THE FORGOTTEN REALM: 29. "All Good Things"
Friday, January 30, 2004

"The Preacher returns with an injured Sheriff in tow. Things are almost back to normal when the Alliance show up."



SUMMARY: "The Preacher returns with an injured Sheriff in tow. Things are almost back to normal when the Alliance show up." 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.


A "Firefly" story

Written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * * *

She came to him when he slept. Or rather. When he *tried* to sleep and nightmares came creeping in to haunt his dreams. Many nights he woke with eyes staring and heart thumping so hard that it deafened him. Caught in that netherworld between sleep and waking he was powerless to oust her from his tormented mind even if he wanted to. What disturbed him was that he wasn't sure he wanted to because the nights she came to him were the good nights. When she didn't come he simply stopped sleeping. Pathetic. That was what he told himself. Coincidence was the lie of choice. Tonight was one such night. Most everybody was tucked up in their bunk sleeping. He paused to listen to the steady thrum of Serenity's heartbeat. It soothed him. Let him objectify the terrors that still haunted him. Memories now restored to him yet much like the Curate's Egg for they were good in part. Other parts - not so much. He recalled everything. All the good times with his folks. Mama's smiling face, Davy's teasing, Cheng's solemn nut-brown face creasing into smiles every time he or Davy did something right, and drooping in sorrow when either of them messed up. He had found himself living for those nut-brown smiles.

The Captain sighed and stared out at the Black. His tense body slowly relaxing. Filling with the familiarity of it. The past free to conjure up those lost echoes of what was and would never be again. It hurt him in a bittersweet way that burrowed right into the depths of his heart and would not let him go. He cast back for every childhood event. His father's deep rumbling laughter, eyes crinkling at the corners, face so full and solemn with pride. Uncle Frank turning up at the oddest times and places but just where and when he was needed the most. Haunting music inveigled its' way into his soul. Cheng massaging the sweetest notes from the strings of the erhu while Davy played his harp. His father's rich tenor lifted in song, the boys providing the descant. Mama crying off from joining in yet plying them all with the best home cooking known to man. He could almost smell those pastries. Cake that melted in your gorram mouth. Pies to die for. Arms that could lock out any hurt whether from body, heart or soul. His mama knew just how to heal whatever ailed him. All gone. Ashes in his mouth. Dust beneath his feet. A long cold sorrowing wind of change. Left him feeling like he would never be warm again.

He did not hear the light step until it was almost behind him. Turning, he knew who it would be. "What the gorram you doin' up in the dead of night?"


His throat closed up with guilt. Knew instantly it was not her nightmares keeping her awake but his. *Diyu*. How were they supposed to deal with this? "*Duibuqi*, River."

"Not your fault." She absolved him.

"Is so."

She shook her head. Adamant. Her look gentle. "You need to remember."

A flicker of pain glimmered in the dark blue of his eyes. "*Bu qu*. What I need is to get to sleep an' let you sleep too."

"Not what I meant, Captain."

"Then speak plain River 'cause I got no papers in crazy-talk."

River sat in the pilot's chair and folded her legs up under her, watching him. "The ghosts don't come to accuse, Mal."

"Then why they come?" He asked in a thin pained voice, husky with emotion he could not hide. Not from her. Not ever again.

"To share their secrets, to unburden you and them. So both can heal."

"Both?" His voice was sharper than intended. The spike of raw hurt keener than one of Jayne's knives. "I failed 'em River, you know it an' so do I. No amount of kindly talk'll change that."

"Not your fault. You didn't start the war, Mal."

"No, but I should'a finished it then maybe God wouldn't'a deserted us in the Valley."

The words tumbled out without him realising and the revelation shocked him. Did he really think that? He could tell by the gentle slur of River's thoughts in his mind that he did. He frowned and fell silent, wanting to wrap the Black around him like a great gorram bandage to bind all his hurts and keep the bleeding hidden away on the inside where his darkness could not touch or infect others.

"Tell me." Said River softly.

He shook his head. How could she even ask him? River got up and went to him, tugged on his hand and pulled him over to the pilot's chair.


"River, I don't think..."

"*Don't* think. Sit."

He almost smiled at her insistence but he was so rutting tired. Her tiny hands pushed him back and with a sigh he yielded. For once following the path of least resistance. Before he could stop her, River climbed into his lap and curled up, tilting her head against his chest so she could look up at him as his eyes darkened in warning. "Tell me."

Confused he forgot to be angry. "Tell you what?"

She got comfortable and stiffled a yawn. He felt a stab of returning guilt and could not be cross with her. After all it was his fault she wasn't sleeping. "About your home. Your family."

He almost choked but she ignored his discomfort. Acted as if it was the most natural thing in the 'verse to ask him. Unbidden, images of his mother and father lit up his mind. His heart ached with memories. Without intending to he started to talk, his voice quiet, arms coming round to cradle her as he talked. As he spoke River listened. It was not simply a case of being silent while he told her. She actually *listened* and it was a bit like the changing of the guard, his words unburdening his heart and mind. Letting her carry them for a while. An hour passed then another. Time was meaningless. But as the minutes unfolded his heart grew lighter. His words at last winding down, touched with a quiet wonder he yawned and looked down at her. A tender smile forming on his lips as he beheld the girl sleeping in his arms. He was so gorram tired yet now he felt that he could sleep for a lifetime. Without dreams and without no rutting nightmares neither.

Leaning his head back he intended to just rest his eyes a moment or two. He woke slowly feeling as if he had forgotten something. Momentarily disorientated as disembodied voices floated around his head. As he surfaced into the Here and Now they began to coalesce into voices he recognised.

"Seems a shame to wake them, *xin gan*."

That was Wash.

"Best do it *zhangfu*, you know how the Cap'n gets."

"That's why I think we should just let 'em sleep, *bao bei*."

"Uh uh, we'll be arriving at Porchester soon and you know Mal wants to talk to the Sheriff before we drop him off."

He could hear Wash grumbling in mock resistance. The man never could stand up to Zoe, not that he blamed him. Wash being too intelligent to pick a fight he could never win. He decided to put the poor man out of his misery and opened his eyes. "Hey, what time is it?"

A smile tugged at Zoe's lips. "Does Simon know you and River have been sleeping together, sir?" Flustered he began to protest then his addled brain kicked into gear and he frowned at her. "Ain't funny, Zoe." He paused, River slowly starting to stir. He loosened his arms to give her room to stretch, her movements langorous and cat-like Wash thought. He couldn't get over how relaxed the Captain and River seemed to be as if it was the most natural thing in the 'verse to find them sleeping together in a chair while normal folks lay tucked up in their beds. The Captain had only tensed on waking to find themselves no longer alone and the subject of scrutiny. It amused the *diyu* out of the pilot to see the normally controlled Captain as unsettled and fidgetty as he often made him feel. Couldn't blame a man for enjoying the table being turned in such an exquisite fashion.

"It's a little after 7am, Captain."

"An' we're due to land on Porchester when?"

"Another hour or so. Probably two." The Captain's eyes sprung open in alarm. "Two hours? Why the gorram didn't you say so?"

Wash made no attempt to hide his humour. The Captain gave River a little shake. She still had not opened her eyes though he knew she was awake. Now they lazily opened a crack and looked at him.

"Come on, River. We'll be landing on Porchester in two hours an' I got captainy things to do, *dong ma*?"

Her eyes opened fully. She smiled at Wash and Zoe then looked at the Captain as he tried to stand up and bring her to her feet at the same time. He paused as their eyes met. Knew she was silently laughing at him. He frowned. "You can either move like a lady should or I'll dump you on the cold hard floor, *ni dong*?"

She smiled sweetly at him and got to her feet with the kind of grace he could only envy. If he was the kind of man to envy such things. "Such a gentleman." She practically cooed back at him. He huffed and made his escape, deliberately missing the amused looks on the faces of his crew.

The Captain found Simon and Shepherd Book both keeping the Sheriff company in the infirmary. The man was semi-recumbent and half dressed. Deputy Crowther was sitting in a chair next to the bed, his anxious eyes flicking from the Sheriff's face to the doctor then to Mal as if not knowing where the next threat would be coming from. It amused the Captain, knowing the deputy was feeling more than a mite protective of his Sheriff. The doctor was shaking his head at the scowling Sheriff and giving him the kind of look that said he should not be getting out of bed for at least a week. Probably a lot longer if the doc got his way. Mal hid a smile. Knew how frustrated the Sheriff must be feeling but also how exasperating it must be for the doctor to have all that tutoring and knowledge stuffed inside his top three percent head and no one wanting to listen to it. Yep. It was good to be the Captain. The Shepherd looked up as he stepped through the door. "Ah, Captain, I was wondering when we would be seeing you."

He kept his eyes averted from Simon's face. Not wanting his sharp eyes to see too much. Man was paranoid enough without having to worry about him and his crazy sister. He looked at the Sheriff and tried not to react to the humour glittering in his eyes. He was genuinely relieved to see the Sheriff and Shepherd Book both alive and in one piece. Finally, something was going smooth. Or, relatively so. "*Ni hao ma*, Martin?"

"Sore. *Lei*. But a hell of a lot better than I have since gettin' shot. *Ni ne*?"

"*Hen hao*. Hear tell you an' the Preacher got to those children in time?"

The Sheriff smiled. Such a joyous look coming over him that it filled the Captain with all kinds of happy. He noticed that though the Preacher was smiling too he was not joining in the same kind of euphoria. Now, however, was not the time to encourage dark thoughts. There would be time a-plenty to think on that later. Right now he had some catching up to do. They talked right up until Wash landed on Porchester. The Sheriff was surprised Serenity landed, expecting Mal to have him and Deputy Crowther taken down in a shuttle. He gave the Captain a hopeful look as he finished dresssing. "I'd take it as a kindness if ya came and met my Mary, Mal. Reckon she'll box my ears if I go home empty handed with the stories I have to tell." The Captain gave him a rueful look. "Maybe next time."

Sheriff Bowman frowned, ignoring his Deputy's losing battle to hide his impatience to get going. "*Shenme shi*?"

"Nothin' to be troublin' your head over."

The Sheriff's eyebrows shot up. "Spit it out, Mal. I ain't leavin' 'till ya do."

"I could have you thrown off my boat."

A little smile hovered on the Sheriff's lips. He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back on the newly vacated bed, a stubborn look settling in his eyes that was all too familiar to the Preacher. "Ain't leavin' Mal 'till ya tell me, *dong ma*?"

The Captain sighed. He really didn't think he could stand any more delays. The Shepherd watched him closely, saw the worry shifting in those dark blue eyes. "I need to find Yen Mah."

The Sheriff straightened quickly. "She missin'?"

He nodded. "Yeah, an' I have no notion where she went."

"Look Mal, I don't have to go right away. I could come with ya, maybe help..."

The Captain shook his head firmly, his lips compressing into a tight line. "*Bu qu*, an' don't think of arguin' with me, Martin. Mind's made up. Once everythin's settled we'll maybe swing by an' visit."

For a moment neither spoke. Simon thought the Sheriff was going to argue with the Captain but with a pained huff he backed down, a sudden weariness taking him. The Deputy let out a sigh of relief. He really had not been looking forward to dragging his boss off in handcuffs even if it would have been for his own good. "Okay, son, you win for now." Mal's eyebrows rose at that.

"But ya need my help ya better not be backward in comin' forward, *dong ma*? I can be all kinds of unpleasant if ya put me out."

The Captain nodded. "*Wo dong* an' *xiexie ni*."

"What ya thankin' me for?"

"For not arguin'. I ain't got the time nor patience." He nodded, understanding the Captain only too clearly. Man was worried and he couldn't blame him. "One last thing, Mal, an' on this there's no compromisin'. Ya find that girl an' ya come make time for a visit. Not takin' no for an answer an' ain't even considerin' a maybe."

Mal nodded. The two men shook hands on it then the Captain and Shepherd Book saw him and Deputy Crowther off. The Sheriff looked a little surprised to see the rest of Serenity's crew had assembled in the cargo hold to see him off. Made him a mite shy. The doctor gave him some last minute advice about his wound and pressed some pain medication on him. With a nod of thanks the lawmen walked off down the ramp. They had hardly cleared it when Mal punched the button to close it up again. Then he was striding quickly back towards the stairs, his head turning to catch his pilot's eye. "Wash? Take us out of here *mashang*. Lay in a course for the last place you saw Yen Mah." Wash nodded and took the stairs two at a time, Zoe dropping back to walk with the Captain. Her eyes anxious and filled with worry. "You think she's alright?"

They didn't notice Kaylee hanging on their every word until she spoke. "River says Yen Mah's fine."

The Captain, Zoe, Simon, Jayne and Book all came to a stop and stared at the mechanic. She was arm in arm with a silent but serene looking River. Mal felt his heart ache at the distant look in the pale girl's eyes, knew what it rutting well meant. Carefully he hid the knowledge from showing on his face. As her eyes met his he felt her gentle touch in his mind. A cool compress taking the heat out of his rising sense of panic. Calming him in ways that he didn't care to think about. Zoe frowned slightly. Simon took a step towards his sister, his hands reaching out for her. She shook her tangle of hair out of her eyes and looked suddenly very coherent. A smile chased the shadows from her pale face. "Coming home."

"Who's coming home, *mei mei*?"

She smiled lovingly into her brother's anxious face. "The lost lamb returns to the fold." Shepherd Book opened his mouth to ask a question just as Wash's voice came echoing down to them. "Captain, you better get up here! We're being hailed."

* * * * *

They all crowded round the pilot's chair on the bridge. Wash had cut the com so he could clue Mal in without being overheard before answering the hail. "It's Commandant Harkan."

All the colour fled from the Captain's face.

"Ruttin' hell!" Said Jayne.

"Best not let him know you're here, Captain." Said Zoe astutely.

The Captain nodded. "You take it Zoe. See what that *wangba dan* wants." He looked at Simon. "You an' River best go into hidin'. Last few times we met that *tamade hundan* searched this ship from top to bottom."

Simon nodded. River said nothing but she did not look afraid. The Captain was too keyed up to notice. All his attention focused on what was going to happen next. No room right now for crazy talk.

*Not crazy*

He resisted the urge to shake his head at the words falling like snowflakes inside his fevered brain. Trust River to wrap every word in an analogy made up of perfect pictures. In the land of crazy folk she had the best rutting gallery in the 'verse.

"Commandant," Said Zoe a mite tersely into the com.

Commandant Harkan's voice came back full and strong. It might be audio only but as he spoke it was as if he could see right into the rutting bridge at the nervous faces all gathered round. "Let me speak to the Captain."

She hissed in a breath and composed herself before speaking again. "Not following you, Commandant. As you recall you and your assassins took our Captain. Still haven't rightly forgiven you for that."

His voice was not exactly conciliatory but there was a quality to it that lacked the usual hard bitten edge they had come to associate with the starchy Alliance officer. "I know what you did."

Zoe flicked a glance at the others and blinked. "Don't know what you're talkin' about."

"Got no time for games. We found the crate. Either Captain Reynolds got up and broke out of that crate by himself or he was taken out by someone else. I know my people didn't do it. Wouldn't care still less have reason to rescue the dead. So that leaves only two possibilities, *dong ma*?"

Zoe swallowed hard, palms sweating. The others hardly dared to draw breath. "What's that?"

"Your Captain's either dead and you took him back to bury him or you got to him in time. Either way I know you took the body."

Zoe opened her mouth to protest but the Captain put a hand on her shoulder to stop her. A look of pure misery stared back at him. She mouthed for him not to do it. A slight shake of his head and she knew it would do no good. The Captain nodded to Wash. Silently the pilot vacated his seat and made way for the Captain. He spoke without emotion. "What you harrassin' my people like this for, Harkan?"

He could hear the smug satisfaction in the *wangba dan's* voice only it didn't sound near so spiteful as he expected. More pleased if he was any judge. Gorrammit, the *hundan* had worked it out. With luck he could find a way to mitigate the cost to his crew. If the Commandant was only after him he could maybe fix this his own self. "I have a *liwu* for you, Captain."

"Ain't much fond of your gifts, Commandant."

To their consternation laughter floated back over the com. It took Harkan a minute to control his mirth and speak properly. "Prepare to be boarded, Captain. This shouldn't take long."

The Captain did not bother to reply. Shoulders slightly slumped in defeat he took a moment then steeled himself for the inevitable. He started to get up when Jayne let rip. "Ya can't do it, Cap'n! That *liumang* near killed ya last time."

"Nothin' we can do, Jayne. We ain't got the firepower to go toe to toe with an Alliance battle cruiser an' I ain't sacrificin' the crew for that *wangba dan*."

They were all upset. Inara frowned, a thoughtful look on her face. Kaylee tried to bite back tears but failed, the Shepherd putting a hand on her shoulder for comfort. "Why is he bringing you a gift?"

Everyone just stared at the Companion for a minute. Inara repeated her question.

"Why would the Commandant have a gift for you, Mal? We know why last time, but what would be the point now?"

"Maybe the gift is a ruttin' firin' squad." Said Jayne darkly.

Mal stared at him. "*Xiexie ni*, Jayne, like I really need that image in my head right now."

"Inara's right." Said the Preacher.

"We ain't gonna find out standin' here. Wash, cut the engine and let's get this over with."

"Don't do it, Cap." Said Kaylee, tears rolling down her cheeks.

It hurt him to see her so miserable. "Hey, little Kaylee, ain't nothin' to worry about."

Of course no one believed him. In silence they all went to meet the Commandant, a funereal air descending on the little group. They waited as the seal was made, the door opening slowly. The Captain swallowed and waited to meet his doom. But the figure that appeared stole all the rutting air from his lungs. Gasps from his crew told him he was not dreaming. The door sealed shut again behind her, then she was running across the deck towards them, tears of joy and relief spilling down her cheeks as she launched herself at the Captain. Only when his arms wrapped around her did he finally believe his eyes. "Gorrammit, Yen Mah! What the ruttin' *diyu* you been doin' with that *tamade hundan*? You damn near took years off my life."

His head came up at the distinct sound of a vehicle breaking its' seal. Surprised he looked at Wash. The pilot was grinning at him like a loon. "I'll go check Captain but unless I'm mistaken I'd say Yen Mah is your gift and the Alliance ship is leaving."

Stunned, the Captain could not speak. Yen Mah was hugging him and crying, muffled words soaking into his shirt with her tears. It sounded like she was apologising but he couldn't for the life of him think why. Kaylee hugged her then the rest of them were crowding round wanting to know what had happened. Wash's voice cut in with the happy assurance that the Alliance ship was leaving. Kaylee wiped her face with the back of her hand and looked at the Captain. "Can I tell Simon and River it's okay to come out now?"

Still unable to form words the Captain nodded. Shepherd Book smiled at him. The Captain's eyes met Inara's. A smile formed on the Companion's lips that touched the Preacher's heart. He wondered if she knew how much she gave away in that unguarded moment. Then Kaylee's running feet returned with Simon and River in tow. River did not look surprised to see Yen Mah but Simon was almost as speechless as the Captain had been. When the Captain could get his brain back into gear he told Wash to hit atmo then steered Yan Mah and the others on to the bridge so that Wash could hear Yen Mah's story along with the rest of them. When she finished, Mal hugged her tight and closed his eyes briefly. As if afraid this really was a dream and if he opened them again someone would snatch it away from him. He drew back gently and brushed the hair from her eyes, the girl's round moon face aglow with happiness as she thought how close she had come to losing all this. To losing *him*. Silently she thanked Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Compassion, for saving her *pengyou* and delivering her out of the hands of her enemies.

Jayne was looking at the girl with something suspiciously like respect. "I can't believe ya tricked that *chusheng xai-jiao de xiang huo*!"

She grinned at the mercenary. "He big head, small brain. That *liumang* Paul Santo not rape any more children. No more child slaves. No more torture. Commandant show him very much pain. Promise me he die screaming."

The Captain noticed Inara had gone completely white. He let go of Yen Mah as the dime dropped. His eyes widened in realisation. He watched her leave and went to follow, pausing in the doorway to allay his crew's fear that something was obviously amiss with the Companion. "Wash?"

"Yes, Captain?"

"I want you to head for Porchester."

"Porchester?" His voice and expression said 'why'?

"We got us some celebratin' to do an' there's a certain Sheriff I promised to stop by an' see."

They exchanged looks as the Captain disappeared. River looked sad. "Time to face the ghosts."

"Ghosts?" Asked the Preacher.

River smiled to banish the brief cloud and noticed Yen Mah was looking thoughtful, wondering why her *pengyou* was so worried about Inara. And why she got the feeling it was something she had said.

* * * * *

He didn't knock. She hadn't expected him to. They were beyond that now. Mal was alarmed to see tears in her eyes. He crossed to her quickly. "It was him wasn't it?" He asked tight lipped and angry.

Inara nodded. "Yes."

Mal's bunched his hands into fists and glared. "Why didn't you tell me? I would'a torn that *tamade hundan* to pieces for what he did to you."

Her hand seemed to move of its' own volition, gently touching his cheek. He froze. Their eyes locked on each other. He felt as if his heart would break for love of her. A lady so fine. What would she possibly see in a man like him? What could he offer her but a life on the run. Always trying to stay one step ahead of the Alliance, flying beneath their radar to catch the scraps that fell from their gorram table to feed him and his crew. It was so little and she deserved so much. His heart ached at the lack. He wanted to make it right but this was something he could not do. That rutting *hundan* had raped Inara. Raped countless helpless children like Yen Mah. Sold them into slavery so other equally despicable *wangba dans* could trade on their innocence and make sport of something they could never deserve in a million lifetimes. It hurt him. Offended every decent bone in his gorram body. Wounded him to the heart because Inara had been part of that man's evil machinations and he wanted so desperately to take the price out of his hide. Too bad he could only kill him the once. What was it Yen Mah had said? Oh yeah. Harkan had promised her the *tamade hundan* would die screaming.

*Two by two, hands of blue* River's words rang like a bell inside his head. He wanted to laugh. Suddenly understanding that the justice Santo would receive would be far better than anything he could come up with.

Inara looked mystified by the odd little smile on his lips. Seeing that look in her eyes his smile widened, a gentle thing given wings by his love for her. An emotion he had not dared to give voice to for fear that she would squash it dead and feel forced to leave for real. Now none of that mattered. He knew you had to grab what you wanted with both hands. Reach for the stars and hold on to them with all your might. Never knew when you would get a second chance. He leaned towards her and brushed gentle lips against her own, not pushing, not forcing himself on her but giving her the opportunity to pull away or not as she chose fit. Her voice was soft, a hush of warmth that fanned his face with her radiant beauty as she smiled at him. "I don't service crew." She whispered.

He wanted to throw back his head and laugh. To dance naked on the hull of his ship while calling her name. "Good thing you're not on my crew." He replied softly.

Inara watched the light reflect off the shadows in his eyes banishing them so she could finally see the love revealed in their dark blue depths. A love she had long suspected but had shut out. Now she could not for the life of her think of a reason to keep that door locked. Her answering smile sang in his heart. "Does this mean you remember me now?"

His chuckle rumbled gently against her plush lips, a joyous sound that she heard so rarely from this most contained of men. "Oh yeah, I remember it all Inara. An' you know what?" Her shining eyes fixed on his, her breath held waiting for him to continue. His eyes teased gently, his hands holding her as if she were the most fragile and beautiful thing in the entire 'verse. "We wasted enough time, *xin gan*."

She opened her mouth to ask what he meant but the crushing hunger of his lips on hers shattered the last of her resolve to drag this moment of perfection out. No more running. No more lying to herself. This was what she wanted. What she had feared had been that single salient truth she had recognised from the first moment she had looked into Malcolm Reynolds' eyes. He was her Destiny. And everyone knew you couldn't outrun Destiny. It was as certain as Death and Taxes but far more rewarding to those with the strength to embrace it.

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*duibuqi* = sorry *bu qu* = no (lit. no go) *xin gan* = sweetheart *zhangfu* = husband *bao bei* = precious/treasure *diyu* = hell *dong ma* = understand *ni ne* = and you *ni dong* = you understand? *ni hao ma* = how are you? *lei* = tired *liwu* = gift *hen hao* = very good/fine *shenme shi* = what's the matter? *wo dong* = I understand *xiexie ni* = thank you *mashang* = on the double/quickly/right away/immediately *mei mei* = little sister *wangba dan* = bastard *tamade hundan* = fucking bastard *hundan* = asshole/bastard *liumang* = bastard/asshole/criminal/gangster *pengyou* = friend *chusheng xai-jiao de xiang huo* = animal fucking bastard


Friday, January 30, 2004 3:56 PM


Oh, it's so cruel that we'll probably never get to see this happen...
This series has been as exceptional as Joss'...I hope he's been reading it...I can see all of this unfold in my mind as if our beloved series was still airing...Thank you

Friday, January 30, 2004 9:35 PM


Thanks for the shiny compliment. Don't worry I have tons more stories to tell for them as wants to hear them. Just so happy you enjoyed it, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, January 31, 2004 3:18 AM


Alison, this has been a really fantastic series, thank you!
You have been so true the characters its been incredible, I could really visualise everything. You had the expressions spot on, the actions, the words, everything.
In fact, I was discussing Firefly with a friend, we were discussing an episode which they just could not remember seeinf... not surprising when I realised it was one of the installments of your story!
Every day I visited this website just hoping that the next installment was there, and when there *was* a new one my heart lifted.
I really look forward to the next set.
Thanks again

Saturday, January 31, 2004 4:08 AM


A very fine conclusion. I've loved this story, Alison, and I'm thrilled you have more in you. In the next I hope we get to keep this Mal, the one who, thanks to River, is no longer driven by guilt to be eternally serious, but can put it aside some times to be playful.

Saturday, January 31, 2004 5:03 AM


Ahhh. Lovely. Superb ending. Thanks...
and glad to hear you've got more stories to tell us. We'll be waiting.


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His head still ached from the rutting probe but after the men had satisfied themselves that his story was true a thousand questions peppered the air like machine gun fire.

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.