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CBSTEVE

River's Run - Part 19
Friday, November 28, 2014

Things come to a head on Londinium as the plan to win Mal's freedom begins to unravel.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2505    RATING: 10    SERIES: FIREFLY

River’s Run – Part 19

“Destination?” the young lady with the nice smile asked Gabriel Tam and his wife Regan as they stood in line at the spaceport ticket counter in the mining town of Helokon on the third moon of Londinium.

“Londinium, capital city,” Gabriel said with a return smile. “Four tickets.”

“Four?” the girl said in slight surprise. “Ah, sorry, but we must check IDs of everyone who goes on board.”

“Certainly. Here are our IDs and my son and his wife are running a bit late…oh, wait here they are now.”

“Did you get the tickets?” Zoe asked with a smile to Gabriel and Regan. She was dressed in Kaylee’s wedding dress and she had the veil on her head and draped over her face. Next to her was Jayne, in his Sunday go to a whorehouse best.

“Oh, newlyweds?” the girl asked.

“Yup,” Jayne said as he hugged Zoe tight to him. She almost pulled away but then put on a big smile. “Jus’ heading out on the honeymoon,” Jayne continued. “The folks here is gonna do a little shopping while we…ah…check into the honeymoon suite. Ain’t that right…ma and pa?”

“Yes, son,” Gabriel said with a tight smile.

Regan smiled as well, a bit more sincere looking than her husband. “She needs your IDs…son.”

“Sure thing, ma, got ‘em right here.” Jayne fished out two ID cards, fake, and hastily made on Serenity by Jonathan, who was well enough now to sit properly and had some experience at making fake IDs for people hiding out on Taos during the war. The trouble was Jayne and Zoe were too well-known to the Alliance policemen so they were going in disguise as a married couple. Zoe had her hair pulled back and up in a bun under the veil and Inara had put some specialized tattooing on her face in the form used on Old Earth That Was by Hindu brides getting married. Hopefully no one would know what it was or care as long as it kept wise eyes from knowing who she was. Jayne’s shaved head and shaved face hopefully did the same thing.

He had cursed and bellowed against this but Inara had pleaded and finally he had relented. As to who would go to make the deal with Saffron there had been much arguing. There was no question of River going as her face was plastered on every police station and transport hub wall and bounty hunter bulletin board across the galaxy. Kaylee and Wash had to stay on board to run the ship. And Simon, well, he just wasn’t that good in a fight, which even he admitted, and neither was Inara, who would more than likely kill Saffron at first sight anyway, so she had to stay behind as well. Jonathan was still not fit after being shot in the chest and Mary was not going to leave his side. That just left Zoe, Jayne, Gabriel, and Regan. Zoe had been right about one thing. Gabriel and Regan were still not on any Cortex wanted bulletin boards, so hopefully the folks on the moon hadn’t been clued in that the Alliance might be looking for them. They would be the main cover, parents of a son and his new bride. That last part had been Gabriel’s idea.

Simon of course was against his parents getting involved in any of this. He feared the worst would happen and no one said it wouldn’t be dangerous. Just being with Zoe and Jayne could get them in hot water, more than likely with a term behind bars for helping them avoid Alliance detection. And no one knew what would happen when they met Saffron’s gang. She wasn’t exactly known for her honesty when it came to making deals.

In the end Simon used logic and saw that there was no other way to get Mal back. When he first came on board Serenity Simon hadn’t cared about Mal’s life. But now things had changed. Simon could almost say Mal was a friend. And of course Kaylee loved Mal like an older brother and would be devastated if he was lost to them. So Simon gave his reluctant approval for the plan.

On the Cortex Wash found the transport schedule for the next ship leaving for Londinium and they quickly made their plans.

But one thing they hadn’t thought of. “Mal is too well known now. It’s impossible for Mal to get off the planet,” Simon said. “Not at any spaceport at least.”

“Then this is all a waste of time,” Jayne said with a snort. “If I shaved my head for nothin’…”

“High atmo entry and shuttle craft retrieval,” River said quickly with a look to Wash.

“Can you do it?” Inara asked their pilot.

“Guys…that’s crazy,” Wash replied. “This is an Alliance core planet. The main planet! It has all kinds of defenses and patrol ships and radar and other spooky things to make sure no enemy can get in and out without them knowing it.”

“Those defenses were built for normal spaceships,” River said. “Not one with an FTL drive.”

“You mean…make an FTL run?” Kaylee asked, her tone a bit skeptical. “But…it’s so short a distance. I mean not that short but compared to other jumps we made…short. And it’s a near atmo jump…dangerous.”

“You did it at Sihnon when you got me,” Inara reminded them.

“Not quite the same,” Wash explained. “At Sihnon we had a long jump and we stopped over the north pole, with lots of space to stop and no atmo in the way. Here if we screw up the calculations we will hit atmo at light speed and burn to a crisp.”

“Then forget it!” Jayne said.

“I can make the calculations,” River told them with confidence. “We can do it.” Everyone looked at her and she shrugged. “Either that or we leave Mal where he is and hope Saffron can find a way to come to us.”

“If she could she would have said so already or she just doesn’t want to,” Zoe said. “Right. My call. River, make the calculations. Time is running out. We at least have to go there and get Mal. If Serenity can’t come for us, we will have to find another way off planet.”

A short while later the four passengers boarded Inara’s shuttle. “And make it fast back here,” Wash said to Inara. “We can’t just stay up here forever before someone on that moon starts wondering what we are doing and comes for a closer look.” _________________________________________________________________

With Inara’s shuttle gone Wash put them in a higher orbit and hopefully that would help keep them off of anyone’s minds down below who might get too nosy. An hour later Inara was back, having landed them on the outskirts of the mining town without any incident. As soon as Inara came out of her shuttle River was standing there carrying a lot of guns.

“Have you made the calculations?” Inara asked her.

“Yes,” River said and then she walked into the shuttle with the guns.

“What are you doing?” Inara asked as River started putting the guns down inside the shuttle.

“Just in case,” River replied. “Zoe and Jayne only have their pistols and my parents have no guns and Mal will have none. So…just in case.”

“Just in case,” Inara repeated. “Or do you know something?”

River shrugged. “When have any of our plans ever gone right?”

Inara sighed. “Never. Let me help you.” ______________________________________________________________

The IDs fooled the ticket girl but they still had to get past the guards. Thankfully this small spaceport had only two Alliance guards and they looked a bit slack. And they had no luggage scanners or fancy weapons detectors. With hardly a look at them the guards waved them through after glancing at their tickets and IDs.

Jayne had his pistol in his bag and so did Zoe. If they had been found they would explain they were just off the Rim and everyone out there carried a gun. What was more worrying was the large case Gabriel carried with the money. If the guards found that there would have been many questions and they had no real answers except to say it was a marriage dowry. That might have worked…or not. Thankfully they never had to find out.

They sat in the passenger area in four seats in the same row separated by an aisle, with Gabriel and Regan on one side and Jayne and Zoe on the other, with Jayne and Gabriel by the aisle. They were with about thirty other people, mostly mining folk, and a few official looking types, probably the money men behind the mines. Soon after they took off with a roar and flash and the sudden tightening of their bodies caused by strong G forces, and after a short time they were in orbit. After one swing around the moon the ship hit its burners and made a course straight for Londinium’s capital city.

“How long till we make landfall?” Jayne asked Gabriel who was looking at their timetable on the ticket stub.

“Three hours. It will be just after dawn at the capital city when we arrive.”

“Damn slow. Sure do miss the FTL,” Jayne replied in a low voice.

A redheaded stewardess with a big sunny smile and bigger things that Jayne loved on a woman came down the aisle with a tray of drinks. “Why howdy,” Jayne said with big grin on as the woman handed him a glass of wine.

Zoe kicked him and said under her breath. “We’re supposed to be newlyweds.”

“Right, right,” Jayne replied, taking his eyes off the woman’s lovely assets. But as she walked by he couldn’t help but look at her sexy legs under her short skirt and for that he got another kick from Zoe.

“I’m gonna hate married life,” Jayne said with a grunt and then he downed his drink in one go, closed his eyes and tried to get some rest. The shots Simon had given him and Zoe to ease the pain of their various wounds was making him groggy and he needed to be sharp for what was to come. _________________________________________________________________

The two teen assassins who had tried to kill the Operative were unconscious and sitting in two chairs in the big conference room, blood dripping from their ears, the pain of his torture too much for them to stand anymore and they had both passed out. The receptionist they had knocked out was lying on the floor nearby. Before they had passed out the two assassins had told him the name of who had sent them. He was about to dispatch them permanently when MacCready contacted him on his personal comms device.

“I have some information on who blabbed about Reynolds,” MacCready said without preamble.

“Yes? Who would that be?”

“The Minister of Prisons. He seemed to be having an affair with a woman of dubious reputation. Apparently he had too much to say while she lay in his arms. Among their pillow talk was a causal mention that Reynolds was to be hung soon. When she pressed for details he told her Reynolds was to be moved by a prison van to the military prison. Once he heard about Reynolds’ escape he was overcome with guilt and sent me a recorded message. Then he shot himself.”

“How kind of him to spare us the cost of a trial and public scandal.”

“Quite,” MacCready replied. “His suicide will be put down to his overtaxed workload or some such nonsense. Meanwhile he gave us the woman’s particulars. Unfortunately the name she gave him does not match any known person. But he also sent a vid image of her and after a thorough search through our records we found a report from several years ago about the same woman once married to an Alliance official on Bellerophon. Seems Serenity was involved in some scheme with this woman to steal some precious artifacts from this official. The official claims the woman goes by the name Yolanda and he hasn’t seen her in almost five years. He also said that Reynolds and she had some kind of history together. Another quick search and we have the same image of her involved in a bank robbery two years ago, here, but in another city. At that time we picked up one of her gang and he is still in prison. In two years he has never given up anything on his comrades. However, if you would like to do the honors I am sure he will give up any information after whatever persuasive measures you care to use. His civil rights are of no concern now that we have martial law, if you take my meaning.”

“Yes, I shall call on him. Send me his particulars.”

“On the way to you now.”

The name and the man’s prison ID and cell number in the local lockdown came up on the Operative’s comms device two seconds later. “Thank you,” he said to MacCready. “By the way, you shall be getting a call from the receptionist at my office soon. She will tell you there are two dead people here.”

“What?” MacCready said in surprise.

“Seems someone is trying to assassinate me.”

“Who?”

“Haven’t the foggiest. The bodies will be here.”

He ended the call and then turned to the two assassins. Without even waking them up he stabbed them both through the heart with his short sword and they gurgled and shook and fell to the floor and were soon dead. Then he slapped the receptionist’s face and she came around.

“What…where…oh, god, what happened?” she asked in shock as she saw the two bodies.

“Killers, my dear, not for you, for me. You will be fine. Now, call General MacCready and tell him you were attacked and I killed them.”

“Okay,” she said in a nervous voice. “But…where will you be?”

“I have more important business to attend to,” he said and left her without another word. First, he had to find out where Reynolds was and hopefully Serenity will try to be heroes once more and he can end the hunt for River Tam once and for all. And then Shin, I am coming for you. __________________________________________________________________

Mal woke up on his cramped sofa in the run down old house and saw the sun that Londinium orbited coming up through a window. He looked around and no one was about. His first thought was to run but then he remembered the chain on his foot. He sat up just as Monty, the blond kid, and the Chinese fellow came through the door with brown bags in their hands.

“Breakfast,” Monty said with a big grin, holding up a bag with some kind of fast food Blue Sun subsidiary logo on it.

“There’s a restaurant around here?” Mal asked. From what he heard about the First City it was mostly abandoned except for some squatters and a few criminal elements both of which were routinely rousted by Alliance patrols.

“No,” the kid said. “But it ain’t that far to the capital’s outskirts. We got bagels, bacon sandwiches, coffee, and donuts.”

“Sounds great,” Mal said. “Where’s the queen bee?”

“Here,” Saffron said as she came out of what Mal guessed was a bathroom, her hair wet and a towel wrapped around her body.

“You got running water?” Mal asked, tying not to stare at her womanly parts trying to pop out of the top of the towel.

“Yes,” she said. “And it’s hot.”

“Great. I need a wash.”

“Have to do without,” she answered.

“Can I at least take a piss?” Mal asked and Saffron seemed about to say no and then just sighed.

“I guess were can’t have you making a mess of yourself, now can we.” She looked at Monty. “Make sure he behaves himself.”

Monty undid the handcuff on Mal’s foot and pointed to the bathroom door. “In there, Mal…and please, no funny stuff.”

“Where’s the trust, Monty?” Mal said in a hurt tone. “Where’s the love?”

“Sorry, pal, but this is the big pay day I been waiting for a long time for. You know how it is.”

“Sure, no worries,” Mal said. He did know how it was, and had been in the same position many times, waiting for someone to come with the cash, and hoping he wouldn’t get bushwhacked. He took his piss and as he came out he heard the chime of a wave message coming in and Saffron answering it, her now just wearing a red bathrobe

“We’re planetside,” Zoe’s voice said.

“Excellent,” Saffron replied. “Sending you the address now.”

“Where’s Mal?” Zoe asked.

“Here,” Mal said as he looked at the Cortex screen and then he laughed as he saw Zoe with some strange tattoo’s on her face and dressed in white. “Is that Kaylee’s wedding dress?”

“Yes…and don’t ask, sir. It’s a long story. Might take us an hour or so to get to you. I need to change my clothes first. And Jayne wants to drop off at a post office or delivery company.”

“What the hell for?”

Jayne’s head popped into view, and Mal got a shock, seeing him bald and with no facial hair. “That letter, for the woman Book knows on Sihnon,” Jayne said. “Been burning a hole in my pocket. Not much chance I’ll ever get to give it face to face after our last adventure on Sihnon, so…”

“Sure. But make it quick.”

Zoe pushed Jayne aside. “Will do, sir. And Saffron, no funny business. We got your money. You give us Mal, and everyone walks away happy. Dong ma?”

“Why of course. We’ll be waiting,” Saffron said sweetly and ended the message. The Chinese man let out a cheer and he and the blonde kid did a high five. They all sat down to eat and Mal had a bacon sandwich and some coffee and felt good for the first time in days. Maybe they would get out of this without a scratch.

They finished eating and Saffron had changed into tight fitting pants and a brown sweater with a black leather coat on top. Mal was still in his prison jumpsuit and said it might look funny him out in public like this. They gave him some pants and a shirt, the fit a bit loose, but better than nothing. And Monty even had one of his old brown coats and gave it to Mal. It was too big but Mal didn’t care as it was the right color. They had no extra boots so Mal had to do with his prison issue running shoes.

After that they sat around and didn’t even chain Mal up again. They asked so Mal told them all about Earth and his adventures and what he had been doing since. Not everything, but some of the highlights. After a while Mal finished and he looked around the room. “So, is this home?” he asked.

“No, a hideout of sorts,” Monty said. “Home is in the city. Even got me a proper job as a mechanic.” Monty had always been handy with machines, good, but not as good as Kaylee was. “It’s just a cover Mal, you know, to look legit.”

“Don’t tell me you pay taxes, too?” Mal asked with a grin.

“Sure. But not on everything,” Monty answered with a wink.

Just then the door opened and another man, someone Mal had not seen yet, came in. He was big, older, with a bald head and grey eyes, and he had a shotgun in his hands. Maybe he had been one of the drivers yesterday that helped him escape. The look on his face told Mal right away something was wrong.

“We got trouble!” the man shouted.

“What?” Saffron asked.

“The Alliance!! In force!!” _______________________________________________________________

Eight hours earlier the Operative questioned the prisoner in the same place Mal had been taken from the day before. He was a scrawny man name Juan who had a dark mustache and dark eyes. At first he would say nothing about the woman whose picture the Operative showed him. But once the Operative turned off the cameras in the interrogation room and took out his sword and told him he was an Operative so he could kill him without consequences, Juan couldn’t stop talking about the woman. He told him about five different aliases she had, and four different safe houses she had in the city and other places.

“The First City is another one, at least it was,” Juan said. “Look, it’s been two years so maybe she switched some of them.”

“Who works with her?”

“Just four or five guys, maybe more now, I don’t know.”

“Names?”

“Hell…wait…yeah, an old Browncoat, calls himself Monty, big guy, him and the woman are married. The rest…don’t know.”

“Did she ever mention Malcolm Reynolds?”

“That guy who’s the rebel leader?”

“The same.”

“Not her, but Monty, he said he had an old pal named Mal…Mal, yeah, that’s him. Said he disappeared and no one knows what happened to him. Maybe that’s him.”

The Operative left Juan, alive, and made his way back to his vehicle outside in the prison parking lot. He turned on the car’s Cortex screen and came up with the list of Reynolds’ known associates that Adam Cutter had compiled. There, that one, Montgomery Charles Harrison, corporal in the Independent Forces, then a cargo ship operator and mechanic after the war. He and Reynolds had been in the same unit in the war and once had been involved in some smuggling but no charges were ever filed for lack of evidence. And now he lived on Londinium in the capital city. Further searching gave him more information. Monty’s ID and home address came up. The man actually paid taxes. The Operative sent Monty’s photo to all traffic cameras and other CCTV cameras in the city. Nothing happened for a few hours so the Operative dozed in his car. Then just before dawn, Monty and two other men were spotted entering a restaurant on the edge of the city close to the road that led to the First City’s ruins.

Soon the Operative had ten Alliance police officers at his disposal and more soon on the way, but he couldn’t wait. He met them on the outskirts of the First City about an hour after sunrise. “I am an Operative of the Parliament,” he began. “The fact that I summoned you here should be proof enough of my credentials. We have a house to raid, a possible criminal hideout. We are looking for these people.” He showed them the photos on his tablet computer screen.

“Malcolm Reynolds?” asked the sergeant in charge of the squad as she looked at Reynolds' photo, alongside photos of a blond woman with no name and a big man with a mustache, Montgomery Harrison. There were also two grainy photos of two other men in a restaurant.

“Yes. Reynolds is the main target. Take him dead or alive, it matters not. The woman and the men helped him escape yesterday. Also, dead or alive, it matters not. We surround the house first. Let me do the talking. Follow my commands exactly. Any questions?”

“We should wait for more back up, sir,” the sergeant said. “Five of them, maybe more, and eleven of us. We hardly out number them. And Reynolds and this Montgomery Harrison are veterans by what it says here. Not exactly gun shy.”

“There is no time. Reynolds may leave this place anytime. Let’s move out.” ______________________________________________________________

“Christ, it’s a lot,” said Monty as he looked out the front window.

“They’re at the back, too,” said the Chinese guy and then gave off a long string of curses in Chinese.

Then came a voice that sounded like it was coming through a loudspeaker.

“The occupants of this house,” said a familiar voice. “This is the police. You have one minute to give up Malcolm Reynolds. The rest of you may leave after turning over any weapons. We just want Reynolds.”

“How they know he’s here?” the big bald guy asked.

“You idiots!” Saffron said to Monty. “You went out and someone spotted you.”

“Yeah, maybe, but how they know we got Mal?” Monty asked. “How they know who we are?”

“What’s it matter?” the kid asked. “There’s too many of them. And more coming I bet.”

Monty looked at Saffron. “Baby, we had a good run. Even if they do arrests us it’s better than a bullet in the head.”

“Shut up!” Saffron growled in anger. “I need to think.”

“Guys…I don’t think you’re getting out of this in one piece,” Mal said.

“What?” the bald guy replied. “They said they just want you.”

“That guy on the loudspeaker…I know who it is,” Mal told them. “He’s been tracking me for a while now. He’s an Operative of the Parliament.”

“So what?” the kid said.

“You are idiots,” Saffron seethed. “Operatives do as they please, as long as they deal out justice.”

“I don’t care!” the kid retorted. “You guys can die if you want. I’m giving up.”

“Wait!” Mal shouted as the kid dropped his pistol on the floor and raced for the door. He was out in a second and shouting.

“Don’t shoot! I give up!”

Then came a shout from outside, “Fire!”, and then a fusillade of bullets and the kid’s body flew back into the house, riddled and pouring blood.

“Oh,” he managed to gasp and then he died.

Everyone scrambled to hit the floor as more bullets hit the house. Bullets whizzed over his head as Mal crawled toward the kid’s pistol and picked it up. It was a good automatic, had fifteen shots he knew. More bullets ripped into the house and things got smashed and he heard the deep booming of a shotgun and the high pitched ripping sound of a sub machine gun on full auto. Someone screamed but he couldn’t tell who it was. As he looked up the bald guy was lying nearby with a few bullets in the chest. He was dead, too.

“Back door!!” he heard Saffron shout.

“They’re there too!” the Chinese guy shouted back.

“We need help!” Monty yelled to Saffron.

The Cortex screen had fallen on the floor but it was still working. Mal crawled over to it and hit the recall button for the wave machine Zoe had called them from. But it was a public one and some fat kid answered it and then laughed at Mal and hung up.

“We have to do something!” the Chinese guy yelled.

“Serenity,” Mal said and it was their only hope. ________________________________________________________________

“Kaylee!” came Wash’s shout from the engine room intercom. “Are you ready for that short FTL jump and near atmo entry?”

“What? Ah…you’re the pilot!” she shouted back through the intercom. “What’s going on?”

“Mal needs that ride and a bit of help. Hang on everyone!” __________________________________________________________________

Jayne and Zoe scanned the area of the house Saffron had sent them the address for where she and Mal were supposed to be located. A quick look on the Cortex and they found an old map for the First City. It took an hour still to find it and figure out how to get there. They were at a nearby abandoned park, overgrowed with bushes and trees, near an old baseball stadium, Zoe looking through a set of binoculars at the house two blocks away. All she could see was a big bald man standing guard outside with a shotgun slung over his shoulder.

“Must be the place,” Zoe said. “Let’s go.”

She had ditched the wedding dress and she had on her regular clothes and boots plus her body armor underneath her leather top. They were about to move when suddenly four Alliance police vehicles turned up and ten officers plus a man in more civilian looking clothes got out. The bald man who had been in front of the house ran inside.

“Where in the gorramn hell they come from?” Jayne growled as Zoe scanned them with the binoculars.

“Gorramnit,” she snarled. “It’s that Operative that waved us that time. The one that shot River on Whitefall.”

Ten officers and an Operative. Too many. But Mal and Saffron and her gang had to have plenty of fire power inside. The only problem was they had just the two pistols between them. And the Tams were with them as well.

They couldn’t exactly leave them behind seeing as Serenity’s shuttle was their ticket off this place. Gabriel had insisted on he be the one to bring the money and get Mal while they covered him from hiding. Regan was against this and so was Zoe at first but Jayne thought it was the best plan. And soon Zoe saw no other safe way not to get ambushed and so it was decided. But now things had changed.

“Stay here, you two,” she said to the Tams and she thrust her comms device at Gabriel. “You see Inara’s shuttle coming down get on that thing and guide her in and get on board.”

He gave her assurances they would do so and then she and Jayne were running for the house. They hadn’t gotten ten feet when a fusillade of shooting broke out from the house.

“Here’s where it gets fun,” Jayne said and then he ran straight for the police with Zoe on his tail.

Jayne’s first shot took the head nearly off some poor officer who had his back to him. Zoe’s first shot took one in the back of the upper left leg, and as he fell Jayne’s second shot took one in the hip and down he went with a howl. Zoe shot a second one in the back of the left shoulder, just to the outside of his body armor and he fell on his face and by that time the rest knew they were being attacked from behind. Zoe picked up a shotgun one of the police officer’s had dropped and Jayne had an automatic rifle in hand now, too, with spare magazines. They took cover behind one of the parked vehicles.

Bullets began to come their way and then bullets came from the house and one more cop fell. Jayne let rip a whole magazine from the rifle at a car and soon it was shot to pieces and two cops were hiding behind it in fear.

Just then the door of the house was flung open and Mal, Saffron, and a big guy and a Chinese guy ran out and started shooting wildly in all directions.

“MAL!!!” Zoe shouted. “This way!!”

Mal heard her and ran her way. “Hell, is that Monty?” Jayne yelled as he changed magazines in the rifle and Zoe saw it was. What the hell was Monty doing here? she thought, but put it aside as the battle continued.

Down they came towards them and as they got close suddenly Saffron let out a scream and she pitched forward on her face. Monty bent over her. “Bridget!” Bridget!” he yelled and turned her over but Zoe could see she was already dead. Good riddance.

Then Monty yelled and he fell forward, two bullets in his back. “Jayne! Help me!!” Mal shouted and together they picked up Monty and dragged him down the street as Zoe and the Chinese fellow returned fire. ___________________________________________________________________

“Send assistance!” the Operative shouted into his comms device.

“How many backup personnel do you request?” came the polite inquiry.

“Everyone!!” the Operator shouted back. The sudden attack from behind had caught them all by surprise and at least two of his men were dead and three or four others wounded. It was Cobb and Washburne he could see, down a nearby street, hiding behind a car, both with plenty of firepower.

“They’re making a break for it!” the female sergeant yelled and the Operative saw Reynolds and the rest run out the door, guns blazing. He ducked as did the surviving police and then they began to fire at the fleeing fugitives. He lined up his weapon on Reynolds’ back but as he squeezed the trigger the blond woman moved in the way and she fell with a scream. ___________________________________________________________

Serenity popped into space just on the edge of Londinium’s atmo, with Wash suddenly using reverse thrusters as they came a might too close to getting fried.

“We’re here!” he said into the comms and seconds later the shuttle departed and entered atmo. _____________________________________________________________

Deep underground at Londinium’s top secret defense HQ a radar tech suddenly noticed a blip that just appeared out of nowhere on his screen. “Where the hell did that come from?” He called over a supervisor. “Sir. We have an unidentified ship just appearing. No transponder, no ID.”

“What do you mean ‘just appearing’?”

“It just suddenly was there, sir.”

“Right or you were sleeping on the job, soldier. All right. So, it’s just sitting there?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Well, it’s too small to be any kind of warship,” the officer said as he peered at the radar signature. “Send a few fighters from the Constitution to check it out.”

“Right away, sir.” The tech hit buttons and got the cruiser Constitution which was on defense patrol duty in orbit around the planet.

“Constitution, this is Londinium Defense, we have an unidentified ship just outside of atmo above the First City. Send fighters and ascertain its identity.”

“Roger that, Londinium Defense,” came back the reply after a few moments. “Might be a while, we are just on the far side of the planet now, doing a routine systems check.”

“Roger, Constitution. No hurry. The ship seems to be a small freighter. No trouble expected. Out.” __________________________________________________________________

Late the night before a different scene played out at the Ministry of the Interior. The two dead teens were carried off as MacCready questioned the nervous young receptionist. She explained it all and then he told the med techs to take her away and give her a shot and a place to rest.

After they left MacCready had to decide what to do. There was no doubt the Operative had questioned the two teens. The blood in their ears told him they were two of the ones from Athenian Island who had the device in their brains which he had no doubt exploited by using the control box MacCready had given him early. A quick check of their faces on the database of the teens for the island confirmed the IDs. The only one he knew who used the assassins for such work had been Cutter. And now Shin.

“Shin, you bastard, you sent them after him,” MacCready thought, but kept that to himself. Now, he had to decide what to do. The Operative would not take this lightly. He might just kill Shin. To let him or not was the question. MacCready decided to sleep on it. It was out of his hands anyway.

The next morning MacCready arrived at the office and expected to hear that Shin was dead. That he was not was interesting but he was sure the Operative was planning something. Then he began to get reports of a gun battle in the First City. And the news that Malcolm Reynolds might be there.

“Send as much help as you can,” MacCready told the major in charge of the city’s police forces. Damn. The Operative should have waited for more backup.

Just then one of his aides, a captain, came rushing into his office. “Sir…you have to see this!! The Cortex news feed.”

MacCready clicked on the world news Cortex site as a news announcer was giving a broadcast.

“Shock and dismay this morning at the unbelievable news that Admiral Cho Hung Shin and several other high ranking officers orchestrated Prime Minister Blakely’s death. Here is the video, sent to us just an hour ago from a reliable source.”

And then they played it, a conference where Shin made the decision and the generals and admirals had agreed and Shin had made the phone call to set the plan to kill Blakely in motion. MacCready had not been in the room, thank God, as he had been on Athenian Island, far away at the time.

“Well, I guess we know our duty, captain,” he said to the aide when the video ended and the newscasters began discussing it.

“Sir?”

“It is time we arrested all of these men before we have a civilian riot on our hands galaxy wide. Send orders to the fleet second-in-commands and to the army posts also. While you are at it, send orders to have Admiral Byrd arrested as well. He is mixed up in this mess somehow, I just know it.”

“Yes, sir…and Admiral Shin?”

“Leave him last. I will deal with him. Perhaps he will do the honorable thing and spare us having to arrest and try him.” __________________________________________________________________

“There it is!” Regan shouted as she saw Serenity’s shuttle come over the city.

“Inara!” Gabriel yelled into the comms.

“I read you. Where are they?” came back River’s calm voice.

“River…the park, the large park, near the old stadium. Can you see it?”

“Yes, we can,” River’s voice came back. “Landing soon.”

The shuttle came down and landed about fifty meters away in the street. The Tams raced for it and as the door opened River and Simon came out, both with guns in hand. Regan got a shock, seeing her children like this but there was no time for words as her husband pulled her inside.

“Where are they?” Simon asked as Gabriel tried to catch his breath.

“Coming down the street,” he replied as he picked up a rifle from the floor.

Then a bullet ping off the outside of the shuttle. “Here they come,” said River and she began to fire down the street. “Someone is wounded.”

Mal and Jayne dragged Monty as Zoe kept firing behind her at the advancing Alliance. River ran towards them and fired with precision, forcing the police to take cover.

“Simon!” Mal yelled. “It’s Monty. He’s been shot!”

“Monty? What the…get him inside,” Simon said and then helped Jayne carry him in the shuttle. Mal and Gabriel went out and began to fire, and Jayne soon joined them. Simon looked over Monty, who was passed out. Dark blood was everywhere on his back and Simon knew that was not good. “The liver,” he said to his mother after he examined Monty. “They got his liver.”

“What can we do?” she asked with worry in her eyes.

Simon shook his head. “Nothing,” he replied in a hollow voice. But he had to try something and he began to bandage the wounds from his med kit as his mother helped him.

Outside the firefight picked up intensity. “ZOE! We are leaving!” Mal shouted down the street.

Zoe and River turned to run back as Mal and Gabriel and Jayne covered them. Then River suddenly stopped and screamed and held her hands to her head.

“NOOO!!” Gabriel shouted. River dropped to her knees and then fell and was shaking like a leaf on the ground.

“I got her!” Mal yelled as he shoved Gabriel behind him. “Zoe, Jayne, cover fire!!” _____________________________________________________________

“There she is!!” the Operative shouted. He saw River Tam, at last. He ran behind some old abandoned cars, using them for cover and at last he was in range. He raised his pistol and… click…empty.

“Blast it all to hell!!” He reached for a magazine at his belt but then she was turning, ready to run and he had to stop her. He pulled out the metallic box and pressed the button. She was far away, maybe too far…but no! She was falling, clutching her head. Yes!! I got her!

Then a swarm of bullets came at him and he barely had time to duck and he almost died as bullets pinged and slammed into cars and walls and the street all around him.

Then…silence. He looked up and saw the shuttle rising in the air. She was gone. Another day perhaps. Or maybe not. He thought about calling for the military to shoot down the shuttle but he knew by the time they got here the shuttle and Serenity would be gone.

After a short inspection of the situation he realized only two of his team were still on their feet, including the sergeant. “How many did we lose?” he asked her.

“Three dead, five wounded,” the sergeant told him, her anger barely suppressed. “Medics and evac ship have just arrived. The backup I said we should have waited for is coming now as well.”

She was angry, with almost her entire squad cut to pieces in such a short time. But that was what the job entailed and the Operative had no remorse. “And the criminals?” he asked.

“Three dead, one wounded.”

“Where is the wounded man?”

“Back there,” she said as she pointed down the street. “Won’t give his name. Chinese ethnicity.”

“Kill him.”

“Sir?”

“I said kill him. That is an order.”

“My men have done enough killing today,” she said in disgust.” You do it.”

He stared at her and she didn’t flinch, not this one, and then he smiled. “As you wish.”

He walked back and found the man lying on the street, a bullet in his right knee. “That must be agonizing,” the Operative said. “Let me help you.” And then before the man could speak he pulled out his sword and slashed his throat to the bone and he bled out in less than half a minute. The Operative walked past the medical evac jump ship and three medics looking over the wounded police officers. He got back in his car which had more than a few bullet holes in it but the engine still ran.

The sergeant knocked on his window and he put it down. “Sir, the report for this mess. I’ll need your help.”

“It’s all yours sergeant. I was not here. And neither was Malcolm Reynolds. It would not due to make him anymore of a hero to the people than he already is. Put it down to a drug bust gone wrong. Make sure your men understand. If anyone questions you tell them to ask General MacCready about it. He knows all. Understand?”

She grunted, disapproval clear on her face. “Yes, sir.”

“Very good.”

She would have a busy day, but that was not his concern anymore. Now, Admiral Shin, it’s time to die, he thought, and heaven help anyone who gets in my way. _________________________________________________________________

Serenity made a clean get away, to the surprise of all on board. The fighters sent to intercept it arrived just as Wash pushed the ship to light speed. And with a pop, flash, and a sudden Serenity was gone. After Wash made sure they were in a nice dead area of space far from Alliance eyes they took stock.

Monty was dying and Simon could do nothing for him and within half an hour he was gone. No one else had been hit, the first time ever it seemed in one of their gun fights, and all were happy Mal had escaped, especially Inara who could not stop crying. But their joy was muted by the loss of their old friend Monty.

As for River, she seemed fine, but Simon knew something was up when she explained the pain in her head she suddenly had. He knew it had something to do with the chip they had taken from Derek Bowen’s head. But he could not find one on any scans of River and there was no way he would operate on her head unless he knew where to look. So, for now, they would just have to hope this was a one time event. ___________________________________________________________________

Shin expected to die one day as did anyone with the least bit of sense, but not like this. He expected it on the bridge of his ship as it vented air after a meteor shower or had been blasted to bits by some enemy. Or to die in his bed at an old age, surrounded by family. But not like this, in an office, surrounded by dead and dying men, as a madman stalked him with a sword. He had one hope to sway the Operative, who stood before him, breathing heavily and wounded in several places, but still alive. Behind the Operative four of Shin’s body guards lay dead and out in the hallway he knew three more of his staff members were dead or dying as well.

His morning had begun well and then it went all to pieces. Not ten minutes after he arrived at his office he got the news that somehow a copy of the video of his conference with the military where they had decided to kill Susan Blakely had spread like wildfire across the Cortex and vid screens worldwide and soon galaxy wide as well. He was doomed and his staff knew it and one by one they left until only the four bodyguards and a few loyal ones remained, and they were now all dead, the price for their loyalty. He sat in his office drinking whisky, ignoring the calls from the press and his wife and children, waiting for the arrest to come, waiting for the axe to fall. He had no chance of getting out of this one. He didn’t even have a pistol to do the honorable thing. And then the Operative arrived and the killing began.

“I am in still command,” Shin said as he stood behind his desk. “You take orders from me.”

“I did,” the Operative replied as he raised his bloody sword. “Then you decided to try to kill me. Not very sporting of you.”

“No, I suppose not,” Shin replied, feeling a wave of resignation flow through him. “And after me, who will be able to destroy the rebellion, deal with the Reavers?”

“If I am not mistaken the Reaver problem is being dealt with,” the Operative replied. “A cure they found and I am sure one day all those poor people will be as normal as possible again. As for the rebellion, don’t think for a minute I believe the rebellion is true. There is none, is there?”

Shin shrugged. “We don’t really know. I suppose it is just normal criminal activity that seemed like a lashing out at authority. But you must understand why we blew it out of proportion.”

“I do…but that is not my concern anymore. Do you know your greatest sin?”

“Greed, ambition, arrogance…pick one and I would say you are right.”

“I quite agree. Then we have nothing else to talk about.”

“No, wait….!” The sword was in his chest before he could finish and the agony of it was so great he had never imagined such pain could exist. Blood flown out and down and when the sword was pulled out he felt the world spin and he was falling. As he lay there, unable to move or speak, he heard running footsteps and then gunfire, plenty of gunfire, and then the sound of a body hitting the floor. The last thing Admiral Cho Hung Shin saw was the eyes of the Operative as he lay on the floor across from him, blood pumping out of his face from two bullet holes, his eyes staring and blank.

Then footsteps and a voice. It was MacCready. “Clean up this mess.”

“Yes, sir. Is Shin dead?” asked another man.

“Soon enough,” MacCready answered. “Goodbye, Admiral.”

And then Shin died. ________________________________________________________________

The news of the assassination of Admiral Shin and some of his staff was played down by the government as much as possible over the next few days. It was blamed on a rouge agent who felt Shin had done the Alliance a disservice by murdering the Prime Minister. Martial law was rescinded two days later, and elections announced by the deputy PM for five weeks time. Meanwhile a temporary civilian government would run things. MacCready kept his job, for he had covered his own murderous actions on Athenian Island well. Many other men had not protected themselves, and were now being arrested across the galaxy.

Flying Officer Janice Flowers was witness to one such arrest, that of Admiral Byrd. She was back on flight duty, flying a shuttle between ships in the fleet nearby Miranda. Byrd was taken aboard her shuttle craft and she transferred him to an old freighter that had a new Frye Drive in it and would take him in a wink of an eye to Londinium to face the charges. He kept protesting his innocence and the burly men who escorted him said nothing at all. After Janice dropped them off she pulled away from the ship and watched as it took off and disappeared after it hit light speed.

“Wow,” her co-pilot, Rebecca Davison said as the freighter took off. “That was something.” She had beautiful red hair in a short bob and Janice could not help but feel good when she looked at her. Rebecca felt Janice’s eyes on her and turned and smiled.

“My place or yours tonight?” Rebecca whispered.

Janice smiled. “How about here, now? Have you ever done it weightless?”

“No,” Rebecca answered with wide eyes.

“We’ll just said we had a minor temporary malfunction,” Janice said as she reached for the switch for the artificial gravity on the shuttle. As she undid her seatbelt and started to float up she leaned forward and gave Rebecca a smoldering kiss. _______________________________________________________________

Few people knew of the gun battle in the First City and fewer cared. It was a bare twenty seconds air time in the evening news reports on the Cortex. Blamed on criminal elements of the drug trade which the police had tried to apprehend. Four dead criminals and two dead police. Just another raid gone wrong and no one really cared who did not directly know the dead.

One of the dead, however, gave the crime techs and mortuary people trouble. One of the dead criminals, a blond woman, had about twenty aliases at various times but the trouble was they could not find out her true name. Her registered husband had disappeared during the raid and no one came forward to claim her remains. Eventually those in charge had her remains cremated and put in a pauper’s grave outside the capital.

As for Serenity, it had been spotted and recognized. Before it jumped to light speed pictures of it were taken and it was indentified. Its sudden appearance and then disappearance in the skies over the capital led to a lot of questions in the military but again the civilians did not know much and were told nothing. “Better to let it just be a rumor,” MacCready suggested and no one disagreed. But the warrants for the ship’s crew still stood and the reward on all their heads went up to a million credits – each, now including the parents of Simon and River Tam and Kaylee Frye’s father and his companion. _______________________________________________________________

There was one more dead criminal, who was also a war comrade and a friend. Monty’s body was laid out in the cargo bomb bay of Serenity and after Mal said a few words he was sent into the deep black of space.

“Goodbye old pal,” Mal said when it was done, and then he and Zoe went upstairs to have a toast to their dead friend and battle companion. Everyone else left them alone as they were exhausted and needed rest. There was no more talk of trying to kill Shin. Even Mal knew they would never get to the man and they were done.

“Feel like hell,” Mal said after a few drinks. “It ain’t right, Monty rescuing me and dying cause of it.”

“No one made him come after you, sir,” Zoe replied. “And it’s as much Saffron’s fault as anyone else’s. Monty wanted the money too, don’t forget. He knew the score, knew what could happen.”

“Yeah, suppose so.”

“Mal,” came Wash’s shout down from the bridge corridor. “Wave for you. Thomas Blakely.”

A few minutes later all three were looking at the wave screen and listening to Blakely explain what happened to Shin and how Blakely had leaked the video of the men who had plotted to kill his wife.

“Good,” Mal said with some relief. “May he rot in hell.”

“Yes,” Blakely said, his eyes full of emotion. His wife had been avenged.

“Who was it killed him?” Zoe asked. “Like to send them a bottle of something.”

“It seems like it was one of the Operatives,” Blakely replied. “The details are sketchy but my sources tell me Shin apparently sent two assassins after him, of an ilk with River Tam I believe, perhaps because he knew too much of Shin’s activities.”

“Christ,” said Mal. “Not a black fellow, cold eyes, slight accent?”

“Ah…a black man, yes…as for his eyes and accent I don’t know. Why, do you know him?”

“He’s come after us a few times,” Zoe said. “Most recently in the First City.”

“The First City? That mess…that was you?”

“Yeah,” Mal told him. “Rescue did not go quite as planned. None of ours got killed but an old friend did.”

“Sorry to hear the bad news. I am afraid I have some more.” He explained their legal predicaments and the current plans for the Alliance to capture them.

“Gorramnit!” was all Mal could say.

“A million credits…each?” Wash asked in an incredulous tone.

“Yes,” Blakely replied. “I don’t need to tell you what it means.”

“Every bounty hunter in the verse will be looking for us,” Zoe said in bitter tones. “We are done. We won’t be able to get a job or move anywhere.”

“There goes our retirement from this life we love so well,” Wash said sarcastically.

“I’m sorry,” Blakely said. “I know you all wanted some peace in your lives. But you won’t find it anywhere around here.”

“No,” said Mal. “But I know where we just might.” _______________________________________________________________

“Our lives will never have any peace here,” Mal said to them all a few hours later as they gathered in the dining room. “Shin’s dead, yes, that Operative too, but we all got crimes hanging over our heads, and for some of us we can only end up at the end of a rope. For others it will mean years behind bars or on some death trap of a prison colony. You all got on this boat for various reasons. I ain’t gonna hold you here if you don’t want to be here. But if you go, then know you can never come back.”

“And why the ruttin’ hell not?” Jayne asked in his usual cruel way.

“Cause me and the boat ain’t gonna be here,” Mal told him and they all looked at him in surprise except Zoe and Wash who already knew his plan, and Kaylee as well because he had to ask her if it could be done. And River had a look on her face like she knew already also, which wouldn’t surprise Mal at all. Many questions came, and Mal stood there in silence, until they gave up pestering him. Simon had noticed his wife’s silence.

“You know what he’s planning to do, don’t you?”

“Yup,” she replied quietly.

“Well?” Jayne asked. “Someone spill it, for Christ sakes.”

But Inara also seemed to have figured it out. “You’re not going to be…here? Meaning… this galaxy…don’t you?” “Yes,” Mal said. “There’s no way in hell we can hide forever here. They got a million credit bounty on all of us, our faces plastered on every wall and bulletin board.”

That shocked them for moment and then Gabriel spoke. “Even us?”

“All of us, you, Regan, Jonathan and Mary as well. All.”

“But…why us?” Mary asked in fear.

“Try to smoke us out,” Jayne told her. “They get one of you they get to Simon or Kaylee and then the rest of us.”

“He’s right,” Zoe told them. “That’s one million credits, times all of us…adds up to a big pay day for any bounty hunters or criminal types.”

“And that ain’t all,” Mal added. “They still got me pegged as this rebel leader of a rebellion that doesn’t exist. And there’s a rope waiting for Inara for killing Paulo. One for me and Jayne also for throwing those two men off that balcony. Zoe as well for various deaths and mayhem. Simon and Kaylee and her father broke their contracts, so Alliance will want payback on that. Wash helped me steal back Serenity and spring me from Londinium so he’s got some jail time to look forward to. Mr. and Mrs. Tam, Mary and Jonathan, you all are innocent of most of this but you had a hand in some of it and they’ll find a way to grab you to get to the rest of us. And River…she’ll be killed on sight, standing Alliance order. We have no friends anymore. Thomas Blakely risked his neck warning us and can’t have anymore to do with us. So we have to run…as far away as we can. And that means only one place.”

“Earth,” Kaylee said and they were stunned for a few moments and then Gabriel asked the question most had on their minds. He looked at Kaylee. “Can Serenity make the jump?”

“She can,” Kaylee said. “But don’t know if she can make it back again. So this might be a one way trip.”

“So, we all got some deciding to do,” Mal said. “If you come with me…might be no way to ever come back.”

Jayne spoke first. “Hell, nothing here for me anyways. I’m in.”

Mal grinned, glad the big merc would be with him. “All right.” Then he looked at his lady love. “You know…”

“Oh, shut up,” she said. “Of course, I am coming. How could I not?”

“Well, guess I’ll have to make an honest woman out of you then,” Mal said and all were puzzled except Kaylee who let out a gasp.

“Say ‘yes’ Inara!”

“Yes?” Inara said in confusion.

“Congratulations!” Kaylee screamed and then Inara finally understood and glared at Mal.

“Malcolm Reynolds, you had better ask me to marry you like a proper gentleman!”

Mal got down on one knee and took her right hand. “Will you do the honor of being my wife?”

Inara started to cry. “Yes!” she said and then he got up and kissed her and pulled out a ring from his pocket and put it on her finger.

“It’s stolen, by the way,” he said and she laughed and hugged him tight, and everyone shook their hands and kissed them, and then it was back to business. Mal looked at Zoe and Wash. “Sure could use me a good pilot.”

“Yeah,” Wash said and then he looked at his wife. “Honey? Feel like going to Earth?”

“Why not?” Zoe replied. “Sure beats running and ending up in jail or hung someday.”

Jonathan and Mary took but two seconds to make up their minds. And after Simon, Kaylee, and River said they were coming as well, that decided for Gabriel and Regan. Many friends and family everyone was leaving behind and Mal gave them all an hour to send wave messages and make their goodbyes, warning them not to give any hint of where they were going, only that they had to lay low for a while because of what they had done, most of which was public knowledge anyways.

Then Mal knew he had to wave one more person, someone he owed a lot to. But first he needed a favor. After a few words with Gabriel, he made a wave call and then he told Mal all was set. __________________________________________________________________

“Bloody hell,” Badger said as he sat in the office of the shop of his cousin on Hera. looking at the Cortex screen at the news about events on Londinium. “There goes Shin. Lucky we got our freedom, first, eh?”

“Too right,” Jim answered as he sat down next to Badger with a cup of tea in hand. Then the machine chimed. “New wave. Cripes…it’s Serenity’s address, ain’t it?”

Badger grinned. “Looks like that big pay day is coming, cuz. Then I can get off this rock and back to me proper digs on Persephone.”

He hit the button and smiled when he saw Mal’s face. “Well, well, look whose gained his freedom. Air smells a bit sweeter outside prison walls, don’t it, Mal?”

“Sure does, Badger.”

“So…down to business. You can tell Saffron to send…”

“She’s dead.”

“What’s that?” Badger said in surprise.

“We got ambushed. She got a bullet. So did Monty, by the way.”

“Monty…yeah heard he was married to her again. Him dead, too?”

“Yeah. So Badger…look, ah, I know you had a deal with Saffron, so…”

“Well, Mal, come on. I made it happen, I got you out. You owe me!”

“I plan to make due on that.”

Badger seemed relieved. “Good. Send the money…”

Mal shook his head. “No way we can get it to you. So, here’s the deal. Here’s the wave address of a fellow on Osiris. Simon Tam’s father set it up, don’t ask how. You’ll get a million credits, 20% of five million as promised. Just give the man a proper bank address and account number he can send it to.”

Badger grinned. “Sounds proper. So Mal, now you are free, feel like to do some business?”

“Nope. Got…somewhere else to be.”

”Well, you change your mind, I’ll be on Persephone again real soon.”

“See you around Badger,” Mal said and then he ended the wave.

Badger leaned back, feeling satisfied. “What he mean, somewhere else?” Jim asked. “Whole verse looking for him and that ship.”

“Yeah. He’ll need me to help him again soon. Just you wait and see. Mal will coming crawling back, begging for help. I just know it, mate.” __________________________________________________________

Another hour later and all was ready. Everyone was strapped in and everything loose was stowed away or tied down. After reassurances to everyone that all would be well Mal made his way to the bridge where Wash and Zoe were already strapped in. After he climbed into the co-pilot’s seat and strapped in Mal looked over at Wash and gave him a nod.

“Do it.”

“Here we go,” said Wash and then he and Kaylee pushed the ship up to towards light speed. In a few moments the speed had built up.

“Earth, here we come,” Mal said aloud and Zoe smiled, but it was a bit forced.

“Sir, let’s just hope we find a better welcome than the one we found when we came back here,” she said.

“Relax,” Mal told her. “What could go wrong?”

“Everything,” she retorted.

“Well, it’s too late to change your minds now,” Wash said as the ship began shaking. “This is it!”

And then with a shudder, a shake, and a pop, Serenity flashed into hyperspace and was gone.

THE END

Thanks for reading, even though it took five years to finish. There’s no way I can explain that properly except to say I had a massive writer’s block that somehow suddenly got unstuck when I was re-reading all this.

COMMENTS

Friday, November 28, 2014 1:25 PM

BUCKSHOTPILOT


I enjoyed it but as a big Monty fan I'm a bit hurt. will there be more?

Friday, November 28, 2014 5:21 PM

CBSTEVE


No plans for more at the moment, but you never know.


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Things come to a head on Londinium as the plan to win Mal's freedom begins to unravel.

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Mal’s heading for a hangman’s noose. Will a rescue party come in the nick of time?

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River's Run - Part 13
Shock and a sense of tragedy fill Serenity as the crew struggles to deal with Derek's betrayal. Meanwhile, the Operative comes a step closer to finding Serenity.

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Mal strikes back at the Alliance, a little trip to the bank doesn't go as planned, and the Operative reaches out to River and Derek.

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River's Run - Part 10
Inara makes a date with Paulo Chase, Mal gets back his first love, and Shin plans the next move in the galactic chess match.