Notes Episode information
Credits Details & Cast
Intro "Who's flying this thing!?"
Act 1 "There's too much screaming."
Act 2 "Jayne, you'll scare the women."
Act 3 "No children on this boat."
Act 4 "Nobody knows Serenity like I do."
Let's go again

While travelling they encounter a derelict transport ship. We do not know where they are coming from nor where they are going.


All the events occur in one day.

In The Train Job Inara said that she had been on Serenity for 8 months. In this episode she says she's been on Serenity for 11 months: "In three weeks it will be a year..."


The settlers were travelling from Bernadette to Newhall.

Transcribed by: Ling Mao (modifications by me)
Original Air Date: September 27, 2002
Written by: Tim Minear
Directed by: Tim Minear
Brandon Morgan
Doug Savant
Commander Harken
Jared Poe
Lancer Dean Shull
Radio Operator
Who's flying this thing!?

There is a noisy game of what looks vaguely like basketball going on. Zoe, Mal, Jayne, Wash, Kaylee and Book are playing.

Jayne Yeah, too tall, too tall! Wash Jayne!

Jayne passes the ball to Wash.

Jayne Little man!

There is lots of vying for the ball. Zoe shoots the ball towards a metal hoop suspended by a chain, and apparently scores. River and Simon watch the game from the walkway above.

VOICE (O.S.) Yes! Jayne Come on, old man! Ha ha!

Inara enters onto the walkway. Back on the game floor, Kaylee climbs onto Jayne's shoulders, Jayne runs towards the hoop and Kaylee puts it through. Inara crosses over to Simon.

Simon Hello. Inara Who's winning? Simon I can't tell. They don't seem to be playing by any civilized rules that I know. Inara Well, we're pretty far from civilization.

Inara glances at River, who is watching the game intently.

Inara (cont'd) How's your sister? Simon She's good. Better. She has her days. And she still won't talk about what it was they did to her at the academy. Inara Perhaps she's not sure herself. Simon She dreams about it. I know that much. Nightmares. And now, on the run, on this ship, I don't know if I'll be able to help her here, and I need to help her. Inara Simon, you are. Leaving your whole world behind. It's incredibly selfless. Simon Yeah. I selflessly turned us both into wanted fugitives. Inara Well, we're all running from something, I suppose.

Cut back to the game. A LOUD ALARM starts sounding.

Zoe Proximity alert. Must be coming up on something. Wash (alarmed) Oh my god. What can it be? We're all doomed! Who's flying this thing!?


Oh right, that would be me. Back to work. Kaylee So I guess that makes us one man short. Jayne Little Kaylee's always one man short.

Kaylee punches Jayne good-naturedly in the arm.

Jayne Ow, hey. Kaylee (to Simon) Say Doc, why don't you come on down, play for our side? Inara won't mind.

Wash enters the bridge, and though the viewport sees a spaceship tumbling through space. As he sits down, a human body suddenly bumps into the window. Wash startles, and bumps the flight controls, which causes the entire ship to shudder. Mal and Zoe enter the cockpit.

Mal Wash, you have a stroke or something? Wash Near enough. Zoe What happened?

The rest of the crew enters the bridge and regards the slowly spinning spaceship.

Jayne Wuh de ma 我的妈
Mother of god
Mal Anybody home? Wash Been hailing her, but if whoever's there is as healthy as the guy we just ran over, can't imagine anyone's going to be picking up. Mal Bring us in a little closer. Wash Get you close enough to ring the doorbell. Simon What is it?

Now we see that River is standing against the wall just outside the doorway of the bridge.

River It's ghosts.


Act 1
There's too much screaming

Right back where we left them:

Mal So, what do we figure? Transport ship? Wash Converted cargo hauler, maybe a short-range scow. Kaylee You can see she don't want to be parked like that. The port thrust's gone, that's what's making her spin the way she is. Simon A short range vessel, this far out in space? Wash Retrofitted to carry passengers. Zoe Travelers pick them up cheap at government auction. A few modifications and they serve well enough for a one-way push to the outer planets. Book Settlers. Wash Cram fifteen, maybe twenty families on a boat that size, you pack 'em in tight enough. Inara Families? Jayne Tell you what I think. I think that fellow we ran into did everyone on board, killed them all, then decided to take a swim through space, see how fast his blood would boil out of his ears. Wash You're a very "up" person. Book Shouldn't we report this? Mal To who? Alliance? Right. They're going to run out here lickety-split and make sure these taxpayers are okay. Book Then we'll have to. Jayne If there's folks on board in need of help, why ain't they beaming no distress call? Zoe It's true, there's no beacon. Mal Which means it's likely no one's looking to find her. Book All the more reason for us to do the right thing. Jayne How about you just say a prayer when we slide on by. Book Shall I remind you of the story of the Good Samaritan? Mal I'd rather you didn't. But we'll check it out. See if there are survivors. If not, then, well no one's going to mind if we take a look around, see if there's not something of value they might have left behind. Jayne (suddenly on board with this plan) Yeah, no, uh, someone could be hurt.

Serenity moves against the derelict ship and links to it. As they join, we see several snaky cables latching onto Serenity from the other ship.

Simon enters carrying a medical kit. Mal and Zoe are getting into space suits. Jayne walks up behind Simon.

Jayne Where do you think you're headed? Simon Thought I'd offer my services, in case anyone on board required medical attention. Jayne Well, Cap and Zoe are going in first. We'll holler if we need you.

(off Simon's somewhat worried look)

Something wrong?

Simon is watching Mal and Zoe help each other on with their suits.

Simon Hmmm? Oh, no. I suppose it's just the thought of a little Mylar and glass separating a person from... nothing. Jayne It's impressive what "nothing" can do to a man. Like that fella we bumped into. He's likely stuck up under our belly about now. That's what space trash does, you know. Kind of latches onto the first big something that stops long enough. Hey now, that'd be a bit like you and your sister now, wouldn't it?

Zoe and Mal enter through the airlock from Serenity, fully suited-up.

Mal Entering adjoining airlock now. Okay, Wash, ask Serenity to knock for us.

Quick cut to the bridge, where Wash is listening, and manipulating controls on the panel.


Mal Emergency power's up. Dashboard lights.

They move into the galley. The ship is deserted and eerie. A child's balloon is tied to the back of a chair. Unfinished meals are still on tables.

Mal Whatever happened here, happened quick.

They continue exploring the ship.


Zoe Everything was left on. Ship powered down on its own. No sign of a struggle. They're just... Mal Gone. Zoe (re: a computer screen) Sir. Personal log. Someone was in the middle of an entry.

Zoe taps the screen (or the keyboard), which shorts out.

River awakes with a gasp and starts crying. Simon hears her and enters.

Simon Shh, shh, it's okay, it's okay, I'm here. Bad dreams again? River No, I can't sleep. There's too much screaming. Simon River, there is... there is no screaming. River (quietly) There was.

Jayne appears in the corridor, loading a firearm.

Jayne Hey! Grab your med kit and let's hoof it. Mal wants us both over there on the double. Simon They found survivors? Jayne Didn't say. Simon Right. I'll ask Inara to look in on River. Jayne Whatever. I ain't waiting. I'll meet you over there. But don't take forever. Still got to get suited up.

Simon enters in a spacesuit, alone, looking nervous. He moves through the dark corridor, his breathing loud and irregular. He enters a small room where we find Jayne, Mal, Zoe and Kaylee, without spacesuits.

Mal Hi.

Simon realizes he's been had, and struggles to remove his helmet. Kaylee moves to help him.

Mal (cont'd) Um, what are you doing here, and what's with the suit?

Jayne cracks up.

Simon (to Jayne) You're hilarious. Sadist. Mal All right, enough. Ain't got time for games. As long as you're here, you may as well lend a hand. You can run with Kaylee. Let's be quick about this people, all right? A few loads each, no need to be greedy. Simon Where are all the people? Mal Ship says lifeboat launched more than a week ago. We're going to assume everyone got off okay. Anyway, we're just here to pick the bones. You two start in the engine room. Jayne, you take the galley. Kaylee (to Simon, re: his helmet) You, um, had this on wrong.

Jayne laughs maliciously as the three move on to their assigned tasks.

Zoe Sir, I count sixteen families signed on. Lifeboat wouldn't hold a third of that. Mal I know.

(into com)

Wash, any luck?


Wash (speaking into com) I think I found something pretty well matches that class. Layout looks about right. Seems to me any valuables, if there are any, likely be stored C-deck, aft.


Mal Good work. Keep the engine running, shouldn't be long.

Inara is carrying a tray of food.

Inara River? It's Inara. Are you hungry sweetie?

She knocks on the door and opens it, to find an empty room.

Inara (cont'd) River?

River enters the ship, barefoot.

Simon (O.S.) Aren't you the least bit curious?

Simon and Kaylee are investigating the engine room. Well, Kaylee is and Simon is tagging along.

Kaylee About what? Simon Well... what happened here. Why would anyone abandon their ship in the middle of nowhere like this? Kaylee For all sorts of reasons. Just not the mechanical. Simon What? Kaylee There ain't nothing wrong with this. Not that I can see, anyhow.

There is an electrical flash and crackling as Kaylee pulls a part from the ship.

Kaylee (cont'd) Whoo. Well there's a good one. Hold the bag open.

(Simon holds the bag open, Kaylee lifts the part and drops it in. Simon almost drops the bag, its so heavy!)

Jayne is scooping supplies into a duffel bag, munching on something.


Mal This looks to be it.

Zoe tries to open a door set in the side of the wall.

Zoe Locked. Mal Well now. I'd say that's like to be a very good sign.

Mal stoops and removes a blowtorch from his satchel, and proceeds to work on the door.

River is moving dreamily through the dimly lit ship.

The door falls away, Zoe and Mal enter. They move through the room, which is stacked with trunks and boxes. Zoe opens a case to reveal a child's doll, along with everyday things that would be found in a suitcase. Mal inspects a stack of plastic crates.

Mal Here. Genseed, protein, crop supplements. Everything a growing family needs to make a fresh start on a new world. Zoe Hard subsidies for fourteen-plus families. That's... Mal About a fortune. Forget the rest, we just take this stuff. We're going to need a hand hauling it out of here. Zoe Sir. Even on a lifeboat, you'd think those who escaped would have found room for some of this.

River has entered the room, and is staring up at something.

Mal Nobody escaped. Zoe Sir?

Mal and Zoe turn their flashlights to the ceiling, to reveal five or six hideous corpses, strung up by chains and gutted.

Mal Nobody. Zoe Oh my god. Mal Jen dao mei真倒霉
Just our luck
! I know what did this.

(to Zoe, re: River)

Get her out of here.

(into com)

Jayne? Jayne, drop what you're doing, and get to the engine room. I want you to take Kaylee and the doctor off this boat. Don't ask questions.

Jayne is listening to Mal's orders in the dark galley. Suddenly, the lights flash on to reveal a man attacking Jayne from behind. Jayne is knocked into a table; pots and pans go clattering to the floor. From the dropped walkie-talkie we hear Mal's voice.

Mal Jayne?


Act 2
Jayne, you'll scare the women

Wash hears gunshots over the com.

Wash (into com) Captain? Captain.

(another shot)


Mal, Zoe and River are moving quickly though the ship.

Zoe It came from above, Sir. Mal Galley.

They turn a corner to find Kaylee and Simon.

Kaylee We heard shootin'. Simon River! What are you...? River I followed the voices. Simon Don't ever leave the ship. Not ever. Mal Handle her, will you son? Wash (on com) What in the tyen shiao duh 天晓得
name of all that's sacred
is going on in there?!
Zoe (into com) Not now, dear.

Mal and Zoe move into the galley, where there are signs of a struggle. The others follow. Mal aims his gun at a noise, which turns out to be Jayne, holding a gun on Mal.

Mal What'd you see? Jayne (panting) Didn't. Came at me from behind. Big, though. Strong. I think I might have hit him. Simon (re: blood on floor) You did.

Mal follows the blood trail to a circular screen covering up a cubbyhole. We can hear gasping coming from inside as Mal removes the screen.

Survivor No, no, no. Mal Shh, easy now. No one's going to hurt you.

There is a young, terrified man hiding in the small space.

Survivor No, no mercy, no. Mal I mean, more than we already did. We got lots of mercy.

(Mal removes the screen)

Survivor No, no... Mal (as he leans into the space) We got lots and lots of...

Mal slugs the guy, knocking him unconscious. Mal hauls the man out of the hole, dropping him to the floor.

Simon (dripping sarcasm) Oh yes, he's a real beast.

(to Jayne)

It's a wonder you're still alive. Jayne Looked bigger when I couldn't see him.

The crew is gathered, watching through the infirmary window.

Inara I wonder how long he'd been living like that? Kaylee I don't know. He must be real brave to survive like that when nobody else did. Jayne Yeah, real hero, killing all them people. Kaylee What!? We don't believe that.


We don't, do we? Zoe Captain wouldn't have brought him on board, were that the case.

Simon is tending to the injured man while Mal observes.

Simon Pulse is rapid, blood pressure's the high side of normal. That's to be expected. Survivor Weak, they were all weak. Simon Other than the bullet wound, there doesn't appear to be any exterior trauma. Though that crack in the head you gave him probably didn't do him any good. Survivor (looking out at Kaylee and Inara) Cattle. Cattle for the slaughter. Mal (seeing where the Survivor is looking) Dope him. Simon I don't think that's... Mal Just do it. Survivor No mercy, no resistance.

Simon moves to sedate his patient, and the man grabs his arm.

Survivor (cont'd) Open up, see what's inside.

Simon administers the sedative.

Survivor (cont'd) (succumbing to the drug) No mercy.

Simon and Mal move outside to where the others have been observing.

Kaylee So, how's our patient? Simon Aside from borderline malnutrition, he's in remarkably good health. Book (relieved) So he'll live then. Mal Which to my mind is unfortunate. Book Not a very charitable attitude, Captain. Mal Charity'd be putting a bullet in his brainpan. Inara Mal! Mal Only save him the suffering.

Mal, serious as a heart attack, pulls the door to the infirmary shut.

Mal (cont'd) All right, no one goes in here. Nothing more we can do for him now, not after what he's seen. Simon What do you mean? Mal That ship was hit by Reavers. Jayne Reavers? Wash Tzao gao 糟糕
What a mess

Mal goes into the galley, getting himself something to drink. The others follow.

Inara Mal, how can you know? Jayne He don't - that's how. No way. It was that other fella, the one we run into, like I said before, he went stir-crazy, killed the rest, then took a walk in space. Kaylee Just a second ago you said that... Jayne Don't matter what I said. Wasn't Reavers. Reavers don't leave no survivors. Mal Strictly speaking, wouldn't say they did. Book What are you suggesting? Mal Doesn't matter that we took him off that boat, Shepherd, it's the place he's going to live from now on. Book I don't accept that. Whatever horror he witnessed, whatever acts of barbarism, it was done by men, nothing more. Jayne Reavers ain't men. Book Of course they are. Too long removed from civilization, perhaps, but men. And, I believe there is a power greater than men, a power that heals. Mal Reavers might take issue with that philosophy. If they had a philosophy. If they weren't too busy gnawing on your insides. Jayne's right, Reavers ain't men. Or they forgot how to be. Now they're just nothing. They got out to the edge of the galaxy, to that place of nothing, and that's what they became. Jayne Why're we still sitting here? If it was Reavers, shouldn't we be gone? Mal Work ain't done. Still substantial money value sitting over there. Jayne Whoa. I ain't going over there with them bodies, no ruttin' way. Not if Reavers messed with them. Zoe Jayne, you'll scare the women. Simon I'll go. I've dealt with bodies, they don't worry me. Book I'd like to go with him. Maybe see what I can do about putting those folks to rest. Mal Those folks already resting pretty good, Shepherd. Reavers saw to that. Book How we treat our dead is part of what makes us different than those did the slaughtering. Mal All right, you go say your words. Jayne, you'll help the doctor and Shepherd Book cut down those people, then you'll load up the cargo. Jayne I don't believe this. We're sitting put for a funeral? Mal Yes, Jayne, that is exactly what we're going to do. Not going to have these people looking over my shoulder once we're gone. I ain't saying there's any peace to be had, but on the off chance there is, those folks deserve a little of it. Inara Just when I think I've got you figured out.

Inara, Book, Simon and Jayne leave the galley.

Kaylee That was real pretty Captain, what you just said. Wash Didn't think you were one for rituals and such. Mal I'm not, but I figure it'll keep the others busy for a while. No reason to concern them with what's to be done. Zoe Sir?

Kaylee, Wash, Mal and Zoe are looking at a camera feed of the snaky cables we saw latch onto Serenity earlier.

Mal It's a real burden being right so often. Wash What is that? Mal Booby trap. Reavers sometimes leave them for the rescue ships. Triggered it when we latched on. Wash And when we detach? Mal It blows. Wash Okay, so we don't detach, we just, I don't know, sit tight until... Zoe What, Reavers come back? Kaylee Looks like they've jerry-rigged it with a pressure catch. It's the only thing that'd work with all these spare parts. We could probably bypass that easy, we get to the DC line. Mal You tell me right now, little Kaylee, you really think you can do this? Kaylee Sure. Yeah. I think so. 'Sides, if I mess up, it's not like you'll be able to yell at me.

Slowly spinning together in space.

Jayne lowers the hanging bodies while Simon and Book look on.

Zoe, Wash and Mal look on while Kaylee lowers herself into a chamber beneath the floor.

Inara is working on a scroll covered in Chinese calligraphy, while River sleeps on her bed.

The patient is starting to wake, moaning.

Survivor No, no.

Kaylee worms her way into a crawl space while Wash, Zoe and Mal watch from above.

The patient stirs, laughing.

River, still asleep, tosses restlessly on Inara's bed.

Kaylee works her way further in.

Patient wakes up - eyes wide open.

River wakes up screaming. Inara rushes to her.

A tray of surgical implements is knocked to the floor.

River, awake, screams.

We see a long, sharp knife being picked up by the patient.

Jayne loads a dolly and begins to move the cargo. Book is kneeling, Simon stands over him with a flashlight.

Kaylee clips a line, which oozes a dark viscous liquid. Cut to an exterior shot, where we see the cable disengaging.

Jayne enters, hauling a load of cargo.

Jayne What's going on? Mal Well, right at this particular moment, I'd have to say, not a thing. Right? Kaylee Not a gorram thing. Jayne Looked like a thing to me.

Book and Simon enter the cargo bay.

Mal Thought we might have had a situation, but it looks to be taken care of. Let's get that merchandise put away.

Cut to a quick shot of Serenity detaching from the derelict.

Mal Everyone's home Wash, let's go.

The proximity alarm starts sounding again.

Jayne Oh no, nonono, don't you say that. It's the Reavers. It's the gorram Reavers come back! Mal Get that stuff stored. Jayne Like it's going to matter! Mal Just do it!

Mal and Zoe race up the stairs to the bridge.


Mal Reavers? Male Voice (V.O.) Firefly class transport, you are ordered to release control of your helm.

Out the viewport, a huge spaceship looms. It's an ALLIANCE CRUISER.

Mal Looks like civilization finally caught up with us.


Act 3
No children on this boat

Commander Harken watches from the bridge as Serenity moves toward us. An Ensign approaches. Harken points to Serenity.

Harken No mandatory registration markings on the bow. Make sure we cite them for that. Ensign Sir, we've identified the transport ship they were attached to. It was licensed to a group of families out of Bernadette. They were due to touch down in Newhall three weeks ago. Never made it. Harken Once we secure these vultures, we'll send a team over, check it out. Radio Operator Sir, didn't we have a flag on a Firefly a while back? Harken Check. Radio Operator Here it is. An alert issued on an unidentified Firefly-class, believed to be carrying two fugitives, a brother and sister. Harken What are they wanted for? Radio Operator It's uh, it's not available, it's classified. Harken 40,000 of these old wrecks in the air and that's all they give us. Well, I'm not about to have any surprises on a routine check. We run into these two, we shoot first. The brass can sort it out later.

Mal is walking quickly along the catwalk.

Jayne (to Mal) So what was it? Mal Open the stash, pull out the goods. Jayne What? Just got done putting it in. Mal Yeah, and I'm telling you to take it all out again. Jayne Why for? Mal I got no notion to argue this. In about two minutes time this boat's going to be crawling with Alliance.

The rest of the crew scrambles to get the salvaged goods un-stashed.

Simon (horrified) No. We've got to run. Mal Can't run. They're pulling us in. Simon If they find us they'll send River back to that place. To be tortured.


I'd never see her again. Mal Stack everything here, in plain sight. Wouldn't want it to seem like we got anything to hide. It might give them Alliance boys the wrong impression. Wash Or the right one. Mal That too.

(to Simon)

Now go run and fetch your sister. Simon What?


Why, are you going to put her in plain sight, too? Mal Don't get tetchy. Just do as I say. Simon Is that why you let us stay? So you could use us as bargaining chips? Jayne I knew there was a reason. Simon (yelling) They are not taking her and you are not giving her to them! Book (calmly) Don't be a fool son. Do as the man says.

Cut to exterior shot of Serenity being pulled against the vast Alliance ship. Back in the cargo bay, the doors open to reveal our crew (minus Simon and River) looking grim. Wash alone raises his hands. The Alliance Commander enters with a number of armed men.

Mal Well, quite a lot of fuss. If I didn't know better, I'd think we were dangerous. Harken Is this your vessel? Mal It is, bought and paid for. I'm Captain Malcolm Reynolds. Harken And is this everyone, Captain? Mal By way of crew it is, though in our infirmary you're going to find a fellow we rescued off that derelict. Saved him, guess you could say. Harken Hmm.

Unconvinced, Commander Harken motions to his soldiers to check this out.

Mal Straight through the back, next to the common area. Harken (re. salvage) And these items, I take it you rescued them as well.

Quick cut to the infirmary, where two of the soldiers are entering. Off-camera, we hear soft, maniacal laughter. Cut back to the cargo bay.

Harken Looks to me like an illegal salvage operation. Mal It does? That's discouraging. Harken Yeah, Alliance property too, you could lose your ship, Captain. But that is a wrist slap compared to the penalty for harboring fugitives. A brother and sister. When I search this vessel, I won't find them, will I? Mal No children on this boat. Harken Hmm. I didn't say "children". Siblings, adult siblings. Mal I misunderstood. Harken No chance they could have stowed away? No one would blame you for that Captain. I know how these older model Fireflys tend to have those troublesome little nooks. Mal Do they? Harken Smugglers and the like tend to prefer them just for that reason.

One of the soldiers that went to the infirmary returns and whispers something into the Commander's ear.

Harken We will continue this conversation in a more official capacity.

The soldiers begin to hustle our crew off Serenity and onto the Alliance ship.

Harken I want every inch of this junker tossed. Kaylee Junker? Mal Settle down, Kaylee. Kaylee But Captain, did you hear what that purple-belly called Serenity? Mal Shut up!

Quick cut to the infirmary, where soldiers are carrying out the man rescued from the derelict, strapped to a stretcher. Other soldiers are searching Serenity.

The crew is gone, Alliance soldiers spread out beginning to search.

We enter looking over a soldier's shoulder.

Harken (V.O.) You are a Companion. Inara (V.O.) Yes.

The Commander and Inara are seated at a large, glass-topped table in an otherwise empty room.

Harken And you were based for years on Sihnon. It's only in the last year that you've been shipping out with the crew of The Serenity? Inara It's just Serenity, and that's correct. In a few weeks, it will be a year.


Why is this important? Harken I'm just trying to put the pieces together. It's a - it's a curiosity, a woman of stature such as yourself falling in with ... these types. Inara Not in the least. It's a mutually beneficial business arrangement. I rent the shuttle from Captain Reynolds, which allows me to expand my client base. And the Captain finds that having a Companion on board opens certain doors to him that might otherwise be closed to him. Harken And do you love him?

Cut to see that the Commander is now speaking to Zoe.
Note that each crewmember is being interviewed separately; they are not in the room at the same time. Interspersed throughout the interrogation scenes are cuts to the soldiers methodically searching Serenity.

Zoe I don't see how that's relevant. Harken Well, he is your husband. Zoe Yes. Harken You two met through Captain Reynolds? Zoe Captain was looking for a pilot. I found a husband. Seemed to work out. Harken You fought with Captain Reynolds in the war? Zoe Fought with a lot of people in the war. Harken And your husband? Zoe Fight with him sometimes, too. Harken Is there any particular reason you don't wish to discuss your marriage? Zoe Don't see that it's any of your business, is all. We're very private people.

Cut to the Commander now speaking with Wash.

Wash The legs. Oh yeah, definitely have to say it was her legs. You can put that down. Her legs, and where her legs meet her back. Actually, that whole area. That, and above it.

Cut to Kaylee speaking to the Commander.

Kaylee Six Gurtslers crammed under every cooling drive, so that you strain your primary artery function, and you end up having to recycle secondary exhaust through a bypass system, just so's you don't end up pumping it though the main atmo feed and asphyxiating the entire crew! Now that's junk.

Cut back to Wash.

Wash Have you seen what she wears? Forget about it. Have you ever been with a warrior woman?

Cut to Jayne, staring silently at the Commander.

Cut to the Commander interviewing Shepherd Book.

Harken Pirates. Pirates with their own chaplain. There's an oddity. Book Not the only oddity this end of space, Commander. Way of things not always so plain as on the central planets. Rules can be a mite fuzzier. Harken These fugitives that we're looking for, the brother and the sister. They were last seen on Persephone. Book That a fact? Harken They also left port aboard a Firefly-class transport. Just about the same time you shipped out with Serenity. Book Well, Persephone's a big place. Harken Yes, it is, and that Firefly isn't. And if anyone's hiding anywhere on it, we will find them.

Soldiers are searching the dining area. Slowly pull back to reveal we are actually

Looking in through the port. We continue to pull back revealing Simon and River clinging to the outside of Serenity.
We continue to pull back revealing Serenity attached to the Alliance cruiser.

We cut to a close up of Simon and River. River is gazing at the stars, a rapt, wondrous look on her face, and a rare smile. Simon is obviously terrified. He turns to see the look on his sister's face, then looks over his shoulder at the vastness of space. He quickly turns back, his face as near to the hull as he can manage.

The Commander is interviewing Mal. Mal is the only one of the crew that warrants an armed guard, apparently.

Mal So I figure, by now, you've been over to the derelict. Seen it for yourself. Harken Yes. Terrible thing. Mal You want my advice, you won't tow it back. Just fire the whole gorram thing from space. Be done with it. Harken That ship is evidence. I'm not in the habit of destroying evidence. Mal 'Course not. Be against the rules. I'm going to make a leap here and figure this is your first tour out here on the border? Harken That's a very loyal crew you have there. But then I can tell by your record you have a tendency to inspire that quality in people.


Sergeant. Mal It's not "Sergeant". Not no more. War's over. Harken For some the war'll never be over. I notice your ship's called Serenity. You were stationed on Hera at the end of the war; Battle of Serenity Valley took place there if I recall. Mal You know, I believe you might be right. Harken Independents suffered a pretty crushing defeat there. Some say that after Serenity the Browncoats were through. That the war ended in that valley. Mal Hmm. Harken Seems odd that you would name your ship after a battle you were on the wrong side of. Mal May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one. Harken Is that why you attacked that transport? Mal What? Harken You're still fighting the same battle, Sergeant. Only those weren't soldiers you murdered. Those were civilians, families. Citizens loyal to the Alliance, trying to make a new life for themselves and you just can't stand that, can you? Mal So we attacked that ship, then brought the only living survivor to our infirmary. That what we did? Harken I'd ask him. Only I'm not sure he'll be able to speak with his tongue split down the middle. Mal (realizing) Wuh de tyen我的天啊
Dear God in heaven
, ah.
Harken I haven't seen that kind of torture since... well, since the war. Mal (quietly, to himself) Oh I should have known. Harken You and your crew are bound by law. Formal charges will be transmitted to Central Authority. Mal Commander, I'm not what you need to be concerned with right now. Things go the way they are, there's going to be blood.

Several doctors and nurses are working on the man from the derelict. He seems to be convulsing on the table.

Doctor Get a line in!

The staff is working frantically, at first it seems they are trying to revive the man, but then it becomes clear they are trying to restrain him. We see the man's hand come up, holding the long, slim knife he grabbed while on Serenity. There is screaming and a stream of blood splashes onto the wall.


Act 4
Nobody knows Serenity like I do

Mal's been telling his story. Harken's not buying it.

Harken Reavers? Mal That is what I said. Harken You can't imagine how many times men in my position hear that excuse. "Reavers did it." Mal It's the truth. Harken You saw them, did you? Mal Wouldn't be sitting here talking to you if I had. Harken No, of course not. Mal But I'll tell you who did. That poor bastard you took off my ship. He looked right into the face of it. Was made to stare. Harken "It"? Mal The darkness. Kind of darkness you can't even imagine. Blacker than the space it moves through. Harken Very poetic. Mal They made him watch. He probably tried to turn away, and they wouldn't let him. You call him a survivor? He's not. A man comes up against that kind of will, the only way to deal with it, I suspect, is to become it. He's following the only course left to him. First, he'll try to make himself look like one. Cut on himself, desecrate his flesh and then, he'll start acting like one.

The Commander taps an intercom buzzer, and a second armed soldier enters.

Harken Let's have two M.P.s up here to escort Sergeant Reynolds to the brig.

Simon and River have come inside, and are removing their spacesuits.

River (happy and smiling) Let's go again. Simon Later, maybe. Captain said once the coast is clear, we should lay low in the shuttle. Come on. River (sensing something) He's coming back. Simon (misunderstanding) Yes, yes of course he is. They all are.

Two M.P.s are taking Mal to the brig.

Harken Your ship and its contents will be auctioned, the proceeds of the sale will be applied to the cost of your defense.

A third soldier enters and whispers into the Commander's ear.

Harken (re: Mal) Get him out of here!

(to the third soldier)

Go to full lock-down. I want guards on the nursery. Mal It won't matter! You won't find him. But I know where he'll go.

The place is a mess, torn apart by the soldiers. Simon and River enter, still wearing the spacesuits.

River Wait, no! Don't, don't. Simon No, River, River, it's okay.

River refuses to enter the galley, despite Simon's assurances.

River Wait, wait wait wait. Simon They've gone. Come on. River Don't... Simon It's okay, come on.

From off-screen, we see a hand slip into frame and take a knife from a table.

River No, don't! Simon River, you don't have to be afraid.

A man lies bloody and quite dead on the floor. The Commander and four soldiers are with Mal, who is handcuffed with his hands behind his back.

Harken Why would he come back here? Mal Looking for familiar ground. He's on the hunt. Harken (re: Mal) All right, let's get him to the brig. Mal No, no, no... whoa, I should go with you. Harken That's out of the question. Mal How many more men do you feel like losing today, Commander? Nobody knows Serenity like I do. I can help you. Harken (considers briefly, then nods) We let him go first. Mal Right. You want to, uh?

Mal motions with his handcuffs. The Commander unlocks the handcuffs, and re-fastens them, only this time Mal has his hands in front of himself.

Mal Thanks. Now I'll really have the advantage.

River still refuses to go into the galley.

Simon No, we don't, we don't know how long it's going to be. Once we're settled, I don't think we should move around much. I'm just going to grab some food.

Simon hears footsteps.

Simon (cont'd) Someone's coming.

Mal enters the galley warily, with the Commander and other soldiers following. He crosses the length of the galley, and notices a Simon's helmet in the passage at the other end. He motions for the others to wait and steps into the doorway, where he sees Simon and River pressed up against the wall.

Just at that moment, the man rescued from the derelict attacks one of the soldiers. A spatter of blood hits the Commander in the face. The Commander is then knocked to the ground by the Survivor, and we see the Survivor's face has been inexpertly pierced by what looks like surgical staples, bloody and horrifying. As he closes in for the kill, Mal loops his handcuffed hands around the neck of the attacker, and throttles him to death.

Serenity undocks from Alliance ship and begins maneuvering for departure.

Wash, Zoe, Mal and Jayne are looking out of the bridge viewports.

Jayne (pensively) You save his gorram life. And he still takes the cargo. Hwoon dahn浑蛋
Mal He had to... Couldn't let us profit. Wouldn't be civilized.

Shot of Alliance ship firing missiles to destroy the derelict ship. We watch as ship slowly explodes and breaks up.


End of Show