Zombies are, by definition, the living dead. And they're all dead men walking. Every one of them has a price on their head, a capture or kill order. There's a clock ticking on every one of them, and it's only a matter of time before it runs out.
They'd flown under the radar at first, back when it was just Mal and Zoe and eventually Wash. They'd taken good, honest jobs, and had worked hard for credits they could spend without regret.
Then, when the good, honest credits had become harder to find and closer to the Alliance than they'd like they began to take a few small, gray jobs. Nothing fancy or complicated. Just a bit of rule-bending there, a smidge of lying there. They got paid for it though, more than before with the honest jobs, and they didn't care if maybe it was a bit harder to spend this money. It bought food didn't it? And fuel.
After that it wasn't a large leap to smuggling. Some of their more reliable contacts had put them in touch with Badger and Patience and the like (for a fee, of course). There was more money, and more crew. Inara got them a few good jobs, but with Kaylee and Jayne on board they'd needed more credits than ever before.
When River and Simon entered the equation with Book they'd taken more jobs, needing to keep Serenity running.
But they'd started to attract notice, and they didn't like that. Couldn't help it either. There were reports of a Firefly class vessel wanted in connection to mysterious events, maybe some warrants out on one Captain Malcolm Reynolds, but nothing too big that people would get greedy and turn them in.
Then came Miranda, and the broadwave that followed. The Alliance had scrambled, justifying itself and quelling all rebellion. Slowly people forgot again, shoved the information to the back of their mind and catalogued it as just more browncoat trouble.
That's when the hunt began in earnest. Boats patrolled the skies of any planet with anything that even resembled a black market. Owners of Firefly class vessels were stopped and subjected to random search and seizures. But they persevered and managed to keep flying, even though they barely had enough food to allow them one meal a day anymore.
Warrants came out then, on everyone from Mal to Inara and Wash. Prices were raised, then doubled and, finally, triple. The price on the heads of the Tams were so high they weren't allowed out of their cabin when they were even floating in the air above a planet. But they had to eat, and for that they had to land.
Badger sold them out first, not that it came as any surprise to them. Told them he wanted to meet for a little business and then left them in a warehouse to be captured. Thankfully for them, Mal let Jayne bring his grenades. Even so, the fight was furious and Mal took a bullet to the stomach.
He was still recovering when the Alliance caught wind of their ship and sent ten of their best warships to track it down. They managed to take out three ships before they were boarded, and another two's men in the ensuing fight.
Mal, Jayne, and Zoe held their own, firing away. Even Book used a gun, and he wasn't aiming for just kneecaps anymore. But it was useless when the soldiers got their hands on Inara and Kaylee and held them as bait. They'd dropped their weapons and raised their hands high.
That's when River dropped from the catwalks, running from the hidey hole the crew had locked her and her brother into when they first saw the ships. She fought like a thing possessed, taking down man after man and dodging bullet after bullet. She was R. Tam, government weapon, and nothing, not even the guns held to the throats of her brother and the crew, could stop her. Nothing, that is, except the words that one soldier had located in a secure document that came with her file. She'd dropped and they'd grabbed her, loading her up into their boat along with everyone else.
When she'd woken up in the gray room with the rest of them, held down in a chair with cuffs on her wrists she had screamed and thrashed, looking more like a wild animal than a human girl. And none of them could help because they were held down as well.
They couldn't touch Inara, the man in the gray suit had said with a frown, but they could keep her tied down to one planet, closely monitored for the rest of her life. They couldn't really get Kaylee on anything either, sweet innocent little Kaylee, so they shipped her off back home with a federal order on her head that made it impossible for her to get near a ship without losing her hands.
They got Wash on aiding and abetting, and Jayne on murder, attempted murder, assault, assault with a deadly weapon, and list of other things so long the others lost track and stopped listening. Mal and Zoe were war criminals, with smugglers thrown in on the side and Book was accused of some high government thing that no one could really understand. It all boiled down to one thing, really. Prison. The death penalty if they could get it, life sentence if they couldn't.
Simon was charged with kidnapping, smuggling, and stealing classified government information. River was charged with over one hundred counts of murder, torture, and assault. No one wanted to believe it, but one look at the screaming girl struggling so hard her wrists were bleeding washed away any doubts.
They watched as several soldiers came to escort a struggling Simon out with two men in blue gloves calmly walking behind them, each holding a hand of a suddenly docile, crying River. Just before she left she turned and looked back, her eyes wide with fear and madness.
"We're all dead now," she said, and laughed.
Zombies are, by definition, the living dead, and they are all dead men walking. And so, eventually, they have to fall. And fall they did.