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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Book wasn't born a shepherd, he was born Brian M. Yong, an ex-colonel surprisingly, and unwillingly, brought out of retirement by the Alliance to fight in the Unification War.----In this chapter Yong finds out why he was reinstated after so many years.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 684 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Tentatively Yong knocked on the door of room 61203. A voice from inside urged him to enter. It was just the reception of the actual office. A young secretary with the insignia of a Corporal stood up from her paperwork on the table and saluted him. After all the years Yong had been out of the military, it felt a bit awkward to receive even these most routine kinds of honours. He had put them away together with the old uniform and everything attached to it, when he had left the service, and now it felt like suddenly finding it again in the darkest corner of the cupboard and not being quite sure if it still fitted right. Overcoming his initial moment of hesitation, he returned the gesture.
“Colonel Yong. Major General Baker is already expecting you, Sir”, she said. She opened the door to Baker’s office for him.
“Thank you, corporal”, Yong said, and the young woman closed the door again.
Baker came around his desk to greet him.
“Colonel Brian M. Yong reporting, Sir”, Yong said while stiffening his limbs for an instant and his right hand touching the side of his forehead. Baker’s responding gesture was much more casual, a mere twitching of the hand that broke off halfway on course to the head. Yong sized Baker up in an instant. Mid-fifties, about six inch smaler than him, well-fed, sweaty. He smelled of cigars, the expensive sort. This man hadn’t seen much but an office since basic training. Complacent, arrogant commanding officers. And they were the ones in charge, Yong thought with disdain. But before his mind could gear up to an inner tirade about the senior ranks of the military, Baker interrupted him.
“Yong. Good to have you back, colonel. Have a seat.” Baker pointed to the lush leather seats at the window from where one had a nice view of the sun setting over Capital City behind a blue screen of smog. Baker bustled Yong into his seat before sitting himself. “Would you like a cigar, Brian? I may say Brian, yeah?”
Not wanting to appear ungrateful at the first meeting with his superior officer, Yong took a cigar from the silver cigar box, even though he was only an occasional smoker.
“Thank you, Sir.”
“Oh, but no. None of the sir-ring between us. Don’t like too much formality in the upper ranks. We’re all officers. Just call me Wei. And besides, I served in the same unit as you.”
“Yeah, Persephone 3rd Airborne. Well, only for basic. Went to Sihnon War College after that. Have never seen much really military stuff myself, in the field, I mean. Only planning, strategies, deployment plans, the big picture. It’s such a dull drudgery. Man, I really wish I’d get out and join in all the thrilling stuff. Must be great. But never happens. Never happens, you know, ranks as mine.”
“My sympathies”, Yong said wrily.
“What?” Baker looked a bit dumbfounded by that dry comment first, then broke into a roaring laugh. “Great stuff. Like your sense of humour. You’re a rare breed, Brian, you know. Working all your way up from recruit to colonel, impressive. Read your file. Impressive career indeed, and then you risk it for that, well… what a waste. What a waste. Could have been Chief of Staff by now I imagine, directing this whole mess,… er, campaign I mean. Why did that ever happen back then, I wonder.”
“Me too sometimes, Wei”, Yong blocked the indirect question. “But if you don’t mind, I’d rather not talk about it.”
“Fair play, Brian, fair play. Doesn’t really mean a thing now. Erased from the records. Bygones be bygones. All shiny.”
“If I may, Sir, I mean, Wei”, Yong started.
“Course, Brain, go on.”
“I don’t quite get why I was reinstated in the first place. Not that I’m ungrateful, but I don’t see what Alliance has to gain from bringing old officers with a blemish such as mine on their records back into the fold during a crucial time in a major campaign.”
“Well put. Now that is the interesting part indeed. We need men like you, now more than ever. No matter what you did back then, maybe even because of it, you’re something of a legend in your old unit. And your records show great leadership, great inspiration, tactical abilities. You inspire respect and loyalty in your men. Plus, you have done all the stuff they do yourself. You’re one of them. You know what it’s like, can relate to them. Not like some kid coming directly from War College and blowing it. Someone like me you might almost say. Haha.” The laugh was an embarassed one. Unwillingly Baker had directed the talk to his own shortcomings. He brushed it aside and continued.
“Long story is short, Brian”, Baker continued. “We’re regrouping at the moment and are going to start a major offensive soon, possibly Verbana. The top brass are still arguing over it. Anyway, your regiment will in any case be a major part of the operation. Land behind enemy lines, take out anti-aircraft batteries etc., prepare the ground for the actual landing. Very crucial to the success. You’ll get details shortly.”
“One other thing that’s still burning on my mind. Why has my family been drawn into all of this?”
“Oh, come on, Brian, you know it’s standard procedure. All the senior officers in the field have their families taken care of, some of us too. It’s common sense. Insurance against disloyalty, especially in a civil war.”
“I beg your pardon.”
“Your family. Is it in the Dependents Scheme too?”
“Well, err, no. But I don’t have a family of my own.”
“Neither do I in a strict sense. I never married. I was married with the army. Those folks are extended relations. Haven’t seen them since I joined up. Don’t have anything to do with them anymore, or they with me. Don’t even know if they know I’m still alive. Doesn’t make sense putting them in a scheme like that. Don’t care much for them anyhow so it’s not much of a pressure that’s giving the Alliance.” He hoped Yong would buy his lie, but even if he did that didn’t mean his relatives would be released from the scheme.
“See, Brian, that’s where you’re wrong”, Baker’s voice had got much colder now. “We need people with your credentials, your expertise, and we need any kind of leverage we can get on them, particularly when they have past like yours. Dong le ma?”
Dong le ma indeed, thought Yong. So that was why they had wanted him back. Somebody who had broken the rules and suffered for it and therefore wouldn’t dare trying a second time. Aloud he said: “I guess we do have an understanding, Wei.”
“Allright then. I have to catch up on some paperwork now. If you talk to my secretary, she’ll give you the details where you will meet your men. And she’ll pass you on to the quartermaster to get you a new uniform. Good night, Colonel.”
With suppressed anger Yong returned the salute. “Good night, Sir.”
Disclaimer: For the events of the war I am loosely orientating myself on the unofficial timeline on the Fireflywiki. The 'Verse is of course Joss Whedon's. But Book's alter ego Brian Yong is essentially my creation.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006 4:36 AM
Tuesday, October 24, 2006 10:35 AM
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