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02. Сценарий эпизода «Ограбление поезда» (The Train Job). Авторы: Джосс Уэдон (Joss Whedon) и Тим Минеар (Tim Minear)

Firefly - "The Train Job"

Written by:: Joss Whedon & Tim Minear

Directed by:: Joss Whedon

Episode #: 1AGE01

SHOOTING DRAFT - July 8, 2002

Teaser

INT. BAR - DAY

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

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

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

JAYNE (to Mal): Your move.

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

ZOE: That's a bold move.

MAL: I live on the edge.

Zoe makes a much better move.

JAYNE (to Mal): Nice work, dumbass.

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

VOICEOVER (O.S.): A toast!

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

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

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

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

JAYNE: Suspicious? What day is it?

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

He downs a shot.

Mal is grabbing his empty glass, rising.

ZOE: Captain...

MAL: Just feeling the need for a drink.

JAYNE (not paying attention): What month is it?

Mal moves to the bar, far from Lund.

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

Lund, naturally, sidles up to him.

LUND: You gonna drink to the Alliance: with me?

Mal looks at him, looks away.

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

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

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

MAL: It was on sale.

He drinks.

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

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

He turns back to the bar. Lund pursues.

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

Mal turns, ready for the fight.

MAL: Say that to my face.

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

Mal smiles casually.

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

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

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

MAL (continuing): Drunks are so cute.

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

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

Zoe turns, sees the coming fight.

ZOE: Jayne...

ANGLE: Jayne: Sits, unconcerned.

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

MAL: Fine. Lets do this.

EXT - BAR - CONTINUING (AFTERNOON)

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

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

Mal shakes off the punch, pulls out a transmitter.

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

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

Mal rises, helps her put them down.

MAL (continuing): Is Jayne even --

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

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

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

ZOE: Thanks for the reenactment, sir.

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

JAYNE: Them ain't kosherized rules...

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

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

MAL: I'm thinking we'll rise again.

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

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

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

Lund and the others back off, grumbling but cowed.

ANGLE: Behind our heroes.

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

INT. AIRLOCK/CARGO BAY - CONTINUING

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

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

INT. FOREDECK HALL/BRIDGE - MOMENTS LATER

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

MAL (to Wash): Nice save.

WASH: Pleasure.

MAL: How are our passengers?

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

ZOE (eyeing Mal): Oddly enough, there was.

WASH: You getting my wife into trouble?

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

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

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

WASH: Well did we least make a contact?

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

Mal: Ladies and menfolk, we got: ourselves a job.

He hands the paper to Zoe.

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

EXT. SERENITY - CONTINUING

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

END OF TEASER

Act One

INT. LABORATORY

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

ANGLE: RIVER

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

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

She opens her mouth to scream and --

INT. INFIRMARY

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

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

She says nothing.

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

RIVER (duh): Simon.

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

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

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

She gets up, looks around.

RIVER: This isn't home.

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

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

Mal enters at that moment, saying:

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

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

MAL (to River): Mal.

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

SIMON (slightly amused): You bow.

MAL: What?

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

MAL: Well, I'm not overly gentle.

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

SIMON: Need a weave on that?

MAL: It's nothing.

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

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

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

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

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

MAL: Well, not today.

He exits, River watching him. After he goes:

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

INT. PASSENGER DORM - CONTINUING

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

MAL: Shepherd Book.

BOOK: Captain. How's the girl?

They look back at the pair in the infirmary.

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

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

BOOK: That young man's very brave.

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

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

MAL: Suppose not.

Mal starts up the stairs, but:

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

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

BOOK (continuing): Why did you?

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

He starts upstairs, the Shepherd following him.

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

INT. UPPER AFT-HALL/ENGINE ROOM - CONTINUING

MAL: Are you referring to our perfectly: legitimate business enterprises?

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

Mal turns, with all mock seriousness.

MAL: Because it's the right thing to do.

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

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

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

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

BOOK: Oh, I got heathens aplenty right: here.

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

He turns to go, grumbling to himself:

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

INT. INARA'S SHUTTLE - CONTINUING

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

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

INARA: Do you want me to put it up?

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

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

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

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

Kaylee smiles, shutting her eyes again.

KAYLEE: Do you ever do this for your: clients?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAL: That it was manly and impulsive?

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

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

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

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

Kaylee rises, grumbly, and exits.

KAYLEE: < Horrible old tyrant... >

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

INARA: In your lonely, pathetic dreams.

MAL: How would you know what I dream: about?

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

MAL: We got a job.

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

MAL: Respectable clients? Seems a: contradiction --

INARA: Don't start.

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

INARA: Never heard of him.

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

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

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

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

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

MAL: Have you got time to do my hair?

INARA: Out.

He goes.

EXT. SPACE - LATER

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

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING

As Wash settles her down.

INT. HALL/NISKA'S OFFICE - LATER

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

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

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

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

NISKA: Malcolm Reynolds is which?

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

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

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

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

MAL: We've hit a few.

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

MAL: As a rule, no.

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

MAL: Well I'm glad to hear that.

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

Crow opens a door to another room.

ANGLE: in the room

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

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

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

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

MAL: Right...

NISKA: You do not like I kill this man.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Off Mal's look...

EXT. DESERT - DAY

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

INT. TRAIN - CONTINUING

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

MAL: How long til we hit Paradiso?

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

MAL: Best get to work.

They rise, start toward the back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ANGLE: THE CAR

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

ANGLE: MAL AND ZOE

stop and stare.

MAL (continuing): Hi.

END OF ACT ONE

Act Two

INT. DINING ROOM - DAY

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

INARA: Shepherd.

BOOK: Good day.

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

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

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

BOOK: How long have you known him?

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

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

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

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

INARA: You could always pray they make it: back safely.

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

INARA: Don't tell him.

She turns a bit, says, mostly to herself:

INARA (continuing): I never do.

INT. TRAINCAR - CONTINUING

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

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

INT. THE NEXT TRAINCAR - CONTINUING

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

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

MAL: It doesn't concern us.

ZOE: It kind of concerns me...

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

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

MAL: I surely do. Makes it more fun.

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

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

He starts off, she follows.

ZOE: Then can I have your share?

MAL: No.

ZOE: If you die can I have your share?

MAL: Yes.

EXT. DESERT - DAY

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

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING

Wash is piloting. Jayne is with him.

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

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

WASH: Well, there goes Plan A...

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

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

JAYNE: One of these days --

A beeping. Wash looks at his monitors.

WASH: We're close. Get down there.

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

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

INT. CARGO BAY - CONTINUING

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

Simon appears, tentative.

SIMON: Hey.

KAYLEE: Oh hey Doctor.

SIMON: You really should just call me: Simon.

KAYLEE: I'll do that then.

He a little bit causes the shyness in her.

SIMON: So what are we doing?

KAYLEE: Oh! Crime.

SIMON: Crime, good. Okay. Crime.

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

SIMON: You've done this before?

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

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

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

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

KAYLEE: No call to be snappy, Jayne.

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

She backs off. He turns back to Simon.

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

KAYLEE: Since when?

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

ANGLE: UP ON THE CATWALK

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

SIMON: Right.

He turns and goes. Kaylee starts strapping Jayne in.

KAYLEE: You shouldn't be so rude to him.

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

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

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

KAYLEE: You're not even thinking that!

JAYNE: Mal is.

KAYLEE: That's not funny.

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

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

JAYNE (continuing): Time for some thrilling heroics.

INT. TRAINCAR - CONTINUING

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

MAL: Niska's sources better be good...

A beat, and he inserts the card.

INT. TRAINCAR WITH FEDS - CONTINUING

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

INT. TRAINCAR - CONTINUING

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

ZOE: Shiny.

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

ANGLE: INSIDE THE CAR

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

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

MAL: Find the cargo.

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

ANGLE: ZOE

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

ZOE: All hail the great Alliance.

EXT. DESERT - CONTINUING

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

INT. AIRLOCK/CARGO BAY - CONTINUING

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

ANGLE: OVER JAYNE

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

INT. BRIDGE - CONTINUING

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

INT. AIRLOCK - CONTINUING

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

jumps --

EXT. DESERT - CONTINUING

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

INT. TRAINCAR - CONTINUING

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

INT. TRAIN - CONTINUING

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

INT. TRAINCAR - CONTINUING

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

JAYNE: Fifteen seconds!

ANGLE: KAYLEE

Ready to reverse the winch.

ANGLE: WASH

Piloting. Tense as hell.

ANGLE: THE FED

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

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

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

ANGLE: THE GAS CANISTER

is popped when the wire is pulled.

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

ZOE (to Jayne): Go!

JAYNE (into walkie): Go! Go now!

Kaylee hits the winch --

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

MAL (to Zoe): Come on'.

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

EXT. DESERT - CONTINUING

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

INT. TRAIN - CONTINUING

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

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

INT. CARGO BAY - CONTINUING

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

KAYLEE: Where are the others?

JAYNE: Shot my gorramn leg!

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

EXT. PARADISO TRAIN STATION - DAY

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

FED: Our man didn't get a look.

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

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

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

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

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

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

DEPUTY: Every ounce.

BOURNE: God help us.

Zoe looks at Mal. Mal looks stone-faced.

ANGLE ON: The crying women. The sickly children.

MAL: Son of a bitch...

END OF ACT TWO

Act Three

EXT. SPACE - ALLIANCE CRUISER

A giant Alliance Cruiser moves slowly through space.

INT. ALLIANCE CRUISER - CONTINUING

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

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

OFFICER: What's the fuss?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ensign nods as the Officer moves off.

EXT. DESERT - NIGHT - SERENITY

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

INT. SERENITY - INFIRMARY - CONTINUING

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

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

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

WASH: It is now.

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

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

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

WASH: I'm not flying anywhere without my: wife.

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

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

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

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

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

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

That was unnerving. Everyone just looks at her.

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

She laughs softly to herself, her eyes betraying fear.

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

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

Simon injects him with painkiller as he continues.

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

BOOK: This Adelai Niska you're talking: about?

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

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

A beat, as Jayne takes this in.

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

That's good enough for Wash, for now.

INT. POLICE STATION - NIGHT

Mal and Zoe sit stiffly next to each other.

MAL: This is a nightmare.

ZOE: Nothing points to us yet, Sir.

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

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

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

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

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

ZOE (shocked): Sir?

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

ZOE: Right. Sir. Honey.

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

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

Mal is suddenly the protective young husband.

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

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

MAL: My uncle. A wedding gift.

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

ZOE: Actually we're here looking for: work.

BOURNE: That right?

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

BOUNNE: You a miner by trade, either of: you?

MAL: Not really.

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

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

MAL: How come there's so many sick here?

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

ZOE: Affliction of the bone and muscle.: Degenerative.

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

ZOE: But it's treatable.

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

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

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

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

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

MAL: Can't argue with that.

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

Mal tenses, senses the trap.

MAL: Never did myself.

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

MAL: Any job would do...

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

MAL: Did he.

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

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

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

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

INT. SERENITY - BRIDGE - NIGHT

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

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

WASH: No rutting way.

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

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

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

Jayne shoves Wash back toward the controls.

JAYNE (continuing): Now fire it up.

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

INARA: What's going on?

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

WASH: We're not.

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

KAYLEE: Not in a million years --

JAYNE: Shut it!

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

WASH: Listen to me --

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

Wash is truly scared, but not backing down.

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

WASH: All what?

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

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

WASH: Did he just go crazy and fall: asleep?

SIMON: I told him to sit down....

KAYLEE: You doped him!

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

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

BOOK: So how do we get the others?

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

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

BOOK: Someone respectable enough might: be able to.

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

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

INT. POLICE STATION - NIGHT

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

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

MAL: If they are, everyone's fired.

ZOE: And if they're not?

MAL: Everyone's fired.

ZOE: So how you wanna play this?

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

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

MAL: What the h--

SMACK - she slaps him hard across the face.

INARA: Don't you dare speak to me.

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

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

BOURNE: No one's been bound. Not yet.

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

ZOE: I was weak.

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

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

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

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

INARA: I apologize for my manner.

BOURNE: Not a bit.

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

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

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

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

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

Mal and Zoe rise, follow her out.

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

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

DEPUTY: Ran 'em twice.

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

INT. CARGO BAY - LATER

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

KAYLEE: How'd it go?

MAL: She hit me.

He starts downstairs, they all follow.

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

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

Mal doesn't even ask.

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

MAL: We're not going.

WASH: Not what? Not why?

MAL: We're bringing the cargo back.

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

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

ZOE: Let's get this on the Mule.

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

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

MAL: There's others need this more.

INARA: My shuttle is faster --

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

Jayne groans.

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

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

ANGLE - CARGO BAY RAMP

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

END OF ACT THREE

Act Four

INT. CARGO BAY/AIRLOCK - CONTINUOUS

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

CROW: You didn't make the rendezvous.

MAL: Ran into a few complications.

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

MAL: Interestingly -- neither.

Crow furrows his brow.

CROW: I don't understand...

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

Still with the brow furrowing from Crow.

MAL (continuing): We changed our minds.

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

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

CROW: And there is no "even."

MAL: Is that right?

During all this...

MAL'S HAND

Has been drifting toward his gun, as --

CROW

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

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

Zoe is pulling her weapon, as...

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

MAL

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

ZOE

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

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

CROW AND MAL

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

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

Crow is distracted suddenly, as --

A ROAR

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

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

A SHOT RINGS OUT

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

JAYNE

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

MAL: Nice shot.

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

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

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

WASH: Right.

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

EXT. JUST OUTSIDE TOWN - NIGHT

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

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

BOURNE: Why don't you tell him in person?

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

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

MAL: Didn't expect to be coming.

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

DEPUTY: Nothin' missing.

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

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

MAL: I don't believe he does.

There is a moment then. The Sheriff slightly smiles.

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

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

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

EXT. SERENITY - NIGHT

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

Mal stands before him, holding a wad of bills.

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

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

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

MAL (sighs): Darn.

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

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

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

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

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

EXT. SPACE - NIGHT

As the ship leaves the planet behind.

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

Mal is being stitched up by Simon.

SIMON: You should have let me do this: sooner.

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

SIMON: Sorry.

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

SIMON: I'll deal with him.

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

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

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

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

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

over and over and

INT. ALLIANCE CRUISER - CONTINUING

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

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

MAN: We're not interested.

OTHER MAN: We're here about a theft.

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

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

The officer is increasingly uneasy. We finally

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

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

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

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

They stare, impassively.

BLACKOUT.

END OF SHOW

 

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