Volcano's Edge - Part II
Saturday, June 28, 2008

Maya. Post-BDM. More fluff with Kaylee's family on Phoros, but something is beginning. Read carefully as there may be a test at the end. NEW CHAPTER


The next morning Eddie Frye went in search of his daughter to tell her breakfast was ready. He wasn’t surprised when he found her in her old shed, moving stuff about.

“You okay, Winnie?” he asked from the doorway, making Kaylee smile at the use of his old name for her.

“I'm shiny, Pa. Real shiny.”

“Then why ain't you with that husband of yours and my two granddaughters?” Like Simon, Eddie didn’t even think about Hope not being blood.

“Just felt like visiting. Remembering when I was young.” She patted her workbench, looking around at the disembowelled Cortex screens, the bits and pieces she’d collected when she wore pigtails, the sign on the door announcing it was ‘Kaylee’s Workshop’, painted all around with little flowers. Maybe she hadn’t changed that much.

“Well, your Ma sent me to find you. She’s anxious we eat soon, so we can get everything ready for the rest of the family coming over later today.“

“The rest? How many’re coming?” She could still remember Simon’s trepidation at being faced with her relatives en masse at the wedding.

“Not many. A dozen or so. Maybe twenty, twenty-five.”

“Sounds good.”

“She wants to show off. You’d think that young River’s baby was her grandchild, the way she been cooing and getting all misty over him.”

“Well, guess maybe, in a way, he is.”

“How’d you figure that?”

“Well, I’m your daughter -”

“So your Ma keeps telling me.”

She thumped him. “And I’m married to Simon, and River’s his sister so she’s my sister-in-law … so don’t that kinda make her your daughter-in-law?”

Eddie laughed. “Not sure a court’d look on it like that.”

“Not talking about a court, talking about us. And Bethie and Hope’re Caleb’s cousins, no matter what, so I figure I’m right.”

“So your mother is a Grandma-in-law?”

“Something like that.”

“Oh, Winnie. You always did look on the bright side of everything.”

“Got to. Only natural. And I think you ought to put Caleb’s name in the Bible.”

“You think?”

“Sure. And I know River’d like that.”

“Then I will. This afternoon.” He glared at her. “Just so long as this don’t start your Ma getting all broody on me.”

“You could have another baby,” Kaylee said stoutly. “You ain't that old.”

“Now, don’t you even go suggesting it,” her father warned. “Bad enough with all your brothers still at home. Can’t even begin to think about having to deal with diapers and midnight feeds again.” He shuddered theatrically.

“You should make ‘em leave,” Kaylee, the cosmopolitan traveller, grinned. “Be good for ‘em to get out and live a little.”

“They live enough, thank you.” Eddie laughed. “Joe’s been hanging around Polly Moffatt, Pete’s with Lily, while Bill’s having too much fun to settle for one woman … Bobby’s the only one who seems to be keeping himself, and I ain't too sure about that. Boy’s always been a bit secretive.”

“You want me to talk to him? I can get him to tell me, you know I can.”

“I know. You got more of their secrets in that pretty head of yours than both me or your Ma, but I think Bobby can keep his. Leastways until he comes rolling home telling us he’s got someone in the family way and is leaving Phoros.”

Kaylee grinned. “Now you know he ain't gonna do that. I got all the wanderlust in this family.”

“I reckon you did, Winnie.” He picked up a drill. “So what was it you were looking for?”

“Who said I was looking at all?”

“You were turning stuff over, like you were searching. Didn’t hear me calling you, either.”

She hitched herself onto the old stool. “I was just taking a look, see if I couldn’t find a couple of microtransmitters.”

“What for?”

“A beacon.” She almost laughed at the look on her father’s face. “No, it ain’t that I'm trying to fake a transponder. Don’t need to do that, not when you can buy one if’n you know the right place to go.”

“So what would you be needing them for?” Eddie asked, only a trifle mollified, and more than a little concerned that his baby girl would know the kinds of places she was mentioning in passing. “You planning on keeping tabs on that Bethie?”

“No. Not a bad idea, though. But it’s Simon.”

Her father’s demeanour became more serious. “Is he straying?”

“No, no. Oh, Pa, Simon’d never do that.” She put her hand on his and squeezed. “It ain’t nothing bad. In fact, it’s to keep him safe. The Cap’s insisting whenever we’re somewhere that ain’t home, and River or Simon are off-ship, they gotta carry a beacon.”

“You mean like when you were on Newhall?”

Kaylee nodded. They’d told the others of Hank’s little adventure with the noose and Simon’s brush with death while they were eating dinner the night before, eliciting the requisite number of oh no’s and he didn’t’s from their audience. “’Xactly that. ‘Cept Simon fell on his. He’s got a real fine scar on his chest out of it, too.”

“Can’t you fix it? The beacon, I mean, not the scar.”

“Sure I can. I did. But it’s too big, and I promised to make something’d fit in the heel of his shoe, maybe. That’s why I was thinking of microtransmitters.” She started to turn the junk over again. “I got a recollection of taking a couple of old earwigs apart once, and I just wondered if they was still here.” She was almost talking to herself now. “I shoulda got the bits I needed from Magpie, but I wasn’t really thinking straight. She’d’a had something I could use, sure as chickens lay eggs, maybe even already put together, but somehow I don’t think the Cap’s gonna take too kindly to me asking if we can go back there, not after the way –“

“Kaylee.” Her father interrupted her musings.


“They ain’t there.”

“What?” She looked up. “How do you know –“

“You traded ‘em. Remember? To Holly Glock for a vid clip, if I recall. Some soap opera thing.”

Kaylee’s eyes widened. “Gorramit, I think you’re right.”

“Course I'm right. I ain't so far into my dotage I don’t get some things truthful. And don’t swear.”

“Sorry, Pa.” She sighed heavily. “Looks like I’m gonna have to wait ‘til I can get to a decent supplier. Only they probably ain’t gonna be cheap, and the Cap –“

“I might have something you can use.”

Her face lit up and she jumped from the stool in her excitement. “You might?”

“Got a few bits and pieces in exchange for some work I did, and one of ‘em was one of those mini Cortex players. You know, the kind that fits in your palm.” He shook his head. “Can’t see the point in ‘em myself. Screen’s too damn small to make anything out, but there you go. Still, you could maybe cannibalise it.”

“But Pa … won’t you want to sell it? I mean, piece like that, you could get maybe –“

“Like I said, I don’t see the point in it. And I’d rather know it’d gone to a good cause, like you keeping that husband of yours safe.”

“Oh, Pa …” She threw her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly.

He grinned, holding her close. “Anything for my Winnie,” he said.

“Are you two going to be staying in here all day?” Bobby Frye asked, leaning in the door, his face split by a wide grin. “I don’t know, comes back to visit and can’t keep out of the machinery.”

Kaylee swatted at him, catching him on the arm. “Me and my Pa were having some father/daughter time.”

“Well, ‘scuse me for living.” He didn’t look too put out, though. “And you’d better come get to the food ‘fore your mercenary decides he’s hungry.”

“He ain’t my mercenary,” Kaylee said, letting go of her father and smoothing her clothes. “He’s River’s. And he ain't a mercenary no more, neither. He’s a family man.”

“Yeah, saw him feeding Caleb. Didn’t know he could do that.”

“Do what?”

“Be a person.” This time he winced as she hit him harder. “You know, I missed you a bit, but I ain't missed you beating up on me all the time.”

“Sure you did,” she said sweetly, sweeping out of the shed past him, her brother and father following meekly in her wake.


Two figures moved in the shadows.

“Them?” one asked.

“No. No women. Not yet.” He remembered the voice being very specific.

“Why not? It ain't like –“

“No women! You really wanna know what he’d do to you if you did anything to make him mad?”

“Neither do you. You ain't even seen him.”

“Don’t have to see him. I know.” That voice …


“There you are.” Ellie looked up from where she was placing a huge plate of waffles into the centre of the table. “I thought you weren’t hungry.”

Kaylee dropped onto the bench next to Simon. “Me? Not hungry?” She grinned. “That ain’t likely to ever happen.”

“Now I know where Bethie gets it from,” Freya said, smiling widely.

“Yep, that’d be me.” Kaylee peered at the waffles. “Though I’d not sure I can eat too many. Felt a little off this morning.”

“Are you all right?” Simon asked, his medical persona showing through. “Perhaps I should -”

“I’m fine. Weren’t nothing.” She patted his hand reassuringly

“Good. Specially after I went to all the trouble of making your favourite syrup.” Ellie handed over a heavy jug.

Her daughter sniffed, her eyes rolling back into her head. “Oh, Ma. Strawberry.”

“I don’t get it,” Hank said, spearing a waffle before Jayne could get to it. “River grows ‘em, and you can eat ‘em any time you like, but you still get all … bibbledly over ‘em?”

She glared at him. “You can never have too many strawberries. ‘Sides, this syrup’s special. It’s got a secret ingredient in it that Ma won’t tell anyone what it is.”

“Secret?” Hank grabbed the jug and poured a tiny amount onto his plate. He stuck his finger in and tasted it carefully. “Wow.”

“Exactly.” She took the syrup back before he could empty it on his waffles. “And it’s ladies first.”

“Momma, can I have some?” Bethie asked, bouncing a little.

“Course you can. You’re a lady.”

Bethie grinned, then stuck her tongue out at Ethan opposite.

“Only I seem to recall ladies don’t do that,” Freya pointed out.


“No you’re not.”

Bethie giggled.

“It’s okay,” Ellie said, laughing herself. “I got plenty more.”

As his wife served his daughters with waffles, Simon leaned over towards Mal sitting next to him at the head of the table. “Mal, here’s that list you wanted.” He held out a piece of paper.

Mal raised his eyebrows as he took it. “List?”

“Of where we might be able to pick up an antiviral replicator. I'm sorry I haven’t done it before, but –”


“You wanted to know where we could steal one like they had on Newhall. To make any vaccines we needed.”

Mal smiled. “Right.” He glanced down. “This got ease of access on?”

“I’ve marked them up in order of stealability, yes.”

“Is that a word?”

“It is now.”

“Good boy.”

“Do I get a treat?” Simon asked deadpan.

“Sure. Get some of the waffles ‘fore they‘re all gone.”

Simon smiled. “Exactly what I was intending to do.”

At the other end of the table, Hank was deep in conversation.

“I don’t know. I’ll ask.”

“You have to ask your wife every time you wanna do something?” Peter Frye scoffed.

“You wait ‘til you’re married. Makes life a lot more … interesting if you don’t.”

“And that’s a bad thing?”

“Believe me, doing a little grovelling now and again is good for the marriage. If not for the knees.” Hank turned to his right to his wife. “Honey, you got any objection if me and Pete here go fishing?”


“Yeah. Just for an hour or two. See if we can’t contribute to the festivities.”

Her expression didn’t seem to change. “You didn’t catch anything last time.”

“Then it’s time my luck changed.” He grinned.

“You might be needed to help out.”

“Well, yeah, I know, but -”

Eddie Frye interrupted. “You go off and enjoy yourselves. Might be doing us a favour, as that pike still ain’t been caught, and it’s playing hell with the other fish.”

“See?” Hank turned to Zoe. “I would be helping out.” He tossed in the sweetener. “You could come with us.”

For a moment she didn’t answer. Then … “And interrupt your male bonding? I don’t think so.” She smiled. “Go ahead. But if you fall in don’t expect me to come along and save you.”

“You always save me, Zoe. Lord knows where I’d be without you.”


Hank leaned over and kissed her cheek, then turned back to Pete. “You got the gear?”

“All ready.”

“Then after breakfast.”

Pete nodded. “Shiny.”


They watched as two men left the house, one of them carrying a wicker basket, while the other had a pair of fishing rods over his shoulder.



to be continued


Saturday, June 28, 2008 2:32 AM


Oh no. Hank just can't seem to stay out of trouble! I guess that makes him a bona fide part of Serenity's crew! :D

Saturday, June 28, 2008 2:45 AM


Ruining the fluffy fluff aren't you? Well, I guess Hank has to get kidnapped to find out who the vilan is. Here we go with the angst!

Saturday, June 28, 2008 4:11 AM


Poor Hank. Loved the way Simon deadpanned Mal about the antiviral. This is getting way too fluffy - which means you've got the angst factory working overtime, don't you?

Saturday, June 28, 2008 5:42 AM


Why in heaven's name does it keep happening to Hank? But I still loved it.

Saturday, June 28, 2008 8:04 AM


I like the way everyone is with Kaylee's family. It's sweet, but yes, we need action soon.

Off on vaca, but can't wait to read more when I get back. :)

Saturday, June 28, 2008 12:37 PM


Gorramit, couldn't those roaches have waited until Kaylee's other relatives arrived before trying to nab anyone? That way there'd be a ton of fiery Fryes and a whole passel of Serenity's crew on the warpath and hunting them down. Poor Hank, doesn't look like he is ever going to get a break and I am mighty worried about who might be behind it. Ali D
You can't take the sky from me


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[Maya. Post-BDM. The end of the story, and the beginning of the last ...]

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Mal took a deep breath, allowing it out slowly through his nostrils, and now his next words were the honest truth. “Ain’t surprised. No matter how good you are, and I’m not complaining, I’ve seen enough battle wounds, had to help out at the odd amputation on occasion. And I don’t have to be a doc myself to tell his leg ain’t quite the colour it should be, even taking into account his usual pasty complexion. What you did … didn’t work, did it?”
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“What’s wrong with that?” the ex-mercenary demanded from the doorway.

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[Maya. Post-BDM. Hank's not out of the woods yet, and Mal has a conversation. Enjoy!]

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Jayne hadn’t waited, but planted a foot by the lock. The door was old, the wood solid, but little could stand against a determined Cobb boot with his full weight behind it. It burst open.

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[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]

“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]