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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Ever wonder how Mal got enough money to buy Serenity in the first place? There might be an official version out there but I wrote this one just for fun.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1238 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
Before Serenity - The Tale of Malcolm Reynolds
Malcolm Reynolds, Shadow, “Harbatkin”, Monty and the rest of the 'Verse were created by Joss Whedon for Fox. I do not own these characters or situatons and, if given a cease and desist order from the copyright holder of those properties, I will remove this fan fiction story from my blog. However, the other characters are mine, Copyright 2010 by Mendur, and my not be used without *my* permission.
This is one of a series of tales I am in the middle of writing, my own ideas of how the nine main characters of "Firefly" set off on the paths that led them to Serenity in the true pilot of the series, "Serenity".
* * *
Before Serenity – The Tale of Malcolm Reynolds
Malcolm Reynolds, formerly a sergeant with the Independent Forces … the “Browncoats” … was enjoying his first taste of freedom in four years. The Alliance had dragged their heels in releasing the Browncoats after the end of the war. It was only after the last of the rebellious worlds had signed the peace treaty “accepting” full membership in the Alliance that the Purple-Bellies had finally conceded that the war was over and released the prisoners it had taken.
He had been cut off from the ‘Verse for so long, he wasn’t sure, exactly, how he was going to survive. He knew he wanted to get as far from Alliance control as possible but that wasn’t likely for a man with his unfortunate lack of prospects. In fact, the whiskey in his glass was just about going to leave him tapped out. All he had was his clothes, his boots, and a gun.
His musings were interrupted by mention of his home on the bar screen.
This is CORTEX NEWS: Today marks the fifth anniversary of the disaster on Shadow. During the Unification War, Alliance forces entrenched themselves around the atmospheric generators for the planet in an attempt to protect them. Although official government reports show that an attack by the Independent forces resulted in the destruction of the atmospheric generators, resulting in the deaths of ninety-five percent of the inhabitants of Shadow, a lawsuit on behalf of Shadow’s Survivors, as they have come to be known, was filed immediately after the end of the war. The lawsuit alleges that no Independent forces were near the atmospheric generators at the time of the disaster. It further alleges that either the disaster was an accident, requiring insurance payouts to Shadow’s Survivors under the terms of the contracts – an assertion that Blue Sun Insurance, the main insurer of lives and property on Shadow denies, claiming that acts of war invlidate the policies – or that Alliance forces purposely destroyed the generators themselves, as an example for other planets that chose to joint the Independents, in which case the Alliance would be required to pay ….
Mal tried to tune out the news. As a Browncoat, the lawsuit meant nothing to him. One of the first rulings after the war was that no Browncoat could benefit from any legal judgments related to any events in the war. Besides, he’d already done his grieving for his mother and the ranch hands he’d grown up with. In battle, he pretty much dared the Alliance to take him down as well, shouting and carrying on, forcing a cherrfulness to motivate the troops. He was past that, now. He was born on Shadow, right enough, but he grew up in Serenity Valley. Facing the prospect of starvation, he wondered if it would have been better off had he died there.
Mal froze. Only one man had ever called him that … but he was dead. He turned slowly and looked up at the tall, cadaverous man. The white hair was sparser than he remembered but the brilliant green eyes were just as full of trouble as always. “Elias? How?”
Elias MacBeth Harbatkin sat down at the small table and waved to the server for another round. He waited until the drinks were delivered, and Mal knew better than to push. When he was a boy, Mal had been told that Elias had escaped from a terraforming mining crew. Elias was one of those immovable objects you sometimes hear about. He would do what we wanted to do, when he wanted to do it, and no power in the ‘Verse could move him to do otherwise.
“I heard you were released and dropped off on this rock.”
“I heard you were dead,” Mal replied.
“The reports of my death, et cetera, et cetera. I was off world when it happened.”
“Off world? I didn’t think you ever left the ranch, let alone Shadow.”
“My dear Young Malcolm. You were young and full of fire and righteous in your cause. I knew there was no way you would understand that freedom means nothing to the dead. When Shadow declared itself for the Independents, I could see what would happen.”
“How could you see the disaster?”
“It wasn’t a disaster, boy. It was the Alliance being the Alliance. Of all the worlds that rebelled, Shadow was the biggest and the most self-reliant. It would have taken decades for the Alliance to crush Shadow with conventional means. The Alliance knew it. The government on Shadow knew it. But unlike the government on Shadow, I knew the Alliance. I’d saved my pay and my time for years. I left.”
“What are you saying?”
“An ‘accident’ which just happened to take out the biggest threat to unification? Your mother didn’t raise any idiot children.”
“Those ….” Mal started to rise from his seat. He was ready to start the war all over again, beginning with this bar.
“Sit down, boy!” Elias commanded.
Mal, used to obeying the voice of his mother’s chief ranch hand, resumed his seat before he even realized he was doing so.
“They have to pay,” Mal said, seething.
“They? Who? You can’t beat the Alliance, Young Malcolm.”
“I know who executed the order which killed your world. You want payback? I can give you that.”
Mal took a big swallow of his whiskey. “I thought you said freedom means nothing to the dead.”
“You don’t have to get dead to get payback. I learned that when I tracked down the go se who sold me into slavery.”
Elias smiled the kind of smile that made Mal shudder when he was a kid. He put his pistol on the table and said, “Just guess who happens to be the governor of this little old moon you happen to be on.”
They paused outside the home of the governor of the little moon, the home of Brigadier General Paul Chang, retired, former commander of the ninety-seventh Infantry of the Grand Army of the Alliance. The estate was lightly guarded, with an antiquated security system. Mal watched as Elias bypassed the system in a matter of seconds.
"How the hell did you learn to do that?"
"Boy, you spent all your time as a kid listenin' to the Shepherds, gettin' into scuffles with other kids, readin' stories of heroes, and learnin' to handle your mother's herds, horse and cattle. You got to learn some useful skills if you're gonna be out here in the 'Verse."
"Malcolm, your mouth is movin'. You better see to that, seein' as how we're in the middle of a commitin' a crime, here."
Mal stopped talking and watched. Elias led him into the estate. Signalling to Mal, Elias walked by an open doorway leading into a courtyard.
"Hey," a guard called. He came running out of the passageway and Mal clipped him behind the ear, rendering him senseless.
Elias came back and leaned down, his blade gleaming dully in the indirect light. Mal grabbed his arm.
"What are you doin'?"
"Making sure this guard doesn't raise an alarm."
"Ain't no need to be killing, here."
Elias looked at Mal, appraising the young man.
"What?" Mal asked.
"This is over. Let's get out of here." Without waiting for a reply, Elias turned and headed back off the estate.
Back in the bar, Elias was silent until Mal had brought their drinks back to the table.
"Boy, what did you think we was doin'?"
"Going after General Chang."
"And what were we goin' to do once we got to him?"
Mal paused. "I dunno. Make him pay for Shadow."
"How? Beat him up a little so he could have us arrested later? Make him sign a confession? Fill a balsa wood box with cow droppings, light it on fire and run?"
"I don't know."
Elias shook his head. "I thought the war would've hardened you, boy ... changed you."
"It changed me."
"Not enough, it seems. I can see you lost your faith ... and there ain't no cows in space ... and you survived, so I'm guessin' you got pretty good with fists and guns in the war ... but you still ain't kicked the hero habit."
"You still think you're a ... what did they call it? Big damn hero. You ain't a hero, son. You lost. War's over. All that's left is making a living as best you can. Way I see it, you got two options: find a planet where you can be a ranch hand and grow old tendin' someone else's herds, or use what skills you got in the war to make your way out here on the rim, as far from the Alliance as you can get."
"The only skills I got in the war were ...."
"Exactly. I imagine you're a decent gun hand. You ain't got a problem with working your way around the law, I reckon, seein' as how you had no problem breakin' into the governor's estate with me. But you still got this notion that there's people who need killin' and them that deserve to live."
"I ain't arguin' that some deserve killin'. But ...."
"But nothin'. Remember what I told you, kid, when you went off to join the Browncoats? About the bullet waitin' for you?"
"I remember. Die of old age before it finds you. But some people don't deserve dyin' before their time."
"Son, we *all* die before our time. Every damn one of us. Every one of us tries to hang on just a bit longer, not ready to go. It's how I made it to be as old as I am."
"I won't do cold blooded murder."
"You're sayin' that if you found the man who killed your ma, you wouldn't kill him?"
"Him, I'd kill. But I'd have to be sure."
"And you ain't sure if what I'm tellin' you about Chang is the truth," Elias said, finishing the thought. "And you're not willing to kill them that stand between us and him, without that proof." Elias shook his head. "That's what I mean about still thinking you're a gorram hero."
"I ain't no hero," Mal said. "But I won't kill a man unless he's tryin' to kill me, or unless I'm sure he deserves it."
Elias smiled, a cruel thing that mocked humor rather than embraced it. "You're young, kid. That'll change."
Elias rose and tossed a pouch on the table. It clinked. "Keep the gun I gave you. Use this to get off this rock, find work as a gun hand workin' for someone you can trust ... if you can find anyone. Remember what I said."
"What are you going to do?"
"Finish what we started. You might not be sure, but I am. Good bye, Young Malcolm."
Mal sat at the table for a long time, staring at the pouch, thinking about what Elias said. He pulled the pouch to him and opened it up. Inside, there was about a hundred, in platinum ... enough to buy him passage anywhere in the 'Verse ... in high style if he wanted to blow it all at once. There was also an identcard and a small vid device. He looked the ident card over and saw that it was keyed to him, but under a different name: Malcolm R. Harbatkin. Curious, he opened the vid device and Elias was there on the screen.
"Something for you to get started," Elias said. "Don't use the ident card for any criminal activity. It's a back up you can use only once. Wait for the right time. You'll know it when you see it. And remember, kid. You ain't a hero and you ain't a soldier any more. You're just a man doing what he has to do to survive in a dangerous 'Verse."
Three months later, Mal was working as a gun hand for Monty, learning about flying a ship and doing what he had to do to survive.
"Hey, Mal!" Monty yelled from the bridge of his ship.
"Yeah, Monty? What is it?"
"Who's the gorram captain of this boat? I don't need to explain myself. Just get up here."
Smiling, Mal entered the bridge of Monty's ship. Monty turned to him, stroked his beard thougtfully, and said, "Didn't you tell me about Elias Harbatkin a while back?"
Mal's smile disappeared. "Yeah. He died about three months ago. He killed a guy named Chang, governor of a small moon but the guards killed him on his way out. What about him?"
"Tough luck for him. They settled that lawsuit about Shadow. Turns out that Chang fellow was in charge during the war and they're blaming him for the accident. They listed the names of Shadow's Survivors who collected. Anyone who fought in the war is excluded but the civilians who were off planet are gonna get some cash. Turns out Harbatkin is owed some serious coin but they can't find him. They're looking for his heir, some guy called Malcolm Harbatkin. You know him?"
"Did you say Malcolm Harbatkin?"
"Yeah. What of it?"
Mal put his hand over the secret pocket in his long, brown deerskin coat, where he kept the ident card Elias had left for him. "Monty, I think I'll be leaving your employ when we get to Persephone."
"And why is that?"
Mal smiled. "A man's gotta strike out on his own, *some* time."
"What are you thinking, Mal?"
"I'm thinkin' maybe it's time I got my own ship. Know any dealers in ships that you trust?"
Thursday, December 02, 2010 5:39 AM
Thursday, December 02, 2010 11:32 AM
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