BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

ZZETTA13

Going There- Part 2
Monday, May 31, 2010

The war continues.......


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 872    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Going There

Part 2

Sergeant Mal Reynolds had just come from a prisoner exchange from the Alliance blockade at Raker’s Ravine. The trade hadn’t gone as well has he’d hoped. The thing was, it hadn’t been a total washout, He’d left Corporal Alleyne and private Hicks in a concealed position near the fortress and ready to take action in the next step of the plan.

Mal Reynolds had been given the command to start a diversionary engagement early the next morning so that operations by the Independent army in other parts of the valley could begin. There would be a major attack on the northwest slope of Cougar Mountain and also a retreating force of 75 browncoats would be attempting an escape from the north corridor of Plato’s Gully. The success of both of these actions were depending on the diversionary tactics Mal would provide the main body. Sergeant Reynolds meant to deliver success on both counts.

Corporal Alleyne, Zoe, and private Hicks were both instructed in the art of demolition. During the cover of darkness the two were to set charges in the fortified wall at it’s weakest point. The west side closest to the ravine wall looked to be the best point. There was a section there of sandbags only six foot high that would not be able to take a well placed blast. Mal knew that Zoe knew this. He would concentrate his morning assault there. He formed his officer command.

“Ross, Smitty, Linx, rest your troops. Tomorrow at 05:30 we begin the attack.” Mal would assault the fortress with a force of 50 browncoats. Ten on both the east and west ridges, and thirty down the middle. The rest would be left behind just incase the mission met with failure.

It was getting dark. He went to the mess tent to see about supper for himself. Afterwards he would get some sleep.

“ Evening sir!” Mal turned to see Corporal Kiplinger there with a fresh pan of chilly. “ Here you go!” The corporal handed the Sergeant the platter. Mal looked at him not believing the incredible amount of meat plied onto the plate.

“ Jack-rabbit sir, kept warm in the snug belly of a rattlesnake!”

The look in the Sergeant’s eyes was worth a million square.

“ Just joking with you sir. But still, better not to know where it came from.” The corporal replied to his questioned stare.

Mal ate, and the food was delicious. The question of what is was, was better left undetermined.

************************************************************************************

At 02:30 hours, Zoe and Lance, private Hicks, crept close to the fortified wall on the ravine’s west side. Stealth was the name of the game and Zoe had become a master. She and Hicks listened to the banter of the guards as the two independent fighters lay the charges to the demolitions in just the right spots. It took forty-five minutes to do the job with an extra forty-five of crawling there and back. They were back into their hiding position soon enough, with an hour and a half to spare. Time to sit still and maybe get an some rest before the morning’s activities started with a bang!

************************************************************************************

Mal Reynolds formed his group of thirty fighters at the head of the ravine. Once the noise started he planned on being at the opening in the wall in no less than fifteen minutes, give or take five. Smitty was ready on his right flank, while Ross and Linx were up on the ravine slopes ready to keep the Alliance guns located there occupied.

At 05:29 & 45 seconds he gave the signal for the troops to advance. They were at a sprint but there was to be no screaming or yelling. Just the thud of combat boots hitting dirt was all that was discernable at that early morning hour. In seconds there was a massive explosion. It was then that all hell broke loose.

Sergeant Reynolds commanded forces right and left. Other explosions followed the first, and the darkness was soon bathed in light. The flash of explosions and the addition of high powered lamps made the night turn into daytime.

Mal moved his troops forward. A soldier would fall here and there but there was no time to see if they were killed or injured. Mal reached fifty feet from the wall. He fell into a hole and began firing his weapon. Silhouettes of the opposing force began to fall from his bullets. He tossed a grenade over the opposing structure and the blast was deafening. Screams soon followed. He stood to charge forward and was surprised to feel the sting of a fiery hot round graze his right cheek. He reached up and felt blood there.

No time to think about it now, he rushed forward. He was at the sandbags in seconds. The hole that Zoe had created was big enough to drive a armored track rover through. “ Good girl” Mal smiled. Zoey was his best, and the most dependable soldier of his command.

Once through the hole Mal found bodies and Alliance wounded all around. He was followed by three of his troop and ordered two to take out the building to the right, while the other was to follow him to the left. A man stood not thirty paces in front of him. His arm drawn back ready to launch an explosive. Mal dropped him in a fraction of a second. He and his trooper cautiously entered a building on the left. It was empty but for a few bunks, a table and chairs.

Outside, there came the sound of heavy machine gun fire, to the front. There was screaming and the sergeant knew that most of his soldiers had made it at least to the wall. That was as far as the attack had reached though. Mal looked through a small hole with field glasses. Yes there was a heavy gun there, in a well fortified bunker too, forty yards to the south. A second line of defense if you will. This was going to be a tuff nut to crack, he thought.

*********************************************************************************

Hours later, near midmorning, the big Alliance weapon had been able to keep the independent fighters at bay. The attack was somewhat at a stale-mate. Nether army could gain ground. The Alliance had even sent in a skiff. It made several passes but mostly could only keep the heads of the invading force down. The proximity to it’s own soldiers kept it from using other means to repel.

Some time later a lucky shot by one of his gunners was able to stun the Alliance gun nest and Mal took advantage at this time to move his troops forward and continue the attack. In the matter of seconds he was on top the bunker and had lobbed a grenade inside. The blast echoed within the thick confines of the walled structure.

Mal was soon joined by the remainder of his troops as they assaulted this second line of defense and in a space of ten minutes had the balance of the Allied force taken as prisoner. Mal organized the capture of the ravine fortifications and was informed a little later by Smitty that the diversion had been a success. The other missions had gone well and now would be a good time for the sergeant and his troops to pull back. The position was not meant to be occupied by the browncoat army.

“Ross! Gather four troops and post your people as cover for our departure.” The sergeant ordered, “ Once we’re clear, at no time are you to stand and fight. If the Alliance wants the position back, give it to them. Understood?”

“ Yes Sir!” Ross gave a salute then left.

Mal had noticed one of the adjacent buildings was stocked with a load of food supplies and bags of flower and rice.

“ Zoey! Get a dozen fighters up here immediately. Have them bring these supplies back to the company mess!”

“ Yes sir!”

She returned later to find the sergeant had gone back to the main bunker where the machine gun had been.

Mal had returned to find a line of men all caked with sweat and grime, two of which were mildly wounded.

“ Linx! What do we have here?”

“ Prisoners sir! Fourteen in all”

“ Our casualties?”

“ Nine killed sir, five in the center attack, two on each ravine slope. Wounded unknown at this time, enemy dead, thirty………escaped,” Linx looked at Mal, “ That number is also unknown.”

Mal walked the line of prisoners. He looked at each face.

“ Well gentlemen you are now POWs. You will be kept until as such time you can be traded for an independence fight of equal or more value, and let me tell you gentlemen, in my eyes all browncoat fighters are of greater value.”

When Mal reached the end of the line he noticed that the last soldier that stood before him was none other that Lieutenant Riley himself.

“Well, officer Riley! What a surprise! Linx!”

“ Sir?”

“ This fellow is to be escorted to Command HQ”

“ Yes sir!”

He looked again at the lieutenant. The man was covered in dirt and grime.

“ HQ has ways of getting information from prisoners I can…….well, I just can’t describe.” Mal felt a little pain of guilt seeing the fear in the man’s eyes. Actually, truth serum was what the Independence CI really used to extract Intel. But Riley didn’t know that.

Private Hicks soon entered the area.

“Corporal Linx sir!”

“ Yes private!”

“ Hudson sir?” The corporal looked at the exhausted trooper.

“ I’m sorry, he was killed in the action.”

With this Hicks shouted and planted his fist squarely into the face of the nearest prisoner. Zoe and Linx both restrained the soldier.

In time others came to take the private back to the Independence line, weaponless of course.

“ Zoe, Linx, get you troops together. We evacuate this compound in ten minutes!” The sergeant ordered. There was a combined, “ Affirm Sir!” at the end of his command.

*****************************************************************************

The day had been a long one, but at the end, all seemed to have gone fairly well. Ross was still in the compound. Mal was a little worried there. But he gave his commanders credit for knowing what they were supposed to do.

Back at the Independent lines Mal saw Linx coming from the company mess tents.

“ Corporal Linx!”

“ Sir?”

“ Were the food supplies moved?”

“ Yes sir, they were.” The corporal informed him. Mal smiled.

“ And what did Corporal Kiplinger think about that?”

Linx looked at Mal with a weird stare.

“ I’m sorry sir. Corporal Kiplinger and his entire crew were killed by the skiff earlier in the day. I apologized for not updating my original report to you.”

The victory Mal had felt was suddenly drained from him. He felt weak and lifeless for a time.

**********************************************************************************

Mal Reynolds awoke in a drenching sweat. Dreaming again. So many of those night visions haunted him. He’d come to understand that this may be the way he would sleep from now on. Many of his sleeps were filled with nightmares, if not of Kip and Hudson, then Broussard and others who’s faces he recalled from that dreadful time. He understood Zoe to be going through the same. Wash had told him so.

He got up and washed his face. There wasn’t much he could do about dreams. Even in the belly of his ship Serenity. When he lay down to rest, in the darkness of his fatigued mind, sometimes Mal Reynolds could never keep himself from GOING THERE.”

The End

COMMENTS

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 3:26 PM

KATESFRIEND


Loved the ending of this and how Mal never could leave the past behind him. Thanks for sharing this !

Thursday, June 3, 2010 1:29 AM

ZZETTA13


Howdy Katesfriend

Thanks for your posts. I’m glad you enjoyed the story. There’s always been the feeling that Mal was haunted by a multitude of horrible memories from the war. A guilt that he could not save everyone under his command. The idea of maybe loosing someone in a none combat role seemed even sadder.

Again, thanks for your posts, Z


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