Simon Tam's Survival Guide for Rim World and Space Travel

Author owns no rights to Firefly, and no copyright infringement is intended. Fanfic only.


I honestly never expected to travel too far from Osiris, where I was born and raised, other than occasional vacations trips. I was rather happy where I was, and really saw no need to think about the rest of the 'verse. I knew it was there, of course, but it meant little to me.

Then, my little sister went to the Academy. And so began my learning experience in dealing with lower born people out on the rim. And trying to survive in the black.

I've managed to do pretty well, having fallen in with a stalwart ship and good people. Well, mostly good people. It could have been far worse, I admit. It's difficult to undergo such a radical change, from the finest of living to the catch as catch can style of existence more prevalent in the outer colonies.

There are few people of good breeding in the black, and refined manners and graces are practically non-existent. In fact, people out there tend to look at people like me, well groomed, well mannered, well spoken, as weak.

I mostly ignore that, of course. To respond, even in answer, would be beneath me. Still, there are some pearls of wisdom that I have worked out for myself over the time I've spent out here. I thought I'd share them with whoever might be thinking that a life 'out there' might be fun, and exciting.


1) If someone tells you they will shoot you, they probably mean it. Take heed.

2) When a ship captain says he will 'space' you, he doesn't mean allow you to travel with him, or to walk on the hull in a suit.

3) Try to avoid being shot. It sounds exciting I know. But what it really is, is painful. And there aren't many doctors around. Your being a doctor won't help you much, since you're the one shot, either.

4) If your little sister is along, try to keep her from antagonizing the other people on the ship. Remember, these people are not civilized, and are prone to react violently and without understanding.

5) Never refuse to treat someone who is injured. You shouldn't do that anyway, but never do it in the presence of a hulking mercenary. Especially if there's a price on your head.

6) Never try to give orders to the ship captain. They don't care much for it.

7) Never tell a woman 'well, you look good covered in grease', even if she does. It won't come out like you mean it.

8) Don't engage in semantic arguments with a Shepherd who wasn't always a Shepherd. He's smarter than you think. And tougher than he looks.

9) If you find yourself on a vessel with a Companion, then there is someone you can at

least speak with on a level you are more comfortable with. Don't presume on her time too much, however. It isn't polite.

10) Certain quaint Mandarin phrases dealing with insults to the maternal parent that we tend to laugh at in the core are not so well received on the Rim. Try to forget you know them. It's safer. And you might live longer.

11) Try to avoid religious zealots. Especially if there's a bonfire.

12) Limb re-attachment is a very handy skill to have in the Black. It makes people like you more.

13) If you can't seem to keep your foot out of your mouth, then keep your mouth closed. Especially around attractive female engineers.

14) Be wary of mercenaries bearing gifts. Be more wary of Captains bearing news of 'a job you can help with, Doc.'

15) If your sister has undergone head trauma, and is a psychic, try and keep her away from sharp tools. Knives, scalpels. Or pointed objects, like screwdrivers, ice picks. In fact, try and keep her away from anything that might be used as a weapon.

16) Reavers are real. I've seen them. They're worse than the stories.

17) If your ship has a very attractive young woman as a mechanic, try and accept her as she is, rather than attempting to re-make her into a core-girl. It won't work, it will make her angry, and your cabin's climate controls will cease to function properly.

18) Don't antagonize the first mate. She will shoot you if the Captain tells her too.

19) Don't antagonize the first mate's husband either. She will shoot you, even if the Captain tells her not too.

20) Keep your sister as far away from the previously mentioned mercenary as possible. Especially if they have far more in common than they appear too. Like love of firearms. Or knives. Or counting the ways they can kill another person with a eating utensil. Or grenades. It's. . .it's unnerving. No, it's worse, but I don't have the right word for it.

21) When your sister comes to you and says 'we should talk', then you'll know that rule 20 is gone forever. It won't do you any good to argue, especially if she's smarter than you are. Just accept it with as much grace as you can, kick and scream some, since it's expected, and keep a syringe of poison handy in case it goes badly.

22) When all else fails, just go and cry on the mechanic's shoulder. She'll understand. And she'll still love you, even though you cried.

Well, your situation may well be different from mine, of course. I was on the run, and fleeing from very bad people at the time. I was fortunate though. I met my wife, made excellent friends, lost my sister. . . . No, no, I meant she got married. My wife is reading this over my shoulder and censoring. . .okay, okay, correcting, certain parts of this. She's much stronger than she looks. And I don't care much for the couch.

Remember these little tidbits, though, if you find yourself in the black. They'll help you survive, and live happier. I promise.