Since I am now living on the other side of the world to my family and most of my friends this blog is about things I enjoy, things I notice, people I meet, people I miss, history, planning for the future, love and life in general! I guess it's about whatever pops into my head which I want to share with my friends and family... and who knows? I might make some more friends along the way!

05 October, 2007

Dragon*Con, part 3. The parade!

Saturday the 1st September, 2007 - a day that will be remembered by a lot of people for a lot of good reasons.

The day of the inaugural marching of the 76th Battalion, a tribute group intended to both show our loyalty to and appreciation of Joss Whedon's criminally short lived series, 'Firefly', and the film it inspired, 'Serenity'.

Just 9 months and 2 weeks ago a conversation led to a post on the fan site,, and from there the idea took on a life of it's own. It was like the 9 months had been some kind of gestation period, and today was the official birth of the 76th Battalion.

I got up, showered and put on all the components of my uniform for the first time... well, almost all of them. Col Tristan still had my coat and when I turned up it seemed he'd left it in his room... never mind, someone duly retrieved it!! As I looked down on the foyer of the Hyatt I had a shiver down my spine... there were already gathered there several of us in full uniform! By the time I got a lift down to the meeting place there were more, and soon there were other browncoats, including many I knew by their screen names, but hadn't met before! The atmosphere was amazing - we were just about bursting with excitement and pride, but we were also very professional. Our weapons were as uniform as our... well our uniforms! We took such pride in assembling and walking to the starting point of the parade route. As we turned to our left, to assemble just off Peachtree Avenue, there was a large sign stating that Star Wars and the 501st Battalion were on the left, all other genres were on the right. I had a moment of delicious contemplation that some day it would read 'Firefly and the 76th Battalion' to the left and all others would be to the right! I honestly think there is no limit with the passion and loyalty this wonderful show has engendered, and we will make our mark to the point that we cannot be ignored and will get out sequel(s).

While we were waiting there were some photos taken of us all - 35 people from all over the USA, plus Canada, South Africa and Australia! We also chatted with other browncoats, including a wonderful family who were dressed in such detail - the parents were a gorgeous (and very pregnant) Inara/Companion, and the father was an immaculate Mal, the kids - there were 3 boys - were Simon, Jayne and a perfect minature of the father's costume of Mal... and when I spoke with the mother, later, she indicated that the baby on the way would appear as their little Kaylee next year! How amazing is this fandom!!

The parade started and our excitement had to be tempered with our knowlege that we were supposed to be marching to war. It was difficult to march and think about the kind of characters we'd created when there were people calling out and cheering us all the way along the parade route! I alternated between trying to look serious about going into battle against the 'gorramn purple bellies' and grinning like a moonbrain that we were there and receiving such a wonderful response from the thousands of people lining the parade route!! It was hot, the humidity was high, the uniforms were heavy, we had bags, weapons, headcoverings and helmets, we had boots and vests and shirts underneath, but all I remember now is the looks on Tristan and Lazarus's faces as they turned and looked down the lines at the 32 people following behind. I remember the shouts and cheers as we came across thicker and thicker crowds lining the parade route! I remember the feeling of awe as we reached the final turn and saw thousands of people waving and cheering, some in Jayne hats, some just shouting "Go Firefly!" "Yay for the Independants" "Go Browncoats!" and then it was over! We were all piling in to the Marriott lounge and peeling off layers of coats and vests and laughing and comparing stories of people and things we'd all noticed! Then came the biggest surprise for me! I had an inkling that for coming from Australia I would receive a promotion, I was hoping for Liutenant, but when it came to 'India Company' (Australasia) I was promoted to Captain, and what meant most to me was the Tristan openly and honestly told them all that the 76th wouldn't exist without me! That meant more than any promotion or accolade on the planet! I have often felt left out, left behind, forgotten, expecially with various other things happening in recent months, none of them to do with the 76th, but none-the-less casting a shadow over something I love and am deeply proud of. That moment when he aknowleged my early involvent and attributed the initial 'push' to me made me feel that everything was OK again! Every little bit of saving (and a lot of crap I had to put up with at home) was worth it, just to be aknowleged in this way, and by someone I admire deeply. So - I am now officially the CO (Commanding Officer) of India Company (Australasia) for the 76th battalion, and best of all things are good. It all felt really good and I don't think I can really capture the pride and satisfaction I felt. Perhaps knowing I have Tristan's respect is more important than it should be, but the real thing is that I know I have my own self-respect! I hope I get to have more involvement from now on. I don't know what comes next, but it seems to me that the COs of the various countires and US regions will have to have greater input and communication. There is a lot of good that can come from the 76th and it's growing profile... not just in the realm of gaining greater focus on Firefly and Serenity gaining their rightful places in public awareness, but in building greater networks and friendships and giving people who love the characters and settings of Joss Whedon's 'verse a more effective voice to tell the networks and film studios 'We Want More!"

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