Passengers
Notes Episode information
Credits Details & Cast
Intro "Cry, Baby, Cry"
Act 1 "Wheel never stops turning"
Act 2 "Protein in all the colors of the rainbow."
Act 3 "Way it is is the way it is."
Act 4 "Why don't we shoot her first?"
Act 5 "Nice place for an ambush."
Act 6 "We're good, people."
Epilogue "We're still flying."

Pop Apostle notes that both the pilot episode and the movie have the same name and likes to break these into hour-long 'episodes' and so the pilot becomes "Serenity" and "Government Goods" and the movie becomes "Triggered", "A Better World" and "Living Weapon".

Liking the idea of different names for the pilot and movie we rename the pilot as Passengers leaving the movie as Serenity.

 
 
Notes
You're coming with us
Travels:

They start out on the derelict ship. Then they travel to Persephone. They leave there headed for Boros with a stop at Whitefall.

Time:

Wash says it will be 3 or 4 hours to get from the derelict to Persephone. Mal tells Kaylee that they will leave Persephone 3 hours after arrival. After leaving they have dinner with Book's food. That night Dobson waves the Alliance and Kaylee gets shot. Serenity runs, Simon fixes Kaylee, River is uncorked, Simon explains and Jayne interviews Dobson. The next morning Mal tells Simon Kaylee is dead, Patience calls, they land and meet with her. The Reavers show up and they run.

All this takes place in two days.

Locations:

We see Persephone and Whitefall. Mal mentions Londinium. The ship is headed to Boros. Simon says he was a surgeon in Capital City on Osiris.

Notes:
 
Kaylee
I'd sure love to find a brand new compression coil for the steamer.
Mal
And I'd like to be king of all Londinium and wear a shiny hat...
Kaylee
Compression coil busts, we're drifting...
Mal
Best not bust then.

This is the first time we hear Kaylee tell Mal about the compression coil that almost kills them in Out Of Gas.

Chinese:
 
 
Credits
Transcribed by: Shrift (modifications by me)
Original Air Date: December 20, 2002
Written by: Joss Whedon
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Eddie Adams
Bendis
Colin Patrick Lynch
Radio Operator
Andy Umberger
Captain (Dortmunder)
Domingo Vara
Ensign #1
Stephen O'Mahoney
Ensign #2
Philip Sternberg
Inara's client
Jamie McShane
Man (from the Brutus)
Rabatan Salem (?)
Door Guard (uncredited)
Mark A. Sheppard
Badger
Kyle Kulish
Bookkeeper (uncredited)
Gabrielle Wagner
Slave woman
John F. Kearney
Old Man
Carlos Jacott
Laurence Dobson
Bonnie Bartlett
Patience
Brian J. Williams
Two-Fry
 
 
Intro
Cry, Baby, Cry

EXT. SERENITY VALLEY - NIGHT
We come into the middle of a battle. Soldiers are yelling and running, gunfire everywhere, stuff blowing up but good.

Camera focuses on a soldier in the silhouette of an explosion, running and dodging fire. He hits the dirt for cover. We PUSH IN and see that it's Mal. His face is dirty and he's breathing hard.

Mal's up again and running to rejoin his company in a makeshift foxhole.

Radio Operator Sergeant, Command says air support is holding till they can assess our status. Mal Our status is that we need some gorram air support. Now get back on line and tell 'em to get in here. Zoe That skiff is shredding us, sir. Radio Operator They won't move without a lieutenant's authorization code, sir.

Angry, Mal walks over and rips off the badge from a dead Lieutenant's uniform and gives it to the Radio Operator.

Mal Here, here's your code. You're Lieutenant Baker. Congratulations on your promotion. Now get me some air support!

(to Zoe)

Pull back, just enough to wedge 'em in here. Get your squad to high ground, start picking 'em off. Zoe High ground is death with that skiff in the air. Mal That's our problem. Thanks for volunteering.

(to Bendis)

Bendis, give us some cover fire. We're going duck hunting.

The foxhole is rocked by a huge explosion. Mal's group of soldiers are looking pretty young and scared. Time for a morale boost:

Mal Just focus!

(beat)

The Alliance said they were gonna waltz through Serenity Valley and we choked 'em with those words. We've done the impossible and that makes us mighty. Just a little while longer, our angels are gonna be soaring overhead raining fire on those arrogant khang, so you hold!

(yelling)

You hold! Go!

His soldiers take up their positions to lay down cover fire while Mal and Zoe prepare to take down the skiff.

Zoe Really think we can bring her down, sir? Mal Do you even need to ask?

Mal pulls a necklace out from under his shirt and kisses the cross.

Mal Ready? Zoe Always.

Mal takes off. Zoe prepares to follow, sees that no one's covering Mal.

Zoe Bendis? Bendis!

She sees Bendis huddled across from her, scared stiff.

Zoe (cont'd) (angrily) Rut it.

Zoe grunts and stands up, laying cover fire for Mal as he moves down the hill. After a moment, she follows Mal down the hill, taking cover with him behind some boulders. Mal fires into the bushes, causing the soldier guarding a bigass gun to move out of his cover and return fire. Mal shoots him dead.

Mal activates the bigass gun's targeting system while Zoe covers him. Mal locks a target on the skiff that's been killing them in the battle and fires. He makes a direct hit and stands back from the bigass gun.

Mal Yeah!

(manly grunt)

Then Mal realizes that the skiff is outta control... and headed right for him. Oh, shit. Mal starts running.

Mal Zoe!

Mal and Zoe run as the skiff hits the ground and plows past them, exploding. Mal and Zoe hit the ground flat on their backs. Mal starts laughing. Zoe looks long-suffering.

Zoe (entering foxhole, to Bendis) Nice cover fire. Mal Did you see that? Green, what's our status on...

Mal trails off as he realizes Green is pretty damn wounded, possibly deader than a dead thing.

Mal Zoe.

She looks up. Mal points. Zoe moves to check Green. Mal moves to sit near Bendis.

Mal (cont'd) Hey, listen to me. Bendis, look at me! Listen, we're holding this valley no matter what. Bendis We're gonna die. Mal We're not gonna die. We can't die, Bendis. You know why?

(beat)

Because we are so very pretty. We are just too pretty for God to let us die. Huh? Look at that chiseled jaw. Huh? C'mon.

There's a roaring sound overhead. Zoe is listening on the radio.

Mal (cont'd) If you won't listen to me, listen to that. Those are our angels coming to blow the Alliance to the hot place.

(to Zoe)

Zoe, tell the 82nd -- Zoe (stunned) They're not coming.

(beat)

Command says it's too hot. They're pulling out. We're to lay down arms.

Mal's stunned, in denial. He looks at Bendis.

Mal But what's...

Slowly, Mal stands and peeks over the top of the foxhole. His face is lit from their air support rising and retreating. Bendis stands next to him. Mal's in shock, watching his last hope pull out of the fight.

Beside him, Bendis is hit by enemy fire and falls. Mal doesn't notice.

PUSH IN on Mal's bloody face. On the disbelief.

INT. BLOWN-OUT SHIP - NIGHT
We are in some kind of burnt out wreck - all we see is twisted black metal, a few stars visible through breaches in the hull.

From top of frame, Mal floats upside-down into a close up. He is in a space suit. The title reads

SIX YEARS LATER

Mal The vault's sealed.

(beat)

Okay. I'm gonna boil it. Jayne, give me the sticky.

WIDEN to see Zoe and Jayne also suited up. They are in zero gravity, floating by a big iron door.

Jayne hands Mal an object that looks like a glue gun. Mal squeezes the trigger and clear gel comes out with a line running through it. He paints a line around the outside of the door.

ANGLE: THE GEL
as it eats through the door.

Mal Okay. We get the goods, we're off this wreck and back on the ship. No worries.

PULL BACK rapidly through the burnt out ship to REVEAL Serenity.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE - CONTINUOUS
Wash sits in the pilot's seat. He's concentrating intensely.

Wash Everything looks good from here...

(beat)

Yes. Yes, this is a fertile land, and we will thrive.

He's playing with little plastic dinosaurs. He holds a Stegosaurus and a T-Rex. The dinosaurs look out over his dash/console, toward the window.

Wash (cont'd) (as Stegosaurus) We will rule over all this land, and we will call it... "This Land."

(as T-Rex)

I think we should call it "your grave!"

(Stegosaurus)

Ah, curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!

(T-Rex)

Ha ha HA! Mine is an evil laugh! Now die!

(Stegosaurus)

Oh, no, God! Oh, dear God in heaven!

He makes them fight. As he does, a light near him flashes red. He stops fighting, looks, then looks at a sort of radar screen.

ANGLE: THE RADAR SCREEN
has got three other dinosaurs on it. He sweeps them off as a blip appears in the upper right quadrant, closing fast.

Wash (cont'd) Oh, motherless son of a b--

INT. BLOWN-OUT SHIP - CONTINUING
A piece of metal goes flying past Jayne.

Zoe Full pressure. The goods must be intact.

ANGLE: INSIDE THE CHAMBER
Three crates, roughly the size of hay bales, sit in the dark.

Mal (cont'd) Okay. Looking good.

A voice sounds simultaneously in all three headsets: Wash.

Wash (O.S.) Captain, we got incoming! Alliance cruiser, bearing right down on us! Mal Ta ma de.他妈的
Fuck
Have they spotted us?
Wash I can't tell if -- Mal Have they hailed us? Jayne If they're here for the salvage, we're humped. Zoe If they find us at all, we're humped. Thievin' ain't exactly -- Jayne I don't like this. Mal Bih-zway闭嘴
Shut up
. Wash, shut it down. Everything but the air.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE - CONTINUOUS

Wash Shutting down.

He is flipping switches, we hear engines running down, lights go off - he hits the com:

Wash (cont'd) Kaylee! Kaylee!

INT. ENGINE ROOM - CONTINUOUS
Kaylee's running into frame toward the engine room. She gets inside:

Wash Go to black out! We're being buzzed!

She hits the com --

Kaylee Shoo uh
Affirmative
, goin' dark --

and keeps moving, hitting switches. She climbs up on the engine to flip the last switch. Everything goes pretty damn black.

Kaylee (cont'd) Okay. Now I can't get down.

EXT. SPACE - CONTINUING
An Alliance Cruiser. Sleek and huge. The I.A.V. DORTMUNDER.

Captain (O.S.) So what am I looking at?

INT. DORTMUNDER BRIDGE - CONTINUING

Ensign #1 It's a carrier, blew out a few months back. Lost all hands, but it was only run by a skeleton crew anyway. Captain Damn shame. No point in checking for survivors...?

INT. BLOWN-OUT SHIP - CONTINUING

Mal Wash, they slowing down?

INTERCUT WITH:
INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING

Wash That's a neg. Don't think they're interested in us. We should be eating wake in a minute or two.

INT. BLOWN-OUT SHIP - CONTINUING
Mal waits as through a piece of ripped out wall behind him, the ship, impossibly huge and dangerously close, passes by.

ANGLE: MAL'S FACE
As the reflection of the passing ship plays across his faceplate. He is silent. So are the others.

EXT. BLOWN-OUT SHIP - CONTINUING
As the cruiser passes by, leaving the ship behind, all clear...

INT. DORTMUNDER BRIDGE - CONTINUING
A MAN seated at a screen suddenly looks concerned.

Ensign #2 Sir, there is a reading on that thing. Some residual heat... Captain Do a sweep.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE - CONTINUOUS
An alarm sounds, lights blink.

Wash Ai ya, hoo ah lay哎呀!坏了
Damn
! Captain! We're humped.

INT. BLOWN-OUT SHIP - CONTINUING

Mal Prep the ship now.

(to the others)

We move these in, double-time.

They float to the crates, start dragging them.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE - CONTINUOUS
Hitting buttons.

Wash Kaylee, fire it up.

INT. DORTMUNDER BRIDGE - CONTINUING
The captain is watching the screen.

Ensign #2 It's a transport ship. Firefly class. Ensign #1 They still make those? Captain Illegal salvage.

INT. BLOWN-OUT SHIP
Continue conversation over Mal, Zoe, and Jayne retrieving the cargo:

Captain Lowlife vultures picking the flesh off the dead. Ensign #1 Should we deploy gunships and bring her in? Captain Do it.

INT. BLOWN-OUT SHIP
Mal, Zoe and Jayne all float their crates past the twisted wreckage.

Mal Cry, Baby, Cry. Wash Make your mother sigh. Engaging the crybaby.

EXT. SPACE - CONTINUING
Behind some little moon, we see a tiny jet-propelled satellite thingy, beeping out its distress signal. It's small and rough, and has written on a piece of tape: "Crybaby #6".

INT. DORTMUNDER BRIDGE - CONTINUING

Ensign #2 Captain, I am picking up a distress signal thirteen clicks ahead from a... it sounds like a personnel carrier...

INT. BLOWN-OUT SHIP/AIRLOCK OF SERENITY - CONTINUING
Mal, Zoe and Jayne all float their crates past the twisted wreckage and into the airlock.

EXT. SPACE - CONTINUING
The crybaby beeps.

INT. DORTMUNDER BRIDGE - CONTINUING

Ensign #2 Definitely a big ship, sir, and she is without power.

INT. AIRLOCK OF SERENITY - CONTINUING
Mal hits the button and the airlock door shuts. Hits another and gravity hits, the three of them landing on their feet, crates dropping, as air rushes in.

Mal hits the com.

Mal Wash! We're on. Go!

EXT. BLOWN-OUT SHIP - CONTINUING
Serenity begins to disengage from the wreck, rear end flaring.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE - CONTINUING
Wash is seated, all business now.

Wash Hang on, travelers...

INT. AIRLOCK - CONTINUING
Everyone grabs something, as Jayne pulls off his helmet.

Jayne Let's moon 'em.

EXT. SERENITY - CONTINUING
As the ship turns away from us, the back lights up -- the entire bulbous back end glowing beneath a metal grid.

The ship fires away from us.

INT. DORTMUNDER BRIDGE - CONTINUING

Ensign #2 They're rabbiting, sir. Should we continue deployment? Captain (considering) Our gunships'd never get back to us in time. All right, let's go help these people.

(to the Ensign #1)

But put out a bulletin on the Cortex, and flag Interpol: a Firefly with possibly stolen goods onboard. Maybe somebody'll step on those roaches.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO HOLD - CONTINUING

Wash (O.S.) We look shiny, Captain. They are not repeat not coming about. Zoe Close one. Jayne Any one you walk away from, right? Long as we got the goods, I call this a win. Mal Right.

He looks away.

Mal (cont'd) We win.

BLACK OUT

 
Act 1
Wheel never stops turning

INT. SERENITY - CARGO HOLD - LATER
A crate is jimmied open. It is Jayne with the crowbar, Mal who pulls the top off, looking in. Zoe, Wash and Kaylee are also about.

Mal Well that sure enough don't hurt to see.

ANGLE: IN THE CRATE are bars that look a lot like gold.

Kaylee (excited) They're awfully pretty... Wash I'd say worth a little risk. Jayne Yeah, that was some pretty risky sittin' you did there. Wash That's right, of course, 'cause they wouldn't arrest me if we got boarded, I'm just the pilot. I can always say I was flying the ship by accident. You know, that pretty -- Mal (harshly) Bih-zway闭嘴
Shut up
.

He has a bar in his hand, is looking at it up close.

Zoe Problem, sir?

Clearly, yep, there is. But Mal tries to cover.

Mal (after a moment) Couldn't say.

(tosses the bar back)

But we'd best be gettin' rid of these before we run into another Alliance patrol. Jayne What the hell they doin' out this far, anyhow? Kaylee Shining the light of civilization. Jayne Doesn't do us any good... Kaylee Well, we're uncivilized.

As they talk, Mal approaches Wash, talking over them.

Mal How long 'til we reach Persephone? Wash Three or four hours. Mal Can we shave that? Wash (shakes his head) We're down to the wire on fuel cells. We run hot, we might not even make it. Mal 'kay. Play it as close as you can. This catch is burning a hole in my hull. Zoe Think that cruiser could've I.D.'d us? Mal Let's hope not. Contact Badger, tell him the job's done. Don't go to mentioning the cruiser, though. Keep it simple. Zoe Sir, we're sure there's nothing wrong with the carg -- Mal It's fine. I just wanna get paid.

They head up the ladder as Mal turns his attention to:

Mal (cont'd) All right, let's get these crates stowed. I don't want any tourists stumbling over them. Kaylee We're taking on passengers at Persephone? Mal Yeah, that's the notion. We could use a little respectability on the way to Boros. Not to mention the money. Jayne Pain in the ass... Kaylee No, it's shiny! I like to meet new people. They've all got stories... Jayne Captain, can you stop her from bein' cheerful, please? Mal I don't believe there is a power in the 'verse that can stop Kaylee from being cheerful.

He smiles at her, never stopping working.

Mal (cont'd) Sometimes you just wanna duct tape her mouth and dump her in the hold for a month.

She grins and kisses his cheek.

Kaylee I love my captain.

INT. SERENITY - UPPER CORRIDOR/BRIDGE - CONTINUING
As Wash and Zoe crest the ladder and head to their positions, talking.

Zoe I know something ain't right. Wash Sweetie, we're crooks. If everything were right, we'd be in jail. Zoe It's just that the Captain's so tense... Wash The man needs a break. In fact, we could all use a couple days' leave. Zoe We still gotta drop the goods. Wash And when we do, we fly off to Boros rich and prosperous. Well, less poor. But with enough to find some sweet little getaway.

They enter the bridge. He moves closer, wrapping her in his arms.

Zoe Oh, wouldn't mind a real bath... Wash Yeah, and a meal that included some sort of food. Zoe Ooh. Wash Just a couple of days lying around, you with the bathing. Me with the watching you bathe.

They're closer now.

Zoe (definitely interested) If the captain says it's all right...

Wrong. Wash shuts his eyes a moment, rests his head on hers, quietly pissed. He breaks apart.

Wash What if we just told Mal we needed a few days, 'stead of asking him? Zoe He's the captain, Wash. Wash Right. I'm just the husband. Zoe Look, I'll ask him. Wash (sitting) Don't forget to call him 'sir'. He likes that. Mal Who likes what?

Instinctively, Zoe's demeanor changes as Mal enters, her bearing more erect, military.

Zoe It's nothing, Sir. Mal Has the Ambassador checked in yet? Wash Naw, I think she had a pretty full docket. Mal (to Zoe) Well, after you talk to Badger, let her know we may be leaving Persephone in a hurry. Zoe Inara knows our timetable. I'm sure she'll be checking in soon. Wash Well, I can tell her to cut it short, meet us at the docks. Mal No, no. Don't want to get in her way if we don't have to.

(leaving)

Somebody on this boat has to make an honest living.

INT. INARA'S CHAMBER - NIGHT
Artful tapestries. The sound of heavy panting.
We pan down to see that Inara is being made love to by an eager young man. She is beneath him, his face buried in her neck.

Inara Oh... Oh.... oh my god... oh...

He tightens, relaxes, becomes still. She runs her hand through is hair and he pulls from her neck, looks at her with sweaty insecurity. She smiles.

INT. SAME - LATER
They are seated on cushions, close to each other, sipping tea from small cups. She is wearing a robe.

Inara Sihnon isn't that different from this planet. More crowded, obviously, and I guess more complicated. The great city itself is... pictures can't capture it. It's like an ocean of light. The Young Man Is that where you studied? To be a Companion? Inara I was born there. The Young Man I can't imagine ever leaving.

FLASH CUT to Inara looking pensive, staring off into the distance.

CUT BACK to the scene in progress.

Inara Well, I wanted to see the universe.

He looks down at his cup a moment.

The Young Man Do you really have to leave? I mean... I, my father is very influential, we could... I could arrange for you to be...

She smiles sweetly and looks down. He doesn't continue.

INT. Inara'S CHAMBER - LATER
The young man is dressed and on his way out.

The Young Man Experience has been more than -- it was very good. Thank you. Inara The time went too quickly. The Young Man Your clock's probably rigged to speed up and cheat us out of our fun.

The smile vanishes from her face. He looks guilty, then ducks out of the chamber.

She takes a moment, then she moves across the room and pulls aside a tapestry that conceals the cockpit. Gets in the pilot's seat and hits a switch and continues hitting them as she talks.

Inara Serenity, this is Shuttle One, what's your ETA? Wash (O.S.) Inara, hey. We're touching down at the Eavesdown docks in about ten minutes. Inara I'll join you there, thanks. Wash (O.S.) Looking forward to it. We missed you out here. Inara (softly) Yeah. Me too.

She punches a few buttons, rides the joystick, and the cockpit begins to shake slightly as we CUT TO:

EXT. CITY - DAY
The outside of the shuttle, which rises slowly into the air. The shuttle is exiting from one of the many huge skyscrapers, joining the heavy air traffic. It flies off.

EXT. EAVESDOWN DOCKS - DAY

We see Serenity as she touches down at the Eavesdown docks. It's a bustling bazaar, ships lined up next to each other, each one advertising passage or selling goods.

This district is much poorer than the gleaming city where we just saw Inara.

The airlock opens, the ramp coming down and our gang piling out.

Mal (to Kaylee) This shouldn't take long. Put us down for departure in about three hours.

(to Wash)

Grab any supplies we're low on. Fuel her up.

Kaylee moves to a computerized placard in front of their 'parking space', starts entering data.

Kaylee I'd sure love to find a brand new compression coil for the steamer. Mal And I'd like to be king of all Londinum and wear a shiny hat. Just get us some passengers. Them as can pay, all right? Kaylee Compression coil busts, we're drifting... Mal Best not bust, then.

Wash comes down the ramp driving the mule. Zoe, Jayne and Mal start off. Wash stops the mule and calls out:

Wash Zoe. Juh ta ma yao ming. Joo-yee真他妈要命。注意
This is dangerous. Watch your back
.
Zoe We will.

EXT. EAVESDOWN DOCKS - DAY
We're in the middle of the bazaar. We see a sign that advertises: Good DOGS! We see a griddle, with some suspicious looking cuts of meat sizzling on it. A man works the griddle.

We see, passing through the frame, Shepherd Book. He drags a few boxes and suitcases on a sort of wheeled papoose, carries another suitcase in his hand. As he moves on, looking about him, he is approached by MAN, who's in his face a bit.

Man You going on a trip, grandpa? Need safe passage? We're cheap. We're cheap. We're clean.

(pointing)

The BRUTUS, the best ship in the 'verse. What's your des, grandpa? We're hitting the outer rings. Book (after glancing at the ship) I never married. Man What? Book I'm not a grandpa.

EXT. ALLEY - DAY
Mal, Jayne, and Zoe walk down a dim alley and enter:

INT. BADGER'S OFFICE - DAY
Mal, Jayne and Zoe come down the alley, halted by a thug.

The office is dim and dingy. The ceiling has grates over it -- we can hear the traffic above, and every now and then the bright white of a vehicle spills through the grate. On one side are stairs leading up to ground level and a door beside, at the other end an oversized, beat up desk and a way into the back through a curtain.

Badger's busy inspecting a young woman.

Badger Let me see your teeth.

She gives him a big smile. He pulls her lip up.

Badger (cont'd) Yes.

She is shoved behind the curtain. As she is, yet another thug leads Mal, Zoe and Jayne down the stairs. Badger doesn't look at them, heading for his desk and sitting down.

Badger (cont'd) You're late. Mal You're lying. Badger What did you just say to me? Mal You're well aware we landed two hours 'fore we planned to, with all the goods you sent us after intact, ready to roll. So your decision to get tetchy, say we're late, means you're looking to put us on the defensive right up front. Which means something's gone wrong. It didn't go wrong on our end, so why don't we start again with you tellin' us what's up?

A beat. A mean little smile from Badger.

Badger You're later than I'd like. Mal Well I am sorry to hear that.

Badger briefly holds up what appears to be digital paper: a clear, pliable piece of plastic with words and images running across it, constantly changing.

Badger If you'd gotten here sooner, you might've beaten the bulletin that came up sayin' a rogue vessel, classification 'Firefly', was spotted pulling illegal salvage on a derelict transport. Mal Didn't ID us. Doesn't lead to you. Badger No, it doesn't. But a government stamp on every molecule of the cargo just maybe might.

Zoe looks at Mal -- that's what he didn't say when he examined the bars.

Badger (cont'd) Oh, you noticed that. You were gonna hand over imprinted goods and just let me twist, is that the case? Mal We didn't pick the cargo. Badger And I didn't flash my ass at the gorram law. There's no deal. Zoe That ain't fair. Badger Crime and politics, little girl: the situation is always... fluid. Jayne Only fluid I see here is the puddle of piss refusing to pay us our wage.

Badger stands up angrily and all his thugs draw their weapons.

Mal glares at Jayne until he puts his gun back in his holster, then Mal steps forward, smiling.

Mal It doesn't have to go this way. You know you can still unload those goods. So I can't help thinking there's something else at work here. Badger What were you in the war, that big war you failed to win? You were a Sergeant, yeah? Sergeant Malcolm Reynolds, Balls and Bayonets Brigade. Big tough veteran. Now you got yourself a ship and you're a captain. Only I think you're still a Sergeant, see. Still a soldier, man of honor in a den of thieves.

(in his face)

Well this is my gorram den, and I don't like the way you look down on me. I'm above you. Better than. I'm a businessman, see? Roots in the community. You're just a scavenger. Mal Well, maybe I'm not a fancy gentleman like you with your... very fine hat... but I do business. We're here for business. Badger Try one of the border planets -- they're a lot more desperate there. Of course, they might kill you, but you stay here and I just know the Alliance'll track you down. I have that feeling.

Beat. Mal's pissed. Jayne's itching for a fight.

But Mal turns to go. As he's leaving, he says:

Mal Wheel never stops turning, Badger. Badger That only matter to the people on the rim.

EXT. EAVESDOWN DOCKS - LATER
Book moves on to Serenity, Kaylee sits outside it in a lawn chair, holding a rainbow-striped parasol. He looks at the ship, never stopping, 'til Kaylee says, smiling:

Kaylee You're gonna come with us. Book Excuse me? Kaylee You like ships. You don't seem to be looking at the destinations. What you care about is the ships, and mine's the nicest.

He does stop, gives the ship a look-over.

Book She don't look like much. Kaylee Well, she'll fool ya'. You ever sail in a Firefly? Book Long before you were crawling. Not an aught three, though. Didn't have the extenders, tended to shake.

Kaylee gets up from her lawn chair, walks over to Book, twirling her parasol.

Kaylee So, uh, how come you don't care where you're going? Book 'Cause how you get there is the worthier part. Kaylee Are you a missionary? Book I guess... I'm a Shepherd, from the Southdown Abbey. Book, I'm called Book. Been out of the world for a spell. Like to walk it a while, maybe bring the word to them as need it told. Kaylee Well, I'm Kaylee. This is Serenity, and she's the smoothest ride from here to Boros for anyone who can pay.

(beat, worried)

Can you pay, or... ? Book Well, I've got a little cash, and, uh...

He picks up a small wooden box from his luggage. Shows her the contents. She goes a little bit wide-eyed, eyeing the contents lustfully.

Kaylee Ooh, grampa... Book I never married.

EXT. EAVESDOWN DOCKS - LATER
We are now following Mal, Zoe and Jayne back to the ship.

Jayne I don't understand why we didn't leave that sumbitch in a pool of his own blood. Mal We'd be dead. Can't get paid if you're dead. Jayne Can't get paid if you crawl away like a bitty little bug, neither. I gotta share of this job. Ten percent of nothing is -- let me do the math here -- nothing into nothing, carry the -- Zoe So we'll find a buyer on Boros. There's gotta be a -- Mal Boros is too big. It's crawling with Alliance, they could just be waiting for us. Zoe You really think Badger'll sell us out to the Feds? Mal If he hasn't already.

PAN LEFT to reveal a couple of Alliance soldiers standing in the street, watching our group as they walk past.

Zoe Alliance catches us with government goods, we'll lose the ship. Mal That's never gonna happen. Zoe Sir, we could just dump the cargo. Jayne No ruttin' way. We ain't had a job in weeks. I didn't sign on with this crew to take in the sights. We need coin. Mal Jayne, your mouth is talking. You might wanna look to that. Jayne Oh, I'm ready to stop talkin' -- Mal You're right, though. The last two jobs we had were weak tea. We got nothing saved, takin' on passengers won't help near enough.

(beat)

We don't get paid for this cargo, we don't have enough money to fuel the ship, let alone keep her in repair. She'll be dead in the water. Zoe So we do like Badger said? The border planets? Mal I'm thinkin' Whitefall, maybe talk to Patience... Zoe Sir, we don't want to deal with Patience again. Mal Why? Zoe She shot you. Mal Well, yeah, she did a bit... still -- Zoe So we find somebody else. Horowitz. Mal He can't afford it. Zoe Holden boys. Mal They wouldn't touch it. Do you want me to go through the list? Capshaw's are brain-blown. Gruvick's dead -- Zoe He's dead? Mal Town got hit by Reavers. Burned it right down. Jayne I ain't goin' nowhere near Reaver territory. Them people ain't human. Mal Whitefall is the safest and the closest. Been a long time since Patience shot me and that was due to a perfectly legitimate conflict of interest. I got no grudge. She owns half that damn moon now. She can afford what we got and she just might need it. Zoe I still don't think the old lady's the way.

ANGLE: Wash on the mule, about to pull a big blue box up the ramp into Serenity's cargo hold.

Mal (O.S.) I'm not sayin' it won't be tricky, but we got no kind of choice.

Mal'S POV: still looking Serenity, he sees Kaylee welcoming another passenger, introducing himself as:

Kaylee Welcome aboard, Mr... DOBSON Dobson. Kaylee Dobson! Dobson Thank you.

ANGLE: Back to Mal, Zoe, and Jayne approaching the ship.

Mal We just gotta keep our heads down, do the job, pray there ain't no more surprises.

ANGLE: A BOX. Being loaded on by Wash on the mule.

The box clears frame to reveal Simon, a young, clearly affluent man. He wears a dark suit and round glasses. He seems to be looking directly at Mal, then glances over to the box.

Simon (to Wash) Please be careful with that. Kaylee Mal, this is Simon. Simon, this is our captain.

Both men size each other up.

Simon Captain Reynolds. Mal Welcome aboard.

(to Kaylee)

This all we got?

ANGLE: IN THE CARGO BAY
We see Zoe talking to Mal, the rest of the passengers milling around and loading up their luggage.

Zoe Now we have a boatful of citizens right on top of our... stolen cargo.

(beat)

That's a fun mix. Mal Ain't no way in the 'verse they could find that compartment, even--

(stops talking as Dobson walks past)

Even if they were lookin' for it. Zoe Why not?

Mal is thrown by the question.

Mal 'Cause... ? Zoe Oh yeah, this is gonna go great. Mal If anyone gets nosy, just, you know... shoot 'em. Zoe Shoot 'em? Mal Politely.

EXT. EAVESDOWN DOCKS - CONTINUING
Inara's shuttle is nearing Serenity.

Wash (O.S.) Inara. You're just in time. Inara (O.S.) Let me guess.

INT. INARA'S SHUTTLE - CONTINUING

Inara We're in a hurry.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE - CONTINUING
Wash is prepping her for take off, sees a signal, flips a switch.

Wash Looks like. Port hatch green for docking.

INT. INARA'S SHUTTLE - CONTINUING

Inara Locked in five. Four.

EXT. SERENITY - CONTINUOUS
As Inara's flying shuttle locks onto a side of the still-parked ship.

INT. INARA'S SHUTTLE - CONTINUOUS
As she feels the lurch of lock. She doesn't leave the pilot's seat.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE - CONTINUING
Wash turns, calls back:

Wash The Ambassador has returned!

He is talking to Zoe, who moves to the

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY/AIRLOCK - CONTINUING
And calls down to Mal, who is stowing cargo with Jayne:

Zoe We got a full house, Captain.

He turns to the airlock:

Mal Kaylee, I'm locking it up!

EXT. AIRLOCK - CONTINUING
Kaylee looks around once.

Kaylee (softly) All aboard...

Kaylee hits the automatic door lock, grabs her lawn chair, and slips in as the door closes on the hold.

ANGLE: Simon
Looking around the cargo hold.

BLACK OUT

 
Act 2
Protein in all the colors of the rainbow

EXT. SPACE - LATER
Serenity moves silently through.

INT. SERENITY - PASSENGER'S SECTION/DINING ROOM - LATER
Crew and passengers are gathered in the dining area. Mal's giving 'em the welcome speech.

Mal Meals are taken up here in the dining area, the kitchen is pretty much self explanatory, you're welcome to eat what there is any time, what there is is pretty standard fare, I guess, protein in all the colors of the rainbow. We do have sit-down meals, the next one being at about 1800. Kaylee I think Shepherd Book has offered to help me prepare something. Mal (to Book) You're a Shepherd? Book Thought the outfit gave it away. Is it a problem? Kaylee Of course not!

(to Mal)

It's no problem, 'cause it's not. Mal No.

(to the group)

As I said, you're welcome to visit the dining area any time. Apart from that, I have to ask you to stay in the passenger dorm while we're in the air. The bridge, the engine room, cargo bay -- they're all off limits without an escort. Simon Some of my personal effects are in the cargo bay. Mal I figure you all got luggage you're gonna need to get into. Soon as we're done here we'll be happy to fetch 'em with you. Now I have to tell you all one other thing and I apologize in advance for the inconvenience. Unfortunately, we've been ordered by the Alliance to drop some medical supplies off on Whitefall. It's the fourth moon on Athens, a little out of our way, but we should have you on Boros no more than a day off schedule. Simon What medical supplies? Mal I honestly didn't ask. Zoe Probably plasma, insulin, whatever they ain't got enough of on the border moons. Mal Alliance says jump... Simon All right. Mal Zoe, you wanna take 'em to the cargo bay? Zoe Yes, Sir. Mal Anything else you need, just... ask. We, uh, we're here to serve.

Crew and passengers exit the dining area through one door, while Mal and Wash turn around and walk toward the other door leading to the bridge.

Mal Did you send word to Patience? Wash Ain't heard back yet. Didn't she shoot you one time? Mal (baffled) Everybody's makin' a fuss.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY - LATER
People are getting the luggage they need. Simon is placing things into an elegant little valise -- all while eyeing his special blue box. Dobson walks up behind Simon and stumbles into him.

Dobson Oops! I'm sorry.

Zoe walks down the steps and nods at Book, who walks past her with a bag and a small box. Book climbs up the stairs to where Mal and Kaylee are standing on the catwalk. Book hands his bag and box to Kaylee, who beams at him.

ANGLE: THE SECOND SHUTTLE HATCH
opens, showing Inara's shuttle. She steps out of it, in a simple but elegant dress. She descends stairs as the group notices her.

Mal Ah, the Ambassador graces us with her presence.

Book looks up.

Inara Hello, Mal. I see we have some new faces. Kaylee Hey you. Inara Hey you. Mal Ambassador, this is Shepherd Book. Inara I'd have to say this is the first time we've had a preacher on board. Book Well, I wasn't expecting to see a state official, either.

(takes her hand, bows slightly)

Ambassador.

Mal laughs. Inara glowers at him.

Book (cont'd) I'm missing something funny. Kaylee (glaring at Mal) Not so funny. Inara "Ambassador" is Mal's way of -- Mal She's a whore, Shepherd.

Book's clearly a little thrown.

Kaylee (annoyed) The term is "Companion". Mal Yeah, I always get those mixed up.

(to Inara)

How's business? Inara None of yours. Mal (to Book) She is pretty much our ambassador. There's plenty of planets won't even let you dock without a decent Companion on board. This... this isn't a problem for you, is it, Shepherd? Book Well, I... I certainly... Inara (turns to go) It's all right. I mostly keep to myself.

(passing Mal)

When I'm not whoring. Mal Don't you wanna meet the rest of the bunch? Inara Why don't you make sure they want to meet me first?

Inara and Kaylee head out together.

Kaylee So how many fell madly in love with you and wanted to take you away from all this? Inara Just the one. I think I'm slipping.

INT. SERENITY - DINING ROOM - CONTINUING
Kaylee has made her way up with the box, lays it on the counter. Quietly excited, she opens it, looks in. A beat, then she pulls out a strawberry. She smells it, slowly puts it in her mouth, eyes closing.

Kaylee's having herself an Herbal Essences shampoo moment with this strawberry.

INT. SERENITY - DINING ROOM - LATER
Book and Kaylee have made dinner. People are gathering, sitting, helping themselves to things -- everybody's moving and talking over each other and everyone's there save Wash and Inara.

Zoe Oh, this is incredible. Book It's not much -- I had a garden at the Abbey, thought I should bring what I could. Simon It's very kind of you to share with all of us. Zoe I'm gonna make a plate for Wash... Book (to Simon) Well, it won't last, and they're never the same when they're frozen. The important thing is the spices. A man can live on packaged food from here 'til Judgment Day if he's got enough rosemary. Dobson (over this, to Jayne) Can you pass me the tomatoes?

He does, after taking several slices. People settle.

Book Captain, you mind if I say grace? Mal Only if you say it out loud.

A beat -- Mal has broken the mood. He starts eating, others follow. Book lowers his head a moment, as do Kaylee, Dobson, and Jayne, then they eat as well.

Simon So, does it happen a lot? Government commandeering your ship, telling you where to go? Mal That's what governments are for -- get in a man's way. Dobson Well, it's good, if the supplies are needed. Jayne We're just happy to be doing good works. Dobson I hear a lot of the border moons are in bad shape. Plagues, and famine... Zoe Well, some of that's exaggerated, and some of it ain't. All those moons -- just like the central planets, they're as close to Earth-That-Was as we could make 'em: gravity, atmosphere, and such, but... Mal Once they're terraformed, they'll dump settlers on there with nothing but blankets, hatchets, maybe a herd. Some of them make it, some of them... Simon Then I guess it's good we're helping. Kaylee (to Simon) You're a Doctor, right? Simon Oh. Uh, yes. Yes, I was a trauma surgeon on Osiris, in Capital City. Mal Long way from here. Kaylee (to Simon) You seem so young. To be a doctor. Simon (changing the subject) Yeah. You're pretty young to be a ship's mechanic. Kaylee Know how. Machines just got workings, and they talk to me. Book That's a rare gift. Kaylee Oh, not like being a doctor. Helping fix people, that's important. Jayne Little Kaylee here just wishes you was a gynecologist.

Jayne cackles. Kaylee, visibly humiliated, looks down.

Mal (hard) Jayne. You'll keep a civil tongue in that mouth or I will sew it shut, is there an understanding between us? Jayne You don't pay me to talk pretty. Just because Kaylee gets lubed-up over some big city dandy -- Mal Walk away from this table. Right now.

A beat. Jayne doesn't believe it, but Mal's expression is stony. Jayne goes, grabbing a bunch of food as he does. Everyone is silent a moment.

Simon What do you pay him for? Mal What? Simon I was just wondering what his job is. On the ship.

Mal stares a moment.

Mal Public relations.

INT. INARA'S CHAMBER - LATER
Inara is kneeling, robe pooled at her waist. She is giving herself a sponge bath. And so the camera holds on her bathing for a good, long while. Someone KNOCKS on the door.

Inara Qing jin请进
Come in
.

Book enters. She is facing mostly away from him, but she sees it's him. She continues to bathe herself.

Book If I'm intruding... Inara Not at all. I expected you.

She pulls her robe up, in no great hurry, as she turns to him.

Book Couldn't really say the same. Inara So. Would you like to lecture me the wickedness of my ways? Book I brought you some supper, but if you'd prefer a lecture, I've a few very catchy ones prepped. Sin and hellfire... one has lepers. Inara (smiling) I think I'll pass.

(taking the tray of food)

I thank you for this. Book The Captain said you might like it. I was surprised at his concern. Inara For a lowly whore? Book It was unjust of him to say that. Inara Believe me, I've called him worse. Anyway, I suspect he has more interest in making you uncomfortable than me. Book He's not wildly interested in ingratiating himself with anyone, yet he seems very protective of his crew.

(beat)

It's odd. Inara Why are you so fascinated by him? Book Because he's something of a mystery.

(beat)

Why are you?

Beat. Inara smiles softly.

Inara Because so few men are.

INT. SERENITY - MAL'S ROOM - CONTINUING
Mal the Mystery is in the act of doing up his trousers as we find him. There's a kind of metal drawer that hinges open to knee level. It's the toilet, and Mal kicks it shut, causing a flushing sound not unlike an airplane toilet. Above it is another metal drawer. He pulls it open and it's a small sink. He runs a little water on his hands, splashes his face, when the com sounds.

Wash (O.S.) Mal, you might wanna get up here...

Mal's up the ladder in a flash.

INT. SERENITY - FOREDECK HALL - CONTINUING
Mal climbs up. He moves through the hall to:

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE - CONTINUING
Where Wash is studying a screen.

Mal What is it? Wash Signal. Somebody went on the Cortex, hailed the nearest Alliance Cruiser. Mal Tell me you scrambled it. Wash All to hell, but I don't know how much got through. Alliance got a pin in us for sure. Mal Nee ta ma duh. Tyen-shia soy ya duh ren. Doh goy swa你他妈的。天下所有的人。都该死。
Fuck everyone in the universe to death
.
Wash We got a mole on board.

Mal's face hardens as he works it out...

INT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY - MOMENTS LATER
Simon is checking on his box.

He turns and Mal is standing before him.

Mal Forget your toothpaste?

Mal SLUGS him, sends him sprawling.

Simon Are you out of your mind? Mal Yeah, just about. What'd you tell them? Simon (standing) Tell who?

Mal draws his gun, puts it in Simon's face.

Mal I have exactly no time for games. What do they know? Simon You're a lunatic. Mal And you're a gorram fed. Book Hate to say it, Captain, but you've got the wrong man.

Both men turn to him. A beat, and both Mal and Simon realize Book is looking behind them. Slowly, they turn the other way, and understand Book's meaning.

Dobson holds a gun on Mal.

Mal (defeated) Son of a bitch. Dobson Drop that firearm, Captain Reynolds.

A beat, and Mal does.

Mal This is not my best day ever.

Dobson moves the gun to point it at Simon.

Dobson Simon Tam, you are bound by law to stand down.

Mal takes a moment to realize the man is after Simon.

Mal What -- the doctor? Oh.

(indignant at Simon)

Hey!

(hopeful, to Dobson)

Is there-is there a reward?

Dobson is ignoring Mal, focusing on Simon. This bumbling businessman is now a very intense, tightly wound cop.

Dobson (to Simon) Get on the ground. Get on the ground! Simon Lawman, you are making a mistake. Mal I think you best get on the ground, son. The man seems a mite twitchy. Book I think everybody could stand to calm down a bit.

He is moving slowly towards Dobson.

Dobson This isn't your business, Shepherd. Book The boy's not going anywhere, lawman. As I understand it, it's pretty cold outside.

Mal moves casually for his gun.

Mal Not to worry. Put Lord Fauntleroy here in a passenger cell -- won't make a peep 'til you hand him over to -- Dobson (pointing the gun at Mal again) Get the hell away from that weapon! You think I'm a complete backbirth? You're carrying a fugitive across interplanetary borders, and you think I actually believe you're bringing medical supplies to Whitefall? As far as I care, everyone on this ship is culpable. Mal (face going serious) Well now. That has an effect on the landscape. Book Please, we're very close to true stupidity here -- Dobson I got a cruiser en route for intercept, so talk all you want. You got about twenty minutes. Mal Might have less than that. Dobson Yeah, threaten me.. Book (still moving) For God's sake -- Dobson You think I wouldn't shoot a Shepherd? Back off!

Mal grabs Simon -- and everybody's shouting --

Mal Just take the kid! Simon Get your hands off me -- Dobson Stand the hell down -- Book Everybody just stop it! Stop it! Kaylee (entering) Why's everybody --

Dobson spins and FIRES.

Kaylee stumbles backwards, slamming into the wall --

Kaylee (cont'd) What...

She puts her hands to her belly. Blood runs over it.

A lot of things happen. Kaylee slumps to the ground as Simon rushes to her, Mal dives for his weapon, Jayne draws his, Dobson swings to fire at Mal --

-- and Book is in Dobson's face, a brutal jab in the throat as he grabs his gun-hand whip-quick, twists and pulls the gun out, cracking Dobson across the face with it in the same motion and Dobson is down. In seconds.

Inara Kaylee!

She is on the upper level, having come out of her shuttle at the sound of the shot. She races to Kaylee, as does Mal, seeing that Dobson is no longer a threat.

ANGLE: Kaylee AND THE OTHERS
Simon lays Kaylee back as Mal scrambles to her other side.

Simon How do you feel? Kaylee A little odd...

ANGLE: Jayne AND Book
Jayne comes toward Dobson with a purpose, gun in hand, and Book turns to face him.

Jayne Outta the way. Book You're not killing this man. Jayne Not right away... Book He's no threat.

ANGLE: Kaylee AND OTHERS
Kaylee is whimpering.

Kaylee Why did he...?

Simon opens Kaylee's jumpsuit, examines the wound. It's not pretty.

Mal (to Kaylee) Oh, well, that ain't hardly a mosquito bite. Kaylee Big mosquito...

Inara rushes over, joining them. Inara pulls off her robe (she is dressed beneath) and bunches it under Kaylee's head, as,

ANGLE: Jayne AND Book

Jayne Move. Book Not gonna happen. Jayne (raising his gun) I ain't joking with you, Preacher. Zoe Jayne!

She's got her gun out, pointed at Jayne.

Zoe (cont'd) Just tie him up. Do it.

A moment, and Jayne holsters his piece, moves to get some duct tape.

ANGLE: Kaylee AND OTHERS, OVER THIS

Simon Can you move your feet? Kaylee. Stay with me. Can you move your feet? Kaylee Are you asking me to dance...?

Her eyes start to roll back --

Simon She's going into shock. Inara Kaylee, meimei,妹妹
little sister
you gotta focus.

ANGLE: Book STANDING OVER Dobson
Zoe approaches him.

Zoe The gun, Shepherd. Please.

Book hands her Dobson's gun.

ANGLE: Kaylee AND THE OTHERS
Simon pushes Kaylee's stomach and she screams.

Simon (to Mal) The infirmary working? Mal Yeah, we got it stocked.

They move to pick her up --

Wash (O.S.) (on the com) Captain, we've been hailed by a Cruiser. Ordered to stay on course and dock for prisoner transfer.

Mal and Simon look at each other.

Simon rises, steps away from Kaylee. He is tense, but surprisingly calm.

Simon Change course. Run. Mal Hell with you. You brought this down on us, I'm dumping you with the law. Inara Mal... Simon She's dying. Mal You're not gonna let her. Simon Yes, I am. Mal No, you can't. Zoe No way the Feds'll let us walk. Mal Then we dump him in the shuttle and leave him for them. Kaylee (delirious) Everybody's so mad... Inara It's okay, baby. Simon Do you know what a stomach wound does to a person? Mal I surely do. Simon Then you know how crucial the next few minutes are. Zoe (to Simon) You let her die, you'll never make it to the Feds. Simon She'll still be dead. Mal You rich kids, you think your lives are the only thing that matters. What'd you do? Kill your folks for the family fortune? Simon I don't kill people! Mal Then do your job! Simon Turn the ship around! Inara Enough! Mal, do it. Mal Don't ever tell me what to do on my --

Kaylee screams again.

Mal and Simon stare at each other.

Mal (cont'd) (eyes on Simon) Zoe. Change course. Simon Help me get her up.

Mal and Inara hoist with Simon.

Zoe (hits the com) Wash, change course and go for hard burn. We're runnin'.

EXT. SPACE - CONTINUING
As the ship turns and the back lights up all shiny bright -- and she shoots off.

INT. INFIRMARY - MOMENTS LATER
The three of them burst in, lay Kaylee on the table. It's small and not wildly sterile here, but it is clearly functional.

Simon You have an extractor? Mal Got a laser saw. Simon That's not good enough.

(to Inara)

Uh, my room, red bag.

Inara goes. Simon raids the cupboards, finds a hypo-gun and vials.

Mal This is over, you and me are gonna have a personal chat. Simon Won't that be fun.

(tosses Mal the hypo)

Dope her.

FADE TO BLACK

INT. INFIRMARY - CONTINUING
We see, over time, VARIOUS ANGLES of Simon operating. Simon is confident and good at his job. Mal and Inara assist -- mostly Mal, who has the most field experience. Among the images are:

-- Simon using the extractor to find and pull out the bullet shards.
-- Inara looking at Mal while he helps Simon
-- Inara holding a breathing mask over Kaylee's face, looking at instruments indicating her vitals.
-- Jayne crouched outside the infirmary, peering in through a window, worried, almost hugging himself.

INT. INFIRMARY - LATER
Simon washes off his hands. He turns to Mal, pulling off his apron.

Simon I can't do anything more until she stabilizes. Mal Will she? Simon I can't say yet. Inara I want know what's going on here. Mal Well then why don't we find out?

He moves quickly from the room.

Simon What are you... no! No!

Simon follows, as do we, back into

INT. CARGO BAY - CONTINUING

Simon Stay away from that! Aah!

He moves toward Mal -- but is grabbed and easily held by Jayne.

Mal (calmly, to Jayne) Where's the Fed? Jayne Secure. Shepherd's with him. Seems to think he's not safe alone with me. Simon Don't!

Mal turns some dials on Simon's blue box and pulls a release lever. There is much flashing of lights and four latches twist automatically at the corners. The top comes slightly up with a hydraulic whoosh, dry ice pouring out the sides. Wash and Zoe enter; Inara's there, too.

Mal Well, let's see what a man like you would kill for. Simon No, don't!

Mal kicks off the top of the box. It flies off, clattering to the floor as the smoke clears from over what's inside.

Mal steps forward, looks.

ANGLE: ABOVE THE BOX
Curled inside is a naked, unconscious teenage girl.

The box is clearly a cryo-chamber of some sort, perfectly conformed to her body, a sleep metallic womb.

Mal looks at the girl. At Simon. At the girl.

Mal Huh.

BLACK OUT.

 
Act 3
Way it is is the way it is

INT. CARGO BAY - CONTINUOUS
Simon tries to wrest himself free of Jayne, who's just holding his arms now.

Simon I need to check her vitals. Mal Oh, is that what they call it? Simon She's not supposed to wake up for another week! The shock -- Mal The shock of what? Waking up? Finding out she's been sold to some borderworld baron? Or, I'm sorry -- was this one for you? Is it true love? Because you do seem a little--

She SCREAMS as she lurches out of the box behind Mal. He actually gives a little yelp himself as he turns, startled.

She keeps screaming, and for a moment no one does anything.

She spills out of the box, crawling backwards, breathing hard and looking around her, wild-eyed.

Simon finally pulls himself free of Jayne -- who's now more interested in the naked girl than him -- and comes to her. Inara pulls off her robe again, ready to cover her with it.

Simon River?

She screams at his touch -- Inara instinctively moves forward -- but he holds onto her, tries to get her to look in his eyes.

Simon (cont'd) River. It's okay. It's okay. It's okay. It's okay, I'm here.

Finally she looks at him, trying to focus, still breathing hard.

She looks about, at everyone, then back at him.

Simon (cont'd) River... River (whispering) Simon...?

And she realizes, begins to cry.

River (cont'd) Simon... They-they talk to me, they want me-they want me to talk... Simon They're gone... they're gone. We're safe now. We're safe. we're safe, I'm here.

Everyone in the room can tell this is not what Mal thought. There is a kind of respect in their silence. Well, until:

Mal What the hell is this?

Simon, River clinging to him and crying, looks over at Mal defiantly.

Simon This is my sister.

INT. DINING ROOM - LATER
Everyone is gathered, save Kaylee and River herself, to hear Simon speak. As he does, the camera will periodically INTERCUT to him taking care of River in the infirmary.

For a moment, they all just wait.

INT. INFIRMARY - EARLIER
River is brought -- wrapped in the robe Inara used for Kaylee's pillow -- into the infirmary. She sees the unconscious Kaylee, the operating room, and she freaks. Starts screaming again, struggling to get out of Simon's grip.

Simon (O.S.) I am very smart. I went to the best Medacad in Osiris, top three percent of my class, finished my internship in eight months.

INT. DINING ROOM - CONTINUING

Simon "Gifted" is the term. So when I tell you that my little sister makes me look like an idiot child, I want you to understand my full meaning.

INT. INFIRMARY - EARLIER
Simon has calmed her down, she's sitting on the table now, looking at him with fresh tears. He prepares a hypo with a sedative. Her look of distrust at the hypo is comically grumpy -- a little child's. Her eyes wander as he injects her, she mutters something to no one -- this girl is gone.

INT. DINING ROOM - CONTINUING

Simon River was more than gifted. She... she was a gift. Everything she did, music, math, theoretical physics -- even-even dance -- there was nothing that didn't come as naturally to her as breathing does to us.

(smiles, remembering)

She could be a real... brat about it, too. I mean, she used to --

Simon trails off for a moment. Jayne stands, going to refill his mug. At his movement, Simon collects himself.

Simon (cont'd) There was a... a school... a, uh, a government-sponsored academy, we had never even heard of it but it had the most exciting program, the most challenging. We could have sent her anywhere, we had the money, but she wanted to go. She wanted to learn. She was fourteen.

(long beat)

I...

A moment of bitter emotion, then he pulls it together.

Simon (cont'd) I got a few letters at first, and then I didn't hear for months. Finally I got a letter that made no sense. She-she talked about things that never happened, jokes we never... it was code. It just said...

(beat)

"They're hurting us. Get me out."

INT. INFIRMARY - EARLIER
River drifts off to sleep. Simon's holding her hand.

INT. DINING ROOM - CONTINUING

Zoe How did you do it? Simon Money. And, and luck. For two years, I couldn't get near her. Then I was contacted by some men, some underground movement. They-they said she was in danger, that-that the government was... playing with her brain. If I funded them they could sneak her out in cryo. Get her to Persephone, and from there, I could take her... wherever. Inara Will she be all right? Simon I don't know if she'll be all right. I don't know what they did to her, or why. I-I just have to keep her safe.

INT. INFIRMARY - EARLIER
River is asleep.

INT. DINING ROOM - CONTINUING
There is a moment.

Book That's... quite a story, son. Mal Yeah, it's a tale of woe. Very stirring, but in the meantime, you've heaped a world of trouble on me and mine. Simon I never thought -- Mal No, I don't imagine you thought. In consequence of which we got a kidnapped federal officer on board, we got the Alliance hard on our trail, and Kaylee...

He doesn't say it.

Zoe (to Wash) How much does the Alliance know? Wash I can't say. I killed the message pretty quick, so they might just have had our position. Mal Or they might have personal profiles on each and every one of us. 'Til that fed wakes up, we won't know. Jayne So what do we do?

A moment as he thinks, looking at his crew. Looks at Inara.

Mal The job. We finish the job. I got word from Patience, she's waiting for us. We circle 'round to Whitefall, make the deal, get out. Keep flying. Simon What about us?

Mal looks at him a moment.

Mal Kaylee comes through, you and your sister'll get off at Whitefall. Simon If she doesn't come through? Mal Then you're gettin' off a mite sooner. Book That'd be murder. Mal Boy made a decision. Inara He didn't shoot her. Jayne No, but somebody on this boat did and I'm scratching my head as to why we ain't dealt with him.

And now the room gets louder, people start talking over each other...

Zoe Kill a Fed? Can you think of a stupider thing to do? Jayne He can I.D. us all. Simon You wanna throw me out the airlock, fine, but River's not a part of this. Wash Can we maybe vote on the whole murdering people issue? Mal We don't vote on my ship because my ship is not the rutting town hall! Inara This is insanity. Mal... Wash I happen to think we're a ways beyond that now, sir.

(to Zoe)

Come on, we're gonna talk this through, yeah?

Zoe doesn't answer. Wash is truly pissed.

Book I'll not sit by while there's killing here. Jayne (smiling) Shepherd's got a mean streak. We'd best walk soft. Mal Ta ma de! Nee mun doh bih-zway你们都闭嘴
Dammit! Everybody shut the hell up
.

(they do)

Way it is is the way it is. We got to deal with what's in front of us. Inara Mal, you know those two wouldn't survive a day in Whitefall anyway. You throw them out, I'm leaving too.

Mal looks at her, angry at being confronted publicly and upset by the thought of her leaving, but suppressing both.

Mal It might be best you do. You ain't a part of this business.

He exits toward the back. She looks startled, then resigned.

INT. AFT HALL - CONTINUING
Simon follows him.

Simon What business is that, exactly?

Mal turns and gives him a murderous look, but Simon doesn't back down.

Simon (cont'd) I'm a dead man, I can't know? Is it gold? Drugs? Pirate treasure? What is it that makes you so afraid of the Alliance? Mal You don't wanna go down this road with me, boy. Simon Oh, you're not afraid of them? I already know you'd sell me out to them for a pat on the head. Hell, you should probably be working for them. You certainly fit the profile --

Mal decks him. He goes tumbling. Mal looks down at him, looks back to see:

ANGLE: THE DINING ROOM
The rest are looking at him, Jayne in the foreground.

Jayne (smugly) Saw that comin'.

EXT. SPACE - CONTINUING
Serenity, still flying.

INT. DOBSON'S ROOM - LATER
Jayne and Mal are in the room with the tied and gagged cop. Mal pulls the duct tape off and Dobson grunts in pain.

Mal I'm in a tricky position, I guess you know. Got me a boatload of terribly strange folk making my life a little more interesting than I generally like, chief among them an Alliance mole. Likes to shoot at girls when he's nervous. Now I got to know how close the Alliance is, exactly how much you told them before Wash scrambled your call. So... I've given Jayne here the job of finding out.

Jayne pulls out a big-ass knife.

Jayne (to Dobson) He was non-specific as to how.

Mal says to Jayne, very quietly:

Mal Now you only gotta scare him. Jayne (grinning at Dobson) Pain is scary... Mal Just do it right.

Mal exits, shutting Jayne in with Dobson.

Dobson Do you have any idea how much trouble you're in?

Jayne sits down on a chair across from Dobson.

Jayne Gee, I never been in trouble with the law before... Dobson Not like this you haven't. You think this is just a smuggling rap? The package that boy is carrying -- Jayne It's a girl. She's cute, too, but I don't think she's all there, y'know?

(ugly grin)

'Course, not all of her has to be... Dobson That girl is a precious commodity. They'll come after her. Long after you bury me they'll be coming. Jayne Oh, I'm not gonna kill you, Dobson -- what's your first name? Dobson (reluctantly) Laurence. Jayne Laurence. No, I'm just gonna cut on ya' 'til you tell me how much they know. Dobson They know everything. They know every name, every record -- they know how many nosehairs you've got. Jayne (genuinely disappointed) Ah, see -- they don't know a damn thing. It's all over your face, I ain't even... Was gonna get me a ear, too. Aren't you an officer of the law? Well, don't they teach you how to withstand interrogation? Can't even tell a damn lie. Dobson Okay. I can see you're not an idiot. Jayne Wish I could say the same, Laurence, but... this is disappointing as hell. Dobson Let me speak the language you will understand. Money. This girl is worth a lot of money. I mean a lot. You kill me, there's nothing. But if you help me out, you'll have enough to buy your own ship. A better one than this piece of crap. Jayne Does helping you out mean turning on the Captain? Dobson Yes, it does.

Jayne thinks on it a moment.

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING
Mal arrives on the bridge, moving fast. It's dark, chaotic. Wash is watching a screen, very apprehensive.

Mal How the Hell did they find us? I thought you said we could get around 'em. Wash It's not Alliance. Mal You're sure? Wash It's a smaller vessel. Mal Commercial? Wash Uh, yeah, I read it as an older model Trans-U. Mal I didn't think Trans-U still operated. Wash They don't. Mal Get me a visual. Wash They're still too far out to -- Mal Get me something! Wash I'm picking up a lot of radiation... they're operating without core containment. Well, that's kwing chuh du狂者的
nuts
, that's suicide...

He looks at Mal, getting it.

Mal Reavers.

Mal looks out toward a tiny speck that approaches them.

EXT. SPACE - CONTINUING
Where we see, for the first time, the ship. Once it was a commercial spaceliner, now it's a war machine. Tricked out, ornament and painted, with giant torpedo-looking tubes jerry-rigged near the front. Everything about this vessel says 'savage'.

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING
Where Mal continues to stare ahead, and Wash repeats softly:

Wash Oh god.

(beat)

Oh god, oh god, oh god...

BLACK OUT.

 
Act 4
Why don't we shoot her first

INT. INFIRMARY - CONTINUING
We see the two girls laid out, unconscious. Book is quietly standing at the foot of Kaylee's bed, bible folded in his hands. Mal's voice comes over the com:

Mal (O.S.) This is the captain.

INT. JAYNE'S ROOM - CONTINUING
Jayne stands in the middle of his room, holding a big gun.

INT. PASSENGER DORM HALL - CONTINUING
Zoe is standing outside Simon's room, she has stopped to listen. Simon steps out of his room, listening as well.

Mal (O.S.) We're passing another ship. Looks to be Reavers. From the size, probably a raiding party.

INT. INARA'S CHAMBER - CONTINUING
She listens, too. Gravely.

Mal (O.S.) Could be they're headed somewhere particular, could be they've already hit someone and they're full up. So everyone stay calm.

INT. JAYNE'S ROOM - CONTINUING
Jayne pulls down a decorative blanket to reveal an arsenal on his wall. He is silent and serious.

Mal (O.S.) We try to run, they'll have to chase us. It's their way. We're holding course. We should be passing 'em in a minute, so we'll see what they do.

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING

Mal Zoe, you come on up to the bridge.

INT. PASSENGER DORM HALL - CONTINUING
Zoe is going as Simon stops her with:

Simon Wait -- I-I don't understand. Zoe You've never heard of Reavers? Simon Well... campfire stories... Men gone savage on the edge of space, killing, and... Zoe They're not stories. Simon What happens if they board us? Zoe If they take the ship, they'll rape us to death, eat our flesh and sew our skins into their clothing and if we're very very lucky, they'll do it in that order.

She exits. Simon moves quickly to:

INT. INFIRMARY - CONTINUING
Where he moves near River. He and Book look at each other.

EXT. SPACE - CONTINUING
We see the ships nearing each other. Slowly and silently.

INT. INARA'S CHAMBER - CONTINUING
Inara digs out a small, hidden box. She opens it. Inside is a modern syringe gun, smaller than the one Simon used on River, and a vial of black liquid. Unmarked.

She stares into the box.

INT. JAYNE'S ROOM - CONTINUING
Jayne is loading bullets the size of D batteries into a big-ass rifle. His hands are shaking slightly.

EXT. SPACE - CONTINUING
The ships are almost upon one another. The reaver ship is nearly twice the size of the Firefly.

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING
Zoe enters, says nothing. She stands behind Wash, slips her hand onto his shoulder. He covers it with his own.

Wash looks out the window at the ship, sees the attachments on the front. Also speaks softly.

Wash There's a magnetic grappler. They get ahold of us with that... Mal Just tell me if they alter course.

They wait.

Everybody waits.

EXT. SPACE - CONTINUING
The ships pass silently. The reaver ship comes close enough to cast a shadow on the smaller ship.

But it passes.

EXT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING
After a few long seconds...

Wash They're holding course.

Mal lets out a long breath. Looks at the other two.

Wash (cont'd) I guess they weren't hungry. Didn't expect to see them here... Zoe They're pushing out further every year, too. Mal Gettin' awful crowded in my sky.

INT. INFIRMARY - LATER
Mal is looking at River, silent.

Kaylee Hey, Captain.

He turns. She has woken, is woozy and quiet.

Mal Hey... Hey little Kaylee, what's the news? Kaylee I'm shiny, Captain. A-okay. And I can't feel much below my belly, though. It's gettin' cold.

Mal moves to get her another blanket, lays it on her -- all the whole hiding his feelings at hearing that.

Mal Well, you just gotta rest. Something's gonna break down on this boat real soon. Who else I got to fix it? Kaylee Well, don't you worry none. Doc fixed me up pretty. He's nice. Mal Don't go working too hard on that crush, xiao mei-me小妹妹
little sister
. Doc won't be with us for long.
Kaylee You're nice, too. Mal No, I'm not. I'm a mean old man. Kaylee He wasn't gonna let me die. He was just trying to... It's nobody's fault. Okay? Just promise me you'll remember that? Mal (takes her hand) I'll keep it in mind. Kaylee You are a nice man, Captain. You always looking after us. You just gotta have faith in people.

He says nothing, just holds her hand.

Her eyes drift to River, still sleeping.

Kaylee (cont'd) She is a real beauty, isn't she?

She smiles... and her eyes gently close.

Her hand slips from Mal's.

INT. INARA'S CHAMBER - LATER
Simon is there, as Inara hands him a couple of packets.

Simon Thank you. Inara This is just standard Companion immunization package. I'm not sure it'll help in this -- Simon It won't hurt. Supplies down there are pretty rudimentary. Inara Is there anything else I can do? Simon I don't think so. But I appreciate it. Inara Kaylee's very dear. To all of us. Simon I... I'm sorry. For my part in what happened. See... I've never... I mean, I don't know how to -- Inara You're lost in the woods. We all are. Even the captain. The only difference is, he likes it that way. Mal (entering) No. No, the difference is, the woods are the only place I can see a clear path.

(to Simon)

What's your business here? Inara It's my business. The usual. I gave the boy a free thrust, since he's not long for this world. What are you doing in my shuttle? Mal It's my shuttle. You rent it. Inara Then when I'm behind on the rent, you can enter unasked.

Simon elbows his way out. Mal and Inara look at each other a moment.

Mal Thought you were leaving, anyhow. Inara Well I guess that depends on you.

Mal turns and goes.

INT. CARGO BAY - CONTINUOUS
Simon is walking away, but Mal stops him:

Mal You'll ruin her, too, you know.

Simon turns.

Mal (cont'd) This is the thing I see you're uncomprehending on. Everyone on this ship, even a 'legitimate businesswoman' like her, their lives can be snatched away because of that Fed. You got a solution for that? You got a way round? Simon I don't. Mal Comes time, someone's gonna have to deal with him. That should be you, but I don't think you got the guts.

(beat)

And I know you don't have the time. Simon What do you mean? Mal Kaylee's dead.

He is steely, contained. Simon is shocked, quietly devastated.

Mal turns and walks toward the bridge. A moment, and Simon starts in a daze for the infirmary, running, unable to accept it as he enters:

INT. INFIRMARY - CONTINUING
To find Kaylee sitting up a bit, talking weakly but happily with Book. Simon turns and looks out where Mal left, true shock in his eyes.

Simon (panting) That man's psychotic.

INT. BRIDGE - MOMENTS LATER
Mal, Wash, Jayne and Zoe are all laughing.

Wash You are psychotic. Mal No, but you should have seen his face... Oh... I'm a bad man. Zoe And Kaylee's really okay? Mal Yeah. Tell the truth, I didn't expect her to heal this quick. Doctor knows his trade, I'll give him that.

There is a noise from a console. Wash checks it out.

Wash We're being hailed. Mal That'd be Patience. We're close enough for vid. Put her up.

We briefly see an image on a screen, a weathered, pioneer-looking woman of about fifty.

Patience Malcolm Reynolds? Mal Hello, Patience. Patience I have to say I didn't look to be hearing from you anytime soon. Mal Well, we may not have parted on the best of terms. I realize certain words were exchanged. Also, certain... bullets. But that's air through the engine. It's past. We're business people. Besides, your days of fightin' over salvage rights are long behind you, what I hear. What are you, mayor now? Patience Just about. You telling the truth about that cargo? 'Cause your asking price is a bit too reasonable for that much treasure. Mal It's imprinted -- Alliance -- hence the discount. Patience Oh, government goods, huh? Mal That doesn't work for ya, no harm. Just thought you could use -- Patience Alliance don't scare me. Just collating data, as they say. I like that you're up front about it. We can deal. I'll upload coordinates for a rendezvous point outside of town. Mal See you in the world.

He hits a button, ending the talk. He stares down at the console for a long beat.

Mal (cont'd) I believe that woman's planning to shoot me again. Jayne She meant to pay you, she'd'a haggled you down some. Wash Just a little effort to hide it would've been --

Mal shuts everybody up by knocking something off the counter. It hits the ground with a loud clang.
Oh, he's mighty pissed.

Zoe Sir, we don't have to deal with her. Mal Yes, we do. Jayne Here's a little concept I been workin' on. Why don't we shoot her first? Wash It is her turn. Mal That doesn't get us what we need, either. Zoe There's moons on this boat we ain't seen. We could try our luck -- Mal (angrily) Our luck?

(beat)

You notice anything particular about our luck these past few days? Any kind of pattern?

(beat)

You depend on luck, you end up on the drift -- no fuel, no prospects.... beggin' for Alliance make-work. And towed out to the scrap belt. That ain't us. Not ever. Patience has got the money to pay, and she will, one way or another. There's obstacles in our path, and we're gonna deal with them. One by one.

INT. DOBSON'S ROOM - CONTINUING
We see Dobson sawing away at his bonds with a tiny, jagged piece of metal.

Mal (O.S.) We'll get through this. We will.

BLACK OUT

 
Act 5
Nice place for an ambush

EXT. WHITEFALL
We're on the surface -- rocks and sagebrush jutting out of low hills. Serenity touches down, the airlock door beginning to open.

EXT. SERENITY - CARGO BAY - CONTINUOUS
Zoe and Mal down the ramp. Jayne zooms past them on the mule.

EXT. DESERT - DAY - LATER
We see a small valley, dotted with brush.. Pan slowly to discover Mal and Zoe walking down into it.

Zoe Nice place for an ambush. Mal That it is.

Pan across the valley, then REVERSE camera to REVEAL Mal and Zoe staring at the valley.
Behind them, Jayne arrives at a decent clip. He hands one bar from the crate to Mal.

Jayne I buried 'em good. The equipment's back on the boat.

(into comm)

Testing. Testing, Captain, can you hear me? Mal (deadpan) I'm standing right here. Jayne (into comm) You're coming through good and loud. Mal 'Cause I'm standing right here. Jayne Yeah, well... but the transmitter's...

Mal steps forward as Jayne trails off, looking about him, the wheels in his head turning.

Mal All right. Patience is gonna figure we buried the cargo. Which means means putting us to our ease 'fore there's any action. She'll come at us from the east, talk the location out of us. She'll have the coin to show us first. We get it, give the location, snipers hit us from....

(points)

There. And there. Jayne You figure they're in place yet? Mal Should be. Feel like taking a walk around the park? Jayne (grinning) Sure you don't just wanna piss yourself and back down like you did with Badger?

Mal stares at him 'til he stops smiling.

Mal Walk soft. I want Patience thinking they're still in place. Don't kill anyone if you don't have to. We're here to make a deal.

Jayne takes off. Zoe and Mal look over the meeting place some more.

Zoe Don't think it's a good spot, sir. She still has the advantage over us. Mal Everyone always does.

(turns back to her, smiling)

That's what makes us special.

INT. PASSENGER DORM HALL/DOBSON'S ROOM - CONTINUING
Book is there, wrestling with his conscience. He looks toward the infirmary, looks toward Dobson's room. After a moment, he heads toward the latter, stops at the door. Knocks.

Book Lawman, it's Shepherd Book.

He opens the door --

Book (cont'd) I believe you're in more danger than --

Dobson slams the Shepherd in the face with something, sending him flying back into the hall.

Dobson is on him in a second with a makeshift truncheon, hits him in the head viciously twice more. Now this? This is a bad man.

Book slumps, unconscious. Dobson looks out to make sure no one heard. Starts dragging Book into his room.

EXT. DESERT - DAY
We are high and wide above Mal and Zoe, watching them walk across the valley. Them small, landscape big.

Closer in, we track with them, moving slow. They keep their eyes peeled all ways, hands near their holsters.

A ways more, and they are nearing a rise -- Over which appear:

ANGLE: Patience and her crew of six -- as they crest the hill on horseback -- all but one, who drives a vehicle not unlike the one on Serenity. They're maybe twenty yards from our two.

Patience is in a weatherbeaten duster, grey hair flyblown about her face. Her men are a hodgepodge of old and modern clothes -- not quite Road Warrior, but eclectic and raggedy. One wears a shiny black top hat.

Patience Ah!

(chuckles)

Mal! How you doin', boy? Mal Walkin' and talkin'. Patience (squinting) Is that Zoe? You still sailin' with this old bum? Zoe Awful lot of men to haul three crates. Patience Yeah, well, I couldn't be sure my Mal here wouldn't be lookin' for some kinda payback. You understand. Mal We're just on the job, Patience. Not interested in surprises.

EXT. RIDGE OVERLOOKING THE MEETING PLACE - CONTINUING
A sniper is set to take a bead on Mal. Jayne gets the drop on him, knocks him unconscious. Grabs his rifle and takes his position. He finds a mark, smiles.

ANGLE: IN HIS SIGHTS:

Its Mal.

Jayne smiles, wicked-like.

INT. ANOTHER DORM ROOM - CONTINUING
As Dobson busts in, moves to his suitcase. He opens it, digs in and grabs his tiny computer, turns it on. The screen has icons on it, including CONNECT TO CENTRAL CORTEX. He hits it, waits. It comes up: INTERFERENCE: UNABLE TO CONNECT. Furious, he hurls the computer against the wall, smashing it. Reaches into the bottom of his suitcase.

He pulls out another gun. And another.

EXT. DESERT - CONTINUING
The exchange continues.

Patience I don't see my cargo anywhere... Mal And you're not gonna, 'til I'm holding two hundred in platinum. Patience Oh, come on, Reynolds. I'm supposed to take it on faith you've got the goods?

Mal pulls out the bar from the crate. He tosses it to Patience. She rips the foil off to reveal what looks like one of those awful energy bars, which, by the by, is what it is. She sniffs it.

Mal It's pure, Patience. Genuine A-grade foodstuffs. Protein, vitamins, immunization supplements. One of those'll feed a family for a month. Longer, if they don't like their kids too well.

She takes a tiny nibble.

Patience Yeah, that's the stuff.

She pulls a small bag from her pocket, tosses it to Mal.

Patience (cont'd) So where's the rest?

INT. INFIRMARY - CONTINUING
River wakes, sits up abruptly. True fear is on her face.

River Simon... Kaylee What's wrong, sweetie?

River doesn't answer -- she moves to the door -- where Dobson GRABS her, sticks a gun to her head.

Dobson Look at you, all woke up.

Kaylee starts to move -- he pulls out the other gun, points it at her.

Dobson (cont'd) (to Kaylee) Oh, I'm sorry about what happened before. But make so much as a sound, the next one goes through your throat.

She looks at him with genuine horror. He pulls River back toward the dorm.

EXT. DESERT - CONTINUING

Mal Then east half a mile, bottom of the first hill. You'll see where it's been dug. Patience I reckon I will. Mal Well then. Patience Yep.

Nobody moves.

Mal I'd appreciate it y'all turn around and ride out first. Patience Well, you see, there's a kind of hitch. Mal Both made out on this deal. Don't complicate things. Patience I got a rule. I never let go of money I don't have to. Which is maybe why I'm running this little world and you're still on that dinky old boat, sniffing for scraps.

ANGLE: JAYNE'S POV, through the sights of the gun. Still on Mal, they now swing over to Patience and her gang as Mal tosses the money to her.

Mal Got the money back. There's no need for killin'. Zoe We're just gonna walk away, sir? Mal Guess that's up to Patience here.

(to Patience)

Could be messy. Patience Not terribly.

(chuckles)

Mal, you just ain't very bright, are you?

Mal steps forward, nodding at one of her men.

Mal That's quite a rifle. Boy must be your best shot to carry that. Patience He's called Two-Fry. Always makes it quick and clean.

Two-Fry smiles. He is scruffy and mean, and wears the shiny top hat.

Mal Two-Fry. Nice hat.

Two-Fry is BLOWN off his horse by a shot from the unseen Jayne.

And then a lot of things happen at once, people shootin' and yellin'.

Mal draws and nails a second man, Zoe a third (the one on the mule) -- as the gang opens up, a forth man blasts his shotgun, nailing Zoe right in the chest.

She goes flying back -- as Mal hits shotgun man, moving, diving behind some brush cover as Patience and the remaining two fire at him, their horses rearing in panic, one of them drops off his, comes up firing, Mal and he can't really find each other through the dust at this point --

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING
Simon and Wash are there, talking.

Wash You should think about asking the captain to drop you somewhere else. Whitefall ain't exactly civilization in the strictest sense. Simon You don't have to worry about me. Wash Zoe's out on a deal, I always worry. So... it's not out of my way --

Kaylee's voice comes over the com, weak and whispered...

Kaylee He took her... He took River...

Simon bolts out of the room. Wash is about to as well, but there is a beeping -- a proximity warning.

He stops, looks at his screen.

Wash Oh, don't. Don't you dare.

EXT. DESERT - CONTINUING
Mal's up and firing. Jayne's picking people off from the hill. Patience's men know by now they've got a sniper on 'em but they can't see where he's at.

INT. CARGO BAY - CONTINUING
Simon runs out, sees Dobson with River below, his grip on her loose right now as he looks around him, heading for the closed airlock. He hits the release button and the cargo bay doors start opening --

Simon JUMPS right down on top of him -- two men go tumbling, two guns go flying -- and both men lie there in extreme ouchiness, unable to get up and get the guns.

River backs into a corner, wild with terror.

EXT. DESERT - CONTINUING

ANGLE: Jayne
Still picking off Patience's men. He takes a shot and misses, looking up for a second to say,

Jayne Hwoon dahn
Bastard
.

The last man on his horse starts to ride away in panic --

ANGLE: Zoe
Still flat on her back. Raises her gun and shoots him in the back. He falls off the still moving horse.

Now it's just Patience and the one other. He fires and clips Mal in the arm -- Mal returns in kind, blasting his hip. The other guy goes down, screaming in pain.

Patience has her shotgun propped on the saddle, using her horse for cover.

Mal stands, no longer moving or hiding.

Mal (grunting in pain) Zoe? Zoe (grunting, also in pain) Armor's dented.

She pulls at her shirt -- there is a beat up kind of thin Kevlar underneath.

Mal Well, you were right about this being a bad idea. Zoe Thanks for sayin', sir. Patience Mal, don't you take another step --

Mal fires. Her horse rears, falls half on top of her. Mal stalks forward, shoves his gun right up in Patience's face.

Mal Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job.

He takes the money back.

Mal (cont'd) And then I get paid.

He moves his gun from her face.

Mal (cont'd) Go run your little world.

Jayne runs up to him and Zoe, panicky and out of breath.

Jayne Mal! It's Wash! We got a ship coming in. They followed us. The gorram Reavers followed us!

Everyone still alive looks scared.

EXT. SPACE - CONTINUING
As the Reaver ship whips past camera, heading towards Whitefall.

BLACK OUT

 
Act 6
We're good, people

INT. CARGO BAY - MOMENTS LATER
Dobson lunges for his gun -- and Simon throws himself on top of him. They can both barely stand from their crash before. They struggle in ugly fashion, until Dobson gets an elbow free and jerks it into Simon's face.

He gets free enough to crawl for the weapon, but Simon rolls around and grabs the other one, points it:

Simon No, don't! Don't move! Wash (O.S.) (on the com) Reavers! Reavers incoming and headed straight for us. We are in the air in one minute.

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING

Wash (to himself) I guess they got hungry again.

He starts warming the ship up.

INT. CARGO BAY - CONTINUING
Simon holds the gun on Dobson. His hand shakes.

Dobson You gonna do that? You gonna kill a lawman in cold blood. I know what you did for your sister. I understand. It doesn't make you a killer.

A barely conscious Book comes to the entrance, holding onto it to stay up.

Dobson (cont'd) I don't wanna hurt anybody. I have a job to do. To uphold the law -- that's what we're talking about here.

EXT. SPACE - CONTINUING
The Reaver ship breaks into atmo, headed down to the planet.

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING
Wash is getting more and more freaked --

Wash Come on, come on....

(into walkie)

Where the hell are you guys?!?

EXT. DESERT - CONTINUING
As we see Mal, Zoe and Jayne RIDE into frame on horseback, moving just as fast as they can.

INT. CARGO BAY - CONTINUING
Dobson, still on the floor with Simon holding a gun on him.

Dobson There's nowhere you can take her the law won't find. Nobody is going to hurt her. Unless you hurt me.

He tries to stand. Simon panics.

Simon No, I said -- I said don't-don't move! Dobson It's your call.

Simon doesn't know what to do. He looks over at River.

EXT. DESERT - CONTINUING
Mal, Zoe, and Jayne ride up to the ship.

INT. CARGO BAY/AIRLOCK - CONTINUING
The airlock starts to open, the noise and motion distracting Simon long enough for Dobson to grab his gun and fire --

-- missing but sending Simon diving for cover. Inara comes out of her shuttle, seeing the trouble below --

-- as Dobson grabs River and puts himself behind her, gun to her head.

Dobson I'm not playing anymore.

EXT. SERENITY - CONTINUING
The three pull up on their horses, jump off, Mal striding in as the others shoo the horses off.

INT. CARGO BAY/AIRLOCK - CONTINUING
Mal walks in behind Simon --

Dobson Anybody makes so much as a --

-- and shoots Dobson without a word. He flies back, letting go of River and dead before he lands. Tilt up from him to see Book, unable to move. Mal stalks toward the body, crouching over him to make sure he's dead.

Zoe and Jayne appear behind him, walking up the ramp.

Mal Jayne!

Grinning, Jayne jogs up beside Mal.

Simon finally lowers his gun and moves to River, shocked and silent. River makes panicky, frightened noises.

Zoe (into comm) Wash! We're on!

Zoe hits the button and the cargo bay starts to close.

Mal and Jayne pick up Dobson like a rag doll, running him across the cargo bay and tossing him off the closing ramp. Jayne and Mal run back in, narrowly missing the closing airlock doors.

EXT. SERENITY - CONTINUING
The hatch is still closing as the ship takes off.

INT. BRIDGE - MOMENTS LATER
Mal and Zoe come up to Wash, Jayne close behind.

Mal How close are they? Wash About twenty seconds from spitting distance. Jayne Well, lose 'em! Mal (to Zoe) Give me rear vid.

She punches it up. ON THE SCREEN, we see the ship approaching from behind.

Zoe Ai ya. Women wanle哎呀。我们完了
Damn! We're in big trouble
.
Mal (to Wash) How close do they need to be to fire those grapples? Jayne C'mon, Wash, you dumbass, dodge 'em! Wash If everybody could just be quiet a moment...

He's incredibly calm. He veers hard.

EXT. DESERT - CONTINUING
-- the hills, where we see the ship moving fast -- but the reavers right on them.

INT. BRIDGE/FOREDECK HALL - CONTINUING
Wash continues to pilot with serene expertise.

Wash I need Kaylee in the engine room please. Zoe Can she even -- Mal (to Jayne) Get her in there. Now.

Jayne goes, passing Inara in the hall.

INT. FOREDECK HALL - CONTINUING

ANGLE: Mal and Inara

Mal I want you to get in your shuttle. Get the civilians, be ready to go. Inara We can't just leave you here. Mal Thought that was the plan. Inara Mal, don't do this -- Mal We get boarded, you take off, head for town. We might be able to stop them from following. Inara They'll kill you. Mal Inara.

Just saying her name says more than he probably ever meant to. He puts his hand on her shoulder.

And pushes her gently away.

Mal (cont'd) Go.

He turns back to the bridge. She is going as well, throws a look back.

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING
Mal moves back to Wash's side, puts a hand on his shoulder.

Mal How we doing? Wash (droll) I don't mean to alarm anybody... but I think... we're being followed.

EXT. DESERT - CONTINUING
The reaver ship is hard on Serenity's heels.

INT. INFIRMARY - CONTINUING
Jayne is carrying Kaylee out as Inara enters. She speaks to Simon, River and Book:

Inara You three. Come with me. Book I think I can help Kaylee out. Simon Should I -- Book (re: River) Take her. Keep her safe.

Book and Inara share a glance before they go their separate ways.

INT. BRIDGE - MOMENTS LATER
Wash flies.

Mal Can't keep this up, they get a bead, they're gonna lock us down. Wash (into com) Kaylee, how we doing?

INT. ENGINE ROOM - CONTINUING
Kaylee is propped up in a corner, Jayne and Book at the ready.

Wash (O.S.) Gonna need a little push here. Kaylee You want me to go for full burn? Wash (O.S.) Not just yet, but set it up. Kaylee (to Book) You know where the press regulator is?

He looks about, heads to a part of the engine, points at a panel. Kaylee smiles.

Kaylee (cont'd) Head of the class.

She coughs, wincing in pain.

INT. INARA'S SHUTTLE - CONTINUING
Inara is settling into the pilot's seat, Simon and River behind her.

Kaylee (O.S.) We're ready for full burn on your mark.

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING

Zoe Full burn in atmo? That won't cause a blowback? Burn us out? Mal Even if it doesn't, they can push just as hard, keep right on us.

(beat)

Wash, you gotta give me an Ivan. Wash I'll see what I can do.

(into com)

Kaylee, how would you feel about pulling a Crazy Ivan?

INT. ENGINE ROOM - CONTINUING

Kaylee Always wanted to try one. Jayne. Open the port jet control. Cut the hydraulics. Jayne Where the hell is -- Kaylee Look. Look! Look where I'm pointing.

He does, opens a panel near the floor.

Kaylee (cont'd) Okay. Now it's real simple.

ANGLE: Jayne'S POV: A tangle mess of cables.

Yeah. Real simple.

EXT. DESERT - CONTINUING
The reaver ship has Serenity locked in. The magnetic grappler warms up, latches flying off.

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING
Zoe watches the Reaver ship out of a porthole.

Zoe They're on us. Wash (into com) Kaylee...?

EXT. DESERT - CONTINUING
The reaver ship has black smoke billowing out the back, closing in on Serenity.

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING
Mal and Zoe are real tense, Wash still preternaturally calm.

Mal (muttering) C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon...

No answer from Kaylee. Then:

Kaylee (O.S.) Okay. Wash Everybody hold on to something.

(softly, to the reavers)

Here's something you can't do...

He SLAMS down a lever and

EXT. DESERT - CONTINUING
Serenity's port jet flips the other way and the ship LURCHES into a perfect one-eighty, spinning on a dime, the jet flips back and it's headed straight for the reaver ship, which dodges at the last second --

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING

Wash (into com) NOW!

INT. ENGINE ROOM - CONTINUING
Book hits a button, Jayne pulls on a lever, and suddenly the engine turns faster, glows real bright.

EXT. DESERT - CONTINUING
As the ass-end of Serenity lights up, sending ripples of fire bursting into the atmosphere as the ship blasts out of there fast, gradually arcing up toward space...

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING
Wash is pulling up at the controls with all his might. Finally he eases off, quietly pleased.

Mal and Zoe are kind of amazed.

Mal Knew I hired you for somethin'.

INT. ENGINE ROOM - CONTINUING
Jayne looks around, pumps his fist in the air.

Jayne Whoo! Woo-hoo!

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING
Zoe leans over the back of Wash's chair.

Zoe Ain't no way we they can come around in time to follow us now.

Mal hits the com:

Mal We're good, people.

INT. INARA'S SHUTTLE - CONTINUING
Extreme, solemn relief.

Mal (O.S.) We're out of the woods.

INT. ENGINE ROOM - CONTINUING
Jayne whoops with delight. Even Book smiles.

Kaylee runs her hand along the hull.

Jayne Woo-hoo-hoo! Yeah! Kaylee That's my girl... That's my good girl.

She looks at the boys and beams.

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING

Wash (to Mal) We should have just enough left in us to hit a fuel station. We'll need to do some patching up. I hope we got paid today. Mal We did.

Zoe exchanges a look with Wash.

Zoe Sir? I'd like you to take the helm, please.

(re: Wash)

I need this man to tear all my clothes off.

Mal says nothing, just smiles and indicates the way out. Wash climbs out of the chair and exits with Zoe...

Wash Work, work, work...

And Mal throws himself down into the pilot's seat. Lets out a breath he's been holding for, oh, about two days. And starts flying.

 
Epilogue
We're still flying

EXT. SPACE - LATER
As Serenity breaks out of atmosphere into the deep silence of space.

INT. INARA'S CHAMBER - LATER
Book sits as Inara takes a cloth from a bowl and dabs his head. He is sitting, she stands before him.

Inara You should really have the young doctor look at this. Book It's not so bad. Inara Well, I'm sure you'll be fine. Book I didn't say that.

He looks up at her and she sees how upset he is, how lost.

Book (cont'd) Is this what life is, out here? Inara Sometimes. Book I've been out of the abbey two days, I've beaten a lawman senseless, I've fallen in with criminals. I watched the captain shoot the man I swore to protect.

(beat)

And I'm not even sure if I think he was wrong. Inara Shepherd...

He is shaking a bit, tearing up.

Book I believe I just...

(a pained smile)

I think I'm on the wrong ship. Inara Maybe. Or maybe you're exactly where you ought to be.

He lowers his head. She puts her hand on it, a kind of benediction. We hold on them a second.

INT. SIMON'S ROOM - LATER
He is tucking River into bed.

Simon The shot I gave you will help you sleep. River I slept for so long... Simon Just a little while. Then we'll find a place. We'll find a safe place.

He's not convinced, but he smiles at her anyway. She looks suddenly terribly sad.

River I didn't think you'd come for me. Simon (welling up) Well, you're a dummy.

He takes her in his arms, holds her tight.

Jayne (PRE-LAP) The girl's a problem.

INT. BRIDGE - LATER
Mal is still at the helm as Jayne speaks to him.

Jayne The lawman said they'd keep looking for her. Something about her brain being all special. Important to the Alliance brass. Sooner we dump them two, the better. Mal Suppose so.

Jayne gets up to leave.

Mal (cont'd) Funny how the lawman got out of his room. You having tied him up so well and all. Jayne I didn't have nothing to do with that. Anyway it all turned out just fine. Buzzards're the only ones gonna find him... Mal But he did try to make a deal with you, right?

He looks at Jayne, who says nothing.

Mal (cont'd) How come you didn't turn on me, Jayne? Jayne Money wasn't good enough. Mal What happens when it is? Jayne (smiling) Well... that'll be an interesting day. Mal Imagine it will.

Jayne leaves, rudely bumping into Simon, who is on his way in. Simon comes up next to Mal. He sees Mal's arm is a bit bloody.

Simon You need me to look at that? Mal Just a graze. Simon (a beat, then) So, where do you plan on dumping us? Mal There's places you might be safe. You want the truth, though, you're probably safer on the move.

(turns to him)

And we never stop moving. Simon I'm confused. No wait, I -- I think maybe you're confused. Mal It may have become apparent to you that the ship could use a medic. You ain't weak. I don't know how bright you are, top three percent, but you ain't weak and that's not nothing. You live by my rule, you keep your sister from doing anything crazy, you could maybe find a place here. 'Til you find a better. Simon I'm trying to put this as delicately as I can... How do I know you won't kill me in my sleep? Mal You don't know me, son. So let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you'll be awake, you'll be facing me, and you'll be armed. Simon (smiles) Are you always this sentimental? Mal Had a good day. Simon You had the Alliance on you, criminals and savages... half the people on the ship have been shot or wounded including yourself, and you're harboring known fugitives.

Mal looks out at the black sky.

Mal We're still flying. Simon That's not much.

Mal answers, almost to himself:

Mal It's enough.

A beat, then Simon goes. Mal just keeps looking ahead.

BLACK OUT

End of Show