Lost Souls - part 1
Thursday, March 23, 2006

Post BDM. Our BDHs find something unexpected in the reckage of a ship. This is my first fanfic so feedback is welcome. As the title says, this is only part one of a larger story so I really want to know if it's worth posting the rest of it. Big thanks to everyone who betaed for me. BlueEyedBrigadier, sileespacemonkey, and espescially 2x2. You guys are life savers. Oh yeah, Serenity and her crew are all Joss's blah blah blah. Captain Conners and her crew are mine. If you like them, let me know.


Lost Souls: part one by Kayna

“Mal, could you come to the bridge, please?”

“Gah! What?” Mal said as River’s voice over the com woke him out of a sound sleep. That was all right, though; he’d been having bad dreams – about the war he thought, or maybe not. Wash and Book had been there; so had a lot of other dead people. It was all mixed up. Didn’t really matter though, he was awake now and the nightmare was fading.

“I said, ‘could you come to the bridge?’. We need to show you something.”

“Uh, yeah. Sure. Be right there.”

He headed to the bridge, thinking about the people waiting for him there. River had sounded all right on the com and she did seem to be doing better since Miranda. He hoped it would last but he couldn’t be sure which was why Zoe would be there with her. Zoe. She seemed fine on the surface but she didn’t smile anymore. He understood that in a way, Wash had been everything to her and Mal knew what it was like to lose everything. His wounds had finally started to heal, though. There would always be scars but even the new ones were closing. He hoped Zoe’s would too. He was pulled from his reverie as he entered the bridge and looked up.

“Tzao gao.”

Floating outside, just beyond the cockpit were the remains of what had one been a ship. He couldn’t be sure what kind it had been, maybe a transport, not much bigger than Serenity, he thought. One thing he did know was that something bad had happened here. Part of him didn’t want to look at the debris – he was pretty sure there’d be people in there – but he did anyway. There might be something still intact in all that mess that could be of use.

“What the hell is this?” he asked.

“This, Captain, is Polaris. Transport ship, Aurora class. Mackenzie Conners, Captain.”

“Now how do you know all that?”

“A message, transmitting from just the other side of all this mess. That’s the first thing it said. Thought we’d wait for you to play the rest.”

“There’s someone out there. Alive, but just barely.”

Before he could respond to River’s statement she turned on the message; a vid feed showing a youngish woman hunched over a control panel. She looked pretty bad. As he watched the grainy picture, the lines agony had etched onto her too pale face creased in a grimace of pain. She coughed violently and blood oozed past her lips to join the amount that was already crusted around her mouth. She made a vain attempt to wipe it off with an already blood smeared hand. It looked like she was fiddling with something off screen but Mal couldn’t figure out what - just then the picture cleared and she sat down. Unsettling green eyes that seemed to take up half her face stared out of the screen at them as she began.

“This is Mackenzie Conners, Captain of the Aurora class starship, Polaris. I don’t have much time but on the off chance that someone finds this, I mean this message to be a memorial for my crew. They deserve to have some mark left. Just so someone knows…They were here. They existed. They-“ She was cut off by another fit of coughing. After some gasping and another useless attempt to wipe away the blood, the coughing fit passed and she continued but with less breath. She gasped for air every few words.

“First, I gotta mention our passengers…My crew got…had no family but each other. But these folks…these folks mighta had someone…waitin’…someone worryin’ about ‘em. Don’t know much about ‘em but… well anyway. We set out from Persephone with four of ‘em. Andrew Walker, young fella. Headed for Newhall. I think he was lookin’ for work, seemed kinda desperate. Jen and Errol Kohl. Newlyweds. They were headed for Beaumonde, had jobs waitin for em. Last was an old woman, Laina Shaw. Must of been at least 80. Tough as nails, though. She was headed for the Rim. Didn’t care where, just as far as we were willin’ to take her.”

There was a long pause. On the screen Capt. Conners looked lost and angry, but most of all, just sad. Her eyes held a sadness so deep and so complete that Mal thought she might just stop and die right there but she didn’t. She blinked her eyes rapidly for a moment, straightened her back and continued. “So, now for my crew.” …

“I guess I’ll start with Rinna. First mate and medic. Don’t have any pictures on file so I’ll just say some about her. Her full name is Rinnesta Raymond. She was a”-

“Wait! Go back,” Mal interrupted urgently, “what was that name?”

River rewound and paused the vid, then sat there waiting to hear what Mal had to say. The way she looked at him, he was pretty sure she already knew but he went on anyway.

“Zoe, you hear that?”

“Yes sir. That was Nesta’s name but it could just be a coincidence...”

“Possible, but not likely. And if she was talkin about Nesta…”

The message crackled back on.

“…was a field surgeon for the Independents during the war. She saw Hell during that war and she’s carried it with her. I know she was at Serenity Valley. I never could figure how she got there but I don’t think she ever really left it. At least not till Sy came along. He pulled her at least part way out of it. He made her come alive.

That’s Josiah Khale, our mechanic. He’s..was…about 50, only been on Polaris for about a year, our previous mechanic having opted for a less…exciting lifestyle. Him and Rinna were gonna be married soon as we found a preacher to say the words.”

She paused again her eyes staring out of the screen with a cold, dead kind of look; like she’d gone past feeling anything real. Mal knew that look. He’d worn it himself often enough. “I guess John Shen is next. He was our cook and he was good in a fight. John was an unusual mix. For all that he acted and worked hard to sound like a thug, he came from quality. The way he carried himself gave him away some. And not many outside of high class could handle a sword like that or quote Livy. Or even know who Livy was for that matter. He was deeply enthusiastic about weaponry, with a special fondness for the bladed variety. I’ve also never met a man who could do so much with protein and packaged food.

“That just leaves little Morgan. That’s the only name she ever gave me. Don’t know if it was her first or last. I don’t believe she did, either. Couldn’t a been more’n 15. She was a useful kind of urchin. If you could lock a thing she could unlock it, didn’t matter if it was a padlock or an encryption lock. She was also quite the sneak thief. I actually met her first when she tried to pick my pocket… …Don’t matter…I guess I’m done.”

As she lifted her hand it shook like a butterfly in a high wind. She leaned forward, hand outstretched, and the picture abruptly fuzzed out and the screen went blank. The bridge was silent for a few moments. No one knew what to say. Then, just as Mal was about to speak, they passed through the bulk of the wreckage and found a shuttle directly in front of them. River reacted immediately.

“Captain! It’s all coming from there! The message, the pain…”

“River, what?”

“Pain! Pain, lost, empty…Fading…She’s still alive. I can feel her. We have to help her. Zoe, pick up that shuttle.” With that, she glided past Mal and off the bridge, bare feet silent along the corridor.

Flustered, Mal watched her go, wondering what the gorram hell was going on here. Had River just taken command of his ship? He tried to get something angry and indignant out but wasn’t terribly successful. All he managed was “What-? She-? I-!” Zoe just shrugged and got behind the yoke. She knew that if Mal hadn’t wanted to pick up the shuttle he would have been able to get that out. In fact, he’d probably be shouting it.

“Zoe, you pick up that shuttle,” he said finally, – because, of course, he was going to do that anyway, not (definitely not) because River said to. It was his ship after all and he gave the orders…right? He grabbed the com and called for the Doctor to meet him in the cargo bay ready to work and then started in that direction himself. He wanted to be there when they brought her on board. He wanted to know what had happened on that ship. Nesta had saved a lot of lives, including Zoe’s, at Serenity Valley and he needed to know how she’d died. And if Nesta had followed her, this woman was probably worth helping. He just hoped that it didn’t bring too much trouble on him and his.

When he reached the cargo bay Simon was already there, waiting by a stretcher. River hovered next to the air lock and the rest of the crew was assembled nearby. There was a thunk and a hiss as the shuttle docked and River popped the airlock door. Mal and Simon went in with the stretcher and there she was. Despite River’s insistence that she was alive, Mal wasn’t so sure. She didn’t appear to be breathing and there was an awful lot of blood about. She had a sizable hole in her gut and he winced remembering what that had felt like. And it was freezing in here. Put that together with the lack of lights and he guessed that the shuttle had lost power some time ago. His shudder had little to do with the cold, though. This was all too similar to some of his own unpleasant experiences.

They loaded her onto the stretcher anyway. She was still bleeding, it turned out, so she was alive. Damned if he could understand why though. She must be stubborn as all hell to not be dead of all that. As they wheeled her into the cargo bay River stepped closer…and started screaming. She clutched her ears with her hands like she was trying to shut out some noise and collapsed to the floor shrieking and crying. Capt. Conners started screaming too and began seizing violently. Simon rushed to his sister’s side to calm her down but she fought him off. She wouldn’t or couldn’t hold still long enough for the doc to dope her and anything Mal could do to quiet Conners would probably kill her. So he did the only thing he could think of. He hit River over the head with the butt of his pistol. There was instant silence. River and Conners were both unconscious.

------------------------- (note: Livy was an ancient Roman historian)

Chinese translation

Tzao gao: Oh shit


Thursday, March 23, 2006 2:44 PM


Gah! It said I was logged on! Whay did it cll me anonymous?
Anyway, that last one was mine.

Thursday, March 23, 2006 4:48 PM


Even though I've read it several times already, it's still intriguing!
Glad to see it posted! Good job!

Thursday, March 23, 2006 7:41 PM


Last bit was didn't like me temporarily. Guess I did a Simon huh?


Thursday, March 23, 2006 11:54 PM


Great start to the story. I want to find out what happened to Captain Connors crew.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 1:14 AM


DEFINITELY worth posting the rest, if only to satisfy my growing addiction to your work.



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Lost Souls - part 1
Post BDM. Our BDHs find something unexpected in the reckage of a ship.

This is my first fanfic so feedback is welcome. As the title says, this is only part one of a larger story so I really want to know if it's worth posting the rest of it.

Big thanks to everyone who betaed for me. BlueEyedBrigadier, sileespacemonkey, and espescially 2x2. You guys are life savers.

Oh yeah, Serenity and her crew are all Joss's blah blah blah. Captain Conners and her crew are mine. If you like them, let me know.