Possibilities - Part V
Sunday, January 21, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. Serenity is speeding to the Tams' aid ... but will they get there in time? Let me know, please, what you think!


The air was getting bad in the shelter, and Simon could feel the effects starting to take their toll. He glanced across at Andrew, noting the greyness of his skin, the tension in the muscles around his eyes.

“Simon?” Kaylee said softly but agitated. “Bethany ain’t breathing right.”

That decided it. “I have to open the doors,” he said quietly. “If the Reavers aren’t gone …”

Andrew nodded. “We all know you have to, son.”

Simon smiled just a little, then stepped to the door. Sliding the bolts back as silently as possible, he took a deep breath of corrupted air and pushed the door open. ---

“How long?” Mal asked, pausing only a moment in his pacing.

“Three hours,” Hank said, gripping the controls as if he could make Serenity go faster just by using brute force.

“Sir, why don’t you go check on Freya?” Zoe suggested. “There’s nothing we can do for the moment.”

He nodded, thankful that they’d finally managed to persuade her to go to the infirmary and lie down. “Let me know if …”

“Mal, if we see Reavers, you’ll hear me screaming,” Hank said with no trace of levity in his voice.

Serenity’s captain didn’t comment, just hurried down to the lower deck. He paused at the doorway to the infirmary, seeing his wife curled up on the medbed, her head pulled in as low as she could.

“Frey?” he whispered, afraid to wake her if she’d managed to doze.

“Mal,” Freya murmured, and he was by her side.

“Honey? How’re you feeling?”

“How long?”

“To Corvus?” When she nodded he went on, “About three hours.” He put his hand under her head, turning her to look at him, feeling her trembling. “Can you feel them?”

She shook her head. “I can’t. The Naxom …”

“Frey, you heard River. From a helluva long way.” He put the back of his hand on her forehead – too hot and dry.

“She was screaming!”

“I know,” he said soothingly, not wanting to put any more strain on her. “We’ll be there as soon as we can.”

“I don’t know if it’s soon enough …” ---

He stepped out, tasting smoke in the air, listening hard. There were low moans, some screaming from a distance, but no sound of a ship’s engine, contained core or not. He moved forward, into the open, and looked around.

Not for the first time he wished he knew how to swear properly.

“Oh, no …” Kaylee said next to him.

“Get back inside!” he said savagely, pushing her away, back towards the shelter.

“No,” Kaylee moaned. “We have to help them.”

“We will. Please, Kaylee, look to Bethany.” His voice was anguished, not wanting her to see, but knowing the sight was going to stay with her for the rest of her life.

“Simon, your sister’s coming round …Tzao gao,” Andrew breathed, staring out at the town he’d lived in for so long, at the people he’d helped, saved, brought into the world … and now lay ripped from it or dying.

Simon turned to Kaylee. “All right.” He put his hands on her shoulders, making her look at him. “Kaylee. Listen to me. We’ll help them. But I need you to take care of Bethany first. Can you do that?”

She was trembling violently, but nodded. “I’ll get someone to look after her, then we’ll … we’ll start looking.”

“Looking?” Andrew said, dragging his eyes from the burning buildings, the bodies …

“For those that are still alive …”

“Good.” Simon didn’t want her near them, not with what he knew the Reavers must have done to them, but this was Kaylee. She wasn't going to hide somewhere until someone else made the badness go away. Not if she could do something about it. He admired the steel inside that slight frame, and nodded.

Andrew was ashamed that a girl like this could have more courage than him. He pulled himself up to his full height and said, “I’ll check out the surgery. See what they did. We need somewhere as a triage, and …”

Simon squeezed the old man’s shoulder. “What about a mortuary?”

Andrew glanced at the barn, the doors standing wide. “Use that. Got no horses any more.”

“I let them out,” River said behind him, coming up like a ghost. “They ran to the hills.”

The old doctor seemed to take comfort in that. “Thanks. Hated to think of them …” He shuddered. “But most folks, if they’re alive, will want to deal with their own family.” He looked into Simon’s eyes, his own filled with unshed tears. “This was my home,” he said softly.

“I know,” the young man said. “Let’s get to work.” ---

Hank held Serenity in a hover. “Oh, dear Lord,” he whispered.

Zoe, behind him, grasped his shoulder, digging her fingers in, but he didn’t even notice.

Jayne gripped his guns. “Wuh de mah,” he said, his mouth dry.

“Kaylee,” Inara muttered, her hands clenched in front of her.

Below them, houses were burning, and bodies lay scattered about. Some were intact, some … not. People were staring up at the Firefly, faces black with shock, or running towards their homes, afraid the Reavers had come back.

Swallowing hard, Mal pointed. “There. The shuttle.”

“I see it,” Hank replied, licking his lips and moving Serenity over the carnage below. ---

Simon had set up a makeshift hospital in the courthouse, the only building relatively unscathed, to deal with those injuries he could. Andrew had brought what little he could find from the remains of his surgery and was with him, Kaylee helping as much as possible, no tears left to cry between them. River was dealing efficiently with some burns when she looked up.

Mei-mei?” Simon asked, listening, stopping in his stitching. “What is it?”


His face relaxed just a little. “We need supplies,” he said, and she ran outside.

The sound of the Firefly overhead was almost comforting. ---

“River?” Jayne asked, heading down the ramp, Vera primed and ready. “You okay?”

She nodded, pleased beyond measure that he used her name, didn‘t call her moonbrain. “Shiny.”

“Only you got blood on your dress.”

“It isn’t mine.” She looked up to see Mal and Zoe striding towards her. “Thank you,” she said, smiling tiredly.

“You can thank Freya. You were shouting so loud she heard you.” Mal stepped down onto the ground. “What do you need?”


Mal nodded. “Then we’d better get it.”

“Can I help?” Inara asked, looking towards her shuttle, noting the open door, but afraid to even consider going inside yet.

“I think we need all the help we can get,” River said, sounding so lost that Inara took her into her arms and hugged her. ---

Simon finished slathing the boy’s back where the Reavers had stripped his skin with antibiotic ointment, then stood up, stretching the ache in his spine. The boy, no more than fourteen, hadn’t made a sound throughout the procedure, even as Simon had sutured other, more terrible wounds on his body, and he lay still, his face pillowed on his arms, no expression in his eyes.

Simon looked up into Andrew’s face and shrugged, walking over to the table to wash his hands.

“He won’t make it, will he?” Andrew asked in a low voice, following him.

“Probably not.” Simon glanced back. “The human body is very resilient, but … too much trauma. And not just physical.”

“Yet you still tried to help.”

“I have to.”

Andrew sighed and leaned against the table. “I brought him into this world. His momma was having a tough time of it and they called me in. Took a while but we saved them both.”

“Where is she now?” Simon asked, even though he was sure what the answer might be.

“I think she must have attacked them, distracted them so they’d leave her son alone.” Andrew looked out of the door. “Nothing much left of her now. I wouldn’t have known it was her except for the ring on her finger. I gave it to her.” His face was ashen.

“I’m sorry.” It was such a pointless thing to say, but there was little that would make any difference now. “He might make it.”


Mal strode through the door, a large crate in his arms, Inara behind him. “Where’d you want it, doc?”


Mal put the box on the floor. “River said you’re all okay?” He glanced over at Kaylee, who ran into the Companion’s arms.

Simon nodded. “We’re alive. River took Bethany and a lot of the children into the church, got someone to watch them … but someone needs to check on them, make sure there’s none who need medical help while we …” He couldn’t finish.

“I’ll do that,” Inara said quickly.

“What can we do?” When the young man didn’t answer, Mal put his hand on his arm. “Simon, we’re here,” he said quietly.

The young doctor nodded, intensely glad at the physical contact. “Can you organise … I don’t think the townspeople are capable yet, but we need to clean up.”

Mal nodded, his own colour pale. “We can do that.”

“Anyone you find still alive, bring them to me, the rest … well, if they’ve got family I suppose quick funerals would be best, but otherwise …”

“You got it, doctor.”

Inara went to follow Mal out but Simon called her back. “It … Inara, it isn’t pretty out there.”

“I know. I've already seen. But they’re people who need our help,” she said softly, her strength showing through. ---

Hank watched as Zoe knelt by the girl, stroking the remaining long blonde hair from her face even as the knife in her hand ended her. There was barely a sigh.

“So tiny …” he said, the words catching in his throat. “Why’d they do that?”

“No reason.” Zoe closed the girl’s eyes and stood up. “A game.”

“They did this for sport?” He was appalled.

“You ain’t never seen Reavers close up, have you?” Zoe asked, looking into his nauseated face. “What they leave behind.”

He shook his head. “I’ve … no.”

“You were lucky. This isn’t their fault. Not really.” She stood close to him. “The Pax did this to them.”

“I saw the wave. Everyone did. But I ain’t never seen …” He couldn’t take his eyes off the little figure on the floor, broken and torn like a rag doll with its stuffing hanging out.

“I had to, Hank,” she said softly. “She was dying. I couldn’t let her suffer –”

“I know. It was a piece of mercy.” Still he couldn’t look away.

“Hank …” She moved in front of him, breaking his gaze. “Come on. There may be others we can help.”

He nodded, turning to leave the house and the blood behind him, trying in vain to control his tears. ---

Freya stepped down the ramp, her hands crossed protectively over her swelling belly. In the distance she could see the burning houses, the flames being allowed to destroy the signs of the Reavers. Closer were graves being dug by those townspeople capable of rational thought for any they could identify, and a larger hole for the ones they couldn’t.

Mal, carrying a body shrouded in a blanket on a stretcher, Jayne holding the other end, looked up. “Go back,” he called angrily. “You ain’t to be here.”

“I need to help."

“Frey –”

“I have to.”

He glanced over his shoulder at Jayne, who shrugged. “The children are in the church,” he said finally, looking back at her. “Inara’s with them but I think she might be more use with Simon. Can you make sure they’re … occupied?”

She nodded and walked off, her face pale.

“Ain’t right she sees this,” Jayne said. “Not in her condition.”

“She’s seen worse.”

“That ain’t anything to commend it.”

“I know. But she’s Freya.”

“Yeah.” The big man sighed. “Still ain’t right.”

Mal didn’t respond, just carried on towards the waiting burial party. ---

Freya stepped into the coolness of the church, and heard the soft crying of children who didn’t know what was going on.

“Freya?” Inara’s voice had her looking into the darkness, seeing her friend huddled against the wall with a dozen children around her, the young woman who’d been told to watch them sitting in the corner staring into nothing.

She hurried over. “Are you okay?” she asked, lowering herself onto the bench as close as possible. One of the children who had been unable to touch the Companion moved over, clasping her arms around Freya’s burgeoning waist.

“Should you be here?” Inara stroked a boy’s head. “With all the radiation, other things …” She glanced down, not wanting to finish.

“Hank checked. There’s not enough to be a threat. They’ve been gone long enough.” Freya felt the girl tighten her grip. “It’s okay, sweetie.”

“They said …” Inara swallowed. “The children said there’s some missing.” Her face was strained.


“People. Other children.” She stifled a sob. “Oh, Freya …”

“You go and help Simon. I’ll stay here with the children.”

Inara sniffed and lifted her head. “Are you sure?”

“He needs you.”

She nodded and stood up, the children around her moving like a tide to Freya. “If you need me …”

Freya smiled just a little. “We’ll be fine.”

Inara walked towards the door, glancing back at the group, and feeling such sorrow at the way their lives were going to be from now on.

to be concluded


Sunday, January 21, 2007 2:26 AM


As terrible as things are I am also amazed that the Reavers left anybody alive! Were they disturbed in their feeding frenzy or is there some other motive? Good to see everybody back together again but waiting for the other shoe to drop. Ali D
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, January 21, 2007 6:29 AM


I take it that those shelters were enough to keep 'em out, ya? Otherwise... otherwise they got enough for now. But that means they'll come back, eventually. Can only help they get release, ya?


Sunday, January 21, 2007 7:00 AM


Yeah for Serenity and the strength of her crew.

So sad for all those poor people. :(

(Impatiently!) awaiting the conclusion.

Sunday, January 21, 2007 7:47 PM


Amazing show of strength. And I don't think anyone is surprised that it's the women of Serenity who are really showing their mettle.

You go girls!

Monday, January 22, 2007 2:35 AM


Words fail me right now, Jane0904...I don't think I can properly describe just how brilliantly written this was. The level of skill evident here? Simply awe-inspiring:D

Really gotta give you props though for how you're having the female BDHs handle this situation. Moments like Zoe's almost fervent begging for assurance she did the right thing by easing the poor girl's suffering and Freya putting strain on a fragile pregnancy to at least make an attempt at giving the surviving children a step towards being able to grieve and start dealing with that they witnessed...



You must log in to post comments.



Now and Then - a Christmas story
“Then do you have a better suggestion? No, let me rephrase that. Do you have a more sensible suggestion that doesn’t involve us getting lost and freezing to death?”

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little standalone festive tale that kind of fits into where I am in the Maya timeline, but works outside too. Enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Epilogue
"I honestly don’t know if my pilot wants to go around with flowers and curlicues carved into his leg.”
[Maya. Post-BDM. The end of the story, and the beginning of the last ...]

Monied Individual - Part XX
Mal took a deep breath, allowing it out slowly through his nostrils, and now his next words were the honest truth. “Ain’t surprised. No matter how good you are, and I’m not complaining, I’ve seen enough battle wounds, had to help out at the odd amputation on occasion. And I don’t have to be a doc myself to tell his leg ain’t quite the colour it should be, even taking into account his usual pasty complexion. What you did … didn’t work, did it?”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Simon has no choice, and Luke comes around.]

Monied Individual - Part XIX
“His name’s Jayne?”

“What’s wrong with that?” the ex-mercenary demanded from the doorway.

“Nothing, nothing! I just … I don’t think I’ve ever met a man … anyone else by that name.”

“Yeah, he’s a mystery to all of us,” Mal said. “Even his wife.”

[Maya. Post-BDM. Hank's not out of the woods yet, and Mal has a conversation. Enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Part XVIII
Jayne had told him a story once, about being on the hunt for someone who owed him something or other. He’d waited for his target for three hours in four inches of slush as the temperature dropped, and had grinned when he’d admitted to Hank that he’d had to break his feet free from the ice when he’d finished.
[Maya. Post-BDM. The Fosters show their true colours, Jayne attempts a rescue, and the others may be too late.]

Snow at Christmas
She’d seen his memories of his Ma, the Christmases when he was a boy on Shadow, even a faint echo of one before his Pa died, all still there, not diminished by his burning, glowing celebrations of now with Freya.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A seasonal one-off - enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Part XVII
Jayne hadn’t waited, but planted a foot by the lock. The door was old, the wood solid, but little could stand against a determined Cobb boot with his full weight behind it. It burst open.

[Maya. Post-BDM. The search for Hank continues. Read, enjoy, review!]

Monied Individual - Part XVI
He slammed the door behind him, making the plates rattle on the sideboard. “It’s okay, girl, I ain't gonna hurt you.” The cook, as tradition dictated, plump and rosy cheeked with her arms covered to the elbows in flour, but with a gypsy voluptuousness, picked up a rolling pin.

[Maya. Post-BDM. Kaylee finds the problem with Serenity, and Jayne starts his quest. Read, enjoy, review!]

Monied Individual - Part XV
“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]

“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]