As Firefly/Serenity fans will recall, sometimes it sounded as though the show was all taking place within a single solar system, while at other times there was loose talk about “the galaxy.” Yet the number of colonised planets always seemed too high for a merely solar-system-spanning Alliance – and of course absurdly too low for a galaxy-spanning Alliance.
Well, we now have an official map of the Firefly/Serenity ’verse (conical hat tip to AICN) that answers the puzzle once and for all. (Be sure to click on all three pics, as well as reading the text toward the bottom of the page.) It looks like there are five inhabited systems in the ’verse – and the “Core” is neither the center of the solar system nor the galactic core, but a “core” system around which the other four systems orbit. (Is that scientifically possible? Don’t ask me, I’m not Mister Science Guy.)