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01. Сценарий эпизода «Серенити» (Serenity). Автор: Джосс Уэдон (Joss Whedon)

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

 

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