GENIUS SERIES: 31. "The Impossible"
Wednesday, April 19, 2006

"Simon, the Captain and the Readers put their plan into action. It is up to River to look after the rest."



SUMMARY: "Simon, the Captain and the Readers put their plan into action. It is up to River to look after the rest." 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

* * * * *

When Simon had taken his first steps aboard Serenity he had thought it the ugliest, grubbiest piece of *goushi* he had ever seen. Before his whole madcap adventure of trying to smuggle his sister to safety the only ships he had seen close up had been Alliance ones. Shiny, spotlessly clean pieces of gleaming technology. Since that time his yardstick had shrunk considerably and he had come to appreciate things about the Firefly transport that had gradually turned the grubby little ship into a home. Scruffy became lived in, grubby was work soiled, ugly had taken on a whole new cast seen through the enlightened eyes of someone who relied day in and day out on the little ship and her crew to keep them safe. His eyes widened inside his helmet, not with pleasure but a kind of fascinated horror. The Reaver ship took the notion of ugly to the extreme then abused the privilege. This was horror in all its' grotesque glory, the bloody awful mess inside the ship even more gut wrenching than the outside of the vessel.

The Captain had stepped aboard as if he had been on the ship before, nothing seeming to surprise or slow him down. Simon on the other hand was stuck in a kind of living nightmare, his eyes scanning the messy blood and flesh smeared interiors, trying to remind himself that it would not help anyone if he threw up in his helmet. And the ceiling. Good gorram why didn't he learn not to look up? The bodies were twisted, half naked, bits missing and random ragged holes in decaying bloody flesh. Sewn together and arranged presumably for the most effect. Why the Reavers did it he did not know, but he felt sick. Only dimly aware that while the Captain had gone in search of the bridge, not all the Readers had followed him. Carl and Michael hung back. Patient. Waiting. With a jolt, Simon realised they were waiting for him. He gave a nod, swallowing carefully as he tore his eyes away from the bodies swinging slowly above his head.

The outer door clanged and sealed shut behind him. He did not hear any pressurisation because of the suit, or maybe Mal wasn't going to bother with the niceties. He could not say he blamed him. Right now all he wanted was to get on with the mission and get the *diyu* back to River, Kaylee and Serenity. Stumbling on to the bridge he watched the Captain flicking switches, his large capable hands seemingly not hindered too much by the padded gloves of his suit. Simon wanted to take his off but his brain told him that would simply let the smell and radiation in and the whole idea behind the suits was to make this toxic breeding ground safe not add still more bodies to the macabre spectacle that was the Reaver ship.

"I take it you have a plan?"

There was a delay before the Captain answered. "Don't I always?"

That was not as reassuring as Simon wished. "What's the plan?"

The Captain paused to look over his shoulder. "You gettin' nervous?"

"No, I just don't want us to be on this ship any longer than we have to so please tell me you have a plan."

"I have a plan. Didn't include you joinin' in this foolishness. We're gonna lift off, pretty much any minute now, an' then we come outta the hangar an' head into the Black."

Simon's eyes widened. "That's IT? That's the plan?"

Despite the situation they were in he could hear the humour in the Captain's voice soothing his words like a drizzle of warm honey, only the doctor was not appreciating it so much as apalled by the stark simplicity of a plan he saw as doomed to failure. "Whatever's waitin' for us up there won't be expectin' that." Said the Captain smugly.

"No, because only fools and *shenjingbing* Captains would take a Reaver ship and..."

The Captain's patience seemed to vanish. "You wanna hear the rest of the gorram plan or just gripe? No one asked you to come along."

"*Duibuqi*. You were saying, your brilliant plan is to take off and then what?"

"Alliance ship - which, I assume is what's above us - won't be expectin' a Reaver ship, they'll be lookin' for Serenity. That'll give us time."

"Time to do what?"

"To make a diversion so the others can sneak away."

He was stunned. Really. Simon had trouble finding a seat before his legs gave way and when he did had to try not to think about what germs might be on it before sitting. It seemed most Reavers ignored the notion of any kind of comfort, there was the pilot chair and the metal stool he had found and pretty much nothing else. A thought occurred to him as his eyes finished wandering around the bridge and settled again on the Captain. All seven of them were now on the bridge. "How does a transport ship sneak anyway?" "We draw 'em off, make it look like we're tryin' to high tail it out of here."

"We are."

The Captain had the ship moving now and was carefully turning through one eighty so he could fly out of the open hangar door. "No, we ain't. In case you're feelin' slow, doc, we're the bait."

Simon did not like the sound of that but what had he been expecting? They were between a rock and a hard place - literally - and if there was one thing he could count on with the Captain it was his ability to come up with thrilling last minute plans that would likely get them all killed. But at least the man was thinking, not lying down and giving up, and he had to admire that because no matter how many times he had witnessed the impossible if anyone could pull it off it was Malcolm Reynolds. Still gripping his bag of medical supplies he tried not to think about just how screwed they were.

Thadius was standing by the Captain's right shoulder as they emerged from their hiding place and poured on the speed. No sooner had they cleared the planet surface than the huge gleaming Alliance vessel decloaked above them, darkening the sky like a storm cloud. Simon swore, his heart sinking. To his consternation he could hear the Captain's jubilant bravado through his suit com, almost deafening him.

"Woo hoo, you see that? Looks like we're both outta hidin'."

"No, Captain." Said Simon matter of factly. "We're out of luck."

"Well then, Simon, watch this."

Simon Tam had never understood exactly what it was the Captain intended to do but this piece of insanity wasn't it. Hanging on to the edge of the console he watched open mouthed as the Reaver ship turned into a sharper angle of ascent, heading straight for the Alliance vessel above them. Simon was aghast. "You're mad, insane..."

Just when they were about to hit, Simon closed his eyes, thought of Kaylee and prayed. They might be doomed but hopefully their deaths would buy the precious time the others needed to get away. He supposed in some clumsy Neanderthal way that the Captain was a brave and courageous man but in his final moments such glowing words of praise were not coming to mind. The shock when it came was even more profound than the expected collision. Slowly opening his eyes he was stunned to see not the underbelly of the huge vessel but what looked like an enormous hangar. Amazed and momentarily lost for words he leaned as far over the console as he could to see more clearly. "What...? Why aren't we dead?"

* * * * *

River was sitting in the pilot's chair of the Firefly ship, her eyes closed and her face absorbed in concentration. Zoe was anxious and impatient but trusted her Captain. They were to wait until the Reaver ship had lifted off then take off once River said it was safe. Jayne was uptight and ansty but Zoe didn't call him on it. Didn't tell the big man to calm down or that everything was going to be alright because, truth to tell? She didn't know. This was one outcome too close to call.

Inara sat in the co-pilot's chair, not wanting to be on her own and wanting to be close in case any of the others needed her. Kaylee was glad, one hand clasped in Inara's. Only the others keeping a lid on their panic helped her to keep it together. She couldn't lose Simon, not now, not after he had finally admitted his feelings for her. And the Captain, he couldn't die either. They would find a way out of this, they would because they had to.

River's eyes sprang open. "Time to go."

"Kaylee, need you in the engine room." Said Zoe, voice a calm tone of command that steadied the mechanic as much as having something to do did. Felt good to know the waiting was over, didn't do to dwell on the why.

Smoothly Serenity eased out her confinement, River not needing to crane her neck to see what else might be happening. In her mind a single voice was calmly giving instructions, Thadius making sure River knew to stay close to the ground, her trajectory away from the now cloaked Alliance vessel. Jayne was grinning now, thinking they were out of the woods because he couldn't see no Alliance ship but that was the reason they weren't out of the woods. River could have told him but it would be quieter without the big man yelling and creating a fuss.

It was Inara who asked the one question they were all thinking. "Where are we going?"

"As far away as we can get." Said River.

Inara frowned. "But the Captain and Simon..."

Zoe sent a hard look the Companion's way. "Are buyin' us the time." Zoe paused. "Best we not waste it."

* * * * *

If Simon had been in shock before he was now so far beyond it that it was in another galaxy. Far far away. The Captain recovered first, ignoring the weapons and the half a dozen black ops soldiers itching to make him a crimson smear on the floor. Gabriel Tam's look of astonishment cleared quickly into one of deep satisfaction and pleasure. In anyone else it might have seemed a joyful sight but Simon wasn't smiling and was less than pleased to be standing facing his father. When the Reaver ship had been brought into the enormous hold to join the other ships no alarm had been raised until it was realised no one had disembarked. Gabriel had strict protocols for his canon fodder one of which was counting them out and counting them back in again. Not because he worried about them but to ensure that each ship remained fully manned. So he had sent a black ops team down to investigate and wonder of wonders, what did they find?

Gabriel Tam was feeling close to ecstatic. His son was alive! How Simon had managed the switch was only of secondary importance. Now he could let others take over the pursuit of his daughter, there was no rush. He had Simon. The smile widened. Standing next to Simon, the Captain wanted to wipe that smirk off the man's face so badly, not with a well timed punch but with a machine gun. He felt the echo of Thadius Clay's smile in his mind. It was enough to caution him not to blow this. He must do nothing to prompt Gabriel into separating them. Their unity was their strength and they would need all of it if any of them were to get out of this rat's nest alive.

"Simon, you have no idea how happy I am to see you!" His father gushed.

"I wish I could say the same, *fuqin*."

Gabriel's smile dimmed a little but nothing could hide how pleased he was. "You will come around, Simon. This is your destiny."

All the anger and rage building up in Simon Tam began to bubble up through his veins. Hands clenched at his sides he just managed to form words. Malcolm Reynolds was concerned the boy might blow a blood vessel but held his tongue. "How could you do that?" Simon spat. "To your own family? Your wife?"

"*Qing* Simon. Really. The pity wagon doesn't suit you."

Simon took a step towards his father. "When were you going to tell me?" When his father made no reply Simon tilted his head, his anger cooling to an icy permafrost in a matter of heartbeats. "You know I am going to kill you, *dui*?"

His father smiled, amused at what he saw as Simon's bravado in front of his friends. Obviously the boy wanted to impress them. "Yes, but not today." Gabriel paused, wanting to savour the look on his son's face. "You can no more escape your programming than fly."

"It won't work, I removed it."

Gabriel was nodding now, enjoying himself. "That was just a tracking device, Simon. Really, for Top Three Per Cent of your class I expected better of you. Perhaps I should ask for a refund?" "I will kill you if it's the last thing I do!" Simon ground out through gritted teeth.

The smile vanished from Gabriel Tam's face, the Captain stiffened behind Simon but made no move. Watching every movement and by-play like a hawk. The Readers beside and behind the Captain were a silent watchful barrier to the evil surrounding them all. Gabriel stopped a foot from his son. "Oh, it *will* be the last thing you do."

Simon was seething. He had been manipulated, played. The people who had sheltered and protected him fashioned into the coin of his betrayal. *Tian Yesu*, when did this all get so complicated? The answer came in the light mournful lilt of River's voice, echoing like a sad farewell in his head. *When you got a conscience, Simon*.

* * * * *

"We can't just leave 'em!" Wailed Kaylee.

Zoe gave her a firm unyielding look. "We don't have time for this, Kaylee."

Wringing her hands, Kaylee could not believe that River was calmly piloting the ship away. Keeping low and using what buildings and hills there were to mask their departure. It wouldn't pass close inspection but if a body wasn't looking too hard they would be good as invisible. Literally flying under the radar. Once they got around the backside of the planet they could plot a course for Boros, mindful to keep the planet they were leaving as an eclipse to their departure. It was why the Captain had chosen Boros, because it was in the exact opposite direction he and Simon were taking with the Reaver ship.

Knowing how Kaylee felt but understanding the need for what was happening, Inara put an arm around the mechanic's trembling shoulder and gave a little comforting squeeze. "Come on, *mei mei*. The sooner we get to Boros the better. We have to trust that they know what they're doing."

Kaylee nodded, dislodging a tear and trying to be brave but her heart wasn't listening. All she knew was that with each revolution of the ship's engine she was going farther and farther away from Simon. Not nothing in the 'verse could make that feel right.

* * * * *

It was all kinds of creepifying seeing that smile on Gabriel Tam's face. The Captain tried to move into position to block Simon from his father but it was as if the man was anticipating him. The Captain frowned and mind cast to Thadius. *Thought that tamade hundan was no Reader?*

*He isn't Mal. He's readin' your body language*

The Captain almost spun around to look at Thadius, just remembering in time what a monumentally bad idea that would have been. *Huh, why am I surrounded by smart asses?*

Even though the question was a rhetorical one Thadius could not resist replying. *Guess we're all takin' a leaf outta our Cap'n's book."

Mal froze, a ragged assortment of Reavers stepping out of the shadows, making his breath catch. Their movements were slow as if they were being controlled but it was the fact that they were so many and he and his people were so gorram few. The same thought obviously occurred to Simon. "There's no need for anyone to get hurt, father. We both know I'm the one you want."

"Then why bring anyone else?" Gabriel asked.

For a moment Simon was stumped.

"Good question." Said the Captain, trying to think of a way to turn this around to the part where they could still get out of this alive and kicking. Not too worried if Simon's father was left standing or not. Some sacrifices he was prepared to make.

The Reavers stopped as if reaching some invisible periphery then Simon noticed his father had a very thin wire round his left ear. That explained it, the man was giving orders by radio. Just then a movement behind Gabriel made Simon stiffen. The Captain turned his head to see what had made Simon go tense. What he saw caused the blood in his veins to thunder through his ears almost drowning out the stilted stagger of words that passed for conversation between Simon and his father. And yet, right from the first day Simon had smuggled his sister out of that academy River had never referred to their father in any affectionate way. He was still called father but with a sad detachment that he had failed to understand at the time. Had she known way back then that he was not their biological parent? And if so, why hadn't she told him?

"You don't want to do this."

Gabriel smirked at his son. "I'm not going to do anything."

The two men emerging from behind Gabriel Tam now came fully into the light. Mal didn't like them any better on second sight than he had at first. Simon now managed to keep his voice level, clipped and low. "What are they doing here?"

In Simon's head all he could hear was *two by two, hands of blue*. Malcolm Reynolds could feel his gorram heart speeding up, frantic thoughts going to Thadius and returning unanswered. What in the nine hells was this and why couldn't he make contact with any of the five Readers? It chilled him in ways he had never thought about. This was bad. VERY bad. Then the bad got worse. Gabriel Tam stopped trying to convince his son of his benign intent and turned his attention to Serenity's Captain. The man's lips moved in a mumble which the Captain could not hear then the two men, Mr Smith and Mr Brown, locked eyes on Mal's and all the breath in the Captain's body ceased to flow.

* * * * *

Kaylee couldn't help it, panic always affected her that way. Tears ran down her flushed cheeks, her eyes wide reflecting pools of misery. Zoe was close to shaking the girl but she couldn't do it. Truth to tell Zoe was worried out of her mind her own self but the Captain had made a decision and Simon had gone with him. Not nobody holding a gun to the doctor's head and for that alone Zoe could hug him. She had hated not being able to go with her Captain and friend. Hated not being the one to watch his back. Jayne had no such reservations, he was just relieved to be as far away from the madness as he could get. Captain didn't pay him enough to go and get hisself ate by Reavers.

Meanwhile, they made as best speed as they could for Boros.

* * * * *

The two Hands of Blue moved passed Gabriel Tam, one either side of him, so they could stand equidistant from the Captain. Simon did not like this. "W...what's going on?"

"Come with me, Simon."

Simon shook his head. "*Bu qu*."

His father fell silent and Simon watched in what felt like slow motion as the two men reached into their pockets and each removed a thin silver wand. He knew what it was. *Wode ma*, surely they wouldn't...? Holding their rods out in their right hands, two little extensions emerged from each end of the short rods. Oh God, Oh God, Oh God, Simon knew what was coming next! His throat felt as if it was closing up. The glitter in his father's adamantine eyes turning his heart cold. He realised now that his father meant to kill the Captain, make an example of him.

"No, you can't......*qing*!"

"Then come Simon, fulfill your destiny!"

Malcolm Reynolds wanted to step back. Draw his gorram gun and shoot the evil *liumang* in the head but he was rooted to the spot. He could feel a tingling start in his head, thinking becoming all kinds of difficult. Oblivious to the thin trickle of blood starting to run from his nose and ears. Simon's eyes widened in horror, his mouth opening to call a halt to this obscene little power play but no words would come. It was as if someone had cut his vocal chords and glued his feet to the floor. Feeling frustrated and painfully helpless, Simon was on the brink of tears. Gabriel Tam watching his son's face with satisfaction.

The Captain swayed on his feet. Seconds later the two blue handed men turned their stares from the Captain to Thadius and the other Readers in reaction to a sudden painful intrusion. Mr Brown recovering first, intending to change targets but it was already too late. Thadius had left it as long as he dared, letting the Hands of Blue think they were unassailable and then waiting until they had committed their energy and sole intent upon the Captain. It was risky but they needed to have the two men distracted enough to strike. In that split second all five of them invaded the two minds delivering a deep dark shock to their bodies' central nervous systems and shutting down brain functions one by one. Not overloading the brain like the two men had been doing with their wands but removing all ability for them to move or react until with a final co-ordinated push their minds were reduced to blank slates. The two men stood dazed and immobile, pale faces staring without knowledge or recognition of where they were.

Simon stumbled forward as he felt his immobility vanish just in time to catch the Captain as he sagged, savouring the look of cold fury spreading across his father's face. "I still have the ability to..."

Gabriel Tam did not get a chance to tell them what he could do. Ruben. Quiet, gentle Ruben had worked out what the wire was for. It was not a simple transmission device. The thin wire wound round Gabriel Tam's ear and to the back of his neck then into the base of his skull, hardwiring a portion of his brain so that he could operate the kind of control that would otherwise elude him. A few running steps on soft soled shoes and Ruben was behind him, his right hand flashing out and ripping the thin metal thread out, the connection broken. A scream of pain and frustration came out of Gabriel's mouth, a dark dawning realisation turning his anger to something close to terror. Simon did not have time to register what it might mean, anxious for the Captain who was on the brink of losing consciousness. Worried that his wound might reopen or that the Reavers would attack before they could get out of there.

He was right on one point at least. The Reavers did attack. In a blur of feral anger the like of which he had never seen before and hoped to never see again. Ear splitting screams and animalistic cries. The air rent with the promise of death and destruction. Simon lifted his head as the first spray of crimson arched across his vision and baptised him in blood. Kneeling alongside his fallen Captain, Simon vaguely remembered thinking *So this is what the ending of the 'verse looks like*.

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*goushi* = crap/dog shit *diyu* = hell *shenjingbing* = crazy *duibuqi* = sorry *fuqin* = father *qing* = please *dui* = correct *tian Yesu* = sweet Jesus *mei mei* = little sister *tamade hundan* = fucking bastard *bu qu* = no (lit. no go) *wode ma* = mother of God *liumang* = criminal/bastard/gangster/asshole


Wednesday, April 19, 2006 1:29 PM



That was a rocking action packed chapter! Well worth waiting for but DAMN, I hope they're all super killers like River or I can't even begin to see how they are going to get away from all those Reavers!

Eagerly awaiting the next chapter!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006 8:02 PM


Holy....shit! This was crazy, AMDOBELL! And I have to back up Anonymous ( with the hope that it was Gabriel who got ripped limb from limb at the end of this chapter....serves him right, the sadistic prat;)


Thursday, April 20, 2006 1:12 AM


I think it was Gabriel ripped apart and yay Ruben. It's always the quiet ones!

Another wonderful installment from you with the Reavers, Gabriel, the crew split up, the blue hands....I loved it.

Friday, November 4, 2011 8:10 PM


^^^ that is all I can say. (in a shiny way)


You must log in to post comments.



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.