Age : 25
Hair : Blonde, long, ponytail
Eyes : Blue
Build : Slender and shapely – vitally Statistical
Race : Human
Recorded interview, courtesy of Starfleet Command-
<The soft voice comes from a tall, willowy blonde on the viewscreen, followed by an uncomfortable pause as she shuffles her feet and looks just about anywhere except into the camera lens>
”Howdy,” <the voice repeats with a sigh> “I'm Erika Caine an' I done been told to tell y'all about me. I ain't happy doin' this but I guess orders is orders so I'm gonna tell y'all what I don't mind ya knowin', an' that's as far as it's goin', dong ma?”
<Those last two strange words seem to be directed at someone beyond the camera and the woman appears to be satisfied with whatever response she may have received>
“Like I said, my name's Erika Caine an' I ain't from around these here parts. I'm 25 years old an' I was born on Hera, that's in the Georgia System an' that ain't nowhere on y'all's charts 'cause I looked. So don't be askin' me where all it is 'cause if I knew I'd be goin' back there like stink off a skunk. I was raised in a li'l town called Mallory. My pa was a rancher an' ma was a healer. She weren't no official doctor but she was the best thing the town had an' we was mighty proud of her skills. Mallory had itself a li'l schoolroom an' a teacher, too. Well, she weren't no real teacher, neither, but she had book-learnin' an' she passed it on to any as would sit still long enough to learn it. I learned me a bit but there was a lot of work to be done on the ol' homestead so I guess I didn't learn as much as I could've. I got to knowin' my letters an' numbers so I can read an' write an' do math an' that's enough, I guess. It got me this far, anyways. There ain't much to tell about those days 'ceptin' to say I growed up. I was happy, town was happy, we was all happy. That is, until May 2511. I know that date don't mean a gorram thi... huh? Sorry... don't mean nothin' to y'all but it's a date as won't never be forgot by me or folk like me. That's when the gor.. when the Purple Bellies decided they wanted Hera. What? Yeah, I'm getting' to it! The Purple Bellies is the 'liance, the UAP. <she sighs> The UAP is the Union of Allied Planets an' they was so full of their own importance that they wanted to rule the damned 'verse, or at least our li'l corner of it. Well, we free folk, Independents as we were officially called, Browncoats as we liked to call ourselves, took exception to that an, as y'all can expect, war broke out. That would've been in 2506 so, by my math, the war lasted for 5 years but I on'y come into it at the end – in 2511. May 2511 I was 18 years old an' a member of Mallory's Militia. Colonel Mallory, he was descended from the town's founders, liked the sound of that so we was even called 'Mallory's Militia'. Anyway, bein' part of the Militia, there was fifty of us, was a lark most o' the time. We had us some trainin' sessions an' some laughs but we didn't never think we'd ever have to do no fightin'. Boy, was we ever wrong!
Like I said, the Purple Bellies landed on Hera an' marched into a place called Serenity Valley. That's where they come up to an obstacle – us. Oh, I don't just mean Mallory's Militia, I mean the Independent Army was there to take their toll an' prevent those go tsao de hwan dan from getting' any further. Mallory's Militia was part of that Independent Army. We started our march soon as we heard the Purple Bellies had landed an' we was waitin' for 'em with the rest of the Army. We fought those cheong bao ho tze go neong yung duh for seven weeks – seven weeks that felt like seven years. Serenity Valley turned into a muddy, stinkin' blood bath an' wherever ya looked a dead man was starin' back at ya. Some of 'em didn't even know they was dead, but most did. We had no food an' any supply drops was blowed outta the sky. Those bastards ruled the air an' they was getting' the upper hand on the ground, too. But it was on the ground where they knew they was in a fight. For the first month or so, anyways. My daddy gave the Militia horses to get to the valley on an' we et them once the food ran out. Then we et whatever rats we could find. We'd rob the dead of any canned food they had but one thing we Militia didn't do was eat people but we know that some folk did because there was teeth marks in corpses that weren't put there by rats. Water was scarce too. We had to drink outta the puddles and shellholes an' that water was red with blood an'... well, there was stuff floatin' in it that I don't wanna think 'bout no more. Seven weeks we fought, tooth an' nail. When we ran outta ammo we fought with teeth an' nails an' anythin' else we could get our hands on until we won the skirmish or died. If we won we robbed the Purple Bellies of their guns an' ammo an' any foodstuff we could find an' we hightailed it back to our lines. Not that anyone actually knew where those lines was any more. After it was over the frontline that we was at was behind the 'liance lines an' the official frontline was way to hell an' gone. After those seven weeks was up we heard there was a ceasefire an' we purty stupidly thought we'd won. But we hadn't. I guess the Independent Command figured too many had died an' they surrendered. I guess you'd have thought it was all over an' we all could get fixed up, fed, an' go home? Yeah, well we did too but it didn't happen that way. For a little over a week after the surrender we were left where we were. No food, no water, no medical aid – nothin'. We watched the Purple Bellies come in their medical ships an' lift their wounded to hospitals but not us. We was left to rot an' I guess a lot more of us died that week than needed to. It left a bitter taste in all of our mouth's I can tell ya. Well, after the talkin' was over we were allowed to leave the Valley an' go home. Fifty of us went to Serenity Valley an' none but nine of us walked out but I tell ya that all nine of us held our heads up proud when we marched – oh yeah, we marched – out of that hellhole, past the motherf... Alliance Guards, and back home.
But when we got back home none of us nine could settle down. Two of us I guess had seen more than they wanted to see an' they took their own lives. One other went mad an' had to be locked away for his own safety. The other six of us drifted. We all walked together for a ways before splittin' off one by one an' I ain't seen hide nor hair of them since. I made it off planet an' signed on with a transport ship. The skipper had stayed neutral through the war, as had most of his crew, an' they all just didn't understan' when I woke up sweatin' in the middle of the night. So I left them as soon as I could and signed on with another ship, then another. I writ home now an' then, lettin' the folks know I was all right an' once in a while a 'wave caught up with me an' I got my replies back from 'em. An' then I got a reply sayin' that my folks were dead. Fever or some such had took 'em. Well, I knowed I wouldn't get back for the funeral so I asked that their things be auctioned to pay for it an' the balance sent on to me. The balance was a might better'n I expected an' I had me a tidy little sum. That was when I figured to buy my own ship an' do things my way. So I did. I bought me a shiny ship an' hired on a ragtag crew an' we took up trade as freighters. We'd transport anything, anywhere. We didn't much care what or where so long as it weren't people – other than payin' passengers, that is. For four years we made our way through the 'verse. We'd get us into some scrapes with the Alliance. They still thought they had a right to rule an' we still figured they didn't. But we usually came through pretty much intact. I guess most of us freight-haulers had a bounty on our heads but no-one was like to turn us in, not even many of the neutrals. Anyway, then we ran into trouble. We was makin' us a delivery to one of the Border Planets when we was hit by an Alliance Patrol Boat. We started to runnin' 'cause there weren't no way we could take one of those on alone an' they kept on a-chasin' us an shootin' at us. An' some of those shots hit us hard. Well, like I said, we was runnin' an' we was losin' the race when a swirly thing, what your Scientific folk tell me was an unstable wormhole but I ain't never seen one before so I don't know for sure, was suddenly swirlyin' right in front of us an' there weren't a gorram thing we could do about it. We were leakin' radiation like a Reaver ship an' couldn't have turned if our lives depended on it, which we figured they did but we still couldn't turn anyway so we slid right on into that thing an' prayed. Well sir, I sure ain't got no idea how long we all was in that wringer because when you got tossed up an' down, an' spun round an' round, and thrown back an' fore an' twisted an' bent like we was time was a luxury we couldn't take, uhh, time to attend to bein' as we were a tad too busy hangin' onto our stomachs an' any part of the ship as would stay still long enough for us to get a grip onto. Well, an eternity or so later, maybe two minutes, we were through the nightmare, or so we thought. We didn't so much fly out as was spat out an' it wasn't all of us as was spat out, either. The cockpit came through, pretty much intact, but the engine room an', well, most all the ship aft of the cockpit didn't come through with the rest of us. That included my engineer, god rest his soul. Rest of us was in the cockpit an' we felt mighty pleased with ourselves until we realized the life support controls was in the part of the ship as hadn't stuck around. So there we was, on the drift, when we saw a ship through the iced over window. That was a might pretty sight, I can tell ya. First off we thought the 'liance had caught up with us but it didn't resemble no 'liance ship none of us had ever seen before. Then we figured what the hell, it didn't matter much who all it was so long as they wasn't Reavers an' they wasn't about to leave us behind.
Anyway, to cut a long story shorter than it could be it was the U.S.S. Argent – that's the name as was writ on its hull anyways, an' they must've figured they'd found them a bunch of pirates or some such because next thing ya knew we was sucked onto that ship an' surrounded by armed guards. God, I hated that feelin'. Not the surrounded by armed guards feelin', I'm used to that, but the sucked out of one place an' deposited in another without no sight-seein' in between. I still ain't sure how all it happens 'ceptin' I understand that my body bits are discombobulated somehow an', hopefully, recombobulated at journey's end. I still ain't sure all of me is here but what all I still have seems to be in the right place, an' still seems to be workin'. Personally, I'd just as soon use a shuttle as that devil's device.
But after all that, the rest is history. Me an' my crew helped out the Argent when they come up against them Borg fellas an' Starfleet made me a Lieutenant an' gave me the Argent seein' as the Captain didn't make it through the fracas. Seems I done OK too 'cause they up an' went an' gave me a newer model now, a Heavy Cruiser called Whiskey Lullaby, I called her that – cunnin' name, huh? Anyway, I'd rather have had me a Firefly class but when all's said an' done a boat's a boat an' all boats'll do right by you if'n y'all do right by them. So now here I am, on Serenity Station which, I might add, is a mighty pretty name.”
<The woman pauses and shrugs, obviously at a loss for words now>
“Uhhh. Well, I guess that's all.”