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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
Hello Coats…. ZBP here with just a little story I’m adding to the fan-fic area of the BSR. Continuation of LOH-DOH series fic. The story picks up where LOH-DOH #6 ended….so any questions that pertain may possibly be answered there. Also, I know folk are busy with the new year and all (as am I) and older things that are coming to an end will be replace with the new that is just beginning….anywho, here’s part 7. I do think there could be a part 8. I’m remaining loyal FF/Serenity, as I know all of you are. Hope we are able to see good things coming our way….see ya ZBP….PS: no beta reader on this one. Please allow for the irritating mistakes which I hope are few…
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 548 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Levels of Heaven: Depths of Hell
Part - 7
Graham Dehn, after being caught and accused of murder by the local Gladys City Authority, then jailed in that small town, was a little surprised to find someone standing in front of his jail cell ready to break him out.
It would come at a price though, and that price was information. This fellow wanted to know where his friend Bucky Tosskin was hidden before letting Dehn out. That was where the problem lay. Could Jayne be trusted? Graham wasn’t convinced.
“So tell me his location, then I’ll set you free!” The big man told the government agent.
Graham looked over at him.
“How about you let me out first, then we’ll talk.”
Jayne thought for a second. Didn‘t sound wise to him.
“No deal. If I let you out first, you might run, then I’d have to shoot ya before you could answer my question. That gets me nowhere. You tell me first, then I’ll get you out!”
They were at an impasse, yet not ready to toss in the chips that an arrangement couldn‘t be struck. Each fell silent for a while trying to find a resolve. A moment later Jayne’s eyes lit up……..
There were three confinement cells on this side of the jailhouse, two of them empty. Dehn occupied the center cell. The jail cells were uniform, each contained a cot, pillow, blanket and reflective mirror made out of Mylar. Only iron bars separated each of them. Jayne realized that the assassin could easily reach into an adjoining cell, and physically make contact with anything within arms reach. He walked over to the office desk, stepping over the body of Deputy Lightfoot whom he’d knocked unconscious, and began rummaging through the drawers. He soon found what he was looking for. A set of keys that he was sure would open the cells. With keys in hand he strolled back over and stood before Graham.
“Ok, here’s what we do,” he began to introduce his idea, “ I’m gonna take these keys and toss them over on that cot,” he pointed to the cot to the left of Graham’s cell, “then you’re gonna tell me where I can find Tosskin,” Jayne paused a moment seeing if Graham was following the progression of his scheme? He was.
“After, I’m gone you can reach through the bars, pull the blanket over to your side and retrieve the keys. Once you’re out, you’re on your own.”
Sounded like a good plan, Graham was happy with it.
“I’ve always heard that Serenity had a smart Captain,” the assassin spoke with a smile. Of course it was only smooth talk. A hymn sung to lure Jayne more at ease, but the mercenary didn’t mind getting compliments, even if they weren’t really for him. His head did swelled a bit, but not so much that he lost focus. Besides, those boastful words Dehn had heard about the Captain weren’t actually about him, were they?
The assassin contemplated a moment whether he should tell the big man the truth? The actual location of his friend? But then decided that the better decision was to come clean. If he sent Jayne off on some wild goose chase, the Captain of the transport ship was likely to make contact with his crew and have them muck up things in town for the operative. By telling him the actual whereabouts of Tosskin, Graham could get out of the lock-up, locate his primary target (Carson Maxwell) and still complete his mission.
The government agent grinned at the thought. This was perfect, the ex-operative would never see it coming. The idea made his mouth water. Of course Dehn had to remain leery of a double-cross. Yet the first obstacle was to get out of his confinement. That would happen it he agreed to Jayne’s plan.
“We have a deal.”
Jayne tossed the keys over onto the cot next to Dehn’s cell. The task completed, he waited for Dehn to commit to his part of the deal. Graham felt safe, he smiled. Things were progressing satisfactory. In minutes he would be free, Jayne would be gone, and the assassin could continue on his way to claiming victory over his task.
Graham also felt that his plan to wipe out the crew of Serenity was still intact. The only part of his scheme he might have to forfeit for now would be the killing of Bucky Tosskin and his niece. Still, that could be accomplished at a later time. He looked into the eyes of the big man standing in front of his cell,
“Tosskin’s in an old mining pit located in Horse Head Canyon. Alive and well. I left him food and drink for two days!”
With this information, a grin coursed across Jayne’s face. There had been some doubt on his part if he would be able to get Graham to reveal the location of his friend. It was his turn to complete his part of the bargain. He turned and left without expressing a word. Dehn retrieved the keys, unlocked his jail door and was outside of his cell in a flash. He searched for a weapon and found a battery of rifles neatly aliened in a gun rack with a chain running through their trigger guards. There was a single lock at the end. Dehn used one of the keys he held in his hand, and was successful in getting the lock open. He also found where the law authority of Gladys City kept the bullets for the rifles. Now it was time for him to make an exit.
The Operative noticed that Jayne had left the front door opened a crack. In his hast maybe he hadn’t closed it all the way. An uneasy felling of ambush rolled around in his gut. Graham knew he had to proceed with caution. He considered searching for another way out. Investigating the interior of the jailhouse, he was rewarded with finding a back exit. If there was a trap set up in front, he could easily avoid it and be gone before the perpetrators realized that they’d been hoodwinked. He used the jailhouse keys to unlock the back door.
The semi darkness of a sleepy, rim world town filtered in once the door was cracked open. The assassin gazed outside. The early morning hour showed the town to be quiet and peaceful. Graham Dehn was out the door in a second. Still, he moved methodically and slowly. It was still dark, with nary a breath of wind. It would be daybreak in a couple hours, this gave him time to do what he needed to do.
The exit had opened onto an alleyway which was dank, and smelled a mixture of old and musty things. There was a single dull light, on a wall, half the distance to where the alley opened onto a street at it’s end. Graham noticed a body laying propped up against a wall of one of the buildings that lined the alley, and there was another where the alleyway met up with the street. Each soul lay as still as a corpse, empty bottles of the local shine surrounding them. Dehn assumed these were town drunks, homeless individuals, the kind that populate every city and town, on every moon and planet in the system. No doubt they‘d come here to sleep away their liquor induced state. He headed for the street behind the jailhouse. Moving with the prowess of a jungle cat, he stepped close to the first body that lay in the alleyway.
The individual was completely covered from collar to toe in dark clothing, and was hooded. Graham looked down the alley at the other individual, so was he. He gazed again at the fellow laying at his feet. The man laid partially on his side. His face planted firmly against the wall. There was an empty bottle of shine still gripped within his fingers. The assassin tested the man’s leg with his boot. The fellow did not wince, did not twitch a finger. Ironically there was a poster mounted on the brick wall to the right, advertising the benefits of becoming a Shepherd at the Bathgate Monastery back on Persephone. It was old, torn and tattered. Graham chuckled at the idea that is was actually the direction this poor drunkard should take. He started to lean down to get a better look at the fellow when a barking dog caused him to stop. He watched as the fellow at the end of the alleyway stood up. Then groggily walk around the corner and out of sight.
The assassin, still carrying his loaded rifle, eased over to the end of the alleyway, he paused a moment. It was brighter here, with street lamps that were posted ever forty feet. He glanced right, then left. The avenue was clear, not a soul in sight. The sot he’d seen before seemed to have disappeared into thin air. Not that it meant anything, he could have slipped into an adjoining alley to find shelter there. Dehn began thinking that maybe he was becoming a bit too paranoid. Advancing a little too cautiously. At this rate, by the time he reached Carson’s abode the town authority may be making shift change at the jailhouse and would find that he’d escaped. It might be better if he moved along with a little more speed.
He took a cautious step out onto the earthen road, then, before he could take another he heard something behind him. Suddenly he felt the hard blow and pain of something breaking across the back of head. After that all went dark.
Jayne Cobb pulled his mount to a halt outside the entrance to the desolate area known as Horse Head Canyon. Sunlight was coming over the peaks of a small mountain range at the canyon’s opposite end and a new day was just beginning to dawn.
Serenity’s resident mercenary looked out across the landscape that met his eyes. The canyon was a bowl of reddish brown earth, with sagebrush that populated the soil here and there like freckles on a hound dog’s nose. He called out aloud in search of his friend Bucky Tosskin. There was no answer. He called out again, this time louder, and was rewarded with a response. He heard a sound coming from one of the deep pits at the base of the north side of the canyon. A voice echoing off the tunnel walls. Jayne hastened his steed to that spot.
He reined in his beasts, dismounted and ran over to the pit from where the sound had come. This particular shaft was one of six he had seen which dotted the canyon floor. He estimated the pit’s diameter to be sixty feet across, yet, in the dim morning light, the depth at which the pit descended would not let him see the bottom.
“ Bucky! You down there!!?”
“Yeah Jayne, I‘m here! Thank God for you!”
Jayne couldn’t see the man, but his voice sounded pitiful, desperate and weak. He probably wouldn’t have lasted another full day down there. Jayne Cobb briefly thought of the assassin, and anger stirred in his soul. If he could have gotten his hands around the operative’s throat at that moment he could have easily strangled the life out of the assassin and not felt a gorram bit of regret.
Still, his concern now was to retrieve his friend. Jayne looked around and saw that there was a lowering platform on the opposite side of the pit. It was maybe five foot square, it’s decking made up of wooden planks. It also was rigged to a pulley system with ropes which could be used to lowered or raise the platform. All of the mine craters he had spotted were equipped as such.
Jayne deduced that these platforms had been used by the laborers during the mining boom days, before the rich mineral deposits had begun to trickle out. Workers had used these rigs to supply equipment and tools to the laboring men below. Most of the pulley systems looked rotten and worn, their ropes tattered and mangled. But from where he stood on the edge, this pit seemed to have the one in the best condition. Dehn, expecting to retrieve Tosskin at some point, had chosen the pit with the best pulley system.
The big mercenary circled around to the other side where the platform was located. He swung the sturdy swivel arm it was mounted to out over the edge of the crater shaft. The platform moved into position over the pit. The big man then placed his foot on the decking and tested it with his weight. It felt solid enough. He climbed onto the deck boards and using the rope lowered himself down into the shaft. As he descended the pit became darker, yet his eyes adjusted to the available light. He could see movement below and in time could see his friend Bucky, standing on the gravel floor.
“Oh Jayne, Jayne my good fellow. I thought I was doomed in this hell hole!” Bucky voiced as Jayne lowered himself the final few feet to the ground. To Tosskin, Jayne looked like an angel. A savior sent from above. His knees began to buckle, Jayne rushed over to him and caught his friend just before he hit the ground.
Graham had told him that he’d left his captive food and water. Evidently it hadn’t been enough. Bucky’s hands were tied behind his back. It had been a good thing that none of the wildlife roaming around the moon’s countryside called this cavern home. Badgers and beasts of that sort could have easily caused the farmer a heap of trouble.
“I’m here to get you out buddy, get you home,” Jayne said.
He helped his friend over to the platform but before climbing aboard himself, Jayne looked around. He could see a little better now. The morning’s light having progressed to that stage. He noticed, down here at the bottom there were tunnels streaming away from the center shaft, like spokes of a wheel fanning out from it’s hub. There were half a dozen tunnels leading away from this region. Most of then boarded up. There were signs painted across the old, wooded barricades. Some of them reading “Do Not Enter” or “Keep Out”, showing personal mining claims that had been abandoned eons ago. The mercenary assumed that most of the old mine shafts in the area were constructed this way.
He stepped onto the platform and began to hoist the two of them up to the crater‘s opening, sixty feet up. In five minutes they were at the top. He gave Bucky some water then assisted him onto the saddle of the extra mount he‘d brought. He called Serenity on his radio com and quested that Doc Simon prepare the ship’s infirmary for a patient.
Graham Dehn awoke with an excruciating pain in his skull. He reached over to the back of his head and could feel a sizable knot with a fresh gash festering back there. His eyes were still closed, but his other sense told him that the smells that breached his nose were musty and old. He lifted his head, opened his eyes, and looked around.
It was early morning, and the light of a new day let him see his surroundings. He could see that he was down in some kind of pit. It’s walls lined with tunnels. It dawned on him that he was down an old mine crater.
The Minear 2 landscape around Gladys City and Watsonville were dotted with old mining pits. Areas long abandoned by their claim owners. The Rockwell Mining Facility which operated there, was the last of a line of employers that had come to this territory.
Pilgrims had also come to this moon with hopes. Hopes of wealth and a good life had beckoned to many a settler to come to Minear. For a time they called Gladys City and it’s surrounding area home. They’d come here with dreams, dreams of digging in the earth and finding boundless treasure. Yet most of those dreams had died nearly as quickly as they had begun. Now, the moon was pitted with many craters in it‘s surface. It could almost be mistaken as an un-Terriformed world. Still, some of the residents that remained had fallen in love with the place. They recognized the beauty in it’s rugged landscape. But not Graham Dehn!
He was confused over his reason for his being here, in this hole?
“Ahhhhh, good to see that you’ve awaken Mr. Dehn!”
Graham looked up to see Carson Maxwell standing at the rim of the mining crater, sixty foot above.
“I was beginning to think that you wouldn‘t!
“Where am I?” Dehn requested as he sat up, hand still cradling the back of his noggin.
“You’re in a mine shaft my good assassin.”
Hearing this from Carson, Graham smirked. He had figured that much out himself.
“On property that is part of Bucky Tosskin’s ranch. You remember Bucky don‘t you?” Maxwell paused looking down at the assassin, “a mild mannered fellow that only wanted to cultivate the soil, raise a few animals and live the rest of his days in peace?”
Graham rolled his eyes. Was he about to get another sermon from the ex-operative?
“You know I rarely talk so much to folk I don’t know well. Yet you, and a certain Captain on Serenity have me conversing as if we where old schoolhouse chums. Anyway, I brought you here to prove a point,” he stopped to view the reaction of the man sitting so far down below, “although I am most certain that it will be mute in an hour. Still I will rest easier in my mind knowing that I tried, tried to convince you of the truth.”
“Get to the point would you?” Graham was getting exhausted with these philosophies and mind games Carson played whenever he had a captive audience.
“Ok the point! I brought you here to show that the tónghuà (fairy tale) you think I’d been spinning in town was not a made up huàn (fantasy). The shíwù (reality) I spoke of to you about in the jailhouse wasn’t the nightmare of a delusional brain. It is a truth, a fact that is about to become very apparent to you!”
Although Graham, a bit confused with all that the ex-operative had told him the day before, still remembered enough to know that he wasn’t in the mood to hear Maxwell’s continuous preaching.
“Could we get on with it!”
With this Carson tossed a knife down into the pit. It was one of the killing instruments Graham had brought with him to the moon aboard the Carpathia. It was one of his favorites.
“You might be needing that in a few minutes.” Carson spoke, “ also I’ve retrieved the bomb you tired to place aboard Serenity. The folk aboard that vessel aren’t fools Mr. Dehn, and the girl that you delivered it to, least of all. See, Reavers aren’t a fantasy, a myth, a conjured up fable that was created by people to scare folk away from the rim, they are real! The shuttle Tosskin’s niece arrived in over a month ago was attacked by a scouting party. Their food sources are beginning to dwindle in the dark regions of the verse. They are looking to expand their territories,” he paused, “I, myself consider them animals…. but Bucky considers them people. The two ships crashed here not a mile from this very spot. All others were killed aboard the vessel bringing Miss Naples, but six Reavers on the attacking vessel survived. Bucky was able to retrieve them and imprison them inside this pit. The deceased victims he buried next to the crash site.”
Unwillingly, Dehn was beginning to become interested in this yarn Carson spinning. The ex-operative’s story was leading to something, what was it? Maxwell continued ….…
“Tosskin has been feeding the beasts in the very pit you now find yourself. He gathers the carcasses of dead vermin found around his property and tosses them down to the creatures every day or two. Still, even with this, they’ve already eaten two of their own kind. There are but four remaining. They run off during the daylight hours in search of water gathered in pools down those old mines shafts, but all it takes is a ringing of this chime here and they scurry back for feeding time.”
Carson reached up to take hold of the leather strap that hung between the tubes and bell chimes at the back of Bucky’s buckboard. He looked down at the assassin, the man that would end his life, an individual not much unlike himself a short time ago. It was a tragedy having to end things this way. A pity that Carson hadn’t been able to turn Graham’s way of thinking around. Yet, he knew that the assassin would not stop the hunt. His pursuit of the ex-government agent would not stop until he was made to stop.
“You are about to become witness to a nightmare Mr. Dehn. One that you’ve denied, and one that the UMC wishes to keep secret. I’ve given fair warning.……now all there seems I can do is show you the proof.”
With that Carson began to ring the chimes violently. The echo of the bells carried into the morning breeze, and downward through the entire mining crater. Maxwell rang those chimes for a full minute, then, as the last of the ringing began to fade, Graham could here the sound of movement coming from the tunnels around him. He swallowed deeply.
“Also, for your information,” Carson added, almost as an afterthought, “that package on the ground there, near the cavern wall, ” he pointed to a small box that lookedso familiar to the assassin, “it’s the one you handed to the young girl aboard Serenity a couple days ago. I’ve already tossed a blade down to you, for your defense, yet I feel that weapon won’t make much of an account of itself.”
Graham looked up at his advisory, and it was the first time Carson recognized fear in his assailants eyes. There was no expression of joy or happiness on the ex-operatives face. Only a look of pity.
“If you feel a need to end things quickly, Mr. Dehn, you can retrieve the package and engage the mechanism. You know what happens next!”
Carson Maxwell, then turned and climbed onto Bucky Tosskin’s buckboard. He used the leather reins to slap across the flank of the tethered animal that pulled the carriage. With a start, the beast began it’s gait back toward the farmer’s homestead.
For thirty yards the ex-operative heard nothing, then there was the sounds of growls and snarls coming from the pit. Then he was witness to screams and horrid shouts echoing from the hole. The sounds of terror, of madness. The sounds of someone being eaten alive. There was a final scream then it all ended in an explosive roar, just as if someone had set off a stick of dynamite, then all fell quiet.
Carson Maxwell tapped the animal with the leather reins again, encouraging the beast pulling Tosskin’s wagon to greater speed. He began to wonder about Jayne’s success in recovering their friend? He realized too, that since the UMC had tracked him down here, it was time to pull stakes and move on. But, a question? How was he to do it? How could he keep the verse powers from searching for him? He thought about a quick solution that he hinted at while he sat speaking to the crew of Serenity two night prior. Something that would throw the hunting parties off his trail! On his way back he would pondered that idea further…..
End Part 7
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 4:42 PM
Thursday, January 12, 2012 11:02 AM
Thursday, January 12, 2012 12:24 PM
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