Thursday, March 15, 2007

"The Captain's need to cut corners almost has tragic consequences."



SUMMARY: "The Captain's need to cut corners almost has tragic consequences." The usual disclaimers apply. The characters and 'Firefly' are the property and gift of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No infringement of copyright is intended.


"Firefly" story

Written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * * *

The fire was swift, sudden and intense. Following so quickly on the heels of the explosion that Serenity was still shuddering with the aftershocks as the Captain ran to the engine room. Mal was cursing, berating himself for not letting Kaylee get those new parts when they hit Sangong three days ago. Heart in his mouth he tried to outrun the frantic pump of his heart, his legs moving like pistons to propel him as fast as he could go. Smoke billowed black and angry from the engine room. His fault. His stubborn meanness. His responsibility.

He was not aware of Jayne and Zoe. Did not hear the Preacher's shouted words. Was oblivious to Inara crying for information in that worried tone that blew to pieces any notion that she was not a part of this dysfunctional family of his. He reached the flames but it was as if nothing could touch him. Zoe yelled as the fire beat her back. Jayne tried to press forward but was overcome by the flames and the fumes. Instead he turned to Zoe and urged her back, even though she tried to get passed him and drag the Captain out. No chance of that. Man with a mission. Nothing else penetrated Mal's consciousness but the need to get to her, to bring her out of that inferno. Gasping with lungs on fire, tears streaming down his face and hissing as they boiled on his cheeks, sheer force of will drove him on until he reached her.

Slumped on the floor, her clothes on fire, a sob leaked from his scorched throat. The flames licked over him with greedy abandon setting light to his clothes and singeing his hair. His heart ached. All he could see in his mind's eye was Kaylee's laughing face, her total and utter belief in him like a light that would never go out. How had he repaid her for her tireless faith? His fault. His meanness. His responsibility.

Black. She was rutting black all over but he could not see. His face blistering in the heat haze that was roaring through his ears as guilt ravaged his heart with grief. He gathered her into his arms, frightened by how light and motionless she was. Stumbling and staggering as the flames engulfed him. Closing his eyes as he half lurched and half fell out of the door. He was unaware of falling, his knees hitting the grating. Had no recollection of turning his burning body to cushion the precious burden dying in his arms as his strength failed him. His argument with God forgotten as he prayed. Blistered lips moving in a soundless exhortation for mercy for this one angel let loose from Heaven to bless his worthless life. She could not die. He would not let her. Let God take him instead.

It was days later. Simon said they had almost lost him three times. He tried to ask about Kaylee but could not form the words. There was some kind of muck on his eyes. It was weeks before he realised it was all that ws left of his eyelids. Simon painstakingly made new ones and grafted them on. Once or twice the Captain roused but not enough to be truly conscious. He suspected the doc was sedating him. Too pained and weary to protest he could not stop feeling heartsick and consumed by grief. Kaylee. His fault. His meanness. His responsibility.

Months. It was nearly three months after the fire and waking was a muddled ghostly affair of half glimpsed images and sounds warping in his eardrums as if he was under rutting water. Something touched his hand. He felt rough cloth. Cloth? Confusion forced his eyes open. That was when he knew he had died and gone to Heaven. The face that hovered above his own was discoloured and lacking in eyebrows but the smile that lit it up made him cry with joy. Kaylee! How the rutting *diyu* was it even possible?

"Sssh, Cap'n, it's gonna be alright."

Then Simon was there, a look of such relief on his face that he wanted to laugh only something was wrong with his throat. "Don't try to speak, Captain, you gave us all a nasty turn setting yourself alight like that."

Kaylee was crying happy tears. Vaguely he was aware of the others behind Simon but all he could focus on was his mechanic's face. He wanted to tell her how sorry he was. That he would make it up to her if she would only forgive him. But what was that? Her words became a fog in his mind that he could not believe. Impossible. She was thanking him, her hands gently holding on to his though the thick wraps that bound them numbed his ability to feel. "You saved my life, Cap'n. Simon says another five minutes an' I would'a died but for you."

He could not speak. It was as if another fire was raging in his lungs. She laid his hands on his chest then touched the tears on his cheek, a look of such love and affection on her face that it hurt him. How could she thank him let alone forgive him for what he had done? Then he understood. She loved him. Maybe as much as he loved her. There had always been that instant affection between them. Perhaps it would be alright after all but forgiven or not he intended to make it up to her. After all Serenity was his boat and Kaylee was on his crew. His boat. His crew. His responsibility.

"I love my Captain!" Whispered Kaylee gently as his struggle to stay awake was finally lost. The last thing he felt as healing sleep claimed him was her gentle lips kissing his cheek in silent benediction. Forgiveness and Salvation had never tasted so sweet.

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*diyu* = hell


Thursday, March 15, 2007 12:57 PM


A little piece I wrote ages ago and had up on my site. As the website looks like going belly up I decided to post it here so it wouldn't get lost. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, March 15, 2007 8:11 PM


That was incredible. The description of the fire's relentlessness and Mal's struggle through it was simply perfect.

Excellent characterisations for all involved.


Friday, March 16, 2007 8:24 AM


Tian Yesu...this was superb, AMDOBELL! I swear you have written what would have made for a perfect season cliffie for the BDS had it been allowed to live long enough: BDHs finally overcome a massive obstacle and are settling down for a period of hopeful quiet when BOOOM! This happens! And we gotta wait till the next season to find out how Mal and Kaylee deal with recovering;D


Sunday, April 1, 2007 2:11 AM


This was really good - I'm a sucker for stories about the bond that Mal and Kaylee share, and for those rare stories that show Mal regaining his faith. I do hope they are very good at treating burns in the future!

Monday, November 28, 2011 7:28 PM


So VERY shiny Amdobell!!!! I love Mal and Kaylees relationship, and Mal saving Kaylee is so amazing!!!!


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The vessel was shiny, sleek and black with nowhere near the bulk of an Alliance ship. Something about the way it moved through the Black was more than a little creepifying.

Personally she didn't care if Serenity was towed off to a junk yard and stripped into spare parts. She had promised the ship to Jer and his crew as a bonus but it looked like scavengers had beaten them to it.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: 2. "Counting Chickens"
The fact that her eyes were hard and sharp with intelligence kind of chilled him. Smart women always made him uneasy, it just weren't natural.

What in the nine hells were they so afraid of? Then he remembered Tracy. The body mailed to them by their old war buddy and all the trouble that had brought down on them.

If it was too gorram wet to hunt for rabbits what in the nine hells was his son really hunting? And was it something on four legs or two?

The man was in a terrible condition, his pulse weak, and for some reason he was soaking wet which did nothing to staunch the blood soaking through his clothing and seeping from the poorly tended wound where he had been shot.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 9. "All The King's Men"
The man sighed like the weight of the of the 'Verse was on his shoulders but unlike anyone else he looked like he could carry the weight.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 8. "All The King's Horses"
Without warning something came through the opening and rolled with a metallic clang across the ground before exploding.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 7. "Friend or Foe"
Then he found himself falling, the whole world silent as in slow motion the hordes of *diyu* came to swallow him up and everything disintegrated in fire, blood and pain.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 6. "Friends You Choose"
It was a sound he recognised from the War, didn't forget the sound of a man drowning on his own blood.