Firefly: Family - Chapter 3
Thursday, December 8, 2011

Breakfast with the Tams.


Chapter 3

The sun was bright and hot as River walked along the busy city sidewalk holding her father’s hand. The surrounding skyscrapers seemed to reach up to the very sky itself.

“Come along, River,” Gabriel said to his young daughter.

River tried to walk a little faster, at least for an eight year old who had never been to the Alliance Capital city before. Her father had agreed to take her on his work trip, but only after she begged for weeks. It wasn’t the capital that intrigued her so much; although it was much bigger then she had dreamed, but the space flight to it. She wanted to see the stars from space. The whole trip she only left the windows of the ship when necessary. There was something intoxicating about the black.

“Hello, Mister Simmons,” her father said as they stopped outside the doors of one the largest building in the city.

“Mister Tam, it is nice to finally meet you in person,” the man standing in front of them replied.

He was dressed in a dark business suit, much like River’s fathers, but somehow the man’s seemed richer, even more put together. He had dark hair and a clean shaven face. He was handsome River thought, and much younger than her father.

“…and this must be River. Your father has told me much about you. I hear you are quite smart for your age,” Mr. Simmons said.

“River is smart for any age,” her father retorted.

“Thank you, Mister Simmons,” River replied politely, although something about this man made her uneasy.

“Well let’s go up to my office,” Mr. Simmons looked at River with a smile, “it’s on the very top floor.” then back to her father, “We can look over the numbers for the accounts there.”

With this, Mr. Simmons turned and opened the large glass door into the building for River and her father. River noticed the bright Blue Sun logo on it as she entered…

River sat up in her room on Serenity fresh from that memory. It seemed as of late her past would play out in dreams as if her brain was trying to remind her of things. Most of the time the memories were happy, but this one left her with a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach. Just as the one she had had when introduced to Mr. Simmons.

“River, are you awake?” her Mother called from outside her room.

“Yes, I will be out in a minute,” she replied.

A few moments later she emerged from her room and found her parents waiting for her in the common area.

“Simon will be here in a few minutes,” she announced.

“Did he wave you?” Gabriel asked.

River smiled, “No…doesn’t have to.”



“No,” Mal said as he buttoned his shirt.

“Mal, they need our help. They have nowhere to go,” Inara said from the other side of her bed as she dressed.

“We can’t pick up every stray we run across,” Mal retorted, turning to look at her.

Inara frowned, “They’re not strays, they are River’s parents, as well as Simon’s.”

“That I know, don’t change much. We’ve got seven people on this boat that seem to have gotten in the bad habit of eating. Having nine is not going to make that easier,” Mal argued.

“We’ve had nine on the ship before…” Inara said, her voice trailing off at the memories.

“That’s a fact. The difference is that Wash and Book both earned their way. Wash as our pilot, and Book…well he helped us out of a number of spots,” Mal explained. “I don’t see the Tam’s bringing any type of useful skills to the table here.”

“That doesn’t matter, they still need help. They could still do chores. I only do half as many chores as anyone else and get to stay.”

“You also rent this shuttle, for half as much as you did before, but you also get half chores. That was our deal,” Mal reminded as he headed for the shuttle door.

“Mal, if you don’t take them…”

“Don’t!” Mal said intensely, spinning around to look at her, “Don’t you dare threaten to leave if I don’t take them aboard.”

“That’s not what I was going to say,” Inara explained.

“Well…good,” Mal started embarrassed by how strongly he had reacted. “That was never fair before and it less so now.”

Inara gave him an apologetic look but continued, “I was going to say that River might decide to stay with them.”

Mal’s eyes dropped, “Considered that, if that’s what she wants it’s up to her. No one on this ship is forced to stay…and sooner or later everyone will take their leave,” he finished as he left the shuttle.

Inara knew he was right about that last part.



The early morning air had a slight chill as Simon and Mr. Nong rode the last few hundred meters towards Serenity.

“Xie xie,” Simon said to Mr. Nong as he dismounted.

Mr. Nong nodded and headed back to the ranch, Simon’s horse in tow.

“See, I told you he was here,” River said from the far end of the cargo bay said as Simon reached the bottom of the ramp.

“Simon!” Regan exclaimed as she ran to him.

“Hello mother,” Simon said with a bit of a smile as they embraced.

“What’s this?” Regan asked pulling back after feeling the pistol under Simon’s arm.

“Um, a nine millimeter,” Simon said smugly.

“Since when do surgeons carry guns?” Gabriel asked as he walked up.

Simon looked at his father for a long moment and then responded, “Since people shoot at them.”

“Simon!” Kaylee yelled as she jogged passed everyone and wrapped her arms around Simon.

Simon returned the hug, and then kissed her deeply.

“You two….I didn’t know,” Regan said seeing them.

“You didn’t tell them,” Simon asked Kaylee surprised.

She smiled at him, “I thought you would want to be here.”

“Sorry I was not sooner,” he said to her and then looked at his parents, “yes, Kaylee is my girlfriend.

Regan smiled, “I’m very happy for you two.”

“Breakfast is on…morning, Doctor,” Mal announced from the catwalk above.

“Good morning, Captain,” Simon replied as he led Kaylee past the others, “I should get cleaned up.”

“You’re not going to wear that to breakfast are you?” Regan asked referring to his pistol.

“Of course not…everyone knows that forty fives are proper breakfast weaponry,” Simon replied with a smirk as he continued out of the bay.

“Dad, you coming?” River asked.

“Yes,” Gabriel said with a forced smile.

One did not have to be a reader to sense the tension between father and son, but it did make it easier to gauge just how bad it was. That tension followed them into the galley for breakfast.

The old wooden table which sat in the center of Serenity’s galley was never meant to seat eight people. Yet this was not the first time it had. The Captain was seated at his usual place at the head of the table. Zoe was on his left seated next to Regan and then Gabriel. Inara was to Mal’s right, next to Kaylee who had the Doctor seated next to him. River took the far end of the table.

“So, Simon how long have you and, um…Kaylee been together,” Regan asked.

“Around half a year now,” Simon answered

“It was about that long ago your mother and I got taken from our home and thrown into a prison cell,” Gabriel said to Simon.

“Yes, I heard that. Kaylee filled me in while I was washing up,” Simon replied looking at his father.

“That’s it, you heard. No apology for your part in that?” Gabriel asked angrily.

Simon face started to became flush with anger, “My part! Do you mean the part where I rescued your daughter from being a human guinea pig? You know, that part you wouldn’t do.”

Gabriel leaned back and cross his arms, “Yes, River told us a little about that. I’m glad to see that you can convince your sister of such ridiculousness.”

Zoe was about to say something when Mal suddenly asked, “Zoe, could you pass the biscuits.” A quick glance at him told her that he believed this was Simon’s fight.

“Oh, so I made all of that up and convinced River of it as well?” Simon responded.

“Mr. Tam, you have not seen the Miranda Wave have you?” Inara asked.

“River told us about it and the trouble going on in the Core,” Regan said.

Gabriel started, “All that trouble over a wave that’s nothing more than a hoax perpetrated by those who…”

Before he could finish Simon lunged at him from across the table driving a fist into his father’s face. The punch sent the man tumbling back out of his chair and sprawling on the floor. Regan and Kaylee cried out for him to stop but before anyone could do anything Simon was around the table standing over his father.

“You never change. Anything that conflicts with your perfect little life and your illusion of reality has to be wrong and put down. Even when the truth is right in front of you being told to you by your own children you won’t believe it. My god…I shouldn’t be mad at you. I should pity you,” Simon said as the others looked on still stunned by the ferocity of his actions.

Simon turned and walked slowly out of the galley.

“Simon, how can you say such things?” Regan asked as he did.

“He’s right.” River said looking at her mother with tears welling up in her eyes before looking down at her father and adding, “I used to dream about you coming to get me. Picking me up like I was a little girl again. You never came…never were going to.”

River quickly got up and ran from the galley as tears burst from her eyes. Kaylee soon followed looking very much like someone just killed a puppy in front of her. Zoe and Inara both sat silently waiting to see what the Tam’s would do. Mal continued to eat his breakfast as if oblivious to the situation.

“I think we should go,” Regan said as she helped her husband to his feet.

“Might be best,” the Captain responded quickly not bothering to look up from his plate or respond to the look Inara gave him.

“I’ll see them out, Sir,” Zoe said getting up from her seat.

Inara turned towards Mal as Zoe escorted the Tams out of galley.

“Before you say anything this was between Simon and his parents, it was none of our business,” Mal said leaning back in his chair.

“Even Simon hitting his own father?” Inara asked.

“The man was out of line.”

“Mal, he has not been through what we have. You can’t expect someone to accept everything he thought was wrong that quickly,” Inara argued.

“Not talking about that. He was talking to Simon like he was still a kid, the Doc’s defiantly not a child,” Mal retorted.

“So that justifies punching his father?”

“Sometimes a…” Mal started but a buzz from the ship’s intercom indicating an incoming wave interrupted him. “Hold that thought,” he said as he got up and headed for the bridge.



The Tams made their way into Serenity’s cargo bay with the ship’s first mate close behind. As they reached the cargo bay ramp Zoe’s anger over came her and she grabbed Simon’s father by his shirt collar and shoved him up again the wall of the air lock.

“Don’t,” Regan pleaded.

“What do you think you are doing?” Gabriel asked struggling against the smaller but stronger woman.

Zoe’s eyes blazed as she stared at the man. On the surface Zoe thought she was angry only for the way Gabriel had treated his children. Deeper down it was a number of things. The dismissal of the Miranda wave, a wave which her husband had been killed attempting to get out, the refusal to listen to his own children, something she had gone through with her own parents, and her duty as first mate to protect her crew.

“You have no idea what your children have been through,” She said sharply. “Your son gave up the life he knew to protect his sister, something you should have been doing. He has done nothing but try and keep her safe, and you act like your situation is his fault. Your son has been shot twice trying to protect River and others did you know that?”

“What?” Regan gasped.

“That’s right,” Zoe continued still staring at Gabriel, “the one time he had to have me dig the bullet out of his leg, telling me how to as I did it. Your son has saved the lives of every member of this crew at least once, including mine. Simon is one of the bravest people I’ve known and I’ve known a lot of very brave people. You should be proud of him…and disgusted with yourselves.”

“Everyone, cargo bay, ma-shong!” the Captains voice came over the intercom with urgency.

As Zoe let go of Simon’s father she heard the Captain yelling for her as he made his way down the stairs with Inara close behind.

“Sir, what’s wrong?” she asked, as the rest of Serenity’s crew entered the bay.

“Jayne’s missing, got a wave from the Heart of Gold, the girl he was with woke up he was gone but his stuff was still there, including his guns,” the Captain said hurriedly from the cat walk.

“Do we have any idea where he could be?” Simon asked.

“Apparently Jayne put a beating on one of the local trouble makers yesterday. Zoe, River and I are going to take the Mule back to the Ranch and see if Paige Larson knows were those boys live. The rest of you stay put, including you, Mom and Dad,” Mal ordered.

“Captain, you can’t order us…” Gabriel started.

“I’ve got no mind to argue this right now. Got a man missing after we find you two, don’t know what’s going on but you’re staying put until I do,”

“Mister and Misses Tam, let’s go and have some tea while the Captain sorts this out. We just want to make sure you’re not in danger,” Inara said moving down the stairs towards them.

“Gabriel, perhaps we should…at least until we know it is safe,” Regan pleaded.

“Okay,” he responded.



The old ranch house sat on an open dusty flat of land. To the right of the house was a large barn, like the house it looked as if its best days past. The hover mule stopped a short walk from the house’s front door and its four occupants dismounted.

Paige Larson had agreed to show Serenity’s crew where the Ander’s homestead was provided she could come along. She hoped that bloodshed could be avoided. As such she led the way onto the front porch and knocked on the only partially attached screen door.

“Misses Ander,” Paige called as she knocked.

“Why you folks on my land,” a rough looking older women asked through the screen door as she answered opened the one behind.

“I’m Paige…”

“I know who you are Larson, you’re the one that has the fancy ranch whose wells are taken all the water and leaving us dry,” Mrs. Ander’s said.

Paige ignored the charge knowing that her ranch was some distance and that it was likely the irrigation pumps here had not been run in years, “Misses Ander, these folks are looking for one of their men. They think your boys might know something about him.”

“They don’t,” Mom Anders replied shortly, “besides my boys ain’t here.”

“She’s lying,” River said bluntly from behind everyone else.

“How dare you…” the elderly women said.

“She lying, her offspring are inside,” River continued.

“Mama, we insist,” the Captain said sternly.

“Boys!” Mom Anders yelled.

Rustling could be heard from in the house and a moment later the sound of a door slamming shut.

“Backdoor!” Zoe said.

Mal, Zoe and Paige quickly ran around to the back of the house. By the time they did they saw three men on horseback riding away from the nearby barn.

“Quick the…” the Captain started as River pulled around the house in the Mule.

Quickly they piled in, Zoe taking the controls, and headed after the Anders Boys. Soon enough they had caught up to the three. The men suddenly split apart, each riding in a different direction.

“That one,” River pointed.

Zoe steered the Mule to follow the man River indicated.

“Get right up next to him, Zoe,” Mal ordered.

“Yes, Sir”

Zoe maneuvered the Mule close behind the horse as it galloped. Then quickly she pulled out and accelerated to the left of the horse and rider. Before either could act the Captain grabbed a hold of the rider’s arm and collar and pulled. With the horse turning away from the Mule the rider was pulled halfway onto the Mule, his legs dangling off the side.

“Stop…wait!” the rider called as Zoe slowed the Mule.

As the Mule came to a stop Mal allowed the man to fall to the ground. Before he could pick himself up he was surrounded and faced with the Captain’s pistol.

“This must be Marcus,” the Captain said looking at the multitude of bruises on the man’s face.

“Yeah, what you want with me?” Marcus asked.

“The man that messed up your face went missing. We want to know where he is,” Mal said coldly.

“How am I to know?”

“You and your brothers might have taken some revenge,” Zoe accused.

“Listen, I don’t know nothin’ about it,” Marcus pleaded.

“He’s telling the truth,” River commented, “he’s scared of Jayne now, scared of us. Lied to his brothers, told them he beat Jayne and we were looking for revenge.”

Paige looked at River and then Mal, “How’d she…”

“Witch,” Mal said very matter of fact as River rolled her eyes.

Paige gave them both a confused look.

“If they didn’t snatch Jayne, who did?” Zoe asked.

Mal and River looked at her with no answers.


Thursday, December 8, 2011 3:27 PM


Okay here is chapter 3.

I have some personal stuff going on right now so I'm not sure when the next chapter will be up.

Hope you all enjoy this one.

Thursday, December 8, 2011 7:16 PM


I like it. The Tams aren't bad, but they're still kind of clueless.

Also, I'm enjoying the subplot with Jayne. I swear, people on the crew try to do one good thing, even Jayne's getting in on it, and this is how they get treated.

Friday, December 9, 2011 8:32 AM


Very good story development in this chapter. River remembering Mr Simmons...and the uneasy feelings she had. I thought you did the confrontation(s) between Simon and his parents very well. Especially liked the Simon humor: "everyone knows that forty fives are proper breakfast weaponry." It's good that you showed Zoe's anger at the elder Tams--she certainly has a personal reason to be upset by his attitude about Miranda. Wondering what's going on with Jayne.

Friday, December 9, 2011 11:56 AM


Pretty cool.

Saturday, December 10, 2011 4:28 PM


Very well written!(:

“Of course not…everyone knows that forty fives are proper breakfast weaponry,” Simon replied with a smirk as he continued out of the bay.
I loved this, perfect sarcastic Simon!:D


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