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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Mal and Murdocke work together to handle the clone, and the other prisoners create a bit of an obstacle.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 868 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
“Did you hear that?” Bear whispered to Zoe.
“Sounds like four or five,” Zoe replied, pulling her Mare’s leg from her side.
Zoe could barely see Bear’s nod in the darkness of the night. “S’what I figured too,” he confirmed. “You want the left?”
Zoe nodded, and Bear pulled Kaylee behind him. “Stay behind me, Miss Kaylee. This shouldn’t take long.”
Kaylee nodded mutely, her eyes wide with fright as she peered over Bear’s shoulder to see a small group of Alliance soldiers approaching them.
“They must have been sent out to check out the power outage,” Zoe said quietly. “Which ain’t good, considerin’ that I was hoping there would be enough confusion in the prison to keep ‘em busy.”
“Maybe they got sent out before the go se hit the fan,” Bear murmured, sighting the first of the soldiers through his weapon.
“That there’s a real optimistic thought,” Zoe said wryly, as Bear picked off the first man. Firing her Mare’s leg, she took the second two, dropping them before they could see exactly where their enemies were in the darkened area. Kaylee gasped, dropping to her knees as Bear took out the fourth man. “Two more’n we thought,” he said, watching the three men left fan out to make themselves less of a target.
“I see them,” Zoe replied, as Bear’s weapon fired in unison with hers. Two of the three men dropped, and the third man whipped behind a tree for cover.
Bear looked at her, one eyebrow raised. “You, or me?” he asked.
Zoe slipped forward silently toward the tree, answering Bear without a word.
Murdocke’s eyes widened as the clone ground the barrel of the gun into his temple cruelly. Knowing better than to try to struggle at this point, he stilled, hoping to all that was holy that Mal had a plan.
Mal stared at the clone, trying to ignore the fact that he was looking at a mirror image of himself. Apparently tiring of the impasse, the clone pulled the trigger. Mal leaped forward with a fierce roar, toppling both Murdocke and the clone to the floor.
Murdocke blinked rapidly, puzzling over why he was not dead yet. The clone, wondering the same thing, spared a moment to look at Murdocke in shock, thereby giving Mal the time he needed to wrestle him into a semi-hold. “Didn’t think your BlueSun handler would actually leave a loaded gun with his little trained ape, did you?” Mal said, smiling.
Murdocke scrambled to his feet, grabbing the empty gun more as a reflex than anything else. The clone bucked against Mal, almost toppling him over. “Little help over here,” Mal ground out. Fighting a man exactly his weight and height with exactly his thought processes was proving to be more taxing than he cared to admit. Murdocke looked around quickly for anything to use. “The tray,” Mal said, gasping for air as the clone rolled him over and placed his knee against Mal’s throat.
Murdocke ran back into the other room, looking for the tray of instruments. Spying a wicked looking scalpel, he grabbed it up and hurried back into the other room. Mal and the clone were battling for dominance, rolling from side to side until Marcus could barely tell them apart. Mal, seeing the scalpel in Murdocke’s hand, allowed the clone to roll him onto his back once more. Murdocke stepped forward, quickly plunging the scalpel into the side of the clone’s neck.
Jerking upright with the violence of the blow, the clone’s hands relaxed their grip on Mal’s neck briefly. But it was enough. Clawing at the scalpel, the clone fell backward as Mal pushed away from him, winded. Murdocke held out his hand and Mal took it, levering himself up with the engineer’s help. “Thanks,” he said, looking down at the clone as he lay on the floor in a rapidly expanding pool of blood.
Murdocke nodded, wiping his hands on his coveralls. “Any time,” he said, though his voice was hoarse.
There was a large noise just outside the door, and both men whirled around, their hearts in their throats. Jayne burst into the room, followed by Marcus, Pierre and River. Looking around at the scene, Jayne said, “So, guess we’re a little late to this party.”
Mal rolled his eyes. “’Spect there’s still plenty of fun to be had. Got two more levels to get through ‘fore we can get out, and a pile of guards and prisoners between us and the door.”
“Don’t have to go through the front door,” River said, drinking in the sight of her husband. “Got a ride on the roof.”
“That so?” Mal said, smiling.
“It is,” she said. “Time to go.”
“Truer words were never spoken,” Murdocke said, regaining some of his cocky attitude as they filed out into the corridor and made their way back up the stairs.
“How’d you get involved in all this?” Mal asked, dropping back to walk beside Marcus.
“Long story,” Marcus said. “And none too pretty. Any idea how many of you there are?”
Mal shook his head grimly. “No clue,” he said. “But I’d feel a lot better about it if we had some way to blow that lab we were just in.”
Marcus nodded. “Problem with that is…”
He was interrupted as they rounded the corner and were met by a mob of very angry, dismayingly well-armed prisoners. Jayne raised his weapon, but Mal stopped him. “Wait,” he said, knowing that it was quite likely at least some of his people would be killed if they had to fight their way through the mob. Stepping out in front of the others, he held up his hands. “Wait,” he said. “Look at me. It’s fair obvious I’m one of you.”
“Ain’t seen you in the yard,” one man yelled from somewhere close to the back of the crowd, making the whole lot of them murmur in agreement.
Mal nodded. “I was on the seventh floor, in solitary. Where are the guards from this level?”
A behemoth of a man stepped forward. Mal fought the impulse to back up. “Dead,” the man said menacingly. “Like you’re apt to be in a minute.”
“Let’s not get all tetchy,” Mal said, not daring to blink. “Listen, it’s like this. We all need to get out of here, before the Alliance sends re-enforcements.”
“Gorram purplebellies already have,” someone from the crowd said. “There’s a battle cruiser hovering over the prison yard right now.”
“It’s ours,” River said softly at Mal’s shoulder. He looked at her in surprise. “Another long story,” she said, smiling.
Mal cleared his throat and turned back to face the mob of prisoners. “Battle cruiser won’t be a problem,” he said, with all the authority he could muster. Turning back to River, he asked out of the corner of his mouth, “It capable of blowing this whole place?”
“Absolutely,” River said.
Mal grinned. Addressing the crowd, he said, “Best we be getting as far away from this building as possible. Cruiser’s guns are poised to take it out soon’s we’re clear.”
“Why should we believe you?” the huge man who seemed to be the leader of the prisoners asked.
Mal shrugged. “Can choose to believe me or not,” he replied. “But either way, you got a real need to stay here in this place? ‘Cause if you don’t, now’s the time to fight our way out, when the guards on all the levels are bound to be a mite busy with their own folk. “
The man stared at him for a long moment, and Mal held his gaze steadily. He could feel Jayne, tensed behind his back, ready should the decision go the wrong way. Peripherally, he could see Marcus and Pierre, their own hands hanging very close to their weapons. And River stood at his side, her body coiled tight as a spring, ready for any eventuality. Even Murdocke, weaponless as he was, seemed more than ready to jump into the fray.
“All right,” the large man said finally. “We’ll fight our way out. But you should know that there’s nothing beyond the gates but badly terraformed land. No way to live out there for long.”
“Could give them a ride,” Marcus said so softly only Mal could hear. “Cruiser’s not fully manned. Plenty of room.”
Mal nodded almost imperceptibly. “There will be transportation,” he said. “We get out, we’ll all get off this planet. Dong ma?”
Staring at him for a moment more, the large man nodded slowly. “Holding you to that,” he said.
Mal nodded and the crowd parted to let them pass.
Kaylee stepped into Simon’s arms on shaky knees. “Thought we was done for,” she whispered, clinging tightly to him before she remembered his recent wound. Feeling him tense slightly beneath her hands, she released her hard hold and simply leaned into his warmth. “There was seven of them.”
“And?” the Operative asked, interrupting the moment of marital intimacy.
Bear grunted. “And now they’re gone,” he said, stepping out of the shuttle.
“And thanks, by the way, for sending another shuttle,” Zoe said, stepping out behind him. “What’s happened to the Captain?”
“They’re on their way out now,” the Operative said. “And I am given to understand that they’re bringing guests with them.”
Zoe raised one eloquent eyebrow. “The prisoners are coming with us,” Jim supplied. “Apparently, Mal had to strike some kind of deal with them to get through.”
Zoe nodded, taking the news in stride as she always did. “How many?”
“That’s still rather…fluid,” the Operative said. “There is still a large contingent of guards on the various levels. Though the prisoners outnumber them somewhat, the guards are armed and, most assuredly, at least some of them have body armor.”
“We need to go back down there?” Bear asked.
“I don’t believe so,” the Operative said. “Your Captain and Captain Reynolds seem to have the situation well in hand. I expect to hear from them at any….”
“Sir,” one of the people manning the cruiser’s deck said, interrupting the Operative in mid-sentence. “I think you should see this.”
Everyone turned, looking at the screen the man had activated. The Operative’s lips curved upward slightly. “I believe that would be them now,” he said, as a wildly riotous assortment of men poured out into the prison yard.
Jim whistled. “That’s a lot of people,” he said.
“Was one of the largest prisons built by the Alliance,” the Operative said, nodding. “I’m quite impressed that it could be breached so easily. Such a thing gives a man genuine hope.”
“Question is, how are we gonna get all those people on this ship?” Bear asked.
“Perhaps we won’t have to take them far,” the Operative said.
“Still, that’s quite a lot to organize,” Jim said a little doubtfully.
“Then it a provident thing that I have you here to help me do it,” the Operative replied.
Organizing the escaping prisoners into manageable groups, Mal and Marcus oversaw their transport to the battle cruiser. Once the last of the prisoners was aboard and under the watchful eyes of Bear, Jayne, Jim, Zoe, and Pierre, Mal and Marcus caught the final shuttle for the cruiser, leaving the prison yard empty.
“How many guards you think are still alive down there?” Marcus asked, looking through the transparency.
“Not many,” Mal said. “Maybehaps a few who hid well enough. This lot of prisoners didn’t strike me as being all that forgiving.”
“Can’t say I blame them,” Marcus said. “Though I must admit that giving them safe passage to some other inhabited world makes me a mite uneasy.”
“Less uneasy than killing them would have made you though, right?” Mal asked, looking at his friend. “Am I wrong in thinking that when I was talking about blowing the place, killing the prisoners was gonna be your objection?”
Marcus smiled, a faint flush rising to his cheeks. “Well, there was no way of knowing how many of them are real criminals, and how many of them have just been caught up in the Alliance’s web.”
“True enough,” Mal said. “Hard to find a decent solution when things don’t go smooth-like.”
“Which is pretty much all the time,” Marcus replied, grinning and thinking how good it was to be talking to Mal, the real Mal, once again.
“Speaking of which,” Mal said. “How about starting that long story? How the di yu did you get involved in all this?”
“Well, I went to get Elizabeth some chocolate,” Marcus began, stretching out his long legs and leaning back to tell the tale.
To be continued
Friday, September 26, 2008 1:37 AM
Friday, September 26, 2008 2:19 AM
Friday, September 26, 2008 6:44 AM
Friday, September 26, 2008 1:11 PM
Friday, September 26, 2008 1:38 PM
Sunday, September 28, 2008 2:30 AM
Sunday, September 28, 2008 4:42 PM
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