GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Where did Mal get the money for Serenity?

POSTED BY: NCBROWNCOAT
UPDATED: Friday, January 20, 2017 11:40
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Thursday, September 21, 2006 3:10 PM

NCBROWNCOAT


I've got a question that's been bothering me for a while now. I was talking with a friend whose brother is starting up a new business and about how hard it is to forego a paycheck for 90-120 days while laying the groundwork for the new business and paying all the expenses of a start up at the same time.

How did Mal get the money to purchase Serenity and get her running? I know it isn't mentioned anywhere in canon but we can speculate.

Most likely he wouldn't have gone to a bank and borrowed the money becuase that would have really tied him tightly to the Alliance-collateral, liens, credit scores and payments and all those other pesky banker details that I'm very familiar with.

My personal opinion is that he got some sort of mustering out pay or some sort of compensation for the ranch on Shadow becuase it would have taken him a long time to save the money necessary doing any sort of job after the war. If he could find one that would hire a Browncoat.

That type of money could have paid for the old rusty Firefly and a little of the start up costs, but he have to get her going fast in order to start any sort of cash flow.

It would also be the reason he rented out the shuttle to Inara at her 25 % discount for a little fast coin. More than likely she was the first one to inquire and there wasn't a surveyor and his wife waiting but it wouldn't explain how Mal had enough money for a mechanic and a pilot unless they were on shares from the start.



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Thursday, September 21, 2006 3:22 PM

PENGUIN


Great question!

Maybe the Allied Planets gave the Independence soldiers a stipend to help them get settled somewhere...



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Thursday, September 21, 2006 3:52 PM

GRAYFURY


He worked on his mothers ranch before the war, maybe she passed and he sold it (Before Shadow became uninhabitable) Or maybe the Government made a settlement with the people displaced by the event that undid the Terraforming on Shadow. I like this idea better because I dont think he would have sold his mothers ranch ( I like to think that it was called the double R ranch.... maybe her first name was Raylene or something.)

"Smellin' alot of IF comin' offa' this plan!"

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Thursday, September 21, 2006 4:50 PM

BELUGASMOM


This is a puzzlement that has bothered me also. Thanks for the ideas. Must ponder now.

Life is short, brutal, and unpredictable. EAT DESSERT FIRST.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006 4:55 PM

HUGHFF


No way the Alliance gave browncoats money; no way they compensated landholders on a planet they fried. He knicked it.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006 5:22 PM

TERRI


I can see that he stole it, maybe ran a few jobs for some other captain in the meantime. I think that maybe he saved it up from the war, whose to say the Independents didn't recieve a stipend. I feel like Serenity is something that happened to Mal not by accident, but she was waiting for him. His whole life he's been wanting to get to the sky. His life on the ranch was lovely, but he most certainly looked to the sky. And so maybe he was saving his money. He probably didn't know for what, and if you think about it, there was really not that much he was buying. When he saw Serenity he finally knew what it was he was working for, and he found his home.


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Thursday, September 21, 2006 6:35 PM

SHINY


Quote:

Originally posted by Terri:
I think that maybe he saved it up from the war, whose to say the Independents didn't recieve a stipend.



Maybe the independent army had a bunch of money but only paid it out to those who survived the war...

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Thursday, September 21, 2006 7:24 PM

REGINAROADIE


I always thought that was how he was able to afford Serenity. After the Independents lost, they relieved their military personnell, and gave them a compensation package. Sort of like what happened in FORREST GUMP. After the Army relieved Forrest of military duty, he took the money that the gov't gave him and bought an old shrimp boat.

And I imagine a used transport ship that's older than Hell would be the equivalent of an old shrimp boat in the future. Thus Mal would have been able to afford Serenity with the comp package from the Independents. If he had bought Serenity brand new, THEN he would have faced a problem affording it.

**************************************************
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Friday, September 22, 2006 1:33 AM

BROWNCOAT1

May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.


Quote:

Originally posted by Terri:
I feel like Serenity is something that happened to Mal not by accident, but she was waiting for him. His whole life he's been wanting to get to the sky. His life on the ranch was lovely, but he most certainly looked to the sky.




Not so sure I agree with this theory. Living on a rim planet on a ranch would accord a man a good bit of freedom. As we saw in the series the Alliance presence on rim planets is nearly non-existant. Odds are there was not even a garrison on Shadow.

Freedom is what Mal wants, freedom from the Alliance and the ability to choose his own course. He took to the black to put himself beyond the reach of the Alliance, trying to stay free of them and their oppression. He couldn't do that planetside.

__________________________________________
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"May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one."

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Friday, September 22, 2006 1:45 AM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


Quote:

Originally posted by GrayFury:
He worked on his mothers ranch before the war, maybe she passed and he sold it (Before Shadow became uninhabitable) Or maybe the Government made a settlement with the people displaced by the event that undid the Terraforming on Shadow.


According to the Serenity Visual Companion, his homeworld of Shadow was 'destroyed'. Destroyed. That doesn't say to me that there was a freak event that undid the terraforming, it says that the whole world was fried in the war. Mal had nowhere to go home to, and his family and ranch were gone.
Also, it doesn't say anything about a stipend. In fact it says that the Browncoats of Serenity Valley were held for a short time as war criminals because they held the Valley after they'd been ordered to lay down arms. (Odd that the pilot didn't really indicate that, even in cut scenes, and the movie indicated it, but only in a scene that was cut, but it's there in the Companion and Joss wrote the brief history of the 'verse) The Alliance released them fairly quickly in a symbolic gesture of some sort, but wouldn't be likely to pay them anything.
My bet would be that, losing side or not, released war criminal or not, Mal still got a sargeant's pay and was able to buy an old, immoble, rusting junk freighter with that money, as well as being able to offer a mechanic a little bit of up-front pay (enough to cover parts for the boat, at least) until they got off the ground. Possibly offered Wash a bit of pay up front too, though I doubt he had much to spare at that point.

Speaking of mechanics, has anyone ever wondered how Bester was able to get Serenity running again when he didn't seem to know that much about the engine? That just popped into my head from wherever it's been hiding since the last time I watched Out of Gas.

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Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. - Gautama Siddharta

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Friday, September 22, 2006 2:01 AM

CHOO1701


Heres how i see it:

Perhaps Mal did some work on a big cargo ship after the war and its aftermarth. Their, he saved up his part of the cut/profit the crew made(he has no family or home to go back too) until he has enough to run a small ship of his own, and thus his freedom.

plausible possibly?

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Friday, September 22, 2006 4:05 AM

MICJWELCH


Quote:

Originally posted by PhoenixRose:

Speaking of mechanics, has anyone ever wondered how Bester was able to get Serenity running again when he didn't seem to know that much about the engine?



Hey, I've had a lot of mechanics work on my truck that were dumber than a brick, but somehow they got the job done.

One other question I have about Mal buying Serenity is what the salesman was doing at the time - Trying to sell him a big shiny ship. So how much money did Mal really have? I know when I go to a car dealership or something they always try to sell me something I can't afford, but I still think that the other ship was WAY more expensive than Serenity.

I do think that Mal would have been able to save some money up. He didn't have anyone to support, and if he was on a ship the room and board would be included. Any money he made would be put away.

Does anyone know how long after the war it was when he bought the ship?



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

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Friday, September 22, 2006 4:45 AM

FLAKBAIT


It would make sense that he maybe worked on other ships for a year or two before buying Serenity, as a hired gun perhaps. Lots of war vets get offered jobs as mercs; my grandfather, a 2-tour chopper pilot in Vietnam, was tempted by such offers when he came back home and couldn't find a job. Such experience would also give Mal a chance to make contacts like Badger and the like.

Combine that pay with his Independent sargeant's back wages, and he probably had enough to get started.

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Friday, September 22, 2006 6:33 AM

ZOID


PhoenixRose, et al:

Man, I've gotta get me one of those Visual Companion thingies...

Without ever having seen it anywhere, I've always concluded that Mal's homeworld of Shadow was destroyed during the war. So, pretty good guess on my part, hmmm?

I figured all those little moons, given Earth normal gravity, as Zoe says in the pilot, entailed the application of an artificial gravity generator. Similar to the one Serenity uses, but on a planetary scale. Then, I further surmised, "What would happen on say, Earth's Moon, if such a generator were switched off and the Moon's natural 1/16th G was instantaneously returned?" Answer: The Earth normal atmosphere -- at Earth normal pressure -- would leap away from the satellite's surface like a coke bottle shaken and then uncapped, and uproot everything from vegetation and its topsoil, to a significant amount of surface water, to the majority of manmade structures, as though sucked away by an enormous shop-vac.

So, there's your destruction of Shadow. Not one warhead fired. Simply an executive override of the gravity generator from an orbiting cruiser-cum-administrative office, and poof!, everything bigger than a burrowing rodent dead. In fact, if you wanted to minimize the damage so you could reuse the planet without losing several hundred years of terraforming work: Turn off the generator for only an hour or two, then turn it back on. An hour or two would kill all larger land-based life forms, but a significant portion of the aquatic life might survive in the insulating oceans. When you turn the generator back on a couple of hours later, things -- like vegetation and its topsoil, et cetera, as above -- would immediately start falling back toward the body (from a great height), and even the atmosphere would be mostly recaptured over the course of the next few months. If you were the Alliance/BlueSun, therefore, you might have to make some repairs, but still avoid having to start from square one.

One last thing -- and the thing that suggested this scenario to me in the first place, lo, these many years ago -- the line from "The Ballad Of Serenity": "Burn the land and boil the sea...". I'm not entirely certain (because I'm not a chemist), but it at least seems possible that free nitrogen -- the chemical element present in our own atmosphere that keeps our oxygen from spontaneously burning everything it touches -- that was not covalently bonded would separate from the oxygen in Shadow's atmosphere, like oil from water when the pressure started renormalizing to (example) 1/16th Earth normal, since nitrogen is a lighter element, only mixed with oxy in our atmo by means of gravity and resulting atmospheric pressure. All that suddenly free oxygen -- coupled with the presence of electrical discharges from vacuum-destroyed high tension wires and lightning storms (atmospheric friction) would serve to "(flash-) burn the land". Sudden reduction of gravity to hold a "sea" to the planetary body, in addition to the sudden removal of atmospheric pressure to push down on its surface (think 'surface tension'), might cause it to appear to "boil", even though it might not actually boil as a result of tremendous heat of any kind, but rather as a reaction to a sudden lessening of the weight of air pushing down on it.

So, there's your "burn the land and boil the sea", done in a very cost-effective and 'fiscally responsible' way. I'm certain the Alliance shareholders would prefer such a solution to recalcitrant human inhabitants, rather than irradiating an otherwise productive world for several thousand years. They could be back up and running at full agricultural output within 5-10 years...

Utterly inhuman? You betcha. But, would you put it past the Alliance? Well, I certainly wouldn't. I can see them doing that without a moment's hesitation or a single twinge of conscience. In fact, I feature this scenario in my nascent (meaning, 'never gonna be finished') fanfic, titled "Shadow". Y'all will probably never get to read it, but at least I've leaked that much...

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled thread topic...



Business-Likely,

zoid

P.S.
So, is the Visual Companion canon? Or is it like KRAD's novelization, which Joss said was more a work of Keith's own speculative imaginings than anything Whedon actually had in mind? Still, I've got to get me one. I wonder if they sell them at Borders...

P.P.S.
As one further illustration: The liquids in the human body are kept there with the significant assistance of atmospheric pressure. If one suddenly finds oneself in the near-total 'vacuum' of outer space without a pressure suit, your blood and other bodily juices will appear to boil out of your unprotected skin and eyes. Same thing with a "sea", with its containing atmospheric pressure removed.
_________________________________________________

"I aim to misbehave." -Capt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity, a.k.a. 'the BDBOF'

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Friday, September 22, 2006 7:01 AM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


Wow, zoid that... that... Wow.
You sure we never get to see this fanfic? Because you've got some great theories as to how things went down.
As for the Companions being canon, I believe they are. The "Brief History of the Universe" that I drew from above was written by the man himself, there's an interview with him as well, and all scripts are in their original form, exactly as the writers wrote them. The Firefly Companion doesn't have some of those tasty details, like a history of our BDHs written by Joss, but it has costume details written by the actual costume and prop people, and interviews with the actors, and again the scripts as they were written.
Short answer: Yes.

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Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. - Gautama Siddharta

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Friday, September 22, 2006 7:09 AM

22CLAWS

Entirely pointy.


Very intresting ideas, Zoid. BTW I remember reading a sample of "Shadow" in an earlier thread. It was very good work. I hope you do finish it.

Well, I guess it's off to Amazon for the Visual Companion.
22

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Friday, September 22, 2006 7:11 AM

MAL4PREZ


I always thought that the dead Shadow thing came from the RPG. Where is it in the Visual Companion?

Don't get me wrong, I think it makes sense to Mal's character that his home was destroyed. But I'm always trying to keep my canon straight.

-----------------------------------------------
I'm the president. I don't need to listen.

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Friday, September 22, 2006 7:17 AM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


It is in "A Brief History of the Universe circa 2507 A.D." starting on page 12 of the Serenity Visual Companion. There is a LOT of great information in that History, despite it being just four bitty pages.

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Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. - Gautama Siddharta

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Friday, September 22, 2006 7:24 AM

ZOID



PhoenixRose replied, in part:
Quote:

...You sure we never get to see this fanfic?...

Yeah, unfortunately, I am pretty sure. It's only half-finished at 70-some pages right now, and I haven't added anything to it in going on four months. I'm pitiable, really. This is why I'm not an author. I can't finish anything. "Plans that either come to nought, or half a page of scribbled lines."

Besides, I explore other things -- like how Mal and Zoe became 'entangled' during the war -- that many would probably have a hard time believing or accepting. Briefly, and to wit, Zoe was a samurai trained in the 'Way of the Gun' for the Alliance, when Mal found her, and rescued her from a group of would-be Independent rapists. She was the sole survivor of her unit, and her leader is killed by Mal himself. (NB: I've got the actual Japanese words that mean 'hereditary liege lord', as well as 'way of the gun' in the fic). She sees herself as a ronin, fit only to die, but latches on to Mal as her new 'leader for life', because he has (through sheer luck, as usual) defeated her warrior lord and is a man of honor, an embodiment of her own warrior code.

See? That's gotta go against everyone's grain...

Be happy.



Respectfully,

zoid
_________________________________________________

"I aim to misbehave." -Capt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity, a.k.a. 'the BDBOF'

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Friday, September 22, 2006 7:32 AM

PAGANPAUL


zoid, you have way too much free time! Use some of it to finish your fan-fic, and you'll get a whole bunch of fans all wearing brown coats following you around and hanging on your every word.

BTW, liquid water exposed to vacume will boil away at any temperature, so your reference to "boil the sea" makes perfect sense. I'd never thought about it before now, but you have a very interesting theory about Shadow.



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Friday, September 22, 2006 7:38 AM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


Quote:

Originally posted by zoid:

PhoenixRose replied, in part:
Quote:

...You sure we never get to see this fanfic?...

Yeah, unfortunately, I am pretty sure. It's only half-finished at 70-some pages right now, and I haven't added anything to it in going on four months. I'm pitiable, really. This is why I'm not an author. I can't finish anything. "Plans that either come to nought, or half a page of scribbled lines."

Besides, I explore other things -- like how Mal and Zoe became 'entangled' during the war -- that many would probably have a hard time believing or accepting. Briefly, and to wit, Zoe was a samurai trained in the 'Way of the Gun' for the Alliance, when Mal found her, and rescued her from a group of would-be Independent rapists. She was the sole survivor of her unit, and her leader is killed by Mal himself. (NB: I've got the actual Japanese words that mean 'hereditary liege lord', as well as 'way of the gun' in the fic). She sees herself as a ronin, fit only to die, but latches on to Mal as her new 'leader for life', because he has (through sheer luck, as usual) defeated her warrior lord and is a man of honor, an embodiment of her own warrior code.

See? That's gotta go against everyone's grain...


Actually that is an interesting story idea that would not necessarily go against my grain. It certainly fits Zoe's character. However it would go against canon, since she started out a Browncoat in the 57th overlanders platoon and was the only one to survive other than Mal.
Write it anyway if that's what you want to do. Plenty of people do Alternate Universe stories.

http://www.bigdamnthankyou.com - show Universal your gratitude!

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. - Gautama Siddharta

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Friday, September 22, 2006 7:42 AM

INDIGOSTARBLASTER


Going back to the original question... we don't hear anything about Mal's father, but maybe he left a small legacy for Mal that Mal (and his mother) never touched until after the war, when Mal had nothing left?



Indigo S.

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Friday, September 22, 2006 8:05 AM

GRAYFURY


Quote:

Originally posted by PhoenixRose:
Quote:

Originally posted by GrayFury:
He worked on his mothers ranch before the war, maybe she passed and he sold it (Before Shadow became uninhabitable) Or maybe the Government made a settlement with the people displaced by the event that undid the Terraforming on Shadow.


it says that the whole world was fried in the war.




That sounds like an event that would screw up the terraforming to me!

"Smellin' alot of IF comin' offa' this plan!"

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Friday, September 22, 2006 8:55 AM

ZOID


PhoenixRose pointed out:
Quote:

...However it would go against canon, since she started out a Browncoat in the 57th overlanders platoon and was the only one to survive other than Mal...

Yeah, and the 57th Overlanders is the unit to which she is assigned when she enlists in the Independent Army in my story, too. Because she must serve under Mal, and no other leader...

I tried really hard to stick to the particulars as I know them. But I ain't psychic, and if I go against Joss' actual secret story (i.e., not revealed in the series or movie), then that can't be helped. But I am a stickler for details. Just, nobody ever said what Zoe did before the war, or how she came to be in the Independent Army, and steadfastly devoted to Mal, even before the Valley of Serenity Valley (witness the interaction between herself, Mal and Tracy at the Battle of Du Khang).

Something deep was going on between Mal and Zoe 'The Warrior Woman' that doesn't make sense from any common sense viewpoint. ... That and the fact that Zoe knew Mal was going to get through to the auxilliary transmitter in the movie. I don't think she was just saying that to make the others feel better, neither. She believes it. It's Mal's way, as Shepherd Book noted, his Tao. The fact that his 'code' and Zoe's fit so well together is not the only reason she follows him, in my version. Added to that, is that Mal was never trained to be samurai; he comes by bushido naturally, through a process of personal enlightenment. That makes him an overwhelmingly powerful force within her worldview...

In any case, Mal is as unlikely a Hero as you'll ever find ("...'cause he beat up Mal? That ain't so hard!"), and yet as canny and luckier than any you'll find. Mal's 'Way'? The Way of the Hero, says I.

...And we all know what the definition of a hero is, right?



Hijackingly,

zoid

P.S.
I went out and purchased The Visual Companion today. In it, Joss says that "unlike Mal", Zoe is "career military". Taking the American Civil War as the model, this would mean that she was an Alliance soldier, since the Independents would not have an army until the War started... Which is pretty cool, because I think it means I may be on the right track after all. And remember, I'm just guessing, based on my aforementioned strict attention to details.
_________________________________________________

"I was lucky in the order, but I've always been lucky when it comes to killin' folks." -William 'Bill' Munny, Unforgiven

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Friday, September 22, 2006 9:09 AM

CYBERSNARK


It's also possible (going back to the original topic) that Zoe's own money was needed to finance the ship. If she and Mal pooled their finances, it could easily explain the purchase and the crew salaries.

Note how strongly Mal was "selling" Serenity in OoG. Zoe implies that he's the one who paid money for it, but he points out the crew requirements --maybe Mal could afford the ship, but Zoe needs to pay for restoration and a crew, at least until their jobs start paying off.

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

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Friday, September 22, 2006 4:05 PM

NCBROWNCOAT


Quote:

Originally posted by Cybersnark:
It's also possible (going back to the original topic) that Zoe's own money was needed to finance the ship. If she and Mal pooled their finances, it could easily explain the purchase and the crew salaries.

Note how strongly Mal was "selling" Serenity in OoG. Zoe implies that he's the one who paid money for it, but he points out the crew requirements --maybe Mal could afford the ship, but Zoe needs to pay for restoration and a crew, at least until their jobs start paying off.

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



That's a good point Cybersnark. I doubt Mal had enough money by himself to do all the repairs etc before they could even fly her to the first job.

To get the Zoe/Mal thing. The best description of their relationship I've ever seen was a line or two in a fic over at liveejournal, http://community.livejournal.com/mal_inara/86423.html#cutid1
by taramaru. I think this quote from that fic sums up the Mal/Zoe relationship:


"Wash had called it twin-speak, telling her about twins who had their own language. ‘Are you sure you and Mal aren’t twins separated at birth?’ he’d ask, almost seriously. Wash had found their codependency, as he called it, disturbing. He’d make the comment that people never got him and Zöe, and her eyes would meet Mal’s. Ai ya! What would they think about them?"


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Friday, September 22, 2006 4:57 PM

TEACHDAIRE


Quote:

Originally posted by PhoenixRose:
Wow, zoid that... that... Wow.
You sure we never get to see this fanfic? Because you've got some great theories as to how things went down.
As for the Companions being canon, I believe they are. The "Brief History of the Universe" that I drew from above was written by the man himself, there's an interview with him as well, and all scripts are in their original form, exactly as the writers wrote them. The Firefly Companion doesn't have some of those tasty details, like a history of our BDHs written by Joss, but it has costume details written by the actual costume and prop people, and interviews with the actors, and again the scripts as they were written.
Short answer: Yes.


Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. - Gautama Siddharta



Yeah, but the only Firefly companian out so far is one of what looks to be a 3 part set, so these details may be one of the later books.


-------------------------------------------------
For every battle honour, a thousand heroes die along, unremembered and unsung...

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Friday, September 22, 2006 6:03 PM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


Just to play devil's advocate, it is possible that, before the war, there were armies started on each planet. Why? Well, that's a good question. Maybe there were only Alliance soldiers, but that wouldn't make much sense to me.
But I do really like your take on the characters, zoid, and I like your attention to detail. I hope you'll continue to write and one day post some fic!

The Firefly Official Companion that's out is in fact part one of two. I can only think that the next book will be more of the same, as part of the cast seems to be missing from the interviews, and at the end of part one we are promised descriptions of Vera come part two. Plus, of course, there will be the rest of the scripts.

http://www.bigdamnthankyou.com - show Universal your gratitude!

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. - Gautama Siddharta

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Friday, September 22, 2006 6:39 PM

ZOID


C'snark:

So, ummm, yeah! Where did Mal get the money to buy his boat?

First, I don't think it'd necessarily be all that expensive to buy a piece of go se 'hoopdee' that's not even spaceworthy. Now, we all know that Serenity's not a piece of go se (or else we can be educated thus by the back of Kaylee's hand). But when Mal first bought her, the huckster wasn't even trying to sell her. That's how bad off our girl was. My guess is that the guy more or less said, 'If you can haul that eyesore off my lot, she yours'.

After that... Well, we at least know that a perfectly good catalyzer can be found in any Core World junkyard. Probably most of her other spare parts, too, since we know the Firefly-class transport was a mass-produced model in previous decades, that has since fallen from favor and out of production.

I don't think it'd necessarily be all that expensive to get her in the air again. Finding someone willing (or stupid) enough to risk interplanetary travel in her, on the other hand...

Let's just say that it's a good thing Zoe's blindly devoted to Mal, that Wash was google-eyed over Zoe, and that they've all got a mechanic to whom machinery 'talks'. If Serenity is the tenth character, Kaylee is definitely her heart...

But, to obtain even the little bit of money required to purchase and refit Serenity, I'd fancy that Mal and Zoe were equivalent to modern merchant seamen. They'd hire out of one port, sail to the next, then pick up the next available outbound boat; rather than being on a fixed crew. Maybe they shipped once or twice with Monty -- which'd doubtless be fun (in a blurry, headachy sort of way) -- but the remainder of the time with a rogue's gallery of alternating Queegs, Teachs, and Hazelwoods. Spend a couple years doing that, and you'd be lookin' to become the captain of your own ship, too. ...But it'd also explain Mal and Zoe's familiarity with so many different captains when they are discussing hiring their own very first pilot, Hoban 'The Stash' Washburne...

It's a good question, though. It'd be interesting to see an episode dedicated to those years, when Firefly makes its inevitable return to television...



Respectfully,

zoid

P.S.
I really am sorry for totally hijacking the thread before, y'all. But somebody else brought it up, and then somebody else started asking, 'how?', and then the next thing you know... Honest. You'se guys can reread the thread. I was at least the third guy down the depth chart. But I am wordier than is strictly necessary, I know. I'll go back to lurking, now.
_________________________________________________

"I aim to misbehave." -Capt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity, a.k.a. 'the BDBOF'

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Friday, September 22, 2006 7:58 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Personally? I think Mal and Zoe pooled the cash they earned being tramp workers wherever they could find work, whether it be on land or in space. And we have zero clue how much the huckster salesman in "Out of Gas" would have asked for Serenity. For all we know, Serenity was the equilivent of a rusted out Pinto made before Ford fixed those hinky rear bumper mounts (though I would never imply Serenity would explode from just touching her;D)

However, one idea I've had for Mal's background involves him being the son of the couple who owned the biggest cattle ranch on Shadow (with some other mucho grande points better left till I finally get around to writing a fic). Like any good parents, they set aside a nice sum of cash for their pride and joy's education, but it never gets used cuz of certain tragic events and the war coming along. Suddenly, Mal in his mid-20s and a ex-rebel soldier that no Alliance overseen university would accept. So what does he do with his college fund? Buy a decade-old (if the 03 in Serenity's class code denotes her model year) midbulk transport, that's what!

BEB

Literature has shown us some of humanity's greatest achievements; history, some of our greatest failures -- Alun Lewis

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Saturday, September 23, 2006 4:50 AM

NCBROWNCOAT


BEB,
Most of these scenarios are plausable because we do not know where he got the money. Just wish Joss would let us know sometime-preferable in another Firfly series or at least in one of the movies.

BTW That sounds like a great fic. I'd love to read it.
Most characterization of Ma Reynolds make her a very smart and practical woman who we know is more than capable of running a large cattle ranch by herself and raising a good son despite the lack of father around, what ever the circumstances.

I wouldn't put it past her to have a sum of money put away in a bank account in a reputable bank somewhere on the Core. Not just for a college fund, but have it there in order to run her business as a herd of cattle could bring in quite a sum of money and she would need the money as working capital for the ranch.

The one complication is that the money would have been liable for confiscation by the Alliance during the Unification war as they control the banks. Unless, she was smart enough to put it in the equivalent of a Swiss bank account.



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Saturday, September 23, 2006 5:06 AM

JMBROCK


Zoid:

If you're having problems coming up with new material, do what I've been taught to do: write nothing. Just write whatever is in your head. Take the last part of the story, the last idea, and start writing down your thought processes. Later, you can go back and take the ideas you like from what you wrote and turn that into more story material. It's called "freewriting."

It's also fairly therapeutic.

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Saturday, September 23, 2006 8:31 AM

ZOID


jmbrock:

Thanx for the advice. I do sincerely appreciate it. But my problem isn't a dearth of ideas; when it comes to ideas and story lines, I suffer more from a plenitude of them. Choosing a path in an infinite universe...

But, ultimately, my problem is inertia. I turned out the first 70+ pages in about 2 months, just in my spare time, which ain't much. I have the whole thing mapped out in my head right down to the (open) ending. I'm really happy with how Mal's first encounter with Patience turned out. It makes both good sense, and is funny, according to my somewhat dented humor.

I figured "Shadow" would be suitable for a SciFi miniseries (3 eps x 2 hrs per). I like to write with a goal, even when it's just a personal fantasy. I think the Firefly story could be perhaps best told in this format (and sold on DVD afterwards). Movies 'needs must' be approx 2 hrs long, and that's too short to include both meaningful character development and meaningful story arc -- at least, of the kind Firefly needs and deserves. Series television ultimately proves to be too expensive for science fiction and its accompanying SFX. So, I reckon, 6 total hours shown in three 2-hr installments (done every 1 to 2 years) might be the right amount of time to get the story properly told, at the right cost to the (whatever) studio since it's TV rather than theatrical, and make a really good seller at retailers on DVD, which is where most properties make their money these days, anyway. Certainly, it's where Firefly/Serenity has made the majority of its money.

But like I said, I get distracted by Life, and then can't seem to will myself to write more. I'm pretty neurotic about actually finishing things; I guess subconsciously I don't like things being closed-ended. (NB: Which fits my ENTp profile, btw.)

But, I am giving serious consideration to at least putting up pieces of what I've done in the BlueSun Room, so people can bash or appreciate, as they will...

Thanx again for trying to help me, a chronic non-finisher. ...Or maybe I'm just a short-storyist, rather than a novelist. That would figure, since short-form authors don't get paid. Yeah, that'd be just about right for how things go in my life.



Respectfully,

zoid

P.S.
Crap! I did it again! Please pay no attention to the hijacker behind the curtain.

v/r
The Great and All-Powerful zed
_________________________________________________

"I aim to misbehave." -Capt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity, a.k.a. 'the BDBOF'

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Saturday, September 23, 2006 8:43 AM

JMBROCK


Well, be sure to let everyone know if you decide to post it. It sounds fantastic, even from the little I know of it. As an avid Fanfiction reader, and reader in general, I can already tell simply from the detail you've put into your explanations that this would be a story I would enjoy reading, one of the good ones that makes sifting through all the bad ones worthwhile.

Good luck,
JMBrock

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Saturday, September 23, 2006 3:36 PM

ZOID



Okay, there y'all go. I put an excerpt up, called 'How Malcolm Met Zoe', at http://www.fireflyfans.net/sunroomitem.asp?i=13129.

If it seems to repeat itself -- or lack a certain subtlety -- that's because it's a sequence of flashbacks in the larger story...



v/r,
-zed

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Saturday, September 23, 2006 10:45 PM

BELOWZERO


OK, I seem to recall reading in either the Companion or the other book that Shadow wasn't going to be habitable for 700 years or so....cuz they had the audacity to send a lot of fellas to be Independents....

and Zoe says she was raised on a ship (I think in HoG when she and Wash are talking about having a kid). So she very well may have been Alliance...or the rim planets had their own militia, kind of like the Minutemen of 13 Colonies USA fame...

I hope someday we get to find out the background on all this from Joss himself. In the meantime, we have fanfic, and pretty good fanfic at that. Go zoid! I like your analytical, scientific explanation of "burn the land, boil the sea."

"Do not go gentle into that good night....
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. . ."
--Dylan Thomas

Though my soul may set in darkness
It will rise in perfect light.
I have loved the stars too fondly
To be fearful of the night.


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Saturday, September 23, 2006 10:51 PM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


There is no time period given, from what I remember, just the fact that Mal's home was destroyed. And Zoe never said she was raised on a ship.
Must read that story, must have time...

http://www.bigdamnthankyou.com - show Universal your gratitude!

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. - Gautama Siddharta

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Sunday, September 24, 2006 3:00 AM

ZOID


PhoenixRose wrote:
Quote:

There is no time period given, from what I remember, just the fact that Mal's home was destroyed. And Zoe never said she was raised on a ship.
Must read that story, must have time...


Well, Joss never said 700+ years in the Visual Companion. I think KRAD may have said that and that Zoe was raised on a ship in his novelization of Serenity; but, Joss plainly said that Keith drew his own conclusions on a lotta stuff...

So go read my fanfic. It only takes about 10 minutes. My biggest regret is that the larger story is unfinished. I tell "Shadow" -- a la "Out of Gas" -- through an extended use of flashbacks, in which the main, current-timeline story is almost the secondary story to the historical one. Cutting out the pertinent flashbacks to the particular story of how Zoe and Mal met and formed their bond, and then pasting them all together is a bit unsatisfying, for me; but, it was the only way to keep folks from being totally lost and confused. I also think it suffers from losing some of the other details that I cut out in the interest of brevity, to wit, Brian's involvement (he's a farmhand at MacGruder's), Monty, The Old Man (colonel whose mustache Tracey later shaves off), etc. But, the whole thing was pretty oratory and not strictly pertinent to "How Malcolm Met Zoe"...
(NB: Mostly, the cut parts deal with the concept and various interpretations of slavery, and how could that possibly be germane to the Mal/Zoe bond? Well, it could, as the larger story unfolds; but it wouldn't add anything to the excerpt I posted. See what I mean by 'unsatisfying'?)

So I did the best I could, under the circumstances... ...Short of actually getting off the dime and finishing "Shadow", and then posting it, of course (*mutters cuss words at self for being so shiftless*)...



Hijackingly Yours,

zoid

P.S.
I really am a sh*t, for continuing to abuse someone else's thread like this. There's no excuse for it, and I won't try justifying myself. I just hope someone finds this entertaining, so I won't feel so guilty.
_________________________________________________

"I aim to misbehave." -Capt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity, a.k.a. 'the BDBOF'

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Sunday, September 24, 2006 6:05 AM

SHINYAPPLE


<>

Serenity was described as an "03-K64-Midbulk transport"
03 was the third variant, K was a play on the Japanese term for "firefly", and 64 was the year (2464) that the Firefly was first manufactured.

Sooooo...Serenity's not just 10 years old, it's more like 45 years old at the time Mal first fell under her spell. That "Pinto" commment strikes close to the truth, but I think of her more like a VW Bug or an Army Surplus Jeep.

Capn Mark, of the Shiny Apple

ShinyApple, a rare treat, but handle with care or I'll blow yer gorram head off!

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Sunday, September 24, 2006 6:21 AM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Hey ShinyApple, where'd ya get that tidbit of info? Don't tell me...it's in part one of the Firefly Visual Companion that I still haven't read;)

BEB

Literature has shown us some of humanity's greatest achievements; history, some of our greatest failures -- Alun Lewis

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Sunday, September 24, 2006 7:41 AM

SHINYAPPLE


BEB:

Actually, I stole...hrm....researched it in the Serenity RPG book. But I had read the same stuff elsewhere.

Capn Mark

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Sunday, September 24, 2006 9:37 AM

CHRONICTHEHEDGEHOG


The idea that Zoe was raised on a ship comes from the shooting script of HoG:

Quote:


WASH
And this beautiful baby of ours, you
don't mine that it's going to grow up
on a spaceship?

ZOE
Worked fine for me.



-------------------------------------------------

I do not kill with my hand.
He who kills with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
I kill with my heart.

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Sunday, September 24, 2006 11:06 AM

CITIZEN


Interesting thread, to jump in a bit late:
Quote:

Originally posted by zoid:
I figured all those little moons, given Earth normal gravity, as Zoe says in the pilot, entailed the application of an artificial gravity generator. Similar to the one Serenity uses, but on a planetary scale.

That's basically what I thought as well. In fact I'm sure if seen it mentioned in a somewhat canon source. Whatever it's about the only way (save increasing the bodies density) to ensure all these diverse bodies have Earth normal gravity.
Quote:

Then, I further surmised, "What would happen on say, Earth's Moon, if such a generator were switched off and the Moon's natural 1/16th G was instantaneously returned?" Answer: The Earth normal atmosphere -- at Earth normal pressure -- would leap away from the satellite's surface like a coke bottle shaken and then uncapped, and uproot everything from vegetation and its topsoil, to a significant amount of surface water, to the majority of manmade structures, as though sucked away by an enormous shop-vac.
Not exactly, it's not like getting a hole in a space craft. The atmospheric gases would take a very long time to leave the body, years. Besides there's no 'bottle neck' so there would be no pressurised release of gas to 'suck' anything from the surface.
Quote:

So, there's your destruction of Shadow. Not one warhead fired. Simply an executive override of the gravity generator from an orbiting cruiser-cum-administrative office, and poof!, everything bigger than a burrowing rodent dead. In fact, if you wanted to minimize the damage so you could reuse the planet without losing several hundred years of terraforming work: Turn off the generator for only an hour or two, then turn it back on.
I believe its mentioned somewhere that Shadow was destroyed by orbital bombing.
Quote:

Sudden reduction of gravity to hold a "sea" to the planetary body, in addition to the sudden removal of atmospheric pressure to push down on its surface (think 'surface tension'), might cause it to appear to "boil", even though it might not actually boil as a result of tremendous heat of any kind, but rather as a reaction to a sudden lessening of the weight of air pushing down on it.
Well as pressure drops so does boiling point. That's why they say your blood will boil in vacuum (though that's not actually true, you're body can sustain internal pressure even in vacuum, in fact people have survived vacuum pressure loss of over a minute, but that’s by the by).
Quote:

So, is the Visual Companion canon? Or is it like KRAD's novelization, which Joss said was more a work of Keith's own speculative imaginings than anything Whedon actually had in mind? Still, I've got to get me one. I wonder if they sell them at Borders...
I think so, I tend to think of it like this:
FireFly/Serenity/Books written by Joss: Canon
Books not written by Joss (VC's, Novelisations): Canon except where they directly contradict the above.
RPGs and Fan speculation: Not canon but as good as you can get where they don't contradict the above.
Quote:

As one further illustration: The liquids in the human body are kept there with the significant assistance of atmospheric pressure. If one suddenly finds oneself in the near-total 'vacuum' of outer space without a pressure suit, your blood and other bodily juices will appear to boil out of your unprotected skin and eyes. Same thing with a "sea", with its containing atmospheric pressure removed.
They boil for real, boiling point drops (though if the temperature is low enough they'll flash freeze instead ) But as I said this is actually a popular misconception. Your body can hold it's own pressure; people have survived vacuum exposure with little more than some swelling and passing out.

That scene in event horizen where that guy almost pops? BS .

Straight from NASA:
Quote:

You do not explode and your blood does not boil because of the containing effect of your skin and circulatory system. You do not instantly freeze because, although the space environment is typically very cold, heat does not transfer away from a body quickly. Loss of consciousness occurs only after the body has depleted the supply of oxygen in the blood. If your skin is exposed to direct sunlight without any protection from its intense ultraviolet radiation, you can get a very bad sunburn.

http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/970603.html
Quote:

Briefly, and to wit, Zoe was a samurai trained in the 'Way of the Gun' for the Alliance, when Mal found her, and rescued her from a group of would-be Independent rapists. She was the sole survivor of her unit, and her leader is killed by Mal himself. (NB: I've got the actual Japanese words that mean 'hereditary liege lord', as well as 'way of the gun' in the fic). She sees herself as a ronin, fit only to die, but latches on to Mal as her new 'leader for life', because he has (through sheer luck, as usual) defeated her warrior lord and is a man of honor, an embodiment of her own warrior code.
Cool, but wasn't Zoë pegged as career military in the army Mal served in?



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

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Sunday, September 24, 2006 8:10 PM

ASARIAN


Quote:

Originally posted by PaganPaul:

BTW, liquid water exposed to vacume will boil away at any temperature, so your reference to "boil the sea" makes perfect sense.




Fascinating theory. :) But, in that scenario, is the sky then not EXACTLY what they took away from Mal? "boil the sea" and "you can't take the sky from me" are hard to reconcile in this theory.

But if we're just talking about atmosphere, then it's really the best theory I heard so far. In fact, the *only* theory that makes any sense of "boil the sea*. Great job, Zoid.


--
"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here." -- Simon Tam

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Monday, September 25, 2006 12:12 AM

ZOID


citizen:

Yeah, the 'coke bottle' visualization is inexact. But the Earth's atmosphere is held in place -- at a significant pressure -- by its gravity. If that gravity were immediately reduced to 1/16th, I still contend that the pressure would be immediately released in an equal-and-opposite 'rebound' effect. Now it may be hard to get one's head wrapped around such a notion, since there are no everyday circumstances in which such a hypothesis could be tested. (NB: Although doubtless there are math guys lurking around here who could give you an approximation of attendant forces and effects)

But our atmosphere is a very large thing, kept at a large pressure (compared to the surrounding vacuum of space) for approximately a mile in depth before it even begins to appreciably thin out, around the entirety of the globe. Not only is the atmo of our planet held to the surface at such pressure by gravity, but so is everything else, like trees and soil (think of the regolith shooting away for yards as Armstrong(?) one-handed a golf ball for a mile-long drive), and buildings and cows. Immediately reducing gravity to 1/16th would not only effect the pressurized atmo, but the apparent 'weight' of everything on the planetary body.

This effect of contained pressure (by gravity) being released would be exaggerated on a smaller body like our Moon; similar though not entirely analogous to a coke bottle, since the reason a coke bottle spurts if you shake it is due to an entirely different mechanism in the first place. I was just trying to help some one imagine the force.

What you left out in the NASA piece is that, if you don't squeeze your eyes very tightly closed when exposed to 'vacuum' (which is really just 'space normal pressure' and indicative of our Earthly biases), you'll be blinded as the Earth-norm pressurized fluids rupture your eyeballs. But you're right otherwise. The Russians in particular have found out that human skin works well enough as a p-suit to survive for a few minutes, in a dire emergency. At the far end of that couple of minutes though lies a lot of hemorrhaging...

Lastly, like I said above, although I never read or heard it anywhere, I always sorta presumed Zoe was career military, and a military brat. Which would mean that she had to be former Alliance, like her daddy (and mommy?). While non-Core Worlds might have militia, most of these wouldn't amount to much more than a glorified fire brigade. Who would they defend their home soil against? Hostile natives? Well, there weren't any. Roving bands of criminals? That'd be a job for police; you might need the occasional posse, but never a standing army.

Nope. If you were career military, it'd have to be in a standing army, and the only one of those there'd be would be in the Sino-Anglo Alliance. ...Or at least, by my reckoning. I likewise figure that for historical reasons, a Chinese Emperor (as opposed to their current form of government) might be amused by having a subservient class of samurai -- with its vassal lords paying fealty to him rather than to a Japanese emperor -- regardless whether he kept them on space ships or a planet of their own. That whole China v. Japan thing has been going on for hundreds-if-not-thousands of years now, and it's still on the simmer, today.

Point is, I intended to include the Japan v. China theme as a Firefly-future consideration in "Shadow", and the samurai aspect was further used to subtly illustrate a different side of the examination of slavery in the greater story. (NB: Slavery?! Yeah, well, we know Mal's got a distinct hatred for the 'institution', so I try to imagine why.)

But, lest anyone accuse me otherwise, "Shadow" is strictly a product of my own imagination. I only got the Visual Companion this past weekend, and was more than a little relieved to find that it doesn't necessarily negate anything I've written thus far. So, that's how far from being 'informed' I am. I'm just guessing from observation.

Y'all may see it differently. But my main motivation for writing (well, half-writing, grrr) "Shadow" is a very real fear in my own heart that we may never get any more of the story from 'informed' sources. That cannot happen, sez I. This is a story that demands to be told. I may be a poor disciple, but the story screams at me, 'Let me out! I want to live!'...



Respectfully,

zoid
_________________________________________________

"I aim to misbehave." -Capt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity, a.k.a. 'the BDBOF'

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Monday, September 25, 2006 5:38 AM

CYBERSNARK


Quote:

Originally posted by zoid:
since there are no everyday circumstances in which such a hypothesis could be tested.



Hmmm. . .

*quietly resumes work on Doomsday Weapon*






















Purely in the name of scientific curiosity, of course.

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

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Monday, September 25, 2006 5:56 AM

CITIZEN


Gravity is holding on to the atmosphere, but the atmosphere it self is too, the atmosphere itself would act to prevent the gases from escaping at a preditious rate.

I'm pretty sure that lose of atmosphere due to reduced gravity would happen in a time span of hours, but more likely years.
Quote:

Lastly, like I said above, although I never read or heard it anywhere, I always sorta presumed Zoe was career military, and a military brat. Which would mean that she had to be former Alliance, like her daddy (and mommy?). While non-Core Worlds might have militia, most of these wouldn't amount to much more than a glorified fire brigade. Who would they defend their home soil against? Hostile natives? Well, there weren't any. Roving bands of criminals? That'd be a job for police; you might need the occasional posse, but never a standing army.
The Alliance brought peace to the galaxy. Rival worlds fought each other, as rival nations do now, that requires a standing army. It just so happens that the Alliance's was the largest.

On the subject of slavery, I think the Alliance is also anti slavery, remembering we only actually see it on worlds with basically no Alliance presence.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

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Monday, September 25, 2006 6:51 AM

MAL4PREZ


Hey Zoid -

I don't know about any rebound effect, but if gravity suddenly shut off, everything on a planet would definitely take off because of the planet's spin.

Interestingly enough, I am also halfway through a fic that works greatly through flashbacks, the main part of which is Mal and Zoe, meeting, fighting together, post-war etc. I'm mostly done writing that part, but I don't want to read your sampler until I'm completely done so I don't end up accidentally filching your stuff (you know how good storylines kind of get stuck in your brain...)

But I look forward to reading it! It sounds like you've really thought things out. And it'll be interesting to see your approach - I love it when similar stories happen, because the finished thing is always so very different.


-----------------------------------------------
I'm the president. I don't need to listen.

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Monday, September 25, 2006 9:17 AM

MYCROFTXXX


My thoughts on how Mal was able to procure Serenity...

After WWII, there were so many surplus P-51 Mustangs that, presumably, you could buy them for a buck a piece. I think this is an oversimplification but the fact is, after a war there are usually large stockpiles of "demilitarized" vehicles that end up being melted down for scrap.

My guess is Serenity was long past its expiration date but, like the DC-3, was a very servicable craft. Even today, there are DC-3s that are flying in perfect shape while others, a few cornfields over are total wrecks. I think Serenity fell somewhere in between.

Now, as to how Mal bought her, my best guess is that after the war, he and Zoe did the merc' thing for a while as private security much like Jayne did/does for the crew now. Probably got paid halfway decent if you didn't look too closely at what it was you were guarding.

What I find interesting is that if Mal and Zoe were so tight then why was she surprised he had bought the ship? If the two had stayed close after the war she'd have known more about his decision to buy the ship.

So, to summarize... the ship was bargain basement priced being seriously war surplus and too expenseive to haul to the smelter. Mal had taken a number of private security jobs to earn a small stake in this new endeavor (this also explains his connections with so many other ship operators.) Once he bought, or at least put a deposit on it, he contacted Zoe and asked her to partner on getting the bird airborne and making money.

--

Given a choice between the earth-that-is and the 'verse-that-will-be I'll take the latter.

宁静

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Monday, September 25, 2006 9:27 AM

MYCROFTXXX


On the subject of turning off the gravity generator, one thing that's been overlooked to this point is the effect of centrepital force. Remember, Shadow is a spining planet. If the gravity was suddenly reduced to 1/16th of what it was, the atmosphere would spin off like a spiral galaxy. The mass of the atmo would tend to make it travel in a straight line tangent to the point where the gravity was suddenly turned off. This would not be a long term event. IMO, it would happen very quickly like a strong hurricane blowing everything in its path off into the sky. If you've ever lived through a hurricane you know just how powerful a full on blow can be.

BTW, if you were to visit Shadow today I'd bet you would find a fine ring like that around Saturn consisting of planetary regolith, ice and other debris pulled up by the release of the atmosphere. A dead rock but a pretty one.

--

Given a choice between the earth-that-is and the 'verse-that-will-be I'll take the latter.

宁静

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