He was in a medical facility. That in itself wasn't weird. After all, he was a doctor. But something felt off. There was a sense of dread in the pit of his stomach. He did not want to be here, did not want anyone to be here. He walked through the halls, waiting for some unseen horror to reveal itself. Turning the corner, there was only another empty, sterile corridor. The fear continued to increase with each turn, each hallway bereft of human life.
Finally, he discovered a room. He opened the door, finding people for the first time since he entered this bizarre place. The other doctor and technicians walked around, picking up supplies and making notes on charts. No one paid him any attention. He moved in front of a woman, trying to get her to look up from her chart, but she side-stepped him easily and continued with her task.
A quiet conversation drew his attention. He moved to stand by them. "The subject is unlike anything I've seen before. Truly extraordinary," one man said.
"We'll move on to phase three soon," a woman replied.
Simon opened his mouth to speak, but the people noticed him before he made a sound."Ah, Doctor. You've decided to join us. What do you think of our progress?" the man said. He gestured to a chair where a young woman sat. Bindings restrained her neck, arms, and legs. Simon looked in horror at the woman.
"River?" he whispered. The other man didn't notice.
"We are 90% complete. When we are done, no one who knew her would expect that she could turn into this."
"What are you turning her into?" Simon asked, holding his breath in fear of the response.
Simon awoke abruptly. Heart hammering in his chest, he tried to separate the dream from reality. He was in his bunk aboard Serenity. River was safe in the room across from him. They were well out of Alliance territory. She was safe.
He had slowed his breathing when the door slid open. Simon flinched, but it was only his little sister. "What are you doing up?" he asked.
"Nightmare," she answered and walked barefoot to his bed. Simon moved over to share the small bed. He lifted the covers and River slid in beside him.
They both settled down and Simon stroked her hair. "It's okay, mei mei. It's only a dream. You don't have to worry."
River didn't have the heart to tell him that it was his nightmare that she had sensed. She had been having a pleasant dream about flying across the 'Verse, weightless and free, no shuttle around her. But her big brother was worried and he needed her. So she had come to comfort him. Simon slept better when he knew she was safe.
The young woman waited as his breathing deepened and he fell back asleep. Then she watched over him to make sure no more nightmares would come this night.