Levels of Heaven: Depths of Hell part3
Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chapter 3 up and running. Some questions answered, and a few more created. Some characters folks may like, some not so much. But Isn’t that the way things really are? Jayne has always wanted to be the commander of his own ship. Mal, unknowingly lets him play for a while……Ok, also, a villain arrives on the scene….boo-hisss, the crowd makes wicked catcalls….BPZ


Levels of Heaven: Depths of Hell Part - 3 Names, places & points of interest; Graham Dehn Carson Maxwell Clive Hinds Gladys City Minear 2 Century Mining Hotel Allmine Minerals Exploration Division ****************************************** Graham Dehn strolled down the cargo ramp and viewed the small town through the dust of a sweltering mid-morning haze. He had already booked lodging at the “Century Mining Hotel” in Gladys City on the little moon of Minear 2.

“Careful with that luggage, porter,” he spoke as a crewmember of the Carpathia began to load his baggage onto a cart to be ferried into town.

Clive Hinds, the man loading the luggage looked at the passenger. He placed a hand to his side and held it there as if a sharp pain had suddenly appeared.

“These things are pretty heavy. What could a miner be toting from one job to another that would be so weighty that it could almost cause me a strained gut-muscle?” The crewman asked.

“It’s really none of your business, is it,” the passenger told him, “and inquiries as such could get a fellow like you into a lot of trouble. This is supposed to be a “don’t ask, don’t tell” bit of an operation your Captain runs here on the Carpathia, isn’t it?”

Clive realized then, that he may have overstepped his bounds.

“Sorry, I meant no disrespect sir,” he spoke.

“Well, no harm inflicted,” Dehn informed him, “but for your ease, I do carry along the hefty tools of my trade. Mining shovels, pick axes and digging instruments. They do carry a bit of weight to them, you’d believe so wouldn’t you?”

Clive nodded that he agreed. But he also made note that if the fellow’s intent was to become employed at the Rockwell Mining Company, subcontractor of the main source of employment in the Gladys City township, he certainly could have left these heavy instruments of digging behind. It would be rather easy to acquire the tools that he needed from the Allmine Operations Company which ran the business. Still, like the man had mentioned, it was none of his business.

Graham Dehn again returned the cigar he was smoking to his mouth. He turned to see the buildings that made up this small town, which looked to number about twenty. Somewhere in this tiny township was his true purpose for being there, and that had nothing to do with the mining trade. Dehn was no real miner. A fact that was neither lost nor speculated on by the Carpathia crewmember who had been loading his luggage. The way he looked, and the manner in which he carried himself, spoke to anyone who viewed the tall slender man that he was really anything but a miner.

Dehn was actually an Operative, an assassin for the government, and his duty this assignment was to find and extinguish a festering wound that had plagued the higher levels of Authority for some time now. There was a renegade Operative who was on the loose, and Dehn had been engaged to find and kill him. His trail had led here, to this lonely mining colony in the small town of Gladys City. Actually, the instruments contained within his luggage were not those of the mining trade, but instruments of death. A sniper’s weapon, an assortment of cutting knives and an assassin’s cord for strangulation, just to name a few. There was also a communications radio, connected to a secure server. Dehn had all the tools he needed to make this trip a successful one. He’d also been informed of new opportunities.

There was a survivor of a crashed shuttlecraft who was staying with her uncle until she could be retrieved by a friendly escort and brought back home. Candice Naples was from an influential family in the core, and the “powers that be” thought that with the influence of her crazy uncle she would report all kinds of stories of chaos that occurred out on the rim. Best to silence her, and her uncle if the assassin got the chance.

It neither bothered nor troubled this man in the fulfillment of his assignments. The execution the two civilians, in the name of better worlds, all of them better worlds, was worth the sacrifice. Once he dealt with the ex-operative he would seek the two of them out, and employ a very sad accidental event to happen.

As an added bonus, he was also given clearance to extinguish the crew of a transport vessel which shared the landing zone with the Carpathia in Gladys City. He’d been given approval to annihilate the crew of the cargo ship Serenity.

The bonus credits he would acquire amounted to much more than the Operative could have ever imagined. This venture was suddenly looking very profitable. Although the message also mentioned a word of caution. Killing so many targets at one time may focus suspicion upon the operative, and if he was caught, there may be an assassin assigned to see to the silencing of him as well. His bosses didn’t take kindly to potentially squeaky doors being left open.

Gritting his teeth on the ass end of the cigar, the Operative moved forward with the assigned baggage handler and began to stroll towards the speck of a town known as Gladys City.

****************** Carson Maxwell, alias Rovell Gammon, alias a half dozen other names acquired over the past solar cycle, was harbored in Gladys City after acquiring a job for the mining company there. Being good with numbers as he was, he was presented the title, “Provisions Facilitator”, for the Rockwell Mining Company ,which operated under the control of the Allmine Minerals Exploration Division. They had offered him a job with many comforts and amenities, a position that he couldn’t turn down.

The job paid well enough, but the true value of his occupation was to allow Carson a bit of immunity from being tracked by the powers of the controlling UAP Authority. Carson had worked at his job for nearly two months and in that time had won many the favor of his employer’s happy appreciation. They were satisfied with his abilities, and he was satisfied with a chance to blend in. He felt confident that his former bosses would have a hard time tracking him down in this location. Little did he know, that at this very moment there was already someone in positioned ready to extinguish the last remaining breath from the ex-government Operative’s lungs. He wasn’t aware that the peace he felt in this quiet community, for so short a time, wouldn’t last much longer.

He looked across the table from where he was relaxing with his evening meal at the “Gladys C. U.” saloon, to where two men were sitting at a small table closer to the center of the modestly lit room. He recognized one as the crazy farmer Bucky Tosskin, who lived out in the countryside. The other fellow looked familiar, but Carson couldn’t quiet place the face.


“So Captain Jayne, what brings you down here to my little rim world neck of the woods?” Bucky asked the fellow seated across from him. The big mercenary looked over at his old pal as he took a deep swig of the brew he held in his hand.

“Not much, just some business dealings here and there,” Jayne shifted his eyes around as if he was uneasy being called Captain in so small an area. Could be someone here had already spoken with Kaylee, Inara or Simon about their business in town, which didn’t include him as being the Captain of Serenity.

“Just looking to stock up on provisions, and medical supplies if a town this size can spare any? Got a crewmember of mine needs tending,” he paused a second and looked around, “How about we keep this “Captain Jayne” thing between us,” the big mercenary whispered, “might be ears about that could recognize and remember such an easy name as mine. Remember, wasn‘t that long ago when you and I did a little bootlegging and pirating ourselves,” Jayne was also recalling his ordeal in Canton. The mudders had recognized him fairly easily.

What he had said made sense to Tosskin. He agreed to keep his tone low.

At his agreement Jayne allowed something of a crude little smile to course across his face. He surely didn’t want his old friend to believe him to be a liar, even though it was true. It was fun to take the fantasy role of being commander of his own ship. Still, best to keep the fantasy his own. No sense in Mal or any of the crew finding out how far he’d taken his little deception of his friend.

Unknown to the two men, and also Carson, there WAS someone listening in at that very instant. Someone who was very interested in what was going on in the small township of Gladys City. One who’s intentions weren’t as innocent as his poker face would lead folk to believe. Yet, as he stood at the bar, his drinking buddy, Clive Hinds, already knew something of the truth of the assassin’s mission. Graham Dehn wasn’t here to make friends.

Dehn had both ears tuned in to all the conversations going on around the saloon that afternoon. It was one of his trained talents, to be able to juggle and store information from many sources, at any given time. He could recall each one, and sort through the details later, in his room.

Graham and Clive had delivered his belonging to his boarding room at the Century Mining Hotel. The Carpathia crewman was ready to be rid of the heavy luggage he had hauled from the cargo ship all the way to the hotel, and two flights up, yet in setting them down, the man had made a grave mistake. One of the cases fell open, and inside was revealed not the tools of a mine-worked, but the instruments of an executioner.

Ropes, strangulation cord, and several very specialized cutting blades fell to the floor, making nice, sharp, ringing sounds as they made contact with the cheap rug which lay there. Clive’s eyes grew the size of pancakes and his jaw dropped so low that it almost joined the knives on the floor.

“I’m Sorry Mr. Dehn! I didn‘t mean to…….”

“That’s certainly alright my good fellow,” the assassin stated, “ I’m just glad that you didn’t have this little mishap out in the street. The truth of why I’m here needn’t be known to you, yet I’m almost certain that an intelligent fellow like yourself wasn’t fooled by my little tale from the very start,” he stopped momentarily, “here’s what we can do. Those little items on the floor, we can pretend that nothing of this kind ever happened. You never saw them,” he looked deeply at the Carpathia boatman, “and there will be a purse of extra coin in your pocket to keep silent about it. We have a deal?”

Sounded like a reasonable plan to Clive. He agreed.

“Now let’s pick these things up, then it will be my treat to buy you a couple of rounds at the saloon there, across the way?”

“I’m with ya!” Clive spoke excitedly.

Dehn smiled with his plan. He had gotten Clive to go along with his secret rather easily. The assassin/operative knew well how to administer believable deceit. He also knew how to conduct surveillance, and expand on opportunity when given the chance. He had studied the files on all of his targets on his dedicated cortex server while aboard the Carpathia, yet the information on Serenity’s crew, and the girl and her uncle were minimal at best. Still, it was enough that Dehn felt that he could perform his duty of disappearing them, and perform it well.

Carson Maxwell, or the renegade operative, on the other hand, Graham Dehn knew almost as well as he knew his own bank account. He had an extensive file on the ex-operative. Information supplied by his bosses in the higher echelons of government rule. He had no doubt he would find him easily, and complete his mission in a day or two, maybe even without the exertion of a drop of sweat.

He had also read the files of the crew of the Carpathia while in route to Minear 2, and he knew that Clive Hinds had something of an alcohol addiction, and also had a problem with gambling, which now played well into his scheming.

He had noticed a small group of men gathered in the alleyway alongside of the saloon on their way to get drinks. Those fellows seemed to be engaged in the spirit of rolling the “bones”. At some point Graham meant to plant the seed to Clive about joining that game. Still, that part of the plan would come later in the evening. Right now, he wanted to make his way to where most of the talk in town would be concentrated, and likely be the least guarded, the local saloon. After a few drinks many folk couldn’t keep their mouths shut, and certainly couldn’t keep secrets. He meant to find out about the new folk in town. Recent citizens who’d come to Gladys City. One for sure would be his main target.

************** Dehn, with drink in hand standing at the bar, heard the conversation going on between Bucky and Jayne. He pretended that he didn’t, but Graham was no fool when it came to gathering Intel and exploiting his advantage. He hadn’t become an operative yesterday. The man knew what he was doing. He listened in while Clive went on about something that mean nothing to the assassin.

“Think you could fix me up with some supplies and such?” Jayne asked of his friend, “ My Doc….crew aboard ship went to the local food store and clinic and I’m afraid that they didn’t return with much,” the big merc took a swallow of his drink. Tosskin turned just at that moment to see Carson sitting alone, not two tables away.

“ I haven’t the foggiest notion where to get such supplies as ya need,” the farmer said, “but I do see a fellow that could likely help. Follow me,” he said.

With that, Bucky got up and ventured over to Carson’s table.

“ Mr. Maxwell, mind if my friend and I join you?”

It was at that moment that both Carson and Jayne realized who the other was. Still, it would be best if each pretended not to be aware. He motioned for them to sit.

Jayne and Carson exchanged pleasantries, yet kept quiet about knowing the other. Maxwell told Jayne that he had a new shipment of supplies which had just arrived for the Rockwell Mine on the Carpathia, and he would be happy to share what he could with the other ship. This was turning out better than he had hoped for, Jayne was thinking. And might boost his influence with the real Captain of Serenity. Having done a better job at acquiring supplies then Simon, Kaylee and Inara that afternoon would certainly put a smile on Mal’s face. Especially since he hadn’t spent the time himself to venture out and leave Zoe alone. Now Jayne was glad that he might be making a deal to acquire things that could be used by the doc to help with Zoe, once they returned to orbit.

Graham listened to the conversation the whole time, and began plotting his next moves. The jabbering of Clive in his ear kept breaking his concentration. He would have to deal with this fellow sooner or later, so it might as well be sooner.

“Clive! Did you notice the little game of chance going on in the alley next to the saloon?”

The Carpathia boatman nearly choked on his beer.

“Sure Mr. Dehn, yupper I did!”

“How about I advance you that bit of coin I owe you and you proceed to join that game and go about collecting those fools money!”

Hinds hesitated before he answered.

“Sounds like a great idea Sir, but here of late my luck has been a tad on the down side. I’ve given up the dice for a while,” Clive informed him.

“Well Mr. Hinds, I don’t think there’s a chance that you will loose with these magical little helpers.” With that, the assassin pulled two sets of dice from his side pocket. Clive viewed them with a bit of query. Nothing special looking about the pieces, just your average set of bones.

“With these two, you can’t loose,” he said rolling two of them across the oak top bar. They turned double-sixes. He gathered them in again in his hand and spilled then out on the counter. Snake-eyes.

“The trick is in the wrist, but I can’t divulge the secret of how they work,” he told the Carpathia crewman, “just know that they do, and with a little practice you can just about roll what you want. The second set are just an average set of dice, incase your opponents get itchy.”

Over the next few moments, Graham showed the man how to toss the dice, then Clive left the saloon to venture out and win his fortune.

Dehn remained inside while the persons of his interest finalized their plans on getting their supplies. They ordered and received a hardy “Gladys C.U.” meal from the back kitchen and didn’t leave the saloon until after dark.

Upon their exit, Dehn finished his drink then ventured outside just as Clive was finishing up taking the final coin from the last man standing. The man left cursing, and almost in a fit of rage.

Alone now, Clive turned to see the person who had joined him in the dark, deserted alleyway. His pockets were almost overflowing with money.

“Mr. Dehn! Look at all this,” he stated as the assassin approached, “ tons of loot, and they never knew they were being taken.” He held out two fistfuls of cash, “looks like it’s turned into my lucky day after all!”

Dehn pulled in tight to the poor soul of the Carpathia.

“No, Clive, I think you were right the first time,” he whispered, “your luck has been on the downside for some time now, and now it has completely run out!”

With this, the assassin, quick as a whistle, pulled one of his favorite killing blades from his back pocket. In an instant he wedged it’s sharp, penetrating point up under the ribcage of the Carpathia crewman’s body. The man exhaled as his lungs emptied themselves of air. Blood poured from his mouth and his eyes starred in disbelief at the man he’d thought he’d befriended just that very day. His eyes then went hollow and turned back into his head before he hit the ground.

Dehn stood, then dipped down to wipe the bloody blade off on the man’s clothes. He took all the money, which he knew would cause the local investigation team in the morning to consider it a robbery. And he was sure he could turn any suspicion launched in his direction off his trail. Especially with help of the UAP Authority.

“Sorry my friend,” he whispered, “but I can’t have any loose tongues singings songs after I’m gone. Best you sleep now, and may the gods offer you a better existence in the Black then you would have ever found down here.”

Graham Dehn then turned and headed back to his lonely room at the Gladys City Century Mining Hotel.

End Part 3


Wednesday, December 21, 2011 5:07 AM


An Operative who gives only lip service to the idea of better worlds but reveals he's actually more into it for the money. Interesting.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 5:36 AM


“ …….One-hundred thousand is rather pointed to me. Yet what is life without work?” Jubal Early the bounty hunter, not an exact quote, but you get my meaning I’m sure Byte.

Dehn may be thinking about retirement in about five years or less, and the Assassins pension isn’t what it used to be… I see your point, thanks for the feedback my friend…

Just some thoughts, BPZ

PS: that is if anyone is allowed to retire from such a job. Not that many old folk in the core… :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 9:00 AM


Oh my, this Operative Graham is baaad. You're definitely setting things up for a showdown between the Operatives. I'm wondering if "Carson" also noticed Graham--as an (ex-)Operative himself, he'd also be trained to notice things and track multiple conversations at once, wouldn't he? Maybe he even noticed exactly how Graham manipulated Clive. Also, thanks for the shout-out. Allmine Company seems to be everywhere. ;-)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 4:31 PM


Hello eb!

Yepper, Allmine, Blue-Sun and thousands of other companies are likely being manipulated by some of the same folk in high, almost unattainable places. Now, it may be just me and my conspiracy paranoid self, but when there’s cameras poised on almost every street corner in the verse (at least in the core) folks usually can’t exit their homes without being watched. I’d be very leery of the folks representing Corporate, or government interests, especially out on the rim.

Glad that you enjoyed the shout-out with Allmine. Allmine is a company that is likely to be on every planet in every part of the verse where it is believed there’s a chance to make mineral claims. Or at least attain the rights as quickly as possible. Tell me if I’m wrong, I see them as the big gorilla on the block?

Also, I would think that “Carson” WAS aware of the conversations going on between Graham and Clive. Yet Clive was doing most the talking so Carson assumed that they were “aiming to misbehave” and be a little mischievous, but didn’t dwell on it much after that. Now in the morning when he hears of the murder, well, that might peak his interest a bit more.

And yes, a face off between operative & operative is certainly on the menu at some point. Showdown at high noon, and bring your best karate moves.


PS: I see that you have a new fic up, I’m really ready to get to it and see what you have going. Probably hold off posting till morning though, see ya!


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Levels of Heaven: Depths of Hell part3
Chapter 3 up and running. Some questions answered, and a few more created. Some characters folks may like, some not so much. But Isn’t that the way things really are? Jayne has always wanted to be the commander of his own ship. Mal, unknowingly lets him play for a while……Ok, also, a villain arrives on the scene….boo-hisss, the crowd makes wicked catcalls….BPZ

Levels of Heaven: Depths of Hell part2
This chapter….not much of a connection to chapter one, but the link is coming. Introducing a few new characters and the meaning and purpose of their mindset. Hope you enjoy and continue to follow….BPZ

Levels of Heaven: Depths of Hell part1
Post BDM. Let’s explore souls…..BPZ

Trouble for Nothing 4.0 final
Serenity finds herself on the last leg of a trip to deliver some well needed goods to Whitefall. Things look to be going rather smooth, but that can fool ya. Something happens …..and Mal finds that he has a war buddy reunion out in the deep pitches of the black….things are gonna get interesting. BPZ

Trouble for Nothing 3.0
Finally, a bit of cohesion to the confusion. Mal & Kaylee talk about things. The purple star is still around, and the one that’s dangerous, and doesn’t belong…..saves the day….

Trouble for Nothing 2.0
Mal, Kaylee and Wash land on Persephone for hull inspection. He shouldn’t feel alarmed, but the Captain is always apprehensive about such things. He’s a little nervous, but remembers the advice of the family physician that used to be his doctor on Shadow. “Just take a sugar pill with your medicine and things will be alright” least that’s what ‘ol Doc Jenkins used to say. Of course Mal ain’t on Shadow anymore….. And his mom didn’t used sugar pills, she used castor oil…. as a chaser for medicine. And for those who are familiar with castor oil…..all I can say is that you have to sit still and let things progress naturally……BPZ

Trouble for Nothing 1.0
Malcolm Reynolds, and his crew find themselves ordered to serve Serenity up for “Verse Travel Compliance”…… or rather, space worthiness inspection, and although there is no reason to be alarmed, having strangers examining his boat does make Mal feel a bit uneasy. This is also a bit of a hassle, but isn’t that what governments are for, to get in a man’s way?

For fic purposes, at this juncture Shepherd Book and Inara are both on their respective worlds. What remains of the crew of Serenity are Kaylee, Jayne, Zoe, Mal, and Simon & River as crew/passengers.

Polished Memories 2.0 - The Mission
Howdy Coats!! Been a while since I’ve been able to jot something down, but here goes. …Continuation of the “ Polished Memories” series, and more of what Mal remembers about the battle of Serenity Valley. We can see that the pain, and suffering, and casualties of war are chipping away at the Captain’s beliefs. Is Mal losing his soul? Only the Shepherd would know the soldier at this point, and maybe his Corporal, Zoe. Read on for clarification….

Polished Memories 1.0- Boot Camp
New approach at mixing things up a little. “Polished Memories” folk trying to sort through their emotions and feelings, and make themselves feel better. Doesn’t always work.

MIA chap5 Final-Clash of the Titans
More like Clash of the bed fleas or dust mites. But that can be a good thing. Being the small guys can keep you off the Alliance radar and have the old bloodhounds barking up the wrong tree. Petty crime can pay well enough, yet not have the Feds crawling up your backside…. Oh yeah, also, Mal & Zoe pick up the heat in this one. I’ll not say more. Maybe Wash does have a reason to be jealous? Hope you enjoy the final of “Missing in Action” BPZ