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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
The mines surrounding the territory around Gladys City run deep. Yet so does the mystery of who killed Clive Hinds at this time. Someone thinks they have it all figured out. Maybe they do, maybe they don‘t? Part 5 of LOH:DOH begins below, and like a horse race the riders are jockeying for the best positions….ZBP
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 528 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Levels of Heaven: Depths of Hell
Part - 5
Names, places & points of interest;
Sheriff Lance Bargo
Carson Maxwell arrived at the Rockwell Mining office where he worked, the next morning. There was a satchel slung over his shoulder filled with the papers and documents of the Rockwell Mining Corporation, and Carson was ready to put in a full day. Today’s duty wouldn’t only involve going over the mines books for the past few days, but would also include manipulating a particular invoice that would allow certain materials from the Carpathia to be shuffled over to the ship sharing dock space with them on the landing pad, Serenity.
Carson had been given free rein by his employers to conduct business the way he saw fit, and it had proven to be one of the better decisions that the business execs had made. Profits for the company had increased thirty percent, and this made them feel very secure that their files were in good and adequate hands.
Carson ran on tight schedule, and there wasn’t much that slipped by him, but now he had a bit of a squirrel in his pocket. He had to manipulate the paperwork to reflect that they’d received their shipment of mining supplies and goods that were to be delivered by the Carpathia. And at the same time he was to supply Serenity with what she needed, as per the agreement made at the saloon the previous night. The documents had to reflect things a certain way.
The Firefly Captain (which Carson actually knew was not Jayne) would still be paying for the goods and extra medical supplies, only at a reduced cost. If needed, Carson, appointed “Provisions Facilitator” as well as having many other duties, could compensate for any discrepancies by the use of his own pocketbook. That was his plan. Malcolm Reynolds could just owe him. He also wanted to see the Captain again, and see if he would attempt to make good his final words.
Now, carefully, he switched his coffee cup from his left hand to his right in order to turn the doorknob to gain access to his office. He was fully aware of the excited activity going on around town. That hadn’t escaped his notice, yet in a town like Gladys City, all that could actually mean was that the current preacher’s horse had taken a tumble with the preacher on it. And now come Sunday morning, he’d be spouting his “spit fire” sermon from the pulpit on crutches. It wasn’t until Carson was in his chair, seated at his desk that his secretary told him of the murder of Clive Hinds.
“Yeah, found him laying dead right in the alleyway next to the “Gladys C. U.” saloon this morning,” she said.
Carson remembered the man from the night before, and also who’d been with him. He didn’t let it reflect on his face, but now his senses had been kicked into Operative overdrive. He would certainly become more astute of his surroundings. He also knew that Jayne had not, nor anyone else on Serenity, done it. They were hiding from the Authority just as he was, and Bucky Tosskin surely wouldn’t have done the deed. Why would someone compromise their livelihood in their own gorram community like that, didn’t make sense? Besides, Tosskin had a relative he was looking after. At that moment the little bell above the door to the office began to chime. Someone had entered. He looked up to see a tall man dressed casually, yet cleanly, in black.
“Excuse me sir, but I was wondering if this was the place where a body might apply for a job down at the Rockwell Mining Facility?”
Maxwell recognized the gentleman from the night before, at the saloon.
“It is,” he replied. He looked over at his secretary behind the counter across the way, “ Margaret, will you be so kind as to furnish this gentleman an employment application?”
“Yes Mr. Maxwell,” she answered. Carlson then looked again at the man standing before him. He was fidgeting around with his rather large, round brimmed hat, which matched his dark outfit.
Nice touch, Carson thought.
“Work bring you here?”
“ It did sir. Are there any openings?”
“Well, there’s an opening on the cargo vessel Carpathia!”
Margaret nearly dropped her cup of java when she heard her boss say that.
“Sorry, bad joke,” he apologized, “ but you’ve hit us at an inconvenient time Mr……?”
“Dehn, Graham Dehn. Yes it seems that way. He was a poor soul,” the assassin spoke of Clive. He was also aware of the accelerated activity going around in town. “I’d made friends with him on the Carpathia, and we were having drinks just last night. He left the bar before I did, and I left after you and went straight to my room.”
“Yes, it is a tragic scene of circumstance,” Carson said, “yet also, it disappoints me to say that we are not looking to hire workers at this time. I’m sorry, but your application will remain on file for a year, but it’s really all we can do.”
Unknown to his secretary, these two were in predator mode. Like two big, wild lions, circling one another looking for a weakness. Operative pondering ex-operative, one could almost smell the primeval hunt in the air.
At that moment Dehn noticed Tosskin riding his buckboard down the street headed towards the outskirts of town. He needed to catch up with this guy, and put his option “B” plan into motion.
“Will it bother if I pick up the application later Mrs. Margaret?” Dehn asked. “I have forgotten my ID papers in my room. I’ll be need’n them to be able to fill out the forms properly?”
“No problem sir,” she said, “ I’ll keep them here waiting until you return.”
With that, Graham Dehn exited the building in order to make his chase after Bucky Tosskin.
At the moment, the Law Authority of Gladys City were seeking volunteers for search parties to scout the local farms and ranches. They wanted to make sure this was an isolated incident, and no further foul play had been committed. Individuals were also being petitioned to conduct door to door inquiries to see if anyone had witnessed anything that might be of concern from the night before.
Graham had time to continue his assassin’s business, he felt confident……
Graham Dehn had rented a horse that morning from the Buccaneer Stables. He had used the animal to cut across the rugged Minear terrain to beat Bucky Tosskin back to his farm. There he sat in wait.
It took the farmer some time to reach his homestead, due to having to travel down the hard, dirt roads which led in and out of Gladys City. He had just dropped his niece off at his friend’s ship, Serenity, and asked the doc there to look after her. It was still early, so he made time to head back to feed the beasts of his abode. Still, in town he’d become aware of the tragic news of Clive Hinds. He was sure the Law Authorities were on it.
There weren’t many unexplainable deaths in Gladys City, and certainly few murders. The whole place consisted of three hundred and ten folk. Those were the ones that were actually thought of as permanent residents, one hundred and twenty of which were miners.
Still, there were mining accidents that happened from time to time and some were flat-line accidents( people died). Yet they had become fewer since Carson Maxwell had been promoted into the Safety Coordinator & Regulations position . He had revised the safety practices and health codes of the mine, so in those aspects it had improved, which had also resulted in increased productivity. Seems that the man was lining himself up to become Magistrate of Gladys City. Bucky smiled at that thought. He and Carson had become fairly close friends, yet each retained a mystery of themselves and their past. Maybe there were things better left unknown to one another?
While Dehn sat in wait, he’d also given search for Tosskin’s niece. But the girl was nowhere to be found. This had put a ruffle in his plan, yet he was sure he would solve the mystery as soon as Tosskin arrived and was taken into custody. Most of his plan had gone without much of a hitch so far, or had only presented problems that he considered minor. Yet if their was one thing the operative/assassin’s training had taught him, it was to stay ready and versatile at all times.
When Bucky arrived, Dehn captured him without much of a problem. Not much resistance can be put forth when there’s a gun barrel placed to your head. The farmer was immediately bound and secured, then questioned about his niece. He did not spill a word about the girl.
“That’s very admirable Mr. Tosskin,” Graham spoke, “but I will get that information from you sooner or later!”
With that, Dehn loaded his prisoner into Tosskin’s own wagon, then headed out to an unknown location. Bucky had been blindfolded, so he didn’t know where they were headed.
Setbacks weren’t something new to the assassin. This wasn’t his first rodeo, as they say. He had marked a spot on his map known as “Horse Head Canyon” as his goal. It was an isolated and remote place, three clicks south from Bucky’s ranch. There where several old, abandoned mine shafts located there, and Graham meant to deposit Tosskin down one of them. His hands would remain tied so that he couldn’t climb out, yet the assassin would provide bread and water enough to last for two days. He had to keep Tosskin alive, otherwise his scheme to frame him wouldn’t match up. He had to have the farmer and his niece to complete his plan. He would give Tosskin time to think about telling him where she was. Graham would test the strength of his family ties. Would this crazy old fool give up his kin? Family that had more or less turned their backs on him? His bond with his niece may be a little stronger, but Graham was willing to test it’s durability. He bet that the old farmer would crack.
In the meantime, he would head back to town and begin working on an idea he’d just thought of that would eliminate the crew of Serenity. First though, he would stop by the Tosskin homestead and rig it up with the cash and items Clive Hinds had won from the dice game the night before. Money, watches and rings, all cheated from the participants. That should provide the evidence of guilt the Law folk were looking for.
Jayne Cobb awoke in his bunk after a long and restless night without much sleep. He had allowed Bucky and Carson to buy him a few drinks at the bar, but now, with his head swimming around, he thought that it might have been a better idea had he not finished every one of them.
That was only one issue that had plagued his sleep. The other, he kept trying to conjure up a way to tell Malcolm Reynolds that the supplies they would be getting were actually from the his old friend the “ex-operative”. Of course that last part was a joke. The Captain was no friend of the man who’d attempted to kill the Tams, and who’d almost wiped Serenity’s crew out in the process. He was likely to pull his weapon and begin blasting if the two ever met again.
The mercenary got up and stretched his legs, then he stretched his arms out as wide as they could go. He ventured up to the galley where he found Inara and Kaylee absorbed in some kind of conversation that he didn’t listen to or give two coppers about.
He made his way over to the “Hot Area” and poured himself a nice deep tin of java. He returned to the galley table and was about to sit down.
“……I was thinking of buying her (Zoe) that figurine. You know that porcelain glass figure that we saw in the general store yesterday!” Kaylee was saying. She loved to give gifts.
“The one made by the local artist who had his name stamped right on the bottom, Frank Ron?”
“Yeah,” Kaylee answered, “I was thinking of getting her a Ron Glass figurine, what’da ya think?”
“I think any gift you get her will be appreciated and welcome by the new, expectant mother.” Inara smiled.
“It kinda reminded me of Wash, with it’s……”
“Morning ladies, where’s Mal?”
Jayne had interrupted Kaylee mid sentence. She gave Serenity’s mercenary that “you idiot” look.
“Jayne! It’s after 12! The Captain’s down in the cargo hold logging in all those supplies you made an agreement for yesterday!”
With that, before he’d had actually sat down, Jayne bolted up and headed towards the door.
“wo shì guanyú shú é ” (I’m a cooked goose)!” he spouted as he ran from the galley leaving his freshly poured coffee still sitting right on the table.
Taking the steps down the stairs, almost two at a time, hands sliding along the rails, you’d have thought that he was chasing after someone who had stolen Vera.
Mal’s gonna kill me!, he was thinking. What if the Operative had delivered the goods personally? Or what if he showed up just when it was time to collect the charges?
Jayne hadn’t been awakened by gunfire, so he felt that he was safe so far. Maybe Mal was down there, wrench in hand, waiting to add a twin to the scar the mercenary had across his noggin. It still sent jolts of fear though the big guy to think of how close he’d come to becoming part of Ariel’s’ atmosphere.
Jayne had a multitude of thoughts running through his head, none of them good. The one thought he didn’t have, was how to break the news to the Captain about the Operative, if by some chance the man hadn’t arrived yet.
When he reached the last step he looked up to see Mal holding a clipboard. River was in there too, spouting some sort of gibberish.
“Two by two, boxes of……brown,” she giggled.
The Captain leisurely looked over in Jayne’s direction. He didn’t seem ready to kill, that was a good!
“It’s about time you got up! I don’t pay you for beauty sleepin,” Mal said.
Jayne looked to see a stack of boxes about six foot high, and five foot wide, dead center of the cargo hold. The boxes were of all shapes and sizes, but none bigger than could hold a horse saddle.
There were some the size of his hand, and some maybe two and a half foot square. All packaged and wrapped, and taped up nicely.
“ So Mal, where’s the fellows bringing them in?” Jayne asked.
“Went back to the Carpathia. They’re bringing the things straight over from the other ship. Only a couple items left to go, then the job will be done. You did good Jayne, but I do have a couple questions for ya,” Mal said before returning his attention to his roster list.
The men returned with the final boxes. Jayne noticed that neither one was the Operative. The Captain signed their papers, then they returned to the Carpathia. He then turned his attention back to Jayne.
“So, when were you going to tell me about Tosskin’s niece? She’s in the infirmary with the Doc.”
“Candice here already? Well, I ahhhhh……”
“Jayne, is there something else you want to tell me about too?”
The last question, Mal was actually wondering if Jayne knew anything of the murder in town the night before. Something like that was just the reason that he didn’t like to see his crew venture anywhere alone. Had Jayne been involved somehow?
The mercenary, on the other hand, had no idea how to answer so vague a question. Mal could be asking about anything. From how’s the food in town, to why are you making deals with the man who tried to kill us? But before he could answer the Captain continued.
“I’m talking about the murder.”
“Murder,…..what murder?” Jayne was blown away by what the Captain had just said. “Mal, I don’t know what you’re talking about! I had nothing to do with no killin!”
The Captain of Serenity looked around.
“Best we move to more private surroundings.”
In five minutes they were back in the galley. Jayne had some explaining to do. He reached for his cup of coffee, cold now but he didn’t care.
“So! Let’s start with the murder.” Mal spoke.
“Mal, I already told you I had nothing to do with that! I didn’t even know such a thing had happened until you told me.” Jayne seemed innocent enough. “The only thing I knew was that I made a deal with Bucky to bring Candice here and have her examined by the Doctor……and,”
Mal, Kaylee and Inara, all of whom were present in the galley, were watching the big mercenary squirm in his chair. He seemed to be fidgeting a bit, as if he were sitting on a hotplate. Jayne did that when he was nervous. He continued….
“ …….and I made a deal with Bucky that we’d return his niece to the core when we head back in that direction. That was all, well, except for one other thing,” Jayne paused before continuing on about the Operative.
The Captain, though a little aggravated at this point, was ready to hear the rest of Jayne’s story. After he finished, Mal figured that he’d have to explain to him again, who‘s ship it was.
“The other thing is, that the fellow I bought the supplies from is the Operative from Mr. Universe’s planet, and he wants to meet with you!” Jayne blurted out what was really on his mind, and actually cringed a little waiting for pots and pans to come flying his way.
Mal’s jaw just about sunk to the kitchen counter top, where he was standing…….
It was late in the day. Malcolm Reynolds and Jayne Cobb had both gone to the Gladys City Town Hall building to be interviewed by the local Authority. Kaylee was still onboard, along with Inara and Zoe, and another person had joined them in the galley, Candice Naples. The four ladies were conversing about all sorts of things. Simon was there too, in the med lab.
River was still enjoying her adventures in the cargo hold. She loved reading the labels on all the different kinds of medicines which had been brought aboard the ship that day. She would read the names on the boxes and say them aloud, wonder if she had pronounced them properly. She heard the shuffle of feet on the dust pad outside Serenity, then she notice a tall, lean man dressed all in black, walking up to stand at the bottom of the loading ramp.
“ Hello there my child,” his voice sounded smooth and tranquil, almost as calming as Shepherd Book‘s.
“I’m from the Carpathia, the ship next door. This one box here,” he held a shoebox size container in his grasp, “was forgotten by the loading crew that brought the supplies to your ship earlier. I noticed their mistake and thought I’d bring it over myself. If you would please, add it to your cargo!” The man presented the box to the younger Tam.
“Thank you,” she said, and took the package from him.
“My pleasure,” he announced, and turned to head back towards town.
River turned the box over in her hands. Examining it for a label. She found one, hand written. It was marked “Trivecta modular switch- part # 3130862”. It looked to be an engine part for Kaylee. River stored it with the other boxes, then returned to reading the labels on the medicine boxes.
End Part 5
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 12:25 PM
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 6:26 PM
Thursday, December 29, 2011 1:57 AM
Thursday, December 29, 2011 5:53 AM
Thursday, December 29, 2011 2:50 PM
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