BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

M52NICKERSON

Firefly: After Miranda Part 10 & Epilogue
Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The fate of the orphans and Serenity's crew is decided.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1506    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

- 10 -

It wasn’t long after Simon finished setting the Captain’s nose that Deputy Skip arrived at the Sheriff’s office with the rest of the orphanage workers and word from the local doctor. Doc Brown had confirmed what was expected.

“What is going to happen to those kids,” Kaylee asked as the Sheriff was releasing them.

“Don’t know right now, I guess everyone will have to pull together and care for them. It will be hard, town don’t have much of anything. Lots of time it is hard enough for everyone else to get what they need. We always thought the Orphanage was doing alright, getting stuff from other places. Guess we were wrong. ” the Sheriff responded.

“There is another way,” Mal commented.

Mal went on to tell the Sheriff about the training house and how the companions guild could provide for the children while they were looking for permanent homes. Mal understood that neither the town, nor any else on Whitefall had much in the way of extra resources. The orphanage itself had become a simple dumping ground for unwanted kids for most of the moon. After some thought the Sheriff decided that the town council would have to decide. That council meeting happened the next night.

**********

**********

The town council along with most of the town assembled in the church. The Sheriff was the first to speak after the opening formalities. He went over the recent event including the evidence against the Preacher and his men.

Mal went next. The Captain was a bit nervous, it did not help that Inara had suggested, vigorously, that he wore his suit. Luckily for Mal the town members were not hostile. Mal explained how Serenity would take the kids to the training house. He said he understood that some would think taking the kids away from their home world was wrong, but after their treatment they might deserve what they could get elsewhere. Part of him might not have agree with that sentiment, if he still had the part of him. Mal’s sentimental side was left in the valley.

Once Mal was finished Inara spoke. She told the town’s folk about the life the children would have at the training house and how the guild would try to find homes for them. How education would be available to them. She was elegant and posed, every bit a companion.

Finally the towns’ people had their chance to speak. Many spoke in favor of sending the children away, seeing that they may very well have better lives then could be provided on Whitefall. Other did not like the idea of sending children to be with companions, or they felt that it was the town’s responsibility to care for the kids.

As the meeting went on and more people spoke civility started to erode away. Pretty soon folks on each side were making comments and yelling back and forth.

Mal and Inara were standing off to the side watching things get more and more heated when Mal felt a light tap on his shoulder. He turned to see Emma the elderly shop keeper.

“Hello again Malcolm, would you be so kind as to escort an old women up to speak her peace?” she asked with a smile.

“Be happy to,” Mal responded giving her his arm.

She took it, flashed Inara a smile, and was led by Mal up to the front of the church. Upon seeing this, the Sheriff began to shout for people to be quite. They did, as more of them noticed Emma being escorted to speak.

“Thank you Malcolm,” the old women said as Mal headed back to Inara’s side. “All of you here know me. You have all been in my store. Most of you have bought supplies from me. You know that I have never spoken at one of these meeting, until now. Every one of us needs to be ashamed of ourselves. Now that includes me, and the Sheriff, and the Council. How long has the orphanage stood there? How often were those kids checked on, by you or me? Now I know that is not ‘cause we don’t care. It’s because life’s not easy, and we’ll have things need done each day. Still no excuse. Now them kids have a chance that we can’t give them here. I know we would all like to. You’ll have heard that the good Lord works in mysterious ways. Perhaps now he is working through Malcolm, his crew and those companions who want to take in them kids. Perhaps not. All I know is that we here don’t have the right nor the resources to stand in their way,” she finished and slowly headed down the main aisle and out of the church.

Soon after the five member council took their vote. Three to one, with one member abstaining, the kids would travel on Serenity to the training house. Of course not all the town’s folk were happy, but such is life.

**********

**********

The next day was spent getting Serenity ready for her new passengers. The crew was busy reinstalling Serenity’s wave cameras and double checking everything they could. The last thing the crew wanted was for something to happen with thirty plus kids aboard.

Throughout the day many of the town’s people stopped by Serenity and dropped off what they could for the kids, including a few that had spoke against the kids leaving. Extra blankets, clothing and food stuffs which would help a lot, since the orphanage did not have much in stock for Serenity to take.

As day turned to dusk and the final few items were being loaded the Sheriff arrived to see the crew off.

“I reckon you folks are almost set.” He said as he approached the Captain and Zoe.

“Should be, the things the town’s folk gave will help,” Mal replied.

“What is going to happen with the preacher and his men, Sheriff,” Zoe asked.

The Sheriff smiled as bit, “Well we don’t have a court, nearest one is in Jackson’s Valley to the north. It’s about a two day ride, but it only holds court twice a month. The judge, most likely state that this is a federal case and they will be held until a federal ship can pick them up.”

“That could be awhile,” the Captain commented with a slight smile.

“Three, four months or more, but once they are picked up they will probably have to wait a good six months before their case is thrown out.”

“Thrown out?” Zoe questioned.

“Unfortunately, it is not like you folks got those recordings legally, although I still have to keep your mem-stick and turn it in. Don’t worry, by the time everything is done Evans and his men will be stuck on some core planet penniless,” the Sheriff explained.

“Not much in the way of justice, but at least you folks won’t have to deal with them anymore.” Mal stuck out his hand, “Sheriff.”

The Sheriff shook both Mal’s and Zoe’s hands and took his leave. As he did Zoe noticed the outline of a rather large man limping towards them.

“Sir,” Zoe said as she nudged Mal.

The Captain turned just as Billy finished walking up to them, “Sergeant, Corporal,” the large man nodded at both of them. “I just wanted to apologize for what I did…I was sure you were slavers…don’t…”

“I reckon you did what you thought was right,” Mal interrupted, “You’re not the first person to believe a supposed man of God, only to be fooled, won’t be the last either.”

“I don’t like being on the wrong side of things. This maybe the second time I was,” Billy explained. “If you ever need anything Sergeant you know where to find me.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” the Captain replied.

With that Billy took a step back, straightened up and saluted the both of them. Zoe returned the salute, while Mal merely nodded.

Billy turned to walk away, only to stop, “I am sorry about that,” he said motioning to the white medical tape covering Mal’s broken nose.”

**********

**********

Ten days. That was how long the trip back to the training house was going to take. After a quick stop to return the holo-projector they were off. Serenity was fairly well stocked for the journey. Kaylee had been a little worry about the food supply, but the Captain thought it was fine. I mean how much could children really eat?

The first night went pretty well. They had taken off later in the day so the only real thing to do was figure out where everyone was going to sleep. Twenty six of the thirty three kids filled Serenity’s passenger dorms. That was in addition to Jayne and Andrew, aka Little Jayne. The six others, the oldest girls, sleep in Inara’s shuttle with her.

The next two days saw the crew and the kids slowly settle into what would be their routine. By day three the ship was running like a fairly well oiled machine, rusty but oiled. That was because each member of the crew took to their new jobs quickly.

Inara with her experience at the Guild House and Training House took the lead, planning meals time, reading lessons, and organizing activities. She would be found in the common area teaching groups of kids’ simple math, reading them stories or playing games with them. At night she would sit up with the girls, all around twelve or thirteen, that were staying in her shuttle talking and answering questions that they never had anyone to answer. There would also be more girly stuff, as Jayne would say, like doing hair and such.

Kaylee became the head cook for most of the meals, which had to be eaten in shifts. She also helped take care of showers and the laundry. At night she would ensure that all the kids were safely tucked into their temporary beds before joining Simon in hers.

Mean Doctor Tam, as some of the kids started to call him, spent the days giving examinations and doling out what immunizations and vitamin shots he had. He made detailed notes for each child. Surprisingly other than being slightly malnourished and bruised from their mistreatment the children were in good health. Simon even took his new nick name in stride, until Jayne, Kaylee and River stated to taunting him about it.

In any summer camp there is usually one councilor that can spin tales around the campfire better than anyone else. On Serenity River was that person. Each night the kids would gather around her in the common area as she spun fantastic tales. They came complete with River making the faces and acting out the actions of whatever monsters they contained. Jayne would often stand off to the side and provide commentary, which usually involved a witty retort from River that only she and the kids got.

Of all the types of jobs that normally deal with kids Jayne Cobb was really only built for one, gym teacher. Jayne would take groups of kids into the cargo bay and make up new and interesting sports to play. He would also do some of his own play acting, usually as some giant monster stomping around with multiple small children hanging off his arms and legs.

While the others were busy dealing with the ships current passengers the Captain and Zoe went about the normal ships business. For Mal that just made sense. He understood that the rest of the crew was busy with the kids. It’s not that he minded children at all. In fact he quite enjoyed the night one of the boys, a six year old, paid the Captain an unexpected visit on the bridge. The boy told Mal he was going to be a pilot when he grew up. So Mal put him on his lap, let him take the helm and told him the first rule of flying. He did not know that Inara had been just outside the bridge listening. She had been looking for the boy; instead she found yet another version of Mal, the teacher.

No version of the Captain had realized that Zoe had been keeping her distance from everyone. Mal had just figured she was concentrating on the other work that needed done, as he was. The truth was Zoe had other reasons to stay away.

**********

**********

When Serenity landed at the Training House Sheydra and the girls were waiting to greet their new guests. With them were some hopeful couples that wanted to adopt some of the children. Billy had made the claim that the crew was videotaping the kids to set up buyers. During the ten day journey Mal had decided that was a good idea, not to sell the kids, but to help find families for them. The Captain had Kaylee take a picture of each child. He then waved them to Sheydra. When Serenity arrived a few couple had already contacted the house and arranged to be there when the ship arrived.

Fortunately for Little Jayne there was a young couple waiting for him. Unfortunately that meant telling Big Jayne. Inara got that responsibility after talking with Sheydra. Before she did she set it up that he and Little Jayne could meet the couple and stay with them for a little while.

They were a young good looking couple. The man was tall and athletic, but not overly muscular. The women was average heights and similar to Kaylee in build. It took a little while for Little Jayne to warm up to them, but soon he was on the women’s lap as she read to him. After an hour Little Jayne was fast asleep, his head tucked into the women’s neck.

“He likes milk, but don’t let him have too much or his belly get to hurtin’,” Jayne said to the couple quietly. “Just…just take good care of him would’ya.”

The couple both ensured him they would. With that Jayne pulled his orange and yellow wool hat from his back pocket and carefully placed it on the little boys head.

“Nara tells me it gets cold here,” he said sadly and took his leave without another word.

**********

**********

Serenity had arrived in the early morning, by night fall she was lifting off. Her food stocks were resupplied, seeing as they were down to just a few scraps. For payment, Mal took the supplies, fuel and only slightly more money than he had paid Patience, just enough put a little change in each member of the crews’ pockets. In the past Mal would have not taken any extra. After Miranda he would not allow the ship to get desperate for money again. When that happens it puts his crew in more danger. There was no need for it.

Later the night as Serenity’s crew was getting used to the ship feeling empty Kaylee and Simon lied curled together in the mechanic’s hammock. Kalyee was tucked under Simons left arm, her head lying on his bare chest; her big green turtle was tucked under his right.

“What would we call our son,” Kalyee smiled looking up at him.

“Oh, we are having a son, I thought it was going to be a girl,” he replied.

“Okay, than what would we name our daughter?”

“Isabella, that was my maternal grandmothers name,” Simon smiled remembering the women.

“I like Isabella,” Kaylee said lightly tickling Simon’s ribs, making him squirm, “now what about our Son?”

Simon thought for a minute, “I don’t know, what your father’s name is?”

“Leroy,” Kaylee said regretfully.

“So…no I take it?” Simon asked unsure.

“How about your pa’s name?” Kaylee inquired.

Simon stiffened beneath her. It was obvious that bringing up Simon’s father was like touching an open wound.

A moment later he relaxed and said, “Leroy Tam doesn’t sound that bad.”

“Whoever said that he would get you name?” she mockingly asked lifting her head.

“So,” Simon started looking down at her, “we’re having children out of wedlock now.”

“Dr. Tam, are you purposing to me?” she smiled.

“That depends…are you pregnant?” he said letting his mouth slowly cure into a smile.

“Why you!” the mechanic exclaimed as she launched a full scale tickle attack, which moments later ended in passionate embrace.

Meanwhile the Captain entered the galley to fetch a drink. As he did he heard sobbing from behind the cooking area. As he turned the corner he saw Zoe sitting on the ground, it was obvious she had been crying.

“Sorry, Sir, I’m fine,” she said as she rose to her feet, whipping her eyes with the back of her hand.

“You sure?” he asked concerned.

“Yes…it’s…I’m…” tears started to well up in hers eyes again.

Mal reached out and grabbed her by the shoulder and pulled her into a hug.

“Having those kids on board just…we were going to try and have one, Sir,” she explained thought the tears.

Mal’s heart sank, “I’m sorry, I would have never…”

“I know,” she said as she straightened up, but stayed just in Mal’s arms, “but those kids would still be getting beat.”

“Still…I’m sorry, for everything,” he said as he let her go.

“Thank you, I needed…”

“Just repaying a favor, seem to remember a time you did that for me,” he said solemnly.

“Oh, I’m I…” Inara started as she was entering the galley.

“No, we were just about to celebrate,” Mal said as he reached into a cupboard and pulled out a bottle.

“Really, what are we celebrating?” Ianra asked moving towards the table.

“Corporal Maxwell,” the announced Captain smiling at Zoe.

Zoe smiled “you mean the Nose, Sir.”

“The one and only,”

“The Nose,” Inara questioned as the Captain and Zoe joined her at the table.

“He had this huge snooze,” Zoe exclaimed as the drinks were pored.

“Lieutenant Baker would always say, Max you and the Nose take point, but stay behind it Max case anything happens,” Mal mocked.

“…or, tuck that damn thing in before it gets caught on a trip wire!” Zoe added, as Inara smiled and laughed.

Mal smiled, “Zoe you remember that one time…”

As the smiles and laughter continued in the galley the cargo hold was filled with a different sound as Jayne strummed sadly on his guitar.

“Your second string is low,” River said from behind Jayne, who was sitting on the weight bench.

Without a word he reached up and gave the tuning key a slight turn and then plucked the string in question.

“Better,” River said as she moved towards him. Before he could start playing again she wrapped her arms around his neck from behind and laid her head on his shoulder. “You feel the loss of yet another companion,” she said as he stiffened from her embarrass.

“Companion?” he questioned still not knowing what River was doing, “Nara’s the only companion I know and…”

“No, you know who I’m talking about.”

He did, Book, then Wash and now Little Jayne. The big mercenary was feeling mighty alone right now.

“You shouldn’t feel that way,” River said interrupting his thoughts.

“What way?”

“Alone. You are not alone, Serenity loves you. You are part of her family…and I love you, Jayne,”

Jayne tensed again, “You what?”

“Not like that. Like a big brother. You’ve became family…we all have become family.”

“Even after I tried to give you to the feds?”

“You were scared; scared we would cause the others to be hurt. You’re forgiven.”

Jayne relaxed and put his hand on her arms that were still crossed around him, “I love you to…like a lil’ sister….just don’t tell anyone or I’ll claim you done went crazy again.”

“I won’t.”

…and with that the Firefly class transport with the vaguely funereal name slipped through the black holding some of the most precious cargo in the verse…love, laughter and family.

- Epilogue -

The office was completely dark except for faint lights of the sleeping city far below coming in through the large windows. The shadowed figure sitting behind the desk in the center of the room reached out and pressed the small blinking light under the cortex screen.

The screen blinked to life and an older man in a white lab coat appeared, “We have completed the analyses of the three subjects we recovered. Only one of them showed signs of G-23 exposure.”

Three small icons appeared on the screen, two white the other red.

“Have the bodies been replaced as instructed?” the shadowed figure asked.

“Yes, no one will be able to tell they were disturbed,” the man is the lab coat responded.

“Good,” the shadowed figure praised as he reached out and touched the single red icon.

The icon expanded to fill part of the screen, revealing a patient file. At the top of the file was the name, Hoban Washburne.

“Proceed to stage two Doctor,” the figure said as he reached out pressing a button just under the screen.

A white Blue Sun logo appeared, and then slowly faded to black.

COMMENTS

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 9:02 AM

NUTLUCK


Interesting, end there. I especially like the little scene between River and Jayne at the end.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 9:59 AM

EBFIDDLER


Glad to see the crew were able to persuade the townsfolk to help the orphans, though it was the elderly shopkeeper who turned the tide. I feel so bad for Zoe in her grief. A little bit beset by typos--did Bytemite's typo monster visit your household?--the one that jumped out at me was Inara giving the girls reading lesions. Nice satisfying end to your adventure. Your epilogue, however, seems to me to be a teaser...for your next story, perhaps? Yes?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 10:10 AM

BYTEMITE


The typo monster is everywhere and no where... waiting. Like the snowman in his snowcave.

Hmm. I confess to mixed feelings about this one. I have no problem with companions or the training house, and I even see the point of the argument. Might even be that aside from the nonsense Mal tosses at Inara everyday for whatever reason, he has no problem with the profession either.

But there's this chapter called Orphan Train I read once in a story by Gillian Rose, The Misfortune, that kind of was about the system people in a frontier setting used to have to settle for in regards to caring for orphans. While that system wasn't perfect -far from it, and also was a hard life, at the same time Mal made an argument about taking children from their homes and the world they knew that struck me as very poignant, considering the loss of his own homeworld while he was away.

I dunno, let me think about it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 3:13 AM

M52NICKERSON


Sorry for the typos, my proofreader has been sick and I really wanted to post this. I will be editing it when he gets back to me.

Bytemite, I don't think Mal's problem with Inara's profession is with what she does but more the pomp and circumstance that surrounds it. I don't even think he is trying to insult her when he calls her a whore. It is more that his is trying to remind her of what she is under her fancy training.

As far taking the kids, for me Mal is practical first and foremost. He might not like some of what the Guild and the Companions stand for, but he realizes the kids have a better chance of a good life there. I think much of the sentimental side of Mal is dead. When he was talking to Saffron about growing up on Shadow it did not at all seem like he was lamenting. So I don't know if leaving the kids just because that is their home world would even come into his mind.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 6:44 AM

PLATONIST


I think Mal realizes that the children will have more opportunities to find families through the Training House. He may not always agree with what and how they do things there, but he can’t ignore that the Training House is well connected and has never given him cause to think that they would mistreat the children, as they were being treated on that moon. Plus, in an earlier chapter, didn’t Sheydra send Mal to investigate the orphanage in exchange for Inara? Well, not to “own” Inara, but a good will exchange to create trust between the two, a job.

Agree with Mal’s penchant for practicality.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 8:17 AM

BYTEMITE


In that case, perhaps it depends on how much Mal views this as an Independence (intentionally capitalized) issue.

Perhaps I'd feel better if they had asked the children what they wanted. It might not be practical, considering the circumstances, but it's hard to imagine Mal not putting up at least a token resistance about rural rim kids being corrupted by core values, and whether they'd get the kind of respect in the core they would get in their home community.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 9:36 AM

M52NICKERSON


If anything Mal mave have been more apt to take the job as to not upset Inara. Sheydra is her friend after all. More I imagine that it was simply because of kids being hurt and they did get paid. Even if it was not that much.

The Training House may have core values, but it is not in the core. (At least it would not be if I had to pin down a location.)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 10:43 AM

PLATONIST


Mal describes it’s location in TLB as on a crap ass moon with no work, an outpost, no one goes to, so my take on the Training House is that it's neutral territory for Mal and Inara, the families would more than likely be up and coming rim inhabitants, since it’s not in the core. Also, Mal just doesn’t seem all that threatened by Inara teaching there or the little girls training under her. In the 194 page script for Serenity, at the end, Mal’s the one to suggest they go back, defend the house, take their ease there for a while, enjoy the spoils… jump on Inara’s fluffy bed:)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 3:21 PM

M52NICKERSON


Okay, most of the typos should be gone. Damn that was a lot. New rule, never try to proofread when your two year old is awake and fighting with your one year old.

At some point I plan to revisit this story, so when I do I plan to take some of what Byte said into consideration.

Next up I will be working on the next story, Firefly: Family

Sunday, November 6, 2011 8:18 AM

M52NICKERSON


Update 11-06-2011

Corrections and a bit of a rewrite.

Monday, July 29, 2013 4:43 AM

SPINDRIFTER


First time reading this story. Very good. I enjoyed it.

Dave


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