Keeping On: Part 4 - Over the Rainbow
Saturday, February 28, 2009

A year after the Miranda broadcast, Mal and Zoe struggle to keep their family together and keep flying as situations begin to build on Serenity. Over the Rainbow: Mal and Zoe meet with Monty in a bar on Persephone. Meanwhile, Jayne and River have an outing that doesn't end well.


Keeping On: Part 4 - Over the Rainbow

Disclaimer: Firefly, Serenity, and all related characters are copyright 2002-2005 Mutant Enemy, Inc., Universal Pictures, and 20th Century Fox. This is a work of fanfiction. No copyright infringement is intended.


A large and burly man with a bushy brown beard entered the bar. Some of the patrons called out greetings while others muttered dirty insults under their breath. He was well known in this establishment; no one was going to start anything with Montana “Monty” Henrey. Anyone who did was likely to find themselves on the ground looking for their teeth.

He looked around the bar, looking for his contacts – if he could even call them that. Friends and colleagues, was more like. He’d been surprised when he’d gotten the wave from Mal and Zoe, asking him to meet them on Persephone when he got the next chance. He was even more surprised when they asked him if he knew of any good pilots on the market, so to speak.

He knew about Wash, of course. He’d even drunk a glass or three in the man’s memory, because Wash had been a great man. But he had been sure that Mal and Zoe already had a new pilot. He remembered her as being some tiny, pretty little slip of a girl who reminded Monty of a niece he had back on New Melbourne. River, he thought it was. The Doc’s sister.

He had agreed and the three had set a date. He would have done nearly anything for Mal and Zoe, given that he’d have never gotten through the war if it hadn’t been for Zoe. Mal had always liked to attest that it was him, but always seemed to forget the fact that he was knocked out at the time.


Monty looked around to see his men on their knees, hands behind their heads as the Purplebellies beat on Rogers. His platoon had been cut off from their company and was down to only fifteen and hope was looking grim.

He and his men had been sitting there for hours, taking the beatings and derision from the Alliance soldiers.

He noticed movement behind where the leader was standing and kept his mouth shut. A soldier, wearing the Independent brown and red was creeping up on him and quicker than Monty could make out, had slit the commander’s throat. And then, one by one, the rest of the Alliance special assault team fell, each taken out by an Independent. The leader asked who was in charge of his group.

Monty spoke up. “That would be me, I’m guessing. Commanding officers were shot down. I’m Corporal Montana Henrey of the 34th.”

“Orders are for you all to join up with the 57th until Command figures out where to place you. Follow me.” She had said.

Monty and his group hadn’t asked many questions until they were back safely in an Independent camp. He’d asked who she was.

“Corporal Zoe Alleyne of 57th.” That was all. It was then that Monty had noticed a man with Sergeant stripes lay unconscious on the ground.

“Who’s he and what’s going on?”

She gave the man on the ground a look that he couldn’t quite decipher.

“He’s Sergeant Malcolm Reynolds. He’s in command here until the higher ups can spare someone else. He gave the order to come and rescue your platoon. He was coming with us, but got hit on the head by a flying rock.” She gave a long-suffering sigh and Monty had the impression that Zoe was the only one keeping that man on the ground alive. “Man seems to attract bodily harm.”

“There anything me and my men can do?” Monty asked.


A friendship had been forged in the weeks that had followed that night. He, Zoe, and Mal had stuck together until Command had ordered the 34th to join up with the 67th at Prossier Point. Mal, Zoe, and the rest of the 57th had been ordered to go and help with the battle of Du Khang a few moons over.

They’d seen each other on and off after the war ended, once or twice meeting up in Alliance-friendly bars on Unification Day and starting a brawl or four. Mal and Zoe had taken to the Black on a Firefly and Monty himself captained a large ship known as an Iron Ox that he had named Dorothy.

The three occasionally worked different legs of smuggling jobs and usually were able to steal a moment to chat and catch up (the time with Bridget notwithstanding). They also shared news about various on-goings of the ‘Verse with each other and would warn if trouble was expected in certain parts.

But after that broadcast of Miranda, Mal and Zoe and their crew had been rather quiet and had sent a wave telling him that they were laying low for the time being. Monty had wished them the best and agreed to send them word if anything big was expected to go down.

Monty scanned the bar again twice, before noticing two figures sitting quietly at a table in the back left corner of the bar. He grinned widely, motioned to the bar keeper for a pint, and strode towards the little table in the back.

“Malcolm Reynolds, you sad sack of bones!” He said, approaching.

Mal and Zoe grinned up at him and motioned for him to sit.

“Yeah, I’m a sad sack alright, but I seem to be doing well-enough.” Mal said.

“Where’s that ornery-ass merc of yours? Usually he’s in the bars with the two of you hoping to hit folk with a stick.”

“He’s off getting supplies with the Doc’s sister.” Mal said. “Something about needin’ ammo and the like…most like they’re gonna spend a good fifteen minutes or so drooling over weapons.” Mal smiled.

“Trip here go well, Monty?” Zoe asked.

“Yep. I got a good boat in Dorothy. Girl will take ya over the rainbow and back again afore she needs repairs. That upgrade that Kaylee swung a few years back was a miracle.” Monty said, taking his pint from the pretty and buxom waitress that had walked over.

“She is a wonder, our Kaylee.” Mal agreed, smiling in that fond and brotherly manner he had towards Kaylee.

“But ya didn’t call me here to chat up, ya said ya was in the looking for a new pilot, right?” Monty said, after taking a great gulp of the foamy and cool drink.

“Here’s how it is,” Mal said. He and Zoe told Monty about their situation and the plight they were in. Mal mentioned River’s growing discomfort with flying. Zoe nodded, throwing in a comment here and there. “So, any good pilots you know of?”


River was subdued while walking around the Eavesdown Docks on Persephone, Jayne noticed. He and River had been told by Mal to go and stock up on ammunition and the like, as well as see to the fueling of the ship – both fuel and water. Normally, River was cheerful, if a bit nervous in the large crowds. Today, however, River seemed downcast.

He didn’t think it had anything to do with him; he and River got on okay, if not well. So long as she didn’t pull a crazy fit and cause trouble, Jayne didn’t have a problem with her tagging along to buy ammo and oogle at the occasional well-made pistol or knife. He could tell something was bothering her though, and he wondered what her problem was. A bothered Crazy, after all, was a Crazy more likely to pitch a fit.

He shrugged. Ain’t my ruttin’ problem.

“No, it’s not.” River said quietly.

“You readin’ me ‘gain, Girl?” He asked, not sounding terribly angry.

“Didn’t mean to…you were thinking so loud. I’ll try harder.” River said, not sounding at all like her usual self, because she usually would have joked that Jayne didn’t think at all.

Since the truth about Miranda had been broadcast, River had been doing much better. The occasional crazy fit sprang up every now and then, but even then she could usually calm herself down. She was alright, most of the time. She’d never be completely sane and she’d certainly never be normal, but she was better. Not-Crazy-River was cheerful and playful. Not-Crazy-River was prone to joking around and extreme curiosity about everything. Not-Crazy-River was nice to be around. Jayne almost liked Not-Crazy-River.

“I can tell somethin’s up an’ I’m a mite curious ‘bout it. Ya ain’t been actin’ right today. Yer eyes ain’t all clouded, so ya ain’t ‘bout ta pitch a crazy fit, so I figures yer upset with somethin’. I don’t much like bein’ ‘round them as are down all the time, so why don’t ya tell me what’s wrong?” Jayne said, as they stopped at a small stand to get drinks.

“Captain and Zoe are looking for new wings.” River said, sounding forlorn. “Noticed that I’m not meant to be a pilot. They have decided to find one who can soar like a bird. If I’m not meant to fly, what am I meant to do? Where do I fit in?”

Jayne took a moment to think over that. He knew that Mal and Zoe were meeting with Monty about something, he just didn’t know what. He could understand her dilemma; he’d gone through something similar fifteen years ago when one of his old crews had decided to pick up another gun hand.

“Ain’t like Mal’s gonna put ya off ship or somethin’.” He said, eventually. “He’ll find somethin’ else fer ya, an’ he ain’t gonna make ya do somethin’ ya don’t like.”

“What else is there to do, Jayne?” River asked.

He didn’t know, truthfully.

They turned and headed for the gun shop that they had patronized in the past. The prices were fair and the owner seemed inclined to give them the pretty girl discount…which Jayne noted (with no small amount of irritation), seemed a bigger discount than the scary and intimidating man discount.

Jayne and River turned and left the shop, bags in hand. They walked in silence for a few moments, which was normal for them. Finally, Jayne felt he had to give her a different perspective, if only to keep her from moping. He hadn’t been joking when he said he hated being around depressed and down people.

“Listen,” he started, and noticed that River was watching the ground. “Are ya listenin’ to me?”

“Listening, yes.” She said, quietly.

“Alright. Are ya happy flyin’ the ship, River?”

“I am content.”

“Didn’t ask if ya was content. I done asked if ya was happy.”

“Does it matter?” She asked in return, looking up at him with sad brown eyes.

“Apparently it does, ta Mal and Zoe. Hell, they probably noticed that ya weren’t happy and decided ta do somethin’ ‘bout it. Now, would ya rather be unhappy with what yer doin’ or have the op-oppor…chance ta find out what does make ya happy and have that pressure of somethin’ ya don’t like off of ya?”

River looked up at him, bewilderment on her face. She suddenly smiled.

“Jayne is very wise.”

“Wouldn’t go that far, Girl.”

“Jayne is correct. I should take advantage of the opportunity that Captain and Zoe are presenting me. I should try to find my place…but I must be careful not to usurp the place of anyone else.” She looked at him seriously. “Serenity would be very upset.”

“Yeah, sure. You hungry?” Jayne asked, not sure he liked how talky-friendly they were getting.


“Wanna find a place that has food?”


“I think there’s a stand five minutes from here that sells good dog.” Jayne said.

River gave a gasp and looking up at him, her eyes started to fill with tears.

“You eat puppies?” She asked, horrified.

Go se.

“No, no, I’m just kidding! Wouldn’t eat no dog.” Jayne lied.

“Double negative. You do!” She gave him a look like he’d just kicked a harmless and adorable sleeping puppy.

“No, no! I mean I did, but that was just ‘cause I didn’t know what it was. Then once I found out I never ate from there ‘gain.” Again, he lied.

River looked at him suspiciously and then kicked in him in the shin.


“Stupid Ape-Man. Eats little puppies who only want to play and bark and sleep and eat. Apes are mean.” She said.

“Yeah, I’m a real hun dan. Can we git somethin’ ta eat now?” Jayne asked, trying to be manful and not rub at his sure-to-be-bruised shin.

“Yes. But the pleasure of Jayne’s company will not be enjoyed.”

He followed her to a nearby stand where she bought her own food and drink and sat down. He bought his and sat down at the same little table.

She ignored him the rest of the outing, letting him know that he was currently in deepest disgrace.

Girls are too damn sensitive.


I hope you enjoy! Questions, comments, and constructive criticism are greatly appreciated!



Saturday, February 28, 2009 12:52 PM


I really like this series. Chapters could be a tad longer though :-)

Saturday, February 28, 2009 3:24 PM


Great job - really enjoying this tale. Really enjoying your characters being very true to the series.

Monday, March 2, 2009 8:18 PM


cute, still hoping for bigger chapters to see more going on so I can get more into it. :)


You must log in to post comments.



Innocence Lost
He thinks he can see a connection. Part two of <i>If's & Maybe's</i>, a series of unrelated pieces dedicated to exploring the characters of Mal and Inara and the relationship between them.

Promises: Bent, Not Broken
Next in the Keeping On 'Verse. Lilah has an emotional breakdown, and gets some insight from the one person she never thought would give it: Mal.

Still Flying - Part VII
Next in the Keeping On 'Verse.
Mal, Zoe, and company continue to adjust and keep flying, even as trouble appears to be brewing on the horizon. <i>Part VII</i>: Mal and Zoe discuss their previous job, Zoe and Lilah come to an understanding, and a handsome man of dubious character receives his birthday gift. Now Complete.

Still Flying - Part VI
Next in the Keeping On 'Verse.
Mal, Zoe, and company continue to adjust and keep flying, even as trouble appears to be brewing on the horizon. <i>Part VI</i>: Mal and Zoe complete the job, with interesting results, while a bored River finds a way to occupy herself.

Still Flying - Part V
Next in the Keeping On 'Verse.
Mal, Zoe, and company continue to adjust and keep flying, even as trouble appears to be brewing on the horizon. <i>Part V</i>: Things are reserved on <i>Serenity</i>, and Mal finds out that his flush new deal is a great deal more trouble than he originally thought.

Still Flying - Part IV
Next in the Keeping On 'Verse.
Mal, Zoe, and company continue to adjust and keep flying, even as trouble appears to be brewing on the horizon. <i>Part IV</i>: Mal, Zoe, Jayne, Lilah, and Monty pay a quiet little visit to an Alliance-friendly bar on Unification Day.

Still Flying - Part III
Next in the Keeping On 'Verse.
Mal, Zoe, and company continue to adjust and keep flying, even as trouble appears to be brewing on the horizon. <i>Part III</i>: The deal with Badger is made, but with a catch. Meanwhile, a spat breaks out between Simon and Kaylee. Reviews would be lovely.

Still Flying - Part II
Next in the Keeping On 'Verse.
Mal, Zoe, and company continue to adjust and keep flying, even as trouble appears to be brewing on the horizon. <i>Part II</i>: The crew makes the drop, a bar fight is had, and things get a little too intense while flying to Persephone.

Still Flying - Part I
Next in the Keeping On 'Verse.
Mal, Zoe, and company continue to adjust and keep flying, even as trouble appears to be brewing on the horizon. <i>Part I</i>: Mal, Zoe, and River meet with their new contact and Lilah learns how Wash died. Reviews would be lovely.

The Serenity Book Club
Simon and Lilah discuss a book they've both recently read. This is just a silly little piece set after <i>Keeping On</i> but before its sequel.