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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
The Operative checks in, and Mal spends his first night in prison.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 770 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
No matter how they went over it, Zoe knew there was no way to breach security at the Fed station that wouldn’t be suicide. She, Jayne, and River were the only ones left who were any use with a gun, and Zoe was fairly certain Mal would kill her himself if she let River anywhere close to a weapon pregnant and on the verge of psychosis.
Looking around the table, she saw the same realization on every face. Knowing that everyone was waiting for her to make the decision, she took a deep breath and opened her mouth to speak, only to be interrupted by the beep of an incoming wave. Sprinting up to the bridge, she was disappointed to see the impassive face of the Operative staring back from the cortex screen. She realized that, unconsciously, she had been hoping for the miracle of Mal’s face instead. Inwardly cursing the fates, she said, “Thought we’d seen the last of you for awhile.”
The Operative said, “As did I. I need to speak immediately with Captain Reynolds.”
“He ain’t here,” Zoe answered, volunteering nothing more.
“I assure you that he will want to hear what I have to say,” the Operative persisted.
“Be that as it may, he ain’t available.”
“Then let me speak with Mrs. Reynolds. It is a matter of some urgency.”
Zoe started to refuse the request, but River was already behind her looking at the screen. “What do you want?” River asked, noting the Operative’s worry.
“I have information for Captain Reynolds concerning the existence of a second facility like the one on Osiris. It is as we feared. According to my source here, the lab has been set up, and the staff is nearly ready to proceed with the experiment. We need to move quickly. I must speak with your husband as soon as possible. Can you tell me where he is?”
River looked at him intently, trying to discern with absolute certainty both the truth of his words and the motive behind them. Zoe looked from the screen to River’s face with consternation. After a pause that seemed like an eternity but was actually only moments, River said, “Captain Reynolds has been arrested for treason.”
The Operative blinked slowly, a testament to his self-control. “When did this happen?”
“This afternoon,” River answered quietly, gripping the back of the pilot’s chair with white knuckles.
“So, it’s possible he’s still on Santo,” the Operative said, thinking aloud. “I am to meet the contact in a local tavern within the hour to get the location of the new laboratory. I had hoped that Captain Reynolds could accompany me, as I am less than sure of the situation.”
“I’m sure he’d be happy to babysit you if he weren’t sitting in a cell in the most gorram secure Fed Station I’ve ever seen on a Rim world,” Zoe said heatedly. “That’s of course assumin’ he hasn’t already been shipped out.”
“Which would potentially be a wrong assumption if the charge is treason,” the Operative said. “Recent laws enacted now dictate that those arrested for terrorist acts or treason be removed from the general prison population and remanded to penal colonies immediately to…” He paused, looking almost sympathetically at River.
“So that they can be interrogated using whatever force is necessary to achieve the desired results,” River finished flatly.
“Exactly so,” the Operative said. “It is possible I can discover whether the Captain is still on Santo, and if he is not, where he may be headed. But as I have stated, I must meet with the contact within the hour to ascertain the new lab location. I regret I cannot accomplish both things at once.”
River looked hopefully at Zoe. “Do you have any other way to find out where Mal is?” she asked.
Zoe shook her head miserably. Turning to the Operative, she asked, “If I go with you to meet the contact, you’ll help us find the Captain?”
The Operative nodded. “I will indeed. I have no wish to see further harm come to your Captain or your crew. And besides,” he added, almost smiling. “I’d imagine I will be in need of some assistance once I know where the new facility is. I doubt security there will be as lacking as it was on Osiris.”
Zoe glanced at River, who nodded almost imperceptibly. “Where do I meet you?” she said, hoping that River was right.
Mal studied the stars intently as the transport ship landed, but the configurations were unfamiliar, so he had no idea where in the ‘verse he was. However, he had no trouble ascertaining into what kind of facility he was being unceremoniously herded.
High electrified fences topped by obscene amounts of razor wire ran farther into the distance that he could see, enclosing a huge prison complex that looked eerily similar to the internment camp where he and Zoe had spent hellish months after the war.
Involuntarily shuddering at the memory, he realized that this was the sort of place where the Alliance kept prisoners who had no hope in hell of ever going home. With that morbid thought rolling around in his head, he was pushed into a holding cell and ordered to sit.
Within minutes, two uniformed men stepped into the cell, one about Mal’s size and the other uncommonly large and menacing. Neither spoke, and for once, Mal thought it best to maintain his silence as well. The cell door opened again to reveal yet another uniformed man, this one apparently an Alliance officer. Flipping through a data pad, he asked, “You are Malcolm Reynolds, correct?”
“Yes,” Mal answered.
Making a note on the pad, the man continued, “I am Colonel William Walker. This facility is under my command.” He put his pad down and looked directly at Mal. “While you are here, that means that your life is in my hands. I have a zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate behavior of any sort. Is that understood?”
Mal looked at him steadily, thinking that he sounded like he’d watched too many bad prison vids on the cortex. “Yes,” he said.
“Yes sir, you mean,” the Colonel replied. “That will be your last reminder as to how to address personnel at this facility. Do you have any questions?”
“Yes sir,” Mal answered, emphasizing the ‘sir’. “Why am I being held here? I seem to have skipped the whole due process and trial thing to end up in your fine facility.”
The larger guard stepped forward immediately, but Colonel Walker stopped him from his purpose. “You are here,” he answered coldly, “because we have the distinction of being the last stop before hell for treasonous scum such as yourself .”
Nodding to the guard, the Colonel stood back casually as the large man swung his club viciously into Mal’s side.
“Any other questions?” he asked.
Zoe and the Operative approached the entrance to the tavern, somewhat concerned by the lack of noise coming from the establishment. Stepping into the dimly lit interior, they were greeted by a horrific sight. People lay sprawled in all directions in large pools of blood. Examining the bodies, they found no wounds of any kinds.
“I’ve seen this before,” the Operative said in the absolute silence of the room, as he located his dead contact.
“I didn’t see it, but I’ve heard about it,” Zoe said. “Some of your former workmates, maybe?”
“No,” the Operative replied. “The private sector, actually. BlueSun employees, unless I miss my guess.”
Zoe stared at him, somewhat startled by the thought. “Why would an employee of BlueSun Corporation come to this particular seedy bar on this particular planet and wipe out everyone here, do you think?”
“I can only assume they came to stop my meeting, which means they are somehow involved in the new phase of the Academy Project, I assume.”
As he answered, Zoe continued to look around, finding Womack in a back booth. “I know this one,” she said. “Crooked fed, likes to play bounty hunter on his days off.”
The Operative raised his eyebrows. “Bounty hunter?” he asked. “Could he have been here in search of your Captain?”
“Would be a helluva coincidence if he just happened to be here on Santo at the same time for something unrelated,” Zoe said dryly.
“I don’t believe in coincidence,” the Operative said. “However, I suppose it hardly matters at this point. Regardless of the how and why, the Captain is incarcerated and I have lost the only contact on this world who could tell me the location of the laboratory. It would seem that now we are both at a loss.”
“You plannin’ to just walk away without helpin’ the Captain?” Zoe asked, a dangerous edge in her voice.
“To the contrary, I intend to do everything I can to help you find him. If the evidence of BlueSun’s involvement here means what I think it means, I’ll have need of your Captain and anyone else I can convince to help me,” the Operative said grimly.
Mal came back to consciousness with a pounding head and a body that ached all over. Colonel Walker had allowed the two guards to demonstrate the seriousness of his words with brutal efficiency. Mal sighed as he stretched slightly, noting the mottled reds and blues of newly forming bruises on his pale skin.
Somewhere along the way, he’d been stripped out of his clothes and thrown into the cell he now occupied. It was a small cell, no more than five by five, making it impossible for Mal to stretch out comfortably in any direction.
He sat up, wincing as the muscles of his back and shoulders, which had taken the brunt of the abuse, protested. He had the fleeting thought that he was getting too old for this kind of go se, and too old to sit bare-assed in a gorram stone-cold cell as well. He looked around and to his relief saw a prison uniform folded neatly in the corner. Standing carefully, he padded over to it and skipped the offensive garment gingerly over his head. Though the material was flimsy at best and the shirt had short sleeves, at least it was a little protection against the chill of the stones. Surveying the tiny space again, Mal saw nothing else to better his situation. He sank down to the floor, hugging his knees to his chest to conserve what body heat he could, though the position caused a painful burning between his shoulder blades.
Abruptly, the glaring light of the cell turned into pitch blackness, and so Mal, exhausted physically and mentally from the trials of the past day, rested his head on his arms and tried to sleep, willing himself not to think about what tomorrow might bring.
To be continued
Monday, June 18, 2007 3:31 AM
Monday, June 18, 2007 3:39 AM
Monday, June 18, 2007 3:40 AM
Monday, June 18, 2007 10:25 AM
Monday, June 18, 2007 1:57 PM
Thursday, June 21, 2007 3:14 PM
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