The girl in the browncoat watched as the sergeant opened the dirt covered envelope as he clutched her own against her chest. She peeked down between her fingers at the address; her gloves were torn and covered in mud and with spatters of blood from another of their comrades. It had been a very long time since she’d had any mail from home, and was starting to worry that no one out there beyond the Black back on Persephone even remembered her. The name on the envelope wasn’t even hers. It belonged to another corporal who was laying on the ground in a cave nearby with a blown up leg from a grenade that some purple belly had tossed in their direction.
“Y’all goin’ to open that?” Malcolm Reynolds asked as he finished reading his own letter a grim look on his face. It wasn’t good news. Friends that he’d made and family too weren’t fairing well as the Alliance took more and more territory from the Independents. It was only a matter of time his mother had said before they lost everything on Shadow. “Could be good news.”
“Ain’t my letter, sir,” she said wiping the back of her hand over her forehead, leaving a smear of black dirt that made her look like a little girl. “It’s Perris’, and I don’t know if she’d even understand me if I read it to her.”
Mal touched the girl on the shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze. “Don’t matter if she understands it or not. Y’all got to read it to her. The sound of your voice’ll make her feel better. It’ll make everyone feel better who hears you.”
“But what if it’s bad news?” She bit at the corner of her thumbnail and jumped as a shifting rock made a sound down the valley.
“Then you make somethin’ up that ain’t bad news.” He glanced towards the stars overhead, and let out a heavy sigh. “No more bad news.”