Prologue

Time and Space

By psycholizard

River sat curled up in the pilot's seat counting each star as it passed by, taking solace in the easy silence of the night. The rest of the crew was in their quarters, except for Simon. He was in Kaylee's room.

It was quiet tonight and her thoughts were her own. With a soft sigh, River let go and allowed her mind to drift along the corridors, brushing against the powerful emotions that she encountered. She had gained some control over her mind since Miranda, but maintaining the control was tiring so at times like these she allowed her mind to wander free.

No constraints.

Breathlessly, she reached out and touched the feelings as she floated by. Love. Grief. Confusion. They each belonged to a member of this crew.

She felt the love and lust emanating from Kaylee's room. Zoe drowned her grief in happy memories while Jayne remembered times long since passed. As for Mal, she could sense he was confused about something but she went no farther. To intrude any further into their minds was a boundary she wouldn't cross anymore.

So she leaned her head against the console and lightly ran her fingers over the buttons. She could feel the memories of those who sat in this chair before her. She felt as Serenity spoke to her, whispering her secrets, telling her stories of past crews and pilots. River knew Mal Reynolds was not the first captain of Serenity, although he would be the last and that thought saddened Her. But he loved Her and was loyal to no other.

River listened attentively. She cherished every secret, every lesson that Serenity imparted, which is why Serenity shared them with her. Little River. Special River. Her Favorite. Mal might be the Captain, but River was the Daughter. In the vastness of the Black, as they floated through the wide expanse of nothingness, Serenity knew that the time had finally come to share one last secret. River leaned in and listened intently as her Ship whispered one word:

Peter.