Point of No Return, Part III
Saturday, May 14, 2005

Everyone has a past. Everybody's got something to hate. In the land of the blind...


Disclaimer: This story is in no way meant to infringe on the rights of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, or 20th Century Fox. Just wanted to have a bit of fun with these characters is all. Please don’t sue me.

Thanks for reading. Feedback is always welcome. Oh, and if you’re gonna archive this, please have the courtesy to ask me first.

Rated PG-13 for graphic descriptions and a few Chinese cuss words.

“Point of No Return, Part III”

***** *****

“Sunny…wha’s yoo-nif-kayshun?”

Xian Sunyi smiled at her seven-year-old brother. “Unification,” she said, stressing each syllable to correct his enunciation. “It means bringing everybody together so we can all share and live in peace.” She was poured a small glass of juice and set it down in front of him.

Little Xian Wei Lun squirmed. “Mom ‘n’ Dad went to unificate everybody?” he asked, accidentally spitting bits of cereal from his stuffed mouth.

“Don’t be so stupid,” Kai remarked. “Not everybody wants to be unified. That’s why there’s a war. Dumb-ass niao shi de dugui.”

“Watch your tongue!” Sunyi gave her other brother a stern look.

“I wasn’t talking about him,” the thirteen-year-old defended. “If it weren’t for those stupid Independents, there wouldn’t be a war.”

“I don’t care who you were talking about. There’s no need for that kind of language.”

Kai scowled, but didn’t argue any further, and instead concentrated on finishing breakfast. Sunyi empathized. She felt that way herself, but dwelling on such thoughts was useless. Their parents were both enlisted Alliance soldiers, and they had both been called to do their patriotic duty. Sunyi missed them painfully. She wished she weren’t the oldest. She wished the war was over and Mom and Dad would come home soon. But she accepted the fact that, at least for now, this was her responsibility, to take care of her brothers until her parents returned. Whenever that was.

They heard the transport land outside their apartment complex. Sunyi shooed her brothers from the table and out the door. “Learn well,” she said, giving each of them a kiss on the forehead. She remembered when her father used to tell her that too, every morning when she went off to school. Sunyi stood in the open doorway, watching Kai wipe the kiss off his forehead as he boarded the transport with the other kids. “I guess boys will be boys,” she grinned to herself.

Sunyi went back into the kitchen and was tidying up when the ringing of the vid-phone interrupted her. She pressed the button to answer. “Hello?” she cheered automatically…

…and then felt her heart stop when she saw the grim-faced officer on the other end.

“Is this the Xian residence?”

“Y-Yes,” she stammered.

“Are you…Xian Sunyi?”

“Oh, no…no, please God…” the fear within her swelled.

“Miss Xian…it is my duty to regretfully inform you…”

Sunyi felt the room spin. She sat down hard on the floor. The officer’s voice faded in her head, echoing lightly as everything around her grew suddenly dim.


Mal froze, a dozen questions racing through his mind as he stared at the figure now lying prone on the floor of his cabin. Who was he? How’d he get on his ship? Where’d he come from? How’d he get on his ship? Why did River protect him? How’d he get on his ship? Why wasn’t he fighting?

And most importantly, how in the hell did he get on his ship?

The creature suddenly gave a raspy sigh as he tried to stand, but collapsed on his side. Against his better judgment, Mal unclenched his fists, letting his guard down. He placed an uneasy foot on the creature’s shoulder and gave it a shake.

No response.

Mal knelt and grabbed his side. “Hey,” he called, shaking harder.

Still nothing.

He felt for a pulse. It was there, but just barely, and fading fast. Mal hit the all-call button on the comm pad.

“Zoe, Shepherd, wake up. I need you in my quarters now. Doctor, meet us in the infirmary.”


Kai stared silently through the window of the small passenger ship out into a star-spangled ocean of velvet darkness. Seeing it from the surface was different; at night, the sky loomed over you, gloomy and hovering like a vulture eyeing its unwitting prey. But out here…it was almost tangible. It was all around you, a comfortable blanket woven from the threads of oblivion. It was so vast, and yet so near, and the though made Kai feel exposed and invincible all at once.

Sunyi was concerned by the faraway look on her brother’s face. “Something the matter?” she asked.

He shook his head without looking at her. It was a dumb question. She knew the answer, so why would she even ask?

Kai said nothing, however, and the thin line that formed his mouth drew tighter. Sunyi wanted to comfort him, but she didn’t know what to say. She had tried, after telling him about their parents. She tried to lie and tell him Mom and Dad were in a better place, and that one day they’d all be together again and everything would be shiny. But she couldn’t. All she could do was look into those deep, mournful brown eyes of his and try not to drown in his sorrow.

Wei tapped her on the shoulder. “Which way is the bathroom? I feel sick.”

Sunyi pointed him in the right direction and he was off in a flash, trying to suppress his urge to vomit. Not everyone is keen on space travel, she mused. She looked at Kai again, who was still focusing his attention out into space — ‘the black,’ as she heard some of the crew refer to it. She was stricken by how old Kai looked now. He was only eighteen, nearly as old as she was when they found out their parents died, and yet he looked older than she was now. Sunyi felt sorry for him. In the five years since that time, Kai had never once cried. She wondered how he felt, keeping that pain locked away inside where no one, not even she, could take it away.

What she could not have known was that Kai was waiting for his moment. He was turning his sorrow into something more useful – hate. Hate for the ruttin’ browncoats that killed his parents. Hate for the ruttin’ Alliance that sent them off to die. Sometimes, he hated his parents for leaving them, and for being too weak to come back, but he knew that was futile since they were already dead. Loving them was just as useless.

So, that left Sunyi and Wei. They were all he had. He didn’t see the sense in moving out to one of the border planets, but Sunyi had said the change of scenery would be good. They could start over, she said. That suited him fine. At least for the time being. They could live and work among the unwitting, the uneducated, the uniformed. They would dwell in the land of the blind whilst he came up with a plan that would satisfy his burning desire for revenge.

On everything.

“In the land of the blind,” he muttered softly, remembering the old saying.

“Huh?” said Sunyi looking up. He started to answer.

Suddenly the ship rocked hard. Sunyi was thrown forward out of her seat. The other passengers screamed in panic. Over the confusion she could barely make out the captain’s voice barking orders on the PA.

Kai was helping her to her feet when the ship lurched again. Through a window she happened to catch a glimpse of the modified Trans-U that seemed about to ram their small vessel.

They were being attacked.

“Wei!” she screamed in horror.

“Find somewhere to hide!” he said before heading off toward the restrooms.

“Where are you going?!”

“I’ll get him,” he said. “You stay out of sight! We’ll come back to find you!”

And then he forced his way through the frantic crowd, not knowing that was the last time he would ever see his sister alive.


“Exhaustion,” Simon said simply as he finished a final check of intravenous machine that was hooked to his unconscious patient. “And his dehydration was more severe than I thought. He was running a pretty high fever, most likely due to the infections from his wounds.” He paused before adding matter-of-factly, “It’s a wonder he lasted as long as he did.”

Book looked at Mal. The captain’s gaze was fixed on this creature, whose burdens were now suddenly Mal’s responsibility, too.

Zoe apparently read his mind. “What are we going to do with him, sir?”

Mal hesitated. Honestly, he didn’t have a clue. Not that he would have admitted it, of course. He started to say something but was interrupted by the sound of Jayne’s voice.

“The hell is all this about?” the big man demanded as he came down the stairs. Kaylee, Inara, Wash and River also emerged from their respective cabins, crowding the entrance to the infirmary to get a glimpse at the cause of the commotion. Mal cussed inwardly. The last thing he wanted right now was an audience.

“Oh God,” said Kaylee, “is that him?”

“Y’all get back to bed,” ordered Mal.

Jayne ignored him. “Ewgh,” he muttered, his face twisting at the sight of the man’s horribly scarred face. “He’s seen better days.”

Simon deliberately moved to block Jayne’s view of his patient.

“What are we gonna do with him, Cap’n?” said Kaylee.

“I say we shoot him now,” Jayne offered.

“I say you say nothing,” Wash said, annoyed at having been roused from his peaceful slumber.

“Captain, surely you’re not thinking about killing him,” Book seemed horrified at the thought.

“I can’t do much thinking about anything with everybody talking me to death.”

“He can’t stay here.”

“Just what we need, another ruttin’ mouth to feed.”

“But he’s hurt!”

“What, are you gonna throw him out the airlock?”

“We could drop him off at the next stop.”

“But who’d take care of him?”

“I don’t care. Anyone but us.”

“How’d he even get on board?”

“Ni men dou BIZUI!” Mal shouted. Everyone was instantly silent. “He’s not staying. And we’re not gonna shoot him.”

“But — ”

“This ain’t a debate! And I don’t have time to argue the point. In case you forgot, we got a job to do tomorrow, and I need you rested so we can do it. Now get back to bed!”

The crew went shuffling back to their bunks, leaving Mal and Simon with the stowaway. Inara lingered the longest. Her lips moved, as though she were about to tell Mal something. She thought better of it. This wasn’t the time, she decided, and turned sharply to go back to her shuttle.

Mal shut the door to the infirmary and looked at Simon. “When do you reckon he’ll be good enough to walk on his own?”

Simon shook his head. “Given the extent of his injuries, I’d say at least three or four days.” A beat. “Captain…I don’t think some of these wounds were self-inflicted.”


“Well, most of them weren’t. The cut on his jaw wasn’t, I don’t think. The angle and depth are inconsistent with a self-inflicted wound. And the bruise…”

“He probably got it in the crash.”

“It’s possible,” Simon nodded. “And then there’s his eye.”

“Probably lost it in the crash too.”

“No, I don’t think so. It’s been severed at the socket, which indicates a deliberate act. There were residual…” Simon shivered. He then composed himself and got right to the point.

“I think…I think this man dug out his own eye.”

Mal flinched. He remembered a saying he heard years ago from a source he couldn’t recall. Behind her closed door, River was still awake, listening to his thoughts.

“In the land of the blind…” Mal muttered as he left the infirmary.

“…the one-eyed man is king,” River softly finished for him.


Saturday, May 14, 2005 12:44 PM


I love the way you give the Reaver a past and an independent identity. I have a nasty habit of sympathizing with villians and this story provides ample reason for this. That is if the reaver here can even be construed as villian. Great work, I can't wait to see what comes next.

One quarry though. . . Assuming the Reaver is Kai (and assuming does have a habit of making an ass of u and me) why doesn't he react violently towards Mal? That is, once again assuming, if Captain tight pants was wearing his standard brown coat.


Saturday, May 14, 2005 2:11 PM


Oooh creepy, Mal and River channeling each other! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, May 14, 2005 7:19 PM


Good question, Phaedra. It's probably a safe assumption that Mal was in his standard browncoat attire. As to why the Reaver doesn't react as violently as expected, well...all shall be revealed in due time. Thanks for reading, and I hope you read on to see what happens next.

BTW -- One hundred (imaginary) points to anyone who can identify the "land of the blind" quote.... :)


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Heart & Soul, Part II
Book is visited by a mysterious man from his past and gets in a fight. Meanwhile Inara, ever calm, ever graceful, finds herself on the raggedy edge.

Heart & Soul, Part I
Mal's trying to adjust. Inara's trying to adjust. Book's journey takes him in an unexpected direction. And someone ends up dead.

Play It Again, Tam
The doctor reveals a hidden talent that touches Mal in a way he didn't think possible. A one-shot.

Point of No Return X, The Conclusion
Serenity is disabled, left without communication, and cornered by the Reaver ship. The only way out is for a member of the crew to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Point of No Return, Part IX
He's lost everything and everyone he's ever loved. Now he's faced with a choice: resist the urge for blood and rebuild his life, or descend deeper into that black madness, beyond the point of no return...

Point of No Return, Part VIII
A bad situation becomes desperate. Kai relives his troubled past, and Wash takes a dangerous risk. Plus: Mal and Monty's great escape.

Point of No Return, Part VII
The crew take on a new job, thanks to Jubal Early. Book gives Simon a helping hand in his investigation; Kaylee and Mal find themselves in a deadly situation; and Wash realizes they're not alone.

Point of No Return, Part VI
The day that Inara has been dreading for weeks finally arrives. Simon can't understand the connection between his sister and the Reaver, and the controversy continues over Serenity's newest crew member. Plus: River gives Mal a startling prediction.

Point of No Return, Part V
Jayne's plan backfires big-time; Kaylee is rescued by an unlikely hero with a troubled past; Book and Wash have words; and Mal considers a change of heart.

Point of No Return, Part IV
Simon tries to figure out River's relationship with his newest patient; Mal has a hard time trying to figure Inara out; and a simple job goes south in a hurry.