"If they take the ship, they'll rape us to death, eat our flesh, and sew our skins into their clothing. And if we're very, very lucky, they'll do it in that order." ~Zoe Washburne, Serenity, Pilot Episode
Monsters are Real
((Please feel entirely free to add your reaver encounters into the timeline!))
- 2506 - 30 million settlers move to Miranda where a chemical called Pax is used on them with dire results
- 2507 - Creatures dubbed "Reavers" begin appearing and wreaking havoc in the `Verse
- 2518 - The crew of a Firefly transport named Serenity uncover a message taped on Miranda and broadcast it throughout the `Verse
- 2521 - Reavers break up a wedding on Lilac Link Link Link
- 2522 - Reavers decimate the crew of a slaver ship and destroy the Invictus
Like the Boogie Man Out of Stories
The only thing is, no one's quite sure what.
Speculations, Shots in the Dark, and Conspiracy Theories
With so little known about them, separating fact from fiction about the reavers is nigh on impossible. The Alliance would have the people of the `Verse believe that there simply is no such thing as a reaver. Raids and attacks on towns situated out on the Rim by bandits and pirates is simply a way of life, and stories have a way of becoming bigger than themselves with the retelling. Fanciful fairytale that, isn't it? And one that many people would like to put their faith in. The other theories are no nearly so kind.
Plenty of people have seen the edge of space and escaped the experience with their sanity still intact. But perhaps if reavers are just men, they can be helped? No ship ever venturing forth on such an optimistic mission has ever been heard from again.
And what to make of this holovid that in 2518 appeared on all screens attached to the cortex over twenty worlds? This holovid claims that the reavers are neither monsters, nor men driven mad by separation from civilization. It's contents clearly pose the Alliance itself as the creators of the reavers, a failed experiment in population control that not only spiraled out of control, but was covered up by the very people claiming that reavers do not exist. Of course, the authenticity of the holovid is still under debate. A lot of people want to see the Alliance shattered to its foundations, and reavers are an awfully convenient subject through which to do so.
Driven beyond the edge of madness, reavers practice a bazaar form of self-mutilation, disfiguring themselves in the most hideous ways possible. With their faces cut away, tongues split down the middle or ripped out entirely, teeth rotting and filed down to points, and glass shards and scrap metal making gruesome self-piercings, no one who's ever come face to face with a reaver has had room for any doubts about what they were seeing. Too bad so few have lived to tell the story.
More proof of their retained cunning lies in that reavers knowingly, and routinely set traps. Any ship responding to a distress beacon near reaver territory beware. Reavers have been known to purposly leave a ravaged ship intact save for their gruesomely murdered and devoured crews, with their distress beacons running and a nasty surprise waiting for whatever kind soul responds. More than once a ship has docked with a transport dead in space only to find grizzly remains and triggered an explosion set to disable their ship upon attempting to flee the scene. Lucky crews have managed to escape these traps, but most sit dead in space awaiting the return of the trappers.
Perhaps most terrifying of all is that reavers will not wait until their prey is dead to begin eating them. In fact a reaver who finds himself with a dead victim has been knows to drop it and change targets to something that can still scream when being eaten. Man, woman, or child, reavers make no distinction in who they choose to kill and devour. If it's moving, they do something to correct that problem, and usually in the most macabre fashion available to them.
A World Without SinAlliance made them and has so completely covered over their existence that few in the core believe that they could possibly be real.
Miranda far to the edge of the rim. Here is where someone high in the Alliance government decided to test their newest tool in their war for total human unity. A chemical called G-23 Paxilon Hydrochlorate was released into the air systems of the newly terraformed planet. The chemical, also referred to as Pax, the Latin word for peace, was meant to weed out aggression in the populous.
Twenty nine million, nine hundred and seventy thousand settlers died as they simply lay down where there were and ceased all basic functions of life. The other thirty thousand suffered a far worse fate. While their counterparts simply became so peaceful as to quietly slip out of the world without complaint, those left were driven mad beyond the point of reason, quickly setting upon the scientists left unaffected by the chemical, and gruesomely torturing and murdering them. A rescue team hurried to Miranda, but were caught entirely unprepared by what they found. They, too, were killed to a man, left only enough time for one horrified survivor to record a tape of what they had found, including in it the tearful words, "We meant it for the best!" These new monstrosities of science took to space once Miranda ran out of prey for them, cutting all ties with the land, touching down only to ravage rim world settlements and take further ships for their fleet. The Alliance erased all traces of the experiment, destroying all data about it and spinning Miranda as a black rock left forever uninhabitable by a terraforming event that killed off it's colonists. If not for certain twists of fate, the `Verse might never have learned the truth.
The recording was recovered in 2518 by the crew of a Firefly named Serenity, that managed to broadcast it all the way to the core using the computer systems of the late Mr. Universe. While some had their belief in both the existence of reavers and the need to shake off the bonds of a too-controlling government validated, those faithful to the Alliance wrote the broadcast off as an elaborate hoax. The `Verse is left to wonder one thing.
When will they try again?