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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
At the farthest fringes of the system lies the Veldt. What secrets lie within its murky mass? What devils call it home?
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 720 RATING: 0 SERIES: FIREFLY
This should have been posted about two months ago. However, as I've been pretty much unable to write anything for myself in that stretch, it's had to be on the back burner until I could get around to it. While techinically, I still don't really have time for it even now, I felt it should go up.
This one finally introduces a long mentioned character, who you'll hear from again before the season's out. A lot of difficulties are about to befall Reynolds and his crew, and Monday is going bye-bye for a while. Finally, the overarching thread of this and the next season is finally tied off. In the end, it's all about the...
Anywhoo. Whatever writing I'm going to do next will be slow in coming, so just bide until I can get Hostile Environments finished.
You know this doesn't belong to me. I just play with it.
Feedback, if you would, would be appreciated. Might even spur me on to getting the next one done faster... nudge nudge wink wink.
Among the Ashes of Gahaan
“You're staying behind, and that's final,” Eli said, staring Von Pinn in the eye as he strode away from her and into the park where he'd met Mai, those however many years ago. Von Pinn kept pace, though.
“If it's that important that you talk to him, I see no reason...” she began, but was brought to a stop when he grasped her shoulders and gave her a sideways glance.
“Johner Marshal expects to see me, alone. If he sees you with me, he'll assume something's wrong and bolt. We'll never see him,” Eli explained impatiently.
“Then I'll enter from a different....”
“You don't get it,” Eli said with a chuckle. “This is Johner Marshal. The UIA are terrified of him, and what he represents. A wildcard, somebody that can beat them at their game enough to be a hazard, one that cannot be locked down or bought or killed. Johner isn't even his real name. I don't think anybody knows his real identity. And this guy is as good as they get. He'll know, Franci, if we try to pull anything on him. He'll know, he'll bolt,and he might even be offended enough to take the first contract he finds against me in repayment.”
“You make him sound like the Wolf,” Von Pinn muttered.
“Trust me,” Eli said, taking a step away from the intransigent woman. “Logan Kell knows well enough not to trifle with Johner Marshal. Just stay here. If it makes you feel any better, I'll tell you what happened when I get back.”
Von Pinn sighed, adopting a nearly petulant expression. “I don't like it.”
Eli growled. “Look, Franci, you don't know Johner Marshal like I do. I met him near thirty years ago, when he was new to the game. I stumbled onto him after he'd made his first, and possibly last, mistake. He was lung-shot, Franci. Bleeding into his chest and drowning of it. Of course, the guy who did it was dead, shot up the scope of his gun by a dying man, so I knew that Johner was something unique. You remember that Triple 'S' guy, Meria?” Von Pinn nodded. “Johner was... more. More of everything. And, since I'd done him a solid, he owes me a favor.”
Von Pinn scratched at the scar near on the edge of her left eye. “He can't be that good. Nobody is. Hell, give me a day and I know a guy who'll unbury his mother's maiden name and his IDent code from when he was twelve.”
Eli tsked loudly. “You don't get it. Johner isn't even his real name. It's just what he gave me. I don't think anybody knows his real name, either the one he talks to himself in, or the one he was born with. There's only reason he's willing to talk to a guy in my position. He owes me a favor.”
“You and your favors,” Von Pinn muttered. Finally, she rolled her eye and turned. “I'll be scrounging up that other ship of yours.”
That favor was the only advantage that Eli had.
The park opened up around him, modified cherry trees blossoming year round and never producing fruit. It was a beautiful venue, artificial even in it's attempts at naturalism. He saw others along the path, talking to each other under the blossoms, or having a late picnic together. They paid him, an older man, alone, no attention, due or undue.
The path through the cherry trees came at last to the lake which had been cut into the surface as the city expanded, it's shape carefully calculated for maximum visual effect. It was lovely. And fake, just like the trees, like the grass, and like ninety percent of the people enjoying both. The lake glowed slightly, the bioluminescent algae unable to perform as brilliantly here as they were on Ariel. They also made the water taste a bit like very mild cheese.
Eli took a seat on the bench that he'd found Mai, those years past. He knew he had arrived in time, if only just. Von Pinn had been as good as her word, even though she'd burned out the engines trying to slow down in the atmosphere after the breakneck transit, and ended up ditching the ship to crash as it would into the mountains. Eli had another ship not far away, but he knew he couldn't keep using ships up like that. He quickly ran the tally through his head, then realized he could destroy a ship a day for the rest of his life, and still have more money than he started.
Wealth was getting boring.
“Pretty lady, you came with,” a man's voice said from beside him. “I was wondering about her.”
Eli glanced to his side, and gave a start when he saw Johner. The man was utterly nondescript; he could have vanished in a crowd of three. His voice could have been the voice of anybody, his clothes could have come from any place. He could disappear in an instant. It was his gift.
“I told her not to come,” Eli said.
“Don't worry, Elijah,” Johner shushed, closing the hard covered book on his lap. Just then, Eli had realized that Johner had been sitting here all along, and Eli hadn't eve noticed him. “I know that she's not a concern of mine.”
“Elijah died forty five years ago,” Eli said carefully, and Johner gave him a slanted look.
Johner waved the topic away. “Suit yourself, then,” he muttered. “It's been a long time...”
“You know what I go by, now,” Eli muttered peevishly. He didn't like that Johner knew so much, and felt the need to dangle it about.
“Elias Greyson,” Johner replied, slipping the book into his case. “A fairly wealthy man, I hear. I was surprised to get your message. More so, that you had a job for me. I'm busy these days, you know? Consider yourself privileged that I had the time to see you.”
“I saved your life.”
“I'd probably have gotten out of it somehow,” Johner mused. Eli didn't think so, but nobody would dare accuse Marshal of arrogance. Johner faced Eli square. “I assume this has something to do with Nicodemus Blue's taking over the Corporation.”
“No,” Eli responded, and Johner actually looked surprised.
“If not that, then what in the Worlds could it be?” he asked.
“It's about my son,” Eli answered.
“Immanuel is dead,” Johner whispered.
“I know that. I was talking about Jacob,” Eli countered. His elder son's death was still heavy on his mind. He'd long ago accepted that he would never have any children by his son; his injuries had rendered him a eunuch, to the fullest extent of the term, and he had little interest in such things at all, even before the fire. Still, hearing that he had been consigned to the Black was heartbreaking to his fatherly soul.
Johner chuckled. “I've heard about his exploits,” Johner nodded slowly. “He's recently come to the attention of Whapsep and the POC, and I understand that Gyr has started taking interest, in the last week or so, in Legacy.”
“There's a lot of shit thats going to rain down on my son,” Eli whispered.
“A lot of shit,” Johner agreed.
“That's why I need you to be a shit-umbrella.”
Johner turned to him, a befuddled look on his face. “Excuse me?”
“I can't protect my children. Hell, I'm fairly certain Jacob doesn't even know that I'm alive. Still, there's nothing I wouldn't give to know that he'll be safe from their insidious machinations.”
Johner shook his head, with a grunt. “What you're describing is a full time job. I'm not going to hold your son's hand, Greyson. I have better things to do with my time.”
“I'm not asking you to pull my son out of every difficulty he finds himself in,” Eli stressed. “I just want you to keep the UIA's away from him. By whatever means you see fit.”
“So, you just want me to keep the vultures away?” Johner shook his head. “That, too, is a full time job. And I doubt you'd be willing to pay what it'd take for exclusivity...”
“Five million,” Eli offered. Johner laughed.
“That's not nearly enough for the services I offer,” he pointed out, but Eli halted him with a gesture, and continued.
“Every three months, until further notice,” Eli finished. Johner leaned back, a surprised look on his face. For a moment, he stared off into space, probably calculating the money versus all other offers he could entertain. After that consideration, he looked back to Eli and gave a single nod.
“I'll head out to him immediately. I believe he was last headed to Paradise. He can't get into much trouble there.”
Eli stood, cracking the aching joints in his back as he stared out over the lake. “You'd better keep your word,” he said. “If you don't hold true to my trust, believe me, your gift won't protect you from me.”
He heard no reply. He turned back to the bench, but it was no longer occupied by anybody. In fact, there was no sign at all that Johner had ever sat there.
Eli faced the lake again. “That's all I can do for you, kid,” he spoke to the empty air. “I just hope it's enough.
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