|General Plans and Schematics|
- "We have incoming! Alliance cruiser, bearing right down on us!"
- ―Hoburn "Wash" Washburne
The I.A.V. Dortmunder was an Iskellian Technology Solutions Tohoku-class cruiser that served the Anglo-Sino Alliance in 2517. While on patrol in the Rim, the Dortmunder came upon a derelict Vanderdecken-class heavy cargo carrier. The wreckage of the ship was the target of an illegal salvage operation perpetrated by the crew of the Firefly-class transport ship Serenity. The crew, contracted by an individual named Badger, had been hired to steal cases of foodstuffs that had survived in airtight sections.
The commanding officer of the Dortmunder initially ordered the vessel's ASREV gunships launched to intercept and capture the transport. the Dortmunder then received a distress signal from a personnel carrier thirteen kilometers from their current location. The Captain countermanded his order to launch the gunships, setting course to aid the stricken ship. However, the call for help was actually a ruse perpetrated by the crew of the Serenity through the use of a cry baby—a piece of equipment rigged to transmit a fake distress call—to allow them to escape capture by the Alliance.
The I.A.V. Dortmunder was an Iskellian Technology Solutions Tohoku-class cruiser, featuring the four vertical towers that rose from the base of the vessel and the inverted landing field and control tower that were indicative of the class design. Essentially a mobile city in space, the Dortmunder was lightly armed and armored, relying on the presence of two squadrons of Alliance Short Range Enforcement Vessels for offensive and defensive actions.
At a price of half a billion credits, the Dortmunder had a maintenance running cost of 50 million credits a year. Over 40,000 personnel could be accommodated on board the ship, including a minimum crew of forty naval personnel, as well as information and development specialists, economists and financiers, administrators and support staff.
The I.A.V. Dortmunder was a Tohoku-class cruiser in the service of the Anglo-Sino Alliance. In 2517, the Dortmunder was on patrol in the Rim planets when it came into range of a Vanderdecken-class heavy cargo carrier that had been blown out several months before. The Dortmunder's sensors detected the wreckage, and the vessel's commanding officer requested information. An ensign relayed the data regarding the carrier to the Captain, including the fact that the wreckage had been scoured by locals soon after the event and that there was no possibility of survivors in the debris. Passing the derelict, the Captain called for a moment of respect from the crew as they were passing a graveyard.
As the Dortmunder slid past the derelict, an officer detected a residual heat signal on the ship. The crew of the Serenity, a Firefly-class transport ship, had been hired by an individual named Badger to liberate several crates of energy bars that had survived the vessel's destruction in an air-sealed container. Despite the crew aboard the Serenity shutting down all power in an attempt to avoid detection, the Captain of the Dortmunder ordered a further sweep of the area. Detecting the active scan, the captain of the Serenity, Malcolm Reynolds ordered his pilot, Hoban Washburne, to make a run for it. As the Serenity disengaged from the derelict—with its crew members and illegal salvage on board—the Dortmunder's sensors detected the transport, identifying its class.
The Captain of the Dortmunder ordered the vessel's ASREV gunships to be launched to intercept and capture the transport. However, as the Dortmunder's gunships prepared to launch, the vessel began to receive a distress call from a personnel carrier that was without power. The Captain of the Dortmunder, realizing that the gunships would never make it back to the ship in time if they were launched after the transport, ordered the ship to set course for the source of the distress call to rescue them. He ordered his ensign to put a bulletin on the Cortex regarding a Firefly-class transport ship carrying suspected illegal cargo, and to notify Interpol as well. He hoped that someone else would be able to deal with the salvagers.
Unfortunately for the Dortmunder, the vessel had been tricked by the crew of the Serenity. The distress call had been a ruse in the form of an automated beacon known as a cry baby, which had been rigged to transmit a fake distress call. The crew of the Serenity had set the device up thirteen kilometers from the site of the derelict cargo carrier in case they were discovered in the act to give them a chance of escaping capture by the Alliance.
Behind the scenes
The name Dortmunder may be a reference to the German city of Dortmund. It may also refer to the fictional character of John Dortmunder, the principal antagonist in a series of novels by Donald E. Westlake. Dortmunder is a petty criminal, which ties in with the nature of the main characters on the show.