In the cockpit of the Serenity, a thirteen year old boy sat on his chair. He had a short, spiked light brown haired with blue eyes. On his hands were dinosaurs that he found in his father’s collection. From inside his mouth he was making crashing noises and quiet roaring sounds as he held a stegosaurs and a tyrannosaurs. Lifting the stegosaurs, he spoke, “Rwar. We meet again Bob! Urrrggg!”
Lifting the tyrannosaurs as he focused his attention on it, his voice altered as he went deeper in his tone, “Rwar. Uhh, hey Sam. You’re uhh here! Urrrgg!”
Switching his head again, he altered his voice again as Sam the stegosaurs, “Rwar. Yes I’m here Bob. Man, it sure is swelterin' in here! Is it the global warming again? Urrg!”
Bob the Tyrannosaurs replied, “Rwar. It’s hot here? I barely noticed… Urrg!”
Sam spoke, “Rwar. You’d think the Ice age would be here soon. But then, we are warm blooded. We might be frozen then for the future…uhh, you okay Bob? You have the shiftin' eyes again. Urrg!”
Bob responded, “Rwar. Uhh, I dunno know what you are talking about Sam. Nothing about the, uhh, aliens that might be comin' along… Urrg.”
Sam inquired, “Rwar. What? Bob, you dinna drunk dial…” pauses as the boy gulps and smacks his lips. His feet continued hitting the pilot chair he was sitting on as he grinned and rose his dinosaur toys again and continued as he made a sound, “Click, whoosh! Lights surround Bob as an eerie whirrin' sound appears and Bob is lifted toward the dark sky to an ominous flying saucer above! Sam shouts back, ‘Argh! Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!’”
The boy continued making sounds as he lifted Bob up toward the sky, “Rwar! I dinna drunk dial! I am being saved by aliens while all of you will die inna very slow but painful death as-“
“Corbin! Are you playin' with your father’s dinosaur toys again?” a feminine voice spoke from behind him.
Corbin suddenly gasped as he quickly gathered the dino toys scattered before him and tried his best to hide it as he turned around to his mother, Zoë Washburn. He blinked as he slowly shook his head, “No mother.”
Zoë stared at him crossing her arms and scolding him a little, “What did I tell you about lyin'? Do you remember what your father said about touchin' his toys?”
Corbin made a large heavy gulp as he responded slightly ashamed, “Sorry mother. I couldn’t resist. I was bored.”
Zoë shook her head and sighed as she uncrossed her arms and walked over. Her long curled dark hair laid across her shoulder as she placed her hand on the top of the chair. She nodded toward the viewscreen and spoke, “Well darlin', I won’t tell him if you put away his toys back to where it was. Are we there yet?”
Turning his chair around, he dropped Sam and Bob onto the ground as he placed his hand on the controls. Tapping a few controls, he shook his head and turned back to her, “No mother, just a few more hours till we get to New Providence.”
Touching his hair, Zoë responded, “Why don’t you gather his toys and put it away before your father comes up? He said he was coming to take over the pilotin'.”
“Yes mother,” Corbin obeyed as he picked up the dinosaur toys on the floor and stuffed them inside his shirt. As he got out of the seat, Zoë bent down and kissed him on the cheek. The thirteen year old exclaimed in disgust as he muttered, “Eww, mother!”
Zoë smiled as she watched him walk away. Keeping her hand on the top of the chair, she responded as she shouted a bit overhead while placing her hand on her waist, “Love you!”
Corbin turned as he held onto his shirt filled with the dinosaur toys. He slowly nodded with a smile and a twinkle in his blue eyes, “Eh-Yeah yeah, you too.” As he turned back around, he ran into another person as he stumbled. One of the toys dropped from below him with a clatter as he looked up to look into the brown eyes of his father. He had on his tropical t-shirt. With a gulp, he responded, “Oh shhh, hey father.”
Hoban looked down at his son and inquired, “Hey. Whatcha up to?”
Corbin shrugged and responded quickly as he grinned, “Nothin'.”
Still staring at his father, the boy crouched and picked up the toy quickly before hiding it under his shirt and escaped the cockpit. Hoban looked back at his wife and inquired slightly confused, “What’s going on?”
Zoë shrugged as she approached him and took his arm while stroking his face. They kissed as she responded, “Nothin' hon. The chair is all yours. No alterin' the course again, okay?”
Hoban gasped as he gave her a mock wounded expression, “Ahh, who me? How was I supposed to know? I thought it was safe!”
Zoë gave him a bleak stare as she responded, “Safe? You nearly ran us into a nest of Reavers. You were lucky Mal started screamin' incoherently over the intercom thinking it was the Alliance attacking the ship belongin' to the Browncoats.”
As Zoë turned away to head out of the cockpit, Hoban shouted back as he spread out his arms responding shaking his head, “Stark naked, Zoë! He was- Zoë! I had to wash my eyes out. Several times! With soap! I swear, one of these days I’m gonna sit on the chair and see Mal enter the cockpit singin' the ditty while hoppin' on one leg! And naked! Again!”
Blowing out a sigh, he turned back to his chair, grabbed the top and sit down facing the viewscreen. He groaned in pain as he sat down on something. Grabbing one of his dinosaur toys from his seat, he stared at it. It was his favorite Triceratops named Benny. Staring at it, he muttered as he all of a sudden became lost in his dream state thinking about the past. The ship continued its journey across space as he started humming a tune to himself.
Mal was in the crew mess near the kitchen humming a tune. He was smiling and bouncing a little as he carried a ladle. Grabbing the pot by the handle, he continued preparing food for his crew. He was a good cook since he retired from his days of captaining the Firefly. He felt it was his time to settle down a bit and relax while Hoban had the command of the Serenity. The former Browncoat soldier trusted the pilot more than anyone else aside from Zoë. Zoë was still the XO and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
From the table, Jayne and Kaylee were on the table. Jayne grabbed the mug and slammed it on the table as he gathered attention from Kaylee, “Mal! Stop hummin' and serve food! I’m starvin’!”
Kaylee gave him a shocked look as she exclaimed holding her hand forward to him, “Wow, Jayne, simmer down. He will be done soon. Eat your apple.”
Jayne stared at her as he held the apple on his hand and the knife on the other. With his knife, he cut another piece and stabbed it. He responded as he plopped the piece into his mouth, “Kaylee, if he continues hummin' that stupid tune, I am going to go crazy and kill everyone in the room.”
Kaylee gasped as she covered her mouth and exclaimed again, “Oh my god Jayne. You better be kiddin’.”
Jayne smirked at her as he picked out another piece of his apple with his knife and plopped it into his mouth. He continued chewing as he turned the increased humming of Mal. His expression turned to annoyance as Mal approached them carrying the plates and continued humming. A washing towel rested on his shoulder as he carried two plates for his two favorite crewmembers. He responded, “Here you go, Jayne. Kaylee.”
Jayne growled at Mal as Kaylee exclaimed at her plate. It was her favorite food topped with her favorite fruit, a strawberry. She started humming as she picked up the piece of strawberry and studied it. Jayne continued growling with annoyance as he started scowling at Kaylee. Kaylee took a bite from the strawberry and moaned as she closed her eyes. Opening it, she inquired, “Mal, where did you-“
Malcolm responded with a smile, “Haven, last stop after we dropped off Book, River, and Simon while Inara took her shuttle for a brief mission with her escort. We stopped by this Bazaar and they had a box of fresh strawberries. Just had to get it just for you.”
Jayne shook his head as he muttered watching Kaylee eat the strawberry, “You know, Kaylee, watchin' you eat that strawberry is like watchin' you-“
Kaylee snapped him an offended stare as she shouted, “Hey! Keep your dirty thoughts to yourself, Jayne. What I do is private and none of your business!”
Jayne took his knife and cored his apple as he leaned against his chair with a retort, “Well then, next time when you bring a guy to the engine room to sleep with, make sure everyone is asleep first or at least cut the speakers so we don’t hear you two!”
Kaylee scowled at Jayne as Jayne smirked still chewing his apple piece. Zoë entered just as her boy ran in nearly bumping into her. She exclaimed as she smiled at him watching Corbin rush toward the table just as Mal set several more plates down. He was still humming. Looking up, he noticed Corbin as the boy shouted, “Hey Uncle Mal! Tell me more of your stories about the Browncoats!”
Mal stopped humming and smiled as he nodded pulling the chair for him, “Sure, come sit down. Lemme tell you about the time your mother and I raided the outpost 321 close to the border of the Alliance.”
Just as Zoë got close to the table and sat down, she stared at Mal and groaned as she covered her face in embarrassment, “Oh god, Mal, no. Please.”
Just as they sat down, Mal looked at her and responded cheerfully, “What? It’s a good story. Maybe a little embarrassin', but with a moral in the end. What is the moral to the story? Huh?”
Zoë sighed as she sat down and dug her hands into her face. Corbin stared at her as she muttered, “Make sure your weapon has ammo before the start of the mission and make sure you check the room before charging in.”
Mal grinned as he inquired again, “And who was in the room? Nobody! Nobody but crates of butter and sauces. As I told you again over the intercom, you had to take the right turn not the left.”
Zoë took her hands out of her face, clenched her fist, tapped her knuckle on the table and scowled at Mal as she responded exasperated, “Can you not tell that story in front of my son? Please? Or so help me-“
Mal pointed his finger up and opened his mouth as he started, “Ahh-“
Corbin continued looking at them both curious. Mal was interrupted by Hoban’s entrance as he muttered overhearing the conversation between Malcolm and his wife, “What’s goin' on?”
Zoë uttered a snarl as she stared down, tapped her nails on the table and responded venomously, “Nothin' darlin', nothin' at all.”
Hoban shrugged as he walked toward his chair. He was hungry as he noticed the plate on his setting, “Ahh Mal! You fixed my favorite meal again! I’m famished!”
Just as he sat down, the Serenity shook several times due to space turbulence. The group barely felt it, but Mal all of a sudden shouted, “It’s the Alliance! They are attackin' again! Sound the alarms! Zoë, take the tactical. Jayne, prepare the weapons. Kaylee, to the engine room. Wash! What are you still doin' here? Who’s pilotin' the Serenity? Fine! I’m takin' over but we are going to talk about this later!”
Mal pulled down his pants, tossed it and started unbuttoning his shirt as he screamed incoherently while running out of the room. Jayne watched Mal run around and sniggered as Kaylee stared back with a shocked expression. Zoë shouted, “Wait Mal!” She groaned as she covered her face with her hand.
Hoban smirked and shouted as he opened his arms, “Oh no! Nobody’s flyin' the ship! We’re doomed! Oh wait, it’s on automated pilot and still on course for New Providence. No Alliance patrols. Darn.”
Zoë looked at her husband and glared. Hoban stared back and exclaimed as he complained, “Oh come on! I just sat down! I’m hungry! Do you want me to starve while I go after him?”
Zoë continued to scowl at him giving him a silent stare. Corbin touched her hand and responded getting her attention, “I’ll get him mom. Don’t worry.”
She nodded as a smile entered her feature, “Thank you, Corbin.”
Her thirteen year old son shook her head as he smiled, “No problem. I like talking to Uncle Mal anyways,” turning to Kaylee, he acknowledged her presence as Kaylee offered her warm smile at him as she finished eating her strawberry.
Hoban watched Corbin walk out of the room so he spoke after him, “Thank you son! Just remember, cover your eyes so you don’t see-“
Corbin turned back at him and waved his hand as he responded, “Sure dad, no problem. Just eat your rice.” He left the room along the corridor.
Hoban looked at Zoë and remarked, “Did he just-“
The tired woman sighed as she shook her head responding, “No hon, he didn’t. Just eat your food.”
Hoban shrugged as he picked his fork and started stirring his rice together. The small group continued to eat in the mess alone. Meanwhile, Corbin continued walking along the corridor toward the bridge. The first thing he saw was Uncle Mal’s shirt. Around the corner were Mal’s shoes and socks. Just before the steps was his underwear. Letting out a sigh, the boy closed his eyes and palmed his face with his hand as he shook his head. Walking up the steps, he peered into the cockpit and noticed Malcolm sitting atop the console naked with his knees to his chin. His arm was wrapped around his legs as he was hugging it closely. He was staring at space through the window.
Mal turned over his shoulder as he noticed Corbin walking across the bridge toward him. He spoke with a smile, “No alliance ship. False alarm. Sorry.”
Corbin shook his head and responded, “It’s okay Uncle. Need company?”
Mal nodded as Corbin took his seat on the pilot chair. As his father taught him, he turned a few keys and made sure their course wasn’t altered. They were still on course, so he climbed on his chair and over to the console. He sat next to Mal as he assumed the position of drawing his legs close and wrapping his arm around. He stared out into space.
Mal moved closer and whispered, “Did I ever tell you the time when I fought off three alliance soldiers with only a pan and an empty sawed off shotgun.”
Corbin smiled and shook his head responding, “No Uncle. Tell me.”
Malcolm pulled back and exhaled a long breath as he responded, “Well it was just a couple months as the war continued. I was all alone in a planet after I was givin’ a tip about some companions in trouble. I went to this bar-”
Corbin continued staring out into space as he listened to his uncle tell him the story. He continued to dream as he imagined himself in his uncle’s place fighting the Alliance along with the Browncoats. The firefly-class continued its automated journey toward New Providence as it glided through the space dust and purple clouds of the nebulae. A binary twin star was behind the Serenity still tumbling around in the axis further away. New Providence was just not far from them as it was only around the corner.