Sailing Beyond the Sunset, pt 13
Friday, June 9, 2006

Simon tries to diagnose Mal's coma while Zoe sheds some light on past events.


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,pt 12

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.

- - - - -

“Mal!” Inara screamed, dropping to River’s side with Kaylee’s help. The normally cool and collected Companion was visibly distraught as she looked over the prone form lying in front of her. River offered Mal’s hand to Inara, knowing the older woman needed something to do to keep herself from freaking out. She knew that Inara really cared about the Captain, and she also knew that those feelings were reciprocated by him. ‘He’s almost as much of a boob as my brother,’ she thought to herself, standing and moving to the console to check their progress.

Simon continued attaching electrodes and probes to Mal’s head, pressing buttons and turning dials with an intensity that he rarely showed. He watched the tiny screen as the rest of the crew’s eyes remained fixated on him. After a few minutes of silence that stretched to the end of the ‘verse and back, he looked up from the device, his gaze finally settling on Kaylee and Inara.

“He’s in a state of shock. Something they did caused his brain to function as if he were in a coma. Otherwise, he is as healthy as he was before the attack. I can’t find any neural or spinal damage, so it should be ok to move him. Jayne, Zoe, do you mind?”

Instantly Zoe was alert, eyes aflame as she moved to her Captain’s side. Jayne got the other arm and leg, and they both lifted his unconscious form off of the floor of the bridge. Simon led the procession down to the infirmary, turning on the single overhead light and walking over to a cabinet, removing several items.

“I know you’re all worried about the Captain,” Simon said sternly, “but I really need room to work. I will let you know when and if I find anything else. River, I need you to find us a medical facility on Greenleaf, and go ahead and wave them to let them know we will be headed there when we land. Also, if you could let me know when we...”

“Seven hours, forty-two minutes, and 19 seconds until we land.” River stated bluntly, knowing precisely what her brother was going to ask. She gave Mal another look as she headed up to the bridge, turning to say “He is sad, thinks he has lost everything that is his world.”

Simon ushered people out of the infirmary, stopping Zoe with a hand on her arm. “Will you stay to help me?” He asked her, an almost pleading tone in his voice.

Zoe nodded, not saying anything as she forced the heavy metal door shut behind Jayne. She walked to the opposite side of the table, waiting for Simon’s instructions on how she could be of assistance.

Simon worked in silence for several minutes, attaching several diagnostic machines to his unconscious captain. He continued to check the electrodes and probes, looking for something that may tell him what was wrong with this strong, stubborn man.

“I think I know why this happened to him.” Zoe stated coldly, looking intently at the face of her comatose friend.

“I figured you might,” Simon said, his voice almost a whisper, his fear that the damage was beyond his ability to heal growing. “Tell me what you know, please.”

- - -

Inara and Kaylee sat on the couch outside the infirmary, the younger girl still supporting her friend. Jayne paced around the room, looking into the windows every time he passed. He wouldn’t admit it to anyone, ever, but he considered Mal to be more than just an employer. He had come to think of him as a friend, who’s back he would watch until the end of his days. He paced more, pounding one hand into the other in frustration at not being able to do anything to help.

He heard Inara stifle a sob behind him. Not being one to enjoy being around women crying, he headed up the stairs to the cargo bay and his familiar weight bench. He donned his worn fingerless gloves, thinking back on the memories that had been invoked by the attack as he lifted the bar from its resting place.

- - -

“On Hera, after the Battle of Serenity Valley, Mal and I were the only two left of our entire battalion that didn’t surrender or get killed. We were able to hide in the hills for several weeks, killing any scouts that came looking for us and living off of whatever we could salvage from their rations and any supply crates we came across. We kept moving, but I suppose that eventually they got tired of wondering where their men had gone and sent in the big guns.” She paused, closing her eyes for a moment while trying to concentrate on the details of her story. “There was a ship over us, a sleek number with purple colored propulsion jets. There were vibrations, just like what happened today, and Mal shoved me into a spare room of the bunker, slamming the door. I heard a few bursts of gunfire, then silence. After a long while, I went out to look for him, but couldn’t find him. I guess the room was shielded, at least enough to keep the weapon from affecting me. How Mal knew that, I still have no idea, but he probably saved my life again that night.”

Zoe paused, taking a deep breath. Simon looked at her with unwavering attention, his machines and electrodes momentarily forgotten. “What...what happened? Do you have any idea at all what they might have done to him?”

Zoe nodded slowly, her eyes focused on a random spot on the floor. She looked back up at the young doctor, cold vengeance burning in her eyes. “All I have to go on are rumors and stories, but it would seem that the same people that are after River, the ones who attacked us, took him in for experimentation. It seems they wanted to see what he could take, or they wanted to re-program him, since he had given the Alliance so much trouble.” At the last comment, she smiled slightly, remembering things he had done that had really gotten to some of the Alliance brass. “I found out where they were keeping him, it was a makeshift structure on Hera. It seems that they wanted to keep him in the same environment where the battle happened, maybe they were looking at his reactions or his tactics or his feelings about the Alliance or...”

“Breathe Zoe,” Simon admonished, noting the increased tempo of her words as she barreled through her explanation. Zoe took a deep breath, looking up at Simon, and said “That’s all I know, except for the rescue that I threw together a couple of weeks later.”

“How did that go?” Simon asked, walking slowly to the sink to wash his hands. “I’m afraid that there is nothing I can do for him without more complex neural diagnostic equipment. The portable scanner is very nice, but it hasn’t found anything wrong with him, at least not yet. Knowing as much about the situation he was in would be helpful.”

- - -

“Huh choo-shung tza-jiao duh tzang-huo!” Jayne almost dropped the weights onto his chest as River’s head appeared soundlessly above them, looking down on him with a half smile on her face. “Gorramit, crazy girl, ya don’t need to be sneakin’ up on a man when he is doin’ somethin’ important-like.”

River continued smiling, her long hair brushing his gloved hands. “So, this is important work, is it? Attacking the muscles in your body so that the weak ones break and the strong ones get stronger? By all means, continue then.” River headed down to the infirmary, pausing to shoot Jayne another smirk before disappearing down the stairs.

She found Inara resting her head in Kaylee’s lap on the couch, and joined them, waiting for Zoe to finish telling Simon the story so they would come out.

- - -

“I only had a few friends that I could call that I knew could make it to Hera in a short time. The Sanchez brothers were only a few systems away, hiding from the Alliance on Whitefall after a poorly planned assault got most of their unit killed. Monty and half a dozen of his men were close too, as they had been trying to infiltrate an Alliance transmission monitoring station. When he heard that Mal was in trouble, they dropped everything and headed to meet with me. We snuck in a back entrance, silencing guards as we went, until we found the stairway that led down to where he was. There were six heavily armed men at the bottom of the stairway, which is where we were finally discovered. Our cover blown, we rushed in, guns blazing, taking out several more guards and a few doctors. There was one of those blue-handed men there as well, a dark haired fellow, and Monty put a couple of rounds in his leg as he ran from the room. Simon, he was fast, faster than any normal person I have ever seen or shot at. Mal was strapped down to an operating table, electrodes and probes attached to him just like he is now, only there were also physical wounds from which he was bleeding. We patched him up as best as we could, then blasted our way out the way we had come in. When we got him back to Money’s ship and had more time to examine him, Monty was furious. I had never seen him that angry before, or since. Somethin’ about messin’ with a man’s family just ain’t right.”

Simon’s eyes grew a little wider as she spoke the last few words, a confused look on his face. He thought for a minute, shaking his head, then a bit of comprehension lit up his face. “Wait, Zoe, what’s Monty’s full name?”

Zoe stared back at him, her mouth a thin line. “Montgomery Samuel Reynolds.”

- - -

River could feel the disbelief emanating from her brother within the infirmary. Inara and Kaylee had left to get some food, still weak from the attack. River knew that everyone needed food and rest, most of all herself, but she waited for her brother to finish so she could make sure he was taken care of.

River learned of Monty’s relation to their captain moments after Simon, which caused her thoughts to wander to her father. She knew he was out there in the Black, looking for them. She knew they would meet up with him eventually, but she could not see past that meeting. While she desperately yearned to see her father again, she was also wary, because he had been the one to send her to the Academy, and he had also refused to believe Simon on any of the countless times he had begged his parents for help in saving her.

Zoe and Simon left the infirmary, leaving the door open. Mal was still hooked up to the machines, which were beeping softly.

“River? How are you feeling mei-mei? Where are the others?”

“Inara and Kaylee are eating, which I think we should all do, and Jayne is trying to make himself bigger.”

Simon looked a little puzzled at the last comment, then shrugged and walked over to offer his hand. He helped her up off of the couch and the three of them headed up to the galley, Zoe maintaining a cold silence.

River poked her head into the cargo bay first, calling out “Hey, if you can take a break from your important work, the rest of us are eating.”

At the mention of food, Jayne almost dropped the weights back into place, grabbing a dirty towel as he stood up. “Lead the way, crazy girl.”

Simon had gotten used to any and all of the names that the large mercenary had come up with to call his sister. Occasionally, the creativity even made him smile, because he did not expect it from the man.

The four of them joined Inara and Kaylee in the galley, where they were almost done fixing a meal.

Kaylee turned, half smiling at Simon, and said, “We thought everyone might need a bite to eat, and it looks like we were right. How’s the Captain?”

Simon frowned, passing out bowls and chopsticks. “The same, I’m afraid. That little scanner I have doesn’t have the range I need to really figure out what is wrong with him. I hope that the facilities on Greenleaf are advanced enough to help us. Zoe, however, has managed to shed a little light on what may be wrong with him. Apparently River is not the only one of this crew that has known the torture of the blue handed men.”

Everyone turned to look at Zoe for an instant, whose eyes were focused keenly on Simon. As he continued, everyone but River turned back to look at him.

“I don’t want to make any promises, or to give anyone false hope, but as long as they have decent equipment here I am pretty optimistic about diagnosing and reversing whatever they did to him. My suggestion for everyone is to try to relax and refresh yourselves, as we have all been through an ordeal today, and I am certain that we are not out of the woods yet.”

Kaylee and Inara brought several dishes to the table, all protein in various shapes, colors, and flavors. Kaylee walked over to Simon, throwing her arms around him and planting a soft kiss on his lips before sitting down beside him and serving herself. The sounds of eating filled the pronounced silence that filled the room, each of its occupants lost deep within their own thoughts.

- - -

Mal wandered across a battlefield strewn with bodies, some clothed in purple armor, others in long brown dusters. It was quiet, dead quiet, and he didn’t like it. There was a bunker up the hill that he remembered. Slowly he climbed, time seemingly standing still. He pulled open the door to the bunker, looking inside for some sort of supplies, some food or water, something. As his eyes adjusted to the dim room, he saw that he was now in the cargo bay of Serenity. ‘This is all so very strange,’ he thought to himself, examining the empty cargo bay of his ship. He climbed the stairs, headed for the bridge.

As he passed through the doorway, the hallway to the bridge turned into Inara’s room from the training house. Things were scattered about, evidence of the fight that took place in here. Still confused, he walked out the door at the other end of the room, the sunlight outside changing into the nearly ultraviolet light of the exam room. Mal watched as the dark haired man, wearing a black suit and bright blue gloves, sliced into a person he couldn’t see on a large operating table.

As he got closer, the man turned to look at him, an evil grin spreading across his devilish face. The man returned to his ‘patient,‘ whom Mal now took a closer look at, recoiling immediately at what he had seen. A large man, his brown coat stained with dried blood and his mustache wet with sweat, lay restrained upon the table. As Mal looked at the once jovial face, his mouth opened in a silent scream.


- - - - -

pt 14

- - - - -

Translations ( from ):

huh choo-shung tza-jiao duh tzang-huo – filthy fornicators of livestock

mei-mei – little sister


Friday, June 9, 2006 8:07 AM


fornicators of livestock... hehe that's a great jayne line if ever one was invented!!!

Liked the idea of monty bein' his daddy. excited to see where this is going. Make sense he's calling him monty though since we know mal wasn't raised by his daddy.

Keep going (and use adjectives)

Friday, June 9, 2006 8:16 AM


RAWR @ my comp for logging me out.

Friday, June 9, 2006 8:43 AM


Penny for the smart lady. ;)

Friday, June 9, 2006 9:13 AM


You know, of course, I'm going to pick out the part where Kaylee throws her arms around Simon and kisses him. No reaction? Awww!

Twists and turns in the plot here are interesting and Monty as Mal's brother? Well, I didn't see that coming.

Friday, June 9, 2006 9:38 AM


Here is the inspiration for the brother connection:

Check the character name for Monty near the bottom.

Friday, June 9, 2006 5:25 PM


*gasp* it does say monty reynolds!!! holy jumping cow batman!!!

(yay i get a penny)

Saturday, June 10, 2006 9:14 PM


Oh...boy....this is some mighty nutty stuff you have going here, River....Goddess! Always wondered if there wasn't more to Mal's psych issues over the Battle of Serenity Valley:(

Please! Post more soon!


Friday, June 23, 2006 9:17 PM


One of my fave line, although there were many: “Seven hours, forty-two minutes, and 19 seconds until we land.” River stated bluntly, knowing precisely what her brother was going to ask. She gave Mal another look as she headed up to the bridge, turning to say “He is sad, thinks he has lost everything that is his world.”--yep, he would think that.

(Jayne)He paced more, pounding one hand into the other in frustration at not being able to do anything to help.--Perfectly Jayne.

Excellent description of weight-work: "Attacking the muscles in your body so that the weak ones break and the strong ones get stronger?"--then later: "Jayne is trying to make himself bigger.” River, you make River talk just like she should; pithy and intelligent at once.

Zoe's telling of the rescue of Mal by Monty, masterful. It read just like Zoe would tell it. And I very much liked how you intro'd us to Monty as Mal's relation. Wondered exactly how you'd play that. It worked perfectly.

Finally, Mal's dream sequence was descriptive and thought-provoking. Nice cliff-hangerness. You've got a talent for it, for the making us wait and wonder. Good on ya. Now on to the next part, for me.


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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.