Firefly Episode 1

Setting: the Empress of China

Zone: Steerage

A sea of peasants with what little possessions they own beneath their arms, they shuffle about the lowest deck and hover around exhaust ports to cook impromptu hot pots. The surfaces are cold but the air is warm and breathy, carrying the seemingly-inescapable aroma of fish guts and stale fart.
Aspects: Dimly lit. Slumming it. Heavily crowded.

Zone: First Class

The oily, fishy air suddenly gives way to perfume and roast fowl, as the cold metallic ship is suddenly carpeted and plush. Compared to steerage, first class walks an extremely fine line between dinner party and bacchanal. Unfortunately, a pair of burly private security seem determined to prevent the crew from entering, as their tickets lack "first class" in gold leaf, and bare a smudgy black "third class" mark instead.
Aspects: Fancy-pants. The watchful eye of the Alliance.

Boarding the Empress of China

In the Eavesdown Docks on Persephone, the crew boards the commercial space liner Empress of China one-by-one (allow each to introduce and describe his character). With passage to the border world Jiangyin booked in steerage and their guns either left behind or checked at the gate, the crew has been referred to Sir Warwick Harrow by the gangster Badger.

Meeting Sir Warwick Harrow

Sir Warwick Harrow, identified by a red sash (which indicates lordhood), is currently sitting down to dinner with his lovely wife Ann and his daughter Mia (winner of the "Miss Persephone" pageant) in first class. It would be improper to approach a lord directly, but a sufficiently clever crewman should be able to draw him away from his family. Sir Warwick is not interested in being seen with the crew, so he'll whisk them away so they can speak secretly.

Sir Warwick has asked the crew here in order to spy upon the clandestine dealings of Sir Byron Maxwell, a rival nobleman currently traveling without a wife, but instead with private security. Sir Warwick believes that Byron was responsible for spoiling Warwick's most recent business relationship (his buyers were killed in a gunfight with Alliance authorities) on Jiangyin, so he'd very much like to return the favor and undercut Byron's prices when he's secured a buyer of his own.

Characters: Sir Warwick Harrow, Aspects: The Sash Indicates Lordhood.

Following Byron [Challenge]

Byron is a paranoid man, which makes conducting a business trip on a public vessel somewhat out of character. Though he'll spend most of the three-week voyage confined to his quarters, he'll occasionally venture out of his room to do some interesting things. Whenever he leaves his quarters, he takes two security personnel with him, leaving two behind to guard his personal effects.

  • Every morning in the dining hall, Byron eats the same brunch: poached eggs, grapefruit, and whiskey.
  • Every evening on the observation deck, Byron takes a short walk and then just peers out into the black.
  • Every night in his quarters, Byron eats the same dinner: beef steak medium well, vegetable lo mein, and whiskey.
  • At least weekly on the journey, Byron will make an appointment with Vanya, a Registered Companion.
  • At least once on the journey, Byron will leave behind his private security to meet with a smuggler in the engine room.

Characters: Sir Byron Maxwell, Aspects: A Big Secret, Paranoia

Byron's Stateroom

The staterooms in first class are expensive, if a little spartan. In addition to 2-4 security officers at a given time, Byron's stateroom contains suspiciously few personal effects for a voyage of this duration and a strongbox containing a few thousand fed-creds and a laser pistol.

The Engine Room

Pistons drive and gears whir while gouts of steam erupt from release valves like clockwork. Giant machinery casts shadows on everything in the room, while the mechanical sound prevents conversation from anywhere but the closest distances. Here Byron meets with a stranger in a duster, ostensibly to discuss off world business. If someone manages to listen in, via stealth or some technology, they'll hear that a smuggler's ship is traveling to Jiangyin with a cargo hold full of Byron's cattle to meet with a buyer on Jiangyin.

Characters: Dale the smuggler, Aspects: A Might Jumpy

Dale's Stateroom

The staterooms in second class look like any three-star hotel on Earth-That-Was, with bad art and a sad desk. Dale's strongbox contains a FTL communicator that he uses to communicate with his ship, the Brutus, in orbit.


Jiangyin, the capital of the Red Sun system, ain't exactly civilization.

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