Firefly - "The Train Job"

Written by:
Joss Whedon & Tim Minear

Directed by:
Joss Whedon

Episode #: 1AGE01

SHOOTING DRAFT - July 8, 2002

Teaser

INT. BAR - DAY

It's a small, disreputable place, doing a brisk but low-key business. Most of the people here are probably up to something they don't want other people to know about. The dark wood and clutter suggest a Western space, but it is definitely multi-cultural: a bellydancer makes her way about the room, and everyone's mode of dress is diverse -- though none is too fancy.

We follow a BELLY DANCER's undulating belly through the space, coming to a table with three people sitting at it. ZOE and JAYNE are more or less facing us, MAL has his back mostly turned. The three are concentrating on a game we can't see.

Those who look carefully will spot the bellydancer's hand as it slips Mal a piece of paper, which he slips in turn into his pocket.

JAYNE
(to Mal)
Your move.

Camera ARMS UP to see the game on the table is Chinese Checkers. Mal moves.

ZOE
That's a bold move.

MAL
I live on the edge.

Zoe makes a much better move.

JAYNE
(to Mal)
Nice work, dumbass.

MAL
I've given some thought to moving
off the edge, it's not an ideal
location... might get a place in
the middle...

VOICEOVER (O.S.)
A toast!

The VOICE is surly, loud. Trouble waiting to happen. As it speaks, Mal turns back towards camera and we see him in closeup. Calm, assessing the danger.

ANGLE: The guy who spoke, LUND. A drunken dick, holding court at the bar.

LUND
A toast. Shut up! Quiet, I'm, I
got words. I'm say, this is an
asspishus day. We all know what
day it is...

ANGLE: The gang. Mal is stone-faced, Zoe the same. They clearly know where this is going. Jayne has no clue.

JAYNE
Suspicious? What day is it?

LUND
A glorious day for all the proud
members of the Allied planets.
Unification Day! The end of the
Independent scumbags and the dawn
of a new galaxy! Yeah-huh!

He downs a shot.

Mal is grabbing his empty glass, rising.

ZOE
Captain...

MAL
Just feeling the need for a drink.

JAYNE
(not paying attention)
What month is it?

Mal moves to the bar, far from Lund.

MAL
(in Chinese)
< Can I have one more glass of Ng-
Ka-Pei, please? >

Lund, naturally, sidles up to him.

LUND
You gonna drink to the Alliance
with me?

Mal looks at him, looks away.

LUND
(continuing)
Six years today... The Alliance
sent the browncoats running,
pissing their pants.

Mal is not biting. He gets his drink, tosses a weird looking bill on the bar.

LUND
(continuing)
Your coat's kind of a brownish
color...

MAL
It was on sale.

He drinks.

LUND
You didn't toast! You know, I'm
thinking you're one of them.
Independents.

MAL
And I'm thinking you weren't
burdened with an overabundance of
schooling. So why don't we just
ignore each other till we go away?

He turns back to the bar. Lund pursues.

LUND
The Independents were a bunch of
inbred, cowardly pisspots shoulda
been killed off a every world
spinnin'.

Mal turns, ready for the fight.

MAL
Say that to my face.

LUND
I said, you're a coward and a
pisspot. Now what're you gonna do
about it?

Mal smiles casually.

MAL
Nothing. I just wanted you to face
me so she could get behind you.

Lund spins and Zoe SWAPS him with the butt of her sawed-off. He goes down.

Mal and Zoe smile grimly at each other as she holsters the weapon.

MAL
(continuing)
Drunks are so cute.

Suddenly, seven GUYS stand up, seeing what happened to Lund. They are not wearing colors like Mal and Zoe's.

MAL
(continuing; in
Chinese)
< Oh, this is a happy
development... >

Zoe turns, sees the coming fight.

ZOE
Jayne...

ANGLE: Jayne: Sits, unconcerned.

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

MAL
Fine. Lets do this.

EXT - BAR - CONTINUING (AFTERNOON)

Mal goes flying through the front window -- only it's not glass, rather an ionized field that CRACKLES and REFORMS after he passes through.

He rolls in the dirt, stops. Looking up, he hears the sound of fighting within -- we might notice at this point that the sky contains THREE MOONS, one so close it looks like another planet on the horizon.

Mal shakes off the punch, pulls out a transmitter.

MAL
(into transmitter)
Wash, we got some local color
happening... a grand entrance
would not go amiss...

Zoe comes flying out the door, takes two others with her, giving them hell.

Mal rises, helps her put them down.

MAL
(continuing)
Is Jayne even --

Three guys come backwards out of the bar, driven by the table Jayne is wielding. Another comes behind and he elbows him into dreamland without even looking back. Jayne is an incredible fighter.

Our gang ends up side by side, facing an angry bunch of at least ten guys. We might notice our three backed up at the EDGE OF A CLIFF.

MAL
(continuing)
Well, there's just an acre of you
fellows...
(to Zoe)
This is why we lost, you know:
superior numbers.

ZOE
Thanks for the reenactment, sir.

Lund forces his way through the crowd and pulls his gun. This changes things. Our gang look at each other.

JAYNE
Them ain't kosherized rules...

Others pull guns (even though they feel odd about it). Our gang don't yet.

LUND
I'm thinking someone should put
you down, dog. What do you think?

MAL
I'm thinking we'll rise again.

It is at this moment that SERENITY rises from behind the cliff, dwarfing our combatants.

Wind rips through everyone, the assailants starting back in fear (and grit in their eyes). An amplified voice (WASH's) comes over a loudspeaker:

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

Lund and the others back off, grumbling but cowed.

ANGLE: Behind our heroes.

The airlock door opens and our gang step onto it from the cliff face.

INT. AIRLOCK/CARGO BAY - CONTINUING

The doors shut behind them. Mal and Zoe head upstairs as Jayne wanders off, saying:

JAYNE
Damn yokels can't even tell a
transport ship ain't got no guns
on it.
(chuckling)
"Blow a new crater in this moon..."

INT. FOREDECK HALL/BRIDGE - MOMENTS LATER

Mal and Zoe are entering the bridge as Kaylee is coming up the hall behind them, grease on her face and some unidentifiable ship part in her hand. She's thrilled by the drama.

MAL
(to Wash)
Nice save.

WASH
Pleasure.

MAL
How are our passengers?

KAYLEE
They're fine. What happened? Was
there a terrible brawl?

ZOE
(eyeing Mal)
Oddly enough, there was.

WASH
You getting my wife into trouble?

MAL
What? I didn't start it. Just
wanted a quiet drink.

ZOE
Funny, Sir, how you always find
yourself in some Alliance-friendly
bar come U-Day, looking for a
"quiet drink."

MAL
See, this is a sign of your tragic
space dementia. All paranoid and
crotchety, it breaks the heart.

WASH
Well did we least make a contact?

Mal smiles, produces the piece of paper handed him by the bellydancer.

Mal
Ladies and menfolk, we got
ourselves a job.

He hands the paper to Zoe.

MAL
(continuing)
Take us out of the world, Wash.
(looking ahead)
Got us some crime to be done.

EXT. SERENITY - CONTINUING

As it blasts past camera, heading out of the atmosphere.

END OF TEASER
Act One

INT. LABORATORY

Flashes of bright lights, of people in masks approaching camera with weird-looking instruments -- classic operation nightmare.

ANGLE: RIVER

Strapped to a chair, with electrodes on her, needles attached to wires stuck into her head, ears, nose, blood trickling from each wound, terror in her eyes as a man's voice speaks slowly:

VOICEOVER
I'm not going to speak. I'm not
going to SAY a word...

She opens her mouth to scream and --

INT. INFIRMARY

-- wakes up on the operating table, freaking, scrambling off as SIMON approaches her tenderly.

SIMON
River. River. It's okay. It's
me.

She says nothing.

SIMON
(continuing)
You know who I .....

RIVER
(duh)
Simon.

SIMON
Were you dreaming? Did you dream
about the Academy?

RIVER
(scattered, muttering)
It's not relevant.

SIMON
If you can talk about what
happened there... I know it's hard
but the more I know, the faster
you'll get better. I promise.

She gets up, looks around.

RIVER
This isn't home.

SIMON
No. No, we can't go home. If we
go home they'll just send you back
to the Academy. This is safer now.
(cheerfully)
We're on a ship.

RIVER
Midbulk transport, standard radion-
accelerator core, classcode 03-
K64, "Firefly".

Mal enters at that moment, saying:

MAL
Well, that's something. I can't
even remember all that.

SIMON
I'm always amazed at what she
knows. River, this is Captain
Reynolds.

MAL
(to River)
Mal.

She curtsies with exaggerated elegance. A beat, as Mal doesn't know what to do. Then he curtsies back, somewhat awkwardly.

SIMON
(slightly amused)
You bow.

MAL
What?

SIMON
From the waist.
(he demonstrates)
The lady curtsies, the gentleman
bows.

MAL
Well, I'm not overly gentle.

He makes his way to the sink, starts rinsing his bloody knuckles.

SIMON
Need a weave on that?

MAL
It's nothing.

SIMON
I expect there's someone's face
feels differently.

MAL
(smiles in reverie)
They tell you never hit a man with
a closed fist, but it is on
occasion hilarious.

SIMON
I suppose so. The fight didn't
draw any... any attention?

MAL
No feds. Just an honest brawl
between folk. Ain't none of us
want the Alliance on us, Doctor.
That's why you're here.

SIMON
I thought I was here because you
needed a medic.

MAL
Well, not today.

He exits, River watching him. After he goes:

RIVER
Mal.
(turns to Simon)
Bad.
(looks after Mal)
In the Latin.

INT. PASSENGER DORM - CONTINUING

Mal is about to head upstairs when Book comes down the hall.

MAL
Shepherd Book.

BOOK
Captain. How's the girl?

They look back at the pair in the infirmary.

MAL
Still kinda whimsical in the
brainpan. Seems calm enough,
though.

River hurls a metal container on the ground with a great crash, starts crying as Simon tries to soothe her.

BOOK
That young man's very brave.

MAL
(whatever)
Yeah, he's my hero...

BOOK
Give up everything to free his
sister from that... place... go
from being a doctor on the central
planets to hiding on the fringes
of the system... There's not many
would do that.

MAL
Suppose not.

Mal starts up the stairs, but:

BOOK
There's not many would take him
in, either.

He's going somewhere with this. Mal turns back.

BOOK
(continuing)
Why did you?

MAL
Same reason I took you on board,
Shepherd. I need the fare.

He starts upstairs, the Shepherd following him.

BOOK
There's neither of us can pay a
tenth of what your crew makes on
one of your "jobs".

INT. UPPER AFT-HALL/ENGINE ROOM - CONTINUING

MAL
Are you referring to our perfectly
legitimate business enterprises?

BOOK
I'm wondering why a man who's so
anxious to fly under Alliance
radar would house known fugitives.
The Alliance had her in that
institution for a purpose,
whatever it was, and they will
want her back. You're not overly
fond of the boy, so why risk it?

Mal turns, with all mock seriousness.

MAL
Because it's the right thing to do.

He looks in at the engine room -- which is an unholy mess of wires and patchwork and tools lying about.

MAL
(continuing)
Will you look at this? Kaylee.

BOOK
I begin to wonder if you yourself
know why you're doing it.

MAL
What about you? How come you're
flying about with us brigands?
Shouldn't you be off bringing
religiosity to the Fuzzie-Wuzzies
or some such?

BOOK
Oh, I got heathens aplenty right
here.

MAL
(smiling)
If I'm your mission, Shepherd,
best give it up. You're welcome
on my boat. God ain't.

He turns to go, grumbling to himself:

MAL
(continuing)
Where the hell is that girl...

INT. INARA'S SHUTTLE - CONTINUING

We see Kaylee in close up, eyes closed, a dreamy smile on her (still grease-stained) face. Soft, classical music is playing.

Widen to see that she is sitting on the floor of Inara's sumptuous chamber, and that Inara herself is on the couch behind her, brushing Kaylee's hair.

INARA
Do you want me to put it up?

KAYLEE
Mmmmmm... that's okay...

INARA
You have lovely hair.
(knowingly)
I'm sure the doctor would agree.

KAYLEE
Simon? No, he's much too... I'm
just... do you think it looks
better up?

INARA
We can experiment... We might even
get wild later and wash your face.

Kaylee smiles, shutting her eyes again.

KAYLEE
Do you ever do this for your
clients?

INARA
Very occasionally. Not all of my
clients have enough hair to get a
brush through.

KAYLEE
I shouldn't much like a bald
lover... some bald men have
awfully furry backs.

INARA
Yes, hair often doesn't disappear
so much as migrate south.

KAYLEE
Have you ever had to service a
really hideous client? With boils
and the like?

INARA
A companion chooses her own
clients; that's guild law. But
physical appearance doesn't matter
so terribly. You look for a
compatibility of spirit... there's
an energy about a person that's
difficult to hide, you try to feel
that...

MAL
(entering)
Then you try to feel the energy of
their credit account. It has a
sort of aura...

INARA
What did I say to you about
barging in to my shuttle?

MAL
That it was manly and impulsive?

INARA
Yes, precisely, only the exact
phrase I used was "don't."

MAL
Well you're holding my mechanic in
thrall and Kaylee what the hell is
going on in the engine room? Were
there monkeys, some terrifying
space monkeys that maybe got loose?

KAYLEE
No monkeys, mister funny -- I had
to rewire the grav-thrust because
somebody won't replace that crappy
compression coil.

MAL
Well get the place squared away.
It's dangerous in there and I
ain't paying you to get your hair
played at.

Kaylee rises, grumbly, and exits.

KAYLEE
< Horrible old tyrant... >

MAL
We work before we play.
(to Inara)
You're servicing crew now?

INARA
In your lonely, pathetic dreams.

MAL
How would you know what I dream
about?

INARA
It never occurred to me that you
did. What do you want?

MAL
We got a job.

INARA
Congratulations. This job
wouldn't be on a decently
civilized planet where I could
screen some respectable clients,
perhaps?

MAL
Respectable clients? Seems a
contradiction --

INARA
Don't start.

MAL
We don't have the location yet.
We're docking on a skyplex in a
bit, it's run by a fellow called
Niska.

INARA
Never heard of him.

MAL
Well I have, and while we're there
you'll stay confined to the ship.

INARA
Is the petty criminal perchance
ashamed to be riding with a
Companion?

MAL
Niska has a very unlovely rep. If
he's got work for me, fine, but I
don't -- I'm not sure you'd be
safe.

INARA
Mal, if you're being a gentleman
I may die of shock.

Mal bows, slightly, and leaves. Pops his head back in:

MAL
Have you got time to do my hair?

INARA
Out.

He goes.

EXT. SPACE - LATER

We see serenity docking on a large space station, Niska'a SKYPLEX. It has docks for at least eight ships, and though somewhat dingy, it is bustling.

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING

As Wash settles her down.

INT. HALL/NISKA'S OFFICE - LATER

Mal, Zoe and Jayne are walked through the hall by two armed goons. The three are quiet and watchful. One of the goons knocks on a door and it is opened.

Standing behind it is CROW. He is as mean and large a tattooed motherfucker as ever stood behind a door. He stares grimly at the crew a moment, then:

NISKA (O.S.)
It's fine, Crow, they can come in.

The accent is Heavily European, and the man (NISKA), when revealed by Crow stepping aside, is a slight, old, bespectacled fellow -- looks more like Gepetto than the Godfather. He comes from around a desk, looks our gang up and down as they enter.

NISKA
Malcolm Reynolds is which?

MAL
I'm Captain Reynolds. My first
mate, Zoe, and this is Jayne.

NISKA
Very nice. I'm Adelai Niska,
you've seen Crow, he loves to
stand at the door to say "Boo!",
but he is, you say it... my Good
Right Hand.

MAL
We got word you might have a job
for us.

NISKA
Yes, yes, an exciting job -- a
train! Has something I need.
You've worked a train before?

MAL
We've hit a few.

NISKA
Are you going to ask me what it is
I need?

MAL
As a rule, no.

NISKA
Yes, good, you have a reputation.
You do the job, no complications,
that's what. Malcolm Reynolds
gets it done, is the talk.

MAL
Well I'm glad to hear that.

NISKA
Do you know what a reputation is?
It's people talking, gossip, it's
not... to hold, touch it, you
can't. Not from gossip. Now I
also have reputation, not so
pleasant, I think you know. Crow.

Crow opens a door to another room.

ANGLE: in the room

is a man hung from the ceiling, clearly dead from being hideously tortured. Crow steps in, brandishing a curved blade that is his trademark weapon.

Our gang sees this, takes it in. None of them pleased, but all of them silent.

Crow starts cutting down the body as Niska shuts the door, shaking his head sadly before he turns to the group.

NISKA
(continuing)
Now, for you, my reputation is not
from gossip. You see this man, he
does not do the job. I show you
what I do with him and now, my
reputation for you is fact, is...
solid. You do the train job for
me, then you are solid. No more
gossip. That is strong
relationship.

MAL
Right...

NISKA
You do not like I kill this man.

MAL
Well, I'm sure he was a... very
bad person.

NISKA
My wife's nephew. At dinner I am
getting an earful, there is no way
out of that. So. The train job.

He moves to his desk, hits a piece of clear paper, the train schematic appears.

NISKA
(continuing).
Here in fifth car, two boxes,
Alliance goods. You don't mind
taking from the Alliance, I think.
From your reputation.

He smiles at Mal, who doesn't really have it in him to smile back.

NISKA
(continuing)
You get on the train at Hancock,
heading to Paradiso, I give you
cover story in case of questions,
but you are not bothered, I think.
You get the boxes off before you
reach Paradiso and you deliver to
Crow... here.

He touches the paper again and a map appears, with a point marked a few miles from the train line. (where the city, PARADISO, is also clearly marked!)

NISKA
(continuing)
Half the money now, Crow gives you
the other half at rendezvous
point. Anything goes wrong...
then your reputation is only
gossip, and things between us are
not so solid. Yes?

Off Mal's look...

EXT. DESERT - DAY

We see the quiet countryside --- and the train WHIPS through frame. It has an old, wrought-iron and brass feel to it, but it HOVERS above a lit track, a series of slim metal dorsal fins arching out from the undercarriage, just above the ground.

INT. TRAIN - CONTINUING

Mal and Zoe, dressed in civvies that look not terribly unlike their usual clothes, sit in the crowded car.

MAL
How long til we hit Paradiso?

ZOE
Another twenty minutes. We should
be at the foothills in five.

MAL
Best get to work.

They rise, start toward the back.

ZOE
He's a psycho, you know. Niska.

MAL
He's not the first psycho to hire
us, nor the last. Do you think
that's a commentary on us?

ZOE
I've just got an image in my head
of a guy hanging from the ceiling.

MAL
And I got an image of it not being
me. Let's do the thing.

They reach the end of the car, are moving into the next one:

MAL
(continuing)
It's a simple job. And we're
simple folk, so it shouldn't be a
problem.

He is finishing that sentence as they enter the next car.

ANGLE: THE CAR

is entire filled with a regiment of Alliance soldier/cops (called FEDS), all facing this way. All armed.

ANGLE: MAL AND ZOE

stop and stare.

MAL
(continuing)
Hi.

END OF ACT ONE
Act Two

INT. DINING ROOM - DAY

Inara enters to find Book sitting at the dining room table, reading his bible distractedly. He rises, nods to her.

INARA
Shepherd.

BOOK
Good day.

He sits again. She fusses about getting food. A beat.

BOOK
(continuing)
So, how do you think it's going?

INARA
(slightly amused)
The "caper"?
(less amused)
Mal knows what he's doing.

BOOK
How long have you known him?

INARA
I've been on the ship eight months
now. I'm not certain that I'll
ever actually know the Captain.

BOOK
(laughs a bit)
I'm surprised a respectable
companion would sail with this
crew.

INARA
It's not always this sort of work.
They take the jobs they can get.
Even legitimate ones. But the
further you get from the central
planets, the harder things are.
So this is part of it.

BOOK
I wish I could help. I mean, I
don't want to help, not help help,
not with the thieving, but... I
do feel awfully useless.

INARA
You could always pray they make it
back safely.

BOOK
I don't think the Captain would
much like me praying for him.

INARA
Don't tell him.

She turns a bit, says, mostly to herself:

INARA
(continuing)
I never do.

INT. TRAINCAR - CONTINUING

Mal and Zoe are still standing in front of the feds.

There is a beat, and then the door at the other end opens, an immigrant-looking family coming through towards Mal and Zoe. They take the opportunity to move as well, heading back and passing the family. A couple of feds eyeball them, but there is no comment made.

INT. THE NEXT TRAINCAR - CONTINUING

This one is filled with poor, immigrant families. Mal and Zoe take a moment, make sure they're out of earshot.

ZOE
Sir, is there some information we
might maybe be lacking? As to why
there's an entire fedsquad sitting
on this train?

MAL
It doesn't concern us.

ZOE
It kind of concerns me...

MAL
I mean they're not protecting the
goods. If they were, they
wouldn't be letting people past
'em.

ZOE
You don't think it changes the
situation a bit?

MAL
I surely do. Makes it more fun.

ZOE
Sir, I think you have a problem
with your brain being missing.

MAL
Come on. We stick to the plan, we
get the goods and we're back on
Serenity before the train even
reaches Paradiso only now we do it
under the noses of twenty trained
Alliance feds and that makes them
look all manner of stupid. Hell,
this job I would pull for free.

He starts off, she follows.

ZOE
Then can I have your share?

MAL
No.

ZOE
If you die can I have your share?

MAL
Yes.

EXT. DESERT - DAY

We are moving with the train - - and we suddenly move laterally, over low hills, to find Serenity flying low at the same pace, some three hundred yards away.

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING

Wash is piloting. Jayne is with him.

WASH
We start flying with the hatch
open, keeping her steady is gonna
be a job of work, so you strap in.

JAYNE
You get me killed, I'm a come back
as a ghost and punch your liver
out.

WASH
Well, there goes Plan A...

JAYNE
I'm not messing around. You'd
best run straight or you'll get a
boxing.

WASH
You sound like my father. Which
is weird because you look more
like my mother.

JAYNE
One of these days --

A beeping. Wash looks at his monitors.

WASH
We're close. Get down there.

JAYNE
(as he goes)
Hell, I ever call you out, you'd
probably just hide behind the Mrs.

WASH
(working the panels)
Go.
(a beat. To himself:)
My liver?

INT. CARGO BAY - CONTINUING

Kaylee opens the bay doors. She drags over some cable and winches, starts attaching them to the walls.

Simon appears, tentative.

SIMON
Hey.

KAYLEE
Oh hey Doctor.

SIMON
You really should just call me
Simon.

KAYLEE
I'll do that then.

He a little bit causes the shyness in her.

SIMON
So what are we doing?

KAYLEE
Oh! Crime.

SIMON
Crime, good. Okay. Crime.

KAYLEE
It's a train heist. We fly over
the train-car, The captain and Zoe
sneak in, We lower Jayne onto the
car, they bundle up the booty and
we haul 'em all back up. Easy as
lyin'.

SIMON
You've done this before?

KAYLEE
(laughing)
Oh Hell no!
(serious)
But I think it's gonna work. The
captain's < an absolute genius >
when it comes to plans.

SIMON
Is there anything I can...
something I should be doing?

JAYNE
(entering)
Staying the hell out of everyone's
way.

We can see he's added some layers, including a hat tied around his chin and a scarf to pull over his face. Gonna be windy.

KAYLEE
No call to be snappy, Jayne.

JAYNE
(to Kaylee)
Are you about to jump onto a
moving train?

She backs off. He turns back to Simon.

JAYNE
(continuing)
Captain's not around, I'm in
charge.

KAYLEE
Since when?

JAYNE
(ignoring her)
Just 'cause Mal says you're medic
don't make you part of the crew.
You just play at figuring what's
wrong with that moon-brained
sister of yours till we call for
you, < understand? >

ANGLE: UP ON THE CATWALK

is River herself, sitting and watching the exchange. It's impossible to tell if she even understands what she's hearing. Simon stares at Jayne a beat, weighing the advantages of arguing.

SIMON
Right.

He turns and goes. Kaylee starts strapping Jayne in.

KAYLEE
You shouldn't be so rude to him.

JAYNE
Why, 'cause he's all rich and
fancible?

KAYLEE
He's not rich. Alliance crashed
his accounts when he snuck out his
sister.

JAYNE
Yeah, well, we could all be rich,
we handed her back.

KAYLEE
You're not even thinking that!

JAYNE
Mal is.

KAYLEE
That's not funny.

JAYNE
He ain't stupid. Why would he
take on trouble like those two if
there weren't no profit in it?
Captain's got a move he ain't made
yet. You'll see.

He tests his straps and such. They're good.

JAYNE
(continuing)
Time for some thrilling heroics.

INT. TRAINCAR - CONTINUING

Mal and Zoe are at the door marked: STORAGE. NO PASSENGERS. Mal pulls out a keycard.

MAL
Niska's sources better be good...

A beat, and he inserts the card.

INT. TRAINCAR WITH FEDS - CONTINUING

One of the feds gets up, stretching, and heads back to where Mal and Zoe are.

INT. TRAINCAR - CONTINUING

The panel lights on the corners of the door turn from orange to purple. We hear locks withdrawing and the door swings open.

ZOE
Shiny.

She pulls a gas canister out of Mal's bag, prepares to hurl it as Mal readies himself and whips the door open.

ANGLE: INSIDE THE CAR

There are no guards. Just a room full of various crates and baggage. They enter, pulling the door shut behind them -- but leaving it slightly ajar, as Zoe fiddles with the canister and some wire at the bottom of the doorway.

Mal moves to the center of the car, pulling what looks like a wicked powerful screw gun from his bag.

MAL
Find the cargo.

He steps up on some boxes. The ceiling is separated into three corrugated iron panels, all about eight feet by four. Mal puts the gun to one of the rivets in the center panel, triggers it, and we hear a ripping/sucking sound. He pulls the gun down, rivet stuck in it. Removes it and starts on the next.

ANGLE: ZOE

is going through boxes. Rips a tarp off some and sees two big metal crates with the AngloSino flag printed on top. They are the burnished purple of the soldiers uniforms.

ZOE
All hail the great Alliance.

EXT. DESERT - CONTINUING

We are with the train as serenity appears right above it, keeping pace with it.

INT. AIRLOCK/CARGO BAY - CONTINUING

The doors are closing behind Jayne and Kaylee as the front hatch is opening, letting in daylight and a shitload of wind. When the hatch is open all the way, Jayne gets down and crawls to the edge of it, looks over. He has three different cables attached to him.

ANGLE: OVER JAYNE

We see the train some twenty feet below. Everything is moving very fast.

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING

Wash pilots, hands tight on the wheel, ship bucking slightly.

INT. AIRLOCK - CONTINUING

Jayne gives the thumbs up to Kaylee (who is also bundled up and tied on). She hits a lever on a winch and it starts letting out cable as Jayne

jumps --

EXT. DESERT - CONTINUING

-- from the ramp to the car twenty feet below, cables trailing out above him. He hits hard but holds on, keeping his head down. Waits.

INT. TRAINCAR - CONTINUING

Mal pops the last rivet and he and Zoe lower the panel down as gently as they can. It makes a bit of clatter as they lower it to one side --

INT. TRAIN - CONTINUING

The fed who moved back hears the noise, starts in that Direction, curious...

INT. TRAINCAR - CONTINUING

Jayne flips in through the big hole in the roof as Zoe and Mal drag the crates in a net to right under the hole. They start pulling cable off Jayne and securing it onto the corners of the net. Jayne hops on top (still with his own line on) and calls into a walkie:

JAYNE
Fifteen seconds!

ANGLE: KAYLEE

Ready to reverse the winch.

ANGLE: WASH

Piloting. Tense as hell.

ANGLE: THE FED

sees the door ajar, pulls his rifle off his shoulder, approaches the door.

Zoe hops on the crate with Jayne, about to buckle onto his line, as Mal is finishing his end of the net --

The soldier stands by the door, rifle ready, and rips it open --

ANGLE: THE GAS CANISTER

is popped when the wire is pulled.

It shoots gas up into the Fed's face before he can see anything. He shoots blind (the sound is a series of muffled pops), Mal moving towards him as Zoe dives off the crate for cover as boxes splinter by her head from stray bullets. One hits Jayne's leg, he sags but holds on.

ZOE
(to Jayne)
Go!

JAYNE
(into walkie)
Go! Go now!

Kaylee hits the winch --

And Jayne goes up with the netted crates, out of the traincar as Mal gets to the blinded soldier, fights him in the smoke. Mal is precise and brutal, and though it's messy, the guy is unconscious in moments.

MAL
(to Zoe)
Come on'.

They head out of the traincar, towards the front --

EXT. DESERT - CONTINUING

As Serenity moves away from the Train, Jayne and the crates still being pulled up.

INT. TRAIN - CONTINUING

Mal and Zoe reach the car -- full with poorer passengers -- between them and the car full of soldiers. They roll out a couple of gas canisters.

Gas billows up just as feds are entering from the other side. Mal and Zoe blend in with the other civilians, choking and keeping low, as the soldiers pass them.

INT. CARGO BAY - CONTINUING

Jayne climbs up, the crates pulled up by the winch. As soon as the door is shut, Kaylee unhooks herself and moves to him, finally able to speak without the rushing wind:

KAYLEE
Where are the others?

JAYNE
Shot my gorramn leg!

KAYLEE
Jayne? Are they on the train?
Are they gonna be okay?

EXT. PARADISO TRAIN STATION - DAY

The train has stopped. Many passengers have climbed off, still red eyed and coughing from smoke. Mal and Zoe are among them. Behind them, though paying them no particular mind, is Sheriff BOURNE, talking to a fed.

FED
Our man didn't get a look.

BOURNE
Well, Jesus, can someone at least
find out what they took?
(calls out to a
deputy)
Pendy, keep these people together!
And quiet 'em down!

Mal is listening, but his attention is also drawn to:

ANGLE: A group of families, mostly women and children. Clearly very sick, clearly waiting for something on that train. Someone comes to talk to them and several of the women start crying, clutching their children to them.

A deputy comes up to the sheriff, and Zoe and Mal hear very clearly.

DEPUTY
It was the medicine, sir. All the
supplies.

BOURNE
They stole the gorramn medicine?
We been waiting -- all of it?

DEPUTY
Every ounce.

BOURNE
God help us.

Zoe looks at Mal. Mal looks stone-faced.

ANGLE ON: The crying women. The sickly children.

MAL
Son of a bitch...

END OF ACT TWO
Act Three

EXT. SPACE - ALLIANCE CRUISER

A giant Alliance Cruiser moves slowly through space.

INT. ALLIANCE CRUISER - CONTINUING

Big. Clean. Corporate. No bantery chit-chat to be had. The crew is dressed in the same formal Alliance attire we saw the soldiers wearing on the train car.

An OFFICER looks over an ENSIGN'S shoulder to a viewing screen.

OFFICER
What's the fuss?

ENSIGN
All network alert. Cargo theft.
Medical shipment lifted off a
train in the Georgia System, en
route to Paradiso.

OFFICER
(eyeing screen)
Two crates of Pasceline D. Right.
Get you a tidy fortune on the
black market.

ENSIGN
Paradiso's a mining community,
sir. Most there are afflicted
with Bowden's Disease. The miners
pass it on to their children.

OFFICER
(almost to himself)
And yet they insist on breeding...
(then)
Tag it received and bounce it
back. Locals can deal with it.

ENSIGN
Sir, there is a regiment holding
in Paradiso. They were on the
train, headed to the installation.

OFFICER
Then get 'em back on that train
and get it moving. Who's holding
them there?

ENSIGN
Sir, the Sheriff requested we
deploy a few to help him inves --

OFFICER
Those are Federal Marshals, not
local narcotic hounds. They have
better things to do. And so do we.

The Ensign nods as the Officer moves off.

EXT. DESERT - NIGHT - SERENITY

is parked in a canyon, away from prying eyes and spying probes.

INT. SERENITY - INFIRMARY - CONTINUING

Simon is patching up the wounded Jayne who's on an operating table. Kaylee is nearby, trying to keep him steady while Simon works. We may or may not notice River quietly sitting in the b.g. On Wash's entrance, Jayne pulls away from Simon, starts to rise.

SIMON
(re: wound)
I'm not finished.

JAYNE
(ignoring Simon,
rises)
Why you got us parked here? This
ain't the rendezvous
spot.

WASH
It is now.

JAYNE
Niska's people're waitin'.
They're not partial to waitin'.

WASH
Let 'em read a magazine. We don't
make the sale until Mal and Zoe
are back on the boat.

JAYNE
These are stone killers, little
man. They ain't cuddly like me.

WASH
I'm not flying anywhere without my
wife.

KAYLEE
She'll be okay. She's with the
Captain.

JAYNE
See there? Everybody wins. Gahh!
(to Simon)
Dammit, Doc, I need a pop to quiet
this pain some.

Simon goes for the medicine, loads it onto the hypo as he talks.

SIMON
What about the authorities? We're
sitting here with stolen Alliance
goods.
(no one denies it)
Won't they be looking for us?

WASH
They buzz this canyon, we'll hear
'em before they ever see us. I
figure we're good for a...

RIVER
Won't stop. They'll never stop.

That was unnerving. Everyone just looks at her.

RIVER
(continuing)
They'll just keep coming until
they get back what you took.

She laughs softly to herself, her eyes betraying fear.

RIVER (continuing)
Two by two, hands of blue... two
by two, hands of blue...

JAYNE
(to River)
How's about you keep your crazy
mouth shut? Is that a fun game?
(to the others)
Now I'm in rutting charge here and
I'm telling you how it works.

Simon injects him with painkiller as he continues.

JAYNE
(continuing)
Niska doesn't get the goods on
time he will make meatpies of the
lot of us. I ain't walking into
that.

BOOK
This Adelai Niska you're talking
about?

JAYNE
Now how would a Shepherd know a
name like that?

BOOK
As I've heard it, he made a deal
with the Captain. If the
Captain's not there to finish
it -- If Niska finds out he's
being held and may speak as to who
hired him... I think we're better
off being a little late.

A beat, as Jayne takes this in.

JAYNE
Fine. We wait. For a spell.
Then we make our appointment.

That's good enough for Wash, for now.

INT. POLICE STATION - NIGHT

Mal and Zoe sit stiffly next to each other.

MAL
This is a nightmare.

ZOE
Nothing points to us yet, Sir.

MAL
That ain't what I'm talking about.

WIDER - we see they're currently sitting alone. About them the place is a hive a activity. Hill-Street-Blues-meets-Rio- Bravo-by-way-of-Blade-Runner. The understaffed constabulary is working its way through questioning the train passengers.

And more of the sick women and children are near Mal and Zoe, a constant reminder of their crime.

The SHERIFF, no-nonsense, tired, finishes questioning A COUPLE that we might recognize from the train. He thanks them perfunctorily. They take their luggage, exit.

MAL
(continuing)
Whatever happens, remember I love
you.

ZOE
(shocked)
Sir?

MAL
(you idiot)
Because you're my wife.

ZOE
Right. Sir. Honey.

The sheriff confers with a Deputy, who checks a list, points to Mal and Zoe. Sheriff crosses to them. Has the train manifest.

BOURNE
Car 3, row 12. Mister and
Missus... Raymond.

Mal is suddenly the protective young husband.

MAL
Can you tell us what's going on?
We've been here for so long. Did
someone on the train get killed?

BOURNE
No, no. Nothing like that. I see
here your fares were purchased by
a third party...

MAL
My uncle. A wedding gift.

BOURNE
(it's unheard of)
Wedding gift... You spending your
honeymoon in Paradiso?

ZOE
Actually we're here looking for
work.

BOURNE
That right?

MAL
My Uncle said he knew a Joey
Bloggs out here. Said he might
have an opening. Thought we'd try
our luck.

BOUNNE
You a miner by trade, either of
you?

MAL
Not really.

BOURNE
Haven't seen many folk choose this
life weren't born to it.

ZOE
Well, work's real scarce for a
couple just starting out.

MAL
How come there's so many sick here?

BOURNE
Bowden's Malady. You know what
that is?

ZOE
Affliction of the bone and muscle.
Degenerative.

BOURNE
Very. Every planet that's been
terraformed for human life has its
own little quirks. Turns out the
air down underground, mixed up
with the ore processors, it's a
perfect recipe for Bowden's.
Everybody gets it: minors,
dumpers -- hell, I got it and I
ain't ever set foot in a mine.
It's worst on the kids, of course.

ZOE
But it's treatable.

BOURNE
There's medicine, Pasceline --
works on the symptoms. Person
could live like a person, they get
it regular. But our shipment got
stole right off that train you was
ridin' in. which is why you won't
be seeing a parade in town today.

MAL
(feigned shock)
Stolen? Didn't we see an entire
regiment of fine young Alliance
Federals on the train?

BOURNE
You did. The same regiment that
let the medicine get swiped from
under their noses and then took
off for their camp without so much
as a whoopsie daisy.

MAL
That sounds like the Alliance.
Unite the planets under one rule.
Everyone can be interfered with or
ignored. Equally.

BOURNE
Alliance ain't much use to us on
the border planets. But they
ain't the ones stole that
medicine. I find those people,
they'll never see the inside of a
jail. I'll just toss 'em in the
mine, let 'em breathe deep for the
rest of their lives.

MAL
Can't argue with that.

BOURNE
Mind telling me when it was you
last spoke to Joey Bloggs?

Mal tenses, senses the trap.

MAL
Never did myself.

BOURNE
Right. Your uncle. And it was
indicated to you that Joey had an
opening?

MAL
Any job would do...

BOURNE
Funny your Uncle never went to
mentioning the Bowden's problem.
Or that Joey Bloggs ate his own
gun 'bout eight months back.

MAL
Did he.

BOURNE
Yep. Blew the back of his head
right off.

MAL
(a long beat)
So... would his job be open?

The Sheriff gives a wan smile. The game's afoot and they both know it, neither one about to be so rude as to say so openly.

BOURNE
Say, I don't suppose you folks
would mind if we took a retinal
scan? We're doin' it with all the
folks we don't know by sight.
Just to make sure they are who
they say.

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE - NIGHT

Jayne comes barging into the bridge. Wash is there, with Kaylee. Wash stands up, knowing this will be unpleasant. Simon follows Jayne.

JAYNE
That's it. We waited long enough.
Get this bird in the air.

WASH
No rutting way.

SIMON
(to Jayne)
You really should sit down...

KAYLEE
We can't just leave the Captain
and Zoe here.

JAYNE
They ain't coming! We can't walk
in there and get 'em so they're
done.

Jayne shoves Wash back toward the controls.

JAYNE
(continuing)
Now fire it up.

Wash flares. He'll get trounced, but he's ready to fight. Inara and Book appear in the doorway.

INARA
What's going on?

JAYNE
(without looking at
her)
Strap in. We're takin' off..

WASH
We're not.

JAYNE
Captain'd do the same if it were
one of us --

KAYLEE
Not in a million years --

JAYNE
Shut it!

His intensity shuts them down. Wash is quiet but firm:

WASH
Listen to me --

JAYNE
Do you know what the chain of
command is? It's the chain I go
get and beat you with till you
understand who's in rutting
command here.

Wash is truly scared, but not backing down.

JAYNE
(continuing)
Now we're finishing this deal and
then maybe -- MAYBE we'll come
back for those... morons... got
themselves caught and you can't
change that just by gettin' all
bendy...

WASH
All what?

JAYNE
(drifting)
You got the light, from the
console to keep you, to lift you
up... they shine like little
angels.

He topples forward., hits the floor hard, chin leading. Out like a two ton light. Everyone just blinks. Except for Simon.

WASH
Did he just go crazy and fall
asleep?

SIMON
I told him to sit down....

KAYLEE
You doped him!

SIMON
It was supposed to kick in a good
deal sooner. I just didn't feel
comfortable with him in charge.
I hope that's all right.

The look on everyone's faces tells him it is.

BOOK
So how do we get the others?

WASH
Jayne was right about them not
making contact. Chances are they
got pinched getting off that train.

KAYLEE
And we can't just waltz in and
pull 'em out.

BOOK
Someone respectable enough might
be able to.

WASH
A shepherd can't just demand they
hand over - -

BOOK
I know. I wasn't talking about me.

INT. POLICE STATION - NIGHT

Mal and Zoe still cooling their heels. The Sheriff in the near distance conferring. Eyeballing them. There is a buzz of activity. A Deputy moves to the Sheriff.

ZOE
You figure Serenity's still
waitin' for us?

MAL
If they are, everyone's fired.

ZOE
And if they're not?

MAL
Everyone's fired.

ZOE
So how you wanna play this?

There is a buzz of activity. A Deputy moves to the sheriff with some news. He reacts with surprise. Mal and Zoe watch, curious. Commotion as someone pushes through the deputies --

INARA - appears, the bearing of a monarch. Mal reacts to the sight. So does Zoe. Inara strides magnificently over to Mal. He opens to his mouth to speak --

MAL
What the h--

SMACK - she slaps him hard across the face.

INARA
Don't you dare speak to me.

A deputy has given the Sheriff Inara's official papers. He peruses them as he crosses to her.

INARA
(continuing)
Sheriff, I want this man bound by
law at once. That's assuming he
hasn't been already...

BOURNE
No one's been bound. Not yet.

INARA
Well thank god you stopped them.
(to Mal)
Did you honestly think you could
access my accounts and I wouldn't
find you?
(sadly, to Zoe)
And Zoe... what would your husband
say if he knew you were here?

ZOE
I was weak.

BOURNE
(not surprised)
So I take it they ain't newlyweds?

INARA
Hardly. Malcolm's my indentured
man. With three years left on his
debt. I imagine we'll have to add
another six months after this
little adventure.

The deputies stare in awe and whisper amongst themselves, as they have been since her entrance. Inara glances to them. Gathers herself with tremendous dignity.

BOURNE
You'll have to pardon them. Don't
think a one of 'em's ever seen a
Registered Companion before.
Fancy lady such as yourself don't
pass through here everyday.

INARA
I apologize for my manner.

BOURNE
Not a bit.

INARA
(to Mal and Zoe)
Though I've half a mind to leave
you both here. If your debt
weren't so large, I would.
(then)
Should I contact my ship? Will
you need to hold them very much
longer?

BOURNE
Looks to me like we're done.
We're having some unrelated
trouble. And his story had kind
of an odor to it...

INARA
Yes. It's not the only thing
about him that does.

Mal refuses to show that it burns him how much fun she's having.

INARA
(continuing)
Thank you very much, Sheriff.
(to Mal and Zoe)
Come along.

Mal and Zoe rise, follow her out.

The Sheriff watches them go. Something not sitting just right with him.

BOURNE
(to the deputy)
That's a hell of a lady. Her
files were all in order?

DEPUTY
Ran 'em twice.

BOURNE
(lets out a breath)
Let's get started with the rest,
then.

INT. CARGO BAY - LATER

Mal, Zoe and Inara all step off the shuttle. Kaylee and Wash are there to greet them. Zoe and Wash hug, make with smootchies.

KAYLEE
How'd it go?

MAL
She hit me.

He starts downstairs, they all follow.

They all react now to see Jayne sprawled out/propped against the stairs/catwalk. He's sort of in and out of consciousness. A floppy puppy. They have to step over him. Mal does a take.

KAYLEE
(approaching)
We tried to get him to the
infirmary. He's just heavy.

Mal doesn't even ask.

WASH
Kept the engine running. We're
good to go.

MAL
We're not going.

WASH
Not what? Not why?

MAL
We're bringing the cargo back.

Astounded looks from all save Zoe. Jayne moans in his full- body-novocaine stupor.

JAYNE
(slurred)
What? Whaddya mean back? I
waited for you!

ZOE
Let's get this on the Mule.

WASH
What're you talking about? What
about Niska? Won't that put him
more or less in a killing mood?

Mal hits a button and the cargo bay ramp starts to lower.

MAL
There's others need this more.

INARA
My shuttle is faster --

MAL
You risked enough flying in there
once. And I don't wanna get
slapped around no more.
(to Wash)
Far as Niska goes, We'll just have
to explain the job went south on
us when we return the money.

Jayne groans.

WASH
You wanna explain, now's your
chance...

He's seeing something that Mal doesn't. Mal turns, following Wash's gaze to see --

ANGLE - CARGO BAY RAMP

At the bottom of the ramp, just outside the ship are CROW and THREE MEN. Every man large, every man pissed.

END OF ACT THREE
Act Four

INT. CARGO BAY/AIRLOCK - CONTINUOUS

Mal looks down on Crow and his men. They start to walk up the ramp. Mal takes a step forward.

CROW
You didn't make the rendezvous.

MAL
Ran into a few complications.

CROW
You were thinking of taking Mister
Niska's money and his property,
maybe?

MAL
Interestingly -- neither.

Crow furrows his brow.

CROW
I don't understand...

MAL
Yeah. Look. Here's what it is:
deal's off.

Still with the brow furrowing from Crow.

MAL
(continuing)
We changed our minds.

CROW
You entered into an arrangement
with Mister Niska. There is no
mind-changing.

MAL
'fraid that's where you're wrong.
We just, we can't take this job.
So you just relax, and we'll get
you the money Niska paid us up
front, you return it to him and
call it even.

CROW
And there is no "even."

MAL
Is that right?

During all this...

MAL'S HAND

Has been drifting toward his gun, as --

CROW

whip quick, releases his curved knife -- buries it in Mal's right shoulder. Mal rears back, big pain.

And all hell, as they say, breaks loose --

Zoe is pulling her weapon, as...

Crow's men storm the cargo bay, guns out and firing...

MAL

Suddenly Crow is there, pulling out the knife, then slamming his fist into the wound. Mal fights back.

ZOE

Zoe has her gun out, takes out one of the guys right off, then lunges at Kaylee, pulling her down behind some cover as she avoids getting hit by the return fire. She looks over to make sure Wash is okay.

He is, nods to her from behind some crates, as...

CROW AND MAL

Crow just fucking wails on Mal, driving him staggering back up-grade back up the ramp with each bone jarring blow.

Mal's pretty much only good with his left at this point, and manages to get in a few good hits, but Crow's punishment is taking its toll on him.

Crow is distracted suddenly, as --

A ROAR

The MULE comes bouncing up over the top of the ramp, sending the other thugs scattering. Wash is driving it.

Mal presses his advantage. Gets in a few good licks. But Crow comes back strong. Sweeps up his fallen knife, is about it bury it in Mal's skull, when --

A SHOT RINGS OUT

Crow goes down, screaming pain, a big hole in the back of his leg. Mal looks up, astonished to see --

JAYNE

Still propped in the same spot, but with his gun out, sort of lazily aimed in that general direction. He still looks like a stoke victim, desperately trying to keep his eyes open.

MAL
Nice shot.

JAYNE
(slurred)
I was aimin' for his head.

Everyone can walk, and that's everyone save Jayne, runs up to Mal.

MAL
Wash, Kaylee -- take care of these
guys. Have the doctor look at
Crow, here. But not until after
you've got him good and tied up.

WASH
Right.

Mal and Zoe move to the Mule, climb on. As they roar out into the night...

EXT. JUST OUTSIDE TOWN - NIGHT

Mal and Zoe are on the mule, Zoe driving, Mal on top of the crates, with a better view. The town becomes visible in the distance and he taps her shoulder. She cuts the engines and they get off, start untying the crates.

MAL
We're gonna have to drag 'em from
here. We can leave 'em just off
the street, notify the Sheriff
once we're in deep deep space.

BOURNE
Why don't you tell him in person?

They draw -- but six men with rifles appear from the brush. Mal and Zoe slowly holster their guns.

BOURNE
(continuing)
We got word of a ship not far out,
came looking. Didn't expect to
find you coming back.

MAL
Didn't expect to be coming.

The deputy from act two comes over as they speak, opens the crates.

DEPUTY
Nothin' missing.

Mal and the Sheriff stare at each other. Clearly an understanding, as he addresses the pair of them:

BOURNE
You were truthful back in town.
These are tough times. Hard to
find yourself work. A man can get
a job, he might not look too close
at what that job is.
(to Mal)
But a man learns all the details
of a situation like ours, well
then he has a choice.

MAL
I don't believe he does.

There is a moment then. The Sheriff slightly smiles.

BOURNE
(to his men)
Let's get these crates back to
town. Make ourselves useful.

Two men each take a crate and haul them off. The Sheriff walks off with the rest of them, not saying anther word.

After a beat, Zoe climbs back onto the mule and starts to turn it around.

EXT. SERENITY - NIGHT

Crow goes down in a heap onto his knees. He is on the ramp, the huge jet engine behind him just starting to whir to life, wind kicking up as the ship prepares to take off.

Mal stands before him, holding a wad of bills.

MAL
Now this is all the money Niska
gave us in advance. You give it
back to him, tell him the job
didn't work out. We're not
thieves -- well, we are thieves,
but -- the point is, we're not
taking what's his. We'll stay out
of his way as best we can from
here on in. You'll explain that's
best for everyone, okay?

Crow rises. He towers over Mal, hatred on his face.

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

MAL
(sighs)
Darn.

He kicks Crow back -- and the huge fellow is instantly SUCKED into the engine of the ship. It's very sudden, but the resultant crunching noise goes on for a bit.

A beat, and Zoe shoves one of Crow's henchmen in front of Mal.

Mal
(continuing)
Now. this is all the money
Niska --

HENCHMAN
Oh I get it. I'm good. Best for
everyone, I'm right there with you.

Mal smiles, puts the money in the man's breast pocket and pats it.

EXT. SPACE - NIGHT

As the ship leaves the planet behind.

INT. INFIRMARY/PASSENGER DORM/RIVER'S ROOM - NIGHT

Mal is being stitched up by Simon.

SIMON
You should have let me do this
sooner.

MAL
I've had plenty worse. This is
just a OWWW!

SIMON
Sorry.

MAL
Just be careful.
(a beat)
That was pretty fast thinking,
dopin' up Jayne. Can't say you've
made a lifetime friend...

SIMON
I'll deal with him.

MAL
I'm not too worried about you.
How's your sister?

We begin drifting away from them as they speak, heading toward River's room as Simon's voice becomes a voiceover...

SIMON
The same. One moment she seems
perfectly cogent, the next... she
speaks nonsense. Like a child.
It's so difficult to diagnose; I
still don't know what the
government was trying to do with
her. So I have no idea if they
succeeded.

and we land on River, sitting up in her bed and worrying the sheet with her hands, repeating to herself:

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

over and over and

INT. ALLIANCE CRUISER - CONTINUING

The officer we saw before steps into a starkly lit room.

OFFICER
I'm sorry to keep you waiting.
there's always one crisis or --

MAN
We're not interested.

OTHER MAN
We're here about a theft.

OFFICER
The Medicine? On that planet...
word came up that was returned.

MAN
We didn't fly eighty-six million
miles to track down a box of band-
-aids, Colonel.

The officer is increasingly uneasy. We finally

REVERSE ANGLE to see TWO MEN sitting at the table. They reek of government. Whatever the CIA is in the future, it's these guys. They are blank as slate.

OTHER MAN
We're looking for a girl. This
girl.

As he says it the first man slides a folder forward, with a picture atop it. The picture is of River. The hand sliding it forward has, incongruously, a skin-tight latex glove on it. Blue.

Tilt back up to the men to see they are both wearing blue gloves.

They stare, impassively.

BLACKOUT.

END OF SHOW