Point of No Return X, The Conclusion
Thursday, July 7, 2005

Serenity is disabled, left without communication, and cornered by the Reaver ship. The only way out is for a member of the crew to make the ultimate sacrifice.


Disclaimer: This story is in no way meant to infringe on the rights of Joss Whedon, Universal Studios, Mutant Enemy, or 20th Century Fox. Just wanted to have a bit of fun with these characters is all. Please don’t sue me.

Thanks for reading. Feedback is always welcome. Oh, and if you’re gonna archive this, please have the courtesy to ask me first.

Rated PG-13 for violence.

“Point of No Return, Part X”

***** *****

Mal was trying hard to think. He’d been in fights before. Some he won, and some he didn’t. But he’d always go in swinging. And he’d always come out alive. Tough scrapes were nothing new to him or his crew.

But there was no way out of this. None.

Serenity had neither the strength nor the will to escape. Navigation was still offline and the starboard thruster was disabled. And there was nowhere to hide in the empty vastness of space. No tricks, no devices, no escape. Mal could think of only one conclusion.

They were going to die.

The ship shifted as the Reavers’ magnetic grapplers took hold. Mal looked around at the crew he’d come to regard as family. They, in turn, looked to their captain for help. Perhaps he had an ace up his sleeve, some scheme or trick he could pull. They expected him to have some crazy, inspired notion that could get them out of this. They wanted to believe he could save them.

But he couldn’t. As their eyes searched his, they found something in his face that was almost…apologetic.

The Reaver ship dragged them in closer. It wouldn’t be long.

…We aRe coMINg, maLcoM REynoLds. COminG for You…


YOu CaN’T eScApE ussSs. We’Ve alWaYs BEEn wiTH yOu. tHERE’s nOone cAn heLp yoU…

Mal’s lip twitched. River ran next to him and cupped her hands over his ears. “Don’t listen!” she said. “They’re lying! Bad music, to put you to sleep. You can’t listen!”


“Th..there’s no one…” Mal whispered, his eyes glazed with sorrow.

“What’s wrong with him?” Kaylee pleaded to Zoe.


“Mal,” River cried. “Come back. You have to come back!”



He thought about Zoe. And Simon. And River. He saw Kaylee, in his mind. Wash…the Preacher…and even Jayne.

They…haven’t given up on me…

Mal swooned. Zoe caught him. His vision slowly came into focus as he met her knowing gaze. She looked at River. The girl nodded and smiled.

“Good to have you back with us, sir.”

“Don’t recall ever leaving,” he said with a dry smirk as he straightened himself with effort. He looked around at each of his crew as if seeing them for the first time. His smile broadened.

Wash was confused, and not just because of his head injury. “Captain, we got no navigation and no helm control. We’re in the middle of nowhere, miles from any help, and we’re all about to be Reaver-chow in about two minutes. So what in God’s great ‘verse are you grinning about?”

Mal shook his head. “Ain’t sure my own self, truth to tell. Maybe I’m just glad that…aw, you prob’ly wouldn’t get it even if I could say. Anyways, if this is how we’re to meet our end,” he said with a snap of his suspenders, “we’ll meet it on our terms.”

“Meaning…what?” Simon queried.

Mal went to his locker and pulled out a shotgun. “Doctor, you and your sister stay here on the bridge with Wash. Book, see if you can give Kaylee a hand in the engine room. Zoe, Jayne…we’re going hunting.”

“Now you’re talking,” said Jayne, suddenly enthusiastic. “Let’s git us some Reavers!”


He knew that just because he stopped hearing Its voice didn’t mean they weren’t coming. And he also knew when they found him they weren’t likely to welcome him back into their fold. They were going to skin him. Alive. Feed him his own liver, like his sister, and have their way with him until they’d crushed him to death, like his brother. That fateful day replayed in his mind every hour of every day. But for the first time since then, he could remember more.

He remembered he and Wei, eating cereal and watching cartoons. Sunyi helping him with his homework. He remembered baseball as a teenager, and catching raindrops on his tongue as a little boy. Graduation. Uncle Yo had brought his camera; he had been so proud. He remembered his parents. It was years ago, and the pictures were faded and well worn. But he still had them. They were his, and no one was going to take them, not ever again.

Kai returned his focus to the present. He had felt them try to dominate the captain. Sometimes they used It to subdue the minds of their prey and make them submissive. Like cattle. Usually It worked, but not this time. She had helped the captain, pulling his mind out of that blackness with which both Kai and River were so familiar. Kai was grateful for her. She taught him there was more to life than darkness. She understood. She was the one who saved him. And now, Kai decided, it was time to return the favor.

If only he could get untied.


Serenity bumped as the Trans-U docked hard. Hands smudged with evil pried open the ship’s heavy bay door. Dark creatures stalked inside, wearing the scars on their hideous faces like proud badges. The flesh of their victims adorned their clothing, and they wore jewelry of human bone and dried organs. As they entered, the foul stench of blood and chaos surrounded them and filled the room.

They were greeted with empty silence. Four of them came through, then two more, followed by a powerfully muscled dark man. He had more scars than the others and was much bigger; obviously the Alpha. He sniffed the air. His prey was near, but they were hiding. He roared, drowning out the faint tink-tink sound of the round metal canister that landed not three feet away from him.

The concussive force of the sonic grenade sent them all reeling.

“Now!” Mal shouted, and he, Jayne, and Zoe emerged from their respective hiding places, guns blazing, their elevated positions on all sides of the catwalk giving them the distinct advantage. Three Reavers fell. The others returned fire. The big monster took cover as he growled some command into his radio in Chinese. The Trans-U charged forward, violently chugging Serenity and knocking all on board off their feet. A second wave of space pirates surged into the ship. Jayne estimated more than a dozen. He cussed as he switched Vera to automatic, then rained a spray of bullets on his enemies. Another push from the Reaver ship, and another wave of Reaver troops, coming closer to breaching their interior. The firefight was becoming intense, and eventually they would run out of ammo.

On the bridge, Wash swatted lightly at Simon’s hands as the doctor fussed over him. “Shouldn’t you see to your sister?” he said impatiently.

“River’s fi — River, no!” Simon looked up to see his sister leaving the bridge and closing the door. She wedged a pike in the handle to keep them inside. “It’s for your own good,” she said, then turned and ran down the hallway.

“River!” Simon banged on the door. “River!”

But she wasn’t listening to her brother. She ran as fast as her nimble legs would carry her down the corridor through the commons to the brig.

She tried not to look Kai in the eye as she untied Zoe’s restraints and set him free. His gaze met hers as he stood slowly, barely registering the pain in his shoulder from his gunshot wound.

I have to do this, he said without saying. You understand.

She did. And she wished she didn’t. She missed him already.

What you must do, she replied, do quickly.

“Thank you,” he said aloud. “For saving me.”

“Don’t waste time. Go!”

Kai touched her cheek softly. River let his hand linger there a moment. And then he turned sharply and moved quickly out the door. River shut it behind him and sank to her ground, crying quietly.

The situation in the bay was becoming desperate. They couldn’t keep the Reavers back much longer. Mal had lost sight of the Alpha, and he was almost out of ammo. He became aware of a shadowy figure beside him. He moved to strike —


The boy placed a hand on the captain’s shoulder. Mal didn’t comprehend right away, but he was thanking him. And saying goodbye. And before Mal could stop him, Kai leapt over the railing, arms wide open, crashing into his former kin with all his weight. Jayne tossed another sonic grenade for a distraction long enough for the little ex-Reaver to barrel his way into the Trans-U.

Kai moved swiftly and silently to main control, where he disengaged the grapplers. He then moved on to the engine room, taking out a couple of Reavers on the way and arming himself with a rifle. He finally reached the core and began lay waste to the engine when a strong hand grabbed his neck and flung him across the room. He landed on the wounded shoulder and yelped. The Alpha loomed over him, growling and drooling like a mad dog. He grabbed Kai by the hair and tossed him again like a rag doll. He smacked into the bulkhead and fell to his knees. When the Alpha grabbed him again, Kai clawed at his groin. He broke free long enough to pick up his rifle. Kai quickly aimed, and a single shot rang out.

The Alpha waited to fall over, then realized he hadn’t been shot. The boy’d had a point-blank shot and hadn’t hit him. “You missed!” he laughed.

“No I didn’t,” Kai corrected.

Sparks suddenly flew from the core as the engine spun wildly out of control. Electricity surged as containment broke down.

Kai’s final thought was of his parents. For the first time in what seemed ages, he could see their faces clearly. They were smiling and happy. And so was he. Finally, their family was whole. As his vision went white, he could hear the laughter of a little boy. His own laughter. Then all sight melted away, and he saw and heard no more.


Mal sipped the last bit of milk from his mug as he made his rounds. Not that he expected much to be going on at this time of night. He was just thinking about this and that, and his thoughts eventually turned to the events of the day before. Serenity had pulled away just in time to avoid getting caught in the explosion. It was a narrow escape. The ship was severely crippled, drifting aimlessly through space. She was like to fall apart, and extensive repairs would be needed to get her back the way she was.

But her crew would live to fly another day. And for that, Malcolm Reynolds was glad. Kaylee had finally gotten the comm running, and Wash had managed to WAVE a long-range tow. In three or four days, they’d be on a planet where they could make some decent repairs. Hell, if they got a good deal on the Hera salvage, they’d be able to make upgrades. Yep, there was no doubt in his mind. He had the best crew flyin’.

He heard voices drift up from the commons area. Who the hell would still be up this time of night? Besides him, that is? Mal moved stealthily to listen in.

“I just think it’s time we tried a different treatment,” Simon was trying to keep his voice low, but Mal detected a tremor in the young doctor’s voice that betrayed his confident manner.

“Ten milligrams hydrozapam, with thirty milligrams propoxin,” said River. “You’re thinking about trying rucillin again. Don’t. It inhibits the glucocyl,” she paused before adding, “plus, it gives me nightmares.”

Mal snickered.

River tilted her head at her brother. “Why change the formula now?” she asked.

Simon hesitated.

“If you’re lying, I’ll know it,” she said in sing-song.

He sighed. “Because,” he said slowly, “I don’t want you running off again.”

So that’s why he’d been so sad. He’d been trying to hide it all these weeks, but of course she knew. It was about her and Kai.

“I just don’t understand why, after making so much progress, you’d just run off like that in the first place,” Simon’s confession started pouring out. “He almost killed me when we found him, you know.”

“You’re exaggerating.”

“Whatever,” Simon’s tone became frustrated. “It’s just that…I don’t understand.” He sighed again as he gently put his hands on her shoulders. “I’m afraid I’m not able to give you the kind of help you need.”

River’s eyes faltered a moment. “You understand better than you think you do,” she said. “Right now you need to sleep.”

“Guess you’re right,” Simon didn’t argue with that point. He was certainly feeling drained. “Good night.”

As he went for his room, River turned him around and hugged him. The suddenness of the gesture surprised him, but he hugged her back, hoping to God that one day he could find a way to get things back to normal. Or reasonably close to it.

“You miss him,” he said. He didn’t need to be psychic to feel her loss. Mal felt it too, but in a different way. He finally understood the anger, the madness that had consumed Kai and made him a Reaver. His own anger had almost consumed him, too.

River shuddered. “Good night,” she said as she pulled away from her brother. Simon shuffled into his room and closed the door. River faced the outer wall. “It’s not polite to eavesdrop, you know,” she said without looking at Mal.

“Ni shi wo nang wei ni zi,” he muttered jokingly.

“You ain’t the first to say so,” she mocked his accent again.

Mal chuckled as he headed back to his bunk. River closed her eyes and saw beyond the bulkhead, beyond Serenity’s hull. She watched the stars move across the ocean, and whispered a message for her friend.

“Sleep well, Xian Kai Rui.”

***** *****


And so ends the two-month-long series that is “Point of No Return.” This story was originally intended to be much shorter but…anyway. This is my first fanfic. Ever. I greatly appreciated all the positive comments, as they are very encouraging and make me want to keep writing.

I’d like your feedback, good, bad, or ugly. I’m a big boy, I can take it!

This part of the story is over, but I’m planning another that takes place after the events of PoNR. Look for it around late August. Till then, keep flyin’!



Friday, July 8, 2005 4:39 AM


Very shiny! I loved how you ended this story and even though I guessed that Kai was going to be the one with the only solution it was still sad to see him go. Loved River, loved them all so knowing this is your first fan fic still blows me away. It is that good! Kudos and can't wait for your next outing. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, July 8, 2005 5:42 AM


Excellent story. Can hardly wait to enjoy your next.

Friday, July 8, 2005 6:34 AM


I'd been on vacation and lost track of this story. I pulled up the last 4 or 5 chapters and read them all last night. I have really enjoyed this! Can't wait to read more of your work.

Monday, September 26, 2005 6:35 AM


I don't have the words, honestly I don't. It takes really, really good writing and something else besides to make me weepy and you just managed that.

I feel almost as sad as I did when I watched the last episode of Firefly, as I did when the BDM came to an end.

That was perfect. I could ramble on and on about Mal and Juabl and River and Reavers, but right now it would just be rambling because I'm feeling very emotional. But this:

"He remembered he and Wei, eating cereal and watching cartoons. Sunyi helping him with his homework. He remembered baseball as a teenager, and catching raindrops on his tongue as a little boy. Graduation. Uncle Yo had brought his camera; he had been so proud. He remembered his parents. It was years ago, and the pictures were faded and well worn. But he still had them. They were his, and no one was going to take them, not ever again."

- this was perfection. Past, present, future and explanation all rolled into one.


Friday, December 9, 2005 7:15 AM


Just finished. There are so many to read. Sorry I didn't get to read this sooner.

Verrrrrryyyyyy Good. Kepm' comin'


You must log in to post comments.



Heart & Soul, Part II
Book is visited by a mysterious man from his past and gets in a fight. Meanwhile Inara, ever calm, ever graceful, finds herself on the raggedy edge.

Heart & Soul, Part I
Mal's trying to adjust. Inara's trying to adjust. Book's journey takes him in an unexpected direction. And someone ends up dead.

Play It Again, Tam
The doctor reveals a hidden talent that touches Mal in a way he didn't think possible. A one-shot.

Point of No Return X, The Conclusion
Serenity is disabled, left without communication, and cornered by the Reaver ship. The only way out is for a member of the crew to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Point of No Return, Part IX
He's lost everything and everyone he's ever loved. Now he's faced with a choice: resist the urge for blood and rebuild his life, or descend deeper into that black madness, beyond the point of no return...

Point of No Return, Part VIII
A bad situation becomes desperate. Kai relives his troubled past, and Wash takes a dangerous risk. Plus: Mal and Monty's great escape.

Point of No Return, Part VII
The crew take on a new job, thanks to Jubal Early. Book gives Simon a helping hand in his investigation; Kaylee and Mal find themselves in a deadly situation; and Wash realizes they're not alone.

Point of No Return, Part VI
The day that Inara has been dreading for weeks finally arrives. Simon can't understand the connection between his sister and the Reaver, and the controversy continues over Serenity's newest crew member. Plus: River gives Mal a startling prediction.

Point of No Return, Part V
Jayne's plan backfires big-time; Kaylee is rescued by an unlikely hero with a troubled past; Book and Wash have words; and Mal considers a change of heart.

Point of No Return, Part IV
Simon tries to figure out River's relationship with his newest patient; Mal has a hard time trying to figure Inara out; and a simple job goes south in a hurry.