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Space Cowboys

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This game makes use of the following copy right protected books.

d20 Modern Role-playing Game, First Edition, Bill Slavicsek, Jeff Grubb, Rich Redman and Charles Ryan: Authors, Wizards of the Coast inc, First Printing November 2002

d20 Future, First Edition, Christopher Perkins, Rodney Thompson, and J.D. Wiker: Authors, Wizards of the Coast inc, First Printing August 2004

The Firefly universe upon which this game is based was created by Joss Whedon and is the property of Mutant Enemy Inc. All related intellectual property is protected under copyright law.

Thank you

Six Years ago

The Crazy Eights had been on Gotham for 135 days. All of them winter. They had fought the Browncoats at the Congelado River, through the Yaoguài Forest, and driven them all way back to New Heilongjiang City. But there, the campaign had stalled.

The cold winter weather had kept the Alliance’s skiffs out of the air. Rubble and wrecked vehicles blocked the streets, keeping the Rollers at bay. So, it had fallen to the Crazy Eights, and other infantry units like them, to fight for New Heilongjiang, house to house.

When the orders to withdraw from the city had come over the Box, no one was quit sure how to react. Some, believed that they were abandoning the city; but with Mâshàng Docks being the own serviceable port on Gotham, Sgt. Mick Gannin knew that was unlikely. As he marched towards the extraction point, through the snow and barely able to feel his feet, Gannin thought that it was much more likely that they were just being rotated of the front line. Zan yang fo tuo, it was about time. He looked back at his men, honestly surprised so many of them had survived this long.

The Crazy Eights marched in silence, their purple uniforms collecting some of the light snow fall as they went. When they reached extraction point Lambda , Mick was surprised too see other units milling about as well. He recognized elements from the 39th, the 103rd, the 87th, and on and on. Every unit he knew to be involved in this particular piece of action was there. This was no rotation.

“Gannin!”

Mick turned and recognized Spiller from the 87th coming his way. “Hey, Nita. What’s the word?”

Spiller took off her helmet and wiped her brow. “Yúchûn.” She replied sarcastically.

“I don’t know if I’d call it stupid. . . Yet.” Mick looked around at all the purple uniforms. “Any idea why were pulling out after month and a half of digging in?”

Nita shrugged. “I hear that central command removed Valentincic from command. Gross incompetence.”

“’Gross incompetence?’”

“Guess we weren’t winning the war for the glorious cause fast enough.”

Mick nodded in agreement, “Any idea who they gave command to? Goldberg? Ito?”

“McMillan.”

Mick’s jaw dropped open, and he shook his head in disbelief. “No way. That’s huai hua. No way they’d give that qingwa cào de liúmáng command.”

“And yet, they have. See, I told you it was Yúchûn.” And with that, Spiller trotted off to join back up with her unit, leaving Gannin shaking his head.

Mick regrouped with his unit, and went through the lengthy process of bugging out. Hours later, as he and the rest of the 88th loaded up into one of the evac ships, Mick recounted his meeting with Spiller to PFC Lang.

“That don’t make no kind of sense, Sarge. Spill must have heard it wrong, is all.”

“How do you figure that Hoss?”

“McMillan is a sadistic tāmāde húndàn. If he was in command, he’d be ordering an all out assault on the hospital district, or the school system, or I don’t the local puppy kennel.” This made Mick chuckle a little. “There ain’t no way that ‘The Villain’ would order a withdrawal.”

Mick couldn’t argue with that. As the ship lifted off, Mick starred out the window at the frozen world where he had lost so many brothers and sisters in arms. As far as he was concerned, the Browncoats could have it. Hell, maybe they had earned it. Then, as the shuttle cleared the clouds, he saw it. Shinning and massive, an Alliance battle cruiser hung ominously above the planet.

“Shénme shì?” He heard Hoss ask over his shoulder.

“It’s the Hephaestus.” Mick said in a quite voice. “It’s McMillan’s ship.”

Suddenly, with a near blinding flash, the Alliance warship Hephaestus opened fire on the planet below. A missile. Then another and another and another.

He heard Hoss, gasp, and a murmur of conversation. Someone actually cheered. “Dear God.” Someone said.

“No. . . “ Mick replied, “I don’t think he had much to do with this. . . “

And for the rest of the trip to the troop transport, Mick Gannin watched in silence as the Hephaestus turned New Heilongjiang City into a plain of glass.

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Six Years ago

“Welcome to Waukesha Flight Academy; the finest flight school outside of the core.” The man conducting orientation was fat, loud, and ke bo. But Terrance “Hawk” Hawkins was unimpressed. Sure, what the man was saying was true, but Hawk made it a point to not be easily impressed.

“Receiving a certification from this school will guarantee you your choice of plum assignments. You will leave this school, the bright shinning future of the next generation of pilots.”

Again, Hawk was unimpressed. He knew this already. He was a prodigy after all.

“I’m sure, most of you think of yourselves as some kind of shen tong. Well, let me assure you, this will not be easy. Our flight range is littered with the remains of all sorts of geniuses, naturals, and prodigies.”

Okay, well, that was a little worrisome, but Hawk wasn’t going to let that shake his confidence. There was no power in the ‘Verse that could shake his confidence.

“Most of you will not graduate.” But Hawk would.

“Some of you, may not survive.” Uh-oh, Hawk didn’t like the sound of that.

“But those of you who do, the ‘Verse will be your oyster.” Now that was more like it!

See, Hawk had a plan. First, graduate from this flight school, top of his class of course. Then, get a job with one of the big transport companies; flying one of those luxury liners. Marry some rich passenger, who would be swept away by the dashing young pilot shtick, it always worked. Then retire at 20 something and live fat and happy on one of the core worlds like Ariel or Freya.

No power in the Verse could stop him; he was young, gifted, devastatingly handsome and witty. Modest too.

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Six Years ago.

It was spring on Yoko, and Bad Company had been out of action for too long. They’d been pecking at the Purple Bellies, fighting a delay action. They’d blown the bridge at the Amethyst River, forcing the Alliance forces into the river valley. Now they were snipping at the Feds, hiding out in the caves, and trying to buy the 3rd enough time to fortify the defenses at the Diggstown Abby.

Hunkered down in a cave on south wall of the canyon, her face covered with a combination sweat and grim, Rebecca King looked through her binoculars at the Purple Bellies below. It was just what she feared, they were moving again.

Rebecca pulled out her communicator to relay the information to her CO, when she heard someone coming up behind her. With lightning speed, she whirled around, and brought her side arm up to bare.

“Whoa!” Regan held up his hands. “At easy soldier, it’s just me.”

King sighed with frustration and turned back to observing the troop movements below. “Good way to get yourself killed, you chûnrén.”

“Nice to see you too, little girl.” She hated it when anyone in the company called her that. Just because she was the youngest member of the unit, it didn’t give everyone the right to treat her like she was their mèimei.

“So,” Regan continued, “What’s happening?”

“They’re moving.”

“Up stream, again?”

“Nope. Other direction”

“Huh. That’s strange. Why’d they head that way? There ain’t a decent river crossing downstream for at least 600 clicks.”

King nodded in agreement. “We should call it in.”

“Not just yet, xin gan. Let’s see if we can figure out what they’re up to.” Regan pulled out his pistol and started to check it over. It was a highly polished chrome, large caliber, full auto piece. Rebecca hadn’t seen anything like it before.

“That’s not regulation.” She said casually, turning her attention back to the Purple Bellies.

“Nah, this ain’t like that shizi junk they give you out of boot camp. This is Lytton-Twersky. Finest hand gun in the ‘Verse. I call her Patty.”

Behind her binoculars, Rebecca rolled her eyes. Then she noticed something. “Wait. Where did they go?”

“What?”

“There were a couple of Feds on the south flank. They aren’t there anymore.”

“Well, find ‘em, mèimei.”

Rebecca spun around to face Regan, “That’s it! My name is Rebecca King. You can call me Rebecca, you can call me Private King, or, if your feeling lucky, you can try calling me Becky. But I wouldn’t recommend it! You will not call me anything else. Dong ma?”

Regan wasn’t even listening to her. He was looking past her. She was about to demand that he pay attention when he said, softly. “Run.”

Then, with speed she never would have thought him capable of, Regan brought “Patty” up and fired at the entrence to the cave. Rebecca turned and saw a Purple Belly fall from Regan’s fire. She scrambled quickly to her feet and that’s when she saw the second Fed. He fired, got Regan in the chest. Regan spun around and collapsed, his corpse falling on Rebecca, taking her down with it, pinning her under his bulk.

Rebecca tried to get out from under Regan, tried to get her gun arm free. She could hear the Alliance soldier coming towards her. As he came into view, to tower over her, she was surprised to see that he wasn’t any older her, just another kid. A kid that was going to kill her.

“Stupid Browncoat pōfù.” He said with a sneer.

It was the last thing he said. Three bullets ripped through Regan’s torso and into the Purple Belly. The first one hit him in the forehead, the other two were insurance.

When Rebecca rolled Regan’s body off of her, she was still holding Patty in her off hand, the barrel still smoking. She didn’t have time to catch her breath, she knew the Alliance soldiers in the valley below would have heard the weapons fire. That they would be on their way. She got up quickly and headed deeper into the cave. She knew she would be able to lose them in the maze of caverns.

Later, she at on a crate in base camp, a hot cup of coffee in her hands, Patty tucked into her belt. A corporal she didn’t know very well, Ferguson, she thought, came up to her.

“Captain’s checking out why the Alliance might be heading downstream.”

Rebecca nodded, sipped on her coffee.

“You’ve got blood on your face.”

Rebecca reached up with her left hand and felt her face. There was a sticky patch on her cheek.

“It’s not mine.”

“I know. It’s Paul’s.” Rebecca looked at her, quizzically. recognizing this, Ferguson added, “Regan. Paul Regan.”

“I didn’t even know his name.”

Just then, the Captain walked in. He looked upset, more so then usual. He grabbed the comm-unit and powered up the box.

“Attention, Bad Company, this is Captain Coulter. I have just received a priority message from command. We have been ordered to lay down arms. The Federation of Independents has surrendered to The Anglo- Sino Alliance. The War is over.”

He dropped the comm and stalked off, leaving only Rebecca and Ferguson in base camp.

“What do we do now?” King asked.

With a shrug, Ferguson answered. “Go home.”

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Six Years ago.

Darryl Chang sat on the floor of the garage where he was an apprentice, his legs crossed under him, a half disassembled gravboot in front of him, and a crumpled up piece of paper on the floor beside him. He had read the message probably a dozen times since he received it an hour ago. He knew it by heart, and as he worked to put the machine back together, it played in his mind

“To whom it may concern,” such a touching start . . . “We are sorry to inform you that Private First Class Walter Eric Chang was slain in the exicution of his duties on Gotham. The Union of Allied Planets is deeply saddened by your lose and is grateful for Private Chang’s sacrifice. Rest assured it will not be in vain. Respectfully, Brigadier General Abdi Valentincic.”

Darryl had known it was a possibility, when his older brother Walt had joined up with the Alliance military, that he might not come back. And he knew he should be me more upset, but he was used to losing people. Ma had died, Father had run off, and now Walt had gotten himself blown up on some planet Darryl had never heard of. But, Darryl still had one person he could count on; and that was Darryl Chang.

He closed the access panel on the gravboot and plugged in his diagnostic tool. He got a green light, indicating that his patch work job had worked. He smiled, just a little, then, silently, he clean up his tools and swept up the floor. The crumpled up letter he threw in the trash, not needing it anymore.

He clocked out, put on his jacket, and walked out into the world. Alone again, naturally.

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Now

The Molly McGee sat silently in her birth at the Sky Harbor Port on Valkyrie. Her well worn hull glistening in the mid day sun.

Valkyrie wasn’t exactly the shining beacon of civilization; in fact, it was positively backwater, comparatively speaking. But these days, one couldn’t afford to be picky. You went where the work was. And the crew of the Molly McGee had work here.

Captain Mick Gannin stood by the hatch, waiting impatiently for the rest of his crew. His firstmate, Rebecca King, stood beside him, checking the pistol in her holster before pulling her brown overcoat to conceal it.

Deeper in the cargo hold, ship’s mechanic Darryl Chang, clad in his red cover alls, prepped the Mule. They didn’t know what kind of work Xaio would have for them, but Mick wanted to take the Mule, just in case they needed to haul something back to the ship.

Mick heard footsteps coming towards them from deeper in the ship. Hawk, his pilot, casually made his way down the steps from the upper levels to join the rest. Hawk was casually chewing gum, and looked cheerfully at the Captain.

They would have to hurry to make it to the meeting spot on time now.

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"So Captain how do you want to do this ? Should someone stay with the Molly or are we all going to the meeting ?" Asks Rebecca. 'I wish we knew more about what we are getting into here, but as ever we need the money.'

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"We'll lock her up tight." answered the Captain. "Since we don't know what the job is just yet might be best to have extra bodies around. If it's something simple then the rest of us can do our world-tasks....pick up stores and supplies, check the local news block. That is IF we still have a job by the time we get there."

 

"I hope you brought enough for everyone." said Mick looking up at his pilot, his voice laced with his down-under accent. "Let's go while there's still daylight, people. We've got a meeting to keep and now's not the time to slow boat it." Capt. Gannin hit the button for the hatch and the cargo door drawbridged down into landing ramp position. The overhanging curves of Molly's upper hull put them in shade from the warming mid-morning sun, and Mick and his crew looked out into the daylight at the little world they now found themselves in.

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"Valkyrie's a peaceable enough place, or it wouldn't sit well with me either." responds the Captain, overhearing Hawk's comment. "Besides, this Xiao likes to meet the people he hires...and that means everybody." Mick follows the directions given him via the wave from Xiao's people, leading his crew down the Harbor streets towards their destination.

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"Well lets get going then. We might as well start of on the right foot with this guy." Rebecca starts to pick the pace up a bit, her long brown coat flapping behind her.

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"Yeah, I guess you are right Capn'" Hawk states. Walks a little faster. "Can we trust this Xiao?" "I dont' even think we can trust anybody around here"

 

Spits out the gum and makes sure his hair is fixed up right. (Rather not make a bad impression if this person is important)

 

"Hope we get there soon."

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"Word is he can be a Hwoon dahn," says Mick, "but he's the go-between. He won't risk upsetting any arrangements he has with higher-ups. We'll keep our eyes open though."

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It was a warm, muggy day on Valkyre, the air around the docks smelled of ozone and perspiration. The crew of the Molly McGee made their way through the crowd, with Darryl driving the Mule and brining up the rear. Sky Harbor was unremarkable in a lot of ways. It had the same sort of things you have come to expect. Beggars, travelers, and vagabonds.

They made their way through the crowd, into the Bazaar. There were dozens of merchants with semi-private stalls set up in the open-air market. Here the streets are narrower and it’s difficult to maneuver the Mule through the crowd. The air is strange mixture of odors, the smell of different dishes mixing from the food sellers stalls.

It takes only a moment to find your destination, nestled between a vendor selling some sort of meat on a stick, and a vending machine labeled “Blue Sun: Drink HAPPY!” It’s a private stall, with a green curtain drawn across the door. A small sign, neatly lettered says:

“Russell Xiao.

Imports/Exports”

Two men scruffy looking men, one lean, tall, and wiry; the other short and with a preposterous belly, both armed with scatterguns, stand guard at the entrance.

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Mick walks up to the guards nodding to them both.

 

"Captain Mick Gannin and crew." he informs them. "We have an appointment with Mr. Xiao."

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