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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
"General Brak comes face to face with Malcolm Reynolds. While Casey awaits her fate Shepherd Book embraces his."
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1977 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
TITLE: "MORE THINGS IN HEAVEN AND EARTH"
AUTHOR: Alison M. DOBELL
STATUS: SEQUEL to "ARGENT"
ARCHIVE: Yes. Just let me know where.
SUMMARY: "General Brak comes face to face with Malcolm
Reynolds. While Casey awaits her fate Shepherd Book embraces
The usual disclaimers apply. The characters and 'Firefly'
are the property and gift of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.
No infringement of copyright is intended.
"MORE THINGS IN HEAVEN AND EARTH"
Written by Alison M. DOBELL
* * * * *
The first thing that caught his attention was the noise. Having got used to the dim lighting and the silence, it felt eerie the way those heavy footsteps echoed. Malcolm Reynolds tried to get to his feet, hampered by Casey wanting him to stay seated. The steps were getting closer, more than one person by the sounds of it. "Wanna stand up."
Casey shook her head. "Not a good idea."
She blinked at him, the dim lighting softening the hard planes of her face. She was beautiful but there was something tenacious about it that made him think that beauty more a curse than a blessing. Casey tilted her head to one side. "Best not to look better than you are, Mal. Let them underestimate you not the other way around."
"That the way it works for you?"
Before she could answer they heard the heavy lock being turned, the door opened and flung wide, light pouring in startling them both even as it blinded them.
"What about the woman, *shifu*?"
"She can stay until she rots."
But Casey wasn't about to let them take the Captain, reacting almost instinctively to the small signs of his distress as they dragged Mal to his feet. Casey managed to get between the two guards and the injured Captain. "Leave him a-gorram-lone!"
"Well, well." The *laoban* said as he waved his guards to one side.
Her mouth dropped open in surprise then turned to anger. "I might have known it was you!"
General Brak smirked then ignored her, his attention on the Firefly Captain squinting at him. Brak sported evidence of the surgery on his nose, his eyes watering. A smile quirked up the corners of Mal's mouth. "*Wode ma*, recognise you now."
"You boke my dose!" Exclaimed the General who then huffed in fury at the laughter in his captive's eyes as the words came out all wrong. He tried harder next time, careful to enunciate each word separately. "You. Broke. My. Nose."
"*Fang xin*, it don't spoil your looks none. Face that ugly can on'y be improved on."
The flurry of blows that followed were too quick and too many to count. As he dropped to the cell floor unconscious, General Brak gave Casey a long hard look. "You can't even accomplish the one job you were given to do. The price of failure is death."
Instead of being cowed Casey looked as if she had been given something precious for her pains. "Anythin' that means I don't have to look at you or inhale your stench..."
"*Bizui*! If you care anythin' for this *hundan* of a Captain you'll be silent or for every foul word leaving your filthy mouth we will beat him senseless, *dong ma*?"
Glaring at him Casey could only nod reluctantly then look on helplessly as Malcolm Reynolds was half carried and half dragged out of the cell. As the heavy door was slammed shut and locked, Casey knew she was only being kept alive long enough to carry the baby to full term. Once the child was born a wet nurse would be found and every detail of her life would be air brushed out of existence. She knew how it would go. Every remaining family member, friend or contact would mysteriously disappear until no one was left to remember her name let alone recognise her face. How neat and tidy little things like murder were when you controlled everything.
"Shepherd Derrial Book."
"Where did you come from and why was no appointment made for your visit to this facility?"
Book did not get impatient. His stock in trade was patience and by its' abundance would he be judged. "I'm from Southdown Abbey. We're a closed order but I felt the need to walk in the world and minister to those who could not come to our ministry."
"Who is with you, father?"
"I am alone except in the spiritual sense."
The little humorous aside provoked no answering smile. "How did you get here?"
"I purchased passage on a transport vessel which remains in orbit. The shuttle loaned to me I will use to return after my visit."
The admissions guard stared at Book for a long moment then shook his head with something approaching real regret. "I'm sorry father..."
"*Duibuqi*, you need to see my ident card."
Before the guard, Emmett Samuels, could tell him it would make no difference without an appointment the Shepherd produced his card. His expression calm and confident. Not wanting to show disrespect to a Shepherd, Samuels went through the motions of putting the card in his reader. His eyes widened as he scrolled through the information revealed, snapping to attention as he looked in shock at the mild mannered man standing expectantly before him. "Your pardon, *shifu*. Come in."
Ignoring the bow - half apology and half terrified respect - Book swept passed the lieutenant. The ghost of a smile hovered on his lips before his features schooled into a mask the envy of any Companion.
The room was brightly lit but featureless apart from the table fixed to the floor and the matching chair next to it. No other furniture or furnishings were in the room. Light reflected off the shiny chrome walls and floor. Mal tried not to let his eye get drawn to the small sinkhole in the middle of the room, the floor gently sloping in towards it for troublesome liquids like bodily fluids to be drained away. He was surprised to find no shackles and whips or other torture device but then the main agony of this penal colony was being incarcerated in it in the first place. General Brak nodded and the Captain was roughly shoved down into the chair. Brak leaned in towards him, his beady black eyes staring hard at Mal with all manner of malice.
"You will pay for what you did, Captain Reynolds!"
"Huh? What I do? It was a fight. You've seen bar room fights, *dui*? They get outta hand."
"A fight *you* started."
The Captain wanted to shake his head in denial but was afraid if he did he would be sick, not that throwing up over the General wouldn't be hi-larious but the mood the man was in he didn't think he would survive the experience. "Look, maybe I should'a found another bar. In fact, in hindsight, perhaps I should'a found another planet."
Brak smiled. It was not a pretty sight. "Soon you will wish you'd found another life."
The blow came out of nowhere. The shock stick hitting the back of his neck and sending the voltage right through him, pain errupting in every nerve in his body. Mal cried out briefly as his body jerked over and over again. Not noticing when he was falling, no one reaching out to break his fall. It should have hurt but he was on pain overload which was only shattered when darkness found him. General Brak sneered down at the twitching figure. He wasn't going to kill him yet.
Shepherd Book immediately knew he was being led to a waiting room and stopped in his tracks. The lieutenant stopped and was forced to walk back a few paces to face Book. "*Shifu*?"
"Now that we have each satisfied the conventions that bind us, lieutenant, I think we can dispense with the waiting room, *dong ma*?"
Lt Sammuels eyebrows rose. Realising that Book knew his way around the facility just added to the desire to do nothing to upset this man. And yet the Govenor was a fiercesome man in his own right. There was not a man on the Argent Penal Colony who had not learnt to fear him.
"I wish to speak with your prison Governor, *mashang*."
The man paled slightly now, unable to completely hide his nerves. "General Brak is currently attendin' to urgent business. If you would allow me to take you to the waitin' room..."
Something in Book's expression hardened. "Do not mistake that for a suggestion, lieutenant. You do not want to invoke my *extreme* displeasure."
Mumbling something barely coherent Sammuels nodded and changed direction.
On Serenity Kaylee was twisting her hands together, worry knitting her brows. Simon had tried to reassure her but it didn't help, what with his sister interjecting comments that put the whole crew on edge. "*Bao bei*, I'm sure Book knows what he's doing."
"Yeah, but what if he can't get the Cap'n out? What if they don't let the Shepherd out neither?"
"Then we get the *diyu* outta here!" Growled Jayne.
"Jayne, you're not helpin'." It was all Zoe needed to say. With a grumble the big man left the commons room mumbling about being in his bunk. Wash couldn't help but worry himself.
River gave a little gasp catching their attention and drawing every eye to the pale faced girl sitting in the corner of the commons room. Simon took a step towards her, "River?"
Her eyes snapped back into focus, a look of anguish on her face. "They're hurting him."
Zoe's lips flattened into a hard unforgiving line. "Maybe Jayne was right."
The girl shook her head. "No!" There were tears in River's eyes but her look slowly brightened. "Have to have showers before the sun peeps through." She paused to judge their reactions then nodded. "Alright now." She smiled. "No more umbrellas."
The General was furious. Spinning around he opened his mouth to launch into a vehement diatribe about staff who couldn't obey the simplist instructions when Lt Sammuels stepped aside to reveal the Shepherd. For a moment it was comical. Brak's mouth opened and closed but no sound came out.
"Sir, this is Shepherd Book. He is from Southdown Abbey."
"I don't care if he stepped off a gorram chariot, what is he doin' here? Do you not understand the concept of *busy*?"
"Your pardon, Governor, that was my fault. Perhaps there is somewhere more 'private' where we can talk?"
Brak was about to refuse, Book could see that, when Lt Sammuels stepped forward and silently handed his Governor the reader with Book's ident result displayed. The man's eyes widened slightly then his demeanour changed. Respectful but surly. General Brak nodded and indicated for the two guards to remain in the interrogation room with the Captain. "This won't take long."
Shepherd Book tried to hide his concern for the Captain, glad that he had decided to take the initiative. From the looks of it he had come not a moment too soon. Brak led the way in silence to his office, waving Lt Sammuels back to his post. Once the door was shut the General glared openly at Book, his broken nose spoiling the effect he was going for. "What brings a man of your particular talents and interests to my facility?"
With a mild look on his face, the Shepherd opened his bible. "Oh, I think you'll be interested in this."
General Brak stared at the vial. "What is it?"
"This," said Book as he gently lifted the vial from its' hiding place, his voice carefully neutral "will make all your troubles go away."
The Governor's expression was no longer hostile but neither was he prepared to welcome Book with open arms. "How?"
Book did not reply in words, he simply opened his hand. The Governor watched the vial drop to the floor as if everything was happening in slow motion. The vial broke, the golden liquid not spilling out as he expected but turning powdery a fraction of a second before it became a mist. An all invading and expanding mist the tendrils of which were vanishing even as its' effects began to pay havoc with his brain. What was this? Had that lie of a Preacher poisoned him? His last thought before all sense left him was to wonder where in the nine hells the author of his doom had gone.
The moment Book stepped out of the Governor's office he went up to the nearest guard. The guard snapped to attention as Book adopted the attitude his rank entitled him to. "General Brak was complaining about the staleness of the air, have the air conditioning put on high and clear the smell of death from this place!"
"I will return shortly."
Within minutes Book had vacated the facility and powered up the shuttle. Only when he was lifting off did he send a wave to let the others know that stage one of the plan had been successful. In a few short hours they would be going in to retrieve the Captain. Book tried not to shudder, his memories of this place too poignant and powerful for his liking.
CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)
*shifu* = sir *wode ma* = mother of God *fang xin* = don't worry (lit. ease your heart)
*hundan* = bastard *bizui* = be quiet/shut up *dong ma* = understand?
*mashang* = on the double/quickly/immediately/at once *duibuqi* = sorry
*dui* = correct *bao bei* = precious/treasure *diyu* = hell
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