by Chris Tobias
At 4:21am (EST) this Wednesday, fall will officially arrive in this hemisphere. Fall means a lot of things to a lot of people. Students (and teachers) go back to school. Football season (both the American version and the one that fits the rest of the world’s definition) is in high gear again. Our favorite TV shows (at least the ones that weren’t unjustly cancelled) are returning. It’s a time for jeans-and-sweater weather, and of gathering around the fire pit for stories and roasted marshmallows after dark. Halloween will be here before you know it.
In my part of the country, one of the things that makes fall so special is the turning of the leaves. By mid-October, the local landscape will be awash with myriad shades of gold, orange and red that will mix with the green of those few trees that refuse to let go of summer’s standard hue. It’s a gorgeous sight, and one that’s always made me reluctant to relocate from this little patch of the ‘verse in Western Pennsylvania where I was born and raised.
As a Browncoat, it’s impossible for me to talk about leaves without thinking of the motion picture Serenity. Anyone who’s seen the movie (and if you’re reading this on our website, I assume you have) will easily recall Wash’s mantra from the climactic battle between the Reavers and the Alliance, in which Serenity’s pilot deftly maneuvers the transport ship so as evade the ships from both sides that would prefer to see Captain Malcolm Reynolds and his crew end up as itty bitty shards. Much to the shock and dismay of just about everyone who sees the film for the first time, that same mantra turns out to be the last words of Serenity’s beloved pilot:
Despite the fact that those words are associated with the death of Hoban Washburne, they have nonetheless been embraced by Browncoats everywhere, perhaps because they also speak to the indomitable spirit of the ship and its crew, a trait that fans of Firefly tend to share. They have inspired hundreds of memes and enough fan art to fill Serenity’s cargo bay. And back in 2013, they inspired us to start a unique campaign to help convince SpaceX to name their first Crew Dragon after Joss Whedon’s Serenity.
By now you probably know the story of how Jericho fans sent ABC thousands of pounds of nuts (a reference to dialogue from the show) to convince the network not to cancel the series, earning it one more season. We thought it would be all manner of appropriate for Browncoats to send SpaceX leaves to convey the message that we wanted the first Crew Dragon to be named Serenity, and we wrote all about the idea in our blog post of September 2, 2013. Since then, we’ve actually been approached by Browncoats at cons who did just that and actually received a letter from SpaceX in reply acknowledging receipt of the leaves! That tells us that they are taking notice, and it’s an indication that sending a leaf is one of the more effective ways to get SpaceX’s attention and encourage them to adopt the name for their first Crew Dragon.
One of the best things about this campaign is that you don’t have to be a great writer in order to send an effective message. A leaf could accompany a simple note like, “Name your ‘Crew Dragon’ Serenity and watch how she soars,” but even by itself, the leaf will say all that needs to be said, especially as more and more of them make their way to SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. And unlike our online petition, sending a leaf is something you can do more than once, and you don’t even have to send all of them to SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk.
It’s no small secret that SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell is a huge fan of Firefly. She’s talked about how much she likes the show in numerous interviews, and admits that it’s a favorite of her employees at SpaceX as well. As a Browncoat, she could be a powerful ally to our cause, and, at the very least, it’s reasonable to assume that her love of the show means she’d receive our letters and leaves in the spirit in which they are intended. So, if you haven’t contacted SpaceX yet, or even if you’ve already written to Elon Musk, we’d suggest sending a letter to Ms. Shotwell along with a leaf from your backyard or a local park. At the very least, you can rest assured she’ll get the reference.
Send your letters and leaves to this address:
Space Exploration Technologies, 1 Rocket Road, Hawthorne, CA 90250
The same address can be used for both Elon Musk and Gwynne Shotwell. Don’t be shy about sending a leaf to each of them, perhaps more than once. What do you have to lose? You’re going to have find a way to get those leaves out of your yard anyway, right? You might as well help make history while you’re at it.
So keep sending SpaceX those leaves, and in a few years, we’ll be able to stand together at Cape Canaveral and watch Serenity soar.
Peace, love and rockets…
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