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The Zero - Episode I: Liberty --- Part 6
Friday, February 6, 2004

Original characters. Someone's secret is revealed. Part 6 of 6.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1391    RATING: 10    SERIES: FIREFLY

Disclaimer: All recognizable characters, etc. belong not to me, but to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and Fox, and no money is being made here. The story, however, is mine.

“So lad, what’s your story?” “Huh?” I looked up from my datapad at Tobias who had just sat across from me at the dining room table. We were currently en route to Ariel. We left Persephone as soon as we were able to fuel up. We were even able to leave orbit before the Dortmunder arrived. Tobias continued. “What I find odd is that there is absolutely no record of this on the cortex. So a guy kills a guard, two top government agents, his crew totals an Alliance squad, you kill six more blowing the docks, all on an Alliance cruiser I may add. Then, you smuggle a girl and blow up three gunships… and no criminal report. What are you, some high-ranked turncoat the Alliance doesn’t want the public to know about?” “This coming from an underground op with enough Alliance connections to turn himself into a knight,” I retorted. Bill grabbed the seat at the head of the table. “You two seem like a perfect couple.” Tobias sneered at Bill. “And to top that off, we’re en route to Ariel, a core world.” Bill butted in. “On the plus side, that doctor was thrilled to have his sister back. Cute girl. Still in cryo, but her vitals are normal. They went on a Firefly to Boros. I instructed them to go as far away as possible.” Just as he said that, Libby walked in. “I sent your wave out.” She then took the datapad from me and went through it. “There’s something on Ariel I need,” I informed them. “We make a quick appearance, then boost for the border worlds.” Tobias didn’t let up. “You never answered my question. What’s your story?” “Everybody’s got a secret. Some secrets make good stories. Others, not so good.” I paused for a moment. “You two are welcome to stay. Make a living with us. Or I’ll have Liberty drop you off wherever you want. You choose to stay, I’ll tell you my secret, and my story. Of course, if you choose the latter, I can’t tell you a story, because you won’t be able to tell me a story in exchange.” Tobias pondered that for a moment. “I can’t speak for Bill here, but I can’t go back to Osiris. My only use to the movement was the connections I had. Those are non-existent now.” Bill had also made up his mind. “And no more cushy mechanic job on Persephone for me. I think I’ll have fun working on your weapons though. Most ships I’ve worked on were unarmed.” “Then I’ll tell you my story.” Libby stared at the datapad, already knowing the story, while Bill and Tobias listened carefully.

I am very smart. I was doing orbital calculations at the age of 5, knew all of calculus when I was 6. Finished just about all schooling on Londium physically possible before I hit 10. Unfortunately, there are people who want to take advantage of that. Among them, the Alliance. There was a school, something that had just recently appeared on the map. It looked exciting to me, so I applied, and got in. I was 12. That was the last time I remember having true memories. They took me, willingly at the time, into an operation. You see, all the human brain does is send and receive electromagnetic signals. They played with my brain, installed then bulky technology around my nervous system so I could read electromagnetic frequencies other than my own… and even send electromagnetic signals out to override another’s. There was a whole program set up using the standard Alliance numbering system for technology, with the first number being the model number, and the last two being the make of that model, with zeros indicating prototypes. This was all despite the fact that not even the highest authorities knew about it. My number: 000. The prototype of the prototype line. The very first they ever made. I was also the only of the prototype line to survive. I watched as 001 and 002’s brains and bodies rejected the technology being put into them. They used me as the model for the working lines. I was moved to a cruiser so I wouldn’t be in any danger. Control of the electromagnetic spectrum gave me the ability to communicate with not just brains, but electronics as well, and they let me use it on that ship. About a year after I had been operated on, they made 100, the last of the program to be able to send back out electromagnetic signals. They had dropped complete control and reading of the electromagnetic spectrum for a slimmed down approach. Thus, I am still the only one who can control modern electronics, and that can make metal float (although I’ve never been able to do the floating thing, probably why they got rid of that feature). I also have the longest range of any of us because of this. The tech was still bulky, but they were able to produce about twenty 1s with the new students in the academy. Two years later, 200 was built. More efficient, I could see where the program was headed. The Blue Hands had taken over the program. They didn’t want to encourage knowledge as they had said when the program was beginning. They wanted us for control over any who would defy the Alliance. Serenity Valley had just ended, and we were now the perfect weapon for wiping out people like the Independents. The Darkness had started. They started hurting the 1s and 2s, seeing how much pain they could take. They didn’t need the person to be able to control, but with all the knowledge gathered, they were perfect assassins. They wiped my memories of people clean. They’re there now, but all blurs. This suffering went on for almost a year. They gave me too much control. In an effort to make me the perfect weapon, they had me link to the entire task force. I could sense an enemy’s objective, and reroute whatever ships necessary to deal with it. The 1s and 2s had been suffering pain at the hands of the Blue Hands about a year when I had had enough. I created a false emergency big enough and far enough away that the entire task force was sent, leaving only the cruiser. I was able to direct all of the 1s, 2s, and the brand new 300 to an escape route and free them. It ended tragically, with the majority of them being killed within minutes when their brains rejected that order. The ones that could make it fled in many directions. I ordered them to go as far away as possible and never look back before I severed my link completely. I set the auto-destruct on the ship and took a shuttle down to Londium. When the task force returned, no one knew what happened. I found Liberty on Londium. That was five years ago. I flew out to the border worlds, only coming back in occasionally to free someone else from the Blue Hands. After 300 escaped, there were no more 3s. 300’s circuitry was limited only to the brain, making it a million times more efficient than I ever was. Series 4 was a flop. A few of those were made over the years, but could barely read a single mind. The girl we rescued today was 500. The most powerful I’ve ever seen. Not only were they able to shrink down the circuitry to unnoticeable, but this was their first attempt at precognitive abilities. She can see slightly into the future, while still retaining her massive knowledge and reading skills. We hit the Alliance hard today. It will take them years to recover, and hopefully then, I’ll be ready yet again to free the next mind they force their treachery and pain upon. For yea, as I walk alone through the valley of the shadow of darkness, I shall fear no evil.

COMMENTS

Friday, February 6, 2004 12:06 PM

ARTSHIPS


Neat wrap-up. Write some more about these guys.

Saturday, February 12, 2011 5:51 PM

SOULOFSERENITY


I'm reading this for the first time nearly 7 years to the day after you originally posted it, thanks to the quote that popped up on the main FFF.net page. I loved this first story arc, and I plan on reading the rest! I just wanted to comment just in case you're still getting the messages from here. We're still flying, and I'm still reading.

- Soul


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