The Black.

The Black, was formed in early 1933.   Unusual in it's founding, membership and ideals, it is one of the more unique pirate bands in North America.

It was formed in 1933 by a former US Army sergeant by the name of Malcolm Reynolds and a corporal that had been under his command.   

However, let is give the prelude to this band.

As of 1932 after the secession of Texas, New York, California and the Carolinas,  President Coolidge had planned on holding together a "Core Union" consisting of the American Midwest, Appalachians and the Great Lakes, keeping much of the US natural resources under their control. With these he believed the Union could be preserved and in time, retake the rebellious states.

The Secession of  Nebraska, Kansas and Iowain August 1932 to form the People's Collective endangered those plans, forcing a Federal response.   It is well recorded the Union response, pooling it's resources and moving in to quell the uprising.  What is not well recorded however, is the near total slaughter of an entire US Army Division.

Sergeant Reynolds was among the remaining army members, and commanded a number of men, his second in command was a woman, named Zoe Washburne (At the time Alleyne).   The breakup of the US in 1930, had forced the US Army to accept anyone, even willing females due to ever decreasing enlistments.

The force consisted of roughly 35,000 men, 150 armored cars and had 1 zeppelin and 24 aircraft as air support.  A sorely inadequate force, considering the relatively large number of green recruits thatthat now made up the US Army.

During an offensive meant to take a relatively un-important town, the foremost division was caught in a pincher attack by the Collective forces, with the remaining two divisions stretched out far behind, and harassed semi constantly by militia raiders.

The airship, (United States Air Ship) USAS Washington and it's fighter escort was called forward to assist, however it was ambushed by one of the first formed Collective air squadrons and a mercenary group the Collective had hired.    With the USAAF not expecting aerial opposition, the escorting fighters were quickly dispatched, and the zeppelin crippled.

The umbilical cord between the forward US Army division and it's two trailing ones, was severed by the Collective, and then enforced with their newfound aerial superiority.

While the trailing divisions dug in to hold their gained ground, the Collective only worked to hold them in place, while the first division was attacked.

Consisting of 13,000 men and 35 armored cars, the army division was first counter-attacked to halt their advance and then hit from the rear.     With the large numbers of green recruits (Almost 3/4 of the entire force, with almost 1/2 of the officer corp inexperienced), the unit was maneuvered into a low valley, where the 3rd in command took over, and gaining a slight respite (The Collective re-arming and organizing after 3 days of offensives), dug into the valley and organized it's defense.

When the attacks resumed two days later, the fighting was vicious.  As opposed to token fighting 15 miles away on the other two US divisions, a bloodbath ensued between the US soldiers and nearly 60,000 Collective militia.

The Collective launched numerous attacks with artillery and aircraft, inflicting heavy casualties on the US forces.   Rumors on both sides of massacred prisoners and spurred on by officers and rising casualty numbers, vicious hand to hand fighting marked every inch of ground lost by the Union Army.        

After a week of fighting, Collective forces held 80 percent of the valley, with the remainder held by 3,000 US soldiers with no heavy support.    

It took another 3 days to get a cease-fire arranged.   The commanding officer of the three divisions arranged for the remaining troops in Serenity Valley to be allowed to retreat, and allow the remaining two divisions retreat as well.  Thus effectively ending the campaign.

Samuel Morrows agreed to it, declaring to his people that "He blessed the sinful invaders, and thus, they do retreat." to that effect.

By then however, the damage had been done. Only 800 soldiers and 1,200 prisoners remained of the original 13,000.  Of the original force of 35,000 men, it had been reduced to only 19,000 with the loss of almost all of their logistics line and support.  Thus effectively ending the remainder of US power.  By the time the force returned to Columbia, only 3,000 of the remaining 19,000 had arrived, the remainder deserting en masse to their home nations.

It was then when Malcolm Reynolds left the Army, Zoe, his second in command following him.   With the breakup of the United States, Reynolds made his way to Colorado, where he managed to scrape up enough to purchase a pair of fighters and training to fly them.   

In this time period he became known for his anti-Collective views and became slightly ostracized for his unconcealed sympathy for the Unionist movement.   It was then when most of his crew was formed, including a third pilot, Jayne Cobb.

It was then that the final member of their current team joined them, a doctor and his slightly crazed sister.  Both fleeing from a Collective patrol after Simon made public denunciations of Samuel Morrows.   A mediocre pilot, the group purchased a fighter for him, being one of the few people willing to join a Union-sympathetic band.

A quick raid into the Collective in '34 netted them a small tramp zeppelin.  Nothing large, it was originally manufactured in the Empire State, of the Fulcrum class, a mere 1400 feet long, with a astonishing 12 underpowered and small engines.     It was enough for their four fighters and ground crew however.   The zeppelins pilot "Wash" Washburne, is a renowned zeppelin pilot, amazingly enough, he can pilot a zeppelin like a clumsy cargo plane, and can pull some amazing maneuvers out of the airship.

Since then, the group has worked around the Americas.  Primarily through Arixo, the Collective, and up through the Disputed Territories and into Pacifica and Hollywood.  However they do on occasion move through Dixie and the Northeast, and in several instances played as far south as Brazil.

They are a small unit, and do not take large jobs.  Most consisting of targeting un-escorted zeppelins, smuggling jobs, legitimate shipping and the like.   The name "The Black" was explained by Reynolds to Tamara Staples:    There is no gray area, or white.   Everything is just varying shades of black."

Any takings in a mission are first spent on supplies and repairs, with the remainder being equally split among the entire crew, even the captain counting only a single share.   However even with this policy, the group seemingly endlessly operate on the fringe.  Much of the time they travel with 2 (or more) engines either out, or shut down to conserve fuel, and at other times the fighters only have half of their rocket loadout. 

However even with these problems, the two lead mechanics on the Serenity, Kaylee Fry and John Spaulding keep the planes themselves running smoothly, and can patch and repair many of the airship's problems.

The Zeppelin.

The unit's zeppelin is a former Empire State Fulcrum class zeppelin.  It was stolen from Peoples Collective employ and has been their home ever since.   The Fulcrum's were an older class zeppelin, well built but extremely plain, by Kern Heavy Industries.  A tramp design, they have been superseded in many of the larger shipping lines by larger zeppelins, most "Normal" cargo zeppelins reaching lengths of around sixteen to eighteen hundred feet.    

However the Fulcrum class is well known for it's pure ruggedness and durability (if somewhat under powered), and they are a common sight among smaller shipping companies and even larger ones in South America.

They are 1400 feet long, with a dozen engines.  However those dozen engines are a measly 220 H.P. apiece, which push it along at 84MPH.  A respectable clip, but miserably slow for the number of engines and maintenance.     Reynolds has placed a emphasis on upgrading the engines when possible, with 2 of the 12 having been replaced by more powerful 440HP engines.  However those engines cost money, and are far less fuel-effeciant.

As built, the zeppelin carried heavy firepower for a cargo zeppelin, with twin forward and aft 3" flak cannons, and twin-mounted .40 calibers above each engine nacelles (12 in total).  However Reynolds band is quite small, and if fully armed, would result in half of them (or more) not being manned.   He removed half of the guns (leaving 3 per side) and upgraded them from .40's to .60 caliber guns.  The flak cannons he left, although they are an old style, and their current supply of flak ammo is faulty, resulting in unpredictable firing patterns.

The interior of the zeppelin is not exactly standard either, the original 2-plane hanger enlarged for their four.  In addition, due to the bands relative poorness, a massive amount of jury-rigging has been done.  Not to mention the number of "Conversions" made by Kaylee, which either reduce the work to a particular job, or cut unnecessary corners.

It carries four fighters, two Devastators, a Warhawk and a Fury, and a single autogyro, a Big Sky Mule.   It can carry a decent cargo, which they do occasionally.  

When it was taken, it was renamed Serenity, the location of the climatic battle between the Collective and US Army.  As Malcolm put it, "Once you enter Serenity, you can never leave", referring to the fact that some things you can never escape from.

Unit Rules.

The zeppelins nose and tail turrents contain Twin, light flak cannons and use those rules (See rules section).  In addition, when firing, roll a 1D10.  On a result of 4-10 everything works as normal. On a result of 1, the shell does not detonate, on a result of 2, the shell detonates 1 hex short of it's goal, and on a result of 3, the shell detonates 1 hex past it's goal.

When preparing a aircraft's loadout, roll a 1D10 on each rocket hardpoint. On a result of 1 or 2, that hardpoint is empty that mission.

Notable Pilots.

Malcolm Reynolds
Biography:  Reynolds is tall, standing 6'3" and of heavy build.  When on the ground he almost always wears a long, brown coat.  Issued to him in the US Army and which he still retains. 

History:  Malcolm Reynolds was originally born in Texas.  Raised on a ranch, he had first and foremost raised Texan.     He remained on the ranch until the mid 20's.  A young man, wanting to see the world (The desire only increasing after the closed-borders during the '27 influenza epidemic), he eventually left in late '27.

He wandered around the US for a few months, and then as the states grew restless, joined the US Army.    Although a strong supporter of states rights, he did not believe in the full dissolution of the USA, as some of the rabble-rousers were advocating.

He served uneventfully until 1930, when trouble blew open.   Texas declaring independence, quickly followed by New York, and a few other states.    For a period Malcolm faced the possibly of fighting his home, (Which he later stated he would have refused), before the steam settled down.

His unit made it's way across what remained of the US for another year, quelling smaller revolts and keeping peace amongst the spreading chaos and disorder.    Then, in 1932, he was put up for the first major combat between the US and one of the seceding states, the Peoples Collective.

Malcolm was in the nearly-annihilated 1st division.   Originally commanding only 30 men, he ended up commanding almost 800 as the superiors were killed.  And of his original 30 men, only himself and second in command, Zoe, survived.

The battle left him with a bitter taste for both the US military (For seemingly abandoning his division), and the Peoples Collective (For their pure viciousness).

The history after that is well known, with his founding of "The Black", and recruitment.

Malcolm Reynolds is a simple guy.  If he can't understand it, he don't want nothing to do with it.  He has disdain for politicians, militant Unionists and hardcore separatists, leaving him with a small crowd of friendlies.

He is Unionist sympathetic, although he disapproves of their tactics, and he strongly believes in strong state rights, similar to those of Dixie, however feels that a central government is needed, with the result being the massive conflict we now see.   

Aircraft:  Mal flies a stock Devastator, armed with 4, .40 calibers, 6 hardpoints, and capable of attaining 250MPH in level flight.   It's named the Aerial, the name coming from no-one knows. although some presume it is from the lack of aerial cover his forces had at the battle of Serenity..

Weapons: Mal still uses the weapon he was issued in the US Army, a Colt 1917 revolver chambered to the .45ACP round.   He rarely carries anything else, when he does, it is usually a Winchester 94, .30-30.

Zoe Washburne.
Biography:  A imposing colored woman, just under six feet in height, she is quite easily an intimidating person.  Some have mistaken her for "Harpy" Jackson, although the similarites are only minor.

History:   Not alot is known about Zoe Washburne (Formerly Alleyne) history, being close-mouthed and not willing to talk about her past (Like most on the crew of Serenity).    It is known that from the age of 17 (She acknowledges being born in 1904) on, she was professional military officer.   At the time, the US military did not take females, but by 1921, there were a large number of job opportunities in the expanding private security market.

She was serving as a security guard for a Texas rail line in 1927 when the Federal government finally allowed women to join the military.  Upon that announcement, she joined the US Army.  For the first several months, women were only in non-combat roles, but as enlistment dropped like a stone in 1928, they were allowed in all sections of the military.

Due to her security background, she quickly rose to the rank of corporal, although she was halted there due to her sex.    She participated in several clashes between the Federal government and the states during this period, culminating in the early stages of the breakup.

In 1930, she came under the command of Malcolm Reynolds, a relatively new recruit with the rank of Sergeant.   Although at first somewhat spiteful of a lesser experienced man holding a rank higher than her, she quickly settled into being a second in command after Reynolds displayed unusual tact in situations.

By the battle of Serenity Valley in 1932, she followed Reynolds out of the military as he left, and joined him in forming The Black. 

Since then she has retained the rank of second in command.     In 1934, with the capture of Serenity, and the arrival of "Wash" Washburne to the unit, she became married.  An unexpected development, Reynolds opposed the marriage, but relented after it became obvious she wasn't going to be swayed.

Zoe Washburne is quite independent, often the boss of her marriage, although respectful of Wash.  She is naturally distrustful of many people, and of the crew, outright dislikes Jayne Cobb, although she does tolerate him, realizing what he adds to the unit.

Aircraft: Zoe flies a Devastator as well, the same as Reynolds.  It however, is not a stock model, losing some trailing wing armor, and integrity.  In exchange, she fitted a quad layout of .30 calibers in the nose and added a pair of hardpoints.  This allows a quick burst of fire by the rockets, and then exploited by a cloud of magnesium rounds (her preferred machine gun rounds).

Weapons: Zoe carries a pump action, 12 gauge pistol....That's right.  Not a long range weapon, it does the job.  If longer range work is anticipated, she usually carries a S&W .357 magnum.

Simon Tam.
Biography:  Simon is average, with looks that would make him indistinguishable in a crowd.  However his manner and speech all scream money and a wealthy background.  

History:  Simon (And his sister) were both born into a well-to-do family in Omaha.   Raised in that town, and then educated in Harvard (It was at this time he learned how to fly, as an amateur), he had returned home just prior to the formation of the Peoples Collective.     As the Collective formed, a number of crises emerged.  

His father worked as a well-to-do doctor, and his store was looted by rioters, and soon-to-be soldiers.   His mother, who had worked at a upper-end law firm, was left jobless after her employers fled upon the forming of the Peoples Collective.

Simon and his sister, who's real name is unknown except to Simon, happened to listen to Samuel Morrows, who was on a tour through Omaha.   During Morrow's speech, his sister jumped onto the podium alongside him and denounced him as a tyrannical leader.   River (His sister) was slightly touched in the head, however this was unknown to the crowd, and Morrows.

In a furious roar, the swooning crowd nearly killed Simon and River, the pair escaping, but just barely.  After returning home, they informed their parents, who were unsympathetic.   Simon's father encouraged him to turn River over to the Political Police that were just forming, and then rejoin him at his business, a deal having been struck between him and the Morrows government to retain personal control of it amidst the nationalization of almost all businesses.     

Simon was appalled at the seemingly callous nature of his parents and upon his overhearing their plans to reveal River's location, in exchange for their protection from Morrow's secret police, fled, taking River with him.

They were pursued across the Collective, until they reached relative safety in Free Colorado.  He established himself as a wandering doctor in Colorado, treating people, but always on the move.   Morrows placed a large bounty on both him, and River, due to being the most publicized denouncement of him, and betrayal of the Collective.

Finally, in '34, he met up with Malcolm Reynolds, who was in need of another pilot.  Although Simon was inexperienced in a combat role, he could pilot an aircraft, and his abilities as a doctor, allowed him to be hired.   

Since then he has remained aboard the Serenity.  Occasionally, bounty hunters still approach them, and the Collective has shoot-on-sight orders for the entire Serenity crew, but the fervor has died down.    

He is improving in combat skill, however slowly.  But hs main abilities is as a doctor, which has been a huge boon in a number of instances.   He is decidedly "upper crust" and easily able to blend into rich environments.  His clothing is reminiscent of that, being of higher quality, with even now, often purchasing name brands.

Aircraft:  Simon pilots a Fury, a stock model.  It is a good match to him, although the stall-prone problems give him some trouble. As such, he rarely goes below 200MPH.  However, his ability to stitch wounds in an operating wound carry over to the air, able to unjam the finicky Goliath cannon much faster than some people, and able to pinpoint land rounds on an opponents aircraft (Although getting in position is tough).

Weapons:  A profound non-gun person, Simon carries only because to not, would be foolish.  As such, he has a light recoiling and high capacity  handgun, a Colt 1911 in 9MM, with alot of extra magazines.

Jayne Cobb.
Biography: 6'4", barely trimmed beard, Jayne is an imposing figure, combined the always-present assortment of knives, grenades, pistols and rifles, many  go to lengths to avoid conflict.

History:  No one really knows Jayne's background.  All that is known is he's a mercenary through and through.    What is known, is that he served in Mexico, first with revolutionaries and then the federales.   Afterwards, he moved north and worked for Pacifica during their struggle with Hollywood, afterwards, taking pilot training and serving with a number of bands, before settling into the Serenity.

In fact he only came to Serenity after he nearly killed Malcolm Reynolds.    Jayne had been working for another band, when Reynolds managed to win a Devastator through a poker game.   It's owner felt cheated, and with Jayne and one other gunman, went to confront Reynolds.   The trio got the drop on Mal and his second mate, Zoe.   After a series of hassling, and trading, Jayne switched sides, shooting his partner in the leg, and siding with Reynolds, forcing his former boss to hit the road.

Although some who have encountered, or worked with him have considered him an un-educated and untrained ape, he is not.     His skills and intelligence are merely honed to his trade.   Weapons, rifles, shotguns, pistols, knives, artillery or explosives, can be named in a split second.  Opponents in gunfights can be analyzed in minutes, and he can remember a name, wanted poster and reward offered.       A asset, but not overtly useful in other sections.  He's blown several deals due to his crude and up-front manner, and is a downright liability on any urban jobs, which necessitate interaction with people.

Aircraft:  Jayne pilots a Curtiss-Wright P2 Warhawk.  He however has modified it to suit his flying style...primarily gunnery with little piloting expertise.  He removed some of the wing support structure, and used that weight to add 8 rocket hardpoints, and ugprade his armor.  His fighter can now only make light maneuvers, but considering his piloting skills, it isn't a huge hindrance.

Weapons: Jayne's a pure gun nut. If it is made, he's probably fired it, and may own one.   His primary weapons(3) however are: A S&W .44 special (Handloaded to magnum velocity), a Colt 1911 in .38 super, sometimes up to a half dozen grenades and he often carries a rifle with him, a Remington model 8 in .35 Remington, with a special conversion made to accept 20 round magazines, and thompson grips added.   

 Among his arsenal is Lebman 1911 automatics, a .40 caliber Browning medium machine gun that has been lightened to enable personal use (Lightened to 60 pounds), a .50 caliber, 5 shot bolt action, a ultra-lightweight .60 caliber 3-shot bolt action (Which even Jayne is reluctant to shoot more than 3 shots), and the largest of his collection, a single-shot .70 caliber that throws a average .70 round at low velocity.

Hoban "Wash" Washburne.
Stats: 7-5-1-1-4-2
Biography: Average build, with blonde hair, Wash is a distinctive looking man.  Often sporting a colorful T-shirt, he is easily, by sight, the most laid-back member of the crew.

History:  Wash is one of the more light-hearted and charismatic members of the crew, unafraid of his past and quite open about it, at times resembling a overgrown child.

Washburne was born in Ohio, to a simple farm family.  He spent much of his youth on said farm until the mid 20's, when aircraft were becoming more common and popular.

The flying machines were a deep attraction to him, and at first, he even took a job as mechanic (Although not a very good one) just to be around them.   He finally got a spot in a flying circus, and learned to fly, first in basic, then advanced maneuvers.     In a short period, he was the best pilot amongst the circus.

In 1929, two months prior to "The Crash", he joined on with one of the first shipping lines to employ zeppelins.   He had intended to pilot their cargo planes, but in the end, became an assistant navigator aboard the airship.

In a short time period, he had gained a "Knack" for flying zeppelins.  Able to calculate their speed and agility, and ability to miss tall objects by mere feet in only seconds.   As the Crash came and went, he switched to the company Empire Air, and worked as a ship's navigator.

When pirates attacked his zeppelin and ransomed it in '32, Wash remained with the zeppelin.  Although his employers did pay the ransom, in the ensuing confusion of it's launching to return home, Wash got left behind.    Although at first unhappy with the arrangement and without a job (For a period even having to work as a cook (Bad one) at a greasy spoon cafe).

In '34 however, Malcolm Reynolds approached him, in need of a zeppelin captain, a skilled one, and was willing to pay good.   Wash, desperate for a good job, pounced on it, and showed up at the Serenity before Reynolds returned after hiring him.    

He had served only a couple of short weeks aboard Serenity before him and Reynolds second in command, Zoe, began getting together.   And only a few more weeks before they quietly got married.   When Reynolds found out, he threatened to toss Wash out of the zeppelin (At 9,000 feet), but eventually backed down to combined pressure from him and Zoe.

Although the marriage has been...steady, it has been far from harmonious, with Zoe and him being slightly less than equal partners, her getting the way more than him.   

Wash is generally well-liked by the entire crew, although he is a bit trusting and carefree, the bridge is "His space" and has a dozen plastic, toy dinosaurs, and a small stack of tech manuals, comics and aero magazines.      He is generally the most "Cowardly", believing a cut & run tactic will work in almost any situation

Aircraft: Wash does not pilot much for aircraft. Although a excellent pilot with either the zeppelin or an cargo plane, he has only flown a fighter once, and on that occasion, managed to pepper Malcolm Reynolds fighter with enough .40 rounds to warrent a lifetime banishment from combat aircraft.
Weapons: Another non-gun person, Wash usually just carries a .38 Colt double-action revolver.

Kaylee Fry
Biography:   Kaylee is an attractive, redheaded woman, a bubbly personality, she can never put on a very tough persona, and is seen by many outsiders as a pushover, although she can be stubborn at times.

History:   Kaylee is much like Wash in not being afraid about her past, and quite open about it.

She was born in Butte, Montana, a rough mining town, and lived a relatively unnormal childhood.  Her father was an Irish miner, while her mother had been a schoolteacher.     However at an early age, she became enthralled in machinary.    

Anything mechanical was observed and studied, then as she grew older, built in smaller proportions.     By the time she was 15, she had already worked on one of the early Ford cars, and by the time she was 18, had left Montana, bound for cities with more opportunities.

Although at first encountering prejudice agaisnt a woman in the field of mechanical repair, she quickly gained a local reputation in Denver, Colorado.    Her straight-forward and occasionally crude attitude (Gleaned from Butte bars, repair shops, and the rough miners that inhabited it), soon endeared her to a number of mechanics, and she was soon employed in one of the larger repair shops in Denver.

As airplanes became a more common means of transportation, she soon quite her job and moved to an airfield, where she began airplane repairs.    However that was only the beginning, as the first zeppelins moved through, and she moved upwards from engine, to structural, hydraulic and electrical repairs.

By 1932, she was the head mechanic on a Texan airship, and likely would have stayed there for some time.     However it was captured by pirates and taken to Colorado.     The crew was marched off, and then the band left, presumably to convert it into their new home.

Although most of the crew returned to Texas, Kaylee remained behind, already accustomed to Colorado, and now looking at the airfields, realized that it was fast becoming the repository for all new and ancient aircraft in existance.

She worked her longest stint as of then at the airfield, repairing aircraft, and even managing to hack together a few aircraft from several differant airframes (3 are still flying, which are queer combinations of Devastators, PR1 Defenders and Bell Valiants)

In late 1933, Reynolds came through the airfield.  Intrigued by her ingenuity at "Constructing" aircraft, he offered her a job on his band.     Although at first hesitant to take the job, he returned a week later, New Years 1934, with a zeppelin, and she then jumped at the chance to have a zeppelin "Of her own" to tinker with.    

Since then, she has tinkered with the Serenity, making a number of conversions, and jury-rigging stuff they can't afford to fix.

Since Simon Tam has arrived, Kaylee has garnered a crush on the doctor, of which her co-mechanic Spaulding dislikes, leading to some subtle confrontations.    And of which she denies, actually enjoys.

Aircraft: Kaylee is not a pilot...at all...her main feats are mechanical.
Weapons:  Kaylee has never carried a weapon, the exception on several occasions for defence, and then only a light .32 automatic.

John Spaulding.
Biography:  Spaulding is a tall, skinny hayseed.   Put him in coveralls and bare feet, playing his guitar he is the sterotype image of a farmboy.  However in reality, he does dress like many rural men. Work boots, jeans (Or former US army issue pants) and a long-sleeved workshirt.

History:    Spaulding is a young, guiter-picker formerly from Oklahoma.  As a young man he had been interested in a career in medicine, but as the Collapse came, and his parents (And him) lost what little they had acquired, that job went down the drain.

He however was a whiz with engines, and got a job at the Whittly & Douglas aircraft factory.  He quickly tired of the strict regulations and tight hours, and left, rambling across Texas and into Colorado as a guiter man, picking for board and room.  During his travels he also worked here and there as a mechanic.  

By 1934, he had become known in Colorado, being a rambling mechanic who would rarely be found at the same airfield twice.

 He met Kaylee at one of Colorado's bars a couple of weeks after the capture of Serenity.  Gaining a slight crush on the attractive mechanic, he quickly found a job working on the zeppelin.  Over time, he became the co-chief mechanic, alongside Kaylee, his natural aptitude around engines making him a valuable member of the unit.

Spaulding is an enjoyable guy, and a "Decent" guy.  He rarely gets drunk, and spends much of his time reading technical manuals and comic books.    He garners a mild crush on Kaylee, which she notices and returns, although she herself nurses a crush on the ship's doctor Simon Tam.  As such, there is a mild rivalry between Spaulding and Tam.

Aircraft: Spaulding doesn't have an aircraft.
Weapons:  Although not a devout gun person, Spaulding enjoys tinkering on anything.  As such this carries over into personal weaponry.   He has brought up a few interesting (Some crazy, and some flat-out dangerous) concoctions, many of which found their way into Jayne's collection. 

River Tam.
Biography:  River is a small, sometimes timid, sometimes aggressive girl in her late teens.   She can act so above-grade crazy that many who don't know her view her with at least a small amount of fear.

History:  "River" Tam, is Simon Tam's sister.  She was born in the Collective to well-to-do parents, and lived a relatively normal childhood.  

An accident in '28, ended up in her losing a part of her sanity, becoming a slight crazed.  For the most part normal, she has occasional lapses of judgement and sanity.      Her worst came, when she denounced Samuel Morrows, leading to her, and her brother's near capture and death at the hands of the People's militia.

Simon posseses a few experimental drugs that are used at times, to attempt and alleviate her condition, however they are primarily useless.     As such, River is almost always escorted whenever off the zeppelin, and generally kept away from the public eye, as her presence anounces the two Collective fugitives.

Amazingly enough, even with her condition, she has a natural aptitude with aircraft.  She is an amazing pilot (Although they attempt to keep her out of cockpits, for obvious reasons), and can pull some amazing maneuvers, and seemingly predict where an opponents aircraft can go.

This has been a massive use once, and Mal has supposedly considered giving her formal lessons, and attempting to teach her order, should she regain her sanity, although Simon has heartily opposed the action.

Aircraft: River don't pilot aircraft so much as occasionally steal one.
Weapons:  Being mentally unstable, River is banned from guns.  Although she does occasionally steal one, or happen on one.

Sheppard Derrial Book.
Biography:   Book is a colored man of average height, and heavy build.  His clothes broadcast him as a man of the cloth, sometimes leading people to under-estimate him.  A estimate that has fooled a number of men. 

History:  Nothing is known of Sheppard Book's past...Literally.  He joined the Serenity late in 1935, first as a customer to be taken to French Louisiana, but got caught up in one of their schemes.       He had come from one of the more devoutly religious churches in Colorado, which had excluded itself from outside contact, and largely had been left alone by pirates and legitimate forces alike.

Not what one would normally think of as a crewman, Book is devoutly religious, however does not flaunt this to the others.     He works as a cook, and general crewman, although never (Except twice) on boarding or gunnery operations.   

What little is known of Book is that he has had a past.....A extensive one.   His "Advice" has come in handy in a number of areas. Firearms, lockpicking, smuggling routes through the Navajo nation and Texas, contacts in Dixie and Hollywood are just part of his knowladge.    He refuses to speak of his history, however has dropped interesting "hints" as to it.  

Book has a close relationship with the entire crew, many viewing him as a father-figure, or a person to confide in.  

Aircraft:  Book doesn't pilot aircraft except in extreme circumstances, although he has proven a good pilot.
Weapons: Book carries no weapon, his primary combatant article being his bible.