Truthsome, Part III: Confessions
Friday, March 26, 2004

Part III: A battle, an escape, and things said and done lead to a night of confessions.


Truthsome, Part III: Confessions

Part I: Shadows (follow link)
Part II: Blood (follow link)

Zoe watched from the shadows as Kaylee led the sheriff to the place she'd instructed. Zoe, of course, wasn't in the spot she'd told Kaylee she'd be, but near enough to suss out the situation before stepping into anything. Jayne covered her, and he would burst in shooting if anything went awry, regardless of the delicacies involved with dead citizens, sheriffs, or Feds.

Kaylee had quite gotten over her fear, it seemed, still holding to the sheriff's arm, a bounce in her walk as she chatted on about some gadget or other. The town dynamo, maybe, something about how to modify it to produce more power.

“Well, this is it,” Kaylee said, stepping away from the sheriff, looking around for Zoe. The sheriff warily scanned the area. After watching a moment more, Zoe stepped out from the shadows.

“Sheriff,” she said quietly. He turned toward her. His hand hung near his gun, but he made no move for it. Zoe held her carbine in hand at her side. “I'm hoping to have a word.”

They faced with measured wariness. He flicked a glance skyward at the faint, dancing shimmers in the sky. “Nice aurora. Rare here. Your doing?” Zoe gave a half-smile of acknowledgment.

“You got my captain. I want him back.”

“Feds got your captain. What do you think I can do about it?”

Zoe took a deep breath and stepped closer to the sheriff. “I gotta get the captain out. Now. Tonight. I can not--will not--let the Alliance take him. Not if I have to bleed the life out of every Fed on this world. And I direly don't want to do that. I need your help.”

“Your captain broke the law I'm sworn to uphold. You expect me to ignore my oath of office?”

“And the Alliance stepped all over your law and your office. The captain's lost enough to them. I ain't gonna let the Alliance take his freedom. Or his life.”

The sheriff studied her probingly. She met his look evenly. “You were in the war?” he asked. Zoe nodded. “Independent?” She nodded again. “And your captain?”

“Both of us. Fought together through the most of it.”

Watching the sheriff closely, Zoe knew he was chewing on something inside himself, something deep and intense. Impatient though she was for decision and action, she forced herself to patience; let him work it through.

Finally he said, not as a question but a quiet statement of fact, “You were at Hera. Serenity Valley. You and your captain. Survived it. Taken prisoner by the Alliance.” Zoe's eyes narrowed speculatively. Mal must have said something to the sheriff, been working on him, too. The sheriff's gaze turned deep inward to the dark something gnawing at him.

“Were you there too?” she asked very softly.

He didn’t answer. “And what were you? There? Then?”

“I was a private,” Zoe answered. “He was my sergeant.” She paused, then added, “Now he's my captain.”

They stare between them stretched on for a solid minute or more as the sheriff weighed his decision. He could go either way, Zoe saw. She was asking a tremendous lot from him and knew it. Then Kaylee—bless her heart--chirped in with the tie-breaker.

“He's my captain, too.”


Mal paced, watching, listening, alert for any opening, any opportunity. It was, well, it was something to pass the time at least. He was absolutely stuck and he knew it gorram well. The two Alliance guards never moved an inch from their posts, never wavered. Mal had even tried talking to them, hoping to draw one close enough to the bars to make a grab for his weapon. Friendly comments, insults, didn't matter. They'd roundly ignored him.

The guards stiffened to alert when the office door swung open, relaxing when two of the sheriff's men strode in, talking casually between themselves about some pretty little filly. The deputies didn't give the Alliance guards even a glance.


Mal jerked, taken by surprise at the sudden, efficient violence. The deputies spun back to back. Drew their guns. Dropped the two Feds in a blindingly fast, coordinated move. The bodies slumped to the floor with puzzled expressions and perfect holes in their faces just below the rims of their helmets.

“Tsao gao,” Mal murmured, backing up slowly. This was an unexpected development. He couldn’t figure if it was good or bad. The two deputies turned toward him, training their guns on him. Okay, it looked bad. Easing his hands up, Mal considered his options. It didn't take long. He had none. The half-assed notion that he could dodge the bullet, get himself knocked out by the charge on the door lock, and fake being dead came to mind for a split, followed immediately by the image of River laughing at the math in that scenario.

One of the deputies holstered his gun, unlocked the cell and opened the door. “Out,” he ordered curtly, pulling a pair of handcuffs out of his pocket. Mal stepped out of the cell, keeping one eye on the gun barrel pointed unwaveringly at him. “Stick out your hands.” Mal obediently held his hands out in front of him. The deputy clamped the cuffs down snug, but not too tight. Unlike the Fed, there was no maliciousness in the deputy's action.

What the gorram hell was going on, Mal wondered as the deputies led him out into the night. Crackling sounds in the distance caused Mal to duck down in an ingrained move so automatic he couldn't have stopped it if he'd wanted to. The deputies reacted a touch more slowly. Mal considered it a point of interest that the deputies seemed to take note of that. They acted like trained military men yet they didn't seem to react promptly to the unmistakable sound of a firefight. An odd situation took shape as the deputies chose the route but their prisoner guided them from cover position to cover position.

Mal was a mass of confliction as they neared the battle. He hoped like hell this was part of the plan to get him free of this situation. But he also hoped it wasn't Serenity's crew exchanging lead with the Alliance garrison.

The center of the fight was a large, posh house at the far edge of the town. It stood apart from the other buildings, surrounded by a fence. Muzzle flashes sporadically lit some of the windows. Mal marked them in his mind, number of guns, type, and rate of fire. One good thing--it wasn't the Serenity crew holed up in that house. They didn't have those types of guns. A small explosion lit the area briefly, illuminating the sheriff where he crouched behind the fence, peeking out at the structure.

With the deputies, Mal dropped to the ground by the sheriff. With a jerk of his head, the sheriff dismissed the deputies. They worked their way along the fenceline to take up positions nearby.

Coolly, the sheriff turned his attention to Mal. “This all is your doing, you know,” he said.

Mal opened his mouth. Closed it. Reconsidered. Then said, “Being as I appear to be the only one hereabouts without a gun in hand, I'm have a hard time seeing your logic.”

“You're the gorram fool who walked into an Alliance ambush. That drug me in, trying to preemptively arrest you just to keep you out of the tamade Feds' hands.”

Mal gave a short laugh. “So you pinched me just to one-up the Feds? I like that.”

The sheriff scowled. “T'ain't no laughing matter. Jacobs--your contact--was a friend. I turned the blind eye to most of his dealings. Then the Feds moved in with this sting operation of theirs. Now Jacobs looks not to live ‘til the morning.” Mal swallowed. So that was Jacobs he'd caught a glimpse of in that cell. “And now I'm fighting the battle of New Horizons,” the sheriff went on. “Seven odd years late, but finally being fought.”

Mal stayed silent, watching the sheriff. Something more was going on here than the sheriff springing a smuggler from the Feds. It was something to do with Jacobs, beat near to death, and the sheriff, and--somehow--Mal.

“I was an Independent,” the sheriff said. “I know you figured that. Saw that banner in my office.”

“Hera. Serenity Valley,” Mal said. “It was from one of our units.”

The sheriff’s look became distant. “Wasn't mine. I was stationed right here the whole war. Me and most of my deputies. Tiny outpost on a nothing world. They didn't even bother with us until the very end. Alliance swarmed over New Horizons and we went down without firing a shot.” He looked at Mal. “That banner belonged to my boy, my only son. He was at Serenity Valley too.”

“He die there?”

The sheriff sighed heavily. “Not such as I heard it. Never did get a clear story. Heard that he survived the slaughter, and the aftermath, but died inside a week as an Alliance prisoner… during an interrogation.”

Mal closed his eyes. “I didn't...” he started.

“You were playing me in there,” the sheriff said coldly.

“Yeah, I was,” Mal said evenly. “But not like that. I didn't know about your boy. I was just aiming to get out of my own fix. I've been in the hands of those sumbitches before and would do damn near anything not to be again.”

“What you were saying--or implying--about those interrogations then... that the truth?”

Mal shook his head, then nodded. “They were rough, no denying. But there was lot of ways to die there and then. There's no knowing.”

“Well, I saw what that Fed lieutenant did to Jacobs, so I guess true-enough is good-enough.”

A bullet clipped the fence over their heads. Both ducked a bit lower but otherwise ignored the violence going on around them.

Mal studied the sheriff a minute more, then asked, “So, you gonna let me go?” He gestured with his hands, giving the chain between them a short jerk.

The sheriff’s expression wasn’t warm or friendly, but he pulled out a key to the cuffs and tossed it to Mal.

“I’m keeping your cargo. Consider it your fine. Now, get out of here and don’t come back.”

Quickly unlocking the cuffs, he dropped them in the dirt. He made no move to leave. “Sheriff. The Fed’s got I.D. on me. I get connected to this…” he swept his arm to take in the battle scene.

“Everything they got is in that house. We’ll take it and make sure to destroy it all. They won’t have your name or anything else. You’ll be in the clear.”

“You want us to help? I got some good fighters on my crew.”

The sheriff chuckled. “You got a powerful odd crew.”

Mal didn’t know which of his crew the sheriff had encountered but decided it didn’t much affect the truth of the statement no how. “That I do.”

“No, sergeant. You keep your people out of it. This is our fight now. In a way it always was. Just took its time a happening.” The sheriff gestured. “Head off that way. One of yours is waiting over there.”

A terse nod. Mal paused. “Top left window there.” He pointed. “Take that one out quick as you can. He’s got a sniper rifle and knows how to use it.” Mal brought his hand up in a salute, held it. The sheriff looked at him, then returned it. Mal turned to go. Another bullet took a notch out of the fence by their heads.

The sheriff stopped him with, “Though… a little air support would not go amiss.”

“Ain’t that just the common truth. But my boat’s got no guns.”

“It’s got jets.”

They held a long, communicative look.

“Keep your men back. A good hundred yards.”

“And captain…” the sheriff said. Mal paused. “Tell that lil gal geese juggling is a felony here.”

Bending low, Mal ran off into the night.


“Good to see you, sir,” Zoe greeted him blandly as he and Jayne raced up Serenity’s ramp. It raised even as they ran up into the cargo bay. The engines were hot and Serenity was ready for immediate lift.

“Nice to be home,” Mal said mildly, then yelled, “Kaylee!”

She beamed and bounced. “Cap’n!”

“Got a thing for you to do.”


The red bloom of flame from a burning structure was visible in the planet’s night as Serenity climbed toward space and into an orbital sunrise.

Kaylee looked at it disapprovingly. “You know, cap’n,” she favored him with a stern scowl, “it ain’t good for Serenity’s engines to run raw fuel out ‘em like that.”

Chuckling, Mal gave her a fond hug. “I’ll bear that in mind.” He turned to the pilot. “Wash. Take us out. Anywhere but here.”


Supper, breakfast… it was hard to say. By Serenity time it was after midnight, but this night had been far longer than most. Now they were back in the Black and the night could stretch on as long as they chose.

Dishes cleared away, everyone leaned back, relaxing with cups of coffee, no one seeming inclined to rush away, enjoying the decompression of tension and troubles. Wash and Kaylee were bantering about those stupid geese again. Zoe just rolled her eyes and tuned them out.

Mal toyed with his cup absently, staring unseeingly into the table. Zoe knew where his thoughts were, but wasn’t about to probe them. Things happened, and things were said, on that planet that struck him deeply. They didn’t talk about such things between them. Ever. There was no need. They’d both been there, lived it. Knew what had happened and the scars it had left. One look between them said more than all the words in the ‘verse ever could. Things she could never share even with her husband passed without a word between her and Mal.

No, it was for the others that words were sometimes needful. And it was for Simon to blunder into the painful probing with his guileless, unintentionally harsh, questions.

“So, that sheriff lost a son at Serenity Valley. You’ve told me about it,” Simon said to Zoe, “how awful it was--the fighting, and after, before the Alliance med ships arrived. I guess I have to assume the son was too badly wounded for them to save…”

Mal’s chair scraped the floor harshly. He stood and went into the kitchen without looking at any of them. Zoe could read his expression--dark and dangerous--but Simon still tended to be a bit oblivious, or just had his own strange way of playing with danger.

Maybe not totally oblivious. Simon was watching the captain as he stumbled onward, “I… I know their medical facilities are first rate, so usually if they got to someone in time...”

Mal set the coffee pot down far harder than necessary. Simon jumped at the bang.

“All what the Alliance done to your sister, and to you, and you still cling onto some strange fuzzy notions about them and their ways,” Mal said. Zoe noticed how tightly he was holding the cup. “What all do you think the Alliance did with us after that battle?”

It wasn’t a rhetorical question. Mal was genuinely demanding the doctor’s answer to the question.

Simon went into full stutter mode, as was often the case when pinned down by an angry Mal. “Well… I just assume they…” he seemed to rethink, coming to a new revelation. “I guess I know that wasn’t quite the end of the war. So after you surrendered, I’d suppose you were POWs for a little while.”

Zoe rubbed her face. The tongue-lashing the doctor was about to get wasn’t going to be pretty. Mal had gone dead still.

“We didn’t surrender,” he said. “Others did that for us without our say-so. We were defeated. There’s a fundamental difference.”

Simon nodded rapidly, eager to get out from under that frightening stare. “Yes, yes, I can see that.”

“So, what is it you think came next. What is it they taught you rich Core planet kids about that time?”

“Um… all right. So… so, the war ended a short time later and you, what?, went home, I suppose. I mean, the fighting was over. There was peace. Unification.”

Zoe actually moaned out loud, not sure if she was more sorry for Simon, or for Mal, hearing the go-se the Feds had spread. Wash touched her arm, slightly alarmed by her reaction. Inara and Kaylee watched with wide eyes, as did Book and River.

Ice filled Mal’s voice. “So, you figure they just told us ‘no hard feelings,’ gave us a pat on the back and sent us on our way, that it?” Mal’s eyes held Simon pinned. The doctor was at a total loss for words, Zoe could see, as he glanced over toward her, imploring for mercy.

She sighed. “We were over two years in an Alliance prison, doctor,” she said softly.

It was Jayne who broke the tension with a loud snort. “Man… two years. You guys got my record beat.”

Wash shook his head. “Always a treat to hear my wife compare prison terms with you, Jayne.”

Even Mal managed to look amused as he returned to his seat at the head of the table. Zoe met his eyes. He gave a shrug of assent so slight that no one else present could have read it. In a quiet, sing-song voice that masked the pain of the words she spoke, Zoe began to tell the tale that, before that moment, only two of them at the table knew.

“Med ships.”

“Whose colors they flying?”

“Don’t matter.”

“As many as lay dead in that valley, there were still so many of our wounded yet breathing that the med ships couldn’t take them all. Those of us as could still keep to our feet--wounded or not--were taken on transports instead. Prison transports. The sarge and I were searched, and we were handcuffed, and we were shoved in a cell and the door was locked behind us. And that’s the first time it came to me clear that the Alliance regarded us not as soldiers, but as criminals. Took Mal a bit longer to reach that conclusion.” She flicked a smile. “But he’s stubborn.”

Across the table she could see Mal, his gaze turned fully inward, not so much hearing her words as seeing the scene, as she, herself, saw it in the times she let herself look.

The cell was metal--walls, ceiling, floor--and bare. No bed nor bedding, not so much as a bench to sit on. There wasn’t properly room for two. They could sit, but not lay down or stretch out. Mal helped ease Zoe down to the floor, wincing in pain but alive. Then he sank down himself across from her.

“They tossed in some food and water packs. It wasn’t rations enough for two, but we’d been so long with nothing at all that it seemed like a feast. Sarge saw to it I had the most of it, and used some of the water to clean my wounds a bit. We could tell when the ship lifted, but then it was nothing for a long time. We couldn’t hear what was going on outside the cell, and there was no day or night. The light was always on the same.

“The interrogations started a day or so after we hit space.”

The cell door opened. Two purple bellies stared in coldly. “Out” one of them snapped to Mal. He climbed slowly to his feet, too slowly to please the Feds. One grabbed his arm and jerked him up. Zoe got a glimpse of the guards pulling him off down the hallway before the door slammed shut. For a long time she was alone in the silence.

“The sarge… Mal… the captain,” Zoe stumbled over how to refer to him, caught as she was in the tangle of time and memories, “was one of the higher ranks taken there, commanding so many, having killed so many of theirs, that he was one they were most aiming at with the interrogations.”

The doctor turned toward Mal and interjected, “They tortured you?” he asked in a tone partway between shocked and sympathetic.

Mal didn’t look up, just shook his head. “No. Just smacked me around a bit. I didn’t have any military information worth the telling, and they knew it.”

“Then why…?”

Scowling, but not angry, Mal met the doctor’s curious gaze. He could feel the eyes of all the others on him too. “Nearly two hundred thousand of the dead on that field were theirs. Their friends. Their comrades. And they were feeling a mite peevish about it. Just wanted to take it out on someone and we were the ones they had on hand. I don’t blame ‘em for that.” He paused, and qualified, “Don’t applaud ‘em for it neither. I just… I understand it.” Mal looked up at Zoe, silently saying she could go on with the telling. A hard part was coming, but these folks were their friends and comrades and it might do Zoe some good to get some of this out of her. Sometimes she felt a need to talk about it to the others and he figured it might do her some good speak on it for a bit.

Zoe picked up the story again. “The third time they brought Mal back from the interrogations he was beat near to death.”

The cell door opened and Mal was shoved in. He landed on his knees, bent double with his head to the floor. Coughing and choking. Spitting out blood. His hands were cuffed behind his back, the cuffs tight and his hands twisted in an awkward position with his palms out. The door clanged shut. Zoe reached out toward him.


Coughing, Mal said, “They don’t like it when you hit ‘em.”

Zoe relaxed a touch. If he could make jokes… “Worked that out your own self, didja?” She helped ease him over on his side, his head resting on her leg.

Panting, Mal managed a faint smile. “Yup. Had me an epiphany. Long about the second hour they were beatin’ on me it came clear as a bell.”

Looking down at him, bruised and bloody, Zoe quietly asked, “Was it worth it?”

Mal seemed to be having trouble focusing on her. “Took out two of the bastard’s teeth. Ask me again tomorrow, if I’m still alive.” He groaned and passed out in her lap.

“They left him cuffed like that until well into the next day.”

“And that is a damnably uncomfortable position to be stuck in,” Mal added, “especially when ya got some ribs cracked.”

Jayne, as ever going for the besides-the-point, asked, “Couldn’t you wriggle your hands down ‘round your butt, get your hands in front of you. ‘Cause that’s a good trick.”

The session of eye-rolling that went around the table amused Mal. He shook his head. “No, Jayne. Couldn’t. Not the way they had me cuffed. They knew that trick. Hell, they knew every damned trick, and we were still just learning ‘em.” He gave the doctor a glance. “I think we were in the top three percent of our class.” Simon had the grace to blush. Jayne muttered in Chinese some highly expressive, but anatomically improbable, opinions of the ‘teachers.’

“Expensive education, though,” Zoe added. “There must have been some higher up put a stop to it. There were no more interrogations, and they fed us regular after that, too. It was a few days later they got us to the prison.” She trailed off, Mal followed her gaze as it shifted upward to the row of high windows. To the Black. To the stars.

Silence bigger than Serenity filled the room. Mal could tell they all wanted the story to go on, to badger them both with questions, but none wanted to break the silence. It was River, sitting next to the captain on his left, who first spoke.

“It was then you went to shadow.”

Mal looked at her sharply. River was staring up at the stars too, her expression distant and absorbed. Zoe shifted uncomfortably and wouldn’t meet Mal’s eyes.

It was Shepherd Book, sitting on Mal’s right, who first broke the silence. He turned a soulful expression on Mal, irritatingly sympathetic. “Shadow,” Book said in whisper. His eyes narrowed in question. “You’re from Shadow?”

By now Simon apparently perceived the tension well enough to know better than to blurt out any more questions though Zoe could see one formed on his lips. Jayne lacked that finesse. “So, what? You went back home after that?”

Mal stood up without a word and strode out.

Zoe rubbed her eyes tiredly as they heard the doorway of his bunk clank open and then closed. Everyone’s attention shifted to her. She sighed. This was why it was usually better to leave the past buried.

“It’s not my story to tell,” she said, quietly but firmly.

Mal stood in the center of his bunk, eyes closed, quelling all what was churning around inside him. Best to just go to bed and forget about it. The crew wouldn’t bother him about it, knew better than to ask, and in a day or so the puzzled, questioning looks would go away. Hell, they all knew he and Zoe had some dark, nasty history behind them. That weren’t no secret. It was just the details they were fuzzy on.

He paused. Yeah. They did know. They knew and they didn’t turn away, or bother him about it. Or get all sappy and sentimental. Accepted and went on. A good bunch. Powerful odd bunch, he’d heard it told. But good. Trusted each other for the most part. Maybe he owed them just a bit more than he gave. Maybe he owed them a bit of his own self, so they knew who and what it was they were dealing with. Maybe. Maybe it’d be good for ‘em.

Opening a drawer, he pulled out a bottle of the best whiskey in the ‘verse. Well, the best in a reasonable price range. Not bad. Tasted authentic enough, and had a good kick. Triggering the door, he climbed back up the ladder and walked down into the dining room.

The scanty conversation chopped into dead silence as he settled back down in his place at the big table. Opening the bottle he poured a good dollop into his coffee cup.

“I figure if we’re gonna have a night of truthsomeness, I need something stronger than this coffee.” He shoved the bottle toward the Shepherd.

“I didn’t think there was anything stronger than this coffee,” Book quipped, pouring a solid dose before handing the bottle on. The quiet laughter filled the room with a warm camaraderie, and eased the uncomfortables away.

There was silence as the whiskey made the rounds. Wash took a bit. Zoe a good bit more. Inara a splash, while Jayne filled his cup to the brim. Just splashes for Simon and Kaylee. When the bottle reached River, she didn’t pour any but immediately began scraping off a portion of the label with her thumbnail. Mal noticed it was the Blue Sun logo she was removing. He stared at it, then at her, then at the logo again. Huh. That was a curiosity, that was.

“Sooooo….” Simon said cautiously. Mal stared into his cup, downed a good gulp, and refilled it. “You were talking about the end of the war, and about going home.”

Mal took another drink. And a deep breath. He could feel Zoe’s presence like she was standing right next to him. Another drink. Took too much to really numb him anymore.

Evenly, steadily, unemotionally. “Weren’t no home to go to. Shadow was gone.”

Part IV: Darkness


Saturday, March 27, 2004 8:48 AM


Awesome! Wow. I love the second part so much because it strikes to the core of Mal and Zoe - can't wait for the next part to find out more. As for Simon blundering where angels fear to tread, I could *so* see that happening. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, March 27, 2004 7:58 PM


Wonderful story, you write such a great Mal, do them all well, but your Mal is especially good. Love the part about Kaylee chirping in with the tie-breaker. :-)
Eagerly awaiting the next chapter!

Thursday, November 25, 2004 3:01 AM


just settling in with these - you ever thought about getting work from the big JW?

Monday, January 30, 2006 12:36 PM


Ah, those geese. . . .

Really intense and readable stuff here--makes me want to keep going.

You could use a good proofreader, though, and not just spellcheck, which won't pick up a lot of things.

Monday, February 6, 2006 3:30 AM


Whoa...that hurt to read, in a good way, of course. Truly horrible to think of my beloved Mal going through that.

Love the little bits of humor to lighten the tension - Wash shook his head. “Always a treat to hear my wife compare prison terms with you, Jayne.”

Thursday, September 29, 2011 8:15 AM


Mal opened his mouth. Closed it. Reconsidered. Then said, “Being as I appear to be the only one hereabouts without a gun in hand, I'm have a hard time seeing your logic.”
I could so see this as one of Nathans lines in an episode!

“And captain…” the sheriff said. Mal paused. “Tell that lil gal geese juggling is a felony here.”

Wash and Kaylee were bantering about those stupid geese again. Zoe just rolled her eyes and tuned them out.
Gotta Love the geese!!!XD

Wash shook his head. “Always a treat to hear my wife compare prison terms with you, Jayne.”
I LOVE Wash<3

Coughing, Mal said, “They don’t like it when you hit ‘em.”

Zoe relaxed a touch. If he could make jokes… “Worked that out your own self, didja?” She helped ease him over on his side, his head resting on her leg.
Very good! Just like the rest of the story;)

Evenly, steadily, unemotionally. “Weren’t no home to go to. Shadow was gone.”
Totally heartbreaking!!! Very good!!! Off to read the next chapter!


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Blue Sun Job--A Sequel: It Means a Thing
Post-Serenity, Mal & Zoe share a moment, or two. And then some. Story takes place in the context of the "Blue Sun Job" scenario. COMPLETE One-er.

Blue Sun Job, Chapter 39: Into the Black
The conclusion of the Blue Sun Job.

Blue Sun Job, Chapter 38: Shadow
Mal & Zoe's past smashes into the present. Everyone on the crew gets an earful, especially Wash.

Blue Sun Job, Chapter 37: Plan B
There's a dead Shepherd on the floor, a bunch of angry live ones, and Mal, Zoe, and Simon in their midst.

Blue Sun Job, Chapter 36: One Down
Return of the "Blue Sun Job"! First of the last four chapters of this story.

Blue Sun Job, Part 35: The Worthier Part
Book's more nefarious, Mal's less crazy, and Zoe is dangerously pissed.

Blue Sun Job, Part 34: Of Many Books...
Book's nefarious. Mal's crazy. And Simon is bewildered.

Blue Sun Job, Part 33: Light and Shadow
Mal has just had his big tell-all session with Book concerning his and Zoe's history. Now landed at the Shepherd's Sanctuary, they have to deal with the fallout and with Book's mysterious past and plans.

Blue Sun Job, Part 32: Revelations
Mal and Book talk about some Big Damned Things.

Blue Sun Job, Part 31: The Heart of the Matter
Tales & stories come out into the open--more than a little dark. But not to worry, Jayne, the philosopher, also explains women.