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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
The Operative’s plan begins to come together, and so do Jayne and Inara.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 829 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Inara sat in her shuttle, the smell of incense soothing her jangled nerves. The events of her recent appointment with Aaron Harrison and her concern for Mal’s safety combined to make meditation essential to her sense of well-being. So far, she was an hour into the process, and still she felt her nerves were stretched to the point of snapping. So, when she heard the gentle knock at her door, her first reaction was vague irritation at the interruption.
“Ching jin,” she called, masking her annoyance. To her surprise, Zoe entered.
“Sorry to disturb you at this late hour,” Zoe said, noting the incense and Inara’s posture on the floor.
“That’s quite all right,” Inara replied, gracefully seating herself on the couch. “Won’t you have a seat?”
Zoe walked into the room, something in her stride reminding Inara painfully of Mal. She sat down on the couch and turned to face Inara. Suddenly ill at ease, Inara searched Zoe’s pained expression for the reason for the unusual visit.
Zoe, with typical efficiency, came right to the point. “As you know, I’ve been talking to the Operative for some time tonight about his plan to retrieve the Captain.”
Inara nodded. “And how does it seem to you? Can it work?”
“Not sure just yet. But even if it does, it won’t be a walk in the park by any means,” Zoe answered honestly. “That’s why I need to talk to you.”
“Of course,” Inara said. “What can I do to help?”
“We’re gonna be goin’ into the most secure Alliance prison that’s ever been built, and I need you to take Anya somewhere safe before we go. I can’t do what I have to do knowin’ she’s in harm’s way. Dong ma?”
Inara stared at Zoe, open-mouthed in shock. “But I don’t understand. I want to help get Mal released. You need me here, don’t you?”
Zoe looked at her steadily. “No offense, Inara. I know you held your own with us on Mr. Universe’s world. But you ain’t a warrior by nature. For that matter, neither is Kaylee, but we’ll need her on the inside. So, I’m askin’ you to do this one thing for me. I trust you to protect the child.”
Inara thought for a moment. “Perhaps I could take her to the Training House. She’d have Guild protection there.”
“No, I don’t think you’ll be safe there. If something goes wrong on Salisbury, I wouldn’t trust your Guild not to turn you over to the Alliance. Besides, we’re not going to have time to go to Sihnon.”
“Where do you want me to go with her, then?” Inara asked.
“We need more coin than we got to get the supplies we’ll need to carry out the rescue. So, first light tomorrow, we’re headed to finish the job we started. Gonna drop the cargo on Greenleaf, as the Captain agreed. Harvest ain’t but a few days from there, and Kaylee thinks her folks would take you and Anya in. I’ll leave you with the shuttle, case you need to get ahold of us by wave, or get away from Harvest quickly if someone should come looking for you.” Noting Inara’s worried expression, she added, “I ain’t ever asked you for anything, Inara, but I’m askin’ now. I need you to see to my baby girl.”
“Do you think she’ll want to come with me?” Inara asked. “We haven’t exactly bonded yet.”
“She’ll come because she’ll have no choice,” Zoe said firmly. “I aim to keep her safe, and you’re my best shot at that, dong ma?”
“Yes,” Inara said. “I’ll take her, Zoe. And I’ll keep her safe.”
Zoe stood and shook Inara’s hand as if sealing a deal. “I know you will,” she said, as she turned to go.
Senator Holmes looked at McKinley in irritation. Having arrived moments before at the facility, he was expecting to hear more conclusive answers from the man standing before him. He looked again at the security feed from the interrogation room. Reynolds lay on the floor, apparently unconscious, having finally been lowered from his hanging position.
“How is it that in five days of what you have termed ‘intensive interrogation’, you have still not managed to get any meaningful information?” the Senator asked coldly.
McKinley replied just as coldly. “Reynolds is an unusually hard man. And you yourself made it abundantly clear that we were not to do anything that would result in his death, lest we lose our jobs. That instruction kept us from pushing quite as aggressively as we might have.”
Senator Holmes looked more carefully at the tortured body of the man on the floor. He shuddered to think what ‘pushing more aggressively’ would have entailed. McKinley continued, “He’s been in and out of consciousness since yesterday anyway. Interrogation of this sort is basically useless at this point, unless you consider it pleasurable in some way.”
The Senator glared at him. “What type of man do you think I am?”
“I’m sure I don’t know, sir,” McKinley answered blandly.
Holmes looked at him in disgust. “Put him back in his cell. As soon as he’s alert, we’ll take another route to find our answers. A route that won’t be quite so easy to resist.”
For once unable to sleep, Jayne lay in his bunk, thinking that his part in the Operative’s sketchy plan was likely to get him killed soon enough. While he’d had a fair share of concern about some of Mal’s more colorful plans, he knew the Captain would have never agreed to a plan quite as ambitious, or more accurately foolhardy, as the Operative’s seemed to be. Pure suicide, he thought, hating the idea of going down in an Alliance prison.
But he knew, deep in his belly, that he would follow the plan and try to make it work because it was the only way he could see to free Mal. And he suspected he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he didn’t at least try to do that. Cursing the attachments he’d developed on Serenity, he got up and started rummaging around for a semi-clean shirt. Maybe a little food would better his chances of sleeping well.
Before he could find the shirt, he heard the sound of his hatch opening. Grabbing a knife from his arsenal, he looked up to see who the intruder could be. To his surprise, Inara’s tiny slippers appeared on the top rung. He hastily threw his knife aside, and watched her descend, like some angel of his fantasies, into his bunk.
“You lost, ‘Nara?” he asked casually.
“Most probably,” she replied, looking at him with a slight smile gently curving her lips.
Jayne swallowed thickly, wondering what those lips might taste like, and oddly eager to break his no-kissing rule should the opportunity arise.
“Couldn’t sleep,” Inara said. “I thought I might find you in the galley, but since you weren’t there, I decided to…”
“Come find me,” Jayne finished, rooted to the floor.
“Is that all right?” Inara asked, suddenly unsure of her own purpose in coming.
“You can come to me any time you want, Inara,” Jayne said, his voice low and straining for calm.
Inara stared up at him for a long moment. “I believe you mean that, Jayne Cobb,” she finally said.
“That I do,” Jayne answered simply.
“What you said in my shuttle after I came back from my appointment…did you mean it? Were you offering me your…services?”
Jayne scowled at the word choice. “Don’t know as I’ve got any ‘services’ to offer,” he answered. “Wouldn’t exactly be a business deal to me.”
Inara faltered, disheartened by his response. “I didn’t mean to imply that it would. I just…I think I need…I want to…”
Jayne closed the distance between them, and pulling her forcefully to him, kissed her like he had been waiting his whole life to find just this pair of lips.
When Inara was truly breathless and he was a little winded himself, he let her go abruptly. She stood there, her head spinning dizzily and her heart hammering faster than healthy, as he started to smile lazily.
“That what you want, Inara?” he challenged ever so softly.
Inara’s eyes burned brightly as she looked up to meet his gaze. “I think maybe it is,” she whispered in amazement. Regaining a small portion of her normal composure, she said, “But you understand it’s not…”
Jayne interrupted her. “I understand exactly what it’s not, ‘Nara. Ain’t lookin’ for somethin’ you ain’t givin’. We got an understandin’ here?” His blue eyes flashed with a fire she’d never seen there before.
“Yes, I believe we do,” she said, biting her lower lip.
“Then come here,” Jayne said, holding out his hand to guide her to his bed.
The Operative sat in one of Serenity’s passenger dorms, mapping out his plan in greater detail. He could tell from the reactions of Serenity’s crew that they were less than confident about the operation, and he wanted to ensure that it went as smoothly as possible under the circumstances.
Dr. Tam was attempting to contact the people who had originally given him the information to retrieve his sister, but so far, his success was somewhat limited. The Operative knew that they would have to actually travel to Osiris is get anyone in the underground movement to agree to help them. Since Zoe had already made the decision that they would make a stop on Greenleaf and then Harvest, Osiris was at least another week away.
And this troubled the Operative. He knew well enough what could happen to a man in an Alliance prison in a week. Added to that was the knowledge that BlueSun’s involvement made it more likely that the second generation of the Academy Project would be up and running well before he could stop it at this rate. And what horrors that would hold for the Captain, the Operative did not even want to try to fathom. Shuddering at the thought, he turned his attention back to his work, trying to see anything he’d missed that would bring success to this venture.
River sat on the bridge, knowing it was unnecessary as they were still dirtside on Santo. Simon’s drugs made her feel as if her head was filled with cotton, and they muffled the outside world almost to the point of obscurity. But River knew that he meant well when he made her sleep, still not understanding the horrors it evoked in her. She knew also that she had to regain control if she was to find her ai ren and bring him home to safety.
She was vaguely aware of the outline of the Operative’s plan, but until she could manage to rein in her demons, she knew she could not hope to understand it thoroughly.
Splaying her fingers across her abdomen, she searched her mind for a trace of Mal’s child. Just the barest of whispers told her what she needed to know. The baby was well, and had not, as she had feared, been harmed during her distress.
She reached down further, hoping to hear something from Mal deep down at the very core of her. Where she had sensed before that he was shielding himself from her somehow, now she sensed no such hiding. And yet, though he was definitely there, she could discern nothing concrete from their connection. Perhaps he was too far away, or the drugs were interfering with her abilities, she thought distractedly. Hugging her knees to her chest, she stared into the Black, holding on to the slender thread that would lead her to Mal.
To be continued
Wednesday, June 20, 2007 5:27 AM
Wednesday, June 20, 2007 11:34 AM
Wednesday, June 20, 2007 3:53 PM
Sunday, June 24, 2007 11:02 AM
Monday, June 25, 2007 2:09 PM
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