Firefly: Family - Chapter 4
Saturday, January 21, 2012

The crew of Serenity searches for Jayne, while the Tams search for understanding.


Chapter 4

Inara skillfully balanced her tea set as she came down the stairs into the common area. At one time she had wondered what job she could possibly have on a ship like Serenity, if she ever left the guild. Her time on the ship had taught her that Serenity was not like any other ship in the Verse. She had been a nurse, a consoler, a diplomat and as right now a hostess. She could not help but smile at the fact that she had played more roles on this ship then she ever had off of it. Right now it was her job to put the Tams at their easy, and for that tea and words would be her weapons.

“There now,” she said as she handed Gabriel and Regan their tea.

“How long are we going to have to stay here?” Gabriel asked angrily.

“Gab,” Regan responded.

“Mr. Tam, the Captain just wants to make sure you are safe,” calmly explained.

“Safe? Safe from what?” the elder Tam snapped.

“We still don’t know why you where let go, or why you where put on this moon,” Inara replied keeping a calm easy tone.

“Do you think it might have something to do with the government coming after River and Simon?” Regan asked obviously concerned.

“It might, plus we now have someone missing.” Inara said.

“If the government wanted our daughter and this ship was the one that sent that wave why is there not a dozen military ships landing around us right now?” Gabriel asked skeptically.

“The man you said came to your home and was asking about River and Simon did come after us,” Inara started. “He tried to you me as bait. When that did not work he killed anyone that had sheltered the ship in the past. A lot of good people died. River told us about Miranda, at least the planet. Even she was not fully aware of what had happened, at least not consciously.”

“How is that possible?” Regan asked.

“Your daughter is a reader.”

“Nonsense,” Gabriel snorted.

Inara continued, “She is, and she had that secret tearing her up inside. We ran to Miranda to get away from government’s Operative. There we found them. The entire population of the planet had just lied down and died. Well, except those that became Reavers. We found the wave and decided that everyone had to know. After it was out the Operative decided that we were no longer a threat.”

“Reavers? That is quite a story.” Gabriel said.

“I think you need to see some things, please come with me,” Inara said as she rose from her seat.



“Son of a bitch!” Kaylee exclaimed after her wrench slipped and she busted her knuckles against the adjacent engine parts.

Blood ran over her knuckles as she slid out from underneath the turning engine. It was not like her to slip like that, but right now even tinkering with the ship’s engine could not get her mind off recent events.

Kaylee had imagined meeting Simon’s parents many times since, well even before they were really together. She never imagined that it would end with Simon punching his father. It was hard to blame him. How could a father not believe his own children? Sure her own family had fights, all families do, but her father would at least consider what she was saying was true, even if it was unbelievable.

Even before Simon returned to Serenity his parents seemed distant and unmoved. The only small point of joy was when his mother had expressed she was happy for the two of them.

Now on top of the problems between Simon and his parents Jayne was missing.

“Please don’t let him be dead,” she prayed quietly.

Kaylee didn’t know if she could take yet another loss. Book, Wash and…no, she refused to think about it. The image of that boy’s small broken body amidst the destruction on Haven was too much.

She wondered if all this pain was worth it. Maybe it would’ve been better if she never came aboard Serenity. You can’t feel a loss for people you never know. The truth was had stayed with her parents she never would’ve experienced the things she had. She wouldn’t have the family and friends she has now. She wouldn’t have Simon or Serenity. So in the end maybe all the hurt was worth it.

“Kaylee…you’re hurt,” Simon pointed out as he entered the engine room.

It’s my fault, wasn’t paying attention,” Kaylee responded.

Simon reached up and grabbed the small med kit on the self above Kaylee’s hammock, “It bleeding quite a bit.”

“Caught it on something sharp, wasn’t thinking about what I was doin’,” Kaylee explained.

Simon sat down next to her and started cleaning her wound, “Well it’s not deep, I don’t think you’ll need stitches,” Simon said but noticed that Kaylee was not paying attention. “I know…I’m sorry.”

“For what?” Kalyee asked once again drawn into the here and now.

“For getting into it with my father…” Simon started while continuing to look down at Kalyee’s hand, “I could have handled that better.”

Kaylee leaned forward and rested her forehead against Simon’s, which made him smile, “I’ve kinda gotten use to people spoiling things with punching.”

Simon’s smile twisted. Kalyee noticed that he had finished bandaging her hand and now was just holding it with his head down. Before he could say anything she tilted her head lean in more and kissed him.

“What was that for?” he asked.

“I love you, seemed you needed some reminding right then,” Kaylee replied.

“I love you too,” Simon replied and returned her kiss.



Regan Tam gasped and covered her mouth as the wave finished with screams. Inara quickly pressed her cortex screen to shut it off. Inara had brought the Tams to her shuttle and showed them the Miranda wave. Now they sat in stunned disbelief.

“…and you…fought those things?” Regan asked.

“This crew did, yes. Zoe lost her husband to them,” Inara started. “I thought we were all going to die. Zoe was slashed along her spine, Kaylee was hit with poison darts, Jayne and Simon were both shot.”

“The second time he’d been shot,” Gabriel said morbidly.

“How did you…” Regan started.

“River,” Inara said cutting her off. “River managed to kill the remaining Reavers. The government made your daughter a weapon. She was able to seal the hallway we were in to protect us. She killed remaining Reavers by herself.”

“And you were able to escape after that?” Regan asked.

“No, not quite. It was the Operative that gave the order to mend our wounds and tow Serenity to a repair station. He also allowed us to bury our dead on the way,” Inara explained.

“Why would he do all that,” Gabriel asked, confused.

“I don’t think he knew what happened on Miranda. When he saw the wave he decided it was the right thing to do,” Inara said.

“Then why wait so long to release us,” Regan wondered.

“I don’t know. We don’t even know if he was the one that released you,” Inara answered worriedly.



Zoe hit the com button on the control panel near Serenity’s air lock, “Everyone to the bay.”

“Be nice if someone was paying attention to people walking onto my boat,” Mal commented to Zoe as River moved passed them and headed to the bridge.

“Didn’t you find him?” Kaylee asked, as she and Simon entered from the common area.

“No, the Ander’s boys didn’t take him,” Zoe responded.

Inara and the Tams exited her shuttle, “What’s going on?” she asked.

Mal started, “We dropped Paige Larson off in town. She’s rounding up a search party with the local Sheriff. We’re going to join her, but I want River on the ship. Jayne maybe hurt if we…”

“When,” Kaylee interrupted in protest.

“…when we find him, he maybe hurt, so I want Serenity able to get to him as fast as possible.” Mal continued, “Kaylee, you’ll come with us, you can take the Mule after you drop us off in town.”

“I can help as well, Captain,” Simon interjected.

“I want you here Doc…”

“We need find him before I can treat him. If he is hurt we need to find him as quickly as possible,” Simon explained.

“Fine, you and Kaylee will take the Mule. That way you can get back to the ship as quick as possible,” the Captain conceded. “After you drop Zoe and I back in town head over to the Heart of Gold and see if there are any clues to what is going on.”

“What about us, Mal?” Inara asked from the cat walk above.

“The three of you stay with River and the ship. If she suddenly divines Jayne’s whereabouts she might need help getting him into the ship,” the Captain answered.



River sat quietly on Serenity’s bridge wishing she knew where Jayne was. The Captain had wanted her on the ship in case she suddenly figured that out. She had argued that her ability did not work like that, but the Captain wouldn’t listen. Like he knew anything about being a reader. River didn’t even fully understand how it worked.

Most of the time River just knew what others were thinking or feeling. It was much like knowing what a close friend was thinking just by a look. The only difference was that River didn’t need to see a person. It did seem as if distance played a role, at least sometimes. It also depended on the person, some were easier to read then others.

Of the crew Jayne was often the easiest to read. He was often loud, even with his thoughts. He did try to keep some things buried. Like the incident on Ariel, and his crush on a certain mechanic. Few others on Serenity had any hint of Jayne’s feelings. Kaylee was one of them that did.

She had noticed that Jayne often teased her just like a school boy. She figured he might have some feelings for her. Kaylee was smarter and more aware of things than most people gave her credit for. It was obvious that she loved each of the crew. River also knew she sometimes wished she had never met them. Kaylee took things to heart very easily, and she took losses very hard. Overall it was Kaylee’s understanding of machines that fascinated River.

Machines didn’t really talk to Kaylee as she often said it. The truth was that Kaylee was very good at understanding the flow through the machines. Whether it was the flow of electrons through cables, or liquid through piping, or even air through the atmo system, she understood how those things flowed and what the purpose of that flow was. Of all the million different types of machines in the Verse there were not really that many different types of flows.

That understanding was perhaps one of the reasons why Kaylee had been attracted to Simon. After all Simon understood flows also, it was just the flows within a biological system. River knew how Simon thought better than anyone in the Verse, perhaps even herself. Her brother was logical and quite linear, most of the time. Simon’s emotions would often get the better of him, and he always knew when they were. See unlike someone such as Zoe, in those times Simon would just choose to let them.

Zoe’s mind was disciplined, just as you’d expect. She would often use her emotions when acting but hardly ever allowed them to be in control. Even after Wash died she only allowed herself to be overcome by her grief when she could afford to be, or when others could not see it. She never once cried while on the Alliance medical ship. The only person that came close to her level of mental discipline was Inara.

Inara did quite well keeping her emotions in check, but unlike Zoe she allowed her mind to wonder more often. She also had secrets locked away deep inside. River had never pried into those depts. Everyone had secrets; it was just that Inara managed to keep then deeper than anyone else, deep and well guarded.

Then there was the Captain. His mind was different than most others River had gleamed. If she had to describe it River would say it was like water swirling down a drain. Thoughts, worried, emotions, all seemed to swirl around the Captain’s consciousness while new ones were being poured in the older ones slowly fell into the drain and away, only to be poured back in at some point. The only reason Mal ever stopped dwelling on one thing was because he had something else to dwell on. Around and around his mind went. His worry was almost rhythmic.

Now the Captain and the rest of the crew were focused on finding Jayne.



“This is everything Mr. Cobb had with him,” Helen said to Simon as she handed him Jayne’s things.

“That’s all of his clothing. He’s naked,” Kaylee commented.

“Well, I think he may have had undershorts on,” Helen responded.

“…and you’re all sure no one heard anything last night,” Simon asked putting Jayne’s things down on the nearby couch in the Heart of Gold’s main room.

“Yes, Sir,” Petaline said from behind Helen, “Not one of us heard a thing.”

“What’s that?” Simon asked looking at Helen’s arm.

“Don’t know, I think I got bit by something,” she responded.

Simon took a closer look. A small red mark with a number of smaller points inside of it was on the woman’s upper arm, near her shoulder.

“You said that you where very groggy this morning, correct?” Simon asked.

“Yes,” she responded.

“It took us a long while to wake her,” Petaline added.

“This isn’t a bite, it’s an injection site. You were most likely drugged,” Simon explained. “That’s why you did not wake up when Jayne was taken, and most likely why he did not put up a fight.”



The Sheriff’s office was abuzz with activity. A good number of men and women had come out to join the search, even with the now pouring rain. The Sheriff, a young, tall, dark skin man gave a few more people instructions before coming over to speak with the Captain and Zoe.

“We do appreciate this effort Sheriff,” Mal said.

“Well, if he’s out there, we’ll find your man,” he replied.

“Captain Reynolds!” Paige Larson yelled entering the Sheriff’s office soaking wet from the rain.

“Miss Larson, is there a problem?” the Sheriff asked.

“Have you seen the weather reads?” Paige asked handing the Sheriff a cortex reader.

The Sheriff took it from her and glanced at it. A look of concern came over his face.

“What is it?” Zoe asked.

“Rain…a gorram lot of it,” he replied.

“This is overly bad, why?” Mal asked.

“If you friend is in one of the dried channels to the west of the town he is going to be in trouble,” Paige started. “This much rain, so fast will cause them to flood, almost instantly.”

Mal frowned and snatched the com from his belt, “Kaylee!”

“Captain, we were just about to call you. Simon thinks….” Kaylee started from over the com.

“Listen, you and Simon head west right now. The channels out there are going to flood right quick. If Jayne is in one of them…just get there and start looking quick,” the Captain ordered.

“Yes, Capt’n.”

“River, you hear that?” Mal asked into the com.

“Yes, I’ll take Serenity and fly over,” the young pilot responded.

“We all need to head that way,” the Sheriff said leading the way out.

Mal and Zoe followed, each with their own sinking feeling.



The rain seemed to be getting heavier with each passing moment as the Mule raced towards the channels in search of Jayne. Simon tried to hold down the bits of plastic sheeting Kaylee had haphazardly placed over the Mule’s electrical panels. The hover craft was never meant to be used in this type of weather. As it was the only drainage out of the seating area was a few holes Kaylee had drilled in the floorboards.

“The channels are starting to fill,” Simon shouted over the wind and rain as they started to follow one of the larger channels.

“What’s that?” Kaylee shouted as she pointed at something coming up in the channel.

Simon looked out and what started as a simple red spot quickly turned into a body of a man wearing bright red underwear.

“Stop! That’s him!” Simon yelled.

Kaylee stopped the Mule as quickly as she could but overshot Jayne by a good ten meters. Simon quickly jumped out and ran down into the deep channel. As he did the he slipped in the mud of the banks. By the time he reached Jayne the water was almost covering him, and still rising.

Simon quickly checked for a pulse. It was there, weak but there.

“No, don’t!” he yelled at Kaylee as she was about the start into the channel.

Simon realized he was sinking into the mud as he lifted Jayne’s body from under his shoulders.

“Get some rope of something to pull us out, I’m sinking!” he yelled.

“Okay!” Kaylee yelled back heading for the Mule.


The water was rising quickly. It was now above Simon’s knees and would soon be at his waist. He struggled to keep up right with Jayne, as he tried to take a step he felt his shoe come off in the thick mud.

“Kaylee!” he yelled in a near panic.

“I can’t find anything!” she responded.

“Call the others to find us downstream!”

“What?” she replied spinning around.

The water had suddenly risen up to chest level and was pulling Simon and Jayne along with it. Simon realized that they were about to be swept away and there was nothing he could do about it.

In horror Kaylee saw the rising water wash over Simon and an unconscious Jayne. She caught a glimpse of them as they rushed by her.

“Simon!” she yelled.

She quickly jumped back onto the Mule to give chase. She only made it a few hundred meters before sparks started to fly from various places and the Mule settled with a hard thud onto the muddy ground.

“No…no… not now,” she said panicked as she tried to vein to restore power.

Finally she picked up the com and began to yell into it.

“Slow down, Kalyee,” the Captain’s voice cracked from the com.

“Simon and Jayne got washed down one of the channels and the Mule is busted, they are going to drown,” she said distraught.

“River…” Mal voice called

“On my way,” River’s voice responded.

“Please hurry,” Kaylee pleaded.


Saturday, January 21, 2012 10:50 PM


Okay, now I'm worried... Please relieve my anxiety soon. Love the story :) Always thought we'd see the older Tams again at some point, but there are few stories about it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012 6:42 AM


Lots happening but at least they now know that Jayne is alive and where he is/was last seen so they know where to go and look for him and Simon. Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Sunday, January 22, 2012 10:39 AM


Welcome back, nice to see an update on this story! I like River's assessment of the way each crewmember thinks -- so sad that Mal only stops dwelling on one worry because he has a new one to deal with. I like it that you've brought the Tam parents back, and that Kaylee is more upset than she thought she'd be -- I liked how you showed that. I'm glad they found Jayne (and I'll keep in mind, in case one should ever happen to be abducted in one's skivvies, that red underwear is easiest to spot!) ;-) Don't take too long to update as you've left them in such peril!

Sunday, January 22, 2012 1:30 PM


I hope to have the next part up in a week or so. My mother had been fighting cancer, but recently passed. So this took a story took a back seat.

Thanks for everyone's comments.


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