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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Simon - dead? Say it isn't so. And River gets to plan a Big Damn Rescue. Violence does ensue.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1484 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Pushing the shuttle as fast as it could go, but still hours from him, River felt Simon’s agony in the final moments before he died. Overwhelmed with his pain, fear and anguish, all she could do for him at that moment was cry, uncontrollably. As the hot tears rolled down her face, she knew that in a short time another moment would come; and in that moment she’d be able to do much more than shed tears. She’d be able to avenge his death.
“She will not be happy.”
Glancing to his partner with a quizzical look, the second agent asked, “I didn’t think we were all that concerned with River Tam’s happiness.” Turning back to survey the exam room before him, he watched through the one-way mirror as the techs hurried to revive Simon. “Besides, it might just encourage her to get here a bit faster.”
They stood in silence as the machines in the room, monitoring the boy’s condition, restarted half a dozen times before finally registering his resumed heart beat. The young doctor was strong; that was something neither agent had anticipated. The sister had been strong as well, still was, truth be told, but she’d always been exceptionally gifted at everything. Simon was another matter entirely. He had been considered a prime candidate for the Academy program that River would eventually enter but had dropped off their short list just a few days before his sixth birthday.
The agents had witnessed a change in the boy that they had not been prepared for. With the birth of his sister, the elder Tam had learned compassion and sensitivity, two traits he had never really exhibited with his parents, as the parents never exhibited them with him. But the baby girl had brought out a different, more protective side to the boy and those emotions, spurred on at a young age, had greatly altered the way his brain developed. With a rapidity that surprised them all, he quickly became too emotionally advanced to be of any use to them.
But River had not been a disappointment. With only her brother’s love to sustain her, as the parents had both been fairly ineffective, River did not have the kind of maternal bond needed to grow into an emotionally strong woman. And so, when the time came and she arrived at the Academy, it was quite easy for the blue-handed agents to manipulate her brain; to wreak havoc on her morality; and to implant all kinds of suggestions. She had fought them at first, hard, the image of her brother and his love for her a constant distraction that impeded their work. But after a few months of non-stop pain and psychological testing, even Simon Tam could not keep his sister from breaking.
“Sirs, there’s a shuttle approaching. Short-range, older model.” The voice on the other side of the comm held no emotion and the blue-gloved agents regarded his announcement in kind.
“Allow it to land. See that she makes it here.” The agents shared a look that could only be described as predatory.
“Welcome home,” one of them whispered, as they both exited the room to prepare for the return of their most promising student.
Kaylee rolled over onto her back, her hand immediately reaching for Simon’s side. The moment she felt only cold sheets beside her, her eyes snapped open, the warm sensation of her dream wearing away quickly. Sitting upright in bed, panic immediately overwhelmed her. “Simon!”
“Shh, mei mei, it’s all right.” Inara rushed to his friend’s side, reaching out an arm to embrace her. Kaylee felt stiff and tense at her side, consumed again with fear. Inara felt Kaylee’s tension start to seep away as her reality came flooding back.
Crying softly, she reached her arms around Inara’s waist and held her friend tightly. “Oh ‘Nara,” Kaylee cried, burying her tear laden face against Inara’s silk-clad shoulder. “I was having the best dream. Simon was here and he was holding me, tellin’ me he loved me. Why isn’t he here?”
Inara continued to rub Kaylee’s back, hoping she could bring some comfort to her friend. Truth was, her heart broke for the girl. Inara knew that if the situations were reversed and Mal was the one in trouble, she would be heartbroken as well.
“He’s going to come back, mei mei,” she whispered into the girl’s hair. “I promise.”
“River, report to the bridge, now.”
Mal’s stern voice over the ship’s comm startled to the two women. Grimacing, Inara realized it was time. Pulling away from Kaylee, she wiped the girl’s cheeks with her thumbs as she said, “I have to go see Mal for a second. Will you be okay?”
She nodded glumly, slumping back against the bed. Pulling a pillow to her chest, Kaylee wrapped her arms tightly around it and rolled onto her side, curling her legs up to her chest. It wasn’t until Inara had left the room that Kaylee buried her head in the pillow and again began to cry.
Inara made it to the bridge in time to see Mal reach out for the comm again. Apparently, he was a mite impatient that his pilot had decided to ignore a direct order. Sighing inwardly, Inara realized, this day was about to actually get worse.
The sound of her voice stayed his hand, his finger hovering over the intercom switch. Turning to face her, she could read the annoyance on his face; the annoyance she had seen, on more than one occasion, boil over into anger.
“’Nara, have you seen River? I can’t find that girl anywhere.”
Inara took another step towards him, glad to see that Zoe and Jayne were thankfully absent from the bridge. “She’s not here.”
Mal blinked rapidly a few times, seemingly unable to comprehend her words. “What?”
“She’s gone, Mal,” Inara told him, still inching closer. “She went after Simon.”
“She – She went … what?” He asked it again, only this time it was more of a shout. His anger had appeared, just as Inara knew it would.
“She knew she could get to him. We have to trust her.” Inara was begging with him to understand, to be patient and wait it out. But she knew that was a dream; Mal had never been patient a day in his life and waiting on anything was not in his genetic makeup.
“Trust her,” he asked incredulously, his nostrils flaring as he seethed. “Trust her? After she stole one of my gorram shuttles to go joyriding on some suicide mission? You want me to trust her?”
“It’s not like that and you know it,” Inara told him, allowing some steeliness into her tone. “River knows Simon better than anyone and she knew he was in trouble, possibly dying,” she lowered her voice for the last part, not wanting anyone, especially Kaylee to even get a hint of the possibility. “You have no choice but to trust her.”
“Oh, I got a choice,” Mal commented angrily, throwing himself into the pilot’s seat and calling up the navigational controls. “This is my gorram ship, I ruttin’ got a choice. I’m going after her.”
“No.” It was not a question, not a request, but a statement. Mal had not expected such a firm response from anyone on his boat, least of all Kaylee.
Swiveling in the chair, he looked past Inara to Kaylee’s trembling form standing in the room’s doorway. Her eyes shone with tears, but she stood tall and defiant. “No, cap’n. We’re staying put.”
Mal’s arguments quickly lost their importance as he took in the sight of his mei mei. Large bags under her red rimmed eyes told him she had been sleeping very little and the way her body sagged told him she was using all the energy she had to stand there now, disobeying him for the first time since she’d come aboard. He didn’t want to hurt her, really, but he couldn’t let River, crazy as she was, run off thinking she knew better than he did. Once he allowed that, Mal knew he’d never be able to effectively give orders again – not that he necessarily gave them effectively now.
“Look, lil’ Kaylee, I got no mind to argue with you right now, but I’m telling you true, I can’t just let River go.” He really didn’t want to yell at the girl, she looked terrible. Mal knew she loved the doc, despite all of his objections. Glancing to Inara, Mal knew he could relate to his mechanic’s desperation.
“Cap’n, I’m tellin’ you, I need Simon back.” Some of her tears started to fall, but Kaylee held her voice steady as she continued. “The only person who can bring him back to us is River. So you gotta trust her. You just gotta have faith in people.”
Her last words stung, no doubt as she knew they would. Mal slumped against his chair, knowing that both of the women were right. But he didn’t have to like it. Gorramit, if River went and got herself killed in the process … well, truth was he’d never forgive himself. That’s what he was trying to avoid – another bout of survivor’s guilt. He’d had quite enough of it for five lifetimes.
Seemingly satisfied with his non-response, Kaylee turned slowly and made her way back to the bunk she shared with Simon. Neither Mal nor Inara heard her sobs as she again retreated to the small room, and sank, helplessly, to the cold floor.
“Thank you, Mal.” Inara’s voice snapped Mal back to reality. He brought his blue eyes up to meet her deep brown ones and his breath caught in his throat. Even with no sleep, little makeup and distress etching her features, she was still the most beautiful woman he’d ever known.
“Don’t thank me, darlin’,” he said quietly, rising to embrace her. As she held him back tightly, he continued, “You can save your thanks for River. If we make it through this, she’ll be the one who deserves your gratitude.”
River landed with no fanfare. There were no inquiries to ascertain her business, no threats about deviating from a set course. She had known it would be like this. The blue hands were unbearably self-assured. They believed she was returning, just as they had planned it. But River had plans of her own.
Once she had safely landed the shuttle and sealed it up tight to prevent tampering, River surveyed the small, non-descript building that held her brother’s weakening form. It looked no different than dozens of other buildings on hundreds of dozens of other planets. It was exactly the sort of drab architecture the Alliance was known for.
A shiver ran down her spine, as she entered the building through a side door. No alarm sounded, and River did little to hide her approach. She knew she had been captured on surveillance cams the moment she’d stepped off her ship; they were following her every move – attempting to be stealthy now would just be amusing, if anything.
It wasn’t difficult to find Simon. His pain radiated across the building, through the walls like a beacon, calling her to him. She was not surprised to find his room empty. She wasn’t even surprised at the state she found him in; she was only angry.
Angrier than she had ever been, including after he’d been shot. What they had done to him was beyond cruel; it was evil. She assessed his injuries with a cursory glance, knowing now was not the time to dwell on the pain he was in. His arms and legs were bent at odd angles, indicating breaks, while his chest and rib cage protruded strangely. River knew they had tried to break every bone in his body and had probably succeeded. On top of the breaks, there were dozens of purplish-blue contusions across his skin, as well as open wounds, cuts as long as her fingers and as short as a sliver running all over his bare chest and limbs. Some of the blood had dried, but some of the wounds were quickly becoming infected, while others just continued to bleed.
River glanced to his arms and saw the needle marks there, knowing that the physical abuse would have been a walk in the park compared to the mental anguish they had caused him. River remembered it all too well.
Still on alert, she glanced around the room and found a blanket. Grabbing it, she undid his bindings, taking care not to jostle his swollen and raw ankles and wrists. Placing her hand lightly against his cheek, River leaned down so her face was only inches away from his. “Simon,” she whispered, closing her eyes and trying to find a way past his hurt, past his fear to the core of him where he was still her brother. “It’s time to go.”
He came to slowly, his mind foggy with pain, his eyes clouded with drugs and shock. “River,” he said through cracked lips; he could barely open his eyes.
“It’s me,” she told him, biting back sudden tears.
His eyes would not focus and River waited, chewing her lower lip. She could feel the confusion in his brain, the drug-induced haze that was clouding everything.
Slowly, he began shaking his head, his eyes squeezing shut as his breathing became more distressed. “No,” he whimpered, his voice small. “You’re not real, you’re not her. Not River.”
Fighting back more tears, River held his face in her hands and said, “Simon, it is me. Look at me.”
While he was struggling to shut her out, something in her tone, something in her demeanor managed to reach him. His eyes opening back to slits, she saw small slivers of dull blue taking in her face. “How do I know you’re real,” he asked her, his voice husky from emotion.
River looked at him for another moment and then turned her best, bratty sister stare on him. “You’re a boob.”
Sighing heavily, Simon’s body sagged as his tension seeped away. “River, you can’t be here. They’ll kill you. Leave, now.”
“Never,” she told him, cupping his face in both her hands. She forced him to hold her gaze, and she continued. “They want me Simon, not you. You don’t deserve this. I’m taking you home.”
Simon seemed too delirious to really register her words, but he didn’t make any further objections. Covering his shivering and bloody body with the blanket she had found, River unlocked the wheels on the gurney; there was no way Simon was in any condition to move, let alone walk. The bed would be more cumbersome, but it was the only way she could get him out of this prison. As she pushed him towards the room’s only exit, she stopped short, her path blocked by two tall, blue-gloved men in dark suits. Each wore an equally smug and condescending expression that made River’s lip curl automatically.
“Why, Miss Tam,” the one on the right intoned, stepping towards her, forcing River to back further into the room. “It is such a pleasure to see you again.”
“We see you got our message,” the other continued, also advancing on River.
“He’s not a part of this.” River’s voice was a low growl. She had been scared of these men her entire life and she hated it. She didn’t need to be afraid of anyone or anything; they had seen to that. And she was perfectly prepared to give them a demonstration of their success.
“Now, that’s not true, River and you know it,” the agent on the left said. “You know that the day Simon kidnapped you was the day he became as interesting to us as you are.”
“Let him go,” she ordered, not even acknowledging the statement.
“We can’t do that, River, because we know what your brother is capable of. If we let him go and if he managed to recover, he would try to get to you again. So it appears you and your brother will be our guests for the duration of your lives.” The agents exchanged a look that River remembered. It was the look that said, We won.
Smiling tightly, River decided it time for a little demonstration.
In a flash, she darted between them, her hands gripping their forearms tightly and pulling them to the ground. Unprepared for her attack, both men slammed into the hard floor, their heads hitting with a sickening thud.
As she moved back to Simon’s side, River was wrapped from behind in strong arms that ended in blue-gloved hands. Holding her firmly across the chest, the agent lifted her feet off the ground hoping to pull her off balance. However, River had anticipated the move, and while she only weighed ninety pounds, the agent did not compensate well for the added stress. Throwing her body back with as much force as she could muster, they both ended up on the ground, the agent’s arms slackening as they hit. River scrambled to her feet, turning to deliver a swift kick to his head. With a speed she had not expected, the man grabbed her foot in his blue-gloved hands and twisted it violently. Crying out in pain, River collapsed to the floor, knowing her ankle was broken. Gritting her teeth against the pain, she clawed her way back onto her good leg, and thought fast.
Both of the agents advanced on her now, certain they had captured their prey. But River would not be taken so easily, not again and not with Simon’s life on the line.
Bracing herself against the wall at her back, River jammed out hard with her good leg, catching the nearest agent with a violent kick to his throat. Immediately choking, the man fell to the ground gasping and River directed her attention to the other. He pulled her toward him with a firm grasp on her wrist and River’s breathing was constricted as he pressed his arm into her adam’s apple. Whispering in her ear, the man’s voice belied no struggle. “River, you’re really making this much more difficult than it has to be.”
Not bothering to acknowledge him, River knew that while the man was stronger, she had speed on her side and it had always served her well. Looping her good foot around his leg, River grabbed the forearm across her throat, pulling and tripping him in one motion. As he lost his balance, she whirled on him, dropping a swift and sharp elbow to the side of his head, knocking him unconscious.
The other agent, who was just about ready to recover, received another swift blow to the head and then River knew they were in the clear: at least for now.
Monday, April 24, 2006 3:15 PM
Monday, April 24, 2006 3:52 PM
Monday, April 24, 2006 4:29 PM
Tuesday, April 25, 2006 8:31 AM
Tuesday, April 25, 2006 8:43 AM
Tuesday, April 25, 2006 12:25 PM
Wednesday, April 26, 2006 1:23 AM
Thursday, June 08, 2006 4:24 PM
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