The Message
Notes Episode information
Credits Details & Cast
Intro "We are not alone!"
Act 1 "I got nothing."
Act 2 "Big walrussy thing, all waxed up."
Act 3 "I think I'm nekked."
Act 4 "That was a good plan."
What'd you all order a dead guy for?

While travelling, we don't know where from or where to, they stop at a station to take on mail. They get Tracey. They divert to St. Albans.


The listen to Tracey's recording prior to leaving the station and Wash says that it "ain't but a two day trip" to St. Albans.

The episode spans at two days.


Everything occurs either on the station or on St. Albans. Tracey says his organs were replaced on Ariel. Book mentions that Womack is stationed at the Silverhold colony. The battle of Du-Khang, seen in flashbacks, occurred on Beaumonde

Transcribed by: Russ Madden (modifications by me)
Original Air Date: Never aired
Written by: Joss Whedon & Tim Minear
Directed by: Tim Minear
Morgan Rusler
Al Pugliese
Amnon Duul
Jonathan M. Woodward
Richard Burgi
Craig Vincent
Tod Nakamura
Joss Whedon
Man at funeral
We are not alone!

(Black, space-y day.) Ships land and take off from this decrepit but inviting old structure, clearly clapped together from several different ships and stations. We hold on it, silent but for a bit of intro music and a sudden, booming voice:

Barker (O.S.) We are not alone!

It's a giant flea market/ food court/ carnival/ bar/ post office/ whatever the hell anybody needs out here station. We see the scope of the place as we push in (low angle) towards a BARKER, standing in front of a small, curtained off space. He's talking from the top, very fast, selling hard.
(NOTE: This is not a large build -- it's the size of a large closet, curtained off on all sides, with but one display.)

Barker Forget what you think you know. Forget what your mother told you when she tucked you in at night, forget the lies of our oppressive, cabalistic Allied governments! Behind this curtain is the very secret they do not want you to see -- the most astounding scientific find in the history of humanity. Proof! Of Alien life. That's right, go ahead and laugh, sir, but what you see inside this room will change your life forever! It will haunt your dreams and harrow -- YES -- your very soul.

Hold a still frame on Simon and Kaylee, staring intently at something in a big jar that we can't see very well. Wait a beat.

Simon Yep. It's a cow fetus. Kaylee Guess so... Does seem to have an awful lot of limbs... But cow? How do you figure? Simon It's upside down.

She cranes her head upside down, looks. Nods, sagely...

Kaylee Oh, Yeah. Cow. Simon Yup. And I'm out twelve bits. I really know how to show a girl a... disgusting time. Kaylee Oh, it's sweet. Poor little thing never even saw the light of day, now it's in show business!

He looks at her, admiringly.

Simon You manage to find the bright side of every single thing. Kaylee (coming closer) Also, we've got this booth to ourselves for five whole minutes... Simon (glances at jar) We're not alone, remember? Kaylee (taking his hands) He's not gonna squawk. Tell me more good stuff about me. Simon (smiles) Ah... Well, you're a, a kind of a genius when it comes to machines... you always say what you mean, and your eyes are... Kaylee Yeah? Eyes, yeah? Simon And, um... I don't know how to, um...


Plus, every other girl I know is either married, professional, or closely related to me, so you're more or less, you are literally the only girl in the world.

Those famous eyes of her darken considerably. She draws back.

Kaylee Mm. That's a hell of a thing to say. Simon I was joking... Kaylee No, no, I get it. I do. Back on Osiris you probably had nurses and debutantes crawling all over you. But down here at the bottom of the barrel, it's just me. Simon No, that's, that's, that's not even -- Kaylee Well, I'm glad I rated higher than dead Bessie here. Nee gao-soo na niou, ta yo shwong mei-moo你告诉那牛它有双美目
Why don't you tell the cow about its beautiful eyes

She is storming out just as Wash and Zoe are coming in. Simon watches Kaylee despairingly.

Wash Oh my god, he's grotesque! Oh, and there's something in a jar.

He ogles the fetus as Zoe come up to Simon.

Zoe Scare her away again, did you? Simon This may come as a shock, but I'm actually not very good at, at talking to girls. Zoe (not unkindly) Why, is there someone you ARE good at talking to? Wash (in the background, to the jar) Do not fear me. Ours is a peaceful race, and we must live in harmony...

Mal and Inara walk through, talking.

Inara Struck out again, did you? Mal It's like something out of a fable! I've got this priceless artifact, the biggest score of my unseemly career, and no one will touch it. Inara The Lassiter's universally known. Fencing it is like... fencing the Mona Lisa. Mal Well...

(nonchalantly snags an urchin picking his pocket and retrieves his property)

Mona Who? Inara You're out of your league. You should consider my offer -- Mal I done thinking about that, and you ought to stay clear. Inara I know people in the highest ranks of -- Mal Jabber jabber jabber. I ain't listening. Just 'cause you helped out on the job don't make you a crook. I will not have you jeopardizing your career over this. Inara The career you abhor and look down on? Mal I just don't want you in the way a' trouble. Just take it as you like.

(calling out)

Amnon, How you been?

They have reached a more official looking section of the bazaar, with a sign reading: POST, FREIGHT and HOLDING.

AMNON DUUL, the postman, wears a sort of combination of a postal uniform and hasidic wear. He is decent and more or less unflappable, and happy to see Mal.

Amnon (shaking his hand) Malcolm, an old friend's face is a balm in this age. Mal I read your wave. You're holding some post for me? Amnon Yeah. Got yourself quite a haul. You can sign for everyone, right? Mal Sure. Amnon Very good.

Amnon goes into a back room as Mal starts filling out a form.

Book arrives, with River in tow. They both hold short sticks that dangle strings off the end. Each string runs through the middle of a ball of ice cream that is supported by a bowl shaped cookie attached (under the ice cream) to the string. They're sort of like little mace and chains, and eating them is not altogether convenient, since they swing a bit.

Book Any packages for me? Mal Don't know yet. River My food is problematic.

Jayne arrives, toting a couple boxes of ammo.

Jayne Girl's a mind-readin' genius, can't even figure out how to eat a ice-planet. Mal Did you get everything? Jayne Yeah. They didn't have no rounds for the Buhnder, but we're ammoed up pretty good. Got a good discount on account of my intimidating manner --

Jayne gives Mal his change. Mal looks at the paltry amount. As though just remembering, Jayne digs out more money and hands it to Mal.

Amnon returns, wheeling in a man-sized crate. He tosses a couple of smaller package on the counter.

Amnon This one's addressed to you and Zoe, Mal. Mal I don't remember ordering any parts...

He signs some forms.

Amnon The little one's for Cobb.

Jayne hurried puts the ammo on the counter and takes the small package.

Jayne I got post? Book Might we all want to step a few paces back before he opens that? Jayne Haw haw. It's from my mother.

During this, Inara sees Kaylee arrive, looking glum.

Inara (to Kaylee) So, do aliens live among us? Kaylee Yeah. One of them's a doctor.

Jayne tears open his package and pulls out a letter.

Zoe and Wash wander up with Simon trailing behind as Jayne reads, with the classic toneless hesitation of a slow reader:

Jayne "My dear boy. I hope you are well and that you get this soon in your tra vels." Travels.

Inara puts her arm around Kaylee, Kaylee putting her head on Inara's shoulder.

AS Jayne CONTINUES: Mal motions for Zoe to help him.

Mal Did you order any equipment? Zoe No sir. Jayne "Thank you for the credits you forwarded, they have helped as Matty is still sick with the Damp-lung. I made you the enclosed" --

As Zoe and Mal inspect the crate, Jayne digs in the box --

Jayne (cont'd) Ooh! Enclosed!

He reaches in and pulls out a woolly knitted hat with earflaps and a pom pom. He is clearly moved. He puts it on, continues reading.

Jayne (cont'd) -- "enclosed to keep you warm in your travels. Hope to hear from you soon, love, your mother."

He closes the letter, proudly adjusting his hat.

Jayne (cont'd) How's it sit? Pretty cunning, don'tchya think?

It's faintly ridiculous, but are you gonna tell him that? Anyway, Kaylee likes it, wistful as she is.

Kaylee I think it's the sweetest hat ever. Wash Man walks down the street in that hat, people know he's not afraid of anything. Jayne Damn straight.

Mal and Zoe are just finishing unlocking the crate, trying to pry it open.

Mal Well, let's hope we get some funny hats, too.

As he's saying it, they pry the lid off, and we see a coffin. Then they open the coffin, and we see the corpse of a young man lying, arms folded, inside.

Mal and Zoe look at him with somber recognition. Everyone goes very quiet, looking inside.

The last to bother is Jayne, who cranes his head into frame, hat still perched proudly, looking quizzically at the body.

Jayne What'd you all order a dead guy for?

As Mal and Zoe look at each other:


Act 1
I got nothing

On the screen, we read:

A firefight is going full blazes outside. Soldiers battle fiercely.

Just inside the temple we see Tracey, who is a green but gutsy private. Right now he's sweaty and tense. He looks out over the remains of a wall slowly, looking for enemies.

Light from the occasional explosion or far away burst of gunfire gives us a better view of the place -- it's being held by about six Independents, all looking out in different directions.

Tracey sees nothing. He takes a moment and lays down his weapon. Reaches into his bag and pulls out a can of beans. As he does, mumbling to himself about beans, we see an Alliance Soldier creeping towards him from the other side of the wall. Tracey doesn't see --

-- Till the guy's foot hits a rock -- Tracey moves, scrambling for his rifle -- too late as the Alliance Soldier raises his --

CLOSE ON: The Alliance Solder -- as Zoe calmly appears behind him and draws a knife across his throat.

Angle on: Tracey -- as a few blood splatters hit his face.

Zoe drops the soldier and enters, taking the extra rifle.

Tracey Thanks. I didn't know you were out there. Zoe (stone cold) Sort of the point. Stealth, you may have heard of it. Tracey I don't think they covered that in basic. Zoe Well, at least they covered 'Dropping your weapon so you can eat beans and get yourself shot'. Tracey Yeah, I got a badge in that.

(off her look)

Won't happen again. Zoe It does, I'm just gonna watch. Tracey Anything interesting out there, you don't mind my asking? Zoe (indicating) 'Bout 30 troops behind those buildings. Mortars, no rollers yet. I expect they plan to pick at us a spell before they charge. They had two scouts sniffin, but I took 'em down. Tracey (impressed) Why, I didn't hear a single thing. Zoe First rule of battle, little one. Don't ever let them know where you are.

Mal runs in, screaming and firing behind him, and dives over a wall for cover, lands nearby, bullets zinging over his head.

Mal I'm right here! I'm right here! Come on!

Mal continues to taunt the enemy.

Zoe 'Course, there are other schools of thought...

Mal scrambles over to them, laughing.

Mal Ha! That was bracing. They don't like it when you shoot at them. I worked that out myself. Zoe Did you find Vitelli? Mal Vitelli's out of it. That bumblebee laid down arms at the first sign of inevitable crushing defeat. Can you imagine such a cowardly creature? Tracey Southwest corridor's open, huh? Mal Tracey. Ain't you dead yet? Tracey (looking sheepishly at Zoe) Through no fault of my own. Mal (disappointed) I really wanted your beans. Zoe They're gonna come right through here. They got rollers? Mal Oh, they got every damn thing. How's the lieutenant? Tracey He started screaming. All of a sudden, about his arms, where's his arms, we hadda go back and find 'em. Zoe What the hell happened? Tracey He ain't even hurt! Got ten pretty fingers on his hands like the most of men, but he's screaming like they're gone, crying. He ain't said a word in two hours. Mal (mournful anger) These kids... Zoe Sir. Do we hold? Tracey (breaking a bit) I don't want to die here. Forgive me saying, this rock ain't worth it. Not our lives. Mal Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it.


The trick is, die of old age before it finds you. Zoe We can still cut through to the 22nd at the school system. Make a decent stand there. Mal Well, we can't do any good here. I sure as hell ain't going to lay down arms. Zoe, you heard the Lieutenant give the order to join up with the 22nd? Zoe I did. Mal Round 'em up, then.

(to Tracey)

And you also heard the lieutenant, too. Tracey Hey, I ain't gonna rat you out, Sarge, hell I -- Mal Ain't me I'm worried on. Lieutenant ever gets his mind back together, this shouldn't go on his record. Ain't his fault he couldn't take it. Tracey More than he'd probably do --

Mal raises a hand, intense, for quiet. Tracey doesn't get it, doesn't hear the growing whine of --


Things happen very quickly. Zoe dives for cover as Mal pulls a flare from his belt that activates the moment he touches it, hurls it above his head --

-- and a tiny missile zooms at the group, suddenly turning up, hitting the flare 30 feet up --

The explosion lights up the air, Mal also diving over Tracey as shrapnel rains down --

Tracey AAGH!

Mal is hit in the back and arm. He rolls off Tracey, who's taken it in the leg pretty badly.

Tracey (cont'd) Is it bad? Is it bad? Mal (ignoring his own wounds) It's glorious.

(calls out)

Come on! We gotta move! Tracey I can't...

Explosions and gunfire continue.

Mal You got to run!

(to Zoe)

Zoe! Get the Lieutenant! Tracey (in pain) Sarge, really... Mal You know the old saying...

He hoists Tracey over his shoulder and runs just as a tank bursts through the wall --


Close up of that same Tracey, all stiff and dead and blue.

After a moment, Mal slides the lid back over him.

Mal Why, it don't make any kind of sense. Zoe? Zoe I got nothing. But it's definitely Tracey. Wash You know this guy? Inara Is this a warning of some kind? Amnon (quietly) Listen, Mal, you gotta get this thing out of my station.

(Mal starts to object)

No, no, no, no. Human transport on a postal route is very very illegal. If anyone even knows I took a corpse in, I'll lose my franchise. Mal Well who sent it? Amnon I don't know. There's no return. Zoe How long has it been here? Amnon Near a week, that's why I waved you. This can't stay here. Jayne He don't smell. Mal I know. Been decently preserved.

(to Zoe)

Give me a hand. Jayne We're taking him on board? Mal We are. Jayne Don't know if I see the percentage in that. Mal Well, don't strain your brain trying. Might break something.

Mal and Zoe haul the box up, start walking. Book moves to help --

Zoe (stony) We got it.

They cart him off, the others folding in behind, quietlike. Simon approaches, oblivious, hoping to win Kaylee into a conversation.

Simon What's going on? Did we get something fun?

A glare for Simon. River passes him, ice cream swinging --

River You are such a boob.

The box is open again. Everyone is about.

Jayne How do we know he ain't plague-ridden or some such? Zoe We know. Wash We don't, actually. I mean, I respect you guys have a history, but... What are you doing?

Zoe is reaching in, pulling something from the corpses folded hands.

Simon (to Mal) If you want me to do a proper autopsy -- Kaylee Cut him up? Mal Not just yet, thank you doctor. Kaylee (muttering) Robot.

Zoe produces a FUTURISTIC DEVICE! That is a tape recorder -- of the FUTURE!

Mal What do you got?

She turns it on. The voice stops them all. It is hesitant at first, and weak, as though the talker were straining for breath, But soon settles into a rhythm...

Tracey (V.O.) (on) Uh. Okay. Um,... Hi, I guess. This is a message for Zoe, and for Malcolm Reynolds, and I really hope you all are the ones listening to it.

We move over everyone as they listen, soberly.

Tracey (recording) I'll spare you the boring details, falling in with untrustworthy folk, making a bunch of bad calls... All that matters is I expect to be shuffled off, and you two are the only people I trust to get me where I'm going. Which is home. I'd like my body to be with my folks on St. Albans. We got the family plot there, and my Mom and Dad, well, they deserve to know I died. You know, it's funny. We went to the war never looking to come back, but it's the real world I couldn't survive. You two carried me through that war. Now I need you to carry me just a little bit further. If you can. Tell my folks I wanted to do right by them and that I'm at peace and all. Ah. When you can't run anymore, you crawl, and when you can't do that... well, yeah, you know the rest. Thanks, both of you. Oh. Yeah. And, uh... Make sure my eyes is closed, will you?

A moment, and the tape ends. Everyone is quiet.

Wash rises, heads to the stairs --

Mal Wash?

Wash turns back.

Wash St. Albans ain't but a two day ride, we burn hard enough.

A moment, and Mal nods. Wash continues up and Mal turns to replace the lid again, says to Inara:

Mal That might make your schedule a little -- Inara It's all right.

He nods again, not much with the verbal thank you's right at this moment. He and Zoe lift the top together --

ANGLE: FROM INSIDE THE BOX as they cover it.

Silent but for music, we see Serenity gently lifting off. It passes another ship -- a slightly larger, ALLIANCE SHORT RANGE ENFORCEMENT VESSEL. It's basically an oversized, beat up squad car. As it lands right near where Serenity took off, the music changes to indicate this might be not wonderful.

We TRACK BEHIND three men as they stride through the Bazaar. If they're cops, they're detectives, since they have no uniforms to speak of. The man in the middle is called Womack. He's been around the block, and likely beaten up everybody on it. The other two, FENDRIS and SKUNK, aren't much different, but they clearly defer to Womack.

They make their way through the place with purposeful indifference. Pass the barker:

Barker That's right, gentlemen, you have been told tales all your life, but Alien races exist among us, the proof is right inside, you'll be amazed and astounded...

Womack and his men enter the postal center,.

Amnon is going through papers, behind his counter. He arranges them carefully --

Womack holds up his badge.

Amnon looks up to see Womack standing right in front of him. Amnon hesitates, and before anything can happen Skunk is already going in his back room to search. Fendris is behind Womack, checking his rather large pistol and watching out for pain-in-the-ass innocent bystanders.

Amnon Can I help you...? Womack You are an ugly looking little quim, you know that? Amnon Look, there's a problem, you know, I can -- Womack (wanders about the room, snooping, circling like a shark around its prey) So you might to be asking yourself, ugly as you are, how repulsive looking the guy that's going to make you his little woman is gonna be. Hmm? I mean, prison is a lonely place, and you sure as a hundred moons ain't gonna be pitching. So what kind of sorry ass troll is gonna get blue enough to grapple with you? Shudder to think. Amnon I've broken no law. Womack Transportation of human cargo -- especially dead cargo --

(thumps Amnon on the forehead)

through the Allied postal system is punishable by five to ten years on a penal moon. Plus, you don't know this yet, but you resisted arrest.

(off Amnon's terror)

Where's my body? Amnon I, I... I don't know. I, I... Womack The dead guy. He got shipped here.

Skunk comes out, shakes his head no.

Womack (cont'd) And shipped back out, I guess. Where? Amnon I never saw a body.

(Womack starts to turn ahead)

But, but wait, there was a, there was a, there was a crate big enough for one, I mean, I mean, I did hand that over just a little while ago. Womack Lovely. Who got it?

Amnon hands over the register, points to a name.

Womack (cont'd) Malcolm Reynolds. Where do you suppose he's off to? Amnon He, he captain's a Firefly, you-you should be able to capture him if you leave now. Womack Are you telling me to leave? Amnon Well, no, no, I didn't, I... Womack Relax, you've been great. And I was just bluffing with that stuff about arresting you, I mean, who needs that kind of paperwork? Skunk. Light him on fire. Amnon No! I-I-I-I.

Skunk sprays Amnon with lighter fluid he keeps in a cool container in his jacket.

Amnon I, I told you. I told you what I know! What? What? I --

With swift graceful motion, Skunk holds up a suddenly lit match. Amnon backs into a huddle in the corner, utterly terrified.

Womack stands next to Skunk, over the cowering postman.

Womack (cont'd) Tell anyone we were here, warn...

(looks at the register)

"Captain Reynolds" that we're coming, and you'll wish that we'd burned you. Dong ma懂吗

Amnon nods frantically.

Womack (cont'd) Boys... let's go find us a corpse.

He blows out Skunk's match.


Act 2
Big walrussy thing, all waxed up

Serenity in space.

Kaylee lies in her hammock, listening to the of Tracey's voice. She clearly has been doing this for a while, and has gotten awful misty about the lad.

Tracey (V.O.) (recording) I really hope you all are the ones listening to it. I'll spare you the boring details, falling in with untrustworthy folk, making a bunch of bad calls... All that matters is I expect to be shuffled off, and you two are the only people I trust to get me where I'm going. Which is home. I'd like my body to be with my folks on St. Albans. We got the family plot there, and my Mom and Dad, well, they deserve to know I died. You know, it's funny. We went to the war never looking to come back, but it's the real world I couldn't survive.

Simon comes up, looking for Kaylee. He stops outside the engine room door. Sees her, hears the...

Simon slowly slips away, realizing with regret he is unwanted.

Book stands at the head of the crate/coffin, bible in hand, head bowed. WIDEN to see that during his little silent service, Jayne is busily lifting weights. Jayne replaces the barbell in its holder, the metal noisily clattering. Book looks around.

Jayne Oh, sorry, Preacher. Am I makin' too much noise? Book No, no, I was just.... saying a few words. Don't know the boy's denomination, but... Jayne Oh, no. It's good. The Lord should oughta look after the dead.

Over the following, Jayne pats himself down with a towel -- he's quite sweaty. Really been going at it.

Jayne (cont'd) You wanna do a set? I'll spot you. Book Not so terribly in the mood. Jayne Yeah. Most people is pretty quiet about now. Me, I see a stiff -- one I didn't have to kill myself -- I just get the urge to, you know, do stuff. Work out or run around, maybe get some trim if there's a willin' woman about... not that I get flush from corpses or anything. I ain't crazy. Book Makes sense. Looking to feel alive, I would venture. Jayne For psychology, that don't sound half dumb. My kind of life don't last long, Preacher. So I expect I'm invested in making good sport of it whilst I can.

He puts on his hat as he says it.

As they continue talking, we come around to see River in the background, crawling gracefully onto the coffin. She stretches, catlike, moving her head about in odd fashion, as though listening, then lies flat on her belly, arms out to her sides.

Jayne (cont'd) You gonna read over me when I get taken down, Shepherd? Book Oh, I suspect you'll be around long after we're all -- Jayne (noticing River) Gao shenmeʲô
What the --
-- what the hell are you doing?
Book Oh. River, that might not be the best place to... River I'm very comfortable.

They consider pulling her off... hesitate...

Book (to Jayne) I guess we do all have different reactions to death.


Mal and Zoe are laughing their asses off. We widen to see Inara is with them, laughing as well. They've all had a few drinks, and continue to drink as they talk:

Mal I thought I was gonna die. Inara How could he possibly have even... Mal Oh, the colonel was dead drunk. Three hours pissing on about the enlisted men, uh, they're scum, uh, they're not fighters -- and, uh, and then he passed right out. Boom. Zoe We couldn't even move him. So, uh, Tracey just snipped it right off his face. Mal And you never seen a man more proud of his mustache than Colonel Orbrin. In all my life I will never love a woman the way this officer loved that lip ferret. Zoe Big walrussy thing, all waxed up... Inara Did he find out?

Another burst of laughter from Mal and Zoe.

Mal Oh! The next morning, he wakes up, it's gone, and he is furious, but he can't just say, you know, "someone stole my mustache." So he, uh, calls together all the platoons -- Zoe We thought he was gonna shoot us -- Mal And, uh, oh, he's eyeballing all the men something fierce, not a word, and he comes up to Tracey... and Tracey's wearing the gorram thing on his face. Zoe He had glued it on. Mal Staring the old man down, wearing his own damn mustache. Huh. Uh. Oh god...

The laughter falters, Mal looking into his drink a moment. Inara looks at him sympathetically, tries to jump start the conversation again:

Inara Well, the colonel must have said SOME --

The SHIP ROCKS with force of an explosion. They all start out of their chairs.

Zoe We hit? Mal That's too damn close --

And they are racing to the

Where Wash is piloting intently.

Wash They're behind us. Fired over the port bow. Mal Warning shot? Wash They coulda hit us... Zoe Feds.

The screen comes to life, Womack's face on it.

Womack This is Lieutenant Womack of Allied Enforcement. You are in possession of stolen goods and are ordered to cut thrust and prepare for docking. Mal The Lassiter. Zoe That was quick. Inara Think Saffron tipped them off?

Mal hits the screen com:

Mal This is Captain Reynolds, I think there's been a mistake. Womack There's been a lot of mistakes, Captain. The latest of which is you taking that crate.

He looks at the others. 'Crate?'

Mal (to Womack) Um. We took in a lot of inventory today. If something got mixed in, we'll be sure hand it back, but I don't think we're your men. Let me check through the cargo -- is it marked at all? Womack I'd think twice about playing games with me there, mister. I will blow you to pieces. Mal Ah, you do that, your precious crate gonna be in bitty shards. Now I got deliveries to make, officer, so you just lock onto my trajectory, and I'll take a look here, see if there's anything here matches your description.

He turns off the screen.

Wash Police procedure has changed since I was little. Mal He calls back, you keep him occupied. Wash What do I do, shadow puppets? Book We'll take care of it. Zoe I don't get this. They're after Tracey? Mal Or there's something else in that box.

Tracey's body lies on the floor as Mal, Zoe and Jayne go through both the crate and the box, looking for something. The others including Simon, Inara and River (minus Wash and Book) look on.

Mal Anything? Jayne (smashing planks) Not unless this crate's made a' magical wish-granting planks. Mal (to Zoe) Check his pockets. Kaylee That ain't right... Mal Neither's being blowd up. There's nothing about this sits right with me. Zoe Empty. Mal Well, they want this body for something, and I'm guessing it ain't a proper burial.

Looks around. No option. Looks to Simon:

Mal (cont'd) Well, doctor... I guess you are doing an autopsy.

Mal, Zoe and Jayne watch as Simon prepares to open up the now naked (but sheet covered) body.

Zoe You really think there's something in there. Mal Using corpses for smuggling is a time-honored repulsive custom. Jayne Maybe it's gold! Zoe And maybe he was a friend of ours, and you need to show a little respect. Jayne I got respect. I'm just saying... gold... Simon He's been opened before. Mal How's that? Simon It's, uh... It's good work. The scar's nearly invisible, but...

He traces his finger all the way down the chest.

Mal Well, let's see what's in there.

He looks at Zoe, hating this. A tense moment. Simon takes his scalpel and starts cutting.

And Tracey SCREAMS.


Act 3
I think I'm nekked

Where we left off. Everyone backing away from the SCREAMING Lazarus. Tracey looks with horror to his bleeding chest, then to the man who holds the scalpel -- Simon. Simon sees the blood, makes an instinctive move to see to the wound. All Tracey sees is the knife. He gives a PRIMal CRY as he lunges off the table at Simon. They struggle, knocking shit over. Mal and Zoe jump into the fray. Mal calling to Jayne:

Mal Get a hold of him! Jayne Spry for a dead fella!

Mal pins him to the floor, ends up sitting on top of him.

Mal Settle down! SETTLE! That's enough! Tracey He was cuttin' on me, Sarge! Mal I know it! I told him to! Tracey You told him to! What for?! Mal You were dead! Tracey (coming back to him) Hunh? Oh. Right. I know, I suppose I was.

(sees Zoe)

Hey there, Zoe. Zoe Private. Mal You feeling a mite calmer now? Tracey Yes, Sarge.


Um. Sarge? Mal Yeah? Tracey I think I'm nekked.

A beat. Mal's straddling a naked man.

Tracey rises. Looks a bit sheepish. Pulls the sheet up around his waist as he sits on the edge of the table. As Simon starts to tend to the wound:

Tracey Sorry for jumping on you the way I did. I was a little confounded. Simon Emerging from that state can be disorienting. Was it byphodine?

(casually, to Jayne)

Will you bring that pan, please.

Jayne, not knowing why, brings a bedpan over. Simon positions Jayne's hand with pan in front of Tracey without explanation, then moves to his med supplies.

Simon (cont'd) (clarifying) The drug you took to make it appear as though you were dead. Do you remember what it was called? Tracey Never did ask. Guy who sold it to me said I'd be under a week or so. He told me I wouldn't dream. But I did. I dreamt of my family.

Simon has moved back to his patient, reaches out, repositions the bedpan as Tracey suddenly HEAVES forward. Jayne reacts. Simon doesn't, was expecting it. Gives Tracey a shot:

Simon (to grossed-out Jayne You can take that.

Simon goes about checking Tracey's vitals, hooking him up tothe scanners and reading the monitor in the b.g.

Mal All right. You want to explain to me exactly why you got yourself all corpseified and mailed to me? What're you running from? Tracey Running to, not from. I just wanted to get home is all. That's all I ever wanted. 'cept there's them that take exception to that. To me leaving... while I was in possession of their property... Mal What'd you boost, Tracey? Jayne (eagerly) Was it gold? Mal More importantly, who'd you boost it from? Tracey Well... Simon Captain, I don't mean to... We may have a medical emergency here...

They all look at him; he's looking at the monitor.

Simon (cont'd) This man appears to be in cardiac arrest... Mal What? Tracey, you having a heart attack?

(to Simon)

Don't look like he's having a heart attack... Tracey (laughs) Don't pay any attention to your machines, doc. They'll fib to ya. Heart's just fine. Better'n fine. Just runs a little hotter'n usual, that's all. Simon (off, monitors) My god... it's not just the heart muscle... it's everything... Tracey All the movin' parts. That's what I took, Mal. That's what they want back. Mal Tracey -- you going to tell me what in the tyen shiao-duh天晓得
name of all that's sacred
you're talking about?
Tracey (distracted) Sure, Sarge... sure...

Now the MONITOR really starts to go nuts, Tracey's heartbeating ever faster. The others look from the monitor to him, then follow his gaze to...

Kaylee stands in the doorway, staring at the man come back to life. They hold the look between them.

Mal, Zoe, Jayne, Simon, Kaylee and Tracey. Kaylee brings Tracey some water. They will have silent connection throughout the following.

Tracey Thank you.

She smiles at him, takes a seat.

Mal So your innards... ain't your innards? Tracey They got scooped out, replaced every bit. Jayne Why'd you wanna go and do that? Tracey For the money. They're paying me to transport what they stuck in. Zoe You're smuggling human organs? Tracey They're grown in a lab. The only way they can move them is in a person. Not sure why. Simon Because the technology's not ready. The blastomeres are unapproved. Likely unstable. You're not just a carrier -- you're an incubator. Tracey I was supposed to be at the drop spot two weeks ago. A clinic in Ariel. They were to open me up, take out the goods and put my own workings back. Mal So what happened? Tracey Better offer. Another buyer was willing to go three times the going rate. It's enough so I could get my folks off that rock they've been forced to live on, set them up someplace better, someplace warm. Kaylee That's real nice. Mal But your '"better offer" went south... Tracey Yeah, I got myself into a little bit of a pickle, Sarge. The folks I was working for musta got wind of what I had planned. I, uh, showed up... my new buyer was dead. And there were some men, waitin' for me. Kaylee But you got away. Tracey Only just. I knew they'd never stop looking for me so long as I was alive. Thought my chances'd be better if I weren't. Mal So you "died" and figured they'd stop looking for you. Tracey Yupper.

A SUDDEN BLAST from outside. The ship ROCKS with the impact.

Tracey reacts with fear.

Mal I think maybe you figured wrong.

The Police Cruiser is behind Serenity, pacing. It lets loose with another ELECTRONIC BLAST.

Wash and Book on the bridge. As Mal and Zoe and Jayne enter behind them:

Wash I think they're 'about done being stalled -- Ah! Yeow!

He's just laid eyes on Tracey, who stands in the doorway with Kaylee. Book takes in the sight with interest.

Wash (cont'd) Mal! Your dead army buddy's on the bridge! Zoe He ain't dead. Wash Oh. Mal How far are we to St. Albans? Wash Five minutes from atmo. Mal Bring up the terrain specs. Kaylee, get him out of here. And strap in.

Wash brings up terrain maps on the nav monitor. Mal grabs the radio mic, speaks.

Mal (cont'd) This is Captain Reynolds. Womack (ON VID) Reynolds. I'm a dangerous-minded man on a ship loaded with hurt. Now why you got me chatting with your peons? Mal (off mic) Tracey. You go on down below. We'll handle this.

(on mic)

Ah. Oo, ah. Well. We're just seeing to some technical difficulties, officer. Womack (ON VID) Not interested, Captain. I stepped over a lot of bodies to get to that one you got in your hold. You play this right, and yours won't have to be among them. Tracey (scared) Sarge... Zoe The Captain ordered you off the bridge. Kaylee Come on.

She starts to lead him away. Mal pages through maps.

Mal Uh. We'd love to let you boys dock, but that last pop you gave us knocked out our fore-couple, so we're gonna have to park it if you want the tour. Womack (ON VID) All right, Captain. We can do this on the ground just as easy.

(signs off)

Mal Yeah. Easy.

(points to map) (to Wash)

There. Think you can do it? Wash Watch me.

Mal clicks over the feed on the mic, now when he speaks it's an internal SHIP PA.

Mal (AMPLIFIED) Attention, crew. This is the captain. Sit down and hang on to something...

As Serenity, followed by cops, dips down, heads for a PLANET. Breaking atmo, speeding up, taking a dive, as...

Kaylee is coming down the ladder into her room. As the ship heads into the dive, she is sent into Tracey's arms. He catches her. Holds her. They look at each other as.

Tracey Uh. You okay?

Kaylee nods

Tracey (cont'd) So, I, I can let go of you now. Kaylee Oh, you can. Tracey Yeah. Kaylee (sits on her bunk) All this hard bankin', when the gravity drive and actual gravity start working against each other, it tosses the lunch about a bit. Tracey Pilot's pretty wild. Kaylee Oh, he can thread a need with this bird. He's the best. Tracey (still standing, hanging on with one hand) That's good to know.

Kaylee smiles, nods.

Tracey (cont'd) (hesitantly) So, are you and he, uh... Kaylee Sweeties?


Oh, hell no! He's married to Zoe. Tracey (incredulous) Zoe got married? Kaylee Yeah. Tracey (laughs) Yeah, next you'll be telling me she smiles --

(he sits, comfortable now)

-- has emotions. Kaylee You make her sound like such a shiong tse sha sho凶残杀手
bloodthirsty killer
in the war.
Tracey I think the Sarge was even a little bit afraid of her. Now she's married. That's good! People making a life for each other.

Serenity dives into mountains followed by the police ship.


Womack (ON VID) Had enough of this goose run. Don't need no attitude on this ice cube. Now let's park it! Wash Just, uh, looking for a good spot, officer. Womack You got thirty seconds to set it down.

Zoe comes up to Book.

Zoe What is it? Book It's just a little strange. There's a defense station right here, but our friends haven't made a transmission since they broke atmo.

Serenity dives through snowy canyons. Serenity thrillingly zooms among the twisty canyons.


Kaylee So what about you? Tracey Oh, you know, mostly just --

Serenity rocks violently. Tracey wangs the back of his head. Kaylee, sympathetic, reaches towards him, almost but not quite daring to touch him.

Tracey (cont'd) Stuff like this. Just finding myself in one scrape or another. Sorry to drag you all into this. Kaylee (blase) Oh! Danger's pretty much our business. Tracey Still. If you got put in a bad spot at all, Kaylee, I... I'd be real unhappy.

Kaylee beams her pleasure at his sweet concern.

Wash pilots.

Wash Get ready for hard burn --

(leans on controls)

They'd be crazy to follow us in here.

The police Cruiser paces them.


Wash (cont'd) They're not behind us anymore.

Wash glances up through the top of the bridge windows...

Wash (cont'd) (sees the police ship) I didn't think of that...

Cops follow placidly just above the canyon, pacing. BELOW, Serenity is having a tougher time of it as it maneuvers through the ever more precarious canyons.

Police ship shoots at Serenity, blasts a mountain side free. Serenity is tossed about. Everyone hangs on for dear life. Wash frantically maneuvers to evade the cascading wall of debris.


Wash Wow! 'Kay! Ah! This kind of flying really wakes a guy up. Mal (hanging tightly to Serenity) Awake helps.

Serenity goes behind a curve, disappears for an instant, Reappears, then disappears again... then doesn't re-appear. The Police Cruiser circles, looking. No sign.

As Serenity backs into ice cave.


Wash There. Now. I shut down the main power. They might not read our auxillary under all this. Mal What if they come down, try to get a visual? Wash Mal, she's not a small ship.


Tracey We're not moving. Why aren't we moving? Kaylee Probably part of some genius plan to give the feds the slip. Tracey (not believing it) Yeah. Probably.

A DEEP BOOMING from somewhere. Lights flicker on and off.

Tracey (cont'd) What was that?


Zoe It sounds like full bore mag drops. Wash I think they picked up a little triangulation in cop school.

Where WE SEE Police Cruiser dropping magnetic depth charges.

River is sitting on stairs, holding on. Simon walks up.

River A thousand one. A thousand two... Simon River...? River Shh... I'm counting between lightning and thunder to see if the storm's coming or going. Thousand five.


Mal Options? Wash Well, we're only as good as long as the roof hold out. Direct hit above us, ship's electricals'll be fried. We'll have to climb out. Jayne Yeah. Get dug out. Zoe Getting closer. Book Captain, there is another way.

Tracey starts towards the ladder.

Kaylee Uh. Captain said to stay put. Tracey (opens door) I just want to see what's happening.


Book (to Mal, face-to-face, close) We're cornered, outgunned, and it's only a matter of time before they find us, what's left of us. Zoe Whadda you sayin', Preacher? Book I'm saying we make good on what we said we were gonna do. Let's call them. Fly out of this canyon. Let 'em board.

Tracey arrives at this juncture, listens intently, worried.

Jayne Give ourselves up. Book It's our only choice. Mal We let these men board, we're taking an awful chance. These boys ain't playing, Preacher. Book I'm aware of that.

Tracey suddenly looks a bit dark and shifty, eyeing some nearby weapons...


Act 4
That was a good plan

Sweat-beaded brows, a beat of nervous silence, held breaths.

Then from above a rolling THUNDEROUS BOOM. The bridge vibrates with the OS explosion's force. A cascade of ICE CHUNKS clatters over the windshield and the nose of Serenity.

Wash lets out his breath, checking some of his dash monitors.

Wash Wuo duh ma我的妈
Holy Mother of God
. That one was really close.

Jayne turns from the debris still falling to the others. He's extra sweaty, falling prey to his cowardly side.

Jayne That tears it. I'm with the preacher. I ain't gettin' snowed-in permanent on account of some jackass kid --

ANOTHER BOOM FROM ABOVE - throughout this scene, the depth charges are a slow, regular drum beat, adding rhythmic percussion to the tenseness.

Book (quiet conviction) It's the only option, Captain.

Mal turns to Zoe. They exchange a look. Zoe gives a slight nod - 'can't think of anything else to do'. Mal nods back.

Mal Wash... Call the cops. Tell them we give up.

Wash nods and flicks the RADIO ON, preparing to call.

Tracey (O.S.) No, thank you.


Tracey edges the barrel of a gun into the FG, holding it on the others in the bridge.

Mal Tracey, what are you doing? Tracey I said NO! Those bastards up there ain't gonna yank out this million-credit meat and leave me bleedin'--

(turns gun on Wash)

Now turn off that radio!

Another depth charge EXPLODES, closer, louder, Jayne braces himself, bolting instinctively to his feet as more ICE SHARDS rain down on the ship.

Jayne Ruttin' twerp's gonna get us killed! Tracey (loud, arresting) Oh, don't you move! Don't anybody move!

(gun back to Wash)

All right. We need to power up. We need to run! NOW!

Book takes a slow step toward Tracey. Tracey swings the gun at him, the model of panicky-guy-with-gun-in-over-his-head and-ready-to-go-postal.

Book Put that thing down, boy. You have no idea -- Tracey Ah, shut it, shepherd! Or I swear to your God I will shoot you dead if you do not.


Sarge--Zoe-- What are you doin' with this bible-thumper?

He turns to Mal, whose hands are slightly raised, eyes boring back at Tracey. ANOTHER BOOM.

Mal Wash. Call the cops.

Wash's eyebrows raise; he points gingerly at Tracey's gun.

Wash But -- Tracey I'll kill him. I'll put a hole right through him. Mal You mailed your ugly business to Zoe and me, Tracey, cash-on-delivery. I'll go to Hell before I watch you turn and bite us for the favor --

ANOTHER BOOM, even closer. Ice, clatter, scary.

Mal (cont'd) Wash. Call 'em up. Tell 'em we'll meet 'em topside. Tracey No, thank you! Mal Do it.

Wash does that funny-under-pressure nod of his, turns to the radio, reaches for the switch--

Tracey NO!

Tracey swings his gun off Mal and fires a SHOT at the radio console. He misses, and it RICOCHETS off the railing above it, grazing across Wash's temple, throwing his head back.

Tracey stands, mouth open. He looks down, and the camera tilts down, to his chest, where a BIG RED HOLE gapes. He looks up at Zoe, who holds her gun on him.

Tracey (cont'd) (amazed) You, you shot me...

Zoe cocks her gun, sending the spent shell flying.

Zoe Damn right. Mal That's enough shootin'

ANOTHER BOOM. A little dazed, but still standing, Tracey backs out of the bridge. Zoe covers him as she calls to Wash.

Zoe (cont'd) Wash --? Sweetie --?

Wash holds out a bloody hand.

Wash Ow? Mal Everybody calm down.

Tracey backs down the stairs into the foredeck, gun covering the door to the bridge.

ANOTHER DEPTH CHARGE shakes the ship.
Kaylee races into the foredeck from behind him, not seeing his gun.

Mal (O.S.) Kaylee! Get out of here!

Tracey turns on her, swings an arm around her, pulling her against him as a shield. Mal is at the bridge door, gun out.

Tracey Gorram it, Mal!

He fires a wild shot toward the door, Mal ducks. Tracey herds Kaylee toward the exit to the cargo bay stairs--

As Tracey pushes Kaylee down the stairs, her arm in his white-knuckled grip.

Tracey (still manic) I probably scared you back there a little bit, didn't I? Did you see the look on his face. Great.

She sees the blood pouring down his shirt front.

Kaylee You're really bleedin'. Tracey Yup. They shot me. Kaylee Wh-why?

They get to the catwalk, and he drags her toward shuttle II's airlock.

Tracey (cont'd) 'Cause they, they want to sell me off... You won't let them do that, will you, Kaylee? 'Cause, you know, I think you and I really... a moment back there --

Kaylee digs in her heels at the shuttle's entrance.

Kaylee Tracey-- Tracey You know, Kaylee. I need you to fly me out of here. Can we take this shuttle and just go? Didn't we have a moment back there?


Kaylee I ain't goin' anywhere with you. Mal Nobody's going anywhere, private.

Mal walks down the stairs from above, gun trained on Tracey.

Kaylee Whoa, Captain! What is goin' on?

He pulls Kaylee back into shield position, gun now raised to her head. He's nothing but panic in a pair of pants now.

Tracey Don't make me do it.

ANOTHER BOOM. Mal gets to the catwalk, angry, but cool as cucumber slices. Zoe and Jayne move slowly down the stairs behind him.

Mal Far as I can see, nobody's made you do anything. You brought this on yourself. Got in over your head with those stone cold gut-runners, then you panicked, brought the whole mess down on all of us...

As he was speaking, we saw Jayne, easing himself onto the catwalk across the bay, gun in hand, quiet like a kitty.

Tracey That ain't what happened -- Mal Ah yes, that's what happened. I'm startin' to think that trail of bodies Womack was talkin' about, I'm thinkin' some of that trail was left by you... Tracey (sweating profusely) And you ain't left a trail of bodies, work you do? Hmm? 'Cause your rep speaks elsewise. Mal Weren't the bodies of people helpin' me out. Tracey And you're helpin' out lots, 'cause I needed a chest wound. Mal That can be seen to. Tracey Do you think I'm stupid? Mal In every way possible.

BOOMING again.

Tracey Do you know why I picked you and Zoe? Because you're saps. You reppin' out as stone killers, but I still remember the ol' Sarge with his stories and his homilies, of glory and honor. Mal Maybe you shoulda listened. Tracey Yeah, well what are you now? What are we now, Mal?

Mal looks up, around, then back to Tracey.

Mal (cont'd) See there? Hear that quiet? Means the call's already been made. Tracey (breaking up) Well, that call... That call means you just murdered me.

Mal flicks his eyes towards Jayne, who responds by LOUDLY COCKING HIS GUN. Panicky-panic, Tracey spins, trying to see where the sound came from, as Kaylee wrenches free. Mal FIRES, hitting him in the chest, inches from the first wound. Tracey slumps down.

Mal (voice catches) No, son. Murdered yourself.

(as Tracey writhes on the catwalk floor)

I just carried the bullet a while.

Zoe and Mal look at Tracey, then at each other, eyes speaking: "there's no way in hell he's gonna make it."

Serenity parked nose-to-nose in front of the cop ship, on a plain of glacial ice.

The airlock doors slide open -- the blinding glare of sun on snow -- out of that, Womack and his two men emerge, walking up the ramp into the cargo bay, guns drawn.

Womack stops, confronted by Jayne, who stands above him on a set of stairs in the bay, BIG GUN trained on Womack.

Womack Well, now... Somebody left their dog off the leash...

(cold low growl)

I been shot too many times to be scared by a gun, boy.

A voice trails thin from above.

Tracey Womack...

Womack looks up, sees Tracey propped up against the catwalk railing, sees the BLOOD dripping down through the grates.

Tracey (cont'd) (delirious chuckle) I think I broke your junk...

Mal appears over the railing, gun on the cops as well.

Mal Little problem during shipping. Womack Don't think I have to tell you folk the kind of trouble you're in. Wetware smugglin', resistin', fleein' an officer a' the law... I'm sure a search of this ship'll come up with another few felonies.

Book walks out from behind some crates and stuff.

Book You won't be searching the ship, Womack. Womack That so? Book It is. You won't be taking us in. Nor the boy who's dying up there. Womack I'm authorized to kill as I like, shepherds not withstanding.

Book is so cool here it's making my hands sweaty.

Book Why is it you didn't call in for back-up?

(Womack skips a beat)

There's a Fed station eighty miles from where you're standing.

(walks closer)

You got your command stripes at the Silverhold colonies. Puts you about eight sectors away from your jurisdiction... Since you're running this job on the side you took pains...

Womack raises his gun toward Book. The other two guys nervously follow suit.

Book (cont'd) ...took pains to keep your presence here secret. I don't imagine it'd bother anyone if we laid your bodies to rest at the bottom of one of these canyons.

A GUN COCK echoes from above; Zoe's positioned a ways down the side catwalk, with a clean shot.

The cops lower their guns.

Womack looks up at the dying Tracey, at the various guns trained on him, crunching the numbers. Finally, he spits on the ground.

Womack It's damaged goods, anyhow.

They start backing out of the bay. Jayne and Book slowly follow them, Jayne still aimed rock solid on Womack's face. As they get past the open airlock doors:

Womack (cont'd) That hat makes you look like an idiot.

This, oddly, hits Jayne. He frowns with affront. Book hits the airlock button and the doors SLIDE SHUT.

Up on the catwalk, Tracey's life ebbs fast. Mal and Simon crouch by him. Zoe enters, crouches. Kaylee looks on, arms folded.

Tracey (coughs) So.. .That was the plan?

(Mal nods)

That was a... That was a good plan. Mal I think so. Tracey Um. You... You weren't that far off about me bein' stupid. I...I never could get my life workin' right. Not once after the war.

(to Kaylee)

Kaylee. Um. I'm so sorry. I...I didn't...

(to Mal)

Sarge...? Mal Right here. Tracey Um. That stupid message of mine, and, and... I was tryin' to play you guys. And now... You'll, you'll do it? You'll get me home? Zoe Yeah. Mal Well, you know the old saying. Tracey (cont'd) (sad little laugh) "When you can't run, you crawl... and when you can't crawl, when you can't do that --"

Coughs again, this time a trickle of blood falls from his lips.

Zoe "You find someone to carry you."

Tracey nods, his eyes fluttering, dying.

Head slumps. Dead. Sad.

Tracey's body is carried down ramp by Mal and Zoe, others in attendance. Before them is a homestead, a large EXTENDED FAMILY stands there awaiting their dead son.

As they hand the body over:

Tracey (V.O.) (recording) You know, it's funny. We went to the war never looking to come back, but it's the real world I couldn't survive. You two carried me through that war. Now I need you to carry me just a little bit further. If you can. Tell my folks I wanted to do right by them and that I'm at peace and all.

Each crew member expresses his sorrow in his own way. Wash stands, his head bandaged, head bowed. Kaylee gives Tracey's family his recorder. Jayne removes his hat. Kaylee moves next to Simon and quietly takes his hand in hers.

Tracey (V.O.) (recording) When you can't run anymore, you crawl, and when you can't do that... well, yeah, you know the rest...

Mal stands apart, alone, looking back.


End of Show