Back Stories Book 3 Chapter 9
Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Events away from Serenity move forward while the crew waits for the cargo they don’t want.


Back Stories Book 3 Chapter 9.

Disclaimer: It belongs to Joss and all those business people. I'm just playing.

Links: The Fish Job, Easy Tickets, BS Book I, BS Book II, BS Book III, Chapter 1. Timing, pairings, and canon blurbs are in my FFF blog.

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With a whirl of rain and wind, Ginger Larkin stumbled through the hatch of the Alliance military transport. She had such a long face that Will had to break into a grin. “What?” he asked. “You didn’t get to make kissy with the big guy?”

To his surprise, his partner didn’t attempt a denial, but fell into the co-pilot’s seat with a huff. “I’d a’ been more than happy to, but things got interrupted.”

She got busy squeezing rainwater out of her hair, but Will fixed her with a hard stare until she explained.

“Seems we ain’t the only ones after Reynolds and his crew. They barely set foot in that fish market before all kinds of hell cut loose.”

“This hell have a name?”

“Tán Hé.”

Will frowned—this was a complication he didn’t need. “Tán Hé? I wonder what they’re up to out here on New Melbourne.”

“They’re up to makin’ a scene, that’s what, going after the crew of Serenity like they did.”


“Nope. He wasn’t there. It was the two gunhands—the big guy and the woman. The doc was there too.”

“Ah, yes. Simon I believe was the name.” Will gingerly touched the bridge of his nose, feeling a slight bend that hadn’t been there before his encounter with the young doctor. The break was nearly healed by now, but still tender.

Ginger nodded. “Yep. He’d have known me, so I had to stay back in the crowd. I might have grabbed the big guy on their way out and had my evil way with him,”—she flicked a rebellious look at Will—“but that’s when Tán Hé showed.”

Will ignored her rebellious sass and swiveled the pilot’s chair to look out the main cockpit window. He’d set down in a private strip across a small inlet from the city’s public docks; though it was now full dark and the rain had picked up, the yard around the distant Firefly was brightly lit and he had a clear view. Serenity was sitting as peacefully as a yacht on a pleasure cruise.

“What are these idiots up to, getting themselves in trouble with Tán Hé?” he muttered, speaking the question to himself. “Sheesh.” Complications, indeed. Now he’d probably have to dig into the crew’s business on New Melbourne, at least find out why they hadn’t fled the world as fast as they could after being accosted in the market by such people. Reynolds’ crew had to be planning something, to stick around like they were.

The most obvious course of action would be to contact Tán Hé directly, but then Will would have to explain his own mission. Tán Hé wouldn’t take kindly to someone competing for their prey. Will sighed. No, that wouldn’t do. He’d have to gather information the old-fashioned way: send a subordinate to get it.

“I want you back out there,” he told Ginger. “The Firefly hasn’t moved, so they’re not running. Not yet, anyhow. I want your eye on that ship, and your feet following anyone who leaves it.” A flashing light on the console caught his eye. It was a wave coming in from Trevor Marone. Will wasn’t about to answer, not in front of Ginger. If she found out that Marone’s orders were to stay back and not engage Reynolds, she’d be even more of a headache than usual. “Talk to your dear mercenary if you catch him alone,” Will went on, “or hire locals to ask questions of the others, whatever you need to do. As long as you’re smart about it—don’t get found out.”

“What’ll you be doing meantime?”

“Don’t worry about that. Just do your own job.”

He waited until she made her slow way off the ship, then turned to the comm. He noted where the ignored call had been routed from: Oeneus. Apparently, Marone had made his way back out to the Rim.

* * *

After a brief and only partly satisfying conversation, Trevor Marone shut down his uTex and returned to the hospital’s cafeteria. He found his table empty. His lunch date’s cluttered tray was still in place, her fully stuffed purse slung over her chair, but she was no where to be seen.

He sat down, unworried, and smiled fondly as he nibbled the last of his carrot sticks. Technically, Ellen wasn’t his date. In fact, this had been a working lunch entirely taken up with sober conversation. But he’d known the woman for much of his life, and though she was the happily married mother of three grown children and more than a decade his elder, he couldn’t help but have something of a crush on her. Like a schoolboy never forgets his love for his favorite grammar school teacher, Trevor would always have a soft spot for Ellen Rowlee.

Ellen’s absence was explained when she came out of the cafeteria carrying a finishing touch to her lunch: tapioca pudding.

“It’s just not something I ever make at home,” she explained as she settled into her seat. “And at times like this I have to wonder why.”

She scooped up a spoonful and tipped back her head of well-coifed gray hair as she savored the dessert, rolling it in her mouth with enough obvious enjoyment to make Marone smile. He bit into another carrot stick with little satisfaction.

“Was it a girlfriend?” Ellen asked. She nodded at the uTex he still held in his hand.

He shook his head as he set the device on the table next to his tray. “Not at all. Business.”

“You’ve been working entirely too much.” She finished another spoonful before shaking a wrinkled but well manicured finger at him. “Trevor, I say this to you only because I know you’ll forgive me, but here we go: It’s time.”

He knew exactly what she meant, but shrugged in feigned ignorance.

“It’s been almost eight years since the war,” she went on, forcing the issue. “You’ll never find another Sophie, but you’re not really such a playboy as you’ve been acting. You need to settle down.”

He dropped his eyes and didn’t reply immediately. Ellen had been his family physician since his daughter was born, had cared for himself and his family through the happy early years, as well as the tragic times that followed. Her advice deserved consideration.

Sophie, his wife, had slowly faded in her sickness during the early years of the war, and her loss had been soon followed by the sudden death of his daughter, victim of the “accidental” shooting down of a civilian transport by Alliance forces. Ellen had been the only one who really saw what the losses did to him. Ellen’s friendship had helped him through it. She’d saved his life, he would even say.

And so Marone had insisted that Dr. Ellen Rowlee handle the business that had taken over his life in the past few months, refusing to let the overly trained and underly empathetic “experts” sent from the Core take over. Ellen might not have the technical knowledge that they did, but no one could be better at monitoring and directing the medical group’s progress and keeping the primary goal in view. She’d lived up to the faith he had in her. She’d sorted through the technical lingo to find the best path to help the patients in her care, no matter how many medical specialists with overblown egos and powerful corporate sponsors stood in her way.

Marone realized he’d been silent for some time. He recovered by putting on his most charming smile and nodding at Ellen suggestively. “I would settle down in a second, but all the best women are taken.”

She understood his meaning. “You awful flirt!” she reprimanded with a smile as she reached out to lightly slap his arm.

He continued on track. “When are you going to make me the happiest of men and run away with me? I can call for a shuttle right now. In six hours we can be relaxing on a beach on Bernadette.”

“Only six hours?”

“I’ve moved up in the world lately. I have access to some very impressive ships.”

“Well. Aren’t we a big cog in the biggest wheel.” She pulled a serious face and checked her watch. “I’m afraid that I have afternoon rounds, then a meeting with my staff to prepare for the coming Visitation by Important People.”

He grinned at her. “Are the country mice in a tither?”

“Running amok. I don’t understand it. Westfield isn’t even in Parliament. He’s only a Chancellor, for Heaven’s sake!”

“Don’t underestimate the man. Sometimes those outside the spotlight can do more than the ones pinned down by it.” He frowned thoughtfully. “Westfield gives the impression of one who can juggle many kettles at once, but never spill a drop from any of them.”

“You’ve met him?”

Marone raised his brows as he nodded. “Remember—I am one of the Very Important now. At least until the present business is done.”

She set down her empty dessert cup and sized him up. “If I’d known that, I might have worn a nicer dress.”

“You know,” he said casually, waving his last carrot stick in the air in front of him, “I made an entire Alliance Battleship change course not long ago.”


He nodded, then threw the carrot into the trash pile on his finished tray. “I really did. This whole thing has been completely bizarre.” He picked up his uTex and frowned at it. “Moments ago, I delivered orders to Alliance agents, the undercover kind. Probably the same type of people who assassinated Independents during the war. But now they’re doing what I tell them.”

Ellen leaned forward, her mien matching his serious tone, and reached out to take hold of his wrist. “You’re doing good work. We’re making progress here.”

He couldn’t disagree. They’d spent most of their lunch discussing the work done by her group, and though Marone was no doctor and understood few of the technicalities, it was clear that Ellen’s medics were nearing a breakthrough.

“Certainly,” he agreed with a nod, “you are. I’m glad to hear it.”

She gave him a keen look. “Well, thank you for finally saying that. For a man who’s been chasing this thing for months, you haven’t been jumping for joy to hear that we’ve almost made it.”

He dropped his head; she was right. He hadn’t exactly been a cheery lunch date. “I’m sorry. Perhaps it’s my return to Oeneus, seeing all that’s changed on our world…” He glanced toward the windows that opened out from the cafeteria. The view was only of the inner yard, the small garden enclosed by the hospital’s thick corridors, but his inner eye gazed further, to the adjoining buildings of the newly built Alliance military base, and beyond them the tense, deserted streets of the capitol city.

“Yes,” Ellen said, her heavy tone showing that she had followed the path of his thoughts. “It does weigh on one. Our world is closer to all-out war now than it was a decade ago, during the actual war. Without the system-wide battles to drown us out, I wonder what those in the Core make of us— a distant planet making such a ruckus.”

Marone shrugged. “When I was on Londinium, I never heard a thing about Oeneus. Not even on the furthest back pages of the news. I would have had no idea what was happening if I wasn’t in direct contact with people I know out here.”

Ellen shook her head sadly. “That makes one feel unimportant.”

“Important or not, work remains to be done.” Marone sighed and pushed back his chair.

Ellen followed his example, picking up her tray. “Yes, indeed. Westfield’s visit has been delayed by ‘official business’, and I’d like to use the extra day to update our reports. We’re so close with those we have in custody, and we’re only missing the one subject now….”

“You may your missing man soon,” Marone assured her. At her hopeful look, he nodded at the uTex in his free hand. “The call I just received… I’ll explain on the way out.”

* * *

Richard Westfield made a mental note to himself: Lieutenant Brady is an idiot.

The Lieutenant’s horrendous blunder had been discovered by the hired Agents when they arrived on Highgate to pick up the captured woman, but Westfield hadn’t realized the depth of the man’s stupidity until he saw the captive for himself. She looked nothing like the Tam girl, besides being small in stature and dark-haired. Well, the doctor did look much younger than her age, and had large brown eyes not unlike River Tam’s, but Victoria Zhou had a sharper jaw and higher cheekbones. It was more than enough of a difference that a military man should see it.

However, Westfield wouldn’t be getting a chance to give Brady the dressing down he deserved, because the young Lieutenant was far away, trying to make up for his error, trying to trace the Tams. Westfield was left to seek answers here on Londinium, with the pretty young doctor who’d gone to MedAcad with Simon Tam.

Victoria Zhou had been unconscious through her entire journey to the Core, but was now awake. The blue gloved Agents had brought her out of her drugged sleep, and all three were now in a small room behind a large one way mirror. Dr. Zhou was seated, the after-effects of the drugs evident in her swollen face, red eyes, and expression of misery.

“I’ve explained the basics more than once,” she told the Agents impatiently. “River and Simon locked me up and escaped. You must have worked out as much from the state of my clinic. She and Simon did all that damage.”

“Yes, we understand,” the thinner of the two neatly suited Agents said. “But we’re more interested in the reason Simon Tam came to you in the first place. What did he want?” The doctor sighed and dropped her face into her hands. “It was an electrical generator that can be used to manipulate brain function.”

“Why would he need such a device?”

“He said he had someone to treat, someone with brain damage.”


“A man he was traveling with.”

“Do you ever meet this man or hear details of his condition?”

Her face remained buried in her hands. “No.”

“Dr. Zhou, I’m sure you recall the discussion with my colleague and I approximately a year ago, and so you know that Simon Tam is a wanted fugitive. And yet, you allowed him to work in your lab for two days before you called the authorities. Why is that?”

The doctor lifted her pale face; she looked like she was about to be sick. “I did report him.”

“After two full days.”

“I wasn’t sure what was happening. I thought it likely that the whole thing had been a mistake and he wasn’t really a fugitive. I mean—Simon? A criminal?” She scoffed at the idea.

“Dr. Zhou, this is no laughing matter,” one Agent pressed. “You committed a very serious crime when you abetted Simon Tam.”

She nodded. “I know it was a mistake. I tried to make up for it. I have no desire to act against Alliance law.”

The two agents exchanged a look of doubt. Westfield knew their thoughts; he’d read this woman’s file as well. When she’d been questioned a year earlier, she’d been disrespectful to the Agents. Her attitude had bordered on seditious.

“So why don’t you explain again—who was the sick person that Simon wanted to treat?”

She shook her head. “I never met him.”

“Did you ever talk to River Tam?”

“I wouldn’t call it talking. She called me some names while she and Simon were making their escape, after I called your people. That was the only time she spoke to me.”

“What did Simon Tam tell you about his sister?”

The doctor’s shoulders drew up, then fell as she exhaled heavily. “Look, I know you government types like to repeat all your questions at least six times, but can’t that wait? I feel absolutely terrible.”

“No, I’m afraid it can’t wait. We need to know what Simon Tam told you.”

She dropped her head into her hands again, and her face was hidden as she replied, “Nothing I didn’t already know. He took her out of her school and ran off. Wanted an adventure, maybe. I don’t know.”

Even Westfield could read the lie in her voice and body language, so he wasn’t surprised when the Agent reached into the inner pocket of his jacket. When Westfield saw the thin metal rod that the man was reaching for, he turned and left the observation booth with a sigh. Victoria Zhou happened to be the daughter of one of the wealthiest CEOs in Sihnon’s transportation sector. Her disappearance was going to need to be explained with care.

The matter would have to wait; Westfield had other business to attend to. A transport was waiting to take him to the Rim world of Oeneus, where several projects were waiting for his guiding hand.

* * *

Wash stood next to his wife just inside the open bay doors, staring out into the night, waiting. The cargo they’d had forced on them was on its way, to arrive at any minute. As much as carrying weapons for a secretive underground militia angered Wash, his thoughts were busy elsewhere—with the welfare of the half of the crew that would be traveling separate from the ship.

“You really think they’ll be safer on public transport?” he asked.

Zoë grimaced her doubt, but nodded. “I think Kamath is serious about getting this cargo, and he’ll take care that nothing bad happens to any of us. At least, not until the delivery is made. He knows I ain’t happy, and I’ll dump his goods if I get even half a reason.”

“But public transport?” Wash asked. “How is that safer?”

“Some of the ferry’s crew is on Kamath’s side, so he says.” Zoë turned to look Wash in the eye. “Honestly, I ain’t too worried about it. I’ll be with Mal and River, and Inara’s got a good head on her shoulders. She’ll see that Simon stays out of trouble. What concerns me more is those of you travelin’ on Serenity.”

“The Argus, you mean?” Wash asked, trying to make the ship’s assumed name roll off his tongue with ease.

“That’s the one.” She looked over her shoulder into the cargo bay. “I’m leaving Jayne on the ship for a purpose, and it ain’t to play guard dog. The man knows guns.”

Wash followed her eye to the weapons lockers. The mercenary was busy sorting through them, preparing his personal arsenal for an upcoming delivery run that was far from usual.

“Jayne!” Zoë called out.

The man looked up, then slung an ammo belt over one shoulder, stuffed a shotgun under the other arm, and came to join them with something large and dangerous in his free hand. He started to explain his selections, but Zoë cut him off.

“I want to be clear about this now, since I doubt we’ll get much chance to talk once Kamath’s delivery crew shows. I’ll be heading off with our ‘vacationers’ to catch the morning ferry, and you’ll be left on the ship with chores to do.”

Jayne set down the shotgun on the stairway landing behind him and inspected the mobile canon in his right fist as he snickered his doubt. “Goin’ through with it then? Cause I can’t see as why anyone would vacate on a world about to go civil war. Ain’t much of a cover.”

“My cover is my problem. Your problem is one you’ll be handling in the galley.”

Jayne stopped fiddling with his weapon to squint at her in confusion.

“You’re gonna mix up something tasty. I could give you a recipe, but I figure you got something fitting in that head somewhere.” She reached into her vest for her coin purse and started counting out coins. “Especially if you take the early morning to go shopping for ingredients. You’ll have to find a place open at sunrise and get back here before the ship lifts off.”

Wash was just as confused as Jayne looked. “While I enjoy the prospect of eating well,” the pilot told his wife, “and would like to think our little Jayne has the skills to make that happen, what in the hell are you talking about?”

Zoë weighed the coins in her hand. “I’m talking about a proper mix of chemicals that’ll eat through a firing pin and corrode a barrel. I’m talking about a few grams of paste slipped into the right place so it won’t be noticed and won’t stop a test fire, but after a day or two…”

“It’ll destroy the weapons, making them absolutely useless,” Wash finished for her.

Zoë smiled, her eyes glinting in the shadows of the bay. “Kamath’ll learn the hard way that it ain’t wise to push the unwilling into joinin’ a cause.”

“You’ve been planning this all along, haven’t you?” Wash asked, and then he joyfully wrapped his arms around her. “I should’ve known you weren’t letting him bully you. Now that’s the wife I know and love!”

Jayne nodded to himself. “I know a mix’ll do the job. I’ll have to make it weak so they don’t smell it. It’ll take a few days to finish its work.”

“By then, we’ll have to be long gone from these parts,” Zoë said.

Jayne began to turn away, but Zoë called him back. She shook a few mores coins out of the little purse. “While you’re out, pick up tickets for the ferry to Oeneus, the first to leave the piers in the morning. Get us a private cabin. Cheapest they got that fits three.” Jayne arched a brow at her. “Inara’s handlin’ the tickets for her and Simon, since they’re traveling separate. But check in with her on your way out, see if she’s needing anything to help with their cover.”

The sound of a small engine rose in the distance. This time of the morning, there wasn’t much traffic outside, so that had to be Kamath’s delivery wagon. Jayne took the extra money and hurried back to the lockers to put his largest guns away, then took a moment at the comm. Wash stayed where he was, enjoying the last few private minutes with Zoë that he was likely to have for a while.

“Are you sure you can handle River and Malcolm by yourself?” he asked.

“I have to. Can’t have Simon and River traveling together.”

“And it makes sense to have Inara keep on eye on Simon,” Wash said. “How are you going to explain traveling with a teenager and a grown man who thinks he’s a teenager?”

Zoë sighed. “I have no idea.”

As headlights brightened on the ship’s open doors, Jayne slammed the lockers shut and stalked by. He made it down the ramp and disappeared into the darkness just before a powered mule pulled a heavily loaded trailer into the ship. Wash dropped his arms from his wife and followed her out onto the ramp.

* * *

Ginger followed the mercenary through the dark, empty streets. The sight of his big body, moving with confidence and the brutal grace of a long-time fighting man, had an effect on her, but she knew better to give into temptation. There was no saying how he would respond to seeing her here at this time of the morning, even if he had told her himself that he’d be on this world.

So she stayed at a distance as she followed him across the docks, until he stopped at a ticket machine on the public ferry pier. Ginger took some risk in moving closer, positioning herself to see his hands move across the screen. After he took his purchase, she waited until he was out of site and hurried to take his place, and repeated his selections.

The 9 AM ferry to Oeneus.

She tried to find him again on the streets, but he’d disappeared. She turned back to the private docks, glad that her long wait in the rain hadn’t been wasted. She pulled a comm out of her pocket and waved Will.

* * *

“You’re kidding, right?” Zoë asked Kamath. “Your big plan for getting contraband through a search is to put it right out in the open?” She held a hand out to the three large racks that Kamath’s men were currently strapping to the bay’s deck and bulkheads. Each was a bundle of 25 kilogram bags labeled mĭ fĕn.

Kamath smiled. “Rice flour is hardly cause for alarm, even for agents of the Alliance.”

“If rice flour was all you had in them bags, you wouldn’t be strong armin’ us to carry them for you. All it needs is one scan for magnetics. Even a sonic scan might see the armory inside. Metal has one hell of an obvious signature.”

“What ever gave you the idea I was moving guns?”

Wash spoke up impatiently. “Maybe it was how you told us you were.”

“I said it was a weapon. Not all weapons are guns.”

Zoë and Wash exchange a worried look. “What is it then?” Zoë asked.

“Nothing you need concern yourself about,” Kamath said. “Here is what you need to know: the cargo is scattered through each bag, but is absolutely undetectable. You could cook with this flour, and even eat moderate amounts of it, with no ill effects. The agents who search your ship can cut into the bags, take samples, take a taste, without knowing what you really carry. You haven’t a thing to worry about.”

“It it’s that easy, why do you need us?”

“It’s all a matter of timing. Due to other complications, yours is the only ship available to me right now, and this cargo is time sensitive. Your arrival on Oeneus is expected in eighteen hours, without delay. Your course is set?”

This last question was addressed to Wash, who took a long minute to draw his suspicious gaze off the cargo. He gave Kamath a once-over that plainly showed his unwillingness to go along with this scheme.

“Wash?” Zoë asked.

The pilot finally answered sourly, “The course was set, but I’ll have to rework it to get us there that fast. We’re burn through fuel like nobody’s business”

“You will be reimbursed for the cost. You must not be late.”

“Time sensitive, huh?” Zoë asked.

“Indeed. As soon as we are done securing the cargo, which should be momentarily,”—he paused to glance at his workers—“you must be off.”

“We have to wait for one of our men. He’s buying the ferry tickets for my crew.”

“As soon as he’s back…”

“Of course.”

Zoë stood silently, arms crossed, until the workers finished. Kamath gave a last wave and cracked a small smile while he wished them the best of luck. This drew no response but glares.

As soon as the cargo bay doors sealed, Wash swore. “Zhòu mà! There goes your plan! What do you suppose this stuff really is?” He crouched beside a bale of goods and laid a hand on one of the bags, then rubbed his fingers together with a frown, as if he was afraid of the residue.

Zoë shook her head. “Chemical, biological…. something like that. I seen it used before, and it sure ain’t pretty.” She stepped closer to the cargo. “This must be only part of it, though, if it’s harmless and undetectable. Must be just one ingredient in whatever it is they’re planning to use.” She stared down her nose at the bags, and her hand went to her carbine. For a few seconds, Wash thought she might up and shoot the stuff.

But she just shook her head again. “Jayne can’t do a thing about something like this. I can.”

“You mean—?”

“Jayne’s gonna have to go with Malcolm and River.”

“After what happened on Highgate? He’s hardly a dependable babysitter!”

“He’ll have to learn.”

Wash rocked back on his heels and looked up at her. “And how is it exactly that you know how to work with something like this? Bio-weapons were hardly a favorite with the Independents, as I heard it.”

“Ain’t got time for the tellin’,” Zoë said. “Go on up and set the fastest course the ship can manage. And tell the others—rest of the plan stays exactly the same.”

“You mean, Book?”

She nodded, then turned on her heel and stalked toward the passenger dorms.

* * *


mĭ fěn: rice flour zhòu mà: damn

* * *

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009 9:03 AM


I totally forgot the have this beta'd, and a quick pass through caught a few silly things. Hopefully there aren't more!

I am tending to group my OC sections, and this was one of those chapters. It'll be all crew for the next several, I promise!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 10:18 AM




Tuesday, December 22, 2009 10:37 AM


Ooh. Your characterization of Marone becomes more intriguing. He has an almost earnest vibe, like he thinks he's doing something good. What's he up to? Might still be complicit on the whole dream interrogation thing on Oeneus, but now it's looking like he has some side projects. Maybe that's why he helped Mal escape, couldn't take him from the interrogation without raising suspicions, but couldn't let them break him for some reason, either.

Ginger and Will were great here, I love Zoe's plan before it went to pieces, and it will be SO interesting to see Jayne stuck with MalCOLM and River. Especially with River making moon-eyes, and I STILL suspect people are underestimating young Mal, so I look forward to seeing how he earns Jayne's respect again.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 12:24 PM


Wow - it really IS Christmas! Glad to see more of this and loving the plot lines you're lying down. All your OC's have my sympathy - even Simon's ex-friend - but still waiting to see what you're going to do to Will.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 4:07 PM


Absolutely love the exchange between Ellen and Marone, especially this line "Sometimes those outside the spotlight can do more than the ones pinned down by it.”

Very Nice flow to this and very fitting of the verse.

Awesome yet again!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 7:10 AM


Hi guys!

Thanks for the thoughts! Nice to hear your ideas of the OCs, since I never know if I'm giving away too much or not enough. I have a lot of plot to explain involving Marone and Westfield, but I want to do it with as little time spent away from the crew as possible. Still not sure how I'll manage it!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 11:19 AM


Ah, that was like slipping back into a warm bath, I sank into this so effortlessly, it felt like no time had passed at all!

You've always had a style that just flows, and even when you're writing OCs with little of the crew, still I am drawn in, in a way I'm not with anyone else's OCs. It's just a pleasure to read.

It was really wonderful to get back into it, and I'm so excited for the rest!


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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.