silence on the lam [concept]

A Hannibal/Firefly crossover AU concept …

Many years ago, while writing A Thousand Dreadful Things, I came up with an idea for a Hannibal/Firefly crossover. Only about 10k words came to fruition, but an entire world had been built in my mind and on my computer. I had diagrams, backstories, timelines, and even graphics of each character’s homeworld. Since I will probably never actually write it, I figured I’d share some of my ideas here.

In my AU, Will’s home planet is Whittier in the Kalidasa system. It’s a bluerock, with over 90% of its surface covered in water. Whittier is the site of the largest privately-owned fish hatchery in the ‘Verse. The Alliance use Whittier to cultivate rare breeds of fish for entertainment and culinary purposes. (All Firefly canon, FYI.)

The desolate and cold moon of Whittier is named Ita. It’s a dry dock and salvage yard and, strangely enough, was where Hannibal was born in my AU, but that’s not relevant at ALL (nope, not at all). Ita was also used as a terraforming testing ground but all hell breaks loose after a catastrophe occurs on the small moon’s surface causing the deaths of 8,000 colonists. (So most of the Ita stuff it canon, I just gave her a tragic past, if ya know what I mean, *wink wink* )

Basically it’s Firefly if Hannibal was the new doc on the ship, not Simon, and Will was River. Simon and River are still important characters, but Simon had never been able to smuggle River out of the hospital. Will and River were in the same Alliance program at The Academy.

That little divider I made for the fic. It’s Serenity. I made a few actually; one for Mal’s ship and one for Hannibal’s. Hannibal flew in a Peregrine Class ship, seen below, flying around Will’s homeworld.

Will & his watery Whittier

This is Whittier, Will’s waterlogged homeworld.

Will’s mother died in childbirth so he was half-heartedly raised on this water planet by his drunkard father who was a fisherman and ferryman for the researchers attempting to stock the oceans with life. Will lived his whole childhood on a boat, learning from the scientists he met and basically never touching dry land until he turned twelve. He suddenly began hearing voices and becoming emotionally unstable. His father, wanting to rid himself of his “crazy” son, sent him to Beaumonde (the capital of the Kalidasa system) where Will was assessed and found to be “gifted”. He was then sent to Capital City on Osiris to be enrolled in “The Academy” and was never heard from again … (not true, but DRAMA) …

An old sea chanty from the seaman: “Oh Ita, bring us the tide. High for bait, low for shell. Oh Ita, let us brave your tide, keep us straight, o’er your swell.”

Here is what it looks like from the surface of Whittier. It has beautiful nocilucent clouds and lots of rain- and moonbows due to the large amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. When the sky does clear of clouds, you can see the Core, the stomping ground of the Alliance which appears as a small galaxy high in the heavens. Transport ships are constantly arriving and leaving the surface, causing streaks of water vapor across the sky. They also deposit large amounts of dust into the atmosphere causing very high clouds of ice crystals that create a sky filled with circumhorizontal arcs, sun dogs, moon dogs, and a plethora of other optical phenomenon. Will clutches onto the memories of the beautiful sky of his home world as he attempts to survive while in the custody of the Hands of Blue who probe his brain at The Academy.

From the fic:

The immensity of this black abyss was a sight Will had rarely seen, but it’s majesty was nothing compared to the brilliance of the sky over Whittier.  The blue heavens of his aqueous home world were continually diffused with rainbows, radiating through the mist-filled atmosphere. He’d grown up comforted by a dense blanket of foggy heat, a colorful spectrum continually circling his sun like an ever-present eye watching over him. At night, as he’d follow Ita on his father’s ship, he’d witness the twilight illuminated by arcing moon bows and silvery noctilucent clouds.

Hannibal & Ita, the moon of Whittier

The Peregrine Class is an Alliance ship from the early chapters of my WIP fic. It’s the ship that’s transporting Will when Hannibal happens upon them on the Rim.

I was still deciding between making this a legit fic with a plot and good-ish writing, or just having Hannibal and Will screw in space a bunch and then meet up with the Serenity crew. It’s so hard to decide between good and evil.

Ita is a cold, barren satellite of the water-covered planet Whittier located in the Kalidasa system. The moon is capped with ice on both poles and holds a wobbling rotation around it’s primary. It’s a relatively unstable moon, but as it is used as a terraforming testing ground and a stopping point for the ships from Whittier, the Alliance ordered it terraformed for habitation.  

In 2460 AD, Dr. Simonetta Sforza-Lecter and her husband, Dr. Hannibal Lecter I, began their life-long work in the terraform sciences on Ita. Processes to liquify water began and single-celled life was introduced. Gravity on the moon was altered to steady the orbital wobble. Colonies were established on Ita during the terraforming efforts for the research team and the workers in the dock and salvage yard. Colonists lived and worked on the moon, but the instability of the tilt and unpredictable storms made life difficult.

After ten years of research and rapid atmospheric temperature fluctuations, flora and fauna growth was deemed unsustainable, the wobbling tilt returned, and the gravity alteration failed. Ita was considered a lost cause and terraforming efforts were ordered to cease. The Lecter’s were the only scientists to remain on the moon in an attempt to compete there decade long research into RACS (rapid atmospheric composition shifting).  In 2472, the Lecter’s gave birth to their son, Hannibal. Five years later, their daughter, Mischa, was also born on the small moon. 

In 2480, Dr. Sforza-Lecter, in a desperate attempt to advance her and her husband’s careers and not let their failing research be in vein, attempted a final terraforming experiment without Alliance approval. A chemical agent was detonated below ground, filling caverns with a reactive gas. This agent was to combine with preexisting chemicals within the soil composition to create a stable atmosphere. However, a faulty quarantine caused the underground gas to spread beyond the containment bubble and across the entire planet’s service, overwhelming the atmosphere wth CO2 and methane. This catastrophe plunged the already unstable moon into a cataclysmic ice storm, dubbed later as the “Great Ita Winter”. 

No scientist or civilian escaped the moon due to raging storms on the surface and the tragedy killed eight thousand people. The Alliance presumed all men to be lost and no search parties attempted to brave the storms to search for survivors. The research family was forced to remain and wait out the unending storm in the safety of the research station. The station was eventually overtaken by surviving workers and both Dr. Sforza-Lecter and Dr. Lecter are killed. Their seven-year-old son, Hannibal, begged for his and his sister’s life but the starving workers killed and consumed the three-year-old sister, blaming the Lecters for their plight. They imprisoned the boy, keeping him alive and in chains to torment and starve (occasionally feeding him pieces of his sister and parents). The colonists and workers assumed that they would all die of hyperthermia or starvation in the coming months.

After thirteen months of raging ice storms, the experiment was partially successful as the moon’s atmosphere slowly stabilized. Nine workers and the boy were rescued during this “summer” period and taken to Osiris where Hannibal Lecter II was assessed and dubbed a child prodigy. He was offered a home on Osiris with Chinese adoptive parents, money, and a formal education to continue his parent’s work in Terraforming. He declined to continue in the field after the tragedy that befell his family. 

Scientists, now unwilling to work on Ita, left the terraforming efforts of Sforza-Lecter to stagnate and the moon, once again, plunged it back into it’s previous cold, dessert-like climate. It was then dubbed a “greyrock” planet and continued to be solely used as a dry-dock and ship salvage yard.

Though ultimetly unsuccessful, Dr. Sforza-Lecter’s experiment would be used on a larger scale and be proven moderately successful. This form of terraforming would also be the cause of Bowden’s Malady on Regina when the Sforza-Lecter Process is introduced to rapidly terraform the eastern hemisphere of the planet. The chemical reaction underground causes the atmospheric conditions to excel the growth of a bacteria that cause a  degenerative disease targeting the muscles and bones.

The Timeline 

(character backstories and plot spoilers below, but I doubt this will ever be written)

2460 AD – Dr. Simonetta Sforza-Lecter and her husband, Dr. Robert Lecter begin their life-long work in Terraform Sciences on Ita, a moon of the water planet Whittier. 

2470 – After 10 years of research, Ita is considered just a dry dock due to unsuccessful terraforming efforts and is used as a dock and landing zone for ships visiting Whittier, a water-covered, fishing planet. Colonies are set up on both Ita (during terraforming efforts) and on Whittier for fishermen and their families.

2472 – Hannibal is born on Ita while his parents continue their research.

2477 – Mischa is born, also on Ita.

2480 – Hannibal’s mother tries one final terraforming experiment on Ita (without Alliance approval) as she is sure it will be successful and after 20 years of research on a single moon, she’s beginning to feel like a failure. The experiment fails, plunging the moon into a severe ice age dubbed later as the “Great Ita Winter”. No one can escape the moon and the tragedy kills 8k people. All men are presumed lost, so no search parties attempt to save them. Hannibal’s family is forced to remain and wait out the unending storm. The Lecters are found by surviving workers who overtake their home, killing Hannibal’s parents. Hannibal (7) begs for him and his sister’s life saying they have enough dried fish from Whittier that they can live for over a year. The starving workers kill and consume Mischa (3) anyway, blaming the Lecters for their plight and sure that the winter will last forever. They imprison Hannibal, keeping him alive to torment and starve (occasionally feeding him bits of Mischa or his parents). They all assume they will die of the cold in the coming months.

2481 – Nine workers and Hannibal are all rescued during the “summer” (after 13 months of raging ice storms) and taken to Osiris where Hannibal (8) is dubbed a child prodigy. He’s offered a home on Osiris with Chinese adopted parents, money, and a formal education to continue his parents work in Terraforming as his parent’s work on Ita was partially successful after the winter storm ended (the moon began to show earth-like features only months after their rescue; though it eventually failed again, Dr. Simonetta Sforza-Lecter’s experiment would be used on larger, uninhabited moons later). Hannibal is mute after the tragedy and disinterested in terraforming, so he’s sent to live with his great (maternal) uncle Adelai Niska on his space station, the Skyplex, which orbits the his planet Ezra (in the Georgia system).

2482 – Will Graham is born on Whittier (small watery planet covered in fish hatcheries; look it up, that’s a Verse planet). It is the home planet to its moon, Ita. His mother dies in childbirth and he is left in the care of his inattentive fisherman father who is looking for any excuse to get rid of him. 

2483 – Hannibal (11) begins speaking again. In a fit of rage, he kills a man in a shop on Ezra, which is naturally covered up by Niska who thinks of Hannibal as his son. Hannibal quickly learns of his taste for human flash and begins his training with and cooking for Niska and his men.

2486 – Malcolm Reynolds is born on Shadow // At Hannibal’s (age 14) insistence, he leaves Niska’s Skyplex and is sent to med school on Osiris to study medicine/neuroscience and indulge his passion for human anatomy. Neuroscience is a field in which the Alliance is pouring money and effort into expanding, so his education is paid for due to his gifted talent in the field and is parent’s work in the sciences.

2490 – Simon Tam born on Osiris.

2492 – Hannibal (20) performs surgery on a man who was a survivor of the “Great Ita Winter”, intentionally (though secretly) maiming him, but the man survives only to be tortured and consumed by Hannibal while the man is conscious and in recovery. This begins Hannibal’s killing spree through the hospital and surrounding planets. He takes random leaves of absence to work on the outer planets, making a name for himself as a guilt-ridden philanthropist (helping the injured on satellites that were damaged by Terraforming practices) when in reality he is tracking down and consuming the men that killed his family during the “Great Ita Winter”.

2494 – Will (12) begins hearing voices and becoming emotionally unstable so his father takes him to Beaumonde for physical/mental assessment. They can’t help him in their research facility, so they send him to the inner planets were they end up at the thriving neuroscience department in Capital City on Osiris. Neurosurgeon Hannibal (22) does an exploratory surgery on 12-year-old Will’s brain, calling the structure “unique” but otherwise disinteresting to him. 

When the Hands of Blue ask if Will would be a good candidate for a special study, Hannibal assumes so (unknowing of what the Hands of Blue are intending) and Will is encouraged into “The Academy” because of his empathic abilities, brain structure, and strange aptitude for telepathy. He is randomly cryofrozen for years at a time during which experiments are performed.

2496 – Hannibal (24) continues to kill the rude and affluent on Osiris as well as his enemies during his outer planet pilgrimages. He is touted as an amazing neurosurgeon, removing tumors from victims of radiation on outer planets. Much of his Alliance money is being spent on his travels. // Meanwhile, a strange killer is on the loose in Capital City and he continues to outsmart the Alliance. They have dubbed him the “Chesapeake Ripper” due to the underwater forest of bodies they found wighted and dropped into a great sea on the planet. Body parts are missing from each victim. They call him “Chesapeake” from the old Earth-that-was word for “body of water”.

2500 – River Tam is born on Osiris.

2506 – Unification War begins // Miranda project fails // Reavers are created

2511 – Mal and Zoe fight at Serenity Valley // Unification War ends // Simon (21) get an internship under Hannibal (39) and they work very closely, inevitably learning more about one another. Simon finds Hannibal odd and intense and they don’t work particularly well together but Hannibal passes much of his surgical knowledge onto Simon. There are brief mentions of Simon’s 11-year-old sister, River, to Hannibal. He is disinterested in learning about Simon’s family.

2513 – Hannibal (41) is “caught” by Simon (23) in an incriminating situation with a dead body (butchering it in the hospital, late at night). Hannibal threatens Simon’s career and he agrees to keep the incident under wraps but Simon will never trust him again.

2514 – River (14) is accepted into “The Academy” and paired for experimentation with Will (32 though he appears 22 due to extensive cryofreezing). // The Alliance calls Hannibal into question when Simon finally fingers his odd behavior around the hospital as “Ripper-esque”. The Alliance attempts to question Hannibal but he’s already taken off to hide in deep space as he attempts to find the last few survivors of the “Great Ita Winter”.

2516 – River (16) is sending out messages from “The Academy” that have Simon suspicious. She mentions “Will” being taken from her. Simon has no idea she is referencing a person and thinks they are taking her willpower or her strength to continue so he begins looking into The Academy. What he finds disturbs him and he begins his journey to bust her out. // Will is cryofrozen and shipped out to deep space for long range telepathic experimentations … when Hannibal find the ship he’s being transported on (Chapter 1).

2517 (Firefly TV series begins) – (Chapter 2) Jump six months … Hannibal (45) has Will (35 though he appears 25 due to cryofreezing) sedated and back in his box and is looking for a ship to transport them to an inner planet where Hannibal can gather the supplies he needs to work on (or possibly treat) Will’s oddly psychotic behavior. Mal (31) welcomes them on board Serenity.

Annnnd are you now hooked? I was. All that shit, btw, is true to canon. Every planet, every city. Hannibal and Will fit so well in this world, don’t they?

If you enjoy my writing, please consider dropping me a comment here or, if applicable, on AO3 or by supporting my hot beverage habit on Ko-fi. Thank you!

—joanielspeak
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