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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
Repost of chapter 7. The Blue Hands begin their search for River while Anne keeps the two crews distracted. Inara finds herself in the company of someone unexpected and what is that on the horizon?
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1076 RATING: 0 SERIES: FIREFLY
Advancing the Plan
Loc: Blue Sun Vault 2115 b45216 a528 r89566 p12
Descrp: Response to Inquiry – Process Breakdown – Status Report
Process # 1: In it’s simplest term, to read minds. To gain access to memories, both remembered and forgotten. To hear thoughts before they become spoken words. To infiltrate that most private of havens: the human mind.
Process # 2: In it’s simplest term, to manipulate minds. To take those stolen memories and make them more real than the current reality. To confuse thoughts and contort what the brain believes to be real. To make the senses believe in what is not really there.
Process # 3: In it’s simplest term, to destroy minds. To combine both previous processes to rape and ravish minds to the point where all mental activity ceases. To kill without any chance of resuscitation.
Number of Students to achieve Process # 1 with the use of a Mental Device: 42
Number of Students to achieve Process # 2 with the use of a Mental Device: 29
Number of Students to achieve Process # 3 with the use of a Mental Device: 11
Number of Students to achieve Process # 1 without the use of a Mental Device: 5
Number of Students to achieve Process # 2 without the use of a Mental Device: 2
Number of Students to achieve Process # 3 without the use of a Mental Device: 1
* * *
Volk returned to Serenity’s cargo bay, where Ketter waited, the other man’s expression making it obvious that the result of Ketter’s search had been as fruitful as Volk’s.
“The Tams are not here,” Volk stated.
Ketter’s face contorted with annoyance. “This is not the way things are supposed to work. River Tam is proving to be more trouble than we originally expected.”
Volk nodded in agreement. He looked around the dirty cargo bay, and for a moment he had to fight off an urge to escape to someplace cleaner. All this time searching for the Experiment, and instead of boarding the Exitor with River Tam in tow, he found himself once again with a failed plan. How was it that they had been evaded at every turn, despite all their careful planning? River Tam was an anomaly, and always had been. Not only during the Change Sessions, where she had shown remarkable endurance to the procedures that had killed others seemingly stronger than her, but also now. She had been stolen away after the Changes, but before she was put back together, before she was given control-
“She has begun to learn control, hasn’t she?” Volk asked as the thought struck him.
Ketter growled, showing more emotion in the belly of Serenity then he ever did. “I think that we have been underestimating Miss Tam.” He turned to Volk. “I think that it is time to advance the plan.”
Again nodding in agreement, Volk tilted his head upwards as if he could see through the metal plating to where Anne kept the two crews occupied. “What about them?” he asked.
“Leave them be for now. They may still lead us to River.” Then Ketter grinned as if all of the emotions he kept in check were now trying to force their way out of his mouth all at once. “In the end, we’ll just have to let our friends take care of them as well, along with everyone else on this God-forsaken rock.”
* * *
Zoe sat in the corner of the room, as far back as she could without sitting in the hallway. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to be there; on the contrary, at one time she had known Abigail Reynolds better than her son Malcolm. Zoe’s parents had run a transport ship that made frequent stops on Shadow, and Abigail had given them a feast every planetfall. During every run she had looked forward to their stop on Shadow, well, at least until the gorram Alliance raided her parent’s ship…
But this was time for celebration, not for reliving a past that couldn’t be changed. Except for Inara, who had only stopped by briefly and left before Mal returned, all of Mal’s crew was there celebrating with him. Mal deserved a happy moment more than any other member of Serenity’s crew. Probably more than any of Destiny’s crew as well.
Speaking of Destiny’s crew, with the exception of Elise and Rian (the latter reminding her more of herself than she cared to admit), they were all just as enthralled with Mal and his mother as those who had known Mal for years. Zoe had to admit that Etris had managed to find himself a great crew that seemed very loyal to him. Even Gretta, whose medical expertise seemed in her mind to rival Simon’s…
Simon. Why was she thinking of him now? Him and River were safely tucked away in Kaylee’s bunk.
Something caught her eye, and she turned to see, in a sea of laughing people, Abigail Reynolds staring at her with an expression as cold as ice. Zoe rocked back in her chair, as if something had pushed her. She stared back at Mal’s mother, and suddenly found herself staring into a face that was much younger than Abigail Reynolds’s should have been, and she looked nothing like Mal-
-Abigail was laughing with everyone else, her face as jovial as Zoe remembered, and Zoe couldn’t help but to begin to smile herself.
* * *
Inara stepped out onto the balcony and peered out into the night. Seeing Serenity again, seeing her friends again had been wonderful. Governor Prenatt had informed her that Serenity had landed at the docks, and despite her apprehension about seeing Mal again, she had gone to say a brief hello. When she had discovered that Mal wasn’t there, she had been relieved, but at the same time greatly disappointed. After everything that had happened between then and to them, there was still the same rift that drove them apart. God, just to see his face! But that would have brought all the emotions that she had tried to suppress back to the surface. That’s why she had written Mal the Wave, as opposed to speaking with him live. She didn’t know how well her emotional defenses would have stood up to seeing him again.
She looked across town, across the buildings lit by the occasional lantern towards where Serenity and Destiny sat on the docks, looking like two birds straining to spread their wings and fly. She reflected on her life on Destiny and just how much alike the two crews really were and how well they fit together. Just like a family. Except Serenity was missing a member.
She put her head in her hands. How could she have left? When she had gone to say hello, Kaylee had started blubbering and begging her not to leave again. It had seemed like everyone had been happy to see her. Well, everyone but Zoe. She couldn’t blame her at all for not being ecstatic. After all, she had known Mal for years and was obviously more attuned to the Captain’s emotions than anyone else, save Mal’s mother.
Mal’s mother. Now there was an interesting coincidence. How unlikely was it for her to just happen to run into the mother of the man that she herself was running from? But she had meet Mal’s mother, and she had written Mal about her, and it had brought Mal across the galaxy to where she was…was it destiny, then? With all that was happening, with all the coincidences, were her and Mal destined to be together? Or were they just destined to continue with the pointless dance that they had been improvising the steps to ever since they had met?
She sighed. It was all too much. She had a new life now. She had a new ship that she called home, and a new group of people that she called family. But that wasn’t true, was it? Destiny and her crew, no matter how welcoming they were, could never take the place of Serenity in her heart. Serenity was home, her crew Inara’s family. There was no changing that.
She was turning to make her way back indoors when:
Simon’s hushed voice carried across the night air and Inara spun around, searching in the darkness for Simon’s form. She heard a shuffling sound from below her, and she leaned over the railing. Thirty feet below her, she could make out Simon Tam as he peered back up at her, or rather at something to her left. Another shuffling from the direction Simon was looking and Inara turned just in time to watch River Tam scale up the side of the ivy-covered wall and gracefully jump over the wooden railing and onto the balcony.
Inara stared in shock. River smiled back at her.
“River!” came Simon’s voice again, this time more anxious.
River tiptoed over to where Inara stood and leaned over the railing. “It’s okay, Simon,” she whispered. “I told you that Inara would save us.”
* * *
Harvey inched up towards Serenity’s cargo bay door, the gun held tightly in his sweaty hands. It had taken him nearly twenty minutes to cross the space between the two ships, hiding behind anything that he could find. Finally he approached the open door. He leaned forward, ready to tip his head around the corner when the sound of footsteps reached his ears, accompanied by voices that he didn’t recognize. He dove back to his right and hid behind a pile of boxes just as the clanging of boots on metal grating turned into the thump of boots on packed dirt. He heard the voices clearer; two men, and one girl. The men were talking anxiously about a River Tam and advancing the plan to the next level while the girl chatted on happily about how she had managed to dupe everyone in believing that she was the mother of Serenity’s Captain.
Who or what was River Tam? What plan? How had the girl duped an entire room of people?
Harvey let those questions swim around in his head as he waited for the sound of the mule that the two suited men had arrived on driving away from where he hid. He risked a quick glance and saw the men with the blue gloves climbing onto the mule with the girl in tow. Ducking back behind the crates, he waited a moment more until he heard the engine rev up and the mule rolling away from him. He stood up and made his way for the open hatch. He had to let everyone know what he had seen, and if only for himself, he needed to find an explanation for what they were talking about.
He reached the door and took one final look back at the retreating mule, and his eyes widened in shock when he saw the girl staring back at him with piercing eyes and-
* * *
After Simon had noisily climbed up the ivy and joined his sister on the balcony, Inara came out of her shock and asked the obvious question, more out of confusion than anger: “What in the di yu are you doing here?”
River smiled at her again. “Simon didn’t believe me,” she said before turning her back to Inara and leaning over the balcony again.
Inara sighed and turned to Simon, who was busy regaining his breath after the climb. Inara noted with slight amusement that River hadn’t seemed winded at all. After Simon caught his breath, he turned to Inara. “Sorry,” he said, breathing heavily, “but River kept going off about ‘two by two, hands of blue’ and trying to forcefully drag me out of Kaylee’s bunk. I had to sneak past everyone and get her away from the ship before she calmed down.”
Inara looked over at River, her heart swarming with compassion like it always did when she thought about the poor girl. “I thought she was getting better,” she commented to Simon.
Simon opened his mouth to respond, but River interrupted him.
“She is better, just has some parts that still need work.” River lifted her head up towards the stars and a far away look crossed her features. “They’re coming now, they’ve been called to the feast and the dinner bell is ringing.”
Simon walked over to her and put a hand on her shoulder. “Who is coming, River?”
River smiled. “Men from the deep black.” She closed her eyes. “Well, almost men.”
* * *
In the small building that housed the dock’s Port Control office, a soft beeping roused the only attendant from his sleep. He rubbed his eyes and slowly turned the to the panel that was emitting the repetitious sound. He clicked on the light and the noise stopped. Looking at the readout, his eyebrows creased in confusion.
“What in the good gorram…?” He grabbed his communicator and keyed it up. “You might want to check this out,” he said into the small device. “I’ve got something really strange.”
Three minutes later another man entered the room, dressed in sleeping attire and wearing a scowl on his face. “This better be good, Dallas,” he growled.
Dallas pointed at the screen. “Take a look, Hank.”
Hank leaned down low over the readout. “Trans-U…late model…no I.D.…” he read out loud, then, “no core containment! What kind of ruttin fools travel with no core containment? Them people’s just askin’ for radiation poisoning.”
“Like I said, strange,” Dallas remarked. “And the thing that worries me, they’re coming here.”
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