Heart of Gold
Notes Episode information
Credits Details & Cast
Intro "This baby ain't yours!"
Act 1 "Look, they got boy whores!"
Act 2 "I'm not going anywhere."
Act 3 "Nice day for a last stand, innit?"
Act 4 "Say goodbye to your daddy, Jonah."
 
 
Notes
How come it looks like a frozen dinner pack?
Travels:

While travelling, we don't know where from or where to, they get a wave from Nandi. They travel to her moon, we don't know its name, though it is not a Core world.

Time:

We do not know how long it takes them to get to Nandi's moon. They consult with her and that night Mal goes to the theater to meet Burgess. The next day they buck up fortifications and Petaline goes in to labor. The battle takes place the following morning. We see a funeral but do not know how much time has elapsed. Later, on Serenity, Inara tells Mal she is leaving. We do not know how long after departure this conversation occurs.

The episode spans at least three days, very possibly more.

Locations:

Everything occurs on Nandi's moon, which is unnamed.

Chinese:
 
 
Credits
Transcribed by: Russ Madden (modifications by me)
Original Air Date: Never aired
Written by: Brett Matthews
Directed by: Tom Wright
Doan Ly
Emma
Melinda Clark
Nandi
Fredric Lehne
Rance Burgess
Tracey Leah Ryan
Petaline
Heather Black
Helen
Kimberly McCullough
Chari
Angie Hart
Lucy
Jim Lau
Narrator (puppet theater)
Sandy Mulvihill
Belinda Burgess
 
 
Intro
This baby ain't yours

EXT. SPACE
We are in deep space. A planet comes into frame from above, and we rocket towards it, past it to a circling moon, closer, see the landmasses, the landscape come all the way down toward a glittering house in the desert --

EXT. HEART OF GOLD BORDELLO - DAY
A plain but statley-in-its-own-way multi-storied wood frame structure, alone and secluded on this pleasant moon.

A PRETTY GIRL (late teens) and a PRETTY BOY (same age) are currently out front, hanging the laundry. Sheets. They giggle and laugh. Picture perfect country tranquility. They react to the SOUND of POUNDING HORSE HOOVES...

THROUGH THE BILLOWING SHEETS
HORSES on the horizon. Coming up fast over a rise. And now, in between them, bouncing up INTO VIEW -- A HOVERCRAFT, a badass SPACE JEEP, zooming over its buffeting hover-current.

THE BOY AND GIRL register recognition. React --

Emma Nandi! Nandi!

A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN, early 30's, Nandi, the madam of this concern, appears from the house. Sees the trouble approaching in the distance.

Nandi Get inside.

But they are frozen to the spot as the riders and hovercraft get closer. Some other GIRLS are appearing variously at the door and windows. All of them are varying degrees of pretty -- prostititutes.

Nandi GO!

The frightened girl and boy head in. Nandi mentally runs through her options. There is only one: stand tough. The horses gallop up. She is immovable.

Nandi We ain't open for business.

The HOVERCRAFT glides to a stop. Piloting it is RANCE Burgess. A handsome, fancified imperious GENTLEMAN. But he's anything but gentle...

Burgess Shut up, whore. Nandi And you we don't trade with at all, Rance Burgess. You're no longer welcome in this establishment. You been told that. Burgess I've been told a great many things. I'm here for what's mine. Nandi Ain't nothing here belongs to you. You don't get gone, we'll be well within our rights to drop you. Burgess Only rights you got are the ones I give you.

(to his men)

Find the girl.

The horsemen move to the door, push their way in.

Nandi She ain't here. Girl left this moon more'n a month ago. It was you chased her off.

Nandi is poker-faced. Some SCREAMING and CRYING from inside. Crying he recognizes. He smiles at the stone-faced Nandi.

Rance's men now hustle a struggling GIRL out through the door -- young Petaline. She'd be the picture of scrubbed wholesomeness -- except for the fact that she's very, very pregnant. 'bout ready to pop. She's terrified. They force her to her knees.

Burgess (cont'd) Petaline. It's a good thing you haven't left with my baby. Petaline This baby ain't yours! Burgess So you keep saying.

He nods to his men, who rip open Petaline's dress, exposing her belly. Rance pulls a FUTURISTIC HYPO DEVICE from his coat, plunges it into her belly. She winces and gasps in sudden pain. He brings the device away from her.

Burgess (cont'd) If this DNA is a match with mine -- know I will be back for my baby.

Rance places a hand on Petaline's face.

Burgess (cont'd) And if I have to, I'll cut it out of ya.

Rance climbs on his hoverdraft, his men to their horses. They go. Nandi and some of the other girls move to Petaline, who's quietly sobbing. Help her to her feet.

Nandi Shhh. Quiet, now. It'll all work out.

Among the whores helping to steady Petaline are Chari, a petite and refined prostitute, maybe the prettiest one here, and Helen, a more hardy whore. They watch the men leaving.

Chari He'll do it too. He'll do what he says. Nandi No he won't. We won't allow it. Helen How we gonna stop him, Nandi? Nandi We'll get help. That's how. Chari Help? There's not a soul on this moon'd go up against Rance Burgess. Helen She's right. Ain't nobody stong enough. And even if there was -- who'd help us?

INT. SERENITY - DINING ROOM - Mal
in a wicked-cool CLOSE UP whips his gun at us with a stylish rack to the barrel. He's cleaning and checking it, looking casually heroic. Spread out on the dining room table are an assortment of his best guns and such.

Inara enters behind him. He doesn't hear her.

Inara Hi. Mal BWAAA! Inara Sorry. I didn't mean to startle. Mal You didn't. I was just, uh...

(repeating as if he meant to, points gun)

BWAAA! That's more like a... It's a warrior like... It strikes fear into the...hearts of

(nothin')

You know, not altogether wise, sneaking up on a man when he's handling his weapon. Inara I'm sure I've heard that said. But perhaps the dining area isn't the place for this sort of thing? Mal What do you mean? Only place with a table big enough. Inara Of course. In that case...

(rearranges guns)

Every well-bred petty crook knows that the small concealable weapons always go to the far left of the place setting.

Mal bridles at the term "petty crook". Before he can speak, Wash enters from the bridge.

Wash Got a distress call coming in. Some folks asking for help. Mal Really? Folks asking for help? From us petty crooks? Wash Well... Mal (at Inara) Maybe I should take that right away.

Mal makes to do that, but Wash stops him with:

Wash Well, it's for her. Mal Hunh? Wash The call's for Inara. Inara I'll take it in my shuttle. Wash All right. I'll send it back there to you. Mal This distress wouldn't happen to be taking place in someone's pants, would it?

She throws a look, goes one way, Wash goes the other. Mal is left alone.

A beat.

As Mal whips his gun back up into a heroic frame,

Mal (cont'd) (all cool) Bwaa.

BLACK OUT

 
Act 1
Look, they got boy whores!

EXT. SPACE
Serenity gently moving through the big black.

INT. INARA'S SHUTTLE - DAY
Inara sits at her cortex screen, where WE SEE the live image of Nandi.

Nandi -- And I got word you were in the area... I'm imposing, but I got no one else to ask. Inara It sounds like something this crew can handle. I can't guarantee they'll handle it particularaly well, but -- Nandi If they got guns, and brains at all... Inara They've got guns... Nandi (worried) Payment won't be a problem. We just ain't equipped for this. Inara Nandi, it's gonna be all right. Nandi The House would tell you not to come. I know they ordered you to shun me when I left. Inara The House can gun hoe-tze bee dio-se跟猴子比丢屎
engage in a feces hurling contest with a monkey
. I would have waved you long ago. It's just....
Nandi Doesn't matter.

(smiles)

Who'd've thought we'd both end up all the way out here? Inara Who'd've thought. Nandi Let me know what your people say. Inara Of course. Nandi I'll wait to hear from you.

(then)

Tzoo-foo nee, mei-mei祝福你,妹妹
Blessing on you, dear sister
.
Inara And you.

Inara touches the screen. Nandi's image FREEZES there. Inara sits there quietly contemplative for a beat. Then:

Inara (cont'd) I suppose you heard most of that?

Mal appears, peaking around the corner at the entrance.

Mal Only because I was eavesdropping.

(then, no bullshit)

Your friend sounds like she's in a peck of trouble. Inara She is. And there's no authority on that moon she can go to. They're totally alone. Mal Some men might take advantage of that. Inara One man. Mal And she's lookin' for someone to come along and explain things to him? Inara That's essentially it, yes. Mal A whole house full of companions... How they fixed for payment? Inara They're not companions.

(then)

They're whores. Mal Thought you didn't much care for that word? Inara It applies. They're not registered with the Guild. They're -- Mal -- independent? Inara Yes.

(then)

If you agree to do this, you'll be compensated. I'll see to it. I've put a little aside... Mal You can keep your money. Won't be needing no payment. Inara Mal. Thank you. I'll contact Nandi at once.

(he smiles; she turns away)

But you will be paid. I feel it's important that we keep ours strictly a business arrangement.

Her back's to him now, so she doesn't see the stung look.

Mal I'll speak with the crew. Inara Good.

She never looks back. Off Mal, waiting a beat before he goes --

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY
Mal has EVERYONE assembled (except Inara.) He's letting Zoe brief the troops. He's to the side, the silent commander.

Zoe Those who have a mind are welcome to join. Those who just as soon stay on the ship can do that, too. Jayne Hmm. Don't much see the benefit in getting involved in strangers' troubles without a upfront price negotiated. Book These people need assistance. The benefit wouldn't necessarily be for you. Jayne S'what I'm sayin' Zoe No one's gonna force you to go, Jayne. As has been stated -- this job is strictly speculative. Jayne Good. Don't know these folks. Don't much care to. Mal They're whores. Jayne I'm in. Mal (moving off) Wash -- plot a course.

EXT. PLANET - DAY
Serenity lands amidst cover.

EXT. HEART OF GOLD - DAY
We see The Bordello, in all its tinfoil splendor.

Reverse on our people, in a long-lens tight group, heading towards it.

Jayne That's the whorehouse? Inara (you're an annoying idiot) Yes... Jayne How come it looks like a frozen dinner pack? Kaylee It's solar sheeting. Cheap power. Jayne (genuine concern) Hope the whores are prettier'n than the house...

INT BORDELLO LOBBY - DAY
Our gang files into the lobby. The girls are all hanging about, some making a bit of a show of themselves, draped about as if for customers, some more earnest or just curious. Inara is in the process of coming towards Nandi for a great big hug. Mal is behind her, waiting as is Zoe. As for the rest, they politely nod and greet the whores, Kaylee guilelessley, Simon politely, Book kindly, Jayne grinningly, Wash uncomfortably, River inquisitively. Much adlibbing from them as have speaking parts. (Chari and Petaline are not present).

Inara Nandi, darling. Nandi It's so good to see you, mei-mei妹妹
little sister
...
Inara You look wonderful. Nandi And you look exactly the same as the day I left. How do you do that out here? Mal Sheer force of will. Inara Nandi, this is Malcolm Reynolds. Nandi I appreciate your coming.

She shakes his hand, firmlike.

Mal Well, any friend of Inara's is a strictly businesslike relationship of mine.

The dig is not lost on Inara, nor is her reaction lost on Nandi

Mal (cont'd) This is my first mate, Zoe. I'll introduce you to the rest later. They're good folk. Jayne (calls out from across the room, no 'tude) Can I start getting sexed already? Mal Well, that one's kind of horrific

Jayne has Helen by the shoulder, is pointing at her...

Zoe (ugh) Can we talk business? Nandi (indicating lounge) In here.

(to the others)

The rest of you, there's food and some liquor at the sideboard, make yourselves to home.

The four exit. We stay with the others.

Kaylee looks at Simon and Wash, indicates the two young men.

Kaylee Look, they got boy whores! Isn't that thoughtful? Wonder if they service girlfolk at all. Wash Let's not ask. Simon Isn't there a pregnant woman I'm to examine? Wash (to Kaylee) You'd really lie with someone being paid for it? Kaylee (pointedly forlorn) Well, it's not like anyone else is lining up to, you know, examine me...

Kaylee glances at Simon.

Jayne (joining them) Whoop! My John Thomas is about to pop off and fly around the room, there's so much tasty in here. Wash Would be you get your most poetical about your pecker.

Chari brings Petaline up to them.

Chari You'd be the Doctor? Simon Yes. And this is Petaline? Petaline Yes sir. Chari She's feeling a mite weak right now. Simon All right. Well, let's get you lying down. Jayne Now that's a plan! Whoop!

He goes off with Helen, Simon goes to the back room with the two girls, River trailing.

We see Book making up a sandwich -- he is approached by Lucy and Emma

Emma Shepherd -- Book No thank you!

They smile a bit.

Emma We were hoping we might have a prayer meeting?

Book continues making his sandwich.

Lucy We ain't had one in months, 'cept what Emma here reads out on Sunday.

Still no reaction from Book.

Emma Last Shepherd to come by was springtime, and he only read the one passage, and he took it out in trade off both of us.

This stops Book dead. He looks at the girls as in 'You've got to be kidding me'.

Kaylee watches the girls chat up Book...

Kaylee Everybody's got somebody...

(wistfully)

Wash, tell me I'm pretty... Wash Were I unwed, I would take you in a manly fashion. Kaylee 'Cause I'm pretty? Wash 'Cause you're pretty.

INT. LOUNGE - DAY
Mal, Zoe, Nandi and Inara. Mid talk.

Mal I take it reason doesn't enter into this? Nandi Not with Rance Burgess. The man is a taker. Zoe You think the kid is his? Nandi (firm) I think it's Petaline's. Inara But the blood test... Nandi Well, he did favor Petaline pretty exclusively, but she had others. Fifty-fifty, not that it matters. The man ain't fit to raise a cactus plant. His barren prairie shrew can't bear him an heir, so he takes it into his head to pull it outta us. That's not gonna happen. Mal (likes her strength) I see that's the case. Nandi And you see the way we live here. Go into town, it's the same. Some places come up rustic 'cause they ain't got more'n the basics. Rance Burgess has money enough to build a city, a real community. He keeps people living like this so he can play cowboy, be the one with the best toys. Turned this moon into a gorram theme park. Someone stands up to him... He means to burn me out. Mal Yeah. He sounds like a fun guy. I'd like to meet him. Nandi This won't be solved with talk. Mal I'm gonna fight a man, it helps to size him up. Nandi Well, he'll be at the theatre tonight, that's a certainty. Mal Then so will I. Inara, think you can stoop to being on my arm? Inara Will you wash it first?

He smiles at the light dig, turns to Zoe.

INT. THEATER - NIGHT
A CIRCULAR SHADOW representing Earth-That-Was FILLS THE FRAME. Silhouetted shapes appear. SPACESHIPS. They radiate out from the shadow sphere. We're witnessing some form of Balinese puppet theater. A nattily attired Narrator (speaking in Chinese: see addendum) presides before the backlit gauze screen across which the shadows play. It's the story of the destruction and fleeing of Earth-That-Was.

Narrator Lue duo ze, man zai er chu掠夺者,满载而去
Swollen of her, they left
.

WIDER - Well-heeled PATRONS mill about as the show continues on a small stage in the b.g. The theater itself is upscale, ornate in its own particular way. Asian and Pacific influences abound.

Mal and Inara enter, arm-in-arm. They're dressed to kill.

Burgess is lording it over a particularly influential crowd. He's holding court, his guests laughing with disturbing frequency and force. Near Rance sits his wife, Belinda. Pale and slight, she's dressed a cut above most every woman there, fiscally speaking. Conservative excess.

Mal and Inara stroll up to where the conversation is in progress.

Burgess (midstream) ... so I told the boy: you take a clean woman's virtue, you take the woman. And that's for life. And... Man In Hat Boy said his vows right then and there. Burgess Took very little persuading on my part.

Burgess pats his laser pistol which hangs conspicuously on his belt. LAUGHTER from the assembled. And now Mal is among them, laughing LOUDER and LONGER than any of them. Finally everyone's staring at him.

Mal Nice to know there's some places left in the 'verse where old-fashioned values still mean a thing.

(to Inara)

Isn't that right, dear? Inara (forced smile) Mmmm. Burgess I don't think I know you... Mal (hand extended) Name's Malcolm. Malcolm Reynolds.

Burgess takes Mal's hand. They shake. Mal doesn't let go as he leans in a bit closer, says:

Mal (cont'd) And might I just say? She is quite a beauty

Mal releases Burgess's hand. Burgess looks at him.

Burgess Well, thank you.

He unholsters his laser gun, offers it up to Mal.

Burgess (cont'd) Ever have occasion to handle one, Mister Reynolds?

(offering it)

Silk trigger active return bolt laser

Mal takes the laser pistol, looks it over

Mal It's lighter than it looks. Thought it'd have more heft to it. Burgess Oh, no. Don't let that fool you. Won't find technology like that short of Alliance. And even their issues don't yet have the auto-target adjust. Had that one crafted special. Mal I didn't think weapons such as this were generally legal -- for a private owner, I mean. Belinda My husband makes a distinction between legality and morality, Mister Reynolds.

Mal glances over at Belinda, holds her eyes for a beat.

Mal I've said that myself. Burgess Bending one unjust law is a small thing when it comes to protecting one's family. Mal I think I understand you. Burgess (smiles) And as you say -- she is a beauty. Mal She sure is.

(hands it back)

Of course, I was referring to the lady.

(nods to Belinda)

Ma'am.

Mal steers Inara away. The others watch them go.

Now Burgess' FUTURE CELLPHONE BEEPS. He takes it out of his pocket, his eyes still on the retreating Mal --

Burgess Yes?

EXT. TOWN - NIGHT
Mal and Inara exit the theater hastily. Mal walks quickly, looking to put distance between himself and the theater.

Inara Well? Mal Well what? Inara You said you wanted to look him in the eye. You've done that. So what's the plan? Mal Plan is -- we get back to Serenity and we get off this rock just as fast as we can.

Mal hasn't slowed his pace. Off Inara, surprised --

INT. THEATER - NIGHT
Burgess is in a private-ish corner speaking on his future cell phone. Belinda joins him, expectant.

Burgess (into cell) And there can be no mistake? Good.

Beat. Burgess snaps the cell shut. Mulls

Belinda Rance? Burgess The DNA matches. The child is mine.

BLACK OUT

 
Act 2
I'm not going anywhere

INT. BORDELLO LOBBY - NIGHT
Mal stands in the center of the bordello's lobby, his finery from the previous scene taken down a notch. The crew and the staff of the Heart of Gold surround him.

Mal We run.

Nandi takes this with stoic calm.

Mal (cont'd) Math just don't add up. Our weapon store aren't exactly overpowerin' at the moment, and I don't much like what we'd be up against...

The Serenity crew looks a bit surprised by this as well.

Mal (cont'd) Nothing worse than a monster who thinks he's right with God. We might turn Burgess away once, but he'll keep comin' -- won't stop 'till he gets what he thinks is his. So we run. Nandi I understand, Captain Reynolds. You have your people to think of, same as me. And this ain't your fight. Mal I don't believe you do understand, Nandi. I said "we run."

(Nandi gives no response)

We. My people. Your people. And whatever bits of precious you got in this house you can't bear to part with. We load up Serenity and we leave Burgess in the dust.

Nandi steps closer to Mal, all strength and resolve. Despite the audience of listeners, she and Mal talk with intimate intensity, as if they're the only ones there.

Nandi Captain Reynolds... It took me years to cut this piece of territory out of other men's hands. To build this business up from nothing. Mal Nandi-- Nandi It's who I am. And it's my home. I'm not going anywhere. Mal He'll kill you.

(re: her people)

Kill every last one of them, it comes to that. And he'll sleep well that night. Nandi Rance Burgess is just a man... And I won't let any man take what's mine. I doubt you'd do different, in my position.

Eyes still locked on each other, a stalemate of personal cool, until Mal shakes his head slightly.

Mal Well, lady I must say--

(admiring smile)

You're my kinda stupid. Jayne Ah, hell, he ain't expectin' much of a fight. Might be we catch him with his drawers low.

Mal raises his eyebrows. Zoe checks the chamber of her gun, cocks it.

Zoe (nods) (cont'd) He'll probably ride in by daylight, but I figure a three point watch, say, four hour shift, just be on the safe side. Wash (nods, mock expertise) Three-point, four-hour, should do it.

Mal gives a slight smile, then Book steps up.

Book I'm fair handy with a hammer, Captain. Mal That so, Shepherd--? Book Been following the footsteps of a carpenter for some time now. I think I can do something about our fortifications.

Mal looks over the rest of his people, Kaylee smiles and nods, Simon looks up. We feel Mal take understated pride in knowing them.

Mal OK then...

His strategy wheels start turning, as UNDERSTATED 'GET SHIT DONE' MUSIC starts to build.

Mal (cont'd) We start shootin', they'll most like try to burn us out, save sweat and bullets. Nandi, What's the water supply like here? Nandi Underground well. Pump that draws it up's antiquated, but it don't break down. Mal Kaylee-- think you can swing an upgrade for their waterworks? Kaylee I'll talk to Serenity, see what she's got we might use. Mal Good. Might want to scrounge up--

River is suddenly at their side

River It's starting.

Kaylee gives a little STARTLED JUMP, unseen by Mal.

Mal And that it is. But time is on the enemy's side so we've got to-- Petaline (pained yelp) Dr. Tam--!

Mal sees Petaline, who Simon helps to her feet as she pants with contraction.

Mal Oh. It's starting. Okay. Okay.

(a little panicky)

It's starting! All right. Now. Yeah. Uh. Everybody relax. Be calm. Nobody panic. Everybody... It's going to be okay.

(to Simon)

Be all right?

Simon leads Petaline toward the bordello's back room, nodding to Mal.

Simon I got this one, Captain. Mal Thanks. Okay.

Mal looks around at everyone else, who smile, at the brink of chuckling, at his display. He CLAPS his hands, resuming his heroical authority.

Mal Okay then. Let's get to work, people!

INT./EXT. HEART OF GOLD - DAY

Various angles:

Book nailing planks.
Planks being put on windows.
Jayne checking weapons.
Wash and Zoe testing booby trap.
Feet burying rope in the sand (for booby trap).
Inara passing Nandi with steaming towels.
In labor, Petaline screams.
Jayne and Zoe prepare their weapons.

INT.BORDELLO LOBBY - BALCONY - DAY
Book wields a hammer, boarding up windows. Lucy and Emma, the "church" whores, assist.

Emma The girls and I've been talkin', Shepherd.

He stops, turns to face her.

Emma (cont'd) We've been discussin' what we'd like said over us if we should happen to fall -- Book No.

Book reaches out, places a hand on her.

Book I only bury the dead, child. No one here is going to die.

He smiles and the tension disappears.

SMASH TO:

INT. BORDELLO - UPSTAIRS ROOM - DAY

Jayne There's people gonna die.

Jayne sits in front of a large window, its field of view panoramic. Across from him, Helen sits attentively.

Jayne (cont'd) And with people dyin' comes guts and screamin' That can bring on all sorts of screwed-up behavior, a person ain't used to it. When the time comes, most important thing, keep your wits about you. Clear?

Helen nods. Jayne reaches over to a nearby table strewn with weapons and ammunition.

Jayne (cont'd) All right. Now, these are my favorites. You're to keep 'em comin' till there ain't no more to be had. I shoot, I run out you hand me the next biggest and so on. There an understanding here? Helen Yes. Jayne All righty, then. Lets get to work.

Giggling, Helen hops on top of Jayne, straddles him. She plants wet kisses all over. Jayne craning his neck to keep his mouth out of reach.

EXT. BORDELLO - DAY
Wash sweeps a pile of dry earth over a wood-and-rope contraption, securing and camouflaging the device.

Wash All I'm saying is that we're living pretty deep in the rough and tumble, and I don't see that changing any time soon.

Zoe rises up behind him, a large spool of wire in her hands.

Zoe Nor do I.

She crouches, begins to wind the wire between one of two stakes buried deep in the ground, some fifteen feet apart.

Wash Well, I'm not sure now is the best time to bring a tiny little helpless person into our lives.

Wash lies flat, secures the wire to the stake. He takes a pair of WIRECUTTERS and cuts the wire.

Zoe That excuse is getting a little worn, honey. Wash It's not an excuse, dear. It's objective assessment. I can't help that it stays relevant.

Zoe stands, starts kicking dirt over the lines of their trap.

Zoe I don't give a good gorram about relevant, Wash. Or objective. And I ain't so afraid of losing something that I ain't gonna try to have it. You and I would make one beautiful baby. And I want to meet that child one day. Period.

Zoe walks away as Wash looks after her.

INT. Nandi'S ROOM - EVENING
Mal looks out the window. We can't see what he sees, but we hear a cluster of gunshots, followed by the barking of Jayne:

Jayne (O.S.) Nothin'! Y'all are pulling, not squeezing like I said. Next one don't hit that board is giving up a special treat, dong ma懂吗
understand
?

Mal closes the window, smiling a little.

Mal That man's gonna use up all our credit 'fore we've earned it. Nandi Well, after you've saved our lives you can do some chores, maybe.

She is getting a box from her bottom drawer. As they talk she layes it on the bed, pulls out a few fancy looking pistols.

Mal I'm a fair hand with a mop. Nandi So your legend tells.

(chuckling)

Truth is, I expected a whole lot more of you to be taking payment in our trade. Mal Well, we're an odd conglomeration. Got a preacher, a married fellah, and the doctor... well, he'd have to relax for thirty seconds to get his play. That'd be more or less a miracle.

(re: guns)

These are fetching little pieces. Any of them work? Nandi Don't got many rounds for the Chaplain there, but the rest'll be of use.

(picks one up)

This is my favorite. Mal What's its history? Nandi Violence and crime, sad to say. What about you? Mal Similar. Nandi No, I mean, when are you planning to avail yourself of some of our trade? My girls is clean and kind-spirited. Mal Well, I got the job on my mind. After, I'm sure I'll... trade. They're a fine bunch. Nandi You ain't looked at one of 'em as long or as lovin' as you looked at those pistols. You're not sly, are you? 'cause I got my boys... Mal (totally comfortable with the question) Sly? No. I lean towards womenfolk. Just one thing at a time. Never like complications.

She smiles, knowingly.

Nandi Well, I'm certain of that. Mal Something to be smiling at? Nandi I trained as a companion, remember? I read people pretty well. Mal Well, that's nice for you.

He's examining the weapons, deliberately.

Nandi She's a hell of a woman, ain't she?

(off his look)

Inara. Mal (casual) Yeah. She's a cherry blossom, no denyin'.

(still looking at gun)

'spect you know her better'n I do, comin' up together and all. Nandi Imagine I do. She ever tell you why she left Sihnon? Mal Never asked. Nandi Yes you did, and I don't know my own self. I was gone long before. And I'll tell you, it was a shock, her leaving. She was special. There's forty women in House Madrassa and you'd pick her out in a second. Coulda been House Priestess, few years time. Mal Is that right? Nandi Had her eyes on it, too. Very focused. She's like you, more than a little. Mal And how exactly is that? Nandi She hates complications.

A moment between them. A small understanding.

Mal They do crop up though, don't they? Nandi Such is life.

BACK ROOM - NIGHT
Petaline is in bed, letting out an impressive YELL. She's sweaty and breathing hard. Inara is by her side, mopping her brow supportively.

Simon is at the foot of the bed, looking under the tent of sheet they've rigged up. River looks over his shoulder, completely agape.

Simon You're not completely dilated yet. It should be pretty quick but don't try to force it. The contractions are still preliminary. Petaline What's he saying? Inara It's gonna be a little while, sweetie. Petaline Oh! But it hurts! This child wants to be born, I know it. Simon (to Inara) Can you get the green vial from my bag? We can dull the pain some.

Inara crosses, pausing by Simon, whispers --

Inara How many babies have you actually delivered? Simon As the primary? This would be the first. You? Inara My first too. River (looking even closer) Mine too.

They look at River a moment.

Simon It's gonna be a long night.

Inara gives him a peck on the cheek for luck.

Inara You'll do great, Doctor. River (still staring) Who do you think is in there...?

Petaline huffs and puffs...

INT. Nandi'S ROOM - NIGHT
It's very late, and Mal and Nandi are on the couch. He throws back a shot. They've both been drinking for a while.

Nandi It was the dulcimer. Mal The Dulcimer drove you out of Sihnon. What, did you kill a dulcimer in a terrible passion? Nandi (smiles) Actually, yes. Mal Ah! And now that Dulcimer's family's out to get even. I get it. Nandi I was at practice. You never stop practicing, you know, not a true companion. Some baroque place, and instructor keeps saying "You're playing it, not feeling it". And the fifth time he said it I took the damn thing and smashed it into kindling.

Mal laughs appreciatively.

Nandi (cont'd) And that's when it occurred to me that a companion's life might just be a little too constricting.

She pours two more shots.

Nandi So I trucked out to the border, learned to say "ain't," came to find work. Found this place. Mal It's a nice place. Nandi It was a dungheap. Run by a pig who had half the girls strung out on drops. There's no Guild out here; they let men run the houses, and they don't ask for references. We didn't get along. Mal And where's he at now? Nandi Let's just say he ain't playing the dulcimer anymore either.

They clink glasses. Knock 'em back.

Mal You are a remarkable woman, you don't mind my saying. Nandi Well. as long as it's you saying it, and not my fine rice wine. Mal Well, it takes more'n a few drinks to render my judgement blurry. What about you? Am I getting any prettier? Nandi By the minute.

She is so sweetly seductive that they hold on each other a moment. Then he breaks it, all conscience.

Mal (rising) I should check the barricades, make sure everyone's ready to -- Nandi Everyone's asleep. Well, them as can, night before a fight.

She stares into Mal's eyes.

Nandi (cont'd) Can you? Mal What? Nandi Sleep?

Another beat, as that loaded question settles in. Mal's reply is intimate in tone, as well.

Mal Miss Nandi, I have a confession to make. Nandi Maybe I should get the Shepherd. Mal Well, I ain't sinned yet, and I'd feel little more than awkward if he were here when I did. Nandi You expect to accomplish something sinful then, do you? Mal If I'm overstepping my bounds, you let me know. Nandi Jen mei nai-shing duh fwo-tzoo真没耐性的佛祖
Extraordinarily impatient Buddha
. Malcolm, I been waiting for you to kiss me since I showed you my guns --.

They're kissing. It's soft, but not without heat. He pulls away, looks at her.

Nandi (cont'd) You okay with this? Mal I'm just waiting to see if I pass out. Long story. Nandi I want you to bed me. Mal I guess I mean to. Nandi I ain't her. Mal Only people in this room are you and me. Nandi So, my child... How long has it been since your last confession? Mal Longer than I care to say. Nandi You gonna remember where everything goes? Mal Let's just say I plan to take it real slow.

They kiss.

INT. Nandi'S ROOM - NIGHT
It is later, and they are still in the act. They are both naked, him sitting up at the foot of the bed and her astraddle, sheets pooled about their lower portions of them and clever camera work concealing the more interesting details of the upper. Their movement is slow, deliberate -- and not quite so rhythmic as to be entirely specific. They are drenched in sweat.
He runs his hands along the side of her head, his thumb sliding indelicately into the corner of her mouth, Nandi biting down lightly, eyes closing, then opening again, near startled as his hands slip to her hips and they look at each other with something resembling need.
She brings his head to her breast, still moving, eyes wet with tears not spilt.

EXT. TOWN - NIGHT

Burgess So the whore's got herself a champion, has she?

He is standing in the light of a couple of torches, on the balcony of a two story building, couple of his men behind him. He looks over the railing a moment, amused. Looks back to the person he's addressing.

Burgess (cont'd) This great man got a name?

REVERSE to see Chari is the one feeding him info. Why, she's a TURNCOAT!

Chari Reynolds. Malcolm Reynolds. Burgess (thoughtfully) Mmm. Yes, I've met the man. How many does he got with him? Chari Just a few, and only two real fighters besides hisself. But they got the girls stirrin' for a battle. Burgess I certainly wasn't expecting a battle.

He chuckles, turns out over the railing, addressing his men.

Burgess (cont'd) Seems the Heart of Gold has got itself a few mercenaries. Guess we'd best call the whole thing off!

As he say this, the camera pans over to take in the view of the men -- and they number at least thirty, many on horseback, and total bad-asses. A ROAR of laughter meets Burgess' statment. Burgess grins, turns back to Chari.

Burgess (cont'd) Earned yourself quite a bag of silver, little kitten. But I got a few more chores in mind before you get it, though. Chari I'm ready.

He motions for her to come closer, puts his arm around her as he addresses the men.

Burgess Now Chari here, she understands a whore's place, don't she?

General assent and applause.

Burgess (cont'd) But Nandi, and those others, they spit on our town. They've no respect fo the sanctity of fatherhood, for decency or family. They have MY CHILD held hostage to their decedent ways, and that I will not abide!

More cheers.

Burgess (cont'd) We will show them what power is! We will show them what their position in this town is! Let us all remember, right here and now, what a woman is to a man!

He turns to Chari, no longer smiling.

Burgess (cont'd) Get on your knees.

She looks startled. Looks out at all the men watching. But Burgess is unwavering, and she hesitantly sinks out of the frame.

ANGLE: THE MEN
There is a pause. Then an uproarious cheer.

BLACK OUT

 
Act 3
Nice day for a last stand, innit?

EXT. BORDELLO - DAWN
The sun creeps over the horizon. The MORNING OF.

INT. Nandi'S ROOM - DAWN
Mal and Nandi are asleep together, in a tangle of sheets, in a tangle of limbs. Content.
Sunlight streams in from the horizon, cutting her across the eyes. They blink awake. she looks at him sleeping awhile.

INT. BORDELLO LOBBY - MORNING
Mal is coming quietly out of Nandi's room, doing up his shirt, just as Inara is coming from the back hall. He stops, totally busted.

Mal Um... Inara Well.

She is startled, but doesn't seem shocked. That doesn't stop Mal from excusifying.

Mal I...I just had to tell Nandi about, um, about time to...

(shifts topic)

Big fight today! Inara Mal. Please. Mal No, I, no, I, well, I, uh... Inara (sincerely) So you took to bed with Nandi. I'm glad. Mal You know, I was up... I got to thinkin' and ponderin'... Glad? Inara Yes! She's a dear friend, and probably in need of some comfort about now. Mal Well, uh... Inara (amused) One of the virtues of not being puritanical about sex is not feeling embarressed afterwards. You should look into it. Mal Well, I just, I... didn't want you thinking that I was taking advantage of your friend. Inara She's well worth taking advantage of, I sincerely hope you did. Mal So you're okay. Well, yeah. Why, why wouldn't you be? Inara I wouldn't say I'm entirely okay. I'm a little appalled at her taste.

Smiling, she turns and exits, leaving him come-backless.

INT. UPSTAIRS ROOM - MORNING
The sun's a mite higher now. Jayne stirs, stretches, as does Helen. Jayne pulls a gun free from between them. They spoon then go back to sleep.

INT. BACK ROOM - MORNING
We see Petaline, having dozed off. Track across the room to find Inara sitting on the floor in the corner. Sobbing her eyes out.

EXT. PLAINS - MORNING
Wash and Kaylee trek towards Serenity. Wash sips his coffee from a lidded MUG. He has a PISTOL holstered at his side.

Mal's voice comes in over Wash's RADIO HANDSET.

Mal (O.S.) Wash -- you there yet?

Wash pulls his radio off his belt and answers.

Wash All but. Nice day for a last stand, innit? Mal Nope. Plan to make a healthy few stands after this one. Just hopin' for some air support from your quarter, is all. Wash (nods) Couple of low fly-overs, engines tipped earthward at full blast, should give our guests something other than killin' you to think about. Mal (O.S.) What I like to hear... Out.

Wash clicks off his radio and clips it back to his belt.

Kaylee Captain seem a little funny to you at breakfast this morning? Wash Oh, Kaylee. We all know I'm the funny one.

INT. BORDELLO - MORNING
Mal walks behind some of the women, who stand in position at the bottom floor lobby windows, holding rifles. He himself is now armed for battle. He wears a RADIO EARWIG.

Mal You ladies and gentlemen all locked and loaded? Various People Locked and loaded. Got it. Yes, sir. Mal Good. Remember, shoot the man, not the horse. Dead horse is cover, live horse, great pile of panic.

He stops as a TRANSMISSION crackles in over his earwing.

Jayne (O.S.) (lewd chuckle) Whoa now, girl, that is just plain dirty --

He holds a finger up to his ear and hits the transmit switch.

Mal Jayne -- You are aware your radio's transmittin'?

INT. UPSTAIRS ROOM - MORNING
CLOSE ON RADIO HEADSET - which sits in a twist of bedspread. Jayne's hand enters frame, fumbling for it.

Mal (O.S.) Cause I don't feel particularly girlish or dirty at the moment.

Jayne picks up the radio and speaks into it as he untangles himself from Helen. He's dressed for war. She, not so much.

Jayne Oh, ah, yeah, just up here waitin' Captain. Ready one-hunnert-percent.

He grabs his weapon and looks out his window.

Mal (O.S.) Better be.

Jayne gives Helen a sharp businesslike nod, and she nods back.

INT. BACK ROOM - MORNING
CLOSE ON Petaline, who writhes in the throes of a contraction.

Petaline (continued scream)

Her legs are up and spread apart, concealed by a sheet. Inara holds her hand.
Inara leans in towards Petaline's face.

Inara You're stonger than this thing, honey. I can feel it in your grip...

(Petaline SCREAMS again)

Petaline, look at me--

Petaline looks up at Inara, who catches her eyes in an intense, almost hypnotic stare.

Inara (cont'd) This is just a moment in time... Step aside and let it happen...

As River watches intently, Petaline nods.

Nandi enters, stopping at Inara's side.

Nandi How is she, Doctor?

Simon speaks from a counter a short distance away, as he fits a VIAL OF MED into his HYPO-GUN.

Simon She's at ten centimeters. Not long now.

Nandi turns to Inara. They share a subtle exchange of looks. This should be cut to show they're communicating via expression alone -- Companions wordlessly reading each other.

Nandi smiles sadly, rest a hand on Inara's shoulder.

Nandi (O.S.) Inara... I thought it was just him...

Inara turns to Petaline. Then quietly:

Inara Nandi, believe me. I'll be fine.

They share a look and Nandi exits.

Simon comes to the bedside and injects something into Petaline's arm.

INT. HEART OF GOLD - A BIT LATER
Nandi comes to where Mal is. They get rifles ready over:

Mal Morning. How'er you doing? Nandi Mite tense. Mal (indicating upstairs) I'd like you best on the balcony with me. We can see everyone from up there, and if anything goes... Nandi You didn't give me the whole truth, Mal. Mal 'bout what? Nandi 'Bout her feelings for you. Mal I really don't know -- Jayne (on comm) Mal! Looks like we got some imminent violence!

EXT. PLAINS - ELSEWHERE - MORNING
A beat of quiet. Then the FAR-OFF SOUND of horses as a cloud of dust rises on the horizon. SMASH CUT TO --

-- MID-THUNDER with the MERCENARY HORSEMEN surging forward at full gallop, flanking Burgess' hovercraft.

Burgess pilots the hovercraft, expressionless, behind stylish mirrored goggles. Over his face, PRE-LAP Petaline's SCREAM OF PAIN --

EXT. BORDELLO - MORNING
Burgess and his riders, charging forward in the distance, trailing a plume of dust.

INT. BORDELLO LOBBY - MORNING
Mal, now standing on the interior balcony, looks through a slim pair of BINOCULARS.
We see many men and guns approaching. Rance drives his hovercraft. A machine gun is mounted on its rear with a man ready to fire.

Mal, now standing on the interior balcony, lowers a slim pair of BINOCULARS. He is not at all pleased.

Rance and his men approach even closer, ready for action.

Mal Zoe, Jayne -- you seein' this? Jayne (O.S.) Gotta be thirty men out there. Zoe (O.S.) Confirm that. Plus a mounted gun on that hovercraft. Jayne (O.S.) What's that you said about runnin' for it?

Mal takes a moment, visibly adjusting to the new odds. He lifts up his RIFLE.

Mal Okay, folks. We got no shortage of ugly ridin' in on us. But that don't change the plan.

Nandi climbs the stairs, gun in hand, addressing the whores.

Nandi Anybody here goes down, you drag 'em to the back, then get back to shooting. Only way to help them is to finish this.

She cocks her rifle then turns to Mal, smiles at him sweetly for a quick beat. Mal smiles back.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY - DAY
Kaylee and Wash enter through the SMALL DOOR. Kaylee closes the door behind them; something's not right-- She scans the bay as they start for the stairs. Mal CRACKLES IN over Wash's radio:

Mal (O.S.) Wash -- gonna be tradin' injuries in under two minutes. Like my sky a little less empty -- Wash Copy that, Mal. We--

Kaylee sees SHADOWY FIGURES on the catwalk above, and tackles Wash just as GUNFIRE rains down at them, SPARKING off the metal.
Wash slams down behind some metal crates, Kaylee on top of him. The radio skitters off into open floor; unreachable. But they have cover for the moment. Wash looks up into her face.

EXT. BORDELLO - DAY
The hovercraft HUMS forward, just ahead of the horsemen.

Lead horse SNAPS A TRIPWIRE, and the ROPE springs up out of the dirt, singing taut, catching THREE RIDERS in the throats and pitching them off their horses. The other riders duck, some slide sideways in thier saddles, clearing the line. Burgess calls back to KOZICK, the man on the crafts large MOUNTED GUN.

Burgess Open her up, Kozick--

Kozick nods, cranks back a lever and starts shooting -- MASSIVE MACHINE GUNFIRE flares.

INT. BORDELLO LOBBY - CONTINUING
Mal sees it coming and swings behind his shielding.

Mal Cover!

The women do the same, just as a HAIL OF MACHINE GUNFIRE rips through everything that isn't fortified.

Mal (cont'd) (into earwig) Jayne -- I do believe that's our first hurdle. You might --

EXT. BORDELLO - CONTINUING

Kozick, FIRING AWAY, is plugged in the chest and FLIPS BACKWARD off the hovercraft.

INT. UPSTAIRS ROOM - CONTINUING
Jayne pulls his eye away from his sight long enough to speak into his radio:

Jayne Think I might, Cap'n.

INT. BORDELLO LOBBY - CONTINUING
Mal calls to his troops.

Mal Fire!

They all swing out and unleash a BARRAGE OF FIRE from their positions. General mayhem, inside and out. A BOY WHORE falls away from a window down the line, bloodied by a gunshot. Mal RETURNS FIRE.
In the confusion, Chari crawls out of the room. Another whore is shot.
Nandi sees this and bristles, aiming another shot --

Nandi Wung bao dahn王八蛋
dirty bastard sons-of-
-

She FIRES.

EXT. BORDELLO - CONTINUING
A HORSEMAN takes it in the neck and flops off his horse.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY - DAY
Wash and Kaylee under fire. Wash is trading shots with his pistol, as THREE OF Burgess' MEN work their way along the upper catwalk. Wash and Kaylee fall back behind different crates, finally getting close to the door that leads to the COMMON AREA.

Wash GO!

Kaylee darts out, Wash behind her, fire a FLURRY OF SHOTS to cover their exit.
They get through the door.
The men race down the stairs after them. CAMERA FINDS the radio

Mal (O.S.) Wash -- Where the hell is my spaceship!?

EXT. BORDELLO - CONTINUING
Horsemen criss-crossing, SEVERAL get hit by GUNFIRE from the whorehouse, dropping them from their steeds.

A HORSE GOES DOWN, crashing into the FG and throwing its rider. The REST RETURN FIRE.

Burgess angles the hovercraft, flying parallel with the house front, still a ways off. He lifts his laser and FIRES a CONTINUOUS BEAM.
The BEAM sears along the front of the house, wavering between the second story windows and the eaves of the roof, which already started SMOKING.

INT BORDELLO LOBBY - CONTINUING
As the LASER BEAM races a RED-HOT LINE along their barricade, FLASHING through the gun-slits as Mal and the others hunker away.
Mal looks up, where he sees SMOKE pouring in from a TORN UP PATCH OF CEILING.

Mal Ruttin' lasers --

(into earwig)

Book -- Zoe -- Second hurdle --

EXT. BORDELLO - CONTINUING
FIRE HAS BROKEN OUT on the front facade of the whorehouse.
Book holds a hose. Zoe covers his back with her rifle. He starts up the hose, and a HISSING JET OF WATER sprays up toward the wall.

A HORSEMAN turns toward them, levelling his gun at Book. Zoe FIRES, taking him out.

INT. BORDELLO LOBBY - CONTINUING
Mal, Nandi, and the others continue BLASTING AWAY. Petaline's SCREAMING comes in from the back room.

INT. BACK ROOM - CONTINUING
Simon is in position, Petaline is bearing down hard and SCREAMING between breaths. River is fascinated and smiling. Inara holds Petaline in support.

Petaline [screams again] Simon That's it, Petaline, one more push--

She bears down.

Simon That's the shoulders... Good--

EXT. BORDELLO - CONTINUING
The horsemen are in chaos now, riderless and wounded horses stymie their efforts to fire on the house. Our guys are kicking ass!

Book catches sight of PAIR OF RIDERS behind Zoe, taking aim. He swings the hose around, BLASTING them off their horses with its powerful stream. Zoe shoots one of the men

INT. BORDELLO LOBBY - CONTINUING
Up on the balcony, Mal talks into his earwig as he scans the battlefield.

Mal Jayne -- I lost visual on Burgess -- Jayne (O.S.) Same here --

INT. SIDE OF HOUSE - CONTINUING
Burgess' hovercraft is up close to the house, and he's leaping off of it to the ground. A BULKHEAD CELLAR DOOR swings open. Chari is there, and ushers Burgess inside.

INT. SERENITY - DINING AREA - CONTINUING
The three Mercenaries move through the dining area, grimfaced, covering it with their guns, cursorily checking its nooks and crannies for their prey.

Mercenary 1 (pointing) Take the right.

A DOOR LOCKING SHUT calls their attention to the aft corridor.
They see Wash at its end and raise their guns.

Wash [that weird Robert Mitchum 'hoot!' from Night of the Hunter] Mercenary 1 Hey! There he is. Get him!

Wash darts into the engine room, narrowly missed by their FIRE as they move into the AFT CORRIDOR.
Kaylee pops out of CLEVER HIDING PLACE and swings the door shut behind them, then locks it.

INT. SERENITY - AFT CORRIDOR - CONTINUING
Before they can react, Wash swings the ENGINE ROOM DOOR shut as well, locking it. The passage leading off from the middle of the corridor is BARRED BY ITS DOOR. They're trapped.

INT. SERENITY - ENGINE ROOM - CONTINUING
Wash peers in through the thick glass porthole, issuing adrenaline-charged laughter.

Wash Ah-ha-ha-ha! Got you, you niao say duh goo-ay尿湿的赌鬼
piss-soaked pikers
.

(laughs again, then realizes he's trapped in engine room)

Nobody's going...anywhere...

INT. BACK ROOM - DAY
Simon lifts up a SWADDLED BABY, purple, newborn, squealing. Inara and River look on. Petaline is near delierious from childbirth.

Simon It's -- River It's a boy. Healthy.

A DOOR behind Inara opens, and Burgess is there, laser covering them.

Burgess (points his gun) Good mornin', Petaline...

BLACK OUT

 
Act 4
Say goodbye to your daddy, Jonah

INT. BORDELLO - LOBBY - CONTINUING
Nandi hears Petaline'S SCREAM first:

Petaline Rance! NO!

Mal is caught in the ebbing FIREFIGHT, but Nandi races down the stairs, toward the rear hall.

INT. BORDELLO - REAR HALL - CONTINUING
Burgess backs out of back room, where Petaline screams. He's got the BABY in one arm, laser pistol in the other. Nandi appears behind him, entering from the lobby, confronts him.

Nandi Rance. Most of your men are either dead, dyin', or run off. Burgess (aims his laser at Nandi) Oh, that don't matter none. i got what I came here for. Nandi Ain't leaving here with it. Burgess This is my blood, woman.

Burgess gestures towards the baby with his pistol.
Suddenly a slim arm snakes a nasty curved RAZOR in under Burgess' chin from behind, digging its tip into the side of his throat, DRAWING BLOOD. It's Inara, accompanied by two of Nandi's whores, as cold dead serious as we've seen her.

Inara (re: blood dripping down his neck) No. This is your blood.

(nods to a whore)

Now you hand that child over nice and slow, or I'll spill more than you can spare.

Burgess complies, wincing at the wound, handing the baby over to a whore, who backs out of the scene to safety.
As this happens, Burgess takes the pause to ELBOW Inara hard in the stomach. As she staggers back, he FIRES his laser from the hip, searing straight through Nandi's chest. He escapes out a side door.
Mal gets to the lobby end of the hall and moves to the fallen Nandi.

Mal touches Nandi. She's stone dead. He shares a look with Inara, there's murder in both their eyes. He hears the OS THRUM of the hovercraft starting up and turns for the front door.

EXT. BORDELLO - CONTINUOUS

ANGLE ON FRONT DOOR
The front door slams open and Mal stalks out, eyes forward.
Without dropping a beat, Mal PLUGS a horseman off his horse, and swings up into the saddle just as the man finishes falling.
Burgess' hovercraft rumbles out from behind the house, heading out for the plains.
Mal spurs the horse hard, and it tears off --

Mal Hyah!

EXT. OPEN LAND - DAY
A WIDE LANDSCAPE SHOT of Burgess speeding away in his hovercraft and Mal in pursuit, his horse kicking up dust as he whips and spurs it into a breakneck gallop.

Burgess sees Mal behind him and stands in his craft, steering with one hand as he turns back. He FIRES his laser--

The LASER BEAM cuts the air by Mal's head. Mal whips a burst of speed out of his horse as another BEAM sears past him.

Mal is closing in on the hovercraft, an easy shot. Burgess takes careful aim, and pulls his trigger. We hear a RAPID BEEPING. Burgess checks the display screen on his gun--

LASER GUN
The LCD screen flashes "CHECK BATTERY"

Burgess GROWLS, looking up just as Mal flies from his horse tackling Burgess off the hovercraft.
They slam into a hard roll on the plain.
Burgess has had the wind smashed out of him and writhes on the ground. Mal ain't much better, but drags himself to his feet using sheer force of will.
He grabs Burgess' shirtfront and hauls him up, pulling his pistol from his holster, bringing its barrel up to Burgess' head.

Mal You're gonna pay for what you've took. Burgess (still out of breath) She was just a whore.

Mal seethes with vengeful fury, he's about to pull the trigger, but then -- he flips the gun in his hand and smashes the butt across Burgess' face. Burgess collapses, unconscious.

CUT TO:

EXT. BORDELLO - DAY
Mal and Inara push Rance to the ground and tie the kneeling Burgess' hands behind his back.
TWO MEN CRASH INTO THE FRAME, as Jayne dumps the bruised and bloodied Serenity-crashers before the bordello steps.
Burgess' other men are also tied up.

Burgess (calling out) Petaline! YOU BRING MY BABY OUT! RIGHT NOW! YOU HEAR ME? I WANT TO SEE MY SON!

Petaline appears at the bordello door, the baby held at her shoulder. All eyes watch as she descends the steps and approaches Burgess.

Petaline Rance, this is Jonah.

(beat)

Jonah, say hi to your daddy.

Burgess smiles like a proud papa. He's actually moved at the sight of his son.
Petaline raises her free hand in which she holds Nandi's favorite gun. She aims it at Burgess' head. She fires. Rance drops face down to the ground.

Petaline (cont'd) Say goodbye to your daddy, Jonah.

Petaline looks up from Burgess' dead body, icy.

Petaline (cont'd) Go on. Go on home.

Petaline points her gun at Chari.

Petaline (cont'd) You go with them.

Chari breaks eye contact, falls in step with Burgess' men as they walk away.

Mal looks down.

DISSOLVE to Nandi in peaceful repose.

HIGH ANGLE

Lucy (V.O)

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound...

EXT. HILLTOP - DAY
LONG SHOT: A score of mourners have gathered around a makeshift cross beneath a large oak. This is a fusion of BUDDHIST and CHRISTIAN ceremony. A number of mourners are dressed in white robes, with Tibetan prayer beads draped over their clasped hands.
Lucy sings in a simple, quiet voice. (Think Margo Timmins.)

Lucy

That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind but now I see...

Lucy continues to sing. One by one, Nandi's staff steps up to the wooden cross marking her grave. At its foot is a low Asian-looking table, on which sits a bowl of smoking incense. They bow as they drop pinches of incense into the bowl. The crew of Serenity looks on, each sad, each lost in his or her own thoughts.
Lucy's singing continues as we --

CUT TO:
Serenity lifts off into a gorgeous, golden sunset.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY - NIGHT
Mal and Inara stand on the catwalk outside her shuttle. They are contemplative, subdued.

Mal Think those girls'll do all right. Inara She taught them well. Mal Yeah.

A beat.

Inara I'm, um... I'm glad you were with her. Her last night. I am. Mal Yeah, well. I ain't. Hell, I wish I'd never met her. Then I wouldn't've failed her. Inara That wasn't the way of it. Mal It's a kindness, but nothing you say'll convince me different. Inara Well, I'm still glad.

A small beat.

Mal So you weren't before?

He's looking at her direct. She looks away.

Mal (cont'd) Inara, I ain't looking for anything from you. I'm just, uh, just feeling kind of truthsome right now. But, uh... Life is too damn short for ifs and maybes. Inara I learned something from Nandi. Not just from what happened, but from her. The family she made, the strength of her love for them. That's what kept them together. When you live with that kind of strength, you get tied to it, you can't break away. And you never want to.

They're getting closer to each other, Mal's eyes locked on hers.

Inara (cont'd) There's something... There's something I should have done a long while ago. And I'm sorry -- for both of us -- that it took me this long.

A beat.

Inara I'm leaving.

Another moment, and she goes past him into her Shuttle.

He doesn't move.

BLACK OUT

End of Show