Blue Sun Job, Part 13: Bushwhacked Revisited
Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Mal's wait for the Fed's move is over, but the unpleasant surprises keep coming.


Blue Sun Job, Part 13: Bushwhacked Revisited

Note: Shorter than most of the sections, but a significant plot point...
First time I've tried to insert a table for formatting purposes in the fanfic form--limited success, looks okay on 1024X768 but creates a bottom scroll bar on 800X600s--sorry.

Sequel to the
Truthsome series (link is to part 1)
Blue Sun Job, Part 1: Plans and Schemes
Blue Sun Job, Part 2: Into the Lion’s Den
Blue Sun Job, Part 3: Going Smooth
Blue Sun Job, Part 4: Return to the Core
Blue Sun Job, Part 5: Life That Was
Blue Sun Job, Part 6: More Life That Was
Blue Sun Job, Part 7: ...and Robberies That Were
Blue Sun Job, Part 8: Zoe’s Tale
Blue Sun Job, Part 9: More of Zoe’s Tale
Blue Sun Job, Part 10: Going In
Blue Sun Job, Part 11: Home Again...
Blue Sun Job, Part 12: Waiting


No critical dialog using actual Chinese characters

混蛋 = hwoon dahn (hundan) = bastard
哎呀 = Ai ya = damn

Blue Sun Job, Part 13: Bushwhacked Revisited
靑日 Job: Bushwhacked Revisited

The waiting ended but the surprises just kept coming.

Mal generally didn’t care for surprises and as the door to the interrogation room slid aside, he had no cause to change that opinion.

“Commander Harken.” The guards led him toward the chair at the far end of the long table opposite the Alliance officer.

“Sergeant Reynolds,” Harken acknowledged, barely glancing at him. Two armed MPs flanked Harken, with even more MPs swarming around Mal’s end of the table. Helluva lot of Feds. One sat at the console of some sort of gadget. The guards jerked him around so he couldn’t get a clear look it whateverthehell it was.

“Brass finally figure out you didn’t belong out on the border?” Mal asked Harken. Might could be smart-ass-ness weren’t the best approach, but what the hell. Something about Harken brought out the smart ass in him. Not like to be any genuinely good approach no how.

Harken gave him a faint twitch of a smile. “Actually, sergeant, I was called back to the Core specifically on account of you.”

See how it was with surprises? Nothing good ever came of them. Before he could even conjure up a decent speculation on the whyness of what Harken said, the guards dragged Mal toward the chair. He wasn’t resisting them. It was just in the nature of the arrogant sumbitches to be forcible. Then all of a sudden he was resisting them, and with full-out, never-mind-if-they-got-rough sincerity. Mal wrenched away and managed to get several steps before he was backed into a corner and held tight again.

“Just whoa, there,” he protested. “What the hell is that?” One of the 混蛋 had an injector gun and was fixing to stick him with it.

Harken watched him blandly. “It’s just a mild ataractic. It won’t harm you.” Mal tried unsuccessfully to sidestep. He didn’t know what that word meant but didn’t see how nothing good could come of it. “Just curbs any violent tendencies,” Harken added.

“I ain’t got no...” Mal started, stopping when he saw the expression on Harken’s face. “You can’t be that 哎呀 afraid of me. You got me cuffed and got a room full of these fine trained Alliance MPs to protect you.”

Harken favored him with another bland smile. Mal had talked Harken over to his way of thinking before, might be could work again. Maybe. The Commander hadn’t ordered the MP with the injector to go ahead... yet.

“You may recall the circumstances of our last encounter, sergeant,” Harken said, cocking an eyebrow.

Mal stared hard at him. “I recall saving your life.”

Harken gave one of his peculiar little head shakes. “Yes. For which I remain grateful. And which earned you the benefit of the doubt--and your release without charges--that time.” Mal studied him. The man spoke true but wasn’t changing his mind on this drug notion. Then Harken met his eyes and Mal could see that the man had grown a little harder, had seen a few more things, from when he was new to the border.

“You may recall that you saved my life by killing a man.” Harken stared straight at Mal. “A man who had already taken out several of my ‘fine trained’--and well armed--‘Alliance MPs’. And you killed him, while unarmed, and handcuffed.”

Mal opened his mouth but couldn’t think of one more gorram argument. Slowly he said, “I saw that fear in your eyes. I thought it was for the fella with the knife to your throat. You were scared of me.”

Harken looked down but didn’t seem offended. “It was about fifty-fifty,” he said. He gestured to the MP with a flick of his finger. The MP stuck the injector against the side of Mal’s neck and pulled the trigger.

The drug hit him instantly. The room swayed and blurred. “Whoa...” Vertigo, more intense than any he’d known, far more than the first time in free fall, swept over him.

“Sit him down,” he heard Harken say from a great distance. Commander Harken appeared at the end of a long, contorted tunnel awash with bizarre colors like a nebula. Or a plasma explosion. Mal shook his head and wished to hell he hadn’t. He was sitting, didn’t remember when or how. Time warped. He swallowed and swallowed again, couldn’t decide if he wanted to throw up or not. He’d never felt this instantly and totally sick before. Like being gut-shot but without the soothing comfort of blinding pain to latch on to. Dizzy and nauseous. Sick as a... Something about that reminded Mal of something. What? Couldn’t think. Couldn’t focus.

Distorted bits and pieces of conversation reached him. Harken was talking to someone. Who was the creepy little fella in the suit? Or were there two of him?

    ...wrong with him?
...bad reaction...
still conducive to questioning
efficacy unaffected
doesn’t help if he can’t answer
ask the questions

Mal’s head was pulled back and he felt a cup pressed against his lips. He turned aside.

“You can swallow willingly or we will force it down you,” he heard Harken say, sounding immensely reasonable. “It won’t harm you.” That’s what he’d said about this poison, wasn’t it? “It’ll just settle your stomach and clear your head.”

It did. A bit at least. Mal winced at the light that seemed too bright. Recollection came to him, in a cold, unsettling way. Hardly knows what hit him… especially if he’s all distracted… He certainly had been distracted. Gorramit. Had they shot him full of that truth telling drug he and the preacher had prepped for? It didn’t seem quite right. He’d seen an interrogation using that drug before--hell, he’d conducted it--the fellow hadn’t been as dizzy and muddled as Mal felt, just had an impulse to blurt out the truth without thinking about it. The counter-agent, though… he’d never seen that, only had rumors and the Shepherd’s say-so on what it did.

Even still this seemed different than he’d expected. Something else in the stuff, making him kind of foggy, like some of Doc’s potions? A sedative? Narcotic? What Harken had said about curbing violent impulses… Well, that had some truth to it. Mal didn’t much care about doing violence to no one. No, that wasn’t true. He’d happily murder the lot of the 混蛋 right now, fast or--better--slow, it just seemed like far too much trouble to go to.

Mal leaned back and breathed heavily for a moment. “You want to kill me, just shoot me,” he said, trying to give Harken a dirty look but not at all sure he succeeded. “Don’t poison me.”

“You haven’t been poisoned,” Harken said, still sounding way too reasonable. “In a minute you’ll be feeling better. Calm and relaxed, I’m told. Then we can begin our conversation.”

Yup, he did feel relaxed, though ‘calm’ in the unworried sense of the word still roamed a fair piece away. Still, Mal doubted he could have worked up the ambition to make it to the other end of the table to strangle Harken even if he could. “So, you got me all neutered, here. What say you take these cuffs off?”

Mal was more than a mite surprised when Harken nodded to a guard who unlocked Mal’s hands. Bringing them around front, Mal propped his elbows on the table and rested his face in his hands, covering his eyes. If they would just give him a minute to regroup...

Of course not.

The guards pulled him back upright. Mal stared at Harken. He was already worn out and the questioning hadn’t even started. Recollecting how Harken had promptly veered off on all manner of wrong tracks last time around, Mal wondered idly what more surprises were galloping up to smack him unawares.

Out of his peripheral vision, off to his side, past the MP planted by his left shoulder, Mal caught a glimpse of a curiosity. A blue-gloved hand made a quick, pointing “go” gesture to Commander Harken.

Harken’s eyes shifted toward Mal. “So, then, sergeant. Before we get to our primary purpose here, there’s another matter we need to discuss.” He leaned forward, staring at Mal intently. “Tell me. Do you know where River Tam is?”


Blue Sun Job, Part 14: Two By Two


Tuesday, July 6, 2004 12:40 PM


great work, very suspenseful. (suspense isn't good for me - so hurry up with the next fic.

Tuesday, July 6, 2004 12:57 PM


This is utterly brillo pads but no, no, NO, don't let the Captain give River away gorrammit! Eeek! Our shiny heroes just have to go rescue him before those *tamade hundan* get it out of him. Very shiny, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, July 6, 2004 10:21 PM


Oh!Oh! Help!

Very good on reptilian Harken. Very good on dozy Mal.

So glad to have finally caught up. Now I really MUST do some work ... until you post the next chapter.

Love this.


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