The Alliance colonel looked over the prisoners, seated in the auditorium of the ship.
“Gentlemen. As you know the Independents have signed the surrender and part of the
agreement was an amnesty for troops.
“With a very few exceptions, some high ranks and accused war criminals, this will be
considered an honourable discharge. We are all citizens of the Chinese-American
Alliance and you will have the full privileges of citizenship.
“You will be released to your home planet or to the planet of your choice. The Alliance
will provide transportation. You will receive your back pay, in Independent scrip, which
can be exchanged for Alliance coin or scrip at par for the next 60 days. After that
Independent scrip will be demonetized.
“You will receive a new set of clothing, the same clothing that discharged Alliance
troops will receive. There are to be no differences made between the soldiers of each side.
“Some of your fellow soldiers still require medical care. They will be treated in Alliance
military hospitals until they are capable of being discharged. If necessary, this treatment
may continue for the rest of their lives.
“You will receive an Alliance ident card. You have the choice of being chipped with it or
not, like any other citizen. If you have any personal identification, including dogtags or
papers, please have them ready for the clerks.
“Are there any questions?”
Zoe looked over at her sergeant. “I reckon we’ll pass on being chipped, sir?”
“I just want to get home to Shadow. The ride will help, money will help more. But I don’t
even want the gorram ident card. And I definitely am not bein’ chipped like a steer.”
“I dunno where my family ship is. With luck the purplebellies will be allowing us to send
“Come to Shadow, if you have any trouble findin’ ‘em. My mother would be right
delighted to meet you.”
“Will do. And that’s us dismissed. I’m in the A line – the R’s are over there.”
The Alliance clerks were surprising fast at processing the few survivors of Serenity
Valley. Most had no ident except dogtags. A few claimed not to have even those. New
lives and new identities were being formed.
The Alliance ship was set up like a military base on the edge of a small town, with
a civilian population catering to the off duty needs and desires of the uniforms. The
released prisoners could stay in barracks or with luck find a hotel room and privacy for
the first time in months.
The next morning found Mal Reynolds lining up at a public Cortex. He spotted Zoe just
back of him and called out , “Found your ship yet?”
“No response from my mother. My father’s account is closed. I think that means we’ve
lost him. I’ll try my brothers next”
“I’m up next. Stay with me. I’ll introduce you to my mother. “
“You’re really looking forward to goin’ home? There was some heavy fighting on
Shadow I hear. Things will have changed.”
“”Everything will have changed. But with a ranch, nothing changes. Cattle need tendin’,
buyers need findin’. Be nice to see a clear horizon and purple skies again.”
“Yeah, somethin’ to do with protozoa in the oceans. I was surprised the first time I saw a
“You’re up, sarge” said the Browncoat leaving the console. ” Best of luck with your
“By your manner, you found your folks?” “Yes, Off home to Canton. “
Mal punched in his mother’s code and his own. “Account closed” flashed on the screen.
“Please hold for verification.”
“That’s odd,” said Zoe. “There was nothing about verification on my father’s closed
“Please print out this document and bring it to Alliance War Reparations.”
“Naw. Just government gettin’ in the way. I’ll try it again.”
The clerk looked at the printout and asked Mal for his ident card. “Ah, Browncoat. Well,
this is usually connected to a payment for expropriated property. Give me a moment, Lieutenant.”
“Zoe, I don’t have any property. The ranch is my mother’s, free and clear. No
mortgage, no husband, no partners.”
“I’m not happy about this either, sir.”
The clerk returned. “Looks like this will take a little longer than I thought. Could I ask you
to return tomorrow at 1400 hours?”
Mal agreed, puzzled.
“And, soldier? I am sorry for your loss.”
“Your mother’s death. During the fighting on Shadow.”
“Fighting. She’s a rancher, not a soldier. What happened?”
“I’m sorry, sir. I don’t have that information. Perhaps I will have more information when
you return tomorrow.”
The War Reparations are based very loosely on the Marshall Plan set up in Europe after World War II. The Americans encouraged the rebuilding and growth of Germany, having concluded that the oppressive Treaty of Versailles which ended WWI, was a root cause of WWII, and planning to prevent a reoccurence.
Any large bureaucracy loses track of what is happening on the fringes. I don’t see the Alliance as an evil empire. To some extent, they were probably right that the Rim worlds would be better off with Central controls. Look at the oppressive local Rim governments we see on Canton and in the episode “Heart of Gold”.
The Alliance also has a medical outreach as we see in The Train Job, where the central government is supplying, apparently free, medicine to the miners, which is stolen by the Serenity crew for the criminal Niska.
Canon has it that both Mal and Zoe were recorded by a grateful senior officer with their battlefield ranks. They then received mustering out pay based on those ranks. I am assuming that they are already aware of this.