The Temptress and The Hunter: Part 4-The Hideout
Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Dorm goes to The Blade’s hideout and begins to rack up those he suspects of being Saffron. The Blade’s haze the new guy. An awful truth is revealed. Hope you enjoy it-FEEDBACK PLEASE i'm not getting enough of my fix.


The heart of the jungle was dense and dark, vines and creepers hanging down on all sides of the narrow path. The four horses trotted along quickly in a tight line. Dorm Harkaway, today Dorm Rendell; newest member of Blake’s Blades held tightly onto the handle of his six-shooter as he rode. It was in jungle like this that that he had been attacked by those savage half-men Degens. He’d never considered himself a coward, someone who was afraid when there was no need to be and could not conquer that fear, but right now he was frightened. It certainly wasn’t cowardice, cowards didn’t survive thirteen years in the army and six as an undercover agent, and besides his fear was more than justified. His last encounter with Degens had seen a woman rent sunder before his very eyes. He wasn’t exactly looking forward to seeing that again, or to being the next one to have his throat eaten.

He tried not to think about it, while at the same time neither relaxing or letting down his guard. He was in The Blades, they had done the job, Ceran had accepted him and every second he drew closer to Saffron. There was a lot to be content about, but it never paid to be content. Being content led to being relaxed and being relaxed led to being dead. And Dorm had never fancied being dead.

Suddenly the jungle gave way to a huge grey building, overgrown with creepers and plants. Dorm started and drew his horse to a halt, tugging back sharply on the reigns. Behind him the two fistmen, Jon and Philip, stopped with curses and irritated noises.

Ceran turned and grinned back at them, “Impressive, ain’t it? Welcome to the Hideout - we hope your stay here is a pleasant one.”

Dorm laughed in amazement and followed Ceran as she rode towards the front of the building. He had had no ides this was out here so this came as something as a shock. He’d studied maps of the area for hours and never seen anything like this on any of them. It wasn’t as though a building this size could be easily over looked. There were other abandoned buildings in the area, but nothing this large. He looked closer; it was some kind of prison -the walls were out from the main building and topped with barbed wire. There was a fortified tower on the corner of the building and as they rounded the corner he saw that the gates were huge reinforced steel affairs, built to keep things safe.

Ceran shouted up to someone in the tower and they responded with a wave and the sound of the gates scraping open. Ceran dismounted and Dorm followed her example, leading his horse through the gates, Jon and Philip close behind. As the gates creaked shut behind them, a young woman came forward, giving Dorm a considering look and took their horses. Dorm focused on her for a moment. He was here to catch Saffron and she had to be in disguise. Her hair would be different, her manner unrecognizable, even her age was in dispute. She could appear to be as young as a teenager or a middle-aged dame in need of companionship. He would only identify her by her height and how long she had spent with the group. The hard part would be sorting through the various candidates without being too nosy. Asking to many questions when you were new was a good way to get yourself shot. He had to let people tell him about themselves. That could take days, even weeks. He didn’t mind, he had done it before and was prepared for the long haul.

Perhaps it was Horse Girl, perhaps not, he thought as she led the horses away. Further study would decide that. He had already ruled out Ceran, she was both too tall and too settled to be Saffron, he had known that from the moment he saw her. But virtually any other woman could be Saffron and he had to be on his guard, always ready. Ceran was already moving away, motioning for him to follow. Jon and Philip had disappeared somewhere. As they walked through the courtyard, Dorm took in his surroundings properly for the first time.

The building behind him was huge grey and blockish, its walls in various states of disrepair. Creepers strangled one window, while they had been burnt away from another. The walls were stone, roughly cut and pockmarked giving the entire place a cold, desolate feel. He was walking across a wide courtyard, that was also stone, but in several places it had been broken through, exposing dirt patches and tree roots. There were perhaps ten campfires throughout the courtyard, of various sizes, surrounded by a motley collection of seating. Offices chairs stood alongside wooden logs, mostly occupied by a motley bunch of people. These were Blake’s Blades; a mixture of men and women of every background, of every age. Dorm recognized many of them, mugshots and camera recordings that he had seen. The young predominated, but there were more than a couple Dorm’s age, or older. They were a raggedy bunch, clothes well worn and faces dirty but they mostly looked sharp and aware. There was a spark of life among them, more so than ordinary provincial’s, more so than many others in their economic situation. They might have been ill dressed and filthy but they were well armed and wherever Dorm looked he saw people cleaning weapons, sharpening knives or practicing their jobs with a respect and enthusiasm that he rarely saw in gangs elsewhere. There was something special about this group and Dorm suspected he knew what it was. They had a leader, a real leader that they both respected and loved, one who inspired them to deeds of greater daring and bravery. A leader like Blake Taylor could make all the difference.

Ceran led him to one of the largest fires, surrounded by about ten people. The man who had taken him to Blake, Samul, was there but there was still no sign of Blake himself nor the two he had seen with the leader back in San Mark, Kusoke and Siph.

Samul raised a cup in his direction and called out to Ceran. “Did you have Rendell kill that old skinflint Grey? He must have done sumtin’ good if he’s still around.”

Ceran laughed and raised her voice above the hubbub of general coversation.

“Hey everybody, hey!” Nobody seemed to be paying attention. “SHUT UP AN’ LISTEN!!”

The people around the fire shut up and listened to Ceran.

“This here is Dorm Rendell. I just took him on a Freshie job and he outdone himself. So he’s the New Guy around. Treat right him ‘cos the boss seems to like him.” She turned back to Dorm. “Take a seat and I’ll introduce a couple of these useless scum.”

A young dark haired man grinned at Dorm as he slid over on his log to make room. “Pay no ‘tention ta Ceran. We ain’t all tat useless. Just scom.”

Everyone laughed. The man spoke very quickly his words running together even as parts fell out of them, lost in his rushed lilt. Ceran reached over to tap the young man on the shoulder. “This is Pat Doonican. And he is scum as he said. The one on your left is Rachel.”

Dorm turned to his left to come face to face with a pretty young woman, with a charming smile and red-brown hair. The thought came into his head that she could be Saffron. He would have to watch her. From the other side of Ceran, Samul leaned over and whispered in the Second’s ear. A slow grin came over her face.

“Hey, Rendell. I need someone to take the protection money to Blake and let him know that you’re in. If you do it I kill two birds with one bullet.” The pronouncement was given in an overly innocent tone, something that Dorm hadn’t heard yet from Ceran. The others where trying to hide their grins. Something was definitely going on. Dorm shrugged, it was probably best to just go along and see what it was.

“Yeah, sure. But I don’t know where he-”

Pat jumped up, brushing his dirty jacket down, “Hey no worries brother, tis’ no trouble. I’ll show ya ta way.” He was being far too serious and on Dorm’s other side the girl Rachel was stifling a laugh. It was making him uneasy.

“Go on then,” said Ceran, chucking him the bag of coins.

Pat took off at a fast pace towards the building and Dorm almost had to run to catch up with the man’s long stride. They entered the building through a steel side door, that had long rend marks in it as if the claws of some creature had torn through it. Inside, the halls were a dirty white plaster, brown smears over some parts of the walls. With the fading light it was hard to see what they were. He came up alongside Pat.

“What was this place? It looks like hospital-but out here?”

Pat grimaced, one side of his face kept in shadow as he turned to look at Dorm. “This was a shite hospital, brother. I ain’t ‘posed ta talk ‘bout it anyways. Have to ask ta Boss ta story of tis place.” He grinned again, “No need ta fret, we’ll be tere soon.”

They walked on in relative silence, only their boots and the scuttling of small creatures making any noise. They climbed a flight of steps, one, two, three then four stories up until they were on the top level.

They walked into a long corridor, Pat’s grin growing ever wider as the walked. They approached a door but suddenly a figure lurched from its crouch in the darkness and confronted them. It was Kusoke, hair hanging into his eyes, long knife in one hand.

Pat held up his hands, “Hey, settle down, brother. We’re just here ta deliver today’s takin’s ta Blake. jin tian péngyou tian qi hen hao a.”

Kusoke grinned suddenly and stepped aside, motioning Dorm on. He spoke quickly to Pat in Chinese, “bu ke neng yi dian.”

Dorm looked questioningly at them both. He spoke and understood Chinese but they were still giving him little clue as to what was going on. He approached the door, a huge metal thing that looked as though it could withstand assault from a Roller.

Faintly he caught sounds of people inside but he gave it no second thought as he knocked on the door. The sounds continued and there was no response. He knocked again harder and there was a shouted curse from inside. A few seconds later the door was wrenched open and there stood Blake Taylor, naked except for a bedsheet clutched around his midriff. Behind him Dorm could see a bed with a completely naked Siph lounging back on it. He coughed to hide his discomfort. This was what all the grins and nudges were about.

Blake looked down at him, his face a thunderhead of anger. His body was covered in knife wounds and bullet scars, one scar running across the full length of his chest.

“What, Chur ni-duh Hwoon dahn. This better be important. I’m in the middle of someone here.” His deep voice had a dangerous rasp to it.

Dorm held up the bag of coins. “ I brought the takings from Grey’s job and Ceran said that I was in.”

“And you disturb me for that! Fay-fay duh Pee-yen, Wuo duh Ma!”He snatched the bag of coins from Dorm’s hand and grabbed him solidly by the front of the jacket. “If you ever disturb me for something as trivial as this again I will shoot you myself and not lose a moments sleep over it. Now get the ta ma duh out of here before I really lose my temper!”

The big man shoved Dorm into the other wall of the corridor and slammed the iron door behind him. Behind Dorm both Kosuke and Pat collapsed into laughter.

“I do be sorry, brother, but ‘tis always so gratafying ta see Blake tear inta fresh fish like ya good self.”

“Jien tah duh guay!”

Dorm glared at them both, but he wasn’t all that surprised or angry at the way he had been set up. It was all one could expect from any group; a bit of hazing often worked as an initiation ritual and a way for a new recruit to gain a bit of respect.

Pat came to clap him on the shoulder, still chuckling, “Ah tat were priceless. Come on old lad, I’ll show ya ta where ya gonna be sleeping. “ He laughed again, his chuckle full and rich. “Wait till ta oters hear ‘bout ‘tis.”

The next morning Blake Taylor found Dorm in the mess hall where perhaps thirty bandits were enjoying a hearty breakfast of protein blocks. Siph was at his shoulder, her dark hair held in a tight ponytail over one shoulder.

Dorm was wedged in between a foul-smelling man by the name of Nate whom he had meet in San Mark and an older woman he didn’t know and who had no desire to know him. She hadn’t spoken a word to anyone in the time Dorm had been sitting there. Blake clapped him on the shoulder with one of his big black mitts nearly causing Dorm to cough up his mouthful.

“Hey there, Rendell, finish up what you’ve got and come with me. I’ve got to show ya a couple of things.”

Dorm shoved down the last few mouthfuls and jumped up, following Blake and Siph out of the hall. When he caught up to them, Kosuke was there too, sharpening one of his knives with a practiced hand.

“Sir, I’m sorry about yesterday. If it means anything, I-.

Blake cut him off. “Its just Blake. I don’t hold with ‘sir’; makes me sound like some god-cursed country lord. And think nothing of what happened yesterday-My crew likes to mess with the new fish and that usually includes doing sumtin’ to rile me. I heard that you were asking about what this place was.”

“No-one would seem to tell me about it. They just seemed to clam up whenever I asked.”

“Don’t blame ‘em” murmured Siph, “This place sure did unsettle me when I first got here.”

“Come with me,” said Blake his face grim, “I’ll show you some things that are powerful unsettling to the stomach.”

As they walked away, down a corridor that led towards the back of the building, Dorm’s mind raced. That was the second time he had picked up a reference to Siph arriving here. If she had been here for a sizeable length of time people wouldn’t still be referring to it. He still had to find out how long ago she had joined The Blades. Could she be Saffron? She was the right height so that ticked off the most basic of the boxes. She seemed to have integrated with Blake very quickly and the two seemed extremely close. Could that relationship have developed in a just over a week? It didn’t seem likely but then again he did not wish to underestimate Saffron’s ability to beguile men. There was not enough evidence yet; there was no point becoming fixated on a single suspect when there was many others to be investigated. He had to be patient.

The group came through a door almost torn off its hinges, despite its thickness into a room almost as large as the mess hall. It had very few windows, and those were high up, only letting thin shafts of light filter into the dusty room. Arrayed along the back wall were a number of beds, hard and held up high, at least the ones that were still standing. These were no ordinary beds however for on each side were a brown leather straps the kind used to restrain people that were being operated on. As he looked closer, Dorm saw that every one of the straps was broken, torn in to by some monstrous force.

“What the gorram hell happened here?” He whispered, genuinely disturbed.

Kusoke sat up on one of the beds, sharpening his knife intently. Siph glided through the room, one arm wrapped around her waist while the other caressed the torn leather straps.

Blake smiled grimly, “This place, the Hideout, used to be known as Blackwood Correctional Facility for the Criminally Insane. This was perhaps twenty years ago, back when I was still clinging to my mama’s skirt. It was an Alliance facility, fully endorsed and sanctioned by the government. We found enough records here to find that much out.”

“What did they do here? Why all these restraining tables?”

“I’m getting to that, Rendell,” growled Blake, “Don’t interrupt. Anyways as I said this was an Intuition for the Criminally Insane-The people here where people who were not missed, dangerous maniacs, psychopaths, people whose families even wanted forgotten. And forgotten they were. Alliance did stuff to ‘em- its all in the what’s left of the files upstairs but I can’t make head nor tail of most of it. Tied big groups of ‘em to the tables here and tested all kinds of things. Some of it was group mind control, other times large-scale gasses. Like I said nobody cared about these folk so nobody knew what was goin’ on. The facility was a big secret, very under the carpet operation and it had to be some of the sick stuff they did here.” Blake fingered the pistol at his waist not seeming to notice what he was doing. “Anyways it all went bad one time. I don’t know what they was testing but it sure messed up these folk pretty bad. They tore out of the harnesses, slaughtered all the staff, doctors nurses, every last one. They became like animals, beasts driven by the most basic of instincts, to kill, to eat. I wonder if you’ve meet them yet-We call them Degens now.”

Dorm’s head snapped up, “What! Ta ma duh. The Alliance created the Degens? Why?”

“I don’t think they did it on purpose, Rendell.” Siph spat onto the floor in disgust. “I think they were just testing the limits of human endurance and something snapped.”

“They was tryin’ to make people better. Meddlin’ like the bastards usually do.”

Dorm felt sick. His government the one he had served for so many years, done good and just works for were responsible for the creation of monsters like the Degens. It tore into his mind working away at his belief’s until he-No! If this had happened there must have been a specific purpose, the sacrifice of the lives of a few was worth it for the good of many, the greater good. And yet somehow that thought was not as comforting as it should be.

“Yeah, I’ve run into Degens once before. A member of the party I was travelling with has killed. Her throat was torn out while she was still alive. It ate her flesh.” His voice was hollow and he knew that he was shaken more than he should be. He needed to focus get back onto the job at hand.

“Yeah, you should have seen when we first moved into this place. There was blood everywhere-cracked bones, crushed skulls. It took so long to clean up, there were so much of it. There’s still blood on some of the walls.” Blake shuddered his huge frame shaking. “It were a fearsome sight.”

It didn’t matter now, thought Dorm. The people he worked for might be responsible for this but right now it wasn’t his problem. He was here to catch Saffron and that’s what he intended to do no matter how many distractions came up.

The memory of Kite’s scream as her arm was torn away still echoed in his ears.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006 9:44 PM


Ok just a few notes.
One-In case you where wondering (or couldn't understand a word of it) Pat Doonicon has an Irish accent-If you say his lines in an Irish accent you can understand them.

Two-I need to know if i'm going to slow with this EG-should i Post more often or simple speed up the pace of the story.

Anyways enjoy, play England/America whenever possible and don't ever let the signal be stopped.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 9:45 PM


Ok just a few notes.
One-In case you where wondering (or couldn't understand a word of it) Pat Doonicon has an Irish accent-If you say his lines in an Irish accent you can understand them.

Two-I need to know if I'm going too slow with this EG-should I post more often or simply speed up the pace of the story?

Anyways enjoy, play England/America whenever possible and don't ever let the signal be stopped.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 4:20 PM


Honestly, I think the posting schedule is a bit to quick, but then again, I am a few chapters behind in getting caught up when I have a momen't leisure;)


Friday, December 8, 2006 12:49 AM


Stormwind, in reply to your wave about helping out on the project I will have to politely decline. Too many calls on my time to participate. All the best, Keep flyin' - Ali D
You can't take the sky from me


You must log in to post comments.



A New ‘Verse-VIII-Plotting
Mal works on the plan for getting out of the Slam with Dash and Blake. We learn a little more about Jeremiah and about get closer to Dash.
'The Erebos Slam is the very depths of hell and only the worst and the most unlucky end up wallowing in its pits'-Human Rights Advocate Nerin Timms

A New ‘Verse-VII-Inside
Mal meets his rescuers and the objects of his mission. There's good folk in every corner of the 'Verse as well as bad.

A New 'Verse-VI-Slam
Mal gets dropped in the dismal Erebos Bounty Slam and rescued in the nick of time from an unknown quarter.

A New ‘Verse-V-Trade
Its been a while I know, but my computer was dead. Anyway Mal gets traded to the Bounty Slam in one of his most dangerous plans yet. How far is he willing to go for Dash?
Enjoy and thanks for waiting

A New 'Verse-IV-Coversations-Simon and Kaylee
Members of the crew discuss the coming job, their current situation, and their general good luck at being in such an awesome show like Firefly. Some fluff and some angst, but I enjoy'd writing it-(4/4)-I', moving the story along now, I swear!!!

A New Verse-IV-Coversations-River
Members of the crew discuss the coming job, their current situation, and their general good luck at being in such an awesome show like Firefly. Some fluff and some angst, but I enjoy'd writing it-(3/4)

A New 'Verse-IV-Conversations-Jayne and Zoe
Members of the crew, discuss the coming job, their current situation, and their general good luck at being in such an awesome show like Firefly. Some fluff and some angst, but I enjoy'd writing it-(2/4)

A New 'Verse-IV-Coversations-Mal and Inara
Members of the crew, discuss the coming job, their current situation, and their general good luck at being in such an awesome show like Firefly. Some fluff and some angst, but I enjoy'd writng it-(1/4)

A New 'Verse-III-Dash
Mal remembers back to the early days of the war and how he meet the soon to be Independent hero Fast Dash. Flashback piece and an introduction to my main OC.
Thanks for reding so far, ladies and menfolk!

A New 'Verse-II-Plan
River has suffered a meltdown that put them all in danger and now the crew is faced with some desiscions they don't want to make. Does Mal have the answer? Revealed: Inside!...oh wait.
Thanks for all the comments guys, helped me a bunch! Sorry about the dialogue chapter...