Disclaimer: I do not own Serenity (Firefly) or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Written for fun, not profit.

Author's notes: Set directly after Serenity. I'm playing very fast and loose with the Alliance's Operative mythology. Just squint and follow.

We are, all of us, bound by our duty, but duty is not just that which is given us, but that which we are inherently born to fulfill.

I believed myself to be an agent of the Alliance. Their Operative. The Operative, as there is only ever one in a single place, as if two may not exist on a mission; the Alliance is mighty, but I am one, a single hand. What a paradox. I hear rumor, spoken by the ignorant and fearful, that there is only one of us ever living. We disappear and another reappears to take our place. Only a single Operative ever activated for use. I find it ironic that such a rumor might exists, as, for once, it is very close to the truth of the matter.

The Alliance employees many agents such as myself, agents who are unacknowledged in formal circles, but as for our bloodlines, there is always only a single representative, brought about unnaturally and taught to embrace the beliefs of our masters.

We serve, because we have always served, since before our conception. We have always been loyal. We have always embraced the same dream, of a world without sin. We are driven by a common goal, to better our world through any means.

And we are born to fight for something greater than ourselves.

Duty remains. I am not their Operative any longer, but duty remains.

It is with this in mind that I infiltrate the Nest, a place which, like those inside, does not technically exist. This is the complex where the key to my bloodline's greatness is stored. As I was born here, created here, I know this building well. I know where the next Operative is being grown, the one who shares my bloodline.

I have never asked, but I knew, from the talk of the doctors who checked my vitals daily, insuring that I was a fit specimen, that their employers in the Alliance were very excited about the Operative who was to be born after me. The one to take my place after my…retirement. It is an odd thing, to have one's death anticipated so early.

I expected I would die with honor. Without shame. And that I would never meet my long awaited kin. But, since…since I have learned the truth of matters, I have decided I owe my bloodline more. This is an effect, perhaps, of the ripple the Tams caused.

I recognized it upon first glimpse of the security footage: love. Love for one's own. It was written on Simon Tam's face when he stole his sister. I hope it will be written across my own now.

The scientists are an easy defeat, and I make my way into the heart of Nest. I find the pod there.

We are of the same DNA, altered over the generations to give us different sex, new features, sharper skills. But, this Operative, the one still sleeping, awaiting my death so that she might awaken, is from the original samples. From my understanding, they are very, very old.

Those who were so excited to have recreated the mother of my bloodline will never have a chance to truly meet her.

I enter a code into the pod's keypad and the lid lifts. As expected, the Operative is female, as every other Operative is selected to be by those who would play God with their powerful instruments. Her skin is dark as mine, lips full, lashes closed and black. Her features are perfect and unexposed to this imperfect, sinful world.

Above her head, where the latch has opened, a single word is engraved into the metal. It is the name of the DNA from which she comes, from which I come: KENDRA.

There are many Operatives, from many bloodlines, but this is my own. My duty is not to the Alliance, but to her.

Captain Malcolm Reynolds, of the ship Serenity, the honorable man who broke my faith—I told this man, not long ago, that he had weakened the Alliance. I do not lie; I did not lie then. They are indeed weakened, but they are not broken.

They will be, though, soon enough.

"Awaken, Kendra," I say softly. "We have much work to do."