Firefly: After Miranda Part 6
Sunday, August 28, 2011

Zoe and Jayne's recon mission at the Orphanage does not go smooth. Jayne yells at an unconscious man, Zoe yells at Jayne and the Captain yells at everyone.


- 6 -

Inara waited for the water in her small tea kettle to boil as she went over the events of the last few days in her head. She had given in to her feeling for Mal. This alone both thrilled and frightened her beyond anything she had done before. She knew that starting an argument with him would still come far too easy. That’s why she had not said anything to him about the argument he had with Zoe. She had heard most of it from Mal’s bunk; he had left the door open. She wished he hadn’t. Complicating matters even more was the fact that Zoe had turned to her about it. Zoe rarely looked for advice regarding her relationships, at least not to Inara. This time however, she felt generally sorry for what she said to Mal and didn’t know how to approach him. She told Inara that she and Mal never really apologized to each other for arguments. They just went on. Inara was unsure what to tell Zoe because frankly that was very much the way her own relationship worked with him. Mal tended to blame himself, even if just internally, for most everything. This was going to be delicate she thought to herself as she headed to the bridge.



Zoe often wondered if Mal thought about anything more that the job in front of him. If he did he might have realized that asking Zoe to play Jayne’s wife, or anyone’s wife, only months after her husband’s death could be considered cruel. Not to mention the fact that the job was going to require having children aboard ship. Children like the one she would never get to have with Wash.

Part of her knew both of those thoughts were unfair. Mal had not picked the job. Nor was he a man that would stand by while children were being hurt. Asking her to go with Jayne was, at this point, a necessity. He was right about them being the only people that had not been seen. They were the only two that had a possibility on not provoking much suspicion. In the end Mal was doing what he always did, what he had to.

As she thought Zoe looked over at Jayne as he guided the Mule towards the orphanage, “Just remember, we are just here to get a look around.”

“I ruttin’ know that. You don’t have to tell me over and over like my gorram mother.”

“At least we sound like a married couple,” Zoe said sardonically.



What the hell am I doing, was the thought that kept running through Mal’s head. He could just stick to simple smuggling jobs. He could walk away from things when they get to complicated. Instead he lets his over developed sense of what’s right get him and his crew in trouble, and because of that people die. Sometimes it was his people. The Sheppard had told him that was his way. Mal often wished it was not.

“Would you like some company?” Inara asked as she came onto the bridge carrying her tea set.

Mal turned towards her with a smile from the pilot’s seat, “If you’re the company, sure.”

Inara set the tea set down on the co-pilot’s seat and poured Mal a cup, “Thinking about the job?” she asked.

“It seems things always get more complicated than they should,” he commented taking the cup from Inara.

“You could always walk away, report what we know to the authorities.”

“We don’t know a gorram thing. Even if we did the Alliance is not going to come running out here to check on the group of orphans. Not to mention that according to the town folk the local lawman is a member of the preachers flock.”

Inara sat down on Mal’s lap, “and you are not the type of person to leave children to suffer.”

“Be easier if I was,” he retorted as he took a sip of tea, “What is this?”

“Chamomile…might help you relax.”

“Are you trying to drug me now?”

“No,” she smiled, “I just thought if might help. You have been stressed out lately, with everything…” her words trailed off.

“With everything what,” he asked, trying to figure out what she was getting at.

“Miranda, the job… your argument with Zoe,” Inara answered after swallowing hard.

“You heard that.”

“It was hard not to, you left the door open.”

“I reckon that’s between me and Zoe,” he responded obviously annoyed.

“I know. I was not going to say anything…but…Zoe came and talked to me.”

“Really, she figured that you needed to know how much of a bastard I am.”

“No, she was sorry for what she said,” Inara started running a hand through Mal’s hair in an attempt keep him from getting defensive. “She’s still hurting Mal. It was unfair of her to take it out on you, or to blame you for the things she did.”

“No, it wasn’t! She was right, it’s my fault Wash, Book and a mess of other people are dead,” Mal responded eyes blazing.

“Wash knew what he was getting into, just like the rest of us. The Sheppard was not even on the ship…”

“He ruttin’ should have been!” he cut her off. “I was my fault he left, my fault that Wash died. My boat, my crew, my responsibility…that is just the way of things.”

“Mal, you can’t…”

“Anyone there, hello!” Jayne’s voice suddenly cracked over the com.

Mal quickly lifted Inara off his lap and grabbed the mic, “What’s wrong, Jayne?”

“We got trouble, have the ship open, be there in a minute!” the mercenary answered.

Mal dropped the mic and quickly headed down to the cargo hold mumbling “Ni ta ma de tianxia suoyoude ren dou gaisi,” as he did.



The mid afternoon sun was slowly lowering itself behind the distant mountains as Serenity’s new happy couple slowly walked up to the front door of the orphanage. As they did both of them took as many details as they could. Any little thing that may help the crew complete their mission. After Zoe readied herself she knocked on the door.

The door cracked open and a small elderly man peeked out from behind it, “Can I help you?”

“Perhaps,” Zoe stated, “my husband and I would like to open our home to a child. Unfortunately my husband was in a farm accident and…well.”

“Hey!” Jayne grunted.

“I’m sorry to hear that…and I can understand why you’re embarrassed sir,” the elderly man said as he opened the door a little wider, “Where you folks from?”

“Little Lake,” Zoe responded.

“That’s quite far away,” the elderly man commented stepping out the door. “Oh, you have a hover vehicle,” he said upon seeing the Mule, “You folks must have some money.”

“Not really, the boss let us borrow it.” Jayne responded.

“What my husband means, is that the rancher we work for allowed us to use his vehicle to travel here.” Zoe added.

The elderly man nodded his head at their explanation as he looked the two of them over. Both were wearing clothing meant to do work in. He then asked, “Are you folks Christians?”

“Yes sir, go to church every Sunday…sometimes twice!” Jayne announced proudly. Zoe rolled her eyes at his answer.

The elderly man laughed, “Come in folks, my name is Steven.” As Zoe and Jayne passed thought the door Steven grabbed Jayne’s arm and said quietly, “My wife use to do the same type of things to me.”

Just inside the door was a large entrance way. Stairs leading to the second level were ahead and to the left. Along the stairs was a long hallway with multiple doors along it. There were also wooden doors on each of the adjoining walls. Steven then led Zoe and Jayne through the orphanage, explaining that the children were outside doing chores in the garden. The trio soon passed though a back door and into that large walled court yard.

Ahead of them, against the back wall of the yard, was the garden. As they approached Zoe and Jayne could see a number of children working in the garden as a few other men looked on. The children seemed to range in ages from two to three, to around fourteen or fifteen years of age. Zoe quickly counted thirty one children and noted that the majority of them seem to be around ten or eleven, split evenly between boys and girls. All of them wore dingy uniforms, which must have been white at one time. The boy’s uniforms consisted of a polo type shirt and simple pants. The girls all wore simple one piece dresses. They all looked thin.

“Kind of ragged, aren’t they,” Jayne said bluntly.

“We give them what we can, food and clothing is in short supply.” Steven responded.

“…and the food they grow here is used in the orphanage?” Zoe asked, tying to keep Jayne from making any other comments.

“Yes, they grow as much as they can. It good for children to grow their own food…..” Steven went on to explain the children’s daily routine, which was mostly choirs and or bible study. Zoe listened intently, trying to memorize the routine.

Jayne quickly tuned Steven out as he watched the children pull weeds and trim plants. It wasn’t rutting fair he thought, all those little ones working and yet the grown ass men just watched them. That’s when movement caught the corner of his eye. He turned and saw a short squatty man dragging a small boy behind him. The boy was no more than two or three years old. Long dirty blond locks of hair fell around his head and in his face, hiding his tears. The squatty man was scolding him as he dragged him towards the main building. Jayne then noticed the thick wooden stick in the man’s other hand. Jayne had an idea of what was going on and started to follow them.

“Jayne….honey!” Zoe called when she noticed him walking intently away.

When the squatty man and the small blonde headed boy reached the building they entered a door that was to the left of the one Zoe and Jayne had come out of. Jayne reached the door, which had a window in it, a few seconds later.

Jayne glanced inside as the first strike landed. The small blond headed boy was curled up on the floor of what looked like a kitchen area, as the squatty man hit him across the thigh with the stick. Jayne moved to open the door as the man brought the second strike down on the boys back. Jayne did not hear Zoe and Steven yelling for him as they approached.

As the squatty man raised the stick above his head for a third strike Jayne busted thought the door. As the man turned Jayne’s fist connected violently with his jaw. The squatty man crumbled back in a shower of blood and teeth. Jayne quickly moved to the boy and scooped him up. The small boy wrapped his arms tightly around his rescuer’s neck.

“What the ruttin’ hell is wrong with you!” Jayne shouted at the unconscious man as he lay bleeding from the mouth.

“What are you doing, put that child down!” Steven yelled as he and Zoe entered through the door.

“Jayne, what are you doing?” Zoe asked at the same time.

“That gorram idiot was beatin’ this one with a stick. You don’t treat kids like that!” Jayne exclaimed, rage in his eyes.

Zoe brought her hand up to her forehead, she knew from the look in Jayne’s eyes that he was not going to be talked down.

“That is the lords way, spare the rod and you spoil…” Steven started.

Zoe interrupted saying, “Not today,” as she shoved him back out the door before closing and locking it.

“So, you have a plan?” she asked Jayne, as Steven pounded and yelled from outside the door.

“Wasn’t really thinking ahead,” Jayne answered.

Zoe quickly scanned the room and announced, “Come on, this way.”

Zoe headed for a door located on the other side of the kitchen, while Steven continued to pound on the door behind them. Upon reaching the door Zoe cautiously opened it and peered inside. She quickly motioned for Jayne, who was still holding the small boy, to follow. The big mercenary did. Through the door was large cafeteria. Against the far wall were five long wooden tables with equally long benches on each side. Zoe and Jayne instinctively hug the walls as they moved towards what they hoped was the exit.

Just before reaching the door it swung open and the business end of a twelve gauge poked through. Fortunately the man wielding that weapon did not notice Zoe or Jayne against the wall.

Zoe quickly grabbed the shot gun with both hands and jammed the butt end of it into the man’s face in quick repeated blows. The fifth blow stunned the man enough that Zoe was able to rip the gun from his grasp. She quickly reared back and then drove the stock into the bridge of man’s nose, knocking him back through the door. The man simply lied there covering his now broken nose with his hands.

“Come on, before anyone else shows up!” Zoe yelled at Jayne.

“You mean like him?” Jayne asked as they stepped through door and back into the entrance way.

Zoe pumped the shot gun and aimed it at the tall thin man standing just inside the closed front door. The man was older, his hair and mustache gray, only his dark eye brows hinted at their former color. He was dressed in black, except for his white collar. Zoe figured that this must be Preacher Evens.

“Out of the way Preacher,” she ordered.

“In the name of the Lord you will not take…”

Before the Preacher could finish Jayne had marched past Zoe, grabbed him with his free hand and threw him to the floor, “Gorram it, she said out the way!”

Quickly Zoe, Jayne and the small boy who still had a dead grip around the mercenary’s neck exited the Orphanage. Once outside they sprinted to the Mule. Zoe jumped in to the driver’s seat and fired up the engines. A half second later Jayne and the small boy were next to her. As they pulled away the all too familiar sound of bullets hitting the metal rang out.

“Ruttin’ hell, we’re taking fire!” Jayne exclaimed, tucking down and covering the small boys head.

Another one of the Orphanage’s workers had come out of the front door with a Winchester and was freely using it.

“Hold on!” Zoe ordered, as she gave the Mule every bit of throttle it had.

They were soon out of the rifleman’s range and heading towards Serenity.

“Don’t those yokels know they could hit the kid shooting like that,” Jayne grumbled.

Zoe shot him a quick look and said, “What the hell were you thinking back there?”

“What, you want me to let them beat the damn kid.” Jayne responded angrily.

“No, but you didn’t have to knock half the guy’s teeth out.”

“Sure, coulda asked him politely, excuse me sir could you please stop whippin’ that there kid,” he mocked.

“That is not the point, Jayne. The point is we were only to look around. The Captain is not going to be happy,” she said looking down at the small blond headed boy still hanging on to Jayne’s neck.

“Maybe he’s got a soft spot for kids,” Jayne timidly while picking up the com that was tucked between the seats of the Mule.


Sunday, August 28, 2011 5:08 AM


Sorry for the delay, move into a new house. Hope everyone enjoys!

Sunday, August 28, 2011 6:53 PM


Pretty good, hopefully things are better for you and the next part will not be as long in coming. :)

Monday, August 29, 2011 4:22 AM


You're really building up the excitement, m52. So they'll arrive at Serenity with a traumatized 5 year old and a posse of angry orphanage workers hot on their trail. What next?
Thanks, also, for delving into Zoe's thinking to explain why her argument with Mal was so heated.

Monday, August 29, 2011 3:27 PM


Very nice interplay between characters, especially Zoe and Jayne, and, yeah, everyone’s going to be feeling the guilt over Wash:(

Post more

Sunday, November 6, 2011 8:06 AM


Update 11-06-2011

Corrections and a bit of a rewrite.


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