What profession would River have chosen if she hadn't been made insane at the Academy?

UPDATED: Tuesday, August 8, 2006 09:55
VIEWED: 1525
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Sunday, August 6, 2006 6:40 PM


What would have happened to River if she had chosen at different school (as in jobs)? Might she have ended up working for the alliance? Qwerty and I had the following theories.

Qwerty says:
methinks most'll say pro dancer though
Qwerty says:
"she always did love to dance"
"The Yeti" says:
nuclear physicist
"The Yeti" says:
dancer on the side maybe
Qwerty says:
dancer. nuclear physicist on the side
"The Yeti" says:
she'd have to do SOMETHING academic
"The Yeti" says:
i mean this is River we're talking about
Qwerty says:
well yeah
Qwerty says:
but she loves to dance
"The Yeti" says:
the girl who corrected her older brother's spelling
Qwerty says:
I mean, she likes dancing. when she read the math book in the flashback she was BORED.
"The Yeti" says:
and tried to fix the bible
"The Yeti" says:
well yes
"The Yeti" says:
maybe the mathmatics in dancing and movement?
Qwerty says:
so probably new science. I'm sure nuclear physics is a little dated in her solar system
Qwerty says:
she'd probably be into very new science, and dancings

EDIT: I meant quantum physics, not nuclear physics.

"We will rule over all this land, and we will call it... This Land."
"I think we should call it YOUR GRAVE!"
"Curse you, sudden yet inevitable betrayal!"


Monday, August 7, 2006 2:59 AM


I think River would have been in some kind of research. She's never happy with what other people already know. So she would be trying to learn new things. What area of research I really don't know. Probably all of them, actually.

"We may experience some slight turbulence, and then... explode."


Monday, August 7, 2006 3:17 AM


A gifted, intelligent girl with beautiful manners and a certain degree of empathy?

Maybe a Companion.

We never did find out what Gabriel Tam did for a living - maybe she would be the one to follow in the family business?

Or AU - "Professor Tam, in charge of R&D at Blue Sun, announced today..."


Monday, August 7, 2006 3:30 AM


Dancer. Ugh! I can't think of anything else!
A pilot! Finally, something came in.


Monday, August 7, 2006 5:42 AM


She could be a dancing pilot doing research for important companies, or, *shuddergasp* the Alliance. Since she's not insane, she might like the Alliance.

She's not a browncoat, so we can't tell.

May not be smart, and it may not please you, but you're definitely gonna see what I have to say.


Monday, August 7, 2006 10:08 AM


She seemed the type to get bored easily (both from what we see in flashbacks and what Simon said about the Academy having the "most challenging courses").

Maybe advanced physics, maybe unlocking the secret to FTL travel (if anybody could've. . .).

OTOH, maybe her (speculatively) uncontrollable curiosity would have gotten her into trouble. What's a girl to do when her mind is light-years beyond any science that anyone else is doing? If she didn't get bored, she might well end up asking the wrong kind of questions, or reaching "bad" conclusions (at a certain level, science becomes political --scientists have been known to lose anything from tenure to life).

Maybe she'd've been a "fringe scientist" --literally, in this case.

Imagine this alternate universe:
Serenity (Mal, Zoe, Wash, Jayne, Kaylee, Inara) lands on Persephone in particularly desperate straights. Badger gets them word of a job --it won't pay much, but no one else'll take it, and it's like to get them away from their creditors ("Away from the Alliance, you mean?" "Oh, far far away.").

Turns out there's this girl, "a prodigy," they call her. "Greatest mind in the Alliance." Mal is understandably curious as to what such a bright star has of relevence to him, and Badger explains that this genius ain't too smart --she's asked the wrong questions, upset the wrong people, rocking the ship of state. ("I like her already." --Mal) She's convinced she's onto something. Comes from a rich family, and she's willing to fund her own research mission (though technically, it's her brother holding the purse-strings).

She's convinced that Earth-that-was is still habitable, and she's got an experimental engine, says she can make the trip in under a year. . .

We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.


Monday, August 7, 2006 10:30 AM


Cybersnark, get writing. Now.

For some reason, I'm having a Douglas Adams vibe off this. Maybe it was the episode being 'Heart of Gold', but if anyone could come up with an Improbability Drive...Have you seen 'Hitchhikers Guide...'? Knitted Firefly. It needs to happen.


Monday, August 7, 2006 12:34 PM


An astrophysicist specializing in alternative, power-source technology for long range interstellar spacecraft.

Morbid and creepifying I got no problem with, so long as you do it quiet like.


Monday, August 7, 2006 5:15 PM


Because she is good at everything she would probably get board very easily. I think she would probably do a little bit of everything. She would try dance for a while then move on to medicine, then move to something else. A jack-of-all-trades if you will. Maybe settling down as a smuggler or con-artist in the end because nothing is ever the same or easy.


Tuesday, August 8, 2006 5:56 AM


She could be one of those incredible people who just do a bunch of stuff simultaneously.

A former boss of my former boss was one of those types -- he was a physicist at a university, but he also free-lanced in designing avionics for aircraft manufacturers. He also went to law school and practised aircraft law with major law firms in his free time. He was so brilliant in each of his professions his colleagues and clients were perfectly happy to only get a few hours of his time a day. (It helps that he apparently never slept.)

Another example would be Ken Dryden (a well-known figure to all the Canuck Browncoats out there). I don't know much about him, but I do know he was a Stanley Cup-winning goaltender with the Montreal Canadiens, that he went to law school during this time and became a really well-respected lawyer (don't know if this was at the same time as or after his hockey career), was a public figure in a bunch of different ways for quite a while and then became a politician, one of those politicians who actually gets in power and gets things done.

So maybe River would have become a professional dancer, a theoretical physicist and a political analyst simultaneously.

Indigo S.


Tuesday, August 8, 2006 6:25 AM


She would work as a lie detector,read people's minds and tell the people who pay her to find out if people are telling the truth and make love to me.

Go to for more info!

Things are about to get interesting...Define interesting...Oh GOD oh GOD we're all going to die.


Tuesday, August 8, 2006 8:35 AM


She'd be Yolanda/Bridget/Saffrons only real competition.

* - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * -


Tuesday, August 8, 2006 8:41 AM


I'm thinking professional dancer, since she could do lots of different kinds of dances, could travel all over the 'verse and since the series, movie and even River Tam sessions all mention River's love of dancing.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2006 9:55 AM


First thought that came to my mind was a professional dancer or musician, who does freelance contracts working on mathematical/physics work for large companies/organizations. I wouldn't figure her for a 'great mind of the Alliance', since the flashback in the BDM shows her already understanding that the Alliance meddles where it shouldn't.

Perhaps, as Cybersnark suggested, she would have taken the wrong contract one day, or asked the wrong questions, or came to the wrong conclusion (no matter how correct the actual conclusion, to the brass involved, it would be 'wrong'). Thus putting her out of the good graces of the Alliance, and maybe even forcing her to the rim, where she would make due however possible. Thinking middle(wo)man, in charge of getting supplies to those that need them, and not minding whether said supplies were completely legit.

Even without her psychic abilities, she would still have been able to read people like books. When practicality requires the need to know what a person is thinking without actually reading their mind, I think she would have excelled.


The best way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it. - Oscar Wilde






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