Disclaimer: I own neither Doctor Who nor Firefly, but you can't stop the signal.
Romana watched as the TARDIS' engine whirred. When it came to a halt, she glanced at the coordinates, and instantly searched through her mental files to determine where she was. Realizing she was unfamiliar with this area of the universe, she opened the scanners to take a peak at her immediate surroundings. Barren, was the first word that came to her mind, and so she let out an audible sigh. And the fact that it was nighttime didn't help anything. Ever since the Doctor found it prudent to install the Randomizer into the TARDIS, their destinations had become quite potluck.
"Doctor," Romana asked the curly-haired man playing chess with K-9. "Do you know where we are?"
"Shh..." he told her, batting his hand in her direction but keeping his head facing the board. "I'm trying to concentrate." Romana rolled her eyes, but remained silent. After a moment, the Doctor smiled broadly, exclaiming, "Ahhh!" He then picked up his knight and moved it to capture K-9's rook.
"I wouldn't have done that if I were you," said Romana, peering over the Doctor's shoulder.
"Nonsense," he said. "You'll see."
"Bishop to Queen-6," K-9 commanded in his monotonous drawl.
The Doctor moved his piece for him, and then proceeded to move his own queen to capture the bishop.
"Queen to Knight-4," K-9 said. The Doctor moved for him. "Check," said the machine.
"What?" said the Doctor, both annoyed and confounded.
"Check, Master," repeated K-9. "Mate computed in 3 moves."
"What rot!" grumbled the Doctor. "You must have cheated."
"Did not cheat, Master," said K-9. "That function was not downloaded into my system."
"Don't be such a sore loser, Doctor," said Romana, unable to contain her giggling.
The Doctor rose to his feet and moved to wander around the console. "I'm not a sore loser," he said, scowling. "Besides," he added. "You distracted me with your question... What was it again?"
"I asked you," she said. "If you recognized these coordinates at all."
The Doctor studied the coordinates, and said, "Somewhere in the Beta Galaxy: colonized by humans after the Earth became uninhabitable."
"Well," said Romana, indicating the desolate picture on the scanner. "It doesn't look like this place is very habitable, either."
"Yes," agreed the Doctor. "Strange, since all of the system's planets and moons had been terra-formed. And this is probably late 26th century if I've determined correctly, meaning that it should already have been colonized long ago." He paused for a moment. "Unless..." He quickly grabbed his long scarf hanging on the nearby hat-rack and wrapped it around him, followed by his trench coat and fedora. He opened up the TARDIS doors and went outside.
"Mind filling me in at all, Doctor?" Romana said to him when she finally managed to step outside after donning her own pink trench coat, where the Doctor stood waiting for her while simultaneously surveying the area.
"Hera," he said. "It must be."
"The Greek goddess of marriage and jealous wife of Zeus?" Romana asked.
"Named for her, yes," said the Doctor, taking a few steps forward. "This planet, however, is famous for being one of the bloodiest battles of the Unification War."
"What was the Unification War?"
"When the humans first colonized the area," the Doctor explained as he walked with Romana trying to keep in step with him. "The Anglo-Sino Alliance was the very powerful government that ruled this planetary system. Many inhabitants opposed their views, and so waged a civil war against them, but were ultimately defeated. One of the key battles was on this very planet in an area called Serenity Valley. Many lives on both sides were lost."
They reached the perimeter of the valley where a few hills stood. They climbed up them, and when they reached the top, they paused in a silent awe. Hundreds of thousands of graves lay in rows reaching for miles in all directions.
"How horrible," Romana finally managed to gasp. "Doctor, do you know who did this?"
"Themselves, I'm afraid," said the Doctor, a solemn expression on his face. "This is the result of the Battle of Serenity Valley."
"This is making me uneasy," Romana admitted. "Let's leave here, Doctor, and find somewhere more uplifting."
"This is an important piece of history," said the Doctor. "We can't just ignore it."
Romana sighed and and looked around, spotting some ruins in the distance. She began to walk towards them until she reached the base of a toppled pillar and then sat down on it. When the Doctor joined her, Romana sighed, brushed the hair that had fallen from its place behind her ear, and said, "So tell me what happened here."
"Total and utter destruction," said the Doctor. "The worst that humanity has to offer is made prominent by what happened here."
"But you're always saying how wonderful humans are?" said Romana.
"This place also represents their tenacity, faith, and strength to never give up even when things are at their darkest," he continued. "And also something else, something very grand..."
"What?" asked Romana.
"It's almost sunrise," said the Doctor, as though he had not heard the question, leaving Romana puzzled by the non-sequitur.
They sat in silence while Romana waited for the Doctor to say more. Finally, after what seemed like ages though only minutes, the Doctor pointed straight ahead, and said just one word, "Look."
Romana did as she was told and gasped for the second time that day. She watched as the sun glistened over the countless headstones, the reflection dazzling her eyes until she noticed the sight that had been veiled in the gloomy darkness. So many flowers of all different colors and varieties. It was a magnificent garden of life and joy to rebuild over the memory of those who were lost.
"The families of the fallen come here to visit those whom they lost," the Doctor explained. "They plant flowers and leave mementos by the graves. Even the unmarked ones have visitors since their were so many people who lost someone; they choose a grave and care for it in the hopes that someone else is doing the same for their loved ones."
"It's breathtaking, Doctor," said Romana.
"Indomitable..." the Doctor said softly.
"What was that?" asked Romana, unable to quite hear what the Doctor had said.
"The human species," said Doctor. "Even at their lowest point, they never give up and instead meet every challenge that arises."
Romana slowly nodded her head, taking another long glance at the memorial grounds. "I think it's time we leave now, Doctor. I'm beginning to feel as though we're trespassing"
"Hm, yes," the Doctor agreed. "I suppose it's time to move along." He stood up, rearranged his scarf, and then offered his arm to Romana, who linked her arm in his as they walked back to the TARDIS.
When they arrived and were back inside, the Doctor immediately went to fiddling with the console.
"Just one more question, Doctor," Romana said to him.
The Doctor looked up from his ministrations. "And what's that?" he asked.
"What about the survivors?" she asked.
The Doctor let out a deep breath as he thought how to word his answer. "Though they moved on with their lives," he said. "They never truly left."
"I could never be a soldier," said Romana, head swimming with so many thoughts.
"You'll be surprised what you can achieve when you're forced to rise to the occasion," he said.
"You talk like this could ever happen to us," Romana said to him in a softly scolding tone. "Gallifrey is perfectly safe. Our darkest hour ended long ago before either us of were born."
"I suppose you're right," said the Doctor, though there was an unnamed sadness in his eyes and an uneasy foreboding in his hearts. Quickly, however, he brushed those feelings aside, deciding it was just the depressing history of the planet making him this way. Instead, he turned back to Romana and smiled broadly. He placed his hand on one of the levers of the console, and said, "Let's see where we'll wind up next."