BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ADVENTURE

HERMITSREST

Sleeper
Friday, February 22, 2008

Children will be curious, but they have secrets of their own. No.3 of Series 2, featuring post BDM characters and a few of my own creation. Feedback would be much appreciated.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2546    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

“You realise this is our last run for free, ‘Nara? After this we can start chargin’ the ‘Landers and maybe afford to trade somewhere other than Badger.” Mal finished clearing up the dishes. “As long as that’s all you’re planning to do,” she replied pointedly. “What d’you mean, all? I’m jus’ tryin’ to keep us afloat.” “You know what I mean, Mal…” Mal finally gave her his full attention. She was due in a month or so and had been real cranky – getting worse since she’d given up teaching until the baby was born. “Why don’t you tell me what you mean, bao bei?” said Mal, smiling kindly. Inara’s mouth tightened as she surveyed her husband, the eternal Browncoat. “I don’t want you pursuing this Blue Sun conspiracy.” She now glared at him, daring him to deny it. “I ain’t. Bane jus’ went to warn Wladek. She did that a few months ago, an’ now there’s nothing we can do ‘cept wait an’ see what that Colonel of hers finds out.” “You shouldn’t have let her go in the first place!” Inara stated with some anger. Mal frowned in puzzlement, but also wondering at Inara’s attitude. “There was a good reason – Wladek’s being monitored by them. If he contacted us then it’s likely we’d start bein’ looked at - as why would an Alliance Colonel be in touch with a supposed war criminal?” “The chances of Wladek contacting us were minimal. I don’t think it was very wise to get involved in the first place.” Mal folded his arms. “Bein’ that you’re wanted by the Alliance for kidnapping, ‘Nara, I’d have thought you would feel a bit more shiny about this?” Inara turned away and tidied up whatever item came to hand. “I’ve no issues with you looking out for our protection, Mal. Just with you getting involved with finding out more about this Academy and it’s connections to Blue Sun – stirring the pot. They have a controlling hand in almost everything in this ‘Verse and can bring Armageddon down on us with a snap of their fingers.” “I’d freely admit I’m curious - and outraged on account of what they’ve already done. There’s nothing to stop us safely monitoring them from a distance, seein’ what their up to...” “Interfering you mean! At the cost of all our lives - your own children included,” she replied, a bite to the last of her words and emphasising it by putting her hand on her very pregnant stomach. “You know I wouldn’t risk their lives – or Ish’s.” As Mal and his mother continued to argue, rather circularly in his opinion, Ishmael shut the door to his room and lay on his bed. There were a lot the adults didn’t tell them, about the wider ‘Verse and their own histories, but there were ways of finding out and he thought he’d got pretty expert at it. There was a tap on his window and he got up to see who it was, pretty sure it was Lukas, but you never know. Lukas, though the younger of them, had shot up in height in the last half year and was now already a head taller. This year, Ishmael would be turning sixteen and Lukas fifteen. In any normal community, the year age gap between them would have meant they would have gone out of their way to avoid each other. But they were the only two children of a similar age at Gang Kou and had spent the last five years being brought up as close as brothers. In response to Lukas’ waving, he put on his coat and scarf and quietly opened the window before climbing out. They ran into the freezing fog, out of sight of the houses. “Mother and Mal were arguing again.” Lukas threw a stick he’d picked up and watched it disappeared into the mist. “What about this time?” “Bane’s trip to visit an Alliance Colonel…,” Lukas’ eyes widened and he, like any curious teenager, wanted to know more. After Ishmael had finished telling what he knew they discussed how to find out more. “We could ask Zo-Ma,” which was the name Lukas called Zoe. Lukas shook his head vehemently. “We aren’t gonna get anything out of her – or Pa.” “Matt won’t know anything either and Jayne would likely tell us to mind our own.” Lukas nodded in agreement. “River?” suggested Lukas. He liked River, she was real pretty. When she smiled it was like the sun coming out. “She would know.” “She knows a lot of things, too much. I don’t want to ask her.” Ishmael really did want to ask her, but River, despite her beauty and grace, she scared him a little. “What then? You wanna go down to the river and break up the ice?” suggested Lukas, getting bored. “Let’s ask Bane. She’ll tell us about the war criminal.” “Either that or she’ll feed us.” “You and your rutting stomach.” “Hey, what can I say? I just get hungry quicker than most,” Lukas protested, his voice breaking over the last few words. Ishmael’s voice had broken last year, though he was naturally soft toned and it hadn’t been that noticeable. Lukas’ threatened to be as loud and deep as his father’s. ~ “Hello, Ish. Lukas. To what do we owe this honour?” Bane said, opening the door wide. Lukas spoke hurriedly. “Ish heard his parents arguing about your trip to visit that Alliance Colonel.” Bane’s eyebrows raised. “You better come in.” The boys shuffled in, taking off their coats as the fire was blazing a good heat. Karl was sitting on one end of the couch reading a paper. “We’ve curious visitors who want to know my whereabouts a couple of months ago.” Karl looked up seeing the eagerness of the two adolescents. “I’d tell ‘em to mind their own,” he said, going back to his paper. Bane pulled a face at him and walked back into the kitchen to carry on cooking – chicken in mushroom sauce – which was Karl’s favourite. Their house was built open-plan, so the boys could stand in the warmer room and still talk to her. She knew that children, especially young boys, weren’t ever put off so easily and they’d likely been adding two and two and making seven. As hoped for, she brought out some biscuits and the two of them fell on them. “Why don’t you boys sit down and tell me exactly what you’ve heard?” Lukas incriminatingly looked at his friend and then nudged him. Ishmael was already having regrets about his idea, especially since Karl was starring at him intently. “They were talking about the Blue Sun conspiracy and how you went to warn the Alliance Colonel about them.” “And the Academy. And about the war criminal,” added Lukas keenly. Bane heard the excitement in the voices and her bullshit-o-meter was going off as well. She was pretty sure they had just quoted her the words without understanding the meaning. She gave the sauce a stir and turned the heat down. There was no need for the boys to know the truth but, in the same way, she didn’t want to lie to them either. “I’m the war criminal you heard bein’ referred to. The Alliance Colonel is a friend of mine,” she began. “I was on trial some years back and between us, Wladek and I helped put another man in jail.” The boys’ eyes were as wide as saucers and Karl moved the paper upwards to hide his smirk. “You were a war criminal?” Ishmael asked in amazement. “Allegedly, yes. I blew up Alliance weapons facilities and com stations during the war.” “How?” asked Lukas. Bane launched into a story, tweaked for the age group, about her activities during the war. Karl had to rub his moustache to hid his smile, as she had successfully managed to get them off the topic of Blue Sun - at least for a while. He was proved right that they hadn’t forgotten about fifteen minutes later when Ishmael spoke. “But what’s all that got to do with Blue Sun?” Bane answered him patiently. “Well, that slave ship you boys were almost taken on a couple of years ago was owned by Blue Sun. And one of the people who crewed on it was the man Wladek and I put in jail. That’s why I had to go warn him.” “I heard Papa say you blew that ship up too,” interrupted Lukas. Bane’s mouth tightened. It was sometimes easy for adults to forget that children heard and saw as much as the next person, and she wished Hans had been more discrete. The memories of that day weren’t the kind she wanted to conjure up, even for the sake of a good story. Karl came to her rescue. “That’s enough of that, boys. You came over to ask Bane about Blue Sun and she’s answered your questions. Now run along or I’ll be tellin’ your parents that you bin listenin’ at their doors.” Both boys looked startled and quickly put on their coats before running out into the snow again. Bane snuggled up on the couch next to Karl and he put one arm around her before he carried on reading the newspaper out loud to her. “Think that’ll hold ‘em?” she said before he began. “Nope,” answered Karl. Outside Ishmael and Lukas ran to the barn, where they climbed one of the ladders and sat in the hay. “Did she really answer our questions?” asked Ishmael, puzzled. “I dunno. What was it we were wanting to know?” Lukas shrugged, unconcerned and hunger reprieved. For the rest of the afternoon they played military lookout using the cattle as potential enemy sightings, something they didn’t do very often anymore because they were getting older. When it started to get dark Lukas went home and Ishmael was set to follow. As he got down the bottom of the ladder, he turned and almost bumped into River. He smiled but she didn’t seem to be smiling back at him, rather blocking his way. “I know who you are, Ishmael.” “How do you know?” Ish replied, taking a quick wild look around him. “I’m a reader. Didn’t your parents tell you?” “No...” There was a long pause. “So you know everything that I’m thinking?” River had heard that question many many times. “Yes.” Ishmael looked at his feet, suddenly feeling the weight of the world upon him. “Are you going to tell anyone?” he asked in a worried voice. “Your mother has good reasons for keeping the secret and she’ll have to stand by that one day. When that day comes, I’ll not be pretending it’s a shock.” Ishmael nodded in acknowledgement, miserably. He wasn’t looking forward to that day. Mal had no idea who he was either, except what his mother had told him - he was the son of one of her rich clients. Which was the truth, but not the whole truth. River felt a tug of sympathy for him. After all, it wasn’t his fault. “Make the most of your time here, Ishmael, and treat it as precious. Everyone’s got something to teach you before it’s time for you to go back.” “What can you teach me?” he asked curiously. River smiled broadly. “How to read people.” Ishmael’s eyes widened. “Like you?!” “No. But there are ways of finding out if someone’s telling you the truth by the way they act and talk.” “Can you teach me now?” he asked eagerly. “I believe you’re expected for dinner, so no, not now. But how about we start tomorrow?” “Can I tell my mother?” River looked at him for several moments before speaking. “I leave that up to you, Ish. Do what you think best. You can bring Lukas though.”

COMMENTS

Saturday, February 23, 2008 12:36 AM

WYTCHCROFT


well, i often dislike children in fics but i enjoyed this, apart from anything else i admire the way you're taking time to flesh out your own version of the verse:)


POST YOUR COMMENTS

You must log in to post comments.

YOUR OPTIONS

OTHER FANFICS BY AUTHOR

Yo-Saf-Bridge-Mac
Serenity hands off one of their contacts to Monty and encounter some trouble along the way from an old adversary – guess who!. No.4 of Series 2 but pretty much a standalone, featuring post BDM characters and a few of my own creation. Having feedback is like charging my battery, please comment.

Sleeper
Children will be curious, but they have secrets of their own. No.3 of Series 2, featuring post BDM characters and a few of my own creation. Feedback would be much appreciated.

Killing Time
The Operative gets an assignment that she’s not particularly fond of because it brings her into contact with her past. A ficlet to follow Killing Spree. Feedback would be much appreciated.

Pandora's Box - Part Three
Zoe has been doing some interfering and for one of the crew it could mean an end to their relationship. No.2 of Series 2, featuring post BDM characters and a few of my own creation. Please, please comment as much as possible - I need to know if I've done good, done bad or done just plain ugly. Part 2 of 3.

Pandora's Box - Part Two
River’s got her job back but the flying is short lived – instead she has to contend with Jayne’s brother. No.2 of Series 2, featuring post BDM characters and a few of my own creation. Please, please comment as much as possible - I need to know if I've done good, done bad or done just plain ugly. Part 2 of 3.

Pandora's Box - Part One
It’s business as usual for Malcolm Reynolds & Serenity but one of the crew sets off alone to deliver a message. No.2 of Series 2, featuring post BDM characters and a few of my own creation. Please, please comment as much as possible - I need to know if I've done good, done bad or done just plain ugly. Part 1 of 3.

Killing Spree
The Operative, formerly known as Abigail Penney, gets another assignment. A ficlet to follow First Kill. Read and be chilled. Feedback would be much appreciated.

Homecoming - Part Two
It is three years and four months since River Tam left the crew of Serenity and she has decided to return home. 1st fanfic of the second series, featuring post BDM characters and a few of my own creation. Having feedback is like charging my battery, please comment. Part 2 of 2.

Homecoming -Part One
It’s three years and four months since River Tam left her brother and the crew of Serenity. 1st fanfic of the second series, featuring post BDM characters and a few of my own creation. Having feedback is like charging my battery, please comment. Part 1 of 2.

First Kill
A ficlet to keep you going between the end of Series 1 and the beginning of Series 2. An Operative’s first hit. Read and be chilled. Feedback would be much appreciated.