Firefly: Family - Chapter 5
Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Simon and Jayne have been washed away by the flood waters and fight to keep from drowning. Later the crew makes a disturbing discovery.


Chapter 5

Simon Tam was drowning, or very close to it. The murky storm water had engulfed him. It was hard enough to fight against such water alone, almost impossible while holding onto an unconscious Jayne Cobb. As the burning in his lungs increased panic started to set in. This was not the first time Simon had found himself in such a predicament.

It happened when he was ten years old. It was during his family’s annual stay at their summer lake house. The house sat atop a hill, overlooking the lake. Other houses circled the lake as well, but only the Tam’s house had such a commanding view from atop the hill.

The lake house had belonged to Simon’s great grandfather. It was nowhere near as elegant or a large as the Tam’s estate. Still, Simon and rest of the family loved it.

Simon was always the first down to the metal dock which extended into the lake. For as long as he could recall he would race down the hill and onto the dock. He knew full well that the warm, wet weather of spring would leave a slippery layer of algae. That was the fun of it. Simon would see how far down the dock he could slide. This would inevitably invoke his father into making him clean the dock, but he didn’t care. Last year he had made it very close to the end. He was determined to get even closer this year.

The problem was that boys of ten years don’t realize how much faster and heavier they have become over four seasons. Nor do they grasp the finer points of physics. Simon hit the dock at speed and quickly slid. He realized too late that he was not going to stop. He fell awkwardly into the water and panicked. It seemed like an eternity before his father was able jumped in and saved him.

His father was not going to do that this time.

Simon forced himself to claim down, fighting back his panic and his ever growing urge to gasp. He oriented himself and kicked towards what he hoped was the surface. His lungs screamed for air and his muscles had started to burn with the buildup of lactic acid.

As he broke the water’s surface Simon was able to get a quick gasp before he was plunged under again. Just as quick he was able to breach the surface again. This time he was able to roll onto his back and pull Jayne onto his chest. Being from a rich family did have its benefits. Extensive swimming lessons had been one of them.

Simon still had to work to stay afloat in the churning water. He did not know where the channel led, and did not want to find out. He began swimming with the current to pick up speed. Being on his back he couldn’t really see what was ahead of him. He decided to try and get a grip on one of the channel’s banks. He angled himself the best he could and swam hard.

As his free arm came over his head he hit the bank. He tried but could not find a grip on the muddy earth. The current was to strong and there be simple too little to grip onto.

Simon tried and failed twice more, the last one he had almost lost Jayne, his muscles where near the point of exhaustion. He had to do something quick or he and Jayne would drown.

By this time the water was as high as the channel banks. Simon swam as hard as he could towards one of those banks. As he reached it he grabbed Jayne under his arms and tried to launch him onto solid ground. Jayne’s back scrapped across Simon’s face and forced him under again, but it worked. Jayne was far enough on to the bank that his weight acted like an anchor. Simon climbed up Jayne and the bank as quickly as he could. As soon as he had his footing he grabbed Jayne by the wrists and dragged him away from the rushing water.

The rain was still coming down in sheets as Simon collapsed, exhausted. He was just about to pass out when his thoughts turned to Jayne again. Simon willed himself up and checked Jayne’s pulse...nothing. He quickly tiled Jayne’s head back, sealed his mouth over Jayne’s and blew in two large breaths. Then without pause he found his position and started chest compressions.

Simon’s whole body started to cramp up, but he continued to give Jayne CPR. Then when Simon thought he could not keep it up Jayne coughed. Simon quickly rolled him onto his side and Jayne brought up a good amount of water. Simon again checked for a pulse. It was there, weak but steady. Simon’s body finally gave out and he collapsed next to his patient.



She feels everything, all of the time. That’s what her bothers had said about her. He was right. She was ruled by her emotions, whichever ones were bubbling up at the time. There was something else also, something underneath.

The first time River experienced it was when Serenity was docked at Niska’s skyplex. The crew was attempting to rescue that Captain when Kaylee came under fire. River was scared. Scared of losing her friend, scared of getting hurt herself. River felt it, but she also felt it driving her into action. It was almost like her fear and other emotions were lighting a path. Something in her awoke, but just a bit. It was enough to use her fear and not allow it to control her. For that moment she was free from it, because of it.

It woke a bit more when Jubal Early came aboard the ship. Again River was scared. She was also angry that he would hurt her family, but her emotions did not overwhelm her. Instead, they strengthened her, focused her. The fog in her mind lifted. She could see and sense more clearly than any time she could remember.

Finally on Beaumonde she was triggered and the underneath became fully awake. Everything in her drove her to a single purpose. That was until she was put to sleep by Simon. When she woke she had a purpose, but it was different. She knew something. Something she shouldn’t, something she had to get rid of, but she didn’t fully know what that was. If was like an itch inside her head, unable to be scratched. All she knew was that she and to show them Miranda…and that Miranda meant death.

When they had finally found the secret the itch was gone, replaced by nothing, no fog, no purpose. Perhaps it was the relief of having such a secret out in the open. Perhaps it was the breaking of some programmed rule about not giving up government secrets. Whatever the reason, she had changed.

River later found that she could now decide on her purpose. She could now pick what ends her emotions and thoughts worked towards. It had taken her brother being shot by the Reavers to do so, but it was done. She was now in control, when she wanted to be and when she needed to be.

Now her brother and Jayne were in danger. All her fears and anxieties heightened her awareness as she piloted Serenity to help. Her controls felt like extension of herself. Soon she was close enough to feel Jayne and her brother as well.

“Is that them?” Inara asked from behind the pilot’s seat.

“Yes, we’ll need the stretcher for Jayne,” River replied.

“Where is it?” her father asked from near the co-pilot’s console, His wife standing next to him.

“The infirmary, I’ll show you,” Inara said as she turned to lead the way.

River swung Serenity around to land near them saying quietly, “found you.”



“What do you think, Simon” River asked sitting at the kitchen table flanked by her parents.

“It sounds like a good opportunity, but…” Simon started.

“It is a great opportunity,” Gabriel interrupted.

“I hope I will still be able to dance,” River commented.

“I’m sure you will dear,” Regan replied.

“I wonder how they heard about River?” Simon questioned.

“The letter says it was because of her grades and that she received a recommendation,” Gabriel responded.

“Don’t worry, Simon, you two will still be able to see each other,” Regan said.


Simon wearily opened his eyes as the rain continued to fall all around him.

“Son, are you okay?” Gabriel Tam said leaning over him, his hand on Simon’s shoulder.

“Yes…Jayne, is Jayne…” Simon started to pull himself up realizing that Jayne still lay next to him.

“Simon!” Regan yelled as she and Inara headed from the nearby ship each with a section of the stretcher.

Gabriel grabbed a hold of Simon and helped him sit up. Simon quickly rolled Jayne from his side onto his back and checked his vitals. He still had a pulse and was breathing, however both were worryingly weak.

“We need to get him to the infirmary,” Simon announced as his mother ad Inara reached them.

“Are you okay, Doctor?” Inara asked.

“I’ll be fine, help me with this,” Simon replied grabbing half of the metal stretcher from his mother.

It took all four of them to carry Jayne into Serenity’s infirmary. Simon was still exhausted but helped the best he could.

“Simon!” River shouted as she ran into the infirmary and wrapped her arms around her brother. She did not care about getting wet.

“I’m okay,” Simon reassured her then added, “we should go get Kaylee and the others.”

River held on to him a bit longer and then said, “We’re on our way,” as she headed back up to the bridge.

“Doctor, what can we do?” Inara asked.

“Could you get some towels and blankets, please,” Simon asked.

Inara and Regan nodded and headed to retrieve them.

“You need to get out of those wet clothes, Son” Gabriel stated.

“Bottom drawer, on the right,” Simon said as he placed a monitoring device on Jayne’s finger.

Gabriel grabbed the white folded scrubs from the drawer Simon had indicated hand handed them to him.

“Thank you,” Simon took them and set them down on the counter.

He stripped off his wet clothing as he watched the infirmaries monitors come to life with Jayne’s vitals. Not thinking he threw his holster and pistol in the corner as he did with his other wet clothing. He and his father both cringed as the gun made a loud thump against the hard floor.

Simon was still naked as Inara and mother walked back into the infirmary.

“Simon!” Regan exclaimed

“Here, Doctor,” Inara said handing him a towel nonchalantly.

Both Inara and Simon knew this was not the time for modesty, plus both of them had seen their share of naked bodies.

“We need to get Jayne dried off…and those shorts need to go,” Simon said grabbing a pair of scissors and handing them to Inara.

As Simon dried off and pulled on his scrubs as Inara and his parents toweled Jayne the best they could. Inara cut Jayne’s soaked underwear off him and then covered him with a sheet and blanket they had retrieved.

“How bad is he hurt?” Regan asked.

“I don’t know yet, I will need to do a full…” Started saying but then noticed three small makes on Jayne’s shoulder.

“What it is, Son?” Gabriel asked.

Simon bent down and looked that the marks closer. Each was identical to the mark he had seen on Helen at the Heart of Gold.

“I think he was drugged…and may have been overdosed,” Simon replied quickly as he began his work.



Serenity landed as close to the center of Gold as it could. Her Captain and First Mate strode onto her as soon as the cargo bay door was down. Soaking wet they headed towards the infirmary. They had gotten word from River that Simon and Jayne were on board and they would be on their way to get them after they stopped to pick up Kaylee and the broken Mule, which now lay in the middle of the cargo bay waiting for repairs.

“This is the second time today no one has been paying attention as to who is walking onto my boat,” Mal said as he removed his coat and tossed it on a weight beach as he passed.

Zoe did the same with her own coat and relied, “I think they’re expected us, Sir”

“That don’t matter none,” the Captain replied.

The others were in the common area waiting for them. Kaylee had changed out of her wet clothing and now sat next to Simon on the couch, curled under a blanket. The Tams and Inara took up the other seats while River was crouched on the nearby stairs.

“Well, how is he?” the Captain asked looking through the infirmary glass at Jayne.

“Stable,” Simon said, “I believe he given an antistatic, a powerful one that is normally used on animals.”

“Think?” Zoe questioned.

“I can’t be sure. I don’t have the equipment to be one hundred percent. It is however the only drug that I can find listed in my medication database that works immediately, is long lasing and can be administered as it was,” Simon explained.

“So…he’ll be alright?” Mal asked.

“He should be. I gave him some medication to counter act the anesthetic. He might have some slight liver and kidney damage, but I won’t know for awhile,” replied Simon.

“How are you, Doc?” Zoe asked noticing how exhausted Simon looked.

“I’ll be fine,” Simon answered.

“If it wasn’t for him Jayne would have drowned,” Kaylee commented.

“It sounds like it was quite a feat, you might be part fish,” Mal added.

“I was lucklier then anything else really, I was able to use Jayne as an anchor and pull myself out of the water,” Simon replied unassumingly.

“Don’t sell yourself short, Doctor, you acted quite heroically,” Inara commented.

“She’s right, not many people would be willing to do that,” Regan said proudly.

“I guess,” Simon said.

Mal smiled “Well then, it sounds like we…”

“There’s something else,” Simon interpreted. “While I was examining Jayne I noticed multiple marks on him. Whoever took him collected a number of tissue and fluid samples.”

“Hue?” Mal replied slightly confused.

“It looks like someone took samples of his tissues. They took small amounts of muscle, liver, skin, and even bone marrow. I’m pretty sure they also took blood and spinal fluid as well,” Simon explained.

“Why would anyone want to do that?” asked Zoe.

“DNA, maybe,” Inara guessed.

“Simple squamous epithelial tissue found in the oral cavity could be used to obtain DNA, it’s much simpler to get,” River commented.

“She’s right,” Simon added. “A quick swab from inside someone’s cheek will get you enough DNA to do just about anything you’d want with it.”

“Why would someone take tissue samples like that?” Kaylee asked.

“If they were looking for evidence of disease, or chemical exposure,” Simon commented.

“Sir?” Zoe asked seeing Mal’s furrowed brow.

Mal replied, “What the guay has Jayne gotten himself into?”

“We all share a recent common history, it may not be him,” River said looking through the infirmary window at Jayne laying on the exam table, “it maybe all of us.”


Wednesday, February 22, 2012 7:07 PM


Sorry it took so long...I do what I can. I hope you all enjoy.

Thursday, February 23, 2012 6:59 AM


An exciting chapter, m52n! Been waiting a long time for this rescue, but you really delivered. :-) The water scene was scary and tense, as you didn't resolve right away whether Simon would succeed in saving himself and Jayne. And you left us with a new cliffhanger, as it's not clear yet why Jayne was drugged and sampled. So, yes, definitely enjoyed this chapter. Thanks for your posting.

Monday, April 2, 2012 7:35 AM


Maybe the need his DNA to make a River/Jayne clone baby. :)


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