Retribution: Chapter 3
Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The New Haven Series; Post BDM; M/I, S/K: The operative's crew lands at Li Ten's temple, River senses newcomers, and Simon still waxes concern


The Operative awoke with a groan.

His lids lifted, and he saw the whelps still curled on the bed asleep. Though there was noise coming from the helm, and he stiffly rose, dizzy from wear and tear, and limped to the cockpit. Tasya was there, conversing with someone on the screen.

"I know times are tense, I'm merely asking for sanctuary." She pleaded. "Please, my father was Shanghai Murphy and my mother was Oksana, Li Ten sheltered their crew numerous times. They personally dealt with Etsuko Yuriko in terms of their docking clearance..."

"Yuriko is no longer with us." The strong jawed man answered tersely.

"I have a man in grave need of your physic and two young children in need of proper care. This ship is near drifting and we are a long way from any other form of safety. Qing sheng suo." She pressed.

There was a pause. "Very well."

"Xie xie." She turned off the screen and grabbed the steering yolk, not even glancing over her shoulder. "You should lay down."

"I'm quite alright." He forced out.

"When we touch down they're possibly going to cut a few ounces of dead and infected flesh from your side and there will be limited anesthetic if not purely holistic medicine involved." She announced bluntly. "Go lay down."


She wasn't on Serenity.

It was somewhere else. Somewhere like Serenity. Another Firefly, another warm and protective metal spirit. On the helm, the black in front of her and inviting in it's freedom, Boston on her shoulder, her own brown coat swathing her in it's silent statement. Turning, she found them behind her. People, without faces, young, men and woman alike, all standing there, as if waiting for her.

Fiyero stepped out from behind the group, smirking, eyes ablaze with his mischievous brand of excitement. "Hoist your colors."

River awoke.

Boston was a vibrating mound of fur smuggled against her as she found herself wrapped in the warmth of furs and cloth that covered her bed. Per usual, she was without clothes, though her limbs had bandages where the injuries had been the worst. It was early, she knew that much, to early for her to awake, yet something was happening.


Cutting through the whirling snow, the small vessel docked on a stone slab, precariously sliding somewhat due to the ice. From the ship, Tasya emerged with a bag, two small children followed, and the nameless man brought up the rear. They hurried from their vessel to be greeted by two solidly built men who ushered them into the main building.


River arose, stark with the color of the hearth flames licking her skin as she reached for her robe and slipped it on.

Boston buried himself further into the blankets and refused to move. He had gotten lazy.

She tied the sash of her robe and headed to fetch her boots, for a familiar mind was coming closer. Minds, there were more than one.

The door opened.

She turned to face Li Ten, his eyes narrowed.

"You need rest." He said, warmly, not with the military drill of training. "Training begins in but a few hours."

"There are new people." She hedged, taking a foot forward.

He looked at her, stepping forward himself and touching her shoulder, allowing his mind to wrap around hers, manipulate it, ease it away from the new minds that would foil him.

River suddenly felt tired, and the connection between her and the newcomers waned.

"Sleep well, you must battle better than the last my Shao Long, for I will not tolerate sub-par performance." He eased her back to the bed, noted the suspicion in her thoughts, but was able to put the strong mind to sleep as she curled up with a chubby ball of fur and sighed heavily.

Li Ten turned, there was more work to be done.


The children were hungry.

They had been ushered to a large room with the two adults that had kept them. However, from there two stout women came and swooped the young ones up. The boy was in a wooden tub, suds plastering his dark hair as one of the ladies scrubbed the days of of his body and the grease out of his hair. The girl sat in front of a hearth, heartily eating food that was not rationed, nor stale. The old women tisked at the state of the whelps, for they had been somewhat thin and very unbathed. That was no matter though.

Tasya herself tying one of the sashes around her waist, as she had been given a fresh set of clothes after her own bath. They were thick blue kupants and wolfskin boots, followed by a tunic and fur lined jacket that was mainly made out of Navy wool. It was a relief to be out of the singed, ripped garments of her escape and to have washed the blood and grime off of herself. The nameless man had been taken away merely seconds ago by the temple physician for some well needed medical care, leaving her alone with a set of Alliance bred and born little weapons of mass destruction.

"Nin shifou shi nali muqin?" One of the biddies asked harshly.

Tasya was taken back, she put away the wounded feeling that question brought, and shook her head. "No." She said quietly, pushing her wet hair behind her ears.


"They weren't given any." She said quickly, quietly, losing her patience. Turning away, she began to sort through her clothes so see what could be salvaged. There were some bills, credits in a pocket, and the only other thing was the gun she had taken from Hamilton, which she checked, removed the clip and racked the chamber to remove of any bullets before setting both the piece and the magazine neatly on the table beside the bed she had claimed.

The woman tisked one more time and went back to scrubbing the boy with a sponge. The boy, gazed longingly at the food his little friend was consuming.

"Tan I hav more?" The girl asked, sleepily as she wiped her face on her sleeve. "Pease?"

The other caretaker scuttled over and took the girl's plate to refill it.

The boy could not take it any longer. He fought against his bath and clambered out of the tub, falling naked and soaked onto the floor in pursuit of what smelled like the best food he had haven seen. Life on the run had not been filled with culinary splendor. There was only so much food on the ship, and it had to be stretched longer than it was fresh.

"Wanpi nan tong!" The woman chastised, plucking the nude and sudsy lad up and dunking him back into the warm water.

Raised to never disobey, he merely whimpered piteously as his friend was given a second helping.

The girl gazed down at the food and then up at him "Hee tan hav sum. I share." She announced meekly.

The woman, not wanting to draw out the whining, dosed him with water and pulled him out of the tub to wrap him in a warm towel. Food was given, and the boy settled himself next to his female counterpart and ate ravenously.

The door opened.

The children were far too wrapped up in their morsels to care, however Tasya turned to see Li Ten, impressive in his more senior years, standing there and immediately eyeing the set of Alliance property. She came forward to greet him, and felt the tendrils of his mind beginning to block her out. Because of the treatment, a shudder ran down her spine as the hairs on her neck stood up in alarm. "Long Shifu." She bowed her head in respect. "Thank you for letting us take shelter here, I’m afraid the Alliance has reach anywhere else and we are in desperate need of shelter."

"I gleaned the details already Natasya. It's been some time since I have seen you and your ilk. I'm sorry for what happened to your parents, as well as yourself." He still focused on the children, on the boy that the caretaker put a nightgown on for the sake of decency as the girl was plucked from her spot and toted to the tub for a wash.

Her eyes sharpened like pins, her jaw quivered, and her heart choked. "Thank you, they respected you greatly."

Li Ten nodded his head. "I would have guilt too." He addressed what he felt strongly within her. "To be an incubator, a genetic donor, to surrogate a child in exchange for freedom."

Taking a deep breath, she bowed her head as the sound of a small body being dipped into soapy water. "I am paying my penance now." She told him, voice hitching with emotion. "By taking them to their rightful home."

"I admire your heart." Li Ten said softly. "However you must leave here as soon as possibly, I can only house you for a night, and then you must go. Your ship is being tended to and refueled, your partner is being mended, fresh supplies and a bit of money are all else I can give."

"Your generousness is highly appreciated." She announced heavily.

"Enjoy your stay, and please keep to your room. I unfortunately cannot allow guests to roam the grounds like past."

As he turned and left, Tasya knew there was something afoot.


Simon had come home from the morning ride.

After breakfast, Zoe, and Mal worked on the pole barn, Jayne was out taking care of a broken fence and Kaylee was at her shop working on the mule, he was off working on his pharmaceuticals cellar with Inara. The cellar had been built by himself and Pike, though not completed until they had stolen supplies from the Tigg ranch. It had been dug below the barn, under the dirt layered floorboards where the original cellar had been filled in and retired years before. With the new supplies though, Simon had been able to add structural reenforcement, as well as insulation that kept his med supplies cool and dry. He needed someone to help him bring the product in, as well as help take inventory. Inara fit the bill as Simon came in, setting a cryo box down filled with meds that needed to be kept chilled. He turned and saw how Inara managed to scan inventory into his digibooklet with one hand while keeping his niece situated on her hip via the other hand and a sari wrapped about her waist with the baby tucked between, a true mother. He paused, trailing off into thought.

Meilin saw him as she was settled nicely against her mother's torso, fat fingers gripping the dress, while the other hands held onto her toy keys she drooled and chewed on. Seeing her uncle, she babbled and waved her keys, smiling even though her mouth was preoccupied and gnawing fiercely.

Inara turned to her daughter's jabber, seeing him and his off world stare, her lips mused. "Something on your mind?"

Simon blinked. "Hm?"

"You have the look of a concerned parent." She divulged, still scanning as Meilin kept babbling along.

"I do?"

"Mal tends to get the same expression once in awhile when he watches Meilin sleep." She explained, still scanning "I take it you're thinking about a particular someone?"

Simon pursed his mouth, shoulders hunched as he breathed deeply. "Is it that obvious?"

Inara only smiled.

"I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record." He rubbed the back of his neck. "It's just, River always writes. When she was at the Academy she wrote me weekly, and, and when she left to go to the temple she wrote every week as well. This..." He turned, looking sheepish. "I don't know if I should be genuinely worried, or just feeling ridiculous because I have some obscure form of sibling separation anxiety."

"Regardless you are her big brother, you've assumed the parent role for some time. It's only natural." Inara walked over to him with her signature way on understanding. "It's ok to worry Simon."

Simon nodded his head and sighed, reaching out he petted his niece's cheek as she proceeded to slobber all over her mother's dress.


When he returned to the room they had been given, drugged and sore from the procedure and a round of heavy infection fighting medication, he found the room quite. The children were on a bed, tumbled together and sleeping due to full bellies and bathed bodies. Tasya stood by the fire, staring into it's light as he pulled the gun out of his boot before setting it on the nightstand..

"How are you faring?" She asked, distantly, the alabaster of her face licked with red and orange firelight.

"I’ll apparently live." He eased himself into a chair and sighed, glancing over to the pile of youngsters. "They look better, I can't say the same about you."

"There's something wrong here." She confessed.

He glanced up towards her, concern creasing his face.

"Li Ten never reads nor manipulates another person, he's respectful." She rested her hand against the wall, voice hush. "And he did both to me. He dug up my past and on top of it..." She didn't want to accuse such an old friend, and hesitated. "And.. I think he blocked me from feeling another reader." Her eyes slid to the side to watch the set of children in their charge. "He also kept staring at the boy, I think he knows something."

"What do you suggest." The operative quizzed.

"Stay here and rest for a day, then likai diyu zheli."

*** *** *** DEFINITIONS/TRANSLATIONS Qing sheng suo: Please sanctuary xie xie: thank you Nin shifou shi nali muqin?: Are you their mother? Mingzi?: Names? Wanpi nan tong!: Naughty boy! Long Shifu: Dragon Master likai diyu zheli: get the hell out of here *Comments, including constructive criticism, are always appreciated*



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