Out of Gas
Notes Episode information
Credits Details & Cast
Intro "It's a piece of fei-oo 废物
junk
"
Act 1 "This is all very do-able."
Act 2 "You offering me a job?"
Act 3 "You want me on your ship"
Act 4 "How big a room?"
Epilogue "You hear a word I been saying?"
 
 
Notes
You would have done the same
Travels:

Serenity is flying "under the radar" headed for Greenleaf when a fire occurs.

Time:

Outside of the flashbacks, everything occurs in one day..

Locations:

Everything occurs on board ship on the way to Greenleaf. We see the place where Mal first sees Serenity and the place where Mal and Zoe first meet Jayne but they are not identified. We are on Kaylee's homeworld when Mal meets her, though we do not see it nor is it named.

When meeting Kaylee Mal does mention to Bester a job waiting for them on Paquin. The salvage ship, S.S. Walden, has just come from a job on Ita moon.

Chinese:
 
 
Credits
Transcribed by: Shrift (modifications by me)
Original Air Date: October 25, 2002
Written by: Tim Minear
Directed by: David Solomon
Dax Griffin
Bester
Steven Flynn
Captain (S.S. Walden)
Roderick L. McCarthy
Jesse
Unknown
Billy
Unknown
Gun hand
Ilia Volok
Marco
Unknown
Jayne's bunkmate
Lyle Kanouse
Salesman
 
 
Intro Zoe meets Serenity
It's a piece of fei-oo 废物
junk

EXT. SPACE
Serenity motionless in space. No lights. No movement. No people.

INT. SERENITY - UPPER DECKS
Various shots of the ship.
The cockpit: empty.
The upper decks: empty.
The kitchen area is empty of people, but dishes and food still clutter the table.
The engine room. The entrance and walls are scorched. The big turbine isn't turning.

INT. SERENITY - BELOW DECKS
All the loose contents of the ship look like they've been tossed, bins and boxes and clutter strewn everyone. Still no one in sight.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY
More debris. More strewn cargo. Then,

Mal
Falls into frame, landing hard on the cargo bay floor. Pale and sweaty. And alone. He's obviously in extreme pain, struggling to stay conscious. As the camera PUSHES IN on his face, we start to HEAR VOICES:

Salesman (V.O.) A real beauty, ain't she? Yes, sir. A right smart purchase, this vessel. Tell you what, you buy this ship, treat her proper, she'll be with ya for the rest of your life.

Then the SOUND of the AIRLOCK DOORS opening. LIGHT hits him in the face, blinding him.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY - FLASHBACK
THE AIRLOCK DOORS open, revealing two FIGURES, SILHOUETTED by sunlight, BLUE SKY behind them.
The figures step onto the ship -- and now we see that it's Mal and Zoe. They enter the cargo bay.
The cargo bay itself is now totally empty. Everything is covered with a thick layer of dust.

Mal Well? Zoe (looking) You paid money for this, sir? On purpose? Mal What? Come on, seriously, Zoe. Whaddya think? Zoe Honestly, sir. I think you got robbed. Mal Robbed? What, no. What do you mean? Zoe It's a piece of fei-oo 废物
junk
.
Mal Fei-oo? 废物
Junk
Okay. She won't be winning any beauty contests anytime soon. But she is solid. Ship like this, be with ya 'til the day you die..
Zoe 'Cause it's a deathtrap. Mal That's not... you are very much lacking in imagination. Zoe I imagine that's so, sir. Mal C'mon. You ain't even seen most of it. I'll show you the rest.

(as they go)

And try to see past what she is, and on to what she can be. Zoe What's that, sir? Mal Freedom, is what. Zoe (pointing) No, I meant what's that?

He looks down.

Mal Oh. Yeah. Just step around it. I think something must've been living in here.

As they move off:

Mal I tell ya, Zoe, we find ourselves a mechanic, get her running again. Hire a good pilot. Maybe even a cook. Live like real people. Small crew, them as feel the need to be free. Take jobs as they come -- and we'll never be under the heel of nobody ever again. No matter how long the arm of the Alliance might get, we'll just get ourselves a little further. Zoe Get her running again? Mal Yeah. Zoe So not running now? Mal Not so much. Zoe Ah. Mal But she will.

He moves deeper into the ship. She follows. The camera doesn't.

Mal I already know what I'm gonna call her

(they're OFF SCREEN by now, fainter)

Got a named all picked out...

That last bit trailing off as their footsteps recede and their voices fade.
As the LAUGHTER echoes and fades, CAMERA MOVES DOWN to a TIGHT FACE in the f.g.
Mal, back in the present day, curled up on the cargo bay floor, wincing in pain.

Camera MOVES DOWN through the floor, to REVEAL that Mal is lying on top of a grate. A thick drop of Mal's blood drips through the grating.

BLACK OUT

 
Act 1 Wash meets Serenity
This is all very do-able

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY
Mal on the cargo bay floor. He struggles, forces himself to rise with great gasping and obvious pain. He grabs an engine part that's sitting next to him on the floor, moves off slowly.

INT. SERENITY - DINING AREA
Laughter from the assembled. Gathered are: Mal, Zoe, Jayne, Kaylee, Simon, Inara and Book.

Zoe (laughing) No! That is not true. No. Book I swear it is! Inara Surely one of you must have told him! Book No! Not one among the brethren had the heart to say anything. He was so proud!

LAUGHTER. Wash enters from the bridge.

Wash What? What was he proud of? Who he? Book Looked rather natty, truth be told, you know !

Another explosion of laughter. Wash is anxious to be let in on the joke.

Wash What was natty?

(as he sits)

I want to hear about the natty thing.

(reaches for serving bowl)

Book gets his laughter under control and takes a drink.

Kaylee Shepherd Book was just tellin' us funny stories about his life at the monastery. Wash Monastic humor. I miss out on all the fun.

(sees serving bowl is empty)

And all the food, too, apparently... Zoe Just who do you think you're married to?

Zoe lifts a napkin off a plate piled with food.

Zoe Voila! Wash I love my wife.

He kisses her.

Mal So we got a course set? Wash We do. Took a little creative navigating, but we should make it all the way to Greenleaf without running afoul of any Alliance patrols. Or a single living soul, for that matter. Mal Good. Way it should be. Wash 'course, what should be an 18 hour trip's gonna take us the better part of a week by this route. Mal We're in no rush. I like an easy, languorous journey.

Kaylee rises, picks up some plates.

Kaylee Oh, gee, I wonder what that would that be like? Simon (moves to assist) Let me help you with that -- Kaylee It's your turn. Simon (clueless) My turn...? Kaylee Shepherd told a funny story 'bout bein' a preacher. Now you tell a funny story about being a doctor. Simon A funny story... Jayne Yeah, 'cos sick people are hi-larious. Simon Well, they can be... uh...

(chuckles)

In fact, I remember there was this one time I was working the E.R. and this, this, uh, fellow, this very upright sort of citizen, comes in complaining of... Jayne (interrupts) Now Inara -- she's gotta have some real funny whorin' stories, I'd wager. Inara Oh! Do I ever! Funny and sexy. You have no idea.

(then)

And you never will.

Zoe snorts.

Inara I don't discuss my clients. Jayne Aww, come on, Inara. Who'd know? Inara You.

(then)

A Companion doesn't kiss and tell. Mal So there is kissing?

She shoots him a look. He smiles back. He wasn't being malicious.

Zoe Hey, doc?

He looks at her.

Zoe (nods behind Simon toward:) I think Kaylee may need your help after all.

He turns and is surprised to see her carrying aloft a ship-made birthday cake with mismatched candles.

Kaylee Care to make the first incision, Doctor Tam?

(then)

Happy birthday, Simon. Everyone (variously) Happy birthday! Yeah, many more. Happy Birthday, son.

Simon reacts, taken aback.

Simon Well this is... How - how did you know?

(glances to:)

River, did you -- ? River "Day" is a vestigial mode of time measurement based on solar cycles. It's not applicable.

(then)

I didn't get you anything. Mal Seems a fresh warrant for your arrest come up on the cortex. Had your birth date attached right to it. Simon (worried) Really? Kaylee (re: the cake) Hope you like it. Couldn't get a hold of no flour, so it's mostly protein. In fact, it's pretty much what we just had for supper. But I tried to get the frosting as chocolatey tasting as possible, so...

He looks at Kaylee.

Simon Thank you. I'm really - I'm very deeply moved. Thank you. Jayne Well deeply move yourself over there and blow out them candles so we can try a slice. Kaylee Come on, Doc. Give a good blow.

He smiles, nods, leans forward, is about to blow out the candles, when something makes a bad noise deep inside the ship.
A GRINDING back near the engine. The power DIMS and FLICKERS, the engine stops...
A beat. They all pause. Then the familiar HUM of the engines again.

Jayne What the hell was that? Kaylee Maybe just a hiccup. I'll go check it out.

She sets down the cake on the counter. Starts to move off.

Wash (rising) I'll take a look at the helm.

Now he heads off toward the bridge. River is staring at the cake.

River Fire...

Simon glances at her, then back to the cake. The candles.

Simon Okay, right.

He leans in to blow out the candles as --
Kaylee is stepping up to the door --
There is a huge EXPLOSION from the back of the ship, at the engine room.
Zoe is on her feet in an instant. She lunges for Kaylee as --

-- a giant BALL OF FIRE roils from the back of the ship, filling the corridor. Zoe shoves Kaylee clear of the doorway, but the FIREBALL bursts at the doorway and Zoe is knocked back hard by the concussion of the blast, her body glancing off the dinner table, then hitting a wall. Wash comes running back --

Wash Zoe!

Everyone's disoriented. Wash flies to his wife's side. Inara and Book move to Kaylee, who was shoved out of the way.
Another FIREBALL explodes toward the kitchen area when Mal forces the big metal door shut, latches it just before it hits. He's knocked back by the blast that impacts on the other side of the closed door.

River Fire! Fire!

Mal turns, sees that Simon is already with Wash by Zoe.

Wash Zoe, honey, talk to me -- you gotta talk to me, baby...

Mal passes Jayne as he moves toward the bridge, pausing only long enough to say:

Mal Seal off everything that leads below decks. Do it now!

Jayne moves to do that immediately. Mal runs to the bridge.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE
Mal works some controls on the console.

EXT. SPACE
As the ramp lowers into space.

INT. SERENITY - ENGINE ROOM
The fire rages.

INT. SERENITY - DINING AREA
Wash is panicky while Simon works on Zoe.

Wash Is she gonna be okay? Simon I need my med kit.

Simon rises, turns toward the aftdeck, sees that the door is shut.

Kaylee (shakes her head) Not this way. We got fire.

He turns, moves to the foredeck, steps up to --

FOREDECK DOOR
Jayne is just coming up from around the corner where he's sealed off that exit.

Jayne Where you think you're going? Simon Zoe's badly hurt. I need my medical supplies. Jayne Sorry, Doc. Nobody leaves. Everything's sealed up tight. Simon If you don't let me through, she could die. Jayne I let you through -- we all die.

Off this stand off,

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE
Mal continues to work the ship's controls.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY
The AIRLOCK DOORS open.

INT. SERENITY - ENGINE ROOM
The fire is sucked down toward the lower deck, toward the vacuum of space.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY
The fire goes ROARING through the cargo bay and, along with some loose cargo, is spit out into space --

EXT. SPACE
As the fire shoots out of the cargo bay, dissipating in cold space.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE
Mal watches through the bridge window as the fire shoots out, extinguishing itself in the vacuum.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY
As the ramp closes and the air lock doors close.

CUT TO:

INT. SERENITY - STAIRWELL
Serenity's dark. An injured Mal is stumbling down the steps toward the infirmary, engine part clutched in his hand. He opens the infirmary doors.

CUT TO:

INT. SERENITY - INFIRMARY
The infirmary door is shoved open and an uninjured Mal, Wash and Jayne carry in the unconscious Zoe, place her on the examination table. Simon gets right to work.
Everyone else is close at hand, variously in the infirmary and lingering outside in the common area.

Simon There's no sign of burning. It must be internal. I'll have to do a scan. Wash Baby. Zoe, can you hear me? Zoe. Come on, sweetheart, talk to me. Zoe. Come on, talk to me. Look at me, sweet--

He starts hooking her up to his equipment. Wash at his side, concern etched on his face. Mal fades back, away from the activity there, to:

INT. SERENITY - COMMON AREA
Kaylee is hovering just outside the door of the infirmary in the common area. Mal approaches her.

Mal Kaylee. Kaylee, look at me.

She does.

Mal I need you up in the engine room figuring out what caused this. Kaylee (feeling it) She ain't movin'.

Mal glances from Kaylee to Zoe through the glass. His attention is drawn back to Kaylee by:

Kaylee Serenity's not movin'. Mal I know it. Which is why we need to suss out what it was happened so we can get her going again, right?

(she nods)

Think you can do that? Kaylee Yes, Cap'n. Mal That's a good girl.

Kaylee gathers herself, heads off. Mal turns his attention back to:

INT. SERENITY - INFIRMARY
Simon works on Zoe. Wash is at his wife's side, panicky.

Wash Come on, baby. You're strong. Strongest person I've ever met. You can do this. Jayne She gonna make it? Simon Please. I need to work.

Mal appears at the door.

Mal Wash.

Wash won't look away from his wife.

Mal Wash, I need you on the bridge. Wash Zoe's hurt. Mal And the doctor's gonna do everything he can. Meantime, I gotta have you on that bridge. We need to know how bad it is. Wash (turning) How bad? It's bad, okay, sir? My wife may be dying, here. So my feeling is it's pretty damn bad. Mal Wash... Wash I'm not leaving her side, Mal. Don't ask me again. Mal (flatly) I wasn't asking. I was telling. Wash Chur ni-duh 去你的
Screw you
.

Mal sighs. Reaches in, grabs Wash by the shirt, swings him around, shoves him up against a wall.

Mal You're gonna get to the bridge and get us on our feet.

Beat. Mal eases off. Wash's back is now to the infirmary door.
Wash goes to the bridge, still angry and upset. Mal looks back to the faces looking back at him, then he exits, too.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE - FLASHBACK
Wash's pilot's chair. Empty. CAMERA moves off that to find Wash on his back, examining the cockpit innards. His face is obscured from us.

Wash (calmly) Yeah. This is all very do-able.

Wash slides out -- and the first thing we notice is the big moustache and the flat hair. Along with the Hawaiian shirt. He stands and now we see, outside the cockpit windows, BLUE SKY. Serenity's parked someplace on a planet.

Wash Shouldn't be a problem at all. A few modifications, get some real maneuverability out of this boat. You'd be surprised.

Mal and Zoe stand at the cockpit door as Wash looks the vessel over.

Mal So you'll take the job, then?

As Wash sits into the pilot's chair, gives it a little swivel.

Wash Might do, might do. Think I'm startin' to get a feel here. Mal Good. Well, take your time. Make yourself to home. Just, uh fiddle with the dials, there. We'll be nearby.

Wash swivels away from them. Fiddles with dials.

Mal AND Zoe
Moving away from the cockpit, down the foredeck, toward the dining area as they confer.

Mal He's great, ain't he? Zoe I don't like him. Mal (taken aback) What? Zoe Something about him bothers me. Mal What? What about him bothers you? Zoe I'm not sure. It's just... something. Mal Well, your "something" comes up against a list of recommendations long as my leg. Tanaka raved about the guy. Renshaw's been trying to get him on his crew for a month. And we need us a pilot. Zoe I understand, sir. He bothers me. Mal Look, we finally got ourselves a genius mechanic. It's about time we hired someone to fly the damn thing.

A BUFF BLOND GUY, BESTER, passes through frame.

Bester (nodding) "Genius." No one's ever called me that before. Shiny.

Zoe ignores Bester, still thinking about Wash.

Zoe (shrugs) Just bothers me.

INT. SERENITY - INFIRMARY - HEART MONITOR
Starts to BEEP an ALERT. Zoe's hooked up to the equipment now. Simon reacts.

Simon Her heart's stopped...

Inara, Book and Jayne
Looking on, helpless. Nervous.

Book Maybe someone should get her husband down here. Mal No.

They see Mal has appeared. He moves into the infirmary. Simon's racing around the infirmary, grabbing things.

Mal What do you need, doc?

As Simon chooses a vial --

Simon (pointing) That drawer. Right there --

Mal pulls it open. Sees a large sterile hypo.

Simon That's the one.

He hands it to Simon, who doses it up.

Inara What is it? Simon Pure adrenaline.

Simon readies himself, poises the needle right over Zoe's heart. Inara cringes and turns away. Simon plunges the needle in. Zoe's body JOLTS and we,

CUT TO:

INT. SERENITY - INFIRMARY
Mal HOWLS in pain. He's alone in the infirmary, sitting on the edge of the examination table, wrapping a bandage around his midsection. It's already stained with blood. He breathes hard, then tries to rise. He nearly passes out from that. He manages to steady himself, moves to the counter, rummages around in some of Simon's supplies -- comes up with another needle like we saw Simon shoot up Zoe with. He injects himself, reacts violently.

CLOSE - Mal
His eyes wide, wide awake. He falls back, hands shaking. PUSH IN on his hand as he drops the needle.

Kaylee (O.S.) Cap?

INT. SERENITY - INFIRMARY
An uninjured Mal turns away from the table where Zoe lies. Now the medical monitor beeps a constant, steady rhythm. Mal moves to Kaylee at the infirmary door. She looks pale, worried. They step into --

INT. SERENITY - COMMON AREA

Kaylee Zoe gonna be okay? Mal You let the doctor worry about Zoe. Come on. Tell me what you know. Kaylee Catalyzer on the port compression coil blew. That's where the trouble started. Mal I need that in Captain Dummy-Talk, Kaylee. Kaylee We're dead in the water. Mal Can you fix it? Kaylee I could try. Mal Just get us to limpin'. That's all I need.

She looks at him. Nearly staring.

Mal What? What is it? Kaylee Well, it's worse than just the coil. Mal How can it be worse? Kaylee Main life-support's down on account of the engine being dead. Mal Right. But we got auxiliary life support -- Kaylee No. We don't. It ain't even on. Explosion musta knocked it out. Mal So what are we breathin'? Kaylee Whatever got pumped into the atmo before the explosion shut it all down.

Jayne has overheard part of this, joins them.

Jayne Most of that oxygen got ate up by the fire on its way out the door. Kaylee Well, whatever's left is what we got.

Mal takes a beat.

Mal How long? Kaylee A couple of hours, maybe. We'll start to feel it, and then we won't feel nothing at all.

BLACK OUT

 
Act 2 Kaylee meets Serenity
You offering me a job?

EXT. SPACE
Serenity, not moving.

INT. SERENITY - INFIRMARY

Simon checks the still unconscious Zoe's vitals. Inara appears at the infirmary door.

Inara How is she? Simon She's till unconscious. But her vitals are strong. She won't know it, but as long as her condition remains like this, she'll outlive us all.

(then)

She's using less oxygen.

He moves into the common area. Sits. She joins him.

Simon I always thought the name Serenity had a vaguely funereal sound to it. Inara I love this ship. I have from the first moment I saw it. Simon I just don't want to die on it. Inara I don't want to die at all. Simon Suffocation's not exactly the most dignified way to go. The human body will involuntarily -- Inara Please, I don't really require a clinical description right now. Simon I'm sorry. I just, uh...

(beat)

It was my birthday.

He smiles wistfully. She smiles back. Puts her hand over his.

INT. SERENITY - BOOK'S ROOM
Book sighs, sitting at his little table reading the Bible.

River (O.S.) Don't be afraid.

He looks up, a bit startled.

River (re: his Bible) That's what it says. Don't be afraid. Book Yes. River But you are afraid. Book Yes. River You're afraid we're going to run out of air. That we'll die gasping.

(then)

But we won't. That's not going to happen.

He looks at her, taken by her utter certainty.

River (flatly) We'll freeze to death first.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE
Wash sits in his chair, upset.

Mal You get that beacon sent? Wash Yeah, it's sent. Mal Good. Wash Pointless. Mal What was that? Wash Nothing, sir. It's a brilliant plan, I'm sure we'll all be saved. Mal I'm getting a little weary of this attitude, Wash. Wash Are you? Well, I'm so very sorry, sir. I guess the news that we're all gonna be purple and bloated and fetal in a few hours has made me little snippy. Mal It's possible someone might pick up that signal. Wash (pissed) No, Mal. It's not possible. No one's gonna pick up the damn signal. You wanted us flying under the radar, remember? Well, that's where we are: out of range of anyone or anything. Mal Then make it go further. Wash I -- What? Mal Make the signal go further. Wash Can't make it go further. Mal Not if all you're gonna do is sit here and whinge about it, no. Wash What do you expect me to do, Mal? Mal Whatever you have to. And if you can't do it from here, then get a suit on and get out on the side of the boat and -- Wash (voice rising) And what? Wave my arms around? Mal Wave your arms around, jump up and down. Divert the nav sats to the transmitter. Whatever. Wash Divert the...? Right. Because teenage pranks are fun when you're about to die. Mal Give the beacon a boost, wouldn't it? Wash Yes, Mal. It would boost the signal, but even if some passerby did happen to receive, all it'd do is muck up their navigation. Mal Could be that's true. Wash Damn right, it's true! They'd be forced to stop and dig out our signal before they could even go anyplace!

A beat as Wash let's what he just said sink in. He snaps:

Wash Well, maybe I should do that, then! Mal (snapping back) Maybe you should! Wash Okay! Mal Good! Wash Fine! Jayne Hey!

Jayne has appeared in the doorway.

Jayne What the guay 
hell
you think you're doing? Fighting at a time like this.

They both ease off. Cool down.

Jayne (as he turns and goes) You'll use up all the air!

A KLAXON SOUNDS and WE ARE:

INT. SERENITY - AFTDECK CORRIDOR
ENGINE PART slams down into FRAME. PULL BACK to REVEAL:
INJURED Mal - struggling around the corner.
Mal stumbling down the corridor toward the engine room. The ship warns over the klaxon:

Serenity (V.O.) Life support failure. Check oxygen levels at once.

Then the same ALERT repeats IN CHINESE.

Serenity (cont'd; V.O.) Jeo-shung yong-jur goo-jang. Jien-cha yong-chi gong yin 救生系统故障。检查氧气供应
Life support failure. Check oxygen levels at once.
.

CUT TO:

Mal APPEARS in the engine room doorway. He's uninjured.

Mal Bester!

And WE ARE:

INT. SERENITY - ENGINE ROOM - FLASHBACK

Mal What's this I hear 'bout yet another delay?

As Mal moves closer to the engine room, we can make out Bester'S ARMY BOOTS sticking out from under the engine. The faint sound of erotic moaning.

Mal You were supposed to have that engine fixed and us up and --

Bester's shorts are down around his army boots. He's having energetic sex with an unseen FEMalE. Mal averts his eyes. The erotic moaning? A lot louder now.

Mal What in the name of suo-yo duh doh shr-dang 所有的都适当
all that's proper
-

(long beat)

Bester.

Still with the energetic sex.

Mal Bester.

More with the energetic sex.

Mal Bester!

Clanging and scuffling noises. Bester climbs out, bare chest showing off intricate tattoos, yanking up his shorts.

Bester What?

Bester just looks at Mal innocently.

Mal You do realize we been parked on this rock a week longer than we planned? Bester Yeah, but... uh, there's stuff to do. Mal As for example that job we got waitin' for us on Paquin. When we landed here you said you needed a few days to get space worthy again and is there somethin' wrong with your bunk? Bester What?

More impatient staring, then Bester gets it and laughs.

Bester Oh! No, Captain.

(leans forward)

She like engines. They make her hot. Mal Bester. Get your prairie harpy off my boat, and put us back in the air. Bester Okay. But... can't. Mal Whaddya mean "can't." Bester No can do, Cap. Secondary grav boot's shot. Kaylee (O.S.) No it ain't.

Kaylee pops up, getting dressed. The men look at her.

Kaylee Ain't nothing wrong with your grav boot. Grav boot's just fine.

(to Mal)

Hello.

She drops down again, out of view. Mal glances at Bester. Bester's a bit flustered.

Bester (to Mal) She doesn't... that's not what...

(to Kaylee)

No it ain't! Kaylee (reappearing) Sure it is. Grav boot ain't your trouble. I seen the trouble plain as day when I was down there on my back before. Your reg couple's bad. Bester (clueless) The... red... what? Kaylee Reg couple. Right here. See? Bester (beat) No. Kaylee This.

(then)

I'm pointin' right at it.

She rolls her eyes, sighs, reaches in, breaks off a part of the engine.

Bester Hey! Kaylee Here.

She plunks the part in Bester's hand. She reaches back in, tinkers.

Kaylee (re: a nearby wrench) Hand me that, will ya? Don't really serve much of a purpose, anyway. Just tends to gum up the works when it gets tacked. So I figure, why even have one? Better to just take your g-line, plug it straight into the port-pin-lock, and that should, uh...

She's done. The turbine starts to turn.

Kaylee There. Bester What'd you do? Mal She fixed it. Kaylee Well, it wasn't really broke.

Bester looks at the part in his hand.

Mal Where'd you learn to do that, miss? Kaylee (shrugs) Just do it, that's all. My daddy says I got natural talent. Mal I'll say you do at that. Bester (re: the part) Don't we need this? Mal You work for your daddy, do you? Kaylee Well, when he got work, which ain't been too often lately. Mal You got much experience with a vessel like this? Kaylee I ain't never even been up in one before. Mal Wanna? Kaylee You mean...? Mal Sure. Kaylee For how long? Mal Long as you like. Long as you can keep her in the sky. Kaylee You offering me a job? Bester What? Mal Believe I just did. Kaylee (big smile) I just gotta ask my folks!

She pulls her hastily assembled wardrobe about her, pushes past Mal and a stunned Bester.

Kaylee Don't leave without me!

Mal watches Kaylee go, amused. Bester just blinks.

Bester Mal. Whaddya need two mechanics for? Mal I really don't.

INT. SERENITY - ENGINE ROOM

Mal Kaylee!

Mal has entered the engine room. He looks off screen seeing --

-- Kaylee is just sitting there, forlorn. She's holding the same piece of equipment that Mal was dragging in here. But the one she's got is twisted and melted. She stares at it.

Mal Kaylee, what are you doing? Kaylee Sorry, Captain. I'm real sorry. I shoulda kept better care of her. Usually she lets me know when something's wrong. Maybe she did, I just wasn't paying attention... Mal (patiently) I cannot be having this from you right now. We got work to do. Dong ma 懂吗
Understand
?.
Kaylee (re: the engine part) Catalyzer's broke. Gonna need a new one. Mal There is no new one. You gotta make do with what you got. Kaylee It's broke.

She just sits there. He gently makes her stand up.

Mal Come on. This the part?

(she nods)

It don't hardly seem like nothing. All right. Where's it go?

She shows him the spot in the engine.

Kaylee Here. But it don't fit no more.

He tries to install it, but no go.

Mal Well you gotta figure a way to make it fit. Kaylee Sometimes a thing gets broke, can't be fixed. Mal Without this, engine don't turn?

She shakes her head "no".

Engine don't turn, life support won't function. We don't breathe. You want to keep breathin', don't you?

She nods.

So do I.

A KLAXON SOUNDS and WE ARE:

INT. SERENITY - ENGINE ROOM
Where the ALARM originated. Mal, gut-shot, listens to the ship warning him that:

Serenity (V.O.) Life support failure. Check oxygen levels at once.

Then the same ALERT repeats IN CHINESE.

Serenity (cont'd; V.O.) Jeo-shung yong-jur goo-jang. Jien-cha yong-chi gong yin 救生系统故障。检查氧气供应
Life support failure. Check oxygen levels at once.
.

Mal's fumbling with the ship part, trying to install the catalyzer into the failed compression coil.
He wipes sweat from his brow with the back of his hand -- leaving a smear of blood above his left eye. He blinks it back.

The KLAXON continues to sound. The ship's message repeats in English again.

Mal nearly has the part installed, but it slips from his bloody fingers and drops into the engine. He can't believe that just happened. And as the alert continues to sound --

BLACK OUT

 
Act 3 Inara meets Serenity
You want me on your ship

INT. SERENITY - COMMON AREA
Everyone sits huddled together. They're wearing coats and blankets. It's cold. Mal stands before the assembled, grim.

Mal As you're all keenly aware, we've run into a bit of a situation. Engine's down, life support's on the fritz, and I got nine people here all wanting to breathe. Truth is, ain't got a whole lot of options at this juncture.

A beat. They all look back at him.

Mal So... instead of focusing on what we don't got -- time to talk about what it is we do. And what we got are two shuttles. Short range. Won't go far. But each got heat, and they each got air. Last longer than what's left in Serenity. Simon Long enough to reach someplace? Mal No. Book So... where will we go, then? Mal Far as you can get. We send both shuttles off in opposite directions -- betters the chances of someone being seen, maybe getting picked up.

(beat)

Shepherd Book, Kaylee, Jayne will ride with Inara in her shuttle. Doc, you and your sis will go with Wash and Zoe -- seein' as how Zoe still needs some doctorin'. Kaylee What about you? Mal Four people per shuttle. That's the arrangement. Evens the odds.

(beat)

I'm staying with Serenity. Kaylee Captain. Mal We sent out a beacon. Even managed to boost it a little. By some chance, we get a response, someone's gonna have to be here to answer.

Nobody believes that's going to happen.

Mal Let's get those shuttles prepped.

Wash stands, starts moving to the stairs near the infirmary.

Mal Wash -- shuttles are that way. Wash I know. But like you said -- someone might answer the beacon. And when they do, I want to make sure that you can call everyone back. Won't take but a minute.

Mal nods. Wash moves off.

Mal Jayne, you get shuttle number two ready. I'll see to Inara's.

(to everyone else)

Let's get moving.

(as he goes)

Take only what you need.

Mal moves off. Everyone's a bit stunned. Inara moves to follow Mal.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY/CATWALKS
Mal heads up the catwalks, moving toward Inara's shuttle. She appears, following.

Inara Mal... Mal You fly smart, don't push too hard, shuttle life support should last you a good long while. Inara Mal, this isn't the ancient sea. You don't have to go down with your ship. Mal She ain't going down. She ain't going anywhere.

(then)

Jayne'll be worth something if you run into trouble. But don't trust him, and don't let him take over. You're paid up through the end of the month. It's still your ship. Inara Mal... Mal As far as your security deposit goes... that I might have to owe you.

He enters her shuttle. She follows.

INT. INARA'S SHUTTLE - FLASHBACK

Inara steps through first. She's wearing different clothing. Mal steps in behind her. The shuttle is empty. Mal's showing her the "property."

Mal Well, here she is.

She steps in, takes in the space for the first time.

Mal Nice, ain't she? Inara Smallish. Mal Not overly. How much room do you really need for what you do, anyway?

She ignores that. She moves into the cockpit. Blue sky outside the windows. Mal follows.

Mal I got a surveyor and his wife interested in renting it. They're just waiting to hear back. Inara What's her range? Mal Standard short. She'll break atmo from a wide orbit. Get you where you need to go, bring you back home again.

(beat)

She's space worthy. Like the rest of Serenity is. Inara No need to sound so defensive, Captain.

(moving past him)

I prefer something with a few miles on it.

He watches her as she moves into the main chamber, looking it over.

Inara Were we to enter into this arrangement, Captain Reynolds, there are a few things I would require from you. The foremost being complete autonomy. This shuttle would be my home. No crew member, including yourself, would be allowed entrance without my express invitation. Mal You'd get your privacy. Inara And just so we're clear, under no circumstances will I be servicing you or anyone who is under your employ. Mal I'll post a sign. Inara That won't be necessary. The other thing I would insist upon is some measure of assurance that when I make an appointment with a client, I'm in a position to keep that appointment. So far as such assurances are possible on a vessel of this type. Mal That's an awful lot of caveats and addendums there, miss. Inara As I stated, I just want to be clear. Mal Well. I'll be sure and take all of that into consideration when I review the applications. Inara Don't be ridiculous. You're going to rent this shuttle to me. Mal Am I? Inara Yes. And for one quarter less than your asking price. Mal That a fact? Inara It is. Mal And you figure you'll be getting this discount... why exactly? Inara You want me.

(beat)

You want me on your ship. Mal Do I? Inara Yes. Because I can bring something that your surveyor or any of the other fish you might have on line can't -- a certain respectability. Mal Respecta -- Inara And based on what little I've seen of your operation, I suspect that's something you could use. Mal Fine. Let me ask you this: if you're so respectable, why are you even here? I mean, I heard tell of fancy ladies such as yourself shipping out with the big luxury liners and the like. But a registered Companion on a boat like this? What are you running from? Inara I'm not running from anything.

He doesn't believe her.

Mal If it's Alliance trouble you got, you might want to consider another ship. Some on board here fought for the Independents. Inara The Alliance has no quarrel with me. I supported Unification. Mal Did ya? Well, I don't suppose you're the only whore that did.

She looks at him. Smiles.

Inara Oh -- one further addendum. That's the last time you get to call me "whore."

She walks past him.

Mal Absolutely. Never again.

INT. INARA'S SHUTTLE
Mal moves about the cockpit.

Mal Keep everything set as low as possible. Don't waste what you got.

She pushes him out of the way.

Inara Let me do that. You never could operate this thing.

He lets her take over. They look at each other. Long beat.

Mal And try not to talk. Talking uses up air. Ain't no need for it.

(moves toward door)

Inara Mal... come with us. Mal Can't. Four to a shuttle, Inara. Four. Inara One more. You know it can't make a difference. Not now. Mal I'm not leaving Serenity. Inara Mal -- you don't have to die alone. Mal Everybody dies alone.

HOLD on their look for a moment.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE
Wash appears in the doorway.

Wash Everything's set and ready.

REVEAL - Mal moving toward the bridge.

Mal Good. Wash I linked the nav systems of both shuttles into the helm, here.

Wash points out a LARGE, RED BUTTON on the navigation control panels.

Wash When your miracle gets here, you just pound this button once. It'll call back both shuttles.

Mal nods. Wash wants to say something. He's about to speak, but before he can:

Mal Go see to your wife.

Wash takes a beat. Then exits.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY
Mal walks with Jayne. Jayne has a duffle and some guns slung over his shoulder.

Jayne I went ahead and closed off all below deck vents. Diverted what's left to the bridge. Ain't much. So my advice is, seal off everything tight behind you on your way back up. Might buy you some time.

Mal nods. He's looking up at the upper catwalks.

Jayne And I prepped a suit for you. It's hanging in the foredeck. So when the time comes, you can -- Mal (cuts him off) I won't be needing it, but thanks. Jayne Okay. Well.

Jayne takes a beat. Then he moves off, heading up the catwalk stairs.
To the left, Wash and Simon carry a stretcher with unconscious Zoe into the second shuttle. River follows.
Mal looks to his right. Book and Kaylee enter Inara's shuttle. Inara stands at the doorway, looking down at him.

Wash - At the door to shuttle two. He slides the door shut.
Jayne - Reaches the top of the catwalk. Motions for Inara to go inside. A beat. Her eyes on Mal. Then she disappears inside. Jayne follows, shuts the door. Mal stands alone in the big, empty cargo bay, then exits as:

EXT. SPACE
The two shuttles detach from Serenity and go their separate ways off into space.

INT. SERENITY - UPPER DECK
Mal closes off the door to the aftdeck. Moves through the kitchen area and into the foredeck, slides that door shut behind him, too.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE
Mal closes off the bridge, takes out a blanket and wraps it around him, then sits in the pilot's chair.
He's cold and drowsy from lack of oxygen.

EXT. SPACE
Serenity. Silent. Alone. Dark. Unmoving.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE - LATER
Some time has passed. Mal is looking half frozen and unconscious in the pilot's chair. He doesn't react to the SOUND of a SIGNAL as it starts come through on the console.

CLOSE - MONITOR
THE SIGNAL on the console. A FUZZY IMAGE. A MAN'S FACE through the STATIC.

Captain (breaking up) (V.O.) Firefly Serenity... This is the private salvage S.S. Walden. Receiving your distress beacon, do you read?

The message continues to repeat and CRACKLE.
Mal sits motionless. Not hearing it.
More STATICKY SIGNAL. More CRACKLING. But now Mal starts stir slightly. A few more WORDS of the DISTRESS REPLY crackle through...
Mal forces his heavy-lidded eyes open just as... The transmission ends.
No more signal.
Mal tries to orient himself. His head lolls as he looks to the now silent monitors. His bleary eyes shift up to the window --

ANOTHER SHIP
Twice the size of Serenity --rises up there, right in front of the windshield.

EXT. SPACE
The S.S. Walden nose-to-nose with the smaller Serenity.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE
Mal on the bridge, more alert. WE SEE the IMAGE of the CAPTAIN of the Walden on the vid monitor.

Captain I'm sorry for your troubles, Captain. They sound many. But you do understand that I can't invite you aboard my vessel. I don't know you. Mal I ain't asking for a ride, Captain. Just a little push is all. Captain Right. Your mechanical trouble. Your compression coil, you say? Mal It was the catalyzer. Captain Not even the coil? Catalyzer's a nothing part, Captain. Mal It's nothing till you don't got one. Then it appears to be everything. Captain Well, it is possible we might have something that could do you. We just come from a big salvage job off Ita Moon. Mal I'd appreciate it. Captain Trouble is... how can I know for certain your story's true? Ambush could be waiting for me and my people on the other side. Mal You can plainly see my shuttles've been launched, just like I said. And by now you've scanned me. You know I got no life support. Captain I don't expect to see any weapons when we board. Mal And I do expect to see that engine part before I open the door. Captain (smiles) I feel like maybe we can do business.

The Captain's face disappears from the monitor.

EXT. SPACE
As the S.S. Walden's airlock attaches to that of Serenity.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY
Mal, breathing very shallow, waits near the standing airlock door controls.
The Captain appears at the airlock doors. He holds up the catalyzer at the window. Mal activates the airlocks doors.
As the doors open, there is a tremendous RUSH OF AIR from other side. Mal savors it, closes his eyes for a beat, just breathing it in. When he opens his eyes again --

-- The Captain and his FOUR LACKEYS have their guns raised and aimed at him. Mal's hands go up.

BLACK OUT.

 
Act 4 Jayne meets Serenity
How big a room?

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY
Right where we left off, Mal with his hands up and guns pointed at him.

Captain Check him.

One of Captain's crew moves in, frisks Mal as --

Captain (to another lackey) Search the ship. Start in the cockpit, work your way down. Mal This what you meant by ambush? Captain (smiles) We're just verifying your story.

(to lackeys)

You find anyone on board not supposed to be -- you shoot 'em.

As the lackeys go --

Mal Thought we were gonna be reasonable about this? Marco Reason?

Suddenly, we are:

EXT. SERENITY - RAMP/CARGO BAY - DAY - FLASHBACK
On the open ramp of Serenity and this time it's Mal and Zoe with their hands up -- THREE BANDITS are holding guns on them, and MARCO is their leader.

Marco (to his partner) He's gonna talk to us about "reason," now. Jayne Yeah. That's a joke.

REVEAL Jayne as part of the gang holding Mal and Zoe at gunpoint.

Mal AND Zoe -- a brief, sotto voce exchange:

Mal Which one you figure tracked us? Zoe The ugly one, sir. Mal

(beat)

Could you be more specific?

BACK TO THE BANDITS

Marco Do we look reasonable to you? Mal Well. Looks can be deceiving. Jayne Not as deceiving as a low down dirty... deceiver. Mal Well said. Wasn't that well said, Zoe? Zoe Had a kind poetry to it, sir. Jayne You want I should shoot 'em now, Marco? Marco Wait until they tell us where they put the stuff. Jayne That's a good idea. Good idea. Tell us where the stuff's at so I can shoot you. Mal Point of interest? Offering to shoot us might not work so well as an incentive as you might imagine. Anyway, we've hidden it. So, you kill us, you'll never find it. Jayne Found you easy enough. Mal Yeah. Yeah you did, didn't you?

(then)

How much they paying you? Jayne Huh? Mal I mean, let's say you did kill us. Or didn't. There could be torture. Whatever. But somehow you found the goods. What would your cut be? Jayne Seven percent, straight off the top. Mal Seven? Oh.

Mal looks surprised. Jayne squints.

Jayne What? Mal Hmm? Nothing. Not a thing. No, I just...

(to Zoe)

That seem low to you? Zoe It does, sir. Jayne That ain't low... Marco Stop it. Jayne Seven percent's standard. Mal (laughs) Okay. Zoe, I'm paying you too much. Jayne Why? What does she get? MARCO Knock it off. Mal Look, forget I said anything. I'm sure you're treated very well. You get the perks. Got your own room.

(off Jayne's reaction)

No? You share a bunk? Jayne (re: the other guy) With that one. Mal Really? Marco Jayne, this ain't funny. Jayne Yeah, I ain't laughin'. Mal You move on over to this side, we'll not only show you where the stuff's at -- we'll see to it you get your fair share. Not no sad "seven." Jayne Private room? Marco Jayne! Mal Your own room. Full run of the kitchen. Whole shot. Marco Jayne. I ain't askin' --

Jayne shoots Marco in the leg and AIMS his gun at the other bandit in his gang.

Jayne Shut up.

(to Mal)

How big a room?

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY
The Captain with his gun trained on Mal. The others start to return to the cargo bay.

Lackey #1 Ship's clear, Captain. Captain You check the engine room? Lackey #1 (nods) It's like he said. Catalyzer's blown. That's all he needs. Mal You know anything that's worth anything's really right here in this cargo bay. So you take a look around, decide what you think is fair. Captain Already decided.

The Captain shoots Mal in the gut. Mal falls back, onto the floor.

Captain We're taking your ship.

Mal presses his hand to his gut -- it comes away bloody. The Captain coolly instructs his crew, and tosses the catalyzer to one of his men.

Captain Billy, get this plugged in. Jesse, call Stern over here. You and him'll pilot this pile of go-se狗屎
[dog] crap
out of here.

Mal'S POV
There is a gun strapped to the underbelly of a nearby workbench.

Captain We'll get it as far as --

He stops short as he hears the sound of a GUN being COCKED --

CAPTAIN'S POV
Looking down the barrel of Mal's gun.

Mal (eyes on Captain) Jesse, don't call Stern. Billy, leave the catalyzer. Captain (nods) Do as he says.

The lackey with the catalyzer sets it on the cargo bay floor.

Mal (to Captain) Take your people and go. Captain You would have done the same. Mal We can already see I haven't.

(then)

Now get the hell off my ship.

And now the Captain and all his men back away to the air lock doors. Mal, through sheer force of will, keeps the gun on them, moves to the air lock door controls. Closes hits the button as they step through. The doors shut.

And Mal collapses on the cargo bay floor.
Exactly where we first found him.

EXT. SPACE
As the larger salvage ship detaches from Serenity and heads off.

INT. SERENITY - VARIOUS

The SOUND of the KLAXON repeating the life support warning, as we cut to various scenes.

Serenity (cont'd; V.O.) Jeo-shung yong-jur goo-jang. Jien-cha yong-chi gong yin 救生系统故障。检查氧气供应
Life support failure. Check oxygen levels at once.
.

The cargo bay floor, blood smeared there.

The infirmary, and the trail of blood left behind by the wounded Mal.

CUT TO:

INT. SERENITY - ENGINE ROOM

Serenity (V.O.) Life support failure. Check oxygen levels at once.

Gut-shot Mal fishes out the part to the compression coil. Works to fit it into the damaged engine. It takes some arduous work -- his hands are shaking -- but he does it.

Serenity (cont'd; V.O.) Jeo-shung yong-jur goo-jang. Jien-cha yong-chi gong yin 救生系统故障。检查氧气供应
Life support failure. Check oxygen levels at once.
.

He fires it all up - the turbines start to spin. It works. The ALERT stops. Power is restored. Life support functioning again.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE

CLOSE SHOT of the BIG RED button Wash installed to contact the shuttles.

INT. SERENITY - CORRIDOR
Mal'S POV - Mal is dragging himself to the bridge, flashes of his bloody hands in frame.

INT. SERENITY - KITCHEN AREA
Mal'S POV - He stumbles drunkenly through the kitchen toward the foredeck doorway.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE
Mal stumbles through the doorway of the bridge, breathing heavily.
He tries to reach the button, but only makes it halfway before his body gives out. He passes out on the bridge floor.

BLACKOUT.

VOICES. Familiar voices. Growing more present as Mal wakes up in --

INT. SERENITY - INFIRMARY
Mal blinks as he sees --
-- Simon, Book, Inara, Jayne, then River, then Wash, and finally Zoe, who's laying on a bunk nearby. No one is directly facing him. Various backs to him. They're in conversation, though since we're in Mal's POV we can't quite make out what they're saying.

PUSH IN on Mal's disoriented face.

Inara I feel like maybe we should do something about all the blood. I don't think it's something he should see when he wakes up. Jayne He seen blood before. Lots of it. Inara Yes, I'm certain that's true, but sometimes it seems different when it's one's own blood. Jayne Well I didn't shoot him, so don't look at me for the scrubbin' of it. Inara No one's asking you to scrub anything. Although a bath wouldn't kill you. Zoe (to Wash) I guess it's a fair bet to say I missed birthday cake. Wash It's okay, honey. Nobody got to have any. It's still on the floor and some of the walls upstairs, though. If you want I'll run up there and scrape up a piece. Zoe You'd do that for me? Wash I'd do anything for you. You know that.

PULL BACK off Mal's face to reveal that Zoe's the first to notice that Mal's come into consciousness. She smiles at him.

Zoe Welcome back, sir.

The others follow her look, see he's waking up.

Mal (disoriented) I go someplace? Book Very nearly. Inara We thought we lost you. Mal Well, I've been right here.

Mal notes Wash hooked up to an IV -- he's giving Mal a transfusion. Mal doesn't quite understand that.

Mal Wash, you okay? Wash (amused) Yeah, Mal. I'm fine. Mal You got a thing in your arm. Wash Yeah. Simon (to Mal) Try not to speak. You're heavily medicated and you've lost a lot of blood. Mal Oh.

(then, realizing)

Thought I ordered you all off the ship?

The others exchange looks.

Mal (to Wash, trying to remember) I call you back? Wash No, Mal. You didn't. Zoe I take full responsibility, cap. Simon The decision saved your life. Zoe Won't happen again, sir. Mal (to Zoe) Good. And thanks. I'm grateful. Zoe It was my pleasure, sir.

They hold the look between them. Jayne observes that exchange.

Jayne Well, hey, you know. We'da been back first, except there's something wrong with Inara's shuttle. She done somethin' to it, Mal. Smells funny. Inara I told you, that's incense. Jayne So you say.

Kaylee enters. Sees that Mal's awake.

Kaylee (brightly) Hey, Captain. Mal Hey. Kaylee You fixed the ship. Good work. Mal Thanks. Simon All right. I have to insist. The captain needs to rest. Mal (nodding off) Yeah. Think the doc might not be wrong about that one. Just gonna need a few...

(forces himself not to drift)

You all gonna be here when I wake up? Book We'll be here.

Mal allows himself to close his eyes.

Mal 'kay.

(eyes closed, smiles)

That's good...

As we PUSH IN closer to his face, we start to HEAR VOICES:

Salesman (V.O.) Yep. A real beauty, ain't she? Yes, sir. A right smart purchase, this vessel.

BLACK OUT

 
Epilogue Mal meets Serenity
You hear a word I been saying?

EXT. USED SPACE SHIP LOT - DAY

Salesman I tell you what, you buy this ship, treat her proper, she'll be with ya for the rest of your life.

Now WE SEE that they're standing in front of a totally different ship. Big and yellow, and not Serenity.

Salesman Son? Hey, son?

The Salesman notices that Mal doesn't seem to be paying attention.

Salesman You hear a word I been saying?

He hasn't. Because he's looking across the lot at something else.

Across the lot sits Serenity, dirty, broken-down, and entrancing.

BLACK OUT

End of Show