The Serenity Gig-Chapter 4: Toasts, Dance and Farewell
Friday, December 3, 2004

Howdy, y'all. I had been busy with school and such, but I finally managed to finish up this series. Hope you folks enjoy. If you guys wanted something more action centered, I have in mind another series that's more action centered. Don't know when I'll get to writing it, so don't bug me about it. Feedback appreciated as always.


As Inara took Simon and Kaylee on their flight around the ship to do whatever it is newlyweds do, the rest of us set up the banquet table in the cargo bay. We had striked the makeshift chapel and now we were setting up for the banquet and the dance afterwards. It took us a while for us to move this big mahogany table they had in the kitchen down to the cargo bay, but we were able to fit it all in. While the rest of them were setting the table and bringing the food (actual food and not that protein go-se), I helped Wash set up an old DJ/jukebox on the bridge and had it wired so that he or I could request a song into a com-link and it would then play on all the speakers on the ship.

We waited about another ten minutes after we had set everything up and changed into some more informal attire. Zoe was back to her old maroon t-shirt, brown pants and combat boots, Wash was back in his Hawaiian shirt, and Jayne and Mal were back in their respectable Blue Sun t-shirts and red shirt and suspenders. Only Book, River and I were still in our same wedding clothes.

“You have any idea about how Jayne knows how to play the bagpipes and has a kilt in his wardrobe?” I asked Mal.

‘I’m just as curious as you are.”

Before we could discuss this further, I heard the familiar sounds of a shuttle docking with the ship. I hurried up the stairs and catwalk to the door and got there in time with my camera to capture the newlyweds emerging. The crew cheered as the two walked back out into the cargo bay arm in arm. I was walking back to get them as they walked forward, when I accidentally tripped on some stairs and nearly fell. When you watch the movie, you can see the jiggle of the camera and the brief looks on their face of watching an accident. I kept it in there anyways because I like those accidental moments. It makes the whole thing seem natural.

When they finally touched down on the cargo bay floor, the whole crew came to them to shake their hands and congratulate them. The women of course were all over Kaylee, who was loving every minute of it. Wash was very enthusiastic about finally not being the only married man on board and let Simon know it. Book and Mal’s congratulations were a little more reserved. And Jayne just game him a single pump handshake and say “Congrats, Doc.” They all then went to the dinner table, and after a quick prayer from Book, we all sat down to eat. Even me. First time I was asked to sit at the bridal table.

The food they had there wasn’t much. But after eating protein for a few days straight, this was a feast fit for a king. They had managed to get a 20 pound turkey for the main course, along with corn, peas, mashed potatoes, gravy, and even a wedding cake. It was only one layer, and looked a little bit stale, but Simon had managed to get a little bit of caviar to give it a bit of distinction and high class from what they normally ate.

I had my eye cams on, which is a camera system where they looked like regular glasses, but the lenses were actually made of fiber optics, so it’s literally a POV shot. All they while, they talked with one another and even included me in the conversations. It was mostly small talk, but we all found out about Jayne learned to play the bagpipes and have a kilt stashed away. Apparently, before Jayne met up with Mal and Serenity, Jayne and his old gang were planning a heist. It was at a rich guy’s house who was big into the Scottish culture of Earth-That-Was. So as part of their cover, Jayne had to learn the pipes and wear the costume as well. The ironic thing was, Jayne’s cover was blown once the alarm was tripped, so he spent all that time learning how to play the bagpipes for nothing. “I heard what Shooter here told me, and I decided to bring Maggie back out of retirement.”

“I though Maggie was the AK-47.” Mal asked.

“That’s Maggie S. I was playing Maggie G. She’s my fave of the two.’

“Hmm. Outside of Vera, I didn’t think you had favorites.” Wash interjected. “And on that note, if all of us are finished eating, I’d like to get to the toasts. Get the speechifyin over before we dance the night away.” Wash pulled back from his place at the table and sat up. It was obvious he would be MCing this part of the day.

“Howdy y’all. You all know me as your intrepid pilot, and I’ll be MCing this portion of Simon and Kaylee’s big day. We all wrote a few speeches for you two, so we’d better get started. I’ll start off by saying that it’s a great sight to see you two finally get married. Not only because you two deserve each other, but because we were starting to get a bit sick of the whole “will you/won’t you” thing you guys had going on. In fact, some of us actually had a bet going on to see how long things would go on between you two before becoming serious. But seriously, marriage is a tough thing to work on. I can tell you from experience that there will be times where the bad can outweigh the good, but you’d just have to work with living with those moments. We all know Zoe and I have had some arguments over many things. Some trivial, some huge. But if you’re honest with each other, and can rationally talk things through to it’s resolution, then anything you come up against can be licked. Now I know the idea of rationality in a marriage is considered an oxymoron, but there it is. So I’d like to propose a toast.” Wash raised his glass along with everyone else. “A toast to the newlyweds. May whatever problems they have be resolved quickly and legally. And that the crew doesn’t get sick of their new affection for each other too soon. I pass the torch on to you.” The crew said all their “Hear hears” and sipped the bad wine in silence. “And now, to represent the bride’s side of the family, here is a man who needs no introduction.” Wash sat down. For a few seconds, there was an awkward silence. Wash then nudged Mal and said “Mal, get up there.”

Mal realized that it was his turn and sat up rather quickly. He took out a few rumpled notes out of his shirt pocket, looked at them and then stuffed them back into his pants pockets. “Uhh, I’m not much for speech makin myself, but when Kaylee asked me to write something about her for Simon and all of you guys, it took me a while to come up with this, so bear with me. I thought that it was weird that I was asked to represent Kaylee’s side of the family. I always thought of myself as her Captain, and not like a father or a brother. But after thinking about it, I suppose I could consider myself a surrogate older brother for Kaylee. Bein an only child myself, I never really had the experience of having a younger sister. And having one now, I now understand what Simon had to put up with, even before the Alliance did what they did to her. She was bratty, she was playful, she was insubordinate, she made me look ridiculous and at times annoyed the hell out of me. But like any older brother, I put up with her and her little trysts with our doctor. Like that time she and Simon were “fixin” the engine. Wash asked me “How could she break off a connecting node with her knee?” The crew laughed at this. “I told him “No way was it a knee.”” They laughed even harder with this. “But seriously, I could think of no better person for our doctor to get hitched too. Smart, talented, funny, pretty and kind are but a few words out of Book’s thesaurus that describe Kaylee. She can keep you flyin, like the ship itself. I can see she’s starting to unwind you already. And she can make this feel like home to you, like she’s done with all of us. So as your Captain, I order you all to raise your glasses for Simon and Kaylee. May they have a prosperous union. But no kids yet. This is a spaceship, not a nursery carpool.” They chuckled at this as they raised their glasses and drank the bad wine that seemed to get worse with every sip.

After Wash drank some water to get the taste out of his mouth, he stood up and cleared his throat. “Thanks, Mal. And also, I know perfectly well how one can break off important parts of the engine with ones knee. To speak on behalf of the groom’s family, we have Simon’s sister, River.” As Wash sat down and River stood up, Jayne gave a roll with his eyes. I heard a thump underneath the table and a poisoned look from Zoe as she cleared her throat.

“I once traced our lineage back 600 years ago to our relatives from Earth-That-Was for a school project. We were frontiersman, looking to make our fortune in a place called California. There was a Gold Rush going on then and our great by twenty grandfather made his fortune in the gold he found in the rivers there. I imagine people said to him that he was crazy when he set out. “You’ll never find it” they must’ve told them. “The odds must be mathematically impossible.” But he went there and found it. He then invested it into the building of a new device called ‘the automobile’. People said that was a dumb idea as well, but it paid off. For hundreds of years, we Tams have invested in things that may have seemed crazy and foolhearty, only for it to pay off. Simon has done this twice. First time, it was with me. Just the fact that I’m speaking coherently for the first time in a long time is proof of that. And the second time is with you, Kaylee. Simon never really had a girlfriend, or anyone other than me while we were growing up. Some thought he was sly, but I knew he was just afraid. Of rejection, of intimacy, of giving offence, of everything every man is when it comes to dealing with the opposite sex. I think that by giving up everything he had for me, he finally got the courage to also go after you. And that you allowed him into your heart has made the greatest difference to Simon. More than our upbringing, more than his studying, even more than me. Please raise your glasses, everyone.” Everyone did so. “To Kaylee. Welcome to the family. Your presence in our legacy will outshine any monetary payoffs this family has ever seen.” Everyone drank the wine one more time, before bursting out in applause. Kaylee got up to hug River once again, only now there were tears of happiness in River’s eyes.

After things had quieted down, and everyone had taken their seats, Wash stood up again. “That was beautiful, River. And now to wrap this up, we have the newlyweds ourselves, Simon and Kaylee.” The table applauded as Simon and Kaylee stood up. “Thank you very much, all of you.” Simon started out. “Well, we finally did it. And this whole union really couldn’t have happened if not for all of you guys. So to all of you, I’d like to say a few thank yous. Thank you Wash and Zoe for all the advice you’ve given us about married life on a ship. There have been a few times where the advice you’ve given us has really helped us out. Thank you, Mal for giving me permission to marry your mechanic. Thank you, Book for not only binding us with God, but also by the State. Thank you, Inara for the books and herbs to help us out with ‘that”. They will most definitely come in handy. Thank you, River for your patience and support in this. And even thank you Jayne for keeping your end of the deal. Thank you all, in fact, for helping us find each other and getting us here to this point. It’s been a great ride, and I can only imagine it getting better.” The crew applauded again with this eloquence from the newest married man on board. After the applause died down, Kaylee cleared her throat. “Hi. Simon pretty much covered everyone here, so I just have a few more things to say and then we can hit the dance floor. I’d like to thank Book as well for doing this for us, as well as finding this food that we’ve feasted on. I’d like to wish you all the same happiness that we’re feeling right now. And I’d particularily like to thank our only guest here, Shooter.” This took me by surprise. I’ve never been thanked for what I do during the toasts. Usually I try to be as invisible as possible in shooting, so often go unnoticed. “It’s been a pleasure in not only having you here on our ship as our only guest, but also having you film our wedding. I know that you aren’t being paid for this, and that if anyone else other than us were to watch this, it would be considered incriminating evidence, but it’s such a thrill to see you work, to pore over every small detail and to make sure that our day is captured flawlessly. You are a true artist, and Simon and I thank you.”

I was still a bit dumbfounded by this revelation when Kaylee called for a last toast for me. I could only think of one thing to do. I put my hat back on, tipped the front end of it off to them and said thanks. They then placed their glasses on the table. Simon then looked over to Kaylee and said something I don’t think any of us expected. “When we first really met, you asked me if I was asking you to dance. Well, now I am. Would you, Kaywinnith Lee Frye, like to dance?” He held out his arm to take. She hooked her arm underneath his and smiled. “I would love to, Simon Tam.”

As the two then walked out to the open space on the dance floor, I started up the com-link to the DJ/jukebox and said Shania Twain “You Got a Way”. I know it’s been a staple at weddings for 500 years plus and that to start off with that would be contradictory to Wash’s and my plan to have an unconventional selection of music for the dance part. But you can never go wrong with her. She has a voice that can melt away all the anger and tension a person can have. I had my main camera back on and I circled them as they danced in the same spot over the course of the song. They were talking, but I couldn’t figure out exactly what they were saying. Just as well. What I was getting was magic. I had done this shot for every single one of my videos, but this time it really seemed magical. After that song finished, I yelled out that everyone else was to get out there as well. And as I requested The Band and Emmylou Harris’s “Evangeline”, Wash and Zoe, Mal and Inara and Book and River all came out and started to dance to this old Cajun waltz. For Simon and Kaylee, they were the only two people in the verse at that moment. For Zoe and Wash, they tried to keep up with the beat, even though they both sucked at this. Mal and Inara seemed to be doing well. Inara moreso than Mal, although he seemed to be able to keep up with her and adapt. Book was able to glide effortlessly across the dance floor as River obviously lead him in an effortless waltz. And Jayne just sat there in one of the chairs helping himself to the leftover cake and wine, scraping off the caviar that was probably hard to come by. When the song ended, I knew I had just filmed the perfect shot that summed up the entire crew, both as individuals and as a group.

For the rest of the evening, Wash and I alternated in choosing songs for us to dance to. We had covered almost every classical genre, as well as some new hybrid music as we kept trying to keep at least two people on the dance floor. I’m sure everyone danced with each other during the course of the night. I had gotten everything I needed, so I alternated between talking with the men on the sidelines while dancing with each of the women on the dancefloor. I asked Mal how soon we’d land on a planet. “In about three days, we’ll be touching down on Anubis. While Kaylee and Simon are sunbathing, I’m sure we could pull off a few deals unbeknownst to them.” “Good.” I replied. “I’m sure I can find another gig pretty quickly.” We talked a little more, before I decided to tango with Inara. It was a chore to keep up with her, but it was definitely worth it. Afterwards, I went to the sidelines again as I chatted with Book about history. When I asked him about whether he fought alongside the Independents or the Alliance, he said that he was neither. That his profession kept him neutral to all the political struggles of man. But he told me that in due time it wouldn’t matter. “Throughout human history, every major autocratic government has fallen. The Egyptians, the Greeks, Alexander the Great, the Romans, the British, the Russians twice, Nazi Germany, the Japanese, the list goes on and on. If dictatorial governments worked, why aren’t these great parties of rule still around? So I wouldn’t imagine a system like the Alliance to last long. It could fall tomorrow or in a few decades, but it will end.” I mulled that over that as I watched River trying to teach Jayne a simple two step routine, with him trampling over her feet as they moved. I decided then to cut in and save her from being in more anguish than she was in.

“Thank you.”

“You looked like you needed it.”

We danced a little more, with me trying to keep up with this obvious pro.

“That was a pretty speech you made back there.”

“Thank you. I meant it.”

“Never crossed my mind that it would be otherwise. I just have one question.’


“You said something to Simon during the ceremony. What was it?”

“Latin. Incepio ut amor enim aliquis novus. Learn to love someone new.”


We danced a little more before the song ended and we stepped off the dance floor. I walked over to the table and helped myself to a few more drinks. My feet were getting tired, so I sat down in one of the chairs to relieve myself and to just watch. I thought of the footage I had shot and what to keep and what to throw away. Most of the other crew members were mulling around the fringes of the cargo bay, talking, drinking and laughing. The only two still dancing were Simon and Kaylee. I noticed Jayne by himself looking at the dancing couple. That look that he had a few days before when he was talking about Kaylee was on his face again. I saw it then. It was perfectly obvious that he had a thing for Kaylee. And it was killing him to see his victor parade his affection for her in front of him. I walked over and sat down next to Jayne.

“You wish that it was you up there.”

“What? Don’t be stupid, boy.”

“I ain’t stupid. You don’t have to be psychic to figure out that you have a thing for her.”

Jayne must’ve realized that I could see right through him, so he went from looking defensive to looking beaten.

“I can understand that. Truth be told, I feel a little like that myself. Nice, down to earth girl that makes you feel like a million in platinum. Any guy would want that. But I learned that instead of gettin jealous, you should congratulate the guy that managed to get her. Trust me, it’s much healthier and you can sleep better.”

“Yeah, you got that right. I’m still gonna pull a little prank on him, just to even the score. You want in?”

“No, I think I’ll leave it to you. I like bein surprised.”

I got up and patted him on the shoulder. I was getting a little tired, and I wanted to have a good nights sleep before editing the whole film together. But before that, I went onto the dance floor and asked if I could cut in. Simon relinquished, and now it was just me and Kaylee on the dance floor.

“You having a good time, Shooter?”

“Yeah. As a matter of fact, this has been without a doubt the best weddings I’ve been to.”

“That’s nice. How long will it take to make all you shot into a movie?”

“About two days. The last day I’m on here, I’ll set up a screen and I’ll show you guys my latest opus.”

She smiled and we danced some more. As I looked into her eyes, I was treated to all her goodness. I’ve said before about how she had that quality to her that people found irresistible, and I know that I will do my best in portraying her beautifully. But I think for anyone to really fully grasp the divine angel of grace that is Kaylee Frye, you’d have to be dancing with her and just look into her windows for her soul to fully feel her spiritual power.

“Thank you again, Shooter, for doing this. It really means a lot to me that you’re doing this.”

“Are you kidding me? I’d do this again in a heartbeat for you. Any man would. As I remember, as a kid you had a whole army of boys following you around trying to impress you.”

“I don’t remember that. I always remembered you and how you loved telling stories.”

“That I remember. And I should be grateful for you and your crew in allowing me to tell your story and for one for myself.”

“You’re very welcome.” And she gave me that smile of hers that would melt the snow on the coldest planets. And in my mind, I cursed and praised Simon for being the luckiest gorram doctor in the whole ‘verse.

I stuck around long enough for the bouquet and garter toss. For the garter toss, it was only Mal, Jayne and me there. Amazingly enough, I actually caught it. When you watch the video, you can se my hand in front of the camera as the garter belt actually go right into my hand. For the bouquet toss, only Inara and River were there, and River was actually standing in the right spot to catch it. Must’ve been her psychic intuitive. I said goodnight to all of them, and got the final shot of Simon and Kaylee walking towards their room. I can say with absolute certainty that this was a perfect day.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I spent the next two days locked to my portable edit suite as I took the hours of footage I shot from various angles and edited them together into a legitimate looking feature film. On the last day that I was on the ship, I took the sheets that were being cleaned from laundry and strung them together to make an amateur screen for us to watch the movie on. That evening, after I had helped with some of the chores and grunt work on the ship, we all sat down to watch my latest creation. As expected, everyone liked what they saw and were pleased with the way they came off and how if the final film were to leak that it wouldn’t betray them. The one comment in particular that stuck with me was from Simon. He said that seeing his sister dance to that old song I played for her filled him with so much joy and relief. I recommended to him that music can be very therapeutic for helping patients with major psychological trauma, and that an Allen One guitar could do wonders for her mental and spiritual health.

“She’d be bored with it after twenty minutes. Any musical instrument she touches she can master easily without one lesson or even sheet music.”

“Not with this one. And Allen One guitar has a switch on it so that it can change from an electric guitar to an acoustic to even a mandolin. And with Washes old music to listen to, she could try to learn how to play like the masters. Hendrix, Richards, Clapton, Plant, the list goes on. Give it a try, Doc. I think she’ll like it.”

The next morning, we finally touched down on Anubis. It’s a desert planet with half the planet covered in water, which makes it a popular place for people to vacation on. Simon and Kaylee would hit the beaches. Wash and Zoe would follow once they fueled up and got another deal going on with Mal. Inara would meet with a client. And Jayne, Book and River would stay behind on the ship.

As for me, I parted ways with them again at the space dock and headed out to the saloon where I’m writing this now. Will I see this intrepid crew again? Probably not. Will I get off this rock soon? Possibly. The bridal shop I saw a block away from here looked busy. And with rich folk in there, so I can get paid this time. But would I do this any other way? Can’t imagine doing so.

But oh how I wanted to stay there and see her children grow.



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