Shadow War - Chapter Twelve
Thursday, July 22, 2004

The heart of the matter. Or is it?


This was truly not Mal's best day ever. He stared out over the virtual sea of cons and smugglers, bounty hunters and brigands on the round. Everyone was heavily armed and mistrustful. Some of them were mistrustful of their own crews. It made for quite a colorful parade. As someone brushed up against Mal, he turned around and grabbed a young teenage girl by the collar. He held out his hand as she handed back his money purse. This had happened three times since the last time he had left the ship. Jayne had already decked someone. Mal reprimanded him quickly, because violence in the middle of this crowd was a sure way to start the biggest criminal riot this side of a penal moon. Monty sidled up to Mal and his crew to say hello. "Damn it Mal! What is this? I didn't fly all this way for a party." "Don't reckon you did, Monty. The new chin racoon looks good, by the way." "Its not growing back in right. Its so gray its almost white. Damn that devil woman!" "See ya, Monty." Not wanting to rile up the giant anymore than he already was, Mal waved and walked off with the rest of the crew. Kaylee stopped to give him a hug and a kind word. Monty almost seemed to be near tears. And that was almost the strangest thing Mal saw that day. River and Simon walked tensely in front of Jayne, who didn't seem to be paying particular attention to them. The same dirty, malnourished teenage girl walked up to Simon just as River said "Watch out." She had started to trip and bump into Simon, but Jayne reached in between them and grabbed he hand, and squeezed mercilessly. River cried out at the same time that the girl did. Simon grasped Jayne's wrist, and achieved the desired results. Jayne did not like being touched, much, so he dragged his hand away, releasing the girl. Simon reached into his pocket and drew out a few credits. He passed them to the girl and continued walking. "What in the hell did you want to do that for?" Jayne grumbled. "I had it, she needed it." "It was the right thing to do" Said River, beaming at Simon. "It was the right way to let a large group of bad people know that you got money on you. I mean besides what you're wearing. Fop." He added this last quietly. Suddenly he turned around and drew two large pistols from under his coat. Before he could draw a bead on whatever he was aiming at, a minor earthquake gave the ground a little shake. Simon whirled and could have sworn he saw a whisp of blonde hair diappear from over one of the fins of a Bronson. River was already looking in that direction. "How did you know? How did you know that someone was watching us?" "Your sister's got big pretty eyes. I saw the reflection of someone watching us. Might have been that Sepia girl ya'll was talking about earlier." "No and yes" said River. Kaylee walked up behind Simon as Jayne was putting his guns away. When she said his name, he jumped a little. He found it embarassing that he would filled with such fear in an open crowd like this. "The Cap'n wants us to follow him." She gently turned him and put her arm through his and River's to lead them on. Jayne kept looking over the wing of the Bronson. Sepia didn't show her head again. On the wing, Sepia holstered the pistol, and cursed, low in her throat, sounding as feral as she felt. Now they had a bodyguard. This was getting worse, but she had to do it. And, she had to stay alive. Sepia Dobson had been ordered by her father to survive. She was his last surviving offspring. And revenge must be taken. For Lawrence at least. She took out her handheld to follow Simon Tam's progress through the crowd. At the platform, things hadn't changed much. Instead of the red silk screen that had been there earlier, Red Veil was standing in an impeccable white suit, his head obscured by a silk covered box. His hands were also covered in red gloves. The impression should have been humorous, but instead, it was just frightening. All the assorted criminals gathered here were staring, and Red Veil wouldn't have it any other way. He had pulled off some minor crimes on his way to this planet, some drug running, and some gun running. All instances of crime that he had pulled off, or had had pulled off, had left a devastating body count in their wake. He had even killed a few Alliance officers with a hellish glee that sent ripples of rumor across the criminal community. His reputation was that of a stone cold killer, and he couldn't be happier about it. Standing next to him was Shang Yu. No one really knew what to make of him, bt his was a powerful presence indeed. Most people out in the crowd did not know who he was, but some did, and rumor and reputation were doing their respective jobs in his favor as well. Behind them was a giant video screen. The cost of such a thing was enormous, but it must serve some purpose. Everyone could see it clearly, and on it were the chinese characters for Attention. "Welcome once again, our esteemed colleagues. This is Red Veil. He will not be speaking this afternoon, but I will be able to answer all questions after we have given out presentation. My name is Yu Shen Long Shang. You may call me Shang Yu, or Shang, if you wish." With that, he drew the samurai sword he was carrying, and twirled it so fast, that it could hardly be seen. Inara, who had accompanied the crew out, was very impressed. This man, to handle a sword like that, must be as dangerous as Book, who had opted to remain with Wash to guard Serenity, had said. "This is a replica of the sword of my ancestors. I come from a warrior race that once included Shan Yu" a ripple went among the crowd, as if there fears or speculation had been answered "We of the same race that conquered the powerful nation of Japan on Earth that Was. This sword was fashioned for our clan. The reason that I do not have the original is because it was stolen." Behind him, there was a picture of the sword. Also shown was the sword floating in deep space, coated with ice crystals down the scabbard. "It was being stored on a Sky Plex that exploded. We know it was picked up by a smuggling ship that was picking the bones of this particular Sky Plex. The smugglers were shot down on this very planet, but that is all we know. The sword of Shan Yu, my birthright, is on this planet. It may not be panetside anymore, be we have no intelligence stating otherwise. Alliance terraformers left this planet not long ago, but they would not have been able to keep quiet about such a find." Behind him, on the display screen, images representing everything Shang was saying flashed up. It cut away to an image of Pegasus itself, riddled with volcanoes and faults. "The exact time and date of the shootdown is featured here. There will be 750,000 credits given to the person that puts that sword in my hand." Several of the criminals wrote down the date and time. Zoe wrote it down to. She ahd been keeping a close watch on everyone else in the crowd during the presentation. While she spotted a few Browncoats among them, she saw no friends. Most of the Browncoats she saw were part of the Bumblebee brigade. It would figure that most of them would have survived. They would run if they heard a twig break. But, 750,000! It would be a feeding frenzy, which is precisely what she though Red Veil had in mind. "Now, to the victor go the spoils, as the said on Earth that Was. Bring me my sword!" It was mass hysteria. People turned and ran for their ships. People ran over each other. It took all of Jayne's muscle to keep Simon and River from being trampled. He had gathered Kaylee up and put her on his shoulders, and was holding the siblings in a bear hug. Mal had turned and was shielding Inara from most of the rush. They made their way back to Serenity, where Mal told Wash to "Fire her up!"

* * *

Commander Remo looked out the porthole. Frist a speck in the distance, but growing in size was the Alliance cruiser I.A.V. Dortmunder. Not far behind her was the Magellan. He was hopeful that he now had enough firepower to level Pegasus if he had to. Of course, what he would have to do afterwards, to cover his tracks would take some finessing, but it was nothing new to him.

* * *

Red Veil watched the cattle storm off. They, and Shang had no idea what the real job was. First, he would capture Reynolds, and then, he could swing his plan into full motion.


Thursday, July 22, 2004 7:33 PM


Really, really enjoying your story. You seemed to have captured the true essence of what made the show so great, which is a focus on the characters and their relationships. I look forward to seeing where the plot goes, but am even more eager to see what you do with the crew.

Friday, July 23, 2004 6:22 AM


Very shiny story. Wish the posts were longer! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me


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Somnambulism - Chapter Fourteen
It's back...well, this is actually a reposting of a lost chapter. Hey! I just refound it myself!

Somnambulism - Chapter Thirteen
Trap. Hunt. Enemy. Trap

Somnambulism - Chapter Twelve
The Plan, Negotiation, Landing, Hunt

Somnambulism - Chapter Eleven
Wash's Orders, Mal's Revelation, The Other, Captiulation

Somnambulism - Chapter Ten
Mal's Dream. Walt's Problem. River's Regain.

Somnambulism - Chapter Nine
Safety. Recollection. Explanation.

Somnambulism - Chapter Eight
Simon's Dream, Mal's Choice, River's Verdict

Somnambulism - Chapter Seven
Memory, Atavism, Hera

Somnambulism - Chapter Six
History, Discovery, Purpose

Somnambulism - Chapter Five
Malice, Theory, Opportunity