The Train Job
Notes Episode information
Credits Details & Cast
Intro "There's just an acre of you fellas."
Act 1 "I've got heathens aplenty right here."
Act 2 "I think you have a problem with your brain being missing."
Act 3 "Did he just go crazy and fall asleep?"
Act 4 "I was aiming for his head."
 
 
Notes
Time for some thrilling heroics
Travels:

They start out in the bar on U-day. They then travel to Niska's skyplex orbiting Ezra. Then they go to Regina where the train job occurs.

Time:

We are not certain how long between the bar scene and arrival at Niska's. We are also unsure of how long between the meeting with Niska and the actual train job.

If they meet Niska the same day as they were in the bar, and the next day they rob the train, then all this takes place in two days.

Inara says "I've been on board for 8 months..."

Locations:

We see the moon where the bar is, with three moons in its sky, this could possibly be one of the moons of Athens, other than Whitefall. We see Niska's skyplex orbiting Ezra. The robbery happens on Regina.

Chinese:
 
 
Credits
Transcribed by: Ling Mao (modifications by me)
Original Air Date: September 20, 2002
Written by: Joss Whedon & Tim Minear
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Melody White
Bellydancer
Tom Towles
Lund
Rick Williamson
Bar Guy(uncredited)
Andrew Bryniarski
Crow
Michael Fairman
Adelai Niska
Eric Lange
Fed(on train)
Gregg Henry
Sheriff Bourne
Valerie Red-Horse
Deputy
Tawny Rene Hamilton
Immigrant woman #1
Michelle Ferrara
Immigrant woman #2
Kevin Will
Alliance Officer
Lina Patel
Alliance Ensign
David Reynolds
Henchman
Jeff Ricketts
Man #1
Dennis Cockrum
Man #2
 
 
Intro
There's just an acre of you fellas

INT. BAR
Belly dancer and men playing cards, middle eastern music playing. Pan up Mal in brown coat playing chinese checkers. He's sitting with an Zoe and Jayne. As the Belly Dancer moves about the bar, she passes a note to Mal.

Jayne (to Mal) Your move.

Mal moves pieces.

Zoe (to Mal) That's a bold move. Mal I live on the edge.

Mal takes a swallow of his drink. Zoe moves her pieces.

Jayne (to Mal) Nice work, dumbass. Mal I'd given some thought to movin' off the edge--not an ideal location--thinkin' a place in the middle. Man (O.S.) Toast! Toast!

(the noise continues)

QUIET! SHUT UP!

Camera moves to a MAN, standing at the bar. He's large, bald, and drunk -- and his name is LUND.

Lund I'm, uh, I got words... I'm sayin' this is an a'spicious day.

Camera moves to Mal, looking uncomfortable and serious.

Lund (cont'd) We all know what day it is. Jayne (quietly, to Mal) Suspicious... what day is it?

The camera moves back to Lund.

Lund A glorious day, for all the proud members of the allied planets. Unification day!

(Pumps his fist for emphasis)

The camera moves back to Mal, who closes his eyes as if in pain, then looks at Zoe, then back at Lund.

Lund The end of the scumbag independents, the dawn of a new galaxy!

Rough cheers burst from the crowd. Mal starts to get up.

Zoe Captain? Mal (leaving the table) I just feel the need for another drink. Jayne (confused, half to himself) What month is it?

Mal walks to the bar, and stands next to Lund, leaning forward to get the bartender's attention.

Mal (ordering drink) Ching zie lie ee bay Ng-Ka-Pei请再来一杯五加皮
Can I have one more glass of Ng-Ka-Pei, please
?
Lund Hey, you gonna drink t'the Alliance wi' me? Six years today, the Alliance sent the browncoats running, pissing their pants.

(Looks at Mal, considering.)

Y'know, your coat is kinda a brownish color. Mal It was on sale.

Mal downs his drink.

Lund You didn't toast? Y'know, I'm thinkin' you one of them independents. Mal And I'm thinkin' you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling. So why don't we just ignore each other, til we go away?

Mal turns away from Lund and faces the bar.

Lund The Independents were a bunch of cowardly inbred pisspots. Shoulda been killed off of every world spinnin'.

Mal sets down his drink, stone faced. Turns to Lund.

Mal (edge of anger to it) Say that to my face.

The both stand, getting into each others' face.

Lund (slowly) I said, you're a coward, and a pisspot. Now what are you gonna do about it? Mal (chipper) Nothin'. I just wanted you to face me so she could get behind ya.

Lund turns, and his face meets Zoe'S fist.

Mal (to Zoe) Drunks are so cute.

Entire bar pretty much gets up slowly, looking mighty pissed.

Mal Oh, juh jen sh guh kwai luh duh jean jan噢,这真是个快乐的进展
this is a happy development
...
Zoe Jayne...

Camera pans to Jayne, feet on the table and looking relaxed.

Jayne Hey, I didn't fight in no war. Best of luck, though.

Jayne drinks.

Camera moves back to Mal and Zoe.

Mal Fine. Let's do this.

EXT. BAR - DAY
A large window, which turns out to be some sort of field rather than glass. We know this because it shifts as Mal comes flying through it. Zoom in on Mal, bringing his communicator to his mouth.

Mal (into com) Wash, we've got some local color happening. Your grand entrance would not go amiss.

Cut to front of the building. Zoe is pushing two men around. The men and Zoe and Mal fight

Mal (to Zoe) Is Jayne even awake?

Cut to front of the building. Jayne comes out fighting, a few more men getting pushed around by his barstool. Lots of punching and fighting. Zoe head-butts someone. The fight continues until...

Mal (looking down. Way down.) Woah woah... haha!

Zoe, Mal, and Jayne are backed up against the edge of a cliff.

Mal (cont'd) There's just an acre of you fellas.

(to Zoe)

This is why we lost, you know. Superior numbers. Zoe Thanks for the re-enactment, sir.

MAN from earlier comes out, big gun in hand, pointed at Mal. The two men flanking him also draw their guns.

Jayne Hey, them ain't kosherized rules. Lund I'm thinkin' somebody needs to put you down, dog. What do you think? Mal I'm thinkin' we'll rise again.

A whir of noise and dust as a space ship appears behind Mal, Zoe, and Jayne. A voice comes over the loudspeaker. Twanging music begins.

Wash (O.S.) Every man there go back inside, or we will blow a new crater in this little moon.

The men go back inside. Zoe, Mal, and Jayne board the ship. Mal waves goodbye to the men.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO AREA

Jayne Damn yokels can't even tell a transport ship ain't got no guns on it.

(laughs)

"Blow a new crater in this moon."

(laughs)

Jayne walks off screen. We follow Mal and Zoe up the stairs and into the cockpit.

Mal My thanks Wash, nice save as always. Wash A pleasure. Mal And how are our passengers?

Kaylee slides out from under the instrument panel.

Kaylee They're fine. So...

(excited)

... what happened? Was there a terrible brawl?

Camera pans to Zoe, sitting close to Wash

Zoe Oddly enough, there was. Wash (to Mal) Are you gettin' my wife into trouble? Mal Wha? I didn't start it! Just wanted a quiet drink. Zoe (deadpan) Funny, sir, how you always seem to find yourself in an Alliance-friendly bar come U-day, looking for a "quiet drink." Mal See, this is another sign of your tragic space dementia, all paranoid and crotchety. Makes it hard.

Camera moves to Kaylee as she laughs at the banter, then swings to Wash

Wash Did we at least make a contact? Mal (pulling out a piece of paper) Ladies and menfolk, we have ourselves a job.

Zoe grabs the paper with a smile.

Mal (cont'd) Take us out of the world, Wash, got us some crime to be done.

EXT: Serenity moving off.

BLACK OUT

 
Act 1
I've got heathens aplenty right here

INT. SERENITY - INFIRMARY
River is on the table, asleep. Flashback to River undergoing torture. River screams and jumps off the table.

Simon River?

River is crying, kneeling against the wall.

Simon (cont'd) River, it's okay, it's me.

River continues to cry, her hands over her ears.

Simon (cont'd) You know who I am? River (duh) Simon. Simon Were you dreaming?

River stands, slowly.

Simon (cont'd) Did you dream about the Academy? River It's not relevent. Simon If you can talk about what happened there, and I know it's hard but, the more I know, the faster you'll get better. River (quietly) This isn't home. Simon (gently) No. No, we can't go home. If we go home, they'll just send you back to the Academy. This is safer now.

River just shakes her head and looks upset.

Simon (cheerfully) We're on a ship. River (looking around) Midbulk Transport. Standard radion accelerator core. Class code 03-K64. Firefly. Mal (entering room) Well, that's somethin'. I can't even remember all that.

Mal walks over to the sink, and starts washing his hands.

Simon Need a weave on that? Mal It's nothin'. Simon I expect there's someone's face feels differently. Mal Well, they tell ya, never hit a man with a closed fist, but it is on occasion hilarious.

Mal dries his hands.

Simon I suppose so. So the, ah, the fight

(looking over at River)

...didn't umm, draw any, umm, any attention. Mal No Feds. Just an honest brawl between folks. Ain't none of us wanted the Alliance on us, Doctor, that's why you're here. Simon I thought I was here because you needed a medic. Mal Well, not today.

Mal walks out.

River (staring after him) Mal. Bad. In Latin.

INT. SERENITY - OUTSIDE OF INFIRMARY

Mal Shepherd Book. Book Captain! How's the girl? Mal Just a little whimsical in the brainpan. Seems calm enough though.

In the background, River can be seen freaking out through the windows of the medical bay.

Book That young man's very brave. Mal (mock seriousness) Yeah. He's my hero. Book Gave up everything to free his sister from that place. Go from being a doctor on the Central Planets to hiding on the fringes of the system. There's not many would do that. Mal Suppose not.

Mal starts to walk off.

Book Not many would take them in, either.

Mal stops.

Book (cont'd) Why did you? Mal Same reason I took you on board, Shepherd. I need the fare.

Mal starts walking up the stairs. Book follows him with a laugh.

Book There's neither of us can pay a tenth what your crew makes on one of your "jobs". Mal Are you referring to our perfectly legitimate business enterprises? Book I'm wondering why a man so anxious to fly under Alliance radar would house known fugitives. The Alliance had her in that institution for a purpose, whatever it was, and they will want her back. You're not overly fond of the boy, so why risk it? Mal Only cause it's the right thing to do.

Mal looks at the engine room. It's a mess.

Mal (cont'd) Oh, would you look at this? Kaylee!

Mal and Book keep walking.

Book I begin to wonder if you yourself know why you're doing it. Mal Well what about you, Shepherd? How come you're flying about with us brigands? I mean, shouldn't you be off bringing religiosity to the fuzzy-wuzzies or some such? Book Oh, I've got heathens aplenty right here. Mal If I'm your mission, Shepherd, best give it up. You're welcome on my boat, God ain't.

Mal walks off.

Mal (to himself) Where the hell's that girl?

INT. Inara'S SHUTTLE
Inara is brushing Kaylee'S hair.

Inara Do you want me to put it up? Kaylee No, that's okay. Inara You have such lovely hair. I'm sure the Doctor would agree. Kaylee Who? Simon? No, he's much too, I mean I'm just--do you think it looks better up? Inara We can experiment. We might even get wild later and wash your face. Kaylee Do you ever do this for your clients? Inara Very occasionally. Not all of them have enough hair to get a brush through. Kaylee Have you ever had to service a really hideous client? With boils and the like? Inara A Companion chooses her own clients, that's Guild law. But physical appearance doesn't matter so terribly. You look for a compatibility of spirit. There's an energy about a person that's difficult to hide, you try to feel that--

Mal walks in, and interrupts.

Mal And then you try to feel the energy of their credit account. It has a sort of aura. Inara (pissed) What did I say to you about barging into my shuttle? Mal That it was manly and impulsive? Inara Yes, precisely. Only the exact phrase I used was "don't". Mal Well, you're holding my mechanic in thrall. And Kaylee, what the hell's goin' on in the engine room? Were there monkeys? Some terrifying space monkeys maybe got loose? Kaylee I had to rewire the grav thrust because somebody won't replace that crappy compression coil. Mal Well get the place squared away. It's dangerous in there, and I ain't paying you to get your hair played at. Kaylee Kuh-ooh duh lao bao jurn可恶的老暴君
Horrible old tyrant
...

Kaylee gets up and goes to do what she's told.

Mal (to Kaylee) We work before we play.

He turns and watches Inara collect her tea things.

Mal You're servicing crew now? Inara In your lonely, pathetic dreams. What do you want? Mal We have a job. Inara Congratulations. This job wouldn't be on a decently civilized planet where I could screen some respectable clients perhaps? Mal Respectable clients, it seems a contradiction. Inara (interrupting) Don't start.

There is something that is intended to be unresolved sexual tension.

Mal There's, umm... We haven't gotten a location yet. We'll be landing on the Skyplex in a bit. Run by a fellow called Niska. Inara Never heard of him. Mal Well I have. While we're there, you'll stay confined to the ship. Inara Is the petty criminal perchance ashamed to be riding with a Companion? Mal (serious) This guy has a very unlovely rep. He's got work for me, fine. But I don't...

(pauses)

I'm not sure you'd be safe. Inara (smiling) Mal, if you're being a gentleman, I may die of shock.

Mal grunts, and bows, walking off. He turns around and walks back towards Inara.

Mal Have you got time to do my hair? Inara Out.

INT. SKYPLEX.
CROW, a buff man with tattoos opens the door.

Niska (O.S.) He's fine. Crow, they can come in. And Malcolm Reynolds is which? Mal I'm Captain Reynolds. My First Mate Zoe, this is Jayne. Niska Very nice. I am Adelai Niska. You have seen Crow. He likes to stand at the door to say Boo! Mal We got word you might have a job for us. Niska (standing) Yes! Yes, an exciting job. A train has, eh, something I need. You have worked a train before? Mal We did a few. Niska Are you going to ask me what it is I need? Mal As a rule, no. Niska Yes. Good! You have reputation! Malcolm Reynolds gets it done is the talk. Mal Well, I'm glad to hear that. Niska You know what is reputation? Is people talking. Is gossip. I also have reputation. And not so pleasant I think you know. Crow?

Crow swings open a door to reveal a man hanging by his feet, looking pretty gorram tortured to death.

Niska (to Mal) Now for you, my reputation is not from gossip. You see this man. Eh, he does not do the job. I show what I do him, and now my reputation for you is fact, is solid. You do the train job for me, then you are solid. No more gossip. Mal Right. Niska Oooh. You do not like I kill this man. Mal Oh, no. I'm sure he was a very bad person. Niska My wife's nephew. At dinner, I'm getting earful. There is no way out of that. So, oh! The train job. Come here!

(beckons)

Niska turns on a display, indicating train cars.

Niska (cont'd) Here, in fifth car, two boxes. Alliance goods. You don't mind taking from Alliance I think. From your reputation? You get on train at Hancock, headed for Paradiso. You take boxes off, before you reach Paradiso, and deliver to Crow --

(he touches a spot on the display, which lights up)

-- here. Half money now, Crow give you other half money at rendezvous point. Anything goes wrong, then, your reputation, only gossip, and things between us, not so solid. Yes?

Mal and Zoe are seated in the train car.

Mal How long till we hit Paradiso? Zoe Another twenty minutes. We should be in the foothills in five. Mal Best get to work.

They stand.

Zoe He's a psycho you know. Niska. Mal He's not the first psycho to hire us, nor the last. You think that's a commentary on us? Zoe I just have an image in my head of a guy hanging from the ceiling. Mal I've got an image of it not being me. Let's do the thing.

INT. NEW TRAIN CAR
The car is filled with Feds.

Mal Hi.

BLACK OUT

 
Act 2
I think you have a problem with your brain being missing.
Inara Shepherd. Book Good day. So, how do you think it's going? Inara The caper? Mal knows what he's doing. Book How long have you known him? Inara I've been on this ship eight months now. I'm not sure I'll ever actually know the Captain. Book I'm surprised a respectable Companion would sail with this crew. Inara It's not always this sort of work. They take the jobs they can get, even legitimate ones. The further you get away from the Central Planets, the harder things are, so this is part of it. Book I wish I could help.

(off Inara's look)

I mean, I don't wanna..not help help, not with the thieving, but... I do feel awfully useless. Inara You could always pray they make it back safely. Book I don't think the Captain would much like me praying for him. Inara Don't tell him.

Inara pours water into a teakettle.

Inara (cont'd) I never do.

INT. TRAIN CAR
Train car with Feds. Mal and Zoe walk through the car and into a car that looks like cheap transport.

Zoe (urgently) Sir, is there some information we might maybe be lacking as to why there's an entire fedsquad sitting on this train? Mal Doesn't concern us. Zoe It kinda concerns me. Mal I mean they're not protecting the goods. If they were, they wouldn't be letting people past 'em. Zoe You don't think that changes the situation a bit? Mal I surely do. Makes it more fun. Zoe Sir? I think you have a problem with your brain being missing. Mal Come on. We stick to the plan. We get the goods, we're back on Serenity before the train even reaches Paradiso, only now we do it under the noses of twenty trained Alliance Feds. And that makes 'em look all manner of stupid. Hell, this job I would pull for free. Zoe (amused) Can I have your share? Mal No. Zoe If you die, can I have your share? Mal Yes.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO HOLD

Simon Hey. Kaylee Oh! Hey, Doctor. Simon You really should just call me Simon. Kaylee Oh, I'll do that, then. Simon So, what are we doing? Kaylee Oh! Crime. Simon Crime? Good. Okay, crime. Kaylee It's a train heist. See, we fly over the train car. The Captain and Zoe sneak in, we lower Jayne onto the car, and they bundle up the booty, and we haul 'em all back up. Easy as lyin'. Simon They've done this before? Kaylee (laughing) Hell no. But I think it's gonna work. The Captain's jen duh sh tyen tsai真的是天才
an absolute genius
when it comes to plans.
Simon Uh, well, uh... Is there anything I can...something I should be doing?

Jayne enters from behind Simon.

Jayne Stayin' the hell outta everyone's way. Kaylee There's no call to be snappy, Jayne. Jayne You about to jump on a movin' train? Captain ain't around. I'm in charge. Kaylee Since when? Jayne (cont'd) And just cause Mal say's you're Medic, don't make you part of the crew.

Pan up to River sitting on the catwalk, watching them.

Jayne (cont'd) You just play at figurin' what's wrong with that moonbrained sister of yours till we call for ya. Dong ma懂吗
Understand
?
Simon Right.

Simon walks off. A rope lowers. It's what will be attached to Jayne so he can jump on the train.

Kaylee You shouldn't be so rude to him. Jayne Why? Cause he's all rich and fancible? Kaylee He's not rich. The Alliance crashed his accounts when he snuck out his sister. Jayne Well, we could all be rich if we handed her back. Kaylee You're not even thinking that. Jayne Mal is. Kaylee That's not funny.

Camera pans up to River, watching them from above, her face shadowed and still.

Jayne (O.S.) He ain't stupid. Why would he bring on trouble like those two if there weren't no profit in it?

(camera moves back to Kaylee, locking the rope on Jayne)

Captain's got a move he ain't made yet, you'll see.

Jayne pulls on a ridiculous hat with floppy ear covers and a chin strap.

Jayne (cont'd) Time for some thrilling heroics.

INT. TRAIN - CAR WITH STUFF
Mal is swiping a card in a reader.

Mal Niska's sources better be good.

The card works. The door slides open.

Zoe Shiny.

INT. TRAIN - FED CAR
A FED stands up, and walks back towards the car where Mal and Zoe are breaking in for Crime Time.

INT. TRAIN - CAR WITH STUFF
Mal pulls a box to the middle of the car, stands on it, and starts unscrewing a roof panel.

Mal (to Zoe) Find the cargo.

Zoe pulls a sheet off of two black boxes with red labels.

Zoe All hail the great Alliance.

EXT. TRAIN
Serenity is moving over the train, approaching from the rear, so they can drop Jayne into the portal Mal will open.

INT. SERENITY-CARGO HOLD
A hatch opens. Jayne pulls on goggles.

INT. SERENITY - COCKPIT
Wash steering. He's wearing a black muscle shirt.

INT. SERENITY-CARGO HOLD
Jayne drops through the hatch.

EXT. TRAIN
Jayne lands on the train with a grunt.

INT. TRAIN - CAR WITH STUFF
Mal pulls off the panel, leaving an opening for Jayne

INT. TRAIN - CHEAP CAR
FED cocks his gun.

INT. TRAIN - CAR WITH STUFF
Jayne drops through the hole. Mal pats him on the back. They attach the cargo to the rope bucket thing.

Mal (into com) Fifteen seconds.

INT. SERENITY-CARGO HOLD
Kaylee waits.

INT. SERENITY - COCKPIT
Wash flies.

INT. TRAIN - CAR WITH STUFF
FED enters. The smoke trap they've set up goes off. FED shoots. Jayne'S leg takes a hit.

Zoe (to Jayne) Gorram! Jayne (into com) GO! Go now!

INT. SERENITY-CARGO HOLD
Kaylee starts pulling him up w/ the stuff.

INT. TRAIN - CAR WITH STUFF
Fistfight. FED gets knocked out.

Mal (to Zoe) Come on!

Mal and Zoe start running through the cars.

INT. SERENITY - COCKPIT
Wash flies.

INT. TRAIN
Smoke.

INT. SERENITY-CARGO HOLD
Jayne is collapsing as the stuff is lowered.

Kaylee Where are the others? Jayne Ah! They shot my gorram leg. Kaylee Jayne, are they still on the train? Are they gonna be okay?

EXT. TRAIN, stopped.

Voice Everybody off. Everybody in there okay?

EXT. PARADISO
It's a small, ragged town. Very dusty and Westerny. Mal and Zoe are standing with their backs to a Fed and the Sheriff.

Fed Our man didn't get a look. Sheriff Well, Jesus, can somebody find out what they took?

(to someone in the crowd)

Handy! Keep those people together.

His Deputy wanders up.

Deputy It's the medicine, sir. All of the supplies. Sheriff They stole the gorram medicine?

Zoe and Mal look grim.

Sheriff (cont'd) We've been waitin'... All of it? Deputy Every ounce.

Camera pans over sad, tearful townspeople.

Sheriff (sighing) God help us. Mal Son of a bitch.

BLACK OUT

 
Act 3
Did he just go crazy and fall asleep?

INT. ALLIANCE SHIP.
ALLIANCE OFFICER is walking into a station. There's an alert. OFFICER turns to ALLIANCE ENSIGN and starts talking.

Officer What's the fuss? Ensign All network alert. Cargo theft. Medical shipment lifted off a train in the Georgia System en route to Paradiso. Officer (looking at the alert screen) Six crates of Pasceline D. Right. That'll get you a tidy fortune on the black market.

(dismissive)

Tag it received, bounce it back. Locals can deal with it. Ensign Sir, there is a regiment holding in Paradiso. They were on the train, headed for the installation. Officer Then get them back on the train and get it moving. Who's holding them there? Ensign The Sheriff requested we deploy a few to help them investigate... Officer (impatient) These are federal marshals, not local narcotic hounds. They've got better things to do, so do we.

OFFICER leaves.

INT. SERENITY - INFIRMARY
Jayne is on the table, sweaty and pissed.

Jayne Gorram it, let's get us moving. Simon Now, I'm not, I'm not finished. Jayne (not caring) Why you got us parked here? This ain't the go tsao de狗操的
dog humping
rendezvous.
Wash It is now. Jayne That's cause people are waitin', they ain't partial to waitin'. Wash (sarcastic and firm) Let 'em read a magazine. We don't make the sale until Mal and Zoe are back on the boat. Jayne These are stone killers, little man. They ain't cuddly like me. Wash I'm not flying anywhere without my wife. Kaylee (nervously) She'll be okay. She's with the Captain. Jayne (standing) There, you see? Everybody wins.

He tries putting his leg down and screams in pain. Book is just watching the action.

Jayne Doc, I need a pop to quiet this pain some.

Simon goes over to get some medication

Simon (concerned) All right, but what about the authorities? I mean, we're sitting here with stolen Alliance goods. Won't they be looking for us? Wash They buzz this canyon, we'll hear them long before they ever see us. I figure we're good for... River (interrupting) Won't stop. Won't ever stop. They'll just keep coming until they get back what you took. Two by two, hands of blue. Two by two, hands of blue. Jayne (to River) How's about you shut that crazy mouth? Is that a fun game?

(to everyone)

Now I'm in ruttin' charge here, and I'm tellin' you how it works. We don't get the goods to Niska on time, he'll make meat pies out of the lot of us. And I ain't walkin' into that. Book Is this Adelai Niska you're talking about?

Simon injects Jayne with a pain shot.

Jayne Now how would a Shepherd know a name like that? Book As I've heard it, he made a deal with the Captain. If the Captain's not there to finish it, if Niska finds out he's being held, and may speak as to who hired him--I think we're better off being a little late.

INT. PARADISO - HOLDING AREA
Mal and Zoe are sitting, huddled. Coughing people everywhere. It's a holding area for train passengers.

Mal This is a nightmare. Zoe Nothing points to us yet, sir. Mal That ain't what I'm talking about.

Long shot of poor, coughing, sick, poor people.

Mal Whatever happens, remember I love you. Zoe (confused) Sir? Mal (with a plan) Because you're my wife. Zoe Right. Sir. Honey.

Sheriff walks up, paperwork in hands

Sheriff Car 3, Row 12, Mr. and Mrs. Ring? Mal Can you tell us what's going on? We've been here for so long. Did someone on the train get killed? Sheriff No, no, no. Nothing like that. Ah, says there your fare's paid for by a third party?

Mal and Zoe stand and follow the Sheriff to his desk.

Mal My uncle. It was a wedding gift. Sheriff Wedding gift?

The Sheriff motions for Mal and Zoe to sit down.

Sheriff (cont'd) Spending your honeymoon in Paradiso? Zoe Actually, we're here lookin' for work. Sheriff That right? Mal My uncle said he knew a Joey Bloggs out here, said he might have an opening. Thought we'd try our luck. Sheriff You a miner by trade? Either of you? Mal Not really. Sheriff Hmm. You don't see many choose this life weren't born to it. Zoe Well, work is real scarce for a couple just starting out. Mal How come there's so many sick here? Sheriff Bowden's Malady. Know what that is? Zoe Affliction of the bone and muscle. Degenerative. Sheriff Very. Every planet that's been terraformed for human life has its own little quirks. Turns out the, uh, air down underground, mixed up with the ore processors is a recipe for Bowden's. Everybody gets it. Miners, dumpers. Hell, I got it, I ain't never set foot in a mine. Zoe But it's treatable? Sheriff There's medicine. Pasceline. Means you can live like a person, you get it regular. But our shipment got stole, right off the train you was riding in. Which is why you won't be seeing a parade in town today. Mal Stolen? Well, didn't I see a whole regiment of fine young Alliance Federals on the train? Sheriff You did. Same regiment let our medicine get swiped right under their noses, then took off for their own camp without so much as a whoopsy daisy. Mal That sounds like the Alliance. Unite all the planets under one rule so that everybody can be interfered with or ignored equally.

The Sheriff gets up, gets a cup of coffee, and sits on his desk, facing Mal and Zoe

Sheriff Alliance ain't much use to us out here on the border planets. But... they ain't the ones that stole the medicine. I ever find those people, they ain't ever going to see the inside of a jail. I'm just gonna toss 'em in a mine, let 'em breathe deep for the rest of their lives. Mal Can't argue with that. Sheriff Ah. You mind telling me when it was you last spoke to Joey Bloggs? Mal Never did myself. Sheriff Right. Your uncle. It was indicated to you that, uh, Joey had an opening? Mal Any job would do. Sheriff It's funny your uncle never went to mentioning the Bowden's problem. Or that Joey Bloggs ate his own gun, about eight months back. Mal Did he? Sheriff Yep. Blew the back of his head right off. Mal (beat) So... would his job be open?

INT. SERENITY - COCKPIT
Jayne is limping up the stairs to where Wash and Kaylee are sitting. He's followed by about everyone else. Okay, Simon.

Jayne That's it! We've waited long enough. Let's get this bird in the air. Wash No rutting way. Simon (to Jayne) You really should sit down. Kaylee You can't just leave the Captain and Zoe here. Jayne They ain't comin', we can't walk in there and get 'em, so they're done. Now let's fire it up.

Inara and Book walk in.

Inara What's going on? Jayne Strap in, we're takin' off. Wash We're NOT. Jayne Captain'd do the same if it was one of us. Kaylee Not in a million years! Jayne Shove it. Wash Listen to me! Jayne You know what the chain of command is? It's the chain I go get and beat you with until you understand who's in ruttin' command here. Now we're finishing this deal, and then maybe maybe we'll come back for those morons who got themselves caught.

(starts breathing heavily)

You can't change that by getting all...

(voice slows)

...bendy. Wash (not understanding the bendy thing) All what? Jayne (drugged) You've got the light.. from the console.. keep you, lift you up. They shine like...

(tries to catch the light in his hands)

...little angels...

Jayne collapses with a thud. The crew just stares.

Wash Did he just go crazy and fall asleep? Simon I told him to sit down. Kaylee (amazed) You doped him. Simon It was supposed to kick in a good deal sooner. I, I just didn't feel comfortable with him in charge. I hope... hope that's all right.

Crew looks around. Yeah. It's all right.

Book So. How do we get the others? Wash Jayne was right about them not making contact. Chances are, they got pinched getting off that train. Kaylee We can't just waltz in and pull them out. Book Someone respectable enough might be able to.

INT. PARADISO - HOLDING AREA
Pan up from flowing rich, red satin. Inara is walking towards Mal and Zoe.

Mal What the hell?

Inara slaps him.

Inara Don't you dare speak to me.

(to Sherrif)

Sheriff, I want this man bound by law at once. That's assuming he hasn't been already? Sheriff No one's been bound, not yet. Inara Thank God you stopped them.

(to Mal)

Did you honestly think you could access my accounts and I wouldn't find you? And Zoe, what would your husband say if he knew you were here? Zoe I... I was weak. Sheriff So I take it they ain't newlyweds? Inara Hardly. Malcolm's my indentured man, with three years left on his debt. I imagine we'll have to add another six months after this little adventure. Sheriff (re: on-looking men gawking at Inara) You'll have to pardon them. Don't think a one of 'em's ever seen a registered Companion before. Inara I apologize for my manner. Sheriff Oh, not a bit. Inara Should I contact my ship? Do you need to hold them very much longer? Sheriff Looks to me like we're about done here. I, uh. We had some unrelated trouble. His story had kind of an odor to it. Inara Yes, it's not the only thing about him that does. Thank you, very much Sheriff.

(to Mal and Zoe)

Come along. Sheriff (to Deputy) That's one hell of a lady. Her files were all in order? Deputy I ran 'em twice. Sheriff Hmm. Let's get started with the rest, then.

INT. SERENITY - CARGO AREA
Inara is stepping off her shuttle.

Kaylee Hey. How'd it go? Mal She hit me.

Wash hugs Zoe. Jayne is sprawled unconscious on the stairs.

Kaylee (re: Jayne) We tried to get him into the infirmary, he's just heavy. Wash Captain, I've got the engine running, we're good to go. Mal We're not going. Wash Not? What? Not why? Zoe We're bringin' the cargo back. Jayne (semi-conscious, slurring) Wha? Whadda mean back? I waited for you guys! Wash What are you talking about? What about Niska? Won't this put him in more or less a killing mood?

Mal and Zoe are grabbing the cargo.

Mal There's others need this more. Zoe Let's get it on the mule. Inara My shuttle's faster. Mal You already risked enough flying in there once. And... I don't wanna get slapped around no more. Far as Niska goes, we'll just have to explain to him the job went south when we return the money. Wash You wanna explain, now's your chance.

CUE ominous music. They look to the dock. Someone is striding up. It's Niska's men, lead by CROW.

BLACK OUT.

 
Act 4
I was aiming for his head

Right where we left them, confronting Crow and Niska's other thugs.

Crow You didn't make the rendezvous. Mal Ran into a few complications. Crow You were thinking of taking Mr. Niska's money and his property, maybe. Mal Ah, interestingly, neither. Crow I don't understand. Mal Yeah, look. Here's what it is. Deal's off.

(beat, Crow still doesn't get it)

We changed our minds. Crow (exasperated) You entered into an arrangement with Mr. Niska. There is no mind changing. Mal (nervous laugh) I'm afraid that's where you're wrong. We just... we can't take this job, so you just relax. We'll get you all the money Niska gave us up front, you return it to him, and we'll call it even. Crow (shakes head) There is no even. Mal Is that right?

Crow throws a knife. It hits Mal in the shoulder. Guns get drawn. Zoe's included. Shots exchanged. Zoe shoots. People fall. It's a thing. Crow starts punching Mal. Wash uses the mule to drive over some guys. Mal's on the ground, about to get speared by Crow. A shot rings out. Crow is kneecapped.

Mal Nice shot.

Camera pans up to Jayne, smoking gun in hand.

Jayne (slurred) I was aiming for his head.

EXT. PARADISO - NIGHT
Mal and Zoe are driving the cargo back.

Mal We'll have to drag 'em from here. Leave 'em just off the street. We'll notify the Sheriff when we're in deep, deep space. Sheriff Why not tell him in person?

CUT TO:

Sheriff and his men coming up from over a slight rise. Mal looks shocked, Zoe looks resigned.

Sheriff (cont'd) Got word of a ship not far out, came lookin'. Didn't expect to find you comin' back.

It's clear now that the Sheriff and his men are armed and prepared to use those arms if need be.

Mal Didn't expect to be comin'.

The Sheriff's crew inspects the cargo.

Deputy Nothin' missing.

Sheriff looks at Mal, smiles, and looks down in disbelief.

Sheriff You were truthful back in town. These are tough times. If a man can get a job, he might not look too close at what that job is. But a man learns all the details of a situation like ours, well, then he has a choice. Mal (looking stone-cold serious) I don't believe he does.

A look of understanding passes between them.

Sheriff (to crew) Get these crates back to town. Make yourselves useful.

EXT. SERENITY - NIGHT
Crow is on his knees, hands tied behind his back

Mal Now this is all the money Niska gave us in advance. You bring it back to him, tell him the job didn't work out.

(Crow spits)

We're not thieves--but we are thieves. Point is we're not takin' what's his. Now we'll stay out of his way the best we can from here on in. You explain that that's best for everyone, okay?

Crow stands.

Crow Keep the money. Use it to buy a funeral. It doesn't matter where you go, or how far you fly. I will hunt you down, and the last thing you see will be my blade. Mal Darn.

Mal kicks Crow into the engine intakes. Horrible crunching sounds happen. A second one of Niska's henchmen is brought bound before him.

Mal Now this is all the money Niska gave us in advance... Henchman Oh, I'm good. I speak for everyone. I'm right there with you.

INT. SERENITY - INFIRMITY
Simon is stitching up Mal's shoulder.

Simon You should have let me do this sooner. Mal I have had plenty worse it's just

(Simon hits something sensitive)

OUCH! Simon Sorry. Mal Just be careful. Pretty fast thinkin', doping up Jayne. Can't say you've made a lifetime friend. Simon I'll deal with him. Mal Yeah, I'm not too worried about you.

(beat)

How's your sister? Simon The same. One moment she seems perfectly cogent, the next...

CAMERA moves to the outside of the infirmary and pans right.

Simon (cont'd) ...she speaks nonsense, like a child. So difficult to diagnose. And I still don't know what the government was trying to do with her, so I have no idea if they succeeded.

Simon's voice fades out as River's grows louder. The camera moves in on her. She's curled in a corner, chanting:

River Two by two, hands of blue. Two by two, hands of blue...

INT. ALLIANCE SHIP
ALLIANCE OFFICER from earlier walks into a room. There are two men in suits there.

Officer Sorry to keep you waiting. There's always one crisis...

He's interrupted by the MAN.

Man We're not interested. We're here about a theft. Officer The medicine, on that planet. Word came up that was returned. Other Man We didn't fly 86 million miles to track down a box of band-aids, Colonel. Man We're looking for a girl.

Man slides a picture of River across the desk. We see that his hands are encased in tight blue gloves.

Man (cont'd) This girl.

As the camera pans out, we see that Man in suit 2 is also wearing blue gloves.

End of Show