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Chapter 7: Complications

Ten minutes after the Miranda Broadwave via the Ebon Hawk's Communications Array

The Alliance Operative stood stiffly in the center of Mr Universe's control room, the squad of Alliance Marines having lost their firm battle-stances as they stood about, speaking quietly amongst themselves in a blatant break of protocol. What he once would have glowered at and punished, the Operative ignored. He could hardly blame the soldier's lack of composure. After witnessing the horrifying recording of the Miranda disaster, the Operative could not think straight. His calm was slipping and his training was failing him in the face of such a tragedy. Thirty million Alliance citizens murdered by their own government. The creation of the scourge that was the Reavers. They couldn't be the only crimes Parliament and Blue Sun were behind. He knew enough of the Academy to be disgusted by it, but his duty had been to Parliament.

"It can't be true..."
The Operative's voice was a broken whisper, a haunted light glowing in his dark eyes as he lost his faith in the leadership of the Alliance. Revan Qel-Droma had not moved since the recording had flashed across the monitors and the Operative started when the supposed Blue Sun Operative finally spoke.

"Miranda is very real. The authenticity of this recording is unquestionable. Your technicians have already confirmed the clearance of the woman on the recording as well as her identity. She was labeled as Missing in Action over a decade ago, a period of time that coincides with the appearance of the Reavers and the loss of the Miranda colony. I have walked on that dead world, Operative. Believe me when I tell you what you've seen is only a whisper of the horrors spawned of that blackrock."
The Alliance Operative frowned at Revan, his eyes narrowing as he took in the man's accent and his strange abilities. There was more to the Blue Sun Operative than he could read into through body language and with a glance at the Alliance Marines, the Operative made his decision.

"Those behind Miranda are guilty of criminal negligence, illegal human experimentation and mass murder. They are the minds behind the Alliance, the minds behind one of its most successful corporations and those who sign our paychecks and give us orders. Did any of you sign up to join with scum when you enlisted? To be paid in blood money?"
Revan had beaten the Operative to the proverbial punch, his cultured voice droning out the truth of the Alliance's leadership.

"The Reavers"
Revan gestured absently to the monitors as they replayed the message again and again. Whoever was broadcasting the wave was making sure to repeat it enough times that it couldn't be jammed.
"The Miranda Disaster."
Revan clenched his hands to fists. He'd been on Miranda and breathed the air. It was such a serene world, beautiful if not for the thirty million rotting dead and the lack of any life beyond plants. He'd done and seen worse in his time, but the scale of such a thing in a world as small as that of the verse was horrifying and Revan decided to use it to his advantage.
"These are things that have already come to pass... but this-"
Revan paused to hold up a small datacrystal. The information on the device would likely lead to a civil war and the mysterious deaths of many of the Corporate leadership of Blue Sun and members of Parliament... but that was his goal. He wasn't about to go through the proper channels that a Jedi would have to administer justice. Trials had a way of being corrupted by the powerful and if nothing else; those behind Miranda and the Academy had power.

"This holds a crime that you all know of, yet don't. You've only seen the mission. The target. River Tam is no longer a threat to the people of the Alliance. She is a threat to the established criminals behind these heinous crimes and you have killed in their name to bring this girl, this seventeen year old child back to their hands to be raped and tortured and cut as if Reavers were tearing at her."
Revan glanced at Mr Universe, seeing that the man's fingers were lingering near his keyboard and that he had likely been recording him. Nodding to the man to continue, Revan turned his attention back to the soldiers in the room with him.

"You have suffered their laws your entire lives. Sweat and bled for them and their lies. You have become a tool for their crimes, an extension of their own vile bodies to spread their filth across the verse. Would you continue to do so in the name of men who act as Reavers not because of the damage done to them by the Pax, but because of their greed and their lust for power?"
Stepping over to Mr Universe, Revan handed the Cortex hacker the datacrystal and offered a simple order. One that would change the verse and the very foundations of the Alliance. Taking the crystal with unecessary care, Mr Universe stared at the device and swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat.

"Broadcast it."
Revan ordered, not even looking at the man. Mr Universe complied, unhindered by the soldiers and Operatives in the room and a set of encoded files flashed across his screens that dated back to Earth that was. Stunned, the hacker's fingers flew across the keyboard resting in his lap and he felt bile rising in his throat when he saw the file on the Academy. Hundreds upon hundreds of children were shown being tortured and conditioned because of their abilities and the room was silent as the Alliance soldiers and the Operative moved closer to the screen, staring at the hundreds of images with expressions that ran from disbelief, disgust and rage. Only Revan's face remained unmoved and when his own image appeared before them, all of the soldiers turned to stare at the supposed Blue Sun Operative. Respect, shock and pity filled several eyes while others took in the former Sith Lord warily.

"Can this be jammed?"
Revan asked, seeing that the ships in orbit had picked up the broadwave that Mr Universe was sending out of the information. Mr Universe seemed to jump slightly before he shook his head and breathed out an answer, too stunned to be excited over all of the violence and classified information that had just been sent out from his moon.

"You can't stop the signal, man."
Silence continued to reign on Mr Universe's moon, the only noise that of the men's breathing and the horrifying recordings flashing across the screens.

On Serenity Wash frowned as the Cortex console on the bridge activated, his frown deepening when the information being broadcast from Mr Universe's moon became available to anyone with a Cortex connection. The pilot couldn't look away as the horrible secrets and crimes of Blue Sun and the Alliance flashed across the screen. A rock formed in his stomach and moved with painfully slow steps towards the bottom of his guts and Hoban tasted bile in his throat when he recognized a much younger River in one of the recordings being cut into with needles as she screamed and begged for mercy. The rest of the crew slowly filtered into the bridge, their eyes watching the information play for what felt like an eternity before the screen darkened and shifted to a man in an Alliance Marine's combat armor and uniform. A short but powerful speech came from the man and the Operative that had been tracking Serenity was clearly visible in the recording, his eyes locked with the speaking soldier's. Revan's words from only minutes before on Mr Universe's moon were replayed on top of the information that he had taken from the Academy's databanks and River's slightly crazed expression at seeing herself being tortured cleared when she saw the face of the soldier. She'd only touched his mind for a few minutes, but it had given her the strength of clarity that was so fleeting to her since she'd gone to the Academy and the young Reader and assassin smiled brightly at the image.

"The Lord of Revenge!"
Pointing at the image of the Alliance Marine, River clapped her hands happily, pulling the attention of the rest of Serenity's crew. Footsteps echoed along the deckplates of the Firefly-class transport and hands went to weapons before the sight of Bastila Shan put the tense crew at ease. Slightly.

"He was once called that, yes. He was also a great and powerful Jedi Knight. The Light guided the Prodigal Knight to end the war the Dark Lord he had been began. I haven't seen him for nearly four years..."
Bastila's voice wavered when she saw Revan being experimented on in the recording. Someone was controlling what was being broadcast and whoever it was, wherever they were; was with Revan. Unlike many of the children in the recordings though, Revan did not beg or cry out in pain during his conditioning. The former Dark Lord of the Sith simply endured the treatment in silence, occasionally smirking at some private joke or sneering.

"I can't ask you to help me. You and your crew has done more than enough to right the wrong here, but he is my husband and the love of my life. I need to go to him and I need to know where this transmission is coming from. Your communications system is so radically different from the Holonet that we can't break through the coding in the signal."
Wash frowned at Serenity's scanners, his blue eyes widening as he paled.

"I don't think its gonna matter finding this guy. Looks like its coming from Mr Universe's moon. Signal's strong and we're not the only ones hearing it..."
Mal glanced down at Wash with a half-frown, a glare coming to his eyes as he tried to redirect the anger he felt at what he'd just seen on top of Miranda.
"What the Hell are you on about, Wash?"
Mal asked in a tight voice, his blue eyes shining darkly as he glared at the still-active Cortex connection. Wash let out a slow breath while River answered for him.

"They wouldn't lay down..."
Mal glanced at River, annoyed at the Reader's vague speech patterns.

"She means Reavers, Mal."
Jayne answered, looking surprised himself that he knew what River meant. The Reader glanced at him with a half-smile before it fell and she glanced back to the recording of Revan.

"The secret was too loud, burned up the girl's brain. Not a secret anymore, but its still too loud."
Wash decided to save everyone the trouble and translated the information the scanners were relaying to him.

"Reavers got the signal same as us, that massive fleet we passed through on the way here? They're making a run for Mr Universe's moon at full burn."
Mal's jaw clenched and he moved to the co-pilot's seat, flicking several switches on the console before the Cortex connection cleared and the slightly shell-shocked face of Mr Universe appeared. The Cortex hacker turned distracted eyes to Mal and mumbled a greeting before his eyes moved back to his monitors and the wealth of crimes against humanity and classified information that filled his screens.

"There ain't no time for whatever it is you're doing, Mr Universe. You got Reavers coming at ya."
Mr Universe glanced disinterestedly at Mal for a moment before he waved the man off, typing something into the keyboard. Almost instantly, the Alliance Operative's grim face appeared and Mal took an involuntary step back in shock before anger filled him.

"What in the Hell are you doing on this line? You're there ain't you? Its not gorram enough that you kill all our friends, now you gotta go after the only man this side of the verse can let out a secret like this to protect them hundans back in the core?"
A muscle twitched in the Operative's jaw and he opened his mouth to speak before closing it. Glancing off to his side, the Operative nodded to something said offscreen and stepped aside. The face of Revan Qel-Droma filled the screen, his Alliance bodyarmor visible, though he lacked the helmet that lay on the floor near Mr Universe's chair. Revan's dark brown eyes flickered briefly over Mal's face before they turned to the rest of Serenity's visible crew.
"I know I may look like an Alliance Marine at the moment but I can assure you I am not, Captain. My name is-"
Revan's confident and likely rehearsed speech came to a jarring halt and he choked slightly, his eyes widening when his wife's features took command of the Cortex connection.

"Erm. Bastila? Its- You look good, love."
Revan smiled nervously at Bastila's dark expression. The Jedi Knight's gray eyes flickered over his features a moment before hardening into twin and unmoved stones and the former General couldn't quite supress a shudder as his wife spoke to him directly for the first time in nearly four years.

"Four years. Four bloody years and that is all you have to say to me, Revan! I should very well leave you to your fate you insufferable bastard! You left me! Your left our- our daughter, you left the Republic and the Jedi and even those bloody Sith you created and for what!? Is your conscience clear now, husband? Has trying to destroy your family and your own life made up for the countless ones Darth Revan claimed?"
Revan didn't avert his eyes. Instead of showing shame for his actions or cringing away from his wife's anger or simply meeting it with anger he responded in the only way he could after what he'd heard.

"You're so cute when you're angry, love. Your nose scrunches up just like a Kinrath pup's!"
Revan smiled fondly at the flushed and incredulous face on the screen before him, his laughter joining that of his wife's when she finally overcame her shock. It was why they worked so well. The bond they shared made it nearly impossible for them to be seperated completely and despite his actions, Revan loved his wife and his then unborn daughter when he had left them. It was important for his own sanity to make peace with the Dark Lord within his mind and knowing that he would never hurt his wife with his own hands, even if they were controlled by the Lord of Revenge and not the Prodigal Knight was the true purpose behind his self-imposed exile.

"You were right though, Bastila."
Revan began in a hesitant voice. The Jedi Knight frowned after she regained her composure, her brow furrowing slightly in concern as she turned her full focus on her husband's features. She could see he had changed and it wasn't just because of the Academy. She could sense the Dark Lord, just as she had on the brigde of Darth Revan's flagship years before and while she had expected it, it still sent a chill down Bastila's spine.

"I couldn't win."
The voice was not that of the Prodigal Knight, but the Lord of Revenge and Bastila started at the tone. Equally pissed off and amused. It was the same tone a Mandalorian had when they got beaten in a battle circle by a superior opponent. One part respect and one part resentment. A decidedly neutral emotion passed over Revan's features for a moment before he turned a curious glance to his left.

Revan stated with a grimace, his eyes flickering between the Alliance Operative and his wife.

"You called here for a reason I take it? Aside from wanting to stare at my handsome face?"
The sarcasm in Revan's voice was apparent and Bastila felt a smile tug at the corner of her lips. She'd missed her husband's sarcasm as much as she loathed it.

"That signal you sent out brought a lot of attention to y'all. Not the kind a body'd like, I reckon you got inside four hours afore you get your space filled with a bunch of rape-happy skin-eating hundans."
The Operative blanched at Malcolm Reynold's warning. He'd proven himself an enemy to the man, but the former Browncoat was going out of his way to warn them, even if revenge was an attractive alternative. Revan seemed to be having a wordless conversation in his own mind so the Operative took control of the situation.

"Thank you Captain Reynolds. I will be certain to have the battle group prepared for their arrival... I- I think I speak for all of us here when I say it is time to start righting some of the wrongs we've done."
Mal glared at the Operative, saying nothing to the man before he reached out to terminate the connection. The Captain's entire body froze, an unseen force holding him in place and the former Browncoat stared incredulously at his own unmoving hand before he was bodily pulled back by a woman half his size.
"Revan listen to me. I can feel what you're thinking and its- well, its deplorable. Just let the others handle the fighting."
Revan rolled his eyes at his wife, crossing his arms in annoyance as he glared sullenly at the screen before him.

"I can kill quite a few of those ships before they even reach the fleet, dear. I think its pretty much a sacred calling to kill... Reavers. Disgusting creatures, let me say."

Bastila's face carefully lost expression and Revan cringed mentally before flinching under his wife's stare.

"You know I wasn't talking about the Reavers, Revan. Or did you forget the bond we share? Leave Blue Sun to us, Revan. We have a fleet the size of the one you took from Malachor V coming and it will be here within a few short days due to the bloody impossibility of the Hyperspace routes in this region of the galaxy. Leave them to us, Revan."

Taking in a steadying and calming breath, Revan looked down to the ground for a moment before glancing back up into the screen and into his wife's eyes.

"Can I just kill a few of them? Please?"
Rolling her eyes at her husband's petulant tone, Bastila shook her head and reached out to cut off the connection, offering a warning to her husband before she killed the link.

"Blue Sun and the Alliance will pay for their crimes. We will not lower ourselves to their level, Revan. Besides, the prison colony on Kessel is hardly a vacation resort."
Mollified slightly at the thought of those behind the Academy and Miranda suffering on Kessel, Revan relaxed and nodded to his wife before the Cortex connection went black. Without pausing, Revan glanced towards the Operative and offered his own sollution to the problem.
"I still say we kill them all. As violently and as painfully as the situations allow. Their continued existance is an affront to those they made suffer. Are we in agreement?"
Knowing that only a handful would actually survive the chaos the broadcasts from Miranda and Mr Universe's moon would unleash upon the verse the Operative smiled slightly at Revan, nodding his agreement to his companion's sentiment. Trials were a waste of money and time better spent repairing the damage done by those responsible for such attrocities and a blade would offer a more direct form of justice. Not a hero's justice or one of a morally upstanding Jedi Knight, but one that a trained assassin and a former Dark Lord of the Sith could agree upon.

"You reap what you sew."
The Operative said quietly to himself, smiling calmly as he motioned the Marines with him to make preparations to meet the Reavers in orbit.