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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. In which we see a little more about the machinations in the background behind the abduction of Mara. NEW CHAPTER
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1779 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
“It’s fine. Just a scratch. There’s no need to – Ow!” Freya jerked her head back and glared at him.
Simon gave her his professional look, the one that said, very clearly, that she trying to tell him his job again, and who was the doctor here anyway? “If you don’t let me deal with it now, it will scar.”
She glanced down at her body, the tracery of pale lines hidden by her clothes. “So what else is new?”
“Don’t be a sha gua chun zi.”
Freya stared at him in mock horror. “Simon. I didn’t know you knew words like that. You must‘ve been hanging around Jayne too much.”
He didn’t answer her, just raised one eyebrow a millimetre.
“Better let him get to it,” Mal said, leaning in the doorway. “He’s gonna make my life hell ‘til you do.”
“Your life?” Freya smiled slightly. “Then in which case …” She moved back in range so the young man could continue to examine the two inch cut in her hairline.
He palpated the area carefully. “What did you hit it with this time?”
“The console.” She winced, and noticed Mal do the same in sympathy. “It leaped up and attacked me.”
“Apart from the obvious, are you in any other discomfort?”
“Well, my arms ache, and I think we’ve all got bruises, but –“
“I mean specifically.”
“Any double vision?”
“Yes.” River stepped quietly around Mal’s form.
Simon looked up. “What was that, mei-mei?”
“Double vision,” the psychic explained. “Since it happened.”
Mal straightened, his concern more palpable. “It is?” His gaze switched to his wife. “You are?”
“It’s fine,” Freya insisted. Then at his look she conceded, “Okay. But it’s not that bad.”
“You mean to say you managed to land the shuttle and you ain’t even seeing properly?” Mal shook his head in disbelief.
“I compensated,” River put in.
“Oh, thanks,” Freya said witheringly. “I thought I managed it pretty well, actually.”
“Frey, you need to tell me these things,” Simon said, wiping the area with antiseptic. “It sounds like you have a slight concussion, but the point is I'm your doctor. You can tell me anything.”
“Anything?” Freya tried to look innocent, or at least as much as she could as the cut stung fiercely. “Even about when Mal and I –“
“Yes.” He peered closer at the wound, trying to ignore the slight blush that ran up his chest unchecked. “Well, unless you let me shave the area –“
“Then I’ll use skin bond. The edges are clean enough.” He crossed to a drawer, selecting the items he needed. “Mal, do you need my help with the ViroStim?”
“Sure. If it’s still working after what Frey put it through.” He paused, amused at the look on his wife’s face. “You need to tell me where you want it set up, though.”
Simon turned back. “I'm not sure,” he admitted. “It’s not as if it’s small enough to be put in any of the usual hiding places.”
“Nope. Not a one of ‘em’d take it.” Mal’s lips twitched. “Doc, at this juncture, I ain’t sure it’s gonna matter if anyone does find it. We get boarded, right now they’re as likely to shoot first. A little trifle like a purloined replicator probably won’t make things much worse.”
“Still, better safe than sorry.” Simon thought for a moment.
“It can go in my garden,” River offered suddenly. “Behind the containers. I can disguise it.”
Mal looked down at her. “You sure about this, xiao nu? It ain’t gonna interfere with them in any way? I’d hate to have to be the one to tell Kaylee there won’t be any more strawberries.”
“Actually, that’s not a bad idea,” Simon added. “There’s power already, and I can keep an eye on things.”
“Then that’s settled.” Mal rubbed his hands together and crossed the small room to stand next to his wife, examining the cut. “How long will it take? To get those vaccines copied, I mean.”
Pulling on his latex gloves, Simon shook his head. “I have no way of knowing. A couple of weeks perhaps. Maybe more.”
Mal looked up sharply. “How come? That measles vaccine only took a day or so.”
“That’s because the chemical composition for that particular vaccine is well known. I only had to wait for the machine to calibrate before feeding in the relevant information. This time, though, it will have to analyse as well.”
“Didn’t you already do that? The analysis.”
“I did, but not to the level and accuracy this requires.” He fixed Mal with a stern eye. “I get this wrong, have even a molecule out of place, and they end up deadly poison. Or worse.”
“Can it be worse?”
“Of course it could. It might make you blind, just when you need to be able to see. Or burn your nervous system so that you’re paraplegic.” He sighed. “Mal, there are a lot of things worse that death.”
“I guess they are,” Mal agreed, adding on a quiet breath, “Like seeing it happen to the woman I love.”
Simon stepped closer. “I'm going to say this again. There is no guarantee this is going to work. I don’t know if the so-called AntiPax isn’t just a smoke screen. It might just kill you anyway.”
Mal took a deep breath, looking into Freya’s dark eyes. “Doc, I know that. But I need to have something to hold onto right now.”
Simon was shaken at the emotion in his captain’s voice. “Yes, well, I … I’ll do my best.”
“I know that. Never done anything less.”
“Excuse me?” Freya raised her eyebrows. “I am still bleeding here.” Indeed, a small trickle of red was making its way down her forehead.
Mal smiled, much more warmly, and reached up to thumb it away. “I think you’ll live, though,” he said, and none of them were honestly sure what he was commenting on.
“Glad to hear it.” She took his hand and placed a kiss in his palm.
“Then the sooner I actually finish this,” Simon said dryly,” the sooner I can get to set up the ViroStim.”
Mal laughed. “I figure it’s gonna take us a while to manhandle it down here, and Jayne’s already getting prepared to put in an industrial injury claim over the way Frey was flying.” He grunted as his wife’s elbow hit his stomach. “So take your time,” he added, rubbing the sore spot.
Dugan Rogers leaned on the wall and looked down at the young woman he’d managed to corner. She was new, fresh, and as such hopefully hadn’t had time to be warned off.
“Goff’s away,” Rogers said, leering slightly. “I have the office all to myself.”
“Mmn. Decided to take a long weekend on his yacht.” He smiled, his teeth still covered by his lips. “It means I’m left in charge.”
“But you’re only his aide.”
“His assistant,” Rogers corrected. “And I'm much more than that, too. He wouldn’t be where he is without me.”
“Is that the case.” She looked up and down the corridor. “I have to get going.”
“What’s the rush?”
“Member Carnegie wanted these papers as soon as possible.”
“Why doesn’t he just access them on the secure Cortex?”
“He prefers hard copy.”
“Oh, old school.” Rogers couldn’t have sneered much more if he tried.
“So that means I –“ She tried to move past him, but he was suddenly much closer, pressing his body against her.
“Honestly, I’m sure we can be helpful to each other,” he oozed. “If we just tried.”
A man further down the corridor stuck his head out of a door. “Rogers,” he called. “Stop trying to molest every female in sight and get back into your office. There’s a wave I think you’ll need to see.”
Rogers glared, but took a step back. “Duty calls, I’m afraid,” he said to the young woman. “Perhaps another time.”
“Not if I see you first,” she countered, hurrying away.
Probably sly, he told himself. And not really my type anyway. He strolled back into his office, finding the message light winking on the Cortex link on his desk. Settling himself down, he flicked a switch, and information scrolled down the screen. He began to read.
‘The supply ship Goliath requested assistance at 12:34 Standard Osiran Time. They were under attack and did not expect to be able to repel boarders. The ASV Iolanthe was in the vicinity and was sent immediately to their aid, arriving some five hours later. Attached is footage taken at the time. They found …’
As he got to the end, Rogers had become more and more tense, having to bite back on the nausea as he watched the video stream. As it finished, he immediately accessed the secure code to the private line on Member Goff’s ship.
“Yes?” Chiang Goff asked, apparently having been called out of his bed from the heavy robe he was wearing. “What is it? I told you not to disturb me unless it’s important, and it if isn’t I shall personally -”
Rogers interrupted, an act that demonstrated just how on edge he was. “Sir, we’re just had a report. The carrier transporting your … goods was hit by raiders.” Even on a protected line he wasn’t about to be more specific.
Goff took a breath. “Pirates?”
“Not … pirates, sir. There are survivors, but so far they don’t appear to have been able to give much information beyond … it looks to be Reavers, sir.”
“Reavers?” Goff sat forward. “There are no such thing, Rogers.”
“I know, sir. But the report does indicate … they cut them to pieces, sir.” Roger swallowed back the bile burning in his throat. “Captain Bennett was lucky to survive, with a number of his crew, but he made it perfectly clear it was Reavers.”
“Reavers are stories made up to make children go to bed on time, you know that.”
“Yes sir. But the Miranda broadwave -”
“Was a fake,” Goff said shortly. “Rogers, am I going to regret making you my personal assistant?”
“Then we’ll have no more of this talk of Reavers.”
“But sir, according to the report, Dr Petty is dead, along with all of his men.”
“That is a shame. What about the girl?”
Rogers looked down, scanning the information. “I have no indication of a female corpse, sir.”
“Good.” He realised how he sounded, and conjured a smile. “I don’t doubt they were slavers, and Captain Bennett‘s resistance simply made the attack more violent than was originally intended. Slavers, Rogers. That‘s all.”
“Yes sir. Do you want me to request a full and immediate investigation, sir? The Iolanthe is treating the survivors. I can request they stay, begin the enquiries.”
Goff sat back, considering. “Yes,” he said finally. “And notify Dr Petty’s family of the … accident. I’m sure he was fully insured, but make it clear we will cover all funeral expenses.”
“Has this information been released to the media?”
“I don’t know, sir. I don’t think so. It’s come through on a secure Government channel.”
“Then I want you to make sure it isn’t. It would only cause panic among certain levels of society. Those that believe in Reavers, for instance.” His disdain came across the wave very clearly.
“Yes sir.“ Rogers, suitably chastened, hesitated. “Sir …”
“Shouldn’t we inform Parliament? At the very least let the Blue Sun Chairman know of the incident. After all, the committee -”
“Oh, I will. But you just get on with what I’ve given you. I’ll deal with the rest.” Goff killed the transmission, a smile playing across his lips. Things were going better than he dared hope. And soon the Alliance wouldn’t know what hit them and he would have the power he‘d always dreamed of.
Back on Osiris, Rogers stared at the static, disquiet blooming in his little grey soul. Something was most definitely amiss. He’d wondered originally why Goff would go off on his weekend jaunt at a time like this, particularly when he had demanded Dr Petty be transferred home, and the news that the man was dead hadn’t appeared to ruffle the Parliamentary member at all. Admittedly, Goff was a politician, and as such well practised in hiding his true emotions, but still …
As he keyed in the various requests for the continued involvement of the Iolanthe, and the sympathy messages to go to the various families, Rogers debated his next move.
Yes, that had to be it. In fact, looking at it logically, there wasn’t really any decision to make. He stood up, heading out of the door and towards the exit. Ignoring a colleague calling him, he passed through security into the bright spring morning. Crossing the road to the diner opposite, he took a moment to order a coffee and Danish before heading through to the men’s room at the back. He didn’t stop, though, but continued out into the alleyway, hidden from prying eyes and listening ears.
Leaning on the door to make sure no-one interrupted him, he pulled the disposable Cortex link he‘d been given from his pocket, keying in a number that he had taken a great deal of trouble to memorise. It took only a moment to be answered, and his contact appeared on the tiny screen.
Rogers cleared his throat. “You asked me to let you know of any activity regarding Member Goff.”
Rogers went over the details as much as he could. “I think you were right,” he went on. “Member Goff isn’t to be trusted.”
“You have done well.” The man in the dark suit nodded. “And you shall be rewarded for your loyalty to the Alliance.” He reached forward and began to press buttons on the keyboard in front of him.
Rogers lips twitched. “I am, of course, only doing this to show that loyalty,” he said, nevertheless envisaging a large number of credits being transferred to his account even as he watched.
“I’d … better be getting back. Before anyone notices.”
“And I’ll let you know if anything else comes up.”
“That will not be necessary.” The man tapped another key with his blue finger.
“What? Why? I can still be …” Something was dripping onto his hand, and he looked down. Red drops. Like blood. He reached up, feeling it flowing from his nose. Pain stabbed his temple, and he took a breath to scream, but found his mouth was full of hot saltiness that flowed down his chin and soaked his jacket. Agony spliced through him, and he slid to the ground, drowning in the liquid pooling beneath him. He clawed at his head one last time, his body contorting, then he lay still, bloodied eyes staring into the tiny patch of sky above.
The link, dropped in his death throes, sparked, a thin stream of smoke curling from its cover as its internal workings vapourised.
The two men sat side by side in their sleek black craft as they traversed the emptiness of space, both sets of eyes fixed on the screen in front of them.
“You did well gaining this information,” their superior, several million miles away, said. “Member Goff has been under suspicion for some time, and this certainly suggests he has at the very least been lax in his position, and at the very worst corrupted by the Independent movement.”
“Our associates can deal with him if you wish,” one of the men offered.
“No. I have my own spy on board his ship - if he is in league with these so-called New Browncoats he will simply lead us straight to them.” He exhaled tightly. “But this is not the most opportune moment for him to have forced our hand. The pockets of Independent resistance were being effectively dealt with without the loss of a single Alliance soldier, and now I have no alternative but to send in our regular troops.”
“Is this something we can assist you with?”
“Not at this juncture.” He tapped his chin with his steepled fingers. “Your mission is the safe recovery of Mara Tam. There can be no misunderstanding over this. She must be returned, and as such your priority is regaining the property and eliminating any further threat.”
“There is already an Alliance vessel investigating.” There was no expression on the man’s face. “If they should become a problem?”
“That would be unfortunate. But as I said, her return is essential.”
“There is one other matter. I have intelligence from another source that the other Tam subject may well be in the vicinity. If you can, retrieve her also. My source suggests she may have bred, so any off-spring should be collected as well.”
“And her companions? She is unlikely to be on her own.”
“Her brother should be apprehended if at all possible, as I would dearly like to make an example of him with a public execution, but the others … acceptable losses.” The man dismissed the thought of so many deaths as he would have squashed a bug beneath his heel. “I trust you understand your task?”
The men with blue hands didn’t even glance at each other. “Yes.”
“Good. Then I do not expect to hear from you until you can report your success.” The man leaned forward and the screen went blank.
to be continued
Sunday, September 14, 2008 5:32 AM
Sunday, September 14, 2008 5:48 AM
Sunday, September 14, 2008 6:48 AM
Sunday, September 14, 2008 12:41 PM
Sunday, September 14, 2008 1:38 PM
Wednesday, June 2, 2010 3:48 AM
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