I'll add more rules as I come up with them, and hopefully bring in the rest of the cast. I just wanted to a do a little firefly humor, and I love the group gatherings in the kitchen, so it was an excuse to do both at once.

As always, reviews are read, respected, and appreciated. Enjoy!


Mal grumbled under his breath, marching into Serenity's dining space. The room was empty except for Shepherd Book, who was seated at the worn wooden table, reading an even more worn bible. He raised his hand in a wave at the man, greeting him as he entered the room.

"Good afternoon, captain," said Book, slightly bemused. The greeting sounded like a question was coming. Mal grunted, and Book smiled. "What's that you've got?" he asked.

"Oh, this?" Captain Reynolds held up a notice in his hand as if he'd forgotten he was carrying it, but it was obvious he'd been waiting to make a speech. "This here is some new rules, Preacher. You best read 'em, because this is the only warning your likely to get. These are to take effect immediately." The notice was nondescript, written by hand on the back of some scrap of paper, possibly a wanted poster. That made Book smile. As Mal slapped it on the cupboard wall, Book got up and crossed the room, squinting to read Mal's messy handwriting.

"Number One. If a box is big enough to hold a body, check it before you bring it on board." Book read aloud, and chuckled. The most obvious reference was to River Tam, a young fugitive from the alliance who'd been snuck on board by her brother Simon in cryogenesis. Since then Simon had become the ship's doctor, and River was an accepted, if bemusing, member of the crew, and although she wasn't quite recovered mentally from whatever she'd suffered, she was getting improving. Book did have to admit, the girl was good at causing the crew trouble from time to time. The rule, however, had a sub-text, and Book kept reading. "And just 'cause it's a dead body don't mean you can bring it onboard, either."

That one presumably referred to the time Mal and his first mate, Zoe, had received the dead body of a war buddy in the mail. There'd been a message attached - a recording that begged Mal and Zoe to return his body to his family. Of course, nothing ever went as planned, and the boy happened to wake up just as Simon began his autopsy. That adventure had ended in a gunfight and a lot of sorrow.

Mal gave Book a nod and left the dining room again, greeting the ship's mechanic, Kaylee, as she passed him in the corridor. "Hey, Shepherd!" she said, smiling as she entered and marched over to the cupboard cheerfully. "Whatcha readin'?"

"Oh, Just a few rules the captain's put up." He nodded and stepped out of the way, looking for a coffee cup, while Kaylee glanced down the list. "Didja see number two?" She asked, glancing over her shoulder, before reading aloud. "'You don't tell me, I won't tell you.' Whaddaya think he means by that?"

Book just chuckled. He could think of a few things the captain wanted to know, some of them about himself. He could also think of a few things the captain didn't want to know. As Mal's meaning was vague, the preacher assumed that he'd been trying to cover all his bases.

"Oh, I don't know." It was a cryptic answer, but Kaylee didn't seem to notice. Following Book's lead and pouring herself a tin cup full of steaming, if bitter, coffee, she hummed. The two sat down at the table, surrounded by the sunny atmosphere of the kitchen, even against the artificial lighting and view of a starry black sky out the window. The yellow paint job, complete with flowering vines on the walls and Chinese-style dragons on the compartment doors made the room feel much homier that a ship's kitchen had any right to be. Book opened his bible again and picked up where he'd left off, in the middle of the story of the apostle Paul. Kaylee was singing quietly, almost under her breath, and testing her coffee occasioanlly, apparently finding it a bit too hot to drink yet.