Unification Day. Six years have passed since the Universal Alliance declared victory over the Independents. On this day, Mal, Zoë and Jayne find themselves in an Alliance friendly bar, and when Mal refuses to toast to the Unification of the planets, a miniature re-enactment of the war breaks out with the three from Serenity assuming the role of the outnumbered Independents. Fortunately, the fight is brought to an end when Wash arrives with Serenity and threatens to fire upon the offended Alliance sympathizers. The fact that Serenity has no weapons escapes their notice.

Serenity takes off and heads for a skyplex on a tip recieved at the bar. The skyplex is run by a man named Adelai Niska, a man notorious for his cruelty. The crew needs work though, and so they risk taking on a job from him. He sends them to the Georgia system, where he wants them to rob a train.

The train runs from Hancock to Paradiso. The plan is to have Mal and Zoë board the train and get into position in the luggage car. Serenity will hover above the train, lowering Jayne down with the equipment to secure the cargo. The three and their stolen goods will then be hauled back aboard ship, and make off for the rendezvous with Niska's men.

The plan goes south when Mal and Zoë find an entire squad of Alliance troops aboard the train with them. At first this poses no problem, as the troops are there only to travel, not to guard the cargo. However, as the goods are being loaded onto Serenity, one of the men stumbles upon them mid-caper. Jayne makes off with the cargo, but Mal and Zoë are left behind.

They arrive in Paradiso under the aliases of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond, come to this world to find work. The local Sherriff finds some details of their story a bit suspicious, and holds them while the theft of the cargo is investigated. There, Mal and Zoë find out what it is they've stolen: a shipment of Pescaline "D", medicine needed to treat the degenerative disease that afflicts the town.

Making use of her respectability as a Companion, Inara takes her shuttle to Paradiso and gets Mal and Zoë out of questioning, telling the Sherriff they belong to her as indentured servants. Her story passes scrutiny, and the three return to the ship. Having seen the conditions the people of Paradiso live under, Mal decides to return the goods, knowing full well what Niska will do when he finds out. They don't have to wait long to tell him: Niska's men have found Serenity, tracking down the ship when the crew became late for the rendezvous. Mal explains his position to Niska's lieutenant, offering to return the money paid in advance, but the man refuses to deal. Negotiations devolve into outright combat, but Serenity's crew is able to overcome Niska's men. The medicine is returned to the Paradiso authorities. Once more, Mal attempts to reason with Niska's lieutenant, but the man continues to spout threats of Niska's vengeance. He is disposed of, shoved into an engine intake valve, and the rest of Niska's men are sent off with the money and the promise that Serenity's crew will do what they can to stay out of Niska's business.

Meanwhile, due to the failure of Federal Agent Dobson, blue-gloved agents of Blue Sun become personally involved in the search for River Tam...


Behind the Scenes

Mandarin Translation

(Special Thanks to

  • "Qing zailai yi bei Ng Ka Pei? [May I have one more glass of Ng Ka Pei (a medicinal herb wine), please?]" - Mal at the bar.
  • "Oh, zhe zhen shi ge kuaile de jinzhan [this is a happy development]..." - Mal is confronted by a bar full of Allaince sympathizers.
  • "Kewu de lao baojun... [Horrible old tyrant...]" - Kaylee, when Mal sends her to the engine room.
  • "The Captain's zhen de shi tiancai [an absolute genius] when it comes to plans." - Kaylee.
  • "Just 'cause the captain says you're medic don't make you part of the crew. You just play at figurin' what's wrong with that moon-brained sister of yours till we call for you, dong ma? [understand?]" - Jayne to Simon.
  • "Why are you parked here? This ain't the gou cao de [dog-humping] rendezvous spot." - Jayne yells at Wash.

Database Entries

Alliance cruiser; Bloggs, Joey; Blue Sun; Bourne; Bowden's malady; Browncoats; Chinese checkers; Companion; Crow; Firefly-class; Georgia; Hancock; Lund; Niska, Adelai; Paradiso; Pescaline "D"; Raymond, Mr. and Mrs.; Unification Day

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