Sailing Beyond the Sunset, pt 14
Thursday, June 15, 2006

Mal is seen by the doctor and hope for his return is restored.


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,pt 13

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.

- - - - -

River landed Serenity on Greenleaf at the precise instant that she claimed she would. Simon and Zoe had already moved Mal to Inara’s shuttle and had separated a few minutes after breaking atmo. Jayne and Kaylee were staying with River on the ship, seeing as nothing ever went according to the plan, even something simple like taking the Captain to a hospital.

Jayne was happy to be on the ship and not headed to the hospital. Something about sterile rooms and doctors and needles just gave him an uncomfortableness. Still, he was a little worried about Mal, though he still wouldn’t admit it to anyone. He hung his towel over the grating above him and sat down on the weight bench, his thoughts straying to the images he had seen that were still fresh and vivid in his mind. Shaking his head to try and clear it, he lay back and lifted the bar above his head.

Kaylee was already in the engine room, looking for something to fix. She knew the secondary grav boot had some loose wires, and there were cooling units that needed some attention. She was really just trying to keep her mind occupied, both to keep out the horrible images she had seen during the attack and to keep her from worrying about Mal and whether he would be ok.

River sat on the bridge, her thoughts focused on Mal and her brother, trying to avoid the images that kept surfacing there. She busied herself with the Cortex screen, reading and memorizing everything about Greenleaf and all of the planets in the surrounding systems. Her brain wandered back to the thoughts during the attack, to thoughts before it of Book and this strange revelation of his that she still didn’t fully understand. As she learned about the annual rainfall and chief exports of the little planet they were on, more thoughts filled her brain, this time being images of family, though it was not only hers.

- - -

Gates had waited for Grace in the cargo bay, pacing the length of it more times than he could count. She was more than 3 hours late, and the ship was taking off soon. He didn’t know what he would do if she didn’t return, because finding her on this planet would not be easy at all. He hated to admit it, but he really was lost without here out here. His thoughts strayed to his wife for a moment. Regan could be such a bitch sometimes. First, she didn’t believe him that he and Anna were only working on getting the kids back. She had assumed from the beginning that he was having an affair. She also hadn’t believed that he could get the children back. To her mind, they were gone, with no chance of coming back. Regan had kept to her highly social lifestyle, attending and hosting fancy dinner parties, and making up stories as to the Tam children’s whereabouts and activities. Any day now a wave would find him, a note from her telling him that it was over. Being honest with himself, he was pretty sure that would be for the better anyhow. He was dedicated to finding his children and making everything right, and was willing to use his entire personal fortune to do so. He knew that she would be ok, the social expectations she was born into keeping her busy until the end of her days.

Gates was so lost in thought that he didn’t notice that Grace had come up behind him until her arms wrapped around his waist. Surprised at the physical contact, he jumped, letting out a soft yelp of surprise.

“Hey there, I figured you were a little worried about me.”

“Well, yeah, I have had an interesting day, and I was hoping that you hadn’t run into any trouble. Don’t know what I would do out here in the Black without you.”

She smiled, turning him around to face her. How had this swai man ended up with that witch Regan anyhow?

“I found some good intel, and I would have been back here on time except I thought I was being followed. I spent several hours making sure that I had lost the guy. “

“Well, what did you find out?”

“Serenity, the ship I think Simon and River are on, was listed as heading for Greenleaf a few days ago, which is where Monty is headed now. I think that Andrew guy is headed there. Anyhow, we should be lifting off soon, and hopefully we can either catch up with them there or find a trail that is still pretty warm.”

Gates looked down at Grace, thinking she was quite an amazing woman as Monty’s deep voice rang out over the comm. “All aboard, this War Horse is bound for Greenleaf.”

Moments later, the cargo bay door began to close, and soon after that the planet of Persephone was only a speck in the distance.

- - -

The shuttle came to a rest on one of many landing pads on top of the main hospital in the capitol city of New Venice. Inara was the first to exit, her features a perfect mask of poise and grace. Simon and Zoe followed, carrying Mal on the metal stretcher from Serenity’s infirmary. There were already a couple of orderlies waiting for them with a gurney and some basic monitoring equipment. Simon and Zoe lifted Mal’s unconscious body onto the waiting gurney, taking the halves of the stretcher away. Zoe returned the pieces to the shuttle as the group headed inside, traveling quickly but not hurrying.

They reached a psychiatric ward, taking Mal inside. Simon offered an unspoken thanks to whatever gods there might be out there that they didn’t want Identicards from all of them, which he suspected was Inara’s doing. Though the warrants for his and River’s arrest had been rescinded, he was sure that the blue handed men worked for a still-functioning shard of the government, which meant they had the resources to keep tabs on any hits relating to the crew of Serenity. Simon knew that he had brought yet another danger down on the people he now considered his family, which saddened him. He silently resolved to do whatever it took to make it right.

They reached the room that was to be Mal’s, following him inside. Simon looked around at the equipment, thankful that the attack had at least happened near a very civilized and modern planet. Once Mal was transferred to the bed, and the diagnostic equipment was starting to be attached, Inara excused herself and left the room. Zoe and Simon glanced at each other, quizzical looks upon both of their faces.

Moments after Inara left the room, an older doctor in the standard white lab coat of his profession entered the room. He had dark hair that was graying, work thin glasses, and walked with a little bit of a limp. Seeing the orderlies finishing with the connection of their equipment, he immediately looked from Simon to Zoe, a scowl on his face.

“Who are you, and what are you doing here?” He asked impatiently, focusing on Simon to keep from having to look at the imposing warrior woman.

“I am Dr. Simon Tam,” Simon stated, slipping into a professional tone that had all but vanished from his mind. “This man is my patient, my Captain, and also...” he paused for a second before continuing, “ friend.”

He looked at Zoe, giving her a slight smile, which was returned in part by a slight upturning of her own lips. The doctor turned to look at Zoe, opened his mouth to inquire as to her identity, then hastily closed it as he thought better of the plan.

“Tell me your prognosis, doctor.”

“Our ship was attacked, though it was a psychic attack, not a physical one.” He saw the older doctor’s eyes widen at the mention of the nature of the attack, but he said nothing. “We think they triggered something in him from a previous experience, one that involved something that was done to him as torture when he was captured by the Alliance after the Battle of Serenity Valley.” At the mention of the battle, Zoe visibly cringed very slightly, and the doctor let out an audible gasp.

“Well, Dr. Tam, I will do anything I can to help your friend here. Any Browncoat in need of help, especially if he was in that horrible conflict, will have as much help as I can provide. Let’s get to work. By the way, my name is Dr. Stephen Fawkes, but feel free to call me Steve.”

As the doctor spoke, Zoe visibly relaxed a great deal, though she still looked ready for action. He and Simon began testing and probing Mal’s mind, trying to figure out what was buried there that could have caused such a reaction.

- - -

Mal was riding a black horse, cowboy hat upon his head as he rode across the dusty plains of Shadow. He took his hat off, letting the wind run through his hair as he looked out at the horizon and the setting sun. If only life could be this way every day, he thought to himself. Suddenly he was sitting in the mule, hightailing it out of town as the Reaver ship closed on them. Mal was telling Zoe to make the mule move faster while drawing his sidearm, when sudden comprehension dawned upon his face. He had been here before. He had the slight feeling of deja vu as he fired off a round toward the ship, only to see it connect with the forehead of Lawrence, the fed that had somehow escaped and was holding the frightened little girl at gunpoint. He and Jayne quickly tossed the lifeless body into the dust of Whitefall, happy to be rid of another hurdle.

Mal stopped, remembering this little scene as well. ‘What is going on with me? I have been to all of these places before, well, most of them. Why did I see Monty on that operating table, and why am I reliving all of these past moments?’ The cargo bay faded into a dull grey, a seemingly endless limbo through which Mal was floating. His last thought before it all faded to black again was, ‘Most importantly, how do I get out of here?’

- - -

“Tai-kong suo-yo duh shing-chiou sai-jin wuh duh pee-goo!” Simon exclaimed after looking at the results of several scans of Mal’s brain. “They cut into him, just like with River.” Dr. Fawkes peered over at the scans, nodding in acceptance at the conclusion Simon had come to.

“It looks like their intent was to increase his reflexes, to reduce his response time to stimuli. It would seem to me, given the setting in which this took place, that the Alliance was trying to make him into some sort of super-soldier. How they planned to turn him to their gorram side, I cannot even begin to imagine, but I know they have their ways. The trigger that was activated by the attack must have been implanted to make sure they could control him if he ever got out of order or tried to double-cross them.”

“I think we could bring him out of it if we could get certain neural synapses to fire off, I am just not sure which ones,” Simon proclaimed, frustrated. “I am trained as a trauma surgeon, but I am not as familiar with the inner workings of the brain, at least not enough to help him.”

“It’s a good thing you came to me then,” said Dr. Fawkes said hopefully. “I have studied the brain pretty much exclusively for 30 years, both the physical workings and the physiological paths that control our everyday actions. I think I can help him Simon, but I will need your help and steady hand, as this will take all sorts of skill and precision from both of us.”

Zoe had been standing silently in a corner of the room, hardly even moving in the past half hour. As Dr. Fawkes was trying to form hypothesis as to why this had been done to Mal, she slowly moved closer, momentarily peering at the scans that made perfect sense to the doctors but were nothing more than pretty colors to her eyes. She looked down at Mal, still unconscious on the table, and spoke so softly that the men barely heard her.

“Captain, come back to us. You know we are lost in the woods without you.”

- - -

River sat on the bridge, still idly playing with the Cortex controls. She had been over every bit of information she could find about these planets twice, having memorized them the first time through. She wandered off to the cargo bay, setting the nav computer to alert her when the ship she was expecting got into range. It may not happen for a few more days, she figured, but it never hurt to be prepared.

She could sense Mal trying to escape his mental prison. She knew that Simon and the other doctor would help him, but she was still worried. Something in the back of her mind told her that things were going to get much much worse for everyone aboard the little mid-bulk transport.

As she crept around the corner from the infirmary, sneaking up on Jayne, a piercing pain shot through her head, causing her to grab at her temples as her body slumped to the floor. Her mouth was open in a silent scream as she saw images of blue handed men dragging her away, her father and half of the crew already dead on the cold metal floor.

- - - - -

pt 15

- - - - -

Translations ( from ):

swai – cute/handsome

tai-kong suo-yo duh shing-chiou sai-jin wuh duh pee-goo – all the planets in space flushed into my butt


Thursday, June 15, 2006 7:01 AM


OH NO!!! everyone's going to die! Come back Simon, come back Simon's sister!!!

I don't know what to say River! you've stunned me into speechlessnes... just *sniff* don't let them die

Thursday, June 15, 2006 7:19 AM


Yowzers, you can't let them blue handed men get River! And the crew can't die, they just... CAN'T! Gulp. Hanging on by my fingernails now, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, June 15, 2006 7:39 AM


ooooh - Mal an escaped super-soldier? Interesting turn of events. Fun! Looking forward to seeing where it goes!

Thursday, June 15, 2006 9:26 AM


Me-oh-my "other river"....gave you a 10 for your story line, but hope you will consider writing your fics more from each characters point of view...that's just my pref., & that means almost nothing!

'Course, I will tune in next week to see what's next...better be ready! :)

Thursday, June 15, 2006 9:27 AM


Me-oh-my "other river"....gave you a 10 for your story line, but hope you will consider writing your fics more from each characters point of view...that's just my pref., & that means almost nothing!

'Course, I will tune in next week to see what's next...better be ready! :)

Friday, June 23, 2006 9:29 PM


So this whole tale gets better and better, I'm liking it more each chapter I read.

Gates' telling of Regan's lifestyle and future prospects, both his and hers, was very realistic, well told.

Good line here; quite Simon-like: “I am Dr. Simon Tam,” Simon stated, slipping into a professional tone that had all but vanished from his mind." The whole paragraph there is excellent.

LOFreakin'L @ the long Mandarin cursin'. One of the best yet! Keep writing, and thank ya for all the goodness.


You must log in to post comments.



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.