Not Forgiving - Chapter 13
Saturday, March 15, 2008

This is what happens when the Alliance strikes back. The scenes in this chapter happen about three months later. How is Inara? What is happening to River? Hope you like it.


Three men stood in an observation room, looking through the window at River Tam during one of her training sessions. The first one used his blue-gloved hands to shuffle through her file. The second one also wore blue gloves. He was standing next to the lead physician on River’s case who was reporting on her progress.

“How is the subject progressing?”

“Remarkably well,” the doctor reported. “Even though we had to discontinue the surgical program.”

“Why was that?”

“We tried on three separate occasions to proceed with the original program, but each time, the subject’s vitals became unstable to the point of near death.”

“Why was that happening?”

“We haven’t been able to pinpoint the problem.”

“Hmmm…” Blue hand #2 mused. His tone was laced with cold disapproval.

The doctor felt increasingly uneasy talking to the blue-gloved agents. He quickly moved on to discussing their subsequent successes with River, in hopes of gaining their praise.

“Strangely, it hasn’t made a difference,” he continued. “Through behavior modification and drug therapy, we have made tremendous strides with the subject.”

“Tell us about them.”

“As you can see, her physical abilities are outstanding,” the doctor said as he pointed at River in the other room. She was locked in an intense battle with ten highly trained soldiers. The soldiers were not doing well. She had felled all but three of them. Two guards stood by the door leading out of the room, but were not engaged in the exercise.

“Excellent. And her psychic abilities?”

“Also progressing. I have some vids of her progress in the other room, if you would like to adjourn there to review them,” the doctor said as he motioned toward the room across the hall, taking a step towards it.

“We will view them soon. We would like to see this exercise completed first.”

“Of course,” the doctor acknowledged. He shifted his feet uncomfortably.

River was fighting the soldiers. She looked very convincing, but unknown to her captors, she was holding back.

I could have finished them off fifteen minutes ago, but I know they are watching.

She could feel that the ones behind the glass were pleased with her progress. She smiled a bit. She had to take it slowly if her plan was going to work. She didn’t want to give herself away by showing too much progress too soon or letting them know the true extent of her abilities. She let one of the soldiers land a kick and she stumbled against the window. There, she got a clearer idea of who was behind the glass.

Two by two… Her eyes widened a bit.

Distracted by her realization, she barely ducked in time to avoid an oncoming fist. A quick leg sweep and an elbow left her with only two more adversaries. She felt the anxiousness that plagued her whenever they were around well up inside her, threatening to overwhelm her. Her heart started pounding and her throat constricted. She almost scrapped the next step she had planned for this exercise, but decided that it would still be a good time. If they were watching, then they must be trying to ascertain when she might be able to be deployed to do their bidding. She needed to make sure they were convinced that there was still work to be done. After all, River herself had work to be done as well. Work for herself, not for them. Work that would free her permanently and allow her to search for her family.

No time like the present. With that, she set to her task.

She dispatched the last two soldiers quickly, making sure that she ended by the door. In a fluid motion, she quickly rendered the guards unconscious as well and exited the room.

Inside the observation room, the doctor’s eyes bulged in horror when he saw her leave the room. She had escaped the training room while they were watching. Fearing grave repercussions from the blue-handed ones, he knew he needed to regain control of the situation immediately. He ran from the room on an intercept course with River. The Academy agents were close on his heels. He could hear screaming coming from the hallway where River was and he knew instinctively that she was wreaking some extreme damage. Panicked, workers in the area were running away from the scene with no regard for anyone but themselves, making the doctor’s task very difficult. The doctor was bumped hard several times as he made his way forward, once nearly being knocked to the floor. He finally saw her at the end of the hall. She had one of his colleagues by the head and in a quick motion, she twisted it. The sick sound of bones crunching and the dull thud of the body as it hit the floor nearly made the doctor ill. He had always seen her prowess from behind a window or on film and the proximity of this experience was far too close for comfort. With a strong of voice as he could muster, he spoke the words needed to diffuse the situation.

“Eta kooram nah smech!” he said loudly. A wave of relief washed him as River dropped unconscious to the floor. He turned to the agents. “I apologize. The process is not without some difficulties.”


“Yes, difficulties,” the doctor affirmed as he tried to regain his composure. “This happens now and again. When she first returned to us, episodes that went against protocol were a regular occurrence. Now, it happens very rarely. There is some discussion between my colleagues as to whether the current episodes are further attempts to escape or overflow from the exercise itself.”


“At first, she exhibited blatant attempts to escape from this facility again. Now, she may be unconsciously extending the simulation to include personnel not targeted. Because of this, we have reduced the number of personnel in the room to limit this behavior,” the doctor explained as several other guards came into sight. “She has never expanded the ‘field of play’ to include areas outside the room though. This development is new.”

“Orders, Sir?” one of the guards asked.

“She’ll be out for a while. Get her back to her room,” the doctor told them as he walked to the doctor she had killed. He looked down sadly.

“Who was he?” the blue hand asked.

“He was on the surgical team. He had been working with us since the beginning of the project.”

“He was important?”


Orderlies arrived and placed River onto a gurney.

“What do you think is happening with the subject?” the agent asked as River was wheeled towards her room.

“I believe that it is overflow. I haven’t seen any evidence of a specific plan of escape. For instance, this hallway led further into the complex and away from any known routes for escape. When she wakes, we will start adjusting her mission parameter programming to help compensate until this behavior is eradicated.”

They were still discussing her performance when the orderlies got River to her room. They put her on her cot and left quickly, locking the door behind them. They were afraid of her. A slight smile played across River’s lips.

Excellent. She thought. It went as planned, plus she was able to neutralize another important person in the Academy cog. He was the third one so far.

Since they expected her to be out for a while, she took that time to rest. She slept for a couple of hours before she was forced awake by an outside stimulus. It was strong and it knocked her mind completely off balance. As she fought to regain her equilibrium, she felt a familiar presence coalesce. She focused her mind in order to gather more information. It was definitely male and he was very close. His thoughts were oddly empty, but swirling in confusion at the same time. It was like someone who had been forcefully jolted into consciousness, like being awaken from a deep sleep too fast. She concentrated harder. She needed to know who was there. After a few minutes, she knew exactly who it was.

Well, this changes things considerably.

Inara sat in the portico that adjoined her living quarters, staring off into the lush garden that surrounded House Madrassa. She constantly thought of her family and wondered what had become of them. Her heart felt like an anvil in her chest. Once, she had gone into the city and tried to look on the cortex for any information, but found nothing. She had to do it at a public cortex terminal and could only do a shallow search because anything more than that would have alerted the authorities. They were still watching her closely. Sheydra came up behind her.

“I thought I’d find you here,” Sheydra said as she sat down next to Inara. She put an envelope on the bench between them. “You always came here when something was bothering you.”

“You know me well.” Inara said with a soft smile. “Must explain why I spend a good part of my time out here.”


Inara turned to Sheydra. Her face reflected great sadness.

“What’s wrong?” Inara asked with a small voice.

Sheydra pushed the envelope towards Inara.

“I was expecting this sooner or later, but since you are here now, I think it really belongs to you.”

Inara looked down at the envelope. She couldn’t pull her eyes away from it.

“What is it?” she whispered.

“Your captain contacted me right after the Miranda wave. He knew you were a friend of mine. He said it would be mailed if he didn’t check in regularly with one of his contacts,” Sheydra informed her. Tears started streaming down Inara’s face. This envelope confirmed Inara’s fears that Mal’s plan had been executed and that her family was probably gone. Sheydra stood up and placed her hand sympathetically on Inara’s shoulder. “I don’t know what it contains, but it’s yours. I’m sure he would want you to have it. I will take my leave now. You know where I am if you need me.”

All Inara could do was nod. She sat for a very long time, just looking at the envelope. It was plain and there was no return address. It was addressed to Sheydra. The handwriting was unmistakably Mal’s. Finally, she extended a trembling hand, picked it up and opened it carefully.

There was only a card. Mal had scrawled a list of numbers and letters on it that made no sense. Confused, Inara flipped the card over, hoping that there was more that could help her understand it’s meaning. There, he had written another message. It simply stated:

Find my ship. Find my crew.

Well, folks, you just finished the end of this portion of the tale. Think of it as a serious season finale cliffhanger. Unfortuneatly, you will have to wait until I finish the next part to learn more about our BDHs. Hopefully it will be soon. It will probably be called “Find my Ship.” Keep an eye out for it.

And please, comments about the story thus far are greatly appreciated. They will help to keep me motivated and on task.

Thank you!


Saturday, March 15, 2008 1:49 PM


Tell me you're not going to leave it hanging here like this...ok, I guess that's what cliffhangers are for. Loved the suspense about what's to come and loved the games River is playing. So many times she is depicted as brain damaged, but brain altered and gifted is more how she was after Miranda. Who is the man nearby River? Hurry up and finish!

Sunday, March 16, 2008 11:06 AM


Please, please don't leave us hanging on the cliff too long!!

Friday, May 23, 2008 1:39 PM



You need to post the next part already!!!

Friday, May 23, 2008 1:40 PM


I'm going into withdrawl... already.... post.... soon... please...


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Not Forgiving - Chapter 13
This is what happens when the Alliance strikes back. The scenes in this chapter happen about three months later. How is Inara? What is happening to River? Hope you like it.

Not Forgiving - Chapter 12
This is what happens when the Alliance strikes back. This chapter, Simon goes out on his own and finds a surprise.

Not Forgiving - Chapter 11
This is what happens when the Alliance strikes back. This chapter: an old friend arrives to help Simon and Zoe and River’s condition takes a turn.

Not Forgiving - Chapter 10
This is what happens when the Alliance strikes back. In this chapter, Simon and Zoe patiently wait on Serenity and Inara is a mess.

Not Forgiving - Chapter 09
This is what happens when the Alliance strikes back. This chapter: the crew splits up, but at what price?

Not Forgiving - Chapter 08
This is what happens when the Alliance strikes back. This chapter: What else could possibly go wrong to make their lives even <b>more</b> interesting?

Not Forgiving - Chapter 07
This is what happens when the Alliance strikes back. This chapter: how does the Plan start?

Not Forgiving - Chapter 06
This is what happens when the Alliance strikes back. This chapter: What happened to Inara once her shuttle landed? What is Simon’s plan?

Not Forgiving - Chapter 05
This is what happens when the Alliance strikes back. Chapter 5: What happened when Zoe and Simon got Mal back to Serenity?

Not Forgiving - Chapter 04
This is what happens when the Alliance strikes back.