The crew of the Suicidal Inanity begins the 7+day trip to Paquin, narrowly escaping the clutches of the newly-appointed sheriff bent on avenging his brother’s death. Along the way, the crew does some maintenance on the ship, now beginning to show signs of wear & tear. While Jocelyn & Cyd check gears for the gravity generator in the engine room, a pump line ruptures, splattering Jocelyn and giving her 1st & 2nd degree burns. Then a power spike shorts out several monitors, lights, and guidance systems, veering the ship off course. Colliding w/space debris doesn’t help much. By this time the captain is mighty PO’d while Willem is ready to shoot the next thing that breaks down. Alriss treats Jocelyn for her injuries while Cyd makes repairs and inventories some 28 components that will need replacing when they reach Paquin. While recovering from her injury, Jocelyn researches about Paquin: mostly a gypsy planet with lots of carnivals, some shopping outlets, a couple of government buildings, and little else.
The captain, meanwhile, reviews the message he got from T.H.E. Fox requesting help. Turns out the gorram cuss was once a mighty fine Independent hero. Known for taking 46 prizes without a single fatality, he surrendered when the Unification War ended, branded a traitor, and sent to a penal colony.
Now the Alliance, in an effort to save face after the recent events involving a certain Mal Reynolds and his ship Serenity, granted Fox an early parole…and nothing else. Penniless, he wanted a chance to restore his dignity and fade into obscurity. Since his parole, he hasn’t been heard from much but was rumored to be hanging around bars, drinking sorrows and seeking help from anyone who will listen.
The crew reaches Paquin and unloads its cargo. While Cyd, Willem, Alriss & Dee go shopping, Jocelyn, James & Jonas(captain) check out town, especially the Space Sprocket where they’re due to meet Theodore Harold Edmund Fox, known as The Black Fox. Many shops have some sort of gambling machines, and D manages to clean many of them out before some guards become suspicious. Meanwhile, a young kid pickpockets Cyd, only to get caught. He tells his story of how his family’s traveling act and their assets were seized by Hector Zondo, aka Zito, a former Alliance instructor now retired and racketeering the natives. Cyd gives the kid some of D’s winnings and promises to help the kid out later. Willem buys gun accessories but little else.
While shopping for supplies, Alriss befriends an attractive pharmacist, who promises him a night he’ll never forget at her place. She gives him her card and signs her name…with a scalpel. After Cyd, Jocelyn, Jonas and crew pick up supplies and restock the ship, Jonas, Alriss & Willem head to the Space Sprocket to meet Mr. Fox. He explains his situation (his adventures aboard his old ship, the Cutty Sark, which he surrendered at the end of the war) and that he wants to at least head into the black w/a little dignity. He offers to pay the crew a portion of his wealth, located in his personal vault in his master bedroom. Two complications: his home is on Hera, an Alliance-friendly world, and his home is now in the hands of the Alliance. The crew, sympathetic to a former Browncoat, agrees. As the crew heads back to the ship, Alriss meets up w/his pharmacist girlfriend, who turns out to be an overpassionate chin-tong-mu psycho. She maniacally laughs as she rocks his world in her bedroom…which is decked out like an operating room and pharmacy lab.
Later that night, Jocelyn, D, and Cyd venture out to an old Alliance office building where Zito (extortionist) works and keeps his records. The trio ambushes Zito and his henchmen while they’re leaving for the night. Zito fights hard as they dispose of him and his henchmen. Back at the ship, Jocelyn & Cyd forge new credentials and titles for the family circus performers that Zito was extorting. Jonas, Cyd & Jocelyn deliver the credentials later that night. Next morning, Mr. Fox and his aides arrive and ship out for Hera. As they leave, Alriss’ new girlfriend bids him goodbye, knowing they’ll see each other again.
After a few days, the Suicidal Insanity reaches Hera and lands without much trouble, so the crew reckons things will be quiet & shiny so long as they keep their noses clean. Right? Wrong! Their first night on Hera, with the crew getting a mite jumpy, Fox decides to visit the Unification War memorial to pay his respects. So Jonas, Ragnar, and Willem join him. On the way there, Jonas feels a few pangs in his mind, since Hera is also the home of Serenity Valley. Last time Jonas was in this area, he lost many of his old friends and barely escaped by skin of his teeth, with his overloaded, battle-damaged ship. Despite precautions, some folk recognize Fox and decide to pick a fight. Jonas, Ragnar, and Willem quickly come to his aid, swap gunfire and punches w/the ruffians and rent-a-cops, and split from the scene. By the time they return to the ship, police alerts are blaring on the local comm channels.
Next night, the crew makes their move on Fox’s place. Not wanting to bring anymore attention to the crew as a spy trainee on the run, Jocelyn stays behind to pilot the ship as needed, along with Alriss who preps the infirmary. They ride a skiff out to Fox’s place, which has been fortified in his absence: a fence surrounding the property, at least a dozen guards, floodlights, a locked gate, and cameras on the corners of the property. Undeterred, Fox leads them to a secret entrance located in a wooded lot just outside his property. They crew sneaks in and crawls 300ft underground, stopping midway at the estate’s maintenance shed to check/pickup any supplies needed. Fox also opens a secret alcove in the tunnel, pulls out a sack, and tosses it to Jonas. “Consider it a down payment,” he smiles and presses on with D at his side. Sensing they might need backup, Willem and Ragnar suggest Jonas call for backup. Jonas calls Jocelyn, telling her to fire up the ship’s engines and be ready for a hot pick-up. Once the crew reaches the entrance into the house, they discover it’s locked/jammed. Cyd pulls into her bag of tricks and manages, with Willem’s help, to jimmy the lock and open the door with minimal disturbance. “Now the fun begins, boys,” Fox smiles and heads in, with D and Jonas close behind.
With everyone inside, Cyd guards the tunnel entrance while Ragnar and Willem guard the staircase. Jonas, D, and Fox start to head upstairs when they hear voices and see a scantilly clad lady traipsing across the 2nd floor landing into the master bedroom. They wait several minutes until they hear light snoring, then barge in. Sleeping in HIS bed with his secretary is none other than Magistrate Evans, who oversaw Fox’s trial. The heist of Fox’s vault goes well until the crew exits the room; hard to tell who, but someone trips on a bed corner and bumps, waking the magistrate and his girlfriend. She screams, the magistrate hits a button and charges toward Fox. They scuffle, with D holding back the girl and Jonas & Fox laying into the magistrate. After a few seconds, they make their way downstairs. Willem & Ragnar look out for guards while Cyd jury-rigs a lock for the front door. After swapping punches & gunfire w/the magistrate, his girlfriend, and another pair of guests, Fox, Jonas, & D lead the rest of the crew back into the tunnel and outside the property. In the wooded lot outside Fox’s compound, the crew take out two patrolling guards before dashing across the street to their hidden skiff, then speed off into the night. Unfortunately, two police skiffs spot them and pursue.
The fleeing skiffs scurry across an open field with police in tow. They evade one and shoot another down, then make a beeline toward the open road. Just as the second police skiff starts tailing them again, the Suicidal Inanity,Jocelyn at the helm, sweeps in and disrupts the pursuit. The pursuing police skiff crashes into a tree, but not before getting a lucky shot off, hitting Fox in the leg. The ship’s loading ramp opens, the skiffs slide aboard, and the ship flies off into the night with its precious cargo on board. Alriss tends to Fox while the rest of the crew plans out their next move.