HEAVEN AND HELL: 11. "Reborn"
Sunday, March 28, 2004

"Rescued in the nick of time the Captain begins to recover while Serenity's crew ponder over what to do with the Alliance spies. Meanwhile everything is about to get a lot more complicated than any of them could possibly imagine."



SUMMARY: "Rescued in the nick of time the Captain begins to recover while Serenity's crew ponder over what to do with the Alliance spies. Meanwhile everything is about to get a lot more complicated than any of them could possibly imagine." The usual disclaimers apply. The characters and 'Firefly' are the property and gift of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No infringement of copyright is intended.


A "Firefly" story

Written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * * *

It was odd how the words bouncing around inside his head seemed to ricochet off the walls of his heart. Each one leaving the imprint of everything he had lost behind it. Closing his eyes had only clarified his pain like an audial lens bringing into sharp focus the sound of her haunting words, so bright it was killing him. Yet he stretched his heart, mind and soul to listen. To absorb every rutting nuance. Drank in the pain like a bitter but addictive wine because as sick as it was it cleared his thoughts enough to return to her. It was all he had left to shore up the agony of a mind on the brink of shattering. It would be the last thing he clung to as he lay dying. Only death was a fickle mistress and she hadn't near finished with him as he supposed.

Voices warped around his befogged senses. Time was something that had neither rhyme nor reason. Something touched him in his cotton wool world, all sensation both closer to him and further removed than any reality he could imagine. The muffled rise and fall was like an ocean tide, the wax and wane of it tugging at his ears even as his senses were teased with illusive hints of recognition.

"Hush, he's comin' round."

A tiny hand brushed gently down the side of his cheek. Not sure if it was a cool breeze or death sighing as it took him into the depths of *diyu*. His three spirts and seven souls loosed from their earthly bonds and taken beyond the wheel of karma to someplace dark enough and deep enough to be beyond any kind of redemption. Yet thoughts still assailed him. How was that possible? Was he trapped in a madness that went beyond life and death, an eternal wasteland that existed in some nether region like a gorram purgatory from which there was no escape? He wondered whether he had finally made it to one of the Preacher's Special Hells and if so, which one. Idle curiosity was not enough to keep him pegged to such thoughts. Again he drifted, the tide going out and taking him with it.

* * * * *

Zoe was worried. The Captain looked terrible. Face so white and still he looked corpsified. She was grateful that Wash was too stunned and upset to say anything though it was not what grieved him the most. Discovering that Inara had betrayed them - or rather the Captain - had been a huge blow. Learning that Book was somehow mixed up in it as well intensified the shock. It went beyond painful. These people he had come to know. To have affection for. To *trust*. How the Captain felt when he found out the truth he did not know but imagined the wound went deep. Now they had Inara unconscious but tied to a chair and the Shepherd knocked out on the floor with Jayne watching over him like he had stepped in something evil and foul smelling. River had appeared just after Inara collapsed and it had been her idea to tie the Companion up. Not one of them thought to question her or ask for any explanation. Trusting her to know what was best. After their near fatal run in with the bounty hunter Jubal Early some months ago a number of things had changed including the way they saw River. She was still a child in their eyes but a far more complex and deadly one than they could have formerly imagined. In her wake Simon fluttered like a nervous butterfly not sure where to rest, Kaylee at his side and torn between concern for the doctor and panic over the Captain.

Jayne was all for torturing Diamond Harry but the man seemed oblivious to everyone except the Companion. His eyes regarded her in solemn sorrow, downcast and ashamed because he had failed her. It reminded Jayne of those stories from Earth-that-was of a man falling on his sword rather than lose his honour. Honour. He wanted to snort with derision but did not want to disturb the Captain. Nor did he want to share his thoughts with the others. Didn't want nobody thinking he was going soft.

A low moan of pain drew every eye back to where the Captain lay. River sat as close to him as she could, one hand gently brushing back the damp fringe plastered to his forehead. He was drenched in sweat and shivering slightly despite his overwarm skin. Yet still he was but a pale moon, hardly no colour at all in his face. River frowned and when he moaned a second time murmured soft words of love to wrap his benighted soul and gently guide him back to consciousness. He blinked slowly, disorientated and feeling vaguely sick. River smiled at him, kissed his cheek and met his eyes as they slowly focused upon her beloved face. He could not manage a smile back, his whole face numb, his tongue too thick to move around inside his dry mouth. Thoughts were slow cumbersome things and all kinds of confusing. Nothing nimble enough to make a lick of gorram sense. River knew. Understood. Heard, tasted and felt every thought and emotion he had.

"It's alright, *ai ren*. Safe now."

He blinked sluggishly. Confusion fighting a losing battle on his face. Zoe hovered into his field of vision momentarily eclipsing River. "Inara and Book were spies, Captain."

He blinked again, eyes unfocused but trying to hang on with his ears while the rest of his senses flexed and warped around him. River's grip on his hand tightened slightly, her mind lapping his in gentle waves that hushed his distress and drove back the walls of panic threatening to crush him. Slowly his vision cleared, pain abating to a dull spike in his back brain and a sharp fire behind his senses as if something in his head had short circuited and he had to be careful of touching the live wires. "What happened?"

"You were betrayed. We *all* were."

It took a few moments for that to sink in then his eyes widened slightly, the pupils darkening with memory. Heart aching to have his deepest fears made manifest in the most unpleasant of fashions. Then he stared hard at River. Willing the numbness to quit his mouth though he knew whatever he said would sound clumsy. "Thought I'd lost you, *bao bei*."

She smiled. Such a beautiful thing it captured his heart anew. "Can't lose me, *ai ren*."

He tried to swallow but he was so gorram dry. Simon noticed and helped him sit so he could take a sip of water. He noticed Inara tied to the chair and his eyes widened just as he felt a slide of humour in his mind. Knew then what had happened. He smirked slightly and took time to look at each of his crew. Nearest gorram thing he had left to family. It was Jayne who broke the reflectiveness of the moment.

"What we gonna do with 'em? Can't let 'em go, they'll lead the Alliance right to us."

The Captain looked at Jayne, no expression now on his face. "What you wanna do with 'em?"

"Well," Now that it came to deciding he was not so sure. All he knew was that they posed a threat but they had also been friends. For a while at least. "Should space 'em."

"Yep, could do that. What happens when the Guild want to know where Inara is? Or Book's people come a'lookin'?"

The mercenary's face clouded over, dark and angry as if he was being pushed against a wall and he didn't like it. "Gorrammit Mal, they tried to *kill* ya! Could'a been any one of us they came after next."

"They were after River."

Jayne blinked at the Captain's solemn words. Momentarily diverted as the Captain had intended. Zoe said nothing but had not taken her eyes off the Captain. A look on her face that Wash could not fathom. Kaylee exchanged a worried glance with Simon but he didn't have a clue what was going on. He wanted to examine the Captain but it seemed this was a conversation that would have to run its' course before he could empty the infirmary and find out what in the nine hells their former friends had been trying to do to him. It was no consolation to him that River seemed to know. In fact, that knowledge worried him more than he could say.

"If they were after River why they come after you?"

The Captain stared at the mercenary for a moment then turned his head to ask Diamond Harry some questions. All fired up with the need for answers. A sense of urgency creeping into his bones. He frowned and cast an anxious eye around the infirmary. "Where the *diyu* did that *tamade hundan* go?"

Jayne twisted round, "*Shie*?"

Zoe immediately realised who he meant. "*Meimiao de!" She muttered, drawing her firearm from its' holster in the same breath. She had been so intent on the Captain that she had taken her eyes off their prisoner. "Jayne, you're with me. We gotta find that ruttin' *liumang* before he makes it off the ship."

Just then there was an unmistakable shuddering clang as someone opened the cargo bay door. The Captain tried to get off the bed but River put a hand on his shoulder and Simon helped hold him fast. Furious and frustrated he was too weak to resist them, the small spark of mutiny fizzling out as his strength deserted him. He closed his eyes with a soft moan and let them guide him back until he was lying down, unaware of Simon fussing over him and the worried look in his eyes. Simon did not like the look of the Captain, knew something was going on inside and wished he knew what it was. What had been done to him. Hoped it would be something as simple as a physical injury that he could locate and heal. But instinct told him differently and he wanted to question his sister about it only he couldn't do that with the others present.

By the time the Captain was able to open his eyes again and struggle passed the pain in his head enough to think clearly, Jayne and Zoe had gone. Kaylee looked frightened, Wash concerned, but River - River stole every breath from his body with her beauty. Not just what could be seen with the eyes neither. Such pure undiluted love shone from her face that it lit him up inside and filled him with emotion.

* * * * *

Harry was nothing if not opportunistic. As interesting as the Captain's story might be he could not afford to hang around and miss the narrow window of opportunity. Without looking back he eased his way out of the infirmary, small cautious movements so that if anyone looked round at him he would draw no attention. His hands were tied in front of him but other than that he was unharmed. The big guy, the mercenary, had already disarmed him but that was a minor point. Once he had his freedom he would get everything else back - with interest - and then he could go and get help and teach these *lese wangba dans* that it didn't pay to mess with agents of the Alliance. He would take particular delight in snuffing out the Captain's life if only to show the others what would be in store for them.

It was childishly simple once he slipped out of the infirmary to get to the cargo hold and locate the release button. He resisted the urge to laugh, paused slightly at the temptation to look for a weapon before making his escape then decided against any kind of delay. Never knew when those *tamade hundans* would realise he had given them the slip. Time enough to rearm later. He punched the button and as the ramp lowered and the bright light rushed in momentarily blinding him, he ran down the ramp. To freedom.

Outside the ship, Pepper Rawlings was half walking, half running just to keep up with the browncoat. He watched the long sure strides of the man eating up the distance. Back ramrod straight, eyes looking straight ahead but aware of everything on the periphery. Tall, lean and deadly. Pepper smiled grimly. Lenny matching his pace on the right, Wally Dunn cradling a machine gun on his left. Porter Knowles, Slim Redding, Turner Watts, Charlie Watson and Gary Wright bringing up the rear. All armed to the teeth and with a resolve that had been years in the waiting. They were Valley men every last one. The commitment burning in their veins was a fire that would never be vanquished.

So it was that before Zoe and Jayne reached the top of the ramp, Diamond Harry ran straight into his worst nightmare made flesh. The man's draw was smooth and flawless. So quick if you blinked you missed it. It took Diamond Harry seconds to realise death was staring him in the face and death wasn't happy to see him. He started to babble nonsense, a slick slide of sweat carrying the cold ice of fear down his back. A knot pooled in his gut. Sweating profusely he tried to back up only to feel the unmistakable barrel of another gun against the back of his neck. "Now where d'ya think you're goin'?" Growled the man they called Jayne.

Harry froze. Sure he was gonna have a gorram heart attack. The look on the face in front of him turning all his blood to ice. Gorrammit, this was a rutting nightmare. Had to be.

"An' who might you be?" Said the man in the brown coat. Dark blue eyes cut narrow as the gun was moved slowly to rest over the fractious uneven beat of his heart.

"I ...uh... I ain't nobody."

The man smirked. His humour as deadly as his aim would be. "Nobody huh? Then nobody won't feel this bullet I'm carryin' with your gorram name on it."

Just then a familiar voice cut through the air as Zoe stepped round Jayne to face the newcomers. Her eyes glittered with emotions held firmly in check. "Might wanna hold fire. Can't ask questions of a dead man."

For what seemed like hours but was only seconds the blue eyes shifted and locked with hers. Years came and went, battles fought, a few won, many more lost. Tears and blood, laughter and sorrow, a wealth of moments shared and lost. Emotions raw and hidden suddenly surfaced to bind them anew. The bright light and flare of recognition was a flame that came, solidified with burning heat then died down some place deep where it could be cherished anew. The man smiled and as the smile grew Jayne caught his gorram breath and almost dropped his rutting gun.

* * * * *

Kaylee could not hide her worry. Face wet with tears though she had stopped crying. Just not given it any mind so never wiped her face dry. She stared down at the Captain feeling all kinds of lost and worried. Her eyes shifted over to where Inara was tied to the chair then down to where Book lay. Both were still unconscious. Kaylee could feel the tears brimming in her eyes again. Wash kept an eye on the Preacher though he wasn't happy pointing a gun at a former friend it seemed the thing to do. At least until they had some answers. Simon looked at River, wished he could talk to her in private but he needed to know what he was up against. "What did they do to him, *mei mei*?"

She angled her pale face so that the artificial lighting glanced off the plains of her face and softened where it touched the Captain. A hand drifted down to touch his face, her look gentle before she lifted her eyes to meet Simon's. "She tried to strip his brain."

Shocked, it took Simon a moment to continue talking. "Why would anyone want to do that?"

Before River could answer another voice spoke. One oddly familiar. "To find the information he was carryin' on'y my guess is she came up empty."

All eyes turned towards the voice. Stunned faces stared, mouths agape, words beyond them as they struggled to make sense of what they were looking at. River did not look surprised. A slow gentle smile bowed her lips, joy in her eyes as if reflecting the soul's welcome. It puzzled Simon but as he continued to gaze into those dark blue eyes possibilities were teasing their way into his consciousness until only one occupied the middle ground to make sense of what they were seeing. Improbable perhaps but what other explanation could there be? He heard the Captain stirring and put a hand on the man's shoulder. He had not opened his eyes. Simon took the opportunity to check his pulse before everything went to ratshit.

Wash looked at Zoe, almost as shocked at the happiness radiating from her normally solemn aspect as he was at the person standing so quietly confident before them. "Who are you?"

It was Zoe who spoke, the swift look she glanced off the stranger's eyes seeking permission to do just that. Permission which she knew in her heart had already been granted. No one knew this man better than her and the Captain. A secret they had kept since the end of the war. "I think it's time you all finally met. *This* is Malcolm Reynolds."

You could have heard a gorram pin drop. Simon was only able to move because the Captain was now stirring beneath his hand. Distracted, he helped him sit up. All eyes kept darting from one to the other. Silently comparing the two men. Jayne was frowning so fiercely that Wash wanted to laugh. Not sure if he wanted to cry as well. "*Wo bu dong*, if'n you're Malcolm Reynolds," said a stunned Jayne Cobb. "Who the ruttin' *diyu* we been callin' Cap'n?"

If anything, Malcolm Reyonld's smile got wider still. The Captain was staring at him like a man starved of water, so much emotion rising in him that he could not speak. His crew would have sympathised with him. "This," Said Malcolm Reynolds with undisguised pride and affection, his long legs closing the distance with no effort at all. "Is my brother Davy."

They blinked. Jayne shook his head. "*Goushi*, Davy died."

The Captain gave his mercenary a sympathetic look then met each gaze from his crew evenly to be sure they understood how serious he was being. That this was meant. A truth deeply hidden now revealed. A secret shared that had cost so much in the keeping. Ripping and tearing hearts and souls to shreds for a vain hope, an appointment with destiny, a dream that would not die. "Had to die to be reborn."

Wash put his gun away before he dropped it. "I don't have the vaguest idea what the gorram you're talkin' about, Captain. Um, you *are* still our Captain, *dui*?"

He got a grin back. Brief and sliding into a quick smirk but enough to reassure him. "Yeah, Wash, I'm still you're Captain."

Jayne was slowly putting two and two together and it didn't add up. "What about that thing with your uncle?"

The man now calling himself Malcolm Reynolds stiffened, his look sharpening. Pain flickering in his eyes for a brief moment before he could seal the door shut. "Uncle Frank?" He looked at the Captain. "When was this, *xiongdi*?"

"Not sure of the timing, Mal. Six, seven months ago most like."


The brief silence was thoughtful, heavy and full of questions. No one wanted to interrupt the brothers in their explanation. Every ear stretched to carry the slightest ghost of a word from those lips. No one able to deny the striking resemblance between the two of them. Malcolm was an inch or so taller, same lean build and flyaway brown hair. Older and more care worn but with the same mannerisms and idiomatic speech pattern that used to drive Inara so crazy. The dark blue eyes were sharp with a keen intellect. Just like the Captain, he missed very little. He could also be just as forthcoming. It was Kaylee who got impatient first.

"What happened? Ain't ya gonna tell us?"

Malcolm laughed, the Captain smiled. River's hand in his. Simon puzzling on all the inconsistencies but willing to hold his tongue for now. Pepper and his men made themselves comfortable as if sensing this could take a while and took over watching the prisoners. Diamond Harry gave up all hope of escape. Shoulders slumping he sat at the foot of Inara's chair and hoped they were not about to be killed. If his silence could increase their odds of getting out of this mess alive he would give it to them in spades.

Surprisingly it was Zoe who told the story. The brothers silent by mutual consent. Wash put an arm around Zoe's waist and waited patiently. She took a deep breath, eyes shining suspiciously bright. "After my mother died pa decided we should settle down. I was born on a ship, we lived in the Black. The whole 'verse was our home. Pa never did love anythin' more'n he loved those stars 'ceptin' for my mama. Don't rightly know how he decided on Shadow, was probably as random as stickin' a pin in a map of the sky." She shrugged as if that was no big deal. "So we landed, pa sold the ship, had enough to buy a small ranch. Few head of cattle. We worked hard and for a few years it was a good life but pa never got over mama and one day his heart just gave out." She paused. "Found him out by the barn. The Reynolds' ranch was the next one on from ours. Mal used to ride over to check we didn't need nothin'. Came by regular as clockwork. When I told him about pa he just went out and found a good patch of ground on a hill, took him over there and buried him 'neath the wide open sky." She blinked but refused to let a single tear fall. "Said it was so's he could still watch the stars. Without a word he helped me pick up a few things then took me over to his place. Been there ever since."

"Could say we adopted you, *mei mei*."

She grinned at Malcolm Reynolds. The Captain was smiling softly but his eyes were sad. Zoe continued. "From then on I was one of the Reynolds' clan, we did everythin' together. It was warm, it was safe, it was family. It was home." The simple words affected Wash, he gave his wife a gentle squeeze but remained silent. Sensing there was more to come. "When the first rumblings of war came, John Reynolds went off to fight, Uncle Frank went with him. No one expected a blood bath. *Shushu* eventually came home but John had died, sniper fire. Mal and Davy so fired up they wanted to saddle up and leave right there an' then only mama begged 'em. Made them promise to wait a while, see what was happenin'. No sense throwin' lives away in the grief of battle. So they waited. The news got worse. Other Independent worlds were fallin' daily to Alliance rule. Some by fair means some by foul. On every world the people lost their homes, their wealth, sometimes their gorram lives. No one could stop Mal going. Half the hands went with him. Davy wanted to go too but he was five years younger and mama wouldn't agree so I went with Mal."

Her voice tailed off. No one spoke. After a couple of seconds to calm herself down she continued. Her voice flat with the need to surpress strong emotions.

"It was the worst kind a slaughter I ever saw. We fought for every inch, Independent blood christened every bit of ground but the Alliance had more men, more weapons, more of everything and in the end we not only ran out of supplies and manpower we ran out of time. From Hera, to Senacel, to Camden, to Devil's Dyke. We fought on and on until the last line was drawn in the gorram sand. Every man still able to walk, to hold a gun, to crawl, made their way to Serenity Valley. It was our last hurrah, the place we dug in and decided to make our last stand. Ended up the biggest gorram graveyard in the 'verse. Air support was comin'. We hung on. Mal stirred up our men to stand firm, to not give an inch less it was soaked with Alliance blood. But the reinforcements never came. Only more *tamade hundans* pouring mechanised death and destruction down on top of us and most of us with only a shell or two left in our gorram rifles. We drew our knives ready for the end when the order came to surrender. My throat still closes up with the memory of it."

The silence fell so thick it almost squashed all sound. Simon was curious. "I understand that you and Mal went off to fight in the Battle of Serenity, but how does that explain...?"

"Me?" Said the Captain softly. "*Shushu* was right, Simon. I did go off an' try to find my brother. Wanted to fight alongside him, add what weight I could to the Independent cause. Mama begged me not to go but I was a man by then. Not nobody was gonna stop me doin' what was right." He paused, his eyes fastening on his brother's. "When I got there the Battle was almost over. I couldn't find Mal or Zoe though I looked. Spent days in the lookin', bullets whistlin' round my ears, folks dyin' left, right an' centre. Damn purplebellies shootin' every gorram thing that moved even when it was their own. Stupid ruttin' sumbitches. It was weeks later, I found out Mal an' Zoe had been taken to an Alliance prison camp. Got some of the boys together an' went after them. Took me best part of a year but I found 'em. Mal more dead than alive. They'd tortured him nine ways from *diyu*. I knew somethin' big was brewin' but not what it was. When Mal told me I thought all the breath in my body had been stole right outta me. Never heard of anythin' more darin'. Some would say *ben*. Stupid." The Captain grinned briefly and oddly enough it relaxed his crew some. "Mal had this crazy plan. We would pretend he'd died, seein's as he was the one they wanted. I would disappear for a while, take Zoe with me. Then after it had quietened down a spell I would start up, find some business venture or somesuch an' begin again. I had to make sure it was high profile enough to catch the Alliance's attention without givin' away what the gorram we were up to. Wracked my brains for weeks until I hit upon the idea of a ship. Some place that would give us independence an' the freedom to come an' go as we pleased. Even had a name all picked out for her."

Kaylee smiled for the first time since their story had started. "Serenity."

The Captain grinned. Zoe gave him a hard smile. "And to make sure the Alliance *hundans* didn't forget about Malcolm Reynolds..." She prompted.

"Every year I gave 'em a reminder." Said the Captain with a smug smirk on his face.

Jayne was shaking his head, half amused and half horrified. "Unification Day?"

"Got their attention, didn't it?"

"Also gave me plenty to do afterwards." Said Simon, recalling all the times he had been called upon to stitch the Captain up. It was all beginning to make a horrible kind of sense.

"Yeah, sorry about that doc but sometimes it *was* hi-larious fun." Wash put a hand up. "Um, question?"

All eyes fastened on his. Wash wasn't sure which Reynolds to ask so he went with tradition and spoke to the Captain. "Not understanding why you had to pretend to be your older brother. Why couldn't you just be Davy Reynolds?"

"Because Malcolm was the one they wanted but he was too badly injured. It would take months to get him back on his feet. My job was to give him that recovery time. While they were busy watchin' me Mal could recover then be free to come an' go as he pleased - get things ready without no gorram interference."

Simon was as confused as the rest of them. "Get what ready?"

"The Rebellion."

His crew stared at him as if the Captain had taken leave of his senses. Jayne spluttered in shock. "Are you completely out of your gorram mind, Cap? People call me *baichi* but I ain't never done nothin' that stupid in my whole gorram life!"

"Not a decision we took lightly, Jayne." Said the Captain softly.

Jayne glared at Malcolm Reyolds, annoyed with him for dragging his little brother into so much *goushi* a man could drown in it. He couldn't help but feel a fierce loyalty towards the Captain. "You wanna risk your own fool life that's your business but what right ya got to drag the Cap into danger?"

Mal was about to answer him when he noticed something out of the corner of his eye. Turning to the Captain he gave his brother a little smile, softening features carved in granite. "I see you got your ring."

"I don't gotta ring."

Mal wanted to laugh, to hug him. Hold him close where he would never face harm again. Especially not on his account. He looked down at where the Captain's hand rested on the counterpane of the bed, a slither of amusement tainting his voice. "Might want to think again, Davy."

The Captain looked down and swore. Gorrammit, he had forgotten Inara putting that *lese* ring on his finger. He tried to pull it off. "Ain't mine, Mal."

"Is now." Said his older brother, the amusement mounting as he watched the Captain try in vain to pull the ring off his finger.

"That's what Inara said."

Malcolm Reynolds stopped laughing. His eyes flicked to the figure tied in the chair. Even unconscious it seemed the woman was capable of wielding her influence. "You sayin' the Companion gave you that ring?"

The Captain nodded, not sure why his brother had gone so tense. "Yeah. They were questionin' me then she put the gorram ring on my finger."

"*Wode ma*, Davy. This is *bu hao*."


Malcolm Reynolds could not answer. River looked into the worried depths of his eyes and saw clear through to his soul. Not surprised when his soul stared back at her. Perfect understanding balanced between them. So perfect infact that it was breaking her gorram heart.

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*diyu* = hell *ai ren* = sweetheart *bao bei* = precious/treasure *shie* = who *tamade hundan* = fucking bastards *meimiao di" = great *lese* = crap/crappy *liumang* = bastard/asshole/criminal/ganster *wangba dan* = bastard *mei mei* = little sister *wu bu dong* = I don't understand *goushi* = crap/dog shit *dui* = correct *ben* = stupid *xiongdi* brother *shushu* = uncle *wode ma* = mother of God *bu hao* not good *weishenme* = why *baichi* = idiot


Sunday, March 28, 2004 10:35 AM


Talk about plot twists! I think Wash says it best: "Wowza". Eager to see what happens next

Sunday, March 28, 2004 11:44 AM


I so did not see that one coming!

Oh, please hurry with the next chapter!!

Monday, March 29, 2004 4:53 AM


Bewildered now! But I'm trusting you to unravel my brain, Ali.

Monday, March 29, 2004 8:26 AM


You know, normally this much exposition would tend to slow things down, but in a master's hand it is all kinds of engrossing. Like everybody else, I can't wait to see where this is going, and what it means.

Monday, March 29, 2004 4:22 PM


that floored very shiny...getting antsy for the next chapter !!


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His head still ached from the rutting probe but after the men had satisfied themselves that his story was true a thousand questions peppered the air like machine gun fire.

The vessel was shiny, sleek and black with nowhere near the bulk of an Alliance ship. Something about the way it moved through the Black was more than a little creepifying.

Personally she didn't care if Serenity was towed off to a junk yard and stripped into spare parts. She had promised the ship to Jer and his crew as a bonus but it looked like scavengers had beaten them to it.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: 2. "Counting Chickens"
The fact that her eyes were hard and sharp with intelligence kind of chilled him. Smart women always made him uneasy, it just weren't natural.

What in the nine hells were they so afraid of? Then he remembered Tracy. The body mailed to them by their old war buddy and all the trouble that had brought down on them.

If it was too gorram wet to hunt for rabbits what in the nine hells was his son really hunting? And was it something on four legs or two?

The man was in a terrible condition, his pulse weak, and for some reason he was soaking wet which did nothing to staunch the blood soaking through his clothing and seeping from the poorly tended wound where he had been shot.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 9. "All The King's Men"
The man sighed like the weight of the of the 'Verse was on his shoulders but unlike anyone else he looked like he could carry the weight.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 8. "All The King's Horses"
Without warning something came through the opening and rolled with a metallic clang across the ground before exploding.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 7. "Friend or Foe"
Then he found himself falling, the whole world silent as in slow motion the hordes of *diyu* came to swallow him up and everything disintegrated in fire, blood and pain.