Firefly: Family - Chapter 2
Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Unexpected guests, gratuitous violence and sorting things out!


Chapter 2

“Can I get you young ladies anything else,” the older gray haired gentleman asked the three members of Serenity’s crew.

“No, I think we are fine.” Inara answered moving her gaze from the town folk walking along the street.

The small street side café was on Gold’s main road. Even now at this late morning hours a number of the tables were full. The café and the town seemed to have a very positive aura about them. People moved up and down the main street doing the business of the day happy to be doing so.

“Okay, it is one and a tenth bits,” the man said.

“I got it,” River said.

“River, save your money I will…” Inara started.

“Have been, want to do something for you and Kaylee…please,” River pleaded as she took a small coin purse out of a hidden pocket just under her dresses waist line.

“Thank you,” Inara and Kaylee both said.

River took two platinum coins, one larger than the other, and handed them to the man, “Please keep the remainder.”

“Thank you. You ladies have a nice rest of your day now.”

As the women got up River took a quick step around Kaylee and gave the older man a kiss on the cheek.

“What was that for young lady?” he asked.

River smiled, “You have a very kind heart. That’s a very rare thing.”

The man smiled deeply as the women left.

“Isn’t he a bit old for you?” Kaylee joked as soon as the man was out of earshot.

River turned and gave her a look before explaining, “I remind him of his wife when she was younger. She passed away a few months ago.”

“That was very sweet of you,” Kaylee commented.

“So, we ate how about some shopping now?” Inara asked as they continued down the street.

“Sure, I think I saw a junk store down the street that might have some parts we could use,” Kaylee said joyfully.

“I was thinking more stuff we don’t really need,” Inara explained with a smile.

River suddenly stopped, “Do you smell that?”

“Smell what?” Inara asked.

River was not sure if she really smelled anything or not. It could just be her mind playing tricks on her, or it could be her reading something but her brain not knowing how to process it.

“Smells…like…like lilac perfume,” she said as she started walking towards an alley way between buildings.

“I don’t smell anything,” Kaylee commented sniffing the air. “Well, I smell that,” she added as a horse cart rolled by.

River ignored her and continued following her instinct into the alley between the buildings. Inara and Kaylee followed. River emerged from the alley on the next road over, which was at the edge of the small town. A simple wooden fence marked the far edge of the road.

River looked up and down the street studying each person she saw carefully. Just before Inara and Kaylee caught up to her she spotted a woman with reddish hair walking away. River quickly moved to catch her.

“River,” Inara called.

At this the woman River was following stopped and turned. Her eyes locked with River’s own from some distance. For a long moment both women just stared at each other. Then suddenly the blur in River’s memories cleared and faces were restored. River realized she was looking at her mother. Both of them raced towards each other, wrapping themselves in each others’ arms once they met.

“River is it really you?” Regan asked.

“Yes, I’ve missed you so much Mom,” River responded tears of joy streaming from her eyes.

“Mom?” Inara questioned to herself.

Kaylee cupped her hands over her mouth in surprise to keep her growing smile from splitting her face.

Regan held River at arm’s length and looked at her, “You’re so grown up, your father and I thought you were…”

“Simon and I thought the same about you,” River responded.

“Hello Misses Tam,” Inara greeted as she and Kaylee walked up.

“Mom, this is Inara and Kaylee, my…they’re family,” River said wiping the tears from her face.

“It’s nice to meet you Mom, this is just shiny” Kaylee said.

“It is nice to meet you all,” Regan replied.

“Is Dad here?” River asked.

“Yes, he’s at the…I’ll show you,” Regan said as she started to lead the way.

Regan led them to a small house on the outskirts of town. It was really little more than an old shack. The whole structure seemed to be leaning to one side and there was a piece of canvas haphazardly covering a whole in the roof.

“Gabriel, come out here I found River!” Regan called.

Gabriel Tam stepped out of the shack, “It sounded like you said…”

“Daddy!” River exclaimed as she ran to her shocked father.

As they embraced emotions rose up in both of them.

“How did you get here?” Gabriel asked.

“Serenity,” River answered, “she’s our ship and home.”

“Gabriel, this is Kaylee and Inara, River’s friends.” Regan interrupted.

The man looked up, “Thank you for looking after our daughter.”

“River has been doing a fair bit of looking after us as well,” Kaylee added.

“Really?” Regan questioned.

“She’s the ship’s pilot right now.” Inara added.

“Since when do you know how to fly a ship?” Gabriel asked.

“Since Serenity needed a new pilot,” River answered.

“I’m sure there’s a lot for everyone to share, I would suggest we head back to the ship so we can tell the others. I’m sure the Captain will be interested,” Inara stated.

“We should all be able to fit in the Mule,” Kaylee started, “she might run a little slow with five of us but I’m sure she’ll make it.”



“That’s the last of them,” Paige announced as the last of the cattle was lead into the large barn. “We’ll keep them in there for the rest of today and tonight, then get them examined and such in the morning.”

“Looks like you’ve got a really nice place here,” Mal commented taking in the stark contrast that the ranch and the surrounding green pastures provided to the general dusty brown that was the majority of Blackwood.

“Thank you Captain, “Paige said as she finished closing up the barn, “and thank you for helping with the heard.”

“It’s not a problem,”

“Would you folks like to come in for a drink?” Paige asked.

“I’m a bit parched, how ‘bout you, Doc?” Zoe asked.

“Yes, I could…” Simon started.

“Cap’n, you there?” Kaylee’s voice crackled over the com-link on the Captain’s belt.

“I’m here,” Mal replied grabbing the com.

“You might want to get back to the ship as soon as you’re done, we have some guests.”

“What kind of guests?” Mal asked worriedly.

“Simon’s and River’s parents, we found them in town,” Kalyee happily answered.

A look of confusion spread across the Captain’s face, anger and dread over Simon’s.

“Is there somewhere to land a shuttle around here?” Mal asked Paige.

“Sure, right behind the main house over there.” She responded.

“Kaylee, you get that?”

“Yeah, Cap’n, and I have the coordinates from your com.” Kaylee answered.

“Good, ask Inara to pick us up,” Mal ordered.

“Will do,” the mechanic said cheerfully.

“What are you thinking, Sir,” Zoe asked as Mal affixed the com to his belt.

“Don’t rightly know yet,” he responded.

“Doc, you alright?” Zoe asked, seeing the expression on Simon’s face.

“No,” he simple said as he sat down on a small stump near the barn door.

“Perhaps the Doc could stay here awhile, that is if it is all right with you Captain,” Paige stated. “We could always use an extra hand for the night.”

“It’s up to you Doc,” Mal said looking at Simon.

Mal realized that Simon might have some resentment towards his parents and their role in placing River in the Academy.

“Maybe that would be for the best right now,” the Doctor replied.

“Okay then, Paige you said something about a drink,”

“Yes I did, Captain, please follow me.”

Mal followed Paige and the few hands that were helping with the cattle to the main house. Zoe lingered a bit and moved over to Simon.

“You know you’re going to have to face them at some point,” she said bluntly.

Simon looked up at her, “I know, but how I’m I…how do I forgive them for abandoning River in that place?”

“I don’t know. Course I don’t know how they will forgive themselves either,” Zoe said and then headed to join the others.



Jayne Cobb was decked out in his Sunday best as he escorted Helen into the Saloon. Well he called it his Sunday best at least, truth be told the last time he had gone to church he was dragged by his mother. He and Helen made their way to the back wall of the salon and sat down at a small table.

The Saloon as quite spacious, a full bar over looked a seating area with numerous tables. The back wall had a padded bench running along its length with small tables in front of it, allowing lovers to sit side by side and watch the rest of the patrons. At this time of day the saloon only had a handful of people in it, but it was easy to imagine that later at night this was the place to be.

“What can I get you folks,” a woman asked.

“I’ll take a whisky and…” Jayne looked at Helen.

“Make that two,” she replied.

As the women walked away to get their drinks a voice boomed across the room, “Well there’s that lyin’ whore that tried to cheat me out of my money.”

Jayne looked up and saw a stocky man walking towards them. He had long dark greasy hair which fell about his shoulders and unshaven face. His dress made him look as if he would be more at home raiding villages in ancient Mongolia on Earth That Was rather then living on a boarder moon in the Verse.

“Oh no,” Helen said under her breath.

“So, bitch, you going to try and screw him out of money as well,” the stocky man said as he reached the table.

“Just leave us alone, Marcus,” Helen responded.

“Marcus?” Jayne asked leaning back from the table, “You’re the one that like to cut on girls hey.”

Marcus sneered, “She aren’t no girl, she’s a dirty whore…but yeah I liked cuttin’ on her. Might do it again if I’s seein’ fit.” He slowly drew a large knife and leaned over the table.

Jayne smiled, “My dad always taught me to treat women proper, I’m thinkin’ someone should do the same to you.”

“Who’s gonna do that…you?” Marcus asked as he raised his knife and pointed it at Jayne.

“Thinkin’ so. Thinkin’ after I beat you into a puddle I’m goin’ take what’s left and pin it to the wall with that very blade,” Jayne stated.

At that Marcus became angry, grabbed the table and threw it out of the way. Unfortunately for him Jayne expected that. As soon as the table was past him, Jayne launched forward and drove a hard knee into Marcus’s crotch. As Marcus stumbled back Jayne grabbed his shirt collar with one hand and started to drive punches into his face with the other. It only took a few punches before Marcus collapsed to the floor in a bloody mess. Jayne stood over the man as the other patrons cleared the area. Jayne noticed the knife on the floor and reached down and picked it up.

“Jayne don’t,” Helen pleaded.

“Mister you don’t want to…” someone else said.

Jayne ignored them and grab one of Marcus’s arms and started to drag him towards the front wall. Once there he positioned Marcus’s hand again the wall and took aim with the knife.

“Jayne, please!” Helen pleaded again.

Jayne looked back at her, then back at Marcus’s hand. He shifted his grip and grab Marcus’s sleeve and drove the knife through the material in into the wall, sparing the man’s arm and hand.

“Come on, let’s go someplace a little more peaceful,” Jayne said to Helen.

As they left Jayne tossed a coin to the bar tender and said, “Sorry about the mess.”



“Where’s Simon?” Kaylee asked as the others exited the shuttle.

“Doc, still got some work to do, he’ll be along later,” Zoe answered.

“But, his parents are…”

“Kaylee,” Mal said to his mechanic, his tone letting her know that she should drop the subject.

River was sitting with her parents in the common area when the others arrived.

“Mister and Misses Tam I would like to introduce you to Captain Malcolm Reynolds, and the ship’s first mate Zoe Washburne.” Inara said.

“So how exactly is it you folks came to be on Blackwood,” the Captain asked after an exchange of niceties.

“About six months ago a man showed up at our house,” Gabriel Tam explained. “He had dark skin, talked very softly. He started asking questions about River and Simon.”

“We told him we’d not heard from them and that we didn’t know where they were,” Regan added.

“After more questions some soldiers came in and we were taken from our home. The next thing we knew we were in a room. No windows or doors, I’m not even sure where it was.” Gabriel continued.

“They left us there for months. Someone would bring us food and clean clothing but other than that we were alone,” Regan explained. “The next thing we knew we woke up in that shack we’ve been living in. That was about a week ago.”

“You don’t remember how you got there?” Zoe asked.

“No,” Gabriel said, “the last thing we remember is going to sleep in the cell we were in. Then we woke up here.”

“That’s some story,” the Captain commented.

“Can you take us back to Osiris, Captain? Once we get this straighten out we will be able to pay you,” Gabriel asked.

“You can’t go back, don’t exist anymore,” River said.

“What do you mean, honey?” Regan asked confused.

“What she means is that according to all the official records neither of you exist,” Mal said. “Seems the Alliance wanted to make you disappear. Going back might make them want to do it on a more permanent level.”

“How can we not exist? I was a partner at a major financial firm,” Gabriel argued.

“River, go show them,” Mal ordered.

“Come on,” River said to her parents as she lead them to the bridge and its cortex screen.

Once they were gone Zoe asked, “What are we thinking, Sir?”

“Makes sense that the government’s man would grab them while looking for River. What bothers me is the timing of them being dropped here, or dropping them anywhere?”

“Could be a coincidence,” Zoe said.

“Remind me how many back water moons there are again,” Mal retorted.

“Maybe the Operative somehow figured we would be here and is trying to make amends,” Inara commented.

“Do you think he would still have that much power after helping us and letting River go?” Zoe asked.

“Well, whatever it is, there’s a reason they were put here,” Mal said despairingly.



“Pretty isn’t it?” Paige asked Simon as she stepped out of the house and onto the porch.

The sun had set but Fury, the gas giant which Balckwood orbited, had yet to. This bathed everything in a reddish purple light as Fury slowly disappeared beneath the horizon.

“Actually it reminds me of a red-light district,” Simon replied as he leaned against the porch railing.

“I bit sour are we?” Paige asked a bit annoyed.

Simon turned and looked at her, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to…”

“It’s all right Doc. You got family troubles on your mind from what I gathered. I’m not going to pretend to know what they are, but I do know family can put a lot on a person,” Paige said.

“Family,” Simon said as he turned and once again looked out into the pasture, “I have my parents, my sister and my…um…”

“Girlfriend, boyfriend,” Paige guessed.

“Girlfriend,” Simon stated, “they’re all there and I’m here, hiding.”

“I think you’re more sorting things out then hiding. People who are hiding usually don’t mean to go back at some point,” Paige said as she walked up next to him. “People often need time to sort things out, nothing wrong with that. I wish there was some pearl of wisdom I could give you, but I can’t spare any, Doc.”

“Thank you for letting me stay at least,” Simon responded.

“No thanks needed, you did a good job driving them cattle, and did some work after words. You earned that bed in there. Of course that hammock out there might be more conducive to sorting things out,” Paige said as she pointed to the rope hammock strung between two posts off in the distance. “Good night, Doc.”

“Thank you, good night,” Simon said as she re-entered the house.

Simon soon found himself in that hammock looking up at a clear night sky, sorting things out.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011 10:54 PM


Pretty cool and I am with Mal and Zoe, what are the odds the parents wasn't dropped here on purpose.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 6:50 AM


Yep, someone's planning something. Though, for now, I like to think that the parents are decent people and are unwitting bait.

I wonder what Helen thinks after she's seen Jayne's violent tendencies now.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 6:17 PM


"Course I don’t know how they will forgive themselves either,” Zoe said--well said, Zoe. I like how you show that Simon is less able than River to accept the reappearance of his parents. I'm guessing that he and they will have some work to do to accept each other at this point.

“Remind me how many back water moons there are again,” Mal retorted.--I'm with Mal; this is no coincidence. The question is, are the senior Tams unwitting pawns here? And who is controlling the strings? To what degree is the Operative able to (for want of a better word) operate as an independent agent?

I was glad to see that Jayne controlled himself and pinned the fellow's shirt instead of his flesh. Poor Helen.


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