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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ADVENTURE
Set ten years after the Miranda incident, an event is officially disclosed by the newly crowned King of Londinum regarding an adventure he went through with the crew of Serenity while he was still Prince.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1315 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
KING D. AUGUSTUS III - BEGIN LOG ENTRY : 9 July 2528: 11:25
My apologies for keeping you in suspense from the last entry. It was getting late and my eyes were getting heavy from staring at the screen for so long. I just wanted to be awake as I entered this entry. This will be the “meat and potatoes” of the whole reason why I am adding this event into the official logs. So, I have told my aides that I am not to have any contact for several hours.
Ok, enough suspense. Let me start where I left off. I was kidnaped.
Being confined to the dark for an unknown handful of hours is more or less scary. The whole time I was out I could not think. It wasn’t until I realized I was captive inside a dim, cold cell when I remembered the name of my captor.
Mrs. Delphi Busby.
This had to be Busby’s wife. Or Ex. Why in the gorram ‘Verse would she have reason to take me? Well, I will tell you, of course.
I was well awake when she entered my prison. Long before that, I was alone with my thoughts. One of many was what she had done to Serenity’s crew. To see Inara lying face down motionless was an eerie image. Delphi had to have used the same stun pistol on the crew as she did me, so they couldn’t have been dead. Unless they fired upon the Firefly from afar to destroy her.
Funny how I’m now referring to Serenity as a “her”.
Delphi opened the thick iron door and she stood in front of me. She glared at me all too silently. She dressed in ratty, though colorful clothing that was close fitting to her body. She was by no means a beauty but her long strands of ebony hair across her face in random directions gave the illusion she was. Until you pushed back the hair to reveal the scars and blemishes. Her attire and her demeanor right then gave her a sinister look.
I prepared for her words as I reached to my ring to start a new file. I thanked the toy makers of the ring that the thing made no noise. Then, I was true to form and started my tantrum.
“Where am I? What am I doing here? Where is the Serenity crew?” I yelled at her.
She must have known my weakness because my outburst created no reaction. She kept on glaring at me.
I yelled back, “Answer me, bitch!”
She smiled, or rather smirked. She finally said, “Such language for a child. In answer to your question, you are here for a very important opportunity.”
I stared back at her and said, “And that means...”
“You mean you and your husband, Gus.”
“Precisely. Smart boy.”
“Some tell me I’m too smart.”
She acknowledged my comment with a nod, but she was not prepared for my next statement. “You know, your husband stabbed my friend Oscar to death.”
She finally stopped smirking and she turned aggressive. “That was necessary.”
“How is death necessary?”
“Indeed. A very rhetorical question that may never be answered. In this case, however, it was. Mandalay knew too much.”
“Too much of what?”
“You also talk too much.” She went back to her smirk. “I do need you for a simple task, however.”
“What? You’re crazy if you think I’m going to help you.”
“I didn’t say you had a choice.”
“What did you do with the crew of Serenity?”
“Those fools? They didn’t know what hit them. My men and I came in invited on their pathetic ship because of their curiosity and greed. Don’t worry, we didn’t kill them. They would have been out for several hours and we were long gone before then. They had no clue.” She stopped to consider. “Although, they must have known you were a target. You were secure inside that trunk in the Companion’s shuttle. Until you revealed yourself that is.”
She let the knowledge of my failure sink in a bit before she continued. “I need for you to follow me. Don’t bother hesitating. I gave my guards orders to use extreme force if you even flinch.” She neared me and stated while staring straight into my royal blues, “I have a mission and it can be accomplished either with you alive or dead.”
“You won’t hurt me. I’m just a kid,” I dared.
She sneered and replied, “I have killed children younger than even you. Now, follow me.”
She turned and exited my cell and I followed. The guards she spoke of were on either side of the cell’s doorway and after Delphi and I reached past it, they followed as well. They were armed to the teeth. Delphi took us past other locked cells in the dank area. We came upon a large flight of stairs which we climbed. At the top, she took me through many corridors and within a few minutes we came to a vast opening.
It was a large control room filled with several consoles where various people were working at their own Cortex. At the far end to the right was a wide screen that showed various other areas of the complex in small separated squares. She led me to the top of the area before the screens and turned to the guards to stand by. I looked around at the area before I asked, “What is this place?”
“Our meaning you and Gus.”
She nodded her agreement.
I challenged her patience by stating, “Pretty soon, it will just be yours.”
She replied back quickly to say, “Not if you can help it.”
“Why do you still think I would budge to help you?”
“Because your refusal means your death.”
My eyes widened and I just came back with an empty, “Oh.”
“We are gaining access to your father’s private Cortex, but we lack one vital piece of data.”
I followed her thought process and connected the dots. “You need the pass code for the fifth barrier.”
“If you would be so kind,” she said sweetly.
“If I don’t give it, and you kill me, you still won’t have it.”
“Not necessarily. We can still retrieve it. Though it will take several more hours than if you were to just give it to us. It will take precious time, but I really don’t mind either way. The only difference would be is that we would have to inform the King of your death.”
I remember gulping at that statement. I remember my heart nearly bursting out of my chest it was beating so hard. I was trapped. I couldn’t use any of my usual tactics with this woman.
I know you’re thinking that I couldn’t with the crew of Serenity either. Despite them knowing every nuance of my personality, like Delphi seemed to, their reaction to me was in jest. Even Jayne seemed to insult me as if he were trying to get closer to me. If he wasn’t insulting you, he was really saying he didn’t like you. It was his way, as Inara would have put it. Delphi, on the other hand, knew my personality. She had a mission. Nothing was going to stop her from accomplishing her mission. Including me and my ways. When she said she would kill me, she meant it. Mal had shot at me and missed to scare me as a way to intimidate. Delphi used her plan to murder me as a way to get what she wanted. And I would have to say it was working.
As I usually did when I was scared or intimidated back then, I hid it. I changed the subject. “So, what world are we on?”
“We are on the planet where my people are trapped under total control of the Alliance.”
“That could be any number of planets.”
“One in particular that the Coalition gave the Alliance special command over. Boros. As you and your father know all too well.”
For those who need yet another history lesson and cannot tear themselves away from my heart stopping words to get to an arch-wave, Boros is a civilized planet that did have a heavy Alliance influence. The main reason was that it was the birthplace of the Independent Army. It was where the Army trained and eventually fought and lost another battle. After the war, the Alliance made sure to saturate themselves on the planet with their presence to avoid any further Independent risings. Of course, it didn’t occur to the brainless wonders of Parliament that the Army could still rise anywhere else. Then, after the Miranda affair, the Coalition was calling the shots and the Alliance didn’t have much control over planets as they once did. In an act of either mercy or pity over the embarrassment of Miranda, the Coalition gave the weakened Alliance full control over Boros. I could see Delphi’s aggression toward them. What it had to do with my father and I left me confused. So, I asked her.
“Your father had the power to intervene in the Coalition’s handing over control of Boros to the Alliance.”
“I don’t think my father could have done anything.”
She shook her head slightly. “You are so naive. You father, the King, has, or had, more influence over Parliament than even he realized. You Royal folk live on the All Powerful Londinum, the first official planet ever to be made from a lifeless moon to a living civilization. You have the ideals closest to that of Earth That Was. Did you know your own palace is a replica of the Taj Mahal?”
“Actually, I did. Like I know our clock tower is a copy of Ancient London’s Big Ben. And the bridge in New Angeles is a replica of the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco. That’s old news. I’m still waiting to hear an answer to my question. Surely, you’re not jealous of us.”
“Stupid child. It’s not jealousy. It’s pity.” She paused and explained, “We had a plan in place that would have ended your father’s ignorance of the Alliance having full control over Boros. A plan that you ruined.”
I was confused at first with her accusation. Then I focused on her accusing only me. What would I have done to ruin her and her husband’s future plans? How about being witness to a murder? Sudden realization came over me when I remembered what Delphi told me earlier. Mandalay knew too much.
I said aloud my own accusation to her. “Oscar found out about your plan and Gus killed him. That’s what they were arguing about in the locker room.”
“Give the boy an Ice Planet! You catch on well.”
My reaction to her admission almost got me killed. I lunged and yelled a Chinese curse at her, but her guards took me down to the ground in no time with extreme force. I was still lying on the ground when Delphi knelt down to my level with an evil grin and said, “Temper. You don’t want us to go to Plan B just yet.” She nodded to her guards to let me up but to still restrain me. Delphi went over to a man at one of the consoles and addressed him.
“We’re ready for the wave, Marcus.”
“Give me another half hour,” Marcus demanded.
Delphi almost flew off the handle. “A half hour? Why haven’t you got through yet?”
“I told you. Breaking through the first four bindwalls is tough enough. Cracking into the Royal system cortex ain’t like cracking any normal one. The fifth one is especially tough and we’ll need the kid’s pass code to get through that.”
“Don’t worry. He’ll give it. Just hurry getting to that fifth barrier. You know how I don’t like delays.”
Marcus gave a nervous acknowledgment and went about his duty.
Through my human restraints, I took the down time to my advantage. “Why did Oscar have to die?”
Without turning around at me she answered, “He found out about our plans to interject a new successor to the throne.”
I scoffed and stated, “That’s impossible. The successor can only be an heir. Like me.”
She finally turned to me and said, “Ah, sweet innocent boy, you haven’t read the fine print. In the event of a King’s suicide, the heir rule is negated.”
“My father would never kill himself. That’s the coward’s way out.”
“We had a plan in play that would make your King look a coward and therefore make his death perceived as a suicide. Upon that, the successor goes to the Chief Advisor and then only he can make changes as he see fit. Just as traditional Royal law dictates.”
I half was talking to myself when I said, “Making Gus King. And you would be Queen.”
Delphi sighed. “That would have been a nice bonus.” She then scowled at me. “You ruined everything.”
I took back my smart ways and suggested, “Technically, it was Oscar who ruined it. I just happened to be eyewitness.”
“If you hadn’t, we could have disposed of the body and blamed it on any number of radical movements against the Court.”
“He wasn’t just a body. He was my friend.”
She then looked at me with a certain amount of pity. “Oh, my boy. If you had seen what Gus and I had during the war, you would have found that friends die. Friends can be torn apart by mortar shells and evaporated by cannon fire. All for no reason. But, Death goes on. It has no choice who it takes. No remorse. No feeling.” She brought herself back to reality for a bit and then said, “Now, if you don’t mind, I wish you to be silent until I have the need for you to not be silent. Remember, Plan A depends on you speaking. Plan B doesn’t.”
So, I stood there with her goons restraining me and I watched her tech break through the fifth barrier and into my father’s personal Cortex. Finally, after that thirty minutes, Marcus announced his success and Delphi came to his side. After a few minutes of conferring, she motioned to the guards to escort me over. They did so and I saw a screen with a blank field where a pass code would go.
“Here’s your shining moment, Prince. The pass code please.”
“What are you going to tell my father?”
“Haven’t you figured out the exchange yet, dear?”
I heard the word exchange and I knew. “Me for Gus.”
She didn’t bother with agreeing. She kept on asking for the pass code.
I started to recite the long code that I committed to memory for emergency situations when I had to contact my father quickly. Otherwise, not even I could pass through the many figureheads it took to talk with the King of Londinum. I reluctantly proceeded to give the code, and when I was midway through reciting it, a klaxon sounded suddenly throughout the complex.
“What is that?” Delphi demanded.
Another one of the men at a different console called out, “We have a breach in Sector A2.”
“Put it on screen,” Delphi cried.
On the screen I saw the best sight I could imagine at that point and time. At first there were sounds of gunfire and then cries of pain as guards were taken down. The gunfire’s source was soon revealed beyond the shadows.
Mal, Zoe, and Jayne were all firing upon Delphi’s guards and winning. They inched their way closer to the main center with precision. I was overwhelmed with joy at seeing that they actually came to rescue me. But, how did they know I was here on Boros?
Delphi wanted the same answer. She said, “I don’t know how they knew, but they have all signed their death warrants.” She turned to the guards who were holding me. “Keep him here. If those fools get in here, let them watch their Prince die in front of them.”
Before I could express my shock, she turned to Marcus. “Can we do this at the alternate location?”
“It'll take several more hours. Pretty much we’d be starting back at Square One.”
She simply took her pistol from her waist and shot Marcus in the chest. “Wrong answer. I’ll make sure to hire more competent techs from now on.” She reached over the console to take out a memory slide and she stuffed it in her pocket. She turned to me and said, “Toodles, fair Prince. It was a pleasure. Let’s hope your rescuers get to see their attempt was all for nothing.” She about faced toward a sliding door on the opposite side of the room and disappeared behind it.
The sound of gunfire and wails of death were getting closer. From behind me, two guards who were once protecting the main entrance to the center fell to the floor as their lives ended. The rest of the people working at their stations had already fled to the exits. Then, from around the corner, in came Mal with his trusty pistol held high. From behind him came Zoe with her shotgun and then Jayne with a huge automatic.
The three entered the control room and spotted me in the center and Mal announced, “The Big Damn Heroes return!”
The guards surrounding me held me in between them with the one on my left about ready to put a bullet in my brainpan. He called out to the crew, “Say goodbye to your Pri–”
He never finished his sentence. With a quick motion too fast to describe, Mal raised his pistol and shot the two guards on either side of me both dead center in the forehead. They both dropped to the floor without even knowing what hit them.
I stared at the Captain in disbelief. He just looked at me and casually asked, “You all right?”
“I am now. But, Delphi, she got away. She admitted to Gus’s murder of Oscar.”
“Which way she go, kid?” asked Jayne.
I pointed to the sliding doors. “Through there. Not a minute ago.”
Mal turned to Zoe. “What’s beyond there?”
Zoe raised her comm to her mouth and asked through it, “Kaylee, I need you to see what’s on the south side of the main control center.”
Kaylee’s sweet voice came through and said, “Just a moment.” A pause and then her voice returned, “There’s a launch pad on the South exit. Infrared is showing a huge heat signature.”
Zoe looked at Mal. “That’s her exit.”
Mal was already running towards the sliding doors and through them when he gave the order, “Let’s move out! We should be able to get to her before she reaches it. Everyone copy?”
Zoe and Jayne followed him in running and since I had no desire to stay I ran to bring up the rear. We ran down more hallways as I think I heard Mal ask which direction. I saw Jayne’s back turn right and I followed. It wasn’t long until I saw them stop at a clearing and in front of them about twenty yards away was Delphi attempting to unlock the door to the launch pad.
“Stop right there, Delphi!” Mal shouted.
“You’re too late!” she called back. She flipped another switch on the wall and something created a noise. Coming down from the ceiling embedded into the outer doorway was a sheet of clear plastic that acted as a wall. It came down between the crew and Delphi. The wall extended to the ends of the doorway thus blocking the crew’s way to Delphi. Small holes were placed at alternate intervals like breathing holes. Jayne brought up his huge gun and was about to fire until Mal grabbed the end of it to stop him.
“Don’t. That’s a durasheild. You fire that and you’ll hit us.”
Jayne asked sadly, “Bulletproof?”
“Pretty much,” Mal answered.
Instead of escaping, Delphi walked in confidence towards the crew. She looked like she was having too much fun. She started to speak, and though her voice was muffled on the other side, we could still hear her. “Well, well....the crew of Serenity triumphs again. I see you dispatched my guards quick enough. Never could get anything past you, Malcolm Reynolds. Or should I call you Sergeant Reynolds of the 57th Overlanders if memory serves.”
“Captain, now. And if mine serves, Corporal Delphi Cartwright and Sergeant Gus Busby of the 49th Death Marchers. You two must’ve hitched after the war. How is old Admiral Marsh?”
“Dead. Of a heart attack, no less. Saved by the atrocities of war.”
“There’s atrocities a-plenty after the war. Kidnaping only being one. Snatching a Prince could even be worse.”
Delphi ignored the remark to ask what she had wanted to ever since Mal and his crew’s entrance. “How exactly did you find us?”
“Found him just fine. You were just a pretty bonus.”
Delphi explained, “We scanned him before we reached here and nothing showed.”
“That’s cuz your scanners only detect what’s on the outside. Can’t see what’s on the inside.”
Recognition fell upon Delphi and she sighed projecting defeat, “Liquid tracking gel.”
“Huh?” I asked confused. “I didn’t take no gel.”
Mal looked back at me to ask, “What? You mean you didn’t like Inara’s tea? Good thing she heavied it up with spices or else it might have come back up. I’ve seen people try downing that stuff straight. It ain’t a pretty sight.”
Delphi continued asking their secret. “How did you know to use it?”
Zoe supplied with, “Because Fanty and Mingo would never announce a new job prospect over an unsecured crypto. Only way they would have is if they were forced beyond their will. Which, in fact, they were.”
Jayne added, “By the way, their men took care of yours on Beaumonde. We didn’t have a thing to do with them.”
Mal chimed in, “And we figured the only thing of value on board we had worth takin’ was a Prince. So, we hid him. Obviously, not well enough.” He looked at me scornfully. I gave him an apologetic look.
Delphi admitted, “Very clever. But, as you can see, you have no more tricks up your sleeve. I shall be off now.” She looked at me and warned, “You may have gotten away this time, but you haven’t seen the last of me.”
I said back to her, “You’re husband is going down. And with what I know now, you won’t be able to set foot anywhere in the ‘Verse.”
Zoe added, “The kid Prince is right. You won’t be able to show yourself even on border planets.”
The woman replied with honor, “I have my ways around that.”
Mal then asked, “Why are you even doing this? The war’s been long over. Ain’t it time to move on?”
“Move on to what? There’s nothing out there for survivors like us, Captain. Look at what you do. You hop around planet to planet taking any job you can find to just scrimp until the next one. You’re pathetic.”
Mal said sternly, “You don’t know a thing about us. Ever think some may enjoy that life?”
“What kind of life is that?”
Mal simply stated, “Ours.”
“This is so very not interesting. I’m sorry if I have to cut our sad talk short, but I do have places to be, people to kill.”
“You two always were the violent sort,” Mal commented.
“I’m guessing that’s the reason they joined the Death Marchers,” Jayne surmised.
“Shut up!” Delphi shouted.
I said back at her, “Temper.”
“Cute,” she replied as she neared the control panel to open the sliding door. “I shall be going now. Don’t try tracking me. I’ll know.”
She hit the button to open the door. She stood in front of it in preparation to exit. She received a surprise instead.
River Tam blocked the entrance on the other side of the door and with even quicker motion than Mal, she extended her right arm with her hand, palm out, and thrust it into Delphi’s chest. The woman was propelled across the foyer and landed almost at the foot of the clear shield blocking the crew from the two females. River walked gracefully over to the fallen woman who was just getting up.
“Where ya been?” asked Jayne casually.
River replied sweetly, “Outside. Waiting. Listening.”
“That’s our Albatross,” Mal said proudly. “Ain’t it a thing, though. Every villain always has to stay and gloat.”
“Never fails,” Zoe quipped.
Delphi didn’t just get up. She raised her left foot quick to land across River’s face. It was River this time who was thrown across the room sideways from the blow. Delphi brought herself up to full height and stood before the teen girl. “So you’re the infamous River Tam. The little girl who took down the Alliance.”
River got herself up and turned back to the woman. “Had help. Many snowballs falling to my rescue. Can’t melt them anymore. Time for a shovel.”
Delphi reached confusion. “What the gorram hell are you talking about, girl?”
Jayne replied, “She’s starting to speak nonsense. That means she’s really pissed off. Trust me, that girl can be dangerous even when she’s all sweet and nice.”
I added with glee, “Delphi, you are so going to get your ass kicked.”
Delphi smiled, “Is that so?” Delphi quickly raised her gun and without any hesitation she fired point blank at the girl. The bullet actually missed. River made a move to duck so blindly fast that not even a bullet could catch up to her. Her momentum took her past Delphi and River took control of the woman’s arm to eject the weapon out of her hand and she threw her to the opposite wall to slam her against it. Delphi went down again to the floor but to her credit she got herself back up in good time.
“Ok, that’s impressive,” Delphi admitted. “But, I can do better.” She reached from behind her to reveal a strange piece of metal about nine inches long. She did something weird to it as she twisted it up and down. The sides of the piece opened at both ends and when she was done twirling, a long blade was revealed. “Let’s see what you got, little girl.”
River merely paced in front of the woman repeating in monotone, “Spoons set in order. Can’t pick them up yet.”
Delphi chuckled, “This is no spoon, dear. This is a long knife. All the better to cut you with.” She quickly lunged toward River with the blade outstretched and River made to move to the opposite direction. But Delphi countered that move. She feigned going in one direction and changed to the opposite to match River’s. The cut dug deep into River’s arm. Blood was trickling down but not quite overspilling.
The crew gasped at the injury to their Albatross. They all wore worried looks. Including me. River stared at the small wound with a bit of fascination. She looked back up at Delphi who was on the other side of River and ready for the next offensive move. When River stared at her this time, I swear I will never see a face more full of rage than that. She spoke in riddles. “Pain. Pain goes away. Come back another day.”
Delphi told her, “Pain never goes away, little girl. It stays with you forever.”
River kept on. “It’s a horizon. No middle. No end. At night it disappears. Fades away. Smaller every day. I can hear you, Delphinia. Alone in the world. All alone. No tree. No offspring. Orphaned in youth.”
Delphi then went white. Her color drained from her face. “How...how did you know that?”
“You fear speaks for you,” was all River’s reply. “Afraid.”
Delphi turned angry and cried, “I’m not afraid of dying!”
“Not afraid of death. Afraid of living,” River replied. Then Delphi lunged again forward and attempted another feign to cut River again. River was ready this time. Instead of shifting to the left or the right, River did something that was totally unexpected. She moved into Delphi’s lunge shortening the distance between her and Delphi. River reached out with both arms and they landed on Delphi’s shoulders and River used that leverage to lift herself up and over Delhi completely. River did a flip in the air as she came down to face Delphi’s back. Before Delphi knew it, the teen was behind her. As Delphi was confused by this move, she turned around at River but the girl took her elbow and thrust it hard against the woman’s head. So hard, in fact, that the woman lost control of the switchblade and it clanged to the floor rendering it harmless. Delphi also fell to the floor unconscious.
River then went over to the wall controls and flipped the switch that lifted the shield allowing us back into play. Zoe went to River to check on her injury on her arm.
“Not all that bad,” Zoe checked. “Your brother will have you patched in no time.”
Mal came near the motionless Delphi Busby and they all surrounded her. I made mention of a memory slide in her pocket and Zoe proceeded to search the unconscious woman’s clothing until she found it.
“What now?” I asked.
Mal looked up at me and smiled. “Looks like we got a trial to crash.”
And that was how the crew of Serenity came to my rescue. It was an act of bravery and cleverness that I have yet to see in the most advanced of Armies.
Well, I have my aides calling for me now. Guess the time caught up to me. It’s weird rehashing this a decade after it all happened. It’s almost like I’m reliving it. I promise I will report more tonight. I have yet to explain the results of the trial. And also the results of the crew’s actions and the changes they made. And I’m not just talking about the trial.
Anyway, toodles for now.
KING D. AUGUSTUS III - END LOG ENTRY : 9 July 2528: 12:46
Saturday, March 11, 2006 3:27 AM
Saturday, March 11, 2006 5:07 AM
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