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“River honey, remind me why we’re doing this gorram freight job?” Kaylee grumbled. “Extend the optical cushion.”

“Because Serenity needs a new primary buffer panel,” River said, swiveling her chair along its track so she could flip the switch to unspool the cushion’s extender cable. “And three new fuel pumps. She’s not safe to fly and we still have to make money.”

“No, I meant why are we doing it? You and me? Captain’s best at shouting orders. And hitting buttons and dials is supposed to be Wash’s job. Asteroid.“ Both women pulled on control levers that made the ship’s inertial dampeners fluctuate rapidly, repelling all nearby space detritus.

“The captain is very reliable in many types of crisis, but he’s currently very worried about his ship,” River said, jiggering the ultraflax capacitor. “He would probably mash every button in no particular order before pouring out the tea kettle all over his station. And Wash would not do well on a ship that flies itself. It would harm his brain.”

“Yeah, you got a point.” Kaylee swept the ostrich leg. “Read fanfiction.”

“You have the fanfiction panel on your display.”

“I do? Shit, I do!” Kaylee pulled up a feed of a fan story with a second or less to spare and skimmed the contents. “Aww, it’s a cute one about you and Simon getting me a birthday present.”

“We end up picking out a nice dress with plenty of frills.”

Kaylee frowned. “Hey. Sweetie. Remember how you ain’t reading our minds without permission?”

“I wasn’t.” River smiled shyly across the control room. “I just know you.”

Kaylee smiled back. “Love you too, buddy.”

The ship lurched abruptly. “Oops!” River said, returning her full attention to her display. “We just hit a wormhole. Renoberate the penguin.”

Kaylee yelped as a panel at her station threw sparks and mostly detached from its housing, hanging precariously by one corner. “No no no, you will not.” She forced the panel back into place. “River! We’re almost there! Lance the stinkwart!”

As soon as River complied, the ship’s shaking eased and the stars faded around them. River and Kaylee jumped out of their chairs and hugged, whooping in unison:

“Hyperspace!”