Finding Serenity
Monday, January 30, 2006

I took 'Accidents Happen' and revamped it. What if things had gone a little different for Zoe, Mal and Wash?


Zoë wasn’t a perfect child, but she always did the right thing. Right was what needed to be done, and she understood this. Quiet, perceptive, diligent and intelligent. Fluent in Chinese (mostly so she could curse in front of her father who knew only smatterings of the language) by age 7. Her father taught her how to pilot a shuttle when she was 8. Weapons always fascinated her, and even though she didn’t carry one until she was 14, she began learning about them from her uncle at age 10. Zoë’s mother relied heavily on her. Zoë prepared family meals, watched out for her younger cousins, and took turns monitoring the cortex. Other families would put her in charge of their kids when her family docked on different planets. She was like a warrior babysitter. The kids looked up to her, but they knew if they got outta line...

At nights, alone in her bunk, Zoe fantasized about having a life of her own. Her own ship, taking jobs wherever and whenever she wanted. And maybe even a husband. She giggled a little. Zoë knew that men liked to be in charge, but she had other plans. She wanted a partner, not a dictator. She’d find him someday. She longed for him …someone in her life to make her truly happy; she knew he was out there, somewhere.

Patiently she waited.

Then the war came. She was young, but adamant about fighting for her beliefs. That’s how she met Mal. Sergeant Malcolm Reynolds. ‘Sir.’ In the beginning she only called him ‘Mal’ when she was angry at him, and he caught on to that real quick. Zoë’s ‘warrior babysitting’ surfaced when they came across each other. He was the ‘do or die’ type and highly religious, using it to rationalize the crazy shit that he did. He was like a damn firecracker and she brought balance to his wild ways.

Stealth became Zoë’s forte during those years. She maneuvered the battle grounds like a lioness protecting her pride, eradicating the enemy and keeping a close eye on her cubs…men. Zoë tried to prepare herself for the death and destruction she would face. War wasn’t a game and lives were taken in the blink of an eye. Soon the tears stopped falling and instead collected on the inside. All of her emotions became internalized; there was no room for them. The men relied on Mal for orders and on Zoe for strength.

The war left no room for love, but what Zoë and Mal found was as close as it got. They were in sync from the start. Neither of them looking, but each finding what they needed. Mal was a strong man, firm in his decisions and clever to boot. Always could make her smirk or smile, even in the deepest of trenches. The men loved Mal. He had confidence falling out of his ears and made them feel invincible. He himself was in awe of Zoë. Never met a woman who could war with the same, if not more, vehemence as a man. All the grit and grime on that dusty moon couldn’t take away her beauty and grace. He ran everything by her, valuing her opinion and needing her support. Physically they never sanctioned their love…but saving each other’s lives on occasion was attestation enough.

The Independents were resilient, shrinking in numbers but growing in determination. They fought and fought and fought…until that fateful day of their reluctant surrender. Mal’s beliefs had kept them going for the last few days and Zoë was sure reinforcements were coming. But angels turned into daemons. Serenity Valley was a turning point in both their lives; Mal lost his faith in God and Zoë lost her faith in man. Good didn’t overcome evil. Somehow the scales were tipped and evil reigned. As they boarded the Alliance cruiser as POWs, both Mal and Zoë understood that their bond was sealed for eternity. The only two of their regiment to be found alive, they would depend on each other, in one form or another, for the rest of their existence.

Hardness. That’s what they took from the war. The Alliance treated them like the so-called ‘shit’ their brown attire resembled. It was as if they were imprisoning the remaining Independents just to prove their triumph. Bastards in blue and white tortured their minds, battered their bodies and stripped their souls. Zoë watched men greater than herself crack under the pressure. The guards took extra sadistic delight in her torture, her having certain parts all the others lacked. Her skin hardened and she took some solace in remaining vigilant for Mal. She lost herself in being his comfort, and in turn comforted herself. It was the Zoë way, emotion deflection. She could never say what she needed, emotionally. Mal saw this and understood. Some nights he feigned nightmares, just to give her an outlet to relieve her own trauma. They kept each other sane and grounded.

Following months of abuse in jail, they were set free. They were released into a society with constant reminders of their defeat.

Clinging to each other with a desperate love, Mal and Zoë became one. One in hopes and dreams, mind and body. The day they were released, outside the prison walls, he got down on one knee. Zoë stared at him in disbelief as he refused to take another step without her as his wife. She consented. That boyish face came alive and he scooped her up, burying his face in her halo of curls. It was official by nightfall, after they acquired all the necessary paperwork, and they spent their honeymoon in a halfway house run by Independent sympathetics. Things weren’t fancy, but they were clean and safe.

As they prepared for the night, their wildest dreams were fulfilled. Mal and Zoë took a bath. They scrubbed each other of the past, purifying themselves and preparing to enter a new life, together. The bathtub also served as the setting for their private wedding ceremony. Just them, the hot steamy water and their love. Promises were made to love, honor, cherish and obey. Mal took Zoë to bed as his wife that night, and they loved each other with such passion that when morning came, clothes had to be searched out and a new bed had to be ordered.

After months of taking on one demeaning job after another, Mal became obsessed with freedom; plotting and planning anyway he could to be boundless as the very ‘verse itself. As always, Zoë was his buffer, his conscience. The faith he lost ended up in Zoë. She became his only belief. At nights Mal would speak with religious fervor about this so-called freedom they could have. A new life; a chance to break away from all that was closing in and just take to the sky. Zoë put her full trust in his convictions and in him. They were both eager to regain what they had lost, their sense of self. They stole, swindled and scraped until they had enough to buy a boat of their own. Husband and Wife. Captain and First Mate. She wasn’t pretty, but she was all they had. Aptly named Serenity, she was their last hope of survival. Now they needed to assemble a crew.


“What are we doing here again, husband?”

“C’mon Zoë, lighten up. We’re waiting for this pilot fella to meet us. You know how hard it was to get his info? Some of the best have been trying to get him aboard their ships. Probably a smart lookin guy, clean and pretty-like. Keep a look out for him.”

“Anyone who sets up a meeting in a place like this must be quality.”

“Mmm…that sass makes me tingle. I’m gonna check out the booths around the back. Keep an eye out, wife.”

The garish lights and loud music of the karaoke bar were extremely unappealing to Zoë. Keeping one eye on Mal and one eye on the door, she moved around the room, searching for the flyboy. So many songs sung at one time made for a horrible melody. Each booth contained a singer with delusions of grandeur, must to the chagrin of the other patrons. At least the ones that weren’t drunk.

Zoë sat at the bar and in the span of 30 minutes embarrassed 5 men, punched out 2 and made 1 cry. Where the hell is this gorram pilot?

Out of the awful chorus Zoë picked up a song she hadn’t heard in years. A song from Earth-that-was…one she loved. The lyrics reminded her of her family, the good times they had and the love she felt as a child. Looking into the swirls of the anonymous alcoholic drink swishing around in her glass, Zoë sighed. She finally had her own life. Mal was her rock. She loved him with her whole being. They both had hard lives and now it was going to pay off. Serenity gave them the life they always wanted. She smiled. Her face warmed at the slightly unfamiliar feel. As she hummed the remaining bars of the song, she felt someone come up behind her.

“Don’t suppose you’re lookin for me?”

“Look, either I can kick your ass or my husband can. Maybe he’ll go easier on you.” Zoë shook her head. Not another delusional drunk.

“You know I’m a pilot...”

“Are you trying to hit on my wife?”

Mal grabbed the red-head and threw him up against the wall. Damn Zoë for being so attractive. Zoë turned. Under the bad lighting his shirt didn’t come off too badly but his moustache looked like it was eating his face. She had a strange feeling this was the guy they were looking for.



“Let him down Mal, this is our guy.”

“Not a right smart way to start a business deal. You’re lucky your reputation precedes you.”

“I may not be as suave as I look, but I’m a damn good pilot!”

Mal glanced at his wife. She gave him the ‘what the hell, we might as well give him a chance’ look.

“Let me show you the boat. Serenity’s her name. She’s not much to look at, but she’s our home. We’re putting a crew together. Already got a mechanic, might look for a cook and medic as well. Oh yeah, and one more thing…you try that ruttin move on my wife again, and the barrel of my gun will be the last thing you see and taste, dong ma?”

Zoë smiled as she walked in front of the two men. She thought, now this is the beginning of something interesting…


Saturday, February 11, 2006 7:31 AM


ooh, this is gonna be awkward for that flyboy. bring it on!!!!


Sunday, July 23, 2006 1:00 PM


That was pretty interesting. I never really thought of Mal and Zoe as nothing more than just really close friends. I kinda like your twist.


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