Keeping On: Part 5 - Pilots, Conversations, and Dorothy
Monday, March 2, 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. Pilots, Conversations, and Dorothy: Monty talks about a potential pilot. Meanwhile, Simon has an interesting conversation with Jayne.


Keeping On: Part 5 - Pilots, Conversations, and Dorothy

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.


Monty leaned back as he mulled over Mal and Zoe’s situation, taking a drink every now and then to help the thinking along.

“Might know of one that’d fit in with you all alright.” He said, looking at Mal and Zoe. “Gal’s been lookin’ for good steady work and I never could turn away a fellow Browncoat.”

“This gal fought in the War?” Mal asked, sharing a significant look with Zoe.

“Yepper. Flew in a squadron.” Monty said. “She don’t quite hate the Alliance like you folks do, but she ain’t got wells of love for ‘em either.”

“What’s her name and where can we find her?” Zoe asked.

“Last name’s Linn. She’s been keeping ship with me for the past few weeks, came onboard about a week and a half after I got your wave. She’s a decent sort, quiet though. She fills in here and there where I need her. I think she went off today with Davis to pick up some spare parts for Dorothy.”

“Tell us more about her.” Mal said. Monty could tell that Mal was thinking and thinking hard.

“Came off of Paquin, though she didn’t exactly say why. She keeps to herself and follows orders well. This gal ain’t a leader; she’s a follower, for the most part. It took her an hour or so to get used to flyin’ Dorothy, but she does pretty damn good for someone who probably only flew a tiny little Jackrabbit while serving. She’s pleasant enough, even if she did break a few of Lesley’s fingers when he came onto her during her first week with us.” Monty chuckled. “I kinda got the impression that she likes her privacy.”

“Most women do.” Mal said, taking the refill that the waitress had brought him.

“She mention what kind of work she was lookin’ for?” Zoe asked, her mind on business.

“Just said that she wanted something that wasn’t on Paquin. Flyin’ preferably, but she’d take what she could get.” Monty answered, recalling the woman’s words to him. “She’s honest and I ain’t seen her have one problem bein’ out in the Black.”

“She the only candidate?” Mal asked.

“I could name a few others, sure enough.” Monty admitted. “But Donnie Berklow is lookin’ to retire back to Boros soon and last I heard Ralphie Putzy took up with a salvage crew what contracts with the Alliance upon occasion. And I doubt you could get Marnie Baker; she got bound by law on Greenleaf a few months back and last I heard she ain’t been bailed out yet - somethin’ ‘bout an old crew of hers dealing in watered-down drugs. And the others? Newton, Ellison, Cortney, and Jyegon? You’d shoot ‘em all within a month.”

“Sounds like this Linn gal would be a good bet, then.” Mal said, contemplatively.

“I had a feeling she’d be the one for you all.” Monty said. “Though if it don’t work out, she always has a place on my crew. I’m kinda fond of her.”

“What do you think, Zoe?” Mal asked, turning to her. “You okay with asking for a little meeting with this gal?”

“I don’t see that it could hurt anything. If she’s the one, then we have a new pilot and if she ain’t, then we’re no worse than when we started.” Zoe answered.

“I agree. Can’t hurt to meet her and see what she’s like.” Mal said. “Monty, can you swing us a meeting?”

“I can have her here within the hour, if ya want.” Monty answered, looking extremely pleased with himself.

“That’d be shiny.” Mal said.

“If ya can wait here, I’ll be back in no time at all.” Monty said, placing some cash on the table for his drink and leaving.

Mal reclined back and Zoe went to fetch a Chinese checkers board from the barkeep.


Back on Serenity, Simon was unloading his medical supplies and updating the inventory sheets, marking new quantities and deciding which would be the highest priority next time the crew was planet-side. He quickly re-counted the money left over from the wad of cash that Mal had allotted him to make sure that no pick-pockets had managed to steal from him. Thankfully, every credit was accounted for. He tucked it away in his vest pocket to give to Mal later.

Simon went to the mess and started pulling out the protein packets and cookware that Kaylee would need for dinner tonight. She had mentioned to him earlier what she was planning on making, and agreed to give him cooking lessons. Simon smiled to himself as he remembered their conversation.

“Kaylee, I know I’m not scheduled to cook again until next week, but I was kind of hoping that you could teach me…if you could give me cooking lessons.” Simon asked, face red with embarrassment.

Kaylee smiled brightly at him.

“I suppose I could. I mean, you’re a genius and all, but I didn’t actually know it was possible to get food poisoning from protein.” She said.

“Until last week I was sure that it was impossibility. Apparently I was wrong.” Simon said. “Do you think that Mal, Zoe, Inara, and Jayne have forgiven me yet?” Simon said, depressed, remembering the horrific twenty-four hours of vomiting and nausea that the group had endured thanks to his lack of culinary skills.

“Oh, I’m sure they’ll get over it…sooner or later.” Kaylee said, trying to sound reassuring, but failing. “If you want, you can help me with dinner tonight, and hopefully we can teach you to not kill us all when you cook.”

“I really appreciate it, Kaylee.” Simon said. “What are we making anyways?”

“Well, hopefully chicken and some veggie-protein. Inara said she was going to one of the markets and was going to pick up some fresh food. It ain’t the right season on Persephone for vegetables though, so until we hit a planet where they’re in season, we’re stuck with protein.”

“Well, you always make it taste like it’s not protein. I’d settle for making it taste like it’s not bad protein.”

“Just meet me in the mess later and we’ll start. Now, I gotta run and check on the couplings in the engine room…make sure they don’t decide to go kaboom – they’ve been kicking up a fuss.”

She kissed him on the cheek and sped off, leaving him standing there with a dazed look on his face, which slowly grew into a wide smile.

Kaylee had him wrapped around her pretty, sometimes greasy fingers and Simon found that he liked it. He hummed to himself, making short work of the task to which Kaylee had assigned him. He paused as he heard very loud and very frustrated arguing…of the Jayne and River variety. Simon sighed to himself as he wondered what it was that set them off this time. For all that the two seemed to get well enough; the two had some explosive arguments.

“Quit bein’ such a nau niu about it and get over it!” Yes, that was Jayne being his usual charming self.

“Jayne is a monster!” And yes, that was his sister’s shrill yelling.

“Right, like I’m the only person in the ‘Verse who ever ate dog meat!”

“Jayne eats puppies! Harmless little puppies!”

“Jayne don’t care!”

Simon heard a silence, followed by

“OW! Stupid ruttin’ feng le siu gwai xiao gui.”

“Man-ape is not to be tolerated!”

Simon heaved another great sigh as River, looking both angry and disgusted, stormed past him, presumably off to find a spot to hide for a spell.

“It ain’t like I eat every damn dog I see!” He heard Jayne holler.

Simon, against his better judgment (for Jayne always seemed inclined to blame him for River’s more colorful outbursts…and every other problem he had), went to make sure Jayne wasn’t planning a full-on war against his sister. Jayne was in the cargo bay, putting away ammunition and various other things, limping slightly and muttering darkly to himself.

“Kicked in the shin?” Simon asked, staying a safe distance away from Jayne.


“Boots or regular shoes?”




“And what was it for this time?” Simon asked.

“Moonbrain found out that dogs are good for more than barkin’ and makin’ messes. Didn’t like it too well.”

“Yes, I imagine that would upset her. I take it you’ve sampled some cuisine specializing in dog?”

“Few times, but never when it wasn’t the cheapest and last thing available. I ain’t a total cretin.” Jayne said, looking at a package of bullets and placing them on a shelf with several look-alike boxes.

Simon tried not to look too shocked that Jayne knew the word “cretin” much less what it meant and how to use it. He tried to explain River’s feelings on the matter, wondering if it was too personal to share.

“When she was seven, River found a stray dog on the property. It had snuck in when our security system was down for repairs. He was hurt and she and I nursed him back to health. We kept him hidden for several days and we’d even named him before our butler found him and outed us to our parents. Father gave the dog to the butler to dispose of, despite River’s crying and protesting.” His face momentarily twisted into a sneer as his voice took on a lofty and superior tone. “No children of mine are going to have a flea-ridden mongrel.” He gave a humorless smile. “Our father always was a sanctimonious hun dan.”

“Then what happened?” Jayne asked, in a ‘why-should-I-care?’ tone.

“The butler gleefully informed River the next day that he’d sold him to a market to be killed and eaten. He never particularly cared for River and took a great deal of delight in being mean to her. He was…River said that he had a bad soul. Usually loudly and in his hearing.”

“That’s just…mean.” Jayne said. Bein’ mean to real little girls was somethin’ Jayne Cobb didn’t do. And he didn’t like anyone else who did it either.

“River cried for hours and hours. Then one day, about a month later, he was dismissed for stealing from us. A few belongs of ours were found in his quarters. I’m still wondering how she managed it, given that she was usually supervised by either myself or her nanny most of the time and that the locks to my parents’ quarters required retinal scans and thumb-prints, but she was never caught doing the pilfering and the planting.”

“Girl’s downright sneaky and cunning.” Jayne said, sounding mildly impressed.

“River will calm down, eventually, but she’s rather fond of dogs…and animals in general.”

“Kinda like ‘em myself. Had a couple of hounds back on Kerry, growin’ up. Best kind a dogs a man could have.” Jayne admitted.

“I’m not trying to ask you for a favor Jayne, but if you could just…not taunt her about it, please.” Simon said, tugging at his ear.

“Right, I’ll lay off then.” Jayne said, unexpectedly. “You both never had any pets? Like never ever?”

Simon paused. “There were some tropical fish in a large aquarium in the foyer.”

Jayne rolled his eyes and looked at Simon with what looked like something akin to pity. “Any idea when Mal and Zoe are due back?”

“I…have no idea.”

“Ain’t good for much, are ya, Doc?” Jayne chuckled.

“Yet I seem to remember sewing you up once or twice.” Simon said, smiling.

“Fair ‘nough.” Jayne said.


The Iron Ox known as Dorothy was so large that it took two berths all by itself. Iron Oxen weren’t very common anymore, but were good and solid ships that were ideal for transport. Ideally, it took a crew of twenty to crew an Iron Ox, but Monty had good people and was able to crew Dorothy with sixteen…seventeen if he counted the stray pilot he had picked up a few weeks back.

Monty smiled as he approached his ship. He liked Dorothy; he had liked her ever since he had first laid eyes on her. He liked his crew as well. More than a few were former Browncoats and the rest either didn’t fight in the war or didn’t care either way. Each was reliable, too.

Dexter and Lesley were in the cargo bay stacking crates of the farming supplies they’d be transporting to Boros.

“Are Linn and Davis back yet?” He asked.

“Yeah, them two got back ‘round fifteen minutes ago. They’re probably back in the engine room, putting those parts away.” Dexter said. Lesley refused to talk about their recent passenger-crew member…his fingers still weren’t healed and still hurt like hell.

“Go and fetch Linn for me, will ya, Dexter?” Monty asked.

“Sure thing, Monty.” The young man left, limping slightly as he went. He’d taken a shot to the leg a few months back and Monty figured that he’d have that slight limp for the rest of his life.

Lesley stacked the remaining crates before tying them down securely and leaving the bay, not wanting to deal with the woman who had broken his fingers.

Dexter appeared a few minutes later, a dark haired woman in tow.

“You need something, Monty?” She asked.

“Yeah, I think I found a job for you, piloting, even.” Monty said, trying not to sound too excited. “The captain and first mate are hopin’ you’ll talk to them about takin’ on the job. They’re waitin’ at the bar as we speak.”

She was quiet for a long while.

“Meeting at a bar…what else is new?” She muttered, very amused.

“Feel like goin’ then? I’ve known Mal and Zoe for years now; they’re good folk and so is their crew.”

“Why not?” She smiled up at him. “Ain’t like I’m bound by law to agree or nothin’.”

“I’ve got a good feeling about this; I really think that this could work out for you.”

“Are you that anxious to get rid of me?”

“I’m anxious for you to start living that life of yours again, whether it’s here, there, or elsewhere.”

“I am living my life, Monty.” She said, defensively.

“Not very well.” Monty chuckled.

“Let’s just go, can we?”

“Sure thing, just follow me.”

She smiled as she walked beside him towards the meet point. She’d been following him for weeks.


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



Monday, March 2, 2009 12:15 PM


Like I said before. I'm loving this tale. The Jayne and River argument was terrific!

And Simon drawing out some of Jayne's back story... Well done.

Monday, March 2, 2009 10:48 PM


Good story-telling. And I too love Jayne and River's argument, and now Jayne understands why River was so upset, I wonder if I see another stray attaching itself to Serenity?


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