Easy Tickets: Epilogue
Friday, July 28, 2006

Mal deals with the turn of events.


See Chapter 1 and my blog for disclaimers and such.

Except I have to say thanks to VERA2529 and LEEH for the beta help!

Mandarin translations: put your mouse over the pinyan to get the definitions, or see the list at the end.

There is no BDM in my fic-verse, except for maybe the River/Reaver hidden truth.

* * *

As the airlock door closed behind Inara, Zoë quietly left the cargo bay. She wanted to get to Mal before the others did. She found him sitting at the dining room table, his hands folded together in front of him. He didn’t look up when she sat down next to him.

“I guess we ought’a go someplace, huh?” he said after a while, his voice low and quiet.

Zoë nodded. “You got anything in mind?”

Mal hardly moved, but his eyes cast around as if looking for an idea. “Ah, hell, Zoë. I don’t much care.”

Zoë looked down at her hands and blew her breath out her nose. Seeing the Captain like this made her want to go one place – back to that Alliance ship, so she could take the Captain’s pain out on the woman who’d caused it. “Sir, it looks like the Alliance ain’t so hot on our tail. Maybe we ought’a go back to familiar ground, see what’s happenin’.”


“Might as well. See what Badger’s got cookin’.”

Mal nodded. “All right. Tell Wash.” He stood up, but then he wavered slightly, and had to pause with a hand on the back of the chair to steady himself. Under the healing bruises on his face, he looked pale.

“You feelin’ all right, Captain?”

He drew in a deep breath, but gave her a look of warning. “Don’t start,” he said shortly, but both his glare and his voice were lacking in their usual threat, like he didn’t have enough left in him to get properly defensive.

“Maybe you ought’a see the Doc,” Zoë said.

“Seen him already. Nothing wrong with me.”

He seemed short of breath; there sure as hell was something wrong with him. Zoë shifted in her seat, tempted to get up and haul him down to the infirmary, kicking and screaming if necessary. But she stayed where she was. It never helped to force Mal into anything.

“Lunch ain’t for a few hours,” she said. “Why don’t you grab yourself a nap?”

“Good idea,” he said. He forced in a few deep breaths, then straightened and turned to leave. Zoe watched him, noticing how he raised an arm to his chest on the way out, like something pained him.

* * *

Could be Zoë was right, that a nap was all he needed. Just some rest to get him back on his feet; he was barely staying up as it was. Mal climbed down into his bunk, slipping off the last rung awkwardly and clinging to the rail to hold himself upright. He leaned around to hit a button on the panel, and the door swung shut above him.

He thought he’d be all right once he had a little space to himself in the privacy of his bunk, but it wasn’t working that way. He couldn’t breathe. Not enough. The feeling was familiar, but he couldn’t place it; he was having trouble thinking clearly. He reached toward his bed, just got a hand on the edge of it when his legs gave out and he fell to his knees on the deck. Everything he’d been holding back, everything that he should have felt when he saw her smile at him on her way off his ship and out of his life, tore loose. It fell out of him and onto him with crushing weight.

His chest felt hollow, emptied out. Like he had a furrow from the base of his throat to the pit of his stomach, a gouge cut with a dull knife. But the wound didn’t sting; it ached. And it didn’t bleed out; it pulled everything in. It sucked his breath away, sapped his strength, weakened his will. He fell onto his side and crossed his arms over his chest, trying to hold the wound shut, to keep it from devouring him whole. All the bad times he’d had in his life, he’d never felt like this.

A vague thought rose in the back of his mind: What the hell’s happenin’ to me?

The answer came in his own voice, speaking harshly into the turmoil in his mind: You’re a fool, Malcolm Reynolds. You’re a mean, hollow, empty man. You don’t know how to love. You lost that long ago.

There was a sliver of truth in that. But he’d tried his best; he’d had his chance and he’d given her all he had, put his own self aside and tried to do for her.

You ain’t got enough lovin’ for any woman, `specially not that one. Gorram fool. You never even told her.

Mal clutched himself tighter, and felt regret hit him so hard that he had to swallow back bile. He’d never told her that he loved her.

It’s too late for you. You’ll grow old and bitter, and die all alone. Your pathetic life won’t mean a damn thing in the end.

But she loved him, she’d said it.

She left anyhow, and she’s never coming back. How many empty years between now and whatever death you got waitin’ comes for you?

He groaned at the idea of living this life of his for another forty, fifty years. And he was suddenly certain that he would. He’d live to be old and grey, `till everything hurt, till his body didn’t work right, and he’d have no one to help him get around. The `verse was cruel enough to do that, to make life so ruttin’ hard and then force him to live on and on while all the others died or went away.

This moment right now, this is your life. It’ll always be like this.

He felt himself sinking into despair, but another voice spoke up in his head, way in the back, hard to catch. He stilled himself, closed his eyes, and found that he could hear it, if he listened to the calm underneath the pain.

This ain’t right; this feeling ain’t right. Inara leavin’ should hurt, but not like this.

This voice was also his own, but it vied with the other.

Something’s wrong, something’s broken. In my head. I gotta fight it.

Give up. She left you. She knew you got nothin’ to offer.

Maybe, but this still ain’t right. It shouldn’t be this bad.

You’d never love her proper. You ain’t whole enough for that.

I gotta make it stop, push it aside …

You ain’t got a hope. She knew it, and you know it too. Not a hope at all.

…gotta get through this…

The argument faded as the chasm in his chest grew, swallowing both voices. It was pointless to fight anyhow. No matter which side won, he couldn’t do anything about it. Couldn’t call for help, couldn’t eat a bullet to make it stop, couldn’t move, couldn’t even think anymore. He could only lay still under the smothering weight of his grief until the emptiness inside took over.

* * *

Zoë did what she could to help Wash make dinner, although cooking had never been her thing. They didn’t talk, but exchanged reassuring touches as they moved around the galley. There was no denying that tension ruled this ship right now, and Zoë was grateful that things with her husband were smooth and she had him to lean on.

The rest of the crew began to gather, taking their seats but staying quiet. Inara’s sudden leave-taking had left most of them somewhat in shock. Even Jayne held his tongue, though he folded his arms and did some scowling like he was annoyed with the whole damn thing and wanted nothing more than to beat on something or someone. Simon started to take a seat next to Kaylee, but he stopped when she turned away from him. He moved to the other side of the table, where he stared at the mechanic with an expression that held just a hint of the longing that’d been pouring out of River ever since that boy Jase left the ship.

Great. Just what Zoë needed, more messiness amongst the crew.

She watched for the Captain. She didn’t really expect him to show; in fact, she thought she might not see him for a while. He had his wounds to lick. When he did get back to the ship’s business, it wasn’t going to be fun. Zoë’d seen Mal with his heart torn out before, and it didn’t make him a nice guy. She was going to have her hands full, keeping this boat afloat.

Of course, that wasn’t the thing that bothered her most. She felt a hand squeezing her own, and looked up to see Wash standing beside her with a look of understanding. He knew all about it. Mal wouldn’t be pleased that she talked to Wash, but she’d had to tell him. She’d need her husband’s support to give her any chance of getting Mal through what Inara’d done to him.

Inara. Just thinking of the woman made Zoë’s blood heat up. Inara may have had her own troubles, but there was no excuse for using the Captain like she had. Zoë just hoped the woman planned on keeping herself in the Core. Zoë didn’t like to think of what she’d do if she ever saw Inara again.

“So… where we goin’?” Jayne asked once Wash and Zoë had joined everyone else at the table.

“Captain wanted to head back to Persephone, check in with Badger,” Zoë explained. “Seems the Alliance ain’t on our backs, so we can go out in the open again, get some real work.”

“Should have done it,” River said softly. Zoë turned to the girl, who was staring off into space with a look of intense regret.

“Done what, River?” Zoë asked, a little annoyed at having to deal with the girl’s ravings now.

“Should have had sex with Jase,” River said firmly. “At least the Captain got to have sex with Inara before his heart broke.” She dropped her head in her hands dramatically, then pitched forward over the table. Simon looked at her like he couldn’t decide between horror and pity, then he settled on carefully moving her hair off her full dinner plate before he slid it out of the way.

“Mal – and Inara?” Jayne asked in disbelief.

Zoë cut him off quickly. “Jayne, you say one thing to Mal about this and you won’t be doin’ it with anyone ever again, you got me?”

Jayne gave her a perplexed look. “What’s the big deal? Cap’n got some, that’s more than most a’ the rest of us lately. Huh - with Inara, too.” He tipped his head to the side with a look of begrudging respect. “Wonder how he managed that.”

“Jayne, I ain’t telling you again,” Zoë warned, then she looked around the table, making sure that everyone got the message. “Mal ain’t in the best mood right now, and he’s like to take it out on anyone who volunteers as a target. Mind your own business.”

“Not necessary,” River said quietly against the table top, but no one paid her any mind.

Jayne gave Zoë a dark look, then he returned to his food. “Damn, I’m sick of bein’ out here,” he grumbled. “Slinkin’ around the gé zhi wō of the ‘verse’s got everyone in such a gorram bad mood.”

“I myself will be glad to see Persephone again,” the Shepherd interjected with an obvious desire to change the subject. “It’s early spring at the docks, and we should be in time for some festivities, if I recall correctly.” He looked toward Kaylee with a smile, as if hoping for some support. “The fair rides are quite good, or they were last time I was there during the season.”

Kaylee just shrugged noncommittally. “I guess.” Then she looked a little hopeful. “If the shops’re open I can get a few things for the mule. To go with the stuff Xiaojun brought…” She was looking around the table, and when she caught Simon’s eye her voice trailed off. Simon looked away too, then his attention settled on River. He laid a hand on her back.

“Did you hear that?” he asked his sister. “You always liked rides – ”

“Don’t care,” she mumbled without raising her head. “Missed my chance. I’ll never get another one, and some other girl’s going to get him!”

“To hell with rides.” Jayne said. “I’m just lookin’ forward to havin’ some real work. Can’t wait to get back to some normal old-fashioned crime.”

“Sounds good!” a voice behind Zoë replied. She turned around – the Captain was coming down the steps, looking a little rumpled, like he’d just woken up. “I’m lookin’ forward to some wholesome crime myself,” he said cheerfully. “The kind we do, not the kind done on us.”

Mal took his seat, seeming not to notice that all eyes were fastened on him, and a few faces were twisted in confusion. “Do you mind?” he asked Book, pointing to a serving bowl halfway down the table.

“Oh – not at all,” the Shepherd replied. He handed the bowl over and Mal plopped a few healthy spoonfuls of food onto his plate.

“`Bout that crime, Jayne,” he said. “What d’ya say to a bank heist? I ain’t robbed a bank in a good long time. Could be fun.”

“Uh – sure, Mal. Always did like banks. They got all that…money.” The mercenary looked at Zoë and shrugged, as if asking her if he was doing all right.

Mal picked up a tidbit with his chopsticks, but then he paused thoughtfully. “Or something with a vault. A cat burgler kind’a job. Hey, Doc, we could get some use out a’your sister there.” He looked at the pile of hair and elbows next to Simon. “You wanna earn your keep climbing walls and danglin’ on the end of a rope, little one?”

“Okay,” River answered, still without lifting her head. She didn’t seem bothered by Mal’s act, but it turned Zoë’s stomach. She leaned toward Mal, and spoke softly.

“Sir, you don’t need to do this.”

“Do what?” he answered, not even trying to match the low level of her voice.

Zoë looked around at the crew. She’d really prefer to talk to Mal about this in private.

“What, Zoë? If you got somethin’ to say, cough it up and spit it out.”

“Thanks for the visual, sir.” Zoë replied dryly. He looked at her expectantly, but she didn’t go on. She wasn’t going to air this in public, as much as she wanted to know what the hell had gotten into him. But she didn’t have to wait until after lunch to find out; Kaylee spoke up for her.

“We know you’ll miss her, Cap’n,” the mechanic said in a small voice. “We all will. You don’t gotta act like you won’t.”

Mal glanced around the table, then he half-smiled like he thought there was a practical joke being played. His eyes finally settled on Kaylee.

“Miss who?”

Kaylee frowned in confusion. “Um – Inara.”

Mal looked around at the crew again, then set down his chopsticks and leaned back with a lopsided grin. “Okay, I’ll bite. Who’s Inara?”

The crew looked at each other. No one replied except for River, who finally lifted her head and looked at Simon.

“See?” she said. “Broken.”

* * *


gé zhi wō: armpit

* * *

On to another of mal4prez’s Long-winded commentaries.


Friday, July 28, 2006 9:38 AM


I have a commentary almost ready to post – mostly it deals with where the ET storyline came from, and explains a little about the multitude of OCs. I’ll say a few things about the sequel too, but not a lot! *cackle cackle*

If there’s anything in particular you’re curious to know, ask me now and I’ll get to it in the commentary.

Friday, July 28, 2006 10:00 AM


Okay, what the you know what? I'll say this for you mal4prez, you do like to keep us guessing ... the sequel's gonna be great!

Oh, and I LOVED River's comment about having sex with Jase, that was perfect!

Friday, July 28, 2006 10:06 AM




I guess everyone deals with a heart-break/stress/physical-trauma/grief/fear-induced panic attack a little differently.

Some just breathe until it goes away, maybe seek counselling.


You'll understand if I'm a little stunned, yes?

But, oh, it makes such evil evil sense. First I thought he was having a heart attack, actually, but upon finishing, after a few minutes of staring like a fish, it really seems like a weird thing his brain might do.

Mal just can't lie down. Can't break. He's like River and like a Reaver that way. But at that moment, where there doesn't seem to be a forward, what can be done? Well, you erase the need for a forward by rewinding! *g*

And now I will officially start pining for that sequel.

PS: beautifully written, very easy to imagine in vivid detail the actual physical pain Mal is feeling. That and the concise summary of the crew, where they all end up at the end of this. Bleeeeak. And River cracked me up, in a sad way.

Friday, July 28, 2006 10:09 AM


AR - don't forget that Mal's head has been messed with extensively lately... this wouldn't have happened otherwise.

Friday, July 28, 2006 10:12 AM


River... oh, beautiful River. Somehow, if there is a sequal, I doubt your virginity will survive.

And there must be a sequal. How can Mal forget Inara?

And how can she just... is she really gone? Make her come back!

Heartbreaking. I love it.

Friday, July 28, 2006 10:17 AM


So much to say.... I'll just go with: Thanks for the badass story and for giving me something friggin sweet to read.

Oh, and the "diddling yourself with the rifle" deal.

Your faithful reader,

Friday, July 28, 2006 10:20 AM


Oh, I took that into consideration. In fact, if that hadn't happened, I wouldn't have bought this scenario, but with that background and Mal's difficulty keeping reality and hallucination apart... it works brilliantly. :)

Friday, July 28, 2006 10:50 AM


I'm not sure I totally buy Mal just forgetting like that - he ALWAYS has his wits about him; even during his imposed crazy-time, he was actively trying to separate reality from fantasy. I just don't see it as part of how he works. I'm half suspicious that Inara had something to do with his forgetfulness, seeing as she always has the good drugs.

I'm glad you have another story going: Inara's gone, Mal's loopy (for whatever reason), something's obviously not right with Kaylee (though so far, only Simon seems to really notice), and River desparately needs to get laid (maybe bring Jase back for one wild fling? Come on, you know she deserves it). Got a lot of work cut out for you!

Friday, July 28, 2006 11:29 AM


Dammit. It's go to have something to do with all those drugs they pumped into his system back in 'Fish Job'.

Would you be offended if I came over to your house and chained you to your computer? I'd keep you well stocked in coffee and whatever else is helping you churn out these excellent fics. However, no bathroom breaks until I see a sequel!

Excellent work as always. I have to agree with Arcadia though! Sorry River, but there's no way you'll retain your innocence through a sequel!

Friday, July 28, 2006 12:43 PM


Mal - forgot? Hmm, count me in as someone else who doesn't totally buy that. I hope there's some explanation coming in the sequel!

With this epilogue, it could almost lead to the events in the movie, except Book isn't gone yet. Everyone's emotional state seems very similar to what we see in the film.

Heh, River needs sex? So does her uptight brother :)

Friday, July 28, 2006 12:57 PM


Well this ending has confused me. I absolutely *loved* Zoe, I'd have her fighting my corner any time of the day or night but that thing with Mal? What was all that? And then to have him come back like that didn't gel with the dramatic scene in his bunk, which was never explained as physical pain like a heart attack or overwhelming emotional pain or a mix of the two. Left a very unsatisfying hollow. I have absolutely adored this story all the way through until now. Ali D
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, July 29, 2006 6:22 AM



Deep breath.

Oh. My. You are wonderful and cruel.
I have to admit, I hadn't commented after the last several chapters, even though they were wonderful, because I was all like "yeah...but...what about broken Mal? What happened to tortured, short-term-memory-loss, really messed-with-in-the-head, broken Mal?"
I should have known you'd have something amazing and evil worked out for us. So now that I can breath again... I can tell you how amazing the reverse-comfort M/I scene in Chp 24 was, how the "You really here with me?" broke my heart when I read it, and even moreso now. How funny and fun it is to see River acting like a real lovesick girl at the table. How I loved Mal at the calligraphy. How I liked Ginger figuring out Will.

Your work is tremendous, thanks for entertaining us. Looking very much forward to more.

Sunday, July 30, 2006 1:15 AM


Zoe wanting to kick Inara's ass for making Mal in the mood he was in was very good.

Mal's internal dialogue/fight was intense.

Mal/Jayne conversation about crime was too damn funny, and the teaser you left the series on was great too. Can't wait til you start writing/posting the sequel. :)

Sunday, July 30, 2006 8:59 AM


Hey all--I'm one of the betas for this series:

I'm a bit surprised by those who don't
'get' Mal's memory loss at the end. The author really bent over backwards to set this up, by having him not remember what was done to him by Will during the torture session on the bridge. On top of what happened to him in "Fish Job," I found it not only plausible (I've got a friend with PTSD, and it's amazing what she doesn't remember), but inevitable. In fact, I kept thinking, as I beta'd, "Well, when are we going to see the significance of Mal's inability to remember what Will did to him?" Coming at the very end of ET was, I thought, a great cliffhanger ending, but also the logical conclusion of the plot's development of this theme.

Anyway, just wanted to put in my two cents. Mary has really busted her butt on this story, and been incredibly gracious about beta feedback, some of which has been pretty rigorous. I'm the first to get on her when something hasn't been adequately set up or explained, or when it seems out of character. (I guarantee she'll confirm that!!) The Mal memory loss/trauma worked for me because it was set up well , and fits her vision of him as having been the victim of some pretty heavy duty brainwashing and torture. . . .

Sunday, July 30, 2006 6:45 PM


Damn it woman! You definitely need to sit down with Joss and shoot the breeze over how to toss curveballs at the fans:D

This is definitely one of the most tense cliffhangers I have ever seen, cuz this kind of nucler strike (bomb drop? pssh...conventional explosives are pissant here :D) is gonna leave us all "Holy shit!" and "What the diyu is she gonna pull out of the hat next to tease, tempt and torment us?!?"

Personally, I can totally see Mal's brain just hitting a reset switch. The man's gone through horrific torture and drugging in the recent past, started recovering and then got it added to in spades...and that's not even factoring in Inara's actions! Mal's the kind of guy who just goes...just plows forward and keeps moving, accumlating pain and misery and sadness and anger before letting it get pushed aside to maintain velocity. The entire series of chapters from when Ray and the others storm the boat till the last proper chapter has had Mal just rolling with the punches and taking his own shots. But once he gets a chance to decompress and relax? Everything just catches up and slams into him, hence the pain and the voices battling in his head.


Sunday, July 30, 2006 8:41 PM


Well, I've been commenting, but holding my tongue on the seemingly abandoned 'broken' Mal thing. I just trusted that you would address it eventually, though I didn't quite expect *this*! 'Course, now I gotta wait MONTHS to see how you resolve it all... (But with confidence that it'll be worth the wait.) You should have called this 'Sequel Teaser', instead of 'Epilogue'!

But wow, so much on Zoe's shoulders now. Mal's break here, while somewhat of an escape for him, has got to be devastating for her. Now, she alone bears his pain. And Mal's crushing, sucking pain - I felt it, it was so tangible.

Oh, and on a technical note, I loved the visual... how Mal's right-justified thoughts kept getting smaller and smaller... until.

Thank you so much for this ride. Is there a list I can sign up on to get an email notification once the sequel's up? Seriously. I do not want to miss it!

Monday, July 31, 2006 3:12 AM


OMG malforprez, you have written the most unbelievably wonderful story I have read yet in fandom - and I have read ALOT. As a matter of fact, I have lurked for 10 months and commented anonymously, but after seeing the rating of this fabulous work, I HAD to delurk and add my opinion. This story reads like a mystery novel with clues and overlays I didn't catch until the second or third read. And the complexity of the plot weaving in and out of the character development made it a sheer joy to just immerse yourself in. You brought to light so much of Mal's character from Joss's point of view that I now have to go review the series and look for other clues - and they're all there! For instance, did you know that Wikipedia lists Mal Reynolds as a fictional character who suffers from PTSD? It is definitely shown in the pilot and the movie but toned down by order of Fox for the other episodes. But flashes of it surface in Bushwacked when Mal is talking to the Alliance Lieutenant about the Reaver attack survivor. And it would explain his almost flippant attitude toward Niska's torture. Or his attack on the teenager in the gunshop selling Seekers in the Fish Job. Are you sure you're not Joss?

I think so many people lead such pristine lives that PTSD is not something experienced or seen or recognized. And thank God for that. So much of the world can't say that, and continue answering violence with violence. No wonder Mal is so alone, the only ones of his crew that could even remotely relate are Zoe (and she has Wash)or maybe Book. To the others he would just seem like a mean old man. Thank you malforprez, for opening up a whole new level of understanding for this beautiful 'verse and my appreciation for Joss's creativity and humanity.

Wow. Now I have to go read FJ AGAIN to look for more clues. And if there is anything I could do to help speed up the sequel short of reinventing the whole space time continuum thing to make the months go by faster let me know. You are the best!

Tuesday, August 1, 2006 1:37 PM


Leeh, thanks for the explanation. I didn't catch the clues and I don't know what the symptoms of PTSD are (or even that Mal was suffering from it) either which is why this end left me scratching my head in confusion.

And Mal4Prez, where's that commentary? Eagerly looking forward to reading it.

Count me with the multitudes that will offer bribes to get you to write and post sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006 7:11 PM


Took me a while to comment, because I had to process the whole ending. I loved this series. And I am anxiously the sequel. Although I have to admit I was a little dissapointed because I so wanted a happy ending. Mal deserves a happy ending at some point. At least there is a hint of a sequel sometime in the future. Anything i can do to speed that along??

What I wondered through these last chapters was if Inara is going to turn out to be an alliance operative like Ginger did? If not why did she have to leave so suddenly and seemingly against her will?

Wednesday, August 2, 2006 7:52 AM


Only voted on this one but didn't leave a comment. It does look like it is leaning towards the movie, but i trust you have your own plans and am curious to see where they go next.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 2:08 PM


Ok, this comment is coming a little late.

Just gone through my second reading the two stories.

Very well written and brilliantly set up.

Mal's frame of mind was mentioned in almost every chapter apart from right at the end, so it through me the first time. Second time through I saw it.

Only thing I was not too crazy about was River being head over heals. Just that I would have expected a middle ground where she likes someone.

One thing which is carried through in these stories which so few fanfics carry over from canon is a sort of Parallelism between Mal and River, where they could almost be on different ships/shows, but not.

Absolutely brilliantly written.

Can't wait for the next story. (Is it a trilogy, or threee loosely tied stories? or just a series?)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 11:26 AM


Hi nbz -

It's never too late! Especially when you say nice things. :)

I hear your words about River. I only partially disagree. :) "She feels everything fully" right? I figure she has teenage hormones times a million or so, and she has very little control over her sexual/emotional urges. I can't see her being anything less than head over heels.

I do admit that focusing on her love life does make her seem a bit petty compared to her role in the series and movie. I can see that that'd be annoying.

My thing is, River's story was pretty much fully covered in the movie, and I can't challenge or expand on that much. So I center the plot of my fics on the other characters. But I like her and need to give her something to do to keep her involved. Maybe I give her less less momentous arcs than she deserves. Oh well!

As for what's next... this whole deal is definitely a trilogy, with the third installment being heavily dependent on the first two. It's why I'm reposting on livejournal right now, to go over the old stuff and refresh some memories before part 3 is posted.

The third part is also quite long and involved. It's as long as ET now, with much still to do - a helluva lot of work! I wish I could start posting, but there's so much still to work out!


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Back Stories Book 3, Chapter 25
Zoë nodded. “I’ll bet there’s a little committee of suits back there trying to figure out how best to lie.”&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp

“Or how to tell some horrible truth,” Inara replied softly.&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp

“Or how to make the most effective use of medical waste incendiaries to get rid of our bodies,” Wash chimed in.

Back Stories III, Chapter 24
Mal returns to a few familiar places.

Back Stories III: Chapter 23
The BDH’s find themselves enmeshed in too damned many OCs. But hey, they’re necessary. Plottiness and all.

Back Stories III, Chapter 22
Inara tells the story of why she left the Core. Well, half of it anyway.

Back Stories III, Chapter 21
The battle with the Reavers continues, and Mal makes a choice. All decisions have consequences.

Back Stories III, Chapter 20
Finally a little Mal POV, but it doesn't last long.

Back Stories III, Chapter 19
The trials and tribulations of an older, wiser River Tam.

Back Stories Book III, Chapter 18
The aftermath of an unexpected encounter. Except—not all of the crew are accounted for…

Back Stories Book III, Chapter 17
A lovely day in the mountains: friendly locals and fresh air under a clear blue sky. What could possibly go wrong?

Back Stories Book III, Chapter 16.
Zoë tells of her soiree with terrorists on Oeneus.