On The Edge: Chapter 2
Thursday, January 25, 2007

The crew lands on a war ravaged planet and renders aid. Cannon pairings.


Sorry for the delay in posting the next chapter. I've been really busy lately.

Thanks to everyone for their comments on the last two chapters. I'm glad you're still enjoying. There's a rollercoaster ahead so sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.

Thanks to tamsibling and mal4Prez for the beta.

Chapter 1 can be found Here

-------------- Chapter 2 --------------

“Are there no medical facilities here?” Simon glanced up from where he’d just marked the forehead of yet another child with a ‘render no aid’ black X.

“If there are, they probably been destroyed along with the rest of the buildings,” Jayne glanced about the decimated town, wrinkling his nose at the bodies that littered the streets.

“Most like.” Zoe added, experienced eyes flitting around the unmarked battlefield.

“These are just children,” Simon stood, not bothering to brush the dirt off his pants. He glanced toward Mal, whose gaze was fixed on something far in the distance. “The Alliance destroyed these people because the Independents chose to use this world as a launching point?”

“Yup. This here’s the embodiment of the Alliance’ pledge to bring true civilization to every earth in the ‘verse.” The disgust was evident in Mal’s voice, but Simon was no longer listening.

As they rounded a building that had been reduced to rubble, the bodies that littered the street changed. Here, they were simply lying in prone positions, not a scratch on them.

“Tian xiao de,” Simon muttered as he knelt beside a fallen woman, the bundle in her arms as unmoving as she was.

“What?” Jayne’s eyes darted around the sand, confused.

Simon removed a device from his medical bag and pricked the woman’s finger. After waiting a few minutes for the results, he lowered his head and closed his eyes, taking deep, calming breaths. He ignored Mal’s demand to know what was going on until after he’d marked the all too familiar X on the foreheads of the mother and child.

“They used chemical weapons on these people,” Simon said, an aura of disbelief in his voice. He knelt and dug quickly into his kit, producing an empty vial. He scooped up some dirt and poured a small amount from another vial into it.

“What’re you doin?” Jayne asked, brows knit in confusion.

Zoe took a step back and inhaled deeply. “Checking for poison.”

Understanding dawned on Jayne’s face as he covered his nose and mouth. “We gonna be –”

“No,” Simon answered before anyone else could as he eyed the vial he held. “This test is negative.”

“So’s we ain’t gonna be poisoned?” Jayne asked, glancing around nervously.

“No, Jayne,” Simon said with a shake of the head.

Simon looked around, disgust coloring his pale cheeks. “Why –“ he shook his head. “They did nothing –“

“Neither did River, right?” Zoe asked as she approached from his other side. “Alliance does what they want because no one is strong enough to resist ‘em.”

“That’s murder.” Inara said, a disgusted look on her face.

“What’s one more cowed planet to add to their growing tally?” Mal hissed as he looked around.

“They meddle. It’s what they do,” River observed, her eyes darting around the rubble as if she expected some hidden enemy to launch themselves out of it.

Before Simon could comfort his clearly agitated sister, they all heard the snap of wood echo around the deathly quiet landscape. Everyone’s eyes flitted over the crumbled buildings, trying to determine the source of the sound. Mal, Jayne and Zoe instantly aimed their weapons, bodies tensing, as Inara and River’s eyes simply followed Simon, who stood and hurried out in front of them.


“Where you goin’?” Jayne called, frowning at the doctor’s back. “Boy’s gonna get himself killed.”

“Simon, wait!” Inara called, recognizing Jayne’s comment for the truth it could be.

But then they all saw what Simon had already seen: a little girl with dirt-smudged cheeks and matted hair. She was running right toward him, amidst a man’s cries for her to stop.

“Help us, Sir! Please!” The girl collapsed at Simon’s feet and he instantly dropped to his knees beside her.

Before he had a chance to examine her, he heard the cock of a weapon and glanced up to find a very sleek looking gun pointed right at his head.

“Let her go.”

Simon’s mouth fell open and he raised his hands, not wanting to provoke the big man with the weapon any more than he already had.

“I suggest you do the same, mister,” Jayne said, aiming Vera at the man’s head. Mal approached from the direction Simon had trod moments before, as Zoe circled around the other side. Inara was quiet but attentive as her hand snaked closer to the small firearm she kept hidden within her clothing

“We ain’t here to hurt you,” Mal said, leveling his own weapon.

“He can help us, daddy. He’s a doctor, see?” The little girl touched the red medical case with tiny, blood-stained fingers.

“There aren’t any doctors here. They’re all dead.” The man’s voice held a resigned tone as he lifted his eyes from Simon and squinted at Mal.

“You’re a Browncoat?” The man asked, incredulous.

Mal swallowed thickly. “Was at one time.”

The man glanced toward where Serenity had just landed, though the ship couldn’t be seen from their current position. “Just landed?”

Mal nodded.

The man shouldered his weapon and stuck out his hand, instant respect given to a fellow Independent. “Name’s Aaron Richards. Volunteered to head up the communication’s base they set up not too far from here.” He glanced down at the girl who had taken a big interest in Simon’s med kit. “That’s my daughter Madeline.”

Before Mal could respond, Zoe joined the group observing, “No bombs went off here.”

Simon checked over the smiling girl as her father talked with Mal.

“No, they wasted those on the Independents. Saved the chemical stuff for the towns.”

“They did this to everyone?” Simon stood, happy to have been able to treat one live patient.

“Only those closest to the hidden compounds. Didn’t want the Independents hiding among the people so – they just decided to attack surrounding towns as well.” He turned to Simon. “You’re a real doctor?”

“I am.”

“We’ve got a shelter full of people needing medical treatment. Could you come?”

Simon nodded quickly, at once eager to use his skills to help, and fearful about what he might find. His fingers closed tightly around his med-kit.

Aaron noticed the relatively limited supplies the doctor carried. “We took everything we could from the hospital before they destroyed it.”

Simon nodded. “I’ll do what I can.” He glanced around again and added, “The initial blast must have burned off all the chemicals in the air, but –”

“The Alliance uses a state of the art chemical that does its damage and then dissipates, leaving no trace,” Aaron offered with a sigh.

Mal opened his mouth to speak but Aaron moved on quickly.

“Those that survived didn’t get a fatal dose of the chemical; they were inside, in basements, they knew the Independent compound was here and could likely be a target, there were shelters - or they did and are just lying in their beds waiting to die.”

“Wouldn’t want proof they’d caused all these people’s deaths getting back to the Central Planets, no doubt,” Mal said sarcastically.

“You’re lucky no one saw you land,” Aaron observed with a glance back toward Serenity.

“Busy with other, more important, targets.” River added, her small voice out of place in this rough, damaged place.

Simon nodded and grabbed his med kit and the crew followed Aaron and his daughter deeper into town. As they walked, Mal turned to Aaron. “Little too educated to be this far out, ain’t you?”

“Used to be Alliance military. Left not too long ago.” As he tugged open a big heavy door, they were greeted with the stench of the dying and the moans of the injured. Simon moved in instantly, Zoe, River and Inara at his heels.

Mal turned to Aaron. “Willingly?”

Aaron smiled tightly. “I left because of what you broadcast to the ‘verse, Sergeant Reynolds.”

“How you know who Mal is?”

Mal clutched his pistol as he turned to stare at the man. “Guess the Alliance didn’t have everyone under their control in the Core worlds, huh?”

“Not all.” Aaron grinned smugly at the two men’s reaction to his identification of Serenity’s captain.

“The Alliance knows exactly who released the Miranda broadwave but they’ve been a bit too pre-occupied with this war to chase you down.”

Mal tensed. “Meanin’ you used to be high enough to be privy to that bit of incriminatin’ intel.”

“Communications Expert. We hear all kinds of things, whether true or not.”

“This one was true.”

“I gathered.”

The men fell into companionable silence as they watched Simon work through the injured, marking their foreheads with different colored pens according to the severity of their injuries. Inara, River, Zoe and Aaron’s little girl followed him, listening carefully when he asked for something to treat the multitude of people waiting in this room to die.


“Ain’t right.” Zoe said as she looked around at the injured filing into Simon’s make-shift medical center. She’d taken a bit of a break at Simon’s insistence and was now standing outside with Mal.

“What’s the Alliance do that is?” Mal asked with a heavy sigh.

“This is worse than the Valley, Sir.”


“At least we knew what we were fighting for. We were armed. We had a chance.”

Mal recalled being pinned down for most of that particular battle. “Not much a one.”

The disgust on Zoe’s face was palpable. “This was a one-sided bloodbath.” She shook her head. “Makes me glad we never –“ She trailed off, letting her hand linger on her impressively flat stomach. She didn’t think she could ever admit that she was glad she and Wash had never had a child. Bearing an innocent into the ‘Verse as it was wouldn’t have been what she wanted for a baby, and thinking about Kaylee’s little one being born into the middle of this war had her stomach knotted more than she was willing to admit.

Mal watched Zoe carefully, knowing what she was thinking. He shared his opinion on the subject quite often lately, usually quite vocally and in Simon’s face. He wisely kept his mouth shut now, however, and let Zoe work through her anger and anguish at the memories and loneliness left by her husband’s death.

He’d tried to keep the crew away from the battle, for his own sanity as well as the safety of his crew. But instead, he’d received the distress call from this world and ordered, without hesitation, the same crew that he’d wanted to protect into a dangerous situation that could easily have ended all of their lives.

He shouldered the blame for this newest war. And he carried the deaths of every man, woman and child who had died because of it, there as well.

He firmly believed, with each and every war-ravaged planet they landed on, that if he’d never released the Miranda broadwave, there would have never been a second war for Independence.


“You’re good,” Madeline smiled at Simon as he stitched up a deep gash in an unconscious man’s chest.

Simon smiled at the little girl with bright eyes. “Thank you.”

“Everybody’s needed help for so long. People just kept dying.”

“Can you hand me that package right over there?” Simon pointed into his open medkit and grinned when the girl’s tiny hand grasped it and then held it out to him. It was better to keep the girl busy, despite the kind of work which was involved. She’d been eager and a quick study, and he was grateful for the distraction, however minute, that she afforded him.

“I want to be a doctor when I grow up.”

Simon’s heart thudded sharply against his ribcage.

“I like to help people.”

Simon smiled at her. “Me too.” He continued to work with the little girl, Inara and River coming back every so often for more instruction, and found himself calmed by her small presence. If this was what it would be like to be a father, Simon couldn’t wait until Kaylee had the baby. But, another part of him, when he glanced down into Madeline’s wide eyes, wanted to sequester Kaylee and their baby away forever so that they would not to live through the horrors of war.

As Simon worked, he marveled at everyone’s willingness to help one another. The dead were carried out post haste, water was boiled and food that was not contaminated was quickly cooked to feed those who had lived. Word spread that there was a doctor here, and as each surrounding settlement learned about Simon’s presence, they kept coming, bringing their sick, wounded, nearly dead. But there were chillingly few. Not many of the innocent had survived the initial attack – which, Simon knew, was the reason the Alliance chose to use chemical weapons on the population.

Simon rubbed his eyes and took a deep breath before continuing. After a few more hours, Madeline simply crawled into a corner and fell asleep, unable to keep her eyes open despite wanting to watch Simon work. After eighteen hours, Simon finally insisted that Inara go back to the ship and get some sleep. River continued in her place, working to help Simon fix and bandage those who came to him for aid.

Not once did anyone come and tell him he needed to leave. Not once did someone tell him that he needed to rest. He kept working through the night and into the next day, trying desperately to save as many lives as he possibly could. “I’m a surgeon Lynn,” Simon ripped off his gloves and deposited them in the waste basin, then left the room, annoyance written plainly across his handsome face. “So are you. How is it that you don’t understand –“

The small woman with distinctly Asian features slid a slim hand around his arm and whirled him around. “I do understand, Simon. I’m just –“ She shook her head and pulled him into a spare room so that no one could hear their conversation. “You work so hard, you don’t have any free time. You sleep here more than you do at home and –“

“I’m a fourth year resident, Lynn. Of course I’m here more than I’m home.”

“Flew right by me and I started a year ahead of you.”

Simon could see the smile try to push its way onto her face and he leaned forward and drew a finger along her jawline. “Are you jealous Doctor Yang?”

Her already narrow eyes grew to tiny slits and she scowled. “Not everyone can be a genius doctor, you know.”

His question answered in her carefully worded response, he continued. “ I graduate in a few months and I just want to make sure –“

Lynn rolled her eyes. “You already know the attending position is yours, why are you stressing so much over it?”

Simon shrugged. “I’m an overachiever?”

Simon lifted his eyes upward as his name echoed around the room. A patient was coding and he was needed immediately. He spared a brief, apologetic look toward his girlfriend and was out the door before he heard her response.

Lynn’s face fell and she shook her head. “Between your job and worrying that something is wrong with River, will there ever be time for us?”

Simon muttered a myriad of curses beneath his breath, clenched his fist and slammed it onto his patient’s chest. “You are not dying today,” Simon grit between clenched teeth as he struck the man again. “You’ve got two kids who need to grow up knowing what happened on this battlefield.” Simon glanced through a broken window into the sky, and at the lightning streaking across it heralding a rain storm that would soon wipe away all the bloodstained sand. “And not a fabricated story told by the winners of this war, either.” Simon grunted as the man coughed and drew in a ragged breath.

As he turned to reach for a needle and thread, his eyes caught sight of a familiar form waddling toward him. “Kaylee?” He grimaced and returned his attention to his patient, needing to suture the man’s wound before he crashed again.

Simon was grateful when Kaylee sank to her knees beside him, her arms full of bandages to deposit on the tray resting at his side.

“Why aren’t you on the ship?” Simon asked, trying to split his attention between his concern for Kaylee and his wounded patient.

“Ain’t seen you in over a day, Simon. Was worried. An’ Jayne brung me back after he and the Cap made sure there weren’t no more fightin’ goin’ on.”

“This is a battlefield, Kaylee. Full of all forms of bacteria and disease that could hurt you or the baby,” Simon’s voice was tense, full of concern and a bit of annoyance.

“I ain’t gonna sit on the ship with all these people needin’ help,” Kaylee retorted quickly. Glancing around, her eyes stopped on a young child lying on a nearby bloody blanket.

Noting Kaylee’s sudden silence, Simon followed her gaze, his expression sobering when he noticed her eyes had fallen on a wounded child. He reached down to grasp her hand, squeezed it gently, albeit hurriedly. He’d learned when to argue, and when not to push - usually. It had been a painful lesson. Leaning toward her, he whispered, “Please stay close,” before returning to his critically injured patient.



Chinese Translations:

Tian xiao de - in the name of all that's sacred ----------------------

Liked it? Hated it? Leave a review and let me know.


Thursday, January 25, 2007 3:17 PM


Ab-so-effing beautiful. Granted, nothing in that was pretty or serene... but your writing carries weight. Very vivid writing (although, I have to be honest the scene with Aaron and Mal was a bit confusing as to who was talking). Regardless so far you are weaving a very engaging story - and I can still hear their voices with the dialogue. Very excellent stuff. Next installment please!!

Thursday, January 25, 2007 3:24 PM


OMG, I Love This Story!!! Yay for the update! Can't wait to find out more about Madeline, Aaron, what the Alliance has been up to and what Mal and Co. are going to do! Impatiently waiting for the next Chapter!

Thursday, January 25, 2007 4:29 PM


I love the atmosphere, it's very wartorn.

Thursday, January 25, 2007 8:32 PM


Absolutely amazing! I love the description of Simon continuing to work even though he is more than tired and the use of the flashback to explain he has always been this way - even when the circumstances haven't been quite as dire.

Of course I love Madeline, but I have a soft spot for little kid OCs. And is Aaron friend or foe - 'cause I'm a mite skeptical at this juncture!

Post more!

Thursday, January 25, 2007 9:23 PM


You have Simon's dedication so perfectly drawn in this story and it was affecting to see the Captain and crew facing the result of that broadwave on Miranda. Everything had a cost and when you are dealing with an evil regime trying to spread its' tyranny across the 'verse their desperation at the fear of being found out can only be bloody. Ali D
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, January 25, 2007 9:47 PM


Oh...this was some mighty fabulous work, Leiasky! Between the character study of Simon treating patients and having flashbacks to his past as an overachieving med student and Mal's conversation with Zoe? Definitely getting some spectacular BDH character growth:D


Friday, January 26, 2007 11:33 PM


My only comment.... write faster :)

Saturday, January 27, 2007 7:35 AM


"He shouldered the blame for this newest war. And he carried the deaths of every man, woman and child who had died because of it, there as well."

Yup, I'm guessing the guilt of that is near-overwhelming. Poor Mal. Very good--and disturbing--chapter.

Monday, January 29, 2007 4:43 AM


I particularly enjoyed the characterisations of Mal and Simon here. They're really not as different as they imagine.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 3:17 PM


Simon's back history is great, as is the guilt Mal is feeling over the Miranda broadwave....this is high class stuff, Leiasky, keep putting it out in the verse!
The "so's we aint gonna be poisoned?"
clasic big ape...hilarious!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 10:10 AM


This story is just wonderful so far. At least we all have fanfiction to keep the verse alive.

Friday, February 16, 2007 8:43 AM


I want to cry...

Sunday, February 18, 2007 4:35 PM


hee.."Doctor Yang"...watching "Grey's" lately?

sorry. love this story so far...keep it up!

Friday, March 2, 2007 7:23 PM


Another chapter, another list.

1- Simon (You've pinned his doctor-ness. His flashback touching of Yang doesn't jive with me, but I can deal with it because it's only one line.)
2- Mal (His characterization here is perfect, especially his thoughts about "if he'd never released the Miranda broadwave". I don't think he would be soo sarcastic and bitter when talking about the Alliance, though.)
3- Zoe (Her characterization started out the strongest of all, but as the chapter kept going, the feel of her was weakened.)
4- River (Her slightly cryptic, lucid messages for me are exactly the way I see her character developing after the movie. I just didn't put her higher because she didn't have a big enough bulk of the story - less stuff about her, less to potentially mess up.)
5- Jayne (There's something lacking for me in his dialogue this time around.)
6- Kaylee (What little dialogue she has here was too rurally-accented for me. I don't doubt the characterization, but the dialogue just bothers me.)
7- Inara (For what little she had to say and do, I just wasn't satisfied with it. No offense or anything...)

Aaron feels like a person, which is good, and his daughter is good, too.


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Simon and Kaylee discuss other - avenues, as they lay in bed. Oddly, this is a pretty PG story.

Simon and kaylee disturb the ship with their nocturnal activities. Post BDM. Part of a challenge table. Rated NC-17 for adult content.

Broken Wings: Conclusion (Repost)
The crew take Kaylee home to be buried and the reason for Simon's secrecy is discovered. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 18 (Repost)
Simon, Mal and Jayne have a moment with Kaylee. Inara and River are reunited with the rest of the crew. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 17 (Repost)
Simon has a conversation with Zoe, Mal and Jayne - separately. Sequel to 'On the Edge.' Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 16 (Repost)
The crew is reunited - mostly, as Simon arrives to treat the wounded. River rushes to Inara's aid before her deception is discovered. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 15 (Repost)
Simon's escape is halted by his father. But River comes to the rescue. Jayne - sees the light - far too up close and personal for his safety. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 14 (Repost)
Simon and Inara's deception is discovered. Mal, Jayne and Zoe continue to fight what looks to be a losing battle. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 13 (Repost)
Simon has some unexpected help with his fussy son and River receives another assignment. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 12 (Repost)
Inara and Simon continue their work while a message gets out to those on the front lines. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.