HOPE SERIES: 13. "Chosen Path"
Thursday, October 8, 2009

"Zoe has misgivings about bringing up a child on Serenity. The Captain finds out why he has been lured to White Sands".


TITLE: "CHOSEN PATH" AUTHOR: Alison M. DOBELL FANDOM: "FIREFLY" PAIRING: Simon/Kaylee. RATING: PG-13. STATUS: Sequel to "BEST INTENTIONS". ARCHIVE: Yes. Just let me know where. FEEDBACK: Welcomed. EMAIL: WEBSITE: None. All Firefly stories archived at

SUMMARY: "Zoe has misgivings about bringing up a child on Serenity. The Captain finds out why he has been lured to White Sands." 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

* * * * *

Despite the slight snap in the air it was a beautiful day. The sun shining in the crisp air and children laughing and running around as if they didn't have a care in the 'verse. Zoe had forgotten just how prolific the Frye clan was and felt her heart ease at the sight of Hope mixing with children of her own age. A frission of guilt slid between her ribs, one she usually ignored without much effort, but at times like this it pricked her conscience that Hope could not have a life like this. That her daughter had spent much of her childhood sailing through the Black never knowing when their next job would go wrong or whether they would upset some spiteful, psychotic piece of *goushi* with a penchant for torture. It made her shudder and hurt every breath taken into her lungs to think of the possible dangers that faced them every day, dangers that were now part of her daughter's life. Had she done the right thing?

A jostle at her elbow broke her reverie. Kaylee was grinning from ear to ear and half splattered in bits of food that Samuel had spat out faster than she could spoon it into him. Zoe noticed and raised an eyebrow. Kaylee laughed.

"Guess he ain't ready for anythin' too solid."

Zoe wanted to point out that the twins were still babies but it didn't seem appropriate. What did she know anyway? She had let her daughter be brought up on a spaceship with people who spent their lives dodging Alliance patrols and earning their living by somewhat dubious means. Who was she to talk?


The first mate jolted back to the Here and Now, aware that Kaylee had been repeating her name. "*Duibuqi*, my mind was miles away."

The sunny aspect of Kaylee's face was concerned, her bright usually carefree eyes showing a sharpness that missed very little. "*Shenme shi*? An' don't say it ain't nothin'."

"Do you think I did the right thing?"

Kaylee had to lean forward to catch the words, half whispered as if Zoe wasn't sure they should be said out loud. "About what?"


The puzzled look on Kaylee's face cleared as she turned her head and watched Hope caught up in a game of chase with a pile of kids shouting and squealing with glee. The mix of ages and sexes made no never mind when it came to having fun. "*Dang ran*. Don't you see how happy she is?"

Zoe nodded slowly, her expression still grave. "That's here. Kaylee, she has no one her own age on Serenity to play with."

The dime dropped with a knowing clang. "Serenity ain't just a ship, Zoe. She's our home, *dong ma*? Hope has you an' uncles an' aunts a-plenty to love an' take care of her. Or are ya sayin' me an' Simon are doin' wrong bringin' up Sam an' Daniel on a ship too?"

"No, no, I didn't mean that. You're doin' a great job, Kaylee." "An' so are you. If'n you ever doubt that you look into Hope's eyes when ya ask her where she most wants to be. Bet you anythin' there ain't nowhere else in the 'verse tuggin' at her heartstrings to call home."

With a sigh Zoe hoped Kaylee was right. Knew without needing to ask that if Hope had the choice she would stick to Serenity through thick and thin. And if anything happened to her Mal would raise her as his own. Gorramit the whole crew would and that included Jayne. A foghorn voice called out that food was on the table and in the mad scramble to get to it she lost sight of her little girl. Mary Frye patted her arm as she got settled at the huge table, platters laden with pork, beef and chicken chasing every dark thought from her mind. Dishes of potatoes and mushrooms and vegetables along with a big jug of gravy. One of Kaylee's cousins bringing hot baked rolls to the table along with a great slab of butter. Her mouth was watering, her belly rumbling, and for a while she forgot all about everything but feeding the ravenous beast within. She had not even been aware of Serenity taking off. After all this was REAL food, fresh as it could be. Meat off the hoof, tomatoes off the vine, potatoes dug fresh out of the rich dark earth. Would be a sin not to eat fit to bust while she had the chance.

* * * * *

Hours later the harsh light of an unrelenting sun roasted the white sands of the planet named after this corner of *diyu*. Bright flashes reflected from rifle sights and gun barrels doing little to put Malcolm Reynolds more at ease. They had only landed minutes ago and already the feeling in his gut had soured into bitter bile.

"You trick us down here to kill us?"

Patience laughed. What puzzled the Captain a mite was not so much that Paul had betrayed him but the easy comfortable way he stood there, hand in Natalie's, as if he had done no manner of wrong at all. It irked him right down to his bones.

"Mal, you know I don't do anythin' unless there's a profit in it."

He raised his eyebrows. "Someone payin' you to kill us?"

She shook her head, the humour vanishing. He noticed she looked tired. Older. And mayhap a bit sadder. Not quite sure what the good gorram it meant but had no trouble figuring it meant trouble for him. Leastways the children were safe. "*Bu qu*. You're here 'cause I got a job for you."

The Captain laughed before he could help himself, cutting it off at the glare Patience gave him. From the corner of his eye he could see Jayne just as tense and unsettled as he was. So far he had counted seven gun hands and who knew how many they couldn't see with their sights on them. "You think I'd take a job from you? You shot me!"

"An' you shot me back. Now we gonna talk business or not? I ain't plannin' on standin' in the hot sun while you get your brain in gear. Business is business, Mal."

Mal turned his head and looked at Jayne. The big man had a frown on his face and confusion in his eyes but the mention of a job had calmed him some. The Captain sighed. "An' if I say no?"

Her smile was predatory. Seven guns clicked off their safeties.

"Guess that answers that question."

"Mal, why do you always have to make things harder than they have to be? I got a job, you need work to keep that flyin' deathtrap from fallin' outta the sky. Now. You wanna hear what it is or do I get to see whether you got your vest on?"

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - pinyin)

*goushi* = crap/dog shit *duibuqi* = sorry *shenme shi* = what's the matter? *dang ran* = of course *dong ma* = understand? *diyu* = hell *bu qu* = no (lit. no go)


Thursday, October 8, 2009 1:47 PM


LOL! "And you shot me back." God that is soooo Patience. I also love the way Zoe is trying hard to be a mom. :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009 4:46 PM


Excellent work here. It's a pure truth that every mother questions whether she has done right by her child, and I see that Zoe is no exception. Though I will admit that my favorite part of this was the dialogue between Mal and Patience. Well done!

Thursday, October 8, 2009 5:03 PM


Nice but short.

Sunday, October 11, 2009 1:12 AM


Definitely too short. I like the Kaylee/Zoe conversation, but Mal/Patience is always good value.


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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.

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Without warning something came through the opening and rolled with a metallic clang across the ground before exploding.

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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.