TEMPTATION SERIES: 11. "Good Intentions"
Tuesday, July 19, 2005

"The Captain discovers Book's not-so-amusing plan. At first he thinks it is some kind of joke. By the time he realises it isn't he can find no way to extricate himself."



SUMMARY: "The Captain discovers Book's not-so-amusing plan. At first he thinks it is some kind of joke. By the time he realises it isn't he can find no way to extricate himself." The usual disclaimers apply. The characters and 'Firefly' are the property and gift of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No infringement of copyright is intended.


"Firefly" story

Written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * * *

"So, this job the Cap'n has lined up on New Dunsmere...?"

Zoe paused. Post coital bliss should be just that. She moved, languid but powerful, muscles slowly adjusting as she raised her warm sweat-soaked body up on her elbows. Had been about to drift off to sleep when her *zhangfu* spoke breaking the mood. "Wash, can't this wait?"

He smiled, a mite distracted, his eyes having that far away happy look that said he was still reliving their last intense moments of love making. His warm hands gently running over her body in a light barely-there tease. "I was just thinkin' out loud."

"Can't you think down here?"

Wash paused and focused on her properly, losing himself in that slow sexy smile that turned him to pulp inside. "Oh yeah, whatever you say *bao bei*."

As he slid back down into her arms Zoe chuckled deep in the back of her throat, Wash discovering something much more interesting that needed attending to. His expert moves had Zoe gasping first in surprise then in quickly building need.

"I love my wife."

It was the last coherent thing he was able to say for quite some time.

* * * * *

Zion Abbey was not what Malcolm Reynolds had been expecting. In his mind he had pictured something more churchified, more a symbol of praise and power to the Lord than this deceptively nondescript block of one and two storey buildings half standing and half buried in several acres of rolling hillside. The flat tract in the middle housed what he took to be the main structure, all heavy grey stone in blocks bigger than would fit on the gorram mule. It was the only two storey building and boasted a simple heavy grey archway to the unadorned entrance. What the *diyu* was this place and why did he feel like he was treading on anything but holy ground?

"Shepherd? This don't look much like an Abbey."

Book was smiling, amusement twitching the end of his moustache but his eyes were sobering up faster than the rest of his face, as if the humour were something fleeting. Soon to be very much past tense. Watching the Preacher's face filled the Captain with a strange uncomfortableness. He paused, causing Book to look back with a question on his face.

"Know what? Think I've changed my mind."

The Shepherd stepped back and something in his eyes caught and held the Captain's attention in thrall, sensing the kind of determination that mayhap preceded fire and brimstone. "We're here Captain and the Abbot is already waiting to meet you. Wouldn't be polite just to turn and go without at least paying your respects."

He stared at Book and wondered just who the gorram he was. For a moment there he could have sworn he was looking at a stranger. Then something shifted in the man's eyes, a warmth, a mocking calm that made him feel all kinds of foolish. What in the nine hells was the matter with him? He mentally pulled himself together. He would go and meet the Preacher's Abbot, said he would and this was no time for turning his back on his word. 'Sides he could leave any time. That last thought was one that was destined to haunt him.

* * * * *

Kaylee stared up in rapture at the fancy doings, the floating chandeliers almost as shiny as those she had seen at that shindig with the Captain only there was no buffet table, no polite but insulting womenfolk trying to belittle her and best of all, no sword fights. She grinned at Simon, his hand squeezing hers in response, the happiness in his eyes almost bringing tears of joy to her own. "Can we really afford this, Simon?" She breathed in a hush of awe.

He leaned close and kissed her gently, lips lingering just a second as if reluctant to break contact. "*Qu*. Like I said, *bao bei*, I've been saving."

The beam she gave him made his heart turn over. Neither noticed the knowing and amused looks of the receptionist nor the little grin on the Manager's face as he led them up to what was obviously the bridal suite. If Kaylee had been awe struck before it was nothing compared to the complete and utter astonishment of stepping into wall to wall luxury. Marble walls and floors, furnishings that hung from ceiling to floor, with a bed bigger than her gorram room back on Serenity in pride of place in the centre of it. The Manager was babbling some nonsense about how to work the controls but none of it registered. Simon listened for both of them though he could not take his eyes off his wife's face. Her excitement and pleasure even more dear to him than his own.

Once the Manager had gone Simon opened the door just long enough to hang the 'do not disturb' sign on the door handle then locked the door. The sign was in English and Chinese. Simon could not stop smiling. He watched as Kaylee flung herself in the middle of the huge round bed, the plushness of it almost swallowing her up before she bounced back, a startled look upon her face. Simon laughed as he knelt carefully on the edge then crawled over to join her. "It's a water bed, Kaylee."

Her eyebrows disappeared into her hairline. "*Shenme*? What the...?"

Before she could finish her sentence Simon shifted his weight, he was on his hands and knees and with a little swaying of his body got the bed to rock beneath him. Slowly enlightenment began to dawn on Kaylee's face. "Oh."

Simon grinned, leant forward and gave her a lingering passionate kiss. Just pulling back far enough to allow words to puff against her cheeks. "Imagine making love in this bed, Kaylee. Imagine me inside you, the bed rocking us as I bring you nearer and nearer to coming. Can you imagine that, *xin gan*?"

"Think I'd rather have you show me, *bao bei*."

Her arms reached up, hands sliding up around his neck to draw him into another kiss.

"But Kaylee, don't you want to see the bathroom?"

She was chuckling, her voice deep and sexy, her breath hot on his face, her body aligning with his until she pulled him down flush against her. The bed rocking and swaying beneath them as Kaylee rotated then rocked her hips up into him. "Hush, Simon, we can wash up later..."

That was not what he meant but what the gorram? Simon was getting too horny to play the gentleman. Besides what his wife wanted right now was not some stuffed shirt with manners fresh from the Core but a husband, eager and panting for her. Warm hands, energetic body and the stamina to make good on every promise his hands and lips made.

* * * * *

Mal had to admit the inside of the building was a whole lot less intimidating than the outside. He figured that was because of all the gorram little alcoves with religious figures and whatnot on display. Equidistant between each gorram plaster figure was a little inset bowl of holy water. He noticed the Preacher used it to bless himself once then did not do so again. He looked up, ceilings weren't too high and not of that gothic arching that seemed to follow the terraformers to every gorram world they fashioned in Earth-that-Was's likeness. It should have unsettled him but it didn't. A coolness attended all the corridors that was at first comforting after the heat outside. As they continued walking along the paved slabs beneath their feet that coolness began to go from welcome to chill. By the time they reached the Abbot's office it was creeping into his gorram bones. Good. Here at last. The sooner he did this polite thing the quicker he could leave. He flashed Book a plastic smile.

"Okay, what do I...?" "I'll do the talking, Captain." Said Book mildly.

Not sure what he should do or say the Captain nodded. "Good, I mean that's what I was goin' to suggest."

The Preacher knocked, a sharp one-two followed by silence. Several seconds past then the heavy door opened. It did not so much as creak convincing Mal it must be oiled. Not nothing that heavy that didn't creak and groan without it. Once inside the Abbot's office Mal saw the same austerity that typified the whole complex. Nothing extraneous anywhere. No little homely touches, nothing to indicate people lived here. The place of work was just that but his musings were quickly truncated when the Abbot rose from his seat to greet them. "My son, it pleasures my heart to see you."

Book shook the Abbot's hand, their eyes meeting as if another conversation was going on to which the Captain was not privvy. Maybe so, after all the Preacher had been away from his pulpit a gorram long time now. Due in no small measure to circumstances he got roped into by him and his crew. Not that he could bring himself to regret that. "I am likewise pleased to see you again, sir."

"And this must be...."

"This is the man I spoke to you about. Malcolm Reynolds. He is the Captain of a Firefly transport called Serenity."

Something in the Abbot's eyes made Mal feel like a bug under a microscope. The Abbot was a large heavy set man, his plain brown robe was hooded and worn with wear. A thick beaded rosary hung from a loop to the right of his simple tie belt. The Abbot extended his hand and after only a moment's hesitation the Captain took it, surprised when the firm grip did not lessen and release him. The Abbot was looking deep into Mal's eyes, the moment so intense he was not aware the door behind them had opened and that some monks had silently filed in. "It is good you have come, Malcolm."

Feeling a mite panicky, the Captain tried to keep any notion of it out of his voice. "It is?"

Still the Abbot held on and Mal wondered if he had just forgotten. "We will help you. Never let it be said that Zion Abbey ever turned away a soul in torment."

Mal blinked. "A what, who?"

Then before he could frame a more coherent thought, the monks closed around him. He was not even sure when his gun and gunbelt disappeared. Alarmed at the hands beginning to disrobe him, a monk at the back stepping forward and putting a robe over the Captain's shoulders as the Abbot finally let go of his hand. The Captain was angry now and trying not to be too volatile about it. "What you think you're doin'? No offence Abbot but I ain't plannin' on takin' orders. Now if you'll just return my clothes we can clear up this misunderstandin'."

A grim little smile formed a crack on the Abbot's unsmiling face. "Oh you'll be taking orders, Malcolm, but not the ones of this order. And you won't be leaving until I'm satisfied it is safe for you to do so."

Bewildered the Captain spun round to glare at Book. "What in the nine hells is he talkin' about?"

The Shepherd had the grace to look a mite uncomfortable but pushed any feelings of regret aside. This was for the man's own benefit and *wangu* as the Captain was, this was something he needed and no one else could give him. "Confession is good for the soul, Captain."

"Confession? What gorram confession? You said you had someone you wanted me to meet, never said anythin' about me joinin' no monastery!"

"You aren't joning anything Captain but you aren't going anywhere either." Said the Abbot calmly.

Anger now began to give way to alarm. Steadying himself with an effort the Captain looked long and hard at the Shepherd. "What the *diyu* is this an' what does he mean I ain't goin' nowhere?"

The Abbot walked around his desk and stepped between Book and the Captain forcing Mal to look at him. Behind the Abbot, Mal saw Book lower his head as if dismissed then let himself out of the room. Puzzled and angrier than a bear in a hornet's nest he glared at the Abbot, nostrils flaring. "I told our brother not to tell you, Malcolm."

"That so?"

"*Qu*." The Abbot was so calm it was making Mal's blood boil. It took every effort he could muster not to wring the man's neck with his gorram rosary beads. "I suspected had you known what was in store for you we would not be having this conversation."

The Captain frowned. "Will someone just tell me what in the nine hells this is all about?"

The Abbot gave a nod then the monks closed around the Captain and led him out of the room. He wanted to protest but it would have been like trying to turn back a tide with his bare hands. As they walked Mal had the absurd feeling he was being marched to his own execution. The Abbot was speaking again, his voice lowered as if talking was something he did only rarely and with great reluctance. "We know what you did, Malcolm, but we are not here to judge."

"What I did? I didn't do anythin'."

He continued as if the Captain had not said anything. "You are an intelligent man, you know that all actions have consequences. Fortunately our brother's concern for you has given you the opportunity to repent."

"I have no notion of what I got to repent an' even if I did I wouldn't do it here in this messed up version of a holy place."

The silence that met his words unsettled him but what did they expect? That he would be happy with this abduction? They reached a door at the end of a very long corridor. One of the brothers in front took a big heavy key from inside his robe. Mal felt his stomach drop as an unreasoning dread settled in his gut. What the good gorram was this?

* * * * *

River sat in the commons area, her legs curled up under her on the armchair, her eyes staring off with a blank expression. Her thoughts a jumble. Pieces out of position in her brain. She had not gone with Kaylee and Simon because she knew her brother had a surprise for her friend and didn't want to spoil it. River smiled at the memory of that glimpse into her brother's mind. Happy beyond words that Simon loved Kaylee so much. For a time it had looked as if he would never act on his attraction and she did not want Kaylee to die a spinster. She did not want Kaylee to die at all.

A frown squashed the happy from her face. Die. Death. Darkness. The frown deepened. Kaylee? No. She shook her head and concentrated. Simon? No. A smile returned to her lips. Top Three Per Cent but it had taken River only a minute to figure it out.

* * * * *

The restraints were all kinds of worrisome. Shouting, threatening, pleading. Nothing worked. The monks were too many and strong as Jayne. The room was about half the size of Serenity's cargo hold and pretty much bare apart from a heavy table in the middle of it. The thick leather straps afixed to it quickly disabused him of the notion that it had any innocent purpose. The cloak was taken off his back leaving him naked as the Captain was manhandled firmly onto the flat surface face down, his wrists and ankles fastened with quick efficiency into the restraints, his mind reeling in panic. He shivered not with cold but apprehension. Sparked too many memories from the end of the War that had no place in the Here and Now, only these *shenjingbing* folk were binding him to a dark madness that had almost consumed him heart, body and soul once. Wasn't looking to repeat the experience.

Once he was immobilised the Abbot thanked his monks and all gave a little bow and turned to leave. Something was said to the last monk who nodded then followed the others out, quietly closing the door behind him. The Abbot, a man introduced to Mal only as Abbot Mathias, walked slowly around the table, his measured pace not calming the Captain at all. The Abbot waited until Mal had stopped shouting and railing at him before stopping at the head of the table. A single chair stood against the far wall. The Abbot went over to it then placed the chair a couple of feet from his captive and sat down. "Why do you think you are here, my son?"

The Captain bristled. Trying to slow down his racing heart, the fear a tight knot making it hard to breathe and strangling the words in his throat. "Got no idea an' I ain't your son."

"Brother Book has told me of your loss of faith, Malcolm." The Abbot's voice sounded sad, pained even, but the Captain didn't give a good gorram if it was dripping blood.

"Get me the hell outta here!"

The request was ignored. "You are here because you touched an innocent. Despoiled a child in need of your care and protection."

Startled and shocked into silence, the Captain turned his head a little, only able to see a slither of the Abbot from this angle. The Abbot moved his chair so the Captain could see him properly from his pinned position. Mal was not sure his ears were working. "What you talkin' about?"

"You are the Captain of a ship, *dui*?"

"You already know that."

The Abbot nodded. "*Qu*, and on this ship you have a crew but also some souls who have taken shelter with you."

A flicker of something began making sense in Mal's head. "We got a couple of people not wantin' Alliance entanglements, *weishenme*?" He said carefully.

"Malcolm, I know about the girl."

The Captain frowned. Did he mean River? But he couldn't ask without giving the man her name and his treatment at the Abbot's hands so far did not instill faith. Faith. He wanted to snort, to spit in the Abbot's eye and tell him just what he thought of this perverted little set up. But first he needed more information. "Suppose," Said the Captain carefully with a quiet deadly calm that belied how very unsettled he was feeling. "You tell me what you think I done?"

"Oh Malcolm, Malcolm." Uttered the Abbot in a quiet disappointed voice. Mal felt his stomach clench, his mouth dry with fear but not nothing in the 'verse would make him admit as much. The Abbot dipped his head until their faces were but inches apart. The soft sibilant words fell from the Abbot's lips like acid rain. "Don't you know that confession means nothing if I have to put the words in your mouth?"

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*zhangfu* = husband *bao bei* = precious/treasure *diyu* = hell *qu* = yes (lit.go) *shenme* = what *xin gan* = sweetheart *wangu* = stubborn *dui* = correct *weishenme* = why *shenjingbing* = crazy


Tuesday, August 2, 2005 7:15 AM


All manner of troubling. Very scared for Mal right now and hoping that River will know what's happening and somehow fix it.

Friday, January 12, 2007 5:08 AM


Ohh, shiney.

But I really hope someone shoots Book.


You must log in to post comments.



His head still ached from the rutting probe but after the men had satisfied themselves that his story was true a thousand questions peppered the air like machine gun fire.

The vessel was shiny, sleek and black with nowhere near the bulk of an Alliance ship. Something about the way it moved through the Black was more than a little creepifying.

Personally she didn't care if Serenity was towed off to a junk yard and stripped into spare parts. She had promised the ship to Jer and his crew as a bonus but it looked like scavengers had beaten them to it.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: 2. "Counting Chickens"
The fact that her eyes were hard and sharp with intelligence kind of chilled him. Smart women always made him uneasy, it just weren't natural.

What in the nine hells were they so afraid of? Then he remembered Tracy. The body mailed to them by their old war buddy and all the trouble that had brought down on them.

If it was too gorram wet to hunt for rabbits what in the nine hells was his son really hunting? And was it something on four legs or two?

The man was in a terrible condition, his pulse weak, and for some reason he was soaking wet which did nothing to staunch the blood soaking through his clothing and seeping from the poorly tended wound where he had been shot.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 9. "All The King's Men"
The man sighed like the weight of the of the 'Verse was on his shoulders but unlike anyone else he looked like he could carry the weight.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 8. "All The King's Horses"
Without warning something came through the opening and rolled with a metallic clang across the ground before exploding.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 7. "Friend or Foe"
Then he found himself falling, the whole world silent as in slow motion the hordes of *diyu* came to swallow him up and everything disintegrated in fire, blood and pain.