GENIUS SERIES: 6. "Secrets and Lies"
Thursday, January 12, 2006

"Zoe is determined to get the Captain back by any means. Simon and River's little idyll loses its' shine."



SUMMARY: "Zoe is determined to get the Captain back by any means. Simon and River's little idyll loses its' shine." The usual disclaimers apply. The characters and 'Firefly' are the property and gift of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No infringement of copyright is intended.


"Firefly" story

Written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * * *

It was almost eerie the silence that had descended aboard Serenity. Everyone was more than a mite tense. Shepherd Book was worried, not just about the Captain but Zoe. He knew she and the Captain had quite a history. Knew she was totally loyal to the man. Would no doubt follow him into each of the nine hells if she had to so now he had to wonder what she would do once the ship arrived at its' destination. Tight lipped and silent as the grave Zoe stood on the bridge and just stared out at the Black. Wash had tried to open a conversation several times but her answers were little more than grunts, her distraction by turns worrying and annoying him. But Wash knew better than to say as much.

The fuel from Inara's shuttle was just enough to get them to the Tam Estate though how in *diyu* they were going to take off again was another matter. The pilot knew his wife was not thinking further than their immediate destination and that scared him on a deep and fundamental level. Zoe was the most focused and level headed person he had ever met. Sure she was a stone killer but she was also warm and witty when the mood took her. The Shepherd hesitated before broaching the subject in front of Wash but he could hardly ask the pilot to vacate the bridge so he could talk to the man's wife and he knew without a shadow of a doubt that the woman would not leave the bridge. Best to speak now before the others barged in.

"Are you sure this is the right thing to do?"

Zoe did not look round at the Preacher but he could see her expression reflected in the glass. "We don't know where that *tamade hundan* took the Cap'n but I figure she'll know."

Book frowned. "She?"

"His wife, Regan Tam."

"You mean River and Simon's mother?"

A flicker of irritation crossed Zoe's face. She did not like how Book was attempting to humanise Gabriel Tam. In her eyes the man was only fit to be put down. She would even do it for free. The thought made her take a mental step back. A visible effort to calm herself. "*Qu*."

"Maybe she doesn't know what's happened?"

That got a reaction. Zoe spun round and stared at the Preacher. "This from the mother who sent her only daughter into an Alliance torture camp?"

"We don't know that's what happened. Remember Simon said it was an academy, River wanted to go. Said it had the most exciting programme. Not exactly an advert for torture."

"Shepherd, we know now it was an Alliance facility an' while the Tams maybe didn't know that they did nothin' to check or find out if anythin' was wrong when Simon raised the alarm. In fact, his gorram father all but disowned him! Not quite the picture of lovin' parents."

"I think it's too early to judge them." Said Book carefully. Too many times since coming to this ship he had played the role of Devil's Advocate to the crew. Trying to be a voice of reason when there was none. Didn't feel any more comfortable adopting the role now but someone had to keep a sense of balance. Proportion. "We don't have all the pieces yet. Would be a mistake to jump to conclusions."

"I'm with the Preacher, *bao bei*. Let's find out what's goin' on before we do somethin' we can't take back." Zoe stared at Wash without blinking. "Wash. Honey. If River an' Simon's parents can be so cold an' callous to their own what the good gorram do you think they're gonna do to the Cap'n?"

"Maybe," Said Book gently. "They just want their children back."

"An' maybe," Came Zoe's tight lipped reply. "We want our Cap'n back."

Wash tried to lighten the heavy mood somewhat. "Maybe they'll trade?"

Zoe and Book just stared at him. Feeling self conscious, Wash made a point of checking the course and trimming the flight controls. "Right. Back to the flyin'."

* * * * *

Her head was spinning. Hurt. Everything hurt. "Simon?"

Simon reached for her, his voice low and soothing though on some level she could tell he was upset and troubled. Not for himself but for her. She should not be having this reaction. The procedure had been successful. "Sssh, it's late *mei mei*. You should try to sleep or I could give you something?"

It was as if she had not even heard him. Was not aware of where she was or who held her. "They're hurtin' him but it won't do any good." Simon was about to ask her who she was talking about when the distant look in her eyes vanished into momentary coherence. "He will die before he gives us up."

"*Shei*, River? Who'll die?"

"The Captain."

Something pierced him. "The Captain?" Simon tried to hide how much her words disturbed him. But then nothing that happened on Serenity now had anything to do with him and River. Picking the thoughts clean out of his head, River tried to explain.

"You should have told him."

"River, I don't know what you're talking about. You're tired and no doubt feeling a little disorientated but that's perfectly..."

She cut him off. "Not perfect! It's anything but, Simon." Tears pooled in her eyes. Shaking now. "Our fault."

"No, no, *mei mei* you mustn't think that."

"He won't tell them anything."

"Good, that's good. See? Nothing to worry about, we're safe *mei mei*. Safe."

"Are we safe if people die because of us? Are we free if others are enslaved? Are we just if we show no mercy?"


She was crying now. "You gave up everything you had to find me but I wasn't broken."

"It's alright River, don't get upset. We have a new life now. People who need us."

"No, not family."

"We can't go back, you know that."

River nodded as if the last comment made sense. "Burned too many bridges."

"It isn't safe but we're safe here."

"No one knows us."

"That's why we're safe."

Her eyes met his and Simon had a feeling she was speaking about more than their current predicament. "It's a lie, Simon. Everything is. And now someone else has to pay for it and it isn't fair!"

"*Wo zhidao, mei mei*."

Her tears stopped abruptly. Her look more focused. "We have to put it right."

Now Simon was feeling more than a mite panicked. Not always able to keep up with the often quixotic nature of River's thoughts on a good day and this was not a good day. Were they even on the same page any more? "River?"

"Our fault, our mistake, not his."

"What do you mean?"

She looked completely sane once more, only her words and actions did not match the look in her eyes. It frightened the rutting *diyu* out of Simon Tam. His sister wanted him to understand but first she had to make him listen. "We have to save Daddy."

A jolt went through Simon's heart. Angry words relived when their father had all but disowned him, refusing to lend aid or support in his search for his sister. Feeble attempts to put him off. Only his devotion to her kept him going. He shuddered to think what would have happened to her had he not ignored his father and mother. They could go to *diyu* for all he cared. "No River, whatever happens to father it is his own doing."

River shook her head. Impatient. Annoyed. "No, Simon, you're not listening. Not father, *daddy*. Head of the family. The one who leads, looks after us." She smiled softly at him as if he should know this as well as anyone. Raising a pale hand she cupped the side of his face and gazed on him with such love that he could not speak. Emotions trapped in a heart of glass. If she lost faith in him now he would shatter. "Cares for us, loves us but won't say the words. Trapped inside his heart along with the shrapnel. Thinks he can't bleed if he doesn't acknowledge he's wounded. Needs us Simon but time's running out."

"River, we can't. We left that life behind. It was getting too dangerous."

She nodded wisely. "Yes, but not for us."

He brushed the heavy strands of hair from her face.

"For them."

He did not want to go. They were building a home here but River would not settle and the more he tried to convince her to stay the worse she got. Until Simon feared to give her any more drugs for fear of sparking fits. River was volatile enough without him pushing her into an episode that would leave her too damaged for him to fix. He rocked the crying girl in his arms. "Okay, *mei mei*, we'll go back. We'll look for him."

"No." Her voice was small. As if as she was speaking her vocal chords were breaking down. The dust a brittle glitter of broken words and syllables that Simon found indistinguishable from the tears in his heart. "Time to go home."

* * * * *

Gabriel Tam was beyond angry. His body buzzed with fury yet still he had gained nothing. He gave a malevolent glare at the man slumped in the chair, only his bindings keeping Malcolm Reynolds from falling face down on the floor. This was not going according to plan and as the minutes ticked by Gabriel got more and more frustrated. He turned on the doctor, the little man blanching at the look in his employer's eyes. "Inject him again!"

"I've already given him the maximum dose, *shifu*."

"He is still defying me!"

"Sir," Said the man tentatively. "This drug is very strong, it would be impossible for him to resist which means he must be telling the truth."

The answer did not satisfy Gabriel Tam. "I want my children!" Spinning round Gabriel picked up a com and rasped into it. "Canning, what did you find on the ship?"

Canning's voice came back firm but unhappy. "We didn't, *laoban*. Before we could get near the *lese* piece of *goushi* it went to full burn. We almost got fried in the backwash."

Gabriel blinked. "Backwash?"

"It's a Firefly, sir. Lit up like a containment breach just as we started to turn an' follow."

An unwelcome thought occurred to Gabriel Tam. "Are you saying they knew we were going to go after them?"

The shrug was in Canning's voice. "Probaby just co-incidence. Not like they would have recognised our vessel or connected it with the job."

Clicking the com off, Gabriel spent a moment deep in thought then let his eyes settle back on the Captain of Serenity. The nervous doctor had intimated that any more drugs would kill the man and dead men did not talk. No. He was not finished with Malcolm Reynolds yet but before he could ask him any more questions he needed him conscious. "Purdy!"

One of the heavyweight lugs guarding the door straightened. "Yes, boss?"

"Wake this *chun wangba dan*." He paused to give a nasty smile. "I don't care how you choose to do it, *dong ma*?"

Grinning, Purdy cracked his knuckles and moved in for some sport.

"Just don't damage his face." As Canning frowned, Gabriel's smile widened. "After all, he has to be able to talk..."

* * * * *

Wash landed as close to the Tam Estate as he could without landing on the front lawn. Fortunately the trees and shrubbery helped to make their arrival less spectacular than it might have been. He was worried about the way in which things seemed to be spiralling out of control, among them his *qizi's* grip on sanity. Shepherd Book was watching Zoe closely, blocking out the sight of an almost gleeful Jayne Cobb getting hyped up for action. "How are we going to do this? We don't even know if the Captain is here."

"First we go in all polite an' social."

The Shepherd's eyebrows rose. Inara wanted to speak but the look in Zoe's eye quashed that foolish notion. "We do?"

"*Qu*. Figure first off we knock. If nobody answers," She gave Jayne a grim little smile. "Jayne blows the gorram door off its' hinges."

The Shepherd closed his eyes and tried to count to ten. This was worse than some of the Captain's plans and that was saying something. Kaylee poked her head through the door and looked from one tense face to another. "Don't ya think we should wave first?"

Zoe had a sawn off shotgun in her hands, deciding to keep the sidearm for close work. She pumped the chamber not noticing how Kaylee winced. "Not givin' 'em a chance to move the Cap'n before we can get to him."

"What if he ain't there?" Said Jayne.

"Then we find out where they took him."

As Zoe, Jayne and Book strode off the bridge Kaylee stood wringing her hands. "I can't believe Simon an' River's folks are involved in this, Wash. Don't make sense."

Wash shrugged and looked at his dinosaurs. "What do I know? I'm only the husband."

That distracted Kaylee enough to turn her anxious face in his direction. "*Shenme*?"

The pilot relented. Now was not the time to go all green-eyed and frustrated. He just hoped that whatever trouble the Captain had got himself into his beautiful but deadly wife would not end up paying for it. Somehow every bit of *goushi* Malcolm Reynolds stepped in always ended up covering his crew as well. *Wode ma*, man was a walking Jonah. But, he was also his friend and his Captain. As Wash began to think past the *oh god, oh god, we're all gonna die* complex a thought popped into his head which sparked off a smile. Inara put a comforting arm around Kaylee.

"Inara, this is a pretty big damn estate, *dui*?"

The Companion nodded. "*Qu, weishenme*?"

"Only that a place this size must have all kinds of mules, ground cars, flitters and such like which means they must have a fuel store. What say we amuse ourselves while the others are gone an' see if we can't try an' track down where that fuel might be?"

Inara looked shocked then thoughtful, her mind turning over the possibilities. The estate seemed to be lightly guarded if at all and if they could fuel the ship it would give them an edge if things went wrong. It eased her misgivings to see that the worried mechanic was smiling now, even though what Wash was suggesting meant stealing from the Tams. Slowly Kaylee's look hardened into grim resolve. If Simon and River's parents were responsible for taking the Captain then stealing fuel for Serenity was no more than compensation. And with the ship fueled and ready to go no power in the 'verse would be able to stop them. At least. That was the plan.

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*diyu* = hell *tamade hundan*/*wangba dan* = fucking bastard *qu* = yes (lit. go) *bao bei* = precious/treasure *mei mei* = little sister *shei* = who? *shifu* = sir *laoban* = boss *lese* = crappy *goushi* = crap/dog shit *dong ma* = understand? *shenme* = what *chun* = stupid *qizi* = wife *dui* = correct *wo zhidao* = I know *weishenme* = why *wode ma* = mother of God


Thursday, January 12, 2006 2:00 PM


Yes! Another great installment, I've been checking the site frequently just to see if the next part is up! More soon please! :D

Thursday, January 12, 2006 2:11 PM


Graet job i cant wait for more.

Thursday, January 12, 2006 2:37 PM


OOoh. I had a sudden thought on what Simon did to River. That's not good.

Keep it going. I wanna see Jayne and Zoe kick some Tam ass.

Friday, November 4, 2011 8:28 AM


A flicker of irritation crossed Zoe's face. She did not like how Book was attempting to humanise Gabriel Tam. In her eyes the man was only fit to be put down. She would even do it for free.
Very good!!!!!!
Love Kaylee and Wash doing their part in the crimeXDXD


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His head still ached from the rutting probe but after the men had satisfied themselves that his story was true a thousand questions peppered the air like machine gun fire.

The vessel was shiny, sleek and black with nowhere near the bulk of an Alliance ship. Something about the way it moved through the Black was more than a little creepifying.

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.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: 2. "Counting Chickens"
The fact that her eyes were hard and sharp with intelligence kind of chilled him. Smart women always made him uneasy, it just weren't natural.

What in the nine hells were they so afraid of? Then he remembered Tracy. The body mailed to them by their old war buddy and all the trouble that had brought down on them.

If it was too gorram wet to hunt for rabbits what in the nine hells was his son really hunting? And was it something on four legs or two?

The man was in a terrible condition, his pulse weak, and for some reason he was soaking wet which did nothing to staunch the blood soaking through his clothing and seeping from the poorly tended wound where he had been shot.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 9. "All The King's Men"
The man sighed like the weight of the of the 'Verse was on his shoulders but unlike anyone else he looked like he could carry the weight.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 8. "All The King's Horses"
Without warning something came through the opening and rolled with a metallic clang across the ground before exploding.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 7. "Friend or Foe"
Then he found himself falling, the whole world silent as in slow motion the hordes of *diyu* came to swallow him up and everything disintegrated in fire, blood and pain.