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Shan Yu
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Wed 12 May 2010
at 05:17


     This story begins about 7-8 months after the events in the movie “Serenity”, and is a sequel to a previous Serenity RPG on RPoL, “Serenity: Hard Burn”.

     The Alliance has been thrown into chaos over the past 7-8 months.  The event that initiated the upheaval was the sudden and inexplicable appearance of a holovid that was initially broadwaved throughout the Burnham Quadrant and even reached the core system.  The origin of the broadwave was never determined, nor were most of the details surrounding the making of the holovid.  But the holo soon assumed a life of its own, and the wave was bounced by independent transmitters deeper and deeper throughout Alliance space.  This chaos-inducing holovid was brief…only a few minutes in length, and it was about a subject that had long since been forgotten.
     Shortly before the start of the Unification War, it was announced, with little fanfare, that there had been a terraforming “event” on the rim planet Miranda.  This “event” resulted in the immediate and complete reversal of the environmental transformation of the planet, changing it from a living, habitable world into a lifeless rock.  Little else was mentioned and few details were released, all travel to Miranda was prohibited, and the planet quietly…and quickly…disappeared into oblivion.  Supposedly, it was just a case of terraforming not taking hold on an inhospitable environment.  The escalation of tensions between the Alliance and the growing number of separatist worlds refusing unification, ultimately leading to the Unification War, eclipsed any mention of events on Miranda and allowed any memory of the planet to quickly vanish from the minds of the general populace.  Interestingly enough, Miranda also disappeared from historical records, navigational charts, and all Cortex archives.  Not only that, but the few people who tried to investigate the fate of the planet or who asked too many questions suffered an alarming number of usually fatal “accidents”…or simply just disappeared.  Miranda ceased to exist.
     With the appearance of the holo, however, Miranda was resurrected in the public consciousness.  As it spread, the holo generated a firestorm of questions and demands for answers from the Parliament, and the more they tried to suppress it, the worse became the discontent.
     The holo was purported to be the final transmission of a scientific research and rescue team looking into the events surrounding the sudden loss of communication with the colony on Miranda.  Contrary to the official government version of events that blamed some vague terraforming accident, this holo placed the death of the world squarely on the shoulders of the Parliament.  The terraforming transformation had not failed, the atmosphere had not been rendered toxic, and the planetary surface had not been turned into an environment incapable of supporting life.  Instead, the team discovered that scientific experiments on a huge scale had been conducted by the Alliance government, designed to modify the behavior of the Miranda inhabitants and create a non-aggressive, tractable and passive population.  If it worked, any stubborn resistance to central governmental control would be eliminated, and the path to unification would lie not in the use of weapons, but in the subtle manipulation of the will.  But the experiments backfired.  The complex chemical compounds added to the atmospheric processors performed their functions too well, and almost thirty million inhabitants just lost all will to live…they literally just laid down and died.  No one had escaped, although there had been a few survivors who instead had apparently gone completely insane…and it was these survivors who wiped out the research and rescue team.  The Parliament was quick to cover up the catastrophe, and the Unification War conveniently served to redirect the public’s attention elsewhere.
     With the appearance of the holovid, the fate of Miranda had resurfaced and was threatening to explode like an expanding supernova.  The potential impact on the Parliament could have resulted in nothing less than the downfall of the government if the situation were to continue to escalate.  The Parliament spared no effort to bury the story, and the holo was widely denounced as propaganda from enemies of the state.  Possessing or showing the holo became a criminal offense, and it soon became relegated to covert underground transmissions only.  Fortunately for the Parliament, another event occurred at the same time as the broadwave…an event that served the same function as had the Unification War, all those years ago.
     Along with the allegations about Miranda, rumors surfaced concerning a major space battle somewhere in the Burnham Quadrant which resulted in the loss of over a quarter of the Alliance battle fleet.  However, the Alliance was not at war with anyone, and the existence of any enemy fleet large enough to inflict significant casualties on the Alliance fleet was largely discounted.  Still, stories from alleged survivors, photos and vids of damaged Alliance ships, and leaks from the Alliance Admiralty continued to fuel the rumors.  Alien invasion, resurgence of the Independent Faction rebels, an attack by Earth-That-Was, and even absurd suggestions that everyone’s favorite fantasy boogey-men, the Reavers, were on the rampage were all given as possible “truths” behind the rumors.  When they could no longer cover it up or deny it ever happened, the government released an official story about the incident stating that small but formidable fleets of pirates (no doubt former separatist rebels and criminals) had ambushed an Alliance fleet that had been conducting peaceful maneuvers in the Burnham Quadrant.  While losses had been suffered, they were minimal.  However, the pirate fleets posed a continued and significant threat to the peace and prosperity of the “Verse, so every effort was being made to track them down before they grew larger and even more capable of spreading terror.
     Regardless of the stories, explanations, and rumors, the fact remained that recruiting for the military suddenly skyrocketed, military appropriations in Parliament quadrupled, and there was talk that the draft might be reinstated.  Civilian ships were being commandeered for use by the fleet, frequently along with their crews, until such time as the largely dormant military shipbuilding industry could gear up to meet the new demand.  To listen to the news waves, things were sounding an awful lot like war was just around the corner.
     Interestingly enough, the military focus on the Burnham Quadrant allowed a resurgence of anti-Alliance activity to occur elsewhere in the ‘Verse.  Criminal organizations took advantage of the lack of military presence to expand their activities, and several separatist and anti-government movements began to spread their seeds of discontent and revolt.  Some movements were even trying to inject a religious element into their discontent by referring to the Miranda incident as some kind of divine punishment for the sins of the Alliance, with worse yet to come unless change occurs.
     In the midst of this turmoil, a lone ship named Aurora braved the perilous passage to Miranda.  Hired and financed by the multi-millionaire tycoon Rafael Bettencourt, the intrepid crew in their Kwai Su Nyao class mid-bulk transport discovered for themselves the truth of Miranda, and retrieved priceless medical research data that changed the face of medicine in the ‘Verse.  For their trouble, the voyagers received a nice bundle of cashy money, and the “suggestion” that they never reveal the details of their journey.  No one would ever know what they did, and others would take the credit.
     But to most folk, all this is just wua ser tian jwoo.  For now, there’s still work to be done, bills to pay, and a myriad number of other little things that have to be addressed that make up everyday life in the ‘Verse.  The former crew of Aurora must now return to this mundane existence, never again needing to worry about Reavers breathing down their necks.  In fact, their future promises nothing but peace and quiet and prosperity.