- Into the Black
"Into the Black" is an amateur series developed by fans of the short-lived television series, "Firefly" (and subsequent
Universal Studiosfilm based upon the series, "Serenity"). It is to take place in the same universe as "Firefly", but center around a different cast than the original series. Furthermore, the ship introduced in this fan-produced series - "Samsara" - is new, and not of the original series signature "Firefly"-class or any other pre-existent type. Nathan Fillion, who played Malcolm Reynoldson the original series, has supported this fan-produced series with a personal cash donation of CA$300. [http://www.vancourier.com/issues06/103206/news/103206nn1.html]
* Jon Lee, played by Troy Rudolph, is the captain of the spaceship "Samsara".
Jon Lee is the captain of Samsara and leader of the crew, despite which he also has the most secrets. No one (save Dr. Call) knows where he came from or what he did before he became the skipper of Samsara, and even the doctor only knows what little Jon has been willing to reveal. One of the few things that the crew do know is that Jon is something of an antique lover; all things historic, old, and ancient Jon loves, especially artifacts from Earth-That-Was.
* Dr. Marion Call, played by Harrison Dark, is the ship's medic.
Dr. Marion Call is the ship’s medic, second in command and Jon’s closest friend - which isn't really saying much. He is the only member of the crew who actually fought in the Unification War - which side he was on has been debated amongst the crew. The fact that he never wears Alliance or Independent colors doesn’t help either...
* Katrina "Kitty" Tsang, played by Laura Sutherland, is the main gunhand.
Katrina “Kitty” Tsang is the cutest killer in the known ‘Verse. She has a bubbly disposition and usually a smile on her face. This makes those who know her best a bit worried and edgy.
Not much is known about Kitty, mostly because she doesn’t talk about her past. And frankly, no one really wants to risk prying. At some point, she was a gun runner on the Rim, and she probably met Jon in the middle of mayhem and flying bullets - but that's just to be expected.
* Samson West, played by Jason Begg, is the primary engineer.
Samson West. A fine hero’s name. It’s just a shame he just ain’t the hero type. Sammy is Samsara’s “genius” mechanic. A mad scientist in the making, Sammy loves to tinker. He’s always making little inventions (chemical or otherwise) and is rarely not smudged with parts of the engine or his latest project. He even built Samsara’s pulse drive! Ever since he set foot onto Samsara he’s been making the odd modification here and there. Sammy is also the ship's cook, and he is a pretty good one at that (when he isn’t dripping interesting mechanical fluids into the protein packs).
* Seraphina "Sera" York, played by Miranda Coombe, is a traveling aristocrat.
Seraphina York was born into a life of crime, rich and privileged. All her life she was surrounded by luxury, a kind of criminal noblewoman: Sera York is the only daughter of Elisabeth York, the matriarch to the White Rose crime syndicate.
However, she wasn’t Lady Elisabeth's only child--Sera once had an older half-brother, Cillian. Since Elisabeth had chosen to pass the leadership of the White Roses from mother to daughter, Cillian could never lead while a female sibling existed. He was always jealous of Sera for this, but he always acted like a good older brother. He watched out for her, protected her, and taught her... until she ran away and earned the wrath of the family, leaving him as the heir-apparent.
* Henry "Hank" Forsberg, played by Sean Bygrave, is Sera's bodygaurd.
Henry (Hank) Forsberg is Sera’s bodyguard and mentor. He has been with Sera ever since she was born and has never left her side. He is, in a very real sense, her surrogate father - the fate of Sera's real father, Bastian, is something of a mystery.
Not much is known about Hank’s past other than that he has been with the White Roses for most of his life. Any personal information about him before then has remained, well, personal. While in the White Roses he quickly rose from being a lowly peon to the protector of the syndicate’s most valued treasure, its once future 'queen', Sera.
The Ship: Samsara
"Samsara" is Captain Lee's trusty ship, and is the home of his crew as well as the primary setting of the show. The ship's model name is a Lawrence-Franklin Aerospace Works C314-D Skyhook, and is an original design created by series Animator/Effects Artist Matt Baumann. Images and footage of the ship's exterior are computer-generated special effects.
The C314 falls into a category of Light Sledges, a designation assigned to vehicles between roughly 12 and 60 meters in length which transport Universal Cargo Modules (UCMs), a system of standardised cargo containers of a variety of capacities and internal configurations. Sledges serve a variety of transport functions, most frequently planetary drop, orbital lift, as well as orbital transit. Some larger sledges, such as the C314, have limited interplanetary burn capability. The C314 is designed to make light cargo and courier runs without support from planetary or orbital facilities. They are also frequently employed to move pods from a planetary surface to an orbiting freighter. This versatility has also made this design a favourite of shipping companies in more remote regions, given the design's well-deserved reputation of being able to go almost anywhere and land on almost anything.
Samsara herself, however, is not just any ordinary service Skyhook. Samsara started out life as a stock C314-D Skyhook, since Capt. Jon Lee needed a ship that was small, relatively cheap to run, and inconspicuous. Skyhooks are a relatively common sight in planetside spaceports throughout the systems, and are occasionally seen serving courier runs between worlds. But the novelty of a ship mal-suited (note: intentional) for interstellar travel wore off quickly. Capt. Lee's solution was to completely replace Samsara's stardrive. Under the watchful eye of S. West, Lee's engineer, the entire aft structure of Samsara was stripped to the frame. New engines were installed, capable of producing nearly 60% more acceleration than the standard drives.
Capt. Lee insists on a high level of maintenance, and West is always tinkering with something, as Samsara slips further away from standard specifications with each passing day. The recliner, sound system, and still in the engine room, for example, are non-standard equipment.
Samsara's internal configuration is almost stock, though. The bulk of the internal pressurised areas are taken up by the cockpit, galley, wardroom and bunk room. The cockpit has seats for the pilot and copilot, and has an engineering station which is identical to the panel in the engine room. Behind the cockpit is the Captain's Bunk, which is small, to say the least, but offers a modicum of privacy and the only window outside of the cockpit. Amidships is the main bunk room, shower and head. Aft of that, the galley and wardroom lie within the wing roots and thus have slightly higher ceilings. The wardroom has two additional bunks, and contains the onboard medical gear. In a pinch, the wardroom converts into a workable infirmary, with sterile covers on the bunks and a foldout diagnostic/life support unit in the wall cupboards. A door in the aft galley wall leads to the ship's spine. A stairwell and lift provide access to the cargo module access ports, which are located below the main deck. An access shaft runs down the spine of the ship to the engine room. This shaft normally has no gravity generation, and is compensated when in a planetary field to ease movement through its narrow confines. The passage terminates in the engine room, where the stardrives and gravitational systems are located. The console in the engine room has access to all ship's systems. While intended for engineering purposes, the panel can be used to control the ship, and even fly it in an emergency.
* [http://www.intotheblack.ca "Into the Black" website]
* [http://www.vancourier.com/issues06/103206/news/103206nn1.html Vancouver Courier article]
* [http://wired.com/news/technology/0,71084-0.html?tw=wn_index_1 Wired News article]
* [http://www.splatfilms.com/intotheblack/ V-con trailer]
* [http://www.intotheblack.ca/node/261 2006 Christmas Special short]
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