Heartbroken - Part 4
Saturday, November 29, 2003

The plot's thickening, and so is the jambalaya--plus Inara and Adair get to have a little heart to heart about the men in their lives.


Roaring right on after Part 3
All Firefly characters are the property of someone else. All original characters are copyrighted by yours truly. This is not in any way, means or intention meant to infringe on anybody. MIGHTY BIG THANK YOU goes to Defender--my partner in crime who has always come through to help me make this thing the best it can be. She understands constructive criticism, same as I do :D The MIGHTY BIG APOLOGY still stands for anyone who can read and speak French, Cajun or Chinese. I've added translations for a little Cajun and some of the Chinese I managed to make up on my own and didn't have to correct (must be doing something right) - Cajun kisa vou di - what you say pa tschwe - no kill pa aste - not now Chinese zhe buzhengque zai hen tuo - it's not correct in my head. jao jile ji aode - that's great, perfect yibao xiao yizhi - little pack of rats ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Heartbroken - Part 4

The infirmary seemed to reverberate in stunned silence as Cariveau and Siobhan stared at their injured crewman in complete shock. Simon’s expression contained nothing more than concerned inquiry, but Mal passed a hard look at his counterpart. "Thought you said this Armand fella was dead," Mal said. "No," Cariveau shook his head adamantly. "I did not. You did--or you implied it. Last we heard of Armand was Serenity Valley. We were told he was listed missing in action." "He...he is alive?" Siobhan could barely say it. "After all this time?" "You're sure it was him?" Cariveau asked. Ellis nodded. "Sat across the dinner table from those eyes for a lot of years--I'd know 'em anywhere. Thing is, that's all I remember--Armand's eyes, then nothing." Siobhan stared at him, only barely comprehending what Ellis was saying. "He stabbed you? Armand?" "I don't...Zhe buzhengque zai hen tuo. It was Armand, but it wasn't. Eyes were right, hair was right. Face was all wrong." Mal was shaking his head, finding himself dizzied by the turn of events. "This don't make no sense." "Plastic surgery." All eyes turned to Simon. "Huh?" Ellis asked. "Plastic surgery," he explained matter-of-factly. "The medical practice of reshaping normal structures of the body in order to improve the patient's appearance and self-esteem--I'm sure you've heard of it." Mal sent a scowl in Simon's direction that had very little effect. "Generally the work is only cosmetic--nip here and a tuck there. However, sometimes a person's face can be completely reconstructed. Even the skin color can be changed. We used to hear stories about people--criminals mostly--who would spend a king's ransom to obtain a completely different identity." Simon's gaze drifted to Mal. "There are even some who claim the leaders of the Independent movement did just that. That's why so few of them were apprehended after Unification." Mal's mouth was set in a thin line. He didn't so much as flinch. "But I never really believed it," Simon concluded. He broke the eye contact with Mal in order to look at Cariveau as he continued. "At any rate, what Ellis says could be true. Your friend could have an entirely different face, but his eyes would be the same." "Armand was by no means a king," Cariveau stated. "There is no way he could have paid for such a thing on his own." "So the question, then, would seem to be who could pay for his new face?" Simon asked. "You are speaking nonsense," Siobhan said crossly, although the tremble in her voice betrayed her emotional state. "All of you--kisa vou di. How can you say such things about Armand? Vous avez aucun respect?" "It is not a matter of respect, Nanan," Cariveau said. "Ellis has never lied to me." "He has never told you whole truths either," Siobhan pointed out. "About where he comes from, where he was when he was gone from us. He could tell us anything and you would believe!" "I know what I saw," Ellis maintained stubbornly. "It was Armand." "Feds've got science we don't know nothing about," Mal said. Folding his arms, he moved his gaze around the group. "They got methods, means and intentions that are downright creepifying. Wouldn't surprise me one bit if they took a POW and re-worked him, inside and out." If anyone noticed how his eyes lingered a bit on the young doctor, Mal hoped they wouldn't feel it was worth mentioning to anyone official once they reached Beaumonde. "This is all beginning to sound a bit too...what is the word?" Siobhan turned to Cariveau. "Aliéné?" Cariveau smiled slowly. "Paranoid, I think you mean." Siobhan nodded once and gestured sharply toward Mal. "Oui, comme vous dites." "She has a point, Reynolds," Cariveau said. "Someone might say you have taken anti-Alliance thinking to a whole new level of dementia." "That ain't neither here nor there. Fact still stands--there's a murderer on my boat and no telling who he's meant to go after next. We don't find him and I guarantee there will be more blood." "You make it sound as if someone has sent him to do this." Siobhan advanced on Serenity's captain until she stood toe to toe. Seeing the conviction in his eyes, her eyes turned steely. "You believe it. You believe he is truly an assassin, hidden among us--in Sayabec for God knows how long." Mal lowered his voice respectfully. "Ma'am, I don't mean to tread heavy on the memory of your boy, but you don't seem any too enlightened to my situation. If he's the one, then I mean to make certain he ain't got designs on some other Independent, myself included." "I wasn't Independent." Looking up sharply, Mal focused on the Zirondelle's first offer. "What's that?" "You're thinking 'cause Cap here flew Independent, that puts me in a brown coat too, right?" "What are you saying?" Cariveau asked. He was staring down at Ellis in complete bewilderment. "You would not fight for the Alliance." "Not by my own say so," Ellis agreed, and the rest seemed to pour out of him. "I got pinched on Acadia that time. Feds hauled me in, charged me with aiding and abetting a known traitor. Said I had two choices; gulag or military. I went military, figured I could hot foot it anytime and I did. Saw combat first though--that's how I got this." He rubbed the backs of his fingers over jagged scar that stood out pale pink against the dark skin on his face, reaching from his ear nearly to the point of his chin. When Cariveau's gaze dropped suddenly, Mal followed it to see another much smaller scar on Ellis' right shoulder, center point on the deltoid muscle, precisely where Alliance service tattoos were placed at the moment of recruitment. Cariveau stared hard at the smaller scar, then into his friend's face. Realization dawned in Ellis' eyes at the same time, and he tried to focus through a heavy haze of medication. "Go-se--wu...wuzzat out loud?" Cariveau's mouth opened once and silently formed the beginning of several sentences before he turned, and walked a few steps away. Curling his right hand around the back of his neck, he stopped to stare at the floor. Ellis tried again. "Rene--" The other of Cariveau's square-featured hands came up sharply, cutting Ellis off mid sentence. "Pa aste," he hissed, barely able to contain his anger. Looking back at Ellis, his eyes were steely as the muscles in his jaw worked furiously. "Pa...aste." Ellis pressed his lips together and fell silent. Since Cariveau couldn't seem to bring himself to say it, Mal said it for him. "Alliance deserter." He nodded his head as if he had expected something of the sort. "I got an Alliance deserter on my boat. Jao jile ji aode." "Then this was all a mistake, oui?" Siobhan said hopefully. "Identité erronée." Mal turned an accusatory glare on Cariveau. "Any other surprises got tucked up your sleeve, Cariveau?" Cariveau met that glare with icy composure. "I show you mine, you show me yours." They stared at each other for several tense seconds. Mal finally broke the stand off by turning to Siobhan. "You got a picture of him?" Siobhan scowled at him. "A picture? Why would you want--Je ne comprends pas." "We gotta find him, ma'am, before he brings harm on someone else. I wanna make sure I know it's him." "I jusss...jus told you." The stimulant had begun to wear off, causing Ellis' words to slur. "He looks diff'ernt." "Fancy science or no, man's eyes don't lie," Mal said. "I have one." Siobhan was pulling a gold chain from under the collar of her dress, and with it a gold locket roughly the size of Mal's thumb. Drawing close to him, she opened it and pointed to the picture on the right side. Mal nodded, easily recognizing the little corporeal who would rather shoot first and ask questions later. The tiny image had caught Armand's broad smile in happier times and clearly showed his dark eyes. "Don' kill him," Ellis' eyes were also drooping. Struggling valiantly, Ellis lost the battle and his eyes rolled backward as he succumbed to the lingering effects of the surgical anesthetic. "Don'... pa tschwe." Simon's eyes were glued to the biometrics display just beyond Ellis's head and began shaking his head slowly. "His blood pressure is down. I can't risk bringing him around again." "Don't fret, Doc, I wasn't even gonna ask," Mal said. "Ma'am, can I borrow this?" Siobhan removed the locket and handed it to him just as Cariveau moved closer to Mal. "May I have a word outside, Captain?" "I was just about to ask you that self-same thing." Mal turned to lead the way, closing the infirmary door once Cariveau had joined him. "What in the hell do you think you're doing?" Cariveau demanded. "Armand is on my crew, not yours." "Was on your crew," Mal said. "Boy's been in service, ain't he--missing in action and such? Not to mention if the Alliance got its hands on him, he probably don't even remember being Armand anymore. No telling what unholy creature they turned him into." "Siobhan is right--vous êtes aliéné," Cariveau said. "Listen, Cariveau, you might wanna consider insulting me in a language that I understand, 'cause I don't think you wanna see me getting tetchy." "You are insane--you actually believe that gôu pì about secret Alliance experiments? It is a load of fei hua and any sensible person knows it." "I got reason to believe what the Doc just described is more true than we wanna believe." "And would you care to explain that?" "Don't much care to, no. Kinda like how you never felt it worth mentioning that you got an Alliance deserter on board your boat." "Do you think I knew anything about that?" Cariveau asked, then relented. "All right, perhaps the thought did occur, but as I told you, Ellis never spoke of the war. I just believed it was battle fatigue, or some survivor's syndrome." Rolling his eyes toward the ceiling, Cariveau rested his hands on his hips as he conceded, "As it turns out, he was reluctant to tell me on the offside chance that I would shoot him for being conscripted into service as a purple-belly." The man's cynical flare for sarcasm was really beginning to grow on Mal. Watching Zirondelle's captain pace, he could completely sympathize and had an inkling that under somewhat different circumstances, they would have made a fine pair of drinking buddies. He could have seen them meeting up in space ports to share news on mutual clients and talk over captainy things. "You gonna help with this or not?" "Help you find Armand--if it is Armand--and keep him from killing someone else?" Cariveau gave a short, dry laugh. "Even though his face has been changed and I may not be able to recognize him until I feel his knife blade in my side?" "That's the notion." Cariveau stopped, breathed a heavy sigh and rubbed his eyes roughly with one hand. "Je ne pense pas que je jamais ai été ainsi fatigué." Mal thought he caught the general gist of that one. "We got crew quarters that ain't being used. You could probably use some shut-eye." "Non, merci--thank you, no. I would not sleep well without Adair anyway." Cariveau didn't realize what he'd said until a second after he said it. Looking up, he met Mal's darker blue eyes and both men stared at each other in tight-lipped silence. Just like that, Mal had swung between liking the Acadian and wishing he didn't. Hating the man would make pulling the single-load pistol from his boot and trying his luck at a shot between the eyes a whole lot easier to stomach. Not to mention there were other people to consider. An image rose unbidden in his mind, of an incomparable, exotic woman, with a particular pair of warm brown eyes and a soft, sultry smile formed by succulent lips. As it struck him that none of that belonged to Adair Quan, Mal pushed the idea to the back of his mind to mull over later. "I will want to know how Ellis is doing," Cariveau said. "Do you want me to notify the passengers of our predicament?" Mal shook his head slowly. "Not just yet. Don't wanna go inciting any panic. Frightened crowd of people ain't much different from a spooked herd of cattle in a space this small. Might wanna mention it to the Archon's kin though. They know everybody, right? They could find him out in jig time if they're so inclined." Cariveau's eyebrow went up again. "Should I speak to Hague?" Mal grinned mischievously. "Oh no, I think that's something I'd like to do. Wouldn't want the boy getting too comfy in my cargo hold." With a decided look of approval, Cariveau followed behind as Mal led the way to the stairs. "You have an Acadian-like streak of deviousness, Reynolds." "And I'm gonna try to not take that personal, Cariveau." * * * "Liou coe shuai du biao-tze huh hoe-tze duh ur-tze. Bun tien-shung de ee-duai-ro. cào nî zûxiān shí bâ dai." Companions were not supposed to swear. At least, that was the common misconception, and Inara did manage to keep a civil tongue in her mouth most of the time. Then there were days like these, days that made her glad to be beyond the confines of Guild Law, so she could indulge in a little of what her former mentor would have called "potty mouth." The fact that she wasn't being entirely honest about why she was angry or with whom was entirely beside the point. Having left the two captains behind to discuss whatever it was Mal had done now--her lack of surprise that Mal was to blame for something proved how much she was at home on Serenity--Inara went back to her shuttle to keep her word to Rene. She would see to Adair’s needs. Theirs seemed to be a complicated relationship. She was Cariveau's lover, pilot of his ship, devoted mother of his son and former sweetheart of one Malcolm Reynolds. Complicated, indeed. It was in the boarding ramp outside her shuttle that she first heard Adair's voice softly singing a sweet lullaby.

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night, sailed off in a wooden shoe; Sailed in a river of crystal light, into a sea of dew. "Where are you going, and what do you wish?" the old moon asked the Three. "We've come to fish for the herring fish that swim in the beautiful sea. Nets of silver and gold have we," said Wynken, Blynken and Nod. So all night long their nets they threw to the stars in the twinkling foam Then down from the sky came the wooden shoe bringing the fisherman home 'Twas oh so pretty a sail it seemed as if it could not be And some folks thought 'twas a dream they'd dreamed of sailing the beautiful sea But I shall name you the fisherman three; Wynken, Blynken and Nod

On silent tiptoe, Inara peeked around one of her curtains. Adair was lying on the bed next to Jordain, snuggling him so their heads were side by side on the pillow. Despite her obvious fatigue, Adair smiled sweetly at the little boy who was so much the image of Rene, right down to the persistent cowlick over his left eye. Jordain stared back at her with rapt attention, giggling brightly as Adair traced one finger in a quick tickling circle, first around one eye and then the other as she continued.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes, and Nod is a weary head. And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies is a wee one's trundle bed. So shut your eyes while Mommy sings of the wonderful sights that be And you shall see all the beautiful things as you rock in that misty sea Just like the fisherman three; Wynken, Blynken and Nod Just like the fisherman three; Wynken, Blynken and Nod

"Zai, Maman," Jordain said sleepily. His eyes had drooped closed already. Apparently he wasn't quite finished recharging. Inara felt her heart lurch as Adair kissed Jordain tenderly, closing her eyes as she nuzzled him just to make him laugh. Looking more than a little worn at the seams, Adair had to be using every last bit of strength she had to stay awake, lowering her voice to a near whisper as she began the sweet song again. Carefully composing herself with a quick prayer for strength, Inara counted to three before she moved silently into the shuttle. Fastening on her warmest smile, she nodded to Adair who glanced up briefly as she continued singing. Inara went to the shuttle's storage section, cleverly disguised behind cascades of fabric, and shifted the curtains aside to open a drawer. Taking out a twilight blue silk nightgown, she moved back to the bed where Adair was just finishing up the second round of Wynken, Blynken and Nod. Jordain had already dozed off into a deep sleep, punctuating the last note with another soft snore as he curled himself up into a little ball and went on dreaming about sailing star-filled skies. "That was delightful," Inara whispered. Adair breathed a deep sigh as she looked up, her eyes warming as she smiled. "I tried it in French once, but my accent is pretty bad. Rene calls it avec du charme provincial, which I think is French for, 'I love you, but you must stop assaulting my language'." Inara smiled brightly. "He's asked me if you could stay here with Jordain." Adair's lips parted with an expression of surprise and she even rose up on one arm as if she meant to leave. "Oh. We--I wouldn't want to impose." "There is no imposition. Rene is a friend." "Still, he shouldn't have." "I'm sure he just wants to make sure you're both safe," Inara said. "This shuttle has one entrance and I can even close and lock the door if needed. Considering what's going on right now, it really is the best place for you both." Adair sighed again and pouted. "He worries too gorram much." "He's a captain," Inara replied. "It seems to be what captains do. Here, you can sleep in this." Adair took the garment with purely feminine approval and a murmured an emphatic. "Meili." "I'm afraid I can only offer you a sponge bath. The shuttle isn't completely equipped." "At this point, I'll take what I can get," Adair said. Looking up, she met Inara's gaze and gave her a knowing smile. "I have to say, it's pretty ironic--our distress call getting picked up by your ship." Inara's returned a wry smile of her own. "I've often found that Providence has a rather peculiar sense of humor. It's been said that there is a plan for human existence in the universe, but..." "Sometimes it seems like somebody's reading the plans backwards," Adair concurred. Looking down at Jordain, she ran her fingers over the flaxen curls. "And then there's times like this when I know exactly what I was put into the 'verse for." Inara had to swallow a sharp lump in her throat. Such simple bliss in a universe filled with a surplus of strife and cruelty was a truly rare thing. Gazing at mother and son, she found herself battling a strong sense of envy. What would it be like to claim ownership to not just one, but two brands of devotion? "If you'd like to change, I'll prepare the bath." Staring dreamily into her child's face, Adair was caught off guard by the offer. When her eyes switched to Inara, she was somewhat hesitant and yet hopeful. "If it's too much trouble..." "If it was, I wouldn't have offered," Inara said. Rising smoothly, she went to gather up the brass basin and went into the shuttle's lavatory to draw warm water. Adding bath oil and a light exfoliate solution, she returned and knelt down near the foot of the bed. Adair stood facing the wall on the other side, just pulling the nightgown over her head. Inara admired the slender line of her spine, soft curve of her hips, and sleek well-shaped legs. Adair wasn't a tall woman, nor was she delicate for being so petite, as the fit of the gown clearly indicated when she turned around. With her hair tousled a bit from undressing and the burnished glow of an Asian complexion, she had an untamed look about her that many men preferred. Inara thought she would have done well as a companion. Adair smiled a bit shyly as she ran her hands down over her hips. As she moved, the high slits on both sides showed smooth, tantalizing line and curve. "This feels downright decadent. Thank you." "I'm glad it pleases you." Watching her kneel down on the other side of the basin, Inara could sense a renewed tension and Adair seemed reluctant to make eye contact. Clearly, there was something on her mind. "May I say, Adair, how beautiful Jordain is?" Wringing out the sponge in one hand, Adair's loving smile was automatic. "I won't be the one to argue. He continues to amaze me every day." "He's such a unique blend of both of you; your self-confidence, Rene's gentleness and a voracious inquisitiveness all his own." Adair did look up at that. "Most people usually just notice he didn't end up with Rene's ears." "Once they get past those big brown eyes," Inara said agreeably. "Which are indeed charming. I think I can safely say you'll have to watch any girl who comes near him once he comes of age." "Oh believe me, I know," Adair said, and lifted an eyebrow poignantly at Inara, receiving a small, conceding smile as she went on. "I guess what they say about companion perceptiveness is true. That's really a lot to learn about a two year old in less than two hours." "It wasn't that difficult," Inara replied. "Love always shows. He feels safe, he knows he's loved by both parents and he knows how much his parents love each other. Children are extremely sensitive to any conflict and often respond through behavior." Adair did meet her gaze then, searchingly. "What else do you sense?" "That Rene has finally found his anchor. When I met him, he was floundering in despair and anger, lashing out at everyone and everything. By the time we parted, he had calmed somewhat, but the turmoil was still there, just beneath the surface. I don't see that now, or at least not in him." Understanding the implication, Adair's gaze dropped again. "Sometimes I think he should just put me down on some rock for his own good." Pressing her lips together briefly, she took a long, shaky breath. "But I can't lose him. Not now." Perceiving her heartache, Inara reached out to take Adair's free hand, which brought her gaze back up. Looking into each other's eyes, the two women shared a moment of mutual harmony and Adair nodded. Releasing her hand again, Inara stood slowly, intending to move back to allow Adair some privacy to bathe. Sensing a strong aroma on the air, she paused and frowned. "Is that...cayenne?" Straightening a bit, Adair also tested the air. "Oh!" she said, her eyes going round in surprise and delight. "God--that's jambalaya. Roux must have found your galley." Inara took a long, deep breath and put her hand over her stomach as it sent up an enthusiastic growl. "That smells heavenly. Should I get you a plate?" "You do and we will be friends for life," Adair declared. Inara laughed. "Well then, if that's all it will take, I'll just have to go." * * * Jayne was standing as close to the chef as he could without getting personal, peering into the closest kettle and watched a tantalizing batch of rice mixture swirl about. "What'd you call that, jabba--what?" "Jambalaya," Marcel Roux said with enthusiasm as he stirred with a thick wooden spoon. "I jus' swept up dis here galley, add a bit of something special from Zirondelle and jus' enough mojo to make it right." "Smells pretty damn tasty for just rice and vegetables," Jayne replied, just before he was nearly pushed into Roux from behind. "Hey! Quit yer shovin'! I was here first." All six of the boys he had helped usher on board were pressed against him from all sides, each mugging for a chance to see into the three large kettles simmering on the galley stove. "How much longer's it gonna take?" Jayne asked. He looked more than a little concerned. "Promised their pa I'd see they ate proper, but the yibao xiao yizhi here are about to gnaw my knee caps off." "Mmmm." Roux smiled as he inhaled deeply over the kettle. "Not long now. Madame Hague, il est presque fini!" "Oui Maestro." Doriane Hague nee Faure, was just setting another stack of tin plates on the Serenity's dining table. A line of passengers had already begun to form, starting at the kitchen area of the galley and trailing all the way through the passageway, down to the cargo bay. "Lark-in, quick-ly." "Pouring this as fast as we can," Larkin replied in the same sing-song tone. Both he and Jian stood at the other end of the table, filling tin cups with red juice, completely unaware that they were being observed from the hatchway by not just one, but two captains. "Well now," Mal said. He stood with his hands folded under his arms, watching Hague's venture into domesticity with interest. "Ain't that a sight? Xiao tzao gao's pretty damn good at following orders." "They say when Doriane Faure speaks, men listen." Cariveau stood behind him, catching the meaningful looks of the passengers in the hallway. "This might not be such a good time to talk to them. Once we had to start conserving power, we also had to stop cooking meals. It has been three days since anyone here had anything to eat besides protein bars." From admiring Hague's pretty wife, Mal turned to take a gander down the hall to his left, and was brought up short by a downright threatening look delivered by an otherwise sweet-looking little girl. "Yeah. You might have a good point on that. Maybe we best head on down, have a little chat with your engineer." "Capitaine Cariveau!" Roux came out from the kitchen, rubbing his hands on the stained apron tied around his thick waist and grinning from ear to ear. "Is zis de commander of this shuai yisou?" Smiling, Cariveau turned to Mal who was looking a bit startled. "Oui, maestro. C'est Capitaine Malcolm Reynolds." Roux positively beamed and reached out with both hands to clap Mal solidly on both shoulders. "Ki sa se bon, Capitaine, welcome! Please, I insist you take the first bowl. We must keep your strength up, oui?" "Oh, well I...that's mighty generous of you, but I...see it's..." Embarrassed beyond words, Mal looked back at that little girl and got an idea. He glanced back up at Roux. "You mind if I bring a guest?" "Non, naturellement pas. Bring whomever you choose." Moving to the girl, Mal sought out the parents first and received nods of approval before he sank down on his haunches as she folded her arms, still glaring in spite of the tiny smile tugging at her mouth. "My name's Mal. What's yours?" he asked. She tipped her head to one side, somewhat coyly. "Genevieve." "Well that's a mighty pretty name, Genevieve, belonged to a queen once upon a time. You hungry?" She pretended to consider it. "Maybe." Genevieve, after a brief moment of playing hard to get, placed her slim hand into the one Mal had held out to her. Smiling, Mal rose and headed into the galley, under the pleased smiles of Genevieve's parents and positive comments from the passengers. And so, Cariveau thought. The hero of Serenity emerges. The serving line moved like a well-oiled machine. Once the kettles were brought out, both Larkin and Doriane took up positions to serve in two lines, two scoops to each bowl. Then each passenger picked up a small sourdough biscuit before taking a cup from the end of the table. As the number of cups diminished, Jian was on hand to keep filling more. The passengers filed back the way they had come, taking the left-side passageway back down to the cargo bay. Cariveau stood to one side of the hatchway, exchanging words as people moved along while Mal stood on the other end of the galley with a bowl in one hand and Genevieve's hand still clutching the other. As her family came to collect her, the girl's father shook Mal's hand heartily before introducing him to his wife and four other daughters, two of marriageable age. Cariveau was grinning at the look on Mal's face as his hand comm crackled just before Cezar's voice came on. "Cezar omitted Rene, dan vini." He took it off the belt loop on the right side and lifted it to his mouth. "Rene, ale." * * * "Well, that's a mighty fine offer, Mister," Mal was saying. "Pure shame of it is I ain't much in the market for a wife and frankly these fine young ladies are more deserving of...of, well, of someone a might more stable and--" "Reynolds!" The call from the door was like a rescue from heaven until Mal made eye contact and saw the dark seriousness in Cariveau's eyes. Cariveau tipped his head back toward the hatchway, indicating whatever he had to say was meant to stay between captains. Mal groaned inwardly. Now what? Excusing himself politely, Mal extracted himself from the group and handed his bowl off to someone else as he headed back at a quick clip. "Shénme?" Cariveau led him back toward the bridge and, seeing Wash still at the controls, stopped above Mal's quarters. "Cezar was on his way over for the meal," he said, keeping his voice low. "He says he found a woman on the catwalk, halfway between here and the shuttle." "Who, Zoe?" Mal asked. "She's probably finishing up a recon." "Non, non, the woman is unconscious and the description he gave"--Cariveau frowned, as if he was having trouble believing it himself--"It sounds like Inara." Mal took off before Cariveau could stop him, shouting, "Make a hole!" as he drove his way through the passengers on his way down to the cargo hold. Cariveau followed quickly behind, deliberately ignoring the looks of puzzlement along the way. Frightened crowd of people ain't much different from a spooked herd of cattle. Cariveau was beginning to suspect they were very close to finding out how truly prophetic that statement might be.

continued in Part 5

any and all Feedback accepted


Sunday, November 30, 2003 2:38 AM


Oh wow, I just love this story and this part is wonderful. Lots of lovely moments captured in it that sparkle and shine. Love how the two Captains are finding their way with each other and I am anxious as to what in the nine hells has happened to Inara. Come on Mal, you can run faster than that! Do keep going, can't wait for the next part. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, December 1, 2003 7:30 AM


okay, I'm sorry, I can't stand it anymore. whoever rated this story a 10 (can you see me blushing?) I appreciate it - you have no idea - but it is far from perfect.

Thursday, December 4, 2003 8:05 PM


Chainnain, Heartbroken is a great story. I'm really looking foward to the next chapter.

Friday, December 5, 2003 7:55 PM


Every chapter is getting better. I love this story.

The Cajun scenes are quite accurate as well.

Ooh, you're cliffhangers are evil.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004 10:41 PM


I loved the part with Jayne around the kitchen and when Mal was backpedaling from marrying one of the women from the ship.

Inara's part was really good, you captured her very well.

Keep flyin'


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Heartbroken: Meili Long - Part 3
Just how much can a captain take before he finally loses his cool? The events of Heartbroken and Melili Long from Rene Cariveau's point of view, and Simon gets a little foretaste of what is to come.

Heartbroken: Meili Long - Part 2
Plenty of loose ends to tie up before Serenity and Zirondelle dock at the Trahan Orbiter. Armand seems to have given himself the run of the ships again--hopefully without sharp objects this time--and Simon steps up... finally.

Heartbroken: Meili Long - Part 1
This takes place just after the events of Heartbroken, which is set between the events of "Objects in Space" and Serenity: The Movie. The intention is to wrap up the current interactions of the Serenity and Zirondelle crews, before careening off with Mal into a patch of darkness not entirely of his own making.

Heartbroken - Part 9
We're havin' ourselves a wedding, Cajun style...but you can be sure and certain that ain't all that'll happen.

Heartbroken - Part 8
One last loose end to tie up...and beat into a bloody pulp.

Heartbroken - Part 7
Mal knows who the trouble maker is on board, that is, on board ships. He takes care of business, gets an eerie little visit from another Serenity Valley survivor, then he finds out whose heart was broken first.

Heartbroken - Part 6
Where did Mal meet Adair, what is it about Larkin Hague that irritates Mal so much, and just how WELL did Book know Ellis Rhodes' mother?

Heartbroken - Part 5
Who is Jian Wang and what in nine hells has happened to Inara?

Heartbroken - Part 4
The plot's thickening, and so is the jambalaya--plus Inara and Adair get to have a little heart to heart about the men in their lives.

Heartbroken - Part 3
A first officer's stabbed, Zirondelle's pilot is an old girlfriend of Mal's and Mal just hit one of the refugees - have things gotten complicated enough yet? Heck no!