Author: badkarma00 PM
FinisRated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Adventure - Jayne & River - Chapters: 32 - Words: 95,106 - Reviews: 226 - Favs: 48 - Follows: 59 - Updated: 09-01-10 - Published: 04-27-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4222227
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Spartan's Quest - Chapter 12
Author owns no rights to Firefly, and writes only for his own amusement.
River followed Jayne into the towering high rise the was the seat of the Ariel Planetary Government. Security was heavy, but Jayne spoke quietly to the guard at the desk, who nodded, and picked up his desk com. In just seconds, the guard was handing both Jayne and River passes.
"His office is. . . ." the guard began.
"I know," Jayne smiled. "Thanks." The guard nodded, and returned to his duties.
"Who are we going to see?" River asked.
"Friend of mine, I told you," Jayne smiled, but offered nothing else. River resisted the urge to stomp her foot. Instead she settled for glaring at him as they rode the elevator to near the top of the building. When the door opened, another guard met them.
"He's waiting for you, sir," was all the man said. Jayne nodded, and led River down the hall. They stopped before a stalwart looking door. River read the title on the door in mild shock.
"Your friend is the Chief of Planetary Security?"
"Yes," Jayne replied. He opened the door and stepped inside.
"Hello, you scoundrel," an imposing man in a dark business suit said coldly. Jayne returned the man's stare for a moment, until both broke into a grin at the same time.
"How are you Abel?" Jayne asked, offering his hand.
"I'm just fine, John," Abel replied. "Yourself?"
"Fit," Jayne replied, and both laughed at the private joke. "I need a minute or two."
"I'll give you all you need," Able replied. "Come into my sanctum." Jayne and River followed the man into his private office. Abel walked to a small console and flicked a series of switchs.
"We're secure now, Janos," Abel told them.
"Abel Myer, this is River Tam, my fiancé," Jayne said first. "River, this shady government official is Abel Myer, an old, old friend of mine."
"I'm pleased to meet you," River smiled, and Abel smiled, taking her hand.
"The pleasure is mine, Miss Tam," he replied. "So, what brings you to see me, Janos?"
"I need information," Jayne said bluntly. "I need it fast, too. Have you ever heard of a man named Brockman?" Myer's face froze at that.
"Where did you hear that name?" Myer asked quietly.
"Got it from a man he sent to kill some friends of mine," Jayne replied honestly. "I'd like very much to meet this man. Know where I can find him?"
"He's supposed to be dead," Myer said, his voice almost a whisper. "But. . . ."
"But he's not?" Jayne asked, frowning. "Tell me about this man, Abel."
"He was, is, a syndicate man," Myer sighed, sitting, and motioning for them to do the same. "He's a bad one, Janos. Connected in all the right ways, if you know what I mean. The prosecutor's office won't touch him. Technically, ground side legal problems aren't my bailiwick. I'm supposed to be more about smuggling, piracy, that sort of thing. But I've tried to find some way to make Brockman my problem."
"I take it you haven't found it?"
"I thought I had," Myer told him. "I got word about three years ago now, that he was involved in some kind of abduction ring. Mostly children. Not just from here, either. Several planets, some core, some more toward the rim. But try as I might, I was never able to get a shred of evidence to support his involvement. And I mean none. Every agent I tried to insert into his organization has never been heard from again. His security seems airtight."
"You mentioned he was supposed to be dead?"
"Well," Myer sighed, scratching the back of his head, "there was a shuttle crash about two years ago. Initial word was that he was killed in the crash. For a time, it looked like that was the case. Then, I'd say about six months after the crash, he just shows up one night at the Herald. Ritzy hotel on the strip. Walked in like he was king of the 'verse, big as life, and then some."
"Interesting," Jayne frowned, and Myer nodded.
"Yeah, what I thought. Knowing. . .what I know," Myer hesitated, "I thought it was odd, to say the least. Anyway, about eight, nine months ago, Brockman suddenly isn't around anymore. No one knows where he went, or what he's doing. At least, no one's saying anything. I've had reports that he's been back on world at least twice in that time, but never for long. A few days, maybe a week, then he's gone again."
"He's got the power, and the money, to be invisible if he wants to be," Myer added. "And he's connected pretty tight with someone high up in the Alliance. I don't know who, but whoever it is, they've got stroke. Every time something looked like it might stick to Brockman, it magically went away. Usually because of Alliance involvement."
"What a surprise," River murmured. Myer nodded.
"Yeah, ain't it?" he grimaced. "That's really about all I can tell you, Janos. That's about all anyone really knows, outside the circle he runs in. We've tried, but with no success."
"Can you tell me about his operation here?" Jayne asked. "Where his people are, his holdings, that kind of thing? Might be I can persuade someone to tell me about him. Friendly like," he added.
"Right," Myer snorted, rising from his chair. "I'll give you everything I have on him," he continued, walking to a locked file cabinet, "on one condition." He looked at Jayne.
"Well?" Jayne finally asked. "What condition."
"Please, please, cover your tracks," Myer asked nicely.
"Promise," Jayne winked. "You'll never know I was here."
They waited until they had returned to Athena before looking at the information that Myer had provided. River opened the file on their private galley table, while Jayne went to get them something to eat. When he returned, River was frowning.
"What is it?" he asked, setting two trays on the table. River attacked hers with gusto.
"This man," she spoke around a mouthful of roast beef sandwich. "He really is a ghost. A sighting here, a rumor there, that's all they have. Since his 'accident', and recovery, he may as well be invisible, save for the occasional appearance for grandstanding. And Myer was right. That stopped not long after it began." She looked at Jayne.
"You suspect something." It was a statement, not a question.
"Yes, I do," he agree. "Does it strike you as odd that Brockman was rumored to be dead, then shows up after roughly six months, the picture of health?" River frowned at that, clearly thinking. Suddenly it dawned on her what Jayne was driving at, her eyes going wide.
"Oh, no," she whispered.
"Oh, yes," Jayne growled. "Damn Neethos and his scheme. He turned Brockman, probably in exchange for his help, and his money."
"That. . .complicates matters, somewhat," River mused.
"Somewhat?" Jayne snorted. "River, do you realize how many of his thugs he could have turned by now? He could have a veritable army of Brethren at his disposal. And there's no telling what Neethos shared with him, either!" Jayne stood suddenly, pacing in the small galley.
"I wish now I had spared Neethos, so I could kill him for this!" Jayne said bitterly.
"We have to warn the others," River said suddenly. "And we need to strengthen security at the Manor. Both manors."
"You see to that," Jayne nodded. "I'm getting us out of here. I was planning on visiting some of Brockman's 'help', and seeing if they would help us a bit. Now, that's out of the question. For now, we're defensive. Until we know more, all we can do is try to protect what we have."
"We should think about moving everyone to Nightside," River said suddenly. "We don't have the resources, the proper resources," she clarified, "to fight like this, so spread out. We have to ensure the safety of the children and their families. And for Inara, Simon and Kaylee. They can't begin to cope with something like this."
"Fine," Jayne nodded. "It's a good idea. Order it done. Prim can take care of that. I need to make a few calls of my own," he added, eyes distant.
"What kind of calls?" River asked.
"Call it. . .resource acquisition."
"I am really not liking this Neethos guy," Mal ground out. "As if we didn't have
"Calm down, Mal," Neera soothed. "We'll deal with it. Brockman may well have dozens of people he's turned, but they're newbies. Children. They won't have more than an inkling of the knowledge the rest of us have, or the experience."
"And that helps us how?" Mal demanded.
"Well, thanks to your little plan," Neera smiled, "we should be able to get everyone safely away before any of Brockman's men get their hands on them. Once those families are safe, then we'll see. If I know Janos, he plans to hit Brockman hard, once that's done. Hard and permanent."
"Did all the families get the word?" Mal asked Julio. The other man nodded.
"Just heard from Prim. Everyone got the message, and agreed to the plan. Everyone will be traveling to the pick-up points under assumed names. Now, instead of so many different stops, there's only three."
"Transit time?" Mal wanted to know.
"The farthest is just three days. Closest is actually only twelve or so hours."
"How far are we from the pick-up points?"
"The nearest one is on Hera," Julio replied. "We can be there in about sixteen hours, and the last of the families are due there in under twenty. The farthest from us is Idlewild. That will take us about two days. The other is almost midpoint from those two, on McIntosh. The timing is actually pretty good."
"Take us to Hera, then," Mal ordered, ignoring the twinge in his gut at heading to the home of Serenity Valley. "Best speed. We'll fuel up there as well, and lay on supplies if we need them. Soon as everyone is on board, I want us tearing a hole in the black. The faster we get these people picked up, the quicker we can get them somewhere safe."
"If there is such a thing, anymore," he added darkly, after a moment.
"Simon, it's supper time," Kaylee called, walking into the door of the clinic. Simon looked up from a paper he'd been looking at, then at his watch.
"I had no idea it was so late," he admitted. He put down his paper, and rose, walking to meet Kaylee. She hugged him, kissing him enthusiastically.
"Missed you," she smiled, her voice almost purring.
"Oh?" Simon asked. "I missed you too, even knowing you were somewhere in the building." Kaylee giggled at that.
"C'mon, Inara and Prim are waitin'." The couple walked in silence to the dining room, content to hold hands and be in each other's company. Both hesitated when they reached the door, seeing the looks on their friend's faces.
"What's wrong?" Simon asked.
"There are possible. . .complications," Prim told them. "Serious complications, I'm afraid."
"This can't be good," Simon sighed.
"Indeed it is not," Prim agreed. "You know about the man named Brockman. Lord Janos and Lady River have uncovered some information about the man that is disturbing, to say the least. It is possible, indeed, probable at this point, that Brockman is. . .like us."
"Oh!" Kaylee squeaked, hands flying to her mouth. Simon grimaced.
"That's just great," he sighed.
"He was a very powerful crime boss on Ariel," Inara chimed in. "So now, in addition to having a great deal of money and power, he is. . .a very formidable opponent, and one who has a great deal of patronage among the Alliance. He may not be untouchable, but he's very close."
"Surely he doesn't have the power Jayne does!" Simon objected.
"He does not," Prim assured him. "But, Lord Janos cannot intervene in this in a political way. To do so would require him to admit to many things. Things he dare not admit to. Understand?" Simon groaned with realization.
"So what are we going to do?" Simon asked, trying to see some way out of this.
"We must make sure that the children, and their families are safe, first and foremost," Prim informed him. "And you three," he added. "Lord Janos and Lady River were adamant about that. The three of you are to be protected at all cost."
"Once that's done, then I think Lord Janos intends to make war upon Mister Brockman." Prim saw no reason at this point to hide things. "If Brockman has turned many of his former associates, and Janos fears his has, then this will be a very hard battle. And it must be fought in the shadows. Exposure of our existence will ruin everything."
"So how are we going to accomplish that?" Simon asked. "If this is the case, I don't see how we can be safe anywhere."
"Tomorrow," Prim told them all, "we are going to take the children that are here, and depart." Startled gasps came from around the table, as even Inara wasn't aware of this.
"We will board a ship that is now being prepped in the hangar, and depart for Nightside ourselves. Captain Reynolds is, even now, working to gather the remaining families. Once he has done so, he will also go to Nightside, as was planned."
"That makes sense," Simon was the first to recover. "With all of us in one place, under one roof so to speak, guarding us will be easier."
"Indeed," Prim nodded, pleased that the young physician had seen that. "Once that is accomplished, and everyone is safe, then we'll learn what Janos has planned. I suspect that it will be violent in nature," he added with a grin. "He is most displeased with this turn of events."
"We will depart before dawn, local time," he told them. "Space is not an issue, so pack all that you need. Doctor, there is a medical facility at the manor on Nightside, but feel free to list anything you feel you may need. I will see to it that it is onboard before we leave." He looked at Inara.
"We will be seeing the children quicker than I anticipated."
On the dusty moon of Arebellum, the bartender in a local saloon interrupted a card game to inform a gambler that he had received an urgent wave. Moments later he returned, and began to gather his winnings.
"You can't leave 'til we get a chance to win our money back!" a burly opponent objected. The other men, all of them mineral miners, agreed.
"Gentlemen," the man replied, smiling slightly, "I'm a gambler. I play for money, and I don't give it back. I'll be back this way someday, and when I am, you can feel free to sit in with me again, and attempt to regain your losses. In the meantime, I must depart. Good day to you all." With that, the gambler started for the door. The man who had spoken stood suddenly, grabbing the gambler by the arm.
"I told you ta stay put!" he growled in what he was sure was a menacing way. The gamble, no longer smiling, turned cold eyes to the man.
"If you want to keep that arm, you'll take if off me," he warned. The bigger man snorted at that. He had three inches and fifty pounds, all muscle, on the gambler.
"Big talk. . ." he started. Whatever he was about to say was lost as he went flying across the room, landing in a heap, unconscious. The other men at the table had been ready to join their companion. Had been. Now, they didn't look so eager. The gambler turned to them.
There were no takers. An hour later the gambler's ship left the moon, on it's way to meet someone.
Half the 'verse away, the woman who owned a weapons emporium was receiving a similar wave. As soon as the link was broken, she started packing a bag. She called her assistant over as she worked.
"I'm going off world for a time," she said without preamble. "I don't know when I'll be back. Mind the store for me." With no further explanation, she left, bag thrown over her shoulder. Her assistant was baffled, but it didn't pay to back talk his boss.
On Sihnon, an executive secretary to one of the busiest attorneys on the planet answered a summons from her employer.
"I'm going away on business," her boss informed her. "Cancel all my appointments until further notice. You may consider yourself on vacation until my return, provided that the office is kept in order. Have any court dates on my calender referred to the junior partners."
The stunned woman could only nod in reply as her boss took a strange looking bag from the closet in his office and started for the door. He smiled at her, suddenly.
"Don't worry, Beatrice. I'm not crazy, and I will be back. You can take care of things until I return." With that, he was gone.
Throughout the system, other people received similar waves, and the same scene was played out with only slightly different wording.
I'll be gone for an unspecified amount of time. Take care of things until I return.
No further information was shared. None of the people in question took gently to being questioned.
Had anyone been able to see all of them at once, they would have noticed one other thing they shared in common.
All of them had the same destination.