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Titanium Steel: A True Story

By modestlobster

Humor / Scifi

Chapter 1

When your pilot summons you to the bridge – you go. Ain't no questions asked.

On occasion, your pilot – once you have arrived at said bridge of unsaid Firefly that you own – he might say, "Mal, now don't get mad, but we may have – how can I say it – 'bumped' into something with the ship."

To which you will most surely stare him down, with the stoniest stare that not even a man made of stone could manage.

"Bumped?" You ask your go tsao de monkey of a pilot. "Right, so no complaints when my fist 'bumps' that grin off your face."

"Unfortunately, Mal, you know my face is stuck this way – no amount of bumping could improve it any direction... Besides, I think it adds character."

You tell him firmly, "'Character' ain't something we can afford." but in that kind of heroic tone of finality you've got going for you. And you're just about to step out, your job done, to do more important things like finally organizing your collection of suspenders (such a gorram mess – what would Ma Reynolds think?), when you recall a jien huo:

"I thought I hired some sorta robot thing to replace you... or did I just dream that."

"Mal, sometimes I worry about your affinity for robots. And don't say it's the same as dinosaurs." He'll suddenly get all dark and broody, like a dark brooding thing, before continuing, "Because dinosaurs are dead, and they're never coming back... Well, except for that one planet – Dinotopia – where they run free and happy."

Jung chi duh go-se dway, you recall, fondly, "I hate that place. Dinosaurs think they run the whole gorram world. I'd like to turn the whole place into an amusement park."

And then you remember – that, in fact, you are not here to talk about dinosaurs. "But robots, now they are perfect for every task under the sun! Why, did you really think this perfect head of hair coifs itself?"

"Actually, I thought it was a wig that covers the brain damage you got in the war... Sometimes it's hard to tell when Zoe's joking."

"There's certainly going to be someone's brain damaged on this ship in a moment. And it surely won't be mine."

Your pilot, he will call out to his beloved, saying, "Zoe, if the captain kills me, it'll be on your conscience!" and then he might foolishly turn back towards you and admonish, "Just, with all the excess brain matter, make sure it doesn't cover up the letters of S E R E N I T Y to say anything less heroic... Like S F P L II I I Y..."

"Sfpliiiiy was my mother's maiden name." You are beginning to burn with the burning rage of a thousand men whose mothers' maiden names have been off-handedly insulted. "It was a close second for naming the ship."

Your pilot doesn't notice your rage. "I'd hate to know if there was a third option." Now he notices your rage. "I meant 'love', Captain. Much like you and your love for robots. Yes, I'd love to know!"

"Fizzlewhitz." you tell him. Run-tse duh fwotzoo, that would've been a mighty fine name, wouldn't it've? A Firefly named Fizzlewhitz, fizzling and whitzing across the 'verse... Hey, hey now – no one's paying you to daydream:

"Seriously now, where is that robot I got to replace you? I paid good money for that thing. It even came with a hat."

You open that convenient closet you just remembered that you had installed in the bridge for moments just such as this, revealing your newly-prized possession (dashingly wearing said hat) to your awe-struck subordinate.

"Mal, I think they call those 'mannequins' – not robots."

"What!" Seriously, what? "No. It's a – see, with the arms? You just have to – battery packets, and – how the heck do you..."

You push those gorram robot buttons like it were Button-Pushing Day on Bellerophon. "Robot, I command you! Go and hit Wash with your arms of titanium steel!"

Your trusty pilot leans back in his trusty piloting chair. "Well, this should be... interesting."

"And I don't have the encyclopaedic brain of a robot. Define 'interesting'."

"Oh god, oh god, we're all –"

You give your robot death thingy a generous shove towards the offending niou-se. (You mean Wash, not yourself. You're pretty sure you took a shower in the past week. Yeah, you smell okay.)

"– gonna have to pick up your robot's arms if they're going to fall off like that all the time."

Stay calm. You can still bow out of this gracefully... Just don't make eye contact, back away slowly in a zigzag manner, and pray to your fay-fay duh pee-yen that he doesn't go and pick up –

"Your hat, sir."

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