Alternate Serenity (movie) opening
Friday, October 21, 2005

This is the scene I kept waiting for when I saw the movie, something to bridge the gap from "Firefly" and to ease the audience into the historic exposition. I think it fits nicely as the first 10 minutes, with the rest of the movie unchanged. Hope you agree. My first Firefly fic.


Alternate Serenity movie opening

This just in: I didn’t create "Firefly." Just Jossing here.


The black sea stretched on, a cold void with no end and no beginning. No horizon, no destination. Just emptiness and death.

A speck of silver slid across the blackness, something with form and shape. Something rusted and mottled. The void stopped at the steel surface, giving way to metal layer upon layer. Behind one of those walls of metal, someone was laughing.


"Ai ya, Zoe!" Kaylee chuckled, bathed in the golden light of the dining room. A knife that was clearly designed for something other than cooking now pinned a charred carcass to the floral pattern in front of her. An involuntary cough briefly interrupted Kaylee’s laugh as she waved away the smoke over Serenity’s stove. "I figure it was already dead."

"Just seemed like the thing to do," Zoe said, straight-faced. "I thought you said this dish was supposed to be easy."

"It’s easy. It’s... supposed to be easy," Kaylee faltered. "Maybe this ain’t exactly simple as, say, rerouting a G-Line but..."

"That supposed to make me feel better?" Zoe asked. "You know, Wash don’t need to expect stuff like this any-"

Hoban Washburne entered the room with a booming voice, thumbs hooked under his belt. "Woman! I desire sustenance! Bring me..." Wash’s voice died away as Zoe ripped the knife from the wall and glared at him. The blackened carcass fell to the floor with a crack. Wash changed course. "Or there’s this nice comfy chair where I can sit quietly and patiently while waiting for my lovely wife."

"Look - like this," Kaylee said, drawing Zoe’s attention back to the cutting board. "Ya ain’t gotta stab it." Zoe gave a quick sigh and mimicked Kaylee’s movements. "Scorin’ the skin’s the key," Kaylee continued. "Remember Book always said-"

"Yeah, well Book ain’t here," Zoe interrupted.

Kaylee’s lips tightened, her eyes following her knife, and for a few seconds the two worked in silence.

Zoe gave another quick sigh. "Sorry. I’m just all wound up over this next job. It don’t go well, Mal thinks it’ll be the end of us." Now Zoe was the one watching her knife. "'Course he always thinks that."

The other girl smiled, big and easy. "I know we’ll be alright. Serenity’s got plenty of life left in ‘er. She’ll get us where we need to go..." She cut herself off and quickly swept a few rebellious strands of hair out of her face.

Behind them, River Tam had wandered in, tracing a finger along the table. A heartbeat later was Simon – who entered silently but not entirely unnoticed.

Kaylee took inventory, first of Simon then of herself.

"You put up your hair today," Zoe said, not looking up from preparing her husband’s plate.

The mechanic blushed. "Yeah, well..." she nervously chuckled, sweeping away another loose strand.

"You’re beautiful," she said. "He don’t say so, I’ll shoot him myself."

With that, Zoe spun toward Wash with the now-full plate, which was intercepted by Jayne, who was making his way toward the far end of the table. Jayne had grunted his thanks and shoved in two mouthfuls before Zoe could protest, so she wearily turned away to fix another plate.

"So... how’s my dinner," Wash asked.

"S’good," Jayne managed between bites, flecks of food flying from his mouth. "Wait, whadidyasay?"

Wash wiped away the wet bit that had landed between his eyes. "I said enjoy the fine meal."

"Hi, Simon." The doctor looked up to find Kaylee, who had slipped into the chair next to him, smiling broadly at him. He smiled back before the mechanic started with a gleam in her eyes, "See anything..." - she hesitated and swallowed hard - "different about me?"

His smile faded, his look searching and more intense. "You’re... glowing,”" Simon said. His hand reached out toward her face, and she closed her eyes, her skin suddenly much warmer.

The hand landed across her forehead. "You’re flushed." She opened her eyes and saw clinical concern. Her look soured under his hand. "Have you felt... Are you ill?" he asked.

"Gettin’ there," she replied.

A plate slammed down in front of Simon, piled high with a sliced orange vegetable.

"Carrots," Zoe proclaimed, much louder than she needed to. "Good for the eyes."

Simon looked at her, confused, then back to Kaylee, whose gaze had gone to the floral pattern. "I apologize," he said. "With-with River’s medication... I’ve been distracted. I haven’t given the crew proper exams in months." Simon searched the faces in the room to see if he was on the right track, but got no help from the two stone-faced women and the two bemused men. "Kaylee, if you’ll come by the infirmary later, I’ll make sure everything-" another quick look at Zoe "-uh, checks out?" With a confused but hopeful look, he waited for Zoe’s reaction.

Zoe drew in a massive breath but was cut off by a pleading grimace from the mechanic, who desperately mouthed "I’ll take what I can get" over Simon’s head.

"Exams can wait," said Mal, brushing behind Zoe and sitting down with a plate. "Time’s short. Lot to do."

"Yeah, and where was you when I was doin’ it?" Jayne shot back between bites. "You said you was gonna help. Gorram cargo bay full’a work and you up’n disappear-"

"My business ain’t yours," Mal shot back, not looking up.

"Yeah, but-" Jayne protested.

"Came here for chow, not questions," Mal said. "Now settle down and eat, and be thankful we still have somethin’ to put on the plate. May not last."

Everyone ate quietly for a few moments.

"Don’t mind him," Kaylee smiled to Simon. "He’s been sullen lately - more so’n usual," she added with a chuckle. "Ain’t said much, and when he does it ain’t much to hear."

Simon scraped at his plate, his face fallen. "That sounds familiar. River hasn’t said a word all day. Sometimes-"

"She left things here," came an airy voice from the corner. "Her chest. With the heart inside-"

Mal’s face went red. "You do something about that girl, doctor! I won’t abide craziness at the dinner table!"

"Then I’d say you’re in the wrong ship," Wash mumbled under his breath, and he held up a forkful of food. "This is good, honey. Did I mention this was good?"

Simon hastily wiped his mouth with his napkin and crossed the room to collect River, who was perched backwards on a chair, only a hint of pale skin peeking from the hair that was spilling over her face. "Sorry. We switched medication today, and there’s always kind of an adjustment period." Simon knelt beside her. "She hadn’t spoken since the treatment."

"Nothing to say," River muttered from beneath the hair with a distant giggle. "The words mean nothing."

"There’s some refreshin’ honesty," came Jayne’s voice along with a few more flecks of food.

Simon pulled back her hair and saw her eyes lolling back in her head. "She’s having some sort of reaction… Can someone help me with her?"

"Don’t know the steps anymore," River continued, her voice softer now as the world around her seemed to move in slow motion. "Nothing matches."

The room spun at an odd angle, and she felt herself tumble free from the chair, falling sideways toward arms and floor and blackness. "The words… don’t rhyme."

Her mouth formed the next few words, but they never left her. "The verse is changing."

(River history lesson flashback begins)


Friday, October 21, 2005 12:03 PM


That was a fabulous job!! It captures characterizations and how they've changed from Firefly to Serenity as well as giving us one of the crew eating together scenes that I so sorely missed!! Kudos.

Friday, October 21, 2005 12:16 PM


Oh yeah, that works. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, October 21, 2005 5:42 PM


HurrySundown - I think this tale's told. It was a pretty specific thing I had to get out of my head so I could move on.

If you're not careful though, you guys might encourage me to write something a little more ambitious. Then you'll have no one to blame but yourselves.

Saturday, October 22, 2005 6:49 PM


Very nice work. Hard to believe it's your first. Hope you have a lot more pent up and yearning for freedom. Consider yourself encouraged to write and pile on the blame. Collectively, we have big shoulders and bigger appetites for great work like this.

Sunday, October 23, 2005 3:06 AM


"the 'verse is changing"

that may possibly be one of the best non-joss moments i've read so far.


Friday, October 28, 2005 8:58 AM


I agree with the others, you should write more. The interactions were lovely and complex. Thanks!


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