Grey and Brown, part 4
Sunday, April 3, 2005

The guest is not who he seems.


Greyson slipped out of the dining room as soon as the meal was concluded, passing his thanks to the cooks, and wishing all a pleasant evening. Silently he walked the platforms and steps to his room. He turned on no lamp as he sank into his bed. He lay back staring at the ceiling. He closed his eyes, pondering. The faintest hints of metal sliding on metal caught his ears, but he did not stir. He didn't need to. If she had meant to be silent, he wouldn't have heard her. She allowed only her head to enter the room, the same sideways expression as from before.

"Your thoughts are loud, Grey One. It won't be easy, you know. They're a lot stronger than they look, especially him. The ground is soft, but there are rocks beneath." Grey smiled. She shook her head and smirked into the darkness. "Whatever. I'll be waiting." Steps sounded behind her. Simon.

"River, leave him alone. It looks like he wants to be left alone." She turned to him, raising her nose a little bit.

"Quite the opposite, dear brother, but as you wish." She waved her arm out dramatically, speaking in a snobbish accent. "Ah'll be in the looounge, dear, should anyone caaahll." Tossing the arm back dramatically, she huffed off to the small room beside the infirmary. Simon stood there, blankly. She hadn't had an episode since Brother Jude came aboard. He thanked, well, he was thankful for that. He didn't fully trust the priest. He stopped himself in mid-thought. How could he not trust a priest? Had the past few years been so tough? He turned around and found himself staring a cleft chin, stubbled with auburn hair.

"Gah!" Grey caught him before Simon could collide with him.

"Careful there, Simon." Simon adjusted his shirt, looking at his feet for a moment. "Your sister-"

"What about her?" Simon cut him off.

"I was merely going to say she was quite the young woman. She's got that spark, strength." Simon looked at Greyson for a moment.

"Yes, she is something. She's been through a lot. But you are right. She's easily one of the strongest people I know." Greyson smiled at Simon and clapped him on the shoulder.

"Must be something in the family." Book started walking down the stairs behind Simon. "Ah, Book. Just the man I was looking for. Good evening, Simon." Book smiled.

"Whatever can I do for you, Greyson?"

"If you've got a moment, I was hoping we could continue that conversation we'd been having."

"Most certainly!" He motioned to the spare chair in his own room. "Come on in." Grey nodded at Simon and stepped into Book's quarters, Book closing the door behind them. Simon stared at the door for a moment. He heard giggling from the lounge. He smiled, and went to see what Kaylee and River were up to.

"So what were we talking about?" Book settled onto his bunk, clasping his hands together, his elbows resting on his knees leaning towards Greyson. Greyson put his hands behind his neck, stretching a bit. He sighed.

"Why do you stay with these people. There's not a one of them, excepting perhaps Inara and Kaylee, that doesn't have a wanted poster up somewhere. The bishop was concerned about you, when he heard a rumor about someone spotting you in amongst the people that assualted Adelai Niska's Skyplex. And it's been none too easy to find you, let me tell you." Book closed his eyes a moment.

"At first, it was just a trip. Just going where the path took me. Now? I believe God has put me with these people. A smaller flock. A family I can give guidance to. The real question is why you have come seeking me. Especially wearing that." Book pointed to the black collar insert in Greyson's shirt. Greyson thought a moment.

"I was only asked to find you, find out what you'd been up to. The bishop was worried. And it got me out of the abbey for a while. It's been becoming easier for me to leave for longer and longer stretches. It's been a long six years."

"For both of us, I think." Greyson nodded. Book cleared his throat.

"So what really brings you here, Grey." Grey sat up straight, crossing his arms.

"I was told to find you."

"Why?" Book's tone turned very dark.

"The Church wanted answers. Heresy is a very real thing in this age. It's important to maintain the strength and purity of the Church. Don't you agree?" Grey's tone matched Book's.

"If you try anything on this ship-"

"Don't worry. You should know me better than that. I am a passenger for a few more days yet. When I am no longer a passenger?" Greyson shrugged. "Good night, Shepherd." Book watched Greyson stand up and make for the door.

"Good night, Father." Book placed heavy intonation on the last word. Greyson got the meaning. Irony. Contempt. He hated to hear it from someone he had looked up to for so many years. He made for his room again. He turned on the small lamp beside his bed and opened his bible.

Wash sat in the cockpit watching the nothing of space with a blank expression. Yet one more fight. This time just because he didn't think the passenger was such a bad guy. Added some much needed change to the routine. A new face was refreshing.

"But change is dangerous! We must fear the change! It is mighty!" Wash performed for himself, flinging his arms about in false drama and terror. "Another preacher! We must all fear the holy men! Holy men all have dark secrets that must be-"

*ba-deep ba-deep*

"Gen houzi bi diushi pi gu!" Wash begins to furiously flip switches as he grabs the comm. "Mal! We got some serious go-se!" Wash continues to mutter to himself as Mal climbs up the ladder of his quarters to the walkway, coming into the cockpit just behind Zoe.

"What's up, Wash?" Wash finishes his manic button pressing and turns to Mal.

"Some sort of signal just bounced off our hull. I monitored it for a second before jamming it. It seems Book's friend's a spy. There's an Alliance long-range fighter demanding we land at..." Wash pulls up a star map. "Ix. Their weapons are primed. They don't seem to want to take no for an answer." Jayne leans in to take a look at the rear vid.

"Told ya we should have put guns on this thing when my cousin offered 'em." A squawk came from the internal comm.

"Cap'n!" Mal grabbed the comm.

"What is it, Kaylee?"

"I think you better come down to the cargo bay. Quick!" Mal turned to Zoe only to find her gone. He looked at Jayne, who only shrugged.

"Wash, take us to that planet. But take us slow. I'll think of something." Mal ran to the cargo bay, Jayne close behind. He reached the top platform looking down into the cargo bay. Zoe had her carbine pointed at Greyson. Book was standing by Kaylee at the airlock controls. Simon had a pipe in his hands, not sure what to do. Zoe was trying to pull River away from Greyson. Mal and Jayne drew their pistols. "Mr. Jude, I made you a guest on my ship and you ratted us out. Give me one good gorram reason I shouldn't make a corpse of you." Simon looked up at Mal and Jayne.

"Don't! You'll hit River!"

"Is that the plan, Greyson? Keep the girl between you and the bullets? How brave. What the hell kinda preacher are you?" Book raised his eyebrow.

"That's a very good question, captain. One I'd like answered as well." Grey had said nothing. In fact his hands were spread out horizontally. River pulled at his shirt as Zoe tried to wrest her from him. Greyson looked down at River.

"Let go. Go over to Kaylee and Simon. It's ok." He ran his right hand across her head, smooth her hair. "Simon, come get your sister." He turned up towards Mal and Jayne. "I betrayed no one."

"Then why did we have to pry the girl from you?"

"She had come to talk to me. Then she warned me I was in trouble, and latched on."

"There's a fully armed fed fighter behind us says you told on us, boy. I'm inclined to believe them. Now I've got a lot of folk on my ship that are about to be a might inconvenienced by the local law. And it'd be a lot simpler just to drop you were you stand and make a break. So why don't you hand over your transmitter?" Greyson looked into Mal's eyes, no one moved, no one made a sound. The ship lurched as it came to a rest on the solid ground of the planet below them. "I don't have time for games!" A gunshot went off beside Mal. Greyson leapt to the side, managing, unbelievably, to turn what would have been a hit into a graze across his left arm. He grimaced as his arm drooped at his side, in too much pain to be useful. "Jayne! Don't fire again until we know where he's hidden that transmitter." River broke free of Kaylee and Simon and ran over to Grey.

"The shadow comes unwanted. Unknown the hunter, unknown the hunted. The hunter is hunted."

Hard knocking came to the cargo bay doors. Book ran to the window and took a glance at the men outside.


"This had better be good, Book!"

"Those men aren't Alliance." Book stated. Mal lowered his pistol.

"Then what are they?" Mal inquired as Grey looked at the doors and at Book. Book shook his head. Grey cleared his throat.

"The Inquisition." Book pressed the button, opening the door. There was a chaos of motion, noise, yells. Three men in dark blue uniforms, patterned after the military uniforms of Allied officers, pushed to just inside the door. Each had a bright blue 8 pointed sun on their right shoulder. And on the left, the BlueSun logo. Each also had one bright blue glove, one midnight. River's eyes grew wide.

"Hands of blue!" She darted behind a crate and started shaking, babbling incoherently. The three men lowered their auto-rifles, the lead making for River. Then there was silence. The world slowed. Mal, Jayne and Zoe all advanced and cocked their weapons. Book hunkered down for a leap. Simon gripped the pipe, readying a swing. Kaylee ran to Inara on the stairs. Thunder shook the cargo hold. Every one of the crew but River either fell or jumped to the ground. The the first two men exploded in a cloud of red, the third losing only his torso. Bits of corpse, uniform and rifle clattered across the cargo bay and it's inhabitants. Mostly on Greyson. Greyson stood, covered in blood, holding a massive pistol, barrel smoking, in his wounded left hand. A small wand-shaped device, which had been in the lead man's hand, still blinked it's red lights at the end. Grey ran over and smashed the device beneath his boots. River was screaming in pain nearby. Everyone was getting up slowly. Mal and Jayne were the quickest to recover. And were immediately sorry for it. Metal clattered to the ground as Greyson dropped his gun, running to River. He took her face in his hands. He was immediately washed over in a wave of madness. Empathy. His gift. His curse. "Give unto me..." She quivered, trying to break free from his grip. Kaylee and Simon were both yelling at him, telling him too left go. Zoe was still pointing her carbine at him as Mal and Jayne ran to the floor. Grey kept trying to catch a glimpse of her eyes which, when open, darted about madly. He closed his own eyes, inhaling deeply.

Grey was floating high about a dark place. Thunder rolled across the clouds just a few feet from him. Rain fell off in the distance. The ground below seemed to heave and wave. A single pillar of light shown on a girl below him. The light was pale, cold, harsh. He stretched his wings(wings? is this how she sees me?) and sped off to the girl. The girl was not on a piece of ground, but was instead on top of a writhing pile of naked, crimson toned men and women. They groped at her, pawed, grabbed, trying to pull her under. Warm white light pierced the sky, backlighting Grey's descent into Madness. The creatures hissed and backed away, revealing a patch of green grass where the light touched the ground, and blue sky above. He reached down to the girl, picking her up to her feet.

"Find the eyes, River." Grey stared into River's face intently. "For the love of God, please, find my eyes!"

The girl struggled against his grip, fighting her attackers still. He pushed off the ground in a rush of wing and feather. Grey said nothing, but held her close to his chest as he flew slowly upward. He landed on a plateau high above the mass of Madness below. A pleasant temperate oasis sprung up in the light. The girl reared back and slammed her fists into Grey's chest, before opening eyes, determined to face the one who had finally managed to take her under. She looked up into a face she didn't expect. Grey leaned down and kissed the girl, first lightly on the forehead, then gently on the lips.

"Find the eyes!" River's eyes snapped into focus, opened wide, bare. She stared into his grey eyes, into him, through him. He stared into her dark eyes, into her, through her. He leaned down and kissed her lightly on the forehead. He leaned back, returning to her eyes. She reached her hand out and put it lightly on his lips.

"Thank you, Grey one."

"It is I who must thank you, Freed One. For YOU have set ME free."


Monday, April 4, 2005 3:17 AM


Oooh, creepifying and mightily good. I loved all the imagery with Grey bringing River back from the mouth of madness, the confusion as enemies converge on Serenity but not who we might have thought. No one expects the Spanish Inquisition! Good myth and very shiny. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, April 4, 2005 1:23 PM


Really good tale you've woven here! I'm really interested to find out exactly who Grey is.

- Soul


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Grey in the Black, part 1
Grey finds himself at odds with the local color.

Grey in the Black, Introduction
A certain ex-alliance officer's adventures continue.

Grey and Brown, Epilogue
Grey says good-bye.

Grey and Brown, part 4
The guest is not who he seems.

Grey and Brown, part 3
The crew gets a guest.

Grey and Brown, part 2
First Lieutenant Grey tries to keep things together and meets a certain sergeant of note.

Grey and Brown, part 1
A young Alliance Lieutenant is left in command of the remnants of the Allied Military Forces in Serenity Valley.