Live by the sword, Die by the Sword
Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Operative learns the full extent of the Alliance's forgiveness, and the torch is past to another hunter with secrets of his own.


Live by the sword, Die by the sword.

Just a little bit of something I wrote when I was wondering what happens to the Operative post-BDM, what with the Alliance not being too big on forgiveness and all that. Please don’t be mad if I get things really wrong, this is my first piece of fanfic. Obviously I don’t own Firefly or the BDM and only Joss Whedon knows what really happened, this is just a bit of fun. Hope that you like it. All comments welcomed,including criticism if its constructive. Enjoy! :)

The bar was crowded, full of the seedy, unkempt individuals that only the border planets seem to attract. The Operative sat nursing a drink at a table in one of the bar’s shadier corners, chosen mostly because it was obscured from view by the thick clouds of somewhat dubious smoke rising from the table next to it. His hair had grown longer in the months following the events on Miranda and the beginnings of a beard covered his lower face. He was dressed in clothes that were little better than rags and covered in filth. In fact he looked more like a down-and-out farmer than a former Operative of the Alliance Parliament. It is doubtful that his superiors or former comrades would be able to recognise him, which was of course the whole idea. But he knew it wouldn’t be enough, and how right he was. A shadow that had been hovering behind the Operative’s table for the last ten minutes finally resolved itself into the form of a man, who presently took the seat opposite the Operative and sat with his hands steepled in front of him, silently. To see the two of them together was to see two polar opposites, both in form and ideal. Whilst the Operative was dark haired and dark skinned dressed in unkempt clothing, this newcomer had hair and skin so pale it was almost white. His hair was cut a little bit sort and was cut close into the nape of his neck. He wore a long ash grey tunic over a gray shirt and trousers, his feet were clad in gray riding boots, and in his head a pair of emerald eyes burned. The Operative look up from his drink, his senses clearly not as sharp as usual after three moonshine whiskies (but still sharper than most peoples are sober). “You took your time”, he said, taking a swig of his drink The newcomer smiled, an icy polite smile. “Well you were one the best, old friend. I would have been here sooner but all those false trails that you laid on Boros gave me quite the run around,” he said, his tone clipped and business like. “And I must confess myself curious as to where you picked up that little trick with the pulse beacon.” “Just something I learned from an old hunter.” “Indeed, now shall we go outside and do this like gentlemen or shall I just kill you right now.” “Do I really have a choice?” The newcomer smiled sardonically. “Oh there is always a choice, old friend. The only two constant factors in a life such as ours; choice and consequence. You chose to ruin a lifetime of good work in a single moment of faithlessness, in favour of a squalid life on the run, and now it is time for the consequence.” “And you chose to accept this mission” The newcomer smiled once more, a genuine smile this time. “It just didn’t seem right, the thought of another giving you an honourable death and not me, and besides I have a feeling that my consequence will be rather more enjoyable than yours.” The Operative reached slowly down into the bag beside his chair and grasped the hilt of his sword that rested there. “There is no honour in death. I realise that now.” The newcomer’s visage slipped for as he noticed this, but after a second it was back again calm and cheerful and cold. “Come now old friend, be sensible. You are half drunk, half starved and smell like you spent the night in a midden heap, whereas I am well rested, well fed, sober and, *ahem*, clean. Why can’t we do this like gentlemen?” “Because when it comes to people like you and me there is nothing ‘gentle’ about it” The Operative whipped his sword out of the bag and brought it around in an overhead arc. There was the sharp screech of steel sliding on steel as the Operative’s sword was deflected by a pair of daggers produced form the newcomer’s sleeves. At that moment the bars other patrons all reached the simultaneous and unanimous decision that this was not something that they wanted to be involved in. During the ensuing mad rush for the door the Operative and his assailant were pushed aside and knocked to the ground. The Operative was the first to struggle to his feet and joined the mass of people surging out the door. He managed to force his way through the clamouring crowd and made it as far as the doorway before a dagger scythed past his face, cutting his cheek wide open and sticking in the doorframe. The Operative glanced backwards over his shoulder and saw his assailant struggling desperately through the crowd, his right hand clenched around his second dagger with arm drawing back to throw, and his left hand groping desperately within his coat for a third. Smiling grimly the Operative turned and slipped back into the press of people and through the door.

* * * * * He stuck with the crowd until they came to a side street, which he slinked down and picked up the pace a bit. He followed the alley to its end and then ran down the next one that he came across, all the while angling north the direction of the docks. If he could just make it to the docks, fighting was out of the question in his current inebriated state, then he could stow away on some ship (the crew shouldn’t prove to be too problematic) and be off this godforsaken rock by morning, and with any luck his assailant wouldn’t find out where he was headed until he’d already left there too. Sadly fighting really was out of the question. If he was fed and rested he could probably take his attacker even with his shattered faith, but as things stood… retreat really was the only option. The Operative heard it before he felt it. A soft, hushed whistling before the blazing pain as the dagger struck home, punching through his knee and jamming there. The Operative collapsed against a wall as his leg gave out. ‘Looks like running is out of the question as well now’, he thought grimly. Grinding his teeth against the pain he rose to his feet, putting all of his weight on his good leg and half staggered around, raising his sword into a semblance of the beginning stance he had be taught so long ago when he began his training, just in time to block a second dagger intended for his throat. His opponent was approaching at a run a dagger in each hand, ready for combat. The two met with a clash of steel and fell to the ground all weapons forgotten as the degenerated into a very skilled, almost ballistic, bar room brawl. The assailant gained an early advantage applying all of his body weight onto the Operatives injured knee, but he didn’t follow it through fast enough and the Operative was able to kick him in the back of head with his one good leg and roll up into a crouch and then use his sword to push himself up into the standing position, and turned to face his attacker just in time to see him barrel into his torso, forcing all of the air out of his chest. The assailant fought like an animal, punching, clawing, kicking at anything within reach. He grabbed the Operative’s arms and gave them a sharp twist snapping each of them neatly just below the elbow, a swift kick disabled the Operative’s remaining knee as well. When he stepped away the Operative fell to his knees, broken, battered and defeated. His attacker was scarce better off, he was bleeding from innumerable small cuts dealt to him during the course of the mad and burly brawl. His shirt was bloody and there was a nasty gash running right across his chest. He wiped a thin line of blood from the corner of his mouth and set about gathering up his discarded daggers, and when that was done and they were safely stowed away in various hidden pockets, he reached deeper into his coat and slowly and with great reverence he drew out a katana, the exact twin of the Operative’s own sword, its slightly curved blade catching the moonlight. “You should have let me end it like a gentleman, brother”, he said, his voice filled with regret. “You must really hate me”, said the Operative genuinely surprised, “You fought with such savagery”. The newcomer grimaced. “Yes I have you to thank for that, brother” “Oh, How?”. “You showed us the truth. About the Reavers I mean. They are a mad, rabid wolf, old friend. Yet in the mind of my superiors even a rabid wolf can be collared and put to use.” Horrified understanding dawned on the Operative’s bleeding and bloodied face. “What on earth did they do to you” The newcomer laughed, once, grimly and without humour. “Does it really matter? We live to serve old friend. Or at least I live to serve, whereas you won’t be living for anything shortly” The newcomer laid his hand comfortingly on the Operative’s shoulder. “I will find the man who broke you my brother and I will make him suffer, him and that retched little girl. There is no shame in this death, the death of a man who has done great works--” Using the last of his strength the Operative shrugged off hi former comrades comforting hand. “Save it.”, he muttered grimly. The newcomer grimaced and gave a slight nod, before sliding his blade between the Operative’s ribs and through his heart in one sharp movement. The Operative didn’t struggle, he didn’t even make a sound, he just sagged against the blade, ready for death.

* * * * * The newcomer withdrew his blade and began to calmly clean it on a handkerchief produced from one of his many pockets. His blood still fizzled from the rush of adrenalin and the thrill brought on by pain and the kill. These days he had to work twice as hard to suppress this new part of himself as he did to deal with the standard feelings of guilt and regret. Once the blade was clean he stowed it once more in its hidden sheath, sowed cunningly into the lining of his coat, and then activated his micro-communications unit, summoning the cruiser waiting in orbit above him. “Commander Harken, ready my ship. I think I may have a long way o travel.” He glanced down almost mournfully at the corpse of his former comrade. “I will make them suffer for this old friend, I promise you”.


Sunday, November 12, 2006 7:41 AM


Oh no, this is ominous. No sooner do Serenity and her crew rid themselves of the Operative than another rises to take his place. Seems he learned nothing from watching the Miranda tape. Ali D
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, November 12, 2006 8:21 AM


Excellent! Very well paced and the fighting sequences were well written.

A few minor mispellings and grammar miscues...nothing that is not easily edited.

One pick: the operative's sword was a straight blade, not a curved 'katana' blade; makes more sense also if you are hiding in on your person like you did here (which I liked!).

Sunday, November 12, 2006 10:49 AM


Reaver operatives! That's enough to give anyone nightmares.
Government Scientist: "OK, which one of you's been playing with the Pax? Aaughgrflm (thud)!"

Sunday, November 12, 2006 12:23 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER that was gooood! Definitely some grade A dialogue and action, MrBlueSun...though like Arasta said, some small typographical errors;)

Definitely gotta wonder how the BDHs will deal with being hunted by an Operative with newly awakened Reaver behaviour though...


Sunday, November 12, 2006 12:30 PM


"There is no shame in this death, the death of a man who has done great works--”

Very nice.

Sunday, November 12, 2006 12:49 PM


My thanks to eveyone who has commented so far. Please keep it coming. All comments welcome and i'm truly grateful for the support. The more the merrier!

Sunday, November 12, 2006 1:58 PM


I liked that, and the thought of a government using Reaver tactics is entirely plausible. Editing needs a bit of work, but overall a great first effort.

Monday, November 13, 2006 4:12 AM


Agree with others on the editing, maybe get yourself a nice, friendly beta? There's a thread around the site here somewhere.

But I'm really not one to let grammar get in the way of a good story, and this was amazingly good for a first fic!

I like the idea of the Operative being done in by a former comrade, and BEB us right, the action is very well done.

In my humble opinion, it takes a lot of guts to put your work out there (Case in point: Me. I've posted one), and this is great!

Look forward to more.

Friday, December 22, 2006 8:07 PM


Very well written and a very interesting start. But on a down note, lots of type o's. You might want to consider a beta.


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Old wounds don't heal: Teaser.
Gabriel Tam receives a visit from a pair of Blue Sun's finest, whose presence may prove ominous for Serenity's crew.Post BDM.

The Hunter & The Hunted: Chapter Two, Dreams & Nightmares.
The Hunter stalks Serenity's halls and the fate of two of her crew hang by an uncertain thread.

The Hunter & The Hunted: Chapter One, The Hunt Begins
The story continues as the crew of Serenity head for cover and the Hunter gives chase.

The Hunter & The Hunted: Prologue
This is the sequel to my previous fanfic 'Live by the sword, Die by the sword'. The Hunter wrests with the beast within and Mal receaves devestating news.

Live by the sword, Die by the Sword
The Operative learns the full extent of the Alliance's forgiveness, and the torch is past to another hunter with secrets of his own.