Audio Articles – Longreads from The Companion

Despite a love of science fiction and a dream of working for NASA, Kayleigh Dray struggled to see any women on screen who reflected her experiences. Then, she stumbled across Firefly and discovered the optimistic, scrappy, kind, sex-positive, and utterly authentic Kaylee Frye, who shows that women can be both hopelessly romantic and totally practical.

Show Notes

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Despite a love of science fiction and a dream of working for NASA, Kayleigh Dray struggled to see any women on screen who reflected her experiences. Then, she stumbled across Firefly and discovered the optimistic, scrappy, kind, sex-positive, and utterly authentic Kaylee Frye, who shows that women can be both hopelessly romantic and totally practical.

Read by Rebecca Davis and written by Kayleigh Dray. Theme song by Lofi Geek. 

Cayce LaCorte’s viral TikTok: 

The original article on The Companion: 

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Thank you to our production team which include Nick Hayward, Lawrence Kao, Tommy Terry-Green, James Hoare, George Mole, Ben Herbert, Hattie Smith, and Chris Smith. 

Creators & Guests

Rebecca Davis
Co-host of 3 🍟 Short Podcast. Producer at @thecompanionapp . Director. Currently in post-production on #Eisforfilm
Ben Herbert
Part of the team building @TheCompanionApp for fans of sci-fi (He/Him) I enjoy creative things, sports and whatever hygge is
George Mole
He/Him | Community Manager @TheCompanionApp 🖖🏼💻🏳️‍🌈🚀#TransRightsAreHumanRights #LiveLongAndFuckTERFs #BlackLivesMatter #StopAsianHate
Hattie Smith
Producer & dog lady
James Hoare
Tusken Master of Teräs Käsi. Writer of military history, witchcraft and weirdness. Editor @TheCompanionApp. He/Him. Big Doc Energy.
Nick Hayward
Project Lead, Product & Talent and Podcast Producer 📱🎙 @TheCompanionApp excited to be part of the team building the new home for sci-fi! He/Him

What is Audio Articles – Longreads from The Companion?

The Companion's Audio Articles are recorded and produced versions of some of our deep dives, untold stories and interviews that we don't think you'll find anywhere else.

You're listening to the
Companions audio articles, a new

series that features our best
stories on the companion. I'm

Rebecca Davis. I knew there was
a reason why to this day I

continue to see Kaylee from
Firefly cosplay at every

convention I attend. But it took
a different Kaylee's

heartwarming and important
letter to her daughter to really

help me realise what all that
fuss was, and is about. One day

we'll watch Firefly and talk
about Kaylee. A letter to my

daughter by Kayleigh Drey.

dearest little one. I was born
into a world that I didn't quite

fit into. For a long time, I
looked up into the skies wished

upon all the stars that I could
see and dreamed of becoming an

astronaut. My destiny I decided
was out there in the Great Dark

vastness of space. So I sunk
myself headfirst into the Sci Fi

genre, seeking out new life and
civilizations with the USS

Enterprise. channelling the
force in a galaxy far far away.

And locking that all important
last Chevron on a gateway that

promises me hurtling to the
other side of the universe. I

was a dreamy and distracted
little thing, and not exactly

made from Starfleet material. In
fact, I was more your typical

before in any teen movie
makeover. thick glasses big feet

perpetually messy hair braces
that glistened whenever I spoke,

my nose was forever in a book my
head forever in the clouds, and

my feet forever tripping over
themselves. There's a reason my

PE teacher ordered me to
practice throwing and catching a

ball in isolation. Still,
though, I believed I had a place

among the stars, until my
frustrated father informed me

less than kindly that an
extremely short sighted and

clumsy little girl like me would
be bottom of NASA's hiring

lists, that my lack of
coordination or athleticism

wouldn't exactly cut it in the
Air Force either. That my sweet

and softly spoken nature, in
fact, wasn't going to cut it in

any sort of military setting,
that my penchant for bright

patterns and candy colours was
as opposed to the utilitarian

uniform seen in the world of sci
fi as possible that my dreamy

romantic outlook on life might
cut it down here on Earth, but

that it had no place out there
in the vastness of space.

Because people like us, the kind
of people who relied on free

school dinners and childcare
credits, shared a box bedroom

with our siblings and lived in a
teeny weeny flat above a Chinese

takeaway. We weren't the kind of
people who could ever hope to

make it into that world. Unless
he allowed, I joined the Army,

let them break my personality
down and rebuild me into

something different. But I
didn't want to be something

different. I said face falling,
then be realistic. He told me.

It's never going to happen for
you. Little one, I'm not going

to pretend that those words
didn't hurt. I stopped trying so

hard at science and mathematics.
Not seeing the point anymore.

They never came naturally to me.
I always had to work at them and

threw myself into the humanities
history, religious studies,

literature and art. I especially
loved any and all creative

writing assignments, as they
allow me to escape the world via

another means. I can't tell you
how many versions of myself I

tried to pin into stories set on
far flung planets, too many to

count. For years, I felt
compelled to hide my love of sci

fi as it didn't feel as if I had
any right to it. There were no

Kaylees or Kaylee-esque
characters at least for me to

dream alongside. There were no
bright eyed romantics wearing

pinks and yellows and purples
out there in the big wide verse.

There were no softly spoken
avoidance of conflict to

identify with. Or so I thought
anyway, while I was writing my

university application, I opted
for English and Creative Writing

naturally, I was flicking
through the channels and I

stumbled across a show I'd never
heard of before. Firefly little

one, the episode was half
finished. In fact, I was about

to keep scrolling to the next
channel. But then it called to

me by name. Kaylee and just like
that, my fate was sealed.

Because right there on screen my
darling girl was the

multifaceted woman I've been
longing to see reflected back at

me ever since I was tiny.

Yes, it's shiny. I like to meet
new people. They've all got


to stop from being cheerful
please, I don't believe this

apparently verse stop being
cheerful. Sometimes you just

want to duct tape her mouth and
Dover in the hole for a month

I love my cat

Firefly's Kaylee, Jewel Staite,
was utterly unlike any sci fi

heroine I'd ever come across
before. She was kind and

thoughtful and perpetually
cheerful. She sewed teddy bear

patches onto her overalls
twirled a rainbow printed

parasol when the sun shine too
brightly, and nevermind it a bit

when she got covered in engine
oil. She was a self taught

mechanic with no expensive
education behind her. And she

was by no means a natural
warrior. In fact, in war

stories, her instinct is to hide
when she is cornered by three

armed men. Indeed, it's only
down to the intervention of

Summer Glau's River, that Kaylee
too frightened to shoot even to

save herself survives the
interaction. This is largely due

to the fact that Kaylee is the
heart of the ship. She is driven

by kindness, no small thing in
this brave and terrifying new

world in which we find
ourselves. As state puts it, her

character is wholesome, sweet
and completely genuine in that

sweetness, adding she loves
being on that ship. She loves

all of those people. And she's
the only one who loves all of

them incredibly, genuinely.
Essentially, Kaylee is probably

the last person you'd expect to
find a board of Firefly class

transport ship manned and woman
by smugglers companions and the

Alliance's Most Wanted. She's
also more importantly probably

the last person you'd expect to
find keeping his engine running

sweet as a nut. Still, though,
Kaylee, along with all her

lovable quirks, becomes an
invaluable part of the Firefly

family. And much like myself
here on boring old earth that

was, she soon finds herself
pigeon holed by one of the

important male figures in her
life. Something which we see

firsthand in Shindig, when Mal
catches her staring moodily at a

very pink ball gown in a shop
window. I like the ruffles.

Nora gets to wear whatever she
wants for you to do in that rig.

Plaza on the engine room. Be
like a sheep Walker on its own


While my father was pretty
unyielding in his theories as to

what I should and shouldn't be
dreaming about. Mal sees the

error of his ways. He buys
Kaley, the frippery she has been

dreaming about and gives her an
all important task, accompanying

him to a lavish ball,
questioning the buffet table and

wearing her beautiful dress for
all to see. And while some do

their best to make her feel
unwelcome, it's not long before

she's holding court in the
centre of the ballroom and

dishing out engine advice to a
rapt audience. I'm not saying

the 8004 It's

hard to repair just ain't worth
it. It's a fine machine. You

just keep it to cyber Sir the
extenders embrace I've been

telling them at 10 for years,
those tender snap off no matter

how good the engine cyclic Miss
Kelly, I wonder if I could

request because

here's the thing with Kaylee,
she can be both a mechanic and a

hopeless romantic. She can be
anything she wants to be so long

as she's given the opportunity.
Hell, that's how she ends up

aboard serenity in the first
place. Indeed, as we see and out

of gas, she only ever clambered
into fireflies engine room for a

quick roll in the hay, or
rolling the nuts and bolts and

engine bolts I suppose. With
Bester the ship's first

mechanic. It wasn't until she
inadvertently solved a problem

that had left her paramor
stumped in fact, that Mal

realised she was the only person
for the job. I suppose little

one that brings us to another of
Kaylee's most standout

qualities. She's unabashedly
when it comes to talking about

her needs and desires. She is
quite possibly one of the first

empowered women I've seen in
that sense. Sex positive, yet

still allowed to retain a sense
of innocent naivete. It's

incredibly refreshing. You have
no idea how refreshing to be

given a female character that's
allowed to enjoy one

nightstands, talk about
masturbation and talk about

missing sex, yet still allowed
to be a hopeless romantic with

teddy bears stitched onto her
heavy duty overalls is the sort

of thing we've been conditioned
to believe as a juxtaposition

over the years that a woman's
worth is somehow linked to her

staying pure. But as Cayce
LaCorte made clear in her now

viral Tiktok on the matter, this
couldn't be further from the


I'm raising my five daughters to
believe that there is no such

thing as virginity. It is a
patriot concept used to control

women and serves no purpose
other than making women feel bad

about ourselves. Just because
some guy randomly sticks his

penis in you at some point in
your life does not change your

worth. It does not change who
you are. It doesn't do anything

other than it happened. Sex is
important. It's a big deal. It

should always be a big deal. It
has nothing to do with your

first time and and it's just
it's just ridiculous. The hope

concepts ridiculous.

We'll talk about the toxicity of
purity culture when you're older

I suppose. For now though, I
just want you to know that you

are lucky enough to have been
born into a post Kaylee world,

that a multifaceted woman can
wear many hats that your mother

knows what it's like to dream
about an untraditional future,

and that she fully intends to
help you realise those dreams in

any way she can. Because you, my
darling girl are a tiny seed

with so much potential. If you
are cared for watered and given

the chance, you can grow into an
elegant Lily, or a festive

hollybush Or a magnificent oak
tree or whatever you damn well

please. One day when you're
older, we will sit down and

watch Firefly together. We will
talk about the fact that Kaylee

fixes engines for a living and
attends balls in gorgeous gowns

for fun, that she can be friends
with people with different

interests, that she knows how to
stand up for herself without

resorting to violence. That she
can wear oily overalls and silk

jackets and stomp about and
heavy duty boots whilst twirling

rainbow parasols. And none of it
means she has to change who she

is that she can talk about the
intricacies of space travel with

the best of them and still find
time to gossip and giggle with

her friends. That she can be
kind to others without fearing

it will hurt her own chances at
success. That she can have sex

for fun and fall head over heels
in love with the right person at

the right time for her that she
can be any number of

juxtapositions because life
isn't about fitting into neat

little boxes. It's about
scribbling outside the lines and

creating your own gloriously
messy, wonderful path to tread.

It's an important lesson little
one, and I'm going to make sure

you don't miss it. Because when
you look up at the sky and

dream, I never want anyone to
bring you crashing back down to

earth again. Instead, I want you
to feel empowered to do what it

takes to make those dreams a
reality. And I'm going to be

right there beside you. cheering
you on. Because I have a theory

of my own. Parenting is a lot
like flying or at least it's a

lot like flying if you follow
Mal's advice on the matter

not the first of all flying is
well I suppose you do since you

already know I'm about to say

I do what I like to hear you say

love all the math in the verse
you take a boat near that you

don't love shake you off to the
shore as a turn in the world

love keeps her in the airman
shall fall down tell you she's

here before she canes makes her

I love you little one. I can't
wait to watch you soar. The

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