“Captain, why did you come back for us?”
“You’re on my crew.”
“Yeah, but you don’t even like me. Why’d you come back?”
“You’re on my crew. Why we still talking about this?”
– Simon Tam & Malcolm Reynolds, Firefly
Episode 5, “Safe”
Simon and his sister River are the children of an illustrious, well-to-do family, one that had a luxurious mansion with state of the art security. They easily paid for Simon’s studies to become a brilliant doctor, a path he was set on even as a boy. They certainly lacked for nothing material. Yet, when their daughter disappeared into the bowels of a government facility disguised as a school, Simon was left to fight for her alone, without the help of their parents. It took him – him, the heir of a high-class family and a successful young doctor – a full two years of trying to see his sister without any success for anything to come of it, and that was only when he attracted the attention of an underground resistance movement which agreed to help him liberate River in exchange for all the funding he could give them. There was a moment where he was detained by government authorities, and his own father stormed down there to berate him for risking their reputation, with the promise that the next time Simon was in trouble, “I will not come for you.”
So, Simon and River’s own parents betrayed and abandoned them. Certainly they couldn’t expect anything better from anyone else.
Then they became part of Serenity‘s crew, under Captain Mal Reyolds. It was nothing luxurious at all, in fact it was a pretty hard life, and they weren’t blood-kin with anyone else on the ship. Heck, at least one other crew member would have happily been rid of the both of them. Then came a moment where it seemed like they were being abandoned yet again, and into a situation which quickly spiraled into something where their deaths seemed imminent. But just in the nick of time, Serenity managed to return. It’s afterward that Simon and Mal have this conversation.
Simon, who has been abandoned by the people he trusted most, and who supposedly loved him, isn’t sure why a man who doesn’t actually like him came back for them. For Mal, it’s simply what one does. Though no one on the ship is related to them, the Tam siblings have become part of a family, which Mal refers to as his crew. For Mal, it’s simply inconceivable to abandon any one of them.
I like that a lot. While I was blessed with a family who loves me, I have also been blessed with friends who have become my family. I am thankful for each of them, from the bottom of my heart. It has always been part of my creed, to be loyal to my loved ones, never betraying or abandoning them. Why? Because they are “my crew.” It is through them that I am not left alone in my life, and so, as long as it is within my power, I will never leave them alone.
My family, my friends, my crew, you would come for me if I were in trouble, and so I will come for you.