A brief coda to "Jaynestown."
No dough, no foul.
Mal swung his legs in the empty air of Serenity's cargo bay, waiting. Jayne sat beside him, still shell-shocked by his brief career as a hero. The hum of the engines made the catwalk vibrate under them.
"That Mudder knew some things are worth dying for," Mal said, reviving their stalled conversation.
"Like his hero." Mal felt the subtle change in gravity that meant Serenity was changing course.
"I ain't worth no Mudder's life."
"People feel a responsibility to their heroes. It's like being indentured. And a hero has a duty to his people."
"Like it or no, you're still the Mudders' hero." To pass the time, Mal asked him, "So, how'd you do it?"
"Steal all that money from Magistrate Higgins four years back."
Jayne sniggered. "Inside job. Stitch promised a cut to some house-girl he knew from before she were indentured or he were ugly, and she told us all about the magistrate's safe and his cheap-ass security system."
The catwalk vibrated less as Serenity's engines slowed. "Ever pay her?" Mal asked.
"Paid the whole town, didn't I? I reckon she was down there when the money fell, same as the Mudders." Jayne smiled at the memory. "I bet that gorram tightwad never even bought a new system."
"Nope, he didn't."
"There you go. I bet he never put more guards on, neither. They was always too busy oppressing the Mudders, and magistrate wouldn't pay for more help."
"He had his guards out routing up Stitch or watching you, not guarding the safe."
"Idiot." Jayne slapped his leg for emphasis. "Hey, hold on a gorram minute--"
But Mal was already up and springing down the stairs. "Give me a hand, will you?"
Jayne jogged down the stairs behind him. "How do you know about the magistrate's safe and his gorram guards?"
Mal pushed aside the wall plate near the bottom of the stairs, revealing his favorite secret compartment. He pulled out lockboxes, one at a time. "Get these over to the airlock."
"What the hell--"
Mal dragged four of the boxes into the airlock. "While you and Inara were whoring and Simon wasn't taking advantage of Kaylee and Wash was sleeping off the Mudder's milk, Zoe and I visited the magistrate's safe."
"Hoo-tsuh!" Jayne bent down and fiddled with the lock on one of the boxes.
Mal came back to the compartment for a second batch. "I said get these over there."
"I'm not pushing good money out the airlock again."
Mal put a hand to his gun. "You want to go out with the money like Stitch, or you want to help?"
Jayne grabbed two of the boxes. "I'm helping, I'm helping." Under his breath he muttered, "Gorram crazy Mudder-lover."
They had all the boxes piled up in the airlock by the time Wash's voice came over the intercom. "We're in atmo, Captain. Forty-five seconds to Jaynestown."
Mal pushed the last boxes in and slammed the airlock shut.
Jayne tried to talk him down. "What about the anti-aircraft guns?"
"Zoe took them out."
"You don't have to do this, Mal."
Mal stood between him and the airlock controls. "You're a hero now, Jayne. Try and act like one."
"I don't wanna be no gorram hero."
"Five seconds," Wash announced. "Four. Three. Two."
Mal hit the button that opened the hatch.
Jayne rushed to the windows to watch the money fly away towards Canton. Mal waited until Jayne had turned away, distraught, then closed the hatch on the now-empty airlock.
Mal climbed the stairs, heading for the bridge.
Behind him, Jayne whimpered. "Don't make no sense."