Serenity

February 7, 2002

Written & Directed by: Joss Whedon

Teaser

Over black:

SOLDIER
I can hear something...

EXT. SERENITY VALLEY - JUST BEFORE DAWN

We fade up to the dim blue of predawn.

We are close on the face of Sgt MAL REYNOLDS. He is stubbly, cut and parched, as though he'd been stranded at sea after a terrible battle.

SOLDIER
Does anybody hear that?

He gradually focuses on the sound of approaching engines, looking up and in the distance. Rouses himself from his sitting position, starts crawling over to a soldier lying near him.

MAL
Private.
(no response)
Zoe. Signal flare.

ZOE sits herself painfully up, beginning to understand. She looks as bad as Mal -- everyone does, or worse. Off screen, we hear the other soldier again:

SOLDIER (O.S.)
There. There! Do you see it?
They're coming!

ZOE
Whose colors?

The SOLDIER comes into frame.

SOLDIER
It's a rescue ship, sir. They came.
(near tears)
They came...

ZOE
Whose colors are they flying?

She is handing Mal the flare as she says it.

MAL
Don't matter none. One side nor
t'other... ain't no difference...
Both of you pass the word, see who's
still with us.

Zoe and the other move out, and we stay on Mal, widening as he makes his way up a small slope that is littered with soldiers, living and dead and very much in-between. One of them is sitting and crying. Mal puts a comforting hand to his head as he passes -- we are pulling back as Mal continues on. As we pull back further, we see that Mal'se about a foot around on the middle of the door. Zoe reaches in and snips the wire with pliers.

Since there is no sound in space, all we hear is the labored breathing of three very tense people.

Mal pulls out a small device, looks almost like electric nosehair clippers, and clamps it onto the end of the wire.

He hits a switch on the device, and a charge runs through the wire, causing a reaction in the gel that turns it incredibly acidic -- it starts melting through the metal in a circle.

Mal moves away from the door, holds onto something near Zoe.

ANGLE: THE GEL

as it eats through the door, further and further...

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING

This (as we will learn in detail later) is the bridge of SERENITY, a small transport ship. The bridge itself is small and cluttered, more like someone's car than a pristine futuristic space vessel. In the pilot's seat sits WASH, a slightly shlumpy, unassuming fellow. He's concentrating intensely.

WASH
Everything looks good from here...
(beat)
Yes. Yes, this is a fertile land,
and we will thrive.

It is at this point that we realize he's playing with little plastic dinosaurs. He holds a stegosaurus and a T-rex (or whatever the hell they call 'em these days).

The dinosaurs look out over his dash/console, toward the window.

WASH (cont'd)
(as steg)
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!
(steg)
Curse your sudden but inevitable
betrayal!
(T-rex)
Ha HA! Mine is an evil laugh! Now
die!

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--

FWOOSH! The circle of door shoots out toward us, as we're back in:

INT. BLOWN-OUT SHIP - CONTINUING

The piece of door flies across the room, bouncing off the wall right by Jayne -- he catches it as it's ricochetting. What looks like steam pours out the hole for a few moments.

ZOE
Full pressure. The goods should be intact.

MAL
Assuming they're still there.

He's floating to the door -- sticks his hand in the hole and shoves, the door slides aside and Jayne shines a flashlight in there.

ANGLE: INSIDE THE CHAMBER

Three crates, roughly the size of haybales, sit in the dark.

MAL (cont'd)
Okay. Looking good.

A voice sounds simultaneously in all three headsets: Wash.

WASH (O.S.)
We have incoming! Alliance cruiser,
bearing right down on us!

MAL
(in Chinese)
Fuck me blind!
(in English)
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
This ship's been derelict for months.
Why would they --

MAL
(in Chinese)
Shut up.
(in English)
Shut it down, Wash. Everything but
the air.

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING

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 rolls into frame from underneath a huge engine part, ups and runs to the com. She is young, zaftig - as cheery as she is sexy. She and her jumpsuit are, as usual, speckled with grease.

WASH
Kaylee! Go to black out! We're
being buzzed!

She hits the com --

KAYLEE
(in Chinese)
Affirmative,
(in English)
going dark --

and keeps moving, hitting switches -- climbing atop the engine to pull the last lever. Everything goes pretty damn black.

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

INT. BLOWN-OUT SHIP - CONTINUING

Jayne, Zoe and Mal all hold their positions, tense.

MAL
(softly)
Wash. Where's the Crybaby?

INTERCUT WITH:

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING

WASH
Right where we left her. You want
her to cry?

MAL
Not yet. They slowing down?

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

MAL
All right. They do a heat probe, you
holler.

WASH
(in Chinese)
Affirmative.

Mal looks at the other two. They wait.

EXT. SPACE - CONTINUING

And we see it, in all it's glory: An Alliance Cruiser. Sleek, huge, antiseptic. The AngloSino flag painted above the name, I.A.V. DORTMUNDER.

CAPTAIN (O.S.)
What am I looking at?

INT. DORTMUNDER BRIDGE - CONTINUING

Hey, it's big. And clean, and everything a spaceship is supposed to be. The Captain speaks with an Ensign. They are rigid, formal, their clothes somewhat Trekkian, with a more militaristic edge to it. They're cops, Army, Ambassadors -- they're the Man.

ENSIGN
It's a carrier, blew out a few months
back. No survivors, but it was only
run by a skeleton crew anyway.

Now we see their view: A huge window, in which the twisted wreck of a ship is a tiny speck, and a computerized window within in which it's magnified, a rotating 3D image.

CAPTAIN
Damn shame. No point in checking for
survivors...?

ENSIGN
Locals swept it right after.

A moment, and the captain takes off his hat. The ensign follows suit as the Captain hits the com, his voice booming out around the ship:

CAPTAIN
Crew, a moment of respect, if you
please. Passing a graveyard.

The other men in the ship respond by pulling off their hats and slightly bowing their heads, a couple looking out at the approaching ghostship.

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

Is set with grim dislike, 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 brow-furrows.

MAN
Sir, there is a reading on that
thing. Some residual heat...

CAPTAIN
Do a sweep.

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING

An alarm sound, lights blink.

WASH
(in Chinese)
Shit on my head!
(in English)
Captain! We're humped!

INT. BLOWN-OUT SHIP - CONTINUING

MAL
Fire it up! Now!
(to the others)
We move these in, double-time!

They float to the crates, start dragging them (not hard in zero g).

INT. ENGINE ROOM - CONTINUOUS

It's still pitch black in here.

WASH (O.S.)
Fire it up! Kaylee!

KAYLEE
I'm all over it! I just gotta find
the damn...

She hits the switch that gives her light. But in the action, topples off the engine she was perched on and out of frame.

KAYLEE (cont'd)
Wahh!

INT. BLOWN-OUT SHIP/AIRLOCK OF SERENITY - CONTINUING

Mal, Zoe and Jayne all float their crates past the twisted wreckage and into the airlock. 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

The Cruiser is a good ways away as part of the black, twisted shadow begins to disengage itself, and we see for the first time that Serenity was anchored to the wreck, hidden almost in her bowels.

Serenity is a small, buglike ship, patched together, rusted in parts -- everything the Dortmunder is not. And teeny in comparison. It somewhat unfolds itself as it gets free.

INT. DORTMUNDER BRIDGE - CONTINUING

The Captain is watching on his screen.

CAPTAIN
What the hell?

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING

Wash is seated, all business now.

WASH
Hang on, travellers...

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. AIRLOCK - CONTINUING

Mal hits the com:

MAL
Cry, Baby, Cry.

WASH (O.S.)
Make your mother sigh. Engaging the
crybaby.

EXT. SPACE - CONTINUING

Behind some little moon, we see a tiny jet-propelled satellite looking thing, beeping out its distress signal. It's roughly the size of a thermos, and has written on a piece of tape: "Crybaby #6".

INT. DORTMUNDER BRIDGE - CONTINUING

The captain and ensign are near the screen. The captain's face goes cold with disgust.

MAN
It's a transport ship. Firefly class.

ENSIGN
They still make those?

CAPTAIN
Illegal salvage. Lowlife vultures
picking the flesh off the dead.

ENSIGN
Should we deploy gunships, bring her
in?

MAN
Captain, I am picking up a distress
signal thirteen clicks ahead... From
a... it sounds like a personnel
carrier...

EXT. SPACE - CONTINUING

The crybaby beeps.

INT. DORTMUNDER BRIDGE - CONTINUING

MAN
Definitely a big ship, sir, and she
is without power.

CAPTAIN
(considering)
Gunships'd never get back to us in
time...all right. Let's go help
those people.
(to the ensign)
Put a bulletin out on the Cortex, and
flag Interpol: a Firefly with
possibly stolen goods aboard.
(almost to himself)
Maybe someone'll step on those
roaches.

INT. CARGO HOLD - CONTINUING

The airlock feeds right into the cargo hold. It's a cavernous space with a great deal of junk cluttering it. The airlock door opens and Mal and the other two step out, clearly a bit tense. They all pull off their spacesuits -- tees and undies underneath.

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 those crates aren't empty, I
call this a win.

MAL
Right.

He looks away, darkness in his gaze.

MAL (cont'd)
We win.

END OF TEASER

Act One

INT. 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. (The three who went out have got pants on now.)

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

ANGLE: IN THE CRATE are bars that looks 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
sitting 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.

MAL
(harshly, in Chinese)
Shut up.

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

ZOE
Problem, sir?

Clearly, there is. But Mal tries to cover -- just a big of tension creeping into his voice.

MAL
(after a moment)
Couldn't say.
(tosses the bar back)
But we'd best be rid of these 'fore
we run into another alliance patrol.

JAYNE
What the hell they doing this far
out, 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
Play it as close as you can. This
catch is burning a hole in my hull.

ZOE
You think that cruise could've I.D.d
us?

MAL
Gotta 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)
Jayne, Kaylee, let's get these crates
stowed. I don't want any tourists
stumbling over them.

KAYLEE
We're taking on passengers at
Persephone?

MAL
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 please stop her from
being cheerful?

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. UPPER CORRIDOR/BRIDGE - CONTINUING

As Wash and Zoe crest the ladder and head to their positions, talking.

ZOE
I know something's not right.

WASH
Sweetie, we're crooks. If everything
was right, we'd be in jail.

ZOE
It's just, the Captain's so tense...

WASH
Of course he's tense. He's awake.
Look, we drop the goods on
Persephone, fly away rich and
prosperous, then when we get to
Boros --

ZOE
Maybe take a couple of days shore-
leave?

WASH
Exactly. We been running nonstop,
and our shares from the salvage could
put us somewhere sweet.

He moves in on her, wrapping her in his arms.

WASH (cont'd)
Kind of place where they bring food
to your room, food with food in it.
We'd never move -- they'd lift us up
to change the sheets.

They're getting closer, soon to be kissing, yes.

ZOE
Wouldn't mind a real bath...

WASH
Room in there for two?

ZOE
You'd have to move from the bed...

WASH
Well, I've changed my whole policy on
not moving now. 'Cause of the bath
thing.

They're so close...

ZOE
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.

He lands in his seat. She still stands.

ZOE
Look, I'll ask him.

WASH
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.

Wash looks up at her excitedly, mouth, "good!" and gives the thumbs up. She looks away.

MAL
After you talk to Badger, see if you
can reach the Ambassador. Let her
know we're out of Persephone fast.
She's got business pending, she
better squeeze it dry and send it
off. We ain't waiting.

WASH
I'm sure the Ambassador will
appreciate your colorful phrasing.
Sir.

ZOE
Inara knows our timetable. I'm sure
she'll be checking in soon.

MAL
Well if she don't, rouse her. You
know how wrapped up she gets in her
work.

INT. INARA'S CHAMBER - NIGHT

We are close on INARA's face. She is being made love to by an eager, inexperienced but quite pleasingly shaped young man. She is beneath him, drawing him to his climax with languorous intensity. His face buried in her neck.

INARA
Oh... Oh.... oh my god...

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, a worldly, almost motherly sweetness in her expression. He rests his head on her breast, still breathing hard.

INARA (cont'd)
(softly)
Oh my boy...

INT. SAME - LATER

They are seated on cushions, close to each other with their legs entwined, sipping tea from small cups. She has a robe on.

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
(nodding)
I was born there.

THE YOUNG MAN
I can't imagine ever leaving.

There is but half truth in her reply, and a hint of weariness.

INARA
Well, I wanted to see the universe.

THE YOUNG MAN
My cousin hopes to become a
Companion. But I don't think the
academy will take her unless her
scores come up.

INARA
It was the languages I struggled
with. And music, at first.

THE YOUNG MAN
You play beautifully.

INARA
Thank you.

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 with...

She smiles that knowing smile again, just a tinge of sadness in it. He doesn't continue.

INT. SAME - LATER

He is dressed and exiting, his manner slightly more diffident.

THE YOUNG MAN
A very -- 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, shutting the door behind him.

She takes a moment, then hits a button by the door, locking it and sealing it. She moves across the room and pulls aside a tapestry that conceals the cockpit of what we now see to be a small shuttle. 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. 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. As it does we see it is perched atop a skyscraper in a fairly big and ritzy city. It flies off.

EXT. 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. The place is filled with People of all races, modes and languages. It's chaos; trade, theft and outright violence all happening amidst the jumble of humanity.

This district is clearly poorer than the gleaming city in the distance, and every ship parked looks at tad haphazard -- though Serenity does seem particularly small and ratty next to the ships it docks between.

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)
Fuel her up, and grab any supplies
we're low on.

Kaylee moves to a computerized placard in front of their 'parking space', starts entering data. We arm up to see It reads: DESTINATION: and that BOROS appears below that. The rest in filled in thus:

CAPACITY: TWELVE

DEPARTURE TIME: 1500

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.

Zoe, Jayne and Mal start off.

WASH
Zoe.
(in Chinese)
Watch your back.

ZOE
We will.

He watches her move through the crowd.

EXT. EAVESDOWN DOCKS - DAY

We're in the middle of the hubbub. We see a sign that advertises: Good DOGS! Arm down to see a pen of scrawny, listless dogs of various breeds. Arm further down to see a griddle, with some suspicious looking cuts of meat sizzling on it. A man works the griddle.

We see, Passing through frame, Shepherd BOOK. He's about sixty, weathered and worldly, with a quiet kindness in his eyes. Farmer stock, not a trace of bullshit and a workingman's hands. He drags a few boxes and suitcases on a sort of wheeled papoose, carries another suitcase in his hand. His clothes are plain and instantly identify him as some kind of protestant minister. 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 and clean, The BRUTUS is the
best ship in the 'verse. What's your
des, grandpa, we're hitting the outer
rings --

BOOK
I never married.

MAN #2
What?

BOOK
I'm not a grandpa.

The guy just looks at him like he's crazy, let's him move on past the next barker, MAN #2. The guy is fancy, with people gathered around -- his ship is clearly high class.

MAN #2
-- three berths left, junior suites,
we are not interested in Asian or
Catholic passengers, thank you, we
will be bidding for the last three
berths --

Book moves on. Comes to the third dock in the row. It's Serenity's, Kaylee sits outside it in a lawn chair. He looks at it, never stopping, 'til Kaylee says, smiling:

KAYLEE
You're gonna come with us.

BOOK
Excuse me?

KAYLEE
You like ships. Don't seem to be
looking at the destinations. What
you care about is ships and mine
is the nicest.

She's completely innocuous. It's hard not to be charmed by her. He does stop, gives the ship a look-over.

ANGLE: THE BRIDGE sticking out above them, SERENITY painted on the side.

BOOK
She don't look like much.

KAYLEE
She'll fool ya'. Ever sailed in a
firefly?

BOOK
Long before you were crawling. Not
an aught three, though. Didn't have
the extenders, tended to shake.

KAYLEE
You wanna shake, sail the PARAGON
there. Guarantee you'll barf before
you break atmo.

Book looks over at the fancy ship he just passed, clearly agreeing.

BOOK
They can dress her up pretty, but a
Gurtlser engine's always gonna get
twitchy on ya.
(re: Serenity)
The aught three still use the trace
compression block?

KAYLEE
Til they make something better.

Now she pretty much thinks he's the cool fool too. There is a moment between them.

KAYLEE (cont'd)
So how come you don't care where
you're going?

BOOK
'Cause how you get there is the
worthier part.

KAYLEE
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
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?

BOOK
Not what they're charging on the
Paragon. But I expect we could come
to terms. I've got a little cash,
and, uh...

He approaches her, with a small wooden box. Shows her the contents. She goes a little bit wide-eyed, eying the contents lustfully.

KAYLEE
Oh, Grampa...

BOOK
I never married.

INT. UNDERGROUND 'OFFICE' - DAY

This is BADGER'S place. It's not too large, and kind of dingy. The ceiling has what looks like subway grates over it -- we can hear the traffic above, and every now and then the bright white of a flying vehicle pours 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 is a petty thug with pretensions to Kingpinery: He has bad facial hair, bad teeth, a crushed derby and he wears a woolly three piece and tie, though he has only a wifebeater beneath.

We find him in the room with three thugs in the corners. A fourth, an old man, is holding the arm of a clearly frightened but slightly hopeful young woman. Badger inspects her.

BADGER
Let me see your teeth.

She gives him a big smile. He pulls her lip up, the other one down.

BADGER (cont'd)
Yes.

She looks apprehensively pleased as she is shuttled 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.

BADGER (cont'd)
You're late.

MAL
You're lying.

Everybody tenses as Badger turns.

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 and
ready to roll. So your decision to
get tetchy and say we're late means
you're looking to put us on the
defensive right up front. Which
means something's gone wrong and it
didn't go wrong at our end so why
don't we start again with you telling
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 site, 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 saying a rogue vessel,
classification 'Firefly', was spotted
pulling illegal salvage on a derelict
transport.

MAL
They didn't ID us. Doesn't lead to
you.

As he speaks he sticks an apple on a rusty old peeler, slowly turns it.

BADGER
No, it doesn't. But the 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
gorramn 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.

Mal shoots Jayne a look that shuts him right up.

Mal steps forward and Badger rises -- hands go to guns, but Mal is reasonable of tone.

MAL
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.

As he talks, two more girls are hustled in. They are nudged, and both smile at Badger.

BADGER
(re: one)
Yes.
(re: other)
No.
(to Mal)
I don't like you.

He makes a face, reconsidering --

BADGER (cont'd)
(to his thug, re:
other)
Dyeahh.... yes.

The girl is pushed through the curtain after the first one. Badger calls after them:

BADGER (cont'd)
But keep her in the back, yeah?

MAL
I'm not asking you to like me --

BADGER
(overlapping)
What were you in the war, a Sergeant?
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 honour in a den of
thieves.
(in his face)
Well it's my gorramn den and I don't
like the way you look down on me.
I'm above you. Better than. I'm a
businessman, yeah? Roots in the
community. You're just a scavenger.
You're a bagman, Mal; you come and go
at my beck and I say you go. Get out.

MAL
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.

Long beat. Mal is inches from starting a firefight -- Jayne is less than inches. Zoe merely waits to back Mal's play.

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.

They are about gone when Badger stops Mal with:

BADGER (cont'd)
Hey Mal!
(Mal turns)
That war -- how'd that turn out for
you? You come out on top?

Mal says nothing, exits. Badger smiles, starts eating the apple peel.

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 woulda lost.

JAYNE
Well, I guess you're the expert on
that.

MAL
(not breaking stride)
You figure this is a good time to
rile me? You honestly think that?

ZOE
We'll sell the goods on Boros, no
problem.

MAL
Boros is too big. It's crawling with
Alliance, they could just be waiting
for us.

ZOE
You really think Badger'd sell us out
to the Feds?

MAL
If he hasn't already.

JAYNE
Gettin' to be so a man can't do an
honest day's crime.

MAL
It's like the bastard called it:
We'll have to hit one of the border
planets on the way and hope we can
make a deal. We could maybe to hook
up with Patience...

JAYNE
Who's Patience?

ZOE
Works out of Whitefall, one of the
Athenian moons.

MAL
It's possible she's in need of what
we got. And government trace won't
scare her.

ZOE
Not much does.

JAYNE
You trust her?

MAL
'Bout as much as I'd trust a baby to
a pack of Reavers. But that don't
matter now. Alliance catches us with
government goods, we'll lose the
ship.

Zoe realizes what that means to Mal. They have reached Serenity by now -- Mal is looking at it as he speaks. Zoe stops him.

ZOE
Sir, maybe we should just dump 'em.

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

DOBSON
Dobson... Thank you...

He stumbles, nearly dropping his luggage -- he's just a bit bumbly and sweet. Over this we hear:

MAL
We don't get paid for this, we won't
have enough money to fuel the ship,
let alone keep her in repair. She'll
be dead in the water anyhow.
(Mal turns to the
others)
We just gotta keep our heads down and
do the job. Pray there ain't no more
surprises.

He is standing by the airlock ramp as he says it, looking at:

ANGLE: A BOX. Being loaded on by Wash on a dolly/truck is, among a few other things, a clearly special, futuristic-looking dark blue box with many dials and readouts.

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. This is our
captain.

Both men size each other up, neither particularly anxious to make conversation.

SIMON
Captain Reynolds.

MAL
Welcome aboard.
(to Kaylee)
This all we got?

ANGLE: IN THE CARGO BAY

We see Zoe talking to Wash, giving him the bad news.

INT. BRIDGE - DAY

Wash is prepping her for take off, sees a signal, flips a switch.

WASH
Inara. You're just in time.

INARA (O.S.)
Let me guess. We're in a hurry.

WASH
Looks like. Port hatch green for
docking.

INARA (O.S.)
Locked in five. Four.

EXT. SERENITY - CONTINUING

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

INT. INARA'S SHUTTLE - CONTINUING

As she feels the lurch of lock. She doesn't leave the pilot's seat.

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING

Wash turns, calls back:

WASH
The Ambassador has returned.

He is talking to Zoe, who moves to the

INT. 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. Lock it up!

EXT. AIRLOCK - CONTINUING

Kaylee looks around once...

KAYLEE
(softly)
All aboard...

ANGLE: SIMON

As he passes his box, looking at it, looking coldly at Mal.

EXT. PERSEPHONE - DAY

As Serenity shoots away from the atmosphere and into the black of space.

END OF ACT ONE

Act Two

EXT. SPACE - LATER

Serenity moves silently through. It is a tiny light in the black of space.

INT. PASSENGER'S SECTION/DINING ROOM - LATER

We see Dobson hurriedly coming up the stairs from the passenger section to the upstairs dining area as Mal has already begun addressing the other two passengers. Zoe and Kaylee are up there as well.

MAL
Meals are taken here in the dining
area, the kitchen is pretty much self
explanatory, you're welcome to eat
what there is at 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 being at about 1800 --

KAYLEE
(excited)
I think Shepherd Book has offered to
help me prepare something.

MAL
(to Book, less
excited)
You're a Shepherd.

BOOK
Thought the outfit gave it away. Is
it a problem?

KAYLEE
Of course not!
(to Mal)
It's not a problem, 'cause it's not.

MAL
No.
(to the bunch)
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 and the cargo bay are off
limits without an escort.

SIMON
Some of my personal effects are in
the cargo bay.

MAL
I figure you all got luggage you'll
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 on Whitefall. It's the
fourth moon on Athens, a bit out of
our way, but we should have you on
Boros no more than a day off
schedule. Is that gonna be all right
for everyone?

BOOK
Jake by me...

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.

These two clearly already don't trust each other. Book watches the both of them, sensing the dynamic.

DOBSON
I'm supposed to be meeting my wife's
sister. I've only got a few days to see
her...

ZOE
I wish there was another way...

DOBSON
Oh, no, no. That woman is like a
dragon. I mean, I believe she has a
tail. If there's any other moons we
need to visit, or if we could just
fly very slowly...

The tension is broken -- people smile at Dobson's disarming relief.

MAL
One last thing, I forgot -- Your
Firefly is a solid boat, but she's
older... We've been having a bit of
interference with our aeronautics,
the new frequencies... I need to ask
you all to stay off the cortex, at
least til we get to Whitefall. We
should be able to correct the problem
there.

He smiles: the bland, cold smile of a liar.

INT. CARGO BAY - LATER

People are getting the luggage they need. Dobson is spilling clothes out of his case -- he's a perpetual bumbler. Simon is also placing things into an elegant little valise -- all while eyeing his special blue box.

Book places something wrapped in tissue into a wooden box, hands it 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. The hatch opens onto a catwalk that runs above the space in an 'X', the opposite side being the entrance to the first shuttle. She descends stairs as the group notices her.

MAL
The Ambassador graces us with her
presence.

Book looks up -- and Inara does indeed look the part of a lady of state.

MAL
Hello, Mal. I see we have some new
faces.

KAYLEE
Hey you.

INARA
Hey you.

There is a sweetness between those two. Not so much with Mal, whom Inara approaches.

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. And disapproving.

KAYLEE
The term is "Companion".

MAL
Yeah, but the job is whore.
(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 isn't a
problem for you, is it?

BOOK
Well, I... no, 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. 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. It's just as red and luscious as it could be. She smells it, slowly puts it in her mouth, eyes closing. Watching her savor it is not an entirely unsensual experience.

She swallows it. Smiles, broad and bright.

INT. DINING ROOM - LATER

We see a sparse but none-the-less inviting spread - Book and Kaylee have made a salad of tomatoes, and grilled up some root vegetables along with the pasta and protein/starch mush that is the usual diet of space travellers. To us, not much. To this crowd, a banquet.

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 Judgement Day if he's got
enough Marjoram.

DOBSON
(over this, to Jayne)
Can you pass me the tomatoes?

He does, after taking several slices. People settle.

BOOK
Captain, would 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
But it's good, if the supplies are
needed...

JAYNE
Yeah, 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: atmosphere,
gravity and such, but...

MAL
Once they're terraformed, they'll
dump settlers on there with nothing
but blankets and hatchets and 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)
You're pretty young to be a ship's
mechanic.

KAYLEE
No how. Machines just got workings,
and they talk to me.

BOOK
That's a rare gift.

KAYLEE
Not like being a doctor, helping fix
people, that's important. It's kind
of comforting to have a doctor on
board.

JAYNE
Little Kaylee just wishes you was a
gynecologist.

Kaylee, visibly humiliated, looks down.

MAL
Jayne. You'll keep a civil tongue in
that mouth or I will sew it shut, is
there an understanding between us?

JAYNE
(pushing)
You don't pay me to talk pretty.

MAL
Walk away from this table. Right now.

A beat, and 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 sponging off -- the only kind of bathing you'll find on this ship. A knock on the hatch.

INARA
(in Chinese)
Come in.

Book enters. She is facing mostly away from his, but she sees it's him. She continues to bathe herself, running the sponge over her breasts, more in defiance than seduction.

BOOK
If I'm not intruding...

INARA
Not at all.

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

INARA (cont'd)
I expected you.

BOOK
Can't really say the same, myself.

INARA
So. Would you like to explain to me
the wickedness of my ways?

BOOK
Do you never come to supper with the
others?

INARA
Sometimes, I --

BOOK
I saved you some food. I cooked up
some fresh vegetables, a salad... If you
wanted to... forgive me, I
haven't got a lot of experience
with --

INARA
Whores?

Book's face clouds.

BOOK
Captain Reynolds has no call to speak
about you like that.

INARA
He dislikes pretension.

BOOK
Still, a lady shouldn't --

INARA
Please don't delude yourself,
Shepherd. The captain is a sadistic
boor, but I am a companion. And
right now, a lecture on antiquated
notions of moral turpitude is --

BOOK
Not my intent. I like that word,
though. turpitude. You just don't
hear it enough. But no.

A beat, as she shifts, trying to figure him out...

INARA
Well, you should know I have a strict
policy about never sleeping with
crew -- or passengers.

BOOK
Ma'am, I'm sorry to tell you that I
have no interest in your body, or
what you do with it. It's true, I'm
a Christian, and we don't exactly
celebrate the flesh trade, but that's
your business. It's perfectly legal.
And I'm beginning to suspect it's the
only business on this boat that is.

A beat, a she laughs. He smiles disarmingly.

BOOK (cont'd)
Fact is, I don't know how long I'm
gonna be with you all. I always
heard that by law, Companions are
educated in the literary arts,
philosophy and whatnot. Among, well
other things but I just thought it
might be nice to be able to talk once
in a while.

INARA
You think you and I would have things
to talk about? Don't you think our
perspectives might be a little at
odds?

BOOK
Doesn't scare me none. I come to
this world to learn, not to preach.
Well, sometimes to preach, but I can
control it. But what I got out there
is a bunch of people don't much wanna
talk about anything. Your captain's
a particularly tight-lipped fellow.

INARA
He can be a little brusque, but he's
a decent man.

BOOK
I thought he was a sadistic boor.

INARA
He's a lot of things.

She sounds almost weary when she says it. Her feelings for him are clearly complex.

INT. MAL'S ROOM - CONTINUING

It's a tiny cell, just a bunk and a tiny fold-down desk. A ladder runs up to the hatch (the crew rooms are under the foredeck hall). The room is cluttered with junk, pictures, general mess.

Mal is in the heroic 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. FOREDECK HALL - CONTINUING

The hatch, set at the side of the hall at a 45 degree angle between floor and wall, slides open and Mal climbs up. He moves through the hall to:

INT. 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
< Fuck everyone in the universe to
death. >

WASH
We got a mole on board.

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

INT. CARGO BAY - MOMENTS LATER

Simon is checking on his box, looking at lights and gages. The lights are low now and he is furtive and very quiet, crouching on the larger crate on which his luggage sits. He finishes and steps down.

He turns and Mal is standing before him.

MAL
Forget your toothpaste?

Mal SLUGS him, sends him sprawling. Simon feels his head, furious, as Mal shakes his hurt hand.

SIMON
Are you out of your mind?

MAL
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 are a lunatic.

MAL
And you're a gorramn fed.

BOOK
Hate to say it, Captain, but you've
got the wrong man.

Both men turn to him, Mal stunned to think the Shepherd is actually a fed. 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. Switches gears instantly.

MAL
You -- what -- the doctor? Oh!
(indignant at Simon)
Hey!
(hopeful, to Dobson)
Is there a reward?

END OF ACT TWO

Continue on to Part Two

Serenity

February 7, 2002

Written & Directed by: Joss Whedon

Act Three

INT. CARGO BAY - CONTINUING

Right where we left off. 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're making a mistake.

MAL
I think you oughta get on the ground,
son. Man seems a mite twitchy.

BOOK
I think everybody could stand to calm
down a bit.

He is moving slowly towards Dobson, hoping to defuse.

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 -- he's of the righteous now.

MAL
Not to worry. We can hold Lord
Fauntleroy 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 do you
think I actually believe you're
bringing medical supplies to
Whitefall? As far as I care,
everyone on this ship is culpable.

MAL
(icy calm)
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 --

DOBSON
Stand the hell down --

KAYLEE
Hey, what's --

Dobson spins and FIRES.

Kaylee steps backwards, puzzled, as Jayne steps in behind her --

KAYLEE (cont'd)
Wait, why are you...

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.

Jayne comes toward Dobson with a purpose, gun in hand, and book turns to face him.

JAYNE
Get out of the way.

BOOK
You're not killing this man.

JAYNE
Not right away...

BOOK
He's not a threat.

JAYNE
Move.

BOOK
Not gonna happen.

JAYNE
(raising his gun)
I'm not 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.

ZOE (cont'd)
The gun, Shepherd. Please.

Book hands her Dobson's gun. A bit of blood drips off it.

ANGLE: KAYLEE AND THE OTHERS

(NOTE: much of this action will be happening simultaneously with the other.)

Simon lays Kaylee prone, keeping her head up til the others join him.

SIMON
Lie back. How do you feel?

KAYLEE
A little odd. Why'd he... oh...

Inara and Mal join them.

SIMON
(to Inara)
Put something under her head.

Inara pulls off her robe (she is dressed beneath) and bunches it under Kaylee's head, as, Simon rips open Kaylee's jumpsuit, examines the wound. It's not pretty.

MAL
(to Kaylee)
Well, that ain't hardly a mosquito
bite.

He and Inara exchange a glance that means something different.

KAYLEE
Big... mosquito...

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, < little sister >, You gotta
focus.

Simon pushes Kaylee's stomach and she screams.

SIMON
(to Mal)
The infirmary working?

MAL
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
You can't.

Simon looks at Kaylee, helpless and sweet.

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
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 d? 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 --

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.

INARA
It's back behind you.

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

EXT. SPACE - CONTINUING

As the ship turns and the back lights up wicked 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
Laser saw. We can go in --

SIMON
Not good enough. In my room, the 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.

INT. INFIRMARY - CONTINUING

We see, over time, VARIOUS ANGLES of Simon operating. What's clear here is that this guy is supremely 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.

-- Mal holding the wound open while Simon works a laser/scope inside her. Both men with bloody hands.

-- Inara holding a breathing mask over Kaylee's face, looking at instruments indicating her vitals.

-- a vid image of a laser sewing up a hole in her liver.

-- Inara handing over bandages as Simon sews the wound shut.

INT. INFIRMARY - LATER

Simon washes off his hands. He turns to Mal.

SIMON
I can't do anything more until she
stabilizes.

MAL
Will she?

SIMON
Can't say yet.

INARA
I wanna 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!

Simon follows, as do we, back into

INT. CARGO BAY - CONTINUING

Mal overturns some crates and cases to reveal Simon's big blue box, sitting atop another box.

SIMON
Stay away from that!

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

MAL
(calmly, to Jayne)
Where's the Fed?

JAYNE
Secured. Shepherd's with him. Seems
to think he's not safe alone with me.

Mal hops atop the first crate and pushes the blue box. It topples off the crate and lands hard on the metal floor as Wash and Zoe enter.

Mal hops down, turns some dials on the 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.

Zoe and Mal pull at the top. Inara enters, watches as well.

MAL
Let's see what a man like you would
kill for.

The top won't go. Mal rears back and slams his heel into it. 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 seventeen year old 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 (cont'd)
Huh.

END OF ACT THREE

Act Four

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
Is that what they call it?

SIMON
She's not supposed to wake up for
another week! The shock could --

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? 'Cause you seem --

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 Naked Girl than Struggling Man -- and comes to her.

SIMON
River --

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

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

Finally she looks at him, trying to focus, still breathing hard. Tears are welling in his eyes, but he just stays focused on her.

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

SIMON (cont'd)
River...

RIVER
Simon...?

And she realizes, begins to cry, as does he.

RIVER (cont'd)
Simon... They talk to me, they want
me to... to talk...

SIMON
They're gone... they're gone and
we're safe now, we're safe and 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, til:

MAL
What the hell is this?

Simon pulls the weeping River to him, looks at Mal defiantly, unashamed of the tears in his eyes.

SIMON
This is my sister.

INT. DINING ROOM - LATER

Everyone is gathered, save Kaylee and River herself, to hear Simon speak. As he does, we 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'm very smart.

INT. DINING ROOM - CONTINUING

SIMON
Went to the best Medacad on Osiris,
top three percent of my class,
finished my internship in eight
months. 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
was.... a gift. Everything she did,
music, Maths, theoretical physics --
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. She used to tell me --
(losing the train)
I mean, she's a kid. You know? Like
everyone else, except she
understands. So much.

INT. INFIRMARY - EARLIER

River drifts off to sleep. We pan across to see Simon holding her hand.

INT. DINING ROOM - CONTINUING

Simon pauses a moment.

SIMON
There was a school... a, uh,
government-sponsored academy, we'd
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.

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

SIMON (cont'd)
I got a few letters at first, then I
didn't hear from her for months. Finally I
got a letter that made no sense. She
talked about things that never
happened, jokes we never... it was
code. I couldn't even figure... I
talked to professors, spent a week
trying to work it. It just said...
"They're hurting us. Get me out."

He can't go on for a moment.

INT. INFIRMARY - EARLIER

She sleeps.

INT. DINING ROOM - CONTINUING

ZOE
How did you do it?

SIMON
Money. And luck -- for two years I
couldn't get near her, but I was
contacted by some men, some
underground movement. They said she
was in danger, that the government
was playing with her brain. If I
funded them they could sneak her out
in cryo. Get her to Boros and from
there, I could take her... wherever.

MAL
How did you know it wasn't a scam?

SIMON
I didn't. Until you opened that box.

INARA
Will she be all right?

SIMON
She was supposed to reacclimate
before I brought her out, she's in
physical shock, but not serious. I
don't know if she'll be all right.
I don't know what they did to her, or
why. I just have to keep her safe.
(to Mal)
You asked me what a man like me would
kill for. And she's it.

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 that --

MAL
No, I don't imagine you did. In
consequence of which we got a
kidnapped federal officer on board,
be got the Alliance hard on our trail
and Kaylee...

He doesn't say it.

ZOE
(to Wash)
How much does the Alliance know?

WASH
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
What do we do?

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

MAL
The job. We finish the job. I sent
word to 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 in Whitefall.

SIMON
If she doesn't come through?

MAL
Then you're getting off a mite sooner.

BOOK
That'd be murder.

MAL
Boy made a decision.

INARA
He didn't shoot her.

JAYNE
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
Ha 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 do not vote on my ship because my
ship is not the gorramn 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.

Book looks down, ashamed.

MAL
< 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, furious at being confronted publicly, truly upset by the thought of her leaving, taking a moment to push both below the surface.

MAL
Might be best you do. You ain't a
part of this business.

They stare at each other a moment. He exits toward the back.

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? 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
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 'em, 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, Book and Jayne in the foreground.

JAYNE
Saw that coming...

INT. INFIRMARY - LATER

The girls are asleep. Simon finishes injecting something into Kaylee, goes to return a bottle to a cabinet.

BOOK
How is she?

Startled, Simon shuts the door. Turns to the Shepherd.

SIMON
Touch and go.

BOOK
I might pray over her a bit, if you
don't mind.

SIMON
Of course.

BOOK
She's a special girl. We kinda got
to be be friendly right away.

SIMON
That's a talent I seem to lack.

BOOK
If I can ask, what made you pick this
ship?

SIMON
It looked disreputable.

Book smiles. Simon does too, though his is a bleak one.

BOOK
Well, you're not without critical
judgement. Didn't happen to look at
the name, I suppose?

SIMON
Um, what -- "Serenity", right?
That's a joke.

BOOK
I believe it's not.

SIMON
< I'm sorry? >

BOOK
You want to get a lay of the land
here, it might be what you lack isn't
psychological insight. Might be it's
History.

Simon looks at him.

INT. SIMON'S ROOM - LATER

Simon opens a small notebook. It's got a sheet of digital paper inside on the right, and a series of what look like little plastic pointers inserted on the left. He picks one, slides it in the spine of the notebook, and the paper lights up, reading: Universal Encyclopedia. He touches a section that says: VOICE, and says:

SIMON
Serenity.

Up comes the dictionary definition, and below that, SERENITY, BATTLE OF. He touches it and a paragraph forms with photos next to it.

SIMON (cont'd)
Read.

As the book reads, in a soft female voice, the images fill the page. Planets, banners, then images of battle and carnage, the aftermath of which we saw in the flashback.

ENCYCLOPEDIA
In the war to unite the planets, The
Battle Of Serenity was among the most
devastating and decisive. Located on
Hera, the valley was considered a key
position by both sides, and was
bitterly fought over.
The Independent Faction, with sixteen
brigades and twenty air-tank squads,
held the valley against Alliance
forces for almost two months, until
superior numbers and a brilliant deep-
flank strategy by General Richard
Wil --

ZOE
What does it say under 'bloodbath'?

Simon turns off the book, seeing Zoe in his doorway.

SIMON
I'm was just trying to --

ZOE
We're not in there. The book, I
mean. We're not generals or
diplomats, we didn't turn the tide of
glorious history or whatever that
thing is supposed to spew.

SIMON
You know what they say: History is
programmed by the winners.

ZOE
Nearly half a million people lay dead
on that field at day's end, about a
third of them 'winners'. Can you
imagine the smell? Can you imagine
piling up the bodies of soldiers --
of friends -- to build a wall 'cause
you got no cover? Blood just kept
pouring out of them, you'd slip in it
half the time, find out bloodbath is
not just a figure of speech.

SIMON
Mal was there with you.

She enters, sits across from him.

ZOE
He was my sergeant. In command of
thirty-odd grunts -- five days in,
there were so many officers dead he
commanded two thousand. Kept us
together, kept us fighting, kept us
sane. By the time the fighting was
over he had maybe four hundred still
intact.

SIMON
That's a hell of a --

ZOE
I said the fighting was over. But
you see they left us there. Wounded,
and sick, and near to mad as can
still walk and talk. Both sides left
us there while they 'negotiated the
peace'. For a week. And we just kept
dying. When they finally sent in
Medships, he had about a hundred and
fifty left, and of our original
platoon, just me.

She stands.

ZOE (cont'd)
Mercy, forgiveness, trust... Those
are things he left back there. What
he has now is the ship, the ship
and us on it. You get Kaylee through
this and I think he'll do right by
you. He won't kill unless he's got
no other option.

SIMON
What if he tells you to kill me?

ZOE
I kill you.

SIMON
(grim smile)
Just getting the lay of the land.

She starts to go.

SIMON (cont'd)
If that battle was so horrible, why'd
he name the ship after it?

She considers the question.

ZOE
Once you've been in Serenity, you
never leave. You just learn to live
there.

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING

Mal arrives on the bridge, moving fast. 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
Um, 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 burning without core
containment. Well, that's < 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... oh god... oh god...

END OF ACT FOUR

Continue on to Part Three

Serenity

February 7, 2002

Written & Directed by: Joss Whedon

Act Five

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. PASSENGER DORM HALL - CONTINUING

Zoe has started out of Simon's room, has stopped to listen. He 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
everybody stay calm.

INT. JAYNE'S ROOM - CONTINUING

Jayne pulls down a decorative blanket to reveal an arsenal on his wall. He his silent and serious.

MAL (O.S.)
We're holding course. They should
pass us in a minute, 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
I don't understand.

ZOE
You've never heard of Reavers?

SIMON
Campfire stories... Men gone savage
at 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.

INT. DOBSON'S ROOM - CONTINUING

Bound and gagged, Dobson waits in terror.

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
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 looong breath. Looks at the other two.

WASH (cont'd)
I guess they weren't hungry. Sure
didn't expect to see them here...

ZOE
They're pushing out further every
year, too.

MAL
Getting awful crowded in my sky.

he hits the com:

MAL (cont'd)
Jayne.

INT. DOBSON'S ROOM - LATER

Jayne and Mal are in the room with the tied and gagged cop.

MAL
I'm in a tricky position, I guess you
know. On one side I got mindless
savages as like to kill me as fart,
and on the other I got the Law.
Honestly not sure which I like less.
I got to know how close the Alliance
is, exactly how much you told them
'fore Wash scrambled your call. So
I've given Jayne here the job of
finding out.

Jayne pulls out a big-ass knife.

JAYNE
He was nonspecific as to how.

Mal says to Jayne, very quietly:

MAL
You only gotta scare him.

JAYNE
(grinning at Dobson)
Pain is scary...

MAL
Do it right.

Mal exits, shutting Jayne in with Dobson. Jayne pulls the gag out and the cop drags in ragged breaths.

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

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. Cute, too, but I don't
think she's all there.
(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
I ain't gonna kill you, Dobson --
what's your first name?

DOBSON
Laurence.

JAYNE
Laurence, I'm just gonna cut on ya'
til you tell me how much they know.

DOBSON
They know everything. Every name,
every record -- they know how many
nosehairs you've got.

JAYNE
(genuinely
disappointed)
Oh, see -- they don't know a damn
thing. It's all over your face and
I ain't even... I was gonna get me
an ear. Aren't you an officer of the
law, don't they teach you how to....
you know, 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 a language you will
understand. Money. This girl is
worth a lot of money. I mean a lot.
You kill me, there's nothing. But
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 a moment.

JAYNE
Let's talk money, Larry.

INT. INFIRMARY - LATER

Mal is looking at River, silent.

KAYLEE
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. Can't
feel much below my belly, though.
And I'm... 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
You just gotta rest. Something on
this boat's gonna break down real
soon, and who else I got to fix it?

KAYLEE
Don't worry none... Doc fixed me up
pretty. He's nice.

MAL
Don't go working too hard on that
crush, < 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. 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 look after us. But you got
to... you got to have faith in people.

He says nothing, just holds her hand.

Her eyes drift to River, still sleeping.

KAYLEE (cont'd)
She is a 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. The 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'm sorry. For my part in what
happened. I've never... 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 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 on 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?
Got a way round?

SIMON
I don't.

MAL
Comes time, somebody's gonna have to
deal with him.
That should be you, but I don't think
you have the guts. And I know you
don't have the time.

SIMON
What do you mean?

MAL
Kaylee's dead.

He is steely, contained. Simon is 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
The man's psychotic.

INT. BRIDGE - MOMENTS LATER

Mal, Wash, Jayne and Zoe are all laughing.

WASH
Okay, you are psychotic.

MAL
No, but you should have seen his
face... ahhh.... I'm a bad man.

ZOE
And Kaylee's really okay?

MAL
I'll tell you the truth, I didn't
expect her to heal this quick. The
doctor knows his trade, I'll give
him --

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

WASH
We're being hailed.

MAL
That'd be Patience. Put her up.

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

PATIENCE
I talking to Malcolm Reynolds?

MAL
Hello, Patience. Long time.

PATIENCE
Mal. Hear you got some treats for me.

MAL
Delectable treats, three boxes, two
hundred for the lot. In coin.

PATIENCE
I'm not even sure I have that much
paper, come on.

MAL
Paper's no good to us, Darlin'.
Coin. Cargo's worth it.

PATIENCE
I might maybe scrounge up one fifty.

MAL
I might maybe fly on to Three Hills.

PATIENCE
All right. You got what I need. But
I'm cross with you, holding me over
a barrel in this time of need.
You're not gettin' a kiss, don't even
bother begging.

MAL
My burden to bear.

PATIENCE
Snake. I'll meet you at oh nine
hundred, few miles out of town.
Uploading telemetry and coordinates
now.

MAL
See you in the world.

He hits a button, ending the talk.

MAL (cont'd)
Hell of lady. Dropped on that rock
with nothing, owns half the damn town.

ZOE
It's a trap?

MAL
Oh yeah. She's gonna kill us. Not
a doubt.

JAYNE
She did give in awful easy.

MAL
Time was, she never would've been...
But I'm sure. It was in her voice.

WASH
So, what, we fly on?

MAL
We do not. We're gonna finish this.
There's obstacles in our path, 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.)
And maybe, if we're any kind of
lucky, we end this day alive and free.

END OF ACT FIVE

Act Six

EXT. WHITEFALL - DAY

We see the desert planet below, as Serenity rockets down toward it.

EXT. WHITEFALL - LATER

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

EXT. DESERT - DAY

We see a small valley, dotted with brush, hills all about. Pan slowly across it to find our three looking at it.

ZOE
Nice place for an ambush.

MAL
That it is.

Jayne arrives at a decent clip. He hands one bar from the crate to Mal.

JAYNE
I buried 'em good. Equipment's back
on the boat.

Mal steps forward, looking about him, the wheels in his head turning. After a time.

MAL
She'll 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 of the cargo 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
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 in place. And don't kill
them 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
I 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 his chair into the Shepherd, sending him flying back into the hall.

Is on him in a second with a makeshift truncheon, hits him in the head. Book slumps, unconscious. Dobson looks out to make sure no one heard. Then, his face contorted with pent-up rage, he whips the truncheon down twice more, pure fucking spite. 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 gear, but more eclectic and raggedy than even our gang is used to. One wears a shiny black top hat.

MAL
(quietly)
Jayne better come through...

PATIENCE
Mal! How you doing, boy?

MAL
Bitter and strange, same as ever.

PATIENCE
Well that's just fine. Thanks for
meeting me out here. Don't like the
town to see my business.

MAL
Well, why would you?

EXT. RIDGE OVERLOOKING THE MEETING PLACE - CONTINUING

A sniper is set to take a bead on Mal. Jayne drops on his like a stone, knocks him unconscious. Grabs his rifle and takes his position. He finds a mark, smiles.

ANGLE: IN HIS SIGHTS:

Is 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.

PATIENCE (cont'd)
(re: bar)
This is imprinted.

MAL
That's why you're paying two hundred
instead of five. It's pure, 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 (cont'd)
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 slices off a piece, chews the very end.

PATIENCE
Yeah, that's the stuff.

She pulls a small bag from her hip pocket, tosses it to Mal. He reaches in and pulls out a silvery coin.

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

INT. INFIRMARY - CONTINUING

River pulls her hand from Kaylee's, sitting up. 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)
I'm sorry about what happened before.
But make so much as a sound and 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 half a mile east, foot of the
first hill. You'll see where it's
been dug.

PATIENCE
Reckon I will.

MAL
Well then.

PATIENCE
Yep.

Nobody moves.

MAL
I'd appreciate it if you all would
ride back over and circle around. I
don't much feel like walking
backwards out of this valley, and
should I turn, well, I'm not sure I
trust your boys here not to get
entrepreneurial.

PATIENCE
You are holding an awful lot of coin,
there. I can see how the lads might
bet tempted.

MAL
But you're a business woman.

PATIENCE
A practical one.

This is heading to the wrong place and Mal and Zoe both know it.

MAL
It ain't practical to welsh on a deal.

PATIENCE
And I don't like to. But it was a
long damn winter, Mal. Hard times.

MAL
Shouldn't change things between us.

PATIENCE
You keep talking like we're friends.
You're just a means to an end, Mal.
Just another rocket-jock riding the
raggedy edge til his time is up.
Which yours just now is.

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
You 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.

PATIENCE
It ain't personal, Mal. You know
you'd do the same.

She lifts a walkie talkie to her mouth.

MAL
Who's your best shot? In this bunch,
who's the best.

PATIENCE
(pauses)
That'd be Two-Fry, here.

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.

Mal draws and nails a second man, Zoe a third (the one on the vehicle) -- 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
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...

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...

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 --

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

River backs into a corner, wild with terror.

EXT. DESERT - CONTINUING

ANGLE: JAYNE fires, but everything is moving too much -- he misses, cursing.

JAYNE
< Damnit! >

Patience dismounts, shooting from behind her horse, as Mal and the other man on the ground continue firing at each other --

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 pulls out her shotgun, still with the cover of the horse.

Mal stands, no longer moving or hiding.

MAL
Zoe?

ZOE
Ahhhh... armour's dented.

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

PATIENCE
Mal, don't take another step --

She doesn't really have a bead on him or she woulda shot him, but she's close, gun leveled on the back of the horse.

Mal walks toward her, shoots the horse and it collapses half onto her. He comes up to her and sticks his gun in her face.

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

He takes the money back.

MAL (cont'd)
I get paid.

He moves his gun from her face.

MAL (cont'd)
And that's all.

Jayne runs up to him, holding out a walkie-phone.

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

Everyone still alive looks scared.

EXT. SPACE - CONTINUING

As the Reaver ship whips past camera, heading towards Whitefall.

END OF ACT SIX

Act Seven

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
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)
Guess the got hungry again.

He starts warming the ship up.

INT. CARGO BAY - CONTINUING

Inara comes out of her chamber, sees the action below.

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 and I
understand. It doesn't make you a
killer.

A barely conscious Book also 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.
There's nowhere you can take her that
the law won't find. Nobody's gonna
hurt her... unless you hurt me.

SIMON
I said don't move!

DOBSON
It's your call.

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

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/AIRLOCK - CONTINUING

The airlock starts to open, the noise and motion distracting Simon long enough for Dobson to grab his gun and fire --

INARA
Simon!

-- missing but sending Simon diving for cover as Dobson grabs River and puts himself behind her, gun to her head. Simon steps out, between him and the airlock.

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 in the face. He flies back, letting go of River and dead before he lands. Tilt up from him to see Book, unable to move.

MAL
Wash! We're on!

We pulls the Lawman's body up and dumps it out the closing airlock as Jayne and Zoe enter. Simon moves to River, just shocked and silent.

EXT. SERENITY - CONTINUING

The hatch is still closing as the ship takes off.

INT. BRIDGE - MOMENTS LATER

Mal and Zoe come up to Wash, Inara hanging back behind.

MAL
How close are they?

WASH
About twenty seconds from spitting
distance.

JAYNE
We'll lose 'em!

MAL
(to Zoe)
Give me rear vid.

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

ZOE
< We're in big trouble. >

MAL
(to Wash)
How close do they need to be to fire
the grapples?

JAYNE
Wash, you dumbass, dodge 'em!

WASH
If everybody could just be quiet a
moment...

He's incredibly calm. He veers hard left, snakes through:

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. Mal moves to Inara.

ZOE
(to Wash)
Can we lose them?

He doesn't answer. He's flying.

ANGLE: MAL AND INARA

MAL
I want you to get in your shuttle.
Get the civilians and be ready to go.

INARA
We can't just leave you here.

MAL
Thought that was the plan.

INARA
Mal, don't --

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 the Companion's 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, a little blown away by his caring, then continues on.

MAL (cont'd)
(to Wash)
How are we doing?

WASH
I don't want 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.
(to Simon, 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're we doing?

INT. ENGINE ROOM - CONTINUING

Kaylee is propped up in a corner, Jayne and Book at the ready.

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, opens a panel. Kaylee smiles.

KAYLEE (cont'd)
Head of the class.

She coughs, wincing in pain.

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.
Wash, you gotta give me an Ivan.

WASH
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 --

KAYLEE
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. Real simple.

EXT. DESERT - CONTINUING

The reaver ship has Serenity locked in. The magnetic grapple warms up, latches flying off.

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING

MAL
They're on us....

INT. INARA'S SHUTTLE - CONTINUING

Inara moves into the pilot's seat as Simon sits River down.

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING

WASH
(into com)
Kaylee...?

No answer. Then:

KAYLEE (OS)
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 big button with the heel of his hand and the room gets lighter --

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 so 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.

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.

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. 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.

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 a man I swore to
protect.
(the hard part)
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 (O.S.)
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 those
two, the better.

MAL
I 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
I imagine it will.

Jayne leaves, passing Simon, who 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 think
maybe you're confused.

MAL
It may have become apparent to you,
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, 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
I had a good day.

SIMON
You had the law 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.

END OF SHOW