A while ago I posted some crews for the Firefly RPG using the Cortex system. I plan to talk about the new, consolidated version of the Cortex system soon but someone recently went back to those earlier posts to say that they wanted even more! On top of that, reader Kevin Jones had long ago mentioned that the crew of the Betty from Alien: Resurrection would make a good Firefly crew and at long last here is my take on it!
While the Alien franchise shares a universe with the Predator movies, and Alien recently got a very excellent RPG of its own, there’s a lot to be said for including the Betty crew in the Firefly setting. There’s nothing narrative connecting these universes but Joss Whedon was the writer for both Firefly and Alien: Resurrection so the crew relationships are similar. What’s more, it’s another example of a small ship out in the Black contending with whatever the ‘Verse can throw at them. Obviously a lot of modification is needed to make it fit into the Firefly setting and since Resurrection has been out for 24 years (!) I don’t mind including spoilers here. If you really don’t want to read them, just don’t continue past the link.
In Alien: Resurrection, the Betty is working back channel contracts for the military. In Firefly this is obviously going to be the Alliance but it also means that the Betty might work for partners of the Alliance government like Blue Sun. In this way the Betty is like an inverted version of the Serenity (potentially because the same ideas were floating through Whedon’s head for both but Alien is a grittier universe). You could run the Betty the same way (as a PC ship or an NPC encounter) and it has some of the same potential for stories including the habit of taking on random passengers, connections to low lifes out of necessity, and smuggling compartments to avoid notice.
It’s even got a young woman who can kill you with her brain. In this version, though, I opted to make the meddling with Call a little more obvious than River and she’s got an experimental lattice of tech in her head. This is pretty different from being an android like in the movie but I think the artificial thinking can play in as much as you like without having actual synths in the Firefly universe. If you want that, though, Call can be a full-on android by changing the fluff and using the same crunch.