Title: Purgatory
Author: tafkar
Summary: Serenity speaks. The cue from ff_friday: New beginnings.
Category: Character study
Spoilers: Out of Gas, sorta.
Rating: G
Archiving: Always welcome; just let me know you have done so.



I have waited here for years. It has been too long since I journeyed in the dark spaces between star and star, and my last captain was rough and cold and cruel, starving me and beating me like a drunken miner with a donkey. I don't believe I ever will enter space again. Yet every night, I look up into the sky, through clouds of water and pollution, with longing It's a hopeless wish for one like me. I am old, I am old, all my dreams are turned to dust and all my last hopes erased. Someday soon my decaying husk will finally rot away into the ground, and the nothingness that will take me will be a blessing.

Today is a new day, but I know it will bring no change. I feel the glare of the sun, the heat stretching my skin, and I let out little groans, like everyone around me. And then the murmuring begins...A captain! A captain!

You think that we don't speak. You just don't listen well enough. But I listen, and I hear them call.

Pick me, pick me!

See me, so sleek and dangerous. I will take you on adventures men only dream about.

I'm yours! Think about it - you and me, jumping from planet to moon in the blink of an eye.

I know it is useless for me to call. Some day some person will come seeking scrap, and on that day my weary bones will finally be unbolted, and I will be melted into nothing, and I will finally know release from my never-ending purgatory. I wait, knowing soon one of my compatriots will cry out with joy, and the rest will weep in disappointment and sadness.

I am old, I am dead, and I have been here too long to hope.

The old man who owns us continues his speech. He says fine things about most of us, but he gave up on me long ago. "Yes sir!" he says. "This ship, she'll take you far. You can rely on her." The ship stands a little more proudly at the words. I cannot help but feel a flash of envy at its coming fate.

The captain isn't looking.

The captain is walking toward me.

It can't be! There is no ship behind me, however, and the exit to the lot is in the other direction. The old man is trotting behind him, saying, "Son? Son? We got plenty of nice ships here. Let me show you this Prowler-class that's right over there."

The captain isn't listening.

The clamor of the ships is deafening.

No, not her!

I'm strong, and sturdy. I will take you much further than she will.

Come back, please!

I expect him to turn. Instead, here he is, standing on my gangway. He walks up, and touches my skin, and I can feel his dreams. We will fly through space, he and I, and we will go from moon to planet to space station. I will shelter him, and protect him, and he will care for me. A captain like him will be with me for the rest of my life.

The old man begins to haggle with him over the price. The haggling doesn't go on long. Suddenly, I feel young again.

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