Here Be Dragons (Part IX)
Saturday, May 29, 2004

In aftermath of the fighting the colonists get a reality check and the crew cleans up


Disclaimer – Everything either does belong to Joss or it should. I’m just borrowing his shiny ‘verse for a while.

The 21st Lancers belong to the British Army so I’m borrowing them too. I hope they don’t mind.

Thanks to my regular readers for making it worthwhile to continue the story and special thanks to my Proof-Reader terribletink

* * *

Colony Dome – Revelation – 2520AD

Mal put his hand against the airlock. ‘Seems cold enough,’ he said.

‘Should be,’ Jayne replied. ‘The holes I cut in her from outside should have put out any fires, and she’d sure cool down fast in these parts.’

‘Open her up,’ Mal ordered, and Zoe hit the airlock release. Book had already deactivated the overrides that prevented local opening and closing of the colony locks.

The thick doors slid open to a pitch black void on the other side. Air rushed in from the Dome to replace the frigid, thin gas that filled the ship. The power must have failed on the Reaver ship, which was not too surprising.

‘You sure there’s nothing alive over there Captain?’ Jayne asked, fingering his shotgun nervously.

‘River says not,’ Mal replied. ‘But keep your wits about you.’

Jayne pulled the night-vision goggles down over his eyes again and slowly made his way towards the Reaver ship with Zoe close behind, each of them against opposite sides of the airlock tunnel until Jayne finally stepped gingerly inside the ship itself.

‘This thing is a rutting mess, Sir,’ Zoe announced. ‘Looks like Steve triggered secondary explosions in here and they were hauling fuel. There’s the remains of a couple of Mules in here so I reckon it was methanol or maybe biodiesel.’

‘Atmo holding okay?’

‘Hey Cap, I did it right. Slapped a patch on the holes after smoke stopped coming out of them,’ Jayne protested.

‘No offence meant,’ Mal responded, following on behind. ‘Yeah this’ll do,’ he said, looking around at the burnt bay, ‘plenty of room.’

‘We sure this’ll work?’ Zoe asked.

‘Easiest solution I can come up with. Dump all the bodies in here, drag the gorram ship away, then ditch it.’

‘It’s a big ship Sir.’

‘Wash says Granite has the thrust to do it easy in this gravity.’

‘Cable take the strain?’ Jayne asked.

‘Monomolecular fibre weave,’ Wash told him, appearing alongside Mal. ‘You could pick up the dome with it, well if you had the thrust.’

‘So are we stripping this Junker for parts?’ Zoe asked.

Mal frowned. ‘Don’t really want Kaylee on board this thing,’ he said. ‘Don’t know what we’ll find.’

‘I can do that,’ Wash told him. ‘I know what to look for, and I don’t want her on this thing either.’

‘Could be a mite unpleasant,’ Mal warned.

Wash looked at him. ‘I can handle it,’ he said.

‘Okay, you do that. Keep alert though,’ Mal ordered. ‘Zoe, Jayne, we’ll be shifting bodies.’

‘How come I get the gôu pì jobs? Why don’t we leave this for the locals anyhow?’

‘Because I say so. Anyhow, Doc, Shepherd, and Steve are already on it.’

Jayne’s expression was less than happy. ‘Some of those stiffs are gonna be right messy and lots of them downright crispy.’

‘Wear gloves,’ Zoe told him.

‘It’s alright for you two. You’ve done this before a lot.’

‘Too much,’ Zoe replied. ‘At least they ain’t ripe yet and that’s when it gets nasty.’

Mal winced, remembering the Valley. Half a million corpses in one place -- this was a picnic by comparison even if the Reavers did look like something from a horror film.

‘It’s easy. Put down a sheet. Roll them in and dump it on the back of the mule. Stack ‘em up, roll it in here, and dump ‘em. Most of the damage was bullets or burns, so we shouldn’t be picking up pieces -- just whole lumps,’ Zoe said, smirking inwardly at the expression on Jayne’s face.

‘Where we getting the gorram sheets?’ the Mercenary asked.

‘Steve’s kicking in doors. Locals are going to have a linen shortage for a while.’

Zoe clapped Jayne on the back. ‘Leastways they don’t weigh much here.’

‘Oh yeah, that makes all the rutting difference,’ Jayne moaned and followed the other two back into the dome.

Wash was left alone on the ship. He took a deep breath and shuddered slightly. It was really cold in here and it didn’t smell too good.

The pilot put his oxygen mask on, closed his eyes, and opened them again, his expression changing. There’d be tools down in the engine room most likely, and he’d go straight there.

Wash ignored the decorations on the wall as he pounded down towards his destination. Flayed human skin just wasn’t his idea of high art and neither were the occasional collections of human skulls.

Thank god for the goggles. He doubted he could take this if he wasn’t watching it all sanitised in shades of green.

‘You’ve got to be rutting kidding,’ Wash swore as he came to a hatch. The lever had been replaced by what looked like a human femur.

River said there was nobody on board, but Wash still had his revolver in his hand when he opened the hatch and peeked inside.

The pilot turned, pulled off his mask, and vomited. He leaned against the bulkhead and retched until nothing more came. There was water in his canteen, and he washed out his mouth and splashed water on his face before returning the mask.

Wash pushed the hatch open fully and walked through, heading for the engine room. The butchered remains of human corpses hung on hooks on either side of the passageway.

‘We killed them all,’ he said to himself through clenched teeth. ‘We killed every gorram húndàn one of the yaoguài. Shot them, burned them, blew them all to hell.’

The nightmares would come later. But for now he smiled. ‘We killed every single one of you,’ he called out to the ship. ‘And when we meet your friends we’ll kill them too.’

He reached the far bulkhead and opened the next hatch that led to the engine room.

‘Every single fucking one of you,’ he said quietly to himself.

* * *

Someone pounded on the door, and Inara released the lock to open it. The thick steel door swung open to reveal River standing on the other side. It had been a few hours since the fighting had ended, but Mal had insisted nobody leave the bunker until he wanted them to.

Irving had arrived as the door swung open and was rewarded with the vision of a young woman splattered with blood holding a rifle of some kind and smelling of smoke.

‘Are you okay?’ Inara asked worriedly. ‘Mal said nobody was hurt.’

River smiled. ‘Lots of people were hurt -- just not any of our people,’ she replied. ‘None of this is my blood.’

Inara pulled a silk handkerchief from a pocket and began to wipe the blood marks from Rivers face. ‘You look a sight, my dear,’ she said.

‘How many did you kill?’ Cally asked, provoking a pained look from her mother.

River turned to the eleven year old. ‘Fifty-Three,’ she replied.

Irving gaped. ‘There are over fifty dead men in the dome above us. That’s just…’

Laura began laughing.

Irving spun on the young woman. ‘What is there remotely amusing about the notion of dozens of dead human beings?’

The Academy Graduate grinned up at him. ‘You totally misunderstood her answer. That’s what’s funny. She didn’t mean there’s fifty-three corpses up there. She meant she personally killed that many.’ Laura paused. ‘I could have done better.’

The colony elder blanched. ‘What are you saying?’

‘Total enemy losses well over two hundred not including any killed aboard ships,’ River stated. ‘The Captain is clearing the dead, but it might take a while. He thinks that it would be a touch too hard on you people psychologically to leave it to you.’ River smiled. ‘You’re weak’ she said.

Voices rose in volume around the bunker as the news was relayed. River and Laura could feel the emotion of the colonists, part revulsion, part disbelief.

‘I’m heading up to the surface,’ Irving said and moved to get past River.

She sidestepped to block him.

‘The Captain says he wants everyone to stay here for a few more hours.’

‘I don’t care what that Pirate wants. I’m going to the surface to see what you’ve done.’ Irving tried to push past River, but she stood her ground.

‘The Captain says…’

‘Get out of my way’


Irving moved again. River took a step back and, in a fluid motion, raised and aimed her Wolverine Carbine at him, dramatically pulling back the bolt and loading a round into the chamber. ‘The Captain says stay, you stay,’ she stated simply.

Colonists started to move towards the scene. This could get very unpleasant any second. Kaylee looked around in horror. This wasn’t good at all she thought.

The clack-clack sound of another weapon being cocked drew everyone’s attention. To Inaras’ surprise, Jennifer was holding her sub-machine-gun and was trying to strike a menacing pose following River’s lead. She didn’t want to hurt anybody but was hoping like hell intimidation might save the day.

‘If you shoot a few of them, the rest will run away,’ Laura commented helpfully.

‘That gets my vote,’ Cally called out from where she was sitting. Kaylee had put her own sub-machine gun down when the fighting stopped, and Cally had surreptitiously moved to where she could get to it first. If the crazed superstitious locals tried anything, the eleven year old was more than prepared to finish it. She had spotted the teacher who had beaten her with a strap only days before, and he was well within range. This could all turn out surprisingly well.

‘Shut up,’ Inara told her. ‘Elder Irving, River is not bluffing, and she will obey the Captain’s orders because he is the Captain. We are not going to hold you here indefinitely, just for a little while longer. Is that really worth the prospect of more bloodshed?’

‘I am in charge here,’ Irving announced.

‘Not today,’ River told him. She looked into his eyes. ‘Yesterday you were, and tomorrow you will be, but not today.’

Irving tried to match her gaze for a while but couldn’t. There was something in her eyes, something dark and terrible.

‘What gives you the right?’

River smiled gently. ‘Some might say that political power comes from a barrel of a gun,’ she said.

The Colony Leader scowled and stamped off, leaving River standing in the doorway. She took a step forward, slammed it shut behind her then sat down cross-legged in front of it, her Carbine cradled in her arms.

Kaylee knelt down beside her. ‘Are you alright?’

‘No, I’m mostly wrong, but I try to be right,’ River replied. ‘It’s difficult for me to judge sometimes though, that’s why I obey the Captain when I’m not sure.’

‘Because he always knows what’s right and wrong?’

River shook her head. ‘No, that’s easy,’ she said. ‘It’s because he knows how to choose the least wrong.’

The telepath turned and looked over to Cally then directed her gaze back to the mechanic. ‘Go and get your weapon,’ she said.

Kaylee turned and saw it was just lying on a table near Cally and gaped. ‘I never thought,’ she said. ‘The children might get hurt,’ she said, and scurried to retrieve the sub-machine gun.

Under her breath River muttered to herself, ‘It’s not Cally I’m afraid for.’ She looked at the young girl again who met her gaze quizzically then narrowed her eyes.

River made a mental note that Cally desperately needed to be taught the difference between what was right and what was merely expedient before she got a chance to put her increasingly fascistic personal philosophy into action.

* * *

Steve arrived with another bundle of sheets, which he threw down then moved to help Simon move one of the Reaver bodies. It was badly burned and gave off the smell of scorched flesh and the acrid stench of phosphorus.

‘One of mine I believe,’ the Lancer commented and helped roll the corpse onto the sheet Simon had already lain down. ‘The fear we strike in foemen’s hearts would make a Reaver plead,’ he sang.

Simon looked at him.

‘Lancer Anthem, third verse,’ Steve explained.

‘I know. I hear it most every time you get drunk,’ Simon replied. ‘I’m just astonished you can sing at a time like this.’

Steve grinned. ‘Just happy that I’m alive and they’re not,’ he said and started whistling the tune as he continued working.

The Doctor was trying to keep his professional detachment. It was just a body, nothing he hadn’t seen before.

‘What do you think of them?’ Simon asked, hoping that conversation might keep his mind clear. ‘Reavers I mean.’

‘At the risk of falling into the trap of dehumanising the enemy, they’re vermin. I’ll admit they’re dangerously effective at what they do though. Their reputation and methods are such they terrify the populace far beyond the damage they actually do would really warrant’

Book spoke up. ‘That almost sounds like you respect them.’

‘I don’t shoot a man for being incompetent in the Devil’s work. I shoot him for being competent in it. Admiration for the technique is part of the process,’ Steve replied.

The shepherd looked at him. ‘You have a very adaptable philosophy.’

‘Like I said before, the core of my beliefs is classical liberalism, the maximisation of individual liberty,’ the academic said as he and Simon dumped the Reaver corpse onto the mule. ‘I don’t want to be told what to do, so it’s only fair to treat others likewise. The other side of the coin is that by allowing all viewpoints to be heard there is no unassailable monolithic core of belief to interfere with doing the right thing at the time instead of the right thing generally.’

Talking helped keep the mind away from what they were doing. ‘Sounds slightly anarchic,’ Simon offered.

‘Nope, because I realise that our species isn’t nice enough for anarchy, we need a governmental system to keep the more unpleasant element in check. The trick is limiting the infringement on Liberty to a minimum.’

‘Good trick,’ Book observed. ‘So where do we set the limits?’

‘Hey, I only taught this stuff. Don’t come looking to me for answers. I’ve just got theory to offer,’ Steven responded grinning. ‘In simple terms there are three political traditions and everyone takes a bit from each.’

‘What are you talking about?’ Mal said, arriving with Zoe and Jayne. The mercenary looked at the pile of bodies and already looked fairly queasy.


‘Again?’ Mal said despondently, shaking his head.

‘Do I complain when you talk about being a ship’s Captain?’ Steve asked.

Mal rolled his eyes. ‘Yes you darn well do.’

The academic frowned. ‘I promise not to moan the next time, okay.’ Steve turned to Jayne who did not look happy. ‘We need more sheets if you want to do that instead of me?’ he offered.

‘Hey I’m in charge here,’ Mal pointed out.

‘Then you take him so he can throw up on you,’ Simon observed, eliciting a glare from Jayne. The big mercenary considered himself far tougher than the Doctor, and it grated that his medical training meant he was generally less squeamish though.

Mal considered for a second then looked across to the mercenary. ‘Go and collect sheets,’ he ordered. ‘After that start collecting weapons and ammo.’

‘They’ll need cleaning the blood off them,’ Jayne said despondently.

‘No problem then. Hand me that crispy looking arm over there instead,’ Mal ordered.

Jayne baulked at the thought. ‘I’ll find a rag and a bucket,’ he said then went to carry out his new jobs.

‘Okay, as I was saying there are three basic traditions. Conservatism, Liberalism and Socialism,’ Steve said, continuing to work. ‘The first puts order ahead of everything else, the second freedom, and the third equality. To give you a real-world example, the Alliance is primarily the heir of the conservative tradition although its capitalist leanings are a product of classical liberal economics…’

Mal did his best to tune Steve out as he worked with Book. They really needed to find a college out here where he could leave Steve for a few days to teach his subject. He was clearly going though withdrawal symptoms due to not having bored a class of students to death for way too long.

Could be a whole lot worse though. A sermon from Book at the moment might lead to needing another sheet to wrap the Shepherd in. Well at least the gravity was low, which made this easier than it had been all the other times he’d cleared up after a battle.

Zoe worked quietly and mechanically. She had no need to talk to take away some of the unpleasantness of the task. Nor did she need to let her mind wander as Mal was wont to do. Instead she just disengaged from the verse completely and got on with it.

In reality she was the psychologically toughest person here. She just needed other people to stop her soul going empty in the process.

* * *

The bunker door slid open and Mal Reynolds stepped inside. River greeted him with a nod and he had to raise his hands to stop Inara greeting him with a hug. Despite some admittedly half-hearted cleaning efforts, he was still liberally splashed in blood.

‘Elder Irving, can you and the rest of the leadership please come here,’ River called out.

Mal looked at her. ‘Please don’t read my mind and say what I’m going to say before I do. It’s annoying.’

‘Sorry Captain.’

‘Kaylee. Shadow says he’s in a mess. I want you to put on an EVA suit and get over to him. He’s grounded by the Western Lock.’

‘Yes Captain,’ the mechanic responded. ‘Do you know how bad he’s beaten up?’

Mal shook his head. ‘If he’d told me I still wouldn’t know. Just go look for yourself,’ he paused. ‘Said something about running without containment though, so get some pills from the Doc and use a Geiger before going anywhere.’

‘Can I get parts from the Reaver ships?’

The Captain shook his head. ‘Anything you want ask Wash and he’ll get it for you.’

‘But it’s quicker to get it myself and…’

Mal addressed her sternly. ‘You will not go aboard any Reaver ship. Wash will get any part you need. He’s already scavenging engine and computer parts out already.’


‘Why am I still talking to you? Go do exactly what I said and be quick about it.’

‘Yes Captain.’ Kaylee agreed quietly and collected her things.

‘Where is my Steven and the others?’ Jennifer asked.

‘Resting up. Steve said he wanted to wash before seeing you and the children.’

Jennifer looked at him. ‘But you came down here,’ she said.

‘He looks worse, kinda got stuck into the task at hand,’ Mal replied. The Lancer had surprised him with the way he seemed unfazed by the messier parts of the clean-up detail. When he’d commented, Steven had told him that during the war he’d frequently had to clean dead crews out of wrecked Excaliburs so they could be either repaired or stripped for parts. Compared with handling the burnt flesh of your comrades in arms after it had been in a metal box in the sun for a few days, moving dead Reavers didn’t bother him in the least. The infantry don’t get all the crap jobs.

‘I see,’ Jennifer responded. ‘At least he didn’t get hurt for once.’

Mal nodded. ‘If he gets any more wounds he’ll be scarring his scars. Good thing he was in tanks because I’m beginning to think he’s a bullet magnet.’

Jennifer smiled. ‘I’ll get back to the children,’ she said, leaving Inara alone with her man. River was talking to Laura.

When Jennifer left earshot Mal leaned over to Inara and spoke quietly. ‘You know we found out afterwards he actually did get shot today, it just bounced clean off that big-ass flak-jacket he wears.’

Inara paled. ‘How close?’

‘Couple of inches higher and we’d have had a widow and three fatherless kids on the boat,’ Mal replied.

‘I’m glad he’s okay. I’m glad you’re all okay,’ Inara said, tears forming. ‘I thought you were going to die.’

‘Don’t be ridiculous woman. I’m too pretty and everyone else is too stubborn.’

‘So you’re not too stubborn yourself then,’ Inara asked with the wisp of a smile forming.

Mal looked thoughtful. ‘Okay. I’ll give you too pretty and too stubborn.’

* * *

A short distance away River was still talking to the other telepath. Mainly out loud but with an element of more direct communication. The more they did so the better at it they were getting. Laura had told her it was the same with other Academy “students.” You just got used to picking up their specific brainwaves after a while.

‘What did you think of the Reavers anyway?’ River asked the younger girl. ‘I’ll bet you’ve never heard thoughts like that before.’

‘And you have?’

‘Run into them a few times before. Still can’t really get to grips with them though.’

Laura nodded. ‘No coherent pattern. Too much insanity and rage.’ She paused. ‘They would have massacred this colony.’


Laura looked at her. ‘This is an example of why the Alliance is necessary. Only a strong centralised authority can keep such renegades in check.’

‘Those who sacrifice liberty for order deserve neither,’ River observed. ‘Please note that despite Unification the Reavers are still an ongoing threat on the Rim and they seem to be getting stronger and more widespread not less.’

‘And it would have been different if the Independents had won I suppose?’

River nodded. ‘The Independent Worlds would have likely redeployed their militaries to deal with the Reavers because they would have been a direct threat to their own. The Core Worlds don’t care less, which is why there aren’t Alliance Cruisers hunting them down. It would cost too much money.’

‘Nice theory,’ Laura observed dismissively.

River grinned. ‘When we’ve won we’ll show you.’

* * *

It had taken the threat of violence to subdue the leadership when they stepped out into the dome and observed the damage. The smoke was almost clear now and the shattered remains of buildings were there for all to see, along with the smell of death and the charred remains of people and property.

After getting them back in line at bayonet point, Mal led them to the Reaver ship and warned them it wasn’t going to be pretty. Wash had managed to get the internal lighting back on, so the full horror was there for the colonists to witness.

The pile of Reaver corpses dumped in the bay was the first thing they saw. Several were unable to stomach it.

A couple of the more intact corpses had been left to one side so Mal could point out some of the invaders’ more interesting habits. The items of clothing made of human skin worked like cow leather was a case in point along with the self-inflicted scarring and the teeth, which appeared to have been filed into points.

They had not wanted to go on, but Captain Mal Reynolds had made up his mind to give the colonists a serious reality check and made them continue.

A pyramid of human skulls wired together as decoration was a homely touch, Mal observed. Gave the place sorta a lived-in feeling didn’t they think?

Then he showed them the “meat storage” Wash had found.

Later as Wash went to retrieve Serenity and Granite Gorge and whilst Kaylee continued to assess the damage to Shadow, others on the crew were busy elsewhere.

Mal stood on a table in the bunker. ‘We’ll be going in a few days. We’ve got that length of time for this so you’d better learn fast.’ He held something up.

‘This is an Independent M1 Assault-Rifle, and was standard issue during the war. A good number of the Reavers were carrying them, and they are the easiest of the captured weapons to teach you to use. We are leaving several dozen of these rifles with you, and you will learn how to strip, reassemble and fire these weapons.’

‘And we have ways of making sure you learn,’ Zoe called out. It was like drilling raw recruits again, and she struck the pose she had used back in the way when educating teenage recruits.

Simon and a few others were observing from a distance. ‘I guess they decided that turn the other cheek wasn’t likely to work with Reavers if they head this way again.’

‘A pacifist approach only works if your opponent has some inkling that you have a right to live in the first place. If he thinks you’re his next meal, being unarmed just puts you in the pot faster. There’s an old phrase. Trust in the Lord. But keep your powder dry,’ Book observed.

‘Mal Reynolds’ happy crew, militarising the galaxy one planet at a time,’ Simon said, raising a glass. ‘Makes you proud.’ He said feigning to wipe a tear from his cheek.

Cally was listening in. ‘The ‘verse was better off when they were unarmed. Now they’re dangerous,’ she stated and then stomped off to her brother and sister.

Book watched girl walk away. Considering how she had been treated, her obvious hatred of the colonists was understandable although one so young should not have such feelings. It was sad.

Cally sat down next to her little brother and helped herself to one of the blocks of protein substitute on the table. It was supposedly orange flavoured but wasn’t. Well it was only fuel after all.

John must have wanted a cuddle because he moved close and she put her arm around him. Their mother was talking with their father and he didn’t want to disturb them. ‘Are you okay Cally? You don’t look it,’ Claire-Marie asked.

‘I’m fine. I just don’t like it here,’ she replied.

‘Me neither,’ John said. ‘I want to go home. I want to be back on Serenity.’

‘Wash is collecting the ships. We can go back soon but we’ll be grounded until Kaylee can patch up Shadow,’ Claire-Marie said. ‘I hope he’s not too badly hurt.’

‘He is an “It” and it doesn’t get hurt, it gets damaged,’ Cally pointed out.

Her little sister pouted. ‘Shadow is smart and he’s one of us. He’s saved us lots of times.’

‘Because it has to, it’s programmed that way.’

‘Like Laura. River says she was programmed too,’ John said. ‘Maybe we can get her to join the crew too.’

‘Mummy says she’s dangerous,’ Claire-Marie pointed out.

Cally looked at her sister. ‘So is Shadow. The idea is to make the danger to other people not us.’

‘Is that why you’ve been nicer to her then?’ Claire-Marie asked.

‘Cally’s smart,’ John said and cuddled up to his big sister.

‘I just want to look out for the crew like the crew looks out for us,’ Cally replied. She smiled. ‘Daddy says the school is full of bullet holes.’

‘Good,’ Claire-Marie said and reached for a protein cube. ‘Daddy should have blown it up for what they did to you.’

‘Uncle Book says two wrongs don’t make a right,’ John said.

Cally grimaced. ‘Uncle Book says a lot of weird things.’

Part X


Saturday, May 29, 2004 7:34 AM


Loved this, and as for giving the colonists a reality check, about gorram time too! Lots of good stuff and I especially adore the way you write River. Very shiny, like the words inside a stick of rutting seaside rock it goes all the way through gorramit,
Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, May 29, 2004 7:53 AM


I think you finally hinted at something I've been wondering for a while. As the crew gets more and more desensitized to all this killing, and they spend more time away from other people, whats to keep them from becoming just 'nothing' as the Revers are. What really separates it?

Oh well, I'm sure you'll get into that in one of the future installments.

Otherwise, shiny as always.

Sunday, May 30, 2004 2:33 AM


Fabulous as always, Hotpoint. Wonderfully predictable character growth, the result of the continued violence. I like when you visit with each of the characters for a few lines. Were I to complain, it would only be because you don't write enough!

Sunday, May 30, 2004 4:37 AM


As ever, Hotpoint, very entertaining and thought provoking...
‘No, I’m mostly wrong, but I try to be right,’ River replied. ‘It’s difficult for me to judge sometimes though, that’s why I obey the Captain when I’m not sure.’
‘Because he always knows what’s right and wrong?’
River shook her head. ‘No, that’s easy,’ she said. ‘It’s because he knows how to choose the least wrong.’

Shiny...Thank you, HP

Sunday, May 30, 2004 10:40 PM


There were many great lines and moments reading through that I wanted to mention in this comment, then I'd run across another, and another, excellent one (River's about the captain choosing the least wrong). My favorite, ultimately, was about Zoe: "In reality she was the psychologically toughest person here. She just needed other people to stop her soul going empty in the process." Very fine character assessment. Also enjoyed the political commentaries and abiguities--made me want to debate! Liked Book's comment about the pacifist approach the best. Thanks for sharing your writing!


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Horse, Foot and Artillery (Part XX)
The Independents lift for a return to the Valley

Horse, Foot and Artillery (Part XIX)
As they train for the Campaign to liberate Hera the soldiers of the Independent military continue to go about their daily lives.

Horse, Foot and Artillery (Part XVIII)
Mal faces a worse fate than he ever imagined, Serenity has an image change and Cally adjusts to life back on Toulouse

Horse, Foot and Artillery (Part XVII)
After the initial Independent blitzkreig the Second War of Independence continues with the Alliance still reeling and the Browncoats starting to consolidate their position

Horse, Foot and Artillery (Part XVI)
Scylla and Charybdis show the Alliance Navy what real warships are made of

Horse, Foot and Artillery (Part XV)
After the skirmishing the Battle of Toulouse begins

Horse, Foot and Artillery (Part XIV)
Mal Reynolds takes his "Valley Wolves" into action as the fighting on Toulouse escalates

Horse, Foot and Artillery (Part XIII)
The Independent Navy takes the fight to the Core while Mal Reynolds takes his new troops into action on Toulouse

Horse, Foot and Artillery (Part XII)
Unification Day 2522 goes not as expected

Horse, Foot and Artillery (Part XI)
Reunions and opening gambits