touched down.” He sat back, dejectedly. “I’m sorry.”

“What’s going on?” Simon asked, stepping onto the bridge having heard the commotion.

“We have a problem,” Mal said, crossing his arms.

to be continued


Sunday, April 19, 2009 7:05 AM


Wow .. elections = big deal? But with the Alliance, surely most of them are fixed?? Looks interesting .. I'm intrigues as to what may happen! xD

Sunday, April 19, 2009 10:54 AM


This sounds like it's going to get very messy very soon. Sweet and stubborn - that's Kaylee.

Sunday, April 19, 2009 2:05 PM


Loved Kaylee in this. Serenity is like on of Kaylee's children. As for the Elections, sounds just like Alliance scum....thinking things might get a bit muddy soon.....

Sunday, April 19, 2009 4:53 PM


I'm surprised that in these elections you get told not only that you have to vote (or face the consequences) but also when and how very Alliance of them to landlock the ship for the six days the elections are on. Just hope they get Serenity all fixed up and that if Kaylee goes into labour all will go well. Personally I'm with Zoe on this one and wish to gorram they hadn't set down on that rutting planet, grav boot or no. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 5:41 PM


Mandatory elections--that's sort of an oxymoron, isn't it? :) Anyway, looks like our intrepid crew has once again managed to land in a pile of...well, you know. Good work!

Monday, April 27, 2009 7:31 AM


Honestly, if the Alliance is supposed to the the merger of Anglic (USA/Britain combo) and Chinese, then why is mandatory elections so gorram surprising? Last I checked, Communism's big on that...and until told otherwise, that's what I presume China's govt type was when the cultural merger occurred ;)

Still...ominous. Very gorram ominous indeed, especially since with Canadian elections, you have to show ID to vote. And I don't wanna know how the local poling officers will react to either the crew's real IDs or some fake ones they have.


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Monied Individual - Part I
Hank’s parents had died when he was young, and his grandmother had brought him up. Mal considered it was her fault he was the way he was, but that was unfair – Hank was who he was always destined to be. Or possibly he was meant to be someone else entirely.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A new story for your delectation and delight. Persephone, Badger and lawyers ... what could possibly go wrong?]

Secrets - Part XXVIII - Conclusion
River shook herself, turning from the rabbit hole. She didn’t feel like being Alice, and while Jayne’s grin sometimes made her think of the Cheshire Cat, the dormouse was asleep and likely to remain so. Of much more interest were the secrets. So many, some old, some new, some borrowed and some blue. And for once she didn’t care if she was referencing the Earth-that-was marriage ceremony. That wasn’t the point. Inara, the Bodens, Harper Lecomb and the Culver diamond, Randall Lecomb and his homicidal tendencies … all secrets, overlaid with the flavour of the Alliance and their need to control.
[Maya. Post-BDM. Secrets comes to a conclusion, but some are still waiting to see the light of day.]

Secrets- Part XXVII
“I don’t always trust him when he’s operating on Jayne. A slip of the scalpel, too many drugs, too little oxygen, and I would be a free woman. My worries. Not his thoughts. But he is my brother. For better or worse. For richer or poorer. In sickness and in health. And we have experienced them all.”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Home stretch now on Secrets, with the crisis passed for now and decisions made. Thanks so much for those of you who have stuck with this!]

Secrets - Part XXVI
"Have you never done that? In all those times you were treating someone in the hospital, when you were the great Doctor Tam, didn’t you once tell less than the truth to someone if it made them feel less desperate?”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Inara's fate, and what follows. My apologies for the wait!]

"Jayne, she’s psychic.” “So?”
[Maya-ish. Post-BDM. One of my occasional forays into standalone dialogue only, and to make up for the fact Secrets is still waiting an update. Mal and Jayne, and two cameos. Enjoy!]

Secrets - Part XXV
River sighed unhappily, and suddenly all the emotions were too much. She turned and ran back towards the lake, not stopping as she reached the water’s edge but continuing on, diving as she got deep enough, letting the cold fill her ears and eyes as if it might wash all feelings from her.
Breathing out and seeing air bubbles rise to the surface, she allowed herself to sink to the bottom. She ignored the pressure in her lungs, only considering how easy it would be to just breathe in, and she could float forever.

[Maya. Post-BDM. River sees everyone and everything. Things are about to happen.]

Secrets- Part XXIV
“My love, you must wake up,” Sam said so quietly it was doubtful anyone outside in the common area would have heard. “You must. If only to laugh at me and tell me how ridiculous I am. To touch my cheek and tell me I have to have faith. Please, Inara. Please.” A tear fell onto their hands, but he didn’t wipe it away, not caring if anyone saw.

[Maya. Post-BDM. Mal and River discuss life, and there are more visitors. This will all soon be coming to a head.]

Secrets - Part XXIII
Jayne materialised from the darkness and wrapped his strong arms around the young doctor, pinning him. “Not a good idea. Mal’s as like to give you one last chance then shoot you. If you’d tried that on me, now, you’d be bleeding into the dirt, but then Mal always was a soft touch.” “Let me go!” “Nope. Less you’d like me to hand you over to Frey, and don’t go thinking that’s the easy option.”

[Maya. Post-BDM. Couples talk, Simon's anger bubbles over, and Inara's time is running out.]

Secrets - Part XXII
Simon’s lips thinned. “The D17 might be the original problem, affecting a tiny number of those exposed, perhaps only one or two people of the same family, but the Anti-Pax wasn’t designed for it. Besides, that would be like using a hammer when I need a scalpel.”

[Maya. Post-BDM. Is there light at the end of the tunnel, or is it an oncoming Alliance cruiser?]

Secrets - Part XXI
“I don’t want to be pitied!” The words were out before she could stop them. “Pity? You think that’s what’s going to go through their heads? Inara, I knew you were stubborn, but since when did you catch stupid?”

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little more of the fall-out from Inara's revelation, and a message from Monty. And yes, another chapter in just a few days!]