Perse was as good as his word and the next day the crew had a contract to fly a load of agricultural implements, hoes and shovels mostly, to Kerry for a homesteading ship that was heading out to a newly opened Rim World. The strictly legal cargo was supplemented by a few dozen sealed steel boxes stowed in the hidden compartment off the cargo bay. A secret cargo of high-yield grainseeds and protein packs, genetically-enhanced grass seed and oxygen-producing single-cell organisms in stasis. Highly-prized Alliance materials, a black market cash-cow and automatic jail-time for possession.
David came aboard with a crate of vaccines, picked up from the Alliance Central Medical Depot, which Simon would be using on their next stop, a scheduled clinic on Higgins’ Moon. Simon had been on the Cortex for a few hours conferring with the local midwife on a maternity case whose eclampsia would make a caesarian delivery necessary when Simon arrived.
“Then we pick up a shipment of dry beans and of that syrup they make from trees on Harvest, and back to Persephone,” Mal informed the crew.
“Syrup from trees?” asked Hope.
“Maple or mebbee birch,” Jayne put in.”Good on porridge or on pancakes. We made it back home. Takes a powerful lot of sap and very particular weather.”
“Luxury trade stuff. Compact for the value. The beans cover our costs for the run back here. Syrup is our profit. Doesn’t even have to be in the hidey-hole. Purely legal.”
“So we can take the kids, no problem?” asked Kaylee.” Perse offered to keep the kids for a visit if we wanted.”
“Nothin’ wrong with the school dorm,” said Zoe. “The kids have friends and we know all the staff.”
“Yeah, Nice of him to offer, but what fun can little kids have with an old bachelor?” said Mal. “Let’s stick to the plan. The whole family travels this run. Mebbee another time they can spend some time with Uncle Perse.”
The jobs went smooth. Perse’ company was known to the Alliance authorities, even if one or two of the customs agents gave Serenity the fish-eye, having investigated other, more problematic, cargoes. Mal took delight in being the “by the book” captain, providing his strictly legal by the book paperwork. The hidey-hole with its “special” crates went unobserved.
At Higgins’ Moon, Simon delivered the endangered baby at the midwife’s clinic. Once the baby was safe, treatment for the mother’s eclampsia could be left in the capable hands of the local nurse-midwife. Davie cornered her for a few hours when he and Simon stayed over and got more background on her training.
“David feels we could offer a better service for normal pregnancies and births if he added midwifery to his own nursing and my surgical skills,” Simon told Kaylee. “You didn’t need me for your kids and let’s face it, I’m not really the most empathetic person for a worried prima partum.”
“Calling someone a prima partum proves that, Si,” laughed Kaylee. “You was fine with Zoe and me, but Davie is more of a people person. You picked a good man there.”
“Your opinion is very valuable to me, Kaylee.”
Kaylee hugged Simon and kissed him soundly. “Your opinion is valuable to me too.”
Mal entered the kitchen at that moment with Davie and Zoe in tow.
“Hey! That’s my wife you’re fondlin’!”
“And my husband!” added Davie.
“Husband! When did that happen?” cried Kaylee, hugging Simon enthusiastically.
“Fiance, actually. Harvest is David’s family home and we hoped to go there on our next voyage to be married in the same church where he was baptized and confirmed.”
“Aw, that’s so romantic, ain’t it, Mal?”
“Congratulations to both of you. And again, if you would get your hands off my wife, I would appreciate it.”
“Actually, Mal, I wanted to talk to you about this. I’d be honoured if you would stand up for me as my witness. River would be the other of course. David’s father and brother will be his witnesses.”
“Still waitin’ for you to stop fondlin’ my wife, you know,” Mal laughed and hugged Simon himself. “I appreciate the askin’ and I’d be happy to witness for you.”
Simon slowly loosened up as Firefly went on. During the BDM, in spite of his continued courtship of Kaylee, his true preferences were coming forward. But since there were no out gay characters in the canon, I had to introduce someone for him, because Simon needs someone to love him. His fierce love for his sister shows he has a capacity for passion. We’ve seen that same sex pairings are not scandalous, especially on the Rim. And for those who might doubt the church wedding, my own church was performing religious weddings well before the Canadian government allowed civil same sex marriages.