Thursday, October 28, 2004

War is never black and white. This series explores the dirty shades of gray that comprise war. Gray streaked with the carmine blood of unknowing pawns that are used by the Powers That Be to enforce their corporate will. So begins the Battle of Serenity Valley - from another perspective...


DISCLAIMER: The 'playground' of Firefly is acknowledged and greatly appreciated by this author. No infringement is intended nor implied. All current characters herein are constructs of the author's imagination, until further notice ; )

The author wishes to thank the following for their contributions to character development and critiquing the massive amount of backstory: MerzadesTroy, SaintJayne, Channain, Ciara, Astriana, PumamanRedux, Geezer and GuildSister. If I forgot anybody - I truly apologize.

This exercise is set up in a TV format - Teaser, 5 Acts and a coda. I hope you enjoy this dive into the Alliance perspective of the Battle of Serenity Valley.

Pray excuse mine scrawl ...


DRAGONFLY Pilot Episode “Procrustean Karma”

TEASER Hera spun on. Weaving knots of fear into her very atmosphere, she anticipated the invaders to her soil. Her populace recognized that this would be the linchpin, the point-of-no-return, the last planet to stand free. They knew if the Alliance tumbled the walls of this last major bastion of the Independent forces, all the bloody sacrifice for the past 6 years will be for naught. The massive Independent armies marshaled in hidden strategic areas of the planet. Crews had dug in and now lie in a tense air of purpose. They anxiously were awaiting the tolling of the bells in quiet and somber reflection. It was ironic that nearly one hundred percent of the assembled soldiery never knew of the treasure that was, at this moment, being secreted in the valley known as Serenity. Never truly understanding the immense price of their failure-to-be.

Upon the highest mountain on Hera, a lonely outpost shivers in the thin frigid wind. Inside warm and idyllic, the Spotter was enjoying the Aurora that was sparkling and dancing in the upper atmosphere tonight. Peering through her scope, she sees the beginnings of a strange protrusion in the multi-hued aurora’s veil. Extensive and gigantic static bolts of indigo fire races across the form that is shattering that veil. “St Elmo’s Fire?!” the Spotter wonders, shocked. Her shock intensifies to gut freezing fear as she realizes what demon has come to devour her world.

Planet-wide and with no preamble, - the alarms shrilled. The Alliance arrived - Time had ended.


Klaxons erupted within the Alert Dorm of the Alliance Carrier Beau Geste. The sheer force blaring from the wall-speakers fairly blasted the sleeping occupants to their feet.

One hundred and twenty Pilots of the Bloody Taipan, clad in their sleek black enviro-suits dove as one towards the open doors of the drop-trams. 2 by 2 and flowing quickly and efficiently into place, they all grasped the handrails. As the last man placed his hand, the tram unlocked and it accelerated downwards to the Sovereign Alliance Mounted Cavalry launch bay, 42 decks below the Alert Dorm.

The trams fall was unchecked, so all the pilots’ stomachs seemed to remain five decks behind them – rushing to catch up with their owners. To an individual, each Cavalry Pilot’s face was a tight mask of ecstasy. It was time to do what they did best – sowing Death and Destruction on the Enemy from on high. The Admiralty always told them who was the Enemy was and where targeting them would be most efficient. This 'Enemies' face ever changed throughout the years. However, the 'face' of the Enemy never mattered to this elite squadron, only undisputed victory would succor their thirst.

The Bloody Taipan elicited fear even in some of their own support crews, so great was their apparent insanity. Taipan Wing Commander, Major Dysseus Hlastoni oft enjoyed the rumored concept that he was a genetic experiment gone horribly, horribly wrong. Moreover, he enjoyed the attached whisperings that he obtained the worst of the maverick pilots from straight out of flight school, enveloped them in the Taipan and treated in the classic manner of his Cretin and Spartan ancestors.

Oddly enough, his wing-brood never objected to the rumors of buggery. They just ‘punctuated’ any rumor and let ALL the air out of it – including the volume of air residing in the lungs of the resident rumormonger.

However, a true ‘rumor’ was personal one concerning Hlastoni’s single tattoo and the Taipan allowed it to spread, unchecked. It concerned a writing he bore on his most privately un-private part. Υποδοχή στο κατάστρωμα was emblazoned in elaborate Celtic knot-work. A joke, as this was Greek for “Welcome Aboard”. The manner in which he obtained this unusual, both in length and location, markings were hazy and mostly incorrect murmurings. Dysseus never explained, he just grinned insanely and bought another round of drinks.

However, every woman Dysseus ‘entertained’ seemed to love the inscription. To his dismay, he had yet to find a female capable of getting past the ‘κ’ in κατάστρωμα, leaving only the Υποδοχή στο visible. Thus, his legend grew.

Chuckling over these memories, Hlastoni paid no mind to the terminal velocity decent nearing its inevitable sudden stop that was rapidly approaching. At the last possible moment, the inertial buffer field ignited. The glowing dirty brown haze absorbed and redistributed the inertial energy into battery systems with a shriek of high voltage rage.

Again, leaping as one, the Taipan pounded across the deck. Each following their personalized guidelines etched there to their waiting fighters – the newest from Vanguard Military Industries {a subsidy of the Blue Sun Corporation}.

Reaching his single man fighter, Hlastoni quickly conferred with his Crew Chief. Chief Master Sergeant Marovech Rahn’s intense focus was ever on detail and was at his best in the worst of time crunches. They gabbled quietly in the short-speak they had developed over the years. Gestures worked as punctuation. In this manner and in less than five seconds he was updated fully on his craft. With a wave and a grin, he leapt to the boarding ladder. The Chief turned and signaled the Flight Deck Director that his vessel and pilot was on-line and ready to launch. He turned his gaze back to the fighter at it shifted over to the launch tube.

Hlastoni’s BT-101, named the “Insidious Riposte” bore a barely clad armored vixen wielding a sword adorned with poisonous fangs, upon its armored flanks. All his pilots had a variant upon their fighters’ hulls. Art that was beautiful action pieces that always centered on an extremely fair and semi-nude lass or lad and some ophidian theme.

Grinning, Maro shook his head, as he did every time there was a launch of the S.A.M.s. Those boys and gals were so testosterone poisoned it wasn’t funny. Nevertheless, they had to be, considering the ugly job they had to perform. Deep in thought, Maro turned and slid down the gangway, clearing his part of the launch deck. Contacting Central Tower, he confirmed that the deck was emptied of his engineering personnel, the A.P.E.s. Shaking his head wearily this time, his darker side murmured into his psyche: This launch will be the trump sounding the final conflict.

Settling in to the cockpit, Hlastoni scanned the readouts and his wing position monitor. It appeared all his folks were in launch position. Some single pilot fighters, some 2 person fighter/bomber and others a three crew bomber/battlefield relay were all situated in triads and awaiting the green-light for expulsion from the Geste.

Situating his auxiliary readout goggles/nasal breather combo over his face and pulling his armored baklava over them, he toggled his inter-wing communications.

“All good beasties slotted in?” Receiving crimson acknowledgment lights from all the Bloody Taipan triads, he switched to inter-fleet and continued, his Greek heritage coloring each enunciated syllable “Red Wing Zero-Zero to Central - Bloody-Well-Fire.”

With plasma and thunder guaranteed to startle any War-God worth his blood-cry, the Geste flung the Bloody Taipan wing out on iridescent tails of fire toward Hera and a valley called ‘Serenity’.

FORE-CREDIT ROLL {Scenes from the Battle of Serenity Valley, interspersed with ‘personality shots/scenes’ of the Main Actors}

HAMMER TO FALL Queen Words and music by Brian May

Here we stand or here we fall History won’t care at all Make the bed light the light Lady mercy won’t be home tonight yeah {Starring: Jason Scott Lee as Captain Marovech Rahn}

You don’t waste no time at all Don’t hear the bell but you answer the call It comes to you as to us all We’re just waiting For the hammer to fall {Rachel Luttrell as Merzedes Troy}

Oh ev’ry night and every day A little piece of you is falling away But lift your face the western way Build your muscles as your body decays yeah {Oded Fhar as Dysseus Hlastoni}

Toe your line and play their game yeah Let the anaesthetic cover it all Till one day they call your name You know it’s time for the hammer to fall {Claudia Black as Dr. Kathlean Omiigis Veila}

Rich or poor or famous For your truth it’s all the same (oh no oh no) Lock your door the rain is pouring Through your window pane (oh no) {Tony Todd as Heropa}

Baby now your struggle’s all in vain {Milla Jojovich as Militza Elena Tanaka}

For we who grew up tall and proud In the shadow of the mushroom cloud Convinced our voices can’t be heard We just wanna scream it louder and louder louder {Johnny Depp as Corziare Andrew Jax ESQ.}

What the hell we fighting for? Just surrender and it won’t hurt at all You just got time to say your prayers While your waiting for the hammer to hammer to fall {Also Staring : Gigi Edgley as Ishakara and Gilana Marovech Nicole deBoer as Ayllen Shilo Milla Kunis as Laiohn Thilda Tyler Mane as NicoAllez Cary Elwes as Quentin Xavier “Hawk” Hawksworth III}

It’s gonna fall know… hammer to fall Waiting for the hammer to fall now baby While you’re waiting for the hammer to fall

Give it to me one more time... {Guest Starring Danny John-Jules as Commodore Yancy Zachariah Mekafoy}

ACT ONE Scene 1A & 1B

After passing through the static-field of the mother ship, The Bloody Taipan wing needled towards the bosom of Hera. With one hand, Wing Commander Hlastoni fitted a well-worn music rod into the retrofitted console of his single man fighter. The other hand typed the code that requested Maser wing-link from the Bomber/Relay units in his flotilla of ninety vessels. The last thirty of his one hundred and twenty strong wing, held back covering the Beau Geste in a protective net.

One by one the Bomber/Relays numerous maser turrets swiveled to track their targets and quickly linked with each of their class-sister ships. This had the additional effect of confirming that each massive Relay ships Friend/Foe beacon was operational. After all the Bomber/Relay vessels signaled as connected, each fired two more maser beams. One beam each to its respective Fighter and Fighter/Bomber gathered its triad element.

In less time it took to blink, the entirety of Taipan connected in an invisible web of high velocity protons. Unless an Enemy dropped an expensive, maneuverable and code-breaking repeater into the beams, the Wings communications were secure.

Grinning maniacally, Hlastoni hit the ‘play’ button on his console. Across the Taipan web, strains of heartbeat accelerating rock music began to build. Then a vocalist came on, growling out counter-tempo: “…Iron Birds of Fortune ~ Adrift above the Skies ~ Cloudy revelations ~ Unseen by Naked eyes …” – this was the favored battle song of the Bloody Taipan.

‘Perhaps a bit silly’, mused Hlastoni, but its effect was remarkable. This particular bit of music really inspired his pilots to greater feats of daring and bloody insane heroics. “Who knew?” he chuckled out loud. Actually, the All-Knowing Psych-geeks had – it just had taken time to get the crotchety old Admirals to see the benefits of this highly unusual morale-boosting method.

On Private-Link indicator bank, the Relay tech comm-light of Hlastoni’s command triad flashed for attention. He toggled the flashing button and simply said, “Bouncer - LongTom connected – Eee-Oh-Elle.” After keying off, Hlastoni allowed as snort of laughter at his Wing's choice of call-sign for him: 'LongTom', Indeed.

Jiao’s penetrating voice transmission dropped the music to a minimum. “LongTom – Bouncer requests advice -EOL.” His tones suggested intense worry. Something was up; Jiao was never a worry-wart, despite his engineering leanings.

Hlastoni comm’d back on the PriLink, “Bouncer – clear skies – EOL”, this was short-speak for “Feel free to speak candidly.” His Wing, well known for their interactive team dynamics, ever outshone any of their competitors – either Enemy or Competitor in the Game. Hlastoni’s policy of ‘open communications’ fostered that intense loyalty by full disclosure. Questions and concerns within the Taipan kept to a minimum by that loyalty and understanding, unless it weighed like neutronium upon the individual.

“LongTom – I have a doubt … - EOL” Softly in the background of Jiao’s transmission pause, a song fragment strained to be heard: “… Instruments of destruction ~ Tools of powerplays ~ It’s a violent Eruption ~ Existence drips away… ” A sudden alien chill of foreboding shoots through Hlastoni. Shaking off this inconsequential reaction, he toggles the PriLink again, “Bouncer – I Do Not - EOL” as he signaled PriLink cut-off, the music swelled.

“… To ashes we Transform …” blared in Hlastoni’s ear-set. The previous chill of foreboding returned – tenfold. Shaken by his sudden decent into unknown fear, he pulled on his reserve of steely will to quell the frisson of hormone-induced panic. Balanced again, the Wing Commander was now ready to lead his fellow Taipan into Hell.


The first thing to greet Maro as he dropped down into the Alliance Protean Engineers {AKA APEs} cavernous engineering deck was the ubiquitous Morale Support posters. Animated 1-meter by 2-meter flimsies were scattered about the APEs triple height ‘MechDeck’. This was directly below the Taipan Wing Launch and Retrieval deck. Most of the posters contained only three words with an animated graphic under each blazoned word.

OBSERVE was crimson, outlined in the black-grey of hematite. The picture below was of a statuesque Caucasian female engineer peering into an open panel on a fighter. Her strong hands held a diagnostic flimsy with incomprehensible script flowing across in this animated poster. Every so often, she would watch the script and then touch a stylus to the flimsy and begin another diagnostic cycle.

ANALYZE, cobalt letters rimmed in bright silver, exhorted next. A Striking young Chinese engineer poured over a blotter-comp. The Vee of his shoulders to his slim waist accentuated his wiry form. His concentration on the circuit diagrams was impressively intense. This graphic looped in sequence as well.

RESPOND bore the color of the Alliance Military – Royal Purple haloed in the purists of gold. Below, both the female and the male toiled in a loop – repairing the damaged skiff. Both worked in perfect unison with each other. Even to sharing a smile when the Skiff fired up with no failures. Then the loop started over. Existing like perfect robots in a perfect microcosm.

Marovech hated the ramming propaganda those posters implied. They took a perfectly good motto and bled it dry by utilizing silly animated graphics and highly visible garish letters and gothic illumination.

Maro almost wished he believed in a deity. Just so he could have some God witness this: The next time ‘They’ tried to shove this offensive pabulum off on HIS troops , he would – swear to some God – and find the weasely Political Officer responsible and beat the stale and unimaginative ‘creative’ impulse out of him permanently.

Lost in this reverie, Maro had automatically reinstalled his tools to their proper trays and cases. Scanning around, he saw that his Crew of two hundred and sixty were all nearly finished squaring away their repair bays and ready for Phase Two or the APEs mission directives of the Hera Operation.

As Maro moved about the Deck in a predetermined path, he contacted Drop Control and started the sequence that would end in the Geste firing a shotgun spray of Drop Spheres. These huge spheres of multilayered ablative armor protected a technological juggernaut inside. The six meter high blocky APE ‘Tech-Rovers’ lay dormant in these ‘disposable’ atmosphere reentry vehicles. As he conferred with Drop Command on the Drop readiness, he stopped and spoke briefly or just laid a hand on his Crew shoulders, depending on their varied demeanors. All responded and allowed themselves to relax at their commanders passing.

The Flight Deck support A.P.E.s filed back up gangways to the Launch and Retrieval deck above. Their departure leaving the Drop Zone crews to finish detailing the repair bays.

Maro’s staccato, yet spirited mosey ended at the apex of the massive oval chamber – just outside the floor hatch of Specter Team’s Drop Station. In less than one minute, his Specter Team; consisting of 11 A.P.E.s and 2 officers had assembled at the hatch, conspicuously minus one officer. Maro swept his eyes over the boundary of the bay noting the speed of the other Drop Teams assembly at their respective Drop posts. Denied his hope to see his missing Officer, he turned back to his assembly. Slowly and nodding at each one, he collected each member of his team by eye.

Master Sergeant Heropa had been by his side almost as Maro had separated from the repair section and moved in unison with him towards the Drop ring.

Close behind Heropa was his eager assistant Technical Sergeant Militza Tanaka. As always she was fairly bouncing with unrestrained energy.

Master Sgt. Andrew West and Master Sergeant Vladimir Reed ambled quickly up, deep in conversation about the merits of mobile phased arrays and focused microwave repeaters.

Tech Sgt Talan Carrde, Sergeant Sonja Bowman and Sergeant Kavis Sulaco tossed jokes and ribald euphemisms around as they approached.

Maro’s adopted girls scrambled forward. Senior Engineer Ishakara Marovech and her ever-present twin, Engineer First Class Gigilana Marovech seemed to be in constant warfare – until reaching the perimeter of the growing A.P.E. command crowd. Then and only then the din of cross-chatter died off completely.

Tech Sgt. Ayllen Maxine Shiloh emerged from the floor hatch and shot thumbs up to Maro. Her tight grin indicating, as well, that all was ship-shape and ready to burn.

The twelfth member, a relatively recent addition, breezed in carrying her MediBackPak. The newly minted ‘Major’ was Dr. Kathlean Omiigis Veila, who was a longstanding field Medical Doctor and Surgeon. She had been with the APEs for the last several drops and was integrating nicely, despite her being an ‘Officer’. Her easy-going attitude concerning rank was a breath of fresh air to the Specter Crew.

Speaking of Officers, the Specters were missing their thirteenth member. The only non-A.P.E. team-member, Lieutenant Merzades Troy was conspicuously absent. The ElleTee observer and ‘floater’ usually stood at stiff attention over her preDrop post even before Marovech arrived.

Feeling unsettled by this undisclosed change of operating procedure, Maro was slightly adrift. Suddenly conspicuously aware the he may be less prepared; he coughed and proceeded with the roll call. Maro intentionally left off the ElleTee’s name, however the assembled crew allowed their eyes roam to see if the diminutive void-cold solider would appear. Worry seemed to jump and skip from each member like the arcing of static electricity. This ‘loss’ was unprecedented, each wondering in their own fashion; just what her disappearance would mean in the ensuing battle.

Marovech waved his Combat Engineers into the vertical tunnel that dove into the heart of the DropSphere and into the Roller itself. As his crew filed down the zero-gee access, Maro crosschecked and ordered the other Rover crews to take Drop Positions. Very shortly, Maro was the only figure standing on deck. His eyes scanned every hatch on the MechDeck. His imagination painted the ElleTee pounding in her weirdly silent sprinter fashion towards him. With a click, Commander Morave's Australian brogue rang softly in Maro’s ear.

“She is out-sourced – continue on Mission.”

Maro nodded towards the clear bubble of Control and dropped into the tunnel. As he fell slowly, shadows of doubt clouded his sculpted oriental features. Merz being ‘out-sourced’ was an extremely bad omen.

Mission – deploy and hold ground gained by air support, construct rear refueling/repair bases and MASH units, scour surrounding terrain of the Enemy. Maro tightened inside, so easy a word to spin off of the tongue – Enemy. Not so easy to think of the corpses rotting in the sun. Not so easy to bury innocents. Hitting the Rovers deck shattered his morose wanderings. With a muffled sounding clang of finality, he closed the dorsal hatch.

When all Drop Stations signaled ‘At Ready’ Commander Morave depressed the 'DROP' icon on overlaid on his view port.

In deep contrast to the Taipan launch, the A.P.E.s Drop Spheres fell in a perversely quiet mass from underneath the Geste in a rain of silver. The 20 A.P.E. manned units hidden within the larger agglomeration of of Decoy/Supply Spheres showed no outward ‘uniqueness’. The sparkling cloud merged into a flowing mass that slid easily into Hera's gravity well.

SOME FOOTNOTES *Taipan = Another name for the insidious Australian ‘Fear Snake’. *Song = “Instruments of Destruction” by N-R-G *Maser = Microwave laser *EOL = End of Line – tribute to “TRON” *“I have a Doubt” exchange – tribute to “The Fifth Element” *A.P.E.s = Alliance Protean Engineers – highly skilled Front Line Combat Engineers. Protean = displaying great diversity or variety *Thirteen A.P.E.s are assigned to a Taipan Triad. 20 Triads consisting of three vessels – Single Pilot Fighter, Pilot & Nav/Bombardier Fighter-Bomber and Three crewed Bomber-Battlefield Relay ship. Six Taipan Pilots/Techs to a triad.


Thursday, October 28, 2004 2:00 PM


cool fic Rahn .... I'm not the greatest Queen fan in the world tho ... my alternate choice (as mentioned to the Cap'n) for a song would be this one from the musical Jeckyll and Hyde (complete w/ Dragonfly characters

This is the Moment

This is the moment!
This is the day,
When I send all my doubts and demons
On their way!

{Starring: Jason Scott Lee as Captain Marovech Rahn}

Every endeavor,
I have made - ever -
Is coming into play,
Is here and now - today!

{Rachel Luttrell as Merzedes Troy}

This is the moment,
This is the time,
When the momentum and the moment
Are in rhyme!

Give me this moment -
This precious chance -
I'll gather up my past
And make some sense at last!

{Oded Fhar as Dysseus Hlastoni}

This is the moment,
When all I've done -
All the dreaming,
Scheming and screaming,
Become one!

{Claudia Black as Kathlean Omiigis Veila }

This is the day -
See it sparkle and shine,
When all I've lived for
Becomes mine!

{Tony Todd as Heropa}

For all these years,
I've faced the world alone,
And now the time has come
To prove to them
I've made it on my own!

{Milla Jojovich as Militza Elena Tanaka }

This is the moment -
My final test -
Destiny beckoned,
I never reckoned,
Second Best!

{Johnny Depp as Corziare Andrew Jax ESQ.}

I won't look down,
I must not fall!
This is the moment,
The sweetest moment of them all!

{Also Starring :

Gigi Edgley as Ishakara and Gilana Marovech

Nicole deBoer as Ayllen Shilo}

This is the moment!
Damn all the odds!
This day, or never,
I'll sit forever
With the gods!

Milla Kunis as Laiohn Thilda

Tyler Mane as NicoAllez

Cary Elwes as Quentin Xavier "Hawk" Hawksworth III}

When I look back,
I will always recall,
Moment for moment,
This was the moment,
The greatest moment
Of them all!

{Guest Starring
Danny John-Jules as Commodore Yancy Zachariah Mekafoy}

Thursday, October 28, 2004 3:24 PM


Puma - you may not have realized that each character was being represented by the lyrics they appeared with, NOT being presented in any particular order.

Well, I have seen a lot of the set-up for this, and been privy to a LOT of the back story. But I must say that this beginning is ... all I could have asked for!

Now, when do we get to see more? *hehehehehehe*

Thursday, October 28, 2004 4:57 PM


Merz - didn't realize the link between the characters/ lyrics as you and Rahn see it ... perhaps its really too subtle for me to get ..perhaps if I retained all the bits about the pcs the connections would make more sense ::shrug::

wish haken would put a delete post feature in

and let comments be edited

Thursday, October 28, 2004 6:06 PM


Oh, yeah... that flows well. Not quite TV format, not quite narrative format, but the combo/style worked. Characters were much more clear to me and distinctive. Action was very solid. The Queen song tied to each character--nice. Well done!

Thursday, October 28, 2004 9:41 PM


Took a real read and made a few changes and additions for clairity

[u]CHANGES [u]
...APEs cavernous engineering deck was Morale Support posters.
...Alliance Protean Engineers {AKA APEs: Combat Engineers} cavernous engineering deck was the ubiquitous Morale Support posters.

... A.P.E.s filed up gangways back to the Launch...
... A.P.E.s filed back up gangways to the Launch ...

The 3 meter high blocky APE ‘Tech-Rollers’
The six meter high blocky APE ‘Tech-Rovers’
{and any other ref to Roller to Rover, hopefully I dinna miss any}

In less than one minute, Specter Team ...
In less than one minute, his Specter Team

of Decoy Spheres
of Decoy/Supply Spheres

...he stopped and spoke briefly or just laid a hand on his Crew shoulders, depending on their varied demeanors.
All responded and allowed themselves to relax at their commanders passing.

Close behind Heropa was his eager assistant Technical Sergeant Militza Tanaka.
As always she was fairly bouncing with unrestrained energy.

Hitting the Rovers deck shattered his morose wanderings.
With a muffled sounding clang of finality, he closed the dorsal hatch.

Thursday, October 28, 2004 9:50 PM


Whoops, one last change at this time, it 'bumped' to me thus the alteration:

The Alliance had arrived - Time was ended.
The Alliance arrived - Time had ended.


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War is never black and white. This series explores the dirty shades of gray that comprise war. Gray streaked with the carmine blood of unknowing pawns that are used by the Powers That Be to enforce their corporate will.

So begins the Battle of Serenity Valley - from another perspective...