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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
The clone sees his quarry, and River identifies the spy.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 767 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
He watched River from a distance, observing with appreciation the way she seemed to float just above the ground. The slight breeze plastered her dress to her lithe body, outlining the gentle curves he knew so very well. His hands itched to close over her hips and pull her to him, but he kept his distance.
She paused, suddenly rooted to the ground, and he realized that she had sensed his presence. The disadvantage of having a Reader for a wife, he thought wryly, was that it was virtually impossible to sneak up on her. He grimaced, wishing that BlueSun had at least finished the job to the point of providing him with a shield against her abilities. As it was, his current mission was going to be quite a bit more difficult than he would have liked. He would have to keep his thoughts carefully in check.
He watched her brother go to her, obviously concerned by her demeanor. He knew she could not see him clearly, as he was quite a distance away and obscured at least partially by various objects in their path. Still, realizing that he would have to proceed carefully, he backed away, hiding completely behind a conveniently placed outbuilding. Now that he was on the same planet with her, he stilled himself to patience. Acquiring what he wanted would be a matter of some delicacy, and he did not wish to rush into things. There would be ample time, he thought, smiling.
“What are you talking about, River?” Simon’s voice seemed to come to her from a great distance.
Pulling her focus back to her brother with great difficulty, she replied, “There is another clone of Mal. He’s here.”
Simon looked around swiftly. “Where?” he asked.
“Not sure,” River said, trembling slightly. “Not as clear as it was a moment ago. But he’s here.”
“Then we have to tell Mal,” Simon said firmly.
River nodded, walking jerkily forward. “Not now, though,” she said. “He’s not finished with his meeting for the afternoon.” She paused, tilting her head to the side. “Still explaining what Jayne’s job will be. The others don’t understand the necessity of it yet.”
“Perhaps they would understand it if he would just tell them that the clones exist,” Simon said tiredly. “Seems only right to warn them.”
“Understands that he must lead them differently this time,” River replied gently. “Can’t be a field soldier and the leader of the army as well. Knows that a leader must inspire absolute confidence.” She paused again. “Older than he was before. More conscious of the need for caution.”
“That doesn’t bode especially well for the others,” Simon replied, his lips drawn in a straight line.
River stopped walking and looked directly into his troubled eyes. “Has to be this way. The ‘verse is a different place this time.”
“River,” Simon asked reluctantly. “Do you…see how things are going to turn out?”
“Shadows,” River replied honestly. “Possible outcomes, like cards in a deck. Depends on the shuffle of events. Dong ma?”
Simon nodded. “And you think that Mal is playing correctly the hand he’s been dealt?”
“Yes,” River replied.
“It is our belief that the missing subject has gone to Paquin, Senator,” the latest edition of the ubiquitous BlueSun employee reported crisply.
Michaels looked at the new man, thinking it eerie how much he reminded him of Hill. “As I suspected,” he replied dryly. “I am not sending troops to Paquin. It is a complete waste of Alliance resources. Reynolds and the rebels will be long gone before a mobilization could occur. However, I would assume that you can send a small, faster ship there to contain your own problem. The rogue clone must be stopped before he jeopardizes any more of this operation.”
The BlueSun employee nodded coolly. “There is already a ship en route. I assume that the military intends to patrol the sector around Paquin and try to identify any suspicious vessels?”
Michaels nodded in acknowledgement. “That is the general plan at this point. So far, our intelligence on Paquin is sketchy at best. Apparently Reynolds did not leave the planning meetings open to everyone, and our man is able to ascertain only a limited amount of information. Until his ship is actually deployed, he may not even be aware of its ultimate destination.”
“It would appear that Reynolds is perhaps aware of a spy then,” the BlueSun employee noted.
“That would be my assumption as well,” Michaels said, sighing. “He is much more troublesome than I had anticipated.”
A thin smile curved the BlueSun employee’s lips. “It is his troublesome nature that made him an ideal candidate for our little experiment,” he said pleasantly.
“Suppose it’s all in the way you look at it,” Michaels replied wryly. “Regardless, it would seem that the entire project has been derailed. Now that Reynolds has actively come into the picture, we have the very real possibility of a war on our hands. A war that would not be in the best interests of the Alliance nor your company.” The last words were spoken with a sharp edge.
“As scientists, we expect the unexpected,” the man replied calmly. “Rarely does an experiment go to its conclusion without at least some surprises.”
“I don’t like surprises,” the Senator fairly growled. “And the Alliance does not either.”
The BlueSun employee shrugged noncommittally. “Regardless, I came to inform you that we will be retrieving the duplicate shortly. And then, we are of course at your disposal for any help we might provide.”
Michaels nodded. “You worry about your rogue clone, and leave the war planning to me.”
“As you wish,” the man said evenly, standing to go.
“You’re sure?” Mal asked, his blue eyes gazing intently into River’s brown ones.
“I saw him,” River replied.
“With your eyes?” Mal asked just to clarify.
“Briefly…perhaps,” River answered. “But he’s here nonetheless.”
“Any idea where?”
River shook her head miserably. “Lost him, just after I saw him,” she said. “He’s…..he has your ability to block me, somehow.”
“Thought you could see right through me,” Mal said dryly.
“Only because you let me, now,” River said. “Not at first. Remember?”
Mal thought back to the first few months they were together, when they were in the awkward stages of learning how to live with each other considering her unique abilities. “I remember,” he said softly. Squaring his shoulders, he continued, “Anything else? Did you pick up on anyone else here who might mean us harm?”
River nodded. “Cook on the Wayfarer,” she said unhesitatingly.
Mal frowned. “Davis’ ship?” he asked. When River nodded in confirmation, he said, “Would have thought Davis ran a tighter ship than that. Crew’s pretty small for a traitor to be among them.”
“Signed on three weeks ago,” River replied. “The old cook died.”
“Killed?” Mal asked.
“Yes,” River answered. “Made it look like a natural death though. He was quite old. Captain Davis had no idea.”
“You certain of this?” Mal asked.
Mal rolled his neck slowly back and forth, stretching the muscles of his shoulders to ease the tension of the day. “I’ll talk to Davis now. See how he wants to handle it.”
“Take Jayne,” River reminded him.
Mal nodded, a rueful smile gracing his features. “Almost forgot my own new rule for a minute,” he said. “Any idea where Jayne is?”
“With Inara,” River replied, heading toward the bridge. “And he won’t be happy to be interrupted.”
Mal grimaced. “More information than I needed to know, bao bei,” he replied.
“So, how’d it go on the medical front today?” Marcus asked, noting the exhausted slump of Elizabeth’s spine.
“All right, all things considered,” she replied with a tired smile. “Simon is quite the organizer.”
“I would think he would be,” Marcus replied, lightly kneading her shoulders.
Elizabeth purred. “That feels so good,” she said, leaning into the strength of his hands.
“I aim to please,” Marcus replied, his lips brushing the back of her neck lightly as he steered her toward the bed.
“How about the plans?” Elizabeth asked as she settled down on her stomach to enjoy his ministrations. “How close are we to being able to leave?”
“Pretty close,” Marcus replied. “Murdocke and Kaylee have all the mechanics on the other vessels up to speed, and they’ve spent the better part of the afternoon working on plans to disrupt the major power grids on the Core worlds. Fair made my head spin when I passed by them and heard them talking. Like listening to a foreign language.”
Elizabeth chuckled. “So, which world will we be targeting?”
“The Hit or Miss has the distinction of being bound for Osiris,” Marcus replied. He felt the sudden tightening of Elizabeth’s shoulders. “I know it’s where you got your training and all, but Mal didn’t want River and Simon to have to be a part of creating major havoc on their home world.”
Elizabeth nodded. “I understand the sentiment. It’s just….a little difficult to think about seeing Osiris fall. It’s such a beautiful place, in certain areas.”
“Will be still,” Marcus replied gently. “Unlike the Alliance, the Independents have no great wish to see whole worlds turned to ashes. Consider it like a surgery of sorts. The plan is to excise what is rotten, and leave the good.”
“Not entirely possible, you know,” Elizabeth said drowsily, her voice slurring slightly. “War is a nasty business, no matter how noble the cause.”
“I know,” Marcus said gently. “Not really looking forward to it, between you and me. But, it’s a thing has to be done.”
“Where will Serenity go?” Elizabeth asked.
“Persephone,” Marcus replied. “Mal didn’t want to send another ship so close in. And Persephone has a larger Alliance presence. Think he wanted to oversee that one himself.”
“You gonna warn Easy?” she asked.
Marcus smiled. “Gonna do more than warn him,” he replied. “Mal’s counting on him to supply a good amount of weapons. Troops need arms if this thing comes down to a major ground war.”
Elizabeth raised up on one elbow. “And do you think it will?” she asked.
“Would have to, at some point, I’m thinking,” Marcus said. “Somewhere, on some world, the Alliance and the Independents will do more than trade cursory blows. They’ll square off for battle. Guess the only question is where and when.”
“We’ll find out soon enough, I expect,” Elizabeth said seriously. Marcus nodded solemnly. Elizabeth sighed. “Now you have to start all over,” she said, lying back down on her stomach.
“With pleasure,” Marcus replied, his hands roaming along her shoulders and back.
“I’m sorry, Mal,” Davis said, standing in his cook's quarters with the evidence of the man’s treachery in his hands.
Mal looked at the small transmitter. “Couldn’t have known it, I conjure,” he said grimly. “Question is, what we gonna do about it?”
Davis handed him the transmitter. “Think your folks can trace who he’s been talking to?”
Mal nodded. “’Magine so,” he said, slipping it into his breast pocket.
Davis sighed. “Think he’s the only one?”
“He’s the only one we’ve found so far,” Mal replied. “Ain’t sure he’s the only one at all, though.”
“Then I suppose we need to ask him,” Davis said, his fists clenching at his sides.
Mal looked at Jayne. “Think that’s about right,” he said.
To be continued
Monday, October 06, 2008 1:44 AM
Monday, October 06, 2008 6:02 AM
Monday, October 06, 2008 6:23 AM
Monday, October 06, 2008 11:12 AM
Monday, October 06, 2008 11:30 AM
Monday, October 06, 2008 1:00 PM
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