compiled overview of the 30 ton Firefly 'Mech, from various BattleTech novels and game sourcebooks:

The last example of this well-armed reconnaissance 'Mech was thought to have been destroyed during the Second Succession War. Rumors that the Firefly might survive in isolated parts of the Periphery persisted for two centuries, but no one expected it to appear in numbers so large as it did with Wolf's Dragoons. The Firefly is one of the Dragoons' most important 'Mechs, serving in light lances and compiling an excellent performance record.

Third-hand reports picked up by a ROM agent in the St. Ives Compact indicate that the Dragoons are planning the following field modifications to further improve the Firefly’s performance...

Manufacturer: Coventry/Earthwerks Combine
Primary Factory: Terra
Chassis: Earthwerks Firefly
Power Plant: GM 150
Cruising Speed: 54 kph
Maximum Speed: 86 kph
Jump Jets: Lexington Lifters
Jump Capacity: 120 meters
Armor: StarSlab/1 with CASE
Communications System: Datcom 18
Targeting and Tracking System: Radcom TXX
-- 3 Martell Medium Lasers
-- 1 Coventry LRM-5 Missle Rack
-- 1 SureFire 444 Anti-Missle System

Note: Information used here was the domain of FASA before they split the rights between Wizkids LLC and Microsoft (table-top gaming and video games respectively). Copyright of the fluff text is in limbo, but names of persons, places, & things are without any doubt the property of Wizkids LLC. Use of any terms here related to the BattleTech trademark are not meant as a challenge to Wizkids LLC's rights.

Firefly was a "space western" on Fox from Joss Whedon, the mind behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The premise is as follows: After a galactic civil war, a force known as the Alliance now governs the planets. Those who don't agree with Alliance rule have resigned themselves to life on and around the border planets, where the Alliance doesn't have quite as much power. The crew and passengers of the transport vessel Serenity (a Firefly class ship), all trying to avoid the Alliance for one reason or another, look for legitimate work where they can get it, but will also take on less legit work if the pay is right.

Show Status

Serenity (Firefly: The Motion Picture!)
In theaters (US, at least) September 30. See it early, see it often.

Firefly: The DVD Set!
The Complete Series DVD set is now available. It includes all episodes (including 3 that were unaired), commentary on "Serenity," "The Train Job," "Shindig," "Out of Gas," "War Stories," "Objects in Space," and "The Message," along with featurettes, a gag reel, and deleted scenes from a couple of episodes.

Who's Who?

  • Nathan Fillion - Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds
    Nathan Fillion can next be seen in "Slither", which is listed as filming now on IMDB. And, like the rest of the cast, he'll also be in the upcoming "Serenity" feature film.
  • Gina Torres - Zoe
    Gina Torres will be in the film "Five Fingers" and an upcoming TV series, "Soccer Moms".
  • Alan Tudyk - Hoban "Wash" Washburne
    Alan Tudyk can next be seen in the TNT miniseries "Into The West" this summer.
  • Morena Baccarin - Inara Serra
    Morena Baccarin has a role on the on-hold (perhaps permanently on-hold) Fox drama "Still Life."
  • Jewel Staite - Kaylee
    Jewel Staite was last seen in "Widow on the Hill" on Lifetime.
  • Adam Baldwin - Jayne Cobb
    Adam Baldwin is in the upcoming NBC miniseries remake of "The Poseidon Adventure", and is currently on "The Inside", a Fox drama series.
  • Sean Maher - Simon Tam
    Sean Maher has a role in "Living 'til the End", due out sometime this year.
  • Summer Glau - River Tam
    Summer Glau had a guest role on CSI in November 2004, and had a small part in the recent film Sleepover.
  • Ron Glass - Shepherd Book
    Ron Glass has done voice work on "All Grown Up" on Nickelodeon.
  • Episodes

  • Serenity (original pilot) - Airdate 12/20/02
    Here's a brilliant idea, if you're Fox: don't actually air the pilot episode as the pilot. Serenity is the real pilot episode, but for reasons I still don't get, was actually aired LAST on Fox. Here we meet the crew and the Alliance. Written and Directed by Joss Whedon.
  • The Train Job (Fox pilot) - Airdate 9/20/02
    Mal and the crew are hired to rob a train, but have second thoughts when they discover what they've stolen.
  • Bushwhacked - Airdate 9/27/02
    The Serenity comes across an abandoned ship that was ransacked by Reavers, a group of vicious pirates. To make matters worse, an Alliance ship shows up while Mal and the crew are taking supplies from the abandoned ship.
  • Shindig - Airdate 11/1/02
    Mal finds himself in a sword duel after defending Inara's honor at a high-society party.
  • Safe - Airdate 11/8/02
    Simon and River are kidnapped, and Shepherd Book is badly hurt in an ambush. With their doctor unavailable, Mal decides to take Book to an Alliance hospital.
  • Our Mrs. Reynolds - Airdate 10/4/02
    Mal's payment for a particular job well done? A wife.
  • Jaynestown - Airdate 10/18/02
    The crew ends up on a planet where Jayne is considered a hero of the people.
  • Out of Gas - Airdate 10/25/02
    When an explosion cripples the ship, Mal flashes back to how the crew first came together.
  • Ariel - Airdate 11/15/02
    Simon plans to infiltrate an Alliance hospital to find out what was done to River, but the plan goes bad when Jayne tries to double-cross him.
  • War Stories - Airdate 12/6/02
    Looking for some payback for a botched train job (see The Train Job), a crime lord plans to stop Mal's medical supply scam.
  • Trash - unaired
    Mal's "wife" Saffron has a proposal for a heist.
  • The Message - unaired
    Mal and Zoe are responsible for transporting the body of a war buddy back to his parents.
  • Heart of Gold - unaired
    The crew tries to help a friend of Inara's who happens to be a Madam.
  • Objects in Space - Airdate 12/13/02
    A bounty hunter gets inside Serenity and goes after River.
  • there do be spoilers here

    Now that Firefly has been canceled, there are several puzzles that us Firefly fans may never know the answers to. Among these are:

    The relationship between Mal and Inara. It is obvious that Inara is in love with Mal. Mal may feel the same way, however we see only one or two glimpses of these underlying feelings during the few aired episoses. It would have been interesting to see how their relationship evolved during the course of the series.

    The relationship between Simon and Kaylee. Pretty cut and dry, but we'll never know how it pans out.

    The relationship between River and the Alliance. The Alliance experiemented around inside River's head, imbuing her with psychic and extra-sensory abilities. It is possible they were trying to turn her into some sort of asset for their spooks. It is implied that River may possibly be telekinetic, but we never see any evidence of this. Simon manages to perform a neural scan of River in the episode Ariel, however the series ends before we learn the extent of the Alliance's doings. We also do not find out exactly who are the men in black following her, or why they kill everyone that crosses paths with her.

    The relationship between Book and Inara. It is very possible that Book and Inara crossed paths before meeting again on Serenity. They show a casual familiarity in the pilot episode that goes beyond new acquaintances. It is strongly implied that Book's first occupation was not a preacher, and has his own trouble he's running from. He has, or at some time has had, some importance in/to the Alliance, as in one episode he produces an unknown ID Card to Alliance soldiers, who immediately whisk him off to their hospital. He is also intimately knowledgeable in firearms, and is quite capable with them. I personally believe that Book was an Alliance soldier ...

    There are many chinese phrases spoken between the characters, chinese imagery and writing in many of the cityscapes we see. I'm not sure if this serves to demonstrate blending of cultures from the old earth, if there is some deeper meaning, or if the writers just really liked the stuff and included it.

    Firefly is a sci-fi western created by Joss Whedon, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel fame. Sadly, the show lasted for less than one season on the Fox network, but its devoted fan base and excellent DVD sales have helped to bring a feature film set in the Firefly universe to life.

    Book: After the Earth was used up, we found a new solar system and hundreds of new Earths were terra formed and colonized. The central planets formed the Alliance and decided all the planets had to join under their rule. There was some disagreement on that point. After the War, many of the Independents who had fought and lost drifted to the edges of the system, far from Alliance control. Out here, people struggled to get by with the most basic technologies; a ship would bring you work, a gun would help you keep it. A captain's goal was simple: find a crew, find a job, keep flying.

    Serenity and her Crew

    • Serenity is a Firefly class vessel. She's out of date, usually running low on fuel, and on more than one occasion she's been adrift. The Firefly class is a favorite of smugglers because they feature a lot of hard-to-find nooks and crannies that are perfect for hiding things from the Alliance. Fireflies may be out of date, but parts aren't too hard to track down, and there are certainly worse boats to ride in.

      Kaylee: That's my girl. That's my good girl.

    • Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds - Nathan Fillion
      Mal is the captain and owner of Serenity. He was a Browncoat soldier, ranked sergeant, in the war against the Alliance. He was particularly heroic in the battle of Serenity Valley, from which Serenity gets her name. Mal is an honest man when it matters. He has no love for the Alliance, but he's not going to steal from the sick either. He's been around the block a few times, and if you try to fool him, you're likely to get shot. Mal does the job, and then he gets paid.

      Mal: You can't open the book of my life and jump in the middle. Like woman, I'm a mystery.

    • Zoë (Alleyne) Washburn¹ - Gina Torres
      Zoë is Mal's first mate and his old war buddy. They fought together in Serenity Valley. Mal trusts Zoë unconditionally, and with good reason. She brings a fresh perspective to the crew's problems, and she keeps her calm extremely well. Zoë is married to Wash, and although they don't seem the best match, they're both very happy. Zoë's weapon of choice bears a resemblance to a shotgun, and on at least one occasion she is known to be wearing body armor.

      Zoë: You paid money for this, sir? On purpose?

    • Hoban "Wash" Washburn - Alan Tudyk
      Wash is Serenity's pilot and Zoë's husband. He holds onto his childhood through his humor and toys (he has plastic dinosaurs), and he's a capable pilot, but he's not of much use with a firearm. Wash's strength lies in his quick wit and piloting abilities. He is often used as comic relief because it is believable for his character to make a joke regardless of the situation.

      Wash (providing the voice to a plastic dinosaur toy): Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!

    • Jayne Cobb - Adam Baldwin
      Jayne is dirty, crass, vulgar, mean, and a whole lot of fun. He is a stereotypical jock. He likes money, guns, knives, women, food, and not much else. He's quick to change sides in a fight if it's to his advantage, and he looks out for himself before any others. He cares about the crew of Serenity, but he's not prone to let them (or anybody else) know it.

      Mal: You've only got to scare him.
      Jayne: Pain is scary.

    • Kaywinnit Lee "Kaylee" Frye - Jewel Staite
      Kaylee is innocent, sweet, and a child at heart. A teddy bear can be seen on her mechanic's coveralls, and she is known to have a crush on Dr. Tam. She is very interested in both machines and their workings and Inara's aristocratic and fancy life as a Companion. Despite having no official training in the field, she is an extremely capable mechanic, and Serenity and her crew wouldn't be around without her.

      Mal: Kaylee, what the hell's going on in the engine room? Were there monkeys? Some terrifying space monkeys maybe got loose?

    • Inara Serra - Morena Baccarin
      Inara is Serenity's resident Companion. Mal refers to her as "Ambassador" which isn't too far from the truth. Traveling with a Companion opens doors for Serenity that might otherwise remain closed. Inara is close to Kaylee, and she obviously cares for Mal, who at least in some capacity reciprocates. Inara is her own woman, and she won't be pushed around by anyone. Her quarters are a shuttle rented from Mal, and she's been known to help on a caper or two, as well.

      Jayne: Hey, do you have any funny whorin' stories?
      Inara: Oh, do I ever. Funny and sexy. You have no idea. And you never will.

    • Dr. Simon Tam - Sean Maher
      Simon isn't like the others. He grew up wealthy and privileged. He attended the best schools and studied to become a doctor. He finished his internship early and took a position as a trauma surgeon in an Alliance hospital. It is because of his sister, River, that he encounters Serenity and her crew, and it is his talents as a medic that keep him aboard. Simon is uncomfortable much of the time, but his need to help River keeps him going.

      Simon: I'm trying to think of a way for you to be cruder. I just... It's not coming.

    • River Tam - Summer Glau
      River is Simon's sister. She is (or was) incredibly intelligent. Everything came naturally to River, regardless of subject or complexity. She was good at physics and chemistry as well as dance. She wanted to attend an Alliance-sponsored academy for gifted children. Her parents agreed and she went. Then she changed. Her correspondence to Simon quit making sense, and he chose to give up his life to get her out. River and Simon are currently wanted fugitives, and nobody is quite certain what the Alliance was doing to the students.

      Wash: Little River just gets more colorful by the moment. What'll she do next?
      Zoë: Either blow us all up or rub soup in her hair. It's a toss-up.
      Wash: I hope she does the soup thing. It's always a hoot, and we don't all die from it.

    • Shepherd Book - Ron Glass
      Book is something of a mystery. He's the only character not given a full name, and his past is hidden from the other characters. He claims to be a man of God from an abbey on Persephone, but the respect given to him by the Alliance suggests he is more than a simple preacher. Book vocalizes his morals to the crew, he isn't afraid to hold the least popular opinion, and he is a remarkably versatile member of the crew.

      Kaylee: How come you don't care where you're going?
      Book: 'Cause how you get there is the worthier part.

    Folks our "Big Damn Heroes" Run Into

    • Reavers - Firefly features no aliens whatsoever, but Reavers are pretty close. They're space crazies, for lack of a better term. Reavers started out as men isolated from civilization and laws. They gradually lost their sanity and began to cut on themselves. Then they started to cut on everybody else they could find. Reavers rape, pillage, kill, and steal. They have neither friends nor enemies, only prey. Stay away if you can.

      Zoë: They'll rape us to death, eat our flesh and sew our skin to their clothes. And if we're very, very lucky, they'll do it in that order.

    • Badger - Badger is a lowlife crime lord living on Persephone. He is top dog in his self-described "den of thieves," and despite offering Mal and his crew work he is none too fond of them. He describes himself as an upstanding businessman with roots in the community, but Jayne's opinion, that he's a "puddle of piss," is closer to the truth. Badger won't hesitate to do whatever it takes to save his skin or make a profit.

      Sir Warrick Harrow: I know [Badger]. And I think he's a psychotic lowlife.
      Mal: And I think calling him that is an insult to the psychotic lowlife community.

    • Patience - Patience and Mal go back a ways. The implication is that Patience used to be in much the same position as Mal, a captain barely getting by. Now she owns nearly half of Whitefall, a terra formed moon. Mal's got something to sell her, and she'd like to have it, but she's not looking to buy. Patience is a skilled negotiator and she's not prone to walk into a situation she's not in control of.

      Zoë: Sir, we don't want to deal with Patience again.
      Mal: Why not?
      Zoë: She shot you.
      Mal: Well, yeah, she did a bit.

    • Adelei Niska - Niska is, to simplify, not a nice man. He is very interested in reputations and either proving them true or killing the parties attached to them. Niska's sidekick is Claw, so named for his weapon of choice. Neither is pleasant. They are even less so when things don't work out as planned.

      Mal: [Niska]'s not the first psycho to hire us nor the last. You think that's a commentary on us?

    • The Anglo-Sino Alliance - The Alliance is the governing body of the Firefly universe. Nobody aboard Serenity is terribly fond of them. Mal and Zoë fought them in Serenity Valley. Simon and River are running from them. Book seems both to have Alliance ties and to be running from his past. The Alliance is large, bloated, and uncaring. This is especially apparent in "The Train Job."

      Mal: [The Alliance] couldn't let us profit...wouldn't be civilized.

    Firefly, ultimately, is more about the people and their troubles than the science-fiction and western themes. You'll grow to love the characters, and you'll notice new details about their world in each episode (for example, when the camera is in space, there is no sound and the turret Mal uses in "Serenity, Part 1" was made by Weyland Yutani of the Alien movie franchise). Joss Whedon creates complex characters who inhabit a huge and detailed world. Their stories are compelling, and it's a crime to storytellers everywhere that it lasted only a fraction of one season.

    The DVD box set

    1. Zoë's name is something of a sticky situation. According to materials and literature distributed while Firefly ran, Zoë's maiden name is Warren. According to the Serenity visual companion (penned by Joss Whedon), her maiden name is Alleyne. I'm inclined to believe Mr. Whedon. They are his characters, after all.

    For starters, fireflies are not flies. "Flies" have one pair of wings (like houseflies) while all other winged insects have two pairs of wings, or, four wings altogether. Usually when the common name of an insect contains the word "fly" as part of a one word common name such as firefly, dragonfly or scorpionfly, the insects are not true flies and belong to another order of insects. ("Housefly," a true fly, is an exception to this rule.)

    Fireflies are beetles, of the family Lampyridae.

    Most known firefly species are bioluminescent as adults. However, all known firefly larvae are bioluminescent, as are firefly eggs. Also not all bioluminescent beetles are of the family Lampyridae, the true fireflies. Related beetle families that have bioluminescent members include some click beetles (family Elateridae), phengodid beetles (family Phengodidae) and several other very small families.

    So, what is the purpose of lighting up like this? A few things we know, many ideas are the subject of speculation. It is thought that the larvae of fireflies have a bad taste to most predators, and that the light is intended to signal that fact. (It is known that mice, for example, will avoid such larvae.) In the adult, males seem attracted to females by exchange of a species-specific code of light signals. Perhaps this outweighs the obvious disadvantage of being so visible to predators; perhaps the adults, too, are bad-tasting.

    Fireflies produce light via a chemical reaction consisting of Luciferin (a substrate) combined with Luciferase (an enzyme), ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and oxygen. When these components are added, light is produced. In essence the ATP, a potent energy source, is oxidized in the process.

    There are several theories on how fireflies control the "on" and "off" of their photic organs; no one knows for sure. Perhaps the beetle controls the oxygen supply to the photic organ for use in the chemical reaction; perhaps some other messenger molecule is involved. In any case, very little heat is released: the animal remains cool though glowing.

    Fireflies, both as adults and as larvae, like warmth and water, and are often found near the edges of streams or ponds. Some Asian species are fully aquatic (due to the presence of tracheal gills) and live underwater, feeding on aquatic snails. The greatest number of species are found in tropical Asia and Central and South America.

    They occur, of course, in the eastern United States, where children catch them in jars on warm summer nights. If you live west of Kansas, however, you will never or almost never see one, though there are plenty of suitable habitats in the west. No one knows why they are not found there.

    Some kinds of magic are found only in particular locations.

    Phylum Arthorpoda, Subphylum Uniramia, Superclass Insecta, Class Pterygota, Subclass Endopterygota, Order Coleoptera, Family Lampyridae

    See Crockett, Lawrence J., "Bioluminescence." Academic American Encyclopedia. 1997. Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. America Online. January 2, 1997.
    Pearse, Buchsbaum, Living Invertibrates, Blackwell Scientific Publications, Boston, Massachusetts 1987;

    The Suburban America Firefly Crisis

    firefly populations are higher than ever,
    they're filling niches in conversations
    and laying eggs in gray matter grooves,
    cranial pressures are critical so
    the buggers slip out of gaps in our smiles
    and escape into the silent air
    like it's the end of a flyswatter

    - *blink*blink*
    "i brought the fire...
    (that's all i've got...)"
    - *blink*blink*
    "sounds good
    (i brought the fire too,
    why's it always about you?)"

    the suburbs get prettier
    for the grazing beasts
    as their numbers increase:
    who needs TV with
    a light show out back
    and some good company?

    but the developers never agreed,
    their insights indicate that insects
    are mental clutter
    in need of A-frame cookie-cutters
    that we can fill with gas to pass them painlessly
    into drainage gutters and compost piles.
    those guys couldn't be dumber, they're in denial
    bugs are back like summer and bathroom tiles
    bugs are back, and they're everywhere
    for a million miles

    Fire"fly` (?), n.; pl. Fireflies (). Zool.

    Any luminous winged insect, esp. luminous beetles of the family Lampyridae.

    The common American species belong to the genera Photinus and Photuris, in which both sexes are winged. The name is also applied to luminous species of Elateridae. See Fire beetle.


    © Webster 1913.

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