Possibilities - Part VI
Sunday, January 21, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. The conclusion. The Reavers are gone, but there's still questions to be answered. Please leave feedback and ratings - I love to know what you think! Oh, and fluff coming up ...


It was dark by the time the last of the bodies had been interred, and the only light was from the still smouldering houses. Those adults who were still alive came and claimed their children from the church, tears flowing when they found loved ones, and even more when they realised there were others who would never be seen again. Those that could took the children with no kin left, until Freya was sitting on her own in the dark building.

That was where Mal found her.


She looked up, seeing his silhouette, unable to make out any features. “They were so small,” she whispered. “So helpless.”

He crossed the darkness and went down onto his heels next to her. “I don’t know what to say to you to make it better,” he admitted, his heart paining him at the hurting in her voice. “I wish I could. I wish I could tell you this’ll never happen again, that no-one else’ll feel this loss, but I can’t.”

She nodded, needing to see his face but only picking up the fact that he was there. She leaned towards him, smelling his scent, trying to ignore the added layers of blood and smoke. “I want to go home,” she said, her voice so quiet it was little more than a sigh. “Is that terrible of me? Shouldn’t I want to stay here and help?”

“You did help,” he said firmly, not recognising this woman but knowing it was his Freya. “Ai ren, you did.”

“Not like you. Not with the collecting and the burying …”

He took hold of her arms, almost wanting to shake some sense into her. “You helped. There wasn't anything more you could have done.” He pulled her into his arms, feeling her trembling against him.

“Mal …” She cried silently. “All those children …” ---

Inara couldn’t. She stood outside her shuttle, afraid. Afraid of her own home.

“There ain't nothing in there,” Jayne said, walking up behind her. “Nothing for you to fear coming across.”

“Did they …” She swallowed.

“They ripped it up,” he acknowledged. “But no-one died in there, not that I could see.”

Inara nodded. “Thank you.” But still she couldn’t make herself go in.

“You want me to get Hank to park it back on Serenity for you?” the big man asked, understanding.

“I …” She nodded. She’d used up all her strength in helping Simon try to save those people, and she’d none left to deal with this. “Please.”

“Sure.” He turned to go but added, “’Nara, I'm more scared of Reavers than anything, but I ain't gonna let them rule my life.” He vanished into the darkness leaving her feeling ashamed. ---

“Andrew …”

The older man looked at him, and slowly nodded his grey head. “I know. You’re not staying.”

Simon sat down on the bench next to him and looked at the rising sun. “I always thought Serenity was nothing but a way-station for me and River,” he said softly. “Then I fell in love with the one person on board who’d never leave. Aside from the captain.” He paused for a moment then went on, “When things happened, people got hurt, I began to think we weren’t safe, that there was somewhere better to bring up my family.”

“Then I called.”

“That you did.” Simon half-smiled. “And it was tempting. To be a doctor to a whole town rather than just a handful of people. Less bullet wounds and more bee stings.”

“Very tempting.”

“Only I wasn’t taking into account my wife.” He looked up into the sky. “Or the Reavers.”

“No.” Andrew sighed. “We built shelters after Lilac, knowing that if they hit there, they might come here. But so many didn’t make it inside …”

“A lot did.”

“Not enough.”

“I’ll stay for as long as you need help with this, and Mal’s going to bring anything you need from off-planet, but I'm going home.” Simon spoke softly.

Andrew patted his thigh. “I think you should. But you needn’t stay. I can look after those that are left.”

“Are you sure?”

“I've been doing it for a while now. And there’re others who’ll help out.” He smiled tiredly. “I think your family needs you.” They sat companionably for a moment, then the older man roused himself, asking, “What did she mean? Your sister? About them hearing her? Is she psychic?”

Simon didn’t answer for a heartbeat, then said, “Yes,” he admitted finally. “I think she always was, but the Academy … when they did what they did … she’s a Reader.”

“Ah. I thought as much.”

“They want her back, Andrew. Always have, and not just over what she knew about Miranda. That’s why you can’t tell anyone. Not even our father.”

“I won’t, Simon. No-one would listen to an old man like me anyway, like they never did about the Reavers.”

Simon stared at him. “What do you mean?”

“There’s something I think perhaps you ought to know before you leave …” ---

Freya was laying on her bunk, facing the bulkhead, her legs drawn up.

“Are you asleep?” Mal asked quietly.


He moved across and sat by her. “We’ve taken off,” he said, stroking her shoulder.

“I know.”

“Are you okay?”


His heart missed a beat. “Do you want me to get Simon?”

“Not that kind of not okay.”

“Anything I can help you with?” he asked softly.

“Not really.” She turned over to look at him, and he was at least glad to see she wasn’t crying. “I keep seeing it.”

“I think we all do.”

She tried to sit up and he helped her. “No, not that. Not just that,” she clarified.

“Then what?”

“There’s … but I …” She shook her head, trying to get her thoughts into a semblance of order. “It doesn’t make sense.”

“I think you’re picking up on something,” he said, putting his hand on her cheek. “You heard River, and none of the rest of us did. You can claim the Naxom’s still working, but you and me both … we know that ain't quite the truth any longer. Don’t we?”

She gazed at him, his blue eyes gentle, loving, accepting. “I’ve been working with River a lot lately, trying to show her how to … maybe something‘s changed,” she admitted. “A little.” She paused. “Would you mind?”

“Frey, your abilities … they were a part of you before, and they still are, even if for the most part they’re hidden. But, in answer to you question, no, I wouldn’t mind. Just so long as you don’t go around reading my mind all the time. There’s stuff in there I wouldn’t want you to know about.”

She smiled just a little. “You do realise that makes it all the more tempting.”

“Just control yourself.” He leaned forward, pushing her hair behind her ear. “So what’re you picking up on?” he asked softly.

She shivered. “Satisfaction.”

“What?” A feeling like ice slipped through his veins.

“Something … someone … is satisfied with Corvus.” She stared at him. “God, Mal, they’re happy about it.”

“Happy? About what the Reavers did? Frey, that‘s ….”

“I’m just telling you what I feel. Maybe River can -”

“No. She’s been through enough.” He drew her into his arms. “Whatever this is, It ain't anyone on this boat, couldn’t be, not with what we saw.”

“No. This is further. Just a taste …” She shuddered in his embrace.

He pulled back enough to look into her face. “Frey, control it. Block it out. You can.” He tried to make her feel what he was saying. “Use me if you have to.”

Her lips twitched. “Don’t you think I use you enough?”

“Never,” he said gallantly, and smiled slightly. “And I'm not asking for anything more.”

“You’re quite a man, Mal.”

“And you’re my wife.” He watched her eyes, saw the effort she made, the effect it had, and felt her relax a little. “See?” he added. “You’re stronger than that.”

“Just keep telling me.”

“Come on. Simon wants to talk to all of us.”

“What about?”

“Well, I thought it was because he’d decided to stay, at least from what Kaylee was saying, but I have the feeling it’s something else now.” ---

River and Kaylee weren’t there, but it didn’t stop the discussion.

“Reavers ain’t men,” Jayne said emphatically.

“They are,” Simon said. “You know that.”

“It don’t make no difference they come from Miranda. What they do … what they did … they ain't men. Not for a long time.”

“Jayne,” Mal said quietly, and the big man settled down, grumbling to himself. “Go on, doctor.”

“We know why they became what they did,” Simon said. “But I think there’s more. I think they’re connected – mentally.”

“Are you suggesting they’re all psychic?” Inara asked, disbelieving.

“I believe so. To some degree or other.” Simon looked at them all, their faces appalled. “Haven’t you ever known you were going to see an old friend, even though you believed he was off-world?”

“Well –”

“Or didn’t do something because you just knew it was going to go wrong?”

“I think I see where you’re going with this,” Mal said slowly, looking at his wife, noting her pale face.

“We all have them – psychic flashes. But by extension there are those individuals who sit between us and the powerful psychics like River and Freya.”

“And you think they became the Reavers?”

“We saw what happened with Grace, when she had her abilities turned on, the almost overwhelming nature of it. Suppose that was multiplied a thousand times, a million …”

“You’d go crazy,” Hank said softly.

“And you think that’s why they became the Reavers,” Mal finished.

Simon nodded. “Less than one tenth of one percent, Mal, that’s what she said on Miranda. That’s about right for the kind of psychic ability I’m talking about.”

“That’s twisted, doctor,” Zoe said.

“River felt them. She heard them, and knew they were listening.” He still saw the agonised look in her eyes as she injected the hypo into her own neck. “She thought they would come for her.”

“They took some of the people,” Inara said, hugging herself where she sat.

Hank shuddered. “Food.”

“Maybe,” Simon granted. “But maybe they were the ones like them.”

“Psychics?” Mal asked sharply.


“To do what with them?” Hank asked, but afraid of the answer.

“I can only speculate, but –”

“To convert them,” Mal said.


“You think the Alliance know about this?”

“I don’t know for sure. I’ve just put a few pieces together. But Andrew …”

“Andrew?” Mal prompted. “What would he know about this?”

“He wasn't always a rim doctor, Mal. He worked for a while on developing –“

“You saying he created this Pax?” He felt rage building inside him.

“No,” Simon said quickly. “But he knew about it. Worried about it. He looked at the results they were getting, and tried to warn them. It’s … one of the reasons he left the Core.”

“They wouldn’t listen,” Zoe said softly.

“I think it’s worse than that.”

“Worse?” Mal asked sharply.

“I think it explains why they haven’t gone in and destroyed them.”

“What do you mean, Simon?” Inara asked for them all.

“If they can find a way of controlling them, imagine the kind of fighting force it would be. And just maybe they knew what the Pax would do, and still used it, just to see.”

“That’s not just twisted, doc, that’s insane,” Mal said.

“I don’t think the Reavers have the monopoly on insanity, Mal.”

“It was during the war,” Zoe said slowly. “That report from Miranda … it was made during the war. I never really thought about it until now, but if the doc’s right, and this was deliberate -”

“Then maybe they intended to use the Reavers against us. Against the Independents.” Mal’s eyes met his first mate’s in horror. “How could we stand against that kinda force?” he asked, not expecting an answer.

Jayne stirred. “They left,” he said softly. “On Corvus. They upped and left before everyone was dead.”

The others looked at him, until Hank said, “You think this was an experiment? Someone‘s trying to control them again?”

“Tell me a better reason why they didn’t just burn the entire town down, kill everyone.”

Giang bao hou zi de hun dan,” Hank breathed, collapsing back into his chair as Mal and Freya exchanged looks.

“We haven’t got any proof of this,” Zoe said softly.

“No,” Simon agreed. “And it’s all supposition.”

“But it fits the facts,” River said from the doorway.

Simon crossed the galley to her. “You should be in bed.”

“Too much time sleeping,” she said to him. “I could waste my life sleeping.”

“Too right,” Jayne said, looking up at her from his chair. “Too short to be doing that.”

She looked lost. “I wish I could have felt them coming, warned everyone sooner.”

“You did, mei-mei. People are alive down there because of you.”

“Best get her back to her bed, doc,” Mal said. “And make sure your wife is okay too.”

Simon nodded, leading his sister back outside.

There was silence for a minute, then Zoe said, “Do you think he’s right, sir?”

Mal shrugged. “There is no evidence, but I conjure he may be.”

“So who do we tell?”

“Not sure as anyone would listen.” Mal crossed his arms. “It ain’t like Miranda - we’ve got no proof - and I’m not sure anything could be done about it if we did.”

“It would explain why the attacks are orchestrated,” Freya spoke for the first time. “I’ve often wondered why they don’t just kill each other, how they can work together to fly a ship, or … any of the things they do.”

“Collective mentality,” Hank said. “A hive mind.”


“Might be something we can use against them,” Mal mused. “Cut off the head and maybe the body dies.”

“I don’t think I want to be around if you intend trying out that hypothesis, sir,” Zoe responded.

“I ain’t as insane as all that,” Mal said, smiling slightly at her. “My first and only thought when it comes to Reavers is to get away, and that ain’t gonna change.”

“I’ll drink to that,” Hank said, raising his cup to his lips and realising his coffee had gone cold. “I need something a bit stronger.”

Jayne got to his feet and went to the kitchen. “Here,” he said, taking his bourbon from the top cupboard. “I think we could all use one.”

Hank was shocked. “You’re letting me have some of your alcohol?”

Jayne dropped a handful of mugs on the table. “Just don’t think I’m gonna make a habit of it.” He started to pour. ---

Kaylee wasn’t asleep when Simon went into their room, but was lying in bed staring at the ceiling.

”Why didn’t you stay?” she asked in a small voice, not looking at him.

“On Corvus?”

“They needed a doctor.”

“They’ve got Andrew. He’ll be around a while yet.”

She turned her head to gaze at him. “But you wanted to stay. I know you did.”

“I did. Because I thought it was safer.” He sat down on the edge of the bed and stroked her cheek. “But there isn’t anywhere safe, is there? At least out here, we have a chance of running away from trouble.”

“Cap’n’s very good at that,” Kaylee agreed.

“And here we have family.”

She nodded, swallowing hard. A tear rolled down her cheek. “I didn’t want to leave, Simon. But I would have.”

“I know.” He lay down next to her, taking her into his arms. “I know.” ---

Inara looked into her shuttle from the doorway. She hadn’t slept there, not since Hank had docked it, afraid to hear the screams in her head … but now there was something she had to do.

“Do you want me to give you a hand?” Freya asked, coming up behind her.

“A hand?” Inara glanced back at her friend. “To do what?”

“Clean up.” Freya stepped closer. “I know how you feel. They violated your home.”

“I feel like it was me they were pawing over,” Inara admitted, letting the emotions come to the surface, her body trembling. “Touching, tearing …” She began to cry. “I know what they did to those people was so much worse, and I wish it hadn’t happened, that I could have done something to help, but …”

“They took something of yours. The sanctity of your safety.”

Inara nodded. “Yes,” she said simply.

“You know, I’ve been thinking about what you could do, now you’re not a Companion any longer.”

“I was thinking about Counselling.”

“Yes, but if that doesn’t work.”

“So what was this grand idea?” Inara almost smiled. “I have no other training.”

“How about a mobile whorehouse?” Freya suggested, moving past her into the shuttle. “You could be the madam, we could get a couple of girls … I’m sure Jayne would help with the selection.”

Inara stared at her. “Freya …”

Her friend turned, smiling. “There’s always possibilities, Inara. Fresh starts. And if you don’t want to live in here, then you can always stay in the guest quarters. Until you’re ready.”

Inara paused. The idea seemed to reach out to her but …”No. That would be giving in,” she said, shaking her head.

“And you don’t do that, do you?” Freya said. She smiled. “Come on then. Let’s make a start. Even if we just pack everything up so you can begin again.”

“Okay,” the erstwhile Companion said. “But no heavy lifting for you.” -

We know. We see. And we are coming. -


Sunday, January 21, 2007 11:54 PM


Very cool conclusion to a wonderfully told tale.

Monday, January 22, 2007 1:17 AM


Uh oh, psychic Reavers with a Hive mentality! And that last line, so chilling. When they say they are coming I'm thinking they are going after Serenity (gulp). Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, January 22, 2007 6:38 AM


Spectacular ending you got here, Jane0904! Definitely am not surprised at the conclusion, as I too have had thoughts on just why the Alliance would choose to test the Pax on the most distant human settlement in the 'Verse (seemingly)...mainly thoughts like yours of anti-Independent/rebel pacifying gas:(

Especially got to give you props for the scenes with Inara and Jayne, and Inara and Freya...very telling and quite brilliantly done:D


Monday, January 22, 2007 10:22 AM


Excellent. I really liked your resolution of the tension between Simon and Kaylee.

A hive mind for the Reavers is an interesting hypothesis ... so now I'm thinking they're like the Borg without the nicety of lasers - more tearing and slashing ... YIKES!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 6:06 PM


That is quite possibly the most interesting idea regarding Reavers that I've seen. I was wondering why the Alliance didn't destroy them out of hand. There must be at least one insane old man going, 'We can control them.' No matter how many border planets they raid. I know you wrote this a while ago, and I'm sure to discover more, but I had to put my two cents in. Wonderfully written, excellent story.


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!]