Serenity: Those Who Stare into the Black....

Before Greenleaf: Xiu's perspective

Part I: Fortifications

Subject to GM approval:

First hours after the episode in Dr. Oksana’s office:
Xiu spends her time swinging in her hammock bundled in every blanket at hand. Thinking to herself: “Hmm…cacoon. I will emerge as a beautiful clockwork butterfly. With shimmering death rays of doom!” She envisions blowing up the Academy with two Men with Blue Gloves bellowing rage as the roof collapses beneath them and their emergency helicopter. Other Academy children give barely perceptible salutes in her direction before running off to create chaos in their own unique ways. Gifted engineers work with pilots to create machines like Xiu’s and reek havoc on their abusers while those more socially suited round up lesser workers and civilians to their cause. Among them, Xiu’s parents take up the charge, furious to have been duped into accepting the Academy’s promises. Xiu is proud, and vindicated.
Xiu sleeps humming in sync with the engines.

The next morning:
Feeling better, but still a bit sullen, Xiu throws into her work save for the intervention of crew members around meal time. If any part of the engine room or inventory had a slightly questionable quality to it, then Xiu has seen to it, or made note of it for later. There will be no haphazardness or ‘good enough’ in her domain. She is nesting into her new home, but she is also fortifying it. She discusses weakness with the rest of the crew when she is forced to retreat for meals and information. She looks to Oksana and Allyn for physical defense information and Verity for the technological. She hopes next time, they won’t have to wait for the enemy to get within pistol range.

Discussion with Allyn in summary: Xiu puts forth, in private discussion in the engine room, that their defenses and offenses are not adequate. Allyn admits that their resistance to jammers is weak, but the rest is more than good enough against most in the Verse, especially once the gatling is online. Xiu states that she isn’t worried about most people, she’s worried about the Alliance. Allyn tries to assure her that the Alliance will come without hiding, in plain sight, ready to be dealt with. Xiu becomes markedly tense as she tries to explain, “I’m not worried about the visible majority—” Allyn persists anyone too small to see will be dealt with. Xiu points out, thinking of the Blue Hands, anything they do would be like stepping on a pregnant cockroach. Allyn tries to assure her, insisting they could “sanitize the area.”
Allyn goes on to ask about the Hands of Blue and their distinguishing marks. Xiu gets twitchy and nauseous, barely able to put forth that they wear simple but fine suits of high quality. “And don’t listen to them,” she tries to warn, but Allyn doesn’t quite grasp her meaning.

Xiu spends a few days discussing jammers and sonic wave nullification with Verity and the Encyclopedia. She suggests having an emergency nullification system put in through the communication links.

At night she dreams she’s back in the hologram classroom at the Academy, 15 years old and newly acquired. Her both her fathers sit nodding approvingly as the teacher outlines philosophical theories on the greater good. Xiu amuses herself by wrapping a rubber band around an improvised engine and body. Later, a miniature Firefly hovers over the insubstantial professor flashing GREATER EGOS FOR THE GREATER GOOD, the light bright enough to make the holo seem to flash with it. The other students laugh, one of her fathers chokes on rage and disappointment. The dream shifts back into the receiving room of their home. Decorated lovingly with mementos of family togetherness and her early achievements, it seems over stuffed with gestures of affection. Xiu feels the anxiety of her parents’ gazes. She nods, agreeing the Academy would strategically benefit their family to secure their position in the core planets. Good recognition from the Alliance would allow them to stay instead of being relocated to the Rim. It rested on her. Her fathers’ suspected independence leaning put them in jeopardy. Her genius would prevent their outcast.
The dream shifts again. A wiry built medical examiner delivers her a strange message and a cup of tea-like beverage. A coded message from a neighbor tells her after she left her parents went missing. Letters from them are as fake as she suspected. She has waited over a year for this confirmation. In moments, her mind unhinges from the tea as her breathe stifles under the weight of the doctor’s rough movements. Her ‘exam’ ends in a few minutes, but in her mind she continues to calculate her escape.
Xiu wakes up in a sweat and moves from her quarters to her hammock. She very nearly knocks on Dr. Oksana’s door. She hesitates, and decides anything short of the assuredly non-existent cure would be a waste of time. She takes her frustrations out working off rusted nuts on the stolen make-shift gatling, and later doing stretches in the gym.




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