Deus Ex Machina - Flipside
Monday, July 24, 2006

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.


A/N: Here it is! The next chapter in my thrilling saga! Enjoy, kiddies, and leave me a review!

Start from the beginning! Read the prologue!

Don't forget Beginnings, part one and part two!


‘D’de?’ Simon blinked. Then he blinked again.

If this is the afterlife, he thought, no wonder the undead are angry.

‘H’y, d’de! W’s y’r n’me?’ Simon couldn’t really hear the talker too well. The cause might have been the warm liquid pooling in his ears.

‘Am I…Am I dead?’ He managed to croak out, with enormous effort. The figure appeared to laugh and shook its head, a stream of incomprehensible language streaming from it. A second figure stormed over, took one look at Simon, and started shouting at the first figure. The two seemed to be engaged in a raging debate, while from Simon’s point of view, the figures continuously got fuzzier and less audible. The second figure seemed to notice, as he shouted for a third figure who ran over. After a couple more seconds of discussion between the three figures, the third one produced a hypodermic syringe from a bag and stuck it in Simon’s arm. There was a tingling sensation, then a feeling as if someone was pouring molten lava into Simon’s veins spread up his body. He let out a loud scream, and then-

- and then suddenly realised that he didn’t hurt so much. He could no longer feel blood in his mouth, for a start.

‘You okay, mate?’ The third figure was now kneeling beside Simon, dressed in some sort of military uniform. He had short, cropped blond hair and a fair amount of uneven stubble.

‘Yes, thank you.’ Simon said. His voice was still hoarse, so the words came out via a coughing fit. When he’d finished, he looked back up at the strange man who’d helped him. ‘What did you do to my arm?’ The man grinned, producing the empty hypodermic.

‘Nanobotic fluid. Kick-starts your white blood cells and cell generation process. Hurts like crap, but keeps ya alive.’ Simon attempted to move his arm and gave a cry of pain. ‘Ah. Y’see, it doesn’t heal broken bones. Need more stuff than I have on me to do that.’ The guy who, by Simon’s recollection, had been the second figure, marched over. He looked like a young man who’d had to grow up extremely fast, with a receding hairline and plenty of grey hair, and tired, worn out look in his eye. What would have probably put most people off commenting, however, was the rather large gun the man was cradling, roughly twice the size of Vera. There was a soft hum, like that of an engine, and Simon could have sworn the gun was letting off steam.

‘Now that you’re coherent, you mind telling me who in blazes you are?’

‘Come again?’ The man gave a tired sigh.

‘Your name, son.’ Simon looked at the men (And, upon closer inspection, women) working around him. They were all wearing similar uniforms, and while the armour and weapons were considerably more high-tech than anything he’d seen on anything other than a Core planet, they bore no Alliance symbols or insignias.

‘Simon.’ No reason to reveal too much, just to be on the safe side. The man nodded, acknowledging this information.

Just then, the first figure, who turned out to have jet black hair and similarly dark eyes, ran up to the second man, shouting, ‘Lieutenant! We gotta move! Bogeys are closing in at five o’clock!’ The second figure, apparently a Lieutenant, cocked his gun, sending bright lights spinning all over it.

‘Right, people! Break’s over! Let’s move out!’ He then turned to face Simon, a frown upon his face.

‘Listen, Simon, or whatever your name is, I can’t spare a man to help you find your squad,’ My squad? ‘so you’ll have to come with us if you want your head to stay firmly on your shoulders. You can walk, right?’ Simon nodded, and the Lieutenant. drew a pistol from a holster, tossing it over to him.

‘Who are you?’ Simon asked, after the heavily armed man had helped him up.

‘Me? Name’s McKay, son. Lieutenant William McKay.’ With these choice words, Simon made his way after him, unsure of what to expect.


‘Kaylee?’ Jayne had no idea how long he’d been walking. All he knew was that he’d be damned if he was taking a damn elevator again. Endless corridors, filled with absolutely nothing, except more corridors. He’d managed to get up a couple of floors, and now Kaylee was waking up. In the middle of ruttin’ nowhere. Without Simon. For some reason, Jayne thought the last factor might have some bearing on her reaction.

‘Simon?’ She asked blearily. Jayne shook his head.

‘Just me, girl.’ He said. She blinked twice to clear her eyes, then slowly looked around.

‘Where am I?’ Frightened eyes looked back at Jayne. ‘Where’s Simon?’ Jayne was unsure of how exactly to respond.

‘Er, well, you see…’ Sad eyes now, brimming with tearful memories.

‘No.’ She said quietly, shaking her head, willing the memories not to be true.

‘Kaylee?’ He asked cautiously.

‘No, no, no, no, no!’ Kaylee drew her knees up to her chest, sobbing. ‘He can’t be gone, he can’t be!

‘Kaylee!’ Jayne shouted, grabbing her attention. She looked up at him with tearful features. It really broke his heart, but he had to get the girl moving. ‘I do not have a ruttin’ clue where we are, so I really can’t have you breakin’ down on me, y’hear?’

‘He’s gone…’ He couldn’t bare her like this, so he slowly edged towards her, intending on comforting her, when she looked up at him again.

The look froze him to the spot. It looked rather the same as the one Mal had used when he’d talked to Jayne after he’d betrayed the Tams.

‘Get away from me.’ He reached out for her, trying to get her to calm down.

‘Kaylee, girl, I know you’re-’

‘I said, get away from me!’ She shoved away his advantages. Jayne was more than a mite confused. This was a rare occasion in which he wanted to help. He attempted to reach out once more, to steady the girl, But she brushed away his hand with one arm and slugged him with the other.

Now Jayne, he’d fought many men – and, on occasion, women – so by this point in time, he’d had enough hand-to-hand experience to last a lifetime. He knew how to throw a punch that looked tough, a punch that was tough, and a punch that could floor any thug coming. As well as this, plenty of punches had been laid on him in his time. No amount of experience, however, could have prepared him for what lay at the end of Kaylee’s arm. Maybe it was because it was completely unexpected, or because he wasn’t in a fighting mood, or maybe because it was just because it was Kaylee who hit him. Whatever the reason, it felt like he had been hit by a tonne of bricks.

He fell backwards, clutching his cheek. The little woman stood there in a state of complete shock, apparently as surprised by her actions as he was. Before he could say anything, Kaylee ran off.

As soon as the feeling to his face came back, he shouted, ‘Gorramit, girl! Come back here!’ Unfortunately, Kaylee was too far away to hear.

Great, he thought, as she disappeared out of sight, more problems.


‘Put your hands where I can see them.’

Captain Malcolm Reynolds was having a bad day. His medic was dead, his mechanic had cracked and was nowhere to be found, and now someone was pointing a gun at him. This was – Mal quickly did a mental calculation – the third worst day of his life. Or fourth.

‘Drop the gun.’ Mal did so. It clattered nosily on the floor, and one of the dozen-or-so men ran over and tied his hands together. Meanwhile, the man with the big gun had it pointed firmly in his direction.

‘Who are you?’ The man asked. Another man searched through Mal’s pockets.

‘No formal identification, Sir.’ The gunman moved closer, Mal always in his sights.

‘I’ll say again, who are you?

‘Division 19, Alpha agents.’ River stepped through the door through which the other men had entered.’ Mal praised whichever God had thought it wise to poke their omniscient nose into his business. Since finding out about Simon, the girl had bolted without explanation. Wondering what on Earth-That-Was River was going on about, he attempted to send her commands.

Disarm him! Free me!

‘Project GANZFELD?’ He asked. She gave a swift nod. The man’s attitude changed almost instantly. He strode forward and shook her hand. ‘Welcome aboard the Icarus, Ma’am.’

Free me, gorramit!

River lazily eyed Mal before saying, ‘He’s with me.’ The same man who’d tied his hands untied them, leaving Mal to glare at him, rubbing his wrists.

‘I apologise, Sir. It was protocol, I do hope you understand.’

‘Yes, ah, right. Of course.’

‘Agent Reynolds? A word?’ Assuming River meant him, he obligingly walked over.

‘Ah, River?’ He whispered.

‘Agent Tam, if you please.’ She quickly replied.

‘Fine, Agent Tam, what the gorram Hell was all that about Division 18?’

‘Division 19.’


‘Say the right things, make anything happen.’


Well, that’s a dead end.

‘Just act superior. You’re good at that.’ She told him.

‘Yeah, shiny- wait, was that an insult?’ Unfortunately, River was preoccupied with her new friends. Clapping her hands together, she began to address them.

‘Good evening! I am Agent Tam, and this-’ here, she indicated Mal, who gave a lame wave, ‘-is Agent Reynolds. The wonders of project GANZFELD have bestowed upon me many marvelous abilities, as you all well know. However, neither Reynolds nor I officially exist, so any and all communiqués may not include mention of us, in order to protect the secrecy of the Division. Any objections?’ A pandemic of shaking heads quickly spread throughout the room. ‘Good. Now, Captain, ah, Gregory Jacob Rogers, is it?’ The man who’d so thoughtfully been pointing his gun at Mal earlier, gave a short nod. ‘Yes, Mr. Rogers. For the sake of my colleague, who, unfortunately, cannot pull thoughts from your head, would you mind giving us a status report?’

‘Gladly, Ma’am.’ He cleared his throat before continuing. ‘From our point of view, about five hours ago, a solar flare sent an EM spike through our shipboard systems. The AI Lotus went rampant, took control of robotics, and proceeded to slaughter us.’

‘I see. Not exactly a good day.’

‘Not exactly, Ma’am.’

‘And what of the Spectre?’

‘Excuse me?’

‘The reason you’re here in the first place, Captain. The Spectre. What is the status of the Spectre?’ The Captain gulped, and an audible hush descended upon the room as he began to speak.

‘Unknown, Ma’am. Unknown.’


Kaylee collapsed against the wall, tears now freely streaming from her eyes. She’d lost Simon, and then she’d hit Jayne, two things she’d never thought would happen.

Oh, God.

She’d lost Simon.

She buried her face in her hands, trying to hold back the sobs. She couldn’t take it any more. She’d loved Simon with all her heart. She should have told him. She’d had so much time to tell him, yet she’d never been able to pluck up the courage.

Her train of thought was interrupted when she heard a voice echoing through the corridor.

‘You know, Jiminy – I know you’re name’s not Jiminy, but do you know why I’m calling you Jiminy, Jiminy?’

Slowly, Kaylee stood up. The voice was new, unlike anyone she’d heard before. It was pronounced, no trace of any accent.

‘Back in the day – I mean my days, not yours, seeing as I’m far older than you, Hell, far older than this damn ship even.’

Trying to make as little noise as possible, Kaylee followed the voice.

‘Well, back in the day, when I was still ‘human’, I had a parrot, a parrot called Jiminy. Strangely, he never said anything. Not a word. Not a dicky-bird, if you’ll excuse the pun. Is it a pun? I don’t know.’

Kaylee rounded a corner, and saw lots of weird cables lining the walls. They were a mixture of colours, purple, yellow, green, orange, and covered with what appeared to be slime. They also gave off a slight stench, like that of BO.

They seemed strangely organic.

‘Anyway, one day, I found out it wasn’t a parrot, just a large budgie! Can you imagine that? Cheated! Of course, Mother beat me. She’d been cheated out of hundreds of dollars, after all. That, and she was an alcoholic.’

She rounded another corner, and finally saw the speaker. It was a man, roughly average height, with a bald head and odd eyes. Odd in the way that one was green, the other blue. He wore a long robe, dotted with red and yellow symbols, like another language. Kaylee looked closer, and saw that the man was talking to half a body – possibly a woman - missing its legs and one arm. Some of the strange cables were wrapped around the body, colours pulsing along them. Kaylee looked around further, and saw that several other bodies were lying around. She didn’t take too close a look at them, as the sight made her sick to her stomach. All she saw were corpses with clean cuts right through them, as if someone had just drawn a line across their bodies, and they’d split clean along it.

‘So, then the budgie died. Poor budgie. Mother shot it. Poor thing, never stood a chance. One day, big barrel, VOOM!’ He slammed his hand into his fist. ‘Gone. A pile of feathers. Never stood outside the cage.’ A smile spread across his face. ‘Speaking of cages, mine wasn’t too bad. I’ve been in worse. I think. Huh. Have I? Yes? No? Maybe? Can you speak? No? Yes?’ The body just stared in abject horror at the man who was babbling at her. ‘Ah, who cares.' He delivered a sharp kick to her head, there was a snap, and the body lay still. The cables grappled around her, and dragged her off into a dark corridor. The man sighed. ‘Another gone, another comes.’ His head snapped back, and a new voice, almost ethereal in quality, shook the room.

Hunger grows strong, so many years.

The head snapped back, and the man’s normal voice echoed around the room once more.

‘No quenching until dawn. This is not our world.’


But it shall be.


‘Point made, taken, ignored, demolished. First things first, eh? This ship, this constraint, holds the key.’


They believe it to be a ship of war, but soon, it shall be the vessel of my children.


‘Indeed. Yes, indeed. The pitter patter of new humanity.’


Humanity is broken. We are new, stronger, better. The dawn of a new era.

Kaylee stared on in with a mixture of confusion and horror. She turned to run, but over a cable, falling to the floor and letting out a loud cry.

We are not alone.


The man turned towards Kaylee, and made his way over to her. She tried to run, but a cable snaked down, wrapping itself around her like a rope, binding her to the wall. She tried to struggle free, but to no avail.

‘Now this is a first! Sending a little girl! My, my! He gripped her head with his hand and stared deep into her eyes. Kaylee suddenly began to feel dizzy, filled with nausea. The man let go after a minute, and when he spoke again, he sounded joyous.

‘Now this is most definitely a first! A new system! I can’t believe it! So many planets! So many cultures, religions, so much!’ Kaylee watched the strange man talk, and began to fear that she may end up like the other woman. Another cable wrapped itself around her head, and began to pulsate.

‘My word…Alliance? That’s the name of your government? Alliance?’ He shrugged. ‘Oh well. Better than UN. So, this is what became of the Great Exodus? My word. You have grown.’ He walked into the middle of the room, and Kaylee felt the cables follow him, as she was lifted from the wall and hung between the ceiling and the floor like a piece of abstract art.

‘So much, so many! My, a venerable feast!’


We shall feed well.

Kaylee stared into the man’s eyes, and saw that they had changed dramatically. His eyes were big, darkness filling the entire eyeball, like twin fires in the pits of the ‘verse.

The head snapped forwards once more.

‘Kay…Kaywhy…Kaywinnit, Kaywinnit Ly…Kaywinnit Lee…Kaywinnit Lee Frye! Yes! Score! Two points!’ He saw her expression and quickly added, ‘Oh, Kaylee. Right.’ Glee now. ‘Love! Yes! Love! Oh, the greatest of emotions! Apart from maybe hope. And fear. Hmm. Yes, love!’ The cable began to pulsate quicker, almost as quickly as Kaylee’s heart was beating.

‘Ah, yes. Simon, is it? Simon Tam. Nice name. Tam. Tamalamadingdong. Ha! Yes. You feel for him, yes? Is he alive? Well, is he indeed! Or is he not? Hmm. Most disconcerting. Fear. Yes, quite strong. You have a question?’ Kaylee stiffened. She did indeed have a question, although she’d been quite frightened to ask it.

‘Who are you?’ She eventually said.

‘Me?’ He asked, looking genuinely puzzled. ‘Hmm. I don’t have a name. But your species insists on classifying me as the ‘Spectre’. No idea why.’


What do you think? Tell me! I must know!


Monday, July 24, 2006 6:03 AM


Ah. Not time travel.

Sounds like River has some competition in the crazy-mind-reader arena.

Monday, July 24, 2006 6:28 AM


Hmm, very interesting. I'm glad this doesn't appear to be a time travel fic. Is it a crossover? Real confused as to who this person reading Kaylee's mind is and what kind of creature. Since there are no 'aliens' in the firefly verse and this thing does appear to be one.

Monday, July 24, 2006 12:51 PM


‘Just act superior. You’re good at that.’ She told him.
-BWAHAHAHA great River line.

Kaylee slugging Jayne was pretty intense too, as well as her thoughts that he is dead.

I am still very much curious to know what the Spectre is.

May not be an alien, but I'll also guess mutant, undead, and organic cyborg. Liked the scene with the strange man except for the blatantly silly part.

Monday, July 24, 2006 6:06 PM


This still could be a time travel fic...just for the people with the big guns and "The Spectre" ;)

And I don't think there be aliens here...just really f-ed up experiments in cybernetics and AI that went all HAL 9000 like, if ya know what I mean;)

Still...this is great! Can't wait for the next part:D



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