“Why can’t you just get your smarmy doctor boy toy to help you out with the gorram compressors?” Jayne muttered as he followed Kaylee into the engine room. “What? He too fancified to get grease under his fingernails?”
“No,” Kaylee said over her shoulder, her ever-present cheerfulness undented. “He’s just all thumbs with things don’t involve sewing folks back together. I ask him in here and he’d wind up setting the whole blame ship on fire like as not.”
Jayne snorted gruffly. “So what exactly is it I’m supposed to do?” he asked, staring at the complicated gizmos that powered Serenity. Mechanical things always made him a little queasy—well, except for guns.
“I need you to wrestle the compressor out of the main drive shaft. It’s stuck tight, and I can’t get it to move,” Kaylee replied, gesturing to a large copper sphere and some lengths of twisted piping.
“Right,” Jayne said, then wrenched it out in less than a second. “What next?”
“Uh, that’d be it,” Kaylee said in surprise. “Thought it’d take longer than that.”
“Yeah, well, it didn’t,” Jayne scowled at her, then turned to leave.
“Hey, wait a sec!” she yelled after him. “You don’t have to run off right away!”
“What the hell I wanna stay down in the engine room for?” he snarled.
“Nothing down here interests you at all?” Kaylee asked, her face falling. “I mean… you know… nothing?”
Jayne gave her a hard squint as he tried to process her words. “You tryin’ to bark up my tree?”
Kaylee put on a hand on her hip in exasperation. “Duh!”
“Huh,” he said with a shrug. “Okay then. You want we should do it under the engine or in the hammock?”
“Be still my beating heart,” she laughed.