Sailing Beyond the Sunset, pt 12
Tuesday, June 6, 2006

The crew recovers from the attack of the Blue Hand men, well, most of them...


with apologies to Robert Heinlein for the bastardization of one of his titles…

previous story segments: pt 01,pt 02,pt 03,pt 04,pt 05,pt 06,pt 07,pt 08,pt 09,pt 10, pt 11

Several story elements were initially based off of stories from other writers. The stories that were used are Jubal’s New Bounty by AINTWEJUST and Journey Home and Journey Home, chapter 1, both by Rielpryn. If you have not read them, I recommend them, both because they are good stories and they will help to make my stories to make sense.

- - - - -

Gates stood just inside the cargo bay doors, keeping a wary eye on the throng of people passing in the busy street below. He still had a bit of a cold feeling in his gut from seeing the men in the suits, and was worried about Grace, though she still had a couple of hours before her planned return.

“They’re looking for her, and you are helping them to find her.”

Gates turned to find Thomas behind him, fiddling distractedly with a loose cargo strap. How a clumsy boy that size could sneak up on him boggled his mind as his thoughts raced, trying to understand what the boy had said and come up with a retort at the same time.

“What do you mean, I am helping them?”

In his experience, talking to this kid was hit or miss. Sometimes he made perfect sense, and other times he seemed to be spouting complete gibberish. Gates looked into Thomas’ eyes, seeing dark mysteries there that probably shouldn’t ever be uncovered.

As their eyes met, Thomas instantly became visibly tense. Steadying himself on the crate beside him as he sat, and still looking right into Gabriel’s eyes, he said, quietly, “You saw them. They saw you. Two by two, Hands of blue.” He hugged himself tightly, rocking back and forth while chanting the second half of what he said over and over in a barely audible voice.

Shaw came down the stairs, looking at Thomas and Gates as they stood looking at each other. The tension emanating from Thomas was almost palpable, and Gates looked visibly shaken.

“You alright boy?” Shaw asked in his raspy voice. “You giving mister Gates here some of your doom and gloom predictions?”

“He is endangering his kids. Thoughts lead to capture and death. Flying high in the Black, dipping into the deep mind.”

“Thomas, leave him alone and come with me. He don’t need your gibberish, and we need to get some food anyhow.”

Shaw waited for Thomas to come to his side, then they headed down the hallway to the galley. Thomas turned to look once more at Gates before disappearing into the hall.

Gates stared after him long after he had gone. Even though the boy made very little sense, he had no doubt that when he was speaking coherently, he spoke the truth. He was worried about River and Simon, moreso now after Thomas’ revelation that he was actually helping his children’s pursuers by focusing on them. Gates hoped that the coming trip to Greenleaf would help to bring him closer to them. He tried to think about Grace, hoping that everything was going well, but he had the nagging feeling that Thomas was right and that his kids were still in real danger.

- - -

River smiled slightly as she recognized the ship and its lone occupant. The vibrations increased, bringing painful memories and possible future scenarios to the surface of her brain.

“Shoot them already!” she screamed into Jubal Early’s mind. “They are killing us!”

River fought to remain conscious as she saw two metal rounds fly out of the cannon, striking the smaller ship. The rounds pierced through the ship, severing the pincer on the right side. The ship disengaged from Serenity, leaving the broken piece attached to the hull, and turned to face Jubal’s small ship.

“Get yourself out of here, little River. We’re square now.”

River set a vector that would get them back to Greenleaf and relinquished control of the helm to the autopilot. Turning and stepping over Mal’s unconscious body, she ran toward the engine room as fast as she could. She saw Kaylee there, clutching her stomach and groaning, but conscious.

“Kaylee! We need hard burn now. What do I do?”

Kaylee moaned and pointed, and instantly River could see in her mind what she needed to do. She flipped a switch on the pressure regulator while pressing three buttons with her other hand. Finally, she grabbed a huge lever and threw all of her weight into it.

The intense glow lit up the engine room as Serenity flew off into the Black.

- - -

After checking to see if Kaylee was ok, River hurried downstairs to the infirmary to find her brother. Simon was on the floor, sitting with his back against the cabinets. River ran to him, dropping to his level and wrapping her arms around him.

“Simon, are you ok?”

“River! I thought you were dead. I thought you and Kaylee were both dead. I don’t know what happened to me…”

“They found me. They used one of their psychic weapons on everyone. I don’t know if the others are hurt, I need you to help me check them. The images you saw were false, an attempt to confuse and incapacitate us while keeping us alive for future torture, I imagine. Are you able to think clearly enough to help me?”

Despite the fact that River was speaking completely coherent words, Simon was still extremely confused.

“How did we get away from them? Did you kill them?”

“We were saved by Jubal. Jubal Early.”

More confusion. “Jubal Early? I didn’t think he was still alive after Mal shoved him off into space. You sure about that?”

“Yes, you boob. I saved him, and now I am glad I did. I told him about the men and what they would have done to him if he had taken me in, so he began chasing them instead. Luckily for us, he caught up to them as they were attacking us. He engaged them as we left, and I have us headed for Greenleaf again to assess our damages and our next move.”

Simon gave her another confused look but said nothing. He slowly stood, helping River up as well, and began gathering a few supplies that would help in checking out the rest of the crew.

- - -

Jubal flew around, trying to get a good vantage point to shoot into what should be the cockpit, but the larger ship seemed to be able to out-maneuver him even with the missing parts. Jubal fired 3 more rounds, one of which connected with the opposite pincer, shattering the tip of it. The ship wobbled on its horizontal axis, then turned to face away from Jubal’s ship. A blast of purple light exploded from the back of the ship, knocking Jubal’s ship end over end as it disappeared into the Black.

- - -

River and Simon climbed the stairs into the cargo bay and found Zoe curled up in a fetal position. River touched her shoulder lightly, causing her to look up at them. Her eyes, wide with fear, relaxed a little upon seeing River’s smiling face. Simon helped her to sit up, checking her pulse with one hand while checking her eyes to see if she had a concussion.

“W..Wash..?” she mumbled, holding her legs to her chest.

“No, it’s Simon and River. You have been attacked psychically, so you need to take it easy for a minute. We got away, and there is nothing we can do to get them back right now.”

“Wh...what about my baby?”

“Uh, Zoe, what baby?”

“MY DEAD BABY THAT YOU DELIVERED!” she screeched, becoming hysterical and rocking back and forth. “I can still see his little face and feel his cold body in my arms…”

“That was just an effect of the attack, Zoe. It didn’t really happen. I thought River and Kaylee were dead, and the image is still so vivid in my mind that I would probably still believe it were she not standing here with me.” He looked toward the engine room. “Kaylee.....”

Simon stood to look back toward the engine room, a look of horrified concern on his face. River knelt down and wrapped her thin arms around the strong warrior woman, rocking with her as she helped to calm her thoughts and body.

“She is ok Simon, I checked on her when I was getting us away from the attackers. Why don’t you go check on her, I will stay here with Zoe.”

Simon rushed up the stairs as River wrapped her arms more tightly around Zoe, taking them two at a time. He ran back to the engine room, nearly tripping over his own feet as he burst into the room. Kaylee was sitting up, legs crossed, her hands idly playing with a random spare part. He knelt, taking her in his arms, and smiled.

“How are you, bao-bei?”

“Simon, I saw some horrible things. I remembered the day I met you, when that hwoon dahn fed shot me. I remembered the day that we had to get the Captain back from Niska. I saw…..I saw our wedding, and you left me standing alone at the altar. River came down here and asked me how to set the ship for hard burn. Simon, what’s going on?”

“First off Kaylee, I could never leave you at the altar, you mean way too much to me.” He gave her a huge smile, then continued, “There was an attack, it was psychic in nature. River got us away with the help of Jubal Early, and we are headed for Greenleaf to land and make sure everyone and everything is alright.”

“Where’s River? How about the others? I am so scared right now Simon.”

He tightened his grip on her, pulling them closer together. “River is doing ok, she came to get me out of my funk. We found Zoe too, River is with her now. We haven’t gone to fine Mal, Inara, or Jayne yet. Do you want to come with me to check on Inara, or do you need to sit for a while longer?”

“I want to be wherever you are right now Simon, and we should probably go check on Inara.”

He helped her up, giving her a long hug and a soft kiss on her full lips. She smiled weakly, then followed him out of the engine room toward the cargo bay and Inara’s shuttle.

- - -

“No, anything but Vera. Kill me with your bare hands, just not with my baby…”

Jayne rolled over, banging his head on his bunk. He rubbed his head with one hand, the other instinctively going for the pistol strapped to his hip. Shaking his head, he realized that he was in his bunk, and that he was alone. He rubbed his eyes, making sure that he was really seeing what he was seeing. His eyes scanned the room until they fell on the mostly full bottle of bourbon. Gritting his teeth against a tremendous headache, he got up on all fours, slowly working his way toward the bottle. He retrieved it, sitting down against the wall, and turned it over in his hands.

He recognized the brand as one he had only tasted a select few times in his life. It was supposed to be high quality stuff, and it had tasted like it when he took the shot. What had the tah mah duh hwoon dahn Preacher done to the drink to make it have such an effect on him that one shot knocked him out cold and given him such vivid and horrific dreams?

He leaned his throbbing head against the cool metal of the bulkhead. He could still see the muzzle of Vera pointed at his head, dark hands on the barrel and trigger. He slowly crawled over to the special place that he kept her, wanting to make sure that it really was just a dream. The immaculately cleaned gun was sitting on the wall pegs, right where she belonged. He picked up the gun and cradled it in his arms, almost reverently, closing his eyes in relief.

A few minutes later, he heard the door to his bunk open, and a mass of brown hair followed by River’s smiling face poked through it to look at him, giving him a half-smile.

“You ok down there Jayne-man?” she asked, almost playfully. She climbed down into the bunk, walking over to stand over him. “Did ya have some bad dreams?”

“Ruttin’ liquor, knocked me on my ass. Yes, very bad dreams.”

“Wasn’t the drink, was the guys who are after me.” She stood with her hands on her hips, still looking down at him. “Everyone was affected by it; it brought out things from all of our pasts that were negative and hurtful, and it would seem it also showed us some of our worst fears. Don’t worry, I don’t think anyone will be able to get the jump on you and take Vera away.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, crazy girl.”

Shooting him a smirk, she said “Well, you gonna sit on the floor all day or do you want me to help you up?”

Grumbling under his breath, he reluctantly offered his hand to let her help him up. Amazingly, she was strong enough to pull him straight to his feet.

“What’s on your forehead, moonbrain?”

“C’mon, let’s go check on the Captain.” She said as she nimbly climbed the ladder back to the corridor outside of the bridge, removing the chip as Jayne followed with Vera over his shoulder.

- - -

Kaylee and Simon found Inara lying on her bed, clutching a deep red pillow to her chest, nails digging into the plush fabric. Simon stood back as Kaylee softly shook her friend’s shoulder to wake her.

“MAL!!!!!” Inara screamed, sitting bolt upright. Her face and arms were covered in sweat, yet she shivered as if in a terrible cold. Kaylee wrapped her arms around her, smoothing her hair with one hand. Simon approached the women, checking Inara’s pulse before beginning to explain.

“There was a psychic attack, the guys who are after River finally caught up to us. Everyone has been re-living some of their worst moments and their worst fears.”

“Is Mal ok?” Inara asked weakly, laying her head on Kaylee’s shoulder as the younger girl lightly rubbed her back. “I...I saw him die. It seems so real.”

“River was going to check on him after she got Jayne up. You need to rest for a few minutes before we meet up with them in the galley.”

“SIMON! We need you on the bridge, ma shong!” River’s frantic voice cried over the com.

Simon’s eyes met Inara’s first, seeing the fear burning deep within them. She rose slowly, her face set with a solemn determination. Kaylee immediately rose at her side, the same determination on her face and fear in her eyes. Simon looked at the women, his mouth opening to protest, then he thought better of it, and turned to head to the bridge.

- - -

River knelt beside Mal’s body as Jayne paced behind her. She had his hand in both of hers, her eyes fixated on his face. His eyes were peacefully closed, his chest slightly rising and falling. Simon ran into the room, panting, closely followed by Kaylee and Inara, the younger woman supporting the older. Zoe stumbled along a moment behind them, her eyes still glazed over with a very distant look. Simon began to attach the positronic neural scanner to Mal’s head, a grim look on his stark white face…

- - - - -

pt 13

- - - - -

Translations ( from ):

bao-bei – sweetheart

hwoon dahn – bastard

tah mah duh hwoon dahn – mother humping son of a bitch

ma shong - now


Tuesday, June 6, 2006 6:32 PM


Ohhh, ok, so what the heck happened to Mal that didn't happen to everyone else?

He have a heart attack because of what he dreamed?

Like seeing how everyone woke up but the funniest moment HAD to be Jayne begging the shadows not to kill him with his precious Vera! laugh

Wednesday, June 7, 2006 7:46 AM


Creepy stuff with those psychic attacks and I'm still not convinced all the bad guys are gone. And what in the nine hells did they do to the Captain? Everyone else seemed to wake up more or less okay. Not liking how serious Simon is seeming just now. Can't wait for the next part, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, June 7, 2006 12:36 PM


Hey River,

This was great. I especially love this psychic attack thing, and Jubal Early...the hero, interesting.

“They found me. They used one of their psychic weapons on everyone. I don’t know if the others are hurt, I need you to help me check them. The images you saw were false, an attempt to confuse and incapacitate us while keeping us alive for future torture, I imagine. Are you able to think clearly enough to help me?” *When I first read this, I thought, River would know, then I read it again...she was attacked also, and wasn't sure what images she could believe to be real...very good, I liked it.

“Ruttin’ liquor, knocked me on my ass. Yes, very bad dreams.” *I loved that he felt he needed to come up with an excuse for his bad dreams, had he been drinking?

I agree with the above, what's up with Mal??? I can't wait to see what <i>his</i> dream was.

Thursday, June 8, 2006 6:00 PM


Doesn't actually surprise me that Mal's in a freaking coma...the man's been through so much that any bad dream that he picks will get mucho bad-bad via his subconscious:(


P.S. Loving this series, River...Goddess:P

Thursday, June 8, 2006 7:03 PM


Mal... you killed Mal? you SOB???

Thursday, June 8, 2006 7:06 PM


sorry for that little out burst, he's breathing yes i realize that... just sort of got overwhelmed there.

Like it, but it seemed a little rushed. Not a whole ton of discriptiveness.

liked it though


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From Bad to Worse, chapters 1-10 (COMPLETE)
This is a re-post from before the BSR got hit a few weeks ago.

The story takes place in between ‘The Train Job’ and ‘Bushwhacked.’ According to Inara, there is a three-ish month gap here, so I thought it would be perfect for this little story and its epilogue.

From Bad to Worse, pt 10
Thrilling heroics ensue.

From Bad to Worse, pt 09
Mal, Zoe, and Jayne come to the rescue, and backup from the engine room arrives.

From Bad to Worse, pt 08
Claire is put to the ropes, though the cavalry is on the way.

From Bad to Worse, pt 07
Mal, Jayne, and Zoe make their way back to Serenity, and Claire and her posse run into even more troubles.

From Bad to Worse, pt 06
The fighting is ended for now, though revenge is on more than one person's mind.

From Bad to Worse, pt 05
The feds arrive, a shootout involving the BDHs and Claire's posse ensues.

From Bad to Worse, pt 04
The gold is recovered, and a getaway is planned.

Sailing Beyond the Sunset, pt 17
Several crew members dwell on things past while one reunion is made and a wave from an old aquaintence is received.

From Bad to Worse, pt 03
The crews search the wreckage for their valuable treasure as Wash and Book attempt some thrilling heriocs.