Friday, July 9, 2004

There's no shame in living free. Even if Serenity doesn't always cooperate.


Another LiveJournal challenge refugee from way back when. I wrote this in the space of about four minutes on no sleep, but I dug it out of my computer archives to share it with you lucky folks. I own nothing, and remember, feedback is shiny.


"Don't worry, baby," Kaylee soothed, her voice muffled. She sat perched on the upper catwalk rail, heavily gloved hands buried in the ship's innards. "I ain't gonna listen to that smarty-pants fool."

A shower of sparks punctuated her statement, raining down from the paneling to the catwalk and through the grating. Protected by her welding mask, Kaylee's face was set aglow by the backsplash from the flame jet.

"Ruttin' son of a… thinks he knows everything," she grumbled, easing up on the handle. The flame vanished.

"Anyone I know?"

Kaylee didn't look up as her captain addressed her from the hall. "That jerk at the fueling station just now. Called Serenity a hunk of luh suh."

She could practically feel Mal's bemused smile below her. The dry leather of his gunbelt squeaked softly as he approached, sliding his hands onto her hips to steady her on the rail. "That's what's got you cussin' out whatever's in that panel you're playing with?"

Now she glanced down at him. "You wanna call this 'playing,' you can march yourself right back onto that bridge and wait for me to give the word to run pre-ignition again."

"Hey, easy, girl. You wanna be pissed, you go right ahead. But I ain't leaving you here alone to take a header off this rail," he told her.

In reply, she extracted the lighting flint from her back pocket and snapped it in front of the blowtorch as she opened the jet. She was rewarded with a spark and a whoosh of welding flame, and set to work inside the panel again. "Sorry. He just worked me up a little is all."

"Apparently." Mal blinked as a fresh onslaught of sparks flew from the opening, threatening to alight in his hair or clothes and set him ablaze. "That all he said?"

She wrapped her legs around him and sighed, a touch of sadness seemingly diluting her anger. "Said I'm wastin' my time here. That she's just gonna keep breaking over and over." The spray of backsplash grew brighter than before. "That ships is for flyin' and not fixin'."

"That's fine, little Kaylee," he told her, trying not to smile. Knowing he found her anger amusing would only piss her off even more, and he didn't like the idea of that blowtorch any closer to him that it already was. "We know better; that's all that matters."

"I know. I just don't like to hear folk talk like that," she said, letting the flame die. "Tell Wash to try again."

Instead of leaving her to tap the internal comm, Mal bellowed in the general direction of the cockpit: "WASH!"

Their pilot had other ideas as far as communications went. "Yeah, Mal," came his voice over the comm system, and Kaylee held her breath as the engines came to life with a lazy drone. The hum became a whine that grew louder, and with a shudder, it halted.

"C'mon, work with me here…" Snap went the flint, and the jet shot from Kaylee's blowtorch with a vengeance. She immersed her arms in the conduit again. "He just took one look at her and laughed, cap'n. Laughed. Like she was some kinda toy."

"He just don't know any better."

"Yeah, but…" She hesitated as the flame arced, maneuvering it deeper into the ship. "I don't get folks like that. They get these new ships and just fly 'em around 'til something breaks, and then they just go buy a new one. You ask me, a person ain't really lived 'til they've gone and mussed themselves tryin' to right what's wrong with a ship; 'til they're sweaty and bloody and cryin' but that engine's purring like a baby kitten.Where's the fun in just flyin' and never crawlin' around in the workin's?"

Mal chuckled, patting her leg. "Sounds boring."

"Listen to me, talking to you about this as if you were a mechanic," she chastised herself. "I know you'd think it was shiny if nothin' ever went wrong on this old boat."

He glanced up at her as fire and embers leapt from the panel and vanished. "I understand Serenity much as you. Well-- I don't understand the way you do, but ain't no other ship like her in the 'verse, that's the gorram truth. I know that much."

Apparently this did little to appease her. "How could someone say somethin' like that and think it was okay? Sure, she ain't in the best shape ever, but she ain't luh suh. She's this old and she's still flyin'; that says a lot, don'tcha think?"

Kaylee snuffed out the flame and pushed her protective goggles back over her head, leaning away from the panel to look at Mal. Soot and dark smudges decorated her face, and the look she cast him begged a response.

"Give it another go," he called to the pilot, moving to push a strand of singed hair out of Kaylee's eyes.

Again, the engines kicked over and began their cry, and the ship swayed gently this time as the landing gear retracted and Serenity lifted off. Mal took his mechanic by her hips again and lowered her from the rail.

"Nice work," Wash confirmed, voice grainy over the speakers. "Hopefully that relay will hold out awhile."

She set the blowtorch down and stripped herself of the gloves with a sigh. "Kinda embarrassing, too. I defend her, tell him she's the best ship ever, and of course she doesn't wanna fly."

"Hey. We're in the air now," he told her, slipping the goggles off and handing them to her. "And he's stuck on that dirtball, slaving away in a fueling depot."

Slowly but surely, Kaylee's smile blossomed.

"And there ain't nothin' embarrassing about bein' free."



Friday, July 9, 2004 7:39 AM


I just now read all your stories to date. Utterly charming vignettes, all written with such effortless skill it's like I'm standing there watching it unfold in real life. Too bad it'll be another six months before you write another.

Saturday, July 10, 2004 3:11 AM


Lovely, such a sweet scene between Kaylee and her Captain. How dare that man on the fueling station call Serenity *lese*. Reckon they should'a spaced him - *after* they had refueled.
Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, January 19, 2005 7:42 AM


You've got the voices of these guys down pat. I am so jealous of skill like this! :-) No it's shiny as hell when someone has the ear for voices. I love this fanfic 'verse and it's talent like yours that makes it fun to dig down and keep readin'! Please feed my addiction and give me more Kaylee stuff!

Saturday, December 16, 2006 3:11 PM


This is just amazing. All three voices are perfect.


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There's no shame in living free. Even if Serenity doesn't always cooperate.

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Mal remembers Early's invasion.

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Dong Ma?
Mal listens, Jayne glares, and Simon understands. PG-13 just to be safe.