Sign Up | Log In
BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Things heat up, and not just on Osiris!
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 847 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
Archangel – Chapter Thirty-Nine
Author owns no rights to Firefly, and no copyright infringement is intended. Fanfic only.
Before anyone could answer Mal’s demand, Kaylee flew down the ramp, launching herself at Jayne. The big man caught her with ease, and Kaylee practically climbed him to reach a point where she could look him in the eye, and then kissed him soundly.
Inara likewise came down the ramp, albeit at a more dignified pace, and threw herself into Mal’s arms. Everyone watched with a grin, though River, watching Jayne and Kaylee, again felt the spike of envy.
“I was afraid that. . . .” Kaylee gasped, releasing her hold on Jayne’s lips.
“River took good care o’ me,” Jayne told her solemnly. Kaylee looked at the beaming little figure in armor, and smiled.
“Thank you, River,” Kaylee said to her. “For everything.”
“What friends are for,” River smiled.
“And you’re my best friend in the whole world, too,” Kaylee told her, and River’s smile brightened. Simon walked up to her, looking at her blood spattered armor, and his eyes looked shocked.
“Mei mei?” he said hesitantly.
“Yes, Simon,” River grinned at him. “I’m glad to see you,” she added, hugging him.
“My God, River!” Simon breathed, looking her over, from head to toe. “You look magnificent!” River’s face again blossomed with a smile, and her heart warmed at the praise.
“She don’t just look it, neither,” Jayne told the doctor. “She’s fought like a demon, done as well as any of us, and better’n most. She’s earned that armor, Simon.”
If anything, River’s smile grew larger, and her face reddened.
“I’m so proud of you,” Simon whispered, hugging her again. “So grown up. And so fierce looking!”
“I am fierce,” River growled at him, a mock glare on her face. “Archangel, no less!”
“What?” Inara, Simon, and Jazz all said at once.
“I am,” River insisted, looking at Jayne, who was still holding Kaylee in his arms.
“She is,” he confirmed for her. “And one of the best, too. Best not give her no sass, Doc,” he winked. “Might spank you.”
Everyone laughed at that. As the laughter grew low, the sounds of the battle penetrated the circle.
“Baby doll, I got to get back,” Jayne murmured, as Kaylee continued to rain kisses on him. “You stay here, okay?”
“I will,” Kaylee nodded, sliding down. “But don’t you dare get hurt!” she warned.
“River’ll look after me,” he promised. He turned and headed back to the line. River followed, smiling once more at Simon before she went.
Brother Thomas walked up about then, smiling.
“Well, Malcolm Reynolds, I see that your minions follow orders almost as well as you do.” His grin robbed the words of any sting, but Mal still looked a tad embarrassed.
“We couldn’t let you all die here, while we hid,” he offered as his only excuse, and Zoe nodded in agreement.
“Tell me, was your mission successful?”
“It was, sir,” Mal nodded. “The records were placed aboard a shuttle, with six men, and two Archangels, and sent to the monastery. We came on here, to help as we could.”
“So long as that was done, then you are welcome here,” Thomas told him. He looked to Simon.
“Could we impose upon you, Doctor Tam, to care for our wounded?”
“That’s why I’m here,” Simon promised. “We can load them on the ship, if you like, where I’ll have the infirmary.”
“I’ll give the orders,” Thomas nodded. “We may survive, though it is still in doubt.”
“Monty’s comin’,” Zoe piped in. “Be another half day or so, ‘fore he makes it, I expect. We came on ahead.”
“He will be most welcome, then,” Thomas smiled. “I must get back. Malcolm would you like to accompany me?”
“I’d be honored,” Mal said quietly, and Inara smiled at his manners.
“Then let us go.”
Mal looked over the battle from Thomas’ vantage point. Eyeing the fallen buildings, he turned to the monk.
“Rough battle,” he commented.
“We did that,” Thomas told him. “Dropped the buildings on reavers approaching our flank.”
“Good tactic,” Mal’s eyes crinkled a little, as he fought off a smile.
“Let us hope the people of Osiris are as understanding,” Thomas smiled slightly.
“Don’t ‘spect they got any call to complain, you fightin’ for’em.”
“Perhaps,” Thomas admitted. “We shall see. But, whatever the response, it had to be done.”
“What’s the situation now?” Mal asked.
“They are still pressing from the front,” Thomas pointed. “I expect another flanking attack, at some point, though whomever is controlling them may decided against it, after the first failure.”
“Can you cover all your access points like that?” Mal pointed to the fallen buildings.
“We have made those preparations, yes,” Thomas smiled grimly. “Among others,” he added darkly.
“What would you like me to do?”
“I would like for you to tour the perimeter,” Thomas ordered, after a few minutes thought. “Your experience would be most helpful. Take any actions you deem suitable.”
“Yes, sir,” Mal nodded, and set off.
Jayne watched as the battle progressed, River never more than a few steps from his side. He watched the battle. River watched him.
“I think they’re starting to fall away again,” he murmured, and she nodded.
“Nineteen percent drop in the force arrayed against us,” River estimated. “They appear to withdrawing again.”
“I don’t like that,” Jayne said honestly. “And I don’t think they’ll wait long before hitting us again.”
They watched as the reavers withdrew, slowly, leaving their wounded and dead. The streets were filled with them. They weren’t alone, however. Six more Archangels had fallen, three of them dead.
“They’re eating us up,” Jayne commented. “Surely whoever is in charge knows that the Alliance won’t allow this to go on forever.”
“Alliance is doing this,” River pointed out.
“True,” Jayne admitted. “Let’s see to our wounded.”
Simon worked without pause, it seemed. Inara was helping him, and two others from the shelters had volunteered their services. Nurses who had known him when he was a doctor.
“I can’t believe this is happening,” one remarked dully, assisting Simon in an operation.
“The Alliance does things like this all the time,” Simon told her, and the nurse looked up at him, sharply.
“They’re the ones who sent the reavers,” Simon told her. “To scare us into a state of emergency, and allow them to crush anyone who might oppose how they run things.”
“Who are these people fighting the reavers?”
“A lot of them are former Browncoats,” Simon told her, and snorted in amusement at her startled look.
“They aren’t quite the back birth barbarians we were taught, Alysa,” Simon told her quietly. “They’re here, protecting you, while the Alliance waits to see what happens. You might remember that, when this is over.”
Mal had collected Zoe, and the two of them were walking the fortifications.
“Looks like a good set up, sir,” Zoe commented.
“It is,” Mal nodded. “Thomas knows his business.”
“Well, if they can hold out a bit longer, Monty and his outfit should be here.”
“I hate to say it,” Mal told her, “but I was surprised to hear he was coming.”
“Well,” Zoe hedged. “I hate to say it, sir,” she continued after a pause, “but I think the Operative talked him into it. Convinced him that this was the best way to get attention to the Cause.”
“Huh,” Mal grunted, non-committal.
“Maybe the man really is trying to atone,” Zoe shrugged. “Ain’t no amount of atoning gonna make up for what he did, mind,” she warned. “But that don’t mean he ain’t trying.”
The Eleven had gathered once again, discussing the events on Osiris.
“Who is it that’s leading the fight?” the leader demanded.
“Unknown,” the intelligence chief admitted. “But they’re doing a fine job. Managed to protect a goodly portion of the city’s population, as well.”
“Perhaps they should withdraw,” the nasally woman next to Az suggested. “They have already accomplished a great deal.”
“No,” the leaded was adamant. “We cannot afford to have people believe that the reavers can be defeated. They must strike fear into everyone, in order for our plans to work.”
“Well, I’d say there’s at least one group that aren’t afraid of the reavers,” a man down the table snorted. “And the vaunted reavers are dying like flies, for no appreciable gain.”
“Reavers are replaceable,” the leader waved his hand away. “In fact, I think we should order an attack on another rim world or moon, and convert their population.”
Az’s grip on the table tightened at that. This had gone far enough.
He reached beneath the table, hitting three buttons in succession. The first locked the doors, sealing them against intrusion. The second killed the tapes of the meeting, including the video. The last disabled the alarms. Then his hand reached the hilt of a sword, hung beneath the table.
He pushed his chair back, standing in a fluid motion, sword in hand. Talk died out completely, and all eyes went to him.
“Az?” the leader said warily.
“Azrael,” Az corrected. “I am a messenger, from those whose purpose is to fight evil, wherever it may reside,” he said, his voice steely.
“You are all guilty of crimes against humanity,” he looked from one to the next. “Against the people. You have been tried in absentia, and found guilty. The sentence, for your sins, is death.”
He struck suddenly, decapitating the nasally woman to his left, without the need for more words. Whirling to his right, he caught the man next to him, and struck him across the chest as he was rising, cleaving him near in half.
Ignoring the shouts and shrieks of the people in the room, he began to move.
“This is what we’ve been working toward,” the masked man told his team. “We
are all dead men, no matter what happens,” he reminded them. “Let us go down fighting.” Growls of approval came from the men behind him, and he nodded.
“Time to move.”
The leader was last. Az had saved him for last, deliberately, relishing the fear he could smell from the man.
“Az, why?” the man wheedled. “Why do this?”
“You’re a blight on humanity,” the Archangel’s voice was cold. “A stain. You must be cleansed.” Without another word, Az took his head. Sighing, he looked around him.
The room looked as if a whirlwind of destruction had torn through it. He smiled grimly, since that was basically what had happened.
I hope you have triumphed, Thomas, he thought to himself. I have done my duty. All that I can. The rest is for you.
He straightened as someone began to pound on the door. He reached under the table, and deactivated the lock.
Time to end this.
The former operative looked up and down the hall, satisfied. The sentries, and other guards, were all down. All that remained was the council.
“The door is secured, sir,” another called.
“Break it down,” the man ordered. The man nodded, and he and three others began battering at the heavy door.
Suddenly, they heard the audible pop, as the lock disengaged. The men looked at each other quizzically. The leader pondered for a second, and nodded.
They opened the door, and looked inside. What they saw was shocking, to say the least.
The Council was dead. All but one, anyway. That one stood waiting for them, sword in hand. Calm.
“Welcome, gentlemen,” he smiled. “I’ve been waiting for you.”
“Hold!” the leader snapped, and his men froze. He looked at Az closely for a moment, noticing the sword.
“Are you. . .are you what I think you are?” he asked finally, and Az cocked his head to the side, grinning.
“Well, that would depend entirely upon what you think I am, now wouldn’t it?”
“I think you’re. . .I think you’re an Archangel,” the leader finally managed to whisper. Az looked shocked.
“And what makes you think that?” he demanded.
“I’ve seen one before,” the leader admitted. “When I was a child. Please,” he added, hands raised in supplication. “We are not at cross purposes here. You have completed our mission for us. We have cleared the way for you. Let us. . .let us work together, if you would.”
“And your purpose?” Az demanded.
“To remind the Parliament that their duty is to their people, and not themselves,” the former Operative smiled grimly.
“If you speak the truth, then yes,” Az smiled suddenly. “I think we can work together.”
“Sir, the perimeter looks good,” Mal told Thomas, as he and Zoe approached him. “I did adjust some of the manpower, but, really, the deployment was fine.”
“Thank you,” Thomas smiled, never looking away from the mass of reavers in the distance. “I think, now, we will see an all-out assault. They tired of playing with us.”
“What you mean?” Mal asked.
“Look,” Thomas pointed to the reavers. Columns of them, actually in a semblance of order, were moving to surround the makeshift fortifications that had been erected. Mal frowned as he noted that.
“They seek to envelop us,” Thomas said softly. “I feared this, but hoped it would not be. We lack the manpower to fight on so many fronts. Without the Archangels to fight, the barricades may well be overwhelmed.”
“How many of these buildings you got wired to drop?” Mal asked, waving at the scene around him.
“We can repeat our efforts on the western flank,” Thomas admitted. “But each is a one time shot. We haven’t the resources to duplicate it. We do have sufficient mines to lay a nasty ambush, but though it will kill hundreds, it will not stop them.”
“Well, maybe we can fight a delaying action,” Mal suggested. Thomas looked at him.
“We take, say every fourth man from the walls,” Mal said. “Form them into teams, and occupy the buildings along the approaches. Push ground cars, rubble, anything we can find into the streets, to slow them down. Fire down on ‘em all the while. Use your mines ‘tween each roadblock.”
“Kill all we can, sure, but the object is to slow’em down. Give Monty time to get here, and play Big Damn Hero.”
“Do so,” Thomas said at once. “That is now your mission, Malcolm.”
“Yes, sir,” Mal almost saluted, having fallen so easily back into the habit of military form. He nodded at Zoe, and they left, hurrying.
“They are seeking to envelop us,” River said calmly, having drawn the same conclusions as Thomas.
“We ain’t got the manpower to fight’em. Not like that,” Jayne sighed. Just as he was about to speak, Mal and Zoe came hurrying up.
“Gotta steal some o’ your folks, Jayne,” Mal told him, as Zoe began issuing orders. “Gonna try and slow’em down some, on the flanks.”
“Don’t neglect the rear approaches,” River warned. “They will hit us from all sides.”
“Anything else you need, Mal?” Jayne asked, a sinking feeling in his stomach.
“Just a lot more men than we got,” Mal grinned crookedly. “And some grenades,” he joked. Jayne laughed at that, but it was a bitter sound.
“I’ve posted six Archangels near the ship,” he informed Mal. “With orders to die defending it. Should give Inara time to get off the ground.”
“Thanks, Jayne,” Mal said softly. Jayne made sure that River was out of earshot, and leaned closer to Mal.
“Tell Simon, if you see him, to prepare somethin’ to knock the girl out,” he ordered. “I want her on that ship, if it has to leave.” Mal looked at Jayne closely for a minute, then nodded.
“She’ll be madder’n a hornet, she wakes up,” he warned.
“She’ll be alive,” was all Jayne said, turning his attention back to the battle.
Mal frowned at that, not liking what he was hearing.
“Jayne, that ship leaves, we’ll all be on it, along with as many of the rest as we can carry,” he said.
“I won’t be,” Jayne didn’t even look at him. “This is where I make my stand, Mal. I’m not leaving. None of us are. We’ve already decided. We’ll fight to the last man. But she,” he pointed to River, “ain’t gonna. She’s earned the chance to live. I aim to see she gets it.”
“All o’ you’s earned it, Jayne,” Mal objected.
“Not all of us want it,” Jayne shrugged. “This is what we were made for, Mal. And I won’t leave the rest of’em to die alone.”
“What about Kaylee?” Mal almost screeched. “You just gonna leave her?”
“She’ll be with you,” Jayne pointed out. “I know you’ll take care o’ her. Always have. And she deserves better’n me, anyway.”
“Don’t see how she’d feel that way, Jayne,” Mal shook his head. “And, while I’ll deny this, you ever repeat it, I ain’t so sure there is better.” Jayne looked at Mal for a long time, eyeing his face closely.
“Thanks, Mal,” he said finally. “I wish you’d said that a while back, but I’ll take it now, and be grateful.”
“I wish I’d said it then, too, Jayne,” Mal said sincerely. “Good luck.”
“And you,” Jayne replied. Then he was off, seeing to his men, River trailing.
Mal watched him go, then shook himself. He had work to do, and not long to do it in.
Monty, I hope you make it, he thought, then started barking orders.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008 12:07 AM
You must log in to post comments.
OTHER FANFICS BY AUTHOR
All FIREFLY graphics and photos on this page are copyright 2002-2012 Mutant Enemy, Inc., Universal Pictures, and 20th Century Fox.
All other graphics and texts are copyright of the contributors to this website.
This website IS NOT affiliated with the Official Firefly Site, Mutant Enemy, Inc., or 20th Century Fox.