Title: Firefly – The Next Generation
By Nopporn Wongrassamee
Summary: Meanwhile, in the universe next door…
Disclaimer: All properties belong to their respective owners who I am too lazy to look up and list.
Author’s Note: This was originally written after Firefly was canceled, but before the Serenity Movie came out. This is also for all those fans who complained that Joss could have picked a better network than Fox.
“Space, the Black. These are the voyages of the Starship Serenity. Her fourteen episode mission: to explore strange new worlds, shoot folk we just met, and to boldly make deals where no man has made deals before!”
“Sir,” interrupted Lieutenant Washburn. “I hate to interrupt your daily monologue, but an unknown ship is approaching us. As helmsman, it is my duty to point out that it could be a navigation hazard even though space is a vast nothingness in which we could easily dodge anything as puny as a ship.”
“An unknown ship?” Captain Reynolds said thoughtfully. He turned to the woman seated to his right. “What do you make of it, Number One?”
“Sir,” replied First Officer Zoë, “I suggest we get some details. As your executive officer, it is my duty to spare you the drudgery of actually issuing orders, thus justifying my sitting here without so much as a notepad in front of me. Lieutenant Cobb!”
“Scan the other ship.”
“And don’t be scanning the ladies bathroom again,” Zoë continued. “I want know who these guys are, not what they do with their honeys.”
Meanwhile, Captain Reynolds turned to the woman on his left. “Counselor, are you detecting anything?”
“As your resident psychic,” Counselor River Tam replied, “I shall of course report any paranormal input I receive from those beings who by all rights should be too far away from me to perceive clearly or even at all, especially with our own crew right here. Also, as I am a fully licensed psychiatrist, anything I sense is protected by doctor/patient privilege, reducing anything I am allowed to report to uselessly vague drivel.” She closed her eyes. “I sense…”
The Serenity rocked as she was suddenly struck by weapons fire. A panel of unlabeled blinking lights exploded, killing two anonymous crewmembers who were wearing grey.
“I sense hostility,” Counselor Tam concluded.
“Is that a fact?” Captain Reynolds asked as his ship rocked again. Another panel exploded, taking down yet another anonymous crewmember. He looked at his fallen subordinates. “Doctor, how are they?”
“Terminal case of Red Shirt, Captain,” replied Doctor Simon Tam who mysteriously was not in sick bay. He looked down at a corpse, using the toe of his boot to nudge aside the dead man’s collar, exposing the red undershirt. “They’re dead, Mal.”
“Sir, them’s Reavers shootin’ at us!” Lieutenant Cobb announced.
“You sure?” Captain Reynolds asked.
“Of course, sir!” Cobb replied. “Even though I’m a glorified rent-a-cop at a gunnery station I’m not trained to use employing sensors designed more for targeting than examining, I swear on the honor of my orange knit cap, them’s Reavers!”
“Sir!” called out Commander Kay W. Lee as the ship shook again from another hit. A panel exploded right behind her. Miraculously, Lee was untouched, but her two nameless assistants standing on either side of her were not so fortunate. “As Chief Engineer, it is my duty to report to you in person the status of the ship even though it would make more sense for me to be in engineering trying to hold the ship together and reporting by intercom.” She paused, then added as an afterthought, “Oh, and the shields are failing.”
“Right then,” Captain Reynolds said. “I guess we’re gonna hafta fight.”
“Cobb!” Zoë began. “Target the Reaver ship and open…”
“No! You will do no such thing!” exclaimed a finely dressed woman as she breezed onto the bridge.
“Ambassador, good of you to join us,” Captain Reynolds greeted the newcomer. The ship shook again and another panel exploded killing more hapless crewmen wearing red shirts. No one noticed. “Would you be kind enough to elaborate on why we shouldn’t defend ourselves?”
“Captain,” Ambassador Inara Serra said in greeting. “As a certified Ambassador of the United Allied Planets, I act as the voice of Alliance policy as envisioned by some armchair bureaucrat who hasn’t a clue as to what the realities of space exploration and trade entails. As such it is formally my job to advise you on how to interact with alien species when in fact it is really my job to second guess you and to tell you how to do your job.”
“And what does Alliance policy say?” Captain Reynolds asked stiffly.
A random panel exploded, causing more cases of Red Shirt.
“Why, this conflict with the Reavers is all a misunderstanding,” Ambassador Serra said brightly. “We must have done something to provoke them. We just need to talk to them and everything will be all right.”
A panel that had previously exploded- there were only so many panels on the bridge – exploded again, taking several anonymous crewmen who had unobtrusively just arrived to replace their fallen comrades.
“Misunderstanding?!” Captain Reynolds exploded. “They just showed up and started shooting out of the Black! What’s there to misunderstand?”
“I’m sure we must have provoked them somehow,” the Ambassador replied stubbornly. “Further violence will just make the situation worse. We must resolve this peacefully, Captain.”
“Now see here…”
“Ooh,” Counselor Tam moaned. “I sense anger, hatred, ust…”
The ship rocked again. An anonymous crewman dropped dead for no apparent reason.
“Yeah, we know them Reavers are hostile,” Captain Reynolds replied.
“We just have to calm them down,” Ambassador Serra told the Counselor.
“I wasn’t talking about the Reavers,” Counselor Tam muttered, glaring at the Captain and Ambassador.
The ship rocked again from another hit. More crewmen died. None of the regular bridge crew noticed.
“That’s it!” Commander Lee announced excitedly. “Shield’s down!”
Several columns of sparkly lights appeared at the front of the bridge where no one was standing.
“Ooh, pretty,” Commander Lee commented.
“We’re being boarded!” Cobb cried out “I finally get to do my job!”
Humanoid shapes began to slowly form in the columns. This took quite some time. Time enough for the bridge crew to react and draw weapons. In fact, Lieutenant Cobb did in fact have a weapon and reached for it.
“No weapons!” Ambassador Serra ordered. “We must resolve this peacefully!”
Eventually, the shapes resolved themselves into Reavers. The aliens were horribly twisted and disfigured to the human eye. They waved all sorts of sharp implements of pain, axes, swords, spatulas…
“GRAR!” the Reavers roared.
“So, Ambassador,” Captain Reynolds said. “Why doncha go make nice with them?”
“Greetings,” Ambassador Serra said to the Reavers, her demeanor completely unruffled. “Welcome aboard the Alliance starship Serenity. We are peaceful explorers and traders and greet you with open arms. Won’t you be our friends?”
“Ah, jolly good to meet civilized folks hereabouts,” replied the head Reaver. “Isn’t that right, Yancy?”
“Oh, absolutely, Virgil,” agreed the next Reaver. “Definitely not like that Burgess chap. But do these fellows have taste?”
“Yes, a good question,” Virgil replied. He turned to Ambassador Serra. “My dear lady, my friends and I are feeling a might peckish. Would you by chance have something to eat, perhaps something on the fresh and meaty side of the menu?”
“Why, of course,” Ambassador Serra answered, smiling winningly. She glanced down at the dead crewmen carpeting the deck of the bridge. “Why, we just received a fresh consignment of meat…”
The man woke up from bed in a cold sweat, a horrified scream on his lips. It took a minute for him to remember where he was. He was safe at home, in his own bed. Shuddering at the memory of the nightmare, he picked up his phone and quickly dialed a number.
“Marti?” he said when the call was answered. “Yeah, I’ve changed my mind. Forget Paramount. We’re going with Fox.”