|Relationships:||brother, Simon Tam|
|Other:||played by actor Summer Glau|
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"Also, I can kill you with my brain."
River Tam is a core-born child prodigy who escaped from an abusive institution (posing as an academy for gifted children) with the help of her brother, Simon. Aboard the Serenity, a Firefly-class spaceship, River is revealed to have gained extensive weapons/combat skills during her time at the academy, and become a "reader" (psychic), but suffers severe mental instability.
In fanworks, River is often paired with her brother (known as Crazy Space Incest, or CSI), Kaylee, Mal, or Jayne Cobb (known as Rayne). She is a popular character in Firefly crossovers, especially with other shows produced by Joss Whedon, such as Buffy where she is often cast as a Slayer, and with other shows Summer Glau has appeared in such as Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.