BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

AMDOBELL

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: 3 "Hell Hath No Fury"
Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Personally she didn't care if Serenity was towed off to a junk yard and stripped into spare parts. She had promised the ship to Jer and his crew as a bonus but it looked like scavengers had beaten them to it.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 692    RATING: 10    SERIES: FIREFLY

TITLE: "HELL HATH NO FURY" SERIES: UNFINISHED BUSINESS CHAPTER: 3. Sequel to "COUNTING CHICKENS" FANDOM: "FIREFLY" AUTHOR: Alison M. DOBELL PAIRING: Zoe/Wash Kaylee/Simon Mal/Inara RATING: PG-13 SUMMARY: "Even in the crazy world of Malcolm Reynolds some enemies can never be anticipated."

"HELL HATH NO FURY" A "Firefly" Story written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * * *

"What d'ya mean she's driftin'?"

"Not movin', *laoban*." Chung Li paused as if reluctant to go on. "Ship listin', *dong ma*?"

Rafe Connor felt his heart in his mouth. No, no, no - this could not be happening. "*Weishenme*?"

"Looks like it took damage." "Need your exact location, *pengyou*. Maybe they got hit by asteroids or somesuch."

The Chinaman did not correct his boss and long time friend but gave the necessary co-ordinates. Rafe did not tell him not to enter the Firefly until he got there. Some things did not need spelling out. Both men were hoping for the best while mentally preparing for the worst.

* * * * *

The cell was small and Mal guessed it was also soundproof. Why would the Tamarind need a room like this? It was not a typical holding cell. He would have stretched out a hand to touch one of the walls but his handcuffs had been attached to a metal post in the middle of the room. No table, no chairs. It felt eerily like a torture chamber but without the blood splattered walls. Or maybehaps he was supposed to supply those. The only vaguely reassuring thing was that there was no drainage hole in the middle of the floor so why the post?

He did not hear anyone approaching and felt a jolt of apprehension go through him when the heavy metal door was unlocked. As it swung open he could see how thick it was, more like the kind you would find on a gorram vault. What in the nine hells was this and what were they doing to his crew?

The men that filed in were unknown to him, silent and sombre. He looked for the Commander but he was not among them. Who were these people? There were five in all, each one dressed in dark clothing. No markings, no insignia.

"You are Malcolm John Reynolds?"

A sliver of ice slid down his spine. Not many people knew his middle name still less would think to use it. "What's this about?"

One of the men broke away from the others and silently circled him. Heavyset but not an inch of fat on him, he looked like a man spoiling for a fight. Three stood just inside the door and watched the Captain but made no attempt to join in the interrogation. As for the spokesman he was a couple of inches taller than Jayne and a mite leaner. His salt and pepper hair framed a lean strong face. "You will answer the question or suffer the consequences, *dong ma*?"

"That mean you're the torture squad? Thought that was illegal for the shiny law abiding Alliance?"

The blow came out of nowhere hitting him in his kidneys and knocking the wind out of him. The man circling him barely broke his stride, eyes mean and narrowed. Mixed in with the pain was genuine confusion. The Captain's questioner leaned towards him, his eyes dark and void of compassion. "You will answer."

Mal glimpsed the man who had hit him continue prowling round the room like a prize fighter waiting for an opening. The three by the door watched with no expression on their faces. The Captain didn't know what was going on only that he was in *shen goushi*. "I'm Malcolm Reynolds."

"Malcolm John Reynolds?"

"*Qu*."

The spokesman nodded, more to himself than Mal. "Your home world is Shadow?"

A deeper pain than could ever be inflicted by physical blows shot through him. "Was."

The speaker's eyes flashed. "*Jieshi*."

"Alliance destroyed my world. Wiped out everyone on it then made sure not no one could live there ever again. Would'a thought they'd lost the gorram war not won it."

"You killed my son."

The Captain blinked, stunned. "*Shenme*? Thought this about a gorram crate?"

The man circling began to close in but the spokesman waved him off. "We settled that account."

"You did?"

"The person you stole the crate from has been adequately compensated for his loss. All charges have been dropped."

"Then I'm here because...?"

The spokesman's eyes glittered with a dark abiding malice. "Murder still carries the death penalty, Captain."

* * * * *

Even without power Serenity was never completely silent. River could read her moods and feel the loss of the rest of the crew like an ache inside. Quickly she eased up the deck plate and emerged from her hiding place. She paused a moment, head tilted, as if receiving new information then hurried to help Simon. Her brother wanted to make sure River was alright but the girl shook her head.

"River's fine but they took everyone, Simon."

He paled. "*Wo bu dong*. Why would they do that?"

River knew he was thinking about Kaylee but to her everyone mattered. Each member of the crew were like pieces in the jigsaw that was her life. Each one precious. "We don't have all the pieces."

"We don't?"

His sister was already moving away from him, her bare feet making no sound as she danced out of reach. Alarmed, Simon called after her. "*Ni qu nar*?"

"I have to check the ship."

Simon hurried after her. "You said everybody is gone, *mei mei*"

His sister paused to look back at him. "We have to check Serenity."

"You think someone might be hiding on the ship?"

She shook her head. "Need to check the engine, *dong ma*?"

Then River was gone. Biting back a curse of frustration Simon followed, not surprised to find his sister in the engine room with her eyes large as saucers and tilted at an angle as if trying to see as much as she could without moving her head. Her behaviour baffled him.

"River, what are you expecting to find?"

She raised a hand to shut him up, not taking her eyes off the engine then moved round to the other side of it. After a few moments her head popped up again.

"I don't think anyone had time to tamper with the engine, *mei mei*."

Her focus shifted to her brother for a moment. "They split up, searched the ship."

"That's standard Alliance practice."

"It wasn't a patrol vessel, not a military one either. They were looking for us, Simon."

"*Wo zhidao*, that crate..."

"Trap."

"*Wieshenme*? Why go to all that trouble? The contents alone must have cost a small fortune and then there's the cost of constantly re-routing the parcel until it caught up with us. None of that comes cheap."

River darted out of the engine room startling her brother. "Where are you going now?"

"Can't see, have to see!"

"See what?"

Getting no response Simon followed in his brilliant but quixotic sister's wake and found himself on the bridge. Confused, he glanced around. "What are we looking for?"

His sister disappeared underneath the pilot's console. Simon could hear quiet muttering but could not make out what she was saying. After a few moments her head popped out, something shiny and string-like glittering in her hand. "Found it!"

Mouth dry, Simon stared at the tracer. River held up her other hand, a tiny electronic box between her thumb and forefinger. Simon opened his mouth to ask a question but River shook her head. Clamping his mouth shut, he realised someone must be listening on the other end of it. And now that person knew that the ship they had left adrift was not empty after all.

* * * * *

Shannon listened to Jer in silence. Her lips pursed with irritation but also surprised. "*Tamen shi shui*?*"

"*Wo bu zhidao*. The first vessel was small, short range."

"Then the other ship is the mother ship?"

Jer thought that was an odd way of describing the second vessel but didn't comment on it. "It's a lot bigger an' I couldn't tell if it was armed."

"Pirates?"

"Could be. A ship adrift is like to attract attention an' not of the 'I wanna rescue you' kind."

Shannon sat back in her chair and mulled over the news. Personally she didn't care if Serenity was towed off to a junk yard and stripped into spare parts. She had promised the ship to Jer and his crew as a bonus but it looked like scavengers had beaten them to it. "Have they seen you?"

"*Wo bu zheiyang*."

"Then we cut our losses. The Alliance have no love for Reynolds an' this is an open an' shut case. Should see him locked away for a good long while an' with no ship to come back to when he's served his time."

"What about his crew?"

"They'll probably be released but not for a while. The Alliance is nothin' if not thorough." Shannon paused then grinned. "*Hao gongzuo*."

Jer nodded. "We best be on our way then."

"*Deng*. I want you to follow that ship."

"That wasn't part of the deal."

"You'll be paid extra."

"You got what you wanted, the Captain an' crew are in Alliance custody an' now he's lost his ship as well."

She leaned in close to the monitor and fixed him with hard beady eyes, no trace of humour now. "I want to know who is on that ship, *dong ma*?"

Jer Miles did not understand. He had done the job and now he wanted nothing more to do with the scheming little *pofu* but like that gorram old story from Earth-that-was about the rabbit and the tar baby he was finding it hard to pull away from her. Maybe it was best to do this one last thing then be shot of her. He gave a grim nod. "I do this for you then we're done, *dui*?"

Shannon softened her expression a little but Jer wasn't fooled. The woman was a gorram hell-cat. "Why so keen to go? I'm payin' you well."

"An' I appreciate that but I got other work lined up an' me an' mine need to eat all year round."

Something in his words cut the tension in her but he had no idea what. Shannon nodded. "*Dang ran*. Do this for me an' we go our separate ways."

* * * * *

The cells were clean, functional and in a single row. There were four in all which meant some of them shared a cell. Kaylee was relieved that they were all in the little cell block but fretted over the Captain. Inara tried to reassure her from the adjoining cell.

"I'm sure once the Captain explains what happened it won't be long before they let us go."

On the other side of Inara's cell Zoe had been pacing, every fibre of her being radiating tension. She stopped and stared at Inara through the bars. "You're forgettin' who we're dealin' with, Inara. The Alliance don't play by the rules even their own."

"We've done nothing *cuode*," soothed the Shepherd "when they examine the crate they will see it has been clearly marked for us and carries no return address or identifier."

"Not us." Growled Jayne.

Kaylee looked puzzled. "What d'ya mean?"

"The crate's marked for the Cap not us. They'll have to let us go."

"We're not goin' anywhere without the Cap'n." Said Zoe, her voice firm and eyes hard as granite. Wash put a hand on his wife's waist but stayed silent. Some of Zoe's tension was thrumming through his own body. He wished he knew who in the nine hells had sent the crate. Hot on the heels of that thought was to wonder why.

Jayne shrugged, one shoulder leaning against the bars of his cell. "Just sayin' is all."

* * * * *

Despite the grim circumstances Rafe Connor could not wipe the smile off his face as River Tam threw herself into his arms. He had always found that there was something fey and magical about the moon touched girl, not that he would have put it that way. Simon stiffened and did not relax until his sister drew back, her smile dimming as other more pressing memories darkened her mood.

"They took everyone. Captain Daddy couldn't stop them."

Rafe was worried, this was not good. "How did you escape?"

Her mood brightened a little. "We hid. Whenever the Alliance want to board Serenity the Captain has us hide, keeps us safe."

The Rancher frowned but did not question why River and Simon would need protecting more than the rest of his crew. The fact that it was obviously common practice meant it was necessary but for now he wanted information of a different kind. "Why were they taken?"

Simon spoke up. "We had a crate addressed to Captain Reynolds being held by the Post Office. There was no return address, no identifier for who had sent it. The crate had been forwarded again and again over the last 6 months following us through the Black."

"Don't like the sound of that, Simon."

The young doctor nodded. "Neither did the Captain, he was suspicious right from the start but had to accept the crate and pay the Post Office the collection fee. Refusal would have sent an alert and drawn attention from the authorities that would have been problematic."

Rafe almost smiled at the understatement. "What went wrong?"

"The Alliance claimed the crate and its' contents had been stolen. The owner pressed charges and we were tracked down."

"Who owned the crate?"

Simon shrugged. "*Wo bu zhidao*."

Beside Rafe Connor, Chung Li was thoughtful. "What was inside?"

"Food." Seeing Chung Li's expression Simon was quick to elaborate. "Not just common fare but the very best of everything you could wish for. Fresh fruit in and out of season, vat grown beef and pork, vegetables of every kind. The contents must have cost a fortune and then there would be the not inconsiderable cost of re-routing the crate from place to place as it was sent after us. Six months of carriage isn't cheap."

"You must know some rich folk."

"Used to," said River "but not for a long time now."

"I meant Mal must know some wealthy folk, who else would want to send him such a generous *liwu*?"

River shook her head. "Not a gift, a trap."

For a moment no one spoke then Chung Li whispered something in Rafe's ear. The Rancher nodded and took a step back. Chung Li looked from brother to sister before speaking. "A woman is involved. Young, red hair, not know name."

Simon and River both spoke at the same time. "Saffron!"

Rafe looked surprised. "You know her?"

"I wish we didn't. She was married to the Captain."

"You sayin' Mal's married to that schemin' *pofu*?"

"She tried to trap him in marriage," River explained "but it was all a ruse. Saffron has a habit of marrying men then putting them in danger."

Rafe Connor had the weird feeling that time was running out. "Tell me everythin' you know about this Saffron but first I need to know if your ship can fly."

* * * * *

"*Mousha*? War is war, I ain't *yige sharenfan*."

The spokesman's eyes flashed with anger. "He was mine and you killed him!"

Something felt off kilter about the whole conversation, a creepifying sense of the wrongness of it setting off alarm bells though he knew not why. "How'd it happen? Serenity Valley?"

"It was after the War." The spokesman waved a hand at his comrades, none of whom had yet spoken. All of their faces were grim. "We all lost someone because of you."

Mal was stunned, his voice coming out more subdued. "*Fasheng shenme shi le*?"

The man who had been circling Mal stopped and glared at him. "You stole our children, you *meiyou muqin de xiao gou*!"

For several minutes no one spoke, the silence thickening around him and like to choke the life out of him. Yet nothing they said struck a chord with him. "*Duibuqi*, I don't kill children."

"Just steal them you *tamade yaoguai*?"

Mal shook his head. "Don't steal 'em either. Maybehaps if you give me their names..."

He never got to finish that sentence. The blow came swift and hard snapping his head back against the post. Soundlessly he sagged against the metal cuffs holding him fastened to the post. The spokesman wanted to berate his friend but truthfully could not find the words. He was already choking up on the bile rising up in him for their loathsome prisoner. One of the others waited a moment before speaking.

"What we gonna do with him, Duncan?"

"Beating on him doesn't seem to penetrate that thick Browncoat skull but I know people who can peel back the layers. Get to the truth of everything he did."

"And then?"

"Then we kill him."

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*laoban* = boss *dong ma* = understand? *weishenme* = why *pengyou* = friend *shen goushi* = a lot of shit/crap (lit. deep shit) *qu* = yes (lit. go) *jieshi* = explain *shenme* = what? *wo bu dong* = I don't understand *ni qu nar* = where are you going? *mei mei* = little sister *wo zhidao* = I know *tamen shi shui* = who are they? *wo bu zhidao* = I don't know *wo bu zheiyang* = I don't think so *hao gongzuo* = good work *deng* = wait *pofu* = bitch *dui* = correct *dang ran* = of course *cuode* = wrong *liwu* = gift *mousha* = murder *yige sharenfan* = a murderer *fasheng shenme shi le* = what happened? *meiyou muqin de xiao gou* = motherless cur *duibuqi* = sorry *tamade yaoguai* = fucking monster

COMMENTS

Friday, December 9, 2016 9:53 PM

BUCKSHOTPILOT


Im loving this tale! just read it again, cant wait for more! Happy holidays

Saturday, December 10, 2016 10:03 AM

AMDOBELL


Thank you for the shiny feedback, Buckshotpilot. I hope to get the next chapter up before Christmas but it is madness at my end! Take care and "keep flyin'!" - Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"


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