Shadow War - Chapter Fifteen
Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Who have we forgotten...Plus, bad day for Inara.


Inara piloted the shuttle near the now deserted platform where Shang had given his presentation earlier. He was waiting for her as he said he would. He cut a handsome figure just standing about. As she landed the shuttle, she noticed several ships hovering about,presumably watching the platform to see if they could gain some sort of advantage in the "treasure hunt". She knew there were Companions aboard some of them. While she wasn't the first Companion to travel about in a ship, she was the first to travel around with a known criminal element. It would appear that her idea was catching on. As to why Shang would choose her, she hadn't an idea, and the topic hadn't really come up during their interview. While she tried to learn as much about a prospective client before the deal was turned, she didn't want to probe. Looking too hard at the reasons one would hire a Companion tended to make the client selfconscious, and that was the last thing she wanted to do. "How very prompt of you, Inara." "It wouldn't do to keep such a gratious host waiting too long, would it?" She took his offered arm and walked with him. "Tell me, Inara: Is it true that some Companions are skilled fencers?" "No, that's not true." He hid his disappointment well. "All registered Companions are good fencers. Some are even great." His smile was warm. "In that case, I happen to have an exquisitely balanced foil, if you would care to indulge me." "Indulgence is why I'm here."

* * *

During the morning briefing that he was required to attend, Chief Dobson was starting nod off. "Are we boring you, Chief?" Remo almost purred. Chief Dobson cursed himself inwardly as he sat straight up. Commander Remo was a lot of things, but stupid or unobservant wasn't one of them. "No sir, not at all." "Good. Now, do we have our arrest warrants for Red Veil?" "Yes sir!" Came Lt. Kelly's overenthusiastic reply. "Sir, if I may. Sending a squad of gunboats out to that planet may not be the best idea. There are any number of smugglers and cutthroats already down there, and who knows where some of them are now that we've been gone for a while." Remo seemed to take all this in. Chief knew from this point, it would only take a little nudge to get the Commander to go planetside himself. "In all the confusion, sir, we could take one gunboat down, and capture Red Veil while's he's not expecting it. There's bound to be some lapse in his security what with all he's got going on down there." Commanders of Alliance cruisers rarely ever got to get off their ships. Remo was an exception, because if there was any glory to be had at any kind of job, he was right in the middle of it. Never alone though, and this was the crux of the Chief's plan. If he could get Remo alone, he could dispatch with him as needed, and then see to whatever Sepia had gotten herself involved with. Sounded like the Tams were going to be hogtied for him by the time he got there. For five years, this man, named Dobson, had played the part of an Alliance Master Chief. Finding a Chief named Dobson and taking over his identity while the man was in the middle of a transfer wasn't the hard part. Having to act like an Alliance man for so long was. So many times he had almost been caught. So many times, he had had to tread lightly. So many times he had to act like a shadow. But, he had done it. He had effectively kept his plan together for this long. If for no other reason than the revenge that was due his son, he had kept it together. "We could get down there easy enough, I'd warrant. But, you'll have to be careful down there, sir. It could be more than a little dangerous." "Oh, I know Chief. That's why you and Kelly here are going down with me." The Chief and Lt. Kelly smiled in agreement. But both were smiling for very different reasons.

* * *

Fencing with Shang was not unlike fencing with her instructor at the academy. There was not a movement she could make that he couldn't defend, or even see coming from a mile away. Then again, they were taught in the academy never to win outright. But, she had stopped faking it a long time ago. Shang was just that good. Unfortunately,he became more arrogant and unattractive to her the more he won. It wasn't because she was losing. She didn't mind that at all. He kept ridiculing her and her abilities with a most snide manner. If ever she returned to this godforsaken hole in the 'verse, she would not be engaging with Shang Yu again. But that was for another time. The appointment was already made, and there was no sense in stopping until it was done. He couldn't go on with the sword forever. He raised his foil again for what seemed to Inara for the fiftieth time, and told her to attack. Inara stopped caring that he was better with a blade than Atherton Wing, another client that had almost killed Mal in a duel once. She stopped caring that she had lost every other match today. She only wanted one thing. To beat Shang Yu. She took two wild swings that he dodged easily, laughing. She took a breath and regained control. She thrust straight at him, and reversed direction when he started to dodge. The tip of her foil nicked the side of his face. She had started to grin, but Shang had slapped her without even bothering to look. Companions,as a rule, are quite gifted in hand to hand combat. They had to be, for even a Shepherd had the potential for great evil and bloodlust inside him. Since most Companions needed to be autonomous, the need to defend themselves was ever present, and Inara Serra was one of the best. But, she had been blindsided. Shang's wildly swinging hand had knocked her down, as well as the wind from her small body. He had seemed as though he was starting to apologize, but Inara saw a switch flip over from the look in his face. He went from apologetic to calculating in a flash. "I thought all of you whores knew how to beat a man back?" Inara suddenly understood why she was picked over all the other Companions. She was angry with herself, not for being beaten, but for being fooled. Inara wasn't afraid of Shang. She had defeated opponents much larger than him. But, he was so damn fast! Then again, so was she. She kicked his legs out from under him, but before he could roll away, he dropped one of his elbows in her ribs. "And, now we come to it, whore! Inara Serra from the ship Serenity. I have a message for your captain: Give me back my sword!" And, from the word "message" Inara knew this was going to be one of the worst days of her life. She recanted when she felt one of her ribs break. This wasn't one of the worst days of her life. This was it.

* * *

Book and Kaylee lifted the unconcious Sepia and carried her to the infirmary. If River had the hackles of a cat, they would have been raised. The girl was obviously unnerved by the sight of the unconcious bounty hunter. After Simon checked her slight head wound and pronounced her more or less healthy, he and Book strapped her to the operating table. None of them could see Mal, Jayne, and Zoe being led at gunpoint into Serenity's cargo hold by Raven. If they had, they might have jumped to the same conclusions the rest of the crew had. But, they didn't.


Wednesday, March 16, 2005 12:06 PM


Okay, getting good hear, so why did you stop? That's just my way of begging for more! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me


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Somnambulism - Chapter Fourteen
It's back...well, this is actually a reposting of a lost chapter. Hey! I just refound it myself!

Somnambulism - Chapter Thirteen
Trap. Hunt. Enemy. Trap

Somnambulism - Chapter Twelve
The Plan, Negotiation, Landing, Hunt

Somnambulism - Chapter Eleven
Wash's Orders, Mal's Revelation, The Other, Captiulation

Somnambulism - Chapter Ten
Mal's Dream. Walt's Problem. River's Regain.

Somnambulism - Chapter Nine
Safety. Recollection. Explanation.

Somnambulism - Chapter Eight
Simon's Dream, Mal's Choice, River's Verdict

Somnambulism - Chapter Seven
Memory, Atavism, Hera

Somnambulism - Chapter Six
History, Discovery, Purpose

Somnambulism - Chapter Five
Malice, Theory, Opportunity