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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Repost of an earlier fic now lost. This episode: Simon pores over the journal and tries to locate Kaylee.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 508 RATING: 0 SERIES: FIREFLY
Simon yawned, his eyes beginning to blur the words written on the yellowed pages of his father’s journal. He’d been reading its contents for days, hoping to figure out just what the cold-blooded hundan had planned---both for himself and River, and now for Kaylee. So far, he’d learned that Gabriel Tam had made a deal long ago with both the Alliance party and the Blue Sun Corporation: in order for him to receive both kickbacks and preferential standing with the government, he had to help them “create” a child that could be molded for government service.
Being a geneticist, Gabriel had been more than willing to uphold his end of the bargain. What Simon had found particularly disturbing was that his father had planned to use his own children as part of his research.
Looking back on things now, it made better sense. His mother had been a proper Core wife, beautiful and personable, but not exactly strong-willed. She’d been willing to let his father make many of the decisions that concerned the family, and it led Simon to wonder about her intelligence. Gabriel Tam, on the other hand, had been very bright, but not anything like Simon and certainly nowhere remotely close to River’s level. And, he wondered, if the man had “tweaked” his children’s intelligence levels, was it possible that he had planted a code in their DNA to create Readers?
This certainly explained a few things, like why his father was so eager to dismiss Simon’s concerns about the Academy and his reaction after his son’s initial arrest—he was more concerned with pleasing his benefactors than caring for his own children. Simon actually wondered if the man had cared about anything at all other than his position, his social appearance, and his rising stock in a powerful government entity.
He’d spent nearly a week researching the journal, stealing moments between performing minor surgery on Jayne and Mal as they tried to tackle engine maintenance. This last round had been particularly nasty, with Mal suffering a second-degree burn and Jayne needing no less than twelve stitches just above the left knee. There were times that both men gave up and made River fix the problem, but in her own manner of speaking she pointed out that she couldn’t both fly the ship and fix the engine, and that something had to give. There were suspicious sounds resonating from the engine room even at this late hour, and Simon worried that the captain would finally break the engine beyond repair and “really crash the gorram thing this time,” to use Jayne’s words.
Between all of this, they’d had to pull a few jobs that ate up precious time but earned them needed funds for fuel and supplies. Inara had done her part by paying double her rent on the shuttle, and taking as many clients as she could manage in the small time frame she had when the ship landed anywhere in hopes of gathering a little information on Gabriel Tam’s whereabouts. So far, she’d come up empty, but she was still hopeful.
The young doctor was grateful to the crew for everything they were doing in hopes of finding Kaylee in time. He finally understood what Mal had meant that day, long ago, after the captain had rescued both him and River from the hill people on Jiangyin—it wasn’t about like or dislike, it was about choosing to accept someone as family.
Simon continued reading, knowing that if there was a hint of what the bastard was up to, it would be in these pages. It had been enough for him to kill his mother over—surely, it would tell him something.
“Any luck?” came a voice behind him. He turned and saw Inara standing in the doorway, her face filled with concern.
“Not yet, but I am learning a lot about why my father did what he did when I was trying to get River out initially,” Simon confessed. “I know that there’s something in here that he didn’t want known, though—otherwise, he wouldn’t have murdered my mother after she’d read it and confronted him.”
A stream of Chinese came pouring from Inara’s lips, cursing over sixteen generations of his father’s ancestors to suffer agony while in the recesses of hell. “The thought of her in that room, before he set the fire…what a horrible way to die,” she said, taking one of the kitchen chairs and settling down in it.
“I know.” He grimaced, but then turned is attention to the page in his hand. After a moment, he asked, “Do you know anything about the Cerephus belt?”
Inara let the name register for a moment. “Yes,” she replied finally. “I just heard about it not more than a week ago. One of my clients owns an asteroid in that cluster. Why?”
“Third to the last page: Have begun plans for station in Cerephus belt. Already on timetable, must make plans for future descendants. Acquisition of child will be tricky, but Miranda a help.”
“I don’t follow…”
“The entry is dated about a month after Kaylee and I married. I’m guessing that somehow my father learned of the marriage and began his plans to steal our child soon after. He had time—I mean, it’s been three years—but my question is, how did he find out?”
“Wait a minute,” said Inara. She ran her finger over the passage and stopped on a section. “Here,” she pointed, “Miranda a help. That’s not a person…”
“…that’s about the Miranda incident. Of course.” Simon held his head in his hands. “We were all over the Cortex on that one—it what drove the prices on our bounties up.”
“Which is how your father knew where you were—or, at least, who you were with.” Inara sighed. “I knew one day Mal’s sense of honor might get him into trouble. Fortunately, it’s one of his better qualities—but don’t tell him I said that.” She smiled a small smile.
Simon returned the gesture. He knew full well about the captain’s ideas between right and wrong, and was grateful to him for them. “No problem,” he said. “So, the Cerephus belt?” he said, steering the conversation back to his original question.
“It’s a haven for rich individuals who are, let’s say, unscrupulous about certain laws and such. It’s an asteroid belt that boasts hundreds of habitable areas—many buy whole asteroids outright. Call it the rich man’s version of living on a traveling freighter.”
“If my father was planning to build there, he’d want to own the place,” Simon said quickly, getting up and starting toward the bridge. “He’d have bought under an assumed name, to throw off suspicion, but with luck we can track the asteroid and his hiding place.” He broke into a run as he shouted for River to fire up the bridge’s Cortex link.
Gabriel Tam sat in his reclining chair, finishing off a warm brandy. He marveled in the simplicity of his plan.
After the Miranda incident, it had taken no trouble to locate his children’s whereabouts—a cheap little piece of go-se freighter called Serenity. The captain, a worthless Browncoat, had had the audacity to name the ship after his own defeat—like he’d had something to prove, Gabriel thought.
The idea of tracking the freighter had been intriguing, but then he was reminded of the misfortune that had befallen others that had tried to steal his wayward offspring from their refuge. Not long after this discovery, one of his informers had spotted the ship near Northridge Abbey, on Tiantin. After a large bribe and a few well-placed threats on the abbey’s future, the head abbot had given him a key piece of information—a copy of a marriage certificate that listed one Simon Tam as being married to a Kaywinnet Lee Frye. The girl had signed her name as Kaylee. His son had obviously forgotten to alter his identity, or he clung to the belief that marriage was sacred and had chosen not to lie on the certificate. The abbot had said that one of the brothers had performed the marriage, as a favor to an old friend, but had been forced to submit the paperwork despite the protests of the young couple.
From there Gabriel set his plans in motion. He had bought this little piece of refuge cheap, and began building a labyrinthine maze of hallways, examination rooms, laboratories, and a special cell near the middle of the whole operation. Sooner or later, he knew the girl would become pregnant—and that was when he would make his move. When a second informant had tipped him to the girl’s status five months earlier, he’d made sure the captain of their ship had gotten a good offer of work transporting cargo to Elgin, where he would be waiting for them.
Now, three years from the start of this whole affair, he was so close to his prize he could taste it. Nine weeks, and the child would be his. He knew that placing the coding in his own children’s genetic makeup would prove beneficial to him someday—and he was congratulating himself on his success. He’d hidden all trace of his presence on this rock—the odds of the girl’s crewmates finding her were slim at best.
He turned his attention to a small Cortex screen on his desk, and flipped the power on. A view of the girl’s room came up on the screen, showing her curled into a ball on her bare mattress. There was no sound, but Gabriel knew that the girl was probably sobbing by the looks of her expression, and shivering on top of that. It had been a week since he’d taken the girl’s clothing, and she still refused to accept her circumstances.
The elder Tam thought about what he might do with her once he had the child—letting her go free was certainly not an option. She might be useful for experimentation—his contacts at Blue Sun were always looking for new specimens. The girl was pretty, in a plain sort of way, and might fetch a decent price on the auction block. He thought about leaving her in her prison to starve, or freeze to death. The idea of using the girl as a concubine had its merits as well.
One thing was certain, however—his son would drive himself crazy at the thought of not being able to save her, or the child, from their fates. He relished this thought most of all. The impetuous boy would suffer, and suffer dearly, for thwarting his carefully-laid plans. Heaven knew his wife found that out the hard way after she realized he’d sold their daughter to the government and was trying to do the same to a future grandchild. Gabriel remembered the sounds of his wife’s screams coming from that room as he set the walls on fire and locked the door.
Yes, things were going according to plan this time…and this time, there was no one to derail him from achieving his goal.
Kaylee shivered. Her skin had a slight tinge of blue to it--gonna catch frostbite or my death of cold, she thought grimly. Every day the hundan came into her room, telling her if she apologized for her lack of appreciation, she could have her clothes and blankets back.
Her room. Kaylee shuddered at that thought. Her room was in the passenger dorms on Serenity, where she and Simon slept. This—this was not “her” room at all. It was a prison—a cold, black prison she’d tried so desperately to escape.
She wrapped her arms around the thin pillow—the only thing left in the room, other than the furniture. She grew to revile the chair every time he drew it near, forcing her to lie flat on the bed as he touched her bare skin, placing his hands on her belly to feel the baby inside of her. She felt violated, as if the action was his twisted way of raping her.
Kaylee refused to apologize to the hundan, instead remaining silent each time he entered the room. She desperately wished that someone would come in and talk to her—there had been no conversation other than the ones he’d had with her, and Kaylee was desperately lonely.
She closed her eyes and tried to sleep, fighting off the ever-present chatter of her teeth. She tried to think of warm things, like hot cocoa and her engine room and a warm bath with big fluffy towels that she could cocoon herself in. It only made her reality that much more unbearable.
Suddenly, she heard a soft voice whispering something in her ear and felt something warm being laid overtop of her. Kaylee opened her eyes and found that someone had given her a fuzzy fleece blanket to curl up in. She lifted her head, wanting to see who her benefactor was, but the person was gone. It was a woman, whoever it was—and from the sound of the voice, Kaylee determined that it was a young woman.
Wrapping the small blanket tightly around her huddled form, Kaylee allowed herself to sleep soundly for the first time in days. Her teeth had finally stopped chattering, and she welcomed the silence.
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