Saved You in the War 1/3
Friday, February 23, 2007

Mal and Zoe hone their Big Damn Hero skills saving each other in the war. This is a three-part story inspired by the line in War Stories. It was originally going to be part of my extraordinarily long POW story The Losing Side (as a flashback), but in an effort to focus that tale a little bit I decided to take it out and post it seperately.



“Yes, Zoe?” Mal grunted.

“You got something sticking out of your back,” she yelled, making herself heard through the thunder of artillery fire.

“Oh, never mind that,” replied Mal. “That’s just my new piercing, got it done the other day.”

“Well, it’s proving a little inconvenient, sir, it keeping you from walking and all,” she commented dryly.

“Sorry. Just my way of expressin’ my individuality,” replied Mal with a grin, his face contorting with pain at the slight movement.

Zoe rolled her eyes. Any retort would have been drowned out by the earth-shattering explosion of nearby mortar fire, and she merely crawled to Mal’s side to inspect the wound. After a few seconds, she took Mal’s hand gently in hers and shouted for the radio operator. “We need a medevac, now!”

Mal peered around at her uneasily. “Medevac and now ain’t terribly reassuring words to hear about yourself in the same sentence. You entirely certain that’s necessary, Corporal?”

Zoe raised her eyebrows as she withdrew the injector from her field kit and pressed it against Mal’s arm, giving him a heavy dose of pain meds. “Forgive me if I made the mistaken assumption you might want the use of your legs sometime in the future. That piece of shrapnel tore the hell out of your back, an’ it’s gonna take a lot more than a field hospital to put you back together again.”

“Fine,” muttered Mal, tightening his grip on her hand.

The radio operator ran up and crouched beside Mal. “Sir, we got orders to fall back, it’s too hot in here to hold and the Alliance has more air support on the way, they’ll wipe us out any minute now. Closest a medevac ship’ll land is about a quarter mile from here, but –“

“But hauling an injured man’ll slow you down an’ we’ll all die, that the gist of it?” asked Mal bluntly.

“Yes – sir,” said the young man uncertainly. Steadying his voice firmly, he said, “We ain’t gonna leave you, Sarge. We’ll get you out of here.”

“No, you ain’t,” said Mal firmly. “Take the men and fall back. Pirelli’s in command in my absence. Go!”

The soldier stared at him in distress, but the whizzing of a shell past his head did much to render the finer notions of honor and courage irrelevant. “Yes, sir,” he said, gulping as he saluted and turned to run back to the others.

“Tell the medevac we’ll be there!” shouted Zoe. The young man stopped and nodded assent.

Mal watched until he was out of sight, absorbing the fact that Zoe was still sitting with his hand in hers. “You, too,” said Mal. “That’s an order.”

“I’m disobeying it,” said Zoe. “You can have me court-martialled after you wake up on the hospital ship.”

“Not if I was to shoot you for disobeyin’ an order,” Mal pointed out.

“Wouldn’t that kinda sorta go against your goal of keeping your troops alive?” asked Zoe, working at the ugly wound in Mal’s back and spraying it with foam to seal it and slow the bleeding.

“My goal’s ta’ win, not keep you alive,” protested Mal.

“And – will we win if you shoot me?” asked Zoe dryly.

Mal sighed. “Unfortunately, no.”

Zoe untwisted Mal’s rifle and handgun from the mess of tangled gear and laid the rifle within easy reach, placing the pistol in his hand. “I’m going scouting for supplies. Keep yourself alive while I’m gone, sir.” With that, she slipped away through the smoke and the flash of artillery.


Mal was barely conscious by the time they reached the rendezvous point with the medevac ship, a haze of pain obscuring everything he saw through the dizzied eyes of a man suffering from severe blood loss. His increasingly numb hands had long ago lost the ability to grip the awkward sheet of flexible metal Zoe had found to use as a skid, and the exhausted corporal had tied him to it before resuming the unforgiving march.

Zoe dragged her Sergeant through grass and boulders and gravel, up and down hills, and finally reached the medevac landing point in a haze of her own, exhausted beyond the point of being able to stand, bleeding from her arm where a piece of flying shrapnel had sliced her open. She had been too focused, too tired, to even notice it happen, and her legs gave out from under her as she stopped to await the arrival of the ship.

“You – alright – Corporal?” grunted Mal, aware that she’d fallen.

“Yes – sir,” came an equally pained grunt. “Ship – should be here any minute now.”

“Thank you – Zoe,” said Mal forcing his voice to work through sheer force of will. Lacking the energy to reply, Zoe flopped an arm over and found a hand to grasp. With the low drone of the medevac ship approaching, the two soldiers lost consciousness.


Friday, February 23, 2007 3:53 PM


You really have gotten the heart and soul of Zoe and Mal's relationship. This is brilliant.

Friday, February 23, 2007 3:55 PM


What a fine side-ways addition to "The Losing Side"! Your banter back and forth between Mal and Zoe was right on target for character and their 'voices'. I'm interested in where this tale is going and how it ties to Losing Side.

Friday, February 23, 2007 6:41 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER original comment got ate:) reiterate:

1) So glad you made these Mal/Zoe moments separate, cuz they are sooo worth the indepedent posting;

2) Can't wait to see how Mal rescues Zoe, cuz it's bound to be crazy brilliant:D


Friday, February 23, 2007 9:12 PM



Saturday, February 24, 2007 7:41 AM


Absolutely brilliant! I love how superbly you depict Mal and Zoe's relationship. The gritty loyalty they hold to each other, through thick and thin. I am guessing this is also where the bundle of nerves in Mal's back got damaged, as mentioned by Mal to the Operative in the BDM "Serenity". Lovely work, hope there is more! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, February 24, 2007 6:12 PM


Brings to mind another precious Mal/Zoe moment.

"You'll be cleaning latrines with your face for a month..."

This is a nice side-bar. Keep it up.

Rob O.

Sunday, February 25, 2007 4:49 PM


can't wait to see the rest! keep it coming... "Just my way of expressin’ my individuality," cracked me up!


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The Losing Side, Chapter 68 - Farewell to Bars
Mal is finally released by the Alliance, and says his goodbyes to friend and foe before being assigned a job in stapler quality control. In the meantime, Wash rebels against the perfection of his new job by buying dinosaurs and loud shirts. This is NOT the end of the story! :)

The Losing Side, Ch. 67 - Bombshells
Everything changes in the space of minutes when Mal is taken to Lee's office and confronted with two very different shocks to the emotions.

The Losing Side, Ch. 66 - Nature of the Beast
A long chapter full of conflict, trust, and musings....and a cliffhanger! An evil, evil cliffhanger.

The Losing Side, Ch. 65 - Trouble in Paradise
Wash wants to strangle the captain of the shiny new luxury cruiser he's flying, and Mal learns that something dangerous may be afoot....with his name on it.

The Losing Side, Ch. 64 - How to Win a Losing Battle
It's a tricky tightrope between trauma, rage, and finding yourself....but Mal is learning to walk it.

The Losing Side, Ch. 63 - The Art of Insanity
Mal may have more then he bargained for in Cody Patton, the mysterious and potentially deranged artist in his housing unit. Is the one real war criminal among them a threat, an asset, or just a damaged young soldier?

The Losing Side, Ch. 62 - Aiding the Enemy
Mal saves the life of an Alliance guard, and starts having serious doubts about his own mental state.

The Losing Side, Chapter 61 - Juggling Frustrations
Mal keeps on finding new and disturbing facts about one of his fellow prisoners, and Wash learns to juggle (and smuggle) goslings.

The Losing Side, Chapter 60
Wash gets a job, and Mal perfects his Alliance-taunting skills while developing an unlikely fondness for getting shots. Oh, and there's an artist who's a mite off.

The Losing Side, chapter 59 - Sharing the Night
Mal, Wash, and Zoe spend a sleepless night together, and Wash experiences some of the first joys of freedom.