BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

TUJIAOZUO

Lilac Syndrome: Chapter 14
Thursday, May 29, 2008

The New Haven Series; Post BDM; M/I, S/K: The plan unfolds; blood, bonding, Badger and music.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1700    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

The group didn’t have to walk long.

Virgil stopped in an alley at a sky blue van that said ‘Elite Launder: For All You Commercial Laundering Needs’ on the side. Leaning against the driver’s door, the window rolled down, “Stephano,” He greeted in a friendly manner.

“Captain East, pleasure to see ya sir.” The man he called Stephano smiled, looking across to Mal who stood next to Virgil.

Mal gave a face that clearly meant he had not a damn clue as to why they were stopping and talking to a laundry van driver

East clasped a hand on Mal’s shoulder. “This is Captain Reynolds, the one I’m in this joint business venture with.”

“Pleasure to meet you Captain.”

“Likewise… I think” Mal nodded his head suspiciously as the two went back to business.

“Thanks for the help, I really appreciate this.”

“No problem Captain.”

Virgil turned and headed to the back of the van, opening it so the crew could pile in. “Double time. Less people see us get in the better.”

“So this is the transportation?” Mal asked as he climbed in with the rest. “This is why we couldn’t use my other shuttle?”

“Yeah, this sucks.” Jayne grumbled. “Smells like a month old hamper.”

“Are you sure that’s not your everyday scent?” Simon retorted. Pike and Roxy snickered.

Genevieve gave a silent simper, shaking her head.

“You know you ain’t that good with a gun pretty boy.” Jayne sneered.

“I vowed to protect him, and I am.” Pike said, whether he was joking or serious, it wasn’t entirely clear. Simon however, was liking his new friend more and more.

“Badger sees another shuttle like Inara’s he’ll get suspicious.” Virgil responded. “We don’t want to give him pieces ta put together.”

“Oh, so all of the talk you did over your great score for a vehicle was over a laundry van?” Mal scoffed as he helped Virgil close the doors, the van revving to life. “I must say, I’m a little underwhelmed with all of the luxury of this ride.”

“Well I runna moon that supplies down time for marauders, Mal.” He explained with a grunt as she shut the doors and the truck revved to life. “I got friends all over the system, including ones that can abscond a laundry truck and take a group of heavily armed malfeasants into the heart of Upper Eavesdown. Don’t gripe until you can best it yourself.”

Mal, gave his partner in crime a steely look as the van pulled away, resting the back of his head on some towels as they all crouched on the floor and waited.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The head of the body ricocheted off of the metal side of a sea train and went flying through the air.

Wren caught it with her gloved hands.

Fiyero gazed down at the charred skull, the sparse chunks of cooked flesh and grey matter still clinging to it as the rest was a burnt white. In the mouth, smoke curled out in rank clouds that smelt similar to over barbequed meat. “Ugh.” His tongue fell out of his mouth in disgust, and he clasped his free hand over the tongue and mouth. "Wren..."

"We recycle, Fiyero." Wren said dryly as she pulled out her gun.

River wrinkled her nose as Wren held it by the eye sockets and Sterling quickly picked up the body, pushing the curtain back and signaling the others to hurry in.

’Brace yourselves.’ Emma told them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inara was bracing herself.

She had bid the others goodbye and taken off in her shuttle towards Eavesdown, following the directions given to her to reach Badger’s house. She flew over Lower Eavesdown, the docks, poverty, shady business practices and the like, and passed into Upper Eavesdown. Upper Eavesdown was home to those prosperous, but just below the ultra-prosperous like Atherton Wing and all of the old money that went along with his ilk. The houses were grand, three storied and polished, orient sloped roofs, round windows, red doors and trimming for prosperity. The gardens in the back were small but lush, the streets spotless with willow trees shading the way, and the hover vehicles were new and expensive. Every house was near identical, a planned community, but a rich planned community at that.

Inara was having mixed feelings about her part in the plan. She was glad for it, because Mal wasn’t one to ask much of her, ever, and he wasn’t one to include her in his criminal plans. So to include her, to make her an essential part was something else. But at the same time, she was reduced to playing the eye candy. The eye candy that had to lure the rat. With a sigh to her thoughts, she docked her shuttle on his private flight pad, and got out. Putting on a smile, the poise, the charm, she gracefully stepped out of her shuttle and was greeted by Badger.

He actually looked like he belonged on the latest evolutionary time line.

Badger was clean, in an expensive suit, blue shirt, steel silk vest and tie. His shoes were cobbled for him, and his bowler hat was brand new and not marred by sweat and stain like the previous. His beard was well trimmed and short, and his teeth were bleached though hideously misaligned. In all, he could pass for a rich man, as soon as he received some veneers.

“Miss. Serra, ‘tis a pleasure ta meet you.” He took her hand and kissed her knuckles, flashing a smile as it was obvious he was trying to tone down his accent.

Inara smiled, bowing slightly. “The pleasure is all mine, Mr….?”

“Diggory, Diggory Badger if you please.” Taking her hand to guide her from the landing pad to the stone path the led to his garden, he paused, and gazed at her face.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The guards in Badger’s den looked down the long corridor.

“Did you hear something?” One asked, as there were ten of them keeping watch over their boss’s headquarters. The others peered down the dark hall.

A skull shot out from the abyss of the corridor, crashing into one in the face. A headless body followed shortly after, taking out a second man.

“What the…?!”

Then came the cannon blast.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Inara fluttered her eyes, the lashes glimmering in the sunlight. “Is there something wrong Mr. Badger?”

He twisted his mouth, thoughtfully. “’Ave we met before?”

Inara fluttered her eyes again, though the second time it was unintentional. For he had seen her before, as she had helped Mal limp into Serenity after winning the duel with Atherton.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

One of Badger’s men raced to the desk to hit the alarm.

Wren’s bullet caught him in the ear.

And someone else was incinerated by the cannon blasted.

Emma rolled forward, out of the hall, jumping to her feet she flew through the air nandao raised and ready to strike.

Her heels hit one of the men, and the blade fixed across his throat.

River charged out next with Fiyero.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Before the pause could blow her cover, she spread her smile further and stressed in her voice. “Why Mr. Badger, I hope you don’t think all Companions look alike.”

He nearly reeled back, fearing he would lose the Companion he had worked so hard to get and help his climb to high society. “O’ ‘course not Miss Serra. You’re your own individual beau’ee.” He guided her down carved stone steps set in moss, towards the garden where a waterfall and koi pond brought striking beauty to such an urban landscape. “I know you wish to see my prospects to evaluate whether or not I’ve got much…”

“Today is more or less seeing whether we’re compatible, Mr. Badger.” She told him, kind but firm.

“Rioght. Well I wish to give you a tour ov my ‘umble flat, then tea, then take you out to my restaurant for some fine dining.”

“That sounds delightful.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The sound of blade against flesh sliced through the air, leaving blood spatter in it’s wake as River spun and slashed the next man as the former dropped. Wren and Sterling had taken off down another corridor, for Badger was the period sort of varlet and had multiple rooms connected in a maze of cargo containers. It was just the readers, the girls with their blades and the lone boy with his staff.

Emma was strength, power. She moved swift, full of quick strikes and force, and did little to evade as she cut them down. Blocking a gun with her blade, she twirled the nandao to hook the gun and wrench it away from the owner, and his panicked motion gave her ample time to bring the sword up into his abdominal cavity.

Fiyero, was speed, leaps, tumbles and fake attacks. He moved fast, dodging, jumping striking, a blur of confusion as he faked a low strike, only to jerk his shoulder up and swing the end of his staff into the sternum of an adversary.

And there was River.

She was a mixture, something that could not settle or find a certain style as she flung a tea tray like a discus into a man's throat, the turned and drove her blade entirely through another, grabbing his glock and shooting three people down before even pulling the blade out. Spinning on her heels as she knew someone else was coming at her from behind, before she could strike a staff collided violently into the enemy’s head, sending lifeblood from the pounding vein of his temple everywhere.

Fiyero twirled his staff and gave her a smile.

River blushed and smiled back.

Reaching over, he used his thumb to wipe a spot of red gore off her cheek.

Emma broke the last one’s neck and looked at them soberly. ’You can ogle later. Let’s move.’ Fiyero rolled his eyes. “Crime, it’s just so overrated.”

River purposefully bumped into him before jogging off with a giggle. As if they were playing tag instead of mowing down henchmen.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The laundry van stopped at a curb.

Mal and Virgil stole glances at one another.

“Let’s hope they get it soon.” Reynolds sighed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From start to finish, it took roughly forty minutes.

Sterling had incinerated quite a few, as well as melted the metal walls with a couple of misses. The fortress of sea train containers smelled of charred flesh, sweat and blood. Fetors that turned rank quickly in the heat of the day.

“I think that’s all of them.” Wren huffed, sweat trickling down her forehead and as a rivulet down the side of her nose, catching her breath as the heat was stifling even under a canopy. Lower Eavesdown was a putrid sauna do to the amount of metal, dust, people, animals, and lack of trees. With corpses about, it was worse.

The three readers paused, Emma and River scanning the area, Fiyero watching them.

River prowled over to a curtain and slashed it with her katana, a body crumpling to the ground. She turned, calm and collected. “That’s all.”

"Shiny." Wren stowed her guns, as she had pulled a second out upon hurling the skull.

“Well, now tha that’s dun.” Sterling’s cannon transformed back into a hand as he lumbered over to a console that had video monitors and looked at them. “Seems ar info was right, Ol’ Badger’s got ‘is central nervous syst’em ‘ere.”

“Security systems for all of his establishments, excluding his private dwelling.” River further divulged. “Boats, dock slips, this building, stash sites, apartments, restaurant.”

“Xiang ta you de zu-yi zhao-xiang-ji.” Wren squinted at the screen as Sterling turned his index finger into a port uplink and connected with the system.

His cyborg eye glowed a brighter yellow, then turned green as he was interfacing the network. “Give me a sec.” The monitor for the system began to operate without a use of a mouse or keyboard. It operated the security program and selected the restaurant, it’s camera, panic buttons, security systems and lock down failsafe. Suddenly it turned off.

“Good job Sterling.” Wren began to walk towards a safe.

“Give a few seconds ‘n I’ll hack intew their fownlines ‘n cortex link.” The cyborg drawled.

Wren pressed the com link earpiece in her left ear. “You guys ready for some fine dining?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mal touched his ear. “You want anything ta go?”

“Sterling wants you to rip off all of their spices and olive oil.” Wren’s voice responded. ”Just tell my hubby that if be doesn’t come back with a bottle of wine he’s on the couch.”

“Will do.” Getting up, he opened the door as Virgil stood up. “Ready for our date?”

“As long as your buyin’ sweet cheeks.” Virgil readied to leave, but turned and looked to Genevieve. “Remember, five minutes.”

She nodded her head. “We'll be there, Sir.”

“And hush your guns, I don’t want any ruckus. Loud noises attract folk.”

“We can’t be loud?” Jayne sounded disappointed.

“Does that mean we just leave Jayne behind?” Simon cracked, the joke his way of dealing with nerves. “I don’t know if he grasps that concept.”

Jayne gave a black look to Simon. He didn't know what a concept was, but he knew an insult.

Mal smiled, amused. “I’m afraid not. And Jayne,” He caught the merc’s attention who looked ready to clobber the doctor. “play nice.”

The two captains got out, heading to the front of the truck to see the driver. “So glad to run into ya.” Virgil shook the driver’s hand through the window, transferring a small leather pouch into his palms in the process. “I hope alls well with Captain Ibizan and The Charger.”

“We’re doin’ shiny.” Stephano tucked the pouch into his jacket. “In fact we’ll be takin’ leave on your moon in a week or so.”

“Good, good, next time you’re in the Black Lotus Bar, tell Snooks the first rounds on the boss.” With a smile, he patted the side of the van. “Now go make that delivery okay?” As the van pulled away, he straightened his coat and fixed the tilt of his hat.

Mal smirked in amusement. “Wanna fix your bib and tucker too?”

Virgil looked at him sideways, unamused. “Come on, let’s go have some lunch.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wren gazed around the wreckage they had caused, turning to the others. "Start looking for anything on the meds." She went off to Badger's desk in the first chamber.

Sterling kept to the computer.

Emma dropped to the safe, putting her ear to it and closing her eyes to read and feel the combination.

River and Fiyero turned to the scattered paperwork as flies descended upon the bodies.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kaylee was in her hammock.

She had her knees up, and Meilin seated on her stomach, back against the knees. The baby was staring at her, trying to reach for her face or anything else to grab while Kaylee sang silly songs and let her play with her fingers. Meilin had been amused for awhile, but she was looking more and more upset. And while her aunt was worrying about her Uncle Simon, Meilin was wanting her mother.

“Hey, hey, we’ve been havin’ fun.” Kaylee lay Meilin on her stomach and pulled her in to snuggle. The baby nuzzled in, but she still whined, for she didn’t want to cuddle Kaylee. She wanted someone else.

Inara had never been far away from the baby for so long.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If Inara hadn’t known any better, she would have thought Badger was a decent man.

She followed him through his gardens and house, where she was given a short tour and then sat in front of the koi pond for morning tea. The tea was fabulous, imported from Shinon’s finest tea company, and he turned on a holo dome so instead of looking out the city, they were having tea in one of Orisis Floating Tea Gardens. It was quite beautiful, and Badger gave hedged half answers about his business. One large giveaway that he wasn’t upper class was his sheer lack of culture and art. He knew absolutely nothing about the art pieces in his house, or music or theater or anything of the sort. However, he did his best to lie through his teeth and be a gentleman while doing so. Tea came and went, and Inara found herself being led out to his expensive hover car, where a thug he had obviously dressed to be his driver was waiting for them.

“I just ‘appened to purchase one ov the best restaurants in Uppa Eavesdown.” He told her as the car began to drive down the street. “Four and a ha’f stars, quality cuisine and I ‘ave taken the liberty ov having the chefs prepare us something special.”

“Sounds wonderful.” She smiled.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With a sideways smile Mal skimmed the Siene Restaurant .

The restaurant was upscale, he didn’t know how the hell Badger could pull off upscale, but it was. The room was dim, rich blood maroon wallpaper with floral designs, dark shades on the windows and candles on each table. Rooms were separated by velvet curtains that were pulled back, with chandeliers in each of the rooms. In the back was the barroom, the bar a long, thick of hand carved dark wood and marble and a back wall that had ever bottle of liquor imaginable. In the same room, in a small lounge area what had a fireplace, chaise and a few armchairs, was a baby grand, where a pianist was already playing some soothing piece with orient flair while the bartender was cleaning the glass humidor that displayed cigars and other smoking tobaccos. Near the piano, though far enough away so it wouldn’t be too loud, was a single table for two, with flowers as a centerpiece, silver chargers for the plates to come, champagne flutes, and champagne chilled in a bucket on a dinner cart.

Malcolm and Virgil were in the front by the 'Please Wait For Maître d' sign.

“Why are you smilin’.”

"Just tryin’ to suan bang-zi na hun-dan wei zhe." Mal mumbled, the smile slowly leaving his face as the maître d' came over. "I'm sorry, but we're not open today." He told them pompously, making a disparaging face towards Malcolm's clothes.

They both feigned confusion. "But we've heard so much about this restaurant." Mal bleated. "Do you know how long it's taken me to drag him out of the house and take me out?"

Virgil sighed, chagrined. "I'm sorry, I know how much you've wanted to go here."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The team jumped out of the van.

"Simon, stay next to Pike." Genevieve ordered as she knocked on the back door of the Siene.

A chef opened it, as it led to the kitchen.

She clubbed him with a gun and flung to door open. "Alright." Rushing in she muzzled the cooks as the rest of her team came in. Every gun poised had a silencer on it. "You boys be nice and no one here dies, dong ma? Now knives down, hands up."

The cooks all set their knives, spoons, ladles down and put their hands up.

Jayne sniffed the air. "That beef?"

"Pike, Simon, please direct these men to the refrigerator." She motioned to the door that led to the giant cold room. "Everyone else, let's move out."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Like I said before, I am terribly sorry but we are not taking...."

The back doors burst open.

Reynolds and East whipped their pistols. Mal from his drop holster, Virgil his shoulder holsters under his coat.

The bartender grabbed a gun, yet Roxy took him out. Three waiters raced to the bar, where a stash of firearms were kept, but silently bullets hit their chests. The pianist was next, and finally Mal and Virgil kept staring down the maître d'.

"You wanna make a grab for that cannon you got under your jacket? Go on, see if you're faster than us." Virgil taunted in a low voice. "Skin that gat. Skin it, boy, let's see what your made of." Thoroughly intimidated, the maître d' slowly reached into his jacket and pulled out the revolver, tossing it on the ground.

“Good boy.” Virgil stowed his weapons.

Mal holstered his gun. "Jayne." He called out. "See this man to wherever you're holding the others."

"And pull out one of the cooks." Virgil said while making sure the closed sign was on outside before moseying towards the barroom. "I think I could use some lunch."

He and Mal walked to the back where the others were waiting, Reynolds untying the drapes and drawing them so the barroom was closed off. "Simon, to keep up the illusion of us not being here and this being in a state of normalcy, we need someone on the ivories."

Simon was flummoxed. "Wait, how do you know I play?"

"Your sister told me once, you know how she is." He pulled up a chair at the special table for Inara and Badger and sat down as Virgil went over to the bar to retrieve a few things. As Simon was standing there, he waved the doctor towards the piano with his hand. "Now go on, I wanna hear somethin' nice."

"Gershwin." East requested while grabbing a bottle of cognac.

Simon paused, but went over and sat down at the piano as Genevieve went and hid in a corner, Pike took to the kitchen, Roxy took to the bar and Jayne came out with a dinner roll in his mouth.

"Pike, you might wanna steal the seasonings and olive oil while you're back there, Sterling's request." Mal caught his attention. "Wren also wishes for you to present her with a bottle of fine wine."

"Wine you say?" He hung at the door, questioning the wish. "And if I don't?"

"You'll be on the couch?"

"Two bottles of wine it is then." He ducked into the kitchen to make off with the grocery list as well as watch the one cook.

The merc gulped down the bread as he came in. "Hell we didn't need no artillery. Zhe shi run jiu mao la-shi shang yi xi wu." He sunk into a chair by the piano as Simon tested the keys. "Roxy, can ya toss a bottle over here and a cigar?"

"Sometimes getting out's harder." Genevieve said.

"Ain't that the truth." Mal responded.

Virgil poured two shifters and walked over to the table with them and the bottle, handing one to Mal. “In the meantime, I suggest we seize the moment. Ain’t too often you get to kill a rat and dine at a fancy restaurant.”

“Agree, to partnerships,” Mal raised his shifter “and mended friendships.”

“Aye.”

They toasted glasses.

*** *** *** TRANSLATION/DEFINITIONS

Xiang ta you de zu-yi zhao-xiang-ji: think he has got enough cameras

Bib and tucker: Derived from the cowboy slang 'best bib and tucker', meaning one's best clothes

Suan bang-zi na hun-dan wei zhe: figure out how that bastard did this

Cannon: Cowboy slang for revolver

Gat: Cowboy slang for revolver

dong ma? : understand?

Zhe shi run jiu mao la-shi shang yi xi wu: This was smoother then cat shit on a tin roof

****As always, the writer appreciates all comments whether they be positive, negative, or suggestions.**

COMMENTS

Friday, May 30, 2008 5:33 PM

PLATONIST


Insightful description of Badger if he ever became well heeled. I like how he remembered Inara's face, but he wasn't sure where. I'm not sure Mal would allow her to pose as a Companion (too dangerous) with Badger, especially her being away from the baby, even though they are desperate for the medicine.

As usual, an interesting storyline.


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