Point of No Return, Part VIII
Monday, June 20, 2005

A bad situation becomes desperate. Kai relives his troubled past, and Wash takes a dangerous risk. Plus: Mal and Monty's great escape.


Disclaimer: This story is in no way meant to infringe on the rights of Joss Whedon, Universal Studios, 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 violence, a few Chinese cuss words, and just a wee bit of Star Trek-ish technobabble.

“Point of No Return, Part VIII”

***** *****

Jubal Early’s visit was, in the long run, not necessarily a bad thing. Could’ve turned out much worse, of course, but it didn’t, and that was fortunate. Actually turned out to be beneficial because the crew had been able to not only download information from his ship, but also steal its navigational drive. True enough, it was the only piece of hardware that was compatible with the Firefly’s systems, but it was coming in mighty handy, especially right now.

It was because of this enhanced navigation and scanning system that Wash was able to see the Reavers coming long before they would to spot Serenity. Ample time to think of a plan.

Um, right. Plan, the pilot thought frantically. Which would be to do, what exactly?

“Hide!” River practically shouted.

“Good thinking,” Wash pointed out, and started to maneuver the little ship to the other side of the turbulent moon, getting Serenity as close as he could to Hecate’s atmosphere without having its gravity pull them down into certain doom. With any luck, the storms would muck up their scanners and they’d lose interest.

“Here goes nothing,” he said, and took a position that put Hecate between Serenity and the Reavers.

He held his breath as he said a silent prayer for Zoe, then looked up at River, who suddenly appeared to be woozy.

“Kai,” she slumped in the chair next to Wash. “Come back. You have to come back…”


The soldier raised his hand and brought it down hard across Malcolm Reynold’s face. The corporal spat blood as he raised himself up to a kneeling position, a task made difficult by the fact that his hands were cuffed behind his back. Monty was silent beside him, powerless to help. They were prisoners, trapped on an enemy vessel, surrounded by Alliance goons with bad intentions.

“That it?” Mal taunted. “My dead grandma hits harder than you.”

The soldier punched him hard again, and Mal collapsed onto him. “That’s enough,” said the female officer. Mal squinted at her as the guards hoisted him none-too-gently to his feet. No, not an officer in that uniform…she was a non-com, but she had rank on the rest of them.

She approached Mal and looked him over, battered and bloody. She didn’t show it outwardly, but she was sorry for him. This man had a family. Here was somebody’s son. The thought occurred to her that maybe he had kids, and she found herself thinking about her own. Three beautiful, special children…She missed them terribly, and wondered if —

No. This wasn’t the time for that. She pushed these thoughts aside and looked the young corporal squarely in the eye. Even in his current situation his gaze was unwavering, cocky even.

“Tell me your platoon’s current movements,” she asked, a steel edge to her voice. Mal’s face was taut, his mouth drawn in a perfect seal across his face.

“Fine. Let’s go,” the woman said as she went toward the exit.

“But Chief Xian,” one of the men started.

“They’ll crack soon enough,” she said quickly. “Right now we’ve got other things to take care of.” Xian headed for the control room and the others followed, leaving their prisoners alone in the brig.

“Jeez, Mal, what the hell’re you thinkin,’ provokin’ ‘em like that?” Monty nudged Mal with his knee. “Like to have broke you in half. You enjoy getting the snot beat outta ya?”

Mal looked at Monty and grinned, and the big man noticed a gleam of something silver between his teeth. Monty’s eyes widened.

“Well roll me in cornmeal and call me southern fried,” the big man laughed. “You old thief! Rascal! Brilliant!” Monty turned and Mal spat the key into his friend’s hand. “I never woulda thought of snatchin’ it like that,” Monty said, unlocking Mal’s handcuffs behind his back. “Smarts, that’s what you got. Smarts.”


Book and Simon watched as the young creature sank to his knees in the middle of the hall and shivered intensely. Simon took a step toward him but the shepherd placed a firm hand on his shoulder as a warning to back off for a moment.

Kai’s expression turned from one of anger and madness to one of panic and confusion. They were at odds, the two voices. She was trying to call him back to the light. He could hardly see it; it was pale and faint. He buried his face in his hands. He could hear her, trying to guide him back. He wanted to follow her; but It was calling him back also, to return to the familiar darkness that was the only home he had left. The darkness burning with hate, and fear, and…

“Stop. Screaming. At. Me.”

Kai’s voice was surprisingly clear and decisive. The other two men looked at him strangely. He looked up, and his face seemed completely different. Now, Simon thought he looked closer to the captain’s age than his own, his once-handsome face lined with the harsh years of living on the frayed edge of humanity. He glared at the two men as if he were seeing them for the first time.

“Kai?” Book said.

The boy nodded. He stood taller than before, though his wiry frame still slumped. He was now lucid, but how long he would stay this way Simon couldn’t tell.

“What do you remember?”

“…I remember…” Kai leaned his back on the wall as he slowly sat down on the floor. “I remember everything…my parents, my brother and sister…”

His voice trailed off.

“What happened to them?”

“They died,” came the simple answer, Kai’s voice carrying a sad weight. “First Mom and Dad. Went to the war. Then Sunyi. They cut her into pieces. They cut her and they saved her heart for me. And Wei…” Kai stopped. The images were as fresh as if it had happened this morning. They were on top of his brother, raping him, beating him until he couldn’t scream anymore. Kai went still. “I was too weak…”

“They made him watch,” River said from the stairs, appearing out of thin air. “Over. And over. And over. And over.”

Kai stared blankly at nothing. Simon’s heart was heavy as he glanced at Book. The preacher looked grim but said nothing.

“Tiansha de emo.”

River and Kai looked up simultaneously, as if listening to something the others couldn’t hear. The doctor felt himself become frustrated, but at what, he couldn’t say.

On the bridge, Wash didn’t blink. His eyes stayed fixed on the scanner readout. He held his breath as he watched the small green dot blink closer and closer...then farther away. The other ship was passing them by, unaware of the little Firefly on the other side of the moon. Wash relaxed his shoulders and exhaled.

Suddenly there was static over the radio. “Kkssxxash can you kssszttsh problem tryixxzsch. Reading some sort of kaahshsasbigzssztkk have to szsppsshck it’ll be a while till stzzhkkppstaacck…”

“Mal?” Wash realized with a start. Something was wrong. The pilot grabbed the com and started to call them, then thought better of it. Any signal he tried to send to the captain or Zoe would surely be mucked up by Hecate’s troubled atmosphere. Trying to make contact was useless. They were cut off, and there was no way he could risk taking Serenity down to the surface; the storms would rip the ship to bits. The pilot angrily smacked the control panel, sending one of his toy dinosaurs tumbling to the floor. It landed on its back, its legs sticking pitifully into the air, looking as helpless as Wash felt.

The panel squawked. Wash glanced at the scanners. The Reaver ship was turning around. Apparently he wasn’t the only one who heard Mal’s signal.

“Ta ma de,” he sank in his chair. “We’re humped.”


“He’s not responding,” said Mal. “Damned interference.” He leaned on the shuttle and narrowed his eyes at the gray horizon. He could smell the rain coming, a scent akin to sulfur and ice.

“So what now?” said Jayne.

“We best get inside,” he said distantly. The big man followed him back to the shelter of the Trinity. She’d been a good ship, at one time. Sturdy, for sure; triple-plated zarconium hull prob’ly what kept her from getting shredded as she landed here. She was still salvageable, for anyone with a mind to salvage her. The captain sat at the end of the open cargo ramp, shielded from the acid rain that drizzled lazily to the ground. As he watched the steam rise from the black earth, Mal wondered what whoever-it-was Early had been chasing had done to end up on this God-forsaken chunk of rock. Wasn’t important to know, of course. He just wondered.

“How’s it coming?” he hollered over his shoulder in Kaylee’s general direction. The mechanic slid out from under a piece of equipment, her hands and face smudged with dirt.

“Comin’ shiny, cap,” she said. “Truth to tell, I think we’ve pretty much already got the stuff that’s most valuable. Well, the stuff we can haul off, anyway. I’m just kinda havin’ a look-see at what else might be worth somethin.’”

He nodded. “Start wrapping up. I wanna get outta here soon as this weather passes, which don’t look like it’ll be too long.” He turned back to watch the rain.

Zoe looked at her friend. He was more subdued than normal. He’d always been a private person, she knew, but lately he seemed different. Since Inara left, he kept to himself even more than usual, sometimes even skipping dinner with the rest of the crew. She was concerned.

“Something wrong, captain?” she heard herself ask before she could check herself.

“Nope,” Mal lied, giving her a smile that belied the dark emotions he held deep within. He swung his body around so that he was facing the inside of the ship, then lay flat on his back, his head hanging just off the platform, and watched the droplets fall backward out of the misty sky.


Mal peered around the corner. No one in the corridor. Good. He turned and gave Monty the ‘all clear’ signal. Monty crouched low and quickly moved to join the little man, who was grinning like a fool.

“You sure you know where you’re going?”

“Hell no,” came the quick reply. “But you been on one Alliance transport ship, you seen ‘em all.”

“So you’ve been on an Alliance transport ship before?”

“Hell no,” the corporal returned again. “But if we walk around enough we’re bound to see an exit.”

“Exit! Mal, we’re 20,000 feet in the air. It ain’t like we can just open the door and step outside.”

“Monty, hey! Relax, big fella,” Mal clapped his shoulder. “You sound like Zoe. Let’s just stick together, and we’ll both be outta here in no time.”

“Or wind up right back where we started,” Monty’s face suddenly turned very serious and looked behind Mal.

“What’re you…” Mal started, then felt the cold barrel of a gun press the back of his neck. “Oh, right. I get it.” Keeping his back turned to his captors, he put his hands up as he mouthed the words ‘how many’ to Monty. The big man blinked twice. Mal nodded. “Alright, you got me. I’ll go quietly.”

“Shut up!” a hand gave him a hard shove.

“OK, just for that, I changed my mind,” Mal said, and in one smooth motion, quickly spun backward around the first soldier and kicked the rifle out of the second soldier’s hands. Monty caught the first man and laid him out with a stiff headbutt. Mal rammed the second man’s head into the wall, then relieved him of his rifle. Now armed, the two fugitives raced down the corridor.

Hope this is a tale I live to tell, Mal said to himself as he and his comrade rushed into the heart of unfamiliar enemy territory.


Wash wasted a few moments panicking. He ran his hand through his hair and took a deep breath. He hit the PA switch and held the up the mic.

“Attention, everyone,” his voice shook slightly, “We’re about to experience some turbulence. Brace yourselves…”

He grabbed the controls and pushed the ship down slowly towards the moon. Serenity trembled as if to resist. “Come on, baby, work with me,” Wash said softly to the ship, and the little Firefly yielded as it began its descent. The pilot hoped that by taking the ship in as close as possible, he could use the interference to mask their position. He didn’t want to risk going too far in, nor did he want to hang out too long in Hecate’s upper atmosphere; he just wanted to get far enough down to be out of the Reavers’ radar.

Serenity waited in her shallow orbit, watching as the evil ship scouted directly above her so closely Wash could have reached out and touched it. The Firefly shook more violently as the pilot tried to fight Hecate’s gravity.

“Just a little longer…”

Wash looked at the monitor. The Reavers resumed their original course, no longer interested in finding the source of that radio signal. Only when their ship disappeared from Serenity’s radar did Wash relax the slightest bit. But they weren’t out of the woods yet. He toggled the thruster switch and pulled up on the controls to break atmo.

“Careful. Easy…”

He heard something snap. An alarm went off. Wash pecked at the console, but the helm didn’t respond. Serenity shuddered uncontrollably; the starboard thruster was gone. Wash felt himself rise from his seat, suddenly weightless. The control panel flickered. The last thing he heard, above the confusion, was the calm voice of Serenity’s warning system, “Gim caa jeonghei gung jing —”

A sharp pain whipped across the back of his neck. Then everything went black.


“Now what?” Security Chief Christina Xian muttered in frustration as the alarm went off.

“Those two prisoners just got loose,” a crewman reported. “They’re headed for Cargo 2.”

“That’s were the shuttles are,” said Xian. “They’re trying to escape —”

“Shots fired, sir!”

“Lock ‘em down, security override. I’m on my way!”

She drew her sidearm and jogged down to the secondary hold. The body of one of the soldiers blocked the hallway. She approached, and her blood ran cold as she realized who it was.


Her husband lay motionless as the warmth drained from the gaping wound in his chest. He was already gone. Taken from her without a goodbye.

Xian gripped her pistol tighter. Crying was useless. There was no time to mourn now. No words could express her rage.

Those bastards would pay for this with their lives.

She barreled into the cargo bay recklessly, ignoring the bodies that littered her path. She spotted them making their getaway, the smaller man getting in behind the larger one.

Xian shot him in the arm, spinning him around to face her. She met his eyes, and everything she ever knew or cared about in that moment was gone forever. No longer did she pity this monster disguised as a man. She wanted nothing more than to satisfy the wave of fury that had washed over her. She raised her gun to complete her revenge…

Only she never saw the gun in the corporal’s other hand. He was quicker than she was by half a second. As she fell, she thought again about her children.

“Please God…” she started, and in an instant, the blackness took her completely.


Kaylee was glad when Shuttle One finally broke free of the stormy atmosphere. The weight of the goods had made their ascent cumbersome, but they were fine now. She could see Shuttle Two had made it out OK, so no worries there either. She found herself anxious to get back onto Serenity.

But as she and Mal looked around the area, they realized the ship wasn’t at the rendezvous coordinates.

“I don’t see them,” Zoe’s voice came in over the radio.

“Serenity, this is Shuttle One. Do you copy?”

No response.

“Wash, it’s Mal. Can you hear me?”

Nothing. The mechanic squirmed in her chair.

“Let’s check the other side,” he said to Zoe, and flew around one end of the moon as the she took the opposite direction.

They searched. They scanned. They called out into space, their echoing voices dying in the vast blackness. But there was no reply.

Serenity was nowhere to be found.


Monday, June 20, 2005 10:06 PM


Ooooh, gorrammit, what's happened to Serenity? I particularly loved the bit where Mal and Monty are in the Alliance cell and Mal provokes the purplebelly into hitting him so he can snatch the cuff keys in his mouth. Let's hope those smarts help him get the shuttles back to Serenity and away from those gorram Reavers. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 12:09 AM


Very nice and interasting.... seems like Serenity might have crashed or river saved the day*s*

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 9:59 AM


I don't know who to be mad at that Kai's parents are dead. Grr stupid war with people having to kill other people. And where's Serenity?

Monday, September 26, 2005 6:05 AM



I nearly danced around with glee (an odd response, I grant you) at the words "Three beautiful, special children ..." because then I knew that this story wasn't just beautifully written with pitch perfect characters, psychological insight and emotional impact, it also has an arc.

I was smirking a bit at cocky young Mal ... and then I went cold when Christina found Liu. OMG ...


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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.