Firefly: After Miranda Part 7
Saturday, September 3, 2011

Zoe, Jayne and their new friend arrive back at Serenity. Mal is inspired by an old friend.


- 7 -

Mal raced down the stairs, with Inara close behind, and hit the controls to open Serenity’s cargo door. A few seconds later Zoe pulled the Mule into the cargo bay, passing Mal at the controls.

“Did Jayne have a kid with him?” Mal asked looking up at Inara who was still standing on the stairs, “Why does Jayne have a kid?”

Inara could only mutter, “Run-tse duh fwotzoo.”

Mal turned and headed towards the Mule, “What the hell is this?” he demanded.

As soon as Zoe’s feet hit the deck she answered, “I can explain, Sir.”

“You can explain? You were to scout it out, not get into a shoot out and steal a gorram kid,” Mal said angrily seeing the fresh bullet holes in the rear of the Mule.

“They were ruttin’ beaten’ this one with a stick!” Jayne responded, “Couldn’t just leave ‘em.”

“…and we didn’t do any shooting, Sir,” Zoe added.

Mal pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to retain some level of calm. “Yes, Jayne you could have.”

“Mal…” Inara called from the stairs.

“Sir, they were hurting him pretty bad, look at the marks on him,” Zoe protested.

“…you would’ve done the same ruttin’ thing,” Jayne continued.

The rest of Serenity’s crew entered the cargo hold after hearing the commotion.

Mal’s hand dropped from his face, “Ta ma de…what you’ll don’t get, is this makes it less likely we’ll be able to get the rest of them kids out. You know, the ones that are probably taking the same type of beatings.”

“So you just wanted us to ignore what was going on?” Zoe asked trying to hold her growing anger.

“That would have been the smart thing to do,” Mal fired back.

“Mal, they made decision in the heat of the moment, I don’t think…” Inara started.

Mal whipped his head around and cut her off, “I don’t remember asking you!”

Kaylee and Simon had moved over to Jayne’s side to inspect the small boy still clinging to the mercenary. Kaylee reached out and lightly rubbed the boys back, “It’s okay, no one is going to hurt you.”

“I’m sorry; I was beginning to think you could at least act like a human being!” Inara shot back at Mal.

“Captain, these injuries do look pretty severe,” Simon added after looking at the little boy’s leg and back.

The crew continued to express their feeling until the Captain final shouted, “Ta ma de Nimen de bizui!” He then looked at each of them, except Inara. “Here’s the way it is. We need to get gone…now, before the law or worse comes looking for that kid.”

“…but Cap’n we can’t just leave the rest of those kids,” Kaylee said anxiously.

The Captain spun on his heels and headed for the cargo door controls, “No one said we were giving up on those other kids, but we can’t stay here.”

“I say we just take this one to the law and show them what they did,” Jayne exhorted.

Mal stopped and turned, “Yes, because the local lawman will believe kidnappers before his preacher.”

“He might launch an investigation; I’m sure the other children…”

“…or, Doctor, he will throw us all behind bars if not hang us,” Mal snipped, cutting Simon off. “We’re leaving until we have a plan, and that’s final!” Mal turned, “Wash, take us out…”

Mal stopped realizing his mistake. He felt the eyes of his crew heavy on his back, especially Zoe’s. “River, take us out of the world,” he said just loud enough for her to hear across the bay.

River silently nodded and headed up to the bridge.

The Captain took another step and hit the control to close up Serenity. He then marched up the stairs past Inara without another word.

The crew stood silent for a long moment until Simon said, “Jayne, perhaps you should bring the little guy to the infirmary so I can check him out.”

“Thinkin’ that a good idea Doc.” Jayne responded.

“I’ll get him something to eat, after I help with the Mule,” Kaylee added.

Zoe turned to her, “Go, I can get it myself.”

“Alright,” Kaylee nodded, “Nara, you okay?”

Inara came back from the angry stare she was fixed in, “Yes, I’ll help you. I think we have some evaporated milk.”



Mal angrily dropped into his bunk. He didn’t even bother to give River any further instructions. He hoped that being a genius she would know to get Serenity far enough away from the planet that they couldn’t be track. It wouldn’t be long before people figured out who took that kid. After all he had been stupid enough to give Billy his name. As he laid back on his cot he wondered how he could have done that.

“…because you just reacted, like Zoe and Jayne did,” Mal swore he heard Inara say.

He looked up realized he was still alone in his bunk. What do I do now he thought as he laid his head back? Just gotten clear of trouble and now they were all going to be wanted for kidnapping. It had been hard enough with just two fugitives on board. No one was going to believe that they were trying to save those kids.

“So, show then,” Book said.

Mal turned towards him as Book lit his cigar. That damn cigar that he never finished, Mal thought.

“…and what is showing them going to do?” he asked his friend.

“They’re like you, Mal, they need to see to believe,” Book responded puffing on his cigar.

“How do I show them,” Mal asked picking up a stone and throwing it off the hill they stood on.

“Patience,” Book smiled.

Patience, why had he said that, Mal’s mind raced. Show them, patience, it made no sense. Why would Book…Book was dead!

Mal suddenly sat up in is bunk. He had fallen asleep, and by the way he felt must have been out for awhile. He tried to wipe the sleep from his eyes while the Preacher’s word rang in his head.

“How do I show them, with patience?” he mumbled to himself.

Mal was about to get up when the small wave camera above his Cortex screen caught his eye. He stared at the camera as an idea started to blossom. After a number of minutes he jumped off his cot and bolted out of his bunk. He needed to find his mechanic.



Simon carefully examined the small blond headed boy while Jayne held him. Throughout the examination the boy did not make a sound, the fear in his eyes gave both men an idea why. Two deep fresh bruises had emerged from where he had been struck before Jayne stepped in. The Doctor found evidence that this was not the first beating the boy had taken. He was also underweight, and filthy. Much to Jayne’s and the boy’s displeasure Simon finished the exam with a vitamin and immunization injection.

By that time Kaylee and Inara had brought some reconstituted milk and protein bars down to the common area for the boy. Jayne sat on the couch with the boy on his lap, Kaylee and Inara flanked them like two doting aunts. After some gentle prompting the boy tentatively took a sip of milk. Soon the sips became gulps as his hunger overcame his fear.

“How is he, hun?” Kaylee asked Simon as she watched the boy on Jayne’s lap hungrily eat a protein bar.

“Well, he’s malnourished, and has some very deep bruising, but with the right care he should recover well,” Simon answered from the doorway of the infirmary.

“I don’t understand how anyone could treat a child like they were,” Inara commented as she gently ran her fingers through the little boy’s dirty locks.

“Lot of sick people in this ‘verse,” Jayne responded.

The little boy reached out towards Kaylee with the little that was left of his protein bar.

“Are you done, Little Jayne?” she asked as she took the leftover.

The boy nodded his head and laid back against Jayne’s chest.

“Li’l Jayne, I like that,” The mercenary smiled.

“Well I think Little Jayne needs a bath,” Inara commented, “I have a basin we could use.”

Jayne and the rest agreed. A little while later Jayne had the boy sitting in the basin of warm water. He slowly washed the layers of dirt and grime from the boy. The basin’s water had to be changed before Jayne could complete his task because it became near black. Kaylee and Inara sat back and watched with curiosity as big mercenary cleaned the small boy with a gentle efficiency. Had they asked he would’ve explained that he use to help his mother care for Mattie.

Soon Little Jayne was back in the common area, wrapped in a clean towel, on Jayne’s lap eating once again. The boy looked much different now that he was clean. His long blond hair was now bright and vibrant. Inara waited patiently to brush it.

“Kaylee!” the Captain called as he came down the stairs.

“Yeah, Cap’n.” Kaylee answered.

“How many wave cams do we have on the boat?” Mal asked as he reached the bottom of the stairs.

“Well…” she started, with a confused look, “there four on the bridge, one in your room and one in Zoe’s, one in each shuttle and one in the passenger rooms…so nine total. Why?”

“Could you use those and rig up a surveillance type system?”

“Here on the ship?”

“No, in the orphanage,” the Captain beamed proud of his idea.

Kalyee sat in thought and after a moment she looked up with a smile on her face, “Yah, I could do that. We have a couple of small power cells and a memory stick I could rig into a control box.”

Mal smiled, “Alright, Jayne…” he stopped seeing that the mercenary still had the small boy attached to him, “Doc, could you round everyone up to the galley in about thirty minute?”

"Dahng ran,” Simon replied.

“Good, I have a call to make,” the Captain said as he turned and headed back up the stairs.

Inara, smiled as he left, this was one of Mal’s versions she loved. He was once again the captain, and not the tyrant.



Mal sat on Serenity’s bridge waiting for a return wave. After a few minutes he started to wonder if he was going to get one at all when the cortex screen blinked to life. He quickly hit the button to enter the live feed and Patience’s weathered face and wide hat appeared.

“Malcolm, call to gloat or are you stupider then I think?” the old women said.

“Neither, although I did hear you’ve been having a bit of trouble getting folk to do business with you,” the Captain responded with a smile.

“Might have something to do with those lies you’ve been spreading.”

Mal leaned back in his chair, “No lies, Patience, just told folk about your rule. You know…the one about not parting with money. I’m guessing people don’t want to deal with a rule like that.”

Patience smiled, “You and me both know that was personal, not business.”

“Perhaps folk don’t like people who take business personal?” Mal said, returning her smile, “Seems to me that you could use someone spreading the word that you re-thought that rule of yours.”

“Must be you have something to sell, problem is I’m short on cash.”

“Looking to borrow…well rent really.”

A look of surprise came over Patience’s face, “What you looking to rent, Mal?”

“If memory serves, that little town of yours has a movie house. I seem to need a projector.”

“Folks here are really fond of that movie house.”

“That’s why I’m only looking to borrow it, not even going to take it off world. Only need it a few days. My mechanic most likely get it back to you better then it was.”

Patience milled it over for a moment, “How much we talking?”

“I’m thinking sixty.”

“Seventy sounds a might better.”

Mal smiled, “Sixty-five, and I promise to spread the word that you can be trusted in a fair business deal again. That is, if you behave.”

“We can deal, I will send you…”

“No,” Mal cut her off, “I’ll send you coordinates. You’ll come aboard Serenity while my crew goes with yours and picks up the projector.”

“Fine, anything else?” the old women asked.

Mal smiled, “You got any fireworks?”



“I’m not saying it is a bad plan, Sir, it’s just not your best.” Zoe commented leaning up against the co-pilots consol.

Mal finished checking Serenity’s course and lean back in the pilot’s seat, “If you have a better idea I’m all ears.”

“I’m just saying dealing with Patience again is not the best start. Not to mention we are going to have to break in to the orphanage twice, and hope we can find them mistreating those kids on the videos…which we are going to have to go through.” Zoe explained.

Mal smiled slyly, “First off Patience may very well need this trade more than us, second both times we break in everyone is going to be at church. The place will be empty. Kaylee, says going through the video will not take long, says she will set it up to only record when there is movement or something.”

“I don’t know, Sir, seems there’s a lot that could go wrong.”

“There always is,” Mal said quietly as he reached for the com, “River, if you are going to land this thing get up to the bridge.”

“There is one more thing, Sir…about the other…”

“You don’t have to Zoe, I know…I am too.”


Saturday, September 3, 2011 1:42 PM


Pretty cool, and a bad if understandable slip by Mal about Wash.

Saturday, September 3, 2011 3:36 PM


An excellent chapter, m52. So many things to like about it. The scene in the cargo bay was very well done, with everyone giving Mal such a hard time about his very practical objections, and his very valid point about wanting to help all the children. And Inara tells him he's not acting human! And everybody else goading him right up until he calls for Wash. Very in character there. I loved the scene with Book--could just hear his voice (even if it's all in Mal's head). Great scene with Mal waving Patience. Can't wait to see how his plan pans out.

Saturday, September 3, 2011 4:50 PM


I agree about the cargo bay scene, particularly the way giving an order to "Wash" causes everyone to stop for a moment. I could see that happening, Mal continuing on just as certain but a little ashamed and cowed.

And how that shame follows him down into his bunk and into sleep. That's what it means to captain, it's not easy, especially when the right thing and the practical thing are at odds.

Sunday, September 4, 2011 5:46 AM


If you give Mal time to think and decompress, he'll make the right choice and come up with a plan.

I like how he couldn’t “look” at Inara when he was in his tyrant mode.

Sunday, November 6, 2011 8:10 AM


Update 11-06-2011

Corrections and a bit of a rewrite.


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