Easy Tickets: Chapter 9
Friday, June 9, 2006

Zoë & company finally catch on. Mal shows the effects of having had his bell rung, and the bad guys learn about life on Serenity.


See Chapter 1 and my blog for disclaimers and such.

Except I have to say thanks to VERA2529 and LEEH for the beta help!

Mandarin translations: put your mouse over the pinyan to get the definitions, or see the list at the end.

Certain small details in this chapter will make very little sense if you haven’t read The Fish Job. So, in the case it happens, it’s not just you!

* * *

Zoë took a big bite from a lumpy dumpling, washing it down with tea before she replied to Wash’s comment. “Yeah, I `xpect Mal’d be a mite annoyed if he were here. He never did like chatter.” She glanced into the depths of the cavern, where Kaylee’s head and shoulders followed the top of Xiaojun’s bun through the gadget-covered shelves. The old woman’s voice echoed off the stone walls; she hardly took a break to breathe.

“I think she’s cute,” Wash answered. “A little excess talk doesn’t bother me.” He stuffed the rest of his own dumpling into his mouth.

Zoë gave him a sidelong glance. “Except maybe as competition?”

“Not that’s low,” he replied with a hurt expression showing around his full cheeks. He took a gulp of tea to clear his mouth a little. “I just meant that the old lady’s not so scary – and so much for Mal’s butterflies.”

“I guess,” Zoë mumbled. She looked back into the cavern. Despite the unexpectedly pleasant situation she found herself in, she wasn’t feeling quite at ease. Wash went on speaking. “I’m telling you, the Captain’s been a little strange lately. Worrying too much. About everything. We need to get him a day at a spa or something. Hot stone massage. You’d think you could get one of those here – all they have is heat and stones.”

“He ought’a fret less when he hears `bout this.” Zoë wiped her fingers on a red cloth napkin and pulled a comm from her pocket. “Captain. Captain, you there?”

She was surprised when Mal didn’t answer immediately. He’d been so worried when they left that she expected him to be hovering right on top of a console. Before she could say anything else, Wash snatched the comm from her hand.

“Mal, you have to meet this lady,” he said. “She’s like my Aunt Zelda.”

“Aunt Zelda?” Zoë asked. “You have an Aunt Zelda?”

“By marriage only, not a blood relation. No one in my family actually talks that much.”

Zoe gave him a look of doubt as she made a grab for the comm. “You’re adopted?”

Wash leaned away from her, holding the comm behind him. “Not at all – you just haven’t met the clan. We’re terse, you know. Especially in stressful situations – just ask Mal. It’s called the Washburn Cool Factor. We keep our calm, and…”

Zoë found the right spot on the front of his shirt to grab between finger and thumb and tweak.

“Ow!” Wash squeaked, crossing his arms over his chest. “You fight dirty, zhēng níng woman! That’s not fair!”

Zoë grabbed the comm back, giving her husband a look of victory before she spoke into it again. “Sir? You hear me?”

“The rock must be fouling up the signal,” Wash said, still holding his chest with one arm and pointing at the ceiling with the other. “You should go outside – where you can’t abuse me anymore.”

“Don’t underestimate me, dear,” Zoë said with a smirk. She stood up, but paused to glance back into the cavern one more time. Xiaojun stood in a gap in the shelves, talking nonstop as she waved one hand around a complicated device that she held in the other. Kaylee listened with her mouth open in rapt fascination.

“When you’re recovered, sweetie, see if you can get Kaylee to hurry it up.” Zoë headed for the door.

* * *

Captain. Captain, you there?

Zoë’s electronic voice echoed through the cargo bay. The words were accompanied by a buzz of static that cut off sharply.

Mal had set the comm to sound in the bay, not wanting to miss out on any word from Zoë or the others. He hadn’t foreseen the turn of events which now had him bound to the railing of a stairway. He hadn’t considered that he might be unconscious when Zoë called.

He wasn’t having a good day.

Mal, you have to meet this lady. The fuzzy voice was Wash’s now. She’s like my aunt Zelda.

Mal moved his head a little in the following silence.

Sir? You hear me?

“Zoë?” he whispered, but there was no answer. He groaned; his face was throbbing. He was vaguely aware that he couldn’t move his arms. Things certainly weren’t right. Trouble. He tried to remember the exact nature of the trouble.

A minute later, Zoë’s voice came again, without static this time. Captain, you hear me?

He remembered something about Zoë. “Go away,” he whispered.

Sir, do you read?

“I tol’ `em where you are. You and Wash and… and the li’l one. You gotta go. Alliance – ” The little one? Were Zoë and Wash having a baby? He vaguely remembered something about that, but it didn’t seem right…

There was longish pause, then Jayne spoke. Uh, Cap’n?

“Jayne,” Mal replied softly. Hearing Jayne’s voice gave him a sinking feeling, but he couldn’t remember why.

What’cha doin’, Mal? River got your tongue? A bit of Jayne’s rough laugh came through before the comm cut off.

Jayne’s laughin’ at me, Mal thought, and then he remembered more: Jayne had done something bad. Real bad. He’d turned on Mal. Again. Gave him away to the Feds, when Kaylee needed help… And now that hún dàn was laughing at him.

Mal woke up enough to lift his head. “Say it to my face, Jayne. Say it…”

Zoë cut him off. Sir, you’re makin’ me worry.

“Zoë.” Mal’s eyes focused and he realized he was in the cargo bay. No one else was around, and he was bound. Tied up on his own gorram ship. And his head and face really hurt. “Zoë?” he said, louder.

But there was only silence. His eyes drifted shut and his head hung limp again.

* * *

Jayne was reclining in the hovercraft when Zoë stepped out into the sun. His t-shirt was off and laying over his face; his arms were stretched wide to expose his bare chest to as many rays as possible.

“You done yet?” he asked without moving, his voice muffled by the fabric.

“I’m so glad I left you on watch,” Zoë said dryly.

“You heard the old lady. Ain’t no one out here.”

Zoë ignored him, just spoke into her comm. “Captain, you hear me?” She waited a few seconds, then tried again. “Sir, do you read?”

After a pause, she gave up and turned to Jayne. “I think mine ain’t workin’. Try yours.”

Jayne heaved an impatient sigh, then pushed the shirt off his face and leaned to the side to grab his comm. “Uh, Cap’n?” he said into it. Then he grinned. “What’cha doin’, Mal? River got your tongue?” He chuckled at that.

Zoë walked over to the craft and glared at him as she grabbed the comm out of his hand.

“Sir, you’re makin’ me worry.”

She waited a bit, then shook her head and handed Jayne his comm back. “It ain’t these,” she said. “There’s somethin’ wrong. We’re goin’. Now.”

Jayne reluctantly put his shirt back on and waited in the hovercraft while Zoë disappeared into the cavern. She returned seconds later, dragging Kaylee by the arm. Wash was right behind them, and Xiaojun hustled out last, actively voicing her distress at their sudden departure. Zoë ignored her as they all loaded into the mule.

“Hang on!” Wash warned, then he put the hammer down. The engine of the craft surged as it flew down the slope, cleared the river bank, and swerved to head downstream.

“But what’s goin’ on?” Kaylee yelled over the engine and the wind that whistled by them. “I ain’t got the servo yet! Cap’n’ll be mad if – ”

Tā mā de hún dàn!” Wash shouted, and pulled to a stop so abrupt that Jayne had to grab Kaylee to keep her from flying over the nose of the mule.

Serenity was rising over the horizon directly in front of them. Jayne added a few choice swear words of his own, then Kaylee cried out when the ship suddenly lurched to the side and lost half her altitude.

“What the dì yù is he doing?” Wash asked. The ship recovered, and powered its unsteady way back up into the blue before falling again, this time tilting back and sliding away from them.

“Mal ain’t at the helm,” Zoë said with cool certainty.

“Then who?” Jayne demanded. “He ain’t lettin’ River fly, is he, `cause that’s just – ”

“That ain’t any of ours, Jayne,” Zoë told him, never taking her eyes off the sky.

* * *

It had been a while since Will had flown one of these birds, but he didn’t think it’d be hard. It wasn’t complicated, and all he had to do was get out of atmo. The tricky stuff would come in orbit, but he was sure he’d have it down by then. He fired up the engine, then sat back to give her a little warm-up time; a ship this old needed it. He smiled smugly. He sure knew his stuff.

Which made him wonder why that gorram browncoat was still breathing. They didn’t need him, and he was a danger. Will knew the type; that hún qiú would keep fighting long after he should just curl up and die. You’d think losing a war would teach a man respect for his betters, but there were a few of those Independents who seemed to have learned nothing but the art of stubbornness. A man who’d still wear that damn coat seven years after the fact was a man who needed to be taught a few things. Will meant to see to it before this jaunt was over – the freedom to take such lessons into his own hands was one of his favorite things about working out in the Black.

He leaned over the controls again, flipped a few switches, and lifted her off the ground. Too easy, just too gorram easy, he thought with a satisfied smile. Easy the way it should be.

It was just then that things got a little more challenging.

* * *

Simon focused on his patient, ignoring the weighty stare of the gunslinger standing in the hatch. He set an IV in the boy’s right arm: saline, antibiotics, and a dose of painkillers. The last would ease the boy and, more importantly, keep him down. Three hijackers loose on the ship were enough.

Simon turned to a drawer of surgical tools. He had to get into the wound to clean it and stitch whatever needed it. But suddenly the ship lurched, the turbulence of her flight going beyond what the artificial grav could correct for. Simon stumbled back to the bed and raised metal rails on either side to hold his patient in place.

“What the hell is goin’ on?” a gruff voice asked. Simon looked over at Ray, who was holding the handle on the open hatch with one hand and keeping the pistol in the other pointed in Simon’s direction.

“I’d say whoever’s flying the ship is not very good at it,” Simon said calmly.

“Ray! Ray – are you there?” A voice crackled over the intercom. Ray looked at the console on the wall with alarm, then back at Simon.

“How you work this thing?” he demanded.

“The button on the top right. Push it and talk.”

“Gorammit, Ray – ” the stressed voice continued, but Ray interrupted.

“What is goin’ on, Will?”

“Someone’s messed with this ship hardcore. I don’t know what – ” the comm cut off as the ship dropped beneath their feet.

The boy groaned in pain and Simon turned to check on him, but a hard hand grabbed him and pushed him against the counter. “Can you can fly this thing?” Ray asked, his face right up in Simon’s.

“I’m a doctor.”

“Which one of y’all can fly it?”

“Oh,” Simon replied. “I’m afraid you beat him unconscious.”

Ray pushed Simon away. “I’ll wake him up then.”

“He’s unconscious, not asleep.”

They both stumbled to the side as the ship shifted again. Simon caught himself on the edge of the exam table, and when he looked up at Ray he suddenly felt forgotten. Not that he minded, but he was surprised to see Ray’s hard stare focused on the boy, something like indecision on his face.

The moment didn’t last long. Ray clenched his jaw and looked at Simon again.

“You got the bleedin’ stopped?”

Simon glanced at the hastily applied bandage. “For the most part, but – ”

“It’ll have to do.”

Ray was unprepared when the ship lurched again. He nearly fell before he caught the counter.

“Ray! A little help here!” Will’s panicked voice sounded over the comm.

Ray pulled himself back over to the panel. “I’m comin’, hang on. Make use of this speaker thing and get Ginger down here, I need her.” He turned back to Simon. “You’re gonna do what you need to wake your man up, or that damn fool will crash this ship with all of us on it.”

Niú fèn,” Simon swore. He looked around the infirmary, gathering his thoughts. He had to get Mal moving without damaging him any more than he already was. He measured out a sizable dose of stimulant into a syringe, then grabbed a large plastic container from a cabinet and filled it with cold water. He glanced once at Jase, hoping the boy was stable enough to hold out, then headed toward the cargo bay.

The ship continued its erratic movement, and he spilled half the water just trying to carry it. The rest he dumped over Mal, which shocked the Captain into groaning and lifting his head, half awake but clearly not aware of what was happening. Simon emptied the syringe into Mal’s shoulder and began untying him. When he pulled the last cord free, Mal tumbled sideways onto the deck.

Simon reached for the bindings on Mal’s wrists, but they were tied too tight. He looked up at Ray, and noticed that Ginger was standing behind him.

“I need something to cut these off,” Simon said.

“Not `till we get him up top. Ginger, give me your guns. You gotta help move him.”

Simon was grateful for her help. Mal wasn’t up to holding his own weight, and he wasn’t a small man.

* * *

When they got to the bridge, Will was clutching the steering column desperately, his previous good cheer entirely lost as he struggled to keep the ship in the air.

“I don’t know what kind’a shă guā they got for a mechanic,” he yelled, “but the ship’s not supposed to fly like this!” He took a deep breath and held it as he struggled to halt another dive.

Simon, with Ginger’s help, settled a half-conscious Mal into the co-pilot’s chair, then braced himself against the console so he could work on the cords binding the Captain’s hands. Ray stepped in, pushing Simon aside so he could cut the knots with a knife. Mal slouched awkwardly, and Simon had to stop him from falling out of the chair.

“Captain?” Simon said. “Mal? Wake up.”

Mal groaned as Simon pushed him back in the chair. “Reavers,” he mumbled.

“What’s he talking about?” Will asked, looking alarmed.

“Reavers got Inara,” Mal said softly.

Simon grabbed Mal’s collar and pulled him upright. “Captain,” he said firmly. “You have to wake up or this bèn dāi zi will crash Serenity.” Simon was aware of Will glaring at him, but there was no argument over his assessment.

* * *

River scurried around the engine room frantically. All the voices in her head had been forced to the background as she focused on the difficult task of controlling the ship’s flight. Destabilize without crashing; it was a fine edge to walk.

The waves of terror and frustration coming out of Will pleased her. Once she was sure she understood how to run things, she toyed with him. Briefly she let him have control, just to give him a sense of security, and also so Simon could get the Captain up the stairs. But then she put the ship into a steep banking turn and smiled at the rage in Will’s mind. The man deserved to suffer. He’d hit Mal, hit him hard enough to hurt him badly, to knock things loose.

Ray had hit, too, but that was different. That was a vein of emotion so deep that even he couldn’t see to the bottom of it. Ray wasn’t good, but he wasn’t evil. Will, on the other hand, was petty spite to the core. He might have beat Mal enough to kill him if Ray hadn’t been there to stop him, and for no other reason than because he wanted to.

“You need the Captain. Can’t kill the Captain. Has to be pilot or we’ll crash,” she chanted as she worked. Stay focused, don’t listen to the voices. Don’t look at the pretty trees and listen to the singing. Not now. Not yet.

* * *

Mal’s eyes focused on the doctor. “Simon?”

“Yes, it’s me. Are you awake?”

“Dunno.” Mal shook his head slightly, squinting at the pain that movement caused. “You gonna stick stuff in my head?”

“Um… not today.”

“That’s good.” Mal glanced down at the console, like he was figuring out where he was. “Where’s River?”

Simon’s eyes widened slightly in alarm. “There’s… no river here, Captain.” He glanced at Ray nervously. “Niflheim’s a desert.”

“Nifl… wha’?”

“You need to fly Serenity.” Simon looked across at Will in the pilot’s seat and Mal followed his gaze. Will’s tension was obvious as he fought to hold the ship steady.

Mal stared at Will for a few seconds, then he rolled his head back over his shoulder to look at Ray and Ginger. “Oooh,” he said in a half-groan, and he pushed Simon away. “Storm’s back,” he mumbled, but he pulled his chair up to the co-pilot’s console.

“What storm?” Simon asked.

“In my head,” Mal answered, tapping his temple before he grabbed the controls.

“I gave you a stimulant.”

“And I am feelin’ it.” Mal looked over at Will. “Hey. Dumbass. Orange switch, down and to your left.”

Will looked at Mal, his eyes wide and face covered in a sheen of sweat, then he glanced down at the console. The ship lurched again as the controls shook in his hands.

“Simon,” Mal said. “Help this useless piece of lā jī out.”

With Mal’s direction, Simon loacted the switch that would transfer control to the co-pilot’s station. He flipped it, and the flight immediately smoothed out.

Mal turned to Will. “So,” he asked brightly, “where’d you learn to fly?”

Will didn’t answer. He let the controls slip out of his shaking hands and sat back in the pilot’s seat, breathing unevenly.

Mal continued, “Actually, what I’m wondering is what kind of idiot steals a ship he can’t even pilot? Don’t they have criminal school out in these parts?”

“You can still fly with a gag,” Will said distantly.

Mal fixed him with a hard look. “You try puttin’ a gag on me and I will put this ship in a nose dive you won’t be gettin’ her out of.”

“Back off, Will,” Ray said. “Captain, don’t waste time. We got your ship and a few of your crew. Just do as we say and it’ll work out fine.”

“And we’re saying that you better get us out of atmo as quick as you can,” Will ordered. He seemed to be recovering his cool, though his sense of humor was still a far way off. He looked at Mal’s hands on the controls, then leaned to the side so he could see better.

“That’s a fine idea,” Mal said. “Except for the ‘quick’ part. Ship’s got a little problem with the grav drive. If it goes while we’re burnin’ hard, we’re all dead.” Mal looked at Will again. “If it had gone while you were flyin’, now, that would’a been all kinds of not fun. You better let those of us with the know-how handle the tricky stuff.”

Will glared. Mal returned a wink and a smile that looked ghastly on his bloody face.

Ginger exhaled impatiently from the hatch. “So, boys, we just stole us a ship that don’t work?”

* * *

When Mal finally took over the helm, River gratefully relinquished control, then collapsed onto the deck. She held her head in her arms, wanting to rest but unable to let go of the walls she’d built in her mind. She couldn’t risk letting the voices speak all at once.

She had to make herself focus on Will. He was the worst one, but if she wanted to survive, to bring her home and her adoptive family through this, she had to go inside him again.

She’d seen it right away – Will had something missing. He’d been born without his empathy; never had it, never would. He’d been gifted with a lot of other things: good-looking, smart, knew how to make people like him. Anyone who didn’t like him, well, he knew how to make them afraid. Knew how to push and prod until they squirmed.

River tapped the surface, saw the lofty image Will had of himself. Like a cortex comic strip adventure star, all dressed up in black with a big blazing gun, playing his games for the merriment of all. Will always won in the end, always smarter or quicker than anyone else. And if that didn’t work, he knew how to cheat, how to hit hard and fast from behind. But no matter how he managed it, Will always won with a smile.

Hadn’t quite won this time, not yet. But he knew he would. He was watching the Captain fly the ship. He was angry. Very, very angry. Had it buried down deep now, in control, but River could work her way in far enough to see it simmering.

That’s what I did that’s how I flew why does it work for him? called me an idiot, thinks I can’t fly it’s not fair…

River whimpered at a bitterness so strong it brought a bad taste to her mouth.

I flew right, I did the same things why didn’t it work? he set it up, must of planned it wants to make me look stupid don’t need this hún dàn, not doing anything I can’t do, should’ve slit his throat watched his blood drain should do it now almost out of atmo I can do the flying in space in orbit shouldn’t be hard to fly what is wrong with this ship I’ll kill him anyway throw him out the airlock watch his eyes bulge out…

Will filled with glee as he pictured Mal clawing at the airlock window, his face coming apart under the force of his body’s own internal pressure.

River pulled away, literally fell away from him, rolling onto the hard deck of the engine room. She felt like the inside of her head was coated with slime. It wasn’t enough, they didn’t need the Captain enough yet. She had to save him. Her home couldn’t exist without him. But she knew what to do - she’d learned by watching Kaylee.

Nothing to write with, she thought. Need to write.

She snuck down the corridor to the galley and gave a distracted wave to Book. He watched her without speaking as she pulled a marker out of a drawer and dashed back to the engine room, her bare feet silent. Then she flung herself down in front of the open panel under Kaylee’s hammock and reached inside, her hands moving with confidence and haste.

* * *

Simon moved toward the back of the bridge and watched the sky outside the windows turn darker as the ship climbed slowly out of atmo. Will was standing behind the pilot’s seat now, arguing with Ray. They seemed to have forgotten about him, but Ginger was silently waiting in the hatch behind him, gun in hand.

Simon tried to figure Mal’s condition; the Captain didn’t seem to be understanding the situation. He did have a habit of approaching a crisis with what Simon often saw as a misplaced sense of humor, but there appeared to be more than that happening here.

“Come on, the grav’s not broken,” Will was saying to Ray in disgust. “He’s just trying to pull one over on us.”

“That girl told Jase she was lookin’ for parts,” Ray said. “Somethin’ to do with grav.”

Mal laughed softly. “Āi yā – you fellas took a ship you can’t fly, even though you knew it ain’t space-worthy. Priceless.”

“Shut your gorram trap or I’ll beat on it some more,” Will snapped.

Mal didn’t seem bothered by the threat; he continued to mutter. “I ain’t even done nothin’ that stupid. Y’all should get a prize or somethin’.” He shook his head, then winced and raised a hand to his swollen cheek.

Will started reaching for a knife on his belt, but Ray grabbed his arm to stop him. “Easy, we need him.”

“He doesn’t need his tongue to fly a ship,” Will replied. “You got that, Captain?”

Mal dropped his hand from his face and rolled his eyes. “I gotta be good or you’ll start cuttin’ off parts. Sure. Got it. Not real original, I have to say. Been done before by much scarier folks than you fools.”

Will made a gasp of disbelief at Mal’s words, and Simon wondered if the Captain had gone insane. He was going to goad these men into killing him - but then the doctor had an idea.

“It’s the stimulant,” Simon said. “It makes him talkative. He can’t help it.”

Will turned back to Simon. “You gave him a smartass drug?”

Despite himself, Simon found a smile forming on his face. “The stimulant just makes him talk more than usual. He’s always been a smartass.”

“You’re fired, doctor,” Mal said.

“Right.” Simon pointed his thumb over his shoulder and started to turn away. “I’ll just pack up my things and be on my – ”

“Stay put and shut your mouth, Doc,” Ray ordered, then he added with a shake of his head, “You people are insane.”

“You stole a broken ship full of lunatics and you can’t fly it,” Mal summed up. “Nice! This is good.”

Ray had to push Will toward the back of the bridge to keep him away from Mal. “Enough. Will, you take the doc back down to see to Jase.”

I stay on the bridge!” Will insisted, pushing Ray’s hands off. “I’m the gorram pilot here!”

“And I hope Willy is well paid for his skills.” Mal turned around in his seat. “You mind if I call you Willy?”

Ray had to physically restrain Will. “Back off!” Ray told him harshly, “I can’t have you killin’ these people. We need `em. Now you go and take care of – ”

He was cut off by a loud clang that echoed through the ship. Mal felt the shift in his stomach and knew what it was immediately; he cut the engine and pulled the restraints on the copilot’s chair over his shoulders. Everyone else on the bridge felt their knees buckle as, for an instant, the ship rose beneath them, but instead of falling to the deck, they all floated up away from it.

“And what ya’all are feelin’ now…” Mal said with a joyful smile, “is no internal grav. Fun, huh?”

* * *


zhēng níng: mean and ferocious hún dàn: bastard tā mā de hún dàn: mother humping son of a bitch hún qiú: no-good bastard dì yù: hell niú fèn: cow dung shă guā: idiot bèn dāi zi: stupid fool lā jī: trash āi yā: damn

* * *

On to Chapter 10.


Friday, June 9, 2006 2:29 AM


We’re on the thick of it now, weee!

Thanks for the Xioajun love! She’ll be back eventually… Ch 10 on Monday.

Friday, June 9, 2006 3:49 AM



River is amazing in this - just broken enough for everything to work so well. I love the way this is going.

Friday, June 9, 2006 5:05 AM


OMG! Mal being talkative...smartass...Simon's fired....rotfl! grav.....ahahhhhhh.

And we have to wait until Monday?!?!
You are very cruel!

Well, at least Zoe, Jayne and kaylee know something's happening....even if they can't get to the ship - yet.

Friday, June 9, 2006 6:52 AM


Absolutely brilliant! I want to hug River, she is just the coolest and Mal under pressure is always good. Don't like that Will one tiny little bit, he is a really twisted nasty piece of work. I hope Zoe and the others can find a way to help. Maybe the Aunt Zelda lookalike will have a few ideas? So shiny, hope the next part is up soon! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, June 9, 2006 8:32 AM


I love smartass Mal! And SImon's acerbic dead pan comments, just great! No gravity huh? This should be interesting! I can't wait to see how this turns out! Monday is too far away! :)

Friday, June 9, 2006 10:52 AM


Thanks for the comments all!

And we are we going? Crazy places next week, can't wait to post!!

- mal4prez

Friday, June 9, 2006 7:03 PM


"Weeee!" is right. Fun, fun chapter. Plenty o' smartassiness to go 'round. Not quite sure just how lucid Mal is... I imagine we'll see just how much got 'knocked loose'. I love Will's angry befuddlement, and River's enjoyment of it.

Chapter 10's up next, already?! Is it wrong to ask approximately how many more chapters to go? I find comfort in knowing where I am in a story. I'm starting to hate those stars at the end of your chapters... they always sneak up on me... mockingly.

Quoth the stars...

* : ("Ha-ha! You got wrapped up in the story and didn't even notice how far down you've scrolled!")

* : ("No more story for you tonight!")

* : ("This is for your own good. You know you wouldn't be able to stop yourself if we didn't stop it for you...")

Appropriately, a long list of chinese curses comes up next, and I mutter them to myself in sequence.

Saturday, June 10, 2006 4:02 PM


Brilliant, mal4prez! Just brilliant! You actually made InsaneMal! totally hilarious and totally believable:D

Also, how you had River dealing with her situation and needing to delve into a twisted mind is just awe-inspiring in how you got the characters to act like they should be (according to Joss & co.) acting;)


Tuesday, July 4, 2006 5:19 AM


Smart-ass Mal is awesome. Also, the way you're exploring River's actions and thought process is really well written.

Sorry I'm just catching up now. I didn't read much fanfic whilst the site was being all funky so I working through all the things I missed.

Friday, July 14, 2006 1:16 AM


I love all of the Chinese that you use, and I am stealing/borrowing the site you posted to implement some different Mandarin in my own works, as I am sure people are a little tired of seeing the same lines from the series and movie recycled in my works.

We need to get him a day at a spa or something. Hot stone massage. You’d think you could get one of those here – all they have is heat and stones.
-Leave it to Wash once again to find humor in odd places.

Jayne chuckling at River piloting the ship is a funny bit of foreshadowing.

Destabilize without crashing; it was a fine edge to walk.
-Here I was thinking the grav system had gone out. Or maybe it has. Or maybe River took it out.

“I ain’t even done nothin’ that stupid. Y’all should get a prize or somethin’.”
-Mal's sarcasm and humor in the face of certain death is always a great touch.

The dialogue between Mal and Simon on the bridge was wonderful:
“You’re fired, doctor,” Mal said.
“Right.” Simon pointed his thumb over his shoulder and started to turn away. “I’ll just pack up my things and be on my – ”


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Back Stories Book 3, Chapter 25
Zoë nodded. “I’ll bet there’s a little committee of suits back there trying to figure out how best to lie.”&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp

“Or how to tell some horrible truth,” Inara replied softly.&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp

“Or how to make the most effective use of medical waste incendiaries to get rid of our bodies,” Wash chimed in.

Back Stories III, Chapter 24
Mal returns to a few familiar places.

Back Stories III: Chapter 23
The BDH’s find themselves enmeshed in too damned many OCs. But hey, they’re necessary. Plottiness and all.

Back Stories III, Chapter 22
Inara tells the story of why she left the Core. Well, half of it anyway.

Back Stories III, Chapter 21
The battle with the Reavers continues, and Mal makes a choice. All decisions have consequences.

Back Stories III, Chapter 20
Finally a little Mal POV, but it doesn't last long.

Back Stories III, Chapter 19
The trials and tribulations of an older, wiser River Tam.

Back Stories Book III, Chapter 18
The aftermath of an unexpected encounter. Except—not all of the crew are accounted for…

Back Stories Book III, Chapter 17
A lovely day in the mountains: friendly locals and fresh air under a clear blue sky. What could possibly go wrong?

Back Stories Book III, Chapter 16.
Zoë tells of her soiree with terrorists on Oeneus.