{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.
Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copies left
You can choose from our best books below
Duciris would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

The Devil You Don't…

By Duciris

Thriller / Scifi

Chapter 3

is seemingly unaware as Malcolm enters the room. The Alliance officer is sitting in a rolling chair beside the podium. His polished boots are crossed on the expansive desk that commands the main stage of the dimly lit room.

Captain Reynolds saunters down the steps of the nearest aisle, past rows of empty seats, moving in such a way as to communicate that he has all the time in the world. Neither man believe it.

Richard Unicorn raises his head as the captain nears the bottom step. He seems unmotivated to make any further effort. His face is a collection of hard lines and sharp features. He looks more cut out of stone than flesh and blood, but a day’s stubble betrays this illusion.

The Captain walks onto the stage, the large desk separating him from the officer. “Odd choice for a meeting,” Reynolds’ says through barely better than gritted teeth.

The man shrugs, completely at ease, “No Alliance representative would be on campus this late. None that couldn’t be bought, leastways. Heck, even teachers don’t congregate in lecture halls after hours,” the man swings his head to one side as a grin, like that of a well-fed crocodile, sweeps across his handsome face, “and didn’t you come here to learn something?”

The Captain, visibly frustrated, tries to remain all but the anxious he feels, “I was told you might be able to help me.”

“Ah,” Unicorn conceals his teeth, but his grin never leaves. He uses a finger flips open a folder on the desk. He reads, “Captain Malcolm Reynolds. Current bounties include one for threatening a man of the cloth.” At this, the smuggler lets out a puff if air that could be a laugh. “Vandalizing a senator’s hot tub.”

“I thought that would wash out.”

“Smuggling twenty-three giant tortoises--”

“Twenty-two,” Malcolm interjects quickly, “One of them died en route.” A hint of a smile crosses his face, in spite of his anger.

Richard looks up at him with a raised eyebrow. “They’re supposed to be a delicacy.”

“I’m sure I wouldn’t know.” The captain says and looks away.

“Mm-hmm. Modus operandi involve firearms, explosives and a Mark IV Firefly-47. Status…at large.” He closes the folder, taking his feet off of the desk for the first time, and looks at Malcolm seriously for a long moment.

“Contemplating if I’m worth bringing in?” Malcolm asks, breaking the silence.

Richard leans back in his chair, “No. I already know you aren’t worth enough of a pat on the head to me from the Alliance. Maybe the ’Verse would be different if they payed their own people enough to not look the other way? Regardless, I can think of a few more lucrative uses for the captain of a Firefly with limited scruples.”

“What do you have in mind?”

“Well, if we begin to haggle, we could be here hours,” he says casually, “and we both know you don’t have that kind of time.”

“I’m not just going to owe some Alliance bootlick a favor.”

“Than it was a pleasure speaking with you.”

Frustrated, the Captain steels himself and replies, “Or I could go the Alliance myself. Tell them of all the limitations of their incentivizing.”

Unicorn laughs, “He’ll still die, and do you believe you’ll be able to keep out of the gallows yourself?” Mal audibly grinds his teeth at that. “The offer is on the table as long as he still draws breath. Figuratively. I will be taking it with me when I leave, but that’s unimportant.”

Taking a deep breath and letting it out, Captain Reynolds acquiesces, “Deal.”

The officer pulls at something unseen, and draws a sizable shipping container from under the desk. Sliding it across the desk, he says, “You’ll be hearing from me again.”

“When?”

“When I have need of you.”

Reynolds turns and leaves Richard Unicorn and the room.

***

Zoë steps back from the door as a brooding form holding a shipping crate brushes past her. She locks the door, which chirps to indicate successful pressurization. She turns toward the form as it walks toward the main staircase to the second floor. “Do we have a course?”

Three sets of eyes flick from her to the form. Another deep breath, “We do.”

***

They are gathered around the kitchen table as the hum of the ship reverberates against the nothingness of space. The table is cluttered with the contents of Unicorn’s container, along with the elbows of the Serenity’s crew.

“I don’t think these are forgeries,” Simon says, holding an ident card near his face.

“I’m pretty sure I don’t work for the Alliance’s forced labor camps.” Zoë retorts.

“No. Me neither,” Simon answers, “but I think these cards are real.”

“Let me see one of those.” Simon hands the stack cards to Shepherd Book, who palms through them and confirms, “Hmm. You’re right. I’d say these are authentic cards. If they scan these, this integrated chips will give you positive access.”

“And you know this how?” inquires Zoë, but Book only shrugs.

Simon continues a thought, “Also, the Cider Factory isn’t a government-run slave labor camp--” Several people interrupt him at once.

“I think you’re going to have a hard sell convincing any one in here of that, Son,” the shepherd comments, “but I know the pamphlet you’re citing.”

River laughs, having taken Simon’s false ID from Book. “This is of you when you were a doctor.”

“Yeah. It’s my medical identification photo from my old hospital on Osiris.”

“No it’s not. It’s the photo of you when you used the scanners on Ariel to check inside my brain.”

“What?” Inara asks, taking Mal’s card from Book.

Kaylee, looking over Inara’s shoulder exclaims, “It is. This is the one I took of you, Captain.”

“Oh. Good. So now the Alliance has photos of us that we took ourselves,” Wash nervously crows.

“They did walk into a government facility with those on,” Book counters.

“バカロ。” Mal comments of himself. [Editor’s Note: This is Japanese]

Inara pauses, “Wait, I thought you didn’t have an ident card on Ariel, Simon?”

“I didn’t. We were in a restricted lab, though,” Simon says, thoughtfully, “they must have pulled this off the security loop.”

“Won’t we be doing that again? Walking into a restricted government facility, I mean,” questions Zoë.

“Yeah, but this time they already have our photos,” Wash adds.

“Darn,” comments the captain, “I was hoping they’d get a full album.”

Wash chuckles, “Or a whole flip book. You know, for Jayne.”

Instead of laughter, silence overcomes the room, and the hums of the ship are heard again.

Wash breaks his own silence first, “Not to bring this up again, but are we really--”

“It’s not up for discussion.” Malcolm cuts him off, coldly.

Wash breaks the silence again, “Why not? If I’d been caught, he’d discuss it.”

“And the difference would be, that I would be not listening to him, instead of not listening to you,” the captain responds firmly.

This time, Zoë breaks the silence, “So, we put on these costumes--”

“Uniforms,” Wash interrupts.

“Thank you, Dear.” Zoë starts again, “So we put on these costumes,” snickering is heard from the group, including Wash’s own, “and the ident cards and we go into a – debatably – forced labor camp and bust him out?”

“Retrieve,” Book corrects. “The Cider Factory is often used to interrogate prisoners. You will be officers sent to retrieve him under special assignment. They don’t need to know why. Those papers,” he gestures at a folder from Unicorn’s parcel, “are all the authority you need.”

“And…they’re supposed to walk there?” Inara questions.

“We can land with the Serenity,” Book answers. “This kind of work, it’s not on the Alliance’s books. You’ll actually be wearing your normal clothing over the armor – sorry, costumes. The ident cards will be in your pockets.”

Wash waits a moment and when nothing more is coming, he asks, “And that’s it?”

“Yes,” the shepherd responds.

Wash waits again, before, “Well I like it. I don’t think anything can wrong here.”

“Dear,” Zoë begins.

“He’s right.” Mal looks at Book, “We’re supposed to risk my whole crew on this? And that’s all that we’re working with?”

“For Jayne,” Wash adds.

“Wash,” Malcolm groans.

“And we get to owe this Unicorn guy?” Inara adds.

“I’ve never seen a Unicorn. Was he majestic?” Kaylee asks.

“He was,” Malcolm muses whimsically, his eyes cast upwards in remembrance, “sitting in his Alliance Uniform and extorting us to save the life of a friend.”

“Or Jayne,” Zoé adds.

“Who is a friend,” Inara counters. “Are you sure he isn’t just setting us up?”

“I get the feeling he isn’t. If he were, he’d have asked me for payment in advance.”

“Point,” Wash agrees. “So, just set a course? Do we tell them we’re coming?”

“No need,” Book answers. Then, “For the wave, you will need to set a course.”

“Captain?” Wash asks expectantly.

“Set a course and make ready,” Captain Reynolds replies, “We’ll get set once we’re underway.”

Wash makes his way to the bridge. He begins his work by toggling up the moon of Nautilus and setting a periapsis. Thinking to himself, ’I am a leaf on the wind, watch how I

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Duciris
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

Pablo Rojas: Love the story, at the end it is a western story, simple, yet giving hints and pieces of the situation that is happening all over ravencroft´s universe. easy to read and always keeping with the main stream story I want to keep reading about, Olafson´s adventures.

Chevonne Prinsloo: I loved this book.. I didn't want to stop reading it! just my kind of book... I really love how the plot of the story carries along. I hope there are more books to follow after this one! I like the way she describes how Rogue is feeling and the way she shows the emotions going through Rogu. I als...

Schaelz: I was intrigued from the second I started reading, and it kept my interest the whole way through. Chelsea has a way with words that will enchant you until the very end. She is very poetic with the way she mixes genres and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The main character is also very relat...

Ding Fernando: very nice read.so realistic you can hardly put it down,i really like the character so human despite posessing immortality and eternal youth.though i would prefer a better ending..i still love this novel and i am recommending it to all sci fi fans to give it a try .you will love it too!!

Dina Husseini: It was a great hook. I do not like reading scifi because they end up being like all the rest but this one kept me wanting more.

jigglypuff314: Feeling sad that you can't watch your harem hentai in class? This is the book for you! No one will suspect a thing (other than your boner) as you scroll through pages of some of the best porn you'll ever be able to imagine!Spectacular details and a wonderful tug of emotions, you won't know whethe...

harry142018: This story was gripping and very professionally written. With lots of twists and slight of hand tricks, the author deceives the reader until finally showing their cards at the end. With several subplots all intertwining to create the main plot, this really is an interesting and engaging read.

kim: This is great! Maybe it could just be a little more specific. One of the keys to great writing is describing things in detail. I think you're off to a great start. I wish you much luck.

Marimar Amieva: I just can't believe the story! I absolutely loved it, all of it. The characters and their chemistry between them, and the fact that they are relatable. The story also has some sick plot twists, which I never saw coming. I loved the fact that it is an adorable love story but has its mystery touc...

More Recommendations

Sara Grover: When I first started reading, it was a bit slow; though only because it was so information intense and fast-paced in trying to describe how this complex galactic corporation/government like entity controls known space. I would suggest maybe adding a preface to better educate the reader to help av...

Meri Amber: The plot is creative, fun and addictive! The writing is superb and the characters are really well put together. Definitely highly recommeded!

snowview03: This is the first book I have read on this app and I loved it! When I read the title I thought about the hunger games, but this novel is so much more. Some book have a comparison between other books that fallow like premises so i will do my own: Arena has the compellingly emotional stresses and t...

SandraHan1: This story is very descriptive, with vivid scenes from the very beginning, which made for a good scene setting. I love the symbolism in names, such as “Naysayers”, “Hadd”, etc . The story itself is revolutionary, intriguing, emotional and exciting. I was very pleased to see that there is a happy ...

spooky jedi: Love your story!I really hope more people read this story!Its amazing!! The plot is very unique and different, which is very good to have in a world full of stories. You have very complex and intellectual plot line, with your many loveable character and that hint of 'will they, won't they' is ju...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.