Thirty-Four Firefly Episodes Based on Elton John Song Titles
Someone dared me to write this.
A few months ago I wrote 30 Buffy episodes based on Elvis Number Ones. A few weeks later, I was talking on the internet about completing something, and my interlocutor - I have forgotten his name - asked if what I was referring to was a completed series of episodes of Firefly based on Elton John songs. Of course that wasn't what I was talking about, but the idea was stuck in my head from then on. I had to do it. Not only had the gauntlet been thrown down, but the idea wouldn't get out of my head. I googled a list of Elton's stuff, and got to work.
It may not be the best reason to write something, but whatever the reason, here it is: thirty-four episode outlines for Firefly, based on Elton John's Greatest Hits. Useful for running adventures, be they sci-fi, western or both, or possibly to let us imagine a series arc or spin-off that we never got to see.
The default assumption is a crew of not-quite-legal types, looking for work out in the Black. The format matches that of the Buffy episodes:
Hook: How the crew get into their most recent trouble.
Problem: The big picture of what's actually going on, and who's making it go.
Complications: Other factors, external or internal, which keep the plot turning and make things not go so smooth.
Resolution: Possible outcomes, revelations or a few ways to solve things so the problem ain't so problematic any more.
Fun stuff: High points to hit in your game which would hopefully provide the most laughs or the coolest scenes.
Themes: The subtext behind it all.
Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Candle In The Wind
Bennie And The Jets
Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
The Bitch Is Back
Someone Saved My Life Tonight
Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
Don't Go Breaking My Heart
I'm Still Standing
I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues
Sad Songs (Say So Much)
I Don't Wanna Go On With You Like That
Can You Feel The Love Tonight
Circle Of Life
Something About The Way You Look Tonight
I Want Love
Written In The Stars
This Train Don't Stop There Anymore
Hook: A job leads the crew to a planet where there's one song they like to hear — a sad, sorrowful tale about how a man done a local girl wrong. Thing is, one of the crew IS that man, and the townsfolk are starting to get riled up about it.
Problem: The song is a poetic and one-sided look at things that doesn't really show things in their true light (or so the crewmember says). But it's become so popular now that everyone believes it's true. It sounds silly, but the townsfolk are fixing to lynch the villain — for crimes the song says he's done.
Complications: The job involves dealing with the father of the little lady who wrote the song — and he is out for revenge too.
Resolution: The myth is too strong, so the crew person finds a way to atone for the sins he never actually did. Then he and the girl sing a new song. Maybe this one will be a better hit. Maybe not.
Fun stuff: The poor crewman trying to defend himself, especially to his current sweetheart.
Themes: Myths run deeper than truth any day, particularly when set to music.
Hook: The crew pick up a vagabond who calls himself "Levon Echo". And that turns out to be all he can say — so he can't explain why there's a lot of old Independent soldiers hunting him down.
Problem: Levon Echo was the slightly backwards son of a great Independent general — General Li - who was killed by Alliance troopers in front of his son. Levon is the only living witness and every Independent wants to find out what exactly happened and if any other of the general's family are alive.
Complications: The general also has a tidy inheritance to hand over, which could make anyone take an unhealthy interest. Also, one of the majors hunting Echo is the very man who betrayed General Li, and he wants to make sure Echo doesn't talk — permanently.
Resolution: Although it seems impossible to get the poor lad to make sense, the thing he keeps saying is his father's last words: he told him it was time for them to go and "Live on Echo". His grandparents and other siblings are waiting for him there.
Fun Stuff: A character who just keeps saying the same thing, with different emphases. Remembrance of the bad old days of the war.
Themes: Backwards folk are smarter than you think.
Hook: One of the rougher members of the crew destroys one of the softer's favourite possession: a beautiful little music box, given to her by her mother. Apparently a relic from the Earth-That-Was, and the last connection to her family, the owner is extremely distraught. But then they find the inscription...
Problem: The smash reveals that the box once belonged to a Companion from House Guignol. Journeying there, people seem to remember the girl's mother, but won't talk about her. What are they hiding?
Complications: The House Priestess has just died and the House is particularly plagued by intrigue in awaiting the election of her successor. They have no time to deal with prairie folk.
Resolution: The girl's mother was not just a simple poor prairie wife. Before that, she had been a Companion, with a different name, until she'd gotten pregnant to a client — a big taboo in House Guignol. She chose to leave the order to have the child, and the newly elected House Priestess never forgave the insult (and covered up her pupil's indiscretion to ensure she got her position). With the truth out, the girl feels closer to her mother than ever.
Fun Stuff: A whole palace of Companions, in full ritual flight. The clumsy crewman having to apologise (or first, be made to care).
Themes: We all have secret lives, beneath the surface. Sometimes you have to break that surface to find them.
Hook: Out of nowhere, the ship collides with a man in a rocket-powered suit, zooming past. His name is Oswald Q. Fenniworth, and they've just dented the next big thing in space travel. As soon as he mass-produces them, short-range space travel will be obsolete!
Problem: Fenniworth is equal parts mad scientist and snake-oil salesman. His inventions work, but he's more interested in selling the cheap knock-offs that don't, and in attracting "investors" than actually making anything. And when the crew drop him off at the next planet, he's going to run his scam again — unless they can stop him.
Complications: A con can easily spot another con so Fenniworth probably has some dirt on the crew to stop them running to the Feds. He's also not technically doing anything "illegal". And also, the whole time he's around the crew, he keeps trying to demonstrate his inventions and "fix" their ship.
Resolution: The crew find a way to discredit Fennimore (perhaps through sabotaging his show) and run him out of the sector. He shakes his fist and declares he'll be back.
Fun Stuff: Inflatable livestock. Vacuum shoes. Surgeon-on-a-stick. Every whacky invention you can imagine.
Themes: We steal, but we don't steal people's hopes and dreams...do we, cap'n?
Hook: When an old friend of a crewmember is murdered on Osiris, the crew have to enter the world of big-city crime, where they are definitely out of their league.
Problem: The murder was a beat-down delivered by a crazy new drug-runner in a poor neighbourhood. Many would like to see him go down, but they're not likely to finger him to some rubes from the border planets, so nobody will talk.
Complications: The old friend was helping out at a missionary drop-in centre, and they could really use some protection too.
Resolution: One of the straighter members of a gang tells the crew where to look. They team up with the gang, take their man down and stop open war from breaking out. Maybe these honkies ain't so jive after all.
Fun stuff: The coolest cowboys on the border turned into total geeks in the big city.
Themes: It ain't all soft living in the big smoke.
Hook: The task is simple. A very rich man is selling his prize pet to an even richer man, and he's paying a lot to make sure it gets there undamaged and undisturbed. The problem is, it's a crocodile.
Problem: First, the buyer's agent doesn't show up and they need to go to the source. Then the ship has mechanical problems. Then the Feds take a sudden interest in animal smuggling. Other croc-fighters offer higher bids. The buyer's nephew tries to steal the crocodile so he can bargain with his father. It's one long headache trying to get this crocodile off their damn ship!
Complications: The crew know nothing about caring for a crocodile. The crocodile is very big, very strong and very smart. She can escape from almost anything, and will eat anything in his way. She probably finds the ship's booze storage, making her a very DRUNK crocodile.
Resolution: Shaking off all their hurdles, the crew finally present "Beatrice" to her new owner. Beatrice gets pampered. The crew get paid. The buyer offers them another croc shipment. Smart crews decline.
Fun Stuff: A drunk gigantic saltwater croc wandering around a spaceship. You do the math.
Themes: Life's a wild ride, huh?
Hook: A scientist and his young companion — Daniel — meet the crew in a bar on a Border Planet, and book passage on the ship. But it soon becomes apparent that the boy is far more than he seems.
Problem: The scientist is on the run from the same Academy that had River, where he worked and Daniel was tortured. Daniel is less addled than River, but more quiet. And he's not a reader, but a prophet. He can see the future, and it involves prison and death — which is true, because the feds pounce on the ship before it can even leave.
Complications: You don't have a lot of options when you're handcuffed in an Alliance cell. And with the kid around, everyone starts dreaming of the future. The kid might be able to talk to dead people, too.
Resolution: The kid uses his psychic abilities to spearhead a daring escape plan. The scientist apologises and says he will go another way. Smart crews run the opposite direction.
Fun Stuff: Western prison cliches (the town drunk, the dog with the keys, dynamite etc). Finding out more about River. Seeing hints of their own future.
Themes: The mind is a scary place.
Hook: Alcohol. Gambling. Whores. The other details are fuzzy. Next thing they know, an irresponsible crewman is in big debt, and the only way to pay it back is to become a pit-fighter for a local organiser. Course, on the border, there ain't much entertainment and a lot of the fights are to the death. Or until your arms get ripped off, whichever comes first.
Problem: Firstly, staying alive. Secondly, the fights are fixed of course and the crewman's owner soon demands he take a fall against the nastiest fighter in the league. If he loses, his opponent will probably kill him. If he wins, the bosses will definitely kill him.
Complications: After his first few bouts the fighter finds himself a local hero, and may be tempted to stay in his new career. Enterprising characters could also make a lot of money on side-bets.
Resolution: Either trickery allows our hero to escape the ring alive despite losing, or they find a way for him to win and escape retribution (perhaps a small riot by the fans?). The crew get the hell out before the dust settles.
Fun stuff: Gladiator remakes. Heaps of cool arena fights.
Themes: Are we all brutal savages, or is their nobility in the arena?
Hook: One of the crew's been making his own moonshine in the engine room, and it's a good batch. He generously offers it around when the crew pull off a good job. And then everyone passes out...
Problem: The yeast our brewer used for the mix had some funky space mites in it, and the whole crew are now on a voyage to Oz on a yellow submarine. But as a trade-off they seem to be getting super powers as well — like seeing the future. Better find the supplier quick before the side-effects get worse!
Complications: Moonshining is illegal, as is operating a ship under the influence. The crew will have to not giggle at all when the Alliance pulls them over.
Resolution: The crop of yeast came from a field close to an Alliance laboratory, which is just bursting with blue-handed goons. Time to cover their tracks, and fast!
Fun Stuff: Dude, Jimi Hendrix is growing out of your back!
Themes: Booze bad.
Hook: The crew are picking up some cargo in an asteroid mine when there's a sudden explosion. When the lights come back on, they're all alone in the dark, and those lights won't last long.
Problem: This is your classic man against the elements trick — find a way out, or die. They might also discover that it was the local asteroid baron who sold the miners they far-too-powerful dynamite, hoping to snatch their land after they're all dead. He may even send some boys in to finish the job.
Complications: Claustrophobes will freak out, and darkness makes fighting almost impossible. Which could be a problem if the robot goes crazy and starts trying to kill everyone.
Resolution: The extra-explodey dynamite is used in a desperate attempt to blow out a back door. Ass-kicking commences.
Fun Stuff: Is that your hand on my knee?
Themes: We may be trapped, but at least we got each other.
Hook: The crew are asked to do a job for the Alliance — or rather, for some Alliance troops in training, at a premiere jet pilot academy. These guys are training to be elite space fighters, but they're getting sick of the discipline and want someone to help them go out and party.
Problem: One of the soldiers is making money selling military secrets to some border folk who are keen to start the war back up again. How do the crew warn the Alliance that they and the whole town around them are about to get blown to bits by terrorists, without telling them where they got the information?
Complications: Nobody parties like a soldier. Getting them all back home after a wacky shore leave is going to be tricky as all hell — especially since these guys can outfly almost anything.
Resolution: The crew find a way to tip off the authorities, foil the terrorists, beat up the spy and swear never to go near the Alliance again.
Fun Stuff: The crew from Top Gun go to Spring Break.
Themes: Them alliance boys are just boys sometimes.
Hook: Welcome to Hudson, coldest moon in the ‘verse. Something went wrong with the terraforming, and what few setllers are surviving there can only do so by constantly staying in the sunlight. After dark, it drops to killing temperatures damn fast.
Problem: Through some obligation, the crew have agreed/are forced to act as guards on this particular wagon train, because the first scouts have discovered that something out there is blocking the way.
Complications: When any delay can kill, do you go back for someone who fell off a wagon? Do you stop the whole line to fix a broken wheel on one mule?
Resolution: The crashed ship of reavers is found and fought off, leaving them just enough time for a desperate sprint to the volcano-heated emergency base. Again though, what about those too slow to sprint?
Fun Stuff: Form the wagons into a circle!
Themes: What will you sacrifice for the needs of the many?
Hook: The crew dock at a port they've been for, and take off without incident. Except that there's a giant crocodile in the cargo hold.
Problem: Beatrice formed a deep affection for whichever crewman is the most funny during her last journey on the ship. Somehow, she has sought them out again. And now her owner has them marked as croc-nappers!
Complications: Beatrice is a big ol' softy and very glad to be back. She follows her favourite crewperson EVERYWHERE.
Resolution: Beatrice didn't escape from her home, but from some real croc-nappers. They find the crew, Beatrice eats them, and her owner calls off his goons. He might even ask Beatrice's friend to come and stay with him for a while — just until she gets settled.
Fun Stuff: It's a giant salt-water croc in a space ship who LURRRRVES YOU!
Themes: Some of us who look tough are just big softies — especially around animals.
Hook: The Philadelphia Freedom was the first ship one of the older crew ever served on. She's a beauty, and a symbol, and she played a major part in the war. She's a piece of history, as big as the Lassiter. And she's about to be scrapped and turned into spanners.
Problem: First, they have to get enough money to buy her. Then they have to get enough money to fix her. Then they have to find someone to sell her too. And there are only so many banks on the planet to rob.
Complications: Many of the crew just don't care about the ship. The crewman's affection turns into an obsession, and we also learn more about his early life.
Resolution: The crew just manage to get the cash together, but then need cash desperately to get off planet — and nobody in the ‘verse is willing to buy the ‘Freedom. Nobody cares but our hero, who tearfully says good bye as it gets fed into the crusher.
Fun Stuff: Seeing the past of a hero, and seeing him get all gushy over a ship.
Theme: The war's over, man, and nobody but you cares any more.
Hook: While working on some repairs on top of the ship, a freak accident causes a tough character (on the crew or a passing friend) to almost slip into the engines, but a much weaker character easily pulls him back to safety. The tough guy has no choice but to pledge himself to return the favour.
Problem: In order to finish the repairs, the weaker character needs to do something on their own (tech work, bluffing, sneaking) and the tough guy won't let him — too dangerous. The divided loyalties become critical when the mechanical problem starts a fire and the whole ship could blow.
Complications: Truth is, the tough guy HATES owing his saviour a favour, as it makes him feel weak. He needs to save the weaker character's life so he can stop feeling so damn subservient. He may try to buy his way out of it, instead.
Resolution: The tough guy tries to do a suicide mission to stop the fire, but the weaker character solves the problem and saves his life again. Tough guy's just gonna have to deal with it.
Fun Stuff: Two mis-matched heroes in each other's pockets.
Theme: We all look after each other, and being helped don't make us weak.
Hook: A delivery requires the crew to go to an island — an island too small for a space or air dock. Time to break out those sea legs! But there's another vessel out there, one which seems keen to sink our heroes to Davy Jones' Locker!
Problem: A girl on the crew — the one who most keeps to herself — has a jealous ex-lover who is still trying to prove he cares. He also controls all trade to the archipelago, because there are so few who can sail these days, and he's not about to let some scurvy dogs slip through the net.
Complications: With the fog and the storms, this guy can out-sail the pants off them. And the only person who can give them some insight has clammed up.
Resolution: The crew probably get taken prisoner, and while the girl is chained to the mast and her friends are walking the plank, everyone starts talking about how distant she can be. Blackbeard actually turns out to be pretty reasonable once discussion begins, and lets them go as long as he gets a very large cut.
Fun Stuff: Space pirates!
Themes: No man is an island. No women neither.
Hook: The gang fly into a border town to find them in the middle of a lynching. It looks bad, and the crew end up getting tangled up with things and seen as a sympathiser of the criminal. Whose only crime is being an-ex Alliance General, known as "The Butcher of Beaumonde".
Problem: It seems Butch had a change of heart when his son was killed in the war, and he retired his commission. Now he's trying to go round to help towns which suffered a lot of Independent death, to try and make up for his massive crimes with his fortune and his bare hands. Problem is, the sheriff here lost his entire unit to the Butcher, and she won't accept an apology.
Complications: One of the old soldiers in the crew is the person who put a bullet in Butch's son's head, something that is still eating the man up inside. Can they say sorry? Do they feel guilt for any other death they caused?
Resolution: Confronting the sheriff makes her reveal that when she encountered the Butcher, she turned tail while her men died instead. She needs to kill the Butcher because of her own guilt for surviving — especially in a town where every mother lost a son. It's up to the crew if they let her pull the trigger.
Fun stuff: War remembrances, crazy old generals with ridiculous moustaches.
Themes: Are there some sins so great they can never be forgiven?
Hook: After an explosion rips through a space port, some of the crew end up in hospital. They all eventually come out okay, but the doc has other bad news — one of them has a very dangerous disease, and if they don't get him to a research lab (or matching donor) he'll die.
Problem: The doc, of course, is lying. He planted the bomb, found someone gullible, sewed in the synthetic organs he's smuggling, and told them to take them to his colleague. Using mules who know they're mules has proved too unreliable, thanks to Tracey.
Complications: Once they rumble to the scheme, neither doc will remove the innards happily. How do you deal with contraband you can't get rid of? What's even more problematic is that the character's original heart is keeping someone alive who would have died in the explosion.
Resolution: The crew find a way to dump the organs and get new ones, or keep them and cover their tracks by destroying the doc's smuggling lines. But someone out there still has their heart...
Fun Stuff: How does our hero feel about having one week to live?
Themes: We give away pieces of ourselves to others, and sometimes, it keeps them going.
Hook: The last time a certain crewman saw little Jeannie, she was running around in pig-tails. Now she's working in the whore-house he was just about to avail the services of. Little Jeannie ain't so little any more.
Problem: The crew have the sweetest deal ever — revenge, good money, no risk — but to pull it off they need to occupy a big-wig for a few hours, and his favourite girl is little Jeannie — and he likes to hit her, too. Normally, much of the crew wouldn't blink an eye (Jeannie is fine with it), but now some of them know this girl, can see the scars on her face...it ain't so simple.
Complications: Jeannie probably also gets a crush on a different crewman — and she knows a lot about her cousin than he's ever let on.
Resolution: The mark trips that something is going on, and attacks Jeannie, maybe even kills her, or cuts her up enough to end her career. The madam replaces her in a second. The world gets a bit darker, and no amount of prize money can make it better.
Fun Stuff: Ain't nothing fun here. Plenty of drama though.
Themes: Every girl is someone's daughter, someone's sister, someone's cousin.
Hook: A crewman who has been away from home for a long time returns to find he's been declared legally dead. His letters never arrived and the world has moved on without him — his girlfriend found another lover, his family sold away his inheritance, and all the things he worked for are gone with the wind.
Problem: An old rival has become the big man in town, and is making things hell for those the hero left behind. But even if he can change things in the short term, his family don't want him to help any more.
Complications: Bringing your friends home to meet your parents is always embarrassing.
Resolution: A temporary solution can help, but nothing stands still forever. The character will have to decide between being true to himself, and looking after his loved ones.
Fun Stuff: Mum, dad, this is my....girlfriend...I guess.
Themes: We are not our brother's keeper, but everything we do has ripple effects on others.
Hook: "The Blues" they call it. After too long in artificial gravity — no matter how good — some people's extremities just start to die. The blood don't flow right no more, and the whole limb goes blue. And the only real cure is at least three months on the ground, and the ship ain't going anywhere without its pilot.
Problem: Three months without going into space means the crew have to find new types of income, and have to hide instead of run when things turn bad. And as funds run low, things get really bad, and the law is closing in...
Complications: The rovers and space-fiends will go crazy after a few months on a rock — and their bodies may suffer as well.
Resolution: Maybe they pull a bank job, kill some folk they see every day and leave the good folk who took them in to pick up the pieces. Or maybe they get honest jobs for once and wonder if this could be a place to stop running.
Fun Stuff: Watching the space-fiends go crazy from land-sickness. Landlubber jokes.
Themes: Sometimes you need to stop running to make sure you're running for the right reasons.
Hook: That song from Your Song, about one of the crew doing his girl wrong — it's reached the core. Now it has the happy ending they tried to add - and it's become the big music hall hit of the season. And they just happen to be setting down on Athena, and someone recognises the hero...
Problem: Now our prairie wanderer is like Buffalo Bill — every core dandy wants to see the Real Frontiersman who captivated their heart. He is mobbed by fans in the street, booked for tri-dee talk shows, asked to perform concerts, invited to fancy parties, all by people who have never seen a border planet in their life, or who just want a piece of the pie.
Complications: You can bet being this visible in the core is a BIG problem for the rest of the crew — although they are seen as folk heroes by association. No doubt they've still got some cargo to unload, too, just to make things extra fun.
Resolution: Maybe our hero ends up with a contract, for any other experiences he has that can be turned into songs. Maybe he tells the cloying vultures exactly what life is like out there, and where they can stick their romanticized avoidance tactics. Maybe a bit of both.
Fun Stuff: Famous for a day!
Themes: Stories have power — but they are all too often just comfortable lies.
Hook: It finally happened. Someone has crossed a line, or someone found out they crossed a line, and now there's someone who won't travel any further with that person. Either the offender is put off the ship, or they are. And once one person leaves, loyalties get divided — and in deep space, that spells mutiny.
Problem: The truth is that in a recent altercation, the offender got a lung-ful of mind-warping gas, and that's scattered his brain-pan a little. He's become delusionally paranoid and soon believes the mutineers are all plotting against him, and does whatever he can to get others on his side before the war starts.
Complications: Once loyalties get divided, all the grievances come out. And all the secrets.
Resolution: As pitched battle begins, someone finally realises that one or more of their number aren't in their right mind. A truce or an incapacitating plan lets him get medical help before he flushes them all out the airlock. He apologises shame-facedly for the harsh (but true) feelings he revealed.
Fun Stuff: Brother against brother, bickering to the nines and the bitchy putdowns and comebacks just never stop.
Themes: We all have our dark sides — but we all got to live together!
Hook: Nikita Niska, son of Adelai Niska has just fallen into their laps, because he's much stupider than his old man. But while the bounty on him is large, it's nothing compared to the one on his old man — and Nikita is willing to trade one for the other.
Problem: Nikita actually wants the crew to get rid of his old man so he can take over his empire. Still, if the crew can pull it off, they take down a very bad man and get very rich in the process, and leave the ‘verse in the hands of another maniac....
Complications: Nikita lies like a rug and at any given moment will go crying back to daddy...then switch sides again and plug daddy in the back. Also, the feds are sniffing on Nikita's trail too, just to make it interesting.
Resolution: The crew come up with the ultimate sting that lets them get Niska senior and junior, to the feds, and a cashbox for their trouble. Let the other gangsters fight over the remaining spoilers. A good day.
Fun stuff: Heists! Debating the lesser of two evils. Ending up working on the same side as the feds for once.
Themes: There is no honour among psychopaths.
Hook: One of the more nefarious characters hears that they've been arrested for murder, and are to be hanged come morning. Thing is, somebody forgot to tell the accused to show up.
Problem: A long time ago, the crewman saved a youngster's life, and maybe even put him on a good road for the rest of it. When he heard his friend was wanted dead by a posse, he had his face changed and stepped up to be counted. And he won't take no for an answer.
Complications: Two people with the same face do make for a mighty fine pickle sometimes!
Resolution: Jailbreak is almost impossible, and they'll just keep coming. And rescue would need the boy to want to be rescued. Somebody with that face has to die. Pick one.
Fun Stuff: There still has to be a court case, which could give the crew a chance to play the defence.
Themes: Life is precious. Enjoy the gift.
Hook: While giving a lift to some pilgrims, the religious folk realise that the one they have been searching for — he's right here on the ship.
Problem: They aren't mistaken, but he doesn't have to lead them or save them. Rather, they have been charged with saving him, and helping him find his destiny. Which could be really important when an old nemesis turns up, looking for vengeance.
Complications: They have a rather strict moral code and can't stop it from impinging on the life of the crew — from dawn services to no cussing to the modesty of women.
Resolution: After an altercation, the actions of the One produce a miraculous effect — such as stopping a bullet, healing a wound, or any other way of surviving death when it should have come. Unlikely enough to make someone believe. Or at least to ask some hard questions.
Fun Stuff: Mormons in Spaaaaaaaaaaaaace!
Themes: Maybe a bit of faith is a good idea.
Hook: It's the annual Companion Festival of Love on Persephone. Sorta like Valentine's Day on speed. And in the confusion, one of the ship's crew gets mistaken for a member of the Guild, and accidentally agrees to a job.
Problem: Not only is the client very insistent and extremely rich (he's offering more than any job they've ever pulled), failure to attend to a landed lord will cause trouble for the guild — but not quite so much as being caught impersonating a Companion will...
Complications: Someone else on the crew is trying to be romantic, with a partner new or old, and turns to a real Companion not for practice, but for advice. Meanwhile, friends of the pretender might be feeling a mite protective.
Resolution: The lord knows perfectly well she's not actually a Companion. He chose her because she can help him get some important merchandise off-planet. He's also, well, rather sweet.
Fun stuff: Playing at being a Companion, mistaken affection, pondering the price of virtue
Themes: We are all students in the art of love — or we should be.
Hook: After getting drunk at the Companion Festival, and getting into a brawl, one character wakes up in prison. The judge sentences him to a month on the chain gang — and his partner in irons is not the sanest of individuals...
Problem: The steel circle around the character's leg is radio bonded to the other one — if one prisoner runs off, the other one gets shocked with extreme pain, then dies. So naturally, when Billy Bob runs for the hills, his partner has to come with him, at least until he can get his circle of life removed. And Billy Bob isn't going to the nicest places.
Complications: The rest of the crew have to choose between clearing their crewman's name...or lying low so the law doesn't take a harder look at their business dealings. They may even be tempted to flee before that happens.
Resolution: Billy Bob eventually catches the man who really killed his wife, and kills him. Or the feds turn up and nab the real felon. The crewman tries to help, or just tries to keep up, until he either gets loose, or gets pardoned.
Fun Stuff: Stay with the crazy man, or die. Chain gang references everywhere.
Themes: Even opposite men can co-operate, and be stronger for it.
Hook: The crew arrive at a backwoods moon looking for supplies and a local guide, but nobody will help them — not while the vampires are out there.
Problem: A local land baron is trying to run off the last settlers in town by scaring them with his men and their holograph projectors. And he's done such a good job, folks are all-but dying of fear without a shot being fired.
Complications: Oswald Q. Fenniworth is stuck in town too. The characters will no doubt like to claim the bounty for him, but what if he's behind the vampires?
Resolution: Fenniworth convinces the townsfolk that his vampire-killing lasers are the solution to their problem. Now fearless, they drive off the bandits and stay put on their land. The characters "persuade" Fenniworth to sell his inventions at cost, too.
Fun Stuff: Old West horror, Fenniworth returns.
Themes: If faith can give courage against your enemies, it's probably worth having.
Hook: The crew pick up a stow-away: a young novice, gifted with holy visions. She can read minds and see the future — and she recognises the One by name.
Problem: The boat transporting the girl to a new laboratory crashed, and she got away. Now God is telling her to go to New Mecca, and the blue-handed goons want her back something bad.
Complications: Despite wanting to be a sister of God, the girl is powerful attractive and finds herself drawn to the One. She is also fearless, believing God will protect her no matter what.
Resolution: When she realises she's going to get everyone killed, the girl takes on the blue-hands herself and does alright — for a while. They take her body back to the lab to dissect her. But what secrets did she know about the One?
Fun Stuff: A holy warrior makes everybody jumpy.
Themes: One man's insanity is another man's blessing.
Hook: The crew find themselves in need of information from someone who doesn't want to provide it. But when the One steps up to ask, the target screams in terror and spills his guts in a second.
Problem: The One's powers have manifested as a dreadful mien — seems everybody in town is soon terrified to look upon him. Religious types call him the devil and prepare the stake. Others reach for guns instead.
Complication: Actually, this new affectation will prove mighty useful in getting a local crime lord off their back — and finding out everything he knows about Blue Sun.
Resolution: Daniel and his mentor turn up and explain: the One must have been part of the experiment, like Daniel and River, and he is projecting his anger psychically. It's time to find out more...
Fun Stuff: Ugly jokes, saying boo to real tough guys.
Themes: Is there a monster within us all?
Hook: The crew pick up a routine job that pays way too well. It turns out it's actually a ruse to bring a certain lady back into the umbra of a certain landed lord on Persephone — who is ready to pitch some woo.
Problem: He's a councillor, and the crew ain't exactly legal. His enemies will do whatever they can to expose this meeting — if only to his disapproving parents.
Complications: He's wealthy, charming, honest, nice and very handsome — and he's about to steal a very valuable crew member away forever. Perhaps from some greasemonkey who never told her how he felt. Will the crew ever be the same?
Resolution: The lord defies disapproval, pledges his heart to the beauty and promises them whatever support he can provide before he gets kicked out of high society. Does she stay with him? Her call.
Fun Stuff: Our heroine being reated to the lap of luxury, other characters being bitter about being a glorified taxi service for syrupy love-puppies.
Themes: Love conquers all — and changes everything.
Hook: The connections of the lord get the crew in contact with the people who busted River out for Simon. But they're not planning on giving information away without something in return.
Problem: They need the crew to transport another child to safety — easily the riskiest thing the crew has ever done. And the only pay-off is a bit of information. Is it worth it?
Complications: When everything is shrouded in this level of secrecy, and the stakes are this high, everything gets complicated.
Resolution: Whether they do the job or not, the crew discover that the blue hand guys know about the removal of the kids, and are letting it happen. And every one that goes out has a manifest destiny written into their brains — a destiny they cannot avoid. A destiny they will soon be acting on...
Fun Stuff: No fun stuff, just drama. The western boys turn spies.
Themes: Are you ready to start fighting a war?
Hook: Hiding out on Acheron and hunted by the blue-handed guys, the crew are forced to take a cross-planet train rather than use their vessel. Then a bridge gets blown up and the entire train plunges into a ravine.
Problem: The casualties are horrific, but there's someone in the crew who has the power to heal people, not to mention project his will as a psychic force, giving him super strength. But with hundreds of witnesses, and feds and blue-handed guys everywhere, can the One risk using his gifts?
Complications: It's the end of the line, here. Everyone's in trouble, injured, or dying. Emotions run high, secrets come out, and nothing will ever be the same again.
Resolution: Whether he uses his powers or not, the One realises that he can be tracked regardless, and every second he's with the crew, they're in danger. Mayhap he goes off alone. Mayhap he turns himself in. Mayhap he eats a bullet. Mayhap he was programmed to do one of them all along...
Fun Stuff: Disaster drama, moral dilemmas, big decisions, it's all happening.
Themes: In order to save his friends, he has to use his powers. And if he uses his powers, he can never see his friends again...