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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ADVENTURE
"Captain Reynold's warning leave the crew of Enterprise with a creepy dilemna. It also dawns on Serenity's crew what Captain Archer is facing."
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 3268 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
TITLE: "NO DOMINION"
AUTHOR: Alison M. DOBELL
PAIRING: No specific pairing.
STATUS: New. SEQUEL to "A SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM".
ARCHIVE: Yes. Just let me know where.
SUMMARY: "Captain Reynolds' warning leaves the crew of
Enterprise with a creepy dilemna. It also dawns on Serenity's
crew just what Captain Archer is really facing."
The usual disclaimers apply. The characters and 'Firefly'
are the property and gift of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.
'Enterprise' and its' characters are the property of 'Paramount'.
No infringement of copyright is intended.
A "Firefly"/"Enterprise" story
Written by Alison M. DOBELL
* * * * *
"And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion..."
'And Death Shall Have No Dominion' - Poem by Dylan Thomas
Captain Archer stared at his Armoury Officer. He simply could not do otherwise. His words conjured up outlandish, impossible images of horror that refused not to haunt his brain. This had to be a joke. A very bad one. But Lt Reed was not laughing and when one of the members of his team had to dash off to be violently sick it dawned on the Captain that the man was telling him the simple unvarnished truth. Commander Tucker stared at the Lieutenant, his throat gone dry, his eyes as wide as they could go. They had gone down to meet the returning shuttlepod after a rather disturbing and short transmission from the Lieutenant. They now knew why he had been so uncharacteristally upset.
The Captain, Commander Tucker, Sub-Commander T'Pol and Dr Phlox exchanged uneasy glances. The Chief Engineer found his voice first then wished he hadn't. "Ya mean, they're all dead? Every one of 'em?"
Lt Reed nodded. "Yes, Commander. The skin appears to have been removed from their bodies and the bodies have been..." He broke off and took a moment to steady himself. The images replaying in a loop over and over inside his head. "They appear to have been arranged in some kind of macabre spectacle."
The Captain's eyes narrowed at that odd description. "Can you be more specific?"
Trip wanted to walk away. More specific was not what he wanted to hear. What had happened to bring about this violence was. But he could hardly say that to the Captain. Sub-Commander T'Pol listened not only to everything Lt Reed said but also monitored his body language. While his terror was more subtle than most it screamed to her of nightmare images that made no sense in relation to the universe as she knew it. Vulcans did not travel in the Delphic Expanse but not because of horrors such as these. Or was that simply the 'official story'? She would not put it passed High Command to bury knowledge of something this disturbing. What she was more interested in was why.
"Yes, sir. The bodies have been hung from the ceilings of the bridge, engineering and mess halls."
The Captain's mouth dropped open. "What?"
Lt Reed took a moment to wet his lips before continuing. "Some groupings were smaller, just four or five bodies, others had as many as twelve stitched together and..."
"Did ya say STITCHED?" Exclaimed Trip, his voice hoarse with a growing fear.
His friend nodded slowly. Not liking the disturbing images he was having to describe but trying to be professional about it. "Yes, Commander. It was as if whoever or whatever was responsible had deliberately arranged them after death in some kind of display."
"It is a warning." Said Sub-Commander T'Pol in a quiet but firm voice.
Captain Archer stared at her. "You've seen this before, Sub-Commander?"
She shook her head. "No, Captain."
"But ya've heard of it?" Asked Trip, not sure he really wanted an answer but knowing he had to ask. His gut was churning just thinking about it.
Another shake of the head. "No, Commander."
"Then how can you say it's a warnin'?" He said, a tiny thread of irritation inching its' way into his voice.
She turned her head to look directly at him. "It is the only thing that makes sense, Commander. Why else arrange the bodies? Whoever is responsible is no longer on that vessel therefore the bodies were arranged for whoever would find them."
"Oh God." Trip felt sick. She was right. The colour drained from his face.
Lt Reed was glad the Commander had not gone with him. It had taken him all his considerable control not to throw up when he had made the grisly discovery. He turned to the Captain wanting to get out of his suit, take a hot shower then get falling down drunk - not necessarily in that order. Knowing the Captain he would want Dr Phlox to check him and his team over first. Probably put them through decontamination just to be on the safe side. For once he had no argument with that. "Sir, I regret we will not be getting any answers from these Klingons."
Captain Archer nodded, looking stunned. He took a moment to pull his thoughts together. "What about their computers? Surely we can salvage something..."
Lt Reed was already shaking his head. "Anything useful has already been stripped and taken, sir. All that's left is the shell of the ship."
"An' the shell of the men that manned it." Murmured Trip.
Only T'Pol heard him and one look at her face told him she would never tell. Well. That was something. The Captain was about to order Lt Reed to get changed and clean up when Ensign Hoshi Sato commed him from the bridge.
"Go ahead, Ensign."
"Sir, there's an urgent message coming through from Captain Reynolds."
The Captain held his hand up to ask Lt Reed to hold on a minute before disappearing with Dr Phlox. His team of four armoury officers fidgetting behind him. "Hoshi, can you patch him through to me on this com?"
Barely a second passed then he heard the distinct voice of Captain Malcolm Reynolds. He was alarmed by the grim urgency of the man's tone. It conjured up a nameless fear that made him quail with apprehension inside. "Captain Archer? This is Captain Reynolds, whatever you do stay away from that ship. *Dong ma*? If you still have people on it bring them back and get as far away from it as you can!"
"Captain, my away team has just returned with a rather disturbing story."
"Believe me Captain, it ain't no story it's true."
An awkward little silence fell between them. "Captain Reynolds, do you know what attacked that ship?"
"Yes, I do. With your permission I'd like to come aboard. What I have to tell you ain't pretty but this can't wait. We delay the tellin' and your whole crew'll be in danger."
"Very well, Captain. I think Serenity should be brought aboard. That way if we need to move fast our ships won't get separated."
It was a polite way of telling Serenity's Captain that their Firefly would be unable to keep up with Enterprise's warp capabilities. Plus it also told him in unspoken terms that he had no intention of getting his crew to safety and leaving Serenity to face whatever the hell had happened to the Klingons.
The Captain's situation room was a crowded place but Captain Archer wanted to keep the disturbing news just to his command staff and the crew of Serenity. No sense in promoting a ship-wide panic when they had no idea what they were dealing with. He knew Lt Reed's people would not talk. Captain Reynolds looked tense, his blue eyes darkened with a deep concern that haunted the shadows of his face. One look at his expression told Lt Reed that this man had seen the butchery on the Klingon vessel before. Up close and personal. He could not wait to hear the Captain's story and had no illusions that it would make grim telling.
Captain Archer looked at the people assembled around the long table. Extra chairs had been brought in then the door sealed. His complete command staff was present including Ensigns Sato and Mayweather, Dr Phlox and Ensign Cutler. To his mild surprise the crew of Serenity were present in their entirety including the pale fragile looking girl that clung to their sharply dressed young doctor. He was surprised that the Companion had joined them but something in the set of her jaw and the look in her eye told Captain Archer that she was tougher than she looked. But still. It made him feel uneasy. She was the only one who had refused a seat, opting instead to stand behind Captain Reynolds' chair. Zoe sat to his right next to her husband. Kaylee had her arm around River and was next to the Shepherd. Jayne lounged next to them but his eyes were restless betraying his apprehension. Dr Simon Tam sat the other side of his sister and flicked his eyes from his Captain to the crew of Enterprise. He did not envy Captain Reynolds the task of explaining to them about the Reavers. Until recently he had believed them to be fictitious. Stories told to frighten children at bedtime or round camp fires. To find that they were not only real but occupying their 'verse was something he had not been prepared for. Now it seemed their appetites were taking them even further.
"I think we should get started right way, Captain Reynolds. Perhaps you could begin by telling us what you know of the people who did this."
Malcolm Reynolds nodded and leaned forward a little, resting his forearms on the table. He looked paler than normal but his voice was steady, calm and he spoke with a deliberation that told them he did not intend to repeat himself. They listened avidly. "You have to understand something, Captain Archer. The people that done this - we call them Reavers - ain't human any more. A long time ago they were men like us but somethin' happened to them. They went feral, mad, turned cannibalistic and wild in ways that go beyond common reason. Nobody knows what first turned 'em but it's a fact that once a Reaver always a Reaver. They ain't stupid either so if you're harbourin' the notion of out smarting them you have to get that misconception out of your head."
"You sound as if you have first hand experience of them."
He nodded. "I do. First saw their handiwork in the War. Weren't no more than a boy my own self. After the War heard tales of them but sightings not so many. When a Reaver ship passes you cut your power and wait adrift hoping they've already fed and will pass you by."
Hoshi's face went white but she said nothing. Lt Reed put a hand on her shoulder and she was suddenly grateful for that small patch of human warmth and reassurance. The Lieutenant could not resist asking. "What if they don't pass you by?"
"Then you try and out run 'em. You fail and they'll kill you, rape and eat your flesh before peeling off your skin to sew to their clothes as trophies. They don't care if you're still alive or dead when they latch on to you. They feed on your terror just as surely as your flesh and bones."
Captain Archer shuddered. "And that's what happened to the Klingons?"
He nodded grimly. "It is."
"How can you be so sure? I mean, you never boarded the Klingon vessel."
Captain Reynolds looked at Lt Reed for a moment. Took his time framing his reply, a pained hooded look came into his eyes. Inara put a hand on his arm but he seemed not to notice. "I saw their work, Lieutenant Reed. I had gone EVA to check over my boat after those two collision. Rest of my crew were puttin' out fires and checking the damage on the inside. While I was outside something hit me. I lost my grip on the external strut, only saved by the line clipped to the side. I didn't have time to get back to the hull before I was hit again. This time I saw it." He swallowed carefully and continued in the same flat even tone, though his eyes were distant now. As if trying to divorce himself from the all too graphic images trapped inside his head. "It was a body. Spinning slow and kind of deliberate. It struck me then the face - or what was left of it - slid down my faceplate..."
Liz Cutler put a hand over her mouth. "Oh my God..."
"Once you've seen their handiwork Lieutenant you never forget it."
Lt Reed nodded silently. He could attest to that. Commander Tucker was remembering what Lt Reed had told them. "What about the... hangin' 'em from the ceilin'? Lt Reed says they did that on the Klingon ship."
Captain Reynolds nodded. "It's their way."
"Why do they do that?" Asked Captain Archer.
He shrugged. "Why do they do any of the terrible things they do? Part of it's a warning and part of it's decoration."
Dr Phlox frowned. That did not sound right. "Decoration?"
"What can I say, doc? They're twisted *chusheng xai-jiao de xiang huo*. There's a madness and a sickness to them that's downright evil." He gave the Preacher a tiny nod. "No offence, Shepherd."
Book gave a small nod back. The crew of Enterprise were stunned. Sub-Commander T'Pol wanted more information. "Where do they come from?"
"From us a long time back I'm guessin' though what turned them that way I don't know."
"No," Corrected T'Pol. "Where do they come from not 'who' do they come from."
He blinked. Admiring her distinction. She was a rare one able to focus like that through such gory doings. "Some say they were early settlers from Earth-That-Was. No one knows when the first Reavers appeared or what created them but in the first stories they stayed at the fringe of the new worlds. Them as were outside of the Core, beyond Alliance rule, were their prey. Then they got more numerous, bolder, started hittin' transport lanes but there was safety in numbers. If you kept to busy routes or better yet Alliance routes they didn't seem to bother you. But out in the Black everybody was fair game."
She did not blink. "They came then from your 'verse?"
You could have heard a pin drop. Captain Archer stared at T'Pol then exchanged a stunned look with Trip and Malcolm. Captain Reynolds might not be a tutored man but he could read the sub-text as well as any man. "Was there ever any doubt?"
Shepherd Book chose his moment to corner the Captain. It had been a long day and longer night, both crews talking into the small hours of the next day. Dead on their feet but determined to hammer out some kind of plan of action. Captain Archer made it clear that he did not expect Serenity and her crew to go through the Delphic Expanse with them. His reasoning was sound. If Serenity stayed with them she might never find her way back to their own 'verse. But before the two crews parted for the last time he needed to glean every last bit of information from Captain Reynolds and his crew. After eighteen hours of straight talking the crews had split up to finally get some rest. Book watched Captain Reynolds slope off to Serenity and gave him a couple of minutes before following him. He watched Inara lean in close to say something to the Captain but he just shook his head wearily and she went on up to her shuttle.
Zoe gave the Captain a nod and dragged Wash off to their bunk. Jayne paused long enough to give the Captain his own assessment. "They're all gonna die. Damn ruttin' fools."
Captain Reynolds said nothing. Book held back. It seemed the whole crew wanted to impart a last comment to the Captain before turning in to get some much needed sleep. Kaylee took the Captain's hand and peered anxiously up at him, concerned for him as well for everyone else. Book did not hear what she said but the Captain gave her a tiny smile and dipped his weary head so he could kiss her on the forehead before gently pushing her away from him. "Go! Shoo! I need my mechanic bright and wide awake."
She grinned at him and gave a little wave. "I love my Captain."
Kaylee left him with River and Simon. The Captain really did not want any more creepyness. It was not as if sleep was going to find him but why add more nightmares to the ones rattling around in his closet? "You should get some sleep too, doc."
"How about you? I could give you something..."
The Captain was already waving him off, as Simon knew he would. But he had to try. The man was plainly exhausted and no doubt haunted by the things he had seen. River shook her head. "Won't help."
They both looked at her. It was the Captain who broke the silence. "What did you mean back there, River? About the Reavers?"
"You don't see them but they see you."
Simon looked uncomfortable. "River?"
She was not looking at him. Her eyes fastened intently on the Captain's face as if this was something he should understand. "They feel you in their dreams. Become your nightmares."
"River, that's a little too creepifying and it's not helping."
She tried again. "Don't forget the armour. It fools everybody but don't let it fool you."
The Captain shook his head. He could feel a headache coming on. Simon gave him a look of concern. "Do you want something for that?"
"For what? Creepy fortune cookies that make no sense?"
"No, Captain, the headache."
"Oh. You know about that?"
Simon almost smiled. "It's hard to miss when you frown like that and keep rubbing your forehead."
"It'll pass, doc. Thanks."
"Well if you change your mind or just need to talk about..."
"I'll be fine, *dong ma*? Now go get some rest. I've a feelin' we're gonna be needin' it."
Simon nodded, his arm around River who was now doing an imaginary cat's cradle with her hands and humming to herself. When they had gone the Captain stood alone at the bottom of the steps, his back to the cargo hold. After a couple of seconds he spoke without turning round. "You can come out now, Preacher."
Shepherd Book did not seem put out that the Captain knew he was there. He stepped out of the shadows easily and watched the Captain turn to face him. The Shepherd had his hands in his pockets, a serious look on his face. "You know Captain Archer's right."
"This isn't our fight. We have to go back."
He sighed. A weight on his shoulders he could barely carry. The Shepherd moved next to him. "Come on, I'll walk you to your bunk."
Captain Reynolds gave him a sideways glance. "You gonna tuck me in too, Preacher?"
"If I have to."
The Captain chuckled drily but was too weary for humour. "You were very quiet during that meeting, Preacher."
The Captain snorted. "So you sayin' you on'y speak for the dead?"
"Sometimes I make an exception and speak to the living as well."
They reached the Captain's bunk. He leaned on the hatch and swung the door inwards, pausing before climbing down the ladder. "Like me?"
Their eyes met and locked for a moment. "Like you."
The Captain climbed down the ladder, surprised when the Preacher followed him down. Especially when his only answer to his look of query was the Preacher closing his door so they would not be disturbed. The Captain felt the hairs stir on the back of his neck for no good reason he could fathom. Suddenly he was more awake than he had been in many hours. "What's on your mind, Shepherd?" He asked softly.
The Shepherd looked him in the eye for several moments before replying. "You."
All the air seemed to huff out of the Captain's lungs. He made himself talk calmly. "And why is that?"
"You didn't tell them."
"Tell who what?"
"You let them think the Reavers came from our 'verse."
He snorted. "I know they came from our 'verse, so do you."
"That's not what I meant."
"Then speak plain Preacher."
"Up until now the Reavers 'have' come from our 'verse but this time is different. When that Klingon ship appeared it came 'out' of this place - the Delphic Expanse as they call it. That was when it first collided with Serenity. It then turned and hit us a second time before going back through from our 'verse into the Delphic Expanse taking us and Enterprise along with it."
For a moment the Captain was silent. "You don't miss much do you, Preacher?"
"If God had wanted me blind he would have taken my eyes at birth." He paused. "Why didn't you tell them?"
"The Captain got my drift and I'm bettin' that Vulcan - T'Pol - picked up on it. Why the inquisition?"
"I think you know why."
"Pretend I'm Jayne and spell it out for me."
The Shepherd nodded. "I think you know what's happening here."
"And what's that"?"
"The Reavers are no longer confined to our 'verse. If they're showing up in Captain Archer's universe as well then we may be in more trouble than we think."
"How do you figure that?"
"I'm thinking of the timing. Earth-That-Was ran out of resources 500 years ago. We start terraforming new earths..."
"Seemed like the thing to do."
The Preacher ignored his interruption and carried on. "Captain Archer and his crew discover a hitherto unknown race who travel 400 years back in time from the future to launch a pre-emptive strike on Earth. But they don't destroy it, they maim it."
He nodded. "Commander Tucker was getting very agitated. Did you notice? Later I asked Lt Reed about it and he told me in the attack on Earth the Xindi killed over 7 million people one of whom was the Commander's sister."
"I didn't know that."
"What I'm saying is that this new race is brutal. Their zeal for this mission to wipe out humanity is almost biblical. What does that tell you?"
"That every 'verse has its' share of crazies. Is there any point to this discussion?"
"Captain, think. Imagine the Reavers hundreds of years in the future. With access to advanced technologies. Able to come and go where and when they please. You said yourself that they aren't stupid. What if they are instead very, very bright?"
The Captain only just managed to suppress a shudder. He did not like where this conversation was going. "Top three per cent?"
The Preacher nodded. "Top three per cent. They do say that genius and madness occupy the same knife edge."
"Are you thinkin' what I'm thinkin'?"
"That depends on what you're thinkin'."
"I was thinkin' about River. That facility the Alliance were using. Cutting up her brain. Changing her. Making her crazy." He paused, his voice becoming a hushed litany of painful realisation. "Simon said they cut her again and again and again..."
"Imagine Captain," Said Book stepping into the Captain's personal space. The air puffing out of his mouth as he spoke sending shivers down his spine. "If you were one of those people, trapped in the nightmare of Alliance mind games, would you want to become the ultimate monster? Would you, the top three per cent and above, want to see the rest of Humanity become hideous perversions of the Beast of Revelation?"
The Captain felt sick. "You think these Reavers from the future have perfected time travel and are using it to go back in time and space to destroy Earth, wipe out Humanity, to prevent their future selves becoming Reavers? Is that it? Did I miss a turn in the road?"
"No, Captain, you didn't miss a turn in the road." He paused. His voice ineffably sad. "I think that is exactly what is happening. The Reavers are attempting to commit a form of mass suicide."
"They want to save Humanity by destroying it?"
The Shepherd did not answer. Captain Reynolds knew that sleep would be the last thing he would be able to do for some time to come. All he could hear going round and round inside his head were River's words to him when she had saved him. 'Two by two hands of blue, four by four here come more. Six by six needles of pain, eight by eight dead again'. He had thought they were random nonsense words but something deep inside had shivered as she said them, as if subconsciously at least he knew they meant something and it was not good.
At last he looked at the Preacher. For once needing guidance that was not his own. "What do we do?"
"Only one thing we can do. We go back to our 'verse and let Captain Archer and his people handle this."
"Don't seem right. We should tell 'em, explain this..."
"It wouldn't do any good. They wouldn't believe you. Besides, you've given them enough to do the job. Too much information can be as fatal as not enough."
For a long long time the Captain just stared at him. "Some day," He said very quietly. "You're gonna have to tell me what you did before you became a Preacher."
It was hard parting from Enterprise and her crew but it had to be done. Commander Tucker was anxious, restless, a driven man. Captain Reynolds could see it, feel it in him, and felt a tremendous wave of sorrow rush through him. He turned his head to find Sub-Commander T'Pol watching him intently. For some reason she was beginning to creep him out. Maybe it was just as well that they were leaving.
Captain Archer stepped forward and offered his hand. "I don't know how to thank you and your crew for all your help."
Serenity's Captain took his hand and shook it firmly but there was no answering smile. "If you really want to thank us wipe those *wangba dan* Reavers out. Give them no gorram quarter Captain, no little *let's do this the civilised way* lectures. They won't be listenin' and you can't afford the distraction."
Captain Archer tilted his head, expression thoughtful, bright eyes sharp. "I'm sorry to see you go, Captain. There are a hundred things I'd love to discuss with you and your crew. Who knows? Maybe we'll bump into each other again some day?"
"You never know." Said the Captain non-committally.
The leave taking was an oddly solemn affair. Returning to the entry point put everyone on edge wondering if the opening would still be there, then worrying that if it was something else could be coming through it. Fortunately nothing untoward happened. Trip watched Serenity leave Enterprise, the command staff watching the images of the Firefly as it set its' course back to its' own 'verse. With mixed feelings they watched it disappear through a black patch of sky and for several minutes no one spoke. Then Captain Archer's voice broke through their solemn mood. "Come on, time to get back to work. We've got a planet full of people to save."
Lt Reed hesitated. "Captain?"
"What do you want to do about the Klingon ship?"
Trip looked up from his work station to hear the Captain's reply.
"Destroy it, Lieutenant. I think the target practice will come in handy."
A bright smile broke out on the Armoury Officer's face. Sub-Commander T'Pol glanced at Commander Tucker, noticed the firm set of his jaw, the dull gleam in his eyes where revenge stirred. She turned to see the Captain watching her, gave him a nod then turned back to her console. She pretended to look through her scope but her mind and vision was elsewhere. Recalling the expression in the eyes of another Captain, one who had been brave enough to willingly venture into the Delphic Expanse and give them a chance against a superior foe. In the last few shared hours they had spent aboard Enterprise she realised he knew. Wondered why he had not warned Captain Archer or any of the crew. But then something in his eyes told her why. His job was finished for now. Not his fight. Not so her. A burden had been passed which she had unconsiously accepted. No words spoken. No vows to break. She thought about Commander Tucker. The poignancy of his loss and the changes she could see in his darknening spirit a clue of what was to come if they failed.
"And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion..."
Sub-Commander T'Pol straightened slightly and determined not to falter. No matter what the High Command said, Humans had earnt their right to explore space. And she intended to see to it that they did so without the threat of anihilation hanging over their heads.
"And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion."
Captain Archer leaned back in his command chair. "Warp 5, Commander Tucker. We're going hunting."
"Aye aye, Captain!"
***** T H E E N D *****
CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)
*chusheng xai-jiao de xiang hua* = animal fucking bastard *dong ma* = understand
*wangba dan* = bastard (lit. turtle egg)
Thursday, September 4, 2003 12:41 PM
Thursday, September 4, 2003 12:52 PM
Friday, September 5, 2003 9:23 AM
Sunday, June 20, 2004 5:53 AM
Tuesday, June 22, 2004 3:07 AM
Wednesday, December 7, 2005 3:34 AM
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