Shadow War - Chapter Eight
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

A few rearrangements


Commander Remo had had better days. The Durmstrang was lazily revolving above Pegasus. Well, as lazily as something as large as an Alliance cruiser can. Commander Remo had already sent two ensigns to the brig for summary punishment, 3 lashes each. Both were late for their shifts. Actually, one wasn't late at all, but the appearance of impropriety had no place aboard his ship. And now this. What looked like a small fleet of rag tag vessels were heading straight for Pegasus. Remo called both Chief Dobson and Lt. Kelly to him. "Report!" "Well, sir" Chief began "it's my conclusion that all of those ships are smugglers. There are at least eight Bronson's and five Fireflys. All are common smuggler's ships because of their nooks and crannies. There's even a Death's Head out there, and that's sure to be a bounty hunter. A pretty well funded one, too, by the look of his armaments." Chief Dobson was boiling inside. He was so close to taking Remo out, and now, there was the appearance of these Fireflys. Probably wasn't the one he was looking for, but he had to take his chances what with 40,000 Fireflys still roaming about. Most were decrepit tour busses and stock transfer vessels. But, smugglers loved them because you could hide anything aboard one. Dobson was pretty sure he knew a few places to hide things aboard one that most of the owners of these five did not. He had raided enough of them over the years. "Sir, shall we scramble to intercept. I know that we need to keep reconaissace on Red Veil, but this could prove problematic." "Is that what you know, Lieutenant?" Remo said, cooly. Lt. Kelly bowed her head and backed away a step. Remo both approved and disapproved of this. When she was him frown slightly, she took the step she had given back. "No, don't send anyone after them. In fact, we may need to back off for a little while and regroup. I think we may even need to get some assistance. We are, for lack of a better term, near the very armpit of space itself. This assignment may call for some ground work, and we need reinforcements. Give the order to pull out of orbit and head towards the nearest outpost." The Chief thought his head would explode. But, he realized that this was not the end of his plan for revenge. Just a postponement. * * *

Red Veil had called Shang Yu to meet him this morning. Shang was not happy at being called by Red Veil, as he saw the two as equals. While Shang had his own contingement of armed men around, Red Veil had brought a small army with him, and they were better armed. Plus, any opportunity to meet with Red Veil meant that Shang might get the chance to see his real face, and curiosity was always a weakness of his. Upon reaching the antechamber of Red Veil's dwellings (a small, yet tasteful abode with red silk everywhere!) Shang was surprised to see Red Veil himself standing at the door to meet him. He was wearing the wooden box that usually covered his head when he went without his corvette. A perfect cube with mohogany borders and red silk that was maddeningly opaque on Shang's side of things. "Shang Yu! As always, I am happy to be seeing you. Come in, won't you!" Shang came in, but remained wary. Red Veil was a merciless man, and Shang had seen some horrible things in this house. It seemed, at the time, that Red Veil was trying to make sure that Shang viewed this things when they had occurred. The house was equipped with a torture chamber, or at least, only the one that Shang had been invited into before. "We have gotten wave on wave from our visitors. They are arriving shortly. Malcolm Reynolds is amongst them as we have planned. When they arrive, I am knowing you are angry, but we must do all that we can to put them at ease. Can you do this?" Shang nodded. He found that speaking around Red Veil bothered him for reasons that he couldn't quite understand. He thought the answer might lie in letting Red Veil know too much about him. Red Veil already knew his ancestory, and that was enough for Shang. No need to let the man know everything. Plus, Red Veil struck Shang as the kind of person who had done so many bad things to so many other people, that he had a handle on human nature that Shang's long dead ancestor Shan Yu would appreciate in the full. Which was not to say that Shang hadn't accomplished his fair share of evil deeds. "Excellent. So, I am trusting that there will be no mistakes when the Firefly gets here? And remember that there will be more than one Firefly landing. Do not make the mistake of forgetting who Malcolm Reynolds is, and what he has done." Shang nodded again and turned to leave. Behind his silken mask, Red Veil watched him go with a kind of adoration he normally reserved for his own children, whom he had not seen in a very long time. That, too, was something else Malcolm Reynolds was going to pay for. * * * Sitting down to dinner aboard Serenity, the crew was having a small laugh over the loss of gravity earlier in the day. When Mal looked up from his place at the head of the table, he could see another Firefly, this one colored green, flying alongside them. Mal knew the captain. A man named Raydor. Mal didn't like him much, but it wasn't often that Mal got to see a Firefly in deep space, and he had forgotten just how beautiful they could be. Its presence here, however, alerted him to the fact that this Red Veil character (What kind of name was that, anyways) was not giving him, or anyone else, for that matter, the whole truth. And, being aruond this many people in the same line of work as he was made him very nervous. He wasn't the only one, either. Zoe had barely looked at her dinner, and it wasn't her habit to come to the table armed. But, she was packing tonight, and probably would until his caper had met whatever end was coming. Wash had already argued with at least ten other pilots this evening, out of sheer nerves. He didn't like that they were flying so close to him, and he took up a don't bump into me, and I won't bump into you stance on the whole subject. Mal had never known pilots to get along with each other that well. Their jobs were just too competitive. Mal would put his pilot up against any of the others out there anyday. Kaylee, having gotten over her out of character failure in the face of mechanical trouble earlier, was fascinated looking at the other Fireflys and the mods that had been made to them. One of them had huge guns mounted on under the cockpit. Seeing this made her glad that Serenity wasn't armed. They might be the only Firefly transport among this group that actually held passengers, and therefore had no need of armaments. Made them a unnecessary target. River was transfixed by the large group of spacecraft, but she was obviously troubled by what she was either seeing or feeling. She apparently sensed a lot of bad in the group. Jayne, his head wrapped in a small bandage, just ate. He didn't bother looking at the other spacecraft. There was no money in it. "Well now, I was going to say during dinner that I didn't like going anywhere near a unknown planet to take an unknown job from an unknown person. As you all know, though, we need the cash. There have been far too few jobs on the border planets, and none in the core, with the exception of Inara's." Warning looks from Kaylee and Book sped Mal along through the rest of his tirade. "There is no Alliance presence this far out, to speak of, so River and Dr. Tam should be fine getting off the ship for once. Don't wander too far though. And, don't interact with any of the brigands in these other ships. If they knew who you were, or recognized you, you'd be gone before we could say 'bushwhacked'. Dong ma?" River and Simon knodded together, and not for the first time, Mal was struck by how similiar they looked. "There are a few of those people out there that we might be able to trust, sir. Monty seems to have gotten over you being married to his wife." Zoe chimed in. Mal rolled his eyes. Zoe briefly smiled and returned to looking out the observation porthole. "Yes, Monty is out there, but I don't trust him no farther than I could...lift him." He had been about to say throw him, but Monty was...well, huge. "There's a lot of bad out there, and if your first instincts are to drop and run, or to fight, then you do what you have to do. But, things look like they could get real ugly, real quick. Everyone needs to be on their toes. I have a bad feeling about this job to start with, and things ain't like to get any better." The collected crew of Serenity nodded. Except Inara, who, oddly enough, had recieved a few waves off the Cortex. Prospective clients. She would probably turn them all down, but she needed to look. She had gotten five, and of these, only one looked promising. An asian gentleman, whose name Inara had never seen before. He knew Inara was coming, and so must have known that Serenity was on its way, so he must be informed of the job that Mal was looking to take. That could be helpful later on, but not with her job. The man looked, well, very handsome. He was well spoken. He looked a little cruel around the eyes, but that didn't mean much. People who had eyes that looked the jovialest often turned out to be wantonly mean. He was well dressed, and obviously had money, if he could afford a trained, Guild Companion. After a little further thought, Inara accepted Shang Yu's offer.


Wednesday, July 21, 2004 1:18 PM


No, Inara NO! What are you doing, thinking with your purse? Gorrammit, this a shiny fic but oh my, I just know it's gonna get all regretful. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me


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Somnambulism - Chapter Fourteen
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Somnambulism - Chapter Eleven
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Somnambulism - Chapter Ten
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Somnambulism - Chapter Nine
Safety. Recollection. Explanation.

Somnambulism - Chapter Eight
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Somnambulism - Chapter Six
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Somnambulism - Chapter Five
Malice, Theory, Opportunity