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Revolution--Part XVII--Chain Reaction (Repost)
Monday, November 12, 2007

Mal and Jayne have a talk with Chau, and the evening’s events are set into motion.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 605    RATING: 10    SERIES: FIREFLY

“What’s the matter, baby?” River asked, picking Adam up and settling him in her lap.

“Daddy,” Adam replied tearfully.

River’s heart rate instantly increased. “What about Daddy?” she asked as calmly as she could.

“Daddy needs Mama,” he said insistently, fixing her with his impossibly blue eyes. “Mama go help Daddy now.”

“Adam, is Daddy in trouble?” River asked.

The child looked at her solemnly, nodding his head. Quickly slipping into his mind, she saw what he had seen. She flipped the ship-wide comm. on. “Zoe, I need you on the bridge. Now.”

XXXXXXXXXX

Thompson listened to the report from his most trusted employee. Pleased to learn that Chin had performed as expected when he had been triggered, Thompson listened with pleasure to the details from the thin-lipped man.

“So, it’s safe to say that the rest of the members of the Movement will be gathered at the warehouse tonight?” he asked, almost gleefully.

The thin-lipped man nodded his affirmation.

“Excellent,” Thompson said. “The commander of the garrison has been briefed already. Our little revolutionaries will find the meeting rather more interesting than they think.”

XXXXXXXXXX

Mal and Jayne followed Chau for the rest of the day, leaving Thompson to his own devices. It became apparent to Mal as the day progressed exactly how useful to Thompson Chau was. Not only must he be providing a large sum of cashy money to Thompson’s cause, but Chau was also apparently actively procuring endorsements from other prominent businessmen. In the time they’d been following him, he had met with no less than twenty of such men, ingratiating himself to them as he went. It was fairly creepifying to watch, Mal thought, but more importantly, it was making it impossible to get to the hundan without a fuss.

Jayne was getting impatient. “Why don’t we just grab him off the street?” he asked. “Ain’t like he’ll put up a fight.”

“No,” Mal replied. “But the local Feds might, when whoever he happens to be with at the time starts yelling for help. We’ve waited this long. Best we wait a little longer. He’s bound to go home sometime.”

XXXXXXXXXX

James Chin rubbed his temples absently, a gesture that was second nature to him now. Making a mental note to call the doctor if his headache was no better by tomorrow, he looked blankly into his closet. He stood for several minutes, trying to remember why he had opened the closet door. Then, it came to him. Quickly choosing a dark shirt and black pants, he dressed in the dim light of his room. Figuring that the dark clothes would serve his clandestine purpose well, he left his small apartment and headed toward the docks. He didn’t want to be late for the meeting he had called. Hoping to arrive in time to be sure everything was in order, he picked up his pace.

XXXXXXXXXX

Thompson smiled with satisfaction. “I had planned to be elsewhere this evening,” he said to the scientist on the screen, “but if you feel confident that you’re that close to a breakthrough with our subject, I’ll be there.”

“Yes, sir,” the man replied proudly. “We’ve seen significant signs of progress today. I believe it could be as early as tonight that he will be…highly susceptible to your input.”

“That’s fine,” Thompson said. ‘I’ll be there within the next couple of hours. There are some things I need to do first.”

“Of course,” the scientist agreed. “We’ll have him ready when you arrive.”

XXXXXXXXXX

Andrew Chau settled back in his chair by the fire, glad to be alone for the evening. Though the man-servant he had here was almost as well-trained at Cerril on Perspehone, he was not as comforting a presence. So, Chau had given him the night off, preferring the absolute quiet of the house after the hectic day he’d had. It had been quite some years since he had so actively pursued the company of others, but Thompson was insistent that he use his social connections to garner support for their fledgling political party. And, he thought smugly, Thompson was sure to be pleased with the progress he’d made today in that direction.

Hearing a faint noise behind him, he leaned around the arm of his chair to see a sight he’d hoped to never see again.

“Might need to see to fixin’ that lock on your side door,” Mal said conversationally. “You never know who might decide to walk right on in.” He sat down in the other chair by the fire, smiling calmly.

More troubling to Chau was the large man who’d broken his arms before leaning casually against the mantelpiece. “Wh…what are you doing here?” Chau stammered.

“Been seeing you out and about,” Mal said. “Thought we’d drop by and get you to introduce us to your new friend.”

Chau frowned, tiny beads of sweat glistening on his forehead and upper lip. “I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.”

Mal leaned forward suddenly, his smile replaced by a look that made Chau’s mouth go dry. “I know you ain’t exactly the brightest bulb in the pack, but I woulda’ thought you’d have learned from our earlier visit together that I ain’t the most patient of men. Your sorry excuse for a face has been plastered all over the cortex with your new buddy, Jared Thompson. We got an interest in meeting with him, and you’re gonna arrange it. Dong ma?”

Chau turned pale at the thought. “I…I can’t arrange a meeting with him for you.” Seeing the large man shift slightly, he added quickly, “He’s not…the kind of man who comes when I call. It’s more like…”

“You come when he calls,” Mal finished for him.

“Yes,” Chau said, embarrassed by the admission.

“Well, now,” Mal said. “That presents a little problem. You see, we ain’t leavin’ ‘til we got us a way to see Thompson. And the longer we have to wait, the more annoyed Jayne here gets. I’m sure you wouldn’t want that to happen. That kinda’ thing generally leads to all manner of unpleasantness.”

Chau licked his lips nervously, unconsciously rubbing the spot where Jayne had broken one of his arms. “If I set up a meeting like that, he’d have me killed,” he whined.

“And what do you conjure will be happening to you if you don’t?” Mal asked, his voice a low growl and his eyes shining like lasers.

“All right,” Chau said, the last of his resolve crumbling completely. “I’ll call him.”

Mal nodded briefly, and Jayne moved to Chau’s side. With trembling knees, Chau led to way to his study and called Thompson’s offices. Getting only one of the night watchmen, Chau asked to be transferred to Thompson directly.

“Sorry, Mr. Chau. Mr. Thompson had left for the day. You might try him at home.”

Chau called Thompson’s home, praying that the man would be there. One of the household staff answered.

“I need to speak with Mr. Thompson,” Chau said as authoritatively as he could muster with Captain Reynolds and his thug staring daggers at him. “It’s a matter of some urgency.”

“I’m sorry, sir, but Mr. Thompson is not here at the moment. Perhaps I could take a message.”

Seeing Jayne remove his knife from its scabbard, Chau said quickly, “Do you have any idea as to where I might find him?”

The woman hesitated, torn between Thompson’s standard rule about revealing any personal information and her own knowledge that Chau was a frequent guest in Thompson’s home.

“Please,” Chau said. “It is imperative that I speak with him immediately.”

“I believe he left word that he would be at your laboratories,” she answered finally. “Perhaps you could find him there.”

“Thank you,” Chau said, relieved when Jayne returned his knife to its sheath. He reached to make another call, but Mal’s hand closed over his in a crushing grip.

“Who’re you thinkin’ to call now?” he asked, his voice frighteningly calm.

“I was just going to call the lab to confirm he’s there,” Chau said uneasily.

“How far is the lab from here?” Mal asked.

“Ten minutes by hover,” Chau said.

“Then we’ll just pay him a visit instead,” Mal said, hauling Chau to his feet.

Chau tried to twist away. “Surely you don’t expect me to..”

Mal jerked him forward, causing him to stumble. “Yes, we do.”

XXXXXXXXXX

The commander of the Alliance garrison on Osiris glanced at the chronometer on the wall. Eager to get on with the events planned for the evening, he had to rein in his enthusiasm. After all, he reminded himself, he didn’t want to break up the meeting of the insurrectionists before they’d all managed to get there. He couldn’t believe his luck in having such a career-boosting opportunity at the behest of a man who, by all appearances, had no great love for the Alliance. But oddly enough, he trusted Thompson now, having been given enough reason to do so by several smaller tips the man had provided.

The commander was a simple man, interested only in his own advancement. So, he spent little time trying to decipher the motives of his unlikely benefactor, and instead focused on how to parlay tonight’s sure success into a promotion. He had no wish to stay on as commander of the garrison forever, and envisioned leading a much larger group of men, perhaps even at Central Headquarters for the sector. Thus entranced with visions of grandeur, he passed the time until he could assemble his strike force.

XXXXXXXXXX

Arranging Chau snugly between them, Mal and Jayne sat in the hovercraft. Fiddling with the switches for a moment to see how it worked, Mal asked, “What is it Thompson is doing in your labs?”

Chau shook his head. “I don’t know,” he answered.

Jayne’s hand bit into his shoulder painfully.

“I swear, I really don’t,” he whimpered. “Thompson just…took them over and told me to stay away.”

Mal nodded, finding the switch that brought the hovercraft to life. “Guess we’ll all find out together then,” he said, maneuvering the craft out of its bay. “Now, which way?”

XXXXXXXXXX

To be continued

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